You probably feel like I’m a bad girlfriend. On again and off again, very unreliable! Well, I apologize! Don’t give up on me now! I know, I know, I keep saying “I’M BAAAACK!!” and then I disappear from the blogosphere for another month and you move on to a younger, hotter blogger with bigger boobs. Well, jerks, life is crazy and, unfortunately, blogging keeps getting pushed to the side. To give you an idea of what has been keeping me from you, here’s a portion of my “Ugh….I have so much shit to do!” List:
- Finish masters (CHECK!)
- This included 86 (EIGHTY-FREAKING-SIX!!!) pages of writing over the past 3 months.
- Grade student essays
- Each of my seniors is writing 14 “chapters” about their life for a scrapbook project. 14 chapters, at ~2 pages each, times ~50 kids = a lifetime of grading.
- Also. Please try to imagine the quality of the majority of these essays. I’ve definitely shot myself in the foot over this one.
- So I’m running the half marathon on May 4th. 13.1 beautiful miles. (Yeah, it’s not so beautiful once you hit mile 8.) Training for this means running. A lot of running. I can run about 6 miles in an hour. So, as you can imagine, this takes a lot of time!
- Hot Yoga, to stretch my running muscles and calm my brain, twice a week.
- Other training exercises like biking and weightlifting.
- Bible Study
- One night a week, I meet up with folks from my church and remind myself the real reason why and how I’m able to do anything in my life.
- Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM)
- I can’t say no to Amee BellWanzo. Plus, the AFM is pretty damn cool and I’d be a fool not to be involved from the beginning.
- I am now the Mob’s website manager and social media mistress. This job not only requires time on the computer, but there are badass social events, fundraisers and planning meetings involved.
- Yeah, I still have to do that everyday.
- (at least until I meet and marry a prince.)
- Social life
- I’d go crazy if it weren’t for my friends! I need to spend time with them to keep myself grounded. Plus, they’re each remarkable in their own ways, and I don’t want to miss out on their badassery.
- Also, I’m a catch! So every once in awhile, I go out with a gentleman caller!
So there. Now you have an idea of the things (some awesome and some required) keeping me from you. It’s certainly not because I don’t want to write anymore! In fact, once such gentleman caller described art as “something you have to do and it pains you not to do it.” In which case, this blog has become my art. It truly has tormented me not being able to create more hours in the day or function on less sleep in order to write. It really feels cathartic to be back here writing.
Anyways! Back to the topic at hand!
Am I the only one, or do you have a best friend (or 6) that has become more like a sibling than a friend? Growing up as an only child, many of my closest friends became more like siblings to me. We saw each other everyday, spent hours of time together, loved the hell out of each other, and engaged in the nastiest of fights. As I have grown up, the fighting part has subsided, thank goodness!
One such of these friends is Amee BellWanzo. I met her about 5 years ago through a mutual friend. I didn’t know much about her, but because we had mutual friends, we both kept showing up at the same places at the same time. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but one thing led to another and I was addicted to her.
Amee’s love of life is contagious. It didn’t take me long to discover why I wanted her in my life and after you read this, you’re gonna be Facebook stalking and requesting her friendship in no time.
First of all, and most badass, Amee is a breast cancer survivor. (We actually just had a party celebrating her 5-year anniversary of being cancer free! She is now out of “The Danger Zone” for remission, so of course the party was Top Gun themed!) My mom passed away from cancer 2 years ago, so Amee’s survival is all the more important to me. I already lost one of the most important people in my life to the cancer bitch, I won’t let it happen again. Not on my watch!
Because Amee knows firsthand what it’s like to live with and survive cancer, she has created an organization focused on supporting people going through cancer: Columbus Rocks the Cure. For the past 4 summers, Amee has organized a large handful of local CBus bands who all come together for one night to raise money to support cancer fighters. The bands play for free and local companies donate their wares and gift cards as raffle items. All of the money raised (yeah. 100-freaking-percent) goes towards buying wigs (girl can’t have no cheap weave!) and gas cards (some patients drive upwards of 100 miles each week to get to a hospital for their treatments) for current cancer patients. This is an amazing and fun event my friends and I look forward to every year.
Last year, Amee added a fashion twist to Columbus Rocks the Cure and we now have Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show! This is a night of music and fashion mixed together! Four bands shred it while models strut their stuff rocking designs created by local artists inspired by the music. And once again, 100% of the profits “support local cancer warriors, right here, right now in the Columbus area.”
This year’s show is Saturday, May 11th, 8pm at Ace of Cups! Click here to buy tickets!
So I mentioned that Amee organizes Columbus Rocks the Cure and Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show, where a bunch of awesome bands play. Well, one of said bands is Black Eyed Betty; lead singer, Amee BellWanzo! RIGHT?!? She’s a legit rockstar! Black Eyed Betty (BEB or Betty) is a punk metal/hard rock band fronted by Amee, flanked by twins Kevin and Keith (bass & guitar), and backed by T-Bart on drums. Betty can be found just about every weekend playing somewhere in CBus, from a local bar, to Columbus Rocks the Cure to ComFest to for the first time ever this year, Red, White & Boom (Columbus’ 4th of July Extravaganza)! Their music is catchy, well-written and super fun to dance and jump around to. I was privileged enough to travel with them on a 4-stop mini tour this past summer and act as roadie/groupie/merch girl. I was definitely living the rock ‘n roll lifestyle vicariously through Betty!
As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Amee has recently ganged up with a horde of Columbus fashion advocates (designers, stylists, fanatics, etc.) to create the Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM).
The AFM “believes that fashion is for everyone. It should be accessible to all people, regardless of age, shape, sex or economic status. Our celebration of Columbus fashion invites all members of our community – especially the fashion-forward, creatively focused, and community-minded – to participate and embrace as we showcase, nurture, and enjoy our local design talent. You’ll see us around Columbus at events, fundraisers, pop-up boutiques, and at the mother of all fashion fests, Alternative Fashion Week. A portion of all money raised will be donated to worthwhile charities, while the remainder will be used to fund the Columbus Fashion Incubator. The goal of the Incubator is to (eventually) provide retail and studio space, marketing and business resources, opportunities, and connections for up-and-coming local designers.”
The AFM has already hosted a handful of events around the city to help raise funds for our Alternative Fashion Week in June. Wait…I just said “our.” Yup. I have joined the horde and become an AFMobster. My duties include maintaining our social networks and updating the AFM website. I am so proud to be working alongside people who are overflowing with passion for what they do. Just like Amee’s joy for life, their passion is contagious. After my first AFM meeting, I was ready to quit my job and become a fulltime mobster. I have always liked fashion and tried to exude my own style, but that was about as involved as I got with the art form. I am now proud to be associated with a passionate group of people looking to shake things up a bit around this city.
Beyond being involved in a million organizations, Amee is, simply put, one of my best friends. She has been my accomplice on summers full of misadventures (an excerpt from this past summer: “We walked half a mile in the wrong direction towards the Jazz & Ribs Fest. We waited in line for 30 minutes for ribs and then bailed. We ordered a family size bucket of fried veggies and ate 10% of it. A homeless woman asked us for money, and when we said we had no cash but offered her our veggies, she turned her nose up at them, and I said, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers!’ We went to the wrong house for Olde Towne East Roving and yet were welcomed into the party, as strangers, for a drink. At the gay bar, we were mistaken for either sisters or lovers.”). She has patiently listened to me prattle on about a special guy one day and bemoan the end of the relationship the next. Sure, she will tell me when I’m being especially bitchy, but she’s also the first person to applaud my accomplishments. I know that whether we are sitting on the couch judging Project Runway, dancing at the local gay bar, or boozin’ it up with cowboys, my life is better with her in it. My relationship with Amee has most certainly developed from acquaintance, to follower, to sidekick and has found solid ground at sister. I mean, her husband Chris once said that I am the younger, taller version of Amee…and she taught me how to sneak a flask into just about anywhere. If that’s not the mark of an amazing big sister (I promised I wouldn’t call her “older.”), I’m truly not sure what is.