The Tiny Documentary and Unfulfilled Childhood

It’s a little . . . dangerous?  presumptuous?  arrogant? judgmental? . . . yes, judgmental . . . to write about what you think is wrong about someone else.  But if the person made a documentary about himself and publicized it to the world does that make it less bad?  If you think so, you can read my thoughts on the documentary, Tiny: A Story About Living Small over at the Mirror.

Style & the SAHM: The Quest Continues

two years later . . . .

It’s been almost two years since I wrote Style & the SAHM: A Quest, the beginning of an on-again, off-again series.  I’ve been less enthusiastic about my quest lately (gaining 20 pounds will do that to you).  Still, the quest continues.  Here are some lessons learned from the past fall and winter . . . which, in April, is helpful to no one in my hemisphere . . . you can bookmark this to read come October.  ;-)

1. If you try on a sweater at TJ Maxx

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and don’t buy it and then find yourself, thinking about it a lot, you should go back and buy it.  You’ll wear it a lot.  Especially, since you’ve been on the lookout for a flattering,  white, non-scratch, cableknit sweater for a long time.

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2. When in doubt, ditch the bootcut jeans and sneakers and go for skinny jeans (or LOFT curvy straight leg jeans) with boots, especially if you have a drapey top.  Also, those red bowling clown shoes were a mistake.

See example A

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vs. Examples B and C

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3. But bootcut jeans aren’t always a bad choice, if your top is more on the fitted side.  And even those red sneakers, well . . .

IMG_7660 IMG_76614. If you have a round face and broad shoulders to begin with, and then gain weight, you’ll wish you had bought more v-neck, drapey tops like this one from T.J. Maxx . . .

IMG_8211 IMG_8227and this one from Express (didn’t buy it but should have):

IMG_7639and fewer fitted crewnecks like these.  The pictures were taken when I bought them a year ago–they’re more snug now :-(

IMG_7579 IMG_76385. If you find yourself at a coffee shop wearing the same sweater as someone else, then later notice that she has taken off the sweater and is now wearing just the shirt underneath, take a good look at yourself, and ask

“Would I want be dressed like me?”

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Lesson learned: beware the siren song of the elastic waist.  When in doubt, wear jeans.  ;-)

Also, after two years, it was time for another closet purge.  It’s amazing how much piles up, even when I try to be pretty minimalist.

Most of these things I gave away, or am in the process of giving away.  A few I saved for a different season.  A very very few I couldn’t bear to part with and saved in hopes of losing weight.

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Now the extent of my wardrobe is this:

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and this:

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with one box in the closet of out-of-season or too-small things I’m hanging on to.

The battle against frumpiness and clutter takes constant vigilance.

Keep fighting the good fight

{And click over to Jenna’s blog for more five favorites posts.}

7QT Good Friday–serious topics, serious sugar

1. I’ve been reading Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe.  It brings up some of the same points that are in Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. It’s always a good sign when you hear the same message from very different sources (one a French, Roman Catholic priest, the other an American, married, Protestant woman).  I wanted to share some quotes with you–it would make this post at least generally apropos for Good Friday–but then I misplaced the book.

2. I followed the Candida diet for March, the less-restrictive version anyway.  It’s basically–no added sugar whatsoever, no fruit, no refined starches, no alcohol.  The idea is to starve off excess yeast in the body.  I had one major cheat but overall substantial compliance, which was a lot better than my no-sugar attempt in January.

I didn’t lose any weight, nor did I experience any noticeable improvements in health.  Bleh.  I was hoping to lose some weight  because that diet was really really hard.  I am so weak.

On the upside, though, it did loosen sugar’s grip on me.  Even though I had a big binge for a couple days when I ended it, I’ve since gone back to a very low sugar, low carb, way of eating, and it’s not nearly as hard as it used to be.  I eat a bunch of eggs and beef, as many vegetables as I can manage, lots of avocado, some rice and potatoes, limited dairy, and I feel great.

3.  Until this evening, anyway, when the girls and I had an Easter treat-making extravaganza.  Now I’m having heart palpitations from the sugar in all the frosting I sampled:

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4. We picked up a copy of Family Circle’s March issue

and the girls bamboozled me into making the treats featured on front.  I never do this type of thing but here we are.  I think I’m a softie.

Fortunately, they are thrilled with the results.  Girl 1 doesn’t even mind that little sister couldn’t form flowers on the cake that looked like the picture in the magazine.

5. Just now?

“He’s got the whole wor-rld/ in his hands/ He’s got the whole wor-rld in his hands. . . . Mommy, does God really have the whole world in his hands?”

“Uh, no not really.  But God is bigger than the whole world.  And he’s taking care of the whole world.”

“Where is God.”

“uh . . . in heaven.  But he’s here with us too”

“Does God really get nailed to the cross?”

“Uh, he did, on Good Friday.”

I’m not ready for all this; I’m really not.  I guess I need to buy a catechism book for her?  Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is wonderful but it’s not comprehensive at this stage.  I feel like Girl 1’s conception of God, heaven, earth, death, the afterlife, the universe and everything is very confused.  The education she’s gotten from me has been haphazard, at any rate.

6. Blog posts I’ve thinking about lately: The He/She Generation by Joseph Sciambra

when civilization is in decline there is always a rabid return of superstition; a form of moral panic occurs when society throws off all traditional means of self-regulation and censorship: the Church and the force of public decency are disregarded and silenced.

Currently, the most popular and widely apparent form of this reaction towards a slip into barbarism is the phenomena of tattooing, piercing, and body modification. These forms of self-flagellation are an attempt by the unknowing penitent towards order; a desire to recreate the body in an age when life is becoming more and more anaesthetized and disassociated.  [This reminds me of scenes in the book, Children of Men by P.D. James.]

Crossing gender is the most extreme example of this need to make sense with our bodies out of the present-day senselessness.

and also his post on The Gay Michelangelo: A Portrait of the Artist’s Lifelong Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction (is this historically accurate?  I suspect it’s a debated topic but obviously the author has researched it more than I)–this author has a perspective unlike that of anyone else I’ve read; his writing is clear-sighted and far-reaching and poignant and gets to the heart of things; the subject matter of some posts is extremely explicit and disturbing.

On a lighter note: Would You Like Fries With That? and its follow up What We Have a Right to Expect From College: what is the point of a Catholic higher education?  Does it have to be all liberal arts?  Does everyone need to study the liberal arts?  Lots of good questions here.

7. I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and a lovely Easter!  Click over to Kelly for more quick takes posts (if she’s doing 7QT on Good Friday?  Perhaps not.  We’ll see.)

My first Stitch Fix!!!! {March 2015}

At last! / My StitchFix has/

come alo-ong/

my-ii nakey days/

are over . . . .

Exaggerating.

Only slightly.

My first Stitch Fix arrived Wednesday morning.  I had committed to working the whole day, and I forbade myself from opening the box until I finished my work.  That was motivation, let me tell you.

Aren’t they lovely?
Aren’t they won-der-fuh-ull?

I’ve been reading a lot about Stitch Fix.  It seems every blogger I follow is trying them.  (They have a good FAQ page describing the system here.  No need for me to rehash it here.}

I was very specific about what I wanted.  SF has you fill out a detailed “style profile,” detailing your size, body type, color preferences (I told them no black or gray), and style preferences.)  Also, they suggest you send them a link to a Pinterest board to give them a sense of your style.  I made one specifically for Stitch Fix, and you can see it here.

SF asks you what you’re looking for in each fix.  I told them I was mostly looking for a dress for Easter and another dressy occasion this Spring.  They delivered!  Five dresses–the stylist mentioned in her notes that it’s unusual for a Fix to have all dresses.  It worked for me, because until now I was down to two dresses and one skirt that fit me.

Y’all, I haven’t felt this good about how clothes look on me in a long time.

So, the keepers:

Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress
by Loveappella
size Large $78

Carlita Multi Chevron Print Maxi Dress
by Loveappella size Large

I was pretty sure I’d get a maxi dress since I pinned a bunch of them.  I actually pinned this exact dress when I saw it on Stitch Fix’s blog.  Love.  Love!  And it’s made in the USA!

I’m taking it to a seamstress to have the crossover top tacked down, since Girl 2 tends to pull it open and expose my entire bra.  Also, it shows more skin in the back than I’m accustomed to wear to church,

Eh, maybe it’s not a big deal.  But anyway, this would work for church, as well as for the Fall:

My first Stitch Fix! ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

A white blazer or moto jacket or something would be more fun.  A denim jacket will work also.

Uttam Paddy Bird Print Faux Wrap Dress
UK size 14
$114

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Uttam Paddy Bird Print Faux Wrap Dress
UK size 14

I mentioned to SF I’d like a wrap dress.  They sent me a faux wrap dress, which is probably better.

This dress makes me feel saucy.

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

The pattern has green and orange birds.  I wouldn’t choose those colors myself, but the overall look is great.

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

More than I’ve ever paid for a dress except my wedding dress, but I did get all my work done . . . so I’m keeping it.

The bottom half is pretty snug.  There’s no way I’m leaving the house in it without Spanx.  But that’s becoming my MO for more and more occasions lately.  {Shrug}

“You know I’d rather walk on my lips than to criticize anybody, but, Janice Van Meter.  . .  . I bet you money she’s paid five hundred dollars for that dress and don’t even bother to wear a girdle.” “Looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket.”

Hailey Geo Print Tie-Waist Dress by Ezra
Size L
$58

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Hailey Geo Print Tie-Waist Dress by Ezra
Size L

I LOVE this one.  It’s lightweight and comfy.  I was thinking it would make a nice everyday dress (not clingy–I could skip the girdle!), then I saw the tag and

duhn, duhn DUHHHHHNNN

100% RAYON, DRY CLEAN ONLY

I know from sad, sad experience that when something is rayon and says dry clean only, it can shrink even if you hand wash it cold.  I will ask them, for next time, not to include anything that is dry clean only

But I love it and I think it will make a good Easter dress, and Pat likes it too.  Maybe Dryel will work?

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

{Incidentally, he saw all the dresses spread out on the bed and was thrilled to see so much color.  I’ve been in a navy blue, black, and gray rut.}

Here are the dresses I’m sending back:

Harlowe Keyhole Dress
by Donna Morgan
size 12
$138

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Harlowe Keyhole Dress
by Donna Morgan
size 12

This dress looks okay in this one picture–and it has pockets!–but it’s not flattering from any other angle, or in real life.

Me: “This color is kind of . . .”

Pat: “loud”

Me: ” . . . sexy Grandma.”

Besides fitting poorly, it feels a little too Junior League (apologizes to any Junior Leaguers reading this!).  I just think . . .

The Help movie Junior League

Finally,

Neel V-Neck Dress
by Uttam
Size Large

$114

My first Stitch Fix!  ThisFelicitousLife.wordpress.com

Neel V-Neck Dress
by Uttam
Size Large

It looks okay from this one angle (how’ya like my skinny shoulder pose?), but I’ll spare you the shot of the cool back-zipper and uncool, very visible back fat.  Pass!

. . . .

On the whole, I am hooked! The stylist who picked my fix is Jennifer, and I hope she chooses my next!  Some bloggers I’ve read buy all their clothes this way, and I must say it sounds tempting.

Stitch Fix is in no way sponsoring this post.  But, if you’d like to try them out, please use my affiliate link and I’ll be your best friend . . . also, I’ll get a $25 credit.  :-)

Happy weekend everyone!

thoughts deep and heavy, like the snow . . .

It’s 4:45 on a Friday morning, and I can’t sleep and I’m thinking about . . .

1. This phrase:

Be kind

The tricky thing is when “everyone” includes your husband and his hard battle is living with you.

2. Um, and you with him.

The oatmeal: “why working at home is both awesome and horrible” (rated R)

3. Co-parenting is hard, yo?*  Pat and I recently ‘fessed up to the fact that we each do okay with the kids on our own, and we do okay with each other without the kids, but trying to deal with the kids together drives us up the wall.

4. And in my moods where I tie life the universe and everything together metaphysically while preparing the girls’ fifth snack of the morning, I think . . . marriage and co-parenting are so hard that, no wonder people don’t do it as much, in a society where marriage isn’t required for (a) men to get sex and (b) women to have financial security and children.  At the same time, I mean, I like living at a time when I could support myself and where single mothers aren’t ostracized and marginalized.

Anyway.

5. On a related note, here’s this short article, about the role government played in the crumbling of black families, and how that fits in with the lingering spiritual ramifications of slavery.

Oh yikes, heavy.

6. This article by Dave Barry was funny: The Greatest (Party) Generation.

Dave Barry, “The Greatest (Party) Generation”

I don’t know how accurate it is, but I like his point that

We modern parents. . . rarely pause to celebrate the way our parents did because we’re too busy parenting. We never stop parenting. We are all over our kids’ lives—making sure they get whatever they want, removing obstacles from their path, solving their problems and—above all—worrying about what else will go wrong, so we can fix it for them. . . .

Yes, we’ve gotten really, really good at parenting. This is fortunate, because for some inexplicable reason a lot of our kids seem to have trouble getting a foothold in adult life, which is why so many of them are still living with us at age 37.

They’re lucky they have us around.

7. I dread errands where I have to get the kids bundled up, into the car, then out of the car into a public place with lots of havoc to be wrought, then back in the car again.  Just with two kids, it’s a pain (especially when the process throws my back out), and I love M.T.’s witty post about doing it with four: Dear Navy Federal, Get a Drive-Through.

Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more Quick Takes. Thanks for hosting Kelly!

* I mean in the strictly literal sense, of parenting along with the other parent, not just where the parents are divorced or separated.

Seven Quick Takes 2.27.15

1. The girls and I listened to Kids Songs Jubilee in the van today.  I grew up listening to the Kids Songs tapes by Nancy Cassidy.  Now Girl 1 sits on the couch, reading the songs to herself and singing them.  I love hearing her sing.  And both girls listen to the tape together, singing and dancing around the living room.  Love it.

This is the only clips I can find on YouTube (speaking of which, did you know YouTube has one billion viewers but no profit?):

2. Per Kelly’s prompt, this was my first post.  Random thought off the top of my head.  Nothing much has changed.

3. My most-viewed post is Style & the Stay at Home Mom: A Quest.  By far.

4. My least-viewed post is this (no surprise).  You can read its follow-up here (oooh, exciting!).

5. This post today might end up down at the bottom of the list too, because it’s one of those days . . .

6. where I’m just . . .

7. not inspired.

Oh here’s a thought: how many years off Purgatory should I get for letting my kid “help” me paint?  I’m thinking lots and lots.

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Oh, and my new living room arrangement I showed you last week?  These are “before” shots (or a halfway-there shots).  Oh, this house . . . .

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Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for something worthwhile to read.  ;-)  Happy weekend folks!

Splendid Saturdays

Current obsessions, my living room, and style of romance . . .

1. This has been my view for the last half hour

sledding

2. I finally got my living room looking close to the way I want it.

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3. I’ve been obsessed with mid-century modern design lately.  Obsessed.

4. Being cooped up in my house and my teeny-tiny kitchen for months, my obsessing moved on from home decorating to home renovations.  (But now I think maybe we should move!  So much to think about!!!)

5. Watching Property Brothers continually hasn’t helped.  It’s now Girl 1’s favorite show.  Asked what she likes best about it, she giggled and said,

“Jonathan” [the one on the left].

That’s not scary at all.

6. Last Saturday, Pat entered the living room wearing his tool belt.  Girl 2 exclaimed,

“Daddy!  You look like a MAN!”

Pat didn’t find this *quite* so hilarious as I did.

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7. When your love language is acts of service, the best Valentine’s Day gift ever is a new bathroom ventilation fan.

I’m in love.

Happy weekend everyone.

Click over to Kelly for more Quick Take posts.

 

What’s Saving My Life in this season of cold & the plague

And how a 1990s sitcom prepared me for Lent . . . .

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has a great link up idea–“what’s saving my life.”  

Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.

We’ve had a sickness that just won’t end and has taken a variety of forms: cold for Girl 1, croup –> pneumonia for Girl 2, sinusitis for Pat and me + bronchitis for me.  So we’ve been cooped up and miserable, but these things have made it a bit less miserable:

1. Essential oils diffused in this diffuser.  I don’t know whether they actually do anything, although inhaled lavender oil has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms in mice.  They sure smell nice, though, which makes me feel better.  And they don’t give me a headache like cheap, chemically scented candles.

2. Neti Pot–for when I wake up with a headache and don’t know why.  Whaddya know?  It’s impacted snot.  Nothing like infusing your nostrils with salt water.  Hurts so good.

3. Down comforter–I got the warmest one I could find and “gave it to Pat” for Christmas.  It’s warmer even than the 4 or so mismatched regular comforters we had piled up on the bed.  Pricey, but oh so worth it.  Pat runs cold at night and he sleeps a lot better now.

4. Plush mattress pad–now I sleep better at night with this.  We have an extra firm mattress, which we bought relying on the common wisdom that firm mattresses are good for your back.  Eight years later, I found myself sleeping more comfortably on the couch.  When I slept on the bed, I felt more sore in the morning than in the evening.  Guess what?  Firm mattresses aren’t so good for bad backs.  There’s even a study to prove it.

5. Friends Season One--I get nostalgic watching this show even though I’ve never watched it much before.  And I think it’s more than a lingering fondness for crushed velour, turtlenecks, and the Rachel. Last night it hit me–that first season was filmed in 1994.  That’s over 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago. Last night I watched it and thought about how quickly life passes by and how close we are to death.

And that, my friends, was my segue into Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Never saw that coming.

Remember man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

What’s saving your life this cold cold winter?

I’m linking up with Call Her Happy for Five Favorites, and I’ll link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy when she does the link up again.