All Hail the Men’s Section

I lived through Black Friday–although I am pretty sure I folded more clothes during the 12 hours I worked between Thursday and Friday than I have in my entire life. For some reason, the men’s department falls victim to neglect and extra messy shelves and racks. I spent a considerable amount of time returning it to some semblance of order and making it look more like a store display rather than the floor of a teen boy’s closet.

I also realized something while I worked–men’s clothes are all the same. How can this be?

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Fashion Faux Pas? Totally Worth It!

This weekend marked another military ball for my military marriage. I made a very deliberate and conscious decision not to wear a particular gown because I thought I had worn it last year. Why I didn’t think to look at my Facebook photo album of military events is beyond me, but I did not. About 3/4 of the way to our destination, I realized that the dress carefully packed in the trunk was the very dress I’d worn in 2012.

CavBallWell, that stinks. But, in my defense, my husband wears the same “outfit” every year–save some “accessories” that he adds to after each accomplishment. Truly, no one remembered. But, I decided to turn a faux pas upside down and make it worth my while to have worn the same dress to consecutive balls.

With help from my daughter and an app on her phone [because PicMonkey caused me to yank out my hair!] , I was able to knit together a photo from last year and one from last night.

Notice my carefully cropped out arm from last year–because it looked huge. But, the pudge pocket under my left arm last year remained. Plus, my chin is pretty angular [I gave up wearing retainers a long time ago and my pointy chin that braces helped fix is back], but you’d never know it from last year’s shot.

Additionally, notice that my gut last year was encroaching on my husband’s uniform quite handily. I remember feeling completely huge after that meal last year–just nothing ever seemed to agree with me and I would bloat up and stay that way. This year? I did eat the meal that was served that included some bread, white potatoes and a completely naughty piece of chocolate perfection–BUT, one night in the ditch does not a new habit make.

I am simply blown away by the comparison and it’s increased motivation to keep working toward a healthier and more Paleo lifestyle.

To that end, I’m planning ahead. I have combed through websites and the recipes I’ve pinned from them to create our fruitforcrispweek’s dinner menu. I visited the market today and make sure our pantry and refrigerator is fully stocked. One thing that was a fun little last minute additive to the meal plan was a Paleo Fruit Crisp from Guilty Kitchen.

I decided to swap out the blueberries and replace them with raspberries [peach & raspberry = married bliss] and I didn’t use the coconut flakes because my husband isn’t a fan of coconut. Next time, I may try slivered almonds?

When I saw these berries at the market, I knew they would make this dessert even more amazing. My youngest helped with the shopping today. We had very firm [not quite the ripest] peaches and very wiggly celery, but she will learn. I think had the peaches been more ripe, the juice they produced when they sat in the coconut sugar and lemon juice would have been exponentially more. But, even as it was, it turned out beautifully.

Fruit crisps remain one of my favorite go-to desserts. Even when I was living unhealthfully, I almost always had fresh fruit in the house and what sugar addict doesn’t have brown sugar in their cupboard?! Crisps are super easy to make and it makes a routine weeknight dinner seem super special.

fruitcrispI used my pretty pie plate and baked this little beauty according to the recipe.

It smelled delicious baking and when I pulled it from the oven, all the bubbling juices made me wish it were okay to sit at the table with a fork and eat the entire thing.

But, I didn’t. Because I’m a pillar of self control…and the kids were home and would have told on me.

My youngest said to me tonight, “That’s it, Mom! I’m adopting your lifestyle. I’m going to eat as healthy as I can.”

She then proceeded to remember there were Oreos in the kitchen. She ate two and then said, “Okay. I guess I’ll be healthy tomorrow.”

It was a good opening to talk about how eating a couple Oreos is a choice, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t keep moving forward with making healthier choices. I related to her the story of my choice to eat the meal that was served at the ball, but that I chose not to eat all the cheese and crackers before the event–I had some veggies instead. Not that choosing vegetables erased the chocolate confection I had for dessert, but I had decided whatever was at the table that night would be my meal and anything not at the table would remain closer to my new choices. And, that today I was back on track–evidenced by my homemade mayo being used in some awesome tuna salad with a red pepper half as a delivery system [rather than toasted white bread of days past].

She’s slowly understanding that being picky and not eating good food isn’t smart. She wants to be an athlete and that means feeding the machine. We are eating much more at home and she loves that. And, so far, I don’t mind keeping her food plain while the rest of us try out new tastes. At least it’s a healthful base for her–I don’t mind if her chicken drumsticks are plain while ours are marinated in balsamic vinegar.

So starts a new week. Thank goodness for a fashion faux pas that served as continued motivation to return to and stay on the track!

Whole 30 — Day 04

It was a nice Sunday for my oldest, the pooches and I. We woke to the awesome smell of marinara that bubbled away most of the night. We both slept super late–we totally deserved it! Ha.

Our plans were pretty subdued–she needed new school pants, so we had a trip to the mall on our agenda. I believe this is the first time in recorded history I did not consume an Auntie Anne’s pretzel while on mall premises, but no biggie. Before we went to the mall, I had made sure to eat my lunch–chicken salad I made yesterday loaded into red pepper halves. There is something about the crunch of red pepper that makes me so happy. I honestly think I’d have a harder time giving up red peppers than I would Auntie Anne’s pretzels. I suppose that’s positive. In solidarity with me, my daughter went without her traditional pretzel too. She’s a good kid.

We decided to tread into foreign territory this evening and I finally made spaghetti squash. I’ve brought a couple home in squashthe past couple months, but I never took the plunge and made them.

I’m not sure what my problem was, but after making one tonight, I’m already looking forward to buying another and trying different prep.

I wish I had a fancy camera [well, I have one, but I don’t know how to use it properly!] and good lighting. If I did, you’d see the awesomeness that was this spaghetti squash and sauce. It looks like a ton of sauce from this angle, but it’s atop a mountain of spaghetti squash.

I’ve also been giving the SodaStream a workout today. That thing makes the fizziest water and I LOVE it.

I’ve also had some cherries today and a handful of frozen grapes. Again, I’m waiting to be super duper hungry, but I’m just not yet. I need to find my copy of It Starts With Food. I own it; I just cannot locate it. I’m thinking I put it in a safe place…so safe even I didn’t tell myself where it is hidden. I’m wondering if it would tell me that because I’m not eating so much fake stuff and empty calories through beverages, I’m just not hungry all the time.

In other news [because although the Whole 30 is consuming, it’s not 100% of my time, right?!], I am gearing up for a big fall/winter business-wise. The company swapped out 80% of the designs featured by Grace Adele and revamped the Screen shot 2013-08-04 at 7.08.29 PMwebsite to include a Look Book and other design options.

I am totally loving it and all the new bag designs and colors. I picked up a Heather bag in orange at Convention because I have a clutch in orange from the past catalog that goes perfectly with it.

I am so excited at our new looks. So fun!

I own a ton of black handbags, but this one totally needs to be mine. Immediately. Like sooner than immediately. Ha!

This new catalog combined with the 10% off the current Scentsy Fragrance catalog means I’m one busy girl. And I LOVE IT! Keeps my mind off grilled cheese.

 

 

Bag Scarves–How cute are these?!

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 3.25.04 PMWhen I went to Indianapolis for the annual reunion of Scentsy Family Consultants, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Grace Adele.

Last year, in Las Vegas, this brand was launched and the excitement over it filled the room–it could also have been the free bag and accessories!

This year, we learned that 80% of our current line will be replaced with new bag shapes, colors and accessory collections.

Whoa! That’s major.

But, when I saw what was in store, I couldn’t wait to see a catalog in person! I’m especially fond of the bag scarves. Grace Adele will offer two styles and they are reversible, so those sporting them will be able to change their look really easily. The video they shared during the event is super cute and packs a ton of great eye candy into a few minutes. Enjoy!

Color Block Your Socks Off!

Summer is heating up and with it comes the idea that you might have time to try certain things you haven’t yet. For instance, maybe you’ll make a dent in that pile of books you’d like to read or finally take the road trip you’ve not made. For some, it will be as simple as sprucing up the wardrobe with a new handbag, some funky nail art or a new pair of shoes.

RedSandBlockGA

One idea that has been thriving with my Grace Adele clients is color blocking. I had some run the other day pulling together images that accented the color blocking idea. How much do you love that manicure from a blog I love to look at called “Try My Hand?” The gallery on that site alone makes my head spin in a good way! The shoes made me happy because of the shiny red toes–who wouldn’t love to tap those under the desk all day? The bracelet is from the newer Lyra collection. So many gorgeous colors, but there is just something about red!

And, of course, the Grace Adele Sarah in Red handbag, Jane clutch in sand and various accessories would complete the look without effort.

I can’t believe it’s almost time for the list of discontinuing items to be published. On July 1, we’ll know what Grace Adele items won’t be carried into the new catalog and my clients will enjoy 10% off the current catalog. That’s ONE good thing about seeing favorites go. The other good thing is seeing room for new items to come into the collection! Cannot wait!

Style Made Easy

 

  I stumbled upon this two-and-a-half minute video showcasing the Grace Adele Style System and loved it! Demonstrates exactly why I love this product and why so many people have been visiting my consultant website to learn more. So looking forward to building my teams across all Scentsy Family brands in 2013. It is just too much fun!

Next Level Neutrals

Every few seasons,  you’ll hear “X is the new black” where X is the latest and greatest color that everyone clamors to don. I think we all know, however, that black never loses its top status as a go-to hue. Black makes a strong statement, but can be equally feminine. That’s one thing I love about the Grace Adele collection. By offering black as one of the signature colors, my clients have a chance to stick with something they know (because if you are fashion nervous at all, you have a TON of black in your closet) and take it in new directions.

The very first Grace Adele bag I owned was the Sarah bag in black. Consultants received that bag in Vegas at our annual convention. I soon added the Jane and Lou clutches. Individually, this trio would run $160, but by using the Fun & Fabulous Combine and Save option, you can choose a bag and two clutches for $130. I would never have thought of combining the Jane in sand clutch with this bag if it weren’t for the Build a Look function on the website. You can try and bag/clutch combo and see what it will look like put together BEFORE you buy. Brilliant!

Toss in a Daisy necklace in black (I have seen this necklace on everything from a black cocktail dress to a black t-shirt worn with jeans and it works) and some jewel drop earrings and you’re good to go.

The beauty part is when customers order through their Grace Adele consultants, they receive savings on the combo featured in this set. Not only would customers receive free shipping, but once they purchase the bag/clutch trio and the Daisy necklace, they can select the jewel drop earrings for FREE (because they have $16 in free credit) and one 1/2 priced item. I do so love a deal!

Why Let Winter Wear Be Boring?

I spent all Saturday and most of Sunday at an outdoor soccer tourney for my youngest. As I sat there in the whipping, biting wind being pelted by sleet and praying for even a glimpse of the sun, I reconsidered my answer to the proverbial, “Would you rather be hot or cold?” question. I always pick cold, but this was beyond cold. This was ridiculous.
This was the first time I hadn’t worn flip flops all year. Last year, I made it into November before I gave up ship on them. Thank goodness also took my entire 3-in-1 Columbia jacket, some blankets and a large cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee or I may still be on the sidelines as a permanent fixture until spring thaw.
It amazes me that it was 80 degrees this past week and they are talking about snow in the forecast for later this week. That’s Ohio for you, though, you just need to stand around for a few minutes and wait for the weather to change. At least we aren’t in the direct path of Hurricane Sandy.
Although I find the gray skies a little depressing after awhile, I think it’s good if we can take some inspiration for our wardrobe. Aside from the awesomeness that is teal & gray , you can’t beat purple/plum and gray.
Some of my dearest friends are fanatically devoted to purple–it can be worked into even the most professional of settings. With Grace Adele’s purple jewelry, bags and accessories, the colors are coordinated and matched without the need to compare swatches. LOVE taking the guesswork from looking amazing!
Grace Adele Plum & Gray

L K Bennett double breasted wool coat
$475 – lkbennett.com

Black pants
$155 – johnlewis.com

Nars cosmetic
narscosmetics.com

Opi nail polish
$26 – nelly.com

Minnie Mouse: Too Skinny at Barneys? – Style News – StyleWatch – People.com

Really? Aren’t scantily clad princesses enough? Must we really go after Minnie Mouse? Ick.

Minnie Mouse: Too Skinny at Barneys? – Style News – StyleWatch – People.com.

Fun and Fierce Spectator

I attend a ton of sporting events, not the least of which are my daughter’s soccer games. Many times, these game days start somewhere less ‘sporty’ or end in a restaurant for a post-game meal. It’s important to be comfortable, but also to put a best foot forward. Let’s not pretend that kids can’t be embarrassed by Mom’s cheering (I’ve been told). I like to think if Mom looks good doing it, though, it might embarrass little redheads a bit less.

Again, we come back to a denim jacket…love. A pair of comfortable, non-Mom jeans plus the staple item that is a white, long-sleeved t-shirt and you have the basics of your set. If I have to give up flip-flops (that time of the year is coming!), I will put Keds in the closet. All the colors and textures and fond memories of Keds–you can’t go wrong with a pair or four.

Once again, Grace Adele takes the ensemble to the next level. My favorite Mary bag, this time in red, anchor the accents. From the Daisy jewelry to the Jewel Drop earrings and the Zebra Print fringed scarf, it truly is style made easy. What I loathe about red in general, I love about Grace Adele’s red items. Because this company has signature colors and their items come in each of those feature colors, you can bet your red earrings will match your red necklace will match your red bag–without batting an eye. You can mix and match with confidence when you’re dealing with a company whose main concern is helping you pull together a look without expending effort.

Just one more reason to add that denim jacket I’ve been coveting to my wardrobe!