Thursday, October 31, 2013

Renting A House in Nashville & Surrounding Areas: Advice from a Nashville Native for Renters in Search of A Home

Find Rental Home in Nashville, TN. 

That phrase should be a simple Google search that helps house hunters like me.
 It's not, though. 
As a fairly tech-savvy Nashville native, I still began our search for a rental home with Google. 

Those search word keystrokes led me on an adventure- or emotional roller coaster. 
You decide...

I'm a Nashville native who has been on a mission to find a rental home since August, 2013. 

I've learned quite a lot since then. 

My story is similar to that of other couples in their mid-twenties, who are trying to avoid the dreaded confinements that returning to an apartment entails. 

#Rentals in #Nashville - a simple phrase with a complicated and unknown undertakings for renters. 

I'll start with my renter story. 

If you're here for the straight-forward facts about renting a house in Nashville...scroll on, rudie-Mc-rude-ness... advice is at the bottom of this post. Hope it helps you. 

The rest of you readers who've stayed along for the roller coaster beginnings...

It's going to be a wild ride.
Hang in there. 

The ups and downs of renting a home will all be worth it in the end... 

They were for me. (spoileralert!)

And so, our story begins....

We had to move. most people assume when one starts frantically searching for a new place...


We checked Craigslist. 

In summary, there are scammers. 
Do not give them your personal information. 
They are not on a mission in Nigeria. 
They will not mail you the keys to their home. 
Because it's not their home. 
And you are wasting your time. 
Don't send them money. 
Some of them begin convos in a legitimate fashion that makes you want to believe them. 
That's because you really just want to believe you've found an affordable housing option that those bastards are lying about. 
It's okay. 
Don't blame yourself too much. 
Unless you got all the way to the post office to mail a money order to Nigeria. 
Then, I still pity you. 
Point is- so many scams are on Craigslist. 
It can be hard when you're searching forever online to find the perfect place to move. 
You're tired. 
They know that. 
They prey on the tired and hopeful little wanna-be renters like you. 
Be careful. 
No phone number that's local? 
Move on to the next listing, my friend. 
Your real house is waiting...

A Google search next led us to a website that listed a local agent's phone number. 
We called the number we saw on that site. 
I got excited to hear a Southern accent answer my call!
She's local. 
We met this particular agent at a beautiful two-story home that was priced affordably on the site that prompted our call to the agent. 
She showed up wearing sweatpants. 
She left her kid in the car to show us the house. 
We chatted about how cheap the house was. 
So, assumptions make asses of all of us. 
She thought because we thought the house was cheap- 
We knew the price. 
We thought that because her number was listed on a site that did have a cheap rate, we must all be on the same page. 
This part seems stupid, but...
Doesn't matter where you saw the ad. 
Any trace of evidence for the rate you found that had partners affiliated with the agent and/or property management company...will be damn near impossible to find. 
You may get all the way to signing a lease. 
You may stand in line at Regions to learn that they don't do money orders anymore. 
Then, you might go to Walmart and get the money orders for your rental downpayment and security deposit...
because the agent said it would be a good idea. 
Then, you might get a call at night. 
It may be Agent Sweatpants. 
She may tell you that you were selected by the owner among other applications to be the new renters of her fabulous home!
You'll feel like you've won THE PRICE IS RIGHT...
Until after you hang up, you decide to confirm the rent rate because you see that online- it appears to have increased since your last search...

Then, you might get a text message that states untrue information. 

You might be lied to verbally since any written text of what really happened will not be foolishly provided. 

You may have to back out of the whole thing, altogether. 

I hear that stuff happens, you know. 

:/ #totallyhypothetical #sarcasticbuttrue #youdecide

You'll get mad. 

You'll get back on Craigslist, after mourning the loss of your perfect almost-was rental home. 

At that point, you'll feel like giving up. 
You'll hear offers and deals about apartments. 
You'll cave in and schedule a viewing of those boxes in which you can't be caged. 

And then...

something will happen.

Something you had nearly lost all hope of coming true but you desperately searched...
SCOURED the internet...until

You found the REAL house. 
You talked to nice people. 
They didn't mislead, scam, or lie to you. 

They helped you. 

You didn't trust them at first. 

But, they helped you. 

Hang in there. 

It's out there. 

You may make some mild trade-offs in the process- You'll have to do that or go to an apartment, friend. FACE IT NOW. 

Still, driving a few more minutes isn't too bad. Especially when you've got a big backyard where your dogs can play. You have a quaint little home you can afford. You are safe in that neighborhood. 
You are happy the other house didn't work out. 
You wonder where Agent Sweatpants is, for a brief moment that passes when you decide you could give a shit less about her. 

You have a new house. 
Because you didn't give up.

You'll want to give up. Your work space will look like you've morphed into an investigative detective. Mine did. Stay calm, friends. Call MMC in Murfreesboro. Google MMC Properties in Murfreesboro, TN. Our house isn't really in Murfreesboro, but it's off Nashville Pike- just past the Smryna line. 

No, it's not in Nashville. 
We pay a lot less. 
We have a bigger yard. 
Pets are allowed.
And...we're safe there. 

We move 10 days from now. 

- Trulia and Zillow don't show the right prices for homes, nearly every single time- the contact is also out-of-state. 
- Local property management agents like selling houses, rather than dealing with renters. 
- Find rental agents at local rental property management companies by looking for this specialization of services. 
- Take screen shots for any price you see that you believe is accurate or false and completely misleading. It'll be your only proof if the poster deletes after raising the cost. 
- Call numbers that begin with your area code. 
- Visit the office of the local agent. 
- Go to the property. (pictures lie often)
- Check the crime rates in the home's surrounding neighborhood. Or, drive around in bad parts of town to find a beautiful, low-cost home in a horribly dangerous neighborhood. 
- If you live in Tennessee- go to MMC Properties in Murfreesboro. They were nice to me. Kind of a Pretty-Woman shopping scenerio, really- especially after dealing with unprofessional agencies who shall remain unnamed but know exactly from the details of this story who they are. I do have some boundaries to ranting, after all. 

Hope this post is helpful or at least encouraging to the other house-hunters in Nashville. 

There's still hope. There are honest people. There is a perfect house for you. Finding it isn't easy, but it's worth it in the end. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Enter Mayor Karl Dean's “Nashville’s Sky Through My Eye” photo competition - Nashville Lifestyles

Enter Mayor Karl Dean's “Nashville’s Sky Through My Eye” photo competition - Nashville Lifestyles

Just saw this contest online today! The deadline is coming soon so submit your best Nashville skyline shots soon! :)

I'd love to see mine win but it's all for fun so thought I'd share! :)

About the house and Coming Up Soon!


Didn't work out.


After a long week of searching for and finding what we thought would be the perfect rental home,
we are exhausted.

Long story to explain all the reasons why that house didn't work out.

I don't want to blog about it.

I'd rather think happier, Halloween-ish thoughts right now.

Anyway, now you're caught up.

Stay tuned for today's pumpkin carving! We Hodge's are quite the little creative carvers.

Did you see the Obama pumpkin we carved last year?

You should probably look at it, even if you disagree with our (proudly) liberal views.

Anyway, today is all about the pumpkin.

Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Strange Facts about Smiling & Feel Good Songs To Cheer Me Up

Ever have a bad day? 

Stupid question.

You know what will help? 


It's proven by research to be one of the best mood-boosters.


Watch your eyes in the mirror and sing a note or two. 

I don't lie here.



Well, you're wrong and you're probably not supposed to be here anyway because it's not. 

There's a reason your eyes do that weird stuff. 

Smiling and music make your eyes do something strange and your pupils get bigger the longer you sing or smile...

You're welcome. I knew you'd try it out. It's freaky the first time and then you can enjoy telling other people like these things are well known facts about which they are ignorant. :) 


Point is that music-
even the simple tunes you make yourself or subliminally hear in the background-

They cast a spell on you.

Strange, but completely true.

Today, I've felt completely stressed out and apprehensive about whether or not my husband and I will be chosen as the best renters for a home in Nashville that is a DREAM FIND.

Yeah right, like I'm gonna tell you where it is...psssshhhhhhhh.

This home is the best home of home-y home-homes in home-home-land.


Thinking about this house-
which is what I've been doing all day long-
has been driving be crazy.

My work space at home looks like I'm a private investigator or police detective.

All I need is some yarn to connect the post-it notes I've unknowingly pinned to the wall while I've been in a haze of must-have-this-home-ness...

Anyway, Josh got home from work.

He observed my behavior and described it as being more peculiar than the usual Gina-ness he sees on a day-to-day basis.

I must admit that, if I'd been in his position, I'd think I was a weirdo, too.

We both agreed that we'd done all we could to submit a worthy application to the owner of our dream home in question.

Still, I felt no comfort.

That's why I put on some music. 

nothing has helped ease my anticipation and probably-too-high-hopes for getting the call that would tell me I can move into the envy-worthy home...


On days when you're crazy, 
On days when what's going to happen is beyond your control...
On days when you think you might die from the heart's jump you feel when the phone rings...

For the love of all things fun and sun-shiney, put on some music before you scare people.

After all, sometimes there's nothing you can do but go with it. Worrying isn't going to help.

Music WILL. 

What's better to do that with than music, friends?

(The house I want, probably, but nevermind...this is about music and not a house... must...have...sleep...soon.)

Listen here for a feel good song 

to cheer me 

and you 


Just remember the most important things as you listen to this
feel good song to cheer you up....

Life is like a hurricane
(Song idea inspired by sound cloud comedy track: 

Waiting for Renter Application Approval is HELL.

Waiting to hear about your rental application is awful. It makes you crazy just wondering whether or not the owner will pick you to live in the house you want so much to be yours.

Josh and I went to a home showing last night.

We want to rent this house so badly that we hardly got any sleep last night after we got home from the viewing.

Property management agents are involved and the owner of the home will ultimately make a decision about who gets to live in her awesome house.

Meanwhile, I pace around the house and jump every time the phone rings.

It's stressful.

I had no idea so much was required for renting a home until we applied yesterday.

This whole process reminds me of what I ask of parent applicants to send me in order to approve them to foster or adopt kids in the child welfare system.

Applying to rent a home isn't as involved as becoming an approved resource parent, but I'm learning that many of the requirements are the same.

Income must be verified. Background checks must be conducted. Credit scores are checked. Questions are asked. Personal information is given. Dreams are placed on hold until someone else makes a decision that will change your life.

Yep- all that has really put me on the other side of things this time. Now I understand the way the families I work with feel during the waiting process for foster parent approval.


I just want to rent a house.

I wish they'd just call me back.

I keep having to control the urge to call again or text to ask for another update. That has got to get on their nerves. I know because I've been in a similar position as these property management agents. Just in child-placement, though- the paperwork and endless phone calls are still the same for both careers.

This time, I'm the one waiting.

I hate it.

I am afraid.

I feel worried.

Anxious, scared, nervous, excited, hopeful, and sick to my stomach...all together in a mix of please-call-me-back-ness that's nearly unbearable.

I hope that we are approved to rent the house we know is the perfect place for us.

I hope that they see beyond the paperwork and flaws that may be on our renter application.

I hope the owner decides today when the property managers talk to her about our file. So far, there's another applicant for the same home we are applying to rent. That person's file will also be reviewed by the owner.

I hope that file is awful. I hope that everything I've kept myself up all night worrying about will pay off and that I somehow find this good news out by the end of the day.

I hope...

It's hard when you know you've done all you can to make your goal or dream happen and you must surrender all of your effort to another person with the hope that they will make it all worth it for you.

Unfortunately, I know all too well what the other side of this application process looks like.
I'm not the only person or applicant that these agents have to process.
I realize that. All too well do I know that I am one of many to-do's on their daily task list.
I know what it's like to judge a person by their paperwork. I know how to determine someone's approval by glancing through the pile of verifications that takes them months to accumulate for me.
I know that the very same judgment may be happening right now, as agent and owner eyes view our application file and size us up. I just hope they see that we're the right choice. I'm sure the other applicant does, too. I wonder if they are pacing around or typing nonsense blogs right now just to pass some time, too. I wonder if they're taking the call that lets them know they were picked to be the next home renters. God, I hope not. I just really need some closure or some sort of mild tranquilizer, I think. Too much coffee.

So much coffee since 7:30 AM when the agent said she could use more documents to strengthen aspects of our renter application. Gathering papers, making calls, requesting references, making copies, running from here-to-there, typing, emailing, calling again, text back, no update, submit..., etc...

All that has gone on as more coffee is consumed by my tired little just-gimme-the-house self, right about now.

If I call them back, they'll surely think I'm crazy.

Still, I'll never wonder again why the parents who are in-progress call me repeatedly after I've reviewed their foster parent files. I'll understand more about how they feel and I'll do my best put an end to their misery that is waiting.

12:30 PM... silence. no calls yet. need a call. need to know. need closure.

need to take a nap and hope that this waiting thing ends soon, either way. The not-knowing is the worst part.

More to come as soon as I know.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Selfie How-To Guide :)

LifeLookLens: The Selfie Shots You Should and Shouldn't Post - S...: FACT...   We all take selfies.   Selfie : n., sing .def: 1. a photo that one takes of one's self.  2. a digital image ...

The Selfie Shots You Should and Shouldn't Post - Selfies How-To and How-Not-to-do Guide


 We all take selfies. 

Selfie: n.,sing.def: 1. a photo that one takes of one's self. 
2. a digital image (usually jpeg. format) that one uploads 
to feature what one perceives as one's 
best features, aura, personality,
passion, or ideal portrait. 
3. Term used to define the Facebook trend of 
2013, involving the photographic 
imaging of one's self. 

Now that we're all on the same self-centered page, let's chat about the selfies we're seeing online lately.


What's the worst thing you can think of at the end of your long, exhausting day? 

(most often posted by the people you don't like but don't have the nerve to de-friend on Facebook.)
I'm talking about the selfie-shots that force you to engage in an internal decision battle between posting a critical and insulting reply or taking the more noble route that permits you to accept the poster's ignorance/arrogance with tolerance and dignity (that will not permit you from needless online confrontation)

After experimenting with my own selfie photo-shoots, I've come up with a few points that I feel selfieducated to share. (new word, new hashtag, new selfie-trend began here with me. remember that.) 

Here are the selfies 

 Ok, this sort is obvious and just unacceptable. 
At least get your whole face in there. 
And who's that person in there with you? 
What are the pots doing in the background? 
Where are you? 
What the...? 

So many questions for selfies like this. 
Don't. just...

Don't post selfies that were taken just for
the purpose of an inside joke- unless it's between 
you and at least 10 other people who can 'like' your selfie 
to redeem this sort of picture. Here's my husband, for example. 
To me, this is hilarious. It's funny because he posed for me to 
take weird pictures that I will later give to my sister. That's also funny because I took this picture when we first visited her at the
new house she just bought. It's funny because Josh posed like a 
creeper all over my sister's house without her catching him.
It's not funny to you. 
This picture is weird. 
It's a bad selfie. 
Anything you have to explain or write a paragraph about its humor
or justification meets all criteria for bad-selfie-ness. 

Alright. He's hot. I know because I married him. 
Still, this sort of selfie is NOT OKAY TO POST. 
I POST IT because it's not okay to post it and you
must understand that this is a what-not-to-do
Shirtless men (and women, for that matter) 
are not meant to be seen on profile pictures or public forums. 
Not only that, but this example isn't even big enough to get the full effect of hot-ness. It's also turned the wrong way.
If you're going to take the time to pose shirtless,
save the pics for your wife. 
Then, she'll post your bad/good/what-not-to-do selfie
on her blog.
5 years later.
is this sort of selfie okay. 
Put some clothes on, people. 
Unless you're this guy. 
His selfies are perfect even when I use them without his permission. 

We've got the basics.
What makes a great selfie? 
The first shot posted in this blog feature. 

Yep. that's me. 
I'm bragging on my own selfie. 
It's okay because I'm wearing clothes, fully face-featured, and less creepy than most selfies. 

Show yourself doing what you love. 

It's that simple. 

Do it and be real about it. 
Catch yourself in a moment that you wouldn't show to most people. 
Snap a picture when you're at your you-i-est

That, my friends, is how you make a great selfie. The rest is all up to the opinions of people you should've deleted from your friend list a long time ago, anyway. 




Monday, October 21, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Date A Photographer

Found a funny (and true) site post called, "Why You Shouldn't Date a Photographer"....

Check it out at: Dating Don'ts about Photographers

If you love taking pictures as much as I do, you'll completely relate to the reasons why this site advises against dating a photographer!

Loved this read and hope you do, too! :)

My Husband Drives Me Crazy (and other things I can't help but notice)

I've been married for nearly four years.

That said, the vast majority of those married-days-turned-into-years have been enjoyable.

Keep in mind that I'm not one of those wives who secretly rants and raves about her love life online.
Nay, I tell you.

I'm the wife who feels the need to type out everything she's already said to her husband who, tragically, must have suffered from sudden hearing loss that may or may not be remedied.

Now, I love my husband.
If I didn't love him, he'd be dead.
Not that I would've killed him...just, well... if I didn't love him, I'd maybe do or not do something that may or may not appear to the public as a most unfortunate accident.

All jokes aside, I have to tell you something.

My husband drives me CRAZY.

He literally makes me feel like I am mentally going off-my-rocker, sometimes.

Today- as a matter of fact, right NOW... Josh is doing one obnoxious thing after another and if he belches just one more time while playing his Xbox with that weird/stupid smile on his face, I'm going to SCREAM.

I undercooked the chicken/bacon wraps I made tonight and-

He just belched again.
 No 'excuse me' followed, needless to say.

Where was I?

It's hard to think or type when gun shots and explosions errupt from your television and clicky-tappy-clicky noises are initiated by your husband's fingers clicking his game controller.

The worst, and perhaps most frustrating part of the current environment in which I sit at this laptop, is the fact that Josh doesn't seem to have any self-awareness or awareness in general of the reasons for my frustration.

Over the years, I have gained the understanding that my husband is not the only clueless man who thinks his wife gets upset about silly things.


I hate to alarm you all, but the former statement is quite true.

Men are such simple creatures in comparison to the female population.

I envy and admire them secretively for this strength/weakness of character.

Let me explain my philosophy...

First, a definition of our subject's term:

Men: n., def: a term used by me to overgeneralize the odd/peculiar/unexplainable behaviors of my husband to the entire male species of human beings.

At first, I thought men varied quite a lot from one man to the next man. I still do, actually. It's just that I've come to notice some constant behaviors that do transfer from my husband's thoughts and behavior to the way most men think and behave.

Some guys are just worse than others. Mine is the least type of 'worse' among all men.

So, why in the world would dear and sweet, lovable Josh be driving mean old critical harsh wifey Regina so crazy, you ask?



It's really that simple, ladies.
Men don't think or process information the way that women do. It's evolutionarily, biologically, and cognitively impossible for a man to understand why his game's volume must be turned down when your mother calls you.

Also, men are born without an Fin-D gene. Yes, it's tragic and true, ladies.
Men lack the Fin-D gene, which makes them incapable of finding anything.

Every morning, at our house, within the past few weeks...
Join me for a typical morning at the Hodge home:

"Josh, it's time to get up!"
"Really, Josh. It's 7:00 and your alarm already went off once. You need to get up and you told me to wake you up a while ago."
"Can you get me up at 7:30?"

I make coffee, walk our dogs, shower, and get ready, before an alarm I set to go wake up my snooze-button-hitter-husband goes off.

The worst part of our morning is when Josh tries to get ready, himself.

"Gina? Have you seen my belt? You know, the black one I wore yesterday?"
 "Can't say that I have."
"Well, I can't find it."
"I think I put it back in your box."
"Thanks, Gina."

My husband has a box.
It's in our hall closet.
It's labeled, 'Joshy's box'.
In that box, shoes and belts, socks, tshirts, hair sculpt gel, whatever... is placed inside by a fairy who magically transports things like this from the living room floor back to where they belong.

All of this post may come off as sarcastic, snarky, resentful, or completely dramatic.
I don't care.
I don't have to care because, as a woman, I get to express my feelings more than society allows men to do.

I drive Josh crazy, too.
In his man-shaped-little-head, he thinks his reasons for my driving him crazy are as justified as mine.
It's kind of cute, really.

Marriage is all about compromise.
People say that, but they don't often tell you how much like hell that's going to feel like every now and then during your course of matrimony.

Marriage is a journey.
That's the truth.
Josh and I have accomplished all we set out to accomplish, within the time frame we planned.
Having children is next on my list.
He knows that already, so I'm not keeping any secrets here or sharing any that I haven't shared with him.

That's what keeps us together.

No matter how much the little obnoxious moments make me feel like pulling my hair out-
No matter how many times he doesn't rinse his shavings from the bathroom sink,
No matter how many times he leaves the dishwasher open for me to trip over,
No matter how much he loves video games that I think are stupid-
I love him.

What really makes a marriage?
Finding someone who drives you crazy-
intellectually challenges you, inspires you, drives you, motivates you, encourages you, supports you,

Flaws and all.

And Josh does that.

So, the fact that he burped again on the couch that sits in a room filled with gunshots and game explosions doesn't really matter now.

What matters is that I live to let him drive me crazy.

So, maybe we can conclude that it is I who am insane. :)

I love you, Josh.
Thanks for taking me as I am.
:) xo

Costume Ideas- Scarlett O'Hara Costume & Renting Costumes for Halloween

Renting a costume is definitely the way to go
 for Halloween this year

Costumes and costume ideas are easy when there's a huge selection of rental costumes to choose from at Performance Studios, Inc

I've always purchased costumes from this store in Nashville, Tennessee. 
This year, I decided to try renting a costume for Halloween. 

I couldn't be happier about that decision! 

I'll definitely be renting costumes from now on
especially from my favorite costume store! 


So, there are lots of 'Southern Belle' costumes available. Whether you shop online or in-store, you'll see a zillion costumes that look about the same. You want something different, though, right? You don't want to settle on a costume that just halfway meets your expectations. You want people to know who or what you're dressed up as for your Halloween festivities, right. Of course you do. I did, too. That's why, even though there were plenty of costumes to convey that I sort-of looked like Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind, none of them quite did Vivien Leigh justice.


I found the rental costume section at 
Performance Studios, Inc., in Nashville.

I'm not usually one to promote businesses (other than the recruitment of foster parents) on my blog, but... I really have to recommend Performance Studios, Inc. for any costume considerations this year. I'd always loved this place, but after trying out a rental costume-
I am addicted.

I am probably not going to purchase many costumes in the future since I normally just wear them once or twice for Halloween parties.

That's why renting my Scarlett O'Hara costume made so much more sense! 

Check out the green dress in these pictures, friends. CLEARLY, I am Scarlett O'Hara. The quality of the costume I rented was spectacular. And... cost to rent everything you see in these pictures was $60.00. For an entire week. Hat, hoop skirt, EVERYTHING. And the staff at P.S. clean the costumes for you when you bring them back. Unless you are planning some sort of crazy destructive evening for Halloween, you're unlikely to ruin a rental costume. You'd have to try to ruin it, actually. That part scared me away from renting at first, but the costume was still clean at the end of my Halloween party-nesses to evidence that you'll be just fine.

More pics to come as our October/Halloween-ness continues...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Foster Parenting in Tennessee - Nashville's Best Agency!

Learn more by visiting today or by calling us at our Nashville Central Office at (615) 457-2334.

This video was filmed by Nossi College of Art students, who helped us launch our new website! Yep, that's me.

I'm the one in the video with the below average posture.
Hey- those involved in child-placement social work have some long days! Forgive the nervousness in the video and my slouching. That's actually what's appealing about working with Therapeutic Interventions, Inc., future foster parents!

You can be yourself.
We'll love you for it!

 Come see the T.I.I. difference for yourself!

Visit us for dinner on November 7th from 6:30-8:00PM at our Nashville Office.

Free informational session and dinner will be provided by your awesome friends at T.I.I. Just call us to reserve your spot by November 4th!

Ask for Regina.

That's me...

The girl in the video with the unforgiving Southern accent.

Yep... it's that simple and so am I.
We need foster parents, my friends.

I need some new homes to approve for kids and teens in Tennessee's child welfare system.

We should probably put all that together and meet each other, right?

You want to help kids?

 If you answered yes, then I want to help YOU.

Let's change the world, one child's life at a time.
(615) 457-2334 Regina Hodge, Therapeutic Interventions, Inc.


That's my work email.
If I get spammed and I get even one family to help some kids, it'll be worth it! :)

I'll Think About That Tomorrow! A Scarlett O'Hara Halloween with Quotes and Gone With The Wind Movie Pictures

For those of you who read my last post about my Halloween costume plans, this is an update.

The rest of you can just catch up by understanding that I was going to be Sandy from Grease.

-Bad Sandy, if we're getting specific about plans that have since been replaced.

Halloween is a holiday that I thoroughly enjoy. It may be my favorite holiday, actually. I loved it when I was little because I got candy. I love it as an adult because I still get to dress up and be whoever I want to be.

I didn't want to be Sandy. I like her and I must admit that, Sandy's good-girl-gone-bad part of Grease was my favorite. Still, I just didn't feel like I really wanted to BE her for Halloween.

To create unforgettable Halloweens, one must never compromise when it comes to costume character selection processes.

At least, that's my theory for a successful Oct. 31.

Anyway, my sister is still going to be good-Sandy. I have a pair of red heels now, along with black leather pants, black jacket and all the other makings for bad-Sandy-ness.

Then, I changed my mind.

Not intentionally was my rebellion against participating in a Sandy-duo costume teaming with my little sister, but my rejection of the entire idea did have a cause.

The Sandy wig looked absolutely ridiculous on me.

I tried all sorts of ways to make that stupid frizzy-haired wig look like Olivia's gorgeous locks in Grease, but my efforts were complete disasters that I'll spare you the enduring of hearing the wig-saga.

I was not meant to be Sandy.
Not for Halloween...
not ever.

Sandy always got on my nerves, anyway, up until she wore those red Candies' mules and sexy ensemble for the last part of Grease. Yeah, I know what shoes she wore in the movie. I also know that no website online nor any store within 300 miles carries those shoes in a size 6 nowadays.

After researching Sandy, Sandy-ness, and Sandy-costume-ness, I bought what things I could that were similar to this blonde foe I'd soon make... when I put on the wig, Sandy became a nightmare of costume-money-spending and horrible hair day-ness that I never want to think of again.

Most people would probably just shrug off the fact that the wig looked like I stuck my finger in an electric socket. After all, costumes don't have to be perfect, right?


So wrong, in fact, that I bet you don't even understand how much your compromise of costume quality contributes to your less-than-fun Halloween festivities, do you?

Pay attention, friend.

Costumes matter. 

Costumes must be perfect for Halloween and for you to truly understand the power of becoming the character you presume to imitate in your apparel.

Do that character justice, will you?

Don't settle.

 If your sister wants you to be bad-Sandy and you make all efforts to follow through, only to find that you simply can NOT be bad-Sandy, good for you-

Means you've got standards and your Halloween good-time-havingness will not be hindered by any costume obstacle that comes your way.

 You'll press on like a soldier. You'll realize who you should've been all along and your trek back to the costume store will be like that of knights' tales in history books and bedtime stories.

At least, that's exactly what it was like for me. If you're thinking it's no big deal to change your costume two days before a Halloween party, you have no loyalty to the gleeful spirit of Halloween that I strive to achieve every year in October.

I'll get to the point...

I'm Scarlett O'Hara. 

There, I said it.

I know, I know...

I went back on what I said in my last post about how I couldn't be Mrs. Scarlett because her costume was way beyond my budget. ..The last part of that is still true, but I figured out how to fulfill my costume dreams today at Performance Studios, in Nashville.

I could've gone with the $30.00 'Southern Belle' costume, I suppose. People would've probably figured out that I was dressed as Scarlett, right? Well, those people should raise their standards. Scarlett did NOT wear dresses that were typical of the time period. Her dresses were NOT those common for other 'Southern Belle' maidens... Therefore, $30.00 would not suffice to really BE Scarlett O'Hara.

I stopped for a moment as I stood there again in the costume store for the third time within the past two weeks. I paused to ponder about what my husband would say about my decision to look further than the $30.00 Scarlett (wanna-be) costume... Yes, that lasted for a moment but I concluded this internal conflict with the realization that my husband was not there to stop me.

 BWAHAHAHAHA! (evil, wifely-money-spending-laugh)

Worry about spending a little more for more quality was squelched, as my love for holidays justifies excessive expenses- in my little festive brain, anyway.

I call my husband the Grinch for not celebrating Halloween in the over-the-top manner in which I see fit. He says it's one of the charming things he loves about me- how much I get into the holidays, I mean.

 We'll see if he feels the same way when he gets home today and I must stay true to my honest-wife-li-ness about obscene expenses.

Text message sent to warn husband that I've rented a costume? Check. I'm covered, right?

I am realizing that this post contradicts everything I said in the last post about costume plans. At least I notice when I'm going against what I said I'd do, though, so give a Halloween-lovin'-girl some credit and candy corn. :)

So, I rented a magnificent costume from Performance Studios. I'm not big on making advertisements on this blog, but that place is freakin' incredible! Seriously... I got the Cat Woman costume there last year and today, I was introduced to the ridiculous selection they have of costumes to rent.

I knew I was getting that green dress, from the moment the nice guy at the store walked me over to the Scarlett O'Hara wardrobe of rental costumes. I need look no further. That dress was the one.

I tried it on and confirmed what I already knew, but denied because my sister made me go on a self-convincing and deceiving thought track of being bad-Sandy. For shame, little sister... for shaaaame.

I called Tracie as soon as I'd tried the horrible Sandy wig on, prior to the green-curtain-dress discovery that occurred later...

"What's up?"

"I have a crisis. It's bad."

"Oh, my GOD...Are you okay? What's going on, Regina?" (My sister worries too much, mind you.)

"No, I'm not okay!!" (and I'm overly dramatic, by the way.)

"Okay...slow down. Tell me what's wrong."

"Tracie, it's awful. I.... I, I... well, I just CAN'T be bad-Sandy. I tried so hard, Tracie. I swear it. I don't wanna let you down and I even got all the stuff for the costume. It's just-"

"Yeah? It's just what?"

"The wig. The wig looks terrible and so do the pants and I just can't pull it off like I thought I could. I mean, I can't even express to you how ugly I look in this blonde 'fro. I don't look like Sandy. I look like a prostitute. I can't look like a prostitute for Halloween, Tracie."

"No, you're right. You can't look like a ho-bag."

"So, you're not going to be mad at me for not being bad-Sandy?"

"Of course I'm not. What are you going to do, though. I mean, the party's in three days."

"That's WHY I'm freaking out! Can you go to the costume store with me. It's just weird me going by myself there all the time."

"Sorry, no can do."

"Well, (bad word that my mom will call me about if I insert what I really said to my sister get the idea.)

"Yeah, _____." (she said it too, mom.)

And so went the disclosure to my sister that she must be good-Sandy without a transformed partner at the Halloween party this weekend.

Meanwhile, back at the costume rental store...

Some clever and plan-ahead-kind-of-girl had already checked out the real Scarlett O'Hara dress and hat that looked near exact to the wardrobe selection she wore in the movie. Why the clerk told me that, I have no idea. Until that point, I'd been perfectly ecstatic about my green dress costume find. Still am, and he was nice. Makes up for telling me I'd arrived too late for a better dress that I can't have, I guess.

I have the dress. The green one. I have a hat that looks enough like Scarlett's to know that I am Scarlett when you see me this Halloween. I have this costume for one week. If I damage, misplace, lose, or destroy that costume, I will be paying $550.00 to Performance Studios.

I'd been nervous about the liability of a rental costume. This is the first time I've rented- not bought an outfit for Halloween. I said I wouldn't rent. I rented. I said I'd be Sandy. I'm not. I said I wanted to be Scarlett O'Hara all along. I AM. After all, "tomorrow is another day!"

And I have 7 days to be Mrs. O'Hara. I will enjoy every minute of this rental costume-ness and you should probably stay-tuned to see me follow through with this year's costume commitment. I swear, it's the final one for Halloween. See you at the party this weekend and for those of you who aren't invited or who aren't's what I have to say...don't feel sad because...

"After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Stay tuned for posts from this weekends' Halloween Costume Party. Mrs. O'Hara would never miss it! :) 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Costume Ideas for Themes & Parties

Last year, I was Cat Woman.
I say this every chance I get and I will keep saying it until I'm an old lady.
It was a proud Halloween in 2012 when I strolled into the costume party as Cat Woman.

This year, I've had more trouble thinking of costume ideas. 

My Aunt Tina and David, her husband, both share my passion for all things festive and holiday-related. They GO ALL OUT to host big parties that put your best Pinterest ideas to shame.

This year, the theme of our big Halloween party is 'DECADES'.

Last year, our theme was 'HEROES & VILLIANS'.

The Decades theme had been giving me some trouble, as far as planning for my Halloween costume.
Thanks to my sister, this problem was recently solved. We are going to look awesome.

I first thought I'd be Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With The Wind.

Not a bad costume choice, but since I wanted that specific green curtain dress she wore in the movie, my budget did not permit me to be Mrs. Scarlett. Even after ordering the Southern Belle wig on Ebay, I found that the outrageous cost for the costume would not be one that I could just sneak quietly by my husband on our bank statement.

I considered renting the costume, but only briefly. I realized that I enjoy romping around on Halloween and do not want to limit my fun for fear of my ruining a rental Scarlett O'Hara dress.

I thought about being Cat Woman again but couldn't come up with a good explanation for why this costume would be as appropriate for a Decades theme as it was for the Hero/Villain party. Tragic, I know.

My sister, Tracie (star character of my cartoon series, Tracie Toons) saved the day and the upcoming Halloween party for me.

Good Sandy, Bad Sandy. 
Genius little sister, that Tracie. Of course, those who know my sister and me can guess who Good Sandy and Bad Sandy will be this year. Grease is a classic. Tracie and I used to watch that movie all the time. We know all the songs. We know too many movie quotes and musicals are kind of our thing. Being a duo of Sandy is perfect for us.

Normally, I don't reveal my costume choice before Halloween.
I'm not sure who I think worries about what I'll be, but I like keeping the anticipation and wondering going for them. Not this year, though. This year, I'm telling our secret.
I'm telling because I want any other party-goers to know that we will out-Sandy you any day of the week.

We will especially out-Sandy you on Halloween.

See my posts from last year if you're still trying to decide what costume you'll wear this Halloween. Costume ideas in October 2012 blog posts should help you out!