Surprise, I am 30

For the first time, I have not made a big deal about my Birthday. Every year, I announce on November 1st that “Birthday Month” has officially begun. A few weeks later I make an even bigger deal that “Birthday Week” has started. But, this year, I said nothing. Why? I’m not quite sure… 30 just didn’t excite me. Or, maybe I’ve just been too busy to think about it. Whatever it was didn’t matter, because why I failed to make a big deal about turning 30, my family and friends did not.

On my actual birthday me and a few close friends ran a Holiday themed 5k together and everyone dressed in a theme…”Hilarie’s Nerdy 30!” Even Luna was sporting suspenders and a homemade onesie. We were adorable. I ran my fastest 5k (which isn’t very fast, 27 minutes) and every one of us got 1st place in our age group! Plus, we won for “most spirited team”!

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Btw, my parents do not have wifi so all blogging and photo editing is done only with my phone this week! Bare with me.

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After the race, we had brunch with more friends and family. The food was great and the company was better. I got showered with gifts which was totally unnecessary but a nice surprise. And, of course, we topped it off with some holiday lattes from Starbucks.

My birthday ended with an overnight drive to Texas. When we arrived early the next morning I was then spoiled by my Texas family! I truly thought it couldn’t get any better, but the next day I received the biggest surprise yet.

The next day was my Mom’s birthday and she decided she wanted to celebrate that night by going to a local Mexican restaurant that I also happen to love. When we got there the waitress said my sister was already there and walked us back to a big dark room. My first thought was, “why on Earth would Natalie want to eat in this dark room”. Then, I spotted my Uncle and thought, “oh, that’s so nice that he came to celebrate my Mom’s birthday!” At that moment the lights turned on and everyone shouted “SURPRISE!”

I looked at my Mom to see if she was surprised and then thought, “why wouldn’t my sister tell me she planned a surprise party for our Mom?” I started looking for her for some answers and she began putting a sash on me and I then realized everyone was saying “Hilarie, it’s for you.” Oooohhhh

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I was seriously shocked. Not only was I surprised about the party, but I could not believe how many people were there! There must have been about 40 people. It was really the nicest surprise. I got to see so many people I love, many who were meeting Luna for the first time. I felt very special and so loved.

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I actually bought a sash for my Mom too!

Now, that it’s here, I guess 30 isn’t so bad. In fact, it has started off way better than I ever expected.

Thank you so much to everyone for making 30 such a great birthday and Happy Hilarie’s Birthday to all of you!

Cheers!

oh and P.S. the winner of the Dr. Who shoes was chosen and is in the comments of the Practically Perfect Shoes post!

Hello! Book Of Mormon Came to Nashville!

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Wednesday night the biggest show on Broadway premiered in Nashville. Surely, you have all heard of the Book of Mormon. It’s huge, it’s crazy popular, award-winning and very controversial. Before I review the show we saw in Nashville, I think I need to give you a brief synopsis.The biggest question I’ve gotten from people pertaining to the show is “Is it offensive?” And, honestly, the answer just depends on how sensitive you are.

Let me explain, The Book of Mormon is a musical that follows two brand new Mormon missionaries who are unexpectedly paired together and sent to Uganda. They imagine living on the set of Lion King while spreading the word of God and baptizing dozens of Africans into their religion. However, Uganda turns out to be the scariest place they’ve ever imagined and is riddled with disease, crime, death and people who don’t exactly trust that any God will fix all their troubles. The story that ensues is the most ridiculous, hilarious and brilliant show that’s hit Broadway (as far as I’ve seen). It sounds like a serious story, but it’s full of tap dancing, an electric guitar playing Satan, science fiction character cameos and some of the worst language you have ever heard.

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So, back to that question…is it offensive? Well, if blasphemy, cursing, gay jokes, mocking of religion or suggestive moves and language offends you, then yes. This shows will probably be the most offensive form of entertainment you have ever seen. You have to remember that Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of South Park) are 2 of the 3 creators of the Book of Mormon. These two men may be crude, but they are wickedly smart and talented. The show is filthy, but it’s also full of heart. The two main characters are truly trying to better the world, and you can’t help but love and root for them. Vogue magazine explains it best…

the filthiest, most offensive, and—surprise—sweetest thing you’ll see on Broadway this year, and quite possibly the funniest musical ever.

We saw the show for the first time in New York and were lucky enough to see it performed by the original cast, including Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad.I can only imagine that seeing these two perform the roles they originated is equivalent to seeing Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth perform Wicked. No one can compare. Then there’s the songs. We LOVE the soundtrack to the Book of Mormon, and my favorite song is by far “I Believe”. I know every inflection and get goosebumps every time at the end, so hearing someone else sing it even slightly differently isn’t easy.

Book of Mormon Tour

The two starts of the Book of Mormon tour group are no Andrew Rannells or Josh Gad, but they do an incredible job filling such big and talented shoes. Although, the standout star was by far, Denee Benton. She plays the lead female role, Nabulungi, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Remember her name, I am certain she is going to be huge one day.

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Compared to the version we saw in NY, the tour is very close to being just as amazing. The final notes of “I believe” aren’t earth shattering, but the singing, the comedic timing, the dancing and acting are phenomenal, maybe even the best Broadway tour I’ve seen. The show has stuck with me and I have had the songs in my head all day. Actually, I have a feeling the show stuck with most people.

My favorite part about seeing the show last night was hearing the shock in the crowd as each joke got cruder, every line more offensive and song more crass. You could literally hear the room gasp and then roar with laughter. The audience definitely seemed surprised at the amount of profanity in a Broadway musical, but still appreciated the well intended story and the clever lines. I didn’t hear one negative comment as we exited the theatre.

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If you ever hear of Book of Mormon coming anywhere near you, you better get online and purchase tickets the minute they’re available. Those puppies sale like hotcakes and you are going to be very sad if you miss this show. Check out their tour dates here. And, of course, remember to look at TPAC’s upcoming schedule. They’ve got some good shows coming up!

Cheers!

Never Too Many Headbands (Giveaway)

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I told you I had a lot of giveaways coming up, didn’t I? Truth is, I’ve been holding back because we’ve been so ridiculously busy. I am determined to get these all out in the next few weeks! Today’s review/giveaway is so cute you will instantly melt and turn into a puddle of goo the moment you see it. I ran across this item on Etsy (shocking, I know.) And, once again, I found not only a great product, but a great person/creator. Friends of Positively Panicked, welcome to Violet Bowtique!

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I am lucky enough to get to review 3 beautiful crotchet headbands from Violet Bowtique. Luna has sported these headbands countless times now. She wore one at Comic Con, one to Santa’s PJ party, the park, out to dinner, to music class and just around the house. They are really fun to match to different outfits and we have gotten so many compliments on them.

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These headbands aren’t just for looking adorable either, they also double as ear warmers! Since, our stupid weather is already getting cold, I have used the big bow headbands as ear warmers for Luna many times now. They are also super soft. Lots of the headbands I bought for Luna are cute, but they leave marks on her head. Either the elastic band is to tight or the bow leaves a big row dent on her head. These, however, leave no mark. Luna tends to leave the headbands on, so they must not be bothering her. Yay!

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The only bad thing I can say is that I lost the mustard colored one while walking around Comic Con…inserts crying emoticon here. By the time I realized it had fallen off the stroller it was lost among the sea of thousands meandering around the main floor. I just hope another adorable baby found it and is now wearing it around Manhattan.

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K, ready for the good news? Violet Bowtique is giving away a $20 store credit to one of you! Woohoo! You know what to do, right? Just follow these 3 little steps to be entered to win!

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1. Follow my blog. (What’s that you already follow me? Of course you do!)

2. Follow me and Violet Bowtique on Facebook. (OR, some other social media site: my Instagram, my Twitter, Violet Bowtique’s Instagram)

3, Leave me a comment below.

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Best of luck people! I’ll be selecting a winner on Friday, November 28th. Oh, and FYI, because Letisha, the owner of Violet Bowtique is a busy new Mom/teacher/entrepreneur, her shop is only open twice a week, so be sure to check out her schedule here.

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Cheers!

When Texas Friends Come to Town

Meet my friend, Danica!

Meet my friend, Danica!

I have this friends, she’s awesome. She lives in Texas with her Husband, baby boy and funny corgi. She’s Mexican, speaks no Spanish but cooks a mean enchilada. She is always honest, always herself, dangerous to shop with, so much fun, snorts when she laughs, very thoughtful and ready to listen to me vent without a moments notice. Her name is Danica and she and her family just spent the last week with us.

Me and Danica with our babies at Percy Warner Parker (where we did NOT see Taylor Swift BTW)

Me and Danica with our babies at Percy Warner Parker (where we did NOT see Taylor Swift BTW)

Danica and her Husband love to travel, like Husband and myself, so they have visited us when we used to live in Tennessee, both years we lived in NY and they even went with us on our recent trip to NYC! A month later they are here in Tennessee to see our new house and spend the week with us. We had them, their baby plus their puppy. It was a party every night in this house. And, by party I mean a strict routine of baths, story-time, lullabies, crying and Netflix for adults once the babies finally fall asleep.

passed OUT

passed OUT

Last time they came to Tennessee, we went hiking, repelling, caving, watched fireworks and went downtown. This time was our plans were much more relaxed and completely kid-friendly. We went to parks and playgrounds, the zoo, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Opry Hotel, the Escape Game and even managed to fit in some hiking. It’s really nice that we both have babies and need to stick to a somewhat regular schedule. We had a blast and it was awesome to see our two little ones bond and spend so much time together.

watching the trains together at Cheekwood

watching the trains together at Cheekwood

They were clearly thrilled to meet Mrs. Claus at Santa's PJ party...

They were clearly thrilled to meet Mrs. Claus at Santa’s PJ party…

just chillin' with the kangaroos

just chillin’ with the kangaroos

Almost every outing turned into a photo session for the babies. We had some beautiful fall weather and could not help but set the babies in the bright colorful leaves and start snapping away. At one point one of us was lying on the ground with the camera, one was tossing leaves in the air and the other was jumping around making noises like a monkey to get smiles. They were the best little models. We got very little attitude and we could pay them in Cheerios. They even formed their signature poses. Luna loves to throw her hands in the air in excitement and Orion prefers the calm and cool look.
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We went out to eat way too much, as we do anytime guests come to visit, but we did cook at home a few times too. The great thing about having friends stay with you is that you can be totally comfortable and have a great time no matter what the setting. It really didn’t matter if we were in East Nashville at a trendy hotspot or sitting on the living room floor snacking on chips and guacamole, either way we were doubled over with laughter and making some unforgettable memories.

did a mention we had some amazing fall weather?

did a mention we had some amazing fall weather?

I have got to tell you that if you have been putting off visiting an out of town friend or having a friend come to stay with you, stop and just do it. I know it is hard to plan, pack, arrange schedules, travel and deal with kids, but it is so worth it. Staying with a friend is truly the best way to travel. You get to see a new place through the eyes of a local, eat the best foods, meet new friends and stay somewhere for free. (Assuming your friends don’t run a brothel or something.)  It’s also a really special way to bond with your friends you rarely see and create even more ridiculous inside jokes.

looks like someone is trying to sneak a kiss!

looks like someone is trying to sneak a kiss!

Personally, I love when we have guests. I love getting to spend more time with them, get to know their families better and it gives us a really really good reason to clean and get some much needed stuff done around the house. Soooo who’s our next guests???

come back soon best buddy!

come back soon best buddy!

Cheers!

 

My Practically Perfect Shoes (Giveaway!)

Before going to NYC Comic Con I had to decide if I wanted to participate in the oh-so popular cosplay (dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime), obviously, I did. BUT, did I want to go all out like this girl…

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Or, have a more subtle approach like this girl…

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Again, this should be obvious. I went for the second approach. First step in achieving this look was scouring the Internet for comic con worthy accessories. Of course, I needed a theme… Day 1 was Mary Poppins Day! I had Mary Poppins earrings, a Mary Poppins bracelet, a real carpet bag (review coming soon!) and the cutest hand-painted Mary Poppins shoes!!!

Luna's shirt said "practically perfect".

Luna’s shirt said “practically perfect”.

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I found the shoes on Etsy (of course) from JALI’s Place. Iliana, the shop owner, creates very unique shoes, hair bands and clips and a few other items, but her shoes are definitely the most impressive and unique items. They are all hand-painted on non-latex shoes. She’s got quite a few Disney-themed shoes, which just makes me love her more. Just look at these beautiful Mary Poppins shoes.

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Since, we’ve been home from Comic Con I have continued to wear them over and over again. The colors go with just about everything, they’re comfortable, fun and a little sparkly. They’ve also born worn in some rainy weather lately and still look good as new!

AND because my favorite Etsy shops never let my readers down Jali’s Place is offering a really cool giveaway and a few discount codes!

First, let’s discuss this giveaway… She hand-painted shoes in the Dr. Who theme and they look fantastic! They are size 10 and they are absolutely free to one of you!

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To enter for this giveaway please do the following!

1. Follow my blog. (Yup, just click that little “follow” button on the right and enter your email.)

2. Follow me on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. (Or, all 3 because really…you don’t want to miss a thang.)

3. Comment below! Tell me what you love about Dr. Who!

I’ll select the winner in a week (Monday, November 24th). AND don’t forget that Jali’s Place is also offering some sweet deals. First, With all our shoes they will be giving a headpiece matching the shoes. Second, use the discount code Xmas10 for 10% off your entire purchase. And, third, all the headbands have free shipping until December 20th! Whew, that’s a lot. Be sure to stop by her shop and look for some Christmas gifts for your nerdy/Disney-freak/super-cool friends.

Good luck and Cheers!

Harry Potter Onesie Winner and Apologies

uhhhh….woops? So, I was supposed to announce the winner of this giveaway a few days ago, but I just could not. Why is it that every time life gets crazy busy, it just gets crazier? We have been going non-stop for the last few weeks (yes, even more than usual) and, of course the second I get the teeniest bit of respite I come down with mastitis for the third time! I am so thankful to finally feel human today and to get some time to write as Luna and Husband both nap this morning.

Now, before some small announcements, let’s get to the fun stuff! The winner of the adorable “accio boobies” Harry Potter onesie giveaway is…..

Anne Stewart!!!!

Congrats Anne! Please shoot me an email (positivelypanicked@gmail.com), send me your mailing address and I will get that onesie out to you ASAP. Thanks to everyone who entered and don’t forget to check out Kennie Blossoms for more cute and hilarious apparel.

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Now for a few announcements, I have a TON of reviews and giveaways coming up. Stay tuned for those. I am SO behind on everything, but I will be doing my best to get those out there. Look forward to headbands, shoes, purses, baby apparel, Book of Mormon review, stuff to do with little ones and more!

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I’ve missed you all over the last week and can’t wait to get back to work.

Cheers!

Mr. Panic Monster Returned

Life has been so busy the last couple of months, and with the holiday season already starting, it is sure to be even busier. I love busy, so I am not complaining. I’m actually making an excuse, an excuse for steering clear of the topic of anxiety. For a while, my anxiety seemed to be disappearing, but the last month has been a brutal reminder that my anxiety is always lurking in the background, just waiting to jump when it sees a moment of weakness.

Over the last month of or so I’ve had a few little hiccups in my health (my anxiety trigger)… I had a small mass appear on my hip that had to be removed. It turned out to be nothing, but scar tissue and fat, but there were a couple of weeks of worry. Honestly, I didn’t think I was that nervous, until the very small operation. And, why?? Simply because I was afraid of having my blood pressure taken. I am having the hardest time recovering from the post-traumatic stress of being so sick after having Luna. Then, my nerves really kicked in as a waited for days for the results of the testing. I felt much better after the whole episode, but a week later was my next appointment with my hypertension specialist.

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I LOVE my doctor. He is blunt, bald, a traveler and has a very dry sense of humor. He does not understand my anxiety or panic at all, yet we somehow work well together. His nonchalant attitude toward my tears and questions of “AM I ABOUT TO DIE???” is very calming. Last time, I saw him I cried and told him how scared I was of dying and not being a Mom anymore. He looked at me seriously, and said, “Why? I’m not worried. It’s my job to worry about you and I’m not. Let me worry. You have no reason to worry. Stop crying.” This brought back memories of church and my Sunday School teacher telling us to “cast our cares upon Him” and “let God worry for you”… it was actually extremely helpful. I love my doctor, which is why I don’t know why this next appointment freaked me out big time. I was so anxious that I was physically ill days before my appointment. Obviously, the appointment didn’t go swimmingly…

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Between the doctors (squeeze an OBGYN appointment in there too), the sleepless nights (thanks Luna) and the hectic schedule, my brave walls of tranquillity began to fall, and Mr. Panic Monster invaded. It’s been rough. Anxiety is always a vicious cycle. Going to the doctor makes me nervous, when I’m nervous I can’t sleep, lack of sleep cause anxiety, the anxiety makes me worry about my blood pressure and so on and so on.

I tried to do all the right things. I made myself exercise every day. I tried really hard to get more sleep. I ate healthy, even drank less coffee. I took deep breaths and my medication, but nothing seemed to help much. The one thing that has helped the most is simply going to all these doctors and being told I’m more or less healthy. Just that bit of reassurance has made me a much happier person this week. It is so very hard to face a fear when you suffer from anxiety disorder, but please know that facing that fear is sometimes the only action that gives relief. At least, that what works for me anyways.

The problem now is fearing fear itself. When you have a panic attack, it’s typical to suffer from anxiety about having another panic attack. You’ve got to understand that having a panic attack is one of the scariest experiences, and often forces you to believe you are dying. Who wouldn’t be afraid of that happening again? Especially, since it leaves you feeling powerless. I’m working to stay in control, which is one big reason why I’m writing this now. Writing is a huge release for me. However, I need to take further action. I need to speak to a professional.

I have been putting off speaking to a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist/counselor for a VERY long time now. Partially, because I don’t actually know the difference between any of them and partially because it’s embarrassing (though it should not be) and time-consuming. I will do it though… I will. I will. I will. I will. I will.

Hopefully.

Now, if someone could just hold me accountable, or perhaps pick me up, tell me you are taking me to Starbucks and then drop me off at a shrink instead! But, then be sure to bring me Starbucks when it’s over.

If you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, please do your research, find solutions and do what works for you. Talk to people you trust (like me!), take a deep breath and repeat after me, “It get’s better. It always get’s better.”

Cheers!