Monday, December 31, 2012

My New Year's Eve Dress

Those who know me well know that I do not go out on New Year's Eve.  It has always been celebrated with family game night instead.  There is nothing like ringing in the new year in the comfort of home with those I love the most.  However, if I were to go out, I would want to wear this dress to some swanky party:

Wood Blosson Brocade Dress c/o eShakti

I am in love with this dress!  We saw the touring company of Shen Yun over the weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity to get gussied up for the theatre.

The nice people at eShakti sent this dress to me, and believe me when I say that I will be shopping there for unique, custom-made clothing from now on.  No matter your shape, size, or height, they will create a beautiful piece of clothing for you!

The embroidery and beading on this dress are stunning.
Those are my late grandmother's pearls which I wore as a wrap bracelet on my wedding day.

eShakti provides customization for all women at a modest cost.  Their unique business concept allows you to order by the standard sizes listed (0-36W or XS-6X) or by the measurements you provide.  

Not only can pieces be made according to your measurements, their website has a simple 3-step design & fit page where you can increase the size of a bust, shorten the length of a skirt, and modify sleeves or a neckline!  I'm going to order something with puffed sleeves just because I can.  ;)

Mr. TBS is not one to compliment clothing, but this dress?  He loves it.  He loves it so much that he even touched it, because it looks so stunning in person.  We both agreed that eShakti is high quality.  I felt like I stepped out of a 1940s gala.  This dress is oozing with vintage charm.  Though I'm a casual girl through and through, this dress made me feel so special.

If you're new to eShakti, register today and get a $25 gift certificate!

So that's my New Year's Eve dress... that I wore over the weekend.  Have a safe and fun time tonight, friends!

Happy New Year!  Cheers to 2013!

Bundle up tonight.  It's cold out there!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Things Christmas Brought

Thank God for Skype!

Crafty presents from my Mom from my family's annual gift exchange, Secret Santa style.

We watch them every winter.
(Meet Me in St. Louis counts as a Christmas film to us.)

I love getting holiday cards, photos, and newsletters.
Our holiday card holder was overflowing this year!

A surprise from my bosses.  Cayman Island rum cake and a holiday bonus!

We were invited to our neighbor's family gathering.  
(I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures, but it was a
lovely evening of delicious food and fun conversation.)

I hope you had a joyous Christmas, Hanukkah, or Tuesday.  :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Our 2012 Christmas Card

I love getting holiday cards in the mail, especially those with cute baby/family photos and newsletter updates.  We almost didn't send out a Christmas card this year.  No particular reason.  It just never made it to the top of the to-do list.  But I couldn't pass up an eleventh-hour 70% off promo at, so I spent 30 minutes typing addresses and placing an order of 65 cards at 11:00 p.m. on December 13.  And would you believe it?  Our cards were delivered within a week, even internationally.  Sometimes, it pays to procrastinate.

For those of you without super power vision or a humongous magnifying glass handy, the text reads:


Happy Holidays!

May your days be furry and bright.

With love from
Mr. TBS, Lindsay, Boone, and Amelie

You can see last year's Christmas (post)card HERE.  We wish you the merriest of holidays!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fun Fact: Dunder and Blixem

This is Christmas Eve at our house this year.  Even though we aren't with family this year, this accidental blurred photo made me think of our old home videos in which my dad would narrate and use all the cinematic effects that the gigantic 1986 Panasonic hand-held included.  And by cinematic effects, I mean fade in and fade out. Another (unintended) effect was the blur in and blur out.  ;)

Fun Fact: Did you know that two of Santa's reindeers' names changed over time?  In the original 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicolas" by Clement Clarke Moore, Donner and Blitzen were Dunder and Blixem.  Variations followed over the years.  The 1939 song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" solidified Donner and Blitzen in the books.



Merry Christmas Eve from the TBS family!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Responses to Sandy Hook


It's been one week since Sandy Hook, and people have responded in various ways.  Candlelight vigils, monetary donations, music videos and montages, political discussions, days of silence, care packages.  All acts impassioned, though different.

On Tuesday, some bloggers, including me, participated in a blogger day of silence with information for donations that would go directly to the families of the Sandy Hook victims.  When this "event" was announced by other Houston bloggers, I resisted participating, because quite honestly, I thought to myself, "What good will that do?"  And then it dawned on me that I would never say that about a candlelight vigil or a moment of silence at a gathering or during someone's prayer or a bouquet of flowers for a mourning father.  While these acts do not change firearms laws or help families off-set the costs of funeral services, they are acts of support and remembrance -- for those who are gone and those who are left behind.  These acts are still important.

Do you know what I had spent most of last Friday and the weekend doing?  Getting in countless conversations about gun control, parenting, school safety, affordable mental health services, collective behavior, and the media.  I talked and listened and talked and listened.  The topic of Sandy Hook was discussed ad nauseum.  Heck, on Friday, I had posted this on Facebook within hours of hearing the news:

"Whether you believe in prayer, good vibes/energy/light, or the power of positive thinking, send 
it out into the world now. I think we can all agree that these mass shootings need to stop. 

Get in the conversation. This is a conversation that needs to be had. Gun control. Affordable 
mental healthcare. The media interviewing CHILDREN immediately after a traumatizing event. There are so many complex, intertwined issues at hand, and now is not the time to throw up 
your hands and say, "It's not about guns. There is evil everywhere." NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Send out all the love you can muster to everyone involved in the Sandy Hook shooting."

Needless to say, I did a lot of talking.  Mostly, I think this is a good reaction, because it's an issue that needs to be addressed seriously and quickly.  But on Monday night, I had a sinking feeling knowing I hadn't done anything for those grieving families.  (Cue flashback to my days of being a CASA.)  In my jump to solve this problem of mass shootings (or in this case, a massacre), I brushed over the emotional aspect and skipped opportunities to help those families in a tangible way.  I made a snap decision to participate.

The blogger day of silence sparked a reaction that caught me off-guard, and I found myself explaining my "side" to Betsy and Gesci, two blogger friends who I almost always see eye-to-eye with and admire greatly.  You can read my comment and Betsy's reply in her comment section for more detail.  Clearly, I didn't observe a complete day of silence.  Besty and Gesci are intelligent, realistic conversationalists, so I felt confident discussing it with them.  In the end, I think we're all "right."  Amidst all the praying and meditative silence, we need to identify ways to make this stop and start making changes.

This situation taught me a few things:

  • People respond in different ways and at different times.
  • It is possible for a person to engage in solution-oriented (mostly political) discussion and observe a day/hour/moment of silence.  One need not choose.
  • Those who do respond with prayer, vigils, moments of silence, and music videos (<-- My sis and BIL sang with this girl in high school.) are not wasting their time.  Those actions are not the same as giving up and assuming it will happen again.
  • It's important to let people respond differently as long as we discuss solutions to eliminate these situations.

As I said last Friday, get in the conversation.  We need solutions now.

And as you head off into your weekend of holiday celebrations, remember how fortunate you are and know how much you have to give to others with just a hug or a handwritten note.  Start loving your loved ones (and strangers) a little deeper.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Color in Motion 5K - Houston 2013

Happy Hump day, y'all!  I have a really exciting post to share today, straight from a member of Color in Motion 5K.  There color fun runs have been all the rage over the last year, and I've been hoping one would come to Houston.  I guess all that hoping worked.  :)  Not only are they coming to Houston, but they are offering us a discount code.  Wahoo!

So... who wants to come play with me?  :)
If you live in Houston, let's create a team!  (Bonus: Extra discount)

* * * * * * * * * *

Hey, guys! This is Morgan from Color in Motion 5K.  I am so excited to be blogging and to offer Lindsay's readers at Trial by Sapphire an awesome deal for the Color in Motion 5K fun run on February 2 in Houston. Color in Motion 5K is a really fun color 5K run! This race also benefits the local Houston charity, Girls on the Run.

** Use the discount code TRIALBYSAPPHIRE 
and get 10% off race registration. **

So what is Color in Motion 5K?  

Color in Motion 5K is the most fun 5K race you will ever participate in. This is is not a timed race so run, walk, jog, whatever your prefer. If you're looking for a reason to get back into shape and to be active, this is a great opportunity. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to have more fun. If you can combine having fun, with exercise, friends and a great cause, I’m all in!

If you've never participated in a color 5k run here’s how it works. Come in white clothes, and get ready to have the time of your life.

At every kilometer of the race, you will find a color pit where our wonderful volunteers throw powder color on Color Chasers (the participants) as they go by, turning your white clothes into a palette of color. What also makes Color in Motion different than your average 5k race is the after-party. After the race, there is a big party with music, dancing, vendors, and a color throw.

Doesn't that look fun? Having participated in one, I can promise you this is an event you definitely don’t want to miss.

So what do you have to do to join in on this fun on February 2? 

and use discount code TRIALBYSAPPHIRE to get 10% off.

Bring your friends, and get ready to have a great time and support a great cause while doing it. Can't wait to see you covered in color on February 2!


* * * * * * * * * *

Big thanks to Morgan and Color in Motion 5K!  
Friends, seriously.  Let's do this!

Have you done a Color in Motion 5K?  Share your thoughts and posts in the comment below!  My girl Jessica just did a similar event over the weekend and had a blast!

** All photos courtesy of Color in Motion 5K

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Support for Sandy Hook

A Letter from Boone

Dear Mom's friends,

Thank you for being so nice to me.  I can't run and play, so I'm kind of sad, but you made me feel better with all your nice comments last week.  Amelie was a little scared of me when I came home, because I look funny.  I don't have any pants right now!  I have stitches instead, like a monster. 

At least I look better than this:

Mom and I have lived in a play pen upstairs since Friday.  It's kind of fun, because she cuddles me all the time, but I hate the yucky medicine that Mom and Dad give me three times a day.  Gross. 

I don't hurt so much anymore, so I walk around, sometimes.  Oh!  I also escaped on Sunday night and went down the stairs, but I went down faster than I thought I would, and I scared everybody.  Mom cried by herself in the play pen and mumbled something about being the worst mom in the whole entire universe.  Oops.  I can't wait until my hips are better, because I still want to be a lion when I grow up, so I have to practice running and hunting.

Thank you for being good friends. 


Friday, December 14, 2012

Even Bad Weeks Have Bright Spots

1.) I caught lunch with Meg and Whit over the weekend.  We know we've officially transitioned from blog friends to real life friends, because we didn't take a single photo until Meg brought it up as we left.  Whit was grabbing food to take home to her husband during this photo.  The things she sacrifices for her husband...

2.) I'm in love with these little friends.

3.) Goodbye, grad school!  See you next month.

4.) eShakti sent me a gorgeous dress.  It looks like it's straight out of the '40s, and I love it.  I'll be wearing that baby to a show in a few weeks.

5.) We visited Boone last night, and he looked so much better than I expected!  He cuddled and nuzzled as much as he could with that cone.  He was alert, and he is stretching his legs and scooting around a bit on his own.  We have our fingers crossed that he can come home tonight!  THANK YOU for your well wishes and support this week!

Linking up with From My Grey Desk
P.S. Did you see her on Lucky Magazine's website yesterday?  Cute!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tomball German Christmas Market

We visited the local German Christmas Market, also called a Christkindlmarkt, last weekend.  Mr. TBS loves Germany, I'm dying to go to Germany, and it was a free event that just a mile from home.  Since we live in a somewhat small country town, we were expecting a quaint affair with mostly carnival games and a few booths.

To our great surprise, we were so very wrong!  I had never seen the downtown area so alive.  It was quite the impressive small town festival!

Miles of twinkling white lights!
Booths for countless local businesses!
Concessions stands with German fare!
Handcrafted items and authentic traditional clothing from Germany!
The cutest lederhosen baby onesie!  
Live German music and square dancing!  (Yes, often together.  Oh, Texas.)
People dressed in lederhosen and dirndl!
And yes!  There were carnival rides too!

It didn't hurt that the downtown area is riddled with antique shops, so we spent a lot of time resisting treasures like a wooden garden gate, a standing globe, vintage tins and vases, and old records.  One of my favorite parts about the market was the elderly couples dancing together.  It brought them such joy, and it brought me joy to see people actually dancing, not the typical grinding of my generation that I like to call "dance floor sex."

We left hand-in-hand with red shoes, cookies, a table runner, and wooden figurines from Germany.  It wasn't overcrowded, parking was a breeze, and it was fun for kids and adults.

Would you believe we went a second time?   
Because we sooooo did. 

My favorite live performance was Enzian Buam.  They are talented musicians, and if yodeling could save the world, they would be the superheroes to do it.  Yodeling.  It's like German riffing.  This guy is the Christina Aguilera of German music.

Boy, you betta sang.  ;)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

... But He is Still Perfect to Us

I can't think of a graceful segue into this story, so I'm going to dive right in.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Boone started limping.  We assumed he sprained it after a high jump or rough wrestling with Amelie.  At his annual check-up, he was noticeably better, so it seemed that he just needed time to recover.

Monday night was normal... until 11:00 p.m. when I heard Boone climb (or attempt to) a cat perch behind the couch, and then he let out an abnormal cry.  I assumed she wanted to wrestle and accidentally bumped his lame leg. (Boone and Amelie are incredibly good-natured felines.  We are told this by every vet they meet.  In a situation where other cats would claw and growl, these little guys might give a long meow or turn their heads away.)  He cried again... and again.  I walked over to find him propping himself up with only his front arms.  Amelie gave him space but didn't go far.  You don't want to play with Amie, baby boy?  He tried to walk but couldn't.  Oh, my God.  Booney, what's wrong?  He tried again.

Clearly, he couldn't use both legs, so I ran into the bedroom and said, "Honey, something is really wrong with Booney.  He can't walk at all."  Like lightning bolts, we were dressed and in the car on the way to the E.R.  After a few hours, this is what we learned.

Boone wasn't built properly.  Whether it is a genetic disorder or something that happened to him as a kitten that affected his development, his growth plates didn't grow, and his bones don't fit.  It's highly likely that he has experienced pain, but it took one wrong move to break the camel's back -- or in our case, break the kitty's hips.

We got home at 2:00 a.m.  I was in bed at 3:00 a.m. and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to go to work for a bit before our appointment with a veterinary orthopedic surgeon.  We are exhausted, y'all.

Boone is having a bilateral femoral head ostectomy (FHO) today.  Basically, they are removing the head and neck of his femur bones completely.  We'll have him home by Friday night for a week of rest and snuggles, and then we'll start rehabilitation by playing with him and gradually coaxing him to use his muscles again.

We are so happy to know that his discomfort is caused by something that can be fixed and not a disease.  We are also happy that we didn't have to do a complete bilateral hip replacement (the other option on the table) -- not only because of the $12,000+ (!!!!!) price tag, but because the operation included a good chance of infection and other complications.  Also, we asked the surgeon point-blank what she would do, and her preference matched ours.  Relief!

A lot happened in 14 hours!  We feel uneasy about anesthesia and surgery, because we lost Tolly on the table last December.  However, Boone is young and healthy, so he shouldn't have any problems.  Our pets are our family, and we will never give them up instead of paying for their healthcare.  I think Tolly, Amelie, and Boone were meant to be with us, because they've all had health issues, and the Universe knew we would stop at nothing to give them a good life.  We discussed our plan, and although we'll take an immediate financial hit, we'll be fine soon enough.  It's a small price to pay to fix Boone's legs so he won't have to do his kitty army crawl.

Thank you for all the love, prayers, and good vibes sent to us via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and text message!  Boone wasn't built properly, but he is still perfect to us.  We're going to get him fixed up!

Monday, December 10, 2012

For Whatever You Celebrate

It's official.  My first term of graduate school is done!  Just eight more to go...  That doesn't sound as exciting as I thought it would, so we'll pretend that didn't happen.

Luckily, it was an easy last weekend, so I had plenty of time to do fun things like go to the Tomball Christmas German Fest, meet up with friends for lunch, spend a second night at the German Fest, and watch Lincoln (ba-rilliant!).  I have so much to say about each of those things, and I promise I'll get to them tomorrow.  In my "hooray for winter break" excitement, I got lost in the abyss of Pottermore (I was sorted into Ravenclaw) and watching the Packer game.  But have no fear!   I come bearing gifts!

For whatever you celebrate this time of year, I send you love by way of one of my and Mr. TBS's favorite holiday songs, Straight No Chaser's "The Christmas Can-Can."  
How could this not brighten your Monday?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Who Doesn't Love an Update with a Funny Video?

(Can you tell I couldn't think of a title for this post?)

Oh, weekend.  How I heart thee.  Here's to hoping 5:00 p.m. shows up quickly today.  We have two important meetings, so that will make the time fly, I'm sure.  We're going to the local German Christmas Fest this weekend, and guess what?  I finish my first term of grad school this weekend.  Heyooo!  It's going to be a good weekend.  I just know it.

Highlights this week:

1.) I just can't get enough of these two.

2.) I called Grandma Cristina on Wednesday to wish her a Happy Birthday, and a lot of my relatives happened to be at her house.  They all dropped by separately but at the same time.  I think it's safe to say she felt loved.  I'll see them again when we Skype  on Christmas Eve!

3.) I caught up with Kerry and her daughter, Aili.  (How awesome is that name?)  They are so fun to chat with.  I hadn't seen Aili since I held her as a baby!

4.) I already dished on how much fun I had at the blogger holiday party last weekend, but the Smile Booth photos weren't available yet.  Here are my favorites:

With Julianne from Francesca's Collection, Rebekah from Fashion and a Fellow, and Haley from Style Sound

With Meg from O. is Me, Michelle from Texas Tanners, Cait from A Day in the Life,
Whitney from The Observant Turtle, and Selena from The Heights Life

5.) Do you love Instagram?  You'll love this video.  Do you hate Instagram?  You'll love this video too.  You must watch it!  It's hilarious and very true.

Happy weekend!  Enjoy it!

Linking up with From My Grey Desk