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December 31, 2014

dinner with friends and fashion Wednesday

Last Saturday we got together with our very best friends (who also happen to be family) for dinner, conversation and our annual Christmas gift exchange.  We have been doing this for the last few years and it is one of the events I look forward to most each year.

This year we met at our house.  I made this loaded baked potato soup with fresh french bread and my sister in law brought a delicious green salad.  Sometimes a simple meal and a good bottle of wine are all you need for a great time.  Plus it had been a while since the four of us got together so there was plenty to talk and laugh about.

For what to wear for dinner with friends I went to my "My Style" pinterest board and found this cute black and white striped sweater combo as my inspiration.

I love it when I have everything in my closet to put an outfit together and sometimes base my pins on a piece I already own.  I just type in "striped sweater" for example, and the search engines do the rest.  (Other times I will buy a piece based on a pin I see but that's a whole different story and a more dangerous and expensive thing all together...)

I am actually getting a little more comfortable in skinny jeans tucked into riding boots every time I wear them.

I don't know if you noticed my new bob haircut.  My young friend Emily just happens to be a talented hairdresser as well as a fellow creative soul with a cute Etsy shop, so when she offered to cut my hair in exchange for a couple of sewing lessons I happily took her up on it.  It's quite a bit shorter than I'm used to but I am loving my sassy new do.

I think this would be a great look for a quiet New Years Eve at home or hanging out with friends.  As for me, I'm sure I'll be tucked under a blanket on the sofa all toasty in my PJ's watching the ball drop in my living room.  What about you?  Anything special planned to ring in the new year?

xo, Patty

riding boots - Kohls
black skinny jeans - Loft
striped sweater - Target
scarf - from my closet
earrings - Kohls

December 29, 2014

jewelry organization

In the middle of preparing for Christmas my husband made an off handed remark about wanting to switch hobby rooms.  He said he wouldn't mind taking the downstairs for his music and I could have the upstairs room for my crafts.

You can bet that little statement sent this organizing junkie into immediate action.

Never mind that I had a million and one things to do for the holidays...never mind that it meant moving two million and one boxes, books and all manner of craft things up a flight of stairs...never mind that we had just rearranged the furniture all over the house when my daughter and grandsons moved out in September.

When opportunities come your way in this house they must be seized immediately lest the giver rethinks his spoken words and changes his mind when the reality of what he said hits him.  (Ahem...not that he's ever done that before.)

The downstairs room with it's beautiful built ins and pretty view also houses the laundry closet and sits right off the main living area.  Which means a lot of traffic and the perfect place to stash those nasty piles of stuff that accumulate on the dining room table.

The upstairs room, while it can get warm in the summer, is the largest bedroom in our little home.  It is situated directly across from the guest room/grandkids room which also happens to be my dressing room and where I keep my clothes. Old houses have very small closets and my hubbies clothes are in our bedroom closet downstairs.

So basically it gives me the entire upstairs as my private two bedroom suite with my very own teeny tiny bathroom.

There is still so much work to do but all the major components are in place.  I have managed to arrange my jewelry (most of which has been found at thrift stores) on a wall in my craft studio so I thought I'd show you that today.

I've already made a tentative schedule for the coming months to complete the rest of the spaces upstairs including redoing the small bathroom.  But first on the list is our bedroom downstairs which is exactly as it was when we moved in here seven years ago.

New planner, new ideas and God willing, a whole new year to accomplish them in!  Have you made any plans for the New Year, yet?  I'd love to hear them.

xo, Patty

December 26, 2014

the day after

Am I the only who woke up at 4:30 this morning to take the decorations off the tree and drag it out to the curb before the green waste comes for pick up today?  I imagine I probably am.  As much as I love the holidays, I am always ready to restore order just as soon as the festivities are over.  There is just something about the New Year that requires order.

This Christmas season was a year of transitions for our household.  Kids moving forward with their lives (which is so very good and just as it should be) and hubby and I settling into the "just us" mode.  The former I gave into a bit (okay, I was a tad reluctant...okay, very...okay, kicking and screaming...)reluctantly.  The latter I think I'm going to love.

As selfish as it sounds, 2015 is going to be the year we rediscover us.  The year I find that passion for life I been searching for and start pursuing it every day.  Bring on the New Year!

xo, Patty

December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve and fashion Wednesday

Merry Christmas Eve.  I got up really early this morning while the house was still quiet.  I poured myself a cup of coffee, plugged in the Christmas tree and took a moment to be still and to be thankful.  Not for the presents under the tree but for the ones who will be opening them very soon.  You see for as much as I fret and worry, Christmas is here and we have all we need and it has nothing to do with the pretty things that surround us, it has to with what resides within us.

I was hoping to have a few pictures of what I plan on wearing for Christmas Day but that will have to wait for next Wednesday and maybe a few suggestions for a casual New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Instead I have a couple of everyday running errands and grandkid drop off and pick up outfits.  I didn't realize I wore the same flats and scarf for both days but that just shows how a couple of items can work on multiple days.

These boyfriends Jeans from Kohls are my most comfortable and they get worn a lot.  The striped shirt is from Old Navy, the boyfriend sweater is from Target, the scarf is from Kohls as are the black silver studded flats which I wear all the time.

Here is the same scarf and shoes but this time I paired them with bootcut jeans from Kohls, black layering tee also from Kohls and a ruffled grey sweater that I've had a few years from Macy's.  I tend to wear silver jewelry with black and grey, what about you?

I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for your kind words of support this past year.  My brother is finished with his procedures and is doing better than the doctor's could predict so I thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Here's to a fantastic finish to 2014 and the very best in 2015!

xo, Patty

December 22, 2014

Christmas week

It seems for the best of my intentions this Christmas week kind of snuck up on me and left me in a bit of a whirlwind and feeling overwhelmed.

The holidays can bring out the very best and the very worst in people and I am certainly no exception.  When I take on too much, those closest to me tend to feel the brunt of it.  Thankfully, I have a day to rest, regroup, relax and reflect today.

I think that's one of the reasons Christmas is followed by the New Year.  Whether you're one to make resolutions or not, it is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts.  I already have a list of things about myself that I am praying over.  Ways to make myself a better person...kinder, less controlling and happier.

With all that said, I do still love Christmas and am looking forward to the next few days with eager anticipation.  What about you?  Have you managed to pace yourself or are you feeling the stress a little, too?

Happy Monday all!

xo, Patty

December 18, 2014

just a little Christmas

Since December is halfway gone I thought it might be a good idea to show you a little bit of my dining room Christmas decor before it's time to take it all down.

All the changes I made in the cottage over the last few months really brightened up my usually traditional decorations.  By the time I realized I could use a few new things, the stores were sold out.

I think next year instead of complaining about how quickly the Christmas decoration start showing up I  better start shopping for them.  By the time December rolls around the shelves were looking a little bare.

Most of what I put out I've had for years.  Just seeing it against a white backdrop made it all seem new again.

My six year old grandson loves Christmas, yes for the presents, but also for the music and the decorations.  Just wait till I show you our tree this year.  He chose it on the lot and then decorated it once I hung the lights.  I promise I only moved one or two things he put on...really.

I am off to buy that one last gift and then I hope to finish up the last of the wrapping this afternoon.  I promised a certain little boy that we could start our baking after he gets out of school today and I know he'll hold me to it.  We have five different cookies to make so I'm sure the flour will be flying!

I'm thinking it might be a little too early to start baking but the next few days are full of festivities so I will probably end up freezing a few things.  What about you?  What will you be baking this year?

Have a wonderful Thursday!

xo, Patty

December 17, 2014

the specifics and fashion Wednesday

I can't believe it's been a couple of Wednesdays since I posted last.  For all my planning to have a nice quiet December it has actually been a busy one.  Good busy, but busy none the less.

With my fashion challenge officially over I debated whether or not to continue on with Fashion Wednesday but I am actually kind of liking clothes again so I think it will become a regular feature in the new year.  Yes, I said "new year".  I know we haven't even celebrated Christmas yet but the first will be her before you know it and I love a new beginning.

Now on to fashion.  When I thought about continuing to post about fashion, more specifically fashion after 50, one of things that pushed me to continue was partly self serving.  It's that age old thing called accountability.  If I have to show you all the cute clothes out there and how more mature women can wear them, I kind of have to get dressed in more than my sweats and a t-shirt.  Another factor was how hard I found it to find pictures of how ordinary women looked in those pretty outfits I have pinned on my fashion pinterest board.

Just to set the record straight from the beginning, here are a few of my specific body issues.  (Come on, we all have them.)

I am 5'3'' tall (on a good day, if I stand up real straight) and I wear between a size 10 -12 petite.  I am pear shaped with narrow shoulders and wider hips.  Depending on who you ask, I am either lucky or cursed to be small busted and my rear end, which used to be my best feature, is now not quite as perky as it used to be.  My small waist has widened as I've aged and my normally flat stomach now has a trendy baby bump, which is strange because I never gave birth to a baby.  (My girls are adopted.)

I would like to lose 10 pounds and start a regular exercise program but I have decided that if I wait until I do I will never regain the confidence and sense of personal pride that dressing nicely brings.  So I've decided to love the body I have right now, all the while trying to make smart choices about what I put into it and to include physical activity as often as possible.

I do not have an unlimited budget so my clothes are a combination of new, thrifted and gifted.  I have learned what looks good on me and what does not.  I am more classic than trendy but don't want to look matronly so I am willing to try and incorporate a little of the current styles into what I wear in real life.  I don't work outside the home right now so my clothes are more casual.  I love accessories and use them everyday.  I am a visual person so I love to use pinterest and other blogs as a starting point.

I think that's a good start and probably more than you needed to know.  The outfit I am wearing in this post was for a get together with a few of my favorite girlfriends for a Christmas brunch.  I like the combination of lace and jeans in the pinterest picture and since I am not totally comfortable with skinny jeans, I love the flared boot cut jeans she's wearing.

I really like the lace top from The Loft that I'm wearing.  It is actually a T-shirt and super comfortable.  It was a bit of a splurge for me but I waited and snagged it at 50% off.  It was worth it, I know I will wear it a ton. (Bare with my photography skills, the timer on my camera and I are not the best of friends yet but we will work out our issues eventually.)

I loved fashion when I was younger but my busy life and extra weight allowed me to tell myself it wasn't important to dress nice.  Somehow by looking matronly or plain I was more pious than if I spent a little time and yes, money on myself.  I'm not buying that anymore.  Like most of life, it's all about priorities.  What about you?  Is it hard for you to focus on yourself in this way?

xo, Patty

Jeans - Levis from Kohls
Top - The Loft
Belt - Target
Booties - Macy's (my Christmas gift this year from my mom and I absolutely adore them!)
Necklace and earrings - Kohls
Watch - Walmart

I'm linking up with GYPO for I feel pretty
The Pleated Poppy for What I wore Wednesday
Ginger side of Life for The Oh, Hey Girl

December 3, 2014

a little cocooning and fashion Wednesday

We've been enjoying a few days of cooler weather and glorious rainfall and the urge to slow down and cocoon has taken over my desire to decorate.  So instead of readying the house for the holidays, I have been sitting quietly with pen in hand planning and praying about next year.

I am such a plotter and planner.  I love it, absolutely and completely.  Of course, I hold those plans loosely in one hand as I wait and watch what unfolds each day but life's twists and turns don't keep me from dreaming and scheming about what the future holds.  I had so many things floating around in my head that it was hard to concentrate on the here and now but now that I've written them down with an erasable pencil, I can fully focus on the season in front of me.  Are you like that, too?

And that includes Fashion Wednesday.   I actually took pictures for the Build Your Basics Wardrobe Challenge twice last week.  One casual and one a little dressier.

The casual challenge clothes consisted of a grey cardigan, striped tee, skinny jeans and riding boots.  I have to tell you that this outfit was way out of my comfort zone but one of the great things about a challenge like this is trying styles that you normally wouldn't and the skinny jeans and riding boots are definitely not a look I would have tried.  But I was actually okay with it.

The boots were a gift from husband during the Fall challenge that sat in my closet looking cute for two months.  They were super comfy and I felt quite stylish in them and not at all like I was trying to look too young which was my biggest fear.

The dressier challenge clothes consisted of a dressy blouse, long necklace, boot cut jeans and heeled boots.  This one was much easier because it is an outfit I could have put together myself.  Totally in my comfort zone.  I loved pairing the dressy blouse and my $2.98 thrift store pearls with jeans.  I wore this to my bible study Christmas potluck and felt like a million bucks.

Now go and take a look at how the other bloggers styled these basics and be sure to leave them an encouraging word.  It's not easy to take a picture of yourself and put it out there for all to see.

I'll be back soon with a peek at my Christmas decorations and to share what I'm learning about hospitality.  Thanks for stopping by...

xo, Patty

December 1, 2014

let the decorating begin

I had the best intentions over the weekend to get into the attic and pull out the Christmas boxes but then the rain came and the thought of getting into that dusty small space with who knows what crawling around became but a distant thought.  Instead I had myself a mini Pioneer Woman marathon and relaxed on the sofa just listening to the gentle shower outside.

But now, with a break in storms, those boxes are coming down.

I have two little helpers tonight so the going will be slow but that won't stop me from at least getting started.  The first thing I do is unpack the boxes and start little piles on the dining room table based on where they might go and then I edit, start a give away pile of things I haven't used in a while and a list of what I might like to add this year.

The real decorating won't start until tomorrow afternoon when the little ones go home.  I am hoping to have it all done by Thursday so that I can make a trip to Hobby Lobby on Friday (anyone want to join me) for a few new additions.

We don't usually get our tree until the second weekend in December and but that time I am chomping at the bit (does anyone say that anymore?) to get it decorated.

What about you?  How's your decorating coming along?

xo, Patty

I know, these pictures have nothing to do with this post but I had to share how pretty the garden looked last week.  One of the perks of living in Southern California...