Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Caterpiilar

Hi Girls-

So, guess what?!?  It's my birthday so Happy Birthday to me!  And also to my birthday twin Lana at My New Happy!  I'm 39---wowza...my last year of my 30's!  How did this even happen?!?  I remember when I was in my teens thinking that this age seemed so far away and it was.  However, it got here so quickly.  My 20's were a blur, turning 30 was so hard, not as hard as 36 because I was officially in my "late" 30's but now I am one year shy of the big 4-0.  But hey, it is what it is...so you are going to be seeing my new hashtag #39andfeelingfine on my IG from now on in addition to my #dailyjenny2017.  I may be a horrible blogger but I've got IG down pat!


So...what to write about in celebration of my birth!  Well, I decided to go controversial.  If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know I mainly write about my friends (who are the bestest), my sister (who is also the bestest), my job sometimes, a lot of travel, food (when I actually cook), my love life including some horrific and fun stories about online dating (yep, still single though that is definitely interesting now and due a post for sure) and my last year getting to a more healthier me.  I never write about controversial things (or what I think is controversial)--politics, women's rights, abortion, religion, war, etc.  I try to keep my blog lighthearted because that's how I live my life---for the most part.  But today's post could be considered controversial by some but I'm laying it out there because 1) this is my blog 2) I want to document my process 3) it's my birthday 4) I don't want this to be a shameful experience for myself and 5) at this point in my life, if you don't like me or the decisions I make or have made, I'm ok with that.  Like really, I'm ok with it.

Well, let's get to it.  If you follow me on IG, I posted about my "weightiversary" on April 12th.  I also had written about part of my weight loss journey on here back in December but because I'm a slacker blogger I haven't written anything else about that journey or anything else in awhile.  You guys know how I am?  No surprise!  So back to my "weightiversary"---April 12th was a year to the date that I decided to take back control of my life and get serious about my health.  And I did!  I went to a medical weight loss doctor supervised clinic and lost nearly 70 lbs, a ton of inches off my waist, a huge % of body fat and was finally in control of my eating.  Don't get me wrong---I'll ALWAYS be a food addict and if you can relate to that comment, you completely understand.  It's a never ending process and I will never be able to eat the way I did before--although I'm now a little less strict on some food choices but it won't be an every day occurrence meaning I may have a cheat meal but it won't be a cheat day or cheat weekend.

So you are probably thinking...ok Jenny...where's the controversial part of your post?  Well, here goes.  I'll be honest---I really struggled with writing this.  As a matter of fact, I wrote it, deleted it, wrote it again, deleted it and here I am with the final post that I pressed "Publish" on with a shaky finger.  I even discussed it with my bestie Jess who told me to be prepared for criticism and people feeling the need to comment on my decisions.  But the main thing she told me is that it "might be empowering" and that was the kicker.  I knew I needed to write about THIS.  And that "THIS" if you are wondering is that I chose to have cosmetic surgery.   

I am now 39 and I have spent well over 25 years of my life dieting, losing weight, gaining weight...blah blah blah.  Because of this, when I finally decided that enough was enough and that it wasn't going to get any easier as I aged, my body and its elasticity didn't bounce back like it did when I was in my early 20's.  I was so very proud of my weight loss but I couldn't see that when I looked in the mirror because all I saw were saggy breasts and a tummy with extra skin and fat pockets that I couldn't do anything else about. 

Listen, I know this is where many would say "love your body as it is", "you've done so much, be happy with where you are now", "be grateful for how far you've come"...and y'all, that is ok.  Hell I probably would say that to you before all of this and still will.  And if you are a woman who has struggled with your weight and you've succeeded by reaching your goal and loved your body the way it is at that stage than I applaud you---like really applaud you.  You are amazing!  You are a rockstar!  You are gorgeous!  And you should be so proud of yourself! 

But I wasn't there.  Again, I wanted to see myself in the mirror what I felt like I saw in my mind of what a body should look like after a major weight loss like I had.  And I didn't.  So I made a decision.  And it wasn't one I had gone into lightly. 

My breast have always been a sore subject for me---they've always been big.  ALWAYS!  And after years of losing and gaining weight, they got saggy.  Like real saggy.  Like nipples pointing to my armpits when I lay down saggy.  Like double D, ain't fitting in any button up without a gaping hole in the front boobies saggy.  My party trick for my besties was that I could hang a towel under my boobs and walk around without holding it with my hands.  Yes, I know I use humor in uncomfortable situations.  But it's totally true and they'll all tell you they've seen this.  I've always wanted to have a breast reduction and even went for a consultation many years ago during one of my weight loss plans in my early 30's. 

My tummy was something new because when I've lost before I've gotten to the point where I was relatively happy with it and it looked "just ok"--especially when I was laying down.  Right ladies?  But since getting older and losing such a massive amount for my body, my tummy just didn't bounce back.  I was hoping to get away with just doing liposuction but during my first consult with my plastic surgeon, he told me that I wouldn't achieve the results I wanted with merely doing that.

Now let me talk about that...my surgeon.  HE IS AMAZING!  This whole process was very scary for me.  I have never had any type of surgery EVER.  I've never been under anesthesia.  I've never had a major injury.  I've never even stayed a night in the hospital.  But finding the right surgeon for you is so important.  And I am so fortunate that I didn't have to look very far because he had actually done a mommy makeover for a friend of mine a couple of years ago and I went with her to a couple of her follow up appointments and actually saw the end results of his work.  Two years later, she still looks amazing!  But if you are considering any type of cosmetic surgery and don't know anyone who has personally had it done, I strongly urge you to do your homework.  Lots of homework, lots of consult interviews, etc.  Don't just go with the cheapest because you're wanting to save a few bucks.  This is your body we are talking about here and there's probably a reason it's inexpensive---I mean would you really choose a cosmetic surgeon if they had a Groupon?!?  No offense groupon...I really like the towels I got :) 

So...you're probably wondering what did I have done right?  I've been building it up so much over the last 10 paragraphs.  Come on Jenny, right?!?   I'm actually laughing as I write this because now I'm one of "those" people who have had "work" done.  But yes, it's true.  I am one of those people now.  I had a breast reduction and lift (no implants), abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and liposuction.  Yes, it sounds like a lot because it was a lot!  A whole lot!  And it hurt!  It hurt a lot!  Like hell actually--the worst pain I've had in my entire life--especially the first few days!  I had to be completely dependent on friends and family for the first week because I couldn't be left alone due to of all the pain meds and a drain that was hanging out of my tummy.  And when I say dependent, I mean completely dependent.  Y'all, I know you've heard me say that my sister is the best but for reals, she is THE BEST and did more for me in the first five days after my surgery than imaginable--even emptying out my drain and wiping my ass and helping me shower (and other worse stuff that I can't even bring myself to share with y'all).  And to best friend Lizzie who stayed with me for 4 days and took care of me to give my poor sis a break from me (you know you are at a new level of friendship when they actually put your panties on for you because you can't bend down).  And to my best friend Jess who stayed with me and brought me food.  And to my best friend Jenna who sat with me.  And to my best friend Pamela who gave me the bestest care package before my surgery, brought me my first meal of my favorite chicken and dumplings that she makes and let me cry on her shoulder the day before because I was scared to death (and also was in my recovery room and made sure to document all the crazy things I said when I was coming out of anesthesia).  Oh and it hurt the second week too!  Still a lot but not as bad as the first!  It hurt the third week too--not as bad as the second week but still hurt!  I had a scare with a possible blood clot.  I had to sleep in a recliner for 3 weeks.  I had to wear compression garments for a month which I've now been moved up to the ever so sexy Spanx to continue my recovery.  I had to stop taking birth control 2 weeks before my surgery and 2 weeks after my surgery which means I had my period amidst this whole process---damn you mother nature!  And I still have swelling almost a month into the process (I had it all done on 4/17).  And I will still have swelling for another couple of months!  I had to give up alcohol because of the medication--y'all know I love my booze.  My belly button looked gross for a long time--because it's essentially a new belly button--think new born baby umbilical cord.  And I have scars on my breasts.  And I have a scar from hip bone to hip bone where they cut me from my tummy tuck.  I wasn't quite prepared for the pain (mostly because I've never had surgery and didn't really know my threshold) but I was prepared for the scars because I watched too many YouTube videos (which BTW, I totally don't recommend you do if you are considering this).  However, because my surgeon is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING at his craft, my scarring is going to be very minimal and I am certain that next year at this time, I won't even be able to see it.  It was done that well.

Again, why did I tell you all this?  Because this was MY decision.  And MY decision is not the right decision for everyone.  And if you don't agree with MY decision, that is ok.  Really, it's ok.  But I have absolutely no regrets at all.  NONE!  Not one bit!  I look at my body and am absolutely amazed at what modern medicine and surgery can do.  I love my breasts and if you are a close friend of mine I probably have shown them to you (I hear that's pretty common).  I love my new tummy and the results that I'm getting even with the swelling I still have.  It will only get better.  I love that I can put on a bathing suit and not want to hide or crop out my tummy from pictures.  I love that I can wear a bikini at 39--which I'm sure is a fashion faux pas but screw it.  I love that I can love my body (which is still not perfect and will never be because let's face it I'm still a girl and that's how we are) but I love it and I am not ashamed of that.  I'm also not ashamed of how I got there.  Because I am not forgetting that for a year I worked harder than I have ever worked before to lose weight, gain control of my eating and get healthy.  I worked out nearly every day of the week and gave up bread for goodness sake!  Having this surgery was merely the icing on the cake (or the stevia coating on the protein bar lol)! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  Obviously now I am very open about this process.  Also, if you are looking for a surgeon Hunstad/Kortesis is definitely who I would recommend (even if you are not from the Charlotte area).  Dr. Kortesis was my surgeon and I can't say enough about him!  He's also on IG (drbillkortesis). 

What's with the title you may say?  Well, I'm 39---and this Caterpillar (notice I didn't say Ugly Duckling or anything of that sort because I did love me before, I just wanted a little upgrade) has now turned into a Butterfly and I'm flying into this last year of my 30's like nobodies business.  So in honor of my 39th birthday, I am posting my first ever bikini picture--like ever!  You know why...because I can!

And if you made it this far, bless your heart!  Thank you is all I can say!  I do have some great blogs planned---about things much less controversial and fun.  I just need a good swift kick in the pants to get my blogging juices going again. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me...

Hi Girls-

Happy Thursday!  And after the week I've had, this is exactly how I'm feeling--bahahahaha!!!


Y'all...seriously...no seriously...y'all are the absolute best!  Thank you again for the sweet messages you've left me here and personally about moving on and moving up based on my last 2 posts.  But that's it.  I've left the pieces on the floor and I am moving on.  But for reals, y'all make a girls heart just explode.

I love posts like the one I am doing today.  I love it so much that as I was typing this out, it all sounded strangely familiar and then I realized I did it already back in August of 2015.  You can read about it here.  I did get a chuckle going back and reading what I had posted then because 2 things still ring true:  boob sweat is the devil and I still have that stupid gray eyebrow hair and one on my chin that magically appears overnight.  Like, WTF man?!?  It's only one hair...but dang, I see this happening and literally freak out.

But these are the fun, light hearted posts that I love to read on other bloggers pages.  Because we all want to know about people we never met but feel we know already because they give us glimpses and snapshots into their life. 

So...I'm going to do an updated, 2017 version of 'Things You Probably Don't Know About Me."
  1. I write stuff in my calendar and my to-do list after I've done it just so I can feel more accomplished at the end of the day.
  2. I sometimes wear the same makeup 2-3 days in a row.  I know..so bad for my skin but hey, yesterday's eyeliner is today's smoky eye :)
  3. I get jealous when my bestest friends talk about their other friends.  Not like Lifetime movie crazy jealous where I'm sitting in front of their other friends houses plotting what I'm going to do to "take care of the situation" but my closest friends know I'm needy and have just come to understand my feelings.  It is what it is.  True story--but they love me anyway.

  4. I always have unexplainable bruises all over my body--knees, arms, tummy...like where do they come from?!?  I mean seriously, they just appear.
  5. I'm a horrible swearer.  I'm not proud of it at all but I curse...A LOT.  I probably should work on that...just not today.
  6. Two things I have become obsessed with since I started my low carb eating plan nearly a year ago:  Microwavable Pork Rinds and G. Hughes Sugar Free BBQ Sauce .  Yes, I know the pork rinds sound gross but oh Mylanta, they are so good, especially when they are warm right out of the microwave.  And the BBQ sauce--it sugar free so low carb and it is absolutely delicious!  My sister turned me onto this and I have no idea how I lived without it for so long.  I put it on everything.  Hickory is my favorite flavor so far.
     
  7. Stich Fix has become a slight obsession for me and I should probably do a post on it but I am currently receiving it monthly and typically choose at least 3 of the 5 items I receive.  It's an expensive habit and oh, how I love it!!!
  8. I've been obsessed with 80's movies lately and have watched all of the following within the last 2 weeks:  Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Better Off Dead, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Valley Girl.  Movies just seemed to be so much better then.  Am I right?!?
  9. My house looks straight up like a mix of Hobby Lobby, Target, Garden Ridge and Pinterest combined.  And I'm not ashamed.  I love it when people walk in and say "OMG, your house is so cute." or "I saw that on Pinterest."  I have a problem with keeping up perfect appearances--it's something I'm working on because I want to be the real representative to everyone I meet, not just my closest friends.  But my house is my comfort zone.  I love everything about it.  I think I'll do a house tour next week so I can share it with y'all.
  10. I love Tito's vodka (which I drink on the rocks) and red wine (preferably Malbec).  Not together but they are both my favorite.  Tito's has definitely been my go-to choice for alcohol since I started my weight loss journey and wine is something I have ALWAYS loved.  Yes, I realize it may make me sound like a lush that I added this into the 10 things you may not know about me but whatevs...lush or not, me likes my booze. 
Okay girls, so there you have it.  A little more insight about moi. 
 
I hope y'all have a super fab rest of your Friday eve! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pick Your Head Up Princess, Your Tiara is Falling...

Hi Girls-

Happy Wednesday!  I've been busy.  I put on lipstick yesterday.  I did my hair today.  I'm good.  Today was a new day!

So I'm just going to dive right in...  but first, thank all you girls who were so sweet to call, email and text me such wonderful uplifting messages.  They meant more than you will ever know. 


When I last left you just a couple short days ago, I was fresh from experiencing heart break--a feeling I hadn't felt in a really long time.  I was in the grief stage where crying seemed to be the only emotion I could handle at the time.  I let my emotions pour out of me onto this blog and I have to admit that it was very therapeutic.  I allowed my heart to feel for the first time in many years and unfortunately it didn't work out the way I had planned.  But I'm ok. 

I'm in the anger stage of the break up process.  The tears have stopped.  The sadness is there but going away and my heart still hurts but for different reasons than it did on Monday.  Best thing there are no more tears.  It's amazing what a clear mind, amazing friends, some beautiful flowers, super funny texts and cards, a couple good nights of sleep and maybe a bottle of Tito's can do for you. 

I've been thinking about this post ever since I wrote the last one.  I didn't think I'd get here as quickly as I have (which is obviously a good sign) but it's here and I'm going to be completely honest with myself (and with y'all)...so if I'm inappropriate or swear, I'm sorry but this is a raw me right now.

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." ---Mark Twain.  Umm...yeah...preach it Huckleberry...I love this quote and it's so fitting.

When I first started laying out my thoughts for this post, although I hadn't planned for it to be man-bashing it was definitely leaning in that direction.  And that's not how I wanted this post to be perceived.  I'm not going to bash this man for hurting me.  I'm not going to openly express what an asshole I think he is.  I'm not going to go into the details of what happened (except one big one that will make you do this...like for reals)
What I'm going to do is tell y'all about my anger and what I'm going to do to continue to work it out and most importantly move on.  Because I don't know who will be reading this and if by chance it helps someone then that's even more reason for me to lay it all out there. 

No relationship is easy.  For anyone.  No relationship is easy--especially for someone who dates me.  I'm not difficult in every situation but I'm 38, single, never been married and have become pretty set in my ways.  But let me say this...for any single girl that may have had your heart broken, it is always a 2 way street---it is NEVER all your fault.  EVER.  Let me say that again...EVER!!! 

For all intents and purposes, I thought my relationship was going well.  We spent a great deal of time together, met friends and family (which y'all know are so important to me) and there appeared to be no indication that anything was off...you see where I'm going here, right?  Sure we had little arguments here and there but no knock down drag out fights--no voice raising...nothing of the sorts.  What we did have were conversations (some more heated and more emotional than others) where he thought I was being too sensitive about things he was saying or when his lack of filter annoyed me.  Again, the details aren't important and I'm not here to bash him (because that's not how I roll) but I wanted to give you a little insight.  Also, let me remind you that this whole relationship was very short and although I feel so silly that I'm this affected, I made a point to be more open and let my guard down because it was so unlike me and I needed to try things a different way. 

Anywhoodle, here's the "NO WAY" moment....he broke up with me...wait for it....on a text message.  For reals...a 35 year old man didn't have the balls (or more importantly the respect) to pick up the phone or show up at my house and tell me he was ending our relationship.  Now you see why I'm angry...right? 

Let me take a quick pause here...any Sex & the City fans out there?  It's seriously still my favorite show, even though it's been off TV for years, but I watch episodes every time I find it on TV.  But when I got the text, my very first thought was the Post It episode.  Do y'all remember that one?  When Berger broke up with Carrie on a post it that he left on her table that read "I'm sorry, I can't, Don't Hate Me."  Seriously, this was the image that popped up in my head.  Here's the clip where Carrie is telling Berger's friends how to break up with a woman---I've watched it like 12 times...He Broke Up With Me On A Post It-SATC. 
As I was saying...the break up...yep, he did it on the 21st century version of the Post-It and what Carrie said in the clip above is exactly how I felt.  It wasn't ok...it's not ok...no girl should ever have to receive a text from a man who has told her how much he cares for her.  Here's the BIG and only specific detail I am choosing to tell--his text.  "So listen...I've been giving it some thought and I feel like I need to end this relationship.  We can talk about it if you'd like." 

Again...it's why I had this face. 
 
Followed by this...

Of course I responded to his text with an absolute...yes, I want to talk about it.  But by that point, he was already done.  He was over it.  We talked for just a few minutes but now he was a different person---one that I didn't recognize anymore.

So there's the story...to get you all caught up.  But here's where the anger comes in.  I'm angry.  I've sworn a lot.  I've replaced the tears with the "F" word.  I've yelled--not at anyone, just yelled.  And I've had moments of clarity where I was like, no...that wasn't right, or why did I let that go when he said that or did that, why did I make excuses, why did I take the blame, why did I hold my tongue, etc.  Don't get me wrong...I cared for this man A LOT.  I don't think he was an asshole the entire time we were together (otherwise I wouldn't have been with him) but he certainly had a lot of asshole moments.

But in dealing with and reeling with all my thoughts and emotions, I realized that this wasn't all me--or actually me AT ALL.  And I can't blame myself for it.  And I won't blame myself for it.  And I will move on.  And I will not stop trying to find love.  And I will work on my relationship with God.  And I will pray more.  And I will love and respect myself more.  And I will love and respect my friends more.  And I won't go back to a black heart where I don't allow people in.  And I won't spend another minute crying over a man who didn't respect me enough to break up with me in an adult way.  And I will pull myself together and realize that I deserve more.  And I will stop dreaming about punching him in the face (ok, maybe not yet but someday).  But most importantly, I WILL NOT LET HIM DULL MY SPARKLE---no one will ever have that kind of control over me.

So that's it girls...I will not be writing about this guy again...wanna know why?  I refuse to let him consume the thoughts in my head anymore wondering the what if's and justifying what could've, would've happened.  I'm leaving the pieces on the floor and walking away.  Because quoting the card that accompanied the beautiful flowers my best friend Pamela sent me, "He Ain't Worth It!".  Have I mentioned how much I love my friends?

But don't you worry, I'll get back on that dating horse again soon so I'm sure I'll have plenty of bad date stories (or you never know...maybe one good one) to share again :) 

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Hey Girls-

Yes, I'm back at it again...and I'm doing some heavy hitting for my first post back. 

I'm going to paint a picture for you right now...so in my best Sofia voice, "Picture it, Harrisburg NC, 2017..."  I use humor in uncomfortable situations...and I am extremely uncomfortable and feeling very vulnerable right now with what I'm about to share with y'all.  My heart is hurting, my head is reeling and confused, my lips are dry from being dehydrated, my belly is growling because I'm hungry but I can't keep anything down and my eyes are near swollen shut because the tears won't seem to stop.  There's nothing left coming out of my eyes---the tear ducts are literally empty.  Did you know that could even happen?  I'm not this kind of girl.  My friends have been checking on me non-stop, not only because they love me so much but because I think they want to make sure I didn't find a belt to hang myself with (yes, I'm also very dramatic but you get the drift).  If you are a girl, you probably know what's coming next because it most likely has happened to you at some point in your life and it sucks.  My heart has been broken.  I'm choosing to pour out what remaining emotions I have left into this blog (after not having blogged for more than a month--talk about crazy).  But I have to--I have to verbalize the pain and hurt I'm feeling.  I have to stop crying.  I have to continue the grieving stage in the break up process before I go onto the next step (which I'm hoping will be anger because that's certain to make a good blog post).  I have to be ok. 

So...in the words of the infamous and the most absolutely amazing legs in the world Tina Turner, 'What's Love Got To Do With It?"  Well, Tina....everything actually.  Love is what makes the world go round.  Love is what they make holidays for and why the Hallmark channel and Lifetime channel have such a cult following (including myself).  Love is what makes people do stupid, irrational things.  Love is what can bring you the most amazing, joyous feeling in the whole entire worlds OR can bring on the worse pain imaginable.  I feel almost silly talking about this but this is real, this is raw, this is my life...oh and this is also my blog ;) 

I've written a lot...no really A LOT about my love life on here.  For the most part, it's been about the horrible dating experiences I've had and the occasional man that I've met where I thought could be something but never turned out to be for one reason or another.  I've written about relationships where I've actually gone back and deleted actual posts to erase any type of memory or evidence that they existed in my past.  I was choosing not to learn anything from these "relationships" because I simply didn't feel like I needed to. 

Here's where the shit gets real.  Last month when I got back to blogging, on my very first post, I wrote about a new guy I was dating.  A guy that completely swept me off my feet and I was loving every minute of the process.  I intentionally didn't write about him after that because, well, I was enjoying all the time that I was spending with him getting to know him and falling in love.  Here's where I circle back to the silly part---in all actuality we were together for a very short time but what transpired during that time was nothing short of remarkable for me and the way I usually process being in a relationship.  Obviously you guys know the outcome to this relationship because I already told you I was heartbroken which may leave you asking yourself "why is she talking about this?"  When I wrote about him in my January post, I said that I wanted to remember how all this felt even if it didn't work out.  Obviously at that time, I was jaded and didn't anticipate it not working out but it is what it is and sometimes reality doesn't play out the way that we want it to and heartache is always a possibility.  So here I am, with what I feel is a broken heart and swollen sad eyes and I'm vomiting (figuratively speaking only) my feelings all over this laptop.  Because I'm doing exactly what I said I wanted to do--I'm remembering how I felt (or in this case feel).  And between the tears and dry heaving and confusion I know that I will be in a much better place than I was in my last round of dating/quasi relationships.  I was able to let my guard down, allow someone to get close to me, allow myself to feel adored and beautiful and most importantly gave myself permission to love. 

Life is hard.  Love is harder.  In the end, I know I'll be ok.  Today is just not that day.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

An A to Z guide on How to Be A Good Friend

Hi Girls-

I consider myself to be a pretty fabulous friends (pats self on back).  But I also have the bestest friends a girl could ever ask for and want.  They are loving, loyal, funny, smart and I have to mention gorgeous y'all!  I seriously have the prettiest friends EVER!


In trying to get back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging I did a lot of research on fun topics to blog about.  I have over 75 new topics currently in my drafts (that should definitely keep me busy) but I wanted them to be about things that interested me and ultimately just to write what I know.  I don't want to try to fit myself into a little box and be like other bloggers, because y'all are way cooler than I am and have so much more interesting things to write about :) 

Being a good friend is something I know a lot about.  I pride myself on the circles of lady friends that are the heartbeat of my life.  I value every quality about them all and try to learn something new or unearth something about them during every encounter I have with them. 

So, with that, I decided to put together (and stole some ideas from Michael Josephson that I found online) an A to Z guide on 'How To Be A Good Friend'. 

A-Always be honest with one another.  Even if it hurts.  It's much better in the long run.  I promise. 
B-Believes in you.
C-Celebrates your successes.
D-Defends you.  I will punch someone in the throat if you think you can get away with talking about any of my friends in front of me.
E-Encourages you. 
F-Forgives you no matter what.
G-Gives you what you need.  I know my friends love languages and they know mine.  I use this in times of comfort or happiness and anything in between.
H-Has patience with you.  This is a hard one as patience is not one of my better virtues.  I sometimes glaze over when it's a subject that's not as important to me comes up (ie football) but fortunately I have friends that call me out on this and get me focused again.
I-Inspires you.  I am so fortunate to have the most amazing, inspirational lady friends.  They all have their own special qualities and make me want to be better. 
J-Judges you rarely...but when they do it's fairly.  You never want your friends to judge you but sometimes they need to call you out on your SH*T.  But when they do, it's always from the heart. 
K-Know when to be quiet and just listen. 
L-Loves you no matter what.  We're not perfect.  We're going to do stupid things and make decisions that not everyone agrees with but the most important thing is that you know you will be loved. 
M-Make time for each other.  This can be difficult for some because of husbands, kids, work, etc. But this is super important in maintaining friendships.  This doesn't mean you have to have a night together every week/weekend end.  But if you haven't seen each other face to face for months and months and you live in the same city or if you haven't even talked to one another, are you really that close?
N-Never tells your secrets.  I always say I can never get rid of any of my inner circle friends because they all know too much. I'm going to the grave with my stuff!
O-Ooze love.  OK, this was a stretch but I couldn't think of a word to go here.  But 'oozing love' sounds exactly like something I would say.  My friends know that I love them.  I tell them ALL the time.  They probably get tired of it sometimes (which doesn't really bother me) because they will never doubt where they stand with me. 
P-Pushes you to be your best you. 
Q-Quells your fears.    
R-Restores your confidence ...in love, relationships, life in general.  We all have our "woe is me" moments but being a good friend is all about boosting your besties confidence when they are down.
S-Shares all your emotions:  joy, grief, pain, love and hugs you after. 
T-Tell them that you love them.  Pretty simple.  We all need to be told this.  My tribe and I always say 'I love you' when we get off the phone with one another.  There's just something so "Sisterhood of Traveling Pants" about this that I adore and am so glad we do this. 
U-Understands that you aren't perfect but loves you anyway. 
V-Values you for who you are. 
W-Wants the best for you.  I only want the best for my friends and I will do whatever I can to make sure they achieve this. 
X-Xpects the best from you. (ok, not exactly starts with X but let's be real, there aren't any words for this so just go with it).
Y-Yanks you back to reality.  Sometimes I'm so high in the clouds that I can't see.  Sometimes I'm too self involved.  Being a good friend is sometimes reminding a friend that she's not living in the real world.
Z-Zeroes in on what's wrong.  How true is this?  I pride myself on knowing what's wrong with my friends before they even tell me.  It could be a facial expression, a vague text, whatever but I think being a good friend allows you to identify what's wrong---sometimes without even words.

I couldn't write this blog without sharing some of my favorite pics of my tribe (and one tribe husband), my favorite sister (who was my first friend ever) and my other bestest gal pals.  There's a lot y'all so just keep scrolling...because I just couldn't choose.  Again, aren't my peeps freaking gorgeous?!?










 









 






















































Alright y'all, what do you think?  Any other areas that I'm missing?  I hope you are all as blessed as I am to have some an amazing group of friends.  I simply couldn't do life without mine.  They lift me up, make me laugh, love me unconditionally and are all mine (I'm pretty protective of them).