Sunday, December 29, 2013

Searching...No Service

The skies were cloudy and rain was falling. I looked toward the hills and fog was setting in. I found myself in the middle of the cemetery wet, upset and frustrated. How did I get here? 

It started the day before when we started on our journey down to Ohio to see family for a Christmas gathering. There have been many reasons that the past few years we haven't been able to make it. My husband works for the Detroit Auto Show and work is always abundant this time of year. Sometimes it's the weather or illness that doesn't allow us to make it. This time there was no excuse.  The skies were bright and sunny with a chill in the air. Yes, we were late leaving and getting on the road but when you're driving at least four hours and it's an overnight trip, you're bound to get out slowly. 

We were on the way and the part of Ohio where we are going to is kind of in the middle of nowhere. I don't remember driving on all of these back roads and two lane highways. I get anxious and I ask my husband to get to an interstate and he does and we end up out of the way making the trip take longer than necessary but I am happy when he obliges my request to stop at Chick Fil A. We don't have any of these in Michigan and knowing that they are closed on Sunday, I really wanted to stop for a quick bite. I call them morsels from Heaven and I am hoping that the family waiting for us understands the need to stop. 

Of course we get to the celebration late and everyone is waiting on us to exchange gifts. If you're reading this, I hope you forgive our tardiness. You see, I was kind of dreading the trip there since it is where my mom is buried and this is the first time back in 10 years since we buried her there. I am happy to see my family but delaying the trip somehow made it easier on me. 

We have a great time seeing everyone and exchanging gifts and laughing and catching up. Life here is so different than our life at home. On the way, we saw a car and tractor dealership with 4 cars in the lot. It's not all like that, but it's a different way of life than ours. It's simpler and people live on farms and there are a lot of factories and things like that. There's also a lot of Amish around here. We don't even have cell service here. I understand why my mom wanted to be buried here since all of our family is here but I still wish she were by me. 

We checked into the hotel and then decided to go for dinner. The local supermarket Buehlers has a restaurant in it called The Mill. My cousin's friend used to manage it. Everyone knows everyone in these small towns. We get to the restaurant and I have a mini meltdown. The time is finally here to visit the grave. It's right down the street but it is dark so we have to wait until tomorrow. I can't believe I am here and it's this close. The anticipation is killing me and I am anxious and afraid to go. She isn't there in the grave- I know that but I also feel like I need some closure since it's been 10 years. 

We are sitting there at the table and my aunt and uncle show up. I don't need to explain the tears and she doesn't ask. I love that about my aunt. She has always been someone who I have admired and looked to for advice. She tells me I don't have to go if I don't want to and I say yes I do. That settles it. 

We get up for breakfast after a restless night and meet them downstairs. She asks what we are going to do and I say go to the cemetery and then head home. She doesn't question me or ask if I want company. They tell us good bye and we are on our way. 

It's raining out and it's not a great day to be in a cemetery. It's wet and muddy and just gross. We get there and drive to where we remember the grave being. It's not there. We proceed to drive around the cemetery for an hour and a half looking for my mom's grave. By this time, I am so irritated and upset that I start crying. Why can't I even get this right? It's the one thing I came here to do and I can't even find it! Mom! Why are you doing this to me? I look down at my phone to place a call and I see searching...no service. Ugh! We keep driving around searching for it. I might add that it's Sunday so the office is closed and no one is around to help us. My husband and I both get out and are walking through the graves in the rain looking for it. I remember it's by the road and I can see the soybean factory and the smoke. He remembers it's by a big tree. No luck. I say Mom send me a sign! Help me find you! 

We decide to go back over to Buehlers and use the wi-fi( this works on the phone) to see if it's on the internet somewhere. We are in the parking lot and I am searching my phone trying to hold back the tears when I see a car pull up beside us. It's my cousin and his wife! They roll down the window and my husband asks him if he knows where the grave is. He says follow me back to the cemetery. Sometimes the most important calls that you make aren't with a phone. 

We drive in and he makes the same turns as we did before. He stops and gets out and sure enough, it's not where we thought it was. Barb, my cousin's wife, calls my aunt and asks her if she can help us. Ronnie finds it and waves us over. 

There's the headstone-  just like it looked in the sketch that the monument man sent to me 10 years ago. We stop and stare. There are no words that can be spoken. There is peace. My son stands next to me who never got to meet her. He asks about it and hugs me. I think he almost started to cry. I shed a few tears- tears of joy, tears of peace, tears of frustration. My mom always making me wait for her! My mom always helping me and sending me that sign- my cousin! 

With peace and love and joy, we headed back out on the road towards home. With a grateful heart and the feeling of closure, I look at the photo and tell my husband next time, we will clean the grave so it's shinier. Next time, we will know where it is. There will be a next time. 

Here are a few pictures highlighting our trip. Enjoy! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me. 

Sandae

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Style Me December: Week Three

Well it's hard to believe that the third week of December has already come and gone but it has. This week continued to be cold and dreary and dumping snow and slush on us. A typical December in Michigan! 

I started the week off with an outfit that I absolutely loved! I bought this Joe Fresh taffeta skirt a while back and decided to pair it with a chambray shirt. Day 15 was Winter Fur and I was super excited to wear this black faux fur vest over this outfit. I wore black tights and booties and finished it off with a belt that I have had for ages. The faux fur trend is one of my faves that is happening now and I lucked out and found this vest online at Kohls! 


Day 16 was Merry Mixing Prints and I think if you follow me on Instagram or regularly read my blog, you know I love mixing patterns! This one wasn't hard and I chose pink as my go-to color for the day. Pink and yellow are favorite bright colors of mine that seem to make me happy! This Old Navy sweater is one I found last year on clearance for about $5. I wore this gingham shirt from Joe Fresh that I also found early this year on clearance. The necklace is from Groopdealz and is one of my favorites! 



Day 17 was Put a Bow on it. I could have worn something with the infamous gold bow belt but I decided instead to wear my favorite navy blue bow sweater from J Crew Factory. I made this look extremely holidayish by pairing it with a plaid from J Crew Factory and some green jeans. I also love love love these green smoking flats with the black bows on them! Thank you, Vera Wang and Kohls for such lovely shoes! 


Day 18 was Buttoned Nutcracker. I have to admit that I don't really have anything that would classify as nutcracker-ish so I went with wearing a buttoned up shirt. I think the whole idea of this styling is just to have fun and have a theme for the day. It makes choosing outfits fun and enjoyable too! I paired a red plaid flannel from Old Navy with this embellished sweatshirt from Kohls. I also wore the beautiful necklace from Very Jane. 


Day 19 was An Icy Blue Winter. I chose a floral shirt from Old Navy, a light cream and blue sweater from Anthropologie and some teal cords. I also chose yellow shoes to wear and a tassel necklace from Purple Peridot via Groopdealz. This outfit is very cozy and also pretty at the same time. I love all of the shades of blues! 


Day 20 was Christmas Jumper. Now I know that people call sweaters jumpers as well but I took the interpretation a little differently and wore a dress as a jumper! I think that I still love this J Crew Factory dress a lot and probably love it as a jumper more than as an actual dress! I wore a bright green blouse under it from Old Navy from a couple of years ago and went with more pattern mixing- a pretty gold polka dot scarf from Target, the tassel necklace and some leopard pumps. I think this was one of my favorite looks from the week! 


Day 21 was Naughty or Nice. Say what you want, but I generally wear clothes that make me look nice...that being said, it was difficult to really find an outfit to match this description. Instead I wore an outfit that I wore a while back but layered the sweater from Loft with a polka dot shirt and wore the tassel necklace (again!). 


Overall this week was really fun! I had a great time shopping in my closet and coming up with looks to match the different days. I love having this guideline to come up with something as it makes choosing looks a little easier and more fun for me. 

Have a great rest of your weekend! The countdown to Christmas is on! 

Sandae

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas with Jesus


 

Warning: Get your tissues before you read this.


I wrote a post back in October about how my mother had a Halloween birthday.  I have to tell you all that I find having a blog is really a creative outlet and is also very therapeutic when I am writing.  I find that sometimes I am unaware of how someone feels or what they are going through, but they could be in a situation just like mine. You might be reading this now and have recently lost a loved one. If I can help one person, then I am blessed.

This is one of those times that I look at my blog as therapy.  I mentioned in my earlier post that this year, it will be ten years since my mother passed away.  Life goes by in the blink of an eye.  It was on December 19th and it was a Friday night when I got the call to come to the hospital.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  The nurse called me and told me that I had better come down to the hospital.  It was cold and snowy and I remember my sister was in from Florida and had a rented mini-van.  We drove about a mile over to pick up my mom’s best friend, Kathy, on the way out to Ann Arbor. 

I remember it was so dark and cold and parking in the parking garage on that Friday night.  Even that my sister asked if it would be okay if she used the restroom before we got to the room.  I somehow already knew that my mother was gone.  I remember telling my sister that I thought it wouldn’t matter, that she would be okay. (She is probably saying right now that she can’t believe I put that in here!).

We got to the room and it was dark and the tiny Christmas tree that my mom loved so much was lighting up the room.  It was quiet and the breathing machine was turned off. She was gone. The room was so peaceful and serene with the light reflecting off.  I remember crying but I remember how at the same time I was relieved. When you have a sick parent, it is so difficult to see them suffering. 

My mom was fun loving and was a very courageous woman even while suffering.  I remember never leaving the hospital without hugging and kissing her and telling her that I loved her.  I remember the last thing that she said to be was that she was not scared about dying; she was ready to go but she was going to miss us here on earth so much.  (Yes, I am crying as I write this now).

I often say that my mom was a diva.  She had two funeral services (yes, two, and they were both packed) in two different states.  She passed around Christmas though and so both of my sisters and their spouses were able to get here.  She also passed right before I started with the bank that I am currently working for.  So while I think she loved the attention (it’s okay for me to say that-I’m joking!) she was also so considerate of us and looked out for us until the end.  The church that we attended was also so beautifully decorated as though it were just for her.

So around the time of her funeral, I was handed a copy of this poem and I read it.  It really hit me hard and struck home.  I am blessed to know that I will see her again someday.  Enjoy this poem.

I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
with tiny lights like heaven stars
reflecting on the snow

The sight is so spectacular
Please wipe away that that tear
For I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year

I hear the many Christmas songs
That people hold so dear
O', the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you
of the joy their voices bring
for it's beyond description
to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart.
but, through our memories so dear..
We're never far apart.

I can't tell you of the splendor
or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas
with Our Savior.......face-to-face.

I'll ask him to light your spirit
As I tell him of your Love.
Then I'll pray for 'One another'
As you lift your eyes above.

So please let your heart be joyful
and let your spirit sing
for I'm spending Christmas in heaven
and I'm walking with the king.

 
Thank you for reading and following along. Enjoy this Christmas season!

Sandae

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Style Me December: Week Two

Well this week has been fun but very challenging since it was so cold! I didn't take many pictures of me outside since it was below freezing most days. 

Day 8 (Sunday) was probably my most favorite day as it was Sugarplum Pinks. I used the Eva Mendes for New York and Company dress that I wore earlier in the year as a jumper and layered it adding a Gap long sleeve button down shirt and an Old Navy heart sweater over top. I also wore these pink shoes from Crocs that I bought in Vegas at the outlet mall a couple of years ago. 

Here's a picture of the dress back in October:


Here's a picture of the entire outfit and some of the details:

Day 9 was Charming Coats. Coincidentally, it was freezing here! I wore a warm and cozy outfit and managed to get a picture outside quickly! I am wearing one of my favorite coats that I bought a couple of years ago from JC Penney and my favorite Zara blanket scarf. 


Day 10 was Pudding So Plum. Well, I went with the plum color for a cardigan from Loft and added some sparkles with a tee from Old Navy and a scarf from Target. Adding some pattern to the mix, I wore a leopard belt over top. I also wore my regular old riding boots from DSW. These have gotten some major wear since I bought them! 


Day 11 was arguably another favorite in my book! It was Stockings With Care so I decided to wear a dress with some "stockings". I wore the dress that I wore for the post One Dress, Three Ways and guess what? Now there's a fourth way! I wore the dress from Target with a polka dot chambray from Old Navy, the leopard belt for even more pattern mixing, navy tights and booties from Charming Charlie. Perhaps the favorite part of all was this beautiful new necklace from J Crew that I got on major sale! 

Here's a reminder of the dress from the original post:


Here's a picture of the outfit for this day:


And here's just me being me with this beautiful necklace! 


Day 12 was Classic Black and White. I chose to wear this knit blazer from Target over top of a flannel from Old Navy and a tee from J Crew Factory. This was fun to do as layering is becoming more and more necessary in this weather! 


Day 13 was Clara Ballerina. Full disclosure that I totally would have worn a beautiful tulle skirt but I has the day off of work and did shopping all day for Christmas and groceries! So I took a picture of the clothes that I was wearing and paired it with the beautiful Alice and Olivia ballerina mug from Starbucks. I wore a flannel from Old Navy and paired it with a bright yellow sweater from aloft last year. I also wore the very first statement necklace that I ever purchased! I love these colors together! 


Day 14 was Rockin' Around. I had every intention on wearing the first outfit but it decided to snow inches and well, that made it totally impractical! This outfit is a tweed moto jacket from Banana Republic (old) a lace top from Loft from last year and a fun metal necklace and earrings from Premier Designs jewelry. It is really more of an edgy rockin' look. 



Sadly, I had to trade this look for something more realistic since we did have to be outside in all of the snow. This Old Navy sweater is cute with an Old Navy plaid and a pretty technicolorfloral statement necklace. Of course comfy boots were a necessity! 


I hope you enjoyed all of the looks from this past week! I'm so glad to participate in this fun challenge! It helps to keep me motivated and mixing up my clothes! Would you have worn anything differently? 

Thanks for reading and following along! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

Sandae

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Style Me December: Week One

Thanks in advance to @hilaryrushford on Instgram for coming up with this idea that I am about to talk about. She made a list on Instagram of the entire month of December for different things to do and/or style. I have seen all of the other pictures a day things that people do and this month, I chose to do hers. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with taking a picture of "tiny" or a shadow. I just thought Hilary's was more for me since it gave me more ideas for styling outfits this month. 

So, I thought this month, I would show you the day and the description along with what I did for the day but I'll recap only once a week. 


Day One: Deck Your Neck

I love this beautiful necklace that I got from Buffalo Lane through jane.com. It is JCrew-inspired, meaning it's a dupe but for a fraction of the price. I already wrote about the rest of this outfit in last week's Sunday Style blog post. 



Day Two: Pear Tree Greens

I really felt like mixing it up and wearing all kinds of patterns on Monday. I also took advantage of having green pants and green shoes to wear. The shoes are a newer purchase from Kohls. Notice I am wearing the necklace again too! Love it! 


Day Three: Candy Cane Stripes

I didn't really feel that I had traditional candy cane stripes of red and white to wear so I decided to wear a favorite of mine from last year that my husband bought me for Christmas. The girl in this shirt is wearing stripes too! I love these tees from Loft as they have so much character in them! Yellow is a great way too to brighten up any mood! 



Day Four: Mistletoe-Ready Lips

I felt like going with a lot of neutrals and mixing patterns again. I went with mostly black and white but also put in some browns with the leopard shoes and scarf. Olive jeans go nicely with this as well! I had to take one of myself for this challenge even though maybe it's not a close up of my lips! 



Day Five: Gingerbread Neutrals 

I don't really wear a lot of brown so I looked for what I could find that might pass. I like brown as a color and it looks great on me because of my coloring but I actually don't really like to wear it a whole lot because I find it kind of boring. I love this sweater my husband bought for me last year! It is so warm and cozy and I put a fun blue leopard print tee under it from last summer and some Emu boots. I was warm and comfortable all day! Bonus: this necklace really looks spectacular with anything! 


Day Six: (wo)Man with the Bag

So I decided to be bold and get some yellow pants! Yes, these are bright yellow pants! And I love them! I noticed that I was a little happier too wearing these. These are from Lands End and are super comfortable. I made an easy outfit of a navy sweater from Loft and a chambray from Old Navy. Throw on a pair of boots and a scarf and you're done! Notice it's supposed to be about the bag and not my pants, so I took a pic with one of the hottest bags of the year from Phillip Lim for Target. 



Day Seven: French Hen

I'm pretty proud of myself for coming up with this outfit and layering so well! I used a tee from summer from JCrew Factory, a flannel shirt from Old Navy and this Loft sweater that I bought almost two years ago. I threw on pearls and boots and called it a day. I think I'll be trying this more! Remember I blogged about this earlier too and transitioning your pieces into different seasons! 



So this was week one and it was a lot of fun! I'm looking forward to creating this next weeks outfits too! If you're on Instagram, did you participate? I try to look through pics that people have tagged and see what ideas they came up with. How else would you have styled anything for these days? 

Thanks for reading and following along! Have a great rest of your weekend! 

Sandae

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Yum! You Brought Eclair Cake!

Tis the season for holiday parties and potlucks! I wanted to share a quick and easy dessert that my family loves as well as anyone who gets to eat it when I bring it!

This recipe is a Kraft Foods recipe and can be found also at kraftfoods.com. I first had a version of this dessert when I was in college. They served it in big pans and gave us a slice for dessert at the Sunday meal after church. Years later my sister in law found it and gave it to me. I just made this for dessert a couple of weeks ago to take to a friend's house and decided I should share the recipe with all of you! 

Graham Cracker Eclair "Cake":

Here are the ingredients that you need:


15 Graham crackers, Broken in half (30 crackers), divided- eyeball it if you need more, you can use more 
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pkg (4 oz serving size) Jello Vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie mix
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed
1 cup chocolate ready to spread frosting

Arrange ten of the graham cracker squares, overlapping slightly, in bottom of 8 inch square baking pan; set aside. ( Notice I used a bigger pan, more graham crackers and more pudding for a larger cake). 


Pour milk into a large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 mins or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes or until thickened. Gently stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until well blended.

Spread half of the pudding mixture over graham cracker squares in pan. Top with 10 of the graham cracker squares and remaining pudding mixture. Cover with remaining 10 graham squares. 


Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Spread with chocolate frosting just before serving. 


Enjoy! This is such a simple and easy dessert that tastes so good! 


What's your favorite easy dessert to take? 

Thanks for reading and following along! 

Sandae

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Style: Holiday Style

This year I have been inspired by my friends on Instagram who love the holiday season and are beginning to dress for it. I found this sweater in late October when I visited the Loft store in Briarwood Mall. They were having a big 50% off everything sale and something about this sweater spoke to me. I like that it is light-weight and the sparkle in it goes well with silver or gold. I wore a statement necklace from veryjane that I got a couple of weeks ago with it and it's a perfect start to the holiday dressing season! 


Here's a picture of the whole outfit- purse is Phillip Lim for Target and boots from DSW are last year. 


I also took the opportunity to take my new coat out for a spin that I bought on Black Friday from JC Penney. It's the perfect coat for wearing with pants or dresses when a puffer coat just won't cut it and you need something nicer. Seriously though, I love the cut and color and the price was right at 70% off!
 


How else would you wear this sweater? I've got a couple of other ideas for it as well but thought the red pants made it festive. 

What good deals did you get on Black Friday? Care to share with me? 

Thanks for reading and following along with me! Hope you're having a fantastic weekend! 

Sandae

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday or is it Black Thursday?

Well, this year, I became one of those people. Two friends and I set out to start our Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving night. We met at one house at 7:30 pm to get to Target. My one friend was looking for a good deal on a television and Target had one. It was a 50" television for a great price. We got to Target and the parking lot was already full and the line was long outside the building. We packed our coats and gloves and patience and waited in line till they opened. 

I think out of all of the stores we visited, Target was by far the best and most organized. They had employees walking the line and letting us know the 50" television was gone(they passed out tickets to the first people in line) and handed out store maps and Cliff and Luna bars. They were all polite and helpful answering questions and making us happy. Once it was 8:00, they opened the door and it was single file line into the store. There were barricades up so no one could cut in line and there was only one way into the store. Employees passed out carts to us once we entered and then it was every man for himself. Since there were three of us, we were able to grab items for each other. The DVDs and CDs were plentiful and I was even able to snag a couple of pajama sets for $5. In other years past, these items are the first to go. I found everything on my list and then headed to check out. They had us snaked around the aisles and directed us to which register. In and out in 30 minutes! Way to go, Target! 

Next stop was JC Penney right next door. I was also able to find everything on my list and the sales were awesome! I love shopping at JC Penney because they also offer rewards program while using my own cards(debit or credit). See website for details. 

JC Penney had wonderful sales on apparel and coats as well as various other items. I also love that they carry Joe Fresh and all of that was 50% off as well. The only negative was the checkout line was longer due to a slower cashier( we even helped to bag our items to speed up the process). 

Next was Kohls and I will say "hot mess" continues to describe this store. Upon entering the store, you couldn't find a cart anywhere and I was one of the lucky ones who actually got a bag. I was buying a larger item and needed a cart but instead had to shuffle itthrough the store on the ground. When I asked if there was a cart, the employee told me I was out of luck. The lines were so long and wrapped around the store. It took me about ten minutes to find what I wanted and who knows how long in line. The nice thing was the people in line shared deals with us and saved places in line with each other. Overall, the draw in this store was the Kohls cash( $15 for every $50 spent) and I will admit it was what brought me in as well. Well, that and the coupons if you are a Kohls charge customer. 

Time to head out to the mall! It was 11pm by the time we got there and my friend was smart and valet parked. Awesome idea at Twelve Oaks Mall! While some stores were closed, it was apparent that everyone had the same idea as us and were at the mall. The parking lot was crowded and there were so many people there! At some point, we looked around and realized that we felt we were some of the oldest people there! I was surprised at how many young people were there but shocked and kind of appalled to be honest that people brought their young children with them. I mean, shouldn't your toddler be in bed at midnight? Don't even get me started about the family with the kids in Old Navy at 2am...Annoying! 

Anyways, there were great sales at a lot of the stores! I found some great deals at Gymboree where everything was 50% off plus my friend gave me a 20% off coupon plus I got gymbucks! Loft and The Limited were offering 50% off everything in the store but I did not succumb and buy anything for myself! The Gap was also offering 50% off and I bought a coat that my husband will give me for Christmas. We got everything we were looking for at the mall and then headed to the next store. 

Michaels was next as it was already 1:15 am and the extra 30% off coupon ended at 2 am. We timed it perfectly and found the Rainbow Loom and refills and everything else we wanted. We went over to Best Buy for a couple of items and then headed to Old Navy. 

Old Navy was great with a greeter at the front door passing out bags and letting us know that the whole store was 50% off. We were in there for a while shopping and then the line was incredibly long and wrapped around several times. We were very surprised at the number of people there in the middle of the night! 

We made a quick trip to Toys R Us where the other girls had items on their lists and were pleasantly surprised as there was no one in the store and plenty of cashiers waiting to assist us. Everyone was in great spirits and helped the girls find what they needed. 

Okay we were wiped out at this point but it was only two hours until Home Dept opened! My friend really wanted to find a Christmas tree that was on the front page of the ad. We found a Bigby Coffee opened! Hallelujah!! We literally screamed " they're opened!" The girls in the coffee shop were great and our drinks never tasted better. On to Home Depot! 

The interstate was much clearer now than it was when we were headed to the mall. We made it to the store and then got out and waited in line. They were nice and opened the door so we could wait inside instead of out in the cold. They opened and we bolted to find what we needed. We were out of there in about 10-15 minutes. 

Last stop was Meijer for a Kindle that was being passed out at 6 am. We dropped my friend off to wait in line for the Kindle and then we headed back over to Target for a couple of items that I missed the first time. I smiled when the cashier asked me if I was just getting started. I told her I was here last night when they opened and shopped all night. I'm pretty sure she thought I was crazy.

We headed back to Meijer to stand in line with my friend. I'm pretty sure Meijer lost a lot of business going forward as there was a mixup in how many Kindles they actually had available. There was a lot of screaming and yelling and threatening and going home without the item they stood in line for all of that time. My friend had a pretty good attitude considering she had been waiting and they had been scammed. Meijer will be hearing from all of those people I am sure! 

Now on to breakfast! I enjoyed coffee with my omelet and then we headed home. My friends dropped me off and all of my bags. This was such a great time and I am pretty sure most of our shopping is done now! Setting up the tree and putting up lights is next on our list this weekend. Overall it was a great experience and I'm pretty sure we will do it again! As long as you have Friday to recover like we did, you'll be fine! 

Here's a picture of the back of the car after we already dropped off one load earlier! 

Success! Now to enjoy the rest of the season! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying your weekend! 

Thanks for reading and following along! 

Sandae


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thankful Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for? Every year around this time, we are encouraged to be thankful. Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is celebrated and it is supposed to be a time of reflecting on the  blessings we have received. I don't know about you, but I don't take the time to be nearly as thankful as I should be considering all of the blessings that I have in my life.

I write this as I am warm in my home snuggled up in my pretty embellished sweatshirt with olive skinnys and a flowered blouse. My feet are toasty in striped socks wearing slippers. I hear my son and his cousin downstairs playing video games and I smell cookies freshly baked. I am going over to some friends' house later tonight where we will indulge in pizza and snacks and desserts and drinks and play games. Our children will laugh together and play and make memories of their own. 

You get the point- my life sounds pretty great, right? How many times have I stopped to think about the saying that " the greatest things in life aren't things" ? I am always so convicted that I have so much and yet think so little of it- almost like I have a right. I work, don't i? I worked hard in school and at my job to get to this point in my life, but I am not entitled to any of it. 

This year, I am thinking about what I am thankful for that has happened this year. I think my biggest accomplishment was running a 5k in September. I have never been a runner nor would I consider myself to be an expert at running, but I set out to accomplish a goal and I did it. I am thankful that I have legs and feet and the stamina to keep at it even when I wanted to quit. I plan to run a 10k now in April next year. 

I'm thankful for new friends and relationships I have made this year. We changed small groups and these two ladies in the group with me have become very close friends of mine. I treasure our friendship and the relationships that our families have made as well. I also started an Instagram account and have made friendships with women in the fashion community. We look to each other for advice on how to look better as well as health and well-being. While most of these women I will never meet, I am grateful for the friendships we have made.

We were able to get out and go camping six times this summer and had a blast! We were also blessed to have strengthened relationships with friends with whom we camp and we enjoy spending time with. We were able to go to Universal in Orlando for a week and spend some time with my sister and her family. I was also able to travel for a few trips alone, one of which I got to see my friends from elementary school - and we are trying to do this on a yearly basis. 

I am thankful for my job since I have now been in this role for a little over a year. I have made new friends at work and have learned so many things! I appreciate all of their help and support as I transitioned into a different area of the bank as well as a new role. 

I am thankful for my immediate family. For a husband who loves me even when I am crazy and overreacting and a son who shows unconditional love to me. He even wrote an essay at school recently about me and I nearly lost it...how this old crazy lady could be his hero or someone that he admires baffles me but I am thankful for the love we have for each other. 

There are so many other people and things that I am grateful for but I just don't have the time to mention all of them.

So you see, while I enjoy looking nice and shopping and posting fashion pictures and all of that, I really need to focus more on what and who I have in my life. I will try to do more of that going forward. Every day is another chance to do better than the day before. I will still continue to do all of these things but I will do it with a more grateful heart. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Thanks for reading and following along! 

Sandae

Sunday, November 24, 2013

10 Pieces, 7 Days

I will first admit that this idea might not be originally mine. I saw an email from the Gap and they were showing off some of their pieces including outerwear and gave each day a title of something one might do on that day. They said they were using 10 pieces for 7 days. I decided to copy the idea but make it my own with clothing that is in my closet.

If I did sit down and do outfit-planning once a week, I might spend less time deciding what to wear. Would I be more productive since I only have the same pieces to work with? Would anyone notice that I wore the same pieces all week?! Does anyone really care? These were all questions that I decided to try and answer. 

First up, I had to pick out my pieces. I envision doing this when I travel and (gasp!) trying to only use a carry-on bag. I looked for pieces that could mix and match with others, look great on their own, and had personality. I decided to not count coats since I work from home and will go out a few times during the week, so sweaters are more important pieces for me. Here is a sneak peek picture that I posted on my Instagram account to show my followers what type of pieces I was using for the week:




I also sat down on Saturday night and wrote down all of my outfits. I tried to not wear pieces two days in a row and wear each piece at least twice. I think I will almost do that except for one of the pieces being worn only once. This means I could have done at least eight days but I need a little variety in my life so I'm sticking to the seven! 

On Sunday, I started with an outfit that I personally think is a little plain Jane for me, but my IG friends gave me rave reviews! I also used this in my Sunday Style post. I'm using a dress from J Crew Factory as a jumper with a Loft blouse underneath. I'm wearing it with my black booties from Kohls and carrying a black bag from Phillip Lim for Target and wearing my blush pearl necklace from Eva Mendes new holiday line at New York and Company. I also added a belt to accent my waist and add visual interest. Here's a picture below: 


On Monday, I broke out a new sweater that my husband bought for me. I had been eyeing this sweater because of the gold sequin elbow patches! Who doesn't love pink and gold? This outfit was also a little plain so I wore a statement necklace from Groopdealz to jazz it up a bit. 



On Tuesday, I wore a beautiful navy bow sweater from J Crew Factory. I had been looking for this sweater last year when Aisha Tyler wore it one day on The Talk. She paired it with a pair of plaid pants close to the holidays and it was beautiful! I was glad when they brought it to Factory this year. It is fun and affordable! I mixed it with a plaid shirt and emerald green jeans. I felt like a Christmas Card picture but it is getting close to the holidays so I guess it's all right! 



On Wednesday, I wore the pink sweater again and paired it with the dress. I used a pretty gold glitter belt from Target and some leopard pumps to make it a super fun outfit! When planning for the week, I remembered that I had an event to attend that night so I thought it would be the perfect outfit for all day. 


On Thursday, I wore the green skinnies again and the black and cream stars blouse but paired my perfect gray sweater from Loft over top. Throw a scarf on it and you're done! I think I'm starting to like my week's pieces! 


For Friday, I wore the bow sweater again but this time with a geometric print skirt from Target. Pairing it with something like this tones down the "holiday" look of the sweater. Throw some leopard pumps on for fun and call it a day!
Lastly, for Saturday, I wore the gray sweater with the plaid shirt and jeans again. I love Old Navy plaid flannels! They are so soft and warm! Especially under the sweater! 


So, what did I learn from this experiment? Well, several things! First, I am glad that I have a variety of items in my closet to choose from on a daily basis. While I love these pieces that I chose, I got kind of bored with them. However, if I did have to pack these pieces and wear them for a week or a little more, I could totally do it! 

I also learned that in most cases the first way that I wore the outfit was the most popular on Instagram. I received many likes but when it was towards the end of the week, I noticed I received fewer likes. Was this because of the outfit or because if was the weekend? We may never know. And then I still wonder if people noticed that I wore the same thing twice or if they even knew I was doing this challenge. Again, we may never know. 

All in all, I realized that I could survive with less. I did end up wearing four pairs of shoes total, two necklaces, one bracelet, one pair of earrings, one scarf, and one purse. I used these to coordinate the ten pieces. 

I challenge all of you to see if you can do this as well. It was a really fun challenge and I fund myself looking for ways to stretch my wardrobe. 

Thanks for reading and following along! Have a great Sunday! 

Sandae