January 22 Editorial

Each year when Mardi Gras rolls around, every lady from here to New Orleans gets to relive her high school formal days by dressing up from head to toe in true over the top fashion. This week was no exception for me as I prepared to once again attend the Cordova Mall Ball.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to buy a gorgeous dress and shop for accessories without getting put in the dog house by my husband, Mardi Gras is always one of my favorite times of the year. I live for the sparkles, the jewelry, and of course, the masquerade masks. Ready to score another win in the couples fashion department, I set out on the search for the perfect gown. Little did I know that this year, I was in “big” trouble.
As a lover of online shopping, I decided to start my quest there. To my astonishment, I found a dress on sale, in the perfect color, and in my size (or so I thought), that would be delivered just in time for the Ball. I ordered it, then spent my time making sure that my accessories and hair style were perfect. I even set out on a quest to find the perfect tux accessories for my husband. Everything was falling into place perfectly.
The dress arrived on Monday, and I could barely contain myself as I ripped the box open. It was beautiful. The perfect cut, color, and style I wanted. I ran to the bathroom to try it on faster than I think I ever have. I slipped it on over my head. When it reached my backside, it was like the dress gods slammed on the brakes.
I pulled and tugged until it finally shimmied its way down to the floor. The size I had normally worn is clearly no longer the size I wear. I turned to look at myself in the mirror. It was zipped and the corset was laced, but the back of me looked like two giant hogs wrestling to get out of the pen.
My first thought was, “It looks good from the front. Maybe if nobody sees me from behind it will be okay.” Then I realized how stupid that sounded. I called my mom to discuss the debacle. “Well people love Kim Kardashian and she wears tight dresses on her big butt.” Maybe she had a point. Perhaps I just needed to walk around in it to see if I was just overreacting to a posterior that had spread like wildfire since the last Mall Ball.
I sashayed around the house for a few minutes, feeling better and better about this gorgeous dress I was stuffed in like a sausage casing. “I can totally rock this,” I thought. Then I sat down only to hear a loud, “Riiiiipppp”. In horror, I stood up quickly to find that the two hogs had released themselves from the pen.
My entire booty was hanging out of the dress like a full moon. Well, I guess that settles that. I was back to square one. Life gets complicated when you are no longer a skinny person. Things that were once a breeze like bikini shopping and scratching the middle part of your back now make you feel like you’d rather slam your hand in a car door. Clearly I’ve been in denial for quite some time.
Now, I am on a last minute hunt for a new dress that allows for some wiggle room for my little “piggies”. It’s too late to starve myself, and it’s far too late to properly diet and exercise. More importantly, it’s far too late for my beautiful dress, may she rest in ‘pieces’.
Happy Mardi Gras y’all!

editorial pic (historicalsewing.com)

January 15 Editorial

Continuing in my efforts to rediscover the old me underneath all this new me, I decided that it was time this week to dust off the old high heels that I used to love so much and take them for a spin on the town. Little did I know, the only spin I would be taking was one that led me to the Emergency Room.
In an effort to make 2015 the best year ever, my husband and I decided that working on being open and honest while communicating was key to our success. While discussing what we could do to strengthen our relationship my husband said, “You know I love you, but it wouldn’t kill you to get out of that onesie and put on some makeup and heels every now and then.” Whoa, dude. I said open and honest. Not brutal and insensitive.
But he was right. These days, he was lucky if I even put on a pair of clean yoga pants. I was a far cry from the girl who used to dress in business attire and run around in circles wearing 6 inch heels all day without a care. Something had to be done.
I went to my closet and pulled out a box that contained some of the most beautiful shoes known to man. As I slipped each of them on, I was reminded of how much I had once loved wearing them and how many compliments I used to receive. For a second, I felt really good again. Then I stood up.
The pain hit me immediately. My toes were cramped. My instep felt weak. My ankles shook. How in the world had I possibly worn these torture devices for more than two seconds in the past? I forced myself to push through the pain and walk around the house. It’s amazing how tender the back of your foot will get when all you wear is flip flops. I had blisters the size of Canada.
Later that week, our friends called, wanting us to join them for dinner and a night out. As we got ready to go, I reluctantly bit the bullet and slipped on a pair of my beloved heels. I walked into the room and my husband said, “You look great, but you’re going to kill yourself in those.” I hope he realizes he should never be a motivational speaker.
We headed out the door in a hurry as usual, him complaining about how long it takes me to get ready, and me, walking like a newborn deer on our uneven driveway. So far, so good.
We met for dinner, and immediately my friends started raving about my shoes. Strangers even commented on how “fierce” they were. I was getting the hang of them again, and I have to admit, it made me feel more confident. After dinner we went to a show at Vinyl where, again, the shoe compliments just kept coming. Unfortunately, so too did the drinks.
Around midnight, one of our friends who lives it up in Pensacola as if he was in Vegas or NYC, said, “I bought us the VIP section at Seville. Let’s go.” I thought, “VIP section at Seville? Is that even a real thing?” Turns out, it is. As someone over the age of 30 and over the poundage of a toddler, I despise going to Seville. You don’t even need to feel bad that your glory days in “the club” are over…..There are 3,000 barely legal teenagers there to remind of that every ten seconds.
But I went. But boy, did I make and entrance.
It was a busy Friday night, and as my husband paid at the door, I went ahead and walked in. One step through the door, my heel caught one of the “historic” bricks we Pensacolians love so much the wrong way, and I went down face first while rolling my ankle. I was embarrassed and wasn’t sure if I could stand, so I just yelled, “Man down! Man down!” I tried to play it off with a pose, but the pain I was feeling was real. It was time to address it.
My husband walked in, post tragedy, and said, “What happened? I left you alone for one minute!” I just said, “Shut up and help me. I’m hurt.” I tried my best to walk it off, but it wasn’t happening. Then I remembered that I had brought flats as a “wear in case of emergency” type thing. Break that glass, honey. Mama’s going to need some flats.
He returned a couple minutes later with my flat shoes, but unfortunately this didn’t help. “I think I need to go home,” I said. “I think you need an ice bag and some vodka,” he replied. I couldn’t argue with that. Off to the “VIP” area. (What a joke by the way. $250 for a bottle of Vodka at the table, but I still have to go downstairs and potty with the regular people? I’m going to need to speak to someone.)
I toughed it out for the rest of the night, and let’s be clear….by toughing it out, I mean that I sat in a booth drinking with my leg elevated.
The next day, I woke up to a softball sized ankle and toes that looked like swollen Vienna sausages. Not sure if it was broken or sprained, we decided an x-ray was in order. Good news? Not broken. Bad news? $300 hospital bill, crutches, and a lot of whining.
Looking back, would I have worn those heels that night if I could go back in time? Yes. Would I have gone to the land of drunken children and uneven pavement? Probably not. But if I did, I’d tell myself to watch that first step. It’s a doosy.
I know I’ll try to wear my heels again, but for now, I think its best that I stick to onesies and flip flops.

January 8 Editorial

In my eternal quest for trying to better myself and my obvious hatred for New Year’s resolutions (see last week’s edition), I decided that instead of doing the cliché “join a gym and take selfies” January, I would try to be more spontaneous and adventurous in my life this year. I want to learn to kite board. I want to go skydiving. I want to go to the mountains. Then I want to climb that mountain.
This week, I took my first swing at getting “outdoorsy”, and it wasn’t pretty.
For Christmas, I bought kayaks for my husband and myself. Thinking this was a simple activity that we could do together year round right out of our own backyard, I couldn’t wait to get out on the water. A few days ago, we finally took the plunge. Pun intended.
We walked the kayaks down to the water’s edge, bundled up from head to toe due to the 40 degree weather that had suddenly blown in. This should have been the first indicator that it wasn’t the best time to try a new sport, but I’m clearly either stupid or just not that intuitive.
I jumped in, ready to go and my husband shoved me off of the beach. Within seconds I looked like a newborn deer trying to stand for the first time. The kayak rocked back and forth like I was a buoy in a hurricane, each time allowing frigid waves of water to spill into the cockpit and then into my sweatpants. But I wasn’t giving up!
I eventually got myself stable enough to press on in my now sopping wet pants, and started to paddle along with the current. My husband was right beside me, showing off his “skills” that he had acquired on the one other trip he had taken without me. As he paddled in circles around me, I thought, “He’s getting a little too big for his britches.” In the words of Miranda Lambert…. “Something Bad About To Happen”.
A few minutes later we were far enough from land on both sides that I knew I was going to freak out if I a) flipped over or b) saw a giant, man eating sea creature. That’s when my husband comes cruising up beside me. “Hey, check this out”, he said while attempting to paddle backwards.
Next thing I knew, he was wobbling like crazy and splashing like a mermaid. The thrashing was so intense at one point that he attempted to steady himself by grabbing on to my kayak. Oh, no!!! Not today, honey. Out of fight or flight instinct I hit him twice with my paddle until he let go and I paddled away. It’s every man for himself out here. Yes, I’m an awful person.
Once he was back in the seat and wet from head to toe, he looked at me and said, “Thanks. You’re pure evil.” To which I replied, “I know. Sorry.”
Both looking like drowned rats and freezing our behinds off, we decided to head back to the house. Unfortunately, we hadn’t taken into account that upon leaving the house, we were going with the current. Now as the tide was coming in, the current was ripping against us. There’s that intuitive (or stupid) thing again.
I paddled my heart out. My arms, abs, back, neck….you name it….was burning like the fires of Hades. Luckily in my crazed paddling state, I didn’t even notice that my fingers and toes had virtually frozen.
An hour later, we arrived home, cold and exhausted. I had paddled so hard against the current that my hands were blistered. The next day, every muscle in my body ached, and I needed help to get myself up and down from the toilet. Definitely not my finest hour, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.
In the end, our first outdoor activity was a disaster. I confirmed this week that I am far too uncoordinated to climb a mountain, surf, or make the 2016 Olympic Gymnastics team. But that doesn’t mean I have to stop trying. In all honesty, I did have fun even though we far from nailed it.
I still plan on pushing myself outside of my comfort zone while learning to do new things. I know I’ll get better, but I may just have to wait until warmer weather rolls around.

January 1 Editorial

I've never been much on New Year's Resolutions. They're less “resolutions” than a vague sort of passing thought that boils down to, “I need to quit being such a fatty. I’m going to join a gym this year. I think I'll try that for a few days and see how it works out.” And though I lack the motivation to conduct a scientific poll on the subject, I have tried and failed a million or so life improvement attempts myself, so what always seems to lead me in the wrong direction regardless of my resolution?
Other than the fact that I have absolutely no will power and I hate getting out of my comfort zone, here are some specific patterns and mistakes that I tend to follow. Disclaimer: This is not a self-help editorial. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Do yourself a favor and hire a life coach because my success rate is still zero.
First off, when coming up with a resolution each year, I tend to be too general. I always say things like, “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to start running”. While I have good intentions on these types of resolutions, I usually end up losing five pounds by running 3 times a week, then let myself off the hook, gain ten pounds back, somehow still feeling like I nailed it. I didn’t.
Secretly the reason my brain made me keep the goal vague, is because subconsciously it knew to leave some wiggle room. Did I accomplish my goal of losing weight and running? Yes. But for only about a month. Then I let myself feel accomplished enough to fall off the wagon and go right back to my bad habits. Had I set a specific goal like “I will lose 25 pounds this year” or “I will run four days a week and run in a half marathon this year”, I would have kept my eye on the prize.
The next thing I usually do to sabotage myself is including my husband in the resolution. I’ll say things like, “This year, I’d like for us to learn to play tennis” or “We should take ballroom dance lessons”. He always shakes his head in agreement, but then like clockwork, he starts to find reasons not to go.
When we joined our gym last year, he suddenly became the most fragile man on the planet. He hurt his back, his knee, his ankle, and his shoulder. Not to mention he suddenly had stomach pains, headaches, and narcolepsy. He was a walking disaster who would do anything to get out of a boot camp session. I was pretty sure he even said he had menstrual cramps one day.
I realized that you can lead a horse to dumbbells, but you can’t make him lift. Which really sucks because I need a partner to hold me accountable for making it to the gym and then push me when we get there. I just have to realize, it isn’t going to be my husband and I am going to have to stop expecting him to share my enthusiasm for the never ending quest of ‘lose 5, gain 7’.
Another mistake I’ve made is letting the whole world in on my resolution by posting it on social media or being the moron that tells anyone who will listen about it. I actually didn’t do this last year, and although I didn’t have any more success with my resolution, I did get to see from a bystander’s perspective just how annoying these people can be.
The first two weeks of the year on Facebook is worse than the first day of school or when it rains for more than two days. My whole news feed is flooded with the “Look at my resolution….isn’t it great? New Year, new me” posts. It was even more obnoxious than that girl we all know who posts every ten minutes on how gorgeous her baby is when he eats, sleeps, poops, rolls over, etc. or the guy who is in the gym yet again taking selfies.
What I’m getting at here is this; it may be super awesome and important to you, but no one else wants to have it crammed down their throat every five minutes. I’ve posted my resolutions before thinking that putting it out there in the universe would hold me more accountable to stick to it, but in reality it doesn’t. It just makes you look silly, especially when you fail. Resolutions should be a private goal that you set for yourself. Period.
The next problem I have is not knowing what I’m really getting myself into. For example, last year I wanted to save money so that we could take a trip to Australia. I started out strong and by the middle of the year had saved up a few thousand dollars. I decided it was time to start looking into planning our trip for the end of the year. That’s when I realized, if we were going to make it to Australia, I was going to need at least another two years to save. The airfare alone would’ve broken the bank.
In the end, I guess this one wasn’t a complete fail. I mean, I did save some money even though we never made it to Australia. I guess I’ll have to put it back on the bucket list because due to my impatience, I booked us a cruise and got Botox with the money I had already saved. Ah, instant gratification.
In the end, I think making a New Year’s resolution is great. It’s always nice to set goals for yourself and try to stick to them. Just make sure they are realistic. And hey, if they’re not realistic, then shoot for the stars. It’s your year and your resolution. Whether it’s climbing Mt. Everest or finding a good boyfriend (which can sometimes seem just as difficult), take it one step at a time and believe in yourself. You deserve it in 2015.

December 25 Editorial

This week, the holiday season celebrates its biggest day, Christmas, and we here at the Woodard household are in full Santa’s little helper mode. With so much going on this year, we had to make time to stop and smell the gingerbread. As we get ready to celebrate, here’s how we like to spend our time together with family, friends, and fur babies.
We took the time to show our Christmas cheer with a holiday shindig we hosted last weekend. After three days of cleaning and decorating, our friends arrived with booze in hand and ugly sweater on backs to a winter wonderland of tinsel that would’ve make Clark Griswold proud. The first hour or so was your normal mingle meet and greet session, but the fun amped up when the first Dirty Santa gift was opened.
And boy did my friends get “dirty” this year. One after another, they opened gifts that made everyone in the room blush. The claws came out when the steals got nasty, and people fought like dogs in the street over ridiculous items like bottles of Jack Daniel’s and shirts with dirty sayings on them. When it was over, some were left with good gifts, some were left with bad ones, but all of us looked at each other a little differently having seen the twisted sense of humor we had all brought to the table.
Later, we sat down to play the world’s most offensive card game, Cards Against Humanity. Just when I thought the Dirty Santa thing was inappropriate, these people were throwing out answers that I’m pretty sure would get their mouths washed out with soap. Even if they were already 50 years old.
An hour or so into the game, there still wasn’t a winner. That’s when my friend Sarah walked in. This tiny little girl with a sweet face and matching disposition waltzed in and within ten minutes had won five straight rounds, and subsequently, the entire game. I knew she was sick, but I have a new found respect for the people who raised this miniature spawn of Satan.
Today, I finally finished my Christmas shopping and decided it was time to wrap the gifts and put them under the tree. Usually, my husband and I don’t trust each other not to snoop for our gifts (I’ve even gone so far as to unwrap and rewrap them), so we hold off on putting them under the tree. This year though, I’m getting creative.
I wrapped a scarf and hat for our upcoming trip to New York City in a box with his name on it along with a couple other small items. I put them under the tree and said, “Seriously, no peeking. I don’t want you to be disappointed.” I left the room for ten minutes and caught him shaking and inspecting the packages. I hope he unwraps them, and I hope he is disappointed at the lack of awesomeness they contain.
That’s not because I’m a hateful, awful wife. It’s because his real gift is two fishing kayaks that he’s been dying to buy for over a year, but said he couldn’t justify spending the money. I’ve been taking money out little by little for months to throw him off my trail. For once this year, I think I’ll surprise him!
As for the rest of the week, we’ll be preparing for the in-laws to come to town (I keep hearing that menacing doorbell from Christmas Vacation in my head), and I’ll be attempting to cook Christmas dinner for the whole family, complete with Krispy Kreme bread pudding. (Now I keep seeing us having to eat Chinese for dinner like they did in A Christmas Story.) That’s right boys and girls, I am an awful cook.
Either way, this Christmas, I am looking forward to spending time with our friends and family, which is what Christmas means to me. It may be hectic and even annoying at times, but having people to share the holidays with is so important. Love each other, and think about giving to others this week.
Whether it be a needy family with no presents to give their kids, someone who is down on their luck and just needs a hot meal, or even an animal looking for a forever home. Give a bit of yourself to someone else and it will come back to you tenfold. You may be surprised at who is actually being rescued.
As for us here at the Woodard home, when things get too crazy with the family I’ll remember those wise words of Ellen Griswold as I paddle out on our new kayak…
“I don't know what to say, except its Christmas and we're all in misery.”