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Something Old and Something New

Estate SaleI owe you some words. A lot of them. So grab a cup of coffee and cozy on up to your computer because I have so much to share with you this week!

So you know how much I love antiquing, right? Old things are wondrous. Breathing new life into old things by bringing them into my home makes me happy. That said, I don’t need anything more in my home. It’s pretty much decorated how I want it to be and bringing anything more into the house would just be clutter.

What does one do when they constantly see beautiful antiques sell for ridiculously low prices at auctions and thrift stores because people don’t know their market value, but said person doesn’t have room in their home to display it all? She leases a space at an antiques mall.

Yup, I did it. I leased a space and I’m stupid excited about it. Like SO excited. Not that this is going to be a career thing, because let’s face it, this is not a high profit venture unless you play with the big dogs and I’m not a big dog. I’m a little dog who likes midcentury everything which does not command the same price that a Victorian era piece of furniture would.

So this will be a little side pet project which I’m so looking forward to sharing with you. I’ve started amassing my stock by visiting local auctions and thrift stores because unfortunately this isn’t the time of year for flea markets and yard sales.

Estate Sales are another good source for antiques, but I have to be honest, they’ve always intimidated me. I’ve been told that it’s a cut-throat kind of world at estate sales with dealers jockeying for the very best stuff. And honestly, this isn’t too far from the truth. While that is rather intimidating, everyone has a fair shot at some good stuff if you get there early enough.

If you decide to try your hand at estate sales, you need to be an early bird. And this bird is a don’t wake me up before 7am kind of creature. That said, for the sale I attended last weekend I got up at three o’clock in the morning for an eight o’clock sale. The reason for this is because this sale was sort of a big deal.

There was a main house, a guest home and two garages packed with stuff. Dealers from all over the place had their eyes on this sale. And when I finally arrived at four o’clock, I was already number twenty-seven which means that there were twenty-six people crazier than me.

Estate SaleOnce we got our numbers, we were allowed to go back to our cars and catch some sleep. I brought along a blanket which was super smart because DANG was it cold. And I didn’t want to leave the car running because that’s just a waste of fuel. So I curled up and rested, waiting for the craziness to begin.

Tom and Jerry Egg Nog Set

And yes, it was crazy. As soon as the doors opened people flooded through, charging from room to room looking for items of interest. I didn’t have my heart set on anything other than a vintage Christmas punch bowl set that was marked for fifteen dollars which is a wonderfully fair price. Once I snagged that, the rest was sort of icing on the cake.

Vintage Green Stamp Books

One of my very favorite finds was a pile of pristine green stamp catalogs. I’m not sure if I’m going to sell these or keep them because they are a great visual guide for the things I hunt for. Knowing the names of all the different patterns and pieces will be immensely helpful when I fill out the price tags. And quite frankly, my living room which is currently housing all my stock, looks like a green stamp product redemption center.

Estate SaleAs much as I love midcentury everything, I also appreciate other eras. This piece of piano sheet music is from the early 1900’s and will make a lovely addition to my Valentine’s Day display in the booth. And for one dollar, it’s an affordable way to decorate!

Estate SaleI also found this box of old children’s chapter books in a corner closet. I bought the whole case for a whopping twenty bucks. All the books are in great shape and most have nifty cover art like you see in the Tom Swift book above. So fun! I plan on displaying these in a basket along with some other vintage toys I’ve found along the way.

Besides what I’ve shared with you in these pictures, I also picked up some linens, vintage office supplies, some depression glass and other odds and ends that caught my eye. So not a huge haul, but a fun way to dip my toes in the estate sales world.

While it was a little intense, I can see trying this again at some point. As long as you get there early enough, I do believe everyone has a fair chance at finding treasure.

Thrift ShoppingI’ve also found some interesting things at thrift shops. This jewelry box was shoved into a dusty corner at Goodwill and I rescued it. I’m not sure if it’s copper or brass on the top, but the base of the box is definitely brass. It has a signature, but unfortunately I can’t make heads or tails of it. All I know is that it’s a solid lovely piece of work and I’m not putting it into the booth until I know more about it. Striking, don’t you think?

Crystal BowlsI’ve read quite a bit about antique booth design and from what I’ve read, reflective items draw people in. So I’ve purchased some nice crystal bowls, vintage glass vanity trays and other lovely pretty things that I’ve found along the way.

Booth design is so very important and I’m reading everything I can find on the subject. Pinterest has been so helpful with inspiration.

Vintage ServewareHere’s some of my vintage serve ware that will be going into the booth. I spent an afternoon cleaning everything because it looked like it had been sitting in an attic for decades. It probably was.

Shiny BritesAnd I keep bumping into vintage ornaments everywhere I go. While it’s too late for me to sell them in January, next December my booth will be a holiday wonderland.

Groovy Owl PlanterOh, and I cannot forget this guy. While I don’t particularly love 70’s decor, this owl spoke to me. It’s a planter someone made back in the day. Sort of scary, right? I might incorporate him into a Halloween display. Or maybe I’ll make a 70’s corner in the booth. I’m not sure yet, but I love owls and he had to come home with me. Goodwill was no place for someone so fierce.

Once I get the booth all set and pretty, I’ll share some pictures. Right now it’s all about hunt, hunt, hunt. I open for business in two weeks which is pretty exciting, but I have so much work to do before that day comes.

How about you? Do you enjoy antique malls? Have you ever tried your hand at selling?

A Vintage Christmas Tree

White Christmas TreeIt all started on Thanksgiving day while the turkey was roasting in the oven. 50% off all Christmas inventory the email stated. The email came from Grandin Road, a company I’ve never ordered from before. This year I wasn’t cooking the holiday meal, so I had plenty of time to check out sales and of course 50% off lured me in.

I’ve always wanted a white Christmas tree, but the kids would have none of that silliness. They are traditionalists. But when I saw that Grandin Road was offering 50% off their trees, including a white one, I was determined to make my white Christmas tree dreams a reality. The kids could have their traditional tree, but for the first time mom would have her own. So I placed the order and hoped for the best.

Being  a lover of midcentury glass, I’ve always wanted a midcentury tree. Hence, my fixation on white trees. So once I realized that a white tree was finally coming to fruition, I hopped on eBay and snipe bid on several box lots of vintage ornaments. And if you aren’t familiar with snipe bidding, it means bidding on an auction at the very last minute to get the very best deals. I’m pretty stealth at snipe bidding…

Shiny BritesShiny Brite ornaments are my jam and the first auctions I honed in on. Shiny Brites were made in the 1940’s through 1962 when the factory closed for good. They are highly collectible and depending on the shape, can be rather costly. But I found several lots for under $20 which included shipping which is a pretty good deal all things considered. I mean, ornaments made today can cost you $2o a box in nicer department stores. I love that these have history.

Vintage Paragon OrnamentsShiny Brite is just one of the many ornament companies that were popular back in the day. I also found four complete sets of Paragon ornaments still in the box which are just as lovely as Shiny Brite. I’m amazed that they made it over fifty years with nary a chip.

Vintage Christmas OrnamentsCheck out the vintage clip on bird perched on the branch. Isn’t it splendid? I asked my boys that very question and they just rolled their eyes and asked when I was going to adopt the fifty cats because clearly I’m going senile or something.

Vintage Christmas OrnamentsAnd this little cardinal? I picked him up along with his eleven buddies at a thrift store for fifty cents. How’s that for crazy? Crazy good deal in my book.

What did I think of the Grandin Road tree? LOVE! Big puffy heart mad love for this tree. It’s all I hoped it would be and plenty more. Money so very well spent. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Vintage Christmas TreeAnd here it is my friends, in her splendid vintage glory. My white Christmas tree fully decorated. I’m smitten. The only things missing are the tree topper and the skirt. I’ve not found anything that’s struck my fancy as of yet, so that will have to wait.

How about you? Do you have multiple trees? Do you collect a certain kind of ornament? Let’s talk trees and ornaments. I want to know what you love!

Catching Up

Redskins GameBoy the past week has kicked my butt. And in oh so many ways. The world is imploding, people are being vile on social media with their very loud opinions on how to fix the world, like that’s something that has an easy fix. And everyday life has been a bit cantankerous lately. I’m ready for the holidays. At least, I’m ready for school vacation. I just want to hunker down at home in my jammies and do nothing for awhile.

But there are some good things to report. So I’ll catch you up on the good stuff. Let’s start with the Redskins. While I’m a Patriots fan through and through, I attended a Redskins game last weekend with friends (yay for new friends!) and it was SO much fun. The Redskins beat the Saints by crazy numbers and the crowd was just electric. Not to mention it was a beautiful day. So much winning going on there. New friends, a winning home game and beautiful weather. I’m thankful for the experience.

 

Guardianware PercolatorI’m also thankful for small things that make me happy. You know that auction I  love to attend every week? Not that I get the chance every week, but it’s offered every week. Any who, I went last Friday night and saw this Guardianware percolator you see above.

From what I read online, Guardianware was popular in the 40’s-50’s. It was sold like Tupperware with in-home demos. It was rather expensive in the day and all the rage. And while I’m more of a vintage Pyrex collector, this pot spoke to me. So when I was the high bidder with my $8.00 bid, I was happy with my win. My only purchase of the night, but I was still happy as a clam.

The Colonel was less than impressed. That’s because he has zero patience for coffee to brew. He’s a Mr.Coffee kind of guy and likes to push a button and have his coffee pronto. Percolator coffee sounds torturous to him. He told me I can have my percolator coffee pot. He’ll stick with the modern day convenience coffee. Phooey.

Swedish MeatballsRemember how I shared that I bought The Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook, Dinnertime? I started cooking with it. The first recipe I tried was the Swedish Meatballs and I thought they were awesome! The Colonel did too. The kids not so much. They’re kind of meatball purists. If they’re having meatballs, they want them covered in red sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. Creatures of habit, I suppose.

Cookie SkilletI won with dessert though. A chocolate chip skillet cookie with ice cream and ganache. By the time dessert came around I had zero energy to fight with rock hard ice cream. So I just dumped the pint in its entirety on top and called it good. It was one of those days.

I’ve been super busy working on A Beautiful Bite. This is the time of year for food bloggers. Everyone’s looking for holiday recipes. And if you’re still on the hunt for recipe ideas, I put together a recipe roundup of sides I think look scrumptious. Check it out! I also did the same thing for desserts and ideas on how to use Thanksgiving leftovers!

Christmas Tree at National HarborSo here we are, it’s Friday. Thank God for that. Time to start planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can’t even believe I just typed that. Where has the year gone? Time to start thinking about holiday shopping, I suppose. Anyone doing that yet? Or am I the only one who feels like it’s still September?

Disclosure: There is an affiliate link in this post.

Winner!

Congrats to Raquel T. from CO! You are the winner of the latest Pioneer Woman cookbook. Please send your mailing into to melanieinthemiddle@gmail.com. Thanks to all for entering!

Wedding Formals

So we got our wedding images from the photographer this week! And as promised, here they are. Well, not all of them because there are hundreds, but enough to give you a good glimpse into our special day!

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and well wishes. The Colonel and I appreciate you all. This post wraps up the wedding mushiness. On to real life now. Our Happily Ever After!

Celebrating the Holidays with Macy’s D.C. Metro Center!

Macy's Happy HolidaysWhen I was a little girl, a highlight of the holiday season was a trip into the city with my Nonna to checkout the holiday window displays downtown. All bundled up, I’d marvel at the whimsical twinkling displays and anticipate all the merriment to come that holiday season.

It’s a rather fond memory and I’m continuing this tradition with my own kids, taking them in to see Macy’s all decked out in their holiday finest. And you can join me!

D.C. area friends, be sure to head to the D.C. Metro Center Macy’s Nov. 14th at 2pm for an afternoon of family fun with lots of activities for the holidays!

Get creative at their crafts table where you can create holiday ornaments, color, and more. There’ll also be balloon twisting and more holiday fun to enjoy!

Bring the family and experience an afternoon of holiday festivities with host Fox 5 anchor Allison Seymour. Star-studded live performances include Grammy award winning singer, Chrisette Michele, Empire’s V. Bozeman and singer and songwriter Adrian Marcel.

The dynamic artists of Step Afrika! and Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir, will sing, dance and share the spirit of the season. The man of the hour, Santa, and Ballou High School Marching Band will count down to the reveal of the holiday windows!

Following the unveiling the excitement continues inside with the exclusive meet and greets, arts and crafts, photos with Santa and light bites with Texas De Brazil. With any $75 or more Macy’s purchase take home a pair of tickets to Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show.

This is an event you don’t want to miss! A fun way to kick off the holiday season! Click here for more information.

Macy's Believe

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Cash Back with Bank of America BankAmeriDeals

ChiliAs a veteran couponer and deal chaser, I’m always on the hunt to get the most bang for our buck. I’ve been at this game for well over two decades and it never ceases to amaze me how many opportunities are out there for people to save money.

My bank for example, Bank of America, have you heard of them? Yeah, of course you have! Bank of America has been my bank ever since I started banking. I’m a lifelong customer. And one of the things I like about Bank of America is their cash back program for credit and debit card holders.

Their newest program, BankAmeriDeals, has some pretty sweet cash back offerings at places I shop at on a regular basis. 10% back at PetSmart? Yes please! And they make it really easy too. All I have to do is log into my Bank of America account, click on Special Offers & Deals, select the deals I want and then go shopping!

Pretty easy, right? Dog treats and toys with 10% cash back is something to woof about for sure. Chili is loving his new puppy Kong we picked up at PetSmart recently. See? Practical savings.

BankAmeriDealsAnother thing I like about this program is that the participating partners aren’t lame. They’re actually big name brands you most likely shop at on a regular basis. Starbucks, Nordstrom, Chili’s, Sears and Sephora are a few that caught my eye.

You know you’re getting a spiced pumpkin latte this month at some point. Tis the season! Might as well get it at a discount!

NordstromNordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are two stores I shop at on a regular basis. Heck, most of the items you see above that I purchased for my wedding came from Nordstrom. And Nordstrom Rack is my crack. I love that store. Everything is already heavily discounted. An extra 10% cash back is a very sweet deal indeed!

Gordon BierschGordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant is one of my sons’ favorite places to dine. So we’ll definitely be using that cash back offer in the very near future.

So as you can see, there are some very practical offers at popular businesses available for Bank of America card holders. And each month the deals change, so there are more opportunities to save even more money! The deals are also tailored around your shopping preferences, so the deals I get might be different than the ones you receive. Smart!

No coupons needed, substantial savings/rewards, with a banking institution I trust and at businesses I already frequent. Sounds like a winner to me!

If you are a Bank of America customer, be sure to check out BankAmeriDeals to see what offers are available.

If you don’t bank at Bank of America, check with your bank to see if they offer a similar cash back program. With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a fine time to see if you can receive cash back rewards while you do your holiday shopping!

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Less Fear, More Joy

Fall ColorsI adore fall. It has always been my favorite season. The changing colors of the leaves, the smell of wood burning, the excitement of Halloween, feeling the leaves crunch under my boots… and my very favorite part… pulling out the blankets to wrap up in on chilly evenings. Fall is comfort.

Bare TreesThat said, fall is also fleeting. So when the air goes from chilly to sharply cold, I know what’s coming. Winter. And that’s never been a good thing for me. Winter leaves me feeling isolated, uncreative, insecure and down. Not enough for me to be concerned for my mental health, just enough to put me in a funk. I just love the mild weather so much more than the bleakness winter brings.

Last winter was the straw that broke Melanie’s back. New England had a tough go of it, with SO much snow. More than I ever remember getting in my lifetime. So when I left the state in the spring, I didn’t look back in my rear view mirror.

Now that I live eight plus hours south (depending on that crazy NY traffic), I’m in for a longer fall, milder winter and earlier spring. I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a relief that is for my soul.

The ColonelAnd more importantly, I have someone to to cuddle up with when it gets frigid out. Oh for Pete’s sake, let’s be honest. I find any excuse I can to cuddle up with this guy. Whatever the weather, cuddling is my preferred pastime.

But seriously, love is the warmest blanket there is. I can be having the crappiest day and The Colonel will make it better by just being there. Never underestimate the power of love.

Chili in the LeavesAnd let’s not forget the power of love from our four legged friends. This dog of mine, he brings me so much joy. I find myself talking to him when I’m alone during the day and I SWEAR Chili understands me.

Just petting him lifts my spirits when I’m out of sorts. There’s definitely something to those studies that say dogs and cats are good for peoples’ health.

One of my coping mechanisms for when I’ve been down is to wake up each morning and set my sights on finding joy in my day. And I don’t mean that figuratively. I actively had to remind myself to look for the joy. Because I had to have that as a task to make certain I would search it out.

Now I bump into it with no need for reminders at all. What a change a year can bring.

So for the first time in many many years, I’m not dreading winter. Matter of fact, I’m rather looking forward to it. Maybe because I know it won’t last as long. Maybe because there’s peace in my home. Maybe it’s because there’s someone here with me every single day to keep me company. Or maybe it’s because Chili is like a walking blanket.

I don’t know the reason. I’m just grateful for the peace.

Antique Copper ColanderNow that the weather has turned cooler, I’m focusing my energies on work and creativity. Blessedly, work has been steady for me over the past year and this fall is proving to be my busiest season yet.

I’m also enjoying working on recipes for clients and shooting images in my new home which means that my food blog A Beautiful Bite will have more frequently added content which has been a goal of mine for quite some time.

Speaking of A Beautiful Bite, I’ve created some recipes lately that I’m really proud of. My Octoberfest Potatoes were a HUGE hit with my family and this Chicken Marsala Lasagna that I delivered to a friend recovering from surgery recently was proclaimed by the patient to be good enough to be served at a restaurant. Quite a compliment if you ask me.

If you’re looking to try something new, those two recipes are solid family pleasers.

Pioneer Woman DinnertimeSpeaking of family pleasers, I bought Ree Drummond’s new book Dinnertime and I am smitten with it. A very large book with over 375 pages, Dinnertime just might be your answer if you’re stuck in a dinner rut. What I like most about it is that there are all kinds of tips about freezing foods, pantry staples and quick dinners. I own every single one of her books and not a single recipe has let me down.

Matter of fact, I love it so much I’m going to give a copy away to one lucky winner. I figure if you’ve made it this far in this rambling post, you need a chance to win something lovely.

To enter, comment on this post and tell me something that’s bringing you joy right now. Be sure to leave your first name, last initial, the state you are from and something that is making you happy right now. Entries will be taken until Friday, November 13th (a good luck day, lol) 11:59pm EST.

I sincerely hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall season. And if you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone as I too struggled for many many years. My favorite expression is “this too shall pass” because it always does. It might take some time for that to happen, but if you search for joy, you will find it. Mind over matter.

xoxo

This is not a sponsored post. I bought Ree’s book myself and I highly endorse it. Not that she needs my endorsing. Ha! There is an affiliate link to her book in this post.

A Crabby Wedding Week

Maryland Blue CrabIt’s seems that my only mission for my wedding week was to fill my guests up with Maryland seafood. Most of our guests were coming from out of state and I wanted to make darn sure they had a chance to sample the very best seafood from the Chesapeake Bay.

Guests started arriving on the Thursday prior to our wedding weekend and we welcomed them with a party in the backyard. Maryland blue crab, crab cakes and oysters served three different ways were on the menu. A good way to start a celebration if you ask me!

Leela and the CrabWe hired a local duo to cater the dinner and they were fantastic. Every step of the way they included the kids, teaching them the ins and outs of cooking seafood.

It was quite the experience. Leela wasn’t so sure she wanted to be part of the cooking operation and while she was reluctant to help in the beginning, she slowly came out of her shell. Sorry, pun totally intended.

Leela and OystersThe boys thoroughly enjoyed learning about shucking oysters and steaming crabs. This might’ve been by design so they can cook for me in the future.

It was a delicious evening with close family and friends that we haven’t seen in a long time. We picked crabs, caught up on news, tossed back more oysters than I care to recount and enjoyed a beautiful Fall evening by the fire.

I had hoped that the evening would be exactly how it turned out. Full of laughter, love and good food. Oh, and wine. That too. If you noticed in the last post, our wedding took place in a vineyard. The Colonel and I are very fond of wine and we made sure our guests had their fair share of that too.

The following are some of my favorite pics from the evening. I hope you enjoy them too!

oysters

oysters

Leela trying an oyster

Michael and Dad

Donna

Group Pic

Shannon and Chili

crabs

Eating Crabs

Crab Party

Chatting By The Fire

The Big Day(s)

RehearsalWhere do I even begin with this post? Good grief, the past two weeks have been a blur. A crazy haze of family, friends, good food and wine. Lots of wine.

And I can’t even start at the beginning which was two days of parties with family and friends prior to the wedding weekend because I know you want to see pictures of the actual wedding.

The posts following this one will have to be prequels because I don’t want you to wait any longer. You’ve been so very patient while I’ve been off the net. So we’ll start the story at the rehearsal and catch you up on the other good stuff later this week…

The ColonelThe Colonel was made for weekends such as this. A man who loves a good party, delivers the best toasts on the planet and has a laugh that will rock a room. Yes, The Colonel was in his element this weekend. The man was in the mood to celebrate and a smile was plastered across his face every moment of our wedding weekend.

RehearsalThe kids enjoyed meeting all kinds of new people at the rehearsal and did especially well with meeting the in-laws. The Colonel’s family embraced my kids as if they had always been a part of their’s which had me misty eyed the entire weekend.

That’s not to say that it was entirely easy for the kids. Surely it was bittersweet for them, but they were gracious, kind and did me proud.

It was a beautiful rehearsal with a lovely picnic luncheon afterwards. Surrounded by family and friends, it couldn’t have been a lovelier day.

Kim and Des

Dad and Michael

Mom and Dad B

And so it begins. #weddingday #bride

And so it begins. #weddingday #bride

And then there was the big day. I thought I’d be nervous, but I wasn’t. It was a beautiful but seriously cold fall day with precious little humidity. Being a curly girl, I thanked God for allowing me to have a low humidity day.

Shannon Hair

Leela Hair

Mom and the girls.

Mom and the girls.

The girls and I got ready together. A stylist did our hair and the three of us helped each other get dressed. Our photographer shot what’s sure to be tear inducing sweet shots of us getting ready which I’ll share with you down the road once we get the proofs back.

The kiddos. #weddingday #wedding #instalove

The kiddos. #weddingday #wedding #instalove

They clean up well, don’t they? As you can see, the color scheme for the wedding was silver and black. Being a second time much older bride, I chose silver because it felt right. The boys wore black tuxes with red accents to match The Colonel. I couldn’t have been happier with how well it all went together.

Kim and MelanieHere is my Matron of Honor, Kim, helping me buckle my pain in the butt heels which I promptly kicked off in favor of pink flip flops as soon as I walked into the reception. Those shoes were like torture chambers for feet.

The Colonel and MelanieOur photographer wanted The Colonel and I to get a “first look” picture prior to the wedding. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s the moment that the bride and groom see each other in their fancy duds for the first time. I damn near fell over when I saw The Colonel in his uniform. And then he saluted me. I almost passed out.

The Colonel and MelanieChili was our ring bearer. It’s risky having a puppy in a wedding. We imagined all kinds of mischief he could get into. But I’m happy to report that he behaved beautifully and was a proper member of the wedding party. He even got a bite of steak at the reception for being a very good boy.

The Colonel

Kids SingingThe only glitch we had that weekend was that our string trio that we hired for the ceremony canceled on us because it was too cold for them to play their instruments outside.

We were in a panic trying to figure out what to do until my sons volunteered to perform in their place. Aidan’s friend Holley is a vocalist and she also offered her talents.

Between the three of them, they saved the day. It was absolutely perfect and the very best wedding gift they could’ve given us. We will always look back on that fondly and with deep appreciation.

Wedding Party

FlowersWe got into the reception hall a bit early and I snapped a pic of the flowers before the tables were fully set. I wanted you to see how lovely they were in the daylight. Evening pictures never do flowers justice.

CakeMy girlfriend Susan was not only in my wedding, but my cake baker as well. How gorgeous is this cake she made for us? I have wildly talented friends.

Cake CuttingIt was a shame to cut into it, but The Colonel whipped out his sword with a Zorro like zeal and the rest was history. Delicious sugary caramel chocolate history.

Des and Lisa

Donna and Leela

dancing with the colonelThe rest of the evening was a gorgeous mix of dancing, laughter, hugs, kisses and tears. I wish I had the professional images to share with you today because I’m not doing this day justice with the candid shots I possess.

I am so thankful for all of the people who made this day possible. The Colonel and I are both deeply thankful for the people who love and support us. It’s been a complicated journey, but with so much support of family and friends, we have arrived.