Patriotic Holidays Aren’t Celebrations for Everyone: PTSD and Fireworks

fireworksFight for Freedom

This Memorial Day, and upcoming Fourth of July, keep our veterans and active military members in mind.

While you’re celebrating and cheering as loud fireworks burst in the sky, somewhere close by, a combat veteran is pacing, agitated, panicked, trying to remember where he is. Heart racing with mind lost in a memory, he struggles to remain calm.

PTSD Is Common In Combat Vets

He is not alone. The research isn’t exact, but an estimated 7% to 20% of the 2.5 million plus veterans and troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are believed to have developed post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Soldier Watches FireworksPTSD causes sufferers to re-live or re-experience traumatic situations via flashbacks, panic attacks or fugue states and it’s characterized by strong emotional reactions, symptoms mirroring severe mental illness (including depression, suicidal ideation, social anxiety, etc) and personality/behavioral changes.

Triggers vary for each individual, but typically, environmental encounters that are sensorily similar to those  occurring in the traumatic event can set off a PTSD episode.The episodes are involuntary, and the sufferer can’t just “snap out of it” or decide not to have it. When the trigger occurs, the veteran or individual in question can be mentally thrown back to a time or place he or she would rather forget, like the death of a battle buddy, a firefight, mortar blasts, an IED explosion or other horrible and painful experiences.

Please keep in mind your neighbors and friends this holiday season. Personally, I have never stopped to imagine what they might go through every time I’m celebrating. Please share this information and give our Veterans a well deserved night of patriotic celebration.

Kassidy Gets Real: “This Girl Will Not Be Making A Health Page”

I just wanted to share some honest words from a friend about setting goals and being honest with yourself.


Yesterday, my friend Kassidy shared on Facebook:

Today I hit my goal in weight loss! Same outfit just 30 pounds less.  #yepyoureadthatright #thirtythirtythirty 

Obviously, It blew up with love and support from myself included. I proceeded to congratulate hashtagging #Goals which she responded with the single most honest comment ever.

All it takes is hard work, gurlfrand… discipline is the hardest part. Always thinking bout dat healthy body but also dat pizza…. I think about pizza everyday, not lying..

The today she posted this:

After my post yesterday, some people have told me I should turn my Instagram into a health/fitness related page… Y’all, I love you but I am not even going to pretend that I am all about either of those things. As you saw I went on a cruise, I ate pizza every single day, and not in small quantities-we’re talking 4-5 pieces a day. Also, I can count on my two hands how many times I’ve hit pause on Netflix in a month. I will gladly tell anyone who asks how I lost my weight, but this girl will not be making a health page. Maybe something more important, like a pizza page.

Honestly, this was so refreshing for me. I am that person that dives head first into every idea, obsesses over it, and is devastated when I realize it just wasn’t meant to be. Personally, I think Kass would be an incredible heath inspiration. But first of all, she was honest. I need to be more like that.

I don’t need to become a Youtube Star. I don’t need to open an Etsy shop. I don’t need to become a Yogi. I just need to be myself. I just need to take my ambitions day by day and celebrate the little victories.

She also said:

I don’t want people thinking because I lost weight that I’m all healthy now and believe only certain things should be eaten and what-not. Honey, I was raised in the south. You don’t eat healthy here. I also, don’t want people thinking because of how I look, that’s the way I believe everyone should look. That was my biggest fear going into this, posting how I looked in fear of indirectly or accidentally criticizing someone else.

Someone remind me to be this honest and grounded. And Real.  Kass, Thank you for reminding me not to take life too seriously. 


#CantInternToday May 15th


Welcome all, to today’s episode of #CantInternToday

Yesterday was Weekly Conference Call Friday, an hour of our week that I can pretend I’m not the most awkward intern ever. All my staff knows from these audio calls is that I am alive, listening, and noting everything – good for an intern learning the ropes.

Well the “host” for the usual audio call system had prior engagements this week, so I received a last minute email from my director saying “Let’s just Skype today guys.”

Okay, let me just  rub the “I stayed up too late” out of my eyes and work that messy bun. Open the blinds of the cave so the webcam is clear. Then wait for the group to Skype me (I’ve never Skyped anyone before). So then I answer the call. Up pops delightful default photos of my various staff members on my screen.

And there’s me. So as charmingly as I can I say “Guys, I’m confused, am I the only one on video right now?” Yes. Yes I am.

Naturally, they follow up with a reassuring “Yes, and you’re the best looking one on the call!”

Erm – I’m the only looking one on the call guys. What do I do, just cancel the video record part and keep the audio and look like a looser with no confidence? Obviously not an option. Keep it together. So there I am holding it down, only one on camera. All eyes on me.

Today I am thankful to intern for a company that doesn’t judge.

And The Winner Is… #SingleParentPizzaParty Giveaway

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On Behalf of Taken By The Lapels, Brenz Pizza, and our sweet assistant Ciara, we want to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day! We had a lovely attendance for our #SingleParentPizzaParty and we are pleased to announce that Amber R. Keeble is our winner!

Miss Amber, thank you for being an outstanding mother! We know you exemplify what it means to be a mom, a hard worker, and an inspiration! We can’t wait to give you your $25 Gift Card and celebrate with you! We will be in contact with you regarding how to get your prize into your hands!


Special thanks to Stacy Carty for nominating Miss Amber, Andy Roberts at Brenz for supporting my blog this week, and Ciara for being my “cute pregnant mom who would be perfect for a Mother’s Day drawing”

#SingleParentPizzaParty Giveaway – Knoxville


This Mother’s Day, we wanted to reach out to the Single Parents in our community who deserve special recognition. Single parents don’t just take on the role of “Mom”. They are moms, dads, superheros, janitors, handymen, good cop and bad cop. They are the breadwinners and nurses. They are doing it all.

So this Mother’s Day, I want to remind them how important they are. Honestly, I grew up on the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child.” It was painted on the walls of my elementary school. I love that my village has so many amazing parents – so I got together with my friends at Brenz Pizza Co. Knoxville help find a Single Parent in Knoxville who could use a slice of my all time favorite.

We want to give a $25 Gift Card to a single parent in Knoxville – we just have to find some! Please help us by nominating someone you know by:

1. Going to Facebook – either Brenz Pizza OR Taken By The Lapels 

2. Finding our post

3. Tag their name in the comments followed by #singleparentpizzaparty .

You can also follow @BrenzKnoxville on Instagram and tag/hashtag there!

We will be drawing one name at random on Mother’s Day!

I am no mother. I am no father. But I am a pizza lover. Help me share what I love, Brenz Pizza Co. Knoxville, with a family who could use a #SingleParentPizzaParty
Thank Everyone! Have an Amazing Mother’s Day!

This is Not a Debutante Blog


I have never been a “debutante”. Neither he adjective nor the noun… Although I would adore waltzing the night away, dressed to the nines and putting all the other cupcakes to shame – I’m no debutante. In fact, I couldn’t tell you one thing about being a true debutante – they might not even waltz anymore. I have a lot of experience with this – my hotel hosts multiple balls a year. But besides the uptight mothers living vicariously through their daughters, and the demand for the largest and most expensive suites – I couldn’t tell you much more. However, I assure you there is a strict criteria for being perfect enough to fit into such a society. Now let me close in on my point:

We are bloggers. We are social creatures. We desire the digital and actual company of our fellow content creators. So, is it any wonder that I would spend so much time looking for fellow Knoxville bloggers? After searching high and low to no end, I finally come across a website this morning. This is a website chock full of East Tennessee and regional bloggers for every category. I definitely came across some writers from my city that I look forward to contacting.

Such a lovely collection of such lovely people – I wanted to be one! So I clicked over to the Join page where I landed on the Membership Guidelines. From here on out, the basically destroyed the infrastructure of my confidence as a blogger in their first year.

Guidelines include:

Photographs taken by cell phones is completely unacceptable. Selfies – prohibited unless taken by a digital camera/professionally done. Obviously, No Instagram photos. Then,  they literally wrote that it is “imperative that the majority of your content easily falls into one of our categories.” They also expect consistent posting (roughly 3 times each week for several months) with an upstanding history of previous content. To be a member you must ensure that your About page has a high quality photograph of yourself, larger than 500 pixels wide. “Make Sure It’s Top Notch” Oh, and no second languages – English only.

As a Member:

You are required to display the group badge on your site. And joining any other blogger societies is strictly forbidden and your membership will be void. Failure to comply with the rules will lead to immediate membership revocation – without notice. Oh, and the membership fees are nonrefundable.

 I might as well be born out of wedlock. An illegitimate child. I’m certain my new blog contacts are sweet as can be, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them. But as far as the group its self, and the directors of said policy – I think I’ll pass. When it comes to extraordinary bloggers than have amazing content and passion for what they do – I can count 10 right now that don’t fit these “qualifications”. Bless their hearts.

The Time I Narrowly Escaped the Worst Intern Faux Pas Ever.

This morning, I rolled my happy self out of bed at 7 o’clock to prepare for a tour of my new internship director’s home. I was going to meet his family and get familiar with Mission Control, where the company magic happens.

I thought the meeting was Wednesday, May 6th, and I was right.  But I also thought today was Wednesday, May 6th, and I was wrong.

So I took on the 40 minute drive, having left an hour early to prepare for lost GPS signal panic attacks. I even drove around the neighborhood for an extra 20 minutes, so I don’t look like a crazy person knocking on the door at 8:40 am. When the time came and my anxiety  excitement called down, I pulled in. So, there I was, at the front door, knocking, ringing the doorbell, ringing the doorbell again on the porch of this massive lake house. With no answer.

– And thank God for that because, had he or his wife opened the door in their footy pajamas this early morning, I just don’t know what I would have done. –

At this point I’m still clueless. I assumed they forgot about me. Walking back to the car, I nervously call my mom. I said, “Mom. I know we both had confusing schedules. But I specifically remember, he said May 6th. I have it saved Mom. What happened? He’s a professional, he doesn’t miss appointments.” And she said, “Honey, It’s April 29th.”


This could have been the single worst experience to happen to an intern in the world. I can’t tell if I’m lucky as hell, or just unlucky and the gods felt bad for me. I really dodged a bullet there. Can you imagine? Knock, Knock. Here’s the new intern, showing up unannounced, at the front door of your private residence. Hello.

Anyways, new internship director and wife, you have a lovely home. Your lake view is nice. Your doorbell is nice. I’m sure your security system is nice – so if you’re wondering – that’s me in your surveillance video.

I’ll see you next week.  Same time, Same place.

Share-A-Thon Post Swap


At this time, I’m reading a book designed around the principal that Content is NO longer King. Having great content is just the starting line. The next step is cutting through the digital clutter so your content can actually be seen! That being said, I wanted to create an experiment! I wanted to work on my Shareability, and I was thinking, what better way to be shared than to Share others!

I hope this idea takes off and truly inspires someone! Please get in contact with me if you and another blogger will be swapping! I’d love to see you both grow and get to know more people! I’m also hoping for a request or two – Give me a chance to love and share your blog!

The Original “Rosie the Riveter”, Keefe, Dies at 92

Rosie rose
My heart hurts for the family of Mary Doyle Keefe, who passed on at the age of 92. Keefe was the original model for Norman Rockwell‘s iconic “Rosie The Riveter” painting. She was 19, living in Arlington, Vermont next door to Rockwell. At the time, she was a telephone operator. Rockwell called upon Ms. Keefe to model for the illustration that would later appear on the cover of “The Saturday Evening Post” on May 29, 1943.

Rosie the Riveter, portrayed by Ms. Keefe, became a symbol for millions of women who went to work, many for the first time, during World War II. These jobs that were once for men, such as in factories, assembly lines, welding, as taxicab drivers and business managers, were taken on by these incredible women.


By 1944, the movement increased the number of women to 20 million. And they weren’t limited to just whites either. Females of all backgrounds including African-American and Latina were among the 6 million Rosies around the country.

This one woman set into motion a revolution that has yet to slow down. It’s so easy today to take for granted our womanhood. Everyone likes to drop the F-word. But you don’t have to be a feminist to stop, look around, and smile with a grateful heart. I want to send my condolences to her family and friends.

Mary Keefe

 The original painting is part of the permanent collection at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.