The start of the Fall

I know Fall isn’t until nearly the end of September, but to me, Fall is when the weather changes to cooler mornings, football season starts and the cravings for everything pumpkin become imminent. Fall is here!

Another thing I associate with fall is darker, richer colors. So, this year, since I no longer have my blonde color to maintain for the wedding, I decided to darken up to my natural hair color. :)

Here’s a before, on my wedding day. It has since grown massive roots and lost a bit of its luster…standard with hair color though.

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After

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I think this is a good look for me. She didn’t even have to use harsh highlighting paste, so my hair won’t be as damaged this time around. :)

Here’s to pumpkin spice Starbucks, changing leaves and fresh new hair!

Those were the days…

I like to think back on my life from time to time. I remember my school days very fondly, actually.

I can remember in kindergarten trying to convince the teacher’s aid that animal crackers shouldn’t be glued to paper for the Noah’s Ark project we were doing, because we wouldn’t have snacks for the afternoon. The aid laughed at me and said, today’s snacks aren’t animal crackers, so don’t worry! My real reason for not wanting to glue animal crackers? They were the pretty iced kind and I wanted to eat them!

I remember in 3rd grade when my teeth were grown in all weird, and I was ashamed to make my parents a photo ornament for the Christmas tree. I knew I was getting braces the next year, so I told my mom to please throw the ornament away, and I’ll give her an ornament with a picture of me with pretty teeth later. Sigh…last Christmas, I found that dang ornament in a box. I didn’t throw it away though, since it’s now pretty sentimental and I never did give her an ornament with a pretty teeth photo of me. :)

I can remember my first after school detention in 8th grade. This girl approached me at recess, and proceeded to make fun of me (for my weight) and I defensively said “Your MOMMA!” Yeah, I was really original. The assistant principal heard me (and only me). I got detention with my math teacher who laughed at the fact that the “goodie two shoes” was in detention. My teacher decided to give me two worksheets full of algebra problems as punishment. Little did she know that she made that the best detention EVER, seriously! I love Algebra! I’m a dork, I know.

I remember in high school when I landed my first (and only) solo in band. It happened in such a weird way. See, I was second chair clarinet. I have to say, I had great tone quality and control (due to playing the clarinet since 5th grade), but as far as fast fingers to play fast music? Hells to the no! First chair had super fast fingers, so she was first chair. She was awesome. However, she had to miss an afternoon of practice once, and I played the solo in her place that day. The next day, I found out from my band director that I was to play the solo for festival. I was elated, but also felt bad. I know that solo meant a lot to the first chair, but heck, how could ANYONE turn down a solo? So, I played the solo. Looking back, that was kind of mean. I hope you don’t hate me too much, <insert first chair player’s name>.

Now, to the nitty gritty – college.

I miss college the most. There was so much that happened to me over those 5 years, that it makes me pretty darn sad now that it’s all over. I was one of those SUPER involved people on campus. I became an RA (resident assistant) in the dorms my second semester of college. I think that helped to kill the introvert in me. I got to know so many great people, and honed my leadership skills through them.

I also joined quite a few organizations, but none were as important to me as Silver Wings. Silver Wings was at first, a club I joined because I was jealous of my neighbors who had pretty poster stars on their dorm doors. I wanted one, so I joined. Ha! I fell head over heels in love with the organization. I love community service and made so many great friends to where I finally felt a complete sense of belonging at LSU. In my senior year, I became president of the organization, and helped my chapter to get the outstanding chapter in the nation award at the National Conclave.

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The great thing about being so involved was that I meant many important people at the university, including the chancellor.

I met him the first time my 4th year senior year during residence hall move-in day, where he visited all the halls to tell the freshmen and staff a friendly hello.

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The second time was my 5th year senior year. I was part of a group of student leaders invited to a party at his personal home! I was way cooled out that I was invited to go to a party where the student body president, sorority/fraternity presidents, and student ambassadors were invited. The cream of the crop in student leaders – I felt like that was the peak of my student career at that very moment.

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Well, now, I’m at the bottom of the professional totem pole again. It’s difficult going from the top to the bottom, but I hope to one day do as well as I did in my college career. :)

8/29/05

This date is forever embedded in my mind. It’s the day that Mother Nature tried to take away my hometown, New Orleans.

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Mother Nature came in the form of a major hurricane.

It was devastating to the area, but thankfully, not to the point to where the city couldn’t come back.

I think Katrina proved to New Orleans that the city is not ready to take on a full-on category 5 storm. Because of that, the Corps of Engineers is working day in and day out to protect the city from what is called “100 year storm”. Many people are against the Corps of Engineers, but from working with these dedicated people for almost a year and a half, I can attest that the people who work there are amazing, intelligent and determined to reach this goal!

It’s relieving to see all of the efforts out in the New Orleans area, because the damage that occurred 4 short years ago was really scary. I remember not being able to talk to my own family for days after the storm, because the cell phone towers were absolutely flooded with calls. Eventually, cell phones were only able to get through to 911 since things were pretty crazy.

I remember religiously watching CNN from my dorm room in awe, because so many places like the mall I went to as a teen was flooded with alligators swimming around it. I remember trying to find out what happened at home. I was so scared because my parents live right off the Mississippi River levee. Thankfully, my parents’ home was fine, but as for my grandmother and aunts? It was absolutely terrible. Their homes were flooded almost halfway up the first floor. They have since recovered, but it was a horribly painful process to get their houses back to normal and many priceless items were destroyed in the flood.

When the storm was over, while school was still closed, our basketball arena became a limbo place for New Orleans refugees. They couldn’t keep so many people there, so it became a rest place for a few hours before you were sent to either Shreveport or Houston, TX. So, my friends and I spent our afternoons volunteering there, making sure people received MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and understood where the buses would be taking them. I met so many hopeful people there, but it was, at the same time, very upsetting, since these were people I probably passed everyday when I would be home.

6 months later, I decided to finally go home and face it in person. My mother drove me to the Lakeview area, which was right next to a levee breach. I took some pictures of what I saw.

neworleans2This home was right across the street from the levee breach. You can see the water line on this home very clearly. (Just look at the brick that has an orangey hue.)

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You can see the water line very distinctly here, as well as if you look very closely, you can see a white “X” painted on the house to the right of the door. That meant the house was searched for bodies or animals. It listed the date above it when the search occurred, which looks like 9/21. If anything was found, that would be posted on the house as well.

To this day, you can drive by parts of New Orleans where homeowners opted to keep these marks on their homes, in memory of what happened 4 years ago.

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The area of Lakeview had many expensive homes around there. Many of the homeowners simply abandoned their homes, deciding not to return to the city. It was overwhelming to return to what was left. So, insurance companies offered very small amounts of money to buy the land back. This house was easily over $200K pre-Katrina.

It’s really crazy what happened 4 years ago, but every time I drive back home from Baton Rouge, I see more and more places still coming back. It’s great to see the spirit of New Orleans at its highest ever, and I hope it stays that way for a long time. There is no place like home. :)

Happy One Monthiversary!

It’s hard to believe at this time one month ago, I was getting primped and ready for the big day!

I remember the excitement that ran through my head and the sheer “I don’t care what happens anymore.” mood that I got in when we hit our first snafu. I just wanted to get married!

While I still don’t have my pro pics, here’s a few pictures to tide you over until they come in!

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Our beautiful (not to mention, delicious) cake and Gocco’ed napkins!

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Our LSU themed kingcake!

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This one is fairly laughable. We were supposed to kneel after placing the flowers at the Mary statue…I plain forgot!

I’m so happy to be married to my husband. He totally gets me and makes me feel awesome! Here’s to many more happily married months to come!