Friday, June 14, 2013

Scott® Rocks! (literally)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you a music buff? I am. In fact, for about three years there, I didn't even turn on my television except to watch music documentaries.

I couldn't tell you a thing about who got voted off Survivor, but I could recite every single word from the Justified album by Justin Timberlake. So our conversation might have sounded something like this:

You: "Can you believe Survivor last night?"

Me: "Senorita, I didn't watch Survivor Last Night because TV's not Right for Me. Music is Still on My Brain and Nothin' Else. Please don't Cry Me A River. Instead, try turning off the television and turning up the radio and Rock Your Body. Justin Timberlake will Take It From Here.

(Speaking in song titles just happens to me sometimes.)

Another side-effect is that my love of music, specifically music trivia, makes me pretty annoying at cocktail parties. You might try to talk about the weather or Fashion Week, but I'll blurt out, "Hey, did you know that the first Grammy Awards were in 1959... or White Christmas by Bing Crosby is the best selling single of all time... or Sting's real name is Gordon Sumner?  (I'd probably go by Sting, too.)

In short, you really want to invite me to play on your Monday night trivia team. You know, as long as you only need help with one category. If it's Geography or Political Science, you're on your own.

That's why I was so excited when I heard about a new deal at Dollar General. If I purchase $6 in Scott Paper Products in-store at Dollar General, I get 3 FREE music downloads.

That's right - FREE, as in, nada, zip, zero, zilch, nothing.

Ahhhh... music to my ears.

And this offer comes at a perfect time because I fly through paper products during the summertime. My family loves to have cookouts and barbecues, and with the kids home all day, they can certainly make a mess or two or fifty. And, I've got two stinky boys in my house, so let's don't even talk about how much toilet paper we go through. Ahem.

Here's a few of the many great Scott Paper Products available at Dollar General:

-Scott® 1000 count bath tissue, 9 pack
-Scott® 1000 count bath tissue, 4 pack
- Scott® Towels (Mega Roll, choose a size) 6 pack
- Scott® Extra Soft Bath Tissue , 12 pack, Big Roll
Buy the products that you needed anyway, but get them at Dollar General so you can take advantage of a great price AND 3 free music downloads.

And then afterward, we'll go kick some booty at trivia night, okay? Whaddaya say?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Welcome to Heaven, Jonathon Ford

We said goodbye to a truly amazing dude this week. He was a husband, father, brother, son and friend. He was loved by everyone because of his gentle nature and kind spirit. I called him family and I loved him dearly.

My cousin Stephanie always felt more like a sister than a cousin to me. In fact, we look more alike than me and my sisters do.

I remember when Stephanie first told me about Jonathon. Her eyes lit up when she said his name, which is common in the beginning of a relationship. But the beautiful thing about their relationship is the sparkle didn't lessen with time; it only shone brighter.

#tbt Steph & Jonathon

We were so excited when they announced their engagement. We began making plans to attend their beautiful destination wedding on Fripp Island.

Announcing their engagement on Christmas Eve

From their "trash the dress" sunrise photo shoot the morning after their wedding

Jonathon was a pilot and his job moved them to Arizona. They bought a beautiful home and Stephanie accepted a teaching job there. Their son Jack was born. Life was perfect.

37 weeks pregnant with Jack

When Jack was about three-months-old, Jonathon was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer.

What Jonathon endured during the next year, I honestly can't imagine, but you wouldn't have known it from talking to him. When they came home for Christmas, even after everything he'd been through and was going through, Jonathon was the same ole guy. He was kind, friendly, and smiley. He spent the evening trying to do something to make your day a little better. That's just the kind of fella he was.

My sister drew Jonathon's name for Christmas and got him personalized poker cards since he and Stephanie met playing in a poker tournament. 

They say when someone faces adversity, you see who they really are. Jonathon faced more adversity than most of us could fathom - and the person he really was - was truly special.

When a young person dies, there is a loss of what could have been, of what should have been. Stephanie and Jonathon waited so long to find each other. They planned on decades of marriage, but they only got about three years.

How will Stephanie go on without him? How will that baby ever know how precious his daddy was?

These are the thoughts that break my heart in two. It isn't fair. It's one of those things that we'll never understand and I guess we're not meant to.

Sometimes we forget how hard it is on the family and friends of those battling cancer. The feeling of helplessness must be overwhelming. Stephanie handled it with strength and grace - each chemo treatment, each fight to get a new drug approved by insurance, each recovery, each piece of bad news.  I don't think I could have been half as strong if facing the same circumstances.

Stephanie and Jonathon's friends put together a poker tournament as a fundraiser for Jonathon. Poker has always been special to them since they met playing poker in a local restaurant. This event was a good chance for everyone to say goodbye and do something to help Stephanie and Jack.

See that picture? That's what cancer looks like, people.

It's the face of a sweet man - a new husband and father - who's fighting for just one more day to spend with them. It's the tearful eyes of a 31-year-old widow who is trying to be strong for everybody else's sake. It's the innocent smile of a baby who will only know his dad through stories and photographs. It's the hearts of family and friends who had to say goodbye way too soon.

Our family has been no stranger to cancer and death in recent months. We've lost my grandmother, Aunt Sharon, Uncle David and Jonathon. I was diagnosed with cancer, which seems pretty insignificant by comparison, and another cousin had two large growths/tumors removed last week (we are still waiting on the biopsy results).

It's definitely been a rough patch. Anybody care to join me for a margarita or twenty?

I've posted updates about Jonathon on Facebook. Thank you for supporting them in thought and prayer. And also, thank you so much for your donations. In lieu of flowers, if you would like to make a donation to Jack's college fund, you may do so HERE.

Team Ford: Jonathon, Stephanie and Jack's hand prints

Today, I think of Jonathon. I picture him climbing onto a golden plane in Heaven - sitting in the right seat with God as his pilot - and flying through the clouds in clear, perfect weather. I imagine him finding friends up there who love to play poker too, and every one of his hands is a Royal Flush. I think about him finding a beautiful park bench where he'll sit and wait for the rest of us to join him in Heaven some day. And I imagine him looking down at Stephanie and Jack and thinking, 'Don't be sad. I'll see you in a little while', and then smiling that sweet smile that always said, everything is going to be okay.

Some loves last a lifetime. Some loves last for eternity. And some loves last both.

Many prayers to Stephanie, Jack, family and friends.

And many thanks to Jonathon Ford - we're all better for knowing you, brother. May you rest in eternal, Heavenly peace.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#21 Don't plagiarize, a.k.a., The day somebody said I caught cancer for marketing purposes

In case I haven't beaten this dead horse enough, I wrote a list of 20 Things a Mother Should Tell Her Son, and it's been shared a few times... blah, blah, blah. Are you as sick of hearing about it as I am talking about it? (Rhetorical.)

When it's shared, I know it's impossible or improbable to give me credit, so when that doesn't happen - which is basically every time - I don't sweat it.

I'm no different. I just shared an e-card on Facebook about muffin tops and I have no idea who created it. I didn't Google it or anything. I just hit "share" and went on about my business. Totally fine. Nobody faults us for that.

But recently, something a little different happened.

A Facebook friend posted a link to "20 Things a Father Should Tell His Son" and tagged me in it. I expected to see an original list, but instead, I saw a copy-and-paste version of my list, word-for-word. The only difference was "mother" was changed to "father", for obvious reasons, of course.

His photo also duplicated the original: a father holding his infant son with "20 things a father should tell his son" written in the corner. I found the image on another website, so I'm assuming it's probably copyright protected.    

That was blatant plagiarizing - promoted to his 85,000+ Facebook fans - so I felt like an email needed to be sent. I never received a response to my email, and I was blocked from his Facebook page.

A couple of days later, he dedicated a full blog post to how offended he was that I contacted him. (Usually I have to fall down a flight of stairs at a PTA meeting to warrant that much dialogue. This was much safer.)

He openly admitted to plagiarizing and for being a serial copy-and-paster, saying,  "I have never claimed any of the posts to (be) mine."

So good news, y'all. Admitting something means you're not responsible anymore. I totally robbed that bank, but since I said it, I don't have to go to jail, right? Yay!  

He goes on to write, "one viral post doesn't make you a god". Then he calls me a hypocrite and a bully. He also calls me "uneducated" just before writing "bully's" as the plural form of the word "bully". Ahem.

So I'm confused here. It's morally okay to steal other people's stuff, but it's not okay to ask somebody to stop it? Oops, my bad. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

He ends his post with this paragraph:
"User beware. Many people are not what they seem. We all have to be wary of those whom share stories related to health issues to gain your sympathy and then end up selling merchandise. It's called marketing and it seems to work well, but I find it morally incomprehensible when people would use a cancer story in an effort to increase their level of wealth." 
That paragraph is sort of the only reason why I'm giving this guy 5 minutes of my time.

First off, sharing my cancer story hasn't increased my wealth. When you consider my out-of-pocket medical expenses and my time out of work, it's actually decreased my wealth quite a bit. But what it has done, however, is spread awareness and possibly even saved lives. Bless his heart that he didn't see the difference.

And second, this guy has obviously never looked at his children and wondered if he would watch them grow up, get married, or have children of their own. I've done that, and let me tell you, it's harder than you'd think.

If he had, he would never accuse somebody of 'catching cancer for marketing purposes'. What an ignorant oaf.

As for me? I find it morally incomprehensible that somebody would flippantly write "a cancer story" as if we were talking about Cinderella or Horton Hears a Who. If you've ever had cancer or loved someone who has, you know that "a cancer story" is more than The Pokey Little Puppy. It's sort of bigger than that.

I didn't contact him after I read his blog post, because seriously, some people can't be helped. He has deleted it now, so I guess he had a moment of clarity or something.

The Internet usually brings me such joy. I like writing articles for this website and making silly songs or videos. I love seeing other people's online creations. I even enjoy the TMI on Facebook. Yep, I love it all.

Except for this. I probably could've lived without this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Welcome to my office... You better redneckognize!

Have I told you about my office before?

Well, it's not located in what you'd call "the city". Please allow me to paint you a picture.

A couple of weeks ago, I came back from lunch and almost hit a goat in the parking lot. What in the world?

Then two days later, that same goat was on the front porch of a girl that I graduated with; she lives a few miles away from my office. We made the connection because of similar rants on Facebook. Now, for the sake of full disclosure, we can't be positive that it was the same goat, but we thought the chances of two different goats taking leisurely strolls were pretty slim.

Then a couple days later, I was all like, "Who's the ASS in the parking lot?"

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, there was an actual living, breathing, braying donkey just outside my office window. It's kind of hard to impress a client while you're yelling over the sounds of "hee, haw, hee, haw".

Some people say they work with jackasses, but when I say it, I actually mean it.

I named him Fred.

That's not the actual donkey, by the way. I was too scared to get that close to it. I blame my college years. I interacted with my fair share of jackasses back then, and I've learned to stay far away, thank you very much. Otherwise, you'll be sitting alone in your car at 3AM, listening to John Micheal Montgomery ballads, eating raw cookie dough, and crying like you did during the series finale of 90210. You know, probably, just a guess.

Then on Friday, I was leaving the office and saw this.

Seriously people, please take better care of your farm animals or I'm gonna start an auction up in here.

Get the Best Deal on your Hotel Wedding Package

This is a guest post by Absolute Wedding Cars. Thank you, Stephen, for writing an excellent article.  


Many people choose to get married in a hotel and this usually includes the ceremony, the reception and an evening party. If you are considering this option, then it is likely that you will want to get the best package possible that offers you everything you want included in the day at the best price available. Here are some tips for getting the best deal on your hotel wedding package.

Compare Options Locally

If you are hoping to use a hotel in your area, visit each of them asking about prices and deals and comparing what they have to offer. If one hotel is offering a better deal than another but you prefer the pricier option, it may be worth mentioning the better deal to the hotel as they may reduce their price to get your custom. Also, if some elements of the package do not interest you then consider asking if you can make changes for the same price.

Internet Searches

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find hotel wedding packages is to compare the prices on the Internet. A search of hotels in your area will list various deals on your search engine. However, while this is great for looking at prices and what is included in the package, it is important to take the time to visit venues yourself and make sure that it meets your requirements to avoid disappointment at a later date.

Choose All Inclusive Packages

Some hotels offer packages that include only the reception and evening venue. Others offer inclusive packages offering entertainment, photography, accommodation and the registrar. It is often the case that inclusive packages are the better deal providing that they include things that you would have chosen.

Go Out of Season

Some times of the year are more expensive than others. Likewise, a weekend wedding will generally be more expensive than one held in the week. If budget is one of your major concerns when organizing the wedding, then consider comparing the prices of deals at different times of the year and opt for a weekday wedding. If you are having a wedding in a hotel, then you will want to look for the best package available to you. Using the Internet, visiting the venues, booking out of season and choosing all inclusive packages are all excellent ways of getting the best deal for your big day.


If you are having a wedding in a hotel then you will want to look for the best package available to you. Using the Internet, visiting the venues, booking out of season and choosing all inclusive packages are all excellent ways of getting the best deal for your big day.

About This Article: Provided by Absolute Wedding Cars A Dublin based company specializing in luxury wedding car hire. Click here for more information.

Friday, May 10, 2013

ZzzQuil helped me Zzzzz

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ZzzQuil. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you a good sleeper? I'm not. I really want to sleep, but I just can't stop thinking about stuff. Important stuff like what the weather is like in London.

I consider a good night's sleep like the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. I mean, I've heard of it; I've just never actually seen it myself.

I've tried some sleep aids, and even a prescription from my doctor, but I've always hated them. I've never thought that it was worth sleeping if I felt groggy the next day. Between kids, a husband, a home, laundry, cooking, cleaning, working full-time, blogging and watching Game of Thrones, I don't have a lot of downtime. Not sleeping makes me feel less sleepy than taking medicine to make me sleep, if that makes any sense.

But then ZzzQuil contacted me about trying their product and it was awesome!

 photo ZzzQuilIZEAPostcardpdf-1_zps70314197.jpg
They also sent me a robe, lavender linen spray and a Amazon gift card. Now if that isn't going to help me relax, I don't know what is!

I noticed that I fell asleep a lot faster than I normally do, and once asleep, I stayed that way. Well, except for when Drew woke me up because he had a bad dream. But even then, I went into his room and scratched his back, and then was able to go back to my room and immediately fall asleep again. And me "immediately falling asleep" is kind of like Halley's Comet - you're lucky if you get to see it once every 75 years.

The next morning, I woke up feeling rested. I didn't have that "medicine head" feeling, either. I was ready to tackle my day, which was good because that Game of Thrones wasn't going to watch itself, you know.

You've heard of NyQuil, right? This is made by the same people. But this Vicks product isn't for colds or pain; it's for when your only symptom is occasional sleeplessness.

This over-the-counter sleep-aid is available in either a Liquid (Warming Berry flavor) or Liquicaps form. I went with the Liquicaps, and they were small and easy to swallow - even for someone like me who normally hates pills. The packaging was also small and easy-to-store in my bathroom medicine cabinet.

The active ingredient is diphenhydramine HCI, which helps reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep so you can wake up the next day feeling rested and refreshed. Man, I love that stuff.

So if you're like me and can't sleep for diddily, give ZzzQuil a try and let me know what you think.

Also, be sure to like ZzzQuil on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @ZzzQuil. Add the hashtag #ZzzQuilNight so they can find you and say thanks.

Sweet dreams!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Special Olympics

I'm proud of my daughter every day, and today is no exception. Bailey missed her middle school orientation to volunteer for Special Olympics. Her dream is to work with special needs children one day.

God bless her and bless all the lives that she will touch with kindness, respect, and love.

Bailey was paired with her good buddy, Matthew. He typically isn't in a wheelchair, but he fell a couple of weeks ago and broke his leg, requiring surgery and a metal rod or two. Poor little dude. He's a busy kid, so he didn't like the idea of sitting down all day. Bailey tried to keep moving so he wouldn't get bored or feel left out.

He wanted to run and wasn't too excited about his "wheelchair race", so Bailey promised that she would try for first. He probably weighs as much as she does, but that didn't stop her from pushing as hard as she could.

And guess what? First place. BOOM. Matthew was so proud of his first place ribbon, and I think Bailey was pretty proud of it, too.

I was only able to stay for about an hour, which was probably a good thing since I was a blubbering idiot. The emotion was overwhelming.

I saw hundreds of athletes competing in races, playing games, eating hot dogs, and getting their face painted. Their smiles were worth all the gold in Fort Knox and then some. It was so awesome to see.

Then I looked at the volunteers. For every special needs child, there were several others who were trying to make their day even better. The smiles on their faces were just as big. I saw kids and adults helping athletes and encouraging them every step of the way.

If that's not inspiring, then I don't know what is.

I found this little gem on my phone after I got back from Special Olympics. I don't know the teenagers in this photograph, but I know their smiles made me feel all ooey-gooey inside. That is what Special Olympics is all about.

I hate to sound older than I am, but isn't it refreshing to see young people caring about the well-being of others? I didn't see one single text being sent or YouTube video being watched. Everybody was just happy being together. It was such an amazing experience for all involved.

I also saw plenty of parents there, like me, beaming with pride. Some were parents of athletes, some of volunteers, some of family or friends, but we all shared the same emotion: love.

And love is a beautiful thing.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What do me, Taylor Swift, and a goat have in common?

As you might have read here, I took my daughter to the Taylor Swift concert and learned that I'm too old to enjoy concerts anymore.

I asked Bailey to invite her friend, Carlee, because of what happened last time:
"Yay! Taylor Swift tickets!!! But, is anybody going with me?"
Of course somebody's going with you. Me. Duh.
"So, nobody's going with me that's... cool?"
Of course somebody's going with you that's cool. Me. Duh.

Check out Bailey's face while I was dancing and singing "Love Story" at the top of my lungs.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, that's worth a thousand and one.

On the way to the concert, the girls were sitting in the back of the SUV. At one point, I think we were actually traveling in different zip codes. They whispered quietly - careful not to include "the Mom" in any of their urgent conversations about Instagram or Justin Bieber's relationship status.

I felt like someone who didn't have a date to the prom, so I tagged along with another couple, feeling very third-wheelish the entire night, sitting by myself in the corner and eating sausage balls. Not that that actually happened, as far as you know.

So how was the concert, you ask? It was great!

I know your time is valuable, so here's all you need to know:
Taylor Swift flung her hair around, danced awkwardly, sang about her feelings, and talked about her ex-boyfriends a lot. Oh, and Ed Sheeran is really British. I couldn't testify in a court of law to a single word he said.

That's it. That's all you missed.

I heard an interview with Taylor before the show. She said that she focused on music for this tour, instead of theatrics like she did in the past.

Really? Because there was a lot of this going on.

Photo Source

Kind of looks like theatrics to me. I bet Taylor describes "Phantom of the Opera" as a couple of kids hanging out in their basement and listening to music.

During live performances, Taylor often cuts her eyes toward one side of the crowd and waits for them to scream. Like this:

Photo Source

It's pretty awkward. Reminds of a college professor I had once: "And.........................  the fact is.......................... you know....................... uhmmmmm..................... that when....................... uhhhhhh.....    photosynthesis occurs.............."

And since the tour is called "Red", be prepared to see a lot of red stuff: red lips, red nails, red shoes, red guitars, red dresses, etc. And considering all the people that cussed me out while I was stuck in concert traffic, I even saw red a couple of times.

I hope you like remixes. "You Belong With Me" was a 1950's shoo-wop song. Spoiler Alert: It was terrible. And the "Trouble" remix was really dark. It left me with the same icky feeling that I get when I watch "The Walking Dead" too close to bedtime.

And speaking of "Trouble", have you seen this video yet? (If not, you're welcome.)

It's had over one-million views, and my kids can account for at least 750,000 of them. I can't hear "Trouble" without hearing goats now. I was really hoping that Taylor would bring out some goats, but there wasn't a single farm animal in sight. Not a sheep or a rooster or anything. Such a disappointment.

She puts on a very high energy show with moving sets, acrobats, dancers, costume changes, fireworks, and more. There's also some quiet acoustic times when your undiagnosed A.D.D. can take a breather.

She always interacts with the crowd and everybody loves it. She even crowd surfs.

Photo Source

At our show, someone held up a sign that said, "I'm missing prom for this!", so Taylor thanked her and came off the stage to give her a hug.

Call me cynical, but I'm raising the B.S. flag on that one. How many proms are on a Thursday night? And with a 45-city tour, it's not like she had to travel too far to get to the show. Next time, I'm bringing a sign that says, "I missed my wedding for this!". That should earn Bailey a handshake, at least.

Then again, she could've been talking about cost, as in, I can't afford to buy concert tickets and prom tickets in the same century.

It's not cheap, y'all. Expect to drop $150-$350 per ticket, and you'll be sitting so high up in the nosebleeds, you could join Jupiter's orbit of the sun. Don't forget incidentals like parking, t-shirts, hot dogs, and beer - if you're old enough and need something to numb the pain.

"I'm sorry, Bailey. I wanted to send you to college, but I spent all your college money on Taylor Swift concerts instead." - Me, after a few more Taylor Swift shows.

As Bailey and I were flipping through photos after the concert, we noticed this one.

That's what Taylor Swift songs will do to you, people. I bet that dude was fine with spending a few hundred bucks to make her happy.

And Bailey's face was pretty priceless, too. Yep, totally worth skipping college for.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Oughta Be in Pictures (on the beach) #RatherBeInPCBSweepstakes

This post brought to you by Visit Panama City Beach. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you know where I spend a lot of time? Instagram.

I just love looking at everybody's photos. And it's the only place where I can take a selfie of me eating spaghetti and it's considered "art".

But do you know where I'd rather spend a lot of time? Panama City Beach.

That one's sort of self-explanatory. The world's most beautiful beaches... the white sand... the emerald green water.... the fresh seafood... the good old fashioned fun. Uhmm, yes, please.

Panama City Beach is only about six-hours away from us, so we spend a lot of time there. In fact, we just enjoyed an impromptu trip to PCB for Spring Break.

Not only were the white beaches and emerald water simply breathtaking, but we also found some of the best restaurants, shopping, and family-friendly attractions there, too. We soaked up the sun all day long and then enjoyed eating our weight in lobster bisque and watching the kids ride go-carts. It's an authentic, laid-back beach where you can truly be yourself any time of the year, year-round. There's something for everybody at Panama City Beach.

Hmmm... Now if only there was a way to turn my time on Instagram into time relaxing at the beach.

Well, that's where the Rather Be In Panama City Beach Sweepstakes comes in.

  • Enter via Instagram using the hashtag #RatherBeInPCBSweepstakes
  • 3 Grand Prize winners get a trip to PCB Beach!
  • 12 First Prize winners get a photobook and free shipping
  • Unlimited entries are allowed
How to Enter
  • If you don't already have it, download the Instagram app on your smartphone
  • Using Instragram, snap a pic of yourself, your kids, your dog - anybody who would "rather be in Panama City Beach". Artistic spaghetti selfies are totally acceptable. 
  • Upload your photo to Instragram. Be sure to use the hashtag #RatherBeInPCBSweepstakes so they can find your entry.

That's it. It's that simple.

Do what you were already doing, but now each time you upload a pic to Instragram, you can earn one entry to win an amazing vacation to Panama City Beach. Bragging rights to your friends also included.

Be sure to visit Panama City Beach on Facebook for all the details. Good luck!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Taylor Swift Showed Me That I'm Getting Old

Last week, I went to my third Taylor Swift concert because my daughter is a huge fan or so I say.

Look, I'll admit it, I love T-Swizzle. I love that she's a young girl with a mature soul who writes her own songs about real life experiences.

You know that song she wrote about a breakup she went through? My favorite.

Looking around the arena, it was obvious that Taylor Swift somehow appeals to 8-year-olds the same as 48-year-olds. How does she do that? Try saying that about Yo Gabba Gabba, Dying Fetus or Kenny Rogers. Most performers have a defined demographic while Taylor Swift invites everyone to the party.

And speaking of "everyone", there were plenty of moms there dancing, screaming, and dressed in outfits that should've had age limit restrictions. I watched those idiots trying to act like teenagers and I thought, 'Bless their hearts.'

But then I realized that I was one of those idiots, too. Ahem.

If it would please the court, I would like to present Exhibit A:

Does that look like a woman pushing 40? Yes, it does. Exactly. And that's why I had no business throwing up gang signs or dressing like Justin Bieber.

Bless my heart. Bless Bailey's heart. Bless all our hearts.

Here are a few more things that I learned about concerts and getting older:

Traffic. Unless there's an all-you-can-eat banana split buffet waiting on the other end, it's not worth it. My 45-minute drive to Philips Arena took me 2 1/2 hours. Curse you, Taylor Swift. That traffic was trouble, trouble whoa-ohhhh, oh, oh, oh.

Did I Mention 'Traffic'? Below is a pic of the post-concert traffic situation. Please note that I had two cars sitting perpendicular to cut in front of me, and a third car was backing into my passenger door and blinding me with reverse lights. Meanwhile, we didn't move for over 30-minutes and they were cussing at me for being in their way (i.e., being the only one correctly positioned in the lane). My blood pressure couldn't take it. "Why you gotta be so mean?"

Volume. Here's the thing about concerts: they're really loud. Combine that with all the teenagers screaming, and it was completely overwhelming. My head hurt so bad, I was popping Goody's Headache Powders like Charlie Sheen pops crack rocks at a party. Loud music is the reason that I can't shop at Abercrombie anymore. I think Taylor Swift is next on the list.

Fashion POV. I used to flip through the pages of Vogue to see what I was going to wear, but now it's so I can laugh at what "the kids are wearing these days". But all that changed when I saw Taylor Swift wearing Mom Shorts, or "morts". Check out these high-rise shorts that act like Spanx, keeping your muffin top exactly where it should be: hidden. I'm hoping this trend takes off and 1992 Mom Jeans come back around. Yes, please.

I'm Jaded. Taylor would say things like, "You're the best crowd ever" or "Atlanta is my favorite city to play", and the entire audience would start screaming. Except for me. Because I was all like, 'No, we're not. You're just saying that to make us feel better and then dump us a week before the formal for a Tri-Delt with big boobs.' (I blame my college breakups.)

Sisterhood of the Traveling Gum. I used to love the thrill of a big crowd, but now all I see are germs, bacteria and disease. And nothing says "cool" like being at a concert and wiping your seat with an anti-bacterial cloth.... right? On the way out, I stepped on a giant piece of gum that made me stick to the floor every step. FINALLY, the gum left my shoe, only to be picked up by the next mom walking beside me. Sorry about that, but it was you or me, and Darwinism kicked in.

Midnight Snack. Bailey wanted to eat at Steak 'n Shake on the way home, so we stopped for burgers and milkshakes. Taylor Swift might have sang, "I'm feeling 22", but after eating Steak 'n Shake at midnight, I can confirm that I no longer feel 22.

Check out my Taylor Swift concert cutie. :)

Exhaustion. I can't hang with working all day, going to a concert, getting in bed at 2 AM, and then working all day again. I'm sure my driving skills were impaired like I'd been playing beer pong since New Year's Eve. I'd rather run a half-marathon than go to another weekday concert. Instead of earning a 13.1 sticker for my SUV, I earned this one:

I had a very sad realization after the Taylor Swift concert: me and my youth are never, ever getting back together. Like, ever.