Friday, January 15, 2021

Why I Love Long Cardigans

 What I Wore At The Drive-Thru


I couldn't resist adding the title about what I wore at the drive-thru to this post. Getting even a little dressed up right now is a big deal and I wanted to style my long cardigan with this outfit and tell you why I love long cardigans in general. 


Underneath the cardigan I wore my tan tunic/dress over brown skinny pants that, to me, are more like leggings anyway. It's a bit of a monochromatic look with different shades of brown being used in the styling. Every time I wear brown I am reminded of how much I like the color. 


For added warmth I layered my long southwestern style cardigan over the outfit. Shades of brown again with a background of cream. I really like adding long cardigans to my outfits because they bring added warmth. The length keeps my legs extra warm. Long cardigans can also double as a coat on days that aren't freezing. Today was that kind of day so this was all I needed to run my errands....including going through the drive-thru! (wink) These cardigans are less bulky than many coats and I love them for wearing as a coat in Fall and Spring, as well. 


You can also add a bit of extra style, like I did here, with the addition of a belt. The belt defines my waist and adds one more layer of brown. This outfit is built on layers which can be added or subtracted depending on temperature and styling desires. Short cardigans can be belted as well so check out your own closet for sweaters, belts and outfits that can be layered and have some fun creating new looks. I think you will enjoy the versatility that sweaters/cardigans can give to your own stylings. 
 
Hope you'll leave a comment!
Until Next Time,
Debbie

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Fresh Cut Flowers Add Cheer to Winter Months

 Creating Vignettes With Fresh Flowers


I'm always looking for ways to bring cheerfulness to the winter months and one way I have found to do that is to bring fresh cut flowers into my home. I picked out these gorgeous blooms during a trip to the grocery store and aren't they beautiful and vibrant colors?!


I knew that I wanted to find some unique containers to use for arranging these flowers. So, I went through my cabinets and found a clear, rectangular short vase and a pretty small ceramic teapot that is itself covered in flowers. Because these containers were small and short I had to cut the long stems of my flowers in order to make them fit well. 


I just love to get not one but two flower arrangements from one bouquet of flowers and that was exactly what I was able to do! I tried to divide the colors equally between the clear vase and the teapot for the best color effect. If anyone knows what those little salmon colored tomato-like flowers are in the teapot let me know. I haven't seen them in bouquets before and they are unique and pretty. 


I was able to display my flower arrangements in two different locations in my living room. This one is on the side table and adds a colorful touch to the snowmen, snowglobe and other decor on the table. 


And my little teapot arrangement fits right in with the eclectic items on our mantel. You can see we like to display items that are either from nature or reflect nature so flowers are just perfect with everything else. 

Studies have shown that flowers have a positive effect on both mood and emotional health. So, I am not surprised that bringing fresh flowers into my home is a true spirit lifter for me. Perhaps it can be for you, as well. Stopping to smell the roses (or carnations or....) can bring a bright spot to any day. Take a look at the fresh flowers the next time you are out at the grocery store or another place that sells fresh flowers and indulge yourself. Let me know if it lifts your spirits and if you like my arrangements today. 

Until Next Time,

Debbie

Monday, January 11, 2021

In Praise of Being Introverted in A Pandemic World

 In Praise Of Introversion

A great book to read about being an introvert

Is it possible that being introverted has helped me through this time of a world-wide pandemic? I believe it has. As an introvert, needing to stay at home more has not seemed as daunting to me as it has to friends and family who are more extroverted by nature. But, even being introverted, I am looking forward to the time when life will become more normal again. Still, staying home to stay safe has given me ample time to read more, reflect more and write more-all things that introverts tend to value. 


I didn't know until recently that there is a World Introvert Day and it is each year on January 2nd. So, I'm a week late in celebrating but that's ok. I've known for a long time that I'm an introvert and have many of the textbook traits of introverts such as getting tired-out from social interaction and needing time to recharge by being alone. I'm also not a fan of big parties and prefer smaller groups of friends when I socialize. If I am in a new situation I tend to stand back and observe before joining in or speaking out and that has caused many folks over the years to misunderstand me, thinking I was being snobby or overly quiet or just not much fun to be around. And I much prefer to work alone than in groups. Now that I'm retired this isn't such an issue anymore although groups can't be avoided entirely. The world tends to value extroverted traits such as being social, talking a lot and group problem solving rather than an individual working alone. 

I began to learn more about my introverted self when I was taking courses to add on the academically-intellectually-gifted certification that allowed me to become an AIG Specialist. More recently, I have enjoyed getting articles from introvertdear.com which offers a lot of info about what being an introvert means. Click on the link and you will find a plethora of articles including this one on the definition of being an introvert. Learning about introversion came to me later in my career and I found learning more about myself very helpful. I had always been described as "quiet" and always knew I liked time to myself. I found it life affirming to learn more about what introversion means. 

For any extroverts reading this post, please understand that being an introvert is not "better" than being an extrovert and vice-versa. Psychologists believe that we are born as either an introvert or an extrovert and we have our particular introvert/extrovert traits for life. Those traits do impact how each of us like to live our lives both personally and professionally. So, in my opinion, it's very helpful to understand our introverted or extroverted selves. And since many of the extroverted traits-such as being social and outgoing and enjoying working in groups-is valued in the school and workplace, it is important to celebrate and value introverts as well. 

Even as a child I can remember being introverted. Which makes sense as I was born with particular introverted traits. I fully remember coming home exhausted from all of the social interaction at school and needing to eat a snack, sit by myself and think over the events and interactions of the day in seclusion. Although I had friends and fully enjoyed being with them, I always needed alone time to recharge from these social times. As a small child I loved playing alone outside or in my bedroom and invented all sorts of imaginary friends and adventures. I loved reading at an early age and was always content to sit quietly and read. When I was a teenager I enjoyed participating in all of the usual teenage activities with friends but found that I needed time alone afterward to recharge from all the social interaction. 

Later, as an adult, I carried these same traits into first college life and then the professional settings of teaching. As you might imagine, the educational setting of public school greatly valued teachers working together in "teams" writing curriculum in groups, planning lessons together and encouraging our students to work together in the classroom in groups to problem solve. Early on in my career I noticed students who, like me, shied away from group work and preferred to learn on their own as individuals. While I learned many ways over my career to work and teach in extroverted settings, I also valued my own individualism as a teacher and also tried to respect the students who preferred working alone, as well. It was always a bit of a tightrope walk to get through my professional life as an introvert and most days I came home exhausted from all of the interaction that was required during the work day that went beyond simply teaching my students. Due to this, I tried to keep my evenings and weekends free from lots of social engagements because that time was needed for me to unwind and recharge for the coming week of work. I watched other friends teach all day and then go to meetings or social events in the evenings and feel energized by those events. But not me. Going to more things in the evenings that called on me to be social after a long day at work was very draining. Now, in retirement, I have more free time and am better able to cope and, before Covid, I even found myself looking for more opportunities for social interaction. But during my work life those down times were truly necessary and precious. 

Introverts tend to be given many labels such as being "quiet" or "shy." The thing is, as an introvert it takes me longer to feel comfortable letting my true self show when I first meet someone. That means I may stand back and just observe for awhile. I may not speak out as much for awhile. But, once I get to know someone I can be just as loud and talkative as an extroverted person. It just takes awhile. And, I have to feel very safe in a social situation before I share lots of information about myself. Introverts tend to prefer a close group of a few friends rather than a large group of lots of friends. And that pretty much describes me throughout my whole life. 

Introverts can be quieter, thoughtful people who seek meaning in their lives. They tend to be problem solvers who think long and hard before expressing themselves to others. They can have rich inner lives that are full of creative and meaningful ideas. Introverts have so much to offer the world. So do extroverts. But often times it is the extroverts who get noticed over the introverts because extroverts tend to talk more and be louder in what they voice. Because extroverts tend to be more assertive and frequently are first to offer ideas and opinions they are often more "heard" than introverts who take time to think and ponder before offering ideas and opinions. Both groups are important to our world. But I must say that as an introvert, I am happy to find that I am not alone since it is believed that 30-50% of the population are introverts. So, how can we not celebrate?!

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What has been your experience as an introvert or an extrovert? If you are an introvert, can you relate to the definitions? Do leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers!


Friday, January 8, 2021

Living In A Snow Globe World

 Life Outside My Window


The view outside my window is very snowy today. In fact, it is like living inside a snow globe! We have at least four inches with more expected before midnight, so my world today is inside where it is warm and cozy. After experiencing a long and busy week, this kind of day is most welcome.



Living inside a snow globe basically gives you one view of the world. It is easy to think that this is the view everyone is experiencing. But, that is not the case. 


There are snow people of all shapes and sizes outside the snow globe. Some have brooms which makes sweeping their paths easier. But others do not. Hopefully, the snow people who own brooms will help out the others. 

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater" Isaiah 55:10

Until Next Time,

Debbie




Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sunday Drive To Burnsville North Carolina

A Quiet And Quaint Little Town


Welcome to the quaint and lovely town of Burnsville, North Carolina. This is where we took our Sunday drive today and enjoyed snapping some photos on the village green. The Christmas decorations were still up and I'm so glad as it added to the photos and also our enjoyment. 


I'm always reminded of the fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green whenever I visit little towns like this. Dora Saint (Miss Read) structured those villages around a green area in the middle of town and all of the houses and businesses fanned out in every direction just like they do here in Burnsville. You can see the Nu-Wray Inn in this picture which is an historic inn that I would love to go into some day. I have read that Thomas Wolfe, Christopher Reeves and Elvis Presley all stayed at this inn


Like many towns of similar size, this one is filled with beautiful old buildings which are no longer used for their original intent. This is the old Yancey County Public Library building. It reminds me of the old Carnegie Library in my hometown which now sits unused. These buildings are so historic and beautiful and I wish they could still be used as libraries. I guess that I am not of the opinion that newer is better!


I really like the wreaths and red ribbon on the lamp posts on the green. If it hadn't been so cold today, I wouldn't have minded just sitting on the green and taking it all in. But, it was bitter today and after snapping several photos I headed back to the warmth of the car while The Mr. continued his photography without me. Guess I'm a wimp!


This is a statue of Otway Burns for whom the town of Burnsville is named. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. 


A view of the main street of downtown. Several years ago I would travel here every week to play in a local orchestra. It was a long drive to make in all types of weather and I was still teaching school at the time, as well, so I eventually gave up the orchestra. It was always fun to come to this little town, though. 


I'll close this post with a final picture of the pretty lights on this tree on the green facing The Nu-Wray Inn. We didn't get to see the lights at night but I'm sure they are beautiful! It was a lovely Sunday drive and I enjoyed getting to see the sights of Burnsville once again. 


Until Next Time,
Debbie