Flashback Friday

Long impressed with Sherpa's Wordless Wednesdays I have decided to christen Fridays, Flashback Fridays, not to be confused with Flash Dance Fridays. I have not discussed this with Stephanie, so it doesn't apply to her, unless she chooses.
These photos were taken at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics in 2002. I met Duane's, pictured below, shortly after I returned from serving a mission on Temple Square. Elder and Sister Rowe were serving as a senior couple in Atlanta, when I met them. When they discovered I was single, they asked me to write to their son, an optometrist in Arizona. I agreed and that is how I met Duane.
Although Duane and I never dated, we did meet once. Duane flew up from Phoenix for the Olympics and purchased tickets to several events; one of which he invited me to attend. It was a hockey match between Germany and Sweden, if I remember correctly, and the game ended with a tied score. I recall thinking that was odd but didn't mind very much because everyone seemed happy with the outcome; no one lost.
I also remember being approached by a Coca-Cola representative who requested an interview. For ten minutes I allowed this man to ask me questions about Coke and in response I bore, what was then false testimony, of how much I loved the product. At that time I was not drinking Coke or any soda at all. A cameraman filmed the entire thing, which they loved and said would be broadcast on the company website. I am not sure if it was but was happy to be interviewed all the same.
Hooray for Flashback Fridays!

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Recent Addition to the Ritual

Two weeks ago I decided to add the application of Old Spice deodorant to my morning and evening rituals. Not only does it smell fantastic, coupled with a light application of Dry Idea Powder Fresh, BO doesn't stand a chance. Thanks to Victoria, from whom I adopted the habit, I now have two sticks; one that I purchased (the Pure Sport scent) and the second she purchased (the Aqua Reef scent).
Now I can drift off to sleep deeply inhaling Old Spice which tends to induce dreams of tall, rugged, shirt-less men whose only object, during the course of my dreams, of course, is to please me. Ladies, if you're single and looking to enhance your nocturnal reverie, then a light under-arm application of Old Spice, before bed, might be for you.

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I'm bored.

Really. Really. Bored.

And it's not like I don't have 10,000 things to do. Cause my desk is full, my house is only 1/2 moved, I'm going away for the weekend and I haven't packed and I'm still just sitting at my desk, staring at my screen feeling bored.

I think it may be the antihistamines. But, what do I know? I'm just bored.

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A Few Reasons I Love My Job

We get to order pizza for special events. I decided to take a photo of our Papa Johns delivery guy because he was late and I wanted to see how he'd react. He was totally cool with it.
We also get to wear really cool buttons, like those in the photo above, to promote certain programs and initiatives. (Photo courtesy of Dave)

In addition to the buttons and pizza, we attend meetings disguised as parties, to discuss ways we can improve our work environment and profit the company. (Photo courtesy of Dave)

In our working environment everyone is a star!

Every new employee is assigned a buddy. This is my buddy, Ashley, who is one of the most fashionable ladies I know. Victoria and Ashley were the ones that convinced me to buy the dress I am wearing in this photo, which we refer to as, "the cherry dress." It was in Juniors, which makes this 29 years-old lady feel really good! I promised I would wear it to this "meeting," and although I initially had reservations am glad I did. It was perfect!
Rhonda Lou snapped this photo. Thanks Rhonda for being a patient and willing photographer. We love you!

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August Twenty-Fourth

Yesterday I finally received my diploma in the mail, making the conference of my MA degree official. Needless to say, I was grateful. I would have received my diploma in June but it was sent to my Georgia address. I have no idea what happened to the first copy but Jackie at Graduation Services was kind enough to order me a second.
Isn't is beautiful? I love that it reads, "Amber Erin Kidd and Master of Arts" in bold type. There were so many nights I contemplated quitting, giving up, going home. My friends and God's mercy are the only things that saved me. For me, graduation was nothing shy of a miracle and even now when I reflect on everything that occurred during those two years I marvel that I survived. Now if I could only find employment in my field and a place to settle down, I would be set.

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I know I'm a Week Late but...

you know what they say, "better late than never." So last week we had a surprise birthday party for Matt, who by summer's end was fondly referred to as Matty-Matt-Matt. Matt was our summer intern from James Madison University. His professionalism knew no bounds. Matt wore a tie to work almost every day. Unbelievable.

As the cake demonstrates, Matt enjoys playing golf. We actually went to the driving range, back in June at Oak Mar. It started raining but that didn't stop us. We swung through the wind and the rain and had a great time, or at least I did. Matt is such a chill guy, you never have to worry about feeling awkward or silly around him.

Lucky for us, Matt will be working part-time, during his senior year at JMU, doing projects long-distance. We wish him a great year and look forward to seeing him over the holiday breaks.

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Belga Cafe and the Eastern Market

Saturday morning, Eve, Camille and I decided to meet for brunch at Belga Cafe near Eastern Market. A co-worker from Dewberry recommended it and the food and atmosphere was a welcome change from the overcrowded, noisy, Bread & Chocolate, which I find too commercial anyway. Belga is known for their Belgian waffles, which come with assorted berries, or bananas and Nutella. Eve and I tried "The Eggs," which were delicious.

Camille and Eve are two of the coolest women I know. Camille hails from Arkansas and has studied architecture in Greece and Rome. Needless to say, I am super jealous. I will miss sitting next to her in class this year.

Eve has become one of my closest confidants. I value her opinions and am constantly soliciting her advice in regards to almost everything. Not only does she have gorgeous red hair and perfect skin, she crafts the coolest shrimp tiaras around. My favorite Eve saying is, "Oh to be a fly on the wall." It totally makes me smile.

I love flowers and couldn't resist taking a photo. Aren't they lovely?! I love Eastern Market!

This photo is for Stephanie. I love you Stephanie!

On our walk back to the metro station, Camille and Eve were handed fliers for the Remix. The Remix is a vintage clothing store, and since Camille was looking for a 40's dress anyway, we decided to explore.
While Camille was busy trying on dresses I checked out the accessories. Although it isn't as cool or as chic as my Happy Birthday tiara, I couldn't resist trying it on. Do I look like Ms. County Fair or what?

In addition to clothes and accessories, the Remix, has this "red lips couch" located downstairs. The sign states, please admire with your eyes and not your hands." Although it doesn't really resemble female lips in this photo, in the store it seemed more realistic. Camille got her dress, Eve bought some scarves and I practiced amazing self-restraint the entire day. I didn't purchase anything, although I really wanted some handkerchiefs, which were only $3 a piece at the Remix and $7-$10 a piece at Eastern Market.

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Sex in a Shoe

These are the boots I mentioned in my previous post. I am not sure when, but one day, they will be mine!

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Shoe Shopping with Shawna

Wednesday night, after having dinner with Jerry, I received a phone call from Shawna, saying she was coming into town the following evening. Why she wanted to hang out with me, instead of spending a quiet evening at the hotel I will never know. I was grateful, however, she rescued me from the fate of another evening home alone, where the only excitement in my life is an occasional David aka "hot workout guy"-sighting or actually speaking to Stephanie on the phone instead of communicating through IM or emails. Such is the life of a recent graduate, who's best friend lives in Montana. Aghhh! Although Shawna wanted to spend the evening in Alexandria, I asked her if we could hang out at Tysons instead. She agreed, and we had a wonderful time eating dinner at the Nordstrom's Cafe, my new favorite place. I introduced Shawna to the grilled chicken & strawberry salad with black cherry vinaigrette dressing that is to die for. I don't even like black cherries but I LOVE this dressing! If you have not experienced dining at the Nordstrom's Cafe, DO IT NOW! I took Kate there last weekend and she loved it too!

Nordstroms has three levels, and on each level there are shoes. The higher you ride, the escalator, the more expensive the shoes become. Beginning with level one we slowly made our way to the third level. Where I tried on the shoes below. I have always wanted to buy shoes with some type of animal print on them but have never had the courage to do so. The shoes that I am modeling were only $300.

Our shoe salesman, Jared grabbed a matching Dolce or Prada, can't remember which, bag and snapped a photo of Shawna and I before trying to convince me to open a Nordstroms account. Do I have stupid written across my forehead or what? Why do men treat me like I'm an idiot? Did he really think I would fall for his charm and persistence? I am too old and I have heard every line I think men are capable of expressing, which is pretty limited in number, bless their hearts.

As you can see, he sucked at taking photos because this one, which would be great otherwise, is blurry, and thus not so great.

Although I didn't purchase anything last night, Shawna walked away with the sexiest brown shoes ever! Who knew Jessica Simpson designed cute, affordable shoes. Anyway, I was so excited she agreed to buy them because she had reservations initially. I told her if she didn't feel comfortable wearing them to church there were other places she could wear them. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. I think every woman should have a pair of shoes she can't or shouldn't wear to church or anywhere in public for that matter. I confessed to Steph that I found found them, black Dolce boots, but the thousand-dollar price tag is a huge barrier for someone with a limited cash-flow, like me.

The shoes in the second photo are also Jessica Simpsons. Although they are cute, Shawna and I both agreed they looked better from a distance. I recently purchased a red pair of patent-leather BPs from Nordstroms and showed them to Shawna while we were shopping. She liked them so much she may get the same pair next week. I love it when people confirm my fashion taste!
The man in the last photo, as you may have guessed is Jared, the schmoozy shoe salesman. He really was nice but way too young. I promised him, once I met my sugar daddy, I would come back and buy the Kate Spade heels and the Dolce boots; especially the Dolce boots BUT until then, I my spending would be limited to first-floor shoes only.

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:: L I Z Z Y ::
You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

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August Fourth

The morning of the wedding was pretty chill. Mom and I got up, ran some errands and then met Dad, Ronald and Linda back at the apartment so they could pick up Lauren's dress and veil. Josh had never seen the dress and Lauren wanted to make sure it was a surprise for the wedding.
Anxious to arrive in Frankfort as soon as possible after Dad, we hopped in the truck and headed up to the mansion. We had no makeup on, our hair was not done, and we were dressed in jersey dresses. I had flip flops on and looked like the biggest redneck ever. It was so humid I didn't want to get ready until I arrived at the mansion, because I was afraid my make-up would melt off my face. That is how humid it was.
Leaving early was a blessing and curse. We got in a car accident about five miles from my mom's apartment. As if this wasn't bad enough, we rear-ended a Krispy Kreme doughnut truck. Who does that anyway? Since the accident the first question people ask is, "did you get any free doughnuts?" I just look at them like, are you crazy? Who can eat after their in a car accident? I was so shaken the last thing on my mind was food.

The most ironic thing about the entire episode was the driver climbed out of the truck, approached my window and introduced himself by saying, "Hello, my name is Clayton Howell." What the hell is that? Now the ass is trying to say he sustained injuries from the accident. Like hell he did. Anyone can tell by looking at our truck that we suffered the most on impact. My neck has been stiff ever since and he says he was injured? Men.

Lucky for us, Lauren was still in Lexington and was able to pick us up on the way to the mansion. In all the confusion I left my bag with my curling iron, shoes, and other essential things in the truck which was being towed to a body shop. I arrived at the mansion looking like a mess, while all the other bridesmaids were dressed and ready for photos. After the maid-of-honor thrust a bouquet at me and told me it was time to take photos I lost it. Luckily, the bride and bridesmaids were not present so only my family and Shia bore the brunt. Steph was also ready and willing to calm me down over the phone. I don't know what I would do without her.

Minus shoes and a curling iron one of the bridesmaids offered me her spare pare of black heels, which were so uncomfortable I almost fell three times walking through the grass toward the preachers. It was horrible. My Uncle Ronald caught it all on video too so now everyone who was not able to see how awkward Amber is can enjoy it forever. This is why I quickly changed into the flip flops above after the ceremony.
The wedding planners found me a curling iron and once my hair was done, I was in business. The ceremony was beautiful. Shia did a reading and Lauren and Josh exchanged vows they had written for each other. Lauren's was very sweet and sincere while Josh's vows resembled a sociology lecture on the importance and economic benefits of marriage. This is why I love my brother. I can't say I would not have done the same thing.

The wedding colors were black and white, accented by turquoise, which may sound a little odd but it was really lovely. The tables looked fantastic, if I do say so myself. The dj was perfect, the playlist was phenomenal, the food was delicious and my dance partner was incredibly fun and so charming. Even my mother danced for most of the evening.

The first dance of the night however, was reserved for Lauren and Josh. They chose The Glory of Love, from Karate Kid II as their song. I loved it! Josh did what he always does, sang to Lauren without reservation while they were dancing. His law school friends laughed and cheered. It was so cool. She just laughed. The rest of the evening was nothing but 80's and everyone loved it.

Instead of having bubbles, throwing rice, or bird seed, Lauren had everyone wave batons with ribbons attached to them. I love this idea and think this is how it should be. It's a lot less messy. I also think sparklers are something more people should use at weddings. They are safe and very romantic.

The wedding planners had us all line up on either side of the entrance to wait for Josh and Lauren. A white Bentley with a driver dressed in an English tux was waiting for them. I couldn't believe it. I totally got a photo with the driver beside the car before the couple emerged. I can't wait to see the photo. I hope it's a good one.

After we saw the newlyweds off, Denisha, Rodney, Mom and I went over to the Sprouls to see their baby Bentley and Denisha's mom Christy. I love them all so much and was so grateful for the opportunity to see them. Bentley is growing so fast and she is one of the most photogenic babies I have ever known. I don't think it's possible for her to take a bad photo. I am sure having a professional photographer for a mother helps. Rodney was kind enough to give us a ride home since we didn't have transportation and that was my August 4th. My brother got married eight years to the day that I went into the MTC. I have always said since my mission that the most important events in my life happen on the fourth or twenty-fourth of each month. It's true. Here's to Josh and Lauren. May they have a happy marriage, and remain the most magical and wondrous couple unlike any other in the universe.

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The Rehearsal

The Friday before the wedding was hectic, as anyone may imagine. As I mentioned previously, I went from the hospital to the rental place and then on to Berry Hill to set up for the wedding and rehearse for the ceremony.
To illustrate what it's like living in Kentucky and also driving there I snapped this photo from my uncle's truck. We followed this car for almost five miles and not once did the driver make an attempt to pull over and close their trunk. It was incredible. How do people like this obtain a driver's license?

Why my brother agreed to marry in August is beyond me. Not only was it hot but it was so humid I was "glistening" like crazy. Before laying the table linens and folding the napkins, I photographed the house, which was an architectural historians delight. From the fanlights above the front and rear entrances, to the tapestries, to the English Tudor fireplace, I tried to capture all the major details for later study. The home is so impressive, the state office that manages Ketucky's historic sites is located on the second floor.

Although the wedding ceremony was outdoors the reception was indoors, with the option of eating outside. This part of the house was called the music room and was a later addition. The walls were covered in solid walnut (?) paneling. On one wall stood an impressive pipe organ while on the opposite wall sat the huge Tudor fireplace. The fireplace was adorned on either side by an alcove accented with stained-glass windows. It was absolutely gorgeous.
I snapped this photo from the library, where there was a small balcony overlooking the music room. Hodap, Lauren's friend and dj for the reception, set up Josh's equipment on the balcony which worked beautifully.
After laying the linens and folding napkins we braved the heat and humidity for the rehearsal. The wedding planners had diagrams for us to study and were so organized that we only had to practice once.
I decided to snap photos while standing in line. Shia (pictured above), Josh's best friend, stood to the left of me while Parker, the ring-bearer stood to my right. On the other side of Shia was Jenny, who is totally 80's and freakin' awesome. Her boyfriend, Mike, was also in the wedding, although I can't remember exactly where he stood or what he did.
Anyway, Shia teaches kindergarten in Fulton County, Georgia, which is where I met him. We've known each other for at least four or five years and since our first meeting Shia confided in Josh, who immediately told me, he wanted to marry me, especially if he doesn't become a Buddhist monk. I am not sure if I should be flattered or not but he's cool so I just go with it.
This little man stood to my right. I held his hand during the rehearsal so he wouldn't wander off. Although I kept his attention during the rehearsal I was not as successful during the actual ceremony. I hope my son is like Parker; intelligent, polite, and a total flirt even at age three, at least I think he's three. His parents, Hodap and Liz were so cool I have no doubts Parker will mature into a responsible, stable, loving adult. Parker is also Lauren's godson and I assume by extension Josh's also. Lauren and Josh have been involved in Parker's life since his birth and I am certain this is not the last time I will see Hodap, Jr.

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More About THE Wedding...

Thursday morning I got a call from my Uncle Jimmy saying that my Aunt Anna, his wife and my father's younger sister, had fallen and was on the way to the UK Medical Center. This was totally unexpected and we were all very worried about her because she complained that she had no sensation anywhere below her waist. Fearing the worst we waited by the phone for updates.
Unable to visit her Thursday evening, my Uncle Ronald, my Dad's younger brother, and my Daddy picked me up and took me to the hospital. Anna's three children, Matt, Kim and Angie drove down from Columbus, Ohio to be with their mother. They say that everything happens for a reason and I would like to believe that the good thing that happened as a result of Anna's complications is I was able to see my cousins whom I have not seen in several years. The photo above is of Matt, myself and Angie. Not only were Matt and I born the same year, only three months apart, we both have the middle name of Aaron/Erin. We have always been fond of each other and I think he is the most handsome of all the male cousins.
Like his father, he married his high school sweetheart, a beautiful blond named Anna and they have two children, Alissa and Braydon.

After spending a few hours at the hospital Dad handed me off to my mom who drove me to the rehearsal. I will blog about this later. Not sure where to fit them in, but not wanting to forget them, I had to include photos of the girls, Mary (above) and Zu Zu (below).

In October of 2005 my Mom flew Zu Zu and Mary up to DC so they could stay with me for awhile. Aunt Stephanie was a saint and agreed to watch them while I flew home for Christmas vacation. While in Kentucky, Stephanie bought the girls playpens. They loved them and to prove how wise my best friend is, I posted this photo to show the playpens are being used two-years later.

Deciding to visit Anna instead of attend Lauren's bachelorette party, my mom drove me to the hospital after the rehearsal. I have to admit I was a little nervous about my mother visiting my Dad's family when my Dad was not around. My Aunt Linda has never been kind to my mom since my parents split almost twenty-years ago, and we both knew she would be at the hospital. The Kidds have a difficult time letting go. They often hold grudges, which is totally stupid and one of the only character flaws, besides violent tempers, they have. Other than that, they are the most generous, self-sacrificing family I know. Everyone loves them. Just don't make them mad, and lucky for most people it takes a lot to piss-off a Kidd.
Exiting the elevator we met Ginger and LaTosha, or Tosh for short, with Ginger's baby girl Allyson. Although I attended Ginger and Bryan's wedding I was unable to see Allyson as an infant. She is so cute and we bonded immediately as the photo above shows. She doesn't favor Ginger really, who has jet-black hair and hazel eyes but is super cute anyway with her light blond hair and blue eyes.
Waiting for Anna to return from additional testing, we decided to sit in the lobby. Allyson entertained herself by going through my purse. She especially enjoys playing with cell phones. The bows in her hair were made by her mother who has started her own business and makes hundreds of dollars a week from bow orders. Did I mention southern women love buying hair bows for their daughters? Yep. They do. Ginger confided that some women drop over a hundred-bucks a week for hair bows. I totally believed it.
I actually have hair bows that resemble Allyson's, that I wore in high school when I was a cheerleader. I am so excited that my cousin makes hair bows and I have an "in" now in that industry. My little girl, if I ever have children, is going to have the greatest hair and hair accessiories ever! So much to look forward to. Hooray!

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I caught up with one of my lifetime friends, Desiree. We met in Young Women's or during middle school and were pretty much inseparable through high school. I love her family and treat them like my own. Well, actually I treat them better than my own, but I love them like my own.

Desiree's younger sister, Denisha, is an excellent photographer and since marrying Rodney, has established her own business. Lauren, my new sister-in-law, saw her work and hired her on the spot. I was so grateful Denisha was shooting the wedding because, other than my family and Josh's law school friends, I really didn't know many of the wedding guests. When she wasn't taking photos, Denisha told me about Desiree and Chuck.

I had heard about Chuck before. Standing 6'9", he is a guy Desiree met at a bbq. He took her out for her birthday and they have seen each other every day since. He treats her like gold and she said spending time with him is "so easy." He calls her and she calls him and they plan their week together. They each do things with friends but they see each other at least once everyday. I asked if they were exclusive and she said they were.

I congratulated her and then we browsed the James Allen website together. Tiffany's will always be my favorite but James Allen is a close second. Every woman should check it out despite her relationship status.

The photo above was taken in front of the Provo Temple where Desiree volunteers. I love that we both served temple missions and we both have worked as temple workers in the Provo Temple.

Emma and Xander are Christian and Jenny's children, Desiree's older brother and sister-in-law. They are so beautiful and I can't wait to meet them when they finally get back to DC. So many good things to look forward to. Life is good.

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Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.>

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Movies & Men

Since I don't own a television and there are a few movies my mother has been dying to watch with me, I spent a lot of time catching up on movies we rented from the library. New rentals are a dollar and older movies are free. I love public libraries!!!
The first film my mother made me watch was a saga based on Colleen McCullough's 1977 best selling novel, The Thorn Birds. It was horrible. I would not recommend it to anyone. After the first dvd I wanted to move on to another movie, but NO. My mother and brother are similar in many ways. For instance, they both get this sick satisfaction from forcing people to watch crappy movies. They won't take no for an answer and no matter how much you moan and groan, they insist you sit and not only watch the movie but enjoy it.
After I finished the fourth, you heard correctly, dvd, my mom asked, "did you like it?" I am not sure how long I sat there with my mouth gaping open and my brow furrowed in confusion, but I finally managed a "hell no," followed by, "what's wrong with you? How could you ever think I would enjoy a story like that?" We each accused the other of having no class, which is something we often do when we disagree about movies and then moved on to The Painted Veil; which also showed the leading male's bare backside. No complaints here.

The Painted Veil, although extremely depressing, is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I have never cared for Edward Norton, but in this movie he is so F-INE. Oh my goodness, he totally delivers and I LOVED him for it. Perhaps its the hair or the vintage clothing he wears or maybe it's both but one thing is for sure, he can paint my veil anyday. Naomi Watts was fine but Edward Norton, like Campbell's soup, was Hmmm... Hmmm... GOOD.

The third film we watched was Sweet Land and the story was exactly that; sweet. Not only was the acting great but Olaf is HOT! I would recommend this movie to anyone. Unlike the previously mentioned films it's a totally innocent, feel-good movie about midwestern farmers. I don't care much for the midwest but for some reason I can't get enough of the men. A definite must-see.

Another must-see movie, is Joyeux Noel or Merry Christmas. For weeks before the wedding my mother raved about this film. She enjoys watching it so much she got her own copy. I usually steer clear of war movies because I HATE violence. I don't like seeing it and I don't like hearing it, when I close my eyes. Although ten minutes of the movie was devoted to depicting the horrors of World War I, the remainder of the film was terrific. Not only were some of the soldiers nice to look at, but their stories were endearing. There's also a nice love scene between a soldier and his wife that I enjoyed. The acting is impressive and the story phenomenal. A must-see, must-own movie.

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