I quit my job to go to graduate school. Here’s how I did it. 

This time last year, I was putting on my crimson Keds and backpack for the first day of graduate school. I promised I’d tell you how I did it.  And I was scared to death.  From hitting the books…to the long commute…to covering the First Lady’s trip to Tuskegee…to SCDD’s shenanigans…to writing like my life depended on it, it was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. THANK YOU for being part of the journey.

Without further ado, click HERE to read about my journey back to ‘Bama.

Xo,

Alexis

Special thanks to Kirsten Fiscus for the Denny Chimes photo.

Luxe for less? Read on!

blackbarbievintage

Elle reports Kim Kardashian spends an estimated $1,700 on her daily makeup routine (including tools).  If you don’t have that kind of cash, there are ways to save on your beauty buys while still pampering yourself!  I find that by shopping in a variety of places, I can be more selective. And saving on certain items leaves you a few more coins to splurge on pricy moisturizer or perfume.

Here are some items straight from my vanity., as shared on Talk of Alabama today: 

  1. KISS “Shy” Lashes, $4.50 at WalGreens: Yes, J. Lo may wear mink lashes, but that doesn’t mean you should. Save by buying these, which even have tapered (vs. blunt) ends, lending to a softer look. These are a great way to make your eyes “pop” during a night out, and are easy to apply. (Incidentally, Elle says KK spends about $2.99 a pair for her lashes.)
  2. Urban Decay “All Nighter” Makeup Setting Spray, $14.00-$30.00 at Ulta: Need your look to last for hours? I swear by this spray, which is oil and paraben free and as stated, “stops makeup meltdown.”  It’s for all skin types, keeps your makeup vibrantand creates smoother-looking skin without settling into fine lines. The travel size is perfect for your purse or vanity case, and smaller sizes keep you from stockpiling more than you need.
  3. Estee Lauder Take it Away Makeup Remover, $28 at department stores: When you’re finally ready to remove your “face,” try this soothing lotion: it removes longwear and waterproof makeup. It has a light citrus scent and leaves skin soft without a greasy residue. I received it as a free gift with purchase: so don’t throw those away! They’re great opportunities to try new products, and again, smaller sizes are easier to try, travel with and toss.
  4. L’Oreal Elnett Extra-Soft Hold Hairspray, $9.99/12.99 at Target: Ladies, if you’re searching for a hairspray that holds in our hot, humid climate, this is one to try.  The smaller size is $9.99, BUT: a little goes a long way and it works! It gives hair high shine and satin finish, minus flaking–and you it doesn’t leave you with super-stiff “helmet hair.” And might I mention, it’s been around for four decades?
  5. C. Booth Mimosa Honeysuckle Shaving Oil, $5.99 at T.J. Maxx/$29.99 at Amazon: Talk about a deal! This oil softens hair, guards against ingrown hairs and enhances razor glide–plus it smells delicious! And a little goes a very long way.  Check the price tag, then head over to TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for deals on major beauty brands.
  6. The Body Shop Honeymania Bath Melt and Exfoliant Creme, $5.99 each at T.J. Maxx/$13-15 each at Amazon: These are full size, super-pampering products also found at TJ Maxx, for $5.99 each. Soak in the Bath Melt bubble bath, exfoliate with the creme (before shaving with #5!) and still have money left in your wallet.

XO, Alexis

Tune in to Talk of Alabama this Thursday!

Toss some sequins and tune in to ABC 33/40 this THURSDAY  (8/13): I’ll be sharing some news you can use during the 9:00 hour! Not in the local viewing area? Try live-streaming it by clicking HERE, or catch the video when it’s posted later by clicking HERE.

Xo,

Alexis

F is for Field Trip

If you haven’t visited the Birmingham Museum of Art, please make your way there. The regular exhibitions are awesome; but I had the privilege of viewing both Black Like Who? and Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College last night. Both are moving exhibits that provide visual, social and cultural commentaries relevant for today.

I can’t remember the last time I walked into a museum and wanted to cry, just because something in the art connected with me so deeply. Okay, I’m a known crier anyway, but the pieces just grab you! Although I’d definitely heard of Hale Woodruff’s murals, nothing prepared me for the beauty, dignity and triumph in the bold paint strokes he used to depict the Amistad case as well as the building of Talladega College.

And as for Black Like Who?, if you don’t walk out seriously contemplating identity and beauty–you may have missed the point totally. The collection includes works by renowned Elizabeth Catlett, as well as two with Alabama roots.

Go. Soak it up. Come out changed. I’m already figuring out when I can go back. The museum has ArtBreaks, lectures and public tours scheduled throughout the month of August. And if you stay for lunch at Oscar’s, attending selected events on certain days will get you a free dessert!

Rising Up closes September 6; Black Like Who? closes November 1. And don’t forget: Art on the Rocks is this Friday!

Photo of mural via the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Instagram account. All other photos taken by AEB.

#WhatIWore: University of Alabama Commencement


So…if you follow me elsewhere then you already know I didn’t wear THIS to graduation. *sadface*

The zipper stuck, and I was so afraid of a wardrobe malfunction that I made a quick decision to wear what you see pictured above. The off-white lace blouse and skirt, with nude lining and exposed back zippers, is by BCBG Max Azria and was purchased at Belk/The Summit. I wore it with nude strappy sandals gifted from my parents, and of course, my mother’s strand of pearls, formerly seen HERE and HERE.

Special thanks go to James Adams, Jr. of Renovare for my hair color, cut and styling, and to Kim Colvin of Kimistry Makeup Lab for makeup artistry. After three months of wearing curls and almost no makeup, seeing myself with straight hair and a show-stopping face was a shock!

Something about the lace and the silhouette were just perfect for me (lace can be tricky to pull off sometimes). It was also very cool, which was very important since we’re in the midst of a sweltering summer. I’m still loving wearing off-white — maybe I’m in a LisaRaye phase! Although I typically refrain from outfit posts, I really felt beautiful on Saturday — and this may sound strange — like every bit of happiness I felt inside showed on the outside. Maybe I’ll begin doing a few more of them?

The Graduate

When I prayed for the strength, courage and faith to get through this year, I had no idea how much more than that I would receive. I only knew I had to change my life, and I have been forever changed just by taking a risk. Now that this phase of the journey is complete, I’m gathering myself to continue to pursue a career in journalism with every tool in my arsenal and every skill I’ve developed at the University of Alabama, its graduate Community Journalism program and The Anniston Star. Thank you for coming along with me, and continue to stay tuned for what’s next. It promises to be a fabulous adventure.

As Nick Saban would say, “This is not the end. It is only the beginning.”

After I recover from the weekend, I’ll have a more detailed post on the past year. I promise. Got a question about what it REALLY takes to pursue your dream? Wondering about what graduate school is like? Nervous about making a big change to improve yourself and need support? Drop me a line and let’s figure it out. Someone helped me, and I’ll be glad to pay it forward.

Roll Tide,

Alexis

 

 
Via my IG buddy @leighannkosmas.

J. Crew invites you…

  …to check out new arrivals tomorrow, July 22! 

#SONSummerCrush: Ringlet realness

  
There used to be a time where I “couldn’t get right” if my hair wasn’t perfectly blown out. Even after I transitioned to natural hair seven years ago, straight hair was my comfort zone. But since this past year has been all about breaking out of it, I decided to force myself to wear my natural, co-washed curls for two and a half months. Even to a job interview!  

It’s led to questions about my ethnicity, as well as some uncomfortable conversations with people who want to touch it, uninvited. But that’s okay.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve worn curly hair to work, on vacation and to formal affairs,  but I always reverted to straight hair, whether worn long and loose, or up in an ponytail or bun. And to be honest, I didn’t alway feels “pretty” with curly hair.  But as Beyoncé says: pretty hurts. My years of addiction to relaxed, flat-ironed and highlighted hair is what made it fall out in chunks to begin with. Now I’m blessed to have a headfirst of tender headed curls that require patient detangling and nurturing products.

It’s funny to me now when people who don’t realize the versatility of natural hair and are surprised to see me with shoulder-length locks.

Love me, love my hair. 
Xo, Alexis

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