Saturday, December 4, 2010

27/30--Blue Christmas

We *finally* got our tree decorated today.

Between finishing the basement, working, school, and life in general I've been feeling pretty far behind and overwhelmed.

But the "Blue" in Blue Christmas has everything to do with my scarf--which makes me anything but blue!

The belted scarf look is something I've been seeing on fashion blogs.  I wasn't so sure till I tried it.

Now, I'm a believer!

Days of Play--Acts of Service Jar

I read about the Acts of Service Jar at Frontier Kitchen and thought it was a simple and beautiful idea.

Basically, have everyone in your family write down a few "random acts of kindness" that can be done through the holiday season.  Once a week pull out a couple of the slips of paper and DO what they say.

Some examples:
  • shovel the neighbor's side walk
  • bake cookies and take to a friend
  • round up old magazines (good quality) and take to a nursing home
  • take unwanted, gently used toys/clothes to Goodwill
  • buy a bunch of spaghetti fixin's (noodles and pasta sauce) and take to a food pantry
  • buy a coffee for the person behind you
  • babysit a friend's kiddos so she and her hubby can go on a date
Nothing teaches children to be grateful quite like showing them to humbly serve.

Friday, December 3, 2010

26/30--What's black and white and red all over?

My Christmas socks.

I broke out the Christmas socks and Christmas books yesterday.  I'm not sure who was more thrilled, the kids or me.

When I taught Jr. High I made weird tights and socks "my thing" so I have quite the supply. 

Today I rocked some gray and black striped Santa socks. They make me happy.

And yes I wore striped socks with zebra-striped shoes because rules are made to be broken.
Conversation of this photo?  Mom: M.E., you missed my head!  M.E.: You look better without it.  Tell me how you really feel!

Tree is up and we decorate it tonight!

I love shiny stuff.  Shiny stuff is my favorite!

Bad hair day or cool hat day?  No one has to know.

Yep.  I have 30 more of these lame babies!

Date Night In--Rub Down

If you've been reading this blog for long, you know that I love a good massage.

I also love my husband.

It seems obvious to me that the two should go hand-n-hand.

Thus, a massage-themed date night.
Every heart sings a song, incomplete--
until another heart whispers back. 
Those who wish to sing always find a song. 
At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.

Please join me on Friday evening for a quiet, romantic, and relaxing evening.

What you will need:
  • Candles (lots and lots of candles)
  • quiet, dark room
  • Oil, lotion, or some other lubricant WARNING--TOO MUCH INFORMATION AHEAD--I think Astroglide is an amazing massage lubricant.  And it's versatile, too ;)
  • A sheet, pillows, towels, etc.
  • quiet music (I used a "nature" station on Pandora and loved it)
  • bottled water
  • chocolate (or other treat--chocolate covered strawberries would be divine!)
What to do:
  1. Send an invitation to your husband.
  2. Set the scene--Make a bed somewhere with comfy blankets, towels, pillows, etc.  Have a sheet for your husband to lay on and one to cover him with.  Light lots of candles and play soft music.
  3. At date time, whisper for your husband to go into the room, strip, and lay under the sheet.
  4. Now go in and give him a massage.  Be sacrificial here--rub front and back for an hour.  (Massage with a happy ending?!?!  That's up to you!)
  5. When the massage is finished, relax with cool water and a nice chocolate.
Need some tips on how to give a massage?  Watch here:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

25/30--Scarfy Scarfy

I'm not sure if it actually counts as a super power but I do have an incredible ability:

I can secretly hone in on the last item in a store and snag it, at a great price, for myself or a loved one.

Generally this involves undressing a mannequin but I never peek.

Seriously, I can't count the number of times I've gone into a store, looked around, and said, "Where are the fair isle sweaters like the one in the window?" To which the clerk replies, "Oh, that's the last one.  And it's 20 percent off.  And it is exactly your size (or Matt's size)." 

Amazing.  I know--I've left you speechless.

Matt and I were window shopping in our mall on Black Friday and I saw a great scarf on a mannequin.  I went in to inquire.  Turns out it was the last one--and was a big discount.  Score!

Here's what I love about it:  THE COLORS!  It's gray, which is an automatic YAY for me but then it has cords of deep purple, teal, white, and hunter green.  And it is snugly.  Downside?  I learned today (thank you black pants) that this scarf sheds horribly!  Oh well, I still love it!

Here's what I wore for my last class of the semester (photos courtesy of M.E., age 4).

P.S.  Here is a close-up of my accessories; can you believe this is the work of a 4 year old?!!?  (Scarf--Maurices, Bag--Buckle, Bracelet--Target)

{Holiday} Things I Love--Christmas Movies

I'm a sucker for a good Christmas movie.  I've always loved them.  I'm really not picky either. I can watch some sappy, poorly acted Holiday in Handcuffs family channel movie and be perfectly content.  Though I'm game for watching Frosty, Rudolph, Miracle on 34th Street, Bells of St. Mary's and A Christmas Story (I remember the year I figured out what word Ralphie said by the side of the road), I do have my favorite, must watch Christmas movies.

Here are my top 5 favorite Christmas Movies:

5.  ELF 
  Outlandish, non-nonsensical, and poorly acted--I love this movie!  Silly one liners (Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?  I like smiling; smiling's my favorite) and the great singing talent of Zooey Deschanel make this a must watch in our home).
 4.  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
I saw the Grinch Who Stole Christmas in a sold out theater.  It was the best movie-going experience of my life.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  The stuffy, hot theater, the sound of Anthony Hopkins voice, the sight of a gently falling snowflake.  Awww the memories.  I love this show (good thing too because M.E. likes to watch it through January and then wants to start watching it by the first of August)!
  3.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
"Griswold, where are you gonna put a tree that big?"  Bend over and I'll show ya.

Need I saw more?
 2. Love Actually
This is not a family-friendly show.  It's packed with nudity and enough F-Bombs to make you fear a war has started.  None the less, the British humor is charming, Hugh Grant's dance is hysterical, and the point is well taken.  Love actually is all around.
 1. It's a Wonderful Life
Alas my holiday favorite is the original, black and white version of It's a Wonderful Life.  I'm convinced NO ONE loves this movie as much as I do.  I'm teary-eyed for nearly the entire show.  I just relate to George in so many ways--ambivalence about roads not taken, feeling insignificant, fearing for my future and the future of my family.  And I'm always gently reminded, by this movie, about what really matters in life--"All you can take with you is that which you have given away."
 And those are my favorite holiday movies (though I feel guilty skipping Scrooged.  My husband's fave is #6 on my list.  Sorry to break it to you, babe!).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24/40--OTK, OTJ?

My feet froze yesterday.


When I woke up this morning there were heavy gray clouds in sky.  It was so beautiful!  I love dreary days!  But it was still a bit windy and chilly too!

Ergo, I had a one-track dressing mind: warm feet.

So I decided to try a little something new: OTK socks over-the-jeans.

My feet have been toasty all day long! (So have my legs!)

What I Think About--Christmas

I love Christmas.

And I struggle with Christmas.


I love the trees, the music, the lights, the merry making.

I hate the "Christmas v. Xmas v. Happy Holidays" debate.  I hate the rush to buy over-priced gadgets for our already spoiled children.  I hate how we ignore those with less because we "need" more (or newer).

I hate trying to find the balance between what I think Christmas is about--the birth of Christ--and what Christmas really seems to be about--presents!

Sometimes I look around me and feel like we all missed the point of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  I mean, it's cute to say that Christmas would feel like Christmas without the presents and music and trees--but would it?

Think about that, are you willing to give up one Christmas holiday to prove that you can be joyous and merry without the tree and shopping and wrapping and food?

I'd wager to say most of us would say no. 

I'm certain we are so embedded into the commercial Christmas mentality that we can't imagine the holiday any. other. way.

We wouldn't dare try it because when it comes down to it, Christmas doesn't mean something more.  Christmas really does come from a store.

I read on The Land of La La that the picture above will be a HUGE, EXPENSIVE billboard in New York this season.  It makes me mad.  It makes me sad.  But the truth is that from the outside, Christians celebrate Christmas the exact same way Atheists do.  We celebrate ourselves, our status, our materials ... we forget Jesus (except for during the Christmas Eve service because, by golly, we can't let a Christmas Day service get in the way of all the important present unwrapping ...).

How do we convince non-Christians that our God is big and mighty and that this season is about Him when WE can't even convince ourselves of the same thing?  How do we convince them that HE is enough we WE don't believe HE is enough?

For years I've struggled with Christmas--not because I'm a Scrooge but because I'm a Grinch.  I need someone to show me that Christmas doesn't come from a store.  That it's about giving and helping and heart and Jesus.

Now I know Christians will flock to church during the holiday and they'll help in food kitchens and give to charities ... but what about in January?  What about in July?  Is there a Christian out there who is willing to skip commercial Christmas to encourage a socially just world?  Will we give up a gift to help the man on the side of the road?

When we had M.E. Matt and I decided we would, minimally, do things different.  We tell her all about Santa--about how he is a FICTITIOUS man who lives at the North Pole but how real gifts come from generous hearts (Yes, that's right.  She believes in Jesus not Santa. *gasp*). We sing about Frosty but more often we sing to Jesus. 

But I always wish I could do more.

And this is where I'm heading ...

What I think about Christmas is that if Christians want people to think the holiday is more about Jesus than gifts, than it is time for Christians to make Christmas more about Jesus than gifts.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

23/30--In Seven Days ...

...I'm going to wear my red MaryJanes, my jeggings, and a black jacket. Take that!

It is freezing today so I thought the nice wool pants with a sweater would be great. I threw on that great little necklace Matt got me and thought I'd be fine. Then last minute I grabbed my brown blazer, you know, the one I couldn't do the 30/30 without? Good call.

My classroom was 63 degrees today! Brrrrrrrrrrr. I was freezing. Oh well, at least I liked the layered necklace/scarf/sweater/blazer look. And I really do love these pants.

I am re-thinking ballet flats in Wyoming, however.

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Purge Your Closet

Have you ever got to your closet, which you KNOW is too full, with all the intention of getting rid of at least half of what you own but when you get there, you find that you are incredibly and emotionally attached to your clothing?

So, you pull out a piece and think--"But I wore that to Daphne's bridal shower" or "Grandma Clair gave that to me" and even though you haven't worn those particular items of clothing since you were in college, you keep them?

Or maybe you get caught in this trap--"I used to wear this all the time.  I'm sure I'll wear it again soon."  Or perhaps, "I'll wear that when I lose weight."

I've done this--a lot actually.  I would never give away a single clothing item if I didn't have too.  But closet space (and my husband) mandate that I need to do a closet purge every now and then.

If you need to clean your closet, but keep getting derailed by clothing memories or hope for an article of clothing's future, here are a few tips to help you stay on track and clean out your closet.

1.  Before you even open the closet door, get some gentle music playing, a drink (I'm thinking tea; if your initial though was tequila I won't judge you), a mirror, a give away box, a memory box, a pen, and a set of stickers/labels.
2.  Close the bedroom door and get into nothing but your underwear and a robe.  Lock the door if you need to.
3.  Now, open the closet door.
4. Breathe.  Breathe again.  Keep reminding yourself to breathe.
5.  Start on the left hand side of the closet (or back if you have a walk in) and work to the right (or front).
6.  Pull out items one at a time.
7.  Now most clothing will fall into categories:
            ~I wear this a lot.
            ~I wear this sometimes.
            ~I haven't worn this since Clinton was President but I love it.
            ~This is sentimental for reasons X, Y, Z.
            ~This is something I like but it is too big/too small.
8.  Here are the rules.
  • If you wear it a lot, keep it for Pete's sake!
  • If you wear it sometimes, try it on to make sure you still like it.  Is there a reason you don't wear it more?  If so, get rid of it.  If not, get the pen and label the piece of clothing with the date.  If in six months you haven't worn the piece of clothing (and removed the label), give it away. (Yes, I'm serious.)
  • If you have something that you love but don't wear, put it in your memory box.  One day your kids will get a kick out of it.  Put the box in your storage area and if you ever need to wear that pink glittery top, you can still get it out.  In the mean time, it isn't taking up valuable closet space.
  • If you run into a piece of clothing that you are keeping for purely sentimental reasons: your wedding dress, the last sweater grandma made for you, the boots you were wearing the night  you met hubby ... keep them.  BUT put those items in storage.  And do try to ask yourself if  the item is sentimental or if you are being a pack-rat.  Wedding dress--fair.  The slinky dress you wore the night you got arrested? A funny story.  Keep the memory; ditch the dress.
  • Try on everything you haven't worn in the past two weeks..  If it is too big, do a happy dance and put it in the give away box.  If it is too small, put it in the give away box.  Love the body you have, NOT the body you want to have when you drop 20 pounds.  When you drop 20 pounds you can celebrate by buying a few new pieces of clothing.  In the mean time, ditch what doesn't fit.  Period.

Good luck purging your closet!
I love this closet but really, who only has 6 pairs of shoes!?!

Monday, November 29, 2010

22/30--The World According to M.E.

M.E. is my daughter (the name is like Emmy, not me). She will be five in a few weeks.  I love to give her my camera (I really don't like my camera and I secretly hope she breaks it somehow) and let her go wild taking photos so I can see what the world looks like from her perspective.

Today Matt had to rush off for work so M.E. offered to take some photos of me in my 30/30 gear. Here are some particulary good shots (she did get some of the carpet, the garbage can and her brother's nose that I chose not to include).

My resolution last January was to write down three things I am thankful for every day--for one year. It is a part of my daily routine that M.E. likes to watch. She loves to hear when I'm thankful for her. She probably took forty pictures of me writing in my journal. I think she has a knack for seeing the "inner" person.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

20-21/30--Crazy Weekend!

Our town has a delightful Christmas parade the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  We put on snow pants, mittens and hats, make steaming cups of cocoa and go see stuffed Frostys and Grinches on parade.  Then we come home and have chili and cornbread.  Nothing fancy but it's tradition.  And I love it.

Prior to the fun parade, my sister and I took our girls to go see Tangled.  Our daughters are a week apart in age and have birthdays right before Christmas. Ergo, they rarely get to celebrate with one another.  So, we had some girl time at the movies.  This is a total side note but remember my issues with Disney Princesses?  Well in this re-telling of Rapunzel I actually heart the princess. 

I had so much fun on Saturday that I forgot to take a photo of my 20/30 outfit.  Oops.  Never fear, I was in 30/30 gear.  American Eagle Boyfriend 77 jeans, graphic T, gray ruffle coat, and zebra shoes.

Sunday I wore this!  I actually got the idea for the over-the-knee sock over tight look from Required2BeInspired.  I love it!

Brown blazer--Thrift
Green ruffle shirt--Apt. 9
Skirt--Banana Republic
OTK socks--Target

What's your favorite memory from the Thanksgiving weekend (if you live in the States)?