April 17 Editorial

This weekend we said goodbye to another one of our single sisters as she walked down the aisle looking like an angel on a farm in north Alabama. Little did she know, her best girlfriends that she had known since childhood (present company included) would take it back to the maturity level of the kids we were when we all met on her big day.
We arrived on the “bride to be’s” family farm and our breath was instantly taken away not only at the sprawling greens fields and sparkling lake, but by the flowers, the cake, and the décor; you know, all the things that make girls go “oooo” and “ahhhh”. We took a seat just in time to see the bridesmaids walk down the aisle in gorgeous complimentary lilac dresses, complete with cowboy boots.
The bride arrived in a ’52 Chevy pick-up with her cowboy boots peeking out from underneath her dress. It was so perfectly “her”. The vows were short, sweet, and to the point. It was time to party.
We headed to the barn where a magical reception awaited us with a country chic theme that would’ve made even Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton’s wedding look like a trip to the court house. We sipped on “John Daly’s”, a drink similar to an “Arnold Palmer” but filled with liquor, while the band played and we mingled under the twilight.
After dinner, we all headed to the dance floor. The drinks were flowing and we were all having a blast. We danced with our friend until the cows came home….literally. Did I mention the drinks were flowing?
It was finally time to say goodbye and we all loaded up on the shuttle bus back to our hotel. This is where things got a little crazy. We laughed, screamed and jumped around the bus like monkeys in a zoo. Unable to control our volume level, the people in front of us were clearly not amused. When asked to settle down, the smallest of our close knit group yelled, “We were over served, sir. You should speak to someone about that.” It was rude, it was totally disrespectful, but it was hilarious. That’s right. We were those people.
When we arrived back at our hotel, we all piled up in one bed to talk, giggle, and eat pizza rolls. On a side note, I thank the heavens above that there is no videotape evidence of this occurrence because I’m pretty sure we looked like drunk, ravenous animals. We talked about everything that had occurred throughout the evening including the preppy guy in pastel skinny chinos we dubbed “Turd Nerdelson” and one of our friends introducing herself to a cute, successful doctor who was clearly interested as, “Hi, I’m Sarah…..I have Asperger’s.” Nailed it.
The night took an messy turn when trying to ruin my friend’s precious popcorn bag by doing unspeakable things because she was “bogarting” it, she smacked it away from me slinging popcorn all over the room and grease all over the sheets on the bed. We both recovered well by mumbling out the words, “It smells delicious…” Our friend who had to sleep in the bed did not agree.
An hour or so later, after a friendly wrestling match with these crazy girls who I love like sisters, I limped off to my room, but not before I said, “Yo, I lost a sock. I’ll be back for that,” and slammed the door.
The next morning we woke with pounding headaches, but we all instantly started to laugh. It’s not often in life you can let yourself hang out….all of you…and still call someone your friend. Were we out of control, loud, obnoxious, and acting completely too young for our age? Yes, but I can honestly say it was one of the best nights of my life with the girls I love most in the world.
We all met up with the bride and groom again for a little hangover brunch where we learned that we had acted like perfect ladies at the wedding. Apparently our bad behavior didn’t rear its ugly head until we boarded the bus. Thank goodness. We headed back to the farm to help clean up from the festivities and then we all said our goodbyes and headed to our separate corners of the earth.
On the way home, I started thinking. There are very few people that you meet in a lifetime that, no matter where you are or how much time has passed, things are just like you left them when you get together. I am blessed to have four of them. May the world lay silent until we meet like a perfect storm of awesome again, ladies.
And for the record, I’m still coming for that sock.

April 10 Editorial

Few things can irk me like a blatantly rude person. We’ve all met one. Someone who seems to have no filter or regard for the feelings of those around them. Yes, I am sure we are all guilty of being rude at some point in our lives, but the kind of person I’m referring to here is that person who, every time you come in to contact with them, leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth thus making you want to leave the taste of blood in theirs.
Okay, maybe that was a little harsh but we’ve all at least thought about it.
The person I have in mind, who like Voldemort shall remain nameless, is a former co-worker of mine who I run into in the social scene from time to time. She’s a classic case of rude. At just 22 years old, she thinks she knows everything, rules everything, and is superior to all women at all times; and she has thought this way for years.
A couple of months ago, I ran into her and a mutual friend of ours at a beachside bar. As I stood there chatting with my friend, I noticed her looking around at the other people in the area. While in the middle of our conversation, she interrupted us to say one of the most horrific things I’ve ever heard a human actually say out loud and mean it. She grimaced, “We need to find a new bar. The people in here are gross. Like totally fat.” I was stunned, but managed to reply, “That’s really mean.” She seemed unfazed by my distaste in her comment and said, “I don’t care. I hate fat people. They are disgusting.”
My mouth was literally open in shock while my mind was thinking, “You are a terrible person little girl.” Unable to stomach anymore of her words of wisdom, I excused myself from my friend and went on my way hoping that would be the last I saw of her…ever.
No such luck. I ran into her just last week while picking up a to-go order at a local restaurant. She is the type that takes her gym workouts very seriously, and instead of motivating others to do the same, she cuts them down. I had been working all day and was wearing yoga pants and a pull over hoodie. I walked up to the bar area to pay for my order and without so much as a hello she said, “Well the way you are dressed looks like you’ve been working out, but I know better.” I wanted to slap her off of her high horse (aka barstool), but instead I tried to take the high road and said, “Well hello to you too.”
Don’t get me wrong…if this person was a close friend of mine I would’ve laughed, called her a name back, and continued the conversation. Seeing as how I barely know her and vice versa, her comment just set my hatred ablaze. I mean, who does she think she is? She doesn’t know me or what I do with my time. And to be honest, I could’ve come back with a statement about how she needs to lay off the weights and ‘roids because quite frankly, she’s a manly beast.
But I didn’t. Do you know why? Because I have manners.
As I stood there waiting for my food, I listened to her go on and on about how perfect her chest was and how she would never get them augmented. She continued to degrade anyone who would, and finally a man dressed in scrubs who had been in on the conversation (I found out later that he is a surgical tech for a local plastic surgeon) tried to add his opinion, to which she abruptly interrupted saying, “You shut up. You’re just a surgery tech. You don’t get to have an opinion.” I was flabbergasted. Where did she learn to be so mean, and why hadn’t her parents taught her about this little thing called respect?
I took my food and walked out the door without so much as acknowledging her existence. I’m sure she thinks that her bluntness makes her intimidating and assertive. She probably thinks she’s cool because she “speaks her mind” and “stands up for herself” when in reality she’s just a jerk.
I’m all for a woman being outspoken and opinionated. Heck that pretty much describes me. But there is a difference in being frank and being downright rude. I am a believer that everyone has a right to their opinion, but purposely hurting others with those opinions is just wrong. I was always taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
I personally get my jollies from making people smile. I don’t feel the need to cut others down publicly to make myself look better, and I feel sorry for her that she does. Of course, privately is a different story. If I said half of the things that run through my mind on a daily basis, I’d be either in jail or an asylum.
Underneath it all I think her sharp tongue is a disguise for a sad heart and a weak mind. I gather that her mentality is “hurt them before they hurt you”, and for that, I feel for her. Maybe when she grows up into a big girl she’ll learn how to play well with others. That or she’ll say something to the wrong person and get schooled with a knuckle sandwich. If only there was a TicketMaster Outlet for such things…..I’d have my ring side seats purchased in a heartbeat.

April 3 Editorial

This week in honor of my recent birthday, I thought I would share some of the important lessons that I have learned about getting older.
1) I no longer need candles on my cake – While at dinner with some of my dearest friends, a cake was brought to the table with enough candles on it that I’m almost sure it was a fire hazard. The worst part about this flaming heap of icing was that not only could they not keep all the candles lit at once, but by the time they had finally achieved this goal, so much wax had already melted onto the cake that it ruined the top layer. Not to mention the shower of hot wax my friends across the table got when I blew as hard as I could like a three year old to get them all out before the sprinklers came on.
2) Just say no to shots - I get it…..it’s my birthday, and while I appreciated both my friends and all of the well-wishing strangers attempt to make me feel special on my birthday with various shots of all strengths, flavors, and colors, I must learn to pass….at least on a few. Never one to turn down a free drink, or to deny a friendly gesture, I made the mistake of indulging in more than enough birthday love. Going from 0 to 500 mph in less than five seconds is not safe no matter what. Which brings me to my next lesson learned.
3) High heels are not your friend after the age of 30 – Say what you want, but heels are painful when you are sober and just plain dangerous when you aren’t. There’s nothing like trying to make a graceful and slightly sexy exit only to realize the only kiss you’re going to be getting is from the concrete…..on your face. In any woman’s defense on this one, the downtown streets are a virtual deathtrap of heel murder due to their “historic” unevenness. If you ask me, any woman that chooses to wear heels to do simple tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning the house, or chasing after a child clearly has no pain receptors and therefore should not be trusted at any time…..she is an alien life form.
4) After 30, the parties end earlier- You’ve invited all the people you love. They’ve all gathered to celebrate you! Dinner was amazing. Now you are ready to hit the town, but everyone wants to go home. This sucks. Although I may be over 30, I’m pretty much the only person I know who either a) doesn’t have kids, b) isn’t pregnant, or c) doesn’t get up at 5 am to go to the gym before work. When did everyone get so old? It’s my party and I’ll cry if it makes them all feel guilty enough to party with me. Immature, I know, but it works like a charm.
5) The hangovers are getting WAY worse – As I creep more and more into my 30’s, the fun nights out aren’t so fun in the morning. In my younger days, I could party to the cows came home with no down time the next day. This past weekend, one night of birthday fun had me feeling like I was going to die for 36 straight hours. Needless to say, Friday night was fun, but it totally wasn’t worth sacrificing the rest of my weekend. If a BC Powder, some fried chicken, and a gallon of sweet tea can’t get you over this hump, nothing will.
6) All you really want for your birthday from your husband is a rain check on the freaky stuff – see #5…..enough said.
All in all, getting older isn’t so bad. I’m blessed to have a wonderful family, great lifelong (and new) friends, and a job and husband that afford and allow me to pump artificial fillers and botulinum into my face until I feel 29 again. Each year, I get older, wiser, and care infinitely less about impressing others. You won’t believe the time you waste on that in your 20’s. That and shaving your legs.
Growing old gracefully is something I’d like to set my sights on, but knowing me I’ll just barrel into it full speed, heels on with a shot in one hand and a thumbs up on the other. I mean, you may have to grow old, but that doesn’t mean you have to grow up.

March 27 Editorial

This week I was forced to endure a horrible life event that can make most anyone shudder at the thought of it; my computer went to technology heaven. Yes, it was unexpected, and yes I’m still grieving. After all, it had been my trusted companion held only second to my phone for several years. We shared thousands of hours of work days together. We shared laughter and tears at various videos and emails. We shared secrets that I knew she would never tell.
I knew she was getting old. I knew there was better technology out there. But every time I opened her up and started typing, it was like a warm blanket wrapped around me. I was comfortable with her, mostly because I knew how she worked and how to deal with all of her quirky imperfections.
A few days ago while working away, I noticed squiggly lines on the screen. I saved my work and shut her down thinking that maybe a break was in order after being on for so long. I waited until she was cool, then started her up hoping to have solved the problem. Unfortunately I got about ten more minutes from her before she went kaput. The screen was black and loud beeps blasted from her speakers.
The next day, I called around to several computer repair shops and got the same answer from all of them; the black screen of death is just that…..the end. Unconvinced and not ready to give up on my entire life that lay inside her (I did back up important things), I went to the internet because, hey, if it’s on the internet it must be true, right? Yeah, right.
I found several YouTube videos that suggested that I wrap my computer tightly in a comforter while running (regardless of the loud beeps) and let it get boiling hot for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Then, the video instructed me to turn off the computer and allow it to completely cool before attempting to start it up again. Now the rational side of me knew this was crazy, but I wasn’t ready to let her go. She held some of the last photos taken of my beloved Chloe and Esha. She held some of the wedding pictures that weren’t on my disks. She held videos of our vacations that I tried to transfer to a disk, but couldn’t. I was willing to try anything.
I followed the instructions to the letter, but only let her bake for 20 minutes. After she cooled I hit the button only to see the same black screen for a few seconds before she began screeching out like a newborn emu. I attempted the act once more, only this time I left her running for an hour. I noticed that her beeping had stopped, so I rushed into the room hoping for a miracle. Instead, she was beginning to smoke from every opening. I thought to myself, “Yep, its official. That killed her.” I should’ve known it was a stupid idea.
The next day, I went out shopping for a new computer. I saw tons of different laptops with plenty of different options, but I turned my nose up at all of them. None of them felt right when I touch their keyboards. None of them fit perfectly across my knees. None of them sounded the same when I tapped their keys. One by one, I turned them down.
My husband finally broke in while at Best Buy and said, “Dude, you realize this is just a computer, right? Pick one and let’s go.” The rational side of me knew he was right, so I found one that suited my needs and off we went.
On the way home, my husband looked over to me and said, “I think it’s crazy that you get so attached to things. I just hope you are this sad when I die.” To which I replied, “You never cooperate with me the way she did. Besides, men are much easier to replace.” Probably not the nicest of my jokes, but I thought it was hilarious.
I arrived home and took my new computer out of the box. I glanced over to see my old computer’s sad little frame sitting all alone on the table watching me as if she had a front row seat for my betrayal. I booted up the new machine and installed all the software and programs I needed. It works well, and even though I hate to admit it, it is a lot faster and the screen is brighter. Not to mention the mouse buttons work and there isn’t dog hair stuck in the keys.
I realize that I may be crazy. I’ve named my cars, my house, my shoes, etc. I suppose I just feel that if something is going to be such an important part of your life, what’s the harm in giving it a little persona? Okay, definitely crazy.
Either way, I’ll miss the little computer that could. She was with me through a wedding, loss of family members, taxes, work…..you name it….she stored my entire life. So rest in peace A”Dell”e. Even though I cursed you a hundred times, I’ll miss you. I know you’re running like a champ at that Circuit City in the sky.

March 20 Editorial

Whether this is your first time on the beautiful beaches of The Emerald Coast for Spring Break 2014 or you are a true Spring Break Veteran, here are some great tips to help you make the best out of your Spring Break 2014 experience. Everything from general tips and guidelines to making sure that you have all of the safety issues covered, our Spring Break Tips are exactly what you need to know before you hit the beaches.

Don't forget sunscreen-
The sun is almost triple its intensity on the beach due to its reflections off the sand and the water. You can be sure to avoid a nasty burn (and that oh-so-attractive rock lobster look) by slathering on plenty of sunscreen and wear protective gear like your favorite shades to prevent burning sensitive areas. Tanning in short intervals will help promote a more even, longer lasting tan. Not to mention you'll be able to mingle with people without punching them after slapping your back!

Drink responsibly-

This one can be tricky. No one wants to ruin your fun, but none of us locals want a bunch of unruly drunken idiots running around our town either. Having a few drinks can be fun during spring break, but remember.....all things in moderation. Besides, how embarrassing would it be to have to call your parents to bail you out of jail.....or worse...pick you up from the hospital? Do yourself a favor and save the regret. Watch out for them and make sure that they keep any eye on you as well. Acting responsibly will help you enjoy a lifetime of celebrations.

Know basic water safety-

While the beaches usually offer a beautiful and safe experience the overwhelming majority of the time, there are times that they can be very dangerous. Here are some water safety tips to help you on your trip this spring break.

A GREEN flag means that the water is calm. The undertow is slight to non-existent and it is safe to swim using the proper amount of caution!

A YELLOW flag indicates the presence of light surf or currents and additional caution should be used while swimming in the Gulf.

A RED flag indicates the presence of strong surf and currents. Swimming in these conditions is not recommended as it presents a very high hazard to all swimmers.

A DOUBLE RED flag, however, means that the water is closed to the public! No one is allowed in the water when a double red flag is posted!

Finally, a PURPLE flag indicates the presence of marine pest in the water such as jellyfish, stingrays or dangerous fish.

Use common sense, if the waves look dangerous, they probably are. Remember that even small summer thunderstorms can cause local dangerous conditions with the surf. Seek shelter when storm clouds become visible. Avoid the water if you see lightning. Be safe and exhibit caution if you can’t swim or are a beginner.

Respect our home-
Hey, we don’t throw our trash where you live. Don’t throw your garbage in our backyard. While you may just be passing through, remember that there are thousands of people just like you and your loved ones who live here year-round. When you scatter your waste on the roads and beaches or vandalize our facilities, you hurt the locals and contribute to their resentment. Make sure that you leave our area beautiful so its stays that way for the next time you visit.