When it Rains, it Pours

It is raining in Southern California, folks.  It’s windy and rainy, trees are buckling and flooding is a very real danger in many areas.  The Oroville Dam has been on national news, and thanks to my now-obsessive urge to listen to NPR during my commute I learned a lot about the structural concerns of the dam and the catastrophic potential for loss of life if the spillway fails.  Scary stuff.  Here’s today’s weather report for my  neck of California, which thankfully, is far away from Oroville Dam.

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Remember when I shared about my love of learning?  NPR has truly broadened my horizons.  I’ve never been that interested in politics; of course, I’d educate myself enough to make informed voting choices but not until Donald Trump’s stunning (and very disturbing, in my opinion) victory did I ever feel the need to dive deeper into it.  Now, in an effort to understand what in the hell happened, I’m listening to lots of NPR and actually learning about many other interesting things, such as the story behind American artist Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting, Christina’s World.

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I learned about James Baldwin, the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary film, I Am Not Your Negro.  During my 30 minute commute I learned about his spiritual upbringing and his time as a “boy preacher” and the crisis of spirit he experienced.  I definitely want to know more.

It seems that everywhere you turn these days, politics is in your face whether you want to deal with it or not.  For the most part I do not share my political views on Facebook because, WHY.  I learned about fake news (and it’s not Trump’s definition) from NPR too, which is a real thing and Facebook is full of it. When you see the link to an article that just seems wrong–such as Garth and Tricia’s divorce settlement–and with innocent interest you click it, you helped fund fake news.  Don’t fund and circulate this crap, people!  I for one vow to keep Facebook fluffy and fun by posting cute pictures of my grandkids or delicious dinners at home.  Here’s our Valentine’s Day feast:

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I finally finished the Marketing Management course earning a solid A.  I was given the option to take a challenge exam for the Organizational Behavior course, due to my psychology background and experiential credit because of my work responsibilities.  I’m confident I did well  on that exam too.  While reviewing the text and specifically, a section about the importance of listening, an ironic and funny (to me) example of a notoriously poor listener was included:

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Oh dear.  Who could have imagined the stone-cold mess we’d find ourselves in, circa 2017. “And that’s all I got to say ’bout that” (said in my best Forrest Gump voice).

I am awaiting my next Stitch Fix box with great anticipation.  I gave my stylist free rein to surprise me this month and can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  For my last fix I requested work clothes and received an amazing jacket, black slacks, a beautiful royal blue blouse, and a pencil skirt–all pieces fit perfectly, all pieces fit the criteria of stylish without being too youthful or trying too hard, and most importantly, all pieces would not have been found in stores where I live. Here is a picture of the skirt and jacket which I only share so you can note how cute and stylish and still age-appropriate this outfit is (pay NO attention to the old lady holding the iPhone).

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My disclaimer:  This picture is poor-quality and I am NOT a model and it feels very awkward to take pictures of myself and I can’t promise I’ll ever do it again, but I took this one in my hotel room in Sacramento at the beginning of this  month while on a business trip.

You too can hire a Stitch Fix stylist!  You can certainly Google Stitch Fix and sign up on your own, but if you email me (linabickel@gmail.com)  I can refer you directly which gives me a $25 credit toward my next fix.

My plans for this rainy Saturday include working on week one homework for my current Bible study, which is Beth Moore’s newest offering, a study of 2 Timothy entitled Entrusted.  Grocery shopping is also on my agenda, as is catching up on the latest episode of The Blacklist.  Tom works today so I’ll figure out something warm and comforting to prepare for dinner (and maybe I’ll post a picture to Instagram and Facebook, who knows?).  It’s all exciting, I know.  I hope your Saturday is just as riveting as mine.

Finally, I leave you with this.  Everyone needs a  laughing baby in their life.  This one is ours.

Wishing you a blessed day,

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Busyness

I have been so busy!  I am not sure that my busyness is evident to those around me, but I am certainly feeling it.  I am an internal processor and as such, my brain is working overtime to simultaneously handle work considerations, political ramifications, new information I’m learning, family issues, planning for the future, and the everyday stuff such as grocery shopping, completing our tax return, and remembering to pick up my shoes from the shoe repair shop.

Last weekend we enjoyed a cool event at our church:  SNOW DAY!  Eleven tons of snow was brought in to provide a fun afternoon of sledding, snowballs, hot chocolate and popcorn, tater tots and nachos, and yet another display of love towards our community that is the specialty of Lompoc Foursquare Church.  We met up with our granddaughter and her parents to enjoy this together, and we even wound up on the news!  Can you spot us in the first picture?

I did finish our taxes last weekend too and the news was good.  We had a number of years during the economic downturn where that wasn’t the case, so I’m grateful.

Just this morning I finished writing a paper for school about straddle positioning.  I am sure there was a good measure of Divine Assistance because I somehow was able to put approximately 700 words to paper about this confusing marketing strategy.  Have I mentioned that I am not particularly enjoying the marketing class? Every other course required for my master’s program is definitely in my wheelhouse of interest but this one has tested my commitment, that is, until I acknowledge that I am really learning something new.  Four more chapters to go…one more unit test and one more paper to write, and then I’ll take the final and BE DONE with marketing.  Yes.

Work is busy and even a bit chaotic; the political climate is stirring up fear in the people we serve.  This past week I attended a conference in Sacramento with colleagues from all over California.  This snapshot is a great representation of what was collectively flowing through our minds that day.

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Friday I was back in the office and swept up in several out-of-the-norm conversations. The current is fast-moving right now and I can see that we are entering a time of uncertainty and change.  It is thrilling and scary, all at the same time.

When my mind gets busy I like to unwind in the kitchen.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that food has often been my soother of choice to deal with stress but with awareness I’ve pretty much conquered (or at least learned to control) this tendency.  But I do love to cook and a quiet house to myself often leads me there.

Yesterday’s therapy included artisan bread, baked in my brand new ceramic-lined cast iron dutch oven:

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Pimento cheeseburgers for dinner:

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And brown sugar oatmeal cookies with milk chocolate chips:

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I also made Texas Caviar for today’s Super Bowl game to go along with pastrami sandwiches (for Tom), turkey sandwiches (for me), fresh pineapple, dill dip and chips, queso fundido, and maybe a salad.  And that’s Super Bowl snacking for two, folks.

Time to unwind.

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Stormy Sunday Musings

Living where we do, basically on the Central Coast of California, we just don’t get much in the way of exciting weather and because we live pretty  much  on the most sticking-out-in-the-Pacific-ocean part of California, what actually happens, weather-wise, is usually different than what is forecast on the news.

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Tom monitors the weather using a couple of different weather radar apps on his phone and honestly, he’s better at predicting what’s coming than KSBY news (their app is his favorite).  Perhaps this is because he focuses most heavily on our particular area of the Central Coast, though he also monitors the weather is several other places where we have loved ones, on the Monterey Peninsula, in Twentynine Palms, and  of course, Eugene, Oregon; he keeps them informed of their local weather, whether they want to know or not.

His fascination with weather is a harmless hobby (obsession?) and I always check with him when deciding what to wear to work but what I do not enjoy is when he interrupts what I’m doing to make me watch the latest band of yellow with pockets of red moving into our area via weather radar. The other thing he enjoys is videos that have gone viral and he insists on trying to share these with me even though I tell him that animals doing weird stuff or people making asses of themselves just doesn’t do it for me.  I mean come on, I don’t make him look at cute outfits on Pinterest or share obnoxious and/or thought-provoking political tweets with him, though maybe if I did he’d get it.  I also don’t make him work on puzzles with me because after almost four decades together I am totally okay with us having different interests.

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This puzzle was my attempt to stay up past 10 PM last night.  It didn’t work because it was a really fun, fast-moving one and I was done by 8:15.  We then watched Friday night’s DVR’d Tonight Show, enjoyed a glass of Apothic Inferno and it was over for me.

On a serious and sad note, I have to share that yesterday our youngest daughter’s elderly Boston Terrier had to be put down. Duji was Amy’s faithful companion for nine years, preceding her husband though he won Duji’s devotion as well. He was a wonderful little guy, ever patient with children and easily adjusting to other animals.  I like to think that our two dogs in heaven, Shelby (below) and Bella (who just left us on 1/2/17), greeted him when he arrived.  Our hearts broke a little more yesterday, losing this precious family member.

So the rain is coming down and the wind is blowing.  Tri-tip chili is simmering in the crock pot and homemade cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet is on the menu to go with it. We’ve got Sunday Morning and Saturday Night Live in the DVR queue and I’ve got a closet full of puzzles to choose from.  It’s a peaceful, stormy Sunday around here.

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How I Spent a “Me” Day

The very best way to end a relaxing weekend is with Monday off…in  my humble opinion, that is.  Today is a federal holiday celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. and as a county employee I join in with the schools and banks and government services to enjoy a day off.  For my husband, who works for the private sector, this is not so.

So not only is this MLK day, it’s a ME day.  Here’s how I’ve spent it so far.

I am an early riser, even on days off, and most days start the very same…tea, prayer, time reading my Bible, and doing my best to knock out a chapter (or as close to) for whatever course I’m in for my master’s program.  Chapter six, done.

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I ate my current favorite breakfast which I learned is only 5 WW Smart Points.

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Checked in on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and email and then played a couple of riveting games of Spider Solitaire on my laptop.  I did a bit more studying and then got dressed.  By this time, Tom had left for work, so it was time to watch stuff in our DVR queue that I prefer to watch by myself and without his commentary.  Like Sister Wives. During commercial breaks I did laundry and changed the sheets in our room and the guest room.

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Sister Wives was (happily) interrupted by a FaceTime call from Hudson and his mama.  His two-and-a-quarter year old brother likes to run around the room during daily FaceTime, but Hudson is into it and rewards me with many smiles and coos. This particular picture was snapped yesterday I think; he was very distracted by his yummy big toe and the sun was shining on them despite temps in the 20s where they live, which gave the picture a unique touch.

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Late morning included a supermarket run followed by a Starbucks run, then back home to make this gourmet meal for my lunch:  smoked trout tartine and salad.  “Me” day must include a meal fit for a queen, and this was.

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Tom came home for lunch a bit after one, but I left him alone to do his thing in peace and went in to take a mid-afternoon bubble bath.  I mean seriously, who does this, except maybe newlyweds on their honeymoon? As a working woman who has been married her whole adult life (almost four decades!!) and raised three kids, an afternoon bubble bath on a weekday is just an outrageous luxury.  Perfect for ME day.

My afternoon included a visit with these two princesses.  Aislee insisted we wear tiaras while playing and then taught me how to do her version of the robot while listening to Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”…she hadn’t had a nap but was in such a good mood.

And now it’s about 45 minutes until Tom gets home.  We are having leftover Pancit Canton, marinated cucumbers, and roasted pork stuffed in homemade Chinese Steam Buns for dinner.

It’s been a wonderful day off, but back to the grind tomorrow.  In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (and the whole reason I got to enjoy a day off), I share two of my favorite MLK quotes:

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

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Steps, Points, and Oprah

One of my guilty pleasures is the weekly issue of People magazine.  I think this is a throwback to my mom, who loved movie magazines and (according to family legend) taught herself to read English by looking at them.  Further proof:  my younger sister is named Sandra Susan, after Sandra Dee and Susan Hayworth, and my youngest brother is named Jerry, after Jerry Lewis.  I (first born) was named for my Icelandic grandmother. But I digress.

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This week’s People features Oprah talking about her weight; what else is new.  Now, I am not an Oprah-follower and I wouldn’t even consider myself a fan, but her weight struggles resonate with me because they have been my struggles too.  As I read about Oprah becoming one of Weight Watchers largest shareholders I couldn’t help but remember how, on a much smaller scale, I often put my money where my mouth was in order to be motivated to stick with a plan to lose weight.

Right now, I’m in a pretty good place with my weight.  I could probably stand to lose 20 more pounds but I’m quite content right where I’m at.  Oprah is there too, according to the People article.  She’s found the program she can stick with for the rest of her life in Weight Watchers and I must confess, reading her story motivated me to examine my own plan to maintain a healthy weight.

So I decided today to start tracking points.  And steps.  I have the Weight Watchers app on my phone and my FitBit all synced up and I’m going to hold myself accountable.  I entered a goal weight that’s just 15 pounds less than my current weight and laughed to myself at the absurdity of that, considering my history.  My plan is simply to choose high quality foods over junk and to make sure I exercise.

I got up early this morning to finish up making a batch of Chinese Steamed Bao Buns for a friend as a thank you for her help as my test proctor for school.  I made a batch for us too and planned to roast a little piece of pork today to fill those yummy buns.  I also planned to make a big batch of Canton-style Pancit, something our son who is visiting for the weekend loves.  When I started calculating the points for these two dishes I realized that steamed buns might be better enjoyed tomorrow.  I also learned today that my favorite Chai Tea Latte k-cup is 3.5 points per serving.  Uh, no.  This girl will be going back to English Breakfast Tea with stevia in the raw and a splash of 2% milk, thank you very much. I’d much rather save those points for a small glass of wine with dinner.  It’s the little things you learn!

Today I also met my sister-in-law for lunch at Sissy’s.  It was wonderful to catch up with her as it had been way too long.  I chose a small garden salad with a scoop of their amazing tuna salad on top and iced tea; mindful eating, and it was satisfying and healthy.  Feeling pretty good about my choices today.

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So that’s Saturday.  I’m getting ready to jump in the shower, put on my fleecy pajamas and pour myself 5 ounces of 14 Hands Hot to Trot.  Hope your Saturday night is as exciting as mine!

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Friday the 13th

This was my view as I headed to work today. Ominous.


Before I left for work my husband commented that it was Friday the 13th and he didn’t like that because he’d wrecked a car on such a Friday many years ago, even before he met me.

I’ve heard this story many times in the 39 years I’ve known him.

This week on Wednesday there was a six car accident on Highway 1 during my commute time and today there was another accident in the exact same location just after I passed it during today’s commute.

Given these facts, comfort food was in order today for lunch at my desk.  This is what I chose from Natural Cafe and it was delicious.

And now, day is done.  I made it safely home and it’s Friday.  My day started with that ominous Friday the 13th moon-in-the-morning.  And it’s going to end with this kind of moon.

TGIF, cheers, and blessed weekend!

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Sunday Dinner for Two

As much as I enjoy it when the opportunity presents to cook for my whole family, I also appreciate quiet dinners for two.  We used to do Sunday Dinner for everyone on a fairly regular basis when all three of our kids and their families lived nearby.  Now, with distance between us, more often than not it’s Sunday Dinner for two.  And I don’t mind that at all.

After a good soaking of rain yesterday and an exciting thunderstorm last night, this morning’s painted sky was a beautiful surprise.

Last weekend we were very busy with our very sick dog, so we missed the first church service of 2017; today’s message was encouraging and convicting all rolled into one, just as it should be.  We learned today that later this  month our church is bringing snow in, filling a large parking lot in order to host a snow day!  I know a little two year old girl who will enjoy that!

Sometimes we enjoy breakfast out after church and sometimes we do breakfast at home; today was an at-home kind of day.  I made jalapeno-spiked potatoes o’brien, bacon, easy-over eggs for Tom with wheat toast and cranberry juice, and a scrambled egg for me along with sourdough toast with apricot jam.  Delicious.  Well-fed, I had the fortitude to tackle marketing management study and even completed the test portion of my first unit exam.  I still have a paper to write about the four major categories of strategic alliances, but I’m feeling pretty accomplished.

Minimal household chores are tackled on Sundays around here.  Today the outside Christmas lights came down, laundry got done, and de-liming the Keurig is in process as I write.  I tell you, it’s been a riveting, fascinating day around here!

Back to where I started with this post…Sunday dinner.  Tonight it’s for two and on the menu we have buttermilk gravy smothered pork chops, smashed potatoes with plenty of European style butter, kale sauteed with garlic and crushed red pepper, and perhaps a glass of Churn chardonnay.


And now we are watching the Golden Globes.  This perfect end to an unremarkable but very relaxing day.

Hoping your Sunday has been blessed.

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Lifelong Learning

I am energized by learning new things and this has been true about me as long as I can remember.  When I was old enough to walk by myself to our public library I found a whole world opened up to me, where I could find a book on any topic that interested me and teach myself something new.  I liked (and still like) fiction but my favorite books have always been instructional.  Every week or so I’d check out the maximum limit of 10 books, usually one or two fiction books, a memoir or biography of someone I wanted to know more about, and an armload of books about something I wanted to learn to do.  Through books I taught myself basic ballet poses and moves, yoga, sign language, make up techniques, hair styles, home decorating, how to crochet, knit, macrame, embroider, and quilt, astrology charting, handwriting analysis, shorthand, cooking, poetry writing, many other creative pursuits such as dish gardening, drawing and painting.  Some of these skills I have mastered and some proved to be passing fancies.  I’ve just always believed that I could learn to do anything, given a set of instructions to follow.

The Internet, to me, is the richest and most vast library beyond what my childhood brain could have ever comprehended.  Knowledge is literally at our fingertips.  I was just this morning watching my DVR recording of this week’s episode of The Blacklist and pondering what to make for dinner, given today’s forecast of stormy weather.  In one scene Reddington, while in a restaurant, comments about the exquisite flavors of the Cheeseburger Chowder he is enjoying.  Instantly, my phone is in my hand and I’m googling a recipe for Cheeseburger Chowder because that sounds just like something my husband would enjoy.  Google delivered with a multitude of recipes to choose from.  Dinner dilemma solved thanks to knowledge at my fingertips.

Later in my life, sparked by a brutal season of trial and tribulation, I became an avid student of the Bible and this passion continues today. Hebrews 4:12 says:  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  I have learned more about  myself, others, spirituality, and the mysteries of this world through Bible study.  I have found that at different times of my life, scripture I’ve read over and over will suddenly be illuminated for me, speaking into circumstances I’m experiencing or questions I’m pondering.  My Bible is full of little notes, highlights and under linings. Someday when I am gone, I hope those I leave behind will open my Bible to find comfort and will be surprised to learn something new about what mattered to me.

Currently I am working on my master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.  I am just beginning  my third (of 13) courses, this one in Marketing Management.  I must say, two chapters in and I’m realizing that in my vast array of interests, marketing concepts has not been knowledge I’ve sought out beyond the normal consumer experience.  Perhaps my lack of interest is tied to my shopping aversion?  In any case, of all of my  master’s program topics, this one is the most foreign to me and likely to be most challenging.  Most of the other courses are familiar given my educational background in psychology and my 24 year career in social services of which the last three have been in management.  But I’m on board to learn.

Today I’m spending a stormy day in with this little miss.  As I finish this blog post this is what she’s up to.  I do believe I’m seeing the beginning of her lifelong love of learning.  May it be so!

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Just Another Thursday

So far, 2017 has been a little disappointing.  I realize we are only five days in and I’m not prone to depression, so it’s going to be okay.  I’m just saying, 2017 needs to step it up.  This verse in Ecclesiastes sort of sums it up for me today:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV

However yesterday, our Oregon family experienced something new: SNOW!  This is Braydon outside their door on the golf course. Something about his little frame in green and red against the pure white of the snow and his wonder at seeing the snow-laden tree just settles my heart in peace and assures me that there might be nothing new under the sun, but new experiences await us all.

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This picture reminds me of another favorite passage of scripture.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have broken rejoice.  Psalm 51:7-8 ESV

Here in California we are getting some much-needed rain. With many things on my mind, I woke up at about 2:30 am and didn’t go back to sleep but in the stillness of early morning I could hear soft rain hitting the trees in the wetland garden behind our house. I prayed for awhile and listened to Tom’s sleep noises and I breathed in thankfulness.

Five days in and it’s disappointing.  But I have hope that even today, I will hear joy and gladness.

Mail Order Addiction

I do not enjoy shopping and maybe that’s because I’m not very good at it.  I find the sights, sounds and crowds of department stores and malls to be overwhelming. When shopping is necessary I decide what’s needed and deliberately go get what I need; better yet, when I can, I order it and it comes right to me (thank you Amazon Prime).

When we were kids (there were four of us wild hooligans and I was oldest) my mom did not take us out clothes shopping if she could help it.  Oh hellll no. Our school clothes came from the Sears catalog–mail order, baby. Birthdays and Christmas were the times to ask for special fashion items such as earth shoes, chukka boots, or Billabong flip flops. A couple of memorable items from my teenage closest included a beige pea coat that was exactly like one a very popular girl wore (purely accidental but very validating for me), bleach-spotted Levi jeans, a black bikini, and lace up knee-high boots I wore to my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding.  She had similar boots and I admired her style, so this also was validating for me–maybe I had a little bit of stylish good taste.

So I said that I do not enjoy shopping, but what I do love is getting things in the mail. Remember Columbia House?  Buy 12 albums for $0.99?  Yep, I did that, several times.  Then came book clubs which was the same concept as Columbia House; I ordered self-help, fiction, memoirs and cookbooks. I loved magazine subscriptions too.  Beauty kits? Yes please. There was the Betty Crocker recipe box club, yep, I still have it somewhere. I did my share of catalog shopping as well, from kids clothes to home items.  All of these mail order shopping opportunities existed pre-internet. At some point, with the financial demands of raising our three kids, and perhaps after taking out a second mortgage to pay off credit cards, I cooled it with the mail order addiction. When I needed something I bit the bullet and went to K-Mart.

Fast forward to now, the technology age. I don’t need to belong to a recipe club, I just search the internet for recipes.  When a recipe has a strange ingredient such as palm sugar or candied jalapenos or black garlic, I simply order from Amazon and within two days I’ve got it. This is my kind of shopping. I’ve ordered clothes, shoes, gifts, household items and books from Amazon. It makes me very happy to see an Amazon smiley-box in my mail.

I don’t remember where I heard about Birchbox but probably from my daughter; this is the new millennium version of the old beauty box club!  Of course I had to try it and I even signed Tom up for the men’s box. We enjoyed that for a little while until I realized my makeup drawer really doesn’t need a million little sample size containers floating around.

Then came Blue Apron.  Oh, how I love Blue Apron!  This service is worth every penny and it keeps me out of the grocery store!  Tom and I are on the three meals per week for two plan; our box arrives on Wednesday with everything we need for gourmet dinners on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  I always enjoy cooking on the weekend so I’ll grocery shop on Saturday for a few days only and then BAM on Wednesday we’ve got our next Blue Apron box.  The meals are amazing, we are trying all kinds of new things and eating healthy. This service is a winner.  I also can give free meals to five people; if you wish to try Blue Apron, contact me!

And finally, my newest addiction: Stitch Fix. I may or may not have mentioned that I lost about 70 pounds in the last two years. A new wardrobe is a necessity for me, yet I hate to shop, especially clothes shopping. I’ve done a bit of online shopping but I really have no skill in picking out stylish yet age appropriate clothes for myself. Left to my own devices I make choices that are too safe and boring, but I don’t want to be safe and boring; I am definitely interested in learning to dress better. I want the way I dress to express the way I feel–happy and content and comfortable and even confident. So then I received a mailer about Stitch Fix and immediately did some online investigating. It didn’t take me long to decide that this was definitely something I wanted to try. I wondered what a Stitch Fix Stylist would pick for me!

My first fix arrived in November. After completing a pretty comprehensive style questionnaire and being honest about weight and sizes, I also included a note stating that my husband and I were going to California Adventure to celebrate our birthdays. My first fix included Kate Boyfriend Jeans which fit perfectly, a Skies Are Blue print blouse, and the cutest pair of SeaVees print sneakers. I also received two tops that were a bit big and boxy, so those were sent back (which is completely easy to do). I was thrilled to receive a cute and casual outfit that definitely worked for our theme park day.

My second fix was scheduled for the beginning of December, right after my birthday. For this one I included a note stating that I’d be traveling to Oregon by plane to see my daughter and wanted something stylish that could travel from mild California temperatures to very cold Oregon weather.  I also mentioned having a couple of holiday luncheons on my schedule and wanted something casual but a little dressy to go with black or grey slacks. My fix arrived ahead of schedule and perfectly met my needs; I received a very cool black puffer vest, chocolate brown pants, a beautiful beige and grey sweater for layering, and two casual/dressy blouses–one in a gorgeous fuchsia color and one in a black and beige print with a subtle gold thread sewn into the pattern.  Perfect. I kept all five pieces.

My third fix arrived on Christmas Eve! I’d given my stylist a wish list that included leopard print flats, a dress to wear with black tights and riding boots, a denim jacket, and black leggings. Everything I asked for was delivered, plus another very cute blouse.  Each item fit perfectly so again, I kept it all.  My stylist had shown me that she’s paying attention and very interested in meeting my needs. but what is most surprising to me is that I am  beginning to figure out what I like and broadening my horizons thanks to her unexpected choices for me.

Today I wore my black corduroy leggings (they fit like a dream) with my leopard flats and my black puffer vest. I felt confident and stylish and sort of cool.

Stitch Fix provides styling cards with ideas for how to wear your new items.  These are helping me see how to style things I already have in my wardrobe with my new items.

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I really can’t believe this service exists and cannot wait for my next Fix to arrive. I am excited to build a nice wardrobe with quality pieces AND to  learn how to put it all together. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

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