Woman’s Words Wednesday – Hilarious, Honest, Happily Single, Holly

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“If there’s one thing that’s sadder than being single, it’s settling. And I refuse to do it.”

I first met Holly Ann Phillips when I was working at Abercrombie & Fitch and the abercrombie kids store in the Mall of Louisiana.

This had to be circa 2006/7. “Post Katrina”, as the time after August 2005 has been dubbed by NOLA peeps, I took a managerial job with the “model-y” clothing store in Shreveport. I had never really been a collar-popping, layer-centric type who wore the brand, but I was stuck in North LA because my City was flooded, I needed a J.O.B. STAT, and you had to have a college Degree to be a manager at A&F.

Yes I did it for the salary (teeny, tiny salary) and health insurance, but I also knew, if I was going to have a job on my resume that said “Manager” and was my first after graduating, I was going to make the most of it and excel, no matter the industry or location.

I became very good at managing, training, and styling the store which involved all the correct folding, placement and presentation of the merchandise, and dressing of the forms (mannequins without limbs), so much so that when there was a fire in the back of the Baton Rouge location, I was sent to help re-do the store. Impressed by the job I did the first go round, I was sent again one holiday season to help failing standards and quitting managers. That’s when I met one of my all-time favorite gingers!

Holly worked in the kids’ store and was as fiery and energetic as her hair would suggest. She was easy to talk to, spunky, good at her job and pleasant to be around. Holly and I would talk a lot about relationships and it surprises me in no way that she has become a professional writer and blogs about her relationship life.

At that time in my life I had made friends with a guy who was studying to be a brain surgeon. We had met and hung out in Shreveport, so when he went back to his hometown in B.R., and I found myself working a few weeks stint at the Abercrombie locations, we decided to hangout again. Mc-Very-Attractive would visit the mall on occasion and bring me treats like cookies. Holly and I would talk about him being the kind of guy who would make a good catch: handsome, great job, did nice things.

The good Doctor and I did not end up together, though we remain caring friends, and he is now married with children…

I tell this story to introduce my single sister Holly, but also to give a glimpse of just one of the many wonderful men who have come, and gone, in my life as I remain single. And over 30. And completely OK WITH IT!

I give this Wednesday’s Woman Words to the lovely Ms. Holly Ann Phillips because her blog today said a million things I have BEEN thinking and saying to people for a WHILE now. I love the life I have lead, the adventures I have had, the men I have loved, and hated, and wished for, and screamed about, and remain dedicated to a friendship with, and I wouldn’t trade it for a second of being settled because I settled.

Here’s  Holly to more pointedly and wittily explain:

 “I don’t think that’s a question I can answer,” I told her. “What if I don’t find someone?”

I’m single, stop asking why.

on The Bitter Lemon by Holly Ann Phillips

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The pictures were from the trip to Cancun I just returned from…I felt inspired by Holly’s post. How did Holly’s post make you feel readers? I’m highly interested. I’m sure she is too so comment here and leave her some feedback.

To my single readers, in the face of negativity or confusion from the coupled-crowd, brush it off and keep doing YOU! Celebrate your

Sexy Single Self

Flashback Friday – Belated Birthday Buddies

Happy Birthday February 18th!  

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My birthday was Wednesday and I wanted to share a birthday-buddies shout-out then, however with the craziness of Mardi Gras happening the day before (that’s right for those who figured it out, I had an Ash Wednesday birthday this year)  and the love of my friends and parents taking me for birthday dinners I decided to make this one a #fbf, if even a short one 😉

I’ve heard that one’s date of birth is no accident and that your self is molded by that date, so I dug deeper into my birth date and found a few fun facts and similarities:

  • A fact I was aware of, I share a birthday with Mary I Queen of England [1516]. Though not the most popular monarch (she was known as Bloody Mary) she was legitimate royalty born of Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon. Mary, like me, was a Catholic and briefly brought Catholicism back to England. Her sister Elizabeth (you’ve probably seen the movie) brought the Protestant church back when she reigned.
  • After the Southern states succeeded the Union with the election of Abraham Lincoln as President, the Confederate States of  America met on February 18, 1861 and decided Jefferson Davis would remain their President and officially be elected to his 6th term in November. I’m a proud American but certainly have a soft spot for all things Southern.
  • I like comedy & musical theatre, and so did two other birthday buddies, George Kennedy [1925] who starred in the comedy movie series Airplane and Naked Gun & my first childhood crush John Travolta [1954] star of the classic movie-musical Grease! Perhaps this is why I would play leads in comedic roles in college, be a part of an improvisational comic troupe, continue to be involved in musical theatre with children and love to make my friends laugh daily!
  • I also love reading and a favorite from childhood, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in the United States on my bday in 1885. “I’ll be your Huckleberry” 
  • Another female royal, Princess Maria Christina of the Netherlands is a birthday buddy [1947] and has two things in common with me; she has crowns and an awesome Godfather.  Now while my “Paran” isn’t as famous as hers was (Winston Churchill!) and my crowns are pageant crowns, I still say, wining!
  • And perhaps my FAVE Queen and OFFICIAL birthday mate (both in 1982) is Courtney Act! This beautiful Aussie and fellow blonde, became a favorite contestant of mine when competing on Drag Race and tweeted me back this morning to confirm we were, in fact, born on the same day! I think I got FABULOCITY just by sharing the day with her!

Clearly February 18 was a special day in history, and if any of my readers also share this magical birthday with me and all these people & events, then a Very Happy (Belated) Birthday to You!

And if we don’t share a Birthday, I hope you let your research

Be Bolstered By your Birthday!


Inspired my birthday I shared a bit for my Poesy page:

The Third Three

32 years around the sun, today the start of another one. Count the heart-burst highs & scarring lows, impossible. Renewing progress of growth, unstoppable.

Fresh roads to be traveled. Mark their path in the lines near my eyes. Deepen them with smiles, wash them with sorrow.

32 years around the sun, today the start of another one. Count the desires of change, impossible. Renewing strength of forgiveness, unstoppable.

Friendships, some gorilla-gluing even tighter. Use this sun-trip to touch the ones held loosely by thousands of miles of heartstrings.

32 years around the sun, today the start of another one. Count the hours of conversing, impossible. Renewing support of empathy, unstoppable.

For love to manifest, there is a demand for hope. Scrape it from the deepest, pure places of my heart, collect it in silence on my knees.

32 years around the sun, today the start of another one. Count the lessons learned, impossible. Renewing breath of the moment, unstoppable.

Woman’s Words Wednesday – Audrey Hepburn

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Iconic. Enduring. Outspoken. Audrey!

For this second installment of WWW I am sharing the words of a woman who grew from an ingenue to a fashion icon to a humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn. Many of her most famous quotes are clever but thought provoking.

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The first quote to share, a personal favorite, is cheeky and wonderful all at the same time. I’m right there with Hepburn in her love for pink (pink nails are clicking the keys as I type), laughter as a legitimate fitness routine and smooching as a legitimate pastime! The playful quote goes on with words of empowerment and encouragement. It runs the full gambit, just like Hepburn.

 

 

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If Hepburn were alive today I think she would take a #NoMakeup selfie and use this quote on her Instagram feed. She may add the hastag #Eliza to reference one of her most famous roles (and her best in my eyes) in My Fair Lady. Hepburn’s  character  is seen as gorgeous after transforming her image and speech, but in the end it’s her spitfire spirit that wins over the hearts of those around her. It’s her true-self shinning through that makes her the most unforgettable.

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With today’s voyeuristic tendencies towards sharing images online and the difficulties of online and in-person bullying facing them, I believe many young women could benefit from Hepburn’s words.

 

In this quote, Hepburn again references real beauty coming not from the airs we put on, but the grace we put out.

 

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Hepburn did not just talk-the-talk, she also walked-the-walk and used her celebrity to encourage others to do so as well, becoming  a special ambassador to the United Nations UNICEF fund. Through her work, Hepburn aided children in  Latin America and Africa from 1988-1993.

 

As Hepburn’s words inspire us to, live a life full of love; love for yourself, love for others and love for the world beyond your own.

Wishing Women a Wonderful Wednesday!

 

 

 

The cosmopolitan humanitarian born Audrey Kathleen Ruston passed away on January 20, 1993 in Tolochnaz, Switzerland. (Her IMDb bio)

A is for…Accessorizing: Accouterments & Adornments – PART 2

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 Social_media_fashIn PART 1 of SAS’s Accessory blog I talked about some tips and how-tos of accessorizing with accouterments and adornments.  In this PART 2 I’m sharing some tips on why boutiques make ideal places to find accessories, inspiration and shopping assistance.

 

Tip 1: Use Social Media to your Fashionable Advantage

One of the smartest ways to expand your fashion knowledge and know-how is to follow the Social Media sites of fashionable people and shops. I always recommend choosing the sites of local or online boutiques. Most boutiques only carry one or two size runs of each style. The low inventory ensures well selected pieces and a less likely chance that your outfit will be on someone else at the same event. Following their social media sites means you can keep up with their inventory and snag something you love while it’s still in store.

Boutiques are known for carrying on-trend, of-the-moment inventory. Since accessories are the easiest way to update a wardrobe without breaking the bank, find trendy  accouterments and adornments at boutiques and incorporate them with your own clothes with help from social media.

Tip 2: Make Friends with Boutique Associates

Another advantage of boutique shopping is the associates that work at them. In general, boutiques are the place to find associates who want to be surrounded by fashion, love to read about and research what’s trending and want to dress up-to-date; they’re not just “working in the mall” for an after school job. Associates at boutiques are more accustomed to helping a customer pick out an entire outfit than, say associates at some department stores. So window or internet browse some local boutiques then go into the ones who best reflect the kind of style you have or want.

Get to know the associates and let them get a feel for the looks you’re after so they can help you pick pieces to update your closet.

 

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Have a fave place to shop? Follow them on social media and be the first to see what they have in store and how to style it!

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Styling tip: Follow IG posts of local boutiques for inspiration and make friends with the associates for in-store help!

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Make sure the places you shop have knowledgeable associates. The fashionable girls of Haus131 show off their fabulous arm candy!

 

Tip 3: Dress IN your Comfort Zone & be willing to step OUT of it

When you are first shopping a boutique and becoming familiar with the staff, dress in a style that most epitomizes how you like to look on a daily basis and best represents what can be found in your closet. In this case though, skip the accessories. By dressing in a style you’re most comfortable rocking, you allow yourself and the associate a jumping off point. Like I demonstrated in Part 1, a few accessories can make clothing appropriate for various occasions.

Instead of purchasing one whole head-to-toe outfit, work with the associate to select which accouterments and adornments they would suggest to transform the look you have on, thus what could also transform what you already have in your closet.

 

 

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The always fashionable owner of Haus 131 Miss Katie Rae Bowen

 

The key to a on-trend, chic and well stocked boutique is an owner with a excellent sense of personal style who cares about their shop and clients. A great local example is a lady who is beautiful inside and out, Katie Rae Bowen, the owner of Haus 131. This New Orleans native who just got back from meeting some of her fashion faves at Magic in Vegas, is passionately making her boutique dreams come true in bigger and better ways each year.

 

 

Find her at her shop at  5517 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115 where she personally curates her inventory to make sure Haus 131 is “a boutique that provides individuals with a style that is exceptional and suitable for any lifestyle or budget”. Katie Rae has a personable and inviting demeanor so be sure to chat her up when you visit the shop and find out what’s the latest in the Fall fashion scene or how to incorporate trendy pieces into your current collection.

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Talk about a girl who knows her adornments! Katie Rae made these marvelous necklaces and has them on sale at Haus 131. Pick her brain about what she would pair them with, then get one of your own!

 

 

 

Follow Katie Rae and Haus 131 for styling ideas, inventory sneak peaks, sale announcements and much more!

 

 

So remember: Follow for Finds, to Accelerator your Accessory Aptitude then Buy at Boutiques!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Pictures from Instagram and Haus 131 logo borrowed with permission. Logo and images are the representations of Haus 131 and associated sites and not directly affiliated with SAS.*

A is for…Accessorizing: Accouterments & Adornments – PART 1

Raise your hand if this has happened to you: You open your closet doors, stare into the mess of fabrics and whine “I have nothing to wear” … We should all have a hand up right now…I do…seriously, I’m typing this one handed…

Our rational brain is telling us what we already know; we have plenty of things to wear. The problem? We have worn the things in our closet previously and we’re searching for an outfit that feels new or special. The trick to solving the nothing-to-wear dilemma without spending more money: decategorizing and accessorizing!

Accessories – The most effective way to change an entire look, sometimes in the most affordable way. Most people think of accessories as only jewelry and a few extras, like a scarf. I like to take a much broader approach to defining accessories – accessories are everything but the clothing to cover you. It’s the “what you don’t need” but it makes a world of difference. I think about accessories in two categories:

  • Accouterments – pieces of clothing added to the outfit for interest and/or purpose
  • Adornments – pieces to adorn oneself with such as jewelry & headpieces

You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s good advice to start with one piece of clothing and build an outfit from there. I like to follow a 5 step thought process:

  1. What are the circumstances I’m getting dressed for (pretty basic, right?) – Consider location, activities, attendees, etc.
  2. What “style” look I am going for – Church? A preppier, conservative look. Date? I will want to look attractive and approachable. By focusing on a style you can begin to hone in on certain pieces.
  3. Temperature is of great importance – It seems like a no-brainer, but give temperatures and temp changes some significant consideration. It may be sweltering outside but chilly in an office or restaurant.                                                                           —After those 3 considerations you should have an idea of your fashion end-goal. The last two seal the deal and complete the look—                           
  4. What can I wear differently – This is where decatergorization comes into play. Taking things out of the “for work”, “for day”, “dressy” categories and mixing them into other looks is the fastest way to expand your wardrobe and fashion prowess.
  5. What accouterments and adornments can I add for function and/or visual interest.

I put together some examples of styling with accouterments and adornments.  I chose one piece to add to and decided on a medium-weight dress to transition into Fall weather. Since brights and prints are going to be big trends in Fall (hallelujah for not giving up fashion-sunshine in the cold) I chose a dress with both:

 

AC1This first look is an example of converting a “dressy” piece into a casual-daytime look. The denim accouterments immediately chills-out the fancy factor of the dress and makes it fitting for more causal events like a day-date to the Aquarium or brunch with friends. The sleeves of the jacket can be worn down or rolled up based on temperature.

AC2The adornments are easy and a bit kitschy. I love the look of over-sized link-chains. The necklace and earnings are plastic to keep the causal vibe going. The Yurman style bracelet is simple but more sophisticated than the other pieces, to prevent the outfit from feeling too young.

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I chose Converse to complete the look because I wanted to keep the overall theme fun! Plus I love the opposition of sneakers and a floral dress.

If you wanted to do the same casual look but go for a preppier vibe or a look that’s more age appropriate to you, change the accouterments. Switch out the jean-jacket for an over-sized boyfriend sweater that runs most of the length of the dress and trade the Converse for laid-back flats; choose a shoe more along the lines of a Tom’s Canvas Flat than a ballet flat.

Check out your closet and see what dressy pieces you can do a casual spin on!

 

Though the Fit-&-Flare dress has a conservative cut, I wanted show its versatility when paired with the right adornments.

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Bejeweled and glamorous pieces take the dress out for a night on the town.  A jeweled statement necklace has enough heft to stand up against the dress but the complimenting colors don’t compete for attention. Jeweled earring and bracelet-watch assist in glamorizing the look.

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AF3With so much heavy sparkle in the other jewelry pieces, a delicate ring like this black-diamond cross is all you need. It still looks luxe but not gaudy.

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I have a “slight” addiction to sparkle, so the fact that I own about 6 pairs of “glitter” shoes doesn’t shock the people who know me. I chose this ankle strap pair because the satin in front is more subtle but the glitter heel is a party. It’s like the mullet of shoes, in the best way! 🙂

And remember, if fancy-but-not-so-glamorous is what you’re after, just switch out the jewels for golden pearls and the glitter-shoes for classic nude pumps. Instantly going-out-dress becomes going-to-a-wedding dress!

What pieces in your closet would love to go for a night at the club instead of a day at the office?

 

AW1This last look takes the dress right into the cooler weather of Fall and tops it off with some edge. The accouterments supply the outfit with crisp-weather appropriateness.  A faux fur and leather vest, ankle booties and tights (not pictured) combat chilly weather. Choose a pair of black tights with interest like lace, fishnet, or chevron.

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I  juxtaposed two  “ideas” for the adornments; dainty and tough. This is two necklaces layered to grab the dainty prettiness of the thin chains and small black stones, then toughen them up with spikes. The earrings and bracelet each pick a team to continue the mix.

 

 

If it’s even colder outside (Polar Vortex, I’m glaring at you) layer a black scoop-neck shirt in a thin wool under the dress and vest, and go for thicker, opaque tights. The shape of the dress will maintain a femininity for the outfit and the colors and pattern will keep the covered look feeling light.

Ready to bring out your inner rock goddess? Peruse your closet for pretty pieces, then toughen up!

 

What have been some of your favorite accessory moments? What’s one of your favorite accessories to wear? Share your accessory wins, fails or tips below!

 

 

Be sure to check our PART 2 of our Accessories conversation where we will be discussing where to purchse and find help for:

Adding Accouterments & Adornments!

Try it Tuesday – A is for All/Almost Natural

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I rarely read the Letter from the Editor in magazines, preferring to instead skip ahead to the pages with pictures and a visually stimulating layout or a cover article I’ve been dying to devour. Linda Wells, Editor in Chief of Allure changed my mind awhile back with her honest, poignant opinions, and now I make it a point to pause my page flipping and read what she has to say.

In her July letter (magazine addition, the online addition is different) Wells writes about self-acceptance, self-assurance and beauty issues in women.

“…since perfection is an impossibility, many women feel inadequate from the get-go. – We begin and end each day before a magnifying mirror, scrutinizing our flaws, blind to our beauty.” 

Even as  most of us women analyze our appearance as we apply our makeup in the mirror in the morning, again each time we touch-up our faces in the restroom and perhaps in the car in-between, the hashtags of #nofilter and #nomakeup accompanying “fresh faced” pictures, are trending.
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 “People who are never oblivious about their appearance-Beyonce’, Gwyneth, Rihanna, Miley-have posted no-makeup selfies on Instagram lately as part of a trend in going bare-faced and proud…the no-makeup selfie is a declaration of self-acceptance and unadorned beauty.” 

 

 

I’ve seen the “Stars Without Makeup” articles in magazines several times and while these stars may not have makeup on, they do have a few things working in their favor: genetics, lighting and post-shoot editing. This may be why the #nofilter and Instagram #nomakeup pictures are becoming so popular; it’s meant to be the truest, most real picture of the celebrity or average Jane who posts it.

“The no-makeup selfie is an effort to reclaim confidence…until we feel comfortable in our own, unadorned skin, we’ll never feel truly beautiful.”

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So in an effort to boost my own acceptance of my God-given, natural beauty, and inspired by the words of Lauren Bacall in last week’s WWW, here’s my no-makeup selfie. This is me in the morning, skin washed and moisturized with nothing tinted or colored; #nofilter. I did employ mother nature’s best gift for photography, sunlight and bit my lips for a bit of natural color. It’s a little scary to know this picture will be online for the world to see but, that’s the point, now isn’t it!

To be realistic though, I, along with most of the women I know, wear makeup practically every day. While not a requirement, it is the standard in most work environments and day-to-day situations. As Wells points out, the trend toward natural beauty

“…doesn’t have to mean a repudiation of makeup, just as beauty doesn’t have to require 14 products and an hour in the bathroom…Makeup isn’t the enemy of self-esteem; it’s an extension and expression of it.”

And while  my friends would rightfully put me in the “14 products and an hour (or two) in the bathroom” category, I reserve that kind of attention to getting ready for outings, night clubs, special occasions, etc. My typical daily routine for life and work is significantly more edited because, to me, 10 more minutes of sleep is  more rewarding than extensive contouring. So when there may be camera or man of interest involved I am likely to spend considerably more time with products and technique, but a clean, fresh-faced look is perfect for sitting under florescent lights or “making” groceries (as we say in NOLA).

Here’s a few tips for a simple, pulled together, almost natural look of your own:

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  • Make BB creams or tinted moisturizers your bestie! Most you can find are packed with anti-aging ingredients including the most important one, SPF, so if you’re rushed or want to skip moisturizing first, feel free. They are sheer so they can be applied quickly. I like to use a stipple brush because I can swirl on the cream more evenly and faster than with my fingers. Bonus, stipple brushes distribute so well, you can use less product.
  • Get a concealer with an applicator tip.  My favorite for daily use is Maybelline’s Age Rewind Eraser thanks to its spongy tip. Dab the concealer on with the applicator tip and blend. In the case of concealer where your goal is to blend in a concentrated area, fingertips make the quickest and best tools.
  • Say it with me, Cream Blush. Quite possibly the easiest makeup product to apply. Treat it like modified finger painting and tap on the color rather than smearing. Tapping allows you to build color  and gives you the most natural flush. Bonus use: buy a color that’s more peachy than pink and dab on eyeslids too.
  • Multi-tonal powder and a fluffy brush are a power duo. Choose a powder that has several tones in one compact so that you can customize the blending to fit your skin-tone of the moment. A Monday after a weekend beach trip may require more swirl-time in the bronzer area than a Thursday during a regular, indoor week. Swirl color accordingly with a large, fluffy brush and apply all over to set your cream and blush.
  • Brush those brows. This step may seem excessive if you are trying to speed up your routine however brushing your eyebrows neat can make a world of difference and takes 5 seconds with the right tool. Run a clean, mascara wand in an arch shape through the brows.
  • Brighten the lids, darken the lashes. A light sweeping of an ivory or bone colored shadow on the eyelids will help brighten the face and a coat of mascara is arguably the makeup step with the most positive impact. Use a fluffy shadow brush to dust the eyelids and finish the face with a few coats of mascara. (Find tips to pick the best mascara for you, here.)

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So now it’s your turn to Try It! 

If taking the #nomakeup selfie is not your thing and neither is forgoing makeup for a day, just try a lighter, quicker, almost-natural look and see how it feels!

I encourage my readers, take a day (or two) this week and enjoy

Being Beautifully Bare!

 

 

 

 

I’d love to read comments about your experience with #nomakeup selfies or natural makeup tips. Please share below!

A if for…A Blog and An Author

 

August – Since the first letter of the alphabet happens to be A, which happens to be my favorite letter, I consider it fitting to begin the blog in the month beginning in the same fashion. It also seems fitting to start the blog in a transitional month; it’s not quite summer but it’s not quite fall. School is starting and it feels like the 2nd NYE of the year. So welcome to the second half of the year, a new season change, and to Some Alphabet Soup, which I hope will soon become your alliteration addiction! (see what I did there) 😉

 

Author – Keeping with the alliteration theme of the blog, A is a perfect letter to also  introduce the author of the blog because…it’s me! & my name begins with an A! You can find out a little bit “About Me” in the section “About the Author” under the “About Alphabet Soup” tab. You can also gather some insight into the blogs inception and naming there too. Check it out! While you’re at it, find me on Twitter and send me a shout!