Quiet Reflections

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 Image courtesy of James Barker/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Ever sit down and take yourself out of the world and just meditate, think, pray and spend time to reconnect?  I’m so busy these days that I miss some of the activities that I did a few years back, like..

  • Making jewelry.  I love to make jewelry and I’m gonna set aside time once a week and start working on different projects again.
  • Reading.  I enjoy getting lost in a good novel, taking the characters and making them my friend or enemy and following their story.
  • Playing Bid Whist.  My parents played all the time when I was growing up, so you know we had to learn how to play.  I missed it so much, I have an app on my iPad.  It’s ok, doesn’t take the place of the parties my parents had though.
  • My family.  I love living in St Louis with my husband and kids, but I miss my family and friends from Kansas City.  I also miss all my family that are no longer here.
  • Girls Night Out.  My friends from AT&T, we used to have a ball!!  We partied, celebrated birthdays, went to plays, dinner.  Most of the time we would kick it at each others house, those were the best times.
  • My girls when they were babies.  So sweet, full of energy and girly girls.

Those are good  thoughts, nothing sad.  Then I think about where I am now in life and I reflect and thank God for my life…

  • I am truly blessed.  I have a family I love, roof over my head,  everything I need and most of what I want. 
  • I love mornings….
  • That I haven’t hurt one person while I’m graciously going through menopause.
  • I am able to be ME, express myself through my blog, share with others, learn from others and hope to encourage those that need encouraging, because we all need it every once and a while.
  • I recognize that I make mistakes and it’s ok to forgive myself.
  • I am able to work from home and help provide for my family.
  • Material things come and go…don’t get so attached to them.
  • As of yesterday, I have two teenagers in the house.  My youngest turned 13 yesterday.  I have a large bottle of Ibuprofen.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow….living my life like it’s golden.

 

 

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What’s Brewing at The Cafe

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Coffee is good this morning and I have quite a bit to share with you all today.  Let me get this one off now and get it off my chest.  There is an alderman here in St Louis that sent a letter to some of his constituents and friends asking for assistance with his daughter’s tuition. She attends St Xavier University in Chicago and he was asking for $14,000, that’s what he was short of her $38,000 total.  You can read about it here.  This was major news around here, all the news stations were trying to interview him, he had no shame and said it was nothing wrong with what he did.  He has now said that he will not take any money.  My husband says he has been an alderman since   True, Alderman Bosley didn’t break any law, but the letter started with “This is Alderman Bosley”.   St Louis politicians are truly an interesting bunch, I’ve never lived in a city where there were so many municipalities and how they all waste money.   I normally don’t talk about politics, but I wanted to mention this because it was a hot mess.   

My daughter is smitten with a boy from our hometown of Kansas City.  She reunited with him on our brief stay there last year.  They have stayed in touch and guess what??  He’s coming here with his mother next week to visit.  I. Am. Not. Ready.  For.  This.  She is so excited, made him a friendship bracelet and wanted to buy him a gift.  I told her I thought the bracelet and a nice card was enough.  I’m going to speak with the mother to get a good understanding of the visit and what their plans are.  I need to know exactly what the plan is so I can go with them.  I don’t know if you all think I’m being over protective, but this is my oldest and she’s still awkward with relationships.  She has come a long way, she’s able to socialize much better, she is such a loveable person, but she has wanted a boyfriend since she was 15.  She told me yesterday she was in love with him.  I almost fell down, but I played it off and just talked to her.  I will definitely keep you all posted on this.  She has come up to me almost every hour to talk about it.  The young man is also autistic, but they seem to be pretty good friends.  We’ll see.  My baby is growing up and she reminds me of that all the time.

I wanted to put a warning out to you all about a company that has been emailing bloggers about advertising on their blogs.  I received an email from a company named Media Discovery from the United Kingdom.  I get skeptical when I receive random emails from another country (with the exception of Canada).   The email went straight to the business, asking if they could advertise on my blog, nothing about reading and enjoying my blog.  That put the red warning signs up for me.  I went to the BLM group on Facebook and posted the question, and someone suggested that I Google the company with the word scam next to it.  Well they aren’t necessarily a scam, but they advertise for gambling sites.  Oh no way, gambling is a touchy subject in my family (more on that later), and I don’t want anything on my blog advertising for a service or product like that.  They also offered to pay upfront $120 for the year.  I deleted the email but wanted to warn you all about this company.  

I have a date tonight with my husband!  We are going to the banquet for our church’s 20th anniversary.  I haven’t decided what to wear yet, but I’m not buying anything new, gonna shop the closet tonight.  I would like a new pair of shoes, but I’m passing on spending any money other than what we put out for the tickets.  My husband doesn’t want to wear a suit, bless his heart.  I’m not gonna push him either, but ya girl will be cute, lol.  We are having dinner, jazz musician, a gospel comedian and then some grooving at the end.  I love my church, Shalom Church ~ City of Peace.  Pictures next week.

I am a contributor for Kokoa Magazine’s June issue.  I would like to thank Kita, the editor and founder for the opportunity to write for her magazine.  Go check it out, it’s a great online magazine with articles for everyday women like us, no fluff and pretense.  Congratulations Kita and continued success.

Have a good weekend everyone and enjoy this unusual cool late spring we are having.  

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What’s Brewing at The Cafe

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Welcome to The Cafe and happy Friday!  Hope you all enjoyed your short work week.  No Scandal update for you, what are we gonna do?  I did watch Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots”, not trying to get addicted to another soap opera style show.  I didn’t really like it, very predictable and I it didn’t really hold my interest.  I try to support his efforts, I don’t get caught up in the negative talk about him.  We try to go see some of his movies and I’ve been to one play.    I didn’t even watch the sitcom, I don’t care for those at all.  

Last Friday when we were on our trip, we took the girls to Rue 21 to buy a few pieces for summer.  So we go to the shorts, they are buy 1 get 1 for $1.  I like that, they were no more than $20.   They go to the fitting room and both have on shorts that are way to short for my husband and I.  I know that at times with children, you have to pick your battles, but this is one battle I couldn’t let them win.  Those shorts were 1/2 inch from cheek area, nope not having it.  I was surprised that both were disappointed when we said no, but I guess I shouldn’t be.  My youngest said the famous, “all the girls wear them that short”.  I answered with, “that’s their momma’s problem”.  When they went to take off the shorts, I head over to find shorts for them that are a little more appropriate for my husband and I.   We came to an agreement on four pairs of shorts, several tops and left the store as a happy family.

I’ve been pretty busy this week, my contract work is picking up and I’m working on a few things regarding the blog and other opportunities to earn income.  One thing I’m learning with brands and companies approaching you for sponsored posts is you have to sit down and carefully review if the company or brand is someone you want to work with and not a quick way to make money.  That is where I am this week, reviewing and making decisions.  Not all money is good money.  I’ve heard that all my life and I truly understand it now.

Just found a great new website for online deals. Daily Deal Superstore pulls together all the best deals into one search engine.  It’s super easy to use – just set up a profile and then quickly find deals, with no email clutter or unwanted updates.  And then you can actually earn money by sharing it on Facebook.  This one takes online deals to the next level. 

Have a good weekend and never give up on your dreams and aspirations!

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Family Holiday Weekend

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Happy Tuesday everyone, it was a great weekend in my world, hope you all had a great one too.  My husband wanted to take a day road trip to one of his favorite restaurants, Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, MO.  It’s a two hour drive south of St Louis.  It was a beautiful day for a drive, and we were prepared, girls had a movie and their electronic devices, and I had my iPad and my Essence magazine.  He did all the driving too, which I was more than happy to let him have the wheel.  I do about 90% of the driving in the family so it was time for me to ride, relax and catch up on some reading.  We arrived about 2:00 and the place was packed.  There were people from Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and even Kentucky.  My husband went to get us a number, they were serving number 106 and our number was 154.  They told him it was about a 45 minute wait.  It went by quickly, I started taking pictures and preparing in my head what to write about this place.  Funny, the first thing my husband said is you need to blog about this, I’m two steps ahead of you dear.  In a bloggers mind, everything is a possible post!

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Lambert’s is a family owned restaurant with a lot of history, memorabilia and a nice gift shop.  My husband was too excited about the stove, I think my aunt had one similar, it was white.  The staff wears jeans, white shirts and red suspenders.  They throw their dinner rolls to customers, the best hot homemade rolls.  Just raise your hand and be ready to catch.  We all caught our rolls, one was overthrown and the whole restaurant lets out a “awwww” when you miss your roll!  The food was good,  everyone enjoyed their meal.  I had the meatloaf, I wasn’t that impressed with it.  I make a pretty good meatloaf, so you gotta make it better than mine.  The shrimp dinner was delicious, that’s what my oldest daughter had, my husband had a chicken gizzards dinner and the youngest had a very big cheeseburger.  The servers walk around and serve you unlimited side dishes in addition to your meal, black eye peas, fried potatoes, cucumber & onion salad to name a few and the endless mouth-watering dinner rolls.  This is NOT the restaurant to go to if you are trying to lose weight.  Even the salad is served in a big bread bowl, huge and you will leave with a to go container.

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The prices were moderate, the average about $12-13 per meal.  More for steak and the shrimp was $15, but she got plenty.  We left with a dozen dinner rolls, a very sweet cinnamon roll and to go containers.  We stopped at the outlet mall and did a little shopping.  I stayed awake on the way back, ok I dozed off at the end.  I think we all went to bed by 8:00 Friday night.   

The rest of the weekend was shopping, working and church.  My husband became the grill master yesterday and I was his humble assistant.  He get so into grilling, pretty intense.  I stay out of the way and try to keep the kitchen clean.  I can’t stand things to be all over the place in my kitchen, drives me crazy.  It’s my job to season the meat, fix the side dishes and clean the kitchen.  Here’s the hubby doing his thang.

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He cooked enough food to eat off all week, but that will only last for two days.  They will consume most of it and it’ll be time to cook in a few days.  Time for salads, fruit, eating light and plenty of fruit.  Can’t wait to buy our first watermelon.  How was your weekend?

 

 

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A Challenge of Love and Marriage

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Hey everyone, happy Monday.  Today I’m gonna share with everyone that you don’t always need to spend a lot of money to have fun.  This past Friday was my 1st wedding anniversary.  My husband took the day off so we could hang out and spend the day together.  The finances were very low because the week before it was Mother’s Day and we just didn’t have it.  We decided to take advantage of some good old fashion sight seeing.  I was excited, because I still haven’t seen everything here in St Louis and I’ve been here almost 3 years.  

I mentioned Friday at The Cafe about how we went down to Laclede’s Landing and the Gateway Arch, didn’t cost us a thing other than parking which was $1.00.  This location is downtown and we were on the Mississippi River, so we walked and enjoyed the scenery.  It was the first time in a long time there were no expectations, stress or disagreements about anything.  No distractions such as bills, jobs or other people and their problems.  I had also mentioned that we went to lunch afterward, so let me be more specific about where we ate.  It may have sounded like we went to a restaurant, when actually we went to White Castle.  I don’t eat there much and he LOVES that place.  We drove through the city, picked up our food and went home to watch a movie.  Sleep hit us both before we actually put the movie in and the girls were home from school then.

We spent a total of $14 for lunch and parking.  We laughed, talked and I remembered why I married him.  I asked a lady if she would take our picture and that’s the memory we made.  I made a promise that when things get rough to remember why we are together, and not to give up.  Money comes and goes, situations causes finances to change, but we are in this together.  

I started this 30 Day Marriage Challenge just to see if I could do everything on the list.  Actually, it’s not anything on the list that isn’t hard, but certain things that I have neglected as a wife.  I’m joining Joi at Rx Fitness Lady on her 7 day blog challenge, I may not do all 7 days, but I will participate as much as I can.  The button is on my sidebar on the right, please join us and have some fun.  Today is about solving a problem.  My problem solving topics is how to have fun on a limited budget and my 30 day marriage challenge.  Sometimes in life, it’s all about simplicity, we make things so hard.   Have fun, enjoy one another and respect your marriage and/or relationships.  Have a good day everyone!

 

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What’s Brewing at The Cafe

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Happy Friday everyone!  Hope you all had a chance to get over Scandal!  Whew!  We are gonna have withdrawals for the next four months probably.  Are you gonna be able to go without it over the summer?  The DAD, really??  None of us saw that coming.  I did however know that Cyrus was gonna have a heart attack sooner or later.  Quinn scared me a bit last night, her adrenaline was flowing last night and I could feel it.  That was just crazy.  There was so many twist and turns in that one hour of TV.  I will say this, I’m glad Shonda worked it out so that Olivia and Fitz had to end their affair.  Fitz recited what Liv told him to Mellie and then he went crawling back to her last night with his head down.  Wow….great drama, gonna miss it.

I saw the video of the woman in Philadelphia whose baby was in the stroller and it rolled on to the track.  I am happy that the baby will be fine, but let me say that we have to do better at being distracted from our cell phones and other devices that we aren’t paying attention to what’s going on.  I’m trying my best not to pass judgement, because I know this frightened  her and hopefully she has learned a lesson or two about what to do.  It’s just not worth it when we focus on those devices when we should be doing something else.

School is almost out, they are gonna be home for one week, then have summer school for three weeks.  It’s almost not worth it, except my daughter will have band camp.  She wants to audition for the jazz band next year, I sure hope she makes it.  They had their concert on Wednesday night and she had a small lead.  Of course I sat in the wrong place and the teacher was standing right where she was sitting from my angle.  I did this same thing when my oldest was in the band, I couldn’t change seats because it’s so crowded.  I managed to get one or two pictures when the teacher moved, but that’s it.  

 

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My husband and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary today.  It was a quiet day, nothing special, no distractions and time alone.  We went down by the Gateway Arch and Laclede’s Landing which is this nice area that has cobblestone streets and restaurants,  walked around and had some lunch.  We may go to dinner next week, but it’s ok if we don’t.  I so appreciated the time alone and was able to relax, talk and enjoy the day.  We didn’t discuss bills, issues or anything else that causes stress and no distractions.  I even did day one of the 30 day marriage challenge, I asked him if it was something I could help him with today.  He was receptive and said everything was ok.  

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I want to thank everyone for their kind words as I shared my story on how cancer has affected my life.  It was sad reminiscing on their illness, but it was necessary to continue to bring awareness to cancer and the American Cancer Society.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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My Family and Cancer ~ A Sponsored Video

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the American Cancer Society.  All thoughts and opinions are my own but I am honored to share my story as part of the American Cancer Society’s 100th Birthday Celebration.

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My mother and sister both died of lung cancer.  My sister was went through this terrible disease first and mostly by herself.  She came to live with me in 1996 to get away from things.  I believed she knew something but didn’t share it at the time.  She told me when she asked if she could live with me that she wanted us to be closer.  We are 15 years apart, she is older.  To think that she had to endure that illness without family still haunts me to this day.  She moved out and spent the last months of her life with a man as his wife.  We found out she was extremely ill about one week before she died.  I will never forget that call at 3:00 in the morning, my momma calling me crying that I couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I knew it wasn’t good, my daddy took the phone from her and told me the news, my sister was dying.  We put a plan in action and got my parents, and her sons to California to see her and spend time with her.  The cancer had metastasized to her brain and they told my family she had days left.  She was on a respirator and wasn’t able to speak.  We couldn’t get many answers but only that she probably had the disease for about 9 months to a year.  She held on until my nephew left and she passed away when the plane took off.  She was 49, three months shy of her 50th birthday.

Momma’s battle was about the same except we were able to go through this fight with her.  Something just wasn’t right about her, she wasn’t paying bills, forgetting things she would never forget.  Then one day she fell down the basement stairs at their home and my dad called me.  We rushed her to the emergency room and the emergency room doctor came out and asked my daddy if he knew momma had lung cancer.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, my daddy and I was hit hard with that awful news.  We took her home and to the doctor and found out what our fears were, it was lung cancer and the cancer was at stage 4.  It was heart breaking, watching your mother go through the diagnosis, various treatments including chemotherapy and radiation, while watching her try to be strong.  The treatments made her so weak, I knew momma was scared.  She asked me if I thought God was gonna get her through this.  I told her of course but I was scared too.  The treatments made her weak, her hair fall out and she lost a lot of weight.  I remember having the conversation with her oncologist that it was nothing else they could do and we scheduled the meeting with hospice for momma.  My brother moved back to Kansas City to help and we learned how to take care of our mother.  Momma was diagnosed in July 2003 and died December 26, 2003.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this post was to share what my family learned from our experience.  Early detection is a key and that means going in for regular checkups, taking better care of ourselves and early detection.  The American Cancer Society will be 100 years old this year and with that milestone more lives are being saved because of their dedication and research.  They have played a role in most of the cancer research breakthrough in recent history, which means a decline in cancer deaths in our country.

I want to support the American Cancer Society reach their goals by ensuring that their research gets the funding it needs, making sure people get the help they need, access to health care, preventive screenings and improve our quality of life.

Please look at the video from Mary J Blige and share with me how cancer has affected your life.  Have a great day everyone.

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

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Weekend Memories

Had a great weekend.  Saturday the girls and I hung out all day.  They wanted to go shopping to buy me something for Mother’s Day.  We went to the Air Force Base it was grocery shopping day out there, and they love going.  They were having a drawing on some items for Mother’s Day, so I decided to enter.  Guess who was the first winner?  That’s right me!  Here’s what I won…

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I love wristlets, I own 4 and to think I won a nice Coach one?  Loving it.  I was so excited, I wanted to do my happy dance, but my daughter had the nerve to tell me not to embarrass her.  I should have broke out, but I was too excited about winning!   A free gift, too awesome!  

My girls were very giving generous with mom, they spent their allowance to buy me a gift.  I told them to just buy one card because greeting cards are so expensive and didn’t want them to spend all their money.  This is what they bought me.  Too cute, it’s on my desk.  My youngest picked this, I just know she did.  I appreciate them so much, we had  a ball Saturday.

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We attended church yesterday, very good service.  It was packed of course.  I thought about my momma a few times, I did ok until I was sitting in the car by myself.  I miss her a lot.  We didn’t go out to dinner like I wanted because I had a lot of work to do that needed to be completed by today, so I spent the rest of the day at my desk working.   Then I got my gift from my husband.

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I’ve never had Shari’s Berries before.  They were good, very sweet…very.  The girls will probably enjoy a few of them.  I could only eat one,  they were huge.  I had a good weekend, blessed and grateful for the love of my family.  How was your Mother’s Day/weekend?

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One Humbling Experience

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If you are like me, you are a proud woman, one that works hard for everything in life.  No one has ever given me anything, I’ve always been proud of that.  When I had my oldest daughter in 1996, her dad wanted me to stay home and take care of her.  I really didn’t want to do that for two reasons, we weren’t married yet and I don’t like not having or making my own money.   I know, we’ve discussed this before, it’s a control thing.  I was working nights at the time and I couldn’t find decent childcare for my baby.  I was living in Los Angeles and the only people I knew were my in-laws and the few friends I made.  After trying unsuccessfully to find childcare, I decided to stay at home and enjoy my baby and take care of her.    I resigned from my job and that meant giving up benefits.  

My ex-husband didn’t have benefits, so he couldn’t add our baby to his insurance.  I didn’t like not having insurance for her, so he suggested that I go to the state and put her on medicaid.  I was 100% reluctant, and my mother would have jumped on a plane and came to California if she knew he suggested that or that I went to apply for the benefit for my baby.  I went to the state facility to apply for medicaid for my daughter.  Employees that work for the state or government and deal with the public can be some of the most hardened people because this woman talked to me like I was asking for her money.  She wanted to know if I owned a car, had any money in the bank, if my child’s father had a car or any money in the bank.  She told me if I was not telling the truth, my baby would be denied.  She asked me why I wasn’t working and did I want to apply for welfare.  Now remember, I was postpartum so I was sitting there about to cry, but I fought it with everything inside me.  I was not gonna let that woman get the best of me.    

I left with a bunch of paperwork, and I never looked back, not for one second.  I started crying the minute I got to the car.  Once I got the baby settled in her carseat and put her stroller in the trunk, I sat in the car and thought, if I have to work 3 jobs, I will never ask for assistance from the state of California again or any state.  I had a new determination as I drove home.  I never told anyone in my family about this and I was told my ex that I wasn’t taking a handout from the state of California.  He thought I was being a little unreasonable but that was his opinion and since I wasn’t his wife yet, I had to think about me and my baby.  

The next day I devised a plan to move back to the midwest, where I had family and could find someone to take care of my baby while I worked.  My ex-husband said he would go with us.  It took me a year to get back to the midwest, but I did it and was working with benefits within a month. 

Assistance is available to those who truly need it, I can’t judge what’s right and needed for another person.  I know for me at the time, it was a humiliating experience and humbled me to the point where I broke down cried and knew I didn’t want to live that way.  I never looked back and kept my focus on making sure my children were provided for and had what they needed to survive.  It’s what we do as parents, we want to make sure our children are provided for.  

We survived that dark time, I just remembered how it made me feel.  There will always be times when you are in a position that humbles you or requires you to reevaluate a situation.  How you handle it and your outlook is what makes the difference.  I love those girls to pieces.  

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Pink and Sparkly

Wow, spring is here and it’s more beautiful than ever. This season is such a wonderful time of year as gorgeous flowers peak through with their color and scent. As the days become longer and the nights become warmer, my mind is filling with ideas as a pretty major event that is looming on the horizon – the prom! I hope my daughter attends next years Prom, but this years – the dresses are simply too gorgeous to not share! I’ve found some wonderful choices for this year’s big event, and they are all stylish, beautiful, and flattering too! Take a look at some of my choices if my daughter were to attend this year and let me know what you think!

 

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This one, from David’s Bridal, is a high-low dress in pink chiffon with sparkles and beading on the neckline. It’s strapless, so it really shows off the neck and it will be perfect with a sparkling necklace. I love the scalloping on the hem; it’s very delicate. The high front is great for showing off her pretty legs.

Now this one is a gorgeous gown from Adrienne Papell found at Nordstroms, with embellished mesh. I love the look of this dress. The dresses from this line are always very feminine and elegant too. I love the sweeping feel of this gown. It’s a divine choice and I know it would look beautiful on my daughter for the big night, no doubt about it.

Here’s my third choice, and it’s a knockout. This lace prom dress from ASOS has this amazing fitted waist and a skirt that flares out like a tutu. It’s all in black lace with an amazing neckline. I think it’s just right for dancing the night away. This one will look beautiful with black pumps, and maybe some color or sparkling jewelry around the neck. I love the way this dress feels very girlish but sophisticated at the same time.

Reviewing the various options in dresses, I definitely hope that my daughter attends Prom at least once during her high school career; it’s a night in which she will get to feel like a princes, and that is an experience that every young lady deserves to have at least once. I’m sure you’ll agree that all three of these dresses are beautiful, and it’s going to be a difficult choice deciding on the right one. Tell me in the comment section below about what dress-styles you like!

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