Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swing for Sophia

Today, Mark and I will be heading to Minneapolis to attend a benefit called Swing for Sophia.    You see, a year ago, we were lucky enough to have our family grow in leaps and bounds when Mark's brother married our sister in law, Alissa.  And it was in the expansion of our family that we came to know Sweet Baby Sophia, her mom Alli (Alissa's sister), her dad Dan, her big brother Jack, and her dog Rufus. 

When I first met Alli in Minneapolis last June during Alissa's bridal party weekend, Alli had just been told she was having a baby girl.  Unfortunately, the news at her 20 week visit also revealed that Baby Sophia had a complex heart defect, a condition known as Ventricular Inversion with a Hypoplastic (Underdeveloped) Right Ventricle along with Left Transposition of the Great Arteries and Complete Heart Block.  After learning of their baby's diagnosis, Alli and Dan began to share their journey to meeting their daughter through their blog The Lenmark Family

Born on July 21, 2009, Baby Sophia entered the world surrounded by the love and warmth of her family.  And while her heart tried, it simply was not strong enough to keep up with her beautiful and vibrant spirit.  The evening following her birth, Sophia passed away.

Although her time with us was too short, the impact that Sophia had in this world simply cannot be measured.  She taught us that life is to be treasured.  That no moment on this Earth should be spent in the absence of love.  And most importantly,  that "you cannot measure a life by the amount of breaths that you take, but by the amount of breathtaking moments that you share."  

Those were the words that the family's Pastor shared with the congregation in attendance at Sophia's memorial service a year ago.  What a truly beautiful and humbling message.  

After Sophia passed away, Alli and Dan spent time at Faith's Lodge, a retreat facility dedicated to helping families with seriously ill children cope and families who have experienced the passing of a child heal.  It was there that Alli and Dan were able to share their story and Sophia's story with other parents who had experienced similar loss.  And in that sharing, they found support and comfort and healing.

In celebration of Sophia's life, Alli and Dan, and their family, will be hosting Swing for Sophia, a benefit to support Faith's Lodge.  It is their kindness, generosity, hope, and faith, that truly takes my breath away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trendy Wednesday - Nordstom Anniversary Sale

Have you had a chance to take in the wonders of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?  What is it about this particular event that sends me into a tizzy?  Maybe it's the idea that they have things on pre-sale that makes me feel the need to scoop something up right-now-this-very-second-no-waiting so I don't miss out on something later.  Or maybe it's that incredible surge of excitement I get when I click "Add to Cart."  Or maybe, just maybe it's my philosophy that buying something on sale is a REALLY REALLY great financial habit.  You see, I'm not buying something as much as I am saving our little family money.  Right?!  Do you think this way too?

If you do, then the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is just the place for you!  Here are a few of the things I have on my wish list!
Ugg Australia Belted Cardy Visor Cap
I love hats, and this one looks comfy and warm and dare I say it's cute as a button.

Karen Kane Cowl Neck Top
I think black and charcoal make such a sophisticated combination.  This top is simple and would look great with jeans, but the cowl neck adds a little dressiness that makes it work appropriate too.

Calvin Klein Shoulder Knot Sheath
This dress arrived at my doorstop just the other day, and it is so elegant.  The bow at the sleeve adds a youthful touch.  I think it might be my "first day on the new job" dress.

BCBG Side Zip Leggings
It looks like leggings will remain in this season, and if that's the case, these are a perfect addition to your fall wardrobe.  The zipper detail is fantastic!

Miss Sixty Harper Boot
These boots remind me of legwarmers draped over a pair of tap shoes which makes me happy inside.  I love dance inspired ensembles, so these are right up my alley.

Steve Madden Brushed Wool Snap Toggle Coat
I'm not in the market for a new coat, but this one makes me wish I was!  Plaid is going to be huge this fall, and at a great price, it's a fun way to get into the trend.

Citizens of Humanity 'Morrison' Super Stretch Slim Bootcut Jeans (Dark Poseidon Wash)
I love getting a new pair of nice jeans.  These are to die for.  The darker hue and the seeming detail is very trimming.

Cole Haan Air Georgina Boot
Swoon!  These are gorgeous!  Even on sale they are pricey, but gracious, they're just so darn pretty!

Happy Anniversary Nordstrom.  I'll celebrate to that every year!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Turkey Meatloaf with Mushroom Sauce

I know I've told you before, but whenever I am looking for a great low calorie but fully flavored meal, I head straight to Gina's Skinny Taste blog.  I have never found a recipe there that I don't love!  So when I was putting together my Mad Men viewing party menu, I started my search for recipes at Gina's blog.  

I found a tasty recipe for turkey meatloaf that was linked right to Gina's recipe for garlic mashed potatoes.  Perfect combination!!  I know everyone has their own favorite version of this classic pairing, but mine does not include a topping of cheese or even catsup.  I prefer my meatloaf and mashed potatoes with a nice rich mushroom gravy.  HERE is the one I made.  It was such an amazing accompaniment!  I subbed the butter for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light spread and I added about an eighth of a cup of fat free half and half to the mushroom sauce, and it turned out beautifully!

Betty Draper would have been so proud!

Turkey Meatloaf
This is a pretty simple low point dinner to prepare on a busy week night. Mix all the ingredients and throw it in the oven. In one hour it's done! Serve this with some garlic mashed potatoes and veggies.
 Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 servings • Time: 1 hour • Calories: 268 • Points: 4.5 ww points
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.3 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • salt

 the oven to 350°. Saute olive oil and onion on low until translucent.
In a medium bowl mix turkey, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, salt and marjoram.Place mixture into a 9x12 loaf pan or shape into a loaf in an un-greased baking pan.
Bake uncovered for one hour at 350°. After baking let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saints Training Camp Conumdrum

Holy Cow!  Today I went to date a tax form, and I realized July is almost over.  I was less surprised by how quickly July has flown by than I was about my lack of awareness that August is just around the corner! 

You see, in any normal year, Saints fans across the globe would be counting down the days of July with incredible diligence because August means only one thing - training camp! 

In any normal year, we'd spend the month of July getting to know how the addition of our free agents will improve the defensive line, when our draft picks might make an impact on the strength of the secondary, and which undrafted free agents will be this year's Pierre Thomas. 

In any normal year, we'd be waiting impatiently for August to come so that we can forget the disappointments of past seasons.  We'd be discussing which player was most responsible for the failed conversions of fourth downs and points after which kept us from meeting our true potential. 

In any normal year we'd take comfort in knowing that training camp is the dawn of a new day.  Training camp is the spring of hope eternal.  In August, we are undefeated. 

But that's the thing, this isn't any normal year.  And while I'm, of course, looking forward to getting back into that Dome, I'm not ready to move past this season.  I want to continue to revel in the joy and success and beauty of our Superbowl season.  I want to remain atop the sports world and bask in the glow of good fortune.  I'm not ready for the party with the Lombardi to stop!

I want to keep feeling the excitement run through my veins every time I think about Garrett's kick that sent us to the big game...

Or Tracy's miraculous interception that sealed our first Superbowl victory...

Or Drew's emotional speech that emphasized that this season and this victory was as much for the people of New Orleans as it was for him...

I guess the only cure for this conundrum is to do it all over again!  A repeat would be nice, wouldn't it! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a Mad, Mad World

Don Draper, you might be the coolest ad man around...

I mean, just look at you in your fancy suit and dapper hat.

But this season, the philandering must stop!

You have a lovely house,

 a beautiful wife, Betty,

and adorable children.

So maybe you could remember the good ole days 

and get your family back in order.

And while we're at it, I think you and Sal made a great team.  So what do you say you rehire him?  You know he's from New Orleans?  We love to cheer on our own!

Are you watching the premiere tonight?  
I can't wait!!!  We're going to a friend's and I'm making meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and green bean casserole.  Betty Draper, eat your heart out!

Friday, July 23, 2010

You Can Be the One

You may have already seen this incredibly powerful 90 second video by now.  It seems to be circulating through the wide wide world of web from twitter to facbook to email.  But have you shared your voice yet?  Have you added your name to the list of thousands who have spoken up for the restoration of the Gulf?  If you haven't, and would like to, please click on this link and tell the world you will be the one...

Go ahead, share your voice

And Be the One for our Generation and the One after That

Be the One for the Sandcastles

Be the One for Raw Oysters

Be the One for the Fisherman and Shrimpers

Be the One for Long Days at the Beach

And Be the One for the Sea Turtles

For the Gulf and the people and animals living along it's shores, for the men and women whose livelihoods are bound to those waters, for the fragile coast that shelters us from the storm...  we will be the one!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pink and Green Thursday: Birds of a Feather

With our move home to New Orleans getting closer by the minute, I find myself often reflecting on friendships.  Mostly, I find myself thinking "how did I get so lucky to have the world's greatest friends?" 

I remember when I graduated from college feeling like I'd never again have friendships as true and wonderful as the friendships I made at Loyola.  How could it possibly be?  And when we moved here to Beaufort, I told Mark that I didn't want to make new friends.  I just wanted my old friends back.  It was a tad dramatic, I admit, but there's something scary in the world of friendships about the great unknown.

And four years later, as I watch the final months of our time here vanish before my eyes, I couldn't be more grateful for the friendships we found here.  I often feel like we were meant to be here and meant to find these people because they have enriched our lives in so many ways.  And it makes me sad to leave them, and it makes me nervous and anxious about developing new friendships when we get home.  Life really does repeat itself, doesn't it?
I guess I often wonder how I got so lucky.  And is it like catching lighting in a bottle to have been lucky enough to find amazing friends like the ones I have known throughout my life?  We seem to have common interests, common goals, and most importantly, common values.  I see a little of myself in each of them, and I see them in me. 

And I wonder, did that happen over time?  Did we learn from each other and improve each other, all the while improving ourselves?  Or like birds of a feather, are we simply drawn to people who are like us? 

I'm not sure of the answer, but I know one thing: birds of a feather stick together.  And I am confident that neither time nor space can take me aways from my girls.

Pop over to Trish's blog, Pink Preppy Lilly Lover, to link up to Pink and Green Thursdays!


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