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3 May

Celebrating 20 Years of Marriage: A Look Back on Our Wedding Day

Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

April 8th marked our 20th year as Mrs. & Mrs. Jason Smith. It’s been a whirlwind two decades for sure. While some days have seemed like they’d never end, mostly the years have joyfully flown by with unrelenting speed, despite my valiant efforts to slow everything down to savor every drop of love and laughter as my boys grow up.

Now that we have all been on lockdown during this global pandemic for the last two months, the one bright spot for me and my family is that I finally got that slow-down I’ve been craving. During these weeks, with the big parties, playdates and endless school sports gone, it’s just been me and Jason and our boys, all day, every day. And even though it’s been positively crazy adjusting to the new norm, it’s been manageable, and I have Jason to thank for that.

Jason is my rock and the glue to our family. He has a consistent, even-kill personality that exudes positivity, even during the most stressful times, he is calm and looks to the bright side. He isn’t controlling and he gives me room and space to be 100% me, including putting up with the messy piles of projects and stuff that accumulate in our home. As I reflect back to our wedding day 20 years ago, I’ve been thinking more and more about how much he means to me, not just as an amazing dad and the head honcho of our home, but as a person. As my husband. I can’t imagine doing this life without him.

The Early Years

It was 1992 when we first locked eyes at a stoplight right in front of Hulen Mall. You can read the full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article on how we met HERE. We were friends first because – obvi! I was 17 and a sophomore in high school, and he was 25 — an old fart man with his own apartment and his own business. Although it wasn’t love at first sight, we did become friends, and we’d meet up for lunch or dinner every once in a while, always in a group with my friends.

Then one day, just after New Year’s in 1996, he called me out of the blue. I was now a student at SMU and living in my grandparent’s guest house in Preston Hollow. I just so happened to be planning a dinner party at Sipango in Dallas, so I invited him to join. At the time, I had a boyfriend that I had been trying to break up for a while because the relationship wasn’t going anywhere. But I wasn’t thinking about that when I invited Jason to join us. I really was just being nice!

I still remember the moment I opened my door. I forgot to mention this, but when Jason and I first met in the early ‘90s, he had this long hair – I mean, middle-of-the-back long. I am a pretty preppy, conservative girl, and dating someone who seemed separated at birth from Kid Rock was NOT my jam. But here he was, four years later, standing at my doorstep, looking totally clean-cut and hot with his big green eyes and megawatt smile. I remember thinking, “Holy moly, I have to fast-track my breakup – this guy is YUMMY!”

By the next month, Jason and I were officially a couple. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing to the altar. For the next two and a half years, I had to date every eligible bachelor in Dallas and Fort Worth before we could be exclusive!

Christy Dunaway's 21st Birthday at Sipango Restaurant in Dallas 1996
Christy Dunaway Smith SMU Delta Gamma
Christy Dunaway Smith SMU Delta Gamma
Christy Dunaway Smith SMU Delta Gamma

Let me explain. I was a Fort Worth Steeplechase debutante, which required me to attend countless events and parties from October 1996, to May 1997. My mom wanted me to attend every other party with someone other than Jason. Then, I made my debut as a Dallas Symphony debutante, which started the entire process over again, but this time, I couldn’t bring Jason as my date to anything. For more than two years, I was living this surreal double life, not as a spy but as a deb! Some days I attended two and three parties, back-to-back! It was a good thing I turned down the opportunity to make my Idlewild presentation in Dallas in 1998 (I sometimes regret in hindsight), and my presentation at the International Debutante Ball in New York City. Becoming a professional debutante was not high on my list.

1996 Fort Worth Assembly presentation with Bryan King and Christy Dunaway
1996 Steeplechase Debutant Ball Christy Dunaway
Steeplechase Debutant Ball 1996 Carol and Jim Dunaway Christy Dunaway

For Jason to be able to put up with my extreme social schedule, well, it was just phenomenal. He was never jealous, and he never made me feel awkward. He never criticized my decision to debut, he just stood by me, secure in himself and in us. I knew he was the one after he passed the crazy societal test with flying colors! 

The Proposal

After more than three years of dating, he proposed to me, at Golden Eagle Inn, our favorite restaurant, while we were vacationing in Beaver Creek, Colorado with friends and family. As he read these wonderful words to me, all I could think about was: Cue the wedding planning! My mom and I went into hyperdrive mode to plan an unforgettable celebration for our closest family and friends, with the ceremony at University Christian Church and the reception at my parent’s home. 

Marriage proposal at Golden Eagle Inn Restaurant in Beaver Creek, Colorado
Marriage proposal at Golden Eagle Inn Restaurant in Beaver Creek, Colorado
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

Just two weeks before we were scheduled to tie the knot, the epic tornado of 2000 ravaged the Westside of Fort Worth, plowing through Monticello and down 7th Street and eventually slamming into downtown. The tornado had actually touched down across the field in front of my parents’ house and tore through the neighborhood, but for some reason, it lifted up just before reaching their property. It was an absolutely devastating moment for many people on the west side of Fort Worth, and I don’t know what we would have done had our reception zone turned into a disaster zone, but thanks to God’s Grace, we were able to keep moving forward with our focus on the Big Day.

Getting Ready on the Big Day

So many memories flooded in while I worked through all our wedding pictures. It was an all-day production for me and my bridal party, beginning at the home of one of my parents’ best friends. Kim Rozell of Dallas, makeup artist to the stars, and her assistant made the entire wedding party look camera-ready. And Christy Michaelis, who had been doing my hair since high school, got everyone coifed in no time flat. After brunching and beautifying, we all headed to the church to get dressed, final touch-ups and pre-ceremony photography.

Dallas designer Michael Faircloth made all of the bridesmaid’s dresses, the flower girl’s dress, my gown and my mom’s. Also, that is Karen Briggs with Lilly Dodson retail store in Highland Park Village in Dallas helping me with my veil.

Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Michael Faircloth and Karin Briggs with Lilly Dodson of Dallas helps Christy Dunaway on her wedding day
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

The Wedding Ceremony

Three, two, one … The doors opened to the sound of Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary — aka classic bridal music — being played on the University Christian Church organ.  Because both my parents were such an equal and integral part of my upbringing, I wanted my mom to walk me down the aisle, too. Dr. Scott Colglazier and Dr. Ted Kitchens officiated our ceremony, and during the 30-minute ceremony, I cried tears of sadness (not having my maternal grandmother be alive to see me get married) but also – and mostly — tears of joy.

Christy Dunaway wedding 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Morris Gene and Charlene Smith Family Fort Worth Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
James R Dunaway Punkin and Sally Dunaway Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Francis Warren Winn Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Ted Kitchens Scott Colglazier Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

The Reception

It was 8:30 by the time our wedding party arrived at my parent’s home for the reception. I remember being completely surprised and shocked by the most amazing sight. The side of their yard had been transformed into a tented wonderland, complete with floral candelabras, chandeliers and footmen dressed in 17th-century attire in powdered wigs.

Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

Just when I thought I could sit down and enjoy myself for a bit, I had to snap back to the demanding schedule of standard wedding traditions before I could relax and cut loose. First thing’s first: the important dances. We kicked it off with our official first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And then, of course, came the father-daughter dance and mother and son dance and so on.

Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Jim Dunaway Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Charlene K Smith Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

Next on the wedding reception timeline was the cake cutting and the Champagne toast. And let me tell you, this might have been one of my favorite parts of the evening. For years I had dreamed of having Sylvia Weinstock – called the “Queen of Cakes” by the New York Times– make my wedding cake. I mean, if her gorgeous wedding gateaus were good enough for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, one would work for me, too! I told my mom about this dream, and she thought it was a great idea. We booked a flight to NYC and met with the legend herself. She listened to all our ideas, and my mom and I sampled a lot of cake. Just that experience alone was such a treasure.

When it was time to cut the wedding cake and enjoy our first bite as husband and wife, a plate and forks were nowhere to be found. So in true Christy fashion, I didn’t want to wait, so I didn’t: I ate the slice of cake right off the cake knife!

Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

Jason and I thought it would be fun to have the groom’s cake shaped like our first house, which was still under construction. It was fitting since, at the time, Jason was the owner of Jason Smith Custom Homes and he was the contractor building our home. We shipped off a set of elevation plans to New York City so the “Queen of Cake,” Sylvia Weinstock, could build our home out of cake and buttercream. (Weinstock’s made cakes for Kim Kardashian and Martha Stewart and has appeared on Netflix’s Nailed It!).

Fun fact: Sylvia sent an assistant to accompany our cake on the flight from New York City to Dallas. Each section had its own box and its own seat on the plane. When the plane landed at DFW, my parents had a rented refrigerated truck waiting to pick up the cakes and the assistant. They drove to my parents’ house, where she began the assembly process and made some final decorating touches – she then flew back to New York City, all in the same day!

Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Sylvia Weinstock cake for Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

One of these things that were really important to us on our wedding day was to still have everyone at the reception when it was time for us to leave. I knew that if we stayed until the very end to enjoy our own wedding, there would be a skeletal crowd left. So as soon as we cut the cakes, we prepared a “faux departure” so we could capture all of the excitement on camera and on film.

We loaded into a horse-drawn carriage and did a champagne toast as our band positioned themselves behind the carriage to perform, “When The Saints Go Marching In.” Everyone at the reception had been given silver mint julep cups filled with rose petals (which doubled as their party favors). Amidst the rose petals and the music, we began our journey from one end of the circle drive to the next – right back to the reception, where we got out of the carriage and partied the night away!

Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

Ahhh, now that all the boxes were checked off our “I Do To-Do” list, it was time to have some real fun. I finally got to take my veil off and my wedding coat. Yes, I was wearing two dresses! The coat was actually my train, which I didn’t want to bustle for the reception. After removing the wedding coat, I had a more simplified floor-length dress underneath, which allowed me to cut loose on the dance floor!

T-Byrd Gordon rocked the reception and we danced until midnight – until, in true Christy fashion (yet again) — I grabbed the mic and, as the last notes of the last song faded, I yelled, “I’m ready to consummate this marriage!” The expression on Jason’s face was priceless!

T Byrd Gordon Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000 T Byrd Gordon Band Jim Dunaway
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000 T Byrd Gordon Band
T Byrd Gordon Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

NEVER BEFORE SEEN BONUS FOOTAGE:

Ok, I know this is the longest blog post ever. It was actually supposed to end here, but while I was going through my wedding box and digging through my parent’s storage for photos, I came across some never before seen photos. There were just a few of them. I flipped one over and found a photographer’s name and number from Dallas on the back. I called and gave her all the info I had for the wedding. She was doubtful she could find these in her archives.

Within twenty-four hours she got back to me in total excitement. She told me that our wedding was one of the first digital shots she had done and still had the photos. All forty-four of them. I was so excited, I could hardly stand it. I’ll spare you by not posting all of them, but here is a wonderful selection that captures the moment before people arrived.

Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Sylvia Weinstock Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000
Dunaway Smith Wedding Fort Worth 2000

Growing up, my mom gave me an invaluable piece of advice. Actually, two pieces of advice. One: Marry a nerd. Two: Marry someone who loves you more than you love them. Well, I definitely didn’t marry a nerd, but Jason was by far the freshest breath of fresh air compared to all the poop heads I had wasted my energy on. The love scale has definitely balanced over the years, and I just feel so blessed to still be in love with him. He makes being married so easy.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into our wedding day, as much as I enjoyed sharing it. It’s hard to believe this precious day was twenty years ago. I prayed since I was a little girl that one day I would find a Godly man, a good man, a kind man, and the right man. Jason is that man – in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. Then, now and always.

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY!

Speaking of brides and wedding dresses, I have something very special to share with you. During these unprecedented times, many businesses have switched gears to develop innovative ways to keep their businesses afloat while also helping our community.  That’s exactly what Stanley Korshak Bridal has done. “Hopeful Heart” is the beloved bridal boutique’s new venture, and owner Mackenzie Brittingham launched the nonprofit to produce elegant-yet-essential face masks for the general public and front-line workers.

Sewn by the boutique’s talented seamstresses, Hopeful Heart offers three different styles: a fleece one-piece with ear holes, a pleated cotton mask with elastic loops and space for you to add a filter, and a cotton double-layer design with a wire sewn inside so you can shape the mask to your face and also space for you to add a filter. Prices vary by design from $6.30 to $25, and they’re sold in multipacks. All masks are black, and all have a precious little red heart embroidered at the bottom corner (a perfect touch!). But here’s the best part: For every mask pack you purchase, Hopeful Heart will donate a box of masks to medical workers, police departments and other front-line workers. It’s the very best of bridal, beauty and BoGo! To order, go to www.mackenziebrittingham.com

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13 Apr

Celebrating a Birthday, Quarantine Style

celebrating a birthday, quarantine style

Every year, we plan big birthday celebrations for both of our boys. It’s been my thing since they were born, and it brings me great joy to make these occasions unique and special. We’ve done everything from hosting snake shows in our back yard to taking groups to Medieval Times, iFly and Hurricane Harbor.

When the kids were younger, we used to include the whole grade so that no one would get their feelings hurt from being excluded. Now that they’re older, they’ve formed close-knit connections with terrific bunches of boys, which has made our celebrations much smaller. Lately, our party playbook involves dinner at an entertaining restaurant like Japanese Palace or Simply Fondue and a sleepover, or a weekend of water sports and fishing at the lake.

We were skiing in Utah over spring break when COVID-19 started to mushroom across the US. Like everyone, my first concerns and strongest prayers were for my family, friends, medical workers and all the hard-working people who keep our home – and our community – humming. But I did wonder about the plans for my soon-to-be 15 year old’s birthday party.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy for me to deal with all of the government recommended changes at first, but I know my children are watching my reactions right now more than ever, and it’s critical that I stay strong and keep up our family’s morale by maintaining our connections, our faith and yes, our fun. 

I had to think outside the box (or in my case, inside our property) to craft an amazing celebration that he would forever remember. Luckily, my party planning skills started to come out like the little munchkins from their homes after the Wicked Witch of the East was killed by Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz.

After much thought (and some great suggestions from readers! Thank you!), I devised the perfect plan: A Birthday Party Car Parade! It hit all the feels: It was unique, it was fun, it involved his friends, family and even his teachers from elementary school. But most of all – everyone could participate while maintaining a safe six-feet distance!

      Here’s how I did it:

THE INVITATION

I designed a quick digital invitation on PunchBowl.com. They have a section of online invitations specifically designed for virtual get-togethers! We sent it to our inner circle of family and friends and special teachers from school, including the lower school principal.

celebrating a birthday, quarantine style

In the invitations, I made a series of outrageous – but hilarious – requests: 

  1. Dress in a Halloween costume, a wig, face paint, crazy hair or whatever silly get-up you want.
  2. Decorate your car however you want. Simple or extravagant or not at all! It’s up to you. 
  3. Make a sign and hold it up through your sunroof or tape it to your PASSENGER-SIDE doors. 

Then, I gave our guests their marching orders: At noon, everyone would start driving down our street honking the car horns the whole way. Then, they were to pull into our driveway to wave at the birthday boy and get a delicious to-go treat! 

THE DECORATIONS

I reached out to Fort Worth Yard Cards to safely set the mood for our festivities. They planted a hilarious sign in the yard, which really set the stage for our crazy celebration. 

I also reached out to Steve, the owner of Party Warehouse to see if he was doing no-contact balloon delivery, and sure enough, he was! I ordered a balloon column and 150 balloons. We floated 100 of the balloons on the ceiling of our front porch and tied 50 balloons to a few railings at the nearby country club parking lot for our guests to attach to their cars. 

Winn_15th-bday-lores-34

THE DELICIOUS TO-GO TREATS

Actually, the first phone call I made was to Karen Wade, owner of The Velvet Crumb. Her cookies are not only the yummiest cookies but by far the cutest. I have been thrilled with her work from several recent projects. There really isn’t anything she can’t do, IMO. So naturally, in theme with the times, I had her design toilet paper rolls and virus cookies. Hopefully, there will be a ray of light after this whole mess is over. Plus, she provided a no-contact delivery right to our door! 

celebrating a birthday, quarantine style

And finally, a party is not a party without Mama’s Pizza. I called Jordan, the owner (and my middle school boyfriend for 2.5 seconds) to see if his team could no-contact deliver 35 boxes of large cheese and pepperoni pizzas for our son’s surprise birthday car parade.  Sure enough, he personally showed up with the stacks of cheesy gooey pies! 

celebrating a birthday, quarantine style

THE BIG DAY!

I am proud to say my unorthodox party plan played out to perfection. With my younger son leading the way in his go-cart wearing rubber gloves and a mask, the parade began!  

We handed every car a whole box of pizza and three cookies. In return, we were pegged with beads, firecrackers, confetti eggs and more. 

I haven’t seen our oldest son smile this big in a long time.

Winn_15th-bday-lores-100

Everyone put so much effort into decorating their cars and really getting into the birthday spirit. They yelled and honked and laughed and cheered. 

celebrating a birthday, quarantine style

Let’s face it: Kids are dealing with so many disappointments right now, from canceled sports tournaments and rescheduled SATs to the fact that they can’t hang with their friends like usual. With the regular routine of school out the window, it was a warm welcome to see some of the amazing teachers who help guide our children on a daily basis to be the best humans they can be! Teachers deserve big props, and it was awesome to see their faces in person. (Sad we didn’t get a picture of the lower school principal, but she was there, wig on and all!)

I feel so blessed that on this day, for this milestone, we were able to make a memory for my son that was 100 percent about hope and happiness, for us and others!

Was this birthday over-the-top? Maybe, but I was so happy to be able to help so many local businesses. What we all will remember most is how many people in our community came out to make sure my son felt love on his birthday. 

To all the peeps who are celebrating special occasions and big milestones during these trying times, remember that joy is possible, and the easiest way to create it is by coming together. 

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY!!!

And speaking of JOY, I know this quarantine cray has been a bit daunting, so I’m giving away a $50 gift certificate to Mama’s Pizza and one dozen cookies from The Velvet Crumb! Hopefully, these goodies will help you look forward to the good times ahead. 

Drawing the winner on Wednesday, April 22nd at NOON! Be sure to read the TERMS and CONDITIONS in the Rafflecopter link below. Good Luck!

30 Mar

Life Lately: Sheltering in Our Place

Famous country music star Pat Green described our life lately so well when he posted this quote on social media, “Self-isolation is like Vegas in my house. We’re losing money by the minute, cocktails are acceptable at any hour, and nobody knows what time it is.”

HI! Happy Monday!!!

The days have blurred together since we flew out of town for our Spring Break ski trip to Deer Valley, Utah on Saturday, March 7th. And oh what a memorable Spring Break that was in the history of family vacations. Who knew a global virus would take over the world right at that moment?!? 

I’m not going to lie, these last two weeks of life have been quite the adjustment in finding our comfort zone with our “new norm.” I know it’s probably been the same with you, too. We are all in the same rough waters (or tsunami), just some of the boats look different than others. 

My heart hurts so much for the people who are suffering and have lost their income and their ability to make ends meet or even be able to buy food for their family. This is definitely one of the most difficult parts of this viral crisis. I hurt seeing our city’s economy in its current condition. So many of our friends have had to completely change their business models and some have taken a total loss temporarily, or in many cases, permanently. 

Most of my days are filled with laughter and humorous friends texting me various memes of a very well-end… (well if you know what I mean you just giggled and if you don’t, send me a DM), but some days have wiped me off the planet. As the mom and only female in the family, I have become everyone’s housekeeper, chef and personal bitch. I have truly never cooked so much food in my entire life, only to feed it to 3 bottomless pits for stomachs. Thank goodness Jason took over being teacher for our new world of homeschooling, otherwise the principal side of me would bring on the corporal punishments (and considering both my boys are taller than me, that would be interesting to figure out).

Dealing with my anxiety and clinically diagnosed OCD has been the hardest part of this entire COVID-19 crisis, and that first week back from Spring Break was by far the lowest for me emotionally. I had a massive panic attack and had to take medicine (which I NEVER DO) to bring my heart rate down and gain control of my spiraling. 

FUN TIMES WE ARE HAVING AT THE SMITH HOME. 

Fast forward 18 days since we’ve been home from spring break, and life lately is feeling so much better (from where it had been). Here are the things I did to help get my head back in the game:

Top 13 activities that helped improve my mental health game

1. BUY PRE-MADE MEALS

My intentions of cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner like Martha Stewart ended after three days of feeding bottomless pits who were always hungry. I set out to buy all the frozen food I could find so this mama wouldn’t be a bitch in the kitch! 

2. LIMIT NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Between FOX & CNN ruining my spring break, and finally having a meltdown along with the stock market, Dad Dunaway had a “Come to Jesus” with me over the phone and told me to get a grip. Everyone is in the same boat on the spectrum. His advice: Stop watching the news. Stop reading articles on Facebook. And stop drinking.

Also, he recommended reading THIS article on why long-term investors should never sell stocks in a panic. It really helped calm my anxiety.

3. HAPPY HOUR WITH YOUR GIRLFRIENDS

Speaking of drinking. Sorry dad, I know I told you I wasn’t, but I am…with my girlfriends on House Party, Zoom and Facetime. GNO, I mean Girl Day QuarWINEtine starts about when carpool would normally roll. (A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.) 

4. JAMMING OUT TO MUSIC PLAYLISTS

We tell Alexa to play a genre of different types of music, including Christmas Classics Radio, Beastie Boys, Counting Crows and The Police, just to name a few. Having this escape lets us do just that, escape. Besides, music soothes the soul.  

5. ORGANIZE & DECLUTTER

There are benefits to having OCD, and since it’s on fire right now, The Organized Nest might want to hire me when everyone comes out of hiding. My pantry hasn’t look this good since before I had children. My closet is next! The Purge has begun, but now’s the time to get it gone! (Follow me HERE for a future announcement on when and where I will sell my designer duds.)

6. COOKING SPECIAL RECIPES IN THE KITCHEN

Ok I know I am contradicting #1, but when you are cooking for the joy of cooking and not because your family is going to starve to death, there is something therapeutic and joyful that comes from this activity. Stay tuned to my blog, cause I’ve added a new recipe plug-in and I plan on sharing family favorites and legendary recipes from both of my grandmothers, Sally Dunaway and Nancy Winn.

7. GROW BABY – GROW A GARDEN

Yup! I busted out THESE old grow boxes that we purchased over a decade ago and I’m starting a garden. I ordered organic plantings from HERE, which will be delivered the first week of April! Let’s hope I don’t kill my future fresh groceries (before they sprout). 

8. EMPOWER YOUR CHILDREN TO HELP

Many of you who have housekeepers or use a cleaning service had to let them go or put them on paid #Coronacation. More than ever, I completely understand the saying, “It Takes a Village.” Between the grocery errands, cooking, cleaning and laundry, I was turning into everyone’s personal Sherpa! We now have a full chore schedule and everyone does their part to make our world run a bit more smoother. 

9. GET IN SHAPE GIRL, YOU KNOW THE FEELING

We’re all doing a lot more from home than we used to, including eating around the clock. Now more than ever though we don’t have an excuse to get moving. Whether it’s a family walk, a private walk, a walk with the dog, or a ride on your Peloton – we all need to be moving. And it’s helped me not just for hoping to still wear my wardrobe when we’re let out of house arrest, but also for the mind-body connection. 

10. CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY

If you know me, then you know I’m a professional bath taker. I mean, I LOVES me some bath time. It’s my meditation when my body can completely relax in a buoyancy of bubbles. It’s that relaxing time just for me that keeps me sane, especially when I’m doing my bathtub beauty routine. (Make sure you’re taking time alone with all this new togetherness.)

11. FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT

With everyone on a device for school, work, connecting with family and friends, you’d think the last thing I’d suggest is watch TV. But making this something to look forward to is what’s keeping us in check, and that we’re a family that just need to spend time laughing together. We make popcorn, change into a fresh set of PJ’s for the night and enjoy these precious moments. Also, we just ordered some amazing puzzles on Amazon and have busted out the old fashion board games and deck of cards! 

12. STOP AND SMELL THE ROSE

I have to be honest, that first week post Spring Break had me down in the dumps. And whenever I’m down, fresh flowers always lift my spirits. Doctor’s orders! Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and ordered 2 arrangements (one for my mom) from Cityview Florist & Gifts to brighten my day. Their generosity never ceases to amaze me. When they were forced to shut down last week on Monday night at 11:59 PM, they decided to deliver over 70 floral bouquets to clients, friends and family. But great news, as of this weekend, they got a city ordinance in place and can now do “no contact” deliveries.  

13. THE POWER OF PRAYER

Last but definitely not the least. Leaning into the Lord now, more than ever, is the most important thing you can do for your mental health. There is nothing more powerful than the power of prayer. You can hand over all of your fears to Him and TRUST that His plan is perfect. If you are looking for a wonderful church home, I’ve attended Christ Chapel Bible Church since I was in elementary school in the early 80’s. They have multiple wonderful services streaming LIVE all week, plus their Sunday service. 

Remember that we are all in this together. Stay safe and be healthy, and STAY HOME if you can. And a BIG thank you to everyone in the medical field and to all the people in the service industry helping our crippled city keep moving forward.  Godspeed! 🙂