Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bye Felicia - That Just Doesn't Work for Me

There's a movie called Friday that came out when I was in high school.  The character Felicia is a crack head who bothers her neighbor (Ice Cube).  He coins the phrase, "Bye Felicia" to make her go away and leave him alone.  The phrase has become a pop culture term to use when someone is annoying you or someone is irrelevant to your life.  Saying "Bye Felicia" is a way to give someone or something the brush off.  In reality, "Bye Felicia" may be appropriately applied to life and situations that are toxic or ill-serving.  Read on.

Bye Felicia

Life is full of rabbit trails - situations or people that waste your time, energy, and focus.  I call these people life vampires or time thieves.  Time is precious and something or someone that drains energy from your life deserves a hard look at whether or not they need to be in your present.  Women are especially notorious for giving, giving, giving and letting others waste personal resources that could be devoted to something constructive in our lives - but instead we are eaten up with someone else's issues.  That just doesn't work, right?

Is it okay to be so very selfish to organize our lives into something that works for us?  Are you self-centered to protect your sanity by excluding the problems of other people?  Does saying "Bye Felicia" to unnecessary drama make you a - wait for it - bitch?

No.  No.  And No.

We are entitled to put our feet down in situations that don't work for us, in situations that are exceedingly draining, and in situations that cause undue stress and strain on us or our families.  Bye Felicia, take the issues elsewhere, it isn't working for me is okay to say without beating yourself up with feelings of guilt.  You're not selfish, you're exercising your right to sanity.

I recently was involved in a situation that didn't work for me.  It wasn't even my issue.  I tried to kindly make suggestions and even offered to broker a solution to the problem.  It started to make me sick, my stomach hurt, and I was worried about it for more than a week.  I have a long fuse and a kind heart.  I hate conflict so I tried to weather the storm - at great cost to my health and peace of mind.  But the others weren't getting my message, or maybe didn't respect me enough as a human being to really care about how their drama made me feel.  Finally I had a Bye Felicia moment with the situation and decided to remove myself entirely.  Other people's problems should be other people's problems - it wasn't working for me.  Bye Felicia.

This could be applied to a work situation, a friend situation, or in your relationship with your partner.  I say to you to that it isn't selfish or even rude to tell someone else that something just doesn't work for you.  Start a dialogue about the fact that your feelings/time/schedule should be considered. 

It doesn't mean that we can't have compassion or empathy for others.  It doesn't mean that we don't hate injustice or mean people.  It does mean that sanity and inner peace deserve to be defended.  If someone else's problems are making you more upset than them or taking more of your time than their time - Bye Felicia, that just doesn't work for you.  

Removing as much conflict, stress, or unnecessary issues from your life does many positive things.  Most importantly you can focus on your own life, your own problems, and channel your energy where you'd like.  You are free to relax and your mind is free to enjoy the calm.  Also you have more time to focus on constructive ways to spend time - volunteer to help others, say a kind word to a stranger, read an extra book to your child at bedtime.  Cluttering your mind with the unnecessary kills your productivity and the ability to see your life objectively because you have all these stupid other people's problems dancing in your head.  Women are bad, really bad to shoulder the stress of those around them.  This never ends well for the poor woman.  Your family needs you, your job needs you, your community needs you.  Some drama queen or a frivolous situation that is completely out of your control doesn't need you - it only demands your attention - there's a difference.

My point is to encourage you to eliminate as many possible things from your life that just don't work for you.  By shrinking the load of the unnecessary all of a sudden life comes into sharper focus.  Believe me.  Less stress does wonders for the mind.  Practice saying Bye Felicia to as many irrelevant time thieves and life vampires as you can.  It is hard to do but that first good night's sleep following the elimination of silly issues makes it very worth it.  Bye Felicia, that just doesn't work for me.

Bye Felicia

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sterno S'mores (and more) - A July 4th Celebration on WCCB!

It's almost the Fourth of July!  Fireworks, Cook Outs, and Parades - Let's get ready to party!  This morning we threw an Effortless Girl independence celebration on WCCB Rising.  For under $30 you can have a patriotic bash from the decorations to the food - without spending all day in the kitchen.  Check out the highlight of this effortless party (drum roll please) ...Sterno S'mores!  S'mores are full of yummy 4th of July goodness but you don't need a fire pit to create these tasty treats.  Watch the how-to video for all the details for complete party planning - then put on your red, white, and blue and join the fun!

Special thanks to Terrance Bates, Kristine Zell, and Derek James

The Party

Sterno S'mores

Patriotic Fruit Tray & Stars and Stripes Silverware

The Camera


#wccb #wccbrising #smores #chocolate #july4th #independenceday
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Effortless Fourth of July on Wednesday's Rising!

Calling all Effortless Girls!  Tune in Wednesday morning July 1st to Charlotte's WCCB News Rising for easy and super fun ways to celebrate the Fourth of July!  Join us for a red, white, and blue bash for every budget and pick up simple tips that will make your independence day one for the history books!  The Effortless Girl segment will be around the 8:30 mark so be sure and tune in (there may or may not be chocolate!).  Rising streams live online here.  See ya Wednesday!

WCCB Rising

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July 4th Bunting for Less than $1!

This is going to be quick, quick to write and quick to make.  July 4th is coming up in a few days.  Planning a get together is time consuming and pricey.  Decorations are the last thing you need to stress.  Your gathering doesn't have to be super fancy to be super great, so make some red, white, and blue bunting (or have the kids do it) for less.  This is easy and you can tailor the colors to whatever you like.  Keep it or toss it after the party is over - because the cost investment is pennies...really.  Let's make patriotic decorations for less than $1!  

Happy 4th of July!
You'll need one bandana (the color is up to you), twine, and staples.  One bandana makes bunting long enough for an 8 foot table.  If you need a longer length, use another one.  Bandanas cost about 50 cents from a discount store or use and old one you already have.  The twine will cost about 10 cents for the piece you need.  Fold the bandana like the white one in the photo below.  To make things super fast, quickly press the bandana in this shape.  One or two swipes with a hot iron is enough.  You just want to seal the edges of the folds.  Cut triangle shapes from the rectangles.  Tip:  If you cut the triangles only from the rectangle shapes of the fabric, it creates another triangle in between each one you cut - so you get double the shapes.  This takes about 5 minutes.

Straighten the piece of twine.  This is NOT fancy but it totally works.  Staple the top of the bandana triangle to the twine.  I used four staples per triangle so they hung more smoothly without gaping along the twine.  Leave a little twine at each end so you may tie the bunting on either side.  And you're done.  Bunting in under 10 minutes.  It also looks great to use a red and blue bandana for bunting and alternate the colors along the twine.  

Staple the bandana to the twine
 Hang and enjoy your party.  Happy 4th of July!

Bandana Bunting

#july4th #independenceday #party #bandana #redwhiteblue

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fun Fruit - Perfect for Summer!

It's hot outside ya'll!  I don't really have the right to complain because I'm in the mountains, it is sweltering off the mountain.  Welcome to summer in the south, right?  Anytime it's hot I want cool foods.  Well, I always want cool foods, but summer dictates chilly, icy foods - that kind of cool.  Fruit hits the spot.  I decided to jazz it up a bit for a fancy pants party or a girls lunch and keep it easy to make and serve.  Grapes are easy to eat and eat and eat.  Grapes shaped like a flower arrangement win extra points.  You could freeze the grapes on the skewer and win the award for belle of the ball!  Let's get the party started!

Gorgeous Grapes!
This project is easy.  You'll need grapes (two colors of grapes would look really nice), wooden skewers, and a serving container.  Skewers come in packages of 100 or so for like $2.  

 String between 6-8 grapes onto each skewer.  That's it.  It isn't rocket science.  

Place grapes on skewers
I like serving things in the summer in ice.  It is cool (pardon the pun) to look at but the ice also helps to keep the items you are serving cool.  I filled a flower vase with ice cubes and arranged the skewers in it.  Another yummy idea is to freeze the skewers with the grapes on them.  Frozen grapes are delicious and good for you and make a refreshing summer treat.  Once you freeze the skewers they may be served in the same manner.  The skewers are super easy for guests to select one and eat it.  Also, the cleanup is minimal.  

Yummy Grapes
 Fun and good for you, what's not to love?  

Happy Eating!

#grapes #summer #fun #food #recipes #summertime #cool #frozen #fruit

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

This weekend is Father’s Day.  I think dads are pretty important people.   Just for fun I googled “the role of father’s in child development.”  I found that organizations fund years of studies on this point.  I also found it crazy to waste money on something that is basic common sense (but that’s another column).  Anyway, in the US Department of Health & Human Service’s manual The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children 2006, we learn that fathers are vital for proper child development.  Duh.  Nowhere is that more evident than in my life.  I am truly humbled to be blessed with a most amazing father.

Happy Father's Day!

I work with my dad every day.  On a good day, I call him dad – on a bad day (like when he doesn’t see that my way is truly the best….) I call him Bobby.  I’ve worked with him since college, but I’ve closely watched him my whole life.  I’m not really a mushy daddy’s girl, whatever that is, but I am like my dad in many ways.  Growing up I watched my dad and my grandpa work hard; concrete is not for the faint of heart.  I learned that anything is possible if you want it badly enough to put in the effort to earn it.  If you earn something yourself, it just means more.   He taught me to think for myself and to keep my head down and accomplish my goals.  There were long hours spent away from home to provide for our family.  Sometimes I wonder if I decided to work with my dad in order to spend more time with him – in that case he probably thinks now we sometimes need a break from each other.

My father taught me integrity because he lives his life with integrity.  I don’t know if I will ever have the character that he does.  He taught me to do things that are right, maybe not always easiest or most popular, but do what’s right.  When I think about it, doing the right thing feels better anyway.  My dad taught me to listen.  He’s the best listener.  He doesn’t have that many words, but when he does they really count.  It’s hard for me to hold my tongue, but if I listen first and talk later, my words seem more appropriate.  I got that from my dad.

My dad taught me unconditional love.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn't hold your loved ones accountable for their mistakes - but you can love them regardless.  He’s in my corner no matter what.  I could have the worst idea in the world but he would find something kind to say about it anyway because he loves me.  I’ve made tons of mistakes and sometimes the pill is bitter to swallow, but he is quietly there to soften the fall.  He’s cool like that.  He’s just cool in general.

So on this weekend, I say Happy Father’s Day to all of the precious dads out there.  I cannot imagine what a mess I would be without mine.  Love you D.

#happyfathersday #fathersday #daddy #dads #daughters

My Dad

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Think About Things that are Good

This week has been challenging.  Actually, that's being really diplomatic.  This isn't a banner week.  I'm a mess.  I don't even qualify to be a hot mess - just a big mess.  I'll admit that I've had moments of extreme self-pity followed by moments of stress eating (McDonald's fries aren't really even that good).  It's been one of those weeks.  But today a minute happened that was like a life preserver in the black hole.  My brother-in-law Joe told me to think about things that are good.  I'll explain.

Think about things that are good

Monday I started a new MS medicine.  It is a 3 times a week injection and it's awful.  It isn't as awful as the last medicine but I still hate it.  The medicine burns like fire when you get the "shot" and then you feel like you have the flu for several hours - every. single. shot.  It took me a bit to get myself psyched up to even take it.  And then yesterday I had to get STITCHES on the bottom of my foot.  Long story, but now I have crutches and it hurts to walk, stand, and sit - anything.  However I could balance on one leg better than a yard flamingo in a Category 5 hurricane at this point.

My dad gives me the shot because I'm a chicken.  I'm a total chicken, more like a baby chicken I guess.  But today he wasn't available so my brother-in-law gave it to me.  Joe and I get along pretty well.  Sometimes he gets on my nerves and we argue (we also work together) but overall we're cool.  So today when he was getting ready to give me the shot, I pulled away 3 times.  (I'm scared, really!)  Finally, he was really sweet about it and told me to hold his hand and he'd give me the shot.  The shot is with a machine so you only need one hand.  He was being kind.  I started to cry.  Then I cried harder.  He gave me the shot.

Then I cried hardest because MS is horrible.  I was feeling overwhelmed with everything and my foot was throbbing and my stomach was turning red and burning.  He said, "Julie, in the book of Philippians, it says to think about things that are good and lovely.  I think if you did that during these times, you might feel much better."  Hmm.

The actual verse in the Bible is Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

I started thinking about it.  It dawned on me that if we try - I say try because it is difficult when something is hard - to concentrate on the good, the lovely, the excellent - then....the icky hard stuff seems a little more bearable.  

If I focus on the fact that today my grandmother came by to say hello, and that I work with the sweetest group of guys, or that I have a loving family that has my back all day long; then yep, my foot still throbs but my mind is a little more at ease.

If I think about the fact that my husband was willing to take off the week from work to be with me or my new nephew is coming to visit tomorrow and I'm going to smother him with kisses - life has much more equilibrium.

If I think about my parents being there every day or my brother (that is really, really tough but has the softest spot in his heart) loves me, it is better.

Or my sisters that understand everything, or my cousin Carol Lynn that I can call at any minute, or my nephew Bryce that hangs out with me and laughs about nothing - then those things turn the Titanic around.

So Joe was on to something and Philippians is true.  Thanks JP and tonight only the excellent & lovely are on my agenda.

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