Weekend Winks – Catfish, Cuteness and Cocktails

No matter your job or career, there’s something about that Friday feeling that gets most of us nine to five folks giddily gearing up for the weekend ahead.

Rocky nailed it.

Fridays always call for cocktails in my book and I was lucky enough to partake in the very divine avocado margaritas (sound disgusting, beyond delish) at a local restaurant called Avo. It’s a fabulous vegan place that even carnivores  (me)can love.

Double fisting at its finest.

I have a love/hate relationship with the social media “remember this from a year ago” shit they drudge up daily. But this time, I was loving the reminder on Instagram.

From toddlers to kids in the blink of an eye.

While my Iowa twins are a ways away from 21, that doesn’t stop the party from taking place around the time of a typical happy hour for Princess B (remind you of anyone else you know?).

No problems with happy hours here.

While it was juice galore for my princess, Prince B was pretty much trying out to be a Harlem Globetrotter.

Is the player that short or is Prince B that tall?

He’s a serious athlete in the making and I can’t wait to yell, make a scene, cheer from the stands like the appropriately embarrassing aunt I will never cease to be.

I cannot wait to wear his jersey.

In other sports related news, my Nashville Predators hockey team is in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. So I did what any good sports fan does and got gussied up in my finest attire. Nashville’s non-official ‘mascot’ is a catfish because inevitably at the start of any game, a fan always throws a catfish on the ice. Now there is a tank full of catfish at the arena (these catfish are only for viewing pleasure, not to be thrown on the ice, FYI).

Gussied up in my Preds gear.

It was a girl gang-a-palooza watching party at a local joint, The Centennial, in the Nations area of Nashville.

Girl gang in full force.

Van Waffles had the pleasure of being our mascot for the evening. I don’t think he minded being the ring leader of us gaggle of gals.

Van Waffles and the resident clown.

The hockey game got exciting, as it went into overtime. When I glanced over at First Mate, she’d added a Preds hat and brought her towel out of her purse to further encourage our team’s win.

Stealth accessory adder.

First Mate undoubtedly looked adorable in her additional giddy up, which proved to help our Preds because they won in overtime. Meanwhile, I had a hard time putting on an accessory otherwise known as a windbreaker.

Blame it on a big head or being blonde?

Winding down Sunday, a little hair of the dog action was necessary while watching Tiger Woods come back out of his 11 year slump. I’m way too loud for golf but it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of excitement with an event so big.

The Pussy Posse could have given two fucks about the Masters, so they had a snuggle party in bed instead.

Snugglemania.

After not watching the insanely hyped Game of Thrones debut (I haven’t seen but the first episode where a brother has sex with a sister and they push a boy out of a castle window, so I don’t get why every.single.person I know is in love with this series but to each their own). Instead, I ended the weekend the way I always do.

Bubblicioius.

Cheers!

CBXB!

 

The Bonanza

Being that I’ve taken the last three years off from celebrating much of anything, it.was.on. for my birthday this year. For those of you unaware (I have no fucking idea how you couldn’t if you read this blog very often at all), my day of gracing this planet with my presents presence is exactly three months after Christmas. And frankly, I had so much fun this year, I may just start my birthday countdown December 26. Sorry. Not sorry.

My big time celebrating did start about a week prior to the actual day because my Iowa peeps were in Nashville for their spring break.

Birthday Sandwich.

Sister CBXB, being the foodie that she is, kept saying she was my amuse bouche (which in French literally translates to mouth amuser….It’s OK, I live in the south) to my birthday. Since I frequent more hip chain style casual dining restaurants of the likes of Chili’s, I had to look the term up. Amuse bouche is served at fancy restaurants before any orders are placed to prepare diners of the chef’s style. Next time at Dalts I’m going to ask for an amuse bouche with a side of ranch before my first Skinny Pirate.

The amuse bouche of my birthday!

We went to a fabulous restaurant called Husk, where we were on a three-way (again, fine due to my region of residence) text with my foodie bro-in-law back in Iowa.  He is an expert on ordering, knows what we like to eat, drink and guzzle.

Husk Hooch.

Naturally, when two corn-fed sisters saw cornbread on the menu, it was a must.

We hated it.

Aside from the beyond our wildest dreams cornbread we wanted to stuff into our purses for a snack later, we feasted on fried dilly tomatoes with pimento cheese, chicken, steak and more cocktails, of course. BIL informed us that this was all created under Chef Brock who is on the new season of Chef’s Table on Netflix.

We so fancy.

I carried the fancy on to the Mumford and Sons concert Sister CBXB took me to after supper. I carefully selected my concert t-shirt (a must whenever I see a live show) and then promptly put it on.

Yes. I’m that girl.

My sister put her t-shirt on right away too because siblings stick together. After getting cocktails that cost more than I’m paid per hour, we sat to watch the opening act. As we were chit chatting about how lights and speakers are hung (I used to work in music production) a man in front of us was apparently on a first fucking Match.com date and asked us to be quiet. Then his date piped in and said she, “paid good money for these tickets.”

You can imagine how that went.

Take your shhhh! and shove it up your ass.

Ahmahzing sold out show.

Mumford and Sons not only sold out the Bridgestone Arena, they also broke the record for attendance tipping the people meter at over 19,000.

The following evening, First Mate further assisted me out of my culinary comfort zone and took me to a new Indian restaurant in Nashville called Chaatable. Every time I think of Indian food, I see Ben Stiller sweating (then shitting) his brains out in the movie Along Came Polly.

Beauty and her birthday Beast.

You guys, this restaurant was beyond. I didn’t sweat or shit myself (surprisingly) while dining here. The food was insane good to the point where I wanted to lick my butter chicken bowl clean (I may have).

All. the. yes.

There are 80,000 Indian bracelets used as a central piece of the art in the restaurant. Now I need one of these in the Mini Manse, of course.

Bracelet bonanza.

The eve of my birthday consisted of wine, cats, cuddles and DVR.

Purrrrfection.

On my birthday, I woke up with all four of my pussies in the bed, contemplating having a ‘sick’ day from work since my birthday fell on a Monday. However, that would have been a grave mistake on my part.

Well wishes came in all kinds of styles starting with handmade cards from the twins…

…to insane crazy sweet text messages…

…to appropriate memes sent to me throughout the day.

It looked like Christmas morning at my desk upon my arrival to work. From wine, to pink icing covered donuts, to lunch with coworkers at my fave Dalts to cake in the afternoon, the day did not suck.

Spoiled beyond.

Here I thought it would be a slight bummer having my birthday fall on the first day of the work week but boy, was I mistaken.

After a short work day (I have the best boss), I met First Mate for rosé at 51st Taproom.

Rosé all birthday.

Then it was on to a Mexican fiesta with Mama CBXB and Rasta for more vino, accompanied by some cheese dip and 4,961 chips. And then, my mom’s family famous O’Henry bars for a birthday treat.

Janie’s Junk just for me.

Due to the fact that I had years of celebrating to make up for, I welcomed wishes and reminders all week.

Double DUH.

My TGIF birthday night was another fabulous dining experience for me. Van Waffles took me to the Marsh House at the Thompson Hotel in the Gulch area of Nashville. Another menu for me to text my BIL and sister, who guided me through the ordering process of cocktails, BBQ shrimp (fucking killer) and Mahi.

The Marsh House mania.

The experience was so divine, it was dizzying.

Best photographer ever.

Saturday, Van Waffles spoiled me further by cooking a fabulously kick ass meal at the Mini Manse. I have no idea what all was in it aside from salmon and noodles but it all went into my belly. I also had no idea my kitchen functioned properly for which it was intended (not just extra storage in the oven).

THIS. WAS. MADE. IN. MY. KITCHEN.

Further spoiling came from all over the globe. I woke up on Sunday to this sweet message from my buddy, Stevie, who lives in Australia. We’ve yet to meet in person but it seems like we’ve been friends for years. Because we have been friends on social media. Isn’t that fun?

The awesome didn’t stop, as I made my way to Dalts for a much-needed hair of the dog on my day of rest.

Then capped off by my favorite relaxing ritual.

Birthday bubbles.

All in all, this was one of my best birthdays that I can remember. So much so, that I won’t ever be taking three years off from celebrating again.

Cheers until next year!

Thanks for all of the love. I love you right back.

CBXB

CBXB!

The Birthday Bitch is BACK

Getting ready to start another 365 fresh days, I’m BAAAAAACK. I’d lost (now found!) the “celebrate everyday” mantra that I was so used to pre-Rapegate. Three years without any of my usual March references…”it’s my birthday month” or “did you know my birthday is exactly three months after Christmas,” (I mean, maybe we can say I’m god’s gift, OK?) to “we’re gonna do what I wanna do because it’s my birthday MONTH.”

YOU WILL CELEBRATE AND YOU WILL FUCKING LOVE IT.

Since I was a kid, my life revolved around Christmas, my birthday and then, the Iowa State Fair. Much to my cousin B’s dismay (I can only assume), I was born right smack dab in the middle of his birthday, therefore he was forced lucky to share his special occasion with me at every March family gathering. (He’s the super happy kid to your left in the pic below).

It’s all about meeeeeeeee. Sorry, not sorry B.

Instead of forcing myself to get it together and sorta celebrate like I have the last few years, I readily have my sparkly party stilettos on and am ready to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the fuck out of my day of birth. Like, for the remaining days of March. And also, because my birthday is on Monday, it’s really only fair to make it a birthday week.

I’m gonna huff, puff and blow those motherfucking candles out. Even if I light my own.

(side note, I’m gonna need someone to make a gluten-free yellow cake with chocolate frosting with one billion multi-colored sprinkles on it, thanks).

Huff. Puff. and Blow.

Huff.

Puff.

Blow.

I’m gonna act like my mom and document the fuck out of every.single.second of my special day. Like she did with my sweet pink and purple pony cake, accompanied by my lovely oversized spectacles and semi-mullet hair do.

My most gorgeous birthday photo ever.

Hello Gorgeous.

Documenting attire like the time she allowed (like anyone could ever allow me to do anything) me to celebrate my birthday with sweet wispy bangs and a crocheted vest that looked like one of my Grandma Vogel’s doilies she so effortlessly made.

Crochet nightmare

Always so fashion forward.

Celebrate

More my speed these days.

I’m going to open every text, social media well wish, card and gift like it’s the one and only thing I’ve ever received in my life.

Always act surprised.

Holy shit! I love it! No, truly I do.

I will not be holding up fingers to commemorate the age of which I am turning because I ran out of fingers after the age of 10. (side note: how hilarious is it that I have a shirt on that says First Mate, First Mate?).

Insist

I’m this many today.

I may, however, enlist the peeps around me to count other birthday fun.

When you’re out of fingers on both hands, just count drinks.

When one of you does show up at the mini manse door with my gluten-free cake in hand, I am going to need a shit ton of frosting on it. And having a crown crafted of construction paper wouldn’t hurt either.

Scoobs.

Paper Princess.

Then I may need assistance with eating the delivered cake if my hands are full with cocktails.

Keepin' it classy. As usual.

Are your hands clean?

I’m already practicing my ‘birthday adorable’ look that I mastered oh so few years ago for photo capturing.

Mug for the camera.

Oh who me? Why yes it is my birthday. I’ll just hold this pose for the rest of the day.

It’s a tradition I am still working on.

Adorableness FAIL.

Work in progress.

I’m going to dance, jump and twirl (but not down) to my heart’s content, acting as if I have one ounce of rhythm somewhere in my body.

PARTY!

Mosh pits before mosh pits were cool.

Dance

I may try a high kick, which for me is possibly as high as my hip…if I’m lucky.

Head banging also accepted.

This seems to be the appropriate dance moves when we run out of fingers in which to count cocktails.

I’m probably going to invest in some sort of kazoo or party favor to carry around next week so when anyone asks how my day is going, I’ll just blow it in their face. Like a classy lady.

Blow it out.

I’m fabulous. It’s my birthday week.

I’m gonna surround myself with my fabulous friends forcing in celebratory fashion.

The more, the merrier.

Oh the variety of bangs…

Did I mention it was all about me?

Along with gluten-free cake, diamonds, Louis Vuittons, rescue cats, anything sparkly, Iowa Hawkeye football season tickets, anything skull, stilettos, bubble bath, a new deep jet bath tub for said bubble bath, I will also be accepting birthday shots, wine and Skinny Pirates.

Why thank you

Birthdays taste so good.

I may or may not have consumed all liquids at this table.

Birthday Skinny Pirate in the house!

They just “get” me at Dalts.

This year, I’ll be drinking to the wise words my Gma always told me as I bitched about growing another year older, “having another birthday sure beats the alternative.” Jesus, it sure fucking does. I’ll drink to that!

Truth.

Now, who wants to celebrate with me?

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Wink – The Luckiest Girl

It’s that time of year that green is all around us in Nashville as a welcomed sight. The grass, the leaves and this past weekend, the hue of celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick.

I met up with one of my former band mates, Keys, and we had a fun catch up lunch at my fave watering hole, Dalts.

Old friends make me a lucky gal.

Friends of yesteryear also keep me company with kind words and support he’s always throwing behind me.

I had a guest coming over for supper (oh, we will get into this supper vs. dinner debate at a later date) Friday evening and I hadn’t made my Lazy Lasagna (or anything that didn’t simply require a microwave heat up) in…well, I can’t remember when. Naturally, I acted like I was concocting an eight course meal, when really I was just layering ingredients.

Slaving away for supper.

Lucky for me, it turned out in my favor.

Once the lasagna was baked and in my belly, I promptly took a 16 hour nap, gearing up for the weekend festivities.

Pot of gold kickers.

In celebration of the season, I’d gussied up my pink tinsel Christmas Celebration tree and sat to enjoy my Saturday spiked coffee in front of it.

Lucky tree.

Perk Me Up.

Meeting up with friends for the celebration of Irish culture did not make for a dull time.

Lucky ladies.

I’m gonna need these hearts in pink for daily use.

We saw nothing but green until we started to consume cocktails of the day’s hue.

The Queen of green Jell-O shots…

.. might have had me seeing black and white.

While I was busy with Shamrock Shenanigans, my Iowa twins were road tripping down South.

Lucky they’re on their way to see me!

My neck aches for them.

It’s hard to remember just how little these two nuggets were a mere three years ago.

Time flies with twinning fun.

Three years later and still the cutest two shits I know.

Speaking of shits, I’m lucky to know the most fun one in all of Iowa City. My buddy N8 never misses a chance to morph into the best leprechaun every year.

Lucky leaning tower of green.

On Sunday, the actual day of Saint Patrick, I met up with First Mate for a gulp of our favorite boxed rosé. Although we didn’t get the green dye for to properly mark the occasion, we made do.

Pink and green are the perfect pairing.

It was so fabulous outside, we couldn’t resist a patio where Van Waffle asked me to take his picture. The fucking nerve.

My thoughts on being the photographer vs. the model.

All in all, the weekend of sunny skies, fabulous company and fun made me feel like the luckiest girl. Although, what makes my world go round always takes my lucky cake…

Lucky fur mama.

Here’s hoping a little luck comes your way this week.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Game Changing Moments

For everyone there are moments in our lives that epitomize time where we will never forget the place, the exact feeling of that minute.  I’m talking about the big life changers – births, space shuttles exploding, wedding days, traumatic events. Then there are the smaller instances you don’t realize the significance of what you’re about to experience and the way it will shape the days ahead, forever changing your life.

Like the occasion it was presented that life as a ballerina wasn’t on the table.

Maybe not ballet....

Step ball changing my way through elementary.

Maybe the time you realized Christina Aguilera was not singing about you in her hit song “Genie in a Bottle.”

No belly dancing...

Anyone got a magic carpet?

Could be when you realized you not only lacked the tact but also the appropriate attire for becoming a super model.

I see London I see France I see above your underpants.

I see London
I see France
I see above your underpants.

Pleated khakis look good on a runway…

Bitch, please.

..said no one ever.

Remember when you saw your first concert and it inspired you to be a rock star?

Judo chop!

You either have it or you don’t. This Elvis doesn’t.

Maybe the time you had the first bite of your now favorite delicatessen, you knew nothing else would ever taste this good.

Taste bud changer. Don't judge my classiness of food choice.

Taste bud changer.
Don’t judge my classiness of food choice.

Maybe it happened when you realized that the art of watching a collegiate football game would never again be a dull time if you add in some Skinny Pirates and moonshine?!

College football changer.

College football changer.

Possibly being educated about where feminine products are appropriately placed turned your world into a real life Monopoly board game, making all the difference.

Womanhood changer.

#SOS

A few months after the beginning of Rapegate, I found myself at the downtown Nashville police department that was all but deserted of anything reminiscent past the ’80s. I sat alone and waited impatiently for my name to be called so that I could further discuss my impending case against Shane the Rapist. My leg was inadvertently bouncing so hysterically that the lone security guard came over to ask me if I was OK.

GAME CHANGER.

MOTHER FUCKING GAME CHANGER.

I was to meet with a detective and make a ‘spoof’ phone call to my fucking rapist. A spoof phone call means that the detective would route a police phone to show up as my cell number on caller ID when calling Shane the Rapist. I was a fucking nervous wreck not ever wanting to speak with the dude who violated me again, let alone try to lure him into admitting he did it against my will over the phone. The detective came to escort me back and immediately said to me, “why are we doing this call so long after your assault.” Um, gee dude, I don’t fucking know. This is my first (and hopefully only) experience being raped.

When I sat to make the phone call, the detective could not figure out how to do the spoof correctly. He went to get two other veteran detectives who also could not get the spoof to work correctly. And there was no way in hell I was going to use my personal cell phone to call because what if Shane the Rapist called me back? So, the initial detective went and retrieved a manilla file folder that had a single piece of paper in it. When I glanced over, it was a printed out email with directions on how to conduct a spoof phone call from fucking 2006. An ENTIRE DECADE prior to this moment.

Three fucking stooges.

It was in that split second that my game changed. There was nothing I could do about the ineptitude about the “experts” handling my case like the Three Stooges as I sat there helpless trying not to let the tears of rage, frustration and fright fall down my cheeks.

It was in that split second that my game changed.

Right then and there.

I can’t help what happened to me. I can’t change the way I feel about this situation. I can’t help the sleepless nights, the not wanting to be alone with my thoughts, the shame I still experience. But I CAN do something about it. I’ve been fighting the fuck for my mental life and while it’s nothing short of a fucking marathon, I’m doing it.

News today came about a goddamn glorious friend who is nothing but exuberant, feisty as fuck and full of fire. This game changing moment dawned on me when I heard news about her prognosis with breast cancer. There she was one day, sitting in her doctor’s waiting room, headed in for a mammogram. And boom. Cancer.

Motherfucking unwanted game changer.

She can’t help what is happening to her body. She can’t change the way she feels about this situation. But she is fighting the fuck out of it. She has the support that resembles an army backing her, much the same as I do, when uncontrollable circumstances that are unfair as fuck arise.

My game changing uniform is now permanently on.

For her.

For me.

Here’s to kicking the shit out of the game changers we don’t want. The game changers for which we don’t ask. The game changing moments no one expects or wants in their lives.

Swinging for the fences of good game changers.

Love you friend.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Cocktails, Crocs and Kindness

There are some weeks that seem 14 days long and Friday couldn’t have gotten here soon enough. Nashville has been plagued with rain and dreary skies for the last month (not to bitch too much because I know it’s been earth shatteringly freezing above the Mason Dixon Line).

Once the work week was behind me, my gal pal Rasta came over for a little girl’s night in. She’s been under the weather since the holidays and is finally feeling better.

Jazz hands for happy health.

I’ve been cheating on The Pussy Posse with my side hustle, which is pet sitting. I can’t say I don’t love it because look at these faces…

Princess Purr-A-Lot.

Some definite puppy love going on.

Rocco the dog lives in an apartment complex and while I was dropping in on him, I could not help but notice the pile up of shoes at his neighbor’s place. The first visit I just glanced and thought they must have had company. The second visit I noticed that a pair were fucking Croc style knock-offs that were camouflage. I mean, please.

No. Just no.

Some dude actually wears those motherfuckers.

When I posted on my Insta about the in my opinion abhorrent shoes, I received messages with excuses examples of why people have them. My favorite response was that I should burn them to help the guy out. Slappy takes the cake because she has a matching pair with her husband – BUT only for outdoor purposes and they aren’t camo, so that’s OK?

Oh, Slappy….

My Iowa twins spent some much deserved time in Mexican sun after a winter with temperatures bottoming out at -52 degrees.

Riding back to Iowa…

They went from sunny and 80 degrees to about 12 degrees in two hours. Their vehicle needed pushing assistance from helpful Samaritans upon their landing back in Iowa.

Back to the snow.

Just as active as ever, they went from horse back riding to drive way ice skating in a day’s time.

Personal skating rink.

While they were outside burning through energy, their cousin was watching the Nashville Predators all the way in Iowa. Cheering for the yellow team because yours truly likes them. How fucking cute is that?

GO YELLOW TEAM!

So many decisions needed to be made on my behalf regarding Saturday night because I had been properly asked out to supper. I haven’t been out – really out – since Rapegate and this was a fabulous sign that I was excited. I was excited I was excited which means there’s been some major healing on the forefront.

To platform or to platform?

We went to a fabulous foodie restaurant called Husk. Being that I am a frequent guest of lower status restaurants, I had to enlist in the help of Sister CBXB and BIL to guide me with choices, as Husk’s menu changes daily.

I am officially a fucking foodie. Between the crafted cocktails and quality of the meal, I feel like Chili’s isn’t going to be a place I frequent as often.

Never have I ever seen catfish so pretty.

First Mate ended up meeting us out after supper and I stayed all snuggled up on her sofa. Because neither of us can (or like) to cook, she spoiled me with coffee and Bubly the next morning.

Sunday morning two-for-one.

These two knuckleheads were up and at ’em early making the most of their day of rest (which honestly, I don’t think these kids ever rest and relax unless they are asleep in bed).

One version of Sunday Funday.

My version of Sunday Funday.

While enjoying my bloody mary at Dalts, I was recalling the time shortly after Rapegate began, I received a package from a reader when I arrived one Friday night. It was from a complete stranger who knew I frequented my favorite watering hole and contained the sweetest note of encouragement and a bottle of Captain Morgan Private Stock. Funny that this then popped up in my Facebook memories last night.

Speaking of sweet surprises, I received a package with the most purrfect for me present inside.

Truth.

You guys spoil me beyond and know just when a gal needs a smile. Thank you T. Ratt for thinking of me and gifting me my now favorite shirt.

Speaking of faves, you know that Princess B is basically morphing into her crazy aunt.

So many colors. So little time.

Except she has me drooling with envy over her fucking insane hair.

Gorgeous as all get out.

And she knows it.

What better way to end the weekend than with a sudsy soak?

Bubbles make my world go round.

Cheers to a fabulous first full week of March!

CBXB

CBXB!

The Love of Your Own Life

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

I do. I love me.

The day of love so many tend to loathe while others welcome the warm fuzzies with gigantic appetites that rival my admiration for wine.

The feel of Love Day for certain peeps.

As a kid, I carefully crafted a Valentine’s Day mailbox for school every year (you know, back when you could celebrate shit in school without the worry of the teeniest tiniest chance of offending someone). Students weren’t required to participate but I can’t remember when a kid didn’t. Everyone in class gave everyone a Valentine. If a kid didn’t have a Valentine’s Day box, my teacher always had an extra shoebox or two wrapped in red paper. No one was left out.

Will you be mine?

I was always lucky that I had a family who liked to celebrate everything, so no holiday was left out. Not even one that I often hear guys claim is “made up” for women to get gifts. (Well fellas, if you treated your gals “special” all the time, grand gesture days wouldn’t be needed, now would they? You could simply just get a well meaning card or write a note from the heart any day of the year but I digress). We’d wake up to little Valentines on our chairs at the kitchen table, maybe along with a box of chocolates. Always excited for the party to take place that day at school.

Fast forward to high school when the day of admiration became a sport of sorts.

If this high school Glamour Shot doesn’t make you want to be mine, I don’t know what fucking will.

The Honor Society sold carnations for a dollar and the members would drop the carnation off to your designated Valentine anonymously. Some peeps had armloads. Some had none. I just wanted a pink one.

Some girls got called to the office and paraded delivered – delivered in a vase and everything – flowers around school. It didn’t matter if it was from their dad, grandparents or boyfriend. I was one jealous bitch. Then, in an instant, that all changed.

Because I became that girl.

Oh hi. I got the flowers…and then some.

The Honor Society members delivered carnations during first period. I was in concert band every morning with my sweet silver Doc Severinsen trumpet at my side. Open flung the doors and our band instructor stopped our warm-up. A group of kids came in hauling carnations in large buckets for their soon-to-be owners. While I was hoping to get a flower or two, my eyes laid sight on the mother of all Valentine’s day hauls. A gigantic, white stuffed teddy bear with a red bow around its neck, holding a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. So enormous, you couldn’t see the person transporting it.

About as big as this dog I gifted Princess B a few years back.

I think I literally turned green with envy at whomever was going to be the recipient of this stuffed animal. I mean, I thought I would get a flower or two because my girlfriends and I always sent them back and forth. But this, this shit was different. This was the stuff that warm and fuzzy, cheesy as fuck Valentine’s memories were crafted.

Being in the brass of the band, I sat in the last row of the room. And I’ll be damned if that fucking bear didn’t inch its way closer and closer. I kept thinking…which girl had a boyfriend that sat near me. I couldn’t wait to see who was going to get the pristine bear.

As the hidden stuffed animal transporter walked behind me, I almost gave myself whiplash looking to my left. But to my unabashed chagrin, that motherfucker was lifted over my head and sat into my lap. Hershey’s fucking kisses and all. To this day, that is one of my best Valentine’s Days (which may seem a little sad since my day of love peaked in high school but I mean, it’s true).

And it didn’t come from a love interest. Or the non-existent boyfriend I had at the time. It came from a friend. From a best friend who (although didn’t take me to his senior prom and I will never, ever let him forget it) remains a bestie to this day.

Oh the bangs. On both of us.

The teddy bear came from Scooby.

We share a love of stuffed animals. Obvies.

Relationship game still on point today.

This gesture seemed like the grandest of all gestures in the universe at the time. All of these years later, it still does. My gay best friend gave me the best Valentine’s Day memory. Why? Because he didn’t have to do anything. But he loved me and wanted me to know. Isn’t that just a simple thing to do?

Grand gestures aren’t needed (but if any of you have a Louis Vuitton en route for delivery today, professing your love for me, I am not going to turn it down). A single flower is nice. A card will do. A simple text message. A smile, a hug, a thank you. Whether it’s love or like in today’s climate, bringing happiness to any and all of those around us isn’t really that hard. We just have to be kind to let one another know that we like – or even love – them.

If force dancing with your head taller than you female cousin at your uncle’s wedding isn’t a grand gesture of love, what is?

More importantly, regardless of whether we are madly in love with our kids…

I mean…

COME ON.

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our romantic partner…

Thank you boyfriends of yesteryears.

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our friends…

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our careers, jobs, co-workers….

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with extended family…

Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our fur babies (which you all know I’m bat shit about)…

Regardless of what it is in your life that you love, be madly in love with your own authentic self first.

Yep. This about sums it up for me.

If you don’t love – let alone like – yourself as your own #1, no one will love the you who is meant to be loved.

Bitch, I’m a Queen. A Queen Bitch Supreme. And I know it.

Be your own damn Valentine.

Make some snacks.

Toast to yourself.

Appropriately colored libations required.

I’m taking myself out with First Mate tonight – same as we did last year – to not only toast to our love of one another but also to how bad ass we both are in our own right.

Now treat yourself to your version of a stuffed teddy bear this Valentine’s Day. You deserve it.

Be the love of your own damn life.

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

CBXB!