Sunday, July 16, 2017

Small Town Auras

I was born and raised in a large town. They say it's large anyway.  At 15-16 years old, 23 square miles starts to feel pretty small. After college when Facebook went live to the public, 23 square miles started to feel like a fish bowl. 

It was important to my parents that we were allowed to build roots and grow up with a sense of community. I graduated high school with many of the people I started kindergarten with. I know where everything in town is.  I remember when we were a one Wal-Mart town.

Miranda Lambert once sang:

 "Every last one, route one, rural heart's got a story to tell
Every grandma, in law, ex girlfriend
Maybe knows you just a little too well
Whether you're late for church or you're stuck in jail
Hey words gonna get around".  

Even in a town of 52,000, this seems to be true. There isn't much I don't know about my old friends, or my ex-boyfriends, and what they've done with their lives. Sometimes, that sense of community can be a heavy thing to bear. I've been struggling with the weight of a particular small-town problem lately: the class bully. 

Middle school was hard for me. High school was easier, but I was also struggling with grief a child of 15 shouldn't know so early, I was too busy just trying to survive myself to be too bothered by bullies. That doesn't mean it didn't happen and I know it happened to other people. My school had Mean Girls, complete with a few incarnations of Regina George. I watched them victimize people for everything, it seemed nothing was off limits. They coordinated their schedules as much as possible. If you found yourself a target of the entire clique in one class, there was a good chance you'd be forced to endure the abuse of one or more members in at least two other classes during the day.  

We've all grown up now, allegedly. Some of us went to college. Some of us got jobs. Some of us started families. Some of us decided to open a small business right here in our quaint little town. 

I've always tried to support local businesses and small business owners. After leaving my last corporate job where I was unappreciated, underpaid and feeling chewed up by the corporate machine, I fell in love with working for a small business.  My experience working for a small business inspired me to  patronize small businesses whenever possible.

What do you do when the Regina George of your high school grows up and becomes a successful business owner in town?  Ever worse, what do you do when it is a profession you not only have a lot of respect for, but in an industry that requires compassion, respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity?

Unfortunately, I was no Cady Heron in high school. I never took a stand against any of our Regina Georges.  None of them got hit by a bus and became better people. My Regina George went to school and now works in a personal care industry.  I live and work in a community with someone who works with peoples' bodies after watching her tease and abuse people about their bodies - weight, acne, body hair, facial features - for years.  

I see people recommending her and I want to scream every time. I feel a twinge of bitterness that this person is making a living taking care of people after seeing her tear down so many. I am fearful that she doesn't treat her profession with the respect it deserves and she disparages her clients behind closed doors.  My heart hurts and I feel sick at the idea that she looks at her clients - people with imperfect bodies - the same way she looked at her classmates so many years ago and can hide her distaste so well that she can profit from it. Maybe she became a better person.  Maybe the teasing and the taunting and the systematic bullying was a sign of low self-esteem and she's dealt with herself. Maybe everything I know about this person is wrong or somehow no longer valid. 

I doubt it, but I hope I'm wrong every time I see her name. Somehow, I can't get past the idea that her aura is still as brown as her fake tan. She was so awful and cruel to people that it's hard to believe much has changed.  On the outside, things look great but you know what they say.... you can roll of piece of shit in powdered sugar, but that doesn't make it a jelly donut.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails

Happy Friday!!! 

Welcome to Friday Feats and Fails!  You can find "The Rules" of how to participate down below!  On to my week!


- I haven't done Feats & Fails in like 3 weeks.  This is a fail because I'm supposed to and also because literally no one noticed.  In the meantime, I've made a shit-ton of feats and fails!

- Finally back from CONvergence.  I had a great time.  I haven't unpacked really, but I've pulled out what I needed and left the rest.

- There was a beauty fail.  I haven't been happy with the magenta color I put in, it was looking pretty red instead of bright magenta.  I decided I was lusting after Pravana Violet Dye.  After watching a shit ton of Vloggers put Vitamin C in their hair to fade their fantasy color, I decided to try it. Pretty sure that started the problem because I was uncomfortable and rinsed it early.  It didn't work to remove my red/magenta hair.  It didn't even fade it. So I proceeded with the bleach.  The color is actually kind of cute and I'm tempted to keep it.  My hair is lightly fried but not as bad as I thought it would be.  The real hurt?  My scalp.  I'm disappointed in myself because I totally know better.
My brother says I have hair the color of a peach ring.

So, after giving myself a nice chemical burn.  I gave my poor scalp a few days to recover before dying my hair violet.  It looks blue in the dark and under florescent lights.  In the daylight?  Bright, brilliant purple.  

Please excuse the mess, we were traveling.
It is beautiful and I love it.  What I don't love, however, is the BLEEDING.  This color bleeds everywhere like nothing I've ever seen before.  I took extra pillowcases and head coverings to CONvergence to avoid staining the white sheets. I love the color so much though that I'm going to try their XL color which advertises no bleeding, and I'll probably try a color sealing gloss over it. 

- CONvergence came and went.  It's been awhile since I had any kind of real time off that didn't involve illness or a funeral.  In the past two years, I've used my PTO periodically to take days off here and there.  I didn't use them and lost a bunch this last year and I'm still salty about it.  But I had a good time.  Next year I hope to socialize more. 

- I'm having car problems.  I had them before I left town.  Now I'm home and broke and still having them. 

- I quit eating Keto for the week.  I haven't gotten back on track.  My week has been full of so many carbs. 

- Remember last week's Sunday Confession when I said I was going to do more fresh things?  I've missed like 4 days now. 


+  I got a new pair of Vans for $28 from Amazon and they're super cute.  I'd like a collection of Vans some day, but these are good for now. 
 +  Before I quit Keto for a week, I was going well. 6 lbs down.  Also, I discovered Keto desserts are amazing. Will share soon!

+  I recently share a photo of my color-coded planner.  It's been over a month and I'm still writing things in AND color coding them.  I got a set of Sharpie Highlighters with like eight colors and that's helped tremendously. 

+ I have more interests than I have time right now.  This is both good and bad.

+  I took this awesome photo this week. I'm going to get this macro thing down yet!

The "Rules"

Write a blog post with the Feats and the Fails from your week, or comment them below

Feats: something you did, accomplished, conquered or triumphed over or something that made you want to brag or celebrate.  It can be as simple or complex as you want.

Fails: something you said or did that wasn't so awesome, something that happened that wasn't so great, a low point in the week, or just something you wish had gone better...share, commiserate, and then LET IT GO because it is Friday for goodness' sake!

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More Than Cheese and Beer
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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fresh Challenge

There's something about the word Fresh that makes you feel good, isn't there?

Fresh paint.

Fresh socks.

Fresh cut grass.  

Fresh hair cut. 

Fresh laundry. 

Fresh produce.

My life has felt a little stagnant lately.  Like I keep finding myself in too many of the same places doing the same things. I'm not a thrill seeker.  I'm not trendy.  I'm not financially able to buy the latest and greatest whatever. I have ridiculous social anxiety. I struggle with change. 

I value new people, experiences, flavors, sights, knowledge and perspectives... my life needs a fresh breeze of all these things. 

So, starting today I'm challenging myself to experience something Fresh every day for the month of July.  I know it's already the 2nd, but... I'm going to try anyway and I'm going to take photos and share them on Instagram.   I hope you'll join me!

What's fresh?  Fresh food. Fresh laundry. Fresh sights.  Fresh produce.  Fresh experiences.  Show me something you've never made before, tasted before, seen before, done before.  Share something you did with fresh ingredients.  Share your fresh haircut or hair color or new makeup.  Show me a fresh manicure.  Let's freshen things up!

If you decide to join me, tag me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @MoreCheeseBeer and use the hashtag #fresh30challenge

Horoscopes by Hot Ash - July 2017

Have you ever noticed that Horoscopes are always overwhelmingly and unbelievably positive? It's hard to take something seriously when the people interpreting the cosmos keeping putting out these Horoscopes that say everything is rosy.  Life is bittersweet and your horoscope should be too.  

There's just one problem: I'm a writer, not an astrologist. So, I give you "Horoscopes by Hot Ash".  My translation of real horoscopes for people who live in the real world.  And if I'm wrong, well... just keep in mind that these horoscopes are for Entertainment purposes only and you should take advice from some random woman on the Internet with a grain of salt (with tequila and a lime too, if you have it).

June was fun, wasn't it?  Guess what?  July is going to have people acting all kinds of wacky because we have an eclipse coming.  I bet you're thrilled.  Here's your slightly snarky Horoscope for July. 

ARIES March 21–April 19
Remember last month when I said self-care was going to be your best friend?  It might not be your best friend this month, but you should definitely stay close.  The beginning of July is going to start rough and you're going to need to decide if you can take the heat and stay in the kitchen or if you want to take the opportunity to get out.  Don't bottle up things you should be communicating with your partner or things are going to suck at the end of the month between you.  At the same time, you should also take care to make sure you're tackling the actual issues you're going to encounter this month and not picking fights to satisfy your ego.

TAURUS April 20–May 20
There's an old hurt or old feelings about something or someone you haven't let go of and those things are festering.  Let it go, Elsa - so it can't hold you back anymore. The best thing to do in the beginning of this month is to get present and make sure you're the LEAD ROLE and not just a supporting actor in your own life right now.  Be the catalyst for change.   You're going to have an active summer, this would be a good time to invest in some good active wear.

GEMINI May 21–June 21
Old habits die hard.  You might find yourself turning to some old, unhealthy coping mechanisms this month. Pay attention to what is going on that is causing you to react so you can fix it. Avoid the Internet around the Full Moon on the 8th... DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.  If you're going to fight for something, donate your time and money towards a cause and not just noise - from your mouth or your keyboard.  Expect conflict towards the end of the month.  Conduct yourself in a way that reflects your values and so that you don't have regrets.

CANCER June 22–July 22
Conflict is in the stars for you.  Some things that have been on the back burner are going to start bubbling and demanding your immediate attention.  Whether you're the one with a bone to pick or someone is coming at you with one, watch your words.  Say what you mean and mean what you say, but make sure you have a point to the argument and don't just fight to fight.  People can disagree with you without lessening the value or weight of your own opinion.  Practice learning how to live and let live.

LEO July 23–August 22 
Expect some crazy dreams this month.  You're dealing with something on a deeper level and it's going to manifest itself through dreams and feelings - which sounds annoying as hell, so make sure you schedule some nap time for yourself.  Keep reinforcing those boundaries we talked about last month, and be consistent with your feelings towards the people you love.  Keeping working on your path of redefining what you stand for and believe.

VIRGO August 23–September 22
Don't fuck your ex this month.  I'm supposed to tell you to beware of people from your past this month, but let's be honest... it's almost always an ex. That fact of the matter is, all of the things that happened before that you don't want to remember are still there.  You might find yourself feigning for some ex sex, but it's really not going to be worth it in the end.  You're going to be feeling all kinds of passionate, take that energy and do something constructive with it.  Paint something.  Clean something.  Do something creative.  Just don't do your ex.

LIBRA September 23–October 22
Some of last month's horoscope are still going to ring true this month. Truth can be subjective and you need to focus on your true and your experiences and not everyone else's.  You don't need to rely on other's opinions to validate yourself and you'll screw your authentic self over if you try. Some necessary conflict is going to happen mid-month and you're going to have to deal with some things.  Be kind with your words and actions because they will cause a ripple effect that will cause waves that will be felt for awhile.

SCORPIO October 23–November 21
 Scorpios tend to seem like they don't give a fuck, but the reality is just the opposite.  You need to do your best to tone down the intensity of your reactions towards people when things happen because shutting down or blowing up are off-putting towards others.  Choose your interactions wisely, avoid spending too much time with people who bring out your anxiety or anger.  Sometimes, it's ok to let things go and not rise to the occasion every time there is a conflict.

SAGITTARIUS November 22–December 21
Did you get swept away last month?  The new relationships and the new people you met last month are creating a whirlwind of activity for you.  You need to get your shit together.  With everything you've got going on, it a good time to straighten out your inbox, make sure your calendar is updated and make sure you're not spreading yourself too thin.  It's important to make sure you know where you're supposed to be and not flaking on people, even if it's a mistake because no one likes being stood up.  Make sure you show up when you say you will, don't be afraid to tell people no if you need to make time for yourself.

CAPRICORN December 22–January 19 
You've got a busy month ahead.  You need to mind your P's and Q's this month and I don't just mean your manners.  Don't let your ego carry you away into situations you don't really want to be in.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  The Full Moon is going to stir the shit pot for you emotionally so expect some repressed and well-fermented drama to arise.  The best thing you can do this month is just try to find some balance.

AQUARIUS January 20–February 18
Hmm... looks like you're going to meet someone new in the coming month or two.  It isn't a certainty, but if you do it's going to be intense and it's going to be a person who leaves an impact.  Don't take that as "You're going to meet THE ONE".  Take it as you're going to meet someone you're going to learn from.  The end of the month is going to leave you hella cranky so find something to do with yourself that will burn up some of the aggression you're going to feel.  This might be a good time to try spinning or hot yoga.

PISCES February 19–March 20
Creativity is a great way to express yourself, unless you let it drive you crazy.  Oddly enough, the same things can be said about sex and love.  Other people's reliance on your this month is going to learn you feeling overwhelmed or you're going to find yourself obsessed.  It's time to drawn some boundaries and be very specific with people about the things you want and need.  This applies both in the bedroom and out.  You don't get your cookies, metaphoric or otherwise, if you don't tell people that you want them and what you like.  Things might get messy, but it's time to be honest.  Things get easier towards the end of the month, take care of yourself and do a little pampering when the intensity breaks.