Archive for October, 2013

PostHeaderIcon My favorite married couple / “To know them is to love them”

By Vernalee

365px-Jumping_the_Broom2011

With sagacious wisdom, she told me, “Whatever it took to get him, it will take the same things to keep him.” No wonder her daughter- in- law said, “He (her hubby) looks at her like a sizzling steak!” Yummy! Alright, women listen up; take heed; keep it together for your man!

If there was a marriage made in heaven, I am sure that this husband and wife (my favorite married couple) are wearing halos. Married almost 50 years, I admire them individually and collectively. More importantly, they admire each other. Their love radiates in your presence. It has a life of its own. They are indelibly strong in their love for each other. Even Superman’s kryptonite could not weaken them.

There are so many attributes that I love about them that it is hard to enumerate them all. I truly believe that they celebrate Valentine’s Day every day. They shower each other with love on a daily basis. Their spoken words even have a majestic ring. Until I observed their consistent enamored conduct, I had never witnessed a continuum of love and affection like this before. In fact, I thought that it did not exist to that magnitude. What they have is remarkably unbelievable! Of course, their abundant outpouring of endearment is spellbinding; it is like a never ending love story. They make Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet look like neophytes!

Because of their smoothness, I wondered if they had arguments, but I remembered my Mother’s famous words, “It takes two to argue. If you keep your mouth closed, listen, and let the other party talk; you will never be in an argument.” How true! Maybe, they heard my wise Mother too! They are incredibly harmonious. All matters can be worked out with a conciliatory spirit and demeanor. They know this better than me; they are masters of the game.

If you don’t believe the magic that they share, take a stroll with me as we observe their lives.
Speaking of fulfillment, they enjoy themselves. One of their favorite pastimes is dancing. Their dance precision is as crisp as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Their feet effortlessly glide across the dance floor as they “boogie woogie” the night away. Their awe-inspiring togetherness does not stop there.

I suspect that Patrick and Gina Neely might become a tad bit jealous when they see them cook together. Since they can effortlessly “cook up a storm,” they would be the Neely’s match if the Food Network ever invited in married cooks who can synchronize their showmanship. I have seen them prepare dishes together with seamless integration. Speaking of “sugar and spice and everything nice,” their scrumptious meals taste like the sweetness that they exude. You can gain a pound just watching them toss the salad. When you are their dinner guests, they are so majestic and naturally kind in their speech and treatment toward each other and to you that you feel as though you are dining in Buckingham Palace. Oh my word!

Their conversations are amazing. Not only do they finish each other sentences, they are graciously considerate of each other. I once told them that they remind me of a mature version of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama by their conduct and appearance. How’s that for being Presidential! What a vision!

Regularly, I seek her advice. Her wisdom and guidance have tremendously helped me take educated, informed steps. My friends want to get in on the program and claim her as their own. Giggling, I routinely tell them, “You can reach out to her; I will share her for a day, but she belongs to me!” I am so possessive! She is amazing; a big sister, a counselor, a spiritual woman, a role model …all rolled up into one intelligent being. I have often pondered how so many positive attributes can be packaged in one person. Just wait until you meet her and you will see what I mean.

I could talk about her and the two of them (she and her hubby) all day and night. There isn’t enough room on your computer screen even though it has infinite capacity. Their splendor will make you desire and search for a mate who possesses similar unselfish traits. You may be even tempted to “jump the broom.” You get the picture! Right?

Photo Reprint: www.commons.wikimedia.com

PostHeaderIcon The Queen and me

By Vernalee
ebony.com

Aretha Franklin doesn’t know me from Adam’s house cat. I have waved to her countless times and looked her straight in the eye on many occasions as she performed. I was once so close to her in the audience that she could have sat in my lap. She and I have had so many good times together despite the fact that we have never physically met. However, we know each other well philosophically in the spirit, if not in the flesh. We have grown up together though miles apart. I regard her as a very close friend. My, oh my, how we have shared experiences that only she could sing about. As I am an aficionado and know the lyrics to all of her songs, word by word, I can eloquently and emotionally hum with Aretha.

Music is a universal connector to our emotions. For sure, it has transformation powers. I will never forget the day that I placed Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits in my car as I pulled out of the garage. Listening to her CD’s can be intoxicating even when you are a non-drinker like me. By the time I arrived at my destination about 30 minutes later, I had gone through several emotional phases. I felt the sensitivities that Aretha sang about as she melodically belted out “Chain of fools, Respect, Ain’t never loved a man, Do Right Man, Bridge over troubled waters, Don’t play that song for me, and Ain’t no way” in her never to be duplicated angelic voice. Admittedly I am musically prejudiced, but nobody can sing about life, relationships, and the power of love like Aretha. She can really stir you up! Proving it was more than an idiomatic coincidence, when I reached my destination, clearly I was an emotional wreck after having experienced several mood swings. It took me about 15 minutes to compose myself. What an effect her songs had on me that day!

Without question, Aretha’s velvety voice has an incredible octave of ranges. The range of the emotions that she sings about extends just as high as the notes that she can hit. Many women have felt the intensity of her voice encapsulated in their emotional souls as they have experienced similar feelings – some concealed; others revealed. Emotions ranging from being deeply in love to a fool in love; from having a man that logic told you was an unwise choice, a man that you could not turn a loose to courageously leaving him like a thief in the night; from being a weak woman to one who demanded the utmost respect! Aretha’s songs cover a myriad of emotions that she has undoubtedly felt, experienced, and was audacious enough to sing. Love and the pain of hurt can make one do that. Wasn’t it B. B. King who bellowed, “he lives the life he sings about in his song?” Many songs are often merely life experiences set to music.

Singers, like Aretha Franklin (excuse me Aretha), as I have been on a first name basis with her for over 40 years – sing the life that they live or have seen others live. For certain, her songs have touched upon many of my emotions. In spite of it all, I have felt relieved and rejuvenated through her music. Sometimes, it is refreshing to know that you are not alone; that someone else has felt what you felt particularly when you thought otherwise. To know that others have been young fools, middle age fools, and in some rare cases old fools is not necessarily consoling, but it is a fact of life. Recognizing that others have endured pain and came out better in the exit than the entrance provides a therapeutic reassurance. Surely, there is nothing new under the sun!

Many of Aretha’s songs taught me lessons as they laid out a recovery roadmap. She is unequivocally the Queen of soul and has been crowned such. She can magnificently sing her innate gospel and make the baby grand piano majestically walk across the stage before coming back to her so that she can rhythmically touch the ebony and ivory keys. Lest not forget when she spontaneously filled in for Luciano Pavarotti singing the operatic favorite, “Nessun Dorma.” What a natural resource, she is!

My daughter once said “Beyonce is my girl, just as Aretha is yours.” Each generation has their loves; their favorites. Aretha is definitely mine! It’s amazing how close we feel to singers who have brought us through so much heartache as well as pleasure. They can make us cry, laugh, smile, fight, dance, forgive, forget, pray, reminisce…need I say more! That is what songs do as singers and songwriters put their lives – and ours – to music.

Photo Reprint: www.ebony.com

PostHeaderIcon Roll call / Get your spiritual house in order

By Vernalee
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When I left my Mississippi home in my twenties to explore career opportunities, I excitedly eloped from the cotton fields and the country landscape to the skyscrapers, bright lights / big city surroundings. My résumé was figuratively glued to my hand; ready to be presented in a jack flash minute. I was as thrilled about the geographical change as I was about the career opportunities. As I pondered what position would be worthy of my talents, I couldn’t wait to establish roots.

My Mother was eager for me to be a productive contributor to my life’s expenses as well. Encouraging me to explore the secular world, she gave me stimulating, unforgettable admonition on another front. “Make sure that you join church up there. Everybody needs their name on a church’s roll.”

After I became a productive member of the work force, she routinely reminded me of her spiritual advice. “If you can get up and go to your workplace five days a week, it would be sinful to sleep in on Sundays. Get up and go into the house of the Lord. Child, I don’t want to get to Heaven and not see you there!”

Thank you Momma for annoying me! You definitely made me a better person in so many areas. I joined church in Cleveland, Ohio and I am there (God willing) every Sunday just like you taught me.

Unbeknownst to me, I found myself providing the same admonition to my children. Distinctively in 2002, before returning to Cleveland, I remember telling my daughter when I dropped her off at college in Atlanta, “Remember what I taught you. Do the same things here that you did at home. You went to church at home, do the same here.” My daughter joined church in Atlanta; she attended religiously. Recognizably similar, those were the same words that my Mother told me; just uttered differently. Wow! We do become our Mothers, don’t we?

Photo Reprint: Bethlehem No. 2 MB Church, Shaw, Mississippi; Photographer – Tom Rankin.

PostHeaderIcon Reinventing yourself / It’s never too late!

By Vernalee
JAYZ

“If you’re successful doing one thing, you tend to say, ‘I want to stay here.’” Jay Z

My career exploration has extended from Marketing to Human Resources to Entrepreneurship. I have explored Entrepreneurism in retail, geotechnical testing, marketing / management consulting; now, journalism. I have tried a little bit of this; a little bit of that; jack of all trades, master of some. “Know a little bit about a lot instead of a lot about a little” has always been my motto. I can definitely rise to the occasion.

Now, I have found my purpose and passion, I am doing it now. I am writing. I love every minute of it. I have found something that I love. I can’t wait to start putting my words on paper. It is as natural as breathing air; I don’t feel like I am working at all. “When you do what you like, you never work a day in your life,” according to the wise Confucius.

I am on my journey of being a published author; a prolific writer at that. I can use every waking moment putting my thoughts on paper and perfecting my talent. By some standards, I am a later bloomer. I say to them, “better late than never.” What matters is that I am doing what I love now at this very second. My fingers are doing the walking as they glide my thoughts across my laptop keyboard. “Success,” Jay Z admits “can make you afraid to try something new.” Initially, I had my reservations too, but I remembered the words of my favorite life coach, Dr. Maya Angelou, “Nothing works unless you do.”
Reinventing oneself is not a bad thing regardless of your age. “You have nothing to fear but fear itself.” I say to all, “Make your change; do it now.” I did and it is the best move that I have made professionally! In my new journey of writing, I am loving every word!

Photo Reprint: www.Hiphoparchive.org

PostHeaderIcon My brother’s ex-girlfriend wants me to be in her wedding / A bittersweet moment

By Vernalee (As told by my daughter)
imagesCARSZCRZ merchantcircle.com black bride photo
About 15 years ago, my brother started seriously dating this girl. She was with him incessantly, 24 / 7. They became as “thick as thieves.” In hindsight, I believe that I was jealous. Being that he was 8 years older than me; I was always his little girl. Now, this intruder was in our midst. I always boasted to my friends that I had two Daddies, my biological Father and my big Brother!

A big brother has its pros and cons. I am glad that my Mother only had two children; one of each gender. I probably would have been miserable with an older sister. Although my brother regularly got on my nerves, we were not in each other’s space. He and I share so many wonderful childhood memories. One of my fondest was my 12th birthday hotel party. I begged and conned my Mother to go home and rest her weary soul so that my 20 year old brother and his best guy friend could chaperone my six girlfriends and me. Mommy bought my trickery. The minute she walked out, I shouted, “Let’s get the party started!” My brother let us pillow fight, go the mall, eat at McDonald’s and stay up all night. He was not “stiff” like Mommy or a disciplinarian. We had freedom! Sorry Mommy!

It was around that time that he met his true love. She was shorter, but the
same size as me. That became a problem once they got “tight,” because she could wear my clothes. After she and my brother became an item, she wanted to carry my purses and stuff. A few times, she did not seek my permission. Taking up all of my brother’s time and wearing my clothes, it was too much! What was she trying to do? I just wanted to scream and I did! It wasn’t long before she and I began to argue like cats and dogs.

For the first time, my immature brother acted like a grown up. Go figure! He called a meeting. I will never forget it because I was shocked at how he exercised control. “You both are my girls; love you both; but you got to get along.” Did those words come out of his mouth? Surprisingly, they did. Had I not been an eyewitness to his testimony, I would have not believed that he had a Confucius bone in his body. He didn’t take sides, but demanded that she and I get it together. Unbelievable!

Then my only nephew, my heart, the apple of my eye, my King was born! My brother’s girlfriend suddenly became my sister. Miracles do happen! She was forgiven for all of her previous transgressions. Babies do that. Years later, despite their regrettable breakup, we have maintained a sisterly closeness. We had an eternal bond – her son, my adorable nephew!

Now, she is engaged. I was one of the first people to which she sent a photo of her ring. She was getting married. I was happy for her; ecstatic in fact. Then a bittersweet moment entered my presence. Strangely, I secretly wanted her and my brother to magically reunite. This time, it was a miracle that wouldn’t happen and I knew that, but I can dream the impossible; it eased my mind.
Next, unprepared, I heard her “stop me cold in my tracks” request, “I want you to be a bridesmaid.” As I always do, I immediately called Mommy Dearest. “What should I do? I love her, but I can’t be disloyal to my brother. I can’t make him feel uncomfortable.” “Talk to him. Get your Grannies’ opinion,” were my initial words. As for me, I am happy if she is happy. I consider her a surrogate daughter and love her dearly. I want the best for her and my Grandson. Children fare better with happy parents, particularly their Mother.

Sometimes, you have to make difficult choices. Sometimes, you have to make unpopular decisions. At all times, you must follow your heart and ask God to order your steps. I believe in the unity of family. I later provided this advice to my daughter, “Talk to your brother. Consider his thoughts and feelings. At the end of the day, the same blood runs through your and his veins. Remember that! Through thick and thin, you will always be sister and brother. Do the right thing that will keep you and him in love with each other! The bride will understand and respect your decision that you have to live with.”

Photo Reprint: www.merchantcircle.com

PostHeaderIcon Marital vows / Take them seriously

By Vernalee
bth_the-vows photobucket

“I,_______take you ____________to be my __________, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; for this day forward until death do us part.”

Most of you in my reading audience have heard these sacrosanct vows. If you are married, or have been married, you have recited them or something similar. Many of us know the words by memory. Often times after the wedding ceremony, we don’t think of the words, they resonant into oblivion.
But those revered vows, though they are simple statements carry a powerful and meaningful message. The execution starts immediately after they are uttered. These simple words are in effect contractual covenants that bind a couple’s love.

One of my best girlfriends is confronted with the testing of her marital vows now. “In sickness and in health” is the section that she is experiencing. Around the time that she turned 50, she and her hubby were on vacation on one of the islands. While there, he fell. It was a fall that had a pronouncement of other maladies to follow. Now, several years later, he has been diagnosed with a debilitating ailment. Once a very active man, he is now unable to mobilize himself as he had previously done. Then, the devastating blow came; he was no longer permitted to drive. That prohibition stripped him of his total independence. He became dependent upon others for his mobility.
Thus, all the responsibility of driving, taking him places, picking up needed household items and the like were transferred to his wife. Slowly, but surely, her responsibilities increased. He lost his maneuverability; she acquired the responsibilities that he once maintained.

Symbolically, her life had become like Atlas, because truly the weight of their collective world now rested on her shoulders. Imagine holding up your and his world on your shoulders! The weight gets heavy. In fact, it can wear you down.
When you have a spouse, you share all things proportionally in good times and in bad. The test always provides the testimony; it separates the wheat from the chaff. My friend “took to heart” her marital vows. She was and is obedient to the words that she stood before God, her family, her church, and her pastor and repeated as she and her husband respectively confessed their love to each other. Now, those marital vows are being put to the test. “In sickness and in health,” she remains attentively committed.

Photo Reprint: www.photobucket.com

PostHeaderIcon No Fireworks downunder / Impotence and erectile dysfunction have arrived

By Vernalee
30955190_1017usadisplay fireworks

THE SUBSIDING EXPLOSION:

Fourth of July! Kaboom! Snap, crackle, pop! Look at the explosion in the blue atmosphere!

Everyone loves to look at fireworks. The picturesque creation in the air, the buzzing sounds, and the excitement leave you desirous to see the fanciful artwork globally created from a small cherry bomb. It spreads like wildfire and magnificently lights up the sky to the Heavens.

Fireworks and sex have so much in common; more than you think in fact.
Fireworks can be sexy. Sex can produce figurative fireworks of excitement. Fireworks burst in thin air; sex bursts inside. Fireworks generate colorful renditions on the ground or in the air; sex creates orgasmic explosions. Fireworks grow bigger and bigger as they explode; sex grows into embryonic pleasures that we call babies. Fireworks are for everyone to see; sex is a private affair of intimacy desiring not to be publicly viewed lest than a freak show. The comparisons and artistic similarities can go on for days, but you get the point, I am sure!

What is a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks? Some may say boring, as the colorful firework demonstrations are an annual tradition as one views its magnificent sparky demonstrations and shootings in the sky. When there is no sex, there is no fireworks; no explosions. Like a defective firecracker, your lack of intimacy has no splash; it becomes boring. What do you do? Can excitement be conjured up when sex has lost its explosiveness and becomes lackluster? Will B.B King’s rendition of “The Thrill is Gone” become the verses that are sung or will it be a more upbeat festive tune?

Some men deal with signs of losing their sexual spunk like a prize fighter in the ring determined to be victorious in the bedroom. They will knock the day lights out of impotence and sluggish sex drives by substituting Viagra, Cialis, sex pumps, sexually explicit / pornographic movies, vitamins or other sexual stimulants. Next, cometh the sexual toys, experimentation with unbelievable foreplay, and demonstrations of every romantic move in the book to restore his once vivacious teenage sex drive. Speaking of a modern era Jack LaLanne! You can’t blame a guy for pulling out all the stops to sexually please his woman; in the process he becomes satisfied himself. What a selfish devil! Once the smarty pants realize that he can create bountiful excitement and please his mate beyond mere penetration; the sky is the limit. Accordingly, his mate loves him for his herculean efforts. Oh my! The two explode in sexual ecstasy together. Together, they explore new horizons and adventures in sexual excitement. The man who is willing to reinvent his sexual life deserves a thunderous applause.

Now, let’s address the “push it under the rug” man. The irony occurs when he attempts to disguise, hide, or ignore his condition. How can he hide or run away from a condition that he and his lady know exist. What a mockery! He cannot hide his impotence not even from himself! We realize that many men are embarrassed to admit, accept, or even talk about this sensitive issue. It is a mental, psychological, and physical “beat down” to his ego, manhood and pride. A male’s identity is captured and defined by that organ that hangs between his legs. Smart men seek medical advice and treatment. Since our culture has further defined a man, in part, by his ability to use his ding dong, is a man really a man without the ability to have sex? Let’s face it. Are they vacating their stud muffin role?
The issue can become more complicated. What if impotence hits him in his prime; in his 30’s, 40’s or 50’s? Not being able to have an erection, and losing steam quickly are derivative forms of impotence. He knows if his tire is flat; the obviousness is within eyesight. If he refuses to blow it up, he is soft and deflated; his woman is left – on empty and unsatisfied. So much for metaphorical references to cars for this is real! For those males seeking Oscar nominations, the acting continues as he seeks to camouflage, avoid, or fool his female paramour. In all candor, he ends up fooling himself. A laughing stock, he becomes. The best void of debauchery is when he avoids relevant social contact, (evening hours, spending the night) that would be conducive to intimacy encounters. Just pull her up to the front door and drive off in the sunset. What was he thinking? When men assume that women are unaware of what they are doing or contemplating, woe to them. How dumb! We can connect the dots. Haven’t they heard of women intuition, the sixth sense of a woman? Have they forgotten that women raise their sons and are all too familiar? Deception is irking!

A complete flabbergast is the understanding woman who cares deeply for him and has been by his side willing to accept his lack of performance. Why? It’s simple; she cares! She is not only ignored; her feelings are tossed out of the window. Because of her emotional attachment to him, her compassion makes her sympathetic. She recognizes the medical implications, complications, causes, and side effects of it all! Yet, she becomes the doormat for his debauchery. The impotent shortcomings are one thing; the game playing is another. How about that for inconsideration?

“BODY TALKS:”

It is amazing how marvelously our bodies are designed! When men slow down, many women are in their peak sexual season. A male friend once said, “The good Lord purposely slowed down man. Had he not, there would be 60, 70, and 80 year old lads causing horrendous sexual havoc. The world would have a mess on its hands.” The less men have to offer; the more we as women want. It never fails! Their weakened stamina does not lessen a woman’s desire to be touched, held, stimulated, and fulfilled. Sad, but true! In this case, less is not more. A sexually unsatisfied woman can be a dangerous specimen particularly when mixed with a dose of a man who ignorantly submerges his intimacy issues while simultaneously ignoring her desires and her love. Sex is a fundamental component of a loving relationship; a natural extension of life. The lack of it breeds chaos. It is a known fact that men cheat to satisfy their sexual appetite. What is the woman’s recourse? Does she find a satisfier? Women can be bubbly and energetically filled with the same outreaches. I don’t mean to be vulgar, but please understand. Our intensity, desire, and sexual vibrancy didn’t leave when his hardness escaped him. When his soft penis cannot enter, move around, or stimulate the sugar walls of a vagina, it is not the woman’s problem, it is his!

Sexually, we women can become as hot as boiling water, 212 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. Our internal fireworks are always in explosive mode. We just have to get our guys to the same spot that we are. Either they can cool us down or we can heat them up. For those women who are so willing to assist a man whose impotence has ripped him at the seams, the two can become a team. For those guys who ignore the situation, it’s hard to predict the outcome. Unfortunately, the impotence problem does not go away, but he can change his modus operandi; his views, his actions. With love, caring, and understanding, she can meet him half way. “Together they stand; divided they fall.”
For those pretentious guys…hey dude, open your eyes to view a loving, Tammy Wynette, “stand by her man” type of woman. See her integrity. Don’t be blind; don’t be unappreciative. You could have a woman with opposite traits. A man with lessen sexual capacities can be bamboozled to shame if his sexual partner reveals his deficiencies. Oh my, pray that she doesn’t broadcast your shortcomings! The helping hands of an understanding woman opened to experimentation, what a blessing, she is. She will not throw her man out with the bath water because he cannot satisfactorily perform. Because of her compassion, she will not abandon her man and leave him on the side of the road even though he has a flat tire or more accurately stated – a deflated penis.
This topic of impotence is the most delicate of the delicacies. However, there comes a time when it is necessary to break the silence and stop dancing around the issues. He has to reboot; so that he can put his boots under his woman’s bed! She deserves full compensation and rendering of his services too!

Bottom line: The results rest with him and what he does. Who can judge his performance, better than his mate? He can improvise his sexual routines and spruce up his creativity to produce effectiveness. The outcome is in his hands, his heart, his soul, and his penis, to be politely blunt. Be it either positive, negative, or in between. He has to stand up and be a man! His age and maturity will show in his deliverables. She and he will feel the effects on the bed sheets. Hopefully, all can be tucked and kept behind closed doors in their sanctuary. If the two of them can experience their sexual utopia together, progress has been made; the door can be swung opened until the next time; the next romantic adventure. A life in sexual paradise awaits them.

This subject of impotence (unlike the spontaneous man that is called “quick draw McGraw, wham bam thank you ma’am”) – simply could not be said in a jack flash minute. Impotence is a highly sensitive, private subject that a loving, conscientious woman rarely discusses because she doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of her man. She cares too much for him than to embarrass him. When and if he recognizes the depth of her emotions, he will understand that she is suffering too!
Men, do know that women, without spilling the beans, discuss sex as much as guys. Although impotence and erectile dysfunction are extremely delicate and sensitive matters, a concerned man would rather have his mate find solace and ask questions of him than discuss the issues with a male colleague.
Remember, “Coming together is a beginning; working together is progress.” A loving woman and man coming together and working together make a loving couple. With love, caring, and understanding, all can be conquered.

Photo Reprint: Don Northrup USA Display

PostHeaderIcon I received a cosmetics makeover and an unforgettable story at the same time

By Vernalee
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I wear very little makeup. My Mother taught us early on to let our natural skin glow and to wash our face with a white towel using room temperature water, and no soap. Moisturizer was essential. Graduating from Noxzema, Momma is now an Oil of Olay and Pond’s user. Approaching 90, her skin is flawless and as “smooth as a baby’s ass.” Sorry Momma for the comparison; I am just trying to make a visual point. If this quoted expression magically jumps off the page and turns into words of wrath and chastisement from her; it’s my fault. Woe to me!

Anyway, I have a couple of girlfriends who could be professional makeup artists to the stars! They are just that good. My girls can blend the foundation; highlight the cheek bones with rouge; make your eyes eye-catching with combined colors of eye shadow and liner; and create thick lashes as they swirled the mascara brush. For the finishing touches, they round out the lips with a pencil liner and colorful lipstick making them deliciously inviting. Wow! I always solicit their help particularly for those special occasions. If anyone can make you look glamorous, my girls can!

Passing time one day, I stopped in Nordstrom’s. A Fashion Fair makeup artist asked me if she could “make me up.” “Sure, why not!” I answered. Normally, I pass on those offers, but on that day, I was carefree and agreed to the cosmetics makeover session. What the heck! Do know that I am and have used Fashion Fair moisturizer for years. I swear on their hypoallergenic products.

The cosmetic specialist transformed me. “I kid you not!” The blending of products that she applied wiped off twenty years! She accentuated features that I never knew I had. I couldn’t believe my own eyes! Poised to maintain that look, I purchased the lipsticks, concealer and its accompanying brush. Although I am yet to achieve the special effects that she created, I was glamorized to look as if I was in my late 30’s at least for that day. That makeup definitely gave me a new face!

The makeup artist gave me so much more. We started talking about our roots and immediately discovered that we both were Mississippians; she from Tchula, and me from Glen Allan. As we chatted, I told her that I was writing a book. She replied, “Have I got a story to tell you;” and she did. Her story was just as eye opening as her makeup applications. Erin had been a foster child. Her Father shot and killed her Mother before turning the gun on himself. She and her little brother lost both parents and went from “pillar to post” as they traveled from one relative to the other for survival and care. What a traumatic situation! My heart bled for her. Recalling that story was a flashback for her. I am positive that the spirit led us to each other. Our discussions were like two old friends. Through it all, she and her brother made it! A heart wrenching story like this makes you realize that your problems are minuscule.

Afterwards, we embraced and she said to me, “When you release your book, I will be there to do your makeup.” I replied, “Erin, not only will you be there, you will be on the first row! You are an author; you have written your story through your testimony!”

Photo Reprint: www.newbeauty.com

PostHeaderIcon Be nicely dressed on all occasions or you might get caught off guard

By Vernalee
GMI_Fall_2013_Cover expressurway@comcast.net

Alright ladies…you do not have to wear your Sunday’s finest every time you walk out your door, but it is advisable to be presentable. Your attire could be a nice pair of jeans, a casual top, and tennis shoes. A suitable look is the goal. My Mother always taught us to never wear hair rollers anywhere but in the house. Wearing clean underwear with no holes was another one of her pet peeves. (Of course, no one would be able to see underneath, but I had to comply with my Momma’s wishes).

It never fails that when we are lackadaisical with our appearance, we invariably will see someone that we did not want to see us. We get caught not looking our best. It happens when you least expect.

To demonstrate what I mean, let me play back a scene that just occurred with one of my girlfriends. Traveling with her parents, she walked into a downtown Marriott Hotel. Haven driven several hundred miles that day, they were resting there for the night before continuing their trip. In she walks into the lobby. Tired, no makeup, sporting an old jogging suit and a baseball cap (since she had not combed her hair), she was looking pretty rugged. Expecting to quickly check in, lay her weary body down, and get some much needed “shut eye,” instead she looked eyeball to eyeball in the face of a guy that she had been dreaming about. Coincidentally, he was freelancing that weekend at the hotel doing private duty work. The two of them had met a few months earlier. She was mesmerized by his handsomeness and his muscular body. He was a Laz Alonzo and a Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) type of man all wrapped up in one. What a combination; what a man! He is exactly the man that you don’t want in your visible range when you are inappropriately dressed or looking your worst.

She had been talking about this guy since they first met. They had casually chatted a few times in the interim with subtle hints of getting together. Out of all the people in the world that she could have run into, why him; today of all days!

Surprised to see him, her appearance by her own admission was definitely repugnant. If she could have done so, she would have dashed into the hallway and hid, but it was too late. She couldn’t escape or ignore him; he had already spotted her. They exchanged pleasantries. It was the ideal conversation paired with the wrong circumstance. After dragging herself upstairs with a humiliated mindset, she called me in tears. “I almost passed out when I saw him. This is unbelievable. Why do we see those men that we want to look our best for on days that we are dressed our worst?” were her expressed thoughts. Southern folks always said, “Don’t get caught with your pants down.” That saying was much too late for my girlfriend. The damage had been done. Of course, she would have rather appeared like the glamorous Cinderella at the ball; not the scruffy Cinderella as the clock was chiming at midnight. Though she was not dressed in tattered apparel, she had a Raggedy Ann appearance.

I tried to console and reassure her to little results. “Anyone can be caught off guard. It may not be as bad as you think,” was my two cents for what it was worth. Of course, my words were of minimal consolation. The question remains if her desired beau saw her physical striking beauty hidden underneath her clothing. Maybe, he also caught a glimpse of her beautiful personality! If he shows up at her door with a glass slipper, we will know that he recognized her internal wealth and discounted her appearance as an “off day.” Let’s hope that he rings her doorbell!

Photo Reprint:ExpressUrWay

PostHeaderIcon Weight and see: Shopping in the fat lady stores

By Vernalee
Lane_Bryant_shop_Pittsfield_Township

I confess! I had promised myself that I would never step a foot in the designated fat lady stores. To appease my conscientious thinking so as not to have a defeatist attitude, I didn’t want to concede to failed attempt of weight loss. Recently, I was exhausted, had little time to shop, and needed a new suit for a special event the next day. As I was going out of town, I did not want to stress myself out looking in another city. So, I broke down and went to Lane Bryant. Much to my chagrin, they had a vast assortment of attractive styles. They also had a tremendous sale. I purchased a stunning blazer, jacket and skirt set. The pants were even extra-long. Groovy! There’s more; keep reading. The skirt and top were on the clearance rack and were 50% off. I will be going back because I was given 25% off coupons.

By now, I suppose that you have figured out that I am not a size 2. Great guess! Thus, this is how I rationalized my purchases from the fat lady store. First of all, everyone over size 12 is considered full figured. Secondly, I must look good no matter what size I am. Please know that I am comfortable in my skin and with my appearance. Of course, I want to lose weight but in the interim, I plan to look my very best. Regardless of where I shop, I am determined to become healthier, slender, and as attractive as nature and my energies permit. I make the clothes; the clothes don’t make me; but they can certainly enhance and glamorize my appearance.

To ease the curious minds, I received a number of compliments when I wore my new garbs; no one knew or cared where I shopped. How vain of me to think otherwise! I showed up and Lane Bryant (the store for full figured; not fat ladies) helped me to show out!

When I effervescently walked in the reception wearing my new purchased outfit, some guy shouted, “Gone girl; you’re looking good!” That was all it took; need I say more!

Photo Reprint: www.wikipedia.com

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