What Does Beauty Mean To You…

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You don’t have to try so hard…

I myself, have a perfection problem that I deal with on a daily basis. It is not so much that I want to be beautiful, young again or even the most liked. I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin and be happy with that.

We live in a cynical world made up of outward appearance, the clothes you wear or even plastic surgery pressures. I just turned 47 this past June and I really noticed all of the fine lines on my face. At first, it was a rush to the store to find the creams that would take it all away, make my skin that of a 22-year-old girl. I have even tried Botox, twice. Which, I admit, I like and trust me it works. A little embarrassing to admit this to all of you, but the truth is the truth.

But, will I go to far I ponder?

Am I setting a bad example for my two girls that are so beautiful just being themselves?

We all struggle, even men have bad hair days we all feel fat in everything we put on at times. Is this because we feel the need to impress our friends, friends of friends or worse than that a boy or girl, man or women?

Last night, I could not sleep and a video of Colbie Collait’s “try” came on.  As I watched this sincere, reality of what women go through on a daily basis including me, the flood of emotion was overwhelming. I thought to myself, why do I try so hard? Why do all women and men try so hard? Physical beauty will fade but the beauty of your soul will always be the legacy that you leave, not how you looked or how skinny you are or even the clothes you wear.

So, for the month of September we will be featuring women, men and children’s opinions of “what beauty means to them”. I think it will be fun and also interesting to see the different perspectives of different generations, gender and variations of beauty.

PLEASE join us. We want your opinions. 

What we need.

Please send us a photo of you.

2-3 paragraphs of what beauty means to you.

That’s it. Simple.

16th Random Act of Kindness

Act like a duck

My homage to ducks…

I thought this was the sweetest thing as I walked through a park and noticed they had actually constructed a ramp for ducks to easily get into the water fountain. In everyday life we can find the beauty in bridges, ramps and just simply your hand. I have certainly used the analogy of a duck many, many times and I have been told, “Laurie, when you walk, you waddle “like a duck”! I do have a certain style and if it is a duck walk, then I love it because it is me…

You know you love ducks.  How many times have you said this?

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”

“With a rubber duck, one’s never alone”

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”

“A few feathers short of a whole duck”

And my personal favorite!

“Let it roll off, like a duck”

15th Random Act of Kindness

Memorial Wall

58,286 Names But Not Just Names

These were Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, Brothers, Friends and Family of so many.  The average age of these beautiful souls that gave their lives for all of us was 19,  just a child, a year older than my son Zachary. Most of them never got the chance to experience how it felt to hold their own child, true love or even the challenges of just life itself.

I stood in front of this black shimmering wall with white block letters looking, wondering what they were like. How it must have felt to stare death in the eye. I have been to this memorial several times and I have just passed it by without regard, without really thinking about these actual people who have sacrificed so much.

As I look at this image, an ordinary woman amongst thousands of names, it made me realize just how insignificant our small, mundane problems really are. I am alive with three beautiful children, living a life many dream about. We can all say in the moment of these genuine thoughts, spiraling through our mind, that we want to do something significant. But, do we really?

Would I be brave? Would I be courageous? Would I step in front of a bullet to save another? 

Sacrifice, brotherhood and courage is what I felt looking at these letters formed to names, names molded to frames, frames into faces, faces into souls.

I will hold my children, be “in love” and embrace my challenges.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

14th Act of Kindness: From the Past

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Finally! Somebody shared me their story:)

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about our Random Acts of Kindness so far, when he shared with me a great story from about three months ago.

Him and his friend were driving around one day when they came up to a stop light. They noticed that a man who happened to be homeless was walking up and down the sidewalk asking for spare change from those who were passing by. They stopped and realized they they didn’t have any money on them, only their cards.

The man noticed that they stopped and tried to grab their attention. They felt so bad because they really wanted to help the man out, but they didn’t have cash on them at the time. As they drove away they realized that if this man was out there all day, he must have been terribly hungry.

There was a deli around the corner so they stopped there and ordered the biggest sandwich on the menu. They brought it back to the man, who was still making his way up and down the sidewalk, and his reaction was more than what they could have expected.

Not only did this make his day, but they both walked away feeling really great.

I liked this because instead of just throwing the man a couple of loose dollars, they went out of their way to get him a nice sandwich that would fill him up for the rest of the day.

An idea for all of you who are reading this blog is that, in the future, when you pass someone on the street who may be homeless…give them water, food, shoes, clothes, etc. Make a care package full of things that  you do not use as much as you should.

I would definitely love to do something like this in the future, and I hope that this inspires all of you to do the same!

13th Random Act of Kindness

e0b8533046d8197dab8551785af65c96Today we decided to change things up a bit, and give you guys some ideas on how to make someones day.

Now these are not some well thought out extravagant ideas.. These are everyday things and are very easy to do.

Simple hello’s and how are you’s are a perfect example of a simple way to make someone’s day just a little better. You may not realize this, but the little things are what really stick out to people.

I know that there have been several times where I have passed a stranger walking down the street and they are taken back by my friendly hello… Why does it have to be that way? Why can’t everyone say hello?

A perfect example of this would be at my school, Wilkes University. We have this cafe’ called Rifkin, and it is where everyone makes there quick stops for food in between classes. At the cash register where we swipe our ideas, there are the usual ladies working.

My freshman year I heard so many things like, “Oh they are crabby” and “Wow they hate their job”, but in reality they were and are the sweetest ladies. First day of classes I went right up to them with a huge smile on my face…and you know what happened? They smiled right back! They told me I had a beautiful smile, and that “people like me were why they worked there”. I didn’t even ask them how they were yet…

These women have grown to be my buddies throughout the years, but I would have never known how wonderful they were if I didn’t show them the kindness that they deserved.

I guess what I am trying to say is, give people a chance. Start a conversation. Smile.

It may surprise you who smiles back.

12th Act of Kindness

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Today my boyfriend and I decided we wanted to do some last minute shopping before we leave for Punta Cana tomorrow, so we decided to hit up the mall. He needed a new bathing suit and I needed…well, nothing. I have a shopping addiction.

When we got into the parking lot we noticed a women driving a mini van full of children park right next to us. We could tell that the women was certainly stressed out, but she kept a smile on her face and joked with her children.

As we were walking around the mall, I kept thinking about how awesome that women was for being so cool and collective in a very stressful situation. She had four children with her, all under the age of 10. On top of that, she went to another very stressful place…the mall!!! STRESSFUL!

After my boyfriend bought himself a new bathing suit, and I bought myself a new outfit (obviously), we made our way out to the car. When we got to his car I asked him for a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote the women a message.

It was short and sweet, but I know that if I received a message like that I would have a smile on my face. Less is more, in my opinion.

If I could, and it wasn’t creepy at all, I would have just went up and given her a big hug. My back up plan was a note on her car.

Not only did I feel for that women, but I thought about my mom being a mother of 5 children. None of us are perfect, and sometimes we give her a hard time, but I know that she wouldn’t change us for the world. We take our loved ones for granted and I believe that every now and again it is always necessary to tell them how much we love them.

So i just have one more thing to say…

All you moms out there, you are wonderful!

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11th Random Act of Kindness

One Moment in 27 Years

Be still, think quietly my mind travels

      Wrapped in the past, in a room I do not know

 Eyes focused over the door, lying so small

Soft, simple words, what is it?

 Unafraid in this moment my heart swells

Is this real? Could this be? 27 years?

 All at once in one single moment

 Forgiveness, I am free

Author Unknown

Sometimes we all need to see the forgiveness in small, simple moments.

Hello Pa… Goodnight Pa

 

 

Pa's Moon

Tonight is so significant to me and I have three reasons why.

Hello Pa, Goodnight Pa

On this 10 day of August,  tonight will be the largest super moon of the year in 2014. As I gaze at every full moon ever since I can remember,  it has just been something I do,  but since Pa died 5 years ago, I never miss it. I tear up because this man meant so much to my life and who I am today.

I visited Pa right before he died and I can remember flying over to Mumbles, a small village in South Wales with my Sister Shelly in first class for the first time on an overseas trip using points I had accumulated from the purchasing power of our restaurants. We were delighted because we knew this was going to be the hardest trip we had ever taken especially the flight home. We had spent much of our younger years traveling to South Wales to spend the Summers with our beloved Nana and Pa and we had an incredible loving relationship with these two people who loved us unconditionally, especially our Grandfather.

It had been hard for them, Nana was put into a hospital because she kept calling the fire department because she said someone had stolen the top floor of her home and they would find her in the closet. She was suffering from dementia and in South Wales they put you in a “mental hospital” for that if you can not be controlled.

Pa was also suffering from this terrible disease but he had home care which was perfect for him. Each morning I woke up and it was literally like the movie “50 first dates”. He was such a loving little thing. I would sit on his bed next to him and I would say “good morning sunshine”! He would look and stare for a very long time and say with a slight twinkle in his eye, “who are you”?  I would look and say, “Pa, look into my eyes, you love me remember”?  He would look back and say “I know I love you but I just don’t know why”? I believe that your eyes are the windows to your soul and you will always find your truth there. This would go on throughout the day with my sister and I both bringing his memory back so that by the end of the day, he remembered us and we would just laugh all night. Then it would begin again in the morning.

Pa knew where Nana was and believe me it took us two days to convince him he had to come. We had not yet visited Nana because we were trying to get him situated, talking to his doctors and just trying to recover from jet lag. We set off to the hospital which would literally be one of the worst moments of my life.

WE entered this long, sterile and very cold hallway that led to where they keep all of the patients. It was an overcrowded area full of elderly patients, people crying and screaming and it was just horribly depressing. I knew then it was going to be bad. My body started to shake, my mind was swirling and the only thing I could think of was to find her. I was frantically looking into every persons eyes and I could not find her until I heard a voice “Sylvia, is that you”! It was Nana and my mind knew from her voice it was her but her body was so frail. You see, Nana was a bigger women but this women was so small, petite, quiet and just a shell. Sylvia is my Mother and I look exactly like her so I can see how she thought it was her. Everything was in the past for her. You never knew exactly what year she would be in.

I ran to her with tears in my eyes that was about to turn into the ugly cry as I just knelt and put my head in her lap. I am not sure how long I stayed there. She was really in a catatonic state and heavily drugged. My heart just fell to the floor until I felt the rage start to over power my body. I looked at my Sister and we both were thinking the same thing. Get a wheelchair and let’s go… That is just the way we roll. First instinct, lets take her and leave. Then, I started to scream, “where the hell is the doctor”. In England no one screams and they certainly do not act like me. I wanted answers and I wanted them now. I think I scared every single person in that place and swore I would report all of them for negligence and neglect. I do not mess around when someone has hurt my family and you should run,  not walk from me if this ever occurs. Americans take it upon themselves to solve issues, the Welch are way to polite but slightly spicier than the English, not my style. I’m a true Gemini, sweet, bubbly and charming but also in your face, never back down & explosive…

My Grandfather just kept saying “Marion, I will take you away from here my love”… He is just the sweetest, most loving man I have ever known. Long story short, we had Nana out of there the next day into the best nursing home overlooking the sea. That is how she spent the last years of her life with the best care and loving people around her.

If you are wondering why the moon is so significant and why August 10 is so important. Well, the moon firstly, is something I shared with my Grandfather. Every time we left him to go back to America, he would say “darlings, every time you see the full moon I will be thinking of you and you will think of me so we will always be together”, which I have done and will always do. Secondly, it is my Nana’s birthday today and I would love for all of you to wish her a lovely day in heaven, she would absolutely be over the moon, no pun intended.  Thirdly, it is my 24th Wedding Anniversary, married to a brilliant, loving and beautiful man, David which coincidently he is taking me to Amaluna “Cirque du Soleil” performance at National Harbor which means “Mother Moon”. Fate…

We lost Pa shortly after that trip on a full moon January 10 (the largest moon of the year in 2009). I was not there but I know he did this for me… If you don’t believe now, I don’t know what to tell you…

I love you Nana and Pa…

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10th Random Act of Kindness

DC Sail Club
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Well,  talk about random…

We set out to have a day of walking the monuments of Washington DC spending time with my daughter Jessica, her fiancé Matt and my husband David and of course looking for “random acts of kindness”. I have become a little obsessed with this whole challenge.

One thing about me is,  if I sign on to do something, it is 110% on my mind.  All the time.

I am looking everywhere asking my family what we should do. I say, “maybe I can take a picture for someone” and everyone says, “that’s really not so random”.  Jessica says, “it will just happen Mom when you least expect it”. I had all but given up and we set out for dinner for Cantina Marina which is in the DC wharf.

The band was playing, the sun was setting and I am HUNGRY. It was the perfect night for a margarita with a warm wind blowing overlooking the Potomac River.  We had walked for quite a while and we were all starving and truthfully I just wanted to sit down and relax. We walked down this narrow walkway to the back of this marina and the gentleman was sitting at the entrance on a stool and puts his hand out. I looked at him inquisitively and then realized he was carding me. I have not been to a bar in a long time nor have I been carded. I’m 47 and started to laugh. I said “do I not look 21?” He looks at me with a bright smile and says “no”!  Oh, I’m thinking I like you-alot…  We just wanted dinner and he says in his funny little voice, “Ma’am, we are having a fundraiser tonight and it will be $40 a person. That includes a buffet and 4 drink tickets. So we all say ok, we are in, let’s go and have some fun.

The bank was playing “brown-eyed girl” by Van Morrison and I knew it was going to be a fun night. We were walking down this ramp to get to the restaurant and outside bar with decks everywhere and they had set up a place for raffle tickets to raise money and of course I give them my money. I love to win anything. So competitive with everything. Even raffle tickets.

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We head for the bar with our wrist ban which has these tear off pieces you give to the bartender each time you order a drink. So we all tear off the ticket. We all get margaritas which I just love once a Summer. Alcohol and I do not mix. It just makes me loopier than I already am. Heck, I am drunk without being drunk all the time. But in a good way.  We head to the buffet, grab a table on the deck and just sit and listen to music, talking about our day. By the end of my drink I am standing, singing and having a grand time.  We had a few drink lefts and we just gave them to the people next to us. They were certainly happy. I’m sure they thought that was random.

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I have just recently been introduced to sailing last month while visiting my sister Shelly. We went out on a friends Olympic Sailing Boat which I sailed all by myself for two hours. I loved it so much I asked if I could be part of their sailing team and of course Shelly broke out into a belly laugh because she knew I was serious.

I would have to say that Jessica is right, “random acts of kindness” just happen.

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Just let it find you.

How do you say “I love you”?

 

We were asked to be part of this unbelievable Wedding shoot and of course we were honored.

We are introducing our floral crowns at Lillyput Lane Design Company and Bare and Me for Fall and what a way to shout this to the world.  We are blessed with the love and support from many Brides who choose to use us to say “thank you” to their wedding parties.

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Photography: Lauren Werkheiser Photography | Event Planning: Elevee Events | Tables & Chairs: Dover Rent All Tents & Events | Cake: Carolina Sugar Fairies | Attire: Brides 2 Be | Hair & Makeup: Bad Hair Day | Florals: Bayberry | Floral Crown & Jewelry: Lilyput Lane Design Company; Bare & Me | Hanger: Handcrafted Affairs | Seed Packet Favors: Plantables & Paper | Papergoods: Elevee Paper via Printswell | Venue: Nassau Valley Vineyards