Tag Archive | Mom

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Ride the Elevators of Anxiety

Before we get to the elevators, let me back up a bit…

Immediately following the luncheon, the bridal party and I left to get our nails done at Livvy Nails and Spa in Lakeville, MN.  I had picked this salon on a previous planning trip and they were ready for us when we arrived (although there was some miscommunication on when exactly that time would be).  Some of us got regular manis, some got gel manis, and some of us went for both a gel mani AND a pedi (like me!).

I was happy as any nail snob could be and since I asked you all for an opinion on my polish colors, it’s only fair that I tell you what I picked!  I went with Essie’s dark purple “damsel in a dress” on my toes and bridal white in gel on my hands!  I also brought Essie’s lavender  “go ginza” as option for the girls’ and most of them did choose either the dark purple or the lavender to compliment their dresses.

Personal photos/Collage by Mrs. Sword

Personal photos/Collage by Mrs. Sword

We ended up leaving the nail salon in shifts as people were finishing up because it was time to check into the hotel rooms and get organized for the rehearsal.  I was in the last car load, being that my appointment was one of the longer ones, and I was starting to get a bit anxious on the drive to Embassy Suites.

My biggest concern was making sure we had the right people in the right hotel rooms near each other.  I wanted the girl’s getting ready room (where I was sleeping Friday night) to be directly next to my parent’s room so I could get my dress on with only Mom Sword and Sister/MOH Big Eyes in the room. I wanted it to be a private moment and I didn’t want clothing and makeup supplies in the shots.  Mrs. Sword Wedding Tip:  Keep an area clear in your room to get into your dress OR go somewhere else entirely.  It’s amazing how calming it was to step into my dress one hotel room over from where the getting ready commotion was taking place.

The problem was I wanted to be next to my parent’s room and my parent’s wanted to be next to my grandparent’s room and everyone in the family was checking in at different times.  Oh and to complicate things further, the girl’s getting ready room had to be on a different floor than the guy’s getting ready room.  Due to all this and who knows what else, my poor father had to transport my heavy, ruffled wedding gown to a grand total of FIVE hotel rooms before it could be officially hung up.

The funniest part was (and I heard this later on) that Mr. Sword was sitting at the hotel bar chatting with his groomsmen and buddies who had just arrived that Friday afternoon.  And since my dress had been steamed our alterations friend L suggested we don’t cover it again so it was imperative that Mr. Sword look away every time my Dad went huffing and puffing across the lobby.

Photo by FIL Sword

Photo by FIL Sword

Poor Dad Sword, I wish there was some way we could have prevented this, but the truth is with hotels there is no guarantee of early check in, or which rooms you’ll get, or who you’ll be next to, you just have to wait until the day of and hope they are accommodating.  And thankfully Embassy Suites Bloomington WAS very accommodating to us!

To make matters worse, the elevators at our hotel were awful.  This is truly my only complaint about this Embassy Suites, but it’s a big one! Update and improve your elevators people!  The elevators are actually quite beautiful, they are clear glass, and centrally located in the hotel, but slow.as.hell.  I wish I could say this was the last time they were problem but alas it is not, and you’ll just have to wait for a later recap to find out more!  😉

Photo by Aunt K

Photo by Aunt K

Dad Sword wasn’t the only one running laps and waiting on the elevators, I too had to run around and finalize details with Mom Sword, Pastor P, and Mr. Sword!  Then a little before 7 PM our amazing videographers arrived to start taping the family and friend interviews to put in our wedding video so we had to get them to a secluded room and make sure people knew where to go.  And yes I did take the stairs when I could but we’re talking 8 floors here and all while wearing heels and carrying things!

Apparently there were other issues surfacing as well, like the stickers we had bought last-minute to label who had a vegetarian or a kid’s meal on the escort card swords were not stickers at all but jewels with no adhesive so a few ladies had to run out and buy glue.

There was also a mad scramble to get the keyboard, amp, and music stands set up for the rehearsal later that evening.  Luckily I knew nothing of these issues (I love my family and friends) and my biggest focus when I got back to the hotel was squeezing into my fancy rehearsal dress which I first talked about HERE.

I blame 40% of my stress level on being a bride the day before her wedding and the other 60% on those damn elevators!

Looking back now, it’s a big joke in our family, the worst part of the Sword wedding were the elevators from 1970, HAHA, and in retrospect, who really cares?  I can TOTALLY laugh about it now.  🙂

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!

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Obligatory How I Found My Wedding Dress Post

Since I kept Evie (remember how I named her?) a secret from all of you until after our wedding I figured it’s only fair to explain how I found her, and most of all share photos of our alterations journey together!

To recap, I bought her at the Wedding Shoppe, Inc., back in June of 2012 with Mom Sword, Sister Big Eyes, Auntie B, and BM L Dawg in attendance. There were some tears and I had the “this is the dress” feeling so I considered it a successful day! After a week of disappointing appointments and knowing I was heading back home to Chicago in two days, I was so thrilled to have found my wedding gown!

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Iain's camera 188

This dress is the epitome of glamorous in my eyes.  It’s sexy on top and fit for a princess on the bottom.  It’s dramatic and a little crazy (like me) and it was actually really easy to wear all day!  It was very comfortable and my favorite part was lifting up the bottom of the dress and feeling like I was being swallowed up by the ruffles.

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Naturally everyone wanted to get in on the lifting of the ruffles, or make fun of me, either way I didn’t mind.  I’d found my dress!  So you can imagine my surprise and frankly, disgust, when I first tried it on again in October.  It was so wrinkled and ill-fitting (hard to tell in the photo below), and it was far from glamorous.

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This is one of the few pictures taken from my first fitting and there’s no need to go into all that again.  You can tell by my face in the mirror that I am NOT happy.

Fast forward to my fittings with our family friend L, a five-pound weight loss, a steamed dress, and you’ll see me as a happy bride-to-be!

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Christmas 2012Wedding 042

We ended up taking in the sides where it hit my legs and everyone warned me that dancing would be difficult but I’ve always preferred my clothing to be body hugging and I’m here to report I danced the entire night without a problem in my tight fit and flare gown!  🙂

The second fitting (first time looking at alterations) was where we discovered the veil I’d borrowed from Mrs. Archer didn’t match my ivory dress at all (I was so sad)!  Luckily, L had a bit of ivory tulle lying around her sewing room and she ended up making me the beautiful veil you’ll see in all of my photos.  We did something a bit different by making a small poof at the top of the veil to sit behind my tiara. I can’t wait to show you guys the way it looked in the professional photos!

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I chose to do a three-point bustle.  It was pretty simple (or so I hear), the most difficult part being finding where the hooks were located.  The best part about having a jagged, ruffled bottom was that I could bustle my gown for our rainy pre-ceremony photos without wrinkling my dress, which was then un-bustled for the ceremony and then bustled again for the reception.  Phew, that’s a lot of bustling!

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Sister/MOH Big Eyes practicing the bustle days before the wedding!

Sister/MOH Big Eyes practicing the bustle days before the wedding!

I practiced walking down the hallway and family friend L told me to remember to keep my head up anytime I was walking, she said it’s so awkward when brides stare at the ground the whole time worried about tripping on their dress.  The many layers of my gown made walking tricky at first but by the end of alterations it was the perfect length.

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I could stare at the back of my dress forever but alas it’s time to say goodbye… for now… I am so incredibly LUCKY that I get to do a wedding gown photo shoot with my sister after her Big Day in June. I can’t wait to wear Evie in some warmer weather and take some cool shots next to my lovely sister.  And don’t worry I’ll definitely be sharing our Rock the Frock Sister Shoot with the hive!

(all photos personal)

Did you go through a love/dislike process with your wedding dress too?  How did your alterations go?  Who else is obsessed with RUFFLES!?!

Pre Wedding Depression, Didn’t See This One Coming

Disclaimer:  So yea, I’m going to talk about depression and I know that word can mean different things to different people and it can cause lots of very strong opinions, but I just want to recognize that everyone’s journey is unique to them and I only speak for myself.  Cool.

Scotland April 2012

Scotland April 2012

Throughout my year of wedding planning I was well aware of and well equipped to handle post wedding depression. I had read about it, heard first hand experiences about it, and had personally experienced the feeling of loss that can overtake one after something exciting ends (in my case, when I show I was performing in closed, it always left me a little sad). I was doing everything right to combat post wedding depression. I kept my friendships active, I planned for events post-wedding, and I reminded myself that there would be many exciting life events to look forward to with Mr. Sword.

Fortunately, I don’t feel any PWD (yay)! I loved my wedding day; I’m grateful it went so well and I’m happy to be married to the love of my life. But it turns out I was preparing for the wrong thing…

If you Google Pre Wedding Depression you can find articles that talk about it. They mostly go on about brides being so stressed out planning their wedding that they turn “blue.” This is not what I felt. I can handle stress. I can handle my anxiety (poorly but I can), and I can handle being “blue.” What I felt in the last few months of planning was painful.

It probably wasn’t evident from my blogging and it didn’t affect my job as a nanny but in my downtime I was apathetic, lonely, pessimistic, melancholy, and just plain sad. My Mom says when we have many changes in our lives our chemical balances can get off, and whether that’s true or not, that’s what I felt. Mr. Sword was traveling every week for work and I had way too much time to be alone, and to think. I was agonizing about all the upcoming changes in our careers, our location, and our relationship. I was feeling overwhelmed at the responsibilities of being someone’s wife, as I suddenly thought I wouldn’t be enough. And I was scared of failing, at well, everything.

So of course I picked fights with Mr. Sword. I had lots of emotional breakdowns on the phone to Mom, Sister, and Best Friends. I spent a few Saturdays in bed too depressed to move.

Sure, there were a few factors that helped contribute to my low mental state, the holidays were over, the winter dreariness was just beginning, and the thought of hosting the biggest event of our life seemed so overwhelming that everything else in life looked equally as daunting. Whatever the trigger, I knew I was not feeling like myself. I knew something was off.

At first it became apparent that I was a wreck every other weekend and so I began dreading every other weekend. I thought about seeing someone outside of my family to talk about things with but eventually we decided to go the holistic route and stocked up on herbal pills and extracts to help aid me in positive thinking and lower my anxiety. These things worked… slightly? Or perhaps they were a mental trick, either way I was working on feeling better and I was glad.

Soon enough both January and February past and by March I was starting to feel like myself again. I was still nervous for the big day (hello control freak) and I was still prone to emotional breakdowns (but what bride isn’t?), but I was happy and positive. It was a relief to be excited for the future again instead of dreaming up worst case scenarios.

Looking back from the other side I feel blessed to have had so many amazing people in my life that listened to me when I needed that, or made me laugh when I needed that, or acted excited about the wedding when I needed that. Mostly I’m grateful for having a partner who will discuss anything with me no matter how crazy I sound, who I can trust with my worst and most personal fears, and who loves me even when I’m not feeling 100% like myself.

love you baby!

Muah! love you baby!

(all photos personal)

Treading carefully here, does anyone else want to share their pre or post wedding depression experiences?  How did you get past the low moments?

Last Minute Plans

How are you spending the day before your wedding?  Are you having a rehearsal followed by a rehearsal dinner like us?  Are you going to a salon with your bridal party to get pampered?  A couple’s massage with your betrothed?  Or are you doing something adventurous and random like rock climbing or go-kart racing?

For our big day before the Big Day Mom Sword will be hosting a luncheon for all of the women in our very small families and the bridal party ladies at her house.  It’s called “Lunch with Princess Miss Sword” and it will be a time for me to relax and chat with 17 of my favorite people in the whole world.  This is the only event that my FMIL and FSIL will be able to attend since they live in Scotland and weren’t able to attend the bridal showers or other planning events for obvious reasons.  Mom Sword wanted them to feel special and included and I know this is going to make for one awesome memory.  How often will I get all of these women in the same room again?  Plus, it’s a great way to kick off the wedding weekend festivities!!

Immediately after the lunch the bridal party and I will head out to get our nails done at Livvy Nails and Spa.

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I’ve said before I’m a bit of a nail salon snob and I’ve gotten spoiled living in Chicago.  I have about three salons I alternate between and I’m really weary of trying new places.  I decided to use Facebook to ask my Minnesota friends for recommendations of fabulous nail salons and went to check them out when I was in town.

I’m so happy with our choice and so far the owner of Livvy Nails and Spa has been very helpful, and they even have this adorable pink butterfly chair for Littlest C to use.  How adorable!  I can’t wait!

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The big question is what color should I do my nails!?!? I’m definitely doing a gel manicure for my hands (they are addicting) but I can’t decide between bridal white and eggplant purple… any thoughts?  Also I only use Essie nail polish.  I mentioned I’m a snob, right?

For my toes I’m thinking either the eggplant again or lavender?

playdate (perfect name for a nanny!)

playdate (perfect name for a nanny!)

It ended up being a very busy two days during my quick planning trip to Minnesota but somehow I managed to fit in a fitting, and meetings with my florist, bakery, venue, and hair/makeup artist. Everywhere I went I had to drop off a little piece of our tartan so it could be incorporated into the wedding in some way.  We still have a few scraps of it left but I think we’ve used it every single place we could imagine!  I can’t wait to see it all come together.  SO.CLOSE.NOW.

(all photos personal)

Are you doing anything special the day before your wedding?  What color should I paint my nails?  Is anyone else a nail salon snob?

My “Somethings,” My Own

We all know the phrase, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.  (OK, maybe not everyone is familiar with the last part (myself included) until Mrs. Archer sent me her sixpence to use on my wedding day.  Yay!)

My guess is we’ve all probably wondered what we’d use for each of our “somethings” on our wedding day at some point during the planning process.  That said, I’m a big advocate for making your wedding your own and making it unique and personal to yourself and your partner.  So who cares if you have all your somethings picked out way in advance or if you scrap them all together?  Since there was a piece of me that wanted to complete my “somethings” I decided to go ahead with them but in my own special way.

Something old: Grandma Sword’s handkerchief passed down to her from the Grandmother who raised her.  Her Grandmother received the hankie as a gift when she was working at a hospital in the 1930/1940’s.  The handkerchief is decorated with beautiful Japanese embroidery, and my favorite part is that you can’t tell which side is the front and which side is the back.  Does anyone know what that technique is called?

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Something new: Our family tartan!  While the standard answers of dress, shoes, and jewelry are also fitting, there’s nothing quite as new as our newly minted tartan!  It doesn’t exist anywhere else.  Mr. Sword and I designed it together and had it wove in Scotland and then shipped to the US.  Boss Lady has made me a beautiful tartan shawl to wear on the wedding day and I couldn’t be more thrilled to match Mr. Sword’s kilt!

The best part is all I’ll have to do is look around our bridal party or our reception room and I’ll see bits and pieces of our tartan everywhere reminding me of this journey Mr. Sword and I are starting together.  The tartan is symbolic of two cultures joining into one, and it reminds me of all of all the special people in my life who have had a hand in sewing it, crafting it, cutting it, wearing it, and caring it around for the past year as we prepare for the wedding.

holding tartan at first arrival edited

Something borrowed: My new last name.  I don’t believe I’ve spoken about this before but I’m insanely excited to take Mr. Sword’s last name.  It’s such a personal thing that I almost don’t want to talk about it.  Truth is, I currently have the BEST last name ever.  It makes no sense, and it has never been pronounced correctly on any first day of school since the beginning of time, but it’s pretty awesome.  Plus, it’s been my identity for 29 years and it’s provided me with the best Gmail address ever.  No numbers or middle name for this girl!

While I do love it, I’m happy to lose my last name as sort of a rite of passage.  It’s a leap of faith and of trust.  It’s an act of respect to those women in my family who have taken their husbands names before me.  It’s about putting the whole before the individual.  And it’s about creating a new baby family with Mr. Sword.

I’m always going to think of myself as my former last name in some ways, but I will be so proud to sport Mr. Sword’s name is just a few short weeks.  And then I’ll FINALLY be able to hang out on Twitter.  Cause I signed up with newlastname.  Duh.

Something blue: My mothers.  Both Mom Sword and my Future Mother-in-Law are wearing dresses in the color blue, and since my ideal shade of blue is purple, I decided the two most important ladies in the room would cover that “something” quite nicely.  You’ll have to wait for photos of their dresses until after the wedding!

OH AND ONE MORE THING!  It’s the Swords one year engagiversary!!

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Yep, exactly one year ago today the very shy Mr. Sword proposed to me at the top of the John Hancock building in front of many strangers and his future in-laws.  (Clearly, he was smitten.)  If you want to read about it, check this out.  I sorta kinda knew it was coming…  still, it was one of the best days of my life!

(all photos personal)

How are you covering the tradition of the “somethings?’  Does anyone else have a fun twist, I’d love to hear about it!

Butts in Seats

Since we are having a plated dinner at our reception and the thought of free-for-all seating scares me, our guests are going to be given a spot to sit, and I’m happy to report the Sword table assignments have been completed!  Of course our guests are free to sit anywhere at said table, but for the purposes of allergies, and because let’s face it, people like to sit by the folks they know, everyone was assigned a specific table in advance.

And it was so easy that I’m scared it was too easy.  If you’re looking for a quick way to design your table chart, here’s a break down of how my system worked and a rough estimate of how long everything took me.

First off, I have to give credit to Mrs. Mink’s post here because her ingenuity was what inspired me to do the same!  🙂

By putting some effort in ahead of time, Mom Sword and I were able to create the table assignments in a quick 20 minutes.  We started with the tables that we were more certain of and went from there.  Once Mr. Sword arrived home from Kansas City he reviewed our table assignments, made a few slight changes, and with that we were done!

We probably spent a total of 35 minutes making the seating chart and I firmly believe that it went so quickly because of the preparation I did ahead of time.

The only thing I had to buy were the little post-it notes to write the guest’s names on, the other stuff, scissors, paper, and a pen were all found in my house.

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I wrote every single wedding guests’ name on their own post-it note.  Color didn’t matter.  This part probably took close to 45 minutes but I did it while watching TV, so it flew by.  Once they were all finished I stuck each name to a piece of paper and set it aside.

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After that I cut each piece of scratch paper into an oval or an oddly shaped circle, I wasn’t particular.  Then I wrote the table names in the center.

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The hardest part for a perfectionist like myself was not starting over when I messed up on a name or wrote the same table name twice (see below as I’m crossing something out).  To make this project worthwhile I had to be quick and a bit sloppy.  It’s not like this was going to be a final product or anything!

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In the end I’m so glad I took the time to set up the tables in a visual way because it was so much easier than all of us staring at the same computer screen trying to make the assignments online, or writing lists of names over and over.  It was so simple to change names by picking up their post-it and moving it from one table to the other.

We also tried to put the guests at tables that we thought fit with them.  For example, we put family at the Family table, and friends at the Friend table, and our church friends at the Faith table.  Not everyone is matched up perfectly, and there may or may not be a few men at the Princess table but hey, our friends have a sense of humor, right?

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We also used coasters to differentiate between the two types of centerpieces will be having at the wedding in effort to arrange how we want the tables positioned in the reception room.  Mr. Sword and I will be at a sweetheart table in the middle of the room and we tried to put our immediate family and bridal party as close to our table as possible.

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If you’re a visual learner like myself, I highly recommend this method of table assigning!  It worked wonders for us and it was so easy to make changes along the way.

Finally, remember when I asked for help with our castle and our escort cards?  Well we really wanted to make the flags as was the most popular suggestion but after A LOT of brainstorming, Mom Sword came up with something pretty brilliant.

This is just a first draft/prototype, but we all love it so far…

sword escort cards edited

(all photos personal)

Are you making table assignments?  If you already have, did you find it difficult or time-consuming?  What does the hive think of our escort card swords?

Showered in Chicago

As you can probably guess from the title of my post, I had my Chicago shower this past weekend.  Although I mean it both figuratively and literally, because we had a whole day of rains showers to match my event!  It was a wonderful afternoon and I’m so grateful to all of the beautiful ladies who came to celebrate with me!

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When I first got engaged early last year Boss Lady told me she wanted to throw me a LLLL shower here in Chicago for all my Chicago peeps, and I was so touched!  I know bridal showers are a bonus as not everyone gets one, and I was thrilled when she made the generous offer.

Boss Lady is also Mom to my flower girl Littlest C.  Littlest C was so adorable at the shower, I heard she helped set up, I saw her greet and talk to guests, and when she wasn’t bonding with Sister/MOH Big Eyes she was being the cutest, most adorable and mature 6-year-old ever!

Miss Sword, Littlest C, and Boss Lady

Miss Sword, Littlest C, and Boss Lady

The LLLL stands for Ladies Linen and Lingerie Luncheon.  Like the name implies you aren’t limited to buying off registry because sexy late night outfits and panties are encouraged as well!  I received lots of beautiful and clever gifts, and some awesome pieces of lingerie.  I think the raciest one was given to me by my mother!  AWKWARD.

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Boss Lady had the luncheon catered and the food was amazing!

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Boss Lady decorated the space with gorgeous purple and white flowers, and made the sweetest treat bags for everyone.  They included a nail polish from Victoria’s Secret, scented drawer fresheners, and adorable hankies.  All in different colors.  So clever!

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She really put together a classy event and I’m so lucky so many of my friends could make it.  Mom Sword and Sister Big Eyes were also in attendance having flown in from MN for the weekend.

This was taken at my church the morning of the shower, apparently it's the only pic I have of the three of us!

This was taken at my church the morning of the shower, apparently it’s the only pic I have of the three of us!

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT CAKE.  I have to give a shout-out to my friends S and A for bringing the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen!!!

S and A are the sisters on the left.

S and A are the sisters on the left.  Can’t you tell?

Isn’t this thing adorable???  It’s got a tartan sash and a little sword.  I mean, COME ON.  I’m in love.

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The tartan sash definitely looked more purple in person than it showed in photos!

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Another shout-out goes to my girl M for coming up with the most unique shower game I’ve ever played!

MX

She actually printed out status’ from Facebook and had everyone guess if Mr. Sword or myself had written them.  Hilarious, smart, and perfect for our social media crazed era!  Of course most of the longer posts belonged to yours truly, but I think I was the only person who got 100%, go figure!  🙂

Mr. Sword showed up at the end of the shower so he could carry gifts to the car and help me thank everyone for coming.  I mean, most of the lingerie is a present for him anyway, right!?!

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Finally my favorite photos have to be from my sneaky Sister Big Eyes.  She was in charge of taking pictures during the shower and she decided to surprise me with an abundance of my famous “Miss Sword” poses using her own mug.  I definitely laughed out loud when I saw them on my camera later that night!   🙂

melissa collage

Did you just have a bridal shower?  Has anyone played the Facebook status game before?  Isn’t the cake just perfect??