Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reflections on a Halloween Birthday


October 31 is Halloween.  For most people this date is a day filled with fun, candy, costumes, and pumpkins. For me it is my mom’s birthday.  My mom is no longer with us and has been gone for almost 10 years now.  Most days I am the daughter of a mother who has gone before me. I don’t give it a lot of thought.  Some days I don’t even think about her. Not because I don’t care or because I don’t love her, but because this is the norm.  No one knows this feeling or the pain that you bear unless if you have lost a parent.  No one knows how much you miss someone unless if they have been in your shoes. And no one knows how sometimes you forget their face or the scent of their perfume. I am fortunate enough to have a son who looks like my mother in his side profile but not everyone is so lucky to have this daily reminder. 

I remember a few years ago that I was at my in-laws house for Halloween celebrating with all of the kids and their families.  I remember having a conversation with my mother in law about how we did not grow up celebrating Halloween.  You see, my family was a part of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church and they believed celebrating Halloween was wrong.  They believed it was a sin to celebrate a “devil’s holiday.” We grew up being the odd children, for more reasons than just this, who were not able to go trick or treating.  So, I was having this conversation with my mother in law and I was telling her that I did not remember what we used to do on Halloween since we didn’t celebrate.  Like it was yesterday, I remember all of a sudden stopping and remembering that the day I always dreaded was in fact here.  It was my mom’s birthday and for some reason, I had forgotten it. 

I do remember growing up and having a homemade cake for my mom’s birthday with some candles.  I do remember as I was older that she enjoyed going to have Mexican food on her birthday.  Why at that exact time I didn’t remember it was my mom’s birthday was beyond me.  I went home and reflected and thought about the time she had here on earth.  She was taken far too early at the age of 51.  I can’t even begin to describe how some days I miss her.

I am finally feeling like I am accomplishing some things in my personal and professional life.  I want so badly to pick up the phone and tell her about my new blog. I want so badly to tell her about how my son did in school today or the hilarious thing that he said.  You see, even though I know she is in Heaven looking down on me, there is still that want- that need- to talk to your wasn't even that she was my best friend. In fact, growing up I couldn't stand her most of the time. I think though now as an adult I think about what could have been. The birth of my son and her holding him for the first time, his first birthday, heck, even his eighth birthday. The fact that she isn't here is what gets me every time. 

I don’t even know why I have been so nostalgic and reflective lately about her.  I keep seeing things that remind me of her and how this year it will be 10 years since she has been gone.  I can’t tell you why I feel this way now but I do. It’s weird really to think how the first year dragged by.  All of the firsts.  The first Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthday, etc.  and then it was the second year, and the third, etc.  Now, it is close to being the tenth. Looking back, it has all been a blur. Maybe because it is a milestone-I don’t know- but this year I have been thinking more and more about her.

This might be one of the more solemn blog posts that I write but I wanted you all to know the influence that my mother was on me.   As an adult, I looked to her in awe at her strength while she was sick. I know I would never handle it as well as she did.  I believe the Lord does not give us more than what we can handle.  He knew she would be able to handle this and we would be able to eventually handle being here on this earth without our mother.  I believe that I now have the opportunity to help someone else who is going through the same thing.

I also looked to her in her firmness to stand strong in what she believed in.  Her professionalism and moral focus in the workplace has had a huge influence on me in my professional life. She was hard-working and dedicated-even to those who didn’t deserve it.

So Halloween is a fun day filled with tricks and treats.  For me it is still a day that I will reflect on the life that my mom lived and how she loved.  Don’t feel sorry for me either.  Sometimes people just need a hug or a smile to let you know that they are there for you if you want to talk. I am not in mourning over the loss of her life, only the loss of her presence right now on earth. While I am very different than my mother, I am also the same.  When people say, you are like your mother; I just laugh and think what she would say!

So here’s to you, Mom, on your birthday. I know you are having the best time on your birthday in Heaven and wouldn’t want anyone crying over you and not eating chocolate on this holiday.

I hope you all enjoy this day and take the time to love those that you have. Moms, take some pictures of you with your kids when they are little! I was having a hard time finding some! 

Thanks for reading and following along with me!

Enjoy these pictures of me and my mother.


Always laughing and joking around! 

At my sister's wedding
In Hawaii- love the pose! 

At my wedding

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Style: Spotlight on Land's End

Because I work from home, I like dressing up a little on Sundays. Our church doesn't care how you look when you get there, they just want you to get there. Most people don't get too dressed up but I like to have a little fun and wear some stuff that I don't normally wear during the week. 

Earlier this week, I was able to take a day off of work. I did some housework and then walked around the mall for a while. I went into Sears to take back something that I had purchased a couple of weeks ago and decided to browse. I love the Land's End section in Sears the most. I love the way the clothes are merchandised and all go together. I also love the end of season sales that they have. Land's End also has great sales on their website as well.  

I found a beautiful knit gray blazer that I admired (I especially love the pinstripes when I roll the cuffs!) and went up to the register to ask for the price. I almost died when the cashier told me it was $5.00! I paid for that one and then went back and looked some more. I was able to find an identical navy blue blazer and this fuchsia knit dress.  The result was I paid $22 for two blazers and one dress. I like this brand because the pieces are classic and timeless and you can wear them throughout the seasons as well as for years to come. 

Here's the look with the dress by itself:

I  personally like to layer so I changed it up a bit and made it more colorful by adding this scarf I purchased at end of summer at JCPenney and wore it with navy tights from Target. I also used a belt I have had for a while instead of the knit belt that came with the dress. My booties I purchased early this year at Charming Charlie on clearance- another great deal because it was buy 1 item get 2 free! Tights are also on sale this week at Target for $6 and use the Cartwheel app for an extra 15% off! Oh and of course, I am carrying the fab Phillip Lim for Target tote! 

I hope you all have a great Sunday! Check out the Land's End shop the next time you go into Sears- you might be surprised what you find! 

Thanks for reading and following along!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's for Dinner? Chicken Pot Pie!

I have this awesome easy recipe for Chicken Pot Pie that I absolutely love so I want to share it with all of you. But first! Let me tell you how I got it! 

 I remember when I was in high school that I was working in the kitchen during elementary kids lunch. I went to Christian school and the kids could bring in a lunch and have it heated in the microwave for $.25. This one girl brought in this chicken pot pie and I reheated it and it smelled so good! I told her that too! The next day she brought in the recipe from her mother, Rhonda Cochran. 

I have made this recipe for a number of years. I made this recipe even last year a couple of times when I was living in CA working. Co-workers of mine loved it and I gave several the recipe and they continue to make it on their own. 

Well, let's get down to it! Here's the recipe! 

Chicken Pot Pie

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast( diced and cooked) - I save time and use canned or rotisserie
2 cans Cream of Potato soup
1/2 package frozen peas and carrots- I use the mixed veggies instead with corn and green beans too
1/4-1/2 tsp Thyme- if you use dried herbs, rub them together in your hand first for more flavor
1/2 cup milk
1 Pillsbury ready made pie crust- don't skimp and use generic- it's not the same

Place one crust into a large 10" deep dish pie pan. Then mix everything else together in a mixing bowl. It should look something like this:

Then place them in the pie crust. It will look like this:

Then carefully place the top crust on and flute the edges. Sometimes it seems like there is extra crust, so I just use some little cookie cutters with the extra and make it look pretty on the top. Make some slits in the top too so it can vent. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. 

Here's how it looked when I put it in the oven:

Enjoy! This is so easy and tastes so good! I serve it with some bread or rolls and a salad or fresh veggies. I hope you love it! Let me know what you think if you try it! 

Thanks for reading and following along! Happy Friday! 


Falling for Fall Florals

I love fall and all of the brilliant colors! I love the way the trees are turning from green into the bright yellows, reds, and oranges.

Because I like bright colors, I was drawn to this beautiful bright aqua printed pleated blouse from J Crew Factory during their recent 50% off sale. I wanted to show a couple of different looks so you can dress it up or down and get your money's worth. I had meetings earlier in the day and wanted to dress it up but then came home and got more casual. Notice in both looks I am carrying my Phillip Lim for Target bags! 

Here's the dressier or more professional look wearing this Old Navy leather trimmed zipped cardigan, tweed skirt, and heels:

Here's the more casual look wearing oxblood jeans and booties:

How else would you wear this top? 

Thanks for reading and following along! 


Friday, October 18, 2013

Why I will miss What Not to Wear on TLC

Shut the front door! it cant be over! As you may or may not know, I love the show What Not to Wear that airs on TLC on Friday nights. It was here that I discovered the four elements an outfit should have: color, pattern, texture, shine. It was here that I discovered that you really do have to try it on- not just turn your nose up at it while its on the hanger. It was here that I discovered the type of jeans that were right for my body shape. And it was here that I heard Stacy and Clinton tell female contributors that they needed to "keep the girls locked and loaded."

This show has been around for ten seasons and has been a joy to watch. It's been cool to see how confident women become after they learn to dress themselves and have a hairstyle and a makeup routine that is fast, easy and manageable. It's also been cool to see the hosts themselves exude confidence and authority as they are making over women and literally changing lives. I love that Stacy chose to keep her gray streak in her hair as if slapping the world in the face saying " I don't care what you think of it!".

While I have not been so fortunate as to have had the opportunity to be on What Not to Wear (maybe that's a good thing), I and millions of others have benefited from this show being on television. I have had the pleasure of meeting Clinton while visiting his other show, The Chew. Here's a picture that we took together. And yes, he is as handsome and charming in person as he is on both of his shows.

This show has given me the confidence personally to look presentable and take some fashion risks. I also love that they have shown us that you can be a mom on the go or a working mom and not look frumpy-dumpy. Wear a belt, carry a real bag, wear some jeans and not yoga pants! These are just a few things that will make you stand out and let people know that you have it together(or if you don't, at least you look like you do). 

So, here's to you Stacy and Clinton for an amazing ten seasons. I will be watching your last show tonight along with the rest of America who loves you. I wish you nothing but the best and hope that you will continue to style us through some other venue. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leopard and Bows and Stripes: Oh My!

On Sunday I was looking for an outfit to wear to church. I like to dress up a little more on Sundays because I spend most of the week in casual clothes since I work from home. I decided to pair my favorite bow tee with a striped skirt from Loft. Earlier in the year, it seemed like everyone had a black and white striped skirt but me! I love the look but never found the skirt I liked- until this one. It's brown and black so it's perfect for me in the Michigan fall and winter.

I added a belt (also from Loft) and a black bag. I also decided to wear a sweater since it was a little chilly still.

I also decided to add another pattern with the leopard pumps. Subtle but fun! Remember my article about pattern mixing?

It was an easy and fun outfit! 

Thanks for reading and following along! 


Monday, October 14, 2013

Chili Weather

No, chili is not misspelled. It's actually getting chilly in MI which means its chili weather! My husband and I like to have chili when the weather starts getting chillier in the evenings. Chili is a warm hearty meal in a bowl so it's perfect for a relaxing fall night.

Our small group decided to have chili on Sunday night when we met so I brought mine. I like mine because it is thick and meaty with just the right amount of tomatoes and green pepper and onion. Yum!

Here's the recipe that I found years ago in a cookbook. I cook a lot so I tend to do my seasonings to taste and not exactly by the recipe. I also don't measure a lot since after years of cooking, you tend to be able to eye-ball the measurements. I like to make this ahead of time and have it cooking on low in the slow cooker all day. It fills the house with the aroma of chili and its ready to go when we're home from work.

1 lb ground beef
1 c chopped onion (one large)
1/2 c chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced ( I use one capful of Tastefully Simple Garlic, Garlic instead)
1 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes ( I use diced so I don't have to cut them up)
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 to 3 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper

Cook up the beef( I also season with Tastefully Simple Seasoning Salt) with the onion and green pepper and drain. I then transfer to the crockpot but you can also cook in a pan on the stove-top. Add the tomatoes with the juice, beans, tomato sauce, basil, chili powder and pepper. Bring to boiling if on stove-top and simmer for about 20 minutes. Cook on low if in the crockpot. Makes about 5 cups or 4 main dish servings. I tend to double the recipe so we have leftovers.

Once its done, I serve mine with cornbread or some crackers and cheese. I also like apples or a glass of sparkling apple juice or moscato. I usually put some shredded cheese and sour cream on the top too.  If you decide to try it, let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pattern Mixing

I am the first person to admit that I like to match. There I said it! I don't want to be that person who has too many things going on in their outfit that you don't see me- you see my outfit. But after watching What Not to Wear (a lot!) and seeing all of my friends on Instagram mixing and matching their prints and patterns, I decided it was time to give it a try.

I started with a plaid shirt and a striped sweater and then a solid pant. Why not throw on my favorite leopard loafers and a statement necklace? The look below is what I wore all day.

I was outside in the evening so I decided to change up the look a little. I added my favorite boots and threw on the herringbone vest.

What do you think of pattern mixing? Do you try it at all or do you play it safe? Start out small and try it with two patterns and see what you think. The key is to make sure that they are all in the same color family. 

Thanks for reading and following along! 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Classics Never Go out of Style

I first want to say that I was blessed with a great opportunity to work from home and be a virtual employee. This means I do not have to commute on a daily basis as I can perform all of my responsibilities with a phone and an Internet connection. That being said, there are times like today that I need to dress up and head into the office.

Classic suiting pieces never go out of style. I wanted to share this outfit today as this is a great example of this. I remember where and when I bought these pieces. I had just had my son (who is eight now) and needed some clothes. I found this skirt and a matching teal sweater set (I know, I know, a sweater set!) and have worn them ever since. This is a nice lined skirt with a classic print and colors. As long as this skirt holds up, I will continue to wear it. It's one of my faves!

The blouse is a little newer and was purchased from Banana Republic about two or three years ago. While the style of the blouse is sleeveless and not office-appropriate, it looks great with a jacket or under a sweater. The blazer is Talbots and I remember finding it at TJMaxx also a few years ago for $10!

These pieces are classic and not trendy so they will be able to be worn year after year! Look for pieces that have classic cuts- like the a-line skirt here- as well as classic colors. I wore a fun turquoise ring and added a belt and some heels and viola! My outfit is complete!

What pieces have you had in your closet for a while? Do you keep them because they are classic cuts and colors?

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Inspired by Target Style

If you are on Instagram and follow @targetstyle, you are no stranger to the pictures that they post of their clothing and home furnishings. I do not have to tell you all then that I pretty much love everything they have at that store! It is difficult to walk out without finding something that you had no idea that you needed. Remind me to post a cute cartoon that I found on Facebook one time. It's hilarious!

Anyways, I saw an outfit post that I loved and thought how can I recreate this look? I am a sucker for anything in leopard (check out my Instagram page and you'll see what I mean!). I love this cardigan so I decided to purchase it and then make it do double duty. I posted the pic below that I saw on Instagram.

Naturally, I wanted to recreate this look but I decided to do it two ways- one for a more casual look for a day running errands or a busy mom and one look for an evening out or a date night. Check out my looks below and tell me how you may recreate this look for yourself!

Here's the look for day- casual with a flat and a larger bag:

Here's the look for night- with heels and a clutch:

The goal is really to be inspired by a look and make it your own. Ideally you would also want to use what you already have. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions on another outfit I could recreate!  Thanks for reading and following along with me! 


Friday, October 4, 2013

What Age Am I?

Age is relative. Age is a number. There's the saying " you're only as young as you feel". Age. You want it, you need it.

Well, guess what! Age is upon me...I have approximately 11 months now until I turn the big 4-0!

I have to admit that I am not scared or think I need a major purchase like a sports car ( who am I kidding- of course a sports car would be nice although unnecessary)- I am actually excited! Believe it or not, every year I feel better about myself and gain more confidence. Like fine wine that is aged, I just keep getting better and better!

So to celebrate, I am coming up with a bucket list of sorts: 40 Things To Do Before I Turn 40.
I need some help though from you, my readers, my followers. I have a few things on my list, but I need a lot more!

I would invite you to post your ideas here on the blog. I will be choosing ideas and featuring each one in an individual blog post. If you are the contributor of the item, I will feature your blog or Instagram account in return. If you don't have either, I will write a nice commentary on you and our friendship!

Please join in the fun and contribute to my list! I look forward to reading all of the ideas you come up with!

Thanks for reading! Follow me to keep up with the latest!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hello World, it's me, Sandae

Well, I finally did it! I finally created a blog! Now what?

I intend to use this blog to share tips and tricks for daily life as well as recipes and most importantly, sales and fashion advice!

Curvy girl on the run- how did I come up with this name? Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you may remember following along with me as I was training and preparing to run my first 5K. And of course, I am curvy which was how I came up with my name!

Here's a picture of me crossing the finish line!

Thank you to all of my friends and family and supporters who have given me the boost of confidence that I needed to make this leap! I appreciate all of your love and support while I was training!

So here you have it. The blog is up and ready to go! Follow along for more fun!