Memorable ADDY Awards

26 02 2014
The National ADDY Awards

The National ADDY Awards

I attended the National AAF ADDY Awards Show in Austin the summer of 2012. An ADDY is to the advertising industry what the Oscar is to show business or the Grammy is to the music industry. It is arguably the hardest advertising competition in the world. To win a national ADDY means you’ve won your local and district competition. By the time you’ve won nationally, you’ve won three times and beaten out the best in the entire country. It is filled with the industry heavy weights—the world’s largest multi-national advertising agencies and global brands. Those Superbowl commercials whose budgets are the size of small countries…that’s the kind of competition …and that’s who’s there at the awards show. I can’t stress for me what a BFD this was. That Darth Vader/Volkswagon commercial—it won Best of Show—which was the eve of the young actor going into the hospital for very serious surgery which was what the the agency talked about  in accepting their award. 

It's an real achievement to win one of these big boys.

It’s an real achievement to win one of these big boys.

I was there because it’s part of the national AAF Convention and the club I was president of that past year was being honored at the convention. A few of us from AAF-BR were able to attend and there were three companies from Louisiana that won ADDYs. It was great to be able to WOO HOO for them and we may have been a small group but we were the loudest.

One Louisiana agency won three Gold ADDYs for spectacular photography for a campaign they produced. I coincidently sat right behind the two heads of this agency—one of the largest agencies in the state and have a really great body of work that I sincerely admire. They hadn’t seen me and I didn’t really know if they even knew me, though we had met on occasion. As they got up to accept their awards, I thought, how cool it would be for me to take their picture accepting their awards and then I can give it to them and they can instantly tweet and Facebook it!

There are hundreds of people in this impressive room and it’s dark. When they returned to their chairs, I got up and squatted down beside their aisle chair, quietly introduced myself and asked them if they wanted me to text them their photo. Of course they did and were gracious and appreciative.

Then as I got up to leave, I leaned back in my high heels instead of forward and before I knew it I was flat on my ass with my legs in the air…yes at this most prestigious awards show, there I was splayed out in the aisle. I scrambled up as quickly as I could and assured them I was sober.

The exchange when I got back to my seat.

The exchange when I got back to my seat.

I had to call them when I got back home over a question about a press release. When I introduced myself, the agency owner said, “Connie, I know who you are.”

Yep, I’m pretty memorable. I’m in advertising and that’s my spin on it.

Epilogue:
It’s now been two years since I wrote this. This past Saturday night was the local American Advertising Awards in Baton Rouge. The first ADDY Awards of what is a 3-part journey to national. I was honored to be a presenter for the Best of Show Broadcast Award. Guess who won it? You guessed it. It was the same agency, Zehnder Communications. At least I didn’t fall off the stage when I handed them their award. Congrats to all the local winners and I hope you all make it to National!

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Savor the Moment

22 02 2014

Savor is the best word to describe yesterday’s lunch. I would not have guessed that my writing would have led me to a little French bistro in New Orleans to meet with friends I did not know when I started this blog.

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I stumbled onto a bloghop on Huffington Post last fall. It was from a group of midlife women bloggers, I was intrigued and looked up this group and soon became a part of it. Chloe was a founder of this group and I became a fan of her blog. I was always amazed by how open and honest she was in her writing. I work at a woman’s specialty hospital and she is an OB/GYN nurse, so I also felt a connection because of our day jobs. This midlife group grew and became an online zine and Chloe and I continued to get to know each other when she interviewed me in a video.

I love the magic of when you meet someone and instantly connect. She and the other women I met in this online group were the main reason I attended BlogHer in Chicago last summer. That’s where I met Cheryl, much to my delight, a blogger from my part of the world. Cheryl and I connected again in New Orleans and after a bloody mary (or two) we knew we had found a new friend in each other.

87776577-2When Chloe and her husband planned a New Orleans vacation, we conspired to steal a few hours for a girlfriend-only visit. I drove the 90 miles to Cheryl’s classic, stately historic home and Chloe arrived by streetcar a short walk from Cheryl’s pleasant house.  We chose the French bistro, Café Degas for lunch in a lovely non-touristy part of town. We drove through streets that were preparing for the onslaught of Mardi Gras parades, but were still quiet. Cheryl and I both shared our love of this city as we drove through it on this almost-spring day. There had been a loud thunderstorm the night before and the raindrops that still clung to the trees made the tender spring green leaves brighter and the Japanese Magnolias’ blooms were a little bigger. 465585553-1

The next few hours was spent in smart and insightful conversation. We were equally as interested in what each other had to say as we were in sharing our own thoughts. The conversation ranged in topics as we are all women who have lived full, well-traveled lives. If we did not solve all the world’s problems, our talking about them left us hopeful of the world our children and their future children will live in. The big takeaway we ended with was, how lucky we felt to be women living in this country at this moment in time.

What a remarkable time we live in, right now and right here. Cheryl, Chloe and I would never have met without social media and blogging. Things that simply did not exist a few years ago. The three of us do not earn a living as writers and yet our writing is now published. People from around the world that we will never know, read our words and connect to us. Individual voices are being heard in a way that has never before been experienced. That’s real power.

It was a lunch full of delicious wit, intellect and friendship. It was a great connection for a few short hours before we left to continue our separate journeys. I’ll continue to savor that lunch for a long time.

Chloe, Cheryl and me

Chloe, Cheryl and me

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Mardi Gras Traditions

10 02 2014

From Old World to New
The Mardi Gras traditions harken back to the early days of our country when the area I live in was settled by the Spanish and then the French. The season began with a Ball on Twelfth Night—or King’s Night—in honor of the arrival of the three kings bearing gifts for the Christ child.

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In old New Orleans, they chose a King for the Twelfth Night Ball and in the King’s cake there was a bean or sometimes a jeweled ring. The lady who got the piece of cake with the token became the Queen, until the next week when there was another ball and new royalty was crowned. The parties and parades continued until Lent, when the revelry was given up for the 40 days before Easter. This tradition that began hundreds of years ago is still an important part of New Orleans and has now spread beyond the old city.

From New Orleans to Baton Rouge
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The Mardi Gras traditions of king cakes, balls and parades is something that has evolved in Baton Rouge in my lifetime. At a just-attended Mardi Gras Ball, I realized the pomp and circumstance that goes back to a bygone era is still present in today’s traditions.

The Ball I attended was a simple affair, as far as Mardi Gras Balls go. It grew out of a neighborhood parade started nearly 30 years ago. I grew up a few blocks away in a home similar to many on the parade route. A simple wood-frame house built before air conditioning, raised off the ground, with hard wood floors and a big front porch.

This family-friendly neighborhood night parade is still a simple event. Parents sit in lawn chairs on their front porches and let their kids catch the flying beads as they’re thrown off the homemade floats, though catching Mardi Gras beads brings out the kid in everyone. Years ago, this is the parade I brought my Brownie troop to after an afternoon spent making king cakes with purple, green and gold sugars for a cooking badge.

Queen Teresa and her royal consort, Thom

Queen Teresa and her royal consort, Thom

From Seattle to Baton Rouge
Teresa and Thom moved to Baton Rouge about 10 years ago from Seattle and we became friends not long after. They quickly assimilated to this land of king cakes, parades, parties, football, food, drink, friends and fun. They discovered this local parade and easily became a part of it. This year Teresa is Queen of the parade and Thom is her royal consort.

I am so glad that I was there for the celebration Ball and that these friends have become part of the Mardi Gras tradition. It was fun to watch the remnants of an old European royal tradition reimagined, without the class distinctions.

The King and Queen were announced and entered the decorated and festive room in their jeweled clothes and crowns with the sound of a bagpipe playing. They sat on a throne on a raised dais overlooking the room. Those who head the groups that build the different floats are announced and come to praise the royalty. They come bearing gifts (like pet treats for the royal pets). All those in attendance are dressed for the ball, whatever their definition of “dressed up” was. From the large ponytailed giant of a man dressed in a kilt with his black socks and dress shoes and Star Wars helmet, to the regal lady in a classic ball gown.

The King and Queen of Southdowns

The King and Queen of Southdowns

There is a grand silliness in the pageantry and no one takes it too seriously, other than wanting to seriously have fun. This is clearly shown in the group who called themselves “the Barbarians” who come dressed in leather and fur, a Viking-come-to-town attire.

This old Baton Rouge neighborhood has embraced the real meaning of neighbor and opened its doors to all and will let you be royalty for the season if that’s what you want. Mardi Gras has evolved over the centuries and it still celebrates the tradition it came from. This simple Southdown’s Mardi Gras Ball was a night of acceptance and celebration for all in attendance. As we say down here in south Louisiana, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, which means Let The Good Times Roll.





What Gives You Joy

3 02 2014

joy

Early morning journaling gave me a powerful insight. With the new year I’ve been feeling that I’m at the beginning of something new. My life has the vague feeling of a chapter ending or a new chapter beginning. The line from a song keeps running in a loop in my mind, “There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” I’m letting some things go, so time will open up for new things to take root. In this morning journaling mediation, I wrote a quick list of things in my life that gave me joy.

When I reflected on each sweet memory spanning decades, each made me smile.

•  Knowing love

•  My daughter

•  Friendships and family

•  A summer spent in Colorado

•  A dinner party club

•  Watching a meteor shower

•  My years as a Girl Scout leader

•  Jumping out of an airplane

•  Backpacking across Europe

•  Watching a Van Gogh painting come alive, as it became illuminated by sunlight

•  Sitting on a New Orleans balcony

•  A great wine pairing

•  Meeting blogging friends IRL at BlogHer

•  Reading in a hammock

•  Falling asleep listening to waves crashing on a beach

•  Moonshadows

•  The colors of a sunrise or sunset

It is said that at the end of one’s life, no one says they wished they spent more hours at the office. What I realized after I put the list together that it really is life’s simple things that give me joy. Love. Family. Friendship. Adventures.

Age has given me the wisdom to recognize and to savor these moments. As I move forward with what I want to do in this chapter, I’ll remember that to enjoy life I must do what gives me joy. I’ll take more long scenic walks with my sweetie. We’ll talk about our latest dinner party and we’ll plan our next adventure. And in this moment, I’ll savor the setting sun.

enjoy

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