‘Twas the night before football and all through the field,
Some teams who will conquer, and others who’ll yield.
The Yellow Hammers have been stirred by the Gumps with great care,
In hopes that Saint Nick will give the Trojans a scare.
Bulldogs, Aggies, Tigers, and Cats,
were dreaming of touchdowns and padding their stats.
With girls in sundresses and guys in their caps,
The dreaded offseason had finally lapsed.
Last season is gone the record is wiped clean,
all players are tougher, and faster, and mean.
States, Techs, and Directions, we all have a chance,
of crashing the party, of making the dance.
When 9AM came the alarm started ringing,
For Big and Rich tunes we now will be singing.
Gameday is on, the analysts talking
Some predictions they make are really quite shocking.
Some fans are yapping, and talking big smack
insistently shouting their glories are back.
Goal post to goal post there the truth lies
which teams are pretenders and which claim the prize.
The tents are set up, the TVs are tuned,
Toes will meet leather come just after noon.
The long wait is over, no longer just near
so grab a cold beverage, and sit down right here.
The players and coaches, all focused and prepped,
Know legends have walked the same places we’ve stepped.
For bookies and band geeks, all the above
Here’s America’s sport and the game we all love.
In June James and I took an amazing 10 day trip to Italy! We had an absolutely incredible time traveling with another couple, and we can’t wait to go back.
Should I use some more superlatives?
But seriously, if there’s one thing I can tell you about Italy it’s that it is in no way overhyped.
Aside from the obvious things like “drink as much cheap delicious house wine as you can” and “the people watching is amazing,” here are a few of the other things we learned in Italia.
1. Only Pack Comfortable Shoes
I really just can’t stress this enough. Only pack and wear really really comfortable shoes.
There will be bloggers who will tell you to you must be as fashionable as possible to keep up with the locals, and even that some restaurants won’t let you in unless you’re wearing heels.
These bloggers, to put it delicately, are absolutely full of it.
I toted a pair of Coach wedges in my pack the entire trip. We went to cheap hole-in-the-wall restaurants, we went to restaurants that would make the nicest ones in Birmingham blush, and everything in between, and I never wore those shoes once.
You know why? Because in Italy you walk everywhere, and even if you think you’re used to walking quite a bit, you almost certainly aren’t used to walking 7-10 miles a day on cobblestone streets.
Here’s an important corollary: If you think you might be hiking, where appropriate footwear. Ignore this advice at your own peril.
Our first day in the gorgeous seaside area of Cinque Terre we went on a somewhat-impromptu hike after our boat tour ended earlier than we expected. My quite expensive, very comfortable Naot sandals will be just fine, I thought!
Hear me all you who have eyes to listen: nothing looks less fashionable than having to wear socks with your $155 sandals because of enormous blisters.
2. Absolutely do the touristy things
Vatican? Check. The Colosseum? You betcha. Il Duomo? OMG. The Pantheon? Don’t you dare miss it. La Piazza de Michelangelo? I’ll write more about that in a minute, but YES!
Every single “touristy” thing that you’re “supposed to see” in Italy is 100% worth the lines and crowds.
Just don’t be a hipster traveler. Yes, there are TONS of hidden treasures to be discovered that we adored, but if something has been drawing tourists for the better part of a millennium (or two!) there’s probably a really good reason for it.
3. Don’t be afraid
While we were preparing to travel I probably spent as much time trying to find the perfect pickpocket-proof purse and learning all about how to protect myself from everything gypsy swindlers to terrorists.
And then there was the anxiety of learning exactly how to say several common Italian phrases in the perfect accent that would make me look like less of a typical American tourist.
Newsflash (to me): You’re a 6 foot tall naturally blonde woman from Alabama. You aren’t fooling anyone.
But even if you aren’t an amazon from the deep south, chances are you are not going to blend in with the locals after only a few days in a foreign country.
Yes, it is really nice and an appreciated gesture to attempt to speak the language (it’s beautiful, and if you took high school Spanish, it’s was actually really easy to pick up), but in Western Europe nearly everyone in the service industry knows enough English to bring you delicious food and wine.
On the safety and security front. Just don’t be stupid. Wear a crossbody purse, pay attention to your surroundings, and don’t buy the dadgum roses from the dadgum gypsies. But have fun! The cops are there to help you, and the very heavily armed and highly trained military men and women are there to protect you from the bad guys.
Life is too short and the world is too big and beautiful to stay home out of fear.
4. The whole country is some kind of entertainment district
Most cities here in the states have what are called entertainment districts where you can openly drink alcohol on the street.
To the best of my knowledge the entire country of Italy is an entertainment district.
Drink the wine. Be careful. Have fun.
5. Watch sunset on La Piazza de Michelangelo
In Florence (my favorite of the cities we visited) looking over the city is the Piazza de Michelangelo, where Michelangelo’s David used to be displayed. My favorite evening of the entire trip was when we climbed up to the top with a few bottles of good wine and sat on the steps for several hours anticipating the sunset.
We made friends with a world traveler, a group of middle aged women from Brazil (Salute!), and dozens of romantic couples.
6. Eat ALL THE GELATO
In all we went to four locations: Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, and Pompeii/Mt. Vesuvius.
We can’t wait to go back!
Do you have any questions about what to see and do in Italy? Travel tips of your own? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
Nearly four months ago I left my stable, mostly predictable job for the crazy, stressful, crisis-filled challenge of running communications for a statewide campaign.
My candidate, a young political newcomer with more real-world experience than many people twice his age, stared down some of the longest odds you can face: taking on an entrenched incumbent with the capability to outspend you more than 10-to-1.
Being a young woman in what continues to be a “good ole boys’” field has both its drawbacks and advantages, I found.
Well, I found a lot of things. Here are a few of them.
1. There Are Two Types of People Who Work on Campaigns
While working on professional campaigns you will encounter two types of people: Those who do it for the cause, and those who do it for the thrill of the game. Don’t get me wrong, those two categories sometimes overlap, and that’s where you find the sweet spot.
I hope you’re in the Sweet Spot, because…
2. You Better Love What You’re Doing, and Who You’re Doing it For
Working for a campaign full time means long hours… loooooong hours. 16-18 hour days were quite normal for our team. We very rarely worked fewer than 12. I went days without seeing my husband, and weeks without seeing friends outside the campaign.
Pile on top of that a gaggle of Twitter bullies hiding behind fake names, being followed to coffee meetings, and having a background check/opposition research docket run on you, and it wasn’t always the easiest job. People are going to be sexist, they’re going to be jerks, they’re going to do everything they can to tear you down.
If you aren’t absolutely, passionately, consumingly on board with who and what you’re working for you’re going to burn out. I know people who are in it for the money, or to get to the next job, and they are almost never as effective as those Sweet Spotters.
Leaving my job for a long shot candidate was a risk, taking on a four decade incumbent was a risk, employing untested campaign tactics was a risk, but if there’s one thing you can’t do in campaigns it’s sit on your hands and refuse to stick your neck out there.
In today’s rapidly changing political climate, doing what has always worked will probably no longer be effective (I’m looking at you, yard signs). Think Obama in 2008, he used a social media and big data in a way that had never been seen before, and it electrified the nation. Now, those tactics have become part of the campaigning status quo.
Figuring out the next big thing can be the linchpin for your entire career, or the pursuit of it can paralyze you. Either way, you can’t just do what has always been done.
4. Having a Partner Who is Not in the Biz Will Keep You (somewhat more) Sane
There were weeks I spent four nights away from home, and when I did get back from the campaign trail, it might be 10 PM or later. Without my sweet husband I might not have had clean clothes to wear, or a nutritious meal every once in a while. I’m never one to withhold praise of the man I was luck enough to marry, but I can’t stress enough how much he really outdid himself over the last 4 months. Seriously.
5. You Must Absolutely Take Your Vitamins and Get Some Sleep
Go to the store, get gummy vitamins, and take them every day. Keep a gallon of hand sanitizer in your car and use it. Take one morning a week to catch up on sleep. Mine was usually Sunday. I’d crash Saturday night at 9PM sleep in until around 10AM. Getting sick on the campaign trail will not only make you less productive, it can endanger the health of the candidate, and the thousands of people you meet throughout the week.
This race was ultimately not successful, but that’s ok. We changed the debate, we dragged the opposition to the right, and made him answer some really tough questions. Yeah, it sucks to lose, but the experience of meeting tens of thousands of Alabamians, building my reputation and relationships with members of the press across the country, and became very close friends with some of the most upstanding, hard working people I’ll ever meet.
Campaigns are a pressure cooker: they’ll either bring out your best, or you’ll explode. I don’t know who my next candidate will be, or even when for that matter, but I do know I’ll never stop working for the people and causes I know are right. For some politicos the fun is in the winning, no matter the cost.
Can you believe it’s already holiday season?! While I threw a teeny tiny fit in the grocery store earlier this week for pulling all the candy corn from the shelves in favor of green, red, and silver-wrapped chocolates and Santa cookies, I do understand the joyful anticipation for the most wonderful time of year!
To help you get in the mood for all the upcoming holidays, the ladies over at Over the Moon have put together a DARLING set of goodies to get your home’s Christmas spirit revved up!
Included in the Ultimate Holiday Party Box is Over the Moon’s signature “Jingle Bells” banner, tassel garland, and dot garland to spruce up your mantel or decorate your Christmas tree, PLUS special items from other local creators, including macarons from Magic City Macarons, and the cutest coasters and gift cards from Allison R. Banks designs.
Right now Over the Moon is taking pre-orders for these cutesies! Anything ordered by November 12th has guaranteed delivery during the first week of December!
Have you heard of McKay’s bookstores? They’re a small chain of huge used book and music stores based in Tennessee.
My dear sister and brother in law took us last time we visited them in Nashville, and now I can’t wait to get back!
McKay’s is comprised of rows upon rows of gently used (and a few new) books, stacks of new and used vinyl albums, and a pretty good selection of CDs, too! All tucked neatly into cubbies, organized by genre, and in some cases by author.
While I spent quite some time browsing my favorite genres, including picking through the C.S. Lewis and economics cubbies, it was the cookbook section where I ultimately found most of my haul.
It was like a bibliophile and a chef had a baby. It was majestic! It turns out there are three McKay’s location across the state of Tennessee… anyone want to go in with me on opening one in Alabama?
Here’s my stack of books. (there are actually 3 missing… They’re on my bedside table!)
Any guesses on how much I spent?
Surely at least $40, right?
$16 freaking dollars, and most of that was with two econ books!
Each cookbook was $0.50-$0.75.
Some of them are a little out of date, but food is like fashion… Just wait a few years and the same ideas and flavor combos come back in style!
Now, I just need James to build a bookshelf in the kitchen for me so I can display them all 😀
Millions of Americans waited impatiently for halftime of the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles game Monday night to catch the first view of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment in the pop-culture classic. In less than two months Alabamians will have the opportunity to screen the blockbuster in the heart of the nation’s space program and the shadow of the extraordinary Saturn V rocket, the vehicle that took humans to the Moon.
Having mastered the art of the “teaser trailer,” the producers of Star Wars Ep. VII gave its audience exactly what it wanted: a glimpse of the vast Star Wars universe filled with both familiar characters and new faces alongside intriguing shots of otherworldly technologies and creations, but nothing that could be considered a spoiler of the adventure to come December 18th.
The universe of Star Wars holds a special place in the American experience. Created by a no-name director and writer who turned his idea for a space opera into an multi-billion dollar empire only slightly smaller than the one introduced to us by Darth Vader, adults and teens alike now sport Star Wars merchandise and consider the series an integral part of their lives, while even the youngest children instinctively grasp the thrilling story of a clash between good and evil and the power of redemption before they know how to say the words “Tatooine,” or “Rebel Alliance.”
Despite a general sense of disappointment loomed over the prequels made during the turn of the century, tens of millions of men, women, and children tuned in to catch the trailer, stuck anxiously between the reality that Christmas is still somehow two months away, and that it’s been decades since a Star Wars movie worth obsessing over was released.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville will screen the premiere on its Spacedome IMAX theater at 7pm and 10pm December 17th. Tickets went on sale at the ticket desk at the museum entrance Tuesday morning for $10. Thousands of theaters across the globe will show Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the Christmas season, but a screening in the Rocket City seems just a little bit more out of this world.
We’ve already bought our tickets for the premiere, and you better believe my costume is in the works!
My name is Elizabeth BeShears, and I am one of the women you claim makes up 50 percent of the NFL’s viewership.
While college football is my first love, the NFL is a close second. From the first time my dad (who played Division 1 college football) explained to me how the down system worked when I was a little girl, I have soaked up every minute of football I possibly could. I play in two Fantasy Football leagues every year, and every Sunday afternoon finds me glued to the TV watching NFL Sunday ticket, keeping track of as much football as I possibly can. For about four months a year, my household lives and breathes football.
So when I heard that the NFL, under your leadership, only gave Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice a paltry two game suspension for being caught on tape dragging his wife out of an elevator after allegedly knocking her out cold, saying that I’m disappointed is a little bit of an understatement.
Sure, Rice will miss two games and sacrifice a few hundred thousand dollars, but his punishment would be laughable, if this wasn’t such a serious matter. For man who earned $24 million over the last two years, his suspension is barely a slap on the wrist. But it is when we compare his punishment to others is when it becomes clear just how lightly you and the NFL are taking this sort of behavior.
Every October you force players to wear pink cleats and arm bands in an effort to show women how much you care about us, and every October you clean up from the sales of pink jerseys and other breast cancer awareness merchandise. In fact, only 8.01 percent of money spent on pink NFL merch actually ends up being used for breast cancer research.
I’m not the only female football fan who has noticed your duplicity.Ladies from across the country are speaking out about the difference in your words and actions when it comes to women’s issues.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. That is two times more than will suffer from breast cancer. An estimated 1.3 million women are abused by an intimate partner every year.
You may view me and other women as simply another market to be tapped, but until you begin taking domestic abuse seriously, you aren’t going to win any of us over. You see, this is a free market, and I can still get my football fix without giving y0u a dime.
My husband and I have already made the decision not to renew our subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket—which at $39.99 a month was the most expensive TV extra we buy—and you can rest assured that we won’t be contributing to your breast cancer awareness marketing gimmick, either.
If you really have any desire to reach out to women, you’ll reconsider how you approach the issue of domestic abuse. We’re watching you, and your actions on this matter could very well dictate the future of the NFL.
Elizabeth TR BeShears
Woman with a voice
This letter was originally published on ThoughtsonLiberty.com where I post weekly op-eds and articles alongside other liberty-loving-ladies.
The common theme among these articles against marriage is that in marrying someone you must give up your identity. In my (albeit limited) experience, I couldn’t disagree more. Marrying the right person has allowed me to be more myself than I ever was as a single.
Popular culture and my personal dating experience taught me that my worth is not tied to my intelligence, ambition, or wit, but to whether or not I have the right clothes, a thigh-gap, and suitable attractiveness.
Let me acknowledge my spouse privilege here: I got a good one. He’s supportive of my career, thinks I’m hilarious, and is willing to be a stay-at-home dad if that’s what works best for us when the time comes. A real catch, and as far as an empowering husband, I can’t imagine of one much better. I enthusiastically took his last name after we married.
We are mutually submissive to one another and strive every day to have an egalitarian and respectful outlook to roles within the house and our relationship, and in this I have become more free to be myself than I ever felt I could be before. Instead of concerning myself with sizing up others as potential partners, and worrying about what they think of me, I spend my time building meaningful friendships and working relationships.
I’m no longer concerned about people thinking I’m too quiet, too loud, too fat, too tall, etc. I get to be myself. I know my husband has my back, and that’s enough for me.
But this is about more than my insecurities. It is also about efficiency. Living in one house, with one set of bills and a common financial goal, we have much more flexibility to get out of debt, buy the goods and services we need, give to charities, and otherwise live comfortably and economically. We are able to use our comparative advantages to run an efficient relationship and household. Compare this to our financial state (broke broke broke) when we were dating, and there’s really no question that it is a better situation for us.
The point is, maybe getting married isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. My husband and I are better together than we are apart. We are happier, more satisfied, more financially comfortable, and more able to use our talents to help others than we would be without one another.