Thursday, July 31, 2014

Interview With M

A while ago, I must have had the genius idea to interview M with some questions about girl stuff and about me. I'm pretty sure that at one point, this was a blog post link up but since the email I sent to him was forever caught in my drafts folder, I have no idea what link up it was for. Advanced apologies for missing whatever link up it was. :)

Anywho, I simply sent these questions to M and asked him to respond. Below is what ensued. My comments are in italics.

What's the name of my blog?
The Striped Flamingo
Bravo. I've trained him well.
What do I blog about?
Well, I guess I am pretty random...
Do you know where I'm from?
Columbia, SC
Another truthful answer.
Where is a girl going if she is going to the OBGYN?
I'm a guy, I don't need to know.
Good call. I mean, I'm sure he KNOWS what it is...but how awkward is this question? Maybe this is why I didn't ever send the email initially?
What is a current fashion trend?
Chevron pattern anything
Bless. Yes, it was a current fashion trend in 2012. Bless. But props to knowing what "chevron" even is!
What would a girl use a Biore strip for?
Orrrr blackheads. But I can't use that stuff. It causes a reaction with my sensitive skin. So he knew this without any first hand knowledge.
Am I a good enough cook?
I mean, is there any other possible answer? Not if he wants dinner tonight... :)
What kind of products does Chi make?
Make up?
Nope. Hair styling products. But props for knowing it was beauty related, right? I mean, he could have said they made karate belts or yoga pants.
What are bobby pins?
Holds your hair up or to the side
Can you name a brand of tampon?
Great Value
Bless. If this ain't telling...I don't know what is.
If you just can't get enough of M's humor, here are a few other posts that I did with M concerning me, women's fashion and other funny things. Here and here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ladies, Let's Stop...

Rosie, above, knew what was up back in the day. She recognizes the power of a woman that is both confortable with her femininity AND is ready to WORK for what she wants.
Ladies, please let's stop...
...calling each other b*tch and wh*res as cutesy nicknames. These are not cute nor are they nicknames. They are degenerative and insulting. Unless someone is actually a lady of the night and takes money for it, do not call your friends these things. The end.
...using feminism as a negative term. Look it up. It doesn't mean you burn bras and grow out your armpit means you are for equality of genders. Duh.
...allowing gender pay gap to continue to exist. Along the same lines as the above.
...being afraid to talk sports, tech, fitness, etc. (or other traditionally male-dominated topics) in the presence of other men. If this is an area that interests you, rock it!
...using our gender/hair color/ethnicity/upbringing/socio-economic status as an excuse to act stupidly.
...suppressing our emotions to "appeal" more to others.
...completely disregarding your intuition because of logic or science. The female intuition is no joke. It could save your life some day.
This is not intended to be a's just meant to open your eyes to the ways that we (women) often intentionally or unintentionally perpetuate the stereotypes placed on our gender by society. Women Power Wednesday! :)
The Hump Day Blog Hop 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thoughts on 30


In less than 6 months, I will be turning 30

I want to do something fun and different to commemorate entering into my third decade of life. I'm not a huge birthdaypalooza person. Meaning, I celebrate my birthday with maybe a nice dinner out or my fave homecooked dinner and cake. I'm not really a huge "go out and celebrate" person.

With that said, I do want to "go out and celebrate" this special birthday. I feel like doing something out of the norm and a kind of special. With my birthday being in January, I have to start planning things early because there is no time to plan after Christmas is over ANNNNDDD because I'm a planner and can't stand to do things last minute.

Here are some ideas I've been toying with.

1. Glamour City
Some friends and fam get dressed up and go into uptown Charlotte for drinks, appetizers and maybe of my absolute favorites.

2. Petting Zoo
This has been a lifelong dream ever since I saw it on Mrs. Doubtfire. I want to have a petting zoo at my birthday party...however...having a birthday in January usually poses a problem.

3. Creative
I envision this to be something along the lines of pottery painting, jewelry making or maybe a cooking/pastry class session. IDK. Something fun and out of the ordinary.

4. Show/Party
Something along the lines of a jewelry, clothing or makeup party that is hosted by a particular company (like Mary Kay, Stella and Dot, Pampered Chef, etc.). Do this up with apps and drinks but keep it at the house.

5. Trip
Somewhere I've not been like Vegas, NYC or maybe out west somewhere. Cali?? Seattle? Explore more places in TX? There are so many options! This is obviously the most expensive route.

Those of you that have already had a 30th birthday, did you do anything special to celebrate it? Or did you just do a normal birthday thing? Please share...I'd love to know! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let's Talk About Shoes

From a very young age, I've been hard on shoes. I was never the kid who could keep shoes for years and years because by the end of the summer (usually) they had holes in them or the soles were coming off.

This is still the same as an adult. I am extraordinary hard on shoes. I'm not quite sure why...because I don't consider myself to be a heavy walker and I don't drag my feet or anything...but it seems like every other week I'm having to throw away a pair of shoes that have already been superglued at least once and are falling apart.

The other caveat to my shoe woes is that I have A LOT of shoes. Like...perhaps around 70 pairs. Lots of my shoes are not worn very frequently because they may be...oh...sequined gold 4 inch pumps...or peach jelly ballet flats with appliques on them. (i.e. they don't go with most outfits and/or occasions) Lately, I've been trying to buy more shoes that are either neutral in color or will go with lots of outfits, like black, nude, etc. However, because I wear these shoes the most, they often fall apart quicker and have to be replaced more often.

I know what y'all are going to say. April, spend a little more money on nicer shoes that you don't have to replace all the time. And my reply to that is my little bargain-loving heart might stop if I pay more than $40 for a pair of shoes. Literally, it might. I can't fathom it. But I'm also growing tired of my shoes and feel that there are a lot of my own that should be tossed. Maybe if I toss out the ones that are worn and give away the ones that I don't wear, I'll have a better idea of what I need to replace or purchase??

I used to be known as the girl who always had the cutest shoes. They may have been insanely uncomfortable, but they were dang cute! The older I get, I'm more likely to substitute comfort for style, but I still want to be the girl with cute shoes! However, the shoes I mainly wear now (for the most part) are frumpy shoes. It doesn't make my heart happy to wear ugly or boring shoes.

This post doesn't really have a resolution...I'm just sharing what's on my mind. What are your shoe woes? Do you have any tips for transitioning your shoe-drobe (wardrobe of shoes) from quantity focused to quality focused?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Social Media Tips

I mentioned I was in Orlando last week for a work conference. The conference was all-thing social media. At my job (IRL...not blog-life) I manage our company's social media and email platforms. This conference was more like continuing education for my current job...but I learned quite a lot that I can use in my other blog. :) If I can benefit from some of the tips I learned, maybe you can too! You, social media mavens, you. :) Below are some of the interesting points I gleaned from my conference. Oh, if I say "brand" below, just substitute that for your blog, etc.

1. Develop a clear "voice" for your brand. Determine how you want to come across to your community or fans. Are you witty and creative? Informational and reliable? Smart? Sarcastic? (okay, I put that last one in there...)

2. Prior to a brainstorming session, it is important to preface your meeting with actual idea generation. Don't wait until the session to start thinking...think beforehand and come to the session with some ideas to explore.

3. Standardize your terminology. This is especially important if you have multiple social media vehicles like a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Learn to use words like "audience"  instead of followers on Twitter and likes on FB. This makes it easier to see the big picture of how your voice is heard by your audience.

4. Contests (giveaways) are king! They are great way to gather reader/audience information and build brand loyalty. They are gift that keeps on giving.

5. People want a relationship with your brand. They are tired of advertising and people are looking to cultivate more a personal relationship with your brand than what was possible before social media.

6. Engage your readers as storytellers.

7. Good conversation skills are essential.

8. A visual makes for a better, longer overall impression than just plain text. (this one is a DUH!)

9. The infographic is not dead!

10. The visual that accompanies your content is worth 80% of the "money" or "effort" spent on the entire piece. Meaning, your visual is more important than your content when it comes to getting the attention of your audience.

What other social media tips have helped you?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hello Orlando

Sorry for the silence here on the blog these last two days. I've been in Orlando for a work conference and have been soaking in all sorts of info on social media, content, and all things digital and I'm loving it! But conference days and catching up on emails/work at night hasn't left a lot of time for blogging, unfortunately. So, instead of boring you with more words, I'll leave you with some photos from my trip. It's my very first trip to Florida and I definitely want to come back!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Family Photos

Well, I thought I was done with all of my wedding photo posts, but I realized that I never shared our family shots. Now, I will say that I wasn't as pleased with these photos as I was with the others. I'd hoped they would have turned out a little better...but what can you do? This is the only documentation I have of them actually being there. :)

Wedding Party, Parents and Grandparents of All
I'd wanted this to be similar to this pin on Pinterest. Not exactly...but it does make me smile. We have this one framed. :)
My Family

My brother in law, older sister, younger sister, me, my mom and my dad.

Sisters, parents and M.
Grandparents and us

Other grandparents and us

This is my mom's side of the family. My father's side is not as local and had to leave before pictures. Overall, from both my mom's and dad's side of the family, included extended family and 2nd/3rd cousins, there are about 60 additional people. There's no WAY we would have all fit in the photo! :)
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Reasons

My mother unearthed this gem while moving. At the young age of 9, I was apparently very in tune with my adult sarcasm, because this mini-dissertation is laden with it. Take a read below and allow me to point out a few things afterward.

In case you can't read it, here is the text: (grammatical/spelling errors not removed)
5 reasons why I should obey my parent is because number one I get privaleges like tv, getting to go outside, getting to play with my freinds, and getting to do special activityes.
Another reason is that my parents will actually listen to my ideas, and they will actually "have" time for me.
Another reason is obeying my parents is good because my parents will also maybe award me or praise me which doesn't happen very often.
Yet another reason is because they will trust me more than they do now. I think they are a little hard on me just because of my teacher.
My last reason is because I won't be scared of them anymore right now I am terrified of them.
Done April
Neither my mother nor I remember what I did to have to write this as punishment, but it somehow involved a teacher. Not exactly sure about that. Nevertheless, we should discuss the most noteworthy points of the letter.
"...they will actually 'have' time for me." - YES, young April. You have learned the power of guilt and quotations in 7 little words.
"...award me or praise me which doesn't happen very often." - This was probably a jab at the fact that unlike most of my friends, my parents never rewarded me for good grades or when I did chores around the house. It was expected and simply a cost of living in my parents's home, eating their food and using up their air conditioning. (Because, in the South, using up the AC is a frequently used analogy for draining money...because it's hot down here!)
"...I won't be scared of them anymore right now I am terrified of them." - Ah yes, young April. You have again understood the power of emotive words when used by a 9 year old in relation to your parents. Brava. But really, I don't think I was terrified of my parents (like the kind of terrified where DSS has to be called) but, like The Lord, I did have a healthy and ever-present fear of them. The kind of fear that one might have about lions or perhaps a thunderstorm. It's there, you must respect it...or you will suffer the consequences. So my use of the words "scared" and "terrifed" seemed like an attempt to toy with my parents' emotions and make them think they were being too hard on me for whatever I've done.
This letter, though only 116 words (as evidenced by the word count in the left margin), provides great insight into adult April...who still uses sarcasm as a second language and would much rather convey my emotions via written word than in person. There's also a hint of silent rebellion which still courses through me as an adult. Perhaps the adult April isn't so different from the young April after all?

DONE April ;)

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Favorite Place

Yesterday, I just wanted to have some time away. Time away from a lot of other people, away from family and in a peaceful atmosphere. There's not really a whole lot to do at this place besides hike, picnic and watch the river, but it sure is great for the soul. Traffic noise is replaced with the sounds of the river moving over the rocks. Mindless chatter from people is replaced with the sound of a gentle breeze blowing through tree leaves.

We packed up Hewitt and a picnic lunch and just got away for a little bit.


Do you ever just want to get away for a little while?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Decorating My Walls

I posted yesterday an update on our home. Since I've taken those photos, I've been on a mad hunt for all sorts of wall art/decor. Framed art, canvas art, mirrors, prints, sculpted pieces, you name it! I have a couple of art pieces/photographs and M has some as well. Some of mine are up...but I want MORE! Most of M's are Star Wars're saving those for the future man cave. (wink)

I'm kind of half-heartedly working on a gallery wall in our dining room area (you can kind of see it in the photos from yesterday's post) but I only have a couple of things so far. I'm searching for a mirror or two to put in our bedroom and on the other side of our dining room (per Kelly's excellent suggestion) and a couple of other interest pieces for our bedroom, the guest bedroom and the kitchen. My dilemma with just buying wall decor willy-nilly (because I've done this before) is that if it doesn't mean anything to me or have any sort of significance, I quickly grow tired with it and sell it or give it away. So, I want to invest in pieces that have meaning and/or significance to me or M. Here are a few things that I like.

Athens Ohio, Ohio University Street Names Print

I love this idea. And this actually wouldn't be too difficult to do on my own, print and frame. I'd do the names of streets in the cities I've lived in. (Mostly Charlotte and Wilmington.) via

"Shem Creek Shrimpers"

I would love to get another Paul Silva print. I already have this one and it's framed and in my half-bath downstairs. I like the one pictured above or this one.

BILD Poster IKEA Motif created by Linda Kruger.

Ikea has a lot of interesting colorful prints. My hang-up here is that Ikea art is mass-produced and lots of other people have it, but if the art is interesting or meaningful, why not? I like this bird print, this abstract and this photograph.

Kure Beach After Irene

Along the same vein of Paul Silva, this local Wilmington artist has some unique prints too. This one is of the Kure Beach pier. I used to work in Kure Beach when I lived in Wilmington.

Pinterest: I love this idea and this idea for wall art.

What sorts of art do you have in your home? Where did you get it? I'd love more inspiration or ideas!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

House Pics Before and After

It's been way too long since I've shared updates on the house. Here are some updates on the Master Bedroom, Guest Bedroom and Dining Area.

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

Guest Bedroom Before

Guest Bedroom After

Dining/Entry Area Before

Dining/Entry Area After

The other bench (that goes on the right side) is currently in our living room with some throw pillows serving as additional seating. We can move it over to the table if we have a lot of company. And since this picture was taken, we decided to move the two chairs to the other side because not having anything over there was kind of driving my OCD a little nuts. :)

Now, we obviously have a lot to do. Also, one thing we really want to do is to acquire more artwork and wall art. We will most likely be looking to BUY a new place when our lease is up in March, so I'm hesitant to put a lot up on the walls, since we won't be here very long. Does anyone else have this issue with rentals?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Things I Don't Do On My Blog

I started this blog 4 years ago strictly as a creative outlet. It has evolved into something larger than that in the last few years. It's become more of a community and much more than just a place for me to write out my thoughts. It's become a place where long-distance friends and family keep up with me and my life. It's a place where companies are actually interested in my thoughts and opinions on their products.

My blog has grown a lot over the last few years, however, there are some things I don't and won't do on here. Some of them are for privacy reasons, some are a product of my upbringing/faith and others are because of my readers.

Things I Don't Do On My Blog

1. Write sponsored posts for items/services that aren't relevant to my audience and readers. I cannot tell you how many times I've been approached for scrapbooking software and I've politely declined because I don't think my readers are really much of that demographic. Or maybe, it's just that I'm not. :) Also, I was approached a year or so ago about doing a campaign with a well-known liquor company and while I do drink, I'm just not down with endorsing a bunch of drink recipes and drinking games because that's not me. My sponsored posts or product reviews are all on things that I think y'all care about or would be interested in.

2. Cuss. This doesn't directly relate to my personal life, because I do think cursing for comedic relief is quite hilar...but there's something about actually typing it out in a blog post that makes it feel really bad. Now, I'm not knocking anyone else who does on their own blogs...because...quite frankly, they are some of the more hilarious blogs I read. It's just not my thing.

3. Discuss my finances. Why would anyone put that on their blog in the first place? Like, I don't want or need to know how much anyone makes...and no one needs to know about me. :)

4. Discuss my political beliefs. I do have pretty strong convictions when it comes to politics, but I won't share them on the blog. Why? Well, because I don't want to be labeled as a certain way or another. Also, it's nobody's biznatch. Just me and my voting booth. And, if I'm completely honest, because I see politics as confrontational and I avoid conflict at ALL COSTS.

5. Proselytize. I am a Christian and I do write about my faith on the blog. But I will not use this blog as a method to convert other people to Christianity by force. If you read my thoughts on faith and have questions or comments, I'm happy to address, but I'm not going to ram anything down your throat. Again, this is probably due to my conflict-phobia...but oh well.

6. NOT share my views on animal adoption. It's blatantly apparent on TSF that I am pro-animal adoption and don't endorse, condone or agree with buying animals from breeders unless you are going to show your pet...which most people aren't.