Sunday, July 24, 2016

She Was Always Perfect to Me

This Saturday I woke up like any other Saturday and started to clean.  For some strange reason Wanda Sherard was on my mind. At one point when I went to put something away I even stopped and picked up a piece of jewelry she had given me when I was 18 years old. I thought briefly about all the things she had taught me and the effect she had on my life.  I put the items away and continued cleaning. Little did I know that just a few hours later, memories of her would become much more precious.  
It’s hard to put into words how much I loved Wanda Sherard. Most of the time when people pass away we tend to forget every fault they ever had and only remember the good things. But the different thing about Wanda is that I always thought she was perfect.  Even as a child I knew she was.  Wanda was one of my mother’s close friends and has been in my life since I can remember. She was always my mom’s “cool” friend. First, she was just so much fun. She had no kids but did have a niece my age. This made her seem like she was from another planet. She was a teacher with NO KIDS! Have you ever heard of such? I sure hadn’t!  She seemed to understand things that your parents couldn’t!  She was simply beautiful. She wore the coolest clothes. She had awesome nails and perfect hair. I remember just trying to run my hands thru my hair the same way she did. (I never got that down) She had cool things in her house that no other adult had. She had a pool table. I remember thinking my mom would never let us have a pool table.  She had a giant plant that she decorated for Christmas instead of a tree. It was the coolest thing ever. To a kid these things seemed to be something you would only see in the movies or Wanda and Michael’s house!  When she was with adults she would always pay attention to the kids in the room and made them feel special. You had no doubt that hanging out with Wanda would be just as fun as playing at a friend’s house and if you had a choice you would ALWAYS choose Wanda.

When I look back at all the things Wanda taught me it’s truly amazing.  Many things I think about in my daily routine.  I think about my own daughter and hope there is someone in her life that can make sure she knows all these life lessons if I fail to teach her. Because she is gone too soon I want to share just some of the memories and lessons that went along with them.

Getting ready for my first pageant
1. Sometimes it’s OK to eat off of a paper plate.   When I first met Wanda, I came (with my mom) over to her house after school. I was maybe four years old. Wanda asked if I wanted a ham sandwich and I eagerly accepted. She placed the sandwich on a paper plate and put it on the table. I looked at it strangely and whispered to my mom “What is that?” My mom leaned into me and softly replied “That’s a paper plate honey” I had never seen one and was not about to eat off of it. Wanda had to take it off and put it on a real plate before I would eat it!  For the rest of my life Wanda told me about the bratty kid she met that had never seen a paper plate.

2.  Always, Always, Always take care of your skin. This is something Wanda drilled into me. Even once buying me $160.00 in skin care and having to explain to Michael why I needed this at 18 years old! She always told me “pulling on my eyes while putting on eyeliner was going to cause wrinkles” I have worn anti-aging skin care since I was 21 years old and I am pretty sure this is due to Wanda Sherard and her insistence to take care of my skin. To this day I  cannot go to bed with my make-up on without hearing her voice in my head telling me "sleeping in my makeup will age my skin seven years." This is probably not true but I still never sleep in my make-up and if I do, I wake up looking to see if I look seven years older than the night before.

3. Stand up straight and smile.  Those of you that know me know that I am pretty reserved and not always the one to light up a room with a smile. Wanda always told me to stand up straight and smile. How true this is. A smile can get you further that you may think.  When you think of Wanda will you ever think of her not smiling? She could conquer the world with her bright smile.

4. Always put the first rain of May on your head.  Ok, I know this sounds so weird and I always thought it was too. When I was staying with Wanda she always made sure that we were sprinkled with the first rain of May. If the forecast was calling for rain she would put out a container to make sure she caught the rain so she could later sprinkle it on my head. She always told me it would bring me good health all year. I felt like I was getting baptized right there in her kitchen. I am pretty sure Michael went thru this ritual as well. J  Not sure how true it is but you better believe I get baptized again every May when the first rain comes.

4. The Rolling Stones are a great band but best when listened to extremely loud and in a convertible. What more do I need to say about this? She was right. And to this day when “You Can’t Always Get What You Want" comes on the radio I turn it up and think of Wanda singing it to the top of her lungs driving down the road. Even today when my daughter wants something I sometimes reply singing this song. She hates it but that’s ok.

5. The Best way to keep an oven clean is not to use it.  There is an incredible story that goes along with this that I had forgotten. In the last day two people reminded me of the time I was trying to cook at Wanda’s house. She had a very expensive oven that I was trying to operate. I could not get it to do anything! I told Wanda I thought it was broken and she called a repair man to come take a look.  He quickly ascertained the problem. It had never been plugged in. The best part was that it was SEVEN years old.  Let’s just say Wanda never had an oven that she actually used but she was known for having a very clean one.

6. Its ok to tell a stranger off as long as you do it the right way.  In 1996 Wanda took me, along with her niece, on a trip to Nassau celebrate our senior year of high school. We went to a very high-end restaurant. When we arrived, what I could only assume was the owner of the establishment was a complete jerk.  We were finally seated and had a great meal with excellent service.  On the way out the door the same gentleman that was so rude earlier asked if we enjoyed our evening. Wanda replied “The atmosphere was great. The food was excellent. She service was perfect, but you, sir, are a complete ass” She gave him the biggest smile she could as we exited the establishment. At the time it seemed to me like the perfect line from a movie. I was amazed at her presence as she left him standing there with his mouth open. I will never forget it.
Wanda and me cuddling.

Wanda helped shape my life in more ways than I am able to write about and more than I ever told her.  She was there to help me win the school word contest in third grade. She taught me (and many others) multiplication. (If you know my math skills you know what a feat this is.) She entered me into beauty pageants. She let me drink milkshakes out of frozen beer mugs. She was the one who told me my mom had died and helped me get through it. She’s the one who told my dad the tooth fairy needed to keep coming. She and Michael helped me get my first real car and Michael taught me how to drive a stick. She sent me roses when I was in a play at the Abbeville Opera House. She took me sailing. She let me borrow her car for prom. She forced me to be in the Cotillion. She always made me wear sunscreen. She tried to teach me to waterski.   The list goes on and on.  I will never forget her and everything she did for me.  I am sure she wasn’t perfect but I never knew.  There is no doubt that when heaven gained Wanda there was a party like no other. They were probably playing the Stones (or at least some good beach music) and my mom may have had a Bloody Mary waiting on her. J  She will be missed by many and there will be a hole in my heart that I will fill with memories of a woman that loved me dearly and taught me so much. It will be hard but Wanda’s life was so bright it won’t take long before the stories outweigh the sorrows and we laugh more than we cry.  That in itself is more than we can say for most.

Me, my Mom, and Wanda. I love her overalls and my plastic cape!


Friday, July 26, 2013

A tale of many curtains... A slight obsession

My husband claims that I am obsessed with curtains and he's kinda right! But this tale doesn't  start with curtains but rather with furniture... a dinning room cabinet in fact. A couple of months ago my husband's grandmother told us that she wanted to remodel a spare room that she had in her house and wanted to give us a piece of furniture. Now, here is the point when I have to tell you that my husband's grandmother is THE MOST stylish 93  year old that you have ever met. Her house is cute as a button, perfectly put together and would rival any issue of Better Homes and Garden! Ok, back to the furniture...The piece that she wanted to give us was not exactly my style but who says no to anything free?? Not me! So, I decided to take it and see if there was any way I could make it work. Here is a picture of it that I took when it was still in her house before the room makeover.

I talked to several people about who could refinish it but when I posted this on Facebook, I realized I had a ETN (Extremely Talented Neighbor) just two doors down that could take on the task. Luckily she was able to talk me thru the process and help me decide on a color. After talking my sweet husband into moving it, the work got started. In just a few weeks it was done and here is the finished product!!  You can contact   Fine Art Finishing  to help you too bring old things back to life. 
I am in love with it ....but...this now brings us to the curtains. As soon as my ETN (Extremely Talented Neighbor) brought this back to my house and reassembled it I realized I had to get new curtains. The ones I had were too black. I needed black, blue and green. I thought the chances of me finding that was slim but basically I will use ANY excuse to look for curtains so off to Target we went. If there is a curtain to be found anywhere I can find them and I did! I found the perfect curtains!  Check out the Botanical Curtains in dark grey!

This brings us to the next curtain redo. Along with my curtain obsession comes the interesting fact that when I find a curtain I love, I often buy an extra curtain (or two, or three)  Such was the case with the curtains I took down in the dining room. I had four curtains that I took down and replaced and 2 extra panels that were stored and never opened. So, I decided to reuse these in the kitchen. I attempted to coax my MIL into cutting them and sewing them for me but I failed miserably and she suggested I hang them and keep them long. She kept saying that the pattern "just lends itself to a long curtain". I think this was her way of saying there was no way she was going to sew these suckers up for me. But, that's OK  because I have an extremely sweet MIL and her sewing machine has never been out of the box so I am not sure what I was thinking in the first place :)

So, I decided she may be right and I gave it a shot, The thing is... I have a kitchen window that needed an valance and I don't sew . After a brainstorming session (AKA, coming up with any way possible not to have to sew these suckers) we decided to hang a 86"curtain in half and see how it looked. Later I added an additional 86"curtain to make it look a little fuller. I was so excited how they turned out. Check out the pics.

Four long kitchen curtains

                             Two long panels folded in half on a black curtain rod! LOVE IT!

So the moral of this story is a slight curtain obsession is ok. It means you will have the material needed to be creative when you need to....or at least that's what I tell myself. Did I mention that I bought new curtains for the living room too?? I probably do need to go talk to someone about this....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BBQ Weekend of Fun!

This weekend was the Festival of Discovery BBQ Festival in Greenwood. Tons of food and fun! If you're ever bored in the second weekend of July you should check it out. I am a big proponent of a festival having rides. Frankly, I think if your event does not have rides it should not be deemed a "festival". Real simple. So, needless to say I approve to the Festival of Discovery since they do have rides. Now, I will say that they are not the biggest and best rides ever but they are perfect for a family since you can ride almost everything and still enjoy the rest of the day and food! Plus, I will say that the carnies at this festival were the cleanest nicest group that I have ever seen at any event. Here are a few pics from our weekend.

 My girl Friday night after a great BBQ Dinner

On our way to the rides

Face painting

Spinning Strawberries
And finally my favorite picture of the evening....after a long day of BBQ,  rides, ice cream and a late afternoon birthday party. This is what I find when I come back to my bedroom......
How fitting....sleeping with a pig!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blue, Babies and Birds

This past Saturday some friends and I hosted a baby shower for our friend Sharon who is expecting a sweet baby girl this Fall.  Sharon is quite possibly the cutest pregnant person I have ever seen and always looks awesome. A few weeks ago she told us that she was doing baby girl's room in blue! I thought "blue for a girl..... this is going to be a challenge". But I knew if anyone could pull it off Sharon could. So the girls and I started to brainstorm her shower and how we could throw a girly blue shower. We asked Sharon to point us in the right direction with the fabrics that she was going to use in the baby room. As always she has awesome taste and they looked gorgeous! She went with blue chevron, a pretty blue print and a khaki print with blue birds. I quickly assigned making a rag swag to my sister-in-law for the mantle while Anna and I started to hunt for a Chevron patterned cake. Although Becky did a fantastic job with the rag swag Anna and I failed to find a chevron cake that was reasonably priced. But, she saved the day with custom cupcakes that a co-worker was able to make for us. Luckily, Brittany was able to take care of the gift. I always get carried away with the decorations and hate to get the gift so I was so grateful! There were two more girls participating that helped with food!  Thanks Kristen and Amanda. Here are some pics of the shower. It turned out great and we can't to meet baby Liv! :)

Diaper Cake

Rag Swag- Thanks Becky!


I love glass baby bottles

Baby Bird Cupcakes

Flower Decorations in Glass Jars

Guest favors - bird nest pendants

Diaper Wreath

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Three Birds at the Zoo

Today was a Charley Bird day. Earlier in the week Christopher decided to spend Saturday with Charley doing fun things! He decided we would go to the Zoo, eat pizza for lunch, go to the toy store and finish the day at the book store..... and that's exactly what we did! The Greenville Zoo is perfect because it is small enough that you don't have to spend all day there and still get to look at plenty of animals. Here are a few pictures from the Zoo.

After the zoo we went downtown to Barley's and ate what Charley calls the "Big Pizza" and then went to O.P. Taylor's Toy Store. I love this place because real toy stores don't exist any more. After picking up the much needed Aurora doll we then went to a new used book store called Mr. K's. (Can there be a new used book store or is that an oxymoron?) Maybe it's not new but it was new to us. Christopher left with a few books and Charley left with a few more. Who can say no to a kid who wants books?

Overall, it was a great day and these three birds had fun!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My favorite things...for girls only.. or guys that want to buy awesome gifts for girls.. or girls that want to spend money that their husbands don't know about.

All my friends know that my dream job would be a QVC host! :) I love, what addicts call, "The Q". I never really sit for hours on end and watch it on TV but I manage to check their site ..ummm.....ummm ...everyday to see what the TSV (Today's Special Value, for you non Q lovers) is. Thanks to the Q, I have discovered some can not live without products. Here are just a few that I think every girl needs. 

So, just pretend I'm Oprah for the next three minutes that you read this and that my recommendations can lock down product websites,cause women to fight each other in the store, and keep Steadman up for the next twenty years.. A girl can dream ...right? Here are my top three in no particular order....

1. Philosophy's Amazing Graze- This is without a doubt the best! It smells so good and clean and not perfummy (Is that a word?). Every time I wear it I get comments on how great I smell. Ok- that's kinda weird I know. But, one time a man tracked me down across a parking lot just to tell me how good I smelled....honest truth! This product is not strong and I can never smell it on myself but others do.

philosophy super-size amazing grace spray      fragrance 4 oz
Amazing Grace is the best fragrance to start with in their line.

2. Clarisonic- This little tool is awesome! It is worth every penny. It takes more dirt off of your face than you could ever imagine and your moisturizer just melts in after you use it.  I try to use it three times per week and always take it with me when I travel.  Prepare to be grossed out the first time you use it. It's like the door to door vacuum sales people who come to your house for a demo and disgust you with how dirty your house actually is ....and then you write a 2,000 check. This is cheaper and you will be equally grossed out the first time you remove the invisible grime from your face. Go for it!.

Clarisonic Mia is available in multiple colors
Comes in tons of fun colors.

3. Finally one of my most prized possessions.... the Vitamix! This is costly but it is a MUST HAVE! This is truly an amazing machine. If you are looking to trick you husband, kids or friends into drinking a mass quantity of vegetables and ask for more ...get an vitamix. My daughter loves to make รค special drink". I could use this multiple times a day but I usually end up using it a solid 3 days a week. I promise your life is not complete until you have one..... no seriously order it now!

Reconditioned Vitamix
Every mom needs one

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baseball Birds and the Fundamentals

I am siting in the bedroom listening to the sounds of cheers from the living room. You see, not only are we a family of birds but we are a fan of the birds.......Gamecocks that is! :) My husband, his brother Matthew and their buddy Brant are pretty much as serious as it gets when it comes to Carolina sports. They are VERY superstitious and since the last game the Cocks won I was actually in the bedroom I could tell that they were all secretly wishing I would make an exit in hopes that simple action of moving rooms would turn the score around.

My husband has already trained my sweet daughter at the tender young age of three to believe that "Clemson stinks" and that "Georgia Bulldogs are low down dirty dogs that cheat". He seems pleased that she will repeat these mantras on demand. He stands back with a sense of pride and a glimmer in his eye as she confirms his deep seeded hate for Clemson beliefs of football. :)

The moral of this story is that my daughter may not actually go to Kindergarten knowing how to read but she will understand the fundamentals of being a fan of the birds.