Thursday, November 24, 2011

20 things I'm thankful for or whatever.

I compiled a list of 20 things I am thankful for in my life because after all, it’s Thanksgiving!

Brandi is thankful for:

Add a Little Sparkle readers – you guys really inspire me to keep writing and to fulfill my dream of writing a book.

A hunter green steel roof over my head – I always hated hunter green roofs and swore to Matt up and down we’d never own a house with one. What do ya know? I buy a house with a green roof. I love I have a place to call my own and a place tolive! It’s pretty great!

I am thankful for my wonderful job! If I had it my way I’d be staying at home staring at the wall every day but I work with great people and for a great company so it makes it better! I don’t like money and I don’t like working but money pays bills and bills pay the places and things I need like a home, car, food, clothing, etc.

I’m thankful I was never a pioneer woman. I never would have made it on the Oregon Trail, I’m helpless!

On top of being thankful I was never born a pioneer woman I am especially thankful I wasn’t a pioneer woman who was stuck in the mountains with the Donner-Reed party.

Thankful for the refreshing feeling of drinking ice water (complete with straw)seriously…there’s nothing better! Well, some things…but still, I love the feeling!

Vaseline – I seriously love their products. I put them on my hands, feet, lips and makes my skin go from alligatory (totally made that word up) to velvety!

Matt. For some odd reason he thinks I’m unconditionally lovable. He loves me through the moody bite-your-head off episodes I tend to have (often) and definitely through the good and bad. He’s the greatest person ever!! He is loved by all children, animals (minus possum they don't like anyone), the elderly, and those with special needs. They cling to him and it’s adorable because I feel they are the kind of people who know a good heart when they see one!! I’m just obsessed and smitten with this blonde-haired blue-eyed beaut!

My beautifully-crazy-insanely-hysterically funny family. They keep me grounded and remind me to laugh off the small things.

My niece and nephew (and soon-to-be niece or nephew! – still baking in the oven)! Kids, I feel, just have such a simple and funny way of viewing things and ya can’t help but laugh sometimes.

My close friends - the tried and true, man. Thick and thin – sister soul mates!

This this song because otherwise I’d not be the named what I am and lets face it – I’m totally a Brandi.

The rooster or the“nasty little devil” (whom loved to torture me) died a tragic (& hopefully slow and painful) death.

I haven’t gotten in a wreck – fingers crossed – yet this year. We’ve only had snow for 6 days but still.

Captain Morgan.

All the time and memories with Thomas I can reflect on from here until forever. For all my loved ones lost actually.

I’m not in a wheelchair, not blind, deaf, etc.

Disney - movies, slippers, blankies, clothing, etc. Everything!! Who would Brandi Carpenter be today without Disney? It's a very logical question.

Black Friday - Me and Mom's favorite holiday. I think it may be equivalent to that of a rush a sky-diver gets or a perhaps the need a crack addict needs to fill. I've never been on crack or tried sky-diving but still...

Baby Jesus - for furburger sure. (Just realized I'm probably
the only person to have used Jesus and furburger in the same sentence.)

RIP Turkey. No, seriously, he was killed Wednesday night by an owl. Look for the obit in the Clark Courier. Laid to rest in the Lenzen Animal Graveyard.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Once Upon a Time: Bad Apples

This is going to be the most random post. It may not even make sense to you but I just need to vent.

I love where I live. I really do! I love my house and that Matthew has a place to tinker around. I love that my parents, Matt’s parents and us all live on the same road within 7 miles of one another! I love that when you go outside at night you can see every star in the sky. I love that I can breathe and it just feels right! I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I would however, trade some of the people that live in my hometown. Don’t get me wrong the good definitely outweigh the annoying – by a long shot! I just don’t understand how people can make up the dumbest lies about a situation and then tell other people who tell other people who tells another and then that person finally confronts me. That’s a lot of sources to go through before it gets to me. It’s funny because I have friends from out of town I was telling about this and they are like, “that’s not how it went at all!?” I was like, “yeah….”

It’s like the good ol’ telephone game we played in elementary. We’d start out saying, “Hi, my name is Brandi” and it would come out as, “Guys! You at my candy?!” Honestly, I’m tired of being portrayed as the villain here. People just talk shit because they have nothing better to do with their time. They haven’t even spoken or gotten to know me within the last year or so. They have no idea how different I am. Not even that actually……why just make shit up out of nowhere?

I know you’re busy with a lot of free time talking about everyone so I decided I would write you a little bedtime story for all you story-rumor-maker-upper-lovers:

Once upon a time, in a small town in South Dakota there were some pathetic peasants who had nothing better to do with their time than talk about Brandi, the Princess of GC. Brandi had better things to do with her majestic thoughts and energy. She was busy making the sloughs shimmer and foxes fluffily Febrezed. She loved her royal family and her knight in matte camouflage and was pleased with her superb existence. She was tired of the BS from all the commoners so she decided to do what any other normal Princess would do and write a scroll-worthy blog post about it. See, the princess is very wise when it comes to life; she likes to laugh aplenty and enjoy the everyday. She has learned to surround with those who lift her higher (not just her glittered white horse). She’s “so over” those “bad apples” – THEE end.

Pretty much, man.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Make-up: It's not the Apocalypse.

I am a well-known cream soda and makeup connoisseur in my circle of friends. If ever there be a cream soda I’ve never seen the likes of, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m buyin’ that puppy and taking my taste buds for a beautiful CS ride. So far, I’ve found Menards sells the best brand. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s got a bee on it and it’s made in Wisconsin. It’s to die for!

I also am crazy about makeup and although I don’t wear a ton of makeup for work, school, etc. I love makeup and experimenting with it. On the weekends is when I like to get pretty and plastered. (Yes, I just stole a Ke$ha song lyric because it’s so funny and so true). I “flaunt” the no makeup look more often than not -- at least Monday through Wednesday but I’m still passionate about it! That’s okay, right? 

I started my makeup obsession when I started working at Herberger’s in high school. I fell in love with Clinque and then Estee Lauder soon thereafter. I would come to work without makeup on (oops) and have a hay-day using different colored eye shadows, blushes and lip gloss. No one ever told me I couldn’t or that I had to stop so I just continued. I had some pretty interesting combinations going on.

I tried everything - everything. God, I hate to admit this: I wore GREEN eye shadow. It wasn’t a punk-lime green or a peacock-turquoise green. This green shadow was a few shades lighter than a Granny Smith green apple. I used it on the inner part of my eye and used a shimmery-mocha brown on the other lid moving in. I pegged it “caramel apple” – shoot 16 year old me!!!

Thank the Lord I only remember doing that one once! Why I pegged it caramel apple? Fun fact 1: after I do my make-up I name it something fun that it sticks. It’s usually influenced by the color scheme I’ve chosen so later down the road I can go, “I liked (insert name I chose) I think it would be fun for (insert event)”. The ones I use most are: peg-leg (brown/black), belly-dancer (gold/black), bear country (a few shades of brown), snow angel (light/dark silver), etc!

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to know what looks best on me. I have found browns and golds really bring out my blue eyes whereas granny-apple green just…doesn’t. God, I seriously I thought I was so cool. Isn’t it funny looking back thinking, “what in the HELL was I thinking and/or doing!?” But that’s how we grow and learn, right?

Well, since I have spent so much time experimenting, even after I left Herberger’s, my makeup bag has grown and grown. Started out in the old school hot pink caboodle and kept growing until I received THEE best blue/turquoise striped makeup bag from my WSM (wicked stepmother) and then kept going until eventually my best friend, Jen, gave me the zebra bag to hold all the “junk” that I really ever don’t use.

Those three usually-untouched monsterous bags sit below my bathroom sink. Inside sits all this:

This is the foundation/blush/bronzer pile. As you can tell I have experimented with loose powder foundations and many drug-store bought foundations. If there’s one thing to splurge on with make-up it’s foundation! I have spent $10 here and $7 there trying to find a decent foundation that worked for my normally-dry but oily-in-the T-zone skin and also for my weird and ever-changing skin color. And pah-lease for the love of all caramel apples, go to your closest beauty counter (Sephora, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clinique, etc) and get yourself matched to a skin type foundation along with the correct color! It’s just easier to spend the $30 straight up than to fart around trying to find the best color at Wal-Mart. My best match is the Superbalanced foundation by Clinique in Porcelain. Fun fact 2: I hate porcelain dolls – they are the God’s creepiest gift ever given to the elderly and small children. I have a love/but-mostly-hate relationship with the fact my friends say I have a porcelain doll face.

Just an FYI: if you want to go for a heavier look, have a lot of acne scars, freckles or just like the full-coverage-trany look try Double Wear foundation by Estee Lauder.

Ahh, only some of my eye shadows pictured here. You could say eye shadows are by far my favorite indulgence when it comes to makeup. I have experimented with drugstore/department store brands and I have concluded of all the shadows I buy from the local drugstore I find that Covergirl stays on the longest for me. If I’m really looking for it to last all day and night though I’ll use Lorac or Estee Lauder shadows. I’m not one of those people who think the more you spend the better quality it is (for shadows) but I do enjoy the variety and sparkle the spendier brands tend to carry.

Lastly, lip gloss. I feel as though lip gloss is the Kourtney Kardashian of makeup, very underestimated and overlooked, yet polishes off the “crew” and can be boldly beautiful or meekly marvelous. I usually stick to a clear or slightly blushed gloss during the weekdays but I like to play around with my lipsticks (Don’t picture the 90’s lipstick stains on diet coke cans kind of lipstick, okay?J) on the weekends. “Tiger Eye” by Estee Lauder has been my favorite for years!!

I guess you as sparklers are wondering where the hell I’m going with posting pictures of my make-up all over my blog. Well, I was hoping we could have a cream soda/makeup discussion over Skype soon. Kidding, although I seriously would be so down for it so if you wanna…….

 Anyways, I am one of those people who have their bathroom cupboards stock-piled with several different lotions, body washes, moisturizers, foundations, shadows, perfumes, nail polishes, etc. I’ll have 4 body washes in the shower and 3 different face washes. It’s like, okay Brandi, these aren’t mood-washes they will all get the job done. I don’t need to have a variety at my fingertips based on what I’m feeling that day. I probably have thousands of dollars worth of beauty products in my home. It’s not normal and it’s definitely not cheap! Am I the only one that feels this way or is the rest of the female population also? Please tell me I’m not alone in feeling like I need to stock up for the apocalypse?!

After one day of dusting – DUSTING – my beauty products I thought enough was enough! I have decided that I am not allowed to buy another OUNCE of any of that “stuff” until I completely run out. I thought about it for awhile and then decided to take this up as a challenge. To fill my pocket book and empty my bathroom cabinets! So here I go to finish up what I have before I buy more! Who’s with me!?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Heaven Called

Well, it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted on my blog; almost a month in fact. Many life-changing shenanigans have happened since I posted last. I’ve been busy going here and there and unable to breathe. Breathing = writing for me. Although I like to breathe it seemed every time I’d try I’d just stare at the page unable to put my feelings into words. It was strange because I knew what I wanted to say and could have probably said it beautifully (and humbly of course) but, I just felt as though I wasn’t ready to let people hear me. I wasn’t even ready for me to hear me even though I knew what it was I had to say.

You see, if I write something it clarifies it. My writing for me is a headstone and writing in stone basically illuminates the fact that this or that in my life has occurred - it can’t be undone. Usually when I write it’s like, “okay… time to face the music here Brand…” It’s my way of grieving, celebrating, sharing, questioning and just plain venting. I truly feel like writing is a gift to myself and helps my ability to function properly. It helps ME whether my writing is sloppy, unreadable, or lacking punctuation in the correct places. Freedom!

I don’t know how many of you watch Oprah’s Lifeclass on OWN but it’s flippin’ inspirational! She has several different “themes” you could say on episodes she has done.  She goes back and tells us what she’s learned and what we can take from it also. So far I’ve only watched Dr. Phil’s best marriage advice, you become what you believe and overcoming the worst day of your life. I feel those 3 episodes are enough to get me through my entire my life. What if Oprah covers even an eighth of her 4,561 episodes she’s done during her career? I’ll be dvr’ing my parent’s out of their house and writing a book the size of China! J

During the best marriage advice episode I had to giggle to myself a little because this couple they interviewed were engaged and could not see how awful of a match they were. They made pro and con lists and the cons heavily outweighed the pro’s by longer than a long shot. Isn’t it crazy how often people settle because they’ve just been together so long or because they have “potential” as a couple. I loved when Oprah jumped up when Dr. Phil asked if they think they should get married and goes, “YOU SHOULD NOT BE GETTING MARRIED!” The moral of the story: Don’t settle, ever!

During the next dvr’d episode I watched - you become what you believe. Isn’t just the title inspirational? You are who you believe you are and only YOU can let someone make you think you’re less of a person. You’re in control of that! No one can make you inferior. Isn’t it kind of a simple, yet amazing concept? It’s a constant battle in your mind to choose right vs. wrong, willpower vs. giving up, etc. You truly can do anything you put your mind to and no one can belittle you unless you let them.

Lastly, the tear jerker – the worst day of your life.  Why am I so infatuated with the dark side of life sometimes? The lady interviewed on this episode went for a morning jog and when she got home she had found her ex-husband had killed all four of her children and himself in her home. The screams on the 911 call were the most horrendous screams I’d ever heard. I was balling like a 2nd grader who was given a sticker that said, “dog breath” by the cutest boy in school. (I swear that never happened to meJ)

The 1st interview with the mother of these children was very somber and you could honestly tell anything anyone said was through one ear and out the other. The “no one understands” glazed over eyes, the trembling chin and the stiff way she sat on that oh-so-comfy looking couch kind of look.  It was painful for me to just sit, watch and wonder what her day-to-day routine was. How miserable it must be to have everyone you love the most taken from you on just an ordinary day. How there’s no one in the world who knew your pain. How awful!

The 2nd interview Oprah had with the same lady a year or so later from the first interview. This time Oprah had asked another gal who had been in a similar situation to appear on her show also. This gal with the similar experience had found her ex husband had shot their 3 boys on his weekend to visit but she eventually remarried and had 2 more kids and was living a semi-normal life. The lady who was on Oprah for a 2nd time was still pretty somber and replied to her story, “That’s great but I can’t move on. I can’t have kids. I won’t be married again.” She had the same grave shield surrounding her. It was sad that it had been 3 and a half years and she was still in the same sadness she was the day they died. She still lived in the same house with all of their belongings. Ugh, depressing.

The 3rd interview she finally smiled! Since the last time she’d appeared on television she had remarried and was blessed with twins! She was unable to have children but miraculously was blessed with two! How unbelievable! I was shocked and so happy for her that she was able to trudge through the long dark haze and find a new start to life. It was so hard for her to find her purpose in life after her family was murdered and now she can finally say she knows she had a new purpose. This why she is such a role model, a true inspiration to keep living when things get tough! (Random ponder: why do we look up to stupid celebrities when it’s people like this who make a hero!?)

Speaking of miracles, Matthew and I have encountered some crazy happenings that even I don’t understand. Perhaps I’m the only one “wowing” over these tidbits because when I hear wonder’s like this I roll my eyes. When I see books written that say, “5 minutes in Hell” or “The Kitten Survived Getting Hit by an 18-wheeler” – you know those stories? I’m think to myself, “yeah, okay!” So why would “Heaven Calling” be any different? At least I like to think of it as Heaven calling.

Before I continue with “Heaven Calling” I’ll begin with my story about a day I “wasn’t feeling good.” Actually, the sun was shining a blasted cheerful yellow and birds were chirping like motherfuckers. I just wasn’t feeling it that day. I called in sick and decided to mope around the house crying. It was probably 4 months after Thomas had passed so it was mid-June and functioning was still hard. I hadn’t been to visit his grave yet and thought maybe visiting would give me some sort of something. A feeling of closure? Okay-ness? I’m not really sure what I was looking for but I grabbed my sad song CD’s and headed to the Crocker hills.

I got there and I was pleasantly surprised by how peaceful it really was. I know it’s a graveyard but really it was very serene and calm. I just sat down for awhile and just enjoyed the breeze and reminisced about the last time talking with him. I recalled our late night chat about God a few months prior and that made my heart feel warm. It helped me reassure he was with Him and gave me real hope I’d see him again. Over the last months I’d been struggling a bit with my faith. The “why’s and if’s” believing in a higher power can often bring after death of someone so treasure. “If God was so powerful this, if he was so great that..” etc.

Well, after about an hour of thinking I left tearless – just like at the funeral. I got in my car and no more than 5 minutes later was I crying so hard I could barely blink fast enough to get the cloud of tear fog off my contacts. I was angry again with God and what had happened. I was sad because my heart hurt so much. I was mad I couldn’t cry when I wasn’t trying to freakin’ drive. I made it most of the way back paying attention as best as I could through my tirade. I said as best as I could.

I was almost to my destination right around Lunker’s which is about 5 miles out from the town I was headed for. I was following an abnormally clean, maroon Toyota prius. The dumb teenagers driving the car in front of them had turned abruptly right into the Lunker’s parking lot and the prius slammed on their brakes and I slammed into the prius. I was going about 40 miles an hour and all I heard was a huge CRACK and pieces falling all over. “Shit!” I thought. This was like my 5th accident in 2 years and my mom and dad were going to kill me after they told me they were glad I was okay. I’ve had to have my bumper replaced 3 times since 2009.

I slowed down and quickly pulled over behind the prius and watched as the driver shuffled through her purse. She was making a phone call and I just rested my head on the steering wheel to try to delay seeing the damage I’d done. I tend to play my parents’ and even Matt’s reaction when I get in accidents. They are elated I’m okay and then get pissed and lecture about how I’m such a reckless driver. After what seemed like a few minutes I looked up to wipe the mascara stains from my face and head out to meet the girl I’d just hit going 40 mph.

This is exactly about the time it’d be nice to have a camera crew following me around. The expressions on our faces had to be priceless. “What the f***!?” the girl exclaimed.

“I have no idea…” I replied.

We looked back and forth to the front of my Hyundai to the back of her Toyota. Not even a scratch – a bloody scratch! I hit her going around 40 mph!!!! We were both just standing there in awe. “What the hell…” was being said over and over. She turned to me and said, “I just got off the phone with my insurance guy to make sure I was still covered because I had heard a big shatter.”

 I nodded my head, “I know.. I thought for sure my front end was all over the road.” She asked if I was okay because she could see I had been crying. I lied and told her I was fine and after about 7 minutes of wondrous chatter we both decided that this accident was flippin’ crazy and to be on our jolly ways. We drove away a little more than a lot relieved I think. I just kept thinking to myself, “Was this God? Was this Thomas? Was this just a crazy coincidence of science?” I mean going 40 mph and not shattering my plastic front end is very unusual. I’ve hit an icy snow bank going around 10 and it completely cracked.

I still really don’t understand and it’s probably more, “what the hell!” for me because I was in that situation and saw it for my own eyes. I do like to think that it was God’s and Thomas’ way of showing me that everything was going to be okay and that God is in control. Maybe He was letting me know He's there for me to lean on and He didn't just throw me to the wolves to live out this heartache alone. That He is all powerful and sometimes the smallest things we don’t even realize are miracles (babies, most animals in baby form, missing our alarm clock, being snowed in, etc.). That God can stop anything and everything. I was questioning a lot as to why He wouldn’t stop war, heartache, etc. but I realized then that He gives everyone the choice of free will. We have choices and even though we’re not in full control of our fate we make decisions that affect our destiny. Does that make sense?

I was struggling a lot with God letting Thomas wander so far from home and in negative degree weather wearing nothing but a t-shirt and jeans. After my car incident though, I realized that God gives us choices and if He didn’t, we’d resent Him. I had to accept what had happened and put my faith in the Lord. It’s sometimes hard to remember that even though God knows our fate He always gives us the ability to make the choices about the path we choose. This showed me that He is out there in this big ol’ world and even when He seems far away He lives closer than we know. 

It felt good to feel near to Thomas and God after what had been a miserable morning. It always feels good to feel close even if it’s hearing songs that remind you of your loved ones or finding an old shirt of theirs in the boxes you’ve been unpacking after a move. For me those things help get me through. I smile inside every time I try to shut the door to go upstairs because tearing apart the wall behind the stairs was the project Thomas and I had done together. We had let dry wall slip into the slider thing the door is on and couldn’t quite get it all vacuumed up. How tough it is to shut the door because of the broken wall dust reminds me of how lucky we were to have that moment to work on Me and Matthew’s new house laughing our asses off about our “oops” moment.

I wish I could explain how refreshing it is to feel close to someone you won’t see physically again! It’s just an unexplainable emotion that leaves you skipping for sparkly green meadows. The lakes are chocolate and the rainbows are slides. It’s a great feeling obviously! And I think Thomas knew feeling close to him was what Matt needed a couple days ago.

Two days ago Matt was having an awful, awful day at work and in general I suppose. We were kind of bickering and he was tired from lack of sleep. He wakes up at 6 and now that trapping has started he doesn’t get home until around 9 and when he gets home he still has to skin those darn ‘rats. Anyways, some kids at work were annoying the shit out of him (for lack of a better phrase) and he was basically at his wit’s end with about everything.

I wish I could write exactly how I knew he felt but it’s hard for me to do so when you never know what another person is feeling. Especially when I didn’t encounter what was going on at work or I wasn’t the one skinning muskrats all damn night. I do know that Matt feels somewhat lonely in the male-friend aspect of life. I can shoot a gun and I’ll go trapping but I’m not really a guy so some things I don’t understand…at all. I think everyone needs girl time and guy time and his guy time has become very minimal since Thomas’ passing.

At 4:39 on November 9th, Matt was doing an oil change at work. He heard his phone ringing Thomas’ ringer in his pocket and immediately dropped what he was doing to pick up. No one was there obviously. Matt tried calling Thomas’ number back and it went directly to the operator stating this number has been disconnected. Thomas’ number was calling again. There was still no answer. He texted me what was going on and I immediately thought 1) my fiancĂ© was crazy and 2) escaped to the bathroom and tried calling it several times. It went to the same disconnected message.

I got home and I immediately made him show me the missed calls so I could see for my own eyes! Again I was thinking, “Is this God? Is this Thomas? Did the phone company give away our friend’s number?! If they did give it away why would it be disconnected? If they did give it away how would they know Matt’s number? Unless Matt’s been calling or texting it?” I asked Matt if he’s been calling or texting his number lately and he said he hadn’t called since the week of his death.

 (Here’s a picture so you don’t think we’re nutso! Sorry the picture will NOT rotate no matter how many times I save it on my desktop vertically. It wants to be this way on blogger so I’m not going to fight it anymore! PS: You look sexy with your head turned that way.)

Of course this had me thinking so the next day I called the number again. This time a friendly gal named Bobbi picked up. I was kind of taken off guard and so I was fumbling for my words trying to find out more about how long she’s had this number and if she’s been calling Matt’s phone without sounding like a total creep. She was very polite and stated she had no idea what I was talking about calling (insert my fiancĂ©’s number here) and that she’s had this number for awhile. So I settled for that and we hung up.

I was more puzzled than I was the day before. I couldn’t justify the missed calls but all I knew was it felt good for both of us and it was the little boost Matt and I needed. Things like that bring you down from your cloud of stress from school, work, money or whatever it is you’re going through and reminds you that it’s the people in your life that are important. So maybe we’ll never know how  and there maybe just isn't an explanation. I have found most times in life there isn’t explanations for why or how things happen. I just like to think of these events as Heaven Calling and am gonna leave it at that. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Most Gorgeous Wedding Gown Ever

Sorry it's been so long sparklers! My blog is still under contruction with the lady who is re-designing it! I just wanted to quickly share one of many dream dresses I have. This one is by Marchesa and is from the Fall 2012 collection! What do you think??