Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Stream of Consciousness

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

Lately in talking with or texting with my friends I've caught myself saying on more than one occasion, "welcome to my stream of consciousness".  It just seems like there's lots going on and it's all over the place, from trivial or mundane to significant. 

But, isn't that life... 

Here's a look into recent conversations.... 

I returned the leopard skirt at JCrew, cute, but not $40 cute. 

I want you to know I am proud of you for fighting when you could have long ago walked away. 

I found the new Sally Hansen nail color.  

You are in you element, I can tell by the look on your face. 

I went to work without eye makeup, and also without earrings, twice this week. 

Who are you talking to about this and do they know the whole story? 

Did I tell you I tore pages out of my planner for months past?  Have you ever done this? 

I don't know what a nuclear test is, what do they do? 

But this is my favorite thing in really knowing people, because what seems mundane is sometimes significant and when significant is overwhelming there needs to be a little seemingly mundane thrown in. 

And, vulnerability. 

If you don't really know people then things like deals at a store, favorite nail colors and a love of office supplies are insignificant. And, when there's no connection in the little, you'll never know the big. 

Investing quality time is never wasted time. It may not always be convenient time. But, it is always appointed time. 

In the last couple of weeks alone I have been in conversations that I know is because people trust me. Fresh on my mind are 5 very different situations for 5 very different people. 
Trust is one of the top character traits of people in my closest circle and one I do not take flippantly with my people. 

I too have told things to the people in my life who are the ones I trust the most. 

And, they have sprinkled in the mundane for me when I needed it. 

They are also the ones who will tell me the hard things and love me the same. 

And life is better because of the big and the little, where tears spill over from laughing over my hair looking possibly like the feathers of a chicken or troubles because life throws an unexpected curve ball.  

And, I wouldn't trade this stream of life for any other. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What I'm Wearing ~ First Day of "Fall" which still screams Summer

So, today is the first day of Fall, but around these parts it's still very much Summer. In fact this September has seemed like July. I thought I might get a sunburn walking Auggie on a potty break the other day at lunch while outside for less than 5 minutes.

This day also feels like a Monday, such that I went to work with my eyelashes curled but no eye makeup or mascara and also no earrings.  But, despite still feeling like summer, and this day starting like a Monday, tomorrow is Friday! Hooray!

Here's the last round-up of what I've worn through the "end" of summer, and in case you missed it, last week I posted outtakes of what I'm wearing which also included a lot of baseball caps.

Before I start, I feel like I should share that I'm listening to the Big Boo Cast while writing and keep getting distracted laughing. If you've never listened and want to feel like you're sitting right beside (read: eves-dropping) a couple of besties in the coffee shop, you should give it a listen. Such topics like the color of Dallas Cowboys uniform pants and turning ribs in the dutch oven will I promise keep your attention and might be topics you have also wondered about.

Also, welcome to my stream of consciousness, which maybe explains why I went to work sans eye makeup today. But, I digress.

This tunic/dress/shirt, I really don't know what it is, was a random clearance pick up at Target when it went 70% off and I wasn't sure about it. It was one of those pieces from a Designer Collaboration/Collection and verdict is: I love it. I've worn it with leggings, with gray jeans and in this instance bare-legged for a weekend dinner out during Houston Restaurant Week. If you're in Houston and have a chance to try B&B Butchers, I would definitely recommend it. Especially if Fall really does show up around here because they have a great outdoor seating area.
The arrival of Fall also means return of Texas Antiques Week, which is where this little dress came from a few years ago. Wearing this dress is also wearing a story because the vendor brings dresses which are handmade in Guatemala and dressmaking/embroidery provides jobs for the seamstresses. This one is a little short, so doesn't make the work rotation but goes for Church or weekends out. And, of course stacks of bangles and rings are the usual. 
Apparently I wore a lot of white as the summer was winding down. These little booties were my Happy 40th Birthday to myself from Junk Gypsy, and for fun I paired them with favorite white tank and jeans. This same outfit has been in rotation for 3 or so summers at least with varying different shoes and I'm certain I wore it at least once in June and once in July this year.
If ever there was a place where "I'll take one of each" would apply with zero hesitation it is the Athleta catalog of enticement that comes to my mailbox. Since that is not my reality, finding Athleta on clearance at Marshall's speaks deeply to my heart! This dress is perfect light weight for summer, has little bit of gathering detail on the skirt and can go with wedges or flip flops; and might even see tall boots and a cardigan this fall. I do have my eyes peeled for more Athleta to show up in Marshall's. $98 for $15? Get in my cart. 

Before you think I'm wearing all black-white-gray, I did throw in color from time to time. I wrote the story of this outfit {click here} as it's several years old. I can remember when I saw this skirt on the front of a Target weekly mailer and I set out to find it, waited for a 20%, 30% or 40% off (don't remember which one I got)  and brought it home at least 3 years ago. The top is from Banana at least 7 or 8 years ago and I hadn't worn this together since event I wrote about in that post. I've worn this skirt paired with fur jacket and cowboy boots or tights and pumps. You can see those looks here and here. Also, these shoes are the same with white dress above, Franco Sarto's that are beloved and starting to show some wear, after at least 7 or 8 years...

In case you were wondering, as I'm finishing this I've also finished up the podcast. I don't want to leave you wondering what else might have been discussed; topics included polyester induced rash, college football, summer heat, fall porch plants, gluten free/Snackwells, kids schedules, Gap pants (my love language) and a few rib flips in between.  Which are probably often topics you and your bestie cover and if you're from here you've probably also talked about where the drop in humidity has run away to hide out.

Here's to tomorrow being Friday and one day Fall temps deciding to show up.

(Wednesday link up with The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore - click here for more style fun!)


Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Skinny Shamed/Healthy Gut

...a few thoughts, a little scattered... 

So, I posted this on my Facebook last night and it sparked a lot of conversation, both comments and separate messages and texts....

Throughout my life I've been "skinny shamed" for being thin. Some complementary and some certainly not nice. Lately I've been asked about losing weight, again some complementary and some not so nice. The only thing that has changed for me over the last couple of months is taking my dog on a walk almost every day, proving that consistent exercise, even just 20-25 minutes a day will change your body. And, if I've "lost weight", it's only a few pounds.
I've written about being healthy before, because heart disease runs in my family and I want to take care of myself. So, no I don't need to eat more, I eat really well and am on no kind of "restrictive" diet.
But, I am still committed to being healthy.
The more I learn about "gut health" the more I am intrigued about headaches I get and other symptoms that could be related to my gut. So, I've committed to 60 days with Plexus and can't wait to see how my body will change from the inside out with my walks continuing and losing the toxins inside. See you back here November 16th and if you have questions along the way, I'm happy to talk about it. As I learn more, I will share more.
So, please, don't tell me, or anyone else for that matter, "you need to eat". Weight is a real issue for lots of people and no matter what you think, you don't know what it's like to be in their shoes and your words can hurt. This world is cruel, demands & expectations of women's bodies especially are unrealistic and eating disorders are real, as I know several people who fight that battle regularly. So, be kind with your words. And, thank you to those of you who are kind with your words to me about my figure/build.

And, here's what I've learned... 
  1. This wasn't intended to be about Plexus, but I'm amazed how many people use Plexus products and have for a long time. 
  2. I am not an expert on "gut health" and that is a buzzword of late, but it is amazing how many symptoms my friends have used Plexus for AND have seen results because of better gut health. 
  3. I can't believe I only have ONE friend who's talked to me about Plexus?!  And, so many friends who use it!?  Why are you keeping secrets?? 
  4. If you want to know more about Plexus I do have some expert friends who have been taking it for a long time and I would be happy to connect you. 
And, here's what I know... 
  1. Above all, I think sharing about our health and wellness is important. 
  2. Eating well balanced (indulge + moderation), exercise, water and vitamins are GOOD for us! So, if you're taking vitamins and pro-biotics and not seeing any kind of results, it's worth a try to change them up. 
  3. For better sleep, less anxiety, kicking migraines, less seasonal allergies, no more acid throat, less bloating; which are all things my friends mentioned as results, who I had NO idea they were using Plexus; it's worth at least a mention and for you to try! 
  4. Bonus, might drop a few pounds, but it's not a major weight loss and it's not a "quick fix"; 60 days to get through gut cleanse and to maintenance of healthy gut. 
Want more? Google "Gut health and" and see what you find....this is what I got today....

(Side note - just realized time on screen shot: 12:34, the time I always see the clock) ;)

Let's chat if you have questions, I don't want to be a secret keeper of something that could change everything for you!  Leave a comment or send an email!


Saturday, September 17, 2016

What I'm Wearing ~ Outtakes

I am not a fashion blogger.

I've never wanted a blog that was full of links for me to get paid because I don't wear "new" things all the time. Lots of what I wear is several seasons old and comes from Marshall's/TJ Maxx and you can't link those up anyway. Also, I don't have a photographer. But, I love (affordable, not high) fashion and putting together my own style and telling the story. I'm often asked about what I'm wearing and where it is from, which I'm always happy to share.

After a year of snapping a pic of what I wore almost every day, and blogging it weekly, I hardly take pics lately. For a change of pace, I thought it would be fun to show the out-takes of recent, instead of posed...

This day I was wearing one of my favorite jumpsuits, I left my Mom and Dad's + Littles that morning after a fun couple of summer days at home and had to attend a work lunch on our Friday off. This picture perfectly sums up how I felt....a little blurry and wishing for the outside instead of an elevator to a work meeting.
Mixing flowers and stripes is one of my favorites! I've mentioned about pencil skirts  before not always being my favorite, but I do have a couple that I really like and this is one. I've worn this skirt with several different tops and this day was wide stripes + a blazer for an all day work training. Also this day, excessive humidity and my hair looking not its best. :) #real
Sometime well over a year ago I got in my head I wanted a lavender belt.  I've searched in just about every store and boutique I've been in for skinny lavender belt to no avail. Until last weekend. I stumbled across this one at Old Navy, on sale + clearance which made it $1.27. It was like I'd found a unicorn!  The day I wore it, I didn't even think to take a pic until I had already changed, so here's what the outfit looked like. Also, with a fringe scarf, but forgot to include it in my pic because I had already put it away.
No secret that I love Target and sometimes I find several things I think will be great which all end up to be a bust and sometimes I find a couple that are a win!  Like this day...I've seen these loose knit turtleneck sweaters several places for a variety of prices and also have wanted some camo pants for a while. Add in 25% off pants on Cartwheel and $10 off $40 coupon and I was sold!  Bargains are my all time fashion favorites! There will probably be a "real", not outtake, pic of these posted several times in the future. They might even get their own post. #camoismysecondfavoritecolor
Astros vs. Rangers? Lone Star showdown. This Old Navy "The Lone State" sweatshirt was perfect and of course my Astros hat + cutoffs. Easy. Comfy. And, the Astros got a win! Auggie was happy too!  Actually, when I look at pics on my phone and realize I have no outfit pics, it's because basically every pic I have is of him. #smitten If you need some happy in your social media, you can follow him on Instagram: @theauggiedog.
Apparently the baseball cap is to short hair as the top knot is to long hair.  As almost every weekend I've been out running errands in a baseball cap. Also, that's 1 of 4 bright and shining new tires on my Tahoe. #notfunpurchase They were worth making the photo. This was Labor Day weekend and after all summer in shorts, I went for a flannel tied with leggings for a lingering breakfast + coffee outing. Deer cap is Judith March, you can google and find at various boutiques.

So, that's a few updates on what I've been wearing.  For more on my personal here. And, here's a few thoughts to summarize.... 

I hope all of these things will also be the defining of your personal style: 
Your favorites on repeat 
Your size that is perfectly you. 
Your influences that inspire you. 
Your stores that you like. 
Your kind words to others about their style.
Your thread shining through. 

And, your smile, because it's the prettiest thing you can wear. 
Stay connected on Instagram and Facebook

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Summer Lights

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

This summer I was outside lots of evenings, and so many places had lights strung in the trees and across the patios.  

I kept noticing them... 
There's something about summer nights I love...

I don't even realize what time it is because if it's still daylight, I think it's about 5:30. 
But, really in the summer it could be approaching 9pm. 

I don't think I would live well where there is 22 or 23 hours of daylight. 
But, I love those long summer nights. 

The life lived outside in the summer is sweet. 

Grilling out.
Bike rides.
Live music. 
Pool side. 
City streets. 

Slower pace. 
Time to linger. 

Love those summer nights under the twinkling lights. 

Summer '16, you were a sweet one. 
Here's to the fall and harvest moon lighting the sky...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dear Bayou City Fellowship

Dear BCF,

I can't believe how fast 5 years have gone by! About this time in 2011 my heart was stirring in  anticipation of that first Sunday. Leaving a place I knew so well to an unfamiliar place where I knew absolutely no one. Except I knew Jesus, and if He was stirring my heart to go that He would show up there to meet me, even if no one else did.

Those first years were such a sweet time of rest for me. I just looked back on the memories I wrote down from that season {click here}, you were such a quench to my weary soul.  In the last two years my love for church has continued to grow. You are led by people I greatly esteem and respect as followers of Jesus. Not one perfect, and often vulnerable just enough to lead us well and teach with authenticity of what living out faith really looks like.  I've learned so much from just watching and listening.

These last two years I have found my place in serving and community. Signing up for Women's Discipleship was one of the most intentional church ministries I have ever been a part of. The weekly commitment in itself was one of refining. Leading a small group, dialoging with a large group, serving together and walking side by side with leaders intentionally each week for 9 months is a gift that is hard to put to words. But, this gift is one that I know was purposefully prayed over and planned and through the years will have an impact that only Jesus can truly know the width and depth.

In serving with littles ministry I reach arms across to greet a baby for oftentimes their first time in the nursery and/or away from Mom and Dad.  The tiniest community group in our church, babies that each have a story, they have been prayed for and so many long awaited.  Your Kids Pastors go all in every week to make church fun for every child, they thrive in their gifts to show Jesus to children just like your Pastors do for their parents.

The community I have gained through these years has been sweet; every relationship intentional, organically grown, not thrown together or by happenstance. To sit on a porch with a friend, grab coffee on a lazy Saturday, meet for dinner on a patio, pass one another in the grocery store, swim with littles, gather at the dining room table with families and sometimes have a slumber party are gifts that have accumulated over time. To know that any member of that community is a phone call away for help with a tangible need or going to battle for me in prayer is one of the most significant gifts you've given me.

Bayou City Fellowship, your walls are mobile, as you set up and tear down every week to prepare for me and hundreds of others who come. You show Jesus off to us, when we come with our best or oftentimes our weary worst. You love your people with intention, you teach and challenge with Biblical encouragement and your staff never leads without first following Jesus.

From one constantly learning and growing member, I am thankful for you. For taking me as I am, for helping me find my place, for using my gifts. These have been 5 of the sweetest church years.
Happy Birthday and here's to many many more, both yours and the ones of those celebrating knowing Jesus because of you! 


Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Launching a dream

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

This #nolabor Labor Day Weekend has been so good.  After days that were scheduled to look at my planner and realize there was nothing I had committed too I felt like I exhaled a little deeper on Friday as I left work. 

Three days. 
No plans. 

When the calendar is clear, there is room for spontaneous plans and lingering coffee. 
Which was a perfect start, if you call 10:30 am a start, to Saturday. 
In a little Cafe with a friend. 
For 2 hours, with refills of coffee and dessert after breakfast. 

Talking life. 
And, businesses. 
And, being scared. 
And, launching. 

My favorite kind of day. 

There's been some new going on around here.... 

Starting my MBA. 
A recent promotion at work. 
Leading professional development. 
Presenting a breakout session at an upcoming national conference.

And, I find myself talking over and over again about this work. 
Work that I love. 
Equipping education for students. 

So, I've carved out a little space for it. 
It is just a little landing right now, a place to connect. 

But, soon, a place for community. 
To talk about the work. 
Using education to equip students. 
With academic skills. 
And, technical skills. 
And, workforce skills. 
Launching them more equipped into the rest of their lives. 

More is coming on why this makes my heart beat. 
You can click here to connect. 
I would really love you to, both educators and public sector. 
Everyone has a voice in this work.

This creative space will stay of course. 
Style | Space | Story + Lettering
I will always need a place to be creative.

But, this dream...
it's time to give it a little launch out in to the world...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Happy First Birthday Auggie!

When I took Auggie for his vet check after adopting him, I had to give him a birthday since his was unknown.  #orphanpuppy. The vet estimated him in early July to be between 9 months and a year, so I split the difference and chose August 28th, also the day of remembrance for his namesake, St. Augustine.  {More about his name, click here.}

My little Barney loved his birthday and Christmas and always got right into his presents. So, I wasn't sure how Auggie would be about presents. But, last Sunday, August 28th, was his day and Auggie celebrated his FIRST BIRTHDAY!!  He wasn't real sure about wearing the party hat, but was happy with having a party!

The guest of honor to his party was his favorite puppy, and Auggie was definitely sniffing out the presents...
And, suggested puppy wear the party hat instead....
Happy Auggie doggie! 
After a little help with the bag, he was digging into the box, like he knew just what to do...
New toys + New bowls! And, just like any good kid, the $1 Dollar Tree rope toy has been his favorite. Although he does dig out of the toy box and give regular playtime to all of his toys as evidenced by my living room looking like a toddler lives here. 
(Those Slurp and Savor bowls were a Home Goods find, love them!) 
Slurp definitely fits Auggie as he makes a bit of a mess with his water, especially after a walk!
Which of course there was a birthday walk too! 

All in all a good party and a fun time to celebrate this little shining light to me!  
It's hard to believe he's only been with me for 2 months and I constantly say I can't believe how blessed I am to have such a great little doggie, again. My requirements were (1) hypo-allergenic and (2) have personality and it's safe to say both of those are checked off with certainty!

The birthday boy was all pawtied out after a very full day of fetch and a walk! 
(Also, his favorite bone is always nearby.)

Happy Birthday little Auggie doggie, here's to many many more! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lettering Lately

It's been a while since I've posted lettering, but here's a few recent posts and a few more to come soon, too! As always, for more information on lettering, click here: {Lettering}.

This is a fun canvas, and can be recreated in any color scheme you like. Shown on 8x8. I'm sure you, like me, can relate to this one....we do grow into our Moms! That said, I know not everyone has a great Mom-relationship and for you I pray there is someone special to you that you would call "Mom" and as you grow up you reflect her!
I completed these 2 canvases for 2 separate friends as new baby gifts, so they will go together in a sweet new baby boy's nursery!  I believe in the power of speaking powerful words over children and these are 2 great quotes and words of wisdom!

Speaking of inspiration, this is another one. I've painted a few Helen Keller quotes and each time I think I need to Google Helen Keller quotes. So many great lessons from her life. This canvas is my first international piece, it traveled across the pond with a friend to gift on a trip! #goinginternational
Speaking of International, this was a gift to a friend, a world traveler and world changer. Sometimes in the chaos of our lives we get caught up in what everyone expects of us, but in reality we need to do what is best for us, not anyone else and that doesn't mean we're lost. #chaseyourdream #followyourheart

Last year I painted these banners for my church's equivalent of VBS, a community outreach for 3 nights in a neighborhood full of children, so they are a repeat project. However, last year I painted in the comfort of an air-conditioned library and this year it was the sweat box of my garage! I had to keep a sweat rag handy! Every word I paint has meaning to someone and my prayer for these words was a child attending would know Jesus while hanging out by a dug-out on a baseball field reviewing the Bible Story they learned in large group.

That's it for now, more coming soon, including some back to school designs for teachers!