Friday, April 27, 2012

Artsy Day

I always like to think I am the sort of person who hangs out at art galleries on Sunday afternoons. When Layla had an art award show at a local gallery, I couldn't help but be excited to be one of those people. There was an air of sophistication as I made the girls change out of their usual Sunday sweats...then talked Liv out of a neon pink halter dress that was five times too big on her. Every time I tell the girls to get dressed up, Olivia goes for the same pink dress and every time I tell her to go change. There Is a formality about an afternoon of viewing art, even children's art. In the presence of talent and expression, I always feel that proper manners and respect is necessary. The girls we're warned to be on "grown up behavior". Of course I got an afternoon of Liv asking "what are we going to do next? When do we get cookies?"

I bought this new maxi dress from Anthropologie the first day of my new job. Putting it on, I still wasn't sure if I liked it. "Do I look fat?" I asked Josh. "you look beautiful" he would answer. Being married almost ten years I never can tell if it is a sincere "you look beautiful" or a "I am going to tell you that you look beautiful so that we can get moving". After his groan when I asked him if I had lumpy belly under the sheer fabric, he gave me a look that made me assume it was time to go and I needed to find shoes and get in the car. It took a couple scarves and a chunky cardi to hide the lumps. Looking at the pics, I am glad I bought the dress. This is my first ever mobile post. I need to blog to stay normal. Thanks to all my readers aka therapists out there. The formatting may not be perfect...but together we will make it thought these unconnected times.

Dress: Anthropologie
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Jacket: 579 (um, vintage)
Scarf: gift

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Inter-Web

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I assumed my blog schedule would be all off the wall due to a change in lifestyle..job..city, etc. I am trying to establish my new (childless) life. Every night, I get on the freeway, drive about fifteen minuted around the outer belt and head into a large building, swipe my name badge and go to work. That is my life now. It is something out of a movie of what grown-ups do. They go to work, go to meetings, and at the end of the day come home to their night time routine. Some people go to the gym, some people go to the bar and some people pick up kids. There are TV shows we can't wait to watch and dinner we aren't looking forward to cooking. There is an overall happiness when the sun is out and a sinking feeling of regret when the skies are gray. We live for a weekend only to recharge our batteries to start over again. My new work is very challenging and more importantly it is interesting. I love my new found feeling of wonder and awe of everything around me as I try to figure out exactly where I fit in. Then I get off work and hang out with my friends who generously offered me their spare room. I have the big schedule down..get up, get dressed, go to work, come home. It is the small details of my life that have not quite settled into place. They are like snowflakes that keep fluttering around with a breeze, not quite sure where to land. I miss the girls during the week. I get with the occasional email from Liv. "I miss you, Mommy. :) :) <3 <3, Love Livie. (she is a huge fan of emoticons) and call them ever night on the way home from work so my hands free car speaker system is filled with the sounds of their voices telling me how their day went. I am also lacking a crucial piece of my blog...the internet. My roomies use their internet from the phone, and the apartments around me are less then inviting with their wifi. One locked network is actually called "don't even try". I am close to knocking on doors and slipping neighbors twenties for their wifi passwords..but I am not there yet. Luckily, there is a library down the street. Remember those? I used to work at a library right after college.. One day, I am watching this white trash family scour books and movies..as if it were the first time they had ever been to the library. The man comes over and says "Do you guys have that there inter-web?" Now whenever I think of going to the library for a borrowed signal, I think of that guy from way back in 2003 and wonder if he has wifi yet.

I had an outfit post all ready for Thursday, but I haven't made it to the library yet. (no inter-web for me). I have a laptop that needs some new virus software and a phone that doesn't have an unlimited data plan. That makes for some serious weekend blogging and catching up on my emails, including all the latest sales and trends. (Gap- 30% off coupon - almost awesome except they now exclude denim from the coupon...guess those white long and lean jeans will have to hang out in my cart a little longer). I haven't worn a skirt yet to my new job. (mostly due to the fact that most of them are still hanging in my old closet)...but I had this photo set left from my last week at my old job. Fitting I would choose a bold red pencil skirt and and easy chambray shirt complete with chunky wooden necklace to end my nine straight months of wearing a skirt to work once a week. I plan to start that again....skirts are now packed and ready to head south to Columbus. From now until June 8, I will be posting less...but that doesn't mean I won't be taking pictures and writing!

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Shirt: Forever21
Skirt: The Limited
Shoes: Dillards
Necklace: Thrifted
Belt: Gap

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Transfer

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There is travel anxiety..and there is moving anxiety. Moving anxiety is way more intense. I started to pack away my life and wonder how, in seven years, I have accumulated so much stuff. I would go from hanging up a bunch of clothes to calling my cable provider to ensure they would suspend my service at no cost for the summer. (yes, Direct TV does). I had to get a new drivers license card, get a new car as my lease is up, find a current insurance card, make sure my bills are up to date, file my state taxes, make sure my medications are filled, etc. etc. Transferring to a new city is not easy..nor is living in limbo for the next two months. Most of today’s tasks involved one thing: a computer. It is funny how much we rely on our Internet service. Something was wrong with the DSL, I kept hitting the mail icon on my phone and watching as the little wheel would spin and nothing would come up. I needed to get into email, online banking, etc. I would restart the DSL modem and nothing would work. It was getting frustrating..so I added another task to my list..call AT&T.


Rep1: How can I help you?
Me: My DSL isn’t working, could you tell me if there are services outages in your area.
Rep1: Do you have an account number?Seeing Spots
Me: No, I have online bill pay and paperless statements, which I can’t access because of the Internet outage
Rep1: What is your address?
I gave him my address and telephone number.
Rep1: It looks like your account has been shut off. You haven’t paid your bill
Me: I am on auto pay. The amount just came out of my bank
Rep1: Let me transfer you to billing. Please hold

Rep2: How may I help you?
Me: Hi. It looks like my account has been turned off for non-payment. I am on auto pay, but my DSL is not working. Can you tell me what the problem is with my account?
Rep2: What is your account number?
Me: I have paperless statements. I can’t log in to get my account number since my DSL isn’t working
Rep2: What is your address/phone number?
I gave the address/phone/social/Josh’s social.
Rep2: I don’t see you in the system. Do you have a DSL or U-verse account.
Me: Not sure. I have DSL..it costs 19.95/month.
Rep2: Do you know if your account starts with a 0 or a 1
Me (guessing): a 0.
Rep2: Sounds like you have a U-verse account. Let me transfer you.
Me: Ok

Rep3: Hi. How may I help you today?
Me: My DSL isn’t working; your tech support says I didn’t pay my bill. But I am on Auto-pay. I don’t know my account number since I receive paperless statements and my DSL isn’t working.
Rep3: What is your address/telephone number?
I gave the information.
Rep3: Do you know the three-digit security code? It is on the corner of your bill
Me: I don’t have the bill. It is online and my DSL isn’t working
Rep3: Ok. I have your account number. It is 0xx-xxx-xxxx
Me: Thanks. Do I have a balance?
Rep3: I am going to have to transfer you. I don’t handle the Ohio accounts.
Me: Ok.

Rep4: Hello, How may I help you?
Me: It looks like my account has been turned off for non-payment. I am on auto pay, but my DSL is not working. Can you tell me what the problem is with my account?
Rep4: Oh no! I am so sorry maam. I will get that taken care of. This call is monitored. Do you mind of I use your information to offer you valuable services for your home/business?
Me: If you want, but I won’t be ordering service anytime soon. I am in the process of moving.
Rep4: Will you require service at your new residence?
Me: I don’t have a new residence yet. Can we just work on my DSL?
Rep4: Do you have your account number?
Me: 0xx-xxx-xxxx
Rep4: Do you have the three-digit security code? It is on the corner of your bill
Me: No. I have paperless billing and I can’t get onto my computer since my DSL is down.
Rep4: No problem. Can you tell me the name on the account?
Me: It is Kristen Taylor, or my husband Josh Taylor
Rep4: For security purposes, I have to ask you another question. What is the amount of your last payment?
Me: 19.95.
Rep4: Ok. Thanks. Looks like your account is active. There is no hold. You are on auto pay and we received a payment yesterday.
Me: Ok. What about my DSL? Are you experiencing any outages in the Ohio area?
Rep4: Let me transfer you to Tech support.
Me: Ok

Rep5: Hello, How may I help you Miss Taylor?
Me: My DSL isn’t working. All the lights are on. The service itself seems to not be working.
Rep5: What kind of router are you using?
Me: I have an Action-tech and two Linksys routers. One for my phone the other for my Wifi
Rep5: You don’t have an AT&T router?
Me: No. Your routers were really over priced. So I bought one from Wal-Mart
Rep5: Unfortunately, I can’t service your router since you didn’t buy it from here. I can transfer you to another department who services other routers, but it will cost .49 a day.
Me: I only need one day I hope
Rep5: Well the .49 a day will be charged for the next month. You will see a $15 charge on your June billing statement.
Me: So you are telling me I have to pay $15 for someone to fix my router that isn’t broken?
Rep5: Maam, you didn’t buy one of our routers.
Me: I bought your DSL service. I am not paying $15 for someone to fix my service. I have been transferred around ten times in your company; I don’t understand why someone can’t tell me what is wrong with my DSL. I am just going to start unplugging and replugging in routers until something works. Then I will call Vonage who has my phone service since they don’t make me pay a premium for a router.
Rep5: Ok Maam.
Me : Thanks for your help.
Rep5: Have a good day

There is forty-five minutes of my life I will never get back. If you are reading this post, then either (a) I called AT&T back and paid their stupid $15 fee to fix my DSL (b) I went to the library or (c) I fixed the problem myself.

The correct answer is C. Josh and I unplugged our routers and tested the Ethernet on the laptop until we figured out which router didn’t work. It was our phone router, so we plugged the wireless router into the DSL router and Internet was magically restored. I had meant to share some pics of my not-so-professional wardrobe….I have been living in T-shirts and shorts all weekend. It was both comfortable and functional since I packed away all my work clothes. Now that my Internet is working and my bags are packed…I am off to start a fresh at a new job!



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Shirt: JCrew
Shorts: Old Navy 
Shoes: Converse (Kohls)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Truckin'

“Sometimes the lights all shinin’ on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurred to me, What a long strange trip its been…” Grateful Dead

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This is the story about a girl and a truck. Once upon a time, this girl always rode in trucks. I can barely remember a time when my Dad was with out truck. In the nineties he drove a red molester van, complete with no back seat. I remember we would ride in the back of the van, usually sitting on lawn chairs and laughing hysterically when he would make a turn and we would tilt sideways and go flying. Other times, he would drive a group of girls home from baseball practice. Since it was the pre cell phone (and even pre pager) era, there was no way to for a parent to call (or text) and say they were running late. If a kid was parent-less after all the bats and helmets were cleaned up, bases were neatly packed in the shed and the infield was raked, then that kid was getting a rid home in the big red seatless Econoline. When you packed in five girls, a large sack of bats and some random tools from whatever construction site he was working, the ride home became an adventure. We used to slide around every turn he made and try to dodge the bat bag as it went gliding back and forth with each stop. We also had a long line of trucks. I forget their names now, but there was a couple red ones, a blue one, and most recently a white one. He is the all-American. We used to love to ride in the back of the truck and sit right on the edge. We would roll around as the truck was in motion and jump out the back right before he had a chance to make a complete stop. Can you imagine this now? The commotion that came about when Britany Spears drove with a kid in her lap was a random act of weekend twenty years ago. (insert walk to school uphill both ways line here…). How else did you please a whinny toddler but to let them sit on your lap as you gently held down the gas and they turned the wheel? Things are way different now. Kids don’t ride in the back of trucks, on lawn chairs in work vans and they definitely don’t steer cars for grown ups.

There is something about a truck that makes me think of those days when riding on the corner of the truck bed as the wind whipped through your hair as you were on your way to get ice cream that takes me back to a time of my life where things were just simpler. There was no job, no responsibilities, no financial difficulties, there was just long and lazy days of summer. The back of a truck was an endless source of entertainment as well as great way to haul lots of kids and baseball bats to Dairy Queen. You would double dare someone to hold their arms up like a roller coaster as the truck was rolling down a hill. It was a slow motion forever young moment where the only decision I was making was what kind of ice cream cone I would get. Since my dad passed down a truck recently, I have been getting that nostalgic truck feeling. I love driving a truck..it is such a bad girl feeling. The kids say they feel more important riding in the truck. (buckled in the back seat of the extended cab of course). When the truck is parked in the drive way, I watch them play in the bed..enjoying a beautiful day. I smile and hope they have the same truck love as I do.


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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The First Day of School

I am a kid getting ready for the first day of school. I am scouring my closet looking at things the new me would never wear. A new school year was always that time to redefine yourself…like you suddenly became so stylish and sophisticated over the summer. Well, that was true for the four years in high school when I wasn’t required to wear a uniform. Grades 1- 8 were defined by one thing: the school shoes. I think that is why I have such an obsession with shoes. Professional work attire reminds me of my Catholic school days. There are work pants and work skirts, much like the navy plaid jumper that I pulled off the hanger in the morning and made a careful decision…blue or yellow blouse. But the shoes were all my own. That pair of back to school shoes meant everything. One year it was penny loafers, one year it was saddle shoes and one year I selected a pair of suede ballet flats with floral outline. As kids, we would get to go to Payless right before school and get one pair of shoes that we would try to make last the whole school year. They had to be sensible (nothing slippery like dress shoes), affordable (BO-NO) and of course cool (my rule). When I started my job, I bought this pair of black wedges. Since I am moving on to another job, I found it fitting to wear the black wedges during my last week. When I first wore them, two women in the office ran to Charlotte Russe to get a pair for themselves….as they were both adorable and affordable (a steal at $22). Now, I look at them and the black is fading and the bottom of one of the souls is coming loose. One could say that is a metaphor of some sort….I had to wear the shoes on my last week. The first day I wore a pair of too tight pin stripe pants and a coral short sleeve sweater. I was completely clueless on what “professional” people wore. I was a stay at home mom coming of five years of jeans and sweats. Now, pairing a tone on tone coral with a pair of dark plum skinny pants is something I can do while waking up at seven thirty for my eight a.m. start time. Going into my new job, I am going back to the one thing that can make or break an outfit: a great pair of shoes. When I think about my wardrobe and what I may wear for my first day of my new job, I only can think of one thing: what shoes should I wear?

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Shirt/Necklace: JC Penney
Sweater: New York & Co
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Charlotte Russe








Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Method

It's a broken poem, started up yesterday
And it came true now, mind was on holiday
It's an open road will we soon see the end
It's an open book, a story to tell the band
There is hardly a method you know” TV on the Radio


There seems to be a method for everything. Methods to loose weight, methods for parenting, methods for success. Anything you do, you need a game plan for. If you succeed, then everyone wants to know..what is your method? What is you secret? How did you do it? I sometimes wonder if we get so locked in the method that we are oblivious to the end result. I am terrible with directions. If someone tells me where to go, I simply ask “what is the address”. If they try to give me turn by turn directions, I start to tune them out and hear things like “la la la..gas station on your right…la la la, blue house. I don’t mean to do it, and my life has become significantly easier since the invention of GPS, but I just can’t seem to focus on a step of instructions that work for someone else to get somewhere. When I buy anything that requires assembly, I can usually function by looking at the picture..not really reading the directions. I love to make as man “there are two kinds of people in the world” analogies as I can. It simplifies things to black and white, eliminating any sort of complicated shades of gray. So for this post, we are going to say there are two kinds of people in the world: those who are driven by the results and those who are driven by the method. I am a results person. Whether they are good or bad results, I am just looking for the point. When people explain things to me, whether it is at work or when I am trying to fix a phone, I simply ask “what is the point of this?”. Sometimes it makes me seem rude, but since I can’t always comprehend other people’s methods, I cut right to the chase. I need to see the big picture before I can see the process of painting it. When I think about parenting, I am often amazed about how many opinions there are about to raise your children. Since children don’t come with a step by step handbook or a picture of what the end result looks like, I assume the method that works best for you is the best bet. My end result is pretty easy: I want children who aren’t jerks, respect themselves and who aren’t so caught up in trying to mimic other people’s methods that they forget that the real fun in life comes from creating your own methods. So when they are doing the kind thing like holding a door open for a mother struggling to get an oversized stroller through it, I would be overly proud to know that they aren’t jerks. When they look at themselves in the mirror and they truly love what they see, then I will know they respect themselves. When they create their own paths in life, one that involves learning from acehivements as well as mistakes, then I will know they are learning their own methods. I feel pretty strongly that the best mentors, parents, bosses, etc. are those who are clear about the end result and build you up enough so you are confident enough to come up with the methods that work best for you.


That is why I have this blog. It is my method..my result. My style is a reflection of my method. When I read magazines, or watch TV, or even try to find women around me that have amazing personal style, I see one thing: an end result. That is what an oufit is every day, and end result of how you want the world to see you. How you get there should be up to you. One day I want to look professional, confident, grown up. I put on a black button down and a full skirt. I added a gray cardi, feeling that the dark colors would make it more serious, more confident. These are the colors that demand I be taken seriously, that say my methods are just as good as yours. Some days I dress in vibrant colors or playful flowy prints. Those are the days I want to seem fun or flirty or relaxed. When you start to create your own methods, you have more freedom over your results. I don’t like to ask people “how do you do that?” I like to just admire results.



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Shirt: New York & Co
Skirt: The Limited
Shoes: Seychelles (DSW)
Sweater: H&M
Belt: Betsey Johnson (TJ Maxx)
Necklace: Charlotte Russe


Writng prompt: What is a method you created that you are proud of. What was the end result? Did you achieve the result you wanted? Some would argue that methods and structure are more important. Which do you find to be of greater importance?



Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Renewal




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Easter Sunday. The general theme of the Easter season is renewal and rebirth. The idea that you give something up, make a sacrifice and at the end you are completely reborn. I always think of Easter like that. Sacrifice and rebirth…that may be the theme of my life these days. “I am like a Salmon, Mom.” Layla explained. “Salmon wander away from the place they are born and then find their way back.” She was trying to make me feel less anxious about our move..back to the place she, Olivia an my husband were born, Columbus Oh. (It is completely symbolic of our relationship..I am anxious she is way too level headed). The bitter sweet feeling of that I am moving away from my family has made this holiday that much more sentimental. Does your family have any fun holiday traditions? This has been the weekend of simplicity laced with the theme of family. (Grizwald family Easter?). It was the small things like drinks with my sister while our kids were playing to big things like all of us owning our front row pew at church. It was the egg wars and jellybeans and the worst looking brownies I have ever made! Here are some of the highlights of my good old-fashioned family Easter

Good Friday: Sadly we didn’t get the early release from work that I was anxiously hoping for. The past few years, I have gotten off just in time to accompany my mom to the Jesus Christ Superstar performance by eight graders at a local Catholic School. In the past, quite a few of my cousins have been stars in this emotional performance..which makes it that much more powerful. I have been taking the girls for..well probably longer than they should have been there. The first time I took them, Liv was three and Layla was five. I was hoping they would capture the essence of the performance and get a bigger picture of what Easter was all about without having to go into graphic, Jesus was nailed to a cross, sort of explanation. Olivia was antsy about ten minutes into the hour –ish long performance. I kept folding my hands and lowering my head down in my most solemn position hoping she would see my example and follow suit. The woman in front of us crying did not help my feeling of embarrassment as Liv was shaking my leg asking when we were going to leave. I told her we were going to watch Jesus die and it was a very important part of Easter. She was still getting antsy. The music stopped so the narrator could tell more of the story. Liv was pulling my hand and trying to get my attention. “Is he dead yet? I want to go home!” She yelled.

Easter Sunday: The girls got up and found their baskets. Josh and I have a tradition of preparing their baskets well after midnight while enjoying a few grown up beverages. We like to hide the baskets in plain sight. Layla’s basket contained “The Hunger Games” since we saw the movie Saturday and she is obsessed. Liv got a book on style (my protégée). They both got poncho shirts and tanks from the trendiest of children’s clothing stores…Justice for Girls. “I always wanted a poncho!!” Liv declared. We went to my Mom’s for dinner and egg festivities including a hunt and egg wars. Does anyone else’s family play this game of egg crushing? You hold an egg up while another person takes an egg and smashes into yours. The egg that doesn’t crack is the winner. After a dozen or so smashed egg tops, my little cousin proudly held up her egg…like an Olympic victor.

It was a great weekend..full of over eating and good times. I have been pretty busy with the idea of moving and cleaning lately that I haven’t had time to do much else. I have some great post planned for April..including the return of my shopping addiction! Hope everyone had a great Easter holiday weekend!


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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Learn from the Kids

I snuck this picture of the girls cuddling with each other. With all the things going on around me, all the changes, it was refreshing to look at the girls happily being themselves. Do you ever have that sort of moment of clarity? Having children, I get these glimpses into something bigger than myself…like a reason behind what I am doing. It is comforting to see them being, well just being kids. Lately, I have been under pressure. Pressure to make a decision and pressure not to second guess my decision. I took a job that involves moving. We are going three hours into the heart of Ohio to start over, reinvent ourselves in a city we haven’t lived over seven years. Scary? Yes. Exciting? You bet. I am the one to over think things, over evaluate the options, wonder about the “what if’s”. Then we have those moments, when time seems to let you catch your breath. Those are the moments that you capture mentally and dwell upon ten years down the road when you look back and smile.


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