I'm here! I'm alive! I'm good!

Ok ... it's been more than a minute since I posted on the blog and I have received enough emails from concerned readers (thank you!) that I figured I should at least say hello.  So ... hello!  

I'm sorry I have been MIA, but it's Summer, work is busy, I've been traveling a ton (expect a blog post on my IMLP 2015 volunteering experience!), and things are otherwise really, really good in my life.  Like pinch myself and cupcakes with rainbow icing and teeny tiny kittens on top good.  I will try my best to get back to a regular blogging schedule, but that probably won't happen until mid-August. 

So in the meantime, I'll be swim, bike, running and having fun (and drinking my favorite IPAs) while the computer sits in the desk where it belongs.  I will be back as soon as I can.  

Happy Summer!
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What I Wore {post 79} June 2015 Style Challenge - week 3

Hey there!  It's Friday again!  Time for weekend! Time for fun! Time for a recap of my third week of the Style Challenge.  This week was tricky for a couple of reasons: (1) I had to move things around because I had court one day and a big meeting another; and (2) I was out of the office on Thursday and Friday with my kids (it's that weird time of year when they're done school but camps don't start, so we cobble together their care).  I fully intended to do the challenge, but at the end of the day, my outfits were not blog post worthy - I was home with them on a rainy day on Thursday (read: I wore yoga pants, an old cotton tee and hair in a bun) and took them to Hershey Park on Friday (read: shorts, tank top, and sweat).  All this to say, only three outfits this week.  

June 15:  Put a bow on it (moved from June 16)
June 16:  Daydream vacation (moved from June 17)
June 17:  Long Necklace (moved from June 20)

June 15:  Put a Bow on It

I had court this day, so I had to wear a suit. There's only so much creativity and leeway you get with a suit.  And, of course, in keeping with the weather that we've seen this Spring so far, it was insanely hot this day.  I wore my black skirt suit (from 2003 - seriously.  From Petite Sophisticate, which doesn't even exist anymore) and a blouse from Loft from 2006.  The blouse is a halter top with a bow that ties at the neck.  I rarely wear the blouse and I'm not sure why.  It's very flowy, but I tucked it in and it was fine.  I wore the outfit without the jacket all day except when I was in front of the judge.  

June 16: Daydream Vacation

Another crazy hot day.  I took my cues from a dress I bought with Jamie a few weeks ago at the j.crew factory - a lovely crisp, light little linen sundress with an A-line cut.  This is a dress I would love to wear on a beachy vacation because it's so light and breezy.  And it was so hot at work that I didn't care how casual it was.  I wore with my gold & brown leather wedges.   I think this photo has a filter on it.

June 17:  Long Necklace

This was the day of my big meeting at work.  Actually, meetings (plural).  It was a busy day and I had to step it up a bit in terms of formality.  A bunch of my colleagues wear suits to these meetings, but I cannot bring myself to do that especially since I wore one earlier that week. So I wore my go-to: a wrap dress.  I bought this dress (again) with Jamie at the outlets. This was the Ann Taylor outlet and was on crazy clearance. I think it was $25.  I wore my pink quilted sling-backs and my long necklace from j.crew.  

Just a couple more posts left!  Have a wonderful weekend!  I have my annual family reunion this weekend and then a business trip.  And then it's July.  
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Updates to Big Kid's Room

Ever since I moved into my place, I've felt bad about the kids' room situation.  My home is a three-bedroom with a master and two smaller bedrooms, but as between those two other bedrooms, the one is much larger than the other.  I gave the larger room to my daughter, who is two years younger than my son, only because as the baby, she seems to get "seconds" in many things, and I thought it might do them both good for her to get the better choice.  

My son has made it clear to me that he views this as an injustice and a travesty ... that it is profoundly unfair that his room is so much smaller than his sister's.  I understand, and I feel bad, but short of moving walls, there is nothing I can do.  So, this year, I told him that we would make some changes to his space and asked, again, short of moving walls, what I could do to make his space better for him.  

He asked for a desk and for a place to store his Lego creations.  Easy enough!  I knew that in addition to those things, I wanted to give him more storage and to organize his closet.  I bought a couple of things over the past few months and got them ready, and then on a rainy day off, spent a few hours finishing up the room.  Here are the before and afters:


This picture is pretty old.  But this is the view from the door.  I made the window treatment and headboard myself.  


Most of the changes were things I did a little while ago.  I added the print over his bed.  The nightstand used to be in my room but wasn't big enough to hold my workout clothes, so I upgraded the chest in my room and moved this to his.  I did a two-tone treatment on it.   


The dresser wall was pretty good.  I had the one large dresser for his clothes but no other storage.  The big red tub in the corner held his sports equipment.  There was a set of shelves on the opposite side of his room, but it did not hold enough of his stuff.  


Yah - this is a lot. A lot of shelves!  But it's all working storage and holds things that he loves and uses  The shelf on the right is the Kallax shelf from Ikea.  The top holds his Lego creations.  In the top cubes, I bought some lidded storage from Target, and those hold Legos and Lego kits.  The bottom cubes hold his cars and trucks, which he still plays with quite a bit.  On the left of the dresser, I broke up one of the three shelves that were once where the desk is now (see below).  This is his Pokemon area.  The top two shelves hold his Pokemon cards and the very bottom shelf holds some games and random toys.  


These are very old shelves from IKEA, and they worked for awhile to hold his toys and books.  But as you can see, he needed more storage and this was the only place in the room where the desk could go.  Luckily, those shelves are narrow and not attached.  So I moved the one to the wall with the dresser, the one into the closet (see below) and left the one here.  


And here is the desk!  I found it in January at Target.  It was on sale, I had a $10 off coupon and I used my Red Card for an additional 5% off and free shipping. I think it ended up costing about $45, which is perfect.  I needed a very compact desk and this one got really good reviews.  The chair is from IKEA.  I let him pick it out. I like the print a lot!  The shelf to the right of the desk [barely] holds his books.  I added a bulletin board over the desk so he can pin things to it.  And I had bought the bulletin board/shelf/hook combo at Target last summer and never got around to putting it up.  Oops.  I added his medals.  I also put his name in big wooden letters over the shelf (I cut them off purposefully so his name isn't readable).  Rather than drive myself nuts with nails and trying to get it perfect, I just used the strongest On Command strips to hang them.  Fingers crossed it holds.  

 I don't have a before picture for this section because it was pretty bad - the inside of his closet.  It wasn't *terrible*, but it needed some order, and that's what I added.  The black bins at the top of the closet were there, and they work well to hold clothes that are too big and other things.  I moved his sports bin to the floor and used the extra shelf to hold more sports stuff, his sleeping bag, extra "fancy" shoes, and his suitcase.  I added hooks to the walls to hold his bags and hats.  And his violin is front and center.  

So yay!  One more space checked off my list!  Now, of course, my little girl wants a desk for her room and wants to redo her space.  I told her we would work on that in the Fall.  As for the house list, I think the next project will be to tie up the loose ends in the playroom: I have a few piles left to address and some small storage to take care of.  I also need to get back to some cabinet organization in the kitchen.  But I'm definitely at the point in my home where all of the *big* projects are done.  
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Oh Pickles. Mother Pickling Pickles. Pickler!

* Hint:  "pickle" is code for a really really bad work that starts with"f" and rhymes with truck.  

When I had my kids, obviously my language had to change a bit.  I would share mothering tidbits and tips with girlfriends and one of my friends, Lynn, said that "pickles" got a lot of play in her house - that you can say "Oh pickles!" when you wanted to say the F-bomb.  It worked and still does, even though at ages 7 and 9 my kids are aware that "pickles" is code for a really bad word.  

On yesterday's "long" run, I said a lot of pickles, only not pickles but the real word.  It was one of those runs.  Actually, it was another one of those runs.  It seems more of my runs are bad runs than good ones these days.  And that's really frustrating and demoralizing.  I've always said that when you have a bad run, you can wallow a bit, but ultimately put it behind you, move on, and say "new day, new run".  That the bad runs really make you appreciate the good runs.  That the bad runs make you stronger mentally and prepare you for setbacks.  But when the bad runs become the norm, it's exhausting and upsetting.  Here I am right after the run.  Who's a sad face runner? 

I've had a lot of excuses for my crappy runs: it's really humid, it's really hot, it's late in the day, I didn't fuel right, I'm exhausted, I didn't sleep enough, I'm under a lot of stress, I'm sad, I'm overwhelmed, I'm feeling blue, it's rainy, it's muggy, my legs are tired, my arches hurt.  But they're all just that: excuses.  There are some glimmers of hope peppered in there, though ... some good, strong runs that remind me that I've still got "it" in me somewhere.  Whatever "it" is. 

In the meantime, I will keep running and trying to find or at least rediscover "it" and will keep in mind the following quote: 

Run when you can,
Walk when you have to,
Crawl if you must;
Just never give up.
-Dean Karnazes, ultra marathoner  

I won't give up.  But I'm sure as pickles ready to feel like myself again on a run.  
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What I Wore {post 78} June 2015 Style Challenge - week 2

Week 2 of the Style Challenge wasn't as good as the first.  I wasn't thrilled with the things I put together.  But I still got it done.  I moved things around a bit this week.

June 8:  Swish your Skirt

It was *hot* on this day.  I wore a new skirt that I found at the Gap on major clearance and realized, unfortunately well into the day, that it is just too big.  It was a size Small and I think I need an Extra Small.  That said, I like it, so I'm going to take it to the tailor to see if she can work some magic with it.  I wore an aqua top and my nude peep toe pumps with my favorite bubble necklace.

June 9:  Channeling Audrey

Channeling Audrey Hepburn!  Oh I love her.  I've even blogged about her style a few years ago.  This was my favorite look of the week, and it was easy. A simple black sheath dress, nude pump and lots and lots of pearls.  I wore my hair in a low bun and opted to leave the tiara at home.  I went with a Breakfast at Tiffany's look, which is apropos, as it's my favorite movie.

Toya went more casual with an Audrey inspiration and rocked a headscarf.  I love it! 

June 10:  Retro Moment

Having just gone full-on Audrey Hepburn the day before, I felt a little limited in my choices.  I decided to go with another sort of Audrey look but less memorable: ankle pants, a sleeveless collared top and flats.  I really wanted to wear a scarf in my hair tied like a headband but I couldn't get it to work.  I am not crazy about this outfit. 

June 11: Dots & Circles

I don't have many polka dots for warm weather!  It was really hot this day, so I wore a new polka dotted shell from Banana Republic outlet.  I wore it with my colorblock skirt and black cardigan to the office.  

June 12:  Mixing patterns

FRIDAY! I will tell you - this week was a freaking battle to get to Friday. I remember thinking on Wednesday that it felt like it should be Friday. Oof.  It was, again, super hot. So I wore my seersucker skirt with a fun cobalt top with crochet detailing.  I thought the pattern mix in the crochet and the skirt worked well together.  

Another week down! And just like that, June is marching toward July.  This happens every single year.  Come on Summer ... slow down a little.  Have a wonderful weekend!
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