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.

Foto Friday – Clicks of Carnival

Oh well it’s Carnival Time & Everybody’s Feelin’ Fine

While the rest of the nation is sending out Valentines, shopping for chocolate and roses, or possibly caring that it’s President’s Day on Monday, many residents around Louisiana, especially here in The Big Easy of NOLA, are simply concerned about securing their spot for the next parade (Neutral Ground or Sidewalk Side? IT MATTERS), making sure they have a wristband for a restroom, getting their dresses or tuxes dry cleaned between Krewe Balls, and stocking up on booze and snacks for the route.

The Carnival season stretches from the Epiphany or Kings Day through Mardi Gras

The “big weekend” starts tonight and will run through Lundi Gras on Monday and Mardi Gras Tuesday, with the Super-Krewes rolling through the streets over the next few days. Here’s a look at my Mardi Gras happenings so far this season:

The Coronation Ball for Endymion

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Black Tie is a requirement at the balls

Endymion Coronation Float

The floats line the Convention Center for viewing

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Mardi Gras Traditions 

Traffic Selfie

The “waiting in traffic” selfie floods social media

Collectible & Bead

Porcelain collectible of a permanent float from Super-Krewe Bacchus & a vintage bead like the ones originally thrown in parades.

King Cake

King Cake is EVERYWHERE! Work, home, parades…

The Parades 

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Decorated balconies & flags bring Carnival Spirit to the French Quarter

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My sister and I with King “Dewy” Andoullie, King Barkus 2015. We marched in the parade as part of his escort!

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Catching the coveted shoes at the Krewe of Muses with my friend Lauren

“Throw me Somethin Mista!”

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This is just a small sampling from my Mardi Gras fun so far. Over the next few days I’ll be snapping many more in between hikes to different friends on the parade routes, shouting for the best blinky-throws, stuffing my face with king cake, and just generally enjoying one of the biggest parties in the world!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Merry Mardi Gras Mah Mates!!!

Try it Tuesday – Self-esteem Selfie

#20BeautifulWomenChallenge

I’ve noticed the above hashtag circling around social media sites. Perhaps you have too. So I decided to look into it…

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After doing some interweb digging I actually came up pretty short on the origins and meaning behind the latest selfie phenomena.

I did find there was a 20 Beautiful Women book that the Huffington Post gave an exceptional review. Author Sabe Tekle shares her own story alongside 19 other women she gathered for the 2013 publication. These stories of women conquering their battles, discovering their virtues and understanding what enabled them down their paths, sound like the kind of collection I need to get in-between the pages of, and QUICK!

But back to the hashtag.

The #20BeautfulChallenge can be described as a cyclical series of selfies to spread self-empowerment and self-esteem. (Awesome alliteration!) A nominated person posts a picture of themselves in which they feel beautiful. They then tag, and so nominate, 20 other people to do the same. The idea of the selfie is not to grab “likes” but to confidently share an ideal of yourself with others. The pictures I saw ranged from facial beauty shots to quirky faces, from travel photos to action shots. There are group shots along with the singles and members of the male gender as well.

While there are mocking pictures and negative feedback on sites like Twitter and Instagram, the negativity seems to be aimed at the self-serving-selfie takers interested more in posting for lust or likes and perhaps gathering followers through the movement.

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One Twitter follower seemed to be against the need for the movement the way people are against Valentine’s Day as a need to show love; if you love someone you should show it everyday, or in this case, friends don’t need to tag you for you to feel beautiful:

All-in-all, applied in the intended context, the movement seems to be another hash-mark in the positive column for hastags and the power of social media, much like the #nomakeup hashtag inspired clean-faced selfies and natural-beauty acceptance.

So in honor of the challenge here is my most recent selfie that is by far one of my favorites:

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This is my sister Ann & I in the Royalty Room with the King of Barkus and crew, before the parade this past Sunday, 2/8/15. This picture makes me feel beautiful because it captured the true excitement in our eyes to be spending such a fun day together. My sister is the other half of me in a way no one else will be and only a few can understand. Any time with her is fantastic. She is so ridiculously beautiful, inside and out, and she makes me feel more beautiful just by proximity. The sunlight of this gorgeous day shines on our faces and radiates from our smiles. I just think there are few things more beautiful than sister-love; especially when it’s glittered with the magic of Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

“A beautiful woman is peaceful: she has made peace with her past. A beautiful woman is passionate: she is on fire with a strong desire to change the world. A beautiful woman is purposeful: she knows why she was born and does what she was created here to do. Be beautiful.” Sabe Tekle

So my beautiful readers, I hope you will get inspired to post your own #20BeautifulWomenChallenge picture and nominate women you see as beautiful!

Spread Stupendous Self-Esteem

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Share your thoughts on the #20BeautifulWomenChallenge. Love it? Think it’s just a bunch of selfies? Know more about it? Have you done it?

Women’s Words Wednesday – Battling the Breast Bomb

10176194_10203967596003305_5942656178842187111_nIt’s October 1st which means it’s time to Think Pink, Go Pink, Touch our Ta-Tas, Save Second Base…

Kenner Ribbon

Employees of Kenner City Hall Photo: Barry Sprague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We started a month long fundraising campaign today at my work; making a giant pink ribbon out of employees, donning our pink shirts and raising almost $2,000 for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in only one day! It was…well it was inspiring.

 

More inspiring still…the women who were there that were quietly cancer survivors, or relatives of cancer survivors, or friends of cancer survivors. My grandparents and relatives have survived and died of cancers but that’s another time, another post. Today’s words belong to the women who have endured, who have fought and lived, who have believed at the end of hope’s road. This post is their testimony.

 

A few of the favorites I found:

 

When you’re told:

Sheryl Crow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Seuss

OK, technically a guy, but a worthwhile message.

When you’re in it: Melissa Ethridge

When wisdom comes from the funniest people and humor from the strangest places:

Christina Applegate Gilda Radner

Your triumphs: Robin Roberts
Olivia Newton John Giuliana Rancic

When it’s your loved ones:

Cynthia Nixon

The only women, and men who can understand the fight with breast cancer, or any cancer, are the ones who have gone through it and the ones who have loved someone who has. There are so many wonderful, inspirational quotes, memes, songs, or speeches that you may read or hear this month and a dozen or more ways to locally donate and volunteer. I suggest starting with finding a breast cancer survivor or supporter and hearing what they have to say. See where that conversation takes you.

And, please dear readers, start this month and

Brush up on Boobies!  

A helpful guide to self breast exams!

Bonus read: Sometimes it’s not a shared fight. Sometimes Breast Cancer creates silent suffering. Read Not Another Tall Blog ‘s poignant post about her mother’s decision to keep her cancer a secret.

B is for … Bargains: Better Buds Bash

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We’re into the second month of the blog and the second letter. For the month of September, B’s theme is going to be “Better” in a  series of posts about simple ways to do things better. Brilliant!

Today’s do-better theme, Entertaining and Dinner Parties:

 

 

Entertaining:

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  • Presentation is key – When setting out food for entertaining, remember the old adage – We eat with our eyes first. I know that a good part of my presentation OCD comes from my event planning days, but those were valuable lessons learned. No-one sees the container the food comes out off, just the plate they take the food from – The lesson here is to go with the store brand or an alternative, cheaper option when possible with the food and serve it up in an eye-appealing way.
    • I love me some Water Crackers but at upwards of $4 a box, they’re a bit more than I want to pay for a snack “accessory”! There are many tasty alternatives like rice-crackers that come in several yummy flavors (Whole Foods 365 are delicious) and usually retail closer to $1 a box. Less expensive, crusty bread sliced in a basket looks rustic and inviting next to a cheese plate & a loaf can go for $1 from the grocery.
    • Wine in a box has come a long way in taste and quality over the last decade, offering award-winning wine at “bulk” prices, which is what you’re looking for when serveral bottles are likely to be poured. Black Box is a personal favorite of mine and several of my girlfriends. Just because the wine comes in a box doesn’t mean it has to be placed out for spigot use. Decanting that box wine makes for a lovely presentation and can enhance the taste through aeration and temperature; red wine will be kept at room temperature and white wine decanters are designed to keep the wine chilled.
  • Sharing is caring – As much as I love a visually appealing spread, having not yet become the recipient of a bridal registry, I’m lacking when it comes to presentation dishware. Buying them would throw my entire budget, however I know friends who do very well with thrifting for them. My suggestion, borrow from relatives, other friends, or even the friends you are hosting. Make the effort to collect from them in advance of the party and return the dishware washed and with a short “Thank You” note soon after. The small effort to collect and return equals huge payoff for a fabulous table setting.
    • Or skip the fancy dishes all together and place plain dishware on a clever table topper! Pinterest in full of “chalkboard table” ideas!
  • A little bit $$$ a lot of $ – When planning entertainment dishes like snacks, apps, small bites,  remember a rule of thirds. For every one pricier item, have two lower priced items, and make your pricier items only up to a third of the entire spread.
    • I love cheese and love, love, love a cheeseboard. Probably because I could sit and eat the whole thing! (Don’t judge) As much as I would like a cheeseboard full of Humboldt Fog and Roquetfort, I’m balling on a budget. Following the thirds-rule, I make sure my board has plenty of less expensive items on the spread: grapes, carrots, olives, nuts (drizzle with oil and cajun spices, toast in oven for a few mins for extra pizzazz), slices of delicious and inexpensive sharp cheddar, and let’s not underestimate the wonders of a block of store-brand cream-cheese with a pepper jelly on top.
    • Whole Foods has a basket of cheeses in the cheese department that’s filled with the odds-and-ends of the cheeses; the “last piece” basket. The pieces are usually no more than $5. Rummage through and pick out a few pieces. Spot these around your cheese board for variety and interest.

 

Dinner Parties:

 

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  • What’s growing = what’s cheapest – Though we live in a magical world of year round produce where you can get strawberries in the dead of winter, the most economical selections are those that traveled the least distance and are in season. Make sure to plan your meal around what’s growing to cut costs and ensure a superior product.
  • Shop with your eyes, then with your wallet – Grab the grocery publications or check online for the sales they are running. Plan a menu around that. This rule also applies for drinks and snacks for a dinner party.
    • If hummus is on sale, for instance, I will usually reduce or forgo the cheese plate for hummus and veggies. Delicious and easy frozen meatballs on special? You bet they’re going in a small bite dish for a party or as an app for a dinner!
    • This is also a great way to get pricier items on the plate. If it’s a rare occasion when crab claws are on sale, just one or two on each plate can really fancy-up the meal of a small gathering. Asparagus can be pricey but I love to scoop it up when it’s on special.
  • Good food is good food, period – Many people assume, because they are having company over, they should serve “only the best” to their guests. While I agree your guests should get the best you have to offer, what you have to offer should fit your budget.
    • Can’t afford to serve everyone steak? Go for a more economical cut of meat, like flank steak and serve it in a creative way (try it atop the Triple Threat Salad) or make beef stroganoff with inexpensive stew meat (Bonus: it can be made in the slow-cooker before the party).
  • No leftovers zone – Be reasonable with yourself about how much to serve your guests. Remember that restaurant sizes are not a good guide for serving sizes and that you will not be providing guests with to-go boxes. While second helpings are nice to offer, how many of your  guests do you anticipate having them? If you have served snacks before a dinner party meal, your portion sizes at dinner can be smaller; same if there is a starter, salad, dessert, etc.

 

In Sum: Plan for the sale and the season. Follow the thirds rule and aim for the inexpensive. Presentation over brand-name and  delicious over expensive.

And the most important thing to remember is the reason you are feeding…to gather everyone together for good food and a good time! It’s about company and memories, so concern yourself more with being a gracious host/hostess than a well-to-do one!

Bidding you Blissful Bashes! 

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)