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Buying a Party Dress

You might think that aside from the anniversary, not much was going on around here. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. That said, can you stand one more photo from the trip? I mentioned how beautiful the sky was painted before sunrise, however, I realized later I gave you no photographic proof. You be the judge...
We've had some good news around these parts in the last few weeks, some for Bruce, some for me.

Beginning with the most important, Bruce won what's called a Brilliance Award at work. Long time readers will remember, or at least I hope you do, that last year was the absolute toughest year of Bruce's long career. Not only were the projects located 3,000 miles away, but they were all different, AND more importantly, there were all subject to insane building codes and the like. I won't re-hash it all, however, let's just say it was so terrible for him that he decided he'd had all he could take. Agreeing to finish the projects, his plan was to retire upon their completion. The restaurants were completed and after some time to think about it, he stayed.

So what exactly does it mean? Here's an excerpt from the email telling him the happy news:
  • Bruce Peck has been selected as a 2013 Individual Brilliance Award winner. Brilliance Award recipients are honored for their extraordinary contribution to the success of our Restaurants or Restaurant Support Center. This year we received 102 nominations and fourteen (14) individual winners and five (5) teams were selected.
And here's the next part:
  • The Brilliance Awards Celebration is Darden's RSC premier recognition event and will be hosted by senior executives at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes on the evening ofThursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Winners are encouraged to invite a guest to share in the celebration. To make this day even more special, we want to provide all winners with the afternoon off work prior to coming to the celebration. 
So, a girl's got to look good to accompany an award winning husband doesn't she? Actually, while Nancy was visiting, I realized how far I'd let myself go--not getting my hair cut, nails done, and the like. Then too, swimming and biking are not great for keeping one's hair in the greatest shape. Furthermore, I'd let myself mostly run out of all the Kiehl's products I've used for years and years. A trip to Nordstrom was in order.

I love Nordstrom, don't get me wrong, but the truth is, I do not live a department store life. At my age, trends leave me cold--I don't want to wear a dress with a gigantic zipper exposed, nor do I want to carry a small suitcase around with me--see purse, or make that "handbag", department. I will admit though that the cosmetic department is both intimidating, and intoxicating, at the same time. The friendly sales clerk helped me pick the correct shade when I said I wanted moisturizer, and why not get the tinted version? First she insisted on putting some "special cream" under my eyes that she gently massaged in, telling me all the while I should do it each morning to minimize my bags. Try as I might, she would not buy the "it's genetic" line I gave her. I was not kidding--somehow, of all the sisters, I got the biggest under eye baggage of the bunch from our parents! I left with moisturizer, toner, shampoo, conditioner, hair cream and I can't remember what else. That sounds like a lot ,and it is, but the great thing about Kiehl's products is that you use very little of them making them last forever. Well, maybe not forever...

Of course I wanted a new dress for the occasion! I tried on a bunch of them; red, turquoise, coral, and more. All lace because that is the latest trend! Sadly, none of them seemed just right. The red fit great, but I couldn't think of wearing red, so you might wonder why I tried it on. No clue really. 

There are lots of reasons for loving Nordstrom, one of which is their great dining room, seriously classy and delicious!  Always, well make that a few times a year, I sit at the counter to watch the cooks. While waiting on my food I saw these two ladies:
Apparently she did not want to carry a gigantic handbag, instead opting for an enormous and WEIRD backpack! Because it was later than the normal lunch time, the chef had some time to make sauces while I sat watching. While chopping a bunch of cilantro,  I quizzed him about how long it took to get good at chopping. You might be surprised to learn he told me three years.
I, for one, cannot begin to chop like chefs do. How they keep the end of their knife down on the cutting board is beyond me.

Next stop--Bloomingdales at Millenia Mall. I wandered around the dress department, of course, hitting the sale rack while there. More lace in a variety of colors. Then I came across the rack with Coast dresses, a brand from England. They are beautifully made, and some were even on sale. I tried on a bunch.
The lighting in dressing rooms is so iffy, one can never really know what one looks like. Barely a lace one in the bunch! After much deliberation with the two young ladies assisting me, I went with the one on the far right--navy blue with some sheer parts, and some lace. In a new policy they put this sensor thing on the dress that you have to take off when you wear it because it's hanging from the hem. Apparently people who have no morals were wearing the party dresses, then returning them after their night of looking glam. Bad form.

The trouble was, I was not in love with the dress. It seemed serviceable. When Bruce got home from his trip I tried it on, and he wondered if it was in style? Although he said it fit me well, I was pretty sure he felt it had no "wow" factor. Yesterday, after trying on dresses at Nieman Marcus, I headed back to Bloomies with the dress in tow. I'm not sure how I missed it the first time, but this trip I did fall in love with a dress, mostly for the color. And now it is mine.
Now, I'm super excited to wear something pretty to the Ritz with my brilliant husband. While at Bloomies, the girl asked me if I needed a clutch? Not for $100 I don't! This morning, while working in the yard I remembered two bags I brought home from Bruce's Mom's house when I cleaned it out after her death. What could be better than to bring her along to the celebration, after all, Bruce is her son. So, here's my choices:
What do you think? Speak up if you think it is a goofy idea!

For my part, after six years of entering the Historical Preservation Calendar Contest, I finally made it to the cover! I can't tell you how happy that makes me. Furthermore, when we returned from Daytona there was a message on the machine from a woman wanting to buy a few prints. That was a nice surprise. And finally, I heard from Alejandra at Sun Dance. Here's what she had to say:

Things are going well at SunDance. We actually re-sold the attached... sold QUITE a few! It will take a little while to see the good stuff ($$$) but it's in the works! Very very exciting. They told us the image is doing extremely well for them. 

How nice is that? It's the image that ended up at Kirklands. 

Finally,  THIS is why you can't trust other folks opinions. ( a classic? who are they kidding?) Honestly, I cannot believe the high ratings on this book I finished reading last night. Nor can I believe I kept reading it, because if ever there were a book full of stereotypes, this one was it. I love a good Southern novel by Lee Smith, but shoot me if I ever pick up another book by Beth Hoffman. I can't resist listing the formula:
  1. Born on farm in Kentucky
  2. Taciturn father
  3. Can't get along with her Mother
  4. Has big dreams
  5. Weird younger brother who goes missing
  6. Follows said big dream to Charleston
  7. Rescue dog as her companion
  8. Eventually finds true love, but not without challenges
  9. Black man as helper 
  10. Mother dies just as she is set to apologize
  11. __________you fill in the blank
What is most remarkable to me is that in the hands of a really good writer, all that stuff might add up to something. I suppose it is like that with all the arts, isn't it?
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