my sweet, sweet first niece, gwenna turned four while we were in albuquerque! FOUR. i can't believe how quickly the years have gone by and that she's a little kid now. she's so smart and sassy and fun! and when my sister, tessa, asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted, she replied "a elsa one." so tessa threw the cutest, frozen themed birthday party. complete with an elsa dress and cape for gwenna goose, and a little sister princess dress for lila bug. they are the cutest little ones and i hope to one day live less than an 11 hour drive away from them one day..
two weekends ago, nicolaus and i hopped in our car thursday night and showed up on my sister's doorstep in albuquerque to surprise her for her 30th birthday on friday morning! with the help of my brother-in-law, we were able to plan the trip with her having no clue we were coming. when she opened the door and we popped out of hiding with massive party poppers exploding with confetti, and there were lots of shocked screams and happy tears!
it was such a fun thing to be able to pull off, and the perfect weekend to go down there. because not only was it my sister's 30th bday, it was also my niece's 4th birthday, conference weekend and the albuquerque balloon festival! plus my sister's father, mother and sister-in-law were also visiting and nicolaus and i always love being able to hang out with their family :)
the weekend was so refreshing and fun and full of birthday dinners and parties and late night chats. the balloon festival was MAGICAL and even after looking at these photos, it feels like it was all a dream. a lovely, lovely dream :)
the last book i listened to during my commute was the outsiders by s.e. hinton. i've seen the movie before and was a big fan of it, buuuut (as cliche as it might be) the book was so. much. better. there may have been a time or two when i had to seriously consider pulling off to the side of the road, because of all the tears welling up in my eyes.
i really don't know what to say about it without giving away any of the plot, except for that i loved this book. i loved everything about it - the vibrant characters and the straightforward writing and i will forever have a soft spot in my heart for the protagonist, pony boy. plus johnny and soda and darry and two-bit and dally and the whole lot of them. even though the book was written decades ago, it captures that same teen angst and coming-of-age confusion that still exists, as well as societal stereotypes and basic truths (like don't judge a book by its cover) that we always seem to forget. and what is even more incredible is that this american classic was written by a 16-year-old girl. you go girl.
and here are a few quotes from it that i love:
"i lie to myself all the time. but i never believe me."
"maybe the two worlds we lived in weren't so different. we saw the same sunset."
"they grew up on the outside of society. they weren't looking for a fight. they were looking to belong."
"dally was so real he scared me."
"things were rough all over, but it was better that way. that way you could tell the other guy was human too."
"what's the safest thing to be when one is met by a gang of social outcasts in an alley? ...another social outcast!"
"rat race is the perfect name for it...we're always going and going and going, and never asking where. did you ever hear of having more than you wanted? so that you couldn't want anything else and then started looking for something else to want? it seems like we're always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it. maybe if we could lose our cool we would."
"nothing gold can stay." [robert frost]
"i've been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you're gold when you're a kid, like green. when you're a kid everything's new, dawn. it's just when you get used to everything that it's day. like the way you dig sunsets, pony. that's gold. keep that way, it's a good way to be."
a few weekends ago i got to take sweet baby james' newborn photos. his beautiful mama, jessica, has been a family friend for years now and it was so fun to see her with her own, darling little family. she has the loveliest home and now the two cutest kids! big sister sydney was such a good little helper and listener for the shoot and james was really, really good at laying there and being precious :) i loved being able to caption these little, sweet moments of such an amazing family!
when jann, a friend of mine and the mind and talent behind hoodielove, asked if i would participate in a "30 days of style" thing she wanted to do, i was so excited/flattered by it and of course said yes! the feature is now live at hoodielove's blog over here if you wanna check it out.
so, after work one day i headed over to main street in park city and met up with a few other girls to style and model the hoodies. i already know kerry and tayler and they are the cutest, most creative girls! kerry's blog is definitely one you'll want to follow along with as she's moving to spain with her cute family next month and they're sure to have an amazing and well-documented time over there! plus she has the greatest style ever (thanks again for lending me your leather jacket kerry :) and tayler is also a cute blogging nurse/wifey/mama who recently started a little business making baby wraps! be sure to check out her instagram @mywildbird because i am babyless but still somehow want one because they are so. comfortable. and i was able to meet mary who is one talented little jewelry maker! be sure to check out her made by mary shop for the prettiest, daintiest golden jewelry you can imagine.
ha, so basically it was a bit intimidating to be bunched into a group of such talented and stylin ladies! but i was really happy it wasn't a solo shoot because that's just a recipe for awkwardness when it comes to me...haha aaanyways, we wandered around main street and up the mountain taking photos and getting some odd sideways glances from passerby's...haha and there was one older man volunteered to take our photo if he could also get one of his own with five, young blonde girls :) also, i somehow, at one point, ended up with tayler's baby, remy, and he is the sweetest little thing! so it was a good time and thanks for having me be a part of it jann!
but let's get to the real business now. the hoodies. they are honest-to-goodness the softest, most comfortable and flattering hoodie i have ever worn. if you don't believe me, just watch this video and one of these girls are bound to convert you. i own one and love it and just ordered my sister one for her birthday cause i wanted to share the looove. get it?? ;)
and in more exciting news, all you sweet followers of this blog of mine can use the coupon code "ShaShaShayla" for $20 off your purchase at hoodielove through this saturday, october 11th!!!
p.s. the whole mass of blonde hair thing was definitely not planned...haha it just happened that way.