life · motherhood · parenting · photography

life is a treat.

Ask 9 year old, 4th grade Gina her favorite holiday and you would get this answer:


Yep. I loved October 31st…better than Christmas.

Halloween meant costumes… and costumes meant witches… and witches had long nails… and I was a witch so I could press those suckers on and  pretend!

Halloween was a haunted house youth fundraiser held at our church. Yes. Our church. And my dad, the preacher, was in charge. He was a scream king and coached me on how to perfect the pop up out of the casket… on cue.

Halloween was a carnival at the high school with a fortune teller, bean bag toss, cake walk, prizes and most importantly…a “wedding chapel”. Yes. Underneath that tent members of Student Council would marry us to our boyfriends and give us gold plastic fantastic rings to make it official.

Halloween was popcorn balls and caramel apples and a candy haul that kept our small town dentist in a really nice house.

Favorite memory of all has to be when I went out well before trick or treating time (I’ve always had issues with patience) and rang the doorbell of an elderly couple down the street. He said his wife had run to the store to pick up some candy and wasn’t back yet…however I didn’t leave empty handed.

“How about a watermelon?”


It was too heavy to carry but I had a plan. I ran home and got my doll carriage….wheeled it down the street and plopped that watermelon in there like a fat baby and headed back to the house.

Next thing I knew, it fell through the bottom and splattered all over the sidewalk. Oh well…we tried. I don’t remember being sad, I was on a candy getting mission and a busted buggy wasn’t going to stop me.

I remember getting candy cigarettes and feeling so dirty and wrong that I loved them the best. What adult hands out candy cigarettes to small children? That’s funny. But I puffed those things with my Lee Press On Nails and felt like the kind of chick that Fonzi would dig…no doubt.

Once I had kids, Halloween had been “found out”.  The origination of the celebration was uncovered and we discovered there was more to this than a costume, some candy and a carnival. Churches offered alternatives…and still do. Trunk or Treat…Harvest Festivals…a place for us to still do everything everyone else is doing but without the guilt. We were Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz instead of witches. We were angels instead of devils. We were Samson instead of Frankenstein. Candy purchased from the same stores, just handed out in a different fashion.

So today is over and if you didn’t participate the good news is all the candy will be marked half off tomorrow and even more so by the end of the week…time to clear the shelves and get ready for Christmas! Oh boy…here we go again.  Now to decide whether or not we want to participate in Santa and a tree or if we want to “keep it holy”.

Let me let you in on a little something. The way we treat the cashier in training at Target who is taking a little longer than we would appreciate is much more effective in our “christian walk” and speaks louder than our opposition or acceptance of a few man made holidays. Just be nice. Be kind. Love others and pray for our country.

I release you to raise your kids the way you want to raise them. If you turned your garage into a haunted house I hope you gave it your best. If you closed your blinds, turned off your porch light and ignored the ones brave enough to ring your doorbell anyways, I hope you watch the sun rise tomorrow and breathe a sigh of relief that another Halloween has come and gone.

You do you.

You wanna know what’s scarier than Halloween?

This election.


Ella Bug
If this makes her happy we will grow pumpkins and dress up like bugs forever.





louisiana · mardi gras · photography

m a r d i g r a s – i n g


9618Last Saturday we decided to go immerse this Texas born and bred gal in the beaded streets of New Orleans. It’s a rite of passage here in Louisiana if you plan to stick around and call yourself a local…so off we went…I’m claiming my sense of belonging one festivity at a time.

Mardi Gras…you’re up!

The only thing I knew of this yearly celebration was that Mardi Gras is french for Fat Tuesday…which ends and the season of Lent begins…which lasts 40 days and participants give up something.  Oh…and boobies and parades.

I text my 225 squad for some pointers and their responses were…

“Have fun… Protect your face from getting pelted with beads… Don’t show your boobs for beads.”

I laughed… good advice. 9458


The gods of endymion smiled upon us the entire time. We scored a spot in a parking garage right smack dab in the middle of it all which eliminated the expected hike.

My camera was the catalyst for making some festive new friends…



These friends led to Kurt scoring a beer9509…which led to bumping into a group that offered great conversation and insight into the history of New Orleans.

This is where it gets even sweeter.  We take a stroll down St. Charles Ave and happen upon Marcello’s…looks like a decent place to find a lavatory and enjoy a glass of pinot.

While squeezed in at the end of the bar a gentleman came up beside me and poured himself a glass of red wine.

“Oh, is it open bar?”

“No, it is not…I tried that once…charged $25 a head and lost money.”

“You. You tried that. So I guess this is your restaurant.”


“Hello. I’m Gina.”

“Hello Gina….I’m Gino.”

He walks away and Kurt says…

Ask and see if he might allow us up on the balcony to watch the parade.

…in which I do…and he replies…

“I’m sorry, the balcony is a private party rented out by Jim Beam.”

Ohhhhh. fancy.

I retreat back to my bar stool only to have him come fetch me two minutes later.

“Come with me. I’m going to take you up there but if anyone asks you to leave you don’t argue. You just leave.”

Yes sir, Gino…

He tells the security officer…”They’re with me.”

Yes. We. Are.

We’re golden. We’re in. We have the best view. We are across from the DJ.

We are in Mardi Gras heaven….


Directly in front of us were local high school bands putting on a serious show…they had an audience and they were showing off…big time…I would buy tickets to their performance and here I am front row, close enough to touch, hanging out on the balcony of Marcello’s with the Who’s Who Diddly Do’s of Jim Beam… with my man…draped in colorful beads…surrounded by happy people of all ages.  I like you, Mardi Gras.

Happy People make me happy.


For all the Mardi Gras maidens afraid of what you might be exposed to if you ever decide to brave the scenery, let me tell you…there is more than one way to appreciate this tradition. Just like anything, you can make it as clean or dirty as you want.  I like my martinis dirty and my Mardi Gras clean.

Here’s how to keep it that way:

  • Stay up town for the PG-13 version
  • Have fun but be aware of your surroundings
  • You can bring your kids but PLEASE keep them with you and pay attention. There is an ENORMOUS crowd. I saw families with all their kids in tow…I would not have brought my girls when they were young but that’s just me…I’m the mom who sanitized my kids after every ride at Six Flags
  • and on that note…bring hand sanitizer
  • bring water
  • bring a bag to tote your beads
  • be friendly
  • enjoy the experience
  • appreciate the amount of effort that this city puts into maintaining a tradition that began in the 1730’s
  • Don’t drink and drive. Download Uber or Lyft and use if need be.

And if you must go take a peek down Bourbon Street, please don’t go alone…

love gina


***all images are original and were taken by me! Credit appreciated if you care to use them. THANKS!