Archive for ‘YAY!!!’

January 30, 2012

Winner! Winner!

Good morning! Were you waiting for this post? ::winks::

First off, let me say … you all make me want to give EVERYONE things. All your stories and prodding and so one. Jeesh. As I told the husband, REPEATEDLY, thank GOD I didn’t say I’d judge on “best story”. Random drawings are LIFE SAVERS.

So for this, we went with the tried and true paper scraps in a bowl:



10 entires in all. One piece of paper for each of ya.

Swirled it around a few times, and the husband chose a scrap. And we had a winner!


Hooray!! Trisha! Winner winner winner!

So, Trisha, shoot me an email with your address, and your new fancies will be on their way to you tomorrow!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I had no idea how nerve-wracking hosting a giveaway could be … but you all (and your entries!) made it fun, too!


* After takeing photos I tossed Trisha’s entry back into the bowl and started goofing off, making the scraps of paper bounce around. After about a minute one of them went flying across the room. It was Trisha, AGAIN. Clearly, these earrings were meant for her.

January 26, 2012

Sisterhood – The Dress!

First off … you HAVE seen Jenn’s Grad post and Sisterhood post over on APW right? And her lovely blog about her partner, Brandon? If not, go do it. I’ll wait.

Amazing, right?


So now let’s talk details.

Jenn touched on it a bit, but the process of transforming this gown from “Rachel’s Dress” to “Jenn’s Dress” had many, many steps.  A few weeks after the handoff (where I’d offhandedly offered to alter it … and then freaked out about Jenn accepting), Jenn asked me to come over and see her try it on. She wanted me to gauge how much work I’d need to do to make it fit. Oh, and she had a couple ideas of ways to change it.

I still maintain that she looked gorgeous in the dress from day 1 … but we all know how important it is to FEEL gorgeous, too. So, holding my breath, I started opening the hem to see what we had to work with. Whoever’d done Rachel’s alterations … BLESS THEM. They’d used what I call a “theatre alteration” * (no cutting) and we had quite a bit of extra fabric in all the seams. So, that’s easy. Next it was the design.

Through some miracle, Jenn had found a ton of BEAUTIFUL ivory lace for ridiculously cheap. She’d been toying with the idea of creating a lace and ribbon sash. So we snipped off the bows and other adornments (carefully … we wanted to be able to put them back, should she change her mind), and carefully pinned the lace on. And everyone LOVED it.

From there we spent a few months going back and forth on the details of the plan … should the sash be removable? Should the ribbon be attached? Should we create a ribbon bow? What about the hem? Lace? No lace? How thick of a ruffle should it be? Should it just be flat? Should should should … designing is a tough, detailed (no pun intended) business.


Finally, we had a plan, and it was time to sit down and work.

The story is long and boring, so here are the details:

– Total sewing time was around 25 hours. Many movies were consumed during this time.
– The lace (all 8 yards of it) was gathered by hand, with the help of a long machine stitch. All other work was done by hand.
– I never ONCE stuck my finger during all this hand sewing. I did, however, have satin safe stain remover, just in case.
– The intensity of the gather and the length of the ruffle varied from short/loosely ruffled in the front to long/tightly ruffled in the back. Much pinning and repinning was involved. ::winks::
– The lace needed to be attached in two ways … first to the inside of the satin, and then layered with the lining. I only had to re-do one bit. I call it a win.
– The sash was basted on while Jenn (ever trusting) was wearing it. I still don’t think I stuck her. She may disagree.
– The ribbon was designed to allow for a clip adornment, should one be desired.
– 10 of the buttons needed to be removed and reattached. It was the easiest, yet most nerve-wracking bit of the entire gown.
– I finished the final bit while Jenn waited … so I was about 10 minutes over my deadline. Whoops!



All in all, I love how it turned out. And while I realize my opinion wasn’t the one that counted, I was pretty damn proud of myself. I’ve done a lot of designing and executing alterations, but never with so much riding on it. It occurred to me on the day of Jenn’s wedding that while I knew she loved how it looked on the dress form, I wasn’t there to see if she loved it just as much, once she was wearing it. And that, of course, was super, super important to me.

I’m not sure how I’ll be able to convince myself that she did (and she did, according to her post). But then again, you’re always your own worst critic. ** So, in the meantime, I’ll sate my pride by the involuntary catch of breath I get looking at the splay of lace on their overhead ceremony shots … and by the compliments Jenn received. Through that, I consider it a job well done.

Thanks, Jenn (and Rachel!) for letting me feel and play a tiny role in the big picture of the Sisterhood!


All photos by the amazing Jenn Link Photography. Go. Hire her. You won’t be disappointed!


* You NEVER cut out the extra fabric when you’re altering for theatre. Especially in school settings and lower budget productions, that costume may very well be used again … so you need to be able to let it back out for someone else. Same with hems. You have no idea how many times it’s saved my butt.

** For example … it kills me that the lace pattern didn’t match up on either side of the buttons down the back. I know it was out of my control, but GAH!

January 24, 2012

Share the Luck

So … when you have an instance of good luck, it’s always best to share it with others, right? Pay it forward, if you will?



At least, that’s how I operate.

For example … way back in the middle of wedding planning, I won a package from betsywhite consisting of a custom logo/monogram, thank you notes, napkins, and stickers. I paid it forward by bugging my sister to enter a wedding photography contest and begging for votes. You guys rocked it … and she won! She’s paying it forward by setting up a giveaway for some wedding services … she’s working out the details.

It’s always good to keep the luck going around, right?

Well, today’s that day!

In December, I entered a bunch of daily prize contests (sponsored by Rent The Runway) in an attempt to rack up entries into a grand prize trip. I didn’t win the trip … but I DID win a daily prize! A tote bag and a few accessories from Sachin+Babi! Fabulous!

A couple pieces were immediately sent off to various important ladies as gifts, but I’ve saved a bit for you … after all, you’re pretty important ladies (and guys!) to me. So, let me introduce you to the Triev earrings:



I apparently also give you crappy photos. There’s only so much I can do with my phone, you know. ::winks::



Also known as the Rorschach Fringe earrings, the Triev* are sterling silver. They hang 3.5 inches from tip to tip (about 3.25″ from post to tip), and weigh .05 ounces each. Perfect for that formal event you have looming on the horizon … or for adding some badassery to your every day attire, am I right?

Anyone interested?

If so! Leave me a comment, letting me know! I’ll leave comments open through Friday, and announce the winner (chosen through random drawing) Monday morning. And yes, all you non-US located lovelies are included. =)

So how about it? Fancy earrings for you? And we can’t forget … you’ll also receive this lovely linen bag I may or may not be obsessed with:


Blurry fingers not included.



* In the interest of full disclosure, these earrings retail for $295, and I paid nothing for them. This giveaway is sponsored by neither Rent The Runway nor Sachin+Babi.

January 23, 2012


A triumph, I tell you!


That’s what I kept yelling from the kitchen last night. And that was even BEFORE tasting them.

After being inundated with Red Lobster commercials for the past month, these have been on my list to try and make. Thanks to a lovely link on Pinterest from the best, I had a recipe! Now, just to find the time…

Yesterday, the day was … icy. So we stayed in, and stayed in, and stayed in … until the prospect of yet another poorly written disaster movie (2012 anyone?) was enough to drive us both to shower and run out the door for dinner. Our destination? Cafe Rio. Is there one near you? Have you been there? If you answers are yes and no, respectively, run there. NOW. You’ll thank me.

So out the door we headed, into the ice and foggy breath … only to arrive 4 minutes after closing. 4 MINUTES. The husband pouted for the next 10. And as we contemplated what else we could eat, a little voice in the very back of my brain yelled “CHEESY BISCUITS!” So, I offered to take him to Target, and to make dinner myself.*

Target, a place that is guaranteed to cheer him up, is also a freaking drain. We went in for Bisquick, and a possible boy-cheering something or other, and left $68 later. Take note, this is NOT how we save money.

But! On the positive side, I had my chance to make the biscuits! And kids … they. were. so. easy. So easy. As in I-will-make-these-for-snacks-when-I-don’t-feel-like-cooking easy. So let’s get to it.

*** NOTE: These biscuits are soft, not flaky. That’s how I like ’em. If you’re going for flaky, sub the Bisquick for flour/baking powder/butter accordingly ***


You’ll need: **

2 cups Bisquick (I used original. If someone tries the gluten-free, let me know how it works!)***
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the Bisquick, cheese and garlic powder.

Add milk and stir until JUST combined.

Drop spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons? I didn’t measure) onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter, and stir in parsley and garlic salt.

After 10 minute, brush the butter/parsley/garlic mixture on the biscuits.

Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Serve hot … they’re best that way!


See, what’d I tell you? EASY.

One thing to mention though … these had a distinctly salty taste. Being a lover of all things cheese and salt (please see my Handi Snacks addiction), they were perfect for me. If you aren’t a fan of the sodium, sub more garlic powder for the garlic salt in the butter mixture. Problem solved.

So … what are you waiting for? GO MAKE ‘EM!

Have you cooked anything fun recently?


* Me cooking dinner is not an out-of-the-ordinary occurence. But for me to offer, at 8:15pm, on a Sunday, when we haven’t planned anything? He was excited, to say the least.

** This recipe is for 14ish small biscuits. I halved the recipe and it fed the two of us, along with pasta and salad.

*** DO NOT be seduced by the Bisquick “Garlic Cheese Biscuit” mix. NOT THE SAME, I tell you!

January 20, 2012

Sometimes They Come True

So … with tomorrow being the 5 YEAR anniversary of the accident (fondly known as “Hooray! Sarah’s Still Alive! Day”), I feel it appropriate to post a reflection today.

In late fall, after much cheering on from all of you, I signed up for a Master Class with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

I was scared, then I was nervous, then I was excited.

So, I did some reasearch and ordered some new dancewear. Paid for fast shipping and everything. (Thanks a lot DC area and your 2 dancewear stores. You fail.) Got it. Got super excited. Tried it all on.

And cried. Hard.

Putting on a leotard and capris for the first time in 5 years really magnified what I’d lost. Wearing something I’d basically LIVED in for 23 years, I hated how I looked. HATED it. And I’ve never been one to hate my body. I mean, yes, I knew I’d put on some weight … but to have a leotard that was ALREADY a size up from all my old ones be too small? To have the one-size-fits-all capris pull to nearly transparent across my thighs?

Yah, lots of crying.

Considering I didn’t have time to order a new leotard, or exchange it, I was stuck. And the idea of wearing things too small (to a class I wasn’t sure I could make it though in the first place)  was enough for me to cry myself to sleep, thinking my idea of going was misguided and really, I should just forget all about it.

No bueno.

Saturday morning dawned, and the husband … who HATES it when money is wasted … dragged me out of bed and told me I was going, as I’d already paid. So I shoved myself into the too small dancewear, pulled my hair into a bun, grabbed a pair of sweats just in case. And sniffled my way there.

Getting to the Kennedy Center I was greeted by a beautiful elderly lady, who moved with a fluidity you rarely see. I would not be shocked in the slightest if she was a prima ballerina in her youth. While escorting me upstairs she asked how long I’d been dancing. I told her my story (the short version) and she leaned over and hugged me.

“Ballet … no, modern, I think. Am I right?” She was. “I’m so very glad you’re back to dance today. Congratulations.”

Oh man. After that it was ALRIGHT CLASS, LET’S DO THIS.

Walking into the room, there were about 10 other students. And clearly, I was nearly a decade older than every. single. one of them. I tossed my stuff in a corner, and began to stretch. After about 5 minutes of this, our instructor walked in. Quite unexpectedly, he was the company’s director of choreography, Robert Swinston.* With no warning (and no time to shed my sweatpants), he launched us into the first routine.

I’d forgotten that in a Master Class nothing is taught at half speed. It’s full on, full out, from the very first step.

90 minutes. 90 minutes of steps deceptively simple looking. Of twists and leaps and quite literally flinging ourselves around the room. 90 minutes physically harder than anything I remember doing.

I fell … often … in the first 15 minutes. And I laughed … every time. Which earned glares from other dancers. But also the praise of our instructor “Why shouldn’t she laugh? Falling is silly. You have to have fun with it, laugh, pick yourself back up. If you’re not enjoying yourself, if you’re taking yourself too seriously, you shouldn’t have the honor of calling yourself a dancer.”

That didn’t win me any friends … but it did make me glow. And gave me the courage to get up and re-attempt the step I’d just crashed out of.

I fell a lot. (So did everyone else.) I missed nearly every single arm movement (it’s been oh … 15 years since I’ve taken ballet. You don’t use matched arm and foot placements in modern!). I had to stop twice, as my back wouldn’t support holding a certain position. I laughed (loudly),  I sweated (heavily), I made a fool of myself (often), and I forgot that my leotard didn’t fit.

When he began to cool us down I started to get excited. I’d made it! I’d actually made it though a class, NOW, that I’d been too chicken to take back in the height of my dance career.

As we were all packing up I overheard a couple local college kids complaining that the choreography had been “too easy” and they’d been “expecting … MORE.” Made bold by my sense of accomplishment I walked over and snapped “You’ve CLEARLY never seen this company perform. Their entire style is based on doing basic movements PERFECTLY.” From behind me, someone else piped up, addressing the girl I’d just scolded. “Doing one movement perfectly, holding it, really feeling it and making your audience feel it, too, is much MUCH harder than going through a series where you only need to hit the end step on the right beat. Go back to your ballet class, little girl. Leave this to the adults.”

Um. Wow.

Turns out, the company was rehearsing for the night’s performance, just after our class. The company dancers had begun filing into the room as we packed up.

The complainer flounced away, and the woman laughed. The DoC walked up, clearly amused by what had just happened, and turned to me. “So what’s your story? You clearly have modern training … some Martha Graham, right? You were the only one in the room who knew what they were doing or even TRIED. But something’s off. You were rock solid on your left, but every time we focused on the right, you fell. Why?”

As I explained about the accident and my resulting back issues, you could see the wheels turning. Without asking permission (a dance master never does), he started probing my back, and taking me through some steps. Then, standing back, he asked me to cover some of the steps we’d done in class. While going through them, a couple of the company members came up and began to fill in the empty spaces. It turns out, the series of steps that we’d done in class were actually one member’s movements from a full routine. As the empty spaces with filled with others, it all made sense.

It was magical. And stunningly beautiful.

After many, many thanks to everyone, I left. By the time I got outside, guests were arriving for another afternoon show. Standing there in my leotard and sweats, I was quite the standout among the formalwear. But I barely noticed.

I found a place to wait for my ride, and slowly … as the adrenaline slipped away … what had happened started to hit me. I’d danced, something I’d never thought I would do again. And I’d done so for the DoC of my dream company … with the company members themselves. I’d had two major players in the dance world recognize me for what I once was and encourage me back. And I’d thrown it all in the face of that voice inside me that echoed what so many doctors have been telling me for the last five years.

I started shaking. And I cried. And felt the urge to vomit from the emotion of it all.

And as the cool December air dried my tears, I looked down at my feet…


… and thought maybe, JUST MAYBE, they would lead me back to a place where what I’d once been would become what I AM.


* A quick excerpt from his bio: “… attended the Juilliard School, where he received a BFA in Dance. He danced with the Martha Graham Apprentice Company, the José Limón Dance Company, and with Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre.” Holy big deal, Batman. o_O

** Photo taken about 20 minutes after I left the studio. This really was the moment it hit me.