A Night at the Oscars

Monday, February 25, 2013



I am a huge, huge fan of all things Award show.  If it's an award show day, you can almost guarantee that I will be sitting on my couch from about 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm (or whenever they end) as I soak up every minute from the red carpet extravaganza to the last award of the night.  I don't know what it is about the award shows, whether it's the fashion and the glam, or the excitement of the stars being recognized - regardless, I can't get enough.  So when my husband called me awhile back telling me he was given an invitation from his boss to attend a Black-tie Oscar Experience Gala, I nearly jumped up and down and quickly responded "Are you serious?!"  Needless to say, we were definitely on board and super excited for whatever encompassed this fabulous event. 

Checking out a few fashion sites, dreaming up my red carpet look, my afternoon consisted of getting glammed up.  My dress was a great find at a BCBG outlet- a black, one-shouldered fit and flare (fitted throughout my bodice and then flared out a bit mid-thigh).  I loved it.  And my shoes were a strappy dark gray 4" Calvin Klein heel.  I decided to go with a sleeked back pony with a bit of volume (thanks to a sweet friend willing to brainstorm with me), smokey eyes, and a red lip.  I'm all about a red lip- and thanks to the good ole folks at Sephora, I found a great go-to red lipstick that I think would look great on just about anyone. Check out Nars- Red Lizard if you're in need of a great red.  

Once all glammed up we headed downtown Milwaukee for the event.  But before I describe the experience, I should tell you what the Gala was all about.  Not only was this a fabulous way to enjoy the Oscars, but it was for a great cause supporting a Milwaukee organization called COA. "COA Youth & Family Centers helps Milwaukee children, teens, and families reach their greatest potential through a continuum of educational, recreational, and social work programs offered through its urban community centers and rural camp facility." (taken from the org website http://www.coa-yfc.org)  All of the proceeds from the event went to this organization - it really was a great cause. 

Not knowing much more than what the event was sponsoring, we weren't quite sure what to expect.  We arrived at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, made our way to the 4th floor, got our tickets, and made our way up the grand staircase after being stopped for a photo op.  Reaching the top of the stairs, I couldn't help feeling a bit giddy, feeling like a star.  There before me was the red carpet, lined with students from the COA program asking "who are you wearing?" "who is your vote for Best Picture?"  Cameras flashed as we made our way down the red carpet, only to be greeted with a glass of champagne upon reaching the end.  This was more than I had expected, I was ecstatic!  

After getting our photo taken at the YHTS photo booth (see image above), we made our way into the silent auction room where we were wowed with the extravagant prizes to be won.  Making bids on several items, chatting with some of my husband's co-workers and friends, the time then came to be seated in the beautiful ballroom.  I continued to be amazed by the event as on our seats we found official Oscar program books.  Because this organization has been putting on this telecast for so long, it became the only Wisconsin Oscar party officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences- meaning we were able to receive such things as these fabulous programs- the ones that the stars receive!!! (see image above)  Wine, a delicious white balsamic salad, a petite filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes, tinker bell peppers and asparagus, and a decadent chocolate dessert made the dinner a definite highlight of the evening. 

Finally the time had come for the Oscars to begin and we watched the Academy Awards via telecast.  Mark Baden from WISN 12 acted as MC and filled in the spaces where the commercials would take place with different contests, live auction items, and presentations about the COA organization.  I thoroughly enjoyed the awards- didn't Seth Macfarlane do a great job?  One of my favorite Oscar moments, was definitely the performance by the cast of Les Miserables.  Let's be honest, it gave me goosebumps. 

As the Oscars came to a close, we collected our silent auction items (a 4-pack of Bucks tickets and VIP courtside club passes, and 2 classes at a Fred Astaire dance studio - so excited!!), and made our way out of the grand ballroom.  Making our way again down the red carpet on our way out, I couldn't help but smile thinking about the fabulous evening we had just experienced.  

Go ahead and call me crazy for being so excited about the fun night at the Oscars- but I love love love fun, random experiences like this.  (A special thanks to my husband's boss who gave us this opportunity!)  I always dreamed of attending a red-carpet event!  And although this wasn't the  red carpet of course, it was still in one way or another, a dream come true.  So cheers to dreaming big, and taking special opportunities to enjoy moments you never thought you could! 


Crazy Love

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I have never been a huge Valentine's day person.  In fact, I think I more often make fun of the holiday than I think of it's sweetness.  I think we should be recognizing the love we have for each other every day, not just on a day that is full of over the top flowers, candy, big gestures, etc.  But this year, I decided to get over my distaste for the holiday and just dwell a little bit on the love that the Lord has blessed me with through my husband.  With that said, I have to share a little story with you to give you a taste of the love I share with my husband.  

Two and a half years ago, before my husband and I were even engaged, he was getting ready to go back to graduate school (across the country from me) and he said that he wanted to give me something. He warned me that it was in a jewelry box, but not to get worked up because it wasn't THAT piece of jewelry.  Not knowing what to expect, I opened the box and found this beautiful opal necklace on a delicate gold chain.  I noticed that the box was a bit dusty and that it creaked when I opened it, which was a bit odd- but I did not anticipate the story that explained this mystery.  

When my husband was 12 years old, he went on a trip to Australia with a student group.  Among many activities, they visited an opal factory.  The factory explained how these are not the same as the opals you will find in the U.S.- that they are of a higher quality.... okay, let's be honest I can't remember the rest of that explanation, but it's not the point of the story.  My husband continued this story telling me how he knew he was going to buy a necklace for his aunt (because his uncle asked him to), and his mother, but then he told me how he wanted to buy a third one for a more personal reason.  He decided that he wanted to buy another opal necklace to give to his future wife some day.  umm.. WHAT?!  So he bought three necklaces, took them home, and hid the last one in his closet.  And 12 years later he dug out the necklace and gave it to me.

My jaw dropped when he finished the story and presented me with the necklace.  I could not get over how sweet that story was.  I mean seriously, what 12 year old boy would think that far ahead, with no particular girl in mind, just thinking to himself 'hey, that'd be great to give to my wife someday!'  Needless to say, I am a lucky lady.  

Thinking about that story gets me every time.  I am seriously amazed at the way that God provided for me with my husband.  He loves me in such a beautiful, caring, selfless, wholehearted way that it seriously throws me for a loop sometimes.  And what I really appreciate is that he gives me a glimpse of the way that God loves us.  It is hard to imagine that God loves us in an even grander, more perfect way than we could ever experience here on earth.  I am so so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with this sweet, sweet man to spend the rest of my life with and to remind me of the One who loves me even more.  

Okay, my moment of mushy gushy, cheesey lovey dovey-ness is over.  Hopefully you made it through without gagging ;) But in all seriousness, my hope for you today is that you might know that you are truly loved.  Even if you don't feel it at this moment, I promise you- there is One who loves you much more than you can possibly imagine.  


Happy Valentine's Day Manicure

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!! As promised, here is my new manicure in honor of the day of love!
Polishes I used were: Essie (Fiji), Essie Luxe, Stripe Right (black, white, and silver) and Seche Vite topcoat.  This manicure was a lot of fun to create, but also a challenge coming up with something different for each nail.  I am definitely a bigger fan of my left hand than my right, but I suppose that goes without saying to some extent seeing as how it is the easier hand to paint.  :) I hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's day and felt loved and appreciated!


My Mani

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Had a little fun with my nails while watching the Grammys.  Pinterest inspired, nonetheless.  Check out my "Nails I need" board on Pinterest to see where I find my inspiration.  Come back in a few days to see what I've come up with for my Valentine's Day Manicure.  


Be in Love With Your Life

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The moment that I first read this statement, I found myself in a place where I was pretty certain that I was not "in love" with my life.  A friend posted this image on her Instagram feed and I'm really glad she did because it got me thinking.  

I decided that there are two ways to attempt to make it true in your life.  You can choose to have a joyful attitude, regardless of what is happening around you- resulting in for the most part, being more in love with your life.  -and/or- You can choose to surround yourself with the things that you love, the activities, the people that truly make you happy, give you joy in life.  

The attitude change is more of a no-brainer.  It totally makes sense to just simply change perspective and decide to put more effort into enjoying each moment.  In my most recent work experience, I was very challenged to do just that.  

As I have explained in earlier posts, for the past year and a half, I have been in a land of in-between.  This place of in between led me to a position much different than my ministry assistant role at a church- I was now a sales associate at a women's clothing boutique.  My experience working at the boutique was a mixture of "I love this!  Fashion! How fun?" and "Oh my word, I'm so bored- could I possibly organize scarves for another minute?"  I tried SO hard to simply change my attitude, to be okay with where God had me for now, and enjoy as much as I could.  But day after day of trying to be positive I found myself asking the questions: Do I just need to change my attitude? Or is that not going to cut it, and it's really just an unhappy, stressful situation that I could easily cut out of my life?

But the choice of surrounding yourself with things that you love, is a bit more difficult to process.  On one hand I think it is a smart thing to do- cut out the things in your life that make you unhappy, or don't encourage you, replace with something you do love- and as a result you'll love life more.  But on the other hand, can we really live life that way?  Is it really fair or possible to just cut out the things that are uncomfortable or that are difficult?  I don't think it's very realistic in most scenarios.  But is it?  

In my situation, after much consideration and effort to change my attitude- the right choice for me was to move on from the position at the boutique.  It was such a tough decision, but I realized that the position was causing more frustration than joy most days and therefore it just wasn't worth it for me.  I understand that I won't always be in a position where I can just on a whim cut out the bad from my life to make myself more happy.  I am in a unique position where my husband supporting me financially gives me a little more freedom than the average bird.  I get that.  But what I am thankful for is, through this situation- thinking about how to be more joyful, to be more in love with my life, it really helped me gain perspective on the choice that we have to be happy.  

It is so easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when the winter blues hit, and think- ugh, I am stuck in this unhappy place and there's nothing I can do about it.  Sometimes I know that I am perfectly capable of just changing my attitude and being more joyful, but then I'm just too dang lazy to do anything about it!  So instead of being happy- I remain melancholy, lazy, with a bad attitude.  It can be so frustrating!! 

As I've thought more and more about this topic, I have decided to, challenge myself to be more in love with my life.  This post, this idea, has been brewing in my mind for the past 3 weeks and I am so thankful that it has because through it, I honestly think that I have experienced more joy.  In John 10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Notice He doesn't say, to have a mediocre life, or a life that's boring or lame- He says, "have it to the full."  We live in a world that is full of darkness and heavy things and sadness- all things that threaten to take away our joy.  But God doesn't intend for us to live a sad life!  Through Christ we are given the opportunity to live life to the full- to find Joy in Him.  

A couple in church a couple weeks ago wrote a song with the lyric that said, "Sometimes I find that gladness is a choice we make to step into the light and turn our backs on darkness once again."  What a great illustration!! I love this idea that not only does choosing gladness result in more joy, but it also means that you are turning your back on darkness.  So that is what I am challenging myself to do; to choose to be glad and turn my back on the darkness in this world.  And I challenge you to do the same!  

It all starts with a choice.  Maybe sometimes it will be truly cutting something out like my boutique position, or maybe it will only be a choice to choose to be happy.  Either way, it is so worth it.  If you made it through this lengthy post, I commend you.  And I want to encourage you to take a few moments to dwell on this idea in your life as well.  Perhaps it will be life-changing, who knows! 


Pacman Manicure

Friday, February 1, 2013

These are probably my most favorite nail art creation yet.  I was inspired to create these after being invited to an arcade night at a friend's house.  (Her boyfriend had 10+ arcade game in his basement!! SO fun!!) I grew up playing and loving Pacman so I couldn't think of a better design for the occasion.  After a few hours (it's putzy work man!) I came out with these!  I like the left hand designs a bit better than the right, probably because of it's cleaner look.  But I was very happy with both.  Enjoy!

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