I created my first video!

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Yes, I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment :-). Making this video about the Ellen Cherry Experience presented by the Assorted Table Wine Shoppe  (located at 7th Street Public Market) was a labor of love because the wine, food and music made for one fantastic evening and I loved it!

For those of you who may not know, my first job out of South Carolina’s journalism school was that of a television reporter for the local affiliate in my hometown. As a General Assignments reporter, I did it all. I shot, wrote and edited all my own stories. In addition to meeting and interviewing all sorts of interesting people, the video-editing part was also a favorite task. These days tools such as Windows Live Movie Maker make video editing so easy. What makes me even happier is that I accomplished this feat without the help of any Apple products!

Since I often take pictures using a photojournalist’s eye, putting together the still photos for the video wasn’t difficult at all. So glad I took that photojournalism class as skills learned there taught me how to look for the story in the shot. (Although all those aperture settings drove me crazy, hee.)

Enjoy the video and tell me what you think! Of course, this was November 2013, not 2014 as my movie title suggests. I’ll make that correction and update the blog later. Journalists hate making errors, Sigh.

Snow Day City, USA

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A snow day inspires more posting!

Just wanted to say hello to my wonderful blog followers and general readers. It has been almost a year since you heard from me. I’m doing well. Just busy as always. I really enjoy blogging so I need to get back to it, right? I’m enjoying a snow day today, which means a day full of alerting the public about our snow day, resting, cooking, watching some mindless t.v. and meandering back to my blog. I’m setting a challenge for myself: A minimum of a blogpost every week, about whatever is on my mind, from fashion to football to fiction and beyond.

How does one spend a snow day? Earlier I watched ABC’s “The Chew” and I want to make these yummy looking wings: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/blow-your-mind-baked-chicken-wings-daphne-oz.

I also made myself a Chicken and Greens soup with chicken, garlic, collard greens, kale, green peppers and anything else I could find in the fridge. I love soup. I really love soup.

Tasty soup made from what's in the fridge, yum!

Tasty soup made from what’s in the fridge, yum!

I checked in with my mom and dad who live in Florence and Atlanta respectively. They both survived the wintry weather there and are doing fine. And then comfort fooded myself with some chocolate chop cookies and coffee. Even got a little writing done. Now I think I need a nap. Yes I’m also fighting off a cold and rest really is the best remedy.

If you had a snow day today, how did you spend it?

2012 in review for my blog

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Thank you WordPress.com stats helper for preparing this 2012 annual report for my blog, Angelic Musings.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

She shops her closet! One more reason to love Michele Obama

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Election Night 2012 gave us a first family that was radiant, happy and highly fashionable.

Photo Credit: TheGrio

The dress Michele Obama wore that night looked familiar and this blog I found confirmed it. She shopped her closet for Election night!  Mrs. O exemplifies real women! If you’ve got a great dress, who says you can’t wear it again?  Many celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Angelina Jolie never do. Michele Obama is both confident and courageous enough to re-wear an outfit, knowing she will be photographed on each occasion, not only in the U.S., but around the world. Kudos to Mrs. O! If our closet is truly our castle (as mine certainly is) and we are buying only those clothes that we love and look great on us, a really good frock SHOULD be given another chance to shine — This goes for whether we’re a first lady, a regular woman, or both.

30 minute writing revelation

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Lovely followers, you might find me writing more about fiction than fashion these days as I have set a goal to complete the second draft of my young adult novel in the next six months.

My main character has four coming of age dilemmas and from 12:00 to 12:30 a.m. on 9/13, I decided to tackle the parental issue.

The novel opens with an explosion between the parents, but I realize (thanks ctitique group) that I left too many unanswered questions on the table. Why that night? Why did the fight lead to a split? I won’t tell you the anwers, but I will say that I came up with some answers.

How? By forcing myself to write non-stop for 30 minutes. In creative writing circles it’s called “free-writing”. I used old fashioned pen and paper, just letting the thoughts flow from brain to finger to paper.

Afterwards, I chronicled the experience here in my blog using my trusty Samsung Galaxy II and the WordPress app.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new trend.

Crushed Red Pepper

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What a weird past few weeks! I feel like God is reckoning with me on some things that I obviously still need to learn.

I was in a car accident Wednesday, Aug. 9. I’m okay. My car, unfortunately, is not okay, although she could be worse.

On that day, a series of events that could have easily gone one way, ended up going in a completely different direction. And the new, revised direction led to a series of events that resulted with me rear-ending a car in rush-hour traffic on Central Avenue.

I never get into car accidents. Little Red Pepper, aka Crimson and Creme, aka CiCi, aka The Red Belle, aka my favorite car to date, has lived a clean and innocent life. Her worst offense? Tooling around town, daring other cars to take her on as she morphs into warp speed  (sixth gear), smoking mere metal mortals.

Something so boring as driving to Fuel Pizza on Central Avenue after working late seems like an anti-climax to what Little Red Pepper might normally do.

Yep, we were just driving along in bumper-to-bumper traffic, merging into the left lane in front of Something Classic so I could be ready to turn left at Fuel. I saw a for-sale sign on the right and I wondered if that new restaurant, Bistro La Bon  was still in business. I kept my head turned just a tad bit too long, but I thought that the car in front of me had turned left and traffic was moving again. CRASH! I was wrong on both counts. Bistro La Bon was indeed still open for business and there was a new car in front of me, and that car was not moving.

Normally after work I go straight home, but I was so hungry after working late that I decided to get dinner early so I could hurry home and work on my new favorite project: Transforming my guest bedroom.

A slice of veggie on whole wheat from Fuel had my name on it and I could just about taste it and imagine my satisfied hunger. Instead, I found myself exchanging insurance information with the owner of a Nissan Rogue while waiting on a police officer.

The tag line “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down,” seems appropriate for me with what I have been dealing with lately.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a “Weeble” as I am pushed this way and that by life’s ups and downs. Wobbly, but not flattened.

There were so many bright sides to this Wobbly situation. 1) nobody was hurt 2) I have car insurance that will pay for the Rogue owner’s car and 3) my car (hopefully) is reparable. (Still waiting to hear back from my insurance company.) 4) My insurance will cover most of my repairs 5) My insurance will pay for most of my car rental. 6) A really good friend called at just the right time and provided some well-needed moral support and assistance.

So in the midst of turmoil, it’s helpful to remember the bright side.

In the meantime, I am addressing those items in my life that need balance and are forcing me to examine my own behaviors. Not ready to share those details yet, but maybe in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to experience my blog!

Fashionista spotted at the light rail

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I caught another fashionista in action while modeling for the “inner funky” video at the light rail station near the Epicentre weeks ago. Her name: Jasmine Lotharp. And as far as fashion essence, hers slapped me in the face like a helping of my mom’s homemade banana pudding. First came the short spiky hair in “I’m not afraid to rock it” red. Now if shocking hair colors aren’t your thing, and I’ll have to say drastic color isn’t always mine, you might have turned away and never turned back. But if you were like me at that moment, you couldn’t stop looking! The reward? A serving of style with Jasmine’s short, but not too short purple tank dress accented with tasteful neck cut-outs. The ultimate accessory? Check out those leopard print shoes.  Sorry I didn’t hold the camera on them long enough!  I was so taken by this undeniable display of fashionable individuality, I asked the photographer to stop in the middle of my own shoot so I could talk to her.  Here is our unedited talk. Really funny lady. She’s just 18 years old and she wants to go to fashion school one day. With her uncanny sense of style, I’d say that dream will become a reality. If you listen closely to the video, you’ll see that the guys left a lot to be desired when compared to their well-dressed companions. (Another blog, another day  for male fashion.) Thanks to Jasmine for a fun first interview!

Merits of the “stay-cation”

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I’ve been on stay-cation since Monday. It’s been sort of a stealth stay-cation because I’ve felt guilty about well, just being at home. I did spend part of it with my mother last week, but I also planned to spend a few days “with myself”.

Having breakfast on the deck, thinking, recharging are essential stay-cation activities. I think I originated the stay-cation, before it was cool!

Some 15 years ago in one of my previous positions, I would take about a week off in the summer. After a very busy and active school year, I was often mentally exhausted and needed some time off.

“Doing anything special?” folks would ask me.
“No, not really,” I’d reply, thinking nothing of it. “Just hanging around the house.”

The following year, when I would take a week off again, I’d get the same thing:
“Going anywhere for your vacation?” someone would say.
“Er, no. Relaxing at home.” Didn’t everyone do this?

At that point in my life I was starting out again in the traditional professional world after spending two years in graduate school and three years as a full-time Residence Hall Director where you lived your life in a fishbowl. Your time was never really yours, it was shared with your residents, staff, supervisors and graduate program. You were encouraged to take time off because everyone knew how hard you worked and the expectation was that you’d be there for your residents and/or staff if need be at three in the morning and beyond.

Because of that non-traditional background, I was not aware of the “unwritten rules” for vacationing. Over time I began to observe that the only time you were “supposed” to take a vacation was if you were going out of town. Otherwise, you were to remain at work, maybe only taking a day off here and there. I remember hearing someone say once that yes, we have vacation but “who has time to take it all.”

What I learned was that in the traditional working world, you were to be the “toiling worker”, who always puts the job first and who rarely takes time off because “there is just too much work to do.”

If you were not that person, you were probably not going to get recommended for promotions and in addition, you were perceived as being lazy and/or not having a good work ethic. Wanting to be seen as a team player with a good work ethic, I stopped taking my weeks off for me and I embraced the toiling worker mentality.

I have to add that I am grateful to my previous employer for allowing me to obtain an additional graduate degree while working full-time. Still, during that three year time-period while in grad school, I rarely took any time off, except for the two weeks (one in Spring and one in Fall) when I attended my on-campus residency. I was very conscious of being allowed to have those two weeks off and I always made sure my colleagues knew how much I appreciated it. I understood the message: Don’t take too much time off.

Of course in the current economy, this feeling has been enhanced. You don’t want to be gone for too long, or you may feel as if you can be easily replaced. However, recently there have been many discussions about the idea of work/life balance for both men and women. What is the price of the toiling worker mentality? Who benefits and who suffers?

What I have now come to realize is that I NEED the occasional stay-cation so that I can write, piddle about the house, eat on the deck, work on various gardening projects, cook and plan meals, work-out as long as I want to, run basic errands I never have time to complete otherwise, and just do whatever I please. I am mentally frazzled without this opportunity and I am a better employee who is able to be more focused when allowed this type of break.

Gardening helps clear my mind. I love to prepare flower/vegetable beds with rich composting materials that encourage earthworms, nature’s tillers.

I’ve also spent this time developing a shopping/cooking schedule for the rest of the summer. I love to cook, yet I like to be efficient about it. Knocking out three meals in one sitting to freeze for later is very relaxing.

My basic books for meal-planning.

I think I also have a problem. Shhhh, I enjoy my own company. I rarely run out of things to do.  I guess this is why I have remained single for so long. I haven’t required company! (Although a compatible partner would be nice.) Hmm, perhaps a plan to meet this compatible partner needs to be a future stay-cation activity, LOL!

Closing, I want to say that I am MERCIFULLY appreciative of having a job that I enjoy in this uncertain economy. I am also thankful for all of my previous employment situations where I have learned a great deal and made wonderful long-lasting friendships.

Your thoughts? Do you stay-cation? Please follow my blog!

I-shops-my-closet dilemma #2: Channeling the inner funky

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So last week I prepared for my photo shoot. No, the current banner image was not my first choice. I just haven’t been able to put together the banner image I wanted with my current resources.

Then in walked Telow MowZus Baugh, of Just Imagine Photography. He’s a one year Charlotte newcomer and veteran photographer. It was serendipitous.  He understood my banner concept, and agreed to shoot it at a very reasonable rate, but first he wanted to shoot a video interview that captured my artistic essence. Warning! His portfolio is more risque than I’m used to and I won’t be modeling any boudoir photos! But check it out anyway. (It’s not for children!)
My artistic essence? But what IS my artistic essence?  There’s the traditional me. The 9-5 me. The me that most see and the me that I grew up with. Conservative, not too much cleavage and definitely matching.

But…somewhere, deep down inside, below the conservative outer shell is a funky artist diva.  But how to reach that inner artist?  Is it possible to put together a funky, artistic look by using what’s in my closet?

I-shops-my-closet dilemma #2. How to locate your inner funky.

I surveyed my closet. Visions of my 9-5 stared back. I started breathing fast. Calm down, there has to be a logical way to approach this.  Ahh, start with your funkiest accessories, I told myself.  My Darrell Roach Designs (DRD) earrings are one my funkiest accessories. Darrell is a NC bred celebrity jewelry designer who now resides in LA. I met him in 2006 at a beauty shop where he was hawking his wares. When I saw his work, I realized I had to have something from him.  I wear one of his rings and a bracelet daily. His work has donned the likes of Susan Taylor, Eva Marcille, Beyonce, and most recently, Prince! Yes, Mr. Purple Rain himself.

The earrings are neutral copper hoops with whispery orange stones. I abolutely love them! He designed a set of bracelets that complement them. With them, I often wear a necklace designed by another Charlotte designer, Mary B. Sanders of Mahogany Mary. She is an up and coming designer who will be forming her own website and blog soon!

So the next question I asked myself was, what colors look best on my skin that also go with the earrings? I decided on an Island orange sleeveless knit top that I’ve had for years. I paired it with one of my favorite neutrals, my leopard print skirt. Bottoming out the look: a pair of my favorite funky sandals. 

Here’s one of the photos from the shoot. For the most part, I love how the outfit  turned out! After a two-hour shoot, we were losing daylight, but somehow MowZus captured what light was available juxtaposed with the orangey glow of the light rail benches. The result? Funky, Achieved.


My Steps
1) Start with your funkiest accessory or item of clothing.
2) Next find the colors that look best on your skin and also go with the funky item.
3) Make sure that all pieces fit well and are figure flattering.
4) Pay attention to detail. What undergarments do you need to make sure to have a smooth line underneath? I love Spanx and Assets. I find them extremely comfortable and extremely forgiving!
5) What about the hair? What hairstyle adds to your funky? In my case I set my hair in twists, wore it up to work and then took out the twists later to form a sort of loose crimped look for the shoot.
6) Check out the look in the mirror, do you feel both funky and at ease with the look? Then you’re all set!
Note: I feel I look a bit more lumpy than I’d like in the photo. I looked much smoother in the mirror. They say photos add five pounds (or was it ten?). A smoother line underneath or a less form-fitting top might have worked better. But overall, I’m pleased!

How about you?
Ever had to channel a part of yourself you or others don’t often get to see? Maybe you’ve had to go from conservative to funky, or from funky to conservative. How did you achieve the different look? What worked or didn’t work? Please comment and share with me and others.

Really neat scarf organizer!

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One of the first steps in maintaining an “I-shops-my-closet” lifestyle is to have an organized closet that allows you to easily see what’s there. My scarves were a problem point for me. I had them “organized”, but in a way that wasn’t very useful.

Here’s what my scarf organization used to look like: 

I used one of those accordion style wooden peg hangers. Many of my scarves were buried and it was hard to find them. They often fell to the floor, also. Boo!

Although it was cool the way my scarves decorated the wall, I could never really SEE all of them. I had tried other options in the past, scarf hangers, belt hangers. None of them worked. So I went to YouTube, did a search for “scarf organization” and found an inspirational  video.  Theeasydiy used clear shower curtain rings and a plastic hanger to hang her scarves.

I decided to take the same idea, but I used pvc pipe cut to size ($3.00), a chain I already had at home (free!) and the shower curtain rings ($1.25 for 12 from dollar store, I used three boxes $4.00).

I strung the pipe with the chain, used a key ring circle (.97 for two from Home Depot) to connect the ends of the chain, pulled the scarves through the curtain rings and hung them on the wall, using two nails for each side of the chain. Since the peg hanger was now empty, I used it for my necklaces. I LOVE the new look!

Here’s what my scarf organization looks like now! 

Please comment and tell me what you think of my adaptation to theeasydiy’s idea. What scarf organization ideas have worked for you?