Maybe I am just a millennial baby or possibly living in nostalgia, but what happened to the once premier shopping destination, Esplanade mall? As teenagers my peers and I would beg our mothers, fathers, older sisters or brothers to take us to the MALL and where I'm from Esplanade Mall, to be exact! LOL.. I have created so many memories there. Yet with all things, nothing remains the same forever. Furthermore, as with life there are ups and downs. Somewhat of a roller coaster ride with extreme highs and lows. On a side note, I have recently been wanting to go to a theme park just to get on a roller coaster, It's been years now! So, what was once a bustling location is now mostly desolate, minus the tumble weeds. With very few retail locations left, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. It's funny, but I can actually remember what stores were where.
I When "Spotlight for You" first entered the Esplanade Mall back in 2012 a buzz of rumors circulated the community about the possible founder of the retailer, as I am sure it was unbeknownst to the owner. Nevertheless, most patrons imagined that the fashion retailer was a new business. Yet, in 1999 Spotlight started under the name "Spoiled Rotten" as a DBA in the New Orleans Centre mall, located off of Poydras Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is now the site for Champion Square. The rumors were then demystified in that moment of truth. Interestingly, one should never believe everything you hear, do a bit of research and I am positive you will be surprised to know the truth. "Spoiled Rotten" later moved to the Lake Forest Plaza mall in 2000 based in Eastern New Orleans as "Spotlight for Women." Not long after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Spotlight resiliently packed up and moved to the Perimeter mall in Atlanta, Georgia under it's current name "Spotlight for You." This particular location just closed its doors January of this year due to a buy out of the wing it was housed in by a very big retail brand.
With Mardi Gras ball season just beginning, I decided it would be fun to try on a few gowns that are displayed so beautifully in the window at Spotlight. Upon entering, I was greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable associate, who I later found out was the operations manager named Toya. She gather a bit of information from me about my size and what I was shopping for and then helped me pick out a few pieces that she thought I would like. The selections were beautiful and reasonably priced. Plus, they looked absolutely amazing on! Toya informed me the Cary Henderson, the owner, travels to Los Angles personally and hand picks everything that is sold at all locations. To my revelation I learned that there are three other retail sites including two that are also inside of Esplanade mall, "Spotlight for Prom" and "Spotlight for Less." The third store is housed in the Riverwalk Outlet mall at 500 Port of New Orleans next to Steven Madden.
I left Spotlight feeling really inspired by their brand's story. With 20 years of legacy, along with many ups and downs, we can all take away from this a drive to keep our faces strongly planted towards the wind and just keep going. It was a pleasure becoming aware of their true brand's success.
Its been pretty hectic in Louisiana for the past two weeks; jammed packed with my husband being in town, working two jobs, preparing devil eggs for a friend's baby shower, making sure my son is on track, along with job fairs and job interviews. Whew... I am just catching my breath here, but this only marks the beginning of the journey I am about to take. And I am really excited about it! Hope can be a real game changer. It can override fear and this knowledge is truly a beautiful thing. So many great opportunities can happen when you cancel out fear and replace it with optimism and hope. I am undoubtedly blessed and I am extremely thankful. I have noticed in myself and also in others that we, at most times, try to fit into or live the status quo. However, what is really heartbreaking is the fact that people miss their blessings trying to fit in with the world and the ideas it creates. I have let go of what I think I want in a career in order to accept what the Creator has for me because I trust my God. I have realized, in this moment, that I am more than what I do.
In good spirit I want to share a few links I love. I hope you enjoy them!
Take care of you,
Susan Miller's Astrology Zone I read Susan's forecasts and blog several times a month. I absolutely love her attitude and her spirit. She is so uplifting and motivational! (www.susanmiller.com)
Kayture I found Kristina Bazan by accident. She is the creative mind and founder of the Kayture Fashion Blog. Not only is she beautiful. She is impressively young. I love her work! (www.kayture.com)
Super Vaidosa Camila Coelho is a Brizilian native living in New York who I found on Instagram a few years ago. She blogs about beauty, fashion and fitness. She is truly fun to watch, being that she creates a lot of YouTube videos for her followers! (www.camilacoelho.com)
Studio 404 Angela is a graphic artist who is the editor and designer of Studio 404 and co-owner of a brand strategies studio called Sevenality. The image in this blog post is some of her work! (www.studio-404.com)
I was asked after my last post; "What does the fall beauty & makeup trends have in store for us this season?" So, here they are!
May you be inspired my pretties...
Fresh Face with an occasional Very Glossy or Dewy Complexion
Fresh Face with Flush Cheeks
Bronze, Rose, Gold and Coral Eyeshadows
Ultra Blended Smokey Eye
Dark Gothic and Red Lips
Pierre Balmain turtle neck dress
Forever 21 sleeveless dress
Black party dress
Alexander McQueen white long sleeve shirt
Black sheer top
$68 - nastygal.com
$48 - asos.com
Missguided black turtleneck
Tome trench coat
H Brand brown cloak
HIDE cropped jacket
Topshop pink vest
Missguided double breasted woolen coat
Mural black cape
Re named black trench coat
Vero Moda outerwear
Love 21 cape coat
Akira open front jacket
Black trench coat
$47 - newlook.com
Bardot mid calf skirt
Re named red midi skirt
$58 - nastygal.com
RHYTHM brown skirt
Knee length skirt
Forever 21 fringe skirt
Tom Ford black suede boots
$1,995 - mytheresa.com
Gianvito Rossi leather ankle booties
Open toe thigh high boots
Akira fringe bootie
Qupid short black boots
Alexander mcqueen purse
MICHAEL Michael Kors shoulder bag
$190 - neimanmarcus.com
Deux Lux shoulder bag
Express woven handbag
Rag bone wide brim fedora
Anna Sui gray shawl
Ted Baker navy hat
Catarzi crown hat
Missguided black fedora
LullaBellz orange shawl
$28 - silkfred.com
Do you know that movie, 13 Going on 30? Yeah! Well, do you remember that part when Jenna exclaims to her mother that she does not want to be thirteen, but she wants to be like those people; while pointing to a picture in Poise magazine? "I want to be thirty, flirty and thriving!" Believe it or not, I think that scene pretty much captures and sums up how I felt when I actually turned thirty.
I think there's this myth surrounding the idea of turning 30, that it's the age when you figure it all out, when you have it all together, and you have the vision with the resources to not just dream, but to act it out. This was not the case for me. However, I have always considered myself to be a late bloomer. Most people see that as a bad thing, but not me. I have learned to master my beautiful flaw. And there's a possibility that it's not a flaw at all, but a divine gift given to me by God upon my birth. I prefer to think of it in this way!
2012 is a year I will never forget, and let me tell you why. I not only made thirty that year, but it was the year of a massive mental breakdown. I was diagnosed with clinical depression in March of 2012, after seeking professional help from a Psychiatrist. Due to that diagnoses, I began being treated with Viibry, an anti-depressant at a 20mg dose. However, I was still experiencing an up and down effect of my mood that led to the dose of the medication being gradually increased over a 9 month period to 40mg. Once the maximum dose was reached I continually experienced a loss of focus and concentration. Vyvanse was then added to my treatment which further led to serious complications of total exhaustion and deep depression. It was my intention at the time to improve my medical condition and succeed in the progression of my Bachelor's degree. These unforeseen events impelled me to retroactively withdraw from Southeastern Louisiana University (the university I was attending) in the fall semester of 2012; then take a semester off (which turned into a year and a half). I call this the year of the FALL. And only the ground was there to catch me.
In June of 2014 I finally re-enrolled at Southeastern. By this time I had decided to end all medication that had been prescribed to me, including the relationship with my Psychiatrist. Some people asked me why I was wasting my time going back to school, but I knew why I was doing it and I had to finish what I started in order to feel right within. By May of 2015, I was a graduate. Now I'm on a totally new journey. I am not even close to where I think I should be, yet I still have hope that I will reach the highest possibilities of my goals and dreams. To all those turning thirty this year, keep your head high, this is only the beginning!
Take care of you,
This art work was done with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish (Rapid Red, Mauve It, Cinna-snap, Gone Gray and Go for Gold). "Nasty Gals do it better" is the Nasty Gal's company slogan. Shown here is a recreation based on a previously held Instagram contest asking fans to show their devotion to the Nasty Gal brand.
Alicia M. Burks
"I feel absolutely challenged in just being myself, yet building my life on a foundation of excellence."