My Texting/Picture Mail Flub

So I have a funny little story to share with you all today.  I was recently told by my husband that we were going out to a  social event that was work related.  “Sweet!” , I thought.  “A date night with my husband!”  Well, my excitement had a momentery spurt when he told me it was a “ball.”  (Insert record screech sound here)  Huh?  We were going to attend City Year‘s Annual Red Jacket Ball.  I had never heard of this event before so I had to do my research and figure out what this event was and what kind of attire I was supposed to wear.  For those of you as unfamiliar with City Year as I was, it is education-focused nonprofit organization that partners with high need public schools that places 17 to 24 year young old AmeriCorps members in the school to aide in tutoring and mentoring young children.  It is a pretty awesome organization!

Now I have to admit something here.  While I try to come across as “in style”, style is something I’ve always had to work at.  I have never been the type to walk into the store and just “know” what is in fashion, or trendy.  I tend to gravitate toward the plain solid t-shirts and want to get one of each color.  Jeans and shorts, a few sweatpants for around the house…I’m good.  If it weren’t for the style sense of my dear Best Friend, Chrissy, I’d be screwed.  She was the one who made me realize, back in high school, that a cute outfit could really make the day.  She has ever so gently talked me into trying new styles or outfits countless times over the years.  (Don’t even get me started on the time she convinced me it was okay to cut my super, duper LONG hair!)  Once, in high school, she talked me into buying a $60 lace blouse!!!!!!  This was a big deal and I think she coerced me for 30 minutes in the dressing room.  “You have to buy it!” she says  “But it is SIXTY dollars!!!”  I ended up buying the damn thing and ended up loving it and wearing it for years!

So, back to this ball….

Because of my lack of style confidence, I felt a bit daunted at the task to go and buy a dress for this event.  Did they mean this was a literal “ball” with big ball gowns or are we talking cocktail attire?  I did NOT want to show up in some red carpet styled outfit (like I could afford it or even pull it off) and have everyone else wearing cocktail dresses!  Embarrassing! I googled the event hoping to find pictures.  I asked neighbors what they knew of it.  FINALLY I read in very small print on the invitation the words “cocktail attire”.  Thank you!  Relief.  Now I could shop.

So I found myself in the department stores browsing the endless racks trying to decide what to wear.  I’m an indecisive person so trying to decide on a dress for an event ALONE is not a good situation for me to be in.  So I did what any gal in this century would do.  I started taking pictures of myself in the dressing room, wearing each dress, and messaging them to Chrissy.  Thank goodness she has access to her phone at work otherwise I would have been screwed for her opinion. I can only imagine what the people in the next dressing room were thinking I was doing as my phone kept making that shutter sound it makes when you take a picture.  Ha ha ha!

So, I began sending her two pictures of me in two different dresses.  We exchanged some words, “So cute” “That’s…nice.”  lol  At one point I realized she hadn’t gotten the picture of the dress I was really liking.  Huh.  Weird.  So I re-sent it to her.  She loved it and that was the one I ended up getting.  I made my purchase and marched out of that store so dang satisfied!!

About an hour later I got a text.  It was from one of my cousins out of town.  Wow.  We don’t talk often so I was really surprised  to get a text from him.  This is what it read:  “I think you sent your pic to the wrong “Chris”, but yes it is dressy.”  Pause.  Pause.  Realization.  Oh. My. Word.  I had sent a picture of myself in the dressing room, changing into dresses, to my cousin Chris (who is a guy)!!!!!!! 
And yes, I am going to go all out here and even show you the photo I sent my cousin!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!  That’s all I could do in a situation like that!!  Ha ha ha!!  All I can say is thank goodness I was dressed in the picture and not in a bra with a skirt or something.  And the other positive is that he liked the dress!  Ha ha!!!  Oh I was so embarrassed.  But oh so glad it was a family member I sent it to and not some work contact!  Sooooo many things could have gone wrong with this situation.  But they didn’t.  Thank goodness!

So, the lessons I have  learned from this experience:

1.  Pay attention to what name I am selecting on my android phone when I send a picture

2.  Try to avoid dressing room photos

3.  Keep my sense of humor

So that’s my funny little story to share with you.  For the record, we had a fabulous night out at the event and I felt like a million bucks.  I had a super handsome man by my side to boot so the night was wonderful.  Here’s a GOOD picture of me in the dress with Scott at the actual event and I think we look pretty cute! 🙂

~ Alicia

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Remembering a Favorite Teenage Pastime: Cruising!

I have been meaning to sit down and write this post ever since reading Alicia’s post, “From Junkers to Swagger Wagons.”  When we were 16, one of our most favorite weekend activity was cruising down Dodge Street.  Do teenagers still cruise today?  We loved cruising so much we even went out in Alicia’s parents big ol’ hooptie station wagon when that was our absolute only option, rather then stay home.  Back before the internet and Facebook, cruising was our way of social networking.  It gave us a chance to meet a lot of people, well boys in particular, from all across the city.  Alicia was hands down the best at pulling guys over, which I was more then grateful for being the quiet, shy one of the two of us.  We met a lot of guys this way.  My very first date was with a guy we pulled over while cruising.

Alicia and Chrissy heading out to cruise Dodge Street, 1992

On a typical Friday or Saturday night, we would load up the car with any number of girlfriends, crank up the tunes and head out to have some fun cruising down Dodge.  We would do a couple of laps first to see if any guys we met from previous nights were out and about and also to see which cars had the cutest guys in them so we could focus on trying to pull them over.  There was a definite art to cruising.  You had to be a good, defensive driver because: 1) you had to swerve in and out of traffic to catch up with the car on your radar, and 2) you had to be able to yell out a window and drive at the same time.  Believe it or not we never had a single accident while either of us were driving.  One of friends wasn’t so lucky though and had a minor fender bender one night when she was driving us around.

Once we knew the lay of the land it was time to roll the windows down and work it!  Our hope was the guys would do all the work and pull us over but it didn’t always work out that way.  So, our standard pick up line was a simple, “Hi, what’s your name?” If the guys didn’t try to up their speed and lose us at the next light, then we would ask them to pull over so we could talk and maybe, just maybe get some digits and a potential date for the next weekend!

About a year after we turned 16, cruising down Dodge Street met an untimely death.  The silly city council decided we teenagers were being to disruptive to the local businesses who were along the cruise loop and shut us down.  Signs went up all up and down Dodge Street declaring it illegal to drive up and down the street more then 3 times in a row.  For a while, we headed across the river and cruised Broadway Street in the city next to ours.  This didn’t last long.  We were getting bored with the whole cruising scene and had began looking for other ways to spend our nights out.

Cruising will always bring back such fond memories of my teenage years.  One of the best things about cruising was all the laughing, gossiping and general fun spirited times I had with my friends.  Having a license to drive, had opened this whole new world for us teenagers and we were very eager to venture out and explore it.  We were young and free with no cares in the world but cruising down the road in our cars!

Spring Break Vacations – Then and Now

Ahh, Spring Break!  It is that time of year when we are all ready for winter to end and want summer to get here, now!  It is that special treat you give yourself during the school year for all the hard work you are doing.  If you are in college, it is the ultimate party week.  If you are a parent, it is an excuse for a vacation.

This is the first year in many years where we live close enough to our home town that we decided to treat ourselves to a relaxing “get-away” vacation, since we will have more opportunities to drive home to see our family. We now live within a day’s drive to Florida.  Seeing as how neither Scott or I have been there, that is where we set our target for.  We picked the vacation city of Destin, Florida thanks to the many recommendations of neighbors who had been there.  We couldn’t wait to go visit this town that raves white sandy beaches, water sports, food and fun!  We also decided to throw in two nights in New Orleans.  We would be passing by that way anyhow and I have been dying to visit, so we figured what the heck!

New Orleans was very cool, crazy and like stepping back in time when we visited the French Quarter.  We had one full day there so we visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas for the kids.  It was very neat and the kids enjoyed themselves.  I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more ocean type fish, like dolphins or sharks, seeing as how we were right by the Gulf of Mexico!  My only other complaint from the frugal parent perspective was the cost:  $70 for the 4 of us to see it!  OUCH!  But we bit the bullet and went anyhow since we wanted something kid friendly to do.  We toured the French Quarter by car one evening as we didn’t want to end up in a dark alley with the kids surrounded by questionable characters (safety first!) and then revisited the next afternoon for a sunny day of shopping in all the right areas.  (What can I say, we are cautious tourists!)

After New Orleans, off we went for Destin, Florida!  Hello, white beaches of soft sugary sand!  Talk about paradise!  We scored a hotel right by the beach and the weather was in the mid 70s all week long!  (Here’s a sweet picture of my husband Scott and I in Destin near sunset!)  We brought most of our beach gear with us as we drive the ever handy mini-van.  However, we didn’t have any boogey boards so we went to the local Walmart and bought two for the kids to use.  (They had them for rent, but the cost of week’s rental would have been more than a purchase…so now we own two!  There’s the frugal parent coming out!)  So our first day at the beach was a humorous and exciting experience of watching the kids learn how to ride the boogey boards.  I will tell you that H-Man is a total natural.  M-Cakes took to the board very good as well and they just had a blast!  I’d say we spent about half of each day at the beach and the other half at the hotel’s pool.  It was very, very windy this week so after 3 hours of intense wind, you needed a break by the hotel for some relaxing and diving in the warm water.

One thing I knew we would be encountering while in Florida was the college Spring Break crowd.  I hit Spring Break with Chrissy back in 1994.  We drove 24 hours straight with another friend of ours and had a blast.   We laid on the sand, met new groups of college students (okay, boys) and partied our butts off.  Yes, there was also a lot of drinking involved.  I will admit that.  It was college and we were submerged in Spring Break central.  (Here’s a cute photo of me and Chrissy at a Mexican bar.) I remember our next door neighbors were a group of boys from Colorado and one of them wore a cowboy hat everywhere.   They were always everywhere we were, so we opted to visit Matamoros, Mexico with them to have safety in numbers.  (We may have been partying college girls, but we were SMART ones!)  Matamoros is a border town by Brownsville, TX that was popular for younger college kids to go visit because there was no age limit in their bars.  Seeing as how we weren’t 21 yet, that was a big lure for us.  I will never forget the culture shock I experienced as I crossed the border into this run down, poor border town.  There were buildings in need of much repair, the streets were dirty, and there were little kids selling cigarettes and roses on the street corners to all of the college kids.  We quickly ducked into a bar, bought some drinks and danced the night away.  I remember going there once during the day as well to do some shopping and it was my first real glimpse at the world around me and it taught me that our life in America is pretty darn good.

Flash forward almost 20 years to today and I’m seeing all of the groups of girls checking into the hotel while groups of boys hang by the pool checking them out.  Was I really that age once going through all the same motions?  Yup.  I was, believe it or not.  It was fun watching them all running from room to room and hearing snippets of their conversations in the elevator.  Our first night in Florida killed any hopes I had that I was still as young and as hip as these college kids.   Shouting, laughing and banging doors were the sounds we heard for hours in our hotel room as we tried to go to sleep.  My daughter was on the pull out sofa, unable to sleep.  We had unfortunately landed a room near the elevator (prime gathering spot) and by a room of party girls.  Oh my word, these had to be the most loud mouthed, inconsiderate group of kids ever!!  (Okay, they aren’t “kids”, but I can’t think of any better word to describe them right now)  I had opened my door several times and looked at them to try and give the subtle “you are disturbing us” look.  It would work for a few minutes, then FAILED.  I was trying to be cool.  I was trying to remember what it was like when I was there age.  But I couldn’t TRY any longer when 1 a.m. rolled around and these twerps were shouting in the hallway!  I opened our door (they ducked around the corner out of my line of sight..but I knew they were there) and yelled over them until they stopped shouting.  “You know we have KIDS down here that are TRYING to sleep.  You are NOT the only guests in this hotel!!!  I would appreciate it if you would take your PARTY into your ROOM!”  Pause……  A young man answers:  “Yes ma’am.” (very respectfully)  Yup, I got the “Ma’am” line….I’m old.  LOL  “Thank you!” I replied and shut my door.  I didn’t hear a single peep the rest of the night or any night after that!  Oh yeah baby!

Our vacation week gave me an opportunity to have some crazy memories of those days gone by and smile at them a bit and laugh.  It has also allowed me to be thankful that I am done with those years.  I remember thinking I knew it all back then and that I had it all together.  Looking back I now know I had a lot to learn still and am happy with where I am at in life.  I have an amazing husband who works so hard for me and our children.  His job allows me to stay home full time and take care of our children and our home.  We have two beautiful children that bring daily joy to our lives.  Our Spring Break vacation gave me time to cherish them even more, sprinkled with a bit of the memories of days gone by.

~ Alicia

To Dream The Impossible Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

dreams and wishes. 62/365 (Photo credit: nicole.pierce.photography ♥)

Maybe it’s just me, but I would imagine many of us have dreams which are, let’s just say, a tad bit over imaginative to make actually ever realizing one of them impossible.   I will admit to having one of these rather impossible, kind of irrational, dreams.  I would love to be in the movies.  Now I am not talking as the lead or even a supporting character.  In fact, I don’t even have to have a single line.  My dream is so much more lofty then this.  I would like to be a sort of “Where’s Waldo” of the movie world, only without the silly red and white hat obviously.  I would like to be a part of as many movies as possible, standing somewhere in the background of a pivotal scene.  To fly down to New Zealand, dress up as a hobbit or elf in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit”, then head to an L.A. sound stage the next day, where I would get to walk down the hallway on some movie set right behind some famous actor like, say, Channing Tatum or Brad Pitt.  I want to get in a shot that doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor and I want to do it over and over and over again.  How much fun would a career like that be?

There are many problems I foresee with my dream to be the Movie Extra Queen of the Hollywood.  For one, I don’t think production companies fly extra’s around the world just to stand in a movie shot for the day.  I rather imagine they are much more economical, asking for the locals to come out and spend the day standing around in the background of various movie scenes.  Another hiccup to my dream is even if I could get a production company to fly me around from movie set to movie set, I don’t think I could make a career off this simply because I don’t think extra’s are even paid, or if they are it would be pocket change and nowhere near enough to make a living on.  But, what is probably my largest problem with this dream rests on my end.  I am terrified of flying.  I hate it.  I avoid it at all costs.  So I would have to somehow conquer this fear if I am to fly all over the world for this gig. But, wouldn’t it be so freaking fun to be “That Girl” who always shows up somewhere in countless Hollywood films?

So, you can see there are quite a few roadblocks in my way, but what struck me the most in writing this post is the notion that my dream is actually somewhat achievable if I remove the unrealistic bits and deconstruct it down to the nitty gritty reasons I have this dream in the first place.  I found by listing out each component of the dream, it helped me sort out the parts of it that are possible.  Ultimately, I learned quite a bit about myself and was even able to acknowledge some of my own personal roadblocks in life that I’ve built up over the years.  Ok, so here’s my list of personal discoveries from this deconstruction process.

1.  I love to travel and having this fear of flying has really held me back. I would really like to see more of this beautful world of ours and only traveling to places I can drive to isn’t going to cut it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have flown many times in my life but it is getting less and less as the years go by and my fear intensifies. I have gone on a total of three round tip flights in the last 10 years, we’ve driven to all our other vacation destinations.  Thankfully, I am already in the process of conquering this fear. My husband and I are planning to take a tropical vacation! It will be my very first international trip. As much as I am worried about the getting there and back process, I can’t wait to take control of my fear and show it who’s boss. Oh, and lounging around on a white sand beach, sipping Pina Colada’s all day is excellent motivation! (Of course, this wouldn’t be my post if I didn’t have a song pop into my head and pause for a quick listen. “Do you like Pina Colada’s?”)

2.  Even though it wouldn’t work for my particular dream, the fact that my dream doesn’t involve me starring in a feature film is something I started to wonder about. Why wouldn’t I want to do this? It is a dream isn’t it, and I should dream big, right? In fact this dream fits very well with my personality. I am very comfortable being in the background and not drawing too much attention to myself. I’ve always been the quiet, shy type. These past few years I have been testing the waters a bit more outside of this zone I’ve built around myself, thereby widening my comfort zone. For example, a few years ago I volunteered to take on a leadership role for a local coalition, sitting on the executive board. Every part of me was saying don’t do it but I resisted and it was a great, worthwhile experience.  It even involved a time where I had to stand up in front of a microphone and address about 80 people off the cuff, no script! I was sweating bullets but I did it and more importantly I survived to tell the tale. 🙂 The best part of my experience in a leadership role is discovering there is plenty of room for quiet leaders. A leader doesn’t have to be the most loud, outgoing and boisterous person in the room. Having learnt this, my plan is to continue pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone and experience life to my fullest potential. Just because I am an adult and somewhat stuck in my ways doesn’t mean I am done growing up. There is always room for personal improvement!

3. As far as the whole movie part of this dream….well….there is not a whole lot I can do about getting on a movie set in the not so distant future.  I live nowhere near L.A. or NYC.  However, although not common in Nebraska, movies are from time to time made here.  The next time a movie is in the area and puts out a call for extra’s I’ll make it a point to show up for the experience.  One of my favorite features on DVD’s these days is the Behind the Scenes stuff. I’ve always been fascinated with the movie making process itself.  This would be a great way to see, up close & personal, the making of a movie.

I hope this post will challenge you to deconstruct your own impossible dream and make it possible!

~Chrissy

A Few of Our Favorite Things – Week of April 1st

Our lives are often times very hectic and chaotic. We don’t always stop and appreciate the small things happening all around us. In this day and age, it is important to make a conscious effort to recognize the small things or moments that fill us with joy and wonder or make us insanely happy.  Below are a few of our favorite things or special moments we’ve experienced from this past week.  We’d love to hear about yours as well!

Alicia & Chrissy’s Favorite Thing- 

*Fun New Apps.  This week we both have a favorite new app that we have both downloaded and fell madly in love with, Instagram.  We know that Instagram has been around for quite some time for all you iPhone users out there, and quite frankly we were both a tad bit jealous of all the lovely photo’s our friends would post on Facebook and Twitter.  I mean how can you make every little humdrum photo look absolutely amazing?  Did it really work that way?  Well this week we found out it does!!!!  What we didn’t know until this week was Instagram is more then just taking photo’s, it is a whole other world of social networking.  Alicia summed it up well in a text I got from her late last night that said, “So, Instagram appears to be a cross between FB, Twitter & Pinterest.  Would you agree?” So, now we have one more place for our friends to comment and like various things from our lives.  Isn’t it wonderful! :^)

Chrissy’s Favorite Things-

*Dinner with my Mom.  April means my Dad starts his yearly golf league and my Mom and I begin our traditional Thursday night out.  We’ve been doing this for years and years.  It started back when I was still living with my Parents, as a teenager, and we’ve continued it to this day.  Every Thursday night we pick a different place to have dinner, chat about the week gone by and often times do a bit of shopping afterwards! I always treasure time with my Mom!  She is an amazing woman and I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful role model in my life.  Love you Mom!!!!

*Yummy Snacks.  Kind Bars are my new favorite snack.  The two bars I enjoy the most are the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants and the Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants!

Alicia’s Favorite Things –

1.  Sunblock – Why would sunblock be on my list of favorite things this week you may ask?  Well, this past week I worked at the kids’ school as a Substitute Play Ground Monitor for two days.  That in and of itself is an experience, let me tell you.  Add into the scenario unusually warm temperatures and you have one hot Momma!  (And folks, I’m not talking “hot” as in good looking.  I mean hot, sweaty and soggy Momma.  Ha ha!)  The first day out it was almost 90 degrees…in April.  (And here I thought moving away from California would get me out of those early season hot days.)  I unfortunately did not think about bringing sunblock.  I’ve never worked a job where sunblock was a necessary tool for my day.  So needless to say, my fair Irish skin got a little crispy.  To add insult to injury, I left with a Farmer’s burn (you know, that ever so sexy line where your shirt was) AND I was only burned on the left side of my body and face.  So, I learned my lesson.  When I came back to work a few days later, I brought my sunblock AND I stood on the opposite side of the play ground to even myself out.  So I am grateful to whomever invented sunblock.  All the fair skinned people of the world thank you!

2.  Spring Flowers –  I love Spring and all that comes with it.  I love planting new flowers, weeding, digging in the dirt, and giving love to all that grows in my yard.  Well, except the weeds!  This year is an exciting Spring for me as we are in a new house and I always love seeing what sorts of plants will make an appearance.  The woman who lived in the house before me was amazing at planning out her gardens and just made the whole yard beautiful.  She had quite the green thumb.  Thankfully, I have a pretty green thumb as well, so the yard is still flourishing and I am having fun adding a bit of my own style to the garden she left in my hands.  I’ve discovered Peony plants, Hydrangeas, Shasta Daisies, Black Eyed Susan’s, Pinks, Geraniums, and so many more.  My back porch has a high roof and there are hooks that I just had to utilize.  I’ve always wanted hanging flower baskets so I have installed them and am in LOVE with the sweetness they add to the back yard atmosphere.  There is something special about having the flowers hanging about adding scent and color to the yard.  Here is a picture of one of my baskets I took using Instagram:

Well there you have it!  Our weekly highlights of favorite things!  What were your favorites this week?

Good Friday, Great Friday!

friendshipHappy Good Friday.  Easter is once again upon us and people everywhere are celebrating it in there own special ways and traditions.  I happen to hold a very special place in my heart for this particular day.  Back in our college days, Alicia and I had a really amazing core group of friends, one of which had his own house where he started what became an annual tradition for us on Good Friday.  We called it Good Friday, Great Friday and it was a basically an excuse for everyone to get together and have a big party.  The parties were a lot of fun and after a couple of years we moved from house party mode to gathering together for a few drinks at a local bar.  Whatever the setting, we looked forward to this day every year.  These days I can’t help but look back fondly on those days every time Good Friday, Great Friday rolls around.

Over the years, after our party days were replaced with more important things like marriages, families and careers, we drifted apart from our group of guy friends and eventually lost touch.  No one likes losing friends but sometimes it happens so gradually you don’t even realize it’s happening until one day you start thinking, “I wonder what  _____ is doing now?” Whatever the case, I am guarenteed to remember those days along with some really great friends, whenever Good Friday rolls back around, or whenever I hear a song from what was our regular dance music playlist at those parties.  Don’t you love how music plays such a powerful part in life that it can evoke such strong memories of people, places and times from your past?

In honor of this special day and in honor of those friends who I will always consider close friends, even though I haven’t seen them in years, I’d like to share some of my favorite songs from the Great Friday, Good Friday soundtrack. (If you click on each link it will take you to You Tube for a quick listen.)  Hopefully some of these songs bring you back to some of your own special memories too!

* Shine All the Time – Blue Moon Ghetto (This is one of my absolute favorites!  It is by a local band here in Nebraska in the 90’s.  Give it a listen, I think you’ll love it!)

* December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – Franki Vallie & the Four Seasons

* Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

* Dancing Queen – Abba  (Alicia and I always made sure this one was played, it is one of our favorites!)

* Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees  (This one was for my friend Ann, the Disco Queen!)

* Your Time is Gonna Come – Led Zepplin  (This was one of the guys favorites.)

* Come on Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

* All Mixed Up – 311

* Girl You Know Its True – Milli Vanilli  (Lol, how this one made the playlist is beyond me. I think we even had some of those smooth moves down!)

~Chrissy