Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday(Friday) finds- take 2

I had a brilliant-brain-storm-idea (yes!one of those ideas...the big kind) the other day. 
You see, I says to myself ( yes I said "says") "Self- wouldn't it be kinda' fun to do a theme type thing on a set day, like "Wednesday wants" or "Friday favorites?""
From that sprang an idea:
Friday finds (ta-DA).

But then the plot thickened...and when I say that I mean a problem arose.
You see, I usually have Fridays off to go a-hunting, but tomorrow?
Well tomorrow I gots to work (phlegh!)

But I didn't let that little obstacle stand in my way...
So, I stopped by the local goodwill today and did not return home empty handed. 

Here are my Thur-Fri finds:

I have a thing for Ann Taylor Loft AND black AND this type of fabric, so I made it mine for only $3.99.
The only downside is that it is made with a wool blend, so it's a bit too hot to wear yet, but come fall......

 Then I came across another black dress.  This is from J.Jill and usually runs over $40.  It's comfy and roomy, really more of a lounge around dress.  At $3.99, who cares?

This is an awful, blurry picture that makes the dress look like a shirt...but it's not all that bad!  Trusst me!

And remember how I was on the hunt for a blouse a lot like this?

First of all, I found one pretty close. 
But, I must confess two things: A) I did not find this today and B)  No, it wasn't at Goodwill, but another small store, Rue 21.  And while I'm confessing (again) I paid more than $3.99 for it.

It even came with a cute, woven belt.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To all the "other girls"

     Dear other girls (or who I will lovingly refer to as "my people"),
     Hi.  How's it goin?  Hope this finds all of you doing well.  I'm just jotting down this note to let you know I'm thinking of you.
     I  also wanted to take a moment to stress that my last rant (aka my last post) was not meant to smear all women or declare that they are all evil.  I especially wanted to let you know that it was not about you (I hope you know who you are): those I hold near and dear in my life. 
     Neither was it my way of saying I wanted no friends at all.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I I seem like a crazy person? Wait.  Don't answer that.  I was just noticing about myself that it no longer kills me to not be part of the "in-crowd." (what, is this high school all over again?  Yes.  Yes, it is.)   In fact, I feel safer not being amongst such cliques these days.  Nowdays I choose to be around "my people."  In case you're wondering, my definition of my people is this: genuine people who care about others and are in your court no matter what choices (bad or good....withing reason) you make. 
 Basically my people are you.
     So now is when I'd like to express my appreciation to you: the mothers, sisters, friends and wives who I respect and admire.  Even if I've only known you a short time or even my whole life, I look forward to getting to know you and all you offer a little better.  You are each so unique and ever evolving. I feel blessed to have such awesome and supportive family and friends in my life.  You're all pretty amazing in my eyes and I'd like to thank you for being you.

     Say hi to your husband, brother, friend or dad for me and I hope to hear from you soon!



Monday, July 25, 2011

Not like the rest

Throughout my (vast) life, I've never really felt like I fit in as "one of the girls," or what some feel one of the girls should be like.  I would like to be able to say it's because I've always marched to the beat of my own drum but I haven't.  I always secretly wanted to be part of something.  Sometimes, I'd even find myself in the midst of these amazing yet vicious circles but would eventually and always find my way out, whether I planned on it or not.  What can I say?  Girls/women can be the most compassionate and then amazingly brutal bunch of beings. I can now admit that even though I am a member of womankind, I can't claim to understand us...we are still very much a mystery to me.  Because of that, I no longer feel the need to be a part of "something." 
I'm pretty comfortable with myself now.

So why has it taken me so long to realize that being different (especially amongst people I really don't understand ) is not a bad thing?
First of all, you're probably wondering where this is all coming from.  To tell you the truth, I'd like to know myself.  This is where I think this on-the-couch, mental-unloading-therapy-session is coming from:
I've often felt that what makes me, has never met others standards and I'm tired of it. 
One (of many) example(s):
While other little girls had long, "beautiful" hair, I (for the most part) did not.  Instead, I had short hair.  I was always outside running around or something of the sort and getting hot, sweaty and dirty in the process. It was just easier for my mom to keep me looking neat and clean with my hair kept shorter.  As a little girl, even though I looked different from the other girls, I didn't feel my hair made me look bad or look like a little boy.  Apparently others did not agree.  In fact they felt so strongly about it that they would take it upon themselves to inform me that I did look like a boy (even though I often sported pink heart earrings).  If I showed up with shorter hair than I previously had ( I've been known to have "medium length hair") people would gasp like I had spit in their face and exclaim "you chopped off your hair!"  Only then did I feel ashamed or like I did something wrong, or ugly.  No.  I did not "chop it off."  I had someone cut it shorter to make it look better than it did.
  Looking back, it seems I grow my hair off just to cut it short.  I've embraced short hair and honestly prefer it.  I probably always will.

Another example:

Aaron and I were at a restaurant and he was talking about different types of beer.  The bartender piped in saying, "this guy knows an awful  lot about beer for looking like he's no older than 17."  The next day we were in a store buying some "alcoholic beverages."  I whispered to Aaron that he would probably need to grab his ID and the lady behind the counter said "thank you."  Thank you for what?  I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing the fact that she didn't have to ask us for our ID...he just offered it.  Innocent enough, right? After all it is her job. Sure, I'll give you that.  But then she went on to say something along the lines of how even though Aaron looked young, I looked younger.  I wanted to reply, "thank you and who asked for your opinion?"  I of all people KNOW we look younger than we are.  I see my face in the mirror every day.
I know I'm older than I look and there is really not a whole lot more I can do about it.

Yikes, simmer down Whitney.

I guess what I'm trying to say is when did women become comfortable with being told they look older than they really are or they dress funny or they are too fat? Last time I checked, they didn't.  So when did it become acceptable to tell someone they look younger or are too skinny (although I've never had that problem) or your hair makes you look like a boy? 
I repeat, it didn't. 
Yet many people (read: women) are more than willing to take it upon themselves to let you know you don't meet up to their standards.  You're either:
too fat, too thin
too tall , too short
too loud, too quiet
hair is too short, not long enough.

Now I kind of like not being "one of the girls" if that's all the girls have to offer.
There are much bigger issues out there than who is wearing who or what or who said what to who.

Confusing, I know.  But someone had to say it....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sewing 101

     As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've wanted to get my sew on for quite some time.  With that goal in mind I thought I'd start with something "easy."  What could be easier than an easy-peasy apron?   As it turns out, a lot could be easier than an apron.  Something like learning Japanese might be easier.  Or maybe brain surgery... on myself.
    To be fair to sewing, I should admit that I tried putting all these separate pieces from two different aprons and a dish towel together freestyle (aka. without a pattern.)   I'm going to name it my Frankenapron.  Catchy isn't it? 
But I digress. 
You see, it's almost done, but not yet.  I'm not going to lie, it didn't quite turn out like I thought it would.  I'm thinking of adding a bit of embellishment of some sort to it (ribbon or fire maybe?) to add some oomph to it.  No matter what I do (or don't do) to it, I plan to wear it anyway!! 

Here 'Tis:

Please don't mind and/or judge my messy house, crooked Frankenapron or me.....not that you would

So, needless to say, I took a week or so off the sewing bandwagon.  But then something happened to ignite my sewing passion.  I was browsing Gap last week and found a skirt I simply had to have, just couldn't live without it, you see.  But there were a few things wrong with it: A) It was on and even though it was on "sale" it was still B)$44.99.  Add 7 plus dollars to that and it was more than I wanted to pay for a basic cotton skirt.  It had turned into a skirt I could live without, I guess. 

The skirt at $44.99 online
However, things turned around.  I went out of town and could physically go to a Gap.  So I searched out the skirt.  Eureka!  I found it! But wait, there was something wrong with it.  It was 3 sizes too big and the last one in the entire store.  BUT(another but) was in the clearance section and marked down to $30 with an additional 50% off.  Do you know what that meant?  Exactly.  This skirt that was $50 plus online could be mine at $15.  So I made an executive decision and bought it with the idea of taking the skirt in. 

What could be easier?
A lot.

Maybe a monkey with a blind fold would have done better.  Again, what was supposed to be easy turned difficult.  It actually started out okay, but as I was trimming the seams I actually cut through the center of the skirt....not an ideal situation for anyone.  Then I did something funky with the waistband and made it pucker.
On the plus side, two hours later, I finished patching up my mess and ended up with a less than professional but still wearable skirt.
Nah, I don't give myself enough credit.  It does actually fit better and is more what I had in mind when I bought it.  It was just a lot harder than I thought it would be. 

BUT I did learn a lot from it.  I now know that maybe I shouldn't embark on projects that seasoned/professional sewing bloggers write about. 
Maybe I should plan on baby stepping it backwards to easy patterns, then move forward as I build skill and confidence.

As the 'flight of the conchords say: when I freestyle I lose
Whitney out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's three o clock in the morning...

...and I can't sleep. 
So, I figured instead of rolling to one side, then the other, then flopping from my stomach to my back over and over again, that I would just get up and do something other than sleep... for now.
But when I can't sleep I have to be quiet, because I'm not the only one in the house.
Being quiet is especially difficult for me, so I thought I would occupy my time by looking through pictures.
Do you know what I realized?
I never finished sharing the highlights of our trip to Ireland.

Well, now is the time to finish with a few more highlights of the things we saw in Ireland.

First off a few pics of the many rock walls spread throughout Ireland.  There is definitely not a shortage of rocks in that country.
What do you do when you have too many rocks?  Make walls I guess.

Then we:
Saw the most impressive full- castle tour of Bunratty Castle
Beautiful scenery

Saw the king tut exhibit

Heard some live traditional/modern music in the oldest pub in Dublin,Ireland: Brazen head

Went shopping at Grafton Street (a very popular spot) in Dublin
(didn't buy anything due to the expensive price tags)

Toured the Jameson Distillery

Visited the historic Kilmainham gaol

Walked through some very old grave yards

Took a seriously impressive tour through the Waterford Crystal facility and saw this...

....and this

Walked through the oldest working lighthouse built built by monks
Then there were abbeys to be seen:

Walked through Boyle Abbey which was undergoing restoration

Then we toured great houses and their equally great gardens

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog block: An epidemic

Some people's blogs are all about everything: every thought, every breath, every single hair shed and even the feelings the hair had as it hit the floor.
(I hear it hurts)
It's great that they can honestly express how they feel about everything, but it's really not for me.
 (How would they know how hair feels?  Better yet, who even really cares?  I know I don't.  Maybe that makes me a selfish jerk)
I prefer to leave a few things unsaid and to maintain some privacy.
Shame on me.

But sometimes it becomes difficult to write about anything.
You're probably thinking "maybe you should try doing something...anything."
To you who thought that (me) I have to say that I actually have done "things" and I've had a really good time doing these "things."  Aaron, my events coordinator AND husband makes sure of this.  I just can't think of how to tell you what I've done in a way where you'll want to read it and I can't figure out why I can't figure it out, thus the "blog block."

Maybe I'm just in a funk and have a lot on my mind
or maybe I'm still tired.
Because I am.
Whatever it is, I have a feeling this won't be the last time, so....I'm going to stop blabbing on about how tough this is and give this blog entry a whirl.
Then delete it.

How's 'bout a little peek into our weekend?

Saturday, we drove "over the hill" and met up with some friends.  We'll call them C and C for the sake of their privacy.  This was our first time staying with them and they were truly hospitable AND fun.  We look forward to doing more with them in the future!
If you're reading this, thanks again for everything!

While visiting, we ate truly good (fresh and healthy) food.
On Saturday they took us to "Schoolhaus Brewhaus" which is (you guessed it!) a German restaurant in a restored school house for some delicious food and a huge selection of beer!
We can't wait to go  there again!

On Sunday morning we lazed around for a bit, did a bit of shopping for the concernt in the evening and then went wine tasting where C works.  We both sipped and picked out (Rose for me, Pinot Gris for Aaron) a few more wines that we will enjoy from Umpqua vineyards in Oregon.

  Then on Sunday night we saw the Avett Brothers at the Britt Festival in an ampitheatre setting.  I love going to the Britt for concerts because you can bring in your own food and drink and enjoy it picnic style.

It turns out that a lot of people haven't heard of the Avett Brothers.  They aren't the average junk you hear on the radio these days (I'm starting to sound really old here...) because they write their own music, play their own instruments and their songs actually mean something.
They  put on such an energetic show that we all found ourselves dancing along.
Here's a new, slow, favorite (because Aaron and I were married in Jan):

We then came home super late on Sunday night and woke up Monday morning much too early!

What a weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011


     Months to weeks, weeks to days, days to hours.  When I was still in school, this was the method  I used to gauge how soon the days of summer would come. I couldn't wait! 

No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks.

You see, back then summer meant carefree days for me: sleeping in as late as I wanted and climbing out of my peaceful slumber at my leisure or staying in my pajamas inside to tinker around the house or get dressed in my play clothes and head outside to make some mud pies, run through (or sit on...summer days are hot after all...) a sprinkler and go camping.  The possibilities seemed endless. 
However, after I graduated from school, summer suddenly lost it's magic.  There was no longer a three month gap of carefree summer.  In place of the summer I knew, came work.  I quickly found myself submerged in the "adult world."  Instead, summer became nothing more than a stupid, hot, and sweaty trio of months that made me grumpy because I couldn't do all of the things I used to associate with summer.  I wearily trudged through it in air-conditioned buildings and would jealously watch kids come and go through our doors and listen to them as they excitedly told us what plans lay ahead for them and their summers. As far as I could see, I had no plans. I hated summers.
      But this summer, something has changed.  Instead of gripping the summer of my childhood by the hand until there was no life left in it, with it grunting "you're hurting me," I've found new meaning, new joy, new "magic" if you will.  I've given summer it's hand back and have found new color and life in it.  I no longer want to hurt summer.  Summer and I have finally made amends.

Reunited and it feels sooo good!

Now to me summers mean:

-more time spent out in the sun and less time inside
- singing along my summer music (usually very upbeat) while I drive with my sun roof open
-a plethora of fresh and delicious fruits:
hello juicy watermelon!
how you doin' sweet nectarines?
hiya' sun kissed strawberries!
-white puffy clouds in a clear blue sky
-the sounds of kids pedalling up and down the street on their bikes and the sound of their games echoing through my backyard
-fireworks (they are beautiful and remind me of when Aaron and I were dating), to name a few.

Also with summer comes new cuisine.  I don't want to turn on the oven because it gets so hot.  So instead I try to find quick, yet delicious alternatives to slaving over the hot stove so I can spend more time on other things (summer only lasts so long!).

With that being said, I wanted to share a quick and delicious salad that Aaron and I have enjoyed several times already.   I stumbled upon it in People magazine:

Boston Blue chicken and apple salad
Serves 4

4  6oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
2 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 in.- thick slices
1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) crumbled, reduced fat blue cheese
1/4 cup bottled reduced fat vinaigrette
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tbsp. chopped chives

Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and place over high heat.
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side.  Transfer to a platter and cover with foil.
In a large bowl, combine lettuce, apples, blue cheese, and vinaigrette.  Toss and transfer to a serving bowl.
Slice chicken into 1/2 in. thick slices.  Add to salad and top with walnuts and chives.

If you choose to make this salad I hope you enjoy it,but most importantly....please, enjoy your summer!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My name is Whitney....

....and I have a shopping problem. This is my first time admitting it out loud.

-whew- I'm glad to get that off my chest!
Now I can go buy something else to put back on my chest.  I joke. I joke. Why go buy something else when I probably already own it?

However,with that intro I feel I should stress the fact that I am not a member of Shopaholics Anonymous.
Not yet.
I honestly didn't even know if it was really a thing until I googled it to see if it was real.
It is.

When I confessed my shopping problem to Aaron (a real shocker coming from someone otherwise flawless) he snorted and said, "You? A problem?!"
Real sarcasm at its finest, people.
It's like he knows me or something.

I guess of all people, he should know the truth.  After all, he sees the stacks of bags filled with clothes that I bring home and then he sees the stacks of bags filled with clothes that I get rid of.
What can I say in my defense?  I heart clothes.  Simple as that.
Maybe I should consider joining Shopaholics Anon.

But until I commit to anything else, I wanted to share with you some of the screamin' deals I came home with yesterday.  They are too exciting for me not to share with you!

You see, even though I do love clothes and shopping, I don't really like paying a lot of money for them. By reading numerous fashion blogs, I've come to realize that you can still look fashionable with both new and new-to-you clothes, like this girl.  With that being said, I've learned that clothes come in all shapes, sizes and prices and to shop the sale/clearance racks at dept. stores, consignment shops or re-sale(with a few base rules: stainless, washable, no lingerie, etc.)

So yesterday I started at Goodwill.
Let the games begin!

Why Goodwill? I was looking for some vintage lace.  I've been cyber-stalking a lace blouse from Anthropologie for a while, but can't justify spending that much money on a shirt you can see through, or any shirt for that matter. I thought it would be cool to find the afore mentioned lace and make it on the cheap.
However, I did not find any suitable lace that resembled what I wanted.

This is what I wanted: the Wreathen Blouse - $78

I did find some other fun things that I couldn't resist.

First is this charcoal gray shell with a simple embellishment around the neck and arm holes.  I thought it was a good basic that could be dressed up or down, worn alone or layered.  At $2.99 I felt it would be foolish to leave it. I got it.

Up next is this kelly green wrap-skirt that had me at hello.  With the subtle wrap and slight drape, it kind of looked like something I would find at Anthro. Again, at $2.99 I made it mine, ALL MINE!


Then I found this other skirt.  I wanted a long, light-weight skirt that would go with various tops for service and have been too lazy to sew one.  At $2.99 and being very neutral in color, I snagged it.

At that time, I also saw another top with dark blue stripes that would've complimented the green skirt so well, but it was 10 sizes too big and I wasn't so sure I could make anything new out of it, so I moved on. 
Due to the fact that we live in a small, low-income town, the shopping is limited.  I was still in search for the said lace top that may resemble the Anthro top.
So from Goodwill, I went to Ross, Fred Meyer and K-mart.
I know those aren't usually store names that leave people all hot and bothered, but you learn to not be a clothes snob and suck it the name of fashion of course.
At K-mart I found this retro, flowy, summery dress.  I thought it would be cute paired with either a baby blue or coral cardigan. 

Dress: originally $18 (still a deal)- on sale for $5.39

I found this at K-Mart too! 
I used to have a shirt this color in the 7th grade, but wore it out because I wore it so much.  I've been trying to replace it ever since.  So when I saw this color and cute keyhole cut out in the back I snatched it up.  It was originally $14, but I only paid $3.59. It is now the "official replacement shirt" and will be perfect for lazy days around the house.....or going out to eat.
That's how we roll here.

For some reason I couldn't get that big blue-striped shirt I mentioned seeing before at Goodwill out of my head.  All I could think was, "Maybe, just maybe I could do something with it."  I had to find out!
So I headed back.....
After all that it was a bust.  Upon closer inspection the shirt was still far too big and far too stained, breaking the no stain rule.
However, it did not stop there.  For some reason I had a little look-see around and landed on two more objects of interest.

First up:
this black/white polka dot shift dress. 

It's too short to wear alone, so I will  A) wear it over leggings or B) cut off the lower portion and make it a shell.  Either way, $3.99 for a shell/shift was worth it for me.  And I love me some black and white and polka dots, at that!

And last, but not least, I also found this breezy, summer top with vintage appeal at the bottom from Eddie Bauer at $1.99.
(it's a bit wrinkly because I forgot to hang it up...oh and by the way nothing is $1.99 at Eddie Bauer!)

Ahh!  What a (shopping) day it was!  I managed to score 3 tops, 2 dresses and 2 skirts for only $23.93!

There.  Now do you believe that:
A) I'm truly a shopaholic or
B) shopping on the cheap is flippin' awesome?!!

Me too(?)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just keep swimming

And now for one of life's lessons that I learned from a movie
(isn't that where we should learn them from?!)

Do you ever have to remind yourself to just keep moving forward
......Or maybe I should've said, swimming?

That's kind of how I've been feeling lately:  like little Mrs. Grumpy gills who doesn't want to swim anymore and instead would like to stay in her pjs all day.

But don't worry.  I didn't completely lose the point of the epic film "Finding Nemo."
I know fish don't wear pajamas AND after all was said and done, the orange fish (aka Nemo) kept swimming.
So have I. 
But I feel more like crazy Dori swimming along (singing and all) than stoic Nemo.
What. A. Fish.

And now to the point
(who said I had to move forward in a straight forward manner anyway?)
I have been getting out of my pjs and  have actually been working on a few projects.
I have not blogged about them.

So me letting you know what I've been up to is a part of me moving (I'm tired of saying swimming) forward.

Where to start? 
We've been driving here and there for what seems like the past month.  I'm kind of tired of it.
But all the driving has been for the greater good.
We've visited friends, attended our District Convention and bought a new to us car
(more about that in the future.)

Also, I have had a couple days off work this week and decided to catch up on, or rather, start some sewing projects.
(I didn't promise it would be interesting or exciting, now did I?)

First off, a pile of "needs to be mended" clothes, etc.

Would you believe that I managed to alter some of Aaron's slacks and that he could still wear them?  I am still quite proud of that!

After that I moved on to an apron inspired by a dish towel that wants to be an apron.

Here are the pieces I'm working with:

An old (but favorite) bleached and stained apron

 PLUS (+)

A new dish towel that  I could not leave at the store

EQUALING (so far...)
a semi-finished apron.

It's not done just yet, but I hope to have it finished and in use by the end of this week.
I can't wait to show you....unless it doesn't turn out, then I'll deny that it ever happened.