Friday, November 30, 2012


This is my favorite time of year. I just absolutely love everything about it. I really love that it reminds me to tell people aloud that I'm thankful for them. I always think about what I'm thankful for at night when I'm saying my prayers, but I don't always actually say it to other people. Because that would require participating in the whole feelings thing, and we all know I try to avoid that. I'm snarky, sarcastic, and I basically offend everyone in this entire state when I express my political opinions, but I really do have a big heart with good intentions somewhere deep down inside of me. And that heart really is thankful! Like overwhelmingly thankful. So here it is.

I'm thankful for being a Cacibauda and having a Van Acker personality. Everyone says they are thankful for their family, but I'm particularly thankful for being a Cacibauda because we are fantastically different. I never dread seeing my siblings or going home for a holiday break. A call from a cousin/aunt/uncle doesn't automatically mean someone has died, they usually just want to chat or catch up. I'm not counting down the days until I can move far away from my family so I can only come home for Christmas occasionally. I love and adore my parents, and my brother and sister are my bestest friends in the whole wide world. We love each other AND we like each other. I didn't realize this was something to be thankful for until I started listening to my friends talk about their families.

I'm thankful for my job. It's the ideal college job. No nights or weekends, we get holiday breaks, and my boss is so understanding and flexible. Not to mention I have made some of the sweetest friends there, and the girl that works in the younger 4s room with me is absolutely fantastic! It's my favorite part of every day, other than the part where I collapse on my bed for the night. It's shown me what I'm good at and there's nothing else I could ever imagine doing forever. It's cheesy, but those kids are making me a better person every day. Even when they make me want to PULL MY HAIR OUT.

I'm thankful for the 5th graders I tutored this semester. I really did learn so many things! 1) I NEVER WANT TO TEACH 5TH GRADE. 2) As much as I hate Ocean Springs, I must admit that they have a fantastic school district. Going to a Starkville public school is heartbreaking and proves that the education system in Mississippi is not okay. If you thought my education rants were going to end soon, sorry! I will never stop fighting for those sweet kids. They deserve so much better. 3) Did I mention that 5th grade is NOT for me?

With that being said, I'm thankful I grew up in Mississippi. I grew up surrounded by my extended family and grew up with my cousins. I wouldn't trade my childhood here for anything, but my family has absolutely no desire to stay in MS. I am quite often counting down the years until we can all move and settle down in a place that has seasons. :) I've regretted not taking a year off to move to a different state and go to college there, until this year. Maybe God still has me here because someone has to spread the word about what our terrible education system is doing to these poor kids. I might as well put my big mouth and big heart to use while I'm stuck here, right?

I'm thankful for my sorority. I have always been a non-girly, anti-sorority kind of girl. The idea of being around a big group of girls used to make my stomach hurt. After I absolutely loved living on a hallway with a bunch of girls last year, I figured I'd give it a go and do something way out of my comfort zone. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made and I absolutely love those girls! I still get to be the same well-rounded, sarcastic Alexa and I get to do amazing things to help support St. Jude at the same time. And we all know how much I love babies. If I'm paying for my friends, I'm certainly not paying enough. Love you ladies! DLAM.

I'm thankful for my friends. All of them. My elementary ed friends, my sorority friends, my work friends, my hometown friends, and my new friends too. And thank God for my very bestest friends, because I could not survive without their company during all-nighters, hilarious snapchats, and hugs after a bad day. You know who you are. Thanks for putting up with me!

I'm thankful for the little things that are really big things. Nice people, a coffee pot that starts making coffee before I'm even out of bed, sarcasm, cold weather, a good sense of humor, sweater leggings, and the freedom to wear sweater leggings as pants. Yep. I said it.  

I have everything I could ever need, and I'm just thankful.

I hope everyone is loving this time of year as much as I am! Hug your loved ones!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fat Talk Free

I'm back on my soapbox. But don't worry, it's nothing political this time. :)
I'm writing a paper on the idea of beauty and how ridiculous it has become in today's society. It's been very thought provoking and I've actually really liked writing it. 

Wanna know what is even more annoying than coming home after an awful day and realizing there aren't any pickles in my fridge?

The word fat. The word ugly. People who think they are pretty enough to call someone else ugly. People who think they are skinny enough to call someone else fat. People who think they are the Fashion Police and get to decide what someone else is/isn't allowed to wear based on their weight/looks/skin color/etc.

Are you catching what I'm throwing, peeps?

Let's just start with the word fat. Who in their right mind decided that it's okay to call yourself and others fat? Everyone thinks they are fat. I get it, I do. My closet is behind two HUGE sliding doors, and both have HUGE mirrors on them. So every morning when I'm looking for a shirt to wear, I hear my mirror screaming LOOK AT EVERY SINGLE FLAW ON YOUR BODY. G-R-O-S-S. I roll my eyes, find a shirt, and tell myself I'm an idiot for ruining my Achilles tendon and making it literally impossible for me to workout for at least 3-4 months. (At the BEST time of the year. My holiday 5 will now be a holiday 20. Awesome.) But I'm over it in like 50 seconds. Why? Because I LOVE FOOD. I'm Italian. I'm a Cacibauda. It's not in our genetic makeup to be skinny.

So if everyone thinks they are fat, even those teeny tiny little girls, WHY do I constantly hear:
Yeah, she's so fat.. she's like a size 4. Ew. 
WHY is she wearing that? Doesn't she know she's too fat for that?
Just because it comes in your size, that doesn't mean you should buy it.  
Fat rolls and love handles are NOT cute.

Wanna know what I have to say about that? A big SHUT THE HELL UP.

Who are you to judge and name call? How dare you criticize someone just because they don't look or dress the way you do. Calling someone fat is always the first insult someone can think of. Especially ex boyfriends and mean girls. I can brush it off because I truly don't give a shit, but not everyone can do that. It really hurts people! And yes, every bully's comeback is the same three words: freedom of speech.

Why yes, you do have the freedom to be a total asshole. However, Jesus and I would like it if you would keep your asshole personality and disgusting comments to yourself.

Now let's talk about this whole clothing issue. Number of times I've seen "LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS, WHINE WHINE WHINE!" on my Facebook Newsfeed: 4,907. Number of times I've rolled my eyes, muttered a cuss word, and continued to wear leggings as pants: 4,907.

Let's get one thing straight: TO US, LEGGINGS ARE PANTS. Why do so many of us wear them just about every day? Because they are REALLY FREAKIN COMFORTABLE. They are almost as comfortable as not wearing pants, but they are more socially acceptable. And that's all I have to say about that. (PS- Legging lovers, I found cheap SWEATER LEGGINGS here. You're welcome.)

I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom who never criticized me or called me ugly/fat. I had friends whose moms would make them go on diets and would tell them that they were too fat. My mom made me be healthy, but she did it in a positive, encouraging way. My sister and I used to call each other fat or ugly when we were younger. They were our fighting words. I brushed it off, but she never did. I regret every second of it, but the jokes on me because Zoe is the skinnier and prettier sister who looks flawless even with no makeup on. There is absolutely no one I envy as much as I envy her. She has perfect teeth, a perfect smile, a flat stomach, and perfect curls. She also doesn't realize that she's perfect in every way, which makes me want to beat the crap out of her.

But lets be real here. I don't care about looks. Obviously. I mean, it's a miracle if I have time to brush my hair in the morning. I am confident that the right people are going to love me because of who I am, not because I woke up extra early to fix my hair. I don't care what you look like. You know what they say.. If you have a big heart but like to cuss and speak fluent sarcasm too, COME SIT BY ME. Okay fine. I'm the only one that says that. But at least I mean it.

You are so much more than your hair color or that spot on your face that showed up the day before an important picture/interview/date. You are so much more than your outfit or a stupid number that pops up when you stand on that stupid scale. Don't tell yourself or let others tell you that you are "forever alone" because of your physical appearance. Someone is going to love you because of your heart and your personality.

This doesn't mean don't be healthy. Be healthy! Exercise. Eat right. I LOVE exercising and eating right. (Too bad I also LOVE dessert.) But you should be doing all of that because you want to, not because you think you are fat and ugly and gross and have to do it to make someone love you. Because you aren't all of those things and you don't have to do it for that reason. And I know it's easier to say all of this and write a paper about it than to actually make yourself believe it. Trust me, I know. I wake up every morning and sigh when I'm forced to look in the mirror. Seriously.  

I am going to be so much skinnier when I get out of college. I look awful. Why don't I wake up looking like a million bucks? I hate my thick, curly hair. I bet Audrey Hepburn didn't look like this in the morning. Have those crayon shavings been in my hair since I left work yesterday?

But then I pour myself a cup of magic also known as coffee, and I make myself say a few good things about myself or my life.

I have a family that loves me to pieces. I am smart. I have a job that I LOVE. My hair is really pretty sometimes. I have my mom's eyes. I have running water, food, a car, and an education. I have 12 sweet and obnoxious 3 & 4 year olds that are excited to see me every afternoon. I have 14 pairs of Christmas socks.

No, Seventeen Magazine is not calling me everyday begging me to be on the cover of their next issue. And no, my stomach is not as flat as the gum/playdoh/God-only-knows-what-it-is that has decided to permanently live on the bottom of my shoe. But life is too damn short to miss out on dessert, or going out with my friends on the weekends, or eating something my mom makes that's really good. And lets be real, here. We're Italian and she's Rose Cacibauda. Everything she makes is good. Those stupid magazines will say, "Is going partying with your friends and eating Taco Bell after really worth all the calories you consume that night?"

And to that I say ABSOLUTELY. It's worth every single calorie.

I am so much more than a number, and so are you.

My sorority promotes something called being "Fat Talk Free." You are supposed to encourage your friends to only say good things about themselves, and not allow them to call themselves fat. This short little video is such a good reminder!

Love and big hugs always. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Breaks, Boots, & Birthdays

Someone please help a girl out and tell me how it is already NOVEMBER!

I would also like someone to tell me why every week of my miserable years in middle school/high school felt like a century, and every week of my awesome years in college feels like one day.

I have been dying to blog, but I just haven't had any time! So let me catch you up on my silly, beautiful life.

1) My first time going home this semester was the beginning of October during my fall break. I drove home on an early Thursday morning and secretly stopped at the airport to pick up JT. My parents had NO idea, and we had been keeping it a secret for a week or two. They were already excited about me finally being able to come home, so I knew they would be ecstatic when they realized they were going to have all three of their babies under the same roof for the long weekend. For Dad, he hid under pillows and blankets. For Mom, JT was waiting around the corner and I told Mom I had brought home a friend who needed a place to stay. Technically, I wasn't lying. She thought I secretly had a boyfriend. Go figure. JT can't usually come home any time other than Christmas and summer, so they were beyond excited and so surprised. It was a weekend filled with Cacibauda chaos: football game, band contest, celebrating Dad's birthday, and visiting family. We laughed and ate so much, the two things we do best. There is nothing I love more than having all five of us together. I am so blessed to have a close-knit family that truly loves being together. It was a perfect and much needed weekend!

2) Do you ever have those moments where you talk yourself into something? You know, eating that extra cupcake even though you shouldn't. Or watching another episode of How I Met Your Mother when you know you should be writing your paper. Or talking yourself into wearing heels for 14 hours.

I'm young! I already wore these high-heeled, leather boots for 6 hours during tailgating/the football game, but I can wear them out to Sig Ep tonight! It will be fine. They don't hurt that bad and I may not even stay out that late. These are my glory days! I'm young! I'm free! I can do anything!

Yeah.. um.. no. Thanks to my "glory days" pep talk, I'm wearing this until at least Christmas.

CHRISTMAS. I thought this was going to be a two week kind of thing. They originally had me on crutches, but I went back after 24 hours and demanded a boot.

I had my first follow-up appointment and he said it already takes a long time for an Achilles tendon to heal, but it's going to take even longer since I'm such an active person. So.. there's that. I had a mini panic attack over the fact that I can't exercise. This is a very serious problem since cooking/baking/eating is a top priority in Casa de Cacibauda. ESPECIALLY around the holidays. If you think I'm exaggerating, let me just tell you that instead of putting "live, laugh, love" on cute family things, my mom puts "eat, laugh, love." Dead serious. So, lots of fun times with the boot. Never a dull moment around here!

3) My little sister is 17. And a senior in high school. Did you hear me? MY LITTLE SISTER IS 17 YEARS OLD AND IS GRADUATING IN MAY. (She's graduating a year early. Just in case you are confused.) I know she's only two and a half years younger than me, but I think I just pretend she is way younger. I forget that she's all grown up. She watches rated R movies, goes out with her friends, DRIVES HER OWN CAR. She's 17. She gets in a car with a BOY and goes to prom and occasionally thinks our parents are trying to ruin her life. She's old. It's weird.

November 1995

Having a sister is one of those things that no one else really understands unless they have a sister too. I didn't really know you could love and care about someone so much and want to wring their neck at the same time.

November 1995

Zoe and I used to fight ALL. THE. TIME. She's being mean to me! She called me a mean name. She gave me that and then TOOK IT BACK! SHE'S AN INDIAN GIVER! Moooommmm, she just called me an Indian giver! 

Summer 2000?

We fought over everything, but always made up when we realized we were the only two people in our room and we both needed someone to play with. I'm pretty sure I'm so good at sharing because I was forced to share a room with Zoe for 10 years, which meant I also had to share my toys/clothes/shoes/hair things/everything. Having a sister means all of your stuff is pretty much fair game.

October (I don't know the year)

Having a sister that looks A LOT like you also means people will always think you are twins. Even Zoe thought we were twins when we were little. She was confused and heart broken when I went off to Kindergarten and she didn't get to go too. We used to roll our eyes every time someone would say, "Oh! Are you girls twins?!" But I don't really mind hearing it anymore. Zoe is flawless. If people think I look like her, it's a compliment.

April 2009

I just don't see the resemblance.. :)

Having a sister that looks like you also comes in handy on "Twin Day" during spirit week in high school. If nothing else, it was worth keeping her around for that, right?

September 2010

More than all of that though, having a sister means having the bestest friend in the entire world for life. Everything my parents ever said about my siblings being my best friends is true. It's like having built-in best friends. All of my childhood memories include her by my side. Literally. We were basically attached at the hip. We did the same things and wore the same outfits in different colors.

We were a team. We are a team. I could kill her sometimes, but I'd kill for her in a heartbeat. It's usually the younger sister that's supposed to envy the older sister, but I have always envied her. She has beautiful, perfect curls and a radiant smile that lights up an entire room. She can pull off any kind of outfit, and I always tell people I have ELBOMS (Everything Looks Better On My Sister) Syndrome. Everything is just so much better when she's around.

September 2012

I couldn't imagine having to go through life without a sister. Without MY sister. I love having full conversations with pictures/emojis. I love walking out of my room in the mornings when I'm home and hearing her sarcastically say, "You look cute," and knowing it's said with love. Mostly. I love that she always lets me sleep with her when we hear a noise upstairs or watch something scary. And I really love having her closet to raid when I don't have anything to wear.

But mostly I just love her.

Happy Birthday, my sweet ZoZo! I couldn't ask for a better sister and best friend. I absolutely cannot wait for you to live in Starkville next fall! We are going to do SO MANY FUN ACTIVITIES.

I love you. Oh, and please don't kill me for the old pictures. They are cute!