Musings on Men’s Fashion

Don’t men have it the easiest (when it comes to fashion)? From the time they are born until the time they die, all they need are a few good polos, a few good button-ups, jeans and khakis. Ok, so maybe their list is a little more involved than I’m giving them credit for, but you get the picture. Every year, women’s fashion changes. When I was in middle school, glitter pants from Limited Too were the craze. Now you wouldn’t catch me dead in glitter (sequins are a different story), but definitely not glitter pants. I’m only 2 years removed from college, and I ALREADY regret some of my fashion decisions.

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Why didn’t anyone tell me that this shirt looks like a shiny version of my grandmother’s table cloth? Who thought this would be a good idea? Might I also point out that JRB STILL regularly wears that pullover and the polo beneath it.

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Another photo proving my point. This was only 4 years ago. I immediately regret basically everything about it- the oversized MEN’S button-down and satchel that I carried far too long. May I also point out that I’m wearing PEARLS?? Nothing screams class like a girl in pearls and a men’s button-down.

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My roommates from college made much better decisions than I did. I don’t even wear strapless swimsuits that go straight across the chest. So why did I think it’s be a good decision to wear a dress with that cut? It must have been the complementary pleather belt that persuaded me.

Ok. Now that I’ve made my point that women’s fashion is fleeting and terrifying to look back on, let’s look at the main topic- men’s fashion. What I’ve perceived since living in a small town in the south is this:

Most people think men’s fashion should mainly be comprised of polos, jeans, camo and boots. No monogrammed cuffs and never, EVER skinny britches. (It’s their rule. Not mine.)

A man can go just about anywhere- church, the movies, dinner, backyard bbq, the gym, or a ball game- in Lagrange,GA if he will just put on a polo. There is NO place that is too good for a polo. Pair this with the aforementioned jeans and boots, and you’re styling!

Now, I know camouflage isn’t for everyone, but I added it to my list to cover the men during the winter months. When the Snowpocolypse ripped through Georgia this January, I had never seen so much camo in my life. If it wasn’t for camo boots and jackets, I suspect many of our fine Lagrange men would have caught hypothermia and died. Praise the Lord for camo and its warming properties!

Have you noticed that the big thing to do now is monogram EVERYTHING??? These poor babies are learning their initials before they learn their name, and men aren’t exempt from the phenomenon. I have seen men with monogrammed polos, cuffs, cuff links, boxers (yes, that’s real), and socks. If that’s your thing, that’s fine. No hate from the girl with the pleather belt and pearl earrings. However, most of the men I am around cannot fathom why they would want to monogram their clothes, let alone their boxers. Nothing screams masculinity like a men in monogrammed boxers, right?

My favorite quote that pretty well sums up my men’s fashion rant is from my boss, “There’s just something wrong with a man wearing tight britches.”

The end.

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Football (Always and Forever) > Basketball

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What makes grown men show more emotion than they day their children were born? And makes women dress their children like cheerleaders while they wear pearls and sundresses? What  influences the dates of weddings more than the bride and groom? And shuts down cities and households every Saturday in the fall?

One word- football.

I am always  baffled when I hear someone in the South say that a sport other than football is their favorite sport to watch. I mean, if Derek Jeter lived in Atlanta, even he would have to say that his favorite sport is football. In the South, football is a god.

That is why I am even more baffled at the amount of Auburn fans screaming from the top of the mountains about Bruce Pearl being hired at Auburn. I didn’t know that many people were “into” basketball. Don’t get me wrong- I am pumped. That is a huge hire and (I’m hoping) will be a great influence on our sub-par basketball program. However, the minute spring training starts, every Auburn fan (and person in the South who is relatively normal) begins the football countdown.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s the men (and women) who LITERALLY (not figuratively) have an app that counts down to the first day of college football. It’s the tweet that says, “148 days until college football. #govols” (For the sake of my argument I needed to use examples other than Auburn. Yes, I see this is sinful. I will beg for forgiveness later. At least I didn’t say go dawgs. And don’t even think I will ever come close to saying those devil words -r**l t**e)

You see, the SEC keeps trying to make basketball happen. And it just isn’t. It will ALWAYS lose to football. (I’m sorry, folks. It’s the truth.) Until SEC fans begin counting down to basketball season, dressing their children (or sorority girls) in basketball uniforms, and skipping major life events to watch basketball games, football will remain the champion.

(Note: I realize that North Carolina and Kentucky are exceptions, but do we even claim them as the South???)

Don’t believe me that football is king? Let me tell you some stories.

When I was in second grade, my cousin got married on the day of the Iron Bowl. (WHHAATT?!?! WHO DOES THAT!?!?) Yes, she did. It was tragic, and I knew this even in the second grade. The day of the wedding was wonderful. We got ready together, had a fun breakfast, played at the huge house where the reception was (maybe that was just me), took tons of pictures, and got them married. However, from about 11:30 until 3, none of the groomsmen (or me) could be found. It was time for pictures, and there were no groomsmen!! Where were they found and drug from? The coat closet with a miniature television. That’s right. They “escaped” from wedding day duties to cram into a closet like sardines. Men only do this for football.

A separate and true story- My best friend got engaged and immediately chose a Saturday in November (because Auburn would be off that weekend). Well, about a month later, she realized that Auburn actually would be playing that weekend, and bumped her wedding up almost a full month. To you this may seem like not a big deal, but to the Southern woman who loves all things floral, calligraphy, and lace,  a month is a HUGE deal. You don’t just throw together a wedding at the country club! That takes time, energy, and a Southern accent; a month is crucial. Now that is what I call devotion. Ever heard of anyone doing that for basketball? hockey? soccer? Didn’t think so.

One time JRB told me that he wasn’t sure he would’ve dated me if I hadn’t been an Auburn fan. Think he REALLY cares if I pull for Auburn basketball? Ok, bad example. But still- football is more important.

I know a guy whose first words as a baby were, “Weagle.” Once again, think that was because his parents are avid Auburn basketball fans? Nope, season ticket holders for years for Auburn football.

I’m sorry, other sports fans, that live in the South. Your sport will always be #2 in our minds. There’s really nothing you can do about it.

Ecclesiastes and the Meal Trains

If I could change one verse in the Bible  (which I never would since I’m not God), it’d be in Ecclesiastes because when it comes to living in a Southern small town, some things just need to be addressed. My verse would be:

“For every season, there is a reason for a meal train.” Ecc. 3:1

Before I became a married woman (or moved to Lagrange) the concept of a meal train was completely foreign to me. When my mom got sick when I was in 6th grade, we had tons of people bring us meals (one of which was a Country Ham. Perfect for a heart patient, right? Love you long time, Hamp and Leanne!). However, I just thought people were nice.

When I moved out of my college town and into the “working world” and everyone started having babies, I realized that this idea of feeding people was a full-blown organization! People don’t just think to themselves, “Oh you know. Those Biermans have a had a rough week. Let’s bring them a delicious dinner for 14 consecutive days,” No, people aren’t that brilliant.

The first meal train I was a part of (which we discuss in detail later) was organized in Sunday school with a piece of paper and a pen. We all just signed up for what day we would bring food to the new family of four.

(Note: Meal trains are on the Pro side of the Pro/Con list for starting a family. I know someone who had to eventually tell people to STOP bringing their family meals after the birth of their baby boy.)

(That family are far better than JRB and I because I’ll be danged before I tell someone to NOT bring me food. My baby can be 2 years old, and you’re still very welcome to bring me a hot meal.)

Anyway, I tell you all of that to show the progression of the meal train in the short (almost) two years that I’ve been here. What started as a pass around in Sunday school is now a website. A WEBSITE! Hospitality has a website, and it’s called a Meal Trainmealtrain

The obvious thing to love about the meal train phenomonon is how  people become community and feed those in hardship. I love seeing a Sunday school class, friends, and co-workers display love to those who have experienced a loss, are moving, just had surgery or a baby, etc. It’s church in the truest form.

What I love almost equally as much is how everyone operates on these “meal train rules.” Let me explain.

Rule #1- Have a go-to meal train meal.  It has to be easy enough to do in  addition to whatever you’re doing for your family. The meal train is not the time to get fancy because 1.) No one has a spare 3 hours and 2.) You can’t screw up a meal to someone outside of your family. My go-to meal is Chicken Spaghetti. I bring it with a salad and dinner rolls. It’s easy to make, easy to eat, and great for leftovers. (I’m nervous to post the recipe because then you might steal my go-to meal. I’ll need to be talked into sharing.)

Rule #2- Even if you’re feeding your family Chick-Fil-A, the meal has to be prepared at home. I personally don’t agree with this rule because of the following example:

When JRB and I moved into our house, we took on a lot of home improvements at one time. It was so much that we’d work all day, come home, and work all night. I think we were both zombies at work. My friend and coworker noticed (probably because my eyes were  blood shot with circles and I had paint in my hair) and offered to bring us a meal that night. What?! My very own meal train!? That evening, I got a phone call from her saying that she was so so so sorry, but had run out of time. She was “so embarrassed,”  but was going to have to pick up Zaxby’s for us. PRAISE THE GREAT LION OF JUDAH! Why would we ever be embarrassed of the deliciousness of a Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich?! So, she brought us Zaxby’s and was a tiny bit embarrassed (and shouldn’t have been). This is why I believe Rule #2 shouldn’t exist (but it does).

Rule #3- Provide the meal in disposable pans. I’m not sure that everyone follows this rule, but I think we should because of the following reasons:

  1. If this family is really in need of a meal, then they definitely don’t need to do dishes.
  2. Not putting your meal in a disposable pan puts the burden of returning your dishes on the meal train family.
  3. Leaving your dishes at someone’s house doesn’t guarantee that you’ll ever see them again. (Not that I know from experience)

Rule #4- Be prepared with a brief list of conversation topics, and then GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE. Once again, let me explain.

The first time I ever was  a part of a meal train, I didn’t know the family that well. I knew who they were, that there was a new baby, but that was really about it. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I showed up at their house right on time with my Chicken Spaghetti, salad, and dinner rolls. What happened next, I’d like to forget. I thought that I should be nice and make conversation (I mean, they have been inside for a week and a half with a new baby, surely they’d like company? Especially me from me, right? I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed!), but really I’m not sure that’s what they wanted. Because TWENTY minutes later (I’m an idiot), I’m still standing there babbling about their baby and “adorable” house as the new mom, with circles under her eyes and extra large t-shirt hanging from her exhausted shoulders is cutting holes in me with her laser beam eyes. Ladies and gentlemen, get in. Give them the food. Say the baby is cute. And GET. OUT.

In conclusion, meal trains are great. I love them. If you guys want to start one for JRB and I, we won’t’ stop you.

(Note: we have no allergies and aren’t big on whole tomatoes. All other food options are a go.)

The Baby Hypothesis

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I’ve decided I’m going to begin blogging (occasionally) on the various things I’m learning while living in LaGrange, GA. Let me first say that none of these things are meant in an offensive way. JRB and I love LaGrange and its people. These observations only serve as… observations and are solely meant to be silly. Even though, let’s be real, these observations are 100 percent truth. I’m also not certain that these observations are just a small town thing. I’d say they’re “Southern.” Let’s begin with numero uno (that’s not Southern at all)-

Even if children aren’t in the picture, conversation always comes back to childbirth. 

Obviously, when JRB and I got engaged and then married, having a family was discussed. We discussed how many children we want to have and how long we want to wait.

(This conversation is absolutely hilarious to me since in no form, shape, way, or fashion can we ever really plan that. Who really decided that THIS is the time they want to have a baby, and then it actually happens in that time frame? If that’s you, please don’t come too close to me because I don’t want to catch your mega-fertility.)

However, I’ve noticed the following:

1. The longer you’re married without children, the more they are brought up.

2. The longer you’re alive, the more childbirth is brought up.

JRB and I are getting close to our 2-year anniversary which only means one thing- it’s now not remotely shocking if I get pregnant. People who get pregnant within the first two years always surprise us a little, right? I’m not saying you’re wrong for having a baby early- good for you! But no one ( as in us your wedding guests) is fully expecting a baby that quickly. However, at the two year mark… It’s game on. You can’t get sick, feel sick, or look sick without someone wanting to know if you’re pregnant. Oh, and if I am oddly more hungry than usual. Heavens to Betsy! There must be a baby, right? Wrong.

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When we first moved to Lagrange about a year and a half ago, we quickly found a church and got involved. Much to my surprise, these people actually liked us and invited us places. Sometimes to their houses; sometimes to a restaurant; and a lot of times to their baby showers. I had never been to many baby showers, but now I feel like a pro. (PLEASE let’s play baby shower games so I can impress you with my baby knowledge.) 
It wasn’t always like this, however. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been invited to my first LaGrange baby shower, and I was crazy nervous! I didn’t know these people that well, and I really didn’t want to screw up the gift. 
(Lesson learned- a diaper genie is ALWAYS a good choice.)
So I showed up and desperately cling to the few women I know. Then something odd happened. We began discussing childbirth and “baby things.” As the conversation turned to episiotomies and nipple creams, I not-so-slowly felt my face began to get hot. What the what?? The doctor takes what instrument and puts it where? You mean there is a career in breast feeding? I learned more in my first baby shower then I EVER did in high school health class. Maybe we need pregnant women to visit high schools. Then maybe our teenage pregnancy rate would lower, because they scared this girl half to death. 
Convinced I was adopting every single one of my children, I returned home to share my experience with my lovely husband. 
(Here are some things you should know about JRB- He’s the youngest. Wasn’t around many babies growing up. And never took an interest to babies. If anything, they may scare him a tad. Still working through that.)
As I shared about the various products that do weird things to a pregnant woman’s body and the odd things that happen to pregnant women’s bodies, I began to watch my handsome, strong husband slip into an uncomfortable, vegetative state. Very quickly, he informed me that he’d like to “cross that bridge when [he] came to it.”
Scarred from my first baby shower, I shied away from the next few I was invited to. Little did I know that baby showers aren’t the sole place of childbirth conversation. It happens everywhere. First, you’re in small group talking about the Apostle Paul. Next, you’re talking about how so-and-so’s arm was numb this morning. Stupid sciatic nerve. First you’re enjoying a lovely girls’ night drinking coffee with creamer. Then you quit drinking the creamer because you’re talking about breast milk. You get the picture. 
I suspect the reason is because at any point in time, someone I know is pregnant or just had a baby. I’ve grown out of my awkward phase and am now accepting that this is a blessing. EVENTUALLY, kids will be in the picture for us, and I’m going to be SO prepared. And for anything I don’t know, I have a long list of Sunday School/ Bible study/ Former co-workers I can call that are experts on the subject. Don’t worry, friends in large cities who never see babies, I’ll be your phone-a-friend. 
(I’ve included pictures of me with some of my favorite babes to prove to you that I do, in fact, love kiddos.)
(They all just so happen to be girls… GIRL POWER!!)
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