Monday, October 3, 2011

Tender is the night

Well, time seems to a limited commodity these days, so I have done very little blogging. Then, between my computer not working, my camera deciding to act strange and shorter days and limited daylight, getting and posting any pictures has proven to be quite the feat! I'm wondering if it's a sign that I shouldn't be blogging? we have some very dark pictures from last week. I swear we started taking them before sunset, but it seems it must have been after?
But even dusk can't stop Ashton from being, well, Ashton! HAHA!
Shirt:thrifted/Skirt:H&M/Shoes:target/Necklace:The Shine Project/Bracelet:Gift/Ring:Ruche

Meanwhile, for the 100 day stretch I have continued not to shop despite the frequent e-mails I get from my favorite stores trying to lure me back! Sooooooo tempting! I also somehow managed to only pick up my moms prescriptions at Target over the weekend, this is a feat of extraordinary proportions! I can't enter Target without leaving with some sort of unnecessary clothing item for any member of my household or something for my home itself. Yes, I have virtually broken my own arm as I pat myself on the back! I'm really only having limited shopping withdrawal for which I am very grateful, and strangely enough I feel kind of liberated to not be plagued with either shopping desire or post-shopping guilt! At this rate, I may actually start to save money! whoa! You're right, let's not get too carried away yet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Most Beautiful Sound I ever Heard. Maria.

I previously mentioned that you may be seeing some different faces around here. I know some incredible women...well, every woman I know is incredible, and I want to introduce you to some of them. In a world where we tend to focus on celebrity and fortune, I really want to see women who can be role models for my two girls (and me). So, let me introduce you to Maria.

Maria shielded from scorching TX sun. Dorman Pacific Co. hat from TJ Maxx.

For Cheryl
First off, I want to thank Cheryl for inviting me as a guest on her Just Fab
fashion blog. I see by her entries that this site is not only about looking
fabulous, but feeling fabulous too, sometimes despite feelings of inadequacy or

I was asked to tell about who I am and what I believe. Wow! I had no idea how
difficult those questions would be to answer. What happened to easy questions
like, "What's your favorite color?" "Indigo, like the midnight sky, or  green,
like the canopy of a tropical forest," I would have answered.

As you may have guessed from my would-be response, I love nature and am, in
fact, often wrapped in it's arms as I go about an active contemplative lifestyle
in response to local and personal needs. Now, on to Cheryl's questions.
Ring a little girl gave me off her birthday cake at a garden birthday party

Who am I?

Life is a journey in identifying who we are. Even at my age, I still often
struggle with the question of who I am. My mind too easily answers with recorded
responses originated by other people, which are no good because only we can ever
truly know ourselves, or worse yet, it sometimes auto-generates putdowns. The
question of who I am can be answered adequately only by first tapping my roots.

I was brought up by two women with a strong work ethic and an unwavering faith
in a higher power - both knew poverty, hope, hard labor, and ingenuity. With
their resources, those two women practiced charity and neighborliness, and thus
made very good role models.

My second set of role models were the Jesuits, the Sisters of Charity, the
Marianists, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. These, along with a small
group of dedicated laity, were the parents that formally educated me and laid
the foundation for my global outlook.

In youth, my imagination was taken by nature and adventure. I fancied being like
St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Indiana Jones, and McGyver,
but the first two were too saintly and fatalistic (what will be will be), and
the other two were too aggressive and ambitious. Instead, I chose the middle
road and dreamed about becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, which I did after my
first college degree.

In my life, I have been an aide and activist for different social causes, a
community educator, and a global advocate for the environment and the poor. Some
have described me as a Peace Worker - a title I believe accurately describes me,
no matter what my job title might be.

Maria @ Time Dollar Garden. Merona dress from Goodwill.Tiger's-Eye stone earrings & necklace from Avon.
Hello Kitty ring from HER birthday cake. Rafters sandals from Nordstrom Rack.
Artisan Women's Group recycled silk purse from Africa.
Foster Grant sunglasses from Walgreens.
What do I believe?

Life is also a journey in discovering what we stand for. Along with the question
of who I am, I have also struggled with the question of what I believe. The
world is filled both with marketers that vie for fertile mental ground to seed
for self-serving purposes, and false prophets that pave the road to catastrophe
through good intentions.

The journey in identifying my beliefs has  recently led me to understand myself
as a mission oriented naturalist (or pantheist). This means that nothing in life
makes me happier than knowing my efforts and resources are benefitting not only
humanity, but the entire global system. I analyze my daily decisions to
determine global impact, and when I take on a job, I take it for it's ethical
uprightness, not for the money.

As you may have guessed by now, the majority of my life is spent living in
voluntary poverty because to live otherwise, in my opinion, would be unethical -
personal and social greed, in my experience, has a way of throwing the world off
balance. Experience has also taught me that interdependent (symbiotic)
relationships - in humanity, in nature, and across both - are the way to
restoring balance. Both people and nature (biotic or not) deserve respect
because we share kinship as global citizens.

I realize I may sound a little strange to most folks out there, but if you dig
my counter-cultural lifestyle and think it worthy of respect (or maybe even of
following), let me add this:
The road to self determining an identity can be laborious because one has to
sift through input and different schools of thought from multiple sources, and
lonesome because one defies going along with crowd mentality, which can leave
one feeling at the edge. This road less taken takes courage to follow, but it
builds strength of character, which is necessary to make a real difference in
the world. With that stated, I will conclude by saying this: Life just isn't
worth living unless your living on the edge. Discover who you are, discover what
you stand for ... and then go out and make a fabulous difference, whether in the
world at large, or in the life of an individual that really needs you.

Thanks for hosting me, Cheryl!

I mean wow...amazing woman right? I think she may be channeling one of her idols, Indiana Jones with her hat!
Look around you, you may be really inspired by the women you know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hi all! I have surprisingly little to say was a long (though wonderful) day at work, followed by helping my mom out as she continues to recover from her surgery. Somehow, we squeezed in pictures, but that's about all I've got for you. Well that, and life is so exciting right now!

Skirt and Shoes:Kohl's/Long Sleeve Tee:J. Crew/Necklace, Earrings, Bangles, Belt:Target/Cuff: Ruche/Charm Bracelet: Lia Sophia

See how excited I am? I'm busting at the seams!
And look at how much my little "Monkey" adores me...I'm the luckiest!

Monday, September 26, 2011

10 and 2:A Recap

Well my friends, I officially finished with the 10 and 2 challenge and am so happy that Megan started this. It was much fun and it's helping me to "trim some fat" from my closet. So, here is a run down, let's start with the items I am tossing!
You're Outta Here!
Say goodbye diaper pants! There will be no more mystery...I do not pee my pants yet!
Adieu to you, strange shaped top! No one will ask me my due date ever again!

You get a second chance to make me feel special!
Here are the items I'll be keeping
Yes, little white blouse...I have been reintroduced to your possibilities, you may stay!
You may be tight and low cut and have a lot going on, but the masses have saved you with votes to keep you in the closet...the flower, however will be removed! Weep not little friend, consider it as a face lift!
Sweet little birdies! You can stay...I don't know why I ever avoided you in the first place!
Lovely little dress, you may be too short, but I own tights and leggings...we can make it work!
I may look a little like Captain Jack Black in you pirate blouse, but you are a keeper! I will not be pairing you with a eye patch!
Slouchy sweater, I have decided I like you enough to keep you. Let's style on together!
Little black flats with the bow, you may stay!
Blazer, you are an 11th item that was thrown into the mix as well...I am undecided as to your fate! Perhaps the masses(all 3 of them) will help me decide? hehe 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Truth Be Told

Since signing up for the 100 day stretch and participating in the 10 and 2 challenge, I started to reflect on my blog experience thus far. I started this blog a few months ago after stumbling onto fashion blogs last year. I've always loved clothes and being feminine and really believe that women should feel great about being women! I decided to try blogging on a whim as something fun to do. I've mentioned my 3 jobs I know, and in the course of my work which is my passion, I am often dealing with really complicated and heart breaking things...abuse, loneliness, bullying, lives controlled by people who hold extreme power over other human beings. At the end of the day, I want something light-hearted to pull me out of that world, and so was the genesis of this blog. It was meant to be a place where I could be me, talk about fun things and the reality of being a woman and wanting to feel my best and hopefully encourage others to accept themselves and embrace who they are.

It started out as a lot of fun! Then I started to add more and more blogs to my reading list, and realized the bulk of people reading fashion blogs are other fashion bloggers. Suddenly, I felt that I had to somehow "compete," and felt as though my style, which works just fine in Western Pennsylvania, wasn't enough. I added a few things to my closet to stay up to date and somewhere along the line in the process of trying to do something fun lost a little focus. In the past few weeks while doing the 10 and 2, when I wasn't actually trying to look "fashionable" I had fun again! 

So, here is some truth. I am not a model...doing anything other than looking at the camera and smiling feels strange and looks preposterous on me, so I'm not going to be trying any of the "bloggy" poses, that work great for others and not so much on me. 
I do not get free clothes nor will I ever and I'm not a full time blogger, nor will I ever be. It's great for those who make a career out of it, and I know they have worked really hard at it, but I live in a different world. In my world, I have to buy the things I wear and it will rarely look like something from the streets of Milan. The clothes I wear are what feel good to me, not what's trendy today and will be forgotten tomorrow, because frankly I can't afford to live like that! 
That brings me to the 100 day stretch. I should be wearing what I've already got and be making the most of my closet! Isn't that what we all do most of the time? I can't pretend to live some glamorous life when I don't, everything I have I have struggled for and earned, it doesn't magically appear. Like most women, raising a family and working, I go from pay to pay hoping to make it. I can't pretend otherwise, or not be honest about finances. 
Here is some honesty, we literally have about $50.00 to make it to our next pay right now! I just paid for my car to be fixed and will be stretching every penny over the next several days so that I can actually put gas in it to get to work! I'm not writing that for a pity party, it is simply the truth and that is the reality for most families nowadays! 
Money is an uncomfortable topic, but I think some truth about finances is important. I don't work 3 jobs because I want to, I have to. I don't have credit cards because I ran up incredible debt when I was young in college and just finished paying it off. I now have school loans to pay back and regret going to grad. school, because now I'm just paying out more money than there is coming in. 
Raising children is expensive! and, my children's needs come before mine. Sometimes, we have to postpone paying one bill to catch up on another....
So there it is, some cold hard truth about money. Again, this isn't written to start a pity party, I just couldn't live with myself if I weren't honest. I want to participate in something that makes me and others feel good, not inadequate or broke!

I want to get back to blogging fun and focusing on what most of us can do and who we are...not striving to be anything else but me in all my flawed fabulosity! I also want to start focusing on other women, who are living their lives with integrity and can be real role models for others, so expect to see some other faces beyond my own!

If you read all of this, thank you. If it was "too honest," I hope I haven't distressed you or pulled out a little too much reality on a Sunday afternoon! I'll be more perky again tomorrow...I really am a "perky" person!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yesterday I boldly pronounced that it was my last misfit...I fibbed, I'm throwing in a "bonus" item. Yup, just when you thought it was safe to return to fabland, I throw in more misfits!

Pants, Tee, Flats, Earrings, Gold Bangles:Target/Blazer and Silver Bangles: H&M/Necklace: Lia Sophia/Toggle Bracelet: Tiffany's

It's this blazer. It is really big, I mean, that's how it was designed, but when I brought it home and started wearing it, I discovered that I really "swim" in it. I also feel a little "Miami Vice", you know, Don Johnson and the rolled up sleeves on the odd bright blazers... I did wear my little black bow flats again today, and I have to say, even though the blazer is big, this was all easy to pull together and comfortable while I ran errands today. So I don't know..maybe I can make the blazer work? I have two items that I'm definitely donating after doing the 10 and 2..I'm not sure if I should add this to the pile?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Final Misfit

 My day was spent at the hospital with my mom and sister. While my mom had surgery, my sister and I prowled hospital grounds, made fools of ourselves and garnered the occasional giggle from onlookers. What can I say, we are an amusing family! So pictures today were taken with my phone while we waited for mom in surgery.

 The misfit is this sweater. It was an impulse buy while I shopped for my son's birthday over the summer. I saw it and thought how cute it would look with little short shorts at the end of summer. I forgot...I don't wear short shorts, and the world thanks me for it! So, since bringing it home, I think my daughter has worn it more than I.
Sweater:American Eagle/Dress (Worn as skirt) and Ring:Ruche/Scarf and Boots: Ross/Purse:Coach/Necklace:Lia Sophia/Watch:Eddie Bauer/Belt:Thrifted/Purple Tights, Gold Bangles and Wooden Bead Bracelet:Target/Silver Bangles:H&M
At first I wondered if this combination was a little too "busy," but I got tons of compliments from all the fabulous strangers at the hospital! Who woulda thunk it?

...And, to put any worries to rest, my mom is well. There she is being wheeled out of the hospital by my gorgeous sister. I know, you can't see her face, but look at that awesome balloon! It sings! We spotted it in the gift shop and had to get it for mom, it plays "I'll be there for you" the theme song from Friends! Before giving it to mom, my sister and I may have run around the hospital singing to it. What can I say, we're two year olds! Amazingly, that wasn't the worst, or most embarrassing thing we did today!