Today we have guest blogger Laura Lyn Donahue. Elizabeth and I have followed this tale of a gift from her husband and we loved it so much we wanted her to share it with you. So, with about six months left until Deck the Halls will be filling every store (Ok, we all know that’s only about three months away) we thought this story might be one to pass on to a loved one as a hint, hint, Honey, think OUTSIDE the box!
For Christmas, my wonderful husband surprised me with a trip to The Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. I was speechless when I opened his creative gift of clues that included airline reservations, hotel reservations and a photograph of a Grammy Award.
With a trip to the Grammy’s on the horizon, I had to get myself in gear, get a dress and prepare for the trip of a lifetime. So after Christmas break, I hit the pavement driving all over Nashville and Franklin trying on dresses in every shape, size, color and length. Being a mom of four, it’s hard to stay on the fashion front…Enter, Liza Graves, who knows our town upside down, inside and out. I emailed her my “911” and she got back to me ASAP with her “411”. The hunt was on, and hunt I did!
I went to so many stores, some two and three times. My rounds included Blush, Jamie, UAL, The Cotton Mill, and Najib in Nashville and Haven, Philanthropy and Ivey in downtown Franklin. I even hit Designer Renaissance and Designer Finds. I Googled and visited as many dress websites, designer forums and online runway sales as I could find. I’ve never been to so many stores and tried on so many dresses or labored so hard on my wardrobe.
After two weeks of plowing through every glam, hip, 2nd hand, designer and exquisite boutique, I found my dress at BCBG. At that point it was easy to choose because from all this shopping, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I actually ended up with a dress in a color I hadn’t tried!
From picking out my dress, my jewelry, my shoes and my makeup to helping me regain my body’s PH level, I had “fashionista angels” helping me all along the way. My shopping mantra came straight from Liza, “The thrill of the hunt is half the fun.” And fun it was!
My Mom went to every store with me giving me valuable input. My beautiful and talented friend, Karee Hays, an aesthetician at Dr. Retief’s office in Green Hills, helped me with my skin and makeup. She gave me some wonderful peels and set me straight with makeup trends and “smokey eyes”.
My husband thought I was crazy, but Karee cheered me on and reminded me that, “75% of the FUN is the getting ready and having something fun to look forward to.” My husband had no idea what a girl needed, or how much fun I was having! He indulged me (with one eye closed), as I glammed it up big time.
My beautiful friend and model, Tiffany Baker, helped me all the way from Asia via Facebook giving me health and well-being tips, and suggestions for makeup that she loves as a high fashion model (i.e. makeup that lasts). Tiffany told me, “…don’t stress too much on what (dress) to choose. Wear what YOU feel good in!” That’s exactly what I did. Total self-indulgence, especially as a mom of four, is not my thing, but I decided to embrace the whole experience, enjoy the hunt, bathe myself in some totally out-of-the-ordinary “me focus” and have fun doing it. Mission accomplished.
I got cut & color at Unruli in Franklin, a mani/pedi and a beautiful necklace from my Stella & Dot consultant, Kim Wright. I also picked out a new suitcase from Home Goods because with all of the fashion advice I’d received, I had A LOT that I needed to take on my trip.
The trip itself was a true once-in-a-lifetime… top on my list of best gifts EVER! The experience was surreal. The Grammy & L.A. hoopla was intimidating but I felt totally comfortable in the dress I chose and confident with all of the support of my sweet Franklin and Nashville peeps.
The Grammy’s themselves were so much fun. We walked the Red Carpet and attended parties pre and post show. We had seats near a backstage tunnel where I could call to the stars walking in and out and get a nod or a wave back. We even received a gift of Moroccan Oil beach bags filled with Moroccan Oil hair products (love these products!).
The trip was terrific. The hunt for my dress and accessories was a blast, and the gift itself from my dear husband will never be forgotten. At the end of the day, though, nothing compared to the welcome home from our Fabulous Four, our true gifts of a lifetime!
If you want to keep up with Laura Lyn, and her efforts to raise money to rebuild her mother-in-laws house, destroyed by the flood, click here.
Laura’s blog: lauralyndonahue.blogspot.com