Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Decade

I love, love, love the New Year. I'm all about fresh starts, new beginnings, and reflecting on how far you've come. (For example: Bad hair + a year's worth of growth=pretty good hair. I'd call that progress!)
Ten years ago, I was a 14 year old girl who thought it sounded more grown up to say she was 15. I was living on a boat with my parents and about to arrive in Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas. In 2001 I had my first boyfriend, bad hair, and clothes that were even worse.  I dreamed of living in New York and working at one of the many magazines I read so voraciously.  I volunteered at a local Bahamian school once a week, where I thought to myself being a teacher would totally suck. I read a lot, loved to write, and spent a lot of time looking out the window and wondering what life had in store for me.  

Flash forward ten years:  I’m a 24 year old woman who thinks it sounds more grown up to say I’m 25. I’m visiting my parents in Georgetown, Bahamas, which I still consider home after all these years. That boyfriend from 2001 is engaged, but not to me, and my hair and clothes have improved drastically.  I lived in New York and worked for a wonderful magazine, but realized that it sucked the rat race just wasn’t for me.  I’m a teacher now, and look forward to the daily drawings or leaves from the playground that are gifted to me by tiny, generous hands. I read a lot, love to write, and continue to dream about the wonders that life has in store for me. (So far, so good.)
In one of my emails today, it asked what I would write in a letter to my 14 year old self.  I thought a letter might be a little much, especially since I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing or event that led me to where I am today. Maybe a few postcards with little gems of wisdom for the last decade would be more appropriate. Such as:
-Don’t cut your hair off. Bad.Idea. You will look ugly.
-Don’t dye your hair. It will go gray soon enough and then you’ll have to dye it.
-Really, just don't mess with your hair, ever.
-If you want to eat three grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch in college, you are going to have to drag your (fat) ass to the gym. I’m not really sure what you expected to happen with that one.
-Enjoy being single. (You might as well, because you will be for the next decade or so, give and take a year or two.)
-Stand up for yourself when people are mean to you.
-When you have extra money in your bank account at the end of every  month, that is not the amount that you are then allowed to go and spend at j.crew. Save it!
-Go out a lot in college, even if you have to be at work or in class early the next day.
-Don’t get too hung up on boys. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.
-Repeat this to yourself everyday: I am awesome. Because, who are you kidding? It’s true!

I hope that you all are looking forward to the new decade with anticipation and hope, and looking back on the past with gratitude and wisdom. I hope that your resolutions have less to do with your relationship status or numbers on a scale and more to do with opening your heart and strengthening the grit of your character.
What would you put in your postcards to your younger self? And what are you looking forward to in the next 10 years?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Art of the Christmas List

My parents ask me for a Christmas list every November or so. Since I have an annoying habit of buying what I want for myself during the rest of the year, they do this not only to get a general idea of my wishes, but to make sure they don't buy me something that I already have. Nice, right?

I give a lot of thought to this Christmas List. I ponder what I want but wouldn't buy for myself (my favorite kinds of gifts). I write. I whittle down. I ask myself, "if I were to only get one thing, what would it be?". I erase. I rework. And, in the end, I hand my parents a compilation of presents that I would be happy to receive.

And then I'm pretty sure my mom takes one look at it, cackles, and hosts some sort of ceremonial burning involving a lighter and a trash can.

For example. I tell her that I like DVDs but never think to buy them. I ask for Sex and the City 2, Eat Pray Love, and Julie & Julia, which are some of my favorites from this year that I know I'll watch over and over again.

Apparently, this translates to "Buy me any DVD, ever. Especially ones that you find in the bargain bin."

For example: One of the fine films I received this Christmas was Wicker Park. You know, that movie no one ever saw with Josh Harnett? Well, it's now part of my collection if you are ever interested in taking it watching it!

Don't get me wrong. I love my mom AND most of the presents she gets me. I totally understand her thought process on this one. It probably goes something like this: Josh Hartnett=hot young actor+this movie is on sale for $2.99=totally perfect for Ensley! It does make me smile to think about it.

And in the end, I also got Sex and the City 2, which is the movie I really wanted, and a gift certificate to Forever 21, which falls into the just-right category of "things I want but wouldn't buy for myself".

What about you lovely readers? Any humorous additions to your Christmas lists? Hits and misses?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Airports: The New Birth Control

The holidays are a beautiful time to spend with family and friends. If you're like me, it's also a time to daydream about the future family that you'll one day create on your own. It goes something like this: rosy-cheeked children in footie pajamas, hot cocoa with way too many marshmallows, maybe a dog and a cat thrown into the mix when the whole family piles onto the couch to watch A Charlie Brown Chrismas for the upteenth time.

Ah, sweet fantasy.

However, something awaits to shatter my illusions during this magical time of the year. This dark force? Airports. And the families that travel within them.

This past Wednesday, I attempted to make it from Charlotte, NC to Great Exuma Island, Bahamas. The first leg of my trip? Charlotte to Atlanta. It went a little something like this:

7am: I slide into my aisle seat and breathe a sigh of relief that
1) I actually made my flight (it was iffy there until I broke into a full-on sprint to the gate), and
2) that I can shove my carry-on and purse as big as a suitcase under the seat with such ease. My fellow passenger in his window seat is already fast asleep. This is going to be so easy!

7:03am: A harried woman precariously carrying a diaper bag, rolling suitcase, and baby on her hip gives me a guilty smile that can only mean one thing: she's coming in.

7:04am: With an apologetic smile, she asks if I would be willing to move into the middle seat. I notice her baby has snot caterpillars starting to slide out of his nose. I kindly agree. (Not only because I am Working On My Zen, but because I was trying to get away from the snot. Like I don't deal with enough of that day-to-day.)

7:15am: Our scheduled takeoff time, in which we are cheerfully informed by the captain that we will be sitting on the runway until 8am.

7:16am: Snot baby starts to fuss. Mom talks to him as though he is not, in fact, an 18 month old, but a full-grown adult that comprehends phrases such as "Please stop crying" or "You are bothering everyone". (Hey lady? If that worked, I would have tried it 10 minutes ago.)

7:22am: Mother of Snot Baby attempts to console him with a portable DVD player and Baby Einstein video. He responds by flinging said player across the aisle, where it falls at the feet of a very nice looking lady. I pretend to hyper focus on my US Weekly.

7:30am: Baby is simulatenously snotting and crying. My brain begins screaming HOW ARE WE NOT THERE ALREADY? before I realize we haven't even taken off yet.

7:43am: We are miraculously cleared for takeoff 17 min earlier than scheduled. My white-knuckle grip on the arms of my seat begins to loosen.

7:50am: Baby stops crying.

7:51am: Baby starts crying.

7:58am: I attempt to listen to my self-help audiobook in order to Find My Zen, but can't hear it over the baby wailing. Start to wonder if this is a test of My Zen, and realize that I am probably sliding by with a solid C+.

8:07am: The captain informs us we are 15 to 20 minutes away from landing in Atlanta. I attempt to hold back my tears of gratitude.

8:11am: Mom attempts to bring out the DVD player again. (See "7:22am".)

8:14am: The DVD player appears again. Really, lady? No one needs bruises in addtion to ear damage from your child's screaming.

8:28am: We land in ATL. I try to avoid shouting "It's a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!"

8:31am: I book it out of the gate, past where Mom is waiting for her child's stroller is being delivered to her. I keep my head down in order to
1) reduce interaction, and
2)build up as much speed as possible.

I don't mean to sound like such a Scrooge. I don't fault that woman for traveling with her baby during the holidays. I only fault her for booking the same flight and sitting next to me.

But really, she didn't seem like she was having that much fun either. From the schleping of a million bags and strollers, to the constant nose-wiping, and the screaming and subsequent shushing, I could only think of one word: miserable.

I guess it's good karma to be kind even in the face of boogers that come way too close and near-death experiences at the hands of flying DVD players. I'll need it one day when I'm a mom.

(And by "one day", I mean "when pigs fly/hell freezes over". Or when I can have a full-time nanny.)

On another note, this Christmas Eve I hope you are somewhere warm and safe, surrounded by love even if those you care about are very far away.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

21st Century Truths

This showed up in my email recently...usually I hate lists like this, but had to pass it on after I realized that I agree with See if you agree!

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories. (NoteThis should be the title of my future memoirs.)

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent an ass from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my behind everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Haughty Hostess

Sometimes I wonder how I would spend my time if I weren't in grad school, and now that finals are over I have my answer(s). They include, but are not limited to: yoga, watching tv, reading for pleasure, jogging, walking, actually spending time with my roommate, running errands, and catching up with friends. I decided to spend last night doing the latter, and for some reason offered to cook for said friend, though I did warn her it was at her own risk. Fully informed, she reluctantly agreed. (But not before asking if I was sure I didn’t want to go out to eat.)

After getting home from work, I hastily ran around attempting to make my apartment look like it was emerging from the pages of Southern Living, and I have to say I did a pretty nice job. Candles were lit, the Christmas tree was twinkling in the corner, pillows were fluffed. However, in doing all of this I also forgot to preheat my oven, resulting in my guest having a prettttty long wait for her dinner to arrive on the table. I also had no appetizers or dessert. But hey, the smoke alarm only went off one time!

Note to self: Asking your guest to bring wine and then guzzling half the bottle by yourself while justifying that you “had a bad day” still makes you look like a lush. Oh well. I'll own that.

In essence, the key to a great dinner party isn’t being worried about drinking too much or counting how many times the smoke alarm starts screaming. (3? 5? I’ve had too much wine to remember.) It’s about having the gem of a guest who will still enjoy your company while you are doing all of the above and muttering four-letter words about the oven taking so long to preheat.

On a positive note, I made her Feta Chicken and Curried Rice, which she not only liked but went back for seconds. And as far as I know, she hasn’t experienced food poisoning. (But then again, I haven’t heard from her today.)

Me cooking + no one has to go to the ER afterwards?


Monday, December 13, 2010

Life Advice from Four Year Olds

Whenever I find myself at my wit's end in terms of patience, one of my students will unfailingly say something awesome. Like today, when I had to walk my friend pre-K friend Pat to the bathroom.

Pat: I know a shortcut from the library to the bathroom.
Me: What is it?
Pat: Just turn into a ghost and drift right through the wall!
Me (after pausing for a beat): Right on.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Haute Reads: Kissing Frogs

On the same note as Why Men Love Bitches, head on over to Kissing Frogs and read her post on dating, appropriately titled "bitch?". If you can't relate, then we shouldn't be friends.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your 5 Love Non-Negotiables

If you watch Millionare Matchmaker more than you should as much as I do, you've probably heard Patti Stanger ask her clients for their 5 Non-Negotiables. This is is a list of 5 qualities or traits your partner must have. My girlfriends and I spent our Sunday morning discussing ours, and sometimes it's surprisingly difficult to whittle down what you need vs. what you want. However, I fully believe that you can't get where you're going without a road map, and that you have to know what you want in order to get it! (Sometimes you know what you want and still haven't gotten it. For example: my constant chants of "I want a Chanel quilted chain purse...I want a Chanel quilted chain purse" have failed to land a buttery lambskin handbag with interlocking C's on my doorstep, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.)

Ensley's 5 Relationship Non-Negotiables:
1. Makes me laugh
2. Adventurous
3. Thoughtful
4. Wants children
5. Has a job he is passionate about (or is at least working towards it)

What are your 5 Relationship Non-Negotiables? Are you currently dating someone who meets some/all/none of them? If you are in a relationship, are they all fulfilled? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Difference If You Marry A Southern Girl

This joke showed up in my inbox the other day...figured many of you would relate!

Three friends married women from different parts of the US .

The first man married a woman from Wisconsin . He told her that she was
to do the dishes and house cleaning.  It took a couple of days, but on
the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and
put away.

The second man married a woman from New Jersey . He gave his wife orders
that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking.  The first
day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By
the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and
there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from North Carolina . He ordered her to keep
the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot
meals on the table for every meal.  He said the first day he didn't see
anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day,
some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his
left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a
sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty when he

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

    "I like to share my imperfections and vulnerabilities. 
This impossible pursuit of youth and perfection is not for me."

-Diana Kruger, InStyle December 2010

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