Fanfare Wear

How do you wear your fanfare?  I don’t have too much of a life lesson or wisdom spin on this post, it will be filed in the Fancy Fashion bucket.  But, I couldn’t resist seeing a little bit of a lesson while I was gathering the outfits to show you.  We always see a variety of levels of fanship (yes, it’s a word, even if I just made it up) at games.  My personal faves are the ones that go so out loud that it cannot be denied their passion for the team.  You know, the shirtless dudes with paint. The ladies who scream their team from head to toe.  They put their whole self into showing up and playing the part that their team needs them to play.  The fan.  The supporter.  The people that show up and say, today, I believe in this team.
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See where I’m going with this?  How do you show up when your team needs you?  How much of yourself do you put out there, to show a friend “I believe in you and will shout for you, at the top of my lungs, from any bleacher”…….just something to think about. I can definitely say I have had to think about it more than ever.  Since I drafted this post (and planned to post it a month ago), my nephew has been diagnosed with brain cancer and had two brain surgeries!  To say he has needed his team, would be the understatement of the century!  And of course, as my actual post below was pointed against, we decked out in game attire (and have worn these shirts out already)!  More to come on that journey later!
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ANYWAY….on to the clothes!
I’ll be honest, this area of life is a struggle for me!  I’m not sure when it happened, but football game attire got taken up about 437 notches.  I see girls in high heels and dresses and wonder how in the world they do it.  Even at my “spryest” age, I don’t think I could’ve done it.  To each, their own.  I’m not judging. I just prefer to be more functional and comfortable if I’m going to be out on uneven tailgating ground and climbing hills all day (and indulging in things that may alter my depth perception).
Football season in Arkansas is deceiving (and I’m not just talking about how our team lures you in, then breaks your heart with losses).  Football as a whole symbolizes fall, cooler weather, etc.  Nope, not in Arkansas.  The first few games are set in temperatures that rival Satan’s playground.  I will never forget the 2014 season when I passed out from heat.  Hard to watch men throw around footballs and chase each other when every crevice of your body could double as an irrigation pipeline for rice fields. Just hook me up to a spicket and watch your plants grow. SO. MUCH. SWEAT.
So, began the hunt for clothes that accomplished all my football fan needs.  I needed to find stuff that says “I’m here for the team but I’m gonna need some pizazz and not to die while wearing it.”
We’ll start with a piece that could not be passed up.  I love humor.  I love old school rap.  I love red.  So, when A Little Southern Charm sent me these shirts, I couldn’t wait to start matchmaking them with my closet!  The front is plain and simple (which I like).  The back……it takes it up a notch and will have the beat of No Diggity in your head for the whole season!
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I had been wanting to try the DIY trick of making your own v-neck t-shirt that I have seen these days.  I usually have a knack for screwing up anything DIY, but this could not have been more easy.  All you do is cut a V (I drew mine with chalk first) and cut around the collar. voila! You just took your tshirts up a notch.  I’m hot on your tails, sorority girls with dresses and heels!
It works perfectly with jeans and my fun MK loafers……
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Life hack:  cut the seam off the bottom of the shirt first
AND, remember to actually pack the “non altered” t-shirt so that you can photograph it for it’s place in your blog 😛 and people can see exactly what the “real shirt” looks like, before you try to be a Pinterest queen!
Check out A Little Southern Charm Boutique to grab your shirt!
Next up – The basics
This shirt definitely achieves the comfort.  I don’t know what it is about adding a little criss cross up top, but I always feel like it is a huge help in making it look like I tried harder than I did.  If you’re looking for a quick look for an “after gameday” brunch, and let’s say you may be too tired to do anything with your hair…….this shirt is perfect with a hat.
I found this at Game Day Couture and was pleasantly surprised by how fast it shipped and arrived!  I do wish it was a weeeee bit longer 😃
P.S. they have an off the shoulder top that is to die for.  It took all I had not to order it (but I am trying to dial back that obsession)
The Vest
Also from Gameday Couture, this soft vest is too comfy for words.  I love it with jeans, but I couldn’t resist trying it with boots and leggings.  I love that too and will spend the weeks leading up to season, convincing myself that it’s not too short to wear with said leggings and that I will rock it.  I will not let worry of others judgement stop me!
Get it here

Ribbons and Bows
I. LOVE. THIS. SHIRT.  There really isn’t much to say past that.  It sparkles.  It has ribbon to fancy up the sleeves.  It was made for me.  That’s all.

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It lives here if you want to grab your own.

Accessories
You cannot deny these are perfect for any Razorback game!
Found these gems at Logo-N-Stitch
There ya have it!  All set for the first few football games!  The anticipation of hanging out with our newly established tailgate group (and to reconnect with all my regular faves) is almost ore than I can stand!  WPS!!!!
Winter looks to come……they just couldn’t be done right now because it’s hotter than the pits of hell here.  😛

Diagnosis for one please…corner booth is fine

This one is going to be a bit long. But I have to give you the background so that you’ll get the “where I am now” stuff. And there is just no short way around that. I guess I could do a video and talk. But, it’s been a long day. The bra has already come off and the wrinkle cream has already been applied for the night. That doesn’t make good video for anybody! 🙂 Just enjoy another cute pic of my dog instead. 

  

Since March, I have had a rash that has come and gone on my chest. Every time it has come back, it has come back larger and more bothersome than the time before. Certain things caused itching (at one point a Dr told me I was allergic to beer and wine *GASP*). I tend to be a stubborn patient and think that I can figure out my own treatments but this issue was giving me a run for my money. 

I finally caved and decided to see a dermatologist thinking I would get a quick steroid shot and move along. When I called the doctor’s office, I was told it would be a three week wait to get in. Randomly (ok, honestly, as you’ll see in the next couple of sentences, it wasn’t random at all. It was God) the receptionist asks of she can put me on hold. Being the good “waiter” that I am (extreme sarcasm), I tell her yes and proceed to stir frustrations in my head about it being so long to get an appointment and that I waited so long in general to even call when I was in so much misery. The receptionist comes back on the line to tell me they actually had a cancellation and would be able to see me that day at 4pm (there’s the God part that I don’t even realize til later)!
I get to my appointment and when the doctor walks in, I start to give her my diagnosis since I am clearly a better doctor than her. I just need her to go along with my medical plan that I have already researched and then send me on my way. I am busy after all. She politely lets me finish and even listens to a few of my awkward jokes. Am I the only one who handles bad situations with awkward humor? 

  
Then, it happens. She turns to me squarely in her seat and says “I am very concerned. This is not good.” A bit shocked and taken aback by her sternness, I just sit there trying to remain calm and figure out what to say next. In the course of ten minutes, she throws out the word cancer, chronic illness, worst case scenario and a host of other things that were all a blur after I left. She explained the urgency in figuring this out so that a treatment plan could begin immediately. I was told that worst case scenario would be one thing (the C word) but even “best case” would be life altering and that I needed to prepare for that…..YIKES! What? Slow down lady!! The next thing I know, I am having a needle biopsy and sent on my way to wait. Just wait. Just go on about my business like I wasn’t just told I probably have cancer or some chronic disease. I was in no mood to hear words of comfort and the clichés of “It will all be fine. God’s got this.” I know that makes me terrible. Why wouldn’t I want words of encouragement and support? Then, it dawned on me. Ummm, you got an appointment that was supposed to take three weeks. You have a concerned doctor who isn’t willing to waste time. How about we stop being miss pissypants and do a little trusting here!

  
Waiting is torture. Waiting for an over thinker like me is worse. The next 7-10 days were going to be the longest of my life. THE COOL growth moment though was that I asked for prayer from the wonderful world of internet friends and I accepted what was the next step in my life. There is a certain calm and peace that comes with knowing that you are absolutely not in control BUT YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY surrounded by the highest resource of all and equipped to walk the path that is laid out for you. 

  
Fast forward to the next week. In a moment of waiting weakness, I call to see if the results are back. On the other end of the phone I hear “oh. No. They aren’t. We actually sent them to UAMS for further testing. We didn’t like what we were seeing so we sent it there to rule some things out. That will add another 7-10 days Ms. Elmore. I can try to tell them you are worried and get it back faster.” Ummmmm. Ok. What? Well this isn’t awesome. At all. Next came more tests, more samples being taken and a lower tolerance for that peace and calm and patience stuff I mentioned earlier. 

  
You know what else was frustrating? The fact that I had a host of other symptoms that pointed to this a long time ago but was told that “I just needed to lose weight.” Because, in case you’re wondering, that fixes everything. Before you jump on a hate wagon, I am not in denial that I need to lose weight in the least. I am reminded of it every morning when my side mirror shows my reflection getting out if the shower. I am just saying that is not always the root cause and not always as easy as it is for a doctor to let it come off of their tongue. ANYWAY….i digress. 

  
After 14 very long days, a ton of prayer and some pretty great lesson learning, I finally got my results (and finally got all of these annoying stitches out). I am ecstatic to say that it is NOT cancer. But, as previously mentioned, “best case” scenario would still be life altering. It looks like I am dealing with a wonderful diagnosis of Connective Tissue Disease and most likely Lupus. Further blood work will determine what level I am at and treatment will begin immediately since there is already signs of some organ damage, etc. Still a bit scary, but at least it’s manageable and at least it’s NOT cancer. 

  
I don’t know much about Lupus and I promised my doctor that I would stay off of the internet research wagon (for now). What I do know is this:

1. I am about to be the coolest Lupus patient out there!! If there is fun to be had with this, I am about to have it. 

2. I have the best support network there is and I hope that they stick this out with me. 

3. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how people will view me. 

4. I will NOT let me convince myself that I am never going to find a life partner especially now that I have some weirdo disease to tote around. (Ok maybe I have already had a moment or two like that over the last couple of weeks but I swear I slapped it out and sent them on their way). 
There is testimony in my battle, even if I don’t see it yet. Wait. It’s not even a battle (the battle has already been won), it’s a path. And I will carry some glitter to make sure it sparkles and good music to dance to along the way!!

  

Passion for People

Pardon me for a second while I preach.
Today I had the chance to have a long chat and share my observation and advice to a friend. It was raw conversation. I was told things that made me hurt and angry for my friend. Yet I was also faced with some of my own insecurities and hurt that I like to pretend doesn’t exist. No holding back. It was colorful, blunt, and although I avoided using caps lock, I am certain that there were a few pauses where I looked around waiting for an “AMEN” and “hallujah”.

I am not versed enough in my vocabulary to find the right words to describe what it stirred within me. My heart is still beating fast and furious and the conversation happened over an hour ago. I LOVED IT. I don’t think I have ever allowed myself to admit or accept that I am overly passionate about people until this conversation. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!!! I LOVE PEOPLE. And I want with all that is in me for people to love themselves.

Maybe its because I fought so hard to fall in love with myself. I, of course dont mean “in love” in a cocky “I am God’s gift to the planet” way. I mean in a “you are of value and you have a purpose and a lot to offer the planet” way. Maybe it is because I never want to see someone so broken that they have a melt down at a stop light and can’t physically push the gas pedal to go through. Either way I cannot ignore the passion nor do I want to any longer. I am sick of negative people I know trying to impose their hate and general classifications of people onto me. Hi, my name is Alicia and I genuinely love people and I am so sorry if you don’t. Please take your misery elsewhere.

This is all a constant work in progress. Its a conscious decision that I have to make every single day (and some days I fail miserably at it) to be kind to me. But I know it’s worth the effort. I promise you that I am leaps and bounds better than i was two years ago. And I promise you that if you would exercise kindness and positivity toward yourself a little each day, you would grow leaps and bounds too!

If I were being honest, when I told my friend to rid himself of people who do not bring out the best him, I would have to admit that my stomach turned knowing there are a few people I could stand to get rid of for the same reason (people I consider important in my life currently).

Anyway! That all brings me to this. If I could stand in front of you today with my fired up spirit I would tell you the following. And I would mean it with every fiber of my being even if you were someone I wasn’t typically a fan of. I also recognize after today’s conversation that I owe myself the same talk as much as my friend needed it. Nope. None of this is earth shattering or new news to anyone. What may be new to someone reading this though is the permission to know these things without apology. And I believe that there is some human on the planet that needs to read this in this way. 🙂

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– Be intentional about changing to progress toward a better you. Be honest with yourself that you absolutely cannot continue in the manner that you have.

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– Accept that you will always be a work in progress (Sure I need to lose a few pounds and by few i really mean about fifty. But I can’t be controlled by that solely). But always be “progressive”. Be aware of what you need to work on but never let it control you or hold you back from being awesome.

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– Know that not everyone will understand your work. And they don’t have to. It isn’t for them. If they aren’t a fan of your journey just consider them the coal you need to fuel you forward. 🙂

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– It is NEVER ok to be unkind to yourself. NEVER.

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– Do not create a vicious cycle or fake flaws for yourself. It is dangerous to fall into a cycle of “I will be happy if/when this or that happens”. You start filling voids with material things that are only temporary fills and eventually there is nothing that will ever satisfy you. Sadly that often bleeds into going through one human heart after another and never being satisfied. You create a hurt factory that will have a morning shift and a night shift. And you will wear your own heart out in the process causing you to miss out on something really great.

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-You are no good to anyone else if you are no good to you. And to create lasting friendships with good quality people we have to be good to ourselves. Once again, if you aren’t, you begin filling voids with temporary people.

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-Know that when you slowly destroy your own self worth that you are also robbing the planet of something great. There is something about you that the planet needs and is supposed to get out of you being here. You rob the planet when you don’t share the great in you!

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Of course I could go on and on and you could spend bazillions on books by people who are way better experts than myself. But sometimes we just need to know from another human that it is ok and we all struggle.

If you are in a solid place with yourself, congrats. If you’re watching someone you know go on a journey to change themselves for the better and overcome self hate and insecurity, be kind. Be supportive. Be patient. Be quiet if you have to. But by all means, do not hold up progress. Do not keep someone from becoming a better human. Remove yourself for their own good if you can’t be anything but a hindrance.

You are dismissed 🙂

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Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal

Well HELLOOOOOO there! Long time no chat! I would love to declare that I’m back on to be so diligent in posting and such…..but, that would most likely be a false promise 🙂

To be honest, I have been struggling a lot lately. Not with anything major….but with just enough to make me think I shouldn’t be on here. And we all know that’s not true right? I mean, that’s the point of this….for us to all walk together. And if I’m not transparent even in my struggles with you, then I am robbing you of the chance to either learn from it with me, lift me up, or set me straight 🙂

Anywho! I chatted with the dearest friend today who so gently pointed out my need to control 🙂 She was such a great help, I thought everyone else needed to enjoy it too!

The honesty of my friend today when she said “you’re trying to have control. If we have control over the bad things, then we will see them coming and they won’t hurt so bad. Sadly that’s not true” was just what i needed. And her quote couldn’t have been more perfect! To add on to that, when you are always expecting the bad to happen (because that’s what’s happened in the past right) it’s all you start to see. And that, quite frankly, is beyond exhausting. Literally.
There was a time when my faith was at its strongest that I worried about nothing. The peace that kind of state brings is amazing. I can’t wait to get back there 🙂