Suddenly Chaos: Flipflops vs. Fiber

  1. loveValentine’s Day was this week and J and I decided to steal away for a night of passion Chinese food and Costco shopping. With wedding planning and grad school and three kids and the hour-long commute between us that makes weekends the only time we get to see each other, the impromptu Tuesday night date was pure luxury. Especially considering he is working all weekend and I’m playing single mom to two of the boys and a very muddy dog (more on that later.)

I’ve had tummy troubles all of my life, and J is convinced that my fiber consumption is to blame. Thus, during our Costco run, he insisted that we pick up a jar of adult gummy fiber supplements. You take two a day and it keeps things moving. Fine, I say to myself. I’m sure I can use more fiber in my diet and if it makes my guy happy, let’s just go with it. I even took the first dose in the car to show I was on board.

We drop the groceries off at home and got the kids settled in with pizza before heading out on our Valentine’s Date. The plan was to have Mexican, but our usual place was packed. I could feel the first signs of hangry coming to the surface as my normally sunny demeanor shifted to she-who-must-be-fed. We settled on our favorite Chinese place and had a truly lovely dinner. We talked, we laughed, and for a small moment in time we were just a guy and his girl out on a date. No responsibilities, no kids, no stressful jobs. Just love.

There is a certain dread to going home from a date night. The probability that there will be some kind of mess waiting is pretty high and that means taking corrective action with the boys. It’s the part of parenting no one warned me about. The cynic in me walks in the house looking for the problem. The optimist in me prays that there is nothing to find. The exhausted pigeon in me tries to ignore it. The teacher in me knows that this is a teaching moment. The struggle is real.

Generally speaking, the house was okay. I noticed, however, that the bottle of fiber gummies from earlier looked a little emptier than it had when we left. Apparently, Flipflops (who is 13, remember) thought they were candy and didn’t read the bottle. Then this conversation happened:

Me: Who ate the gummies?
Flipflops: …um, me?
Me: How many did you eat?
Flipflops: I didn’t count.
Me: Ballpark it for me, kid.
Flipflops: I don’t know…like, 10?

There was a moment of silent disbelief before J and I burst out laughing. The kid consumed five days worth of fiber in one sitting. While not life-threatening, we knew he’d be in for some major clean-out. It took a couple of days for his system to right itself, and hopefully the natural consequences will encourage him to read the bottle from now on.

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Ah, this is the life…

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day 25 | Monday Musings | of family ties, customer service, and a moment of remembrance…

Happy Memorial Day!

1) It was an emotional roller coaster of a weekend [more on that later] as I celebrated my birthday with a small fraction of my family. Though our numbers were small, I got to spend time with my oldest brother. Growing up, I barely knew him at all, as our age difference is a whopping 14 years. It wasn’t until I was an adult that we spent any significant time together.  Yesterday we had a chance to just spend a few hours sitting around and talking. We shared memories of our dad and different experiences we’d had with him.

True story, it was some of the best therapy I’ve ever had.

2) I don’t have many vices. I’m not into labels or having designer everything. I’d rather buy/wear pieces that don’t have to worry about. One major exception: I love Kate Spade. LOVE. If you tuned in to the list of things that make me happy, you probably noticed that a sale at Kate Spade is a happy trigger if there ever was one. I have a tradition of saving up and then buying a new bag at the Memorial Day sale, kind of a birthday present for myself. Each time I go in, the gorgeous bags and friendly staff at the Hagerstown, MD Kate Spade Outlet make my shopping experience one of perfection.

Last year I fell in love with and purchased this bag in a mere 13 minutes. I loved that bag.

And then, the unthinkable. The fastener broke. So much anguish. First world problems, you know?

So I took it back, a year later. I just wanted it fixed, but the awesome staff replaced the bag with one that I liked even better. They were professional and sweet and I was incredibly impressed with how much they care about their customers and stand behind their products.

This is why I’ll buy Kate Spade for life.

3) I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to express gratitude for the men and women of the United States Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure my freedom, as well as the families who must press on each day without their loved ones. I can never fully comprehend your sacrifice or demonstrate my sincere thanks.

I hope that the life I live, in some small way, makes the life that was lost lived, not in vain, but to fulfill a great purpose. It’s a heady responsibility to be among the living, but we owe it to the dead to take care of the country they died to protect.

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Monday Musings: Thanksgiving Week Edition – of shopping, menus, and kitchen disorientation.

How is possibly Thanksgiving week already?!  I swear it was just June and I was stressing about David and Maggie’s wedding and then it was September and my world was falling apart and not the Holiday Season is upon us!  I have one exam and one homework that I have to get through before I can unwind for the long weekend, but a quick update before I bury my head in the books for the rest of the day —

1) I have been known, in years past, to get up at the crack of 3 am to line up in the freezing cold to go Black Friday shopping.  These days, I look at shopping on Black Friday the same way I do hunting.  I have no moral objections, but I won’t be participating for the following reasons:

  1. It’s early.
  2. It’s cold.
  3. I don’t wanna.

I do however, take exception with stores who are opening up on Thanksgiving Day to jump start the consumerism that has become Christmas.  Besides the irony of pushing and shoving your way through a store to acquire more stuff on a holiday dedicated to being thankful for what you have; if you are in a store shopping, it means someone else must be working and not spending time with their family.  So, in honor of that auspicious idiocy, I’ve decided to take a pledge, and I encourage you to do the same. Don’t shop on Thanksgiving and let stores know that it isn’t okay.

2) I’ll be cooking the smallest Thanksgiving dinnerThanksgiving 2014 I’ve ever experienced, this year.  Just 3 (possibly 4) people.  I’m a little sad; I love cooking a huge dinner for a ton of people, but I think it will be nice, and it gives me an opportunity to change things up and make food that is a little less traditional.  Here’s our menu:

3) The other challenge is that I won’t be cooking from my home kitchen, but rather from my grandmother’s.  It’s not a huge deal, and it’s not the first time, but I’m feeling a little nervous about the disorientation associated with cooking in someone else’s kitchen.  It’s probably just my own special kind of ridiculousness, but it gives me pause.  I’m sure everything will be just fine.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving Week!!

[Re]Working It…Day 70

 

So I feel like I need to start by explaining myself. Last night was my father’s birthday. Sixty-one. SIXTY-ONE. After 61 years, you have to get creative with the things that he would like to do and receive for his birthday. Cue: Tequila Grill, a super yummy Mexican Restaurant right down the street from us. Simone and I have frequented a few times. Their fajitas are to DIE for. Mmmmm…tasty! Anywho…this is what he wanted so this is what we did. Three orders of fajitas (there were three of us, not all mine…), one sombrero and 8 singing waiters, and a Feliz Cumpleanos, Papa!

I know you think this has nothing to do with you, but this was, in fact an ALL EVENING affair. In our family we go big or go home…but our home is kind of big, so really there’s no option in the matter. SO. Long story short, I’m behind, I’m sorry, I’m going to try harder next week.

Now, onto the real stuff.

For the month of August, the last **tear**real month of summer (or summer break at least), I opted for a lot of “boring” pieces that you could really see at any time of year. For instance, black trouser pants, these are cotton, from Old Navy and can be worn year round and are virtually flattering on everyone. I also opted for a pair of skinny jeans, I know we have our boot cut jeans that we use in our Essential Outfit. However, I feel like most of us have more than just boot cut in our closet so I wanted to incorporate them. Additionally, I added two t-shirts that can take you clear into fall and if styled appropriately even winter and a polo that is great for work or play.

The other five pieces are more seasonal, a white, gauzy dress, something you  won’t really see after September, a denim dress, depending on the temperature this could potentially wear into October. As well as a Maxi dress, print shorts and a print blouse. Special focus on the maxi dress. This is my favorite thing right now. The maxi dress is so comfortable. I love this one because it was a Wal-Mart find. (I KNOW, I was surprised too!) You can wear a dress like this anywhere and feel free and cool and stylish.

And those are out thirty one pieces. Without a doubt this was our easiest month to date. Despite what pictures showed you last week, I think it was because we are finally getting the hang of this! Who would have guessed?! Tune in next week for round one of the outfits!

 

[Re]Working It…Day 55

This is the last Wednesday of the month. Wait. Huh?

One more month until I’m back in the glorious state of Pennsylvania! Whats better? I will soon be placed in front of 20+ 10-11 year olds. How crazy is that?! EEEP! I’m excited!

I’m also excited for the last installment of this month’s Re-Work. We had an extra challenge of coming up with ELEVEN outfits instead of ten. Yes, yes, that’s only one outfit more. Ya know what? That extra outfit makes a big difference when you’ve already changed thirty times already! Holy Cow! But, all well worth it of course!

A word of warning: I apologize for some of my poses and facial expressions. However, I do hope that they bring as much of a smile to your face as they have to mine.

Outfit #1: A great option for a more dressy occasion, without looking too done up! It will also keep you cooler as everything is a nice lightweight cotton. Success! As it is supposed to be 99 degrees here Thursday. Boo, whore.

Outfit #2: I’m sure you can tell, this is simply a wrap dress with our black top over it, making it an adorable skirt choice! Throw on nude heels a long layered necklace and be ready for a day at work, this outfit takes about seven minutes—worst-case scenario. Which is great for non-morning person people, like myself.

Outfit #3: This is a great outfit for a weekend of sightseeing. You will be able to work on your tan, while checking out some of the sights wherever you are. Don’t forget your SPF!

Outfit #4: Pardon my curtsy, its really not good to stretch fabrics like that! I do love this super comfortable dress. It doesn’t get any better than this. Super soft, super comfortable, super versatile. My favorite part? Yep! You guessed it! The camel colored belt that is placed at my natural waist (or yours) to make me look my leanest!

Outfit #5: God love the printed dress, throw on our essential yellow sweater and add a black belt and wedges for an extremely polished and put together outfit. The colors are great together. Its not necessary to “match” your outfit just needs to look put together, and “flow”.

Outfit #6: I love this shirt, as you know. Paired with a pair of jeans and peep toed flats I think this is a great outfit for a barbecue or a weekend in the mountains. Something comfortable and casual.

Outfit #7: And as if outfit #6 wasn’t good enough! Add a black tee over the red blouse and add a little pizzazz to the outfit! This does make the outfit seem a bit more formal because the red acts as a collar, making the outfit casual Friday at work appropriate!

Outfit #8: This was one of the “please forgive the pose” pictures. It’s probably self explanatory that this is our polo dress with the white tee-shirt over it. This adds dimension to the outfit. Making it perfect for practically anything!

Outfit #9: Simple, but classic. This black tee with taupe pants and leopard shoes is so comfortable yet so Jackie-O! Perfect for work, church, or weekend wear! Here’s a hint: if you’re nervous about mixing brown and black at the same time pair the two with leopard. Both hues pull from leopard which means you are of course “matching” both colors to something and you will feel more put together. It’s a great way to branch in to combining neutrals.

Outfit #10: Even though I don’t look excited about this outfit, I am. Promise! This is a great outfit for a cookout, beach bonfire, running errands. Anything casual! This shirt could be worn in or out of the shorts. Shoes and accessories are what will make this outfit. I have on nude flip-flops and statement earrings to create the message, that although my outfit is simple I still put thought into it!

Outfit #11: Again, super classic! It can look boring, Simone and I decided I could look like a librarian in this outfit. But what librarian wears super cute wedges and silver hoops. The key is to accessorize this outfit and because its such a classic outfit you can go with metal, color, anything really. Use your imagination! Make it yours!

Wow. 31 outfits, we did it, didn’t we? That’s an AWESOME feeling. One more month…that’s a little saddening. Hmph. Well we have five more weeks before we have to dwell on that! (That’s right five, August is quite the rebel with an extra week!)

Until next Wednesday!

[Re]Working It…Day 48

So, I have a confession to make. Promise you won’t judge me, k?

As you know I can’t buy any clothing for the summer. (Although, I am over half way through SAY WHAAA–WOOO HOO!) To cope with this I have started going shopping, with friends, without a wallet (let’s be clear, I’m NOT stealing). I am now the style guru, giving fashion advice and encouraging my friends to buy new dresses, skirts and adorable tops during this super-hot, but ever inspiring realm of summer fashions. AKA Living vicariously through everyone else’s closet!

One friend in particular, my dear friend Heather and I, work together. Our office building is a sky rise built over a Target. Can we talk about how dangerous this is?! So this is my apology and thank you to Heather, and all my other friends. Thank you for helping me cope, and aiding in breaking the cycle of a chronic shopaholic. And in turn, I apologize for encouraging your spending habits (although you look ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE). Also, apologize to Tom (everyone Tom is Heather’s goofball of a husband) for me, and thank him for not banning you from seeing me, as he knows the trouble we get in to between Target and that ever shiny, faded black strip Target RedCard. Love you!

So, continuing on…We are officially halfway through this challenge. Downward slope WOOHOO! I have to be honest, I love my hair in these pictures, I was very fortunate we caught it on such a good day! I ❤ good hair days!

Outfit 1–I love this outfit for shopping, lunch, work, BBQ, you name it I feel like it can work! This is simply a white shirt, denim skirt and black peep toed wedges. You could choose to tuck this shirt in; I chose to keep it out for a more casual look! I added a gold pendant necklace to focus the eye. This outfit took about five minutes. SCORE!

Outfit 2–The more I see this top, the more I love it! This is a great work outfit, the taupe pants paired with a playful top such as this provides a great balance to this structured bottoms. As I look at this outfit I think I would really like to try this blouse tucked in. No need to add a necklace here! As there is plenty going on with the ruffles, I added tear drop earrings and called it a day!

Outfit 3–This outfit is quite the illusion if you ask me! I simply paired the blue print dress with a black, puffed sleeve blouse, so it makes it look like a tulip skirt. I’ll take it! Paired with black flats and a long silver link necklace, this look is perfect for brunch or work or even Sunday church.

Outfit 4–This is probably one of my favorites, because of my love for the teal and camel combo! This is a very relaxed outfit, great for entertaining friends on a casual night or even a date night. The beauty of the belt is that it draws the eye to the narrowest part of you! Remember, if you’re not sure where to find that, grab a mirror and start belting out “I’m a Little Teapot”!

Outfit 5–Probably my favorite outfit for this go-round! And you can’t even see why! Darn It! This is simply a black tee and wine colored shorts with a pair of black peep toed flats. I love this outfit because its simple and yet adorable but also because there is a polka dotted belt that you can’t see, but I know is there. This shirt is actually tucked in and for the first time in a LONG time, I’ve been able to wear it this way. Making me look super slender, fooled ya, didn’t I? 😉

Outfit 6–Nothing too out of the ordinary here, simply a wrap dress and nude heels. An outfit that takes under thirty seconds but will impress for days!

Outfit 7–This outfit is also really simple, taking mere moments to coordinate, but can be instantly office appropriate with the right shoe. I chose wedges to go along with the summer vibe however you could play this with heels or even boots in the WINTER time.

Outfit 8–Whether you’re running errands or going to a cookout or bonfire this outfit will keep you comfy and cool while still looking adorable! I added nude flip flops so I didn’t take away from the pretty flowers on the top! You could add a different colored tank under the outfit if you wanted to spice it up some!

Outfit 9–I can’t think of anywhere you wouldn’t want to wear this outfit! It is absolutely perfect for every activity. Its comfy, cute, roomy and can we sophisticated enough to wear to work, however I don’t suggest flip flops if you’re going to wear it there! Big key here, you need to have color somewhere! I chose the sweater, because I feel like everyone has cotton slacks and a white shirt. Make sure to jazz it up somewhere!

Outfit 10–I know, I know, there’s a lot of pinkish, purple-ish, merriment going on here. So we broke it up with navy (a neutral–LOVE neutrals) and I have to say this looks pretty darn cute!!! Of course, nude footwear is key here, no more color necessary!

So that’s it for this week. I really am starting to love the looks more and more as they go on. I’ll be honest though, and again, no judging. I’m already excited for fall and planning out my September 1st. I see dresses and tights in my Autumn Future. This is me, PUMPED!

Until next week!

Weekend Warriors…Birchbox

I have the death.  Seriously, I think this is the end for me….

Ugh.

In addition to whatever is ailing me, tonight is also the last night of VBS and I have two huge projects that have to go out the door today.

Stress?  Nah…

Anyway, in honor of my crazy busy life, I want to introduce you to an amazing…thing, this week’s Weekend Warrior: Birchbox (www.birchbox.com).  Before I go on, I should say that this is a non-sponsored post, and I’m not being paid to talk about this company. Good?  Good.  Anyway, Birchbox is a kind of product matchmaker.  Once you get a subscription to Birchbox, for $10 per month, they send you a box of generously sized samples of upscale lifestyle and beauty products.  Use them for yourself, give them to friends, the choice is yours.  If you like what you get, you can buy full size versions of these products from the Birchbox site.

But that’s not even the best part.  Seriously.

Hand-picked beauty and lifestyle samples, delivered to your door for $10/month.

Take some time to look around the site, and you’ll notice that the greatest resource is information.  Each product has a full ingredient list, plus tips on how to use it, and pairings with other products.  They also have a YouTube channel with tons of video tutorials on everything from smoky eyes to curling your hair with a flat-iron.

And for my male readers, Birchbox has a section for you too, stocked will all kinds of grooming, shaving, and lifestyle products.  They even have an entire section for Masters of the Grill.  So there you go.

You can also give a subscription as a gift.  Sweet!

The only catch is that Birchbox is invitation only (like Pinterest), but there is no way to get an invitation early, you just have to wait your turn (not like Pinterest).  From the time I signed up to the time I got my invite was about 2 or 3 weeks, so be patient.  Also, once you get your invite, you have 72 hours to respond before they move on to the next person in line. So be patient….and then GO!

Special thanks to Emily, for turning me on to this service (even though she waited too long and lost her chance!)

Have a Lovely Weekend!

[Re]Working It…Day 41

Happy Wednesday!

We are now on the downward slope of the work week (thank Heavens!) As I was saying last week, I am in love with this month’s pieces and the outfits that were born from them!

Outfit 1: I love this outfit, it reminds me of something in a Ralph Lauren catalog (Classic, right?!) I decided to tuck in the shirt because of the button embellishments on the front of the denim skirt. Flip flops make this outfit great for a backyard barbecue; you could totally add nude heels instead for a perfect casual Friday outfit!

Outfit 2: Everyone, calm down! I know you’re thinking stripes and spots, heavens no! But really, how cute is this! The belt helps the eye focus on the waist, embracing (or for our more slender girls, creating) an hour-glass figure.

Outfit 3: I love the color combo in this outfit. It seems a little far-fetched but I think its super vibrant. You can see there is a white shirt under the sweater. However, this outfit does not require it; I just needed to make sure the girls weren’t playing peek-a-boo.

Outfit 4: This outfit is very direct, the blue printed dress with an adorable black and white necklace. I love dresses like this because the tie waist allows you to place the waist where you’re narrowest part lies. This is a great outfit for weekend wear or work wear. Who doesn’t love multifunction?!

Outfit 5: This is a great work outfit, and super comfortable too. We took the black t-shirt and layered it over the ruffled blouse paired with taupe pants and it is super classic! This picture shows black heels however, leopard print flats would also be adorable–great for our walking commuters.

Outfit 6: It doesn’t get any easier than that! Black tee and jeans is great for errands, a Saturday night get together with friends or chilling at home. I paired this outfit with my Coach shoes because of how comfortable they are!

Outfit 7: As you can clearly see this month, ruffles were my fave. 🙂 The ruffles add a little something extra, bringing the view to your chest and away from any less-than-flattering parts.

Outfit 8: This outfit incorporates our jean skirt and our blue tank top. To ensure that there was not too much blue in the outfit, we broke it up with a soft pink tank underneath to add some color. We chose flip flops but you could also decide on wedges instead, depending on the event that you will be sporting this to!

Outfit 9: This was probably our farthest fetch outfit but how cute did it turn out, right?! This belt again, allows the wearer to embrace their narrowest part. the ruffles also end at the perfect place to add to the focal point. Nude heels were my shoe of choice, not to overload the outfit on color.

Outfit 10: This outfit layers the black tee over the green polo dress. creating a super cute skirt outfit! I added wedges, this is a great brunch outfit or even casual Friday.

We just finished the first week of month two. Wowzers!

As always send us pictures of what you think/create!

Happy Almost-End-of-the-Week!