Small Success Thursday: Travel and Gala Edition

It’s Small Success Thursday! I have been crazy busy and haven’t participated in‘s weekly group back-pat, but I’m ready to get back to blogging more regularly. (She says before the busiest 2 months of the year.)


In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been working hard at our homeschooling, even though it was Easter Week. My older daughter finally finished her Honors World Lit course and turned in her final tests! This is an enormous success, and I’m really proud of her. When I signed her up for World Literature in tenth grade, it was because it was on the recommended list of courses. (Honestly, I ought to call and talk to guidance counselors.) About eight weeks into the academic year, we got an email stating that they had re-classified the course as an Honors course. I took another look at the materials, and, sure enough, the course was a 400-level course. So my daughter, who has been working a grade level ahead her entire academic career, was taking something that was actually at least TWO grade levels ahead.

Well, she managed to finish it last week, which was no small feat. So hooray for us!

My daughters are in charge of their own laundry. Ever since they were about 12 or 13, they’ve each had to take care of doing it themselves, though I have been known to show mercy and do it for them (or do it as a present to them) if they’re overwhelmed or sick and one sister can’t pick up the slack. Last week, I announced that it was imperitive that they get every bit of laundry done by Wednesday so I could do my laundry on Thursday and Friday. In spite of having two soccer games, this goal was accomplished. I did my own laundry, as well, and come Friday afternoon, I had one load in the dryer and three pieces of clothing in my hampers. (We even did the towels!)

There was a reason the laundry had to get done: Nathan and I were going to a black tie gala in Miami! His department won an award from CLO magazine, and his boss kindly paid for a ticket for me to attend as long as we paid my way to get there. Our plan was to drive to Orlando and drop the girls off with my parents on Saturday, go to Mass at their parish at 7:30 AM on Sunday morning, then drive to Miami to arrive in time for lunch.

There were actually several successes leading up to the gala. First, I needed a dress, since I don’t usually keep black-tie appropriate apparrel in my closet on a regular basis. So I started at a consignment shop, bringing my girls along for zipper duty, moral support, and fashion advice. The only thing I found at the consignment shop was that I have gained a lot more weight than I thought by not running all winter. So a few days later, I took a trip to the mall to see what I might find. I went to JCPenney (shut up, I’m on a budget), and found almost nothing there. Seriously, there were signs EVERYWHERE for some “Big Dress Event” and about a dozen different dresses. I found a Maybe Dress, filed it in my brain, and moved on. I looked at Macy’s, but didn’t see anything I liked a lot. When I went to Belk, I found the biggest selection of dresses yet, and there was a sale there, too. (Yay, sales! –The Budget) I grabbed a few dresses and was making my way to the dressing room when my 13 year-old said, “Mom! Did you see this one?” and held up a black retro-style dress.

NO!” I squeeked, and nabbed it from her, as if it might disappear if I didn’t move quickly. The three of us went to a dressing room, and I put that last dress at the back of the pack. As I tried on the dresses, I sent text messages to my husband, who was at work, asking his opinion. He liked the first couple of dresses a lot, and I had a frontrunner. I tried one other dress that wouldn’t zip properly (not because of lovehandles, but because the zipper was temperamental), and a finally pulled out the dress my daughter spotted.

It fit perfectly, both in size and style. It fit me physcially, and it fit my personality. It wasn’t too tight, it wasn’t too short, it wasn’t too long. I was in love. I sent a picture to my husband, and he loved it too.

Oooh! Look at the pretty!

Then I dropped the hardest part: the price. At $138, it was at the tippy-top (and maybe a little over) what I wanted to spend. (Hello? Remember me? –The Budget) I’ve been trying to scrimp and save ever since we made the decision to send both girls to the Steubenville Youth Conference in Atlanta. My husband, who can rarely say no to me, gave the green light. (This is a power I use sparingly, ladies.) We walked out of the dressing room, and I asked the girls to help me put the other dresses back. As I passed the rack with the rest of the dresses I was buying (mine was on the wrong rack to begin with), I noticed a sign that said “30% OFF!” and I about did a happy dance right there! That put the dress under $100, which was back in the ballpark of what I wanted to pay. (Thanks for thinking of me. –The Budget) I got in line behind the father whose two daughters had been trying on prom dresses, chatting with the girls about what kind of jewelry I should look for to copliment the dress. Finally, the other family was on their way and we stepped up. The sales lady complimented the dress (as expected), and I gushed about how excited I was to buy a formal dress in the first time in forever. I think it’s the first new formal I’ve gotten since my senior prom! She scanned the tag on the dress and announced, “$40.”

I nearly fell down! That was less than I’d even dreamt it could be! With my savings on the dress, I managed to get a new pair of pumps (sensible ones that wouldn’t hurt my feet all night and that could also be worn to church), a necklace and earring set (on sale at Claire’s!), and a chunky bracelet from WalMart. (Good on ya’! –The Budget) And all of that was still less than the original price of that dress!

Fast forward to the gala: Nathan put on his tux (hubba-hubba!), and I got all dolled up in my dress.

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My #dress! #pretties #selfie #roadtrip #swaggy

A post shared by Christine Johnson (@christine_catholicmomva) on

I felt terrific! I felt pretty! We went down for dinner and the awards, and I had a great time. Not only that, I never felt like I was The Biggest Dork in the World on Parade the entire night. So I had a huge success on the Social Interaction Scale. What a week!

All dressed up!

Now to get back to reality. And blue jeans. (But I might borrow my 13 year-old’s tiarra once in a while.)

What are your successes this week? Share in my comments, or blog about it and share at the link-up at

2 thoughts on “Small Success Thursday: Travel and Gala Edition

  1. Great dress–and great bargain–and your kid has probably already told you this, but you should ALWAYS take her dress shopping. She has a great eye!

    Liked by 1 person

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