Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My love of... magazines

This is some of the 65 magazines I receive each month!
My name is Jackie and … I am a magazine addict.

Besides having a love for books, there is enough in my heart and apartment for magazines.
My goal is to read at least one book a month. The rest of the time is spent with magazines.
While some people glance at Facebook throughout the day, I can be found at either Magazines.com or Amazon looking for magazine subscriptions.
I love magazines. To those who know me, this is an understatement of the year.
It started when I was about nine, I would buy soap opera and wrestling magazines with my allowance.

I needed to know what was happening on the Young and the Restless and the Guiding Light while I was in school. As for wrestling, I had to make sure my grandma and I were prepared when we watched it on Saturday nights.
And each year, my grandmother would get the Publisher’s Clearinghouse thing in the mail and let me chose one magazine subscription for the year.
I remembered receiving Jane and feeling like a whole new world had opened up to me.
By college, I had a $100 a month magazine habit. Each week, I would bike over to the newsstand in downtown Rock Hill to browse through the thousands of magazines on display and talk to Mr. Jim. 
Each week, he would have a Sunday Las Vegas Review-Journal and a Sunday News and Observer waiting for me. Those weren’t cheap since they were out-of-state newspapers. The Vegas one was $7 and the  N&O was $5.
I was reading Mademoiselle, Glamour and Entertainment Weekly. I always excited to see who was on the cover. It’s not like now where you can see a preview before the magazine hits your mailbox. I love the surprise of it. Those were the days when I was young with no car payment and making good tips as a waitress. Life was good.

After college and getting married, my husband challenged me to find a way not to spend so much money on magazines.
So using my newly learned computer skills on Internet Explorer, I found message boards that offered great deals or free magazines.
Fast forward to 2016, I get 64 magazines a month. I know the mail carrier must hate me. My neighbor once told me that if it weren’t for me, the mailman would never stop at our address.
I pay for 13 of those 64 magazines. The rest are gifts from friends or they just simply start coming to my mailbox. I think I am on some magazine secret list.
Do I read all 64 a month? No! Some are just pass through magazines. They come to my house, I flipped through them and give them away to others. For instance, I get Autoweek. I have no idea why I get this magazine. It automatically goes to one of my coworkers.

But each week or month, there are certain ones I have to read. I have to read Entertainment Weekly because it covers books, TV, movies and other pop culture.
Other must-reads are Glamour, Essence, US Weekly, Variety, Ebony, Marie Claire, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. I feel reading those makes me a well-rounded person.
According to the Association of Magazine Media in 2015, the top 25 print magazines reach more adults and teens than the top 25-primetime TV programs. I can believe this.
Whenever I travel, there are certain libraries and thrift stories that sell current magazines for quarter a piece. It makes me happy to buy a Food Network Magazine for a quarter instead of almost $5. I’m happy and the library makes some money.
In addition to the angering the mail carrier, I have created an informal magazine group.
Basically, these magazines can’t stay with me so once I get them, read them or not read them, they have to go to another home. They are given to friends in Roanoke Rapids, Mount Olive, at the Duplin Times and various people and places.

My next trip to Roanoke Rapids will include about eight Food Lion reusable bags full of magazines to take to friends. My goal is to come home with an empty trunk and back seat. But I know others will give me more magazines, which will fill the trunk up.
I don’t want to be known as crazy magazine hoarder woman. I mean I love magazine a lot but I don’t hoard them. Okay maybe a little.
I have been told by many to get a Kindle or one of those tablets so I get my magazines there. 
No! I love holding an actual magazine in my hand. I love seeing the mailbox stuffed with them as I come home from work. It’s a great feeling.
Sitting on the porch in the rocking chair reading a magazine puts me in a happy place.
Vive la print!
So again I am a magazine addict. I’ve been one for most of my life and it will probably continue to the end.
Do I want to do something about it? No not really but if you need some magazines, let me know. I can hook up you up.

1. I took a new photo for my newspaper columns and it looks awesome!!!!
2. Wednesday is last day of work and then I go on vacation!
3. I get to see my son while on vacation!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Getting my mojo back

Most days, I feel like I am just holding everything together and then the cracks will start showing.
I celebrated two years at my newspaper on Friday. Yesterday, I found the person who is in my previous job got promoted to regional editor. I wondered if that could have been me. Am I going nowhere here? Sometimes I wonder what I should do. Sometimes I wonder if it is spending too much time on the couch. Being out of commission for six weeks did something to me. I'm having a hard time getting mojo back.

On Friday, I decided it was time to try to get it back. I had to do a work assignment in Wilmington on the riverfront. This is a picture of me and my big bag. My friends thought I had a date hidden inside it. I decided to stay and hang with my friend and her boyfriend. I had a wonderful time.
Normally when I do a road trip, I always do the sight seeing and then head to a library or bookstore. This time I stepped outside my comfort zone.

I headed to Wild Wing CafĂ© with Nat and her boyfriend. There are 33 different sauces for the wings. It goes from Hey Rookie! To Braveheart (so hot you can lose your head over it). I  had the Ginger wings, which were sweet and saucy with an oriental twist. They were great with Mr. Pibb but not so great with the Samuel Adams grapefruit beer. My friends had the lemon pepper wings and the honey lime sriracha.

After filling up on wings, we headed to see a movie at Mayfaire is an outdoor shopping center with more than 65 stores, 21 restaurants, a movie theater.
All the things I love are there—Barnes and Noble, Banana Republic, World Market, Ann Taylor, J.Jill, J.Creek and much more.
I waved to the Barnes and Noble as we passed by it to go to the movie theater.
We were there to see 10 Cloverfield Lane. See. This. Movie. It was great. And long after it is over, you will think about it. I won’t give it. I watched it on an IMAX screen while drinking a slushie and eating Reese Pieces.

My friends had invited friends so afterwards, we ended to the Dig and Dive. This place was amazing. It had a ton of TVs to keep up with the college basketball games. And outside there was soft sand volleyball, cornhole, bocce ball and dodgeball. 

If I hadn’t had a cosmopolitan, a Washington Martina and two buttery rum shots, I would be playing but no. I also had some chicken nachos. 

At the end of the night, I stayed on my friend’s couch. I had a great time and realized there is more to life than my remote and couch.

All of this stems from reading the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.  For one year, she said yes to everything. I will admit that I haven’t say yes to everything but more like 90 percent of the time, which is awesome for me.
So far, saying yes has:
--Led to a nice date with a hot guy.
--Making a fort in the living room with son.
--Playing jenga while tipsy.
--Being kissed on the nose by a llama
--Nuzzled by a camel
--And saying yes to moving from my beloved one-bed room apartment to a three-bedroom house.
So it is the year of semi-yes for me! Remember Roman wasn’t built in a day and neither were extroverts.

1.   Cupcakes
2.   Going out of town for lunch and shopping.
3.   Time with friends!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A unique roadtrip involving llamas and bridges

It has been over a month since I returned to work. I feel like I am 90 percent myself again but on long days with meetings, I am usually exhausted when I get home.
I watched them from a distance.

About a month ago, I got an assignment for Southeast North Carolina magazine that intrigued me.
I was being sent to Bolivia to do a feature on a llama farm.  And for a few moments, I thought ‘I am going to South America.’ I wondered why but figured I would just go with the flow.
Then I learned there was a Bolivia in North Carolina. I learned something new that day.
To get to SundMist Pastures, I took an interesting journey across several bridges (my nemesis) to meet some of the coolest animals in the animal kingdom.

Llamas are domesticated South American camelids that are independent minded with lots of personality. They are herd animals so you can’t own just one because it would die of loneliness without others.
And you can’t keep two llamas in your backyard because they need space. They need less space than horses but more than a backyard.
My journey started benignly enough, with me traveling on I-40 singing and eating Skittles.  I drove across some minor bridges. Well, minor to most but a little nerve wrecking to me.
Ultimately, the goal was not to go across the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
Anyway, I made it to SundMist Pastures with little trouble. I got to spend two magical hours learning about llamas.

Noelle is the official greeter there. She and other llamas live at SundMist and rotate between five summer pastures and five winter pastures.
Llamas don’t bite or scratch. Having Noelle sniff my nose, look into my eyes and let the others know that I was okay was one of the coolest experiences for me.
I learned so much about llamas to share with the readers of Southeast North Carolina magazine.
Vicki Sundberg and her husband, David Smith, own SundMist Pastures.
They don’t breed or sell llamas but she does shear them and uses their fiber to make scarves, hats and other items.
The other llamas

There are no set hours there and Sundberg said if people show up, they let them come. She would prefer that visitors call her in advance (910-269-1422 or 910-253-5612). There is no cost but donations are accepted.
It was not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon. I had planned to explore more of Bolivia but decided to start back because I didn’t feel comfortable crossing bridges in traffic or in the dark.
After having lunch in Leland, I said a prayer, took a deep breath and got on the road.
As I headed back to I-40, the goal was to veer off and head home. This should be where this column ends but it isn’t.
I didn’t veer off and soon, looming up ahead, was the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Like the monstrous Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, Cape Fear Memorial Bridge has given me nightmares due to its drawbridge.
Let’s just say that there was lots of yelling and unkind words said. If my car could write, she would have a lot to say.
I crossed safely with a sigh of relief and realized another problem — I was now lost in Wilmington. A city I had never traveled in alone. I am usually the passenger in a vehicle with others. Nothing looked familiar and even if it did, what was I going to do. I drove until I stopped at a grocery store that looked friendly.
Inside there were three very helpful high school students who offered directions. I informed them that I didn’t want to travel back across the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge because I have a fear of bridges. I was told I would have to go back across. As I headed out, one very helpful chap yelled out that if the drawbridge opened as I crossed it, I wouldn’t die alone because others would be on the bridge with me.
To which I replied, “Why would you say this?”
His reply, “You will be thinking about what I said instead of focusing on your fear of the bridge. And you’re welcome.”
The kid was right. I thought I about what he said long after I had passed over the bridge.
I survived but now I have to go back to SundMist Pastures. After telling my son about my adventures, he said he was not only proud of me but thought it would make a great adventure for the two of us. He is excited about seeing real llamas face-to-face and driving across a drawbridge.
The things we do out of love and to be able to see llamas.

1. I am loving this warm weather!
2. Having supportive good friends!
3. Conquering my fear of bridges

Happy New Year!!!!

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