You Are What You Are

renne talley, butt implants, plastic surgery, botched surgery, body image, the reporter and the girl

So believe it or not, I actually had the motivation to write a 700-word post last night, that was all ready to go for the world to see, after “one last edit”, and then my browser froze. Like…brought my computer back to the ice ages froze. Although I could helplessly see my post, I couldn’t copy and paste the words else where, nor had WordPress’ new shortcut-to-post feature allows a draft to be automatically saved.

Not sure why a company would invest money into a new feature that leaves out this crucial function, but I digress.

So I spent the better part of my Sunday evening, starting out as I normally do: checking emails and social media — catching up on the things I missed during the week.

Or even for the better part of the year.

I had clicked on a link on Facebook that brought me to the entertainment site, where I went through several sets of slideshows that all began with “13 Celebrities you didn’t know…”  Apparently, tinsel town is overrun by a lot “fake” “multiracial” celebrities with extensive criminal records and bad breath.

But what really caught my curiosity, was the Kim Kardashian slide show on her infamous butt. I looked through 6 years of her butt.  And other celebrities who apparently had botched “butt jobs.”

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Model and “anti-butt implant” Activist, Vanity Wonder from

Ms. Vanity Wonder, to my left, is one such celebrity/author who went through over 16 injections, by who knows who on the streets. She felt that a curvier appearance would boost her dancing career. Luckily, she had not had any life threatening complications, but is currently an advocate against this black market plastic surgery.

I honestly have to say, that is a phenomenon that is still foreign to me. I remember reading in the tabloids many years ago about a stripper wanting a bigger butt, but she went to a surgeon who put in breast implants instead of the correct ones, and ruining her career. And I remember thinking (at my very young age) that such a surgery was so unheard of, that the “correct implants” must not have existed!

I grew up during a time of “Does this make my butt look big?” and wanting to hear “no”.

I even remember jokingly, my adolescent peers referring to my behind as “gluteus minimus”, but since I never hit double digits in most brands of jeans, it really didn’t phase me. I more than made up for it with the double D(s)anger assets I carried up front.

But alas, thousands of women in the U.S are getting this type of surgery to add volume to their derrieres.  Some are paying serious consequences from infections to losing limbs, and even their lives.

The woman in the featured photo is from Renee Talley’s youtube. She took a video of herself last year flipping her implant. That’s right. Her implant flipped upside-down while inside of her, and she can flip it back….like a pancake.

Now, although I don’t understand this current trend in artificial enhancement, I do understand the need for perfection or body image. My idea of beauty is different from someone else’s.  And I’m very glad that the media has started to embrace the diversity of body shapes, I just hope that some of these shapes are natural and we aren’t simply replacing one evil (rail thin anorexia) for another (see above).

After 6 months of extensive training which includes a couple hundred jump squats a week, I apparently have maximized by rear-end portfolio as well (unintended consequence) and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.

But, have I ever thought of getting plastic surgery? Hell yeah…not too long ago I was talking with a fellow gym rat about going South somewhere for a good deal, but could I prepare myself for the risks and having to live the rest of my life with certain scars? That has me second guessing.

Man is not perfect, thus no man can make me perfect; no matter what medical school he graduated from. So I’ll be living with my flaws and lumps for a little while longer.

What about you? If you came into a pile of cash or a magic genie and could change something about yourself, would you?

Tell me!


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Split Up Chores, Keep Marriage Together

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What’s your least favorite household chore? Cleaning the toilet? Folding the laundry? Who does the house cleaning in your relationship? Studies show that couples who share household chores equally are happier, especially if both partners carry their fair share of the work agreeably. PsychCentral says divvying up household chores equitably and agreeably can be difficult for two-career couples, but it’s important to discuss and agree how to get the housework done.

All Things Equal

A University of Illinois study found that equal sharing of housework means a better chance for marital happiness. The study examined 220 heterosexual newly married couples and their beliefs, behaviors and marital quality. University of Illinois professor of human development and family studies Brian G. Ogolsky says it’s important for couples to work out their expectations for sharing chores in the first few years of their marriage because the patterns that get established persist and affect the quality of the marriage over time.

A Pew Research report supports these findings. Out of a list of nine things associated with successful marriages, sharing household chores ranked third in importance in a survey of American adults. This belief is consistent for men and women, young and older adults, and married and single survey participants.

Chores for Fun and Bonding

No one likes to get stuck cleaning up after everyone else. Turn chores into a positive instead of a negative by using them for fun and bonding. Doing chores together in a fun way gets them done faster, and time spent working toward a mutual goal means time to chat and enjoy each other’s company. Chat about your day while doing the dishes as one dries and one puts dishes away in the cabinet. Get a little exercise together while walking the dog. View bigger chores as a bonding experience. Cleaning out the garage or doing pool maintenance can be fun if you work as a team. Treat each other to an ice cream date after a long job well done.

Who Does What

Hartwell-Walker recommends thoroughly discussing different household chores, how both partners feel about them, and making a sincere effort to come to genuine agreement about who will do which chores. She advises couples to list out house cleaning chores, outside chores like cutting the grass and cleaning the gutters, child care responsibilities, and extended relationship chores like writing letters, sending cards, buying gifts and arranging social activities. Discuss each area and the items in them. Couples should explore how they feel about doing different types of chores, which chores they disagree about most, and what they both think is the fairest way to handle them.

Sheila Wray Gregoire, author of “To Love, Honor and Vacuum,” says chores can be used to bring couples closer together, rather than as a point of disagreement and discord. She recommends honoring each partner’s preferences and specialties in the areas of household chores, and revisiting work divisions when changes occur such as different work schedules, illness or injury or a new baby. Gregoire also reminds couples to be honest with each other about their real feelings about cleanliness and clutter because holding your partner to a higher or unrealistic standard of housekeeping perfection is a recipe for disaster.

Thankful Weekend


So we rallied up the clan and stuffed 12 people in our dining room on Thursday with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni, salad, apple pie, pecan pie, and pineapple-basil sorbet, and wine!

I did about half of the cooking and my mom did the other half; that’s why you haven’t heard from me all weekend!

But the end result was great! 12 people from 6pm until midnight.

I love entertaining for guests! And it was wonderful to be in great company, in what has felt like a really long time. Anyway, this time last year I was unemployed, single/heartbroken, and newly published.

This year I have a job.

A lot has changed.

And I’m writing the 2nd book.

So as I reflect on 2014, and all that has brought me here, I have so much to be thankful for, because really life is good when you have good health and loyal friends and family.

I also did not participate in Black Friday. Not only did I enjoy the Friday after Thanksgiving for what it’s meant for (sleeping in and having apple pie and wine for a late breakfast), but I hung out with mom and did some reading.

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But unfortunately, I did have to go out this weekend, to pick up an online order, and for my usual Sunday groceries.

I know what you’re thinking and no, that’s not me in the picture. I was neither trampling nor was I trampled at the Target.

I wasn’t arrested neither.

Instead, I had to endure a tortuous wait at Macy’s and face the reality that I will never find parking at the outlet center again until mid-to-late January.

The wait was so long, I could have eventually been arrested for murdering a sales associate.

I really can’t believe that in this day and age (with a broken economy, remember that?) there are more and more people dropping dime that they don’t have and using credit they’ll never be able to pay back this weekend.

So much for being thankful.

Hence this year, I am not going to buy anyone a gift — AND I will not buy myself a gift. I will still send holiday cards to my family and associates. But this year will not be about gift giving but giving something back.

I hope to be blogging more this season about this challenge and hopefully will have a positive experience from it.

So tell me, what are you thankful for?

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First Date Phone Etiquette

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Relationships can be tricky. And while the innovation of smartphones and social media have made it easier for people to stay in contact, the unavoidable and sometimes sad truth is that it has also led to a decline in the ability to connect on a personal level.

This can be doubly true when dating. First dates often have the potential to become awkward and uncomfortable (or second dates or even third dates for that matter), and sometimes the easy way out is to find a distraction. In these situations, the quick solution is to pull out your phone. Unfortunately, this is usually the worst thing you can do. Instead of taking a second to regroup and think of what to say or do next, phones often creates a distance between you and your date.

But, you might argue, what about those situations where it is helpful or advantageous to have a phone handy? Never fear. While there are some instances where a phone can be a valuable asset, there are some ways to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect your date at the same time. Here are a few etiquette tips regarding your phone when going on a date.

Plan Ahead

First dates can be amazing, but rarely are they spontaneous. Make sure to inform your friends and family that you will be unavailable for any kind of communication during the evening. While you may get some grief from some of your more sarcastic friends, it will definitely give you a leg up on the date.

Communicate Clearly

If you should need access to a potential call or text, say for a medical situation or work emergency, make sure to clearly communicate with your date. Let them know at the beginning what the situation is and that you may need to respond.

Be Prepared

Technology rules our world, and the ability to use it effectively can send a message that you are up to date and on the ball. Don’t be afraid to pull out your phone for a specific purpose such as confirming a reservation with OpenTable or using GPS to make sure you reach your destination on time. Just be sure to give your date your primary attention and your phone secondary.

Remember the Moment

Making sure to record the moment can have many advantages. Not only will you have a permanent memory of the night but it also can show your date that you care and truly want to remember the night. Taking advantage of the recent camera technology on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 will make sure that every detail is crisp and clear.

Ask Before Sharing

With apps like Instagram and Facebook, your first reaction might be to share any pictures and details of the evening with everyone you know. But, remember that you aren’t the only person involved. Make sure your date is alright with you posting the selfie you just took together, and, if they are, go crazy and share your fun with the world!

The most important thing to remember is always make your date your first priority. If you keep them the center of your attention and don’t get distracted by what might be happening in the world, they will feel both respected and appreciated. That will give you that much better of a chance in getting the second or third dates, or more!

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A Birthday Gift

I received this beautiful Jim Thompson scarf, by a fellow blogger and follower of my series for my birthday that recently passed.

Big shout out and thank you to Hugh Paxton for this beautiful gift from Thailand, where he is currently staying and blogging about.  You can visit Hugh’s blog here.


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Have a Romantic Date at Home

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Dating doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be fun, especially if you are dating that perfect someone. Sometimes the routine of dinner and a movie can get old and going out all the time can be expensive, so here are a few ideas for having a date night at home.

Wine Tasting

Whether you are a wine expert or not, this can be a fun way to experiment and find out what your date likes in their dinner beverage. If you want to get really creative, pair the wines with appropriate foods.

Cooking Together

Find a cookbook, flip to a random page and cook something brand new to the both of you. Have each person in charge of different parts of the meal or just wing it and see what happens. Not only can it be fun and adventurous but you might find a new favorite meal in the process!

Movie Marathon

There are a few options here. You can each pick your favorite movie and spend the night watching each other’s choices, or you can pick random movies and live on the adventurous side. Or, have fun and pick something you wouldn’t normally watch like a childhood favorite. Whatever it is, make sure it is light and fun.

Theme Night

Here’s an opportunity to go all out. Try anything from Arabian nights to a murder mystery to a favorite movie like Frozen. Just make sure you dive in 100 percent. Plan everything from the characters to the costumes to the food and music, and let your imaginations run wild.

Board Games

This is a great chance to relive the fun of your childhood by bringing out a beloved board game. You can each pick your favorite like Twister or Monopoly, or grab something brand new like chess. For something a little more intimate, consider a more adult-oriented games like Battle of the Sexes or An Enchanting Evening.


First, you need to make the playlist. Get together with your date and pick out several songs from various genres, and maybe keep a couple of the songs secret from your date. Then, spend the evening in each other’s arms trying to dance the night away.

Breakfast in Bed

Do something a little different. Make breakfast for each other, and spend the evening cuddled up in bed maybe watching a romantic movie or listening to music.

Video Games

Play a variety of different games so you and your date can go crazy together. You can battle each other with Mario Kart and Kinect Sports, work off some energy with Dance Central 2 or work together with Little Big Planet. Just be sure to have fun, keep it light and don’t get too competitive.

Camping in the Backyard

Have a campout in the backyard. Go all out with a campfire, tent, lanterns and other equipment. Cook and eat under the stars while you enjoy the weather and each other’s company.


It sounds simple, but many times people don’t spend enough time just getting to know each other. If you need some help getting started, incorporate games like 20 questions, truth or dare or would you rather…? Sometimes just communicating with each other can make the best date ever.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure to keep it new and fresh. Alternate who is in charge of date night so that both sides always have something to look forward to. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and be sure to discuss what you liked and didn’t like so you can improve both your dates and your relationship.