Monday, July 29, 2013

She Said Yes

One of my best friends got engaged this past Saturday, 
and last night we threw her a little surprise party.
Saturday was also Claire's birthday, and that is the day he popped the question.
Her boyfriend fiance (Ahhh!) has been planning this for a while now,
and filled me and Michael in on the plan about 2 weeks ago.
I had so much fun planning the party with Sarah, and Claire's friend Ashlyn.
We wanted it to be absolutely perfect for our little Claire!
^ These cupcakes were a challenge
And they were store bought.
I got to the bakery yesterday and not 1 cupcake was made correctly.
They were supposed to be all white cupcakes, with white icing.
1 dozen were supposed to have mint writing that said "She Said Yes" on each cupcake,
and the other dozen were supposed to have white icing with pearls that we would later put a ring on.
1) The cupcakes have green icing
2) They made them half white, half chocolate cupcakes
3) The ones that had writing, had one letter on each cupcake
I decided I was okay with the green icing, but everything else need to be fixed.
The bakery people were so sweet, and fixed it immediately though.
And, I'm fairly certain they gave me a great discount!
Plus, they taste delicious.

Claire and Trey finally got there, and boy was she surprised!
 ^I also love Trey's face!
After Claire got over the initial shock, they told us the story of how Trey proposed.
It was so fun hearing all the details, and the little things Trey did to trick Claire, and throw her off.
And he did good!
We spent the rest of the evening just talking, looking at pictures from the engagement and taking pictures together.
^ Checking out the ring
^ Telling the proposal story
^ a little engagement gift

It was such a special time celebrating with Claire and Trey, and seeing how happy all their friends are for them.
It is going to be a great year of planning and parties.
I am so excited to watch as this beautiful couple moves into marriage together!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday's Five

Another title for this post could be: Recent iPhone Images
There has not been a whole lot of activity from us lately.
Michael is winding down the summer (Woohoo!! Back to schedules!)
and I have been working to build my client load, which is going well!
Here are a few things we've been doing:

1) Getting some sun
While Michael was away I spent quite a bit of time laying out and reading books.
Buster even joined me for some of it, but he has a much lower tolerance for heat than me.
Something to do with a thick black coat.

2) Baby Luke
Also while Michael was at camp, I went to Katy and spent a day with these two.
This is Claire's cousin's son Luke.
He is a cutie!!
We had so much fun running errands and playing with him during the day.

3) Flowers
These are my "sorry I'm leaving for another week" flowers.
The good news is, Michael is finished with trips...until next Summer!

4) Books
I went to Barnes and Noble to buy a book on Stepfamilies.
I walked out with these.
Notice: none of these are about Stepfamilies.
I instantly forgot the reason I came as soon as I walked in the store.
I did find the planner that I have been wanting and looking for though!
Its the most amazing planner!
I've been looking online for at least 3 months, and couldn't find it.
Then I go to B&N and they have an entire table to choices.
So happy!

5) Birthday Girl
This girl is officially turning 21 tomorrow!!
I can't believe she is going to be a real legal adult.
I still remember the birthday when she got her driver's permit!
Love you so much Claire, and hope your day is so special!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We Love Jesus, Yes We Do!

Today I was back to my work with the youth group.
Its been about 3 weeks since I have gotten to do much with the kids, and I have to say
I have missed them!
The activity today was the Luis Service Project - Random Acts of Kindness.
We started the day off making posters and writing encouragement cards,
then we were out in the community spreading Jesus.
Our first stop was Chic-fil-A, where we paid for people's meals.
Then, we went to Target and gave encouragement cards to the workers, and random customers.
You should've seen the smile on the Starbucks worker's face when she read the note from one of our 6th grade girls. 
It was priceless.
We had a quick break for lunch in the park, and I got to spend it with these kids.
 ^ Sweet new 6th Graders. I just love their hearts!
After a little bit of fun making videos in the park, it was time to hit the streets.
Literally, we stood on street corners.
^ My crew for the day
We held up signs, and waved, and got several people to honk at us.
I choose to believe that the honks meant they love Jesus too...
except for that one guy that flipped us off.
He may not love Jesus back.
^ Aren't they the sweetest
Since it was only 10,080 degrees outside, we made Sonic happy hour our next stop.
Unfortunately, Michael still made us clean out the buses when we got back to the church.
It was so lame.
And so hot.
All things considered though, it was a really great day.
I loved seeing these kids' hearts for God.
I hope they stay this way forever.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Goodbye Las Vegas

Our last day in Vegas started with an early trip to the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.
Lucky for us, there was a guy there who's job is to take people's picture.
He was wonderful!
He made us do all sorts of different poses, and didn't want to charge us at all.
Of course, I was most excited about the Elvis impersonator.
I didn't get a picture with one in December when Michael and I came, 
so I really wanted one with him this time.
He was wonderful too!
He even serenaded Claire with Happy Birthday while we took video.
From there we took the taxi all the way down to the Venetian for breakfast.
I know I've mentioned before that I love the Venetian.
It really is so much like actually being in Venice.
After breakfast, I continued my search for the Wheel of Fortune game.
I had been looking for it all weekend.
A friend had mentioned it to me a couple months ago, and I just assumed that it was like the real show.
But every time we found a game with a big Wheel of Fortune was slots.
I finally just asked a casino attendant, who told me there was no such thing.
She did say that Pat and Vanna would be there in 3 weeks for live filming - I would love to be there for that! (Mom, you with me?)
Since there was no Wheel of Fortune, we decided to play Sex and the City.
It was so fun! 
It was slots, but then you could win bonus rounds where it was like a video game on a big screen above you.
I put in $5, and at one point I had it up to $25!
I ended up walking away with $20.20, and I was thrilled!
Sarah was next and after she put in $5, she walked away with $10.
Last, Claire gave me $5 to play for her.
She instructed me on which buttons to push, and she walked away with $0.
I told her that the gambling gods knew she wasn't of legal age yet. ;)
The rest of the morning was spent exploring the Venetian hotel, shopping, and eating.
Once we had seen all there is to see at the Venetian, 
we headed back to our hotel to catch a shuttle to the airport.
Our plane didn't land until after 11:00p, Houston time so we were all a little tired and hungry,
and I was ready to see Michael!
 ^ On the plane ride home!

I know I have said it in every post about this trip, 
but I am so thankful to the Sawyers for this gift of a trip.
I will forever cherish the memories made with this amazing group of girls.
We laughed a lot, we cried a little, and we loved every single second!
I am blessed beyond belief to have such amazing friends and support here in Houston.
They are beautiful inside and out, and a true treasure from God!


That was the official hashtag of our trip to Vegas.
Claire and I spent more time than I'd like to admit coming up with something clever,
and after 1 day with us, Sarah came up with this gem.
Diva Las Vegas.
Absolutely perfect!

Sunday was our last full day in Las Vegas.
We woke up and started the day with a devotional by Sarah and communion.
Laurie, Claire, and myself are just convinced that Sarah is the next Beth Moore.
She has such a skill for taking the simplest of ideas, and making them extraordinary and Spirit-filled.
I can't wait to see all that God does in her life!

Next, us girls were off to the pool, and Laurie went to get us tickets to the Jubilee.
The craziest thing happened while we were at the pool - it started raining.
I thought it didn't rain in Vegas, its the desert after all.
Apparently, the storm was bad enough that they had to close down the pool.
We were starving, so we walked a little ways through the mall to the most delicious, and low-cost might I add, restaurant.
Our order started out as only a pizza to share, 
and by the time we left we'd basically ordered one of everything on the menu!
And it was so good!
All of it!
Then it was back to the pool, to spend some more time in our cabana.
It's a rough life.
Claire's Dad, Steve, treated us to the Jubilee show that night, but it didn't start until 9:00,
so we had plenty of time to get ready and eat dinner.
We even managed to fit in a photoshoot.
Our hotel room windows were just begging to be a back drop.
At first we just wanted pictures with as as shadows, but when the camera accidentally flashed, 
we decided that we liked those too!
We walked over to the Paris Hotel for dinner where we ate slowly, and talked a bunch.
There was still a bit of time before the show, so we shopped a bit, 
and of course took more pictures.
You can never have too many pictures.
Especially when you're dressed all swanky in Vegas.
^ The most beautiful Parisian Bathroom
^ A fancy little dressing room
Finally, it was time for our show, the Las Vegas Jubilee!
We were so excited for the show, and to see Julie in show!
After we had taken our seats I saw one of the Ushers move the girls behind us to a closer view.
I was a little jealous of their upgrade, but before we knew it he came to get us.
He took us all the way to the front, to the cabaret tables.
It was awesome!
We spotted Julie (and I mean all of Julie) right away since she had a solo in the opening.
We waved as she had instructed, and she gave us the most adorable head nod - so perfect.
Let me warn you though:
This show is not for the faint of heart...
or supporters of all things conservative and modest.
Cause there was quite a bit of nudity.
We were a little surprised, but had a great time laughing about it later, especially at the lack of costumes for the show-boys. ;)
And really, the show is very classy in the way it showcases the girls, so the nudity was not unbearable.
The costumes and sets and dances were just incredible!
We really did love every minute, and I am so appreciate to Steve for his generosity.
We ended the night with some dessert at Sugar, a celebrity-favorite candy store.
I was not about to spend $25 on their famous lollipop, and decided on gellato instead.
It was the perfect last night of our trip:
^ Night view of the Paris and Arc de Triomphe

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Reason for the Trip - Celine Dion

Our third day in Las Vegas was packed full of activities.
Its hard to say which day was my favorite because they were all so perfect,
but if I could choose a favorite, this one just might take the cake.
We started the day with a surprise from Claire - a backstage tour of the Las Vegas Jubilee!
I had asked Michael to see this show when we were in Vegas, but he said no.
Understandably, as we would soon find out.
It is the only remaining traditional Vegas Showgirl show, which is why I wanted to see it.
Our tour guide eve said: "When you think of Vegas, you think of showgirls!"
As you can imagine, I was ecstatic when Claire told us about the tour!
And it went WAY beyond my expectations!
First, our tour guide was absolutely perfect!
Her name is Julie, and she is one of the Principals of the Jubilee.
We weren't allowed to take pictures of the costumes (bummer, I know) but here are some that I got during the tour.
The iceberg and wooden staircase are both part of the Sinking of the Titanic.
If you look closely in the top right picture, you can see the silver stair case that the girls come down in the finale. 
Those are what I think of when I think of Showgirls!
We really had no plans to see the show, but Julie made it sound so incredible that we bought tickets for the following night.
Plus, she told us all of her solos, and we were very excited to see her and cheer for her.
It was an incredible tour with so much to see - 
Lots of feathers, thousands of rhinestones, amazing sets, and beautiful costumes.
If you are in Vegas (especially with a group of girls) you should definitely take the tour!
Yes, Julie is very tall!
She is 6'1 without heels, and the minimum to be in the show is 5'8.
And no, she is not a man.
We know from experience that she is not a man, but more on that later.

Next we walked over to the Bellagio for lunch and to see the Conservatory.
I liked it better at Christmas, but it was still beautiful.
My favorite part was the little snail - I took way too many pictures of it!
 We spent some time shopping and looking around in the Bellagio, and then went outside to watch the fountain show.
By this time we had already seen it several times from our hotel room,
but it was neat to see them with the music that plays on the street.
Then, it was time to start getting ready for dinner and our show.
This was the night that we had come to Vegas for.
The show that Claire (and really all of us) had been waiting for so long to see.
This was night we got to see Celine Dion!!
All of us got dressed up fancy, and headed out to dinner in the Paris Hotel.
We ate at a delicious restaurant called Mon Ami Gabi.
Spent some time taking pictures in the hotel, 
and then walked (yep, I said it, walked) over to Caesar's Palace for the concert.
There was only one little glitch to the evening, and that was when they took my Nikon camera.
Flash photography is not allowed at any of the shows in Vegas,
but the Celine Dion show takes that a step further and makes you check your camera.
I had never done this before, so I was a little nervous - to say the least.
Just in case something happened, I took my camera card out, and kept it in my purse.
All turned out well though, and I got my own camera back after the concert.
*I did play a joke on the attendant though:
I told him it wasn't my camera when he handed it to me.
Panic flashed across his face until I said "Just kidding"
That's what they get for making me check it at all.
In our seats, ready for the show to start!
It was an incredible concert!
Celine was absolutely amazing!
My favorite thing about her show is just seeing how much energy and love she has for what she does.
She LOVES doing concerts.
And she really loves doing concerts in Las Vegas.
She sang all the songs you would want her to sing:
Power of Love
All By Myself
River Deep Mountain High
Its All Coming Back to Me Now
Beauty and the Beast
and she ended the show with My Heart Will Go On.
It was beyond words!
So incredible! 
I am so thankful to Laurie, Claire, and Steve for giving me this trip and the opportunity to see Celine Dion. It is a concert that I will never forget!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Vegas, Day 2

Day two was all about relaxation.
Thanks to one of Laurie's coworkers who has a Hilton Club Membership, we got upgraded from the normal white hotel keys, to these black beauties,
which also gave us our own cabana at the hotel pool.
We spent the day lounging, tanning, reading, and talking - the perfect girl day.
Get it. You can't see our suits. Its funny.
After lounging and laughing all day, it was time to get ready for our night out.
Laurie got us all tickets to the show Le Reve The Dream at the Wynn,
and we had plans to eat at the Society Encore Cafe in the Encore.
Once we were all dressed and beautified, we left for the Wynn Hotel.
A problem we often encountered this weekend was needing a photographer - its tough when you want a group shot.
Occasionally, we would resort to taking a mirror pic.
Oops! The flash was on!
And of course the doors opened to let a middle aged man on as soon as I took the picture.
Mirror pic fail.
Luckily, a sweet girl in the hotel lobby volunteered to take it for us, if nothing else than to save us from another mirror pic.
We took a taxi to dinner and our show since the Wynn is pretty far down the strip.
It was quite the interesting taxi ride.
Between Laurie's seat being wet from the driver's drink, 
construction on Las Vegas Blvd (really Vegas?)
and the obscene temperatures in the back seat, we stayed very entertained.
We also learned that Claire has some crazy blind selfie skills!
Michael and I never went inside the Wynn or the Encore when we were in Vegas last year,
so I was not prepared for the beauty that awaited us.
It was incredible.
Our first stop was the box office to pick up our tickets. 
Good thing we went there first, because we found out that the show starts 30 minutes earlier than what we thought.
We still had time, but had to rush dinner a little.
And that was a real shame, because that food was good!
The ambiance was pretty nice too.
We even had a moose to guard our table.
I might have taken 3 or more pictures of it, but those details don't matter.
We made it to the theater just in time for the show.
I can't even describe how incredible this show was.
It is not a Cirque Du Soleil show, but is very similar, but this entire show is done in a huge round pool.
Every now and then a platform or stage type thing would rise out of the water,
but the entire performance was centered around synchronized swimming, water dancing, acrobatics, and crazy diving stunts.
It was breathtaking, start to finish.
If you are in Vegas, see Le Reve The Dream. 
You won't regret it!
After the show we ended the night walking around the Encore/Wynn some more.
We also had dessert at a restaurant in the Wynn.
It was here that I ordered the most delicious Mocktail ever.
It was called Raspberry Sparkle, which is obviously why I ordered it.
It was so yum!
It was the perfect ending to our second day in Las Vegas!
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