Friday, September 28, 2018

How To Style A High Low Dress

High Low Dress With Leggings

Happy Friday, Everyone!  I'm breaking out some Fall styling for you today with a red and black plaid high-low  shirt style dress. There are many ways this style dress can be worn. It can actually function as a shirt as well as a dress. Today, I'm choosing to style it more as a shirt with leggings. I'm also showing you the look wearing three different styles of shoes so you can decide which way you like the best.  

I've chosen to wear a belt in each of the photos, but I added that to the look. The dress comes without a belt and can be worn loose. The shoes in these first two photos are my comfy slide style flats by sofft. (similar)

The dress brand is Time and Tru and is sold at Walmart. You can see a similar style in green plaid here. The material is very soft and warm. I was actually too warm in this outfit, so it will work well as cooler Fall temperatures come. I have changed shoes to a dressier look with my Abella "Laura" pumps. (Similar in blue).

I'm wearing a simple silver locket type necklace, a silver cuff bracelet and silver Paparazzi earrings to compliment the look.

Here, I've added my black slouch boots to change up the look. I love the boots with the red/black plaid color. 

These boots are comfortable for walking and the "slouch" adds some interesting style, in my opinion. The boot brand is BareTraps. (See similar here).

So, what do you think? Would you wear this type of high-low dress? Which type of shoe do you prefer with the dress? In a later post, I will style the look for you as a dress without the leggings. This style of shirt-dress can be very versatile and can give you many choices for styling. Hope you'll take a moment to leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers. 

BTW, because of my blog name change, if you have subscribed to get emails when a new post appears, you may want to re-subscribe to make sure you never miss a post!  And, if you have never subscribed, today would be a great day to start! It's super easy and no cost to you. Just look at the right side of my blog and add your email to the "Follow me by email" section. Click submit and watch for the confirmation email to arrive in your inbox. Confirm that you want to follow Debbie Styles Life and you're done. You will never miss a post that way!

Wishing You Joy,

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pumpkin Snacks, Mystery Novels and Fall Craft Ideas

Pumpkins, Mysteries and Crafts

What do pumpkins, books and crafts have to do with one another?  They all are appearing in today's post!  I enjoy doing posts that share a variety of topics and today I'm giving you ideas for great Fall snacks, books and an easy peasy craft that anyone can do. 

I haven't been to the Trader Joe's here until last Saturday when I decided to see what this store has to offer. I found these Organic Pumpkin Spice Granola bars and decided to give them a try and, oh my goodness, are they ever good! I haven't gotten on the "all things pumpkin" bandwagon in previous years, but these babies may change that. 

I also spotted these pumpkin biscotti and decided to give them a try. Yumm....!!!  The spice is just enough, not overpowering, and it's definitely hard to eat just one! I have a feeling that when these are gone, I'll be back at Trader Joe's!

I can honestly say that these Trader Joe's pumpkin snacks are delicious!

Now that we've got the snacks covered, how about a couple of good books to read while you eat?  I recently discovered a new mystery series that I am really enjoying. The series is "Secrets of Mary's Bookshop" and is part of the Guideposts series of books. There are several different series published by Guideposts such as the Church Choir Mysteries, Tearoom Series, etc. I had previously read some of the Church Choir Mysteries, but they didn't catch my interest. So, I was delighted when I discovered the "Mary's Bookshop" series and really enjoyed reading the first one. 

At this point, I am reading my third book of this series. I enjoy the character of Mary Fisher, who has moved back to Ivy Bay in Cape Cod after being widowed. Mary spent many summers in Ivy Bay as a child and she returns to live with her sister, Betsy, and to achieve her lifelong dream of opening a bookstore. While selling books and renewing childhood friendships. Mary also gets involved in solving many mysteries. The one thing I don't like about this series, is that several different authors write the books. While the story lines and characters are consistent, it is possible to tell that different authors are writing. But, so far at least, I am still enjoying the series and recommend it to others. I have been lucky enough to find these books at our local used bookstore. They are also available on Amazon, so I can get more titles there. Not sure if the library carries these. 

I recommend the Guideposts "Secrets of Mary's Bookstore" series. 

Now, we've covered great snacks and good books. How about an easy Fall craft?  I'm a big peanut butter eater and I recently did a cupboard clean out and discovered a few almost empty jars. Oops, how did that happen?!  Anyway, I cleaned these jars thinking I would stick them in the recycling bin when an idea hit me. Why not up-cycle these jars into something useful? 

Why not add a little pretty Fall ribbon around a jar and turn it into a cotton ball holder for the bathroom?  It's so pretty and just what I needed in my bathroom!

This jar makes a great covered drink holder.  I added some color by cutting scrapbook paper to size and wrapping it around the jar. The Mr. drilled a hole in the lid for me and I added a matching color straw. How pretty and easy is that?! This is great for taking cold drinks with you in the car. 

Using empty peanut butter jars for other uses like storage and beverage holders is a fun and easy Fall craft!


Let me know what you think of these snacks, books and crafts. Would you try any of them? By the way, have you noticed the blog looks a bit different? Along with a new blog name, I fashioned a theme redo and hope you like it! Hope you'll leave a comment and make my day!

Wishing You Joy,

Thursday, September 20, 2018

When Jewelry Has Memories

Memorable Jewelry and Blog News

Hello Everyone!  Did you do a double take when you came on the blog today?  Did you ask, "Who Is Debbie Styles Life and what have you done with Debbie This And That?"  No worries. It's still me and all will be explained if you stick with me to the end of this post. But first, I'm taking a bit of a trip down memory lane today, looking at jewelry that I own that hold memories for me. I'll bet you have some "memory pieces" in your jewelry box as well and, perhaps after today's post, you'll want to go find them and take a walk down memory lane yourself!

The locket you see in the above picture I have owned since I graduated from college back in 1981. It was a gift from a dear friend named, Mary Lou. (Yes, the same Mary Lou who won my first give away. She won fair and square. Her name was picked randomly!) I think of her each time I see and wear this beautiful piece. There were four of us "girls" who were fast friends throughout our college years, give or take the usual teenage squabbles that young ladies go through. Out of those four, Mary Lou and I are the only friends still living. Sadly, the other two died quite young. We remain close friends and Mary Lou recently became a grandmother! 

These two rather unusual pins are what my family refers to as the "baby pins" belonging to my sister, Sharon, and myself. Sharon and I are the youngest of five sisters and I assume these were bought for us when we were little. They are supposed to represent nursery rhyme characters. Mine is the "cow who jumped over the moon." I think the cow is a bit scary looking. I'm not sure who the dog is supposed to be. The eyes used to "wink" but aging has taken care of that (For both the pins and for me. I won't speak for my sister!)

How could I not include my wedding rings as memorable jewelry?! I have worn these for 35 years and still remember the excitement of receiving my engagement ring. Because the Mr. was working out of state at the time, I wore the ring on my right hand until he could come home and place it on my left ring finger. Oh my goodness, I was a sappy 24 year old!! The Zirconia band was a purchase we made when I received "Teacher of the Year" at my first school. I was super excited to receive this honor and wanted to commemorate the event with a ring. 

My High School class ring dates back to graduation in 1977. I felt, at the time, that I just had to have a class ring and I'm glad I have it, although I don't think I wore it after my first year of college. Still, it holds happy memories of being a somewhat carefree and goofy teenager of the 70's! Memories of friends, orchestra, sports carnivals and meeting the Mr. for the first time all date back to my high school years. So do memories of great anxiety trying to figure out how to go to college, where to go and what course of study to follow. I wonder what I would say to that young girl of the 70's if I could go back in time and talk to her?!

These necklaces belonged to my mother and I can still picture her wearing them. She wore this pair all the time, always together. I do wear these necklaces, but I wear them carefully and not often. I don't want to lose them because of the connection to my mother. 

Speaking of my mother, these are her 5 and 10 year anniversary pins from Hills Department Store where she worked many years before finally retiring. She loved these pins and I remember that she was so proud the round one had a diamond chip. I keep them to remember her hard work ethic and the memories of my oldest sister and I taking her to work and picking her up late at night when she finished her shift. Hills doesn't even exist anymore and the store she worked at is now a Home Depot. But, I can never go by there when I am visiting my hometown without remembering my Mom walking out the door with a tired smile. 

I used to belong to a teacher sorority many moons ago and each member took a turn being the president for a year. The end of a presidential tenure was marked with the giving of a necklace from Chico's.  This was my prize. I have loved wearing this necklace, but the metal appears to be tarnished. Perhaps that's a sign that I wasn't a great sorority president! 

I've shared the story of finding a sapphire at a local gem mine before on the blog. We had the ring cut and polished and then chose a setting for the stone. This ring holds memories of a wonderful day spent with family, digging in the dirt of the mine, rinsing rocks through the sluice and the joy of actually finding something! This ring arrived in time for my 33rd birthday and I have never forgotten the excitement of trying it on for the first time. I was recovering from a horrible bout with flu and this ring was definitely a high spot of that birthday!

And finally, this lovely blue and green butterfly necklace brings memories of my retirement from teaching. This was the gift I was given by the Academically Intellectually Gifted group I worked with during the last ten years of my teaching career. Butterflies have been a joy throughout my life and a sign of new life and growth. When the Mr. and I got married, I wore a delicate gold butterfly necklace that he had given me and which, sadly, I can't seem to find now. That necklace stood for love and fidelity and the blossoming of new marriage. This blue/green butterfly represents friendship, respect and new beginnings. When I wear it, I remember happy teaching memories in an amazing Gifted program, colleagues that became lifelong friends and the ability to break free from the chrysalis of work life to the new experiences of retired life. 

And speaking of new beginnings, a word about the new blog name. Those who have followed my blog know that I reverted back to my original blogspot address in May 2018. At the time, I felt this was a necessary change. I still retained the Debbiethisandthat name, but gave up owning my own dot com domain. When one forfeits their domain name it leaves the domain open for someone else to buy. I truly did not think that the domain name would be wanted by someone else and always kept in the back of my mind that I might someday reclaim the domain. When I checked recently, I discovered that the domain name was not available because it had been sold. I will be honest and say that this was a stunning blow to me. Especially since when I checked the use of the domain name, it appears that the site has nothing to do with anything that would fit using Debbie This and That as a domain name, in my opinion.  I honestly have felt violated by this turn of events. But, it was my choice to give up the domain. Rather than stew about the matter, I have chosen to use this as a catalyst for some new challenges and welcome the change to a new domain name that I feel truly exemplifies what I try to accomplish on this blog. Styling life with heart, soul and creativity has always been at the heart of my writing and continues to be the driving force behind Debbie Styles Life. I hope you will continue with me on this journey!

Wishing You Joy,

*All photos property of Debbie Ross. All writing and opinions are my own. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Midweek Inspiration: Daily Platitudes

I'm Fine, How Are You? 

I was taking my little 20 minute walk today, noticing the pretty roses in bloom and the immaculate lawns of the neighborhood I was walking through, when I began to think about how people interact with one another. How we say so little and yet so much to one another, even when we interact for just a second and never see that person again. 

I encountered two women during my walk. One lady was walking her dog, a gorgeous retriever who appeared to be much more interested in smelling things than actually walking. After exchanging good mornings I remarked at the beauty of her pet and she smilingly told me that they weren't "making much progress" due to the dog's incessant desire to sniff here and there. I told her that he was "stopping to smell the roses." Smart dog to take the time to do so. I don't think he really cared if he was making progress or not. He was too busy enjoying the moment. 

As I rounded another corner I was met by a briskly moving woman of about my age, give or take a few years. Dressed for exercise success, her rapid pace told me this was a person determined to get in her miles. My own leisurely gait paled in contrast. She did flash me a brilliant smile as she passed by calling out, "Good Morning, How Are You?" I smiled back assuring her I was fine and hoped she was too. "Oh yes, I'm fine," she called and went on her way leaving me to ponder, as I often do when I walk. 

How often do we exchange these daily platitudes with people we encounter? The "How are you's" and "I'm fine, hope you are too's" that have become so much a part of our culture that we don't even think about what we are really asking. Of course, I realize that most people are not going to suddenly start telling a stranger they meet on the street all of their personal problems or even the joys happening in their life. But sometimes, these daily platitudes aren't just used with strangers. They are used with friends, co-workers and even family members. It's a way of "being nice" to someone without really letting them in, sharing in their problems, and helping to carry their burdens (and their joys) for just a little while. In this age of technology, human encounters are becoming fewer and fewer. I heard on a recent news show that by 2020, spouses will have more interactions each day with their devices than with their spouse. How sad is that?! Is listening to one another becoming a lost art?

Anyway, as I walked away from Speedwalker, I said a prayer for her and for the other lady with the retriever. I prayed that the Lord would bless them and help them with any problems they were having in their lives. Because, you see, I know that neither of them were "fine." They may have been OK in that moment, but none of us are truly "fine." There are always concerns, problems, issues to be dealt with and, yes, joys mixing in with daily living. That's just life. 

Amazing what one can think about when taking a little 20 minute walk. I think the dog had the best lesson to teach me. Stop and smell the flowers....and don't worry so much about making progress. the way....I'm fine and I hope you are too....

Until Next Time,

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.  I Timothy 2:1

*I love comments from my readers and hope you will take a moment to leave one!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Easy DIY Fall Sign

An Easy Fall Craft

Today's post is short and sweet.  I'm sharing an easy do-it-yourself Fall sign that anyone can make.  I have really enjoyed the off-white Hello Fall sign that I purchased awhile ago at AC Moore and promised to try and make my own sign and share how I did it. So here goes. I don't think my sign looks as "professional" as the AC Moore sign, but I still like it and it works to add even more Fall style to the foyer table!

Add even more Fall style to the foyer table!

I found the frame I'm using for this craft at Goodwill for $2. It's the type of frame that just has the glass and the backing with 4 clamps to hold the two pieces together. I knew I wanted to put things between the glass and the backing to display, so I knew this frame would work really well. I cut orange scrapbook paper to fit the frame size and taped a piece of burlap to the paper and then taped a silk leaf on top of the burlap. I found a print type I liked and typed "Happy Fall" and cut it out to add to the scrapbook paper. It was then just a matter of clamping it all together and I was done!
Of course, my sign is more "orangey" than the white one, but that just adds to the look of Fall. 

Do you like to get crafty in the Fall and make your own decorations?  Would you try to make a Fall sign?  Hope you'll take a moment to comment.  I enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Pefect Mini-Pleat Fall Top

Enjoying Fall In A Mini-Pleat Top

(Not a gifted or sponsored post. All writing and opinions are my own.)

Hey friends! Why not welcome Fall in a favorite top that is just perfect for transitioning weather? That's what I'm doing with this beautiful mini-pleat top that is one of the two tops I purchased during my May trip to Charleston, SC. Speaking of Charleston, I know we are all thinking of the folks on the coasts of the Carolina's right now as Hurricane Florence comes ashore. Here in Western North Carolina, we are expecting rain coming late Saturday and lasting a few days. We'll see how many inches it amounts too as the days progress.

I am loving this mini-pleat blouse so much!  I was immediately drawn to the colors of it and the fact that it is comfortable and slimming just like my other blue mini-pleat top. To me, this one has a bit more of a "formal look" or dressy look. Perhaps it is the collar that adds that something extra. I am not wearing a necklace, but the collar calls for a bit of bling to be hanging underneath of it, so I may add a pearl necklace for future wear. 

This top is long enough in back to successfully cover the fanny area and wears well with all sorts of pants, leggings, jeans, etc. Very versatile as a top. 

These mini-pleat tops are part of the "Magic It Fits" line which is related to the "Magic Scarf" company. They are one size fits all and the pleats expand as needed to fit each body type. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these tops, just how well they do fit. And because of the pleated satiny material, they travel really well with no wrinkles. I am interested in adding one of the dresses from this line to my closet in the future. 

And these Faded Glory brand memory foam ballet flats compliment the outfit nicely. 

Let me know if you decide to give any of these mini-pleat tops a try! How do you dress to transition to Fall? Hope you'll take a moment to share. And for those of you near the hurricane, please stay safe!

Until Next Time,

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fall, Friends and Inspiration

A Little Bit of This and That About Fall Decor, Retreating With Friends and Finding Inspiration

Happy Fall!  I have had a busy week with a weekend away, so haven't been in Blog land much the last few days. I'll try to catch you up today in true "this and that" fashion. First, a little look at my early Fall decor. I'm starting simply with a pretty Fall leaf dish, some white pumpkins and a new piece, that pretty Welcome Fall sign purchased at A.C. Moore. I really like that sign and would like to replicate something similar for other holidays. If I figure out how to do that, I'll definitely share!!

I am enjoying this white fabric pumpkin so much. I'm not ready for lots of orange at this point, but the white fabric just says "Fall" to me. I'll be adding Fall decor as we go along, but for early September, this is enough for right now.

I did add my pine cone wreath to the door and my beautiful seasonal quilts are always there for each season! 

I mentioned that I was away for the weekend. I was blessed to spend time with this most awesome group of women enjoying a weekend retreat! Such fun, fellowship and great memories we shared. And, as you can see, we didn't go hungry either!

These dear women encourage me spiritually and provide friendship and support throughout the year. The two women you see above are our leaders and they came up with an awesome theme for this year's retreat, "String of Pearls." Our connections are strong and our support runs deep as we support one another in faith and friendship.

We gather each Fall at a retreat center in the mountains of North Carolina. The house we stay in is called, "Betty's House," and was built expressly for the purpose of providing a place of retreat for those seeking spiritual growth. Betty is no longer with us, but her home provides sprawling rooms for meeting, eating, sleeping and fellowship. This is the living room where we gather for discussion and worship.

There is a large kitchen for meal preparation. 

And a lovely, large dining room where we share our meals. I love that Betty had scriptures written on the walls all around the dining room.

Like this scripture from John 6:35.

Betty's house even has a little prayer closet with room for one person to pray and meditate. 

And there are many bedrooms with ample space for sleeping. This bedroom was Betty's original master bedroom. It is now a dormitory style bedroom for guests.

Our group so enjoyed sitting and chatting on the spacious back porch.

And what beautiful scenery we enjoyed! All in all, it was a blessed weekend!

How are you preparing for Fall, dear readers? Do you ever go on retreats? Would you like to? I hope you will take a moment to share. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,