The Show Must Go On!

Ralph Lauren BW

Does it get any better than having a great event to wear your foxiest dress and perform in front of hundreds of people? That’s what I did last night at the 19th annual TOPPER Awards.

Toppers 2014 trophies

What is TOPPERS? It is the yearly recognition of excellence in military community theatre, with awards that range from “Best Prop Design” to “Best Debut Performance” to the coveted “Best Actor/Actress” trophies, to “Best Play” and “Best Musical.”  Roughly a dozen theatres from around Italy, Germany, and Belgium compete and cheer each other on. It is one GREAT time!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

I’ve had the honor to perform twice as a “Toppers Singer,” which involves learning six songs with choreography. Miraculously, we rehearse only about a handful of times before 11 of us get in front of our peers, either to be cheered or silently judged. Thankfully, we all passed the test and received enthusiastic applause. WHEW.

Remembering words/movements aside, I sprained my knee (yep, the one that’s been giving me trouble!) the day before performing!

So, what do I do? I tape it up, add a painkiller cream (courtesy of fellow singer Annie), and go out there and give it all I’ve got. YES, it hurt like hell to do some of the movements, but as every performer knows, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Toppers 2014 medley

Toppers 2014 slow song

Toppers 2014 broadway

Toppers 2014 performing

Fashion wise, I couldn’t work any cute heels, however, I did get to wear this fierce Lauren by Ralph Lauren gown I got on sale from Nordstrom. LOVE the lace and sequin detail!!! (There is a sexy side slit, but my knee is wrapped, so I didn’t show that off)

Ralph Lauren gown

Ralph Lauren 2

After the last award was handed out, pictures taken, and cake consumed, the Hubby and I ended our evening at an “after awards” party, where MORE drinks and laughter followed. 🙂

I’m so grateful for this experience! Hopefully, if I do get to go to Toppers next year, I won’t be injured!

Love, laughter, and shoes:)

xx Melanie

WHAT I WORE (and where you can find it!):

Dress –  LAUREN BY RALPH LAUREN

Necklace – BIJOU BRIGITTE

Flower ring – CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Crystal studs – SWARVORSKI

IFB_SEAL_RED

 

 

 

I’m a New Independent Fashion Blogger!

This is pretty awesome! IFB, Independent Fashion Bloggers, has accepted my application to be a part of their blogging community! I’m very stoked! I hope to learn a lot more about what makes a good blog, and keep growing my readership!

For all of you who read my blog, thank you! Your comments and likes keep motivating me to write, and any suggestions of topics are always welcome!

It’s Tuesday Shoe Day, so here are some drool worthy heels!!! I saw these at the Swarovski Museum in Innsbruck, Austria last November. Ahhh, a girl can dream!

Tuesday Shoe Day! Swavorski covered heels!!

Swarovski Heels!!

IFB_SEAL_RED

Creating New Traditions

One of the main challenges of being a military family (especially overseas) is finding new ways to celebrate holidays, which normally includes family gatherings. Being in Europe has definitely given us fantastic opportunities to experience Christmas in different cultures (we spent last year’s Christmas in Paris!), though the Hubby and myself can’t help but feel a bit lost without our normal family traditions.

Before we moved to Germany, we’d spent the last Saturday before Christmas at an annual family gathering on Hubby’s mom’s side of the family. This is a BIG family; so large in fact that every year the party is held in a high school gym and recreational center! Lots of food, white elephant gift exchanges, book trading, and time with Santa would fill the day. Then on Christmas Eve, we’d celebrate with the father in law’s family; not nearly as many people, but still boisterous and fun. Many times, Hubby and I would then spend late Christmas Eve with my parents and open gifts with them the next day. My dad, who is a wonderful pianist and organist, would ask me to sing for the morning service at church, and I would usually sing either “O Holy Night” or “Ave Maria” as a tribute to my late mother who always sang those classics.

The Hubby and I haven’t quite created our own traditions yet. We’re still in the first few years of married life together, so every year since we moved has been a bit different in what we do. One thing that we do is make calls home to family, to wish them well and see if they like their gifts. Though hearing their voices is wonderful, there is nothing like seeing faces light up in surprise, or feeling the warm embrace of a “thank you.” It is a bit bittersweet.

With every passing year, I find that Time is the best gift anyone could have or receive. It is fleeting, hard to get, and priceless. Some people may find family gatherings cumbersome or obligatory, which is understandable. However, once that chance to gather is gone, it cannot come back or be replaced.

I hope in the next couple of years, the Hubby and I will be able go home during the holidays and revisit those traditions. I miss my father’s playing of classic carols on the piano, the mounds of paper to clean up after gifts, the silliness of our niece and nephew, the excited chatter of family.

Here’s to a wonderful holiday to all – be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.

Swarovski Christmas Tree

Swarovski Christmas Tree

 

Leggings -Forever 21 Plus, sweaterdress -H&M, wrap -Charlotte Russe.

Leggings -Forever 21 Plus, sweaterdress -H&M, wrap -Charlotte Russe.

 

 

Crystals Can Also Be a Girl’s Best Friend…

During our Thanksgiving getaway, the Hubby and I took a day tour to Innsbruck, Austria, where not only did we see a large and festive Christmas market, but also the world famous Swarovski Museum and Shop!

As someone who is attracted to anything shiny (much like a raccoon), this tour was truly a dream come true. At the museum, we saw crystals used as fine art, clothing, moving installations, and lighting. I should have brought a bib to wipe the drool from my mouth as I looked at all of the amazing work.

For instance, here is my dream chandelier:

I'll take one for the dining room, please.

I’ll take one for the dining room, please.

 

 

 

And also, I think we should have this beautiful crystal tiger, only 14,000 Euro (that’s $18,977!). If only…

Here, Kitty Kitty

Here, Kitty Kitty

 

But of course, I was blown away by the “wearable” Swarovski art, such as this bra (worn in a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show) and these AMAZING strappy heels!

A bra that I could only dream of wearing!

A bra that I could only dream of wearing!

The Ultimate Shoes!

The Ultimate Shoes!

How nice of Swarovski to make those shoes for me! Notice the “M” on one?!!!

 

Luckily for my husband, I took it easy and left the gift shop with one pair of earrings. I love early Christmas gifts!

My new studs!

My new studs!

The rest of our day was spent drinking Gluhwein, eating fresh mini donuts, and taking in sights such as the Golden Roof, Innsbruck’s most famous landmark. It’s amazing that this landmark has been around since 1500!

So beautiful against the skyline!

So beautiful against the skyline!

 

I have to say that Innsbruck is one of my favorite places so far. The city still has a lot of its old charm, and the people are very kind. How can anyone be crabby when surrounded by such beauty?

The hills are alive...

The hills are alive…

 

The day was chilly, but I’ve learned the trick to staying warm without looking like a Puffalump. Thick leggings by Charlotte Russe with a hooded sweatshirt under my coat kept me toasty warm! This sweatshirt by Under Armour is unique because it includes “fingerless gloves” at the end of the sleeves! I added this plaid Charlotte Russe skirt to finish the look with my boots.

Keeping warm and trendy!

Keeping warm and trendy!