guest bloggers

Guest Blog: Katherine from "Life with Arie"

When you usually read Sara’s blog, you’re readying about baby life. Buying for baby. Preparing for baby. Bodily changes with growing baby. For those of you, like me, who have yet to have children—or don’t plan to—pregnancy and motherhood are amazing and interesting, but maybe a little terrifying. Last year, I brought another life into my home, much like Sara and Z are about to do (but without the pains of birth or the 9 months of interesting happenings). My new companion came home after an impulse in a pet store. Before you start angrily typing away about purchasing pets, believe me, I know your diatribe, and I share it myself. Forgive me for my trespasses, and please understand that I love animals with all of my heart, and have always adopted fur-balls of love. While growing up with loveable mutts, I used to house sit for a family with two White German Shepherds. I was smitten. I fell in love with the breed, and I swore to myself that someday, I would have one of my own. Then, right after moving to Atlanta, a pair of big brown eyes snatched my heart, while buying toys for a friend’s dog. It was over. Done. I was officially a pet parent.

While Z and Sara have had a little bit of time to prepare, my impulse buy came home with a puppy package and a lot of prayer that my roommate would be as understanding in person as she was on the phone. Luckily she was, and my years of experience with pets paid off. Much like bringing home a baby, Arie and I had to go through a lot of struggles. Like a baby name, everyone insisted on miss-saying her name, even after hearing me say it correctly. Like a bald infant dressed in green (I was a cue ball for a while as a baby), people constantly assume that she’s a he—It shouldn’t matter, but like a proud mama, I’m quick to correct. She cried all night the first few nights I had her at home, and potty training was a major PITA…and I’m not talking about the bread.

Beyond the battles though, Arie brought a new aspect into my life that I had never experienced. My dog and I have a bond and companionship so close that I could only compare it to the childhood pup I grew up with for 15 years. I am responsible for this life, and ensuring that she grow up, get her training, and that she be a functioning member of the animal society of Atlanta and area parks. Though a tiny human is so much more than a tiny puppy, this is closest I can relate to what Sara is anxiously anticipating.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER:

Katie is a twenty-something living in Atlanta, GA with her White German Shepherd, Arie, the subject of her blog, Life with Arie. She is an avid animal lover and a Social Media Strategist by trade. To read about her adventures with Arie and beyond, be sure to check out her blog.

Until next time...

Are your pets like extra kids, or your sole furry children? What’s your pet’s adoption/homecoming story?

Guest Blog: Leah the Law Student

I can juggle a full credit load at Law School and an internship, but this guest blogging has me stumped! I used to blog when I was living abroad and loved sharing my crazy adventures like running down the street trying to flag down an elephant for a ride, and being dressed up and invited to participate in an Indian festival on TV, and I have always wanted to get back into blogging (we all secretly want to quit our jobs and be a full-time blogger, I turn shades of green while reading about the awesome DIY adventures of Young House Love), so therefore, this entry had to be good! Idea #1 (this is deceiving, sense originally, there was only one idea) A Day in the Life of a Law Student (*cue jokes about lawyers, which sadly, for the majority of the profession are true!).

This idea seemed to be golden, I could share how about my morning:

5:34 AM - Alarm goes off (naturally, it has to be an even time, getting up at an odd time would ruin the whole day, obviously)

5:35 AM - Debate about actually getting up … I *could* just go work out this evening, then fiancé and I could work out together and be all cutesy. But, no, I want to look really good in my wedding dress… but isn’t lots of sleep equally important to looking good? Maybe if I work out this afternoon it will kick-start my momentum and I’ll get up early tomorrow, that sounds like a good plan. No, must get up.

5:36 AM - Discover the DVD I want to work out to is not in the case and DVD cord is unplugged because we hooked the Macbook up to the TV last night. That seems like a lot of effort to fix...

5:27 AM – Back to Bed

I could share about walking to class:

8:30 AM – Walk to class, listening to my new “iPho.” What’s that you ask? It’s a fancy thing called an iPhone, but it’s the fiance’s old deactivated one. Some people might call that an iPod Touch… nope, it’s my “iPho.” I love listening to books, it’s my new commuting past time since three days a week I find myself on a noisy and ever-delayed regional rail trekking down to DC.

I could share about how my highlight of class time is snacktime and blog perusing time:

1:05 PM – The dreaded Income Tax Law Class. The only good thing about the class is looking forward to break time aka “snack time.” I  brought a White Chocolate Kit Kat (thanks to winning a bet against the fiancé).

1:10 PM – Danger, danger. Ate snack early. Now nothing to look forward to. I guess I’ll just pay attention and take notes.

1:12 PM – Abort. What new people can I stalk on Facebook? And look, what’s this? www.drawastickman.com. Time to check in on my blogs… some of my favorites, after of course Life in these times..., are Today’s Letters, Young House Love, Rockstar Diaries, MODG Blog, The View From Africa … and my new guilty indulgence, Suri’s Burn Book [don’t judge].

But then I decided my day probably wasn’t all that interesting to anyone except, and only at times, me.

Idea # 2 RECIPE!

I loooooove to bake and cook and bake and cook some more. But then I remember it’s finals time… aka “hell weekS.” So, unless I wanted to share my passion for Velveeta and Shells as my stress food, a recipe wasn’t going to meet the December 3rd deadline! But as a bonus, I will give you a stress food that will change your life (you’re welcome):

Eggless, Single Serve Cookie Dough: 3 tbsp flour 2 tbsp sugar 1.5 tbsp butter (I use “I can’t believe it’s not butter”… so the whole recipe is practically 0 cals…. That’s what I tell my hips at least) 1  tbsp milk Dash of vanilla As many chocolate chips (or in my case, white chocolate chips) as your heart desires.

Idea #3 Cute story – We have a winner!

I met my fiance thanks to a post-it note. Yes, a regular old (*disclaimer it was actually a hot pink lined post-it) post-it note. We both lived in the same apartment building--a building in which you never saw another soul in the hallways or elevators, because it was full of med students who keep odd hours! One night, I was walking home from International Law class, because my second class of the night was cancelled. As I was walking down the hallway, the door to an apartment opened up and the glorious smell of steak filled my senses! A neighbor emerged that lived across the hall, and inside the kitchen cooking was a new neighbor I had never seen before!! I made a passing comment about how great the hall smelled, and was told that it was the traditional Monday Night Steak Night. After I got to my apartment, just around the corner... I thought about the mysterious and cute neighbor and in a moment completely out of character, decided to take action! The next morning, I left a hot pink post-it note on the door of his apartment that said "Next time you have a steak party, you should invite the whole floor. -Apt 218" At first I heard nothing back... but then, two days later, I opened my door and found a yellow post-it note addressed to "Mysterious Resident of 218”!! I was informed that Steak Night was sacred, but that maybe they could make an exception for one of the residents on the floor. A few more post-it note exchanges occurred... and a week later, I was able to crash bromance night and enjoy steak with Robert, and his friend Matt. We became fast friends, finding we had a lot in common and started dating just a few months later!

Naturally, our engagement was thanks to a post-it note as well! I am next to impossible to surprise, because I'm so observant (read: nosy). So this story is pretty impressive in that, Robert managed to get me up on the roof, blindfolded, holding a brick... before I caught on. On Wednesday evening, March 16th, during Spring Break, we were having a quiet night in. We had some leftovers for dinner and were organizing to go to Ocean City for a few days. After dinner, Robert insisted we should have dessert, but I resisted (sort of), and instead whipped up some monkey bread (in hindsight, the cheesecake would have been fewer calories after I got done doctoring the monkey bread). We were sitting on the couch, and I was being secretive with my laptop, working on a special project for Robert. As a joke and to make a point, Robert grabbed one of my free airline sleepmasks so that he could sit next to me and not see my screen. In a moment of inspiration, Robert put the sleep mask on me and attempted to tickle me! Which led to an unplanned moment... a piece of broken furniture!! Robert found it hilarious (in his head thinking... oh great, how am I going to work around this) and I was upset at Robert's insensitivity. Robert insisted that there were some bricks in the stairwell of the building that we could use as a quick fix. At this point, I still had the sleepmask pushed up into my hair... he then put the sleepmask back on me and asked if I would trust him to lead me around, like out on the street... "Um, no!" ... "Okay, how about just back to your apartment?" "Fine" ... but then, we leave his apartment and turn left instead of right... "Where are you taking me!" "Just to grab the bricks" ... For once, I decided to just go with it and let him lead me to the stairwell since he was so keen on the idea. We get to the stairwell, open the door, and start walking up the stairs and he hands me a brick. Then we start heading up the stairs in a quest to find more bricks... (I'm not sure how I didn't catch on)... we finally get to the roof, he claims he sees some bricks in the corner. There I am, standing on the edge of the rooftop deck, blindfolded, holding a brick with my arms splayed in front of me convinced that I am somehow on the edge of the roof (not even close). He leaves my side for a moment, and when he returns, he claims that he's found another brick. As he removes the sleepmask, he's standing there with a huge post-it note that says "Leah, will you marry me?" ! ! ! He gets down on one knee, and has a beautiful ring. Of course I said "YES!"

I excitedly emailed 3M with our cute-meet story (with thoughts in my head of “The Wedding of Robert and Leah” brought to you by 3M) and received just a generic form response of “Glad you are satisfied with our products.” Hmm… marrying my best friend, I’d say that’s pretty darn satisfied!

And there you go! My foray back into blogging!

ABOUT THE BLOGGER...

Leah is a third year law student and unfortunately that doesn't leave time in life for much else! She loves baking, cooking and reading non-law school books when she gets the chance. In the midst of law school, she loves planning for her May 2012 wedding to her best friend and is enjoying all the DIY projects along the way. She was lucky enough to find "Life in  " thanks to a link on a mutual friend's blog she reads! After finals, in mid-December, stay tuned for Leah's effort to start blogging again at : fallingdownthealphabet.blogspot.com and if you get really bored over the holidays, read all about her crazy adventures in India, Israel, China and Japan at themumbaiscratch.blogspot.com.

Guest blog: Tracy... aka my hero :)

Over the course of the last few months, as Keelin has steadily grown in the belly, Sara and I have had tons of conversations – mostly on GChat. We’ve talked of changes in appetite and skin, a depleted energy level and even how tough it is to keep balance with the many body changes going on. Menopause is just killing me! It’s a bitch! (Just kidding. Except for the bitch part.)

In all seriousness, it’s been cool to hear about the pregnancy and about the many preparations for Keelin’s arrival. I’m so very excited for Sara and Z and even more so for Keelin. She’s a lucky little girl for sure.

As a welcome to little Keelin, I’ve written her a letter in the hopes that she’ll find a nugget or two to apply to her own life some day.  It goes like this:

Dear Keelin,

Welcome to Earth!

While I hope we meet much later on in your life, when a conversation between us can go deeper than your adorable baby babble, it’s possible that we’ll somehow miss each other. So, in case we do, I wanted you to know now that I’m glad you’re here and that I believe the world is a better place already, because you’re in it!

I’m just about to turn 50 at the time of this writing. I met your mother only a couple of years ago and she quickly became a wonderful friend. The expanse of years between us hasn’t made one bit of difference … I credit her for that and for the way my little corner of the world brightens up whenever she enters it.

There’s so much to learn in this life and you have wonderful parents to teach you. I did too, but I still made some pretty big stumbles! For this reason, I thought I’d put in writing a few helpful tips I’ve learned.

I was always in a rush growing up. I hope you’ll take the time in your early years to enjoy teddy bears and frogs and every single silver moon that dusts your toes with warm light on hot summer nights. Ponder a butterfly’s wings, the smell of gardenias and the texture of macaroni and cheese on your tongue. Take your time to take it in and savor. Don’t let anyone rush you when you’re enjoying a moment.

It’s not uncommon for us to sometimes take ourselves very seriously. I assure you, with practice, you can find that Goldilocks spot in your psyche that’s the perfect ‘just right’ balance between deathly serious and utterly ridiculous. Laugh much – especially when examining your own flaws, for many of them will fade away with the passage of time or become an endearing aspect of your unique character.

Be brave and embrace the lessons learned from disappointments, let-downs and injustices. Squeeze every last bit of knowledge you can out of them as you make a case for what’s right. Avoid punching wrong-doers in the face - even if they totally deserve it. Conversely, take the underdog by the hand. Be a friend to the downtrodden. It’s a heroic act … especially when performed in the 7th grade.

Every woman deserves a quality bra, a huge supply of lavender bath salts, clean bed linens, cute PJ’s AND to be respected in her chosen field. Dare to own your achievements AND the many failures and successes that helped to get you there. And at the end of each exhausted day spent making those achievements happen, treat yourself to a nice hot lavender bath, soft jammies and a clean, warm bed.

As a way of experimenting with your power early in life, occasionally wear socks that don’t match. There’s something about it that feels empowering. (I don’t get it either, but just try it before you dismiss it). When you get a little older, try using outrageous hairstyles as an outlet for angst. It’s one way to relieve rebellious stress but with no long-term regretful repercussions, (like piercing your entire head, for instance. THAT you’d likely regret forever!) Hair grows out making it a safe place to act out occasionally.

Always remember that everyone has a story and sometimes that story can explain bad behavior. Be willing to listen with empathy and warmth. If a person was mean but the story behind it helps you understand, then you have something to work with. If they were mean just because they ARE mean, then it’s time to move on.

Above all else, let love, respect and kindness guide you on your journey through this life. Treat each person with dignity and honor.

That last part shouldn’t be too hard … you can just model your momma for that.

Love, Tracy

ABOUT THE BLOGGER:

I usually ask my guest bloggers to write this part out for themselves, just so readers can get to know them a little bit better. BUT today, because I was so touched by Tracy's words... I'm going to fill hers out for her. And there's nothing she can do about it! Basically Tracy is my hero. She's like my 5'2" knight in shimmering armor... if knights were women and filled with spunk! We met while both working at a TRULY terrible job but I'm so incredibly thankful that it brought us to know one another. She is kind, brilliant {both of which are evident in her sweet words and impecable writing}, funny, inspirational, goofy, charismatic, and a true TRUE friend. I'm so happy to know her and so thankful that Keelin will get to meet such a motivating individual. LOVE YOU T-RAY!

Guest blog: Kevin from The Trot Line

ATTENTION LADIES... especially those of you who are still in need of a Christmas gift for your honeybun!
I asked my friend Kevin {a man's man} to write a post about what to get your MAN for Christmas. I can say from personal experience that there have been more than a few holidays, birthdays and other celebrations where I find myself at a total loss for what to get Z. I don't know why it's so hard to "think man" when shopping for gifts but it's definitely something I think many of us have stressed over before... so this is definitely a BIG help. {Kevin, you rock} You still have a few more days to check your hubby, boyfriend, brother, dad, or WHOEVER off your Christmas list, so take a look at what Kevin has to say and become the best gift giver ever!
Guys have the unfortunate reputation for never being specific when it comes to gift giving. Because we never come out and say, "I want a gas-powered chain saw for Christmas," women tend to think that we (men folk) are extremely difficult to give gifts.  Really, it's not that hard at all to find your man the right Christmas gift this year.
Here are a few things that almost any guy in your life will appreciate:
  1. A Bottle of Whiskey - One of life's little luxuries is whiskey.  Nearly every man has a taste for oak aged liquor.  It's a gift that they can enjoy after a hard day of work, to celebrate with, or to share with a buddy.  If you're on a tight budget this year, you can find some amazing whiskeys that are a few that you should check out like Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Bourbon or Ian Macleo's Isle of Sky 8 Year Scotch Whisky.
  2. A Home Brewing Kit - Yes, another alcohol related gift.  My apologies to the recovering alcoholic.  However, if your guy has ever dreamt of recreating his favorite beer for himself, then this might be the perfect gift.  A home brewing kit gives your guy a new hobby and a new project to be proud about.  You can find really affordable home brew kits from Hop City in Atlanta or Brewmasters Warehouse in Marietta.
  3. Straight Razor Shave - Getting your guy a straight razor shave from a local barber shop is a great stocking stuffer.  Guys rarely like shaving as it is, so having someone do it for them and have it be extremely relaxing is the best of both worlds.
  4. Repaint the Home - If your guy spends most of his weekends outside, cleaning around the house, then taking care of the home for him is a great gift.  It's one less thing on his to-do list.  You can win a free house painting job if you live around Atlanta right now from Davis Paint Company in Woodstock, GA.
  5. A Trip to the Gun Range - Top off your man's Christmas list with a trip to the gun range.  An hour in the lanes, a few boxes of ammo and a couple of high powered weapons is always a great treat for the guy in your life.  The Quickshot Shooting Range in Atlanta has all of those plus a special bonus; homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Yes, I know.  You can thank me later for being the best wife or girlfriend ever because the combination of gunpowder and cookie dough go so well together.
{PS. ladies, this is a TON of fun for us too. Make your man go weak in the knees when he see's you grab those earplugs and fire off a few rounds!}
ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Kevin is the founder of The Trot Line, an editorial website highlighting life and culture in the South.