Not Ready to Fall…

… into fall fashions.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love fall.  I actually get tired of sandals and bare legs and welcome the chance to reconnect with my jeans and handknit socks.  But while it is 90 something with a heat index over 100, I have ZERO interest in even pondering my fall (don’t even mention winter) wardrobe.

Still getting trotted out a year later

Besides, I still have to dress myself for a potential new member interest social tomorrow, and we won’t talk about August and September’s wardrobe requirements for all the League things on my calendar. 

Here’s the thing.  I’d like to pretend everything is casual and I dress from my closet.  However… my body is still adjusting and reshaping itself a year later.  My WEIGHT is stable, my critical measurements aren’t really changing, but yet…  my clothes no longer fit just right. 

I’m also still finding my style.  That little Lilly P chambray dress *IS* my style.  It’s almost timeless, it’s on the casual side of dressy, and yes, I do re-wear!  I do try to keep a mental score and not wear the same things over and over with the same audiences, but I figure if I can’t remember, they probably don’t either.

So, help me out.  If you’re already admiring fall fashions, what should I be looking for?

Ryka Trail Exodus

Courtesy of 6pm

Friday and Sunday, I tried out another pair of trail shoes… the Ryka Trail Exodus.   If I wasn’t so in love with the Brooks Cascadia, I’d say these are good trail shoes. 

BUT I am truly, deeply, madly smitten with the Cascadia, so instead, I’ll say that if the Cascadia’s pricetag gives you pause, or if you know you really don’t like a responsive, supportive but cushioned shoe, try the Ryka Trail Exodus for your off-road fitness adventures.

My only real complaint is probably unique to my feet.  While I have narrow heels for most of my… foot, they are very much medium, average or whatever you want to call it on the sole/bottom of my foot.  So…  I had some minor pressure in the heel, particularly in the left shoe, just where the heel “cup” meets the sole of the shoe. 

The Trail Exodus is neither as cushioned nor as flexible as the Cascadia, but it didn’t irritate any of my pre-existing issues – shin splints in both legs since high school, prone to blisters at the top of both heels, jarring in my hips/back…   And it took it through its paces yesterday on a very long, all-terrain, fast-paced walk, so it passed the test, although not with flying colors, thanks to the new, very high standards set by the Cascadia.

I hate a black athletic shoe, but I do need to note that what appears to be a flame-orange on the shoe is really a VERY PANK color.   Gretchen says that makes them okay.  I say they’re an adequate give the Cascadia time to dry out option.  

However, both my beloveds and the also-ran RTE had rather epic fails in the “through dew-laden tall grass” department.   Saturday was ridiculously wet, but I can therefore say that even SOAKED, my feet were very stable within the Cascadia and there were no odd blisters, because there was no slipping and sliding inside the shoe.  Yesterday, the field wasn’t AS wet, but the trade-off for breathable mesh on a trail shoe means that it lets water in too.  Oh well.  I pretended it was refreshing, then deconstructed the shoes when we got home so they could thoroughly dry out.

THAT my friends, is why I ALWAYS rotate between at least two pairs of shoes.  Thankfully, the Under Armour fitness shoes the Knight got me this spring work really well on the elliptical, so…  Three workouts, three pairs of shoes. 

And naked toes.  I don’t know if it’s the new compression socks, the high mileage with wet feet, or what, but my pedicure had an epic fail yesterday too.  I know when I slipped my feet in my sandals before heading to King Family Vineyards for some polo (and a glass of their Loreley Late Harvest), my toes were all covered with polish.  When I next paid attention to them at home (after changing out of my stuck-to-me-dress), one was completely bare, so I had to remove all the polish before we went to dinner…

About that polo event…  I can’t say enough about the really relaxed “family” atmosphere at Roseland Polo at King Family Vineyards.   Hospitality carts made frequent rounds, and a cute “hostess” all but demanded that we let her take our trash, rather than tossing it in the back of a vehicle to take home as friends had already prepared to do.  If I wasn’t the only local living in ignorance… maybe I’ll see you there soon.

How was your weekend?

Do you have a bucket?

I mean… a bucket list?

I want cap toe flats!

I suppose I kinda’ do…  I have dream vacations, wish lists on Amazon and my Nook… and then there’s Pinterest.  Yeah…  I guess that’s how I’d answer the question.  I don’t have a bucket list, but I have 37 (or whatever) boards on Pinterest of things I might cook/bake one day, outfits I’ll never be brazen enough to wear.

Honestly, of all the social media that has taken over our lives, Pinterest is most my style… blogging excluded of course.  I love words and writing, so I’m still trying to appreciate the irony that makes someone like me really enjoy “pinning”. 

On the flip side, Twitter is my least favorite.  I still don’t understand #hashtags (or is it hashtags#), nor do I know how to group all of the Junior Leagues I follow on Twitter into one group. 

I forget to check Instagram, but it’s cool too…  You don’t have to wait for your friends to make a scrapbook, and you can look at just the photos you want; you don’t have to sort through all of the photos from their wedding, vacation, etc., if you don’t wanna’. 

So… DO you have a bucket list?  If so, is it real or just a series of fluid thoughts and dreams?  If it’s real, where does it live?

Dog Days Defined

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and whatever else you’re celebrating today.  We’re celebrating some little wins in Gretchen’s life, which translates into small milestones for our pack. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Since we’ve been walking at dawn in the heat, there are no new and exciting photos, so today’s post is about the history behind the “dog days of summer.”  The name comes from the Dog Star, which Harry Potter and satellite radio fans will know is also called Sirius or the brightest star in Canis Major.

Wikipedia has a great explanation behind the history of the phrase, but at least for “my neck of the woods” it fits; we are generally at our hottest from the end of July through the first of September. 

July 2011 002How do you battle the dog days of summer?  We just stay in the AC as much as possible, walk at dawn and dusk, and stay hydrated.

Today I’m thankful for that AC.  Being without it for a few hours Monday was enough for me.  I’m also thankful for Sissy’s morning snuggles; she’s very demanding about it, and will literally try to pin me down if she feels I’m getting up prematurely.  Sweet girl.   I just wish she didn’t insist upon getting a BIG drink of water before she comes for her morning cuddle!



Mama and babies… just right of center

No… no baby yet, and given all the pre-natal care and images today, I’m pretty sure none of my friends are going to surprise us with twins.

Last week, we got our first glimpses at the twin fawns in our woods.   The girls somehow know that barking and being obnoxious is inappropriate, so we’ve been able to get some good looks, even if that doesn’t translate into good photos.

It’s refreshing to just enjoy the beauty of nature and the circle of life with all of the chaos in the news.

How do you recharge when life is pushing your buttons?


July 2012 013First things first!  Sissy had a great eye check-up on Saturday, and you can read more about it on the fur-girls’ blog

I don’t believe I’ve worn the same fitness shoes three days straight since I started running competitively at age 14.  However… that’s just what I did this weekend.  I’ve been rather vocal about my struggle to replace my former go-to trail shoes.  I’m even willing to admit that while I’ve blamed Sissy and her hunting efforts for my sprained ankle, maybe, just maybe, not having the right shoes for the job was a major factor.

Why no, I haven’t been to the local running store.  It’s never open when it is convenient for me to go, and frankly, it’s in a part of town (the University district) that I go out of my way to avoid.  Anyway, a couple of brands and styles kept coming up in my research, so when I found one of them at roughly 50% off, I ordered.

Courtesy of Sierra Trading Post

It was love at first sight.  Even with a bum ankle, I couldn’t resist trying the Brooks Cascadias on when they arrived.  Just walking around the living room made my feet happy.  Friday afternoon took forever to get here, and then the dogs and I had a great walk.  The Knight, who has suffered through this whole shoe drama more than even the most devoted of you my readers, ordered me to get another pair right away.  So… after another glorious walk on Saturday, I did order another pair.  

Yesterday, I knew the shoes were perfect and considered giving them a day to breathe and dry out, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put on any of the other shoes that never did suit me well and now, literally have me turning up my nose.  So, I put them through their paces.  They do well on steep inclines, steep declines, over rocks, grass, roots, even on tar and gravel and cement.  They are very lightweight, and that glorious mesh on the top does let a bit of wet in when the grass is tall and very damp, but so do all of my other trail shoes, except the New Balance walkers that are FAR too firm/stiff for me, even after about 6 months of wear and well over 200 miles of use.

My feet/legs/hips/back might actually even feel better while I’m wearing those shoes than not. 

Now, a question for you charity walker/runners…  Do I need “road” shoes too?  These are so light and cushioned I can’t imagine that a smoother tread pattern would be a whole lot better, but I also had refused to believe that I really could buy whole-body happiness via the right shoe for the job…

How was your weekend?


July 2012 022So…  I don’t know the precise style name, but the Knight found me a great Dooney & Bourke tote that’s just perfect.   You only get this one photo, because it’s that kind of hectic around here, and this is all I snapped while I was taking photos of other stuff last week.

And yes, Sissy is taking advantage of the situation and inspecting the bag.  Despite its coated canvas exterior, I’ve kept it away from my slobber-gobber girl. 

He searched around for something that would be iPad friendly, and it is.  It doesn’t zip across the top, but it snaps in two places, so it can be closed quite securely.   There are several pockets inside, but the main compartment is wide open for my big wallet, whichever case the iPhone is in, sunglasses case, a file folder, etc.

D&B Medium East-West Shopper

Best of all, it’s lightweight.  I’d tell you I’m done buying bags, but there’s a fall version on the D&B website… 

Hem.  Okay.  I have a bag problem.  It only has a magnetic center snap, so it isn’t as perfect as what I have.  Whew.

And a dress problem… but we aren’t talking about that right now.  If we were, I’d want to hear from the Boden fans out there…

The good news is though, I’m knitting from my stash almost exclusively these days.  I can’t wait to show you my latest FO, but there are actually two that need blocking, so…

Honestly?  I don’t see it happening this weekend.  Maybe early next week… maybe?

Any exciting weekend plans?  Me?  I’m looking forward to lots of long walks to make it possible for me to spend more time getting to know my new friend, Talenti’s sea salt caramel gelato

And does anyone else Jazzercise?  Two of my distant-city pals really love it, and it seems to fit my virtually no-impact needs…



Hazardous Duty

Happy Thorsday, little friday and Thankful Thursday!  I have up a quickie review of a new to us dog food on the girls’ blog.   For this post though, I’m going to talk about the calculated risks I take to share my fitness routine with my dogs.


  1. Two leashes.   Just walking two dogs at the same time requires an extra layer of attention.  I favor the one leash per hand method, because both of my girls are active hunters and are apt to be moving in different directions at different speeds at any given  moment.
  2. Retractable leashes.  I realize they’re controversial.  I’ve had one serious “leash burn” from Gretchen’s wee wire-like cord on the back of my leg, and they seem to delight in wrapping up their prey when we do stop to visit with another human.  However, I understand that my girls are high energy dogs with hunting instincts, and part of the joy for me is sharing the woods with them, so… I choose to give them the added freedom of a longer leash, even though it is sometimes at my expense.
  3. Mixed terrain.  On an average day, we walk on gravel, tar and gravel, cement, grass, dirt, and even ford a little stream.  Tree roots and other natural obstacles are everywhere.   I’m still in search of the perfect shoe for all surfaces, and for my own orthopedic needs.
  4. Living, breathing, moving distractions.  Gretchen is getting better about not being so highly reactive, so it’s not as stressful – or as physically challenging for me – to encounter other dogs, people, horses, etc. on our walks. 
  5. Vehicles.  I wish I could say that everyone who travels our little dead-end road is considerate and alert… but they aren’t, so we have to be.  One of the first commands I’ve taught all of my dogs is “out of the road!” and that means race up the bank to the left and STAY.  HURRY!  is another important command, because not all drivers obey speed limits.  Hem.
  6. I am proud to say we’ve had no serious injuries in well over a year of walking at least 6 days a week, usually around 30+ miles per week.  We’ve had slow walks because Gretchen got a thorn in her paw, we’ve turned around early because Sissy stepped on a wasp, and I’ve had a charlie horse and just last week, a sprained ankle, but nothing has kept us sidelined for more than a day here or there!

photo.JPGThat’s the thankful part!  I’m so grateful that while we’ve encountered snakes, a raccoon in the daytime, countless deer, etc., it’s all been without any real incident.  Sissy has gotten plenty hot, Gretchen has had to be carried both because she was terrified and because her paw hurt, and I’ve pushed through and walked on home with my own ailments. 

Oh.  Well.  I suppose ringworm and Lymes Disease probably count against me somehow, but both responded well to treatment and neither put me on the disabled list.  I wouldn’t trade my walking with the girls for anything.  While I do like a class in a nice, climate controlled studio, and I do go run on the elliptical for my speed training, my favorite exercise involves the great outdoors, the kindness of generous neighbors, two leashes, and the best workout partners ever.

What are you thankful for today?

A good day…

July 2012 002I’ve said since I learned that a local friend was due on July 17th that the 18th is a good day to be born.  See, my teen years BFF was born today… a few years ago.  (Hem.)  No, you don’t get a photo, because all of my photos for the last few years include her precious boy, and I don’t put kiddo photos on my blog.

Instead, you get a pretty photo of one of my birthday flowers. 

Now… what’s your go-to baby shower (or just welcome baby) gift?

Wine Whine

This weekend was jammed full!  Over on the girls’ blog, we did manage to get a Blog the Change post up yesterday.   Yesterday was also National Ice Cream Day, and after our first Bloop experience Saturday night, we celebrated by having Bloop for dinner last night.

Why yes, I am serious.  We’re adults, and we had a late lunch, so when the Knight announced around 7pm that he wanted Bloop for dinner… we went. 

I was a little shocked that the Knight was an instant fan, but I think the super-fresh, sweet strawberries won him over.  Their blackberries are also some of the nicest I’ve ever had.  Doesn’t hurt that there’s real Godiva chocolate in their chocolate variety either.

Anyway.  About the title of this post…  Saturday, we met up with the Knight’s brother and his family and the cousin who grew up next door and his wife at the Horton Vineyards Pig Roast.   No pig visuals were involved… just ribs and pulled pork on the buffet. 

Full disclosure…  The Hortons are both friends and customers and we did receive VIP tickets, but this is my account of the event and their wines.  We did pay full event prices for everything purchased.

We were the last of our party to arrive (and yes, the ones living the closest to the winery), and the Knight’s cousin is such a great guy…  It wasn’t long before he slipped over to the nearest pouring table and came back with a chilled bottle of Niagra, one of my go-to favorites.  (All wines mentioned in this post found HERE.)  It’s a sweet, fruity white, but not a true FRUIT wine or a dessert wine per se.

After ribs, slaw, three-bean salad and more, we retreated to the cool comfort of the barrel room, where said cousin tasted reds.  I don’t do reds because of a tannin allergy, so we moved on upstairs to the gift shop and tasting rooms, where a bottle of their very sweet Blanco XOCO (white wine with chocolate essence) was had after some tastings.

Courtesy of Total Wine

While I do keep Blanco XOCO, Niagra and others on hand, this time, I required their Sparkling Viognier.   Those who know me “in real life” know I love me some bubbly, and being able to buy it from a friend makes it that much … happier.

One of the things we love best about the Hortons is their great sense of humor.  The complementary wine glasses for the pig roast each year give you some insight into their personalities, but my favorite part of the shopping experience is reading the little tag lines or nicknames for each variety. 

The sparkling viognier is Dom Virginion.  Isn’t that a hoot? 

I love that wine is STILL a growing Virginia enterprise.  Local lore has it that Thomas Jefferson was the first to play vintner in these parts. 

What did you do this weekend?