Category: Coffee and Confessions

January Favorites 2020

Hi Fan Friends!

This January definitely felt like it dragged on and on. I’m not sure about you but between volunteering at my church and catching up with friends for the New Year it seems that every weekend has been incredibly busy! My Grammy always used to say ‘idle hands are the devils playground’, and while to some degree I do believe her wisdom holds true, sometimes being too busy leaves me a lot less time for things I love…like remembering to post and share on here. Disclaimer: this post is not going to be a long post but it’s going to be a January round up of sorts. Beginning at the end of every month I’m going to share with you some of my favorite things and products! I am in no way being endorsed by any of these products but I’d like to some day! Let’s begin…

January Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST: Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shakes- are DELICIOUS and if you don’t believe me maybe you’ll trust Rob Lowe would not endorse these little gems if they weren’t absolutely amazeballs! If you are not exactly a breakfast person (like myself) you will absolutely love these Atkins shakes. They are chock-full of protein and flavor with none of the guilt or sugar that comes with ordinary chocolate shakes. They can be found in the dietary aisle of your local grocery store and YES they’re gluten-free!

Sold for $11.49 at Walmart, Target and most grocery stores!

LUNCH: Cucumber Salad! I chop up two baby cucumbers, slice 1 small sized sweet onion, and approximately six cherry tomatoes (halved) before drizzling a half a cup of my secret dressing!

DINNER: often varies are usually save my carb points for the meal I share with my husband at the end of the day. Tom and I enjoy a variety of things from burgers, chili and taco salads to keto chicken Parmesan! The key is to keep variety in the mix!

January Makeup Favorites!

Now that you have a general idea of what I like to eat on a daily basis it’s time to get to my favorite part of this blog post, I’m talking of course about my make up! Lately I have been saving more overly glammed looks for date nights and game nights with friends. I had a really bad reaction to Tartes’ ‘Shape Tape’ concealer and Too Faced’s ‘Born This Way’ foundation. I can’t recommend these two products for people with dry or sensitive skin because not only did it dry my skin out completely, The lack of moisture made my face red, itchy and very blotchy for quite some time.

Normally I am all about full coverage foundation but lately to work I’ve been going with subtle/natural glam. Enter Revlon photo finish BB cream and Maybelline’s ‘Fit Me!’ foundation, which I highly recommend. While it isn’t exactly full coverage it is buildable and when set with a decent setting powder or spray it will last you all day.

Can be purchased for $8.95 at Walmart🤗

Can be purchased for $5.95 at Walmart! 😲😁

For under $15 dollars at Walmart, you can purchase these products and put together a low-key and natural glam look for the office. Usually I rock my ‘Basic Britt’ look five days a week and only glam up if I have weekend plans. I hope to be posting a day-to-day as well as glam makeup routine videos sometime in February for my ‘February Favorites 2020’ post. Until then, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and interest in what I have to say on here. Having such awesome fan friends like you definitely motivates me to post as frequently as I can.

Be sure to follow me on social media and if you’re requesting me on Instagram please reference this blog in a DM so I know who you are and can accept you!

Spending An Afternoon In My Mindset

Have you ever come across something that you just automatically relate to? It could be a photograph or a meme that you just look at and think “wow that’s me!”. The picture above is definitely one that I can relate to.

I have had anxiety my entire life. The word anxiety and even the word depression has become so mainstream that I feel like so many people say that they have it but living with it isn’t as simple as just waking up and feeling sad. It’s a very consistent feeling of wanting to take on the world but not having the energy to do so. Even as I sit here and write this, I would love nothing more than to be able to post every week but there are some weeks where even something as simple as writing a post is a challenge. This is something that I enjoy. This is something I truly love to do and something I feel as though I’m really good at. Anxiety is wanting to post, it’s having a lot to say but not having the energy to get it out.

For many years, many people have suffered within their minds silently. I hope if this blog can do one thing it’s to encourage people to talk about it. To bring anxiety and depression out of the shadows and speak. Anxiety is horrible, there have been many times I could be having a panic attack and nobody would even know because it’s an inward thing. It feels like I’m malfunctioning and I can’t process my own thoughts. It feels like I’m running out of breath and living in a self imposed hell. Many people who do not have anxiety, think it’s as simple as saying “just stop thinking that way” or “just think positively”. What they don’t realize is it doesn’t always work like this. Thinking positively does not always equal the end of an anxiety attack.

I liken myself to a total oxymoron, I am one of the most social butterflies you’ll ever want to meet and yet I have social anxiety. I refuse to go somewhere alone whether it be to the grocery store or a doctors appointment. I constantly feel the urge to say something along the lines of : “do you hate me?” or “are you mad at me?” and my favorite one: “I’m sorry.” It isn’t because I don’t trust people in any way, it’s because my brain is literally telling me that all the time. I apologize for things, even things I have no control over because my brain is telling me I should be sorry.

I feel like society in general has a huge misconception of anxiety and depression. You can be confident and have anxiety. You can smile and make jokes yet have depression. Sometimes the people that have everything in the world going for them are the ones that feel nothing. It’s important to check on your family and friends, and to remember that kindness goes a long way.

For the people who suffer, having depression and anxiety is really scary. You literally push everyone away simply because you’re afraid of getting hurt by having them getting sick of you and leave. Yet, that’s when you need caring people the most. You’re sad most of the time and don’t even know why. It’s a vicious cycle that eats you alive. I can tell you from experience, the right people always stay. When I am in the throes of a panic attack my husband is usually the first person to take me in to his arms and hold me until I feel OK enough to either sleep or move on with my day.

As someone with a mild to moderate social anxiety disorder I will never get tired of hearing my loved ones say:

“I’m here for you”

“I love you”

“I care for you”

“I value you as a person”

“Your opinions matter”

“I’ll go with you if it’s too scary”

“Your feelings are valid”

This is especially true when I’m feeling anxious. Talking about anxiety is not attention seeking. It is bringing into the light a very dark part of the human mind. Sometimes our own worst enemies are not those who surround us but rather our own minds within us.

While I have had my share of the classic and stereotypical anxiety attacks, it’s important to note there are different types of anxiety attacks. They aren’t always hyperventilating and rocking back and forth but are also :

• Random bursts of irritability

• Obsessive behavior

• Hypersensitivity

• Pacing

• Silence

• Zoning out

Keep this in mind when looking for signs with your loved ones. The best thing that somebody could do for someone during an anxiety attack is to speak words of comfort and genuinely be there for that person in their time of need. Anxiety suffers often feel like a burden to those around us. We do not mean to be difficult or have these bouts of sadness or irritability or crippling fear. It is often the part of us we hate the most and wish we could change with every fiber of our being. 

Through the years I’ve learned that there are things that can make my anxiety worse:

Irregular sleep-When I’m not getting enough sleep its a breeding ground for anxiety attacks although it’s a little counterintuitive considering most of the time I get irregular sleep is when I wake up in the middle of the night from an anxiety attack. Trying to keep a consistent schedule of going to bed and waking up has helped cut down on some of these more crippling anxiety bouts but it doesn’t stop them completely.

Watching & reading a lot of negative news-many people see my refusal to speak about what’s going on in the world today or my views on politics as me burying my head in the sand. This is not the case. As an empathetic anxiety sufferer, I tend to feel things so deeply that when I watch and read a lot of what’s going on in the world today my anxiety is that much worse. Protecting myself as well as my mental health is not ignorant. Nobody has to live in my skin or yours so therefore nobody has the right to tell me or you what we should and should not focus on.

• Too much caffeine consumption– nothing gets me going in the morning quite like a cup of coffee. Consequently nothing else gets my heart racing faster or keeps me up most at night than a cup of coffee.  I used to drink 2 cups of coffee a day before work, now I limit my consumption to 1 cup a day and only between the hours of 6 and 8 AM. Drinking coffee in the afternoon for someone with anxiety is a sure way to make sure you’re up all night worrying about absolutely everything you have no control over. Caffeine in general is a mind stimulant I feel my most anxious while wide awake from coffee. 

• Eating too much sugar-Let me begin by saying I really love ice cream but I only have it once a week and only on Saturdays because too much sugar when you live with anxiety is always a bad thing. Very similar to caffeine, sugar not only gives me a temporary sense of energy but it also stimulates my mind to be more anxious. I have found that my worst panic attacks come after a birthday party when I indulge in a slice of cake or maybe two.

• Saying yes to too many things-The part of me that is the social butterfly loves having things to do on the weekends. Being active helps me to focus my energy on other things other than my anxiety and allows my brain to focus on something other than tormenting me. However, when I have a series of weeks where there is much to do and no time to relax and recharge my batteries I feel as though my anxiety becomes overbearing. For someone with anxiety, we need our time to regroup just as much as we need people around us. Taking on too many social events or tasks can really make someone with anxiety feel bogged down and trapped. I’ve learned over the last five years to say no to things. Self care is just as important as caring and being there for others. Remembering that I can’t pour from an empty cup reminds me to take time for myself doing things that I enjoy.

Dealing with stress & conflict– stress and conflict is especially difficult for anxiety suffers. Already in our minds we wonder if we are a burden or if we are liked however when dealing with stress and conflict this can make matters worse. For me I have always been more passive aggressive in my confrontations with others. This is because I do not like direct confrontation. It is the quickest way to rattle me and send me into a panic attack. This doesn’t mean I don’t know how to assert myself. It just means I would rather say my piece and allow people to simply disagree with me rather than fight me. Meditation and writing are ways that I manage my stress and my feelings when they get too much and too intense for me to feel. I tend to avoid people and things that are overly negative and leave me feeling emotionally depleted. It’s not a knock against anyone in particular but rather it’s me protecting myself.  I’ve learned to pay attention to how I feel when interacting with certain people and if I do not feel positive or good after speaking with them I tend to limit my time and interaction with them for the good of my own stress levels.

• Too much social media-When speaking of limiting your time and interaction with people and things that may or may not make you feel good, I find that limiting time on social media is an important part of my emotional well-being. I have a whole post in which I discuss how damaging being exposed to everyone else’s so-called “perfect life” can be. You can read about it in my post about my social media hiatus I took. I tend to keep a limit on the time I allow myself to be on social media I used to find myself checking Facebook very often and now I find I very rarely use it at all. I check in about once a week, see what my notifications are and log off. There are other social media outlets that are much harder for me to stay away from, namely Twitter and Instagram. However, making sure I do not spend all of my free time on these apps have helped me to be less exposed to the negativity often found on these platforms. That is not to say there is no good that comes from social media, I have met a lot of wonderful genuine people through these platforms however I have also been exposed to the other side where people who are judgmental and out right cruel to those who do not think as they do are waiting in the shadows to attack you for everything and anything you may post.

Consuming alcohol-Sure, going out and having a few drinks with friends is fine and fun but it can also be extremely counterproductive for someone living with anxiety, such as myself. Alcohol is a depressant and depressants for anxiety suffers are never a good thing. I found as I’ve gotten older I don’t really enjoy the feeling of being drunk or in any way impaired.  anxiety already makes you worry about things you have absolutely no control over, alcohol inhibits that control you feel of any situation which often makes matters worse, at least for me. limiting my alcohol consumption to once a month or once every two months has helped me tremendously in managing my anxiety. 

Stop isolating myself – while time away from social groups and obligations are a good thing, too much isolation is a bad thing. One of the worst case scenarios for any anxiety suffer is to be left alone with their thoughts for too long. Being married to my best friend has helped me, we see our friends a healthy amount of times a month but we also take time for us both to recharge our batteries. However, living with each other allows us to be alone but not completely isolated. Having Tom to talk to one on one, gives me that relaxed feeling without being isolated. Most of the time we order takeout and watch ‘I Love Lucy’ re-runs, we can laugh and talk with each other but also find comfort in saying nothing at all and just snuggling on the couch.

Having anxiety is not easy to live with. Every day is different and brings new obstacles which you must face often silently with a brave face. I am very lucky that my anxiety does not completely debilitate me and my ability to function each day. While not for everyone, my faith in God and prayer has enabled me to get through whatever negativity my mind tries to throw at me. If you do feel completely crippled by your anxiety, please do not be ashamed to talk about it with a doctor or a professional. If you feel like your ability to enjoy life is impaired, please know that you are not alone and your feelings are valid but it is also your right to a beautiful life and talking to a medical professional may help you do that.

If you or anyone you know suffers from anxiety, please know that talking about it it’s OK. If you’d like to leave a comment below please do so I do enjoy hearing from each and everyone of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of your comments and feedback.

Dear cold weather, I think we need to see other seasons

I got a frozen cocktail in my right hand & a bowl of piping hot soup in my left.

Hello Fan Friends,

I’m not sure about you, but once that weather starts to turn cold I love nothing more than to curl up with a cozy blanket and a hot bowl of soup. Did I mention I still love a nice cold cocktail in January? Well, I do. Oxymoronic? Maybe. Totally me? Definitely!

I was going to write up a makeup review but what I really want to discuss is ‘Winter Blues’ because they’re a very real thing and also more common than you think. I didn’t realize there were others like me, those who experience a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter. Lately, many, like me, feel more lethargic and overall sad. While feeling more gloomy than usual, the winter blues typically don’t hinder your ability to enjoy life.

I want to raise awareness to SAD, which happens when winter blues start affecting all parts of your life — from work to relationships. See, this SAD isn’t the feeling like we learn about in preschool. This SAD is a recurrent type of depression associated with the change in seasons. It typically starts in the fall and persists through the winter months.

Through research I learned that SAD happens as a result of lower levels of natural sunlight common in fall and winter. It can affect how happy you feel, mess with your internal clock and affect your sleeping patterns. SAD affects both mood and sleep.

The most common symptoms of the winter blues are general sadness and a lack of energy. Other symptoms of the winter blues include the following:

1) You find difficulty sleeping

2) Feeling less social than usual

3) Difficulty taking initiative

The hallmarks of SAD are sleeping too much and overeating. Other common SAD symptoms include the following:

• Your mood that is down or depressed most of the day, nearly every day

• You’ve lost of interest in activities you typically enjoy.

• You’ve been withdrawing and isolating yourself from friends and family.

• You’re struggling to focus and perform at work or home

• You feel constantly fatigued and lethargic.

• You feel hopeless about the future.

• You’re having suicidal thoughts.

Now for me, winter blues began around High School, around the time I got my first Part Time job. I found it hard to fall asleep at night and focus during the day. My mind felt like one of those proverbial hamsters on a wheel. The days that I did have off, I wanted to sleep and not socialize much with friends.

While I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD, and suicidal thoughts and hopelessness for the future weren’t ever a thing with me, the struggle to be motivated-even to write this piece-is very real. The constant feeling of tiredness and lethargic-ness is common. I do feel less socially inclined to make and even resent still keep a plan and I have no drive.

Combating winter blue is something I’ve learned through the years, the biggest way I’ve learned to cope is transforming my mind through my actions. Here are a few ways I’ve helped myself deal with the winter sadness:

  • Be Active in the Wintertime Outdoors-I began this with trepidation during the blizzard of 2018. Much like I did as a child I started walking and hell even playing in any snow we’d get, I began having fun with the icicles that would form on our car, and building snowmen. Once I tried to channel my inner child and stopped resisting the cold temperature, the better I tolerated it.
  • Wear Bright Colors– Okay, so I have no research to actually back up this theory, but I’m quite convinced there is a link between feeling optimistic and sporting bright colors. It’s in line with the “fake it ’til you make it” desperate attempts to trick your brain into thinking that it’s sunny and beautiful outside — time to celebrate spring! — even though there’s a sheet of ice and sleet causing some major traffic jams. Personally, I tend to wear black every day in the winter. It’s supposed such an amazing versatile color but yet the result is that I appear as if — and feel like — I’m going to a funeral every afternoon between the months of November and March. So I make a conscious effort to wear Panther blue, purple, red, and cream colored clothing to lift my spirits considerably.
  • Ditch The Junk Food- Instead of reaching for a bowl of ice cream, reach for a bowl of fruit. While this may seem kind of silly, sugar can sometimes worsen episodes of depression or anxiety. With sugar, you get an immediate high but once you crash you are more prone to depressive traits-not to mention sugar is a sure way to pack on unnecessary pounds.
  • Write Down Your Thoughts-Writing down your thoughts can have a positive effect on your mood. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for my entire life I found that getting my negative thoughts out onto paper helps move me forward and rid my mind of any toxic energy. I usually sit down with a plan to write for about 20 minutes on most days of the week, sometimes I sketch too. I include my thoughts, feelings, and concerns. The best time is at night so that I can reflect on all that happened in the last 24 hours.

If all else fails do not feel too afraid to go speak to a doctor about how you are feeling. Nobody has to live their life in a constant depressive state, speaking to somebody can help you in gaining insight to patterns with what is going on. 

Do you feel like you have winter blues? Leave a comment below. Let’s talk!

  • New Content Returning January 17th!

    Hi Fan Friends!

    Happy New Year! I was going to be back this Friday with new content, however, my 4th wedding anniversary was this past Wednesday, January 8th. Tom and I decided to celebrate this weekend so there will be no new content posted for this week.

    So far, my 2020 has consisted of spending much needed time with family, trying new beauty products, keeping a close eye on the Carolina Panthers’ off season moves, and yes even experimenting with making my favorite recipes more keto friendly. It’s been a while since I posted recipes but I’m tweaking a few of them before I start posting. I won’t post anything less than perfect it’s in my nature.

    My Twitter has been booming, if you don’t already follow my blog account @FridayWithBritt you definitely should! I also have a personal Twitter account @BrittMSchmidt which can be followed to keep up with my day-to-day happenings! For those of you who don’t follow football, the Walter Payton Man of the Year is a very special award given to an athlete based on his charitable contributions to the community. The Walter Payton Man of the Year challenge works like this:

    So as you can see from the top picture my fellow Panthers Fam and I have been hard at work making sure that Cam Newton wins that $25,000 prize! I hope you can bare with me for the next few hours as we pull this off.

    Next week I will be reviewing Tarte Shape Tape concealer to kick off the New Year, hope to see you all than!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    Hello Fan Friends!

    Originally I was going to write about my first week off of social media but I had a jam packed weekend of holiday parties and oh yeah-after the New Year I’ll be reviewing ‘Too Faced Born This Way Foundation’. So far, I made it to Saturday before I cracked on Instagram but I’ve managed to stay off Facebook & Twitter for a little over a week. I still haven’t gone back on, I may not go back until after New Years. Oddly enough cutting my social media apps down to Instagram & Snapchat have made me less stressed but I also need to mute a lot of unhealthy people when I go back on so I’m not seeing so much ignorance on my timeline.

    Either way, this post is meant to inform you that I decided to take the next week to spend time with my husband, and other family during this holiday season. I’d love to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Years. May your holidays be filled with all the people, food and things which make you smile and your heart happy.

    I’ll be reviewing makeup when I come back after the New Year so stay tuned and stay fabulous!

    Why I Decided A Social Media Hiatus Was Needed

    Hello Friends,

    We’re connected. We’re connected all the damn time to our cellphones and laptops and it’s a damn shame. I’m sitting here on the couch with my husband and fur baby and in this instant I am overwhelmed. Sometimes being connected is a wonderful thing, but sometimes when you’re super empathetic it’s a horrible thing.

    There I was, tweeting and retweeting “#WPMOY Newton” “#WPMOYChallenge Newton” and feeling my mind and resolve just crack with every tweet, every response to every new “friend”. I use the term friend in quotations because friendship is defined nowadays on the premise that you’re political beliefs align perfectly with your friend’s and that’s it. Gone are the days where you can “not talk about it” or “not have an affiliation” because to apparently not want to be involved is to not care.

    I don’t tweet about politics or religion, I live by the golden rule “a lady never tells” but that doesn’t mean I live in a glass bubble, unsympathetic to the plights of those suffering. In fact, as an empath, I feel it so acutely that my heart literally breaks and I cry when I see any kind of hate towards people based on their political beliefs, religion, race , or sexual orientation. As a Christian (NOT the kind that stands outside your abortion clinic telling you you’re going to hell) a genuine Christian I believe that everyone deserves love and respect even people I struggle to love and respect. I once begged on Twitter to stop seeing the image of a dog which was the victim of dog fighting, why? I broke down and cried every time I saw it.

    So there I was in the middle of a healthy disagreement on whether or not someone who “supports Trump in 2019” deserves to get “blocked” before someone even knows them and I broke down and cried. Now to be clear, I’m not pro-Trump but I was also raised to respect whoever the leader of the free world was whether that be Clinton, Bush, Obama and yes-even the President who should stay the fuck off Twitter once in a while. I know people who voted for Trump in the election, I also know people who voted for Hillary. I know people, some within my families, who’s views are so contradictory to from one another BUT I recognize also political beliefs are only one layer to a person. Did I write off family and friends simply because they do not agree with me? No, absolutely not.

    Seeing that hatred on social media and muting it day after day is, well, soul crushing. I identify as independent, I lean neither left or right, but I love to listen to experiences and have dialogues with people who’ve been affected in ways I couldn’t even imagine so that I could better try to understand how they feel. I try to be open minded and see both sides of the argument, however, when I tried to explain this point of view in this discussion I was jumped on so quickly that it made me seriously wonder just how open minded and freeing thinking some people truly are.

    I started to feel really overcome by the whole experience and in that moment, I felt super sorry for the 13-year-olds out there because I am a full-fledged adult and I actually felt afraid for the first time to speak my mind on social media. There is a stress and chaos that comes with many people from many walks of life communicating over a mobile device without being able to gage emotion.

    It was deeper than that one issue though, it was in that moment I realized maintaining social media has become a bit like a full-time job, only it’s a full-time job you don’t get any days off from. At any given moment, of any given day, somebody can reach out to you and either make you smile or trigger you so completely that you want to avoid any and all human beings. Right now, I don’t think I want anyone to have that kind of power over me. I’ve wondered if I was even enjoying myself anymore, since my tweets became public and not protected, or if it’s all just turned into another dumb obligation. That’s when I knew I needed a break.

    Once I logged off from my main account, I was relieved. After all, the world is not going to end if I miss some tweets, or don’t post a picture of my dinner or lunch. I want to go back to the days where I wasn’t face to face with people commenting, complimenting and criticizing everything I do. I want to be able to spend a decent amount of time living my life sans social media. Let’s be real, if you go out to a restaurant and look around you, you’ll probably notice everyone is on their phones, and it sucks. I want to stop Instagramming, Tweeting, and Facebooking long enough to eat a meal with my damn family & friends.

    My Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feed lately seems like a constant parade of all the fun stuff everyone else is doing, and it really started to make me feel like I was comparing my life to other people’s especially seeing people taking more vacations than me made me feel defeated on days I struggled with keeping my expectations in check. Not everyone has to have fun 24/7, even though the barrage of photos and updates makes it seem that way. I just want some time away from scrolling through the litany of party posts and vacation pics.

    Social media can be a blessing and a curse. Right now, it’s leaving me feeling stressed, profoundly sad, and anxious, so I need to take care of me and give myself a break by taking a social media vacation.

    Do you think social media can be overwhelming?

    10 Things About What I Learned From Watching ‘My Cat From Hell’

    Because often it’s the humans, not the animals who need a change of heart.

    I was going to write an informative post about winter blues and how to combat them. I was about halfway through the editing phase when my WordPress app decided to crash and leave me at 11:50 PM with nearly nothing to post.

    I was so extremely frustrated that I was back to the drawing board and quite frankly I was way too frustrated to finish the article again. But mostly, I was mad at myself because if I had started this earlier I might’ve been able to be more diligent in getting the post up quicker. Earlier though, I have a confession to make, I became extremely fascinated watching the reruns of the show ‘My Cat from Hell’ . So there I was, cursor blinking rapidly when I literally said ‘fuck it!’ and decided I would write about that tonight.

    For those of you who haven’t seen this show which ran for nearly 7 years, it chronicles a Cat behaviorist by day, musician by night, Jackson Galaxy. He looks like he belongs somewhere in between being a member of Fall Out Boy to a biker gang-Hell’s Angels. The premise of the show features Jackson visiting with cat-owning families who are at their wit’s end dealing with a variety of problems, from food stealing, biting, litter box troubles, and more. Galaxy interviews family members, meets and assesses the problem cat(s), and then gives each family homework to complete before his next visit. He checks in on the families throughout the rehabilitation process to he can see how his advice is being implemented and to offer further tips and tricks to help turn these bratty cats into model citizens. 

    As a dog person, I could admit I really didn’t take the time to understand what makes felines tick. This show has given me a good idea about why cats react the way they do and here are 12 things I learned.

    1. A tail that’s lifted vertically, high in the air is one confident kitty!– Most of the time, this tail position indicates that the cat feels comfortable and open to interaction. However, please not in certain situations– like warding off a strange cat in his own territory – a high tail can also show a willingness to attack.

    2. You know the Black Cat arched up like you see in Halloween posters? That’s a scared potentially aggressive cat- When a cat arches it’s back like that it’s trying make itself bigger as a form of defense. When a cat is fearful or angry to the point of being willing to fight, they’ll often make themselves as big as possible in various ways. A classic example is when a cat puts its back all the way up and stands sideways to the threat – a cat with their back arched in this position is telling you they’re terrified.

    3. If they expose any part of their bellies or stretch out on their back they’re comfortable & trust you-The exposed belly is a sign of comfort and trust, but it is not necessarily an invitation for a belly rub as many people think so and get clawed. Just because they trust you doesn’t mean they want to be touched by you.

    4. Ears tell the whole story-Its a great place to look for clues about a cat’s mood. Normal, forward ears indicate a cat that’s feeling confident, relaxed, or engaged. When a cat’s ears stand straight up, the cat is increasing their exposure, and you may be fooled into thinking it’s at ease; instead, sometimes the high, erect ear position indicates alertness or a desire to play. A cat with ears turned back is usually a good sign that a cat is feeling angry or fearful.

    5. Apparently letting a cat sniff your glasses is a good way for them to see you’re not a threat without getting near them- Galaxy does this thing where whenever he encounters a new cat, he takes his glasses off and allows the cat to sniff them this way the cat is getting his scent without him infringing upon the cats’ personal space. It helped him to gage how receptive the cat was to interacting with him.

    6. Slow blinking is a GOOD thing- Galaxy taught me that cats blink slowly to show affection and relaxation. If a cat blinks slowly at you, they are not threatened by you – in fact, they trust you. To bond with a cat, Galaxy open initiated the trust gesture by blinking slowly back at them.

    7. I thought cats could sense my allergies and therefore wanted to be around me because of this-I was wrong. Although people can use direct eye contact to show affection, through Galaxy I learned that most cats actually find it threatening. That’s why in social settings, a cat usually gravitates toward the one person in the room who is trying to ignore it, such as me.

    8. Cats are predators by nature know when they’re overstimulated in play and back off-When cats see something move (whether a mouse, cat toy, or human hand), they are hardwired to pursue it. Closer and closer, they inch forward until they reach arousal threshold-then they pounce and kill. One of the most helpful hints Galaxy gave on this show was to stay still. Literally freeze. This stop-action interrupts the inbred stalking pattern.

    9. Audio Clues Help You Determine The Mood-Purring usually occurs during contentment and may also be a comfort-seeking behavior when the cat is recovering from illness or close to death. High-pitched gurgling or chatting indicates friendliness and an openness to socialize with. Growling, hissing, or spitting are emphatic warnings to stay away — at least until the cat has calmed down. Caterwauling is a very loud, guttural sound that cats (especially males that have not been neutered) make when threatened by other cats. This sound is common in deaf cats.

    10. Provide LOTS of cat trees, and shelving for confidence is KEY- 90% of the episodes in which I watched featured Galaxy clueing in families on one major thing their homes were missing and that was a space for cats to climb and observe their space from above. Shelves and cat trees helped to make the cats be more confident and also outgoing. Having a space where they can retreat to and yet still be a part of the action observing was very helpful in rehabilitating the cats on the show and teaching them healthier habits. 

    So is it worth watching reruns? YES! As with most animal rehabilitation-themed reality shows, there aren’t a lot of surprises in store here. Most of the problems the families have with their pets seem to stem from a lack of rigorous play, training, and reinforcing positive behaviors. There is usually one member of the family giving the ultimatum of it’s either me or the cat and luckily there’s always a compromise at the end. A common theme in the show is there’s always one person of the family who struggles with the advice Galaxy gives them. Just when you think the families will not succeed in working together to rehabilitate their cat it all comes together and turns out right in the end. It’s your typical reality TV show with a few overdramatic moments but ultimately I found sincere joy in seeing these grumpy felines adapt to a cuddlier and happier way of life with their human companions. It’s also interesting hearing Galaxy interpret and explain the different ways cats express themselves so that humans can better understand their signals. Proving once more, it is often times humans that need the training and not the animals.

    What reruns do you like to watch most? Leave a comment below and let me know!

    I Met Tony Romo At The 2010 Pro Bowl And Declined His Autograph: The only Pro Bowl Story You’ll Ever Need to Know.

    Because there aren’t enough characters on Twitter to share this epic tale!

    Hello Fan Friends!

    Everyone has the “cool uncle”, right? He’s fun and makes the most of the slices of life by creating memories that last a lifetime. on my father side of the family I have one uncle, blessed with two Aunts, and only one Uncle. I wish I could say I have several memories that stand out but aside from a few trips to the movies or dinner with he and my cousins this memory stands out the most. This story is about nine years old it will turn 10 this January. So what happened nearly a decade ago that is still talked about at dinner parties and bemoaned by my Husband (who still hasn’t forgiven be by the way) the Cowboys fan? Why it’s the story of how a young die hard Panthers fan from New Jersey came face to face with the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys and turned down an autograph. More on that later, but none of this would even be possible if not for my Uncle Mike managing time score us tickets to the 2010 Pro Bowl in Miami.

    The Panthers had gone 2-14 that season so with no playoffs on the line, I readily accepted that this trip would be the most amazing part of my season. I was grateful that my Uncle included me on that opportunity to see Panther greats like Julius Peppers, Ryan Kalil and Jon Beason live. I want to say Steve Smith was there-I distinctively remember seeing him-but for a girl who lives a LONG way from Charlotte ANY opportunity to see my boys was one I took.

    Miami was everything Will Smith described in ‘Welcome to Miami” and more! The hotel we stayed at, shops we spreed at, and restaurants we dined at were all delicious, well priced and accommodating. There are very few things in life more enjoyable than a weekend getaway to South Beach Florida-except seeing guys up close that you watch every Sunday and get invested in.

    One of the more awesome points of the trip was visiting the practice area and being exposed to so many different fans from all over the NFL. Prior to the 2010 Pro Bowl, I had only really seen and interacted with Giants, Jets, Cowboys, and Eagles fans. In fact, I was one of the only handful of students in my school-hell, even in my town-which didn’t support a local team. Being a Panthers fan in New Jersey was like having sprouted wings and a tail-you just sort of stuck out like a sore thumb. So you can imagine my excitement in seeing fans from all over cheering on their favorite players from around the league! One family-a couple decked out from head to toe in Panthers gear-even approached me to asked for my picture! They were super sweet and the first members of my “Fambase”outside of my home state that I interacted with. That experience in itself encouraged me to become more active on Twitter and find everyone who supported all things Panthers that were out there.

    This was a positive experience and an empowering one that helped me to make an effort to find others like me. I would love to find that couple with my picture somewhere in their album because I’d love to see it and thank them for making me feel so important. It made me feel like a bit of a celebrity within my fanbase, but more importantly, that picture request helped me to meet some of my best friends on Twitter!

    After that picture request, I was absolutely giddy with the buzz of excitement from fellow fans surrounding me. With my rag tag group of cousins and Uncle (each representing a different team) in tow we made our way to the chain link fence where the players were entering. Eager for my first look at Peppers and Kalil I used my height to my advantage and (grabbing my Broncos fan cousin, Ashley’s hand) pushed us to the front of the crowd where we came face to face with Tony Romo.

    For someone who played for a team that I was taught to loathe from a young age, he was super down to earth and approachable. Our chat was very brief, he asked what we thought of our first Pro Bowl experiences and we replied that it was really awesome. Not one to take an opportunity for granted, I told Tony plainly I was glad Jessica Simpson wasn’t at the recent games (for my boyfriend back at home’s sake) because she was an absolute jinx. My cousin quickly offered up here Brandon Marshall jersey to be signed and I handed him over my Sharpie so that he could. Once he finished, he gestured to me wordlessly implying if I wanted anything signed I should fork it over now. I smiled at him, accepted my Sharpie back and said “you seem like a nice guy, but no thank you!”

    He looked like he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be insulted but he signed my other cousin’s Faulk jersey and while he did so I snapped a picture to prove to Tom back at home that this even happened.

    My cousin’s signed Broncos Jersey

    This entire exchange happened over a span of 6 minutes but it’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. When I go places, it’s easily an ice breaker to end all ice breakers and it also won me the respect of people back at home when I explained how I couldn’t let Tony besmirch my Steve Smith jersey. The day itself was a defining moment in my life as a Panthers fan, I realized there were others like me out there and I wanted to find them all. To the couple who has a selfie out there of a petite, tan, brunette girl in a Julius Peppers jersey from New Jersey please DM me over Twitter my handle is: @brittmschmidt I would love to see that picture and hear from you!

    A Hairvolution: My Journey to Red and Why I think it ROCKS!

    Hello Fan Friends!

    Today I’m going to be talking about my hair-which if you read my post reviewing Aaron Carter’s new single Pyro-you’ll see is no longer dark. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments since trading in my raven locks for a ravishing red. Going red is not for the faint of heart but it’s definitely worth the risk if you’re an adventurous person when it comes to your hair. My first piece of advice if you are thinking about changing your hair color or style is to visit a local salon-please do not try to do this yourself without the help of a professional. Also, while talking to your stylist make sure to settle on a red that complements your complexion and eyes. It is essential to bear in mind that not all shades of red are created equal-so this is my full disclaimer to make sure you settle on a red that is complementary to you. Please keep in mind that what flatters me (or the celebrity whose hair you might be eyeing up) might not flatter you. You may absolutely love ‘The Little Mermaid‘ but that doesn’t mean that ‘Ariel red’ is the right color for you (don’t feel bad-it’s not right for me either!). So now you’re probably asking yourself, why the change? Well pull up a seat ladies and gents, it’s story time!

    I have been a bit of a hair Chamaeleon-  you name the color and I’ve “red carpet” rocked it. However, there is always a reason why I end up parting ways with a color. Let’s begin with highlights, oh it always begins with highlights. Highlights are very beautiful, flattering, and well, after a while, boring. For me, too much of my natural color was present in highlights which left me feeling bored. Anyone who really knows me knows that I cannot stand having boring hair. If you are the type of person who is only looking to enhance what you’ve got then this style is absolutely perfect for you. If not, like most people who start off dabbling with highlights, you’ll eventually want to be blonder. This is in evitable and it’s best to just embrace it. 

    I dabbled with a lot of colors in my teenage years but for the most part I was blonde from age 16 to 19. There were two summers I died my hair black and fire engine red. I wish I had pictures to show you but my Mother made me change it so quickly I barely had time to really see if I liked it. During that time in my life I relied a lot on the opinions of others when it came to how to style my hair. I’ve been told blondes have more fun, hell , even Marilyn Monroe starred in a movie titled ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes‘ but blonde eventually got boring. Sure, during that time in my life it was sassy, sexy, fun, and also the hair color which garnered me the most attention (and free shit) through the years but I also found it frustrating. For me, blonde hair meant being played into the stereotype of the “dumb blonde”. People tended to “dumb things down” for me often times without even realizing that they were doing it.

    While blonde does turn heads, it is very high maintenance. To avoid brassiness, I needed to use clarifying shampoo twice a week at least. The shampoo itself is purple which might seem counterintuitive but it actually works. It was also a very drying and damaging shade to keep in my hair. My advice to anybody looking for that platinum blonde shade is to make sure that you deep condition and silk infuse your locks (I still use CHI silk infusions it works wonders and leaves your hair softer than a kitten’s ear!). This will minimize the impact of the damage done to your hair and also leave it feeling soft and healthy. Some people try blonde hair and never try another color again other people (like me) get tired of the maintenance. For me, whenever my roots would grow in they looked entirely too dark and I was spending way too much money getting touch ups every four weeks. Everyone’s different, my hair happens to grow fast so when my roots would come in I would have what I began to call “skunk tail” and it was much too obnoxious for me. 

    The next phase in my life, I went brown. Now nothing is wrong in experimenting with shades of brown- in fact a lot of women who’ve been blonde for years tend to try this at least once in their life-but it turns out it was the color I was least happiest with. I did a level 4 chocolate brown which was absolutely stunning when I first got it done, however, I hated the fade factor. My natural hair tends to pull red so as the weeks would roll-on my beautiful chocolate brown would always fade to a brownish red which wasn’t very beautiful on me. I kept the style for a grand total of two years pretty much to the appeasement of relatives who really liked the way it looked on me. At that point in my life though-I was tired of being unhappy with colors so I let my natural color grow out.

    I really tried to appreciate my natural color it’s like a dark dirty blonde with flecks of red in certain lights. After spending a grand total of a year and a half trying to love what the good Lord gave me I decided I needed to be blonde again. After one particularly frustrating day at work I went to my nearby salon and went platinum blonde once more.

    I stayed blonde for a grand total of 3 1/2 years before the call to go darker was one I couldn’t ignore any longer.

    My hairstylist loves to tell the story of how six months before my wedding I told her I wanted to dye my hair black. She was flustered and quite taken aback that I would even ask something like this after being blonde for so long. However, we ended up being very pleased with the results (both her and I ) and so that was how I ended up with the black hair. My hair definitely was stunning, like shiny black tourmaline, and I truly loved it for the 4 years I kept it but the problem I had with the blonde hair persisted. I ended up with reverse skunk tail which actually meant when my hair would grow in it looked like I was graying. It seemed that while I loved having black hair, it aged me out completely. Faced with the prospect of wanting something new but knowing just how hard it would be to reverse years and years of black hair color buildup on my hair I took matters into my own hands.

    Here’s a piece of advice if you ever have a hair color such as black or even dark brown that you do not like a remedy for stripping color is probably in your medicine cabinet and shower already. What you need is vitamin C tablets, I used the 500 mg ones. Next you crush the tablets and combine them with head and shoulders shampoo (or any other clarifying shampoo for that matter). The goal is to make sure the shampoo has sulfates in it which are not safe for color treated hair.

    Once the mixture is complete, you need to dampen your hair and put it all over your entire head. Make sure to thoroughly distribute it throughout your hair and leave no spot untouched before putting a shower cap on and going about your day for at least two hours. Finally rinse the mixture out and then shampoo your hair as normal with the head and shoulders shampoo. I did this twice and effectively stripped most of the color from hair. This made the process of going lighter much easier on both my stylist and my hair. 

    After seeing WWE live with Becky Lynch on the card, I really loved the way her copper colored hair shone. I never saw myself as somebody who would love to be a redhead but after seeing just how attention grabbing her hair was without being over-the-top, I wanted to try it. Becky is not a natural red head and yet the color looked perfectly natural on her. I was still at the venue of the show when I decided (with the help of my stylist) I would go red as well!

    The process was a long one and if you have dark hair you can expect to spend at least a good 2-3 hours at the salon lifting your hair to the color it needs to be. However, once the process was done it was totally worth it! I ended up falling in love with a hair color I never thought in 1 million years that I would! Red gets a bad wrap but it is truly a very flattering color if you pick the right shade for you.

    Caring for your red hair is a totally different animal then caring for dark hair. Because red hair dye has the largest molecules of all the colors it takes quite a long time before it actually gets embedded enough into your hair shaft. This means red is the color that is most prone to fading the quickest. I found the best way to preserve my red hair is to wash it every 3 to 4 days with dry shampoo in between if it looks a little greasy.

    Prolonging the life of your red hair is important, you can also help make your color last by washing your hair in cooler temperature water. Why cold water? Because cold water keeps closed the hair follicles and thus traps in your color longer. Also, protect your hair with heat protectant spray before exposing your hair to any heat products and wear hats in the sun to keep from having it fade your hair.

    While red definitely wasn’t what I ever expected-it was something I truly fell head over heels in love with. Only God knows how many years I will keep this color before I get bored, however, I like to think I’ll be keeping this color for all eternity. Either way, it’s pretty safe to say I found a color that’s right for me.

    What color do you love the most on yourself? Leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you!