Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Project Prom

The first of the month I was so excited about participating in this project!  The Junior League, for the second year, successfully pulled off Project Prom in our area, for our 5 surrounding high schools.  Basically, we send out invitations for any junior or senior girls in need of a prom dress to come shop our stock, free of charge.  (And in the mean time, we are collecting donations of gently used, or brand new formal dresses like crazy!!)
 We are also loaded to the gills with shoes, purses, wraps, jewelry, etc.  So when these girls left, they were ready for the runways!

It was such a humbling experience to see these sweet girls (with the help of a lot of mamas) try on dress after dress, in search of just the right one, twirl around in front of the mirrors, and watch that big grin grow on their faces!

As much as I know this was a good thing I was doing, it was just plain selfish as well (which I'm reminded often I still need to work on a lot!).  I have to admit I was living a bit of high school nostalgia through these sweet girls and those good ol' prom memories with each sequin and rhinestone studded gown I zipped up, and would shout "Now come out and twirl for us!" 

Monday, March 19, 2012


Jeff and I ran away at the end of Febraury to my favorite place on earth: the salty, breezy, sunny Gulf of Mexico.  Specifically, Destin, of course. 

And if you know me well at all, you've probably been with me to my precious family restaurant, Nick's, for some crab claws and fresh oysters.  Straight outta the bay that this little dive sits on.  The wood paneling my great-Uncle Frank hung, and brown tile floors my grandfather, PawPaw laid, fifty years ago, make it what it is today.  It's the "Cheers" of Hwy 20, I suppose.  So if you're going to take the Mid-Bay bridge you should stop just shy at Nick's on the Bay, and ask Trey for a cold one.  (But no moonshine, please....no moonshine.....)

 Jeff and I had 2 dozen oysters, 2 pounds of crab claws, 1 pound of jumbo shrimp (heads-on), and 17 hushpuppies.  And lots of fun talking smack with Trey and the locals.  After that, the Hilton Resort was calling our names. 

The next morning, we met my beautiful cousin Sarah (another Nick--we're all over Fort Walton, people) and one of her girl frannnds for brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe.  Whoa.  I didnt need to eat for 48 hours after that one.  But I could have skipped my meal all together, and just listened to her talk all morning. 

I am so proud of this young lady.  For those (two readers) who dont know, Sarah lost her brother, my cousin, in November.  He's a year older than her, and actually would be 20 tomorrow.  I am blow away by her strength.  I know this is not how she imagined her Senior year start and end, but I cannot imagine a better, stronger guardian angel than her brother.  And Sarah, you rock on, sister.  I loved spending time with you!!
 (btw, Sarah's shirt says "I got my crabs at Nick's" .....nice, right?  That's the restaurant, Nicks.  She works at the other Nicks, Nick's on the Beach, for Frankie, Trey's dad.  If you'd like a family tree or t-shirt mailed to you, let me know ;) ha!  )

We hit the outlets all day long, and burned off that lobster omelet I ate for breakfast.  We also burned J's credit card.... whoops.  Time for date night!  And when I dress up, which is rare, of course, I bust out the tripod.  Thank goodness I have a patient boyfriend.  See.....
 We did actually clean up well, and even running in heels along a wooden deck, I managed to get in the picture before J said "last call! load up!"

 Now date night consisted of seeing a play.  In DeFuniak Springs.  Oh yeah, baby!  And I couldnt think of a place I'd rather be in Walton County!  My cousin Rachael (yes, another Nick) graduated last year from UF in theater, and had her directorial debute at the theater there and she directed Steel Magnolias!!  Well, you better know I wouldn't have missed that one for the world!  I'm so proud of you, Rach, and Mama Connie was one fine assistant too!!
 Sunday, we made one last trip back over "the long bridge" to Nick's, for one last round of crab claws.  (I'm afraid we had as much shrimp in the cooler on the way home  as clothes from the outlets!)  My XO college girlfriend Erika and family came across to bay to join us, apparently they're old Nick's fans too-small world!  My sister came over from Mobile too, and headed to see Rach's play after lunch.  Lunch was so much fun, while us girls played with Sloane and her worms, and the boys....well, I dont know what they did....talked guy stuff by the bait house, cleaning fish or something.  Who knows. 

My sister rocks my world.

 Sloane hiding.  EZ-so glad yall came to join us!  If you need someone to sweep in and completely blow your mind away with her mad interior design skillzzzz, she's your woman.  But get on the waiting list, she's the bomb diggity.  :)
Great weekend.  Much needed.  Wish I could hit replay.  Love my family.  Love my friends.  Love the beach.  Oh, and love those crab claws.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Endings - Take 2

So, you want another one?   They give you goosebumps, right?  I know!  Me too! 

So this is Lauren.  She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma early in 2008.  I had the honor of representing Make-A-Wish and meeting her during her treatments that September, when she was a Senior in high school.
We asked Lauren what her biggest wish in the world was.  If she could go anywhere, if she could  meet anyone, if she could have anything, if she could be anything just what might it be!

After a lot of debating, Lauren decided she would love to visit Hawaii, to swim with the dolphins, go to a luau, and have a Hawaiian spa day!
And when we got the "go," we officially sent her off on her wish to Hawaii with a real (Columbus-style) luau!  We even managed to find a Hawaiian hula instructor to teach her a few moves!
Lauren and her family came home from the trip of a lifetime, invited us back into their home for a Hawaiian style meal, and told us about the whole trip from beginning to end!  From that point on, we've become fast friends.  Lauren, as well as her family, have stayed active with Make-A-Wish, our events and fundraisers, and have become a ever-present reminder to all of us why we do what we do!

See -- at this year's Christmas party she begged me to not let her be a "wish kid" anymore, but to let her start helping with the parties.  I gladly slapped on her nametag and told her to start blowing up balloons.  ;)   
Last year at our first annual Evening of Wishes silent auction, Lauren was our guest speaker.  And she rocked the house, I might add.  And she rocked that house, and that speech, on crutches, as she recooperated from what amounted to a near hip replacement due to what the chemo did to her precious young body.  Tell me she's not tough.

And at this year's Evening of Wishes, I told her to sit back and enjoy as a guest of honor, while her dad worked the room as a board member.  Because yes, her dad now sits on our Board.  Because he loves what we've done for his family, and having him there truly keeps it real for us all.  And how can you not have fun with those two, seriously??!!

Lauren has had a rough few years, but I couldn't be prouder of any young lady.  She's in college now.  She's also in Nursing School.  She wants to be an Oncology Nurse.  How about that?  Told you she was amazing. 

Lauren and I are dear friends now, and have a standing dinner date every few weeks.  Over nachos and margaritas we catch up on boys, and school, and work, and parents, and it never ceases to amaze me how ten years of age difference seem to disappear over the bond we've created.  Maybe you find real friends when you awkwardly hula dance with them, or lose your hair, or work with other sick children hand-in-hand, or give boyfriend advice, or just double-dip in her cheese dip.  ;) 

Either way, Lauren is one of those friends I am so humbled and proud to have in my life.  I am afraid she is sorely confused in calling me her mentor;  she simply has no idea how much I want to be just like her when I grow up.  

Lauren, I love you sis!  And I wa so happy to toast with you last week!  
 CHEERS to three years in remission!!!  You go girl!!