Belated spoiler alert!

Apparently you can tick a lot of people off if you write a Facebook post about an episode of a favorite television series that not every single, solitary person that you are friends with has watched.

I was so sad after last night's Dowton Abbey episode, so heartbroken for the Crawley family, that I woke up needing someone to share in my grief. Yes, I know. It's stupid to be so emotional about a bunch of fictional characters, but you've gotta give it to that Julian Fellows (show's creator, producer, and writer.) He sure knows how to pull at your heartstrings...and then shock the hell out of you.

So, I turned to Facebook because that is what one does when one needs to grieve; turns to social media. Here is what I wrote (consider yourself forewarned):

Stephenie's Status: "Still mourning the loss of Lady Sybil. (sniff...)"

Let's just say, my post wasn't well received. I wish I had a screen shot of the comments to share with you because people were NOT happy with me for spilling the beans about last night's episode. People were H-O-T, HOT. They were so upset in fact, that I deleted the post as to not upset anyone any further. Apparently my post needed to come with a disclaimer: "Do not read if you haven't watched Episode 4 of Season 3 of Dowton Abbey! DO NOT READ! I MEAN IT!"

Since no such disclaimer was given, I replaced it with this:

DVR'S are the problem here, people, not me. Before the invention of the DVR we were all forced to watch our television shows LIVE, in real time. You would have watched, I would have watched, and this, my friends, would have allowed us to gather together around the water cooler to share our feelings. Share how heartbroken we were that they would kill off the prettiest of the three sisters, how mad were were at the Sir Whatshisname and Robert for not listening to Dr. Clarkson, how much we sobbed when Cora was saying goodbye to her baby and when Branson was yelling, "Don't leave me! Don't leave me!"

That's all I was trying to do. Share my Dowton feelings around the 2013 water cooler.

And I promise to never do it again. Not until next Monday.

Drink your milk. It will make you pretty.

:: from the book, Made to Crave ::

When I was little, my mom used to tell me, "Drink your milk. It'll make you pretty." I'm not sure if she really believed it or if it was just creative parenting. I drank my daily glass of milk faithfully, because if this was how I was going to get to be beautiful when I was older, then I was all in.

But I'm no longer a little girl who drinks her milk every night. I am a 40 year-old mother of two with gray hair. Yes, I have gray hairs. Not a ton, but enough. I have sprouted 20 new gray hairs just in the last month alone. Gray hairs mean I'm getting older. It's a fact and gray hairs are the proof.

Do gray hairs effect whether or not I'm a beautiful person? Of course they don't. Will that stop me from spending too much money coloring my hair to hide the grays? Of course it won't. Because I put my beauty in other people's hands. I allow my concern for what other people think define me, to define whether or not I am beautiful. I'm afraid that if people see my gray hair, then they won't think I'm beautiful. They'll think I look old and tired even though I am most definitely both.

Yesterday I got a hair cut. I used to like getting my hair cut, walking out of the salon feeling like a new woman. What's not to love? But I have a lot of hair, and getting my hair cut requires me to sit in the chair staring at myself in a mirror for a long time. Sure, I take my Kindle and my magazines in an attempt to look away, but the majority of the time it's unavoidable. I'm forced to sit and stare at myself and all of my imperfections.

Where did that line on my neck come from? I better head to Sephora for some neck cream. Are turtlenecks back in style?

When the hell did my face get so fat? I gotta start working out. Is it the ice cream? It's probably all of the ice cream. 

That little line between my eyebrows is getting bigger. IT'S GETTING BIGGER! I keep staring at it and it's GETTING BIGGER!

This is stressing me out. I look old and tired. I want some ice cream.
Yeah, mirrors suck. That is why it is totally crazy that after leaving the salon I promptly posted my picture on the social media tri-fecta (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.) I was nervous about it because I don't like having my picture taken. Ever. Why? Because when you have your picture taken, later you have to look at that picture and are forced to see everything you've been avoiding. So for me to take my own picture AND put it out for the world to see required me to lean into my insecurities and be a little vulnerable (thanks, Rita for sharing that one.)

I was shocked at the response to my picture post. So many of you liked and commented. And do you know what happened? I felt beautiful. And then after that, I felt ashamed. Ashamed because those likes and compliments meant way more than they should, because how I feel about myself shouldn't be so dependent upon how many Facebook likes I receive...or don't receive.

We all do it. We all drink the milk. We all try to do whatever it takes to be beautiful. We are hardwired to want it. There's nothing a women wants more than to be beautiful. Physically beautiful. If any woman tries to tell you differently, she is lying through her newly bleached teeth, if she can even form the words through her silicone injected lips. We believe that being beautiful is all about the physical image that we portray.

But it's not. Being beautiful person has nothing to do with physical beauty. Being beautiful isn't about what we look like, it's about who we are.

Did you feel it? Did you feel the freedom that statement gave you as you read it? Because you should. You should feel a huge sense of freedom knowing that what you've been out searching for, what you've been out spending tons of money on to create, is actually something that you already possess.

We all know this. We all know deep down inside that physical beauty isn't everything. It isn't all that we are. But does that stop us? Does that stop us from fixating on the outside? No, it doesn't.

Pour me some milk.

Laughing Yoga

I wish I was at yoga. It's a Saturday morning in California. Yoga is kinda what you do.

I'm not a yogi, but I wish I was.  I think that's going to be part of my new workout routine.  I haven't actually done yoga since last June and it was hysterical. Literally.

Every year, my best friends from college and I travel somewhere fun together. Last summer, we headed to Laguna Beach. It was our "We're Not 40...Yet" trip. Part of our goal with that trip was doing things we've never done, things out of our comfort zones which included something called Laughing Yoga.

We got up early on a Saturday morning and headed down to the main beach. Getting up early on vacation wasn't something that we would ever normally do, but we were determined. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we were already laughing before we even got there. We're really good at laughing. We do it a lot.

One thing  that we did know was that we weren't going to be a big physical workout (which is why we walk a mile to get there, to get in an "actual" workout) but yoga on the beach has got to be a good thing, right? Spending time on the beach is never a bad thing.

There was a little bit of everyone there. People 20 to 80. People of every size, shape and color.  People that do it every week, and people like us just wanting to seeing what all of the laughing was all about. We took our shoes off, put our toes in the sand, got into a big circle around a king-sized bed sheet and started our first position.

Repeat after me, "Ho, Ho, Ha, Ha, Ha. Ho, Ho, Ha, Ha, Ha..."

Laughing Yoga was one of the silliest, weirdest, strangest things I've ever done. And not speaking for my friends here, but I loved every second of the craziness.  Why? Because it was so far out, so bizarre, you just had to love it. Here's a video to prove just how nutty it was. I promise it is worth the 4 minutes and 37 seconds.

And that was exactly what it was like. "Very good, very good, yea! Very good, very good, yea!" It was crazy.  And in a crazy way, it was fun. We were laughing hysterically because we had never felt so ridiculous in our entire lives. But this trip we were all about doing and trying things that we had never done. Laughter Yoga certainly fell into that category.

In case you're wondering, there is actual video footage of us doing laughing yoga, but my friends might never speak to me again if I posted it here. Instead here's a picture post workout:

:: erin, foshee, kristi, amy, and me ::

Will we do it again? No, probably not. Definitely not. Yeah, probably never. It's one of those "did it, done it, don't need to do it again" type of things. Would I have done it with any other group of people than these dear friends? No way. I was in Laguna with my best friends on a beautiful day, followed by coffee and breakfast on the beach.

Now that I would do again and again.

(More posts from this trip to come. There was just too much crazy not to share.)