Thursday, April 29, 2021

Reflections and Armchair Philosophy


What a beautiful spot this was at Bear Lake in Colorado.  When we were there five years ago, I felt like I could sit in this spot forever just enjoying the views. How pretty is the reflection of the trees in the water. I've been reflecting lately on lots of things. Especially how time passes so quickly. How can it be five years since we last traveled together to this beautiful place? Our travels have taken us to Colorado over the last four years but for other reasons. Family visits, the loss of a family member. A funeral. Necessary travels to be sure, but still....we need to return to this place of beauty that refreshes our souls and revives our spirits as only a place of great beauty can do. 

We had hoped to do more traveling when The Mr. retired. And then Covid came and all travel stopped. What a year it has been! But, there is hope on the horizon and things are rapidly improving and I am dreaming of more freedom in the future to take some of those planned trips. And to just resume doing things locally that we always enjoyed like going into restaurants for lunch and whiling away the hours in used bookstores. And doing these things without feeling fearful of getting sick. Little things for sure (the activities not the getting sick part) but they mean a lot to us. 

For me, this has been a year of holding my breath and waiting for the next shoe to drop with Covid going on. Worry for family members who got the virus and, thankfully, recovered. Not so for The Mr.'s family who did lose two family members to the virus while others were sickened by it. And our church family lost members to Covid as well. I was thinking the other day that I never thought I would be living through a pandemic in my lifetime. I had read and heard about the Flu Pandemic of 1918 but, like much of history, it was something in the past. Horrible, of course, but it didn't have the feeling of being real. This year has been REAL. And, I will be more than glad to see the end of Covid-19. Hopefully, enough people will get vaccinated so that will happen. But many are choosing not to. I won't go there in today's post. 

Revisiting Burnsville on a Sunday drive

One thing that I will treasure from this past year are the Sunday drives we have taken. These drives were a safe way to get out of the house and be outside when we arrived at our destinations. We usually didn't know exactly where we might end up and we have so enjoyed the delightful places we ended up driving to such as nearby small towns and hiking areas. I loved becoming re-acquainted with places that I have not visited in a long time. 

A local hike next to the French Broad River

We even explored hiking locally around our town and discovered areas that I had not seen before. And we became experts at having "car picnics" with our favorite foods eaten in take-out style. It's amazing how we managed to turn lemons into lemonade during the pandemic this past year finding things to do in a safe manner. But, I'm ready to get back out there and do more in-person type things. I don't want to give up our Sunday drives, though! 

I guess making lemonade from lemons is something that most people do when the going gets rough. This past year brought tough times to be sure, but nothing like what some people had to get through. Being retirees, we didn't need to worry about lost jobs or teaching during a pandemic. I am grateful for that. I can think back, though, on our earlier years as young marrieds when job losses did occur and we worried about how to pay the bills. We had to make lemonade from lemons every once in awhile during those days. It taught us to stand on our own two feet, to economize, to make changes, to work hard and, most of all, to not give up. Better times came with better jobs. And we were able to look back and see where we had been. Where we had come from. And how life had changed for the better. And that is what I am looking forward to now. Looking back at this past year and a half when things seemed so scary and different and seeing where we were then and where we are now. Thinking about the lessons learned during this time of pandemic. Things to never take for granted ever again. I wonder if people had these same thoughts after the Flu Pandemic of 1918 was over? I wonder what lessons they learned?

These last four years have brought many lessons to me as I have learned to live in retirement. I still can't believe it has been FOUR years! How have those years passed so quickly?! In a post written after I first retired I spoke of trying different things in retirement as "trying on different coats to see what fits and what doesn't fit." I still feel that is a great analogy for life in retirement. Part of the fun of being retired is trying new things. And what I have tried so far have been pretty simple things. I haven't gone in for sky diving or cliff jumping to be sure! But, I have tried simple sewing projects, card making, painting home decor signs, traveling to the beach with a dear friend and traveling on my own to visit family in WV and PA. I've taken classes on Zendoodling and watercoloring and offered online classes on serenity and faith, hope and love. This last year hasn't been a big year for trying on many new "coats" but I'm hopeful that the days are coming when some new coats can be tried on once again. Don't expect to see me jumping out of airplanes or hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. BUT, you just might see me flying on an airplane to a fun spot or taking a day hike on the Appalachian Trail! And if I do, you can be certain that I'll be sharing it with all of you right here on the blog. After all, that's what this blog is about. Styling life and sharing a little bit of this and that with all of my readers! 

So tell me....what are you reflecting on these days? Be sure to let me know in the comments and if you want to share a little armchair philosophy with me that's OK too!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Bears, Turkeys and Flowers, Oh My!

 Backyard Visitors and More

Hey Everyone!  I know that it is has been many days since I've posted.  But, I'm back today sharing some recent backyard visitors, my Spring flower planting and a little more. Hope you enjoy!

As you can see, the bears have returned to visit!  These are two cubs that stopped by the other day with their Mama Bear.  Mama didn't stick around but the cubs stayed a few minutes. In this pic it looks like the bears are looking at each other saying, "Uh, Oh, I think the lady in the window is lookin' at us...."  These cubs are yearlings but we have seen another Mama on up the road who has three teeny, tiny cubs.  They are so precious!

We also had a big turkey come through the backyard today.  This guy was pecking at the grass seed The Mr. had just scattered on the hillside so we were glad when he decided to move on fairly quickly!

In other backyard news, we managed to get the flowers for Spring and Summer planted on our back porch. Hopefully, they will bloom and grow and really become full this Summer. We are only doing container flowers for the most part. And only flowers this year, not any vegetables! I gave up on planting veggies after last year's planting that yielded very little. I just don't have a green thumb in that area!

So, in addition to the purple verbena you saw in the first picture, we also planted two different colors of lantana and some sunpatiens. They don't look full right now but should really fill out as June approaches. 

And in our backyard in-ground garden that is surrounded by a stone wall, we planted these pretty leafy plants. I think these are called caladium but don't quote me on that. We have a hard time getting anything to truly flourish in this back garden but we keep trying! Perhaps this will be the year for flourishing!! Planting flowers in the Spring always reminds me of seeking growth in my faith. I always want to be flourishing with growing closer to God. Psalm 92:12-15 speaks to flourishing in faith. I especially like the idea of bearing fruit in old age and staying fresh and green. 

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

In other news, The Mr. and I got our second Covid vaccines last week. I am so thankful to have the vaccine. We want to be rid of Covid-19 as fast as possible! 

I also had promised in my Easter tablescape post to share with you how I was using the faux pansy blooms that I had purchased at Dollar Tree. So, here is a pic of how I am decorating with them. 

Remember this Farmhouse metal bucket that I was uncertain what to fill with at Christmas time? Well now it is filled with flowers!  I love the look and it brightens up the view down our hallway tremendously! I think I bought around 17 stems to fill this size bucket. Some I have used in vases around the house but this bucket is still pretty full. Real flowers would be gorgeous also but, of course, wouldn't last long. These pretty faux flowers will be fresh all summer long until I'm ready to use the metal bucket for something more Fall-like! BTW, at Christmas time I took the advice of my friend, Sharon, and filled the bucket with a red plaid throw which gave a quilt-like effect. These buckets are so very versatile!

And that's it for today, dear readers.  I hope to be back with another post on Friday. I've had a bit of writer's block but, hopefully, that is behind me. Take care and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Friday, April 16, 2021

Why I Love Wearing Black and White

 Styling Flattering Colors

Black and white are some of my favorite colors to wear. That must be why I have a closet full of these colors! I find the combination of both colors together to be even better like you see here with this zebra print V-neck top.

Black is a slimming color to start with and when you add in horizontal and vertical stripes, it becomes even more slimming. The stripes draw the eye and give a flattering look. No wonder I like this top so much!

Adding a longer black cardigan over a shorter top adds even more to the slimming effect.  A black cardigan is a great go-to piece to have in your closet. 

Black is also a great layering color, especially under a brighter color like this rose print top that also incorporates black and white. Black is as much of a neutral color as white for mixing and matching with other colors.

Black is the perfect color for accessorizing with bold colors like you see in the scarf. The bold colors of the scarf just pop against the solid black dress. 

Of course, the same is true for colors popping against solid white like you see here with the solid white blouse. The blue necklace and bright scarf belt are stand-outs against the neutral white palette. 

And denim and white do look amazing together!

Black is a great color to dress up or down.  Here, I've dressed up a plain black skirt with a ruffled top and some fun sandals. 

And you can do the same thing with dressing up all white like I've done here with a fun belt and some great shoes. 

There are so many ways you can style black and white clothing and accessories either together or separate. Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration. So, I hope I have given you some inspiration to go check out your own closets and see how you might style some black and white of your own! Have fun and be sure to let me know what you find in the comments. I love hearing from you!

BTW, I'm still working out some email issues so this post is still being sent from Feedburner to those of you with subscriptions. The switch over should come soon, though. If you missed the explanation post click here to read it. 

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Changes To My Blog's Subscription Service

 The One Thing Guaranteed In Life Is Change!

Hey Everyone!  Just a short blog post to alert you that I am changing to Mailchimp for my reader's email subscriptions. I had previously been using Feedburner, but received an email from Google that they are doing away with the subscription portion of Feedburner as of July, 2021.  So, I decided to go ahead and go with another email subscription provider. You shouldn't need to do anything as a subscriber. You should still receive an email notification when I have posted something new. If, for some reason, you aren't receiving emails about new posts (and you were previously) please let me know at 

If you should wish to no longer receive email notification of new posts please let me know. I hope that this isn't the case, though. I love all my readers and want to keep my subscribers! You keep me going with Debbie Styles Life! 

Today's post is still being sent by Feedburner to let you know a change to whom you receive email notification from is coming. 

As always, take care and I look forward to sharing more timely posts with you from Debbie Styles Life!

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 12, 2021

Sunday Drive to Lake Lure North Carolina

 Where Sunday Drives Take Us

When we set out on a Sunday drive I never am quite sure where our adventure might lead us.  Today, it lead us through several small North Carolina towns such as Fairview, Gerton, Bat Cave and on into Lake Lure

Lake Lure is a tourist destination with lots of shops that line the streets and is the home of Chimney Rock which you can see from a distance in this picture. Chimney Rock is where the movie, "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed and Lake Lure is where "Dirty Dancing" was filmed. We passed pretty quickly through the touristy section and headed to the lake.

The lake was so pretty today and surprisingly uncrowded which is quite unusual. 

We noticed the area around the lake had been developed more since the last time we were there and we enjoyed walking on the walking trail around the lake. I actually played for a wedding at this gazebo location many years ago. Today's leisurely walk was much less stressful than that wedding years ago!

There were lots of boats to watch cruising by today. 

And we found some shadier spots to hang out before continuing on our walk.

Along the way on our drive there was other pretty scenery such as this lovely river. 

And this beautiful old Inn. 

And the many beautiful colors of Springtime! 

Thanks for coming along with me on our Sunday drive.  It's always an adventure albeit a pleasant one!

Until Next Time,


Friday, April 9, 2021

When I Look In My Closet


Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed Easter weekend and have had a good week so far. I took a few days off from blogging but am back today for a bit of a chat about looking in our closets. We all do that pretty much every day, right? 

Some days when I look in my closet I'm sort of on automatic pilot. I just grab a top to go with a pair of jeans and I'm set for the day. This has been true a lot for the past year. With folks staying home most of the time I haven't had much need for dressing up to go places. And I have a few tops that I just wear over and over again because I don't have to think much about them. They are the kind of tops that I can just pull over my head without thinking. Other days, though, like today, I look in the closet and ponder. I begin thinking about pieces that I own but don't wear very often and how I might try wearing them together to see how they match. Sometimes, I'm pleased with the results and other times not so much. Luckily, today I'm pleased! 😏

I've had my eye on this animal print tunic for a couple of weeks. I came "this close" to adding it to my give-away pile of clothes to take to the Humane Society Store as a donation. And, I've worn it on the blog before. But, something kept telling me not to give it away too soon and then regret it. So, back in the closet it went. And now, I'm so glad I kept it. I think it looks great paired with the cream turtleneck underneath. The cream seems to contrast well against the animal print. But I also need the right pants to wear with this top. When I pulled it out of the closet this morning I thought about the pants I own and wondered if there was a pair I hadn't worn in a while that might look good with this tunic and be comfortable for all day wear. These olive green skinny pants came to mind and when I pulled them on with the tunic it all just seemed to come together! I found the perfect combination of colors and patterns that I like and will want to wear over and over. Isn't it funny how certain clothing combinations (like certain food combinations) just seem to work?! Now, I have to admit that I have worn this tunic with other pants and didn't like the combination nearly as much as I do the combo with the green pants. And by adding the black Mary Jane Skechers shoes which bring out the black colors in the animal print, I feel the outfit just looks pulled together! This makes me wonder what other clothing combinations I might be missing simply because I haven't thought of trying certain tops and pants together? 

The thing is, we (I) can get in such a rut with wearing our clothing. We pull open the closet door, pull out the same tops to wear with the same pants that we have been doing forever and off we go. Taking some time to ponder with the closet door open can be a truly creative endeavor. And, yeah, we won't always like the results of trying a new clothing combination. But, sometimes, we might just hit that "sweet spot" and have ourselves a whole new outfit! Without having to go to a store (or online) and shop. Even better! And another thing...what you like and what works for you might not be the same for other people. I feel really great wearing this outfit. Other folks may look at it, though, and say, "Meh....I wouldn't wear that combination at all." And you know what? That's ok, because we all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to fashion. If you feel great in an outfit, then it is a GREAT outfit. Your opinion is what counts. 

So go open your closet door ladies.....and spend a few minutes pondering. Add a little creative dressing to your day. You just might find a whole new outfit! Be sure to share what you find in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Easter/Spring Tablescapes

 Pretty Tablescapes For Spring or Easter

I enjoy sharing tablescapes with you from time to time and what I have created to show you today will be just perfect for either an Easter or a Springtime tablescape. 

Many elements of this tablescape were very economical Dollar Tree purchases. You know I love blue, so I was excited to be able to add some blue paisley plates, water goblets and placemats as well as navy blue napkins to the dishes I already own.

I used items I already owned to fashion an interesting vignette for the centerpiece. The colorful egg, bunny rabbit and containers were pieces I already owned. To the vases I added silk flowers that I purchased in a variety of pastel colors and added gift bag shredding to the vases to hold the flowers in place. I think it's a really neat trick to use the shredding as a flower holder. It adds color and looks better than florist's foam. This isn't my original idea but it's a clever idea to be sure!

Aren't these flowers pretty? I actually ended up buying lots of these blooms and will show you in a future post how I'm using them. 

I just love the look of the smaller paisley plates on top of my larger white china plates.  It's very economical to add some new style by just purchasing a colorful plate in a smaller size to use on top of other plates you already own. The dessert cups were given to me by my husband's grandmother and are keepsakes. Their color fits right into this tablescape!

I'm very pleased with how this tablescape came together and think it will work very well on many occasions. 

I decided to move some of the dining tablescape elements to the foyer table and am pleased with how they look on this smaller table, as well.  Of course, I didn't move eating plates and utensils to this smaller table! The pastel colors bring Spring to this little table and look so pretty in our foyer. It's nice to know I can use these pieces for more than one type of decoration. 

Are you creating any pretty tablescapes for Easter or Spring? Let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

Until Next Time,