"That's when I decide which ones are coming out to play"

"I change the hats twice a year – the first day of spring and the first day of fall. That's when I decide which ones are coming out to play, which ones go back on the shelf and which of the damn things I'll never put on my head again." 

What I love most about New Orleans is that no matter the day or week, there is always something waiting for you to discover...including a collection of hats left by a famous New Orleanian upon her passing.

Mickey Easterling was a famous New Orleans philanthropist known for her outlandish parties and her outstanding collection of unique hats. She passed away in April 2014, but didn't let something as trivial as death stop her from making everyone stop and stare in awe at her. Her funeral service was set in the newly renovated and much loved Saenger Theatre. One would not think much about this location knowing of the company Easterling kept. She knew people from as far as Morocco.
Sure, she wanted to pack the place, and she knew she would. This would be her last party after all. And she wasn't going to miss a moment.
Easterling attended her own service in bright colored attire, seated in a chair with a champagne flute in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Draped around her was a hot pink feather boa and atop her head was one of her revered hats.

Mrs. Easterling

This brief synopsis of a woman famously known in the New Orleans area brings me to my main point: her hat collection and how I managed to get a piece of history.

A local business called The Occasional Wife holds an estate sale every Saturday morning. Although I have never been, I came across a post via social media stating they came into possession quite a few of Easterling's hats. Now, if there's one thing I know about myself physically, I do not look good in hats of any kind. So I thought to myself, I am ever going to find a hat I like, this is it.

Somehow I wrangled Man Friend to get up early and be there for the grand opening. When we walked in there were hats everywhere. Like EVERYWHERE. Man Friend found a spot in corner...this was going to be awhile.
Hats were on mannequin heads while others were lain and strewn about. I started to consider the likely hood of my chances of getting lice; not because I believed Easterling's hats we're dirty, but there were a lot of people and a lot of hats, and you know we were all trying on every single one.

After picking up, sizing up, putting on an unknown number of prospects, I finally found one that fit like a glove and framed my face perfectly. As we grow up, we're told when we fall in love with someone and they're "the one" we just know. That feeling we're told is what I felt as I lifted this hat above my face and over onto the top of my head.

This hat was made for me, and hey, I now own a piece of New Orleans history for my pretty little head. I have the #1 Bitch to thank for that.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

What I've come to learn about my generation is we were all unintentionally given a silver-plated spoon in our mouths.

Okay, first post, and I really hope I didn't lose you. Let me explain...

Our generation is full of the kids with parents who wanted to give us what they couldn't have. They wanted a better life for us, and didn't want us to settle on a mediocre job that didn't make us feel accomplished every day. We were told by parents, teachers, role models, media that we, "can be anything we want to be." What they didn't add at the end of that statement was we'd have to bust our asses to get there.

I'll be the first to admit, I didn't think it would be this hard to have my dream career. I kind of expected that shiny, silver spoon because it's what I was ingrained to believe I deserved. It wasn't until after graduation in 2010, where entry-level jobs in journalism were about as rare as a non-recalled Toyota, that I realized my perception on what my career would be like was gilded.
Sure, it would look to everyone who asked, "What do you do?" that I met that goal of being a journalist. But underneath it, in reality, it would be a replica and not pure, only a percentage of my potential and what I wanted for myself.

A year after graduation, and a year into working as lifestyle editor for a small-town paper, I made the decision to move to Washington DC if I was ever going to get the opportunity to have the career I had thought about and worked toward in earning my degree. Another thing I learned is that where there is more opportunity, there is a hell of a lot more competition. Like where you get a callback for every résumé you send in if you're in a small town or city, you can send in 15 to 25 résumés every day through job postings online in a place like DC and not get a single response. That was my life. And I didn't understand. I had the degree, graduated in almost perfect standing, worked for the campus newspaper and interned, and even received the award for outstanding graduate in journalism...and I wasn't even getting a callback?
I feel it's important to mention based on that past sentence, I am the furthest thing from conceited or thinking I am the one savior for the world of journalism. I am however, sure of myself and my abilities as a writer and journalist. That was until I spent over two years in DC with not one job offer to speak of.

As another year in DC began, I continued to work my two jobs, seven days a week, mostly to stay busy and I think to distract me from the unfulfilled life I was leading. It wasn't until I met my significant other, that I finally started to draw out of myself.
It was kind of like Jennifer Connelly in "Labyrinth" where she thinks she where she's supposed to be, safe in her room, but it turns out it's all a ruse. She's been blinded by what she wanted to be true. She's actually in a junkyard surrounded by exactly that, junk, and still in the place that's stopping her from her cause. Without inducing any eye-rolling, he was that awakening.
Rather quickly, I began to adjust that phrase I had heard so many times before. It began to sound more like, "You can be wherever you want to be."

The job, the career will come if you work for it, but what good is it if you're in a junkyard? Just because we were told to "be something" our entire lives, doesn't mean we should sacrifice the places that make us if they don't fit into our career plan.

Not 6 months after that, I packed up and moved back to New Orleans, man friend in-tow. We were fortunate enough to find jobs quickly, as well as a house. Over a year has gone by now, and I finally think I'm ready to try again. After more than two years of rejection in a city offering what feels like an infinite amount of more journalism jobs than New Orleans, I feel like I can truly put that resilient New Orleanian attitude to good use and write again.

Would you believe me if I told you, it was man friend who set up this blog and convinced me to start writing again? Just clearing out more of the junkyard.

-Nicole R.

Oh, and if you're wondering what this blog will center around. Well, the hope is that it will be about all different topics, mostly New Orleans related events or places I've been, being that's where I reside. However I really want to incorporate current events from around the globe, as well as random topics that interest me outside of my hometown. We'll see how it goes and when I finally decide to share this url.
This Wednesday I'm going to something called Listening Lounge. This will be my first visit, however it's something that's been going on for a while now. It's basically a once-a-month get together for audio lovers to listen to live storytelling revolving around a specific topic each month. This month's theme: History. Stay tuned...

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