Obsessed: Valerie June

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Every time I think of this one I think of her waltzing into church on Christmas Eve looking like a badass with her wrap skirt and dreads tied on top of her head. I, of course, looked far less cool in my pearls and some skirt/cardigan combination that Cathy picked out. Yes, I grew up with her family – two brothers and two sisters who are all as gorgeous and talented as she – so I guess you could say I’ve been a fan for a while.

She moved to Memphis after high school and in lieu of art school, taught herself how to play just about any instrument she could get her hands on, including the guitar and my personal favorite, ukulele  She wrote songs, played shows, cut a couple albums and traveled all over working hard while making it all look effortless. Soon enough, she caught the eye of a couple major producers – Kevin Augunas (Florence & the Machine, J Roddy) and Dan Auerbach, holla! – and released Pushin’ Against A Stone earlier this month.

 She’s performed on the ACM Awards and Letterman, and is featured in the September issue of VOGUE. She sounds like the perfect mix of Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday, with a little Dylan added to taste, AND she sings “I am ready for my sugar daddy” in a song titled, Workin’ Woman Blues. Need I say more?

Check her out. Thank me later.

XOXO,

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Q&A w/My BFF Who’s (Happily) Married

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My last article for HelloGiggles created quite the debate – who knew discussing marriage and wedding bands would get so many people talking? Well it did, and it got me thinking I’d like to hear some real talk from my happily married friends who are under 40 years old for no reason at all other than to just hear it and maybe, just maybe, learn a little something. Backstory: My friend and her husband met after college and have been married for two years. No pets, no kids anytime soon and both are hilarious humans who have it together. And to keep it kosher, I will refer to the interviewee as “W” – as in Wife/Wifey (eww), not George.

B: So let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way – what would you think if your husband stopped wearing his wedding band?

W: It wouldn’t happen. Well, not for long.  To me, a wedding ring symbolizes so many things and it lets other women know he is off the market.  When I was single, I noticed a wedding ring right away, not because I was only looking at guys as potential dates, but because it let me know that flirting was off limits.  I know there are some women sleazy enough to enjoy flirting with a married man, but I like to know that my husband wears a ring to remind him and to let others know that he is taken.

B: Quirk that you learned about your husband only after marrying him? 

W: He doesn’t require much sleep.  Like he sleeps 4-5 hours a night.  I need a solid 8 hours of beauty sleep so that quirk sometimes drives me crazy.  We may have to invest in that king size bed that has two separate beds in it.

B: Single behavior that you don’t do anymore? 

W: I don’t have guy best friends.  I had a couple before we got serious.  I know some people can have best friends of the opposite gender and still be married but I think it’s a pretty tricky balance.  Guys need respect and need to be the ones you turn to, so if I’m doing that with another guy, it just isn’t right.

B: Worst part about living with a boy? 

W: Everything smells. Seriously.  I never knew clothes, bathrooms, just places in general could smell so bad.

B: Best part about living with a boy? 

W: He kills spiders and moves furniture.  I like to rearrange a lot and that was limited when I was by myself. (Or at least resulted in a lot of injuries.)

B: Strangest thing about being married?

W: Having a new last name. Also, being with someone 24/7 is a lot weirder than I expected.  We work together so that adds an extra element but sometimes, we have to do our own thing for a while. (He golfs, I shop.)

B: Favorite thing about being married?

W: I was thinking about this the other day but he’snreally become my best friend and I think that’s pretty cool.  I’m glad that I waited and married someone that I enjoyed hanging out with (watching football, going to movies, just driving around) rather than only focusing on the “romantic” parts.  Because once the romantic part fades, your left with the person.  Not every day is going to be this awesome date night, so it’s important to marry someone that makes boring things fun.

B: Best advice anyone ever gave you before you got married that is still legit now that you’ve been married?

W: Marriage is hard work.  It’s almost an understatement.  You have two different people under one roof making decisions almost daily.  I remember how excited I was about marriage (even in college) and now I laugh, because if I had any idea how hard it would be, I would not have been in such a rush.  It is great and obviously worth it, but it isn’t easy.

B: Do you feel like people treat you differently now that you’re married? 

W: Yes and no.  I was really scared I would lose all of my friends once I got married (especially the ones who weren’t married) and it has been such a relief that I didn’t.  So my friends still treat me the same, which is amazing.  My parents actually treat me differently…I grew up as the baby in the family, so being married has pushed me up (I feel like) in their eyes as an adult.

B: Who’s your go-to couple of awesomeness that made you realize you could actually be happily married?

W: My brother and sister-in-law.  I lived with them for a summer and they were so honest about the hard work and rewards of marriage.  I think it gave me a more realistic view of marriage and an ideal to strive towards.

B: Favorite thing to do as a couple?

W: We travel a lot and I love it.  Neither of us traveled a ton growing up so we get to experience new places together.

B: Who drives on road trips?

W: Usually me.  The driver gets to control the music and I’m kind of obsessed with controlling the music.

Stayed tuned, lovelies. Part 2 coming at you real soon.

XOXO,

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Dear B: Am I An Insomniac?

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Dear B,

I have always been a light sleeper but here lately it’s been getting ridiculous, as in I can’t fall asleep at all. I’ve tried wearing an organic eye mask and sipping lavender tea to no avail. It takes forever for me to finally fall asleep, I don’t get enough good sleep, and then fall asleep at my desk the next day which HELLO, isn’t ideal for climbing the success ladder. What do I do?

S*****

Dear Princess in the Pea,

I hope you’re caffeinated enough to make it through this without dozing off. Also, you are not an insomniac; you’re just sleep challenged due to the exciting life you lead.

If I was a life coach, which I am not but you probably need one so please contact my favorite, I would tell you to try and clear your brain before bedtime. Stop looking through work emails. Stop looking at pictures of your crazy ex’s new girlfriend on Instagram. Stop texting that guy that you like but can’t seem to figure out. Doing any or all of those activities will get your brain working overtime and let’s be real, we all need the beauty rest.

Some ways to help welcome in solid shuteye? Invest in great sheets and fluffy pillows. Drink sleepy-time tea with a shot of melatonin.  Put on an old favorite show or movie that will relax you to sleep – think Friends, not Weeds. Plug your phone in and turn it on silent. Make sure you and your room smell amazing.

Goodnight and good luck,

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10 Things You Should Never Say To A Stranger On A Plane.

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Flying home from LGA is always a treat, what with the icky terminals with nothing but a pretzel stand and inevitable delays. So this past week you can imagine my excitement when I scored a seat all by myself on the tiny, all business no play aircraft. So there I was, settling in with The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. and a Coke with ice, watching all the tired suits trudging to their seats. We all were pumped for a quiet flight and some serious napage.

Then they boarded.

Two women, early thirties I would guess, wearing matching fluorescent sweat suits of some sort of terrycloth/polyester blend and yelling “Here we are!”  in their thick Jersey accents. I quickly said a prayer that they would sit at the rear of the plane so I could nap in peace, but it was no use – they stumbled to seats right across the aisle, immediately making a friend sitting behind me who reminded them of “a regular Jersey hottie.”

They took shots of red wine. They read aloud from Us Weekly’s Who Wore It Best to practice “Nashville accents.” They gave each other massages while talking about all the “honky tonks” they wanted to “dominate” during their trip. Everything they said was heard by me and everybody on the plane, including the nice flight attendant who cut them off. Let’s turn this into a learning moment, shall we? Here are some things to never say to a stranger on a plane:

I had sex on the first night I met my boyfriend.

I threw up all over everything two flights ago. Weird, huh?

I don’t really read, I mean, I don’t live on Manhattan.

Do you work out?

Are you so excited to get on this plane?

Are you gonna finish that?

Are you Italian or is there a little bit African wrapped in there?

Celebrities are all over Nashville and I can’t wait to pounce with my digital camera.

Do you party hard like I party hard?

You want to ask for my number.

XOXO,

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