Blair is so much more to me than a younger sister. She is a daughter, best friend, mentee, mentor, shopping buddy and ultimate dreamer. From our battles over the bathroom in our younger years to our bonding at more Rascal Flatts concerts than I can count, my life is more colorful because of Blair. She learned how to soar in the clouds early and has yet to land. In fact, she is just getting ready to fly even higher. As she has recently relocated to Nashville, TN, she is one step closer to her 'other' sister, Carrie Underwood. Her beauty is as evident on the inside as it shines so brightly on the outside. I am honored and humbled to have her standing by my side on the biggest day of my life thus far.
Katrina and I have been little warrior sisters since our debut as Pocahontas and the 'little Indian' in our elementary school play. As she danced her way through high school as one of the best Warriorettes in history, she also became a 'sparkle sister' to Blair and I. Through the years she has shared a love of dance and sparkles with my mother as her assistant coach with the Tuscola Warriorettes. The day she became a sorority sister to me at the University of Illinois took our bond to an entirely new level and we have not stopped making memories since. Her sparkle is contagious and she has the kindest and most genuine soul I have ever met. Make sure to ask Katrina about our most infamous moment in Cancun or to do an 8 count to Ice Ice Baby for you.
Lori and I have been through it all together. Throughout our journey from Northward to East Prairie to TCHS, we always stuck by each others' side. Even when 160 miles separated us after graduation from the University of Illinois in 2001, we some how grew even closer. After all of the Latin exams, concerts, weddings, funerals, lake weekends, vacations, and many nights on our 'new cell phones,' life continued happening and our bond grew stronger. Since grade school, Lori has been determined to chase excellence and be her own soul. She has taught me so many lessons about strength and perseverance. She lifts those around her to new heights without even trying. She is steadfast in her love for her friends and family and will be an amazing mother. She knows what I am thinking before I even say it and I love her with my entire heart. If you are lucky, maybe you can get her to share a story with you about her amazing Vegas wedding last December.
Five minutes into my freshman year on the 4th floor of Garner Hall at the University of Illinois, I met my first and very best friend of my undergraduate career. Kristy and I were such fast friends that our floor mates thought we had known each other for years at our first floor meeting that night. A year later we found ourselves in the same sorority and up to too many shenanigans to count. Through the magic of social media, Kristy and I reconnected a few years ago and found that it was like a moment had not passed. Kristy has magical powers that involve jumping over balconies, getting tickets to any concert ever and finding the cutest Orange & Blue attire possible. She currently calls most of the shots at Allstate in Northbrook. Make sure you ask Kristy to tell you where she was when the news about Princess Diana broke.
The minute I heard Ana's laugh I knew she was an extremely special person. Ana's heart shines brighter and stronger than almost anyone I have ever met. She also can talk to anyone on a train, plane or in a cab. Her dance moves will stun you and she is a sucker for a good pedicure. As an R.N. with her MBA, she is now making a robust career at Abbvie (the split off of Abbott). Ana sees shopping much like i do, as a contact sport. We took the silk market by storm in Beijing, literally risked our lives to find an antique market in Shanghai and took 'one last shopping run' in Thailand just 40 minutes before our shuttle left for the airport. Ask her about her Croatian heritage or her talent for negotiating the price for a set of jade foo dog statures.
Georgie is my Texan cousin that has relocated to NYC to chase her dream of being an interior designer. As co-owner of J + G Design, she is making it happen in big ways and I could not be more proud of her. Since she was little, Georgie always had an eye for spectacularly unique pieces. She can find a treasure in a flea market or seek out the best deal in Saks. I have never known anyone so driven to follow her passion and have so much fun doing so.
Annie has always had a heart and eyes that are open to all perspectives and new ideas. She loves to travel and experience new cultures and has had a few wild adventures. Recently, Annie joined the team Perot Museum in Dallas. Also a bonafide Texan, she is a barbeque connoisseur and can spot a fellow horned frog from a mile away. Annie can have a good time in any situation and location and her zest for life is contagious. If you find yourself in a conversation with this Texan beauty, ask her about watching the Northern Lights. You are also best served to not challenge her on the volleyball court.
Sam is one feisty and extremely excited teenager. The minute Sam found out Jason and I were engaged, she asked me questions I did not even know the answers to about gowns, place settings and venues. Yes, she was 12 years old at the time. Sam also has an eye for fashion and loves all things that glitter and glow. Sam is an amazing big sister and teacher to her brother, Zach. Outside of meeting Justin Bieber, her biggest dream right now is to visit Paris. If you engage her in conversation, be ready to learn more than you could ever know about the hot topics of 8th grade.