Let's discuss...how we achieve strength, confidence, youthful thinking, inspiration and head-turning personal style!

Nov 29, 2012

I AM WOMAN!

When you feel the need to whine about all that is going on around you, just remember, we are women…wired differently…able to multi-task by birthright…unfortunate for men, the poor dears, they just are not designed to handle doing several different jobs all at once!  (OK, be gentle in the comments)


My life as a peaceful empty-nester officially was paused about a month back when my pregnant daughter and her husband moved in with us for a while.  They are transitioning from life in Saipan to life in Texas and living with the in-laws just makes financial sense for the moment.   I have returned to daily household tasks which had eased up a bit when it was just the two of us.  But, I am not complaining…it is a true joy to have them here.
I BELIEVE I can do this...in a great silk jacket and blouse from
Chicos!
It is what lies ahead through December which gives me pause…but I know I can see it through.  School goes longer this year before we break, so in between teaching high school I will also…..
Appear on TV with Goodwill
Celebrate my 28th wedding anniversary
Cover two major blog events
Take everything out of the master bath and closets for trim and ceiling painting
Take everything out of the master bedroom for trim painting and carpeting
Complete Christmas shopping, wrap Christmas shopping
Meet my monthly freelance writing deadline (includes conducting interviews)
help my daughter compile a list for baby showers
Attend my son’s college graduation
Welcome my youngest son home to also live with us for a semester (more laundry!)
Attend my husband’s company Christmas party
Welcome my oldest son to live at home while awaiting marriage (that’s now six living in the house)
Serve a Christmas meal for seven
Hostess a rehearsal dinner...for fifty
Attend my son’s wedding
( Whew,some how writing it all down helps!)

This is all surrounded by meals, house cleaning (there is no maid, I am the maid...sometimes my husband is the maid), laundry, blogging, email, exercise, errands, pets, etc. etc.   How can I do this?  I am woman…uniquely made to do MORE, and I know there are some of you who have even more than I do on your plates.  Hear us ROAR….or watch us FAINT!  (A sense of humor at times like this is critical!!)
Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!  For local readers, watch me Saturday morning at 7:30 AM on KENS 5 Morning News with Goodwill!  I pulled looks for holiday parties at Goodwill this evening...it was so much fun!  

Nov 28, 2012

Pencil Skirt Power and Skirt Winner!




You.Are.Amazing.

As. you. are.
Stronger than you know.
More beautiful than you think.
Worthier than you believe.
More loved than you can ever imagine.
Passionate about making a difference.
Fiery when protecting those you love.
Learning. Growing. Not alone.
Warm. Giving. Generous.
Quirky. Sexy. Funny. Smart.
Flawed. Whole. Scared. Brave.
And so, so, so.much.more.

Be Strong. Be Confident. Be You.

~ Copyright: Tia Sparkles Singh, 2011


Just by chance, this week has turned out to be all about confidence.  (love the quote above from life coach, Tia Sparkles)   How we dress can reflect whether or not we feel confident…you know, it’s a different take on the phrase if you’ve got it, flaunt it.  My take?  You’ve all got it, so flaunt it!

Ralph Lauren denim skirt: Macys
Wool jacket: Goodwill SA
Scarf: Chicos

The most powerful garment in my closet, as far as I am concerned, is a pencil skirt.  There is just something about wearing a great fitting pencil skirt which makes me feel strong, dignified, in control!  This particular skirt is powerful for me, because about three months ago, I could not wear it…too tight!  YES!  Fits now! 

Garments can give us that extra edge with how we approach life….one of my readers commented on FB she recently had the courage to buy leopard flats! Congrats to Rita, you rock those flats with a smile!  There have been so many comments from new readers this week and I want you to know how much I appreciate each one of you!  Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog.

There is so much more I want to do and experience…so much more I believe I can do.  I rarely think about my age…very few circumstances make me feel old.   I am excited about what the next year holds…(I just need to get through the next few weeks!)  But, if I can wear skirts like this, I will face any situation feeling confident!

Now, please visit the confident ladies of Katie's Favorite Things Blog Hop! and have a wonderful day!!

http://katherinescorner.com/2012/11/29/thursday-favorite-things-blog-hop-64/
Ta Da!  The winner of the fun Lettuce Stitch Skirt is reader Renee!!  Thanks for entering....I hope you enjoy your skirt!  Please stop by on Monday for another fun fashion giveaway from Soft Surroundings!

Nov 27, 2012

Feeling Leopard Inside and Out!


Yesterday I wrote about self-confidence and smiling…important pieces of our personal style. Some of you left such sweet and encouraging comments...thank you so much.   One reader said to me, “I guess I could be more confident, if I would just stop listening to those voices in my head which tear me down!”

Controlling internal messages is very important.   When I start to hear them too often, I will just make myself say STOP!

The voice I currently hear the most during any given day says:
“Don’t eat it if you are not hungry!”
“Be slow to speak.  Quick to listen. Slow to become angry”  (I teach teenagers…there are many times during a day I can over-react if I allow myself to go there)
“Only think on today…tomorrow has enough worries of its own.”

Jacket, Denim pants, sweater: Lane Bryant
Scarf: Marshalls
Flats: Old Navy
I really try to stop the negative voices on a consistent basis…when I first hear one of those messages, I will immediately tell myself…YOU DON’T NEED THAT!  I pounce on it like a leopard and shut it down!

Now, go look in the mirror and tell yourself just how amazing you are!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Make sure you enter my contest to win a skirt HERE!!

Nov 26, 2012

Fashion Foundations: Self-Confidence and Smiles



"All you really need is loads of self- confidence...and a smile."   Ines de la Fressange

I love this quote from Ines because I believe it to be so true.  Really, you can wear and pull off just about anything with self-confidence and a smile.  During my 40s, my self- esteem was in the gutter. I allowed it to overshadow each clothing choice I made….my clothes sent a strong message of “I DON’T CARE!”  And I honestly believed because I was overweight, unhealthy, and exhausted I would not look good in anything…even if Michael Kors walked into my house in person and said he was there to dress me head to toe!!

I do not miss those days at all. But, the only thing that has really changed is my attitude.  Oh sure, I have lost a little weight; am on the road to a healthier me; and maybe go to bed a little earlier…but overall,  I am still the same.  The biggest difference is that now I am having fun with my fashion as opposed to beating myself over the head with it.  I am determined to have more positive thinking days than negative (notice I did not try to convince you that I am 100% positive all of the time) and I am determined to smile more than I frown.
Jacket and Skirt: Lane Bryant
Ralph Lauren Equestrian Blouse: Marshalls
Boots: Ross 

Once I discovered how I react to my circumstances is my choice, I was able to turn it around.  Now, I can look at a great trend like EQUESTRIAN and really have a lot of fun.


Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!  Did anyone score big at sales the past few days?

Nov 25, 2012

Goodwill Mother/Daughter Time!


I hope all of you had a special Thanksgiving weekend!  While I was asleep last weekend, magic happened.  This is the time of year when South Texas finally experiences a touch of autumn and some of the leaves go full color.  There are just a few spectacular ones this year as the weather is so mild and we have as yet not had a freeze.  But, what there is around is beautiful!
Scored with this great sweater and three tops!..One has a bow and polka
dots...very cute!
This was also a great time to get in a Mother/Pregnant Daughter shopping trip to Goodwill SA.  Pregnancy is one of those times when it just does not make since to pay big prices for maternity clothes.  Your body is constantly changing and authentic maternity clothes can be very expensive.  It is much more fun to spend the money on the baby!  Also, when I was pregnant most of my friends bought authentic maternity clothes…now- a- days, the young ladies like the tight look of regular clothes in larger sizes.  However, for my daughter in her third trimester….the pants are getting a little uncomfortable!  But, her feet are comfortable in these great boots we found at Goodwill for her.
Since she was in need of something to wear, we headed out to Goodwill.  This was a great place to find what we needed for beyond affordable prices. 
We also found brand new baby clothes (Yes, she is having my first grandson!) and parenting
books by authors we love!
Of course, I had to come home with something…this Chicos Travelers Striped Top made for a perfect addition to my closet.  We had a great day and hit up a couple of baby shops on the way home…after frozen yogurt!

I will be doing another television appearance this Saturday morning at 7:30 on KENS 5 News for Goodwill...tune in for more ideas!!

Have a wonderful Monday everyone…make sure you enter my contest HERE to win a skirt; and visit the other ladies of VISIBLE MONDAY!! and MONDAY MINGLE and CREATIVE MONDAYS!!

http://notdeadyetstyle.blogspot.com/2012/11/visible-monday-74-new-york-state-of-mind.html
http://www.glamamom.com/

Nov 23, 2012

Support Small Business Saturday!


Saturday has been set aside as the day to celebrate and support our country’s small businesses, Small Business Saturday.  Since I began blogging, I have met some amazing women running shops throughout our community.

Women like Marilyn Caskey, owner of Garment Exchange, a fun consignment boutique.  Marilyn is a single mom working hard to make a living for her family doing something she loves.  Supporting her is a pleasure.
My Christmas decorations all began with the little snowman closest to you, when my husband and I celebrated our first anniversary in the Texas hill country.  I will always hold that little gift boutique close to my heart!
My Christmas decorations come from three places: small gift boutiques; gifts to me; and vintage decorations from both sides of the family.  I decided twenty two years ago to collect snowmen after falling in love with them in the small business boutiques of Fredericksburg,TX.  They bring me so much joy and each one has a story to tell of a small shoppe and its community.

 And, there are so many of those boutique owners who each have their own stories to tell, and who work night and day to be successful.  Our economy is built on their sweat and tears.   So, please, this holiday season, find one or two small businesses to encourage with your dollars.  It’s not about getting more stuff….it is about helping our communities grow and thrive.  It’s about blessing those around us with small gifts that say we care. 

Have a Wonderful Small Business Saturday!  Would you tell us what small business in your town is your favorite??

Nov 22, 2012

Black Friday with Dots!

I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving experienced many blessings and great food!
I do not plan to do a lot of Black Friday shopping.  In the past, I have been known to go out just for the fun of it!  But, this year, I may be more low key.  However, the ladies at Dots did invite me over to see their brand new location at Terrell Plaza in San Antonio.
It's a beautiful store with the sweetest manager and employees ready to serve their customers with huge smiles.
If you love to follow trends, and do not have a big budget...then Dots just might have the answers!!  I saw many current trends in the store for all sizes and all ages.
Here's a great way to stretch the dollars and avoid the crowds at the mall.  Christmas budget shopping abounds!  Thank you ladies for a  great time...I love the earrings I purchased while there!

Does anyone else have big shopping plans for Friday or Saturday?  Whatever you do, I hope it is a special time!

Also, make sure you register to win a skirt HERE

Nov 21, 2012

Pumpkin Butter Bars Plus Blessings!


I am a little exhausted!  The day before Thanksgiving is just as busy for me as the actual day, because  I try to get several dishes made early and prepare for the work on Thursday.  Today, I made a spinach dish, sweet potato casserole, cornbread for dressing, and two desserts…I will put the turkey stock on in the crockpot before I go to bed tonight!
I thought I would share a new recipe for those of you looking for an alternative to pie.  One of my students gifted me a jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter.  I was scared to open it early with few people around…there is always a chance I would eat the majority of it…so it has sat in my kitchen staring at me for a couple of weeks!
Then on Sunday, I opened the Taste Section of The San Antonio Express News and VIOLA!...there was a recipe for Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Butter Bars made with this same brand of pumpkin butter.  So, I made the risky decision to go without a pie on Thursday and made the bars instead.  You can click on the recipe, but here are the pictures to help you along:
I love to get my spices for a special meal ground fresh at the grocery.  They taste so much better and are really less expensive than those in bottles.  For this recipe, the fresh cinnamon adds so much to the flavor.
You will need to reserve one cup of the cake mix and use what is left to make the crust first.  Press it into a pan like this:
Your filling will look like this and is made with the pumpkin butter...the minute you open the jar, the smells of Thanksgiving spices jump right out!!
I used my food processor to make the crumbly crust topping...it is important that your butter be cold and cut into pieces:
It will look like this after processing:
The recipe says to cook it for 35-40 minutes, but I thought the top looked very brown at 30 minutes, so I removed it early.
Set aside to cool!!  Then I made some cookies to be ready today for when my eldest son gets home from college.  I so wish my youngest son was here...I miss him terribly...but he is still out of the country until Christmas!  Then I will make cookies for him...
My final cooking today was making Southern Living cornbread in our grandmother's cast iron skillet.  This will be used for Cornbread Dressing on Thursday!


Whew!  I am tired...now I will sit down with a cup of Twinings Ultra Spice Chai Tea (perfect for this time of year) and sample those bars.  Never serve guests without knowing how it tastes!  (Guess what?) The bars are phenomenal!!!! I just took a bite...  I will save this recipe!
Have a wonderful day everyone!  And please let me remind you how thankful I am for all of you who come by this blog.  YOU are a blessing to me.  Here's to you...may joy overflow abundantly throughout this holiday season!
Now, make sure on Thursday, if you have some time, to
 visit the bloggers of Katie's Favorite Things Blog Hop!!!

http://katherinescorner.com/2012/11/22/thursday-favorite-things-blog-hop-63/