My Sister's Beachy Semi-Elopement

I have to admit, my little sister is pretty awesome. When she got engaged, she decided she didn't want a big wedding. She didn't want to walk down an aisle with 100+ people staring. She didn't want to have first dances. She didn't want all the hooplah. So...she didn't do it. *Gasps*

Just a few months after Jon and Bethany's engagement was official, parents, grandparents and siblings met at a beach house in Crystal Beach, Texas and hung out together as one big family. Of course, last-minute wedding touches were done, but we did have a lot of fun too. 

Just as the sun was creeping over the horizon the next morning, we all were getting dressed and ready in different rooms of the beach house. 

Once we were all ready and the couple shared their first look, we headed downstairs and the ceremony began. Jon's niece had practiced being a flower girl for so long, but her poor little bare foot found what may have been the only grass-sticker in the yard. After a few tears, the show went on with Uncle Jon carrying her in his arms, as she fulfilled her flowering duties. 

We had a lot of double-duties going on at this wedding. Dad walked Bethany down the aisle, then officiated the wedding. Montrell was in the audience controlling the music. Mom held onto the rings until the exchange. And I was photographing the whole event, while trying not to cry with happiness. 

Four minutes later, surrounded by family (yes, I sure said "four minutes"), the couple kissed their way into a new way of life...together. 

While I spent a little time getting some pictures of the newlyweds in the ocean, the family was back at the beach house cooking up a delicious breakfast. 

We stuffed ourselves until we were full, then went and added in some cake.

A few hours of laughter, memories and more food led up to the signing of the marriage license and the couple driving off to Galveston Island. 

It was short. It was sweet. It was "them." And it was perfect.

Beach House: A Site to Sea | Photos: Savannah Pyron | Bakery: Patty Cakes Custom Confetti: The Confetti Bar | Exit Clothes: Armor of God


How Miraculous is Miracle Gel?

I'll admit, I haven't gotten on the gel-nail-shellac-train yet. Mostly because I'm terrible at committing to one color, but also because I don't like paying $50 for anything at one time! A month or so ago, when I was at a bridal show with my friend Megan, we were each handed a sample Sally Hansen Miracle Gel set, which I couldn't wait to try! 

Much like regular nail polish, you paint on two coats of color and a top coat of clear. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. You're done. 

After exactly 7 days, my nails looked like this (below). Just a few chips and a little bit of grown-out nail. After a week with regular polish, I usually have more bare-nail showing than polish, so I was pretty impressed. 

Best part about this version of the gel-nail is the ability to take it off quickly, with regular nail polish remover. I've heard horror stories about how hard it is to take off shellac...doesn't sound fun!

I loved the Pink Cadillaquer* color that I was given, but I can't wait to get a few more that will fit in with a Fall wardrobe. Some of my favorites from the website are: Tidal Wave*, B Girl*, Greyfitti* and Dig Fig*

Have You Tried Miracle Gel? 

What's Your Favorite Color?


Preserving Aging Photos

When I was at my parent's house last weekend, my Dad found an old photo album from his childhood, while browsing for some pictures for my mom's 50th birthday party. The book is full of square, original instagram-type images that I had never seen before. 

I have a love for antique images (even for ones that aren't from my family), so I took the book back to Dallas with me and have begun scanning away.

A lot of the photos are covered in spots, small tears or are just really blurry. However, I'm seeing these not as "ruined," but "classic". There's a certain beauty that comes with these spots...much like aging as a person. To the credit of the photos, they have been stuck in this album since the early 70's!

Now I'm left with the question: What should I do with them? 

I love having the originals, but I knew putting them in digital format may be beneficial for my future kids and grandkids. I'm completely blank on what to do, so if you've got an idea for me, let me know!

What have you created with old family photos?


Remembering a Pre-9-11 Life

I love my age. Not the fact that I'm aging, but I love the year I was born. 1990.

Most of my love for this age is because of technology. I truly believe I was the perfect age I would have liked to be during the evolutions of Xanga (middle school), Myspace (high school), Facebook (college), Twitter (college & adulthood) and Instagram (adulthood).

The other reason I'm proud to be this age is that I'm one of the last of a generation that remembers bits of life pre-9/11. When I was in the 6th grade, I watched our world as we knew it crumble on a television screen before my eyes and I can recount that day over and over in my mind.

Most people any younger than me cannot.

September 10, 2001
I'm sure I had major 6th-grade concerns that day. I'm not sure if I was writing in a diary at that point, but I hope I can someday find some snippets of that time-frame somewhere. If I had to guess, I'm sure some of my biggest concerns were; my locker needed to be cleaned and organized before it was inspected/graded by our teachers, wondering which "friend" I'd be sitting with at lunch (to balance out some drama, of course), freaking out about an upcoming play-off for first chair in band, and other general "I'm so ugly" 6th-grade thoughts.

I'm sure it was the most normal of days.

No real worries. 
No terror. 
No war. 
America was safe. 

September 11, 2001
This day and all that happened has given me a significant context to the "history" that unfolded before us. Until that morning, I had never heard of "Al Qaeda" or "Osama." Terror wasn't familiar to me. War was a past-tense subject. Mass killings weren't something to be concerned with. Honestly, that's all the kind of things that happened elsewhere. Not in America. Not where I live. Being young, adults didn't bring up those kinds of foreign affairs with us. There had been no need. Except that day...

We were worried. 
There was terror. 
There would be war. 
America didn't feel so safe anymore. 

Don't get me wrong, my small-town sixth-grade life didn't dramatically change on September 11, 2001.

I didn't know anyone that was killed.
I didn't have any military family members.
I had never flown our skies.
I didn't fully understand it all.

But, as an American, my life did change. I remember the months of fear. I remember the mass confusion. I remember the pit-of-the-stomach achy-feeling of "what's next?" I now understand that it's those same feelings that my teachers and parents were shielding from us so well that day.

For me,

September 11 isn't pictures in a history book.
It's not just something tragic.
It's not a commemorative coin.
It's not a yearly documentary on news outlets.
It's not memorial memes and social media graphics.
It's not a fountain in NYC.
It's not even the world as I've always known it to be.

It was real.

I lived that day.
I relive that day.
I remember that day.

It has shaped us.
And it hurts every year.


Loving My Bright Lab Globes

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through my Instagram feed, as I do basically every waking hour of the day, and I came across Jordan (Oh Happy Day)'s seconds-old image announcing her new business venture, Bright Lab Lights. I was hooked, immediately, because I've always had an obsession with light strands. AND I get to pick my own colors? Sign me up!

I picked out a few colors to match my living room and hit "buy." They arrived in this beautiful packaging and I couldn't wait to put them together. 

Add the globes to the lights with a couple snips of the scissors and they're ready to hang and enjoy. Plus, I can always buy more globes and switch out the colors (thinking about it for Christmastime!). 

They certainly add a fun pop of color to our colorless fireplace. In my eyes, you can't ever go wrong with fun globe lights!

Congratulations, Jordan!

What color lights would you choose 

and where would you put them?

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