On Prince (1958-2016)

“A strong spirit transcends rules,” Prince said.

 His music was for the nonconformists, the dreamers, the mad poets, the unapologetically funky. The first music I bought with my own money was a Prince cassette tape that I had to keep hidden because my Mama literally did not play that.

Prince’s fight to control his catalog and own his image and presence as TAFKP set the stage for what we know now as intellectual property. He made it ok to be different, to be strange, to be artistic and creative and answer only to the muses in one’s head. I used to not get why people lost it over Elvis and The Beatles. But I’ll admit I felt some type of way when Johnnie Taylor and Luther Vandross died. I got it when Michael and Whitney died. But now I REALLY get it. I wanted to be Appollonia Kotero. I wanted to be Vanity. I would’ve been ok with trading lives with Lisa and Wendy (who played in his band and got to wear awesome pink furs and go on stage when he won an Oscar for Best Original Score in 1984). But I REALLY wanted to be Sheila E. When I was a little girl, I would dance and lip sync to “The Glamorous Life” in my babysitter Laura’s kitchen. I wanted to live that life when I grew up.

When I became an adult I realized that in writing the song, Prince was reflecting “cynicism for the decadence and materialism of the song’s protagonist, referred to in the third person, who “wants to lead a glamorous life, although she is aware that without love, it ain’t much.” (Wikipedia) And in some ways, maybe you get a sense of that on this blog. I could listen to his music–or Whitney’s or Michael’s–and be five, ten, or fifteen years old again.  Yesterday the music died for me.

Maybe I’m not just crying for Prince. Maybe I’m crying for my aunt and my grandmother too, and the many ways in which the familiar, the beautiful, the precious, the irreplaceable and well-loved elements of my life are being erased and eroded. Prince’s music was always part of the soundtrack.

“Until the end of time/I’ll be there 4 U/U own my heart and mind/I truly adore U/If God one day struck me blind/Your beauty I’d still see/Love’s 2 weak 2 define/Just what U mean 2 me…”-Prince/”Adore”

Image via feelnumb.com

 

In which I find my #BestAngle

 

If you have already read this announcement on Facebook or Instagram, I apologize! But I’m so excited to share that I’m in the January issue of Glamour magazine, which is on stands now!

I am so used to writing away behind the camera that it was a shock to be the focus of a camera’s lens. The photographer had to remind me to breathe! It was also a great reminder to always be open to new adventures and to expect wonderful things to happen when you work hard. From the moment I was notified that I’d been chosen, to being picked up by a chauffeur, to the royal treatment I received in NYC – it was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m so grateful to Glamour and Estee Lauder for the opportunity.

Enjoy some of the behind-the-scenes shots from the photo shoot, and stay tuned for more from my first ever trip to the Big Apple! (I took so many photos that it’s taking me a while to weed through them!)

Xo, Alexis

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

Bleu et blanc

My summer style obsession is this simple mix of color and pattern. I can’t decide if it reminds me of the beach, or just my parents’ collection of ginger jars. J. Crew’s striped shift has enough visual interest that  I finally broke down and wore horiziontal stripes!

Simple and chic, no? InStyle definitely agrees, as they dressed July cover girl Zoe Saldana in it also!

Siren London “Bleu de Chine” set, $40
J. Crew Striped Tuxedo shift, $98

ICYMI: Being heart healthy is chic!

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The link to this morning’s appearance on ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama is up; you can view it by clicking HERE.

Would you like to try one of the products I featured from Vinia, Carrington Farms or Medifast this morning? Let me know in the comments section!

As always, thank you for supporting Same Chic Different Day!

XO, Alexis

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