Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Okay, I gotta admit it: this Fall Style Challenge is addicting!

The ladies in the challenge are posting their pictures on the Facebook group page and I'm having a hard time tearing away from the feed! Everyone is so encouraging and positive. Plus, it's so fun to see how everyone is styling the given outfit for the day. Here's what my version looks like! Oh I like what she did in her version! Well that version is certainly...different!

It's sort of like following a recipe: this shirt, with those pants and these shoes and that scarf. Voila'! Instant cute outfit! Plus I don't have to think of what to wear; the decision is made for me.

It's also fun to see how people are adapting it for warm weather (subbing shorts for jeans or short sleeves for long), for work (swapping jeans for pants, a cardigan rather than a military jacket) or swapping things out because they don't have a certain element such as booties or black skinny jeans.

Wanna see what I'm talking about? Okay, here's my day one outfit:
 The "ingredients" were boyfriend jeans, striped top, booties, tassel necklace.

I selected my new skinny boyfriend jeans (Max Jeans-Marshalls clearance), black and white striped top (Forever 21), tan suede booties - (Old Navy), and long dangly necklace in place of a tassel necklace (Old Navy. 

However, it was going to be a hot day, so the second picture is what really happened. I thought it would be fun to stick to the theme. I wore a striped, short sleeved top (Liz Clairborne-old), jean shorts (Gap-old, rolled up boyfriend style), black flip flops (Clarks from Bealls this summer), and a short, freshwater pearl necklace (Shell World in Key Largo). I was just staying home after all, wasn't feeling well and didn't want the longer necklace to get in the way.

For day two the ingredients were oatmeal, long sleeved top, black skinny jeans, cognac riding boots, military jacket and plaid scarf.
Again I had to adapt to the weather so I wore a short sleeved oatmeal top (Jones New York - old), black skinny jeans (Forever 21-last year), leopard flats (Merona-Target), and a lightweight scarf (H&M - Paris, 3 years ago). A funny thing happened: I accidentally posted my picture on my Facebook page, not the challenge page. I was in a hurry to take my daughter to co-op and didn't realize my mistake til later. When it occurred to me, my first impulse was to delete it and just repost it in the right place, but then I realized that several people had already made likes and comments. So I shrugged my shoulders and let it go. And happy coincidence: several people who don't usually comment on my stuff left me compliments! Made me feel all warm and yummy inside!

This challenge is certainly teaching me new things, getting me out of my comfort zone and helping me to feel pretty! What about you? What are you doing to help you feel pretty? Tell me in the comments!

Deena | Christy | Jordan | Carrie C. | Shaunacey | Danielle | Beth | Joy | Sarah | 
Leslie | Katie | Jennifer | Carrie M. | Lisa | Sheila | Lana | Lauren | Anna | Alison

Monday, October 13, 2014

Trying on a new style!

Now that my kids are older, I'm finding time to do more stuff for me. One thing is to get back in touch with fashion and style. For the looooongest time, I have neglected myself. First it was that I didn't have time, between raising kids and homeschooling. Add that to I didn't like the way I looked in clothes and I didn't want to spend money on *that* size. Recently things began to change.

The change began when I started losing weight with Trim Healthy Mama. Suddenly, clothes were fitting better on me, loose even! I started thrifting for smaller sizes. A good friend let me go through a large pile of her cast offs and let me pick what I wanted in my new size. She has excellent taste and the clothes are high quality from some of my favorite stores. I started to get excited about clothes again!

Recently, I found out about the Get Your Pretty On Fall Style Challenge and I jumped onboard! Alison Lumbatis is a mom with three kids (like me!) who guides you through new ways of styling yourself. She provides you with a shopping list of items you'll need for the challenge. You start by shopping your closet for the items and then you can fill in with things you are missing. You don't have to buy *everything* and she gives you ideas of how to sub items. Some of the pieces are standard, basic items and some are more trendy, getting you out of your comfort zone and into trying new things!

The other fun aspect is the closed Facebook group of ladies who are also participating in the challenge. They provide feedback and encouragement as you step out of your comfort zone and try things that are new to you. They offer constructive, but not critical or disparaging, comments to help you achieve your new look.

Once the challenge begins, you receive a different outfit combo, complete with pictures, that is created from the pieces on the list. You then style the outfit using your wardrobe pieces in accordance with your tastes. I really look forward to everyone's pictures and their interpretation of the daily outfit!

I have had fun going on shopping sprees with my daughter, who has excellent taste, as well as with a friend who has also joined the challenge. I looked for some new pieces to add to my wardrobe, scouting out the best prices, shopping sales, clearance racks and discount stores and even thrifted a few items to get all the pieces for my capsule wardrobe. If you're interested, it's not too late! You can still sign up here!

In case you are curious to see what I'm talking about, here are some (but not all) of my capsule pieces:

 Pants, sweaters and scarf
 Layering tees and tops
 Some of my vest collection
 Some of my shoes that I'll be using

And here's an outfit that I styled after seeing how some of the people who have already done a style challenge were putting their outfits together.
Here are a few things that I've already learned:
  1. Layering is good, even if it's still hot out. 
  2. Wear a long dangly necklace to add interest.
  3. In place of booties, wear taller shoes. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Black olive pesto

I threw this recipe together in desperation last night after working all day in the garden. I didn't have any meat defrosted. I wanted pasta (quick! easy!) but I didn't want to do a tomato sauce. What I really wanted was pesto since I had been planting basil seeds that day but in the absence of fresh basil I thought of sun-dried tomato pesto. But when I went to the pantry I was OUT of sun-dried tomatoes!! �� I had already pressed two garlic cloves so I quickly shifted gears and switched to black olive pesto.

Into the Cuisinart went two handfuls of pitted black olives, a half cup of sliced almonds, a tablespoon of capers. A quick whirrr. Hmmm...what else? It needed something green but the only fresh herbs in the garden were sage, thyme (both pretty strong flavors) and oregano! Yes! That would work! A few springs, then added some extra vergin olive oil and about a quarter cup (ok more like a half cup) of freshly grated parmiggiano. Perfect! Dinner is served!
Today mom used the leftovers to coat artichokes. So delish!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Coconut Lime Muffin (THM - S)

Our family loves the muffin in a mug from the Trim Healthy Mama book! We have experimented with lots of different flavors. This is one of my favorites!

Here's how I did it:

Take the basic "MIM" recipe on page 256 of the book (page 257 explains how not to make it chocolate) and add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract, 1/2- 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, and lime zest (about a lime half). I also use about 1/2 tablespoon rather than one tablespoon of oil. I often substitute EVOO in place of the coconut oil. It's just easier to pour.

You might notice that this muffin is not in a coffee mug. I found that the Pampered Chep prep bowls are a perfect size. I prep 6 bowls at a time with the dry ingredients. Then in the morning we just have to add the wet ingredients and the special flavorings. One morning I might have a coconut lime MIM and another day I'll have pumpkin spice.

This ONE muffin holds me all morning! It's amazing! And delicious! If you follow THM, this is an S.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cleaning house

One of the things I'm trying to focus on more now that I'm not working as a Sonlight advisor is to deep clean and declutter the house. I've been following Spring Cleaning 365 for over a year now. She focuses on one area a week, giving you daily tasks to tackle. Most tasks take 5-15 minutes. She also gives you a monthly habit to form. Currently we are in the kitchen and the Cleaning Habit for this month is to Clean Your Kitchen Every Night. I love to get up in the morning to a clean kitchen! I've been enjoying doing the tasks. Some days are so busy that I don't get to them but I leave it in my email inbox and then try to tackle it the next day (or the next, or all on one day).

I've informed my family of the current monthly task and am asking for their participation. If I clean the kitchen after dinner and then go to bed, I do *NOT* want to wake up to a dirty kitchen or things in the sink. If they make something, then it's up to them to clean up after themselves. It's been going well. Do you have a method to your cleaning? I'm HOW old and I'm still learning! What are your tips?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Segway tour of St. Augustine

Months ago I received an email from John H, asking me if I would be interested in a Groupon for a double date. It sounded like fun, the price was reasonable, and I'd never been on a Segway! 

We presented the certificates to our spouses as Christmas (Denise) and birthday (Michael) gifts and finally settled on a date in January. Between John's call schedule and Michael's travel schedule, it was tricky finding a date that would work. We finally picked a Sunday afternoon.

We met up at the bike rental location on King Street. Turns out there was one other couple from Atlanta that was part of the tour. They had Segwayed before so they were considered the old pros. After a brief explanation of how to mount, steer, and dismount, we took turns getting on and practiced starting, turning, stopping and getting off. After a few minutes of wheeling around in the parking lot, we were off!

Sandy was an excellent guide, very friendly and very knowledgeable about both the Segways and the history of St. Augustine.
She took us throughout the city, taking us down little back roads that we didn't even know existed! We learned about Henry Flagler and the buildings he built, about Flagler College, about the Spaniards and the town they built, and about the runaway slaves that joined the Spanish settlement. We rode along the sidewalks and in the streets and up on the sea wall. 

It was growing dark by the time we headed back. We were able to see a little of the "Night of Lights" as we rolled through the square in front of the Lightner Museum. 

Oh, remember The "experienced" couple? He took a fall near the end, and the wife ran into Michael as she turned to see what had happened, so she took a tumble too! They were okay, just a little bruised, hands, knees and ego.

We had a wonderful time, followed by dinner at the A1A Ale House. The dinner was okay, not spectacular. But it was delightful to share what we enjoyed about the experience and to thaw out! It was pretty cold after over an hour riding around!

(No, Michael did not get a gold tooth. That's a great lighting trick though isn't it?)

This is part of our "St. Augustine in 2014" motto for this year! We plan on exploring St. Augustine monthly, learning more about the history and the eateries in "the oldest city."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another milestone

Today marks a new change in my life. Yesterday my middle child turned 16 and of course part of the day consisted of a trip to the DMV to get a driver's license. We have another driver in the household. 

Although we already went through this with our first-born, I'm finding it doesn't get any easier with the second. I clearly remember the day Michael and I drive two cars to the DMV, then watched Tommy drive off to school alone. That was hard. Reeeeeeeealy hard.

I relived that day today, but this time Timothy and Annie drove off together to go to PEP.

( There goes my liiiiiifffe... running through my head)

And another string that binds my children to me is severed. 

And another little piece of my heart breaks off. 

This parenting thing is the hardest roller coaster I've ever ridden. With exhilarating peaks and steep drops, it often stops me in my tracks, gasping for breath, eyes blurred.

Today is one of those moments that quickly drops me to my knees in prayer for my children. Lord, pleeeeeeaaase keep my children safe on the road! Keep all bad drivers far from them. Give Timothy wisdom in how to handle any situation that arises.... And then I receive the required text: WE MADE IT ALIVE. 



Tears. (I'm such a sap, I know.)

And I've got to do this aaaaaaallll over again in two years! (I just felt another hair turn grey.)