Monday, December 15, 2014

Live On. Give On. + $100 giftcard giveaway for charity!

Special thanks to Medtronic for sponsoring today's post and encouraging me to live on and give on.
All thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

I am so excited to be a part in sharing about the Bakken Invitation sponsored by Medtronic! When I first heard about this, I felt a great connection, since one: I have overcome or am still overcoming physical and health obstacles, so I definitely felt like I could really relate to this year's Honorees, especially Joan Talkowsky of Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Before we talk more about Joan, let me share what the Bakken Invitation is. This award is given to ten people from all over the world who have overcome major health problems with the help of medical technology and who choose to help their communities despite the challenges they face. Wow, right?! It leaves me in awe how they might be feeling pain, depression or fatigue, but still make time and push themselves to not let their health issues come in the way of them giving back to their communities and living on with pure intent, happiness and a great sense of self. I should also note how each honoree not only gets to share their story but they also receive a $20,000 grant toward their volunteer efforts!! Amazing! All ten of this year's honorees are truly wonderful people who live on and give on. I love all of their words of wisdom of helping and leading positive lives!

Joan used to give her time at a hospital in New Jersey, helping "boarder babies"; babies who were born with drugs in their system. Soon after, she started feeling exhausted and out of breathe. Come to find out, she need a pacemaker asap! Since having that placed, she moved back to Israel where she volunteers her time translating for Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which assists poor populations in Israel. She lives by the deep meaning phrase, "Tikkun olam", which in the Jewish religion means "repairing the world."

I am really inspired by Joan and her efforts. I love how she helps to repair the world, even after going through a hard time in her life that could have been fatal, but thanks to receiving a pacemaker, she proves that to, "take one little step out of your immediate circle," can be so fulfilling and life changing. Not only for herself but for the ones receiving help.

I also LOVE giving back when I can and I am grateful to be ABLE to help in the ways that I can.

I don't want to hear excuses from anyone about not helping others, their communities (no matter how great or terrible you think where you live is), or even your family or friends. YOU have the power to act. You have the power to help.

Here are five suggestions that you could give back and I definitely want to help more when it comes to tip number four! (new year's resolution, anyone?)

1//Give of yourself. 
It can be as simple as sharing a smile with the grocery store clerk, or paying it forward at a Wendy's drive-thru. While at the grocery store and you see a parent juggling items in their hands and they drop something, go pick it up! No act of service, of giving yourself, is too small. I know it sounds so cliche that you can make a difference. That you may feel that what you can do, what you can give doesn't seem like enough...but you're wrong! It is enough. You are enough. You are amazing, wherever you're sitting or standing reading this very blog post, you are destined for greatness.

Sometimes I believe the lie that I am insignificant or that because of my limited abilities, I can't help that much. Yes, I may not be able to help in the ways I desire, but that doesn't stop me from helping in a way I CAN. And those ways I can are more than enough. It brings me great pleasure to know (sometimes much later, sometimes never) that I made someone else's life easier, better or happier. You can't tell me you haven't felt that pure peace and joy before? And if you can't, then get on it because I promise your heart will have the warm fuzzies and you'll be smiling!

2//Rescue an animal from a shelter.
Often times, I see some friends on my facebook page rave about their new dog or puppy they bought from a pet store. Blah! Please! A little research goes a long way. Rescuing a precious pup or cat you can cozy up with not only saves their life but also brings joy and warmth and probably laughter to your home! Here in the valley of Arizona where I live, the no-kill shelters/rescues as well as the humane society are almost always filled to capacity. In order to reduce their numbers (not talking euthanizing) and help make more room for more abandoned or found pets, people need to adopt, adopt, adopt! By purchasing dogs from most pet stores, people are supporting puppy mills, where mama dogs and their babies are subject to terrible treatment and living conditions! Unimaginable!

3//Use your talents for good.
This past June, I got involved with the Southern California Bulldog Rescue via social media and helped raised money for their rescue! How I did that was I handmade greeting cards which were up for the online auction. I made the cards using scrapbook supplies and my creative mind! All monies pledged went directly to the rescue to help pay for medical costs, food or supplies (like a bed or collar) for the super cute bulldogs. I had never done something like that before and it made me feel so good to be able to contribute to a cause so dear to my heart: animal rescue! (if you couldn't tell by now haha).

4// Get involved in your community.
There are plenty of places where you could volunteer. A place where you fit right in. If you love babies, you could volunteer, like Joan, at a hospital. Maybe the homeless are near to your heart? You could organize a blanket drive or assemble ziplock bags of necessities which could include (a bar of soap, baby wipes, toothbrush/toothpaste, a couple granola bars, and tissue). I've been wanting to do that last idea!

5//Be a good neighbor or friend.
Have you ever noticed your neighbors? Or know of elderly people at your church? I bet you some might struggle with doing their yard work, finding transportation to a doctor's appointment, even going grocery shopping or needing a babysitter. By becoming aware of who lives next you or sits next to you at church, you have the opportunity to lend a helping hand. Just think of how relieving your help can be to those who need, who if it weren't for you, they'd be stuck in a bind!

What inspires you to give back? Go on and tell me how YOU will go on out and serve your community with the $100 prepaid Visa giftcard that Medtronic has provided! Your comment will serve as your entry for this giveaway.

*Giveaway ends on Decemeber 30, 2014.
Must be 18 years old to enter.
U.S. Residents only please.
One winner will be randomly selected.
Medtronic is responsible for prize fulfillment.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

mani monday

You've probably heard me say that I don't have my nails polished very frequently. To have my nails polished depends on my mood and maybe any special events that are going on.

Honestly, I go to a nail salon and treat myself to a manicure maybe 3 times a year. It is always nice to have your nails done. Because of the fact that my nail polish chips within the first two days of having them done (whether at the salon or done by myself), makes me think is this whole affair even worth it?! haha not so much really. That's not high on my list of priorities.

Now, when it comes to my toes, I HAVE to have them done every 4-6 weeks, in which case they always are done at home because I cannot transfer out of my wheelchair to those chairs at the salon.
I'm still happy with that though.

It seems I've set a record because my fingernails have been rockin' color twice within one month! whhaaaaa?!

Current manicure is brought to you by... Essie's St. Lucia Lilac!
I love that it's a demure lilac. It almost looks like it has a little grey in it, which gets me excited about Fall coming up! Autumn time is my most favorite time of the year!! (you will hear me say this more in the near future!) :)

This is the first time I used this color. It was actually part of a duo set that came with a cream shade, but I am not sure what I did with that one! Seeing this lilac color on my nails makes me smile.

Do you do your own nails? What color are your nails currently?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Boost your confidence with U by Kotex!

I was talking with a friend today about how I've struggled feeling confident lately, especially in the last few months. As my pain has increased, it's been leaving me feeling like a rag doll with insomnia + fatigue! I think anyone, especially women, struggle with feeling confident when they are dealing with any personal issues that include health, relationships, career, and life in general. Feeling like they just don't measure up. I KNOW that comparison is a killer of joy, yet I allow myself to wade in the dangerous current of the comparing game.
Feeling confident is a challenge especially too when you have your monthly period, or if you're like me, you never know when it's going to come for a visit! Since I was 12, my period has always been irregular. never a nice and neat pattern but more of a messy, pop up menace! I am so thankful that feminine hygiene care has advanced like U by Kotex's pads that feature a 3D caption core. This technology helps lock in wetness so you can feel relieved that you won't have a mess on your hands, err, underpants.
I love that I can count on U by Kotex to provide me an option of better protecting my undies, but also allowing me to worry about one less thing in my crazy but beautiful life! I think alot of us deal with  some of the same daily stresses or thoughts of life: bills, making plans, the future, finances, family, friends, what to eat for lunch or dinner, church responsibilities and shopping for necessities to name a few.

So you want to know a few of my secrets on feeling better about myself?

1//  Choose a cute or nice outfit that you love. adding some earrings on AND putting makeup on will make you feel like a solid woman who is ready to take on the world (well, your little world that is!) And if you don't wear makeup, no worries, maybe adding tinted lip balm fits your fancy? Instead of wearing pajamas or lounge clothes for four days in a row, I promise doing the above will hopefully help!  Believe me, I love wearing those clothes, but dressing up a bit does wonders! Btw, no matter what day it is, I ALWAYS wear perfume.

2//  Drinking more ice cold water with freshly squeezed lime juice. I know, it sounds so simple, right? Really, this beverage makes me feel better about what I am putting into my body plus, it tastes so refreshing! However, let me be honest and tell you that I still love + drink my Dr. Pepper! :)

3//  Be prepared. I am definitely a planner and I plan most things in my life, not only because I like to but because I NEED to. Since becoming on the ventilator, ha, my entire life did a 180! I'll have to write a separate post to better explain why I need to plan now. Ok, so back to being prepared. This year I bought myself a nice cross-body purse from Forever 21 and it's amazing what I can pack into it. It literally can be a life saver. Some notable things I carry with me are wet ones hand wipes, aspirin (in case a stranger out in public might be having a heart attack!), lipgloss, because that is an essential!, my coupon envelope for a current shopping trip! No one better get in the way of me and my coupons, a U by Kotex ultra thin pad (in case one of my girl friends needs one while we are out having fun), a photo of the St. George Temple in Utah because it's so gorgeous and I feel protected, and sunscreen because I don't want to get burned or skin cancer and I don't want you to either! Do you sense a theme here? Being prepared makes me feel smarter, securer, and enables me to help others which makes my heart feel great.

Guess what? You can click here to get your own free sample (that include a coupon too!) of feminine products that best meet your needs like the  U by Kotex pads or tampons to help you #savetheundies! I hope you like them!

How do you  boost yourself in the confident department? When do you feel the most confident?

* A huge thank you to U by Kotex for sponsoring this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Monday, September 8, 2014

weekend re-cap

*This post is not sponsored by Cafe Zupas, but if they were interested in sponsoring I'd be more than happy to work with them.

I firmly believe in order to appreciate the good you have to kinda know the bad. My little world hasn't been the brightest in months, most days blur into one another, but when I get to see my family or friends, my world is definitely brightened.

Friday, I took a nap and when I  say nap, I mean 2-3 hours of broken nappy time. and it's in the middle of the day.

On Saturday, I got together with my friends for lunch at Cafe Zupas. Omg, it's so delicious! There are a few other menu items that look appealing, but every time I get food from there, I get the same thing, a salad, but not any plain ol salad but: the roasted red pepper + asiago chicken ceasar salad,
because it's so dang good and I just want to eat it and I go with what I know, ya know? Cafe Zupas only has locations in Arizona, Utah + Nevada, sorry everyone else, but maybe they'll expand?

Our group, the BBB, aims to get together once a month or two and eat out at a different place each time we meet. We try to keep our group to no more than eight peeps at a time just to make it easier to sit together and to have a more quality experience. We have four core members (we had 5 but David got married and he + his wife, also our friend, moved to NYC), Jason + Scott (brothers), Diva Des and myself. We add new members that can rotate each time we meet so that different people can enjoy being a part of our get together as we cannot accommodate all at once.

So what does the BBB stand for? It means, Brioche Brunch Bunch. Say that three times fast. Jason and Scott came up with the name and founded the BBB, however, they made me president! haha.  Apparently, Brioche is a type of bread and they came up with the name after eating some brioche french toast at Ihop back in January.

I loved getting the group together this past Saturday. It was way fun! New members for this round were Amanda, Kjerstin and Mister Mister. He took the best selfie ever and it was not an easy task to get our whole group in one shot. Our bishop and his wife showed up at Zupas too, so naturally we asked them to join our tables! It was meant to be.

Sunday, I didn't make it to church because I was so dang tired. Saturday was the fourth night in a row that I was not able to sleep well because of extreme back pain. I ended up taking another nap Sunday and woke up around 1:30pm. I really missed being at church and I definitely plan to be there next Sunday! I can't wait. One good thing about Sunday was that A: I did get rest, B: I got a pedicure at home and my toes are re-polished a tangerine color! oooh!

How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

Friday, September 5, 2014

two lemons

You know the pain I talked about last month, well life has been definitely handing me more lemons.
A few weeks ago, I had an accident with my roommate and unfortunately, my left foot got badly sprained. With it being just over three weeks since the accident, my foot is only about 30% healed, which is obviously not as quick as my doctor or I would like, but it is feeling alot better than that first week!!

Ice + elevation, just what the doctor ordered!
It was a Tuesday, just after 2 pm when the accident happened. I was in my doorway (in my wheelchair) and my roommate drove toward me and stopped, then proceeded to lean forward to hand me something. Well, somehow something hit her joystick box and her chair zoomed in toward my chair. Her chair kept going forward into my chair causing my footrest to bend up (close) which my feet were on and my left foot was bending backwards (also for those that don't know my ankles and feet on turned more on their side since I was a teenager but have turned more as I've gotten older) it's turned on its side and bending backward!! When I realized that the footplate was closing and my foot was getting crushed, I tried to drive my chair backwards back into my room, but my left wheel was stuck in the doorway, so I was trapped. When my roommate realized what was happening and that her chair was un-purposely driving into me, she got control of it and drove back away. This all happened so fast.
8.16, my feet have mild swelling already, but the left is def more!  

I was hysterical! I was screaming, heaving, crying, wailing at the pain my foot was in. As I was in that state, it caught my attention that I wasn't breathing well, so I tried to concentrate on taking slow deep breaths, exhaling out the pain in ooOooOo's. My poor foot spasmed heavily on its own due to the trauma that just occurred. Both of my caregivers and also nurse on duty gathered at the scene. I drove back into my room and my nurse went and got me a bag of ice and then went to call my primary doctor. We put the ice on my foot, which said ice pretty much never left my foot until last week as it wasn't even helping anymore with the swelling. It's over three weeks later and my foot is STILL swollen and feeling numb at times. Within two hours I was getting an x-ray of my foot. The x-ray tech is an awesome one and he worked his portable machine around my injured foot. Thankfully, no bones were broken but my foot was definitely injured.

Since last tuesday, Ive been putting an Ace wrap bandage around my foot/ankle per my doctor's suggestion. My foot does feel better with that on for sure. I just gotta  keep being more patient with that healing on top of my other parts of my body hurting. Funny note, I had to take off my toe ring from the continue swelling. My toe tells me it feels naked.
prepped for the MRI. three times a charm for pokes

On August 25th, I went to the hospital to get an MRI of my back to figure out what may be causing the pain in my body. While there, my right arm got injured! I specualate that my arm fell down a bit off my chest from how the nurses placed my arms, and probably hit the machine as I was coming out of the tube. I was under general anesthesia because:

1. my body is severly contracted due to my disease
2. the scan was over 2 hours and you have to be still the whole time plus I am slightly claustrophobic

My caregiver that was with me was not allowed in the room with me so she couldn't see if an accident happened. There was a small window in the door that she could see me through, but the angle that the machine was there was no way she could see me going in or out of the tube. As I was waking up from the anesthesia, my right arm and back were KILLING me! I was screaming and crying so much. Thankfully soon, one of the MRI techs came to help lift me from the flattened bed (no good)and placed me bac into my wheelchair. It took me like 15 minutes to open and stretch my arm to be able todrive my wheelchair! My overseeing nurse there thought that my arm was just really stiff from being in the same position for over two hours, but I knew it wasn't that. something was wrong. I just couldn't believe how much pain I wsa in. My caregiver asked if I could take my pain pills (that I had brought crushed in yogurt with me)...but I needed to wake up more from the anesthesia. I sure did and took them, but my pain was so bad that they didn't help much at all. My nurse said that if I EVER needed another MRI that we'd have to get a doctor's order to give me morphine in the "recovery" stage after the amount of pain she witnessed in me.

After calming down and being able to drive as best I could,we strolled over to the cafeteria for some food and drink. I hadn't been able to eat or drink anything since midnight the night before and I went in for my scan around 2pm. All I new was that i was:
MY HEAD WAS POUNDING (but that was a side effect of the anesthesia)

Later, my caregiver noticed a bad bruise on my lower right arm at my elbow. That bruise is going away, but another bruise popped up on my right bicep (the area that deeply hurts) on sunday (8/31) while another one of my caregivers was bathing me. We thought maybe it showed up because the swelling went down a bit. I had an x-ray taken on tuesday (9/2) and no broken bones but there must be pulled muscle or torn tendon and the only way to check for that is a CT scan or MRI. Adter I found that out I was like HECK NO! I am NOT going through another MRI. Who knows, my arm could just be really sprained.

I thought by this weekend that I'd be able to do my makeup but that's not gonna happen. I have SUCH wonderful friends who will do my makeup for me, for special occasions like for church or a meet-up with friends and also who will pluck your eyebrows!

To give you an idea of how bad my arm is, here are some major things I cannot do yet: feed myself with my right arm ( i am right handed), cut tougher food, brush my teeth, wash my face, mail a letter (putting the red flag up), checking the mail, putting my breathing treatments on, or plugging my phone in to charge. This whole situation has brought to mind Bethany Hamilton. I know my dilemma is NO where near her reality, but I am basically using one arm, my left, and it's a challenge indeed. Even I, who am disabled, took for granted the things I CAN or could do and I can't wait to get back my abilities!

By God's good grace and many sweet prayers from friends and family, I've been healing even if it's slowly. I can definitely move my arm a bit more (why I am finally able to blog a bit.)

I cannot wait for my follow-up appointment with my nuerologist about my MRI results. The appointment is not til September 29th! I am so bummed that it's still weeks away but that was the first available appointment. Honestly, it's gonna be a long month. I know because of the reasons. I've been praying so hard for relief from the pain I am in daily. I truly sympathize with those who may be going through something similar. pain is pain and everyone tolerates pain differently or more or less. I am definitely on the low tolerance side.

I can tell you that it's draining. This is a difficult period in my life. no doubt. My physical health is not well, but I am feeling encouraged and uplifted spiritually and I am so thankful for that. Without it, I'd be lost and in more distress.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

school supplies, you get me.

*this post is not sponsored. I just love certain stores for shopping for school supplies. All items mentioned were purchased on my own.

When July and August come around, you know what that means? School supply shopping!! I love the hunt for them. When there are sales and or coupons for school supplies, oh man, I am allllll over it!

As you can see, here's a small haul from Target a few weeks ago. This includes:

2 packs of 24 count Up and Up crayons-39cents each
2 packs 100 count index cards (Up & Up)-50 cents each
2 packs- 8 count mechanical pencils (Up &Up)-92 cents each (the following week the price went up)
10 count sharpie markers  -$6
2count Up&Up glue sticks (not shown)-39cents each

Eight count colorful mechanical pencils for 92cents? Count me in! I got the index cards for 50cents. The following couple weeks, Walgreens had the same index card count for 29cents with their store coupon. Greeaaat. Grrr. I know. "Brittany, it's only a 21cent difference." But you guys, being able to get that item for cheaper is what it's about. It's part of the game! haha.

I am not in elementary or high school, but I am going back to school myself this fall! In October! Through ASU, online! I am SO excited! I registered for a class yesterday! yahoo! I am thrilled to be going back to school, to work toward my bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies, but I am NOT loving the $900 debt I will be in. I can already tell ASU that I need to enroll in a payment plan, that honestly, will take me months to complete. However, education is important and I will do my best. Because I've enrolled in school, you know I bought myself some school supplies too!

Ok, so back to school supplies. I am addicted. I can't help it. I can't help buying them when they are so cheap! It's the only time of the year that I justify stocking up on glue sticks (for my cardmaking), for spiral notebooks (for my letters + at 17cents each at Walmart when I went), for pens (cuz I write alot), for index cards (because i might need them), for highlighters + crayons + sharpies (because I love color). Do I really need these all, in excess? NO. But I do and will use them up. Also, I am the go-to-gal. And I like to be prepared for what I may need at any given time.

" Britt, can I borrow some glue?
Britt, I need a pen, ok?
Britt, do you have any paper? "

Of course! Of course is my answer. I am more than happy to be able to help a friend or donate to the children. Yes, the children. Think of the children. And when I say children, I mean, my little friends here at my house. The sons & daughters of my caregivers. They know Britt has got the goods.

When I am Target or Walmart and see the school supplies section, my heart jumps out and my eyes pop out at all the amazing goodness that awaits at rock bottom prices. A one inch three ring binder for 69cents?! Why, Yes, thank you Walgreens!

Do you know how old books smell? I love that smell and I love the smell of new school supplies. It's intoxicating. Ok, now I sound like I have a problem, but I know I am not the only one! ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


My blog is like a body, and this body is skin & bones.

Time to get some meat on these bones! Yeh, yeh, you know I miss blogging. I really do.

I almost feel overwhelmed at where to start here. Ok, I AM overwhelmed on where to start because I have so much I want to catch you up on since June.

Let's start with why I haven't been blogging so much and what my life has been like this summer, especially the past few weeks.

Long story short, I am experiencing pain in my back, left arm and left leg. The pain started in April {actually at my grandpa Henry's funeral service} and has gotten worse and spread to other parts of my body (see above). I have seen my neurologist who oversees my muscle disease and he thinks this pain is nerve pain, something going on in my back and that it's a secondary result of my disease progression. He ordered an MRI of my back in June and it just got approved by my insurance last Friday, August 1st. I just found out yesterday what time the MRI will be on August 25th. I cannot wait for that day, for that next step to find out what's going on and how my doctor can better treat/manage my pain. In addition to the constant pain, both of my arms are weakening drastically that it's getting more difficult to do certain daily functions like brushing my teeth or eating a meal that requires a spoon. It's depressing, but I will not go down without a fight! When you hit bottom, more than once, the only way to go is up and forward.

I am so tired guys. I am tired of being in pain I am tired of dealing with it. I am tired of feeling frustrated to the point I cry. I am tired of getting anxious. I am tired of feeling defeated. I am tired of feeling judged for taking the medications that I need to. I am tired of feeling or at least thinking, that my body is dwindling. That my disease is progressing MORE as I type this. That maybe the things I hope to happen in my future, wont, while I am alive on this Earth. I am tired of being tired. I am so weary.

Isaiah 40:31
"..but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint."

However, I fight back. every day. I fight back with prayer. with reading my scriptures. with doing something nice for someone else. I fight back with adding humor in my life by watching re-runs of King of Queens or the Cosby Show. Ok. Peanut M&M's might enhance my negative fighting ninja skills. I am lifted up with frequent encouragement from my mom + friends.
I fight back with positive thoughts. I feed myself with affirmations such as:

I am beautiful.
I am strong.
I am a daughter of God.

(feel free to use this mantra for yourself)

I repeat it. over and over til I start to hear those words of life. until I start to believe them myself. to tap into that wellspring of restoration and hope.

I fight back by crying and sometimes, literally crying out to God that I need His help. If my troubles can't be swept away, then at least for comfort & strength that I can keep enduring what I need to. It's all either for my own good or for others around me to benefit from,boost up OR maybe it's a combination of both, but my life is of worth. My life, with its trials, are for God's glory. He has chosen me. He has chosen you. When I remember that, I am re-grounded. I truly appreciate my imperfect body, my imperfect life. I am given unique qualities that help build up the kingdom of God, just as you do too. I am eternally grateful for Jesus Christ, my Savior. Because of Him, I know that I can overcome my problems, not just my physical ones.

There is always hope. I see that, time and time again. Hope is such a beautiful thing. The following scriptures also come to mind:

Ether 12: 4, 6
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

Blogging helps me. Reaching out to others helps me. Being part of community helps me, such as the blogging community, community on instagram and my church community. Thank you for being who you are and for embracing me.

Through the mess, I weed out the bad and find the good. the good little golden nuggets that shine bright, that help lead me home.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kim & Kanye Say I Do

I've realized that I haven't posted anything new in about a month. I think this is the longest stretch I've ever gone without blogging. Oh, how much I've missed it. I can't promise that I'll post weekly, but for now, let me start catching you up on my life and events that have happened since mid-June.

My cousin Brookie got married on Saturday, June 14th at a golf resort here in the valley of Phoenix. Brookie falls as the fourth oldest grand-daughter on our side of the family.

My friends & I got to the wedding about 30 minutes early, so it was nice to mingle with family, especially those who came from out of state. Of course, I snapped some shots with my siblings, stepmom and my cousin Nick and got my great uncle Artie flexing his muscles haha. Artie is my grandpa Henry's baby brother. 

My grandpa Henry passed away in March, so it's even more special for me to be able to see my grandpa's siblings for a special event as this wedding. I love that these types of celebrations bring people together, like I haven't really gotten to visit with my cousin Nick in a long time.
Brooke and her bridesmaids all looked gorgeous! My cousin had her hair curled, and down, with a lovely headband adorned on her head. Her groom, Randy, who I must say is such a down-to-earth, compassionate guy, wore olive green khakis slightly rolled up with suspenders as did his groomsmen. ( I loved that! and those guys all got dancin moves!) All the men, including my Uncle Albert (father of the bride), and Brookie's three brothers, all had crisp white button down shirts with a pretty mint little flower pinned to their shirt.

My aunt June (mother of the bride), walked down the aisle in beautiful gray/silver sparkly form fitting dress with a turqoise/mint beaded statement necklace. Besides everyone looking wonderful, the wedding ceremony itself was short & sweet. It took place outside, in the shade (thank God, cuz here in AZ it's hot as can be!), and actually wasn't that bad. I don't think I even sweated lol. The groom & bride poured two different colors of sand to symbolize their union and afterward, the pastor lead us all in prayer. It was beautiful. I have to tell you too that when the procession started, I started to tear up! :) Oh, and the simple, two or three piece band that played live music before the ceremony started was AMAZING! (I didn't get a pic of them though).

After the ceremony, the reception/dinner began. We had mexican food and the ballroom was decorated with hints of mint & silver/gray. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay too long, but I heard that the party went on til 1 in the morning (officially in the ballroom) but family & friends were up celebrating til early morning!

Now, THAT smile says it all.
 (her smile says it all too.)

I am so happy I got to witness their wedding and celebrate in the sweet love that her & her hubby have for each other.

Now, I say that Kanye and Kim got married which is totally funny, because I've referred to brookie as Kim Kardashian when describing her/talking about her with my friends and over a year later, right after the wedding, I discovered that my cousin Bridget (sister of bride) referred to Brookie as Kim and well, Randy is Kanye! hahaha. Seriously, my cousins (all sisters), Brookie, Bridget & Brie ARE LIKE Kim, Kourtney & Khloe Kardashian!

first dance!

MANY MANY cheerful wishes of love, health & happiness to YOU Brookie & Randy!! I am SO excited for you & your future together!
(uncle roy's shirt photo bombed!)