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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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Friends

Oprah.

What an introduction. Let’s get right to it: when Her Excellency was was still on the air with her daily talk show, I won tickets to be part of her audience.

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Back in 2011, I remember going on the official website for the show and noticing one of the upcoming episodes. The theme of the impending show was going to be all about best friends. (Title: An Oprah & Gayle Kind of Friendship) Made sense, given the longtime friendship between Madame O and her bestie, Gayle King. The requirement to be part of the audience was to write and send in an essay about your best friend and why he/she was wonderful. That was a no-brainer. I’ve discussed my bestie on TSP more than once. She.Is.Everything. And so I got to writing. Looking back, I submitted the essay with only a small twinge of excitement, being that 1) I was probably 1 of a million people doing the same thing, and 2) I didn’t want that level of disappointment if I didn’t get chosen.

Then I received an email on March 23, 2011. Yes, I searched my inbox for that date. And yes, I’m giddy that the email still exists. Bottom line, the main idea of the email: my bestie and I were invited to join the audience during a taping of the themed episode.

I reacted a bit like this:

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So at this point, dear reader, my bestie didn’t know I had done any of this. I kept it all to myself in case we didn’t get chosen. Welp, that didn’t happen. After receiving that email, I called her and engaged in the following conversation:

Me: Hey, are you free on April 11?
Her: Let me check…yes, I’m free. What’s up?
Me: We’re flying to Chicago that day to be part of the audience of the Oprah show.
Her: *crickets*
Me: Are you there?
Her (whispers): This better not be a prank.
Me: It’s not! I wrote an essay and they picked it and it was about you and me and our friendship and we’re going to see Oprahhhhhhhhhh!

Her reactions, from 1-3:

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Needless to say, by the time we got to three, we were both primal screaming on the phone. Flight plans to Chicago were made; outfits were discussed (we had been asked by Queen O’s team to wear colorful clothes that would show well on TV); mild disappointment was expressed because a giant rule was that no pictures were allowed inside the Harpo studios; and finally, more primal screams were shared. You guys, it was one of the best experiences of this life. And you know how Empress Oprah’s audience would go mad? I admired her, yes, but I just couldn’t understand the mania oprah6these women showed on national TV. Well, I can easily say that on that morning in April, as Oprah was introduced and walked out and waved at us and smiled: I. Get. It. I truly do.

Her presence: dynamic. Her personality: open and charming. Her overall nature: amazing. In the minutes between her walking out and sitting down before the cameras turned on, there was no change. She was the same onscreen and off-screen. She was also just fun. During commercial breaks, she joked and laughed and told us about her painful high heels…it was surreal. My bestie and I spent the entire time just like holding each other in disbelief and Oprah-generated joy. And yeah, we got some gifts, too. And food. It was incredible. I’ll say it again, and in French: incroyable.

But the best part of that whole thrilling experience, dear reader? It involved a years-long, amazing friendship with one amazing lady, that being my bestie, and it involved another love of my life: my writing. My bestie kept saying the following throughout the day. “You are a writer. It was your words that got us here. You are a writer.” It was definitely a boost in confidence with the mighty pen. Nevertheless, the topic at hand, why this woman was such an indescribable presence in my life, made it easy. I didn’t hesitate. The benefits of a worthy subject.

Got any thrilling moments with your bestie that you’d like to share with me? Don’t fret because Oprah isn’t involved in any of them. The comments await you below…

Blogvember #12 and #13: Le Weekend.

#12: That quote to the left about sums it up. Our sense of humor. Our laughter. Our love. (Because, yeah, I’d traipse through a fire and/or super humid room for her, fro or no.) Those times when la bestie utters words that change my life. My goals to always be there for her. 

She arrived on Friday night and will be leaving in a few hours. She brought a burst of light and much-needed familiarity into this new place and environment that I’m adjusting to, both emotionally and otherwise. I don’t think I’ll be able to communicate just how I needed that. 

I snapped a few photos, but she’ll hurt me if I post them. So just call your bestie and tell him/her that you love them. 

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#13: I bought a couch!

While furniture shopping yesterday, one of the employees showing us around the monster of the store we were in took me the very couch that I saw and saved from their website. If that isn’t kismet I don’t know what is. Delivery is next Sunday and you shall see it then. 

Happy Sunday, dear reader…

Blogvember #11: Friyay.

My bestie is coming to town this evening, you guys. The bestie! Needless to say, I basically want to tap dance out of here so we can start our fun. And yet morning just began, so…Anyway, she’s my first visitor since I moved to Texas. Wonder how she’ll react to the absence of furniture. 

Bon weekend, my dears.

Fabu Fashion Monday: A Little Night Music.

Last weekend, my friend and I headed up to NYC to catch a concert by Damien Escobar, a violinist I discovered a few months ago. It was a nice chance to get out of town, even for a quick weekend. Digressing: have I discussed my love/hate relationship with the city? It’s a fantastic place for the arts, for museums, for my beloved Broadway–but my goodness, what is that infernal odor that persists in the air? It’s been there since 1986, when we first met. Anyway, our embattled relationship goes on.

We took the bus up to the city and checked in at Staybridge Suites, a nice hotel in the Hell’s Kitchen area (so many contrasts in that last sentence, no?), which wasn’t too far from the venue. Prior to this show, you guys, I wrangled with what I wanted to wear. My summer concert wear is typically comfortable and easy. But something intriguing happens when you’re headed to the big city, something that requests that you up the chic factor and slay all day. At least it happened to me. Anyone else get that feeling of wanting to look extra when you’re headed out of town and away from all you know at home? I certainly did. I went back and forth and back again with what I wanted to wear. Finally, after a few hours of searching the racks at my tried-and-true Ross a few days before the trip, I decided to stop stressing and went the simple route: a nice, comfortable shirt-dress. Here it is.

As you can see, très simple and très comfortable. I completed the look with square hoops in my ears and those bangles on my wrist. Honestly, I wanted my hair (kinky twists, protective style #1,097 since February of this year) and my lips to be the showstoppers. (This is always the case, dear reader. I live for awesome hair and awesome lips.) And so I did the side-swept thing by pinning back one side of the hair and pushing most of the twists to the other side. Then I applied my bestie Ruby Woo until the redness was the right shade of fiyah. A bit of mascara, some light eye shadow, and we were ready to go.

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We had a good time overall. I could have done without waiting in line forever just to get inside the Highline Ballroom, where the concert was held, when we were told that arriving early would prevent that from happening and that we would have seats. No seats were had. We stood for three hours. (If you could waiting in line from 5-ish to the end of the show around 10-ish, we stood for 5 hours or so. Insert highly irritated This Square Peg emoji here.) Nevertheless, barring sound issues and things of that nature, it was nice to hang out with my friend and hear some good music.

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How was your weekend, my dear reader?

Meanwhile, in Paris: To All the Crêpes I’ve Loved Before…

…bow before your benevolent mistress.

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It was inevitable that I, a faithful lover of crêpes since my aunt introduced me to them when I was about six years old, would enjoy one of my favorite desserts in the country of its birth. I ate it in seconds, pausing only for one of my girls to snap this photo of me. (Can we talk about her marvelous photo, by the way? Capturing that lovely Eiffel and the breathtaking moon all in one fell swoop? I still hold my breath when I look at this picture.)

A few things:

  • Inside the crêpe was warm Nutella chocolate. So basically all of my dreams coming true and life being given.
  • You’ll notice my one gloved hand. It was chilly that evening, but I certainly had to eat my beloved delicacy with a free, naked hand. Enter the quirky compromise.
  • See that joy in my eyes? This is what crêpes do.

All right, that’s my cue to stop before I start penning sonnets.

Want to tell me everything about your favorite dessert? Make it good and yummy. 

The Chocolate Flapper.

First, hi.

So last Saturday, a good friend of mine threw a decades party: guests were to choose their favorite decade and dress accordingly. Naturally, being that I love all things Twenties–the Jazz Age, Gatsby was running around (fictionally), and girls were bobbing their hair–it was a sure thing that I would arrive in my flapper best. After scouring the Internet for ideas on what to wear, I found the best outfit on Amazon and purchased it faster than you could say F. Scott Fitzgerald. Can I tell you how excited I was about this whole thing, by the way? I feel like I’ve been going through the motions lately. This fête was a nice injection to the monotony and I’m so happy that my friends to put it all together. Anywho, without further ado…

Your chocolate flapper.

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I was so into it, too, walking around and swinging that feather boa like I owned a speakeasy down the street. Needless to say, the party was fantastic. There were sock hop ladies and Afros and Nineties girl groups all over the place. And lest you think we just danced and twirled the night away, there were various costume contests. Guess who won best costume, 1920-1950??

The sangria to the right was one of my lovely gifts. I won’t get into how excited I was to win. Everything you’re imagining about my reaction is what happened. But who was even more excited? My mother. She was elated, which was fun, sweet, and utterly awesome. Really good times.

Onwards and upwards…and flapwards…

p.s.: those bouncy curls you see on my head are actually my new batch of crochet braids. They added such a fun touch to the costume, no? We’ll talk about those new crochets later.

Meanwhile, (back) in Paris…

…we did a photo shoot in the City of Lights during our trip. One of my girls is developing a travel site and wanted some shots of the three of us gallivanting around the city. Here are three of my favorite shots (honestly, all of the photos are my favorite); I’ll share more as we merrily go along here on This Square Peg.

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So here’s the thing:

  1. It was freezing that morning. That statement deserves italics: it was freezing that morning. As you can see, we didn’t have jackets, scarves, or gloves on in these photos, and we also wore our fancy shoes to and from le metro and on the streets. So yeah: cold, cranky, and craving a pair of flats. At least that was me.
  2. But I eventually appreciated, in line with the above, that such is the life of ladies who want lovely photos. My girls reminded me more than once about all those episodes of America’s Next Top Model I watched back in the day: you suffer for beauty and you smize while doing it. To get that dreamy light you see in the photos and to capture our chocolate selves in this amazing city, being cold/cranky/craving flats was worth it. And it really was. When we finally got back home and rubbed Aspercreme on our poor feet and limbs, we whooped with delight about the whole experience.
  3. My friends really are amazing. They didn’t have to ask me to join the photo (and real talk: I was minutes from going right back home on le metro when that cold air hit me) but they did. And I have these amazing pictorial memories to show for it.
  4. Our photographer was everything you imagine photogs to be: creative, intent on capturing awesome shots each and every time, and very comfortable with ordering us to “smile at each other!” over and over again. He was a delight.
  5. Parisians love seeing three women walking around the city as they pose for photos. We received more than a few smiles, curious stares in our direction, and a thumbs up from a funkily dressed lady who passed us by on the sidewalk.

It really was fun. As this Friday wears on and I find myself feeling slightly blue/down/not myself, it’s nice to reminisce and find a smile on my face as I recall that morning.

Have a lovely weekend, all.

Before and After.

Happy to let y’all know that I contributed a piece for my good friend AB’s new blog. I also hold the privilege of being the very first contributor for her new baby, which is awesome when you consider how much I love supporting my friends, especially when it comes to writing/blogging.

Check it out here, please. I talk about my once tenuous relationship with “Before and After” photos and their impact on my gaining health/weight loss journey.

And kindly follow her blog, won’t you?

Fabu Fashion Monday: Sunday Edition

Hi, y’all. Welcome to Monday. Let’s move on before I complain about Mondays, shall we? Last night, a lifelong friend of mine and all around amazing woman/entrepreneur held her second annual International Natural Hair Awards (www.naturalhairawards.com). My mom and I attended and we had a blast. I knew, a few days into the event, that I wanted to wear a jumpsuit. My, how far we’ve come.

You see, fashion-wise, I had nightmares of wearing jumpsuits, needing to use the washroom, and having to quickly de-clothe in a tiny stall before my business could be done, thereby causing an emergency that would take years of bleach and therapy to heal from. But occasionally, This Square Peg moves on and stops imagining the worse. Years ago, I wore my first jumpsuit and all went well. After that, I even packed one for my trip to Vegas and again, no tiny stall emergencies ensued. So for last night’s gala, the ensemble was ready to go. Since both jumpsuits from the past have gotten a bit large on me, that Saturday, I went to my usual haunt, Ross, to find a new one. One thing about Ross: yes, you may have to search the racks, but you can almost always depend on finding a jumpsuit. And I found two. After trying both on, I went with the one that wouldn’t require me to wear additional clothing underneath to cover up the ladies (the V-neck was celebrity starlet deep, my goodness). It also had pretty designs on the shoulders and across the square neckline. To dress it up, I paired it with a snazzy faux leather jacket and a lovely necklace that my sissy reluctantly lent to me. Done and done. See pics below.

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As you can see, I went with all black everything. Regarding makeup:

  • Always Red Cream Lip Stain by Sephora for my usual red lippy
  • MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation for the face
  • An assortment of eye shadows (in the close-up, you’ll see that I’ve been experimenting with cream eye shadow; this one is from e.l.f. cosmetics, the Smudge Post Cream Eyeshadow, but the specific shade escapes me)
  • Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

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And there you have it. Good times were had.

How was your weekend?

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