Author: kturpen

Writer of swag and intrigue. Additionally enjoys food and laughter.

My Bests of 2016

It’s gonna be…fabulous.

2016 was a whopper of a year. We elected an orange child as President while waving goodbye to the most adorable White House couple ever. (America, I just can’t with you these days). The news flickered daily with tragic events in the U.S. and abroad plus just a lot of crap went down in all of our lives! Am I right? But what doesn’t kill us has given Saturday Night Live! some truly excellent material.

There were still wonderful things that happened in my life and the world so I’m going to share them with you. Focusing on the positive keeps life’s wheels turning. What are your bests of 2016??

1. This guy.


Michael Doyle. The Nick Miller to my Jessica Day, the Jesse to my Andrea Lacey, my soulmate, and fellow foodie. He is the best part of my 2016. It’s funny how you think you’ll never find someone who is a mirror of you but I have and am now the sappiest believer in love. Not a day goes by that he’s not encouraging me to be my best self, making me laugh Aziz Ansari style, and just all around amazing me with his genuine soul. I love you and am more and more thankful for you every day.

2. I went to some RAD music festivals with cool humans. 

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Sloshing through mountains of mud in Memphis, all to scream Weezer’s “The Sweater Song” and hear Jason Derulo sing his own name without a shirt on. Taking too many Snapchats for certain people’s liking while watching Ellie Goulding slay it in a kilt in Athens. Sweating grossly and getting soaked to the bone while accepting beers were $9 a piece at Sloss Fest. Seeing Brand New, the band of my youth, in Atlanta and at the Alabama Theatre, all while coming to terms with the fact that Jesse Lacey has a baby now and is too enamored with the gift of life to produce a new, darker than ever album.

It surely was a great year of concerts with some fabulous friends!

3. My mother retired and I got to hear how awesome she is. 


My mother taught at Pizitz Middle School for more than 20 years before retiring this year. I’ve always known she was a special person but it was lovely to hear her described as a “bulldog” at her retirement ceremony in May. I know she’s touched many lives and am honored to be her daughter!

4. My brother headed off to Seminary.


This guy can do anything he sets his mind to and I’m excited to see where his journey takes him.

5. Matt Bellassai continued to make hilarious drunk videos.


If you don’t know who this guy is click here and spend some time watching his videos. The gist: He gets drunk and says what we all feel in our hearts about Christmas, adulting, and the election in vulgar, sassy terms. You are welcome in advance for your new weekly time waster.

 6. Emily Gilmore returned to the television screen.


A major plus for 2016 was the Gilmore Girls series revival! All the petitions I signed, all the late night fan fiction written, all the watching and rewinding of the show’s best moments Melody and I did in grad school resulted in a glorious revival. While some parts dragged (that musical??), some parts did not fly by me (um, that actor was NOT Tristan), and Rory Gilmore was portrayed as a whiny, wookie-loving brat, Emily Gilmore salvaged it all and remains my favorite tv character.

7. I joined a book club, quenching my thirst for literature.

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Two of my favorites included Why We Came To The City, a story about a friend circle dealing with tragedy in NYC and What Alice Forgot, a quirky book revolving around memory loss.

8. Oh yeah, I interviewed lead singer of Rooney, better known as Michael from The Princess Diaries.


I got the chance to interview  Robert Schwartzman for a B-Metro article over the phone. I only a giggled a LITTLE when asking him about his role in The Princess Diaries. Check out the article here.

So there it is. I know that was riveting. Let’s raise a large glass to 2017! I have good feelings, very good feelings. 🙂


“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.” — Maya Angelou

My 10 Bests of 2015

Happy New Year, y’all.

2015 was…well, 2015 was awesome. I landed a new job at a local magazine, took some stellar vacations, and casually graduated Adult Space Academy.

Just to name a few highlights.

As the year comes to a close, I give you my personal “bests of 2015.” I hope you’ll be inspired. What are your bests?

Best book 


“I wanted the gift of forgetting. Boozy love songs and brokenhearted ballads know the torture of remembering. If drinking don’t kill me, her memory will, George Jones sang, and I got it. The blackouts were horrible. It was hideous to let those nights slide into a crack in the ground. But even scarier was to take responsibility for the mess I’d made. Even scarier was to remember your own life.”

Over the last few months, I’ve been on a memoir kick and this tale of a journalist trying to find herself at the bottom of bottles stood out like a sparkly gem. Hepola details her battle with alcoholism in such a compelling and humorous way that I hung on every word and couldn’t let go. Tiny rays of wisdom shot off each page. For anyone that has struggled with their inner demons, you’ll find Hepola’s writing a powerful force.

Best piece of journalism

After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet

“It sometimes felt to Mark in these moments like his grief was still deepening, like the worst was yet to come. After the gunfire, the funerals, the NRA protests and the congressional debates, they were finally coming into the lonely quiet. They were coming to the truth of what Newtown would become.”

This article, written in June 2013, was something I stumbled upon during one of my many trips down the Internet rabbit hole this year. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Eli Saslow with The Washington Post interviewed a family that lost a son in the Sandy Hook shootings. The story is devastating, heartbreaking, almost too difficult to read. But it is a testament to what happens when journalism gets it right. It’s the kind of reporting we need more of, the kind that tells the story that comes long after the story, revealing how lives carry on even when general media coverage has dissipated. By the end of the article, I felt like I was sitting right there with this family in their lonely quiet. I was hurting for these strangers, picturing them in their living room surrounded by condolence letters, an unshakable emptiness sinking in their hearts. It reminded me why I’m a journalist: The power of connection. I advise everyone to read this article in its entirety.

Best TV series


I found this gem of a series on Amazon Prime. It’s based on a book by the same name and portrays an alternate history in 1962 where the Allies have lost World War II and Japan and Germany have taken over the U.S. The cinematography is breathtaking and the storyline quite intriguing too. Science fiction meets historical drama. Luckily, it’s been renewed for a second season.

Best Happy Hour

Five Point Public House Oyster Bar

(That time my dinner was served in a muffin tin)

As a young professional, it is my duty to find the best happy hours in Birmingham. Yes, it really is. And I have discovered the best one right down the street from my office in Five Points. Here you’ll find tasty cocktails, wine, and beer at extremely reasonably Happy Hour prices along with delicious bites to eat for cheap such as fried oyster sushi and cheese curds.

Read the B-Metro review here.

Best Meal I Ate


As a Turpen, choosing your favorite meal is like your choosing your favorite child.  However, this year’s winner was Pork Shank paired with a gin cocktail at Pinewood Social in Nashville. My brother moved to the city in August so, of course, my family visited and took a full blown restaurant tour. This place was very trendy with a bowling alley & bocce ball court, lounge seating, and a food/drink menu rivaling an encyclopedia.

Best Meal I Cooked

Toasted Ravioli with Roasted Brussel Sprouts


This year, I’ve actually stepped out into the scary land that exists beyond the microwave and tried my hand at cooking. Perhaps, the most fun to make was this St. Louis-inspired Toasted Ravioli recipe paired with roasted Brussel Sprouts (all bout dat balsamic vinegar.) Domestic goddess, party of one.

Get the recipe here.

Best Song

 “Goodbye” by Who is Fancy 

My 2015 unapologetic jam. My anthem of inner confidence.

Also this girl’s  acoustic covers. I now actually enjoy “Hotling Bling.”

Best Trip


From riding bikes with good friends through moss-covered Savannah to cheering on the Tide from Chicago with my cousin, to wandering the streets of Nashville with my family, I’ve had some memorable adventures in 2015. However, the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis was one for the books. Nothing like letting Hozier, with his man bun and soulful voice, ease me into bliss as the sun sets over the river.

Best Blog Find

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I stumbled across this blog after I heard a coworker mention it. Joanna’s site is everything I inspire to be in the realm of blogging. From delicious recipes to legit life advice to humorous Interweb finds, this gal nails it. I look forward to her weekly newsletter popping up in my inbox. Favorite entries include What’s The Most Beautiful Thing You’ve Ever Read? and How To Be Comfortable on an Airplane.

Best Thing I Did Period

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Mad photo cred: Cameron Carnes

Yep, that’s me in a space suit repairing a satellite inside the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Cheers to 2016 and the adventures it brings.


Advice for surviving your 20s

I’m 26 years old, soon to hit 27. What I’ve gathered so far is this is a hella bizarre life stage.

Me every day


However, I am learning to love the adventure of it all. So below, I give you my thoughts on surviving this decade. Trust me, I’m still learning to listen to myself.

Fall in love with yourself. Being in my 20s has been a delicate balance of telling myself I’m awesome while trying not to cry shame tears in a public space. There seems to be someone around every corner saying you’re not good enough. But you can’t let it get to you. You’re a unique human being with a purpose worth pursuing. Do you.

But do let go of any delusion that the Universe revolves around you. Falling in love with yourself is different than thinking everything that happens in life is related to you and your delicate sack of feelings. If someone does something you don’t like, stop to think about other factors at play. There are sure to be many.

Don’t shame spiral. People flaunt their engagements, ultrasounds and exotic travel selfies all over Facebook. These are legit achievements and we should affirm our digital friends. However, don’t let this daily practice dictate where you think you are on the “killing it at life” spectrum because it’s only one dimension of reality.

FOMO is just an illusion. Fear of Missing Out. As my future hubs Aziz Ansari says in one of his comedy bits, the chances of a Biggie & Tupac reunion concert happening the night you decided to stay in are pretty slim.

Not everyone is going to like you. Thankfully, the ones who do make this realization not matter at all.

People are not always who they appear to be. My generation is characterized by our expert abilities to play mind games with each other and live behind facades that hide all signs we might have a heart in our chest.  Between overanalyzing texts, judging someone prematurely and playing it cool, we constantly cheat ourselves from making real human connections. Smoke and mirrors are exhausting. Give it up.

Dating in my 20s: Exhibit A


 Exhibit B


Exhibit C


Dating can feel like a high pressure game of musical chairs. But the music is not going to stop. Ultimately, it comes down to figuring out who you are and what makes you happy. Trust yourself and the journey, including the super awkward moments. Also, remember to use the bad dates/awful people as hilarious stories later on.

Embrace the unexpected. My favorite part of life thus far is the unexpected. Beautiful, exciting things you never saw coming that ended up changing the direction of your life or simply turned your day around for the better. Recognize those moments. Relish these moments. Believe there are many more to come.

Treat yo self. A vital life practice is to indulge every now and then. Sometimes, you just have to eat McDonalds and Taco Bell in the same afternoon or pop that champagne because it feels amazing and there’s always a reason to celebrate.


Invest in at least one good pair of “work pants” even if they are boring to shop for. 

Know you’re not immune to rejection and you’re going to feel unappreciated at times. That’s why Taylor Swift had to give us “Shake it Off,” that is why Happy Hour always rolls around and that is why we have friends. Chin up, carry on.

Let it go. 

Fight for what makes you happy.  Don’t leave everything up to chance and luck. You have to learn to channel your inner Beyonce. This is the time to go after what and who you want.

If it hurts, just say “ow.”

Appreciate the stars of your movie. Family, friends, significant others, you know who these people are. Listen to them. Love them with all you got. Laugh super hard with them. Hug them so they are physically crushed by the weight of your appreciation. This is really what makes it all matter in the end.

Find a mentor. It’s good to vent to someone who’s stood where you’re standing and lived to tell the tale.

Appreciate life, cultivate an understanding of the bigger picture and say thank you all day long. Get to counting those blessings because this world is full of heavy hearts and inevitable tragedy. Now, more than ever, is the time to learn what it means to be a generous and humble spirit.

Work hard, wear SPF above level 5 and somehow get enough iron in your diet. (Things I’ve read)

Do your own taxes, discover that elusive “runner’s high” and expand your grocery list beyond wine, lean cuisines and instant grits. (personal goal)

Our daily lives really just turn into Jedi mind games with ourselves. It’s never going to feel like it “should.” Choose happy and go from there.


‘There’s power in looking silly’ and other things Amy Poehler taught me about adult-ing


Oh, the classic questions: “If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?” “If you were stranded on an island, who would you want by your side?” “If the apocalypse arrived, Zombieland style, who would you want to stumble across Bill Murray with?”

My answer. Amy Poehler. Now, tomorrow, and forever. Though Amy and I have never physically met, I’d imagine the second we did we would be white on rice. I see it in my head, our witty back and forth banter over mimosas and bacon. She would reveal hilarious behind-the-scenes SNL moments with Seth Meyers as I countered with equally entertaining tales from my newspaper office. Somewhere towards the end of the meal, Tina Fey would materialize and we’d ride on horseback into the sunset.

*Pause to daydream*

Golden Globe Awards - Season 71


 I’ve almost finished Amy’s memoir Yes Please, which everyone should buy RIGHT NOW. After Tina’s Bossy Pants, I’ve been waiting for something just as awesome and Amy did it.

There’s something impressive about successfully mixing humor, honesty and damn good life advice into a memoir. Amy does it with style complete with a plastic surgery haiku and candid sex advice. She admits to royally messing up during her career and feeling the turmoil that comes with divorce. She reveals what SNL hosts have been like off camera (often drunk, confused or both) and how it felt to perform improv in front of insane Chicago and NYC crowds back in the day.

As i navigate my mid-twenties, I feel the desperate need for a road map. A road map for work life, dating life, and just general advice for masquerading as an adult being. What better life guidance counselor than Amy?  Yes, Please has inspired me to write a Buzzfeed-style blog post. Please read on for 13 things I’ve learned from Amy Poehler.

1. Figure out what you want. Say it loud. Then SHUT UP. The most successful people are those who are direct and simple rather than furiously shouting from a soapbox. Tell the world how you think it should be then get outta the way so that ball can roll into motion.

2. Only say I’m sorry when there is something to be sorry for. “It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate.” For me, “I’m sorry” has become an impulse, something I blurt out uncontrollably in an argument or conversation even if I didn’t actually do anything. I’ll pass someone on the street and suddenly apologize for taking up some of their oxygen. Thanks to Amy, I’ve realized I need to own who I am and only offer an apology in situations when I’ve actually done something that merits one.

3. Everybody is scared.  Oh Amy, you blonde-haired buddha. We’re all human. The truth is, we all get scared. Some of us are just better at faking it than others. There’s so much comfort in remembering this.

4. Do whatever you want. With limits, but ultimately go for it…you could end up the star of a movie called Baby Mama.

5. There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do. “If you can dance and be free and not embarrassed you can rule the world.” This is my favorite Amy quote. I know she’s speaking to her experience in comedy/improv but I think it universally applies to life. Life is just too damn serious sometimes. Shake it off.

6. Learn to live with your demon. We all have that voice inside of us. Sometimes it completely takes over and keeps us from living our lives. Amy shares advice for conquering it.

 “Some people give their demon so much room that there is no space in their head or bed for love. They feed their demon and it gets really strong and then it makes them stay in abusive relationships or starve their beautiful bodies. But sometimes, you get a little older and get a little bored of the demon. Through good therapy and friends and self-love you can practice treating the demon like a hacky, annoying cousin. Maybe a day even comes when you are getting dressed for a fancy event and it whispers, “You aren’t pretty,” and you go, “I know, I know, now let me find my earrings.” Sometimes you say, “Demon, I promise you I will let you remind me of my ugliness, but right now I am having hot sex so I will check in later.”

7.  Just freaking do it, none of us are really 100% sure. “I believe great people do things before they are ready. They do things before they know they can do it.” We go through many phases in life and perfection is not one of them. While we do evolve and learn over time, we will always find a reason to not be ready for whatever lies in front of us. The truth is that it will never feel completely right and that’s what gives our lives that extra spark.

8. Decide what your currency is early. “Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.”  I’m  gonna say my currency is being hilarious and writing a damn good sentence. What my currency is not is pictionary, accounting or rocking leather attire. Which sorta sucks but hey, time to move on! Focus on what makes you awesome and use it to propel you forward in life.

9. The signs a relationship is working can be glimpsed in those small, real-life moments.“I have a boyfriend who knows how to settle me. He puts his hand on my chest and tells me boring stories…On one of our first nights together I woke up apologizing for my snoring and he pulled out the two earplugs he had worn to bed so that he could hear what I was saying. It was one of the most romantic gestures I have ever seen.”  Hey, if this scene doesn’t describe love then I don’t know what does.

10. Life is more than your job.Depending on your career is like eating cake for breakfast and wondering why you start crying an hour later.” As Amy puts it, your career is simply the stringing together of opportunities and jobs mixed with public opinion and past regret. Enjoy what you do but don’t count on it to be what fully completes you.

11 Take risks and give it your absolute all.  “I have realized that mystery is what keeps people away, and I’ve grown tired of smoke and mirrors. I yearn for the clean, well-lighted place. So let’s peek behind the curtain and hail the others like us. The open-faced sandwiches who take risks and live big and smile with all of their teeth. These are the people I want to be around. This is the honest way I want to live and love and write.” A repeated theme in Amy’s book and probably a key reason why she is so successful. Give it everything no matter how much it hurts because to do anything less is a simply a disservice.

12. Focus on feeling and doing good instead of the outcome.“You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.” This is definitely a lesson I struggle with daily. I can easily turn myself into a stress ball over what other people think about what I’ve done. But too often that clouds our vision and causes us to forget our true worth. Practice aligning everything you do with your good intentions and allow your happiness to come from that. In other words, let those haters hate and the heartbreakers break.

13. And finally, “… if you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say, “I’m just crying because of how wrong you are.”

Thanks Ames, my sister from another mister.


Katie Turpen

Freelancing Through Life (sung to tune of the song from Wicked )

Hello folks. It has been quite awhile since I have blogged for fun and not for class credit (Yep, that’s a thing now). You’ll be over the moon to know I have completed my one year master’s program in community journalism! Go ahead, ask me what the hell that is and what I plan to do with it. GO AHEAD!

This past year was the equivalent to soaring down a zip-line in a lush, exotic jungle. The ride seemed like it would never end until I smacked straight into exceptionally wide tree .

The seasons have changed again. Here I stand, a Young Jedi in the evolving journalism landscape, a scared minnow in the murky waters of seasoned media sharks. I am 25 with a master’s degree waiting for those dream job offers to arrive via stork to my front door. Ah, what a magical time of opportunity and adventure it is for me.

*pops delusional bubble with needle* Kidding! I’m a little groundhog gingerly crawling out of my hole into the sunlight all squinty eyed and confused. 25 with a master’s degree is that point in life where you suddenly look around and say, “Hot damn.” (or an equivalent expletive)

It’s time to get real y’all. With myself. With you. With the world.

Questions about my future can no longer be ignored as my future is…well, i think my future has arrived and it’s laughing at the face I’m making.

SO. What’s a girl paralyzed by choice to do? I’m Dorothy with twisted versions of the yellow brick road in front of me. They are all seemingly enticing yet equally convoluted. I am a writer. *pounds chest*  That means______

General Reporting? Copywriting? Communicating? Blogging? Magazine-ing? Community newspapering? Getting paid to travel to far corners of the earth and eat delicious things and write about their many layers and textures and intricacies? Bazinga. Seriously. That’s the goal.

I am beginning to wrap my cranium around this odd concept of being a “freelance writer.” The word “freelancer” sound like a wild rebel type with a face tattoo or your stereotypical shaggy haired surfer.

“What are you up to these days?”  “I’m just freelancing, dude!”

Well that’s what I’m doing. But with a little more deliberateness than the name implies. Trying to cobble together work. The exhausting life of an aspiring journalist whose home base consists of a comfy bed and bookshelf of role models. I’m just tracking people down so I can write about them and hopefully give an articulate voice to their stories. Learning new things every moment. 17 computer tabs open at all times. Trusting that permanence will creep into my life soon and I will no longer rely on being a networking charity case. Trying not to cry or anything ridiculously dramatic because let’s be real. I’ve got a good life.

Most importantly, I’m keeping a smile on my face and remembering that the universe knows where this mushroom headed gal will fit perfectly. According to my mother, I need to continually feed my positive dog. Yep. True life.

Man, things got really inspirational there for a minute. Anyone need a speech writer? Sermon writer?

I’ll figure out my place. Even if it doesn’t happen until I’m old and wrinkly and sipping a mint julep on a rocking chair, laughing at the world beyond my front porch. I’ll figure it out. Man, I hope I’ll have a rocking chair. Maybe a nice fold-out. The important thing in the scenario is that I will have a julep.

Stay tuned as usual! I think I just heard the soft thump of a stork at my door.


The Pressure of New Year’s Eve and The New Year. Enough already!

Oh the pressure of the new year. First, there is New Year’s Eve. An evening glamorized on television and in movies as the night of the year where glitter falls from the sky, women wear fabulous dresses, champagne glasses clink, and everything is doe eyed with happiness shooting out of their ears.

In my reality, I spend the 2 weeks up to the doomed night discussing in length plans with friends that will undoubtedly fall apart or turn out to be utterly disappointing.  I listen to my friends ask other friends what are they doing with a sense of urgency that makes one feel like we all have ticking time bombs over our heads. They mention this party or that party, and there is the decision of whether or not to pay $20 to walk inside a bar where you can’t have a conversation, walk more than a foot in front of you without getting elbowed in the face, or even intake oxygen, god forbid. And then midnight rolls around and you realize you are in line for the bathroom with strangers or randomly in a parking lot or stuck between couples ferociously performing CPR. And you think, I bought this unnecessarily sparkly ensemble  and sacrificed precious sleep and sanity needed for work tomorrow for this?

Really, the only redeeming, consistently satisfying part of New Year’s Eve is The Twilight Zone Marathon on SciFi. No stress. No $ or dignity lost. Just Rod Serling weaving me supernatural webs of intrigue with his calming voice and great 1950s “special” effects.

This New Year’s Eve, I will be going to Orange Beach with some awesome people. The best part about this New Year’s Eve is telling everyone that I am going to Orange Beach with some awesome people. And possibly taking a slip and slide into the Gulf at midnight.

In addition to the New Years Eve anxiety, there’s this intense need to make dum dum dum RESOLUTIONS. I remember working at a gym this time last year. I saw many people’s resolutions quickly turn to cancellation forms within a month’s time. Funny how losing weight, exercising, being productive, etc.  slip through the cracks as we fall back into our regular patterns each year only to find another Christmas where we are frazzled and disappointed with ourselves.

There’s something about making resolutions that empowers me. After all, a literal resolution I made in the year 2000: “Always lock door when in bathroom” should tell you something about how I feel about them.

2013 is a particularly big year for me. It will be the year I graduate with a Master’s degree and am expected to find employment and fulfillment  There’s a lot of pressure on myself to land a job. And the bank who gave me my student loan.

I have to decide where i want to live, what I want to do. I would like to think that the world is waiting for me with open arms but I have a feeling the world is looking at me saying, “Figure it out yourself, sister!” I dont want to just move back in with my parents for another year of aimless wandering. I’m ready to start doing! But where! But how!

Anyway. Until then. Here are a few small resolutions that certainly I can keep, right? *playful wink*

1. Less Facebook stalking. PLEASEEEE.

2. Be Productive. See #1

3. Exercise at least 3 times a week. I’m serious about this self. You don’t want your grandmother calling you “rubenesque” again. EVER.


5. Write Write Write Write.

6. Find a job!

7. Remind yourself you have come along way from this cute thang:Image

Happy New Year everyone!!! From my mushroom head to your normal head of hair.


Heavy Boots

I have scurried down the rabbit hole otherwise known as the first semester of  grad school and am finally able to come up for air to enjoy the holiday season. I know y’all are beyond thrilled.

The fuzzy, tingly Christmas feeling that liquidates our hearts has been dampened for many of us this year. The recent Connecticut shootings have given me heavy boots as author Jonathan Safron Foer would write. I remember seeing the headlines and photos flash across my television screen and newspapers. Seeing the pictures of the children, hearing their parents tell stories about their dreams, reading about the teacher hiding her children in cabinets as the gunman took her life…all of it has trouble settling, like oil mixing with water. As I have conversations with friends and family, it is clear that there is no one right way to react when the unimaginable happens.

I know various debates have been sparked about gun control. I do believe it is an issue, but I can’t help but think that a person with that much pain in their heart will always find a way to hurt. And even if  we are able to take the gun out of someone’s hands, what are we leaving behind? What about the pain in their heart that will continue to manifest itself in other terrible ways? What about taking the voices out of a person’s head that tell them to end the life of a child who hasn’t had their 6th birthday? There are deeper, scarier issues here.

There are people out there all over our world hurting, many of them harboring invisible wounds. They are the people beside us inside subways, malls, and classrooms. They are the people we see on the side of the street, the people we see when we travel the world. People are bitter, lonely, confused, and deeply troubled. And often, their wounds are buried so deep we think they are just fine, just fine.

I read an article about the gunman that described him as a socially awkward teenager that was monitored by the school psychologists and spent day after day playing violent video games. The article said people were worried about him getting hurt because he could not feel pain.

I am not saying by any means that we can predict that someone is going to pick up a gun and go on a violent rampage, destroying the lives of strangers. No one could have predicted or imagined that a young man would be so deeply troubled that he would have gotten up one morning and walked out the door with a such a twisted, disgusting motive.

But what do we do now?

For every life lost, there are the lives of the other people who loved that person, who knew that person that now will never be the same. And I, as a stranger many states away, find myself mourning along with my peers. The gunman did not just take a handful of lives, he took thousands. I wonder if in his mind, he could possibly realize the chain of hurt he was starting.

I think in times of tragedy we have a responsibility. And I think that responsibility is something much bigger than we realize. I think we are responsible for creating chains of love, for doing what we can in our own small lives to keep hope that wounds don’t have to keep throbbing, that lives don’t have to remain broken.

We all think what could have been done to prevent this, to stop this. It this boy couldn’t get his hands on a gun, how would his pain have gone on to manifest itself? How many people out there are feeling the same hurt that could lead to senseless violence?

The only way I know to help right now is to be deliberate and intentional with the way I live my life. To start spreading love like wildfire. For every string of hate, a string of love created.

“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”                                                                                                                             -Martin Luther King, Jr.


A Letter To The Universe From A Girl That Should Probably Not Be Taken TOO Seriously Because She Used To Have Mushroom Hair

“Make Yourself Necessary to Somebody. Do Not Make Life Hard to Any.”

-Emerson (He’s so freaking quotable)


Sometimes I wonder if I am letting my year of service slip away. Sometimes I also wonder if I am heading in the right direction. I worry that I have wasted too much time on this and that when I should have been focused on the grand scheme of things, the bigger picture of existence, the greater good of the human race. The days of this past year have slipped by so quickly as I find myself constantly consumed with those little distractions that buzz like flies around the interior of my life.

I have less than 2 weeks before I head off to Graduate School in Tuscaloosa. The stress and anxiety that comes with any life change is starting to affect my heart, mind, and body. Hence waking up at 4am and feeling an intense need to blog and make frantic, irrational to do lists with things like “Figure Out How to Fit Bulky Things in a UHaul ” and “Call This Random Person About That Thing.” I linger between letting go and letting begin. I am excited but very nervous that quite frankly the universe will not unfold as it should. So many tedious tasks that need to get taken care of before I begin. I feel I’m running after slivers of time, desperately trying to utilize each moment for some productive purpose but then only collapsing in mini fits of exhaustion and worry.

Furthermore, beyond my own bubble of a life, there are the larger conflicts brewing across this country and world that rub against my heart like sandpaper. The recent shootings remind me not only how our lives hang in a delicate, fragile balance but also reveal to me the raw pain that can fill someone’s heart. The tragedies also caused me to ponder all those deaths that do not fill our television screens or newspapers. Their realness remains. I suppose as a journalist I will do my best to tell a story. The story of everyone struggling to simply be, to exist, to believe, to defend, to fight, to love, to mean something.

If I look back to some of my New Orleans blog entries, I find myself expressing similar sentiments. I dislike being a broken record but it is the cycle I find myself spinning. This balancing act of fighting my own small battles while also feeling burdened by the more desperate battles of those around me and the strangers I will never meet. It can be overwhelming to take on the world, attempting to fix it, heal it,  mend the brokenness. We are each born with select ways of being and we let experiences leave marks on us, changing us, erasing us, building us. It is no great wonder that achieving such a mass movement towards peace seems impossible. But there is enough good in this world that gives me hope to power through another day without chugging multiple 5 Hour Energy shots. Those things scare me.

I can start with myself. And I choose to move forward with love. I know I worry that I do not do enough, that my time is not being used for the right reasons. But every interaction is another chance to spread love. It is not easy or even fathomable to make everyone happy. Perhaps, that is not the ultimate goal. I can make myself happy and let that happiness spread to others.  I can hold myself to higher standards. I must continue to be thankful to the extent there is no room for anything but appreciation for all those around me.

I am not positive on the point/theme of this post. These thoughts are just the ones that keep me awake at night as I try to compartmentalize my life and prepare for a year of school. I am honestly just another person trying to exist while hoping, praying that it will mean something in the long haul of life.


And just a few of the people I’m thankful for… 🙂

Love and Finding It. Where I’m at With That at The Ripe Age of 24.

A summer of weddings. Everyone’s permanence fades into my backdrop.  I dance, float, smile and laugh, light as a feather to the world but harboring a heart that hits the ground like dead weight at the end of night. “Why not me?” I hear myself whisper as I crawl into bed underneath a sky that feels bigger each night.

I am continually putting a large amount of pressure on myself to find the right person at the right place at the right time. There’s a naive longing inside me to live my life as a movie full of those right times with an overall comforting feeling of knowing that it will work out in the end because that’s what people want to see. However, my real life is filled with confusion, unexplainable feelings, and no safety net to ensure a happy ending will in fact happen.

Dating in my 20s feels more like a twisted game of musical chairs than an actual journey for the right person to join me for the grand production that will be the rest of my life. I feel I’m not the only one living with that unspoken fear that any minute the music will stop, and I will be knocked to the ground with nothing to show for myself. Or. What If I find out the chair I’m sitting in is a completely wrong fit? As people pair up around me, I start to feel the loneliness inside ache like a pinched nerve.

I hear that voice in my head laughing, “You are so young. What’s the rush?” After all, I’m still figuring it all out. Or at least that’s the blanket statement I use for my life lately. However, there’s also the worry I’ll be the little, lonely elderly woman squinting over her TV tray in her recliner thinking, “Hey, what’s the rush?”  Time can quickly slip away from under us while we make excuses and false promises to ourselves that each situation or experience will be different and better than the last.

I must remind myself that life is surprising. Surprising in ways that can hurt but also in ways that can powerfully uplift, uproot, and transform a person.

If I step back and observe the world around me for what it actually is rather than what it is portrayed to be, I see love is not some predictable formula that happens at a certain time or rate. Our hearts could never be tied to such a measurable, rational rhythm.  People fall in love at 16, 25, 38, 56, 89 and every age in between. Relationships flourish beautifully, but they may also fall apart tragically. There is not one right time in our lives where we will be perfectly open and ready. People are continually evolving, thus love must be continually evolving.

Everyone is making their own timelines, writing their own agendas. There is no rational reason for me to constantly compare notes with the person next to me. It’s tempting to get caught in the fanfare of weddings, the sound of glasses tinkling to new beginnings with that surreal promise of forever. However, after the honeymoon suitcase hits the floor, life will unfold into a reality that may not be at all what he had in mind.   You just look beside you and make sure you believe in the person who is there to tough it out and laugh it out with you. Not this checklist idea of a dream bachelor or bachelorette. But a human being that made a commitment because they saw something in someone else that they simply could not forget or imagine living without.

For now, I resist the urge to feel hopeless, impatient, and a slave to the “Why Not Me?” philosophy. I choose to keep forging my own timeline, to keep digging inside each moment to find the person that I’m meant to be and the person I’m meant to be with. It may be tomorrow or it may be years from now. Love is no longer a light at the end of the tunnel or some cloud that hangs over me ready to drop. I see it as a journey of highs and lows that perhaps I am meant to appreciate rather than attempt to fully understand or question. Hope and faith are what I carry.  I’m a lucky girl with the life that has been dealt to me.  I need to remind myself of that at every turn.

Can’t help but think of this song “Love Like The Movies” by the Avett Brothers.

For now, I’m thankful for some of the loves already in my life pictured below. And these are just a few of them! 🙂


The Year My Life Didn’t Look So Fabulous on Facebook.

So. Many months have passed since I wrote my first post filled with that new blog euphoria. I had every intention of regular updates. But like to-do lists and New Year’s resolutions, this blog got pushed to the back-burner of my life. A couple of worthy things have happened since October. I got into Graduate School for Journalism at the University of Alabama and will be starting in August. Roll Tide. I quit my retail job back in February and have since spent my days working at a local YMCA.

While my YAV year was challenging in that I learned to live with 5 strangers and serve the people on the streets of New Orleans, this year has been oddly tougher.  On the surface, living in my parents’ basement, working part-time, figuring out my dreams/goals/life purpose sounds like a pretty sweet setup.  However, over the past few months of minimum wage work and just hanging out thinkin’ I’ve found myself consumed with inner turmoil.

I recently read Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now. The title may sound a little corny and it’s not Bossypants  but this book has solid advice on understanding what the hell is going on in your brain, body, and heart during your 20’s. You hear a lot about the teenage years being filled with angst and drama and raging hormones, etc. You also get an earful about the wild, experimental college years. But I never heard many honest, candid discussions about navigating “modern adult life.”  Each year, graduates are shot like canons into a dating and job market that is as confusing and unpredictable as it is frightening.  Sure we were given “101 Things a College Grad Should Know” and cutesy cards with inspirational “Take the Road Less Traveled” type quotes. But what I personally needed was a card with the following message:

“Dear overly optimistic, slightly naive college grad proudly clenching that B.A in English: You are going to be lost and confused for a good chunk of time.  In fact, you are going to make some less than smart decisions. You’ll date the wrong people, you’ll make the wrong friends, and you’ll find yourself in jobs you aren’t meant for. But the right fits are there. And you’ll realize it. Just have a little patience. What you do now DOES matter 20 years down the road. Everyone will always seem one step ahead of you. That’s ok. You aren’t going to wake up one random, sunny morning and discover you are Tina Fey.  Although you are both hilarious and impossibly attractive.  Go ahead and reach for the stars but realize that might mean doing something less than dignified before you touch gold.  And oh yeah.  Please get off Facebook.”

Everyday that I hop onto Facebook someone has just become engaged, married, had their first child, been accepted into medical school, law school, found their dream internship or starter job at a promising company,  gone off to a beautiful foreign country, etc. Apparently this is the time where it’s all supposed to be happening and I am not sure what “it” is but it does not seem to be happening to me. Don’t get me wrong I am happy for my peers and I know lives are never as glossy and perfect as those cropped cover photos. But it’s hard to keep up hope that I’m heading in the right direction as I fold and hand freshly washed gym towels to overly good-looking men and women at a gym.

But. BUT. Here’s the thing (finally making my point). This particular year has been a learning experience like no other time in my life. And while at first I considered this my “off year,” my “transition year” my “I REALLY meant to learn how to do my own taxes and cook outside the microwave year,” I now see it was actually full of mini revelations.  It’s funny how so often you don’t realize what is happening to you until after the fact. That was the case with my YAV year and thus is case of August 2011 until now.

I’ve learned:

  • I spend a great deal of time avoiding life rather than living it.
  • Sometimes you just have to do things scared.
  • Relationships don’t just require work but a desire to work.
  • Being somebody that can be loved is just as important as loving someone.
  • You can’t pick and choose the moments that you are a friend. You just have to be one.
  • Criticism is out there. Decipher what’s constructive and what will never matter.
  • Let family be your rock when things get out of control.
  • Life doesn’t have to be a rat race to some unidentifiable prize.  Just let it be about creating meaning one experience at a time.
  • 4-way stops are terrifying. I will never be good at telling who got there first.
  • Canadian Idol>American Idol

The twenties are for building a life that matters. I think I’m beginning to understand that even as my frontal lobe works through its final kinks.


P.S- All incorrect grammar in this post is simply ironic. I did that on purpose.