Friday, August 31, 2018

How To Accessorize For Less

Economical Accessories


If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you have probably caught on to the fact that I am an economical kind of gal. I love a bargain, but, at the same time, I enjoy looking nice. I just don't want to spend a mint doing so. In today's post, I'm going to share some of my "secrets" for how I economize when shopping for accessories. Now, I have nothing against having really nice pieces of jewelry or clothing. But, if you can find costume jewelry that looks nice, why not go less expensive sometimes? Take this pretty blue necklace, for instance. I already owned the silver necklace and purchased the blue pendant for a couple of bucks at A.C. Moore and put it on the silver chain. Voila-I had a beautiful new necklace!


Next time you're in your local craft store, be sure to check out their jewelry department. Most craft stores carry pieces that can be used to create jewelry. That's how I came to "create" this necklace. The beads were on closeout clearance and I purchased the necklace to string them onto on the clearance table, as well. For around $5, I fashioned this pretty necklace. See the little teapot charm hanging down in the middle? You know I like teapots!


I've written before on the blog that I am a fan of Paparazzi $5 jewelry, like the necklace you see here.


But, did you know that many Goodwill stores now carry jewelry, that is new and not used, for only $3? That's how I came to find this pretty bee pendant that I love. I've received many compliments when I wear it and no one suspected it was from Goodwill! Shhhh...don't tell!


And whenever I'm in an antiques store, which I enjoy browsing through frequently, I always check out their estate jewelry. Both of these pieces were purchased in antique stores for one or two dollars. 


Now, let's talk about purses. Remember my recent post about subtle ways to wear animal print? I introduced you to this leopard print purse by Adrienne Vittadini. Well, I have a little secret to tell you. 


This "purse" is actually a lunch tote. Yep, I carry a lunch tote as a purse. Who would know the difference if I didn't point it out to you? I saw this on "red dot sale" at Stein Mart marked down 50% off. I had a coupon to take another 50% off the marked down price. So, friends, I paid a whopping $2.80  for this leopard print "purse!"  Now, some of you may be thinking...."I would never do that! Carry a lunch tote as a purse?! What is she thinking???"

Well, I'm kind of thinking I prefer not to pay the $1,850 that this bag costs. 

Or, the $395 for this Coach Bag at Bloomingdales. (Although, it is on sale now for $276.50.)

In my humble opinion, there's not a whole lot of difference between the way my "purse" looks and these ultra expensive purses. Plus, if I want to carry a snack with me somewhere....I'm ready!


And since we're talking about using bags intended for other uses as purses, I'll tell you another one of my secrets. I purchased this "purse" about 4 years ago to carry as a summer bag and received many compliments. It just so happens that this purse began life as a makeup bag. Have you ever considered carrying a makeup bag as a purse before?! Have you looked at the makeup bags that are available now days? They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are absolutely beautiful! They are also typically much cheaper than purses to buy! I have carried this purse as is....


And, I have on occasion tied pink ribbon or a scarf to the handle for a little extra pizazz! I think it makes a very pretty summer purse. And, I get double duty out of it as a makeup bag when I travel!


Or, if you really want to, you could pay $123.50 for this Michael Kors satchel bag that I found on E-bay. I'm going to stick with my makeup bag "purse!"


And, finally, a word about scarves. These are some of my most favorite type of accessory! I have a fairly large collection of scarves in different colors and weights that I have acquired over the years. These are two of my favorites. And each was purchased for.....$1. The blue and white one on the left was a Goodwill find. The pretty Spring flowered one on the right was purchased at the Dollar Store. Neither one looks "cheap" in my opinion. I find it important to examine the scarves carefully looking for tears, stains, unpleasant odors and quality of material. Many times, I pass on what is offered at these stores. But, occasionally, I hit the "sweet spot" for finding a winner! I enjoy the "hunt" and feel good when I find an accessory that I love and enjoy wearing!

So, those are some of my secrets for finding great accessories. I guess they aren't secrets anymore! Tell me, have you tried any of my secrets before? Would you try them? What economical ways do you enjoy shopping? I hope you will take a moment to share. I enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

How to Wear Animal Print Without It Overwhelming You

Subdued Animal Print


Hey friends! I'm a little late coming to the wearing of animal print party which has been popular for awhile now. To be honest, I always felt that the print might be overwhelming if I wore it as a main article of clothing. That's why I'm styling this outfit using animal print as an accessory with my handbag and shoes. 


This leopard print handbag is fun to carry. It is also roomy without being super big to carry and the zipper makes it easy to get into quickly. 


These copper color flats by euro sofft sport three subtle snakeskin bands across the toe area. I'm not a huge fan of snakeskin, so subtle is good! These shoes are the "Shaina" style and are very, very comfy!! See similar here. 


Animal print goes well with this shirt-style dress. I couldn't get the light quite right when shooting photos to show the exact dress color. It's sort of a cross between olive and brown. The criss-cross ties and front pockets are ornate enough, so there is no need for a necklace. I like the comfort of this style and how the sleeves can be turned up with a loop to secure them. This is an easy dress to wear, which is what I like. I cut the tags out, so I have no idea what the brand name is. I found a similar one I'll show below, although it looks much shorter than the one I'm wearing.


                           This one is available at Belk. 


Sometimes, subtle is good for certain styles and that's how I roll with animal print. I hope you'll join me for my next post, because I'm going to share some of my secrets for finding economical ways to add style to your accessories without breaking the bank. Everyone loves a bargain, right?!

Do you wear animal print? Do you prefer to wear animal print on your clothing or as accessories? Hope you'll take a moment to share. I can't wait to hear from you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Friendly Tea Party and An Easy Craft

Teatime With Friends


There is nothing like an afternoon spent with friends drinking tea, munching on goodies and catching up with one another. 


That is precisely what happened this afternoon when these three lovely ladies joined me for a tea party at my home. Not only was I lucky enough to have worked with these awesome women but we also continue to be friends in retirement. 


A tea party takes a little planning and I had a fun time getting ready over the past few weeks. Like shopping for these cute plates and napkins at a local shop called Dreamweaver. 


And no tea party is complete without yummy cakes and sweets arranged on a tiered plate. This plate is an antique gifted to me by my husband's grandmother. I was so pleased to be able to use it for my tea party. 


This refreshing lemon/orange water was served in a pitcher that was a wedding gift when the Mr. and I were married. 


I enjoyed displaying some of my collection of teapots that I have picked up at antique stores and thrift stores. By the way, the teapot in the first picture of this post belonged to my mother-in-law and was part of her wedding dishes when she married my husband's father. 


And it was fun to use some of my Longaberger baskets and pottery on the food and beverage tables. 


I had fun yesterday creating this sign to display on the food table. Let me show you how I created this and perhaps you would like to make a similar sign. 


I started by gathering various stickers and scrapbook paper purchased at A.C. Moore, scissors and pencil.


I then traced around the back of the frame...


Cut it out and taped it to the back of the frame. I used a frame that was missing the glass. 


It was then just a matter of arranging the stickers attractively, sticking them on and replacing the back into the frame. And easy peasy craft anyone can do. I'm good with stickers!


And as you can see, I always have a furry helper nearby!

I wish you could have come to my tea party! How do you like to entertain? Do you cook and bake or keep it simple and buy your goodies? Hope you will leave a comment and share your thoughts. And Jeanette and Carolyn, if you are reading, we sure missed you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Rambling on the Max Trail

Go Take A Hike!


The Mr. and I started our Saturday with a hike on what we fondly call, "The Max Trail." It's actually the Mountains to Sea trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We call it the Max Trail after our sweet schnauzer who was a part of our family for 13 years. Max loved to hike and this was his favorite section. He would run along the trail trying to pick up every stick he came across and carry them along with him. The only problem was there was stick after stick after stick. So many...and he couldn't carry them all! Anyway, my thoughts rambled along with my feet as we hiked today. If you want to ramble along with me, keep reading. You'll find out my thoughts and, perhaps, get a little inspiration along the way, as well. 


Today's hike would be considered more of a walk to this guy. He loves to hike and can go for hours. I prefer a more leisurely pace and kept stopping to take photos along the way. That is, until my camera told me that my card was filled. Also, my camera battery needed recharged. My camera battery and my hiking legs seem to have similar issues! One hour in tired me out. Recharging the camera battery is much simpler than recharging my legs. 


I love finding the beauty in small things along the trail. Like this mushroom. Love the frilled edges! Makes me think of Saturday mornings long ago when my Mom and I liked to watch "The Smurfs" cartoon together. Wonder what Papa Smurf would think of this for a house?



Oh, how I love to see shelf lichens on a log. Sometimes, they are so big a small animal could sit on them. But these are much smaller and quite plentiful. Max would have enjoyed walking out on this log to survey the woods all around. He thought he was the four pawed"King of the Forest!" We did see two dogs on the trail today, hiking along with their owners . The smaller dog of the two, who is  named Jack and is some type of terrier mix, decided he didn't like the Mr. and refused to walk past him. His owner had to pick him up and carry him forward. Silly dog, not to like the Mr. who has never met a dog or cat he didn't like. Perhaps Jack's bark is worse than his bite? Luckily, we didn't find out!



I handed over the camera to the Mr. to take this artistic shot. Seems like you can see forever, doesn't it? This is a huge tree. Kind of like the "Sacred Tree" we have in our woods that blew down last Fall when hurricane strength winds blew through during a storm. We were told the tree was sacred by a tree trimmer of Cherokee heritage who explained that sacred trees are ones that have been hit by lightening and survived. Our tree had a great lightening mark down the side. So, the lightening didn't destroy the tree, but weak roots did. It pays to have strong roots, doesn't it?!



At one point along the trail we could have chosen to either go up the mountain, down the mountain, or keep hiking on level trail. Guess which one I chose? Part of the appeal of this trail is that it is pretty much level with just the right amount of rockiness to make it interesting and yet not too taxing. Which is pretty much how I like life to be. Life on an even keel with just enough excitement to keep it interesting, but nothing too rocky thrown in, is the perfect mix for me. But life, like most trails, is not built this way. 



Right before our turn around point, two goddesses went running by. I remarked to the Mr. that I could look like them if I really wanted to. You know what I mean. Long flowing hair, perfectly toned and tanned bodies without an ounce of fat showing in their stylish running outfits. Well, I can dream, right? Makes me realize that I should have appreciated my body more when I was in my twenties. Instead,  I was filled with all sorts of negative body image issues. Thinking that I should look a certain way, more like Farrah Fawcett, instead of being happy with how I looked then. Come to think of it, I should appreciate my 50's body of today. After all, I am still able to hike and breathe in fresh air, and see the beauty all around me. I don't need long flowing hair or a perfectly toned and tanned body to enjoy hiking in the woods. I'm blessed and thankful to be just the way I am. Too bad little Max wasn't here to enjoy the hike with us, though.  I think I'll dedicate this hike to him.

Our "Little Guy" Max



Until Next Time,
Debbie













Thursday, August 16, 2018

How to Style A Long Cardigan with A Dress

Striped Dress With A Cardi


Anyone else besides me having a hard time accepting that September is just a couple weeks away? Yikes, where did this summer go?! It's still really hot and humid here, of course, but I know that sweater weather will be here before we know it and that means styling sweaters and cardigans with different outfits. Today, I'm showing how I style a cardigan with my striped t-shirt dress. You've seen the dress before but with different accessories and shoes. 


I think a cardigan looks best with a dress or skirt when the cardigan covers approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the dress. If I were wearing a longer skirt, the proportions wouldn't look as good. It's important to notice these things when you check yourself in the mirror. If I'm wearing pants, the cardigan will cover 1/2 of the outfit, so the proportions will still look good. You hear many fashion bloggers speak to the "2/3 rule" when creating outfits and it's a good rule to follow. Sometimes wearing a jacket or cardigan that isn't the right length for the dress or skirt can cause an outfit to look "frumpy" in my opinion, so I try to be careful with sweater and jacket lengths. 


By the way, I do hope you are noticing those beautiful garage doors behind me. I have waited almost 16 years to get those doors installed and I'm thrilled with the result! I plan to do a series in the Fall on the 16 year renovation journey we have experienced with our house so you can consider this a sneak preview!


Let me share a word about these BZees Spirit Wedge Sandals. I have enjoyed wearing these so much this summer. Talk about comfort! I also understand that every BZees shoe is designed with machine washable material that can be washed in cold water and air dried. I haven't done that with these shoes but will in the future. That's a nice feature. 

Do you wear cardigans? What fashion rules do you follow when deciding which jacket or sweater to wear? Hope you'll take a moment to share. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

*photography by William Ross

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

5 Favorite Beauty Products I'm Delighted to Share

5 Of My Must Have Beauty Products 

*Not a gifted or paid post. All writing/opinions are my own. Please know your allergies before trying any products. 

Today, I'm delighted to share five of my favorite beauty products with you. I'm a mix and match kind of gal, meaning I don't use all one brand with my makeup so you will see different brand names shared today. This is not a paid or gifted post, at all. I'm just sharing what I like! I realize that by the time we ladies get into our fifties and beyond we kind of have our makeup routine down. But, I have found a few new products that I'm now using that I truly like and have also returned to some products that I had let go for awhile. 


First off, let's talk makeup brushes. I went without using makeup brushes to apply my makeup most of my adult life until about five years ago when I broke down and bought a set. I didn't realize what I had been missing! Applying powder and eye shadow with brushes is so much better than using sponge applicators or puffs. The blending you are able to do with brushes gives an air brushed look and is also great for getting to the under eye area and covering any blemishes or imperfections. I still use my fingers to apply foundation, but use the brushes for everything else. 


I decided recently to return to using Clinique moisturizer and foundation. In a post awhile ago I had mentioned that I was using Olay products again, and I did use Olay for quite awhile. But, my  rosacea started to really give me problems and I felt that perhaps Clinique would be better for my redness. So, back to the Clinique counter for their "Clinique Days" specials! The dramatically different lotion is a great moisturizer for my skin. It isn't greasy and quickly absorbs into my skin. I used it for years and only stopped because I was irritated over the price increases. I am still not happy that they price the dramatically different lotion one dollar less than what you must spend at Clinique Days to get the "free" seven piece set. 🙁 But, I made peace with it and went ahead and got the Even Better face foundation that I like. If you can hold off to buy your makeup until Clinique Days happens, you can stock up and still get your freebies! I really like the Even Better foundation because it really matches my skin tone and covers and blends beautifully! I "set" my foundation with Loreal Mineral powder and I'm happy with the result. I'm not showing the mineral powder but you can find it under the Loreal sign at any drugstore, Target or Walmart. 


These two products are recent finds and I really like them both! I had used BB creme before, but when I saw the Loreal Magic BB cream for anti-redness I had to give it a try! The creme goes on green but absorbs right into my skin and, here is the best part, after about two minutes the redness is gone and my skin tone is even. It's so cool how this works! There are many days when this is all I wear. Other days, I apply the Even Better foundation over the BB creme and then set with the mineral powder. 

Have you tried a brow powder before? I was skeptical, but decided to give this Cover Girl product a try and I'm so glad I did. It really works for me to use a powder on my brows rather than a brow pencil. I tried several brow pencils and just felt they didn't look right on me. For a long time, I would simply brush my brows with a brow brush and do nothing else, but then, gray brow hairs began to appear. If I pluck them all, I won't have any brows left! With this brow powder I simply rub my brow brush in the powder and brush it onto my brow. There are three shades of powder and they can also be used as eye shadow. I feel like my brows look natural with this product and my gray is covered. 

Are any of my favorite products ones you use? What are your favorite products? Hope you'll take a moment to share! We're never too old to find something that works for us and makes us look and feel beautiful!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Weekend Inspiration: Discerning God's Will

A Summer of Discernment

Public Domain Image
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I was remarking to a friend recently that I felt that this summer had been one of discernment for me. It just feels like several concerns that I have been thinking about and praying about for quite awhile seem to be finding answers falling into place in my thinking. I feel that I know what the Lord wants me to do in these situations and I have a peace about the situations and how I need to respond to them that I did not have previously. 

Discerning God's will in our lives can sometimes happen quickly, but, most often, in my own life, I find that it takes time and comes through a process of prayer, scripture study and careful attention to what I experience in life events. It also involves my truly wanting to know God's will for my life, as well, and my willingness to listen for His still small voice in my heart. 

In his book about The Serenity Prayer, Trevor Hudson speaks about discerning God's will for our life. He speaks about the "general will" that God has for each of our lives such as finding happiness in our job, living with integrity, etc. Trevor likens this to the general will that he has for his own children. He wants them to be happy in life and to be honest and people of integrity but doesn't have any specific expectations about what they do for a career, who they marry, etc. But, he also speaks to the "specific will" that God has for each of us and that God has something beautiful in mind for each of us to accomplish in this life. So, part of living our lives, according to Trevor, is for us to discern what this beautiful thing might be and then do it. 

My own particular beliefs are more along the lines of what "Father Tim" has to say in the Mitford Series books by Jan Karon which is, "nothing that happens in the life of a child of God happens by accident."  I believe that God put it in my heart at a very young age to be a teacher and to pursue music. I believe that God put my future husband in my path so that we could meet, grow in our relationship and eventually marry. I believe that these specific things happened for a purpose as have the other events of my life. Not everyone believes this way, I know. And yes, this way of believing always presents "tough" questions about why certain bad things happen in life. And, no, I don't have all those answers. And, no, I don't believe that God makes bad things happen. Rather, I rely on God's promise in Romans 8:28 that "all things work together for good to them that love God..." God can bring good out of anything. 

You see, discerning God's will for our lives is hard. It's not always an easy thing. Sometimes it involves struggle and hard decisions. Trevor Hudson talks about the Quaker way of discernment which involves reflection, prayer and then coming to a clarity about which choice in a decision gives a feeling of inner peace. For me, finding this sense of peace only comes after much time spent in prayer and searching of scriptures. Listening to trusted Christian friends and life events around me is helpful, as well, but the prayer and scripture meditation is key for me. And finally, hearing that still small voice of God speaking is what gives me the peace I need to move forward. 

Perhaps, the struggle of coming to discernment is necessary. When I struggle it is because there is something worth struggling for. The decision is not taken lightly. It has meaning in my life that comes with reasoning backed up by scripture and a commitment to serve God through my discernment and decision making. I am reminded of the saying, "good things come to those who wait." As Proverbs 16:4 says, "The Lord works out everything to its proper end..."

How do you discern God's will for your life? I hope you will share. 

Blessings,
Debbie


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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bold Styling with Palazzo Pants

Bold and Colorful Palazzo Pants

bold color and style

Hey wonderful readers! How is it Wednesday already? I feel like I'm behind with posting but I'm going to fix that right now! I'm going bold in my style today by wearing some very colorful palazzo pants to style for you. Some days, you just feel like adding a little color to your look. These pants certainly fit that requirement!


The last time I wore Palazzo pants was in the 1970's during my high school days. I loved them then and I love them now! (I'm leaving out the bodysuit this go round, though!) The first thing that appealed to me about these pants would be the beautiful blues and greens of the fabric pattern. These pants also are made of a very lightweight satin mini pleat fabric similar to the mini pleat tops I styled for you previously. 


Believe it or not, these pants are much warmer than you would think since they are made of such thin material. I wore these to a restaurant today and ate outside on the covered patio and I was actually too warm in these pants. That means I can enjoy wearing them into Fall which is a good thing. 


I found these pants on the clearance rack at Stein Mart in the late Spring. By the way, if you shop at Stein Mart you may have noticed that they no longer have their $5 Clearance racks (which used to be $3 racks). Instead, they have racks marked 50% down. It's a little harder now to find the bargains like I used to, but I was able to get these Palazzo pants for $10 which is not bad! They were very long on me but, due to the material, I was able to simply cut them down to my height. These will also make great travel pants as the fabric does not wrinkle. 


I'm not 100% happy with wearing this blouse with these pants, but, for now, it will do. What do you think? I originally had another white top on but I felt it fit me too tightly and was not flattering so I changed to this blouse. A cobalt blue top or even a green top that matches the green in the pants would look good, also.

bold jewelry

Such bold pants can handle some bold accessories, so I went with a pendant/tassel necklace, a wide gold bracelet and my "Princess Diana" ring. I also have on those bold earrings I wrote about in my playing with fashion post. 

Would you wear Palazzo pants? Do you love bold colors? Hope you will take a moment to share. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Until Next Time,
Debbie