The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Leaving Tomorrow!

I can't believe the time has finally arrived! Tomorrow morning at 8:05, G and I will leave for Las Vegas! Today is all about finishing the packing and double checking to make sure we have everything we need for the wedding. We were both up so late last night while I was frantically working on a bustle for the train of my dress. Yikes! I hope it looks okay! I still have some work to do on the hem. What was I thinking doing the alterations myself? I just have to sit back and remind myself that by doing that, I've saved at least $100. Let's jut hope it looks halfway decent!

I have, of course, a lengthy to-do list for today. Laundry, packing, tanning (session #2 of the mystic tan), finish the dress, finish the christmas presents,and the list goes on. The good news is, I'm actually super excited to get to it and fill our suitcases. This might be the last sweetie chronicles post until after the wedding, because i don't know whether I'll have a chance to update from Vegas. If I do, I'll probably be writing a short blog over at our wedding website. If you want to watch a broadcast of the wedding, you can do so at the Chapel of the Flowers website. Click on "Guests' at the top of the page, then enter 12/19 for the date and scroll down until you see our names... or just look for the 2:00 PM wedding in the Magnolia Chapel.

I'm so happy to finally be marrying the man of my dreams. I truly believe that we were made for each other. It's been a long journey to finding the right person, but now we are both ready to start our official life together!

The Mirage

With only 2 days left until we leave for Vegas, I have been looking at pictures of our hotel and dreaming of the fun we are going to have! We are staying at the Mirage Hotel and Casino right there in the middle of the Vegas Strip. Recently remodeled, all of the rooms are supposed to be very nice, with new beds and an ultra-modern look. When we first started looking at Vegas as an option for our wedding/honeymoon, the Mirage quickly stuck out as one of the best hotels on the strip. I read a ton of reviews and researched other hotel/casinos, but nothing seemed to measure up to the perfect location and newly remodeled rooms at the Mirage. Here's hoping it lives up to my expectations!

Lately, I have tried staying away from reviews. Mostly because I don't want to freak myself out and start worrying about the possibility that our room will be messed up or that we will have bad service from the hotel staff or anything. That's the thing with online reviews - anyone can post. You never know when someone is just in a rotten mood or is ultra-picky. Plus, any hotel that serves as many customers as a place like the Mirage in a year is bound to have some screw ups... and we all know that unhappy people are twice as likely to write a review as happy people. Instead, I've tried to concentrate on the amenities at the hotel and the things I'm most looking forward to.

At the front desk, there is a 2000 gallon salt-water aquarium with all different kinds of fish and sea-life. Inside the hotel, there are shops galore! Along with over 12 different restaurants and eateries. Several bars and a nightclub are also part of the Mirage property, along with a spa, a pool (which is actually closed this time of year), and almost 3000 guest rooms. It is my secret hope that when the front-desk finds out we are in Vegas to get married, they will upgrade us to a really nice room! I won't be sad if we don't get an upgrade, but it sure would be sweet! After all, this is supposedly one of their slower times, right? Surely there is an unoccupied suite or tower room they could put us in? We'll see!

2 days left, and at 10 am, this day is already starting to get away from me. So much to do - so little time! I'm off to keep working on my dress while daydreaming about the Mirage and our wedding trip to Vegas. One thing I know for sure - regardless of the hotel or the city or the trip itself - I am marrying the man of my dreams.

6 Days!

I realize that my blog hasn't been very exciting lately, but I have a good excuse. We're leaving for Vegas in only 6 days! The wedding and the trip are pretty much the only things on my mind, and understandably so. Never having been to Las Vegas before, I'm not totally sure what to expect... but after having loved almost every big city I've ever been to, I know I'm going to love Vegas too. This weekend G and I were able to upgrade our photo package at the chapel and every detail about the wedding is perfect according to what we wanted our wedding to be. It's really shaping up to be a great trip and a beautiful private wedding.

We decided to write our own vows, so we had to send those via email to the chapel's wedding coordinator, who then passed them on to the minister to be approved. I'm sure there won't be a problem with them. The only thing left to really do (besides finish my mother's christmas present) is the dress alterations. We have already pinned the dress at the bottom to be hemmed, but I just haven't done it yet. Honestly, I'm afraid to do it! But, it's definitely crunch time now, so I better get started this morning! Wish me luck!

6 days! Woohoo!

Mystic Tan Results

I haven't taken any pictures of my results yet, but I still wanted to blog about it. I am actually pretty excited about the way it turned out. I was really nervous to try it (especially with the wedding trip only 8 days away!). So, you might ask, why do it at all? I have these annoying tan lines from when we went to the flea market months ago. Despite some trys at sunless tanning here at home, the tan lines persist. One reason for doing a salon tan is to try to even out my tan lines. My dress is, after all, strapless!

Another reason is just that a tan can cover up all number of flaws in a person's skin. Pale white skin shows every blemish and spot, while a slight bronzed tan diminishes the look of red spots. Now, I don't normally have any real tan at all, opting to just let the blemishes show on my naturally pale skin. However, for my wedding and this trip to Vegas where there are going to be a lot of photographs taken, I wanted something a little different.

Now you know why, let's talk about how. I went to a place here in Raleigh on Creedmore Road called "Vivid Tan". I chose this place, because one of my voice students recommended it, and I think when it comes to tanning or any kind of salon, word of mouth is the best place to find a good place to go. When I got there, the owner, Carla, greeted me and answered every question I threw at her with enthusiasm and honesty. Her own tan is a Mystic Tan and she looked great. She explained how the booth works and what kind of results to expect, then she recommended that for my dark hair and eyes, I should try the medium tan. She also said that the tan lasts for a little over a week before it starts to really fade, but that they were running a special of buy two, get one free on the Mystic Tan. I decided to buy two sessions so that I could try it out for a week, then head back for another session before we leave next week. Then, I'll still have a free session that I can use anytime after this.

She showed me exactly how to use the booth and what I needed to do before I got in. I put my hair up in a ponytail, then used makeup wipes to get all of my makeup off (I was careful not to put anything with sunscreen on that morning). I put "barrier cream" on my fingernails and toenails. I thought I put it on my palms and the bottom of my feet, too, but those areas still ended up getting tan, which looks a little strange. Anyway, I put a little cap on my head, just barely showing my hairline so that all of my skin was covered with the mist. Then, I stripped down to nothing, stepped into the booth and got started.

The recorded voice told me where to place my feet as the spray covered my body. It was a little bit cold, but otherwise not too bad. I could breathe fine despite reports online that you have to hold your breath for a long time. THe spray comes up from the bottom slowly, so you can see and feel when it is getting close to your face. As it moved up, I only closed my eyes and held my breath when the spray was near my face. There were numbers on the floor of the booth and the voice told me which numbers to place my feet on as she had me turn, spray, turn, spray, etc. It was over in just a few seconds.

At first, I didn't see too much of a tan, but as the hours went by, it got darker and darker. Now, the morning after, I can definitely tell that I am tan! There's no orange tint to this tan like some other at-home sprays I have tried. It's very bronze and looks like I was really just at the beach. The only problems I had with it, honestly, are the fact that my palms and the bottom of my feet are also tan. I must not have put the barrier cream on thick enough! Lesson learned there and I will put more on next time. My tan lines that I was trying to even out are definitely better, but not totally gone. The only other con is that despite some nice smelling oil she put in the tan to help it smell better, I did feel like I smelled like a tanning oil all day. A small price to pay for such an even looking tan, though! I have not had any streaking or missed spots, no buildup on any one place or anything like that. I did not even really have a base tan when I went in, so I amazed at the results. Overall, I'm glad I went and will be going back on Tuesday of next week to do it again so my tan is fresh before we leave.

Megan and Cheyne win Amazing Race


Dang! I so wanted the brothers to win! Not because they were particular nice to each other, because they weren't, but because in my little reality show winner picks game with my sister, they are the team I chose to win it all. Last night's finale was a good one, especially since the final city on the Amazing Race was Las Vegas and my fiance and I will be traveling there in only 9 short days for our wedding/honeymoon! All three remaining teams ended up on equal footing by getting on the same flight home to Vegas. I have to say I prefer it this way, rather than one team getting way ahead or way behind right from the start. Even though the Miss America couple, Brian and Erika, were off to a solid start, they fell behind quickly and could never really catch up to the other two teams.

It really came down to the brothers and the blonds. I was on the edge of my seat as they showed both teams in the cab on their way to Wayne Newton's house, with Phil and the other teams waiting at the finish line. When the first cab pulled up, I was so hoping to see my brothers run toward the finish line as victors in the race! It would have been so awesome because my sister and I have had such a great track record on picking Amazing Race winners. Race 13, I picked Nick and Starr, the brother and sister team that won it all. Race 14, she chose Tammy and Victor,. also winners! This year, the brothers were my last hope in the reality show picks, and while they came close, it was Megan and Cheyne who walked away with a well-deserved million dollar prize.

I would like to say this, however... despite accusations online and during the game, I do not think the brothers elbowed the globe trotters or got physically dirty with the other teams. They did a replay of that run in the bog so many times, and not once did the brothers intentionally try to trip the basketball greats. It was the globe trotters who aggressively came up behind the brothers and tripped them, but it seemed to be an accident. On the other hand, they did some pretty rotten things like stealing a cab or whatever, but it's a race, right? You can't really blame them! That's all I wanted to say in their defense.

With one out of three reality shows over now, my sister and I have yet to pick a winner. This week, The Biggest Loser finale won't be any better - neither of us picked one of the people in the final four. There's still a chance that one of our picks will win the at-home prize, but we didn't guess the winner and that much is final. Survivor will be the only show left in this season of our friendly reality show picks, and I have no chance left to win that one. Erik, my pick, has been out for weeks now, but K's pick, Jaison, is still going strong. If he can manage to maneuver evil Russell's ousting, he might just have a shot at winning the million dollars. Stay tuned!

In the end, the truth is that it's just so stinking hard to choose a winner for these reality tv shows just off the opening credits or the online bios. I'm proud to have gotten as close as 2nd place. So close, but no cigar. Congrats to Megan and Cheyne. You weren't my initial picks, but you ran a good race and you deserved to win! I will definitely tune in again for Amazing Race 16 whenever it comes out.

Weight Loss Aint Easy

Ugh! I hate dieting! All week, I've been watching what I eat and exercising, but I haven't lost a single pound! I was really hoping to shed at least 2 pounds this week, but instead, I'm going to bed hungry every night with sore muscles - for nothing! I'm not trying to starve myself by any means, and I could certainly cut out a few more calories. But without choosing the right foods, I'm going to be even more hungry than I already am - which for me doesn't spell success. I don't do hunger well.

I would step up the exercise even more, but who has the time? There is so much to get done! Ack! At least I haven't gained any weight, but I sincerely was hoping for five more pounds off before we left for Vegas. Now, I'm down to only 12 days to do it in. I'm starting to wonder if it's just not going to happen.

New Critique Group

I have joined a new local critique group. No, I'm definitely not getting rid of my romance critique group. They have been invaluable to me this year. At the same time, however, I want to learn as much as I can about my own writing., The more push I receive from groups, the better. This second group so far consists of four women who are mostly writing women's fiction and paranormal fiction. As readers of more paranormal and urban fantasy type fiction, these women will be able to hopefully help me with Pandemic in ways that my HCRW group can't.

Tonight is our first meeting where we will actually be talking about someone's work. We have 54 pages of one woman's novel. I am a little nervous about tonight, because even though my comments and critiques are written across her writing to help her, I am scared I will hurt her feelings. It's so tough when you're starting a group for the first time. You don't know how sensitive certain people might be or how well they will take critique. You don't know what they know or how much writing experience they truly have. It takes time to get to know each other and to know if this group is going to be a valuable group or not.

As someone who has cried about comments made about my writing, I understand how easy it is to get your feelings hurt when someone else is critiquing your work. So I keep asking myself if I should just go super easy on this first woman? Should I tell her the positive things about the entry and just mention a few of the more broadsweeping errors I see? And they aren't even necessarily errors - just things I see as a reader that pull me out of the story or that make it weaker than it could be. I'm so scared I'll come across as a know-it-all. The good news is that I'm already learning more about how to deal with other writers and her pages have taught me more about what I want to do with my own writing. That's a good sign. I'll let you know how it goes after our first meeting.

2 weeks

Just 2 weeks until we leave for Vegas! In fact, at this time two weeks from now, we will already be on the first leg of our trip. I'm pretty sure that means a plane to Detroit. I can hardly wait! There's still so much to do before I go, but I'm working on my list one thing at a time, trying not to feel too overwhelmed. Last night, I made giant hairbows for my neice who is going to be one in January. I have never tried to make bows before, but they actually turned out exactly like I wanted them to! They are super cute, and I know that they will look adorable on her little head., Next on the list? I have to finish the present I'm making for my mother. As long as I just take it one thing at a time, everything will be fine. But in the back of my mind, everything right now is about the wedding!

NaNo Failure

Well, folks, I didn't make it. NaNo WriMo ended at midnight last night, and instead of furiously writing, I was laying in bed, reading my newly checked out copy of Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games". Am I upset? Not really. I got a good chunk of my novel down this month despite the busy season and the upcoming wedding. I'm proud of that. Now I have a better idea of how the novel is going to progress.

Is there still a lot of work to do? Absolutely. But mostly, it will wait until G and I get back from all of our wedding and holiday activities. January 1, I can sit down and write out my usual list of goals for the year, then I can get started on one of the first goals for 2010 - finish Pandemic.

For all of you out there who actually finished your 50,000 word novel by midnight... Congratulations! You worked hard and reached your goal. Whether your novel is complete at 50K or not, the key is not to stop and not to give up. There's still so much work to be done. I may have failed NaNo this year (and have to take my t-shirt back :( booo), but that won't stop me from working on this novel - nor will it stop me from trying again in 2010. Maybe by then, I'll actually have a publishing deal and be writing a book someone is already paying me to write. Wouldn't that be the coolest?

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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