Friday, March 25, 2016

My first Trip to Gatlinburg Part 3: Fantasy Golf Fantasy

Are ya'll sick of my slow ass installments about Gatlinburg yet? [Tangent: I can sense the virtual eye rolls from all corners of the universe. I am now the blogger version of your Aunt who takes 45 minutes to walk you through her 35 mm prints of her recent trip to Tucson. You'll deal. ] I would like to think that as in all great trilogies, this is either gonna win me the Oscar (Lord of the Rings style) or go straight to video and have no original magic(Home Alone style).  You can decide after and let me know.

Jamie, Travis and I had to depart the crew early because we had dumb adult responsibilities to get back to, but before we left we knew either mini golf or go carts were on the horizon. [Tangent: I have not mini golfed in likely two decades, but recalled loving it. Jamie had also bragged that he was pretty I had to see my boyfriend's athleticism in action.] Rae had been really excited to go golfing at a kitcshy wonderland, aka Adventure Golf, and had been hyping it since we decided to go to Gatlinburg (You can read her gushings here.), but when we drove by it, there was nada but an empty lot. It was a bummer for them because they were quite attached, but luckily we found another fun and fanciful links, where we could pose with lots of giant weird statues and get stared at by families with rat tails. Fantasy Golf to the rescue!
 I loved the place and the guy at the counter was super helpful and gave us a group discount and didn't treat us like annoying tourists like some folks (ahem...airbrush bitties!). He even let us scope out which course we wanted while we waited for our group to convene. 

There was however one misstep or amazing aspect (based on purely outlook) of this place: THE MUSIC. [Tangent: If Fantasy Golf had a DJ, he would be a sad woman in her 40s going through a bad breakup and/or loss of a beloved cat.]  When you go to a family recreation center with giant statuary devoted to mermaids and trolls, you generally assume you will hear some T.Swift or Bieber or a healthy serving of 80's pop... and not "Tears in Heaven" blasting from the speakers. While we were there, we heard several Boys II Men slow jams, "In The Arms of An Angel" and if I recall correctly "I Can't Make You Love Me". Music to cry golf to, for sure!  [Tangent: This juxtaposition would only be more surreal if it was at maybe a sad strip club.] I assume we left before they started pumping out the Eliot Smith. Though weird for certain, I feel that it only made the day more fun, because we kept taking bets on songs that would be equally and inappropriately at home here. 

It really was a great day and we were so happy for a 70 degree day in February. Besides, I almost got a hole-in-one twice...once I figured out which direction to hold the putter and stopped using my foot to kick it. I'm so athletic!!  Here are some more pics of weird statues and hot group pics of us in our much fraught over airbrush glory! 
 FIN! (Finally!)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My First Trip to Gatlinburg Part 2: Knives and Airbrush

 After reading my last post, I know you are likely on the razor's edge anticipating what else I did in Gatlinburg. [Tangent: ..or maybe not. Likely it is the latter, but I try to harness the power of positive thinking. Oh and just a head up, like all classics (from Lord of the Rings to Sharknado) this will be a trilogy. I'm gonna suck this well dry.] Aside from hanging out at our incredible cabin, or course I wanted to soak in the "big city" fun that Gatliburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville had to offer. [Tangent: I could you not? I just kept telling everyone I wanted to go to Dixie Stampede to see the psychic pig as promised on the billboard. That or Lumberjack Feud. Luckily no one listened to me.] We spent day 2 of the trip checking out downtown, which was super fun and loaded with weird moments. 

Everyone had their own agenda and "must do" activity.  Because he is a collector, Travis just really wanted to go to Knife Works, which as boasted by all their signage is the largest in the country (or something). He even offered to buy anyone that went with him a $10 gift, so of course everyone ending up going. [Tangent: To say this was not my element was a huge understatement. Jamie even made up a game called "Spot the people voting for Bernie Sanders," but the assessment was it was only the group that we walked in with. Such good people watching on a Saturday afternoon. Plus I got some replacement parts for my teeny pink swiss army knife. I am such a weapon enthusiast, right?]  

It was actually kind of fun and I learned a great deal about bumper stickers with thinly veiled (or just outright) racism and that apparently there is a thing called "Turtle Man" who is I guess something to do with knives and reality TV. Maybe one of you can help me out with that. Thankfully the outer areas of the store had weird antiques and curiosities [Tangent: Like David Hasselhoff's high school yearbook...where he was likely voted "Most likely to dance atop the Berlin Wall in a piano scarf!]

For some reason they had trays and trays of pinback buttons for under $1 so we quickly all clustered around those (and I think Crystal's hubby, Marc, fell asleep on a bench.) It was like a pool of water is a desert beckoning us. [Tangent: Also quick thank you to Rae who I stole borrowed a chunk of these pictures from!]
 Then after a weird detour where we went down the steepest mountain ever pushing Jamie's new break pads to literally burn rubber, we were in the thick of downtown and had two objective's 1. Get Jamie a donut from Donut Friar and then 2. All of us gals wanted airbrushed shirts [Tangent: ...because when in Rome...]. Both seemed like simple enough tasks, but proved to be equal parts stressful and hilarious. 

Donut Friar didn't take plastic, and by the time we found the ATM, they had sold out of Jamie's favorite donut and then the old bittes at the airbrush store were awful. [Tangent: The next day we created a backstory where they had gone to the Smokies on a girls getaway in the 70s...met some men and decided to stay forever and invest in an airbrush store. Soon their hubby's ran off and left them alone running a business...which seems like fun in theory but in actuality is a touristy hellscape.] 

One would think that selling 4 shirts without any prodding in a highly competitive airbrush market would be a dream (there is one on nearly every corner), but these ladies were having none of it. All of our questions were met with heavy sighs and eye rolls. They were irritated that one of us wanted a child's size. They were pissed that I wanted mine to say something different. They really just didn't enjoy the fact that we were even breathing near their technicolor Tweety Bird samples on the wall. [Tangent: Clearly they are not graduates of the Chick-Fil-A school of "my pleasure" customer service!]
Me: I want the same design as the other gals, but I want mine to say "Baby's first trip to Gatlinburg" and then ...
Airbrush nazi: Umm... hold on, I'm writing! You want it to say what?! (in a tone inferring that my choice of words was dumb)
Me: Well maybe just "My First Trip to Gatlinburg" ..then 2016 since there's not much space
Airbursh nazi: [insert exaggerated sigh and overzealous erasing.] So what do you want it to say? Is that the final decision?
Seriously, I just lightened her load! This was the case with each of interactions with them (and you can tell my our body language below that it was aggravating). She acted like she couldn't be bothered. The shirts were also not clearly priced and everything was additional, which wasn't really communicated but we were so frightened of these women that we just did what they said and tried not to ask too many questions. [Tangent: If answering airbrush queries on Saturday night is not your ideal, maybe Old Smokey Moonshine is hiring, lady!]

When we found out they wouldn't be finished until the next morning, we dreaded having another course interaction...but at least we got overpriced airbrush out of the deal! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My first trip to Gatlinburg: Dream Cabin and Essential Cabin Activities

As a native Tennessean, when I used to tell people I had never been to Gatlinburg- it was usually met with slacked jaws and incredulous expression. [Tangent: They probably thought I fell into a crevace as a child and was monitored solely by woodland creatures, therefore not going on many vacations. I mean...I'm assuming. Either that or my parents always thought it was too expensive to take 4 children to anywhere with too many touristy-type destinations...that may not even be accessible...knowing we would shape-shift into intolerable brats once we got anywhere with video games. I guess the latter is more likely, right? Oh and while we are on topic- I've also never been to Disney World and didn't go to Florida until I was an adult, and I turned out just fine. I've been to tons of beaches and Disney Land though before you call Child Protective Services retroactively.] To be fair I have been to all the areas surrounding and have driven through the Smokies on at least an anuual basis since I was born, so I get the majestic beauty aspect, but never had I gotten to experience the other part: The chalet/hot tub in every cabin/airbrushed/bears emblazoned on everything/redneck riviera aspect...until a couple weeks ago!

I'm so glad my friends invited me to tag along [Tangent: We went with Rae, Crystal and Aubrey and their fellas. I am thankful that we all get along so well. Boys and girls alike. That doesn't always happen. The fact that we were all content to keep the cabin TV on CNN all weekend so we could discuss the primaries speaks volumes! Oh and since Rae is a blogger, she of course, took a million pictures that are way better than my iPhone snaps so check them out here and here. ] so I could cross "Go to Gatlinburg" off my list of things every Tennesseean has to do. Of course, I was instantly concerned that the facilities would not be Kimmie-friendly. I know cabins generally mean ridiculous steep stairs and if they are "accessible"- it generally takes away every ounce of charm.

Well, somehow Aubrey found the unicorn of a cabin on AirBNB in nearby Sevierville that was seriously the cutest/creepiest/kitchiest residence I had ever laid my peepers on. So many quirky antiques and likely mountain ghosts hidden in every corner.

[Tangent: Feel free to ogle it here! It was actually two 100-year-old cabins that were connected with a middle living area by people that helped build up Gatlinburg. There was history and old articles hung in the kitchen that revealed the original owners built the space needle downtown!] Sure, the main stone walkway had some unevenness and would be hard for a power chair and the hot tub was down some stairs, but it was fully ramped and I was in heaven. I mean look at that amazing house...

Since our cabin was so adorable, we spent a lot of time just enjoying it and hanging out. [Tangent: I mean that kitchen...why would you not want to just live in there?!?!] Everyone was in full vacation mode, so we had brought or bought ridiculous ways to spend our time while hanging out. Here are some of my recommendations for essential cabin activities:

1. Ridiculous and Comfy clothes
We had no idea that we were gonna have gorgeous weather during the day. High 60's in February was an awesome surprise, and I was ill-prepared with my bag full of sweaters and boots. However, it got REALLY cold at night...especially in my room that was the "old part" and not at all air tight so thank goodness we decided beforehand to wear animal onesies! I am semi-angry we didn't get a group shot of 5/8 of us looking like low-rent furries!

2. Board Games

Ever since I bought HeartThrob at a goodwill several years ago, it has become an institution at any and all gatherings where people aren't afraid to embrace their inner 12 year-old girl. [Tangent: You can read all about its merits here in this older blog.] Even though it is geared towards young 80's girls, we have found that guys win almost 100% of the time.  Rae loved it so much, she bought her own copy on eBay and brought it to Gatlinburg. If we hadn't remembered games, I likely would have dug into some of the homeowners because there were some gems from the 70s and 80s in my bedroom. [Tangent: I find that on vacation if we rent a house from someone I like to embrace that person's spirit. I have been known to read their books (usually weird harlequin romances) and play their games. I remember learning to play dominoes at a NC beach house as a kid, because that was all there was to do around the house!]

3. Drinks!

Of course if you like an adult beverage, vacation is a time you go full throttle and invent a "vacation bev!" [Tangent: When Jamie and I went to the beach with my family last year, he became quite fond of Mountain Dew Dew Shine and Whiskey. This is a drink he hasn't had since, but will always be his Holden Beach 2015 drink.] For the ladies, our Gatlinburg 2016 drink was St. Germain, Vodka, Grenadine, vodka soaked gummies, marachino cherries, sliced strawberries- served in a mason jar with a giant straw. Yes, it was loaded with flair and so delightfully refreshing!

4. Odd Beauty Treatments

Ever since I  first tried Korean sheet masks [Tangent: You can read about it here when I animorphed into a tiger!], I knew that my travel-mates would appreciate them. [Tangent: You can buy the assortment on amazon here although now I kinda wanna try these!] Plus it was really fun to look down into the hot tub and see a heated conversation about women's issues taking place while those involved with wearing dragon faces on their own. Oh, and in case you're wondering in the photo above- I'm an otter. Isn't it obvious? 

Oh, don't worry- I have more silly photos and stories to share from my weekend! Be on the lookout...because this is gonna be a multi-parter like any good vacation episode of a sitcom! Isn't a photo of me in otter face the ultimate cliff-hanger? I thought so!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I got Olivia Frankenstein'd

Not to be super vain and self-important (which this is absolutely going to sound like. Apologies abound.), but I love it when creative people create something personal to me. To be honest, I get tired of looking through my own stupid face through my own eyes, so I like it when I get another person's take! [Tangent: It's for this reason that I am still so stupid crazy in-love with My blog header/mascot made by sweet Michelle at Creature Type! Although on the other side of the coin, the idea of getting a charichature at a fair or festival always turned me off completely. WHAT IF I DIDN'T KNOW I HAD BUCK TEETH OR BIG EARS AND THEY POINTED IT OUT!!! I am not ready to pay for that kind of self-awareness]

So when I got a cryptic text asking hypothetically my favorite colors from my friend Crystal, half of the power couple behind the genius brand Olivia Frankenstein, - I was intrigued. I reasoned that she and her husband Marc were either:
  1. Filling out an 'About Me' Survey on a Myspace page from 2004
  2. Making me a Friendship bracelet or
  3. Drawing me some sort of personalized creepy monster mashup that would likely make me squeal and pee my pants simultaneously [Tangent: The bread and butter of their biz is cute occult with a Nashville twist. Many of their more popular original designs feature retro horror movie characters in classic middle Tennessee scenarios. Ex: I just ordered this shirt of King Kong scaling the Batman building. 
Last night, I was dazzled to learn that option 3 was the correct one [Thank God..because I shut down my myspace and don't wear wrist jewelry much.] and I had been reimagined as this gloriously ghouly wheelchair pin-up lady.  TADA!!!

How cool is that? It was too good. Big butt, bony shoulders,  ballet flats canoe's all there! If the idea of a gal in a chair clutching a skull seems familiar, it might be [Tangent: I mean other than your fever dreams!] because they were inspired by the weird photo I bought at the flea market a while back of a Barbie holding a skull Hamlet/death metal style. [Tangent: You can read about that nonsense here in this blog post, but here's a photo to jog your memory.]

I am obsessed with it and can't wait to hang it side by side with the bizarro Barbie picture...because I am a sensible woman in her 30s and that's how we do. It means even more because it came from Crystal and Marc, who are seriously two of the nicest people on the planet. So I encourage you to go buy all their stuff and make them stupid wealthy! 

In fact I know they are probably incredibly embarrassed how hard I am about to pimp out their business. So here goes: They are doing a $20 presale through the week of their brand new shirt designs!! GO GET THEM ALL! Go to

Oh yeah... Follow them On Instagram and Facebook too!! Support local awesomeness!

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Tweet from A.C. Slater

Yesterday something laced with insanity happened, I shared my most recent piece for Elite Daily entitled 5 WTF Moments All Wheelchair Users Have Experienced At Least Once on this blog's FB page and in less than 24 hours it had gone a bit viral and That Girl in the Wheelchair had over 100 new likes! The obvious conclusion is that several of you are now reading my little blog for the first time and it will likely be only a matter of time before I completely alienate you. [Tangent: It's not all gonna be wheelchair blog type stuff. I am actually the worst excuse for a disability blogger there ever was, which is actually fine by me and why I have never assumed that role 100%. I get bored if I just write about one thing all the time, so be on the ready to read lots about crappy daytime TV, weirdos on the Internet and Netflix documentaries.]  I might as well let you know the caliber of material you are dealing with. Here is a tale that happened last month...or what I like to call a Valentine's Week Miracle featuring a Saved By the Bell star.

A couple weeks ago, Jamie came over bearing gifts...and because our relationship has never been a flowers and jewelry kind of love- he gave me what any gal might deem romantic- an A.C Slater Funko pop figure [Tangent: To be fair, he gave me the Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski figures as part of my Christmas present and I ever since I have been thinking I needed to throw a Slater in the mix to cause some TNBC level sexual tension on my bookshelf.] Because I was in the middle of working on something for Hello Giggles and was under deadline-I propped him onto my laptop to know as any 33-year-old would do. And naturally I took a picture, because I liked the look of a teeny mulleted Mario Lopez keeping watch on my freelance. 

I decided to tweet it out and tag Mario Lopez and was shocked that within minutes he replied wishing me luck on my writing. [Tangent: Real quick- let me set the scene of what else was happening concurrently. While all this happened on the twitterverse, Jamie and I were watching The Bachelor, and it was the episode where they were on "Pig Island"...running around a beach feeding pigs hot dogs (because that's a normal date activity.) To say down was up and up was down would be a vast understatement. I just assumed this whole series of events to be a fever dream. ]

Yep. There it is. In all it's 15 character glory. 

True, I always been on #TeamPreppy, but this was still pretty damned thrilling...I mean Slater doesn't have to know where my allegiance lies. [Tangent: As a consolation prize, he should know that I will forever call sitting on a chair backwards "slatering" and  know all the words to the song Jessie sang at his pet lizard's funeral. That's something, right?] I then posted this bizarro tweet on FB and within a few hours I had over 150 likes.YES 1-5-0!

I daresay, people were happier for me about this cursory contact from the host of Extra than they would be if I had posted a picture of a baby bump or an engagement ring. Clearly, those I love have their priorities aligned with mine. As the congratulatory text buzzed through, I realized my friends were even maybe more excited than me...which is hilarious. It made my heart happy that I had truly found "my peeps."

Social media is such a funny thing, and if you aren't using it to reach out to the Mario Lopez's in your life...then you are missing out. 

Also, as a footnote- the same week as these shenanigans, the account I run for work got two random new follows from "celebrities" of years gone by.



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