About Me

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Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
I completed the 2016 Summer Program in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. I received a BS Degree in Radio/TV from ASU and a MA Degree in Technical and Expository Writing from UALR. As a Cancer Survivor and a Widow, I hope I can help others through my Blog http://leslieinlittlerock.blogspot.com/ Twitter @leslieinlr and Instagram @leslieinlittlerock accounts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Memories - Our First Christmas Tree

Had my husband, Thruston, not passed away suddenly in May 2012, this would have been our 29th Christmas together. He proposed to me the week before Christmas in 1985 and we were married on October 18, 1986, 10 days before my 25th birthday.

Our Wedding Day
St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Little Rock, Arkansas

Two months later we celebrated our first Christmas together. We were living in our first home, a two bedroom apartment on the bottom floor of a large complex in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was an Agriculture Journalist for KARN Radio Station and I had just moved back to Little Rock from Dallas where I worked in Advertising/Recruiting for EDS for two years. Upon moving to Little Rock I wasn't able to find a job in Communications so I was working as a Sales Associate at Dillard's Department Store in Park Plaza Mall. I worked every weekend during the holidays and realized that working in retail was very stressful!

I remember coming home one Sunday evening in December after working in the pantyhose department of Dillard's and there, in the living area of our small apartment, was a Christmas tree, complete with lights, ornaments and red/green/white Christmas garland wooden beads!

My sweet husband had gone out and bought everything for a Christmas tree, including the Christmas tree, and spent the whole afternoon decorating it for me as a surprise! I can still remember seeing the smile on his face when he saw the smile on my face as I walked into our apartment that night.

Because 1986 was years before everyone carried a personal phone with a camera and accessed social media with Facebook and Twitter, I couldn't find a picture of our first Christmas tree. But I do have a picture from Christmas 1992 that was taken a few weeks before I had our first daughter, Lauren Grace.

Leslie and Thruston Stewart Doan
Christmas 1992

By this time, we had moved into our first house and loved decorating it for Christmas every year. We would get a live Christmas tree and place all our Christmas ornaments on it, including the ornaments Thruston bought our first Christmas along with the red/green/white Christmas garland wooden beads. As our family grew to include Lauren and then our second daughter, Sara, who was born in March 1997, we continued to collect Christmas ornaments each year.

Christmas 1997

In the summer of 2004 we moved into our current house, a two-story brick home with a fenced in backyard in a family friendly neighborhood. The day after Christmas that year we adopted our dog Oreo who was then just a puppy! A few years later, we added our second rescue pet, a calico kitty named Lilly. We continued to celebrate Christmas each year with many wreaths and decorations outside and our beautiful tree inside.

Christmas 2004

In November I placed our house on the market, so this year will probably be our last Christmas in this home. Looking through all the Christmas decorations stored in our attic, I found the red/green/white Christmas garland wooden beads from 1986 and put them on our tree along with the other ornaments collected through the years.

2015 Christmas Tree with the red/green/white Christmas garland wooden beads!

And this year I had the best present of all when both my daughters came home for Christmas!

Happy Holidays 2015 from Leslie, Lauren (22) & Sara (18)!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

McDonald's & Memories

The FTC requires me to tell you that I am being compensated for this blog post but all opinions expressed here and the memories are my own.

OK, I can't remember anything from my 8th grade Algebra class and occasionally I forget to pay my utility bills, but for some reason I can recite every word from a McDonald's television commercial about the Big Mac sandwich that aired in 1975 when I was 14 years old.

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun

Big Mac

Four years later, during the summer of 1979, I worked at the McDonald's restaurant on Geyer Spring Road in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was the summer before my senior year in high school and I enjoyed every minute of it. Teenagers who lived in Southwest Little Rock would 'cruise Geyer Springs Road' every Friday and Saturday night. This means that they would drive down the street, go through the McDonald's parking lot and then do it all over again, hoping to see other classmates hanging out as well on a weekend night.

While working at McDonald's, I met cute boys, gained several new friends and also learned important life lessons. I was taught to greet every customer with a smile, how to count back change without a calculator or computerized register and to turn the bills the same way in the cash drawer so they stayed organized. I also discovered the importance of a strong work ethic that continued through college and over 25 years of working in various professions.

Photo of the McDonald's on Geyer Springs Road that appeared in the
1978-1979 Wilbur D. Mills High School Yearbook
Courtesy of C. Genty - Yearbook Editor

Once I got married in 1986, my husband, Stewart, who was from Kentucky, and I drove to the Lexington area every Thanksgiving or Christmas to visit his family for the holidays and stopped at McDonald's in several states. When our two daughters were born and we began taking family vacations together, we always knew we could count on McDonald's to offer many food choices and a great place to visit on trips. From McDonald's in Florida and Washington, D.C. to California and even in Hawaii, we enjoyed every McDonald's on our journeys. And even though my husband passed away suddenly three years ago, I still have my memories.

McDonald's represents good family food and fun!

In October I was invited by the Arkansas Women Bloggers organization to attend a special event at the Midtown McDonald's located at 104 South University Avenue in Little Rock. At this event, fellow bloggers and I were able find out about the new Chef Crafted Menu, which is being offered to only three test markets in the United States. And we also met Ronald McDonald!

Me with Ronald McDonald!
October 1, 2015

We each ordered our pick of the new Chef Crafted Menu, which allowed us to customize our own sandwich!

  • Step 1 - Choose your flavor

    • Maple Bacon Dijon - Maple-Smoked Bacon, Grilled Onions, Lettuce, Mild Dijon Sauce, & White Cheddar Cheese
    • Pico Guacamole - Zesty Ranch Sauce, White Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Creamy Guacamole, and Pico de Gallo
    • Buffalo Bacon - Creamy Blue Cheese Spread, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, and Buffalo Sauce

  • Step 2 - Choose your bun
    • Artisan Roll
    • Toasted Sesame Seed Bun
  • Step 3 - Choose your meat
    • Quarter Pound 100% Pure Beef Burger
    • Artisan Grilled Chicken
    • Buttermilk Crispy Chicken

According to Audriana Brown, Shift Manager at the Midtown McDonald's, these are the three most popular choices at that location:

Artisan Grilled Chicken with Pico Guacamole on Artisan Roll

Pure Beef Burger with Maple Bacon Dijon on Artisan Roll


Buttermilk Crispy Chicken with Buffalo Bacon on Sesame Seed Bun

You can also enter a contest by voting for your favorite Chef Crafted Sandwich. Just click on "Pick One. Win 52" by 12/20/2015 to register your information and access the Voting Form to select one of the following three options:

  1. Maple Bacon Dijon
  2. Buffalo Bacon
  3. Pico Guacamole
Each entrant will then receive a coupon in the mail for a free Medium order of Fries and a Medium Soft Drink with purchase.

At the end of the sweepstakes one Grand Prize winner will receive a year's worth of sandwiches! 

Happy Holidays from Audriana Brown of the Midtown McDonald's!

Special Thanks to Audriana Brown, Shift Manager of the Midtown McDonald's for providing the information for this blog entry and to my 18-year-old daughter, Sara, a Freshman Journalism/New Media Student at the University of Mississippi for taking the food photos.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Movie Review - The 33 (2015)

Photos from IMDb

Movie Description:  Based on the real life event when a Chilean gold and copper mine collapses in 2010 and traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.

Release Date
:  Friday, November 13, 2015

Running Time
:  2 hours and 7 minutes

Biography, Drama, History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA):
Rated PG-13 for
a disaster sequence and some language

  Patricia Riggen

  Mikko Alanne (screenplay), Craig Borten
(screenplay), Michael Thomas (screenplay), Jose Rivera (screen story), and Hector Tobar (book - "Deep Down Dark")

Leslie's Notes

While watching the live coverage of the Copiapo mining accident in the fall of 2010, it reminded me of watching the news coverage of Jessica McClure who was rescued from a well in 1987 at the age of 18 months old. Network news coverage continued live reports until she was rescued. Twenty three years later, it seems like the whole world was also watching the round-the-clock broadcasting of the Chilean government, along with the help of other countries, including American NASA Specialists, save the lives of 33 miners trapped more than 2,300 feet underground for 69 days.

The movie, The 33, begins a day before the accident occurs, by showing many of the miners and their families enjoying a celebration. The viewer is able to meet many of the miners and see their families, which plays an important role later on in the movie

Dates and times are then included in many of the scenes, revealing a time frame that follows the situation inside the mine from day one until all 33 miners are rescued, more than two months later.

I thought this was an excellent movie of a real event. The special effects are amazing and very realistic, including the initial mine collapse. You can see the panic and fear as the miners realize the risky condition they are in as hours turn into days and then weeks. I also liked how you can see the "outside world", including the mining company, families, and Chilean Government react to the dangerous plight.

The casting and acting are superb and makes for an intense but also exciting movie of a historical drama. 



Antonio Banderas as Mario Sepulveda

Lou Diamond Philips as Luis Urzua (also known as Don Lucho)

Oscar Nunez as Yonni Barrios

Mario Casas as Alex Vega

Gustavo Angarita as Mario Gomez

Cote de Pablo as Jessica

Juliette Binoche as Mario Segovia

Rodrigo Santoro as Laurence Golborne

Bob Gunton as President Pinera

James Brolin as Jeff Hart