Depeche Mode, live!

DM_Halo © Depeche Mode –

There’s something amazing about piling in the car with a few of your friends, and driving across state lines to see one of your favorite bands. Roadtrips make me feel younger than I should, like I’m still in my twenties and my best friend called me to take a last-minute weekend trip, and all I need to do is load up a bag with some clothes and undies and pick up a pack of cigs at the gas station on the way out. I wish I would have had the chance to do that when I was younger. I’m glad I can do that now, though…and I’m glad I have great friends to go with.

Months back, I found out that Depeche Mode, one of my absolute favorite bands, were going on tour to promote their new album. I’m an ENORMOUS fan of theirs, and every other time they came to or close to NOLA, I haven’t had the chance to go. This time, I refused to miss out. My mom was even wonderful enough to use her remaining points to get me a room at the closest La Quinta – so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel, either! A few months later, I was at Katie’s for a pool party, and I was telling her and her cousin Mary about the concert. Mary offered to get tickets for the lawn so we could all go together! I was ecstatic – Katie is another DM fan, and going on a roadtrip with the both of them would definitely be fun.

We’d originally planned on going to Dallas and visiting one of Mary’s friends on Tuesday, but that fell through when Mary’s job dropped a pile of work on her at the last minute. Katie and I decided to keep our Tuesday off and spend a day in the French Quarter, window shopping and poking around the French Market. Since I moved across the lake, Katie and I don’t get to spend time together by ourselves as much as we’d like, so it was wonderful to spend time together and talk. We started the day at our favorite FQ food stop, Angeli, and devoured some Divine Portabella and Bloody Marys. OM NOM NOM.

Bloody Mary right here.  #liquidlunch #boozahol

One of the places we stopped at in the Quarter was the Spice & Tea Exchange, on St. Louis. My mom had given me a $25 gift certificate to the place a while back, and I was looking forward to seeing the tea selection they have. (I’ve been drinking a lot of tea lately.) I picked up a bag of International Breakfast tea and Black Chocolate tea, and Katie got a bag of Marrakesh Mint tea and this AMAZING cheese dip mix that we mixed up and brought to dinner that evening. The spice selection in this place is astounding. I have to make a second trip back there to get some of the spice mixes, and I know my mom would love some of the green teas. It’s a national chain, so take a look at their site to see what they have to offer!

We spent the rest of the afternoon going into a few different shops – Trendz (my fave accessory store), Trashy Diva, and we stopped into Molly’s at the Market for a frozen Irish Coffee (a necessity since it was SO DAMN HOT). I even ended my day with a snoball in the French Market, where this adorable little “bartender” mixed up a sweet concoction for me since I couldn’t decide what I wanted. We ate a wonderful dinner at Katie’s mom’s house that evening before heading back to her place to crash.

Molly's at the Market - stopped for frozen Irish Coffees and some water.  #frenchquarter #lowerdecatur

Frodo, Jonny and Ashley’s pup.

Bella and Zazz.  #kitties #PicFrame
Katie’s kitties, Bella Jo and Zazz.

Wednesday morning, we rolled out of bed around 7:30 and were on the road by 9. After stopping for breakfast at a drive-thru, stopping at a gas station off of I-10 that sold katanas and throwing knives, and listening to “The World’s End” soundtrack (fantastic soundtrack, BTW) and almost every Patton Oswalt comedy CD, we made it to the hotel right for check-in at 3pm. Originally, the plan was to go out and get lunch, then get ready for the show, but we were all kind of tired and feeling a bit raggedy after being stuck in the car for 6 hours, so we ordered a veggie pizza and relaxed in the room.

Boots and tattoos.
My new boots.

After getting ready, we took the shuttle from the hotel to the pavilion just in time to get there for the doors to open!

Getting into the show with mah girls... #depechemode #concert #houston
Don’t be fooled by the sign – we were not VIPs.

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is a great open-air concert arena. When you walk in, there are a ton of booths for food, drinks, souvenirs, and other items as well. The main stage is under a huge awning, with giant fans spread underneath. Behind the awning is a large lawn, where people can camp out on blankets or towels and enjoy the show under the night sky.

I stopped as soon as we walked in to get my concert tour tee. This is a must-have for me – and I’ve got to have the concert dates on the back! We walked around for a bit to get drinks and such, then went to find our seats. I had my seat under the awning, Katie and Mary had theirs on the lawn. I relaxed, drank my Blue Moon, and chatted with the people around me while waiting for the opening act.

Got my seat!  #depechemode #concert #houston

Got a beer too!  #depechemode #concert #houston

Crystal Castles was good – I texted my brother while they were playing and suggested he check them out. They ended their set around 8:30, and Depeche Mode took the stage close to 9:00.

DM_Dave © Depeche Mode –
SWEET BABY JEBUS LOOK AT THIS MAN. He is 50-something, has beat a heroin addiction, dealt with cancer, and STILL looks like SEX ON TOAST, Y’ALL.

What can I say about this band? I’ve been in love with their music since the early 90s. Violator was one of the cassettes I listened to through high school, and Songs of Faith and Devotion take me back to a very interesting time in my life. Dave Gahan’s baritone makes me feel funny in places low in my body (he’s not bad to look at either – see the above picture as Exhibit A), and Martin’s lyrics and voice are both still full of raw emotion. They’re one of the founders of modern electronic music, and they still change things up with every album. Watching them perform live for the first time was an unforgettable experience for me.

HOLY FUCK YES #depechemode

The one thing I didn’t do a lot of was take pictures. I snapped the above shot at the beginning of the show, and took a short video, but otherwise, I refused to be bound to my phone. I noticed so many people watching the show through their screens – so many bright white lights shining from the audience. As much as I love photography, I wanted this memory in my mind – not on my iPhone. So I put it away. I danced, I sang along, I watched and listened and EXPERIENCED, and it was glorious.

They played not only new singles from Delta Machine, but they played a lot of classics as well. “Enjoy The Silence” was a particular favorite of the crowd, and as you can see in my snippet of video, almost everyone sang along (including myself – please excuse my hoarse, out-of-tune voice in the background).

Enjoy The Silence #depechemode #deltamachinetour #houston

A video posted by Karen L. (@sevenlies) on

The big finale was “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Never Let Me Down Again”, which wrapped up the night. The three of us left the pavilion with enormous smiles on our faces, and hoarse voices from singing and screaming so much.

The setlist from the show (thanks to Smells Like Infinite Sadness):

Welcome To My World
Walking In My Shoes
Black Celebration
Policy Of Truth
Should Be Higher
Barrel Of A Gun
The Child Inside (sung by Martin)
But Not Tonight (sung by Martin)
Soothe My Soul
A Pain That I’m Used To
A Question Of Time
Enjoy The Silence
Personal Jesus

Home (sung by Martin)
Just Can’t Get Enough
I Feel You
Never Let Me Down Again

DM_heaven_live © Depeche Mode –
We discovered that the background video for “Heaven” was filmed outside of New Orleans – not to mention the actual music video for that song was filmed in an abandoned church in NOLA.

On the shuttle ride back, we asked the driver if she could recommend a good place to get some drinks and food that would be open late. She recommended the Baker Street Pub, and offered to bring us there for a small fee. We struck up a conversation with a very nice couple, Scott and Louise, in the shuttle, and they decided to join us at the pub for drinks and food.

We spent the evening drinking beer, doing shots, eating a late dinner, meeting new people, and talking about how the show was an amazing experience for all of us.

We discovered the following things that night:
– that if you ask random strangers for a high five, 99% of them will give you one
– that asking random people to join your table will usually result in great conversations
– that sometimes your night can end even better than it began

At the Baker Street Pub after the show.

We took a cab back to the hotel, each of us crawled into the shower to clean off the copious amounts of sweat, and fell asleep.

Thursday morning, Mary and I woke up earlier than Katie, so we got dressed and had a small breakfast at Denny’s to stave off hunger pains.


Our plan was to stop in Beaumont and eat at Pappadeaux’s, which is a place that both Katie and Mary love. We packed up, checked out at noon, and hit the road again. We stopped and ate, then Mary offered to rive after seeing me nodding off between Lake Charles and Lafayette. I climbed in the back of the TARDIS and propped my head up on a pillow.

Mary offered to drive, so I took her up on it.  Relaxing in the back of the car now.
Rural Louisiana.

Atchafalaya Basin, through my rainy car window.  #roadtrip
Atchafalaya Basin, in the pouring rain.

I got home around 9:30, tired as hell but very happy. I still can’t believe the show was THAT good, and I’m seriously looking forward to their next album so we can do this again.

Have you taken a roadtrip to see one of your favorite bands? I’d love to hear about your favorite concert experience!

Diversity In Lingerie: why we need lingerie lovers of ALL sizes!

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about Diversity in Lingerie over the past few days. June from Braless in Brasil started the movement – see her post here!

I’ve been thinking a lot about how diversity is lacking in lingerie (well, in a lot of other areas too but this is my area of expertise). It’s extremely rare to see women of color, older women, women with disabilities, women with tattoos, women with scars/stretch marks or women with the wrong body types*.

Blogging helps to some extent, but still the vast majority of us bra bloggers out there are young, white, and relatively attractive. As a mother in her 30s, I know I’m one of the older ones and one of the very few who has a significant amount of loose skin, stretch marks etc. It’s ironic because the women with the most buying power tend to be older and it’s not like women of color or ones that don’t fit in the common “standard of beauty” don’t want lingerie either!

It’s time we take a stand against this.

From now on, if you want to join me take a picture of yourself (can be with or without your face, in lingerie or clothes- whatever you feel comfortable with!) and somehow fit in the hashtag #DiversityInLingerie. You’re welcome to either post it on twitter with the hashtag or email me and I’ll put it up in a post on my blog. Starting today (August 21st) other bloggers will becoming out with their own posts and pictures so check back to this post for the links! I’ll post them as they come out.

I’d encourage women of ALL walks of life and appearance to join in. By participating you can show the lingerie industry that, yes, you’d buy lingerie from a diverse group of models, not just the ones currently shown. I want to be clear that this is nothing against the body types currently shown and I don’t want to get into a “real women” debate. We’re all real women. I just want a bigger pool of models so that ALL women can see someone like them and say “hey, she looks like me and that bra looks awesome on her, it could look awesome on me too!”.


I couldn’t agree more.

Day in and day out, I see so many women come into the store. Women of all ages, colors, sizes, and shapes. Women with real breasts, augmented breasts, reduced breasts, reconstructed breasts. I’m thrilled to help them find something that they want – something comfortable, something sexy, something that supports and fits better than anything they’ve ever had. I must admit, though, that I really love helping a “rubenesque” woman who’s been under the impression that she is destined to live in the land of white/beige/black bras for her entire life. Because I was that woman, not too long ago.

I’ve said many, many times on this blog that I believe that everyone – regardless of size, shape, or age – deserves to look their best. I most certainly believe that when it comes to lingerie too. As much as I love the fuller-figured lingerie blogs I follow, they tend to be a 34-36 band. Me? I’m a 38 G, sometimes 40 FF depending on the brand. Where are the larger lingerie lovers?

I want to put myself out there right this moment. I want to let the fuller figured ladies – the 38, 40, 42 bands and up – know that YES you can have gorgeous underthings, and YES you deserve to feel damn sexy no matter what, and YES I have big thighs and a round belly and stretch marks and chunky arms and I wear sexy underpinnings EVERY FREAKING DAY AND YES THAT INCLUDES THE MATCHING PANTIES.

So…there I am, in my bathing suit, big thighs and arms and all. And I would love to see more ladies like me showing off their lingerie. If you’re not comfortable putting pictures of yourself in your bra up on the internet (hey, I’m not), then you can still talk about your love for pretty underthings and discuss what works best for you. Because if I would have known years ago that there was more than the old Lane Bryant standard, I would have made the leap into lingerie years ago. As it stands, I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I work in a place where I can be an example for those fuller figured women coming in every day.


For further reading on this topic, check out the following:
Lack of diversity in Brazilian lingerie models
Diversity is more than bra size
Why Lingerie for women is ageless
Ladies looking for more “nudes”
Token Diversity: A Step Forward or a Way to March in Place?
What you see is what you believe?

Please, check out the other #DiversityInLingerie posts out there – they are amazing!

Braless in Brasil
Les Gros Bonnets
Wide Curves
By Baby’s Rules
The Full Figured Chest
Curvy Wordy
Under the Unders
Muscular Hourglass
The Absurd Curvy Nerd
The Lingerie Addict
Bras and Body Image
Thin and Curvy
Anytime Yoga
Pretty Big Bras
Diamonds And Steel
The Curves Have It
KathTea Katastrophy
Scarlet’s Letter
Fussy Busty
The Breast Life
Busty & Thrifty
The Chocolate Plushie
Two Cakes on a Plate
Butterfly Collection
That Bra Does Not Fit Her
Quest For The Perfect Bra

Vacation Photo Post.

Relaxing on the back porch after a morning at the beach. #vacation

My life has been kind of ho-hum since my vacation. A few weeks back, my mother and I spent most of the week visiting my uncle Bamm and his partner, Tom, in Panama City Beach. They had to work during the day – so we kept ourselves busy by sitting outside with our coffee in the mornings, or spending time with their pups…

Good morning!  #vacation

This is Cosmo.  He's blind in both eyes.  He's one of the sweetest pups you'll ever know and loves snuggling and being petted.  #dogsofinstagram

…checking out the open-air mall and eating at places I haven’t seen in years…

HOLY CRAP IT'S A SCHLOTZKY'S.  I haven't seen one of these in years. #vacation

…driving down to Seaside and down 30A…

Stopped in Seaside to stretch our legs and get a bit of dessert.  #vacation

Scrub and beach at #Seaside.  I'm rapidly becoming obsessed with that place. #vacation

Lunch at Bud and Alley's!  #seaside #vacation

Mom enjoys our day out in #Seaside.  #vacation

…floating and sitting by their pool, or sitting in the hot tub (that was all Mom)…

If y'all need me, this is where you can find me for the next few days.  #vacation #family

Sunny!  #vacation

Mom is "too hot in the hot tub".  LOL.  #vacation

…and spending one morning on the beach.

Good morning!  #beach #vacation

Our vantage point from our seats.  #beach #vacation

Mom chillin' at the #beach.  #vacation
Check out Mom’s great Fantasie swimsuit! I wonder where she got that. Heh.

Heck yeah #beach day.  #vacation
I wore my Elomi swimsuit for my beach day. I adore it.

Stretching toward the sky.

Our evenings were either spent eating good cooking that Bamm made, or going out for dinner with them and their friends. We also checked out the small church they attend, which is very nice and comfortable. I adored the group, and I said more than once that if there was a church with fellowship like that in Mandeville, I would totally attend!

I have some more pictures that I need to pull off of my camera…so there will be a few more pics coming in the next few days…including a review of my Elomi Swim suit!


One Friday evening, back in the late 1990s (I think it was around 1998, but could have been 1997 or so) my boyfriend M, my friend Nicole, and I headed to the tattoo shop in Kenner (KENNA BRA). I picked a piece of tribal flash art off the wall, something not too big and not too small. I decided I wanted it on my calf – I figured that I could always wear tights or pants and cover it up if I had to. The artist transferred the design to my leg, had me lay on a table, and told me not to move.


For what felt like an hour the guy tattooed my calf. It was probably more like 30 minutes, but I was in a pretty major amount of pain. I held M’s hand and stayed as still as possible because the last thing I wanted to do was twitch. When the guy was done, he told me how to take care of it, bandaged it, and we paid and left. M and Nicole had to help me walk down the stairs because I couldn’t put any weight on my leg. That night I realized that I was just not cut out for multiple tattoos. I also realized that I have a very low pain threshold and that piercing probably wouldn’t be for me either.

New shoes!
Here’s the tattoo, many years later.

I’ve always appreciated lovely ink. My good friend Amy has these gorgeous sleeves on both her upper arms – one she had when I met her, and the other she got when we worked at The Company together. I watched LA Ink for a while (until I got tired of the drama). The thing that interested me most about those shows was the people who were being tattooed – each piece of art MEANT something to that person. Each tattoo came with a story, or something symbolic, or it reminded them of something they had been through. An enduring piece for something that person had endured. These were not pieces that they walked in and picked off of a wall – these were pieces that represented something to that person. Even if that represented something beautiful on their body…it was important to them.

You always hear that people who get one tattoo always want more. I would have loved another piece, but the fear of the pain that it would bring held me back. I couldn’t imagine going through that pain again for anything. I was too afraid.

Until last Friday.

Getting inked. #tattoos

I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting a tattoo since last year. One of my coworkers and friends, Julia, has this gorgeous feather inked on her shoulder near her neck. I asked her where she had it done and she mentioned Turning Point Tattoos here in Mandeville. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the studio – Felicia, Doug’s stylist, has a piece from there, and I’ve seen other pieces on ladies who come into the store. After some deliberation on the design (and gathering of funds), I decided to go check out the shop for myself. I spoke with Jordan Madere, an artist at the studio, about the design and what I was looking for. He sent me a sketch, I adjusted it a bit, and I headed to the studio after work last Friday to get it done.

I mulled over the idea for about a month. I knew I wanted something meaningful and beautiful. I didn’t want a tribal piece, and even though I adore celtic knotwork to this day, I wanted something else. Finally, it came to me one night as I was looking through some old pictures – I wanted something that reminded me of my grandmother. My Maw-Maw always had these giant hydrangea bushes in front of her house when I was growing up. When they bloomed, they bloomed the brightest blue – so brilliant, almost neon-colored. One of my graduation pictures was taken in my cap and gown, standing in front of those bushes. When I got married, I asked the florist to have a base of the brightest blue hydrangeas she could find in my bouquet, in memory of my grandmother.

I also wanted my favorite quote from “Desiderata”, a poem by Max Ehrmann. Amy sent me this poem a few years ago, and since then, it’s become one of my favorites.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

The first time I read those lines, it moved me to tears. It’s one of the things that made me stop hating myself and my body. Around the time I read that poem, I started learning to accept myself. Large, small, fat, thin – we all matter and we all deserve to be here. I knew I needed this somewhere in the design. When I spoke with Jordan, I explained what I was looking for, and sent him pictures of the hydrangeas’ color and the line from the poem. Since I wanted to feature more of the flowers, we kept the part of the quote I liked the most.

Jordan was really amazing. His artwork is outstanding, and when I mentioned my hesitation on getting it done because of the pain of the previous experience, he helped to calm my nerves by explaining that some artists are really heavy-handed with their lines, and digging deeper is always more painful. He is proud to be a “light-handed” tattoo artist. While he was getting me situated, I found that he’s a fellow sci-fi fan and gamer. It’s always nice to find more of those on the Northshore! He helped me stay calm and did his absolute best to keep my mind off of the pain. Over the course of the evening, Kati, Julia, and Shelby – all fellow Bra Genie ladies and good friends – stopped by to keep me company! Julia also got her nose pierced that evening, a delicate crystal stud that looks absolutely perfect on her (and makes me want one SO bad)!

The funny thing is – the pain wasn’t so bad this time. Maybe it’s where I placed it on my body (middle upper back), or that Jordan really is a light-handed artist, or maybe I just remember a lot more pain than it actually was. Don’t get me wrong – it hurt a lot. When he started, my back felt like raw hamburger. After about 30 minutes, though, it all felt the same. Some spots were a lot more sensitive, but it was tolerable. He was fast, too – I got there at 6:15, he started about 6:45, and I was done around 8:30.

When Jordan finished, I took one look at it and started crying. The color was perfect – just as bright and blue as my Maw-Maw’s flowers. I know everyone there probably thought I was crazy, but it meant a lot to me. I’m really, really pleased with how it turned out and I’m loving showing it off in shirts and dresses.

The finished piece:
The finished design.  #tattoos

Now that I know the pain isn’t that unbearable, I’m wondering what else I have been putting off that I could try. I don’t think I could pull off a nose ring, but I would really love to get another ear piercing. I used to have a second set of holes when I was in college, but they never healed properly so they closed up. Maybe a small ring in the cartilage of my ears…

My life in sunburns.

When I was young, my summers were spent outside. My mother would tolerate me inside for a short time while I watched morning cartoons and a couple of game shows, but typically she would tell me to head outside and play if the weather was nice. I spent sunny days riding my bike all over our two-acre yard, through trees and grass and along our gravel driveway. I rode up and down the dirt road in front of our house, kicking up dust and dirt into the spokes of my little blue bike. I jumped and slid and played on our jungle gym with my little brother, I played pretend under the two trees in front of our house. I skinned knees, I scraped hands, I was full of dirt and sweat and grime and “grandma beads” on my neck. My skin freckled, but never burned.

Even when I spent a few weeks at my Maw-Maw’s house in Mississippi, I never had a sunburn. Her next door neighbor had an in-ground pool that we made frequent trips to in the afternoons. We swam, splashed, slid down the small slide (I can’t tell you how important it is to make sure the slide is wet before going down – ouch). I learned how to conquer my fear of the “deep end”, how to jump off the diving board, how the feeling of being underwater is the closest thing you can come to feeling weightless. But even though we would spend entire afternoons out there, I never remember getting sunburned.

My first sunburn that I do remember was when I went to Destin, Florida with my family. My Paw-Paw worked for a company that owned a few places there, and employees could request the use of them for a week or so during the year. We always stayed at the “canal house” – probably because we could fit about 8 of us there at once.

I remember spending most of the day at the beach, playing in the surf, and my mother applying lots of sunscreen to both me and my brother. My brother was so much more fair than me – his skin was so pale, almost translucent in places. When we got back to the house, I took off my damp swimsuit and realized something was very wrong. Out there, in the bright sun, my skin didn’t seem any different – but the angry red color on most of my body said otherwise. As soon as I saw the damage, the pain started. Everything HURT. Even the feeling of the air conditioner blowing across my too-sensitive skin was painful. My night was spent covered in Noxema (Maw-Maw insisted it would help me feel better), and tossing on the too-rough cotton sheets in my bunk bed.

The next day my entire body throbbed, and I could barely stand to wear clothes, much less go outside. I felt nauseous. My shoulders and back were the worst – they had blisters that chafed and wept. We headed back to Mississippi, and as soon as we got back to Maw-Maw’s, they slathered me in aloe and put me in bed. I vaguely remember them saying I had fever. Recovering from that sunburn was the worst – I’d never had one before so I didn’t know how long I would feel the pain. As soon as the pain stopped, the ITCHING started. I remember scraping my back against the rough stippled walls of my house to relieve the itching, and my mother fussing at me, telling me I was going to make it worse. I was also extremely grossed out by my skin peeling.

We went to Destin every year in the summer, and I got burned after that, but never that bad again. The second worst sunburn after that was the summer between 8th and 9th grade when I had a week in Destin and THEN had a week beach retreat with my church’s youth group.

As I grew older, my love for the beach waned considerably. There’s too much sand that ends up in places where it shouldn’t be, the sun is too strong and reflects off of the sand and you can’t see, salt water stings my eyes…I added excuse after excuse to the list but it boiled down to one thing: I HATED SUNBURNS.

In high school, I flirted with tanning by laying out in my backyard and applying “tan accelerator”, but nothing ever came of it. By the time I got to college and for many, many years after, I decided that the ghostly coloring I’d been fighting would be more beneficial for my health in the long run (and would earn me points with the black-clad crowd), so I simply stayed indoors a lot. When I had to venture out, I applied a liberal amount of sunscreen.

See, both mine and my brother’s pallor comes from my father’s side of the family. My father’s mother was very tall, thin, and pale (much like my brother) and my dad’s skin was pale but ruddy (just like mine). We tend to burn easily and quickly, but we don’t really “tan” afterwards – we simply peel and go back to our normal color. I refused to give in to the societal insistence that tan = healthy. I turned up my nose at tanning, telling myself that it was only in the past 100 or so years that tanning became popular, that it was better for my health in the long run.

However, this year, I want a little bit of color. Maybe a little coloring on my calves, some freckles on my shoulders and nose. Just something to show that I’ve sought the sun and spent a little time on the sand or in the grass this summer. I definitely won’t be seeking the services of the tanning bed, but I do think I’ll be letting the sun touch my skin a little more this summer. Yes, I’ll be playing it safe – my Neutrogena sunscreen is a must if I’m going to be out for a length of time, and especially on beach trips.

I’ve spent too many summers hiding inside and seeking the solace of air conditioning. I think it’s time to sweat a little bit this year.