Hair-brained

UntitledSo, I had a regularly scheduled hair appointment last night.  I think I’ve been using the current stylist about a year, maybe more.  I trust her, we have a friendly rapport and I told her I was too blonde and something had to give.

Untitled

Neither of these photos are accurate.  The top left selfie was at 10  pm last night, after my appointment.   The right photo was taken outside in cloudy conditions, and is too orange.  There is a copper glow, but not THAT much!

We arrived at this hue after a lengthy discussion.  That’s one of the things I like about my standing, Friday evening sessions.  She’s a night owl engaged to a musician, and I am not in a hurry to get to anything, so there’s time to strategize before the work starts.   I had gotten too blonde for my liking (see here), but I also didn’t want to just glaze it on back to my natural blah brown.  Interestingly, on my laptop, the photo on the right is representative of the auburn highlights my natural color gets when I spend a lot of time in the sun in the summer.

Neither photo includes any make-up.  Maybe Easter family time will yield some good photos.

Have you ever made a wild swing in your hair color?  Any advice for the new redder me?

ON inspiration

While I don’t shop Old Navy much – even though we do have one in podunk – I do often like their outfit looks for inspiration.  Here are some that inspire me enough that I might either actually purchase what’s in my cart or toodle into town and see what I can see.  Because I’m a little lazy – it is Sunday, after all – more information can be found at Outfits We Love.

cn7780755 What about this strapless dress (I don’t wear strapless much because despite custom fittings and great expense, I don’t own a strapless bra that actually works) with a pink cardi or denim jacket?  With a peplum cardi and nude sling-back kitten heels for the League annual meeting/dinner?  (Think garden-party, not business and definitely not cocktail attire.)

If I vow not to remove the cardi no matter how hot I might get, dare I wear a regular bra?

See…  I REALLY want a soft floral dress, and this is the only one I’ve found that isn’t garish, doesn’t have mis-matched seams, and I have high hopes it would fit (unlike the Vineyard Vines beauty I whined about for a whole post), and even if it doesn’t, I can invest a little in alterations.  Heck, should I buy two and have my tailor make 1″ or wider straps?

cn7781210Next up… neither the shorts, nor the hat.  But I love the blouse (and it IS a different print than the dress above), and I own plenty of other jean options that would be work appropriate.  I also have a beloved pair of minty crops that would be very happy with said top.

Oh, I do like hats, but not indoors, and I don’t know that I could wear one all day long even if I was so inclined.   Anyone else get a headache from headbands, even if they aren’t too snug?  My head sure is getting fussy in its old age.

cn7630473Then, there’s this number.  I want the whole outfit, minus the boots.  Much as I love boots, for some reason, those are awful to my eye.  And no, I can’t explain why after years of hating “camo” I’m suddenly drawn to that and what I call Army green.  I confess to having a pair of leggings in a very similar pattern.  I’ve always had a thing for coral, and I was stealing Daddy’s oxford shirts as a cover-up and just to float around in on hot days long before it was trendy.  I’m pretty sure I’d wear the dress with a pair of cropped leggings to work.  I intend to stock up on cropped leggings and wear some of my shirt dresses this spring.

To be clear, I like boots and bare legs, but I just don’t know about ankle boots in the warmer weather.  I have worn ankle boots and tights with dresses in the cooler months, but it’s not my favorite look there either.

And since I have an awesome pine green twill “utility” jacket, can I justify this trendy piece, even at Old Navy prices?  I will need jackets all summer long, as the office at work stays quite cool to offset the ambient temperatures in the shop area…

cn7637741Last but not least, someone remind me that I don’t wear scarves in the summer and I already own a bushel and a peck.  However, I don’t have a lovely natural background with bright florals, and see above…  I do anticipate being COLD in my own office for the next 6 months…

Where do you find your inspiration?

 

Do-over

Sadly, I can’t even remember everything I put in the lost post.  However, I do know that I had blogged about the latest Chewy delivery, so we’ll start there.

47387,1389673065$SS172$It’s another Sissy-friendly product!  Before Sissy’s extensive allergies were diagnosed, they ate – and loved – EVO kibble, so it was exciting (for me) to see an EVO treat that is Sissy-approved.  (For those not accustomed to my Sissy-centric vocabulary, that means basically no land animals, no corn products at all.)  Despite some “expert opinions” that insist dogs don’t like variety, my girls’ reactions to new treats suggests precisely the opposite, and while there are no photos (in part because the treats are Gretchen-sized and also because they were excited and thus, no photo opportunities presented themselves), the girls LOVE the new to them herring flavor of the Wild Cravings.

(Now… how weird is that?!  The post/draft is gone, but the “media” I uploaded was saved.  Go figure.)

They are training treat sized for Sissy and most dogs, but for Gg, they’re just the right size for a snack, although the round shape does seem to break in the package, so there are Gg training treat bits too.  If your dog likes fishy treats – and you don’t mind fish breath – give these a try!  There are other flavors and a cat variety too.  Thanks, Chewy!  I’ve truly lost track of how many months in a row you’ve offered Sissy-approved options for us to try, but I do know that the past couple of months, there have been at least TWO options on the list of products for your bloggers to review.

Courtesy of CAbi

Courtesy of CAbi

In a drastic shift of topic, this blog’s media library suggests that I also FINALLY shared my CAbi purchases.   It was basically this very look, but with darker ankle jeans and some in and out of fire truck friendly metallic flats.  If you click on that link, it will show you the top in more detail – sure to be a three-season favorite for years to come – and the grey-yellow jacket, which I had to be all but held down and forced into, because I can’t wear yellow.

I am a CAbi fan now.  All-day comfort, machine-washable, and I wasn’t too over-dressed at work but I was perfectly poised for an important League meeting after work.  I look forward to actually being able to attend a show and add to my “collection” soon.  I have my eye on several other pieces that should work well in my very casual work environment and with my general preference for … not too casual attire.

Sorry the selfie is so washed out.  The walls in my office are actually a lovely, light tan, but with Untitledthe lighting and the light-colored jacket…  Yeah.  Anyway, it proves that I can wear yellow, strategically.

Another new love is my most recent Lilly Pulitzer purchase.  I found the wristlet at the register, and while my Lifeproof encased iPhone 5 doesn’t fit in the little interior phone spot, it does sit happily inside the case.  There’s no coin zipper, but my large checkbook-wallet holds coins, so this is the perfect grab-n-go for me.   I had a terrible time choosing which print I wanted, but given how much I hate to change bags, there’s no chance I’ll go back for another.

Courtesy of Lilly P

Courtesy of Lilly P

It’s significantly smaller than my previous go-to wristlet, which is a plus for me.   While the previous trusted friend served me well for at least two years, it was really too large to really be a wristlet.  I mean… if you can’t dangle it from your wrist without discomfort, it isn’t really a wristlet, even if it has the strap.  And best of all, it’s printed PVC, so it’s easy to keep clean and it’s lightweight.

I’m pleased enough that I’m pondering the Lilly P iPad Smart Cover too.  I found a “previous season” print on a discount website for significant savings, so what’s not to love?!  (The shipping, but anyhoo… it’s still a great deal.)

Have you had any great finds lately?

Hide and Seek?!

For the second time, a post I set to publish later didn’t.  Last time, I found the draft when I got home and hit publish.  This time though, I’ve looked in drafts, trash… everywhere, and can’t find it.  Time wasted.  Thoughts lost.  Pout.

I’ll try again after the taxes.

 

There’s a word for that

I’m all about making up words – SNOL, furgirls, PANK… but evidently, there’s already a word for “kinda’ vegetarian when it suits me.”

Flexitarian – According to About.com,  “Flexitarian” is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat. Many people who call themselves “flexitarian” or “semi-vegetarian” have given up red meat for health reasons while others, for environmental reasons, only eat free-range or organic animals and animal products.

Now… this girl isn’t giving up squat, but I was a pescatarian (didn’t eat land animal flesh) for a while many years ago, until I sincerely dreamed about a nice, rare filet mignon night after night and finally realized that I just couldn’t do it.  And I have followed a pescatarian when convenient diet ever since… right up until Marjie shattered my world with the announcement that shrimp is high in cholesterol.

Pescatarians on the hunt – not by choice… as long as you don’t count the prescription rabbit kibble era.

You have to understand…  I am the product of farmers.  My mother’s people, on both sides, farm and have farmed since the beginning of time, as near as I can tell.  My father’s grandfather was a gentleman farmer back when it wasn’t cool and trendy to play in compost on your days off, and while I lack that gene for spending hours on the tractor or nurturing little seeds into edible goodness, I got a double-dose of the pass me some fresh produce, straight from the chicken coop eggs, and by all means, I’m okay with looking my protein sources in the eyes.  (My apologies to those who aren’t…  Good for you.  My once-removed cousin with the chicken houses DID assure that I am incapable of enjoying chicken without worrying about growth hormones and free range, etc.)

Of course, I credit my farmer-relations with my ability to enjoy tofu too.  My uncle by choice (or by marriage… but as he put it years ago, marrying my mother’s sister made us kin, but we’d choose to claim each other even without that legal union) was farming soybeans long before I’d found Tofutti in my grocer’s freezer.

But don’t look for me to begin haughtily announcing I’m a flexitarian;  I still have enough trouble explaining that Episcopalian isn’t a medical condition.   No, I think that as much as I love silly words, I’ll stick with just dodging red meat most of the time, because I was also raised to feel it’s rude not to eat what’s put in front of me, or to ask non-life threatening questions about my food.  (I’m allergic to scallops, so there is a time and a place for said inquiries, and I can issue a “NO – LEAVE IT!” with such authority that even a food-driven basset draws back.)

I shared the mango-edamame salsa recipe a few posts back, but now, I’m in search of a … four-bean? salad?  Garbanzo, red, black and green, with some red onion, cilantro and …  I ate it all, so I have only my fond food memories to help me.  It seemed pretty similar to the traditional three-bean salad, but … better.  If anyone can help a gal trying to flex more and meat less, it would be awesome!

And in other almost healthy food news, did you know that gluten-free (homemade) chocolate chip cookies are basically ALWAYS chewy, not crispy?  My friend used Alton Brown’s Chewy Gluten Free recipe, and since dogs can’t have chocolate anyway, there’s no need to substitute around the corn starch for Sissy.  They aren’t close to low cholesterol, but as long as I don’t eat shrimp with them, I’m going to say it’s fine.

Don’t hate me, but with no other changes to my routine (well, add in extra stress, but evidently, only Sissy’s eye problems and my mother’s death are stressful enough to stop the eating), I’ve dropped nearly three pounds in two weeks.  I’m pretty sure I’d heard somewhere before that high fat diets aren’t healthy…  hem.

Saturday Scramble

Oh, the things we’ll do to avoid doing the taxes…

And yes, I realize I’ve put them off about as long as I dare.  Just as soon as I finish this post, I’ll go update the software, walk the dogs and then buckle down.  The taxes are just a symbol of how life is going right now.  If it isn’t on fire or otherwise an emergency, it isn’t getting my attention.

 The girls are peering up under the bridge across the little creek, and that’s a good image for how it goes in the woods of late.  I ran hurdles in high school track, and that’s how I’m managing things right now.  Eyes forward, leap while the brain is calculating when the next leap has to happen…

I do have a few things to report though, and for another photo of the girls in the water and an update on them, click here.

Firstly, coconut milk “creamer” doesn’t cut it.  I can do plain cream and an artificial sweetener or flavored syrup, but the vegan “creams” don’t come close.  I’d rather just do 2% milk and sweetener, to give you some idea?  I am drinking less coffee and more green tea though, so I figure my reduced consumption of “fake creamer” that way is perhaps win enough.

Relay Foods is my new friend.   There’s a pick-up location nearly every weekday that is close enough to on my way home that going to the grocery store is a thing of the past.  See above; I need time-savers and stress reducers, and I find the Knight’s turn down every aisle at strolling speed version of grocery shopping just about the most stressful thing EVER.

Do you Relay?  If so, please share your favorite finds.  Locally, they partner with Whole Foods, so I have a good idea of what’s available, but they also partner with local small businesses – like the tea source I didn’t have a clue about that I walk past regularly when I’m downtown.

1948054_10152302295495792_1403944811_nNext…  I’m pondering a return to nearly natural hair coloring.  I thought I wanted to go blonde instead of grey, but the most recent photos of me are too brassy, and I have a great colorist, use filtered water and quality hair products to wash…

Granted, I know I look awful in black and the lighting is horrible in this photo, but you get the idea.   Am I tilting at windmills?  Should I just use one of those cover the grey temporary colors that’s closer to my natural, medium-to-dark brown?

(And that cutie was Kids in the Kitchen vice chair.  She really is so petite that I am a few inches taller!  I’m looking forward to watching her develop as a JLC leader.  She’s smart, direct and a very hard worker… and always has that big smile on her face.)

Okay.  This isn’t taking care of the taxes or the dog walk.  How goes it in your part of the world?

 

 

Run From the Roses

2Q0345.958.a.zoomI fell in love with this dress when Vineyard Vines advertised it in my inbox.  A local non-profit dear to my heart was having a fundraiser there yesterday, so even though I bought my dress for the JLC Annual Meeting months ago…  I went to look. Cry.  The manager there is a doll – seriously, she’s the truest definition of petite, and I’ve known her all of her life - or the first attempt into my normal size would have been the end of it.  Turns out they had one size larger in the back room.  THAT one at least went on, but I couldn’t do the size zip without a struggle and the bottom portion was loose OVER jeans – and not skinny jeans at that.

I tried on several other things.  Their women’s blouses/tailored shirts simply do not fit my athletic shoulders or THE GIRLS.  Sadly, their men’s small engulfs me, and they don’t make their men’s shirts in XS.  The male on staff approached me, and asked if he could be of assistance.  (That’s how I ended up trying the men’s small, which to his credit, he assured me would be too big.)

For the first time, a MAN bemoaned women’s sizing.  He asked what size pants my husband wears.  “36 X 30, without fail.”

He said, “Right?!  I mean, some brands/styles might fit better than others, but you – and his mother – know without question that if you get him 36x30s, he will be able to wear them.  Why can’t the industry do ANYTHING REMOTELY similar for women?”   We discussed my size range for their store.  I wear anything from a small to a medium in the less-tailored styles, and from a 4 – 12 in the fitted.  (I’m often 2 sizes smaller on the bottom.) He stopped me there.  Was I sure?  Um… dude… go check the fitting room.  Yeah.  And your size 12 blouses don’t gap in the front or pull at the shoulders, but the neck swims and the waist is even worse, so I wouldn’t say they FIT.

THIS is why I shop primarily Lilly Pulitzer and Talbots, with some Lands End and J Jill tossed in for good measure.  With ALL of those brands, especially if there are more than two fit reviews, I can order online and it will fit, usually without alterations.

2R0199.958.a.zoomI WANTED that dress, but if I’d ordered a 12, I would have had to have the shoulders lifted, and the skirted portion totally reconstructed.  A $200 dress shouldn’t need another $100+ in alterations, so even my young friend basically refused to even offer to order in a 12 for me. Yeah, the print comes in a skirt too, but hello?!  See above.  I can’t wear a pleated, full skirt.  The linebacker shoulders require that I accentuate the lack of hips so I don’t look like a hippo.  It comes in a pretty scarf too, but I already own a great PANK and blue scarf.  It comes in a Shep Shirt too, but I own several navy “job shirts” which are basically the same thing.  I also don’t care for the Derby embroidery on the chest.

Just doesn’t make sense, does it?

What are you running from today?

Pretending…

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and my last regular general membership meeting as President of the JLC!  It’s also almost Kids in the Kitchen time, and long-time readers know I love that event.

 I love snow too, but enough is enough.  I shared my thoughts – and a photo of the furgirls – on their blog.   I’m ready for flowers and being able to step into the parking lot at work without needing to bundle up.

Sweet Mugsy and Fred are still sending me flowers, and I’m still missing them.  They loved snow far more than the girls do, although even Gretchen has warmed up to the white stuff this winter, in a true testament of that old cliche about if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…

I’m grateful for each and every one of you.  Your support and friendship is a blessing in my life, and I look forward to having the time to repay your kindness very soon.

In the meantime, can we call the leaves compost and pretend I’m making sure the Boy-dogs’ garden is getting ready to grow beautiful flowers?

Will you share what you’re pretending?

 

Wahoo-wah!

Okay, so I *AM* a closet UVA fan, especially for basketball, and if you aren’t a college basketball fan, you might not know we’re having a banner year.   One lucky, expectant UVA friend will receive this FO (finished object) this week.

Oh — and UVA fans are Wahoos.  I’m really not sure why, but evidently, I’m not the only person in podunk who makes up words and then inserts them into her vocabulary.

UntitledProject: UVA Kickbag.  This is the second time I’ve done this pattern, and the third kickbag I’ve done.  One friend has already asked for a second bag for …B3 (her second child, and I won’t explain why I’m calling it B3 for privacy’s sake), so evidently, these sacks are functional, so they’re my new go-to-knit for my fertile friends.

Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies is a very straight-forward, simple pattern.  I love the baby cables in the ribbed top, and after that, it’s mindless knitting in the round with a three-needle bind-off.  I’ve only done this pattern with self-striping/patterned yarns, so it wasn’t mind-numbing.

Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Team Spirit, from The Loopy Ewe.  Yummy goodness, and machine washable too.

Needles:  Knitpicks #3 Rainbow (wood) fixed circular in 16″ length.  (Anyone have the Caspian version?  I need more needles like a hole in the head, but this nature-lover is also a blue-green lover!)

Verdict:  I’m wondering how quickly I could do some for the TWO friends expecting TWINS in the next 45 days or so…  which is to say I really like this pattern.  It’s going to keep a little Wahoo snug as a bug this chilly spring at her first baseball games!  (I’m pretty sure her mom doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t have time right now even if she normally does…)

Now, if  you’ll excuse me I do have TWO baby blankets to finish/start, so back to the knitting.

Beauty, balance, creamer and crow…

… I can’t drink my coffee black.  REALLY long-time readers might remember that up until that Christmas Eve a few years ago when I told the Knight I wanted a Keurig just because he needed SOMETHING for that insane holiday habit of his (last-minute shopping), I didn’t like/drink much coffee at all.

v00660I still am a tea-drinker.  I love tea, and am trying to work green tea back into the rotation.  If you have a favorite green tea blend, please share.  Sadly, my tea cupboard is lacking in the greens these days.  However, for my morning commute, I brew a 16 oz. travel mug of coffee and slosh some non-dairy, flavored creamer in it.

For those following along… that’s not lower-your-cholesterol-diet-friendly stuff.  In fact, I got rather turned off reading about the lard that basically is non-dairy creamer.  Ick.  Does anyone splash soy or almond milk in her coffee or tea instead of the good ol’ moo juice or the … over-processed but yummy gunk?

I love stumbling upon new blogs/products/recipes/shoes…  oooh, shiny!  (Shocker… wild crows don’t collect shiny objects.  Who knew?!)  If it sparkles, I’m distracted and want it.  So, while my brain is fried from another busy week at work, book-ended by firehouse elections and some League meetings at night, I’ll toss a few more nuggets from bloggers who are capable of stringing together coherent thoughts in a rather grand fashion.

I found Cranky Fitness through Fit Bottomed Girls.   I’ve mentioned FBG before; they have a very realistic, supportive approach to finding one’s one healthy lifestyle groove.  Cranky Fitness’s link happens to be to her give-away, because that’s how FBG introduced me to her AND because I know y’all are readers and many of you like some non-fiction reading too.

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Young adult me, supported by my grandmother circa 1990

As a bonus, Cranky introduced me to The Great Fitness Experiment’s post on the cure for not being good enough.   I was blessed to grow up with plenty of folks assuring me I was awesome and the world was my oyster, and I’m not sure I’ve lacked self-confidence more than a few isolated moments here and there, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never looked in the mirror and thought or said mean things I would never even THINK about a friend, just to give one example.

Again, those of you who read here regularly know I don’t believe in coincidence, so it’s not by chance that while I’m sitting here with my feet propped up, wishing I wasn’t so drained on a lovely spring evening, I tripped over these two blogs, these two posts.

Here’s something a lot of you don’t know about me.

I’m a fraud.  One of my theme songs might be “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and definitely, Miranda’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” suits me.  (If you didn’t click over…  Go and fix your make-up/girl it’s just a break-up/run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady…)

Life is hard, but for me, it’s harder when I wallow.  For me, balance comes faster when I pull up my bootstraps, hide my crazy, and smile.

So… yeah.  Life is hectic.  But I landed on my feet and can honestly say I’m now in that really special place where the adage “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” applies.   I broke one of my golden rules and brought work home this week.  I forfeited a snow day because our shop is running VERY short, and I knew my co-workers were going to brave the weather, so the least I could do is go the extra mile with them.

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The JLC Holiday Parade 2011

Likewise, being an unintentional two-term president of the small but fierce JLC hasn’t been a picnic at times either, but the rewards have exceeded the personal cost.  I’ve missed some sleep.  I probably have risked frost bite with those parking lot meetings after the meetings.  I’ve had to trust the Knight to take care of Sissy’s eye drops FAR more often than I’d prefer, but see her post; she’s her sassy, fine self, and she and her Dadaw both survived a triple-purpose trip to the vet today.

BUT…

Here’s one thing I’ve learned over that two-year journey that is coming to an end; appearing unflappable isn’t always a good thing.  I had a crying jag after a 2000 mile round-trip sprint to deal with my mother’s final arrangements – and snow in the deep South?! really?! – and informed the Knight that just because I wasn’t a puddle of mess, it didn’t mean I didn’t need support.  Other women are watching me cope and juggle and do it all, and I was honestly chagrined for all the wrong reasons when one of the women I’ve worked with in the League at the highest level for YEARS now was shocked to hear a dirty word escape my lips, under my breath, just last month.

Sorry Nana; I wasn’t embarrassed BECAUSE she heard it, but rather, because I thought she knew me better than that.  Come on, folks.  I do try to be a class act, but I work in the fire service “service industry” and was basically raised by an old Marine/former fire chief/mechanic.  Do you REALLY think I say (or think?!) “darn!”?!?!?

Anyhooooo, the point of this ramble is that I’m going to continue to fake it ’til I make it when life is hard, because it works for me.  I’m happiest when I’m problem-solving and making the world a better place, but that works for me because I have the Knight and some of the best friends ever, with whom I can be snarky and critical.  It’s how I vent.

Well… that and logging Sissy miles, and miles.  Even on a bad walk where Sissy has pulled like a freight train and Gretchen Greer has bounced all over like a paddle ball, I get home feeling restored and ready for the next round.   My faith is renewed when I’m in nature.  There’s just something about being in the woods – or on the beach – that puts it all in perspective for me.  (Go endorphins!)