Wednesday, September 29, 2010!

Need a quick pick-me-up?!  Listen to Don't Rain On My Parade from GLEE.

Okra Strut 2010:
Irmo, South Carolina has been my home for almost nine years.  I can remember the day I moved here.  I didn’t think I could love living in a place called…
I-R-M-O home of the OkRa StRuT

But, I think your home is what you make it, whether it is in Raeford, North Carolina, Powhatan, Virginia, or Macon, Georgia.  A home has family, friends, and traditions.
One of the many wonderful traditions that Irmo established 37 years ago is the okra strut.  Before I even explain what the okra strut is, think about the name for just a minute.  Okra is a vegetable…it is a type of food.  I like fried okra with ketchup.  I haven’t been a fan of it for very long though.  The look of it isn’t too appealing.  But, after getting a little older, and wanting to broaden my horizon a bit, I tried it.  In saying that though, not many people do like it…even after trying it.  So why did Irmo, South Carolina choose to have an annual strut named after an unpopular vegetable?

“It all began in 1973 as a fundraiser for the Lake Murray-Irmo Woman’s Club.  The goal was to build a brand new library for the Irmo community.  Local radio personality, the late Gene McKay, had the idea of naming the fundraiser the “Okra Strut” when he, jokingly, described the “ancient Irmese” as “a farming tribe who lived off okra!”  In October that year, the Woman’s Club had a modest arts & crafts sale inside Seven Oaks Park.
The Okra Strut has grown with an estimated attendance of 50-70,000 festival-goers from surrounding communities and states.  The festival is presented by Lexington Medical Center, First Citizens, and Budweiser of Columbia and is held in and around the Irmo Village Shopping Center in the heart of Irmo.
A recipient of numerous awards, the Okra Strut was featured as one of “ten great places to celebrate food” in USA Today along side of the Maine Lobster Festival and the Monterrey Bay Strawberry Festival.”
The Parade:
The parade started at 9am.  Imagine plenty of Irmoians lined up along the street; sidewalks on one side covered with soft blankets, comfy chairs, kids waiting anxiously, dogs wanting attention, and adults with their coffee.  A hill of grass on the other side, almost mirroring the concrete image, with the remains of morning breath hiding behind dew, crowned with a railroad track; Irmo police patrol the area, the street is closed, the day is getting hot, and we wait. 
The first sign…music.  Once you can hear the music, you know there coming your way.  Any and all of Irmo’s organizations are involved.  Political leaders, Schools – this includes your athletes, cheerleaders, band members – Dance Studios, Churches, Banks, Restaurants…anybody who wants to be recognized, puts either a float, a group of people with t-shirts, signs, flyers, “stocking stuffers”, and they all have CANDY…in the line-up. 
I love parades!
By being in the parade, you are a symbol of what our town has become.  By watching the parade, you are affiliating yourself as a member/supporter of the town.  And I love to be involved.  Not to mention, it’s like a mini Halloween.  I just stood there with a bag open, and people came and dropped things in it. 
I am a kid at heart.  As a 21 year old though, a lot of people passed me by when passing out candy or giving away balloons.  And who’s to say I wouldn’t want to hug a mascot?  But, I didn’t let that rain on my parade.  Instead, I enjoyed watching actual children participating in this action.
People should follow the rules.  There’s a reason rules are in place.  Nobody is an exception to the rules.  I’m going to be very nice in saying this…this has nothing to do with the types of people that I’m about to reference…it has everything to do with following the rules.  There were a “couple” of women standing next to us, in the street.  The street was closed, not so they could stand in it.  The street was closed, so the parade could pass through without interruption.  This concept makes sense, right?!  The women had their children with them, and being a part of Irmo, they had a right to be there as much as anybody.  If no one had minded that they were not following the rules, why should I?  On the other side of us, there was a mom.  A very nice lady, who actually happened to know one of the ladies I was with.  Her daughter was in the parade.  As a mom, she wanted to see her daughter, and wanted to make sure her daughter could see her.  Kindly, she asked the women to stand on the side walk like the rest of the town.  She was ignored.  She repeated herself a few times…one of the girls responded with, “why don’t you …BEEP… move”.  Mrs. Mom was on the side walk like everyone else, where was she supposed to move to?  If the couple had been following the rules, there wouldn’t have been a problem.  Mrs. Mom walked up to the ladies and asked them to move again.  She stated that she came to watch her daughter in the parade, and wanted to be able to see her.  She just asked that they move back a bit.  How hard is it to do that?  Needless to say, no one moved.  It was sad to see grown women act so childish.  The only rotten group in Irmo, and somehow I ended up standing next to them…ha-ha.  But, I did not let that rain on my parade.  Instead, when Mrs. Mom’s daughter came by, we all cheered her on…she knew we were watching, and even as a third party observer, she was appreciated!!
This isn’t as new-agey as it sounds.  Create an affirmation wallet card and take the good vibes with you everywhere you go.
Cut an index card to roughly the same size as a credit card.
On your card, write at least one really nice thing about yourself.  Or write three things you like the best about yourself.  (You can use what you might have done for the previous post.)  Or write an uber-positive saying.  (“Nobody can rain on my parade.”)
You can laminate your card with laminating sheets, or you can even ask the store to laminate it for you.  Carry your affirmation card in your wallet.
                                         – The Happy Book       

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Celebrate Yourself!

Whoo hoo!  Go me…
1.   I have beautiful eyes.  They are hazel, but look green.  If you are really close, you can see yellow in them.  It looks as if there is a sunflower lying on a field of awesome grass!!
2.   If there was a show called American Idol from the shower, I would win without a blink of an eye.  I have an AMAZING singing voice….all the time, of course…but the shower makes it even better.
3.   I have the ability to bolt myself to ground.  It’s true…ask any of my friends.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating yourself.  For anybody who reads this, and doesn’t already know me, I thought I’d fill you in a little bit.  Of course, as this blog grows you’ll get to know me better. 
Before I get started, I want to say that even on the tough days; there is something to be happy about.  Let’s fast-forward to the present days.  We’ll reminisce later. 
I am 21 years old…currently independent.  Or should I say currently struggling to be independent.  They tell you in grade school that they are preparing you for life.  Learning to color inside the lines, all the complicated math problems, memorizing historical dates, summer reading, deciding who to sit next to at lunch, being yourself and alone, or changing for a few people you will never see again... The repetition, endless nights of studying, double checking your book bag to make sure you didn’t forget anything for school the next day; only to find out once you get to class that you forgot your paper.  As much as I learned throughout grade school, middle school, and high school, I can tell you that no amount of knowledge, golden rules, or mini life lessons can prepare you for what life really does have to offer. 
WARNING there is a lot of stress. 
Monetary stress, specifically.  Yes, of course, you worry about future exams, keeping up with your absences, getting to work on time, doing the laundry…not to mention daydreaming about that special someone…overanalyzing the things that they say, and the things that haven’t said.  On top of school, work, and normal everyday “independent – I need to take care of myself” duties, you have to remember the bills. 
Oversized stress makers:  Payments for school, taxes, rent, electricity, car payments, car insurance, gas, food, life insurance, credit cards, blah, blah, blah…the list could go on…don’t forget if you want to have the slightest social life, that costs money to.
The point…
Now with all of that said…the back story… I decided that at 21, oversized stress makers even 6 days a week were not worth the search for a roommate.  A very short couple of days later, my friend Randy raised his hand and said “pick me”!  Almost the best two words I have ever heard… he moves in next Friday…obviously more on him later. 
But, since he is moving in, I needed to move a few things around my apartment.  I live in a two bedroom…and came across a couple of boxes I haven’t unpacked.  I didn’t unpack them because I didn’t have anywhere to put the stuff…and still don’t.  I wanted to look through them though…maybe get rid of some things I didn’t need.  I found a lot of cool things though…things that at one point in my life, I felt the need to hold on to it.  So in celebrating me…and downsizing the stress makers…I wanted to post a lot of this old stuff...but had trouble.  Instead, I linked cool websites that reminded me of those things.  I hope you enjoy these things like I did…it’s interesting to see what I felt I needed to hold on to…
1. An Alarm Clock!
2. The Big Mo Cup! The Big Mo is a drive in movie theater. 
If your not from Columbia SC...or close to it...check out this website to find drive-in movies near you. 
3.  Pictures of Old Jobs! 
4.  Pictures from The Mast General Store
5. Post Cards!
6. Things from Road Trips!  In December 2003, I took a trip to New York City!  It was the best road trip!
7. Letters from Friends!
8. Valentine's Day Cards!
9. Doodles from Friends!
10. Certificates!
11. A pile of class work from Journalism 101!
12. My acceptance letter for "Silver Screen Report".  The "Silver Screen Report" is a broadcast show my high school did, and I was a reporter!

Whether you’re a fan or not there’s something to be said for celebrating yourself and singing yourself, for giving voice to your inner beauty.  Find at least three things that you really like about yourself.  Write them here.  Shamelessly brag about yourself.  Quiz your friends on your list, until they can recite it too.  Celebrate yourself, and sing yourself. 
 – The Happy Book

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It was love at ...dOuBlE tAkE...

Clichés. old joke...a saying...a principle...a rule...

a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse

What’s your favorite cliché? 

A grandma that makes the best chocolate chip cookies…
…a childhood favorite, fun loving puppy…
…a sky full of rainbows?

Mine…“It was love at first sight.”

Is it so wrong to believe in something that everybody else believes in…or even so, to believe in something that people are gradually growing out of?

As a child, I watched movies like Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella…okay so Disney movies.  Still, as a little girl, you dream about your prince charming.  You just know the day you lay your eyes on him, you’ll KNOW.  There’s something so beautiful in believing this.  Even after you meet your true love, and it turns out it wasn’t love at first sight; don’t you find yourself reminiscing about the first time you met them?  When was it that you made eye contact?  Was it across a crowded room?  Did the loud music and heavy conversation turn into wispy air?  Or was it somebody that you have known for a long time, and all of a sudden, one day you see them in a different way?  A friend, that treated you the way you would want to be treated, “then someone bends unexpectedly”. 

For me, I don’t think it’s going to be love at first sight.  It is a wonderful thought…and don’t misjudge what I’m saying…I think that there will be something there.  Some unknown magical bond between me and prince charming…somehow I will know that he is important to me.  Will it be love?  I think love guides that magical feeling…are they one in the same…perhaps.  But I know that I will need to take a closer look.  The first look though, is just as important, as every look after that. 

My sister got married…
The instrumental version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight played softly, almost an aura of sentiment.  Linked arm in arm, a bitter sweet expression lay upon my father’s face, as he took the last few steps with his single daughter.  My father’s never been one for habitual sweet words, I know without a doubt, though, he volunteered for them that night.  As quickly as the day had come, the bride was giggling with glee, one blink later, she was waving a decorated hand at her tear ducts.  “Who gives the bride?” echoed, bouncing off of Carolina trees, and twinkled lights; “Her mother and I”...

Everyone’s eyes had been on the bride…but as my father’s hand returned to his side, the peanut gallery of sniffles now watched the groom.  His eyes said everything his voice wouldn’t.  Knowing them like I do, they probably created mores code for “you look beautiful” and “I love you stinky”.


Do you know the saying… my life flashed before my eyes?  If it were me standing at the altar, you could have paused that moment, and in a bold caption encircling that picture, it would read our life “slide showed” before my eyes…and I am happy 

I could not tell you what Kasie or Jay was thinking. I do not know if they fell in love at first sight.  I do not know if it happened the second time they saw each other or the forth-seventh.  What is amazing though…is knowing that one decision you make has the opportunity to change your life forever.  For Kasie and Jay, they met in a 10th grade math class.  Perhaps they chose not to talk to one another…would they be hitched now?

Keep your eyes peeled…maybe the stranger loaning you there pencil is your prince charming or lady to be…

Love at first sight might not exist…but does that mean you should not believe in it just because there’s a possibility it could be love at “double take”?

Give it a chance. Live happily ever after.

There are certain unspoken associations of happiness, but just because lots of people love something doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you to love it too.  Pick your favorite happy cliché, and write about it here.  – The Happy Book

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



…or rather, I should ask to be welcomed




You know what makes you happy.

Perhaps, it’s the smell of the perfume strips in a new magazine.

Maybe, old favorite movies, like Dirty Dancing.

…trying to dance while watching Dirty Dancing…

Lying down on a bed with cold sheets, after a hot day…falling asleep.

You know the small things that make you smile.

…the big things…

…I’m offering you a chance to celebrate what makes you happy.

This is a place where you can express your better moments.

To scribble your thoughts, make lists, paste pictures, doodle….dream.

Life is too short to focus on the bad…so don’t.

This is your happy blog.

I was inspired to start this blog for several different reasons…but I’ll stick to three:

One – I wanted a place I could articulate my literary passion.

Two – I find joy in small things. It has made me an optimistic person. This is something I should not be selfish with.

Three – I have a friend that started a blog about something that made her happy. She wanted to share her happiness with the world. That is a pay it forward I can appreciate.

Disney fan?! – check out her blog at

For starters…

Some things that make me happy

1. Smores with charcoaled marshmallows

2. Listening to my three year old brother say yellow

3. Feeling it get dark outside

4. Finding perfect birthday gifts on accident

5. The sound of leaves crunching under my feet in the fall

6. Hearing my cat purr

7. A Shirley temple with too many cherries

8. Kissing scenes in movies like “an affair to remember”

9. The first snowfall of the year

10. Changing out of wet shoes and socks after standing in the rain

Create a list of things that make you happy.

I encourage you to post it...share it…live it…remember it.