Virginia, Unedited.

Last weekend, Chris and I flew to Virginia for a friend’s wedding.

(Really, we flew to Virginia to have a date weekend away together, and thanked the friend profusely for providing us the excuse.)

(No really. It was all for the friend. Not at all for us to stay in a beachfront hotel room and eat fancy seafood and TALK LIKE ADULTS all weekend.)

Anyway.

I love flying. LOVE IT. I love the excitement of the airport (including the denim watching opportunities), the SkyMall catalog, and the watching of cities far below. In fact, I usually get mad when flying on cloudy days, because it takes away part of the fun.

But as we were flying somewhere over the clouds of North Carolina, I saw a strange puffy cloud figure walking toward us. You can’t see it in this photo, but trust me – it was the only vertical cloud, standing atop an ocean of horizontal clouds, way off in the horizon.

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(If I had edited these photos at all, I would have an arrow pointing to it. But this post is called “unedited” for a reason. So you get what you get.)

It looked like a sky angel as it hovered over the cloudy sea, flying toward us gracefully.

But then it got close enough, and I realized it was just the Michelin Man.

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But still. Seeing the Michelin Man atop a mass of clouds HAS to be the sign of a good vacation. Right?

As opposed to seeing this sign when walking into our hotel: perhaps notsomuch a sign of a great vacation.

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But it turns out that the Michelin Man was right. We had a fantastic trip, enjoying gift shop oddities,

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including gifts that are for a VERY specific clientele, like these wine bottle holders:

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For all of the NFL fan, pointy-toed stiletto wearing, porcelain knick-knack collecting wine drinkers in your life.

Also.

We were in Norfolk, who apparently long ago adopted the Mermaid as their city symbol.

It was quite lovely – we saw the same mermaid at the airport, on the street signs, on the roads, on the carpet, in the gift shops, on the restaurants, on the hotels, and even here:

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Norfolk: The city that always recycles their Mermaids.

But Norfolk (and Virginia Beach, where we hotelled,) were beautiful. I found it to be the perfect opportunity to play with the new Panorama feature on my iPhone,

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again,

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and again,

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and again.

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It’s a fun feature – what can I say? And it was much more fun to capture Virginia’s panoramas than my previous opportunities, which was…a football stadium.

We did a little shopping while we were un-strollered, giving us the opportunity to check out the Virginia fashion scene.

Unfortunately, they seem to have been bitten by the same printed denim bug that Alabama is ailing from – except possibly even worse:

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Also unfortunately, The Ugg Era seems to have not quite died, and has only gotten sparklier.

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(I hereby apologize to Sparkly Ugg Owners everywhere.)

But there was one store that stuck out the most in our shopping adventures: Love Culture.

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They had some fascinating pieces, including these sequined French Hats,

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Dangerous-for-hugging vests,

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Oh – and would you like a bustier to go under that vest?

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The shiny gold and silver snakeskin jeans ALMOST piqued my interest, but I put them down and kept walking.

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…only to be accosted by Beetlejuice outfits,

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Saved By The Bell meets Debbie Gibson pants,

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And Madonna’s 1986 concert tour wardrobe.

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Chris and I were highly enjoying our mutual fascination and horror at all of these clothes.

Until.

We came across this section.

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A ridiculously large section of red, white, black, white, and HOUNDSTOOTH.

In Virginia. Which is like, what? Four states away from Alabama??

And we’re not talking just any houndstooth.

We’re talking Houndstooth’s super slutty friend.

And Chris was interested.

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I’m a supportive wife and all, and I like for my husband’s football dreams to come true. But I was NOT putting those half-shirts on.

So we compromised and I chose two not-quite-as-skanky-but-still-committing-fashion-sins outfits.

Like leggings for pants – just for a minute.

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But it was the second outfit he was really excited to see.

Unfortunately for him, the shirt was about 18 inches shorter than I was prepared for, and so I hadn’t picked out an undershirt to go with it.

And there was NO WAY I was walking out of that dressing room with my pillowy, lumpy, blindingly white, twice-sliced-open belly hanging out for all to see.

So I came out like this.

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“What’s with the green??”

“It’s the camisole I already had on.”

“Why did you leave it on?”

“Why do you THINK??”

Although he may have still not forgiven me, I bought nothing.

But the next day, we dressed up in normal adult clothes and went to the wedding.

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We enjoyed the sunset,

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And then we flew home, finally crawling into our own beds after midnight Sunday night.

I headed to pick up the kids the next morning, who were, as expected, not ready to leave Gramamma and Pop’s.

…but were all too excited for a surprise visit to Daddy’s office:

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It was time for them to come home, though, because they’d had nearly all of the fun, late nights, and special treats that their little bodies could endure.

And I knew this because for the first time ever, and I do mean EVER ever, I came into Ali’s room at the end of her quiet time to find this:

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My kids do NOT fall asleep unexpectedly.

After I nearly panicked and watched to make sure she was breathing, I bent over and realized that she had actually fallen asleep in mid-play.

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The Grandparent Effect: It can happen to you.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. 1
    Anna Duffey says:

    Sweet Ali! I used to do that all the time, I bet I had my mother wondering if she had a heart condition…
    And now Lydie pulls it on me… Full. Circle

  2. 2
    Caitlin says:

    Apparently we have those same houndstooth leggings in TN since I just saw a (much larger) pair tightly clutching the backside of someone who probably should never again wear leggings as pants (in reality no one ever should, of course, but there are some offenders who are worse than other)…let’s just say that I’ve never seen so much houndstooth stretched so tightly on one person.

  3. 3
    Jennifer says:

    HAHAHAHA were you at McArthur Center in Norfolk? I have seen the Love Coture store but never actually gone in. Now I know why lol.

  4. 4

    Those printed jeans look remarkably similar to some that I had in the mid-’80s that came from Limited Express. Mine were grey with purple flowers and green leaves — and they were sold with a pink and green paisley shirt that was meant to be worn with it. WHICH I DID. I was an impressionable middle-schooler without a personal shopper. What was a girl to DO???

  5. 5
    Wendy Clark says:

    Love the pics of Ali on the floor-I bet that stopped you in your tracks though.

    So glad you had a relaxing retreat right in the middle of the crazies. How fun!

  6. 6
    Marlene says:

    One of the best pictures of Ali ever. It will happen again to her when she is the grandparent.

  7. 7
    Kristy says:

    I actually like the way the entire outfit, green cami and all, looks on you. Cute! I would totally buy some of those pink sparkly Uggs, but then I have to remind myself that I’m not 9 years old anymore. Love the fairy wings! If the kids look this worn out, wonder how the grandparents look!

  8. 8
    Giann says:

    oh my word. The clothes cracked me up!! :) haha

    Love the panoramic shots too!

  9. 9
    Jennifer says:

    I’m loving the irony of a store called “Love Culture” selling those studded tops and jackets.

    Also, the picture of Ali is hilarious and sweet. I’ve had a couple of moments with my kids like that. Minus the fairy wings. That makes it a classic.

    • 9.1
      Rachel says:

      I will treasure that photo forever, because I’m pretty sure it’s the only one I’ll ever get.

      Although Ali vehemently denied being asleep that evening. She insisted that “I was just sad that I had nothing to do.”

      …which totally explains the loud snores.

  10. 10
    Melissa says:

    Seriously. The fashion world needs to stop trying to make the 80’s come back. The printed jeans are just too much.

    I firmly believe that once a year, the fashion gods of the world gather in a secret penthouse in New York or Milan and cackle deviously as they calculate which ridiculous “trend” the world will fall for next.

  11. 11
    Rachel says:

    Hysterical shopping!!! Love it and I am glad you enjoyed our great state. I also have to say that I am thrilled to hear that other people have kids that DO NOT fall asleep unexpectedly, never, not in my dreams and everyone thinks they are strange. They won’t even sleep in the car most times. Nice to know that I am not alone.

  12. 12
    Elle says:

    Oh dear! Some of those clothes make me embarrassed for my state. We’re much classier up here in NoVA. ;)

    I think those leggings-as-pants could *potentially* work with the right top and in the right situation — which would be an Alabama football game, I guess.

  13. 13
    Shiree says:

    I LOVE the pictures of Ali! I cracked up! Mt kids don’t radomly fall asleep very often either. But the one time I can remember, Hazel fell asleep on the edge of the coffee table. It was priceless. I adore the dress you wore to the wedding. SO cute!

  14. 14
    Rachel says:

    LOL that picture of Ali is awesome!!! My kids don’t fall asleep unexpectedly either. And Oh. My. Word. those clothes are just insane! This is why I stick with a classic look and don’t try to stay up on current fashions. Those printed jeans were absolutely hideous! On a more positive note you and Chris looked adorable in your wedding wear. Love the dress!

  15. 15
    Eva says:

    what a fun weekend! was it nice enough to walk on the beach or did you stick to the mall? chris must like shopping as much as you! you have some fantastic parents. my kids come home with their eyes all fuzzy from watching tv non-stop. yeeeeeeah.

    • 15.1
      Rachel says:

      Chris ran next to the beach, but it was a bit cold for me (especially since I don’t run to keep warm.) And yes, Chris loves soaking up local flavors at the mall. We both have a thing for people watching!

  16. 16
    Kitty Engle says:

    First thing I noticed was the yuppie guy in his blue sweater and shirt cuffs turned up. Really looked great. Then you had to show those fashions that I have no words for. Ali is so precious in those pictures, just playing and bang she is gone. Yep better check on the grands if the kids are that tired.

  17. 17
    Stephy_B says:

    How adorable is Ali!!! And how hideous is that houndstooth??

  18. 18
    Della says:

    Those last pictures of Ali are adorable. However, your shopping escapade photos have me a little concerned… I have to go shopping for new jeans in the near future as I’m down to one pair without holes in all the wrong places. I’ve been quite nervous to go in the first place because I don’t know anyone in MD that would willingly submit themselves to that kind of time commitment and torture, and I can’t think of a fate worse than jean shopping alone. Not to mention seeing all of the atrocious options (printed denim???? really?????)that I’ll have to navigate around… I think I’m in for it. Makes me wish we were slightly closer than “blog friends” and that we lived a few hundred miles closer. You’re good at jeans. I’m so happy that you all had such a nice vacation to your respective locations.

    • 18.1
      Rachel says:

      Well, you can always butt-text me!! But it is easier to do it in person…and there is a nonstop flight between Birmingham and Baltimore! We almost came for our anniversary last year. We’re all about exploring cities we can fly to in an hour or two.

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