Friday, August 29, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: Choosing Summer Clothes Wisely

Hello!  As promised I'm back with more pictures of the gorgeous Cook - Rutledge mansion in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  If you missed that post about our family visit to this house, you can see it HERE.  I'm also back wearing my dated Capri's!  Remember this POST where I talked all about how the fashion gods no longer want women wearing Capri's?  Well, like most American women, I'm still wearing them.  I considered wearing my white denim skinny ankle length jeans with this outfit, but it was a little hot to have denim sticking to  my legs.  So I told the fashion gods, 'Sorry, but until I find that perfect little white skirt, the Capri's stay!'.

 For my casual summer outfit I chose white cotton Capri's, a loose fitting polyester shirt by a.n.a. sold at J.C.Penney (sold out), and some comfortable navy blue flats.   I don't know what it is about this shirt but it draws attention wherever I go.  Everyone always tells me how much they love it.  I bought it on a whim as I was walking out of the mall and back to my car.  I'm always looking for cool, comfortable shirts that aren't clingy.  Clothes that cling to my hot, sweaty body in the summer just aren't cool.  I also like that it camouflages my stomach area because it is tight in the bust but loose in the waist.  I actually bought two shirts that day, one is blue and white and has the lace detailing on the side.  I couldn't decide which one I like better, so I bought both.  LOL!  I'll show you that shirt another day.

 So talking about cool clothes that camouflage unsightly body parts brings me to my topic:  Choosing Summer Clothes Wisely.  Summer is a difficult time of the year for someone over fifty to dress.  We want to be cool and comfortable, but, at the same time we know our bodies don't look like they did when we were in our twenties, so for most of us short shorts and clingy tank tops are out of the question.  We all have different parts of our bodies that we consider our problem zones.  For me, it has always been my stomach.  I don't like my thick upper arms much either, but,  I still wear tanks.  I can't cover up everything!  Every woman has to figure out what her body type is, apple, pear, triangle, etc.  (I'm an apple),  and dress accordingly.  For me, tops like this really work, and I also like to wear pants or skirts that are more tight fitting to show off the thinnest part of my body:  my lower half.  You can learn what clothes are best for your body type by reading various style blogs like Bridgette Rae's, or, by simply trial and error.  I don't always agree with everything stylist's say.  I have to try it for myself, and just see what I think really looks and feels good on me.

 I love my new cross body bag from Francesca's (sold out).   I bought it to go with my new bohemian dress that I wore to the Wisconsin State Fair, but I found it is a very versatile bag even though it has a pattern on it.  It's also large enough so that my big old wallet fits inside and I don't have to change wallets every time I use a smaller handbag.

 I wanted to wear some type of jewelry, because I believe an outfit without jewelry is just not complete. However, it was really hard picking something out because all my jewelry seemed to conflict with the busy pattern of the top.  I finally chose this multi strand pearl necklace, but I wasn't crazy about it.  The second time I wore this outfit I ditched the necklace and went with pink and silver statement earrings and it looked much better.  See?  Trial and error!
 Here is a close up of the top so that you can see the beautiful lace detail.  As I've said in numerous previous posts, lace is one of the hottest trends right now and it is popping up everywhere.  I even bought a red flannel shirt that has lace on it!  I love just the touch of lace that this shirt has, because I think I'm just too old to wear too much lace.  It's a tricky material:  too much is either young and girly or it can even be too granny-like.  Use it, but use it wisely.   I prefer to incorporate this trend in small details like this:
 I bought these Scrunch Flats from Payless at the suggestion of the sales associate.  She says they are the most comfortable flats she ever owned.  I was hesitant, I mean, their scrunchy…how could they have much support?  But I tried them on and fell instantly in love.  They have a wonderful cushioned insole and are so comfortable.  The perfect shoe for a long day of walking!  And they are cheap too!  You could buy one in every color.
Well I hope I have given you some suggestions for warm weather dressing if you over fifty.  It really is a matter of body type and what you are comfortable wearing.  It is an issue every woman has to address for herself through trial and error, and some research.

Have a great day!  Amy

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August Christmas Cards

Hello!  I have my August Christmas Cards to share with you today.  As most of you already know I play the Christmas Card Challenge on Splitcoaststampers where we make Christmas Cards all year long so that were not stressed out during the busy holiday season.  I make five cards a month so that I'll have about sixty cards at the end of the year.  I make a long card, about 4 x 8 so that I can fit a Christmas letter and photo card inside.  I also try to keep layers to a minimum so that most of the cards are mailable.  However, this month I broke my rule because I wanted to use these cute little felt critters.  I will probably hand deliver these cards to my church family who have small children.

I purchased these pre- made felt designs from a local fabric and crafts store last year.  I get a lot of questions every time I use pre- made felt creations.  You can find them in the seasonal craft section of any major craft store, or in the dollar bins.  I even found some in the kid's crafts sections of the stores.  They make the cutest and easiest cards without all the work.  

I used an old DCWV Holiday designer paper for my background.  It is very glittery and has some texture to it in real life.  I then tied a Christmas ribbon around the card base and added another small circle of designer paper and a sentiment.  A simple hemp bow and some adhesive crystals finished the card.

 For my next card I used the same layout but just changed the background paper, ribbon, and felt critter.

I made three of the penguin card and two of the snowman card to meet my five card a month quota.

Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Staycation: Our Day in Chippewa Falls

Hello!  I'm back today with my final post of my August Staycation.  As I've already stated in previous posts,  I took two Staycations this summer to spend some time hanging out with my adult children.  For our June Staycation we went camping at a local state park, and then in August we went to Milwaukee to attend the Wisconsin State Fair and visit old friends.  On the final day of my  August Staycation we were looking for something to do that wasn't too far of a drive, so my daughter went on the Internet and discovered Chippewa Falls 'Pure Water Days' was going on that weekend so we decided to check it out.  We read that there were a lot of activities at Allen Park in downtown Chippewa Falls.  There were suppose to be 'giant inflatables, kid games, food, live music, vendors, etc.'.  Sounds easy to spot, eh?  Well, we get to downtown Chippewa and it looked like a ghost town.  The streets were deserted and there wasn't anything going on.  The shops were open, so we popped in a few and I had an ice cream cone (of course!).  We could see litter from the early afternoon parade still on the streets so we knew something happened in town that day.  But where were all the festivities?  Where the heck is Allen Park?  You'd think there would be some signs when you drive into town telling people where to go, but nope, nothing.  

Well, our main event we wanted to attend was a tour of a well known mansion in Chippewa, so we decided to go there, and we found it easy enough.   I've lived in the area for about twenty years, and I have tried repeatedly to view this mansion but the hours and schedule are so minimal that it was nearly impossible.  It is only open three months out of the year, and only during certain hours and on certain days.  So with my busy schedule, my chances of getting inside this beauty are, well, close to impossible.  But finally my day had come!  It was open!  For one hour!  I'm thinking, 'Run Amy!   Don't walk, before they close the gate once more!'

Here is the beautiful Cook Rutledge Mansion originally built in 1873 by a Wisconsin Lt. Governor and later remodeled in 1887 by a lumber baron.  I only have exterior photos to show you, but you can click on the link I provided if you want to see some interior shots.

 We had to wait awhile before they would let us in the house so we took advantage of all the beautiful wrap around porches to take some pictures.  Here is my pretty daughter Ashley and her husband Jason.  She is wearing all my clothes as she loves to raid my closet when she is home.  I'm not including any pictures of myself in today's post because I'm saving them for my Fashion Over Fifty post on Friday.  The house was the perfect back drop for fashion photos and we took advantage of it!
 Rather than buy expensive annual hanging baskets every summer, I love to just hang houseplants outside.  They really appreciate being outdoors for awhile and I can bring them in the house for the winter, saving me money on hanging baskets.  I have three gorgeous ferns hanging on my north porch. I loved the spider plant the Cook Rutledge Mansion had hanging from their front porch.
 There is a lovely garden and seating area in the back of the house.
 Here is a side view of the mansion.  Don't you just love all the detail?  You just don't see intricate details like this in modern homes.
 Even though part of the lot was sold off a long time ago, it is still quite a large property with an iron gate going all the way around.  I just love the American Flag displayed on the front porch.
It cost $5.00 per person to tour the inside, and it was well worth it.  It is a guided tour and they actually let you inside the rooms unlike a lot of house tours we've attended where they rope off the room and your only allowed to peek in from the hallway.  Every room is beautifully decorated and accessorized with many original pieces.  The tour guide tells you all the history of each room and it's owners as you walk through.

When we finished the tour, we decided to stop by the Chippewa Falls Zoo - Irvine Park.  It is a very small free zoo, but we always enjoy visiting it when were in the area.  There are a few larger animals (two tigers, two bears, and some buffalo),  but the rest are small animals like foxes.   They also have a petting zoo.  I don't have any pictures of the zoo because I was too busy looking on my IPhone trying to figure out where the Pure Water Days activities were instead of taking pictures of the animals.  LOL! But you can click on the link if you'd like to see what it looks like.  It is actually a very nice scenic park with lots of hiking trails.

Well by the time we were done visiting the zoo it was already 5:00 and we still had to go shopping and have some dinner.  So we gave up on every finding the Pure Water Days activities and headed to the Eau Claire mall to shop.  We then took the kids to our new favorite local Mexican restaurant called Tacos Juanita.  If you live in the area or are just passing through, I highly recommend you stop and visit this tiny little gem.  It is real, authentic Mexican food and it is all freshly made.  Their salsa alone is enough reason to visit.  It is so fresh it tastes like they just pulled the tomatoes off the vine that morning.  Their portions are HUGE and their prices are very reasonable.  I can't sing enough praises about this place.  I love it.  And the kids loved it too!  My daughter only eats gluten and preservative free foods, so this restaurant was an absolute hit with her.

Have a great day!  Amy

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Birthday Ribbon

Hello!  I'm back with another Doodle Garden image.  This sweet image is called 'Birthday Girl', and she is the perfect image for me because I make a lot of birthday cards so she will get a lot of use.  I can see using this same image at Christmas too, all I'd have to do is change the colors and papers and add a Christmas sentiment.  Hmm,  maybe I'll try that for next month's Christmas cards.

To make my card I simply stamped the image onto white card stock and colored it in with Copic Markers.  I used a Spellbinders Nestability to cut the oval shape.  I then adhered the white oval panel to two different sheets of designer paper, but I slid the birthday ribbon under the image first.  I bought the ribbon at a fabric and craft store:  I love to shop for ribbon at fabric stores instead of paper crafting stores because the assortment and prices are so much better.  For embellishments, I just added a yellow button.  I did not feel a sentiment was needed since the ribbon has sentiments on it.

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: Typical Summer Wear

 Hello!  You will never believe where this picture was taken.  Take a guess….some one's garden, in a park, on a trail….nope, it was taken on a median in the middle of a shopping mall parking lot.  Yup, my husband and I were walking back to our car after shopping at our local mall and I saw these beautiful evergreens and said 'Oooh, perfect photo opportunity for a 'Fashion Over Fifty' shot!'.  So, I posed, while I drew the attention of onlookers wondering who this weird lady was taking pictures in the middle of a parking lot, but look….wasn't I right?  What a gorgeous backdrop for a photo?  Believe it or not, there were actually parked cars all around me.  I just stood between the trees to block the view of the cars behind me, and you can't see the parked cars on either side of the trees in the picture.  Awesome, eh?  The wood chips even match my skirt!  LOL!  I wish I could say I've gotten use to people staring when were out and about taking my picture, but I haven't.  The smile on my face is make believe.  Inside I'm screaming 'oh my gosh, I'm so uncomfortable and  I feel so awkward!'.  I never was one who enjoyed having my picture taken, but it is something I'm trying to get over to further my cause of fashion for all ages.  I've grown leaps and bounds about being brave and putting myself out there.  And I've learned a lot about photography and how to pose through it all.  It's been a fun learning and growing experience.

Anyway, onto this week's post:  typical summer wear.  My usual typical summer wear in past summers is a pair of denim shorts, a tank top, and sandals.  This summer however has been unusually cold.  We have not even had to install our window air conditioner this year because there was never any need for it.  We typically only turn the air on when the temps are over 90 degrees, and I don't think it's been 90 degrees once this summer.  So because of these record low summer temps,  I've only worn shorts twice all summer long.  Most of my outfits consisted of ankle length jeans, Capri's, or summer dresses/skirts.

The picture below shows my typical summer wear this season:  a cotton or knit skirt or dress and flats.  The Jo Fresh skirt I have on in this picture I actually purchased last year from J.C.Penney.  I did a post on this same skirt HERE styling it with sandals and a different shirt.  I think it's fun showing you different ways I wore the same item instead of always showing you new clothes.  We all want to save money and wear our clothes for more than one season…don't we?
 One thing I've done differently this year than I did last year was switch from wearing sandals with dresses to wearing sneakers.  I have to admit the sneaker craze took me awhile to catch on.  When I first started seeing fashion pictures of ladies wearing  sneakers with dresses and fancy clothes I was like 'Me?  Never!'.  But they eventually won me over.  The comfort factor alone was enough reason, not to mention all the cute tennis shoes I kept seeing.  I'm still debating whether or not to invest in a cute pair of Converse.  I just love their sneakers!

For jewelry, I wore a Bohemian seed bead bracelet that matched my skirt and a seashell necklace that I made myself.
 My shirt is new this year.  I bought it at The Gap.  I love soft, sheer tee shirts.  They are so comfortable to wear.  I bought this same shirt in mint too!  Here I have it tied in a knot at my waist so that it looks like I actually have a waist!  The cobalt blue multi strand watch I bought last year at a little boutique in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
 When my husband and I were in Pensacola Beach last Christmas, we spent every morning walking on the beach looking for shells.  We found lots of shells with holes already in them, so I turned one of them into a necklace as a souvenir.  I simply put a head pin through the hole and added a bead on both ends to keep it in place.  Then I attached a silver round piece through the head pin and strung my pre made ribbon necklace through that.  I love my little creation, and every time I wear it I think of the wonderful memories we made in Pensacola.

The sun was very bright and strong the day we took these pictures, so they are not the best quality I know.  I've done everything I knew on how to edit them, but you have to have the right light to begin with…which I did not.  I have shown you these tennis shoes before in a previous post if you want a better look at them.  I just love these tennis shoes.  So comfortable, yet chic and different.

Have a great day!  Amy
Get this look for $130+ on Lookastic: White V-neck T-shirt, Beige Leather Crossbody Bag, Orange Print Mini Skirt, and White Leather Driving Shoes

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Musings of our August Staycation to Milwaukee

Hello!  I'm here to bore you with more family and vacation pictures and stories.  As I've stated in previous posts,  I took two Staycations this summer to spend time with my kids.  In June we went camping at Willow River State Park, and in August we went to the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee and also spent one  day in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin enjoying what was suppose to be their Pure Water Days, but never could find where the activities were.  More on that in a later post.

First up,  our visit to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   Milwaukee is the city my husband and I grew up in.  After we married, we moved away and have lived in small towns ever since.  Most of our relatives that lived in Milwaukee are now deceased or moved away, so we rarely go back there to visit.  However, my husband was experiencing a bit of nostalgia and wanted to see the Wisconsin State Fair again, so off we went.

Because we really don't have close family in Milwaukee anymore,  I booked a room in a nice hotel  on the South Side.  We arrived Friday night and just crashed.  I had worked two back to back shifts leaving me about five hours of sleep between shifts, plus the four hour car drive to the big city, so I was tired!  On Saturday we got up bright and early and spent the whole day at the fair and at night we joined our very close life long friends - Kirk and Shannon - for dinner.

The next day we went to church.  It was the church my husband and I met, married, and dedicated our children in.  We always love to go back there and see all our old friends.  I've attended many different churches in my life, but I always consider this church, my home church, and the best church I've ever attended.  No matter how many years have gone by, I still miss this church and I have never felt a suitable replacement for it.  

We caught up with Kirk and Shannon again for the service and chatted for quite a bit afterwards and shared lots of hugs and tears when we said goodbye.  I've included a couple of photos that we took at church.  We didn't have a photographer so Kirk and Shannon switched places between being the photographer and being in the picture.  Kirk is on the far left in this picture followed by my husband, me, my son Jordan, my daughter Ashley, and my son-in-law Jason.

 Now it's Shannon's turn.  She is on the far left.  Isn't she a beauty?  She always has that gorgeous beaming smile on her face.  She is my angel on earth!
After the service we went back to the hotel to change and pack for the ride back home.  Before heading on the highway we decided to visit my old childhood stomping grounds:  South Shore Beach.  I think practically half my life was spent at this beach.  I lived about a mile away, so a typical summer day was waking up around 9:00 a.m., jumping on my ten speed bike and riding to the beach, then sunbathing, more biking on the trails, or just plain goofing around till 3:00 when it was time to head back home to eat.  Although I always loved the beach, I don't think I really appreciated what a rare privilege it was to live so close to a Great Lake until I moved away.  I remember the first time I saw the ocean how disappointed I was because 'it looked just like Lake Michigan'.  For some reason, I thought it would be a lot different, but other than bigger waves, it wasn't:  just water as far as the eyes could see!  Since moving away, most of my sand and water activities have been small lakes and beaches, if you could even call their beaches a beach.  So I really miss Lake Michigan and it's unbelievable beaches.  In fact, I really miss Milwaukee.  I don't think I really appreciated this city when I lived there, but when you move away and live in small towns, you miss a lot of things big cities have to offer:  fine arts centers, major music and theatre touring groups, museums, zoo's, major sports teams, summer festivals, and shopping, shopping, shopping.  Milwaukee has always been known as a big city with a small town feel.  And I would agree with that.  It is big enough to have everything any other big city like Chicago has, but still small enough that it feels like 'home'.  

So, here I am, about twenty five years later, back at my childhood beach.  This photo doesn't do it justice, but one thing I've always loved about South Shore Beach was how beautiful the Milwaukee Skyline looks.  This is also where we saw the fireworks every fourth of July and during the week of Summerfest.  One of my favorite summer memories is being on a yacht in the water near the Summerfest grounds and watching the fireworks directly above my boat.  It was such a magical night.
 I look so dorky in this picture.  I'm wearing my typical summer car ride outfit:  a loose comfy knit top, denim shorts, and loafers.  And I still have that fedora on that I bought from the fair the day before.  It came in handy all weekend!

While at the beach we discovered my husband still had it in him and could skip rocks like a pro.  He wowed the kids as his rocks skipped over the water a half a dozen times or more.  That was until his arm gave out and he had to stop.  Just like he learned he can't eat like he use to at the fair,  he also learned that he can't skip rocks like he use to!
 The boys discovered this work out station located right on the bike/jogging path.  Of course they had to give it a try!
 This is my son-in-law Jason.  My family has a habit of sneaking in my Fashion Over Fifty photos.  We have a running joke in my family that every time we see a good photo spot someone shouts out 'Fashion Over Fifty!' and we stop and take my picture.  Of course my family likes to tease me about it (in love) and they often sneak in the picture without me knowing.  My son Jordan started this habit, and now everyone does it. I'll never forget the first time I was scrolling through my fashion photos on my camera and I saw Jordan's head peeking out behind mine.  I burst out laughing and couldn't stop.  How could I not have known he was there and how could my husband (the photographer) not have given it away?   Someday I will have to do a post showing all my Fashion Over Fifty pictures where a family member snuck in the photo.  They are hilarious!  Here is Jason posing in my spot:  hmmm, Fashion for Men over Twenty?
 After our stop at the beach, we drove back home passing through downtown Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Brewer Stadium.  If you like to see stadiums, you really need to check the new Brewer Stadium out.  It is gorgeous!

I spent the rest of the week just hanging out with the kids, relaxing.  Sometimes the best vacations are doing nothing at all.  Just rest, nourishment, and lots of long talks.  I did go into work two days, and my husband worked a full week, so on Saturday we hit the road again for another adventure, and for another post….till then:

Have a great day!  Amy

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Smile" Banner Card

Hello!  Today I have a birthday card to show you that uses all papers and stickers from My Mind's Eye Chalkboard Studio.  Banners have been all the rage in the paper crafting industry for over a year now, but I think this is the first time I ever used one on a card.  I'm slow to catch onto trends I guess.  No, I just always struggled with how much space using a banner uses up on a card, and how there is little room for an actual image or sentiment when you use one.  But for my card today, a banner fit quite well because my main image was so small.

 I used a piece of hemp to connect my banner stickers too.  The other sentiment is a unknown stamp and the camera image is a sticker.  I love the subtle designer paper of smaller cameras echoes the big camera.
 I used an actual paper doily on this card.  I know they make dies that look like doilies now, but I always thought that was kinda silly when you can buy a pack of fifty doilies for a buck at a party store.
Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: 'Va, Va, Va, Voom!'

Hello!  This week's Fashion Over Fifty post comes with a parental warning:  if you have small children in the room you may want to put them in another room until your done reading.  Just kidding!  This will be a G- Rated post, I promise!  But I do want to talk about a controversial topic:  what clothing items make you feel sexy?  Yup, I said it.  The big 'S' word.  It's kinda an unpopular word in the Christian circles I run around in.  We tend to focus so much on modesty, self-control, abstinence before marriage, yada, yada, yada, that feeling sexy seems, well, just kinda wrong;  even if your a grown up married woman like myself.  To be honest,  I don't think I've ever felt sexy a day in my life.  I've always been labeled  'cute' or 'pretty' and identified more closely to Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island, not Ginger.  Which, was always fine with me.  I always thought Mary Ann was prettier than Ginger anyway.  A few people in my life told me that I reminded them of Betty Boop:  a cute sexy.  I had to look her up, because she was a cartoon character before my time.  I honestly could not see a resemblance.  I've had several people tell me I walk sexy.  Well, that was a surprise to me, because I certainly don't try!  I have a husband that constantly tells me how beautiful and sexy I am, but who believes their husband?  They have to say those things!  

So what happens, when someone like myself, who has never felt sexy, ages?  When everything starts to droop, sag, wrinkle, expand, and leak.  Is it even possible to feel sexy over the age of fifty?  Or what if your life, regardless of age, is just not filled with events to make you feel sexy?  Like having a household full of kids and constantly smelling like dirty diapers and spit ups?  Or a job where you are always wearing a unisex uniform of khaki pants and polo shirts?  Or maybe you just work at home and never go out so just switching up to a new pair of yoga pants instead of your PJ's is 'dressing up' for you.  I've been through all three of these scenarios in my lifetime, and feeling sexy in the midst of them, is well, near impossible. 

 But clothes, they can do miracles:  they can take a person from feeling like a troll to thinking they are Sophia Vergara!  The types of clothes people feel sexy in differ for everyone.  Some women feel their sexiest in heels, jewels,  and exotic perfumes.  Others feel their sexiest in a baseball cap and jersey, and other women just love that perfect 'Little Black Dress'.  For me, it was a Little Red Dress.  A dress that I do not even own, but borrowed from my daughter just so I could do a Fashion Over Fifty post.  You see, my daughter, unlike myself, has a glamorous life.  I'm sure she will laugh her head off when she reads this post because she does not see her life as glamorous, but a lot of hard work and stress.  But for someone who works a retail job like me, doing the same thing day in and day out,  it's glamorous.  Ashley is a professional singer and needed a red dress for one of her performances.  So she found this beauty, took a 'selfie' and sent it to me so that I could see it.  I texted her back  stating 'Ashley, that dress is gorgeous!  Could you bring it home with you the next time you visit so I could try it on?'  Thus the little red dress took a long car drive inside a plastic bag and came all the way from Chicago to  Wisconsin just so I could put it on and snap a few pictures.  

From the moment I 'squeezed' into this little red dress, I felt sexy.  It is made of a thick gabardine knit material that sucks you all in and hugs and clings in all the right places.  So even if you have bulges you want to hide, the thick knit pulls them in.  And if your shapeless, or 'straight' like myself with no easily identified waistline, the drape and gathering of the material on the side makes you look like you actually have a waist!  The cowl neckline is flattering for every body type, and is low enough to be a bit daring, but high enough to, shall we say, not overexpose?  And somehow, the dress can make a small busted woman seem bigger, and a large busted woman like myself, seem smaller.  Don't me ask me how,  it just does.  I think it's the sucking thing:  it clings to the small busted woman making her appear bigger, but for the larger busted woman, it pulls it back up and in place.  That's my theory anyway.  Like I said earlier, clothes can do miracles.

 I felt beautiful and sexy wearing this dress, even if only for a twenty minute photo shoot.  My daughter tried to encourage me to go and buy my own dress, but I said 'No, where would I ever wear a dress like this?  I don't have your life.'  I certainly wouldn't wear it to church.  I'd feel everyone was staring at me like in the movie 'Gone with the Wind' when  Scarlet O'Hara appeared at the dance wearing bright red instead of black when she was in mourning for her husband.  And even though my husband and I still date, I would feel a bit over dressed if I wore it to our usual hangouts of Texas Roadhouse or the Budget Cinema.  So that leaves weddings and funerals.  Hhhmm, upstage the bride by walking in wearing a bright red color and stealing all her attention (ha! like I could ever upstage a young, beautiful bride!), or causing a scene at a funeral:  I'll take neither, thank you.
 So instead of buying my own Little Red Dress, I decided to just play dress up, pretending I was a little girl again wearing her mother's clothes and heels.   Who am I kidding?  My mother didn't even own a dress like this!  Her daily wardrobe consisted of PJ's, a battered old robe, and slippers.  I'll have to pretend my mother was Princess Grace or Nancy Reagan for the next twenty minutes instead.
 Ashley  suggested that we do a motion shot and had me start walking from the end of the porch towards her.  Gees, even the way I walk changed in this dress.  Maybe, I really do walk sexy…whatever that is.
 For shoes, I chose these nude Nine West sandals.  They have a slight heel, a ankle strap, and a really pretty gold buckle on the side.
 Sorry, no polish on my toes or fingernails.  I'm a working girl after all, and this is just make believe.
 For jewelry, I wore this triple strand diamond, inverted triangle necklace from Express and a gold bracelet from Stitch Fix.
 I carried a leopard clutch from Forever 21, but it was empty.  This was after all,  dress up time.

At the end of my twenty minutes of make believe I reluctantly took the dress off, put it back inside the plastic bag,  and put my standard ensemble of ankle jeans, a tank, and flats back on.  I left the world of glamour, and returned to my ordinary life of casual wear.   Good bye Carson's and Ralph Lauren, hello Old Navy.

So what about you.  What do you wear that makes you feel sexy?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Get this look for $48+ on Lookastic: Gold Necklace, Red Bodycon Dress, Gold Bracelet, Beige Leopard Suede Clutch, and White Leather Heeled Sandals

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Garden Photos

Hello!  Today I have some garden photos to share.  I use to have a beautiful perennial garden where people would drive for miles just to come and view.  But then I suffered a back injury about three years ago and got a full time job, and my garden went to, well, shall we say 'weeds'?   I call it my 'natural prairie grass garden' now.  There are a few pretty blooms that pop up now and then, but for the most part, it is just tall grass and weeds.  Someday, when I no longer work full time, I will restore it to it's former state, but for now, the weeds win.  As much as I wish I could be Wonder Woman and work a full time job commuting two hours a day, clean a 3000 square foot house, participate in ministries, maintain a acre of perennials, and be the perfect wife, mother, and friend…I can't.  I just can't do it all and some things just have to go…so I chose to let my garden go.

Nevertheless, there are the 'survivors'.  The flowers that scream 'No!  I will bloom amidst adversity, amidst the weeds that want to choke out my life,  amidst the neglect.'  I love their perseverance, and if they survive till I am able to restore them to their former glory, I will give them a home forever in my garden.

Here are the Spring Survivors: 

A double pink peony.  You gotta love peonies.  Anyone can grow a peony bush, and they always make any person look like a Master Gardener.  Such show offs they are!
Orange poppies:  They are one of my favorite spring flowers.  I love how bold they are.  Their papery blossoms are so fragile, yet so strong.  I've always been fascinated by the the large, dark seed pods in the center and how they seem to lift themselves up to the sky.  Amazing!
A double fuchsia peony.  Just look at that color!  I wonder what a dress in that color would look like on me?
A deep red peony.  This one is more traditional, with a yellow flowered center.  She is isn't as flashy as her double peony cousins, but her rich color is all the adornment she needs!

And now for the Summer Survivors:

The Sunflower.  I wish I could say I planted this beauty, but I didn't.  My friendly, feathered friends scattered their seed all over my garden creating a sea of sunflowers to cheer me up every time I do the dishes and look out my kitchen window.  How did they know I needed that?  Thank you birdies!
 A gorgeous off-white day lily.  I love day lilys.  They are another perennial that's almost impossible to kill.  They will survive drought, weeds, animals, …you name it!  Nothing can destroy them.  They are invincible and the heroes of any garden!
 The purple cone flower.  I have friends who have ripped out this flower from their gardens because they claim it grows like a weed.  Well, if this is a what weeds look like, give me more weeds!  They are so hardy, they provide color at a time when most other flowers are fading, and most importantly, in the fall the birds go crazy for their delicious seed!  I always leave these flowers up all fall and winter for the birds to feast on.
 Tall Asiatic Orange and yellow lilies.  These exotic babies are so strong, and ever year they seem to grow taller and taller as if they are trying to reach the sky.  I love how hot their color is, as if to echo the hot, late summer temperatures of August.  Their color compliments the purple cone flower well also.

 I played around with a new photo editing software for iPhone and came up with this beauty.  I don't usually edit my photos because it takes too much time, which you already know I don't have, but I do like the way this one came out.
 I did manage to plant a few annuals around my house.  If I didn't, it would have been nothing but wood chips all summer long, which would eventually have become weeds, for I have no perennials planted up against the house.  I don't like fussy annuals, so I always choose wave petunias.  One plant just grows, and grows, and grows as if to say 'Stop me if you can!'.  They are well worth the extra cost !
 I have this iron plant holder hanging on the wall of my front porch.  In the spring and summer I have it filled with annuals and in the winter months I try to have it filled with greenery, if it doesn't get too cold too fast.  Last year winter arrived in October, so I wasn't even able to decorate the outside porches before it got too cold to freeze everything solid.  So my poor plant stand remained empty all winter long.  Now it's blooming in all it's glory!
I hope my flowers have brightened your day!  They always do for me!

Have a great day!  Amy