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The Best Songs of All Time

Earlier today,  “Rolling Stone” magazine released their revised list of the Top 500 Songs of All Time.  The full list is here.

What’s really crazy is the Top 10.

Really? “Get UR Freak On?” The hell?

 

So, I wanted to make my own Top 10, based off of my all-time favorite songs. These are songs that no matter what I’m doing, if they come on the radio, or on my playlist, I stop what I’m doing and just listen.  Or rock out 100%.  Great songs will make you happily interrupt whatever you’re doing to experience them, no matter how many times you have heard them before.

This was really hard to narrow down, but I had to make my Top 10 picks, and these are my current 10 favorites EVER.

 

#10: “Purple Rain” by Prince

Oh, the Purple One… no matter how many times I hear this, it jjust never gets old. The drama, and the gorgeous guitar solo at the end gives me goosebumps every time.

There will never be another Prince.
#9: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John

Elton John will forever be one of my favorite all-time artists. Incredible artist, who, with songwriter Bernie Taupin, put out songs that forever stand the test of time.  This one gets me, as I am that girl who just wants to get back to the farm one day.  Plus, the music and writing is awesome on this!

 

#8: “Wildest Dreams” by Tyalor Swift

I unapologetically love Taylor Swfit- especially her 1989 album.  Yeah, so this song may be a bit of a ripoff of “Your Wildest Dreams” by The Moody Blues, but I happen to love her take on it.  It’s very atmospheric and it’s one of my favorite songs to ride my horse to.  I put my phone in my sports bra, put this song on, and gallop my golden steed across the fields to it.
You think I’m kidding.

Nope. I totally do that. And enjoy every second.

 

#7: “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

This iconic cover of the Kris Kristofferson original has me jamming out every time I hear it.  I love bluesy rock, and this version will never get old.

Janis Joplin… total icon.

 

#6: “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

As I mentioned earlier, I love bluesy, Southern rock, and this epic song by Skynyrd earns a spot in my Top 10 because of the music, which somehow makes one nostalgic when you hear it, even if you’re not. It just one of those songs that transports you, and that’s what a great song should do.  Also, one of my favorite concert memories is watching Skynyrd play this song back in 2004 at Skullbone Music Park in Skullbone, TN. My best friend and I were front row, and the rain was puring down when they played this song. Just one of those really cool moments that sticks with you.

 

#5: “The Cowboy Rides Away” by George Strait

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the KING of Country music, Mr. George Strait.
This song is pure Country perfection.  The music, the lyrics… all of it is YES.

Actually, George Strait is just YES, always.

 

#4: “Still Loving You” by The Scorpions

I LOVE 80’s Rock, and The Scorpions had me from the first note on this song.  The lyrics aren’t that special, but holy cow, the music! Those guitar riffs at the end… the sheer drama of it… I wish I could play guitar if only to perform that solo.  Which will never happen, but a girl can dream!

 

#3: “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica

Elton John claimed last week that this is one of the best written songs of all time.

I can’t really disagree. The lyrics, and the waltz-like music married to rock and roll is sheer perfection.  The perfect Rock love song.  I always imagine a gothic ballroom scene when I hear this one.

 

#2: Anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber

Especially anything from “Phantom of the Opera”

Andrew Lloyd Weber is a true genius, and has blessed the musical world.  Everything he composes is pure magic.

 

#1 “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses

Anyone who knows me won’t be shocked by my #1 choice.

I will always stop what I’m doing and rock out to 11 when this song comes on. The vocals and lyrics and the masterful guitar solo by Slash… the whole energy of the song makes it my #1. It’s also my favorite to perform live, just for that reason. I LOVE escalating vocals and songs that make you sweat, and that make you throw your hands up in the air and scream “HELL YES” every time you hear it.  So, yeah, this fits the bill.

Also, since I’m expecting my first “Sweet Child of Mine” like any day now, it’s evern more special. And every time this song comes on, he kicks. So, he’s a fan as well. Rasing him right!

 

What would be your Top 10 list?

Anything is better  than what “Rolling Stone” came up with.

 

The Best Music Videos of All Time

MTV celebrated their 40th Anniversary this past Sunday (Only fifteen of those 40 years were worth a damn, to be fair) and to celebrate, “Rolling Stone Magazine” made a list of the “Best Music Videos of All Time”- and topping the list? Beyonce’s “Formation”.


No disrespect to “Queen Bey”, but I didn’t think it rated the top spot.  That’s just my opinion.  (Plus, you KNOW “Rolling Stone” loves anything hyper political, so their choice makes total sense)

Check their full list here.

 

So, I decided to list the “Best Music Videos of All Time” according to ME.

As someone who grew up in the MTV generation when they were actually cool, I feel like I’m qualified.

Here are my Top 10:

#10: Taylor Swift “Blank Space”:

I’m a Swiftie, and I’m not even a little ashamed.  This is one of my favorite songs of hers, and the video is perfection. Also, she stands on a horse, so bonus points for that.  I’m really not hard to please.

 

9. Motley Crue “Girls, Girls, Girls”

One of the first music videos I actually remember seeing on MTV- I was transfixed by the gorgeous women (and by Nikki Sixx). I had no idea what the song was about at the time, I just knew I wanted to look like those women! I still can’t help but gyrate really badly when this comes on.

 

#8: Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun”

This video was just plain warped, and teenage me loved it! Plus, it features a Harlequin Great Dane, so bonus points for that.

 

 

#7: Aerosmith “Hole In My Soul”

I know “Crazy” and “Cryin” always make the Top Video lists, and I’m not knocking it. After all, 90’s Alicia Silverstone was everything.  But as far as stories go? I thought this was a really great video for an underrated song.  Anyone who loved the movie “Weird Science” would appreciate it!

 

#6: Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

This was the start of a new era in music. Dirty, gritty, grungy and absolutely zero spandex and hairspray. And you know what? It worked. I really wanted to be at that grunge gym party. I still do.

 

 

#5: Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball”

Even though it got a lot of hate, Miley was super smart with this video. It’s a GREAT song, and what better way to get it attention than to make a video for it featuring a naked Miley on a wrecking ball?  Genius.

 

 

#4: The Foo Fighters “Big Me”
This is when I fell in love with Dave Grohl. A defining moment for sure.

 

#3: Shania Twain “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”

Total Icon. What woman didn’t want to be her?

 

 

#2: Britney Spears “Toxic”

Britney at her absolute BEST! I was in college when this came out, and still, this video holds up.

 

 

#1: Guns N’ Roses “November Rain”

Epic song. Epic Video. And Slash’s solo in front of the church. That’s all you really need.

Those are my Top 10.  For me, a great video, like a great song, can be a defining moment.

Damn, I wish MTV would start playing them again, instead of lamesauce reality shows…

 

What music video is YOUR all time favorite?

 

 

 

 

The In Vitro Diaries

As of right now, I am 25 weeks pregnant.  It’s a big milestone, as that means that if I were to go into labor, my baby would have a chance of survival. I cannot express how happy I am to FINALLY be in this position.  Pregnancy is something I thought I would never get to experience, and to be able to do so is a massive blessing.  It wasn’t easy, though. After 10 years of trying with no success, my husband and I had to but the “In Vitro” bullet.  Over the past decade, we had tried everything from hormones like Clomid (AKA the Devil Drug), Femara, to IUI (Artificial Insemination) to just relaxing and going on vacation. Absolutely nothing worked. At this point, heading into my late 30’s, the “are you two EVER going to have kids?” questions were really becoming commonplace, and to be honest, my friends and family constantly saying “relax, it’ll happen” was really having the opposite effect.  Something had to be done. After what seemed like my 769th doctor’s appointment, and my latest AMH level being at .9, my third (yes, third) fertility doctor told me that IVF would be my only chance of getting pregnant.

(Here’s a great article explaining AMH levels: https://www.letsgetchecked.com/articles/amh-levels-explained/?imp=cpc&imp=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAjwlYCHBhAQEiwA4K21mwbY0npHDpFGW81Fq8EO2TOU4RTl5cjIHOE-7wRpUTdxh3rOko2QqRoC7_kQAvD_BwE  My levels are below normal for my age, thanks to Stage 4 Endometriosis cooking my eggs over the past 15 years.

I’m going to be honest, I really, REALLY didn’t want to do IVF.  At all. It’s crazy expensive, invasive, there’s a TON of needles and medicines and hormones involved…and it’s NOT GUARANTEED TO WORK. It’s like 30-50% for a woman under 35, and over 35? Ha. It’s like 25% and lower.  Not the kind of odds I like to bet $20,000 on.  My husband, bless him, was ALL for it.  For weeks I cried, pouted, questioned if we really wanted to have a family or not… it was a tough time for me.  I even had my one and only panic attack while trying to decide what to do. In the end, I realized that I had to do it, not just for me, but for my husband and our family. At least I could say I tried, and years from now I wouldn’t regret not giving it my all.  So, we decided to go for it, and looking back, the only thing I wish (besides it being cheaper) is that I had more information going into it. I am definitely a “Doctor Google” kind of woman, and I found plenty of fertility blogs, but nothing to fully prepare me for what to expect. And another thing, I didn’t really know anyone aside from a couple of acquaintances who had gone through it, so there wasn’t many people who I could ask questions to, or who I could relate to.  So I’m going to break this down for any woman who is thinking about doing IVF.  I wish I had this info a couple of years ago!

First of all, IVF is stupid expensive, and most insurances don’t cover it. My husband is Active Duty Army and Tricare covers a lot- but not IVF. However, if my husband wanted to become a woman, Tricare would cover that.  But becoming a father? Yeah, you gonna have to pay out of pocket for that, son. (Hey, policy change, anyone? Hello!)  So, for us to do one round of IVF, we had to pay $13,750 plus medicine, which was in total, another $5,000.  Some Army wives told me they managed to get their meds covered, but my doctor was not having it.  Something about insurance fraud? I don’t know.  So, basically, $19,000 per round, and the first embryo transfer is free.  After that, it’s on average $2,500 to transfer each additional embryo, granted you are lucky enough to have more than one to transfer. If not, you get to start ALL over again.  Now, there are companies that do IVF loans, but they have high interest rates, and usually go only 24-36 months, so you’re looking at another mortgage in payments.  If you are able to, a personal loan is a good way to go, and you can get better terms. Definitely shop around!

I noticed that a lot of celebrities do IVF and act like it’s no big deal.  That’s because they can afford to do a zillion rounds and it not affect them.  But us regular people?  Yeah, it’s expensive AF.

After that sticker shock wears off, it’s time to get into the meds.  So, for the $5,000, I got 10 days worth of meds (Gonal F, Menopur, and Lupron) that I got to take for 10 days.  You would think for five grand, you’d at least get a buzz. But no. Just daily injections in the stomach and lots of bruising, but that’s it. Oh! And you can’t really do anything fun for those 10 days. No working out, no sex, no travelling (as you have to have ultrasounds every other day to check on your eggs) which would have been great to know in advance.  I was told three days before I started the meds that I had to chill out for almost 2 weeks.  What happens is, all those expensive meds make you grow a ton of eggs, and it makes your ovaries massive, and then you risk twisting one in something called “ovarian contortion” which could end up meaning you lose your ovary…AND you don’t get your money back.  So, you just take lots of meds and grow eggs for 10 days, and not drink.  I asked the nurse if I could at least have wine, and she totally bitched me out for even asking.  Way to patient shame. I was lucky, though.  The meds didn’t make me feel crazy or anything, unlike Clomid, so it wasn’t a bad experience. Just a really boring ten days with no fitness, no horseback riding and no wine. So, just a heads up with all that!

Next step- the egg retrieval! After one of the ultrasounds, the doctor will decide your eggs are ready to be harvested, and you get to take a trigger shot to release them. The next day, they put you under and harvest your eggs.  I had fifteen, which was really great for a 37 year-old!  I felt like a rockstar, and felt pretty jazzed about life that day. Exepct for the new informaton given to me by the nurse that I had to not work out for another 2 weeks- which I did not listen because at this point, I didn’t give a rip what happened to my ovaries at this point. I got my eggs…I was good.  My fifteen eggs got to join up with the sample my husband provided, and the next step was to see if any embryos were made.  The next day, the doctor called me and told me that five embryos were made, and that now we had to wait a few says to see if they survived.  Usually it’s a 50% attrition rate, so that didn’t really bode well for me. A few days later, only two embryos remained, and it was suggested that we get them sent off for genetic testing, given my age and my endometriosis. My doctor didn’t sound too excited about my chances, and told me that I probably shouldn’t do another round. (You know it’s bad when a doctor turns down another $20,000!)  I did appreciate his honesty, but it was devastating to hear that, and I cried for days. Another things they don’t tell you… coming off the Gonal F and Menopur cold turkey can make you kind of a crazy pants for a few days.  Your hormones go bananas, and it’s a stressful time to begin with, and it was just a crappy couple of weeks trying to regulate and mentally adjust to everything, It’s totally normal- just something no one had told me about.

Now if you are doing a Fresh Embryo Transfer, you’d get your embryo(s) put back in within a few days and do the “Two Week Wait” to see if you were successful.  I did the Frozen Embryo Option, as if more common with my age. So, my two embryos got sent down to Miami to be genetically tested, which is $200 per embryo. It’s totally worth it, as it gives you so much important information- as in our case, only one embryo tested out normal. Our other had a few extra chromosomes and would never have survived the transfer.  It turns out, a lot of miscarriages and failed embryo transfers are due to genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, so knowing which embryos are more likely to take is a good edge to have going into a transfer, so you don’t waste time, money, and more emotional torture.  We also found out our lone embryo was a boy, and since he was our only embryo, our doctor suggest a “Mock Cycle” in preparation for our transfer to optimize our chances.

What’s a Mock Cycle?  More meds. So, basically, you pretend like you’re going to have an embryo transfer, and you get more medicine for a week or so, and then you get an endometrial biopsy to see how your uterine lining is responding.  Once they look at the biopsy, the doctor will know the optimum day to do the transfer. So, basically, just optimizing the chances for a successful transfer.  And yeah, that’s an extra $600.  So, the meds (Progesterone) for the Mock Cycle are cheaper…like a couple hundred bucks as opposed to thousands, and you get them in your backside by way of a 1.5 inch needle.  You also get Synera patches to numb the area prior to getting the shot, plus I got to put blue estrogen pills up my lady bits 3 times a day, which turned my underwear blue. I absolutely panicked the first time I saw it, and trust me, it’s a thing. Get used to it. As for the biopsy, I was told it was painless, and that’s an absolute lie.  I was NOT prepared for that torture device (having endo, I think it hurt more than it should) and I screamed bloody murder and almost kicked the nurse in the head. So, take something beforehand, just in case.  It took about thirty minutes to calm down, and I was sent on my merry way.  The doctor then scheduled my real embryo transfer for February 1st, 2021, about 6 months after the process started. (Covid 19 and holidays threw a monkey wrench in our timing plans)

Ok, so the transfer… they take a catheter and send the embryo up into your uterus. You are supposed to do it on a full bladder, and that was kind of hellish, but you just do what your told because you really don’t want to mess things up! There’s a lot at stake.  You actually get to see it happen on the ultrasound, and there is a literal flash of light when the embryo is released. It’s really the coolest thing.  The you go home and wait ten days… which was the longest 10 days ever, and you can’t work out and you can’t drink!  By the way, alcohol free wine is absolute crap.  If anyone wants to make a booze-free wine that tastes halfway decent, I would happily invest. Anyhow, it was a long 10 days, but so worth it after that phone call came saying that the blood test was positive.  I literally collapsed to the floor in tears- good tears! After ALL that, it actually worked. After you test positive, you go again in a few days for another blood test, and then six weeks later, you get released to your OB/GYN.  Oh, and you get to have those giant progesterone butt shots and estrogen pills in the lady bits for eight to ten weeks- until your body starts making progesterone on it’s own.  It’s just a precaution, and your butt will look like moldy bread with all the bruising.  It’s normal. And apparently so is more cellulite due to the extra estrogen and progesterone.  It’s all totally normal, but I admit I was a bit freaked out at first. It happened overnight, I swear! It’s not a big deal, but just another thing to be aware of.

Looking back, I honestly didn’t think it would work… but it did. And knowing what I know now, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  But I do think that fertility doctors should prepare their patients more for what is to come.  At least mine could have!  That was one of the hardest parts for me- that, and not having anyone to really talk to about it with. I have amazing and supportive family and friends, but I had no one close to me who knew what I was going through, and it did get kind of lonely sometimes.  But overall, it’s totally worth it. It’s a gamble, but isn’t everything else in life?

 

Anyhow, I hope this helps prepare someone for the crazy, emotional, needle-filled journey that is IVF.

 

Roll the dice, and be prepared. Good luck!!!

Oh No! It’s Endo!

I normally shy away from getting super personal, but after a lot of thought and years of rolling it around in my mind, I figured I would share my story of dealing with Endometriosis.  Mainly because it’s a terrible condition that 11% of women suffer from, but it’s still not talked about enough- because, you know, periods are still a taboo topic in modern society. This leads to misdiagnosis, shame, and infertility.  I should know, because I got all three.  I figure if I can get even one young woman diagnosed and save her from what I went through, then this overshare is totally worth it!

First off, what is Endometriosis? Here’s the definition via The Mayo Clinic: “Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.”  So, basically, you have extra gunk growing in your uterus and when it’s that time of the month, it sheds with everything else, often causing extreme pain.  I mean, debilitating “I think my uterus is trying to murder me” pain. It can also cause adhesions, scarring, and is the leading cause of infertility, because all that fun stuff damages your eggs. Fun fact: You are born with the amount of eggs you have for life, so it’s not like you can generate new ones.  Kind of a flaw in the system if you ask me.

I honestly didn’t even know what Endo was until I was 27.  I started having really bad periods in my early twenties, and was a little concerned, because they started out of nowhere. I asked my doctor, and he said “It’s normal- try Midol”. Yeah, that doesn’t work, but ok.  When I was 24, I got really sick one night on my period and my husband took me to the hospital at Fort Stewart, GA.  I was almost delusional with pain, dizzy, had to leave work, etc.  I was told by the doctor there that I had “Dysmenorrhea” AKA “Painful Periods” (No, really? Thanks, doc.) and was told to take a Ibuprofen and get over it.  I felt so ashamed leaving the hospital, because I felt like I was being a drama queen and was making a big deal about nothing.  So I suffered for another three years until one day after my period started, I was in so much pain on my way to work, I literally almost had a wreck on I95 because I couldn’t concentrate on driving- AFTER taking four Ibuprofens that morning.  I also bled right through my pads twice that week within an hour each, staining the chair at work.  Fed up, I went to a different doctor, who told me I may have something called Endometriosis.  The problem is, the only way to diagnose it is with laparoscopic surgery -where they stick a little tube in your abdomen and diagnose and cut out tissue.  So, they did the surgery, and BINGO! Endo everywhere AND my tubes were wrapped up in scar tissue. They cleaned it out, and I got pregnant for the first time the next Spring, only to have a miscarriage three weeks later.  I figured I could easily get pregnant again. HA! Yeah, not so much.  And to make matters worse, Endo comes back. It’s like Kudzu in the South- just grows over EVERYTHING and you can’t kill it.

Uterine Kudzu. I like that.  Maybe that should go in a medical journal?

 

Since Endo comes back, I had four more surgeries to clean out the Endo and adhesions until the doctor said I could have no more.  Because, every time you have a surgery, you get MORE scar tissue. The last Laparoscopy I had, my bowels were glued to my pelvic wall by adhesions, and at this point the only way to cure it all is just have a full hysterectomy- where they take out the uterus. The problem is, I wanted a child.  You kind of need a uterus for that I hear.  And one of the only things you can do to relieve the pain is birth control.  So, I got to be on hella pain medication a few days a month because Ibuprofen and Midol is absolute crap.  Do you know how hard it is to get decent medicine to treat chronic pain?  Oh my gosh, they treat you like you are a drug addict. To be fair, there IS an opioid crisis in our country, but that really puts people like me- who have severe chronic pain- in a terrible position.  The only way to function with Stage 4 Endo is medication or Hysterectomy. This is the choice we get.  And you get shamed for both.  So, yeah, it’s been a super fun 11 years dealing with this!

One of the hardest parts – aside from severe pain- is the absolute shame that comes with it.  I would be working, and the pain would hit, and I couldn’t tell anyone.  Imagine trying to be live on the air while having a knife slice through your abdomen and you have to smile through it, because you don’t want to tell people what is wrong with you. Or be in a meeting with a bunch of men, and trying not to pass out.  It’s an embarrassing condition to have, as menstruation is still such a taboo topic. So many times, I had to cancel plans with friends due to the pain, and let’s not get started on the bloat! I looked like I was pregnant at times, because my stomach would swell so badly! But what do you tell people?  No one wants to hear about it or talk about it because it’s “gross”.  Ok, it is gross, but what the hell are we supposed to do about it?  And then there’s the infertility.  I was unable to conceive again, and it was heartbreaking. We tried everything we could, and kind of kept it to ourselves, save close family and friends.  So this led to the constant question: “When are you having kids?”  Or “Why don’t you want kids?” Or just the speculation- so many friends would tell me I was too skinny, worked out too much, drank too much wine (lies) or was too stressed… and I didn’t want to tell them the truth, because it was embarrassing.  Oh! And then all the friends that sell stuff on Facebook, like essential oils and isometrics or whatever would target me and tell me their stupid product would get me pregnant! I kid you not.  Please, if you have an infertile friend, just…don’t.  The only thing you can do is to feed them wine and tell them they’re pretty.  That always helps!

I know this is a long post, but it’s something I’ve been dealing with and finally felt like sharing.  The great news is, I am FINALLY pregnant- 21 weeks right now- after IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) earlier this year.  For me, it was the only way I could ever procreate on my own due to endometriosis damaging my eggs. It’s an extremely expensive and physically/emotionally draining procedure- but it’s worth it!  But I would like to keep other women from having to go through what I went through.  I’m 38, and at the end of my reproductive years.  Had more been known about this condition when I was younger, or less shame involved with women’s cycles, perhaps I would have been more of an advocate for myself and my reproductive health. Maybe I would have frozen my eggs like so many are doing these days! It was never an option given to me 5-10 years ago.

Here are some symptoms of Endo. I had them all.

If you are a woman, and you are having severe period pain, don’t be ashamed. Get to your doctor NOW and see if you can get a diagnosis.  Don’t be shamed into thinking you’re a wimp.  You’re totally not. The pain is ridiculous, and no woman should ever have to go through it on just Midol.  The medical community needs to step up and do better.  You deserve it!

Rescued is My Favorite Breed

In honor of “National Rescue Dog Day”, I wanted to share a little bit more about the process of rescuing and adopting dogs.  I have so many friends that pay up to $1,000 on a designer dog from a breeder, and I’m not knocking that at all, but I wonder if people know how many incredible lifelong friends can be found at you local shelter or rescue.

Both of my dogs that I’ve had in my adult life were rescue/adoptions. First was Zeus, who, if anyone who has known me for a long time knew what an incredible dog he was. He was a Harlequin Great Dane who was so big that he was actually a candidate for the Guiness Book of World Records!  (He lost by 1.4 inches)  I got him when he was 7 months old- he was abused as a puppy, and rehomed to a family that just couldn’t handle him, so my mom ending up finding him (she rescues a lot of dogs) and knew I was lonely with JB being deployed for 15 months, so I ended up taking Zeus. What a fantastic dog he was!  He lived a full life, made so many people happy, and passed away from old age at 9.  (That’s pretty old for a Dane, especially one of his size)

Pony for Scale…

 

After Zeus passed, we were absolutely brokenhearted.  We waited a month, then decided to get a Husky.  So many people told us we were crazy, but I thankfully rarely listen.  JB and I researched Husky rescues and found TaysiaBlue.com which services the entire Midwest.  We decided on Cash, who was then 1 year old, and he had the same heterochromia as Zeus, so we figured it was a sign.  He ended up at the rescue because he was an escape artist (as Huskies tend to be) and the woman couldn’t handle him anymore.  We applied, and got approved, and Cash came home with us.  He’s an absolutely gorgeous full-blooded Siberian Husky who was already house trained. It was $300 to adopt him, and that includes all the vet work, microchipping, etc.  You know how much it costs to get a Husky from a breeder? Low end? $800. A quality pup like Cash? $1200 and upwards.  And lets not get started on vet fees and training.  Does Cash have papers? Nope. I mean, somewhere, sure. But what do I care? Unless you are breeding or showing, who gives a flip?  Anyhow, Cash is the light of our lives, and has made us (and again, so many others) happy, not to mention is kind of a tv/viral sensation with his spunky personality.  We’ve had him for 5 years now, and I honestly can’t imagine life without him.

Here’s the thing, so many wonderful dogs get discarded mainly because people are stupid. Sorry, but they are.  They think, “Oh, cute doggie!” and never think ahead of what owning a actual dog entails, or research the breed to make sure its a good fit.  So, a lot of great dogs get abandoned because they all of a sudden become inconvenient.  So they end up in shelters, and may are put down because there are some people who don’t want a “shelter dog”- they’d rather pay a ton of money for a designer dog that they can show off on instagram alongside their Louis Vuitton purse.  Or they’re concerned about them not having papers (again, what for?) or that they can breed (seriously? Are you really going to breed? It’s a lot more work than you’d think, but, whatever).   Again, not knocking buying from a breeder, but a lot of people discount the adoption/rescue option for silly reasons.

For more information on adopting and rescues, here’s a link to specific breed rescues: https://thebark.com/content/barks-breed-rescue-directory

Or just go hit up your local shelter. You may just find the love of you life like I did!

You…Better…WORK!

After almost 20 years in radio, I’m now at the point where people ask me for advice. (I know, ME, which is crazy in itself, but of course, I oblige!)  Lately, a lot of High School and College students have been asking on tips on how to make it in radio- or anywhere else for that matter.  And really, it’s simple.

YOU HAVE TO WORK.

It’s funny how no one ever wants to hear those four words.

Look, there’s really no easy way around it if you actually want to make your professional dreams come true.  You have to put in the time and effort, plus a little extra to stand out.  Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the past almost 20 years that I feel that I can expound upon you:

 

1: SHOW UP:  Simple right? You’d think so. But I cannot tell you how many people cannot master the task of showing up to work.  Even in my early twenties when partying was life, I managed to show up to work.  I may have been hungover and smelled like a brewery, but I was there dammit, and I always got the job done.  My husband, who is a Major in the Army said something recently that resonated with me- Show up at the right place at the right time in the right uniform with the right attitude.

Which brings me to my next point…

 

2: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING:  Yeah, sure, talent is great.  But what good is it if you’re a total dillweed that’s difficult to work with?  I’ll be honest- I’m not the most talented (or brightest) crayon in the box, but I’ve always had a really good attitude, and that has always gotten me ahead of some of my more talented peers.  Talent isn’t everything. Attitude and work ethic are also key ingredients. Mix up those three, and it’s a hell of a recipe.

 

3: LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN: I once had a co-worker years ago who refused to learn how to edit commercials. “That’s not my job” she would say, as she was an On-Air personality.  But here’s the thing… with the world constantly changing and consolidating, it is ALWAYS  a good idea to learn as much as possible about your chosen profession, even if it’s not in your current “job description”.  I learned how to do as much as I possibly could (aside from engineering- God BLESS engineers, especially ones who have to deal with me) and it’s always worked out in my favor.

Knowledge is always power, kiddos.

 

4: LOOK LIKE YOU CARE: Even if your job is casual, be a stylish casual.  Don’t roll up looking like you just came off a 24 hour bender- even if there’s no dress code.  I say this because in radio, there usually isn’t. No matter. Look your best, because you never know who you’re going to run into.  The day you come in looking like a scrub is the day the GM will want to speak to you, or new clients are in the building, etc.  You don’t have to be a supermodel, just put yourself together, and for crying out loud, STAND UP STRAIGHT!

Posture is everything.  I learned that early on. My mom used to tell me “Titties and Teeth” when I would ride into a horse show arena to remind me about posture.  You know what? It stuck.

 

5: BE NICE!:  This seems to be a tough one for people to grasp.  Common courtesy and kindness in the workplace can go a loooong way.  I’ve dealt with rude, bully-ish co-workers my entire career. I just continue to smile and be polite.  That’s really the only way to combat that kind of behavior in others. It’s always amazing how adults can resort to acting like a bunch of snotty teenagers in the workplace. You know what? It only makes THEM look bad, and not you. Carry on and be kind. Even if you don’t particularly care for someone, unless they do something absolutely horrid to you, just take the high road.

Fun Fact: The High Road and The Extra Mile usually have low traffic and lead to the same rad destination.  And it’s free. Um, WIN!

 

6: SOCIAL MEDIA MATTERS:  Are you looking for a new job? Clean up those socials!  As someone who has been in management and hiring positions before, let me tell you, you are being judged by your social media.  The first thing I do when a potential candidate would come up is look them up on socials.  You can tell almost EVERYTHING about a person by their social media presence.  Here’s a few red flags:

  • ANYTHING Racist/Hateful/Disrespectful to others
  • Too much political posts
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Filters!!!! Stop with that.  What are you trying to hide? More points taken off for a snapchat filter, especially if you’re out of high school.
  • Complaining about your current job/life/ex/houseplant/ and if I see a “SMH” abbreviation, I’m shaking my head right back at you.
  • Spelling and Punctuation Errors:  These things still matter. Your social media is your online footprint. Have respect for your language if you want decent job.
  • Photos of you getting high or wasted.  This is why I’m glad social media didn’t exist when I was in college.  Still- watch what you post and make sure it’s in line with the job you want.  I can get away with things like Wine Workouts because I’m in radio/media.  But if I wanted to be a lawyer, I wouldn’t be able to do that. Just something to think about!

 

7: LEARN TO TAKE CRITICISM:  It doesn’t matter what career path you take, you will need to improve your skills. How does one do that? By taking constructive criticism.  No one wants to hear that they aren’t perfect, but it’s a fact of life, and the better you can take the advice given to you, the quicker you can work on your weak spots and get better.  In radio we have what is called “Air Checks” where your boss (or several of them) would pull you into an office and play back your audio from a recent show and pick it apart.  I dreaded them! But I also knew that they were necessary to get better. To be fair, some bosses are better at giving back feedback than others, but in the end, its all a tool to make you better.  One girl I used to work with would cry in her airchecks, and another co-worker would get combative.  Not sure if they’re even in the industry anymore… anyway, learn to take criticism, and use it to build a better you.  I still get air-checked, and I welcome it.  You know why?  Because I STILL want to get better.  I know I can, and I’m always trying to improve.

 

These are just a few tidbits to help you get where you want to be.  Basically, show up, work hard, and have a good attitude are the most important things you can do.  This parlays into any career, not just radio. If you have any to add, please drop in the comments!

 

Good Luck!

 

 

Don’t Be a Joy Thief

A few years ago, I bought my horse Angel.  I was SO excited to be able to get back into horses- which was my passion growing up and into my early twenties.  BR Angelina Gold was my “dream horse”- a golden palomino Arabian cross, who through a strange twist of fate ended up in my life.  I was overjoyed when she arrived, and here are some of the things people said to me: “Why didn’t you get a Quarter Horse?” (Because I wanted an Arabian)  “Well, she’s small, isn’t she?” (Well, she’s an Arabian, so yeah)  “Why did you buy an Arabian? They’re crazy!” (Because I love them, and they’re my favorite)  and “Why didn’t you buy a Friesian?” (Maybe because I don’t have an extra 45 grand to drop on a horse? Hm….)

My point is, having Angel come into my life was such a joyful moment for me, and when I shared my news with others, I got a lot of negative feedback and comments from friends.  FRIENDS!  And I never even asked for anyone’s opinion.  I just wanted to share my happy news. Why is it that so few people can say, “Hey! Good for you. That’s awesome!” when someone shares something big?  Why does there have to be any comments at all?  Things like that can chip away at someone’s happiness.   And it’s not just in this particular situation, it’s happened on almost every happy occasion in my life, there always has to be a few people to be snide or say something hurtful as if they almost want to dim that glow of happiness.  Thankfully, I’ve learned to ignore it, but still… how strange is it that people tend to say things (unwittingly or not) that can put a dent in one’s excitement?  Why can’t we just clap for the other person?  Even if you don’t agree or if it’s not what you would choose to do with your life, what’s it to you?

Happiness is hard to come by. If anyone can find something in life that makes their heart swell and makes their life worth living- be it knitting or comic books or figure skating or collecting salt and pepper shakers- then you should be happy for them.  Because guess what? It’s not about you.  If we could all get that in our heads and realize not everyone is going to be just like you, think like you, live like you, believe like you, vote like you, etc… and actually be OK with those facts…perhaps the world would be a better place. If we can try to fix ourselves instead of “fixing” others, and concern ourselves with our own lives, maybe we could be better for it.  And for anyone dealing with those negative people in your life- and we ALL have them- remember: people who aren’t nice to you is not a reflection of you, but them.  Anyone who feels the need to rain on someone’s parade, no matter how small that parade may be, has some serious issues with themselves that they are struggling with.  Don’t let them project their unhappiness onto you.  Keep doing you and what you love and be who you are regardless of what others say.  I know I said this in a prior blog, but the point remains… it’s YOUR life, so live it how YOU choose.

 

Basically, clap for others, and if you have something salty to say, keep it to yourself, unless your opinion is specifically asked for.

That’s all. Easy peasy. Now go forth and don’t be a jackwagon! You got this.

 

 

New Song of the Week 3-22

Darius Rucker is just one of the coolest dudes… who else can claim fame in one of the most iconic 90’s bands (Hootie and the Blowfish) and then just randomly pop up on the Country Music scene in the late 2000’s and just become a permanent fixture in that genre as well?  That’s easy.  NOBODY.

And what’s cool is, Darius has continued these past 14 years to put out great, radio friendly Country music that is easy to listen to and relate to (and doesn’t mention getting blitzed on Fireball while making your girl with her cutoff jeans and tan legs give you a lap dance while getting a beer, which is a rarity these days) and his latest single “My Masterpiece” continues his hot streak.

 

I spoke to Darius today (Not even joking.  I’m still in shock) and he says the new album is due out by the end of this Summer, and if his last two singles – this one, and his latest #1 “Beers and Sunshine” are any indication, it’s gonna be another great effort by Darius.

Country Music is lucky to have him.

 

Stay tuned for my interview with him out later this week!

The Advice Not Taken

Looking back on the past 38 years, all the things that happened, all the paths taken and the ones bypassed, I often wonder how I got here.  So many random twists and turns have led to right now, which I’m going to be honest, is a really good spot. And a lot of the best things that have happened to me is because I am really good at is ignoring well-meaning advice.   It’s part of the human condition: people LOVE to tell others what they should do and how they should go about it because that’s what they themselves would do.  We like to project ourselves, our beliefs, our likes and tastes onto others, perhaps in a way to validate ourselves?  I’m not sure, but it seems that it’s something we humans like to do.  Ever since I can remember, for the most part, I would smile and nod, and go about my merry way and do what I felt like doing.  And you know what?  Some of the best things in my life are the product of decisions I made where I didn’t take the “good” advice.

#1: My Career Choice: Ever since I was four years old (I kid you not) I wanted to be a radio host.  So when I got to college, I majored in Communications. I remember my advisor telling me NOT to get into radio as it was a dying industry and I would never go anywhere.  I was 17 years old, and I remember looking at him and thinking “Watch me, bro.”

21 years later I’m still on the air and still loving it.  Had I listened to him, like many teenagers would have, what would I be doing? Maybe I’d be happy, but there’s something pretty rad about realizing a childhood dream.

 

#2: Dropping Out of College:  Perhaps if I had made a better choice for my university, I would have stayed the course.  As it turns out, the Summer after my Junior year, I got my first full-time radio job at 20 years old.  It was a huge opportunity, and I’d have been a moron to pass it up. Problem was, when the Fall semester of what would have been my Senior year started up, I had to schedule classes around my full-time job.  I spoke to the advisors, and no one wanted to help. The one class I needed- another Spanish class to meet my language requirements- was only offered in the Fall and was full. They refused to make room for me or let me independent study (even though I was a good student), AND they wanted me to intern at a competing station without pay to fulfill my internship and Senior Project requirements. Because THAT makes sense. I spoke to the Dean and he was like, “Sorry, rules are rules”. So I broke a rule of my own. I dropped out and never looked back.  I remember a lot of people told me I was making a massive mistake (except for my parents, who stood behind me) and some people still recoil in horror when I tell them I never finished college, but guess what?  Never needed to. Now, if all of a sudden radio stations started saying, “Hey Meg, you need a Bachelors and a Masters to do what you’re already doing” then sure, maybe I would.  But in the meantime, I’m just glad I got out of that school and took the amazing opportunity that ended up setting me up for life in my dream career.  Sorry not sorry, Lambuth University.

Oh wait, you don’t exist anymore, do you? Shocker.

 

#3: My Husband: I met my husband when I was 22. I was working at 98.1 the Max in Memphis, and he was a college kid on the remote crew. Basically, he would set up the live broadcasts that I would be the DJ at, drive the vehicle, etc.  We were just friends, as I was with the whole crew because we were all in the same age group, and we all liked booze. That’s all it really takes in your early twenties to make friends, right?  Eventually JB and I started toying with the idea of being more than friends, which pretty much EVERYONE (again, except for my parents) thought was a terrible idea. On paper, I totally see why. We had recently dated each other’s friends, which of course, is extremely awkward. JB was also in ROTC, meaning that when he graduated a few months later, he’d be Active Duty Army and all that that entails. Plus, JB had a reputation as a “ladies man”- which he denies. He says he was simply a “serial monogamist”… so yeah, you see all those red flags flying, right?

Again, I went with my heart, married him the next year.  I remember people taking bets on how long we would last at our wedding.  I hope you guys didn’t bet too much…

It’s been almost 14 years, and I cannot imagine a better human to spend my life with. What if I had listened to everyone else?  Woah. Potential bullets dodged.

 

Those are a few big examples of ignoring the “good” advice.

On a smaller scale, I remember all the advice thrown at me for smaller decisions, like “Don’t buy a sports car!!!” (Why? You don’t like awesome?) “Don’t wait too long to have kids!” (Um, not my call baby doll. Also, never say this to someone. Ever.) “Don’t get a Husky. They’re crazyyyy!”- that was from pretty much every dog person I knew when I was searching for a dog after our Great Dane passed.  I didn’t listen, and I have the best Husky on the planet who likes to make a habit of randomly showing up on tv with his antics. Maybe had I bought a GoldenDoodle that never would have happened. Or “Don’t get an Arabian- they’re stupid!” while horse shopping.  Cool. I have two now.  #noregrets

Also, “The Bachelor”, “Twilight”, “Fifty Shades of Grey” are all crap.  I can’t tell you how many friends told me to give it a chance. Totally should have listened to my gut there.

You see?  Bad things happen when you ignore your instincts.

 

The main thing is, it’s YOUR life. So many people will tell you how to live it. But guess what? THEY don’t deal with the consequences, but YOU have to.  If you want to be a circus performer and wear tutus to the grocery store, then DO IT.  If tax law is your thing and Brooks Brothers is your crack, go for it.  Don’t let anyone stand in the way of what your heart truly wants. Unless it’s to be an ax murderer, and then that’s a whole different issue.

You get one shot, and you might as well do it your way.  There will always be someone telling you what they think you should do. Smile, nod, say thanks, and go the other way.  Just keep being you, and trusting your instincts.  You won’t go wrong.  And when you look back like I am right now, it gives you even more to smile about.

 

 

 

New Song of The Week 3-8

So, a few weeks ago, I had mentioned on air that I really wanted new Bruno Mars. He’s definitely up there as one of my favorite contemporary artists.  Well, a few days after I said that, I found out that Bruno Mars has teamed up with the crazy talented Anderson Paak (who also has one of the best smiles EVER) for a project called “Silk Sonic”.  That got me all excited, and when they dropped the first single this past Friday, I was NOT disappointed in the least.

“Leave the Door Open” is a great mix of old school R&B, Motown, and modern sounds.  It’s got swag and of course, amazing vocals from Bruno Mars who is one of the best out there.  It was one of those songs that I was all about as soon as I heard it.  I want more of this on the music scene, and I can’t wait for their full album.  I’m really excited to hear more!

 

Sorry, kids. This beats “WAP” all day long.