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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

lately...

It's been awhile since I've done an Instagram post.

And even though it's not Friday, I figured y'all were just DYING to keep up with me and mine via instagrams, so...here you go.

Hewitt and his hedgehog, affectionately referred to as his "baby".

Hewitt...pre groomer and post groomer. ;)

My friend Nancy and I waiting for the Carolina Beach fireworks show.

There may or may not have been legendary Britt's Donuts consumed by all parties. 

Pretty fireworks!

Even prettier!

An outfitgram, as I called it. I liked doing these...perhaps more soon.

A beautiful Wilmington sunset post crazy-flooding-lighting-thunder-wind storm.

Beautiful Carolina Beach sunset.

Palmy palms. ;)

I've been rocking the waves/curls lately. Like, almost every day. I just love it!


You can follow me on Instagram at aprilanne147.

Happy Tuesday!



Monday, July 30, 2012

OOTD: 102

There's another dalmatian in town. Well, a dalmatian print skirt, anyway.

I picked this li'l purty up at Walmart a few weeks ago for $7!! I would normally have paired this gray, black and white skirt with a colorful top and shoes but I felt like sticking to a more natural palette.

This is what I wore to church yesterday.


Cardigan: Old Navy (similar), Tank: Rue 21, Skirt: Walmart (similar), Shoes: Rue 21 (similar), Belt: Target

I'm really digging the animal print. I might consider adding more of it to my wardrobe. What do you think about animal prints?



Saturday, July 28, 2012

best and worst dressed: olympics edition

Like many, I was enthralled with the Olympics opening ceremony last night. One of my favorite parts is the Parade of Nations. Seeing all of the nations (and outfits!) is a highlight for me.

I wasn't disappointed this year. There were some definite winners and some duds. Ready to hear my thoughts? :)

Best Dressed


Brazil. 
Seriously. Love the color combo and the preppy look.
Sweden. 
Stripes! Blue and yellow! YES! Beautiful men (and women) and outfits. Sigh.
Great Britain.
Dang them. Their white and gold was so sharp. 


Worst Dressed

Germany. 
What the heckles? Pink and blue? I get that their flag colors leave much to be desired, but...yeah.
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United States.
Hey now, don't get feisty. I'm all about the USA. However, these were just not working. I love that Ralph Lauren (like always) lent his design hand for these. The navy blazers and white pants were fine. The berets and orthopedic footwear? Not so much. Also, these uniforms were quite controversial.


Czech Republic.
I get that London is rainy, but really? I know from experience that walking in galoshes hurts. There is lots of chafing involved. :)
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What are your thoughts?

Side note: have you seen all the hilarious Queen memes out now? BAHAHA!


Friday, July 27, 2012

confessional friday (and a current obsession)

It's that time of the week again, y'all. It's time for Confessional Friday. I'm linking up over at A Blonde Ambition for today's post.

Ready?

//1. I confess that I made vegetables this week and they were [surprisingly] delicious. Could I, perhaps, be growing up? They look pretty delicious, don't you think?


//2. I confess that I watched the movie Rango this week and I spent the better portion of the movie trying to identify all of the desert animals in there. 

//3. I confess that I neglected to do my laundry for so long that it had overflowed out of the laundry basket and covered up a pair of shoes that I'd been looking for all week. I found them only when I did my laundry. Sigh.

//4. I confess that I really like the color combination of orange and gold. It's very summery, very tropical and reminds me of a fruity drink of some sort. I wouldn't mind accessorizing my summer wardrobe with any of these beauties... (click on each picture for shopping info)


//5. I confess that I've basically been a hermit all week and stayed inside because of how hot it's been. Seriously. Thursday was a heat index of 113. October, please come. Soon.

//6. Along those lines, I confess that I'm really not a fan of summer. Ever. 

//7. I confess that I may or may not have an outfit post planned for next week based on...um...football uniforms. ;)

Well, that's about all I have for today. Y'all have an excellent weekend and remember to stay cool! I surely will be. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

trend watch: "arm party"

There's a new trend popping up on various fashion blogs.

It's called the "arm party".
Arm Party
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It could also be called "bracelet stacking" or, quite frankly, "weight lifting". ;) I get that the idea is to stack smaller bracelets together on one arm for more of a statement piece...but...

Perhaps I should confess that I'm not really a huge bracelet person. I own 2 bracelets. One I earned from hosting a jewelry party and one I inherited from a roommate at some point. I like looking at bracelets, but I don't wear them so much. I think they make my forearms look chubbier than they are and they are super-annoying when they constantly bang against the desk while typing.

Or blogging.

So, perhaps this has skewed my perception of this arm party trend. I do love a good statement necklace, so why can't I get on board with this? 

Please weigh in...I'd love to hear what you think about this trend.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

how to: wear a statement necklace

It's no secret that I love statement necklaces.

However, it recently came to my attention that for some people, wearing a statement necklace or even choosing a statement necklace might not be as easy as I think. A reader left the following comment on an outfit post featuring statement necklaces.

I would have a hard time settling on one color that I could wear with lots of stuff.

Good point. For those of you just stepping in to the world of statement necklaces, deciding on the necklaces to buy seems a bit daunting.

The easiest response would be to buy one in EVERY color, but not everyone wants (or needs) a jewelry box full of colorful statement necklaces. (Though I definitely wouldn't mind...)

So, how do you take the statement necklace plunge?

First, we must define what a statement necklace is. A statement necklace (and jewelry) is simply large and bold enough to make a "statement" by itself. It holds its own, basically. ;)

Step 1: (Toes in the water)
Purchase a neutral statement necklace. For this post, the word "neutral" can mean black, silver, gold, brown, white, gray, navy or copper.

The benefit of a neutral statement necklace is that it goes with almost anything. (color-wise) But, it's still a "statement" necklace. See how I paired a black statement necklace with a colorful outfit below. (For each of these examples, I'll be using the J Crew Bubble necklace in black or coral.)

 


Step 2: (Up to your knees)
Purchase a statement necklace in a bright color and wear it with neutrals. Imagine a coral-colored necklace paired with navy and white. Or, for you visual learners, something like this...


The statement necklace serves the purpose of accenting the outfit without competing for attention.

Step 3: (All the way in)
Purchase a statement necklace in a bright color and wear it with with color. Okay, take a deep breath color-phobes. Some of you might not really ever get past Step 2 and that's perfectly okay. But, know that you're limiting the wear-ability of your statement necklaces by only wearing them with neutrals. Colored statement necklaces can DEFINITELY work with a colorful outfit...it just all depends on the color. (For color help, see my post here.)


Cardigan, Belt, Shoes: Target; Tank and necklace: Rue 21, Pants: Old Navy (shop)

Here are some of my favorite necklaces and places to shop for them. (Most of my statement necklaces were purchased online.)

Neutrals:
Faceted Statement Necklace (Copper and Gold) from Forever 21
Stephan & Co Facet Statement Necklace in Ivory

Colors:
Loft Gold & Coral Statement Necklace
Essentials Metal Glass Bead Bib Necklace
Shop Ruche Sparkling Night Sky Necklace

So, now that you have the tips and tricks for necklaces...get out there and make a statement!

Linking up with the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday today as well.




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

when there are no words...

I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile but I couldn't quite figure out what to say.

Contrary to my earlier post today, sometimes there are really no words to say.

In response to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, I wanted to write something fitting but not sad. I wanted whatever I said to be able to capture the raw emotion of the events but leave the reader with a sense of encouragement, inspiration and hope.

It's very hard to see hope in a situation like this.

It's even harder to see God in a situation like this.

A fellow blogger re-posted this today and I feel like it accurately sums up my thoughts regarding this horrible tragedy.

God is always here. He goes before and after. He will never fail us.

May God continue to bless and strengthen everyone touched by this tragedy.

A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim's Story


At Columbine, I have seen this before. But not up close.  As a church pastor in Denver, I have worked as a chaplain with several police and fire departments. I was privileged to counsel parents just hours after the Littleton Columbine shootings. However, in this new tragedy at the Aurora Theater Dark Night shooting, one of the victims was a 22 year old woman from my church, Petra Anderson (pronounced Pay-tra). Petra went to the movies with two young friends who are biking across America.  You and I have been inundated with news about what happened next. A joyful movie turned into bloody, unbelievable chaos. Petra was hit four times with a shot-gun blast, three shots into her arm and one bullet which entered her brain. This a bit of Petra’s miracle story.
With awesome people from our caring and pastoral team, I spent all day Friday in the ICU with Petra and her family. Her injuries were severe, and her condition was critical. A bullet had entered Petra’s face through her nose, and then traveled up through her brain until stopping at the back of her skull. The doctors prior to surgery were concerned, because so much of the brain had been traversed by the bullet. Many areas of brain function were involved. They were hoping to keep her alive long enough to get her into surgery. The prognosis was uncertain—if she lived, Petra might struggle with speech, movement, and thinking due to considerable brain damage. With Kim, Petra’s mother (who is in the final stages of terminal cancer), we simply cried, hugged, and prayed.
It is pressed into my memory now. Motion and emotion…
Other families come and go into the ICU waiting room. Some sit with us, and we talk. Others are visited by doctors with “Family Advocates” in tow. The families listen, sob, and then are moved like stunned cattle to a more private space to grieve. We pray. Petra is finally taken into surgery, using two different surgical teams. One team of neurosurgeons will open up the back of her skull to remove the bullet and clean up brain damage as best they can. Another ENT-specialty surgical team will then work through Petra’s nose by scope to follow the bullet’s path up into her brain.  Their hope is to remove bone fragments, clean up damaged brain tissue, and reseal her brain to reduce infection.
If you have lived any of your days in a hospital waiting room, you know how long the enduring process is. It has a woeful pattern to it. Sit. Walk. Grab a drink. Sit. Walk. Answer a phone call. Sit. Walk. Hug someone. Sit. Talk to the FBI. Sit. Pick at the food. Sit. Walk. Go down the hall, but not too far because you’re afraid to miss something. Back. Hug. Pray. Sit. Sit. A picture of a five year old waiting for next Christmas from January 1st comes to my mind. FOREVER. Only this feels worse: a heavy forever, with no promise of presents, Santa, or good news at the end.


Petra Anderson and her world class violin.
After the waiting drags for over five hours, tired doctors and nurses spill back into the room, one or two at a time. I look for “Family Advocates” but can find none. I exhale. The doctors update us: “It went well, and she’s recovering now. We found very little damage to the brain, and got the bullet out cleanly. It went better than we hoped for.” Each brings a warrior’s smile, and a bit of information—information that we turn into hope as we regurgitate it over the next hours.  Still, the medical team remains professional and reserved, “Something might still go wrong. We just need to wait and see if she makes it for the next 48 hours.”
Tears and thank you’s abound. We are so thankful for these men and women. We hug. Everyone hugs. Then, round two. Sit. Wait. Pray. Fully dressed people cuddle into small snails and try to sleep on the floor. Some are shuttled to a room donated by the Holiday Inn across the street. Thank you, Lord, for every little thing. We sit. We pray. “We’ll understand better tomorrow.”
Petra is moved back to ICU. She looks, surprisingly, wonderful. With a small hole in her nose, and her arm wrapped, she almost looks uninjured. She is medicated and sleeping when I come to visit her on Saturday. I sit, talk, and pray quietly with Kim amid the darkened room, lit by glowing medical screens and power switches. Nurses, like quiet soldiers posted on guard, come in, march attentively through the machines, and go out.  These men and women really care. Finally, one of the surgeons comes in to check on Petra. He has had some sleep, and looks more like a movie star this time. As Petra sleeps, he retells the story of the surgery, and we ask questions.  The doctor reads the perfect script, as if he is on Hallmark Hall of Fame. He fills us in on the miracle. Honestly, he doesn’t call it that, he just uses words like “happily” and “wonderfully” and “in a very fortunate way” and “luckily” and “we were really surprised by that.”  Kim and I know a miracle when we see it.
It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear.  Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.
But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself.  Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed.  The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.
As he shares, the doctor seems taken aback. It is an odd thing to have a surgeon show a bit of wonder. Professionally, these guys own the universe, it seems, and take everything in stride. He is obviously gifted as a surgeon, and is kind in his manner. “It couldn’t have gone better. If it were my daughter,” he says quietly, glancing around to see if any of his colleagues might be watching him, “I’d be ecstatic. I’d be dancing a jig.” He smiles. I can’t keep my smile back, or the tears of joy. In Christianity we call it prevenient grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future. It’s just like the God I follow to plan the route of a bullet through a brain long before Batman ever rises. Twenty-two years before.
While we’re talking, Petra awakes. She opens her eyes, and sits up, “Mom.” Movie-star doctor spins to grab her, to protect her from falling. The nurse assures him she’s been doing this for a while. He talks to her, and she talks back. He asks questions, and Petra has the right answers. “Where do you hurt, Petra?” “All over.” Amazed, but professional, he smiles and leaves the set shaking his head. I am so thankful for this man.
Petra is groggy and beat up, but she is herself. Honestly, I look worse before my morning coffee. “I’m thirsty,” she proclaims.
“You want an ice cube, honey?” Kim replies.
“Please.”  Wow. She lays down, back to sleep, a living miracle who doesn’t even know it yet. Good flowering out of the refuse pile of a truly dark night. “Thank you, Jesus,” I whisper.


Kim and her daughter.
Petra, you are amazing. Kim, you, too, are amazing. I am so proud of you both. But God, you are in a league of your own. (Duh.)
There is much ahead. More surgerys. Facial reconstruction, perhaps. And for Kim, chemo therapy to stretch every moment out of life. But life remains.The ending is yet to be written for this family.
One final note: I am told Petra will take her first steps today. Time for the miracle to go for a walk.
Kim and Petra need our help. For more on the Andersons, or to help with their medical costs, please visit here. This is a great site.

More information about supporting Petra Anderson and other shooting victims is also available at Hope Rises.

Original article posted here.



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