504 Main by Holly Lefevre: How to Make a Beautiful Bride Ugly

11.25.2009

How to Make a Beautiful Bride Ugly

It is that time again...Writer's Workshop at Mama Kat's.
Head on over and check it out!
My selection for this week:
#2 - Describe how your audition for a trashy reality show would go.
Boy do I have material for this!


For some background...It was the height of wedding craziness in L.A. Wedding planners were vying for top billing and over the top weddings. New bridal magazines were being published... and television shows developed on what seemed like a daily basis. In the email inbox was a constant flow of teasers for auditions. So, no, my tale is not one of taking my top off to date a has-been rock star or a middle aged (although HOT!) soap opera stud...my trashy reality show had much more tame content, but was trashy nonetheless.
 
How to Make a Beautiful Bride Ugly
In my ultra-glam life as a wedding planner in L.A., I was introduced to some casting directors at an industry event. They were there with a purpose, of course - casting a new reality show for a major cable channel. Armed with their video camera, the group was asking wedding planners "How would you plan a wedding for $5,000?" Apparently my charm and smart ass comment was a hit. Oh, you want to know my answer "Drive thru McDonalds - a complete meal and a party favor - and call it a day."

Yes, that lovely answer got my foot in the door. By the time I auditioned for "The Show," I was feeling pretty confident. One of the casting directors had taken a liking to me (not that kind of a liking...he was gay!). He told me what to wear, what they were looking for, and that I was one of the top four already. He even told me what my role was - they needed a stern but lavish planner, an eccentric male planner, and a best friend planner - that was to be me!

I arrived, portfolio in hand and looking oh so fabulous...only to be greeted by a waiting room of my peers. No worries - I had this in the bag (I really did). But, my oh my, let the snarky comments commence! The competition was fierce...seriously do not EVER underestimate the competitive nature of the wedding planner. After enduring newer planners worrying and wondering and asking constant questions, and more experienced planners commenting about "How would I find time to do this with a baby and all," every time the producer came out, it was my turn to take the stage.

I make my video, meet with the producers, and in an instant I am being whisked into another room to talk money, time commitments, and meet with the writer (yes, people, reality shows have writers and producers encouraging certain "things" to happen.") What just happened here? Oh, I was hired! I am handed a contract that basically reads "You agree to work for two months on end with peanuts for pay...starting the day after tomorrow. We will call you at all hours of the night. You will provide us with any and all information you have collected through your years as a wedding planner. We will abuse you. You cannot tell anyone what you are doing. If you mess up, you owe us $1,000,000. Please sign and return this in twelve hours."

I am assigned a couple...a very cute, young, charming couple. The writer tells me to give her four scenarios and themes for "my couple" within the next two hours. OK, get real, this is L.A. - it will take that long just to get back to the office. They don't care - "This is Hollywood, baby!" I am to come back tomorrow to present the idea in person along with all vendors and props. I work all night, ignore my family, and shop for my props (spending my own $$).

In the morning, I chat...argue..with the writer. It seems they don't really want a $5,000 wedding. They want a $50,000 wedding basically given to them for free by my contacts in the industry. They are, however, going to pass it off as a $5,000 wedding. They also ask me to "create conflict" and go against everything the couple has asked for. For example, my bride was modern and edgy - she was in a rock band - but she explicitly stated she wanted a white wedding dress. They refused to let me dress her in white...I could pick black, pink, or yellow. "Hello, I thought I was the planner?" I quickly learned that many reality shows don't want happy...they want drama, they want tears...anyway they can get it.

The next day, as I prepare to return for the second part of the audition, I get a phone call. Seriously, I am in my car driving north. The conversation goes something like this...
Producer: "No need to come in today."
Me: "Oh, are we rescheduling? I am totally ready."
Producer: "No, we won't be needing your services anymore."
Me: "May I ask why?"
Producer: "You ideas are not wokring for us."
*CLICK*
Me: "Hello..."

WTF! What just happened!? I am all kinds of ticked off...and sad...and totally bewildered. I was genuinely excited about this project and it turned into a big fiasco. Within the hour, I start getting phone calls from my industry contacts...all the ones I had provided them with. They had all been contacted by the show and been asked to participate. I must say, I have some pretty amazing wedding pals, because when they were told I was no longer working on the project, the said "No!" Yes, they ROCK!

So, yes, the show was produced, and it ran for two seasons. The wedding I was supposed to be a part of was just awful - they tried to implement many of my ideas...they sucked at it! They even managed to turn one of the most beautiful brides - inside and out - into an ugly mess.

85 comments :

  1. That's quite a story! Very well told, too!

    I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  2. Congrats on making it that far and for the opportunity to find out just how amazing your wedding pals are. Too bad that wedding was ruined, I'll bet most people are pretty disappointed in themselves after participating in any reality tv show.
    Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  3. Sounds like a good "Live & Learn"
    To hell with Hollywood. You have your own following right here on Blogland and we love you!

    Happy Thanksgiving Holly!

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  4. Ah, you had me on the edge of my seat! Great story. :)

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  5. This is so funny. I can totally picture you driving and getting that WTF phone call!

    Great story!

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  6. That is ridiculous. The reality of "reality" tv isn't what it's cracked up to be. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  7. I can't watch reality shows anymore, I have 3 girls I nee no more Drama in my life :)
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family :)

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  8. Ah, that sounds like craziness!!!!!! How interesting to read.

    http://candyflosspersie.blogspot.com/

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  9. And we meet again! I always knew these things were staged, but wow...just wow! That was very enlightening. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  10. oh wow! It's amazing these shows make money!! I love the drive thru Mcdonalds wedding, I remember seeing a limo drive thru a
    Mcdonalds when I was 9 with a wedding party inside, always makes me laugh.

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  11. I have to admit...I love reality tv...even though I realize there is really no reality there!

    However, that was a total crock! What BS!!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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  12. oh my! that's quite the story! thanks for sharing an insider's tale behind the makings of a reality show:) i must admit...even though i know these shows are scripted, i still can't resist watching a few lol:D

    thank u for ur comment on my blog and for dropping by! sorry it took awhile to get back to u. loving ur blog!:)

    happy thanksgiving!

    TheOwlsCloset.blogspot.com

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  13. This was great!! Thanks for the laughs as well. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving :)

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  14. Amazing! I'm not surprised though. I can't believe they would just boot you! Obviously they lacked not only taste but creativity and pizzaz....

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  15. That is just awful! But I bet you have a bunch of stories to tell that are pretty similar. Good to know your friends stood behind you.

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  16. I love your dishy posts! What a great peak into the "reality" tv world. You should start doing Memoir Mondays at I Like To Fish. Your stories are awesome!

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  17. That is horrible. What jerks. So cool that your contacts held true to you, must have pissed them off something horrible hee hee

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  18. That just goes to show that they know a good wedding planner will work with the bride to create a happy and joyful day for her.

    Reality TV shoes are not about reality, they are about viewing numbers and ratings - which are not won with harmony, but disharmony.

    Your contacts obviously know that actually in the REAL world, if you make the bride happy, then you're good at your job.

    I bet if they'd not let you go, you'd have ended up unhappy with how the show turned out, and not proud of your work at all. I am sure it was better in the long run for you and your reputation.

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  19. That was a really good story. I can't believe it! Those reality shows are just crazy.

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  20. Wow. That's crazy. I can only imagine what the producers wound up doing to mental/emotional well-being of the wedding planners by the end of the season...

    My husband and I both worked in TV, though, so I have an idea...

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  21. I hear about the crazy antics behind the scenes all the time, but it still amazes me.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

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  23. Happy SITS Shareday!

    Gawd. That sounds SO. AWFUL. Awful. I'm so glad that your peeps stuck with you! Makes me feel better about the world!

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  24. That's why I have stopped with those shows.

    You should have sued them girl

    Anyway we know who really rocks.

    Loved the McDonald's answer.

    Happy Sat Sharefest.

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  25. That is just so bad...they are such freaks. How can they abuse you like that and even use your contacts and ideas. And passing $50K wedding as $5K, truly insane.

    And that portrait of the couple, gosh, they used fish-eye lens. Hahaha!

    Have a great day Holly!

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  26. Such a great story!! I hope you had a lovely holiday!

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  27. What? Reality shows are scripted? LOL! I still can't stop watching them.

    It's probably best they hired someone else. Jerks! And kudos to your contacts for not working with them!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I'm your newest follower.

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  28. Oh my gosh! I don't know how you trudge on in that buisness! I can't believe they were determined to destroy that couples ideal wedding.

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  29. It's interesting how all of this "reality show" stuff works. Yes, they want you to show a $50,000 wedding for $5,000...and the viewing public knows it. I would personally want to see the $5,000 wedding, to be honest. THAT's the show an average person could learn something from.

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  30. Gosh, I'm blogging buds with near stardom.

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  31. Thanks for the insight into "reality TV." You didn't really want the job anyway.

    Thanks for popping over from 'kys.' So sorry my place was in pathetic shape. Just the way I wanted to treat anyone who came to visit from Stir Fry. :-)

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  32. I'm just reading this today, because I am WAY out of touch with the blogosphere--but this was a riveting read, really. Interesting story and well told, although I am sorry you got royally screwed over...

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  33. What an experience! Sounds like they did you a favor, ultimately, by not passing you through the "everyone looks like a colossal ass on reality TV" lens. My sister in law was in final cuts for TOP Chef (or was it Hell's Kitchen)? Can't recall. Anyway, she's such a doll, and I was kinda relieved when I found out she didn't make it. Those editors (and apparently the writers and producers as well) have a way of making even the most benign people into Medusa.

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  34. Wow, that's quite an eyeopener! Sounds like its a good thing you didn't get too far in with that whole charade! I always say there is NO real reality TV. I don't even trust the news!

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  35. oh that is so sad, and awful! Makes me so MAD for you. How can people be so cruel! Seriously, stuff like this really gets to me. Thank you for sharing that though, I didn't realize how cold hearted they could be, I knew it wasn't all real, but seriously, how can they do that to people?

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  36. WOW what a peek into the world of television! I'm glad your friends totally said no!

    Stopping by from SITS

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  37. That's sad and yes, the 'drama' is so typical that it's boring.

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  38. That sucks! Oh well, at least you learned you have really loyal friends.

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  39. Woah! I always wondered if those reality shows were scripted - I mean, really - people are not that stupid and trashy in real life are they?? Sounds like you were better off out of it, and how great that your friends/contacts stuck by you. Probably better off for them too (could it possibly have been a case of use & abuse??)

    Really interesting story. Glad I cam across you from SITS.
    Luv Simone
    http://greatfun4kids.blogspot.com

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  40. Loved your writing, hated the crap that went on, and absolutely love your friends. My remote does not even know the way to the reality TV shows. Ima gonna keep it that way.

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  41. This was so interesting to me. I watch reality TV some and wondered just how much the writers actually interfere. You have answered my question here. That's one contract I would not sign--guess i won't be on any reality TV show. I think that's awful the way they dropped you like a hot potato; glad your friends stuck by you.

    Congrats on your SITS day!

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  42. Ohmygosh!!!

    What show was it??? I'm dying to know!

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  43. So sad for that poor bride.

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  44. What great friends! I am so glad they stood by you.

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  45. Sounds like you were better off not getting the job! :)

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  46. Well it's definitely a good thing that your name didn't end up on that show. I would hate to have your rep tarnished with such tom foolery (yep, I used that) :)

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  47. My goodness, I can't believe how crazy that is! While it's cool for your readers to get an inside scoop on the reality tv world, it kinda sounds like it was a big huge waste of your time.

    Although, anything that gives you fodder for a blog post can't really be a total loss, right? :)

    Have an Extraordinary Day!

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  48. Nasty folks out there in Hollywood! I am not much of a reality show watcher, but the wedding ones helped me through the occasional sleepless night after my baby was born. I know it's all staged, but you tend to forget that when you watch.

    Happy SITS Day! Enjoy the comment love today.

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  49. I'm glad your industry contacts chose not to participate when they found out you were no longer part of the project.

    Happy SITS Day! :)

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  50. You couldn't pay me enough to be a part of that drama! So cool that your contacts stood up for you!

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  51. wow - that is absolutely crazy!!!! I always had a feeling reality shows were set up to make more drama - lol! Stopping by from SITS - happy sits day! :)

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  52. Sounds like there's nothing real about reality TV! Enjoying your blog a lot. Having just made one family wedding, I am laughing a lot!

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  53. Can I just say I am not surprised at all? That's like the reality show MO!

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  54. That is just awful! I think many people would be surprised if they really knew what went on "behind the scenes". What a great experience though and one I am sure you won't forget :)

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  55. You still have your integrity...that's worth all the fame in the world. All 15 minutes of it. They did you a favor. Great story though.

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  56. Oh my... I could never ever work like that! Stopping by from SITS

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  57. Having been in the "entertainment" world in LA for 10 years and having gotten married in Huntington Beach, and being a closet reality fan, this story is awesome. It's UNBELIEVABLE what they do, isn't it? Nutty.

    Happy SITS Day!

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  58. I guess that's Hollywood for you. I don't watch reality shows. I have watched "So You Think You've Got Talent", but that's about it.

    (My daughter's name is Hollie - her dad chose the spelling.)

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  59. sounds like you weren't their kind of drama anyway! great story though :)
    happy sits day

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  60. Happy SITS day!!! I really find most reality TV aggravating, your post is a prime example why. I hope the rest of the time your job is more fun than that. :)

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  61. Stopping by from SITS. Love this story - I watched alot of wedding reality shows about 3 years ago when I was helping a friend with her wedding - had no idea what happens behind the scenes

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  62. That is so crazy...and yet I believe every word. Reality TV is bizarre.

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  63. Not cool on sooo many levels.....I am sorry you spent money and time having to deal with all that headache, at least you weren't a part of "ruining" someone's wedding day.

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  64. Great story! I'm a huge reality TV fan. Sad to hear it's not that real. :(

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  65. Great story with a terrible ending. Makes me glad that I live in Kansas (that may be the FIRST time I have ever typed that). Happy SITS day! Love your blog.

    Jenny

    http://yankovich6pack.blogspot.com

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  66. How totally rude and pissy of them! Interesting story though.

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  67. Wow! It's really interesting to read about what goes on behind the scenes.

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  68. What an experience! I am so NOT a fan of "reality" television.

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  69. Reality TV is just about that, the drama. That is all they want. Just look at the Real Housewives.

    I'm sorry that they did that to you and contacted all your contacts.

    And to make you smile, I got married at the drive-in in Vegas. :)

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  70. WHOA! You are so better off not a part of that project -- it definitely seems that thsy wanted to take your contacts and leave you out. So sorry for your wasted time but REALLY sorry for the bride. I used to do weddinngs at a country club so I am a little familiar with the drama but nothing like that!
    :-)
    Traci

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  71. Thank goodness you did not get stuck with those delightful people!

    Happy SITS day!

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  72. Hollywood is nutso! Maybe being let go was a blessing in disguise?! I think so :-)

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  73. Wow! Crazy and sad...stopping by from SITS and now a follower...BTW...you didn't need them anyways! I did a photoshoot with Matt Dorame from SYTYCD and he said...seriously...never do reality tv...it is so staged and fake!

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  74. wow - that sucks that they stole your ideas! But probably had an iron clad contract to do whatever they wanted. And nice on the $50K wedding for $5K - I long suspected! ;)

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  75. Wow! That's pretty nutso! Awesome that your contacts stuck by you though!!

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  76. I agree, that's awesome that your contacts stuck by you. That was fun to see into that world a little bit. I always wonder about those wedding reality shows.

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  77. Congrats on your Sits day!!!

    Can we swap stories?! I was on a reality TV wedding show for MTV. The parameters of the entire experience were a little different as they were in a bind and were stuck with us no matter what. The whole, you give us your life and we give you nothing is something you're lucky you did without.

    I can't say it was all bad. My wedding was actually the best wedding I could have ever wanted, beyond actually. But, it was definitely a trying situation especially because they were there for our last 2 weeks of vacation in Paris.

    Glad I found your blog. You have absolutely gorgeous ideas. I love your husband's chandelier and the birds are precious. I'm going to make them with my daughter.

    www.lovemedaily.com

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  78. I would have gone so rabid gay on them they would have wished they had never heard of L.A. and drama queens!
    JERKS!
    Well, good for you at least; you didn't cater to their stupidity and play forward more grief in this world.

    Oohhh! I'm just steamed for you! Nasty little weasels.

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  79. YOur rendition of the contract is hilarious. I am so glad that you did not get mixed up with them and you were able to sit back and watch them flop. Your vendor contacts do rock and I am sure they have no idea the loyalty you would have towards them in the future. Great story. Reality you cant make these things up

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  80. Love this story. You are awesome.

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  81. Thats sad, on all counts.

    reading from SITS. sorry so late!

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  82. Interesting post. Years ago my uncle who had a beautiful penmanship addressed wedding invitations. When he addressed mine, he sent one to the White House. And I even got a response, a polite refusal, from President Kennedy !!!

    www.FunnyPhotosContest.com. Submit CUTE or FUNNY photos and tell friends to vote. $2,000 in prizes. No entry fee.

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  83. Visiting from SITs! Makes my life sound boring!

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  84. Visiting you from SITS. Loved the story.
    Nancy

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Thanks for stopping by! I read and appreciate all of your sweet words and the time you have spent on my blog. I try hard to respond to comments and visit your blogs... eventually, but I will be honest life is pretty crazy right now!

Thanks for swinging by my place. See ya soon!