Army Banquet and On the Edge of the Week Link Up #10

This post is not just about a pretty dress. It’s more about a hot mess wearing a pretty dress! My husband was informed months and months ago that he had a formal in August…we call these events Army Proms. So way back in March, I went shopping for my prom dress. Just to get ahead of things as I have never been prepared for these formal events more than a week in advance! The one time 6 years ago that I was prepared, I went and got pregnant and the dress I had bought fit until the weekend before the event. At which time, I had to go in search of a maternity gown!



Anyway, I was prepared this time! I found a gorgeous royal blue floor length gown with a gold bodice. It was flowy. It was comfortable. I didn’t need shapewear or any kind of special bra. I had the perfect gold sandals, clutch and wrap to go with it as well as the perfect sparkly jewelry. Everything. So pretty. But alas, my preparation was all for naught. My husband came home early from work the day before the formal and told me I needed to go shopping. Because he had just received word that this event was in fact, not formal, but semi-formal. The email came complete with a dress code for women and floor length gowns were not expected. THE DAY BEFORE THE EVENT! In an effort to NOT make someone in the Army ranks look like a jerk, this memo had come out the week before, but my husband was training at West Point and did not receive the memo until THE DAY BEFORE. (I don’t think my snarkiness has come across, so I will emphasize, the dress code changed THE WEEK BEFORE the event.)



Don’t get me wrong…I love to shop. But understand that I do not enjoy shopping under that kind of pressure. So first, I searched my closet. I literally had nothing appropriate for a semi-formal event. And shopping in my area is extremely limited. The closest metropolitan area with decent shopping is in Syracuse which is over an hour away. And I had a doctor’s appointment at 2:30 before I could begin this shopping endeavor. It was after 4:00 p.m. THE NIGHT BEFORE THE EVENT that I began searching for the perfect cocktail dress. Actually, I was willing to settle for less than perfect. I was just shooting for appropriate at this point!


(How do you like my vintage hat on my deer?)


So off I went to the very small Salmon Run Mall in the tiny little city of Watertown, New York. Without boring you with all of the shopping details, I think I did find the perfect dress for the occasion, but it was not without much trial and error. In fact, I brought home 4 different dresses and 3 pairs of shoes for my husband and mother-in-law to help me decide.



I do need to send out a giant thank you to the girls in Dress Barn and DSW. They were nothing short of fantastic, helping me with shapewear, zippers, and shoes! I am so thankful to them for making this stressful shopping experience just a little less stressful! So if you are shopping in the Watertown area and want a fabulous customer service experience, definitely head over to the Dress Barn and DSW at the Salmon Run Mall. (By the way, this is not a sponsored post. I paid for all of the items I brought home. I just like to give credit where credit is due!)



The banquet was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of my husband’s battalion. Here are a few more photos from the banquet just so you can see a little bit of what happens at an Army dress up event.

This is the Polar Bear Grog Bowl to honor all of the soldiers in this battalion who have served in all different wars in the last 100 years. This was a very cool ceremony as they emptied bottles of different types of alcohol to commemorate different places where the Polar Bears have served.


Then we drank it. I thought it would be disgusting but it was so diluted with orange juice that it didn’t taste all that bad.


My husband and our table mates.


My husband seizing a photo opportunity with a survivor (and his wife) of the Bataan Death March which occurred during World War II.



This is Sarah, the best table mate ever!


And to add hot mess to my pretty dress…as we were leaving the house to head for the banquet, we discovered that the outlet which powers our garage refrigerator and chest freezer had shorted out from the rain. When I went to the basement to check things out and find an extension cord, I stepped in a giant puddle at the bottom of the basement stairs. By the time we actually got into the air conditioned car, I was a sweaty hot mess in a really pretty dress.

This is moments before I turned into a sweathog!


Outfit details:
Dress: Dress Barn ( I cannot find this dress online and now I am recalling there was another customer trying to find her size in the same dress and they couldn’t find it online either. But they have so many fabulous dresses!)
Cardigan: Old Navy Cropped Open-Front Dolman Sleeve Cardi (The navy is sold out online and there are few limited sizes in other colors, but currently on clearance for $5.97).
Shoes: Mix No. 6 Lina Patent Sandals in Taupe.
Necklace: Cato Fashions (from last year).
Floral Bracelet: Claire’s (I bought this a few months ago and I can’t find it online).
Earrings and Single Strand Bracelet: Very Old.

Thank you to everyone who has joined my link up in the past! I am so grateful for all of the support I receive from this wonderful blogging community! Please keep spreading the word and sharing the love!

And now…here are your favorite links from last week!

Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots is looking fabulous in her boho On the Fringe look!


Rena of Fine Whatever is so fresh and summery and exuding all kinds of wonderful in her Tropical Paradise outfit!


And Julia of When the Girls Rule is stunning her black and white outfit Keeping Cool in the Alley!


You can also grab my Link Up button, if you’d like!

Shelbee on the Edge

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Keeping it on the edge,


Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups Where I Link Up.


I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

97 Responses

  1. Oh boy, shopping under pressure, not fun… But you did well, it’s a very pretty outfit. But I still hope you’ll get to wear your first choice, too. Maybe for the blog?

    • Thank you, Tiina! Eventually I will get to wear the formal dress. We usually have Army Proms every year. I will definitely write a post about it, for sure, when I do get to wear it.


  2. You found a great dress!!!

  3. You look amazing!! Great job recovering from the short notice… but I really hope you get to wear the formal dress soon too because it sounds FANTASTIC. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for the party!!

    • It really is a fabulous formal dress, Sarah Eliza! I’m sure I will write a post about it when I do get to wear it. Thanks so much for the lovely compliment!


  4. You always write the most interesting posts! That dress looks great on you and I think you did wonderful given the timeframe (1 day!!). I would love to see the formal gown someday on you, too! That vintage hat on your deer is perfect! ha! Also, how interesting about the beer bowl.


    • Thank you so much, Carrie! There are always some weird goings on that affect every moment of my life, I think! But I guess if everything went smoothly all of the time, my life would be rather boring and I would have nothing to write about! I almost shared my dressing room photo of the formal dress, but it is a really awful photo! So I will save that dress for a post when I actually wear it.


  5. Well, you found a fabulous dress and on such short notice!!! You look great! I really hope you’ll get to wear the formal dress soon – it also sounds lovely!

    Thanks for the linkup & have a fabulous weekend!

    • Thank you, Andrea! I hadn’t shopped in Dress Barn in years, but they really have some fabulous things! I think I may add them to my favorite places to shop list! I also got a beautiful kelly green dress that I can’t wait for an occasion to wear it!


  6. Love your dress. Looks so pretty on you! That looks like it was quite a drink! Thank you to your hubby for his service.

    • Thank you so much, Stephanie! I wish I could remember everything they dumped in that Grog Bowl! It was quite an interesting concoction. I think they called it a potion at the end! That cracked me up.


  7. You look gorgeous! I think you did a fabulous job of finding the perfect dress on such short notice. It’s nice to hear that the sales associates at the stores you went to were so helpful. Good customer service is often difficult to find these days! I hope you have a fantastic weekend!


    • Thank you, Katie! It is funny…usually when I am shopping just to shop (aka browsing), I don’t usually want help from a sales associate. But when I am on a mission like this, I usually walk right up to a sales associate and say, “I need help. Like a lot of it!” They usually like it. I think it distracts them for a bit from all the other mundane stuff they have to do. I like to believe that they had fun helping me! We were laughing a lot!


  8. You looked fabulous even if it was a last minute outfit. Thanks for the shout out and blog love.


  9. Dear Shelbee, what an exciting story and pictures. You have found a wonderfull dress and under this pressure ! Respect :). You look stunning for a great event. Oh I need more english words to say, but it’s hard to find them all in my brain. I need lessons ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Wish you and your fantastic husband, your family a wonderfull weekend.

  10. It all turned out well in the end! Fabulous photos here Shelbee, you look beautiful in that dress. x

  11. Oh Shelbee, I will call you Shelbee haha, you look absolutely stunning in that dress! It fits perfectly and those colors and prints are fabulous! You both look great! I hope you had a fantastic evening. But you had to go to a lot of trouble before! Haha, awfull!

    • Thank you so much, Nancy! We did end up having a wonderful evening. And my in-laws even treated us to a hotel room and they kept the children overnight. So that was awesome, too!


  12. Shopping under pressure is so stressful but I love it when the stores come through with good customer service! You look amazing in that dress! Thank you for the linkup! Have a wonderful weekend!

    Doused In Pink

  13. Don’t you look cute? I love the dress! Hope you have a great weekend ahead, lady!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Thank you so much, Ashley! (And this comment came through but it was also in my spam folder. I don’t know why your comments keep going to spam, but I do notice that the people it happens to, it happens to them consistently. So weird!)


  14. Well the last minute change stinks, but you look great!

  15. Thanks for sharing the event with us!!!

    Share my excitement over the 2nd installment of my collaboration with fab Los Angeles brand TOBI this week at the blog โ€“ I am sure youโ€™ll love it as much as I did!

    Happy Friday!


  16. I remember my parents going to events like these when I was growing up. This looks like a fun night even if it was a bit stressful beforehand with your dress. It all turned out perfectly in the end, thank goodness!

    • It did, Laura, and we had a lovely evening out followed by a stay in a hotel courtesy of my in-laws. However, staying out until 2:00 a.m. is for people much younger than us…because we were hurting in the morning! Thanks so much for the very kind comment!


  17. Geez oh pete, girl….this story fulfills the title of your link up—on the edge!! Such craziness —but it makes for a great story!!
    And you look absolutely perfect…no one would know that this was a last minute put together!!
    Glad you ended up having fun!

    • So much stress, Jodie! And my husband thought I would be excited when he came home and gleefully said, “I’ve got the kids, you need to go shopping!” With that preface, I thought he was going to say he had won the lottery or something and I had an unlimited shopping budget just for fun! When he told me the real premise of this shopping trip, I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me? That’s no fun at all.” Thanks so much for reading and for the lovely comment!


  18. You look wonderful and it looks like you and your husband had a great time.

  19. Dress Barn is a great place to shop for dresses. They are one of the few stores left where you can even find more formal dresses. I also like to go to Ross for dresses. You can find gorgeous special occasion dresses there for $25.00! Looks like you had a fun time!

    • Thank you, Amy! Unfortunately there is no Ross around here, but I when I do go to my hometown, I often check out what Ross has! This dress was 1/2 off and ended up being only $35! So I was super happy about that!


  20. Shopping under pressure with just a few hours to get it together is a pain in the butt! But your prom outfit looks lovely! No hot mess to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I pass through watertown when I go visit my mother-in-law and I have never shop at dress barn, you give me the prefect excuse to make a stretch stop there!
    Thank you for hosting,


    • Thanks so much, Melissa! The Salmon Run Mall is a teeny tiny little mall, but it generally has everything I need! All the basics are there and on Arsenal Street which runs through Watertown. There is a very cool consignment shop in town, too (Solitary Consignment)! I plan on reaching out to them to see if we can do a collaboration post!


  21. Shopping for an special occasion can be nerve wrecking! I am glad it worked out for you and you look lovely in your dress.

  22. Awww, you poor thing! You look beautiful in this pretty dress and I love the manicure! Thank you very much for the shout-out, it was a very nice surprise. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, Jennie! I haven’t done a French manicure in years and I am really loving it! You were rocking your boho look so no surprise so many clicked on your linky! Thanks for always inspiring!


  23. oh no about things changing last minute. You sure did get a lovely dress and those heels are a heartstopper
    Rachel xo

    • Thank you so much, Rachel! I loved these shoes so much that I bought them in white and black as well. But I did take those two pairs back because after about an hour, my feet were dying! But they sure are pretty, I agree!


  24. What a lovely dress! – sounds like it was a great event for you & your husband!

  25. Wow talk about pressure shopping! Glad everything turned out okay because you look so happy and pretty!

    • Thank you, Ruth! I am really loving this dress even though it was actually my least favorite of all the ones I brought home. It turned out being my favorite!


  26. You definitely dont look like a hot mess! You look beautiful in that dress. What a great photo of you and your husband in uniform.

  27. Shopping under pressure is definitely not fun, great look though! x

  28. That’s a lot of stress to get notified the dress code so last minute. This dress is perfect for the event and you and your hubby look great!

    Thank you for hosting and hope you are having a fab week!


    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

  29. I love dressing up for military balls! I would have cried when I found out I wouldn’t be able to wear my formal gown! Kudos to you for finding a beautiful dress in crunch time! Looks like you had a blast!

    • Thank you, Kristin! You really love dressing up for these things?! I dread it every time! Ha! I feel like they are always on the hottest and most humid day of the year and the thought of getting dressed at all let alone in a fancy dress is so repugnant to me! Although I did end up feeling super sophisticated in this dress and I was much more comfortable than in past years when I wore a giant poofy ball gown!


  30. Whew, I think I linked back to you on my blog fyi. Okay, you look STUNNING in this dress. You should go buy 10 sundresses in this style that you can wear around the house and to the playground…or kindergarten. It is VERY flattering!

    • Laurie, you are too sweet! Thank you so much! I have worn dresses to the playground before (I wrote a post about it a while back). But the dress was not quite as fancy and I wore flat boots! I really love this style dress on me, too. So maybe I should start a collection of them!


  31. I always find that when I actually need a dress, I can never find one, so when I come across the perfect dress, I end up buying it and saving it for upcoming occasions. I Love the dress you ended up wearings and I’m glad everything turned out well. You looked beautiful!

    • Thank you so much, Rachael! I rarely have special occasions these days so picking up dresses like this doesn’t make sense for me. But at least now I know where to go to when I need a fancy dress!


  32. This dress is stunning! I adore the print. Loving you pedicure your too! You and your hubby are such a handsome couple. Thanks for sharing this special event!

    • Thank you so much, Kathrine! I found so many gorgeous dresses that day and all were under $50. I really wish I could have bought them all! Except then I would need places to where them!


  33. You and your husband look great! You picked a gorgeous dress <3

    Edye |

  34. Oh man what a crazy story! But it worked out – you totally snagged a cute dress for the event even with little time to work with!


  35. What a great dress! Such a great looking couple!
    Stylin In St. Louis

  36. I would NOT have handled all that last-minuteness as well as you did, that’s for sure! Hoping you can have a chance to wear the other dress soon and thanks for joining us at #FridayFrivolity!

  37. First, thanks for featuring me and second, you look great in these photos. I totally understand how all that last minute pressure made you feel frazzled but you certainly don’t look it. Hope you had a glass or two of something at the event because you certainly deserved it!


  38. You looked beautiful! Love the print of the dress

    Happy Monday & Lots of Love,

  39. Amazing, you look amazing. Well done for shopping for your dress in such short notice. Lovely to hear about your special occasion and see the fab photos. Love those shoes too. Jacqui

  40. I don’t think you look like a hot mess, I think you look gorgeous. And your dress is stunning, the colors are so pretty. The night looks like it was so much fun!!!!
    Thanks for hosting the link up. We’d love you to stop by and join ours every Tuesday.
    Betsy and Katey

  41. Such a change one day before the event! Very stressful. But you bought really perfect dress. You look lovely, the pattern of the dress is beautiful. And the heels are stunning.

    Thank you to linking up with My Red Carpet.

    Anna xoxo

  42. It looked like such a fun night! Love the pretty floral dress, and a nude sandal is always a classic. = )

  43. It’s about the pretty girl in the pretty dress. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. what a beautiful time! you look lovely in floral! thank your husband for his service!

  45. Even as a sweaty mess you look gorgeous! LOL
    That dress is perfect on you, I always say things seem to work out in the end. Glad you and hubby enjoyed a beautiful night together.

  46. Aww, read about your predicament! Never fun to “pressure shop!” Your long gown sounds lovely , perhaps there will be another event to wear it. I love the vibrant color and print you chose and you look radiant in ti. Sounds like you and Hubby had a nice evening!
    Thanks for linking up with Turning Heads Tuesday
    jess xx

    • Thanks so much, Jess! We did have a great evening. God knows, I needed to relax after the pressure shopping! But I am happy with how it all turned out. I am loving my new floral dress and I can’t wait to wear it again!


  47. Wow that’s so awesome! It’s so funny how the previous time your dress fit until the last weekend. total bummer but you got a new dress out of it. You look great! I would love if you can link up to

    • Thank you, Rania! These military functions are always an issue for me! But, yes, I definitely have a closet full of pretty dresses from it!

      Have a lovely weekend!


  48. I love the outfit you chose to wear! It looked great on you