Doggone Reading List

Maybe we can return to normal posting now.  Maybe.  But don’t worry about me if I miss a day here or there.  Life is bumpy, you know?  Mostly good stuff going on, but there are enough monkey wrenches to keep me on my toes.  Fortunately, planes and being alone in a hotel room leaves some reading time.  Sure, it could have been knitting time, but my projects right now aren’t so portable and frankly, sometimes the brain is too tired to talk to the fingers…

(How is it that I only have 70-some book posts when I’ve read 45 books already this year alone?)

Anyway, it seems I never mentioned The Chaperone.  There’s a reason for that.  Even if you love the early 20th century, country mouse goes to the city, or love always wins books, I can’t recommend it.   Pity, because Laura Moriarty was a Literary Feast speaker (former JLC fundraiser), and I liked her a lot.   Maybe if I was a Louise Brooks fan?  Dunno…

Courtesy of Amazon

Next up was Must Love Dogs, by Claire Cook.   Sappy, happy, feel-good book.  Made me miss my girls a little more.  And no, I haven’t seen the movie either.  Should I?

By the way, all of these books were read on my iPad via the Kindle app.  Love technology.  I had my iPad for staying on top of League business while I was out of town, and it doubled as my e-reader.   I especially love the sync feature, so that if I was using my iPhone, I could still pick right up where I’d left off on the iPad, and vice versa.

Then there was a really quick read on the return flight, The Woof in the Wedding Plans by Regina Duke.  Wish it hadn’t been a little novella; I really liked the characters, the setting, etc.  Maybe it will evolve into something bigger if enough of us download this little book?  (Hint, hint…)

Last but hardly least was Bidding on Death, the second book in Joyce Harmon’s Passatonnack wine cozy series.   Too bad her cover art isn’t more inspiring; that’s Paco, the nearly main character.  Maybe that’s saying too much…  I enjoyed Cissy, the main human character and Polly, her lumbering, sweet dog in Died on the Vineso it was fun to go back to the winery again, even if the winery was barely mentioned in this book.

I do love that Ms. Harmon seems to have revived the long-defunct Princess Anne County for the setting.   Virginia Beach gobbled up the county in the last century, but based on a few comments about them being in a tidal area, I’m pretty sure the Queen Anne County in the book is a fictitious adaptation of the rural areas now well beyond Va Beach.  Given that basically blogless Susan loaned me this book and she knows that area better than I do… what do you say, Sus?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have two dogs who feel they’re still in a walk deficit.  What are you doing this weekend?

Sissy’s Debut

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday, “homecoming” for the JLC and more!   Since today’s the first general membership meeting of our League year, why not feature Sunday’s Yappy Hours on Thorsday?

I blogged about this event last year, but if you’re curious, you’ll just have to search… no time for me to search and link for you.  The short version is, Gretchen Greer went last year and was terrified.  This year was Sissy’s year, and not only did she make new friends, but I was even more impressed with Keswick Vineyards than before.

We were part of their wine tasting event, but as I sat with good friends who were more aware than I was, our host was quickly told that I cannot drink red wines.  Rather than suggesting I might just like to venture inside for the open to the public tasting as I heard last year, this fellow quickly reduced my fee to half price and then still rounded up a third white for me to sample.   We bought a bottle, and I honestly can’t tell you which wine we purchased, because my friend’s husband chose for us.

Of course, it is Thorsday, so here’s a partial group photo.  Let’s just note that Sissy and Stirling got along FABULOUSLY and move along, okay?  There were actually about twice as many people and far more dogs earlier, but we’re still getting the hang of preserving digital memories.  Those of you whom have met me in person know that if anyone is counting on me to remember to pull out the camera, someone is going to be sadly disappointed.

And yes, that’s the Christopher & Banks sequin doggy tee I have on, and I’m not wringing my hands over Sissy’s improper moment; I’m merely cradling my tasty wine.

Thankfuls?  Oh, I could write for HOURS.  I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to travel and to spend time with some of the brightest, most talented women in the world.   I remember scoffing when I learned that a lot of big businesses will give their employees educational credit for attending Junior League conferences and training workshops, but several years and almost as many conferences later, I’m a believer.

I’m thankful for intuitive women whose compassion and desire to help outweighs their gift to perceive a need.  Yeah, that could apply to a lot of women in a lot of Leagues, but I’m actually speaking of the phenomenal AJLI staff and the impressive not-staff speakers they assemble for each conference.   Their experience and guidance makes being a League president almost easy.

But most of all, I’m grateful for my local gals.   They inspire me each and every day and their dedication and unexpected offers to help me has me bursting with hope as we move through this pivotal year.  Our league is changing and evolving, and it is truly an honor to be the woman running the meetings.

Heck, I’m not even REALLY doing that.  Because Leagues are all about training volunteers and developing the potential of women, I just have to modify the agendas and scripts from years past to reflect what we’re doing now.   There’s an energetic Meetings & Events committee that REALLY runs the logistics; I just get to worry the snot out of a few of you while I obsess about what to wear to said meeting.

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March 2011

And to end on a lighter note, I’m really thankful Sissy is a dog.  Could you imagine such a carefree, sassy human girl?!

What are you thankful for today?

Arm warmers?

Courtesy of 6pm

The girls’ blog has our grief-stricken post about Mango, but comments are turned off, so only click over if you don’t know Mango.

Do any of you wear arm warmers?  I think I asked already, but it’s getting chilly here in podunk, but I nearly evaporated in a windbreaker yesterday once I got my sweat on.

To my other outdoor fitness readers, what do you wear for those transitional weather days? 

Now, if only I could focus on my remarks for tomorrow’s big meeting.   I’m too easily distracted by PANK arm warmers, boots,  and …

ooooh, shiny!!

What distracts you, or are you disciplined and never down to the wire on a deadline?


On Target for Fall

Courtesy of Target

For someone who really HAD to purchase a new wardrobe last year, I’m still doing a lot of shopping.   I’ve been looking for the perfect red trench coat, and still haven’t found it (to those in the know, the Land’s End red thing went back; I didn’t like the fabric), but I do need a lowish-hip trench, and Target has a black one on sale.  I always feel uncomfortable wearing a tan trench to a funeral, so at this price, I have a funeral coat, if nothing else. 

I also found a peplum dress I am certain will work on my body.  I would still like a pepulm top, but maybe Target will produce one in a similar design?  I had another ponte knit dress from Target, and it was of a good quality, so I’m sure this will suit me too.  It might not be a true, full peplum, but it’s just what my body ordered.   (My apologies…  you’ll have to click over and look around if you really want to see it on a body, but in short, the peplum is only on the sides.)

Do let me know if you see a great, true red, low-to-mid-hip length, classic trench.  The one that started this craving was in Chicago.  Sigh.   (Yes, Target had it in an acceptable red in the spring, but by the time I found it, my size was gone.)

What are you looking for?

With Purpose

Things are still wild and hairy in my world, but I thought I’d share a couple of my new discoveries that I believe might appeal to a few of you.

First up is Pearls with a Purpose.  I’ve seen them at League conferences, but this time, I had time to stop and chat with the founder and support her inspired enterprise.   To say I’m thoroughly vested now is … a nice way to put it.  Bling for me that changes the world?  What’s not to love?!  Please click over and read more about the organization and its mission.  I so admire women like Wendy who truly are transforming lives every day.

Next up is Vera Bradley’s newest color, Ribbons.  Vera’s website says, “When you carry an item in this color, you’re showing your support for breast cancer research. Vera Bradley contributes approximately $1 million annually to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, from the sale of items in all of our colors.”   Personally, I’m going with the scarf, but I also saw the new Smartphone Wristlet over the weekend, and I might need that too… if it will fit my Otterbox cased iPhone.

What’s new with you?  I did some exciting things since last we chatted, but we’ll catch up in bits and bobs. 


Talk Amongst Yourselves

Ruth asked a great question yesterday, and I wish I had time to really dig into it.

“Can’t we just talk fabric and color and accessories?”

Why sure we can!  Or rather, y’all can.  How do you transition from summer to fall, particularly if like Ruth, you live in a place where summer is still hot and heavy, even though the calendar says it is all but over?

Courtesy of Coldwater Creek

Here’s how I do it.  Take one seasonless navy sheath, add a jacket that was marketed for spring/summer, and then indeed, the shoes and accessories set the tone.  For instance, earlier this week, I wore a similar jacket with a grey tee and blue capris and peep-toe navy flats.  Today’s even cooler, so I’d likely trade the flats for pumps and call it a truly transitional outfit.  (Note…  my jacket is actually cream and PANK, so it requires even more caution to keep it from being too summery.)

As for accessories, I tend to just use scarves as belts in the heat of summer, so they’ll start finding my neck and shoulders again as it cools off. 

Now, talk amongst yourselves, and I’ll check back in when I can…  someday.


Essential is a strong word…

As much as I like clothes – and growing my wardrobe – I don’t consider trends “essential”.  Nevertheless, here’s’s 10 Essential Fall Fashion Trends.

And here’s my take on their list:

Coated skinny jeans – Soooo not an essential in my book.  Jeans?  Yes.  Colored denim?  Perhaps.  Jeans that coated to look like an animal skin?  Not worth hundreds of dollars.  If you really want the look, rush to your nearest Kohl’s while they have this pair on sale for roughly a quarter of the price of the original in the article.

My concern?  Do these things breathe?  I’m all about breathable fabrics, and the description reminds me of Dooney & Bourke’s coated canvas bags, which are water-resistant.   Also, jeans are comfort attire in my world, and again, coated fabric doesn’t sound like something I’d curl up on the sofa with… although put that way, would it be drool resistant?  If so, I’m headed to Kohl’s myself…

Courtesy of Christopher & Banks

Sheath dress.  Okay, we agree here.  There is a sheath to flatter every figure, and honestly, most of my dresses are sheath-like.  This dark grey ponte knit sheath is in my cart.  I don’t need another grey dress, but since I don’t look great in black, I’m calling it my new little black dress.

And besides, I have a long-sleeved grey flannel shirt dress, a light-medium grey sweater dress, and a very light grey wrap dress.   No one would bat an eye at four different black dresses, right?  (The correct answer is RIGHT!!!)

A-line skirt.  Okay, for many women, that is a classic.  For me, it merely makes my no-hip, short legged self look like I should be in a minivan headed to private school.  Add saddle shoes and I’d have a great 8th grader Halloween costume.  Hmmm…  (No suggestions here, because were you reading?!  I don’t wear A-line anything.)

Courtesy of 6pm

Tough boots.  Heck yeah!  Never mind that I already have several pairs.  I love boots, especially ones that don’t need to be babied.   I’m hoping Cupid – or whomever is in charge of anniversary presents – is reading and hears that I want a pair of Frye boots.  (No, not THAT pair, but almost anything Frye in my size will do.)

Grey and navy are the two colors missing from my boot wardrobe, but I also need a pair of black heeled boots; both pairs I already have are flat.  (Well, not the booties, but they’re different than boots… right?)

Peplum top.  Okay, this *IS* on my shopping list.  I need to get myself to an Ann Taylor and try this one on.  Why yes, if you’re keeping score at home it is another ponte knit.   Seriously ladies, if you haven’t tried ponte knit, do.  Then you’ll get why it’s taking over my not-summer wardrobe.

I’m not sure a peplum works for every shape, and I definitely need to try it on, especially since there’s a petite version in this top.  See, my hourglass is defined on the bottom by my sway-backed butt, and while I am confident that from the front, the peplum will work, I need a dressing room with harsh lights and a good sideways view before I purchase.

Ankle strapped shoes.  Pass.  Did you read the part about how short my legs are?  Plus, they just aren’t comfortable.

Updated satchel.  I’m still really happy with my D&B plaid tote, thanks much.  I mean, if someone gave me a Coach gift certificate I’m sure I could find an updated satchel, but I’d rather have the Frye boots.

Sporty jacket.  Um…  While I have several, I think it’s wiser to invest in a trench or a good wool car coat that can be dressed up or down.  And really?  Sporty is trendy?   Huh.  I thought it was its own kind of classic…

Leather skirt.  Yes please!!  Even Talbots has one.  Honestly, I think for the money, I’d buy that dark brown beauty over the Frye boots.   My leopard pumps are crying for this skirt, although at 21″ in petite, I’d still have to cough up the funds to have it whacked off at least a couple of inches.  (See folks?  My legs are SHORT.)  Still, I’m hoping to find one at a better price, but I also won’t be buying this online; I want to try it on, and more importantly, I want to touch it.  I am willing to invest in leather, especially if it is a little thick and buttery smooth…

Doesn’t that look like dark chocolate?

Printed pants.  Erm…  another “head to Target” here, folks.  Definitely not a must-have in my book.  Maybe if you’re a lot trendier than I am?  Although I must say, I’d spend $30 on these snake-skin jeans before I’d try the coated jeans for double that price… if I could wear Junior sizes, and I can’t.

I do love the animal “skin” looks.  I own way too much “cheetah” print stuff and am still drawn to other animal prints, but I seem to prefer them on tops, belts and shoes.  I have admired ONE animal print pencil skirt, but no surprise here…  I didn’t purchase it and now it’s sold out.

So are any of these trends must-haves in your world?



Sigh of RELIEF!

I’m going to tell you now not to fret if I post very sporadically for the rest of the month.  It’s just all kinds of League crazy-busy between now and then, so please know I’m fine… just swamped.

We did have a too close for comfort nature experience yesterday.  Well…  *I* did; my big  hunters were looking the other way thankfully, because we got within about 20 feet of an adult skunk, just strolling along the entrance to our walking trail!  Thankfully, both girls do well with directional commands – the Knight has long made fun of me for teaching the dogs left, right, forward – and they are used to being told we aren’t going down our wooded path.  As we rounded the curve continuing up the road, I looked back to see the skunk trotting on in the direction we just came from.



The boys, 8-06, years after the skunk incident

I couldn’t find an image that matched the skunk I saw.  It was totally black, with just a shot of white at the top of its neck.  Given that the boy-dogs had a run-in with a skunk at the front porch one spring, I was ever so grateful that the girls were highly obedient and the skunk wasn’t startled by our mere presence.

Was your weekend eventful?

As seen on The Today Show…

Maggy London

I’ve admired a couple of frocks The Today Show gals have worn, but I honestly caused a small scene in my office when I saw this Maggy London number on the television screen. 

Oh, I pin a lot of dresses, blog quite a few too I suppose, but friends…  I’m ready to excuse myself and go see if any place in podunk has this dress in stock.   PANK, purple and grey?!  What’s not to love?

Problem is, I need a petite and the website doesn’t seem to offer one, or I would have clicked “check out” already.

What’s on your weekend agenda?  Clearly, I’ll be rushing in and out of the stores in podunk looking for this dress, when I’m not walking the dogs and working on my remarks for all the upcoming League hoopla…

Freedom Door

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful thursday!  Before I launch into my daily dribble, you might want to check out the post on the girls’ blog.  Ever heard of a charitable walk allowing remote participation?

Photo Courtesy of Petsafe

The Knight and I have been discussing a doogy door since before the fur-girls came into our lives.  For reasons unclear to me, suddenly the time was right and a Petsafe Freedom Patio Panel was installed yesterday. 

Because I am lame busy and the girls are active and fast learners, there are no action shots of the quick acclimation process.  Thanks to basically blogless Susan, I grabbed a fistful of banana chips and found my happiest, proudest voice, and literally in a few minutes, Sissy was coming and going like she’d been using a doggy door all of her life.

January 2011 017

1-11 Girls at full gallop

Gretchen still is reluctant and will try to slide through after Sissy’s melon head has pushed the flap open, but she got “smacked” in the face by said flat during a poorly timed attempt to follow this morning.  Gretchen Greer just isn’t pushy nor is she particularly independent, so I’m not surprised that she isn’t as eager to come and go without human assistance. 

Sissy DIVA of course, has no such compulsions and politely let herself out this morning at 5-something AM.  Now, for her to learn that she’s not a teenager and I don’t need to know where she’s going, what she’ll be doing, or when she’ll be back…

Thankfuls?  I honestly don’t know when I’ve felt more thankful.  I have smart, sweet dogs, a handy thoughtful husband (never mind that I heard him tell a friend he got the doggy door because he was tired of getting up and down to let the dogs out while watching TV), and the very best friends a girl could have.  It’s double-dipping, since many of the board members and leaders in the League are also my friends, but I can’t thank last year’s Nominating Committee enough for firstly listening to my hours and hours of what I wanted in a board, what traits I think make a good leader, etc., and then for crafting what might be the finest leadership team ever.


A bad photo of part of the great JLC board at our retreat

Why no, I’m not biased.  Okay, well… maybe a little, but women who aren’t prone to biases also agree we have strong board and a promising team of emerging leaders.  It makes it a pleasure to put in the long hours and go to all the meetings when I’m surrounded by so much passion and potential.

What drives you to put in extra time and where/what is your passion?