Friday Link Love June 12, 2015 {Doritos Locos and other edifying subjects}

Some quick links and thoughts on this Friday night.  The first is serious; the rest are light and fluffy.

1. I was touched by Saint* Pope Francis’s recent words about the heroic love of family members who care for sick loved ones.  First I thought–of course– of myself . .. and Pat . . . and how hard it is to care for the girls with their sporadic, cough-variant asthma.  They have so many nights of intermitable coughing during cold and flu season; winter is a cold, cold hell for us.

Then I thought–wow–the pope’s words really really apply to my parents, who are taking care of my aunt as she undergoes cancer treatment.  They, and my uncle, also are caring for my 94-year-old grandmother, who is in a gradual, painful decline and is now bedridden.  We’ve been expecting the end for months now.  My uncle lives with her and takes painstaking care of her full time.  My dad spends many nights over there so my uncle can get some sleep, since my grandmother is restless and needs constant care throughout the night. . . . And this all comes not long after the years my parents cared for my other grandmother; she died in their home three years ago.

They’ve all been on my mind a lot lately.  I’m a thousand miles away and don’t know what I can do.

*So embarrassing.  I have such a hard time catching my own typos.

2. Something else that’s been on my mind is Taco Bell.  Mmm, Baby #3 loves taco bell.  My frequent visits there reminded me of this article, about why food that’s bad for us tastes so good.  [If the link doesn’t work, backdoor your way in by searching Google News for “Taste the Science in Every bite”.]

I’m tasting that science! I’m tasting it in every bite, baby.                                                image credit

The article discussed the Doritos Locos tacos and how popular they are and–let me tell you–that’s no surprise.  They are delicious.  Delicious.  So good.

3. By the way, Girl 1 has taken to being scared to be in her room at night, every night, at any point of the night, starting at bedtime, even with the light on and door open.  I told her tonight about her guardian angel.  We discussed and she pondered for the last hour.  She just now announced she is scared of angels and doesn’t want one in her room.  So much for that.  I told her she could politely ask her angel to leave the room and I’m sure the angel would oblige.

4. My bloggy friend Sarah Isis is such a fashionable pregnant lady, isn’t she?  Next week, I’ll be linking up with her “23 questions” link up, posting my girls’ answers to 23 questions about their mom [me].

~ Ha!  I just realized that the idea is to ask the questions about Daddy and post for father’s day.  Oh well.  I’ll do the one about me for a late mother’s day post and then one where I ask them about Pat in time for Father’s Day. ~

My kids’ answers were quite amusing.  If you’re inclined you should link up too, especially if you’ve already asked your kids the questions (*ahem* Marti Oram, once you’re feeling better).

5. My new bloggy crush is Erica at Thrift Flipper.  She’s paying off her student loans by scouring thrift stores for fashion finds and reselling them on eBay.  I started doing this–on an extremely small scale–about a year ago.  I enjoy cheap retail therapy so much that when I find a great deal, even if my family and I can’t use it, I have to buy it.

My $5-snakeskin-Manolo-Blahnik-find story is one I’ll probably be telling my grandchildren.  Kind of like an old fisherman’s tale. Except they didn’t get away.  Maybe I should have had them stuffed and mounted to hang on the wall.  But then I couldn’t have resold them. For $50.  Anyway . . .

Enter eBay, by which my hobby at least pays for itself and a little more.  So anyway, when I found Erica’s blog I was like, “There’s someone else out there who does this!  And she seems normal!”

6. I had some other links to share with you but I’ve misplaced them now.

7. Have a lovely weekend!  Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

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What I wore Sunday, what I brought in my purse, what I thought in my head

I’ve been meaning to get back to the What I Wore Sunday link-up for a while now.  So here’s what I wore to Mass today:

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The dress is by Aryeh, but I found it at Goodwill.  Nice to have a warm sweaterdress (or tunic) this time of year.

And here’s what I found in my purse mid-Mass: a sandwich baggie full of bacon, ’cause you never know.  The sad thing is I can’t remember when I put it in my purse or exactly why.

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Someone wasn’t happy until she got her own photo shoot:

Nov 23 2014

Also, here are some crafts the girls and I made Saturday.  I can’t believe I made crafts.  I’m so not the type.  But my kids are and, like the song says,

Love, love changes everything/ brings you glory/ brings you shame/

Love makes fools of everyone: all the rules we make are broken.

love will never ever let you be the same.

I was feeling quite poignant with the construction paper, googly eyes and glue.  (I checked out this book at the library and it had some good Thanksgiving ideas.)

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By the time I started on this guy, Girl 1 was like, “Um, that’s enough turkeys, Mom.”  Girl can’t wait for Christmas.

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In other news, recently I read Simcha Fisher’s A Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, which I recommend.  I liked her description of finding God’s will for our lives:

. . . Oh blip.  My Kindle’s dead, and I can’t find the quote on the internet.

Anyway, she wrote something about how life isn’t a maze where you get to a box at the end labeled “God’s Will” and you open it up to find either, “Good job” or “You failed.”   Instead, it’s like a parent trying to dress a toddler, where there a few different shirts to choose from and the parent [God] says, “Okay, let’s find a way to make this work.”

It’s kind of out-there, right?  Is this orthodox?  Is this heresy?

So, in Magnificat this morning I read this quote from Pope Benedict XVI:

God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning [man’s] wrong ways into right ways. . . . The feast of Christ the King is . . . a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.

Pretty nifty huh?

Happy Sunday evening, and best wishes for a good Thanksgiving week!

What I’m Into (a look back on May)

Veggies, VHS tapes, trouble at the Episcopal church rummage sale, and more . . .

Vegetables:  I haven’t cooked much at all lately (that’s another post for another day).  But I signed up for a CSA months ago.  We’re now getting our weekly shares, and right now it’s greens greens and more greens.  Kale, spinach, chard, lettuce, bok choy, and more kale.  I don’t like it because I have to cook it all before it goes bad.  I like it because I’m forced to cook it all before it goes bad.

 

Dinners on the grill: Pat grills burgers and chicken.  I cook up some CSA veggies in the quickest way possible. We open a bottle of wine.  We sit down and eat.  . . . .  We’ve had two meals in a row like this and I’m hoping for many, many more. . . . No special meal prep for the girls (sweet, blessed, relief).  Girl 1 will eat her grilled chicken (with ketchup) and (certain) veggies if bribed with dessert.

The What I’m Into linkup on Leigh Kramer’s blog, which I first learned about from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I’m new to Leigh’s blog and the link up.  I might not be doing it right, but I really like the idea.

Professor Linda PrzybyszewskiI look forward to reading her new book,  The Lost Art of Dress.

From her recent Tumblr post:

Since time out of mind, fashion illustrations and store mannequins have exaggerated the female shape into something so long and tenuous one wonders why they didn’t snap in half.  . . .   [A]djust your eyes to the shocking sight of a dress on a young woman with full cheeks and curves.

Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

Buying VHS tapes at the thrift store for $0.33–cheaper than renting!  When I’m done I throw them away or give them back to Goodwill.  So far I’ve watched.

  • 28 Days (Sandra Bullock)
  • Green Card (Andie MacDowell, lovely, why can’t they make rom coms like this anymore?)

I’ve bought the girls more VHS tapes than I can count, some favorites being:

  • Cinderella
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Peter Pan
  • Robin Hood (all the classic, Disney animated versions)

Pat has found a way to digitize VHS tapes, so the girls watch their movies on our Roku box with software called Plex.  With that in mind, I picked up VHS tapes of some old favorites that are worth digitizing, saving, and watching over and over:

VHS tapes left to watch (but probably not to save):

  • Fargo (I like a lot of Coen brother’s movies but somehow haven’t watched this yet)
  •  Spanglish
  • Now and Then
  •  The Net (interested to see a movie about internet ID theft from ~ 15 years ago)
  • Little Black Book (okay, I might regret this, bu I guess it caught my eye since its star, Brittany Murphy, died so unexpectedly)

Prints of Delarue paintings of Paris, found at the Episcopal church rummage sale for $2 apiece, paired up with frames I found at the same sale for $1 a piece, spruced up with some black spray paint and matting from Michaels.

 

Lucien Delarue

 

 

More Delarue prints.  I’m hoping to make some moolah off these on eBay (it worked with the blazer I [fortunately/unfortunately] bought at the same church’s previous rummage sale).

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Losing my keys at the Episcopal church rummage sale, and being locked out of my minivan.  Well, I’m not into this but it happened.

Living in a small town such that I was able to (a) snag a ride home from a second cousin-in-law who just happened to be at the sale and then (b) have my keys delivered to me the next day from a friend from church who also just happened to be at the sale.

Having a two-year old who stuck a popcorn kernel up her nose.  Again, not so much into it, but it was into her.  Yuk yuk.  We can add this to the many stories of children in the family sticking things up their noses: peas, beans, crayons, pebbles, Baby Jesus figurines . . . the normal stuff.

Hoping for a less-sluggish, uneventful June filled with more beautiful weather!

 

Thank you Leigh!

An Episcopal Blazer Enters the Catholic Church {What I Wore Sunday}

This is what I wore today:

Ralph Lauren blazer infinity scarf pencil skirt brown boots

I went on an exhaustive search for the perfect blazer earlier this Fall.  The one I went with was a stretchier, more casual number (without gold buttons *sniff sniff* ).  I mostly was concerned with finding a tailored yet comfy everyday jacket.  I figured it would have to do for dressier use, as well, because I wasn’t about to buy a second blazer. 

THEN I found this baby at the Episcopal church’s rummage sale.  Gold buttons!  Ding ding ding!

Maybe it would better if it were more fitted and a little less boxy?  It’s hard to find fitted blazers that are wide enough for my shoulders, though.  Just reading descriptions of jackets that are a “shrunken” style gives me the willies because they are so uncomfortable for me.

My life: vale of tears, etc. What can I say?

Ralph Lauren blazer infinity scarf pencil skirt brown boots

Linking up with FL&P today.  Happy Sunday everyone!

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Blue on Blue on Blue {What I Wore Sunday}

Happy Sunday everyone!

Today I wore this to Mass:

full skirt, belt, Target tee shirt,

Catholic arm candy

Catholic arm candy

Thrift store shopping definitely is an art that I have not mastered entirely.  This skirt, however, was a winner.  Here are some other ways I’ve worn it:

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Style and the Stay-at-Home Mom: Building the Uniform, Part 2

Before I go further with this series (you can read the first two posts here and here), I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the man who is my inspiration, both in fashion and in life: my husband. Patrick has perfected the art of the fool-proof everyday uniform, as shown in his fall/winter work wardrobe:

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Sweater: Lands’ End (no longer available in Tall)
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: New Balance

Same style, same color, different sweater

Same style, same color, different sweater

Same style sweater, different color

Same style sweater, different color

3 sweaters, 2 looks.

But don’t worry, sometimes he cuts loose and does something a little different:

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(Clearly, I’m fortunate to have a husband who doesn’t take himself too seriously and sometimes lets me have fun at his expense.)

So back to my fall/winter uniform:

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My current line-up includes both new and old purchases. I must admit, I’ve been buying things here and there before doing a complete closet clean-out and reassessment. But it worked out okay (with they exception of a few flubs, described below).

For example, this outfit has a Gap Outlet cardigan from 2009. I pair it with a new, striped tee (a (rare) Old Navy clearance rack purchase of recent months) and a skinny belt.

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This next outfit has another cardigan from the same Gap Outlet shopping trip of 2009. I pair it with a floral tank I bought from Lands’ End last summer (no longer available).

Until recently I wouldn’t think of combining a print with argyle, but I like how they go together (also seen with a polka dot skirt one recent Sunday):

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One of these days I’ll clean that mirror.

Here’s yet another sweater from that same fateful Gap Outlet trip of 2009. I pair it with a scarf I found at a yard sale.

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But with jeans.

One of my favorite recent purchases is this sweater (which I wore in this What I Wore Sunday post):

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I’m trying to accessorize more when I go out, but I’m not quite sure what to do with this one. This necklace (discussed in this post) would be good in a different color, but I see red + green and think Christmas tree:

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These earrings look the part, I think, but, I dunno, would you wear them to story time at the library? (And would you trust your toddler not to rip through your earlobes with them?)

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So I’m on the lookout for a scarf or necklace to wear with the polka-dot sweater.

Next in my current line-up, I have a cable knit white cotton sweater:

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This, however, is next in line for the give-away pile. You see, I bought this sweater at a consignment store recently. I wish I had Mary with me because I ignored the fact that it didn’t fit quiiiiiiiite right.

I just love the look of a white cable knit sweater. So crisp.

So Brideshead:

Alright, maybe fictional, effeminate Oxford boys of the 1930s are not the best fashion inspiration. But Kate is!

But mine just doesn’t fit exactly right. And one thing I’ve learned is that fit is everything. If you don’t have fit, you don’t have style. My white sweater would be better a bit longer and preferably a little fitted at the waist. And maybe a v-neck would be better?

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Not quite the right fit.

Also it could use some accessorizing. Since becoming a Color Me Beautiful aficionado, I’m convinced that white and black wash me out and it’s better to wear color near my face.

I thought perhaps a collared shirt underneath would work, like this:

But no.

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Sarah Vickers I am not.

I have a hard time with collared shirts under sweaters. I don’t know what it is.

I also tried it with scarf, but nope. Maybe I’ll try tying the scarf a different way, or a different scarf.

Maybe if I'll try tying the scarf differently.

Maybe if I’ll try tying the scarf differently.

So, a better-fitting white sweater is also on my look-for list. In the mean time, I still wear the sweater because . . . well, I still kind of like it. My new rule for buying clothes, whether at a thrift store or elsewhere, is to buy something only if I’m 100% satisfied. In a world of unlimited wants and limited resources, though, my rule for keeping things once I’ve already purchased them is maybe . . . 75% satisfaction. 😉

I learned a few things just as I was taking pictures for this post. For example, I have worn this combination a few times. But after taking a picture I mended my ways. Meh.

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Belting it didn’t help much:

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I bought the striped shirt from a thrift store a few months ago (duh duh DUN), and it has now received what most of my thrift store purchases have received (i.e. the boot). The cardigan was a Target purchase and, like most things I’ve bought there, it hasn’t kept its shape. For some reason, though, it looks okay with the chambray shirt, so I’m keeping it around for a while longer.

But with jeans.

But with jeans.

Sometimes I wear the chambray shirt (another recent Old Navy clearance find) on its own with this scarf:

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I also have a heavy wool sweater for very cold days, like this past Thanksgiving:

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Just recently, when I should have known better, I bought a $9 striped, dolman sleeve top from what is truly the dregs of the retail market: Ross . . . in the junior’s department {hanging head in shame}. I don’t have a great picture, but you get the idea here:

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When I bought it, I didn’t notice the tag saying “HAND WASH ONLY.” Right, like that’s gonna happen. I machine washed it in cold water, hung it to dry, and it didn’t fit as well afterward. Now, a couple more cold-water washes and drip-dries later, it’s pilling, it has threads coming off, and it’s lost even more shape. $9 down the drain.

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Well, there you have it: my everyday uniform for the colder months.

Except that I haven’t discussed, you know, the entire lower half of each outfit. That is a post in itself, (make that two posts or three) for next time . . . .

Style and the Stay-at-Home Mom: Building the Uniform, Part 1

I began working on my “mom uniform” a few months ago, frustrated at having lots and lots of clothes but nothing to wear (as described in last Saturday’s post).   I decided to build a functional wardrobe, and not collect pieces at random as I had done for years.

Mary, of With My Sisters, has a very helpful,  ongoing series on building a wardrobe on a budget.  I’ve drawn lots of inspiration from that and also from Audrey’s series on Building a Wardrobe From Scratch, over at Putting Me Together.  Both ladies say an initial step is to make a plan, to determine what you really need for your lifestyle.  (And here I was, all my life, thinking the first step was to browse the 70% off rack at Target!)

This is what I think my ideal wardrobe would look like:

  • 7 casual outfits, comfortable enough for chores around the house and presentable enough for being seen in public
    • 4 pairs of pants would be enough here, but
    • 7 separate tops are ideal because the kiddos leave so many mementos of themselves on me throughout the day
  • 4 church outfits
  • 2 dressier outfits (weddings, fancy parties, etc.)
  • 1 or 2 “going out”/ “dressy casual” outfits (I have so much trouble with this category).

Another crucial step  is cleaning out your closet.  I made a big purge of summer clothes last year (no pictures though), and one of winter clothes this year.

Mary describes the process well on her blog.  I did my big closet clean-out before she wrote her post, but I pretty much followed the process she describes.

The most crucial questions for me were

(a) Does it fit? and more fundamentally

(b) Whether or not it fits, would I enjoy wearing it?

I was surprised at how often the answer to (b) was “No.”

Here are my rejects:

Casual sweaters and tops, all either uncomfortable, unflattering, ill-fitting, or pilled.  Plus a truly ancient denim skirt.

Casual sweaters and tops, all either uncomfortable, unflattering, ill-fitting, or pilled. Plus a truly ancient denim skirt.  (I later decided to give the cardigan at the top left another try.)

An assortment of (mostly) old work clothes.  Any guesses what my color story used to be?

An assortment of (mostly) old work clothes. Any guess what my go-to color scheme used to be?

I bought the top on the left at Target when I was a few months post-partum and DESPERATE for something that fit.  I hated it almost as soon as I bought it but kept wearing it for months.

I bought the shirt on the left at Target when I was a few months postpartum and DESPERATE for something that fit. I hated it almost as soon as I bought it but kept wearing it almost every day for months.  Good riddance!

Assorted not-me tops.  I love the colors of the green shirt in the middle, but the style was uncomfortable and unflattering.

Assorted bad-idea tops. I love the colors of the green shirt in the middle, but the style was uncomfortable and unflattering.

A skirt and assorted pants that were old, old, old, never did fit really well and never will.

A skirt and assorted pants that were old, old, old.  Most never did fit really well and probably never will.

A pair of Sevens for $6 at Goodwill!  $6 too much, as it turns out, since the rise is ridiculously low and I will never ever wear them.

A pair of Sevens for $6 at Goodwill! . . .  They were six dollars too much, as it turns out, since the rise is ridiculously low and I will never ever wear them.

What’s amazing to me is how many of these items I bought at thrift stores, consignment stores, or on super-duper clearance but never really liked.   I wish I hadn’t been so “thrifty” and had bought just a few nice items instead.  I probably would have spent less money in the long run.

At the end of this process, I had whittled down my cold-weather wardrobe so that it all fit here:

My tops, skirts, dresses and jackets, plus all my shoes, all hang on my side of the closet.

My tops, skirts, dresses, jackets, and shoes all fit on my side of the closet.

Some jeans and sweaters are on the bottom right shelf.  Gym clothes, underwear, and night clothes are in the drawers.

Jeans, sweaters, and sweatshirts are on the bottom right shelf. Gym clothes, underwear, and night-clothes are in the drawers.  You can see my rejects in the box on the floor, awaiting a trip to the consignment shop.

Summer clothes and maternity/post-partum clothes are stored away in bins.  Also (I admit), I have ten or so items hanging in my daughter’s closet: things I really like but that don’t fit now, plus some suits and blazers for the occasional times I need to look professional.

Once I cleared away all of the items that (a) didn’t fit well, (b) I didn’t like, or (c) weren’t appropriate for my life, it was pretty easy to put together an everyday “uniform” mostly from items I already had.

For the first wardrobe category–my everyday outfits–I’ve assembled these:

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Plus jeans.  I’ve decided that right now I want to wear blue jeans every day.  Boring perhaps, but it works for me.  Finding the right blue jeans, though, has been an ongoing process that is anything but boring.   I’ll describe that in a separate post.

Everything is machine washable (crucial, crucial, crucial) and comfortable enough that I don’t mind wearing it all day long.  Ideally nothing would need to be ironed, but I make an exception for the chambray button-up.  Usually, though, I wear it about once a week and can get away with washing it every other time.  So I only have to iron every two weeks.  😉

Here’s how it might work on a typical day:

When I get dressed in the morning (sometimes not until late morning but oh well), I can grab a pair of jeans and a top (or sweater/top combo) easily, without having to think about it.

Woo hoo!  Dressed.

Woo hoo! Dressed.

If you knock on my door in the middle of the day, I’ll probably look like this:

Just call me Mrs. Joe Gargery

Just call me Mrs. Joe Gargery

But if I’m going out, it only takes a few minutes to pull myself together because I’m already wearing real clothes!  Brilliant, right?  😉

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Today was chilly and we were going to the playground, so I put on a navy corduroy blazer over my cardigan and added a pink scarf and a black hat (because brown, navy and black totally work together, right?):

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And there are some lots of days when the girls are uncooperative and we need to leave ten minutes ago, and all I can manage is this:

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But hey, it’s better than pajama pants and Crocs!

I’m not looking to make it on anyone’s best-dressed list.  I still have so much to learn about dressing well.  But I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, so I share it with you.  If you have any comments or suggestions I’d love to hear them.  (If you think it’s hopeless and I should just give up now, well, just keep it to yourself.)

In my next post in this series, I’ll give more details of my current wardrobe and some thoughts on how I’d like to improve it.

What I Wore Sunday, or Blurry Photography Part 35

I’m linking up with Kendra and Emily at Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

I actually took these pictures Saturday night because I had a few quiet minutes to try out a new outfit and get Pat to take photos.

I was so excited when I saw this outfit pop up on Pinterest:

This is not me.

because I had bought similar pieces just a few days before.  It took me a while to get to wear them, though, because the skirt was thrifted and needed alteration.  Also, it’s too cold for sandals so I had to wait for my brown boots to come.  (Okay, actually I got impatient and wore this outfit once with black boots but I am thoroughly ashamed of myself and promise never to do it again.  😉

So anyway:

Me

also me

Which belt is better?  I think I”ll go with the wider one because the skinny one slides around a bit.  The skirt doesn’t have belt loops.

A necklace would be a nice Sunday-best touch here.  Something like this:

or this:

but Girl 2 is in a grabby stage so no necklace for me right now.

Finally, this is for Lizzie.  What I Wore to Walmart:

What? It’s what the locals wear.