The Worst Souvenir Ever

We bought the worst souvenir ever while on our honeymoon in Paris.

Coffee and map reading.

Coffee and map reading.

I know what you are thinking –

How is that possible? It was your honeymoon! Everything should have been oozing romance and perfection. What prompted you to purchase something that would have been anything less than satisfactory?

I had such HIGH hopes for this souvenir too, it makes me so sad to think that it is now hidden away in my closet, stacked between heavy books not easily moved.

It is not a common souvenir.
In fact, it was custom made, right before our eyes.
One of a kind.
A complete original.

It is not one of those cheesy dime-a-dozen key chains with the Eiffel tower or a neon-green shirt with ‘City of Love’ sprayed across the chest in obnoxiously large font.

Nope. It is way better that.

It is a charcoal drawing/sketch of my portrait done by a seemingly talented artist who was standing right along the Seine, just next to the Eiffel tower.

As if, this was the most convenient place for an artist to create art.

Moments before we found the artist.

My camera bag is only slightly large. Moments before we found the artist.

He caught our eye because he had just finished a sketch and it was stunning. The woman looked beautiful. She had deep shades to show the contour of her facial bones and her eyes were smiling. Immediately, Mr. Speedy asked how much and agreed I would be the subject.

However, the artist’s work that we just saw, and approved of, was taking a break so his co-worker promptly stepped in and began my sketch.

This is so exhilarating! We can frame this and always remember our honeymoon and Paris… I thought as I sat and positioned myself to look at the artist.

I used to be an model for the Art Department at grad school and it was my favorite job ever. This brought back a flood of memories and kind of gives a person a whole new level of value that they can keep to themselves. I can be the subject. I am the subject. I am being art.

However, after some time and sketching, it was apparent something was very very very wrong.

Mr. Speedy kept snooping, peeking over the artist’s shoulder, and making these contorted faces as if he just bit into a rotten apple.

And when the artist was finally done and wiped his brow, as if to say You were difficult… but I am a master, I held my breath hoping it was a notable likeness.

To my horror, this is what he saw in me:

My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

My lips are NOT that lush. Those eyebrows… did he miss out on how the thickness? My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

Man. I am a man.

Man. I am a man.

WHAT IS THIS.

WHAT IS THIS.

We payed the artist, and walked away with our sketch (if you can even call it that, it is more like a long-lost twin brother), and wondered how on Earth did the man think that this looked anything like me?

“I feel like he looked at you, and any type of flaw, like your thicker eyebrows or freckles, he altered your face. I don’t like it. I love your face and this is not it,” Mr. Speedy said.

It’s true – my real features are pretty plain – I have small lips, large eyes, thick eyelashes, crazy eyebrows, freckles, and a very thin neck.

Mr. Speedy things that this portrait looks like….

  • Me as a male football player
  • Me as an male army sargent
  • Me if I got lip injection, a nose job, and tweezed all my eyebrows out
  • Me if I was not me

I guess in the future, if we REALLY want a portrait done, we should probably go with an artist who is a bit more legitimate than a man sketching tourists along the Seine.

Sincerely,

Lily

p.S. On a completely unrelated note, I just figured out our iPad has Photobooth which means I can take pictures like this:

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Summer Time: Wedding Video, Fun Dinners, and More

Lordy, did I fall off the blogosphere or what?  I apologize for my extended absence !!!

First, here here is some REAL mushy mush….. our wedding highlight video complete with interviews:

NorthFox Media….. is THE BEST. Hands down. Hire them.

So…… here is what is new:

  • My name is officially changed. I am no longer bearing Pirate’s last name.
  • I signed up for a marathon in the fall. It is already starting to consume my brain.
  • I think I might be addicted to cereal. Specifically, Raisin Bran and All Bran.
  • My running injuries are pretty much healed…… ::happy dance::
  • My tiny niece is actually a llama:
How cute is this?

How cute is this?

What I’ve done lately:

  • Got tan. KIDDING. I don’t tan.
  • Got to hold a 6 week old baby. My running friend brought her cute baby boy to practice last week…. and I think I felt my ovaries leap for joy. Oh dear.
  • Fed a dog a pretzel. This is a big deal because I am learning to be friendly with canines and share my beloved carbs.
  • Cooking: Somewhere between pre-wedding and post-honeymoon I realized that I hadn’t really cooked any decent dinners for my man. My Mom has been cleaning out her cookbook collection and gave me magazines from like, the 80s, that are full of easy recipes. Sundays I have been planning our dinner menus for the entire week and making new things, such as:

I also made a gorgeous pork dish with a brown-sugar-red-wine glaze (are you drooling? I am.) but didn’t take a picture because we had a guest over and I didn’t want him to think ‘WOW MR. SPEEDY’S WIFE COOKS AND TAKES PICTURES OF HER OWN FOOD. WERID-O.”

Anyways, life is good.

This past weekend we travled to West Virginia with one of our running groups for a half-marathon. TOTAL FREAKIN BLAST.

Here is the group together:

We are a happy bunch.

We are a happy bunch.

My shorts are the shortest.... what does that mean?!?

My shorts are the shortest…. what does that mean?!?

During the race, someone yelled ‘GO BILLY!’
Naturally, I thought they meant to say ‘LILY’ so I corrected them as I ran by, screaming ‘Thanks but my name is LILY!’
And then…. a tiny voice breathed behind me, ‘My name is Billy.’

Here is a shot of us running together:

Lily and Billy.

Lily and Billy.

Poor Billy. I dragged him through mile 7-11. He was a senior in high school and every time he got a little behind, I yelled ‘Come on Billy!! Billy get up here!’

He probably regretted admitting that he was Billy. Oh well, good job young runner whom I will probably never meet! I hope you do well in college.

(Clearly, I’m a creep).

I was happy with my time at 1:33:53…. totally tanked at the end but this is proof that my IT Band is getting stronger and bandier (is that a word???).

After the run, we all drove a very windy path to one of the runner’s property and stayed for a few nights. It was a little slice of paradise. Woods. Fresh air. Mountain creeks. Natural waterfalls. This place had it all.

Mr. Speedy and I got to sleep above the barn with a large Elk head looming on a wall. It was kind of like sleeping in a Gander Mountain. All was fine and dandy until people started talking about ticks and bugs. If you don’t remember, I actually got a tick once in Nebraska. It was the single most terrifying moment in my life. I FREAKED OUT. Mr. Speedy had to light a match and BURN that nasty little thing out of my back. My spine was in danger. Gah. I can’t even talk about it.

So when people start talking about ticks, I FREAK OUT. You better believe that every night I swiftly stripped down, and demanded that Mr. Speedy fully inspect me. There was nothing sexy about this task. I also made it clear that if even JOKED about a bug burrowing into my skin, he would be sorry (I actually never really thought of a decent enough threat). I also took a hair-dryer (because ticks don’t like heat) and hair-dried my already dry body to the point that it was practically burning.

Just in case he missed any….

Obviously, I’d be a GREAT camping companion.

Yes. I can relate.

Yes. I can relate.

We did have the opportunity to drive this feisty little vehicle that had no windshield or doors. It could go over rocks, mud, branches, you name it.

Here we are when the vehicle is not moving:

Oh this is so nice.

Oh this is so nice.

And here I am when the vehicle was moving:

DEAR SWEET BABY JOSEPH SLOOOOW DOWN.

DEAR SWEET BABY JOSEPH SLOOOOW DOWN.

Obviously, I highly recommend anyone riding in one of these so they can look simply attractive and totally gorgeous. Your date will surely just drive faster and don’t mind the bugs that get lodged into your pupil, they eventually fly out.

I’m wearing a helmet next time.

Have you gotten a tick before?
What have you made for dinner lately?
Gone anywhere fun?

Sincerely,

Lily

Reasons to have Children in the Wedding Party

Mr. Speedy’s two nieces will be flower girls and his nephew will be a ring bearer in our wedding.

Originally, we were not planning on having children involved but there are many reasons why having tiny tots is a good idea.

I have to thank my Mother for being the one that really swayed my opinion (I SECRETLY THINK SHE WANTS GRANDBABIES SOONER THAN SHE LETS ON) and I have to thank Mr. Speedy’s sister, the Jazzercise-Hair-Dresser-Awesome mother, who graciously is loaning her children to me.

A few may argue against having children involved, for these reasons:

  • They might flip-out during their role: You know what? That is okay because I just might puke, faint, and have a melt down at some point too. Let’s all flip-out!
  • Children are annoying: You are annoying. Not getting my hair to stay in place is annoying. Life can be annoying, get over it.
  • Costs: Buying their outfits and/or accessories might involve additional budgeting, but luckily children’s clothes are WAY cheaper than adults.
  • Adult-only Reception: The only kids at our reception will be these little ones. That might open up hurt feelings towards other people that want to bring their kids…. but sorry. I can only give out so many plates of chicken fingers and these kids will be like mini-celebrities at our wedding, so they deserve it.

But, I think the reasons to have children greatly out-weigh the above list.

REASONS TO HAVE CHILDREN IN YOUR WEDDING PARTY

1. They take really funny pictures:

Holiday card from a few years back…. I just think it is perfect-

Ahhhhhhahahha!

Ahhhhhhahahha!

Here is a more recent picture, taken as they started their long car ride from Nebraska to Michigan to visit us:

I just LOVE Ryker's popping-eyeballs.

I just LOVE Ryker’s popping-eyeballs.

Aren’t they just the cutest?

2. Children are a reminder of the simple things in life – they don’t get stressed or worried or concerned with little things. Weddings are very formal and generally, involve a lot of hustle and bustle for adults. But if we think like a kid, all the stress kind of evaporates.

3. They are cute. Can we just take a moment to appreciate this preview of tiny Lillyan in her flower girl outfit? Thank you.

Modeling her Gatsby hairpiece, glitz pearls, and flowergirl dress!

Modeling her Gatsby hairpiece, glitz pearls, and flowergirl dress!

4. They help symbolize that a wedding is about family and the future. Mr. Speedy and I are forming our own, brand spankin’ new family together. One day, hopefully, that will involve children. Getting married is the first step.

5. They allow you to involve and honor family members of the children (such as the parents, grandparents, etc.) This is an epic meeting of people- Mr. Speedy’s family will be there, my family, so let’s honor everyone and show off the youngest members of the family.

6. They do unpredictable, adorable things that make you smile.

7. Excellent dancers. All social events that I have been to that have music and children, the children really get out there and dance. Yes, their dance moves just might be twirling and running in a serpentine fashion, but they are out there at least. Many adults do not take a step near the dance floor. You gotta love kids for getting out there and busting some moves.

8. They will eat the cake. Kids will eat the cake. No regrets. No excuses. Many adults will say no to cake or complain if it is not perfect. Not a kid- they see cake, they eat it, and they move on with their day.

9. They are the closest kids to us. I don’t mean that in a literal geographic way, but in a family way – these three little tots are our only nieces and nephews.

10. Did I mention the cute-factor? I have a theory- children actually look far cuter in adult clothes, rather than adults. Seriously.

Flower-Girl-Jcrew

Getting married is exciting because not only do I gain a wonderful husband-love-of-my-life-man-partner…. and parents, sisters, a brother… but also I become an AUNT to these little mini-balls of fun. I am so exciting to be a REAL aunt. I am excited that they will have a little memory of when their Uncle in Michigan got married to their Aunt Lily and how there was cake, dancing, and feathers.

And I am excited for one day, having children so these kids will have some cousins to play with and see at holidays.

Sincerely,

Lily

Valentine, You Make Me Laugh

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is very true.

This is very true.

More importantly…. happy Friday and helloooooo weekend!

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Last night, I prepped myself for date night tonight- this included shaving my legs (pretty big deal).

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Mr. Speedy and I are planning on having a dinner in (he is cooking the meal). I love it when he cooks and I love dates in. You can really capitalize on being in the privacy of your own home and a)make-out all the time b) have instant bathroom access- no waiting in line at the women’s stalls and c) you don’t need to wear pants. What is better than not wearing pants??

I am going to keep it classy though and will probably end up wearing this new top I got awhile go and who knows what else. Maybe I just will wear a sundress and pretend if is summer since we are staying in our toasty home?

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So true.

I hope you all have a wonderful day, my dear friends.

And if for some reason you are getting picked up somewhere by someone, I hope you don’t get left behind.

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This has been making me laugh for weeks. Poor Carl.

May all your hopes and dreams come true !

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Sincerely,

Lily who-gets-to-be-with-her-dream-guy-tonight-and-has-smooth-legs-and-just-might-not-wear-pants-to-dinner

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Another Bridal Milestone

Saturday was our bridal shower in Michigan and what a lovely blur of a day.

First, let me just say that around noon on Thursday I became totally useless to society because my mind was a constant wave of bridal shower, wedding, gifts, rented dress Mr. Speedy, marriage thoughts. Honestly, I have no idea what I did at Friday at work. I was there, I did my job, but I can’t really remember much of any of it.

Saturday morning, I got up early before Mr. Speedy (who am I kidding- I barely slept out of excitement), and drew a hot bath and drank my coffee among lavender bubbles. It was a completely delicious way to start the day. I highly recommend this kind of relaxing start to anyone who has the time and a soaking tub.

My bridesmaid and I then went and got our hair done. First, we stopped at STARBUCKS to recreate this picture-

If you go to starbucks and ask them to write something special- they will!

If you go to starbucks and ask them to write something special- they will!

I asked for ‘Bride-to-Be’ to be written on mine and ‘Bridesmaid’ to be written on my cousin’s drink.

This is what she got-

starbucks2

FAIL. NOPE. YOU ARE SPELLING IT WRONG.

Failed attempt at that…. Seriously. I have to say that I give the employee credit for trying…

Since I was taking professional pictures after the shower, I not only had my hair done but a full makeover.

I DID NOT PANIC.

A note about make-up and I:

  • I rarely use it.
  • If I do, it is just a bit of mascara, eye liner, blush, lip gloss.
  • The lady asked what kind of foundation and concearler I use…. and I admitted that I had no idea what she was talking about – I am still not sure what they are.
  • I love my freckles and would never want to blend them into the rest of my skin. They are like happy speckles splashed on my face.
  • I am rambling – basically, I know very little about makeup.

That being said, I was slightly uncomfortable with having the eye shadow and powder and whatever else was plastered on my face- but everyone I saw assured me it looked perfeclty fine. Not too heavy.

Then, the shower began. My Aunts really out-did themselves with the gorgeous wine bottle Art Deco centerpieces. LOVED IT:

The food was absolutely delicous. I had a hummus plate of yumminess, along with a chicken kabob and rice.

After feeding time, we played games. One involved my cousin reading out-loud a very mushy love story about Mr. Speedy and I. It was cracking up the whole time even though I wrote it and the story is engraved on my heart:

And then I opened many, beauitful, amazing presents.

My face was expressive- sometimes showing happiness, shock, and sheer determination on breaking open the gift:

At the end, Mr. Speedy showed up looking daper and hunky and I had the bigget smile seeing him walk towards me:

I can’t smile enough with him around:

Smile. Smile. All smiles.

Smile. Smile. All smiles.

So many people, so many faces, and so many memories- loved it all:

My dear friend E, who is doing a reading at our wedding, was there. She always makes me light up and is one of the most honest and thoughful friend a person could ask for:

E and I!

E and I!

One of my favorite pictures from the day- this one – obviously baby Rex is the only one who pays attention:

"Hey, adults- look at the camera."

“Hey, adults- look at the camera.”

After the shower, Mr. Speedy and I took pictures with our photographer in 18 degree weather.

I do not know if you have ever gone outside in a short, backless dress with open-toe heels in that kind of weather…. but let me say, it was rather chilly.

Stay tuned for those pictures… XoXo

And THANK YOU for an amazing shower! It was perfectly wonderful and I love the memories from it!

Sincerely,

Lily

PS I WILL be renting from the runway again…. this dress was perfect!! Loved it and it was so unique! 🙂

Almost newlyweds!

Almost newlyweds!

My Scary Neck and My First Dress Rental

Hello.
My name is Lillian and I have the neck of a turtle – please see below:

Please, tell me to stop. Please.

Please, tell me to stop. Please.

This picture is from my friend’s wedding and it makes me crack up. The other girls are so completely pretty and normal and chic and I…. I have a lot of questions. What possessed me to wear large rabbit ears? What is up with the over-sized glasses? Why are my neck veins coming out to say hello? I have the head of a turtle. This is my burden. This is my life.

Moving on from that awkward picture, I am very excited for the next few weeks.

First – tomorrow is Mr. Speedy’s BIRTHDAY!!! I made him this card:

I hope he enjoys my handmade card.

I hope he enjoys my handmade card.

Second, this Saturday is our bridal shower in Michigan. I was freaking out and didn’t know what to wear so I took a chance on Rent the Runway and HOLY MACARONI THIS WEBSITE IS AMAZING. Who has used this before??? I love it. You simply pick out a dress, accessories, whatever and for a fraction of the retail price (it is all high-end designer stuff), you can rent the outfit and ship it back. SO EASY. They send you two sizes, just in case you aren’t sure which to pick.

For our shower, I picked out this sequins-covered dress, trying to stick to the Art Deco theme:

It just arrived, in a pretty box with shampoo/conditioner samples and a coupon for next time!

Here is a sneak peek at the dress…. I had to try it on immediately and I think it turned out great!

Hiiiiiii. I'm in my bathroom.

Hiiiiiii. I’m in my bathroom.

I feel very fancy. And I am glad I do not have back pimples. Ew.

I feel very fancy. And I am glad I do not have back pimples. Ew.

After our shower, Mr. Speedy and I are planning on taking a few pictures with our photographer for a pre-wedding-warm-up session. I suppose you could call these engagement pictures but I just want us to be comfortable in front of the camera.

Let me re-phrase that- I just want me to be able to control myself in front of the camera from mauling Mr. Speedy while he is dressed up and I am dressed up and we are taking lovey-dovey pictures. I will try my best. Wish us luck.

Also, I am going to try to avoid my TURTLE NECK look in ANY wedding photos… so I should practice not doing that on camera.

Other news – first book club meeting is next week and I AM SO PUMPED! We read this book:

SO GOOOOOD

SO GOOOOOD

If you have not read this book, READ IT. It is very good and you won’t put it down. The narrator is Death and the main character is a little girl growing up in the middle of Nazi Germany. It is fantastic. It is beautiful. It made me cry and crave and wonder. This author is amazing.

This next picture really makes me smile. For New Year’s Eve, I had my girlfriend over and then my other girlfriend along with her husband. We played games and wore really awful party hats that constantly tilted. Despite their unattractiveness, we had a blast. Here we are playing PIT, which is a game made for those who can brutally trade cards and yell at the same time:

I am not sure why we were doing thumbs up.

I am not sure why we were doing thumbs up.

I really like the Monet in the background. It just totally screams ‘NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTTTTTTY.’

Speaking of Monet, I registered for one painting and really did not think anyone would buy it. But one woman who was invited to the shower and who has an equally deep appreciation of art, bought it as a gift and shipped it to our home. I couldn’t help but open it early and I was floored by her deep thoughtfulness. She wrote a note that said –

“Lily, this too is one of my favorite paintings and I am so pleased to see that you wanted it. Please enjoy it for the many years to come.”

Gustav Klimt is one of my favorites.

Gustav Klimt is one of my favorites.

Is that not the kindest little note to go along with such a stunning piece of wall art? I have always imagined having this painting, hanging in some future child’s nursery. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it, because now that would be possible.

I really can’t wait for Saturday. Rented dress and I are going to have a blast! Let’s hope the neck of the turtle doesn’t make any appearances!

(That sounded weird. I promise not to refer to my rented clothing as a friend again….)

Sincerely,

Bridal Shower Lily

Our First Date and My Horrible Outfit

People probably assume that Mr. Speedy’s first date with me was simply perfect.

And many parts of our first date was absolutely perfect- from the appetizer of fried green beans, the two full-bodies wines that enhanced my sudden need to get to know his curious lips, and the way he focused in on me when I spoke, as if I was the only person in the restaurant.

But one thing about our first date was totally wrong. Almost unthinkable. Completely my fault.

My outfit.

First date hat? Only if we are going on a safari or you own a very large water vessel.

First date hat? Only if we are going on a safari or you own a very large water vessel.

I have been on first date’s prior to the one with Mr. Speedy and without fail have had some sort of epic malfunction. I always had a tendency to work myself into such an state of anxiety and nervous sweat over my outfit and fashion choices that I usually ended up causing more trouble and less appeal.

For example, years ago, I went on a date one evening during the hot summer and selected a beautiful, backless black dress to wear. With beautiful black strappy heels. Two problems- backless dresses are unforgiving for those who wear a bra and strappy heels are not good for a runner’s feet. I ended up using SURGICAL TAPE to attach a strapless bra (basically it looked like swim goggle for boobs, minus the straps) to my bare sides and getting a blister so bad that I bit my lip throughout the date, and caused my lip to bleed.

I have never wore that dress again. And ripping surgical tape from your ribcage is not worth any date- no mater how fine the food or man.

Another mishap was when I wore a tiny strappy salmon colored shirt that had a shelf-bra (a.k.a. not a real bra). I had no idea we were going golfing for the day in the scorching sun, with no golf cart. By the end of Hole 8, I had so much boob and armpit sweat going on, not to mention the shelf-bra conveniently misaligned with every swing of the gulf club, I was lookin’ for a sand trap to do a face-plant in and die.

But all those other dates were  just mere practice, leading up to this memorable first date with Mr. Speedy.

Mr. Speedy set the bar high, from the feeling that jutted down my spine after I first saw him and the way he flashed me a smile. I knew I had to contemplate and plan out my outfit carefully. An outfit that represented me and all that I was and shoes to match. And maybe a piece of jewelry that was classic and timeless. My taste.

Without question, I knew I just had to wear my most-loved Ann Taylor necklace-

I love this necklace. Also, my cousin and I are weird.

I love this necklace. Also, my cousin and I are weird.

I also remember telling myself to not show-off my tongue-in-the-nostril trick during the date. Mr. Speedy didn’t need to see that.

I wanted to be comfortable, but didn’t want to wear jeans or a dress. It was the beginning of May and fairly warm, but not warm enough for shorts. For some reason, I got it in my head that I was going to wear black leggings.

LEGGINGS.

Let me just state that I NEVER EVER WORE THESE LEGGINGS, other than underneath my jeans in winter for extra warmth. I was not one of those fashion-forward girls with cute long tunics and sweater dresses and ankle bracelets that seem to dazzle freely when leggings are worn.

This was probably my first mistake, trying to introduce a new article of clothing that day of the date, and if you are reading this – please DON’T EVER DO THAT ON A FIRST DATE. It is like suddenly deciding to get your eyebrows waxed an hour before you have school pictures. You show up with your flesh red and irritated and everyone can’t decide if you were rubbing your forehead on a tree trunk or contracted some kind of eyebrow chicken-pox.

Since I had no experience wearing leggings and lacked a top that went beyond my waist, I had to go shopping hours before the date to find something decent. With my cousin beside me, we scoured through racks of clothes until I finally found what at the time, I thought was the coolest top I could find.

It was a midnight blue tunic top with three-quarter sleeves and a boatneck collar. It had no real form to it, other than it cinched around my waist, and fell down past my hips. It was completely plain, with no pattern. The sleeves connected to the main shirt not at the armpit, but at the elbow. It was completely out of the ordinary and not something I had ever worn.

It looked very similar to this-

The sleeve was like this. Totally connected.

The sleeve was like this. Totally connected.

In my mind, this top was the culmination of what I was trying to present to Mr. Speedy. It was hideously shapeless, offering absolutely no indication if I had a shape. Boobs? He wouldn’t be able to tell. Could he see down my top? Nope, he would see an ankle if he was lucky. Did I have sexy little curves? Who knows because with this top I looked like a flattened pancake. I basically was wearing a burlap sack with a pretty chain of pearls around my neck.

I was leaving literally everything up to his imagination. Nothing was to be revealed.

I showed up to the date, wearing this terrible top, my skinny legs sticking out beneath my shapeless torso. I remember feeling SO incredibly self-conscious wearing this odd top, unable to judge how my chest may have looked or where my armpit was hidden beneath the webbed-like sleeve of the shirt. I kept thinking that if I were to lift my arms out, I would totally resemble a starfish.

“Hi, I’m Lillian and am a human starfish. Please accept me.”

This is basically what I felt like the entire night.

This is basically what I felt like the entire night.

OH AND MY SHOES. If the top choice wasn’t terrible enough, I wore these really old black ballet flats. The only pair of ballet flats I owned and the only non-flipflop shoe that would go with the leggings. These babies were so abused that one of my shoes was losing its sole and would kind of make a clapping noise with every step I took. Clap-clap-clap! It was applauding throughout our entire date. Thrilling.

If Mr. Speedy had any negative thoughts about my outfit, he didn’t show it. He was charming. Intelligent. Talkative. Intense. Honest. And all the kind of good looks you hope to find in one man one day.

Half-way through our date, I excused myself to the restroom even though I didn’t have to go. I just had to get away from everything that was passing between us over the table and take a deep breath. I could feel it weighing down the air, as we talked more and smiled and laughed, it was closing in on us. It. It was finally here. That immeasurable lifelong love. It was happening. It was right out there, sitting down at a table, just waiting for me.

I took a deep breath, looked at my reflection, and told myself this was it- he was here.

I completely forgot about my starfish costume of a top and applauding shoe, and went back to the table, excited to where the night might lead.

______________________________________________

I won’t go into further detail about the rest of our date but I will say that there was the kind of kissing that lasts for hours and such a feeling of calmness, I felt like I finally was where I belong.

And my outfit? I have never wore the leggings or the top since that date even though the night was more than I could have imagined. My shoes Mr. Speedy threw into the garbage one day, when I wasn’t looking, and replaced them with brand new shoes. What a gentleman.

If you ask Mr. Speedy these days about my first date outfit, he usually says-

“That outfit was… tastefully conservative and… left much… to be explored.”

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you wear or don’t wear when you go on a date. In the end, if you are sitting across from the person whom you were put on this planet to spend a lifetime with, all that matters is if they see truly see you and you truly see them.

Lesson of First Date Outfits: Do not wear something you normally don’t wear, especially if it makes you feel like a starfish. Also, be sure your shoes are noiseless.

Sincerely,

Starfish Lily

My Hairy Legs

FIRST- SORRY I HAVEN’T POSTED IN FOREVER. It is been busy with two jobs. I’ll be better, I promise.

GOTR (girls on the run) has come and gone.

We trained for the 5k and then ran the 5k.

Majority of my girls were able to run THE ENTIRE THING and a few speedwalked their way across the finish line. A few choose to pick flowers and leaves and skip. Bottom line- they all crossed and got a sweet medal.

Oh heeeeey team!

Oh heeeeey team!

Half of my team is missing in this picture... potty break?

Half of my team is missing in this picture… potty break?

I volunteered with this program at an interesting point in my life.

I had just recently been engaged and was starting to get into the nitty-gritty details of planning a wedding-

…. and I didn’t really like it.

When you are planning a wedding, you have to think in terms of yourself and what you want and me, me, me. I am not used to that thinking and I felt bad and struggled at times to get in the frame of mind “This is what I want, this is what Mr. Speedy wants, and even though this person doesn’t agree, I want this.” It is a really selfish way of thinking, in my opinion. And it has been hard at times to fully embrace what we (Mr. Speedy and I) want, and not what other people (friends, relatives) want.

Mr. Speedy and I have made choices about our wedding, for example the guest list, and I have had a friend tell me how she did not agree with my choice and aruge with me. YEP, THIS HAPPENS PEOPLE. But, at the end of the day, all those opinions from other people should not matter much as long as you and your groom feel that it is right and a reflection of what you truly want for your special day.

It still makes it hard when people throw their opinions about your big day in your face and expect you to fold.

Anyways, I was feeling a little foolish and a little selfish planning the whole event. So I thought why not help others? Why not set aside my wants and needs and choices? Why not volunteer? Why not give a little time to something where I gain no benefit and others gain a lot?

Walking to the start... I am not confused, I promise.

Walking to the start… I am not confused, I promise.

Except I did gain a lot and learn a lot, such as:

  • Cartwheels: Girls have a tendency to do these in the middle of their runs. It is quite entertaining.
  • Hairy Legs: Several girls, every practice, would inspect my legs and let me know that they are far too hairy. Little girls are fascinated with leg hair and judge you if you have it.
  • Snack Time: This is the most important thing about any practice. Do not forget the snack.
  • Marriage: The girls knew I was planning my wedding and constantly would ask questions about my groom, dress, flowers, shoes, and make-up. I had very few answers and was probably a major disappointment.
  • Toilets: ALWAYS check for toilet paper in the stalls (99% of the time it is all gone) and ALWAYS make sure the seat is clean (99% there is tinkle on it).
  • Babies: The girls often would say how lonely I must be because I have no children. They also would suggest I take the leftover snacks and freeze them for my future children because things last for like, 14 years, in a freezer.
  • Pregnancy: One girl told me to my face that I am too skinny to get pregnant. And my legs were too shiny for babies. I have no idea what that means.
  • Pony Tails: If a girl’s pony tail falls out or gets loose, she is immediately incapable of running. It is like pulling a hamstring.

Doing GOTR was such a help for me, to keep me from feeling too consumed with planning the wedding and remember how enjoyable it is to help others.

I plan to coach again in the Spring and help girls learn to find themselves through a sport and teamwork. On the last practice, we had a party to celebrate our 5k success, and one girl came up to me and said-

“Coach Lily, you are the best. I want to be like you when I grow up. But I don’t want hairy legs.”

Ok, they are NOT that hairy. I promise. Sheesh. I’ll shave for the wedding.

Sincerely,

Hairy Legged Lily

Meeting Mr. Smith: A Book Signing

My Mom and I went to a book signing and it was probably the best evening one could ever hope for. The kind of evening that you wish you could bottle up and uncork on any old day, and soak in the amazingness of it all over again.

How adorable is this man?

How adorable is this man?

This author, Alexander McCall Smith, is from Scotland and has a doctorate degree in law. He has taught as a professor for many years at several universities around the world. He often wears a traditional kilt and has wispy white hair, that seems to wave at you from all directions. He grew up in what is now called Zimbabwe and his books reflect his love for Africa, the culture, and the people. He has written several series and novels and is probably the most charming man you would ever encounter.

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Doesn’t he just look charming?

My Mom found out that he was traveling to Northern Michigan to the small town of Alpena for a book signing and wanted to go. Of course, I was in! As we made our way North, and watched the towns grow further apart, the houses sparser, it made us wonder-  how the heck did this famous author, this extremely cultured man, end up here? In this little town that otherwise you would blink right through?

When we arrived to the high school’s auditorium and asked a library member this question, how Alexander McCall Smith ended up here, her answer was so completely cool and simple:

“We asked him to come, so he came.”

This made me admire him even more. Here was an author not in it for the money or publicity, but simply to take time to meet in a small town, where a library asked him to visit. How humble and extraordinary.

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DSC_0027First, we sat in an auditorium where I was probably the youngest person present and my Mother was the second youngest. Majority of people present had a head full of white-hair, no smartphone or cell phone in hand, and were all dolled up. I saw some elderly women that had beautiful brooches pinned to their jackets and earrings that were probably worn only for special occasions. There were some men, mostly looking like they had spent all day working outside, perhaps on a farm, that looked a bit curious about the whole event. Probably there on their wives request, but maybe not. Mr. Smith writes for everyone, not just women.

When he came out on the stage, he top half was that of a professor and this bottom half was that of a Braveheart character. This is a man with some zest and zip for life:

His speech was FANTASTIC, I wish I had it recorded. Funny, witty, charming, and smart. Down to earth. Random. One minute he was talking about clarinets and the next describing a story about a Scottish judge. Some how, it all made sense and was entertaining and eloquent all at once. I didn’t want it to end.

But, when it did end, we were able to get our books signed and take a picture with him, which is pretty much a golden opportunity in life and pretty amazing:

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I had him sign my copy of Trains & Lovers which is a story about strangers on a train and how love has touched them and intertwined their lives in some way. My mother explained to Mr. Smith that I was getting married, and he congratulated me. ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH KNOWS I AM GETTING MARRIED AND SAID CONGRATS – NO BIG DEAL.  I felt a little silly and wanted to return the congratulations to him, on all his accomplishments and amazingness and how I really loved his hair, but I didn’t.

My Mom also asked him if he still lived near J.K. Rowling (she read that he did) and he commented that she is actually moving soon, so not for much longer.

JAW-DROPS. NO BIG DEAL. JK BE HIS NEIGHBOOR.

Anyways, after that amazing meet n greet, we enjoyed some treats. The friends of the library provided some tea (from one of his books) and a beautiful, homemade display of cookies that were to die for…. and that even had African sculptures to pay homage to the author’s roots and books:

If you get a chance to EVER see an author, even if you don’t know who they are or read their books, go. It is always enjoyable to hear a person speak about their craft and their life and their journey to getting published and writing. They are never the same and always interesting. Every second is well-spent.

In Metro-Detroit? Mitch Albom is going to be promoting his new book The First Phone Call From Heaven in a few weeks:

  • Mitch Albom – Barnes & Nobles on Hall Road, on Nov. 22nd

If you get a chance, go. I’ll probably be there with Mr. Speedy.  And if you get a chance to read ANY of Alexander McCall Smith’s book, do it. They are charming, quick, and factual.

Don’t you just love the world of books and authors?

Sincerely,

Lily

The Worst Halloween Ever

Please have a Happy Halloween and enjoy a little laugh at one (of many) of my most embarrassing moments.

Have you ever been to a Halloween party? The kind where the front door is covered in streams of spider webs, spooky music is playing inside, and everyone in attendance is dressed up in costume?

I have.
And it was the worst Halloween ever.

As a sophomore at my undergrad college, I got invited to my very first Halloween party on campus. It was at a fraternity house and I was super excited. I had great visions of a perfectly planned party, one with a spooky cauldron full of fruit punch and creepy desserts and fun costumes.

Normally, a big night for me was drinking Diet Faygo and wearing comfy clothes and reading a book:

Me in college. I was so cool.

Me in college. I was so cool.

Obviously, the location of it being at a fraternity house did not rock my little innocent mind and I was under the impression that this party would just be like, a fun get together. With possibly a piñata. And with cooler costumes.

Boy, was I wrong. SO wrong.

I choose my costumer carefully… and decided to be comfortable rather than creative. Let me give you a visual of my costume glory-

I wore my little brother’s (I could fit into his clothes) pumpkin costume that my Mom had painstakingly hand sewn a few years back. It came with a pumpkin stem hat, which Velcro attached not under the chin, but around the neck (see below), forming a turtleneck. The pumpkin body slipped on over clothes and had amble room to stuff full of crumbled newspaper to create a true, orb-like pumpkin shape. I took it even a step further by wearing green leggings and painted pumpkin orange dots on my nose and cheeks.

This is the only picture from that night. And this is before I had my pumpkin paint on and full stuffing.

This is the only picture from that night. And this is before I had my pumpkin paint on and full stuffing.

I was the best looking, roundest, orangest, green-legged pumpkin around campus.

My friend arrived at my door, dressed like a sexy devil with a miniskirt that was smaller than mini and had red sequins all over. We were quite the opposite walking over to the house- me blobbing around like a grounded balloon and her prancing in her heels.

We made it to the front door and I noticed that it was very dark inside the house and very LOUD, with music blaring.
As soon as we entered, and my eyes adjusted to the dark room, I quickly realized I was dressed completely wrong.

You know the scene from Mean Girls, with L. Lohan is dressed like a scary witch at the party and everyone else is slutty or sexy? That basically is what happened. Pumpkins are not sexy.

Every female had VERY little clothes on. I mean, take the whole ‘sexy Halloween’ and then remove half of that costume, and that is what these college girls were dancing around in. I’m pretty sure I saw a few butt cheeks within 30 seconds and I felt completely out of my place in my plump pumpkin outfit.

I could not even put my arms fully down at my sides (think a Christmas Story, with Ralphie’s winter outfit), or else newspaper stuffing would squeeze out from my leg holes. And I was not about to have my stuffing fall out in public. Embarrassing.

Immediately, my friend got whisked out on the dance floor and disappeared and I became a quick target to intoxicated dancing boys.
“Look! A PUMPKIN!” One of them pointed.
“Oh, let’s dance with it!” Another squealed.

Immediately, two boys started to bump-dance into me, one on each side. And there went my stuffing. With each bump, a crumbled ball of newspaper fell out down at my feet. This took them a moment to notice and then when they realized I was basically shedding garbage from my downstairs, they decided to leave me in my misshapen torso and play darts. I quickly picked up my stuffing and re-stuffed my self.

At this point, I was ready to leave. This was not my scene. Everyone that saw me, stared, and looked confused, as if saying “This is not a children’s party, how did you get here?” Someone actually told me that I looked like their Mom.

Just when I was about to hightail it out of there and find safety in my door room, a boy dressed in a Dracula cape but with no shirt on, grabbed my hand and yanked me on the dance floor.
“Cool costume!” He slurred. I could smell the beer on his breath. Gross.
“Thanks, but I am actually leaving… I have to go home to my patch,” I said loudly over the music.
“Patch? You live in a patch?”
Obviously, this was not a time to make jokes.
“I’m leaving now,” I said and started to turn away.

And it was then that Mr. Dracula found some liquid courage somewhere in his bare-chested body, and decided that this was a perfect time to KISS a misshapen pumpkin who was trying to leave. I caught him out of the corner of my eye, and dodged his kiss, but his lips met the tip of my nose and slide across the side of my flushed cheek. Beer breath and all. GROSS.

When he pulled back, with a goofy grin, I saw that my orange pumpkin dots that I had so carefully painted on my face, were now smeared on his lips.

And this is when I snapped. This was my breaking point. You can bump into me, and make my stuffing fly out, but how dare you mess with my painted makeup.

“YOU RUINED MY FACE! MY DOTS ARE GONE!” I screamed at him, shoving him away.
He looked dumbfounded, shrugged, and said “Worst kiss ever.”
“You are the worst Dracula I have ever seen and SMELL!” I shrieked back.

Have I mentioned that I argue like a toddler? I do.

With that, I ran my green legs out of the front door, with my beautiful stuffing sprinkling out all the way home, a trail of my pumpkin innards left for the world to see.

Once in the safety of my own door room, face washed and pajamas on, I vowed to never go to a party dressed as a pumpkin again. Especially one that does not serve any candy and has half-naked people everywhere.

THE END.

Sincerely,
The Scarred Pumpkin