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.

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.

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)

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!

Woman’s Words Wednesday – Lauren Bacall

I had a completely different woman and words planned for this first WWW but with the passing of a lady I’ve heard described as “The greatest dame of the Hollywood Dames”, I felt it only fitting to share the words of the incomparable  Lauren Bacall.

At the young age of 19 she held her first leading role opposite her future first-husband, Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not. They would go on to make several more film noir style movies together, for which her husky voice and stunning features were perfect.

Growing up a “theatre person” I have always been fascinated with the overly dramatized acting and impeccable lighting of  film noir style movies. Bacall’s features may have been captured in black-and-white but her jaw was sharp, her lips were full and her fiery spirit shone out of expertly lit eyes, zoomed in on and framed tightly by the adoring film directors of the 40’s.

 

 

 

This first quote of Bacall’s I fell in love with for its way of challenging us as women. We spend immeasurable amounts of time, money and attention on the appearances of our faces.  (Heck, it’s one of the main topics I will address in this blog.) Bacall’s quote touches on the importance of aging gracefully. The lines on our face are said to be the road map of where we’ve been and how we got to this point in our lives. I love that Bacall praises that and encourages us to as well.

 

 

 

 

 

And because she was such an iconic leading lady of the Golden Age of film, Bacall get two quotes on today’s post. This second quote, a call for us to remember that failure is not loosing, but rather not trying.

 

 

 

So love the face that reflects your journey and the fights you fought to get to this day!

Wishing Women a Wonderful Wednesday!

 

The beauty born Betty Joan Perske passed away yesterday, August 12, 2014 at age 89. (Her IMDb bio)