Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Certs. Raisin Bran. Ice cream. Horses. Cheddar Popcorn. They'll always bring me back to my Papaw. I wish I knew how to better express the emotions that are coursing through me right now.

He's gone. His energy, his humor, his accent, his encouragement, his zest for life... they aren't here anymore. But also gone is the terrible cancer that robbed him of some of that essence. He's no longer suffering, and above and beyond the heartache and grief I'm feeling right now is a joy that he's with God and making Heaven a little bit funnier and a little bit brighter.

He's not like anyone I've ever met. He took any accomplishment we ever achieved and magnified it a thousand times over. I was the lead in the school play? Oh no, to him, I was about to break into Hollywood. My brother had a good swim meet? Nope, to Papaw, he was soon to be an Olympian. Little Sis scored two goals during her soccer tournament? She was being recruited to the US National team.

He was funny. And he didn't mean to be. He was so non-politically correct, and he said things that from anyone else would sound offensive. When he told me that I wasn't "as stumpy as I used to be," my feelings should have been hurt, or I should have gotten angry. Instead I laughed and thanked him for the compliment. Because that's just how he was. A visit with Papaw wasn't complete until he had uttered the magic words that we were "lookin' slim and trim." If he ever didn't say it, I knew it was time to hit the gym. During our second to last time together we saw our beloved Tennessee Vols dominate the Georgia Bulldogs. He brought us all cushions to sit on and handed them out as we made our way to the stadium. He pulled me aside to tell me that he hadn't given me the smallest cushion because he thought I naturally had more padding than everyone else. But the fact that he had to tell me that makes me know that's exactly why he did it. But I just laughed because it was so Papaw. He thought I was beautiful.

He loved horses. Even two weeks before his passing he was riding. He was mortified that he needed assistance mounting, but he did. He was even more humiliated that he couldn't ride one difficult horse better than his sister. They had a friendly competition that Papaw always won. He wouldn't have it any other way. He loved that I took riding lessons, and we spent many a Saturday morning out at Beaverbrook riding and visiting the horses. He had a barn at his house too. Beautiful and immaculate, he lovingly cared for each detail and until several months ago, he kept his own horses out there. If you've ever thought that a barn couldn't be beautiful, come visit his.

He wrote with "lots" of quotes. I am so glad that I've kept so "many" of his cards and notes. As a family we spent Christmas "morning" reading what he'd written "us," and chuckling at his use of quotations instead of italics. He "loved" us, and he always "hoped" that we enjoyed our gifts. He thought I was the "best." My birthday this year won't be the "same" without those. I "miss" him so much.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Workout. Bathroom Style.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am a huge advocate for some working out in the bathroom. I have virtually perfected the process, and I think it's time that I share it with you, dear readers.

I try to work out 5-6 days a week, but with all of the activities taking place in my life right now, that isn't all feasible. And, even if it is, I don't have the multiple hours to spend sweating like I did in college, so, to solve the problem, I've nearly patented the Water Closet Workout. Each time I go to the bathroom, I make my way toward the handicap stall thanks to its spacious interior. I try to do at least one move that works my muscles. Usually it goes a little something like this:

Bathroom Visit A.M. - 25 squats, 1 minute wall sit
Bathroom Visit Pre-Lunch - 25 squats, 20 lunges
Bathroom Visit Post-Lunch - 1 minute calf raises, 1 minute wall sit
Bathroom Visit P.M. - Grab Bag! Sometimes squats, sometimes lunges, etc.

I also know that our bathroom floors are cleaned once a week, so on the day after the cleaning (and sometimes, honestly, even if they haven't been cleaned), I add push ups and crunches into the mix. It may not be amazingly sanitary, but my rock hard abs aren't apologizing. ("Rock hard" is both subjective and open to interpretation).

The only caveat about this little dose of physical fun is that your reflexes must be impeccable. Although, ideally, all of said exercises will take place safely inside the confines of a bathroom stall, you must still be on alert for entering coworkers. I have had to quickly scramble off the floor mid-crunch to avoid any awkward conversations. However, if you think about it, that's it's own work out. Give the Water Closet Workout a try this week and let me know what you think. Jillian Michaels, eat your heart out.

Happy endorphin seeking!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Tag

Queen Bee Swain and Desperately Seeking Seersucker both tagged me in this fun Preppy Mafia game. Now, I'm not so sure that I'm a part of the Preppy Mafia, but I am certainly happy to play along!

1. Who is your style icon?
- You know, I don't know that I really have anyone's style that I try to emulate. I always love Reese Witherspoon's ensembles - whether everyday or red carpet, I just think she looks fabulous. I've also recently fallen in love with the looks of Tinsley Mortimer. Her dress collection is just to die for. I love checking out Blair Waldorf (yes, I know she's a TV character) and Olivia Palermo too!
2. What is your favorite socialite lit book?
- I'm not sure that I usually classify my reads as a socialite or not, but I do love a great chick-lit book... everything from Emily Griffin to Sophie Kinsella. I'm a voracious reader, and when I want something light and fluffy, they're my go-tos.
3. Favorite party theme?
- I threw a champagne and cupcakes party recently for the Supermodel before she departed for the bright lights of New York City, and I loved that theme. It could work for almost any occassion, and it gives you the perfect chance to put on a frothy, flirty outfit and toast some bubbly!
4. Go to Halloween costume?
- Y'all, I hate Halloween. I mean, I despise the entire event and everything leading up to it. I am deathly afraid of masks and costumes, so I try to sit out whenever I can. I do love going as an Olsen though. Or Rachel Zoe. They're pretty much the same thing.
5. Extravagance you cannot live without?
- Lots and lots of diet soda? Ha, I'm not sure that's an extravagance, but I certainly could not live without it! And fashion and gossip magazines... that $4-$8 a week is certainly a splurge for me on something I could totally eliminate from my budget, but I love them entirely too much.
6. Living person you admire?
- My parents. They are incredible in absolutely every sense of the word, and I have no doubt that I would be nowhere near as fabulous as I am today without them (kidding about the fabulous part, but truly, I owe them everything and more).
7. Greatest fear?
- The Mummy, deaf people talking, masks, clowns, the TV volume being on an odd number that isn't a multiple of 5.
8. Trait your deplore in yourself?
- I certainly hope I don't have any deplorable traits, but I am incredibly stubborn, and I'm independent to a fault. I also don't do well saying no, and I'm insanely overanalytical and anxiety-prone. That gloriousconcoction of traits can be self-destructive. Hooray!
9. Which talent would you most like to have?
- I've always wanted to have a great singing voice. Unfortunately, if you've ever heard me belt out some Mika, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts (or anything, really), you know that I couldn't carry a tune if it had a handle.
10. Greatest achievement?
- It's definitely still in progress, but I am so proud of the success that Hems & Hers has seen in a short period of time and that I wasn't intimidated by innumerable factors that could work against me and launched it anyway.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

True Story Tuesday - Gentleman, Rev Your Bladders

It's been quite a while since I've regaled my readers with a True Story Tuesday. I decided that it was high time, and to usher in the event, I needed something worthy. While most of my true stories are widely known among my circle of real life friends and family, today's is not. And I may regret posting it.

As a longtime (nearly native) Charlottean, NASCAR is as much a part of daily life as is a Diet Coke (or three). While not a fan myself, I have always stayed abreast of driver standings, race results and more, less by choice and more by osmosis, but whatevs.

This particular event takes place during my senior year of high school. Ever the wonderful girlfriend, I ignored my own distaste for the "sport" and surprised my then-boyfriend with tickets to the Coca-Cola 600. By the time raceday dawned, I was actually looking forward to what I deemed to be a cultural experience.

Wearing a classy, but NASCAR appropriate, outfit we headed off to Concord for the automotive spectacular. While I am no stranger to race traffic, I was unprepared for just how long we would be sitting in the long line approaching the speedway, and fearful of heat stroke on the May afternoon, I was overly hydrated. Unfortunately, there was no turn off or way to reach a commode, so I sat in the driver's seat squirming and performing my potty dance.

About half an hour later we had moved merely inches, and my bladder was urging me to tinkle. Unwilling to give in, I cranked "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Devil Went Down to Georgia" (fitting for a trip to a NASCAR race, methinks) and ignored the urge to purge (the bladder).

Another thirty minutes passed, and the situation was nearing critical mass. Still miles from the Speedway, the diagnosis was that I needed to urinate. And soon. I considered my options. There were few. As it so happened I was wearing a denim skirt at the time, and in a moment of sheer desperation reached into the backseat and grabbed the only thing I could find. A red, plastic party cup (huge thanks to my brother, with whom I shared our Mazda Milennia and who happened to have the contraband item in the vehicle).

Apparently I forgot that I was a girl and, as such, lacked the necessary equipment used to "aim" the stream. Undeterred, I decided that peeing in a cup was not only a stroke of genius but the only thing I could do. Wanting to stay a lady, however, I didn't want anyone to see what acrobatics I was attempting to perform in the front seat. Without going into much detail, I will say that my plan failed. Miserably. I spent the remainder of the voyage to the parking lot keeping myself lifted well above the "situation" that had "leaked" into my seat.

Huge props again to my brother who had some old swim towels rotting in our trunk allowing me to clean up the unfortunate incident when we finally arrived at our destination. I also, luckily, had a pair of shorts stashed in the car and was able to lose the... umm... saturated garments I was wearing. You know, thinking back on it now, I assumed that I would have nothing in common with the other fans cheering for the cars as they went round-and-round that day, but somehow, I don't think I was too far off.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Furry (and Fashion) Friday

This sweet thing is coming to live with the beau!!! He's picking him/her up after work today (we're pretty sure it's a her), and I cannot wait! Sadie is going to love her (or him), and I will too! I can't wait to snuggle with that sweet little face!
Also this weekend is another Hems & Hers trunk show! Although this weekend will also feature the lovely and precious SuZeeBee accessories too! If you live in Charlotte, please, please come by today 10-3 or 5-8 or tomorrow 10-3. I would love to see/meet you all!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Mean, Really?!

Does the world really need this?

Or this?
The Mankini (seen above) promises:

1. To hold up the weight of the buttocks
2. To lift and define the buttocks' curvature
3. To maximize small/flat derrieres
4. To leave no visible line
5. To enhance the effects of form fitting clothes
6. To add comfort because of support
7. To provide a put together look

Please do yourself a favor and click on the links for a full product description. Who knows, maybe this could go the way of the Snuggie and be a huge pop culture phenomenon. For my retinas' sake I sure hope not.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rule #36 - Walk Away

When you're at the Y and stumble upon you're sweet and adorable beau running on a treadmill in the middle of a long line of treadmills, you may want to think twice before sneaking into the space between the 'mills and the wall to say hi and give him a wink. You may want to be even more careful when making your exit that you don't accidentally trip over several cords, unplugging neighboring treadmills. As soon as you realize what you have done and witness several bodies lurching toward the handle bars, simply give your guy one extra flirty wave and hurry quickly away from the melee you have created.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Junk in the Trunk

I had the huge honor of hosting a Hems & Hers trunk show on Friday at Bella Ropa Boutique. The experience was incredible, and despite the lack of sleep I endured to finish new styles in time, the work paid off, and it was so surreal to see racks of MY clothes hanging in the store! A huge thanks to Amy at Bella Ropa for being so supportive of Hems & Hers and to my sweet mom for all of her help!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One of Those Faces

So a few weeks ago I bashed the Doppelgangers game on Facebook. I didn't participate in the cyber festivies, but just this week I've gotten several, "You know who you like???" proclamations. Oddly enough, it's always a different celeb (minus Deb from Napoleon Dynamite. That one I get a lot). So, let's break it down with a game I'm calling, "Nope, I just look like her..."

For a refresher, this is me (Hi!):

Who people say I look like...

Hayden Panettiere (I definitely don't see this one, but a coworker swears it).

Reese Witherspoon (For sure wouldn't mind looking like this, but I don't see it either)

I worked at a bakery one summer, and a regular customer approaced me and said, "I'm sure you get this all the time, but you look JUST like Pink!" Um, no sir, never been told that before, never since.

When Napoleon Dynamite came out, I got the, "LOOK! It's DEB!" shout often. I think Tina Majorino is who I hear I look like the most often. I've alway
s loved her from Corrina Corrina (with Whoopi Goldberg) and Andre, the movie about the abandoned seal. Plus she and I totally get the squinty eyed thing going when we smile.

Just yesterday a coworker approached me and said, "I finally figure out who you remind me of! BUSY PHILLIPS!" That's the first I've heard of that, but here she is...

And not even worthy of multiple pictures because it's just insulting, another coworker claims I remind him of Flo from the Progressive commercials. Le sigh.

So what do you think? Do any of these look like me? And who do people say that you like?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This weekend my sister, the beau and I went to Knoxville to visit my grandparents. In particular we wanted to spend some time with my Papaw who is dying of melanoma. The cancer has spread at an alarming rate and is now covering his body, including his lungs and brain. Throughout the almost year long battle he's waged, he's maintained strength, enthusiasm, joy and optimism. This trip, though, was heartbreaking. For the first time there was a marked difference in him that went further than his newly shaven head. He's tired. I know that. His prognosis is gut-wrenching in its breadth. Seeing him that way and having to face for the first time since his diagnosis that this may be the end has left me shaken and emotional this week. A week so chock full of "must do's" and "can't wait's" that there's no room for extra emotional fragility.

I've been trying to upload pictures of the weekend since it wasn't all solemn and sobering. We spent time with my cousin who took us on a tour of the new downtown Knoxville, where I discovered my new favorite store on the planet called Bliss in Market Square. We walked around campus and visited Tom Black Track, which is named after my great uncle Tom. I ate my weight's worth of goodies at Buddy's BBQ (in my opinion some of the best anywhere), Litton's (home of the world's greatest burger - where our family is kind of a VIP group thanks to my endearingly eccentric great aunt), and my grandmother's (all you can eat breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, eggs and more). To work it all off we stopped on our way out of town and hiked up to Laurel Falls, which was gorgeous and fun.

Truly, despite the pain, this weekend was rich in the joy that comes with family. I am so blessed with the loved ones God has chosen to give me, and even as one prepares to leave the world (although I'm not counting him out just yet. The man's a true fighter), I will forever be grateful for the pieces of him that live in me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It Starts Early

My parents have done such an incredible job raising me. They never crossed the line between parent and friend, and frankly, my friend is the last thing they wanted to be. Now that I'm older, my parents have both become my friends, but they set clear and defined boundaries growing up.

Little, in particular, loved rules. Especially those that limited our vocabulary. We weren't allowed to say anything similar to hate, stupid, dumb, shut up, idiot, moron, dork, hate, and so and so forth. Refusal to comply was met with either a wooden spoon to the bum or a mouth full of soap.

We also weren't allowed to call defecation "pee" or "poop," nope, for us it was "tinkle" and "BM." To this day, that's how I think of it.

However, I thank my parents now for that extreme word limitation because I think it really spurred the creativity of all three of us. When we were angry and wanted to call each other names we had to think outside of the "stupid" box and create new names such as "Chair Face" or "Violin Head." One particularly infuriating put down was being called "CarePants" by my brother. Now aside from the inevitable hypersensitivity (yes, calling my brother a Blockhead did earn me a spanking, and yes, saying the word "dookie" did lead me to get my mouth washed out with soap, and yes, being called a Log Head did break my heart, hurt my feelings and make me cry buckets), the rules bred, I am convinced that the extreme measures are what sparked the creativity that now define me and my siblings.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Getting to Know You

So many of y'all had some great questions in response to my "Gettin' Personal" post. Here are my answers to your lovely inquiries:

Ams asked two questions: What is the one thing you do to pamper yourself? and Do you believe in romantic, true love? That it really exists?

Surprisingly, both of these questions really stumped me. I do things to take care of myself - working out, eating healthily, showering regularly... you know, the basics. I do things that I enjoy - sewing, volunteering at church, spending time with friends, blogging, etc. But I don't think I really, truly do much to pamper myself. I rarely get my nails done (like maybe once a year... maybe twice); I highlight my own hair; I don't splurge often. I take Sunday afternoon naps pretty much every Sunday, but that ends up being more out of necessity than out of pampering. Hmmm, maybe that's something I need to do more often!

Onto the love question, this one was a stumper too. I'm learning to believe in that kind of romantic love, but I've had to really re-train my think from compatible, companionship kind of love to encompass the romantic side of it as well. Does that make sense? For the first time I'm with someone who loves to spoil me with surprises, flowers, treats and acts of service - cleaning my house when my schedule is crazy, taking care of Sadie when I'm working late. I'm learning that it's okay not to be the sole giver in a relationship and enjoy being taken care of me. That's a new - but wonderful - thing for me.

QueenBeeSwain asked me to share a funny story from when I was little. I'm trying to get an old video loaded on here to share. Trust me... it's coming :-)

Officially Mrs. had a series of questions too! Share with us your favorite beauty products. What's the story behind your blog title? What's the first thing you think of when you wake up? What is your favorite indulgence? What do you like most about blogging?

Although I am by no means a beauty connosseur, I have recently fallen in love with Bare Minerals products. I love Maybelline "Pink & Green" mascara in Blackest Black, Physicians Formula eyeliners in brown and black, OPI or Maybelline nail polish, and I am a lip gloss junkie. I have no fewer than 6 tubes in my purse right now ranging from Victoria's Secret to LipSmacker to Kiehl's to SoftLips to Vaseline. I always have to have SOMETHING on my lips. Really, Vaseline is a huge key to my beauty routine.

The story behind my blog title is fairly boring. I sat for a few hours on the couch with Little Sis and Southern Sunshine (by way of AIM) agonizing over what to call my blog. I know I wanted it to include two things, and I wanted alliteration, I toyed with "Sparkles & Spaniels" (I know, ew, right?) and other things. I wanted something that was memorable and a bit quirky, like me. I am super, super girly, and although they aren't an omnipresent part of my life, I felt like polka dots encompassed that feel, and those who know me well know that I have an unwavering devotion to protein bars. I have at least one a day, and I have a very, very, very hard time eating anything else for breakfast. When I threw it out there for a reaction, Ave and AB both gave their approval, and Polka Dots & Protein Bars was born!

The first thing I think of when I wake up tends to be, "Awww, Sadiekins is soooo cute!" She loves snuggling in bed, but as soon as she hears the first notes of my alarm, she is OFFFFFF the bed and ready for breakfast and bathroom time. Because she's so eager and alert upon alarm impact, I'm never even tempted to hit snooze.

My favorite indulgence is ice cream. No joke. I am hands down in love with ice cream. Pretty much any flavor. The more loaded up it is, the more I'll like it. I also love putting peanut butter on my ice cream. I really have a borderline unhealthy obsession with peanut butter too, so combine the two, and wham bam thank you, ma'am, I'm over the moon. S'more have a similar affect on me.

My favorite part about blogging is having a creative outlet to document my thoughts and life. I love being able to go back and read what I've written and put myself back in that frame of mind or emotion and clearly remember what I was going through... be it what I was sharing, or what I was not sharing with my readers at the time. But truly, the best part is getting feedback from readers. My blog is for me, but the fact that you all read it and respond just makes me so incredibly happy.

The New Mrs. asks: We are in a similar field (advertising), so my question is, do you love what you do? And if you could go back to your first year of college, would you change your major/what you wanted to do?

Great question! And I think my answer will seem contradictory. I hate what I do, but I love my field. The job/role I'm in now is degrading, menial and discouraging, BUT, I wouldn't change anything about my major or my decision to go into advertising. I love everything about the creative process, marketing, public relations, promotional work, social media, design. All of it. And although I feel very cornered in my actual day-t0-day job at my agency now, I know it's only a matter of time before I'm able to be more hands on with that process. Advertising and creative are so what I'm meant to do based on my natural tendecies, my personality, my thought process, the way I analyze, my creativity and my skill set. I know people tend to think of advertising and communications as "cupcake majors" or even "cupcake jobs." And I see the point. What I do is not life-and-death. I get to decide which color palette of a logo I prefer, which jingle sounds better, play foosball in the office kitchen. BUT, I think anyone in this industry would agree that it is punishing, grueling, financially unrewarding, and more than most fields, the "pay your dues" period is long, long and long.

USCEmily asks, do you have any big regrets in your life? If so, can you share one and what you would have done differently if given a "do-over."

I think my biggest regret comes in how I handled my relationship with B. My parents disapproved from the get-go, but I fully believed that I could have my cake and eat it too by keeping my relationship with him and my relationship with them separate. That flawed logic led to a lot of dishonesty, a lot of emotional separation from my family, and a lot of missed opportunities with both B and my parents. I don't regret that relationship AT ALL. I am so thankful for the time we spent together, the way I grew, the way we both changed each other for the better, and I miss so many things about it and him. Having said that, though, I handled those nearly 4 years immaturely, and by what I considered "avoiding conflict" and "keeping everyone happy," I caused so much pain to people I love so much, on both sides of the equations. My choices definitely cheapened the experience and led to so much burden on the relationship with B, that I wish I could go back and remove.

The lovely Ms. Mindless says, I'd love to know what you'd be doing and wearing on your idea of a "perfect" day. Of course, to the soundtrack of "Perfect Day" by Hoku from the intro of Legally Blonde.

Why, of course no perfect day could begin without that song and opening montage! My perfect day would probably have to extend way beyond 24 hours. It would start with an amazing workout, and preferably a jaunt to the mountains for a hike. I LOOOVE to hike and be outside, and the temperature would, of course, be perfect on my perfect day. After that I would return home and throw on the perfect daytime sundress with my perfectly groomed coif and wedges or flats. I'd then hop a flight to NYC to spend time with my dearly missed Supermodel friend and a search through Mood and lots of boutiques (all the while scoring incredible finds, since on my perfect day, my budget doesn't matter). Then back to Charlotte to sip some wine... heck, a margarita... with the beau while we make s'mores and baking my little heart out. Then cap it off with a rousing game night (featuring Guesstures, Balderdash, Wii and Apples to Apples) with Lobster and He-Lobs and the fam. Yep, I think that just about does it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stylish?! Me???

Although I asked my friends to help me out by nominating me, I was truly shocked when I got the call on Friday that I'm officially a nominee for Charlotte Style Magazine's Top 25 Most Stylish in Charlotte. The next step was to submit photos of myself looking stylish. I agonized and agonized over which pictures to send in for judging, and I even asked the beau to help me conduct an impromptu photo shoot last night. The result of the shoot, blog and Facebook scouring? These pictures below. The winners won't be announced until April, but if I win I'll be featured in the magazine! I wanted to make sure that Hems & Hers was a major focus of my submission. What do you think???

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ain't No Party Like An S Club Party!

I am not the least bit ashamed to proclaim that my old S Club 7 playlist has been cycling through my iPod on a regular basis the past few weeks. When S Club first came out, I loved them. Had every song memorized and watched every episode of their TV show. My love for these pop stars is unfailing. I mean, "Never Had a Dream Come True" was a middle school anthem ballad, "Reach (for the Stars)" always cheered me up. I know Rachel was the hottest, blah, blah, blah, but my favorite was always Hannah with her upbeat manner and wholesome, girl-next-door looks. I even copied her Gwen Stefani-esque mini buns on occasion. With overalls, natch.