April 23 Editorial

There are some things in life that we just need to avoid. For some it might be alcohol. For others it might be sweets. For me, it’s the pet store. By now, all of our readers know what a crazy softie I am for animals of any kind, and walking into a store full of puppies, kittens, bunnies, and birds all locked up in a cage is pure torture for me.
Usually, I avoid this snafu at all costs, but yesterday I had to enter the “danger zone” for some pet supplies that I can only get at this particular location. At first, I resisted the urge to browse the sad puppy faces in cage after cage that lined the wall, but I found myself distracted when a beautiful young macaw caught my attention by saying, “hello”.
I was mesmerized by the intelligence and awareness of the beautiful bird who mimicked my every move, side to side…up and down. I talked to him and danced for him for about ten minutes before I realized that I looked like a complete weirdo in public. Then I did it some more.
Upon making myself feel like a total idiot a few minutes later, I said my goodbyes and turned for the door, but then she caught my eye. A sweet little American Eskimo pup, gorgeous and fluffy with kind eyes just like my beloved Esha had once had.
Of course I had seen other Eskies since my Esha had passed away, but what caught my eye with this particular dog was her size. She clearly wasn’t a young puppy like all of the other dogs in the store. She was nearly full grown. I had a flashback to 2001 when, walking through the mall, I spotted a pet store and made the best decision of my life by going in.
That day, I saw my sweet Esha, nearly 8 months old, alone and dirty, laying lifelessly in a cage on the far end of the store. “What’s wrong with this one,” I asked the clerk. “You don’t want that one. We can’t sell her. We’ve tried. No one wants her,” she replied. My heart shattered in a million pieces right then and there. I knew she had to be mine.
“I’ll buy her,” I said, to which she answered, “Well she’s mean. She’ll bite you. She won’t even let us take her out of the cage to bathe her.” After talking to the manager, I learned that a former employee of the store had been caught on camera abusing some of the dogs, my sweet Esha being one of them. She hadn’t trusted anyone since. He said, “If you can get her to come out, you can have her.”
Challenge accepted. Two hours of talking to her from her cage without trying to force her, she finally touched my hand. In that moment, I think we both fell in love. She walked out of the cage and into my arms where she stayed for the next 11 years.
This little pup reminded me so much of her. Too old to be considered a puppy, too young to see her true beauty as an adult. I asked the clerk about her. “Yeah, she’s been here for a really long time. They are ready to make a really good deal on her to get her adopted,” she said. I looked at my husband who immediately said no, but that has never stopped me from being persistent.
I knew how important it was to get her out of there soon. Esha had spent her entire youth in a cage causing her legs to not develop properly during her puppy growth spurts which ultimately caused her to spend much of her life battling severe arthritis. I couldn’t let this happen to another puppy.
We left the store without her, and I haven’t stopped thinking about her since. I’ve begged and pleaded for my husband to let me adopt her, but in all honesty….we don’t need ANOTHER dog. My head says he’s right, but my heart says we’ll find a way to work it out.
So now I’m calling on you, the readers. If you are in the market for a puppy (even if you aren’t) and you have love in your heart to give this little lady a fantastic forever home, please head over to Petland on Davis Hwy and adopt her.
Otherwise, I am going to have to pull a Thelma & Louise and adopt her myself and head for the hills because my husband is going to divorce me. Do a good deed and save a life and a marriage!
To be honest, the day I made the “mistake” of walking into that pet store all those years ago was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Esha was and always will be my best friend. I miss her every day, and love like that is hard to find. Maybe this sweet baby is your best friend.
I don’t normally advocate pet store dogs because I believe in adoption, but sometimes even the unwanted pet store pup needs to be rescued. And for some reason, this one has my heart. Either way, please consider opening your heart and your home to an animal in need….no matter where you adopt it.
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April 16 Editorial

Over the past several years, I have learned many lessons about real friendship. There are those who you phase out and those you keep in your extended group. But generally you find out that only a few truly belong in the so called “circle of trust”. As you get older, both you and your group seem to know where exactly you stand…..that is, until you get a boat.
That’s right. You never know just how many “friends” you have until you get a boat. I’d like to say I find this amusing, but I don’t. Instead, I’ve acquired a whole new set of pet peeves and a whole new list of people I’ve added to the “Do Not Sail” list.
For the past several years, my husband and I have owned a small boat just big enough for a few people to have a little fun in the sun on the weekends. At first, we had a few people ask us if they could join, but ultimately those request became fewer and fewer as time went on. It was bliss.
Sure, we enjoyed inviting our friends, but our little boat was basic and not always able to fit the whole gang. Not to mention they usually acted like drunken fools who have never seen a beer before while out on the water.
Recently, we decided to upgrade to a much bigger boat with all the comforts of home. That’s when the real trouble began.
I guess word gets around thanks to social media like Facebook and my brother (who couldn’t wait more than about 30 seconds after we brought it home to post pics) because within an hour I had 46 comments on said picture and 14 texts on my phone from various people who hadn’t spoken to me in years inquiring all about our new purchase. I blew everyone off on that initial day as I was still reeling from the “holy crap….what did we just do” feeling I had acquired before the ink was even dry on the paperwork.
But the friendly “hey there’s” and “haven’t talked to you in a while’s” kept rolling in.
I find nothing more off-putting than people who haven’t given me the time of day in years resurfacing at the most convenient of times. Correction…..the only thing more annoying is when they don’t even have enough tact to pretend they aren’t trying to use you. Which brings me to my next point.
Unless you are one of my five closest friends who I talk to on a daily basis, don’t call or text me and say, “Are you guys going on your boat today? Can we come?” First of all, were you heathens raised by wolves?
Secondly, just because the sun is shining doesn’t mean we are going to be on the boat. We have jobs that pay for the boat that we sometimes have to go to….even when the sun shines.
Finally, if you call or text me before 8 am to ask if you can come out on the boat, I will 100% shoot you down. I don’t do anything social before 10 am. If you don’t know this about me, you are obviously not in my top five and should never ask me in the first place.
The next pet peeve that I’ve developed are the friends who always see your “sun-day, fun-day” pictures on social media and leave this comment: “Just waiting on our invite” or “We would love to join you sometime”….then when you invite them, they always have something better to do.
Look, if you would rather get your grocery shopping done instead of taking us up on the invite, more power to you. Just stop whining about it on Facebook trying to make me look like a bad friend. Life is all about choices my darlings.
The bottom line is this; if you are really a friend of mine, you’ll be getting an invite at some point. I can’t take everyone every time, but I assure you that we will make the effort.
To the people who only come around when they find out you’ve moved back to the beach, purchased something fun, etc…..all I can say is “keep it moving”. I don’t need people who only talk to me when they feel it can benefit them somehow in my life. That’s not a friendship, not to mention it’s completely rude.
On the bright side, maybe they’ll have plenty of time this summer to take some etiquette classes while I’m soaking up the sun. Bon voyage!

April 9 Editorial

Last week, I visited my favorite city (besides Pensacola, of course) for the first time in six years…NYC….and this time I got to bring my partner in crime, my husband, for his first visit to the Big Apple.
I wasn’t sure how this visit was going to go. Having been to NYC many times before, I knew what to expect. The hustle and bustle of the traffic and crowds. The seemingly bi-polar weather. Not to mention the expense…..oh the expense.
My husband on the other hand, is a bonafide country boy from a place in north Alabama that seems to have miles between every neighbor. I knew in my mind that he was either going to love NYC or just plain hate it.
We stepped off the plane and had a car waiting for us outside. (I had planned this trip down to the letter so that everything went as smoothly as possible….I was trying my best for NYC to win him over.) He said, “Is this normal? Shouldn’t we be taking a taxi or a bus or something?” I simply replied, “Yes, this is normal. Isn’t it convenient?” Score one for me and NYC.
It took us about 45 minutes in rush hour traffic to reach our Upper East Side hotel, but while on the commute I was thrilled to see his face light up like a little kid at the sight of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. He watched the crowds crossing the street and the people honking their horns like maniacs. He was fascinated.
Upon our arrival at the hotel, the door man took our bags and immediately ushered us out of the frigid cold and into an ultra-modern oasis. “Wow, this place is incredible,” my husband said. Score another one for me and NYC….not to mention Travelocity for getting us a fantastic deal on this place we couldn’t have otherwise afforded.
Within minutes, we on the street exploring all that the city has to offer. We walked around for hours enjoying incredible food from the tiniest hole in the wall joints that we will probably never find again. He bought me beautiful flowers in celebration of my birthday weekend at a corner market, and we called it an early evening.
The next morning we awoke to find my birthday wish had come true. It was snowing! We bundled up and headed out to Central Park where we took a horse drawn carriage ride through the park as the flakes fell down. It was magical.
Later that night, we saw Chicago featuring Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland, had drinks in the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, saw the view from the Empire State building, and checked out the dinosaurs and other treasures at the Natural History Museum.
Then on my birthday, my husband took me to shop at Tiffany & Co. and went to meet a longtime friend of mine for dinner. It was the perfect way to celebrate turning yet another year older. And the best part about the whole trip? My husband fell in love with NYC just as I had all those years ago.
As we got in our car to head to the airport for our journey back to the warmth of paradise, my husband surprised me by saying, “I don’t want to leave. This place is amazing.” I literally felt warm inside as a whole new part of me fell in love with him. It wasn’t that I adored NYC so much, or that I wanted to live there. It was that he had embraced a whole new part of who I am and what I love and found that he loved it too.
Besides the trip, the flowers, and the gifts I received this year for my birthday my favorite thing I gained was knowing that as a couple we can step outside of our box and share incredible adventures together, wherever they may take us. Having someone who is always along for the ride is something special. Even if he really didn’t love New York, he loved it for me….and that’s the better than anything I saw in the Tiffany & Co. window.
As a side note, here are some things I learned this trip about NYC:
1. It is cold. Really cold. While it may be spring break here, I left Pensacola with a sunburn and arrived to NYC snow. It never got above 36 degrees during our stay. I think I’ll book our next trip in the summer or fall.
2. Never pass up an available bathroom. Anyone who has been to New York City knows that bathrooms are harder to find than a unicorn. If you see one, go….even if you don’t have to. It may be that I’ve reached that age, but I never passed up a clean restroom in the city. What’s next? Metamucil?
3. Starbucks is so much more than coffee in NYC. It is pretty much the only place where you can take a break from the cold, use the restroom, and take a load off of sore feet all at once. This place is a welcome oasis in the concrete jungle. Plus the coffee is fantastic, duh!
4. If you think you’ll spend $1,000, bring $2,000. NYC is expensive. Things that may cost $2.00 here cost $15.00 there. There’s no way around it. Suck it up.
5. Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon tickets are harder to come by than that unicorn we discussed earlier. And people who have them will not give them up for any amount of money. I know because I tried. The only thing you can do is get entered into the yearly lottery for tickets and hope for the best. Our next trip will hopefully center on being the recipients of SNL tickets.
6. You can’t see everything in one trip. NYC is so full of amazing things to see and do that, unless you are staying for a month, you just can’t do it all. This was my 7
th trip to NYC and I still have things left on my list….not to mention the things I don’t even know about yet.
7. Everyone should go at least once. Experiencing New York is one of the most American things you can do. Many of our families began in America by coming to New York, and it is the epitome of what our country means by cultural melting pot. With so many iconic American treasures housed within the city, you really have to see it for yourself to appreciate it!
editorial -  tiffany

April 2 Editorial

Recently, my household has once again embarked on a healthy lifestyle kick which includes clean eating, exercise, and complete and utter misery. In the midst of our struggle to not only get in shape for summer but to make permanent changes regarding our bad habits, my husband and I decided to keep daily journals about our thoughts and feelings along the way. Yesterday we compared notes. It wasn’t helpful.
For the past month, I have been pushing myself to the limit in both nutrition and exercise. Knowing that I have the body type that doesn’t respond to diets and exercise quickly, I knew I wasn’t going to see immediate results. Let’s be honest ladies….some of us can just smell a Krispy Kreme doughnut and gain three pounds. That’s me all day.
My husband on the other hand is the guy who can work out then literally leave the gym and stuff his face with Taco Bell and drop five pounds….instantly. He sucks.
With countless hours of food prepping, calorie counting, and runs that have caused shin splints that make me want to cry every time I move, I finally started to see the scale move in a positive direction. I logged it in my diary as a victory. One month and 6 pounds down. Not bad. Or so I thought.
We sat down with our journals in hand and decided to share our progress. As I flipped his book open to the first page, this is what I read. “Day 1: My wife is making me eat quinoa. I don’t know what it is, but it is gross. She says it’s a “good carb”. I will smile and eat it, but I am stopping at Whataburger before work.”
I giggled a little bit, but then found myself annoyed that he wasn’t taking this seriously. I continued on to page 2. “Day 2: Today my wife made chicken…..again. I took the dogs for a walk today, but Jake got tired after about a half a mile so I went home. Workout complete. Got on the scale…..down two pounds.”
I wanted to kill him. Mostly because this was my first and second day journal entries; “Day 1: I spent four hours today cooking and prepping food for the week. I have gone through every cabinet in the house and got rid of everything we can’t eat. It broke my heart, but it will be worth it. Nothing on the horizon but turkey, chicken, and veggies. I’m motivated!” And “Day 2: Ran two miles today….first time since last June. I felt like I was going to die. Then went home and did 100 sit ups and 30 burpees. My body hates me….according to the scale I gained 3 pounds.”
The journal entries went on like this between the two of us page after page until finally, I couldn’t read them anymore. It was becoming incredibly clear that if I compare my progress to that of my husband, who is now down 12 pounds despite the pile of Nutrageous candy bar wrappers and Dr. Pepper 20 oz. bottles I found strategically hidden under the backseat of his truck, I will never stick to my plan.
The ugly truth is this….a guy can lose five pounds barely trying. A woman (at least a naturally curvy woman) has to work ten times harder to shed the weight. I can complain about it or suck it up and keep going.
I stepped on the scale today, and I was down another pound. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. I have to set small goals for myself. I can’t expect to lose ten pounds a month. It’s not realistic, and certainly not safe. Now each day when my husband steps on the scale and says, “I lost another five pounds….that makes 17 overall for me,” I understand that his body is much different from mine and that I need to focus on my own goals. Did I mention that he sucks?
Besides, he may reach his goal faster and easier than me, but when I finally hit my goal weight I’ll know how much hard work I put into it….even if he doesn’t.
As for the journals? I think we should keep them going if for no other reason than pure comic relief. But I think I better not read them until the journey is over. Hey, who knows? We might be able to turn them into sitcom. I think I’ll call it ‘Sneak A Nutrageous Again and I’ll Kill You’.

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.
editorial pic (pinterest.com)