Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Resolution: Glittery Insides

It's here...the last day of December 2013.  The day before millions of people start their New Year's resolutions.  I have made and have consequently broken many in my past; last year I had perfect intentions of only making two resolutions with the hopes that I would be able to keep them if I made only two.  Well, that didn't work out too well as I never actually made the two resolutions.  The intentions to do so were good, stellar in fact; but the follow through, not so much.  

This year, it may seem as if I'm leaning a little more to the simplistic side as to avoid that which may appear more difficult to uphold; however, I can assure you, that isn't the case.  What I really want to do is to live more by faith, be filled more with hope and practice kindness at all times.  I want to practice more humility and love my neighbor, even during the times when every part of my being tells me not to do so.  And, I want to experience joy in every situation.  It's always there; I just don't always single it out.  Quite honestly, it would be much easier to just say that I'm going to cut back on my shoe or purse purchases or that I'm not going to drink as much Diet Dr. Pepper than to take on these ideas.  But I tend to venture down the roads (at times) that aren't always the easiest to navigate and this is usually when I learn the most, whether I'm a willing participant or not.  

Basically, I want to be more fabulous from the inside out.  I want what's on the inside to glitter as much as my shoes do, if not more!  I've already been working on these items during 2013, but I want to perfect them in 2014.  I know I won’t always succeed and I will surely falter from time to time but the great thing is:  with every second, I get a second chance.  There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year and that’s a lot of second chances! 

And PS and totally off topic, this is my 100th blog entry...I just celebrated a little milestone! :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Living Thankful, Blessed and Grateful Every Day

November tends to bring several things with it every year.  Among those things, Thanksgiving (that one is a given), No-Shave November for the men (that is only for men, right?), and the daily Facebook status updates detailing something one is thankful for on that day.  Before I continue on this blog's particular train of thought, I feel as if I should mention to the men that we don't appreciate No-Shave November (that is unless you're actually donating the funds that you would have spent on your personal hygiene for the month to the American Cancer Society).  I know I don't appreciate it; so if I'm the only "we" included in the aforementioned "we", so be it.  It's my mouth, I can say what I want to; and yes, I just caught myself quoting from a Miley Cyrus song...what is wrong with me?  Blessed be.  

Let's try to get this blog back on topic...

Anyway, I have not participated in the daily thankful posts this year.  I think it's a fantastic idea and I think that by people posting all the ways in which they are grateful, it could spawn thankfulness in others as well.   Sometimes just by hearing (or reading) what others are grateful for makes you think about the things in your own life that perhaps you take for granted; however,  are extremely noteworthy.  

The reason I have not participated this year is because back in early October, I decided to start keeping a daily journal where I would be able to notate 5 ways in which I am blessed and/or things in my life that I have to be grateful.  Each day, usually at the end of the day, I write down my 5 items of gratitude.  That's right, you heard me correctly.  I said "write down," as in I literally write with a pen on paper inside a bound journal much like they did in "olden times").  I try not to repeat the same things day after day and at first, this was a challenge.  Some days words drip freely from the ink of my pen effortlessly forming sentences, while other days, usually after a particularly trying day, it requires more contemplation.  

Over the past (almost) two months, I have learned to appreciate the days that take additional consideration because on the days when the thoughts of being blessed and grateful don't come as easily, these are the days when I find that along with the eventual thought of gratefulness comes the biggest impact.  If you can train yourself to bring thoughts of gratefulness to the forefront of your mind where normally all your brain wants to think about is the many ways in which your day has gone sour, you actually become more grateful.  There are some days when thing after thing simply do not go my way and I force myself to start thinking about what ways I am blessed simply because I know I'm going to have to write them down later that evening.  By doing so, my attitude shifts.  The things that previously in the day I thought were game changers turned out not to be as life threatening as I imagined.  In fact, they were mere blips on the map of this thing we call life.  

This has been such an uplifting concept that I want to continue doing it every day indefinitely.  There are SO many ways that I am blessed, as I’m certain you are as well; truly, it's an infinite amount of blessings.  All I have to do is recognize the positivity and not dwell on the negativity that tends to want to dwell in my mind and occupy more of the thought process than they should.  I'm sharing this with you because I feel like if it could make a difference in my life, it could in yours as well.  I feel more content, joyful and quite frankly, much lighter since I've quit concentrating so much on that in which I allowed to weigh me down; and for that, I am genuinely grateful.  

My journal that's on its way to being full of blessings and gratefulness!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

20 Gift Ideas Under $120

Holiday Gifts Under $120

It's no secret that I start my Christmas shopping early every year.  I always start by preparing a list detailing everyone we're going to be purchasing gifts; making notations of gift ideas and where I can locate this and that so I can begin my shopping.  As usual, and as I do with most everything else in life, I go into this task with a game plan.  A strategic plan.  A course of action.  I don't meander haphazardly into anything, especially not gift giving.  This is serious business, people.  This is nothing to be toyed with (unless you're actually buying toys and then feel free to toy away!).

I believe I enjoy Christmas shopping for many reasons, but to just name a few, I think it's because: 

1.  I really enjoy gift giving.  It makes me feel good to give someone a gift (especially a gift I think they'd really like or a gift I know for a definite fact they would love because they mentioned it and/or asked for it).  I find enormous pleasure in making others happy in this way.  

2.  I remember a time, as I first started out on my own as young adult, when I had to wait until the very last nanosecond to purchase Christmas gifts because I was totally broke.  I'm talking about running on empty.  Scrounging for shrapnel.  Half of the shoppers (that everyone says they are so annoyed by, including myself if I'm being honest) that wait until the last minute on Christmas Eve to shop for EVERYONE on their list are doing so because they don't have much of a choice.  They're waiting on that last paycheck or bonus that falls right before the holiday in order to help them give gifts.  I know because I've been there!  The other half of the last minute shoppers, however, are just a bunch of great big procrastinators and they have no other viable excuse.  

3.  Christmas shopping means you get to wrap presents and that's another task I enjoy doing (although it doesn't feel much like a task to me since I like it so much).  I enjoy wrapping gifts (all in matching paper of course so everything under my tree is coordinated and consistent) and hand tying bows made out real ribbon, which could and usually does include glitter much to my husband's dismay.  

Basically, I just really love the holiday season and shopping, gift wrapping, decorating and let's face it, eating holiday food, are all part of the holiday season.  Some people dread it all and would rather stand upon the edge of Mount Crumpit with the Grinch, overlooking the rest of the Whos who scamper around getting ready for the season.  Because of this, I thought it would be helpful to give these people gift ideas and that's exactly what I've done for part 2 of today's blog.  I've 20 gift ideas that include necklaces, scarves, a cookie jar, cookbooks for your dog, iPhone cases, gift sets, aprons (for adults and kids), and iPad covers, just to name a few.  Oh and lest I not forget, one of my current obsessions, May Books (LOVE THEM!).  All of the items are under $120 and most are under $100…you are welcome in advance! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pulling it off by putting it on...

Pulling it Off by Putting it On

Have you ever heard someone say, "I couldn't pull that off."  What does it mean when someone says that?  "I like those shoes on you, but I couldn't pull that off."  Why?  Why couldn't you?  Because you don't normally wear shoes and that would be out of the ordinary for you, a bit of a stretch?  Or is it because you really think the shoes in question are ugly and you just don't want to offend someone?  Or is it because you're just too scared to wear something different from the norm (which the "norm" could or could not include a pair of my mind, someone who says that could definitely be a Croc wearer).

I can't say that I personally follow that particular thread of reasoning.  I have never seen something and thought I couldn't "pull it off."  Well, maybe I thought that whenever belly-baring bra taps were popular in the early 90's when I wasn't as blessed on top as I am now.  And to be honest, now I wouldn't want to wear them more for the stomach-baring aspect.  But besides that, not so much.  I've seen things that I've thought are ugly and tasteless and I have thought that I would never even entertain wearing that, but that's a total different blog and shouldn't digress.

I think sometimes people think they can't "pull off" something because they think it's a little more fancy than what they are used to wearing.  I don't believe in saving your best stuff until a special occasion chooses to rear its head.  I prefer to make every day my very own special occasion.  I like blending sparkly, glittery statement necklaces (that some people may only reserve for nighttime wearing) with a dress I may have picked up Target.  Last week I wore a particularly blingy necklace (and I believe it was with a Target dress) and the barista at Starbucks went on and on about how much she liked it and asked where I was going that day.  I simply replied, "Just to work."  Saving things you like for a "special occasion" may mean that you're vastly limiting the wear of an item that you really like.  You may find yourself waiting on the "just right" occasion that may never come.  Can you imagine the despair that you "good" shoes, jewelry, etc. experience as you pass them over, day after day, opting instead for the ole stand by pair of black shoes?  I shudder now just thinking of such wretched behavior.  It's a shame, I tell you.  A shame.

I'm here to say that anyone can pull off anything.  It's less about the clothes and more about your attitude and how you decide to carry yourself.  Being comfortable in your own skin allows you to take more fashion risks and refrain from being the shrinking wallflower that would rather melt into a puddle onto the floor than be noticed in any shape or form.  If this is you, blog reader, try starting off small.  If you're wearing a black dress, put on a pair of blue heels with it instead of the typical black or wear a colorful statement necklace to add a pop of color and some additional texture to your outfit.  Doing so makes your outfit more dimensional and less flat.  If a bright, chunky necklace is still a little too much, try some statement earrings or a clutch in any color but black.  Check out part 2 of today's blog for some examples of how you can easily enhance your favorite little black dress.

You can do it.  It's OK, you can take baby steps!  Go ahead, step out onto the ledge (just don't allow yourself to teeter over the said ledge).  Move outside of your comfort zone, at least every once in a while.    Make up your own rules.  Wear what makes you feel good.  Be the kind of beautiful only you can possibly know how to be...we can all pull that off.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Unfortunate Depreciating Birthday Pattern

My birthday is vastly approaching (at the end of the week, to be exact) and I just realized that I have an unfortunate depreciating birthday pattern.   Getting older is really difficult for me to accept and this pattern started a month before my 31st birthday.  Every year since then I loathe the thought of turning whatever age that's next and I don't appreciate the actual age that I am (and have been for the previous 11 months) until about a month before I'm due to turn the next dreaded age.  And then, and only then, am I all about being whatever age I am.  By that time, it's too late; my days of being my current age are numbered and dwindling down to very few and then I am forced into accepting the new age that inexorably comes along.  I have now celebrated the anniversary of my 29th birthday six times.  It's a relentless and vicious cycle.   

This all occurred to me one day last week as I was looking at a photo of a teenage version of myself.  I was marveling at how young I appeared and how I never once thought twice about appreciating that notion at that point in my life.  Really, who does at that age?  No one!  At that age, all you are thinking about is growing up and being older than you are; always waiting on the next celebratory mile marker in your life to arrive, which can never get there fast enough.  You never really look at yourself and think, "One day I'm going to think back to this time in my life and wish I had appreciated this very moment."  But I wished I had.  

Just this morning I was looking at myself in the mirror, locating all of my flaws, when it occurred to me that this time next week I will no longer stare back in to the face of 35-year-old woman (and PS, that was painful just typing that number out!).  Instead, I'll have unwillingly escalated on to the next age where I am certain to detest it until a month before I turn a year older...yet again.  So as this thought occurred to me, I stopped and really looked at myself and thought, "One day I'm going to think back to this time in my life and wish I had appreciated this very moment."  And so, I did.