Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Cboy’s Heart and Soul is one of my favorite places to see music in Austin. And Monday night is one the best nights there. Charlie Jones heads up Jonesin, and you can’t help but want to get on the dance floor and shake a tail feather. He is usually accompanied by Odis Hill on Bass, Paul Walker on guitar, and James Bullard on guitar, but the list of guests he has is endless.

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with another regular, Hilary York, who plays Sunday nights, when she motions she is going to talk to someone at the bar. I turn around and my mouth drops open.

“Is that who I think it is?”

“Yes.”

She gets up and walks over to local and national legend, Gary Clark Jr., who is just sitting at the bar listening to his old band. Charlie was his original drummer and James was his original bass player.

Hilary chats for a minute and saunters off to go dance. I needed another Topo Chico, so I walk up to the bar next to where he is sitting.

The following conversation transpires:

GCJ: “Hey, do you want me to scoot down and make room for you?”

Me: “Oh no, I don’t want to bother you. But… there is something you could do for me.”

GCJ: “Oh yeah? What’s that?”

Me: “You could get up and play a couple of songs.”

GCJ: {Laughs} “Oh could I?

Me: “It would, like, make my life. I drove down here from Fort Worth today and I listened to you and Leon Bridges the whole way here.”

GCJ: “It would make your life, huh? Well… if it would make your life… I might sound like shit though.”

Me: {laughs} “You? Sound like shit. Right. I bet you’ll just sound awful.”

GCJ: {laughing as well} “I might, I just might. You never know. What’s your name?”

Me: “Me?? Alexis.”

GCJ: “Pleasure to meet you Alexis, you sure you don’t want to sit down?”

Me: “No, no, it’s okay. I’m just getting my drink.”

Walks off without my drink in awe.

Gary did not sound like shit. They sounded amazing. Charlie played a couple of songs with him and then had Russell Lee, another amazing Austin drummer sit in. It was a beautiful evening.

This past Monday Adam, Bob Schneider’s guitar player jumped on stage with Charlie as well as Guy Forsyth, another Austin music legend. JJ Johnson of the Tedeschi Trucks was at the bar listening and chatting up his friends while on a rare tour break.

Catch my favorites if you are in the Austin area:

Sunday: Hilary York, Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Monday: Charlie Jones, Jonesin, Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Tuesday: Ephraim Owens, Continental Gallery

Wednesday: Matt Hubbard Trio followed by the Greyhounds, Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Thursday: Mike Barfield, Barfield the Texas Tyrant, The Continental Club

Friday and Saturday: Josh Perdue, The Lost Counts, The Continental Gallery

You won’t be disappointed, and you never know who might walk in and jump on stage.

I thought you said you were wearing all black…

At TCU {Texas Christian University} I was a professional student. I would have gotten a degree in everything there with the exception of anything science related. I graduated {when my parents threatened to stop paying for my education} with degrees in Criminal Justice and Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Math, Social Work, Sociology, Religion and Psychology.

When my parents told me I had one semester left to graduate I pulled it together and did it.

I also told my parents I needed one more elective and it had to be going to NYC to intern for the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Out of 700 candidates, I got the best internship. A prestigious internship with the Detroit Free Press, which apparently has/had the best internship program for journalism students. I was pissed.

I wanted to work for MTV Rock the Vote and it said so on my application. I was more interested in Puff Daddy than George Bush.

Upon trying to find my boss in a crowded lobby in the Hilton Hotel on 53rd, we were both on cell phones that were breaking up. I thought she said she was wearing all black.

“That’s my favorite color!” I exclaimed with much enthusiasm. “So sliming.”

Turns out she was behind me. She was black and was wearing a denim skirt and white blouse. She snaps her phone together and looks at me with disgust.

It was not a good first impression.

She had my resume in her hand and said, “It says hear you wanted to work for MTV?” I nod my head up and down.

“Do you know anything about politics? Do you even know how to write?”

I said I knew who George Bush was, and I had been told I was a pretty talented writer.

I ended up with three bylines and a photo credit that week.

I met Larry King, Tim Russert, who called me “lil red”, Wolf Blitzer, Rudy Guliani, George Bush, Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Anderson Cooper, the list is endless.

The night before the last night of the convention my boss took me out until 5 am. We had four bottles of champagne between the two of us. She told me I needed to change my clothes and meet her at her room in 15 minutes.

I informed her I might die if I did that, and she said if I wanted to be in this business, to get use to it.

I went upstairs and puked several times and threw clothes on.

She was eating powdered donuts in the cab and I had to open the door and start puking. I still hate the smell of a powdered donut.

We get to our work station in Madison Square Gardens and she sends me to cover a story.

It was a fat man and I could barely see and my body was dripping in sweat.

In what seemed like seconds the fat man stopped talking and I looked at my notepad. I had drawn a heart. Hmph.

I went back to the table and Allison ask me if we needed to write a story.

“Nope.” I replied with confidence.

“He didn’t say anything important?”

“Nope.”

Allison looks at me questioningly and I said I had better get on the floor to see what was going on in the convention room of Madison Square Gardens.

When I got home to Fort Worth that evening and turned on the news Peter Jennings face appeared to announce the “Person of the Week.” Someone he was calling the Architect of the Republican Convention.

And low and behold, a picture of the fat man came on the screen.

Karl Rove.

My jaw dropped.

Oh Fuck.

Needless to say my career in news did not take off.

Hey, if it had been Puff Daddy I would have known who the hell he was.

 

Probation Conditions

As part of my probation, it was stated that if I had a violation of any kind, I would have to get an ankle monitor. I was absolutely positive that would never happen. Then life happened.

I have an interlock in my car to detect if I have been drinking. While driving home from Austin and it was going off, it kept failing to detect my breath and kept saying “blow again” so I would. Over and over and over. The thing refused to work. I stopped to get gas and the car wouldn’t start again because it wouldn’t read my breath.

Naturally I started crying.

Then it locked me out and said… Violation.

I called Smart Start to figure out what on earth was going on. The lady on the phone explained that because I live in Texas, the humidity can build up in the monitor and cause it to not read.

I ask her what to do.

She told me to go in the gas station and put the interlock in one of the freezers for a few minutes.

“But if you disconnect it, it says abort tamper, which is another violation.”

She told me unless I wanted to stay at the gas station, I was going to have to disconnect it.

When my probation officer found out, she immediately ordered an ankle bracelet.

“But I didn’t do anything wrong!” I whined.

“Doesn’t matter,” she replied. It clearly states if you have a violation of any kind, you get an ankle monitor.”

I spent the next few weeks in long pants and full of resentment. I was fucking pissed. This little new accessory cost $500/month. I have been complaining to anyone who will listen and bitching that this is all about money and how dare they do this…

No one cares.

A few days ago I started googling ‘celebrities with ankle monitors’ and Martha Stewart was one of the first to pop up. She looked charming in hers. Eve and Andy Dick were pictured showing their’s off on various red carpets, which prompted me to make a decision. I was going to show mine off too.

I’ve been extra pissed because I wasn’t going to be able to go swimming with my kids. Then I thought… I’m pretty flexible… I bet I could just hang my legs on the edge and submerge my body.

And what do you know… it worked. So if you see me out and about with my new very expensive jewelry, you’ll know why.

I think I’m going to bedazzle the mother fucker.

El Cosmico

There is something a bit magical that happens in the west Texas desert after you pass Alpine headed to Marfa. The rough rogue highway that leads you to the tiny town of Marfa is somewhat mystical. Marfa, the small Texas town that artist have been flocking to for decades is a must see if you are traveling in west Texas.

I had the pleasure of traveling there last summer when I took a Design Build Adventure class in welding led by Captain Jack Sanders, or as I knew him Jay, back when we became acquainted in the seventh grade at All Saints school in Fort Worth.

Jay, or rather Jack, and I were friends through high school and then, as people do when you go off to college and there is no such thing as Facebook, we drifted and went our separate ways. I stayed in Fort Worth with many of our high school friends and attended Texas Christian University. Jack went on to Auburn, I think…

When I saw Jack again at our ten-year reunion he was nothing like I remembered. He had transformed from Jay to Jack, had a beard, and looked way more hippieish than I ever remembered him. He had gone to architecture school and if I recall right, and I may not, it seems he was teaching at the University of Texas.

When Facebook came around we became ‘friends’ and I was able to catch up on his life. It appeared he was married, had kids, and was doing a lot of cool things, like teaching camps on how to weld.

That’s cool. I thought. I’d love to do that, something so… not me. So when I saw a post about his camp in Marfa I signed up and headed west to the rugged beauty of Marfa.

The camp was being held at El Cosmico, the most mystical magical place I have ever been. Liz Lambert, who is credited for revamping South Congress in Austin in the late 1990’s, brought her renegade spirit to Marfa and El Cosmico was born. A campground where you can, camp, obviously, in your own tent, OR you can sleep in a teepee, a yurt, or one of many adorable little trailers that each come with their own distinct personality.

I had chosen to stay in the smallest trailer available, Pinky, the color lived up to its name. I unpacked, put on a robe {one that I ended up purchasing in the gift shop and wear daily}, unpacked my bags, and went to go meet Captain Jack for our intro to camp happy hour.

Jack walked us along the property explaining that when he had first arrived there was nothing but some rusty plans and a dream. A dream that Liz Lambert had and he created.

I looked around awe-struck that the boy I had met in the seventh grade was responsible for creating such an amazing space in the desert. It’s just so… Marfa. It’s Austin meets desert in the hippest of ways.

There are wood burning hot tubs where you can relax and look up at the most beautiful of night skies. And it’s fun to walk around the property and take in the beauty of west Texas and the design of Captain Jack and Liz, their collaboration just mesmerizing.

I spent more in the gift shop then I did on my trailer and I treasure everything I came home with. I cannot wait to go back. I had planned to go in September for the anual Trans Pecos festival held at El Cosmico where my friends in Golden Dawn Arkestra play every year, but life happens and I was unable to attend. It’s definitely a goal for next year, and I should start planning now as the campground usually books up by this time of the year…

So if you get the itch to head west, don’t miss this spot. You’ll thank me later.

Me too.

I can’t hold it in any longer. And not because I’m dying to tell about the time I was raped. I won’t name who did it. It doesn’t matter. I was raped when I was twenty-one. I told the guy no and he continued to force me to have sex with him. I worked at Blue Mesa and it was a fellow waiter.

Last March, I was drug into an Alley when I was on vacation in L.A. I was drunk. I was walking to get cigarettes in a nice part of L.A. I thought I was safe. It was about 5 p.m. I had my hair, as usual, in a messy bun on top of my head. Before I knew what was happening, I was drug in an Alley. My pants were ripped off, and someone I couldn’t really see that well, because I was screaming like hell and fighting, was trying to rape me. I clawed. I scraped. I got away. I ran. I ran to a gas station and was screaming and crying, and a complete wreck. A total fucking wreck.

No one would help me. The employees would not call the cops. I didn’t know what to do. I went back outside and continued to sob uncontrollably. Finally, a black guy on a bike with a thick gold chain rolled up next to me and ask to help me. I threw my arms around him and begged him to call the cops. I hugged him and told him over and over “thank you for helping me,”

He did.

The cops came.

I was taken to the police station in Encino Heights.

I filed charges.

The police officers were beyond kind. I was a mess. Still drunk.

The police officers gave me part of their dinner, a pizza, where I tried to eat a piece as I sobbed.

I was taken to get a rape kit done in L.A. while on vacation.

I told them this wasn’t necessary as the act was not completed because of my fight.

They did it anyway.

My best friend Jamie Glaviano came to the station and held my hand while I cried. While I sobbed. I was shaken. I didn’t understand how this happened.

The nurse who performed the test said IN THE AREA IN L.A.  I was in they got about 3 victims A NIGHT. A NIGHT FOLKS.

The detectives flew out to Fort Worth to help me try to identify my attacker. I couldn’t. I was trying to get away from someone who had attacked me from behind. I couldn’t tell if he was short or tall. I had a vague description… Mexican… I thought. Sorta thin. Average height, from the 30 seconds of hell I remembered. I wasn’t exactly focused on his face while trying to save my life.

I’m writing this because all of the “Me Too” stories have sparked something in me. I don’t want to say who raped me at Blue Mesa. It’s embarrassing.

I don’t know who my attacker was in L.A., but because it was a stranger, I would have pressed charges. I knew the guy at Blue Mesa well. It was awkward because I had had sex with a few of the waiters at Blue Mesa, but I did not willingly have sex with him. Who would have believed me? Some, yes. Some no. I wasn’t about to put myself in that situation.

All of this sparked a conversation last night at a meeting I was at. Matt Lauer was the “latest” and I spoke about my experiences. I said, what is crazy… is that for 15 years I worked in an industry where men grabbed my boobs, my ass, my pussy… And I thought nothing of it. I thought it “came with the territory” because I was a female.

Because I was a female… Think about that males. I thoughts I deserved to have my boobs, ass, and pussy grabbed, at conventions, because I was a female, and working, and therefore, had no power. Men would often say things like, “Add that to my bill.” Or… “Are you married?” And if I answered “Yes.” The next question would usually be “Are you happily married?”

This is what I learned… Men in Power are usually pigs. It doesn’t matter if you are at a bar, a propane convention, a news convention. Men in power think they have the control and women are conditioned to “shut up and take it.” That’s what I thought.

At the 2004 RNC {Republican National Convention} I met every famous news person you can think of. My job, amongst other things, was to show up at the crack of dawn and get on the convention floor and sit for 8-10 hours next to a photographer. We were second row behind AP {Associated Press}. My memories from that week are amazing. One of the best experiences of my life.

Al Franken was there. He was a total asshole. Wolf Blitzer and Larry King were beyond professional. Anderson Cooper was less well known. He wasn’t “out” and every female I knew wanted to make out with him. Tim Russert was my favorite and called me “little red” all week. Rudy Guliani was a close second. A total politician, and very very kind. Karl Rove, was an asshole. Laura Bush, southern sweet. I wished she was my aunt.

The photographer I was FORCED TO SIT NEXT TO for a week grabbed my crotch on the convention floor. Yes, on the floor. I could not move. We were packed in that “room” which happened to be Madison Square Gardens. I told my boss. Who was female. She rolled her eyes and said, “that asshole.”

That was it. I honestly, didn’t think much about it until all this “Me too” crap came up. Because I didn’t consider that a violation. Which is… crazy. When I count how many times I was raped, it is one. That night, after work, at Blue Mesa.

When I count how many times I was attacked violently, it is one. That night. In L.A. It wasn’t rape, but it was scary as hell and I’ll never ever ever forget it.

When I think about how many times as a woman, I’ve been sexually harassed… I could not even begin to count.

Isn’t that sad? That’s sad. I live in a country where I have been conditioned “as a female” to shut up and take it. Because… “it happens to everyone.” And it does. To every female I know.

Enough is Enough.

Where does one draw the line? It’s a slippery slope. If you are a man, you should not touch a woman who does not want to be touched. Period. If you do, you sir… are a pig. An asshole. And you should be scared about what is happening, because if you committed a crime, you should be punished. Women should not have to accept this behavior.

Now I know I don’t have to.

Amen sisters.

Together we are strong. We are not alone. And we will be heard.

 

Win It Wednesday’s Rodan + Fields

You know you love your skin care when you realize you are out of something and you freak out… I love Rodan and Fields. I started using it about a year and a half ago, and it is amazing!!!

I love the doctors, who are world famous now. Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields still have active practices, even though they are like, multi billionaires now. They truly love what they do and they love helping women and men look their absolute best.

Their products have won awards, been in magazines like InStyle {click here} and Allure {click here}, been on countless TV shows and news programs. Yes, news programs, and like, the real news, not that fake ass crap. Check out the Forbes, yes, Forbes article here.

I personally use the Redefine regimen, the multi function eye cream, Intensive Renewing Serum, the Lip Serum, and Lash Boost. I can speak from experience that my skin lets me know when I have skipped a few days, or worse, a week! Gasp. My skin starts to feel and look duller and isn’t dewy like it is when I use my products. And yes, disclaimer, you do have to actually use the products for them to work.

I have been pinching my pennies cause I’m looking for a job y’all. Anyone want to hire me? I’m super fun to work with, promise. But I’ve been hearing so much on social media about the Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex that I finally broke down tonight and ordered it. Actually I ordered the package that comes with the Bright Eye Complex and the Lash Boost. It comes in the cutest package with an eyelash curler. The results for Lash Boost are amazing… and I cannot wait to try the Bright Eye Complex. These products work for real y’all!

Want to see some results? Here is Lash Boost followed by the Active Hydration.

Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

In my ‘Win it Wednesday’s’ I’m only giving away things I absolutely L.O.V.E. And this week you can get your hands on an Eye cream, the make up remover wipes, which are, like, totally amazing, and Acute Care, the only product where you can see results overnight. Yes, overnight. That is a package that would cost you about $300, and yes, you can get it here, for FREE. Free is like, one of my favorite words, you don’t want to miss this!

Comment here AND share this to your Facebook page to be entered to win.

Last weeks Kendra Scott went to Allison, and she’s pretty happy she won. You will be too if you get this sweet deal! If you would like to look at products or order now, you can click here to get your skincare on point.

xoxo

My 60 Days without Alcohol

I decided on August 24th that alcohol and I were no longer friends. It had done a number on myself and my relationships, and when someone said, “You, can’t stop drinking! That will never happen!” It pissed me off. I’m stubborn and hate being told I can’t do something. I can do anything I want to damnit! So I quit.

60 days later, I’m not going to tell  you it’s been easy. It hasn’t. I was using alcohol to not deal with a myriad of problems going on in my life. Some I created, some I didn’t. Most of them I had absolutely no control over, and my drinking had become daily.

Almost without thinking I would pop open a bottle. This use to occur when I got off of work, but then I quit working in October of 2016, so I had an abundance of time to do whatever I wanted. And apparently I wanted to drink.

Sunday brunch drinking turned into Monday day drinking. Why not? It’s not like I had anywhere to be. And since I was divorced, I had a week at a time to myself. Before I knew it I was drinking all the time. Sometimes I didn’t even really want to, but I’d think, meh, it’s there, why not?

Here’s another thing about me… well a couple of things. One, I’m an only child, and two, I’m never wrong. Or so I thought.

Everyone always comments how nice and sweet I am. That is… until you piss me off. I’ve been told by some of my best friends, who pissed me off, that my tongue is ruthless and cuts to the bone. This was a quality I knew I had and frankly, I liked it. Especially since I was never wrong. I felt like since I was speaking my truth, I could say anything I wanted. This fueled with lots and lots of drinking was a deadly combination. I alienated many a friend. My two best friends said they no longer recognized who I was as I drank more and thought more highly of myself than I ever had.

I thought I was invincible.

Turns out, I don’t possess that super hero quality. I only discovered this after losing my best friends and gaining legal issues. Hello DWI. I spiraled quickly in late 2016 and the first 8 months of 2017. Until that one person made the comment that changed everything. Telling me I couldn’t quit.

The hardest thing that has happened since quitting has been facing my fears without any numbing substance. I have many fears. Most are about things I can’t control and the unknown. I worry and worry, and worry about things that may or may not happen, and that fear was paralyzing.

I was also in a very unhealthy co-dependant relationship that I told myself I had to be in, because I could not face the fear of being alone. Not drinking allowed me to see just how destructive that relationship was, and I ended it.

And it was freeing. Absolutely freeing. I love being free. I forgot somewhere along the way that when I’m free, I’m happy. What a sobering slap in the face. Now, 63 days  in, I’m happier than I’ve been in over 20 years. Yep. 20 freaking years. That’s a long ass time.

Stopping drinking has taught me to look my fears straight on, and walk through them alone. I am no longer afraid. There are still problems and issues, but I’ve learned to not sweat the things I cannot control. And to not tell myself it would be horrible if ‘this’ or ‘that’ happens, because frankly, I don’t know. Maybe it would suck, maybe it wouldn’t. I won’t find out unless that said event actually occurs. I’ve learned in the last 63 days that the reality is often not what I thought it would be. Not at all. And I’ve realized I’m a pretty bad ass bitch. And I’m okay with that.

I don’t know if I’ll repair the relationships I’ve ruined, but I’m okay with that too. I’ve made it a year without the two people I cherished most in this world as far as friends go, and I’ve survived. Of course I miss them, but if they can’t forgive me that’s okay too. I’ve made some new kick ass friends and life goes on.

My outlook to the future is bright. It’s almost downright blinding. And I cannot wait to see what the next year brings. Challenges, ups, downs, life… I’ll take it. And I’ll survive. And I’ll be just fine. 

Excuse Me?

The one thing I cannot stand {being the stubborn person I am} is someone having the audacity to tell me I can’t do something. Excuse me? I can do whatever the hell I want too, and I will. Try me.

So when someone said to me that they doubted I could quit drinking, naturally, their reverse psychology worked. I was all, um… Of course I could, I just choose not too. I like alcohol, I don’t need it.

See, when I was 18 months old, I told my mother I wasn’t going to suck my fingers or use my blanket anymore.

I took my blanket and threw it in the trash can. We lived in Houston at the time. My mom ran and got the blanket out of the trash knowing her sweet {haha} baby girl would surely be wanting it soon.

That night I went to bed without my blanket. My mom watched me sleep. She said I would take the two fingers I sucked and hold them down by my side. Then my lips would start making the sucking motion in my sleep and my fingers would make their way to my lips. She said every time they so much as touched my lips I’d jerk my entire arm back down to my side.

I never sucked my fingers again, and I never ask for my blanket. Which killed my mom, who still has the blanket to this day.

So bring it on. I’ve decided to take all the money I normally spend on alcohol and going out and I’m going to use it to travel with, because I love to see the world. And I can see a lot more of it if I’m not spending $12/drink.

World… here I come.

And to the person who said that to me, just watch me.

Eight days in I feel great. The satisfaction alone of knowing I am proving someone wrong is worth it all by itself, and yes, there are other benefits. I’ll keep you posted on the journey.

xo

She’s (un)crafty Giveaway

Never in six billion years would I consider myself crafty, so no one was shocked more than myself when I decided to start making candles. 

I am candle obsessed though and had always wanted to make my own. 

The last crafty thing I attempted was making and selling sponge painted t shirt dresses at age eight with my neighbor. 

My neighbor and I’s most popular print was a watermelon. It was like Warhol, but not at all like Warhol. 

Her sister is an artist in Austin. Hi Stephanie! Stephanie Nance. Look her up. She is amazing, and probably rolled her eyes at her sister and I’s sponge dresses. 

Laura, our dresses were both fashion forward and amazing. Perhaps we should start making them again? 

Anyway… 

After trying my hand at welding last month, I thought, how hard could melting wax possibly be? 

Here went nothing. 



And now I introduce to you, the first scent by The Blue Sparrow Blog, Sage and Chamomile, otherwise known as Infinite Wisdom. 

I am giving one away here. Winner drawn on Wednesday. Simply comment below telling me your favorite scent to be entered to win! 

Xo

Design. Build. Adventure. 

I’ve heard there are three ways you can create new brain cells. One is to learn something new. I forgot the other two…

Anyway.

For years I had seen a friend from middle school’s post on his company, Design Build Adventure, and I had always been intrigued.

Here is an example…


I mean… aren’t you intrigued?

I signed up and packed my bags for the high desert of West Texas.

I can’t weld, but I was so excited to learn, and Captain Jack and his crew, Will and Parker, were excellent teachers.

The workshop consisted of consulting with two local artist, Nick and Maryam, who generously have donated part of their land to a playground. It’s called Eastside Playground and you must check it out when traveling through Marfa.

Nick and Maryam wanted a sign for the entrance and a table with benches for kids and parents to sit, play, and gather on.

We had two days to design, build, and make it happen.

The collaboration of the group was magical. Mystical. An experience I’ll never forget.

This is what we made.

Photo credit above to the amazing Nick Terry.

We also made this welcoming sign.


I left with a great sense of satisfaction, although I’m not exactly sure how I contributed other than a willingness to learn and an abundance of enthusiasm for the project.

Thank you Jack and your team, your amazing wife and kiddos, Terry and Maryam, and all who signed up for the class for making this an experience I’ll never forget!

Check out more about Design Build Adventure at http://www.designbuildadventure.com