Sweet Home Alabama


Big wheels keep on turning, carry me home to see my kin. Singing songs about the southland, I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again and I think it’s a sin…Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue. Sweet home Alabama, Lord, I’m coming home to you.

Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynrd

It’s a road trip – to Alabama!

Sister and I are headed to Atmore, Alabama – home of my father’s family – home of the Poarch Creek Indians. We have some business to take care of since I’m working with the committee on a new coffee table book – Woven Together: The Story of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. We had our final review before it goes to press – a very exciting project due out at Thanksgiving during our annual Pow Wow.

Come along for the ride…


Picking up Kimberly in Terrell, Texas. She’s a good one to take on a road trip – better than me – because she had a basketful of goodies to make the long ride much more enjoyable.  Take a look at her homemade banana pudding…


Now tell me, who gets banana pudding on a road trip?

We’re making progress through Shreveport, Ruston, and Monroe, Louisiana and finally hit Vicksburg and the mighty Mississippi River.



To remember the history of this great waterway is to pay homage to the growth of the United States. Going across Mississippi, you certainly can’t miss Jackson …


My daddy used to sing this one to us when we were growing up … although I’m really not much of a country & western girl.

No road trip would be complete without a stop (or two) for gasoline and those bathroom breaks. It’s amazing the older you get, the more times you have to stop. I can remember when I would drive to college in Phoenix from Dallas, and I might only have to stop one time for a bathroom break … truly.  In those days, you had to stop at truck stops, and all I can say is YUCK…


Next, it’s Hattiesburg and then finally, we hit the Alabama state line. This is really hard for Kim since she’s such an Aggies fan – that’s what happens when you join the SEC.


We’ve made it to our destination staying the night at Wind Creek Casino & Hotel. As tribal members, we get a few benefits, and this is one that we take advantage of when we’re in Alabama.

We met with the committe the next day, did a little gambling at the casino, and then it was time to head back to Texas where we passed the time by doing a little Karpool Karaoke…

I’m still grieving for Aretha…



Day Dreaming


Day dreaming and I’m thinkin’ of you … I wanna be what he wants when he wants it, and whenever he needs it. And when he’s lonesome and feelin’ loved starved, I’ll be there to feed it. I’m lovin’ him a little bit more each day, it turns me right on when I hear him say… (Hey, baby, let’s get away) (Let’s go somewhere far) (Baby can we) well I don’t care …

— Day Dreaming, Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul died this week – RIP Aretha Franklin (1949 – 2018). I’ve always loved her voice and her empowering songs. Day Dreaming is one of my favorites because to me, it’s not so much about day dreaming as it is about visualization. I believe in the power of visualization and the law of attraction – mental imagery.

Here are three easy visualization techniques to try. When I look back at vision boards that I’ve created in the past, it’s pretty amazing the things that have happened in my life and career because I believe, I put it out there,  and I focused on the accomplishment.

Companies use the power of visioning all the time.

Try it sometime. It really works!



Suit: Kasper; Tank: Chicos; Shoes: Aldo



Skirt: White House, Black Market; Shirt: Loft; Shoes: Vince Camuto; Jewelry: David Yurman



Skirt: Loft; Sweater: Whistles; Booties: Public Desire; Jewelry: Chanel & David Yurman



Pants: Loft; Shirt: Express; Tank: Alfani; Shoes: Vince Camuto; Earrings: Dior



Jeans: AG Raw Hem Skinny Jean; Top: H&M; Wrap: Purchased in Brussels; Shoes: Public Desire; Jewelry: David Yurman & Dior










With a Little Help From My Friends


Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends. Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends. With a little help from my friends…

— With a Little Help From My Friends, The Beatles

I initially intended that this blog wouldn’t be all about me. I wanted to share my friends’ advice and tips because I have a wonderful network of beautiful friends. So, this week we’re talking SKINCARE, and I’ve asked some of my dearest friends about their skincare regimen. I’ll also share mine.

I’m that 70s girl who grew up worshipping the sun. This was way before SPF 50, and I lived on “Bain de Soleil for the St. Tropez tan” in the back yard with the water sprinkler for relief.  (We were poor and didn’t have a swimming pool.) In college, I scheduled all my spring semester classes either early in the day or at night so that I could lay out and tan in the afternoon. I went to college in Phoenix – one of the best places in the universe for a sun worshipper.

But, now it’s 2018, and I’m paying the price for those days in the sun.

With a little help from my friends and a little help from our friends, here is the skincare products we’re using at this stage of our lives.

Amy McGhee Ochs: the one who still doesn’t take that great care of her skin


I’m still not that great at taking care of my skin, but I’ve found that SK-II is making a difference. The story on this product goes that a “monk in Japan observed that elderly workers at a sake brewery had smooth, clear and young-looking hands from years of submerging them in the fermented yeast, and the rejuvenating ingredient pitera was eventually isolated for cosmetic use.” I actually heard this story when I was at a communications conference from a guy at Proctor & Gamble, the company who owns SK-II.

I can tell that the deep crevices in my forehead have smoothed down a bit – much better than Botox or fillers that I’ve tried once or twice in the past. I also use Beauty Flash by Clarins for my face and eyes. I was watching this YouTube video with a fashion blogger, her mother, and her grandmother, and truly these women looked fabulous.  The grandmother recommended Clarins Beauty Flash, and I went out and bought it immediately.

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 9.20.26 AM

If I was more diligent, I would have a better night time routine. I hate to admit it, but most of my attention to my skin is in the morning. I don’t use much make-up, only eyes by Laura Mercier and a new brand I’ve found By Terry is getting in the lineup. They have some great brightening serum.

Nancy Mays Archibald: the friend who helped me discover David Yurman

Night time
Make up drawer


I’m a Lancôme user. Renergie Lift day and night creams are my daily moisturizers. I do use Fresh, cream Ancienne, occasionally, like in cold winter, or after too much sun exposure, but it’s really heavy and very expensive. Now that my neck is sagging, I put my moisturizer all the way down to my collar bone or décolleté area.

Getting a facial has become an important ritual for me. At this age, I have more time and money, so I try to get one every month. I’d love one every week!  My esthetician does the work, and I relax. It really does make my makeup go on smoother.

Helen Ward Baker: the friend who is my favorite realtor, interior designer, clothes & shoes critic

Well here is my facial routine:

  • Have used this product for over two years. If I try something new I always come back to it.
  • Cleanser morning and night followed by serum
  • Morning use Hydrating Intense Moisturizer
  • Evening use the cream
  • Oh and a little Botox helps!
  • Image Skincare has products for all skin types
  • In the winter, I switch back and forth between The Vital C product and the Ageless product.
  • They also have an awesome Hyaluronic Filler

Sheree Wesson Deardoff: the friend who was my college roommate

I’ve used Rodan & Fields sensitive skin products for about the last 4 years or so (I don’t really remember when I started). My daughter-in-law began selling the products, and I wanted to support her, so that’s how I got started with them. First I tried the “redefine,” which was supposed to help older skin and somewhat repair lined skin. Apparently, though, it was too much for my skin or I was allergic to something, and I got a pretty bad rash. Once I switched to the sensitive skin, my skin did so much better. I also love the serums (skin and eye) which both seem to help brighten the skin. The eye serum has helped a lot with diminishing dark circles under my eyes. My very favorite product, though, is the Lash Boost. I’ve never had great lashes, but they have improved and increased with the product.

So, as I’ve aged, my skin seems to have become more sensitive to products than in my youth. I have also used Origins products, but only select ones don’t irritate my skin. My favorite from Origins is a face oil. I was skeptical at first, but it really does seem to add moisture to my skin. I’ve also used a coconut oil blend (3 ingredients). Both of these I primarily use at night. The R&F I use each morning.

I’m not sure I really have any advise or tricks except to drink lots of water, protect from the sun using sunscreen and hats, get plenty of sleep, and moisturize using something that works for your own skin. I wish I had done all of these things as a teen and 20-year old.

Darlene Singleton: the friend from work who recently retired and is living her best life with grandkids and travel

  • Never did and probably never will —
  • Don’t use moisturizer except what is in my tinted moisture makeup
  • I heard Sally Fields say years ago to wash your face every night – no matter what time you get home – so I do that

Vickie West Shine: the friend who is always ready to go, anywhere, any time, any place (even if we get stuck in elevators)

  • The eyes have it! I don’t leave home without it!
  • Mornings, noon, and night I use the brow growth serum and Lattise at least once a day!
  • The lips!  Darker liner on outer line, light in the middle for a pouty lip, the YSL plumper and gloss!



Thank You, My Dear Beautiful Friends!






At Seventeen

And those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces, desperately remained at home inventing lovers on the phone who called to say “come dance with me” and murmured vague obscenities. It isn’t all it seems at seventeen …To those of us who knew the pain of valentines that never came, and those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball. It was long ago and far away, the world was younger than today. When dreams were all they gave for free to ugly duckling girls like me.

At Seventeen, Janis Ian



17 things I would tell my 17-year old self

1. Use sunscreen.

2. Invest in Apple stock.

3. Max out your 401K, every year.

4. Get a sleep study as soon as you know there is something wrong with your sleep habits. DO NOT WAIT.

5. Stop the Yo-Yo dieting. Eat right. Eat healthy.

6. Exercise daily. Learn to love it.

7. Change companies more often to move up in your career – loyalty is dead.

8. Travel more internationally – there is a great big world out there waiting to be discovered.

9. Be meticulous and THROW THINGS AWAY.

10. Don’t fight your hair … it’s time is coming.

11. To the above, innovation comes from need (think: flat irons, DryBar).  What do you and others need?

12. Keep up with your golf game. Be consistent.

13. Learn something new every day (at least every week!)

14. Marry a man who will dance with you (whether he likes it or not.)

15. Talk to your grandparents – on both sides – to hear their stories. When you want to know more, they won’t be there  to tell you.

16. It really doesn’t matter what other people think.

17. There is great power in a vision board and the law of attraction. All things are possible for those who love the Lord.


And lastly, something I’ll always remember from one of the greatest shows on the CW network, One Tree Hill:

Pretty soon, we’re going to all graduate, and I can start over. But it’ll be harder for the people who need this place to make them feel special. People who use high school to build themselves up and then find out that the real world doesn’t care so much about who you were in high school…”




Those Shoes

Oh no, pretty momma, what you gonna do in those shoes.

— Those Shoes, Eagles

Cinderella started it!

I know! I know!

I have an obsession with shoes. I’m sure it’s because shoes always fit no matter what, unlike my clothes that go up and down with every size in between.

I’m pretty sure it’s a psychological issue from my childhood (no blame to my wonderful single mother); however, how many black pairs of shoes does one person need? or white? or yellow? or red? Or heels? Sandals? Pumps?








Shoes in apartment in Reston, Virginia


Shoes in house in Dallas



This doesn’t even count my winter boots.

I read the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing about the Kon Mari methodAnd, I’ve looked at every single pair of shoes I own, held them in my hands, and I can truly say that they all spark joy.





What you want, Baby, I got it. What you need, do you know I got it. All I’m askin’ is for a little respect…

Respect, Aretha Franklin

What I Wore to Work This Week is focused on R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the workplace.  I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, and respect at 15 is still the same at 60. It’s one of those things that you can just feel — you know it when you see it, and most especially when you don’t.

I asked a few of my dear friends about R-E-S-P-E-C-T to find out what it means to them:

Respect means approaching people with no pre-conceived notions and treating them as though they are the best version of themselves until they prove you wrong. And if they disappoint you, you remember that everyone has a story. Respect used to be about treating people how you want to be treated. To me, it’s about treating people better than you want to be treated. — Charlene

I had a tough time finding words to describe what respect means to me. Maybe because its worded definition is so intertwined with feelings and much more recognizable in actions. Then I came upon the saying below (I do not know the author).  All of a sudden sooo many examples of this showed true when I thought back over the last few years. I finally learned and am still learning to set boundaries in business, friend, and family relationships.

Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 8.09.28 PM

I was thinking about those tense times building the house and when the tradesman or whoever really was so disrespectful (and treating me like I am a stupid female) and that’s when tension was getting high, you just feel it coming. … I all of a sudden was recognizing how this applies to so many past issues. I am sure I am guilty on the other end also. I need that quote tattooed on my arm to remind me on both sides of the equation. — Suzanne

Respect to me is treating others the way I want to be treated; love each other for who we are; and understanding it takes everyone of us to make it work! A few more thoughts on Respect…knowing that winning isn’t always winning; knowing just because you can-doesn’t mean you should; respecting sacrifices of those before us and respect to those we leave behind! — Sharisse

Respect is earned, not entitled. It’s about giving credit where credit is due. From a military perspective, there is respect from the lowest ranking member to those who have gone before him/her with a higher ranking. It’s about accomplishment!! — Kim

Respect to me means valuing and appreciating someone, regardless if it aligns with what you might relate to as an individual. It’s simply what we all want — to be valued as individuals. — Emily

To treat everyone the same in a positive, friendly, kind, helpful manner in true sincerity, regardless of who or what they are.  Hopefully, you will be treated back the same, but, if not, carry on. — Leah

Respect is responding to others from a place of love, which means being kind, compassionate, transparent and sincere in dealings with others. It’s also treating others the way you want to positively be treated.  — Cassandra

The definition of respect — feeling of deep admiration as a result of a person’s abilities, qualities, or achievements — is fascinating in that it’s meaning is directly linked to what individuals or societies value. Also because it is earned (by definition), there is an impulse to think it is owed.

For most of my life, I have spent an inordinate amount of time chasing my version of respect though education, work accomplishments, status, title, as that is what elicited my respect of others.  If I am honest, it still changes how I approach people – either in my actions or in my heart.

However, over the last 10 years I have come to link the word more closely with the virtue of humility. We are all flawed. We all have dignity. It’s the play between the two addressed with honesty.  Knowing limitations, honoring others, and seeing value in human beings as well as in a human’s doing. — Heather


What does R-E-S-P-E-C-T mean to you?



Skirt: Eva Farro; Sweater: Whistles; Shoes: Gianvito Rossi Hunter Green; Purse: Vintage Chanel Backpack; Jewelry: David Yurman



Dress: Alberto Makali; Boots: Public Desire; Purse: Chanel Classic Jumbo Double Flap; Jewelry: David Yurman


Skirt: ECI; Top: Vintage Harolds; Sandals: Tory Burch


Pants: Loft; Shirt: Karen Kane; Shoes: Steve Madden; Purse: Amazon; Jewelry: David Yurman

Friday – working from Dallas


Shorts: Crown & Ivy; Top: ECI, Shoe: Steve Madden; Tote: Louis Vuitton NeverFull




Brick House


Ow, she’s a brick house. Well put-together, everybody knows. This is how the story goes…

Brick House, The Commodores

An update on our renovation – we have brick, a new ceiling, and we’re getting very close…

There’s a story about this brick. When we bought our house, the lot next door was vacant and up for sale. There was this huge pile of old bricks that had been dumped at the back of the empty lot. Scott looked up the owner of the lot through the Dallas County Appraisal District. He called the guy to see if he would sell us the brick because it matched our house, and we knew we could use it for the new addition. But, the guy said “NO” that he didn’t want to sell the brick because he was going to use it to mix in with new brick when he builds the new house that will ultimately go on the empty lot. (All I can say is that I’m glad we live in a historic district, and there are all kinds of guidelines and permits needed for any new construction.)

Well, a couple of month’s later, the lot is sold. Then, a big dumpster shows up, and all the trash on the lot – including the bricks – starts being loaded into the dumpster. Scott calls the guy again, and now it seems the new owners of the lot don’t want to use this guy as their builder. So guess who gets the brick – for free?  Sometimes things do work out for good … mighty mighty … shake it down, shake it down now!

Our original brick with the old brick from our neighbor’s lot is a pretty good match.
Keeping to the style of the house down to the door knobs.

Next comes the polished concrete floors, trim around doors and floor, paint, and the installation of the electrical fixtures.  All in all, we’re making pretty good progress.





On Broadway


They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. They say there’s always magic in the air..

On Broadway, The Drifters

Sometimes there’s a lot to be said for spontaneity, such as a spontaneous road trip to the Big Apple with my friend, Jennifer Griffith, to see the musical, “Hamilton.”

Twice a year, the Bechtel Employee’s Club offers a day trip to NYC so this weekend, I took advantage of the opportunity, invited Jenn along for the ride, and there we were in seats at the Richard Rogers theatre seeing Hamilton – along with Rudy Guiliani in the audience (no matter what you think of him- he’s still a celebrity in his own mind.)

Come along with us for the ride…

7:00 a.m. departure from the Bechtel Building in Reston, VA

We’re getting closer…

Lunch on Broadway


In honor of this brilliant musical, check out the Hamilton Car Pool Karoke with James Corden and a summary of the 10 best Hamilton songs

As an American, communicator, writer, and theatre lover, my words cannot explain the inspiration from this experience.

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore, and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished, In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
The ten-dollar founding father without a father
Got a lot farther by working a lot harder…
In New York you can be a new man…In New York you can be a new man … Just you wait.
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Whatever your stand on immigration, this is the American dream come true where anyone can become someone and make a difference.
What is your legacy?

Dinner and Back to the Bus


12:30 a.m. back in Reston, VA

Amazing day with amazing friends!



Working for the Weekend


Everyone’s watching, to see what you will do. Everyone’s looking at you, oh. Everyone’s wondering, will you come out tonight. Everyone’s trying to get it right, get it right. Everybody’s working for the weekend…

Everybody’s Working for the Weekend, LoverBoy

This is how I start my day …


Chick-FIl-A; Bullet Journal with daily devotionals and “To Do” lists

Our Fearless Leader


Charlene Wheeless, Vice President Corporate Affairs

Washington Business Journal


Monday – moving into new digs on the 4th floor



Pants and Top: Express; Purse: Chanel Wallet on Chain; Shoes: Tory Burch



Culottes: Zara; Top: H&M; Shoes: Vince Camuto



Dress: Express; Work Bag: Louis Vuitton NeverFull; Purse: Amazon; Sunglasses: RayBan; Shoes: Mango (from Madrid, Spain)


My colleagues who are all working for the weekend: Bree, Christen, Iva, Breanna, Heather, Leah, Cassandra, Emily, Brian, Jeanne and Susan, Daniel, Dawn, Lexi, Susan, and Caroline.



Dress: Trina Turk; Purse: Chanel 2.55 Reissue 227 Double Flap; Shoes; Aquazurra


Jeans: AG Raw Hem Ankle Skinny Jean; Top:Fig and Flowers; Purse: Chanel Boy Bag; Shoes: Toms; Jewelry: David Yurman, John Hardy


Time for the weekend – headed to NYC to see “Hamilton” – more to come.



Sultans of Swing


You get a shiver in the dark, It’s a raining in the park but meantime. South of the river you stop and you hold everything. A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring … We are the Sultans … We are the Sultans of Swing.

Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits

In Greensboro, North Carolina, Sedgefield Country Club hosts the 2018 Member-Guest golf tournament, an annual event. This year’s theme was “Escape to Margaritaville,” and our guests were Pam and Gary Murrey from Forney, Texas.

The ladies were invited to join a breakfast buffet with mimosas prior to the start of Friday’s matches. My dear friend, Lisa Albertson, had a few of us over to her beautiful home on the 10th hole to enjoy her pool before all the festivities started.


The ladies luncheon on Friday featured a food and wine experience followed by a wine and sip by Glitzy Chicks Painting Studio. We had an opportunity to enjoy a quiet afternoon with some of our favorite wines, and we painted a keepshake from our time together while the guys were playing in the golf tournament.

The Friday night party was more casual, the food was perfect, and the DJ rocked throughout the night. Our staff at Sedgefield does an amazing job every year during this tournament.

The Saturday night gala featured a formal served menu with a live band and dancing. In the Carolinas, they dance the Shag, which is done primarily to beach music. Scott and I dance what we like to call a faux shag – we think we know what we’re doing, and most of the time, we’ve drunk enough that it really doesn’t matter.

Gary and Pam Murrey; Amy and Scott Ochs


They didn’t come in first in the tournament, but they did win some $$$.

Looking forward to next year!