Category: Lists & Things

5 Reasons…

Morticia Addams is my spirit animal…

As a self-proclaimed proud geek, there are plenty of characters of the fictional variety I find relatable and downright admirable. Few hold a candle to Morticia Addams from ‘The Addams Family”. She’s sassy, seductive and fierce but mostly it’s her attitude on life that is altogether inspiring. She’s so much more then her gothic/ macabre nature, so without further ado here are 5 reasons why Morticia Addams is my spirit animal:

1. She is the epitome of being completely herself.

Morticia is not afraid to be labeled as odd, in fact she views it as a compliment, one she’s oh so happy to accept. She is far from ordinary, in fact she’s the black sheep of the town in which she lives: ordinary people are often taken aback by her dark but brazen sexuality. She loves things like the occult, sex and death, chaos and ruin. She cuts roses off the stems and discards them, keeping only the stems.
She is unapologetically unusual and contently macabre.

In this way, Morticia is more of a role model to young women then any other fictional female character (although I could make a case for Hermione Granger too) in recent history, especially those who struggle with loving and accepting themselves we can all stand to learn something from Morticia. We’re ALL different but ultimately we need to be shamelessly ourselves instead of what society’s standards expect us to be.

2. She doesn’t give a flying vampire bat what you think.

Morticia is well aware that the people she encounters outside of her home are absolutely nothing like her. She accepts that her neighbors and other mothers at her childrens’ school are nothing like her. Morticia is well aware or at least has a hunch what the boringly ordinary townspeople think of she and her family. Does she feel despair? Does she care?
Nope.

Morticia doesn’t give a flying vampire bat what anyone thinks of her, “what’s normal to the spider, is chaos to the fly” she says which shows that although she probably pities these ordinary women, trapped in their illusion of a perfect life filled with dinner parties, idle and meaningless chit-chat and of course most dreaded of all-pastels, Morticia also accepts everyone is different. Kids could stand to learn a lot from Morticia’s outlook on life, we’re not all cut from the same cloth and that’s totally okay. It’s also totally okay to not give a flying bat if you’re accepted or not. Accept yourself and you’ll attract the right people…which brings me to Number 3!

3. Morticia surrounds herself with people who love and accept her.

Morticia values her family and friends dearly. We’re terribly alike in this respect because we protect our tribe at all costs. She’s loyal, loving and unwavering to those who love, support and stand by her. While she might be a little unusual she’s got a whole click of like-minded people just like her to love and support her for who she is. Those who mind, don’t matter. Those who matter, don’t mind. Morticia lives by this mantra and really shouldn’t we all?

If we surround ourselves with people who love and support us for who we truly are we’ll be less likely to compare ourselves and our successes to others. We’ll be less likely to ostracize and pigeon hole ourselves for toxic people who wouldn’t appreciate our worth anyway.

Morticia would be caught dead in the company of those who cannot see her worth, therefore why should any of us accept such false love and friendships unworthy of us? Which brings us to number 4…

4. Morticia’s marriage is the epitome of ‘relationship goals

When most people think of timeless romances they think: Sonny and Cher, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, Lucy and Desi…all great love stories, with one thing in common: they ended in divorce. When I think timeless love, I think Morticia and Gomez Addams.

Despite being parents to Wednesday and Pugsley Addams, Morticia and Gomez put each other first. They truly are each other’s best friends, not to mention they can’t keep their hands off of one another.

More importantly they never stopped courting each other. They make an honest effort to dress up for one another, even when they’re planning a quiet night at home. They still treat their relationship as though they were on their first date – putting their best face forward for one another and bringing the best out in each other all the while!

Gomez and Morticia, also compliment each other. Gomez attacks everything with zeal and almost childlike wonder while Morticia is very clearly the steadying influence with a calm and collected intelligence that keeps him on track. They have their own interests – Gomez has his cigars, chess and model trains; Morticia has her gardening, music and black magic. When push comes to shove their a united front, equal partners in their relationship; they co-parent and are both very present for each other as well as their children. If that’s not relationship goals, I don’t know what is.

5. In A World Full of Bombshells She’s Her Own Brand Of Sexy.

When I think back to when the original Addams Family television show aired in 1964, it was in the age of Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft and Sophia Loren. These women were desired, sought after as beautiful and then there was Morticia (played originally by the lovely Carolyn Jones and later iconically Angelica Houston).

Morticia is always immaculately dressed in her own unique rather dark style, with her long inky hair, illuminatingly pale complexion, blood-red nails and lips to go. She owns it and she rocks it well.

Whether she’s attending a play at her childrens’ school or lounging about her house , Morticia lives her own sense of gothic vampiric style. She’s unapologetic with her own sense of beauty that contrasts much of what was deemed attractive and sexy during that time period.

My childhood love of late night binge watching Nick at Nite, and TVLand where I caught re-runs of nearly every Addams family episode inspired me to first dye my hair black when I was sixteen. Of course it didn’t last and for years I stayed blonde though, conforming to the hair everyone else thought I should have until finally at 26 I took the plunge-I dyed my hair black once more and I haven’t looked back.

Morticia inspired me to unapologetically embrace that raven hair, red lips and a love for the color black in clothing as well (it is quite slimming and flattering too). In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that in a world full of Marilyn’s, I’d rather embrace my inner Morticia!

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

Xoxo

Mortality and Me

Long and Short Term Personal Goals I Hope To Accomplish Before I Die

When we think about our lives, we always say “I’ll see them next time” or “I’ll get to that tomorrow” we talk as though we’re guaranteed another day cause, of course, we assume without question we’ll wake up and be given another day but when you’re faced with mortality whether it be a close call with death from ourselves or our loved ones, well that’s when we really realize how mortal we really are. More importantly we see that our lives are really just large hourglasses slowly ticking down towards our passing. Or is it just moments we’re wasting not truly living or making a difference in the world?

In the wake of Chester Bennington’s passing (who ironically died on Chris Cornell’s Birthday) and my Dad’s most recent trip to the ER, I’ve been thinking about my legacy. What type of message will I leave behind when God calls me home? I hope I live long enough to see grandchildren (should I choose to have any children) or at the very least my friends’ grandchildren but nobody can make that promise. We realistically pass the day we’re going to die every year but few of us truly live our lives and treat others like we won’t always be around to mend the fences. That time is today.

Most of us spend most of our lives working or worrying about bills and we forget to truly live. Truly make a difference to someone else and not just people we KNOW I’m talking total strangers. Which is why I’ve come up with a long/short term goal list of six things I’d like to have personally accomplished before my time is up. I will probably add more to the list as I go on through life and God blesses me with more years and I will update this list as I go forward and grow as a person each and every year but for now here are the six things I hope to have accomplished by the time I passed away:

  1. Take More Time For Myself And Loved Ones -One thing I never want to regret is not spending enough time with my family (and I include my friends in this category cause my friends are the family I choose) and too much time at work. Life is made of memories with people that matter to us and the one thing I learned from my stint as a teenager working at a nursing home was listening to the residents talk about how they didn’t get to spend enough time with the people they love. I don’t want this to be me, waiting for a daughter or son that never comes because I didn’t spend enough time with them. People worry so much about the future and not enough about the here and now. Appreciate and spend time with the people you love because you may never get an opportunity again one day. I want to be able to take time away from work and responsibility to spend time with my loved ones without feeling guilt about it. I mean obviously jobs and bills getting paid are important, however, shouldn’t the time we take with our love ones be just as important if not more? A life goal of mine is to make sure that I put my foot down and take the time I know that I deserve to create memories with the people I love.
  2. Love Myself– There’s a large epidemic of people that either love themselves too much or not enough at all. As you’ve all learned from my past posts I have my demons many of which I fight with everyday to keep my head above water. My self esteem is a child’s yo-to ranging from fabulous to failing, which is sad because I know I’m a beautiful person deep down. People tell me this all the time. When my time is up I hope to can say that I’ve fully and truly embraced and loved myself to my fullest potential because I’m worth it.
  3. Get A Tattoo- This might sound counterproductive to number two on my list BUT I’d love to get a tattoo in my Grammy’s handwriting that says ‘Love + Prayers’. Losing my Grammy in 2011 was very hard on me and to this day I really feel as though a part of me died when she did, getting this tattoo would be my way of keeping her with me, always.
  4. Visit Ireland and Greece- I’d like to explore my Irish heritage which I take so much pride in. This was the place my ancestors including my Grammy called home at one point and I’d really love to see it for myself one day. I want to see Greece because although I’m not Greek their culture and customs fascinate me to no end. I have this odd feeling like I need to go there in my life plus my Pop always wanted to go there before his life was cut short at age 29 (due to a brain aneurism). I’d like to go there and bring back a Greek flag to place at his resting place so, in a way, he did get to go to Greece with me.
  5. Done A Million Random Acts of Kindness- Love your neighbor as you love yourself. It’s the golden rule, by the time my time on Earth is done I want to have done a million randomly kind things for total strangers.
  6. Make a REAL difference in the world- by the time my time is done I hope and pray I’ve made a positive impact on this world. That I’ve changed it for the better and inspired people through my words and actions.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll leave you with a quote:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. – Hebrews 13:2

Are you doing that each day?

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany
Xoxo

I Tried The Positivity Blog’s 12 Ways To Improve Your Self-Esteem…

Me with my favorite Snapchat filter


And here’s how it went…

Self-esteem. This is a very loaded word which corresponds to how we feel about ourselves. When we’re young and the world hasn’t impressed upon us how we should think, feel, and look it’s easy for us to have a good sense of self-worth, for us to feel special. The older we get the bigger the internal struggle we feel with outside influences to truly love ourselves. It’s hard sometimes to reconcile myself as a Christian when God says we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I know I do my best to love others but it does beg me to question: can we really truly love others if we do not love ourselves fully?

The ugly truth to that question is that we can’t. Until we make peace with our own strengths and weaknesses we can never truly appreciate and understand someone else’s. In my last post, I discussed my life long battle with anxiety, which often goes hand-in-hand with my self esteem. If you ask me how my self-esteem is, I’ll tell you it depends on the day. I have days and weeks where my self-esteem is top notch then I have other days where I can barely look in the mirror. If you ask my husband, however, he will say I am my harshest critic. Whether it’s a comment about my body or on my character, I admittedly put myself down much more then I raise myself up. This is a very unsettling self-assessment.

The moment I decided that I wanted to write this, I knew I wanted to do this realistically and in the most authentic way possible. In the slew of Internet findings there are dozens of articles on how to improve your self-esteem but one particularly caught my eye. It came from a blog called the positivity blog and it was how to improve your self-esteem: 12 powerful tips. My first thought of course was, oh I like power! When I read the article I definitely found that these were exercises I could try and report back on here if they were successful for me or not. So without further ado I give you the list of 12 steps to improve your self-esteem, courtesy of The Positivity Blog, along with my results.

1. Say stop to my inner critic.

According to The Positivity blog ” a good place to start with raising your self-esteem is by learning how to handle and to replace the voice of your own inner critic.”

The first two days this practice was rough for me. Honestly, I was tempted to put myself down several times but I also noticed a pattern. These thoughts tended to come to mind when I was getting dressed or putting on my makeup for the day. The positivity blog suggested saying “no no no no, we’re not going there” to myself but I found this method as successful as Hillary Clinton telling the truth. Instead whenever I was forced to look at myself in the mirror and felt obligated to put myself down I remembered something key in breaking the pattern. I thought like this while I was doing things I’m really good at. When I spend a night listening to beach waves under the unconditionally loving arm of my husband, when I finish either a digital or hand drawn/painted portrait, when I help my friends work through an issue, or spend time with my niece and nephew, and help a co-worker through her growing pains at work I feel exceptionally good about myself. So I took this tip with a twist, every time I looked myself in the mirror as I prepped for the day and my inner critic voiced its displeasure I countered back to it with a, “yes I may have put on weight, but I’m an excellent wife, friend and aunt.” Countering with a positive seemed very forced at first but by Thursday I found it was quite natural. A positive for every negative.

2. Use healthier motivation habits.

According to step two of the Positivity Blong “To make the inner critic less useful for yourself and that voice weaker and at the same time motivate yourself to take action and raise your self-esteem it is certainly helps to have healthy motivation habits.”
So how did I interpret this into my self esteem routine? I wrote a list of things I didn’t like about myself…

1. My weight- Okay, yes! I get it! Well, what can I do to change this? I can start walking more, eat healthier for sure and drink more water. This is very changeable. I also need to accept that the girl who was a size 5 jeans is gone. My body has changed, I’m a woman, I’m older and I need to learn to love my curves. So I did, I stood in the mirror and looked at my body and found things I did like. I won’t share them on here but I will say it was harder at first then I’d first imagined but once I began to compliment myself it became easier. Yes, I still want to be like 30 pounds lighter and I’m confident I will be but I needed to love myself today to help myself tomorrow.

2. I Start Things Without Finishing Them- whether it be my writing this blog or a novel I’ve been working with on and off, I get pumped about an idea begin working on it feverishly then when life and anxiety gets in the way I just stop committing to it. I can correct this by committing to writing things I’m passionate about…I think I just tired too hard to appeal to the masses and get this blog noticed that as a result my posts were forced but ever since I’ve been writing about my real life struggles and world issues which matter to me I’ve found my writing came more effortless and enjoyable. It’s a work in progress but I’m finding my groove and I’m happy with that.

3. Take a 2 minute self-appreciation break.
According to The Positivity Blog “This is a very simple and fun habit. And if you spend just two minutes on it every day for a month then it can make huge difference. Here’s what you do: Take a deep breath, slow down and ask yourself this question: what are 3 things I can appreciate about myself?”

So there I sat with a pencil in hand and wrote three things I appreciate about myself:

1. I’ve laughed in the face of adversity more times then I can count.

2. I can give people really solid advice and make them feel better.

3. My empathy

It wasn’t much but it was a start…a sort of, I love me proclaimation…soon I was able to write all my positive traits on an index card


To date it’s the one of the best things I’ve done for myself.

4. Write down 3 things in the evening that you can appreciate about yourself

The Positivity Blog calls this “a variation of the habit above and combining the two of them can be extra powerful for two boosts in self-esteem a day.” Basically an affirmation was what I took it as.

1. I made an amazing dinner…chicken and mashed potatoes. Tom really enjoyed it.

2. I am a child of God and wife of an amazing God-Fearing man.

3. I have very beautiful eyes.

As I kept track of different things I loved about myself as the week progressed, I found it was awesome confidence boosters for when I was feeling down.

5. Do the right thing

The Positivity Blog talks about doing the right thing to help boost confidence. So I began a mission called: Friendly Friday’s where I do a random act of kindness anonymously. Whether it’s buying a co-worker coffee and leaving it on the table when she bemoans she’s tired, allowing someone to pull out in front of me or leaving a nickel in the vending machine random acts of kindness no matter how small have helped me to feel good about myself.

The other seven things the blog spoke about consisted of basically about breaking habits of perfectionism, handling mistakes/failures better, being kinder to others and not comparative, spending time with supportive people and staying motivated to loving myself.

Of these seven things I’d say most can be considered in your best interest to curb or cut out completely. For instance, perfectionism is good but sometimes its self destructive, especially for me. My best is never good enough for myself, if success isn’t met then I go into self defeat mode. This week, however, my mantra was, “I did my best that’s all I can do. I did my best and that’s good enough for me” and it was oddly refreshing, when I focused on the good I accomplished I was able to write my daily list easier. Letting go of the idea of everything going “how it’s supposed to go” helped me to grasp how to handle my failures better in the future. Also you are who you hang out with, let your tribe be filled with people who love and support you and help build up both your self esteem and character. I am fairly blessed in this way as I have an amazing tribe of family and friends who although flawed like me do their best to raise me up each day. Nobody is perfect everyone,including me, will fall short of someone’s expectations at times and as human beings that’s OK.

In today’s world we’ll always be confronted with someone who has the perfect body, the perfect job, the seemingly perfect life and if we hold her selves to someone else’s standard we stifle what is unique about ourselves. We will never be happy with ourselves and our loved ones if we are always looking for our lives to be like someone else’s.

So my overall opinion after going all week following the steps on the Positivity Blog was although at times it was extremely overwhelming to face a lot of uncomfortable truths when it came to how I saw myself I realized that we all have the power to change the way we see ourselves by taking small steps. Would I say the 12 steps to better self-esteem fixed me in the week that I did it? No, I’m a work in progress but it did help me to pin point ways to make small changes in the way I see myself and that’s fine by me.

You can check out the Positivity Blog ‘s article here: How to Improve Your Self-Esteem: 12 Powerful Tips

How would you rate your self esteem? Leave your thoughts and comments below…

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

Xoxo

The Science Behind…

King Henry VIII and His Wives’ Miscarriages…

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Science has come along way in the last centuries, it was able to solve many mysteries which were left unsolved for decades. With advances in technology, DNA analysis, and a better understanding of medical symptoms it’s no surprise that Catherine of Aragon who doctors said had ‘a black patch on her heart.’ died of cancer, a disease not understood at that time but recognized easily today. Technologies and advancements in science shed light on a lot of things dismissed or not understood by Tudor Era England, including the ailments of Henry VIII and the miscarriages of his wives, Catherine and Anne (the latter which he famously had executed after three short years of marriage and nearly eight of courtship).

So what caused a monarch who was basically the Leonardo DiCaprio of his day when he was younger often described as charismatic, eye-catching and even caring, for a member of the Royal family, to be remembered in a tainted more grim illustration of a gluttonous, impaired, selfish ruler with a habit of executing wives on false charges of adultery?

Research which was conducted in 2011 by bio archaeologist Catrina Banks Whitley while still a graduate student at Southern Methodist University and anthropologist Kyra Kramer, claim a Kell antigen blood disorder was a reason for the numerous miscarriages Henry’s wives suffered often late in pregnancy.

So what does that mean?  A Kell negative woman (such as Anne) who has multiple pregnancies with a Kell positive man (Henry VIII) can produce a healthy, Kell positive child in a first pregnancy (Elizabeth is a prime example of this) but the antibodies she produces during that first pregnancy will cross the placenta and attack a Kell positive fetus in any follow-up pregnancies.

As they write in The Historical Journal and also on the popular Tudor website The Anne Boleyn Files, the researchers found a pattern between “the Kell blood group incompatibility being consistent with the pregnancies of Henry’s first two wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.” If Henry also suffered from McLeod syndrome, a genetic disorder specific to the Kell blood group, it would finally provide an explanation for his shift in both physical form and personality from handsome and agreeable to lackluster and tyrannical . Whitley and Kramer having  “identified the causal medical condition underlying Henry’s reproductive problems and psychological deterioration,” may be the answer to an age-old myth notorious to the time that the LORD was angry with the Monarch for his wife choice .

Many people, even those with minimal historical background, know that Henry married six women, two of whom he famously executed, and broke England’s ties with the Catholic Church – all in pursuit of a marital union that would produce a male heir. His brief, shining moment of glory with the birth of his son Edward was short-lived when the sickly prince died before he even reached his sixteenth birthday. In college, as a history major, most Historians have long debated theories of illness and injury that might explain the physical deterioration and frightening, tyrannical behavior that he began to display after his 40th birthday but not so much to the unsuccessful pregnancies of his wives in an age of newly developing medical care coupled with poor nutrition and hygiene.

As a Kell positive father, if the authors are correct, that means Henry WAS in fact the cause behind Anne and Catherine’s inability to bear a healthy infant after the first Kell negative pregnancy. Which is exactly the same circumstances experienced with women who had multiple pregnancies by Henry. Some may be aware of Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, by his mistress Elizabeth Blout this perfectly healthy male birth was the ruler that Henry used to measure and conclude that the fault was of the women NOT the monarch, for the failed births. This is not an accurate measuring stick, however, since Bessie Blout only had one pregnancy by Henry. Also, interestingly enough, most people who are within this blood disorder group are Kell negative, so they experience little to no reproductive issues, it is only with the rare Kell positive father found in Henry VIII that these reproductive issues manifest.

I’d like to stress the emphasis the authors put on fetal mortality being ‘the Kell legacy, not infertility’. Henry was nearly 18 when he married the 23-year-old Catherine of Aragon, widow of his older brother Arthur (but never consummated). Looking at their pregnancies: the first daughter, a girl, was stillborn; the second child, a boy, lived only 52 days and four other confirmed pregnancies followed during the marriage it was documented that three were either stillborn or died shortly after birth. Enter Mary, their only surviving daughter who would eventually be crowned the fourth Monarch in the Tudor dynasty.

The exact number of miscarriages had by Henry’s wives and even less documented mistress is difficult for any historian  to determine, especially when we can’t just hop in a time machine and see for ourselves. Most agree Henry’s wives had a total of at least 11 and possibly 13 or more pregnancies. Only four of the eleven known pregnancies survived infancy. Whitley and Kramer call the high rate of random late-term miscarriages and stillbirths suffered by Henry’s first two queens “an atypical reproductive pattern” because, even in an age of high child mortality, most women carried their pregnancies to term during that time, and even in cases where death was imminent, their infants usually lived long enough to be christened.

The authors of this study explain that if as a potentially Kell positive father, each time Henry impregnated the Kell negative mother, such as Catherine, Anne, or Jane, each pregnancy had from the jump a 50-50 chance of creating Kell positive fetus.  So in layman’s terms this means the first pregnancy usually carries to term and produces a healthy infant, even if the infant is Kell gene positive and the mother is Kell negative. The problem comes with the mother’s following Kell positive pregnancies after the first birth which are at risk because the mother’s antibodies will literally attack the Kell positive fetus as a foreign body, thus causing miscarriage or still-birth. Any baby that is Kell negative will not be attacked by the mother’s antibodies and will carry to term if otherwise healthy. “Although the fact that Henry and Catherine of Aragon’s firstborn did not survive is somewhat atypical, it is possible that some cases of Kell sensitization affect even the first pregnancy,” Kramer notes.

The survival of Mary, the fifth pregnancy for Catherine of Aragon, fits the Kell scenario if Mary inherited the recessive Kell gene from Henry, resulting in a healthy infant. Anne Boleyn’s pregnancies were a textbook example of Kell with a healthy first child, Queen Elizabeth, and subsequent late-term miscarriages two boys which proved to be the final undoing to her relationship with Henry. Jane Seymour had only Edward before her death, but the pattern of a healthy firstborn also is consistent with a Kell positive father, had Jane survived her pregnancy with Edward it is likely, in Kramer’s opinion, we would have seen her miscarry as well in the pregnancies which followed Edward’s birth.

Science was also able to pinpoint several of Henry’s male maternal relatives which followed the Kell positive reproductive pattern. The authors claim to have “traced the possible transmission of the Kell positive gene from Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the king’s maternal great-grandmother,” suggesting the genetic presence of the Kell phenotype within the family.

My thoughts on reading the study conducted by Kramer and Whitley, seem to be a shining example of how advancements in science and medicine can reveal very human elements in otherwise larger than life (no pun intended considering Henry was said to have weighed close to 400 pounds at his death) historical figure. I believe that these findings are very consistent with the patterns we’ve seen documented with the pregnancies of Catherine and Anne. It was much easier to believe that God was displeased with Henry during that time, or his wife was an adulterous witch (Anne) or he was a sinner for laying with his brother’s wife (Catherine), than to explain what actually by today’s standards was a genetic blood disorder but was unavailable to diagnose at that time.

Do you believe Henry VIII was Kell positive? Leave a comment below explaining your thoughts on this topic.

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

xoxo

Did this post excite you? You can read more about it here on The Anne Boleyn Files:

  1. http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/should-henry-viii-be-exhumed-and-would-it-provide-the-answer-to-his-tyranny/

Top 5…

TV Dads…

The only thing better than your own Father is the Fathers we love through TV. This post will be different in a sense that instead of counting down, we will be working our way down the list of famous TV Dad’s I thought were epic in their own right.

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1. Red Forman– The symbol of tough parenting, whether it’s telling Eric to do a chore, get job or that’s he’s going to put his foot in-well you know where if you watched That 70’s Show-Red represents the no nonsense, take charge parent who puts his family first even if it doesn’t make him the most popular person in his household. Red also works just hard as his mouth runs to create a good life for Laurie (where’d she go anyway?), Eric, and Kitty, which harkens back to a simpler time where the man provided for his family. Red, although not the most affectionate person, seems to always be willing to make a situation right for his wife Kitty-just stay away from him when he does! Red is Eric’s harshest critic, however, as seen in the episode ‘Eric Gets Suspended’ he threatens Bob who was calling Eric a bad influence on Donna. When watching ‘That 70’s Show’ as a kid, you might think, ‘my God Red! Why do you got to be so tough?’ but as you watch as an adult and you see the stupid things Eric does (whether Red catches him or not) you might say to yourself “I’d put my foot in his-well you know where!-too!”

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2.Burt Chance– The father of Jimmy Chance and husband to Virginia Chance on the TV show ‘Raising Hope’.  Burt is the youngest father on the list, being only seventeen when he became a father to Jimmy and thirty-eight when the show started.  He tends to be more immature than the rest of the fathers on the list, but beneath that is a big heart of love and fatherly advice.  For example, on the episode ‘Sheer Madness’ he warns Jimmy about holding in gas, being that you can only squeeze that little muscle so many times and you don’t want to wear it out when your in your twenties.  As noted previously, Burt was only 17 when he had Jimmy, although he and Virginia didn’t have a lot of money and couldn’t always give Jimmy the best things, you can clearly see they raised him with the most important thing a child needs and that’s love.  Burt is the owner of a small landscape company where he employs his son Jimmy and the two work as a father son team, just don’t let him see you peeing in the bushes cause he’ll push you in.  In the episode ‘The Sniffles’, Burt can not afford to provide health insurance for Jimmy and Hope, Jimmy wants to get a part time job to pay for it, but Burt doesn’t want him to.  You later find out Burt was working a second job for his rival landscape company to be able to provide the insurance for Jimmy and Hope, he explains to Jimmy that’s he feels like it should always be his job to provide for him and his granddaughter Hope, not just as his boss, but as his father.  He didn’t even want the insurance for himself, but it was something Jimmy wanted, this just shows how far and how low Burt was willing to go for his son.

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3. Homer Simpson– Homer Simpson of ‘The Simpsons’ is an example of parenting to the extreme. Homer represents what every parent might sometimes wish they could do or perhaps even do if the situation could be solved in thirty minutes. Such as buying your daughter a pony, getting many different jobs each day, or just saying “Why you little-” to the jerk of a son. Despite Homer’s many flaws in parenting, he does show genuine care for his children. Such as being truly ashamed when he embarrasses them, showing support for what they want to do, and really tried to be a better Father than his Father, Abe was to him. Another example would be when Maggie was born, Homer never wanted his third child when his wife Marge was pregnant with her because it forced him to go back to work at the soul-crushing Power plant, however, when Maggie was born Homer loved her instantly. When Bart and Lisa ask why there are no pictures of Maggie in the house, Homer simply replies “I keep them where I need cheering up the most” and you see that is at the Power Plant where his work area is full of Maggie’s pictures.

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4.Carl Winslow- Carl is the Father of Ed, Laura, Judy (where did Judy go after three seasons?) and the husband to Harriet Winslow on the show ‘Family Matters’. He later even becomes an adoptive Father to 3J as well. Carl, although short tempered, is a very humble and kind person which reflects in his parenting. Carl, out of all the Fathers on this list, seems to be the right balance between firm and lenient. You can always see that he does everything out of love for his family, despite that fact that he often clashes with his son Eddy, due to the latter’s rebellious nature, he is always there to help his son out and be supportive of his decisions. Carl works as a police officer and by the end of the show’s run works his way up to being Captain. He does this by simply being good at his job, working hard, regardless of other’s being promoted before him by being suck-ups, Carl does not want to do that for a higher position, instead wanting to be viewed as the best man for the job. Steve Urkel, the bane of Carl’s existence, constantly annoys him and costs him plenty of money in damages to the family home over the years. Despite this, Carl develops a fondness for Steve as the show progresses and is always there to back him up. Becoming a father-figure to Steve is very endearing for the viewers to watch, especially when Carl goes to parents day at Steve’s college because he knew it would mean a lot to the young man.

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5. Dan Conner- Dan Conner portrayed so epically by John Goodman, is the epitome of an easy-going Father on the 90’s classic ‘Roseanne’. Although is not a strict parent by any means, his children (Becky, Darlene and DJ) know that if they make him angry, they’ve really done it! Dan always shows support for everybody in his family, despite not always agreeing with what they do, such as both Becky and Darlene getting married young, he always lends a helping hand regardless if it isn’t up to his standards. What Dan really represents is the true blue collar Father who dealt with real issues during the show and didn’t have a perfect fairy-tale home, job or what most “TV Fathers” had. Dan handled each situation highlighted each week with humility and perseverance unique to his own Fathering ability. What makes Dan different from all the other Fathers is the undeniable chemistry he and Roseanne had on TV, you truly believed and hoped the best in these two lovable characters. Dan’s love is what really makes Roseanne’s character for the simple fact that she, although very abrasive, can be equally as lovable too.

Who were your Top Five TV Dads? Leave a comment below as I love hearing from you!

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

xoxo

What Draco Taught Me…

about life…

Dogs. Some people love them and others hate them. Whether you classify yourself as a dog or cat person there’s plenty to take away from this post about what we can learn from the animals in our lives. Personally, I think humans should strive to be the type of person their pet thinks they are because the world would be a better place for sure! I know for a fact my life has changed and been enriched from Draco being apart of it. To prove it, I’ve created a list of 3 things my fur-baby has taught me about life.

1. Unconditional Love– No matter what mood I come home in or how many times I yell at him to stop jumping on our house guests, Draco loves me. He is always 100% hyped to spend time with Tom and I (he absolutely hates being left behind whether we go to work or out to dinner) and he is the first to greet us with a wagging tail not to mention a sloppy kiss. Animals don’t judge your messy hair, runny mascara from crying after a rough day, and problems concerning the outside world. They are unconditionally there for you to vent to, laugh/play with, sob on their soft coat and snuggle with. Animals sadly get abandoned by their owners each day but your animal will NEVER abandon you. Draco taught me that the humans in our lives deserve the same type of unconditional love, in a world where everything from family relationships to friendships are disposable, we can stand to learn a lot about how to treat others from the way our animals treat us with patience, deep unconditional love and respect.

2. Responsibility – Draco was literally the first living, breathing creature Tom and I have kept alive, happy, and healthy for the last two years. Let that sink in. I remember bringing home this tiny little puppy on my lap thinking, “holy hat, this is all me…this helpless animal will rely on us for the rest of his life.” Draco requires regular yearly vet check ups, attention, exercise, and a specific diet to keep him at his best. Prior to bringing him home, both Tom and I had experience caring for the family dogs we had with our parents and siblings but after bringing Draco home I feel like I have a greater sense of responsibility, whether we’re out with friends for a night on the town or at a wedding/family event animals help their owners be less selfish because you have them to think of. Gone are the days we can spend an impromptu weekend trip to AC because we have Draco to consider, but we’re strangely okay with that!

3. Appreciation for the little things in life – Draco gets excitement from the little things in life, like walking down to the dock to sit and watch the sunset with me. He also enjoys running around the yard and going on outings with his best friend, Rafe (My best friend Jen’s Australian Sheppard). He doesn’t wish for more money, fame, a bigger house or a nicer car. He asks only for time each day with the people who matter most to him and at the end of the day, while it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life, animals can remind what it’s like to be young without the weight of the world on our shoulders and in turn appreciate the little things in life we often overlook.

While there are so many more lesson animals can teach us, I feel that these three are the most important to touch upon. I will end this post with a thank you to my Draco, for making me a better person, friend, and dog mom. What three things have your animals taught you? Leave a comment below discussing what ways your life was more enriched by your animals, I love hearing from all of you!

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

xoxo

My Top 10 New Jersey Restaurants…

For locals and visitor’s alike….

Food, it’s one of the many things you remember whether you’re going to an event (like a wedding or shower) or on vacation. It’s a factor in determining if you want to return or try someplace else. Let’s be real, your food and restaurant experiences shape you as something that stands out as either really good or really bad. To spare you the less than grand restaurant experience whether you’re visiting or live in the Jersey Shore area here are Tom and I’s top 10 restaurant choices that are guaranteed to leave you not disappointed-just please don’t fist pump, real locals aren’t like the characters (most actually from NY) you’ve seen on TV and get quite insulted at being compared to them.

Rating Breakdown:
$ = scale of 1-5 ($$$$$ being most expensive; $ being least expensive)
* = Overall food and service (***** being the best; * being the worst)

1. The Office Lounge- Tom and I began going to this diamond in the rough in 2010, there’s a wide variety of choices on the menu that suitable for even the most picky of taste buds. The service is superb, in fact most of the waiters and waitresses knew my husband and I by name-the only thing that beats the service is their delicious food!
Rating: * *  * * *
Price Rating: $$$
Overall Grade: -A
Dishes We’d Recommend: Quesadillas, Prime Ribs, French Onion Soup and Pina Coladas
Check out their menu and more here: http://www.theofficelounge.net/index.htm

2. Burger 25– Tom and I stumbled upon this place on the way to the boardwalk, it’s not your typical burger joint as there’s literally 25 different ways you can order your burger from the Philly Burger which is like a Philly cheese steak on top of your burger to the Mac Daddy a burger with mac and cheese on top of it and each one is out of this world delicious. It’s not just burgers though-Burger 25 has equally delicious chicken, hot dogs, salads, wings and sides, it’s actually quite overwhelming. Burger 25’s only downfall is the space available to sit as it gets quite busy in the quaint restaurant.
Rating: * * * * *
Price Rating: $$$
Overall Grade: -A
Dishes We’d Recommend: The Philly Burger, Bacon Cheese Burger, Oreo Shake and chocolate shake.
Check out their menu and more here: http://burger25.com/menu.html

3. Chili’s Bar and Grill– What can I say? Before Tom and I found the Office Lounge Chili’s was our main squeeze. Chili’s has a wide variety of appetizers, salads, soups, chili, fresh Mex bowls, fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, tacos and quesadillas, ribs, chicken and steak just to name a few. The food and service are good and worth the sometimes overcrowded dinner time rushes.
Rating: * * * *
Price Rating: $$$$
Overall Grade: B+
Dishes we’d recommend: two words. Sillet Queso.
Check out their menu and more here: http://www.chilis.com/EN/Pages/menu.aspx

4. El Familiar (Latin Food)- If Mexican food and Columbian food got married and had a baby this place would be it. El Familiar takes traditionalism and authenticity very seriously and offers top-notch food, service and atmosphere.
Rating: * * * * *
Price Rating: $$$$
Overall Grade: A
Dishes we’d recommend: chimichangas and steak.
Check out their menu and more here: http://elfamiliar.com/menu/

5. Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill– A wide variety of choices for even the most pickier of eaters. I am a huge fan of Applebee’s because of the family friendly atmosphere and friendly/accommodating  service.
Rating: * * * * *
Price Rating: $$$
Overall Grade: A
Dishes we’d recommend: We’ve had mostly everything BUT we highly recommend the Ribs and the Chicken Quesadilla with a side of Mexi-Rice .
Check out their menu and more here: http://www.applebees.com/menu

7. Bubbakoo’s Burritos (American Style Mexican)- What’s not to love about building your own burrito? It’s like Chipotle but better! The staff is exceptionally welcoming and accommodating-not to mention the food is fresh and delicious!
Rating: * * * * *
Price Rating: $$
Overall Grade: A+
Dishes we’d recommend: The double beef and pulled pork burritos.
Check out their menu and more here:  http://www.bubbakoos.com/our-menu.html

8. Il Giardinello (Italian Food)- My childhood best guy friend, Mike, used to work here and smuggle us home left overs from the kitchen when he worked there. If you want to send your taste buds on an authentic trip to Italy you can’t visit the Jersey Shore without a trip to Il Giardinello! The staff is exceptionally diligent and the food is to die for. The only complaint I have regarding this restaurant is the price (which is a bit on the expensive side) but the food is well worth it!
Rating: * * * * *
Price Rating: $$$$$
Overall Grade: B+ (sorry the prices impact the grade!)
Dishes we’d recommend: Penne Vodka and Veal Parmigiano.
Check out their menu and more here: http://www.ilgiardinosulmare.com/menu.html

9. Ikko (Japanese Restaurant)- My brother-in-law, Mike, is a huge fan of Hibachi, which is why it was no surprise that he introduced Tom and I to this place back to 2011. Everything from the chicken to the steak is absolutely delicious and the chefs really put on an excellent show for kids of all ages.
Rating: * * * *
Price Rating: $$$$$
Overall Grade: B-
Dishes we’d recommend: Anything off the Hibachi menu!
Check out their menu and more here: http://www.allmenus.com/nj/brick/27478-ikko/menu/

10. Harvest Buffet (Chinese Buffet)- Tom and I found this hidden gold mine back in 2014 when we moved down to the area. They offer a wide variety of Chinese and American food buffet and offer lunch specials daily! The best part is the food and service are great and it’s never too packed so you’ll always get seated quickly.
Rating: * * * *
Price Rating: $$
Overall Grade: B
Dishes we’d recommend: All of it! Come hungry and leave satisfied!
Check out their menu and more here: http://harvestbuffetnj.com/menu.asp

Are there any restaurants I missed that you enjoy? Leave a comment below or let’s chat about it on Twitter, I love hearing from you!

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

xoxo