2015 NC Azalea Festival…one for the record books!

CoronationJust two days ago we came home from what can only be described as one of the best week’s ever! The NC Azalea Festival has always been one of my favorite weeks of the entire year, but the magic of the 2015 Festival proved to be one for the record books (you can see a phenomenal video highlight by the incomparable Blueberry Creative here-https://vimeo.com/124847328). The was an awesome mix of great celebrities, Board members, staff, Queen’s Court and of course a totally awesome Queen Azalea-Mallory Hagan.

For the past 4 years Tim and I have had the pleasure and honor of escorting Queen Azalea. In those 4 years we have spent our Festival week traveling around Wilmington in the “Official Party” entourage (complete with police escorts) while riding in the Queen’s limo with some amazing women and their guests…3 Miss America’s and John Wayne’s granddaughter to be specific.  Each year the Queen brings her energy, charisma and excitement…this year was no exception!

To start the week, there is typically a private dinner on Tuesday evening.  Mallory jacquelineSort of a low key event-get to know you event before the official duties begin.  Liz Carroll, the 2015 Azalea Festival President, offered a wonderful and unique take on this dinner. She invited the very first Queen Azalea, Jacqueline White Anderson, to come and crown Mallory during the coronation ceremonies on Wednesday.  Liz hosted the dinner of all dinners! Not only did she have black and white pictures from 1948 (when Ms. Anderson was crowned), but she reset her home to make the perfect setting for the most beautiful dinner I have ever attended. Chef Keith Rhodes from “Catch” here in Wilmington presented a 7 course meal of epic proportions! It was the perfect start to the perfect week. Continue reading

NC Azalea Festival-Celebrate Spring Southern Style!

AZIn less than 24 hours Wilmington, NC will officially kick off the 68th annual NC Azalea Festival. This amazing tradition will bring Three time Olympic Gold Medalist, Keri Walsh Jennings; Retired US Air Force Colonel, Dan Hampton (he is also one most decorated fighter pilots since the Vietnam War) and Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan just to name a few of the top notch celebrities that will be here this week.

To say it’s a festival is a little misleading. The NC Azalea Festival is an event that spans 5 days, has over 50 volunteer committees, more than 1,000 volunteers that work year round to put on one of the most fabulous events of the entire year and has an economic impact of over $50 million to this area!  It has been listed as one of the top events in the Southeastern part of the country for 15 years. Continue reading

How to keep your beauty routine when traveling

Between Spring Break and summer vacations coming up, now is the perfect time to commit to your beauty routine while traveling.  sunnySeems simple enough right, but who actually takes time while decompressing and relaxing to think about things like that? Most of us don’t,  but we all should. Think about it, with social media pictures rampant (and once a picture is out there, it’s out there) don’t we all want to look our best? Of course we do, so keep reading to find out a few simple tips on how to have a fabulous face during your next getaway!

waterFirst, hydration is key! Most of us get out of our water routine (making sure we drink 8 full glasses every day) when we travel, but that doesn’t mean it’s less important. While at home, I literally walk around all day long with a 20 ounce Tervis Tumbler of water and I never get in the car to go even 2 miles without making sure it’s full!  That’s obviously more difficult on an exotic island, but not impossible.  The last few years when we go to Key West in the spring, as soon as we get there, we stop at the local grocery store and buy a case of bottled water. That way there is always access to water while we are in our room, but we can also take a bottle while walking or biking around the island.  If you are flying to your destination of choice, we know that planes are notoriously dehydrating… so as painful as it may be to buy that $4 bottle at the airport, do it-your body (and skin) will thank you!

Second, yes-you still need to wash your face every night before going to bed! I know it’s much easier to say it’s not a big deal or one night can’t hurt.  Well, if you’re on a week long trip and every night is that one night, that’s a week of gunk on your face while your body is resting and repairing. Gross! Just take a few minutes to at least wash your face each night…even if you don’t apply all your usual nightly lotions and potions, at least it’s clean. While I’m talking about skincare, it is important to pack your normal products in travel sizes. I mean, who wants a breakout or reaction to a new product while on vacay? Continue reading

Do you feel beautiful?

Why or why not? Do you feel beautiful because you work really hard to take great care of yourself inside and out? Do you not feel beautiful because others have criticized, judged or ridiculed you in the past? How we feel about ourselves seems to be largely impacted by what we think others think about us.  Just writing and reading that sounds crazy, but it happens every day.

cc quote 4Coco Chanel famously said-“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”. This is a much healthier way to look at beauty, yet so few people have truly mastered it. For example, if you ask most women (and men for that matter) what their most attractive asset is; they would probably have to think for a minute to come up with something…if they can at all.  Rather than immediately saying-my confidence, my intelligence, my strength, my loyalty is beautiful! We tie our outward appearance (and other’s perception of our appearance) to our inner confidence and that is exactly why we, as a society, struggle with low self-esteem and can easily be destroyed by one comment by a stranger on social media. Continue reading

What would you do if you had no fear of failure?

Would you go skydiving? Accept your dream job? Get married? Have a child? Just imagine, if you had no fear…no chance of failure, what would you do? What could you do?

A couple months ago I was introduced to Our Greatest Fear,greatest fear by Marianne Williamson. I wasn’t familiar with this poem, but as soon as I heard it-it literally struck a chord in me. Like an instant awakening! Shortly thereafter I shared it with one of my dearest friend on earth. Since that day, he has had it prominently displayed in his office where he can see it, read it and be inspired by it every day. I would like to think that is just a small piece of the puzzle to his recent decision to obtain his Master’s Degree! Continue reading

Me time…it’s necessary, not selfish

me-time223Have you ever heard someone say-oh I wish I could take the time to go do something for myself, but I just don’t have time. Of course you have!  We hear people say things like that all the time. We (very often women) refuse to take time for ourselves. We have been socially conditioned to think that if we take a couple hours, an hour or even just 30 minutes to do something we really want to do, that it is somehow selfish. I’m not sure exactly how or why that mentality began, but we desperately need to change it! How in the world are we supposed to be our best self if we can’t do some of the things we want to do for our self?

I completely understand and respect that we all have responsibilities, obligations and more commitments than we can possibly accomplish in any given day, but can we really do those to the best of our ability if we are secretly harboring at least some resentment that it’s not what we really want to be doing? If we are honest with ourselves (I admit it’s not always an easy thing to do), I think we would find that to be the case. Continue reading

First 5K, Checked Off My Bucket List!

I’ve mentioned before how important music is in our lives, but little did I know that a shared love of music would ultimately create an opportunity check5k_hoverfor me to check off a bucket list item.  It all started a few years ago when my husband Tim was at a store looking for a particular CD and he met a local university professor, Dr. Dan.   While waiting for this CD to be placed on the shelves (yep, they were the first ones there that morning) they struck up a conversation. Fast forward a few years, Tim and Dr. Dan have since kept in touch and that one conversation grew into a friendship.

Dr. Dan recently invited Tim and I to participate in the Miracle League’s 2nd Annual 5K. If you’re not familiar with the Miracle League, it provides children and adults with special needs the chance to play baseball…some for the very first time in their lives (http://miracleleaguewilm.org/ ). They have an amazing facility and we heard some very touching stories last weekend about the impact they are making on children’s lives in our community.

On to the race!  Continue reading

Eyebrows…the picture frame of your face!

brow picture frameAs a makeup artist, one of the things I hear the most is…”don’t look at my eyebrows”!  That is always so funny to me because first of all, how is that even possible? Second of all, that means they know their brows are important and they are pretty sure they have neglected to pay attention to them.  Now I know brow maintenance can be expensive and even painful at times, but it is necessary.  Our eyebrows are the picture frame of our face and we cannot ignore them.  When you first meet a person, where is the very first place you look? At their eyes! Which part of our face is said to be the window to our soul? Our eyes! What feature do most women “play up” the most up with makeup? Their eyes!

From tweezing to waxing to threading, there are lots of options for how to keep your brows in check.  If you are nervous about shaping them yourself, go to a professional.  Then, you will have a blueprint to follow for your routine maintenance at home.

While there are a variety of shapes, you can’t go wrong with these three basic rules:

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Stay in your lane!

This is honestly something I say all the time! I have actually said it so many times and to so many people over the years, that people will say it back to me….as if to say, see I’m staying in my lane. stay in your laneThe Urban dictionary definition of staying in your own lane is-mind your own business; keep moving straight ahead and don’t veer over into my personal affairs. I actually think it is so much more than this simple definition.  I often say it’s like driving in a car. If you are in the left lane and try to get in the right lane without signaling, you can easily get into an accident.  I think that’s a great analogy for life. If we try to get in someone else’s lane, try to control things that are not in our purview or choose not to stay focused on our own lives, we can get into a mess.

So often we get totally wrapped up in-what if this or that happens? What if so and so does this or that? Ok, what if they do? Is that something that is really in your lane? In reality, there are only a few things we can really control anyway, so why not give those things a majority of your attention?  Unfortunately it seems like the things we have zero control over are the things we worry about the most.  Think about it this way, researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that only 85% of what we worry about never even happens! What would happen if you spent at least 85% of your time and energy focusing on the 15% of things that actually happen? Would you be more productive, more successful, or more peaceful?  The great Mark Twain approached it this way, “My life has been filled with calamities, some of which actually happened.”  Continue reading

What will your legacy be?

So have to start my share time with you today by being completely honest and admitting that I did not follow my own advice last week…I did not listen to my stomach.  I actually did the exact opposite and fell into a big mess!  It caused a lot of unnecessary stress, tension and maybe a few ugly words.  To make a very long story short, when someone asked if I could pay for a business expense, my gut said not to do it… for some strange reason that I cannot explain, I did it anyway and it didn’t end well. To the point of almost lashing out at the lady at American Airlines, tears and a overly stressful Friday afternoon.  The good news is, if I had of trusted my gut this wouldn’t have happened, so my post on listening to your stomach (aka gut) works! I’m making a conscience effort to do better this week! ;-) Disclaimer-This is a part of my relentless need to find the silver lining to every cloud!

Ok, now on to the message for this week:

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