Monday, May 2, 2016

Princess~Take 2

Once upon a time long ago, a little girl loved princesses. Her favorite was Princess Aurora in her beautiful pink ball gown. The little girl would play with her princess dolls for hours, and even entice her brother and sister to play with her. With creativity, she would create elaborate princess costumes for herself, her sisters, and even for our queen, Portia. 

As the little girl grew older she read historical stories about princesses, recounting the historical details with surprising accuracy. 
She still loves things that sparkle with style. She loves her manicures. She loves good mascara. 
We affectionately refer to her as "our" princess.

So when our princess needed another dress for Prom II, we went shopping again.

After browsing the endless dress selection online, we headed out early on a Saturday morning to the formal store. Our early arrival allowed her to browse the options, and soon she was in the dressing room with an arm load of options. As she took the stage in each dress, the ball gowns quickly became favorites. And I smiled because I remember that little girl enamored with ball gowns and princesses.

Stunning ball gown.


Exquisitely appliqued and embroidered.


The princess.


Springtime stroll.


The prince and princess.


Playful moments.


Moving the princess


Practicing for the ball.


Princess and the court jester with his matching red shoes.


Dancing with Daddy.


The princess and the queen.


Hydration is important with all that fabric.


Boys.


A fairy tale evening to be remembered.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Prom~Take 1

On a rainy fall day, Kiahra and I escaped for a day adventure to Lexington.
Our first stop was a grand historic home that had been transformed into a formal dress store.
The gorgeous gowns lined the rooms.
Kiahra explored the possibilities. 
As she stepped out of the dressing room beneath the sparkling chandelier, 
she drew the attention of everyone in the room with a fitted red gown. 
Stunningly beautiful~it fit her perfectly. 
Slightly in awe at the ease with which she found "her" dress, we left the store with the bag in hand.

A creole lunch topped off our adventure before we took the scenic route home, 
stopping to shop along the way.

A memorable day mother~daughter day reinforced the value of pausing amidst the chaos of life to enjoy the day together!

The dress waited patiently.

Then a sweet prom date request was accompanied by roses.


And the planning was set in motion with all the details carefully considered.

Girlfriend time included eye makeup along with chatter and laughter.


Her hair was stunning in a curled updo.


A pedicure and manicure added the finishing touches.


The black tuxedo and red dress were a stunning combination.


 More roses.


More pictures.


And more pictures.


Playful moment helped alleviate the stress of all those cameras!


Sweet gestures.


A quick selfie documented the start of the evening.


And they were off for dinner and a night of dancing.

The princess and her prince returned after midnight~still smiling!





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Road Home


Taking the road less travelled is always my preference, 
and Kiahra initiated our trip through Alabama and its Black Belt Prairie. 
The rich, fertile land was verdant with new growth. 
These back country roads of rural America felt familiar to this country girl even though it was new to me, as I easily recognized the signs of struggling farmers and country folks, as poverty is all too often visible in these regions, reminding me of my childhood home far away.

Catfish farms abounded as we neared our destination, Greensboro, Alabama.

Magnolia Grove stands impressively, reminiscent of a bygone era.
A plantation owner had this Greek Revival house in town built in 1840.


Handmade bricks (made onsite) constructed the home~and are even the foundation of the massive pillars. 
And finally I learned that the upstairs balcony on Southern homes is to combat the sultry Southern climate by opening the doors at night to let the air flow through.


The mansion stood in the midst of a 15 acre magnolia grove, thus the name.


The gardens would have been equally impressive!


Let's not forget the ever-present fountains!


The grand entrance was designed to exude wealth.


The hand carved spiral staircase was my favorite, as the workmanship was impeccable.


The kitchen and cook's quarters were less grandiose
and removed from the house for fear of fire.
The root cellar stored the large garden's produce throughout the year.
A barn once stood on the property too, providing fresh meat (in absence of refrigeration).


Food preparation was labor intensive. 
As I stood in the small room with the massive fireplace and imagined standing over the kettles in the heat of the South, I had a deep appreciation for those who did.


The stark contrast of the slave quarters was a harsh reminder of a very different life. 
Evidently, the windows we saw were not standard in their small one-room cabins, as glass was expensive.


Those who resided there in 1850 were only assigned a number under the name of the owner in the census.

Walking through history is a powerful lesson in the past.







Exploring the Trails


The newly emerged green of spring in the Southern forest welcomed us.


The carefully camouflaged critters demanded we look closely.


Though they could disappear in a flash!


Carnivorous plants abounded.


Pausing at the waterways, but alas, no alligators were in sight!


Dad can still be counted on for a ride through the marshy trail.


The Southern forest was a new adventure~and it would be fun to explore again in a few more months!


The flora and fauna found across our country never fails to intrigue me.





Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cruising the Back Roads to New Orleans

There are only three great cities in the United States: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. All the rest are Cleveland.

These words are oft attributed to Tennessee Williams, but it is not certain he coined the phrase.

Nonetheless, Kiahra wanted to see New Orleans, so our next spring break stop was the French Quarter.

The warm rain poured down as we drove. When we stepped out of the vehicle, the streets were still empty from the recent downpour, and the rain was dripping off the balconies~and the sultry warmth surprising.


The Gumbo Shop delighted our tastebuds with creole cuisine for lunch.


Lively table conversation is our trademark~leaving us with fond memories and smiles!


Then we were ready to stroll through the streets which would conveniently take us to Cafe Du Monde for piping hot beignets.


The gas lamps immediately caught Ron's eye.


Meandering through the streets, we admired the distinctive architecture.



The staircase led from the street to the Beauregard-Keyes Home which was built in the French Quarter in 1826. A tour gave us a glimpse into life during that era.


Chayse was asked to play the piano.


 I love the historic trim of the Greek Revival style.



The kitchen, slave quarters, and stable lined the courtyard.


My favorite thinker!


The restored garden behind the walls were beautifully manicured.
(And even on tippy toe she is shorter than her "little" brother!)


The sultry climate makes plants grow prolifically.


The splashes of color make it seem like an artist's palette has touched every corner.

New Orleans is unforgettable. 

I must concur that New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans are most distinctive.