DIY: Historic Holiday Decor

DIY: Historic Holiday Decor

By now I’m sure you all know I’m obsessed with the Beauregard-Keyes House and its Executive Director, Ella Camburnbeck. As if we needed another reason to love the historic home, Ella has filled its halls with handmade holiday decorations that harken back to days of Victorian romance, wassailing and Christmas bonnets. I asked her to give us an overview on how to create the decor in our own homes. Read on and check out Sarah Becker Lillard’s fantastic photos of the House at this festive time of year!

Beauregard Keyes House | DIY Holiday Decor

The holiday decorations at the Beauregard-Keyes house are reminiscent of what a typical nineteenth century New Orleans home might have used. Godey’s Lady’s Book has been one of my most trusted references for decorating- it was the most widely circulated magazine in the period before the Civil War and was an incredible resource for women of the day when it came to fashion and entertaining.

A 1860 edition detailed holiday decorations this way: “Christmas decorations include strings of bright berries, small bouquets of paper flowers, strings of beads, tiny flag of gray ribbons, stars and shields of gilt paper, lace bag filled with colored candies, and knots of bright ribbon, all homemade.” 

Beauregard Keyes House | DIY Holiday Decor

Beauregard Keyes House | DIY Holiday Decor

So, thanks to Godey’s – everything that you see around the House has been handmade and I try to source as many things from our gardens as possible. As a result everything smells pretty amazing and is relatively simple to make as long as you have a little patience!

For the mantle topiaries I use calamondins from our tree in the Parterre Garden however, once you have your base you could use kumquats, pinecones, or any other type of fruit you have around the yard or house. Our bases belonged to Mrs. Keyes and are made of wooden cones with nails protruding to affix the fruit to, however you can make your own out of a Styrofoam cone and toothpicks.

Beauregard Keyes House | DIY Holiday Decor


  • Foam Topiary cone
  • Toothpicks
  • Glue (I recommend hot glue)
  • Fruit of choice
  • Greenery of choice


Put a dab of glue at one end of your toothpick and then insert that end into the cone. Layer the toothpicks in concentric circles down the cone, I recommend spacing your toothpicks based on the size of fruit you plan to use (Our nails are relatively close thus the tiny calamondins works perfectly!). Once the toothpicks are in place and the glue has dried you can start applying a piece of fruit to each tooth pick. (HINT-don’t pierce the place on the fruit where the stem was, this will help the fruit stay fresher, longer!). Once all of your fruit is in place choose your background greenery- I use the scraps from our garland however you can use boxwood trimmings, sprigs from your Christmas tree, or any other greenery you have in your yard- I recommend selecting something with a relatively flexible stem so it can better hug your cone.

Beauregard Keyes House | DIY Holiday Decor

Finally, starting from the bottom and working up the cone, fill in the spaces between your fruit with the greenery- this part can be a little tricky because the greenery tends to want to twist and turn its own way, feel free to use a little bit of hot glue to keep parts in place. Voila! You’re done! Well almost, depending on the fruit you use you will have to replace it about once a week, I try and check mine every 3-4 days to make sure nothing is rotting.

These topiaries are great for tablescapes, mantles, or you could even do larger ones for your front porch! Have fun with it, invite friends over to help and be creative- Historically, making decorations was a chance to bring people together and share in the celebration of the season, and I think that’s certainly a little piece of the past worth carrying on.

Beauregard Keyes House | DIY Holiday Decor


When Queen Victoria’s German-born husband and first cousin, Prince Albert, arranged for a fir tree to be brought from his homeland and decorated in 1841, it created a minor sensation throughout the English-speaking world, thanks to the newly important media: the magazine. Everyone knew about Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree. A print of the royal family gathered about the Christmas tree at Windsor Castle appeared in the Illustrated London News in 1848, then in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1850, and was reprinted again ten years later. The six-foot fir sits on a table, each tier laden with a dozen or more lighted wax tapers. An angel with outstretched arms poses at the top. Gilt gingerbread ornaments and tiny baskets filled with sweets hang by ribbons from the branches. Clustered around the base of the tree are dolls and soldiers and toys.

The most widely read account of an early Christmas tree was published in a penny pamphlet in 1832:[1]

“I was present at the introduction into the new country of the spectacle of the German Christmas tree.  My little friend Charley [Follen’s son] and three companions had been long preparing for this pretty show.  The cook had broken eggs carefully in the middle for some weeks past, that Charley might have the shells for cups; and these cups were gilded and coloured very prettily. We were all engaged in sticking on the last seven dozen of wax tapers, and in filling the gilded egg-cups and gay paper cornucopiae with comfits, lozenges, barley sugar.  The tree was the top of a young fir, planted in a tub, which was ornamented with moss.  Smart toys and other whimsies glittered in the evergreen and there was not a twig which had not something sparkling upon it.  It really looked beautiful; the room seemed in a blaze, and the ornaments were so well hung that no accident happened, except that one doll’s petticoat caught fire…I have no doubt the Christmas tree will become one of the most flourishing exotics in New England.”

from an article about Christmas decorations of the period from an 1860 issue of Godey’s Magazine, also known as Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book, that was the most popular magazine in the country at the time with a circulation of 150,000: “Christmas decorations include strings of bright berries, small bouquets of paper flowers, strings of beads, tiny flag of gray ribbons, stars and shields of gilt paper, lace bag filled with colored candies, and knots of bright ribbon, all homemade.”

*photos by Sarah Becker Photography

This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued.  



Welcome to the first installment of our newest series – Ask An Entrepreneur. We’ve polled an assortment of our favorite lady treps to discover what inspires them, what keeps them going, and the ups and downs of being your own boss. The goal of this series is to help budding entrepreneurs strike out on their own and to provide a place to share their stories and words of encouragement. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!


When did you realize you wanted to go into business for yourself? What sparked that initial decision?

I realized I wanted to be in business for myself when I got real honest about being a bad employee in the 9-5 world. My “hobby” of teaching and performing comedy started to become more and more of my focus and was the thing that inspired me. Weighing the options of Take A Risk And Do What You Love or Be Kinda Miserable Working For Someone Else was an easy choice after a while, happiness feels much better.

Tami Nelson, co-founder of The New Movement Theater


When I saw the freelancers invoices – they were doing the same job as me and getting paid what I would earn in 3 months for a 2 week job. That was the catalyst! I think that’s probably very specific to my industry though. The idea being that you would earn your stripes in-house and then strike out on your own if/when you were ready.

Jo Coombes, freelancer with RED Diary Service


In college I worked for a small business (a husband-and-wife wedding photography team where I learned everything I know about photography!) but never imagined I would go out on my own. It seemed too difficult – too many moving parts and pieces to always be on top of. So when my husband and I moved to New Orleans, I “went corporate” and only lasted four months. I was astounded at how miserable I was in a cubicle, working the same hours every day, butting heads with the same coworkers, and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere or accomplishing anything. I took a long Christmas vacation at the end of those four months and I started panicking when I thought about going back. I decided 21 was too young to be this miserable, so I went back and turned in my two weeks notice and officially launched Sarah Becker Photography here in New Orleans in January 2013!

Sarah Becker Lillard of Sarah Becker Photography


I don’t like taking orders from other people. I feel the need to be in control, but not of a group of people…just in control of my ideas and how they come to fruition. I also need to work on my own schedule. My productivity is at it’s highest when I am not forced to produce.

Amanda de Leon of Amanda de Leon Clothing

I realized I wanted to go into business for myself when there was no one in the industry I wanted to work for.  There wasn’t a design aesthetic that matched mine, so I figured I’d go for it!

Kim Starr Wise, owner of Kim Starr Wise Florals


I had a vision in mind for a certain type of business, and when I realized it didn’t exist I knew I’d have to go into business for myself if I wanted to see it come to fruition. After a lot of planning and strategizing, the final push came when I was in a job that was not the right fit and I was miserable every day. I recognized that the situation wasn’t really changing at all, so I could either stay and things would remain the same or I could jump and everything would change.

Hattie Moll, owner of Hattie Sparks Boutique

I knew in college that I eventually wanted to go into business for myself, but I didn’t know what industry. I initially began Culture Shock as a blog, and used it as a tool for me to educate people about other cultures, but it slowly turned into a business.

Christine Alexis, founder of Culture Shock LLC


I always wanted to work as a creative, but I never really knew what that meant or how to go about it. After college went into the “right path” got a “real” 9-5 (8-10) and a nice little house with a yard. It seemed like it was what I was supposed to do. But after a while I realized that wasn’t what I was looking for. My partner John also was feeling the same. So we decided to change our lives. We sold everything we had. Moved to a small apartment, saved up every extra dollar and set off. We ended up backpacking and sailing across the southern Caribbean from Grenada to Colombia over the next year. During that time we designed and developed a blog where we started sharing our story and our designs. It caught on and by the time we were in Colombia we were freelance designers. At which point we decided to change our lives again, moved back to the U.S. and officially incorporated Hop & Jaunt, our creative design agency. It’s been just about 5yrs now and we’re still growing and learning and following the path that seems right to us.

Aly Kilday, Co-founder of Hop & Jaunt

This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 
Interview: The Grove Street Press

Interview: The Grove Street Press


Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans

Every time I step into The Grove Street Press’s shop all I want to do is sit down and write everyone I know a letter or card. Every detail, from their adorable letterpress stationery, to their Louisiana Parish prints, to their amazing shop decor immediately invites you in and makes you want to go on a treasure hunt! Their collection of antique stamps and taxidermy water fowl are among my favorite things to adore in the shop.

Started by cousins Anna Marilyn and Kate Alice from Lake Charles, The Grove Street Press started as a labor of love from two girls who grew up surrounded by hallmarks of their Southern pasts and the tradition of letterpress printing. They’ve now combined these passions into a unique and captivating business. Tour their shop in New Orleans’ CBD above and check out their interview below.

Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans

Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans
You two have such a great rapport with each other and your products are truly one of a kind. Can you tell us what made you want to start working together?

Anna and I are cousins — our moms are sisters and very close, and we both share their personalities and tastes.  The rapport is not at all forced; it comes naturally!  We’ve always been good friends, but applying that relationship to a business partnership wasn’t planned.  I moved back to Louisiana after a stint in Chicago with a mind to start a letterpress business, and Anna happened to have the availability to jump on board, which she did about two months into the planning — and that’s when things really took off.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

We’ve met so many amazing people!  We knew we loved New Orleans, but we didn’t realize how warm and welcoming the small business community is here until we were in it.  We had so many new connections almost immediately!  Those local connections, through social media, etc,  have led to discovered kindred spirits throughout the country.  It helps make the world cozy to be in touch with people with a shared vision.

Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans

Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans

 Your shop is filled with vintage and one of a kind historical peices. Can you describe your own personal style for us? How has it had an impact on the look and feel of your space?

Anna’s and my style, just like our rapport, is a product of our upbringing.  Our childhood homes were filled with American antiques and folk art, and we were raised to respect tradition — both our own, lived, tradition, and traditional crafts.  We have a deep love for the handmade, American heritage, collegiate look.  We’ve combined that look with aspects of the industrial, to envelope our antique printing presses, and our shop was born!

Tell us about your shop dog Mildred! She inspired a line of cards from you. What’s it like having such a charismatic face to your brand?

Mildred is a parti labradoodle with an extremely mild temperament and loads of personality.  Our Mildred card line is meant to be funny, but Mildred herself is such a lady!  We could really see her overpacking for weekend trips with her puppy friends, or putting on sunnies and a headscarf for an outdoor cocktail hour.  (…or maybe we’re just imposing our own personalities and wishes onto hers….but still.  She’s a great pal and a joy of a shop dog!)

Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans

Grove Street Press | Dominique Ellis | New Orleans

What advice would you offer other women looking to start their own business?

Don’t start a business just because you like the idea of it, or because you’re tired of 9-5.  Make sure you’re fully aware of its ins and outs and like those, too.  There’s a hard, daily grind that goes along with being a small business owner; It’s not always the fun and games that Instagram makes it out to be!

If you didn’t live in New Orleans, where would you live?

The Northeast!  We’d set up our presses in an old barn near the countryside; someplace where all four seasons are real things.  But we’d still be within driving distance of Manhattan, so we could pop in regularly for shopping and dining.


This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued.  

Marketing Tips From Sherlock Holmes

20080314_sherlock_holmesHere at ALH we aim to not only feature New Orleans’s most creative women but to help budding entrepreneurs make a successful go of it with tips and lessons learned along the way. Which brings me to this confession: I’m obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. Not only was I a very young devotee of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, I, like most red blooded women, pretty much lose it over Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest rendition of the deductive reasoning sleuth (for the record, this pretty much sums up my feelings on him).

Sherlock’s tales hold a special place in my heart as I grew up listening to his and Watson’s adventures on long car rides from wherever we were living at the time to New Orleans, our home base. Dad would rent a new Sherlock book on tape from the local library and we’d stare out the window as the good doctor counseled his genius, albeit odd ball, friend.

As luck would have it I’ve learned a few things from the world’s most famous detective that translate quite well into my daily tasks as an entrepreneur working in marketing and social media. Here’s 3 lessons in marketing from Holmes himself that anyone can apply:

1) The most obvious answer is usually wrong.

There’s something to be said for asking the right questions. Assuming you know what your target audience wants, thinks or likes based off of a quick glance at your social media analytics is probably a bad idea. Dig deeper. Ask why. See if there’s something you’re not taking into account. They may like your product/service, but are they using it as it was intended? Often consumers are your best brainstormers. Find out what they’re utilizing your product or service for most and tailor your message to suit their needs.

2) Good listeners are hard to come by, but boy are they valuable.

Sherlock once told his dear friend, “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

When crafting a new marketing plan or pitch there are a lot of components to consider – message, timeline, mediums, custom content, data gathering – the list never ends. A listener is a great asset to a marketing director and one shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good “talk it out” session.  Crafting the plan of action in your head is useful, but I find if you sit down and verbally run through the whole plan, step-by-step, with a willing sounding board you find loopholes and issues you didn’t originally see. Then you can head potential problems off before they occur. Sherlock had Watson. You have someone who will suffice – a co-worker, spouse, friend, dog maybe? Just make sure you buy them a drink or two as thanks for sitting through your pitch.

3) The story isn’t over until you say it is.

In every Sherlock tale there’s a moment at the end where, after off-the-wall comments and weird analytical questions, Holmes calmly and carefully explains the whole mystery to everyone as they wait with baited breath. When running a marketing campaign, the same thing holds true. You need to run through everything publicly when it’s all said and done. If you don’t post a recap and toot your own horn, no one knows when to applaud your brilliance. A campaign is only as good as the story you can tell at the end. Don’t be afraid to broadcast your own successes and accolades. Post, humbly pat yourself on the back, and move on to the next big idea.

 This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 
Day Trip: LA HWY 182

Day Trip: LA HWY 182

Sometimes taking the road less traveled is exactly what a wanderlusting heart needs. A few weeks back my day job had me trekking down to the steamy bayou town of Thibodaux, LA. With a camera in tow, I programmed my iPod with some Slim Harpo and Johnny Cash tunes and hit the road. A happy accident with my GPS found me taking the long way through Raceland via LA HWY 182. What a treat!

Raceland, LA | Dominique Ellis

I love a good drive through the sleepy backwoods of the South, especially in the early months of summer. Everything is hazy and steamy. People move at a slower pace. Check out some of the sights I found along the way (that tree!) and check out my rules for hitting the country roads of the South for the day. It’s a great way to escape the grit and grime of the city.

Some Suggestions:

  • Stop. Anywhere and everywhere. If something grabs your eye, pull over. Breathe the air in and try to imagine what your daily life would be like in this setting. It makes you appreciate the simple clarity that only comes from country living.
  • Treat yourself to some country sweets and treats! If you see a roadside stand or old timey general store, pull over. My must-haves are always snoballs (nectar flavored), boiled peanuts and creole tomatoes. So good.
  • Roll down the window. Like I said, the air is different in the country. So are the sounds and smells. Let your hair down and enjoy it.


Raceland, LA | Dominique Ellis

Raceland, LA | Dominique Ellis

Raceland, LA | Dominique Ellis

Raceland, LA | Dominique Ellis

Raceland, LA | Dominique Ellis


This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 
Hayley Gaberlavage Studio Tour + Magic in Melpomenia

Hayley Gaberlavage Studio Tour + Magic in Melpomenia

Hayley Gaberlavage

You know those days when the setting, the mood, the weather, the cocktails, everything is just perfect? That’s pretty much what happened when Patricia Alexander and I stopped in artist Hayley Gaberlavage’s studio for a tour and to talk about her participation in the upcoming Magic in Melpomenia benefit. Hayley’s home studio is a light filled sanctuary with a balcony to die for overlooking historic Magazine Street here in New Orleans. We sat down over mimosas to discuss Hayley’s body of work, her love of New Orleans, and her excitement over the work Felicity Redevelopment, Inc. is doing to revitalize the Lower St. Charles Corridor. In an effort to fund this redevelopment the organization is holding a benefit this Thursday May 8th complete with an art auction, to which Hayley is donating a piece from her collection (pictured below). During our tour we discovered that in addition to being a talented painter, Hayley is a master flower crown craftsman as well. As champagne hour wore on our visit turned into the type of leisurely art-filled afternoon we New Orleanians know can happen when you least expect it. Just like many of Hayley’s paintings, it was a moment of sunkissed bliss.

Check out Hayley’s interview with Patricia, who is a committee member for this year’s Magic in Melpomenia benefit below and be sure to get your tickets to the benefit this Thursday! Tickets start at just $50 and it’s for an amazing cause! Find out more here:

Hayley Gaberlavage

Hayley Gaberlavage

When did you first realize you wanted to become a full time artist?

I always knew I was an artist. I got an interior design degree but it wasn’t until I started working in that field that I realized I’d rather be painting. I have been a full time artist since 2002.

Your palette is very distinct, what inspires it?

I use a lot of mint greens, blues and pinks. Living in a colorful city such as New Orleans has a lot of influence on my palette. It’s bright, tropical and lush. I pick up on it. I want people to be happy when they look at my paintings.

You describe your aesthetic as a retro. What draws you to the past and what compels you to contemporize it for today’s audience?

The past is nostalgic for everyone. I love taking an old photo and painting it with a present day twist. My portraits always remind the audience of someone they know or once knew.

Hayley Gaberlavage

Hayley Gaberlavage


How did you end up in New Orleans?

I was living in New York Cityand missed living in the south. I’m a true southern girl at heart.

What is your favorite spot in New Orleans and why?

At the moment, my favorite spot in New Orleans is Cane & Table. I feel like I’ve traveled back in time a hundred and fifty years. It’s quintessential New Orleans. The patio will make you feel like you’re in Europe. But that’s one of the reasons I love New Orleans. There are a thousand places that will transport you to a city in Europe. It’s extremely romantic.

Hayley Gaberlavage

I cannot thank you enough for donating one of your pieces to the Magic in Melpomenia IX fundraiser on May 8th.  As you know the goal of Felicity Redevelopment, Inc. is the revitalization of the lower St. Charles Avenue, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Calliope Street, and Jackson Avenue.  Once a vital part of New Orleans life, the area contains splendid residential and commercial buildings that are waiting to be reclaimed and provide housing and commercial space for the re-population of the neighborhood.  What specifically attracted you to this project?

 What attracted me to this project is my love for the Lower Garden District.  I’ve lived in this area the entire 5 years that I’ve lived in NOLA.  My husband and I just bought a house to renovate on Jackson Avenue as well.  Any way I can contribute to the revitalization of my neighborhood, I will do it.  I love architecture and I love seeing buildings and houses preserved to it’s original.   



This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 
Halloween Decor For Adults

Halloween Decor For Adults

I love the Fall decor season. My adoration of pumpkins notwithstanding, I mostly love the Fall season because it means Halloween is here and I can indulge in my desire to fill my house with all things gothic and not feel guilty about it (see inspiration room at left). Now I like a creep-tastic decor scheme as much as the next person but I tend to dislike buying plastic, overly gimmicky items just because it’s the time when all things haunted are on trend. I prefer a rich, gothic and darkly romantic palate in my house. So to get in the mood this All Hallows Eve I decided to round up a collection of items that I’m lusting after. What I like most about these items is that they have that slightly eerie feeling but still retain a little panache. Separately they can be used year round but when paired together they give off a luxe and romantic feel with just the right amount of spook.

Screen-shot-2013-10-21-at-11.06.04-PMHalloween Decor For Adults

1.) Candelabra Bottle Stopper – Anthropologie $68

2.) Threshold Scalloped Frame – Target $13

3.) Initial Hook – H&M $3.99

4.) Anatomy Magnets – Etsy $5.99

5.) Ox Skull On Stand – ZGallerie $70

6.) Bone Shark Box – Furbish Studio $28

7.) Natural History Art Insect Print – Etsy $18

8.) Candle – H&M $6.40 [/left][right]

 9.) Patricia Jewel Box – ZGallerie $24.95

10.) Sea Shell Brooch – Etsy $16

11.) Caricature Knob – Anthropologie $8

12.) Cast Metal Taper Candle Holders – WestElm $9.99 – $24.99

13.) Rustic Wood Arrows – Etsy $54

14.) Bestiary Desk Decor – Anthropologie $18

15.) Striped Cushion Cover – H&M $6.50

This post originally appeared on, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 
What Your Favorite Apps Say About You: Dating Edition

What Your Favorite Apps Say About You: Dating Edition

Recently, the Apptitude team spent more time than we care to admit fawning over’s article on what your taste in music says about you on a date (for the record I fall in the Van Morrison category). We were so inspired by the article we decided to take a crack at it ourselves and apply it to apps. Read on to find out what your favorite apps say about you when you’re on a hot date.

TinderTinder logo

Tinder is the app that let’s you find hot folks near you who think you’re of equal or lessor hotness. You can scroll through the hot or nots near your current location and, yep you guessed it, opt to connect with them or pass (anonymously of course).
Personality:  Loves mirrors. Moderately charming. Totally lead the charge on the popularity of that What Does The Fox Say video. Mad hot. Has possibly used the pick-up line “Come here often?” (but in an ironic way). High fives bro!

PocketPocket logo

A busy entrepreneurs’s dream, Pocket lets you save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment, presumably because you have about 0.2 seconds during the day to scan your favorite biz magazines and blogs (also Buzzfeed, Gothamist, and Gawker). Plus it’s got cloud appeal. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device—phone, tablet or computer.
Personality: Over extended, engaged, exhausted, always has a news-worthy tidbit to share at parties.  All around awesome. Lemme get that 3rd latte for you, you go-getter you.

WunderlistWunderlist logo

Got a to-do list for everything? Wunderlist is the app that lets you manage and share your to-do lists for life and work whether it’s remembering to buy milk, planning your bestie’s birthday party or remembering to order those VooDoo Fest tickets early.
Personality: Before this app, you had no less than 4 moleskins on you at all times. Also, when your date is rambling on about something boring you secretly look for grammar and punctuation typos in restaurant menus.

SnapChatsnapchat logo

Oh Snapchat. How we love you. What would we do if we were unable to send photos to our friends of us throwing the peace sign while duck-facing (look it up) instead of just a plain boring ole text?
Personality: You’ve screamed the phrase “I’m drunk. What of it?” at least once. Your life is so share-worthy, you just don’t even know.

A Beautiful Messa beautiful mess Rhonna Designs, etc.

A picture may be worth a thousand words but we all know that these photo editing apps let you add in cool captions and pretty embellishments. So now, those photos are worth 2000 words, thank you very much.
Personality: Lisa Frank was your life when you were 10 and you feel no shame in admitting that.

Candy CrushCandy Crush

PUT DOWN THE PHONE ALREADY. No further explanation needed.


Yep, we included one of our own! With the WWNO app you can get the latest and greatest from your local news radio station, stream NPR and shows like American Routes and This American Life, and listen to non-stop jazz or classical music on their HD stations.
Personality: Lover of all things New Orleans. Believer in the 2 -martini lunch. A Frenchman St. wanderering, Jazz Festin, crawfish head sucking, proud member of the WhoDat nation. Bless your sweet NOLA heart.
Wondering if some of these personality types come from real life dating experiences? Yes. And though we may have embellished a bit, that my-date-is-so-boring-I’m-hunting-for-menu-typos has happened on more than one occasion. Did we hit all the bases? What popular apps did we leave out? Hit us up at on Twitter @ApptitudeNOLA and let us know!
*This article was written for the blog. 
Southern Manners and Social Media

Southern Manners and Social Media

Southern Manners & Social Media

At the last Creative Collaborative meet-up I had a chat with a few lady entrepreneurs about how to utilize social media to improve your marketing while maintaining a personal touch. Being from the South, it’s important to me to ensure that everyone feels  like they’re getting the friends and family treatment.

How’s it done? Listen to your good Southern mother and grandmother and apply their time-honored manners to your business model. Here’s the cheat sheet of good Southern manners for business.

 1) Don’t forget to write Thank Yous

When I was little I was taught the proper etiquette of writing Thank You cards. Simple and sweet, they serve a higher purpose. In life as in business, people just want to be validated for their efforts. Thank you cards serve this purpose and they keep you on prevalent in the recipient’s minds. I always recommend writing Thank You cards for the big stuff – event invites, donations, post business lunch follow-ups, etc. –  but in some cases, a simple digital thank you is also helpful. If I have a client who recommended me to someone, I make sure I mention them in a tweet or Facebook post that helps boost their business’s profile. Social media Thank Yous can get you pretty far. I’ve booked two new clients from them seeing my Thank Yous to others.

2) RSVPing is mandatory

In the South, if you receive a formal invitation requesting you RSVP with your intention to attend or with your regrets NOTHING is ruder than ignoring that request. My great grandmother once scolded me for failing to do so to a family function. “If you don’t acknowledge an invitation, whether you plan to attend or not, people will eventually stop inviting you,” she’d say. Boy, was she right.

Facebook and Twitter event invitations are easy to send and therefore it seems like you can sometimes be inundated with requests to attend networking functions, parties and meetings. Even if you cannot attend it’s important to send your regrets. Post a comment on the Facebook invite wall that you will make the next one. Make yourself heard. Expressing your gratitude for being invited, even if you can’t attend, keeps you fresh in that host’s mind. With any luck, they’ll come back to you later.

3) First impressions are everything

We all know the joke about Southern women being afraid to leave the house without make-up on. I’m here to tell you it’s still a prevalent philosophy of many a Southern belle. As my mother once explained it to me “I feel better when I look better. I’m ready for the day and for anything that comes my way.”

Social media allows for us all to be introduced without actually meeting in person. Between your website, LinkedIn account, Twitter profile and Facebook page, you and your company are being examined and judged at all times, by everyone. As a social media manager for a number of clients I am constantly evaluating my online appearance. I wouldn’t want to be caught recommending certain practices to clients that I’m not visibly doing myself. Making sure you’re online persona is presentable is essential to doing business in today’s marketplace.

4) Mind your Ps and Qs

Just because you’re limited to 140 characters in your tweets does not mean that proper grammar, punctuation and spelling go out the window. Sure, abbreviations for texting and tweeting have become standard practice nowadays. That does not however excuse messages such as this monstrosity –  “hey there wut u up to this sat I have some ideas want to run by u”

This is simply not business appropriate. 140 characters or not, if you can’t take the time to properly craft a message to a client or business partner you’ll find they’ll be hard pressed to take the time to work with you.

5) Everyone is deserving of being your friend.

Social media is about people. While Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Pinterest can be useful for B2B and B2C communications, at the end of the day it’s more about P2P, – People to People – relations. I do the bulk of my initial outreach for all my business ventures through Twitter and when I do I don’t send potential clients and business partners a stuffy, boring tweet.

As my mother says, be nice to everyone as if you’re already their friend. My tweets start off with “Hi hon!”, “Hiya love!”, and “Morning sir!”. Familiar it may be, but social media is not meant to be corporate sounding. Have fun with it! Once you have the connection made, take it off the social airwaves and on to email or the phone.

Apps To Make Your Selfies Rock

Apps To Make Your Selfies Rock

Ah the selfie. A mobile device driven, pop-culture phenomenon we all love and hate at the same time. Laugh if you will at the hoards of folks self-snapping photos of themselves in front of monuments and over pitchers of margaritas, but I say if Hilary Clinton and Meryl Streep can take a selfie with no shame, then why can’t the rest of us? The problem with some selfies is that they look too much like a selfie. I’m looking at you online dating profiles filled with photos of your “awesome” bod standing in front of a mirror. Yeah, we see you. And we also see that phone you’re awkwardly holding out in front of you with your arm bent all crazy like. Can we pass some sort of online agreement that no one will ever take a photo in that pose again? Please?

Sarcasm aside, there are a multitude of apps out there to help you take the perfect selfie – one that makes you look awesome, rather than lame. Here’s a list of of the top three selfie-taking problems along with some apps to help you resolve them. (Disclaimer: this list does not help prevent selfie problems like throwing gang signs or making the duckface. That’s a post for another day.)

Problem – Your Phone Is Showing

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 5.55.25 PMAs previously mentioned, selfies taken standing in front of a mirror are a no-no. Your weird arm angle and fake smile directed at the reflective glass looks contrived and forced. Your smartphone has a reverse camera for a reason! Most iPhones and Droids have a front facing camera option built right into the camera already but many apps, including Instagram, have a reverse camera option as well. Use it!

Problem – All Your Photos Look Like Mugshots

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 5.55.36 PMI’m not saying you don’t have a pretty face, but not every photo needs to be from the shoulders up. The solution? Download the Timer Cam app. It allows you to delay taking a photo for 5, 10 or 15 seconds. It too has a reverse camera function so you can set up the camera, stand back and see yourself, and then take your sweet time perfecting that pose before the shutter snaps.

Problem – You Look Like The Undead

UndeadThough it allows you to see the photo you’re about to take, one problem with using the reverse camera function on your phone is that the quality is a little less than when you use the camera the old fashioned way. If you’re like me, more often than not this means your complexion can start looking a little….dingy. Never fear! Photo editing apps are here! Everyone has their favorite photo editing app and Lord knows there are zillions of them. I find myself using the AfterLight app most often. It’s simple and straightforward and, in my opinion, has the best collection of photo filters in one app.

(Tip: the Captain filter in the Original filters set brightens almost any photo without yellowing it.) Plus, Afterlight has some very chic and clean photo frames as well to make your photos a bit more artsy. Other favorites I keep in rotation include Color CapABeautifulMessPicStich and Rhonna Designs.

Now you’re armed and ready to start taking selfies with confidence! Don’t forget, the best selfie takers use a combination of the apps above for the perfect photo. Just remember, keep it light, classy and fun. And please, no duck faces. I can’t stress that rule enough.


*This article was written for the blog.