Notes from the kitchen

Skillet cornbread batterI bake when I’m homesick.

And especially when I’m missing people I wish I could still see or talk to. My grandmothers both made cornbread so well that I would put in special requests. Good with a glass of tea, a fried chicken thigh, a mess of collard and mustard greens and plenty of butter. Or tonight: a baked pork chop, butter beans simmered in okra and slivers of salted tomato and cucumber.

I find my way back to them in the flavors and aromas they lived with and used to show love every day. Nothing fancy. And often using leftovers: a ham bone saved from a Sunday supper, a thump of bacon drippings, a sliced tomato from the yard. But served with flair on their best linen and tableware, and you felt their care in each mouthful.

If I bake or cook something for you, I care about you. Or I know you are experiencing and feeling something I have felt acutely: Loss, and longing. And so I feed you to fill that emptiness, even temporarily.

Next week: seafood gumbo.

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Lex and the City

T-shirt, skirt and bracelets: J. Crew | Eyewear: Aldo | Shoes: Steve Madden

This outfit is…well, it’s probably the one that best captures my love of color, pattern, sparkle, leopard print, comfort, vintage and whimsy all in one look. Those are all elements that make up my approach to getting dressed every day no matter what’s on my agenda, although I rarely wear all these elements at once. Most days, my outfits are a reflection of my personality.

This look is also a take on Carrie Bradshaw, the lovelorn writer-heroine of Sex and the City. Although Carrie and I differ in many ways, we essentially are people who are trying to tell stories and dress fabulously while living and loving fearlessly.

Fear. It’s one of the F-words that has shaken my world this year…along with another F-word: failure. At many turns I’ve felt deeply afraid, or as though no matter how hard I work or how hard I try, I’m failing someone or something, somewhere. What has helped me to readjust my thinking is learning to practice radical FAITH and FORGIVENESS to help me keep moving FORWARD. And those are the only F-words that count.

I loved posing for this shoot with Becca Bell of Birmingham’s 2b Photography. Talk about fearless: she runs a thriving creative business in addition to being a wife and mom. (Check out her work here.) She helped coax something out of me that’s been lying dormant, something fierce. (And there’s another positive F-word for you.)

Stay tuned.

Xo,

Alexis

Made in the Shade

T-shirt, skirt, sunglasses and bracelets: J.Crew | Clutch: Clare Vivier

Shoes: Steve Madden

Rarely do I buy an outfit exactly as it is displayed on a mannequin or in a catalog, but when I saw this look at J. Crew a while back, it was “me” from top to bottom. I love to mix casual and super dressy pieces, and I also love neutrals. Need I also mention I’ve been collecting cheeky graphic tees since middle school?

Throw a pair of hoops, a bit of fierce animal print and some “barely there” heels (which I’m obsessed with!) in the mix and this is textbook Alexis.

If I’m being honest: my outfits are my way of expressing my feelings. My clothes are my armor. And if I look good, I tend to feel better. I stand taller. It’s that little boost that gives me the motivation to attack the day with my head high. This post is for all the other up and comers fighting battles daily for equal pay, for better opportunities and for the love and light they deserve.

Xo, Alexis

Thank you, Birmingham Magazine!

 

 

I’ve answered phones, I’ve cleaned offices and I’ve been made to count pencils (yes, really). I’ve been counted out, overlooked, laughed at and rejected more times than I can count. I very nearly flunked out of college. I’ve doubted myself. I’ve felt invisible. I’ve been underestimated, undermined, underpaid, overlooked and overworked. In spite of that I’ve worked my narrow behind off, and I never let other people’s issues and “-isms” determine my self-worth. I’ve delivered under pressure that has seemed insurmountable, and performed when my heart wanted to give up. But I’m still standing. And I know I’m not alone.

I’m honest about my journey because I’m grateful for it. If I can make it, God knows you can, too.

I am still overwhelmed from yesterday’s Top Influencers Under 40 luncheon! Birmingham Magazine made it a beautiful day for us at the City Club.

And Rent The Runway really came through in a pinch. I’ve lost so much weight that most of my clothes don’t fit, and I literally had nothing to wear! Having been through several physical changes over the last couple of months, RTR, Kim Colvin and James Adams, Jr. all helped me look my best.

It meant so very much to me to not only be in the room, but to have my mother beside me and to celebrate so many other amazing people, including one of my best friends!

Congratulations to all the honorees!

A.

Sunday Funday 

 

THE DETAILS: Earrings (sold out) & Tie-shoulder eyelet blouse by J.Crew  // “Gretel” slide by Ann Taylor  // Denim by AEO (old) //”Bien Fait” scarf by Madewell (old) // Japanese picnic basket, vintage from 5th Avenue Antiques

I generally hate taking photographs. It’s why you don’t often see “outfit of the day” posts here or on Instagram. I’ve also been reluctant to do them because this blog is to inspire you to reassess your own style, not necessarily to get you to buy what I’m wearing or to dress just like me.

But.

How do you know I practice what I preach? That I take risks, that I shop EVERYWHERE, that I mix high and low and vintage and that I love matchy-matchy looks? That I sometimes get it wrong, but when I get it right…it’s magic?

So.

Enjoy this post.

This is the perfect “Sunday Funday” look for me: broken-in jeans that I love and should’ve bought 6 pairs of, an eyelet blouse (easy to dress up or down) and comfy but chic flats. My clutch is one that is super popular right now. Cult Gaia makes an “Ark” bag that is absolutely breathtaking (I want the black acrylic, pink acrylic and mother-of-pearl!), but I found this one at 5th Avenue Antiques for $16!

XO, Alexis

Photography: Lexicon Creative 

 

Live, Love, Learn and Lean On…

“There is no door you don’t deserve to walk through, no room you don’t deserve to be in, and no table you don’t deserve an invitation to…”-MCB #OwnIt

I leaned on my mother’s advice once again and it took me all the way back to my alma mater (again). This past Saturday I had the privilege of presenting a seminar on dressing for success at The University of Alabama to women of all ages at Lean On: Alabama‘s inaugural conference. I invited the guests into my “closet,” so to speak. No slides, no rehearsed speech, just speaking “from the hip” and from the heart. (Enjoy the “behind the scenes” photos!)

You never know when your invitation to a seat at the table will arrive, but if you “stay ready” you don’t have to “get ready.”

Does your organization need a professional presenter who can speak relevantly to the art of style and dressing for true success? I’ve provided dynamic, memorable presentations for nonprofits, community organizations, top tier universities and major corporations, and can connect with groups of five to five hundred (and beyond). Book me!

The pleasure of your company is requested…

My mind is on entertaining with both ease and style today. So many women in my life are effortlessly hospitable–making Sunday dinner or the “everyday” feel like a special occasion–and it’s something I try to continue in my own way.

Have we gotten too comfortable? Is it still important to know how to receive company at home, and not just be good company at someone else’s? Maybe I’m a throwback, but I think these concepts matter…

Image via icollector.com

European Wax Center to open in Birmingham

european-wax-center_logoY’all. I would say words can’t express how excited I am about this, but that’s not quite true and here we are with today’s post. Since I gave tips on not shaving last month, I thought I’d go in the totally opposite direction this time for those of us are into personal grooming.

When I was in New York last year, I was dying to visit the European Wax Center in Times Square but didn’t have enough time. Other friends have shared with me how professional the staff is, how professional the environment is, and how painless the process is–all things that are important to me. European Wax Center uses a stripless waxing method, which is said to be less painful and to remove more hair at a time.

I guess good things come to those who wait, because Fortunately, European Wax Center is now opening its first location in Birmingham (Tuscaloosa has one).  The new salon will be located in the Greystone area at The Village at Lee Branch Shopping Center on Highway 280 and Doug Baker Boulevard.  Ahead of its grand opening, a  Preview Week is planned in early to mid January. During the Preview Week, guests are invited to register to receive any of European Wax Center’s body or facial waxing services complimentary. To register, click HERE.

If you’re not in Birmingham but want to try European Wax Center at another existing location, you can still sign up to experience your first wax (brow, bikini line or underarm for ladies and ear, nose or brows for gentlemen) for free. In addition, European Wax Center offers Wax Passes for unlimited waxing, students and pre-paid services that generally include a few additional services thrown in for free. Packages can even be paid for in installments.

To sign up for the complimentary Preview Week offer, register HERE. And stay tuned for more details via EWC’s Facebook page, and yes–thoughts on my first experience!

(This is not a sponsored post, and I don’t receive anything if you sign up, get a free wax or buy a service or package. I just believe sharing is caring, and this is a potentially amazing service.)

Image via European Wax Center

It’s No Shave November!


And we’ve got tips and giveaways to help you or your favorite gentleman keep it Chic…stay tuned!

Image via 99centrazor.com

ICYMI: Talk of Alabama

I had a fantastic time sharing tips and products from Macy’s Hotel Collection, Ten Thousand Villages, Krups at Bed Bath & Beyond and Eclipse at Walmart!

Check out the segment by clicking here. 

Image courtesy Stanley Parrish, Jr.

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