Patsy Lee

Dear Grandma,

Hey there it’s Rhyseeee Poo, but you knew that already. I’m actually pretty upset with you… there’s a sweet potato pound cake that I really wanted the recipe for and something tells me you didn’t write it down. But I guess we’ll have to talk about that another time. I’ve been trying to decide how exactly I’m supposed to go about this and I’ve discovered there’s really no rhyme or reason. You were Patsy, Mom, Aunt Pat, Miss always late, and best of all you were Grandma. It just hit me that inly three people here truly know what that last one looks like, so I’m going to do my best to help everyone else understand. Grandma, probably your proudest title. I’m sure Mom was cool too but lets face it Skylar, Matthew, and I took the cake. 

For starters, you’re probably the funniest person I know. You bought me my first string bikini in the 5th grade and I don’t know what was better… seeing the look on Dads face when he saw how small it was or the look on everyone faces when we realized it said sweetness across the butt. Mind you I was 10. In the 7th grade you dropped me off to the first movie I’d see without a parent and before I got out of the car you insisted I put on some of your lipstick. You then proceeded to give me some pretty solid advice. You said: Rhyse Jordan if a man tries to take you, you kick him in the balls and run. That’s a direct quote by the way. Don’t even get me started on your facebook and instagram comments… I should probably apologize to everyone here for ever teaching you how to share a post… but lets face it a facebook with out Patsy just wouldn’t be nearly as fun. You have more fortitude than anyone else in the room. A trust in God that I’ve admired my whole life. You were just so sure. You had so much to be mad at him for and yet your faith never strayed. A fearless, Godly woman. That’s why I have no doubt in my mind you’re up there with RJ right now sippin’ on a cup of creamer with a dash of coffee, not a bug in sight, just enjoying the view! RJ, someone I wish I knew more about. Though I know one things for sure, y’alls love story will forever be my favorite. My entire life you never once talked about another man. I can only dream that one day I’ll have the pleasure of finding a love like that. Everything was always fair. If you went to Matthews game you came to watch me dance. If Sky road in the front seat last time then it was someone else’s turn. I found an old Christmas card yesterday where you wrote me a check for $14.37 because God forbid you didn’t spend the same amount on each grandkid. Grandma it’s okay we all know Skylar Dylar, your baby girl, is your favorite. 

I may be making this up but I like to think that you and I are quite similar. Now if you ask your oldest son he may say I’ve taken on some of your lesser qualities. For example: Our inability to throw anything away. Don’t they understand that someday we may need it? You see from the surface this habit is inconvenient, unnecessary, and seems kind of silly. You walk into her apartment and see an overwhelming amount of stuff. Now if I’m being honest with all of you this might be my most treasured quality of hers. You see every item has a story behind it and she was the absolute best storyteller. I know what I know about this family from asking about the three tea sets above the cabinets, the entertainment center she was convinced she could fit in that tiny living room, and the 1800 santy clauses in the closet she knows good and well who she was with and where she was when she got them. I know it’s a bunch of clutter, but it’s the clutter of her life. The memories made up of it and the people she shared them with. And boy did she love her people. Each and everyone of you sitting here today. There wasn’t a single person she met that she didn’t love with her whole heart. So Grandma, you hold onto all that stuff all you want. As long as you promise to tell me about it someday. 

My silent partner over here had a few words she wanted to share:

My Grandma Patsy was the only grandparent I had the opportunity to really make memories with and being her baby girl was quite the honor. She made me feel so loved. No matter how big or small an event was she made an appearance, and if not she had a good reason, words of encouragement, and an apology to go with it. Nearly every time I have exited any kind of stage she’s been there waiting to give me a hug and a kiss. She would tell me I was the best one on  the stage when I knew I’d missed a step or two. She would tell me how beautiful I was when at times I didn’t feel it. SHe loved people and she loved like no other. She never just knew of someone. If I mentioned a new friend or a new boy, by the end of the conversation she knew about their family, their grades, their hobbies, and whatever else the conversation unfolded. And I think we all know the conversations were never short. When I would get a call from my Grandma I knew it was time to find myself a seat and think about how my day really was because good never cut it. No matter what age, she would pick me up from school and never fail to ask: What did you learn in school today? And I’d always try and think of something because saying nothing never cut it either. I’ve never been much of a talker, but when we meet again I’m going to have so much to say I’m not sure she’ll know what to do with me. I’ll tell her all about my high school graduation, the one day she said she couldn’t miss. But I know she’ll be there hooting and hollering as loud as she wishes as she will always be my #1 fan. 

She was our biggest cheerleader. The three of us were luckier than most to have the relationship we did with her. She wasn’t just the old lady who’s idea of hanging out was reorganizing her very own, self manufactured holiday story. She was a friend. A very good one at that. For as long as I can remember we’ve set up her Christmas tree together, Garrett included. Still not sure how we went from failing to get the train on the ground to work to somehow thinking we could get a train attached to the middle of her tree to fully function. I hope it’s a tradition we keep. 

So did I do it? Do you have a better idea of what it looks like to be a grandchild of Patsy Lee Smith? I could probably go on for hours, but don’t worry I won’t do that. Instead I’ll leave you all with this:

I can’t repay the lessons that you taught when I was small

Or give you, gift for gift, the daily treasures I recall

I can’t return encouragement or loving words of praise

In quite the way you did for me in all my childhood days

But there’s one gift that I can give it’s all the love you’ve earned

For love is what you always taught and love is what I learned

So I remember all the good times

I won’t think about the sad

Treasure all the special moments 

Through the years we’ve always had 

And I will trust in Jesus 

I can promise this and more 

I will get a hug from Grandma 

Someday at heavens door

Forever your sunshine, 

Rhyse Jordan

Sweet 16

5 years ago minutes before I turned 16 I asked my closest friends to write me a letter that I would open on my 21st birthday. We sat in a huge circle in the game room of my parent’s house joking about how I’ll probably still be single and hoping I would figure out what I want to do with my life by the time I’m 21 because apparently, I had no idea. To be able to say that the letters remained unopened through 4 moves and my nosey ass is honestly amazing. Knowing that I would get to open them today forced me to look back on what my life was like in 2015 as a soon to be 16 year old. I was a sophomore in High School that had procrastinated drivers ed so much I didn’t even get my license until the April after my 17th birthday. I remember picking up balloons with my mom for my party crying in the car because it would be the last birthday I had with both my parents under one roof. I remember feeling like the anger I had towards them would never go away. Minutes before 16, I had never been kissed or had a boyfriend but I constantly thought about it lol. I don’t think I ever said more than hi and bye to my little sister on a daily basis. Oh, and I wanted to be a dance officer on Indianettes more than anything. I remember wanting so badly to be wanted and liked by those around me and how scary the future seemed. I was such a go with the flow of life, take things day by day kind of girl (unless it came to my future kids’ names lol, then those were for sure set in stone) I don’t think I had the slightest clue as to where I’d be at 21. Turns out I really didn’t.

Image 4

Jan 31, 2015

Dear myself,

Hello. So right now you’re sitting on the floor of your game room 4 minutes before you turn 16. Your whole life is about to change and you don’t even know it. Your parents are divorced and possibly remarried who knows. Don’t worry you’re on track to graduate college… well maybe. If you haven’t studied abroad yet, DO IT. If you haven’t kissed a boy yet then lord help ya cause the past you hasn’t either. Maybe you are madly in love with a boy who knows. I just hope that you’re happy and doing what you love. You’re surrounded by so many friends right now (Sarah, Kelli, Maddie, Brighton, Kaylie, Carley, Camryn, Emmy, Presley, Lauren, Taylor, Allison, and Macie). You know life is kind of in a sucky spot right now and hasn’t gone quite like you wanted it to. If you haven’t forgiven Mom and Dad by now then do it. They won’t be here forever you know. You’ve lived a good life but the truth is you’re just getting started. Live your life to the fullest, please. Look back on your time in High School and laugh @ how stupid you and Lauren were. You should read the book that she wrote for you, it’s a good one. If you’re fat… go lose some weight and get fit… maybe then you’ll get a boyfriend?!! Honestly, I don’t even know what to say to you it’s kind of weird talking to yourself.. myself… Idk.. my head hurts with all this thinking. Anyways I hope you are able to really discover yourself and remember what life was like with the help of these letters. Hopefully you’re still friends with all of these people. Know that you are so loved and somebody out there wants you so never give up or settle for less. When you’re sad look up Channing Tatum on google or whatever you use now in 2020.

Love always,

You, yourself, I, me, myself…

Screw it

-Rhyse Smith

Honestly expected myself to write out something wayyy longer than that, but I’m glad I kept it short and sweet because I’m still a total ball bag over here. It kinda feels good knowing that I didn’t make some grave expectation of what 21 would look like. I like knowing that the only pressure I put on myself was to be my happiest.

If only y’all could read the letters my girls wrote to me. I am a wreck. My roommates can hear me laughing and crying from a room away, they probably think I’m insane. I legit have had to take breaks from reading some of them I’m so emotional. Life is just, crazy. It goes so so fast and I don’t know how to feel or act. There are letters from people I talk to now every single day, letters from those I keep up with and admire from afar, and letters from those I never thought I’d be living without. Like I said, life is crazy. I can’t believe how messy life seemed at 16. I knew even then that relationships change as you get older, I mean that’s to be expected right. I had hoped I’d still be just as close with everyone there, but I know it’s okay that I’m not. However, I wish I had better understood how important the girls in that circle would be to the life I live today.

Image 2My squad, they know who they are. I’ll keep it short and sweet but I talk to God about y’all often and I am forever grateful for the 7 of you. My good luck charms, family, constant support, a lifetime of memories, and so much more, y’all know I love you. Even though we were all skeptical in the letters we wrote 5 years ago, I’m proud to say that if anything, the older we get the closer we become. My Indianettes, what a ride that was. While it wasn’t everything my 16-year-old self imagined it would be, it’s an experience I know I’ll never forget. I still catch myself walking on step with people and doing different stand routines in my head when the songs come on. I change the station any and EVERY time dream on plays, lol legit PTSD from that one. We make walking tacos at work all the time, and Yeah by usher will forever have a special place in my heart.

Now there’s an elephant in the room. By room I mean my head because I’m sitting here procrastinating talking about someone that means so much to me knowing how upset I’ll probably get thinking about her. Inside my little white box is an oddly shaped oval of folded paper with hot pink writing all over it. It’s taped to a purple notebook labeled Summer 2015 bucket list with an additional book on the back. I’m not going to lie, while I had been looking forward to reading everything everyone wrote I really didn’t know if I was ready to open this one. I knew it would make me reminisce and miss a friendship that I am now without. I’m not sure if I was afraid to regret what’s happened in recent years or if it was just knowing the loss I was going to feel from the two people that made that silly bucket list book. Like I said earlier, relationships change as you get older. Laureeeena, I never in a million years thought I would open that letter without you sitting next to me… let alone going without having a legitimate conversation for well over a year now. How in the heck did that happen? Shit is crazy. Pair if you’re reading this and if you’ve made it this far, yes I’m crying big tears but I know you know that. In your letter, you asked me if I ever think about you, and the answer is yes. All the time. I think growing apart was probably bound to happen to the girls that were somehow never sick of each other. I’m sorry if my own ego or lack of effort helped in that, because I know it did. Rice and Pair, a friendship for the ages. The person to talk me off a cliff the night of the divorce news. The first person I told every first-time story to. The person that made leaving Texas okay. The girl that sat with me at 2 in the morning when I was crying like I am now, except for entirely different reasons. I like to think that everyone memorialized in this box had an equal part in getting me to where I am now, but if I’m being honest with myself I know you were probably the biggest. Wow, I wish I had the right words. When I think about my childhood it really doesn’t amount to much until I get to when you’re there. I’m not really sure if this is appropriate for me to post on the internet but then again when do I ever do what’s entirely appropriate. Rice Tice and Pair, two girls that truly needed each other. I think we’ve both grown up beyond who those girls were but know I hold them both near and dear.

CRUISES

Wowza. Well y’all if you ever get a chance to have your friends write you a letter to your future self, DO IT. It’ll make you laugh, maybe cry, and definitely allow you to reflect on the great life you’ve lived or maybe the great life you’re going to live.

To my 16-year-old self,

First off stop worrying about boys, there will be a few that come along shortly so hang in there… but don’t get too excited cause you’ll be single at 21 so they clearly don’t amount to much. The friends you had then are either even better friends now or they’re a part of your life that you cherish deeply. ImageYou’ll end up rooming with one of your littles and your pi phi cousin and it’s pretty much history from there. Prepare yourself for lots of screaming. Their friendships are going to mean everything to you and don’t ever let them forget it. They’ll be the 2 people you look up to the most. For real though, if you could be half the people they are you’re pretty much set. Forever undeserving of the gift they are in my life. They legit just made you a double-layered heart-shaped red velvet cake like what the f**k. Squad will soon become a vital part of your every day being and you’ll remind them often. Your little sister, someone you never thought you’d actually miss will become a friend. How stinking cool is that. She may seem lame to you now but trust me her at 16 is way cooler than you ever thought you’d be. That divorce thing. I often forget how upset that used to make me. Don’t worry though you forgave mom and dad a long long time ago. In fact, you grew to be proud of them. So proud of the people they were able to become without each other. I bet you never thought you’d be happy things worked out the way they did. Trust me, two homes are way better than one. I still have no idea what the heck I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life but I’ve got forever to figure it out. One day at a time. You’ll go through 3 different majors, but have no fear your most likely going to graduate on time… lol yes mom and dad scold you when you joke about that. Oh and don’t worry Grandma is now the ultimate Facebook sharer and her Instagram comments are unmatched. You’ll go to school far far away and develop an unhealthy obsession with food. Who are we kidding that’s no surprise. I still love the way I am though, so eat all the cosmic brownies you want. The next five years are truly going to be something else so get ready. You’re right this whole talking to yourself thing is pretty strange…

All my best,

Me Myself and I

Five years. I think I thought this would be enough time for a significant amount of change to happen for these letters to hold a different meaning. While a lot has changed I think in most ways my life is still very much the same. I still have no clue what I’m doing. I’m still cheesy as ever. The dysfunctional phase of my life is something I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow. I mean I’m using my passport to get into the bars tonight if that tells you anything. But life is perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing. If you haven’t found yourself where a younger you imagined you’d be. If life hasn’t amounted to the greatness you had hoped for… who cares. I think it’s almost better to have rewritten a story you imagined for yourself. What determines great anyways? Fill your life with those you love. Do something that makes you feel worthwhile and I promise you’ll excel. You determine exactly how your day is going to go and exactly what gets to affect you, nobody else. Things may be out of your control but your response to God’s plan is what matters. So I guess what I’m saying is… if life somehow becomes a picture you don’t like, erase what distracts you and add value where your vision lacks. Here’s to being a 21, single, procrastinating, Instagram obsessed, child at heart gal from good ole Keller, TX.

Happy happy birthday to me!! I know I’m making 16-year-old Rhyse proud.

-RJ

20 things I learned before turning 20

I know I know, I hardcore sucked at posting once I got to school last semester 😦 But have no fear, I’m going to do my best to get back to it because ngl writing about nonsense has been greatly missed lol. So in case you didn’t hear I turned 20 last week…. boy does that feel weird to say. I also haven’t been able to sleep a whole lot the past couple nights, superrr glad that didn’t stay behind with my teenage years. Anyways, staring at the ceiling got me thinking about the different things I hope to take with me into my twenties and I figured I’d share them all with y’all.

  1. embrace your weirdness

  2. eat the honey butter chicken biscuit dang it

    Now listen, I totally agree that you should be eating within moderation and a decent balance of good/bad is pretty vital to live a healthy lifestyle. BUTttttt if choosing to have frosted flakes at midnight, Freddy’s for lunch + taco bell for dinner (I did that a couple of days ago whoops), and eating the brownies your Dad refuses to stop buying puts a smile on my face then I”m doing it. Sure, I’d probably look a little different if I cut out those things, but food is one of the greatest gifts in life people, freaking let yourself enjoy it 🙂

  3. ask for help

    I’m notoriously bad @ this one. There’s no sense in ever going through things alone though, that’s kind of the point of having other people in our lives. So let your friends help you out, and most importantly don’t be afraid to let em know you’re struggling.

  4. happiness doesn’t come from other people

  5. be your own best friend

    This really ties into #4, but you can’t expect your own happiness to stem from anyone but yourself. The people and things in your life should only heighten the happiness you already experience. Get to know yourself. I take myself on a date at least once a week lol… no joke I order food from somewhere, drive around until my throat hurts from singing too much, find a spot to park, put on a YouTube video and eat my meal. May sound pretty odd to most people, but times without conversation and little thought keep me sane. Highly recommend.

  6. makeup is over rated

    Embrace what you’ve got. I seriously applaud the people who are able to wake up and put on a full face everyday, because I seriously don’t know how they do it. Maybe that’s just the lazy in me. Seriously though, we’ve all got dark circles and imperfections. Covering them up won’t make them go away. However, if you ever get your eyelashes legit kicked off your face…. false lashes are good. Yep, those suckers are worth it.

  7. everyday is borrowed time

    You are never promised a tomorrow, today could quite literally be all you’ve got. Make it count.

  8. IMPORTANT: if your car windows leak….check the weather a l w a y s

    I will never not be paying the price for this one 🙂

  9. my favorite part of life so far has been watching my family become my friends and my friends become my family

     

  10. say yes more

    Something I really focussed on last semester was saying yes. I honestly forgot what it was like to constantly be busy. So say yes to the unexpected things, say yes to the things you know you’ll regret not doing. No point in ever wondering what if.

  11. what you’re thinking is what you’re attracting

  12. learn to save, but don’t forget to splurge

  13. God & Jesus

    I could do a whole post on how important it is to have Faith in something, literally anything. But Jesus is what got me to 20, highly suggest you check him out.

  14. sad songs, rom coms, nothing wrong with a good cry 🙂

  15. ride the wave

    Life is a thing and it happens

  16. self-doubt will be your creative doubt

    Honestly I think this is why I stopped posting for so long…I started comparing myself to other people I followed and just felt uncreative in general. It all starts with what you’re thinking, especially what you think about yourself.

  17. care, but give no F*cks

  18. certain things will never be the same, but that’s okay

    This one is definitely something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around. My friend Kelli put it best, “everyone in your life was put there to teach you something.” Whether it be big or small, every relationship you have has some sort of purpose. Every little struggle or big accomplishment didn’t just happen for the hell of it. So… so what if things aren’t like they used to be. As hard as you may try to and as badly as you may want certain parts of your life to go back to the way they were before, maybe it’s not meant to. Nothing wrong with that.

  19. Stop Complaining

    I am the definition of a complainer. But listen… If we have time to lay around sulking about whatever it may be than we definitely have time to get up and do something about it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Y O U are responsible for your mood. If you hate how you’re feeling change what you’re doing.

  20. Texas sunsets, nothing beats em

    I’m such a sucker for a sunset, especially a TX one. Not just because of how magical they are (yes I just said magical) but they just embody so much. A beautiful way to end any type of day.

I think that pretty much sums everything up. I could probably go on to talk about the importance of Dr. Pepper, cheese it grooves, laughing at yourself, boys in sweat pants, and all things Marvel but we’ll save that for another time. I encourage anyone reading this to take the time and do some reflecting. What parts of your life have you loved, what could you have lived without, you know the usual. Maybe it’ll spark the change you’ve been looking for.

Here’s to the next 20 years my dude #thisis40

look @ me now

Rule #5 – get lost

Today I’m here to tell you a little life story. The story of college. The story of actually hating every aspect of my life. The story of how I got here, to today. The story that’ll hopefully make you feel a little less alone.

So for starters I sort of skipped out on the whole college process so to speak. I didn’t tour many schools and I didn’t apply to very many either, mainly because I thought I had a narrow search of where I wanted to go. For the majority of my senior year I was going to be a Razorback; that was until I decided to be mad at the world and go as far away as possible which ended up being the University of Nebraska. When people asked me why I was going there I legitimately didn’t have an honest answer for them. Needless to say August came far too quick and I  wanted to be somewhere else before I even got there. So talk about rough. I found myself  feeling so alone and out of place. Obviously Nebraska is no Texas and while everyone may be Nebraska nice, I just wasn’t into it. It was never really a sense of being homesick, but when you hate where you are the chance to be anywhere else is pretty remarkable. Just picture it– 2:00 am blasting my Moms phone until she wakes up, and then when she finally calls being able to get absolutely nothing out through the obnoxious tears that seemed to be never ending. This happened at least 3 times a week, for months…M O N T H S people. And when I wasn’t crying to her, my pillow was getting some serious pillow talk. Exhausted. Scared. Helpless. That just about sums up my first semester of college. Heck my first year. An experience that I thought I would love and thrive in, L O L.

Perspective 

I spent sooo much time and energy hating everything that I honestly forgot what it was that made me so miserable in the first place. I should’ve tried harder. Tried to keep an open mind. Tried to find the things that I liked and grow to love them. I think when we get in this state of “it’s all bad” we choose to forgo any possible good. I was surrounded by so much good. Even more so, love and support. So find that. Find the thing that makes leaving your dorm worth it. Find the thing that distracts you long enough to forget that you’re “supposed” to be sad. {lol s/o to Pi Phi for Monday night dinners & giving me people like Fran and my momma Hannah, talk about sending me some angels ;)}.

One night I was sitting in my friends Fran and Mckenna’s room surrounded by people I had come to adore. These were people I had convinced that I was leaving at the end of the semester, people I had taken for granted. I had been constantly telling myself that transferring was my only option. Things changed. I changed. How could I possibly leave them? What reason was so strong to make me leave? The fact that I let myself be miserable? The thought of having no idea what I was doing? I didn’t know. Heck, I still don’t know. And that’s 100% without a doubt O K A Y.

It’s easy to get caught up in an idea or thought. A dream. I had pictured myself going out of state for school for as long as I can remember. When what you thought you wanted turns out to be something different you sort of lose yourself. Lose yourself in so many ways that you can’t imagine being able to put yourself together again.  Everyone always talks about how you really find yourself in college, but I feel like that statement misses the point. You’re supposed to get lost. You’re supposed to mess up. {Granted, I hope you don’t spend your entire college experience making miserable mistakes.} Those instances make you stop to look at your life. Look at where you’re heading, where you are, and where you could be. The moments where those around you either lift you up or tear you down. That’s when you know. That’s when the picture you see in your head of the life you want becomes a little less hazy.

It gets better.

So I found the things and people in Lincoln that made me feel inspired and excited enough to want to stay. But it would’ve been okay if I hadn’t. Finding YOUR best fit is so important, and whether it’s where you are or somewhere else, go there for you. I let myself give everything the school had to offer a real chance and without that I’m not sure if I’d still be here. I’ll admit, when I got ready to head back to school this year I was anxious. Afraid of getting to that place again. I got here and it just felt right. My roommates, Brooke and Mckenna, bring so much to my life that I never knew I was missing– aspects I’m so grateful UNL brought me. I don’t know if it’ll feel right for ever, but it does right now and boy do I love to see myself say that.

College is scary, new, overwhelming, underwhelming, fulfilling, lonely, and sooo much more all at the same time. It’s weird dude, and you’ll probably find yourself in a time where you don’t know if you’re where you’re supposed to be or what the heck you’re doing. I promise it happens to us all at some point, so don’t think you’re alone in this. We all get lost, and we all get found. So take your time. Find what you like, discover what you hate, and take it all in. Grow from what you learn about yourself. Get involved– you’ll never find new things to like about where you are or what you’re doing if you stay in your room all day…believe me I did that and um yeah don’t recommend it.

Don’t focus too much about actually “finding who you are,” just begin to put yourself first when you feel lost and the discovery will come all on its own.

Best of luck this year my friends 🙂

RJ

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Clothes You’ll Actually Need & Wear

As I sadly sit here and pack up to head back to school next week I started to think about all of the clothes I brought last year that did nothing but take up space I didn’t even have lol. I brought an outfit for just about everything under the sun and then some. I mean the shirt I bought sophomore year of high school that had never left the hanger made it…. so yeah over packer at her finest over here. That being said I’m attempting to travel a little lighter this year {honestly I think I’m a lost cause at this point but there’s always hope} so I thought I’d break down some of my main necessities.

Class Act

Okay so here’s what you definitely need the most of: t-shirts on leggings on sweatshirts on leggings on lulu… oh and yes leggings. Idk about y’all but unless I absolutely have to there’s no way I’m ever dressing up for class and I bet odds are you won’t either. So shoot for comfort and a lot of it.

What you need:

  • Crew Necks
  • Comfy shorts (pictured: lulu lemon)
  • Workout gear– for motivation purposes
  • comfy T (pictured: nordstrom rack)
  • Easy and comfortable slip on shoes (pictured: birkenstock’s)
  • Tennis Shoes (pictured: nikes- Nordstrom Rack)

Multi Use

I will say it’s super nice to have versatile pieces that you know you’ll wear all of the time and for different things. The best thing about pieces like this is that they make transitioning from season to season or event to event sooo much easier.

What you want to have:

  • A college or graphic T (pictured: UT t-shirt, Brandy Melville, Nordstrom Rack)
    • These are so good for class, heading to the gym, and even being knotted up to pair with some jeans for a “cute” casual outfit lol (the knot is a game changer). Not to mention they can so easily be used as a layering piece with dresses and jackets.
  • Simple dresses (pictured: Pacsun)
    • For the one day you felt like being cute or a cute girls dinner. Its always a good idea to have an easy slip on dress that you can where for things across the board.
  • Jean jacket (pictured: Von Mar)
    • Can’t emphasize this one enough. Throwing on a jean jacket brings every T-shirt look to the next level.
  • Classic Sandal (pictured: Forever21)
    • So shoes is where I always go wrong. I think I brought just about every pair I own last year, but truthfully you won’t have the space for all of them nor will you wear the majority of them. So bring your staples.

Game Day

Game day attire really depends on your school, but it’s important to have things that will be worn past football season. Feel free to mix it up and vary your “dressed up” level. We put together several outfits that hopefully cover your schools typical game day attire and themes.

Go Big Red:

  • White Out {top left}
    • Overall Dress (pictured: Nordstrom Rack)
    • College T-shirt
    • White booties (pictured: American Threads)
  • Cute and Simple {remaining top row, bottom right}
    • Romper & simple and comfy brown sandals (pictured: Nordstrom Rack)
    • Red tie shirt & Black Skirt (pictured: American Eagle)
      • Black Converse
    • White T-shirt & Denim Skirt (pictured: Nordstrom Rack)
    • Red Tank ( pictured: Brandy Melville)
      • White Jeans (pictured: Urban Outfitters)
      • Platforms (pictured: American Threads)
  • Easy Easy {Bottom left}
    • College T-shirt
      • Cut Off shorts (pictured: American Eagle)

Night Out

Alright you don’t need a thousand different things to wear every Friday night. Bring yourself a few options and mix and match through out the year. Lay out what you know will be your go to’s and stick with that.

The basics:

  • A black top (Pictured: Forever21, Target, Urban Outfitters)
    • So easy, so cute, and so easy to pair with just about anything
  • Cut Offs (pictured: Nordstrom Rack)
  • Black skirt (pictured: American Eagle)
  • Durable Shoes (pictured: Steve Madden, Converse)
    • Shoes that can easily be washed or whipped clean

Hopefully this simple breakdown helped you narrow down what exactly you’re bringing with you to your home away from home. Remember if you haven’t worn it in the past year you’re not going to wear it any time soon so leave it behind. Keep it simple and bring lots of your basics–not multiple pieces you’re only going to wear once maybe twice at most. Better get to packing 🙂

RJ

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Amigas Cheetahs

Rule #4- Go The Distance

Today I was looking around at all of my middle school besties admiring how close we’ve stayed through out the years, and then it hit me just how rare our relationships are. I mean its not everyday you feel the same way about someone at 19 as you did at 12. I’ve come to learn that long term friendships are like marriages. How I know that when I’ve never been married is besides the point, but just go along with it. When you enter the realms of a “serious” relationship or friendship whatever it may be, you’re bound to experience rough patches or periods of growth and change. Now you can either come out the other side or spend eternity going round and round in the same circle of the same arguments and jabs. Who knows maybe the friendship was only meant for a brief portion of your life. We so easily disconnect from those around us simply because we refuse to put in the effort to keep the wheels turning. So often you hear about high school relationships falling apart once the tassels been moved. Whether it be a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or your best friend— distance is hard, heck just going through different parts of life with someone right by your side is hard. No worries though, I of course have a tip or two or you know 8 to help you through it.

Soul Sista’s :

Be Genuine

Be yourself. I have definitely found myself acting like an entirely different person simply because I thought thats how I had to act to have certain friends. Think about it, if you’re constantly pretending to be something you’re not for the sake of someone else–is it worth it? A strong and lasting friendship is built on honesty and trust. You’re true friends will love you for you, and you’ll want to be you around them.

Their Opinion vs Your Opinion 

You can’t expect all of your friends to have the exact same views as you on everything. Where’s the challenge in that? Be open minded. They may like alternative and hate country, but that doesn’t make country bad. Respect their opinions, and they’ll respect yours. Surround yourself with a judge free zone.

Soap Box 

Having a group of people that will let you sit and rant to them with complete attention is e v e r y t h i n g. Being able to be heard and understood by those you respect the most is beyond fulfilling and healing.

Talking Stick

Now it doesn’t happen often, but one thing that’s blessed my friend group has been our “talking stick” interventions. Basically any time there’s been a legitimate issue, we all meet up and give each other a chance to talk about what’s bothering us. Everyone gets a chance to be heard. Talk about the best group hug ever.

Stay in Touch

The easiest way to lose touch is to stop interacting, so don’t. My friends from home and I legit talked to each other everyday my freshman year lol. Talk to each other as often as you can. Fill them in on your life, it’ll keep them apart of it.

Alright, so I realize it’s not common to keep the same friends for forever. You may grow at different speeds, different paths, and maybe for different reasons. Its okay to grow apart. It’s important to remember that everything happens for a reason. People were placed in your life for a reason. Maybe you needed them to get through something; maybe they needed you. No friendship is an accident. The lessons you learned could be pivotal for the rest of your life. So L E A R N from them. Don’t make the same mistakes, same patterns. I will say when you find the right people, you’ll know that they’re never going anywhere. The people that’ll love you through it all. The people that will laugh with you, cry with you, and the people that will sit and say nothing with you. You don’t have to see them everyday for them to stay your best friends. When you do see them, you’ll pick up just where you left off– almost like you were never apart at all, and it’s the greatest feeling. They’re going to challenge you, cherish you, hate you, love you, annoy you, best of all– They’ll change your life.

For all the “babes” :

 Communicate, Listen, Be Heard

When it comes to any relationship, especially a long distance one, communication is key. Things said over the phone can so easily be misinterpreted. Take the extra time each day to make sure they know you’re thinking of them. DON’T EVER let yourself swallow whatever it is your feeling simply due to fear. Let yourself be heard loud and clear, and do the same for them.

One Win Isn’t Worth 1,000 Casualties

Don’t stress the minor details. Sometimes a battle isn’t worth the war if you know what I mean. It’s funny, I think we let ourselves seem pissed off or upset with our significant other over the stupidest things as a way of coping with the fact that we miss them. Don’t be stupid, tell them you miss them.

Enjoy Your Time

It’s easy to jam pack your reunions with fun filled adventures, but it’s important to just spend quality time with your person. It doesn’t always have to be about the bells and whistles. Make sure you truly love the person you’re with and not just the idea of a getaway weekend.

In the end, the distance can be worth it when it’s something you’d rather be doing as opposed to being without your person entirely. Don’t put yourself through the distance if you’re just doing it to say that you did it. Remember the big picture.

Friendships are hard. Relationships are harder. Being apart sucks, but surrounding yourself with the people that lift you up the most, the ones that make you better– is s worth it.

RJ

p.s. I love you squad 🙂

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Braid Away

Does anyone else ever get tired of having the same old straight or curly hair every day? For me, I love adding some sort of braid to spice up my ever so average look. A simple braid often puts people under the impression that you spent an extra 30 minutes getting ready that morning, when in fact you did the opposite. Think about it people, if you braid a section of your hair when you’re wearing it curly…you’ve got one less section to curl. I’ll be honest, I’m almost always running late—scratch that I am most definitely a l w a y s late, meaning I constantly have a braid in my hair. Braids don’t have to be some intricate thing that look near to impossible for most people. Seriously sometimes a three strand brand is all you need. Whether it be a full braid, a half up half down look, a braid to add some variation, or even a braid to go back into a pony tail/ bun- they’re all easier than you think and add so much “effort” to your look. Feel free to let these pictures be your inspiration or guide the next time you get ready.

 

They Aren’t Scary

Don’t be intimidated. Start with something simple. Youtube and Pinterest are your best friends when it comes to learning how to master different braiding styles. Start with a three strand braid and then work your way into a french or dutch braid. Practice makes perfect. Don’t just overlook these styles because you told yourself you can’t do it.

Pancake, Pancake, Pancake 

The key to any braid is pulling, or pancaking, it out to make it look big and full. This is how all you thin haired people fool the world into believing you’ve got a nice and thick mop.

 

Accessorize 

Add an accessory. I don’t know about y’all, but for the life of me I can’t just wrap my hair around to hide which ever elastic is holding it in place. You’re a wizard if you can. Add a scarf. This will not only hide the hair tie but it’ll add so much life and texture to your outfit.

Tricked Ya

Okay so while this style can be done by a legitimate braid, it can also be accomplished by a fake one. If your fingers can’t quite seem to coordinate themselves into handling several strands at once try this method of “braiding”. I’ve left a link to the video that taught me how to achieve the Pull Through Braid in seriously no time at all. I highly suggest giving it a try, but ultimately do whatever works best for you.

If you’re out on the go, in a rush to meet your girlfriends for dinner, or if you’re just tired of constantly wearing your hair the same add a braid to change the game!

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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Hasta La Vista

Rule #3- Think About You

Alright ladies I know each of you reading this have definitely had your far share of heart break or struggled moving on from someone at some point, maybe even right now. Whether it be a celebrity that decided to marry his costar, John from Oozma Kappa who in fact is notactually single, or giving everything you had to a boy who changed his mind {thanks t-swift}, point is we’ve all been there in one form or another. I think we often feel like there couldn’t possibly be anyone else out there and in doing so we force ourselves to believe that things are working or that we can’t live without said person. Allowing yourself to let go is tough, getting yourself to take the necessary steps is scary, and the process can absolutely suck. Don’t worry though, I have a few tips to help you along the way.

Is It Time To Say Goodbye?

Listen To Your Girlfriends

Speaking from experience, I know it can be a big pill to swallow when your closest friends try telling you about how much your boyfriend may suck, but hear them out. These are the people that are solely looking out for your best interest and they are 9/10 times making some solid points. Personally, I think we get so defensive because they’re saying what we’re too afraid to admit. That being said it’s important for you to be able to realize that things aren’t okay on your own, just don’t hate your friends for being right in the process. #HoesOverBros

NEVER Become A Doormat

There is nothing worse than letting someone walk all over you. This can happen by the way they talk to you, the way they make you feel, or even the way they make you act. Speak up for yourself. Take a second. Constantly belittling yourself or altering what you stand for doesn’t have to be your reality. You’re allowed to say no. You’re allowed to want to be needed back, to be missed. You’re allowed to be exactly who Y O U are no questions asked.

You Can’t Change Who They Are

Here’s where it gets legit people. They are who they are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think we often make up this idea in our heads of who someone could be or who we think they should become. We put so much energy in telling ourselves that one day they’ll reach said potential, that we often lose sight of what the relationship has actually become. It’s okay for someone to be the wrong person, somewhere out there is the right person. Don’t waste your time holding onto the fact that things could one day be different. As much as you wish for someone to change the only one that can truly make it happen is them, so don’t pressure yourself.

Know Your Worth

Regardless of how you may feel or what you may think, you’re so worth it. Don’t let them make you believe otherwise. After hearing something enough we let ourselves believe what we’re told. We let boys get away with far too much, and for what? The title, the occasional feel good moment, or is it to subsidize our fear of being alone? Put yourself above it all. If you’re constantly doing nothing but making excuses for him, get the heck out of there. Boy bye.

How To Make It Hurt A Lil Less–

Delete All Contact 

It’s going to be impossible for you to get over somebody if you’re constantly seeing them on your feed, keeping the snap streak alive, and continuously responding in a meaningless conversation. How are you supposed to move on if they’re always in front of you? Out of sight out of mind. I know it may feel extremely extra but it’s totally okay to block them on EVERYTHING. When you’re ready you can go back and undo it all {or don’t}. You’ll be pleased to find yourself mindlessly scrolling past their pic instead of fully indulging in a box of cosmic brownies covered in your tears.

In Your State Of Mind You’ve Got Some Tears Left To Cry

Cry it all out. Stop for a snack and honestly just grab a roll of toilet paper…and then cry some more. I promise you’ll feel 1000 times better.

Moving On Is Okay

Boys will be boys, so let’s not have a complete meltdown when they move on before you do. Don’t stalk the new girl. Comparison is our greatest weakness. Just let it be. Yeah, I see you right now looking at her second cousins Facebook….knock it off.

What’s done is done

Part of moving on is letting go. Yikes. If you’re like me, you’ll let yourself sit and analyze every last inch of your relationships entirety. IT SUCKS BUTT PEOPLE DON’T IT. The past is the past, no sense in making yourself relive it with every mention of their name.

Treat Yourself

Buy those shoes you definitely told yourself you couldn’t afford a week ago. Change up your hair. Get that “revenge” body. Be your own distraction and stay busy. Do it all for you. Don’t focus your time on proving him wrong or showing him what he’s missing. Spend time on you and the latter will happen all on its own.

It Takes Time

Everyone heals in their own ways. Let yourself do it in yours. It could take you a week, an hour, or maybe a month or two. Regardless of how long it takes you, let yourself go through the whole process. Take it one day at a time. Just don’t rush into anything before you’re ready.

Now, all that being said I know not everything was bad. It’s okay to hold on to the good times as long as you remember the lessons learned through the bad. Break ups suck and getting your heartbroken is the worst. Take it all as a learning experience. Grow from what you did wrong. Understand how you want to be treated and hold yourself to it. Nothing wrong with a little bit of high standards and low expectations. If Carrie Bradshaw can get through a break up, not once but 28 times, you’ll come out the other side just fine. Remember they’re plenty of fish in the sea. Who knows maybe in losing him you’ll find yourself in the process.

Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Break ups aren’t always meant for make ups, sometimes, they’re meant for wake ups.

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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When life gives you lemons and then they’re sour

Rule #2- Add your own sugar

Do you ever stop to think about the things that happen to you, and get that WTF feeling or in my case OTM {only to me, because obviously your “hardships” couldn’t possibly happen to anyone else}?? I’m talking about the moments that stop you in your tracks and make you stare at the sky screaming “R E A L L Y”. The ones that swing you between hilarious chatter and embarrassing cries, you know depending on the day. Yeah my life is full of those.

Lets get a good laugh, shall we:

For starters people think my name is rice. I kinda look like I don’t have shoulders. I accidentally let someone shave part of my head. An 8 page paper has deleted itself from my computer an hour before its due….more than once. I have a pig/ Shih Tzu mix that legitimately sweats. I definitely slept through the ACT once. The inner thigh of my pants ripped on the first lap of the mile, and my P. E. teacher told me I had to finish running before I could change. One time I peed my pants on a friends front porch… I was 13! My entire middle school career… HA. I had to get 10 staples in my head, but don’t ask me how I cut it open because to this day I have no idea. Last but not least, my friends loved me so much that they removed me from our group message for over a year because I made their messages green :).

Just when you think things are going right they go left. A lot of things happen that could and honestly probably should ruin my day. Things that should leave me in despair and angst, hating the world. But what a crappy way to go through life that would be. I’ve found that wallowing in defeat and exerting all your energy on what went wrong instead of addressing the problem head on can be quite exhausting. Laugh a little. You may not want to but honestly it’ll be funny one day, so why not make it funny today. Laughter is the best medicine God ever gave us, and to make it even better it’s impossible to overdose. I’d be lying if I told you that I never let something bring me down, but I do my best to find the humor in every situation. I promise it’s easier than you think.

I mean it’s up to you. The only person that can ever make something feel like it’s the end of the world is you. Alllll you. Don’t get me wrong, you’re totally allowed to be pissed off or upset about something for a little while. I’ll give you like a 24 hour grace period. Honestly more like the 10 second rule, because I promise you your friends don’t want to hear about how you spilt orange juice on your white pants 5 different times in one day. Just get over it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There have been so many times when I’ve been in a typically high stress situation, and I’m just chilling in it. I think my friends often get stressed out for me and my it’ll work out attitude kinda freaks them out. But that’s just it. Everything will always and I mean a l w a y s work out exactly like it’s supposed to.

So life gave you a lemon and then it was sour. So what. You control how and what gets to affect your mood. Yes, you may want to crawl in a hole and cry for the rest of forever. Yes, it may seem like things are never going to go your way ever again. Its all part of life and you’ll always find your way back up. Most of all, your not alone in your struggles. Odds are the person sitting next to you has a lemon thats even more pungent than yours.

When life goes sour and makes you feel weak, add your own sugar and make it something sweet!!

RJ

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Thanks Bobby

Rule #1- Take full advantage of life’s by chance moments 

So last week my friends and I came across this tag-less dog {by came across I mean nearly ran over} whose hair was quite literally blowing in the wind #shedding and who quickly became the nights most wanted unwanted guest. After a trip to the vet we learned he wasn’t chipped, so the obvious next step was to go to Walmart to get pee pads… and the 12th employee we passed decided he wasn’t allowed in the store… yeah so can I get a clean up on isle 7 there seems to be a slight stench of BS stocking the shelves 🙂

Side note: Not sure why I just keep calling him dog cause his name is Bobby, but not just regular Bobby…Bobby with a “Ya just like yur faaatha” kind of accent, you know the one. Now was his name actually Bobby, definitely not… But did we care, yeah nope.

While he did steal our hearts and taking him around town was quite the show, we had no idea who he belonged to and he only booked a one night stay at the Rhyse motel, so things were looking rough for poor Bobby. Now get this…

Me: “Maybe we’ll see his owner out looking for him”

Bobby: **Sticks head out window and proceeds to have the time of his life**

Brighton: “Look there’s a guy on his bike”

Me: “Maybe he’s looking for Bobby”

Maddie: “He would not be looking for his dog right now on a bike… with headphones on?? ”

Bobby: **Extends neck**

Guy on bike, calls himself David: **Breaks real fast** “IS THAT MY DOG”

So long story short Bobby, who was actually a Charlie, found his rightful owner and we were left crushed and in the feels, talk about a ruff night. Maddie and Brighton ended up staying the night afterwards because you know it was past midnight and well #sad. Turns out we all stayed up until well after 4:00 a.m. just laying there talking about all things life. What a night.

It’s funny to think about coincidence and random chance. Funny how finding Bobby showed to be quite the adventure and yet Bobby’s not what I cherish most about that night. That night I made a pallet on my bedroom floor like a true middle school sleepover with 2 girls I admire with my every being. We went from talking about the deepest of things to learning how to properly moisturize, and I was truly present for it all. Present in a way of enjoying it. Enjoying a night that would have never happened hadn’t it been for Bobby. Present in a gift that Bobby gave us. A gift of innocence, solace, humor, and friendship. Even though I see Brighton and Maddie nearly every day, this was different. It reminded me how much I value the differences in each of us. Brighton is as go with the flow and charismatic as they come and Maddie is constantly yearning for the betterment of others, even bugs. More importantly this night brought me back to a place I hadn’t seen in a while, a place of pure content. I would’ve listened to the three of us talk for days on end never losing interest. Lord, I would go back to walking Bobby around in a grocery cart any given day.

Life is full of random encounters and coincidental moments. We more often than not miss out on making our “what ifs” and “could’ve beens” a reality simply because we never give them a chance. So give em a go.  Stop and help the turtle cross the street. Wave at the cute boy that you know is staring at you from the car next to you. Heck, pick up a lost dog for a few hours and grieve his loss like he’s always been yours. Do it all with purpose. Einstein once said, “coincidence is Gods way of remaining anonymous.” By an act of said coincidence I got a night that made me feel like a 12 year old kid again staying up late talking with my besties. I got a night that I’ll always cherish, a night that I didn’t really know I needed.

So take on the random encounters with full swing and pure intent. You just might get a night you won’t forget.

RJ

  • Pics By ~ Brighton Forsgren

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