On Being 40

You all know I am a hit-or-miss blogger by now. I really do love it and it helps me dump my brain when I get too caught up in the local political and social insanity that we all have going on around us all the time. When I get fired up about things, this is my detox tank. Maybe the reason I haven’t had much to say is because I have been avoiding Facebook more lately to keep my sanity in the midst of this ridiculous process we undertake ever four years. I will be thrilledterrified, moving to another country in November…  Anyway, I like it here and lately I feel like I haven’t had a lot to say that is Earth shattering. What can I say; I love Stitch Fix, muffins, and light hearted things lately. Some of you dig reading it: my local friends, maybe not so much. Its okay, you don’t have to. I’m still going to write it (tomorrow probably). Until then and between times, I will post whatever is on my mind and try to keep the place semi-current.

For today, I am going to try to muster up a little inspiration to write more often again, and tell you what else I’ve been trying out in my life to get myself inspired in cyberspace and around my little corner of the world. Its a confessional of sorts and you can only comment if you promise not to be judgy or think I’m crazy; even if I am.

Here’s the way it is… I’ve read and pinned a lot about this “turning 40” rebirth and how you learn to breathe and let go. Last year at this time, I would have told you that is a bunch of crap. I would have laughed and stressed and fought back against the calendar. Then BAM, November happened with the big 4-0 attached and suddenly, I can breathe. Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was likely a self-fulfilling prophecy, but who cares! Yes, I feel older. I also feel more relaxed, more creative, and more like myself than I think I ever have in my entire life. I have learned how to walk away with a smile, how to make my own decisions without fretting over who I am going to upset, and how to stretch the list of what I can and can’t do just a little further. Its fun!

I know, a lot of you think I’ve lost it and maybe I have.  (I’m asking you please to not help me find it.) Here’s a quick list of things I’m loving about my life right now. Believe me or don’t, its all good.

  • I can paint. Not just rooms, which I’m known to do every once in awhile quarterly. I’m learning to paint watercolor whatevers. I use YouTube tutorials and pretend to be Money in my kitchen. No, I don’t take a class but I would. No, I’m not great and I’ve only done it for a week but I love it! I can also crochet something that is awful but it counts for me. Its a pseudo-craft ability! I’ll take it.

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  • I can sometimes speak my mind before reaching the point of wanting to throat punch people. This takes every ounce of courage I have an I’m getting better at it.

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  • I have figured out that, while terrifying and occasionally heart wrenching, parenting teenagers is MUCH more fun than parenting toddlers. Its messy and busy and full of mind-reading. I love every second of it. I love my little ones and I’m not in any rush for them to grow up, but when they do, we’re going to have some amazing good times.
  • After much comparison and deliberation, I know that my marriage doesn’t look like your’s or his or hers and I don’t care. That might have scared me in the past. I’m cool with it now. We’re weirdos, but we are weirdos together… in the sense that we make it work, know how to fight and what makes us stick. You don’t have to understand as long as we do.
  • God likes me better than I like him. I don’t know how to properly explain this in a bullet point but its true. We are working through things and we fist bump every day. The rest is a complicated process. I’ve read that this makes me special but I doubt that. I think it makes me human.
  •  I do not organize events, lessons, practices, or the art cabinet. I don’t even really try anymore because as much as a part of me craves this organization, the stress of putting it together and maintaining it is agonizing. I’m sorry Mom, but the wrong half of my brain is in charge. (I mean really, look at my hair!) I’ll keep things picked up and cleanish but mostly its a mess in disguise but its how I work the best. As for the events, its not happening. Ever.
  • Not everyone is going to like me. Its cool. I don’t love it and I’m certain that even those who say they don’t care actually do, but I’m pretty okay with it now. I’m not easy to like sometimes, so I understand. I’m passionate and know what vibes with me and what doesn’t; if we don’t vibe, I can walk away now. Negativity in my life is no longer an option and this fact alone is the most liberating thing I have EVER learned!

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  • I can call myself out. I know I’m full of it sometimes. Bullshit happens. Its a matter of knowing when its your bullshit or the shit from the bull next to you. Its a difficult thing to acknowledge that you’re the one stinking up the place, and even more difficult to know you’re not sometimes. Guilt is wicked and likes to perch on my shoulder. I’ve learning to flick that wicked little whisper off and check myself first. Sometimes I’m guilty and sometimes I’m not but when I am, I’m owning it.

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  • No. No, no and no again. I learned how to say no. This is huge and if you look at the amount of running around I do on a daily basis, you would think I say yes to everything. I really don’t. There is just a lot that I want to do and a lot that I used to say “yes” to that I never wanted to do. Can I get an AMEN?! Learn this. People want people working with them who have the time and passion for the opportunity in front of them, not just a body to fill a chair. If you’re just saying yes because someone else thinks its a great thing for you and your gut is telling you to run, RUN! Also, do not confuse that feeling of running with fear. Fear is good sometimes.

Fear, crafts, and weird self-realization aside, I do have a lot more to say but need to stop and get my head together before I write out how I feel about the world around me. Maybe I’m keeping it fluffy and light because its easier than sorting through the mountain of issues on both sides of the debates. You’re stuck with fashion, muffins and Megan for the next little bit.

 

 

Not My Normal

First things first, I don’t usually blog or talk food. Secondly, I hardly ever eat muffins but I’ve been thinking of them all week and I caved. It helps that the first grader was playing hookie with a “bad stomach ache, Mom!”. Hopefully the nachos and the muffin she downed today took care of that little bug. She will be back in full force tomorrow. I am not sorry. Some days you just need a little mom time, and we home-schooled it with some Math and Home Economics. We also watched three episodes of Super Why so triple play for Miss 7.

Anyway, back to my point. Once upon a time, I got married. Its been awhile and I will admit that over the course of the seventeen years since I said, “I Do,” I have used approximately two of the twenty or so cookbooks that I own. After all, we have the internet and I’m not really a cookbook kind of girl. However, this particular cookbook is a keeper – even from a non-muffin eating type like myself. I’ve never tried this recipe until today so I’m sharing with you all because if I’m raving about muffins, you know they are good. You’re welcome.

Berries ‘n’ Cream Muffins

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened (Don’t eat margarine, it’s crap. Go for the good stuff.)

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs from my chickens

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. (Sorry gluten-free people)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup whipping cream (Not whipped cream and certainly not cool whip. The actual cream.)

1/4 cup fresh strawberries

1/4 cup fresh red raspberries

1 tsp. grated lemon peel (Or the whole lemon if you’re like me and want more of that zing.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. I used 12 regular sized muffin cups and liners but the recipe says to make 24 mini-muffins.

Mix up the butter and sugar until its all smooth and fluffy at medium speed. Add in the eggs and keep mixing then the almond extract. While all of that is getting fluffy, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl then gradually add it to the butter mixture while its stirring. Be careful to make sure its mixing slowly or not only will you have flour everywhere but you’ll over mix and have flat muffins. Only mix it until its blended!

Here’s where I was confused because we stopped before we over-mixed but now you need to add the whipping cream and mix it again until its smooth. Finally, fold in the berries and lemon zest.

Fill the muffin cups almost full and bake them for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove them from the muffin pan and cool them on a wire rack. I recommend eating one warm with whipped cream cheese.

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In case you’re wondering, these have 195 calories a piece. I figured it all up on this great website I use to put my info into the Lose It app. If you want to figure it up yourself, or figure out the next recipe you make, click here. Yes, I really am that ridiculous that I figure in my muffin calories.

I hope your day is as good as mine has been. Time to yoga part of that muffin away.

 

Softest Fix Yet

I haven’t blogged since November? How did that happen? Maybe its because of the holidays, coaching swim team, and a remodel along with changing jobs? Yeah, that’s probably it but regardless, I couldn’t miss the chance to blog one of my favorite treats. Its a Stitch Fix post, of course! I’m set up for quarterly fixes and sometimes it seems to take forever to get from one to the next but its always worth the wait! This time was no exception! I’m going to include lots of pictures and try to explain each piece for you but really, you have to try things on for yourself. This is my 5th shipment and it was the softest and most personalized yet. I love it that my stylist (Hi, Stephanie) said that she looked on my Pinterest Board and read my blog! I was totally flattered and she did a great job of finding things I had pinned and liked! If you haven’t signed up yet, you really need to go back and ready this blog so you can understand why you need to do the profile to understand how it all works, and how they find clothes that actually fit you. Ladies, if you’re short, tall, thick, thing, big busted or tiny tittied, they’ll make it work. Trust me!

Here we go! Lets start with the Kut From The Kloth Danny Knit Pant. Its going to show up in a few of the pictures. I mentioned in my message to my stylist that I needed a pair of black skinnies. I have a weird thing about black pants: they make me feel like a waitress. These though… ooo, baby… they fit like a glove and may be the softest and most comfortable pants I have ever put on. They were stretchy but not sloppy and not leggings! Perfect shaped with back pockets and a mid-rise, I could wear them for work or play!

 

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The top I am wearing with the high-low hem line is the Daney V-Neck Split Back Knit Top. It was what I like to refer to as “pudding wear”. In Megan’s terms, this is super soft, warm and not heavy. The top has a criss-cross back that you’ll be able to see in the next picture and was a beautiful shade of baby blue with flecks of gray. This top paired perfectly with the Knit Pants and also with my white jeans!

 

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The next top was a request I made as well, I have pinned so many slouchy sweaters and leggings. Being the age I am… which is more than 30+9… I worry about leggings and covering my butt. I’m not sure I’d wear the sweater with leggings but the beautiful plum color and button shoulder details went pretty darn well with my Silvers! The dolman selves kept the casual feel but could have gone more dressy if I tried. I’m not very good at finding reasons to dress up so casual is always easier and preferred when I’m trying on clothes.

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Ignore that mess behind me. I tore into the box and had some fun with my iPhone. I apologize for nothing! Check out the sweater though! I have it on with a necklace my daughter got me for my birthday but a scarf or whatever your stylist sends in your fix would be perfect as well. This sweater is WARM! Its heavy and perfect for us northern types who are basking in El Nino but still freezing! The sweater is great with jeans, the pants I received, and would pair will with a pencil skirt as well.

The Pixley Greenich Striped Knit Top. I tried this top with my white jeans because black and white or navy and white stripes always feel nautical to me and its perfect! The patched elbow detail and softness were perfect!

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Finally and definitely the highlight of Stitch Fix number Five was the Leo & Nicole Syd Open Cardigan. In shades of blue with a giant check/stripe, this cardigan had a blanket feel to it. It went with the black pants, the white jeans and with my Silvers. I couldn’t find a thing NOT to wear with it! If you look at the silvery grey tank I have on under in the picture, that was the very first thing I ever kept in a shipment. The tank is by Papermoon and its heavenly. I wear it all the time and if I could find the exact name it would help, I know. Sorry about that.

 

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I know, I know… I have a crappy iPhone camera and the pictures don’t do the clothes justice at all so please feel free to ask questions about any of the items pictured above. I would love to help you get started and fuel your curiosity! Right now I’ll say what I have said in the past; the price, the style and the keepers are all up to you. The rest is great guidance and changes to expand your style and wardrobe with the help from some great personal shoppers. I’ll be looking forward to May to see what kind of summer fun comes in my next brown and blue box.

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Momentary Lapse In Reason

 

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Thanks to www.thepavementprincess.com for the perfect little picture.

It must have been a combination punch of a mediocre virus with a low-grade fever, and generalized angry Scorpio problems … but I take back what I said when I perhaps… maybe… accidentally mentioned that I temporarily “agreed” with Governor Pence. Forgive me. It was a momentary lapse in reason. I am all better now and thought you should know that there is no reason to worry. Perhaps that was my near death experience.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled bleeding heart.

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 “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Deep Scary Thoughts

You know what they say about not talking about religion or politics, I’m feeling feisty and fired up and I’m about to talk both. I should warn you ahead of time that I usually fall a little left of center, but in light of the shit storm that has been the recent past, I may be feeling a little jerked over and I could possibly even make my more conservative friends breathe a collective sigh of relief. To my more liberal friends, I still feel more at home on your side of the yard, but I am removing the fence. Its time to get our polar opposite brains together and play for the same team again.

So, lets begin this little piece of word vomit as an open letter to my fellow Americans…

Happy Monday. Actually, I take that back. It’s not happy at all, simply for the fact that many of you are at work today, and this past weekend was terrible for the entire world. I don’t care if you love or hate the French, the Islamic religion or America. It sucked for all of us. Yesterday I got a little punchy and posted a blog written by someone I don’t know but that, on principle, I agree with. I was embarrassed to make that post because it goes against so much of what I would normally say or believe. I considered taking the post down and acting like it never happened, and then, I read it again. I read it one more time to be sure and decided that, while there were several parts that were worded much more strongly than I would like (and I’m a Bernie fan on some level…), the premise of the writing was exactly what I was feeling in light of the Paris attacks last Friday night. To be honest, I’m scared.

I’m scared for the entire world we live in. I’m scared for those sweet little Syrian boys and girls who didn’t ask become displaced by the hell around them. I’m scared that my brother is living in a city that just took in thousands of Syrian refugees after what happened in Paris. I’m scared that we are going to pussy-foot our way around this until the United States loses another city to extremists. But do you know what scares me more than anything? Doing nothing. In light of the fact, and I think we can all agree that no matter what we do, people will be offended, hurt and sadly, killed, it seems likely that in our current search to make everyone happy, we will sit on our collective thumbs and sing Kumbaya until the shit hits the fan. I actually agreed with Mike Pence on something, Y’all! That’s how serious I am!! And in my next breath, I want to hug those babies and feed them and help their mother find work. What do we do with that? I have four of my own sweet faces to protect and, right now, they come first.

If you’re looking for me to hug this away, I wish I could. I would love to leave our doors open, to save the children and give peace a chance. I want the world to know that I don’t believe this is a Muslim vs. Christian vs. Jew issue. Yes, at its core, its Biblical but this is so far beyond disagreement. I pray for Palestine and Beirut the same way I pray for Paris because the innocent and peaceful Muslims are being hurt by a growing group of crazy ass Muslims. This isn’t the Muslim religion blowing up cities because they are Christian. This is a small sect of a peaceful religion targeting western civilization because they don’t like the way we roll.

Some people argue that we can’t profile Muslims. I disagree. Unfortunately, because some assholes decided to take this religion and radicalize a portion of it, the rest of the group is naturally checked. I have good news for the innocent, you can be happy that we want to keep you safe as well. My son went on a mission trip last summer and his favorite part was hanging at the Mosque. He made Muslim friends and I love that! To the person checking the watch list at the airport and the museums in this country, please remember that while I understand why you check a population based on the way they look more closely than another, you can do so without being an abusive jerk. Check, double-check, welcome them and get on to the next person. I would go so far to say that if it were the Westboro Baptist Church, who are also religious extremists, bombing Paris, we should profile Christians too. The problem is that if we don’t stop trying to make everyone happy and trying to keep the peace, we won’t ever know peace. The people who are looking to take out western culture and civilization won’t stop beheading and blowing people up because we’re being nice! They won’t decide to cross Texas off their hit list because we didn’t check them at the airport gate but smiled and offered them a cookie, and they won’t rewrite their master plan because we decided to accept the Muslim population as a whole. They aren’t rational people!

I don’t want to send anyone to war. I don’t want them to see what its like to kill other people. I don’t want them to have to deal with life once they come home and suffer from PTSD and I don’t want anyone else, ANYONE else to die. I also don’t want to sit back and wait until it’s too late and we don’t have a choice. I don’t want to get in so far over our heads that we’re fighting a losing battle and that is where we sit today. I don’t know what else to think except its time for us to take a deep breath, realize that we all just about out of time and strap on our boots. France was the first to stand by us after September 11th. I hope that we can and will repay the favor when they need us.

The hammer is coming down, one way or another. I wish there was a way around it but I just don’t know how any more. So, like I said… Happy Monday. This was deep. I need a nap.

Dangerously Optimistic

A long, long, long time ago I was accused of being too nice. Don’t laugh because as outspoken and closed off as I can be, I am also supremely non-confrontational and pretty agreeable. Mostly because my backbone is (literally) crooked and I don’t often believe in myself 99.9% of the time. I’m learning, alright, and for one of the few times in my life, I am 100% sure of something. Whitley County has some really good things going for it – more than what we hear about every day, and a little more is coming our way in the very near future. No, I’m not talking about the potential for the much-needed new high school, although that is HUGE for me right now, but other things. We are sometimes happily pessimistic, myself included, about the state of our little corner of Northeast Indiana but in the last two weeks, my faith in my homeland is slowly being renewed, largely because of the incredible people I have been blessed to work with on the referendum project. We are dangerously optimistic.

Thanks to NYC Educator for the pic!

I’m writing today as a cautionary tale. This is a “call to arms” so to speak and I hope that if you’re reading it in the 46725, you will share it with your friends and neighbors. I’m going to try to make some points that I believe need to be said loud and clear in the next 9 days. I need you – and I haven’t ever asked for anyone to share my blog before so this is a bit nerve-wracking for me but it needs to be done. I’m more concerned about bad spelling and grammatical errors than anything I’m about to say, so please be forgiving….

In the past eight weeks, I have spent a whole lotta hours preaching this referendum via Facebook, talking with people, blogging, and meetings. It is both exciting and terrifying to me that the fate of my home is hanging in the balance of this one very big, and also very insignificant election, depending on where you happened to reside. Let me tell you honestly that when I wrote about the future of 46725 back in May, I had no idea it would lead me to this and I am very grateful and humbled to have been asked to be a voice with some top-notch folks. We’re down to crunch time and on my end of the coconut telegraph, the word is resoundingly positive! Never mind the letter that went out last week from a group that was chock full of falsehoods. Never mind that there are always naysayers and haters. Never mind that we are a very rural county. If those folks genuinely want information, I am more than happy to help them find the answers they are looking for. Please help them contact me or someone else who can help them understand the differences in tax-calculators or any other issue. If they don’t want answers and believe what they have been told by the guy down the street, that is their decision. Leave them be, because overwhelmingly, I am hearing POSITIVE feedback and that both thrills and terrifies me!

Here is the part I need you to understand and why I am asking you to share. This isn’t like the presidential election. There is no electoral college, and let’s be honest, its 2015… why do we still use an electoral college anyway? This is a full-count, every! SINGLE! VOTE! MATTERS election!! When I say every single vote, I mean they will literally call the winner by ONE VOTE! The Friends of WCCS Facebook page has 1554 followers as of my last check. Some grew up in the 46725 and others aren’t 18 so lets pretend that there are 1400 potential voters out there. That is 1400 votes that need to be represented by 6:00 pm on November 3rd if we are going to make this high school happen. Please don’t think that having a sign is a vote. Don’t think that being a supporter will help a win. Go to the court-house with your ID next week, or to the polls on November 3rd and actually VOTE! If you have a neighbor, a grandparent, an elderly friend, someone with a broken vehicle, lunch and workout buddies, take them too!

I’ll tell you that negative energy makes me physically sick and anxious. I can feel it when people walk into a room and I haven’t had that feeling yet. I’ve been waiting for it. Waiting to have to moderate internet verbal brawls and attacks and the only comment I had to delete was from a business woman looking to solicit advice. Its been so much fun and so encouraging for me to be a part of this campaign. Often times, I feel that we can’t lose but please, PLEASE don’t let the presumption that we can’t lose make its way into your brain because, I assure you, we can. Get out the vote and help make this crazy train ride I have been on a flying success! Let’s be dangerously optimistic with votes to back it up.

Some quick facts before I shush.

  1. ANYONE in the WCCS school district who is registered can vote. Not just inside the city limits. Thorncreek, Etna-Troy, Union, Washington, Jefferson, and Columbia.. you all have a way to get your YES out and to make a difference!
  2. There is a glorious amount of misinformation circulating regarding the cost to farmers thanks to the previously mentioned letter and Google. The facts are that the state does indeed have a tax Calculator that is different from the one that applies directly to our school district. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) calculator DOES NOT correctly calculate the Whitley County Consolidated Schools referendum impact to a property owner. DLGF offers a disclaimer on their website that explains they do not allow for debt that is falling off the tax rate and they do not show how the rate is lower in the early years of the payment schedule. The DLGF required rate doesn’t acknowledge the $7.5 million Whitley County Redevelopment Commission is contributing to the project. All of these factors make the rate listed on the ballot and shown on state calculators as not reflective of the actual impact on the tax bills. Compared to 2016 taxes the actual impact is almost tax neutral. The disclaimer reads, ““It is possible that the unit’s existing tax rates will change in coming years, particularly those for any outstanding debt scheduled to expire. It is also possible that the unit will not impose the maximum rate for which it is seeking approval through the referendum for the entire life of the referendum levy. Specific questions about debt amortization and related issues should be directed to the proper officials of the unit seeking the referendum.” You have to input your numbers and THEN the disclaimer is shown. By then, you have already choked over false numbers. Just sayin.
  3. I promise to be far less political in my Facebook posts as soon as November 3rd happens. However, I might keep that WCCS page rolling because we have a lot to celebrate and I think it’s a great place to showcase our awesomeness.
  4.  I won’t argue with you but I will educate you to the moon and back. If you’re reading this and have questions, PLEASE ask.
  5.  You don’t vote at your normal polling location. There aren’t as many and to make it easy on yourself, just go to the courthouse next week and save time.

In 9 days, we could be taking a giant leap into a future that opens so many doors for all of us. We could see successes and growth, opportunities and new horizons… or we could see the first step to what feels to me as dead men walking. Let’s make this happen and on November 4th, lets all sleep in like its New Year’s Day.

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I Needed Black Pants

We have well established my deep hatred of business attire and how awful I feel in dress pants, but alas, my black pants are faded and a little big so it was time to enlist some help in the matter. Forgive me Father for my last Stitch Fix was only 3 weeks ago, but this was a fashion emergency of epic proportions… until I quit my job. That’s right. This blog is a double whammy. My last day at STAR Insurance will be coming up on October 30th when I will be going back to home base. Perhaps this is my home run because I am happy to say that I will be returning to my homies at T.R.O.Y. Center three days a week the first week of November.

All of that being said, I wasn’t canceling my Fix because I have a problem there is more to life than black slacks. I keep that request and changed my selections to mention that I will soon be allowed to dress like the funky casual girl that I am. Hit me with some fun! As expected, ask and you shall receive … so here it is. This was Fix number two for October. I am not sorry.

I’m going to show you some of my favorites. Lets start this show off right by asking you to not cry when I tell you that this shirt was a little too big. I love this shirt and I am as sad about the sizing as you are.


I mean, really.. come on! This is the Moni Chain Print Stud Detail Blouse. The brass studs with the orange and navy?! Super cute, flowy fabric and just slightly longer than short sleeves. Yes, its similar to the olive shirt I purchased earlier but, geez! Maybe its a good thing it didn’t fit right!

Next up is the Navy Dita Sleeveless Ponte Dress. I purchased a dress back in my very first fix and I have worn it, as has my daughter. I also don’t dig dresses during the winter in Indiana because I’m a super wimp and always cold. The dress itself was very cute and could have been fun if it weren’t for my wonky, curvy spine and that one side of my back which made it fit incorrectly. Still, very cute and practical if it weren’t October.

If you read the last blog, you know I kept a pair of Kut from the Kloth straight leg jeans just a few weeks ago. I am IN LOVE with them but I am also well stocked on jeans so I didn’t bat an eye when the bootcut pair I received in this fix was too long. By the way, this rarely happens to me. Jeans usually end up too short but the Kut From the Kloth Bootcuts were wide legged more than boot cut and went under my foot. No sweat because this happened next.

THAT is the Hondo Open Drape Cardigan paired with the Joanna Crochet Knit Infinity Scarf. The details on the sleeves and the softness along with the ability to be paired with just about everything in my closet was a no brainer. The scarf is super soft and delicate and a perfect shade of creamy taupe. I know a keeper when I see one and this was never leaving.

If all of this is confusing to you, I would encourage you to go back and read my previous blog about how to get your Stitch Fix on while sticking to your budget. So far, so good with me and I love what I has been sent to me. If you’ve seen enough and hem-hawed around long enough, you can get yourself set to go right now!

Long story short, I needed black pants but instead I got a “new” job and a great new sweater to boot. Things have a funny way of working out and I’m excited to write more about being back at a job that I loved very soon.