Fashion Friday blog series

I’m excited about a new blog series I get to be a part of on my friend, photographer Rebekah Wright’s blog. We’re calling it Fashion Friday and it’s a weekly series that gives styling ideas for photo shoots.

Rebekah and I have been friends since our college days and spent 2 years as roommates in Dallas. Much of our free time was spent planning photos shoots or going on spontaneous photo shoot excursions. That, and shopping.

While we have collaborated a lot with our respective photography and fashion expertise, this is the first time we have done a series like this and I am really excited about it!

Check out the initial post here. And if you need a photographer, Rebekah comes highly recommended from this girl! See my lovely blog header? That design is also courtesy of the very talented Rebekah.

Here is the first Polyvore collage of the series:

Minty fresh

Age is but a number

It’s so strange how my mind judges age and the passing of time. As a married woman without children of my own (excepting our dog Neko, of course), I always automatically assume that anyone with kids is older than me. I am always shocked to find that people with children are the same age or even younger than I. Logically, this makes no sense, but I find myself thinking this all too often. Take one of my favorite bloggers, Ashley Rodriguez of the beautifully written and photographed Not Without Salt, who just posted about taking the plunge into her 30s. A step I myself will take in a little over a week. To be as accomplished as she and have 3 kids (!), and she’s the same age as me? It seems impossible. I hope that I will accept it as gracefully as she.
A few months ago, I told a friend that I didn’t feel like I was where I thought I would be when I reached 30. I didn’t have any real specific goals, but where I was did not match what I had in mind for myself when I pictured what this decade would bring. Her answer back to me was to point out all of the good things I had to be thankful for. Since then, I have made it my goal to replace thoughts of doubt, fear and jealousy with thoughts of gratefulness instead. I know it sounds cheesy, and truthfully, there is a part of me that wants to punch myself in the throat, but it works. It has completely changed my attitude about everything. I’m not saying I don’t still get in a funk for a few days when things don’t go my way now and then. I do. But, eventually I realize, hey, things really are good. 
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” –Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV) 

This morning, all I wanted to do was sleep in. Who wouldn’t with this cutie snuggled up with them?

I felt so tired and achy that even the massage I had scheduled sounded like too much effort. Several months ago, I bought a coupon from the local paper’s version of Groupon for a 1-hour massage at Regeneration Fitness in North Little Rock. It’s something I never do, but the price was unbeatable. I had never heard of the place before and judging by the “Grand Opening” sign outside when I arrived, it hasn’t been around very long.

If you know me at all, you know that I have had the aches and pains and stiff joints of an old woman since my early 20s. I have tried physical therapy, chiropractic, pain relievers, etc., to no avail. Along with the diet I adopted 6 months ago, a good massage is really the only thing that seems to help. Key word here being a “good” massage. It seems to just make me more tense if I go to someone who wants to do a relaxing, rub-you-down kind of massage. On the other hand, they can go the other direction and leave me in pain and bruised. You know that song by Deena Carter, “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” There have been many times when I’ve gone to get a massage and thought immediately of this song. Not to mention, did I pay good money for this?

My massage today with Lisa was neither of those things. It was literally the best massage I’ve ever had. (To fully understand this, you have to imaging me saying “literally” like Rob Lowe’s character on Parks & Recreation, Chris Traeger. See a video here.) I was so glad that I got out of bed and went to see her. She addressed the issues we discussed beforehand, and also used hot stones and stretching to really help with the pain. I had never experienced the latter two methods in a massage before. I always thought that hot stones were just laid on the back, etc. during a massage like you see in the photos at spas. I never realized they could be used as a tool for massage the way she used them. I really need to start doing this more often because, as Lisa so aptly pointed out, I have “issues with my tissues.” Now if I could just have her with me every day to remind me to “take a deep breath.”

Love Song for the Crescent City

A couple of weeks ago, I took a road trip with some friends to New Orleans for my best friend’s birthday. The passing of another year is not usually marked with such an indulgence, but this year carried with it a significance no other birthday has before or will again. I speak of that uneasy transition from 20-something to 30-something.

Sunset on Lake Pontchartrain

New Orleans is such a beautiful city full of history, culture, art and wonderful food. Yet there is a sorrow underlining all of her beauty that is inescapable. I hope to go back again and uncover some more of her secrets. A lyric from “Lorraine’s Song” by Grayson Capps has been on repeat in my mind since we left: “Lord, fly me over Pontchartrain/Back to the land of sugarcane and summer rain.”

H and me (left)

One of the highlights of the trip, of course, was the “spiritual” experience of having beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde on Decatur. This was followed by an exploration of the French Quarter.

“It seemed like an ordinary day until I had coffee with Jesus at The Cafe Du Monde.”

Simply decadent.
The aftermath
Pirate’s Alley (where Faulkner House Books is located)
“Standin’ on the corner of Royal Street”

Another day was spent in the Algiers neighborhood. We traversed the mighty Mississippi by ferry to get to this charming place that was left untouched by Hurricane Katrina.

P and H on the Algiers Ferry

Sign posted outside the “fancy grocery store” in Algiers

The day before we left, I called my brother to ask if the 2 hour drive down to Grand Isle was worth it. It was. I could have spent the entire vacation there–collecting shells, watching the porpoises and gazing out at the muddy gulf.

As my own 30th birthday rapidly approaches, I find myself closing my eyes and picturing that beach. I believe that my 30’s will be calmer and I’m quite looking forward to that. “I grow old … I grow old/I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” -excerpt from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.

Sorry for the long post this time. I hope you enjoyed the photos of our trip.

New Year’s Eve

I just had to post this video of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It may be a little too late in the game, but here you go!

I don’t have any big plans for this evening, just working on the house and getting organized. Boring, I know. But on Tuesday I’m heading down to New Orleans and I’ll make up for it then. Do you usually go out for New Year’s Eve, or do you enjoy a quiet evening at home also?

See another Zooey & Joseph video that I love here.

The naming of things

I’ve always been happy with my name, but there were times growing up that I wished my middle name could be my first instead. This was mainly during my obsession with the Young Adult book series, Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High, by Francine Pascal. Oh, how I wanted to change my name to Elizabeth and be called Lizzie. We moved around quite a bit during my formative years and I swore the next time we moved I would tell everyone to call me Elizabeth instead of Julianne. I never did.

When we moved to the sleepy town of Mountain Home, AR, I did try something new with my name. It was the start of my 6th grade year and I was in yet another new school. This time was so different, a complete shock to my city-girl self. I met a sweet girl named Sara who upon learning my name asked me, “Do you go by Julie or Anne?” I had never really considered shortening my name before. Sure, people would call me Julie on occasion, but I would quickly correct them. “My name is JuliANNE,” I would tell them. But now I felt like I had options! I could be a new person altogether in this strange new place. I told Sara she could call me by whichever name she chose. I regretted it immediately.

I still go by my full name to this day. Nothing else quite seems to fit. Do you like your name? Have you ever wanted to change it?

I love these photos of that other famous Julianne. From Fashion Gone Rogue.

In with the new

I have been meaning to start writing a blog for quite some time now. I keep getting preoccupied with getting everything in place first. What should I name it? Should I get my own domain or use a blogging site? What will I write about for my first post? Who will even read it? My husband keeps telling me, “You just need to start writing.” This is the story of my life. If I would just start writing (sewing, knitting, exercising, etc.) then I’d be on my way. Unfortunately, I think too much about everything. Today at work, while reading some magazines (yes, this is condoned–encouraged even–on the job), I began thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I have never been one to make a resolution at New Year’s. Not that I do not encourage renewal and fresh starts, I just seem to take these kinds of things on (and subsequently abandon them) at all times of the year. Just within the last 3 months I have begun a new diet that has dramatically changed my health and well-being. More on that later. As 2011 comes to an end, I find that I actually have several “resolutions.” I want to make changes in so many aspects of my life that I feel setting out to do them and resolving to follow through isn’t such a bad idea. And why wait until 2012 to begin? I decided to start with one that I knew I could keep. I figure, if I start out easy I have a better chance of success with the harder ones. 
Today, I resolved to come home every day after work and wash my face immediately so that I do not get too tired and end up sleeping in my makeup. It seems so simple, and yet so many times I find that it feels like such a task at the end of a long day when all I want to do is crawl into bed. I know I am not alone since it’s one of Allure‘s “skin sins to leave behind” and even blog queen Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo has broached the topic. Along with washing my face, I also I vow to take out my contacts. I have been much better about this in the last month, but I have slipped up a few times. What are your New Year’s resolutions?