Ten ways single women can successfully navigate 2017

If anyone has ever told you that New Year’s Day was just another day, don’t believe them. The new year is symbolic of a renewal; like refurbishing an old cell phone. Same phone, new look and functions more proficiently. It’s out with the old and in with the new.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite ready. Before I knew it, reality had hit and the Times Square ball was about to drop. But, you still have time to get your ducks in your row. As a single, professional woman, life doesn’t stop. But, take a moment for yourself. Here are 10 ways to easily and successfully navigate the new year:

vision-board

  • Write the vision and make it plain.

Create a vision board or a vision journal. Envision your life the way you desire it. One way to fulfill your vision board/journal is to grab a few magazines and cut out phrases or photos that encompass the life and lifestyle you want and paste the images to a poster. It should be strategically placed in an area of your home and serve as a constant motivation.

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  • Sever bad relationships/friendships.

One of the best ways to be a success is to remove people that offer negative influence in your life. Just like old jeans, you can grow out of relationships that no longer offer room for growth. Surround yourself with other successful people. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. That motto remains true.

memory-jar

  • Create a memory jar.

This is a relatively new idea that surfaced on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. It’s a great way to chronicle your accomplishments throughout the year. Anytime you attain a goal or create a special memory, write it down, put it in a bottle and by December 31st or January 1st, collect all the messages and revisit all your highs from the year.

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  • Commit to an exercise regimen.

Typically, the first resolution most people make is to lose weight in the new year. It’s relatively easy to say, but it’s even harder to commit to the routine. With technology like exercise videos, weight loss and music apps, one could stay on track without missing a beat.

apologize

  • Make amends with someone.

I didn’t make the first move on this one, but I was relieved, impressed and grateful when a friend approached me to make amends because our friendship had gone sour. We expressed our feelings and apologized for our individual roles in nixing the friendship and managed to rekindle it. We didn’t skip a beat and picked up where we’d left off in our relationship.

smoking

  • Give up a bad habit.

Whether it be smoking or gambling, make a conscious effort to quit that bad habit, whatever it may be. There are multiple ways to quit; do your research. Some may involve therapy, hypnosis, medical treatment, practice or go cold turkey.

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  • Network/join a women’s group.

Life isn’t all work and no play. It’s about working to improve your community or to improve self. By joining a group, you can network, make new friends and bond with a host of like-minded associates.

vacation

  • Enjoy quiet time or plunge into an adventure.

Take a vacation and unplug. Or, indulge in a staycation (stay home). The object is to disconnect from your everyday life and allow your body and brain to relax and de-stress.

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  • Save, save, save.

It’s not as painful as you think. Save a little bit here and there or save big. Open a savings account,  join a Christmas club or invest your money. Put aside your extra change or invest your tax refund and forego purchasing unnecessary items.

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  • Lose the number to your ex.

If you haven’t guessed it, number 10 is my favorite. It’s the one thing that’s been constant year to year and hasn’t failed me yet. Want to make a serious mark this year? Then, follow your heart, mind and these 10 easy steps. Each item offers its share of challenges, but #ibedamned it’s worth the effort in order to achieve a successful 2017.

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What’s a Festival without Shrimp and Oil

Gravel pebbles under my soft-soled shoes are a quick indication that I’m ill-equipped for today’s walking tour at the 80th Annual Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. But, I can’t help but be excited to see, taste and hear this year’s selection of music and food. I’ve been visiting this fest for about 10 years. It’s the right amount of stir crazy for this quaint city on the mighty Atchafalaya River. It’s nestled in a historic, residential neighborhood of mixed architectural homes and manicured lawns in Morgan City. One could easily step outdoors right into the heart of one of the biggest and busiest parties St. Mary Parish has ever seen. It’s a major tourist draw but the hometown folk enjoy it just as much.

I started my rounds at the jam-packed arts and crafts Vendors Row; brimming with pedestrian traffic just as that of the vehicle traffic bustling above on the iconic US 90 Bridge. The five-block neighborhood festival is alive with thousands of tourists and residents sprawling like ants from a dirt colony into what is often considered a relatively quiet community.

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Still image credit: KWBJ TV 22

Swamp Pop tunes wafted into the air mixing with the addictive food smells from some of south Louisiana carnival foodie favorites; funnel cakes, gator bites, shrimp and crawfish platters and cotton candy. The combination signified that the state’s oldest chartered festival was in full swing. So many choices that my eyes and stomach were in constant disagreement making it difficult to settle on just one meal. My palate finally met its mate; a sausage link sandwich smothered in grilled onions and red peppers washed down with freshly- squeezed lemonade. The festival boasts itself as a family environment, but after-dark festivities in the park are better suited for adults.

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Photo credit: Schola Photography

Parents would be best to shuttle their kiddos away to the bridge area for amusement rides and games. By the time the sun was set, alcoholic beverage consumption was rampant including my favorite, the Hurricane. The “spirits” booth is sponsored by a philanthropy-driven organization of teachers, principals and other business persons, but their specialty drink is anything but mild-mannered and professional. The Hurricane packed a punch greater than a Category 5 storm. Trust me, it only takes one. Employing a taxi or designated driver to transport you to your next destination would be your best bet to make it home safely.

The Labor Day holiday weekend’s steam bath of blistering temperatures were a better backdrop to the festival’s milestone year compared to 2014’s incessant rainshowers. Although the sun beat my face and sweat dripped to creases and folds I didn’t know existed, I still managed to fully partake in the festivities. I weaved through the cluster of attendees and made my way to the blacktopped, wooden dance floor. During the hottest part of the day, festival goers thought it better to dance in their lawn chairs under the shade of the park’s magnificent oak trees than to venture into the intense heat. But, by night, the floor was hidden under the feet of Cajun two-steppers and dance-how-you-want enthusiasts.

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Still image credit: KWBJ TV 22

A favorite around these parts, Wayne Toups drew crowds that extended into almost all ends of the park. Toups’ salt-and-pepper beard, flat-brimmed hat, alligator-tooth necklace and rapid accordion playing made him a likely character from a TV  series set in the Louisiana swamps. His lighthearted Cajun tunes were well-received, and I more of a blues lover, was treated to a Toups’ remake of James Brown, “It’s a Man’s World.” His rendition, along with his smiling bearded face and the crowd’s reception, gave me a reason to tolerate my bath in South Louisiana’s unforgiving humidity and stay a little bit longer.

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Still image credit: KWBJ TV 22

From one artist to another…

Toups and his band were accompanied on stage by famed artist, Tony Bernard. Bernard arranged his own funky piece…on canvas, that is; presumably sold to the highest bidder. It was a crowned pelican. It seemed almost befitting to see Toups and Toulouse (my name for the pelican) side by side on the the same stage — like two kings on their respective thrones; Toups, a music monarch of Grammy-award winning proportions alongside the state’s majestic bird. And, when the last song was played, my soft-soled shoes had become a second layer of epidermis on my feet. But, it was well worth the five-block walk.

What’s a festival without oil and shrimp? Well, #ibedamned

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