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


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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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English tea room, Covington

As an early Christmas treat, I took my Grandma and my two girls to the Teddy bear Christmas tea at the English tea room in Covington this afternoon. Upon arrival, we were immediately charmed by the quaint yellow cottage on the corner of a residential street in old Covington. Once inside we were greeted by music from a live harpist playing Christmas music, and several members of the staff.

We were each served the tea of our choice from the special menu provided for the event, we were even provided with a small plastic cup and saucer for my two-year old. Next, there was a beautifully appointed tea tray with a variety of finger sandwiches, mini quiches, cheese and crackers, cream puffs, eclairs, red velvet cake bites, gingerbread cookies, and chocolate chip scones.

The children were able to go and make a Christmas ornament with the resident elf, who was wonderful and patient with helping the small kids. The afternoon finished up with a chance for the kids to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all of their Christmas wishes. Maybe the grownups could have sat on his lap, too. I didn’t think to ask. The Queen even came to preside of over the Santa visits (in the form of a cardboard cutout :)).

The management and staff were all very friendly and courteous, taking the time to speak to each guest, including the children. The kids were able to choose a hat to wear, if they wished, and what kid wouldn’t want to wear a cool hat? There are plenty of beautiful tea related gifts and bulk teas available for purchase in the store. I am looking forward to browsing the offerings when they aren’t quite so busy as they were today. I am also looking forward to our next visit. Maybe next time I can convince my husband to come along. On normal days, in addition to tea trays, they offer a variety of breakfast and lunch options. Catering is also available.

The English tea room is definitely worth a visit, I recommend it to any tea lover. I have listed the website below, if anyone is interested in taking a look.


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Buying stamps

About a week ago, I found myself waiting in line at the post office to mail off a couple of packages and to buy a couple of books of stamps for my Christmas cards. After a fifteen minute wait, I was finally called to a window. I took care of the packages first, then I told the man behind the counter that I needed two books of Christmas stamps. The man looked at me and said “I’m sorry, all I have are the religious ones,” with a slight grimace on his face.  Of all of the things he could have apologized for; the long line, only having two of the eight windows open which made the line inch along, he chose to apologize for only having religious Christmas stamps. The comment surprised me a bit, and I was going to just ignore it; say something like “That’s ok” or “That’s fine”. Why make waves over something so small? Maybe he only meant to apologize for the lack of variety. But in the two seconds that all of this passed through my mind, I decided that it wasn’t such a small thing. Not to me.

“Why would you apologize for that?” I asked. “It is Christmas, afterall.” The man looked at me for a second as if I had grown a second head, then he lowered his eyes for a second.

“That’s true,” He answered. Perhaps just humoring the paying customer, perhaps not.

I paid for my packages and my stamps, and to my surprise, the man thanked me for my business and wished me a Merry Christmas. A federal employee who had just apologized for “only having the religious ones” wished me a Merry Christmas.




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I’m having one of those “Murphy and his stupid law have teamed up with all of the powers of the universe to bring about my imminent demise” days

It all began with the car. Like every other weekday morning of my adult life, I went to my car with the expectation that it would transport me to work. Maybe that was where I went wrong. I had an expectation. I turned the key in the ignition, and instead of the roar of the engine I heard the most horrific noise coming from the vicinity of the dash. The dash lights began to flash belligerently at me, I looked around frantically as if the means of making it all stop might materialize in the passenger seat. Finally, the charging icon lit up, and the performance ended. I turned off the car and took the next logical step. I started it back up again and drove to the nearest repair shop, calling the office as an afterthought to let them know I would be a little late.

My assistant was nice enough to come and pick me up from the repair shop and drive me into the office. To show my appreciation, I insisted that she make a detour through the McDonald’s drive through for coffee. My treat, of course. Once we were both armed with the largest drink cups McDonald’s has to offer, we headed to work.

We managed to walk from the car to the VP suite (where we work) without incident, but then I tripped. Over what, I don’t know, probably my own feet. The drink in my hand went airborne, landing with a spectacular splash on the carpet just in front of the receptionist’s desk. And then the shrieking began. “It’s going to stain!” the receptionist screeched. I dashed for the break room and grabbed a couple of rolls of paper towels to try to sop up the mess before it did stain. It took both rolls.

I finally made it to my desk, where I sat down and took a deep breath, determined not to let the morning’s eventful start set the tone for the rest of my day. No sooner had I exhaled that first deep breath than my phone rang. The recently stored fall decorations had crashed to the floor, shattering the ceramic pumpkins. One of the student interns brought me a few samples of said pumpkins, as proof of the accident, I suppose. I picked one up to examine it, and wouldn’t you know it? I sliced my finger right open! Ok, first priority, find a first aid kit. I know we have one, and as the director of operations, you would think I would know where to find it. After ten minutes of searching, I finally found the kit, which contained a box of Scooby doo band aids. Really? Scooby doo? In an office? Fine, whatever. I cleaned up my finger and donned my Scooby doo band-aid (which clashed horribly with my outfit) and headed back to my desk.

I took my seat and tried some deep breathing exercises. Somewhat calmer, I reached for my coffee mug (which someone had thoughtfully put on my desk to replace the drink I spilled all over the office). I missed my mark by just a fraction of an inch. Unfortunately, a fraction of an inch was all it took to knock the mug over, causing a flood of coffee all the way across my desk and its contents. Luckily, I had a spare roll of paper towels left over from the earlier incident! I cleaned it all up as best I could, failing to see the humor when my assistant offered to order me a sippy cup,  and decided that deep breathing wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to go home and start this day over. REALLY. But wait! My car is in the shop! How could I forget?

I called my boyfriend for a little moral support, reaching for a much needed happy pill that I keep stashed in my drawer. But wait! I took those home, they are sitting at home in my medicine cabinet, blissfully unaware of my inner turmoil! Boyfriend picks up the phone and tells me that I need to relax and “sit criss cross apple sauce” for the rest of the day. I have no idea what that means, so I told him I would rather go home and try again. Assistant offered to call me a cab. I think she thought I should go home, too, probably before I set the office on fire. I looked up from my desk to see every other person in the office doubled over with gales of laughter over my lack of finesse. Whatever. It’s not that funny. Ok, yes it is, I am just not willing to admit it yet.

A little while later, the repair shop calls to tell me that my car is fixed. They had to replace the alternator, because if it were an easy or inexpensive repair it wouldn’t fit with my day, now would it? I went to pick up my car and paid for the alternator that I bought myself for Christmas (I didn’t really want that pair of Jimmy Choo’s, anyway).

I made it home without issue, and this gave me a little hope. Maybe there was hope for this day yet! Hope is a dangerous thing some days. Today is one of those days. With my new-found optimism, I decided I would put up some Christmas decorations, since I had the rest of the day free! How can you not be happy putting up Christmas decorations? The Christmas village looks really great on top of the cabinets in the kitchen….I’ll just grab this kitchen chair to give me a boost….without warning, the chair buckled and broke into about half a dozen pieces, which I crashed down on top of.

I am now sitting firmly in the middle of a well padded couch holding a grown up OJ (in a plastic cup….but not a sippy cup. Why tempt fate anymore today?). I must find my happy place. Ohm.

**This was not an account of my day, but that of a friend.

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