What Taylor Swift Isn’t Teaching Us About Love

It’s undeniable that 2015 was, yet again, Taylor Swift’s year. She’s got a hit album and I’ve counted multiple major songs being played back to back….back to back… and back to back again on the radio. You can’t escape T. Swift even if you try. I am going to preemptively explain to you all that I’m not a huge fan of hers, but I can at least say that, yes, she has some pretty catchy songs that I can even admit to singing along to them in the car. And good for her. She’s been able to stay relevant to her fans and listeners back since she was a country singer and not many teen artists can say that nowadays.

The topic of much discussion is not so much her music, but her love life and the amounting boyfriends she’s acquired over the years…and the few that have stuck around longer than just a few months. There’s a part of me that feels sorry for her simply because her youth is being played out for everyone to see and that’s never easy. I can’t say that I know the feeling of publicly navigating love and having to deal with the many criticizers out there watching and commenting on my every move. I mean, if we can be real for a moment, I don’t think any of us would fare well if our younger dating years were publicly documented on the front of magazine covers at the grocery store. However, the machine that is Taylor Swift has made millions of dollars by flipping the criticism and writing catchy tunes to counter those “haters [who] are gonna hate, hate, hate.”

After giving credit where it is due, I have to say that her take on love and how she is describing it to her fans is something that is a bit troubling for me to hear through her music. I think it’s great that she’s using personal experiences to inspire these songs (at least she writes her own music) but at some point someone has to stop and think about the message she’s sending.
After giving credit where it is due, I have to say that her take on love and how she is describing it to her fans is something that is a bit troubling for me to hear through her music. I think it’s great that she’s using personal experiences to inspire these songs (at least she writes her own music) but at some point someone has to stop and think about the message she’s sending. Let’s take a look at some of her most played songs from her 1989 album right now:

Shake It Off
Okay, this song is pretty catchy and the first off her album to hit the major radio circuit. I love the message in this song and find it to be empowering to girls who remain true to themselves, despite what others say – especially boys. Exactly what I was looking for from Miss Swift. But, she then negates her message of “shaking it off” with her other songs, which seems to compile into being one big downer about love and how helpless it can be to find it.

Then we are taken to a much darker place. Not so bright and carefree…

Blank Space

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high worth the pain
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space, baby
And I’ll write your name

The message that I read from this song is that love is a great feeling but that it can cause some pretty debilitating pain when it doesn’t work out. Go figure. Been there. However, I don’t like the idea that love is projected as something that we must prepare for failure before anything has had the chance to grow. It’s perpetuating the idea that “this is going to suck when you leave me…but I’ll write your name on my blank space anyways.” I feel as though it is devaluing the person you are potentially going to be seeing by having that kind of attitude. And this idea of a blank space that can be filled is also troubling. Ones love and appreciation shouldn’t be something that’s just given away to anyone. And if you’re just going to write anyones name on the love you have, is this person really the one you should be giving it to?

“Boys only want love if it’s torture.”
Don’t even get me started on that…
Love isn’t torture when you’re with the right person and this goes for anyone at any age. If it’s torture for you then you’re not experiencing true love.
This song is clearly about Harry Styles, one of her exes that probably had a profound impact on her. (Don’t they all?!) But, again the message that I’m reading in this song is that even when you know a relationship is toxic, for the both of you, you involve yourself with the same person anyway. It’s almost like I want to shake her and ask her if she’d expect anything to change. This lyric alone tells you everything you need to know about a guy who would say this…
I say, “I heard, oh, that you’ve been out and about with some other girl, some other girl”
He says, “what you’ve heard is true but I can’t stop thinking about you”
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time
‘Cause we never go out of style
Some things need to go out of style and toxic relationships are one of them.
Essentially this whole album describes the initial love and downfall of relationships. Anyone who’s been in one knows the pain of when it doesn’t work out- either for better or worse. Before meeting my husband, I was in a pretty toxic relationship myself and it took me years to realize that the love I thought I had in that person wasn’t love at all. It was manipulation and control. It took me leaving and being open to the right person and not being closed off because of the faults of another. I could have potentially missed out on the wonderful and healthy relationship that I have with my now husband if I had stayed in that state of mind. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that only applies to romantic relationships either – it’s applicable to friendships as well.
Love is something beautiful and it comes in different forms. It evolves over time and can feel different at different seasons of our lives. It takes a woman having to realize the qualities in those frogs and to guard her heart from those pretending to be her prince. It’s more than just writing someones name in a blank space because you have the space to fill. It’s more than returning to the painfully familiar. And most importantly, love is more than just finding love in another…it’s being able to love yourself first. It’s about truly shaking off those who hold you back from being the awesome person you are – both in a relationship and out.

I personally look forward to seeing how Taylor Swift matures over time and I am rooting for her to finally find her equal – something we all deserve in this lifetime.
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My Grateful Heart

Mondays strike and without warning our week has begun. (Well, I guess Sunday is warning enough but you get where I’m going with this). Mondays serve as a beginning; something anew. I am linking up today with Ember Grey for Grateful Heart Monday.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Here are a few things that I am very grateful for this week:
dental insurance. This week I’ll have to get a few more fillings and get a root canal. Boo. Although I do have to pay quite a bit out of pocket, but having insurance pay for a majority of the costs is a huge life saver.
the best yes book study. This book has been a pleasure to read and each night’s readings help me keep perspective throughout my week.
friends on netflix. (I saw this on Betsy’s blog and I have to agree). With not feeling good with allergies and recently all my dental work, I’ve loved being able to catch up with Ross, Rachel, Pheobe, Chandler, Joey, and Monica. Yes, we are on a first name basis.
my job. I get to wake up each morning and love of not only the people I work with, but my administration. I am so blessed to have found my preschool because not too many people can say that about their job.
string cheese in my lunch. Simply because cheese makes me happy 🙂

What are you grateful for? Be sure to join the linkup!

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Getting Away

Hi everyone! It’s been a quiet weekend on the blog and that’s because on Saturday I assisted with my husband in pouring at the tasting room he worked when he was stationed at Vandenberg AFB years ago. This tasting room is called Artiste and it’s located in a cute little wine town in Los Olivos, CA. If you’re looking for a lovely getaway from the hustle and bustle of LA, or just home in general, this little nook is the perfect place to go. There are about 20+ wineries and tasting rooms all within walking distance and you can’t get better than those views. All along the valley you have other wineries that go on for miles.

What I love about Artiste is that their tasting room is designed after an 1880s working art studio. Each bottle features different contemporary Impressionist artists, which reflect both the art and compliment the wine. Guests are encouraged to paint and sketch in the tasting room in addition to tasting their wines. I wish I were talented enough to sketch something but it’s fun to watch others get into it. Also, there are new artisan oils and vinegars (that are delicious) available to taste as well.
A day in the life of a tasting room pourer…
Once we got into town the first thing we did was little jobs around the shop. I washed and dried the tasting glasses, prepped new bottles, and my husband taught me how to get the pour just right (it took me a while to pour the right amount without overdoing it. It’s harder than it looks when you don’t have a stopper). I had to read the bottles and see what variations of grape made up that blend. It’s a lot of information, especially for a newbie like me, but the plus side is that you get better by drinking more of the wine! Gotta love that aspect of the job.
Oh, and right before we opened for the day and as I was in the back prepping glasses guess who comes in……Ed Helms from The Hangover and The Office! I was so bummed I wasn’t out front when he came and he was only coming in to ask for directions to a gas station…but cool nonetheless. 
The day was long and I spent the majority of it on my feet but it was SO much fun and I’m happy that I had this opportunity. The best part was just making conversation with the different people that came in. I’m a bit shy at first and striking up conversation with strangers isn’t necessarily my strong suit, but it got easier the more I did it. Plus, you know, the wine I’m drinking all day helps! Liquid encouragement. 
After working this weekend I was able to take home my favorite wine from this selection, which was the Old & Glorious. Not too bad getting paid in wine. Just sayin’. 
I learned so much about the wine and by the end of the day had a greater appreciation for what goes into your tasting experience from the perspective of the pourer. These are people who love wine and love making your time in the tasting room enjoyable. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to pour and I hope you all get the chance to get out and go wine tasting in your area. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with yourself, a group of friends, or with your significant other. 

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Home Remedies for Battling Nasal Congestion

I’m so tired of feeling congested and, well, tired. All. The. Time. For the last few weeks I’ve been having some serious nasal congestion due to allergies. The funny part is that when we were discussing moving to CA from VA I thought “goodbye allergies!” cause, you know, we’d be by the beach and all. Ha! I’m not quite sure where I got that from but at the time it made total sense to me. However, what I’ve quickly come to realize is that is not the case. At all. There’s pretty much allergens everywhere and there’s nothing I can do to escape them. #science.

It also says something about me when I own all of these:

But the most frustrating part about all of this is that none of these OTC medicines seem to work. I’ve barely had any sleep because I’ve been a mouth-breather for the last few nights and wake up with the driest mouth ever…even to the point where I wake myself up because I’m choking on air. Ridiculous. So I decided to take to the web to try and find home remedies that may help relieve some of this congestion and sinus pressure. 
First, before attacking the problem you need to know what you’re up against and why it’s happening to you. Here’s a little science lesson on what causes nasal congestion according to WebMD:
What’s actually causing that stuffed up feeling? When you’ve got a cold or allergies, the membranes lining your nasal passages become inflamed and irritated. They begin to produce excess mucus as a way of flushing out whatever is causing the irritation, such as an allergen.
When you’re stuffed up, you need to focus on keeping your nasal passages and sinuses moist. Although people sometimes think that dry air might help clear up a relentlessly runny nose, it actually has the opposite effect. Drying out the membranes will irritate them further.

Here’s my list of home remedies that I’ve found to help:

Take a hot shower.
The warm steam from a hot shower relieves the swelling of the sinuses. However, this is only a temporary solution.
Get a humidifier with a mist.
Putting moisture back into the air will help bring nasal congestion down. This is due large in part to keeping your nose nice and moist. Also, it is recommended to opt for the mist versus steam since you can easily burn yourself if the steam is too hot (this is especially important for children).
Drinking fluids.
A pretty simple method. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated so that your body can naturally produce mucus, which will help pass the allergens that are making you congested in the first place.
Wash your sinuses.
A Neti Pot or other saline solutions are a good remedy for clearing up your sinuses. It’s easy to use and incorporates a salt-water mixture to clear the mucus blocking your sinuses. Just be careful not to use hot water because you WILL burn yourself.


Know when to go to the doctor.
Most home remedies or even over-the-counter medicines can clear up your sinuses. But if you’re experiencing these problems for over 10 days it’s maybe time to see a doctor.
I just hope that I’m just experiencing simple allergies and that this congestion will clear up soon. I hate that it makes me feel so lethargic and unproductive. But, with that said, it’s time to make some tea, curl up, and watch some Real Housewives!

What are home remedies that you’ve tried that works??? I’ll do anything!

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