For Steph

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Every Saturday morning from 10:30-11:30 I become someone else. From the moment I remove my shoes to enter the classroom I become Kauai, which means "jewel of the islands." The keiki hula class meets the hour before us and I often go early to watch them dance. I'm not the only one. Melissa comes early to watch them too. This morning we had a combined class. It was so fun! Normally, five to six keikis show up for class but this morning there were only two.
In the begining there were four in the adult class but Kayla or "Kai" dropped out. The other students in the adult class are Bretta who is standing just to the right of me and Melissa who is standing on the other side of Bretta. Both of them are really cool. Bretta just moved to New Orleans and will probably be dropping the class also. Unless other adults join the class, our class will be limited to two. Kumu Kathrine, who is sitting "Indian-style" on the floor has scheduled a recital for April 30 to coincide with the May Day holiday. Each student is supposed to do a solo. Can you imagine? I just hope I'm still around to dance for it.
Hula is so beautiful. Its the perfect combination of sign language and ballet. The dancer tells a story through hand movements. The manner in which the dancer moves their hands determines the tone of the story. I love ballet but I think hula fits my personality more; a little less formal and a lot of fun. More to come..

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Decisions. Decisions.

I am attending a Mardi Gras ball tomorrow evening. I have attended this ball for the past two years. The first year I wore a black halter dress accented by Birds of Paradise flowers. My hair was half-up, half-down. The second year I wore a solid navy dress with a rhinestone pendant on the bodice and ruffles on the skirt. My hair was swept up in a French Twist. This year I am wearing a Kelly green Greek-style dress. Unlike the past two years, I am having my hair done prior to the ball. Before going to my appointment tomorrow afternoon I need to decide which "do" I want to do.The first looks a little more "Greek" to me but my hair is not as long as the model's and I'm afraid the effect will not be the same should my hair fall short.

Angelina wowed Oscar crowds last year when she appeared wearing her hair swept halfway up with lose curls cascading down her back. She was absolutely stunning. I know I am NO Angelina but I'd love to see if I could pull the second "do" off.
So, I am taking a poll. I may not get any responses but I thought I'd ask, just the same. I miss getting input on little things like this from my girlfriends. In lieu of discussing it over dinner, I am posting my options here and asking my friends to comment.

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Pleasantly Surprised...

was I, to see Tommy Hilfiger's new ads sporting Basset Hounds especially now that we have Neville. I'm not sure why, it just makes me feel like owning a Basset Hound is more fashionable, more En Vogue. I suppose, technically, Neville is Dad's but I'd like to think of him more as the family dog. Either way, the Basset Hounds in this advertisement are adorable. Neville would be right at home in a model's lap if he wasn't too busy trying to roll over so she could scratch his belly. I can see it now. Don't think Tommy's photographers would like that. Then again...

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January's Addiction...

was Rice Krispy treats from Starbucks. I'm not a huge fan of Rice Krispy treats. Years had passed since I had eaten one. Then one day I was in Target. I was hungry. I wondered over to Starbucks to check out their snack selection and that's when I saw this light, fluffy, yet still crunchy, treat. It looked good but tasted even better. I was hooked! For weeks all I wanted was a Rice Krispy treat from Starbucks. Lucky for me, there's a Starbuck's at the intersection in front of the office. I soon discovered however, the Starbuck's on Highway 49 in Gulfport has a better selection. By the beginning of February the addiction had vanished. I'm certain it will soon be replaced. By what? Who knows? But thank you Starbucks for satisfying my cravings through my Rice Krispy treat addiction. Should it return, I now know where to go.

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Fatsumo Sushi...

is the best sushi I have had since moving to the Gulf Coast. My favorite is the Miami roll. I'm sure the other rolls are tasty but the Miami is the only one I've tried. I always order the same thing too; miso soup, the Miami roll, and a Diet Coke.
Fatsumos is a wonderful alternative to the fried fare and poboys the Gulf Coast is famous for. Dining out has been a challenge for this and other reasons.
I also like the name which brings a smile to my face each time I say it.
Sushi that makes me smile. Fatsumos.

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A Dream is a Wish...

your heart makes, when you're fast asleep. In dreams you can loose your heartache. Whatever you wish for will be. Have faith in your dreams and someday. Your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving. If you keep on believing. The dreams that you wish will come true."
Yes, I know the lyrics by heart. Some of the words may be wrong but this is how I remember them. I have always loved the song Cinderella sings as she gazes longingly toward the castle from her bedroom window. Some may think its cheesy. Others may say its naive. I say its inspirational and uplifting.
Whenever I get discouraged I think of this song. Whenever I'm doing chores and feel like Cinderella I sing this song.
On February 15, 1950 Disney introduced Cinderella to the world. Although Aurora will always be my favorite I can't see Cinderella without thinking of my cousin's daughter, Rylee Grace, who loves Cinderella. With blonde hair and blue eyes, Rylee Grace is just as pretty as the Disney princess.
Happy 61st to Cinderella! May you continue to inspire the hearts of girls and women dream.

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Cheveux Royale

One of my favorite movies is Steel Magnolias. My freshman year of high school I was cast in the play as M'lynn. Although I wasn't thrilled of being cast as the "mom," preferring the characters of Truvy or Annelle, I did enjoy learning the script which is filled with classic one-liners that continue to solicit laughs from me even though I have heard them hundreds of times. The prevailing themes of family, close friendships, love and surviving grief fill those experiencing the hardships associated with loosing a loved one with hope and strength.
In college I conducted a study on beauty shops. I discovered people tend to trust their hair stylists more than their church leaders, family members, trusted friends, etc. It makes sense when you think about it. People tell their hair stylists everything.
My Grandma Kidd and my Great-Grandma Elliott loved getting their hair done. Every Saturday my Grandma Kidd would have her hair rolled and picked for the week. I love getting my hair done too.
My first Halloween in Biloxi, Amanda and I decided to attend a costume ball in Ocean Springs. I thought it would be fun to have my hair done for the event. Searching the internet I found a place I thought would be interesting to try. Thus, my introduction to Her Majesty's. I loved it! It was like stepping into Truvy's shop but in twenty-first century Biloxi.
I had such a great time I decided to return to have my hair done for a Mardi Gras costume ball I attended a few weeks ago. Sarah did a wonderful job. She's young, smart and very talented. I wish I had the time and money to retain her as my personal stylist. If you are looking for someone to style your hair in the Biloxi area, Sarah would be an excellent choice for anyone. If you go enjoy it. I do.

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Although it doesn't look this way now, the project I started tonight at Relief Society Craft Club should resemble the wreath in the photo above when I am finished. I'm not sure how long it will take (one of the Sisters said about two hours) but I am sure it will take me a little longer.
The wreath consists of a 10" foam ring and pages from a paperback novel of your choice. I selected pages from the third Harry Potter. Distress Ink is used to antique or distress the pages and hot glue secures the folded pages to the foam base. Sounds easy right?
Now all I need is a glue gun and some extra time.

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The Seashell Church

Traveling west on US Highway 90 from Ocean Springs to Biloxi stands St. Michael's Catholic Church. When I arrived in Biloxi (May 2008) the church was in need of repair. Some of the glass was broken, plaster was peeling off the roof, and the angel had been removed. As you can see, the church has been restored.
Every Sunday on my way to church I enjoy seeing cars fill the parking lot, spilling over onto the access road, which the patrons use for additional parking.
I appreciate its unique design; from the seashell-shaped roofs to the funky bands of glass to the menacing angel wielding a sword; all a reflection of Biloxi's connection to the seafood industry.
Although the church took a hard hit during Hurricane Katrina I am grateful it survived the effects of the storm. Its contribution to Biloxi's physical landscape is undeniable. Like the perfect shells that adorn its roofs, the St. Michael's Catholic Church is a Gulf Coast treasure.

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Hangin' On...

by a tooth. That's what Dad is doing inside this giant gator mouth. The gator sits outside Souvenir City, a pink and green two-story building that occupies a portion of my view to the east. Although I have never been inside, I have been dying to get a photo taken inside the gator mouth.
Today, I asked Dad if he would mind. Luckily, he obliged. Its a good picture of him.
I'm also glad he was able to come down. The weather isn't as warm as I hoped it would be but the sun is shining and it was a lovely afternoon for a walk.
We strolled west along the beach to the old harbor before turning east for Souvenir City. Weather permitting we may walk again tomorrow. Either way, I am looking forward to an enjoyable week with some great company.

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Spa Isbell

Finding a hair stylist is never easy for me. Its one of the things I hate about moving. Once I find someone I trust, its difficult for me to let go and move on. Even after moving from Washington to Biloxi I flew back to D.C., the first year, to have my hair done every other month. Although I loved my stylist I could no longer afford him, in addition to, lodging expenses, cab fare, etc.
So, I began searching for a temporary replacement. For almost a year I went to a place in Mobile. It was fine. Great location. Friendly staff but too often I left unhappy with the results.
I decided to resume my search. Surfing the Internet, I found fantastic reviews for this place in New Orleans, Spa Isbell. One of the reviewers had even posted pictures of her hair. It was gorgeous! She said she flew from New York to New Orleans just to have her hair done by one of the stylist. Sound familiar?
Hopeful, I dialed Spa Isbell and made an appointment. I'm glad I did.
Housed in a historic building on Magazine Street (Lower Garden District) the atmosphere hearkens of cool salons in any major cities. All the stylists are women and they all have killer hair. A very good sign when searching for a new salon.
Two things I appreciate is their sensitivity to time, meaning I am in and out, instead sitting for five hours or more in a salon when I would rather be showing off my hair. Second, their prices are reasonable. Paying to have my hair done in D.C. was equivalent to a car payment. Ridiculous. Here it isn't.
The only thing I wish they would do is offer me a drink; have a cold Diet Coke on hand for me to sip while I'm waiting. The place in Mobile always had Diet Coke, which is one of the things I did like about them. Don't get me wrong. It doesn't make or break the place. Its just something I would like to see, and if they are opposed to offering Diet Coke, than bottled water would suffice. Something to make me, their client, feel more "at home."
If you find yourself looking for a great stylist on the Gulf Coast, I guarantee you will find one at Spa Isbell. Tell them I sent you.

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John Barry

John Barry (1933-2011)
Three days ago the world lost a musical genius. Although you may not recognize his name, I am certain you are familiar with his work. Barry, a native of York, England, wrote the scores for most of the early James Bond films. He was responsible for collaborating with DuranDuran on the music for A View to a Kill which I consider to be one of the greatest decisions ever because it produced some of the greatest music ever.
In addition, he wrote scores for Dances With Wolves, Out of Africa, and the theme song for Somewhere in Time.
Thank you John Barry for filling the world with beautiful music to live and love by. You will live on because your music will never die.

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is a wonderful month. Why? First, because it is NOT January.
In February Americans celebrate the President's Day holiday but not before joining the world in celebration of the other holiday, Valentine's Day. It is due to the later holiday, February is often recognized as the month of love.
I love calendars. I always have. I love buying calendars with themes. I love buying calenders that have a page for each day of the year and once the day is through you rip it off and throw it away. Personally I prefer tearing my page off the following day when I arrive at the office. Its the perfect way to begin a work day; by ripping something. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something that required little to no effort at all. A delayed sense of gratification for a tiny pleasure I could have enjoyed the day before.
I also have a single calendar sheet for the month that I mark on. I especially enjoy striking a fat blue line through a finished day, after ripping the page off my other calendar. Progress!
The third calendar in my office is for show and was a gift from a loved one. So, I do not mark on this calendar, PERIOD. The theme is horses and is a sweet reminder of our shared love for this majestic creature.
The fourth calendar I keep at home. Like my third office calendar, the fourth is aesthetic.
This year I purchased a Planet Earth calendar for my office. It wasn't my first choice but I have owned so many calendars over the years that I am running out of themes. One Mary Engelbreit calendar is enough, even if it was eight years ago.
My "house" calendar is Gone With the Wind. Although my Mom hated this movie I LOVE it and I LOVE my calendar. Clark Gable as Rhett Butler is so sexy. I love everything about him and I especially love seeing him everyday in my kitchen. The picture for the month of February is shown above except the calendar includes a quote from the movie.
I love you more than I've loved any woman. I've waited for you more than I've waited for any woman.
So, in celebration of the new month and in recognition of its designation as the month of love I share Rhett's declaration of love with you to enjoy. It may be fictional, but its still beautiful and worth repeating. Happy February everybody!

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