All American Summer

This is a sponsored post for Mirassou Winery

There are so many opportunities and reasons to celebrate the military and the freedoms that we are able to enjoy are due entirely to their service and the sacrifices they make. With Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, and Patriot Day on the calendar, we celebrate and honor them throughout the summer. I recently teamed up with Mirassou Winery to throw a small gathering to welcome summer, to honor our military service members and to acknowledge that it’s a lot more than just a day off work. table16 For the decor of the table, I framed printables that I found at HMH Designs…they were kind enough to offer them for personal use here. table23

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table6 Being from the South, cookouts are a big part of our summers and Memphis is the BBQ capital of the world! For our Memorial Day party, we chose the theme “Welcome to an All-American Summer” to celebrate the day with our family and friends. When hosting a cookout, the meat is the star! Our table consisted of side dishes and desserts to go with the main items. On the table: hot dogs, cole slaw, pita chips and hummus, s’mores, pasta, fruit trifle, strawberry cupcakes, and cheesecake; there was chicken, steak, bratwurst, and corn off the grills. table22

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table7 In addition to the cookout, we hosted a small wine tasting featuring wines from Mirassou Winery. Everyone knows there’s nothing better than enjoying a glass of wine in the evening to end a blistering summer day! wine1 To do the tasting, we had a selection of four wines and tasting mats with pairing instructions, which make the whole process super easy! On the mats were food suggestions and taste profiles of each of the wines. Head over to their Facebook page to download your own wine tasting kit! wine7

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wine30 To make the table runner, I printed out the flag with all of the states which I found at Southern Charm and the star I found by Pixabella. I simply printed out the quantity I needed and strung them together. In addition to the wine, we had bottle openers, wine glass charms, beads and the mats themselves as party favors for the guests. My favorite part of the package was the “Bright Tips for Home Entertaining” guide…I couldn’t wait to dive into the book! wine16 I love their recipe cards because Mirassou offers recipes that pair with their wines, as well as, recipes that use their wine as an ingredient…it’s a win-win! Find the recipes here. taste20

wine5 Whether you’re hosting a gathering for friends this summer or in honor of our national heroes, fire up the grill and grab some bottles of Mirassou and have the best summer yet!

 

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Styling and Display: Creating Awesomenessity!

Wine and gifts: Mirassou Winery

All-American Summer banner and food signs: Painting Paris Pink

Patriotic fabric garland: Lillypaul Designs

Red, white, and blue cupcake poms: Fizzy Party

 

It’s an Operation Shower Event

I’ve blogged/talked about Operation Shower a bit…I love this organization and am so appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of supporting them.

I think that it’s especially important on this Veteran’s Day, to let you know who they are and what they do.

More importantly, WHY they do what they do.

Please take a moment to watch this video about one of the recent showers they hosted.

Operation Shower “Baby Be Mine” Event

We are hosting a fundraiser to help them continue their mission. It will be held on Monday, November 18th and you can buy your tickets here.

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We are hosting a line dance party, not a baby shower…I’ve had inquiries about that lol For the donation price of $15, you receive admission, food, drinks, prizes and the chance to win a mini-vacation!

If you are unable to physically attend, you may still make a donation here. If you’re supporting this particular event, please dedicate your donation to PSLDance…it just helps Operation Shower to keep track of whom the donations are coming through, we don’t receive any payments 🙂

Thank you for all of your support, but most importantly, be sure to thank our military and their families who sacrifice for us daily.

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Aaaarrgghh Matey!

Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Shiver me timbers and walk the plank!

That’s about all I got…

Wait…

Yo, ho, ho! A pirate’s life for me!

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom…dear gracious, I love me some Pirates of the Caribbean 🙂

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What’s your pirate name? Mine is Scallywag Storm Chumbuckey.

Lame.

But what’s not lame? REAL PIRATES!

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A friend told me about this group called the Dive Pirates yesterday. They’re based out of Houston,TX and started back in 2003. Their current mission began in 2004 and involves taking military vets on diving trips. The kicker is this…the vets are disabled. Paraplegic, quadriplegic, amputees…they are all welcomed,respected, and loved.

Y’all know I love my service wo/men and I’ve been a certified open water diver since 1996…and I was introduced to a way to combine my love of being in the water with serving those who have served us?!? I’m all over it!

In the mission statement from the website, the Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization “Based on camaraderie, compassion, freedom to dive, and the Code of Conduct, Dive Pirates will support, train, equip, and provide dive travel to individuals with disabilities through Classified Scuba Diving.”

How amazing is that?!?

This organization works so hard to make sure that our vets who have been injured in service have an amazing support system that allows them to have a recreational outlet. And more than a recreational outlet, being underwater is one of the most serene and peaceful places to exist. After seeing the horrors of war, I can’t imagine a more perfect place to be.

We just so happen to have one local dive shop who has partnered with this wonderful group. If you’re in the Memphis area, head over to The Dive Shop to see how you can get involved. If you’re afraid of the water, feel free to donate to this amazing cause. If you’re not in the Memphis or Houston area, the Dive Pirates are everywhere! Find a chapter and see how you may help this awesome cause.

I’m already trying to get into the water and maybe make a difference in the process…

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We Remember

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Today is Memorial Day! While you’re out spending time with friends and family today, please take a moment to remember that we get to be off work and chillaxin’ today because of the sacrifice of our military service people and their families. If you see any military person today, especially if they’re with their family, tell them thank you for all they’ve done for you…whether they know you or not. Let them know their sacrifices aren’t in vain, and maybe you can remind others in the process!

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Thanksgiving May

Today is May 1st. In addition to being May Day, this month is full of things and people for which to be thankful: tequila and tacos on Cinco de Mayo; teachers who give their time and energy to shape the future (7th); moms who are essentially teachers with less sleep and less thanks, and nurses who help to heal us (12th); among many other holidays. The most important to me is the celebration of those who fight, have fought, and have given their time…and lives…to protect our freedoms.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month, which is fitting to also celebrate Armed Forces Day (18th) and Memorial Day (27th.) If you’ve followed my blog or know me in any way, you know that I have so much love and appreciation for our military. If you’re curious,or may have forgotten, you may read about it here.

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This morning I was sent an email from one of the suppliers that I use and it stopped me in my tracks. I was able to read the story of Corporal Adam C. Jones, who lost his life in 2011, while serving his country in Afghanistan. Sadly, his story isn’t unique and there is nothing in this world which is truly free, especially our freedom and independence. Factory Direct Craft is donating a portion of proceeds to Adam’s Hope, the charity established in memory of Cpl. Jones, which works to provide continuing support to all of our military currently serving. To read more and donate, please go to the Adam’s Hope website or “like” and support them on Facebook.

But that’s not all! There’s always more to do to help support our troops! There’s a varied saying that starts “Behind every great man…” and in this situation, behind every great man and woman serving our country is a spouse and family serving with them.

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Creating Awesomenessity has also teamed up with Operation Shower! OS is an absolutely wonderful organization that works to provide a “Shower in a Box” to all of the expectant moms of military spouses. Being a military brat myself and having a love for children, I was incredibly honored that they would allow me to assist in their efforts. If you would like to support this cause, it’s really simple! They have a registry set up with Babies-R-Us so that you may purchase items and they will be sent directly to the organization. It’s found online at http://www.babiesrus.com/operationshower…no fuss, no muss, all appreciation!! If you’re not one for the online shopping, you may also stop by your local Babies-R-Us while picking up gifts for an expecting friend or relative, purchase an item from the Operation Shower registry, and ship it to them yourself. They are most in need of board books, baby rattles, and receiving blankets; the address is:

Operation Shower
18 S. Central Ave
Clayton, MO 63105

Thank you again to all of our troops. Regardless of political affiliation or opinion, what you do deserves the highest honor and support from those of us unable (or unwilling) to walk in your shoes.

Thank you for supporting our troops, they appreciate you more than you may ever know…

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Freedom Isn’t Free

The Fourth of July is an awesome holiday. I like to watch stuff blow up and I love all things sparkly, so I look forward to having fireworks to show off and play with. Except this year, because we have a burn ban. I’m definitely not enough of a pyromaniac to burn things down, so I’m perfectly fine with watching the shows that the city has set up today…

But today is certainly not about the fireworks. Or the food, even though that is incredibly important…mmm, ribs…

It’s about the independence of our country. Even in fighting to be our own nation independent of England’s rule, we had soldiers who fought and lost their lives to give us freedom. There is a lot of historical detail between now and then (if you don’t know, feel free to do some research) but it all has one thing in common: I appreciate our soldiers. Unless it was my husband or child, I don’t think I could say with full confidence that I’m going to lay down my life for someone, especially a stranger. That probably makes me selfish, right? Our soldiers do this every day. They choose to put their lives in danger so that they can protect the freedoms that we take for granted.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of vacationing in Hawaii and visited Pearl Harbor. There were some WWII survivors who volunteered to be tour guides at the memorial. I noticed that some of the people were just passing them by, maybe stopping for a second to take a picture to be able to say they saw a war relic. I was drawn to one of the survivors and walked over, just to talk to him, give him a hug and tell him thank you for his service to his country. I’ll never forget Sgt. Sterling. I began talking to him and he asked where I was from. The ensuing conversation lasted for an hour and is one of my most treasured memories. It turned out we were both from TN and both had grandmothers who made homemade biscuits and knew what sorghum molasses were. I loved and truly cherished the time that I spent with Sgt. Sterling; there is something so precious about sincerely listening to an elder and their life experiences. He was just a sweet and amazing old man. Somewhere in the world, a Japanese tourist has a picture where she’s standing next to a random chick who wouldn’t stop talking to the vet…

Not just talking to this particular vet, I know a lot of them! My grandfather served in WWII. A simple man, his pride and joy was being able to wear that hat with his name and service info to all the parades. I miss him. I have a really large military family, so I understand what it means to love a soldier:

  • Dad (US Navy, retired)
  • Brother (US Marines, active)
  • 11 Uncles (US Navy, Army, Air Force, retired)
  • 1 Great Uncle (US Army, retired)
  • 3 Cousins (US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, active and retired)
  • Countless friends, fraternity and sorority members (US Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, active and retired)

So on today, I just want to say a genuine and sincere THANK YOU! You are loved and appreciated far beyond political lines and personal opinions. Today, and everyday, I acknowlege your sacrifice and will support you. I will pray for you and your families. Just as we celebrate Independence Day and the soldiers who fight for our freedoms, I encourage you to remember the ultimate life that was given for our freedoms. Galatians 5:1 states that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” Heavenly or earthly, remember to be thankful for the life that was given for yours…because freedom has never been, nor will it ever be, free.

Make It Awesome!