Monday, June 17, 2013

Wedding Gowns and Warrants

The Perfect Gown
Remember last spring when I did the marketing for a Dream Dress Campaign for Olia Zavozina Couture Designs? Well, my friend who manages their shop called me last week and asked me to wear one of their gowns in a tv spot on Nashville’s Fox 17 morning show: The Perfect Gown!

I went to Olia’s Edgehill Village shop and tried on several absolutely gorgeous wedding gowns.

Here I am trying on The Britt!

And on Friday morning I wore one of the gowns – The Delia - in a live tv segment on the morning news.

The segment featured designer Olia Zavozina and three of her most popular gown designs.

 Getting Ready

 With Designer Olia Zavozina

A “Ride Along”
One of my best friends from my hometown has been a police officer in Metro Nashville for several years. On Saturday night I was able to do a ride along with him on his 10pm-6am shift in East Nashville. Oh, how I loved it! I rode with him for the entire shift and never even got tired! It was a fast paced, thrilling night! (Well, for me it was. I heard several of the officers say that it was a ‘slow night’.) I stayed in the car on most of the calls, but was able to get out a few times to observe. I saw everything from traffic stops to domestic disputes to DUIs to prostitution to arrests for outstanding warrants. I was amazed at how many of the people that we encountered wanted to tell their life’s story. I spent about twenty minutes with two different transvestite prostitutes who told me everything I ever (and never) wanted to know about their careers. And they let me ask them anything. Any question, they were transparent. I listened a lot… and learned a lot! And let me just tell you, I was in a part of Nashville that I never even knew existed and will likely never be again. Except, of course, when I do another ride along because I am hooked.

I love doing new, fun things… so this weekend was perfect!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's Not Just That...

It's not just a dinosaur...
"What's on your cake?"

I patiently waited for my nephew to answer, assuming he would say "Dinosaur". When you are turning four, your cake is not just chocolate or vanilla. It's not a flavor at all. It's a character. The better the character, the better the cake! A little boy I babysat years ago once asked me if a princess cake would taste gross, never mind that his tonka truck cake likely came from the same bakery. So I waited for the answer, knowing that there was a lot of thought behind the selection - maybe even a whole year of preparation and decision making. 

"It's a Mapusaurus, Aunt Em."

"A what?" I looked to my sister for clarification.

Yes, it was a Mapusaurus. Not just a dinosaur. Not even something like a T-Rex. No, he had gone deep inside the pages of his Dinopedia and carefully selected this obscure, unknown (to me) creature for my sister to draw on his cake. And bless her heart, it did look just like a Mapusaurus. What a great mommy.

Blowing out his candles (with Dalmatian ears on)

 His new toy! A Big Wheel! He loved riding it down the hill into the grass. (I did too... I couldn't resist!)


 Big Brother staying out of the way!

 Blowing out his breakfast birthday candles (with a mask  and cape on... he is very in to dress-up now that he's four)

It's not just summer vacation...
When people ask me how my summer vacation is going, I always have to think before I respond. Because, honestly, I usually forget that it's summer. And it's definitely not a vacation. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love it (it comes second to fall). But it's not a break. When you work, the joys of summer include less traffic on the way in to the office and a little more sunlight when you get home. 

I love it for hometown traffic jams...

And a best friend's wedding...

 The Groom!

The three graduates from the Class of 05 and the bride!

This little baby doll has been my wedding buddy this spring.

And my first rock climb...

And Strawberry Picking Time...

 Two Gallons to Freeze for the Season!

On a Nutella Cream Cheese birthday cake for a friend (plain yellow cake topped with a blend of a jar of nutella, a block of cream cheese softened, and a half cup of powdered sugar)

And backyard cookouts complete with cornhole, croquet, and kabobs...

Oh, but not for the bugs. One morning I picked up a plastic cup of water that I had left sitting in my living room over night. As I was putting it to my mouth to take a drink I notice this guy down in the cup! He was about four inches long! Oh, can you only imagine the therapy I would have to go through if I had actually taken a drink!

You are probably judging me for two things right now. First, this grossness was in my home. Second, I took a picture of it in my toilet. At least it was clean...

It's not just a lullaby...
I have been volunteering at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital every Thursday night for almost two years now. Oh, how I love that place. A few weeks ago I got to spend my two hours with a precious little baby boy. As I walked in the room, the nurse was thrilled to see me. "You are coming to rock him? I'm so glad. I wish I could stay in here all night and hold him. He's such a sweet cuddler." At that, I knew that I was going to have a great night with the little guy. And, oh, how precious he was. The nurse laid him in my arms - there were too many wires and gadgets for me to try to pick him up on my own. And I started humming. I never sing when the nurses are around because I have a terrible singing voice. But I hummed Twinkle Twinkle Little Star until she finished her charts and left the room. Then my humming turned into soft singing. And as I rocked him I looked down at his tiny little alabaster hand in mine. His precious, pure skin has likely never seen the sun while mine was sun kissed from a recent visit to the beach. My heart went out to him, and he, well, he was likely waiting on a new heart. I held him close, this precious little baby balancing between great strength and great fragility, and I sang the song that always comes to mind when I'm in the hospital - Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross. But it wasn't just a lullaby, it was a prayer over him. Oh how I prayed for that healing stream from Calvary's mountain.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Charleston Bike Trip

When I was planning to take dad on our motorcycle trip that I gave him last Christmas, I knew which direction I wanted to head: The East Coast. I couldn’t decide between Charleston and Savannah, so I practiced my favorite decision-making skill: When you can’t decide between two options, pick both. So we picked up a bike in Charleston and drove through Savannah! I had never even been to South Carolina, which is just pretty silly. Tennessee is not that far away. My sister even lived there for a summer. But I had never been. So we headed to the South Carolina coast. But first let me explain a detail which will make the rest of this make sense. We (my mom, dad, and I) drove in my car to South Carolina. Then on one day dad and I rented a Harley to drive up and down the coast. Mom wasn’t on the bike with us. There was no side car involved. And no leather. And I don’t drive, I just ride. I get lots of questions about things like this. So, anyways, our bike trip actually turned into a mini-vacation, and I was quite happy with that. Mini-vacations sustain me.

My mom, dad, and I had all uncharacteristically done very little planning for our South Carolina excursion and noticed just days before leaving that we would be heading straight through Ashville, NC – a place that all three of us have always wanted to visit but had never been: the Biltmore. I’m so glad we were able to stop. What a gorgeous place!

Right as I was taking this picture a sprinkler turned on and completely soaked my jeans. I wasn’t just near the sprinkler. I was apparently standing right on it. Soaked!

Technical Difficulties
"Dad, what does that light mean?"  I ask pointing to the bright orange glow coming from the dashboard of my car. We had just arrived in Charleston after a long day of driving, touring the Biltmore, and more driving. We had pulled into a local restaurant for a 9 o’clock dinner - not because we are hip, just because we are way behind on our eating schedule. "We'll, that's your tire gauge." We checked the tires on the way in to the restaurant, and all looked fine.

We were all stuffed and over tired. And then we go back to my car to see a completely flat back rear tire. We were all just quiet. We opened the trunk as if we change tires every day. I whipped out my flashlight app while dad seamlessly... silently... put on the tiny replacement. We hopped in the car and headed back to the hotel, all leaning slightly to the back right. We quietly got on to the elevator and when the doors closed, dad cut his eyes at us and then pointed to his shirt. A large damp spot right in the center. He started laughing and told us that after changing the tire when he went back in to the restaurant to wash his hands, the automatic soap dispenser squirted the soap straight onto his shirt. It wasn't that funny. But we all started laughing. After a tiring silent night, a good, endless giggle is welcome.

Tire Repair... Not how we had planned on spending part of our vacation...

Bike Ride
The next morning dad and I picked up a bike and rode the bike from Charleston south through Savannah and headed down towards Jacksonville before turning back around over. 

We went over some awesome bridges, through some beautiful towns, and in a little bit of rain.

My first motorcycle rain shower.

And yes, I rode the entire way with my phone either in my lap or tucked under my legs. Now that makes me a daredevil.

Downtown Charleston
We did it all!
We shopped at the market.

We rode the trolley.

We walked to the battery.

Excuse my crazy hair. At the time I thought my hair looked like Pocahontas at the top of the waterfall in the movie. Instead I looked like this. Oh well!

We swang at the pier.

We ate at Poe’s Tavern and Hymans.

We strolled the streets.

We picked out which homes we want to buy some day.



We saw the USS Yorktown.

We took a boat to Fort Sumer and toured the fort.

And we napped on Sullivan’s Island beaches.

And saw more than a few jellyfish!

Sleep Talking… Twice
"It's okay Emma. It will be fine." I hear my dad say in the middle of the night – our first night of vacation. I realize I'm sitting up in bed, but I have no idea what's happening. "Go back to sleep." I hear him, so naturally I just go back to sleep. The next morning he tells me that I was making airline reservations. 

Again. "It's okay Emma. It will be fine." I hear my dad say in the middle of the night – our second night of vacation. I realize I'm sitting up in bed, but I have no idea what's happening. "Go back to sleep." I hear him, so naturally I just go back to sleep. The next morning he tells me that I got out of bed and said, "I always have to get up and get everyone to go back to bed." 


The Road Less Travelled
On our way home we took a major back roads detour through the mountains of North Carolina and East Tennessee. My grandfather always talked about a little town called Maggie Valley, so we just had to drive through it. So beautiful.

What a perfect little mini vacation!