What the Hell Does Bougie Mean, Anyway?

I think I was in college the first time I heard the phrase “bougie” (boo-gee). It was spoken by a friend of mine right after we walked into a deli to meet with a group. Evan briefly looked at the menu and then turned to me.

“I should have known when Jessica picked this place, it was going to be some highfalutin bougie crap,” he said. “I don’t want to spend $10 on a sandwich.”

“Me neither.” I said flatly.

We turned on our heels and went to Taco Bell.

That moment, along with a few others, shaped my definition of bougie. It meant high ego, high maintenance, and high priced. It described people and places that used their real or imagined well-to-do-ness as a reason to look down on others.

It was not a term of endearment.

The word had escaped my vocabulary by the time I heard it again a couple of years ago. A few members of my book club called me bougie after I set out a tray with labeled cheese and served wine in glasses instead of plastic cups. Not too long after that, a close friend explained to her dinner group that I was her “bougie friend” to erase the confused looks on their faces when I requested a wine list.

In both situations, the only person batting an eye at the comment was me. Is bougie a compliment? If so, when did that happen?

I took a quick look at Urban Dictionary to see what’s what. There were seven definitions ranging from “upscale” to “snobby.” Six out of seven were at the snobby end of the spectrum.

From what I could tell, this was still not a term of endearment.

Last week, while shopping for ground lamb, I ended up at a grocery store that has a reputation for higher prices. It turns out they don’t cost more than anywhere else. Plus, they have a bigger selection and better produce. I’ll be going there from now on. When I mentioned this to my friend, she called me bougie (again).

I lamented my frustration to a colleague.

“Just own it,” he said. “You like what you like. They’re the ones missing out, not you.”

I looked at him more closely. Tortoise glasses. Bow tie. Lint-free designer sweater. This guy’s been called bougie on more than one occasion.

“I’ve been called bougie since middle school,” he said, confirming my suspicions. He went on to say that his willingness to try new (and better) things have helped further his career and personal life. And if that made him bougie, so be it.

So be it for me, too.

One piece of advice, though. The next time you are about to call someone bougie, take a minute to check out whatever it is that brought that word to mind. You just might find something that’s right for you.


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Getting Out the Door With My Sanity


I’m not a morning person. But I want to be.

I wish I could rise with the sun and start my day with a chipper attitude. At this juncture, however, that’s just not happening. There was a time in my life (pre-kids), when I could wake, workout, and make it to the office on time. I haven’t completely given up hope that I will one day be that person again. In the meantime, though, I’m doing my best to leave the house with both kids and without a nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten something. Here are some things I’ve learned that can reduce the morning madness.

The Night Before:

Figure out breakfast. Mini Me likes granola bars or cereal, and Lil Ma eats at daycare, so no prep work is required. I, on the other hand, like smoothies. Putting portion-sized bags of frozen or fresh fruit together make the morning a little easier.

Pack lunch. Assemble as much as you can so that you can grab and go the next day. If you plan on taking leftovers from that evening’s dinner, put some in a lunch-size container as you’re cleaning the kitchen. It won’t even feel like extra work.

Check bags. Check backpacks and work totes to make sure you have everything you need. Finding a permission slip that needs a signature and $3 right before the bus comes is guarantee that you’ll be driving the kids to school.

Pick an outfit. I put my clothes together on the weekend, but if that sounds overwhelming, try the night before. And don’t forget clean undies. I’ve done that a time or two, and I had to hand wash then dry with a hair dryer. Not cool.

Consider picking two outfits. When Lil Ma was an infant, she had awful acid reflux. There were countless days when I was christened with spit up five minutes before we were due to leave. Having a backup outfit ready allows for a quick change.

Gather everything. Bags, totes, shoes, and that book you promised your coworker all need to be in the same place so you aren’t running around like a nut looking for them.


In the Morning:

Skip the snooze. I’m still working on this one myself, but staying in the bed too long makes the morning more harried.

Wake in shifts. I get up (usually) 30 minutes before Mini Me. Mini Me gets up 30 minutes before Lil Ma. This cuts down on chaos and clashes for the bathroom.

Pack the car first. I put everything, including my frozen smoothie, in the car before I wake up Lil Ma. Then all I need to worry about is her.

The mornings are still a work in progress, but these steps have made a huge difference.

What do you do to make it out the door on time?


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This Time, He Called Me Lumpy

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I’m so happy that Spring is here! As much as I love boots, scarves, and wool coats, I’m glad to be done with them for a while. That’s why I whipped out my favorite cropped pants as soon as the weatherman promised a 65-degree day. (The above Polyvore collage is a good representation of my outfit.)

In my excitement, I failed to properly tuck in my shirt. It bunched in the back.

“Hey babe. Come here.”  Hubs said to me.

“Something wrong?” I walked over.

“You look lumpy. Turn around.”

This time, I didn’t wait. “We need to work on your adjectives.”

“What do you mean?” He asked as he fixes my shirt.

“Lumpy, frumpy, and puffy are not words you should use to describe your wife, under any circumstances.”

He laughed. “I thought you wanted me to be honest?”

“Honest, sure,” I said. “But there has be another way to say it. How about ‘your shirt isn’t tucked in right?'”

He laughed again.

I think he’s messing with me on purpose.


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Me Time

I’d been looking forward to last weekend for a while. The kids were going to my mother-in-law’s, and Hubs was on the road. I had visions of the time being totally awesome. I made a list of things to do. Laundry, as usual, was the first item of business. Then grocery shopping. Oh, and a trip to the cleaners.

My mom called and said she needed a ride somewhere Saturday. I added it to the growing task sheet.

After I dropped the kids off Friday, I looked over the list. Everything on it, from cleaning my purse to buying baby shower game prizes, sounded lame. The complete opposite of awesome. I wadded up the sheet and dropped it in my purse.

When I got home, I made a bowl of buttery popcorn, opened a bottle of Tempranillo, and picked up a magazine. After watching a movie that wasn’t animated or featuring puppets, I took a hot shower and went to bed.

Saturday, I stayed in bed playing on Twitter and clearing my DVR until 10. After a short yoga practice, I revisited my list. I took care of laundry and the shower games while watching the Food Channel. (My version of responsible multitasking)

I made no calls and responded to no work emails for two days. A few times, I forgot the kids weren’t home, and I went to check on them because the house was so quiet.

I’ll admit, it was hard to sit still at first, but it was well worth the effort. The weekend was a great reminder that I need to take care of myself so that I can be the best for my family.

A Look Back: April Fools’ Day 2010

I’ve never been big on April Fools’ Day. Most of the time, it comes and goes before I even think about it. Four years ago, though, April Fools’ Day took on a different meaning. It marked the beginning of one of the most challenging times my family’s ever faced.

I was out of town on business, and my mom suffered a stroke. From the time my dad called me at 4:55 a.m. until my mom came home nearly a month later, a part of me kept thinking I was stuck in a long, cruel joke. 

Mom pulled through. So did the rest of us. Along the way, we experienced things that would forever change us. I learned my parents truly cannot live without one another. My relationship with my brother changed from a big-sister-little-brother dynamic to one where we were equals who had each other’s backs. The most surprising thing? I discovered I so much stronger that I had ever given myself credit for.

So instead of playing a joke this year (not that I would have ever played one anyway), I’m going to be thankful for our 2010 journey. It was hard at the time, but we are so much better for it.