Friday, April 30, 2010

...just because it's hilarious

TGIF.

A boombox is NOT a toy.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

What do you believe?

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to cling to the lessons my life has taught me. The things we believe, the ways that we choose to live our lives, are all based on what our experiences have taught us. We always have an option: we can willingly change or we can continue to repeat our mistakes. The choice is always ours.

Here's what I believe:

Life isn't fair or perfect. It rarely makes sense.

If you use "things" to fill the holes in your life, they will never be full.

After a hard day, you do deserve that glass of wine. Just one glass, though.

Humor can be found in every situation. If you haven't found it, keep looking.

Family is the single most important part of your life.

Your job should be your passion. If it's not, it's time to find a new job.

Zits are nature's way of bringing you down a notch.

When things go wrong, there's always a lesson to be learned.

Follow your heart, listen to your brain--but ultimately--trust your gut.

Black paint makes everything look better.

Some days, running is the only solution to my problems.

"Thank you" is the simplest, but most meaningful, thing you will ever say.

Whether it's misery or happiness, you'll always find what you're looking for.

Approaching life with "cautious optimism" is the best way to avoid disappointment.

What is meant to be will always find a way.

The best things in life aren't things.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For luck



Confession: I have a tattoo. I've had a tattoo for three years. Over the course of those years, I have never regretted my choice to permanently mark my body. Here's why.


I have very rich, vivid memories of my paternal grandfather. He was meticulous, organized, creative and generous. He had a gift for woodworking: he refinished, built and remade countless pieces of furniture in his spare time. He made my siblings and I dollhouses, huge rocking horses, dolls, boats, toy guns, custom birthday cakes and toys. He was an excellent baker. He was a skilled fisherman. He made his own jewelry. He traveled the world. He worked for the United States Post Office for many, many years. He loved my grandmother, to whom he was married for 67 years, and treasured his family.

The one thing about my grandfather that has always fascinated me was his impressive skill in another area. You see, he had an amazing gift--knack even--for finding four leaf clovers. He would walk through the grass and locate them with ease. It was amazing. After locating them, he would dry and press them and tape them onto pieces of paper and give them to family and friends. "For luck," he would say with a wink.

I still have mine. It is one of my most treasured possessions. I keep it in my wallet, tucked in a small pocket behind my credit cards. Every so often, I take it out to remind myself how lucky I am as I rub it between my thumb and forefinger. It's a fantastic reminder of all that I have, the luck that exists in my life and the fortune I had in knowing my grandfather--the only one I've had the honor of knowing--for well over 20 years of my life.

Some years ago, my grandfather had major heart surgery that saved his life. He lived for over a decade afterwards. On December 30, 2006 at the age of 90, he passed away.

After his death, my father went through his things with my grandmother. He began sorting through papers and possessions and came upon a thick, unmarked envelope. I'll never forget my father telling me the chilling story. He said he picked it up in his hand and quickly realized, without looking inside, what it was.

The envelope was filled with his pressed four leaf clovers. The amazing part? The number of clovers inside: he had one four leaf clover for every year he lived after his open heart surgery. It made me laugh and cry to think of how lucky he was--how lucky we all were--for those years.

The story inspired me. I soon called my older brother and laid out my plan: I was going to get a tattoo of a four leaf clover and I would finally take him up on his offer. My brother has a few tattoos and, years earlier, had told me that he would accompany me if I ever decided to join the club. I was finally ready to sign my membership card.

So, on a rainy day in March, we got our four leaf clover tattoos. His was a cover up, mine was fresh ink. They were not matching, but the idea was the same. It hurt like hell, it really did. But it was, like most everything in life, worth the pain.

My ink is decently sized, roughly 1.5" tall/wide, and you probably won't see it unless we go to the beach together. It kinda looks like this. But, it's mine; and it means almost as much to me as the other clover safely tucked away in my wallet.

You know, "For luck."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

...everyone has one and they all STINK

Surely, you've heard what they say about opinions. There is no shortage of people with opinions and likewise, those who want to share them with you. I believe that most people tell you what they think because they have good intentions. They care about you, want you to be happy and they are attempting to be helpful.


The thing is, it's easy to feel like you're drowning in opinions. So much so, that your own voice can quickly become lost in the shuffle. When a major, life-altering decision looms in front of you, the people who love you walk a thin line. They shakily straddle a line between telling you what you should do (or what they would do) and letting you make your own decisions.

One of my very favorite books is the NY Times bestseller, The Gift of Fear written by Gavin de Becker, who is an expert in psychology and predicting violence. He's been on Oprah several times and has preached an idea that has stuck with me. Gavin says that human beings are the only animal that will instinctively sense fear and ignore it. A gazelle wouldn't walk into an elevator to ride up 5 floors with a lion, so why do we? Well, we do it because we don't want to be impolite. We do it because we don't want people to dislike us or think we're snooty. We often hear people who have been assaulted or violated say that they just "had a feeling" or "something didn't feel right." The moment we ignore those feelings, says de Becker, is the moment we put ourselves in danger.

This feeling, that sense that we have? It's our gut. I believe that in every major decision we make---I'm talking about high caliber, life altering decisions here---it's our gut that tells us which direction to go. It's just a matter of whether we're willing to listen to what it says.

Think about it: The last time you made a major decision, like buying a house or marrying someone, your mind raced. Maybe you made the right choice; perhaps you failed miserably. Did you convince yourself it was right, or was it right?

Regardless, there was a point where you had an epiphany and realized what was right. That was your gut talking. So often, it's our first thought, the one that immediately crops into our brain when we are presented with an important choice. Soon enough, though, our hearts and brains take over and cause us to doubt ourselves. We want to give it some time, we don't want to rush into things, we want to wait and see how it shakes out. We worry that we might disappoint people, or go against what someone "thinks" we should do. We fear that perhaps we're making the wrong choice and fear that we'll live in regret in ten years.

Time is a good thing, it really is. It almost always provides us with clarity and allows us to sift through the background noise. It can be torturous, but it's necessary. For me, a proud member of the "I can't stand waiting for anything and I want to do it right now and not have to wait this is driving me crazy" club, it can be nearly impossible.

My advice: give it time and always trust your gut.

Except, of course, when it tells you it's a good idea to go to Taco Bell at 2 a.m. That's clearly not the best advice your gut has ever given you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Current Obsession: Lady Gaga


Let me clarify: I have always been obsessed with Lady Gaga. I am just now getting around to proclaiming my obsession, that's all.

You either love her (guilty as charged!) or hate her, but there's really no middle ground in this situation. Regardless of what you think, there's no denying that she is an individual. She's gutsy, over the top and completely fabulous. I love that she doesn't care what anyone thinks. I adore that she's a self-proclaimed outsider. I swoon over the fact that she's an amazing performer.

In a world where we are all expected to fit into an incredibly tiny box, Lady Gaga refuses to conform to society. While her outlandish dress and performances are part of her persona, they aren't without reason. Sometimes, those outlandish results that are beyond explanation, like her head to toe Kermit the Frog dress or the fact that she rarely wears pants in public.




Not long ago, Lady Gaga was on Oprah and when asked what she had to tell her fans, commonly referred to has her "Little Monsters," she explained:

“I want them to free themselves and I want them to be proud of who they are.” Then, talking to the audience, she said, “I perform every night and I look into your beautiful your eyes, and I know how you feel.”

She also explained that she wears those things--does those things--to send a message. She's not "out there" just to be out there, there is a method to her madness. There are plenty of stories swirling about that she is under an immense amount of (self-inflicted?) stress in an effort to constantly outdo herself. Regardless of whether it's true or not, I'll keep buying her CD's and desperately try to convince my husband how awesome she is.

Even if I'm the only person left in America who still does antiquated things like "buying CD's" after I "get carded at Wal-Mart because I'm 26 years old but still look like I'm a 17 year-old."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Under Pressure

Spring is awesome, it really is. I love the blooming flowers, the green leaves and the warmer temperatures. I love working the in the garden and killing every plant species I touch with my black thumbs cultivating my flower beds. What I don't enjoy is the fact that the changing weather has a way of making my head feel like it's stuck in one of these:

Rocking the all-white suit since 1984!


Alright, so my head is not lodged inside of popular 80's NBC sitcom Miami Vice. You got me. I just found it incredibly hilarious that when I performed a visual search on Google for "vice photos," I instead yielded numerous MIAMI Vice results instead. It's almost as though Google could just sense my intense love for half-buttoned silk shirts and horrendous synthesizer music!

Also, it is important to note that every result was a photograph of Don Johnson, aka Sonny Crockett, wearing a super fantastic white suit and standing just a bit too close to his partner, Detective Ricardo Tubbs. Seriously, who came up with these awful names? I admittedly know nothing about writing a sitcom, but if I had the option to create fictional characters I can't say "Tubbs" or "Crockett" would be among my top choices.

But enough about the 80's, let's talk about my favorite topic instead: ME. I'm sick and pathetic and I sound like I'm going through puberty. My head feels like a balloon that was filled with entirely too much helium and is fixin' to pop at any moment.

You know, kinda like this fine specimen:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One for One

(Photo from TOMS.com)

It's no big secret that I'm an avid shopper. Whether online or in a store, I simply adore the shopping and buying experience. I particularly enjoy the bargain hunting experience; there's just something about getting something fabulous for a bargain that feels rewarding.

For most of us, buying things makes us feel good. We crave the unexplainable pull of having something new, something that we've pined for, and calling it our own. There is, however, a big difference in feeling good about a purchase and feeling like you're making a difference with your buying power.

With that, I give you: TOMS Shoes.

TOMS is a company that was founded on a simple, but powerful, idea: One for One. For every pair of TOMS Shoes we buy, the company gives a pair to a child in need. It's the ultimate "feel good " buying experience, knowing that you're not only buying something for yourself but you are giving a child a basic, but much needed, pair of shoes.

For me, both buying and wearing shoes is something that I enjoy. Something, however, that I do without thinking. I recently bought these Red Bridgeport Linen Classics, and that has changed everything.

Shoe awesomeness, courtesy of TOMS.com




These shoes are awesome, they really are. They are adorable, crazy comfortable (hello, arch support!) and serve as a very important reminder. I can't wear or look at these shoes without thinking about what they really mean. To me, they mean that I gave someone else, someone who had nothing, a fighting chance. That, my friends, is what buying power is all about.

I just got these shoes roughly a week ago, but I'm already eyeing my next purchase. Seriously, if these shoes aren't "me" then I don't know what is:

Glittery fantastic-ness, from TOMS.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confession: I had some work done

I know, I know. I was just telling you yesterday that you should accept yourself for who you are. Today, I'm admitting something that should seem really obvious: I had a few procedures done recently.

You know, because having 10 surgeries in one sitting is a good idea right?

No. Not right.

Actually, my face is still the same--it's my blog that gets all the glory today.

The super nice, fabulous and talented Jocelyn, from Blogs by Jocelyn is the one who really should get said glory. She did a great job and was great to work with.

So, how do I look?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Old Speckled Hen

What don't you like about yourself?

Is is your gigantic nose?

Or, perhaps it's your enormous behind?

It has been said that growing older makes us wiser; I say it makes us more comfortable in our skin. Maybe it's the wisdom and life experience that changes us, but eventually we grow to be at peace with who we are. Sure, surgery can change our perceived "flaws" *cough*HeidiMontag*cough* but where does that leave us? Will rhinoplasty magically skyrocket our self-esteem, or will it allow us the opportunity to focus on all the other things we hate about ourselves? Also, who decided it was a good idea to use the word "rhino" to describe said procedure?

As women, it's difficult to feel like we are ever __________ enough. Feel free to insert your own adjective: skinny, pretty, busty, good, etc. It's like we're chasing something that is eternally 5 steps ahead of us, no matter how fast we run.

We say things like, "If only I was __________, then people would like me." Actually, people should just like you anyway. If they don't, move on. The End.

You see, growing up means accepting our flaws and making peace with who we are--who we will always be. As in: sorry, but you were born that way and there's nothing you can do about it. You can live your life in tortured agony, wishing things were different or you can choose to be happy. The choice is yours. Most of the things you hate and pick at while standing in front the mirror will never change. Your butt is always going to be big and my blackheads aren't going anywhere. Trust me, I've tried to get rid of them and all I got was poorer.

Eventually we grow up, some of us gain a shred of maturity and we move on. That's all there is to it. Sure, people will say stupid things and stare, but we begin to realize that's not our problem anymore. Also, we understand that returning the snarky favor feels good and usually, it's well-deserved. Those people, the ones who stare, the people who say horrible things to us--they are the insecure ones.

As for me, I have begun to accept the fact that some things will never change: they will only multiply. Take my freckles, for example: I'm covered in them. I used to wish that I could make them go away and just be like all those other freckle-free people. They are everywhere on my body, and they are only getting larger in numbers by the moment.

Even my poor dermatologist, the person responsible for keeping track of my freckles, is overwhelmed with the task. I'm just happy my co-pay is being put to good use. I've had a few "suspicious" offenders removed and have only their scars to remember them by. Now, I like to think that my freckles just serve as small reminders to stay out of the sun and think of them as more like "Nature's tattoo" rather than a spotty annoyance.

Plus, having freckles everywhere means you even have them in really cool places, like here:

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High five!

Also, having a freckle on the palm of your hand is useful when giving directions. OK, so you're here...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In my next life

There is a theory that some individuals subscribe to that says each of us was someone else in a "previous life." Most of the time, this theory is super awesome when it's someone exciting or famous.

As in, I was Amelia Earhart in my previous life before I disappeared in a cloud of smoke in the sky and died and came back as just plain old Emily.

Does it count that I even *chose* the name "Amelia" for myself in 10th grade Spanish class? Because that's who I was in my other life, duh. It's gotta be true, it's just gotta!

OK, so you can tell that I think this theory is pretty dumb. When I die, I am not anticipating that any shred of me will ever return to this Earth as someone or something else.

With that being said, I have spent the last 5 years observing our Lab mix Rudi and I am thoroughly convinced that she was one of those old people you see on the beach that looks like a piece of well-oiled leather in a previous life. I came to this conclusion for one very specific reason: she is completely and utterly obsessed with laying in the sun. I mean, if there a miniscule square of sun on the floor that is like THIS big, she will find it and she WILL lay in it for all eternity. As in, until she comes back in her next life as Lindsay Lohan someone who looks like an old catcher's mitt.

On a typical day, Rudi can be found doing something like this:


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Has anyone seen my doggy sunscreen around here?

When she's not baking in the sun on that side of the house, she's baking in the sun on the other side of the house. Or, she's begging to go outside like she's dying a slow, painful death so she can lay spread eagle on the deck for hours on end.

If she had thumbs, I'm completely convinced that she would make this for herself:


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GTL, the low-budget way.


To further solidify my theory, she does other things that old people enjoy. Like this:


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I need a rest after a long, stressful day at the office


Then again, it's likely that she is completely exhausted. You know, from being forced to do things like this:
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Does this make my muscles look big?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Suspicious Package

A "suspicious" looking package arrived at our house over the weekend, addressed to my husband. When you're an online shopping enthusiast like me, mysterious packages on the front porch aren't very alarming. However, it was the package's description that had me confused and mildly bewildered.

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You enrolled me in the "Muffin of the Month" club? You shouldn't have!


No, seriously. You should not have enrolled me in a muffin club. Of all the things that I want to be a part of, eating copious amounts of muffins every single month for the next year is not on the list. I somehow managed to stifle my incredibly nosy tendencies and did not open the package. However, I did begin daydreaming about the flavor possibilities that lay inside for the remainder of the day.

Blueberry?
Cheesecake?
Chocolate chip?
Fruit and nut?!?

When he arrived home, I began a Spanish Inquisition-like barrage of questions upon my better half.

Why did you order muffins on eBay?

Are we part of a club now?

How much is the annual fee?

Do the muffins require refridgeration, because these were out in the sun all morning. Is this a problem?

Turns out there were, in fact, no muffins inside the muffin box. It was an awful, baked goods ruse that yours truly fell for quite hard.

So what was in the muffin box, you ask? Why, a Great Dane-sized red plastic beer bottle drying rack, of course. You know, because we ARE paying members of the "Brew your own beer at home in the basement like a mad scientist" club.

Also, we belong to the "It makes perfect, logical sense to remove the insulated fiberglass blanket from the water heater so that we can keep our beer warm in the basement to optimize brewing conditions" club.

I didn't say it was a smart club, I just said it was a club.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Current Obsession: Not having a jacked-up thyroid

I know, it's not an exciting obsession, like my most recent post on this topic. It can sometimes be difficult to outdo oneself in regards to adorable floral patterns. Setting myself up for horrible failure is just one of my hobbies, not to be confused with my other hobbies of road rage, crying during Oprah and thick, dripping sarcasm.

However, you would agree that having this current obsession is necessary, no? I mean, I think that I should throw my full-fledged obsession with the butterfly-shaped gland that controls my metabolism out there. I hate it when things are all secretive and stuff. It's messy. Plus, I am the WORST at keeping secrets. Just ask all the people who now hate me because I blabbed their secrets to the world.

So, what's a thyroid and why should I even care? Good question. Here's an illustrated photo I found on WebMD (Dr. WebMD is in my chart as my General Practitioner, in case you were wondering) to show you what your thyroid looks like:

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 Old guy thyroid mug shot, courtesy of WebMD


I use the term "your" lightly, because this photo is clearly of a man that is at least 75 years old. Me love you long time, WebMD, but what's with the ageism here? Can't us young, nubile twenty-somethings have thyroid problems too? Why must you constantly remind me that deep down I'm actually an old man with gray hair and a drooping face who lives in a young person's shell of a body?

Speaking of jokes...Hey everybody, the joke's on me!

It's on me because the pathetic little butterfly that lives in my neck has decided to stop working. I think it's still angry when I decided against getting a butterfly tramp stamp with all my friends on spring break in high school. And to think that I thought I was doing myself a favor!

Wrong. There will be no performing of any favors for anyone here.

Also wrong? The fact that the symptoms of hypothyroidism sound pretty normal to me:
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Weight gain/difficulty losing weight.
  • Dry skin and brittle nails.
  • Not being able to stand the cold.
  • Memory problems or having trouble thinking clearly.
Seriously, raise your hand if you aren't tired all the time. I'd throw something at you raised hand people in rage if I wasn't so darn exhausted all the time and could recall why it was you were making me angry. My mind's getting a little hazy under all these blankets that are protecting me from the cold.

In all seriousness, I am really tired all the time and I am almost always really cold. In the winter, my skin closely resembles that of a boa constricter's scales. But, it never occured to me that was a sign of anything other than the fact that I:

 A. get roughly 6.5 hours of sleep each night

and

B.  I have the body weight/fat content of a newborn squirrel

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Don't mind me, just drinking my protein shake

In fact, if we want turn this conversation to one about my body we can talk about the fact that it's nearly impossible for me to gain weight. In fact, I recently attempted to gain weight, per doctor's orders, only to find that I consequently lost 5 pounds. One un-check mark next to that symptom, WebMD!

So, what now? Other than having numerous vials of my blood drawn by various phlebotomists who marveled over my copius vein formations over the past week, nothing.

Apparantly a miraculous pill is the key to repairing the wings of the shriveled, pathetic butterfly in my old man neck.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go apply this package of Just for Men to my gray, old man hair.

Friday, April 9, 2010

View from the top

This week has been incredibly busy and trying for me. Being busy is a funny thing: it sometimes makes us feel panicked and can make it difficult to breathe. But deep down, being busy is incredibly gratifying because it means we're furthering ourselves. If we weren't busy, we wouldn't be accomplishing anything. The mania is just a cover for the fact that we are working to stretch and expand into better versions of ourselves. It can sometimes be scary--frightening even--to push ourselves into uncharted territory. It can leave us feeling vulnerable and confused.

I find that the rush of a busy, harried schedule makes it even more important to take time to balance out my life by slowing down and finding time to be with my thoughts. For me, talking things out with myself allows me to center myself and keep the mania of the unknown in perspective. Suddenly, I'm not so scared anymore.

I'm not much of a collector--I didn't inheirit that gene from my father--but the one thing that I do enjoy collecting? Insprirational quotes. I have pages and pages of phrases, poems and stories that make me smile and allow me to bring perspective to my life. When things get crazy, reading inspirational quotes always makes me feel better.

Grey's Anatomy is one of my favorite shows, but it always makes me cry. Every. Single. Episode. From an older couple struggling with a brain tumor to a child with cancer, everything creates a Niagra Falls-like experience on my face. Recently, the closing moments of the show compelled me to hit the pause button and grab and pen and paper to write the words that made me sob with understanding. They were beautiful, touching and it felt like they were talking to me:

"They take pictures of mountain climbers at the top of the mountain. They're smiling, ecstatic, triumphant. They don't take pictures along the way, because who wants to remember the rest of it? We push ourselves because we have to, not because we like it. The relentless climb, the pain and anguish of taking it to the next level, nobody takes pictures of that. Nobody wants to remember; we just want to remember the view from the top. The breathtaking moment at the edge of the world. That's what keeps us climbing--and it's worth the pain. That's the crazy part: it's worth anything."

As for me, I'm still climbing and clawing at the rocks to reach the summit. Remembering that every moment, every drop of blood from those sharp rocks that sting my bare hands is worth it, makes all the difference.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

That's pretty shirty

You'd probably be lying if you told me you don't own like 238973892 t-shirts. I am convinced that every organization makes a t-shirt for, like, everything and they want to give it to you for free. Because they know that you're obsessed with getting something for free even if it's a worthless piece of crap that you have no intention of ever wearing. I mean, EVER.

Little do they know that you're just going to shove it into a drawer with the rest of your oversized t-shirt collection and wear it to bed until it looks like pill-covered death and then donate it to Goodwill. Take that, marketing experts!

There is seriously a t-shirt for everything and everyone on Earth, if you look hard enough.

Examples:

You just ran 3.1 miles all by yourself! Good job. Here's a t-shirt to celebrate your great exercise-related accomplishment that will allow you to proclaim your fitness to the rest of the world! Now everywhere you go, the people will stop and stare at that muscular, hulk-like awesome person who is capable of running over 3 miles consecutively!


Congratulations! You just spent $300,000 on a large piece of farming equipment. Please accept this crappy t-shirt and horrible polyester hat as a token of our affection! Y'all come back now, ya hear!?!

You like saying stupid, raunchy things but talking is just SOOO exhausting. Just cough up $30 and we'll let you be a complete jerkface without opening your mouth! You're with stupid? So are we!

I had to buy a minimum of 5,000 shirts to get a good price on printing costs to promote my business. I gave all the average sizes to the important people who arrived before you. Please take the leftovers that only come in XXXXL. Don't forget to tell your friends!


The number of free stupid t-shirts I own is multiplying by the second. One day, everything is fine and then the next, I can't close the drawers to my dresser because there are 10 cotton t-shirts exploding out of the front of this clothing storage unit. It's like a rabbit colony of stupidity in there.


Here's a sampling of my rediculousness:

Clemson University
When did I go there?

YMCA Camp 1996
This t-shirt is officially a badly behaved teenager with yellow pit stains. I'm totally not ready to parent a TEENAGER yet!


International Lady Harmonica Enthusiasts of Idaho*
I don't even own a harmonica and I'm not enthusiastic about ANYTHING! I'm a real drag, actually. Also, I'm not a lady.


There's a lot of 100% pima cotton related foolishness going on at our house. I mean, the super awesome closet organizer located in our walk-in closet really tells the tale. The 1/100th of the closet that I permit my husband to use for his clothing has been transformed into an organized t-shirt collection hideaway. For realz, he even busted out my beloved labelmaker to ensure all shirts are stowed in their proper location.
When you have enough t-shirts to separate into more than 5 catagories and require the assistance of the labelmaker, you have a problem. Also, who has enough "Nicer Shirts" to dedicate a sole shelf to said t-shirty items? I don't even know what that means.

The only redeeming factor to the t-shirt insanity at our house is my new hobby of  using my uber sharp fabric scissors (seriously, I have like 6 puncture wounds on my left hand) to turn defenseless shirts into floral necklaces. Poor shirts; they never saw it coming.

*This t-shirt/organization does not exist. I totally made it up to further strengthen my argument. Yes, that makes me a liar.

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