Friday, April 21, 2017

On Spring Break

I'm off to enjoy a week at Myrtle Beach and one day in Charleston, SC.  I'll be back to a regular blogging schedule on May 1st with a review of my Spring Stitch Fix!  And Wednesday,  May 3rd, I'll have my first travel post of my Spring Break Vacation!  I will still be posting daily on Instagram pictures of my trip.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Illinois Trip Odds and Ends

This is the final post of a travel series of a week I spent in Illinois to spend time with my children.  To start at the beginning go HERE.  The rest of the posts are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Once a year I leave my husband behind and I go to visit my children for a week or two.  It's my way of spending more quality time with the kids and getting out of the house during our long Wisconsin winters.  Hubby would come with, but someone has to stay home and feed the wood stove or else our house would freeze.

I've covered all the main attractions we visited in Illinois in the posts listed above.  In seven days I visited two conservatories, a zoo, downtown Chicago, several small towns, and I did a lot of shopping!   However, we did a lot of little things too so I decided to wrap them all up in this "Odds and Ends" post.

The highlight of my week was getting to see both my children perform.  They are both musicians.  Jordan plays the drums and Ashley sings;  although they both play other instruments too.  On Sunday morning Jordan played in his church's worship service.  I really enjoyed the music.  They took a lot of old hymns and re-worked them to make the music more modern.  Jordan has to play in a box in this church, which he doesn't like, but he loves the church and playing on the worship team.

That night my daughter had a gig in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She was asked to sing for a group of believers who miss traditional worship so they gather together once a month to sing hymns.  I fall kind of in-between traditional worship and the latest worship trends, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this service.  Of course, the sheer beauty of Ashley's voice contributed enormously to the service, but what really struck me was how the people worshipped.  They all sang so loudly and lifted their hands to praise God.  It was such a beautiful experience.

This is Ashley just moments before the service began.

Ashley had a rehearsal prior to the service, so while she was rehearsing I went shopping!  I found the cutest little cookie shop I ever did see!  It was the week after Valentine's Day so they had a lot of cookies decorated for Valentine's Day and also Winter Cookies.

Aren't these fun?  They look so delicious, but I don't know if I could dare bite into them!  They are too pretty to eat!

On Tuesday Ashley had a doctor appointment to find out the sex of her baby (it's a girl!).  The appointment lasted all morning, so we didn't have a whole lot of sight-seeing time between her doctor appointment and when she had to go teach voice lessons.  So we stopped in St. Charles for a little bit, then we headed to Wheaton so I could enjoy a cup of coffee from a quirky, fun coffee shop.

At River City Roasters I finally had my first fancy latte artwork!  It was so fun receiving such a pretty cup of coffee;  and it was the best cup of coffee I ever had in my life!  I can't wait to go back and get more!

The weather was in the seventies that day, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy our brew.  Wheaton is such a pretty little town.  It has the cutest shops with brick paved roads.

Ashley had to teach a few voice lessons that afternoon in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, so I went with her.  I walked around the cute little town just enjoying the beautiful weather and the lovely town.

This tiny, adorable candy house is in Glen Ellyn.  I couldn't believe how small it was!

Thursday and Friday were shopping days.  I don't have a lot of great stores where I live, so whenever I travel, I love to shop.  We went to my favorite outdoor mall in the area (Oakbrook Center) and I was so happy to see an Altar'd State store.  The first and only time I ever saw one was when my husband and I went to The Mall of America last Christmas.  If you never heard of this store before, you really must visit one.  They are the most beautiful aesthetically pleasing stores and I love their merchandise.  They sell Christian home decor and jewelry, and gorgeous fashion.  They also play Christian music while you shop.  And be sure to check out their dressing rooms while you're there:  they are so luxurious!  They also have a prayer book where you can stop and write in a prayer request and their staff will take time to pray over those requests.  Isn't that wonderful?

On Friday winter returned and our summer February weather ended. :(  After spending the day shopping for items for my new master bedroom, we headed back to downtown Wheaton for some macaroons.  They don't sell macaroons in my neck of the woods, so I love to visit macaroon bakeries when I travel.

Look at all these yummy desserts!

This bakery looked like it belonged in a French town.  It was so cute!

We couldn't decide what flavor to get, so we got one of each.  The raspberry macaroons were our favorite.

And that concludes my Illinois Travel Series.  I will be taking a blogging break starting this Saturday because I am headed to Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC with my hubby.  You can be sure I will blogging all about it when I return!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tags

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.  Ours was exhausting because it involved a lot of getting up early to drive, but other than being tired we had a wonderful time visiting our children and old friends in Milwaukee.

No matter how old my kids get I still give them little goodie bags for all the major holidays.  This Easter was no exception.  I usually always make them a holiday card too, but this year since I was putting their treats in gift bags instead of an Easter basket, I decided to make Easter Tags instead.

This is what I came up with:

The Easter Critters are pre-purchased felt die cuts I picked up at an arts and crafts store.  All I did was cut a tag and a white scalloped border.  Then I added an eyelet to thread a piece of ribbon through, and stamped a sentiment on a banner die.  A couple of candy-dots were added for embellishment, and tag is done.  It was much easier and quicker to make than a card and twice as cute!

I then picked out a coordinating gift bag from my stash and added a pretty lavender bow and my Easter presents were complete.

The same steps were used to make my chick tag.

If you're not into stamping and coloring these cute felt critters are so fun and easy to use if you want to add a handmade touch to your gift.  You can find them in the seasonal or children's crafts section of any craft store.

I know I'm the only blogger who posts holiday how-to's after the holiday, but I don't want the recipients to see their gift before they get them.  My family does read my blog!  So if you like this idea, just Pin and save for next year!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, April 17, 2017

I'm Blushing In Blush

Hey guys, I finally found something to wear in Blush that actually looks good on me!  Last year this color was one of Pantone's colors of the year (except they called it Rose Quartz).  I fell in love with this color but couldn't find it anywhere in the stores.  Fast forward a year later, and this color is everywhere in stores!  When I see this color I am instantly drawn to it.  I grab the item, take it to the dressing room, try it on, and then go 'Bleh!'.  I love this color on the clothing rack but hate it on my body.  I then thought "Well maybe I need to try it away from face;  like a pair of blush jeans or a skirt".  But I couldn't find a style I liked.  Then when I was at JCPenney a few weeks ago (where else?) and I found this cardigan!  Oh, it was so pretty on the hanger, but would it just be another failure in the dressing room?  

With great anticipation I tried it on over my white tank and wow!  I was ecstatic!  I finally found an item in the blush color that worked for me!  Time for the happy dance!

I believe this color finally worked for me because it's a cardigan and so whatever I wear underneath is what is directly under my face.  I've always looked good in white,  so the white tank worked well with my skin tone.

 The sweater is a nice, thin knit;  my personal favorite.  I only have one complaint about it and that is that I wish it were a tad longer because most of my tops are longer than the cardigan.

 Some of the far away shots make the sweater look more pink, but it is a true blush color.  The pictures below are more representative of the color in real life.

The sweater has a very nice interesting design in it as well.

Because I have a large bust, I have always struggled wearing tank tops.  They tend to pull down on me and expose my cleavage.  I recently found these amazing Lace Front Layering Tanks at CJBanks. They have  a lace panel on the top and lace shoulder straps. CJBanks also sells a plain style that I love as well.  They are made of a nice nylon and spandex material.  The tanks go up higher (so no cleavage, yea!), and they fit very well in the bust but looser in the tummy area so it's not clingy in all the wrong places.  I have never been so happy with any tank in my life and I will never buy any other tank again except for these.  I love them so much that I bought about ten more in all different colors (I bought all the colors that were on sale;  some were as low as $6.99!).  They are perfect for layering under shirts and cardigans.

I picked up this pretty shell necklace at Charming Charlie's.

And here are those Steve Madden Shoes again!  Like I said, expect to see a lot of these as I love them and plan on wearing them all summer!

I carried a metallic silver cross body bag and wore a white beaded bracelet (both old)

The color of my cardigan is Rose Smoke.  For size reference, I'm wearing a Medium.  It's still available HERE and in other colors.  I almost bought the white one too!

My jeans are also from JCP.  They are Liz Claiborne City-Fit Boyfriend Skinny Jeans.

So what about you?  Do you have any problems wearing Blush? Do you like this color?  Do you own any blush clothing items, or are you still looking?  I'd love to hear from you!

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Friday, April 14, 2017

How To Wear A T-Shirt And Jeans

 That's a pretty humorous title for a fashion post, don't you think?  Well, it would be except I can't even begin to tell you how many bloggers or pins I see wearing nothing but a "T-Shirt and Jeans" and yet they get hundreds of likes, comments, and re-pins.  "Why?" I ask myself.  "It's just a T-Shirt and Jeans!  Anyone can put on a T-Shirt and a pair of Jeans!"  Or can they?  It seems as if every time I try to wear this combo I look more like I'm ready to go work in the garden and not go out in public.  So why does this look work for some women and not others?

Well the first reason I believe is body type.  It seems either very thin women or women who are at least thin on top look best is this look.  My apple shape body type does not work well with this look.  I have a large bust, heavy arms, and a thick midsection.  Even if I'm at my lowest weight, I still am heavy in these areas.  T-shirts simply do not flatter me.

The second reason this look works for some women and not others is accessories.  Jo-Lynne Shane is famous for the "T-Shirt and Jean" look.  I'd love to get a peek inside her closet to see how many different colored T-Shirts she owns.  Even though her T-Shirt and Jeans outfits are so simple, she always looks so put-together.  Why?  Because she accessories with jewelry, a great pair of shoes, and a fabulous bag.

So even though I don't have Jo-Lynne's fabulous body, I thought I'd try a "T-Shirt and Jeans" look using her fabulous examples of great accessories.

I tried my T-Shirt and Jeans look first with a long beige cardigan (old) hoping it would draw attention away from my heavy top and help elongate my figure.

It's a short sleeve cardigan which is not the best for someone who has heavy arms because it stops at the heaviest point of my arm.  However, it's a great sweater for these warmer spring temperatures when just a little extra cover is all that's needed.

Other than the cardigan everything else I'm wearing is new this season.  The lace up tee is from JCPenney.  I bought it on clearance for $3.97.  All they had left was a size large so it's too big in the arm hole, but at that price I bought it anyway.  It's a very sheer top that requires a tank top underneath, which will solve the large armhole problem as well.

The jeans are also from JCP.  They are by Liz Claiborne.

I followed JoLynn's example of wearing a great pair of shoes, jewelry, and carrying a fabulous bag.  By adding trendy accessories with your blue jeans and T-Shirt you look put together and ready to face the day and not like your headed to out to work in the garden.  After all, who could ever garden in these shoes? 😃

It does help that this is no ordinary T-Shirt and it has some interesting detail that provide more interest to the simple ensemble.  It has a lace inlet on the shoulders and a lace up front.

For jewelry I chose a simple blue and silver necklace and bracelet.

My bag however is the real show stopper in this outfit.  I picked it up at CJBanks.  Aren't the glitter sunglasses too fun?

I said you'd be seeing a lot of these shoes and I wasn't lying!  They are just so cute and trendy, and they go with everything!

Looking at these pictures, I still don't think I look as put together as Jo-Lynne.  I tried.  Perhaps this is why I don't wear this look too often.  However, the T-Shirt, Jeans + Great Accessories is a great formula to follow when you're pressed for time.

If you'd like more ideas or inspiration on how to wear a T-Shirt and Jeans, Jo-Lynne wrote a fabulous post HERE that goes into a lot more detail.  You can also see a lot of pictures of all her T-Shirt and Jeans outfits if you type in "T-Shirt and Jeans" in her search box.  When I read her post one thing that stuck out at me was "wearing a shirt with a good fit".  She advised  "Make sure the t-shirt fits you well. You don’t want it too short, you don’t want it pulling too tight across the chest area, you don’t want it too be too low-cut or too baggy or too tight".  

Perhaps that advice  is why I'm not crazy about this look on me.  Because of my large bust, T-shirts tend to be too tight across the chest unless I go up a size;  then they end up baggy everywhere this shirt.  Ugh!  Someone needs to invent a t-shirt for large busted women! 😁

Oh well, if this T-shirt doesn't work for me to go out in, I could always wear it gardening.  After all, it only cost Three Dollars and Ninety Seven Cents. 😊

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicago's Navy Pier

 This is a continuation of a series of travel posts of a week I spent in Illinois to visit my children.  To start at the beginning go HERE.  The rest of the posts are HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

After my daughter and I were finished shopping on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, we then walked over to check out Navy Pier as I had never been there before and I really wanted to see it.

Navy Pier is a 3,300 foot long pier on the Chicago Shoreline of Lake Michigan.  I have seen a lot of piers in my lifetime, but this by far was the largest and most beautiful pier I have ever visited.

The entrance to this pier is this gorgeous building which is filled with shops, restaurants, a children's museum, and a atrium.

 Outside of the building is a lovely park; this cement portion in the picture looks like it is probably a water feature for the kids to run through.  But seeing that I was there in February, it was not functioning.

This is a view of the inside of the Navy Pier building as seen from the escalator going up to atrium.  There was some type of construction going on when we were there.

The atrium, called Crystal Gardens is one acre, six story glass atrium with a fifty foot arched ceiling.

There are lots of benches to sit and rest awhile;  and we did, as we were exhausted from walking here from the Magnificent Mile.

 My favorite part of the atrium were the fun water features.

Now I must admit February is not the best time of the year to go to Navy Pier because most activities are closed for the season.  If you ever do get to go to Navy pier, visit during the summer.  There are concerts, outdoor food vendors, theatre shows, boat rides, other amusement rides, and fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday evening.

However, even though a lot of things were closed for the season, it was still worth going to see the gorgeous lake view.

The pier is filled from end to end with gorgeous buildings.  We peeked inside a few of them, but everything was quite desolate with not much going on in the middle of a winter week day.  When I got home I read about all these buildings and discovered that they have a indoor ice rink, an Imax theatre, the Pepsi Skyline Theatre which holds a variety of live events ranging from music and theatre to acrobatic shows, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and even a Funhouse Maze. You can also rent the facility out for conventions, weddings, etc.

But the nice part of visiting the pier on a warm winter day is that you pretty much have the entire pier to yourself!  It was so peaceful and quiet;  a great opportunity to just soak up the beauty surrounding you!

I am always amazed at how blue the waters of Lake Michigan are.  Such a gorgeous view!

 The ferris wheel was the only amusement ride operating this day.  We had planned on taking this ride for you get great views of the Chicago skyline on it.  But we were at the pier at the worst time of the day:  the sun was just blinding!  We knew we wouldn't be able to see much so we skipped it.

By the time we walked all the way to the end of the pier and then stopped inside for a snack, the sun was starting to set for the day.  We had a gorgeous view of the sun settling behind the Chicago's sky scrapers as we walked back to our car.

I hope to get back to Navy Pier sometime and hopefully get on that Ferris Wheel and/or see some fireworks or a show.  I'm sure I'll have another shot since my kids only live 45 minutes away!

Next week I will finish my Illinois Travel Series with just some random shots and photos of my week.  Then I will be taking a ten day blogging break as I am headed to Myrtle Beach!  I am so excited!  It will be my first real vacation since last May when we headed to Las Vegas.  Please pray for safe car travel;  it's the only thing I'm really worried about as we had car problems on our last vacation.  We are taking the same car which has over 100,000 miles on it and I'm nervous it's going to break down again.  I'm also worried about Jackson being separated from us for so long.  When I left him for seven days to visit the kids, he was really mad at me....seriously!  He wouldn't even come near me!  That lasted a about an hour, then he forgave me.  But now not only will I be gone, but his 'daddy' as well and he will be staying in someone else's home.  So who knows how he will react.  It'll be so hard for me to separated from him for so long.  How do all of you handle being separated from your pets while on vacation?

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!