Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cruisin...

It is really nice to feel a vacation in my almost immediate future. Although as you remember from my last post vacation to Canada, that travel anxiety has to cause me to almost burst before I can even think of ordering my first tiny umbrella drink. This time I thought I had it under control. After all I had weeks to prepare. Its not like I had to wash and prepare my summer clothes. My shorts haven't seen any wear action in over a month. My tank tops are strictly worn under a sweater so the sweater fabric won't have direct contact with my skin. (my arms are on their own). Packing for a trip is a lot of dedication...how do you pack a week's worth of shoes into one carry on bag? Unfortunately my entire shoe collection had to be put back and the packing had to be brought down to necessities (four dresses, four pairs of shorts, five tanks, three tees, one pair of jeans, three blouses and a cardi..and what ever I wear to the air port). Also included in my pre-vacation plans...take my kids to do something Halloween-y. Perhaps something fun enough to roll away the guilt from going on vacation during trick or treat time.  Combine that in with doing a two weeks worth of work before I can think of walking out the door on Friday...

I did manage to accomplish the things I wanted.

Well..not in the capacity i was thinking. The kids went a Halloween party...but they weren't quite what I was thinking. I told them we were going to a Halloween Party..Layla says "Well are we going to be outside? I am coming down with a cold. Maybe I shouldn't be outside".

Somehow Friday and Saturday molded into each other. They all became ways to get to vacation. Sometime in the car ride to the air port, I looked at Josh. "Liv's boots and jean jacket are in the back seat" She is being a cowgirl for Halloween..half her costume is in the car....welcome to my vacation.

Casual Friday this week meant one thing...high waist jeans. Maybe it was was my high expectations for the day...maybe it was the idea that I would never get all my work done by 5...So when I was sitting at my desk at 5:15 doing stuff for the first of the month...I knew at least I looked hot. I wore my high waist jeans I bought from the Gap for $4 (yes $4) and a great empire blouse. I guess I am going for casual Friday into causal Friday. I love the whole 70s vibe of my outfit. I threw in a scarf since it was the most wintry day of the season and I froze my butt off. All I could think was "tomorrow I will be in Florida" Since I will be floating somewhere in the Atlantic with limited access to the Internet..there will be very little posting. I hope my devotees can make it... I have a suitcase of great cruise worthy outfits packed...and some great pics to come. You can make it..only four days.....I can't say this enough. Thanks for following!!!

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Shirt: Kohls
Pants: Gap
Scarf: H&M
Necklace: made at home
Shoes: MIA (DSW)




Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lady Balls

Do you ever have those days when you just want to challenge the world? Everything from not letting aggressive drivers get the beset of me to asking for something you know you deserve. I felt a little on fire today. (and not the oh no my kids started school sort of fever fire). I don't know if no pants Thursday is really starting to show off my brass lady balls or if I just felt like I was a bit more in charge than most days. I guess I just go tired of worrying...as I notoriously do. I made a  phone call to someone not in my immediate circle of two (exaggeration font) people I am comfortable talking on the phone to. Maybe my over all honey badger attitude (I don't give a shit) comes from the fact that in less that two days, I will be on my way to the sunny state of Florida to board a Disney cruise..(childless...weird). Josh and I are going to do wedding pictures so we are tagging along with a pirate themed wedding. My mind seems to have no idea it is going on vacation..we are just not in sync. But since I am in subconscious vacation mode..I seemed to feel like anything was possible. For example, when we got home from my parents, I asked the kids to do some chores and they just did it. There was no arguing, no whining...just compliance. They are in the almost perfect stage of helping out around the house. They are no longer at the baby stage where you let them "help" just to make them happy..only to have to go over what they did or your will find your underwear in the dishwasher. They aren't at the teenager stage where they figured out that cleaning is actual work...and give me half assed participation so they can go do nothing with their friends. (I know, I did it).

The next thing that defined my day was truly a magical shopping experience. I have been wanting a dress for a while. A super cute lace dress from MM Couture. It was sold out of my usual shopping go to, Piperlime. So I had to do the next best thing..Google it. I found a new company, Revolve Clothing. I had never ordered from there..so of course I scanned the web page for a "email sign up" discount. (I usually hope for 20% off..but will settle for 10%). While there was an email sign up, there was no discount. Then I did my next...I Googled "coupon codes" for the site. A good shopper never pays full price. No luck..but I did see a shopping tip about emailing the customer service after the order was placed and they will offer a discount.  I didn't feel like taking too much time...they only had a Medium left..which means the dress was obviously close to being sold out. Then I saw a "live chat" so I nicely asked my representative, Ralph, if they did any new customer discount. 30% if you email customer service with your order number. Yes that is correct, 30%. I was so excited I could barely get my credit card in fast enough. Just as promised...I got my 30% price adjustment..and hopefully a dress I will love. (pics to come)

Feeling empowered doesn't have to be something huge. Today it was a little bit of sass that comes from not wearing pants combined with a subconscious vacation. It was a little bit of luck combined with some lady balls...and of course my favorite yellow sweater pairing with a pair of hot tights. Welcome to the weekend.

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Shirt: Old Navy
Sweater/Belt/ Earrings: The Limited
Shoes: Seychelles (DSW)
Tights: Kohls

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

She Wore Diamonds.....

"She's a rich girl, she dont' try to hide it..diamonds on the soles of her shoes. He's a poor boy, empty as a pocket with nothing to loose.."  Paul Simon.

With the month of October nearing, I can only think of one thing. My birthday. November brings for me another year notched on my belt...more life experience had. November is when I reflect on what accomplishments I have made in the last year...and if I have grown any or taken steps backward. I know many people do this on New Years day..but I think of these things on my birthday. Anyone else who suffers through a sunless-winter in Youngstown OH knows that you don't make any sort of life changing decision in January...the only thing I decide is whether I can get up or call in dead. For that reason, and the fact that I just love to be different, I use the day of my birth as my time of rebirth. I am not one of those people who is trying to loose weight or quit something upon my rebirth. I am not crazy enough to think I can say something like "I want to loose ten pounds" and I will stick with that goal for an entire year. I am lucky if I can maintain any sort of order for an entire week, let alone a year. For me it is the overall picture. When I look in the mirror am I satisfied with what I see? Last November, I could honestly say I wasn't. I was in all roles I couldn't seem to play right..full time working mother, mother, former college student..all of these things that described me, could not define me. There is something about leaving your twenties that gives life more of a serious tone. You can't just spring out of debt, you can't just put on a pair of jeans from college, you can't just throw on a string bikini (unless you are headed to Wal-Mart), you are suddenly filled with these grown up restrictions. As 11.11.11 nears and I stare right in the cold face of 32..I can honestly say I am starting to move my way around these restrictions..and define my own path. 

"People say she's crazy..she wore diamonds on the soles of her shoes..well that's one way to loose these walking blues..." Paul Simon

When I was a kid, the only thing I really wanted to be was rich. I never defined what that meant..I just wanted to be rich. (or rich enough to hire a maid so I could show my mom how unnecessary cleaning my room really was.....) Now that I am older and much the wiser..I have revised my wish a bit and decided that being rich was not the same thing as being wealthy. Having riches is more about having resources..and I am feeling very resourceful lately. But, that doesn't stop me from dressing rich...or wealthy. I have heard people say "if I had money, I would dress nice too". I can promise you that I don't have much money..but I love to dress rich. Next time you pick something out at the store ask yourself if you think it looks rich....

Since it is Weds, I have more of my fantasy shopping list. I have picked out the first five items of my birthday wish list top ten. These items are all things that would make me feel rich to own..things that are elegant..classy and fun. Feel free to wrap with a bow and send my way on 11.11....


This dress opens doors..it sips martinis that it never has to pay for. I love the structured touch of the pleating combined with the femininity of the blousy sleeves. The touch of red makes this the perfect Holiday party dress....

Piperlime Dress



2. Rebecca Boots Fossil  
These boots are mahogany. Say that word slowly..it sounds rich doesn't it. Rich mahogany..the perfect blend of brown and red. The color I want the hardwood floors in my house to be and the color I want to be wearing when I think brown boots. I have always liked the modern vintage look that Fossil brings. When I can afford it, I like to invest in Fossil bags, wallets, etc. They are both nice and made really well. I have been wishing for these boots from the time the first leaf fell of the tree....

Fossil Boots



3. Cozy Winter Coat. Modcloth

Imagine yourself near a bonfire. You gloved hands are wrapped around a cup of hot cocoa. You blow on the steam rising up from your melting marshmallows. You take a small sip and wrap your index finger around the handle of the mug..waiting to take the next sip. You other hand is free and immediately you reach up to give yourself a one handed hug. Your arm is cuddled in softness...but yet you look stylish and sexy in this amazing coat. I love the over sized lapel and belt on this coat. I picture this coat for weekends over skinny cords or during the week over a dress for work. I have been on the hunt for a great waist length coat for late fall/winter. I love this one from Modcloth...it is my coat lust for the season.

Modcloth Coat


I recently found this line via Twitter. (who says social media isn't the way to go?!). This was the gold at the end of the rainbow...literally. I love the elegance of this cuff. The red sparkly gem in the middle of a beautifully structured gold cuff. You can wear this and a white Tshirt...and be ready to go out. I would love to pair this with a cream sweater dress and boots. Presently this little beauty is out of stock...but hopefully I am the first on the waiting list when she gets more. 

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Hello darkness my old friend.... For those you who have never heard these word sung out of the amazing Paul Simon's mouth..then you are missing out. I saw him in New Orleans ten years ago. It was the Jazz Festival..and not long after I had fallen in love with Graceland.  When I heard Paul Simon was coming to my state on Nov 23.....I knew I had to go. I still haven't gotten the extra cash for tickets...
Paul Simon Tickets

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small Talk

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I was thinking today about the lost art of small talk. Someone had said they were oddly shy in the strangest of situations. That really got me thinking about how we rely so much on small talk to get us through our day. Do you notice it is the people who have mastered this strange art that seem to get ahead in life? Its not always the smartest or most qualified people who are the managers and bosses...it is the ones who are the best at small talk. I will have to say, I am not one of those people. In my mind, I go over conversations again and again, kind of like a football team goes through game plays. lets see, I almost said the right thing there...then I ran of to the left on a tangent. You can tell by the obvious confusion in the person's eyes that I have lost them. Don't talk about your kids..don't. Ask about theirs..damn it.you idiot. That's pretty much how a replay goes in my mind. I know that I am not one of those normal person...you know one of those sports replaying, real housewives watching, team Jacob kind of people. While I have working knowledge on all of these subjects, I seem to get the same blank stare in my eyes when they are brought up.  Did you ever see that episode of Tosh.0 when the Turtle Kid got a web redemption? When he was interviewed about how he liked his zombie outfit..and his response was "I like turtles". I am the grown up version of the "I like turtles" video.

I know I am not alone...we the small talk challenged should band together for a session of awkward conversation. How do you like the zombies? I like turtles. Have you ever hung out with a group of nerds? Their voices filled with so much excitement as they discuss the hobbit to elf ratios of life? Its because when nerds get together we are happy there is someone else in our small talk challenged circles. Think of a job interview...its like small talk under the microscope. When you are small talk challenged, every conversation has the potential to feel like that. Sometimes I even feel like that when I am talking with my closest of friends. Its like I know what I want to say..but it just doesn't want to come out right. It is a jumbled version of what I was thinking. The less I know you, the more the jumble. I have said it a couple times...but I am a better writer than talker. Here I can arrange my thoughts into how I want them to appear and even choose my topics. I don't have to worry about the wild card factor of the other side of the conversation. Talk is overrated anyway...so when you see me with my headphones on deep in thought..tune into the blog. That is where I have my best conversations

I would like to have a little convo about my marigold paisley sweater. Yellow has become my new best friend. (we have long conversations about bananas and dandelions). Last time I paired it with a rich shade of warm purple. This time, I went with a cooler shade, peacock blue. I love the contrast of a marigold and peacock..it is a match made in jewel tone heaven. I did my pictures in a grain today. It is a representation of how small talk feels for me, not smooth but grainy. I guess the best thing I can do is try to lay off the small talk and let my color choices do the talking. What can I say? I like turtles.


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Pants/Cardi: The Limited
Shirt: Old Navy
Belt/Shoes: Target
Necklace: Charlotte Russe
Sunglasses: XOXO (Burlington Coat Factory)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Red Hot

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Do you ever have those days where you just feel like taking a risk? You know those days where you just don't give a care what people think about you? It is always those inner thoughts you give to yourself that prevents you from allowing yourself to try a new trend. What is she thinking? There seems to be a huge gap between what people wear in magazines and big cities and what people wear in small town, USA. I have spent the last month trying to establish myself as an ambassador of the real girl. The real girl looks at pictures of Fall Fashion Week and thinks..WTF?  I don't go anywhere cool enough to begin to pull any of that off. What I like to do is take current trends and styles and try to bring the down to my little reality. Who doesn't like to escape for a minute ? It is like taking a vacation..but much cheaper. "I close my eyes..only for a moment and the moments gone" (Old School anyone?). I take a mental trip into a much cooler life. I am this trendy twenty something living in a metropolitan area. The wind is blowing as my lace up wedges step along the busy streets. I come to the crosswalk. I am surrounded by buildings..big bright buildings. There is a dull hum of the morning commute but I can't hear because I have my ear buds in. (which twenty something doesn't?). My morning has a soundtrack.  It is a scene right out of a magazine or romcom.  I am cool, confident..sexy and smart. So when I put on something that seems a little out of place in my normal life, so when I close my eyes and magically am transported into the life I feel like I fit into, I fit the part.

Today, I wore something I keep seeing in magazines and in store windows alike, red pants. I have been a pair of straight leg pants in a bright red hue. In the rain, migraine and over all Monday-ness that was today, I leaned on the warmth radiating from my red hot pants to keep me in high spirits. Small town girls - if you are brave enough to try this fun look, I would suggest pairing them with a neutral (tan, gray, cream, camel, etc) to quiet the pants enough for an everyday look. I love the bright primary colors that are right on trend this fall. I plan stepping up my neutrals by giving them access to some pops of bright color.

"Well she was an American girl...raised on promises. She couldn't help thinking that there was a little more life somewhere else. After all it was a great big world..with lots of places to run to..." Tom Petty 

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Pants: The Limited
Scarf: TJ Maxx
Shoes: MIA (DSW)
Necklace: Dillards

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Leverage

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Some days I question my reasoning for going into Accounting. Five years ago I had a Bachelors degree in English..with a concentration in Creative Writing. I had no real job or career direction. While writing has always been a passion for me..turning into a  paying job seemed impossible. I had two babies at home and was feeling a little less than creative. But, that was 2007. Now I have a stable job and a way to write..on my terms....and a pile of student debt. As long as my kids have food on the table and people tell me they enjoy my writing then I guess I can say like Hannah Montana that I have the best of both worlds.

I also love to incorporate my accounting skills into real life. I like to teach my children lessons based on both morals and logic.  Today, I discussed the idea of leverage. For those whose working lives don't  revolve around numbers..leverage is total assets divided by total assets minus total liabilities. It measures the extent in which a business relies on debt to finance new fixed assets (purchases). Basically, you won't be able to get what you want unless you have something to offer. Buyer leverage is bargaining power. Imagine a scale that measures what you have in relation to what the person wants and what they are willing to offer and what you are willing to accept. Sounds easy enough right? Now take that concept and apply it to parenting.

I decided the one thing I really want now is something that Olivia has. (or says to). If you are a new reader then you may be familiar with my famous trilogy The Shoelace Incident. And if you have, then here is an update. I still have no laces for those boots...AND I can't seem to find a pair of light gray round laces to go in my boots. I have to say..those boots are MADE for fall. So every time I put on a pair of black skinny jeans, I think of how hot those boots would look. I even unsuccessfully googled "gray shoelaces". So tonight, I was discussing with the girls the rights and wrongs of life. I told them that everyone makes mistakes.
Me: What do we do when we make mistakes?
Layla: Tell the  truth
Me: Good. and why?
Olivia: Mommy doesn't like lying
Me: yes.. when you make a mistake it is better to own up then what?
Layla: Don't lie
Me: Well yeah. But also you need to learn from your mistakes so you won't make them again.
Layla: Sometimes predators make mistakes. Then  they don't get dinner.
Me: This is true
Olivia: Sometimes predators make mistakes too. They don't get the other animals they are looking for.
Me: That is what Layla just said.
Olivia: What is a predator?
Layla: Is it like when Olivia stole your shoelaces?
Me: Yes. except we still haven't learned where those are. And I still can't find them. I have looked everywhere. I wouldn't even be mad if you told me right now where they are. You know what? I would actually give you a few bucks if you gave me back the shoe laces. That way I wouldn't have to go back to the store and buy them.

(you see folks, leverage)

Olivia: How about $80?
Me: How about $5?
Olivia: $30
Me: $8
Olivia: $20
Me: $10

Olivia seemed to be squirming a bit. Layla glanced away a bit as if to shield her eyes.

Layla: Ewe..Olivia is loosing her tooth.
Me: Ewe. Is she?
Olivia: Its very wiggly.
Me: Really? Is it coming out?
Olivia: Almost. Then I could put it under my pillow. Or do I need to find the other one first?

Olivia's last tooth was lost as we were scattering around to find her birth certificate as we were out the door for Canada. We were about (aboot?) to get in the car, drive through the night and head into another country. So I told her she would have to wait until we got to our Canadian cabin and put it under her pillow. "The tooth fairy gives you Canadian money when you are in Canada." Josh assured her.

Olivia: Is that more than American dollars?
Josh: It is actually the same
Olivia: What can I buy with Canada dollars? Are there Canada toys?

Since we couldn't give a definitely answer on what she can buy with her Canada dollars. (and we had committed to this bi country currency tooth fairy)..we settled on waiting until we got back from our trip to do our under pillow ritual. Unfortunately..when we got back from the trip..I couldn't seem to find the tooth to put under her pillow. Combine her lack of going to bed early with our overall forgetfulness and we still have an outstanding tooth debt with the tooth fairy. I had the missing tooth...somewhere. (Or I could find a reasonably believable substitution..)

Me: I can get you the missing tooth
Olivia: Sweet. where is it?
Me: I will trade you the tooth for the shoelace
Olivia: oh chiz! (her new term-thanks iCarly)
Me: Yeah. if you give me the laces, I will give you the tooth. even trade
Olivia: Wait do you have the tooth?
Me: Do you have the laces? I will give you the tooth for the laces
Olivia: What if i don't know where they are
Me: Then I don't know where the tooth is
Olivia: You said you do. Are you lying?
Me: Do you have the shoelace? or  are you lying?
Olivia: That's not fair
Me: Sure it is. I want the laces, you want the tooth. So now I have leverage. I will give you the tooth when you give me the laces.
Olivia: Well when we get home,  I guess I will have to Google "shoe laces to trade for teeth".

***Note to Olivia's future shrink: I will go ahead and print this so you can more easily understand....

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Friday, October 21, 2011

No Pain No Gain

 I heard this interesting quote today about pain that really stuck with me. We need to be thankful for the pain in our lives because with out it we will never get stronger or wiser. If you think about it, you stick your hand in a fire, then without pain you won't know the skin is melting off. Pain tells you to remove the rock out of your shoe that is keeping you from taking anymore steps. Pain can motivate you toward an action that could simply be to avoid future pain. Either way, we look at pain as negative all the time rather than to find any positive in it. I know there are things in my life that have caused me pain. There are things like decisions I have made or accidents that I have caused. I like to think we just climb life like a tree..sometimes we set our foot on shaky ground and sometimes we get such a good grip on another branch that we are able to climb higher. Either way, I know that sometimes I do this blog to sort out any pain I have in my life and try to climb higher. Is there pain that has caused us to grow compared to pain that we will never understand why we were made to endure? There are growing pains and loss pains and physical pain. Either way, we have pain in our life to help us to continue to grow. Today, I may have put my foot on an unsteady branch. Maybe it was the long and dreary day and the idea that winter is looming in our path. Think of all the pain our landscape goes through with winter. Everything dies only to be reborn again in the spring. So when you put your foot on that space of dead air where you think a branch is and feel the pain as your hands slip off what you are holding on to, remember that the pain will help you be a brighter spring flower. I couldn't help but put some pics of my little monkey climbing a tree. I think kids are the most resilient to pain. They will bounce back from an upset faster and with much more grace. So maybe going into this weekend, we can all learn to be monkeys and climb trees and learn from our pain.



Liv

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brush with Authority


Have you even been called into the Principal's office?  I had an early fear of authority in my life...teachers, police, principals, adults in general. I was always afraid I was doing something wrong and I was on the brink of being busted. I always had this fear of getting in trouble...or that someone was going to catch me bending the rules. As an adult, I still get a little nervous when I get too close to a cop car or my boss walks in my office..am I bending the rules still? Today when the principal of the girl's school called..I immediately went to the childhood panic mode. He assured me they weren't hurt...but my thoughts didn't go to emergency. He assured me they weren't in trouble. I relaxed for a second. Wait..was I in trouble? I knew Olivia's school lunch account dipped slightly to the negative (by slightly I mean over $5)...but it had to be pretty low for the principal to call..he had left a message. He wanted to run something by me. Then my pride started to sink in..he wanted to tell me my girls were way too smart for that school..and should be in college prep courses..fully paid of course. (young Doogie Howsers). Then the real intention was revealed. Our local volunteer fire department was being honored for excellence. Olivia and another girl had been chosen to represent their class by giving cards to the firemen and he wanted to get permission for her to walk with the other kids to the fire station. No trouble, no injury, no early doctors..but my kid gets to represent the school in a community event? pretty cool.

The other news of the day: bitter nippy cold..check. Gray skies..check. Brisk wind and prickling mist flowing through the air. Yes..it feels like the ugliness of fall has set in. Its that time of year where you wonder if it may be six days or six moths before you see the sun again. If there was a day where I could give myself an excuse to to wear pants it was today. No pants Thursday is in its fourth week..and I wanted to keep the momentum going. Since I have had my eye on all things maxi dress lately..I decided to throw a sweater over one of my summer staples.This is a great collection of some of my favorite inexpensive finds. Dress =$20, Sweater $10, Necklace $8, Boots $3. I loved how a plain black turtle neck added a sexy conservative look to an otherwise boho dress. For an extra pop of color I threw on my famous purple garage sale boots. It was a fun way to start an otherwise gloomy weekend.

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Dress: Target
Sweater: TJ Maxx
Necklace: The Limited
Boots: Garage Sale
Watch: Gift