the "florkens"

September 26, 2016

Adam's Corner: Hillary Helped Me


I was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1988. The same hospital where I was delivered was the same that delivered my mother. The same year in Little Rock, Bill Clinton was halfway through his third term as Governor of Arkansas. This also meant that Hillary Clinton was serving her third term as the First Lady of Arkansas.

By the time I was born, the First Lady had already devoted 14 years of her life to the betterment of Arkansas. In the time between her arrival to Arkansas and mine, she had bolstered the quality of Arkansas' infrastructure for supporting children and families. I won't go into every detail because quite frankly the list is exhaustive and other writers have done a better job telling her story. I will however speak about how her initiatives in education benefited myself and countless other Arkansas children.
via // Politico
When I began kindergarten in 1992, the Clintons were on the verge of leaving Arkansas as Bill would soon be elected POTUS. Several years before I started school, the Arkansas school system was a relative laughing stock. A majority of the school districts did not offer chemistry or art classes. Likewise many school districts had little to no testing requirements for teacher qualification. In 1983 the First Lady was appointed chair of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee

Mrs. Clinton spent months traveling the state, listening to parents and convincing the necessary people of the need for educational overhaul. Despite push back from various group with varying agendas, a reform was approved that reduced class sizes, expanded course offerings and required competency testing for educators. Governor Clinton signed the reform into law but the First Lady was the one made it all possible.

Thanks to our former First Lady, I was entitled to a quality education before I even began classes. Depending on the timing or the ranking criteria, Arkansas has at one time been fifth in the nation in regards to education (and at times as low as 45th). Regardless of the metric, I know I received an education that prepared me for college and subsequently graduate school (both of which, I attended in Arkansas). I know it was an arduous process that was often met with opposition but Hillary Clinton continually worked hard to improve my life before my life even began. In a very real way, Hillary Clinton helped lay the groundwork that led to me receiving my PhD.

I was far too young to comprehend what she had done for me before she left Arkansas. Because of that, I didn't have the chance to thank her in person for placing the needs of Arkansas children as her top priority. Though it will be long overdue, I won't miss my chance to thank her this November when I cast my vote.

August 15, 2016

Monday Morning Thoughts

It's Monday and my mind is unfocused. In a last ditch attempt to get some work done, I thought I would use the blog as a mind-dump. Here goes:
1) Why do people like printed legging so much? Seriously. I don't get it. Especially when the print is something holiday related like Christmas trees or pumpkins. Printed leggings are cute when you are under 10 but after that I think it seems a bit over the top. Along that line of thought -- what is up with dolman tops? I mean, I love them when your arms are down but when you raise your arms it looks like you are a chicken. A chicken! Who wants to look like a chicken? It is no secret that I struggle with fashion and clothing choices, but I just can't wrap my head around these two things.

2) I am beginning to understand why parents live vicariously through their children. I am watching the Olympics -- knowing that I'll be 30 in 2 months time so my shot at a medal is gone. BUT... #LittleLadyHolland could do it, right? Right? I can't decide whether she should be a gymnast or a soccer star. Maybe I'll let her choose when she is older. #nopressureparenting

3) I'm really, really kicking myself lately for not being financially savvy when Adam and I first got married. We both have always had good jobs making good money. But, instead of really budgeting our money and doing smart things with it -- like paying off debt -- we just spent it. I don't even really know what we spent it on. We don't live extravagant lives. We haven't had a vacation since our honeymoon. Neither of us have any labels hanging in our closets. And yet, I can promise you we have somehow wasted SO much money over the last three years. It really makes me sick if I start thinking about it too much. Now, we are using YNAB.com and I am feeling very confident that we are going to be able to "snowball" a lot of our debt and make great changes. But still, three years of earnings down the drain does NOT feel good man.

4) My daughter is now 10 months old! Eeek! How did that happen? She is walking. Talking. She has learned to say "No" so the attitude is strong already. Just like her mama...

5) How is voting for Trump still a thing? No seriously. How? I have never been one to be super dramatic about my chosen candidate's potential lost. I've always rolled my eyes when people would say, "If ___________ wins then I am just going to move to Canada!" In the past, no single candidate (Romney, McCain, Bush) have ever made me think moving to another country would be preferable to living under their presidency. But Trump makes me reconsider my stance on such blanket statements. The trouble is though, I don't even know WHERE we could move because I have legit fear that a Trump presidency would be SO disastrous that we wouldn't be safe anywhere in the world. I sometimes wonder if this is how World War III happens. The thought of giving that maniac control of the nuclear codes seriously keeps me up a night. 

6) I have lost all of my pregnancy weight and then some and I am so happy about it. I'm working out using the MommaStrong.com program and I've been eating a homemade salad each day for lunch and avoiding breakroom treats. It honestly hasn't been too hard. I feel like I will lose even more once I stop breastfeeding. That day might come sooner rather than later if Miss Holland doesn't learn how to quit chomping down on me with her six little teeth. Ouch! Any tips out there to stop the biting?

7) I have never once used SnapChat but I did check out Instagram Stories the other day and I don't completely hate it. But I see there isn't really a place to "like" or comment on something so I assume you just have to message people directly for feedback. I guess I can get behind that but it is weird having a form of social media with little to no feedback. Is that the way SnapChat works as well?

Ok -- my mind is feeling a bit of clarity.Now off to grab some more caffeine before I really tackle the shit out of this Monday. Cheers!

July 19, 2016

The Evolution of a Blog

On August 1st, 2013, with this (somewhat embarrassing) post, Adam and I launched this blog.  It is hard to believe that was almost three years ago. So much has changed in our lives since then. We've gotten married (#AVeryFlorkenWedding), we bought a house (#FlorkenFirstHome), and we have brought the most perfect little girl into the world (#LittleLadyHolland). We have also apparently overused personalized hashtags, but I digress.

The blog itself has changed quite a bit. There used to be a new post five days a week. FIVE DAYS A WEEK! I remember feeling guilty if I took a day off and just had four for the week. Since Holland's birth, I have posted a grand total of sixteen times. That's it. And you know what? There has been no guilt.

This blog used to be full of link-ups, sponsorships, sponsored posts, blogger features, and other paid or promotional content. I won't lie -- at one point I drank the Kool-Aid and thought that I too could become internet famous and rake in loads of extra cash every month just by showing up in this space and dazzling the world with my unique personality. That "reality" isn't a total lie. At the height of our blogging, we probably made an extra $200-$500 every month off blog income. It was nice. It also was not sustainable. The blog felt like a full-time gig, and I had a full-time gig being a lawyer. When I clocked out, I just wanted to enjoy time with my husband. The blog interfered with that desire.
In November of 2014, I started to back off the strict "blogging schedule" I had imposed upon myself. I did however, still accept "sponsors" and still found myself constantly checking to see how many comments our posts received. Learning not to watch my page views and check my stats was a slow process. It honestly wasn't until I got pregnant with Holland, and found myself constantly sick, that I truly decided to give up the pipe dream of running the blog like a business.

This blog is not a business.

But it is a part of our lives. 

That last statement is even more true now that Holland is here. I have a constant craving to document our lives. Each day she gets older and I become even more aware that time passes almost too quickly to properly capture. But I want to capture it... I want to remember what life was like for our little family of three.

I also want to do more than just document our lives. Watching Holland grow has impressed upon me a real sense of duty. A duty to help shape the world that she will grow up in. A duty to speak up when I see wrong. A duty to praise when I see right. That sense of duty is helping evolve this blog once again.

There was once a time where I steered clear of any political commentary or other controversial topic on this blog. I would think, "I cannot offend. I do not want to lose readers! I need their page views! I want them to like me!" That time has passed.

It's true -- I do still want my readers to like me, but what is even more important to me is that my readers know the real me. The real me does not hesitate to talk to friends about controversial issues. The real me is passionate about politics. The real me does not want to sit idly by and not contribute to meaningful conversation in our world.

There will still be posts here about parenting, home renovation and decorating, and other light-hearted topics. I'll document mundane trips to the farmer's market and share Holland's milestones. Heck, I might even still throw in a fashion post on occasion. However, there will also be posts here about politics and issues that I believe are shaping the world that my precious daughter will grow up to inherit. That means posts about climate change, gun control, and equality. It means posts about topics with no "easy answers" and posts that will likely offend some readers.

I know that many long-time readers may be very disheartened by this evolved blog focus. There was once a time where blogs were my escape from those "heavy" topics so I understand the sentiment. It is however, more important for me to be a voice for bettering the world my daughter will grow up in than to rake in page views or decrease my bounce rate.

If you decide to stick around, I'm thrilled to have you -- even if we do not always agree on those controversial topics. If you decide to unfollow, I will not take it personally. I do promise to be honest and as entertaining as I can in this space and more importantly, to ensure that this blog accurately reflects our little family of three and all the things we hold dear and believe.

Change is not always comfortable, but it is often necessary. So let's do this.