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January 18, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #67

If you don’t know where you are going, any road can get you there. That’s the beauty of life. The magic of dreams. We are all born with a purpose in life and I believe that’s where dreams come from. It’s our subconscious telling us “this is what you are meant to do.” Nobody dreams of being a waitress. Or a maid. Or the guy that cuts the grass. Because, in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. We do it because we have to. We do it to get by while we are working toward our dreams; while we are finding a way to make them come true. We dream of being singers, dancers, writers, actors, pro athletes, doctors, veterinarians, or astronauts because they matter. We dream of being sailors out on the seas and the serenity that comes with it. The freedom of letting the wind fill our sails and take us where it wants to go. We dream of traveling to faraway lands where no one knows our name or where we’ve been. Places with a whole new culture to immerse ourselves in. To get lost in. Places that allow us to do some serious soul-searching and find out who we are, what makes us smile, and what brings us peace. Somewhere that shows us why we love life. Some of us even dream of moving to an island in the Caribbean and the simplicity of being a local and having a job at a beachside bar. Stress free and gorgeous, where we can laugh at the tourist with their cameras and Hawaiian shirts, who have too much sunburn on their face. Ok, maybe that one is just me, but nonetheless, our ultimate goal in life is to find a way to change the world while doing what we love. They say we lose ourselves in the things we love but I believe we find ourselves there too.

I have no idea where my life is going, but I can’t wait to get there. I know that I’m destined to do extraordinary things, and extraordinary things are exactly what I’m gonna do. I might not go down in history but you will notice me. I’ll be leaving my mark on the world. Maybe I’ll help end world hunger. Starting right here in America. Maybe I’ll learn to paint and be the next Picasso. I could be like Da Vinci and paint a modern day version of the Mona Lisa. Maybe I’ll learn to play the piano and compose symphonies like Mozart, Beethoven, or Bach. Maybe I’ll write like Hemingway wrote and make someone feel things they’ve never felt before.

I am going to travel the world. I will eat lobster in Maine and put a piece of gum on the gum wall in Seattle. I will stay at an ice hotel in Canada. I will go ziplining through the rainforest of Costa Rica and send someone a postcard from Hell in the Cayman Islands. I will stay in a bungalow in Fiji and I will go to Australia and hang out with the kangaroos. I will travel to Africa and go on a safari where I’ll see the lions and tigers and bears oh my. I will go to Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone. I will attach a lock on a love bridge in London and I will most definitely visit Brittany, France. I mean, it has my name. I will go to Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, and eat a Crepe. I will go to a Versace fashion show in Milan and I will ride a gondola in Venice, and even make a wish in the Trevi Fountain in Rome. I will buy a watch in Switzerland and I will see the northern lights in Norway. But most importantly, I will travel to all of the places I’ve always wanted to go. And I will do it with someone I love.

I will watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly and I will kiss a dolphin. I will have the perfect Valentine’s Day and I will eventually say “I do.” I will have my 11:11 wish come true and I will find a four leaf clover. I will hold a monkey and adopt a puppy. I will own a beach house and have a walk-in closet. I will finish a bottle of shampoo and conditioner at the same time and I will find out just how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. I will camp on the beach and I will burn all my homework in a bonfire. I will say yes to everything for a day and I will take a photo every day for a year. I will go zorbing and I will go parasailing. I will go skydiving and I will go swimming in a secluded tropical cove. I will buy a homeless person a full meal and I will have someone make me breakfast in bed. I will sit on a roof and watch the sunset and I will have someone write a song about me. I will own something from Tiffany & Co. and I will do everything on my bucket list. But most of all, I will give everyone a reason to remember my name.

I don’t care how long it takes me, I’m going somewhere beautiful.

-          Brittany

January 8, 2014
by Brittany
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Blog #66

Almost anything can be “dirty”. Spend money on nice things, they last longer. Dress for the life you want. Wear the red dress and go easy on the makeup. Don’t over accessorize. Never leave the house ugly. If you get hit by a bus, they save the pretty ones first. Always use moisturizer. Put down your middle finger, put your tongue back in your mouth, stop making the duck face, and smile. Smile in your pictures. That’s what we all want to see. Don’t get a tattoo that is significant to a religion in which you do not belong. “No” is a complete sentence and does not require justification or explanation. Always stand up for what you believe in even if you’re standing alone. It’s ok to be scared. Embrace your stereotypes and be careful of those who doubt you along the way. You only get one chance to notice a new haircut. Don’t fight sleep. Know that forgiveness leads to happiness and confidence is sexy. Go skinny dipping at least once. Go to the ballgame. Go to the ballet. Go see a broadway musical. Travel to another country but be careful in Mexico.  Don’t start a fight you can’t win. And don’t be the person who brings a knife to a gun fight. Bring a gun. Wear the slutty dresses and date the assholes when you’re in your twenties. It’s ok. Get it while you can because looks don’t last. Take chances. Don’t run from the truth. Don’t turn your cousin in for that first smoke. Don’t sit on the arm of a bamboo chair wearing only a towel. Don’t jump into a lake in the middle of winter. Don’t quit your swim team because you don’t feel like swimming at one swim meet. Even though it’s cliché, always get back on the horse. Check your tires before you hit the highway. Know that you will fail at something and that’s ok. Every one of us has messed up at some point in our lives and understand that some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

Say a prayer when you feel like cussing. Always put God first in everything you do. Wear the cross around your neck. Or hang it from your car mirror. Don’t rush off the phone when your mama calls you. You’re not that busy. Respect your dad. He’s been through more than you think. Spend time with your grandparents. Really get to know them. Visit your family on more than just the holidays and the occasional wedding. Go see your aunt while she is alive. Don’t wait for the phone call saying it’s too late. Know that friends are not forever. And don’t let disagreements ruin life-long friendships that have made it this far. Remember, it’s not who you are, it’s all who you know.

Education will get you far in life. You will squeeze by and get a C in that math class that you hate. And it’s not the end of the world if you get a D. And no matter how good it sounds at the time, don’t drop out and become a stripper just because you don’t understand meiosis. You won’t remember that test you failed, but you will never forget what you were doing the night before when you decided not to study. GPA will not matter after college. Pay attention in Spanish. Take at least one music class. Actually read the books your English teacher assigns. Geography is not an “easy A”. Neither is Asian Religions.

Don’t be afraid to love and believe in love at first sight. Date someone totally wrong for you. Allow yourself to feel the butterflies. And don’t settle for anything less than butterflies. Dance around your room when he finally texts you. Marry someone you can talk to. Someone who you can carry on 4 am conversations with.

Don’t sneak around with a guy your parents don’t trust. There is a reason they don’t trust him.  Forget the guy and go to Ireland over spring break. Realize that if he cheats with you, he will cheat on you. If he loves you now, he’ll still love you if you don’t give in. And if he doesn’t, then he’s a jerk and you did yourself a favor.  Guys, if she says no, respect that. And don’t lose the girl you love at home for a night in Las Vegas. And no. What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. Forget your pride and buy the roses. If you’re truly sorry, tell her.  Most importantly, if you find the one, don’t screw it up.

It’s ok to get your heart broken. And it will hurt. It will hurt like hell. But know that you will heal and it will be beautiful. Your life isn’t over because someone broke up with you. It’s only just begun. Summer flings are not meant to last. The one who gets away is never the one who sends flowers to your office. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to break down and sometimes you just have to wallow. But no more than a day. Get out of bed, brush your teeth, get dressed, and go out. Listen to the songs that serve as a reminder of what the two of you had. Let it hurt and then let it go…

Don’t ask me how I know.

-          Brittany

December 19, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #65

To everyone who helped pave my way, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be here today. To all my friends, the guys, the broken hearts. All the critics, cynics and doubters, y’all know who you are.

I have been reflecting on my life a lot lately, where it’s going, where it’s gone, and I think it’s only fair to say I didn’t get here alone.

I haven’t traveled one mile on my own and I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who has been a part of this ride with me. My girl scout leader who taught me how important it is to help those in need. That preacher who taught me to put God first in everything I do. The professor who showed me how important it was to believe in the future of my dreams. My neighbor who taught me that some people are really hard to love. The guys that introduced me to deal breakers. And the friends who showed me what friends are for. But these aren’t the only ones…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was high school. The one person I owe so much to is my high school chorus teacher. I don’t think he really understands the impact he had on me. He was one of those teachers that was not just your teacher but a friend, someone you could talk to, someone who really cared about his students. That makes all the difference you know. I could not have gotten through high school without him and his class, and in my opinion, he is the reason high school was such an enjoyable time for me. Going to that class was the highlight of my day. I was never a very good singer but he never told me that. There were definitely times when he wasn’t exactly my favorite person, like during auditions, for example. And all those talent days that I hated so much. And that time he turned the heat up so I would have to take my coat off and reveal that I was wearing a Duke shirt because I lost a bet. And then all those times he picked on me when I lost my voice at the beginning of my senior year. And when he wrote “you’re lazy” in my yearbook. Now I look back and laugh at that knowing how lucky I was to be a part of his class for 4 years. And I’ll never forget all the great things he did for me. It was my junior year and I was placed in a class that I didn’t want to be in. He went to bat for me and switched my schedule around. All the trips he took us on, it wasn’t easy for him but he made them fun, safe, and successful. That time he called my mom twice just to check on me that time I got sick in chemistry and never made it to his class. All those times he overlooked the fact that me and my best friend wrote each other’s journals instead of our own. And then there were the senior moments. There was never a dry eye in the room when he held senior moments. He had such a strong connection with his students that each and every one of them had the utmost respect for him. If you’re gonna be a teacher, he should be your inspiration. (I hope he knows he’s singing at my wedding by the way!)

I also have a personal mentor that I couldn’t do without. I think it’s very important to have a mentor. Who else do you run to when you need help? He is the person who got me through Nash Community and the one who is getting me through UNCW. He is actually one of the most intelligent people I know. He always puts me in my place, in a good way, and always reminds me that no matter how good you are at something, you can always do better, which pushes me to do my very best. He never hesitates to tell me if something sounds bad, but he always follows it with words of encouragement. I feel like he has the answer to everything which inspires me to take every opportunity to learn something new.

panthersThese are the people to whom I owe everything: My mom, my dad, and Herb. I’ll start with Herb. I was 10 years old when I walked up to him with the idea to call bingo on tv. He probably thought it was ridiculous when he heard the idea but he let me do it anyway. I know if I owned the station and some 10 year old girl came up to me with that idea, I would probably turn her away. He has been at every birthday celebration ever since. He was there when I graduated from high school, he was there when I graduated from Nash Community College, and I know without a doubt that he will be at all three of my UNCW graduation ceremonies. He has been there during every major moment in my life. He was there when I got sick at the hospital the one time. He was there during every chorus trip, videoing it so that I would always have those memories. He was there when I met Dolly Parton, when I did my first interview. He was there when I met Tyler Hansbrough, he was there when I got my first car and bravely road with me. He was there when I moved into my first apartment, and I’m sure he’ll be there when I move out. He’s always there with me helping me while I panic under pressure when I wait until the last minute to complete something, no matter how long it takes. One of my favorite things about Herb is how he always puts himself last. He is the most unselfish person I know. I could never do enough to repay him for all of the things he has done for me.

momShe was the voice that brought Cinderella to life, the makeup artist that made me pretty with Barbie’s Glam Kit, the owner of the heels that always made me fall, the proud recipient of finger paint pictures, the keeper of animal crackers and orange juice, the healer of skinned up knees, and the hand that got me across the street safely. Today she is the most beautiful woman in the world to me. She is my mother. Inside and out, she’s better than I am. As a little girl growing up, I would spend all day outside picking dandelions for her that she gladly accepted with dirt falling off of them. As I grew up she became the person I always turned to for advice, there’s nothing she doesn’t know. She’s always been there for me with arms open wide. She put in the time and effort to be a part of everything I did because no one could protect me better than she could. She was an assistant girl scout leader for my girl scout troop, she became my cheerleading coach at our local Y, she chaperoned almost every school field trip. She took two hours out of her day every day just to drive all the way to Bailey to pick me up from school. When I get sick in Wilmington, she burns that road to be there with me. Although she is sweet, she has no problem putting you in your place. Especially if it involves me. Any guy I’ve dated will tell you that. I think Eyes of Emiline says it best: it’s so typical to fear the father, she may look sweet but don’t underestimate my mother. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go after it. She is strong willed and intelligent and at the end of the day, she deserves an arm full of roses but she’s satisfied with a handful of weeds.

dadSo I’m 7 years old wearing a Dockers jacket that’s 10 sizes too big for me, standing on my daddy’s toes as we twirl around the porch. That’s where I first learned to dance. He taught me how to fish, how to use a hammer, how to drive a nail. He taught me how to play horse in basketball. He taught me how to drive a car by letting me sit in his lap and take the wheel, he instilled in me my love for animals, my love of being on the water, and my love of chocolate cake. He was my lifeguard that time I jumped in the city lake, he was the one walking beside the pony when I took my first ride, he was the one holding onto the seat when I rode a bike for the first time and the one who bought me a four-wheeler and a golf cart when I decided the bike wasn’t for me, he was the arms that caught me when I thought I could fly, he was the quarter that always kept the pirate ship sailing, he was Ken every time I played with Barbies, although I was never really a Barbie person, he was the shoulders that I sat on when I couldn’t see, he was my math teacher at home, he was my assistant during science projects, he was the builder of my arch in that Spanish class back in high school, and he was my backup when mama said no. He’s the reason “Daddy, love you more” was a commonly used phrase, and the one who got a hug in the morning and butterfly kisses at night. He is my biggest fan. He was always there cheering me on at every swim meet, every horseback riding lesson, every game I cheered at, and every chorus concert and talent show I performed in. He shows me how proud he is of me every day, and in everything I do. My dad is my main man, he is the best man I know, and the reason my standards are so high when it comes to dating. He’s amazing and there is nothing he can’t do. Nothing he can’t fix. If you want to know where my personality comes from, he’s the one you should look to, I’m just like him. And no matter where I go in life, a part of me will always be daddy’s little girl.

GrandmaThey say it takes a village to raise a child and my grandma was at the head of that village. She was my babysitter, my personal chef, my audience when I blared the karaoke machine, my opponent in go fish, my alarm clock in the mornings, the maker of the sweet tea, the keeper of clean clothes, and the queen of surprise gifts. She is selfless and always plays the background. She keeps me grounded. It’s so easy to get lost in this world with all the amazing opportunities I have and she is always there to remind me where I’m from, what’s important in life, and to always put family first. Everyone that knows her loves her and what more could you want out of life.

trix

 

 

And last but not least…Trixie!!! This little guy makes all my days brighter.

 

 

 

I didn’t get here alone, that road’s just too rough and long, I might be the one the spotlight’s on, but I didn’t get here alone.

- Brittany

November 27, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #64

I hate roller coasters but I love free falling. I’m not a big flower person but I love daisies. I love the color purple. I hate clutter and I do not like things that are just for looks. I hate fruit scented stuff but I love the smell of coconut. I’m not a morning person. I never start my day without reading my horoscope. I hate heels, they make me freakishly tall. I love to write. My favorite thing in the world to eat is chocolate covered strawberries, but not the homemade ones. I love fruit loops and I hate corn flakes. I love Pepsi but I hate Coke. I love animals but I am scared of horses. I am terrified of spiders. I believe in love but not love at first sight. I believe in happiness and I believe that happiness is something you create. I believe in second chances but not third. I believe in God and the power of prayer. I do not believe in coincidences. I think everything happens for a reason. I do not believe in ghosts but I would never stay in a haunted house. I do not believe in aliens. I believe the universe is always on my side and I believe snow is magical.

My school is your vacation. I go to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I am a senior and there is nowhere else on earth I would rather go to school. It’s amazing there. The people are extremely friendly and the professors are great. Our basketball team sucks…but we won’t talk about that. We are surrounded by 3 different beaches: Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach…with Myrtle Beach being an hour away. My apartment is literally 5 minutes from the beach and I would be lying if I said I had never skipped class to go to the beach…I’m mean really…the beach or class? I think we all would make the same decision. I love the beach. I love the softness of the sand, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. I love watching the seagulls surround me, and I love the smell of salt in the air. I love how it rains a lot there…it’s always raining. It’s okay though because there’s something sexy about the rain; it feels like kisses on my skin. I also love how I have to sit through 20 minutes of the marine forecast just to get the forecast for the inland areas. I’m sure the fact that the sea state is ruff, the wave height is 7 ft, the wave direction is East and the wave period is 8 seconds is very important. And I understand knowing the low tide will be at 2:37 and the high tide will be at 8:30 is very useful to know but I’m not a mariner. I don’t care that the water temperature is 76. I want to know if I need a jacket and an umbrella or shorts and sunglasses when I walk to class. I think it’s really cool that I can complain about things like having to sit through the marine forecast.

I already know the one. He will be annoying, yet cute at the same time. He will laugh at the most ridiculous things…just like me. He will probably snore when he sleeps and I will be up all night because of it. He will be irritated at me for sleeping til noon the next day until he remembers how cute I am when I sleep and then feel bad because it’s his fault I’m still sleeping. He will be a terrible singer but he will sing to me anyway and I will love it. He will not know how to cook but he will be a better cook than me. And when I cook for him, he will eat it even though it will probably be burnt and taste like feet. He will eat it because he loves me. He will be messy, but in an organized chaos kind of way. He will love football and embrace the fact that I will never understand it no matter how many times he explains it. And he will continue to explain it to me in spite of that. He will be passionate about a cause that I will disagree with but I will support it anyway because I support him. He will want to be alone when he is sick and I will love that. He will bring out the best in me and allow me to bring out the best in him. He will make me laugh when I find it hard to smile. He will tease me when I’m moody, but never too much. He won’t care that I hate rap music and horror films. He will understand that I’m not a morning person. He won’t think I’m crazy for thinking snow is magical and will actually try to help me make the perfect snow angel. He will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something after I do something I’m not good at even if he is a genius at it. He won’t judge me because of my eating habits. He will make me chocolate covered strawberries even though I will probably throw them away because I hate the homemade ones and he knows that but is determined to make some I like. He will let me watch the Gilmore Girls because it’s my favorite show. And he will watch Pretty Little Liars with me and get emotionally involved so I’m not the only one. I don’t know who the actual guy will be but you get the point. And yes, I have high standards.

I have been on TV since I was 10. I had my first show back in 2000. It was a bingo show. It was fun, it was awesome, and now looking back, it was embarrassing. I still cringe when someone brings it up to me. At 14, I took a break from TV for about 4 years and returned my senior year of high school with Country Café. 5 ½ years later, I still host the show every Saturday night.

I’m a writer. Some things are real, some things are fictional, but all things are for the love of writing.

-Brittany

November 12, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #63

“I remember that day when our eyes first met, you ran into the building to get out of the rain cause you were soaking wet. As I held the door, you wanted to know my name, timing is everything.”

So many things in our life can be attributed to being in the right place at the right time. Imagine all the people you might have fallen in love with if only you’d gone to the gym an hour later or stood a little longer in the bread isle at the grocery store? You might have met your future husband or your future wife if you had taken the 8 am class instead of the 11 am class second semester of your junior year in college. What if you had been late for work and didn’t have time to stop at your favorite coffee shop that one morning? What if you had left the party an hour earlier? Would you still be head over heels in love right now? Think of how many times you might have died if you had been just one minute earlier or one minute later getting to the stoplight. What if your plane had crashed on the way to New York? Or the water had been ruff that day at the beach? Would you still be here today? Maybe your life would be the exact same or maybe, just maybe, everything would be completely different.

Some call it fate, some call it destiny, and some call it a coincidence. I personally believe everything happens for a reason. I remember a horrible wreck that happened my senior year of high school. Two of my friends (we will call them Chris and Kyle for the purposes of this blog) rode to school together every day. I remember this one day specifically because Chris was my partner for a class project in Spanish and he never made it to class. It was a Thursday and Kyle was at home in the bed with the flu. On the way to school that morning, thanks to the rain, Chris ran off the road and hit a light pole. The pole fell on the car and the passenger side was crushed. Chris had no major injuries but what if Kyle hadn’t of been sick that day? Would he still be here? Probably not.

When I was in 7th grade, a boy in my class brought a gun to school with the intention of shooting our teacher and anyone who liked her. No joke. This girl decided to go to her locker just as he was taking the gun out. What if she had gone to her locker just two minutes later? My teacher could have died that day. Considering she was one of my favorite teachers, I could have died that day. I would have been one more unfinished story.

I’ve had close calls when it could have been me. When I was three, I had gotten sick and the antibiotics my doctor prescribed were too strong for me and ended up poisoning me. I was in the children’s hospital in Chapel Hill close to dying when they figured out what was wrong with me. What if it had taken them just a few more days to find a diagnosis? I would have been another child that God took home.

When it comes to love, I think the timing speaks for itself for all of us. All of the amazing relationships we have had happened because we were in the right place at the right time, or sometimes the wrong place at the right time. When I look back at my relationships, I cant help but think, what if my graduation party was held one week later? What if I didn’t go to the Keith Urban concert that one time? What if my cohost didn’t fall off a horse that day? What if I had gone on the beach five minutes earlier that morning? I never would have had the amazing experiences that I have been lucky enough to have.

Time isn’t always on our side though.

Sometimes you meet someone when you’ve already got someone and it makes you wonder. What if you had met this person first? Would things be different? It’s happened to all of us. You have the most amazing boyfriend; everything you could ever want, but one day you walk into a room and you lock eyes with a complete stranger, he gives you a smile and your hooked. Suddenly it’s “What’s his name? Is he single? Shoot! I’m not single” and as you stand there getting lost in his eyes, you can tell he’s feeling it too but there’s nothing you are going to do except enjoy every second as they pass, trying to make them last and imagine what the two of you might have been. In the end you just say “it was nice to meet you” and smile as you walk away.

Or sometimes you are single and driving in your car when you get stopped at a red light. You look over at the car next to you and see a really cute girl whose already looking back at you. As she turns her head, you’ve already determined that for that moment, she is yours. It becomes a whirlwind of the both of you looking at each other and then looking away as if you never noticed each other. Over and over again. There’s obviously something going on between the two of you but there’s nothing you can do. The light is turning green so you just smile and wave goodbye.

Sometimes you have a really big job interview at 9:45 on a Wednesday morning. Your alarm clock was set for 7 pm instead of 7 am so it doesn’t wake you up. You finally wake up, look at the clock and it’s 9:15. You have no time to take a shower so you just get dressed thanking God that you picked out your outfit the night before, throw your hair up and as you are pouring your coffee, you accidentally spill it all over the brand new business suit you were wearing, forcing you to go back upstairs and change. When you finally get in your car it is now 9:35 and then, just when you start to think, “If I drive fast I can make it”, you get stuck in traffic. By the time you get to your destination, it is now 9:53. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, you are told the position has already been filled, which you would have known if you had taken the time to check your messages that morning.

Maybe it’s a beautiful night outside and you decide to go on a stargazing date with the one guy you love more than anything in the world to celebrate your three year anniversary. As your laying there on a blanket looking up at the stars, you look at him and he has this look in his eyes. It’s a mixture of sadness and confusion. You can tell something is on his mind but you’re just not sure what it is. So you ask him what’s wrong and as he begins to speak, you can tell he is trying not to hurt you. It’s as if times stalls for the next few minutes and then suddenly you find yourself standing outside of his apartment screaming, crying hysterically, begging him not to break up with you. It doesn’t work and you feel like your whole world is coming to an end. You go through a period of feeling depressed and lost for the next two months as you try to move on.

Maybe you are the guy breaking up with the girl. You know it’s the three year mark and she’s really excited…because three years is a long time. Over the course of the three years, the two of you grew apart and you just don’t feel the same. It’s not because of anything the two of you said or did wrong but because you both were moving in opposite directions. You know that telling her will break her heart so you spend days, maybe even weeks, thinking of the right words to say. The two of you are laying on the blanket, her head on your chest, and you can just see how happy she is in that moment. And when she asks you what’s wrong, it breaks your heart but you know you have to tell her. And you know exactly what to say because you have rehearsed this moment over and over again in your head. You see the tears start to form in her eyes and at that very moment, you feel like the most disappointing person in the world because while your heart is breaking from seeing her heart break, you also feel relieved because it’s over.

You can call it fate, you can call it destiny, you can call it a coincidence, and you can even call it luck. Either way, when it is all said and done and you catch a break, smile, because right now everything is perfect. And when things aren’t going your way, remember, it can’t rain forever. Just give it all little time.

“It can happen so fast or a little bit late, timing is everything.”

- Brittany

October 30, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #62

Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your apartment, making breakfast and brewing coffee, listening to music that, for some reason, is really getting to your heart. A certain song comes on and time stalls. You’re just standing there thinking about going to class or going to work, picking up a birthday card for your best friend, and all the other mundane tasks you have to accomplish that day. And also more exciting things like TV shows you are interested in, concerts you are going to, trips you are planning on taking, and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. You’re looking out the window at the trees blowing in the wind, the cars driving by, and all the people walking around and suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your apartment and you just want to go home but where is that? You could go to “Mom’s” but that probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. You have a new life now that is completely different than the life you had when you lived there. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened every day and arms that were never for anyone else, but just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old and you’re scared. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here, and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over, the coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. And you’re going to be fine in about five minutes.

Five minutes. That’s all you need. Whether you are 23, 33, or 43, whether you are in college, or just entering the “real world”, even if you are married with kids, I think we all have these five minute “freak outs” and it’s normal. As Howie Day once sang, “even the best fall down sometimes.” Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and know that you will be fine in about five minutes.

- Brittany

October 3, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #61

Hey Everyone,

So October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and in honor of that, I am sharing with you a speech I wrote on pet adoption. Considering you are reading this instead of listening to it, there have been minor changes, but I think it’s still just as good so here it is:

Every day we walk right by abandoned and unwanted animals.  We see their faces through the bars of cages; the cast-offs of human society.  We never make eye contact. We walk right past them and turn our heads just to avoid the look of helplessness in their eyes. We’ve all done it. We just can’t bear the feeling we get from knowing they are suffering and we did nothing.

Every animal deserves a loving home. Someone to take care of him, someone to love him, and someone who will let him love them.

Our shelters are overpopulated with animals just like this, waiting, praying to be adopted and you can help.

I am about to take you into the world of these lonely animals as I share with you the problem of overpopulation, what causes it, and what you can do to help.

In short, the problem is the number of homeless animals is much greater than the number of animals a shelter can hold.

According to Peta, every year in the U.S., an estimated 6 to 8 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter animal shelters. Approximately 3 to 4 million of these dogs and cats, many of them healthy, young, and adoptable, must be euthanized every year. These animals are confined in cages for weeks and months on end, sometimes years if it’s a no-kill shelter. Under these conditions, many of these animals spend their life in loneliness and confinement. The ones the shelters can’t hold are simply abandoned to suffer and die on the streets. They live in hunger because their only food comes from garbage cans. The only water they get comes when God lets it rain. Their skin itches and their feet are sore. Their body aches in pain, and they hide out and sleep in bushes out of fear. They no longer know what it’s like to have fur that isn’t matted, skin that isn’t flea bitten, good food and enough of it, a comfy bed, and the love of someone with a warm caring heart.

What causes overpopulation? That’s a great question.

Over population is caused by three reasons. First, many people fail to spay and neuter their pets, who then reproduce, creating enormous numbers of kittens and puppies. According to the ASPCA, the average number of litters a cat produces is one to two a year, with an average of 4 to 6 kittens per litter. A dog has an average of one litter of puppies a year, with each litter having 4 to 6 puppies. Second, people still buy animals from breeders or pet stores, supporting the puppy mills that supply them, instead of adopting homeless animals. And third, people adopt pets without considering the lifetime commitment that caring for them requires. Eventually owners turn their back on these loyal animals when they become inconvenient or too much work. Even though some shelter animals are reclaimed or adopted, Peta estimates that nearly 4 million unwanted dogs and cats are left with nowhere to go. Animal shelters cannot humanely house and support all these animals until their deaths. The ASPCA estimates that 5 out of 10 dogs in shelters and 7 out of 10 cats are destroyed simply because there is no one to adopt them.

Now you may be thinking, “That’s a lot of big numbers, what good will adopting one animal do?”

Well you see…it’s like this. Every animal that is adopted is another animal who gets a second chance. There’s an old saying, “The kindness one does for an animal may not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.” Help bring hope back to an animal who has lost all of theirs. In the words of Norman B. Rice, “Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into light.” There are several options for adoption that will fill your needs. You can adopt kittens to older cats and puppies to older dogs. When deciding, don’t just go for the kittens or the puppies. So many people overlook older pets, and the truth is, they make better pets. Yes, they are old, their days are getting numbered, but that doesn’t mean they don’t count. You will be old one day too. Remember this. No matter how old you get, they would never give up on you so don’t give up on them. Don’t let their final days be spent in a cold, dark, lonely room, behind bars in a cage in which they can barely move.

Maybe you want to help, but adoption is not an option for you right now. That’s okay. There are other options. If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, sponsor. If you can’t sponsor, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, donate. If you can’t donate, educate and network. Everyone can do something, large or small, to save a life.  Visit www.aspca.org for information on how you can get involved.

As you finish reading this, I want you to make a promise, not to me, but to the animals who need you so desperately. Next time you pass a homeless animal, whether on the streets, or in a cage, don’t turn away and avoid him. Look him in the eye, and let him know that he is loved. And maybe even be an angel or a saving grace for him by adopting him. Secondhand animals make first class pets. They don’t have much to give but they do have a heart full of love, let them give it to you. Let them love you.

 

-          Brittany

 

 

August 23, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #60

It’s been said that statistics are “a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty.” Many people make major decisions based on statistics; I make decisions based on statistics. When you are faced with a choice and you don’t know what to choose, you can always turn to statistics for advice. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I love statistics. I use them all the time in conversations and in doing that I have found that there are a large number of people who cannot stand them. Just the other day I was having a conversation with someone and I threw in a statistic and their exact words were “why are you telling me that, I don’t want to know that.”

Statistics teach us so much about the world we live in. In fact, just about any statement can be proved or disproved using statistics. They serve as evidence to back up an argument. They are actually a solid way to win an argument and let’s face it, we all thrive off of competitive arrogance.

I think the reason most people hate statistics is because they are afraid of them. I mean there are some scary statistics out there and the odds aren’t always going to be in our favor. 77% of people hate statistics but why? When you think about it, we are all a statistic. 1 out of 3 people will be the victim of a crime. 2.3 million people will be arrested this year. 1 out of 6 women will be raped. 1 out of 12 women will be the victim of a stalker and 1 out of 19 men. 899,000 children will be abused this year. 1 out of 100 people are addicted to illegal drugs and there is a 2% chance you will develop a drug addiction. 1 out of 20 people experience alcohol dependence. 1 out of 4 people smoke. 1 out of 4 people have a mental illness, in fact, there is a 12% chance you will be diagnosed with a mental disorder at some point in your life. 1 out of 10 people are living with depression. 1,660,290 people will die from cancer this year. 1 out of 13 people commit suicide; it’s the 10th  leading cause of death (If you are thinking about committing suicide, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Get help). 24,000 people will be struck by lightning this year, 70 of them will die and 80 people will be bitten by a shark. Those statistics do not sound good. What about ones that affect us every day? 3 out of every 5 relationships end with a break up. In fact a break up happens every 17 minutes somewhere in the world and the average age of your first broken heart is between 19 and 23 years old. 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce and right now 1 out of 10 people are divorced.

We are scared of statistics because we don’t want to know that. 1 out of 3 people will be the victim of a crime? After hearing that, I will have many sleepless nights thinking about somebody breaking into my house and killing me. I definitely don’t want that to happen. But what if we turn those statistics around? 2 out of 3 people will not be the victim of a crime. 50% of marriages will last. 23,930 people will survive being struck by lightning.

And let’s not forget about the good statistics. Those are the ones overlooked. 2,096,000 people will get married this year and 3,999,386 babies will be born. 78% of students will graduate high school. Right now, 56% of people in the United States have a college degree. There is a 1 in 13,983,816 chance that you will win the lottery. There is a 1 in 1000 chance you will become famous and a 1 in 100,000 chance of you playing pro sports. But the best one of them all? There was a 1 in 40 million chance of you having been born and here you are :) .

Statistics can even give you hope. Maybe you didn’t have such a great morning and you assume the whole day is going to suck, but according to statistics, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 childbirths, and 42 million hugs occurring today throughout the United States. Also today, there will be at least 4 people that will win the multimillion dollar lotteries and 600 people will get promotions at work. There will also be 600 dogs adopted, 35,000 balloons sold, and 800,000 skittles sold. Plus the words “I love you” will be said over 9 million times. So again, I know your day might not be going so good and you assume it won’t get better, but just smile because, according to statistics, it should actually be a really nice day. Think about this on Mondays.

Still not a fan of statistics? Here’s one more for you: 84% of all statistics are made up…

 

-         Brittany

August 9, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #59

Hey Everyone,

I hope you all are doing wonderful. For this blog, I want to share an experience with you that really got me thinking.

So a few days ago I was returning a couple movies to Redbox at the Walgreens on Sunset Avenue when a man walked up to my car. I did not know this man and everybody that knows me, knows how important safety is to me. If you walk up to my car and I don’t know you, I am automatically going to assume you are a serial killer. Better to be safe than sorry…right? Anyway so this man walks up to my car and asks for sixty-nine cents to buy some food. Growing up, like most people I know, I was always told to never give money to people like this because they more than likely go and buy alcohol or drugs with it. Well in that moment I had the serial killer thing in my mind so I gave him a dollar so he would leave me alone. At that particular moment, I didn’t care what he planned on doing with the money. A few minutes later I passed him walking down Sunset Avenue eating something from McDonald’s. To most people, seeing him eat that would have no effect, but to me, it really made my day.

Helping others in need is something that is really important to me, after all, we’ve all needed help at some point in our lives in one way or another. I remember the last day of this past semester, I was leaving Wilmington to go home for the summer and I had a flat tire…right there on College Road. If you don’t know me personally, let me just tell you that I have no idea how to change a tire. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Ok…that’s not true. Obviously I know where to begin but the point is I needed help. Luckily, a man whose name I cannot remember right now was nice enough to change it for me. He spent almost two hours on it making sure it would make it back to Rocky Mount. This man was a complete stranger. He didn’t know who I was. He didn’t have to help me, just like I didn’t have to give that man a dollar a few days ago.

So many times in our lives we do whatever it takes to ignore that someone needs our help. As human beings, we all naturally come with compassion. When we are aware that someone is less fortunate than us, it makes us feel sad for them and we don’t like that feeling so it’s only natural that we ignore it.

People in need are all around us. You sit at a stoplight and see a man with a cardboard sign saying “will work for food”. You know this man, you probably see him every day. He’s the one you never give your money to. You can sit there with the windows rolled up, music blaring, wondering when the light is gonna turn green, but you will never know what a couple more dollars might mean to him. You turn the TV on and see a commercial for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. There’s a little girl sitting on her daddy’s lap, trying to hide the cancer with a baseball hat. You can turn the channel if you want, most people do, but think about it. What if you were in her daddy’s shoes?  You sit in your apartment listening to the couple on the other side of the wall argue and fight; hearing all the disturbing noises. You can turn the volume up on the TV to drown the noise out. I mean after all, it is annoying but what happens when you see her the next day, in the pouring rain, wearing sunglasses? Would you be able to look her in the eye?

I read an article a couple months ago about Italy’s version of pay it forward and I thought it was so neat. Italy has something they call “suspended coffee”. The idea is simple. Someone goes into a coffee shop and pre-purchases a cup of coffee (the suspended coffee). Someone in need can then go into the coffee shop and ask for a suspended cup of coffee and they are provided with a warm cup of coffee at no cost to themselves. The idea started in Naples, Italy and as it spread throughout the country it also began to include food. I think that is a great concept and something we need to try in the United States. What if everyone who could afford to do this actually did this? Think of how many homeless people we could help.

We are so busy going from place to place, hanging out with our friends, and trying to meet deadlines that we hardly ever take the time to help one another. We see people every day that need our help but we just go on with our day to day lives trying to forget the look we see on their faces.

At the end of the day, it’s up to us to help those in need. You don’t have to be a millionaire or a celebrity to make a difference. As Carole King once sang, “Everyday people are the ones who are making miracles and it’s beautiful.” It’s the normal, everyday people like you and me that are out there lifting up the world like an answered prayer.

I know I’m usually standing up for animals but this time, I’m giving my attention to the people who could use my help. I think all of us have lost at least a little faith in humanity over the years and I think it’s time to restore it.

Those are my thoughts for the week. I hope they got you thinking and until next time, please be safe.

 

-Brittany

July 20, 2013
by Brittany
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Blog #58

Hey Everyone,

I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far…going to the beach, swimming, eating homemade peach ice cream, or watermelon if you’re not an ice cream person or whatever it is you do in the summer. I cannot believe it is July already. I feel like school just ended a few weeks ago and I’ve been out since May 1st. I’m actually kind of surprised that I’m surprised it’s July already. This summer has definitely been an experience for me. It’s had its ups and downs. Everything is changing and I’m not exactly sure how to handle it. I’ve never done well with change, it’s something that scares me, and my God does it scare me. I mean what do you do when your world is turned upside down and you don’t recognize any of it. You can’t close your eyes, count to three, open them and be back exactly where you were yesterday. You have to face it, you have to deal with it, and that is exactly what I’m learning how to do.

As this past semester ended, I came to the realization that I have one semester left in college. One semester!?! I had a meeting with my advisor and for the first time, we had an in depth conversation about my plans after I graduate.  It really freaked me out, I’m not gonna lie. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I always thought I had longer to decide all that stuff. I had no idea it would come so soon. So what did I do? I added another major. Psychology.  I love psychology. I even started looking into grad school and used the excuse that I wanted to do something that matters, to help people, and while communication is fun and all, whatever work I do in that field will not matter ten years from now. I also blamed it on expectations. My whole life has been based around the media industry. It’s what people expect from me. While doing this, what I didn’t realize was that I’m scared to graduate and face the world. Being in school is all I’ve known. If I made a mistake, someone was there to help me fix it. When I graduate, I’ll be on my own. If I mess up, it’s on me. Maybe I’m not ready for that.

In addition to facing the reality that my college career will be coming to an end soon, I’m also realizing that the people in my life are changing. One of my best friends is moving away. No more hanging out because we will be separated by miles of pavement that curves left and then right leading to a different city. When I go back to Wilmington in August, I won’t have the same neighbors. I won’t be able to lay in bed at night listening to the guy in the apartment next to me fighting with his girlfriend. I always hated that. I mean I was trying to sleep…come on. I won’t be going to the Hawksnest for lunch every Tuesday right before Dr. Persuit’s class with the same friends…they won’t be there anymore…and Dr. Persuit will no longer be my professor.

I was sitting at a stoplight on Racine Drive in Wilmington a few weeks ago and as I was waiting to turn into Port City Java, a Deana Carter song called How Do I Get There From Here (which has nothing to do with this topic whatsoever) was playing on the radio and it made me think about everything going on in my life right now and how different things are now than they were five years ago. Five years ago, I was an 18 year old senior in high school with a plan. I was going to graduate, go to UNCW, live in an oceanfront apartment at Wrightsville Beach with my two best friends, major in marine biology, minor in music composition and theory, move to Atlantic Beach, get a job at the marine center, buy a boat, and get married (the last two are in no particular order). That was the plan. Today, the only part of that plan that still exists is that I’m a student at UNCW. I have deviated far from that plan and thank God I have. Marine biology? What was I thinking? I hate the smell of fish and the thought of living on a boat for months at a time really freaks me out. Things are different now and the truth is I have no idea how I got here. It’s like the years from 18 to 23 are fuzzy. I have memories…meeting new people, the classes I took, past relationships, mistakes I’ve made. It’s the big picture that’s a blur…

And it was right there in that moment that I realized it’s gonna be okay. I’ve been through this before and yet here I am…perfectly fine.

Everything around us is constantly changing. You drive down the road never passing the same car twice. You stop at a red light, exchange smiles with the stranger in the car next to you only to go your separate ways when the light turns green. You walk through the mall filled with people and their shopping bags and you hardly ever see the same person again. You go to your favorite restaurant and the waiter you always have, the one that knows your order by heart because you always order the exact same thing, left three months ago. Your friends from high school are no longer your friends, miles have separated you and somewhere in the distance you lost touch. You have new friends now, and you love them just as much. The person you dated for two years, who you thought was the one, has now been replaced by someone you love even more. Your parents are getting older…and so are you.  The show that you have watched for the past three years is now ending…what will you do on Monday nights now???

The point is everything changes. You live through the days and not notice a single thing that changes but one morning you wake up and everything is different. You look out the window and you have a different view. There are different faces and different places…you even do things differently. What is familiar to you is gone and you are faced with the unknown. While it is scary, you have arrived in that moment safely and while I think change can be scary and sometimes painful, I also think change can be beautiful.

I guess the reason I am telling you all this is because this summer has been one of the most important summers in my life. I have learned so much and I feel like I’ve come so far.  I really think this has been a great summer even through all the ups and downs and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead. With that, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer and hey, go do something crazy…just because.

-Brittany