Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fabulousness: A Royal Wedding, A Fairy-Tale Princess

Who doesn't love a wedding? And I've admitted already that the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton--now Princess Catherine--totally appealed to the hopeless romantic in me.

So today, a look at some of the images from The Wedding.

That dress! Absolutely stunning

I'm hoping this dress sets a new trend in wedding gowns. For the past several years, wedding dresses have looked so much alike to me--all of them strapless and almost plain. This dress has an actual design, and it's even modest as well as being absolutely flattering and gorgeous. I hope we see more of its kind at "real life" weddings.

The Kiss!

Best wishes to Princess William and Princess Catherine for a long and happy marriage!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My 4-year-old grandson explains "Angry Birds" to me

I've been on a bit of a blogging break while I enjoy spending time with my family in Texas, but I had to share 4-year-old grandson Payton explaining the "Angry Birds" game to me!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Life Made Lovely: Lovely Inspirational Quotes II

This is Life Made Lovely Monday--and I'm using the opportunity to show you some beautifully designed quotes! Enjoy...

I'm participating today in Life Made Lovely, hosted by Blessed Little Nest. Click the icon to find out more!


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Royal Wedding a Royal Pain? Not for me! :)

Go here for my post with pictures of the beautiful Royal Wedding!

So a prince is getting married in England. Why do I care?

Honestly, I can only chalk it up to the hopeless romantic in me. Years ago, I watched Charles and Diana tie the knot in a ceremony that was redolent of fairy-tale romance. Later, I was saddened when that marriage failed, and even more saddened when Diana died, way too early.

Girly girl that I am, I loved looking at Diana's fashions, which she carried off with such style and grace.

Now her son is getting married to a lovely girl who seems to have a full measure of her late mother-in-law's style and grace. So, sue me, YES--I'm into it!

My friends Max and Jan went to England recently and brought me back a lovely little refrigerator magnet...

My own small piece of the wedding hoopla! I love it.

I'm sure there are many who share the feelings of this British blogger:

I’m going to be honest and admit I see it as a complete over-hyped event. Two people are getting married; fair play, they love each over and let them live in marritial [sp] bliss for the rest of their lives but does the whole country have to stop and take notice? Of course we’ll all be grateful of the day off but how many of you can truthfully say you will sit down and watch the wedding? I surely won’t. The pub sounds much more attractive. People can watch the wedding and can celebrate as they please so long as they don’t drag me into it; its a waste of money and time.

A Princess Bride

Besides the fact that Kate Middleton is lovely and wears gorgeous clothes, she's going to be a PRINCESS. What little American girl hasn't dreamed of being a princess? My daughter even had dresses as a little girl that we called "princess dresses."

Disney has also been responsible for making sure that little girls everywhere are steeped in the princess fantasy.

And though most of us aren't old enough to remember it, we still enjoy looking at the pictures of beautiful actress Grace Kelly becoming PRINCESS Grace.

No, I won't get up in the wee hours of the morning on April 29th to watch the royal couple tie the knot...but I'll admit I'm looking forward to seeing her wedding gown...and who doesn't like to look at wedding pictures?

I will also be wishing Will and Kate the very best. Certainly I hope their marriage is happy and long-lasting, unlike that of Will's royal parents.

So, if you have any snarky comments about how royalty is just a figurehead now, and the whole royal wedding is just a royal pain in the posterior, you can keep them to yourselves. I'm a hopeless romantic, and I am INTO this royal wedding.

*Will and Kate photos via

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An A to Z of Favorite Baby Names

I've always been fascinated with names! Over the years, I've enjoyed watching the trends come and go in baby names. According to Circle of Moms, here are the most popular baby names for 20-11, A to Z. I've added some celebrity bearers of some of the names. Enjoy...and if you're planning an addition to the family, perhaps get some ideas!

A is for Aiden and Alexis

Aidan Quinn

B is for Benjamin and Bella

C is for Connor and Chloe

D is for Dylan and Dakota

Dylan McDermott

E is for Elijah and Emma

Emma Roberts

F is for Finn and Faith

Faith Hill

G is for Gavin and Grace

Grace Kelly

H is for Hunter and Hailey

I is for Ian and Isabella

Ian Anthony Dale

J is for Jacob and Jennifer

K is for Kaden and Kaylee

L is for Logan and Lily

M is for Michael and MaKayla

N is for Noah and Natalie

Natalie Wood

O is for Owen and Olivia

Olivia Wilde

P is for Parker and Paige

Q is for Quin (and possibly, Quinn)

R is for Ryan...and Ryan!

S is for Samuel and Sophia

T is for Tyler and Taylor

Taylor Swift

V is for Vincent and Victoria

W is for Wyatt and Willow

X is for Xander and Xzavion

Y is for Yoshi and Yasmine

Z is for Zachary and Zoe

Zachary Levi

More thoughts on the baby naming trend here.

What are your favorite names? Planning to name a baby anytime soon? Let me know in my comments!

*all images from tumblr

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The End of an Era: Farewell to 101QFL

Me, Mike "The SchloMan" Schlote and engineer Jon Burkholder, 2003

Almost two years ago...when I had been working at radio station 101QFL (WQFL) for 28 years...we got the word that the stations (including our sister station Radio 91) had been sold to a national company. (The stations had been owned by a local church for many years.)

I remember sitting in the meeting thinking, "So what does that mean to our jobs?" and then realizing, "Oh, duh. We will most likely be losing our jobs" and feeling, as the British say, gobsmacked.

A few months later, Radio 91 was no more. As they had indicated they would, the company left QFL a local station for the time being.

I was able to stay on, hosting a midday show, for another six months, then I too had to go. I now do mid-day news on News/Talk 1440 WROK.

With Joe Buchanan

In the little news studio that Mike Schlote dubbed "The Glass Bubble"

Charmel Jacobs, Ron Tietsort and me on the day we said good-bye to Radio 91

Another farewell

This past week I learned that 101QFL will be no more. Henceforward it will be Air One, a division of the company that bought the stations.

I am glad it will still be a Christian station. However, I can't deny that I am VERY sad that it will no longer be a local, community station.

My final co-host at 101QFL, Darren Marlar, wrote this on Facebook today: "
My best radio was hosting mornings with Cindy Garrett Swanson and hanging with Rick Hall at Positive Hits Wqfl in Rockford, IL. I don't know if God has a return to radio in my future or not - He has me pretty busy with stand-up comedy and TV right now, but regardless I will look back on QFL with fond memories. Rest in peace, 101QFL: 5/2/74 - 4/8/11."

Me and Darren Marlar--working with him on his morning show was sheer fun!

Susan Tyler, a long-time colleague at both 101QFL and Radio 91, wrote:
"... QFL will always hold a special place in my heart. It was station that sparked the desire in me at 13 to want to be in radio. It was the station that gave me my first job. Who would have thought, that 11 almost 12 years later, that I would be given the honor to be it's last & final Program Director? God knew. He knew that this place needed some one who cared and had a passion to see it go out in the highest form of dignity that it deserves. It will be greatly missed, but think of all the lives it touched and how many talented people passed through here. Each of us laid the brickwork for God's Kingdom and now it's going to be a mighty force, more than it could ever have been on it's own, as it joins the AIR1 Radio network..."

Susan Tyler and me--and Hammy the Hog!--at an event in 2010, not long before I was let go

Cue "Memories...pressed between the pages of my mind..."

On the occasion of my 25th anniversary at the station, I blogged about it, and included some thoughts and memories:

"*When I first came here, I typed my news stories on a manual (yes, MANUAL!) typewriter. I remember being thrilled when the newsroom got an electric! I now have a computer complete with AP news and SounDesk as well as the Internet.

*We recorded our interviews on reel-to-reel and transferred them to cartridges. My soundbites are now all recorded onto my computer (from mini-disc if necessary.)

*I sat through lengthy county board and city council meetings in order to garner a few minutes of soundbites. 101QFL is now a music-intensive station whose focus has shifted away from a heavy emphasis on news, so such coverage would no longer be a wise time investment.

*I used to truly enjoy covering murder trials and calling in reports to the station. One of the most exciting things that has happened to me as a reporter was when I was covering the trial of accused murderer Ray Lee Stewart. At one point, he escaped from a guard on his way to the courtroom and was shot by law enforcement authorities before being on the loose for a few hours. I and a TV reporter were the only people in the courtroom at the time, waiting for the trial to resume after a recess, and we got the story to our respective stations before anyone else.

*When I first came here, the station was in a residential neighborhood that wasn't close to any retail or food places. We had to travel a ways to even go to McDonald's, and what is now a major thoroughfare (Riverside Boulevard) was just a two-lane road. Now, the station is in prime real estate surrounded by every sort of business and eatery.

*Brian Wright and other staffers used to do their best to crack me up while I was on the air. I usually managed to make it through the newscast, but then I would completely lose it as soon as the mic was turned off!

*I started working on March 23rd, 1981, but I was scheduled to go on the air for the first time on Monday, March 30th. However, a certain event called a presidential assassination attempt pre-empted me! Yes, that was the day President Reagan was shot. We went with ABC Network News, and I never made it on the air that day.

There are a lot of great--and not-so-great--memories. General managers who were complete jerks, and a few who were wonderful. A long list of DJ's and support staff for whom I will always feel affection. Many colleagues--like Mike Marino, Mike Schlote, Joel Griffith, Randy Adams, Joe Buchanan and Chris Carmichael--who I still miss to this day. Others with whom I'm now working, like Darren Marlar, help make radio a continous joy for me."
So many other names I could have added: Ron Tietsort, Wes Bleed, Paul Youngblood, Rick Hall, Charmel Jacobs, Susan Tyler, Stan Brengle, Jon Burkholder... the list could go on and on...

Only eternity will tell...

I think we'll never know the true magnitude of the impact WQFL made for the kingdom of God until we get to Heaven. I know I've heard many testimonies from people on how it changed their lives, saved their marriages, stopped them from committing suicide, or even just got them going to church again, but I would imagine all the stories I've heard are just the tip of the iceberg.

One of the most special things about the whole experience? The listeners. Getting to know them. Seeing them at events and concerts. Telling them what was going on in their town, on their street, in their church...what the weather was going to be like in their neighborhood.

It IS the end of an era. And I want to echo Susan: THANK YOU. Thank you for a time that will live on in my heart forever.

The Ultimate Blog Party 2011 was a great experience!

So apparently the Ultimate Blog Party 2011 is history now--although the links are all still there, and I'm sure you can continue to check out the blogs listed there.

I've participated in the UPB for a few years now, but this year I put more time into checking out and commenting on other blogs, and it had such a lovely pay-off!

I've gotten some of the nicest comments from other bloggers--on both this blog and my book blog, Cindy's Book Club. And once again, I've been amazed at the sheer number of quality, beautiful blogs out there.

I want to take a moment to say thank you and welcome to the new followers I gained through the UBP! Many also were kind enough to "like" me on Facebook.

When you take the time to blog, and you try to make your content interesting and engaging, it's so nice to get the affirmation of other people enjoying it and appreciating it! That means a lot...and I can't thank you enough. :)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I Am So Loving Yellow This Spring

Maybe it's because spring has been so slow in coming to Northern Illinois, but I've really been loving yellow lately! Whether it's in the buttery swirls of cupcake frosting, the sunshine in a vase of flowers, or a bright yellow dress, yellow is charming me. Enjoy some of these yellow images...they'll have to do for me until the sun really begins to shine!

1908 Carl Larsson Night of the Ball at the Studio

I love the Swedish artist, Carl Larsson. Here in Rockford, we have a restaurant called the Stockholm Inn that is completely decorated with Larsson art. I blogged about it here.

Isn't this pretty? Whenever I see a bouquet of yellow flowers, I think of my bridal bouquet...which was yellow roses, white daisies and baby's breath.

A lovely window in Lecce, Italy

The yellow and blue together here are so pretty and refreshing-looking...

A vintage magazine ad showcases a lovely young miss in yellow

And of course, no tribute to yellow would be complete without a yellow shoe!

Hope you enjoyed these's hoping you're enjoying sunshine too!

It's been a while since I connected with Company Girl Coffee Friday Blog Hop, but I am today! Welcome Company Girls! If you've never participated in this meme, just click the icon!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

My Biggest Loser Update: No, No, not Courtney!!!

***Scroll Down for my Ultimate Blog Party Post***

Farewell to a remarkable young lady

Listen to my Biggest Loser update, or just read the post below:

Well, last night the Biggest Loser ranch said good-bye to my favorite contestant of this season--Courtney.

What an amazing young woman. When you talk about The Biggest Loser, you toss the word "inspiration" around a lot--but in Courtney's case, I have to say the word was truly deserved.

21-year-old Courtney had already lost over 100 pounds on her own when she came to the show...where she lost another 92 pounds.

As this week's show began, Courtney was the only person left on the red team, coached by trainer Brett (who I've grown to like more and more over the course of the show.)

She had been experiencing what she called a "plateau"--although, in the real world and in my experience, a plateau is when the scale is NOT budging. Courtney had never stopped losing weight...she was just doing it slowly, and that's not good enough for the Biggest Loser show. You have to pull substantial numbers or you get eliminated.

So despite giving it her all, basically working her rear end off (literally), Courtney only lost one pound this week. And that meant that not only she had to go home, but so did her trainer, Brett.

It was one of the show's saddest moments. All the trainers were incredulous and even angry. I think sometimes the trainers get really frustrated with the "game" aspect of the show, and last night was one of those times.

Courtney's attitude was, as always, amazing. She assured everyone that she knew all about losing weight at home, and that her weight loss journey was far from over.

I have loved the confidence and determination of this young lady from Day One. I'm so sorry she's gone, because she was the one I wanted to win it all. I honestly don't know who will be my favorite now.

One of her parting comments was to tell the audience directly that you DON'T have to be on the Biggest Loser ranch to lose weight, and she encouraged us all to get up off the couch, believe in ourselves, and make it happen. For me, her few words of encouragement were better than an hour-long sermon on the need to lose weight!

As we saw in her follow-up, Courtney's doing fine at home. I have every confidence that when we see her at the finale, we're going to be wowed. She's a beautiful young woman with the kind of spirit and attitude that will take her far in life.

How about you? Were you sad to see Courtney go? Who is your favorite to win it all?

***Scroll Down for My Ultimate Blog Party Post!***

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Men in Hats--A Style That Needs to Make a Come-Back

Jon Hamm on "Mad Men"

(Scroll down for my Ultimate Blog Party 2011 Post! Welcome partiers!)

Not long ago, I blogged about men in ties. But while it may be true that not enough men wear ties (I think they look great in them), what about hats? I'm not talking baseball caps. I'm talking hats, like men wore when men were men. Is there anything more suave, more classy, more downright COOL than a man in a hat?

My husband, who is bald and beautiful, got a fedora a couple of years ago to wear with his overcoat. He looks FANTASTIC in it. You'll often see Justin Timberlake, Jude Law, or Johnny Depp rocking an old-school fedora or trilby.

Just peruse these photos and tell me if you don't think men's hats need to come back in a big way! (And yes, I'd love it if women started to wear hats more, too. That may be a subject for a whole 'nother post!)

Frank Sinatra was the hat king


Some Google research on men in hats turned up several websites that claim men ARE wearing classic hats more. How do you feel about that? If you're a man, do you ever wear a hat? If you're a woman, is this a style you'd like your man to wear more?

Let me know in my comments!

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies--gangsters were all about hats!

Alan Ladd


A hat for the modern young man


Hugh Jackman

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