March 26 Editorial

By: Kelly Woodard

As the weather warms up and the summer season arrives, I decided that it was time to do a little shopping for some cute new outfits. Usually a task I thoroughly enjoy doing every year, I headed to some of the stores I have relied on for years for stylish, inexpensive tops and dresses like Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, and TJ Maxx, only to find that even though my body may not have grown out of these teeny bopper clothes….at 34….I looked like an idiot in them.
To be clear, I’m not sure if the trends are just horribly tiny and slutty this year or if I have just moved into the category of “things women over 30 should not wear”. Row after row….rack after rack, I searched. All I seemed to find were crop tops and see through blouses with just lacy bras underneath them.
Now back in the day, I was a college student when Britney Spears and Shania “Belly Button” Twain were at their peak of popularity, and I have to admit that I did rock a crop top or two. I was also at nightclubs and had a six pack of abs back then, but that’s another story. Even now when I see those pictures, I cringe. Except for the abs….I’d kill to have those back.
But as I walked around the store, I noticed parents with young girls, probably no older than 14 or 15, with arm loads of these extremely provocative outfits, smiles on their faces. I heard one dad say to his wife, “There’s no way in hell I’m letting our daughter wear a shirt that shows her bra.” To which the wife replied, “Oh please! It’s the style these days. It’s no big deal.” The daughter then chimed in, “Seriously. Everyone is wearing them.”
At this point I wanted to take the little brat over my knee, and I felt bad for the guy that was married to this moron who was dressing her young daughter up like a prosti-tot, but he didn’t put up much of a fight. I bet he’ll regret that decision in a couple of years….but that’s really none of my business.
As I focused my attention back onto my own shopping, I realized that there were maybe two shirts in the whole store that actually had enough fabric to cover my navel and covered my bra and back. So off to the dressing room I went. I put the first one on only to realize that a Large in Charlotte Russe is like an XS at GAP. This clearly wasn’t working.
I headed to the next teeny bopper store and looked for anything that resembled a flowy summer blouse to wear with shorts and wedges. All I found was extremely cheap looking crap that was riddled with fringe, holes, sequins, and patterns that looked like barf. I only assume that is so “Two Beer Britney” can have a hardcore Saturday night without having to change after she has an unfortunate accident down the front of her shirt at Seville or Flounder’s.
That’s when I realized it. The clothes in these stores haven’t changed….I have. I didn’t want to admit it. I still consider myself young and fun, but let’s face it. I’m not a rock star, I can’t pull off a crop top and a mini skirt anymore, and my husband prefers that he’s the only one that gets to see my bra (except at the Flora-Bama….my bra has been hanging there in all its glory for years).
I walked out of the store I have loved for over a decade and said goodbye, turning the page to a new chapter of life. I think I’ll stick to more age appropriate stores from now on. Now if someone could tell me what those are, that would be helpful. Maybe I can convince my husband to let me do a little shopping in New York City when we go next week.
Chanel, Gucci, and Prada? Now those are clothes you never outgrow, no matter how old you are. Who knows? For a little Christian Dior, I might be able to show a little bra.
Carry on, tiny crop top wearing teens. This old lady has graduated to the big leagues. Now excuse me while I go sell a kidney.
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March 19 Editorial

By: Kelly Woodard

This week my husband and I took the plunge and bought into a bigger boat….40 feet of it to be exact. Although it isn’t new, it is a big step for us, not only in terms of financial responsibility, but also in terms of maneuverability. As we took ownership and our first journey back to our neck of the woods, she left us saying “get out of the way…we’re new” and “what have we done”.
We decided last summer that a new, bigger boat was on the horizon, but we weren’t sure what we were looking for. As the owners of a crappy little 23 foot deck boat, we figured that something in the range of 25 to 30 feet was the right fit for us. Apparently it wasn’t.
My brother called one day about two months ago and said, “I found the perfect boat for you on Craigslist.” I shook my head as if to say, “Oh, here we go” to my husband while on the phone with my brother, but I took a look at it anyways to make him happy.
I had to admit it was nice. An older boat, owned by one of the nicest men you will ever meet, it had been refurbished from one end to the other. The interior was brand new. I immediately had visions of family cookouts at Ft. McRae and camping trips in the comfort of air conditioning and Frozen on the DVD player while I whipped up a snack in the galley. This was the only way I would ever go camping.
But then I thought of the size. It’s hard to fit into certain places, we can’t park it in the backyard, and wet storage alone was going to be outrageous expense. Not to mention insurance and the never-ending maintenance that a larger boat seems to bring to the table. I put the idea on a shelf and left it there, still on the hunt for the perfect boat for the upcoming summer season.
A month later on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my brother called again. “The guy is at the marina. Let’s go see that boat in person.” Reluctantly, I agreed, but decided there wasn’t a better way to spend an unusually warm winter day than near the water, so off to Barber’s Marina we went. (On a total side note, if you haven’t driven out to Barber’s Marina in Josephine, Alabama… it! There is a Stonehenge replica, giant life size dinosaur statues strategically placed in the wilderness, and much more!)
Once we arrived, I quickly realized that the boat we were looking for was a little out of it’s league. It was surrounded by multimillion dollar Hatteras’s and boats that could only be considered yachts. “What are we doing here,” I thought. “We can’t afford anything in here.”
We approached the boat we were there to see, and I couldn’t believe how big it actually was in person. The thing was 14 feet wide! We looked in, around, and on top of the boat when I gave my husband that look and we had a telepathic conversation that went something like this…..
Me: “Dude, we totally need this boat.”
Him: “I totally know. Now, be cool.”
Me: “I got you. Is this cool enough?” (Walking away with a limp and a face like stone.)
A week later we had negotiated a price, searched high and low for insurance that wouldn’t force me to have to sell my first born child, and rented a slip at a local marina from a private owner that could only be described as a freaking steal. All the pieces were falling into place. Only one hurdle stood in the way. A marine survey.
Not sure what any of this meant, I didn’t question the $600 it was going to cost to have a surveyor check the boat out from top to bottom, but I did question the $400 it was going to cost just to pull the boat from the water to perform it. A $1000? We don’t even own it yet! But it was a risk we had to take.
The day of the survey came, and I was in the beginning stages of the flu. I could barely hold my head up. I took myself to the “stateroom” (a thing that is still crazy to even say), and curled up under the comforter of the queen sized bed that was so soft it felt like angel wing feathers. Three hours later, I awoke fully confident that this was indeed our boat. That bed slept like a champ. I could’ve slept there for days. Whatever that good feeling was it gave me, I wanted more of it.
Then today, we finally signed the paperwork, got the keys, and headed over to bring her back to Florida. As my husband cranked the boat and pulled out of the slip, I realized what a monster this thing was to handle. I mean…this thing is a beast. Once we were out of the marina and into open water, the experience was everything we could’ve asked for. While in the tower, we saw countless stingrays, fish, and dolphins who followed us by leaping out of the water in our wake for miles.
Two hours later, we pulled into our marina, and the anxiety began to build. We only had a small space to spin this thing around, and we were as green as an amateur can get when it comes to throttle controlling a big boat. I kept my anxiety inside, trying not to show that I lacked confidence in my husband’s skills.
To my surprise, he took the controls, spun the boat around on a dime, and slid into the slip like a pro. I have to admit that I didn’t see that coming, and I was wrong….but I’ll never do so out loud. We tied her up and sat back for a bit to take in the scene and clear our heads from the chaos of the past month while trying to make this all happen.
We did it.
You may be reading many future articles about the trials and tribulations of this decision, and you may very well see a boat for sale in the coming months, but for now, we are over the moon. There’s nothing like that new boat smell….even if the boat isn’t new. I just know that we need to remember that old boat saying:
“B-ust O-ut A-nother T-housand (BOAT)” or, as I’m afraid will be our case,
“B-ust O-ut A-nother T-en T-housand (BOATT)”. Pray for me! Now bring on the sunshine!
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March 12 Editorial

By: Kelly Woodard

Ah, the Flu. For the past ten days, I have been officially out of commission due to a horrible cold that can only contain some kind of mutant bacteria that are not only immune to antibiotics, but are strong enough to bring this big woman to her knees.
I’ll admit….I haven’t really slowed down enough since 2015 began. From Mardi Gras balls, New Orleans, bachelorette parties, to weekend nights out with friends, I have been spreading myself a little thin lately. That is until that special Monday morning after a big weekend of festivities rolled around.
I awoke with a pounding in my head, which was not generally uncommon for me after a “Sunday Funday”, but this time it was different. I attempted to reach for my Advil bottle on the nightstand, but my arm didn’t respond. It felt like it weighed 1,000 lbs. That’s when I noticed that my throat was sore. I stumbled to the bathroom to grab some Allegra thinking this was springtime allergies. Then I realized my forehead was on fire.
I took to the couch for the rest of the day, hoping that a little rest would help me shake it off. 18 hours later, I woke again, drenched in sweat and freezing all at the same time. Still unwilling to admit that I was indeed sick, I said nothing, dressed myself, and headed to a nearby marina with my husband to meet with a marine surveyor who was checking out a boat we are considering purchasing. Little did I know, this process was going to take all day.
As hour three rolled on, I was in pure misery but would never admit it out loud. That is until my husband said, “You don’t look so good. Do you feel okay?” I told him that I was a little tired and headed to the car for a nap. I woke up two hours later in a puddle of my own drool with my face stuck to the leather on the head rest. I had been dreaming that I was wandering around the marina naked singing “Yankee Doodle”, and still wasn’t entirely sure that hadn’t really happened due to my feverish state. But I still wasn’t admitting that I was sick.
I joined my husband and the surveyor on the boat thinking that at five hours, this thing had to be over soon. It wasn’t even close. The last thing I remember was curling up in the cabin of the boat. When I awoke, I told the surveryor, “Good news. The bed in there sleeps great.” I still wasn’t sick. I was just helping with a little research.
When day five of this misery rolled around, I opened my eyes (barely) when my husband came home from work and answered his hello with an “uuhhhhgghhh”. With a fever of 103.0°, it was time to admit it…..I was sick.
He peeled me off the mattress and removed my germ soaked body from the onesie I refused to take off. He dressed me and carried me to the car saying, “That’s it. You’re going to the doctor.” He was right….I didn’t even have the energy to fight him on the issue.
The doctor’s first reaction was, “Why did you wait to come in? You are extremely sick, young lady.” I didn’t have my usual excuse or a comeback for him. I frankly just wanted him to shut his trap and doodle on his prescription pad….A LOT. And he did.
I had been banished to the couch….too sick to be in contact with others and too sick to care.
Over the next few days as I ventured only to the bathroom, I saw my face in the mirror change from a generally youthful appearance to a version of myself that I imagine could have played a puffy, wrinkly, wretched old evil witch in a Disney movie. I was unrecognizable. And to make matters worse, parts of my body ached for no reason whatsoever. I went from being an active, vibrant woman to a pale, feeble grump who refused to eat (and told you about anything I did get down in detail) with an achy hip and chest pains. At least now I know what to expect in my old age.
Three bottles of various cough and decongestant meds, two rounds of antibiotics, bruised ribs and a pulled back muscle (all from coughing I might add), and 10 sleepless nights later, I am back to the land of the living. I can’t remember being that sick in a long time. I also can’t remember being that stubborn about accepting defeat and seeking medical attention either.
The moral of the story kids is don’t be an idiot like me. If you are sick, go to the doctor. Don’t wait. There is some nasty stuff going around, and no one wants to end up and evil old witch. Or worse, dead. Stay well friends!

March 5 Editorial

Although the weather may not be cooperating just yet, visitors and locals alike are making plans for fun in the sun. That can only mean one thing: spring break is officially upon us. While thousands of people will hit the beaches for some fun in the sun, not everyone will be prepared for their trip. So whether you’re planning to stay here in Pensacola, or you’re ready to hit the road, here are some easy ways to prepare for the holiday that can save you money, keep you out of trouble, and ensure that the good times don’t end until it’s time to head home.
Don't forget sunscreen-
The sun is almost triple its intensity on the beach due to its reflections off the sand and the water. You can be sure to avoid a nasty burn (and that oh-so-attractive rock lobster look) by slathering on plenty of sunscreen and wear protective gear like your favorite shades to prevent burning sensitive areas. Tanning in short intervals will help promote a more even, longer lasting tan. Not to mention you'll be able to mingle with people without punching them after slapping your back!
Drink responsibly-
This one can be tricky. No one wants to ruin your fun, but none of us locals want a bunch of unruly drunken idiots running around our town either. Having a few drinks can be fun during spring break, but remember.....all things in moderation. Besides, how embarrassing would it be to have to call your parents to bail you out of jail.....or worse...pick you up from the hospital? Do yourself a favor and save the regret. Watch out for them and make sure that they keep any eye on you as well. Acting responsibly will help you enjoy a lifetime of celebrations.
Know basic water safety-
While the beaches usually offer a beautiful and safe experience the overwhelming majority of the time, there are times that they can be very dangerous. Here are some water safety tips to help you on your trip this spring break.
A GREEN flag means that the water is calm. The undertow is slight to non-existent and it is safe to swim using the proper amount of caution!
A YELLOW flag indicates the presence of light surf or currents and additional caution should be used while swimming in the Gulf.
A RED flag indicates the presence of strong surf and currents. Swimming in these conditions is not recommended as it presents a very high hazard to all swimmers.
A DOUBLE RED flag, however, means that the water is closed to the public! No one is allowed in the water when a double red flag is posted!
Finally, a PURPLE flag indicates the presence of marine pest in the water such as jellyfish, stingrays or dangerous fish.
Use common sense, if the waves look dangerous, they probably are. Remember that even small summer thunderstorms can cause local dangerous conditions with the surf. Seek shelter when storm clouds become visible. Avoid the water if you see lightning. Be safe and exhibit caution if you can’t swim or are a beginner.
Respect our home-
Hey, we don’t throw our trash where you live. Don’t throw your garbage in our backyard. While you may just be passing through, remember that there are thousands of people just like you and your loved ones who live here year-round. When you scatter your waste on the roads and beaches or vandalize our facilities, you hurt the locals and contribute to their resentment. Make sure that you leave our area beautiful so its stays that way for the next time you visit.
Have a happy and wonderful Spring Break season and take time to be thankful that we all get to stay and play on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world right in our own backyard. Now, let’s get this thing started….to the Bushwhacker machine!

February 26 Editorial

This week, some of my girlfriends decided that it was time to buy into the hype and head to the theaters to see ‘50 Shade of Grey’. When asked if I wanted to come along, I didn’t just say no….I said that I’d rather chew my own leg out of a bear trap. And here’s why.
Although I’ve never read the books, I know what they are all about. Do I have some pent up issues with sexuality? No, but I do however find it laughable that women who cringe at the mere thought of discussing sex, even with their closest friends, are panting like dogs in heat to see it on the big screen.
Furthermore, many of these women are the same women who scoff at the thought of their husbands viewing erotic material or even commenting on women dressed provocatively, but see no problem with running out to catch a big studio production of S&M. If you ask me, that seems pretty hypocritical.
And don’t even get me started on the debate of “does Anastasia really want this, or is he abusing her because she is weak”. Here’s the bottom line….any woman who walks into his “red room” and isn’t interested in indulging is going to either leave and never call the guy again or she’s going knee him in the crotch and call him a creep. She’s not going to give it a try so he’ll like her.
Look….Anastasia (or whatever they call her) got down and dirty with this guy because she wanted to, then she wants to play the “shy good girl” card. I’m not buying it. From what I’ve seen and heard, 50 Shades of Grey is nothing more than a grown up version of Twilight, full of forbidden love and angst of being torn between the life you had before and the life you’re about to exchange it for. Blah, blah, blah.
It’s all been done before.
I personally have enough fun and unpredictability going on at my house (and I’m not just talking about my love life) that I don’t feel the ‘desperate housewife’ need to get out and fantasize about a life that is only sexy on screen. Face it ladies, there are real people who are into this sort of thing, and it is not glamorous at all. It’s actually kind of sad.
If you take away the fact that Christian Grey is a billionaire who never works and set the same movie to a guy name Jim Bob who sells meth and lives in a trailer, the tables get turned pretty quickly. Not so sexy anymore, is it?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is all about perception. I personally think that while you shouldn’t be ashamed of exploring new things, it doesn’t belong on the big screen (certainly not a major motion picture).
I personally think that instead of glorifying a meek, indecisive, impressionable moron like Anastasia, we should be portraying women who are strong enough to make decisions in relationships without feeling pressured or fearful.
Most importantly, I personally think if women “watered the grass” in their own relationships so to speak, they wouldn’t be rushing out to the theaters in droves looking for something that’s missing in their own bedrooms.
I just find it interesting that we ridicule men on a daily basis for objectifying women, yet we can’t wait to allow ourselves to be objectified on screen? What planet am I living on? And no, I’m not some crazy bra burning feminist. It just seems to me like everyone is forgetting that Christian Grey is a borderline sociopathic rapist and we are calling it passion? It seems totally hypocritical as to how most women claim they want to be treated in relationships.
In the end, to each his own. If you like this sort of thing….more power to you. You are probably the same women that went nuts for ‘Magic Mike’. I saw that one, and I think my IQ went down at least 10 points. I hated myself for weeks.
I guess I’ll skip the movie and spend another boring evening at home with my husband in our onesie pajamas snuggling while we watch Real Housewives. Now that’s intimacy.