Monday, September 25, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Let's Stay Together

This month Steve and I are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary. We've had people ask us what we've learned from being together that long and while I keep trying to come up with some big, introspective and smart sounding answers it's really the simple things that have worked for us. 

1. Show gratitude.  Steve really responds to this one! I'm joking around a bit, but everyone likes to hear "thank you" don't they? This is something we figured out about the time we started trying to teach our daughters manners and realized we weren't really thanking one another like we should. And now we try to notice when the other goes out of their way for us. 

2. Treat each other like you would a friend. This one was really a lesson for me. I think it came up in a group of friends and we all realized that we treated one another better than we did our husbands some of the time. So, it became a goal to treat Steve the way I should. Like my best friend. Because he is. Most of the time.

3. Surprise one another.  For a while we had a good streak going where we would take turns planning dates. The great part of this was while it was fun surprising one another we also got a bit competitive which led to some really fun outings! 

4. Make room to be surprised by one another. By this I mean don't think you know one another completely. Even after being married all this time Steve can have a reaction or an thought about something that completely surprises me. I think it's good to not think you have one another all figured out. I think this is like not talking over one another. Take a step back and really look at each other...and you know, be amazed. You picked a good one!

5. Miss each other.  We take trips without one another. Some people don't but we think it's okay. And I don't think it's for everyone. But I think it's healthy to at least have time apart so you remember why you like that other person in the first place. Take a morning for some time alone at a coffee shop. Make sure to make time for friends. Then it feels nice to reunite too! 

These are just some of the small things that we have found work for us to keep things going. Some days our marriage feels brand new, and some days not so much. But I realize every day that I chose this guy so I better do things to make this relationship work! 

Please tell me what things you have learned from relationships. We are always happy to get more tips! Please share what you know! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Get Thrifty: Our Thrifty Fall Fashion Week

The arrival of September has my attention turning once again to fashion. It fills my instagram feed, it makes the magazines of the month that much bigger. And much like back to school, I feel like I would like to go clothes shopping! But these days I try and be a little more purposeful about how and where I spend my money. And an easy and fun way I do is by thrifting. 

There are a couple of items that we always seem to be on the lookout for when we go. And some that are especially timely this Fall. I'll break down the things we have been having luck with and what we look for!

1. Denim  This is something we are almost always looking at in one form or another. Sam has found some incredible Levi's that fit in the best way possible. Recently I was pining over a denim duster I found in the Madewell catalog similar to one I had in the 90's. Figuring it didn't make sense to pay close to $200 for something I had been there for the first time around I was happy to see we could copy by taking a denim dress, unbuttoning it and throwing it over like a coat! I think it's a pretty great copy for about $10! 

2. Camo  I have to say I look for this print year round as it's a person favorite. But I find it's a perennial favorite of the fashion crowd and it seems to be cropping up again this year. It's almost a no-brainer to find the coats in the men's section. And Sam found a crazy felt like pair of orange print pants recently that were so much fun! I have a coat that I have considered adding a patch or embroidery, but for now it's great. It's similar to the one in the photo of Sarah Rutson below. And though it wouldn't seem like it, it goes with so much. I really like it paired with stripes. 

3. Handbags  I have found so many fun vintage bags while thrifting I have built a mini collection. The most recent one is a Dooney & Burke one similar to one my sister had when we were growing up. It was less than $25 and is a great little cross-body. A classic leather handbag will never go out of style, go with everything and if taken care of can be passed on. If you like to dress them up you can tie a scarf to them or find the cute little clips with pom-pom on them to give them a little personality! 

4. Shoes I can almost never pass up the shoe racks at any store...can you? And I find the thrift stores to be no exception. I have found two sets of shoes that have been more than surprising. The first is a pair that say they are Hermes. I have no reason to disbelieve them, though I have done no real digging. Either way they are in leopard, a favorite of mine and incredibly comfortable. And as I consider leopard a neutral, they are perfection. 

The other smashing find are a pair of Italian leather J.Crew flats in a crazy sherbet orange that make me all kinds of happy. I had to make it a point to take a photo of them on a festive rug just to do them credit! J. Crew has a hashtag #shinyponies and I think these fit the bill of being a mood-lifting, gorgeous shoe! 

These are some of the usual suspects we look for when we thrift, though we always keep our eyes open for the unusual, never seen before statement pieces. The last time we went we bought Samantha a bright pink prom dress just because we couldn't leave it behind! 

Do you thrift? Is there anything you go looking for? Do you have any questions about it, or anything you want me to keep my eyes open for? I love the hunt! Let me know! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Getting Rid of Stuff

I promise that I will mix some other blog posts in with all these "deep thought" posts soon...I hope to have some fun thrifting, seasonal, and other posts coming. In the meantime I guess I have a lot of things that I want to talk about with you all. Here is the latest. 

This is not going to be a pretty, aspirational post. It was something I didn't even think I wanted to take part in. A garage sale. Steve is the child of a life-long garage sale veteran and while I love going to them I HATE  having them. It just seems to be so awkward having people go thru your stuff, judging you and paying you for the things you want to get rid of. Surprisingly, this day turned out so much better than that. 

Steve talked me into taking part by helping me clean out our storage. This house is small, but has two storage areas down the length of both sides of our upstairs. We were married in the 90's which seems to be the time when it was important to acquire. And we were good at it. And while we stopped using these things, we kept them in storage waiting until we found the time to use them again. But that time never seemed to come.

So we finally decided to get rid of the stuff that no longer has a hold on us. And it feels so freeing. We seemed to change our priorities a while back about how and what we buy, but we never addressed the things we already had. And the way we feel about our "stuff" has changed a lot over the years. We now feel like if we don't use something more that once a year it should probably go. And if it doesn't give us joy, it should probably go. Even if it was a gift, and we don't love it, it should probably go.

And it leaves us feeling less burdened by our stuff. And the stuff we sold will work for us by going toward a trip (like the one we are on above to Arizona from last year). We will continue to pare down and give to Value Village or Goodwill. I hope we will be able to find the point where we have the perfect balance of things. Until then we will keep working at it. I have been keeping the following quote in mind until we get there. 

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

William Morris

Monday, September 4, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Perspective & Connection

Labor Day weekend may seem like a weird time to be sitting down to some deep thoughts. But there is so much going on in the world, both good and bad that I wanted to sit down and talk about perspective and connection. Once of the reasons I started this blog was to have a connection and conversation with others. Hopefully this would hopefully lead to bigger understanding for me and maybe others. 

Years back when I was talking about this new thing I was all into reading called blogs a friend asked why I would read something written by people I don't even know. I didn't have the quick answer at the time but now I do. If I stay in my little group of people that think like me, have experiences like me, where will the change and challenges come from? Since then I have been purposely looking for challenges to my perspective. Following are a few of those steps. 

Read. I have learned so much about our shameful history and have a much bigger understanding of what is going on in our present thanks to reading. There is so much to be said about reading someones firsthand account of what it felt like to walk in their shoes. Or a well written fictional account of a horrific time in our not so distant past. 

Travel. If you have the opportunity to travel I would take it. Steve and I took a trip some time ago and I found it to be an eye opener. It was to Georgia for a peanut tour (funny, right? He worked in peanut butter manufacturing at the time!). We occasionally found ourselves in areas where we were the minority which was a discomfiting feeling at best. It felt like something that was important to experience.

Talk. My girls have educated me so much on the gender changes that have taken place. I still struggle with pronouns but find myself much more sensitive to it with people.  I find my husband to sweetly be trying his best as well. I grew up with guy friends wearing make up and nail polish so it doesn't feel shocking in any way. It's just a change that we are learning to navigate. 

Experience. I love a good trip to a museum. I am alway surprised how changed I can feel when I come a way from a visit. From experiencing sculpture and interactive exhibits to photography, I love experiencing the world thru another persons eyes. And art is one way that comes the closest for me to doing so. Reading what their viewpoint or reasons were, and then seeing it in person is pretty much a charge for me. And then talking about it with almost makes me wish I was back in my college art classes! 

Connect. I have been so incredibly happy at the connections I have made both in real life and thru social media. I have had meaningful conversations thru snapchat with people like Moorea Seal that I admire. I have been gifted with smart words on Brandi Kincaid's instagram just when they were needed. And I have found hazel + scouts blog post full of important steps to take in the war on racism. Most recently I found a list of helpful places to give in the wake of the disaster in Texas on Stephanie Howell's blog

My world feels bigger because of this. And I hope I am a different person because of conversations I am having in real life and because of the things I am reading, experiencing, hearing about and doing. How do you feel about perspective? How do you build a connection to the world at large? I am always working on making mine bigger and would love more pointers!