Sunday Sundries

Thanks for your kind words.  I’m especially thankful for my local friends who have been wonderful about “leaning in.”  Unlike Ms. Sandberg, I believe we should lean into EACH OTHER, rather than career opportunities, but I share her notion that when we lean in, we’re all stronger and society – and each of us as individuals – is better for it.

Courtesy of Will Kerner; JLC future, present and past presidents

Courtesy of Will Kerner; JLC future, present and past presidents

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I have the best friends this world can offer.  I’m particularly fortunate to have been president between two of the most loyal, dependable, supportive, collaborative women I’ve ever known.   They’re class acts, and I couldn’t have done this without them – not the past week, not the past two, three years.   If I’ve had any success as president, it’s been because the woman on the right and those before her set me up for success, and I sincerely hope we’ve done just that for the beauty on the left as well.

It’s odd to realize I’m at the end of my tenure as president, but it’s exciting too.  The new leaders are dynamic, energetic, and I look forward to working with them and seeing where the JLC goes in the next year.  I am certain it will be stronger, better and more efficient!

It’s also probably a good thing that I don’t have time to be wistful and wax poetic but so much.  Work is busy, and life is going on, whether it seems appropriate or not.  As Reba put it, “I guess the world didn’t stop for my broken heart.”  For nearly as long as there has been life on this earth, there has been death, and “carrying on” is what I do.  Maybe there is an element of denial in there too, but I don’t think so.  I am just wired to process things differently so that I can be the helper and fixer that I am by nature.

Not one to believe in coincidences, it still somehow took me a few days to realize my friend died on the 13th.  She was so superstitious that she all but stayed in bed and didn’t open the blinds on Fridays when they collided with the 13th, so is it ironic, destiny, or a self-fulfilling prophecy that Death came for her on the 13th?

UntitledI found this bit of luck near the back door.  I’m not sure how  I suddenly became quite the four-leaf clover spotter, but this is the third I’ve found this month without even trying.   Isn’t the lighter green in the center interesting?

Are you superstitious?  Does plucking four leaf clovers make me superstitious?

There are a few songs running ear-worming their way around my head:

  • John Cougar Mellencamp’s Jack ‘n Diane (Oh yeah, life goes on…)
  • Miranda Lambert’s How Dare You
  • Sinatra’s My Way (my friend’s funeral request)
  • Rascal Flatts My Wish

WF51673_2_700x700I might have fallen down the Kate Spade rabbit hole.  I’ve always like her designs, and I’ve been intentionally avoiding the store that finally found podunk in the past year or so, but I accidentally – no,  seriously!! – wandered in today.  To my surprise, I left her Keds there (this time), but I couldn’t resist a belt (not shown online yet), and I’m supremely grateful that I managed not to even touch the PANK frock that kept calling out to me.  (Not linking to the image online because it looked SO MUCH BETTER in person – trust me.)  Unlike the other boutique designer I like, Ms. Spade favors a silhouette that makes the most of a woman’s curves.  I don’t need any more party dresses, not now, not ever…  but I do love her parfum too.  Beauty was my favorite, and it’s been discontinued.

I’ll be missing in action for a few days.  Life isn’t getting the best of me, but I’m not going to have time to post, and don’t have time to compose more posts and set them to publish later.

What’s happening in your world?


Virtual Shopping Carts

I prefer to shop online for convenience, time and because it suits my analysis paralysis problem quite well.  Things either wait for me to make up my mind or disappear.  I’m a big believer that what is meant to be will be, so if something vanishes before I decide to click and enter my credit card info, so be it.  Ironically, I shop in quite the opposite manner in person.  I’ll either stomp out in frustration very quickly or buy something that might not be what I was looking for just because it’s there.

So I thought it would be fun to share what’s in my train of virtual carts today:

n252s_4At Stella & Dot – the Madeline Pearl Necklace.  I love pearls, freshwater, cultured and of course, the luxurious natural sea varieties as well.  I finally decided that I’m a grown-up, and it’s not my fault (well… maybe it is, but I’m forgiving infant me for taking too long to come out) that I was born roughly 9 hours too late for the pearl to be my official birthstone.  So… I’m claiming it as my gem of choice and that’s that.

I love that this scattered strand can be looped as many times as it suits me, and it’s unlike any of the other pearl necklaces in my possession.   Besides, a new friend is having a party, and that’s way more than enough justifying the purchase, right?

cbd11pwo9rs_3_3_1Sticking with the baubles theme, I still don’t have a bangle from Alex and Ani.  I like the idea of the paw print, but the weirdness at the bottom of the design has kept me from completing the purchase.   I am seeing more and more of their bangles around, and I am drawn to them, but even with the modest price point, I want it to be just right, you know?

And what is with the bottom of the design?  It reminds me of siamese twin sheep or something.  (See?!  I just don’t think this is the one for me, but none of the others leap out either.)


42075031_7920 41075042_5958Next up, I have a couple of shirts in a cart at Talbots.  I have a gift card there, and I’ve nearly spent it several times, but I just can’t seem to find something I can’t live without.  Maybe one – or both? – of these shirts will do the trick?

The blouse on the far left has a sorta’ seahorse motif, and the floral on the near left is definitely bigger and bolder than my norm for a blouse, but I like the colors and find I enjoy feminine touches in my work attire now that skirts and dresses simply are not functional.  Talbots is definitely my favorite button-up shirt source; I think almost all of mine have their label inside, and they last forever.  My very favorite long sleeved Talbots denim shirt is at least 15 years old and still looks no worse than “broken in.”

2648659-p-MULTIVIEWThen at 6pm, I have these NYDJ crops.  I wore my green cord skinny jeans earlier this week, and with highs near 70 and humidity above that, it’s time to retire them until fall.  Anyone out there familiar with NYDJ?  Wouldn’t the left-most Talbots top and these jeans be a great almost year-round casual work outfit – with much more practical shoes?!

I never wear heels with ankle pants to work.  In fact, the only way I wear heels to work is in boots, and even then, they are 2″ or lower.  I was caught needing to till – steer the back end of a ladder truck – last week and even in practical flats, as I climbed down, I missed my sturdier footwear.

I also need a couple of new sports bras and tanks, but even with some great sales online, I haven’t gotten there yet.

zu7868687_main_tm1392846448And speaking of boots, of course I have a pair in a cart at Zulily!  These Johnny Ringos are full of springtime happiness, aren’t they?  The next few months are going to be challenging at work, because I love me some bare feet in the summertime, and I definitely can’t do open toes at work.  My feet sweat, and I don’t love capris – my summer bottom of choice – with boots either, but see above…  there are days when I miss my boots if I don’t wear them.

Sigh.  Queue Tammy Wynette’s “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…” (aka: her legendary hit Stand By Your Man).  My male co-workers are required to wear safety boots, so they don’t have my flexibility – or the dilemma!

Do you have anything in any shopping carts?

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?



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?

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?

Casual and Corduroy

Just when you thought I’d finally grown up and learned how to dress myself…

Won’t happen.  Ever.

See, I was raised old school and preppy.  I joke that my stepmom is the real Emily Post.  Long-time readers might recall that I was smitten by and purchased some yellow suede sandals, but in the heart of winter, when I can’t remember what a not-salted sidewalk looks like, I’m here to tell you…  I need to admire suede from a distance.


Pucker up, Mama!

I digress.  I don’t wear white after Labor Day, even though it’s on trend this winter.  Here’s the problem…  I had no business wearing white (or cream or pale pink or…) before I took a job with four mechanics and gallons of grease of every variety.  Have you seen Sissy?  The girl greets me with her front paws in my hands (and yeah, I grab them every time) and slurps a big, wet kiss across whatever she can reach.  Gretchen Greer requires constant physical contact, and we live in the land of red clay.

Anyway, now I’m wondering when I should retire my beloved green cords – very narrow whale, in both skinny jeans and a tunic – and when I can bring out my lace and eyelet, because sturdy girl that I am, I still love me some lace, eyelets, pearls and … ooh, shiny!

See, as confident as I am, I am also a rule-follower, so don’t just tell me not to let trends dictate what makes me happy, wear what makes me happy, etc.  I’m fine bucking a trend… as long as Miss Manners agrees.

Branding and Budgets

Do you vote with your wallet?  I’m starting to be much more mindful of what my purchases condone, if not legitimately support.  I’m sorry Lilly P and Vineyard Vines don’t offer a full range of women’s sizes, but their charitable efforts both locally and in general allow me to be okay with their limited size offerings.  However, Lululemon’s founder has gone too far, and I will be unsubscribing from the LLL ambassador blogs I follow and won’t be supporting their brand (beyond using the products I already own) in the future.

Less than nine months after Lululemon came under fire for the “sheerness” of its yoga pants, the company’s founder says that woman’s bodies may be to blame for problems with the luxury workout attire.

“Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work [for the yoga pants],” Chip Wilson said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart” program. “It’s more really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.”

SS Redemption Capri

SS Redemption Capri

If you love(d) LLL, consider Yogasmoga.  Their material isn’t sheer and feels a lot like the yummy, original Luon.  They also seem to understand that women wear their products to WORK OUT and thus, thighs might rub.  I own more Skirt Sports than any other line of workout apparel, but I confess, while their bottoms of all styles are rugged and do the job, I’ve never slipped them on for street wear as I have the Yogasmogas.  They feel more like … any other wicking lycra-like pants than the soft, comfy Luon that (in my opinion) made LLL worth the big bucks.

Are you a conscientious consumer?

Whale of a Time!

IMG_9721Last Thursday, we had the honor of being the receiving non-profit for the podunk Vineyard Vines grand opening fete.  Thanks to the owners and staff of Vineyard Vines, and all the VIP shoppers who assured we got a significant check for one evening’s… socializing and shopping.  I bought a Vineyard Vines tote when the League sold them as a fundraiser a few years ago, and it looks almost new despite basically daily use, filled to the zippered top with boring League papers, yearbooks, cocktail napkins and the trusty gavel.   I confess…  that was the extent of my VV awareness.

I’m all in.  Their dock to town style suits my new work environment nicely.  This being very casual thing is getting easier every day.   I enjoy supporting the local businesses that support the League and/or the fire/rescue responders, but I’m a little shocked at how quickly I’ve fallen for the company with the pink whale.

If Vineyard Vines is new to you, think LL Bean meets Lilly P.  Lots of tees and ballcaps, and yes, I have one of each and the Knight has a tee too.  (I’m pretty sure he won’t wear a navy cap with a pale pink whale on the front, but for all the things we share… caps are PERSONAL, and I’m glad.)  If the tote is any indication, someone needs to declare herself the heir to my VV clothing because it will outlast me.

VV SS Fair-Isle Sweater

VV SS Fair-Isle Sweater

Now, if it will just cool off again so I can wear my pretty new sweater.

What’s new in your closet/town/life?



Finding a New Normal

Old Navy Very Casual?

Old Navy Very Casual?

So… thanks for being kind, understanding, supportive folks while we re-calibrate here in the woods.   One week and two days into the new job and I’m starting to not feel lost.  To be fair, the guys – I work with four men in the podunk branch – have been great about making sure I’ve felt “at home” from day #1, but the database I spend most of my time with and I are getting acquainted so I don’t have to ask for help so very often, and it’s not all overwhelmingly new anymore.

I have no idea where and how blogging will fit into things.  I’m shocked at how off-kilter I am just adding an hour to my work day.  Full disclosure… it’s significantly more than that, really.  I used to work 8-4, with about a 15 minute commute, but as things slowed down at the former employer’s, I’d gotten ridiculously sloppy about wandering in later and later.  So… 7-4 is more like about 90 minutes longer, even though I do get a proper lunch hour now.  The good news is that my commute is averaging about 20 minutes.  Every minute I stay at work past 4pm compounds the traffic I have to battle on the way home, but it hasn’t been as bad as I feared… yet.

And it’s CASUAL attire.  VERY casual attire.  I’m struggling to not be over-dressed, and yet, to feel comfortable.  It’s funny… I’ve always had this struggle with my very casual, jeans and boots “farm” self and my preppy heart.  I’d gotten rather business-preppified over the last couple of years, and now, particularly with a parts room that REALLY wants some quality time with me, I have to really dig deeply in my closet and find shop-friendly attire that doesn’t feel too sloppy to be in town for me.

Can y’all help a girl out?  I know truly casual offices are the norm in lots of places.  Ironically, this summer I told a League leader that I envied her very relaxed, no dress code office.  (Not that I had a dress code at the inlaws’… but …)  For those of you who do it, how do you straddle being very casual and still feeling put together?

Stitch Fix #1

Gee, I could have posted this one from work… because I took no photos.

325587_366_45But first, more on the boot saga.  Bags, dresses…  I’m always hunting for the perfect something.  It *IS* already hunting season here in the woods though, so just call me a retail bargain hunter.  Anyway, something inspired me to go hug and kiss   visit my beloved boots.  Oops.  I am a really rotten fan.  Turns out they’re Durangos, and they’re a half size smaller than what I thought, which makes them a full size smaller than most of my boots… I think.  Ugh.

They look a lot like this, only with tone-on-tone embossed stitching, and mine are really more awesome, because they’re old and have molded to my foot and… they’re just mine.

But back to Stitch Fix.   Have you heard of it?  A local friend had tried it, so when Barbara suggested it, I figured… why not?  I filled out the profile in as much detail as I could stand and requested tops for business casual for the new job.

My stylist nailed it.  The box included an ombre chambray shirt that I might have kept if I didn’t already have 3 chambray shirts AND I’m pretty sure ombre stuff is going to be a flash in the fashion pan.  It also included a great, raspberry (my color word… I think they labeled it magenta) short-sleeved blouse, but $68 and dry clean only polyester isn’t going to live in my house, or work in my more causal than business casual new job.  The last shirt was a great, navy and maybe slightly off-white polka dotted  elbow-length blouse… that I got on and then my wide shoulders swelled up or something and I thought I’d never get it off without ruining it.  (Don’t laugh.  NOW I understand how dogs and toddlers get their heads caught in deck railings.)

409530_AK13_FF_TVYThe pants were too long, with faux rear pockets (?!) navy legging-like ponte knit things.   I might have been tempted to keep them if I hadn’t just gotten the best leggings in the whole world, the Land’s End Starfish Cotton Spandex Legging.  Order a size down, and if you are small through the waist/upper hips, consider ordering TWO sizes down.  They’re seriously so awesome I might order them in every color.

And to round out the 5-item Stitch Fix box, there was the dark, hunter green ponte knit skirt with zippered, front pockets…  cry.  Like the awesome dotted blouse, it was too small.  Oh, because it was S-M-L sized, the next size up would be too big, and in another life, I would have Spanxed myself into it, but honestly, my turn the page new life isn’t going to require more skirts and dresses.

I did note that their sizing seemed more Junior than Misses to me, so I hope that’s not how their brands tend to run…

I did forfeit my $20 styling fee, but I will do it again… after I’m settled at the new place and have a real grip on what I’m going to want to wear.  With the holidays looming (Stitch Fix schedules about a month out), I don’t know that I’ll get another shipment scheduled before the New Year, but if you’re tempted to give it a whirl, would you consider telling them I sent you?  All you have to do is click on this link…  and next time, I might try my goodies on when I’m not rushing out to a meeting or something, and maybe you’ll get photos.

Have you tried anything new lately?