{Style Me Bloggers} Secret Santa Gift Exchange


The Style Me Bloggers had a Secret Santa gift exchange this year.  It was so much fun!  I enjoyed shopping for some little gifts to send to Lana of Two Teens and their Mama.

My Secret Santa was the fabulous Karen of She Thought She Could.  We were supposed to send a gift that was specific to our region.  Karen’s card included a teaser that her gift was sent because she was a Yankee from the northeast.  My son and I were stumped at what could be in the box…

01ba0c6a5536311f3b4fb204fd905fb89a3d57b1f5So since we were stumped, we had to open it to figure it out!

Karen sent a beautiful set of Yankee Candle holiday votive candles that were perfect for my mantel…and just in time for decorating for the holidays.

016c1bd7f2084f0fb99528f2b0bd5620813817ce27So these candles got plenty of use during a Christmas party this weekend!

Our holiday mantel is a little bit Seahawks colors…and a little bit Christmas…with lots of little birds thrown in.  The white votive candle holders were just right to put up with my Glassybaby Seahawks 2013 and 2014 special edition votive holders.  (I’ve learned that I can collect more pretty things if I keep a very loose sports/color theme running in this household.  My fella is quite supportive that way…if they were pink or girly, I don’t think I’d get to collect too many pretty items to display!)


0149817a6417c21213158931be12931c626ecd6e77And also on my mantle this year, I filled a vase with some wooden Christmas ornaments that my kids colored and painted for me many years ago.  We don’t have a large tree this year, but I absolutely love these simple ornaments filled with tons of memories of my kids and my mama who helped them make the ornaments for me as a gift.

01188b4e1432a39ff9238343fbef4b616f861d0ab4Have you done a Secret Santa exchange this year?

P.S. Thank you, Karen!  I absolutely loved the gift!!

P.P.S.  I might not follow instructions well, and had this scheduled for the wrong day…so here is a link to my open letter to Alison about how her challenges have impacted me!


Winter & Holiday Style Challenge-Week 2

Well the challenge is well underway.  I didn’t do much shopping before this challenge because I thought I’d be able to pull a bunch of things together and make it work…

Practical, yes…

Great on my pocketbook, yes…

Inspiring…not so much! 

I am getting a little envious of all the fantastic sweaters and tunics that are popping up on challenge participants.  I have to mention the elusive cable knit sweater, too.  I really would love to find one that is flattering…but it is a bit like a unicorn…I am not 100% certain that such a thing exists.

So this week, I still haven’t pulled myself together to take pictures of several of the outfits that I wore.  I am hoping to get caught up on my outfit pictures over the holidays because I’ve been so focused on getting my work done before taking some much needed vacation days.  It is more work to get ready for being off work!

Day 3 was supposed to be a poncho + long sleeve tee + printed scarf + skinny jeans + wedge boots.  Didn’t happen!

Day 4 was supposed to be a plaid shirt + puffer vest + black jeans + wedge boots…now in fact, I actually wore this outfit…until the mailman came to the door!  My dad surprised me with an early Christmas present!!  My black jeans didn’t work so well with these…


Have I mentioned these have been on my wishlist since at least 2011?  My dream boots…Old Gringo Abby Rose!

Day 5‘s style prescription was a long cardigan, a neutral tee, fur scarf, skinny jeans, and riding boots.  I have the long cardigan down (Nic+Zoe Digital Dreams Cardy)…but didn’t wear the fur scarf or the boots.  I was going for comfort today…I never even put make up on.

no make up pic of the day

Day 6‘s outfit was a dressy sweater, gray jeans, and black heels.  No black heels for me…but my sweater is sparkly and fun, so I count that as dressy…mostly on track today!

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Day 7 was supposed to be plaid shirt + cable knit sweater + statement necklace + black pants + black heels + dressy clutch.

Sunday should be a day of rest, but day 7 was actually more like 10 hours of overtime work with most of the day spent in pajamas until it was getting a bit ridiculous and I needed to put on jeans and a t-shirt.

Day 8 was supposed to be long sleeve tee + puffer vest + skinny jeans + fur scarf + shearling boots + boot socks.  I didn’t wear the right outfit, but I wasn’t in pajamas, either!


Day 9 was supposed to be dressy sweater + skinny jeans + riding boots.  I wore a fancy sweatshirt…and flats.  I tried!

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I might be a little off track and distracted these days, but I have to admit, I love Alison’s Style Challenges.  I feel more confident in what I choose to wear…and by making a few other changes, I’ve also went down 2 full pant sizes…Day 9’s pants are size 12…they have been folded up and put away for YEARS!  It is amazing what not wearing yoga pants (when you aren’t doing yoga) can do for your motivation! I love being a part of a group of wonderful ladies who are edifying and provide constructive feedback, and just are so much fun in general!  It is fun to belong to a great group of women.  I wrote an open letter to Alison, that you are welcome to read: here.

Well, I will stop rambling, but definitely stop by and check out the other fantastic ladies linking up this week!  Also tomorrow, we are revealing our Secret Santa gifts that we received!  I am excited to see what everyone received!!

Winter & Holiday Style Challenge-Week 1


I am excited for another style challenge and happy to be linking up with a great group of ladies!

Winter/Holiday Style Challenge Banner

I haven’t done any shopping for this challenge, as I didn’t budget in a whole lot for this time around.  I am going to have to get creative with the items in my closet!

Day one was a cable sweater…but this is an elusive item for me.  I love how they look, but have not found one I love on me.  I am still on the hunt for this item, so today was yoga pants and a long-sleeve tee, and a hoodie.  I will spare you a photo of that.

On day two, Alison prescribed a tunic sweater and black leggings to wear with boots and a vest.  I do not have a tunic sweater, so I wore a regular sweater with black jeans and black boots.  I had fun with this outfit, because I wore a scarf that I just received in a scarf and ornament swap!  It was so perfect, cozy, and warm.

The wonderful Paula of Rainy Night Cottage made me a lovely scarf and ornament!  I put it on the scarf as soon as I opened the box!!


Paula also included an ornament…which was perfect because I have lots of bird ornaments.  The funny thing is that I had an ornament that was very similar that I had saved as a “pattern.” Saved…until my puppy got a hold of it last year!  It was funny to see this one arrive in the mail!!



01f0f641863b04c6097fe2d62f14cb8e1d5027c9a0So anyhow…I am so appreciative of the time that Paula put into making me such a fantastic scarf and the bird ornament.  I couldn’t have fathomed the personal touch that she put into  the scarf and ornament swap.  I personally went and purchased a scarf and ornament for my swap recipient.  I was happily surprised that Paula made me such a beautiful scarf and ornament, and she threw in some extra goodies.

So day two’s outfit….

Winter day 2

I was feeling pretty wobbly today…so I have two pics with me leaning one way or the other way…not great pictures by any means, but pretty silly and fitting for the day.

scarf swap scarf

Here is a closer picture so I can show off my lovely new wool infinity scarf.


My over-sized watch and my choice of earrings for the day.


So hopefully, some of the other ladies have more than one outfit to share…since we are on day three now.  I don’t have a picture of today’s outfit ready, so that will be up here next week.  Have fun visiting the other link-ups!

I am also linking up with Get Your Pretty On.

Liebster Q&A

So I had never heard of the Liebster Award until I was nominated to answer some questions about myself.  So if you are ready for some serious get-to-know-me ramblings, here goes!

The word liebster means sweetheart/dearest in German. The award is given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers by their blogging peers.

First I have to answer 11 questions that were posed to me by the person that nominated me.  (That would be Alison C. of Puppies & Pretties.  She is a fellow Style Me Blogger.  Thank you Alison!)

What is your favorite color?

Gray. This is especially fitting since I live in the Pacific Northwest.

What is your favorite book/series?

Oh that is a tough one! I love books. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield is one that I have read many times (at least once per year)…and I think a great book is My Losing Season by Pat Conroy…but I could tell you dozens of books that are my “favorite” so I will stick with these two for now.

success principes

Can you tell how much I love this book? I’ve read it many times over the last decade.

If you could pick 1 article of clothing that you had to wear every day, what would it be?

I would pick Old Gringo boots…especially this pair! I told my kids after I buy these, if they ever put me in a nursing home, they better make sure the staff gets me up and puts my boots on me every day…and when I pass on, my kids better make sure I’m wearing my boots. My daughter totally is not supportive on that…she says these boots would be her inheritance.

Old Gringo Abby Rose Brass/Aqua L664-2 Main

Old Gringo Abby Rose~via rivertrail merchantile


Dog or Cat?

I have one of each and they both drive me up the wall and eat me out of house and home. Georgia is newest addition…American Bulldog. She is 16 months old and a handful of crazy! Rita is my tuxedo kitty. She is 11 and is starting to get old, ornery, and lose her eyesight, but now suddenly loves being cuddled. It is a very noisy house when you factor in the young dog and an older cat that can’t see as well as she used to.

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What is your favorite movie?

This is much easier than deciding on a favorite book. My son thinks that I have to pick one movie as my favorite movie…I can’t do it…so I will share what my son let me settle on…(and he let me keep 5 as my very favorites!):

Favorite comedy: Elf

Favorite drama: The Blind Side

Favorite romantic movie: Sweet Home Alabama

Favorite 80s movie: Say Anything

Favorite cartoon movie (or my son likes to tell me, “animated film”): Despicable Me

What is your favorite Trader Joe’s item?

I have broken myself of an addiction to the chili-pepper coated dried mango…possibly because the store by my house stopped stocking them for a while. I am not sure if they still have them, but it might be better not knowing.

If you had to pick 1 store to buy all of your clothes from, where would it be?

I would probably be sneaky and pick 6PM or Last Call so that I could buy lots of different brands of clothing on sale. But if I have to really choose a real store, I think I would probably pick Talbots because the clothing is very classic, structured, and tailored. I could up the fun with my accessories if I got bored.

Where was your favorite vacation?

Man, I was asked a lot of very tough questions…my favorite vacation would have to be Lake Tahoe with my family and friends last year for my friend Kelly’s wedding. It was nice to take an extended trip and stay for a while with no rush to do anything or be any place (with the exception of that wedding!)

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Where do you stand on ugly Christmas sweaters? Yay or nay?

So I am not big on the ugly Christmas sweater. However, I really have my eye on this one from Talbots, if it ever goes on sale before Christmas!

joyful sweater

via Talbots

I don’t think it is an ugly Christmas sweater…

What is your favorite post that you have written?

My favorite post that I have written is probably this one, because it was a quick, simple, and fun project for Garbage Disposal Refresher Tabs.  And after receiving it, my friend promptly shook the jar and broke several of them up, asking me if I really thought they would work.  Funny memory!

Weekly calendar – do you start yours on Sunday or Monday?

My weekly calendar starts on Sunday. I am currently using the Passion Planner with pages printed out so I can see the week when I open my notebook. I use an ARC-punch and leave the opposite side blank so I can add extra notes for the upcoming week or planning specific projects. It is like planning ahead for scribble and brain dumping space…but maybe not the most environmentally-friendly way to plan.

List 11 facts about yourself

  1. I may or may not be known for my love of all things houndstooth, camo, leopard, and sparkly.
  2. Today, I celebrate being 3 months and 15 days sober…and I kind of miss being able to just sit down and have a glass of fantastic and decadent red wine.
  3. I love diffusing essential oils in my home every day. I make different blends depending on my mood. A friend told me my house smells very “homey.” (Which I find is much nicer than “eau de bulldog.”) “Homey” is a blend of cardamom, clove, lemon, and cedar wood…in case you were curious.
  4. I have multiple sclerosis and I am also a proud member of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
  5. My favorite bible verse is John 15:9, “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; continue in My love.”
  6. I highlight, jot notes, and randomly mark in most non-fiction books I am reading.
  7. I currently have about 8 cookbooks specific to slow cooking on my kitchen shelf…but I don’t have a slow cooker…I lost it at a potluck and haven’t replaced it.
  8. I have also lost the top of my desk…it is piled with too many projects.
  9. I am not sure if it is just my imagination, but I think Shaklee’s Basic H is like bottling a magical fairy godmother to help clean your home…okay, so that might be stretching the truth, but I LOVE this stuff and I’ve actually sent people home with plastic containers full so that they could try it, too…just to see if I am delusional or not. It is my favorite cleaning product that I have ever come across.
  10. I have two Barbie dolls in my office…Boot Camp Barbie and Crimson Tide Cheerleader Barbie.
  11. I am addicted to Thrive Life’s freeze-dried peaches…and they remind me a bit of the freeze-dried squares of fruit cocktail that used to come in MRE pouches when I was in the Army.

Give your nominees 11 questions to answer

  1. Cake or pie?
  2. What is your favorite season? (Why?)
  3. What is the first thing that you can remember wanting to be when you grew up?
  4. What is your favorite midnight snack?
  5. What book are you reading right now?
  6. How many pairs of jeans do you own?
  7. What is your favorite non-profit organization to support? (Please share a link, if desired.)
  8. If you were bringing your favorite something to show-and-tell, what would you show everyone?
  9. What is your daily commute like?
  10. What is your favorite font?
  11. If you could choose to do anything in the world and know that you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

And finally, here are my nominees for the Liebster Award:

1.  Lana @ Two Teens and their Mama

2.  Deena @ Shoes to Shiraz

3. Liz @ Pigskin Parenting

4. Leslie @ Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After

5. Patty @ Lemon Lane Cottage

6.  Shaunta @ Going Reno

7.  Charlene @ From Bisons to Buckeyes

8. Paula @ Rainy Night Cottage

{Style Me Bloggers} My Favorite Holiday Meal

Oh my favorite holiday meal usually ends up going without any sort of photos.  I am too busy washing all the flour and gunk off me and the counters to even think about snapping pictures before we sit down to eat.  So instead, I will share with you a few of the recipes that ALWAYS make an appearance on our holiday table.


Deviled eggs are the appetizer of choice among Ray, my dad and my brothers.  Usually, the more spicy they are, the faster they disappear.  I am a huge fan of Kathy Casey, and if you are in need of some great deviled egg recipes, she has a book you should check out.

via Amazon


So I used to always have wine, vodka, and Wild Turkey on hand for the holidays.  Recently, I found this great recipe for a non-alcoholic beverage from doTERRA’s blog.  This cranberry-lime spritzer is my new go-to drink for the holidays.  In fact, I am making some for a Christmas party at my home tomorrow!  I was missing wine and cocktails for a while, but I’ve been trying to mix up a few non-alcoholic drinks these days, and sending home bottles of wine with guests who come to visit.  Win-win!

**Side note:  If you would like information on how to purchase a fantastic lime essential oil from doTERRA, email me or click here.

Main Dish

I would always make a huge turkey in a roaster oven, so that my oven was free for everything else.  I’d also make a smaller ham early in the morning and warm it up again before dinner.  This year, my brother smoked a turkey and a rib roast, so all I had to do was make the sides!  Not a bad gig…I think he might have nightmares of cooking for Thanksgiving…but then again, I was told I was talking about planning Thanksgiving dinner in my sleep…in March…so I guess my brain is always thinking about what I need to do on that Thursday in November!


Side dishes are the most important part of the whole meal (in my opinion)!

Macaroni and Cheese is a requirement.  I don’t think we can get away without me making it (and an extra pan or two to set aside for the freezer).  I assume that everyone has their own favorite recipe, so I didn’t include mine here…but now I am thinking that I should have typed it up.

Another side dish that has to appear is Au gratin potatoes…I make mine with lots of butter and heavy cream, but also fancy it up with mushrooms, gruyere cheese, and Yakima apple wood smoked sea salt, along with lots of onions and garlic.  I have to say, the aroma of the smoked sea salt, onions, mushrooms and garlic sauteing is like the most divine cooking aroma ever.  (You have to try it for yourself to find out!)  This dish is referred to mostly as: “Make sure you bring THOSE potatoes…you know THE potatoes you make…”  I just call them “Dad’s Potatoes,” not because he makes them…but because he always reminds me to make them.

**in case you don’t have Yakima apple wood smoked sea salt in a grocery store near you, you can buy some online from Amazon… 4 Oz – Apple Wood Smoked Sea Salt Yakima Applewood

Cranberry Sauce…homemade is best.  I use turbinado (raw) sugar and make a syrup, add fresh cranberries and orange zest.  Sometimes I’ll add some chopped dried apricots, sometimes not.  After the berries all start popping and it starts to come to a boil again, I remove it from the heat and add in some Cointreau or Wild Orange essential oil for a boost of citrus flavor.  I let it cool to room temperature before serving, which gives it time to set up nicely.

Sweet potatoes with orange and bourbon are a favorite…and can’t skip mashed potatoes and gravy.

Buttery peas and some green beans tossed with a vinaigrette are great sides, but never asparagus or carrots.  As much as I would love to make some asparagus, my brother and dad are allergic!  Carrots are another no-no, since my sister won’t touch them even as an adult!

Of course you can never have enough soft rolls…and lots and lots of butter!! My mom used to make the best rolls.  I need to see if I can find her recipe.  I’ve been just buying bags of soft rolls because I am busy making everything else.

I almost forgot…there has to be an enormous pan of stuffing…It goes faster than anything else!  And if there are leftovers…they are fought over.  No one wants to take food home, but everyone wants to take the extra stuffing…except one brother who this year just asked for “green things” in his leftovers bag.


For dessert, I make an Egg Custard Pie.  (To view the recipe: click here.)  This is one of my go-to desserts…just simple comfort food at its finest.

I also make a cheesecake with a cranberry sauce.  I’d love to say it is my secret recipe because it is always a hit, but all the credit goes to Fine Cooking.  (For their fantastic recipe: click here.)  I have used this recipe for many, many years now.  I have even used it to make smaller cheesecakes to deliver as holiday gifts before friends are having smaller dinners at their homes.

New York-Style Cheesecake with Cranberry-Cointreau Sauce Recipe

via Fine Cooking

Holiday Express

Now if you are looking for all the flavors of a holiday dinner with less effort and less time in the kitchen, this is one of my favorite recipes!! 

Cook’s Illustrated has a turkey casserole recipe that is fantastic.  I believe it is hidden in this great cookbook that I’ve had for nearly a decade!  I am trying to find a link online…but not finding it and most of their recipes seem to require a subscription to review.  I will have to update this post later with the information…because it is turkey, stuffing and cranberry and all the holiday goodness all in one wonderful dish!

via Amazon

I can’t wait to check out what the other ladies are cooking up for the holidays…make sure you stop by and find out, too!




Build Your Wardrobe Basics-Week 3

So although I was committed to a link up for the Build Your Wardrobe Basics challenge, this week definitely got the better of me.

On Thanksgiving, I was busy prepping food and hopped in the shower to clean up with only a few minutes to spare…I threw on my Seahawks sweatshirt and jeans and headed to my brother’s house to watch the game and have dinner.  Instead of wearing my outfit of the day, I had on sweats and an apron as I prepared macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, green beans, peas, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing.  I bought some lemon bars instead of making an egg custard pie.

Friday, my son and I braved the store to find a pair of heels to go with my dress suit for an interview.  It wasn’t actually that crowded, but it was cold and rainy, and no outfit of the day made an appearance.  I think it was skinny jeans, a black hoodie, and a houndstooth puffy vest over the top.  Comfy and warm!

Saturday was a football watching day…had to wear my purple long-sleeved tee (Go Dawgs!) and topped it off with my Bama Carhartt jacket (Roll Tide!).  That outfit of the day was again so elusive…but I was quite comfortable…and glad that both teams won!

Sunday, I can’t quite remember what happened Sunday…but I am sure that the outfit of the day was jeans and a hoodie.  I can feel myself slipping back into my old ways!

Monday…no outfit of the day as prescribed by Alison and Cyndi.  Instead, I was sporting my dress suit for an interview…but at least I have a couple pictures!

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The suit is Kay Unger.  I absolutely adore that I can always order my size in this brand and it always fits!  I ordered this last week, knowing I had an interview scheduled.  I didn’t want to wear a formal black pantsuit.  This ended up being perfect for me to wear.  I found the shoes on sale on Friday at Nordstrom Rack.  They were Cole Haan patent leather pumps for about $75.  I thought they were fantastic, because they were so very similar to what I wore with my Army dress uniform (way, way back when…).  I had to use my forearm crutch but stashed it before my interview, just because…  I would have loved to have purchased a structured black handbag, but I made due with a silver metallic bag that was already paid for!

Tuesday, is another day that seemed to slip by with no picture.  I did wear the outfit of the day…but it has been a long week so far!  I was mentally preparing for a timed assessment for Wednesday (today) and everything seemed to get put on a back burner.

The nice thing about this week is that I knew that I needed to just step back and take a breather…so I did.  Obviously, it isn’t such a great thing when recapping a week of a style challenge, but it gave me the opportunity to direct my focus on other things.  I think that I rushed into the challenge not prepared…I’d had a flooded basement, a dryer mishap, was sick for 2 weeks, had an MS-relapse, and then sailed right into a holiday and then my interview.  It has been a lot to take on, and I am okay with that.  The great thing is that the winter challenge starts soon.  I haven’t even looked at the shopping list, or looked in my closet to prepare, but I think as things quiet down, I might find my rhythm again.

For some actual challenge outfits, make sure you stop by and visit some of the blogs linking up this week…I have absolute faith that some of them have many more outfits than I posted here!


Deena | Joy | Dee | Leslie | Patty | Shawnee | Shaunta | Leslie

I Feel Pretty Logo

Build Your Wardrobe Basics Challenge: Week 2

I don’t have a lot of outfits for this week’s link up.  I had a pretty rough week and things just didn’t work out as I had planned, including my outfits-of-the-day as styled by Alison and Cyndi.

Last week, the outfit prescribed for Wednesday was khaki pants, a jean jacket, a white button-down shirt, and leopard print shoes.  I can’t seem to find the perfect white shirt, so I opted for a minty-green color.

OOTD 11-19-14

Last Thursday, Alison and Cyndi recommended a neutral sweater, boots, and skinny jeans.  In my book, orange is a neutral, and I opted to throw a vest over my somewhat clingy sweater.


Friday’s outfit was a solid blouse, boot cut jeans, leopard print shoes, and a long necklace.  This blouse was too dark, but it worked out well because I spilled my coffee all down the front of it.  I don’t think anyone noticed, but I smelled suspiciously like hazelnut.  I would choose a brighter color blouse next time…too many dark colors for this outfit.


Saturday’s outfit was khaki pants, a chambray shirt, stud earrings, and leopard print shoes.  This was my favorite outfit of the week, and I ended up never remembering to take a picture of it.

Sunday’s outfit was supposed to be a lovely black sheath dress and white button down shirt…I ended up wearing jeans, a big sweater, and a t-shirt.  This outfit was much more comfortable for laying on the basement floor, and putting the pieces of my dryer back together.

Monday, I tried to get back on track.  I wore a neutral sweater, trouser-fit jeans, patent leather Hunter boat shoes, and my scarf from the scarf swap.  This lovely scarf was sent to me, and Monday was my first chance to wear it.



Tuesday, I ended up in my traditional work-from-home attire of leggings and a hoodie sweatshirt.  I was in full-comfort mode.  If I would have been playing along, Alison and Cyndi recommended a striped tee, jean jacket, khaki pants, leopard print shoes, and stud earrings.

Today’s outfit of the day was supposed to be black pants, a solid blouse, a sweater, and black boots.  I recovered from my funk (partially because I had to go in the office) and wore a patterned blouse, sweater, black suiting pants, and a grey cardigan.  I don’t have high-heeled boots…that might be pretty funny (and dangerous for me) if I did.  I was feeling a little frumpy in today’s outfit.  Maybe I will find better choices in my closet next time.


So this week didn’t go as I had planned, but maybe I will do better next week.

Today I just signed up for the Style Me Pretty Winter Challenge.  Care to join me?  I am looking forward to sparkles and sweaters!!

Winter/Holiday Style Challenge Banner

Make sure you stop by and visit some of the other bloggers that are participating in this style challenge!

Deena | Joy | Dee | Leslie | Patty | Shawnee | Shaunta

Scarf Swap!

scarf swap

Jessica Lynn writes hosted a Scarf Swap.  This was my first time participating in a swap.  It was a little daunting to shop for a scarf for someone else…I think the first email said “colorful” and wouldn’t you know it…I forgot all about that and came home from the store with a very neutral (gray) and elegant scarf that I thought was perfect for holiday parties.  I went back and checked my email for the mailing address.  Oops…nothing colorful about that scarf…quickly tucked it into my closet with the rest of my scarves.  Two days later, I went to the store and found a cozy red and black scarf that seemed more fitting for someone who was looking for “colorful.”  Next time, I might jot down a note or two rather than rely on what I think is the prettiest scarf hanging around at the store.

I received a beautiful scarf in neutral colors with a fantastic mix of stripes and floral.  I noted that my favorite color is gray, and this scarf will fit into my wardrobe perfectly!  I haven’t had the chance to wear it yet…sitting around in sweats and slippers…but I am excited to wear it today and will post a picture on Wednesday when I recap my week for Alison’s Style Me Pretty Build Your Wardrobe Basics Challenge.

scarf swap 2014I think my son has his eye on the cookie that was included in the package!

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Side Note:  My scarf swap partner, Rachel Brenke, has a book that you really should check out (in addition to checking out her great website, that is).  Her book,  The Laundry List: A Mom’s Guide to Running a Successful Business and Home, is perfect for moms who want to gather some ideas and inspiration for streamlining the processes of running a home and a business.  She shares her strategies and methods for success.  (You can also sign up for her email updates and preview a chapter of the book for free.)

Be sure to stop by the link up and check out all the fabulous scarves that were gifted and received!  I can’t wait to do this again next year.  It was so much fun.

Happy Holidays!

{Style Me Bloggers} My Favorite Hats…and Closet Sneak Peek

So this week’s Style Me Bloggers link up is showcasing our favorite hats!  I have lots of hats…but I’m not sure how many pictures of me wearing hats I actually have!  I at least found one…

Me, Tim, and Miss Georgia

Me, Tim, and Miss Georgia

My Favorite Hats

These are my favorite hats!

Baseball capsIn Washington, baseball caps are perfect for winter hats…to keep all the rain off my glasses.

Vertical Express for MS hatsThese hats are from the Vertical Express for MS at Crystal Mountain in 2009 and 2010.  I added my snowboarding helmet because it is signed by Jimmie Heuga the founder of Can Do MS (formerly the Heuga Center for MS).  If you want to know about Jimmie Heuga, check out this link…pretty spectacular man and I was blessed to meet him and he truly touched my life and he and the staff at Can Do MS helped me realize that I am more than just “Joy who has MS.”  I’m not just a list of symptoms and physical limitations.  I can do anything I put my mind too!

Not staying awake for Picture Troop Salute Hat GeorgiaAnd for the next two hats, here is Miss Georgia, #1 fan, looking tired.  The long crocheted cap was made by my mama so that is pretty special to me.  I love to wear that when the weather is cold and a game is on, because no one else has one.  The other Seahawks hat that she is wearing is a Salute to Service Seahawks beanie that I just got this month.  I always like when the Seahawks have gear that is directed towards military members and Veterans.

..bet you can’t guess anything about me by my choice in hats! 

In case you really can’t…I like sparkly things, football, shooting ranges, and I live with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.  I tried to learn to snowboard after my diagnosis…I wasn’t very good but it was fun.  (I haven’t gone since my mama passed away.)  I am a proud U.S. Army Veteran, and a recent graduate of the University of Alabama.  (I just completed my master’s degree in May 2014.)


And if you got this far, here is a link to my closet pictures that should have been included in the last link up!

Make sure you check out some other blogs and see what hats everyone loves this winter!


Committed to Saving

Wow, I’m just still under the weather and dragging through my days this week.

I had to take a trip to Costco to pick up a prescription, so I dropped $10 on that. I never mind picking that one up because the rest of my meds cost so much more.

While I was there I spent some cash on groceries and a couple trays of baked goods for a work potluck tomorrow. I stayed within my limit and was happy to walk out of there for less than $60.

I did slip up and ran through the drive thru so I could go home and finish some work and then climb into bed early. I really was having a bad day, and I think my emotions made me slip up thinking I deserved the ease and convenience but not a healthy choice, financially, emotionally, or physically. There went just about $10 cash.

So today’s lesson in The 21-day Financial Fast was about saving and the importance of an emergency fund and a “life happens” fund. In all honesty, I don’t have either right now. I have a retirement fund through work and an IRA that I add to every pay day. I need to build up my emergency fund, so I really need to critically assess my budget this weekend.

I also need to start thinking about my budget for Christmas. I’ve got some work to do this weekend!!

Do you have your budget done for holiday spending? Or maybe I’m just the only procrastinator in the world!