Flamingos at the Audubon Zoo

IMG_5946 IMG_6167 flamingos at the Audubon zoo

I feel like I’m cheating with these photos. I mean, it’s kind of hard to take a bad photo of a flamingo, am I right? The flamingo exhibits are some of my favorite exhibits at the Audubon Zoo. There are actually two of them, but the one nearest the entrance is the best; the birds are so close you can practically touch them. I used to volunteer at the zoo, and despite living a short bike ride away, it’s been years since my last visit. (Tip: students get $2 off admission with a student ID.) I’ve always been a big fan of the reptile house (see my snake tattoo for the proof) but on this past outing I realized that I really enjoy taking photos of birds.

Check out more photos from my day at the zoo on my Tumblr.

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Slow Southern Style has a new look

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Whoa now.

Do not adjust your computer screens; Slow Southern Style has a new look and a new logo. I’ve been meaning to freshen up around here for at least two years, but a redesign just kept getting pushed off and pushed off until I couldn’t take it anymore. I think the new look better reflects the content now that I’m not blogging about fashion anymore.

So, what have I been up to? Nothing noteworthy, really. My weekly routine revolves around class and putting out the school newspaper. My Lenten social media fast is going well. I’m not gonna lie, I peek a little bit every now and then, but overall I’ve been pleased with how much more free time I have when I’m not glued to my phone. It’s not a drastic change, but enough to where I realize that hey, it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m (sort of) caught up on homework enough to do some yard work and catch a comedy show later on. Maybe I’ll keep it up after Lent is over.

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The levee and life

uses for tires

new orleans levee
chain link fence
rusty cables
Louisiana sunset
Sometimes you just need to put life on hold and go watch the sunset from the levee. My brain is a pile of midterm exams and research paper mush, beaten with a whisk until frothy and spooned out into a leftover Mardi Gras go cup. My last spring semester (I graduate in December) has reached the midway point and I’m pretty sure I’m starting to develop a case of senioritis. I just want to read books that aren’t served up on a syllabus, take my girls to the dog park, and relieve some of my stress load by trying to get downtime in any way I can.
One thing I told myself this semester is that my sanity is more important than my grades. I never like to get uncomfortably personal on my blog, but after having several panic attacks last semester, I promised myself that I won’t compromise my mental health for the sake of getting straight As. Running the campus newspaper, taking 16 hours, and working a part-time job on the weekends can be a crippling workload. So I didn’t feel too bad about catching the sunset on the levee on Friday instead of starting a paper that’s due on Monday (yea, some things never change, even as a grown ass woman) then so be it.
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Call for some Slow Southern Submissions

A few years ago when I had my shit together I used to put out calls for submissions to Slow Southern Style. I stopped doing them for a few reasons, mostly because I primarily attracted businesses trying to build SEO – keep in mind I was also charging advertisers for sponsored posts and banner ads at the time. I didn’t mind giving a free platform to small local businesses or my friends, but I didn’t want Slow Southern Style to become a dumping ground for brands that didn’t have much interest to either myself or my readers. You know the type of sites; everything has a link to a product to buy, or the blogger  showcases nothing but “c/o” outfits.

I’d like to try opening the flood gates once again. I want to help writers and photographers get their work in front of an audience. What do I want? Personal stories. Travel stories. Book reviews. True stories. Critiques of the fashion industry. Your submission should fall somewhere between blog post and literary magazine essay. Need help? Take a gander at some recent posts. Feeling lazy? I’ve linked a few here:

Shoot me an email to slowsouthernstylellc@gmail.com. Let’s figure something out. Oh, and before someone asks:

1. I can not pay you. Labor of love, baby.
2. Photos should be no larger than 500 pixels wide and they definitely need to be your own. Ditto with the writing, minus the pixel part.
3. I’m a full time student running a college newspaper. Please be patient if I don’t respond to you right away.

Twitter: christylorio Facebook: Slow Southern Style
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I’m giving up social media for Lent

Abita Mystery House
Photo taken at the Abita Mystery House
I’m giving up social media for Lent. I’m not religious but every few years I feel the need to give something up.  Last year it was alcohol, this year i’m giving Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The longest I’ve made it without jumping to check every ping and bleep my phone makes is a handful of days, so my 40 day digital detox will prove to be a challenge.

Anticipated trials:
  • battling boredom while waiting in lines (grocery store, bank, etc…)
  • feeling like I’m missing out on special moments that friends and family might be sharing
  • temptation to scroll through personal feeds when I need to log on for legitimate, work related reasons
  • potentially feel as though I’ve lost connections with colleagues
Anticipated rewards:
  • more free time
  • mental clarity- won’t feel fatigued since I won’t be constantly bombarded with information
  • less distractions- better grades in school
  • more productive downtime; reading a book for pleasure instead of mindlessly scrolling through feeds
  • hopefully break the cycle of mindless scrolling so when I do go back, browsing will feel more purposeful
I’ll let y’all know how this goes.
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style
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All on a Mardi Gras Day: Mardi Gras Costumes

It goes without saying that Mardi Gras is my favorite time of year. Some years are better than others (remember how cold and rainy it was last year?) but the 2015 carnival season was as an epic one; I marched in four parades with Gris Gris Strut‘s marching band and Fat Tuesday was downright magical. The costumes, the partying, and the energy all added up to a firm reminder why I love my hometown so much. Mardi Gras never gets old.
Oh yea, and our Mardi Gras costumes were rain clouds. I used car sunshades and foam board to create the base for the hat. It was so windy there were times our hats would blow right off our heads. Navigating crowds was also challenging. At one point I popped into Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to grab two purple drinks (yes, that’s the actual name) but the crowd was so dense that I had to take my hat off and thrust it upwards to try to gain clearance over everyone’s heads. Fortunately I didn’t piss anyone off. In fact, it seemed that most of the bar patrons gave kudos to my decision to limit my own mobility for the sake of costuming. That’s the best part about Mardi Gras, especially in the French Quarter and Marigny. Most revelers respect everyone else’s costume game, even when cumbersome accessories get in the way and make the streets hard to navigate. It’s all part of the Mardi Gras magic and I’m so grateful that I get to partake in it year after year.
 Check out my Tumblr for more Mardi Gras photos.
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January, where did you go?

Oh. My. Goodness. January whipped past me. The fall semester started, I blinked, and now we’re in the middle of Mardi Gras.

Celebrated my birthday last week at Balise. 

Good finds at my friends Rebecca and Charlé’s pop up at Miette.

Zag, you’re it. 

A book that I got hired to work on just got published. Pick up a copy at Octavia Books.

Zulu display at Lakeside Mall.

My girls were hippos in a past life. 

Vintage ride on Napoleon Avenue.

My view from Knights of Sparta this past Saturday night. 

All photos via my Instagram account. 
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style
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Kicking off Carnival: Krewe Du Vieux and Gris Gris Strut

Thomas looks like a disco hippie Jesus.
My décolletage was not ample enough to store my iPhone, hence the square stomach. 

Our friend Allie’s golden birthday fell on Krewe Du Vieux Saturday* this year, so we obliged to her request to wear gold to the parade in honor of her special day. My costume box is more like a costume closet, which makes it easy to piece together a somewhat cohesive look on the fly. 
This coming Saturday I’ll be marching in the Krewe of Sparta as part of the Gris Gris Strut Marching Band. Come out and cheer us on; it’s been over 15 years since I’ve marched but I can still keep time with the best of them. 
*We’re at that point in the carnival season when every day has a parade name: Bacchus Sunday, Endymion Saturday, etc…
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style
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John Preble’s Self-Made World on The Toast

The Abita Mystery House is one of those places that just stayed with me after my initial visit. I’ve written about it here and again for the Driftwood back in the fall. Just when I thought I was done writing about the place, one of my professors suggested I interview John Preble, the owner, for a more in depth essay. So I did.
 “John Preble’s Self-Made World” is the result of two trips to the Abita Mystery House and several hours spent talking to Preble about how the Abita Mystery House came to be, his thoughts on folk art and museums, and the town of Abita Springs itself. I’m so proud to announce that my essay was selected by Roxane Gay for publication on The Butter, a subsidiary of The Toast. Read it by clicking here then go experience the Abita Mystery House for yourself. 

Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style
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Last moments of freedom

Lake Pontchartrain’s shallow waters resemble ocean waves on windy days. 

First King Cake of the season and my personal favorite:
Traditional from Haydel’s Bakery thanks to my Driftwood Features Editor. 

Chandelier at the Roosevelt Hotel. I’ve got a lot more on my Tumblr. 

I don’t always straighten my hair but when I do, it looks nice for about twenty minutes. 

I’m enjoying my last few days of freedom before going back to school on Monday. My winter break has been all extra long dog walks, sleeping in, sewing, spending time with family over Christmas, and catching up on Netflix and reading. I’m definitely in for a jarring first day back.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on the progress I’ve made since I returned to school in 2013. At first I was self conscious; being a 30 something college student can invoke a tail between the legs feeling at times. It wasn’t until last semester, when I became Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, that I said to myself, “You know what, #$%! it” and decided to embrace where I am at this moment in my life.
I’m hard on myself. I don’t sit back and revel in the small victories. As Jay Z put it, I’m always “On to the next one.” In 2015 I’m making a concerted effort to enjoy my remaining semesters as an undergrad. I might not drive a luxury vehicle, pop bottles in a hot tub every night, or have written a best selling book, but my work continues to be published in respectable magazines, I’ve got a Honda that just won’t quit (most writers probably drive sensible cars anyway), and damn it, the kiddie pool I bought this summer was the best purchase I’ve made in recent memory. 
At El Camino in Louisville, KY. If you go keep your menu away from the fire pit!

Copper & Kings brandy distillery in Louisville. I went on a tour when I visited my brother over Thanksgiving.

One of my favorite art installations at Exhibit Be. I found this one particularly lovely and haunting. 
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style
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