Category Archives: year in review

Twelve things I wrote for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune in 2016

 

Breaking news: Gertrude’s begonias are blooming. Since I started writing home and garden features for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune last January I’ve been privileged to interview and tour an eclectic mix of homeowner’s and renter’s spaces. I’ve covered everything from a charming 400 square foot apartment in the Warehouse District to a grand 10,000 square foot Old Metairie home. Writing about beautiful houses is a delight; not only am I constantly inspired by other people’s beautiful spaces, but I get to meet interesting people while doing it. Here are 12 stories I wrote last year– most of them are house tours, but not all of them. Click on the headline to read the full story.

 

Would you like a poem with that? Buy a pizza, get some poetry at New Orleans restaurants

Pizza and potholes don’t have much in common (although they both tend to be round), but this month (April) they serve as gateways for youth poetry during National Poetry Month.

Big Class, a nonprofit volunteer-run organization that helps kids ages 6 to 18 with writing skills, started the Pizza Poetry Project in 2014.

 

Grieving widow finds joy in decorating chic dining room 

Coletha Tucker needed to bring a little joy into her life nearly three years ago so she hired Whitney Jones of Whitney J. Decor to help her revamp several rooms.
Tucker’s husband Alan had just died of cancer. “I got tired of coming home to the same thing. It was miserable,” Tucker said. Hiring Jones proved to be a mood elevator.

 

How to clean up glitter, the bane of all post-Carnival cleanup efforts

After the last piece of king cake has been consumed and the costumes are packed away, there’s still one tiny reminder of the Mardi Gras season that lingers and lingers. Glitter — the bane of all post-Carnival cleanup efforts.

Traces of the sparkly stuff can be found everywhere: hardwood floor crevices, car upholstery, that favorite hoodie worn to every parade. Glittery dust bunnies can lurk under beds and in corners months after Mardi Gras.

 

From ho-hum to hip: A cosmetic spruce-up breathes new life into a Harahan home

Heather Smith’s mid-century modern house in Harahan is a study in the transformative power of paint and plants.

Smith moved into her two-bedroom, two-bath house in May 2015, two days after selling her beloved Nashville Avenue shotgun, where she’d lived for seven years. The reason? Smith went through a divorce in January 2015 and, after living in the same two-mile radius for nearly 20 years, she was ready for a dramatic change and a new project.

 

Honey, I bought a house: Wife surprises husband with serious fixer-upper

The day Elaine Vigne bought her Gentilly Woods home she told her husband she was going shopping, but she didn’t specify what she planned to buy.

“He thought I went shopping to buy a dress,” she said. “He was like, ‘I thought you went shopping today?’ I said, ‘I did. I bought a house.'”

 

Filled to the brim: A Metairie man’s unbelievable German beer stein collection

Open the door to Randy and Jean Smith’s Metairie home, and you’ll instantly be inundated with beer steins thanks to Randy’s 450-piece collection.

The space feels like a biergarten; steins cover nearly every flat surface of the couple’s living room. A medieval tapestry hangs over a cognac leather sofa, German-themed decor decorates the walls, and ceiling beams have steins dangling from hooks. Randy, an affable man with a white handlebar mustache, even looks like the type to collect beer steins.

 

A cozy Creole townhouse in the midst of the French Quarter action

Guy Williams knew he belonged in New Orleans the moment a stranger asked him for a bite of his pastry.

Williams, who grew up in Tennessee and lived in Manhattan for many years, was in need of a change. He found himself sitting at CC’s on Royal and St. Philip streets with a cup of coffee and a pastry when the quintessential Crescent City magic happened.

 

Mother’s Day gift idea: portraits from six New Orleans artists

In this Instagram world, the gift of a portrait on Mother’s Day can feel old fashioned, which makes images of her favorite people — or pooches– that much more special. These photographers, painters and illustrators offer styles ranging from classic to quirky. 

 

Plant-loving Metairie resident transforms courtyard into private oasis

If you’re looking for “the best kept secret in Metairie,” then look no further than Richard Bienvenu’s backyard courtyard — at least according to him.

Bienvenu and his girlfriend of 14 years, Diana Eubanks, transformed a once “dump” of a courtyard into what could easily pass as outdoor seating at a trendy eatery. In fact, the owner of Quarter View Restaurant (located next door to the couple’s home) jokingly said, ‘How many tables do you think I can fit out here?’

 

Worldly influences, local art reflects Gentilly renter’s interests: Cool apartment style

The two-bedroom Gentilly house that Charle Washington rents with her boyfriend, Max Lapushin, is filled with work by local and up-and-coming artists, from letterpress posters by Amos Kennedy to framed yarn work by Pottspurls.

“As a local creative, I know how much people appreciate you supporting them, and I love art that has a story,” said Washington, who runs Shop Charle, a vintage clothing pop-up shop. “I almost never paint a space,” she added. “I cover it in framed artwork because the last thing I want to do when I move is paint over it.”

 

House tour: former schoolhouse filled with hand-me-downs with history

Journalist Helen Rowland once wrote, “Home is any four walls that enclose the right person.” For Hattie and Corey Moll, that quote rings true. They’ve been renting their two bedroom double — an 1854 former schoolhouse in the Riverbend area — for only two months but it feels like they’ve been there for years.

 

First lady of fashion: Michelle Obama through the years

First Lady Michelle Obama has brought her own brand of class and grace to the White House. We reflect on some of her most iconic fashion moments of the past eight years.

 

2016 year in review and 2017 goals

 

Here are the 36 goals I set for myself last year. Let’s take a look back to see what I accomplished. (Photo: Louisville, KY)

 

  1. Take the GRE and apply to grad school for the fall 2017 semester– Took the test, sending in applications mid-January.
  2. Travel abroad at least once– I wish. We took a lot of road trips though. See below.
  3. Visit the Grand Canyon — Done. Sis got married so I cheated a bit on this.
  4. Learn Spanish– Nope
  5. Cook more– A little bit
  6. Spend less money on inexpensive meals (see #5)– See above
  7. Get tattooed– Got my first Pauly Lingerfelt (and my first black & white) on the back of my left arm
  8. Edit my wardrobe so it’s more cohesive– I did a big purge of my clothes after each season.
  9. Take a sewing class– Definitely did not do this.
  10. Take more photography classes– Tried to, class got cancelled because of low enrollment.
  11. Launch a zine– Done and done! Put out four issues, created a supplementary zine, and went to two zine fests, a bookfair, cobbled together an online shop and picked up some retailers too.
  12. Spend more time with my friends– Done
  13. Spend more time with my grandparents– Yup
  14. Maintain a weekly cleaning schedule– Ha
  15. Lose 20 pounds aka fit back into the Billy Reid jeans I bought when I was at my thinnest (and most confident self) six years ago.– I gained weight thanks to transitioning from being a student (walking all over campus) and waiting tables for a desk job. I did join a gym a few months ago though.
  16. Start saving money to put towards a new car– Bought a Vespa instead for when one of our circa late ’90s cars crap out. We paid cash for the scooter and the insurance is a lot less than a car. It was a fun, (kind of) practical purchase.
  17. Put a serious dent in my student loans– I’ve knocked out over three grand in student loans so far.
  18. Read and watch everything on my “to read/to watch” list– The list is ever growing, but it was nice to have more leisure time (after being in school for three years) to catch up on reading.
  19. Spend less time on social media– This is a constant struggle. I’ve been taking social media breaks here and there and sporadically delete and reinstall apps on my phone. I feel better when I’m not glued to Twitter, especially after the election.
  20. Blog once a week– Not even close, didn’t even try.
  21. Audition for the volunteer orchestra– Didn’t happen, but I played piccolo with Gris Gris Strut for a second year, so that kind of counts.
  22. Reestablish weekly date nights with my husband– I worked seven days a week for half the year, so this was a tough one. I quit my part-time waitress job in May and now just have a full-time writing position. Getting weekends back felt downright luxurious.
  23. Visit four new museums– Maybe. I haven’t been keeping track.
  24. Cook for Christmas this year– Lulz wtf was I thinking NO.
  25. Paint the bedroom and downstairs bathroom– Downstairs bathroom in progress, bedroom planned for next year. We painted our front porch bright purple, refinished the bedroom floor on our tenant’s side, painted the living room and master bedroom and put a new upstairs bathroom floor on our side. I’d say we did a pretty good job on small home renovations.
  26. Take more day trips– Heck yea. Went to Lafayette and Bay Saint Louis a lot.
  27. Go to the beach– Yup. We went to Galveston, TX for Thomas’ birthday and I took a fantastic road trip to Sarasota, FL with a friend.
  28. See more movies in a movie theater– I saw about as many as I normally do, which isn’t much.
  29. Watch more plays– Same.
  30. Write everyday– Definitely wrote everyday thanks to my job. Also attended a weekend writer’s retreat in the summer. I’m still working on wiggling in more creative writing in.
  31. Go out dancing more– Negative, although I did make it out to Fred’s Lounge. That counts, right?
  32. Buy another camera lens– Hello, wide angle.
  33. Plan my 100 mile hike for late 2016/early 2017– No, but Scotland is on the list for late 2017.
  34. Bike to work (almost) everyday– Quite the opposite. My week is split between working in Metairie and from home, so no biking for me. I did, however, bike to work most days when I worked at the restaurant.
  35. Love myself more– Ongoing
  36. Remember to floss– Ask my dentist about that one.

 

Let’s set some 2017 goals, shall we? I’m going with 37 this time since I’ll be 37 next year. Again, if I accomplish even half of these I will feel satisfied. (photo: Beignet at a cabin in St. Francisville)

 

  1. Travel abroad at least once (Scotland hiking trip)
  2. Take a sewing class
  3. Take more photography classes
  4. Put out four more issues of Catahoula (issue five is already at the printer)
  5. Participate in two or three zine fests
  6. Seek out more retailers for Catahoula
  7. Spend more time with my grandparents
  8. Go to the gym three times a week
  9. Read a book a week
  10. Polish up some short stories I wrote and submit them to literary magazines
  11. Complete a photography project
  12. Eat at restaurant/take out meal only twice a week
  13. Cook more and eat less processed crap
  14. Use our juicer and food dehydrater more
  15. Organize kitchen cabinets and outdoor closet
  16. Finish painting downstairs bathroom
  17. Visit grandparents once a month
  18. Find new day trips from New Orleans
  19. Take one long road trip
  20. Volunteer somewhere
  21. Take the dogs to the dog park once a week
  22. Actually brush Izzy’s teeth (vet’s orders)
  23. Go on at least two kayak trips
  24. Take Cajun dance lessons (last time I did this  I was in grade school)
  25. Only check social media twice a day
  26. Don’t fall asleep reading stuff on my phone
  27. Make at least one piece of clothing (that isn’t a costume)
  28. Practice flute once a week
  29. Create a weekly cleaning check list and stick to it
  30. Make a sleep schedule and stick to it
  31. Go camping with the dogs
  32. Go to more art gallery openings
  33. Reorganize my computer files
  34. Reorganize the linen closet (this is a monumental task) and the spaces above the bedroom closets
  35. Repaint and redecorate the bedroom
  36. Order photography prints for the stairway and actually frame them (we have two already, want two or three more)
  37. Go to City Park more often

2015 Year In Review & 2016 Goals

Ahh yes, it’s that time of year: {insert something about this year being better (or shittier) than the last}. 2015 was admittedly pretty brutal at times, but overall I had a phenomenal year. Here is 2015 broken down by semester, since that’s how my life has been segmented the past three years.

Spring 2015

  • Joined a marching band (first time since high school) and marched in four Mardi Gras parades. P.S. I’m doing it again in 2016.
  • Took a scriptwriting class that really flexed my writing muscles. Fiction writing scares me, but scriptwriting helped me find a way to do it on my own terms.

Christy Lorio Driftwood

 

  • Won a departamental award for my work at Driftwoodalso received wonderful, heartfelt emails from faculty in regards to the complete overhaul we did to the print and online editions.
  • Publish-o-rama. Three pieces I wrote in my creative nonfiction writing classes were published in various literary magazines and websites.

Summer 2015

  • Ireland. I went to Ireland to study for a month. You can read all about my experience here. I made so many friends and had so many incredible experiences. I felt so enriched after the program was done.

Havasu Falls

  • I went to Havasupai for the fourth time in August. I didn’t blog about it (left my camera on a bus in Ireland), but I shared plenty of cell phone shots on my Instagram.

Fall 2015

  • Cut my hair above shoulder length for the first time in years.
  • Went wedding dress shopping with my sister in Houston over fall break. I eloped when I got married, and the one thing I regret was not wearing a wedding dress. I’m glad my sister included me in on her experience.
  • Saw Hamish Bowles on Halloween night in the French Quarter and he complimented our Halloween costumes later on social media. Yes, THAT Hamish Bowles.
  • A photo I took in Dublin was a finalist in UNO’s Study Abroad photo competition. I didn’t place, but the other finalist’s work was so good that I felt honored just to have made it that far.

Brent Houzenga

  • My 1999 Honda CRV got an upgrade thanks to Brent Houzenga. I’ve always wanted an art car and now we (he also painted my husband’s) have two. Half my neighbors think we’re cool, the other half think we are weird. They’re probably both right.
  • I replaced (and upgraded) the camera I left behind in Ireland.
  • Visited my brother in Louisville for Thanksgiving. We’re trying to make it a yearly tradition. My brother cooks professionally, so this is not a problem.
  • I secured a six month fellowship in my field, so I will finally be getting paid to write full-time. Mission accomplished (see below).
  • Read some of the embarrassing things I wrote in high school at Lost Love Letters, which was a fun and surprisingly cathartic experience.

Christy Lorio

  • Oh yea, I graduated last week! Y’ALL. I can not express the joy and satisfaction I felt (okay I can– I’m a writer– but I’m being lazy right now) when I walked across that stage. I received two bachelor’s degrees from UNO and at 35 years old it feels so good that I finally got the damn thing(s). Being an adult student certainly had its challenging moments (balancing a marriage and hours of math homework is not for the timid), but the sleepless nights and sacrifices made were worth it; I feel more confident knowing that I finally completed college. I utterly enjoyed going back to school as an adult; I honestly think finishing in my 20s would have been a waste. I was dealing with too much to focus. My dad died when I was 21, then my grandma died a year later. I also needed to figure out who I was before I could give a shit about schoolwork. I’m proud of what I did, and I think my dad and maw maw would be too.

 

2016 goals

I’ll go with 36 goals since I’m turning 36. I’m also copying off my friend Missy, since I like how she compiled her list last year.

  1. Take the GRE and apply to grad school for the fall 2017 semester
  2. Travel abroad at least once
  3. Visit the Grand Canyon (Okay I’m cheating with this one; my sister is getting married there in June.)
  4. Learn Spanish
  5. Cook more
  6. Spend less money on inexpensive meals (see #5)
  7. Get tattooed
  8. Edit my wardrobe so it’s more cohesive
  9. Take a sewing class
  10. Take more photography classes
  11. Launch a zine (Technically cheating because I’ve already started this, but I want to make it quarterly.)
  12. Spend more time with my friends
  13. Spend more time with my grandparents
  14. Maintain a weekly cleaning schedule
  15. Lose 20 pounds aka fit back into the Billy Reid jeans I bought when I was at my thinnest (and most confident self) six years ago.
  16. Start saving money to put towards a new car
  17. Put a serious dent in my student loans
  18. Read and watch everything on my “to read/to watch” list
  19. Spend less time on social media
  20. Blog once a week
  21. Audition for the volunteer orchestra
  22. Reestablish weekly date nights with my husband
  23. Visit four new museums
  24. Cook for Christmas this year
  25. Paint the bedroom and downstairs bathroom
  26. Take more day trips
  27. Go to the beach
  28. See more movies in a movie theater
  29. Watch more plays
  30. Write everyday (I’m kind of cheating because my new job will require this.)
  31. Go out dancing more
  32. Buy another camera lens
  33. Plan my 100 mile hike for late 2016/early 2017
  34. Bike to work (almost) everyday
  35. Love myself more
  36. Remember to floss

My 2013 Year In Review: Lose Some, Gain Some

Custom portrait by Maggie Covert | Confused? Look here and read this. All will be revealed.

Oh hey 2014, you crept up on me with the quickness, didn’t you? I didn’t announce it to the world, but Slow Southern Style turned five years old this past year. I know I’ve been neglecting my baby (see below for the reasons why) so here are some of the highlights of 2013:

  • I officially re-enrolled at The University of New Orleans (as a senior!) after a ten year hiatus. If you’re interested in the full story click on over to Propaganda, where I share my experience of entering the academic world as a non-traditional student.
  • I got the courage to quit my job of eight years. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was an important one. While I occasionally miss talking about clothes all day, it was time for me to evaluate my long term goals and make them happen. 
  • After three beautiful years with Nadia, our beloved greyhound, we gave her one last throat rub. We also unexpectedly lost Proteus, one of our cats we had for eight years. 2013 was rough, to say the least. However, the pitter patter of little paws was not absent for long. We welcomed  Izzy (Greyhound), Beignet (Rat Terrier/Catahoula mix) and our two kittens Piper and Lorenzo (formerly Loretta: oops!) as our newest roommates. We still miss Nadia and Proteus, but the newest additions help ease the pain. 
  • I took on the role of Managing Editor of Propaganda New Orleans, which shifted my focus from writing about fashion to editing and writing on a much wider variety of subjects. Food, art, history and travel were just some of the topics I wrote about. Here’s the list, if you’re so inclined. 
  • My brother, sister and I had a sibling reunion after not being in the same room together for two years. My siblings are the world to me. I’m hoping to take a trip to Louisville, Kentucky to visit my brother later this year. 
Things I’m looking forward to in 2014:
  • The biggest, and most important, is my ten year wedding anniversary in August. Yea, we’re getting old. We’re renewing our vows in the same spot we got married: below the rim of the Grand Canyon. 
  • Mardi Gras. Duh. It’s the holiday that trumps all other holidays. 
  • After years of pining for a fancy camera, I bought myself  an SLR. I’m looking forward to signing up for classes so I can figure out how to work the damn thing and stop uploading mediocre photos here. Maybe. 
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

A year’s worth of adventure in clothing

Whew! 2011, where did you go? It seems like every year the months just zip by that much faster. Still, it’s always fun to look back and reminisce on the good times, the not so fun stuff, and reflecting on how to make next year even better. I’m proud to say Slow Southern Style had some milestone moments, minimal embarrassments, and damn it I had fun.

 From curating an art show to meeting Natalie Chanin and her team, I couldn’t have predicted that this year would turn out so great. I’d like to give a big, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has kept Slow Southern Style on their reading list, see y’all in 2012.

January
My favorite ultra cozy Lia Molly sweater 
February
Mardi Gras- What I live for

March

The skirt that got a mention in the Times Picayune
April
Billy Reid y’all

May

Tiger print sarong
June
Linen is a must in the summer

JULY

Just one of many of my turquoise pieces
AUGUST
Armoire anniversary party 
SEPTEMBER
Promo with Life Yoga + Boutique
OCTOBER
Top of the Halloween to ya

NOVEMBER

Sleeveless in November? Only below the Mason-Dixon line

DECEMBER

Outfits for the great outdoors
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

2010 Year in Review

I’m not gonna lie, 2010 was a great year for me, one that had a lot of personal firsts. Instead of featuring a bunch of outfits y’all have already seen I decided to share some of the good things that happened this past year.

Mardi Gras 2010, back at the new old place





-Bought a house. Not just any house but the house we lived in before Katrina. Bonus points that the outside cats that we had spayed and neutered are still here, 10 years after being born on the front porch. Good story right? I’m still waiting for HGTV to contact me offering a full interior decorating makeover. Oh yea and maybe if they could convert one of the attics into a master suite that would be great too.

Nadia, my fifth cat





-Got a dog, a greyhound at that. I’ve been pining for one for something like 12 years.She’s wonderful, and basically just lays around the house like a cat. Of course when she wants to run she wants to RUN. An added bonus is how many of my neighbor’s I’ve met walking her.

Hubby now calls me flower feet. Ricky is my dad’s name, rest in peace.



-New tattoos. I haven’t gotten fresh ink since 2004. Magnolias on my feet and a shrimp on my back were this year’s additions. Rattlesnakes, the Louisiana state flower, and seafood- what can I say, I’m always representing what I love.






– Went to San Francisco for the first time. I loved the feeling that place has and I certainly want to go back. I loved how many interesting neighborhoods there are and in many ways that city shares some similarities to New Orleans. Now if we could just get good, cheap Thai food here….



-I’ve been with the same company for 5 1/2 years and I was employee of the year this go ’round. I’ve got the plaque on the mantle to prove it. It was an honor for sure, I love the place I work for. They’ve been good to me so I’m always happy to return the favor.

And while most of you will be nursing a hangover January 1st I’ll be on a plane headed for the Grand Canyon. I think this marks my 10th hike to the bottom, at this point I can’t remember. Since I’ll be down in a hole for five nights I’ve got a few lovely ladies making some guest appearances in my absence. Show them a good time y’all.





What’s in store for 2011? I’ve definitely got a few tricks up my sleeve. Thanks for humoring my antics, and have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.



Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

Show & Tell

This NYE was a quiet one by New Orleans standards. Instead of fighting the crowds in the French Quarter like we typically do we decided to go to Cure, an upscale bar on Freret St.
I had purchased a beautiful vintage Victor Costa blouse to wear specifically on NYE but I couldn’t find a skirt or pants to match. The solution? Just throw on a dress I already own. Anything with a big bow in the middle and pockets is okay by me.

Dress: Diane Von Furstenburg  Shoes: Tory Burch


Pretend like my toenails have polish.

I decided to dig up an old piece of jewelry that I hadn’t worn in a long time. This was actually a handmade necklace from a secret santa at work a few years ago. Not too shabby, eh?

Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

Year in Review

2009 was a monumental year in terms of growth and change for my husband and I. We moved back to New Orleans, taking up residence in a tiny apartment in the Garden District. He scored an unbelievable career opportunity and I’ve remained with my company for almost 5 years and continue to enjoy what I do. We are currently in the process of buying our 1st home, which ironically is our old house that we lived in before Katrina. We have now celebrated our 1st Mardi Gras and Halloween back in New Orleans since Katrina. These holidays are like our Christmas and Easter and the year basically revolves around them.
I’d like to take a look back at the year in fashion.These aren’t in chronological order but I’ve indicated the month.
November
What I wore to Sunday brunch in the French Quarter. Yes my arms are freakishly long. In fact my inseam and my arms are the same length. I feel like a monkey. Anyway this dress is black eyelet with white lining. Take note of that fab detail on the hemline. Dress: BCBG Bag: Chloe

 September
 I ended up selling this dress because I thought I looked “thick” in it. I kind of wish I hadn’t but whatever. The brand is Tramp.

 April
Wore this for a day trip to Oak Alley Plantation. I’ve traded in all of my bootcut jeans for skinnies except for this pair. They started off inky dark blue and have faded and worn in to perfection.

shirt: Ralph Lauren jeans: Citizens of Humanity shoes: Vans sunnies: Ralph Lauren

 August
Wore this for my 5th wedding anniversary dinner at Lilette.  Clearly I have an affinity for strapless dresses. Unfortunately you can’t see the great details that well but there is a big zipper across the front that really makes this piece. Dress: Iodice

I also got a fabulous piece of jewelry that night. My husband surprised me with this blue topaz bracelet from Sabai. My engagement and wedding rings are blue topaz and sapphires and diamonds, respectively so he bought it to match my rings. It also helps that anytime we walk past the shop I point out things I like in their window. ;p This picture is really dark but the bracelet is bright silver with bright blue stones.

I remember wearing this in April but I can’t remember where I was going. Yes that is the world’s tiniest kitchen behind me.Dress: Buffalo Exchange, necklace: Betsey Johnson, flower hair clip: Twisted Salon

I rang in 2009 with pink and orange hair. My hair remained this color combo for a year (June ’08-June’09) until I got tired of the upkeep and how dry my hair had become due to bleaching and coloring it. I had gotten the idea from an Elle magazine fashion spread where the model had brown hair with pink and orange streaks. Current color? Brown.
I am excited to see what 2010 will bring. If all goes as planned we will be in our new home by the spring (no way I’m moving around Mardi Gras time!) and celebrating a milestone birthday in February. I’d also like to thank all of my readers and hope you’ve enjoyed keeping up with posts thus far. Whether you are a casual onlooker or a regular keep the comments coming and I am always open to suggestions for new post ideas.



Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style