Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

It's been quite a while since I've participated in a WIWW post and linked up with Lindsey at the Pleated Poppy blog. But, a friend had a new fancy camera and I had on a cute outfit, so why not?!

Outfit details - dress, Forever 21 (old), scarf - Charming Charlie (love that place!), black leggings - JCPenney, Red belt - I can't even remember!, Top - sister's closet!

I've been playing around with my look on the weekends. I love comfort but style is super important too, so I pair lots of dresses and tunics with leggings and switch out knee high boots for booties or even mix in flats depending on the day and what we've got planned.


I'm also really loving scarfs this time of year. I enjoy mixing patterns, as you can see from my stripes and leopard. It's different and fun and adds a bit of the unexpected to an outfit!

I enjoy statement pieces like large necklaces or a big ring.

I always love to add in a thin belt to complete my look whether I'm tucking in my top, knotting it at the waist (as seen above) or going for the longer draped look. A colorful belt pulls the ensemble all together.


In other fashion news I scored some great buys this past week from Very Jane, a boutique company offering super fabulous deals on lots of trendy accessories, clothing and things for the home. Merry Christmas to me! I follow the company on Facebook and the deals are amazing and the products super fun.

Linking up with the Pleated Poppy. Head over for some inspiration.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Don't Save it All for Christmas Day

Don't get so busy that you miss giving just a little kiss to the ones you love. 

Don't even wait a little while to give them just a little smile. 
A little is enough. 


This time of year poses challenges for all — the happy, the healthy, the sick, the lonely, the poor, the rich. You. Me. All of us. We're all full of brokenness and in our own unique way deal with it at Christmastime and all year long.



Listening to Christmas music is one of the things I enjoy so much this time of year. I look forward to starting right after Thanksgiving and keeping it going — at home, at work, in the car — until right after the big day. I just bought the These are the Special Times CD by Celine Dion at Michael's with a 40% off coupon. Say what?! I know, I know! I'm one of the few people people in my age group who still purchase CDs from the store and listen to them on my CD player in the kitchen or in my car. (I'm sure I'd fit right in with the senior citizens out there still looking for Sam Goody in the mall. You remember Sam Goody, don't you?)

This song in particular really captures what the season is all about. The hustle and bustle are so overwhelming for so many of us that are just trying to make it through the day. (Me included.) We put so much emphasis on doing things the right way or trying to have the perfect experience in all that we do. It's exhausting. After a very discouraging weekend, which included some parenting behavior that I am not very proud of, I've decided that it's time to let it go. I need to let it all go and just be accepting of the here and now. Take each situation for what it is and not invest so much into it. I know that this is not going to be an easy task, but it is one that I am willing to embrace with open arms — starting this week. Today.


I need to slow down. I want to embrace the messiness and the imperfectness that is life. I need (and so desperately want) more patience and gratitude in my life. I need to spend more time being attentive to personal needs, rather than what I want.

Don't save it all for Christmas Day,
Find a way to give a little love everyday.

So this year at Christmas I am reminded by a Celine Dion song to find my way every day. After the holidays have come and gone, as they always do, I am still me. I am still living my little life. And among some of the sadness that we all sometimes feel around this time of year I'm reminded of the important things, the special times that don't take a lot. I'm reminded of all the happiness and magic that automatically come with the season. That might come out of nothing at all,

Seasons, reasons, they don't matter. So don't hold back...


If you are looking for some stress free ways to enjoy the holidays with your family, make some memories and create some new traditions, hop on over to Liberating Working Moms and check out my newest post — Creating Holiday Traditions with your Family.







Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ode to Craigslist

I love Craigslist! Over the years I have been able to score some pretty great pieces (mostly furniture) and, aside from one shady seller that I promptly stopped communicating with, I've had some good experiences that have led to great purchases that now reside in my home. I've been able to negotiate price, many times in my favor, work out convenient times to meet and exchange the goods, and walk away very happy after a pleasant conversation with the seller.

Case and point, last night I picked up a beautiful cedar armoire. What an amazing piece of furniture this is! I was so excited to get it home and set it up in my daughter's room, since she does not have a closet in her bedroom. I love this piece! It fits perfectly and looks great. The sellers were a young couple with two cute little boys. We actually talked to them for a while in their dining room because both husbands (hers and mine) share the same hobby — raising chickens!

The armoire is just the right size and has a wooden rod inside to hang Molly's clothes. It is deep and can fit multiple baskets for extra clothes, shoes or other storage. We love it!



We also purchased Molly's dresser from a Craigslist seller while I was pregnant. This was a piece that we had to visit multiple times. It was originally an old brown color that the seller transformed with some paint and crystal knobs to give it the shabby chic feel, which I love. It has a mirror that attaches to the back. It's a perfect piece for Molly's clothes and looks great in her lavender room.

P.S. Molly's elf is a girl and Molly named her Laura. We don't do the Elf on the Shelf activities. We just leave her sitting there!


Another purchase from a Craigslist seller was Molly's rocker and ottoman. We still use this every night to rock Molly to bed. It's our routine. It's a comfortable chair and was in great condition when we got it.

Since then we recovered the two cushions thanks to Michael's godmother who worked her magic with her sewing machine for us. Thanks Aunt Rae! We picked a bright pink polka dot pattern to brighten up the chair, which formerly was blue and white striped. It looks great and we are so pleased with it. This too was purchased while I was pregnant with Molly from a young family who was so excited to send it off with a couple starting a family.



Other things that I've purchased from Craigslist include a Maclaren umbrella stroller, a wicker ottoman for our front porch, a tall dresser for the guest room, and Molly's swing set. At this moment I've just texted another seller about a vintage work table that would be great as a kitchen island. We'll see how this goes. I can't be stopped!

Have you scored anything great lately on Craigslist?


Monday, December 8, 2014

Hello Christmas Tree

It's Monday and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house. Molly is loving decorating this year and is old enough to know that we don't touch the villages or the kings in the manger or the glass (glassy as she calls them!) ornaments on the tree. She sure is having fun these days dancing to Christmas music and helping mommy decorate the tree, as we did on Saturday. Her favorite song to sing is Alice Lalida, also known as Feliz Navidid. I love this kid!



Since then we've taken our tree to another level and added fake snow to the branches. So pretty!

I love how the color red creeps into our house this time of year and stays around until February. It makes me happy!

Hello Monday...

Hello Christmas tree, Christmas songs and Christmas shopping. I'm pretty behind in my shopping, though I do have a list going of what I need to buy. I'm planning on making some online purchases soon too. Have you heard of Amazon Smile? If you shop on Amazon it's a great way to support your favorite charitable organization and costs nothing. Hello great idea!

Hello cold. Brrr! It's super chilly here today on Long Island and we are expecting a nor'easter tomorrow bringing lots of heavy rain and wind. I like staying home in my comfy clothes with a fire and hot tea on those days.

Hello Santa. We saw Santa this weekend at Breakfast with Santa and Molly refused to sit on his lap. Hello strong personality!

 This little girl is getting so tall!

Hello Christmas cards. I'll be picking them up this week and preparing them to be stuffed, sealed and sent to family and friends. I love getting the mail this time of year and displaying all the beautiful cards, photos and messages from friends.

I saw this great quote on Instagram and I've been sharing it with everyone...

Wash your hands and say your prayers cause Jesus and germs are everywhere. 

Love that! Have a super Monday friends.




Friday, December 5, 2014

What Younger You Would Like About Present You

For me writing is a great way to truly work though and feel my emotions. Sometimes when I sit down to type out a blog post, as I begin getting my thoughts out it changes direction and in many cases becomes something entirely different than I had anticipated. My blog started in 2008 as a way to gain readership and bring knowledge to others about the field of career and life coaching. I had just finished my certification and couldn't wait to start my own side business. The blog morphed into something personal for me — more like a journal — in which I shared photos of DIY home projects, family celebrations and interior decorating, which I love. Later it became a blog about my journey to motherhood and ultimately, my life as a working mom. I'm a working mom trying hard to balance life, love and my career — all with a smile on my face.


Many of my ideas for blog posts come from things that I read on the Internet every day. Part of developing as a professional is being in tune with current events and happenings in your area. I encourage my staff to take time to read professional journals and articles related to and relevant to our profession all the time. If you were to look at my blogger profile you'd notice that I have about ten drafts in progress — working titles, links to articles and posts written by others that have inspired me to write, etc. Case and point, 11 Things Every Women Should Write Down Before the Year Ends.

Number one, what younger you (me) would about present you (me). What about my life has turned out bigger, brighter and sparklier than I could have ever imagined? 

Bigger?
What is bigger in my life than ever before is my connection to Jesus.  I've been attending a new church now for over a year. It was a big step in my life and I knew it was time. Even after attending private, Catholic high school and growing up involved in my church, I always lacked something. I found it hard to pray. I didn't enjoy going to church.Attending my new church changed my life and helped me discover what I had been longing for.

Brighter?
My life as a parent to one child is actually quite bright. I grew up with one sister and always thought that having a sibling was the right thing. Though I may still have a second child, I am enjoying my life as a mother of one right now. I am still coming into my role as mother, three and a half years in. Every day is an amazing challenge and a blessing with feelings and emotions of love I never knew were possible before.

I am accepting my life for what it is in this moment and learning to love what I have. I am accepting that as much as I'd like to control each and every situation and make it just as I'd like, that there is a bigger plan for me and that I am not in control of it. This was tough and took a very long time to learn and accept. But, to be completely honest, it's easier to give it up and let it go than it is to try and control everything.

Sparklier?
Something in my life that shines brightly (still, after all these years) is my Birthday. I love this day! Growing up our Birthdays were always so special. Thanks, Mom! Streamers hung from the ceiling fan. Balloons tied to the chair. Special wrapping paper for all the gifts. These things all made a girl feel so special on her special day. And even though I'm in my mid thirties, I still love how special and bright I feel on my Birthday.


Speaking of sparkle, last night we put up a faux Christmas tree in Molly's bedroom. She was pretty excited about it! She even posed next to her tree and told me to take her picture! We can't wait to get home tonight and decorate it!




Have a great weekend friends!





Monday, December 1, 2014

Thankful

It's December! Holy moly, can you believe how crazy fast this year went? I know, me neither. Thanksgiving was wonderful. I can sum it up in a few words — cozy, complete, delicious. 

Our little family - Thanksgiving 2014


We take a family photo every year (for the past four years) in the same spot at my Mom's house as soon as we arrive and before all the festivities commence. (I actually wish we started this tradition before having Molly!) I'm not real good at keeping up with the baby book, taking monthly photos, etc., but the Thanksgiving family shot is something I cherish and will continue to do every year. To view all four years of Thanksgiving photos of our little family, check out my Instagram. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I was so grateful to spend it surrounded by people I love. 


Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 


After a tough year I can find peace in knowing that my life is where and what it should be be. Today. In this present moment. My thankful list is complete and my heart is content.

I am thankful for my family — my amazing support system, whose love grows and weaves in and out just as life does. We've been through a lot and the one thing that never changes is the connection we feel toward each other and just how much we look forward to spending time together. I'm grateful for that time and those memories being created. 

Motherhood. I am thankful for this experience. I am thankful for my daughter. I am thankful that this amazing little girl is mine and calls me mommy. It is such a special gift and an amazing journey. I am treasuring our days and remembering that time is going by much faster than I'd like. 

I am thankful for good friends. Friends that lend an ear, whenever and wherever. Friends that share secrets and keep secrets. Friends that are filled with respect for you, no matter what they hear. Friends that never judge, only love. I've got some great friends!

I am thankful for my health — something that I will never take for granted. 

I am thankful for my little house that is comfortable and cozy and ours. The place that feels like home every day. And though there is mess (quite often, actually) it's a beautiful mess. We created it. We live it. And we love it. It's the place that we can't wait to get to at the end of the day and the place we sometimes hate to leave. 

I am thankful for my career. I'm lucky. I enjoy my work and working and I look forward to those experiences. I like to learn and grow and that happens often. I like connecting with people on a professional level. I am thankful for good colleagues — for people that can have fun but know when to be serious. 

I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed with an abundance of love, laughter, and good food. 




Now, let the Christmas shopping begin...





Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jewelry Organization

If you caught my most recent blog post at Liberating Working Moms Must Have Accessories for the Working Mom — then you know how much I love accessories! Given my love for a large floral necklace or a great pair of dangle earrings, you'd think I would have my jewelry on display so that every day — after my outfit was on —  I could just reach for the piece that would complete my outfit and head out. Not true...until recently.

My jewelry was a mess. Totally disorganized. I needed some order! So, like any gal on a mission to organize, I set out to buy some new pieces of decor to organize my jewelry. Well, first I visited Pinterest to feel inspired, then I went to Home Depot.

We have a small landing area outside our master bedroom which is where my desk/office space is set up. There's also my dresser, a bookcase and a mirror, so it doubles as a changing area. All of my costume jewelry and most of my accessories — with the exception of my belts, scarves and shoes — are kept in this area. It's also where I keep my perfume for a spritz on the way out. Here is a peek at my set up...




...and a little closer look at the mess atop my dresser.


What a mish-mosh of jewels, perfume, and yes, that is my personalized return address stamper. Apparently that day my daughter was having fun stamping everything with our last name and address!

There were some great things at Home Depot, but I really wasn't interested in spending a lot of money and totally redesigning the space because, it works works for me. I really just needed some organization.

After spending $6 and a few hours at home organizing, purging and creating, I got this to organize my necklaces...

 It's actually for belts or men's ties as the packaging said, but I am using it for necklaces.


I organized my earrings on my tree (with the birds) and hung my bracelets on the pink dress statue. Both of those pieces were gifts and I've had them for years. I organized a few of my go-to pieces and my stud earrings in the various shells and holders that I've collected over the years.



Boy does organization feel good! My next area to organize is our gift wrapping area with all our gift bags, tissue and wrapping paper. Right in time for Christmas!

Have you been organizing any areas in your home lately?





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Must Have Accessories for the Working Mom


It’s no secret to people around me that I like to look good at the office. Some days it may seem effortless, but indeed it takes some thought and determination. In my work environment I dress business casual and accessorizes have become essential for completing my everyday look. Over the years I've accumulated some that I deem necessary for any working mom. To read about my must-have accessories, head on over to Liberating Working Moms to read the rest of my entry