Sunday, February 27, 2011

Top Secret Mission with a Happily Ever After Ending

Our mission if we chose to accept it:  Set up the details for Rob doB's proposal to Whitney

Rob is a really good friend of Jeremy's... and a very dear friend of our family.  The kids adore him!

So, Rob recruited Jeremy to go ahead of him and set up the details for his proposal to Whitney.  We took advantage of some missions-benefit Valentine's babysitting at church at the last minute in order to accept the mission together.  I'm so glad I got to tag along!  We make a great team.

Rob would have to tell you about his plans for the whole day, but this is the part where we came in.  They were visiting one of the museums in the Houston museum district.  Meanwhile, we went to the top of the hill at Hermann Park/Miller Outdoor Theater to a very special spot where the happy couple shared their first kiss.  Not far from there, Rob had us post an envelope near the sidewalk.

Then we created a circle with stakes and chain to mark out that special spot.  We filled it with an abundance of red rose petals and a single red rose.  Very sweet, huh?
It was then that the Apple-nerd in these two came out.  I say that with much love and admiration-I assure you.  They had synced up their iPhones to be able to see where they were on a map, so we could tell when Rob & Whitney were still in the museum and when they started moving toward the park.  How very 2011, right?  So when their little blip on the map started moving towards us, we took our position just over the hill so we could see them from a distance.  We were given instructions to not be seen before, during or after.  We were the "magic makers."  So, from our viewing spot, Jeremy pretended to take pics of me, but really he was taking photos of Rob and Whitney over my shoulder.  He took a few of me, just to make it look legit.  

So, Whitney was reading the letter book that Rob wrote for her and didn't seem to be paying attention to where they were going.  When they arrived at the "spot", she almost seemed stunned when she looked up.  Rob got down on one knee...

She said "Yes"!  We could tell by all the cheers and clapping of the bystanders from our vantage point.  Happiness!

We waited until the coast was clear.  Then grabbed a fantastic dinner at Niko Niko, just the two of us.

Aren't they adorable?
(Sorry, doB, I know I just lumped you in the "adorable" category, but it's okay if you're a couple.) 
I'm so happy for y'all, Rob doB and Whit (almost) doB!  Can't wait to celebrate with you on your wedding day!

Moms and Kids' Afternoon at the Movies

We met some of our friends for a matinee to see Gnomeo and Juliet on Saturday afternoon.  These kiddos are so precious!  Lexi is oh-so-silly.  I sure do love her!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fitness Fridays: Reality Chimes In

Let's be realistic.  I have a lot on my plate.

I kept putting pressure on myself to run another half marathon because I truly believe I can.


Reality says, "Dear Dana,
I hate to break it to you, but you have it really good.  You have a husband, two kids, a career (not to mention the long commute!), a dog & three adopted fish, a home to manage, friendships to nurture, a small group and church with which to be involved, six extra classes in February, and plenty of social engagements.  And don't forget all the extra little projects (and big ones, too) that you always have going.   So, I propose it's time for a realistic change-of-course.  Health and fitness are really important and I know you want them in your life.  What's so special about 13.1?  Nothing.  Is running for an hour multiple times a week, plus long runs on the weekend really where you wanna spend your time?  No.  Point is, if you get out and exercise and you do it often, that's the part that really matters.  You're ready for a 5K or 10K now, easy shmeezy guacamole (to quote a phrase from Justus' kindergarten class).  Do that.  Sustain and improve on that.  Are you hearing me?  It's far better to invest adequate time in exercise and balance that with life and relationships, than to neglect one for the sake of the other.  So, pressure's off.  Now go have fun with it!  Love ya, ~Reality"

By the way, all I got in this week was a yoga class and a two mile run.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ultimate Girls Weekend

I was reminded this past weekend of what a blessing it is to have healthy girlfriend relationships and I have many!  Jeremy very sweetly gave me pretty much the entire weekend "off", except for being there for him for the small groups campaign launch on Sunday morning.  He is amazing.  Simply amazing.

Girls Night Out
Every other week, "Thursday is the new Friday" (when I have Friday off), so my weekend started early with some girlfriends from work.  Virginia and I have a standing date for a local event called Girls' Night Out.  We added some friends because the more the merrier!  We declared this year's theme Glitter Night and enjoyed some sushi, girl talk, and shopping.

Girls Weekend at the Lakehouse
Photo by Meredith
I got a call from {Martha} on Thursday, as I was getting ready for Girls Night Out, with an invitation to sneak off to the lakehouse in Austin on Friday for the weekend.  I simply adore these girls and could not pass up the opportunity!  We did a little outlet mall shopping and stopped for dinner on the way.  Most of the weekend was filled with uninterrupted girl talk, including a lovely and relaxing trip to Starbucks on Saturday morning.  I'm so glad I went even though I had to sneak back to Houston early.
I love this door!  Not only is it beautiful, but lots of
peaceful, happy moments have happened behind it!

Stunning view of Lake Travis from the Lakehouse!

Look how peaceful.

Girls Night In
So, I hustled back from Austin to join a few girls at {Christie's} house for a craft, snack, and movie night.  Don't worry, it too was rounded out with plenty of girl talk.  I was the last to arrive and they were waiting to see what I was wearing... I wish I had taken a picture because all four of us were dressed in purple.  How about that?!?  A theme night without even planning it!  I showed y'all what I made earlier, but just in case you missed it... {flower power}.

Sunday evening was rounded off with a course I'm taking at church.  I absolutely love it!  It's designed for young working women.  Each week I have come feeling a little wound up and a lot overwhelmed because of my myriad of responsibility and activity.  We come in our comfy clothes because we start with a yoga class.  Taking a little time to stretch and strengthen and focus my thoughts on God during yoga helps to slow me down for the evening.  Following that, some of the ladies give us cooking lessons, which have been great.  I've picked up some great tips and suggestions.  They show us how to prepare the dinner and dessert they are making for us to eat.    After that, different ladies take turns giving bible/life lessons-timely messages that have made me think!  Then it's dinner time with beautifully decorated tables and tips about homekeeping.  We finish each evening with some one-on-one prayer time with a mentor.  I've been doubly-blessed because I've been able to spend time with my mentor and a substitute mentor.  Both ladies are precious and it's meant so much to me to have them take an interest in me.  Janie has thoughtfully brought me something to read each time I've met with her.  And Diana has been super sweet and gone above and beyond as a subsitute mentor for me.  It's been precious to chat and pray with both of them.  Each Sunday night I've gone home feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to take on the week.

*  *  *  *  *
Also, don't forget to vote!
My brother is getting married April 2 in Savannah, GA.  It's an evening wedding, adults only.  I'll be attending with my sister.  Both of these fun frocks are on their way to my house.  They were on a major sale that I couldn't pass up.  Cast your vote on the right column.

Luxe Lamina Dress
The seemingly abstract print on this lovely wrap dress is actually a menagerie of detailed black leaves, arranged in an elaborately elegant pattern over the body. Ruffles along the armholes and wrap front add a delicately feminine touch.

On the Spiral Stair Dress
Elaborately pleated, deep V-neck collar accentuates her torso, while the cummerbund-like waistband, finished off with a silver bow, adds a demure touch of girlish charm. Like that of a pencil skirt, the straight lines of her dress create a flattering shape.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Remind me to tell you about...

and shall we vote for the dress again?
(Remember that?  That was fun.)

My brother is getting married April 2 in Savannah, GA.  It's an evening wedding, adults only.  I'll be attending with my sister.  Both of these fun frocks are on their way to my house.  They were on a major sale that I couldn't pass up.  Cast your vote on the right column.

Luxe Lamina Dress
The seemingly abstract print on this lovely wrap dress is actually a menagerie of detailed black leaves, arranged in an elaborately elegant pattern over the body. Ruffles along the armholes and wrap front add a delicately feminine touch.

On the Spiral Stair Dress
Elaborately pleated, deep V-neck collar accentuates her torso, while the cummerbund-like waistband, finished off with a silver bow, adds a demure touch of girlish charm. Like that of a pencil skirt, the straight lines of her dress create a flattering shape.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flower Power

One part of my {Ultimate Girls' Weekend} was hanging out at {Christie's} house with her, Liz (her sis) and Holly.  We made flower accessories, snacked, chatted and watched a movie together.
So, here's what I made!

How to links on most of the flowers can be found {here}.  I wore it to church over a simple t-shirt.
Below is a collection of pictures of the shirts/sweaters that I used to make my necklace.  I couldn't find a pic of me in the Slinky T-shirt that became the light pink daisy.  It was kind of cool to take these shirts that I don't wear anymore and give them a new life as a funky necklace.

Top Left:  Hooded "triple layer" t-shirt-my 31st birthday party, which featured a Guitar Hero tournament.  Top Right:  Magenta baby doll T-this is me in the Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico airport doing a little tile surfing  Bottom Left:  Hot Pink EXPRESS cowl neck tank-Paige took this at our old church for her photography class project  Bottom Right:  Cropped Coral short-sleeved cardigan sweater from Target-backyard barbeque at my old house. 

Linked up:

Monday, February 21, 2011

People Never Change

People never change.

Or do they?

I've always kind of cringed at this expression.  For most of my life, I generally am more apt to trust until they give me a reason not to trust or believe.  I prefer to believe the best about people.
But I'm not naive.
Cause people are basically selfish.  We have a tendency to do what gives us our most desired pay off.  It's that pay off or perceived benefit that keeps us from changing when we know what's best for us.
I'm not really sure where I picked up this idea, but I know it's not original to me.  Sin is often the meeting of a legitimate need in an illegitmate way.  I only bring it up because it points back to the pay off as an explanation for why we do wrong things.  It helps me to forgive others and myself because it reminds me that we're human, after all.

When the pay off for doing the right thing is a more desirable than the pay off for short-circuiting to the end result in a wrong way, that's when people change.  And that's why it's SO HARD.  It's not natural to take the hard way when the easy way seems so... easy.

  • That's why it's hard to put down the extra cupcake and grab a piece of fruit instead.
  • That's why it's hard to give up that wrong relationship and forge a healthy one.
  • That's why it's hard to be patient and earn the money for the object you want, instead of taking it or the means to get it.
  • That's why it's hard to swallow your pride and apologize when you were also wronged.
  • That's why it's hard to keep sex the way God made it when it's so readily available.
  • That's why it's hard to choose healthy behaviors and give up an addictive habit when "just this one time" doesn't seem so bad.
...and countless other ways it just is SO HARD to give up the easy way.

So, I believe that people can and DO change!  But, certainly not everyone does because it is difficult.  It takes a new mindset that only the person who needs to change can choose.  A mindset that decides that the reward for choosing the right way outweighs the easy pay off.  Rinse and repeat.  and repeat.  and repeat.  and repeat.  And when you stumble, remember the reward and get back to practicing again.  And if you're the one changing, soon enough you'll look in the mirror to find that you are who you wanted to be after all.

If you're the one waiting on a loved one to change:
  1. Love - no matter what
  2. Be patient - we didn't get to where we are in a day.
  3. Change yourself - who of us is perfect?
  4. Pray for God's richest rewards on your loved one's right choices!   - ask Him to answer the "what's in it for me?" question beyond their wildest expectations.  I think He loves to wow us with what He's capable of doing in us and for us when we trust Him.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spotlight Saturdays: Christie

Spotlight Saturdays Sunday:  Christie 
In case you missed it, what's {Spotlight Saturday} ?

Meet my beautiful friend, Christie

Christie is probably known by more people as Christiana, but old habits die hard and although I think Christiana is a beautiful name, she's always been Christie to me!  We've known each other since I was sixteen.  We met at Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp, where we were both staffing during the summer.  The moment we bonded was actually pretty typical of our entire friendship.  We were attempting to rearrange the bed configuration in her staff cabin by converting the bottom bunk from a twin to a double.  Somehow that involved crawling under the bed.  I don't know if you're familiar with camp bunks, but they often had this webbing of springs and wire on the bottom side.  So, I'm under the side of the bed and she's crawled under the foot of the bed and the next thing I know, my hair (and worse yet!) favorite giant sunflower hair barrette get caught in the metal.  In an attempt to get out and help me, Christie gets her ribs stuck under the low bar at the foot of the bed.  We were quite the sorry pair!  We promptly started giggling at the thought of someone walking in and finding us in such a predicament with just our rear ends sticking out opposite sides of the bed.  We laughed for quite a while and I have no recollection of how we actually got out.   I do remember the casualty of the prized sunflower hair clip (it was so in style!), but more importantly the birth of a lifelong friendship.

One of the ways Christie inspires me is in how she loves to laugh.  We have a great time when we're together!  Not only does she have a great sense of humor, she knows how to laugh at herself.  I really admire that.  It's easy to take myself too seriously and to beat myself up over my blunders and stumbles.  But the fact of the matter is that I'm human and messing up happens.  It's best to be like Christie and take a candid look at myself and move on from there.

Christie is also a very self-disciplined person.  When she sets a goal, she goes after it!  I've seen her make awesome grades in college.  I've seen her commit herself to exercise and eating right.  She's decided on many occasions that she has a savings or financial goal, and she will meet it time and time again.  She earned her teaching certificate while working full-time.  I think one of the keys to discipline I've seen her implement is knowing how much she can take on and when she needs to say no in order to reach her goals with balance in her life.

She's a very real person and I already feel like she has really impacted me in that area.  I went through a long period of my life when I felt like I couldn't be real with anyone.  It took some pretty difficult things to walk through for that to change in me.  Christie was right there with me, allowing me to freely speak my mind and showing me that she loved me.  Good, bad, and ugly.  I'm getting teary just thinking about how much that meant to me at the time and how thankful I am for her example to me and her complete acceptance of me.  She's a real friend.

There's something to be said for a friend that you just go through life with...
Fall pics in college.  Jeremy took this one.
Causing trouble in college.  Enough said.
Spring Banquet-right after Jeremy and I got engaged.
She was in my wedding.

Christie moved here after college and we worked together.

She came to the hospital when Justus was born.

At my first house.  Her house was around the corner.  Ready for a Ladies' Dinner with church.

She came when Lexi was born.

We bought houses in a new neighborhood... just down the street from each other.
at church...

Countless trips!

Aeros game
Taylor Swift @ Rodeo
Shoe shopping for ballroom dancing class shoes.  Cause who doesn't pose like this in DSW?

another concert
We've celebrated so many holidays, birthdays, milestones.  One of my fav's was when we threw each other the "kid birthday parties" we never had one year.  I got a princess party; she got a skating party.

How can you capture so many experiences in a few paragraphs?  It seems impossible!

The post would not be complete without mentioning how Christie has inspired me in fashion and jewelry.  I attribute a hefty portion of my love of bling and bigger-is-better jewelry to Christie's influence.  The girl loves fun in all it's forms and I love that in her!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Project Fashionista: Jacci's thoughts!

I was pretty excited and flattered when Dana thought of me to help her with this project.  I like to think I am a pretty good bargain finder and though my wardrobe isn't all Forever 21, mostly all of it was purchased on sale to some extent.

Whenever I need something new, the first place I look is Dillard's in their BCBG/Max Azria section.  There are always huge markdowns, and almost always a 75% off rack.  I have gotten some of my favorite dresses there, at absolute ridiculous prices.  BCBG is great quality, and although they do have a lot of trendier pieces {I don't believe in spending too much on trends} they almost always have the perfect black dress, pants, cardigans and other staples. 

For the working girl, I love New York & Company because of their amazing coupons.  If you sign up for their email list, they send you half off your entire purchase coupons a couple times a month.  Just a few days ago I received one for "Spend $100, save $50" CAN NOT BEAT THAT!  They have everything from the trendiest styles to the most basic you'll-wear-it-for-years basics.

Sweet  and classic cardigan, about $21. Comes in 5 colors.

Usually, I'm not a fan, but Old Navy has really stepped up their game for their 2011 Spring line. In a casual work setting, such as a country club :),  this Jersey blazer would look awesome with these NY&C chinos or a pair of dark denim skinny jeans. All you need is a little white tank to go underneath, and a fun necklace to go with. 

With these, this, and black flats.

Pair with some wedges and a jean jacket.

Wear with khaki's, and a funky but not crazy necklace.

The tops and dress are all from Old Navy, each very affordable, and all they need is a little sprucing up with some accessories and can be worn again and again.

I must say that I feel if you're always dressed in head-to-toe bargain brands, it's going to show.  Every girl deserves to treat herself to a few nice pieces no matter what your budget.  This in no way means pay the full price for them , though!  Sale racks are your best friend.  Pairing good quality jeans or pants with a less expensive top is a good way to go and never pay a lot for trendy jewelry.  Inexpensive jewelry is one of the best ways to change up an outfit.  You could wear jeans, a white t-shirt and flats every day of your life but as long as your jewelry is different, no one would ever notice.  Wear your hair up in a pony tail to show off some statement earrings, roll up your jacket sleeves to reveal a stack of fun bracelets, or even wear black on black with a fabulous belt.  

Of course, there are always deals to be found at places like Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Ross.  If you don't mind digging, you are sure to come up with some great finds.  End of season sales and outlet malls are also musts when building a wardrobe that won't break the bank.  Even Anthropologie has an amazing sale room.  Even if you don't find something, it's always worth a look - you never know what you may find.

Most of all, fashion is constantly evolving and meant to be fun.  There is no reason to not be able to afford great clothes with stores like Forever 21, Target, and even Old Navy.  My biggest advice to anyone looking to update an old wardrobe is to first, look at what you already have.  More than likely, even if it's 10 years old, you still have great staple pieces.  Build off those at first, and as you have more money to spend, replace the old with the new.  Be yourself, not all trends work for everyone.  Before you leave the house take a good look in the mirror and smile at yourself.  Make sure you love your outfit and feel comfortable in it.  Confidence in what you're wearing can have a tremendous effect on your self esteem through out the day.  If you feel like a frump, you're probably going to act like one too.  If you feel cute and sassy, your personality is going to match!  Always makes for a better work day, I think. ;)

Hope this helps you Dawnua!  Best of luck as you shop!

Keepin' it real

I fell off the bandwagon.
And I think I bruised my pride a little, but I'm willing to dust myself off and try again.

Reality check:  Those cute lil' Throw Away and Give Away boxes...
...are now still sitting there packed nice and neatly overflowing at the top of my stairs.
Solution:  Expiration date.  This will become an unacceptable home for them on Sunday at 4pm.

Next up:  Tackle the mail monster and the school flyer beast.
(Dear World, Could we pretty-please go all digital?  K.Thanks.Bye.)