May 31, 2011

Royal Wedding Recap Part Two

We decided to begin our Royal Wedding Viewing Party at 9:00 am. I know, I know. You thought I'd be up in the wee hours, right? Well, I knew that Brooke and I would have a long day ahead of watching the commentaries, chatting, analyzing everything, watching it again, and then watching the subsequent specials. So I knew we needed optimal sleep. Brooke agreed to this, and so we set the start time for mid-morning. We had waffles, powdered donuts, and shortbread:


Naturally, we wore our matching Royal Wedding shirts.


This was the whole group: My sister Andrea, my sister Alyssa, Me, Brooke, and my Mom!


We had cake and toasted the happy couple with our favorite, sparkling grape juice (we seriously are obsessed with that stuff).


Now on the the recap!

We watched the arrivals, and that was SO much fun!

I knew that Tara Parker Tomkinson was trying to stand out, but I think she stood out a little too much. Also, if she was going to wear that hat, she should've turned it to the side a bit, in my opinion. The point coming between her eyes was severe.


As if we had any doubt that the Beckhams wouldn't look incredble? Adorable.


Oh, Chelsy Davy. I felt that she looked pretty, but her hair was WAY too casual. It was a really loose, messy bun in back. Word on the street was that she and Harry were off again. If that were true, wouldn't you be polished to the nines to make an impression? I just picture how gorgeous her long hair would've looked down.



The hats seen 'round the world: Beatrice and Eugenie. I know that Philip Traecy is a REALLY popular and famous hat maker (milliner) in England, but FOR REAL. It was almost comedic. I LOVED Beatrice's pink Valentino coat...it was perfect for the occasion and really pretty on her. But that hat just did me in. I didn't care for Eugenie's Vivienne Westwood coat. It looked really old and matronly to me. But I've never liked square necklines anyway.


Joss Stone was STUNNING! I didn't recognize her at first, and I thought "That girl really knocked it out of the park!" The color, the shape of the hat, everything....just perfect!


I had never seen the fiancee of Prince Albert of Monaco, Charlene Wittstock. She is absolutely gorgeous! And I am crazy about the color gray, so she was big winner for me.



Princess Maxima of the Netherlands was beautiful in lace. I loved the shape of this suit.


Princess Letizia of Spain was someone else I hadn't seen before. She just looked stunning to me.


Once we saw the arrivals, we saw everyone walking into Westiminster Abbey. I was blown away! The trees!!! I thought it was the most awesome idea. It filled the space but was also so delicate and pretty.


We all got giddy, because all of a sudden the news coverage cut to the car of William and Harry!!! We all got goose bumps and squaled!



Then we saw Pippa! First of all, I have always thought that white attire for attendants is beautiful. I don't care about the protocol here in the States. I think it's beautiful. Honestly, I liked the shape of Pippa's dress but I didn't care for the cowl neck. I thought it was kind of old looking. That, and it reminded me of the 90s because cowl necks were big in the 90s. Of course Pippa looked gorgeous and pulled it off so well! And I really need to start working out with her.


Then....IT WAS TIME. The coverage went to the Goring Hotel, and even the news anchors were giddy. Brooke and I were about to pass out. We hadn't peeked at our phones all morning, and we were so proud of ourselves for not cheating.

This was our very first few of Kate Middleton on her wedding day:


EEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Brooke had predicted some lace on the gown (she was right), and I had predicted that the dress would have something structural, because that's trendy right now. Her bustle in the back was sculptural, so we were both right!


The first words that came out of my mouth were "That's Grace Kelly's dress!!!" When I was getting married, I had found a Priscilla of Boston dress that was similar to Grace Kelly's that I adored. I ended up getting married in June, and the dress I ended up with was more appropriate, but I've always adored long lace sleeves. I knew Kate and I were BFF's.




The ceremony began, and we just inhaled it all. It was stunning. Brooke and I laughed because some random woman (it had to be an official stylist or something) fluffed Kate's train as she was almost all the way down the aisle. Did anyone see that? I also felt that it was such a special time between Kate and her father. The wedding sentiments were beautiful, and I felt like they were very genuine and everyone could understand the thoughts easily. One of my favorite things they said was "Every wedding is a royal wedding," because of Christ. The music was gorgeous, and I downloaded several of the songs. Here are my two favorites, "I Was Glad" and "This is the Day."






It was so neat to see special moments between William and Kate. They truly were (and are) a couple in love.


After the ceremony, we couldn't WAIT to see what the balcony scene would be like! I knew they would kiss, but no one could predict how much they would kiss. I was hoping for an all out dip and kiss situation, just because this is the first (British) royal couple in a LONG time that is actually in love with each other. After William gave Kate the first TINY peck on the lips, we were all deflated. Are you kiding?!? Then, we saw the second one! YAY!


As predicted, after everything was over, we watched the entire thing over again. Then we watched a few specials and recaps, and found articles about the day. This one was particularly fun! I also LOVED reading Kambry's post about what it was like in London during the wedding. It was such an enjoyable day of watching a fairy tale, and it was fascinating to watch the entire spectacle. I've kept lots of souvenir magazines to show Evy when she's older. If she's anything like me, she'll be very interested in what it was like! I couldn't have asked for a more fun experience of watching the wedding, and I do pray that William and Kate live happily ever after!

May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

I've always thought to myself, "Why do we have two patriotic holidays so close together? It seems redundant to have Memorial Day and then the Fourth of July." I never meant it with a bad attitude; I had just never thought about the difference. Today, it hit me that the Fourth of July is about our country, and Memorial Day is about our people.

Now that I have this difference in my mind, it makes all the sense in the world! We NEED a day, separate from "God Bless America" and "My Country Tis of Thee," to really dwell on the fact that human lives and souls fought, bled, and died to maintain the freedoms we love (and take for granted). Like I mentioned in a previous post, these soliders were (and are) people, and they mean the entire world to their families and loved ones.

I feel so blessed and fortunate to live in a nation where men and women will leave the comfort of their couches, enlist, go through tremendous stress and physical turmoil at bootcamp, and serve in conditions that leave them emotionally battered. It conficts me and leaves me so humbly thankful.

To those of you who are military wives/mothers/sisters/friends, THANK YOU. I want to thank you for being the support system in so many ways for these dear military personnel. Kurt, Evy Kate, and I appreciate you and YOUR service to our country.

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.



Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

-Ronald Reagan

May 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday, and I am SO THANKFUL for her! She has been the most wonderful example to me in all areas of life. I appreciate my mom's loving spirit, her beautiful smile, her equally beautiful singing voice, and the compelling way that she mothered me and my siblings growing up. I've also loved seeing her as a "Gigi," because it's like reliving my childhood over again. Memories come back when she uses a certain phrase or does something unique with Evy. She already loves Liam, no ifs, ands or buts, and for that I am profoundly grateful.

Mom, I hope you know the extent of how much you're loved and appreciated, and how thankful I am that God see fit to put you on this earth on May 29th. I'm also incredibly thankful that He made you my mother!

I LOVE YOU, Mom!!!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

May 27, 2011

Royal Wedding Recap Part One

FINALLY, I'm getting caught up with my pictures! Our hard drive is back in commission, so I've been busy uploading.

As you ALL know, April 29 was a HUGE day at my house! My friend Brooke came to visit for the weekend so that we could watch the Royal Wedding. Brooke is my travel companion (we've been everywhere from San Antonio to New York City, and we lived in London for a semester), high school companion, college roommate, and MORE! She's the source of SO MUCH laughter. Seriously, I laugh so hard my sides hurt when we're together. And she's not even trying to be funny! I love people like that. Anyway, it was a given that Brooke would join me for this Most Important of Days.

I'm going to do this recap in two segments. The first will show you my decorations for our Viewing Party, and then I'll do my actual wedding recap.

This was my table! I already had the crowns, and I bought the official wedding tea towel (it wasn't expensive at all!). I added a few Union Jack flags and baubles from Party City.



I made a "wedding cake" and put William and Catherine's initials on the top. It was a layered Funfetti cake, and SO LOPSIDED. But it was yummy and festive!



Probably my favorite decoration in my house. This is Phoebe the Cherub (Brooke and I named her), and I decked her out with a bow and flag. I thought it was funny and cheeky (as my homestay dad in London would say).


This is the basket I made for Brooke. I got us matching t-shirts (also not expensive at all), a matching tea towel to mine, a glittery crown I already had, and some Walkers shortbread.


 Here's the mantle! I added flags to my coffee filter wreath, put Big Ben up there, and used one of those "create your own banner" kits from Party City!




 I put up my "Keep Calm and Carry On" sign, and I've left it up! For those that don't know, this was the slogan coined in England during the second World War.


I put a crown on my entry table (and I also left it there because I liked it so much!).


I had been wanting a Union Jack throw for forever, and this was the perfect opportunity. I already had the crown pillow, which was perfect!



The whole set up!



I subscribe to Realm magazine (all about Britain) and I made sure it was out. I LOVE this magazine!


 BROOKE IS HERE!


 Ready to start a festive, fun weekend!


Tomorrow: My recap of WEDDING DAY!

May 26, 2011

People

I'm running errands this morning, and I'm sitting at the eye doctor's, waiting to pick up some contacts. I really enjoy sitting in waiting areas, because I enjoy watching people. And thinking.

There were two sets of elderly couples here a minute ago, and they were friends. They were talking and chatting, and my mind instantly started wondering what their stories were. Were have they come from? What was life like when they were young; my age? I crave that information, and I don't even know why. Maybe it's because I often think I was born in the wrong time period. It goes without saying that God makes no mistakes and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. But I really think that my soul is in a simpler, more old fashioned time.

Then I saw a lady holding one of those purses that you can put pictures in. I glanced at them and noticed pictures of family, all different ages, smiling in the pictures. Those people are to her what my family, husband, and daughter are to me. They're complete strangers to me, but they're everything to her.

I totally get that this post is weird and deep. But that's why I like blogging from my phone; my thoughts can be written as I think them. People, their stories, their souls and their loved ones are so complex. They're so deep. I am one of billions in this world who has their own story.

I wish I could learn all of them.

May 23, 2011

Garage Sale Tips

Well, we did it! We had a two-day adoption fundraiser garage sale and the grand total was......

$1250!!!!!!

We just can't believe it! It was truly humbling and exciting to count the money on Saturday to see what God had given us. We are applying all of it to our adoption costs. It won't be much longer until Liam is here!!

I've had a few people ask for garage sale tips. I am NO expert, but I learned a lot in the process! Here are my thoughts:

-SET A DATE. Determine when you'll have the sale. Make sure there are no major community events going on that would detract from your sale. For instance, we have a huge Memorial Day rummage sale in town, and it would've been less successful to do it then. Obviously make sure there are no family conflicts.

-START EARLY. If you're doing this as a fund raiser, ask everywhere you can think of for donations. My church contributed most of the items in our sale. Shop your house and make ruthless decisions about what you're really using and what you can sell. Since we recently moved here, we didn't have a lot of clutter or extra items (we cleared out as we moved). However, Kurt and I both sold clothing and shoes. Your sale will have more traffic if you have a wide variety of items like furniture, clothing (of many sizes), BABY ITEMS, books, etc. If you're doing this sale for personal profit (not a fundraiser), you can still ask other families to contribute, but if they want their profits, they'll need to label their items (more on that later). You'll also need to keep track of it all at checkout. I started gathering and sorting about 2-3 weeks before the sale and did most of the hard work the entire week leading up to the sale.

-SORT. Once you have your donations, sort everything into categories. Sort clothes only by type (men's, women's, children's and baby). Sort toys together, household together, etc. This makes pricing a lot easier! We parked our cars outside the week before the sale and I worked out of the garage.

-PRICE. Okay, this is what I knew nothing about! Here's a pricing guide:

Toys - $.50-$1.00 for average sized toys, according to condition.

Baby gear - $5 or so for nice items like Exersaucers, bouncy seats. Varies according to what it is. We priced a very nice white crib/toddler bed that had all hardware for $50, because retail for that crib is $200+.

Household - $.50-$2.00 depending on condition and size of item. Lamps were $2-$4 depending on size. Decorative pillows were $1 each.

Clothes - This is the biggie. Save yourself a ton of time and headache by doing general pricing. Put up a sign that says "All clothing $1.00 unless otherwise marked." Only price the items that are name brand (Limited, Ann Taylor, etc.) and even then, only price them $2. I'm telling you from experience, you will not sell clothing for over $2 unless it's a rare circumstance. Men's big and tall items might go for $3. But you're saving yourself time by not putting tags on every item of clothing. If this isn't a fundraiser and different people want their totals tallied, everyone needs to put a sticker with their initials on EVERY item that is theirs.

-SET UP. Borrow tables from your church or rent them. Put everything out and keep like items together. Keep everything in your garage until the day of the sale. If the weather is nice on sale day, you can pull big and popular items out into your driveway. Fold clothing on tables, except for the nicer, trendy items. Put those on hangers and hang from a makeshift rack (you can use just about anything).

-ADVERTISE. Call the paper about two days ahead and place your ad. List your dates, starting time, address, and most importantly--your key items. Tell the ad person to use all caps on important words. Make signs to put on posts near your house and one for your mailbox. If this is a fundraiser, make a sign telling about the adoption. Make the words ADOPTION FUNDRAISER in huge lettering. My sister made our sign with Liam's picture and a Bible verse. We hung it on the check-out table so everyone could clearly see it.

-EXTRAS. We had a little girl from church who wanted to sell concessions for Liam. She made a sign as well and sold drinks for $.50-$1.00. Every little bit helps!

-SALE DAY. Make sure you have a safe system for money. Start with about $75 in $1's and $40-$50 in $5's. Have about $20 in change. Rope off your driveway if you don't want early birds. We had people show up at 6:30 AM, and they just stood behind the masking tape line, watching us set up things outside. Have SEVERAL PEOPLE working with you on the sale. Have at least one person at the money table at all times, and one person in the garage watching the tables and the door into the house. As people check out, have grocery and trash bags on hand to bag their items.

Whew! That's about all I can think of right now. If there are any questions, just leave a comment!

To God be the glory!



May 20, 2011

Blog Sale!

As you all know, we're in the midst of having our garage sale. However, I didn't want to leave you out! :) I have several nicer dresses, etc. that honestly, I wanted to sell for a little more than the average $1-3 a garage sale brings. Also, this is a great way to reach a wide variety of girls/ladies who might like these! Some of these were mine, and others were given to me (with permission to sell them this way). Of course, all proceeds go towards our travel costs to bring Liam home!

#1 - Gold sateen/stretch dress from Cache. Size SMALL, but this would fit more like an EXTRA SMALL. $25 shipped.

#2 - Floor-length, pink and black gathered formal gown with pink sash. Strapless. Brand is Eden Bridal. This is technically a bridesmaid's dress, but it was worn as a formal dress (not by me). SIZE 8. Due to the weight of this dress and the shipping costs, the price is $50.

Close-up of gathers.

Close-up of bodice and sash.

#3 - SOLD!


#4 - SOLD!


#5 - Sleeveless, pink/purple sheath dress. Nice silk material with sheen (shine) to it. Brand is SILK CLUB, SIZE 4. $20 shipped.

#6 - SOLD!

#7 - Floral, sleeveless sheath dress. Has both front and back slits. Brand is EXPRESS, SIZE 1/2. $20 shipped.

Detail of the V-neck back.

#8 - Black, silk, spaghetti-strap cocktail dress. Subtle beading on the top bodice. Brand is ANN TAYLOR, SIZE 2 PETITE. $20 shipped.

Detail of beading on the bodice. It has a slight green color in the beading thread.

#9 - Black, ruffled/tiered, spaghetti-strap dress. Bought in New York City. I wore this to a dance in high school. Brand is CITY TRIANGLES. SIZE is not listed in the tag. I would estimate it's a SIZE SMALL, or maybe a 1/2. $15 shipped.

Detail of neckline and ruffles.



#10 - SOLD!!!!!


#11 - Aqua, strapless beaded formal gown. Has strips of gauzy material on the skirt, so it has really pretty movement. BRAND is unknown (tag was cut out), SIZE 6. Excellent condition with no signs of wear. $40 shipped.

Detail of bodice and beading.

Detail of skirt.

#12 - Gold, one-shoulder, floor-length gown. Slits on either side of skirt. Very subtle beading all over gown. Brand is RAMPAGE, SIZE 5. $20 shipped.

Detail of bodice/shoulder.

#13 - Black, strapless, cocktail dress. Has lace-up corseting on the bodice and a gauzy, handkerchief hemline. I wore this to prom one year! Brand is JESSICA MCCLINTOCK, SIZE 6. $30 shipped.

Detail of lace-up/corset.

Detail of hemline/skirt.

#14 - Red, "slinky"/stretchy long formal gown. Halter neckline with rhinestone detail. Ruching in the waist. I wore this to a college formal. Brand and size are UNKNOWN, as I took the tag out (it scratched--haha!). I would guess it's a size SMALL. $30 shipped.

Rhinestone/empire waist detail.
This is what it looks like on. It's body-hugging, but not too much! (If you're wondering, this was in 2005 when I was at Mississippi College. We had our winter formal in Birmingham, AL.)

This is the front of the dress. I have it safety-pinned so it's more modest. And this is the infamous Brooke Banks standing with me. :)

#15 - Long-sleeved, animal-print, wrap dress with ruffle hem and collar. Never worn. Bought at TJ Maxx. Brand is TIANA B, SIZE MEDIUM. $20 shipped.

Detail of wrap and v-neck.

#16 - Teal/gold shimmer outfit. Spaghetti strap top. Beading on the skirt. Brand is ANN TAYLOR. The size started out at a size 6, but it was altered to fit me when I was really small (like a freshman in high school). It's probably a 1/2. $25 shipped.

There's a little makeup line on the top edge of the top. Not noticeable at all, but wanted to disclose!

Beading detail.

#17 - Jersey-material, mid-quarter length sleeved dress. Fabric is black with blue and gray/white squares. V-neck. Ruching around waist. Very flattering! Brand is NEW DIRECTIONS, SIZE PETITE MEDIUM. This is a very forgiving and flattering cut, in my opinion! $20 shipped.

Waist/neckline detail.

#18 - Short-sleeved, V-neck jersey dress. Black and hot pink. Attached elastic belt that hugs the waist. Also a very flattering dress. Brand is DONNA MORGAN, SIZE 8. $20 shipped.

Waist/belt detail.

More detail.
So that's what's for sale! As you can see, I numbered each thing so that it's easy to reference. EMAIL ME (don't leave a comment--it's harder to keep track of!) if you are interested in buying or have any questions. Use the number for reference so there's no confusion! First-come, first-serve! You'll pay me through Paypal, and I'll ship out as quickly as I can.

Happy shopping!
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