Tag Archives: pictures

The little signs of Christmas 

25 Dec

This was the first Christmas Eve I’ve had off in three years, and I loved it! I spent the morning baking cookies and watching classic movies with my mom. Usually by the time I get home from work, the cookies have all been made. 

    

    
 
Next one the list was Christmas Eve service. My family goes to two different services, one where we worship every Sunday and then one at my great grandparents church that we have attended for as long as I can remember.  

I love seeing the advent candles and then when it’s time for the congregation to light our candles and sing Silent Night. I get chills every time, it’s such a beautiful sight! 

    
    
 
 

From Christmas Eve service number two, it’s home to get ready to go to my grandparents house for dinner. But before we can go, an annual photo with the Christmas tree must be taken!   

  
And then it’s off to grandmother’s house we go where we meet up with aunts and uncles and cousins.  

    
    
 
And this year an extra special guest made a surprise visit!! Did you know I was Santa’s granddaughter?! 😉

    
 
Then all too soon it was times for goodbyes, hugs and kisses. Back at home, all the gifts that had been hiding in various nooks, crannies and corners found their way to the Christmas tree. Meanwhile the stocks that were seated on the couch were stuffed with all sorts of goodies!  

    
   

And once everyone goes to bed besides my mom and I, it’s time to recreate one of my all-time favorite childhood Christmas morning memories…Santa’s magic snow footprints. Since we’ve never lived in a house with a chimney, Santa has always left a one way trail of footprints on the carpet coming from the direction of the front door! I love that this is a tradition I now get to make and one I’m excited to pass on to my future children! 

  

And now it is 1:15 a.m. Christmas morning and I’m keeping my mom company as she bakes nut, poppyseed and raspberry rolls for Christmas morning brunch.  

 
And now with kitchen clean and eyes that I can hardly keep open any longer, I wish you a good night. May your dreams be filled with nutcrackers, sugar plum fairies, and the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of a little baby named Jesus, who was born to save the world. 

Memorial Day 2014

26 May

Today was bittersweet as we watched my youngest sister, Macayla, march in her last Memorial Day parades. Way to end on a high note, kiddo!! 🙂

 

 

The Liebster Award

3 May

I began this blog a few years ago. I figured it would be a great way to record my everyday life and to practice and improve my writing talent. I had no idea it would become a close network of friends I’ve never met before. I look forward to reading everyone’s posts and get excited when someone new visits, likes or comments on one of my posts.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this week I was nominated for The Liebster Award by Greg over at Why I runDisney – thank you so, so much! I feel like I have officially been welcomed into an extended blogging community!
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Now, I don’t know much about The Liebster Award, except what I learned on Greg’s post, but basically it’s a nod to new bloggers and a way to help other’s discover their blogs as well. This award is only on the internet and given to bloggers by other bloggers. The rules are simple:

  • You must link back to the person who nominated you
  • You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee
  • You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award
  • You must create 10 questions for your nominees
  • You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

1. What is your favorite Disney theme park in the world? Why?

My favorite Disney theme park in the whole world by default is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Not only is it the ONLY Disney theme park I’ve been to (the first time when I was 12 years old), it’s where I worked, played and lived for a year during my Disney College Program. It’s where I met some of my very best friends, now extend members of my family. It’s where I met my boyfriend, Scott. It’s where I truly found me.

2. Are there any Disney theme parks that you would like to visit that you haven’t visited yet? If so, which one(s)?

Someday I would love to visit Disneyland and California Adventure. I would also like to visit one of the international parks, I’m not picky about which one because honestly, if I had an unlimited bank account, I’d love to visit them all!!

3. Since all of you have run in races before, which race was your favorite?

My favorite race was the 2013 runDisney Tower of Terror 10 miler. This was my third runDisney race that I’ve run with my DCP roommate, Monique. It was also the longest distance I have ever pushed myself. I’ve never been so proud of myself before this moment. Crossing that finish line for me was so emotional, so overwhelming, so powerful. Once we crossed the finish line Monique was already talking Wine and Dine Half 2014, which we will be running in November, so my favorite race may change!

runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Miler

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4. If you could choose a theme for a runDisney race, what theme would you choose and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one!! What about a Disney-Pixar themed race?! 🙂

5. What advice would you offer someone who is a beginning runner?

It does not matter if you run the whole time or only for a minute, as long as you run at some point, YOU are a runner. I know it’s hard not to compare yourself to others (trust me on this, I struggle with it daily it seems like), but the only person you should be comparing yourself to is the you from YESTERDAY. When I began my running journey, a seasoned runner told me that I would go through an emotional journey, I would have good days and bad days, days when my lungs and legs would burn, but if I kept pushing, not only physically, but mentally as well, I would reach every running goal I set for myself. I know I’ll never be the fastest, but as long as I finish, that is a win and a major success and accomplishment in my book.

6. What races are on your bucket list?

runDisney Wine and Dine Half 2014

runDisney Princess Half

runDisney Avenger’s Half

7. If you run with music, what are your favorite songs to run with? If you don’t run with music, what is your favorite mantra?

Some of my favorite songs include:

  • Cannonball by Lea Michele
  • Just Like We Dreamed it – Disneyland Resort Paris
  • Waiting for Tomorrow by Mandisa
  • Overcomer by Mandisa
  • Live Like a Warrior by Nick Pitera
  • She’s So Gone by Lemonade Mouth
  • When Can I See You Again (from Wreck it Ralph) by Owl City
  • Not Your Cinderella by Payton Rae
  • Closer, Faster by Against The Current
  • It’s Not Just Make Believe by Kari Kimmel

8. What are your favorite Disney theme park indulgences? This could be favorite food items, favorite shows, favorite attractions, favorite places to go while on a Disney theme park vacation, etc. In other words, what are your favorite things to do at any of the Disney theme parks?

Wow, I’m not sure I can narrow that down, especially since I just returned from the Happiest Place on Earth. Can I say everything?! Okay here goes – at Animal Kingdom: Finding Nemo: The Musical, Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, and when they still had it, the Shrimp Po Boy sandwich at Restaurantosaurus.

Epcot – Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Soarin’, walking around World Showcase, especially during the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall, and watching Illuninations, the best place in my opinion is from the Mexico Pavilion.

Hollywood Studios – Rock N Roller Coaster, The Great Movie Ride, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, a new favorite is the character drawing class in the Animation Building, and Fantasmic.

Magic Kingdom – Meeting Mickey, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, People Mover, Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Festival of Fantasy parade, Wishes, and eating at be Our Guest. Also, if you are lucky enough to got to a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, DO IT, you won’t be disappointed, I promise!

I also enjoy riding the monorail and watching Wishes from the roof of the Contemporary Resort and from the beach at the Polynesian Resort. If you are ever at Downtown Disney, eat at Earl of Sandwich, get a chocolate milkshake from Ghirardelli and if your looking for something completely different, spend a few hours at Disney Quest.

9. When training for a race (a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, or Ultra), where is your favorite place to run?

There is a state park not far from where I live that has a nice path out over the dam – down and back is just under 3 miles, it’s also a slight incline. I also enjoy running around the roads where I live – hilly country back roads, around the “block” is 3.5 miles.

10. If you could personalize the post race food given to you after a race like a half marathon or full marathon, what would your order?

As I haven’t run a half marathon yet, I’m not sure what they give you. But when I get back from my training runs I always want chocolate milk after my bottle of water.

And now to pass the baton along, I’m tagging:

1. TheDisneyDiva

2. Jessica at  PubRunAholic

3. Katie, Letty and Michelle at The Tipsy Geekette

4. Casey at Life with Roozle

5. Victoria and Kyle at The WDW Blog

6. Ti and Kellz at The 2econd Star

7. Jennifer at Dreams Really Do Come True

8. Sarah at PR and Pixie Dust

9. Adam at Things Goofy

10. Rachel at Rachel Does Disney…Again

Now for the fun part, my questions for the nominees should they choose to accept it!

1. What is your favorite quote/poem/motivational saying?

2. If you could visit any country in the world and stay for as long as you wanted, where would you go and why?

3. What was your favorite Disney movie as a kid? Is it still your favorite?

4. Tell me about a “hidden gem” in your town, something a tourist would never know to look for!

5. What are the 5 most played songs on your iPod/MP3 player/computer?

6. What are you most looking forward to this summer?

7. How many times have you been to the Disney Parks?  7.1 Share a Disney memory!

8. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

9. If you could have any role in a movie, what would it be?

10. What is the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

24 Nov

Have you ever walked into work and been surprised to see yourself on a poster? I have…. here, take a look!

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I use to work at The Walt Disney World Resort®. My first role was as a Quick Service Food & Beverage cast member at Disney’s Restaurantosaurus  in Animal Kingdom from August 2010 – beginning of January 2011. One night after the park closed and we were cleaning the kitchen, there was a group of us who started singing Christmas songs as we worked, and we sounded GOOD, there were harmonies and flowing melodies! And from there our little choir of Resto Cast Members was born!

We would sign Christmas carols outside the restaurant with the guests at random times throughout the day! Nothing made me happier than having my manager come take over my position so I could go sing! (Have I mentioned I LOVE singing just as much as I LOVE Disney?) Sometimes other cast members would join us as you can see from the picture above. She was a character attendant for Pluto and Goofy and one of the places we would sing was along the path the characters took to enter and leave DinoLand. There was this one time Goofy stopped to “direct” our little choir! It was one of the funniest and most adorable things I had the opportunity to witness. The guests LOVED every minute of it!

My favorite stories though are when little kids would come running over and request their favorite songs just so they could sing with us. My heart swelled every time just knowing this little thing, singing Christmas carols at Disney would be a memory these families would take with them. And I was a little part of that magic.

I don’t recall having this picture taken. And I was honestly shocked when I came into work one morning and I found a smiling, singing me on the wall. But if there was ever to be an unexpected picture of myself hanging for all my coworkers to see, I’m glad it was this one as it so clearly showcases me in my element — singing, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories for perfect strangers. Who could ask for more in a photo?

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

DIY Fabric Birthday Crown

25 Sep

My 25th birthday was on Saturday, September 14th, and to celebrate I decided to do something different. I signed up to run a 5K that morning. More specifically, the Mad Hatter 5K. In the registration, it said that hats were encouraged, but not required. And it got me thinking, if I was going to do this race, I wanted a BIRTHDAY CROWN for my hat! I started looking online for pre-made fabric hats. I found a few that were cute and just what I had in mind. Then I came to my senses and realized a few things:

  1. Those hats were adorable, but they were all the same. I needed something special, something uniquely “me.”
  2. There was NO WAY I was paying $25 PLUS shipping for a fabric crown that MAY OR MAY NOT arrive in time for my race.
  3. Why don’t I use the 10 years of sewing 4H I have under my belt and MAKE MY OWN crown (Genius, I know!)

SOMEONE, QUICK! GET THE CAMERA! AFTER YEARS OF BEING ON SEWING RETIREMENT AND SWEARING SHE WOULD NEVER GO HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH THE SEWING MACHINE AGAIN, SHE’S VOLUNTARILY GOING TO SEW….FOR FUN!  

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, my step by step instructions on how you too can make your one-of-a-kind FABRIC BIRTHDAY CROWN!

You will need (See photo below):

  • Fabric (I used a combination of felt and fleece we had lying around the house from past 4H projects and Halloween costumes)
  • Interfacing (I used a combination of light-weight iron-on and heavy-duty stuff that must be sewn)
  • Cardboard crown from Burger King to use as a sizing template
  • Chalk
  • Printer paper
  • Sewing Machine (unless you are willing to hand sew the whole thing — I sure wasn’t) – Not pictured
  • Straight pins – Not pictured
  • Thread – Not pictured
  • Shape patterns to decorate the crown — pictured further down
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Puffy Paint — pictured further down

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Step 1 (This is going to seem like a lot, but it’s all pictured below):

Use the cardboard crown from Burger King to measure the circumference of your head.  Tape together computer paper until you have the desired length.  Then draw out the design for your crown on the paper. You are creating a pattern to use when cutting out your fabric.

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Step 2:

When you have a design you are happy with on paper, cut it out. Once again, use this pattern to measure around your head. It never hurts to double or triple check the sizing. It took me two paper patterns before I got the sizing perfect for my crown. When you are satisfied, lay it out on your fabric. You can either trace around it with chalk or use pins to keep it in place while cutting. (I used chalk because I didn’t feel like locating straight pins.) You will need two pieces – a front and a back!

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Step 3:

Using the same paper pattern, cut out your interfacing. To make sure my crown was stiff enough to stand on it’s own while it was on my head, I cut out 4 layers of iron-on interfacing (2 for the inside of the front piece and 2 for the inside of the back piece) and 1 layer of the heavy duty sew-on interfacing for the middle layer.

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Step 4:

Carefully iron-on your pieces of interfacing. Don’t make the same mistake I did many years ago when I was first learning to sew. ALWAYS double check that the bumpy beads of glue are against your fabric and NOT the iron — when they melt and stick to the hot surface of the iron you will have a MAJOR mess on your hands. As I mentioned above, I have 4 pieces of iron-on interfacing. I put two on the inside of the front piece and two on the inside of the back piece. (Note: Make sure the interfacing for the front is on the opposite side of the fabric than those for the back, this way they will be on the inside when you sew everything together,)

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Step 5:

Figure out the designs you want on the outside of your crown. My mom cut me these paper patterns using her Cricket and various Cricket cartridges. Lay everything out so you can get the spacing and sizing right.

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Step 6:

You guessed it! Once you have the pattern pieces for the designs for the outside of your crown, it’s time to pin them to the fabric and cut them out. You could also trace using chalk if you’d like.

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Step 7:

Pin the designs (and ribbon if you chose to include some like I did) to the front piece of your crown. You will sew these down BEFORE you sew all the layers of your crown together.

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Step 8:

Carefully top stitch around the designs. Once again, you should be sewing these to the front piece of your crown ONLY. Word to the wise, if you are going through multiple layers of fabric as you see here with my 25 (pink and black), sew those two pieces together FIRST then sew that one piece to the crown. It will make it easier for you to keep everything lined up and provide an extra layer of stitching as reinforcement.

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Step 9:

Time to sew all the layers of your crown together. As seen below in the picture, I have my front piece with decorative designs already sewn down, the middle piece is that heavy-duty interfacing and the bottom piece is the back piece of my crown with the light-weight interfacing side up (this will go on the inside as the other side is yellow to match the front piece).  You will need to stack these pieces together like a sandwich and then pin them securely in place. (See picture 2)

Picture 1

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Picture 2

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Step 10:

Slowly and carefully, sew these three layers together. You may need to take the pins out one at a time as you come up to them with the sewing machine. To make sharp point turns on your crown, stop at the point where you want the corner with the sewing machine needle all the way down into the fabric. Lift the presser foot (the flat silver piece that slides over the fabric) and turn the fabric until you have reached your desired angle, then put the presser foot down and continue sewing. When you have gone all the way around the crown, I recommend back stitching just to reinforce the seam.

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Step 11:

For my crown, I decided the best way to keep it on my head securely during my race was to use Velcro squares. These squares had a sticky, adhesive back that allowed me to position them just right (this took a couple trial and errors before I had the spacing and proper fit for my head). Make sure the pairs of Velcro are on opposite sides of your crown so that when you go to stick them together they will form a circle with the Velcro pieces meeting in the middle of the front and back pieces of your crown. Then I sewed down each individual square because I didn’t want them falling off during my race.

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Step 12:

Now if you think your crown needs a little extra pizzazz, you can decorate it with puffy paint! (See photo) And that’s it! You have yourself one custom made, totally unique, birthday/celebration/because you are royalty and deserve it fabric crown!

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In all, this took me maybe 10 – 12 hours total to make. I worked on it a few hours each night after work the week leading up to the race. I even had it finished a day early so I could take it to work on Friday to show my coworkers who couldn’t fully grasp the craftiness I was trying so desperately to explain.

I hope you’ll give this a try sometime, and when you do, post a link to your photos so I can see how your special crown turned out!

Happy crafting everyone!  

Blogtember – A Catch-up!

8 Sep

First off, I’d like to thank The Daily Post for writing a whole post about the different blog events going on and providing useful links to them! It was thanks to that post I found the Blogtember Challenge on the blog Story of My Life and thought, why not?! Unfortunately, I found this post a few days after it started and decided I’d just do one LARGE catch-up on everything I’ve missed!

So, away we go!

September 3, 2013 –  Describe where or what you come from.

I wrote this when I was in high school but I think it still applies:

Where I’m From

With gratitude to George Ella Lyon

COPY CHANGE BY THE UNDERCOVER PRINCESS

I am from a hairbrush,

The computer and a single rose,

Deep red and elegant, standing tall and proud.

I am from the Carousel Theater and sliding into third base, breaking my ankle.

I am from chocolate and my radio,

From Diamond and the beach.

I’m from once in a blue moon…

And everyone saying, SHUT UP! When they are excited.

I’m from Wonder Woman and Hermione.

I’m from pickles and olives.

I’m from my mom, my dad, and my grandparents.

I’m from stardom and a singing career. 

September 4, 2013 –  If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? (bonus points for fun photos.)

I would travel to all the places I’ve only been once and to all the places I’ve always dreamed of seeing – the latter list includes England, Scotland, Italy, Australia, South America, the list is endless!

September 5, 2013 – Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

My mom always says this to my sisters and I: “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

Basically, in order to succeed in life, we need to learn to become self-sufficient, independent individuals. Yes, it’s nice when other people are there to take care of you, but what happens when the day comes when someone isn’t there to do those things anymore? Will you know how to go on? I think I will, and it’s got a great deal to do with my mom…and dad. 🙂

September 6, 2013 – A story about a time you were very afraid.

I’m not really sure what story to share…. my Not So Sweet 16th Birthday comes to mind….

Then there was the time I was caught in a terrible thunderstorm at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

And when we found out my little sister had cancer. — yes, this one had me the most afraid because even though we fight from time to time, I’d be lost without her! And I’m happy to report that her scans are clean and we couldn’t be more excited! 🙂

Phew, now that I’m all caught up, fingers crossed I wont get behind again!



Hair Anxiety Attack

5 Sep

“A woman’s hair is her crown.” – Shon Stoker

I love my hair. Other than my eyes, I honestly think its my best feature.

I have been platinum blonde:

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A redhead:

red hotA warm brown:

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And golden blonde:

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Just to name a few… it’s been long, short and layered, even bangs now and again. Growing up, my mom use to tell us that she didn’t care what we did to our hair because it would grow back eventually, and if that’s the worst we ever did then we were set.

I am very attached to my hair. I know the style I like and the colors that look good with my coloring. And I’ve been changing the color of my hair for so long now that I couldn’t tell you what my natural color is. I have learned over the years that short hair looks TERRIBLE on me due to the structure of my face, long layers are the way to go. The problem is when I find a style and color I like, I tend to stick with it for a LONG time. Change, especially when it comes to my hair, makes me uneasy.

Recently I have been freaking out about turning 25 (only 9 more days, still not looking forward to it). I don’t know why exactly, but it has me on edge. Maybe it’s because I’ve been feeling like my life is at a stand still and I’m trying to figure out what my great purpose in life is. Whatever the reason, I’m on pins and needles.

And I have been obsessing with my hair, nit-picking everything that is wrong with it. It’s too thin, too stringy, the color is ugly, there are tons of split ends, it doesn’t look professional, it falls out easily, the list goes on and on. And then I was reminded that my license needed renewed before my birthday and I wanted to burst into tears because I was going to have an awful photo with terrible hair for the next four years, it was just too much. This called for an emergency hair appointment, STAT.

I am very picky about who touches my hair. In my lifetime, there have only been three stylists who have seriously cut my hair. (Okay, so my grandmother use to cut my bangs, but didn’t all grandma’s in the ’90 do that with scotch tape and scissors? There were some tears shed in her kitchen over the years. Love you grandma!) Thank goodness one of my hair stylists had an open appointment yesterday afternoon.

I went in with a photo of style I liked and no idea for the color. I knew I wanted it darker as we head into fall and I needed it to be professional for work, other than that, I left the decision in the stylist’s capable and knowledgeable hands. i figured she was better at determining what shades and colors would look best with my skin tone and eye color. But I’ll be honest, I was nervous to see the results.

Saw this taped to the mirror at the hair salon. "Blessed are the hairstylists - for they bring out the beauty in others."

Saw this taped to the mirror at the hair salon. “Blessed are the hair stylists – for they bring out the beauty in others.”

For me, it is a very relaxing experience to go and have my hair done. I love hearing all the gossip, catching up on family news and just laughing and enjoying my time. It’s a wonderful feeling to have someone else tend to your hair. It’s almost like you are getting a head message during the shampoo and conditioning phase. And there really are no words to describe how relaxing it is to have another person comb and brush out your hair. If I ever won the lottery (I guess I would have to start playing first, though…), I would hire my own personal hair stylist to wash, brush and style my hair everyday for the rest of my life.

I was proud of myself, I didn’t panic during the coloring, but when the scissors came out, part of me contemplated fleeing the building. I knew a few inches of my lovely long hair would need to be cut to get rid of the split-ends and to even everything back up to make it pretty. I wasn’t expecting to see THIS much hair falling though:

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I put on my big girl pants and soldiered through it. Thankfully there were no tears. And once she started to dry my hair and style it, my anxiety started to fade. I could see it, the new me. Where there was this wanna-be adult when I walked in, a fierce and somewhat attractive woman had mysteriously taken her place. I was shocked. No words, that doesn’t happen to me often. It’s very different. It’s dark and short and I have these funky swoopy bangs. A stranger greeted me in the bathroom mirror this morning, but she has stylish hair so she can stay.

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The transformation: Before and After

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And because this story NEEDS an extra happy ending, I went to get my new license photo today and it’s the PERFECT picture! It looks like a model head shot! I don’t always think I look pretty, and certainly never beautiful, but today I felt just a little bit more comfortable in my skin, maybe all I needed was a mini makeover to remind myself I’m someone special. And now to embrace life as a dark brunette and discover what adventures lie ahead!