Game Changers

For everyone there are moments in our lives that epitomize time – where we will never forget the time, the place, the exact feeling.  I’m not talking about the life changers – births, space shuttles exploding, wedding days or the likes of presidential assassinations. Rather, the smaller instances you don’t realize the significance of what you’re experiencing and the way it will shape the days ahead.

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.

Or 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.

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.

Or was it 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.

Womanhood changer.


Recently I found myself  in a downtown Nashville community building that is still 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 the bad shit that happens to good people.  My leg was inadvertently bouncing so hysterically that the lone security guard came over to ask me if I was OK.



It was in that split second that my game changed.

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.

So from this day forward, my uniform is permanently on.

Pads are on.

Bring it.

My blingy armour will remain in tact.

Armour is in tact.

Let’s do this.

I mean, it is fabulous.

I mean, it is fabulous.

I’m rounding up the biggest posse I can wrangle.

Rounding up the posse. You in?

You in?

And this tasty treat will be on the menu at my next mini manse party.

Mmmm... I'll have some of that.

Mmm…my favorite.

Who wants to play with me?


Goodbye to Gma the Great

I’ve never been one to take my family or time with them for granted, so it was real bummer when my Gma passed away a few weeks ago. Not only was she one of my best buddies, I know I inherited her brutal honesty, ornery streak and love of having my fingernails polished.

An ode to my Gma, HJ who recently passed away…


Always one to laugh at surprises…


…you took to my photobombing like it was one of your most treasured prizes.

Photo Bomb!

You never let anyone forget…


…when it was time to celebrate you bigger than the national debt.


I learned from the best…

Image 16

…how to celebrate my life full of zest.


Now seriously Gma, you taught me to party harder than Mae West.

photo 1

A love of leopard you instilled….


…which is now being passed down to the next generation, who’s thrilled.


It’s so fun you two met at a skating rink…


…even if after 44 years you still had to steal kisses quicker than an eye blink.


Although I took after Gpa avoiding kisses, rather craving a hard drink…

photo 5

…you always insisted on showing your love, making sure everyone was in sync.


Beauty sleep and a hairnet was apparently all that you needed…


…but truly it was your hair ‘dos that always succeeded.


So it was with glasses and confidence that I superseded…

photo 3

…the grace and confidence that you always heeded.


I wish I would have felt more impeded.

photo 1

The Iowa State Fair you never did love,

probably because you couldn’t wear foot gloves.

Image 12

It will never be the same, not bringing you a corn dog…

Image 42

…and discussing how I ate my way through the fair like a prize-winning hog.

Image 145

Circled blacked out dates always meant you had a companion…


…you always loved attention bigger than the Grand Canyon.


Attending every homemade Christmas pageant we made…

Image 55

…and most likely secretly prayed…


…that I would never end up a lonely old maid.

photo 1

The first to pass of five sisters, who lived out their misters,

Image 19

…you loved being pampered more than a fever blister.


Your nails were painted the day before you passed…


…and Jell-O shots without you will seem so miscast.

Image 1

Regardless of view near or afar, life will never be the same…


…without you as my shining rock star.

I love you Gma.



How to Look Fairlicious

Being a fashion conscious gal, what to wear to the Iowa State Fair every August is quite a dilemma.

And since fair season is upon us in America (Iowa’s starts today!), I’m assuming you waste brain cells on how to be a fashionably functional fairgoer, too (Right? RIGHT?)


Straight out of the pages of Vogue, I know.

Always my own fabulous fair guide, I long to look cute while trekking between the livestock barns.  Prancing around cattle, sheep, horse and swine areas is extremely difficult – especially if you’re trying to avoid manure of any kind.


Tiny. The Grand Champion bull weighing in at 3,012lbs.


Sorry if you have a big, sweaty ass but NO BUTT FANS, mmkay?

Skinny swine he's not.

Non-starving swine.

I want to look cute stuffing my face at corn dog stands (and doughnut, giant tenderloin, fried Oreo, cheese curd, funnel cake, fried butter, kettle corn, taffy, fried snickers, gyro and anything you could imagine on a stick stands).

Best breakfast ever.

Best breakfast ever.


Hells yes.

Fuck no.

Fuck no.

I long to look adorable for the famous butter cow (don’t stand in the Disney World long line – just whiz up to the center, say excuse me (Iowans are suuuuper nice), snap a pic and get out).

Butter Cow

Yep. It’s really just a life-sized cow sculpted from butter.

I strive to be attractive while standing in line, alone (because no one in my crew will ride with me) to enjoy the double ferris wheel and see a sign that says “NO SINGLE RIDERS.” So it’s imperative I look fab for the third kid in a family, who is also always a single rider.

Sky Wheel

It’s best if you don’t see the dude who constructs this masterpiece before you ride, FYI.

Happy to be a very embarrassed 11-year-olds first date.

Happy to be a very embarrassed 11-year-old’s first date.

As I attend the best state fair America has to offer (in my expert opinion) it’s important that I am not only looking fairlicious, but I must also be able to conceal the unavoidable eight pounds slowly gained in one day (it can seriously happen).

So here’s what to wear to your favorite state fair (but seriously, you should just go to Iowa’s and call it a day).

Rule one: Cute but comfy shoes.


Even feet used to wear and tear will feel the wrath of the standing, eating, walking, eating, running (to get one last corn dog before the stand closes for the night), and eating.  I never do sneakers unless I’m working out, therefore I have found that wedge flip flops work best. They keep your feet breathable in all kinds of weather and add a bit of support for arches.

Look semi-chic while side stepping the pig manure.

Rule two:  Wear a fabulous outfit with an expanding waist band to compensate for the endless overindulging.


I typically wear a dress that will not make me look 12 months pregnant after 12 straight hours of fair food. I find a-line dresses the best for keeping it cool and letting it all hang out (especially for times when you about knock the Iowa State Fair Queen down, due to chasing her through the Art building and then almost making her pass out from your own “I’ve been at the fair for 9 hours” aroma).


One authentic state fair queen and one poser.

Or I’ll wear a skirt (I loathe shorts) with a belt, sure to adjust to the eight new inches around my gut by the end of the day.

Grandpa's Belt

Grandpa’s belt comes in handy!

Rule three: Carry a multi-purpose bag.


I find that a cross-body bag is the most useful because I’m constantly in and out of it for my phone (everyone wants that caloric Facebook update, right?), a drink of water (or Captain),  sunglasses (constantly in and out of buildings) and retrieving Pepto Bismol (every hour on the hour).

BJ Bag

The keeper of all things fair.

Rule four: You must be willing to look like an ass at any/all times.


Attempt to wear all

Flaunting my newest accessories.

Unabashedly carry every single item you picked up with you

Taking up an entire park bench due to the massive amounts of free shit we had to have and therefore lug around for hours, all the while stuffing our faces in the hopes a blue ribbon gets pinned on us for being the best fairgoers ever.

And that, my friends is how you remain functionally fashionable while being fairlicious.

But just remember…

You are what you eat.

You are what you eat.

Now go and have a corn dog (or four) for me.



Nothing Compares

Not a damn thing compares to the Iowa State Fair (well, except maybe my birthday and Christmas – but that’s it!)

First dog of the day.

Downing the first dog of the day.

After consuming a corn dog for breakfast, I dove in mouth first to the greasy, fried cheese curds that you can dip in either marinara sauce or ketchup (my choice – keeping it classy!)

Who cut the cheese?

Who cut the cheese?

Taking every opportunity to stand behind a cut out for a photo, the first one of the day was perfect.

My Grandpas say you're welcome.

My Grandpas say you’re welcome.

Dragging my cousin RM along for the fair was the best day of his life (cant’ you tell below?). He did say before we entered the gates “This isn’t as much fun as you say it is,” (maybe because last time he attended with me, we were there for 13 hours. Who knows?)

American Gothic at its worst.

American Gothic at its worst.

RM perked right up when we discovered the gem of all gems at the fair – the Iowa Craft Beer tent.

Beer us!

Making the fair bearable for RM!

Of course, we (well, really I) had to get a pic behind the cut-out (RM humored me).

Another photo op

Two of the classiest beer guzzlers around!

Next up was a glimpse at the world-famous butter cow.

Ooey gooey

Yes, this is solid butter. And yes, I’d like to lick it.

A few days after I visited the fair, some vegan jackasses hid in the building to deface my very favorite part of the fair…but no worries, it was back to normal before the fair opened the following day. Suck it vandalizers!

This vegan group gives all vegans a bad name. I would never pour paint on your vegetables!

This vegan group gives all vegans a bad name. I would never pour paint on your vegetables!

While perusing the Ag building, I saw this sign and was inspired to get the one and only healthy food selection at the fair. Salad on a stick.

yeah, right

Mmm lettuce tastes so good on a toothpick.

Then I caught of whiff of something fried moving through the air and all healthy inspirations went out window. So I settled for a healthy giant pork tenderloin instead of a salad on a stick.

A porker eating a pork tenderloin

A porker eating a pork tenderloin.

All of the eating, drinking and eating made our feet hurt, so we rode the sky glider, getting a view of the entire fairgrounds.

Sky glider to rest our weary feet.

But you just get to see us, instead of an aerial view of the fair. Sorry!

At the fair museum I found a photo of my Grandpa hauling folks back and forth from the campground in 1964. The Clearfield Iowa Lions club was celebated by the fair this year for 50 years of shuttling fairgoers.

Gpa's wall

Nice display.

And in that display is a framed pic of my Gpa, the stud, driving without watching where he was going in 1964.

Gpa, the stud driving the tractor without watching where he's going... ride at own risk

Apparently this is ride at your own risk.

The way they look today

And after 50 years, the shuttles the Clearfield Lions Club started, are still going strong.

Overwhelmed with the famousness of my Gpa, we had to stop and get something else to eat, of course.

Sweet potato fries! while rhett eats them one by one, i prefer stuffing handfuls into my mouth

Sweet potato fries! While RM eats them one by one, I prefer stuffing handfuls into my mouth.

Then it was time for the livestock barns, starting with the cattle.

Reconsidered eating beef after looking at this cute face!

Reconsidered eating beef after looking at this cute face!

And I was a little concerned for the cute cow’s owner…

This dude's in trouble because it's only day one of the fair.

This dude’s in trouble because it’s only day one of the fair.

Every single year I’m in the livestock barns, two little shits scare unassuming people with a gigantic, plastic tarantula they tie to a fishing pole and release as you’re looking at sweet piggies.  And this year, those two little bastards got yours truly. I was amazed that there wasn’t a swine stampede out of the building, as I think I squealed for two minutes straight as the gnarly spider hit me square in the face. I turned around to see the culprits laughing their asses off at me (and then I joined in).

Shit 1 and Shit 2 almost made me shit my pants.

Shit 1 and Shit 2 almost made me shit my pants. I mean look at the size of that beastly spider!

After the spider scare, I had to go back and get another beer, where I ran into the fabulous brother/sister duo of Ed and Leslie! We went to high school together and shared the stage for show choir (yeah, we blazed the way for Glee. You’re welcome).

Show choir reunion!

Show choir reunion!

After panting like a puppy (I always get into character when posing for pics) and mooning half of the beer tent, as I had to basically lay down to play the part of a dog, I was hungry. Again.

Last dog of the day for me

Washing the last dog of the day down with a funnel cake. I’m so skinny.

Forcing RM to ride the double ferris wheel was an easy task after I saw the sign “NO SINGLE RIDERS” sign. I think he could see “there’s a shit show coming” written all over my face, so he graciously hopped on with me. We felt super safe when the carnie with black teeth told us there were only two in the world…and he put this one together (and then asked if I’d like to meet up with him for karaoke later).

Double ferris wheel does strange things to a man's anatomy according to RM.

Double ferris wheels do strange things to a man’s anatomy according to RM.

While Gma practically had an APB out on my whereabouts because I’d been gone for 11 hours (she called my uncle who lives an hour away from the fair, like he could do something about it), she quickly settled down upon my entrance into her apartment with a corn dog in hand.

But the first one for Gma

Who cares how long you were gone – I got a corn dog!

And then Gma got a little pissy when she saw my black feet (I swear to Christ I wore shoes. All. day. long.) on her white carpet. I had to crawl to her shower (that you have to sit in to use – so fun) in order to clean my tootsies.

What the feet?!

What the feet?!

So after 10,478 calories, hillbillly feet, never being able to zip up my skinny jeans again, making my cousin do whatever I want (I’m prepping him for marriage) while dragging him all over the miles of the fair, I can’t wait ’til next year.

Until then…



How to Make an Ass of Yourself at the Iowa State Fair

Believe me, it isn’t hard (I know you agree if you read this blog regularly) to make a complete asshole of myself.  Especially while thoroughly enjoying everything the great state fair of Iowa has to offer every August. It’s my favorite day of the year (aside from Christmas and my birthday, naturally) and I will be gracing the fairgrounds with my presence the day after tomorrow. Look out!

Wanna make an ass of yourself, too? Here’s how…

First start the morning off right with a freshly grease soaked corn dog.

First dog of the day

Breakfast of champions.

Then take every photo opportunity that you possibly can.

Milk strong

Who needs a milk mustache when you can carry a calf?

Never give up

Yes. I’m a grown ass woman. Consider yourself mooooooned.

Once your cheeks are tired from all of the smiling, stop and get a snack. Like cheese curds. And make it two orders because if you decide to share one, they’ll be gone in 32 seconds flat and you’ll be pissed but still go back and stand in the 24 person line for the second order. So just get two to start with, OK?

Cheesin' out over cheese curds

Two curds are better than one.

After gaining the first three of thirty pounds you’ll be packing on during the day, chase (rather, waddle) after the Fair Queen and beg for a picture with the beauty. All I could think about in the photo was how fresh and clean the Queen smelled, while she probably wondered why I practically had my head on her shoulder (I was trying to knock her crown off and dethrone her – because let’s be real. There’s nothing sexier than a bloated, short, blonde wanna be fair queen, is there?).


First stalker experience for the newly crowned Queen.

Because your crew chased after you while running down the Queen, they’ll be all hot and bothered. Instead of carrying a personal fan around the hot fairgrounds, just dump cold water down your back. This is especially a nice trick if you are wearing a white t-shirt (smarts run in my family).

Personal air conditioning. Dump water down back.

Personal air conditioning by dumping water down one’s back. Now where’s the wet t-shirt contest?

Next up, drag your crew to the line longer than the opening of a Southern Chik-fil-A restaurant. Seriously, there will be about 231 people lined up to see a statue of a cow. Made out of butter. And it’s fantastic. But when you roll with me, you end up sneaking (maybe rather acting like you’re on the phone, looking for your buddy who’s in the front – oh, hey you!) your way up into the middle of the line for the one picture you’re going to snap but without having to wait the 35 minutes to do so.


This would be so good melted.

The butter cow sighting will throw your appetite into a frenzy.  So the next stop on the face stuffing train is a gigantic pork tenderloin (which is the equivalent to heavenly greasy goodness here on Earth).

Porking out on pork tenderloins.

The three pigs. Porking out on pork tenderloins.

Upon consuming the 42,657th calorie of the day, you need to sit on your ass and ride the Ye Old Mill, which is the Iowa State Fair’s oldest (you will immediately see why, as it seriously goes about .001 mph around in a circle) permanent amusement ride, which is intended for dating couples but I always like to be the third wheel and spoil the romance.

Scariest. Ride. Ever.

Most. Romantic. Ride. Ever.

After ruining the romance on the Ye Old Mill, I find it enchanting to pose with the leftovers of what I have been consuming all day.

You are what you eat.

You are what you eat.

Which means I will most likely leave the fair looking like the largest boar in the state of Iowa.

CBXB at the end of a long day at the fair.

CBXB at the end of a long day at the fair.

What cures the “I’m getting fat blues?” An icy cold cocktail and a bedazzled cowgirl hat of course.

Only a pinky out will do

Lifting a pinky will immediately lift your heavy spirits.

Once you’re back to feeling like your foxy self, it’s time to hit up the Midway full of carnies and rides that you’re not sure you should get on once you lay eyes on the dude who put it together upon arriving at the fairgrounds two hours prior.

Tah Dah!

Tah Dah!

But since you’ve had a cocktail (or three) you throw caution to the wind and hop on the double ferris wheel.

Double Ferris Wheel

Double wheels of fun.

Except that after every member of your group turns you down as a tandem rider, you have to go alone and wait for another single rider. Which in my case is always the embarrassed 12-year-old boy who wants the world to swallow him up whole on the spot when I whip out my camera and start snapping pictures.

First date for the youngster. Poor thing

First date for the youngster. I’ve scarred him for life.

The whirl of the wheel and carrying your buckets of loot throughout the enormous fairgrounds will make your stomach start screaming for food again (duh).

Carrying buckets of loot

Heavy lifting requires severe caloric intake.

Perusing for the last snack of the day may take a toll on you, realizing that the day of fun is coming to a close.

Last dog of the day

Last dog of the day? Say it ain’t so.

But once you’ve settled on a last meal of a corn dog, donuts, lemonade and a fried Snickers, life doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Fair Fun

Caution: the bench may break if one more fried food is added to the mix.

On the (what seems like a 65 mile) walk to the car, stop and gaze at the fireworks (like you didn’t just seem them a month prior for the Fourth of July) that end each day of the fair.

Parting is such sorrow

Parting is such sorrow.

And with a tear in the corner of your eye, hang out of the sun roof and snap a blurry shot of the double ferris wheel you just rode, while ruining a 12 year old’s dating life for the next six years.

I seriously didn't just see fireworks over the fourth of July

I have to wait 364 more days ’til next year!

And that my classy friends is how you show your ass (or make yourself memorable – however you want to look at it) at the Iowa State Fair.

I’m available for tour guiding – but it will cost you. Probably a corn dog.

Or six.