I watched “Up” for the first time tonight

So, I watched Disney/Pixar’s Up for the first time tonight and I live-tweeted it.


You are so riveted at this point, right? Don’t worry the best is yet to come:

The End. If you want to see everything I tweeted, follow me @RLHammAuthor or search for #WatchingUp.

The Road Ahead

Well, well, well.  It’s that time again – time to say goodbye to the past year and hello to the new one.  2014 was big for me.  I published my second book, gained two new nieces, got a tattoo, turned 30, and visited London for the first time – several dreams come true (just not the turning 30 part).

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I also finished the first draft of what is going to be my third published book: Junie’s Confession, the second book in the Lark series.  I’ve been getting great feedback from the first book, Honor’s Lark, and I’m excited to see what people think about this next installment.  I’ll be spending the next several months performing extensive edits, with a goal to publish on July 15th, 2015!

That’s right, friends, my next book will be out on July 15th!




I’ve got other big plans for this year.  In addition to publishing Junie’s Confession, my goal is to blog once a week (look for a new post every Wednesday) and write two new first drafts.  One of those drafts will be book three in the Lark series and the other will be a new, stand-alone, romantic comedy.  If you’re good boys and girls, I’ll post excerpts and milestones as I go 🙂


I’ll also have a BIG announcement in a couple of weeks about an exciting new project, so keep your eyes open.


2015 is going to be amazing!


In Defense of Disney Princesses

I don’t think it will come as a shock to anyone that I’m a bit of a Disney fangirl.  I’m not totally obsessed, but I’m getting closer every day.  The release of Frozen has certainly not helped to curb my appetite for all things Disney with its catchy and forever singable songs or beautiful story of two sisters trying to understand each other.   Frozen has been getting a lot of media from the idea that it is the “first Disney Princess film to teach women that we don’t need a man to save us.”  I respectfully disagree with that statement.  While I think the message of Frozen – love for family and friendship over love-at-first-sight – is a great one, I think reducing it to that phrase does an injustice to the film and the films that came before it.  Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Okay, I’m not going to try and pretend that Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella had a strong message for females.  Yes, those movies played up the damsel in distress needing a man to rescue her from dire circumstances and Frozen pokes fun at the True Love’s Kiss the first two mentioned movies rely on for their climax.  But those are just three movies, and given the time they were created and released (1937, 1959, and 1950 respectively), I don’t think anyone is surprised by the lack of feminist message.


Let’s move to the Renaissance of the 1990s and the more modern era.

The Little Mermaid (1989) can arguably be viewed as the first movie of the Renaissance and the first modern Disney Princess.  While it is true that Ariel does suffer from love-at-first-sight syndrome, before she meets Eric, her desire to see the world above the water was the strongest motivator in her life.  She had dreams and goals outside of the Prince.  She gets a little distracted from those goals once the Prince comes along, but I don’t think we can discount them completely.  Even Kristen Bell, who voices Anna in Frozen, has said that The Little Mermaid was a huge influence on her as a child because it showed a Princess who wanted more than just the Prince.  Ariel does need “rescuing,” but the film also shows viewers important values.  Sebastian, Scuttle, and Flounder are all devoted friends willing to help Ariel in whatever way they can.  Ariel’s father is willing to sacrifice his own life for hers.  These were all male characters, but they certainly weren’t love interests, and you get the distinct feeling that Ariel would do the same for any of them were the roles reversed.  In the end, it IS Prince Eric who kills Ursula (in the absolute most horrific villain death to date), but let’s not forget, if Ariel hadn’t rescued Eric from drowning, none of the events that followed would have been possible.  No one ever takes the time to mention Ariel’s heroic act.  She defied her father and her Community, risking her own life in the process, to save his.  That seems like a pretty great message to me.


Our next Princess is Belle, from Beauty and the Beast (1991).  Belle is almost the very definition of an independent woman.  She is not afraid to stand out from the crowd and she doesn’t let it bother her that she’s seen as different.  She refuses to marry the attractive, but cruel, man who first proposes to her (no love-at-first-sight for Ms. Belle).  She voluntarily takes her father’s place as the Beast’s hostage, with her eyes open no less.  She sees the treatment her father has been subjected to: a damp, cold cell and a captor who literally looks like a monster.  If Belle needs saving, she needs saving from the Beast – he certainly can’t DO the saving.  Though Belle initially discourages the Beast’s attempts at “friendship,” eventually, she allows him to prove himself a better person than he appears.  She doesn’t remain entrenched in her first impression.  When the Beast releases her – she wants to save her father’s life – she voluntarily returns to protect him.  Throughout the movie, the viewer is reminded that the Beast needs Belle, not the other way around.  In the climatic rainy scene, it’s Belle’s love that saves the Beast and transforms him into the Prince.  At no point was Belle “saved” by anyone (unless you count Chip breaking into the cellar).


Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994) are centered around male protagonists, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time with them (and The Lion King isn’t a Princess movie), but I want to say that while Jasmine does need rescuing from time to time, she’s another smart and strong Princess.  She challenges the men around her to not see her as only a “prize to be won” but as a real person with real feelings.  Aladdin falls for her at first sight, but it’s his charm, vulnerability, and a common sense of oppression that attracts Jasmine to him.  In The Lion King, Nala and Sarabi take on the task of protecting their pride when Mufasa dies and Simba runs away.  And we see Nala defeat Simba twice while wrestling.  It’s well known that female lions are the hunters and male lions are lazy asses who wait around for food to be brought to them.  Just saying.


Pocahontas (1995).  The next time someone tells me Frozen is the first movie to tell girls they don’t need a man to rescue them, I’m going to plop them in front of a TV and turn Pocahontas on.  Put aside the blatant historical inaccuracies for a minute and look at the movie as a fairy tale.  Pocahontas is a free spirited woman.  She doesn’t blindly follow her father’s or her tribe’s path for her.  She thinks through her decisions.  She questions.  And when there’s a war going on – she runs through the opposing sides and throws herself between her father’s club and the man she’s grown to love.  She literally covers John Smith’s head with her own.  Pocahontas saved his ass.  But does anyone talk about that?  Just because Disney shows women falling in love does not mean those women need men to “save” them.


I can’t speak intelligently about The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), which is the next Renaissance movie, because it has been so long since I’ve seen it.  It was never one that I enjoyed – sorry!  It’s also not considered a Princess movie.  But, if anyone wants to make the case for a strong female influence in it, I’d love to hear it in the comments!

Hercules (1997) is another one centered around a male protagonist and Megara isn’t considered a Princess, but it’s worth mentioning that she was the first female character (in my opinion) to show that sass that has become so beloved in animated movies since.  She only needed rescuing at the end because she put herself in harm’s way to protect Hercules.  He’s seen as the hero because his rescuing comes last.  And again – Hercules was enamored with her at first sight, but she needed more convincing.  I’m seeing a pattern of men being just as foolish, if not more so than women, and yet, it’s the women who are treated as vapid and incapable of taking care of themselves.


The crown jewel in my argument, though, that Frozen is NOT the first Princess movie to show women that they don’t need a man to rescue them is (1998)’s Mulan.  Mulan is a freaking BAD ASS.  Mulan dresses like a man, takes her father’s place in the army, is the first to figure out how to climb the tall-ass wooden pole to collect the arrow, and then she freaking single-handedly destroys 99% of the Hun army.  After that, she uses her brains to defeat Shan Yu when the Emperor’s life is in danger.  She has a little crush on her commanding officer (and who doesn’t?  Shang is dreamy), but their romance is not the point of the story and they don’t even kiss.  Shang is the one who must come to terms with the fact that his first impressions were incorrect.  Mulan is a warrior.  Does anyone actually believe she needs a man to save her?  Why are people forgetting this movie?


Still don’t believe me?  Let’s skip ahead to The Princess and the Frog (2009), the next official Princess movie.  I’ve only seen this movie twice, so please contradict me if I’m wrong, but again, the viewer is not subjected to love-at-first-sight.  Neither Tiana nor Prince Naveen particularly like each other when they meet.  Tiana agrees to kiss the Prince because he offers her assistance with her restaurant dreams.  That may not be a particularly healthy message, but it’s a far cry to say she’s being “rescued.”  She worked her butt off almost her entire life to save the money she needed for the restaurant and she was swindled by the gentlemen supposed to sell it to her when they received a more lucrative offer.  This could have happened to her just as easily if she was male.  Then, when she becomes a frog, she and the Prince have to work together to transform back to their human bodies.  At the end, they make the decision to stay frogs and stay together.  To me, that’s a beautiful message.  As a couple, they realize compromise is important, they realize being united is important.  Not every woman needs to remain single to prove she doesn’t need a man.  And, it’s Tiana’s kiss that transforms Naveen back into a Prince, which in turn turns her back into a human, as well.  Tiana rescues him as much as he rescues her.


Last, but not least, let’s talk Tangled (2010).  (I haven’t seen Brave yet, though I have a sneaking suspicion that Merida would fit very nicely into my argument.)  One of the things I love about Rapunzel is that she is a very complex character.  She strives to do right by Mother Gothel while desiring her own freedom.  She’s afraid of “ruffians and thugs” but brave enough to stand up to them.  She feels very deeply.  She’s passionate.  She’s a little crazy at times.  She’s feminine.  She needs Flynn to escort her to the kingdom because she has no idea how to get there, but I wouldn’t call that needing to be rescued.  When Flynn is about to get beaten up in the Tavern – who stops it?  Rapunzel.  When they are about to drown in the cave, whose hair gives them the light needed to find a way out?  Rapunzel’s.  Flynn ultimately comes to rescue her at the end when Mother Gothel is attempting to drag her away from the tower and the outside world forever, but it is Rapunzel’s love and compassion that causes her to give up her own happiness for Flynn.  They both make sacrifices – she sacrifices her freedom in an attempt to save him from dying, he sacrifices his life to save her from Mother Gothel.  They save each other.  And it is demeaning to reduce that down to the simple idea that Rapunzel needs Flynn to rescue her.


It isn’t necessary for women to choose between love and independence.  They can have both IF they want it.  And I feel like Disney has done an amazing job in the last two and a half decades showing us that.  So, please, can we stop acting like Frozen is some feminist masterpiece?  I love the movie, but I love the ones that came before it, too.  Anna choosing her sister over Kristoff in those crucial moments SHOULD be celebrated, but it shouldn’t lessen the progress of the other Princesses before her.  That is all.

My 12 Commandments to a Happier Self

My boss gave me a $50 Target gift card for my birthday.  So, of course, I immediately went to Target and spent more than $50.  I’ll talk more about my over-shopping impulses in a minute.  On that shopping trip, I bought a book I’d heard about a while ago, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin.  I’ve been thinking (or I should have been thinking) about what I need to do to be a happier person.  I think for the most part, I’m fairly happy, but there’s a lot of things in my life that I’m disappointed in and this causes me to be grumpy, rude, and a buzzkill at times.  The point of The Happiness Project is not to change who you are, but to appreciate who you are and what you have, and this will lead to being happier.

Gretchen divided her happiness project into 11 parts and spent one month focusing on each goal, then the last month evaluating her total progress.  She started out by doing a lot of research on happiness and what philosophers, experts, and pop culture personalities believed about happiness.  She encourages her readers to take on Happiness Projects of their own and that every individual’s happiness project would be different.

As Gretchen developed her plans for each month, she discovered that (in her words) “some overarching principles started to emerge.”  She used these principles to develop her “Twelve Commandments,” or basically the rules she’d let guide her throughout her project.

I probably don’t have the time needed right now to fully develop my own happiness project, but I do want to be happier.  I love the idea and so I want to start small, even if I can’t start big.  I created my own 12 Commandments and I’m hoping they will help me as I go about my daily life to make better decisions- decisions that will lead to a happier self.

(1) Be Rachel.  The first of Gretchen’s commandments was “Be Gretchen,” by which she meant, there’s no point trying to change who you are or what you like, so instead, embrace it!  “You can’t choose what you like, but you can choose what you do.”  I’m going to follow her example, and Be Rachel.  One of my favorite things about myself is the ability to be passionate- about my favorite tv show, amusement parks, orange soda, etc.  The essence of “Being Rachel” is being passionate about really random things, so I plan to continue to explore that.

(2) Ask- Do I Need This?  I cause myself a lot of unhappiness by spending money on things I want, but don’t really need.  I end up broke, struggling to figure out how I’m going to pay rent, or my car payment, or my student loan.  It’s okay to splurge on little things every once and a while, but too often, I take that to the extreme.  I splurge on one thing, then another, then another, until all of my money’s gone and I’m not even using the things I splurged on.  I taped the mantra “Do I need this?” onto my debit card to encourage me to be mindful about every purchase.

(3) Pause.  Breathe.  I have a bad tendency to roll my eyes and to snap at people.  Luckily, I’m not alone in this.  Snapping was one of the faults Gretchen most wanted to control in her happiness project, too.  From now on, when I get annoyed or find myself losing patience, I’m going to think, “Pause.  Breathe.” and hopefully that will save me from doing something I’ll regret later on.

(4) Fake It til you Make It.  Gretchen spends a lot of time talking about the concept that if you act happy, you will be happy. I definitely know first hand that this works.  I often have to wear a fake smile at work, or use a fake cherry voice, but usually, those fake things fade out and I actually feel happy.  Now, whenever I’m having a bad day, I’ll just fake it til I make it.

(5) Move on from mistakes.  This is another huge source of unhappiness in my life.  I hold on to mistakes for weeks, months.  I dwell on them.  I feel guilty, I loathe myself.  And Gretchen points out that in her research she discovered that other people tend to forget your mistakes rather quickly.  So why am I dwelling on them if no one else is?  What’s the point?  Learn, and move on.

(6) Trust my gut.  I recently spent a few weeks texting with a guy who I didn’t really like, but who seemed to really like me.  My gut told me that he wasn’t a person I wanted in my life, and he was constantly pressuring me and making me feel guilty about not wanting to do things he wanted me to do.  I should have stopped the conversation at the first indication that I didn’t want to be talking to him, but I was flattered by his declarations that I was beautiful and sexy and that he couldn’t stop thinking about me.  Now I know, it was also kind of creepy.  I deleted his number from my phone.

(7) Think Friends before Finances.  This may contradict my earlier commandment to think “Do I Need This?” but actually, it really piggybacks off it.  In twenty years, I’ll remember the times I spent with my friends, having fun, experiencing new things, not the fact that I was struggling to pay my bills.  Friends are more important than stuff.  If I have the opportunity to go out to dinner or to the movies or to a concert, I can spend my money on it, guilt free.

(8) Don’t fritter- Do It Now.  “Do It Now”  is another of Gretchen’s commandments.  I am terrible at “doing it now.”  I fritter my time away constantly and then complain that I have no time.  I always feel better (and so does Gretchen) when I do something right away, rather than putting it off.  For example, I’ve started ironing my work uniforms for the week on Sunday nights.  It gives me a few extra minutes in the morning on workdays, which, as I’m not a morning person, is a huge thing.  Another example, I’ve left two loads of clean laundry just sitting in my apartment without putting them away.  Every time I say, “I’m going to fold and hang my clothes,” I find myself playing on pinterest, or watching TV instead.  And the sight of those baskets is a definite source of displeasure in my life.  I need to just put the clothes away already!

(9) Say Yes! Obviously this is something I’ve been trying to do for a while now.  You can look back at past posts on the blog to see my attempts at “saying yes.” It also ties in with “Think Friends before Finances.”

(10) Food will never make me feel better.  I use food as a reward and a source of comfort.  But I never feel rewarded or comforted when I eat something bad for me.  So I should stop that using food as therapy.

(11) Laugh more.  Cry Less.  I want to spend more time enjoying life than lamenting it.  I love to laugh, but I really don’t do it enough.  It’s enough to take pleasure in little things.

(12) Celebrate.  It’s important to celebrate even small victories.  Life putting away the clothes finally!  Or typing a blog post I’ve been putting off for a while.  Or actually losing a pound.  When I take the time to pat myself on the back for something I’ve achieved, it makes me focus less on things I haven’t achieved.  In a strange twist, it also pushes me to do more.  “Celebrate” is the capstone of my 12 commandments because when I accomplish any one of them I should celebrate.  And celebrations don’t have to be big.  They can be as much as doing a little dance, or sharing with a friend that I hit a goal, or taking time to do something that I really enjoy but have been putting off doing because of money (like a massage or a pedicure).

I’m excited to see if these commandments will actually help me lead a happier, more fulfilling life.  I’ll let you know.

I’m Very Disappointed

in the citizens of my state today. I voted this morning against Amendment 1, and I know a lot of my friends and colleagues did as well, but unfortunately, more people voted for it. When, when America, will you live up to your reputation? When will you stop claiming to be the land of freedom and tolerance and actually become that land?

I’m a single, straight, childless woman. The fact that the passage of this amendment does not directly affect me right now does not make the passage of it any less offensive to me. I’m ashamed. Ashamed to live in a state that would not only consider the creation of such an amendment to our State’s Constitution, but would also pass it in a majority election.

Equality should be for all- not just for those who think and act like one group wants them to.

Have we made no progress since the Civil Rights Movement? Where is our compassion for our fellow man? Our love for him? Our solidarity? What are we so afraid of?

I’ve Been Busy

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been a busy girl!  Here’s what I’ve been up to:Image

3/17/12 St. Patrick’s Day weekend with my sister and brother-in-law in Charlotte.  Had an amazing time drinking and walking around all day (2 things I never do!)


3/19/12 My nephew, Lane, was born!  He was a really big baby- 9 lbs 10 oz!


3/24/12 My Brookie got married!  Above is the Bridesmaids’ (and Bridesman’s) luncheon.  Below is the happy couple.


3/31/12 Altar Ego Fashion Show which featured some gorgeous table designs by your’s truly and a brilliant team of event professionals.



4/3-6/12 Seattle, Baby!  My old college buddy, Brittany, and I went to visit my old college roommate, Brad.  We saw all the main touristy-type sites, plus Brad knew the best local places to visit to get the true Seattle experience.  It was really refreshing to be able to spend time with these people I haven’t seen in years and still feel like we were close.  I think that’s something you have with college friends that you don’t really have with people from other times in your life.  In college everyone is growing and changing, so it never seems weird that they’ve evolved, you know?

More Seattle pics:




3/31/12 I got the keys to my new apartment!  Yay!  Finally a place of my own.  I didn’t really move into it until after I got back from Seattle, though, and I’m still steadily working on making it a home.  There’s a lot of stuff I need/want, but the best part about it is my brand new, grown up bed!


I’ve also been busy planning weddings and my sister’s baby shower:



So I hope you’ll forgive me for being MIA!

Missing out

Days keep passing.  My life moves on every moment.  And I feel like I’m missing out.  I feel like I’m missing out on THE fundamental experiences of life.

I’ll turn 28 years old in three months.  It sounds young, but it doesn’t feel young- especially not for a woman.  Think about it- the potential for pregnancy complications and birth defects increases dramatically at age 35, which means I need to have children in the next seven years.  And even though that sounds like a fairly decent amount of time, you have to consider the time necessary to meeting, dating, and marrying the man who would be the father of my children.  Because, I’m sorry, but I’m not a person who would be strong enough to raise a child on my own.  Suddenly, seven years doesn’t feel like that much time, does it?  I think about my sister and her husband.  They started dating in high school and got married when they were 21.  He turned 30 this past November and she’ll turn 30 in four days.  They are expecting their first child in June.  Nine years of marriage, and almost 12 years together- that’s what they got before they had children.  And they still have plenty of time to have more kids if they want to.

But I’ll never have that.  It’s impossible.  I know not all relationships are the same.  Every person is different- no one has the same path in life.  I don’t know exactly how to put it, but it makes me sad – that kind of relationship was NEVER a possibility for me.  It’s unfair.

I’m turning 28 in three months and I’m not just upset that I haven’t had kids or a long term relationship.  What bothers me the most is never loving at all.  And never being loved.  In Twenty-Five, Abigail told Ben that no one had ever made her feel pretty, that no one had ever cared about her, or even liked her.  That’s me.  It’s a true for me now as it was three years ago when I wrote it.  I can’t figure out why.  It seems so incredibly unfair to me.  I can’t understand what I’ve done to deserve going through life completely alone.  Unless you’ve gone 28 (or more) years completely single- you have no idea, no idea whatsoever how it feels.  I can’t even describe it really.  Some days I’m fine.  It doesn’t even register on my radar that I’m a single person.  Other days, everything reminds me that no one loves me, and at this point, the likelihood that anyone ever will seems to be steadily decreasing.  You can’t imagine how that kind of thing affects your self-worth and overall happiness.

The absolute worst part of it is that I have no one I can really talk to about it.  The few people I have in my life who do genuinely care about me don’t understand, no matter how much they try to.  Comments like, “It’s better to be with nobody than with the wrong person,” are not helpful.  Getting advice on dealing with being single from a person who hasn’t been single since they hit puberty is not helpful.  I appreciate the thought, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

So many instances have happened recently to bring on this onslaught of self-pity.  I’ll mention the two that are most prominent in my mind.  I was at a meeting a couple of days ago with a couple and their officiant, planning their wedding ceremony.  The officiant asked them to share something personal about themselves to be included in the address and they mentioned their belief that one of the great things about marriage is having someone who is always your fan: someone who cheers you on and supports you no matter what.  The officiant likened it to being each other’s # 1 fan.  I teared up a little during the meeting, it was so sweet.  Then later, thinking back on it, I teared up again, realizing that I had no one who could claim to be my biggest fan, and no one I could claim to be their biggest fan.

The second instance happened during the St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl I went on with my (other) sister and her husband.  At some point in the evening, my brother-in-law told a story about how he once almost punched a guy my sister hugged while they were out at a bar.  Apparently, she used to date the guy, and my bro-in-law was drunk and jealous.  I know girls aren’t supposed to want their men to be jealous, but a little bit of envy shows passion.  And once again, no one has ever felt that kind of passion for me (nor have I felt it for anyone else).

This post probably makes me sound crazy.  At least, if you are a guy, you are jumping to that conclusion.  I don’t know- maybe I am a little insane, but I don’t think I am in a bad way, and truth be told, I think guys like to use the “crazy woman” explanation any time a woman behaves in ways they can’t (or won’t try to) understand.

I don’t expect to accomplish anything by writing this, except maybe a little relief.  I know it’s not the first time I’ve indulged my sadness and bemoaned singledom via the blog, so for those of you who have read through it more than once, thank you and I’m sorry.

Hello, Reality

If my life were a movie, here’s how last weekend would have gone:

I would have dreaded going to the 3-day conference about the unique technology we use at the office where I work in a job I’m way over-qualified for.  Because the conference really had nothing to offer me- I’d be leaving this job I’m way over-qualified for soon.  But I’d put a smile on my face and cheer in my voice and go along with the seemingly pointless classes and group activities.  At the end of the first day, I’d carefully curl my hair, apply fresh makeup, and slip into my brand new dress to attend the opening night welcome reception along with my co-workers.  While saving a table in the over-crowded hotel restaurant, I’d spot two very cute young men at the next table over, and being bold, would walk over and introduce myself.  We’d laugh, flirt a little, then I’d rejoin my party and the cute boys would have spent the rest of the evening thinking what a cool chick they’d just met.

The next day, I’d go to more classes, say fabulously witty things to all the conference presenters, and get an email from one of the graduate schools I’d applied to saying they’d made a decision regarding my application.  I’d bite the nails for the rest of the day, just waiting until we had a long enough break for me to check the school’s graduate website to see if I’d been accepted.  Finally, finally! the classes would be over for the day- I’d rush up to my room, log into the site and Yes! I got in!  They wanted me!  Armed with new confidence and excitement for the future- I’d get ready for the huge sports-themed party the conference was throwing.  Hair curled again, makeup re-applied again, and skinny jeans plus totally awesome black and pink Bowling shirt.  I’d enter the party with my co-workers, head held high, wondering when it would be appropriate to tell my boss that I’d be leaving for school in August.  The first person I see is one of the cute boys from the night before.  He’s dressed as an old-timey football player, complete with leather helmet, and he looks adorable.  He slyly makes his way over, looks at me with that “Hey, I recognize you,” look, and slowly says, “Rachel?”  I grin, and say back, “Joshua?”

Somehow, Joshua and I end up talking away from my group.  He offers to get me a drink.  We spend most of the party talking and dancing and as things are winding down, he walks me to my room and kisses me goodnight.  I can’t believe this is happening- the best news of my life on the same day as the best kiss of my life.

The next day, we spend as much time talking together as conference demands will allow.  He’s working, I’m attending.  I tell him about getting into school, and he’s impressed by my intelligence.  When the conference ends later that day, he insists on getting my number and email address- the long distance doesn’t matter, he wants to keep getting to know me.  A few days later, he’d show up unexpectedly in North Carolina at my office with a bouquet of flowers and the insistence that he knew we had a once-in-a-lifetime connection.

That's me on the far left, in the black dress. Too bad you can't really see my shoes, because they are AMAZING.

My life is not a movie.

What actually happened:

I was kinda looking forward to the conference.  I’d never been to Dallas (where it was being held), and hey, anything is better than answering the phone all day long.  And for the record- I didn’t have to answer the phone a single time while I was at the conference. Also for the record- we didn’t leave the hotel once while we were in Dallas.  So I might as well have been in North Carolina.

At the end of the first day, I did indeed curl my hair, re-apply my makeup, and put on a brand new dress I actually bought for a rehearsal dinner for my friend’s wedding, but wanted to test out somewhere not as important to make sure I actually liked the way it looked and was comfortable enough to wear all night.  When we got to the reception, I did hold a table for our group, and I did introduce myself to the two cute guys at the table behind ours.  We talked for a few minutes, the other guy, Jason, was the one I was initially attracted to, but the next night, he seemed kinda douche-baggy.  But anyways.  After a few minutes of (probably badly-executed on my part) flirting, I returned to my group and the boys returned to theirs.  I wondered for the rest of the evening if I’d get to talk to them again, they joined a table of “Woohoo” drunk girls who insisted on shouting and singing random songs for the remainder of the reception.  Joshua did shake my hand again and say it was nice meeting me as we (my group and I) were leaving.

The next day, as I sat waiting for the first class of the day to start, I checked my email and saw a new message from one of the schools I applied to: a decision had been made about my application and could be found on their website.  I couldn’t check the website on my phone because the password I needed was upstairs in my hotel room.  So, I had to sit through 6 or 7 hours of classes just waiting, waiting, waiting.  When I was finally dismissed, I went straight to my room, located the password in my red notebook, logged on and… Found rejection.  A form letter.  I didn’t get in.  I figured I should check the other schools’ websites while I was at it, even though they hadn’t sent me any kind of notification.  Another rejection from the second school.  I didn’t get in.  And the third school hadn’t posted anything.  I started crying while my roommate showered.  I laid down on my bed and cried and cried.  When I heard the water shut off, I sat up, wiped my face, and tried to compose myself.  I started ironing my awesome bowling shirt, then offered to iron hers.  I curled my hair.  She left to help one of our co-workers with makeup.  I cried some more.  Then re-applied my makeup and changed into my outfit.  By the time I went downstairs to meet the rest of my group, I managed to pull myself together and my eyes weren’t nearly as bloodshot as they could have been.

Joshua did approach me when we entered the party.  He was an adorable old-time football player with adorable leather helmet.  But he never offered to get me a drink, and while we did talk away from my group for a few minutes and we did dance for a few minutes, he spent just as much time with me as he did with everyone else there.  He certainly didn’t walk me to my hotel room and he most definitely didn’t kiss me goodnight.

The next morning, he was moderating the very first class I walked into.  I did not know he’d be there- I didn’t choose that class because I thought he’d be there.  He greeted me by name again, but then he had to work and I had to listen.  We kept running into each other throughout the day and it felt flirty and nice and I thought, maybe- maybe he likes me.  I also thought, maybe he’s just really good at networking.  At the end of the conference, we shook hands, said it was nice to meet each other, and “hey, maybe I’ll see you at next year’s conference.”  We didn’t exchange any contact information.

When I arrived back in North Carolina, my bag did not.  It decided to stay in Dallas.

I tried to find Joshua on facebook, but couldn’t.

I still haven’t heard back from school # 3, but I’m not keeping my hopes up.

I like the movie version a lot better.

The most awesome Bowling Shirt, ever.