happy. girl.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I think happiness might be like that proverbial tree in the forest.
If you don't acknowledge it, does it really exist?

So, here I am, acknowledging it. I wasn't raised to believe in happily ever after. I was raised to believe in happiness. One moment and then another.

Do you remember the scene in The Hours where Meryl Streep is talking to her daughter? I can't forget it. She recalls waking up one morning in her twenties and feeling what she thought was the beginning of a lifetime of happiness. “So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And, of course, there will always be more.” Then she laughs and continues, “It never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment … right then.”

So, perhaps, this - right here - is happiness.

A few reasons for this moment:

Slumber party tonight over at the Autumn Vegas love shack.

My favorite funny girl is coming to town tomorrow with her bff. I see clubs, sushi and gay men in our future and I can't wait.

I'm looking into volunteer opportunities here in my new city. I'm excited to rock babies that need love. (Clubbing and rocking babies in one post? That's how things roll around here.)

I was looking at a photo of my boyfriend yesterday and I thought, "Gosh, he's cute." Swoon.

I'm planning my upcoming birthday party (I'm all about birthdays) and a much needed trip to Seattle.

There was a moment last week when, for the first time since I moved to Vegas nine months ago, I felt like I belonged. And then... it happened again. Two times in one week.

This album is killing me. In the best possible way. I giddily repeat it all day long.

Oh, and I have a super cool giveaway to announce on Monday! Be sure to check back in.

So from my happy moment to yours, I hope glitter falls all around your weekend. Xoxo - Kathleen

I Heart Pop Culture Tuesdays V. 1
{My Style Icons Through the Years}

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Welcome to just a small town girl’s first volume of I Heart Pop Culture Tuesdays (although you're probably reading it on Wednesday). So glad you’re here. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Water? A Mai Tai? I know it’s only Tuesday afternoon, but – hey – I think you deserve it. Okay, make yourself at home and let me know if you need anything. The bathroom's around the corner to the left.

For this first installment of the new series, I wanted to look at my style icons through the years. If you're in the vicinity of my age, these early styles probably inspired you back in the day too and if you're not, you will likely see yourself in some of the later looks. Most of them are pretty cheesy, but that’s the great thing about style. You can never really see the look for what it is until the style (and the era) has passed. Hammer pants, for example. Scrunchies. Banana clips. See where I'm going with this?

Let's start a little list. Feel free to hop around.

Madonna. My entire childhood was spent trying to emulate this woman (not to mention the rest of my life). I remember walking in class in the second grade and hearing my (10ish) bangle bracelets loudly clinking together. The bff and I would fight over who was the bigger Madonna fan, but Carina had the lace fingerless gloves. So, even though I was more persuasive, I think that pretty much makes her the winner. At least in the eighties style department. As a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be a school teacher, marry Huey Lewis and wear this jacket - you know, the one from Desperately Seeking Susan. Yep, I wanted to be Mrs. Lewis and wear this outfit in the classroom. Oh, and those crucifixes? I think it's fair to say they freaked out my Agnostic mother.

Andie Walsh. Pretty in Pink. Enough said. Aside from (oh, how I love him) Duckie Dale, Andie's style was the main character in this movie. I believed this dress she made for the prom was the coolest, most beautiful thing in the whole world. The fact that she made it on her living-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks budget only made it all the better. Looking back, I have to shake my head at that dress, but Andie Walsh was cool. No two ways about it.

Julia Roberts. When I saw Steel Magnolias, it pretty much changed my life. The moment I saw her and all that hair, I was in love. When Pretty Woman came out, I was a changed (12 year old) woman. You see, my mother is a redhead and it always kind of embarrassed me. (Sorry, Mom. I love you.) Then that street walker with a heart of gold waltzed onto the big screen with that wild red hair and it was all over. From that moment to this, I've had a redheaded soul.

Kate Moss. When this ad came out in 1992, I immediately taped it to my wall. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with Marky Mark (you may not like the name, Mark, but you'll always be that to me), but Kate entranced me. You see, I was a tiny little thing until around age 23. Skinny in a way that people would regularly stop me on the street and beg me to eat. It got pretty old. Let's just say it, I had a little boy body. No breasts, no curves. It's kind of hard to imagine now, but back then it was my reality and I hated it. In the early nineties, I wanted the hair, the chest, the mole, but it wasn't in my cards. In the supermodel age of Cindy Crawford and Co., Kate Moss - for the first time ever - made me wonder if my body could be beautiful. For the next ten years, I enjoyed my waifish figure and can't help but think that had something to do with a pre-cocaine and Pete Doherty scandal Kate.

Alicia Silverstone. In 1993, Alicia Silverstone starred in Aerosmith's video Cryin. Oh, man. Every girl I know wanted to be her in that video. My friend Jennae even pierced her own bellybutton to emulate the video vixen. And don't even get me started on the flannels. Then in 1995, Clueless came out and Carina, Danny and I were in the theater opening night. If Cher wasn't the most stylish character of the nineties, I'll eat my shoe. Really, I will. Those thigh-high tights and white Mary Janes. You better believe I rocked that look.

Tori Amos. When my sister introduced me to Tori Amos in 1994, my life literally changed. (I know, I know - I've already said that in this post, but you're just going to have to forgive me.) I mean it this time. Considering the deepest music I listened to prior to Tori was Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson, her lyrics touched the deepest part of my sixteen year old self. Oh, and her look? The red curly hair, the quirky hippie girl style. I was all over it. Next to Madonna, I have never been as obsessed with anyone as I was Tori. Yep, obsessed.

Jenny McCarthy. Singled Out was stupid. Awesomely stupid. I tried to look like Jenny on my first day of senior year. Black satin pants. Mohair sweater. Big hair. Loud mouth. I had it down.

Gwen Stefani. Let's cut to the chase, I wore a bindi jewel. Out. In public. Gwen has been inspiring all of our looks since 1996, but nothing quite caught my (third) eye like that damned bindi. I don't know what else I can say to defend myself, so let's just move on.

Christina Aguilera. Now, Christina has never done it for me style-wise, but those pink strands called my name. I was mostly inspired by a magazine cover that featured Sarah Michelle Gellar sporting similar locks, but - for the life of me - I could not find a photo to document that. So, Christina circa Come on Over will have to do. I went out and bought myself some Manic Panic and did it myself. Just to the ends. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I had an eyebrow piercing and hot pink hair. Well, you can't say I didn't try.

Madonna. Again. When Ray of Light came out, I might as well have been a six year old girl writhing around on my bedroom floor "dancing" to Lucky Star. I was intoxicated by the Ray of Light years and if I'm going to be completely honest here, I should add that I still am. Madonna had been so overtly sexual throughout my childhood with an almost masculine image. After the birth of her daughter, something seemed to change. By the time this album came out, she seemed to be going through her own rebirth. I went with this look and ran. The flowing waves of hair. The henna tattoos on my hands. Hell, I started practicing yoga and wore a red hairband around my wrist before I even knew what Kaballah meant.

Carrie Bradshaw. No, not Sarah Jessica Parker. Carrie. The name plate necklaces. The giant flower pinned to my shirt, jacket, dress. Hell, I had that flower pinned to everything. The horseshoe necklace. She changed the rules for everybody. All of a sudden, it didn't matter if your outfit matched or if your bra strap was showing. If Carrie could pull it off, I thought I could, too. Even when I couldn't.

Sienna Miller. I've never been a huge fan of the Olson twins, (Now, Michelle Tanner, that's a whole different story) but I loved the boho look. Especially on Sienna Miller. The loose fitting wardrobe. The floppy hats. The casual femininity. The hair. Oh, the hair. Ms. Miller in Alfie? To me, that is perfection. The bangs. The eyeliner. Mod-sixties Sienna is my style crush. The end.

Priscilla Presley. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I have to repeat a few key words here. Hair. Eyeliner. Eyebrows. If Priscilla isn't a good reason to go out and buy yourself a bumpit, what the heck is? If it was good enough for Elvis, then it's definitely up my alley.

Ashlee Simpson. This one embarrasses me. I'm sorry if you like her, but I don't think Ms. Simpson-Wentz in especially talented in any of her many endeavors. Oh, and I like a girl who can rock a big nose and not surgically alter her face, but... Whatever Ashlee has been doing in the last few years is working. That red hair is pretty much making my dreams come true and has caused me to rip out many a magazine photo and take it to the salon.

Nicole Richie. Once sister put on a (very) few pounds post-Harlow, she has been killing it. She has done to headbands what Carrie did to those fake flowers. I'm not even sure Nicole can go wrong anymore, if for no other reason than because she seems so comfortable and fearless in her fashion choices. Maybe that's the thing about style that changes as we get older. It used to be about looking like someone else and now it's about looking more like ourselves.

There you have it. A very uncomfortable (sometimes flat out cringe-inducing) trip down memory lane. (One that may or may not have made me realize I'm, historically speaking, a little too vulnerable to trends.)

* Honorable mentions: Stacy Q. (That long permed hair.) Debbie Gibson. (I can still smell her Electric Youth perfume.) Mariah Carey. (The braids in her Dreamlover video? Oh, yeah). Jessie Spano. (You know it.) Jacinda Barret in the London Real World. (I wore jeans under dresses solely because of her.) Ani DiFranco. (I will not discuss what I did to my hair because of Ani. I will not.) Kate Winslet. (I saw Titanic six times in the theater. That's 18 hours of my life I'll never get back.) Kate Hudson. (I ripped a Kate H. photo out of a magazine for my future bridal hair and makeup years ago. Shhh, don't tell.) Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash. (Why? Check this out.)

Happy I Heart Pop Culture Tuesday! Maybe next week, I'll have this posted before the end of Tuesday. You never know. :) Before you go, please tell me, who were your style icons through the years?

California Love.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm not going to lie, I've named a previous post this same thing. Let's just consider it an ongoing series because - hey - I gotta have me some Tupac playing in the back of my head when I talk about California.

This was a fantastic weekend. Sometimes a gal's just got to hop in the car and head toward water. On Friday late afternoon, a couple of friends and I set off on our little road trip. My co-pilots that came along for the ride are people I'm just getting to know which could potentially make the drive a little awkward. However, when my new friend/backseat passenger pulled out a Ziploc bag full of assorted candy for the ride, I knew it was all going to be good. When my friend Fred exclaimed, "Oh my God, white chocolate Reese's Pieces! I've died and gone to gay heaven", I knew it was all going to be great.

Friday night: A trip to Long Beach's Belmont Shore to meet up with Jasmine. A fantastic pasta dinner. Meet Jasmine's very cool mother and sister in Huntington Beach. Fall in love with Jasmine's mom's dog. Consider putting him in my bag. Decide against it. Slumber party! Late night story swapping. Fun.

Saturday: Morning chat. Drive down PCH toward my twins. "Oh my God, California, you're beautiful." Meet up with Gabby and Liz. Bella - the infamous pooch - hates me. It's a fact. Have Liz immediately make me a screwdriver at noon. It's going to be a good day. Girlie bathroom time. Should I wear a hand band? Those jeans look good on you. Drive to Downtown Disney. Attempt to park. Almost run over a man (luckily he didn't notice). We're the guests of the day! Free parking. Meet up for an intimate blogger love fest. Meet Diana, Carly and - at long last - Ali. Sangria over lunch. Good conversation. Laughter. Hugs. Regroup at Casa de Twins. Liz does my makeup. Consider asking her if she wants to make this thing official and change our facebook statuses to engaged. Decide against it. BIG dinner at P.F. Chang's. Two days later, I'm still full. Meet up with Gabby and crew for a birthday celebration in her honor. That girl is adored by all. Liz and I decide to be grandmothers and go home and put on comfy pants. (In our defense, she is getting over being sick and I am getting under it.) Fall asleep laughing. Slumber party # 2. Sorry I snored.

Sunday: Let's do this. Oh, no. I can't. I've pretty much lost my voice. Must have coffee. Caravan to Long Beach. Trip to the beach. Feet in sand = happy heart. Lunch with Jasmine at La Creperie where it all began. Discuss the merits of Gossip Girl over mimosas and crepes. Hugs. Goodbyes. Back in the car and back to Vegas.

Now, a little photo documentation, shall we?

The weekend was everything I needed it to be. Slumber parties. New friends. Good laughs. Sand. Sun. Love. I can't wait until next time.

Giggles, Bloggers and the Beach.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yesterday was not my most favorite day.

Today, however... Today is sparkly and new.

In just a couple of hours, I'm hopping in the car and heading south.

In my future?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

Giggles, Bloggers and the Beach.

And, most importantly, these ladies: Gabby. Liz. Ali. Jasmine.

I have a feeling it's going to be a crazy and fantastic weekend.

If you'll be in Cali, I hope to see you here!

Happy, happy weekend!

{photo via}

The Characters That Defined Me.
{... and a little announcement}

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today I was thinking about my favorite television shows. More than that, I was thinking about my all time favorite television characters. You know, the ones you identified with, the ones that made you feel somehow less alone just by their presence on your screen. As if somewhere, someone understood the experience of being you.

So, here they are. The 3 characters that defined me (and probably you if you're anywhere near my age). This post is a little heavy on the quotes, so feel free to skip ahead if that's not your thing.

1. Angela Chase

Angela perfectly personified all gawky, more beautiful than they realized, smart, melancholy teenage girls. (That was pretty much all of us, right?) That hair. Those flannels. Summed up the experience of every girl I knew in 1994. I remember watching the show once with my mom and she said something about Angela being a brat. I thought to myself, "You have no idea." And that pretty much is the essence of the show... and of the teenage girl experience. Oh, and Jordan Catalano? An entire post devoted to him and his beautiful hair may be in the future.

* Favorite Angela quotes:

School is a battlefield... for your heart. So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen. 'Cause she wasn't just talking about my hair. She was talking about my life.

It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you? And, I mean, this whole thing with yearbook - it's like, everybody's in this big hurry to make this book, to supposedly remember what happened. Because if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting book.

If only there were a button somewhere that I could push to force me to stop talking.

Sometimes someone says something really small... and it just fits into this empty place in your heart.

My mother's adopted. So for a while, she was looking for her real parents. I guess that's just what everyone's looking for.

People always say you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster or something. Like you can know what it is even. But every so often I'll have like, a moment, when just being myself in my life, right where I am, is like, enough.

2. Felicity Porter

Awww, Felicity. How I love thee. So insightful and sometimes lonely and a little crazy. Like all of us. She followed the boy she liked across the country to college and found... herself. And eventually, of course, the boy. (Scott Speedman, btw, is the celebrity love of my life. I can guarantee he'll be mentioned again on just a small town girl. Put your money on it, folks.) She was a hopeless romantic and a great friend with a great head of hair (except for that second season when she chopped off those beautiful locks). Through the ups and downs of her love life, she always stayed true to herself. When she embarrassed herself, it embarrassed us because, well, we had been there.

* Favorite Felicity (and Sally - wasn't she the greatest?) quotes:

Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

They say crash victims --people who lose a limb-- that they can still feel their missing arm or leg, even after it's gone. It's called phantom pain, right? Well, suddenly, I had this horrible thought. What if high school went away but the feeling of it didn't? I mean I didn't feel joy... or sorrow... or anticipation. Things were going so well, but all I could feel was.... was dread.

Sally: The hardest part about moving forward is not looking back.

Sally: I guess I'm learning, little by little, that we decide what our lives are going to be. Things happen to us, but it is our reactions that matter.

Sally: I guess when your heart gets broken, you sort of start to see the cracks in everything. I'm convinced that tragedy wants to harden us, and that our mission is to never let it.

3. Carrie Bradshaw

This one is a no-brainer. I could argue the merits of Sex and The City and what it meant for women for hours (and, eventually, I probably will). This, however, is not the time or place. What I will say is the character of Carrie Bradshaw showed us all that women can be sexy and stylish and youthful well into their thirties and forties. The women on this show, and especially Carrie, gave us a new template for the single woman and, for once, it wasn't a sad Cathy comic caricature with too many cats. Big. Aidan. Berger. Petrovsky. Throughout the six seasons of every woman's favorite show, the loves of Carrie's life remained her best friends.

* Favorite Carrie quotes:

As we speed along this endless road to the destination called who we hope to be, I can't help but whine, "Are we there yet?"

Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you. Hallmark doesn't make a "congratulations, you didn't marry the wrong guy" card. And where's the flatware for going on vacation alone?

Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.

Uh huh. Most women aren't angry, irrational psychos. We just want an ending to a relationship that... That is thoughtful and decent and honors what we had together. So my point, Billy, is this; There is a good way to break-up with someone, and it doesn't include a post-it.

Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn't fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it's comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you're very lucky, a plane ride away.

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.
My Little Announcement:

Only because I pretty much adore pop culture more than almost anything else, I'm planning to start a new series on my blog called "I Heart Pop Culture Tuesdays." It's safe to assume I'll be digging up some guilty pleasures from our pasts - ala Jessie Spano and Teen Witch - but I'd also love to hear any ideas you might have. So, if you have any suggestions or would like to contribute at some point - or just want to say hi! - please email me at kathleenparker.b@gmail.com

So, stay tuned for next Tuesday!

Last - but not least - a special happy, happy birthday tomorrow (Wednesday the 17th) to everybody's favorite twins, Liz and Gabby! Love you, ladies. Can't wait to see you this weekend!

{images via Google images}

Sometimes Love Comes Around.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I had the most lovely Valentine's Day and I so hope you did, too.

I tend to try and shy away from over-the-top declarations of love for my boyfriend on le blog, however sometimes I just can't help it. You see, I have been ridiculously unlucky in love historically and so - every now and then - I feel like I owe it to the unlucky girl I used to be to shout from the rooftops how happy I am.

And I really am just that happy.

So, Valentine's Day in a few words and a few pictures. New hair. Pink nails. Baking a love cake for my Valentine. Roses. Red, pink, white. Not one, but two cards filled with words that touched me. Dinner. Fondue for two. Steaks. Chocolate cake. Laughter. Smooches. Lovey-dovey gushing.

We're just a couple of crazy kids in love.

Okay, enough of that. ;)

I am soo, soo excited for this coming weekend. I am packing my bags and taking a little road trip to Cali to see my ladies, Gabby and Liz and meet my I-still-can't-believe-we-haven't-met-yet, Ali. On the agenda? This. If you happen to be in the area, please say you'll be there.

Before I sign off for the evening, hello - I'm trying to watch The Bachelor!, I want to thank you for taking the time to come to my silly blog and read my words. This has been a crazy - and sometimes very lonely - year for me and your comments and friendship (bloggy and otherwise) have helped me through more than I can say. So, thank you.

These are for you.

The Loves of My Life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy, happy Valentine's Day!

I know this particular holiday can be a little loaded for some, but what I love about V-Day is that it doesn't have to be solely about romantic love. Our friends, our families, our pets. If you look around, I think you'll notice love everywhere and that, if nothing else, is worth celebrating. Right? Right.

So, in honor of St. Valentine, I want to share
with you some of the loves of my life.

There's this handsome feller. The silliest goofball who loves me for me and makes me laugh every single day.

There are the friends who will pick up the phone at 4am when you call them hysterically crying. These are the people who threaten to beat a mean, scary girl down for you (thank you, Katie), cut in when the nerdiest boy in school asks you to dance just to save you (still the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me, Carina) and promise to always do their French girl dance just to make you laugh (there's really nothing funnier, Danny).

There are the people you are lucky enough to have as your family
because you would have chosen them for your best friends anyway.

There are the people you loved before you ever knew them, before they were even born. There was a space in my heart waiting for these two little boys, reserved just for them, always. When they were born, it wasn't a "nice to meet you" moment. It was an "of course it's you - I've been waiting so long for you to arrive."

And then there's the kind of love that makes us who we are. Loving this woman is as intrinsic to my existence as breathing. I think her soul must have known mine before I was her daughter, just as I must have known hers long before she was my mom. Cheesy? Probably, but it's true. And it's Valentine's Day. So there.

Happy, happy day. Thanks for letting me share.
I hope today is filled with love, great food and a big ol' glass of bubbly.

{images via}

The Game We All Loved In 7th Grade...
... and Still.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The other day at work, a coworker suggested we play M.A.S.H. with the kiddos we mentor. What the?! Hell, yes. You remember M.A.S.H., right? Mansion, apartment, shack, house. Pick three guys (or gals) to marry, pick three jobs, etc., etc. Of course you remember. It was only the greatest game ever, right? So, we mentioned this game to the kids and they were in. Then they asked the inevitable question, "Where's your phone?" Long silence. Then I explained this wasn't, for once, a game we needed my phone for. "Well, what do we need?" They looked shocked as we pulled out a, wait for it..., piece of paper and pencil.

Oh, my goodness, the fun we had. Playing M.A.S.H. with tween boys? Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and iCarly were always the chosen ladies. Every game.

When I got home that night, curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to see if there was indeed a M.A.S.H. iPhone app. You know there was. I downloaded M.A.S.H. Lite for free and after five simple questions, it generated my (fantastic) future.

"After graduating from NYU, you will marry Adrian Brody (my three picks were Mr. Brody, Scott Speedman and my boyfriend, Jenner). You will settle down in London in your mansion with your 2 children. You will spend your days as a novelist, living happily ever after."

Um, thank you! A few minutes later I splurged on the .99 cents and upgraded to the full version and, boy, I'm glad I did. Read for yourselves.

"You will graduate from Evergreen (the VERY hippie college I actually went to), marry Jenner in an old mansion, spend your honeymoon in Costa Rica, settle down in San Diego, and live in an apartment. You will have 2 children, have a pet rabbit named Ethel, get around in an orange truck and spend your days as a blogger (!!!). Your spouse will be an engineer and you will live happily ever after."

A paid blogger, an orange truck AND a bunny named Ethel? Oh, yeah. (I love Costa Rica and that boyfriend of mine, too.)

So, my fellow iPhone lovers, go and get yourself the M.A.S.H. app as soon as you can. Lite or fully loaded. Guaranteed hours of fun.

Have yourself a fantastic happily-ever-after weekend, but before you go, tell me this... Who would be your three choices for your spouse in M.A.S.H.?

{photo via}