Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Last Week I Left The Grocery Store And Hadn't Forgotten Where I'd Parked, I Couldn't Remember Driving There In The First Place. Granted, I Go To The Grocery Store About Every 36 Hours, But Come On! I Was Seriously Checked Out. I Blamed It On The Fact Sinead O'Connor's Old Song, Nothing Compares 2 U, Was On The Radio And Any Woman Who Spent Her Young Adult Life In The Early '90s Cannot Avoid Singing At The Top Of Her Lungs When She Hears It. It's Pavlovian, Really.

Our trip to Costa Rica is just around the corner! I am out of my mind excited about our family getaway. I have worked out three times in the last month, so I should be good to go in the bikini department. Or not. Actually, I think my self-tanner errors will keep people from noticing I'm not exactly a Victoria's Secret model. They'll be too consumed with the incredibly orange color of my right ankle. As am I.

Anyway, vacations are on my mind. Don't you feel just getting away from your regular routine helps make you more conscious of life in general? I do. There is something about being somewhere else that makes even the mundane seem richer - like I seem to not only notice the smell of the air in a new place, but the weight of it too. Even the sounds of the rental car or taxi driving on the road seem louder or more pronounced to me. It's awesome. Vacations turn on parts of our brains that we tend to let go a little dull in our day-to-day lives.

I think it's fun and psychologically beneficial (like having a glass of wine on the patio) to try to live as if I was on vacation every day. To bring that same sense of consciousness and gratitude to my daily existence. It's not always possible, I mean no one would schedule a mammogram on vacation, but for most of what we do each day, we could likely stand to turn on our awareness and appreciation a bit more. Try to treat things as new to us or different each time we hear, see, smell or do them.

This is such a cool way to really get into the present moment. When you step inside your house, imagine you're entering a beautiful vacation home you'll be spending a couple weeks in over the summer. Or when you're driving to the grocery store, try to capture that feeling you get when you're driving to the local grocery on a vacation trip to grab some muffins and juice because eating breakfast out every day costs more than a plane ticket. You can find a million ways to live every day with the curiosity and joy of a vacation.

If you want to get really trippy with it, each moment is a new one so it really is like we're in a new place all the time. Right? Anyway, give it a go. If anything, even just a few moments of living with a vacation vibe is helpful.

I'm wearing this.
A stretchy, black, cotton shift is the Swiss Army knife of a wardrobe. This one is doing laundry, cleaning toilets, running to the bank, and going out to dinner. See what I mean?

gratitude: the word Aloha, black bikinis, backyard progress, family time

thank and love.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Requests To The Personal Shopping Service, Stitch Fix, Have Been "Neutrals Only, Please" As Of Late. The Stylists Are Always So Nice About It, But I Can Imagine It's A Real Buzz Kill When You Work On My Fix. I Worry They Play Rock, Scissors, Paper To See Who Gets The Fun Job Of Pulling Clothes For That Fashion Daredevil In Colorado.

I feel I should have explained in my requests to Stitch Fix that I was sliding my way toward a "capsule wardrobe" lifestyle in recent months. That might have clued them into my very un-exciting requests. But regardless, the stylists at Stitch Fix have managed to provide me with nearly 50% of my simplified closet selections. And, as is the case with capsules, I love every piece and can use them each in multiple ways. Here are the goods.

First up, the Messi Lattice Neckline Top.


Oh, this is a gem! So comfy! So sexy! So able to hide wine stains! I love the way this fits and it's such a soft knit. I'd have worn it even more lately, but Colorado is now Seattle and I'm cold and wet.

Next we have this cute white, lace peasant top by Brixon Ivy.


I love this top because it looks super delicate, but it's machine-washable. I kid you not. I'm wearing it with the same pants I had on in the black tank photo. They are the Patrick Cropped Chino Pant by Level 99. They are one of the big splashes of color in my capsule wardrobe. Wheee! I know! I really feel I'm living on the edge when I wear them. Love the ankle length so shoes have their day in the sun too. These pants play well with everything.

Moving on to the gray t-shirt by Market & Spruce. This is one of my favorite pieces because it's a basic with a twist. Love the longer back! It makes me feel artsy and funky while I load the dishwasher. Which is much appreciated.


Now we have it paired with the Austen Utility Jacket.


I have wanted a piece like this ever since I read on a fashion blog that this type of jacket is one 'every stylish woman should own.' I have felt diminished until now. Thank you, Stitch Fix.

And now we've paired up our gray T/white jean look with a black blazer. The blazer by Kensie, to be exact.


The kind people at Stitch Fix met my request for a structured black blazer that wasn't overly stiff looking. I love this piece and have yet to find anything that it doesn't work with - I've even done it over a dressy sweat pant and met with success. Or so I choose to believe.

Now on to a couple of skirts, because I like to look like a girl from time to time, and I choose to believe that soon it will once again be warm enough in Colorado to wear something that doesn't fully cover the leg.  Here is the first one - the Evelin Printed Pencil Skirt.


It's a nice, clingy skirt that kind of sucks you in so you look better than normal -  like Spanx you can wear out to lunch with just a t-shirt.

Andy now the Raegan Floral Printed Swing Skirt.


Look at me! I'm wearing a pattern! I love this skirt. From heels to slip on sneakers, this skirt can go any direction you ask it to. I've paired it with a black T, peep-toe booties and a jean jacket because I'm hoping Geoff will ask me to go to dinner or shopping or to France (but we really don't have time for France right now. #goals).

And finally. The bag. Note the pictures of the gray t-shirt and jacket pairings. With the utility jacket, the bag is black. Yet in the blazer photo, the bag is brown. You are not seeing things. It is the same bag. I know, right? It's an awesome reversible tote bag from Stitch Fix. I can't remember who it's by, but it's wonderful and as long as I don't set it down in a spilled beer at a professional sporting event I will continue to revel in its versatility.

This really gives you an idea of the explosion of neutrals that have arrived on my doorstep in recent months. And you can kind of see how my capsule wardrobe works. Basically, everything in these pictures can, has, and/or will be paired with each other. And because I love each and every piece I will feel good and happy and joyous when I put them on.

Here's a link to get started on Stitch Fix yourself. I may even get a little discount if you use it which means more money available for youth sports. So, thank you.

Your patience is much appreciated, Stitch Fix.

gratitude: simplicity, eggs, candles from Target (eucalyptus and lemongrass), rainstorms while you're sleeping

thanks and love.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I've Been Watching A Lot Of Fitness Videos On YouTube Lately. They're Very Well Done And I'm Assuming Are Making Some Difference In My Overall Appearance, But I Struggle To Relate To The Teachers And Their Settings. Maybe I'll Post A Few Vids Of My Own - Appealing To The At-Home 40-Somethings. They'll Be Filmed In My Bedroom. I'll Be Wearing Pajama Bottoms, A Coffee-Stained T-Shirt, And I'll Be Sharing The Mat With Two Big Dogs And A Few Soggy Chew Toys.

I've had to amp up my fitness routine as we have a trip planned to Costa Rica next month so I'll be forced to wear things that include a good deal of Lycra and lack the coverage provided by my standard pair of skinny jeans. And even more distressingly, while I was talking and gesturing with my hands the other day, J.D.flicked my upper arm. While I was speaking. Just flicked it and it wobbled! Even though I was using that arm and you'd imagine holding it in the air would have caused the muscles to tighten enough to not wave. That was not the case. My upper arm waved like a chicken cutlet hanging from a wire. At that point I knew I didn't have a second to waste when it came to getting into shape.

Except, here's the thing. I know my weaknesses. I don't like to jump through a lot of hoops to get some exercise in and, while I have days I can devote an hour to fitness, there are other days I can only want to spare 15 minutes. I need a workout program that doesn't take too much effort or require a lot of time.

So I'm doing a few extra booty tightening sessions on YouTube and I found the dumbbells and a few of my old sculpting DVD's to dust off and put to use too. My main fitness thing though, has been and always will be, yoga. I truly believe almost everyone would benefit from a little daily practice. Even if it's just for 10 minutes. A simple series of yoga poses will get your circulation going, improve your posture and balance, calm your mind and help get you in the present moment. And, because I have hermit tendencies (and an unpredictable schedule), I can do yoga anytime in the comfort of my own messy bedroom with sites like YogaGlo or GaiamTV.

I know I'm more apt to exercise regularly if I don't make the whole process such an ordeal. If I can slip on my shoes and head out to jog around the 'hood (or a couple blocks, if I'm being honest) I'm more likely to do it than if I need to find a class time and drive to a club. And I'm more likely to want to exercise if what I'm doing makes my head and heart feel good - yoga for the win there. But that's just me.

So I'm going to forge ahead with my beefed up, but steadfastly simple fitness routine until we hit the beaches of Costa Rica. I currently look a little like a chicken in a swimsuit, so possibly with some toning and a few trips to the spray tan salon I'll look like a slightly more muscular, bar-b-qued chicken instead. I'm keeping my expectations in check.

I'm wearing this.
If this rain keeps up I'll be needing to add a snorkel.

gratitude: Bobbi Brown's Beach perfume, tortillas from Whole Foods, a weeded garden, family yoga sessions

thanks and love.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Capsule Wardrobe Project Has Been Like A Juice Cleanse For My Closet. I Feel Leaner And Cleaner. And I Was Able To Detoxify My Life A Bit Without Having To Pretend I Like To Drink Kale.

I’ve been claiming a life shift as an excuse for not posting since before the summer started, but human evolution takes time. Right? Anyway, I think lately I’m really getting somewhere with this transitional thing. I’ve been channeling simplicity. Quality over quantity. This must be a sign I am clearly aging maturing.

It started in my closet. I really pared down for April and lived with only 27 items for the entire month – this included scarves and shoes. It was not easy. Not only from the standpoint that I had less to choose from every day but, dear God, keeping a handful of clothes consistently clean is no small feat. There were points during the month where I wore ridiculous combos (fancy sweats and a blazer??) simply because I had nothing clean. Or I’d pull out a pair of jeans from the laundry basket and spend 10 minutes cleaning the dog paw marks off the legs before I left the house.

Anyway, it has changed me. I no longer want a walk-in closet bursting to the seams with color and pattern. I know what I like to wear, what I feel my best in, and I’d rather have a smaller number of those items available to me than any amount of colorful t-shirts and wild printed tops. No one could be more surprised about this change than I.

I feel a little less wasteful too. In the past I’d wear something for six hours or so and toss it into the laundry bin, because who knows what it touched? And it seemed perfectly okay fill up the washing machine with steaming hot water and run it for an hour because maybe there were cooties on those jeans. But now, unless something is visibly stained or smells like fajitas I’ll usually hang it back up on the rack. I just can’t afford to have my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans lose too much rotation time.  So I’m adding less to the wash and not needlessly using precious water to wash perfectly clean items.

I also feel like this exercise has made it easier for me to think about things. Like some of my headspace has opened up because I’m not wasting my brain energy coming up with an outfit for that green ikat top I want to love, but don’t. I don’t have to think too much about what I’m putting on and I know whatever I do choose, it will be something I feel great in, so my brain can move on to other things - like what I’d like to learn and do or how to decorate our dining room. I feel like I’m making some progress in my life (finally). It’s the kind of progress that isn’t totally visible to the naked eye, but more the kind I feel inside.

It’s even made me take a closer look at some of my friendships in my life. I see better now how I could improve my role in some of them a bit, but I’m also honestly recognizing those that just aren’t really clicking anymore. I want to feel good about the relationships I have and I'll admit there are one or two that have been making me feel pretty bad for quite a while. I may have to let go of them. It’s painful to consider, but it actually feels worse to be in a friendship that feels empty, than it does to release it and make room for something better.

So basically, it’s been a lot of simplifying, paring down and streamlining, and as a result, I’m gaining clarity. It feels good. I highly encourage you to give this fashion diet a try. I don’t know if the results I’m getting are because clothes have always been such a big part of my life so it makes sense that shifting there would have a ripple effect or what. But I really feel the smaller wardrobe has triggered some bigger changes. And I am welcoming them with open arms and spacious closet.

I'm wearing this.

These are literally the only pair of pants I had clean. I'm relieved, and surprised, it's not snowing.

gratitude: the smell of our dogs, peonies, a glass of wine, talks around our kitchen island

thanks and love.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Came To On A Pile Of Laundry. This Pretty Much Sums Up How Last Weekend Went.

When I stopped moaning and opened my eyes I saw a pair of inside out underwear and could smell the shirt JD wears under his shoulder pads. He'd left it in his lacrosse bag for over a week and I recalled demanding he get it out before I put this load in the wash. I felt the dampness of a used washcloth under my right cheek. It felt nice. The pain hit almost immediately - right on the outside corner of my left eye.

Otis and I had just had our second collision in four months. The first occurred shortly after we adopted him. I was doing laundry and bent down to pick a sock off the floor that had fallen from the pile I was folding on the bed. As I was heading down to get the sock, Otis jumped on the bed - probably in an effort to help me with the folding or because he likes warm laundry. My mouth hit his head and I ended up with a fat lip and two giant scabs that made me look like a member of Spinal Tap at Bobbi Fleckman's party throughout our entire holiday season.

This time we hit heads. I was bending down to grab a load off the floor and he ran out of the bedroom like a racehorse because he heard voices outside and that meant we were clearly under attack and he needed to man his station at the front door to prevent the invaders from gaining entry to our house. The swelling started right away, which wasn't bad, but when I woke up on Sunday I looked like I'd lost a fight. I have a major league black eye and, based upon how dark the bruising is, I will likely look normal again about the time the kids go back to school (I'm talking Fall 2015). I think these injuries prove it's time we hire a professional launderer. Or I need to work on developing a laundry helmet.

Facial bruising was really just the tip of the ol' iceberg over here this weekend. Prior to my injury I had successfully broken two iPads in less than 12 hours. One I dropped in the bathroom after a heavy application of hand lotion and the other I threw off our balcony because I didn't know it was in our comforter at the time I gathered it up to shake off all the dog hair.

On Saturday night I reaffirmed that mixed drinks are not my friend. I am clearly a wine and beer only kind of girl.

Also, Eliza's car ,which was parked on the street in front of a friend's house, was hit by a drunk driver. Thank God she wasn't in it or near it at the time. But the whole shebang involved an arrest of the driver, a towing of the car, and now likely, a new car purchase due to the fact that the 4-Runner (which Geoff and I bought when I was pregnant with Eliza) is worth less than the required repairs.

And we have a new dog. Another adorable shelter dog named, Lucy. On Monday, less than a week after we adopted her she needed to have a very expensive dental procedure. This came as no surprise to us.

Here are some pics of the fur squad.

Otis telling me Lucy is chewing his elephant toy and he can't believe this is how it's going to be from here on in.

Lucy being demure.

They are hiding. I think. And yes, that's a bra there because I keep it real.

They smell something potentially edible.

But even through it all, Life is so good. Eliza wasn't in her car. Rescue dogs are wonderful. I am fully 'cleansed' after my margarita experience. iPads are replaceable. And the bruising on my eye really looks like a very impressive cosmetic application. Much to be grateful for, and this kind of stuff, entire weekends like this, help us to practice steadiness. No one in the family unraveled. Humor was maintained. I was impressed and proud.

gratitude: we're all here, yoga even with dogs on the mat, being asked to join Amy's class, Geoff's new anti-snore pillow (we may have something here)

thanks and love.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Was Going To Post Yesterday, But I Was Afraid It Would Seem Like An April Fool's Joke. Which Would Have Made It All Too Easy For Me To Convince Myself I Was Just Kidding And Disappear For Yet Another Month.

I haven't had much to say lately so that explains the lack of postings. Actually, I've had plenty to say but most of it would have involved either expletives, moaning, or a quivering chin. If I shared a humorous perspective (however fleeting it may have been) I might have hurt some feelings or worse, appeared to not care about things as much as I really do.  I've spent a lot of time feeling a bit like this:


Anyway, the clouds seem to have parted either because of time, a change of season, or maybe the sage I burnt in a desperate attempt to shift my energy. I accept I'm at a place in life that involves managing a certain level of unsteadiness most of the time and I need to just deal with it as gracefully as possible or continue to move through my days whining - which is not how I like to live. This means it's back to the yoga mat, reading good stuff, and simplifying where I can.

Since I love clothes so very much, I'm taking an active approach to simplicity in this particular area of my life. I've read a lot about capsule collections - picking a limited number of pieces to wear for a period of time. I don't know about you, but my closet is full of different styles and colors, but I tend to wear only a few things most days. Looking at this jumbled array makes me feel bogged down, uninspired, and a little out of control. Strangely, these are some of the very same emotions that had been bringing me down in other areas of my life as well. Coincidence? Perhaps.

So, in the name of science and style, I'll be using April to experiment with the capsule wardrobe concept. I've seen a lot of capsule ideas on Pinterest and actually found a blogger out there who picks 37 pieces to wear for an entire three month season. Impressive, I thought. But, because I don't want to overwhelm my fragile psyche at this point, I'll start with a one month trial period. I've selected 30 items to wear this month (shoes and scarves included). This is really quite daring as Colorado weather in April could mean several inches of snow or 80+ degrees and the blogger that inspired me lives in more temperate Austin, Texas. And, April also involves a few occasions requiring snazzier dress than my daily "What should I wear to Whole Foods?" look, which will challenge the capsule approach further. And I like that.

This is what my April capsule collection looks like hanging in my closet.

Basically, it's three sweaters, two jackets, five pants, three skirts, two scarves and nine tops.

These are the shoes I'll be wearing, plus one more pair that should arrive soon thanks to a sale and coupon combo that could not be ignored.


I'm looking forward to all this. I feel like it will help me feel a little more settled and in control. Which would be nice. And from that calmer place who knows what other loveliness will emerge? Plus, I'll be attempting to post a pic regularly of what I'm wearing from the capsule (I know, so much to look forward to!) and because I really should write a little something along with the photo, I'll be making myself produce and create more often and maybe then I'll stop getting in my head so much and just write already.

Anywho, here is what I wore yesterday (4/1).


And here is today(4/2). Snow coming. Otis questioning.


gratitude: crock pot recipes that don't require processed food and actually have flavor, getting back to yoga again, a pedicure, the Kindle app on my iPad, patios

thanks and love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Have You Ever Had That Experience When You Turn On Your Kid's Phone, And They've Been Taking Selfies, So The Camera Is On Already And The First Thing You See Is A Mega- Close Up Of Your Face? I Swear It Almost Stops My Heart Sometimes. TMI, Miss Girl.

Almost as sobering is putting together a resume after a 17 year quiet period in your job search.  And yet, I sat down and cranked one out the other day and emerged from the process relatively unscathed.  I had no intention to create a resume this early on in my quest for future employment - I had held resume development right up there with swim suit shopping - I knew I'd have to do it eventually, but I kept putting it off hoping the next time I tried, things would look different.  They didn't.  I only ended up forcing my way through this task because I thought I'd found the perfect job for me.  It wasn't perfect, but I thought it sounded fun.  And based upon the bullet pointed job requirements, I was fully qualified.  Which is really saying something - trust me.

I made it to the phone interview process and was eliminated after only the second question.  They wanted to know about my availability.  Looking back, I would have asked what kind of availability the job required, but I foolishly babbled on about wanting to find something that would fit in with my life and that my kids still required my attention, but less than before, but also that I could be flexible sometimes, just not all the time and blah, blah, blah.  Clearly, it's been a while since I've been interviewed.  Very rookie mistake - but the truth.  The interviewer in all her 20-something glory said that didn't fit with the job requirements and maybe I should check out some temporary jobs with them this summer.  I spent the rest of the day in a bit of a funk, but bounced back later thanks to time and a glass of wine and a supportive family and Oprah.

My spontaneous jumping into a job search surprised me a bit - I mean, part of me thought I was only in the conceptual stage at this point.  I certainly don't expect to find anything soon, but I read something that made me realize I can't just sit around waiting for the doorbell to ring.  A guy had been asking God over and over again to let him win the lottery.  It never happened no matter what kind of offering the guy made.  Finally, as the man was wailing in exasperation, God spoke and told him to buy a lottery ticket.  Please. So I view my newly crafted resume as a lottery ticket of sorts.  There are no guarantees I'll find the perfect thing (although I have a strong suspicion I can), but I'm not going to get anywhere without a resume.

At this stage, I'm cooling my jets and resting on my resume-creating laurels a bit - I mean, that was a zero to 60 week for me in the career search, right?  And we have two kids playing Varsity for the first time ever, so I'll be doing everything I can to make sure I am at those games.  We don't get these days back, so rather than bemoan the fact that I don't have any leads when it comes to my job search right now (I do have a resume ready to go at a moment's notice #stepone) - I'm going to consciously enjoy the luxury of not having to juggle my desire to be there for my kids' events while establishing myself in a new job at this point.  Glass half-full, thank you very much.

I'm off to volunteer at my weekly food bank sesh.  Talk about perspective.

gratitude:  Oprah's book, Things I Know For Sure, black turtlenecks, red wine vinegar chips, blue pens

Enjoy this photo of Otis.  It was taken in the aftermath of a vicious battle between him and his new stuffed pig.  Otis emerged the victor, but it clearly took something out of each of them.



thanks and love.