Thursday, May 14, 2015

Recreating Old Photos - Mother's Day Gift 2015

My mom always tells us not to get her gifts. We usually don't listen to her and buy her something anyway. This year we decided to take a different approach. Over the past few years, I've seen people online recreate a picture from their childhood where they try to mimic clothing, expressions, posture, etc.  I thought it would be funny if we did that this year, but with a few different pictures. There is no shortage of pictures from my childhood with my two sisters, many of which are embarrassing.  A couple months before Mother's Day, my sisters and I went through old photo albums and established the list of a few pictures that we would use for this project.

Then came the hard part of trying to recreate them.  We needed to find outfits that would mimic what we wore in the original pictures. Considering the pictures were taken 30+ years ago, and we were small children at the time, this wasn't an easy task.  I spent many hours scouring different stores and shopping online, trying to find pieces that would work. After working on the outfits, I also wanted the backgrounds to be as similar as possible. I bought some props and planned the locations. Once we had all that lined up, my sisters and I met up on a Sunday afternoon, about one month before Mother's Day. My hubby served as the photographer, with original photos in hand, making sure we had the right posture, facial expression, and arrangement. We went through many wardrobe changes and spent a lot of time getting the backgrounds right. The results were awesome. Hilarious, embarrassing, and awesome.

We tried to really pay attention to detail with this one. My oldest sister wore a plaid shirt, purple shorts, and socks with sandals. My middle sister found an outfit that was a pretty darn good replica of what she wore originally, and then had the socks with sandals. I couldn't find a white shift dress with a picture on it, so I bought a white swimsuit cover-up, added a sticker, and pinned on some white ribbon for the straps. I then added socks and pink sandals, and mimicked the hairstyle, facial expression, and posture. I bought some fake tulips and stuck those in the ground behind us.

This picture featured just my middle sister and me, in outfits that weren't too complicated. I bought some pink footed adult pajamas and my sister wore a simple white shirt and shorts. We spent a little time on the background, trying to mimic the striped couch, random toys strewn about, and brown carpeting. The hardest part was trying to position myself on top of her in the same way I had done 30 years ago!

I feel I need to apologize for making you see this picture, but it was too funny not to share. I wasn't thrilled about recreating a picture where I was originally wearing a diaper, but I wanted to be a good sport and give my mom a laugh. My oldest sister had an easy outfit to recreate, just a purple shirt and shorts. My middle sister's outfit took a little more work. We had a hard time finding a spaghetti strap tank top with bright diagonal stripes, but finally came across a full length sleeveless dress with bright horizontal stripes. That would have to do!  She actually tucked the dress into the back of the shorts, to make it look like a top. We were able to find pink shorts with a white trim on the bottom, but needed to add white duct tape to the top to make them look like they had a white band. The final touch was the binoculars around the neck! For me, I came across the red and blue striped shirt while perusing the boys' section at Target. It's not an exact match, but came pretty darn close!  I used white shorts, tucked up to look like a diaper, to complete my outfit. We made sure to pay attention to hand placement and facial expressions on this one. I think we nailed it!

This picture featured my oldest sister and my middle sister, when she was a small baby. We thought it would be pretty comical to have them recreate laying together on a tiny baby blanket, now that they're both full grown and my middle sister is actually 4 inches taller that my oldest! My oldest sister got a white sundress and added butterfly stickers to make it look like the design in the original. We then used ribbon to add straps to my middle sister's tube top to mimic the outfit she wore as a baby. We found a baby blanket similar in style to the original and then had some random toys and flip flops strewn about. It's funny seeing how much space they took up on the blanket when they were little as compared to now!

Last but not least, this pic was fun for us to recreate. I donned the adult footed pajamas from the earlier pic, and my oldest sister wore a white shirt with red sleeves, with a sticker pinned on to mimic the design on the original shirt. She "held" me between her legs, while I grasped a blue block. My middle sister just needed to sit in the corner with her mouth open. Ha!

We didn't give my mom any warning as to what the true nature of her gift was, but simply told her we wanted to compile some pictures of the three of us, some old, some new, as a walk down memory lane. When she opened the photo album and saw the first (original) picture of us three young girls in front of the tulips, she said, "Awwww" and got nostalgic. Then she realized the pic next to it was us at our current ages, and she couldn't control her laughter. We got it on video. It's a pretty great reaction!

Needless to say, the laughter continued for each subsequent page. She got a big kick out of the end result, and my sisters and I had a really fun time putting it all together.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Derby Day 2015

I don't usually care about the Kentucky Derby, but this year we went to a party at our neighbor's house with a few other families in the neighborhood.  I invited my sister's family along, and we got in the spirit by having our husbands and kids join us in some festive attire.

The party was only a couple doors down, so we walked over to it. It was pretty funny how bright our outfits were!

There was catered food, a bar serving mint juleps and champagne w/strawberries, betting on the races, and tons of kid activities set up.

Have I mentioned how much I love my neighborhood and the people in it? We had a great time catching up with neighbors we already knew, meeting new ones, and cheering on the horses. I'll leave you with my sweet boys wearing their derby hats.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Powershares Series VIP Experience

For Christmas, Meezy bought me a pretty amazing present. He knows how much of a tennis fan I am (we've been to Wimbledon and the US Open), and how Roddick used to be one of my favorite players.  He found out that Roddick was joining the Powershares Series this year. We've been to one of those events in the past, when we got to see Agassi play in Vegas a couple years ago. This time around, Meezy offered to take me on a trip to watch Roddick play in another city. I looked over the schedule and determined that there really wasn't any place I was THAT interested in traveling to, especially since Jude would only be about 4 months old at the time. I told him I'd be fine with just going to the event in Dallas. He started to buy the match tickets and discovered they offered VIP experiences. Since we weren't going to be spending any money on travel, he figured he could upgrade my experience instead. When he told me about it, I was pretty shocked. The VIP package consisted of an hour-long group hitting session with Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis, a catered dinner and Q&A session with Roddick, Philippoussis, John McEnroe, and Jim Courier, and then courtside seats for the matches later that night.  The thought of being in the same room with Roddick, let alone exchanging shots with him on the tennis court, gave me butterflies. 

When we arrived for the event, I joined the other attendees on the tennis court, while Meezy watched and took pictures from the stands. Sure enough, out came Andy and Mark, and the fun began!  We all partnered up with another attendee and went through an hour of different hitting drills with the pros. There were only about ten people in the session, so we got a lot of playing time and interaction with the guys. I was nervous as hell, and admittedly too tentative in my hitting, but I got to participate in a lot of fun rallies. To say that I have had Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis serve to me is pretty crazy (I whiffed on one of Andy's!).  I exchanged groundstrokes and volleys with them, and snuck in a dropshot that caused a slight rift between them. It was awesome!

Checking myself out on the big screen

My opponents

Is this real life?

Can't believe I played tennis with these guys

After the hitting session, we got to introduce ourselves to the players and take some pictures. The session after mine was with Courier and McEnroe, so we got some interaction with them too. I got Courier's autograph on a tennis ball and the event provided us with a picture frame signed by all 4 of the pros.  

Pinch me

I like to pretend Andy and I were both playing it coy here

Posing with a tennis legend

We got a chance to get cleaned up and change after the hitting session, and then the dinner and Q&A began. There was a great buffet spread and an open bar. Each pro came in for an interview and then the floor was opened up for questions. It was so cool to have it in an intimate setting like this, because the guys were all relaxed, the questions were casual, and you really felt like they could connect with the audience. 

Shortly after the Q&A ended, the matches began! First up was McEnroe vs. Courier, then Roddick vs. Philippoussis, and then the final between McEnroe and Roddick. Our seats were courtside, even with the back baseline. It was crazy to be that close to the action. The guys were within a few feet of us, literally within arms length at times. The matches are so fun because the players interact with the fans, heckle each other, and sometimes randomly come over to the crowd during play. It's not unusual for a player to stop and sign an autograph for a fan between points. Roddick broke his racket during play and handed it to a spectator as a souvenir. McEnroe even ate some popcorn from a fan nearby us. It's just so laidback and entertaining.

Hello, eye contact

This experience was truly spectacular and definitely the best gift I have ever received! My hubby is amazing for always seeking out activities that he knows I'll enjoy and for making them happen. I'm still pinching myself for having had this opportunity and am so grateful for all the pictures and videos I have from that day. It's probably a once in a lifetime experience, but that isn't going to stop me from checking out the schedule next year to see who the players will be!!