5 Lessons That I Learned Living With A Chronic Illness

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I will never forget the day that I “finally” got a realistic medical diagnosis. I was nineteen and was legit over the top over feeling like I could not pull through my daily activities. I had went to many ER’s, doctors, and again to my gynecologist to discuss my growing concern for my menstrual cycle. What I learned was horrifying for any woman let alone a woman about to enter her 20’s.

I learned that all the years of heavy bleeding, painful TOTM’s (Time of the months), migraines, dizzy spells overall body pain were all contributed to Endometriosis. I was told that I would need surgery to help lessen the pain and to see which organs were affected. I had the surgery one late November and that it was when my actively and knowingly living with Endometriosis journey began.

Fun Fact: The pain never really goes away. You just learn to deal with it and only hope that some months continue to be better than others. I salute anyone reading this who may know someone or is someone dealing with a CI. I also hope to help remove the stigma that’s associated with Chronic Illnesses. Not all people look like they aren’t well.

Here are five lessons that I have learned along the way and the hard way:

  • To be more Gentle with myself. I am not going to exaggerate throughout my life I have always been super tough on myself. I’ve beaten myself up for never conceiving a child as well as having to take time off to deal with my issues.
  • Healthy Mind. It is so easy to fall down but how we pick ourselves us is what matters. If you dwell on anything it only tends to magnify the situation. It’s best to keep things light. Accepting that you may have low periods but not staying there. Again, be gentle with yourself.
  • It is OKAY to CANCEL plans or check out early. This is something that I really dislike to do but find myself doing often. For some reason, I find myself making plans and day of do not even have the physical strength to go. I may not have the energy to muster up to even deal with myself, let alone other people. That’s deep because I love people and I love myself.
  • What you EAT really matters. Eating healthy is extremely important. Finding what foods are good for your body is what will help you and slow down the aging process significantly.
  • Holistic and Alternative medicine are a must. If it were up to any GYN they would want me on Birth Control Pills. No offense to those things but there are other ways that I learned I could control pain. There is Acupuncture, different teas and tonics, massage, vitamin supplements, exercise, and the list goes on.

Raw Images: @MartinKenneth

Hair: @KayCStyles

Makeup: @LadyAlisonMoss

Bodysuit: Zara

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ARE YOUR FEMININE PRODUCTS SAFE?

Beauty

Did you know that the majority of feminine care products are highly toxic to your womb and overall health? The Food and Drug Administration does not require companies that manufacture these products to test for all harmful chemicals. The FDA also neglects to hold these companies accountable for disclosing all of the chemicals used in feminine care products. Pads and tampons are regulated as “Medical Devices”, meaning  that the U.S government does not require that their ingredients be disclosed.

Today’s research shows that many of these products designed to provide relief for women are providing anything but that. These monthly products contain chemicals that may cause cancer, disrupt hormones, or cause reactions that upset the vajajay. This is particularly alarming due to the overall sensitivity of our lady parts. We have a right to know what we are putting inside and outside of our bodies.

Let’s take a look a closer look at what is in our most commonly used feminine products. Tampons and pads are used by most women for their monthly protection. These products are made using synthetic materials such as rayon or super absorbent polymers (SAPs) that are bleached with chlorine, some products are made from traditionally grown cotton that is treated with pesticides and insecticides. In addition, many pads and tampons contain dioxins and furans that come from the bleaching process. On top of that some of our pads and tampons have fragrance in them. WTH?

There is good news, though. We have a choice whether or not to place these things inside our bodies. We don’t have to purchase Always, Tampax, or any of those other brands that we were brought up on. Look for brands that disclose all of their ingredients, choose unbleached tampons and pads, try alternative protection products (cups, gladrags, Thinx, etc), and leave the fragrances to your perfumes.

HOW TO BE TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE

Stories

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Shirt: Madewell | Pants: Zara | Bag: @ShopPandorasBoxBoutique | Tumbler: @ShopPandorasBoxBoutique

We are living in some strange times. When I say strange in my mind I am saying it in Français when they say “Étrange, or if you saw the movie “Boomerang” where they say Strangé. I have never in my life noticed prior to Social Media how many people are really followers. I can’t help but not identify with the lack of originality.

To be honest, you don’t have to look too far…. You can go to your Explore Page on Instagram and it’s the same images repeated over and over. In this Age of Influence or better yet Lack of Originality you can’t help but wonder what’s going on in folks heads?

What are we striving for as a people? Are we striving to impress people that don’t even matter? Are we masking years of low self esteem and self-hate while donning the latest designer items? I love to observe people and one thing that I have noticed is that people tend to make up for a Self-Love deficit by overcompensating on the outside.

I can tell you this much no one not even Jesus is going to care how many Chanel bags you owned, or how many Gucci shopping bags you took a pic with in Paris. You really have to reevaluate the people close to you and even closer your own motivations if you find yourself striving to impress. We should never live to impress people by material because it is then we lose sight of what really matters.

There are so many things that truly matter and they can’t be bought. First and foremost: is being TRUE to who you are. If you are true to who you are you can’t be swindled or persuaded by Social Media, Society, Entertainment, so-called people of influence or family. My favorite saying is “Whatever everyone else is doing I am going to do the opposite.”

  • Having a Solid Set of Values is crucial in remaining true to who you are. Your Value system will tell you if something is worth pursuing or even meant for you. It will tell you if the means justify the end.
  • Self Esteem is developed during our childhood or after earnestly working on it once we become aware that their is a lack of it. I struggled with self esteem in my teens and twenties. I had no clue that some of the most ridiculous things or situations I found myself in were contributed to a deficit in my self esteem. When you have a balanced or high self esteem you will not find a need to impress, better yet even care what people think.
  • Revel in your Uniqueness. ” No one is you, and that is your power” The world would be boring AF if we all were the same and that is for sure. So ask yourself why you are trying so hard to fit in? Ask yourself are you being a follower or your most authentic self? You can scroll down your own IG account and see how original or sadly how basic you are.
  • Your Character speaks volumes about the core of who you are as a person. How do you treat people? How do you treat people that can do nothing for you? How do you treat people who may not be as successful or outwardly blessed as you? Social Media is really making being a decent person hard. It seems being wack is glorified. Wack is any elitist, snobby, better than, on a higher echelon vibe that you display in public or online. Ask yourself are you in tune with who you really are, or can you afford to work on your Character?
  • Remember who you were before the world told you who you should be. Recall that uber creative person that loved to draw, create, sing, etc? That person did not care about half the things over time they were conditioned to care about. Find that person because at the core, that person is who you really are.
  • Examine your friends. If you have the same set of friends since childhood and they grew on a spiritual level with you, then you are blessed. Life doesn’t really work like that for some of us. We change, do the work on ourselves, and people around us tend to stay the same. You can tell a lot about a person by their friends….. Take a look at your friends. Do they reflect your true self? If not, I would suggest you find a tribe that reflects your light and reminds you of your darkness when you forget your own reflection.
  • Disengage. It is okay to disengage or disappear to work on yourself if you feel you have lost yourself or never found yourself. Age is irrelevant. There are so many lost 40 and 50 year olds walking around here that never do the work on themselves. They have never found their true self and are okay with it. I only hope you don’t become like one of them. There is nothing more sexier and intelligent than a confident, conscious, compassionate, and grounded person.

I could literally write a book on finding and being true to yourself. I will leave you with these to ponder upon. May you find yourself and always remain true to yourself. Xx

Lady Alison Moss

Part One: What’s The Most Important Part of A Makeup Routine?

Beauty, Stories

This question is probably the most asked question for any Makeup Artist. The answer will take on many different forms considering their level of training. Some makeup artists may say that your brows are the most important step in your routine. While others may claim contouring is the most important step. Some may even say priming your face before makeup application is.

Sadly, the most important step that seems to go unnoticed or maybe trivialized is…..D-R-U-M-R-O-L-L please!! Your Skin Care Routine. Your Skin Care Routine is without a doubt the most important part in any makeup routine. Skin is our largest organ and we already have many factors (intrinsic meaning internal and extrinsic meaning external) that are affecting our skin on a daily basis.

In all of my travels there is one thing that I notice first about a person. That is their skin and how amazing it is or could be. I’m sure that’s just the Esthetician in me but it makes me wonder… Why do so many women and men wear makeup instead of treating their skin? Truth be told they are only bringing more attention to their flaws.

I get it. No one taught you how to take care of your skin as a child. My mother did not teach me about taking care of my skin. I was fortunate that she subscribed Seventeen Magazine, Teen Mag, and the now defunct Mademoiselle Magazine. I learned basic skin care routines and products by reading those magazines monthly. I also grew up with eczema so I had to be aware of what I put on my body and face.

Fast forward to my twenties when I started doing Makeup full-time and decided to take my training further by going to school for Esthetics. The things I saw working on faces   would break my heart but I was so glad to be there to help. I stressed the importance of seeking help beyond the makeup counter and would always walk them over to a skin care line.

Depending on your condition you may have to seek the help of a Dermatologist and invest in scheduling monthly facials with an Esthetician. Going to an Esthetician seems like a luxury but it really is a neccessity. They will look beyond the surface of your skin and feel their way through in what is called a Skin Analysis. They may notice photodamage, hyperpigmentation, acne, dryness, redness, a need for more exfoliation, etc.

They will tell you your Skin Type based off their thorough Skin Analysis (which is subject to change due to those pesky intrinsic and external factors). They will suggest products based on your Skin Type and which products to get rid of. They will stress the importance of cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and moisturizing your skin. You really need to have an Esthetician in your life.

During Treatment with my fave Esthetician My skin after my facial ✨

P.S. This post really needs to be a video. The video will be Part Two where I will go into detail my skin care routine. Xx

Lady Alison

4 Highly Inappropriate questions to ask a lady in her 30’s

Stories

I turned 30 in NYC (My First Love). I took the weekend off and went to my favorite brunch spot in the Lower East Side with friends and splurged on some beauty essentials at Sephora. I was in bed before midnight. As I look back on that day, I had no clue what  the next few years held for me, let alone what God had in store for me.

A lot of things changed for sure. I left New York City and moved back home as in “HOME HOME.” I was in a bit of a transition struggling between wanting to be an entrepreneur and working a traditional job. I was also struggling with building myself up after leaving a relationship that wasn’t healthy for me. I was finding out all the things that weren’t for me.

After leaving any relationship you have your healing period and then you are ready to start dating again. I have always wanted children but I wanted to be married first. I am one of those women who can honestly remember being a child playing with dolls and fantasizing of one day having my own family. However, I still wasn’t on anyone’s timeline and marriage seemed far out. Kids seemed even further out.

I started traveling to Europe a couple months after moving back home. I fell in love with Paris and Amsterdam. Having kids still etched on the brain but going back to Europe was a must. As a creative soul I cannot explain all that drives me but I can say that travel definitely does. Of course, I still wouldn’t mind a family of my own but I am at peace with whatever God has in store for me.

That is the thing with life. You must make peace with your own life and your own body. If you do not, you will forever be a prisoner of your mind and body and other’s opinions. I already have everything that I need and have lived out many of my wildest dreams. So next time you attempt to inquire or worry about my life, please know that I am content. Which brings me to my list of inappropriate questions to ask any lady over the age of 30:

  1. Why are you still single? Has it ever occurred that being single is ultimately a choice? The “Still” comes off a tad condescending as if being in a relationship is the ultimate pay-off. The ultimate pay-off is happiness.
  2. When are you going to have some babies? First of all why is it any of your business when I decide to have my guts ripped open by childbirth? That is an extremely personal question. Did you ever consider that maybe some women have difficulty getting pregnant, or some just don’t want any? Making children seem like some rite of passage for a female or ultimate life goal is ridiculous. Worry about your own children and how you can be a better parent would be my recommendation.
  3. Do you really live at home? Again, none of your business but here we go…. I do live at home. I moved back home at 32 and it was the best decision ever. Living at home and helping my parent is extremely fulfilling and allows me the opportunity to do all the things I could not do when I was forking over stacks every month for rent in NYC. Besides, renting ain’t really something I want to do in my current city because it is not where I wish to remain. I rather save my money for my next home and spend all the time with my Madre while I humanly can.
  4. When will you settle down? It appears no one really likes a free spirit. For many free spirits that is the only way we know how to live. I don’t place a high value on things. I like experiences and being able to freely live them brings me much satisfaction. To be honest monotony and being chained by my possessions frightens me. When I was younger I was very materialistic. I had everything I wanted and those things never made me happy. I don’t want to live a life where I am constantly striving for the newest or biggest thing. I cannot take those “things” with me when I go. I want to be able to pack my ISH up and go at a moments notice.

Feel free to comment any of the inappropriate questions you’ve been asked while in your 30’s. I am sure there are more but for now I hope you enjoyed those that came to my mind. Xx

Lady Alison

Viva la Spain 🇪🇸

International Menu, Stories, Street Mannequin, Travel

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I returned from my holiday in Spain. It was much needed and I appreciate every moment of it. The weather was much warmer than Paris has been. It was refreshing to feel Summer heat which felt reminiscent of my summers back home. I packed appropriately and that is something that you should know if you’re planning to visit Spain in the Summer. Pack tons of swimsuits and sunscreen if you’re visiting a city with a beach. In Espanol it is “La Playa.” and they can go for miles.

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The first city Seville was not a beach city but when I arrived the weather was in the mid 80’s and manageable. It was still very hot in the sun as I set to explore the city. The city had flowers galore and many historical monuments. I was able to walk it in two days, load up on tapas, sip the best Sangria, and partake in a live Flamenco show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco. Those entertainers sure could sing and dance. I would definitely recommend seeing a live show if you ever visit Seville.

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Seville

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After Seville, I set forth to the small city of La Linea also located in Andalusia. It was a three hour super scenic ride further south of Spain. The ride was filled with views of mountains, Spanish agriculture, and at times view of the ocean. La Linea is home to the Rock of Gibraltar. I spent most of my time there listening to the latest from Nas, Drake, and The Carter’s while relaxing on the beach. I even fell asleep on the beach and that is something that I have not done in so long. It was total zen and a break from the hustle and bustle of big city life.

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La Linea de La Concepcion

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Rock of Gibraltar 🇬🇮[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c

Spain Essentials

Finally, after another scenic ride through Andalusia I arrived Malaga. Malaga is a total beach town and the locals spend most of their time at the beach. I was able to eat grilled sardines on the beach which is a favorite in Malaga. Malaga had tons of seafood options and most of the time I was spoilt for choice. The weather was perfect and the architecture reminded me a lot of the houses on the hills in Southern, California. I explored some of the neighborhoods while snapping the various unique flowers.

Beach front restaurant in Malaga, Spain

Grilled Sardines in Malaga

Packing for this trip was a breeze. I knew I was not going to be wearing my hair out during my trip. I brought hats and head wraps to protect my hair from the sun and keep it moisturized throughout the day. As with any European city that I visit I make sure to have comfortable shoes, because you are bound to be doing a lot of walking. If you are taking a holiday this summer I encourage you to invest in a few cute rompers, shorts, and breezy dresses. They will come in handy and won’t take up a lot of space in your suitcase.

Andalusia you have my heart. 🙂

As I recount my trip to Spain there is one word that can sum it up. That word is “COLORFUL.” Spain was extremely colorful and I am happy to finally check it off my never-ending bucket list. One day I will visit trendy Barcelona and Ibiza. For now my appetite is whet. I am back in Paris and loving every bit of Summer. I hope you are enjoying your Summer too. Xx

Alison

Experiences vs. Things

International Menu, Stories, Travel

Hello World!! I arrived sunny and beautiful Malaga, Spain yesterday. This is my third city to visit in Spain but first trip to Spain. I desired fewer people and definitely not a party city. I am low-key and having spent the past two months in a major metropolitan city I have been craving a week of off-grid pleasure. I decided on Andalusia after discussing with one of my Parisian friends as to where to take a holiday. The first city to explore was Seville. Seville, Spain is a city with rich history. The city is basically a museum in itself. It is full of Jardins (gardens) and monuments.

It did not take me long to notice the lack of People of Color. It didn’t make me uncomfortable at all but it reminded me of something I always see when traveling. It made me wonder why many POC do not take advantage of the opportunity to travel? Realistically, some may not have the resources. This is for those men and women that do have the resources and spending power. This is also not mean for those that have a fear of flying because you should face that fear first. You could be like an old friend in Cali that swore she lived in Paradise and didn’t see the need to see the world. Traveling didn’t move her and that is her prerogative.

For y’all that don’t have a fear of flying, have the resources, have the time to request off from work/school, what is stopping you from booking your next experience? Yes, it can be to Miami but even that gets old (BASIC IMO). There is so much of this earth to explore. You can legit pick a continent or region and narrow it down from there. I typically give myself a few months to plan for my next adventure. You can travel too!! If only I had a dollar for every person that has asked how am I able to afford to travel.

Here is the thing…. I value EXPERIENCES far more than THINGS. Don’t misinterpret or get me wrong here. I am no stranger to nice things, they just don’t drive me. Things tend to lose their novelty and most of time their value rather quickly. Meanwhile, a trip somewhere foreign will leave lasting memories whether fond or not so pleasureable. Your mind will expand. You will be forced out of your comfort zone. You will meet interesting people and try different foods that may change your life.

Think about all your disposable income and ask yourself how do you consistently spend it? Does it go to Entertainment? Bundles of hair? Restaurants? Designer items? You really have to get personal because one thing that I won’t do is count the next persons money. Ask yourself if you could afford to cut back? Can you create a budget to plan for your next experience. You would be surprised at what you could do if you weren’t so driven solely by material.

As much as I love to shop and reinvent my wardrobe there is one thing I can say. None of my clothes, shoes, accessories, bags, etc, were ever able to feed my soul and nor did they talk to me. After I wear them a few times I am bored. However, I never get bored from traveling or living a new experience. Seeing the world and expanding my senses makes me richer than when I entered this world. I REALLY DO IT FOR THE CULTURE (all pun intended). Xx

Alison

Modest Muse

International Menu, Street Mannequin

Dress: Sankofa | Sneakers: Tretorn for J.Crew | Bag: Zara | Earrings: Bershka |  I love wearing long modest dresses and skirts all year round especially in the Summertime. If you read my previous post I spoke about an African print dress that I purchased from a boutique in Baltimore named Sankofa. My intentions were to wear it to my brothers wedding but the weather didn’t allow me to. So as many things I purchase it sat in my closet for months.

I decided to wear this dress to a BLACKHATS PARIS x PHILLIPE AUDIBERT presentation in Paris. It was the perfect choice and the weather accompanied it. I must say that this dress is lovely because it has two totally different prints if you reverse it. The other side is dark cabernet with African prints and also ties around the waist. It is a one size fits all fit, as most off the rack African dresses are. This dress is African but gives me Kimono vibes. I love a beautiful Kimono, so this dress is the best of both worlds.

I styled the dress with nude pumps but an hour into the event they had to come off. I am SOOOOO serious about my feet. I will not abuse them for the sake of vanity. Perhaps, in my early twenties but it isn’t a thought in this day. I found a corner and slid into my comfy Tretorn’s for J. Crew sneakers and was ready for the night ahead.

Once I left the event I headed to a park with beautiful flowers and tried to capture my look of the day. Surprisingly, I wasn’t tired so my friend and I headed over to see my girl  “Lady Eiffel”. Seeing the Eiffel Tower never gets old and if you have visited Paris I am sure you would agree. I hope you guys enjoyed how I rocked my African print dress. I can’t wait to style the other side. Feel free to show me how you style yours. Xx

Alison

How to Incorporate African Prints and Accessories in your Wardrobe

International Menu, Street Mannequin

Late last year I decided to take a look inside an African boutique in Baltimore named “Sankofa“. I originally stopped in to look for a dress for my brothers wedding. I preferred something unique and anyone that has been to B-More knows that it definitely is not known for its shopping options.

I stumbled upon a reversible African print dress and some gold medium sized Fuhlani earrings, and a Yellow Kufi. Yes; I know Kufi’s are traditionally worn by men. I like hats and thought it would look nice with my short hair (don’t judge me). Kufi’s also remind me of my grandfather who notoriously has worn them all  of my life.

Anyway, in this store is when I realized that my closet lacked a certain flavor. I had a closet full of European inspired digs but not much from the MotherLand. If you are like myself and don’t have much in your wardrobe that is African then this post is for you.

There is one thing for sure about shopping for African style and accessories. You will have so many colors and prints to choose from. A lot of shops also create Bespoke pieces or can recommend a seamstress. If you saw Black Panther this Spring you know exactly what I mean when I say that there is something special about African clothing.

Here are some tips for adding some African flair to your wardrobe:

  1. Start with accessories. My favorite are Fuhlani earrings that have been worn by West Africans from the Fuhlani tribe; hence the name. Fuhlani earrings are a great statement piece and come in various sizes in case you aren’t adventurous. to go big.  Sterling silver hoops are also a great staple to invest in. They will last forever.
  2. Headwraps and turbans. Headwraps are great to sport when you are having one of those bad hair days or want to spice up an outfit. I love headwraps because they draw attention to my face and my makeup if I am wearing any. It took a while to get the hang of putting it on right so that it stays put. Again, these come in any print and you have your choice of fabric texture. I prefer the better quality fabric because it holds the structure better. Turbans are easy and come in solid colors or prints.

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3. Sneakers. There is this brand I found while in Paris called “PANAFRICA”. PANAFRICA is an ethical brand that gets their materials mainly from West Africa and that is where their production takes place. These shoes come in many prints and do not break the bank like the ones that are popular amongst many today. You will definitely get a load of compliments and feel exclusive.

4. If you are ready to go head first and buy your first African outfit might I suggest a dress or long skirt. There is something so elegant and feminine about wearing a skirt or dress. I am making a point of wearing more because they make me feel A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Choose a color and silhouette that is flattering for your shape. I would recommend bringing a friend along to help you choose the right ones.

 

Below are various ways I rocked my African prints and accessories. I cannot wait to actually travel to West and East Africa to meet the people and see how things are made. I’ve been to Morocco which is lovely but I’d like to see more. It’s on my never-ending bucket list for sure.

Parisian Vibes

International Menu, Stories, Travel

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It is hard to describe spending months in a different country. Of course, there’s the obvious language barrier unless you come equipped knowing the native language. The food is different and may take some getting accustomed to. This is my fifth visit to Paris and my third 90 day trip. Each time I learn more and more about the City of Lights and its people.

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I love to visit the pastry shops, outside markets, butcheries, and cute cafe’s that are in abundance. I love to go shopping. The shopping here is the best even the vintage stores. I’m especially tickled when I stumble across a French brand that I’ve never heard of before and the quality and price are a match. So far my favorite brands are COS and The Kooples. I’ve also been finding some neat things at Mango. I still find many things at Zara. I’ve probably gone to every Zara here on a quest for something in my size.

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When I’m not spending my time as mentioned above, I like to visit Parks or as The French call them “Parcs or Jardin’s.” Paris has some of thee most beautiful parks that I have ever visited. It helps since most buildings here don’t have air-conditioning. There is this one park called Butte Chaumont in Northeastern Paris that is one of the biggest and original green spaces in the City. There is a cave that houses a waterfall. It’s really VIEWS and is surrounded by a neighborhood with Haussmanian style buildings.

The weather is finally starting to feel like Summer. Ramadan is over so the city is lively again. Paris has a huge Muslim demographic and the city caters to this community. That is something to keep in mind when planning a visit. Many restaurants are Halal and do not serve pork. Speaking of Pork…. I am craving bacon like crazy which is a bit unusual. I have had my fair share of fois gras since being here. 🙃

Just recently I started making a point to make more meaningful connections with like-minded creatives. Last night I attended a presentation for Phillipe Audibert x BLACKHATS PARIS and afterwards went to see my girl “Lady Eiffel”. That never gets old. This city oozes creativity very much like New York City. I am enjoying my stay but am looking forward to returning to the States to love on my loved ones and big headed pooches. Xx

Alison