Friday, June 26, 2009

Quick Takes Friday #8


I enjoyed this post written by the author of the blog Zen Habits.

To summarize: he suggests that you do only three things today, and choose them for importance, not urgency. However, I remember when my children were small, the organizational rule of prioritizing by importance-not-urgency did not work unless you counted urgent things-- like changing diapers or doing laundry-- as also important. Doesn't it seem like young children make all of life urgent?

However, I think I might like to try it now that the kids are all grown. I have a tendency to put so many things on my list to do TODAY, that I'm still trying to get through the list after three days! And then I feel like I'm always behind.


One of my new favorite fashion blogs is called La Bella Figura. Being inspired by French and Italian wardrobe simplicity, she wears nearly the same thing every day-- a black skirt or black jeans, and a fitted tee in some nice color with some sort of feminine detailing, one of two or three necklaces, and one of two or three pairs of black shoes. She looks beautiful and put together in a very simple way and I'm inspired by it.

Then there's this gal whose closet must be as big as entire bedroom, but I read her blog just because of her wardrobe creativity.


Yesterday I wrote about keeping cool in this hot weather and today I want to add to that. Here are two ways to keep DRY in hot, sweaty weather:

undefined "Smooth seamless microfiber construction moves with you. Soft, lightweight feel. Breathable fabric keeps you cool and comfortable all day. Classic bikini cut. Tag-free to eliminate tag chafe." (Barely There Breathe Bikini Panty)

I never knew it before, but microfiber makes all the difference in the world!

And then there's this:

And it really works.

Now I want to find similar things for Hubby, but for some reason men's underwear, especially microfiber, costs about triple what women's underwear costs. What's up with that?


Just a note: last night I made fajitas for supper, but instead of stir-frying the meat as usual, I marinated it and then grilled it--to keep from using a burner in the hot, hot house--and then cut it into strips. It was so good that it all got snarfed up very quickly and I had to serve up the portion I had saved back for DrummerDude's lunch to have enough. You can find the recipe here.


Not long ago DrummerDude showed me a YouTube video that had me in tears. We've had a couple of rough years at our house with various family members dealing with depression and even suicidal thoughts, and this song touched those deep feelings.

Here it is, if you've like to see it:


This post by ElizabethEsther about her 18-month-old twins made me laugh.


These leather and pearl bracelets
Chan Luu Multistrand Leather Bracelet

that I saw at Une femme d'un certain age that are for sale at Garnet Hill have me inspired. I don't want to pay $180, though, so I'm thinking about the three pearl bead necklaces I have, and the spool of leather lacing I have, and wondering if I can make my own....

More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Staying Cool in a Heat Wave

This week I have come up with some tips for how to keep cool in 90-some degree weather with 109 degree heat index in a house with only a window air conditioner.

1. Don't cook. Serve meals of sandwiches and fresh fruit and salad. This keeps the house from additional heat.

2. If you do have to cook, put the food in a roaster on the porch. (If you have plug-ins on your porch like I do!)

3. Make lemonade out of lemonade mix and real lemons and ice, to drink in the hottest part of the day. Or mix cold ginger ale, mint leaves, and lime slices with ice.

4. Wring out a bandanna in cold water and wear it around your neck.

5. Save the baking for evenings when the day is coolest.

6. Wear skirts instead of jeans or shorts.

These of course are aside from the obvious solutions of getting out of the house completely by going swimming, or, in a pinch, shopping at the air-conditioned mall, but they work--or at least they help. I know because I've tried them all!

Monday, June 22, 2009

And then I'm going to get some SLEEP

We've been busy enough lately that I can't even remember what we've actually been doing. The next activity blots the memory of the last one!

However, I can tell you that Friday my brother and his two girls arrived for their annual two-week visit (which requires the usual preparation, you know, cleaning, making up beds, planning menus, etc.), and then Saturday four of us left for Holyoke, Colorado. We went to help with two meetings where as a part of a larger worship team we were basically teaching how to worship, sort of (which required the usual preparation of packing up all our instruments, including the drum set, and the amplifiers and cords, plus clothes for the weekend).

Oddly, the highlight of the weekend was the place we spent the night Saturday night. Lovely people, who very hospitably opened their home to SEVEN people with ease and fed us four kinds of fresh fruit and cereal and coffee cake and toast for breakfast, with a side of refreshing conversation.

While we (me, Hubby, GuitarGeek, DrummerDude) were gone, MB3 worked on his room remodeling and made quite bit of progress.

Today? I have been very tired, as I always am after these kinds of events. I always thought God would put me in full-time ministry someday, but I'm beginning to see maybe the reason He hasn't is because I'm not physically or emotionally cut out for that kind of long term stress. It wipes me out, just over a weekend!

Hopefully, my active recuperation today (as in, TWO naps) will set me on the road to being rested and getting rid of my new cold sores. And that's good because there are lots of things I want to do now that my nieces are here. Things like camping out in the yard, going swimming, going to the zoo....

So, I'm off to bed, as soon as I bake these four pans of buns. I know it's bedtime, but the extreme heat today made it just ridiculous to bake anything before now (ten o'clock at night)!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

DIY Makeover Quote #10

"Individual style is about doing your own thing, not someone else's. It's taking bits and pieces of what's available and putting them together in your own personal way, breathing your own life into them."

~~Leah Feldon, in Dress Like Million (On Considerably Less): A Trend-proof Guide to Real Fashion.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ready for Summer--Finally!

So I went shopping for clothes on Monday and spent way too much money (mostly on, um, undergarments) but now I think I have everything I need for summer.

I bought four tee shirts in bright colors (at $4 each), two black cardigans (one of them on sale for $7, and one on clearance for $3--how could I resist?), and a NEW SWIMSUIT.

That merits all caps because I think it's been about ten years since I bought my last swimsuit, and it's looking kinda tired. Plus, I've gained a little weight and changed shape a little in ten years, and it was just Time. I'm really happy with it, for several reasons. One, it's a tankini, which is a new style for me, and the top is gray and silver stripes, and the bottom is a black boy short. I feel dressed in it, which is incredible, and my Hubby AND the three boys all gave me a thumbs up.

Just a side note: I have tried on swimsuits before, and my criteria is always "will I be embarrassed to be seen in it by my sons?" Also, since most of my swimsuit-wearing is in a hotel hot tub while at a conference somewhere, I ask myself if I'd be embarrassed to walk down a hotel hallway in it, or sit in a hot tub with our friend Swede, with whom we usually attend these events. This new suit fits the bill swimmingly. (smiley)

ANYway, as I was saying, since all these other things were on sale, the bulk of my expenditure was undergarments. I had no idea how much money you could spend on unmentionables. I used to just buy whatever Walmart had on sale that fit, but lately (like, for the last year), for various reasons, I cannot find anything at Walmart I can wear, so by now my lingerie stock was sadly lacking. I ended up at Kohl's, which is a few steps up in quality. At least I hope so, since the prices were double what I used to pay. However, on the bright side, now I have undergarments that don't scream for attention under my thin summer shirts. Very good.

I gave up on the extra footwear, which was the other thing on my list, because I can't find anything that matches all my picky criteria. (Does it fit? Is it comfortable enough to be on my feet all day? Is it cute and stylish? Does it match my wardrobe?) Besides, I already have black sandals and brown sandals and grey skimmers/sneaker flats (whatever you call them). The sandals fit my criteria, and even though the sneakers don't--my feet get really tired after a long day--they still fill a niche. Plus, I'm just tired of looking. If one of these days I'm out and something jumps out at me, I might get it. Otherwise, I'm just going to go with what I've got.

And now, I've just got to work on something else beside my wardrobe for a while. Maybe now that I feel like I have my style somewhat defined, and I have enough clothes for whatever summer throws at me, I can set it aside.

Until Fall, of course. I already have my Fall list started: 1) black knee-high boots, 2) black leather jacket, 3).... I'd better start saving up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DIY Makeover Quote #9

"Style comes from knowing who you are and who you want to be in the world; it does not come from wanting to be somebody else, or wanting to be thinner, shorter, taller, prettier. Many of the most stylish women in the world have not been great beauties, but they have all drawn from an enormous amount of self-confidence. They made us think they were beautiful simply by believing it themselves."

from The Little Black Book of Style, by Nina Garcia

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garage Sale Day Loot

Saturday was the annual Garage Sale Day in our small town. It's usually a big event and lots of people turn out to drive, walk, or bike to all the different sales. A couple of times we've packed up all the kids and their bicycles and driven to town in the truck, and then let everybody off with their bikes to cruise around.

We could ride our bikes into town, yes, rather than carting them there-- it's four and a half miles, not so very unthinkable-- but this is Garage Sale Day which means there must be a means of hauling home the loot!

Anyway, as I was saying.

What was I saying?

So I found a ten dollar bill in the drawer and took that with me, figuring when it was gone, time was up.

One of the garage sales I went to had piles of used clothing in such bad shape I was rather shocked that they were selling it all, much less for a dollar a piece. If anything in my closet was that perspiration stained or stretched out, I'd burn it before I'd do anything so embarrassing as offer it for sale. In public.

However, just to show that you never know, that was that same sale where I picked up my best deals of the day. There was a stack of clothing apparently donated by a different person than the rest of the items. They were all my size, unlike the rest, and were clean and almost new. I ended up with an entire outfit:

*skirt: black and white, large floral print, slinky but comfy fabric, knee-length. It makes me feel like an ad for Ann Taylor.

* shirt: white fitted tee

*jacket: sort of a dressy short-sleeved bolero, black

The gal who took my money looked at the three items and said "It makes an outfit!" and was pretty impressed.

After three hours, my ten bucks was gone, as well as the change in the little coin holders in the car (*sheepish grin*), so I took my pile of stuff--which included two more shirts, a twin-size comforter and pillow sham, a tablecloth, a pair of pants (that fit!), a belt, a bracelet, and two books--and went home. The end.

And then I went to a store and spent ten times that on groceries and came home with an even bigger (thankfully!) pile of loot.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Still here...

I don't have much free time these days, but what time I do have I've been spending on my wardrobe (STILL!) Do I seem obsessed?

I have bought a few new things lately: some tee shirts (black, gray, white) from Old Navy, a pair of black sandals from TJ Maxx, a wonderful black and silver pashmina from Ebay ($9!).

I also ordered several pairs of shoes from Zappos. Actually, I prefer to say that I had them "sent out on approval". I saw that phrase somewhere in a book. It sounds so rich, doesn't it?

(I should mention here that the reason I even tried this crazy idea was because I recently received some unexpected money, and I decided the money could be used to invest in some of the pricier aspects of my new wardrobe--like quality shoes.)

So since Zappos offers such a great return policy, with free shipping both ways, I figured it was like having a department store come directly to my living room. I picked six likely candidates, figuring that, all said and done, I'd keep one, or maybe two, of them. Sadly, none of them really pass muster, so they're all going back. My favorite ones turned out to be made of silk and have a sticker on them saying to not get them wet. Since I wanted them for run-around-in-the-summer shoes, that won't work. I can just imagine having to worry about getting my shoes wet when I run out to the clothesline on a dewy summer morning. Sorry, not happening.

Last week I cleared my closet of all my heavy winter items so I could better see what I have left for warm weather options. I should really say warmER, since it's not really been very warm here lately aside from an occasional summer-y afternoon.

What I have left, I laid out all over the bed yesterday to examine my options, and then tried everything on. It's tiring to try on every item in your wardrobe in one afternoon! But it was a helpful exercise, and I ended up deciding to ditch a few things, and keep some others, and wear some other things in different ways than I have before.

And then I made a list of what my wardrobe wants. Not what I myself think I need, but what I need to make my wardrobe work better. That would include a pair of white or metallic comfy sandals (operative word being comfy), to wear with all my summer skirts (since I switched from shorts to skirts this year); two or three fitted comfy tee-shirts; a lightweight cardigan in either gray or black (or both!); and possibly a pair of cute athletic mary janes or ballet flats for wearing with capris.

Of course, this list will probably get edited before I actually go shopping. After all, I have brand new black comfy sandals, which will look all right with my comfy skirts, but even though they're flat they look a little dressy, and I'd like something fun and very, very comfortable. And I probably really have enough tee-shirts, but they're all rather snug except one, and I'm thinking when it gets really hot, I'll want something a little looser for the breeze factor. And the cardigan is possibly not necessary, really, it's just that right now I keep having to wear extra layers because the weather stays so chilly. And the flats-- well, I have a pair I just bought, but they're not that comfy for all day wear, so we'll see.

Other items, possibly of interest:

My family had the opportunity to be the worship team for a meeting last weekend, which was a blast, and we are going to be part of a larger team next weekend going to Colorado to do two meetings. Fun stuff.

The garden is up, but slow. That cold weather again.

MB3 is remodeling a bedroom for us, and spent yesterday (it was raining so the guys were home) tearing all the wallpaper and plaster off the walls and ceiling. Can you say DUST?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

DIY Makeover Quote #8

Style at times seems to be a balancing act between what objectively looks best (most flatters our figure and coloring) and what speaks to us on an emotional level.

from Une femme d'un certain age.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What I Did Saturday

I've been so very busy over the last few days. The highlight of last week was when the very pleasant Ornery's Wife, along with Ornery himself, came for a visit.

Aren't they sweet? We've known each other for maybe a year via our blogs, but never met-- till now. It was a wonderful visit, and the exciting thing is that we don't live so very far apart that we can't sometimes do it again. It's something to look forward to.

Also this week JD's mother was here for a few days, which is always a joy, and that brings me to what I did Saturday:

That is a small carry bag, and inside of it is:

Four cloth shopping bags.

JD's mom had ordered a set of bags from me and pre-paid quite some time ago and I hadn't gotten them done yet. But now that she was here, I invited her to help pick out her own fabric, with LovelyDaughter's help, and that worked very well. And then I spent much of the day Saturday cutting and sewing, and had the set ready for her Sunday before she left to drive six hours home!

I also have another set exactly like it that is about two thirds finished--each length of fabric makes two bags, and it's almost as fast to sew up both at once as to make just one--and today I received a call from someone who would like to buy that set. Now I've gotta get busy and finish!