October 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

As long as I can remember, I've loved superheroes. What kid doesn't? They're strong, they're brave, they're larger than life and always there when we need them. No matter how bleak the situation may be, we can always count on them to swoop in, save the day, and demolish the city. I've been an Iron Man girl for years, but there was one superhero I loved before I ever heard the name Tony Stark. It's not Superman. It's not Batman. My superhero isn't famous or rich or the owner of a spectacular suit. He doesn't have breathtaking anger management problems. He doesn't have a hammer or hair with magical properties. He doesn't have a shield that he throws really hard while wearing a suit so tight it makes everyone uncomfortable. He doesn't have an army. He's not super fast, super strong, or a master of forty-seven different types of martial arts. He probably couldn't hit the broad side of a building with a bow and arrow. But he's still my favorite. He's my dad.

When we were little, Daddy used to tell us that he could pick up houses and that he moved cars out of the way when he needed a parking spot. We believed him. Every single word. I knew that nothing could ever go wrong because my dad was there to save the day. I still feel that way. He might not be able to pick up the house, but he can pick me up when I fall down. He might not be able to move cars, but he would move heaven and earth to take care of his family. He gets up and goes to work every day to make sure we're all taken care of. He's a good man, a good father. The very best, to me. He knows what it means to make sacrifices for the people he loves. He's fair in everything he does, and if anyone said anything otherwise, nobody would believe it. There are very few people in the world as good as my dad, and I'm so very blessed to be able to call him not only my father but my friend.

My dad is an example not only to me but to everyone he meets. He puts God first in everything he does. He leads his family in a way that honors God. He made sure we were in church when we were younger, but he didn't leave it to the Sunday School teachers to tell us about Jesus's love. He preached it, but more than that, he lived it. He taught us to work hard, and he showed us what hard work looks like. He showed us that opportunities rarely drive up in a limousine, dressed in a slick black suit. He taught us to be grateful and to appreciate the little things, because in the end, it's the little things that end up looking like the big things. He taught us that love is more than a word; it's a verb, and while it's great to say, "I love you," it's even better to show it. He showed Beau and me what a Godly husband looks like, and he's set the bar high. He taught us to value ourselves and to never settle, to be true to ourselves and to remember that, at the end of the day, God loves us and so does he. He is a living example of a true gentleman, and I am proud to say that he and Mama are raising a son that is a mirror of those ideals. He is capable of handling almost any situation, but he has never pretended to be a "macho man." Daddy is quick to give out hugs and tell us he loves us. He showed us that real men express themselves to the ones they love most. He encouraged us to value our education, to love learning, and to embrace the talents, quirks, and oddities we were given. He has never tried to shape us to a pre-existing mold he made for us. He is proud of us for who we are and what we have done, are doing, and will do in the future. All he asks is that we love him, Mama, and each other, honor God, and stay away from hippie tree-huggers and Florida fans.

Daddy gives good advice, too. When we were younger and in school, his suggestion for dealing with anything was, "Punch them in the nose." None of us actually punched anyone in the nose, but the advice was unexpected enough to make us stop crying and start laughing. That is still his favorite piece of advice, but he doesn't use it as much anymore, since we're all at that age of having such trouble trying not to become violent psychopaths.

He loves football, rock and roll music, and Phil Robertson (and the rest of the Duck Dynasty cast, but especially Phil). He's the reason we knew who Gene Simmons was at four or five, and that We Will Rock You was, in fact, not sung by a woman. He encourages listening to "good music," but despite his intolerance of "teeny bopper" music, the first thing he did when he got his new truck was program a pop station for us. He is not fazed by screaming, giggling, or the general hysteria that accompanies the mention of certain names/bands/top secret security agencies. He accepts the fact that we have to stop and admire any magazine with a picture of One Direction on it. He doesn't care if our music is so loud the entire back of our house is shaking (as long as it's good music and the Dawgs aren't playing). He puts up with three women who don't have much of a grasp on the concept of time, wear a lot of makeup, and spend an ungodly amount of time getting dressed/picking out clothes/packing. He even sat (relatively) patiently and quietly every Tuesday night from 8 PM to 9 PM while Beau and I watched Pretty Little Liars on his TV. He drove us from Georgia to California last summer without a word of complaint, for the sole purpose of letting us follow our dreams.

He's involved, too, in every aspect of our life. He and Mama are a team, and even though they have their moments, they have managed to raise three children with good heads on their shoulders, a solid sense of right and wrong, and an innate reflex that answers "Yes ma'am," "No ma'am," "Yes, sir," or "No, sir," when asked anything by anybody. He goes into the studio with us whenever he can, gives us his honest opinion about whatever we're working on, and always manages to waylay our insecurities and encourage us when we're stuck in his quiet way. If there's one thing we know, it's that we can always go to Daddy about anything. He will always listen, he will always be honest, and even if it stings a bit, he will tell us what we need to hear. He's always on our side, too, always looking out for what's best for the whole family. We can count on him to be there, no matter what. He will swoop in and save the day without ever putting a scratch in his reading glasses. When things look bad, he's at our side. When it feels like the whole world's falling apart and everyone has run away, he's got our backs. And when we can't fight the battle before us, he ties a sheet around his neck and takes care of it.

But of course he does. That's what superheroes do.

Happy birthday, Daddy. We love you so, so much. You're the best,

L + B^2

October 23, 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

...well, maybe not around here, but we are coming up on Halloween, which means that Christmas songs will start playing in stores shortly thereafter. Not that that's a bad thing, if you're like me, but if you spend the most wonderful time of the year trying to figure out a way to make Christmas music illegal, you're probably not looking forward to it. Beau's that way; she tries to eat Christmas but finds she can't stomach all the cheer and goodwill to mankind. I like to sing "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" at her, especially the part about the 39-and-a-half-foot pole (note: this sentiment is true any time of the year before 11 AM, not just during the Christmas season).

Anyways, no matter how you feel about Christmas, everybody likes free stuff, right? 'Tis the season to be jolly, and we plan on making somebody very jolly indeed. We're offering a $25 prepaid Visa card to anyone who goes here (https://www.facebook.com/OfficiallyBeauAndLuci?v=app_126231547426086&) and suggests some Christmas songs for our set in "The Sunday Night Show" at BCOG on December 15, 2013. By helping us out and giving us some ideas, you'll be automatically entered to win free money. Easy enough, right? Right. Piece of cake...er, pie.

Also, you can sign up for the email list, which will keep you up-to-date and on top of everything Beau + Luci. You might know things before we do. Who knows? You'll also know about upcoming events, prizes, and exclusives before anyone else. I don't know about you, but I like knowing things before other people. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Remember to "like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, check us out on Spotify, and share us with your friends! Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Much love,

B + L

October 20, 2013

Praise the Gourd

I love the fall, and any opportunity to get into the season gets me excited, so when I saw that my Grandmama had the latest Southern Living magazine, all decked out with pumpkins, fall foliage, and a big "Fall Fun Guide" written across the front, I was all over that. I get a giddy feeling every time I find the newest edition, but this one was special, because when Southern Living starts talking about fall, it means that Halloween is on the way, which serves as a little jet-booster to get us to Thanksgiving and Christmas (and an excuse to eat indecent amounts of candy and pretend to be someone else without getting strange looks). Anyways, as I was flipping through, I came across a little article written by Rick Bragg that I enjoyed and decided to share, along with some fun facts about my third favorite holiday. Have a spook-tacular week!

"I bemoan the day the zombie usurped the pumpkin as the unofficial mascot of Halloween."

Halloween used to be simple. You got a punkin, cut off its top, gouged out its stringy orange insides, and carved a face on it that looked like your brother. But that just wasn’t good enough for some folks.

I realize this may mark me as one of those people who resurface every October, hollering about the perils of Halloween. Not me. I have been quietly celebrating it a long time and have never been moved, no matter how many bushels of candy corn I consumed, to run off and worship the devil. But I fear this holiday has lost its soul.

I blame the zombies.

Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed, what with all their moaning and lurching and…well, I guess moaning and lurching is all they do, if you don’t count standing around looking walleyed and gnashing their bad teeth. You can’t swing a dead black cat this time of year without knocking a few down like bowling pins, which is not hard to do, considering they move at the pace of a box turtle, more nuisance than fright. Anything I can walk briskly away from—and that list gets shorter every year—is unlikely to strike fear in my heart. I figure I should still be able to outsprint a zombie when I am a hundred and fifteen. That is, if they don’t annoy me to death first.

I should not care so deeply about them, but there are so many rubber-legging around these days that they threaten to become the iconic image of my favorite time of year. Halloween has always been, to me, a time to smile at things that frighten us, to watch the night sky for witches but encounter them only as they walk down the street on the way to Ruby Tuesday. I used to be afraid of vampires, but how can you fear one 3 feet tall, squinting in my porch light, trying not to swallow his drugstore fangs when his mama smacks him upside the head for forgetting to say “thank you” for the Sugar Babies?

Mostly I love Halloween because it is the orange-and-black beginning of a season that tumbles into Thanksgiving, which tumbles into Christmas. And zombies just seem a little out of place in that. Thanksgiving should have nothing to do with armies of the shuffling undead. Don’t get me started on Christmas. The only undead at Christmas should be Jacob Marley, wailing about greed.

The iconic image of Halloween should be, as God intended, the punkin. The punkin, carved into faces that are scary only because we want them to be, winking from every front porch. The punkin, cast in plastic, swinging from the hands of knee-high princesses, leering back from department store shelves, until it gives way to tins of butter cookies.

But I fear for the punkin. How long before he is kicked down the street by zombie hordes, booted into obscurity? Young people tell me that no one—no one—wants to dress up like a punkin anymore. All a punkin does, they say, is sit there, and glow.

This may be true, all of it, but try to make a pie out of a zombie and see where that gets you.

Fun Facts About Halloween:

1. The first Jack O'Lanterns were made from turnips.

2. The word "witch" comes from the Old English wicce, meaning "wise woman." In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

3. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

4. The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl's call meant someone was about to die.

5. According to Irish Legend, Jack O'Lanterns were named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance to both Heaven and Hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from ther paths.

6. The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with an 836 pound pumpkin.

7. Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world's fastest pumpkin carving time: 24.03 seconds, smashing his previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth

8. Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

9. “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.

10. “Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1. In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.

11. Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.

12. Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.

13. Comedian Lewis Black has a theory about candy corn: "All the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1914. They never had to make it again. We never eat enough of it. We only eat two or three or four pieces apiece. So, literally, after Halloween the candy corn companies send out their minions. And they go from garbage can to garbage can and collect the corn and throw it back in the bags. And it appears next year."

(All credit goes to Rick Bragg, Southern Living, Mindfloss, and Random Facts.)

October 13, 2013

The Pale Blue Dot

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot," but it is one of those unassuming works of art that leave you breathless and covered in goosebumps. I first came across it in a Creative Writing class, in our section on media and videogaphy, and my initial reaction was, "Ugh. Videos. I hate videos. I want to read." About ten seconds in, I was interested. By the time the video ended, I was on the edge of my seat and filled with such pride and love for our pale blue dot that I watched it again. We all know the Earth is our home. I mean, duh. Toddlers know that. First graders definitely know it. To most of us, the Earth is the largest object we will ever personally know. It's where we live and eat and sleep and raise our families. It's where we were born and where we will die. It's where we laugh and cry, and serves as the great stage upon which the grand drama of the human race is played. All the heroes, all the villains, all of us as are "but dust and shadows," and we live upon a "mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." What a spectacular world.

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

-Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

October 9, 2013

Find us on Pinterest and Instagram!

It has finally happened. Like any girl, we couldn't fight the draw of Pinterest and have given in to all our pin-ful desires. You can find our profile here (http://www.pinterest.com/beauandluci/boards/) and check out all the pictures of models wearing moto jackets and superheroes eating schawarma we've pinned.

Also, we've felt compelled to present our life to the public in vintage-inspired filters, so check us out on Instagram at beauandluci!

Check us out, and if you haven't already, follow us on Twitter (BeauAndLuci), like us on Facebook (/OfficiallyBeauAndLuci), find the California cuts of our debut album "Rules of Society" on iTunes, and sign up for email alerts on the website (www.BeauAndLuci.com). Stay connected so you don't miss out on the exciting things coming up for Beau + Luci!

Lots of love and chocolate cake,

B + L xx

October 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

There are very few people on the planet that are as special as our mother. Not only is she beautiful on the inside and out, the woman is a genius. She raised three children (four, if we're being honest; we know you're technically an adult, Daddy, but age is really just a number) while never losing the child inside of her. She is funny, enthusiastic, and a bit a lot clumsy, finding herself at the butt of most of our jokes. She knows how to laugh at herself, which is a really good thing. Otherwise, we would have found ourselves in a TON of trouble over the past 18 years. She is the most loyal person we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She sees the goodness and the beauty in everything and everyone, no matter the color or creed. She has listened to us waxing poetic over the virtues of one celebrity or another, undergone numerous in-depth descriptions of movies or television shows (most of which she'd already seen), managed not to laugh as we suffered heartbreak at the hands of a movie star or a singer that we were going to marry, and even claimed us when we went into public wearing Halloween costumes in March, braided our hair into something akin to cornrows with beads and ribbons, or tried to do our own makeup (on certain occasions, all three were involved).

In short, Mama is the greatest.

There are really no words to explain how much we love her. She is our friend, our confidant, our biggest cheerleader, our number 1 fan, and our counselor. She has worn the hat of a chef, a driver, a coach, a nurse, a teacher, and, more recently, a manager. She dedicated her entire life to us, giving up her dreams for ours. How do you thank someone for that? How do you try to repay that kind of debt? We could wake up tomorrow and say "Thank you. I love you," over and over and over, day in and day out, and never truly express how grateful we are for her, how much we love her. But you can be sure we're going to try.

Mama, you are something else. We have never met anyone like you, and maybe that's a good thing, because the world couldn't take two Allison's. Whether you're drawing elephants on the kitchen windows in Sharpie or marching around the house banging pots and pans together simply because you can, you are a source of constant fun and enthusiasm. You set the perfect example of a strong, independent, Godly woman. You have shown the two of us what it means to be a lady with class, a woman with brains, and a girl with heart. You taught us to be ourselves in a world that would stop at nothing to shape us to its mold. You taught us to think for ourselves and to never, ever dumb ourselves down to fit in. You showed us that fitting in wasn't all that it's cracked up to be, and it's much better to be thought of as positively ridiculous than cool, if being cool meant we had to act positively ridiculous.

You instilled in us the importance of family, enforced in us the truth that blood truly is thicker than water, and showed us that the best friends we could ever have are in the form of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, and even Gamecock-loving cousins. You taught us the importance of being kind and polite, but also that we should never let ourselves be walked all over. You taught us to be confident, to respect ourselves, and to always seek to grow and be better while never forgetting that we are perfect in your eyes and in God's eyes. You taught us to be a princess, the daughter of the King of kings, to walk with our heads held high and to always believe in ourselves. You are our constant in an ever changing world. You have always been there, and you will always be there, no matter the distance between us. You are as steady and shine as brightly as the sun. Thank you for helping us grow and flourish in your light.

You gave us the confidence to follow our dreams, to step out into uncertainty and off of the ledge of normalcy, to trust our wings to carry us through. You offered your unyielding support, and we thank you for that. We would have quit so many times before if it weren't for your eternal-and oftentimes, unfounded-belief in us. You see us not as we think we are, but as we could be, and you never let us stop dreaming. You held us when we cried, wiped away our tears, and took our hands when we were too afraid to go forward alone. You prayed for us, and your prayers cling to us even now, guiding us along the dark and twisted path we walk and protecting us in the way that only a mother's love can.

You showed us what it means to be a Godly wife and mother. People may look down on your decision to be a stay-at-home mom, but we think you are the queen, Mama. You wear your crown well, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving us, for laughing with us, and for allowing us to be involved in your life. Thank you for loving us, thank you for loving Daddy, thank you for loving your parents and giving us a perfect example of what the love of a mother, wife, and daughter looks like. You are the greatest woman in the world, Mama, and we love you so much!

Happy birthday, Mama. We hope you have a day that's just as wonderful as you are (which is really impossible, because you are the most incredible person on the planet).

We love you so much,

L + B^2