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

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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

Endymion Coronation

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 

French Quarter

Decorated balconies & flags bring Carnival Spirit to the French Quarter

King Dewy

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

Muses shoes

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?

Afar and Away Alicia: A Letter to my Readers

Dearest Readers,

Writing you to say Hey! and sorry for going away without leaving you a note on the kitchen table…

The past few months have been stuffed with travel and celebrations. Appropriate to this time in my life, my world and weekends are filled with Weddings and Babies and celebrations of said nuptials and offspring. Well, my social world anyway. No my sweet readers, I did not secretly get married or pregnant in my absence 🙂

An informational on blogging I once read said to never apologize for lapses in one’s posting; but how can I not? As bloggers we ask our readers to validate our words with their time and honor our thoughts with relevance by considering them. So I thank every reader who has been with me so far and I thank each reader who will join me here.

I continued reading posts of blogs that I enjoy following, I just did not find the time I needed to put my own thoughts down. Likewise I found the “guidelines”  I had placed on myself for writing the blog had become “restrictions” so that some of the things I was inspired to write about were kept-for-a-later-date instead of flowing out in the moment I was driven to share. I was hindering my own writing and it had to stop.

I have made some changes to the site, deleting pages and adding inspirational spots.

  • Poesy (the art or composition of poetry, not to be confused with posey, a small bouquet of flowers): From a very young age I have enjoyed writing poetry, thoughts, sayings, etc.. My poetry, as poetry often does, comes from vulnerable and private places in my heart and brain, so I have been hesitant to share these words with many people. But, I figure if there was ever a time and place to do it, this would be it.
  • Keen (having or showing eagerness or enthusiasm): I started hearing and using the word Keen when I began dating my first boyfriend-from-abroad. He was a Kiwi and everything was “Fantastic” & “Keen”. The word has become one of my favorites and I want to share some of my favorite things with my readers on this page.

If you’ve stayed with me readers you may notice some changes, but I hope you still enjoy the content. If you’re just joining this alliteration party, I hope you too enjoy the content and come back for more. Comment, share, like, challenge, engage & I will appreciate and respond!

So as they say in our 49th state, the land I called home for one glorious summer,

“North to the Future”

Thirsty Thursday: Pumpkin (spice) Perk Poser

Pumpkin Spice Latte…poster child for coffee posers?

Starbucks Latte

Recently I partook in an act I would consider innocuous to my “rep.” I ordered, and enjoyed I should point out, a Starbucks PSL.

Since its inception in 2003, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has been fodder for both adoration and abhor-ation. Many, MANY blogs and articles have been written about it, some notable ones being:

My intentions with this post are not to add  much to the debate over whether enjoying a PSL (skinny, hold the whip) is good or bad, cool or uncool, “in” or “so passe’.” Truthfully, I’m more interested in the cult hysteria and discussion surrounding one, java-based drink and how it has come to represent a line-in-the-sand between acceptance or rejection of the mainstream. It’s an quirky occurrence to recall several scraps of information just from a beverage order…

It seems this flavored brew has come to represent all that is right and wrong with, not PSLjust Starbucks, but large coffee conglomerates, or, for that matter, conglomerate society. I’m sure the coffee realists had quite a field day with comparisons and explanations of the negatives in mainstream American society when one could (finally? sadly? obviously?)  get their franchise coffee (Starbucks) inside and while shopping in a big box store (Target). Again, I’m not here to debate right or wrong, but I will admit I was jazzed to be able to pick up a chai along with my E.L.F. Cosmetics and Market Pantry items.

As a New Orleanian I was raised on coffee milk (a blend of chicory coffee and lots of milk) at my grandfather’s table and remember the distinguished feeling of finally being allowed to enjoy a cafe-au-lait with the adults after dinner at a fine restaurant.

I respect true coffee experts’ pallets and discernment between various brands, brews and beverage preparations…I’m just not that sophisticated in my coffee drinking. I tend to go more with the “drink what you like” mentality.

I support the ideas of “Shop Local” and financially contributing to mom-n-pop establishments over large corporations. There is certainly something to be said for the feeling one can only get from a steamy, neighborhood coffee joint, most likely filled with notable and interesting characters (especially the ones in the Uptown area of New Orleans). To me, there is also something to be said for the exhilaration of receiving stars, points and perks with my perk! The loyalty/reward system usually only being offered by franchised coffee locations, however.

Lest we forget the big, franchised brands started as Original Starbucksjust another neighborhood shop down the street. I’ve been to the original Starbucks in Seattle, and I enjoyed checking it off my “touristy to-do” bucket list. I didn’t feel that I was visiting coffee mecca nor did I feel I was visiting the hell where “real” coffee goes to die. I imagine lobbyists on each side of the java debate would feel one of those ways.

The price argument is an interesting one as well.

Coffee pricing can be compared to wine pricing. There is a societal equivocation with the price and quality of wine, understood that, as the price of a bottle of wine goes up, so too should the quality and taste of the wine. The counter to that is the movement that says wine should be accessible and a $10 bottle could taste as complex and palatable as a $1000 bottle. Similar school’s of thought can be correlated to coffee pricing. Upwards of $8 for a beverage is justifiable for the quality of the ingredients, time spent crafting it, taste output, etc.. But why spend that much on a beverage we make so readily at home for considerably cheaper? -or- If you’re going to spend that much, spend it at a neighborhood establishment.

So the argument goes, and goes, and goes…

For me, I will continue to get my PSL and other frothy beverages from Starbucks and continue to justify my purchases based on my points system. Points from credit card purchases get turned into a Starbucks gift card which earns me points with each now “free” beverage which, in turn, leads to more free beverages. (Nice huh?)PSL Latte I will also feel comfortable knowing that, when my purchases don’t come from a mom-n-pop owned coffee shop, I’m still supporting the job of the barista behind the bar at the Starbucks I frequent, or at the one in the airport I just found. I will enjoy their service because, frankly, they are always so nice! Seriously, 90(+)% of the time they are infectiously nice. Perhaps it’s because that’s part of the hiring process and a standard for the Starbucks brand. Another positive hashmark on the side of  the big-box-brewer.

So it looks like, for now, I will remain a

Pumpkin Spice Perk Poser

…Proudly? well let’s just say Purposefully 😉 

 

What side of the coffee line do YOU sit on, dear readers? Would you proudly, or indifferently for that matter, walk around with a PSL on your green and white cup? Do you prefer your local java spot because the barista knows your order, or how to make latte foam leaves? I would LOVE to know your thoughts.

 

& for the record, while I like a PSL, my prefered Fall hot bev is:

Hot Chai

  • no water
  • skim milk
  • add Pumpkin Spice
  • hold the whip

It’s a bit sweet, but good & punchy. Try it if you like spice, you’ll thank me!

Try it Tuesday – Bag Balm

 

Made for Cows – Great for Humans

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The Bag Balm Clover and Cow Logo


The only way that I can think to properly begin this post is to start with a confession…”Hi, my name is Alicia, and I love the reality show Laguna Beach.” I share this  because the show was the first place I saw Bag Balm. In a montage of behind-the-scenes footage, the product was raved about by almost all of the female characters. Me being the kind of gal who loves to try cult products (& now to blog about them) I went out to investigate.

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I was pleased to easily locate some Bag Balm at my local pharmacy but I was utterly confused to read that it was made for use on cows! (Utterly…cows…get it? Get it?? Ha. OK, I’ll stop.) Seriously though, the product says that it’s made

“…to provide moisturizing and softening…For use on cows…teats & udder…”

However, turning the signature green, square tin, I read it was

“For chapped conditions and superficial abrasions.”

IMG_5597Checking out the ingredients, it was clear that the “petroletum, lanolin base” are what provide most of the moisturizing properties.

I decided if it was a hit with California girls who dealt with the sun and salt water in Summer and wind and snow on ski trips in Winter, I was down to loose the less than $6 it cost if I hated it. I would be a fibber if I said the packaging, with it’s vintage, slightly apothecary look, wasn’t a significant factor in my choice to purchase. But then again, that’s why companies put so much research and money into packaging; it sells!

I got home and opened the signature, clover covered tin. I found exactly what I expected, a naturally colored, waxy salve.

IMG_5592Bag Balm has a fairly neutral smell and, thankfully doesn’t taste like much. If anything, a faint hint of minerals is present, but nothing overpowering. Because of this and due to it’s soothing qualities,  Bag Balm is excellent for all kinds of dry/chapped skin needs.

I had decided when I first got my hands on the packaging that I was not carrying the cumbersome cube around in my purse as the Laguna girls had done (note they do come in 1oz cans but are sometimes harder to find individually. Online, you can get them in packs) and choose instead to keep it on my nightstand. It comes in handy for all sorts of nightime rituals. I slather a considerable sized glob on my hands and then place them in moisture gloves, letting the balm soak in while I soak up a satisfying half-hour of whatever Bravo show I’m currently addicted to. I rub some on dry elbows, knees and feet. I have made coating my lips with a serious swipe a do-not-skip nightly step, the result of which has been soft, pleasantly plump lips when I awake.

Use on nails and cuticles. Take off stubborn eye makeup and waterproof mascara(carefully). Mix with lipstick remnants for a D.I.Y. gloss of a color you have almost used up. Treat burnt or blistered skin…The list goes on.

As we move into the winter months and our skin will soon be exposed to frigged outside air and drying inside heat, I highly recommend you grab yourself some udder jelly and make Bag Balm a part of your soft-skin regimen.

*Readers: Are you a Bag Balm lover already or have you taken my advice and purchased some of your own? Leave comments below and let us all know how you

Blob on  Bag Balm