Friday, March 13, 2015

Well... shoot.

I'm one of those people who believes that life is made up of chapters - each one making up the story that we'll be remembered by. The story is only interesting if there are ups and downs... the good and the bad. Well... another chapter of my story came to an end today.

We were informed after our show that today would be the last live broadcast on KTXD. Shock and sadness were my initial reaction. I mean seriously... it's been a helluva trying week. But as I drove home in the rain, I felt grateful... grateful for being able to do what I love for over a year; grateful to have met so many people and experienced so many amazing things; grateful to have worked with an incredible production crew; grateful to have been home in the afternoons to spend time with my family... the list goes on and on and on.

I've been ask what I've got planned next... not much at this point. I'll head home next week for granny's funeral. I plan on taking a couple of good weeks off to breathe, maybe do a little pageant prep. Then there's the actual book I promised I'd write in 2015 - gotta check that off the list before I venture back into the workplace. But I know something good is coming... there's always a rainbow after a storm.

After our last episode of The Broadcast
































































Thursday, March 12, 2015

There's Always Hope

I made it back into the "office" on Tuesday. I woke up Monday morning and started the shower before looking in the mirror. I looked in the mirror and realized there was no amount of concealer that would cover up the puffy bags under my eyes. 

It was great to be back at work though - I needed the distraction. I wanted to share my awesome Tootsie's looks with you from the past couple of days:

Monique Lhuillier

Tadashi Shoji

Black Halo








































































But today's show is exactly what I needed for some wonderful and perfectly timed perspective. The entire show was about people who have overcome adversity. We're talking stories about a man living with AIDS for decades (he was infected after tonsil surgery while in the military) to a woman who lost her daughter to teen dating violence. You can check out today's segments here.

I'll be heading home to L.A. next Wednesday for granny's home-going service. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Just. Breathe.

























I spent Saturday morning running around taking care of errands before meeting up with Ryan and the kids at Will's Miracle League soccer game. I'd left my cellphone at home (I never do this... ever)... it needed to charge so it could be ready to go for the evening's House of DIFFA event I was set to attend. Big mistake. Huge.

I was waiting for Ryan and the kids at the soccer facility - Ryan was looking around for me but didn't see me so I walked over to where they were sitting. Then I saw a familiar look on his face - that look he had when I had to go to the emergency room last year. Fear. Sadness. He pulled me aside and told me my younger sister had been trying to get in touch with me... and that my granny had died in her sleep sometime overnight. Granny's death was unexpected - while she's been dealing with some dementia and required around-the-clock home care, she wasn't sick. It wasn't like when my auntie Mable died last year - we knew it was coming after she'd been diagnosed with cancer. But my family often joked that granny, who was just shy of 89, would outlive us all.  

By the time I reached the parking lot I was sobbing and felt like I couldn't catch my breath. I called my sister who was in the car with my mom. When she answered, there were no words. Just tears. I cancelled my plans for Saturday night because every time I thought about my granny, I cried. When I finally pulled it together that evening, I wrote the following on Facebook: 

Thank you all for the messages, texts, prayers, calls, etc. today - definitely feeling the love. And I needed it. Anyone who knows me and knows my family understands the tremendous loss and pain we're experiencing right now.
My granny was the matriarch of the family... she was funny as hell and if you ever wonder where I get my cussin' habit from, I got it from her (along with the Billingsly forehead). Growing up, Sundays were spent on the front porch of her house after church. There was always family, laughter and granny's occasional tipsy dancing to "Down Home Blues." So many, many wonderful memories.
On this 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, I'm reminded of a conversation I had with granny on election night 2008. "Granny," I asked. "Yes baby," she said. "Did you ever think you'd see a Black president elected during your lifetime?" Behind her glasses she teared up... "No, I just can't believe it." She spent her childhood in the cotton fields of Tennessee then supported and raised three daughters on her own by working as "the help" in Beverly Hills mansions. When she worked as a janitor for LAUSD, she'd take us to work with her during the summer. We loved being able to play in the empty classrooms and write all over the chalkboards. So many good memories.
This is the last pic I took with my granny. I most recently spent time with her when I was home in September. In recent years, her memory was fading. I'd call and she knew it was me on the phone... but then she'd ask if I had any kids and when I told her yes, she'd ask how old they were. And every conversation ended with, "When are you coming home?"
Granny died peacefully in her sleep sometime last night just shy of her 89th birthday. Soon granny... I'll be home soon.

Sunday afternoon, Bryn told me she wanted to read something to me. She pulled out a Bible I bought her last year started reading:

























As tears streamed down my face, I looked at Ryan and asked if he'd told her to read it to me. He shook his head "no" and as I sat in awe, Bryn told me it was her favorite part.

I went into my office and pulled out my mom and dad's wedding album. It's a small album that needs some TLC - I grabbed it a couple of years ago and brought it home with me to see if I could find someone to do some restoration work on it. As I flipped through the pages I smiled. Then I came upon this one:


























Granny dancing with my dad; they are dancing next to my dad's best friend (Uncle Earl) and my nana. Everyone in this picture is in heaven now and no doubt having a blast. 

I last saw granny back in September. Here's my last pic with her... I'm gonna miss her. A lot.





























Thursday, March 5, 2015

Another Snow Day

The meteorologists got it right for a change... they said a major winter storm was coming in over night. And it did. I woke up (very early - I was waiting for word on whether The Broadcast would be cancelled today) and snuck out of the house before the kids woke up to take some pics. This was the most snow we've gotten here since 2010... and it was beautiful.





Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fashion Stars for a Cause

Suicide. I remember hearing the news a couple years ago that former NFL great Junior Seau had taken his own life. It was devastating. Junior was too young. He was too happy. He was the guy that always had a smile on his face... who was always making sure everyone else was okay. He had money, good looks, a great family... everything. But he's gone... a single gunshot wound to the chest. All I could think about in the days following is death was how lonely, how hopeless he had to be to think that leaving his children without a father was the right choice. I can't imagine that pain. But it happens to people. It happened to Junior.














When I was nominated by Yvonne Crum to participate in this year's Fashion Stars for a Cause benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, I thought about Junior. I said "yes" without hesitation hoping my participation would help raise funds for this incredible resource in North Texas. From the 24-hour crisis line staffed by trained volunteers to programs that help those who have lost a loved one to suicide, it certainly is an incredible resource for those here in the metroplex and across the country.

Photo - Danny Campbell




















Fashion Stars for a Cause is a great way to raise funds for the center and there are a couple of fun ways to get involved. You can join us for the Gala Dinner on March 20th at the Dallas Country Club. My former co-host of The Broadcast Suzie Humphreys will emcee the event (honorary) chaired by Toni and Daniel Hunt. My fellow fashion stars and I will be showcasing fashion by Belk. It's going to be an awesome event. Tickets can be purchased for $250 each - a small price to pay to support the services and support offered by the center. For more information, click here or email Yvonne Crum at yvonnecr@flash.net.

In addition to the gala, raffle tickets are available and I've got to tell you about the incredible prize up for grabs - it's a royal dinner party with the Royal Chef himself, Darren McGrady! He is the former chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry. Chef McGrady has been on the Broadcast a couple of times and always has wonderful stories to tell about his time with the royal family. Your dinner party will include the following:








  • A 4 course dinner based on the dishes served at Buckingham Palace including food and wine pairings;
  • Butler service to prepare your table, greet and serve your guests;
  • An autographed copy of "Eating Royally" - Chef McGrady's top selling cookbook - for each guest;
  • Chef McGrady will join your table and will share stories with you and your guests;
  • You'll consult with the Royal Chef on the menu;
  • All errands will be taken care of - the food purchase, shopping, and preparation;
  • Table set up and tear down.
And as if all of this isn't worth the cost of the raffle ticket alone, the winner will also receive a $5,000 gift card from Belk!!!! It truly is an incredible prize package. Tickets are $50/each or 3 for $100. You can purchase them from me or online here. Make sure you put my name in the description box at the top of the order form.

Thank you so much for supporting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas! Join us for an incredible night raising funds for this incredible cause!

Sad Face

























If you asked me what my dream job is, it's hosting a television program. My prayers were answered when The Broadcast came along. Being asked to host Take Charge Parenting was the icing on the cake. I loved everything about the show - working with our producer Dina and the Kid's Doctor herself, Dr. Sue; learning from the cream of the crop from Children's Health about issues ranging from healthy eating habits to allergies; and knowing that as parents we get freaked out every once in a while... and that's okay. Thanks to the info I learned on Take Charge Parenting, my daughter has actually stopped sucking her thumb!

So it's with great sadness (for me anyway) I share that Take Charge Parenting is heading over to WFAA and will begin airing March 17th. I looked forward to the show every week and I'm going to really miss being a part of it. I am so sad to see the show go - but I wish the crew all the best as the start their next chapter for the show. I'll be tuning in!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snowpocalypse - Day Two

























Enough said.

Why Ray Rice Contemplating Suicide is No Joke...

The first video we saw was bad enough. The grainy surveillance video showed NFL star running back Ray Rice months earlier dragging his then-fiance Janay unconscious out of an elevator after some sort of altercation. In a Kobe-esque press conference, Janay sat next to her man holding his hand supporting him as he apologized for his actions. Nevermind he never actually apologized to her. The NFL handed down a two-game suspension and that was that... just another blip on the criminal arrest saga that has come to define the NFL offseason.

Then the second video was released - the video from inside the elevator that showed Ray upper-cutting Janay and knocking her out cold. I texted my producer at The Broadcast the morning after its release and said we had to talk about it during table talk - this video would change everything. For the first time, the NFL was on the defense and losing the PR battle, badly. The only person having the bigger nightmare than the NFL was Ray Rice. As he describes it, he became the most hated man in America, and he was right. He was the poster child for domestic abusers even though there had been plenty of candidates for the job before him... you know, the Ray Carruths of the NFL. I mean hell... Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher killed his three-month-old daughter's mother and then turned the gun on himself back in 2012. Even that incident wasn't enough for the NFL to change how it approached players' off-the-field issues with domestic violence. It was Ray Rice and that now infamous knockout blow that did. 

So it's no surprise to me that in an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Rice admitted to contemplating suicide as a result of becoming the most hated man in America. In the interview, he said, "Honestly, I almost felt like at one point that it wasn't worth living. I see why people commit suicide." While some on social media questioned his sincerity (i.e. maybe Rice was continuing to spin the PR wheel; maybe he only regretted losing his millions), I was immediately troubled by his comments. You see, when this whole thing happened a year ago, my first thought was how Rice and his now wife were thrust into early NFL retirement - his ties to his team were cut; his income was gone; endorsement deals discontinued; role model status severed; his identity, no longer. There was an immediate feeling of empathy... in ways, I knew what he and Janay were probably feeling watching his former teammates out on the gridiron every Sunday while he was sitting on the couch. I hoped she had good people around her to support her. I bet there was a loss of a sense of purpose. It probably felt like someone died. Depression had probably set in. Hopelessness. The savings account dwindling. Life after (or in between) football is tough... and until you've experienced it, it is virtually impossible to know what it feels like. 

I'm not excusing Rice's behavior - I've been one of his harshest critics. And I'm certainly not comparing our situation to his - I'm married to the sweetest, gentlest, nonviolent giant I know. He wasn't cut... his contract ran out and after literally putting his life on the line over the course of a 10-year pro-ball career, no one wanted him anymore. So in some ways, I do feel like I can relate to some of what Ray (and I'm sure Janay) experienced over this last year.  It's hard. Really hard. So hard that former players like Junior Seau are literally killing themselves over it. Many are now beginning to contemplate and understand the depression former players experience - ESPN writer Jim Trotter just wrote about it in a wonderful piece published just this week. So while we can question Rice's sincerity and whether or not he brought all this on himself, I, for one, and deeply troubled about his suicidal thoughts. I don't want to hear about one more current/former NFL player contemplating/committing suicide...

----------------------------------------------

Coincidentally, today is the last day of our NFL health insurance coverage. Former vested players get 5 years of health insurance after their last credited season and 18 months of COBRA eligibility and ours expires at the end of the day. I knew the day was coming but now that it's here, it is a reminder that this chapter in our lives is closed and that life goes on after the NFL. But it's tough. And there are struggles. I hope we're all paying attention to the toll this league is taking on these players and their families. And that folks can find a way to show a little compassion... even for the most hated guy in the world... 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Today's OOTD

We wrapped up a short week on The Broadcast with a bang - my dress from Tootsies Dallas is Jay Godfrey. Now do you see white and gold or blue and black?


























The best part about this pic is that my co-host in the pink (the fabulous Lisa Pineiro) had me crackin' up when I was trying to be serious... 

Let it Snow!!!!!!!

After two "ice days" and a declaration of Icepocalypse earlier in the week, we finally got some snow in Texas. Real, bona fide, fluffy white snow. It took me almost an hour and a half to get home from work today but I couldn't wait for the kids to get home so we could go out and play. And play we did! 





















Of course, most of us around here don't have the proper snow gear. I threw on my Uggs and some mismatched layers while my neighbor Jennifer came outside sporting a full-length fur. I love it!

























And Bryn couldn't go outside without her Elsa costume on. Forget Let it Go - Let it Snow!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today's OOTD

With the rough weather that rolled through Dallas this week, we were off Monday and Tuesday. I wore a fun, springy BCBG dress yesterday, but today's dress... OH-EM-GEE! It's Halston Heritage and just sucked everything in in all the right places. I think this one is a keeper! A big ol' shout out to Tootsies in Dallas for hooking us up!