Friday, February 5, 2010

If the Dress Fits...

For Christmas, Don surprised me with a trip to The Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Don did such a great job keeping the gift a secret and creatively wrapping and giving it to me. I opened a box about the size of a shoe box. Inside were 7 sealed envelopes numbered 1-7.

The first envelope I opened had a photo of The Blackeyed Peas. I was confused. The second envelope and third had a pictures of Taylor Swift and The Zac Brown Band. Now, I'm thinking concert... Next up, a picture of the LA LIVE icon.  Ok... concert in LA? Inside the 5th envelope was a Southwest airline flight itinerary for me to fly to LA! Ok... Wow! We're going to a concert in LA! I then opened a hotel reservation in the 6th envelope. Still... I'm thinking trip to LA for a concert at LA LIVE. Fun! The last envelope, however, took me over the edge with excitement. It was a photo of a Grammy award. OMG! It wasn't until that moment that I fully understood that Don was taking me to the Grammys!

With a trip to the Grammys on the horizon, I had to get myself in gear, get a dress and prepare for the trip of a lifetime. So, when the kids went back to school in January, I hit the pavement. Driving all over Nashville and Franklin, I tried on dresses in every shape, size, color and length. I even solicited help from a blog author, Liza Graves, who knows our town upside down, inside and out. After plowing through every glam, hip, 2nd hand, designer and exquisite boutique, though, I found my dress at the mall at BCBG... but by then I knew what I wanted and had fun in the process. Actually, I knew what I didn't want and ended up with a dress in a color I hadn't tried... but it was the right one for me.

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 wonderful mom and BFF, of course, went to almost every dress shop with me and watched me don every dress, giving input all along the way. I couldn't have made my pick without her.

My beautiful and talented friend, Karee Hays, helped me with my skin and makeup. I've been really out of the loop on makeup trends, but Karee set me straight. Karee does facials at Dr. Retief's office in Green Hills and is AMAZING. She helped me get my skin in great shape. However, she not only helped me with my face, she also treated me to spray tans in her attic (because I was told that I would need "a little color")! This was so funny. The spray tan gets all over everything. So, the best place to do it is in a room where you don't care what gets on the walls. Karee's attic served this purpose well. I loved it when Karee said, "Girl, it doesn't get much more redneck than spray tanning in the attic!" I agreed, but it was so worth it!

Following the spray tanning, Karee went on to give me makeup lessons in her home. I sat on her vanity stool while she taught me how to do the "smokey eye," add highlights to my face and play up features while diminishing others. She even GAVE me her own makeup to take along with me on the trip to ensure that I had the right colors... including a new tube of her coveted, impossible-to-find Loreal lipgloss . She gave me this to KEEP... so sweet!

My darling & beautiful model friend, Tiffany Baker, helped me all the way from Asia through "inboxing" me on my Face Book page with all sorts of health and well-being tips, not to mention suggestions for makeup that she loves as a high fashion model, and books for reading, which covered topics from the Perricone diet for clear skin to The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics. She introduced me to the Japanese Ume Plum and its healing and restorative properties, and she gave me encouragement and confidence.

(*author's note: I have known both Karee and Tiffy my entire life... I think it's so cool how God has brought us full circle and back into each other's lives.)

At this point, whomever is reading this is probably thinking, "Good grief. Aren't you going a little overboard with the glam?!" Well, part of me thought the very same thing; however, I decided to embrace the experience, bathe myself in some totally out-of-the-ordinary "me focus" and have fun doing it (my fashionistas encouraged me to do the same). Like Liza Graves told me while I was searching for my dress, "The thrill of the hunt is half the fun."  Karee said, "75% of the FUN is the getting ready and having something fun to look forward to," and Tiffy, "...don't stress too much on what (dress) to choose (dress). Wear what YOU feel good in!" Mom affirmed me, as she always does, by saying, "Thought you selected the perfect dress for the Grammys. Beautiful on you!"

So, with their advice and affirmation in tow, I headed to Unruli, an Aveda Salon in downtown Franklin, to get my hair in shape! Vallorie Chappel Barnes, the best colorist in the world :), got my hair color-perfect, gave me detailed styling suggestions and loaned me a glove for the curling iron to protect my hand (oh, I need to return that). Uli, owner of Unruli, gave me a beautiful cut and got my hair in healthy shape.

I had my dress, my shoes, my makeup... but I didn't have my jewelry. So, Mom and I hit the shops again searching for that perfect necklace. We looked at everything from vintage and antique to new and sparkly. I finally landed on just the right necklace through an invitation to a Stella & Dot jewelry show. The only problem was that I needed the necklace right away. My problem was no problem for Stella & Dot consultant, Kim Wright, though. She brought me a bagful of jewelry to try. I picked one. She ordered it, and it arrived the day before I left! Awesome!

Of course, I got my pedi/mani so my toes and fingers would fit the glam profile for LA. I also picked out a new suitcase because with all of the fashion advice I'd received, I had A LOT that I need to take on my trip... I packed up EVERYTHING and Mom picked me up on Thursday, Jan 28 (a day earlier than my original flight... I moved it so as to avoid the huge winter storm of 2010!... no way was I gonna miss this trip!).

With THE dress that fit (and felt perfect) all packed neatly in its own BCBG garment bag, I approached the SWA check-in counter quite unaware of what lay before me...

(The airport arrival and the trip itself, however, will merit blogs of their own. More to come.)