Dogs Are People, Too…


Almost, at least.  Sorry to jump off the fashion train, but dogs are near and dear to my heart.  Having grown up with these tender, little (sometimes) creatures, I can honestly say that they really do exhibit human qualities, at least to my untrained eye.  But, thanks to neuroscientist, Gregory Berns, of Emory University we now have the scientific proof to back it up.

Over the past two years, Berns has conducted a series of MRI testing on canines, including his own pup, to test their capacity for love and attachment.  Research dictated that our furry friends indeed have the inherent ability to feel and display these characteristics that are largely reserved only for humans.  In Bern’s op-ed article published in The New York Times, he explained that because dogs cannot speak, research has obviously been more difficult, but with the help of a trainer and MRIs they were able to look “directly at their brains and bypass[…] the constraints of behaviorism, […]” which in turn tells “us about dogs’ internal states.”  Because of these findings, Berns urges dog-owners and lawmakers alike to see man’s best friend as a class of people and not property.  Perhaps, this is a long-awaited stepping stone for animal rights.  At the very least, it is an important reminder that pets, big and small, become part of our family and as one of my favorite quotes illustrates:

“the most precious things in life aren’t things.”

Meet my fur baby! ♥

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For more information on this development click here and here


One more thing, if you haven’t seen this adorable pup, yet, it’s worth the 3 minutes.  Now, tell me this little guy doesn’t know what love is!

XO

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5 Fashion Rules Men & Women Should Follow…


Happy Tuesday, Y’all.  So I’ve been thinking.  We always hear so much about fashion “don’ts,” but never enough about what we should be doing.  That’s not fair, so I thought it would be fun to put together a short list of some of the top unisex guidelines that can take our personal style from drab to fab!

1. It’s All About The Fit

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In other words, you wear the clothes, they don’t wear you.  A tailored fit can mean all the difference between looking put-together and looking like you literally just got dressed in the dark…in someone else’s closet…who is 3 sizes bigger (or smaller) than you.  Guys and girls alike struggle with this style staple for a variety of reasons – weight loss or gain, money restraints, the ‘comfort’ factor, or they simply fail to make a fashionable appearance a priority.  Interestingly enough, many of those issues are remedied by wearing the correct size clothes.  Most often people who feel like they have gained a few pounds here or there (who hasn’t!) can frequently make themselves appear larger with ill-fitting garments.  If money your hangup, don’t let it be!  Whether it’s a $100 dollar Rag & Bone T-shirt or a $10 one from Walmart, as long as it fits, it can look great and be an asset to your wardrobe.

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And even if keeping up with the latest trends isn’t your cup of tea,  keeping an eye on the size should be – it can payoff in more ways than one.  Remember that looking presentable can not only make you feel empowered and confident, but both CNN and Forbes have confirmed a direct correlation between dressing well and job opportunity and promotion.  Clothing companies have capitalized on this notion and have expanded their collections to include a variety of fits such as “skinny,” “modern,” or “tailored.”  Having these options make it easier than ever before to achieve the perfect look that accentuates everyone’s unique shape!  Looks like size does matter.

2. Be Polished – Even If You’re Scruffy

 Ryan Gosling

Let’s face it, us humans are generally one hairy population.  Some of us have long hair, some with short, men have facial hair, women hopefully don’t, it can be curly, straight, wavy, course, silky, fine, thick, thin…the list can go on forever.  Whether you’re prim and proper or rockin’ an edgy vibe, it’s important to tame those tresses so you look hott and not like a hott mess.  Don’t get me wrong, I get the “I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-I’m-naturally-this-fantastic” look, but even people who claim that that really happened, put at least some effort into their appearance.  It’s not being ‘vain,” it’s being the best you, you can be.

3. Good Hygiene Can Go A Long Way

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Just be clean, you guys.  Nobody likes a smelly person.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been in a confined space (think elevator, train, office…) with someone who could use a shower or at the very least, body spray, a mint, and some deodorant.  For anyone who lives in or around a big city, go on Facebook on like a Thursday (the faux Friday when everyone is irritated) and check out all the statuses about their public transit experiences.  You’ll laugh (because you know their sentiments are true) and simultaneously feel really bad for them.  You could be wearing a Tom Ford tux that fits you to a T, but if you’re emitting some foul odor, it doesn’t even matter – “it’s what’s under the clothes that counts” couldn’t ring more true (a clean body, people…this is a G-rated blog).  Don’t be the target of a “stinky person” status.  Shower, it’s that simple.  Also, brush your teeth.

4. Accessories Are Fun

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Whether you’re a man or woman, you can accessorize.  I think us girls are really comfortable with this one, especially now where you almost feel naked without a scarf, sunglasses, necklace, at least 2 bracelets, or any combination of the above.  So often, though, guys shy away from this word for fear of appearing too feminine.  I’m obviously not saying to go paint your nails and throw on some bangles, but, wearing a nice watch, sturdy belt, and some fashionable and functional (guys, get excited about items serving a purpose) eyewear can really pull an outfit together. Throw on an accessory or two and go be all sexy and whatnot.

5. Invest In A Good Pair of Shoes

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The best type of shoe for any gender is one that is the perfect balance of style and comfort, and one that can be worn to a variety of events.  When purchasing footwear, I always try to envision the places I’d wear them to.  So those $300 fuchsia stilettos are cute, but how practical will they be when you have an interview to go on or a family event to attend.  Unless either of those are taking place in a club, you’re probably going to have to shell out more money on some new shoes.  Same goes for men.  That’s great that you have 8 pairs of sneakers, but, unless you are a professional runner, you should probably get yourself a pair of dress shoes that can be worn casually and to work.  While we’re on this topic, everyone please stop wearing sneakers with jeans.  I know we’ve all done it, and I know sometimes its “easy,” and know that I love you, but, just…stop.

XO 

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Have You ‘Giggled’ Today?…


Image As you may already know, The Style Verdict (<-don’t forget to like on FB!) is now a contributor for HelloGiggles.com!  I am so excited to be a part of such a fun and innovative site that helps showcase ‘lady-friendly’ content on everything from beauty, to fashion, to entertainment, to recipes, to current events and opinion-based articles.  If you haven’t already, please check out my first featured piece about the latest Red Carpet hair trends! I’ll be sure to update you each time a new post is published 🙂

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Thanks again for all of your support – It truly means so much!

XO

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Comfy Chic: How to Wear Sweatshirts With Style…


How many times have you said “I wish I could wear sweats all day every day”?  I can tell you that I’ve muttered that sentence more times than I care to even say.   With the cooler weather upon us, following through on that sentiment seems more plausible than ever on my end.   There’s something about wearing loungewear on days that aren’t Sunday  (or Saturday mornings) that can literally make me paralyzed by comfort and render this gal completely unproductive.   BUT WAIT (in the most infomercial-esque voice possible) there is hope, hoodie lovers – sweatshirts that are fun and functional are here to rescue you from your daily dressing dilemma of style vs. comfort.  You can now have both.  Let us rejoice.

Here are a few I’m loving right now!

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Model:  J.Crew $168  // “Oh My Chic” Boyfriend Sweatshirt: ILY Couture $55 // Gray and Leather:  Topshop $72 //Ivory Cutout: H&M $20  // Pink Zip “Saturday” Sweatshirt: Kate Spade New York $110

Pair a polished sweatshirt with some fitted jeans, classic makeup, and, dare I even say, heels (gasp!) and you’ve got yourself one enviable outfit that you may just want to sleep in.  (But, don’t…you look too nice!)

Have a wonderful Monday, beauties!

XO

The 10 Types of Drivers That Make You Wish You Stayed Home…


On my way to work this morning, I came to the conclusion that driving can be a nightmare whether you’re 16 or 60 or going 4 miles or cross-country.  I’m certainly not saying I’m the greatest driver to ever live, but I am saying that people, in general, needs to get things together… I mean, hello…you are literally the conductor of your very own 5,000 pound machine, so put down that newspaper (yes, that happened) and ohhh, I don’t know…drive?  Here’s an inconclusive list the 10 types of drivers that make you wish you stayed home.  Feel free to add your own!

1. The Lingerer

Image Cred: driversed.com

I’m the person who lives life in a constant state of hesitancy. Do I accelerate? Do I brake? I’ll probably keep you on your toes…and make you late.

2. The Sunday Driver

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I’m the person who enjoys a nice, easygoing cruise…at 8 A.M. every weekday.  I try to stay as far under the speed limit as possible and I can mainly be found on one-lane roads – no passing here, folks!  Sunday is your holiday, not the other 6 days.

3. The Fast and the Furious Extra

Image Cred: carrentalexpress.com

I’m the person who drives like Vin Diesel is in the passenger seat and nitrous just engaged. But really, it’s rush hour and I just cut you off going 90.

4. The Straight Up Assh*le

Image Cred: thecarforum.com

I’m the person who really doesn’t give a sh*t.  True to my name, I’ll stop suddenly, swerve, and straddle lanes… then give you the finger.

5. The Beautician

Image Cred: carinsurancequotes.com

I’m the person who was running just a little late and forgot to put on my lipgloss…and mascara, eyeliner, and bronzer.  I mean well, so I try to do the majority of my makeup at a red light, but you can’t expect me to move right when it turns green, like, obvi.

 6. The “I’m Just Like You” Driver

Image Cred: news.cnet.com

I’m the person who drives exactly like you.  You speed up, I speed up. You slow down, so do I.  I’m literally your worst nightmare.

7. The Lost Driver

I’m the person who has no idea what road, state, or planet I’m even on.  Sometimes I’m considerate and pull over to figure things out, but other times, I just don’t care and you’ll do 15 MPH until I find my destination.

8. The Senior Citizen

Image Cred: world.edu

I’m a cousin of The Lingerer and The Sunday Driver.  I’ll pull out in front of you and then drive dangerously slow.  Don’t expect any other quick actions out of me, or for me to see really any of my surroundings.

 9. The Double Parker

Image Cred: newuniversity.org

I’m the person who sees those two glorious spaces and parks directly in between them.   People say I’m greedy, but I just like to say that I’m a collector…of spots.

10. The Techie

Image Cred: motorcyclenews.com

I’m the person who loves to play with gadgets on the road.  If you don’t already know, I’m really important, so it’s imperative that I’m talking or texting on my phone at all times.  I’m also a big fan of navigation. I can’t get enough of electronic maps, earbuds, and even my Palm Pilot on days that I’m feeling retro.  You can catch me looking down and not caring about anyone else’s safety.

11. And as a bonus – all trucks.

Image Cred: green.blogs.nytimes.com

Be safe out there!

XO

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6 Everyday Items You Never Knew Your Beauty Routine Needed…


I know, I know… it’s technically “Worth-It Wednesday” and I was going to review a new foundation I’ve been using, but I think I need a little more time to test it out.  Soooo, instead, I’ve put together a list of 6 items found around your home that you may have never thought to use when getting ready.  I didn’t invent these genius ideas, but I have used them! Here it goes!

1. Q-Tips 

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Image Cred: catchwordbranding.com

No surprise, here.  This little double-sided cotton swab is just the tool you need to correct any makeup application flub.  Extend that cat-eye liner a little too far? Get a case of the “shakey hands” when applying lipstick and liner? No problem, this little guy is here to save the day.  I like to dampen one end just enough for it to be able to glide across my skin, but not wet enough that it will ruin the rest of my makeup – can’t fix one problem and create another… that’s just silly!  Can’t get enough?  Well, you can also use Q-Tips to correct any mistakes during those at-home manicures.  Simply dip one end into nail polish remover, squeeze out the excess, and run it along any color creeping onto your skin.  Bonus: They are also great eyeliner “smudgers” for that seductive, smokey-eye!

2. Coffee Grinds 

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Image Cred: yellowblissroad.com

Now your morning coffee can pack a double punch.  If you’re anything like me, a nice hot cup of joe is vital in order to even think about having a productive day.  Caffeine, in general, gives your body that boost of energy it needs to get off the couch be a functioning member of society.  Now, you can use those same grinds to give your face and body a rejuvenated look.  Just mix the grinds with moisturizing lotion or olive oil and rub vigorously over face, neck, and body if you’re feeling adventurous (just keep in mind that this can be pretty messy…).  Wash off your scrub and revel in your smooth, supple skin! Sidenote: There is also talk about this being a cellulite fighter…I can’t attest to any claims, but how great would that be!?

3. Eggs

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Image Cred: thekitchn.com

Again, our mornings can seriously have a big impact on the rest of our day, so while you’re digesting from that delicious omelet, take a couple more eggs (2 should do, 3 if you have longer hair), beat them together in a small bowl and then apply this liquid to your hair in the shower.  Leave in for 3-5 minutes and rinse using luke warm water. Don’t take that last part lightly, unless of course you’re looking for seconds and want pieces of cooked egg in your hair.  That’s cool, too. This should leave your hair feeling soft and looking shiny – breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

4. Toothpaste 

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Image Cred: wikipedia.com

You brush your teeth because you’re a fresh-breathed, good hygiened-person.  Congrats. Anddd, you may have also used it from time to time to spot treat some stubborn pimples. But, have you ever used it on your nails?  Sometimes our nails yellow for a variety of reasons – health, diet, old green nail polish that you’ve been too lazy to remove for 3 months – these are the usual culprits.  Toothpaste can be a saving grace for these folks – it’s cheap and easy to do.  Brush a small amount onto your nails and watch the stains diminish.  You can also add a few drops of lemon juice (which has intense lightening power all on its own) for an extra boost.  This may be self-explainitory, but please don’t use the same toothbrush you’re using in your mouth on your nails. That’s…wrong.

5. Scotch Tape 

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Image Cred: sheknows.com

This one is going to seem a little weird.  But, it works. So, I guess it’s just awesome.  Dry skin on your lips?  Place a piece of scotch tape on those babies and press.  Then gently pull the piece off and look at all that pesky dead skin with pride – flakey lips can be an ugly battle, but you’ve won! Bonus: You can also use it to make some pretty spectacular nail art.

6. Pam Cooking Spray – Original 

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This is just ingenious.  Painting my nails is legitimately a process for me.  I have to find the perfect block of time to do them so it’s not interfering with 1. dish washing, 2. dog walking, feeding, playing… really anything to do with my dog, and 3. bed time (there is seriously nothing worse than waking up with bed sheet imprints and lint on your freshly painted nails).  Solution? Pam Cooking Spray can act as a quick drying agent so that you can get back living a smudge-free life!

Do you have any must-use beauty tips and secrets?

XO

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Three Pretty Awesome Things That Happened Today…


Generally I don’t expect much from Tuesdays…maybe a decent episode of America’s Got Talent, good hair, and matching socks, but nothing too crazy. Little did I know that the pop-culture end of the world would give me a few gems to brighten up this dreary, rainy day.

Staying true to yesterday’s “More Fashion Week, Please” title, the first thing on the agenda is a peek into J. Crew’s Spring 2014 line. This brand can literally do no wrong. I can’t get enough of their clothes. Everything from the jewels to their jackets are meticulously crafted with comfort and ease of wear in mind. There is something about the “I’m So Casually Chic, It Hurts” look that really speaks to me and I constantly wish that I could pull it off more often than I do. J.Crew really has created a lifestyle brand that bridges the gap between high cost and high style. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly pricey pieces, but as a whole, the polished looks that can be created with their statement basics appear to be far more costly than they actually are. After all, doesn’t everyone want to look “expensive” every now and again?

Bring on the bight pops of color, sleek lines, pretty patterns, and pastel hues:

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Also on the agenda is that “Worst Twerk Fail of All Time” video that proves that America is: 1. still obsessed with the twerk 2. really bored at work and 3. extremely gullible. Hey, I can’t even really say anything, I fell for it, too. The webcam setup, the intimate candles, the friend coming in… I get it, girl just wanted to show off her sweet moves. My husband, on the other hand, call its bluff from the get-go. Kudos to you, hubby…apparently you’re on Jimmy Kimmel’s wavelength. He was the mastermind behind this epic prank and it was pretty awesome. If you missed it, click the picture below for the original video!

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Finally, the last little piece of the internet that made me smile today was a video of a man waking up from surgery with a bout of temporary amnesia and finding out that the pretty lady sitting next to him was actually his wife. It’s really an adorable video, but I can’t help but think that Kimmel was up to no good again. Either way, check out this sweet video by clicking below!

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What was your feel good Tuesday story?

XO

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Fabulously Functional: Versatile Jewels…


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Let’s kick off the weekend with some fun accessories! Have you ever attended a home shopping party?  I hadn’t, until Wednesday and man, was I missing out.  What better excuse to look at amazing items, in my case lovely little bobbles from Stella & Dot, and spend some quality time with girlfriends (and some good wine, too)!

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Now, I have been familiar with Stella & Dot jewelry for quite sometime; however, I never quite realized just how versatile each piece can be.  Sure, that intricate beaded statement necklace may be $128, but, when it can be worn in 5 different ways (yes, 5), now you’re looking at $25 per necklace and that’s definitely a win in my mind.

Prepare to be amazed:

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And the magic doesn’t end with necklaces, how about a scarf that doubles as a beach coverup!? Ya, I know… “no, way”…but, “yes, yes way!” Check it out!

Looks like a regular scarf, right? Wrong! Click on the picture for a step-by-step video on it’s big transformation capabilities!

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I also wasn’t truly aware of the message behind the company or the incentives of hosting a party.  Stella & Dot’s Founder and CEO, Jessica Herrin, created the company in the deep-rooted belief that having a successful home business run by the everyday, modern woman is possible.   Because as Jessica states, “nine-to-five just doesn’t flatter.” Fun Fact: Herrin, at just 24, created the website, The Wedding Channel.  She’s kind of amazing. 

From scarves to bags to wallets, and of course their signature chic and effortless jewelry, each piece is quality crafted and appears to mirror Jessica’s empowering message for the smart, stylish woman.

I’m definitely sold on everything from the products to the people standing behind them.  Now I just have to get some girls together and have a party of my own!  Who’s in?!

Here’s to friends, fabulous finds, and a fashionable weekend!

XO

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Worth It Wednesday…


ImageSkin.  It’s the largest organ in the human body and yet, sometimes it’s forgotten about the most.  We tend to take extreme measures to protect our heart, lungs, and brain, but our poor skin, which is exposed to so much of the world, often gets taken for granted.  Not only should we be moisturizing daily, but we should also be applying sunscreen when we venture outdoors.  Now, I realize this isn’t always feasible, but we can at least try, right!?  Hey, when it comes to sunscreen application, I’m the biggest rule breaker, there’s just something wonderful about achieving the perfect sun-kissed glow.  But there is one thing that I definitely won’t sacrifice in my skin care routine:       a good facial cleanser.

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Side note: Washing my face is never this peaceful. Maybe I’m I doing it wrong.

Since I (sadly) wasn’t blessed with flawless skin, washing my face at least twice a day is a must if I want to avoid an oily, blemish ridden complexion.  After trying countless products – high-end, drugstore, prescription – I thought I’d never find my go-to beauty staple… until I got my hands on Cetaphil.  This gem lives up to its “gentle and effective” claim and even has a number of awards to prove it! (I’m a sucker for “awards”…) This brand has more than just a universal cleanser, too.  Cetaphil has multiple ones for multiple skin types – finally a company that recognizes the full gamut of skin issues and addresses them with products that actually work – what a novel idea! I’ve stuck to the originals for the cleanser and moisturizer, but I definitely plan on exploring their DermaControl line for those with blemish-prone skin.

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Cetaphil products are easily accessible at most drugstores and major retailers, such as Walmart and Target.  Though slightly more expensive than other cleansers ($8.99-$12.99), I definitely think this product is worth the price tag!

What is your favorite skin care product?

XO

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“Oh, Sweet Lorraine”…


Everyone, meet Fred Stobaugh:

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Fred is a 96-year-old man from East Peoria, Illinois and he is about to make you cry believe in true, unadulterated love.  Earlier this summer, Green Shoe Studio held an online singer/songwriter contest (probably in the hopes of finding the next Justin Bieber) where each entrant would submit a video showcasing their talents.  But instead, they received something much more discerning: a few hand-written papers in a large manilla envelope with a single sentence written on the front:                          “P.S. I don’t sing, I would scare people… ha-ha.”

Before I delve deeper into this touching story, let’s rewind to 1938.  This is the year that a gallon of gas cost 10 cents, Howard Hughes flew around the world, and Fred met the love of his life, Lorraine, at an A&W stand.  After two years of courting, they were married in 1940 and spent the next 75 years by each other’s side.  Despite Lorraine’s passing earlier this year, Fred’s admiration for her only grew stronger and one evening as he sat alone in the front room of their once-shared home, lyrics and a tune began to develop and with that, the song “Oh, Sweet Lorraine” was born.

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Fred packaged up his moving tribute to his wife and sent it to the producer of Green Shoe Studio, Jacob Colgan.  Colgan, like the rest of us, was deeply moved and although Stobaugh wasn’t the next big music sensation, he was a marvel in his own right.  Soon, “Oh, Sweet Lorraine” was set to music and professionally recorded.  Colgan mentions that their goal at the Studio is to “make dreams come true,” and although Fred’s particular “dream” of preserving his wife’s legacy didn’t involve the fame and stardom craved by most songwriters, it was able to capture something much more profound: the generosity of humanity, the beauty of music, and the power of love.

Get out the tissues, you’re gonna cry during this one.

Watch Fred and Jacob tell their story first hand and debut “Oh, Sweet Lorraine” here.  Also, help support Fred and purchase the song on iTunes here.

Whew, what a welcomed switch from my last VMA-driven post and all of the excitement surrounding the rumored divorce of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom.  Hearing this heart-warming story definitely puts into perspective quite a few things.  For one, there are good, honest people hoping to make a positive impact left in this often combative world.  And perhaps most pertinent, real-life fairytales do exist.  Loving someone for 75 years is such a beautiful feat that not many people today can, or are willing to, achieve.  I feel so fortunate to have the most wonderful parents and to have had 4 of the most amazing grandparents (who were married for 50+ years each) who always showed me the value in finding your best friend, your one true love, and cherishing them forever.

It’s a wonderful day to be married to my soulmate. ❤

XO 

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