Fourth of July 2022

Do you find yourself feeling some type of way on this day where we are supposed to embrace our patriotism and celebrate all that is good in this country of ours? Me too. I encourage you all to read this piece by one of my favorite Medium authors, Umair Haque, about how our democracy is in great peril.

Before the zealous patriots grab their tiki torches and come for me, let me state the obvious: I love the USA. I can have great love for my country without approving of its government or the direction in which we’re heading. I appreciate the fact that I can voice my dissent without being thrown in jail or disappeared. The ‘land of the free’ isn’t feeling so free for some of us anymore– but I know I have a lot more freedom in other parts of the world.

With that being said…I’m still trying to figure out how to translate my feelings into action. The thoughts expressed on this blog are cathartic for me. I hope that I can sometimes provide information and resources that some of you might find interesting. But I’m still struggling with what I need to do and how to mobilize with other people who are equally fed up and demanding change. Any ideas? We’re running out of time here, folks.

Despite any loaded feelings surrounding today’s holiday, I very much needed a day off to combat exhaustion and nurture my mental health. How nice it was to catch up on reading and relax. Any excuse to consume mass quantities of pasta salad is always a plus. Oh, and I plan to be making a festive dessert after I finish this post.

The highlight of my weekend was spending time with Adam yesterday. Per his suggestion, the two of us went to NeshobaWeb sat that one out– and then we scooped up his best friend, Mo, to go see “The Black Phone” [more on that below] at Malco. I know I must be doing something right as a mother when my 14-year-old son requests to hang out with me during his down time.

Yesterday’s sermon from Rev. Beth was exactly what I needed to hear. Aptly titled “Our Country Tis Of Thee,” it acknowledged the polarizing divisions, sadness, anxiety, pain, fear, and uncertainty with which so many of us are struggling. I needed the reminder that we do not always have the best or even the correct answer– and that our First Tradition [The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person] applies to those individuals who do not share our beliefs.

He’s my firstborn but also my best friend. 💯

I find myself increasingly seeking solace in my faith during these troubling times. This is the first time in my adult life that I have ever looked to my spirituality to combat a troubling reality. Being around my Neshoba family helps make sense of the chaos and reminds me that I belong to a community of people who are passionate about the issues that matter to me.

However, I very much believe in the separation of church and state. As much as I adore Unitarian Universalism, I wouldn’t want to live in a UU State. The same goes for fundamentalist Christianity or any other religion. Keep religion out of politics.

Those of us at Neshoba take great pride in our social justice endeavors. I plan to volunteer with as many of these as I am able. A call to action was issued from the pulpit– and I think this is an excellent launching point for me to actually do something. Perhaps I’ve already taken the first step.

Madeline McGraw plays Gwen in the film.🙌

Back to “The Black Phone.” Don’t worry, *no spoilers* here. I’m a huge Ethan Hawke fan, so I would have seen it regardless, but I’m glad I did. It was creepy and had me squirming in my seat and holding my breath at times. Hands down, the best part of the movie was the protagonist’s sister, Gwen.

I love movies with strong female characters that are full of spunk. Gwen does not disappoint. She was sharp as a tack, funny, foul-mouthed, and a total badass. Prior to yesterday afternoon, I was not familiar with the actress [Madeline McGraw], though I’ll definitely pay attention to what she does in the future.

There were some things that seriously didn’t make sense to me, however. Web was equally baffled, so I know it wasn’t a personal problem. EH’s character, The Grabber, could have had a fascinating backstory. But we never learned anything about why he behaved the way he did or why he was so obsessed with his mask.

Even more puzzling was the fact that five young boys go missing from a small town within a very short time span and it’s just business as usual. Sure, there are Missing Person fliers on telephone poles…but parents let their kids roam freely, there’s zero police presence, and the only people who seem to be [mildly] concerned are two schoolchildren. I know things were different in the 70’s but come on!

We both knew our lives were consumed with Too Much Adulting when the greatest unanswered question of the movie was how The Grabber managed to have two decent sized properties in the suburbs, a van, and disposable income with no discernable employment. How can he afford this?!

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Exhaustion

As much as I want to post daily, I find myself drained after work. It’s been years since I have felt such sheer exhaustion. Thursday night, I fell asleep at 6:45 pm….and didn’t wake until 7:15 the next morning. I realize that it’s only been fourteen workdays. Adjusting to a drastic schedule change takes a few weeks.

Prior to my delightful experience at CAFTH, it had been years since I set foot in an office or worked outside of the home. Although I worked full-time with them, the vast majority of my work was done remotely. Being in an office from 9 am until 6 pm sucks the energy right out of me.

Tired after a long day of work 💤

Lest I sound like I’m complaining, let me just reiterate how much I love what I do and how grateful I am to work. I am proud to be the Director’s Assistant to a hardworking entreprenuer who runs a private childcare facility. My boss is fantastic, as are my coworkers, and I absolutely love the kids. Both the parents and staff have been so kind and welcoming to me.

Everyone’s tired and has issues, I get it. And I’m not going to spend any more time whining lamenting my lack of free time. We all know adulting is hard. Most of my weeknight time is spent ‘recovering’ from work. Here’s to hoping there’s less recovery and more blogging!

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Silence is not golden

My last blog post was in the middle of January. Initially, the lapse in blogging was because life happened. Then it became a conscious decision not to blog, for a variety of reasons. No more! Staying silent too long simply isn’t possible for me. The time has come to break my silence.

Let’s just get right to it. Everything that has happened between now and then can be summarized by a single word: transition. New relationship. New career. New home. Suffice it to say, I’ve made major life decisions since we last spoke. So much has changed within the past half a year it’s as if I have an entirely new life…which isn’t entirely inaccurate.

Those of you who don’t follow me on social media undoubtedly have questions. Even amongst the audience on my socials, I’m sure some are scratching their heads and wanting me to fill in the blanks. Bear with me. I’ll divulge what I’m willing to share in due time in the way I best see fit.

No makeup except bronzer on my eyelids. Grey hairs showing. No filter. It’s been a long time since I have felt comfortable in my own skin.💖

What happened in Uvalde last month shook me the core. Something inside of me snapped. Counterintuitive as it may sound, I had so much to say I couldn’t even talk. With the exception of reposting a few images [cue virtue signaling😂], I was surprisingly quiet for a person who otherwise excels at TMI.

Things have only gotten worse since then. Roe v. Wade. We’ll cover the decision of the SCOTUS to overturn it in another entry– though I don’t think it takes a rocket science to know that it saddens, frustrates, and scares me. What happened Friday was a tipping point for me in terms of how I us my voice.

After the tragedy [that word doesn’t even begin to cover it] at Robb Elementary, I lost my public voice. Or perhaps I should say how I use my voice in publicly, seeing as how I am not a public figure. The dialogue in my head was incessant, make no mistake. I just couldn’t find the words to express myself. I say it shocked me into silence. I also stopped praying. Until two nights ago, I hadn’t prayed at all. How grateful I am to be speaking, writing, and praying regularly now.

Due to my overwhelming need to process what’s happening around me, I’m back in the blogging business. Facebook is not the platform for me to air my grievances, talk political shop, or do a deep dive on topics I wouldn’t discuss in the workplace. Facebook is not the MySpace of yore. Facebook is not something I want to use as a way to increase the already rampant polarization between us. Not everybody who ‘friends’ me wants to see all that– nor should they have to– and I respect that.

Does this mean I’ll stop with lengthy, passionate statuses as they pertain to my personal life? Of course not! But when it comes to politics and religion, I’m toning it down on social media. Generally speaking, I’m taking things down a few notches, all across the board, on socials. Surely I’m not the only one who finds myself completely drained reading the comments on particular posts. It also shocks and upsets me when a person I otherwise like ‘exposes’ themselves on social media with a view that stands in stark contrast to my own.

If it wouldn’t be said in the workplace [my rubric for posting from this point forward], I’m not going to say it. I’m also going to take it a step further and say that I will try my best not to think differently of people who post things on their personal account(s). This isn’t censorship or being fake…it’s a known part of adulthood and employment that there are certain topics you don’t take with you to the office or whip out when you’re meeting new people. I think social media has given us false ‘courage’ to say things from our computers that we would never say when having a face-to-face conversation with a group of coworkers, business contacts, or new acquaintances.

What will the world look like for them? 🌎

With that being said, given the current realities in our society….I am terrified. I’m afraid for my children, particularly my daughter. It is shocking and abhorrent that I hold my breath every time they leave for school. And not just school, either. Movie theaters, nail salons, and even the grocery store aren’t safe.

In September 2021, our local Kroger was the site of a mass shooting. Not even a five-minute drive from my daughter’s school and our home. It’s literally in my backyard, my community. Our community. The same place where I accidentally left my keys in my ignition for almost a week, and nothing happened. Such a shocking juxtaposition. A place where I am comfortable letting my children play, walk, and ride their bikes outside. This happened here? If it can happen here, it can truly happen anywhere.

How do I keep my children safe?

Is it possible to protect them while still allowing them to play, explore, and learn?

Will they struggle with a lifetime of anxiety from practicing active shooter drills in the classroom and knowing that they could be shot at any second?

Is the safety of my children less important than someone’s ability to own a gun?

How do I tell my daughter that her government considers her a second-class citizen?

What if my daughter is the victim of a sexual assault?

Why aren’t more parents teaching their sons how to be better men?

Adam is old enough to have an understanding of the adult world now that he’s in his teens. At 10, Tatum doesn’t yet require the heavy conversations I’ve had with her brother. I know I have some time, but I’m dreading these discussions. My children have to grow up in this world we’ve created– less than a decade until they are both legal adults– and they deserve so much better.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Attack, Feminism, Parenting, Sloane, USA, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wonderful Wednesday

When I write a post. I drop the photos first and make a bullet-point outline. I did just that on 29 December 2021. Because this is all relevant information….here we go during the third weekend of January 2022.

Allen and I spent most of the week walking at his elementary school Alma Mater. Seeing the four-square courts and the– what do you call those things where you toss the rubber balls into and they spit out a number?– sent me back to the day. We drove a car on the playground. I crawled into the mouth of a blue hippopotamus and cheesed for the camera. I even saw a ‘hay house’ as we were departing– where my [Hutchison] girls at?!

The playground at his former elementary school is perfect for grown folks and their dog. 🪁🪜

Today, we got our boosters. Just like their predecessors, there was zero wait time and zero pain at the injection site. Both of us felt horribly sick for the next 24-hours [though a small price to pay compared to the consequences]– I’d be remiss not to tell you this after the fact. I implore you all to get your boosters.

Freya finds herself in heat. I wish I had a recording of the neighborhood boy dogs who wish her milkshake would come to their yard. While I refer to her outfit as ‘special panties,’ Allen calls her lingerie a diaper. I wouldn’t want to wear that either!

Did you give your lady dog the procedure? How did it go? Freya will be five in June and we haven’t done it yet. I’m hesitant– I don’t want her to be in pain. I’m also confident that we can watch her closely enough that her virtue will never be taken. What do y’all think?

The boy dogs are very into Fryea right now…
😂 🐕🤦‍♀️

We celebrated being responsible, vaccinated citizens with some delicious food. Bombay Chef can do no wrong. Both of us live for Indian food. Even though this particular brand costs more than my first-born child, it’s delectable. Palak paneer makes my heart happy.

Writing this on 16 January enables me to tell you about one of the best dinners I’ve had since I arrived here. Donna made a chickpea lentil curry that was tasty enough to make me contemplate selling my soul to the devil. She’s teaching Allen how to make it, thank heavens. Here’s to hoping I get this on a weekly basis.

Hope Ministry kiddos had an awesome Christmas! 🎁

On a final note, I am thrilled to be in a position where can I throw in a few dollars to make the world a better place. The precious children of Hope Ministry in Uganda have started school! I want my Stateside readers to take a moment to think about this. How many times did you play hooky? How many times did you grumble and complain about dragging yourself out of bed to sit thru classes? How many times did you wish you were just done with school?

For these children, school is a luxury. A privilege. They take pride in their clean uniforms and textbooks. Learning brings them joy and a desire to be their best selves. Won’t you help them?

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Travel photo challenge [TPC]

Yours truly loves a good photo challenge. I saw this on the blog of one of my favorite internet friends. I not-so-subtly mentioned I’d like to participate. And so it was! *Vee,* of Just Vee Cause, nominated me to participate. She was nominated by Marla, of Marla on the Move, so a shout-out to her as well.

I upload ten photos with explanations and encourage ten others to do the same. Please don’t expect ten consecutive posts for the next ten days– y’all already know it’s not going to happen. 😂

If they so desire, I’d love to see the following bloggers do the challenge: Benya, Caralyn, Hilary, Jesse, John, Laura, Matt, Monica, Rob, and Tim. I tagged everybody at once just in case I don’t finish in a timely fashion. Please tag me in your first post if you choose to participate.

Forgive the quality of this photo. Once upon a time, we used disposable cameras to document our adventures. What you’re seeing is the hard copy scanned onto my computer, posted to MySpace, and immortalized for future generations.

The party master himself, Bomba. 🍄

What you see here is a snapshot from the first, last, and only time I’ve ever left the country. In June 2005, I was fortunate enough to attend a wedding in the British Virgin Islands! Members of the wedding party, along with a small handful of guests [such as moi], stayed in several stunning seaside villas on the island of Virgin Gorda.

I was 19-years-old at the time. Everyone else in my group [the bride & groom’s friends] was in their late 20’s or 30’s. The other group consisted of their parents. None of the younger set had kids or a spouse. Suffice it to say, we partied hard.

Our shot glass was a footlong gray, plastic pool shark that was about two inches wide and a foot long. We poured tropical-flavored rum into the mouth of ‘Sharky,’ who was hollow inside from his teeth to his tail. In addition to Sharky, the default drink down there was something ridiculously strong and coconut-flavored, which I believe was called a Tasmanian Devil. We stayed saturated in booze. But I digress.

The island of Tortola is world-renowned for its Full Moon Party. Best believe our intrepid group considered this to be the top priority aside from the wedding. We knew two things about the party: women were encouraged to fork over their panties [can you tell this was pre-#MeToo?!”] and every person going into the event was instructed to eat some mushrooms of the magical variety, provided at the door upon entering.

Female undergarments were given to Bomba. Though lacking an official title, he was most definitely the head honcho. Master of Ceremony, perhaps? Everything happened at his instruction.

Wanting to distinguish ourselves from the crowd, the bride and her sister-in-law had the brilliant idea to make custom panties. So we bedazzled Bomba’s name with silver rhinestones on a black thong. That’s not a sentence you type every day.

An excessively hungover bridesmaid couldn’t even make it on the water and stayed at the villa. The bride and two others were extremely seasick so they remained on the boat. Representing our group’s entire female contingent, I swallowed my shrooms and proudly displayed the black undergarments.

….which were a smashing success!

The ingenuity of our panties caught Bomba’s attention. Ushered to the front of the line by two of Bomba’s attendants, I was escorted into the private tent where Bomba relaxed amidst ceiling fans and women’s underwear. He gave me a huge hug, excitedly referred to himself in third person [“Bomba likes!” he said as he brandished the panties], and licked my face.

My shrooms hit me like a ton of bricks on the boat ride home. Lawdhavemercy. It was intense.

That’s a night I will never forget.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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A new year

My NYE was completely uneventful– and that was by choice. I was in bed, sound asleep, by 10 pm. It was absolutely glorious. No booze, no parties, no events….so much no makes for a glorious yes. Here’s a post that I started a week ago and am just now finishing. Oops.

Thank you for indulging my Snapchat silliness, Allen. 😂

Three Elephant Journal articles recently caught my eye. Most notably, I read about one author selecting a word to define the year as opposed to a resolution. I like that. The second piece resonated with me because it was practical and offered best practices for the transition from wrapping up one year and moving into the next. Finally, I appreciate the concept of “Walking into 2022 with Guts, Grace, & Gratitude.”

What is my word for 2022? Sobriety. It is the foundation upon which my life is built. Without it, I have very little else. Cliche as it may sound, how can you build a solid structure [not to mention all sorts of cool add-on’s!] without a solid foundation?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘Dry January‘ and the deluge of advertisements and entertainment forms all but encouraging us to guzzle booze. These are topics you will be seeing me explore further in my writing in the very near future. Needless to say, my opinions are not favorite regarding either one of those.

Be still my heart.

Can I take a moment to praise Allen for embracing a vegetarian diet and being mindful of nutrition? We eat tons of salads, fruit smoothies, yogurt [and/or cottage cheese for me], veggies, hummus, and homecooked meals. He’s completely cut out soda, which is huge. Now he drinks more water than I do and loves tea. When we first got together, he drank multiple sodas a day, ate loads of candy, consumed tons of meat, and generally ate like a college student. He’s come a long way and that makes me want to stay on top of my game as well.

Further accolades are in order because he is TRYING TO QUIT SMOKING!!!! He only has a couple of cigarettes each day and uses a Juul. I am so freaking proud of his accomplishment! And did I mention that he’s tapering off of methadone and is below 30 mg?! I’m in awe of him.

My fiancé [I love saying that!] and I also get plenty of fitness incorporated into our days. We walk Freya three times a day, ranging in length from a little over half a mile up to two miles per walk. He does push-ups and lifts weights. I do tummy exercises and jump on the mini-trampoline. Both of us do the rowing machine. Each of us has made a commitment to squeezing in workouts and staying active. I appreciate the motivation he provides and the fact that he keeps me accountable.

Ringing in 2022 with the appropriate cuisine 🎉

Speaking of health….

I stumbled upon Yoga With Adriene during last year’s quarantine. She’s been a part of my routine ever since. She is currently leading a 30-day yoga challenge called MOVE. It’s suitable for beginners– nothing crazy– and manages to be both calming and invigorating. This is the perfect way to segue into a daily yoga routine, so practice that downward-facing dog.

21 Days has been a wonderful thing for me as well. It’s a free app that is all about establishing healthier habits in a variety of ways, mostly mental health. It has quickly become a part of my daily routine. Eating clean and staying active certainly help but the mind needs to be operating in a healthy manner as well.

What are your plans for the new year? Do you have any special words, resolutions, or goals? How do you want to make the most of this fresh start? Let me know in the comments down below.

2022 IS GOING TO BE ONE HELL OF A YEAR!!

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Red Bull Is Not Beer

I just published my first piece on Elephant Journal!!

This means I have accomplished all of my writing goals from 2021. Well, two days into the new year, but who cares?! I wanted to post my work on both Medium and Elephant Journal and I did it! The response to “I Got Stabbed By A Pregnant, Homeless Woman” has been fantastic. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has read, shared, hearted, clapped for, or commented on my work.

It’s a quote…from me!

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Take the plunge

I wanted my debut post for 2022 to pay homage to new beginnings, inspire people, and start things off on a positive note. What better way to do that than by tracking my employment evolution? Watching my confidence in myself build as I recognize my strengths is such a positive thing. May you be equally inspired to take a plunge in your own life. You never know how things will unfold….

I still don’t know what possessed me to reach out to CAFTH. With that being said, I’m eternally grateful I emailed my now-supervisor and [most likely] word vomited about my passion for and lived experience regarding the homeless community. I never would have sent my resumé in without his prompting, so I thank him for that.

However, I didn’t lie about my qualifications. There was something on the requirements list where my comfort level was not quite proficient– but I am a fast learner who is willing to learn! And then the vehicle issue. Despite not having my own transportation, I told them it was a work in progress and sent in my resumé as if I had a fleet of luxury vehicles at my disposal.

Never in a million years did I think I’d be discussing foraging thru dumpsters for food or standing on a median holding a cardboard sign during a job interview….but there we were. I did not use ‘poverty porn’ or use my checkered past and colorful life as a selling point. They considered my lived experience an added bonus, not a reason to hire.

I also appreciated the fact that they asked during the initial interview a way to assist the homeless [I suggested text alerts seeing as how the vast majority of homeless people have ‘food stamp phones’] and gave me a few days to submit a proposal for how I would work with another non-profit [I chose the addiction sector] and spent lots of time working on said proposal.

This was when things really started to sink in for me that this could be a possibility. Surely they wouldn’t waste the Executive Director’s time if they didn’t see something in me. Earning [by this point in my vocabulary I’ve replaced ‘got’ or ‘received’ with ‘earned!’] this second interview gave me a confidence boost. Perhaps there is something to be said for not having any interview jitters and being totally yourself because you don’t think you’ll ever get the job. 😂

Anyone– well, not anyone, but you get the idea– can do a solid interview and look good paper. They got to see my proposal, a multi-page document that I put considerable time and effort into. That showed them that I could talk the talk, but more importantly– I could bring my A-game and walk the walk.

Y’all. I screamed. I cried. I danced around the house. Apparently, what I needed all along was a ‘big girl’ job with responsibility, one that has the potential to alter my life and those who are among one of the most vulnerable populations, and a team of people to appreciate and believe in me. How lucky I am to do what I love! CAFTH helped me come full circle.

The final picture of the progression [below] was written as I was walking out the door to hop in Dad’s car. I’m so grateful he was available to take me on my first day as I don’t think I could have handled all that anxiety on the bus. I was so nervous, I couldn’t even eat my oatmeal! As soon as I stepped into the office, my fears were immediately assuaged and everyone put me instantly at ease.

The moral of this story is to aim for the stars. I just love looking back at this exchange. Everything– from the first submission of my resumé to my first day on the job– is detailed in a single post. Follow your dreams, even if you think nothing will come from it. Don’t sell yourself short. Dream big. Be your own advocate and cheerleader.

HAPPY 2022!!

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in CAFTH, Changes, Employment | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sloane is engaged.

You know I’m excited if I’m utilizing the third person.

Mr. Williams put a ring on it yesterday! I thought about fabricating an elaborate proposal story….but there isn’t one. 30 December just felt right; therefore, we made it official. Honestly, the fact that my nails look so fire post-manicure played a large part in it. 😂

Notice I didn’t say Allen ‘asked’ me to marry him. We already established the fact that we plan to stay together for the rest of our lives, provided two conditions were met. Truth be told, I doubted we’d meet them simultaneously. I could see 50% of that equation happening– maybe– but not both components.

Both of us made the decision to not use any drugs and stop drinking entirely— while at the same time having enough income to support ourselves. I think it’s blatantly obvious how content we are in sobriety. Our lives are calm, boring, and filled with quiet joy. We’ve grown up considerably in all senses of the word. And we couldn’t be happier.

Some of you may be shocked to hear we most likely won’t ever get married. Never say never….but neither one of us sees it happening. We don’t need a piece of paper and complicated legal and financial entanglements to demonstrate our commitment. And even if we actually wanted to get married, there’s still the pesky little fact that I’m not legally divorced. Oops. Severing that distant, paper-only tie is a top priority for 2022.

Does this mean I don’t plan on having a ceremony or a reception? Just because it’s not legally binding doesn’t mean I don’t want our wedding! There’s nothing on the horizon, though. We haven’t discussed dates or details. I doubt those initial discussions will happen any time soon.

I guarantee there will be one hell of a party celebrating our partnership in the future! Think cheese buffet. A bloody mary bar and mocktail options. Henna artist and face paint for the kids. Foot massages. It’s the party of the century and Allen and I are the guests of honor!!

I’ve always wanted to have an unconventional engagement ring.
☠️🖤💍

Whatever happens [or doesn’t happen] in the future, I’m perfectly content. I love doing life with Allen. He’s far more serious than a boyfriend but we’re not a married couple. This engagement– on our terms with our rules– just works in our world.

Don’t you just love my ring? There is not a traditional or mainstream bone in my body. I’m not the type who is drawn to diamonds. I wink at counterculture, march to the beat of my own drum, and buck tradition.

My love picked this himself. Go Allen! When he showed it to me for consultation, I was tickled pink that he knew me so well and selected the perfect piece.

As always, my nails come from Lyna’s Nails. This is the longest I’ve ever had my nails. The first time I’ve ever had them in a pointy shape– I refer to them as my talons. And this is the first time I’ve had a gel manicure. I adore the finished product.


With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Al Jizzy, Changes, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I just published!

Yer gurl took the plunge tonight and finally published her first piece on Medium! I’ve linked it below for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read, clap, comment, or share.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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