Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's North Carolina Beer Month. Let's Talk Beer.

Over the last month or so my husband has jumped full steam ahead into a new hobby.

Home-brewing. Is that one word, or two? Home brewing. Brewing beer at home.

Making his own beer.

Did you know that April is North Carolina Beer Month? Yeah, I didn't either. Until - well - beer. Being brewed in my home. It's kind of stinky when it gets started and I've banned him from doing that stinky step inside the house for future brews. Outside he goes. And yes, there will be future brews.

Honestly? I think it's much easier to head out about town and find yourself a good brew or two to sip thoughtfully while watching the game or hanging with friends. But for now it's a part of our family's busy schedule. Beer brewing and bottling and the like.

So when the opportunity to introduce you (and myself) to Charlotte Craft Beer came along through the incredible NC Blogger Network, I decided I absolutely needed to participate. Because craft beer? And my husband's new past-time? Perfect together.

First, let me introduce you to the sponsor of this awesome giveaway - did I forget to mention I'm giving something away here? Stay with me.

beer, alcohol, Charlotte, NC, North Carolina, drink up, cheers

Meet Charlotte's got a lot. An incredible site where you can learn loads about North Carolina and Charlotte, specifically (obviously!) and more importantly for this event, loads of details about Charlotte's craft beer scene.

Charlotte's beer scene started back in 2007 in Montana - sounds weird, right? Well, it isn't all that weird when you learn that that's when John Marrino, founder of The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB - opened in '09) fell into the idea of diving into beer, so to speak. I fear that this could be in my future if my husband's home brew takes off ... ehem. OMB was just the start of the scene. You'll find loads of information on the breweries that surfaced soon after over at Charlotte's got a lot. 

One of the coolest things I've read was the info on all of the things made with beer you can find around the Queen city. The choices range from cheese dip (omg, CHEESE DIP) to cocktails, pretty much covering every aspect of your meal. You could travel Charlotte and find something to eat that's been touched with beer pretty much everywhere - and I'm not just talking the brewery or pub scene. It's fascinating how local beers have become ingrained into the community in this way.

Now for the information you've been waiting for.

I've got a Charlotte Craft Beer set for one winner. See most of the products in this image below.

beer, alcohol, Charlotte, NC, North Carolina, drink up, cheers,

Included in this gift set you'll find:
 The Unknown Brewing Company t-shirt (lg)
D9 Brewing Tap Handle
1 Lenny Boy Growler
2 Sycamore Brewing Snifters
beer infused soap (Small Keys)

You must be an NC resident and 21+ years of age to enter this giveaway. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you're interested in entering to win The Ultimate Charlotte Craft Beer Weekend you need to click over immediately. Easy entries there, too.

*Important information*

 This post and giveaway were sponsored by Charlotte's got a lot. I did not receive compensation for this post. I am participating in this campaign as a member of the NC Blogger Network. NCBN and Good Girl Gone Redneck are NOT responsible for fulfilling prizes to any and all winners. 

There are affiliate links in this post. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ten Things To Know Before Your First Therapy Appointment.

Have you ever been in therapy? 

I have. 

Did you not expect that? 

If you didn't - well - surprise, I guess. But if you did - well, yeah, you know me. 

Let me tell you something else about myself. 

I AM a therapist. 

You may have already known that. I just needed to add it in anyway. Consider it a disclaimer of sorts. 

So just in case you think you want to go to therapy but you're afraid. Or in case you are planning on going and can't imagine what will happen when you walk into that office. Or maybe you get there and you want to immediately flee from the waiting area. Don't! It will be okay. 

Ten Things To Know Before Your First Therapy Appointment

1. There might be a couch. 

Don't worry - you're not expected to lay down on it. But many offices have couches. It's a comfort thing. You don't want to sit in a hardback chair for about an hour any more than we'd want you to. So while many agencies do not have couches or comfy chairs, many individual practitioners do. Comfort matters. Don't be afraid of the couch. 

2. There will be tissues. 

We don't EXPECT you to cry. But any good therapist will have a box of tissues handy. And visible. Don't look at them and run. You might need them. You might not. Maybe our next client will. We still have them, just in case. 

3. I've been where you are. 

It's very beneficial for therapists to experience therapy. I learned that in graduate school. Fortunately I had already developed a great relationship with my therapist. Score! I was ahead of the curve. Many therapists know what it's like to be in the role of client. We know the nerves you might feel before you meet us. And guess what? 

4. We get nervous, too. 

Sure - there are many professionals out there who may have nerves of steel. And maybe mine are often steady, or maybe not, but when a new client is about to walk through the door or pick up the phone? It's exciting in some ways. And excitement can stir up nerves in the strongest of people. So you're not alone. Remember we're human. 

5. There will be a clock. 

Not because we want to stare at it while listening to you. We want it there so you're aware of the time, too. And yes, I'm sorry to say it, we have to stick to a pretty strict schedule because there's probably someone waiting to see us right after you. But no, we won't start you talking about the heaviest of topics and then hand you a tissue as we shove you out the door. Those kinds of therapists are the punchline on a television show. We're not heartless. Human, remember?

6. We might take notes.

Not every therapist holds a notepad in their hands while meeting with you, but some do. Honestly, it depends on which meeting this is - and what information we have from you beforehand. One-on-one session? Our first? With only a few minutes of phone conversation beforehand? We probably have a notepad at the ready. But we're not going to stare at it and write down every.single.word you say. We're going to take notes, our own sort of shorthand, so we can document things later. Because that's a part of our job description. But don't be afraid of the notepad. And if your therapist doesn't look up from it while speaking or listening to you? Find a new therapist. 

7. You might feel uncomfortable. 

Therapy isn't a barrel of laughs. It might not be fun. Honestly. You're there because something heavy is going on with you. It might make you cry. It might make you angry. That's all okay. We get it. We've heard it and seen it before. And if we haven't it's still okay. Because you're you and you need to address what's happening in your life. That's why we're meeting. 

8. You might not like us. 

Let's face it - you might walk out of our office and never want to return. All I ask is that you consider what it is you didn't like about the session/the therapist. Did you hate the topic of discussion? Feel uncomfortable? That might just be the therapy part of it. And that happens. Did you feel like the therapist was condescending? Rude? Inappropriate? Just not meshing with you? Not listening? Not taking you seriously? You don't have to return. A therapist is there for YOU. If you don't like us you're not going to talk to us and we're not going to be able to work together. Don't waste time scheduling appointments you're going to try to get out of because you don't like your provider. It's not worth it and there is someone else out there who will be perfect for you. Please try again. Don't judge the entire process and profession on one person. You'll find the right therapist for you. 

9. It's not going to be easy. 

This should be a given, but if you're someone like me who is pretty comfortable putting yourself out there and talking about personal things, maybe you think that sitting down across from someone new will be fun. And maybe it will be. But it's not always going to be the kind of session that's easy and simple. You're there for a reason - keep it in mind so you can progress and pinpoint what it is that is impacting you to such an extent that it's affecting your life - in a way you can't ignore. 

10. Don't be embarrassed. 

You don't have to tell everyone or ANYone that you're going to therapy. It's your life. You do what you need to. If you're uncomfortable and want to wait? Fine. But don't be embarrassed. Don't feel ashamed that you're going to go talk to someone about whatever is going on with you. Many people find therapy unnecessary. Whether it's a cultural reaction, a generational response, a gut instinct, people might say things like why? and what on earth for? and you might second guess yourself. But don't. Don't be embarrassed. Talk to supportive people. People who understand you and what you need. Share if you want to. Don't if you don't. But never find yourself ashamed for reaching out for help. There's nothing wrong with the therapeutic process. Not a thing. And there's no need to hide it. You'd be surprised how many people have been to therapy or are in therapy currently that just don't talk about it. Opening the door to that kind of conversation can lead to a support system beyond what you're imagine. 

So, there you have it. Ten things to know before your first appointment. I hope you find this information reassuring. And real. And that you make note of it in case you find yourself ready to take a step towards getting the support you might find you need. Because you might not need it for yourself - but you might find yourself talking to a friend or family member who is considering it for themselves and afraid, and now you can tell them they don't need to be. 

* Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you might have - email me or comment below - and I'm happy to answer honestly to the best of my ability. Please note that this post and anything else on this blog is not to be considered medical advice. Please do not look to this information in lieu of professional resources. Speak with your doctor, your own therapist, nurse practitioner, etc. or contact your health insurance for information on how to obtain a therapist for yourself or a family member. 

This article is only meant to give you a modicum of comfort as you plan to find a therapist or attend an appointment with someone for your mental health needs. Please do not replace face-to-face advice with my words or recommendations. If you believe you are at risk and need professional help reach out to speak with someone immediately. There is never shame in asking for help. 

If you are struggling or in crisis please reach out to 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book of the Week: Hotelles, Emma Mars

I received a copy of Hotelles and the sequel book, Elle, from TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. All expressed opinions are completely my own. There are affiliate links in this post.

erotica, fiction, reading, amreading, review, books

Hotelles is not my typical read. I'll put that out there immediately.

Filled with mystery, emotion, confusion and sex. A lot of sex. I'm sharing that right away as I know some people might choose to stop reading at this point. This book is definitely an erotic novel.

If you're looking for another kind of read, I have plenty of recommendations for you.

But if you stop reading here you'll miss the mystery that is Elle. Annabelle.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Letting Go: My Kid Plays Down The Street

children, freedom, playing, neighborhoods, family-friendly, she's a little girl, growing up, parenting

We live in a family-friendly neighborhood.

There are loads of cul-de-sacs and kids roaming freely.

Maybe way too freely, but we've decided that it's time to let our daughter roam a bit.

She's eight. Her birthday was in February, so she's not a "new" eight. But still. She's eight.

Is that too young?

She knows she isn't supposed to cross the street. So she doesn't.

She knows she can't run around the cul-de-sac like a mini-maniac. So she doesn't do that, either.

She knows our rules and she knows how to be safe and she knows we can practically hear her playing down there with the other kids.

And when her friends ring the bell - the ones who don't wear their helmets on their bikes and the ones who ride carelessly in the street - she knows we don't let her do those things.

I still get nervous letting her go.

I'm her mom. Of course I do.

But sometimes we need to let them go.

And maybe eight years old is too soon.

But maybe it's not.

And maybe the only way I'm going to be able to know for certain and feel it for sure is to give it a try. And trust that her father and I can trust her and know she'll behave appropriately and come home (easily almost every time) when we come get her.

And maybe the only way I'm going to feel okay about it is if she does it again and again. Without incident. And maybe there will be a day when something happens. She falls. Cries. Needs me. And I'll come. We'll run down the street.

Kids will be kids and all that, right?

Nobody ever told me what it would be like to watch my daughter run down the block without me and feel my heart leap out of my chest.

Imagine that feeling now - and then picture her going away to college - or moving 500 miles away.

I. Can't. Even. (Saying used with intentional purpose.)

It's rough being a mom. Rougher still watching your kids grow and sort of not need you anymore.

She doesn't NEED me outside watching her play. But I NEED to be there.

Sometimes. Or all the time.

Or when I hear a car zoom past way too quickly.

I need to see.

Make sure she's okay.

Even if she's only on the sidewalk kicking around a soccer ball just a few houses away.

And sometimes I won't see.

I'll just have to feel it.

And let her go.

Motherhood, man. Parenting. This gig is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Observing Passover our own way.

It's 1:51 pm on Saturday.

What are you doing this weekend?

Passover started last night and my daughter and I Skyped with my brother/SIL/niece/mom/SIL's mom and did a few prayers.

We didn't do an entire Seder because without my dad it just doesn't seem exactly like the kind of thing we want to do.

And while that might not make sense to some, it's what makes sense and works for us, and how we want to go about things in my father's memory and in his name and in our religion.

And how long will it take before we say such blessings without tears?

Probably forever - but we did it and I'm proud of us and I know my dad is, too.

1:53 pm.

My daughter last night cried in bed and said, 'tonight was rough'.

And it was. It was rough and hard and we shared tears and love and hugs and Happy Passover-s and we let ourselves feel. Because that's the kind of mom I am, and the kind of relationship we have and that's how our holidays will be for a while. Or forever, but either way, they'll always remind us of what used to be.

And I had a few sips of wine and raised my glass to my dad. L'Chaim.

And you know what? Passover is harder than Rosh Hashana(h?) - why can I not remember if I usually spell that with an extra h at the end there? Confused myself.

But - yes - so there. It is. It just is.

Tomorrow is Easter and while I'm watching all of the egg hunting and pretty dresses on Facebook I'm thinking to myself how we don't do Easter at all and how my daughter doesn't know about Easter baskets and candy and yet she knows enough to ask me to hide the matzo, and I think my dad would be proud that she remembered that and asked it.

And this isn't to say that she should know more - or she shouldn't have to - because we observe our holidays and manage our interfaith family our way, the same way you do your family traditions your way. And that's how life is supposed to be. You do you. I'll do me.

1:56 pm.

I should be done now.

But I figured that wishing everyone a happy Passover and Easter would be okay to toss into my five minutes of stream of consciousness writing. So - happy holidays to you and yours. May your time together, with your family, friends, loved ones, bring you loads of laughter, shared tears and love - unconditional love.

And should you be so inclined click the image below and write your own free write post and link up with my girl Jaime of Love Jaime. Because you should know her. She's good people.

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