Step Five: Acceptance

Hello all. Many of you have asked for another blog post. Here it is. I’m frustrated with myself for not writing more the past few months. I always tell myself I will get back to it and then something gets in the way. Typical.

I promise when the time is right, I will get back to funny blog posts. But until then, here is yet another story about feelings.

It’s hard to believe it has been almost ten months since my mom’s passing. It still doesn’t feel real, but I have accepted it. Getting to this point has been difficult. As cliché as this sounds, I really think it’s due to a new season, both literally and figuratively. Seeing bright colors, flowers, green leaves on trees, blue skies and sunshine has been much needed for me. I needed to see that through the gloomy season, something better was to come.

Although I made it to step five in the process of grief, acceptance, step four really screwed with me. Step four is depression. Was I clinically depressed? No. Have I recently emerged from a grey place? Yes. I say grey because I never hit rock bottom. I was not in a dark place, but a grey one. I would not say I was in a state of depression, but my brain played tricks on me. It took me to places I didn’t think were possible. I have always been a bubbly person (for the most part). The person who always makes people laugh. But in this season of gloom, again literally and figuratively, I was down. I let my emotions and step four get the best of me. I felt alone in a time where I needed help. Looking back, I should have reached out to family or friends, but I didn’t allow myself. I wanted people to think I was fine when I wasn’t. At one point I told myself I needed professional counseling, but I didn’t follow through because I was embarrassed. So instead, I continued on, fake smiling, fake chit chatting, fake everything. Comforting myself in ways I shouldn’t have.

But then I realized my mom would be annoyed with me for living this way. She would not be upset that I was grieving, not at all, but she would think it’s silly that I was struggling alone.

Last week, my dad and brother came to visit for the weekend. We were sitting around a table talking about mom and how much we missed her. My brother was telling my dad and I how he is dealing with loss and then my dad asked me how I was. I told him I wasn’t talking to anyone. “It has not even been a year,” he said. “This is still so raw. It’s ok to be upset.” That was the wake up call I needed. I was not struggling alone. My dad and brother were right there with me. I was silly to think I was in this alone, but that’s what my grey thoughts were telling me. That everyone else was ok, and I was not.

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My mom was there with us last weekend. I believe she knew I needed that time with the two people who are experiencing the same loss I am. I had no “ah-ha” moment. But today, when I felt the urge to go on a walk by myself and just allow myself to think, I realized I was no longer in step four. I had made the transition. I stopped and bought myself flowers on my way home and allowed myself to see color and new growth in a new season. I am so thankful for my dad and brother. I could not do this without them.

I miss my mom dearly. It’s so hard moving on without her. But I have to be thankful for the time we did have together. I often think about other families who are going through the same experiences I had. Watching someone fade away and then slip away is the hardest thing I will ever have to do in my life. Because of that, I know I am a strong person. In fact, I have a strength I didn’t know I had. I pulled myself up when I was down. Some people can’t do that.

I was lucky my mom was able to receive the treatment she needed. I am fortunate my family had the means to afford that care. One of the drugs my mom was on cost $16,000 a month. Insurance covered that, but I can’t imagine what it must be like to be denied that help. Everyone should be entitled to health education, screening and treatment.

To help make that a reality, I have decided to walk in my mom’s honor and fundraise so families get the time after diagnosis like I did. Through the DC Susan G. Komen affiliate, 75% of donations made go to underprivileged women who need screening and treatment. The remaining 25% goes towards breast cancer research. I hope in my lifetime a cure will be found for this disease. But until then, I will continue to fight for a cure, just as I promised my mom.

If you would like to walk with me in my mom’s honor, you can join my team “Adrienne’s Divas and Dudes Walk for the Boobs” by clicking here. The race is in Washington DC on September 7th. If you’d like to donate, you can do so by also clicking here. If you live outside the US, you will experience payment issues and will be unable to donate through the link. However, if you’re still interested, cash and checks are accepted. I can provide you with an address. You will still get the donation credit. Thank you to everyone who has joined my team and/or made a donation. You are making a difference.

I’d give anything for my mom to still be here. I don’t know why things happen the way they do. I am still struggling with that. But if my mom’s passing was meant to give me purpose, this is it. I will fight for her and be her voice. I will not let myself go back to step four, I will keep moving forward. There will always be hard days. Every day is tough, and some days are much harder than others, but there can also be good days. Those are the days I want to have more of. My mom always tried to have good days. I will do the same.

I know my mom would be so proud of me, my dad and my brother. Her death has taught me so much. She taught me so much. If I can be half the woman she was, I will have lived a good life.

Until next time.

Xoxo,
Lana

 

 

Giving Thanks.

 

I have wanted to get back to my funny blogs and stories, but I seem to be in a writer’s fog. That said though, I still want to write. So I am dedicating this blog to that.

As we approach the holiday season, I am both excited and anxious. I absolutely love November and December. I adore Thanksgiving and dang, Christmas really does it for me. I am that person who starts listening to Christmas music in early November and starts watching Christmas movies at the end of October. I just really love it. If I could afford to decorate my apartment, which I actually call a small rectangle, I would already have a Christmas tree erected with beautiful ornaments and presents under it. As for lights, oh don’t even get me started. Christmas lights are my fave. I seriously would string my entire rectangle with lights if I could. Until I get back to Tennessee for Christmas, these decorations will have to do.

That all said, I also dread the first holiday season without my mom. It is going to be tough and emotional and just a whole lot of feelings. As much as I can’t wait for the holidays, I am ready to see this year go. I wasn’t looking forward to 2018 to begin with and I am certainly ready to say goodbye. It’s been a shitty year, but during this season of giving thanks, I am trying to focus on the good in my life.

  • This year I started a new job at a company I learned about in school, working on a global automotive account. #proudofmyself
  • I moved into my own apartment rectangle. #proudofmyself
  • I had personal and professional writing published. #proudofmyself
  • I officially became a resident of DC. #proudofmyself
  • Successfully put air into my own tires without my dad supervising. #proudofmyself

There were some happy times, and I am thankful for those.

Things I thought I was grateful for but no longer have because they are now a luxury:

  • WiFi.
  • Cable.
  • Uber Eats.
  • Two margarita pitchers instead of one.
  • Christmas decorations.
  • High ply toilet paper.
  • Electricity.
  • Water.

The list is endless. Ok, the last two are sort of a joke. But you definitely become more aware of energy and consumption when you’re the one footing the bill each month.

Jokes aside…

I have a dear friend who also lost her mom a little over a year ago. We were chatting about the holidays and family dynamics when she told me she didn’t want to skip out on the meaning of Thanksgiving. So, for the month of November, she’s been writing a daily gratitude. I thought this was a beautiful idea and was inspired by her. I’ve seen people doing it on social media, but I think writing it down allows you to look back when you need a reminder.

I’m not going to list all of mine, but I will share one with you. Music. I have always enjoyed music. I will listen to all genres and I like to research emerging artists. That said, my playlist is pretty crazy, but I know what songs I put on there. The other day, I was listening to my playlist carrying on like usual when a song came on that I didn’t recognize. I didn’t realize at first as I was busy typing up a work report, but then the lyrics caught me off guard. I literally froze listening to them. The song was called “Adrian”. Though not the same spelling as my mom’s, it still has me shook. Read these lyrics and tell me you don’t have goosebumps.

I’ve been wasting my days on a nine to five
Spending dollars when I only make a dime
While you’re surfing the waters of paradise
Oh, Adrian I wanna be like you

I wanna trade my worries
I wanna trade my troubles
All for a golden journey
Oh, Adrian I wanna be like you

I honestly couldn’t believe it. It was an upbeat song- fun and catchy. How that song ended up on my playlist is beyond me, but I do know one thing. It was definitely my momma speaking to me through music. It was weird and bizarre and I can’t explain it, but y’all, this moment was beautiful.

I have always appreciated music, but that song made me thankful for it.

Among other things, I am thankful for life in general. It sounds so cliché, but I think until you realize how quickly life can be taken from someone, you don’t appreciate it. Wake up and treat every day like it might be your last.

Last year, I had a terrible feeling that 2017 Christmas and New Year would be the last with my family of four. Unfortunately, I was right. But damn, did my family make the most of what we could. We had family from England celebrating with us and we made it a special one, despite the situation my mom was in. My family didn’t tell many people, but my mom was in critical care at Vandy until Christmas Eve. Honestly, we were given a Hail Mary that she lived for seven more months.  We didn’t do extraordinary things last holiday season–heck we all went to bed right after midnight on NYE. But we were with one another and that was what counted. We made the most of every moment together.

So this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, y’all better be doing the same. I know I have said it a lot, but life is too short and family and friends are too sweet.

That said, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. May it be filled with love, laughter, joy and dreams. Much love to you and yours.

XOXO,
Lana

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Happy Birthday, Momma

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This is a blog I have been unsure about writing, nonetheless posting. I dappled with a variety of questions: Do I want to be vulnerable; Do I really want to tell people how I feel; How will others perceive me? But then, quite frankly, I thought f*** it. I’m going to write it, because expressing myself through writing has always been a release for me. And, it’s Adrie’s first birthday in heaven. So what better way to celebrate, than to celebrate her.

I’m just going to get down to it.

To be quite honest,  I never expected my mom to die. Yes, I knew she was ill, but I really did think somehow she would fight through the hardships and once again kick cancer’s ass. Sadly, I was wrong. When I arrived home on a Thursday morning in July, I knew my family didn’t have much longer with my sweet Momma. I had been in this position twice before, but this time I knew it was different. I am so thankful that when I did get home, my mom recognized my voice, gave me a hug, and told me she loved me. If I would have come home one day later, I wouldn’t have gotten that precious moment. I never once thought that would be the last hug, or her last words spoken to me, but they were. The next day, my mom went into a comatose state, and four days later, passed away.

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Some people have told me how unlucky I am. Yes, I do agree. I was born with one grandparent who passed away at the age of eight, and now at 25, I am left with one parent. Unfair. But, I also consider myself lucky. I know what some of you may be thinking…”Um.. what?”, but I really do feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to have had a mom like mine, and to have been with her during her last moments of life. So many people have their loved ones taken away from them without warning, but I was able to hold hands, say I Love Yous, and do/say everything else I needed to. I have no guilt about things I should have said or things I should have done. And that my friends, makes me lucky. Some people have a mother who isn’t present in their life, doesn’t say I love you, or just doesn’t care. I am BLESSED to have had 25 years with a mom who loved me unconditionally.

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I’m also lucky in the sense that most people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) {advanced breast cancer that’s spread to other parts of the body} have an average life expectancy of three years. We were given four. That’s lucky. I have no doubt that being Irish played a part in that! We were lucky, I know that.

Death is a weird thing. In the moments and days after my mom’s passing, I felt like I was in a twilight zone. The days passed quickly with the commotion of visitors, two services to plan, dealing with emotions, and eating all the food that came to my house (HAHA I swear I gained like 50lbs). During that time I wasn’t sleeping properly and I started experiencing anxiety attacks. I would find myself being “normal” and moments later I would be struggling to keep my heart rate down, would develop a rash on my neck, and felt like I was losing control of myself.

Luckily, I am sleeping better now, but I’m still learning how to keep the anxiety under control. Why am I telling you all this? Because I want people to know it’s ok to struggle during a time of grief or anytime at all. Everyone kept telling me how strong I was for being put together, but little did they know, I was falling apart on the inside. No one can be ok after a loss that severe. Hell, I’ll never be the same. A part of me will always be missing.

I dealt with so many emotions: grief, exhaustion, stress, attachment issues, happiness, and relief among others. The latter two seem odd, I know. But hear me out. Those last few days, my mom was not the same person she had always been. She was a different person whose body was being overcome by a terrible disease. When she passed, I felt a slight sense of relief, knowing she was no longer suffering. As for the happiness factor- well you must not know my mom if you don’t understand how happiness could have played a role. In the days after her passing, the amount of love shown to my family was unreal. People sharing their stories of my mom and what she meant to them brought so much comfort into my life. It was so heartwarming to see the amount of lives touched by Adrienne Newson.

One of the weirdest emotions came after her cremation. Attachment. I felt like I constantly needed to be with my mom’s ashes- to talk to them, to touch the urn, to have it with me all the time. It wasn’t until we buried my mom’s ashes (her wishes) that the feeling somewhat subsided. Even still, I have this odd connection. The majority of mom’s ashes were buried in Ireland, but my dad, brother, and I each have a small urn. Mine is with me in DC, and I still find myself thinking that I need to be more connected with it. I’m learning to get over that guilt feeling. I don’t think my mom is looking down on me, pissed that I’m not bringing her to work with me or out to the bars. I think she would be content knowing she is resting easy in my apartment. Knowing part of her is with me though, is a very comforting feeling.

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If you didn’t make it to her service, A Celebration of Life, you missed out. Hate to say it, but you did. Again, a weird statement to make. How can funerals be nice? But wow, it was beautiful. My dad, brother and I delivered small eulogies, and her friends and other family members shared stories. There were pearls and sunflowers everywhere and we released butterflies in her honor. There were over 250 people there, brightly dressed. What an amazing testament to a life well lived. When we started to plan the service and told the funeral director our plan to have a service in our garden with food, beer and wine, he looked at us and said, “Ok…” But after the service, he said he had never seen or been to anything like it. And y’all, shout out to people who do that as a living. They were incredible.

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Since my mom’s service, nearly $3,000 has been donated to Susan G. Komen in my mom’s honor. Again, WOW. Thank you to the kind souls who honored my mom that way. If you’d like to donate, you can still do so. You can click here and make a memorial contribution in her name. Or you can snail mail.

Susan G. Komen Central TN

ATTN: Karla Clarke

370 Reagan St.

Cookeville, TN 38501

Memo: On behalf of Adrienne Newson

I pray one day there will be a cure, and no more lives are lost to this disease, and no families have to grieve the lost of a loved one.

Now, I feel the need to share some statistics with you. One in eight women will develop breast cancer. That’s an alarming number. Early detection is key so, I encourage you, yes-women AND men, to know your bodies. Don’t be scared to see a doctor if something feels wrong. Know what your ta-tas feel like, and if that’s too awkward for you, ask your significant other to do it for you. I’m sure he/she wouldn’t mind 😉  But real talk, my mom detected her lump through a self-examine. In turn, she lived with cancer for eight years, four of those being stage four! The five year survival right for MBC patients is 22%. Early detection is key, y’all. Did you know if a parent, sibling or child has/had breast cancer, your risk chance double? Please, please, please learn when you are eligible for mammograms. For me, I can start at 38. And if you aren’t getting annual checkups with your OB, do it! They will feel you to make sure nothing is abnormal. Please don’t have the excuse that “it’s too awkward”. Just think, feeling yourself in the shower every day could save your life. And if you think that sounds disgusting, bye.

Adrie was one heck of a woman who will be so terribly missed. It’s hard to imagine the rest of my life without her. I get teary-eyed just thinking of the things she will miss- mine and Colm’s weddings, the birth of our future children and other big milestones. I find myself after work thinking I need to call her and fill her in on my day, only to realize the reality. Instead, my dad gets those calls and gets the pleasure of listening to me babble on.

People have told me that it will get easier as time goes on. I’m here to say that’s a lie. In my opinion, it’s only gotten more difficult. Those first few days were a whirlwind, and as time goes on, reality sets in. The longest I ever went without seeing my mom was probably two and a half months. In a few days, she will have been gone for two months. I dread time moving on after that. It’s hard, y’all. So very hard. Yes, maybe you learn to manage your emotions more as time goes on, but the fact of the matter is still there.

One thing I know for sure, is how proud my mom was of me and how much she loved me. How do I know this? Because she told me all the time. I’ll forever be grateful for the relationship I had with her- the constant conversations, the laughs, the tears, and everything in between. The last “normal” conversation I had with my mom was when she and my dad were dropping me off to the airport in late June. As I was getting out of the car, both of us crying per usual, she said, “Alana, you are my best friend. I love you. Don’t you ever forget that.” Looking back now, I wonder if we both knew that was going to be our last “normal” moment together. It’s interesting the way things play out like that.

During my speech at my mom’s service, I asked people to live life to the fullest with no fear. I am asking you all to do the same. Life is way too short. Not just your life, but others lives too. Something or someone can be taken away from you in a split second. Don’t live your life with fear or regret. That will haunt you. Live a life with purpose. I promise you, it’s a better one.

One thing I have learned from all of this, is that when it comes to death, the smallest gestures from others mean the most. I received the most touching gifts from people, was brought food from the kindest people, and received an enormous amount of calls and texts. I wish I could thank you all again, because it all meant so much to me. These are things I will treasure forever, and for that, I thank you.

I have no doubt in my mind that my mom is now my guardian angel. I can feel her presence with me and know she is smiling down and looking over not just me and my family, but all of her family and friends. I hope you may find comfort in that, too. It’s ok to talk to her, to miss her, to mourn her, and to cry over her. I do it almost daily. But know she is with you. Floating around like a butterfly.

Last, but not least, I have to acknowledge my amazing dad and brother. They have held me when I cried, calmed me down and comforted me in ways I cannot thank them enough for. I am fortunate to be going through this process with them. Thank you.

And thank you for taking the time to read this! Send a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my angel today.

xoxo,
Lana

Life & Lemons

 

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“When life gives you lemons…”

I’ve always liked this quote. I feel it can apply to many emotions in life. You can choose to make lemonade, grab the tequila, or do nothing.

And what do lemons even mean in this context? Are they supposed to be symbolic? Do they represent good things or bad things? Honestly, I think it varies.

Recently, I was faced with a situation in life where this quote came to mind. A month ago, I got a call I hoped I would never get… “Alana, things aren’t well with your Mom, and you need to get home soon.”

In this moment, I was numb. I was sitting in a car, with what seemed like no emotions. Just me, sitting there with my hands trembling. It wasn’t until shortly after that I realized the magnitude of what was going on.

In the days that followed, my dad, brother, and I were faced with decisions I hope other families don’t ever have to make.

When you’re told you only have a few days left with your mom, life instantly changes. You forget about what’s going on in the world. You don’t check emails, don’t watch the news, you forget where you put your phone, and you start to question God’s plan. But most importantly, you love harder than you ever have.

I cried with my brother and dad as we sat around my mom, holding her hand, and telling my mom how much we loved her.

Fear is a weird emotion. I’ve often thought I was scared of snakes, but now, that seems irrational. In what I thought were my last moments with my mom, I was terrified. And what was that fear? It was fear of the unknown. What would life be like without her? Who would be there for the next big milestones in my life? Who would be honest enough to tell me that outfit choice wasn’t flattering?

But, during all of that, life gave me lemons. In my case, lemons were fear. I could have let myself be overcome with that emotion, but instead, I decided to make lemonade.

I took that fear, and turned it into happy moments. One might think it’s impossible to be happy in those moments, but you obviously don’t know my momma. I did her makeup, laughed at her hilarious comments, and reminisced on all the beautiful memories that I did have.

Over the past four weeks, people have asked me, “Alana, are you sure you’re ok?” My answer was always, “Yes.” Why? Because, my mom is still alive. People expect you to sit around and cry for days waiting for something to happen, but despite my mom being so sick, my family and I still managed to do what my mom would have wanted, and that’s to be happy.

Now, here is the kicker. Four weeks later, and my sweet momma is still fighting. She has defied all odds and stunned her doctors, friends, and family. She has one hell of a will to live, and for that I am forever grateful.

My point in all of this… It’s ok to be scared. But it’s also ok to be happy. It’s also ok to believe in the power of prayer and to believe in miracles, because they do happen. I firsthand witnessed it.

So, when life gives you lemons, I encourage everyone to make lemonade. Take the fear, and turn it into something sweet.

Love always,
xoxo
Lana

hap·py /ˈhapē/ happy

The fact I have not written a blog in six months is TRAGIC. Y’all, I apologize. But nonetheless, here I am.

Tbh, I have been busy living my best life. Here are some pictures proving that.

 

 

A lot has changed since my last blog post. I no longer live at home with my parents, whaattttttttt. Which means… I NO LONGER HAVE TO SHARE TV TIME WITH MY MOM AND DAD. It’s so empowering to watch The Bachelor in peace. However, part of me wonders if my dad secretly misses watching it with me…

When I was telling my dad about the new Bachelor, Arie, (as if my dad even cared) I told him he might enjoy this season because Arie was a race car driver. His response, “Well he’s obviously not good because I’ve never heard of him.” Ok.

So yeah, I moved to Washington, DC. Love this place. Talk about a fun town with some cool people. And some even better food. Anyone want to come visit? Holla.

It has certainly been a learning experience moving to a place I had never been and only knowing roughly a handful of people. In fact, the past six months have been a learning curve. The biggest thing I have learned- success is not measured by what you do, but who you are. Sounds deep, right? But it is true. Let me tell you why.

People advance their lives at all different ages and stages of life. I’ve had people ask me, “So you’re 25 and still don’t have a fella in your life?” and I’ve also had people ask me, “Wait, you’re 25 and have friends that are married?!” The point being, everyone views things differently. And that’s ok. It’s ok to be married at 25 and it’s also ok to be single.

At 25, it’s also ok to have an amazing career and work your way up the ladder. It’s also ok to not know what the hell you’re doing.

But what’s not ok- to judge someone else based on where you are at in life. People have different goals for themselves so judging someone’s success based on your own is silly and pointless.

If you are happy in life THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. Focusing on ourself should be the number one priority.

All that being said, I am perfectly content with where I am at in life, despite people telling me I should not be. Crazy, right? People think I am “unhappy” because I don’t work a conventional job or have a steady relationship. News flash humans, LANA IS THRIVING.

I also have friends who are married and are thriving. I also have friends with families who are thriving. I have friends with no jobs who are thriving, and I also have friends with huge jobs that are thriving.

**idk, but I like the word “thriving”**

I long for a day when people can encourage one another and do nice things for one another without putting people down. Let’s applaud one another for our accomplishments, no matter what they may be.

Something so minuscule to you, might be a huge task for someone else. For example, moving out of my parents’ house was harder to do than moving to a city I had never been to. Weird, huh? Some people would find it easy to leave their parents’ home but would find it difficult to move to a new place. Who would have thought I missed sharing cable with my mom or dad? LOL.

Side note: missing my dog like crazy.

Everyone is different and we should embrace that rather than hold each other accountable based on society’s standards.

Like I learned in high school.. ELE. Everyone love everyone.

Ok, sesh over. Moving on.

Here are some random suggestions of things to try in 2018:
-Trader Joe’s ‘Everything But the Bagel Seasoning’
(Getchu some toast, smear some avocados on it, then sprinkle this stuff on it. It’s better than….)
-Trader Joe’s ‘Cookie Butter’
(also better than….) (amazing with apples)
-Puzzles. I love puzzles. They are a great brain workout and distraction from your phone.
-Be more present. I will actually pay for a group of all my friends to go out for dinner if we can go the whole dinner without looking at phones. NOTHING drives me crazier.
-Drink more water. Good for your health.
-Drink more G&Ts. Also good for your health.
-If you’re a woman: self breast exam. THIS COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE.
-There is a good book I am about to finish that I can recommend, however I am afraid to post the title on here because I am worried the government will come find me. DM me for details.
-And lastly, BE HAPPY. Life is too short, my friends.

I have lots more recommendations but I won’t bore you. I’ll leave it at that for now. I promise I will not go another 6 months without posting. Geez, who am I. And if you were enjoying my absence, sorry.

AND OMG HOW COULD I FORGET- Yes, I am still deeply saddened Prince Harry is engaged. I appreciate everyone who reached out to me. Also might go to Windsor for the wedding, because why not.

Until next time..

xoxo, Lana

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Something Bothering You? Just Blame It On Millennials.

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 1.43.29 PMIt bothered me to post this because of its grammatical errors, but it made me laugh.

I know, I know. Where the heck have I been, right? You’ve all missed me drastically, I can tell. I wish I had some amazing reason as to why I have been absent, but sadly, nothing extravagant. I’ve been caught up in work and Netflix, ya know, things that keep you busy. I was going through what some might call a “writer’s wall”.. until now. Because you know what has ticked me off/made me laugh recently? People blaming Millennials for every damn thing in life. Apparently we are to blame for the downfall of Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, the workplace, face to face interaction, everything really. So let’s talk about it.

First, from what I have gathered, most people define Millennials as people born in early 1980s through early 2000s.

If you haven’t seen any of the Millennial jokes, just google “Millennials” and you’ll be amazed at all of the articles that pop up. For example… look below. And this is just some of it. It’s quite comical, to be honest. I mean, killing bar soap?? What the hell?

 

Buzzfeed gathered some articles and compiled it into one list. You can read it here. It’s worth the read. Truly hilarious. In case you’re too lazy to read the article (you must be a Millennial), here are snapshots of my favorite headlines.

 

Basically, Millennials are to blame for every bad thing that has happened in life recently. I mean c’mon?! This is just insane.

Although I can read these and laugh, some news stories really irk me. Just take a look at some of these headlines…

 

As a Millennial who works three jobs, I do not think it is fair to call us lazy, entitled, or whatever else we get called. When I graduated college, I applied for what seemed like a million jobs.  I had three internships and still “lacked sufficient experience” for “entry level” positions. So here I am, working three jobs, hoping to “gain experience”. Yet, I’m still lazy? Did you know 44% of college graduates are working jobs that do not require a college degree? I have friends who live literally paycheck to paycheck. And that’s not because they are spending money on luxury items. It’s because they get paid close to nothing and still have multiple bills to pay. I think Millennials work quite hard. Millennials are smarter than we’re given credit for. We’re not self-obsessed just because we take selfies. Hundreds of years ago, people would commission paintings of themselves to hang in their homes.. that’s a little more self-obsessed than a quick selfie in my opinion. We were brought up in the technological and app age. We have valuable skills that we taught ourselves. We learned how to use computers, smartphones, and tablets all on our own. And then taught our parents how to use them. Despite how frustrating that is. I get so annoyed trying to teach my mom or dad a simple task on the iPhone. I’ve shown my mom how to copy and paste countless times. Something so easy, yet so complex. And then I remember to be patient because she taught me how to use a spoon. Something so easy, yet so complex.

Millennials are also criticized for their relaxed workplace style. I understand wanting to present yourself professionally, but I think that can be done casually. Right? And this whole being sent long emails after-hours. Are we not allowed to enjoy our evenings and weekends? I don’t think ignoring work emails after work hours justifies the title “lazy”. I think that’s called work/life balance. Take note, other generations. You might find yourself a little more relaxed.

Another complaint I see all the time.. “if Millennials would quit going to brunch, they could afford the house they say they can’t afford”. Um.. lol. Brunch is hella good; you should try it. So what if we want to spend the money we earned on mimosas? Life is too damn short not to enjoy avocado toast. Or what about the Millennials who can’t get avocado toast because they have student loans they will be paying off for years? My research shows a college degree didn’t cost thousands and thousands of dollars back in the baby boomer day. But anyway, I could be dead tomorrow, but at least I spent my money on things I wanted.. traveling, tacos, concerts, life experiences, tacos, tacos, and more tacos. Actually lately my new obsession has been with guacamole. Not that I ever didn’t like it, but now I am making it all the time. Anyway. Maybe if non-Millennials didn’t destroy the housing market, we could buy that house.

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Find more of these painfully funny tweets here. Or here.

Because I am so “narcissistic” according to the media, I’m just going to blame my parents for me not having a house because I got brunch last Sunday. They should have told me not to. Decline of the NFL? Blaming my mom for not encouraging me to watch more football. Killing the sitcom series? Yep, blame her again for not making me watch Friends with her. Oh the golf industry is suffering? That’s my dad’s fault for not taking me golfing more. Bar soap is taking a hit? Blame my grade schools for only offering liquid soap dispensers. Sorry Canada, blame my teachers for not making me study geography and culture more.

This is what kind of makes me roll my eyes and laugh. Millennials weren’t raised by Millennials, were we? I don’t see any headlines blaming the baby boomers for raising “lazy, entitled, narcissistic” children. Us Millennials just developed these traits all by ourselves? Parents, teachers, and other positions of authority had nothing to do with it? An interesting thought, isn’t it?

I am not saying the baby boomers are to blame. I don’t think Millennials are to blame either. But we learn from taught traits, right? Could their influence have something to do with the way we have chosen to live our lives? Or has the older population just not adapted to the changing, technological world in which Millennials were brought up in? The companies taking huge hits haven’t geared their marketing to appeal to the younger audience. Not our fault for the demise of everything. It’s the companies that are at fault. Plain and simple.

All in all, I think the millennial generation is fascinating. Definitely the smartest, most adventurous, go getting generation in my opinion. Why aren’t Millennials getting all the praise for the good they’ve done? Inventing new technology, pushing marriage and race equality, promoting good health, and much, much more. This article gives great statistics on how Millennials will greatly influence the future. You can read it here.

So carry on with blaming us for whatever your troubles may be. Don’t worry, everyone else does.

By the way, I love Millennials. I love Gen Y, I love Baby Boomers. I love everyone. We have all shaped the way the world is today. I think it’s very cool that we all learn from one another.

But anyway.

Until next time,
xoxo

Lana

 

 

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If You Think 2016 Was Awful, Bye

I literally have joy flowing out of my fingers right now. Man! I have missed this. Which probably means you’re going to get a lot of reading material. Today’s topic: who knows. I’m in the rambling mood.

First, Happy 2017! Unlike many people, I was sad to see 2016 go. I thought it was a good year. Were some parts difficult? Absolutely. But some pretty cool things happened. I had this conversation with someone recently and they said “2016 was the worst year possible because of ….” Yep, you guessed it. Politics. Alright friends, if you let an election define your ENTIRE year, then I actually feel bad for you. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES. Here are some nifty things that happened to me in 2016 (In no particular order):
I visited 4 countries
Went on an awesome family vacay
I went Skydiving (Probably the coolest thing I did)
Chase McNary tweeted me
I threw myself one hell of a birthday party
My trivia team won almost every week
Started this blog
(WHICH HAS REACHED READERS IN 33 COUNTRIES!!!!)
(Big thanks to everyone who has read and shared!)
Got to lay on the beach a few times
Witnessed a health miracle
Made some bomb ass cooking with Lana segments
Watched 2 dear friends get married
Shot an AR-15 (It was a big deal for me, ok?)
All my family came from overseas for my dad’s 60th
Put a mini fridge in my room
Chick-Fil-A started a rewards program
UT beat Florida
I met the love of my life
I got engaged
LOL at the last two. Didn’t happen.
But the list is endless

I challenge you all to think about the positives that happened in 2016. And if you can’t think of one thing, be thankful you’re alive. Or maybe the best thing that happened was me delivering you entertainment? Maybe? No? Ok.

Let’s see.. what else can I talk about. Oh, yes. My Christmas vacation. I’ve had a few people ask me if anything blog worthy happened. And although it did, I know I would be ridiculed for writing “such an insensitive” post. My family thought this story was hilarious, so if you want to hear it, hit me up. I’ll give you some innuendoes though.. my brother, a spa, candles, body scrub, and disposable underwear. That should be enough to get your mind going.

If you follow me on Snapchat or Twitter you probably saw that my journey home from Ireland was a nightmare. Advice: avoid a connecting flight through Philly during a snow storm. Because your flight will get cancelled. And you will get stuck in an airport for hours. With your parents. And no clean clothes. Or warm jacket. But you might however get to drink/eat off your stress in a fancy lounge. Why was I in a nice lounge you might ask? Well, funny story. While boarding my flight back home, from Dublin to Philly, I was under the impression that I would be sitting with my mom and dad. Well LOL at me. Because I got quite a shock when the gate agents started boarding first class passengers only and my mom and dad stood up. And then I saw their boarding passes. They were seat 3 A&B and I was 32G… in economy. Alone. But shoutout to my dad who walked from the front of the plane to the back of the plane to bring me “cheap champagne out of a real glass”- Dierks Bentley.

Speaking of drinking, I’ve given it up for three months as a New Year’s Resolution.  (I started on January 9th). I couldn’t not drink while in Ireland. That’s like illegal or something. But by posting it on here, the world can now hold me accountable. Actually it’s not as hard as I thought…yet. However, I am missing margaritas. Throwing a rager on April 9th to celebrate. Now that I have typed out that date.. that’s way longer than I was anticipating. Ugh. But what’s harder than that?- my resolution to give up candy/doughnuts/chocolate/ etc for three months. DEAR GOD. I am literally dying. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done thus far in my life and it’s self inflicted????? Why have I brought this upon myself? I see myself giving in sooner than planned. Stay tuned to see if I live or die.

I have one more resolution which is actually quite interesting. I got this idea from my cousin. “No screens in the bedroom.” Meaning I’m not going to bed looking at my phone, nor am I waking up to look at my phone. The best part about this is that I got to treat myself to an alarm clock. Wow! What a gift. There are actually some pretty cool clocks out there. So yeah, I’m soothing myself to sleep by reading. But lucky for me, I fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow. So I only read about a page. Hashtag blessed. About the sleeping part. Not reading only one page part.

Hmm.. what else can we chat about. THE BACHELOR. Don’t worry, I’ll have a post coming soon about my mom and dad’s thoughts in regards to this season. Because we all know what fans they are of the show!

That should cover it for now. If I think of anything else, I’ll just write another blog.

One last thing. In 2017, I would like everyone to appreciate under-appreciated foods. Such as pineapple and garlic bread. They don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve. That was super random, but whatever.

Anyway, cheers to a wonderful 2017! May it bring lots of happiness, good health, love, joy, and whatever else you hope to see. Engagements, babies, jobs, etc. For me, I hope it brings cable in my room, the taste of margaritas again, fun adventures, and many surprises.

Until next time,

xoxo
Lana

I Spent 18 Hours In A Car With My Parents

 

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Ever driven 828 miles (ONE WAY) in a car with your parents? For perspective, an equivalent would be driving from Cookeville, TN to Destin, FL.. twice. Or from Cookeville to Knoxville AND back 4.5 times. Well, I got to experience this adventure over Labor Day weekend and boy, what a journey it was.

Our adventure began on Thursday evening, right before the Vols kickoff. I don’t know if you’ve ever driven to Canada before, but our first two hours consisted of driving through the middle of nowhere on backroads you do not want to run out of gas on. So do you think there was radio coverage of the Vols game? Of course not. I decided I was willing to blow through my month’s worth of data to live stream the game. All for my Vols. So, my dad and I are sitting in the front seat listening to the game, while my mom is sitting quietly in the back. Despite how terrible the game was going, everything else was fine. Until my mom wanted help with her phone because her storage was full. At that point I really didn’t care that her phone was running out of storage and I most certainly was not in the mood to help. Poor Adrie just doesn’t get football. She’s not a fan, and that’s ok, but her lack of understanding is slightly alarming for someone who has lived in the South for about 20 years. After the first quarter, she pipes up and says, “Oh it’s over already? That was quick!” I just slowly turned around to the back seat and gave her side eye. Bless her heart. I’m just proud she knows the Vols wear orange and that they play for UT.

We decided during half time we would stop and eat. Little did I know our decision making would be an hour ordeal. Trying to decide to eat when three people are hangry (hungry+angry), is more difficult than you would think. Two of us would have eaten anything. One of us was more picky. We finally decided on Cracker Barrel. Dad pulls into a parking spot, as you do, but this parking spot wasn’t going to work because “it wasn’t under a light and someone might steal our suitcases”. If someone were to have stolen my suitcase that night from Cracker Barrel, he or she would have walked away with 3 days worth of clothes and a box of Skittles, Mike & Ikes, Sour Patch Kids, and Buncha Crunch. We ended up covering the suitcases with a blanket. I honestly don’t think I had eaten Cracker Barrel since high school because that’s where my then-boyfriend liked to go. But y’all, their macaroni and cheese and biscuits were hella good. Just what I needed to cure my hanger. Thank you Cracker Barrel. My favorite part of the dinning experience though, was the waitress telling my mom she couldn’t order fries with her meal. Like what? It was a very confusing ordering process, but Adrie got her fries in the end. And a bag of overpriced Milk Duds. To go along with the non-stolen candy in the car. The suitcases weren’t stolen during dinner, but thank God we put that blanket over them because those poor bags might have gotten cold.

We drive a few hours after dinner and decided to stop so we can get some rest before we set out again the next morning. I should have known from the start I was doomed when the words “one hotel room” were mentioned. You see, I am the type of person who falls asleep instantly when I go to bed. I never lay awake at night, never have trouble falling back asleep if I wake up, I always get a good night’s sleep. But the one thing in this world that can alter that is sharing a hotel room with my dad. You have not experienced extreme snoring until you deal with him. We get to the hotel at 1:00am, and I immediately pop a Melatonin knowing what’s ahead. Our wake up call was for 6:30am, and I was driving part of the next day, so I needed a decent night’s sleep. WELL LOL. Because that was far from what happened. He falls asleep almost right away, typical. Starts snoring soon after, also typical. I guess my mom is accustomed to the sound of snoring by now because she fell asleep a little while after. I tried reading to help me fall asleep. Didn’t work. Counted sheep. Didn’t work. Tried listening to music. Could still hear the snoring over loud music. Again, didn’t work. So at 4:28am, yep, still wasn’t asleep, I decided I was going to go read in the bathroom. My mom woke up and when I told her what I was doing, she said “Don’t be ridiculous, lie down and listen to music.” I laughed internally at her thinking that I hadn’t tried that already. But do you think reading in the bathroom helped? Of course not. Why? Because you could still hear snoring. At 6:09am I was still awake, and there was just no point in trying to get 21 minutes of sleep. I figured I could just nap in the car. And by the way, the reason I know these specific times is because I was jotting notes down in my phone so I could deliver this blog accurately.

So, we eat our amazing hotel breakfast (HA HA) and hit the road just after 7:30am. Side note: I would pay significantly more money to stay at a hotel knowing they served something like Chickfila biscuits for breakfast instead of bacon and sausages that resemble plastic. Anyway, according to Siri, we had 8 hours ahead of us. I hate Siri. She’s screwed me over more than any guy I can think of. I understand Siri can’t predict the future, but she should have just gone ahead and said 12 hours more to go so I could have mentally prepped for what was ahead of me. Obviously, I chose not to drive and decided to sleep for a solid two hours in a peaceful, non-snoring, car. However, I was abruptly awoken to a liquid dripping on my arm. Come to discover, the Bath and Body Works Car Scent Holder was MELTING in the heat of the sun, and was therefore dripping black wax on my arm. I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I tried, y’all. If this has never happened to you before, be thankful. Because it’s messier than it seems.

About 3 hours into our drive we come to a complete stand-still in traffic. Want to know how long we sat in that traffic? Three hours. I would have been perfectly fine to sleep during those 3 hours, but mom wanted to read jokes from her “A Joke A Day” book. After four jokes, 2 of which were amusing, I just couldn’t handle it. I wanted to just sit in silence. Finally, traffic starts moving again, but what’s a road trip without multiple traffic jams and a detour. So we get stuck for another hour. In the end, we made it to our destination 4 hours later than planned. But it was worth it because we had an amazing weekend with even more amazing friends. Shoutout to Uncle Craig for the scrambled eggs.

Think my epic adventure is over? Nope. Because we had to drive home. This time it was just myself and Dad. PRAISE GOD we had no traffic jams. But something was bound to go wrong. After entering the United States I realized my wallet was not with me. Yep, left that in Canada. Typical. No driver’s license, no debit card, no cash, no Bath and Body Works coupon to buy another car scent holder, nothing. Thankfully I knew where it was and was able to have it sent back to me. After realizing I had forgotten it, I decided I was EXTREMELY lucky to have had my Green Card in my purse, and not my wallet. Because without that, I would have been stuck in Canada. Which actually, wouldn’t have been all that bad. One thing struck me though crossing over international borders via vehicle. I travel frequently to Europe via plane and coming back into the US as a Green Card holder is tougher than it should be. I have to have pictures taken in addition to having every single finger printed, and I have to answer one million questions. Coming into the US via car.. breeze. All Border Control did was look at my passport and Green Card and send me along my way. I never had to get out of the car or answer a single question. I easily could have had blocks of coke in my car (DISCLAIMER: I DIDN’T).

But geeze, what a trip. Loved every minute of it though. If you haven’t been to Canada, you should go. It’s a beautiful country. I suggest flying, however.

Peace and blessings, friends.

xoxo,
Lana

Oh! And I started an Instagram so you can get new blog alerts quicker. Give it a follow if you wish —> lifewithlanablog

 

Get Your Head Out of Your App

Love that TDOT sign. My favorite, however, is “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed”. Did no one at TDOT think to have that tested in a focus group? I understand it’s supposed to mean if you drive drunk, you’re going to jail. But I read that as “If you drink, you’re getting lucky tonight.”

Ok, anyway.. Let’s talk about Pokémon.

Sadly, I have let an app consume part of my life for the past few days. If you would have told me last week that I would be walking around random places looking for Pokémon, I would have laughed hysterically in your face. Yet here I am. Walking around aimlessly in hopes of catching my next little creature.

The one thing that I find hilarious about this whole new obsession is that young kids are OBSESSED with it. Like do you even know what Pokémon is? You know it wasn’t just invented, right? I was a DIE-HARD Pokémon fan when I was younger. I was that girl that had all the cards in fancy binders, knew all the characters, etc. My dad used to travel frequently to Japan so I had legitimate Pokémon cards. They were all in Japanese and I had no clue what they said but I immediately had power over other players, because well, mine were cooler. I was the real deal. I had a Pokémon themed birthday when I was eight. Watched the show, read the books, even had a Pokémon club. If you want more details about that, feel free to ask. We used to meet on the playground twice a week in elementary school. I was obsessed. Now that I am thinking of it, I was probably the reason Pokémon cards were banned at my school. But then I realized Pokémon was lame and grew out of that phase.

Until I was 23, and now I am back at it again. To be honest, I don’t really get the game. I’ve caught a few Pokémon, but that’s it. I don’t get the battles or letting eggs hatch or any of that stuff. I just think it’s kind of funny to see where these little things are. I’m waiting for someone to show up at my house asking to come inside and catch the Pokémon that’s in our kitchen. Pretty sure my mom is terrified that will happen. Some people have taken it too far, I will admit. Dodging traffic on a highway and walking off a cliff is just a little too much for me. I heard an interview on the news that a guy caught a Pokémon at a FUNERAL. And all that for what? What’s the point? To catch the most Pokémon? I’m confused what all the hype is about.

I was recently sitting outside at a restaurant and I was amazed by how many adults were out playing this game. It actually is impressive, yet alarming, that a game can take over peoples’ lives as much as this game has. Wouldn’t it be lovely if people would get out and walk around town and socialize with humans instead? What a novelty.

After being at a Bachelorette party this weekend (another story in itself), I kept catching myself opening the Pokémon app, which made me look boring so I have since deleted the app. GASP. Now, I am back to spending my time on the Chickfila app. Which, let’s be honest, is way more important. Ugh, how I love that place dearly.

So that’s my little two sense on Pokémon. Because I know you all really care. Not. We have better things to talk about on this blog, such as the Bachelorette hometowns that start tomorrow. Stay tuned. I’m sure my dad will have PLENTY of things to say.

Enjoy your evening, friends!

XOXO,
Lana

The Bachelorette vs The Parents: Part 2

Ah, Monday nights. The only night during the week where I am allowed two hours to watch tv on the big screen. Big deal at my house. Why? Oh yeah, because I still don’t have cable in my room. Because I still live at home with mom and dad. And the cable can’t reach my room. Anyway. Obviously these two hours are devoted to The Bachelorette. As much as I would love to watch it in peace and not have to answer questions or listen to comments from my parents, I am not granted that precious gift. So, instead, I put up with the bizarre questions and comments.

Here are a few questions and statements from this season so far…

“I thought that girl was on the last season?”
-Mom (she missed the whole JoJo is the Bachelorette thing)

“Do you have to have a mean guy because there was a mean girl?”
-Dad (in reference to Chad and Olivia)

“Wait, is Chad still the moron?”
-Dad

“This is seriously on for another hour?!”
-Dad

“Is that really his occupation?”
-Dad

“They encourage cat fights. They want these guys to be piss-y and jerk-like.”
-Dad

“Do you really think a group of five guys sit around talking about another guy? No. They talk about football. This is all scripted.”
-Dad

“I feel bad for the guys who don’t really like her and are made like her by the producers.”
-Dad

“I had a dream about Buenos Aires last night.”
-Dad

“You do know this isn’t real, right?”
-Dad

“How many guys are going to say ‘I’m falling for JoJo’? It’s been said 40 times in the last half hour!”
-Dad

“I bet he’s reading off of cue cards from a guy standing behind her.”
-Dad

“Oh, you lost. Now get in the car and get out of the country. As quick as you can.”
-Dad

And my favorite..
“What type of people even go on this show? I would be so embarrassed if you did that, Alana.”
-Mom
So I applied to be on the show.

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WISH ME LUCK!!

*SPOILER*
THANK GOD Chase won that two on one. Ugh, love him. But you can bring Derek back for my season. But keeping Alex around? Really? Definitely would have just given the rose to James and have been done with it. But that’s just me. And I’m not the Bachelorette. Yet.

Until next time..
xoxo