Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Recap

I think we made the very most of our time leading up to Christmas. Once school got out, we got busy making these shower bombs to give as gifts, and these amazing chocolate chip cookies, and this fudge. Everything turned out well, but if you're going to try just one of those recipes then make those chocolate chip cookies! They are the best I've ever made.

We sent Koa to the kitty kennel (he has forgiven me!), and spent three nights at my parents' house. Christmas Eve was pretty low-key, but Christmas Day was wonderfully busy.

Here are some glimpses into our Christmas:

Michaela slept in until 7 AM! On Christmas Eve she received a new pair of jammies and a Christmas book. I love her Christmas jammies.

It was pretty much a Disney Princess kind of Christmas. Here she is with her latest "Magic Clip Dolls". 

Monday, December 28, 2015

November/December Stitch Fix Review

Spoiler alert...

(I've always wanted to do that!)

This was the time I sent it all back.

Yep. I did.

Kind of disappointing. But, hey. They're just clothes. And I have to say that it wasn't a terrible, awful fix. It was just okay.

So here we go.

Up first was the Winslette Skinny Jean by Just Black. I had been asking my stylist for a pair of colored denim jeans for at least a couple of months. I liked the color of these, but they were not the right size - they were too small. Oh, well.

Then I tried the Chantrey Cable Knit Sweater by RD Style with the Chloe Houndstooth Infinity Scarf by Look by M. I really liked the charcoal gray color of the sweater, but it didn't feel like it was the best quality. I remember catching my hand on a loose (but not that loose) thread on the inside while trying it on, and that was a red flag to me. It was also a pretty loose knit, so I would have had to wear something underneath it every time.

The scarf was just okay. It looked fine with the sweater.

I kind of liked the next sweater. It's the Corby Pullover Sweater by Skies are Blue. I don't remember the price now, but I think I thought it was too expensive for what it was.

Lastly, I received the Rowen Faux Leather Quilted Vest by Fate. It was too small and so I didn't take a picture of it on me.

However, I got to wear one by the same maker yesterday in the right size (but a different color) that I received in my first Le Tote box. I really liked the way it felt and how it looked. The right size makes all the difference! I do like this navy blue color better than the olive one that I wore yesterday.

So, yeah. I sent them all back. And I decided to take another break from Stitch Fix.

In the meantime I am trying Le Tote. I had been receiving their emails for sometime, and then I saw another blogger wearing a cute sweater she got from Le Tote and I decided to check it out. More on that in another post, perhaps, but basically it's a clothes borrowing service. You get three pieces of clothing and two accessories in a delivery. After wearing them just send them back for another delivery - as many times a month as you can. Since I've had a heck of a time finding sweaters I really like, I thought it would be a great way to try some new labels. Yesterday I wore a really soft and stretchy black crew neck sweater by French Connection, and I layered that vest over it. Today, I packed it all up and sent it back. In a few days I'll get five more things to borrow. Kind of fun!

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, click here.

If you'd like to try Le Tote, click here.

Those are affiliate links and that means I'll receive a credit on my account should you sign up for one of those services.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmastime is Here

The weekend after Thanksgiving, we dove right into the Christmas spirit. Koa joined us the day after Christmas last year and, while I don't recall him getting into anything, I decided that instead of a fresh tree we should play it safe and use the artificial tree instead. I have seen these videos, and I didn't want to live it:

Koa was overly interested in the tree at first, but I chewed him out about it one night and he's stayed away since then. Well, pretty much. There was this little indiscretion:

Merry Christmas to you too, Koa...

I've done my best to plan and do fun things with Michaela throughout the month. We've been to Disneyland, our church's Christmas program, and a local walk-thru nativity program put on by several churches in the neighborhood.

We watched White Christmas.

I hadn't seen that one in a looong time. I tried to get Michaela to watch some of the vintage Christmas animated movies, but she's not interested yet.

We've been making some gifts and baking since school got out. Angela shared her family recipes for sugar cookies and frosting, and we had some sticky, messy fun making those yesterday and today.

No, we're not having a heatwave. It's actually been cool here. But I made her take off her pullover before we started frosting, and I pulled her hair back. You have no idea how messy this child can be...

In the midst of all the busyness, I have tried to enjoy the season. Truth is, it's not always as enjoyable as the photos look.

It's rushed.

There's a lot of pressure. 

I'm sure that's not how it's supposed to be, but that's how I feel a lot of the time. And with my birthday three days before Christmas, I am usually in a funk thinking Is that it? Another year, and that's it? The only years I didn't feel that way were the ones I was married, and probably Michaela's first (and maybe second) Christmas. Something's almost always missing, and it's not going to be under the Christmas tree. KWIM?

I obviously need an attitude adjustment (on an annual basis).

It's not about me.

It's about her.

And it's about Him.

May we all experience the JOY of the Lord this Christmas no matter what is or isn't under the Christmas tree.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Break

Just a quick rundown on our Thanksgiving Break. We spent the first four days up in the local mountains at Big Bear with my parents, and my sister and brother-in-law.

About a week before our trip, a storm blew through and dropped a few inches of snow. Surprisingly, it was still on the ground on the shady side of the valley by the time we got there, and that was just delightful for Michaela. Unfortunately, the neighborhood we stayed in was on the sunny side, and so there was no snow around us. However we did have a nice view of the ski resort areas:

The most snow Michaela saw was at the Big Bear Zoo. She was far more interested in the snow than the animals!

That's a really nice little zoo. We visited last year, too. This year, maybe because it was so cold, the animals were very active.

We took a few rides down the Alpine Slide, wandered around The Village, played lots of Crazy 8s with Michaela, and enjoyed the cool temperatures. Fall comes late to this part of the country, and I can't tell you how good it felt to have to wear a jacket.

In addition to the Thanksgiving gathering at my sister's, we spent this weekend decking the halls. Now I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Better Late Than Never - October Stitch Fix

Well, this has been a long time coming. I think I received this Fix the first week of October, took pictures and planned my post, and then the days just went by. As so often they do...

This was a very good Fix, but I only kept two items. I was being practical and frugal. I will say that I was somewhat disappointed that the kinds of things I'd requested were not available. I am still on the hunt for colored denim, but I'm giving up on the cargo-style vest or jacket I'd hoped for as fall is going to give way to winter soon enough. Maybe next year.

So here's what I received:

That is the Corinna Striped Dolman Top by Market & Spruce. I really liked this piece, but decided I didn't like it as much as I like a couple other items. So I returned it.

This was a keeper. It's the Alver Tie Neck Blouse by Collective Concepts. I wore it the very next day with the black Liverpool jeggings (I can't believe I own a pair of jeggings...) I had received in one of my pre-cruise Fixes, and a pair of wedge booties. After school, I had a meeting with the superintendent of my school district, and she really liked my blouse. So I told her about Stitch Fix. Wouldn't it be funny if we both wore the same blouse one day? ;)

I ended up keeping this one, too. It's the Colibri Soid Tab Sleeve Blouse by 41Hawthorn. I think the color is very flattering on me, and it just happens to be my new school's color. We often wear green on Fridays, and I was happy to add another option to my wardrobe for that purpose.

I do wish I'd kept this piece! It's the Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan by Pixley. I thought it was a very versatile piece, and I liked the way it looked on me. Oh, well...

This last piece was a stinker in my opinion:

It's the Alcott Jacket by Skies are Blue. Just not my thing - I didn't even take any photos of me trying it on. Returned!

So there it is. If you'd like to know more about Stitch Fix, or would like to schedule your first Fix, you can use this link to access their website. If you do schedule a fix, I will receive a referral credit - and you will receive a box of goodies based on your style and preferences. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Happiest Day of Our Lives

Wednesday is my wedding anniversary. We would have been married eight years, but this will be the sixth year I have observed this day by myself.

When I had to purchase a new laptop about three years ago, I purchased one that does not have a CD-ROM/DVD player. I only mention this because in that time, and for that reason, I have not been able to view the majority of our wedding photos. Today I decided that I would fix that by purchasing an exterior drive, and I'm considering it my anniversary gift to myself.

There are several hundred photos from that glorious day. I'm not exaggerating - it was a glorious day. It rained cats and dogs the day and night before, but we woke up to clear blue skies and it wasn't too cold for us to have the garden ceremony we'd planned after all. We felt incredibly fortunate. Originally, we had wanted to marry on Saturday, the tenth. But that date was already booked. So we took Sunday the eleventh instead.

Anyway, there are several hundred photos. As I started to look at them, I came across a series from the moment we first got to see each other before the ceremony. I'm so thankful for the things these photos captured, because I truly can't remember all that much from that brief moment in time. But what I cherish now as I look at these pictures are the wonderful expressions on Michael's face.

See for yourself...

Being a widow sucks year-round, but especially on your wedding anniversary. Nevertheless, I look at these pictures and I am reminded how much he loved me, and how happy we were if only for a short time.

Though lovers be lost, love shall not; and death shall have no dominion. ~ Dylan Thomas