When did we get too busy for one another?

When I first met my husband, one of the things that stood out about him the most was his family. It was big and loud and everyone was involved in everyone else’s business. All of his siblings lived withing 15 minutes of one another and getting together was a weirdly frequent occurrence for this California girl with a small family.

When hurricane Katrina relocated us to Colorado for five years, I found myself missing that big, loud family, and mourning the fact that our children wouldn’t get to experience that near-suffocating closeness. There would be no Thanksgivings with 40+ extended family members or  family crawfish boils or overcrowded birthday parties.

Then something wonderful happened, the opportunity to move back to Louisiana presented itself and we took it. I was eager to get back for many reasons, but the biggest one of all was that family connection. I thought it would all be the same, only bigger because of all of the new marriages and births that had happened while we were gone. Only it wasn’t. Suddenly, everyone was too busy for everyone else. It was a struggle to get everyone in one place. Eventually, that struggle went away. Not because we made a bigger effort, but because everyone just stopped trying. Except for me. I still try, I invite everyone to everything; not because I feel like I have to, but with the sincere hope that they will show up!

This Christmas will make the second year in a row that we haven’t all managed to get together. Not even for a few hours on Christmas eve. And I think the part that bothers me the most is that I am the only one who seems to care. I honestly don’t understand how things have gone so far and why nobody is interested in fixing it. It’s very hard not to feel that it’s personal and I find myself with hurt feelings and anger at the fact that my kids are being deprived of this wonderful thing that is the extended family.

Some days I feel like I should just stop caring. But here’s the thing: I can’t. And I honestly think that someone NEEDS to care. Maybe if I keep caring, someone else will catch on and start caring too, maybe the caring will spread like wildfire and things can get back to the way they were. Maybe.

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My best possible me

I’m not perfect. I never have been and I never will be. What I strive for is to be the best possible me. It took me a long time not only to get to this point, but to accept that being my best possible me is OK, to understand that perfection is an illusion.

I have decided to begin a blog series that will chronicle my journey to becoming my best possible me. What I mean by this is, I will set goals for myself for fitness, diet, beauty, and above all, self-esteem. I have made a bet with myself that the self-esteem part will be the hardest.

I plan to try an assortment of fitness plans, blogging about each experience in a direct and honest manner. Ultimately, I would like to find a gym, program, trainer, or all of the above to work with toward my fitness goals.

As for the diet, I hope to work with friends and acquaintances to try out new foods, cooking methods, etc. Again, blogging about the experience. I want to keep the “learning to like” to a minimum, and to find things that I genuinely like.

This series is still in the planning stage, but what I intend is to set an ultimate goal that is ambitious, yet attainable. Obviously, being on the cover or Cosmo once I have achieved my fitness goal is aiming a little too high, but any suggestions you may have, please let me know! Be creative! I will also set mini goals along the way, and let my readers know if and when I reach them. I will post my results regularly, and I will not omit my setbacks. My goal is honesty.

I always welcome your feedback and suggestions, bring it on!

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Lash love (The Lasherie)

Ok, y’all, I’ve developed a new obsession. You know me, if I find a product or service I believe in, I feel that it is my duty to pass it along to the rest of you!

I’m blonde. For all of the other blondes out there, you know what I mean when I say that I have invisible eyelashes. I’ve come to accept this fact, but every so often I find myself thinking, man it would be nice not to have to be such a slave to the wonder that is mascara. As a general rule, leaving the house without mascara goes against everything I believe in. I’ll make a quick run to the store in no other makeup aside from mascara; as long as I’m wearing a little mascara, I can deal.

One evening, about a week ago, I was strolling through my list of recent followers on Twitter and saw The Lasherie. My interest perked up at the name, so I did a little research. Lash extensions. Not fake lashes that last a day or two like I had for my wedding, but individual lash extensions that last 4-6 weeks. Cool.

I made an appointment with Lindsey, the owner of the Lasherie, and, as is my style, I drilled her for information as she applied my first ever set of lash extensions. The application took about 2 hours, and all I had to do was lay down and close my eyes, so that was a bonus. Sort of like a mid-afternoon nap, only much more productive. Touch ups (every 4 weeks on average) aren’t so time-consuming.

I was tickled pink when I opened my eyes after the application! Long, natural looking lashes that required zero mascara. Love! I was expecting them to be heavy or feel unnatural, but I was worried for nothing. I’m not even aware that they are there. I opted for natural, but she offers a wide range of options, from “I’m genetically blessed” to Super glamorous. I’ve put these babies through their paces this weekend, showers, swimming, sweating in the sun, sleeping…they have held up amazingly. The only maintainance that is really required is to give them a little brush with a dry lash brush to fan them out a bit after a shower or sleeping. All I really had to do was give them a swish with the tip of my finger, to be honest.

Check it out for yourself!  http://facebook.com/thelasherie (website coming soon)

www.novalash.com (info about the product Lindsey uses)

Lindsey Strong

The Lasherie

504-400-6600

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Random acts of weirdness

Random acts of weirdness can happen anywhere, anytime, but more often than not they happen at Walmart. You can quote me on that.

While making my weekly foray into the wilds of Walmart for groceries, I was standing in the cereal isle trying to decide what kind of cereal I wanted when a woman came to stand next to me. I glanced over and gave the traditional half-smile of acknowledgement that we all give whenever another person comes within three feet us, before going back to my contemplation of the cereal options. After about ten seconds, the woman leaned in close to me, as if she were going to tell me a secret, and said “I loved your show.” Before I could respond, she winked at me and walked away. I don’t know if she mistook me for someone else or if she was just off her rocker, but it set me to giggling.

As if this weren’t enough for one trip to Walmart, while standing in line waiting to check out, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between the man in front of me and the check out clerk. The man was regaling the checker with a tale of how he can’t get any sleep because his cat won’t stop talking about his past lives at night. I’m not sure if the cat is talking about his own past lives or his owner’s, but either way, it is keeping the man up all night. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

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Pure Barre, Mandeville

After weeks of procrastination, I finally went to my first Pure barre class last night. I had been promising myself I would go since I first heard about it, but had managed to talk myself out of it each time it came up.

Since it was my fist time, I arrived a few minutes early to fill out a little paperwork and sign the necessary forms. This gave me the opportunity to look around and take the studio in. Quaint and clean, the lobby is full of workout wear and gear designed to help you get the most out of your Pure barre experience, including the slipper socks worn instead of tennies in the studio. I personally chose to rock my own Eeyore slipper socks, but am now the proud owner of my very own pair of Pure barre socks for the next time out.

The class itself was different from any other fitness class I have ever taken, and I have taken more than my fair share, at several different gyms. Set to mood music, the work out is a little bit yoga, a little bit Pilates, and a mix of isometric movements that were entirely new to me, and very effective. Mid-way through, my muscles were shaking from the unaccustomed movements. I was embarrassed until I looked around and noticed everyone else shaking as well! That is how you know it is working.

The instructors were knowledgeable and friendly, giving clear instruction and offering gentle help when one’s form was not quite right. Something I never needed, of course 😉 I never felt uncomfortable or embarrassed (even with the more undignified moves), and was able to actually enjoy the workout.

The beauty of it is, anyone can do this! Regardless of your fitness level, you can take a class and be assured that it will not be beyond you. The class I was in had a wide range of abilities, and we all worked at our individual levels. If you are still concerned, Pure barre offers classes that move at a slower pace, but still provide the same great results.

Weather you are looking to tone up for bikini season, bounce back after having a baby, or just to get more fit and enjoy doing it, Pure barre can help. The best part? Your first class is free! So get out there! What do you have to lose besides unwanted bulges and the temporary ability to control your thigh muscles? Tell them I sent you!

Phone: (985) 674-7577

1814 N. Causeway blvd., Ste. 8, Mandeville (Next to Cafe Du Monde)

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5 ways to annoy a writer

I just read a blog post by Rachelle Gardner, entitled, “10 ways to annoy a literary agent”.  At the end of the post was the challenge, “Okay, your turn. Let’s title today’s comments Ways to Annoy a Writer. Go for it.” Challenge accepted; only I am going with a whole blog post.

1. When an agent responds to a query with a generic, auto-response email. Clearly you did not even take the time to read the query; we can tell by the lack of personality in the words. It is just as bad as one of us sending you a “to whom it may concern” letter.

2. When you hear that I am a writer, the next words out of your mouth are “Let me tell you what you should write about, you would make a fortune!” First of all, if it is such a great idea, why haven’t you written about it? Second, most writers don’t write with the goal of “making a fortune;” we write for the love of writing. Anything else it just a bonus.

3. When I tell you I am a writer, and you respond with “but what is your real job? How do you pay the bills?” It’s true, most writers aren’t getting rich from it, but that doesn’t mean writing isn’t a real job.

4. When I am sitting with my laptop, typing vigorously, lost in the story; I’ve hit my stride and the words are flowing from my mind to my fingertips flawlessly, someone inevitably feels the need to come and look over my shoulder or ask what I am writing. My favorite is, “Geez, are you writing a novel over there?” Yes, I am! Or I was until you interrupted me.

5. Some agents assume that we writers know all that there is to know about the publishing world. We really don’t. If we did, we wouldn’t need an agent. If we ask about something we may not understand fully, please just answer…without being condescending.

 

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Pinkberry has arrived!

Over the past year, yogurt shops have been sprouting up everywhere on the northshore. Now, the best of the best has arrived. Pinkberry has landed in Mandeville!  What makes Pinkberry so amazing? All of Pinkberry’s ingredients are all natural, and all 30 fresh toppings are organically grown (and let’s not forget that you can load up your cup with as many toppings as will fit in your bowl). A quick search of customer reviews of Pinkberry stores will show you just how loyal and enthusiastic their customers are. A great product + great service + top-notch employees makes Pinkberry unbeatable! Pinkberry will open their first northshore store in Mandeville on Friday, April 13th, and they are doing it with style!

Thursday, April 12th, Pinkberry will be hosting a community preview party at the new Mandeville location complete with free pinkberry for the community and a dance competition for local dance teams! The winning dance team will receive 10% of Pinkberry’s opening day sales! The dance competition will be judged by two local celebrity judges, Celebrity designer, Chet Pourchiau, and former Saintsation and owner of Pure barre, Jennifer Thomas!  The crowd gets a say in who will be crowned the winner too, so make sure you are there to voice your enthusiasm for your favorite dancers. I know I will be there!

The official grand opening will take place on Friday, April 13th. I can’t think of a better way to cast off the gloom and doom of Friday the 13th than with a healthy dose of pinkberry! Stop by and give it a try; you can even take some home when you leave.

3460 Hwy 190, Mandeville LA

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