How to make ANY outfit look good.

There were two things that I wanted to be as a high school freshman: a Varsity cheerleader, and the lead in the school play. As a quiet, mousy, afraid-to-even-raise-her-hand-in-class kind of kid, these seemed like totally normal things to want. I was too shy to ask a question during English class, but getting up in front of everyone during a basketball game and jumping around in a short skirt? That sounds GREAT! Sign me up. There was a guy I liked on the basketball team.

I mean, of course there were OTHER reasons I wanted to be a cheerleader – because it’s a SPORT. And a healthy extracurricular. And a great opportunity to build life-long friendships with my other cheer… mates? Cheermates? Is that a word? Cheer friends?

Whatever. It was mostly about the guy. And everyone knows cheerleaders are hot.

So I dragged my friend to try-outs with me – you know, because I was too afraid to go alone – and together we learned all of the basic chants, stunts, cheers, I think there was a dance involved? The only thing I can remember is thinking how they made everything look so much easier in “Bring It On”. I couldn’t even do a cartwheel, let alone the front handspring-stepout, roundoff back handspring-stepout I had planned to blow everyone away. You know, if I practiced enough. How hard could it be? It’s just, jumping around. On your hands.

I did the splits for my “stunt” portion during try-outs. That was one of the things – you had to do a “stunt”: a cartwheel, a roundoff, a handspring, you could even do a forward roll if you weren’t coordinated enough to do anything else. Which I wasn’t. But I chose to do the splits, because I decided that a forward roll might be too dangerous for someone inexperienced like myself.

Also I thought the splits would be more impressive. Which they would have been – had I actually done them, instead of whatever I did. Because what I did was slide down about halfway to the ground, until my knees started to bend and my legs made this triangle shape with the floor, and I was like “Ta-da!”

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THAT TIME I BLEACHED MY HAIR.

I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me that I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.

These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.

I mean, I get it. My natural hair had “dimension” (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural LOW-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.

But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. (Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia.) But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one that she picked.

A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom has never been like a “regular” mom. She’s a cool mom.

(Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.)

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Thoughts while driving in the city.

I learned to drive while growing up in a very small town. Like, the kind of small town Carrie Underwood sings about with back roads, Jesus, and dating the varsity quarterback. We had a “drive your tractor to school” day once a year. We had ONE STOPLIGHT.

Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot of traffic. Because we didn’t have a lot of people.

So when I moved to Chicago last month……. Well, I think you see where I’m going with this. There were a couple of things they must have glossed over back in driving school. Things like:

1) I don’t know how to parallel park. I think they tried to teach this at some point? Maybe there was a video on it? I remember there were orange cones, but I don’t remember having to actually park.. parallel-y. Instead I grew up where we had these things called “parking lots”. And nobody ever held up traffic trying to squeeze their mini-van into a five foot slot next to the sidewalk.

2) The cab drivers play chicken with the pedestrians. And everyone is weirdly okay with it. No one seems worried that their about to die.

3) People honk. A lot. Mostly at me, because I drive like a grandma.

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DON’T WEAR A DRESS TO THE AIRPORT.

I wouldn’t call myself a nervous flyer, I’m more of a nervous airport go-er. Because airport security has a special way of making me feel like an international terrorist. Not on purpose, it’s not as if they’re eyeing me up and down with a couple of pitch forks. The majority of TSA agents that I’ve met were actually very nice. But they have a job to do, and they take it seriously. Which is a good thing, because if there’s anything that would make me a nervous flyer, it would be some crazy guy on my plane.

But – let’s be real here – if you think I know how to make a bomb out of a bottle of shampoo, you’re giving me too much credit. I write my own fashion blog and keep selfies saved on my phone, I’m not the kind of gal who would dump my salon-brand-argon-oil-no-frizz shampoo down the drain just to start concocting a missile. I’m WAAAY too vain for that.

But TSA figured, you know, better safe than sorry. Who knows? The next world renowned international terrorist could be a twenty-six year old girl from the Midwest traveling with fancy shampoo and wearing a Calvin Klein dress.

Because that was my real mistake. Wearing that dress to the airport. Who wears a dress to the airport? Beyonce?

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