Celebrating My Friends Birthday

After I came back from Napa last week my friend and I were able to finally get ahold of each other and start planning a late birthday outing for her.

She wanted to spend the day together – since we talk a lot and need hours to catch up – so I planned a lunch and dinner for her birthday.

I decided to wear my “Collectif London” red top and “Collectif London” Jean wiggle skirt with my Louboutins.

A Hispanic cashier at the grocery store (where I bought my friend flowers in a vase and balloons) asked me if I’d ever heard the song, “por mujeres como tu” by Pepe Aguilar. I told him yes and then the African American man behind me in line looked at me and said, “Oh yes. Por mujeres como TU.” We laughed about it. It’s a really pretty Mexican song and I was flattered they thought a song like that could be fitting for me.

My friend and I met at the 18hundred – a trendy stylish restaurant with American hand crafted food.

I arranged the whole vase, flowers and balloons – she especially loved the vase and so did I.

Well call my friend Monica (to protect her privacy.) Monica & I had a nice time at the 18hundred. I was glad that nothing much has changed despite the restaurant acquiring new ownership last year. The food is still great, the place is unbelievably adorable and the music selection makes you want to get up and dance.

Interesting fact: The 18hundred building is 109 years old
They had the cutest selfie mirror downstairs by the bathroom

After leaving the 18hundred, Monica suggested we go to a bridal shop and try on dresses just for fun. I had never done that before but it sounded like fun!

We stopped at Dutch Bros coffee because I had a craving to try their cold coffee. It was our first time there believe it or not. I had heard my friends post about it for the last 2 years but had never been.

The drive thru girl standing outside taking orders was really cool and helped us find a drink we would like. She told us about the time she threw up after she drank the anhilator (it has 8 shots of espresso.) I loved how she broke out of work character and was just laughing and vibing with us. We decided on the “Golden Eagle” as that seemed to be a popular choice and she assured us it was one of her favorites.

At the drive thru window the employee and her manager wished my friend a happy birthday after they saw the flowers and balloons. They seemed very caffeinated and were extra excited haha. Monica was a bit embarrassed but I thought it was funny.

Excuse my arm – it’s still peeling from my sunburn. Monica and I LOVED the cute straw colors. Sometimes it’s the little details.

The verdict: the Golden Eagle was AMAZING. Do you know how hard it’s been to find a GOOD ICED COFFEE?? I mean I have searched high and low and now I finally have my place. I will definitely be a Dutch Bros customer from now on.

Isn’t it weird to think Starbucks actually has a competitor? I would’ve never imagined. I always saw Starbucks as the King of Coffee for all time. I guess no one can ever be sure that they’ll always be at the top. The thing is…some places start out strong but end up changing management, owners, etc and the product quality takes a hit. Other times they simply don’t change with the times which is just as detrimental.

Anyway we made it to David’s Bridal. I turned my car off and looked at Monica. “What are we gonna tell them?” I asked her. She said she would tell them she was the one getting married – she raised up her hand which had a fake engagement ring on (she uses it to deter men away.) It had costed her $7 and she asked me if it looked real. I looked at it, raised my eyebrows and said, “No.” We laughed about it but decided to go in anyway.

So we walked inside and one of the consultants greeted us and asked if we had a date set. It felt like she thought we were lesbians which was funny to me. We walked around looking at dresses and Monica never let it show that we were just there for fun. She seemed completely believable about her “upcoming wedding” when she talked to the store consultants who were eager to help her and incredibly friendly.

Monica asked me earlier if I’d ever thought about getting married as shes been thinking about it more often lately. I honestly never have – I grew up not caring much about weddings. As kids, my sister and her friend would look through bridal magazines and talk about their dream weddings. I just couldn’t be bothered to care. The idea of having a wedding just isn’t thrilling for me…except for the pretty wedding dress – you know I love a pretty dress. The dress literally has to be perfect – everything else can crash and burn but the dress…the dress!! I’m kidding I’m kidding haha.

We found a dress Monica liked and went to try it on in the fitting rooms. I didn’t find any I liked in my size. I tried on the tiara crown veil though. In my opinion, the crown veil is EVERYTHING. It’s not even a wedding without a crown veil. Tell the pastor to stay home if the bride doesn’t wear a crown veil. Hahaha…I’m kidding but I do wish I would’ve found a wedding dress to complete the look.

My friend would make such a pretty bride

We had a lot of fun at David’s Bridal – so much that Monica didn’t want to leave but we had dinner reservations at the country club. So we made our way out and as we walked to my car Monica looked up at the sky and jokingly shouted, “God please help us find a good man! We wanna get married! Are you listening??” “Yea God, are you listening?” I added and we laughed.

I hope my friend does meet a good man. In fact, I’m sure she eventually will.

We made it to the petroleum club at Sundale which is a private restaurant on the golf course. You can only get in if you have a club membership. I wanted my friends birthday to be special so I paid for membership just so we could eat there. Needless to say Monica loved the restaurant.

We took an elevator to the top floor where the restaurant overlooks the golf course. We were greeted by the hostess who seemed to be waiting especially for us. She knew my last name and walked us to our table which also had my last name on a placard. The table was elegant and the food was very good. The servers gave exceptional service as well. It was an experience we’d never had before.

I’ve been to many 4 & 5 star restaurants over the years but I’d never been to a private restaurant. Monica whispered how quiet and peaceful it felt in there. There was only one other couple sitting in a table down from us. We both understood the allure to private dining. It was just so…nice.

We had shrimp capellini, creme brulee for dessert and Monica had a Moscow Mule cocktail to celebrate being 21. Later that night she opened her gift from me which was a $200 gift card to Nordstrom Rack. She was so excited. I figured she’d love a little shopping spree because who wouldn’t right??

She then gave me some gifts she had for me from her trip to Africa (she went with her church recently.) I picked out a little wooden baby elephant and some beautiful flower earrings.

Her dog Remy climbed all over me while we talked in my car outside her house and she told me I looked good with a small dog. “Yea-Paris Hilton vibes,” I said rolling my eyes. “Ohmygod YESSS!!” She agreed and we both laughed.

It was the end of the night and her birthday was over but I could tell she had a great time and so did I. Here’s hoping that she has many more birthdays and that we continue to know each other for a long time.

Thanks for reading,

Denise

3 Reasons I’m not a Fan of Influencers

I can’t stop thinking about how fake most influencers are. I never even understood the word “fake” before…until I got unplugged from Instagram months ago.

Recently I’ve realized how inauthentic and not normal this influencer craze has become.

I cringe when I think about how at one point I actually wanted to become an influencer. I’m cringing again just writing it.

I get it – it’s a way to make money (some make very good money) but the price that comes with it is just not worth it in my eyes.

Here are my top 3 reasons why I’m no longer a fan of influencers:

1. Most of them strive on maintaining a life they don’t even have. The reality is most influencers want people to look at their curated photos and say, “I want to be her. I want her life.” But do we actually want their life? Most of the time their marriage is not as great as they make it seem, they’re not over their ex, they have fake friends, and they’re usually angry trying to get the perfect photo, not to mention their happy moods are usually dependent on alcohol.

As far as the traveling, having cool clothes and nice cars… I have a luxury car and designer clothes and let me tell you…it’s boring after a while. Unless of course your self esteem is low then I imagine material things become an obsession but when your self esteem is good…material things are a bit boring after a while. Your worth doesn’t depend on them.

I only know a few influencers who are completely themselves. One is @RachelParcell from Pink Peonies. Another is @Elizabeth_._Johnson . They will talk to the camera with zero makeup on sometimes and share embarrassing parts of their life but they keep it real! Maybe too real haha but they’re relatable! They’re probably the most humble and gorgeous people out there and it’s nice that the fame hasn’t gotten to their head.

Side bar: Rachel Parcell has a successful line of clothing in Nordstrom so her fame does come from actual talent. She remains very humble though.

Rachel Parcell with her daughter
Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth Johnson is a home maker, married to a surgeon. The reason behind her fame is her amazing personality. I have to say if personalities could win Olympic medals hers would win 1st place. Everyone needs an Elizabeth in their life.

I’m sure you know some honest influencers as well.

For the most part though, influencers thrive on making people wish they had their “mostly perfect” life. It’s a “look at me, don’t you wanna be like me?” In an effort to be relatable though, they share some of their bad moments but usually these posts are curated to come off as charming instead of raw and authentic.

2. Most influencers live in a weird reality. It’s no longer …well: real. They have “photo shoots” everywhere and for everything. Especially if they’re being paid to promote products, clothes and places. This usually gets tiresome especially for the family or partner who has to join in or take the photos or simply be part of the “ordeal.” Everything…starts to feel…staged. The influencer will normally stay oblivious to this despite how annoying it may be.

Then there’s the influencer “poses”. Oh my god…the poses. There’s only a few and they range from: a super excited open mouth expression with your hand up in the air (usually seen in vacay pics), the “I’m so cool, you wish you were me” expression, or the “hot squat” pose (again, It’s the “I’m so cool” look) and of course…of course….selfies. Lots of selfies. It’s just not normal.

What…is this? did something get in your eyes, close them, make your mouth open and jolted your arm up with a peace sign? Is this a medication side effect?
Ok so we’re cool…but it’s still cringe sitting on your car seat like that
What in the “I wanna poop” is this pose?? Like…what is that? I’m sorry haha…but no. Just no.

After being off Instagram for so many months I’ve become so unplugged that I can actually see influencers “fake-ness” and cringe now.

I’ve realized that their photos are not normal. Posing the way they do is weird and not natural. After getting back from vacation with my family I realized that Ive started posing for pictures differently than I used to. I no longer do any staged photos or act like I’m in a photo shoot HAHAHA (so cringe.) I just…act normal. I’m honestly relieved I zapped out of the influencer…well…influence.

I think we all need to go back to how people took photos in the 90s. It was simple. It was for the purpose of keeping a memory. That’s was it.

No weird poses, no exaggerated face expressions, just normal people

3. Influencers for the most part get caught up in the fame and money. They don’t really care about others even though they try their hardest to come off as “good samaritans.” In reality they will promote brands they don’t like or haven’t even tried simply because the money offered is good. Of course they’ll tell you they only support brands they “love.”

As far as fame goes, a lot of them are what you call “fake-famous.” Social media fame comes from the connection the fans feel with the influencer while the fame an actor or singer obtain comes from their actual skill or talent. Therefore social media fame can be very fragile because it’s quite easy to piss off your Instagram fans as many have found.

Despite it being “fake fame” it feels almost no different from real fame. Influencers feel engulfed with attention from fans and they begin to believe that they truly are the most incredibly interesting person alive. This often creates a dull person as they now only think of themselves and in order to stay insta-famous they must continue to nurture their narcissistic psyche. Be careful what you wish for, as they say…

I really hope people wake up to this toxic trend of online influencers.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you look. You don’t need to buy their skinny tea, or their detox or their “anything” in hopes of looking like them. Do what you want for yourself and for your health but not in hopes of looking like someone else.

I gained some weight a week ago and I honestly didn’t even care. I think I even looked kind of cute. My boobs and butt got bigger – so there’s more to love haha! At the end of the day I know how to lose weight – I just stop eating big portions. What I want to say is: we are love-able no matter what. Our bodies and faces are just a suit. Don’t take it that seriously. I mean sure, take care of it, but don’t obsess over it and don’t compare it to others. The most important part of our bodies is the soul that lives in it temporarily.

Ive also started to wear less makeup recently.

Layla always tells me not to wear makeup – she doesn’t like it on me. Last night Sophie looked over at me on the sofa while watching a movie (I wasn’t wearing any makeup) and she said, “I love you mommy. You look bea-ful.” Then a few minutes later she tells me, “mommy you the pretty.” She stared at me lovingly. I laughed and hugged her.

My boyfriend likes me better with less makeup too.

I think there really is something about being make up less. I think it makes people feel more comfortable because its real…it’s the real you.

My legs and upper body don’t match at all right now – oh well haha – anyway this is me sans makeup

I no longer feel the need to fit into any social media norms. I don’t care if I’m weird. I don’t care if I’m not seen as “cool” or “fit.” All I know is life is better when you’re not striving to look like the influencer selling fit tea.

Thanks for reading,

Denise

Easter Basket Ideas for Girls

If you’re like me and you like putting Easter baskets together for your girl(s) here are some ideas to make it a great basket they’ll really enjoy.

Let’s get started. So this bubble gum pink Basket is from TARGET but I got my baskets from WALMART last year as well as this year (If you want to go up a notch or two, POTTERY BARN has some amazing ones.) If you’re feeling extra creative PINTEREST teaches you how to add floral arrangements to them.

I like to buy high end candy for the baskets – I spend about $20 on their basket candy. It’s less candy, higher quality, but my kids don’t eat too much candy anyway so this works for us.

Does high end Candy taste better? OH YEAH.

I always add a plushie in their basket. Disney has cute Minnie and Mickey plushies but if you want a more affordable option WALMART has full size plushies for $5 each.

Girls love lipgloss so a cute sparkly set will make them smile – TARGET has some really cute lipgloss sets for girls.

Throw in some cute bath bombs from TARGET

Add a pair of Jelly Sandals – these are $9 at Old Navy

A Bathing suit from TARGET

A new book is nice to throw into their basket. This is from AMAZON. You can grab children’s books from WALMART, TARGET or BARNES & NOBLES. Some are $3 – $5 in the clearance section.

I like to buy my girls their favorite DVDs – it’s always exciting to have a movie to look forward to.

Cute sunnies – these are from TARGET. There’s also a good selection of affordable & stylish sunnies on AMAZON.

Crayons & glitter ?? YES please. You can find these at WALMART.

You want to finish off by wrapping the basket in cellophane wrap – you can get the wrap at WALMART or TARGET.

Add a gift bow to the top of the cellophane wrap and you’re done. You’ll have a beautiful basket that looks like it’s from the store but much more exciting.

Thanks for reading,

Denise