This weekend was a bridal shower for my daughter-in-law-to-be Ashley. Her mother hosted it, such a lovely spot. The valley heat eventually won out but it held off for most of the morning so we could enjoy the picture perfect setting.
I wish I could have taken one or two of these bunches home with me, alas I knew they'd have been completely wilted in the 100° plus temps in the car before I managed to get them home.
These were yummy, even the ones that took a tumble onto the grass when they were being handed out. Hey, two second rule, right?
This beautiful guest fluttered about the entire time.
Guests arriving, gathering the buffet items from the house.
And a delicious buffet indeed!
Then the gift opening began. Loved the way this was displayed.
My gift, a storage box with journals, sachets, frame and photo albums to store and remember all the wedding memories.
We all got plastic bling rings. If you crossed your leg, you lost yours to someone who caught you. I was more than happy to pass mine on quickly but I was wearing a long skirt and it took a while for someone to notice. This guest won the game.
Just before I snapped this photo there was much jumping and shrieking. A spider was hiding inside this bag.
Bella the cat was fascinated with the gifts.
Oooh la la!
Tears from reading a beautiful handmade scrapbook.
A pink squeaky horn for the best gift of all....
A pink bicycle! (apparently there will eventually be a handlebar basket)
I was tickled at the name of the bike, this is what Ashley and Sam sometimes call Berkley.
Posing with the ribbon bouquet. Ashley wouldn't take off those sunglasses!
Trying to ride in heels and a dress.
Bride to be with all but two of her bridesmaids, showing off some leg.
And their goofy side.
Ashley and moi.
Ashley with her lovely mom and sister.
Four generations: Ashley with her grandmother, mother and aunt, sister and cousin.
It was a lovely day. For any friends or family who would like to see more shower photos, visit my Flickr set.
Hi - me, waving! Tonight was an event I look forward to every year, my friend Angie's turn to hostess our local book club group. She always creates an "EXPERIENCE".
Not hard to do when the setting is her beautiful gardens.
Everyone always starts out the evening by taking a stroll around to see what's blooming, what's new, what's still an old favorite little enclave. Come have a look around with me.
I think she has four, maybe five water features. The sound of water flowing, splashing, or tumbling is everywhere.
There are little hideaways and sweeping lawns.
I didn't take photos of all the areas, but as you can see, one could easily spend all day strolling, or lounging in the many little garden seats.
Oh look, here's most of the group coming back from their tour. Angie is front and center in the blue shirt. Thank you again Angie!
Time to enjoy the gorgeous meal she's set out for us. (the playhouse/set in the background are for her lucky grandkids)
While enjoying the beautiful, relaxing view.
Oops, I forgot to take a picture until after I'd already dug into my plate, but you can see why! There's the champagne I mentioned. I had mine half and half with the pink lemonade and everyone thought it was a good idea and followed my example. I'd visited the dentist earlier in the day and wasn't sure if I'd be up for a meal yet but the novocaine (or whatever it is they use these days) had worn off and I was not only ready to eat but had quite the appetite from having not eaten all day. About the only problem I had was I dribbled a bit of my champagne. I blamed the numbing in my lips. Yep. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
As the light began to fade, the light cubes glowed.
Last but not least, there was CHOCOLATE.
And if that wasn't enough, I was gifted with this month's book (which I had borrowed from the library and was thrilled to have a copy of my own and to share) and a tub of fresh raspberries from Angie's garden. Some days are just picture perfect and lovely, lovely, lovely.
It was Oscar Wilde who said "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."
One of the most important things my mother ever taught me was that it was okay to be an original. As I child I sometimes cringed when she would do things "other people didn't do" - jump into a city fountain on a hot summer day, strike up conversations with strangers (perfect or otherwise), wear goofy hats (and in my version of reality, any hat that ended up on my mother's head qualified as goofy), dyed her hair purple. Okay, she didn't do that last one on purpose, still she didn't seem adequately mortified that she had done so, and this was decades before quirky hair colors were even on the fashion horizon.
Flash forward a decade or two... or three.... and I have it on good authority (from my children) that I have embarrassed my children in equally memorable ways. And all I have to say about that is Thank goodness!
While I began to appreciate my mother's free spirit even in my early adulthood, and in theory I've tried to embrace my own sometimes quirky lifestyle without apology, I will admit that there were many times in my life, in both small and large ways, when I found myself wanting to do something, be something, wear something, say something... and BOING. Found I'd bounced back into "normal", that even I had an invisible "line of acceptability" that I found difficult to cross.
I'm not talking here of things that I thought were unacceptable because of some legitimate reason - maybe it wasn't an appropriate place, it would have been unkind, it would have defeated my larger intention to come across in an undignified way.... no, I mean sometimes I thought of something I wanted to do/say/wear and didn't simply because it was outside of our cultures list of approved choices. Something that wouldn't have hurt anyone, wouldn't have broken any laws, and left me feeling disappointed at having been too chicken to allow myself to do.
Everyone's got their line. Mine, fortunately, started out well outside the average person's border, and the older I get the longer the walk is to reach it. One of the perks of getting older. Makes up a wee bit for things like wrinkles and less perky body parts.
All this is a build up to sharing a whole BUNCH of photos with you. At this point you might want to go get a cupcake and a cup of tea and come back and settle in for the rest of the post.
......you're ready? Oh good.
One of the things I love most about Faerieworlds Festival is that it's a place where everyone mutually agrees to break through those lines of acceptability. There are places, communities, gatherings where people dress differently. Ren Faires come to mind, although I've heard too many stories about the "HAWP" (Historical Accuracy Wardrobe Police) to think it's truly freedom of expression. It's more accurate perhaps to say they allow different expression. Or there's more liberal communities, high school or college campuses, and certainly festivals as a whole where people open up and let a bit of their uniqueness into the sun. But nowhere seems to be as lovingly embracing to the creed "to thine own self be true" than in the Realm.
Which is why I have a bit of a problem with the word "costume" when explaining our Faerieworld garb. I sometimes fall back on using it, but I much prefer to say "outfit". Because I've come to believe that what I see in all the color and style, layers and paint, beads and bare skin, are the true selves of people finally allowed to come out and play unabashedly, without fear. Costumes are the things we wear when we go back home and once again must, by choice or circumstances, don jeans and tees, uniforms, and suits.
While pondering the idea of originality, I thought of this song. Perhaps you might like to click on it as a soundtrack on your viewing journey. Many of these pics are friends, some are strangers. But all of them fill my heart with such joy to see them allowed to be themselves.
"And yeah, you look much better,
Look much better when you glow"
Zoe and Mermie
Obviously royalty of some kind.
Moby and his wondrous wizard hat.
I'm taking this photo from eye level, she's on stilts.
I never asked her what her "theme" (if any, who needs a stinkin' theme, eh!?) was but I thought she was so lovely.
Lost Boy - Hawk and Mother of Many Flowers - Lynn
Dymphina and sweet offspring.
Striped stockings are always a good addition.
What struck my eye with this couple - check out the driftwood dreds.
Stephanie might win cutest ears with this pair.
Danielle rocks simple and stunning.
A touch of steampunk. Are we having fun yet? Hellya!
More steampunk. (You don't know what Steampunk means? Seriously? Do you have a house number on that rock you're living under? And you know me??? So, Google it, problem solved.)
Two of the beautiful peeps - Robert and Ash
Dymphina again in something to keep away the twilight chill. This cape was so soft it was all I could do not to pet her and pet her and ....
Kat the Gorgeous Goblin
A lovely elven couple.
Kylie expressing her totem Blue Heron.
Steampunk Kate (She MADE this outfit, including the hat!!!)
Beautiful Rowan and Captain Crazy Beard
I liked the calm island they created in the crowd.
Dance Jester dance.
A contingent from the water depths. Here's the really odd bit though. The woman on the left, didn't know the family on the right. She just happened to be wandering by while I was taking the photo of the family and I grabbed her and added her to the shot.
Whisperfae and Jake, a rather horny couple.
A parasol always completes ones look, don't you agree?
Twyla, Copper, and Kylie. I told them to look sexy, or devious, or ... I can't remember exactly. But whatever I said, they certainly pulled it off brilliantly.
One of the happiest souls I met this year.
He does "dark and dangerous" rather handsomely, don't you think? In truth he's a most friendly, kindly fellow.
The veining in her wings were gorgeous!
One of my favorite families, Brian, Emily, and Addi.
Lynne with one of her new flower children. I'm guessing her name is... Rose.
And yes, even a Muggle and a Stormtrooper.
What? No photos of our me and the family? Well, that's another post.