Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Express Yourself!

My Halloween costume, October 1985

Thought the photo above might be fun for today’s post!  It’s me (October 1985) en route to a Halloween party where I dressed as (drum roll, please) Madonna!  Yes, believe it or not, that was the look I was going for (smile).

I posted this photo on the Tickled PinkWoman Facebook page yesterday morning.  There were various fun guesses as to who I was supposed to be.  Two lovely women finally guessed correctly last evening.  If you haven't joined us there, yet, please do!  I'd adore welcoming you to the community that's building there!

Halloween is a holiday where we can playfully dress up and express ourselves in pretty much any ole’ way we choose.  My definition of living authentically includes an ongoing value for self-expression—which includes how I dress. 

Nearly 30 years later, I still adore Madonna’s unique style.  Dressing like Madonna while supervising employees at the 9 to 5, though...well, that probably wouldn’t be an appropriate choice.  I can, however sport all black + lace + strands of vintage beads + tall boots in a way that’s totally office appropriate—yet allows me to be me—even in the workplace. To see past posts discussing how I’ve expressed myself through my wardrobe choices on the 9 to 5 click here, here, here and here

Like so many things, dressing for the office is an issue of balance.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to be mindful of the environment I'm occupying; while still honoring my artistic expression through dress.  It's one of many ways I express myself each day--authentically and creatively.

Happy, happy Halloween!  T.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chill Journal Reflections...

My journal: then and now...And, yes, both are pink (smile!).

It's where I gain comfort, seek respite, enjoy a solo celebration, and bare my soul.  Time and time again; in good and bad times, I find myself drawn to my journal. It's a practice that self-affirms, heals, makes me whole.

My journal is a sacred place. Today, however, I'm doing something rather unique (at least to me).  I am sharing a snippet of a journal entry written almost three years ago (October 31, 2009).  I had just started a new journal (the one pictured above--on bottom of the stack).  It is my hope today's blog post will inspire those who may not currently journal write to partake in this soothing, self-assuring practice.

"Yesterday, I asked myself, "If this was my last October 30, had I lived it well?" In that moment, reflecting upon that day, I had to say, "Yes!" I was on a quick break from my daily grind; enjoying the scenery, while giving gratitude and affirming myself.  My pledge is to build upon the mindful thoughts and actions I have so recently begun to employ..."

As the wind whips outside my window, I grab my journal and settle in for today's chill reflections... More journal writing insights are found at these past posts: here, here, here, here, and here.

Happy October 30! Love and joy!  T.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Intuition...Not Magic

Celebrating my intuitive via my art journal (October 2011)

There's a line in an older Train song; something to the effect of "Her confidence is tragic, her intuition magic." Quite frankly, I think that's tragic--the fact that something so innate could be thought of as hocus pocus of some sort.  Don't get me wrong, I like that song... I'm just not buying into this particular statement.  

We all have it. It's inborn. It is our sixth sense.  There's nothing mystical about it. And, it's not spooky, either.  

Intuition is that inkling you know something isn't quite right, that inner understanding you already know how to proceed in difficult times, that little voice that urges you to do differently...  Certainly, it's like a muscle. If it doesn't get used, it gets weak.  Nevertheless, it's still there, and can be tapped into at any point in time.

In my book, Eternal Presents: Accepting and Using the Precious, Intangible Gifts Others Give Us, I have dedicated a whole chapter to intuition as a gift.  My creative pursuits have even been used to help me develop my intuition even further.  

My intuition is something I can remember first accessing as a little girl of about three or four years old; hanging doll clothes onto a child-sized clothes line.  I knew I was being watched.  Turns out, I was right.  A large snake lay coiled about three feet behind me.  Afterwards, I kept telling my grandmother that I knew, beforehand, something had been watching me.  She affirmed the fact that I was right, and should always honor those feelings.  

Throughout the years, I haven't always listened to those inner whisperings generated by my Wise Self.  Sadly enough, society generally hasn't encouraged me to do so.

As I've grown older and, yes, wiser, though; I have reclaimed this precious gift.  It's one I use daily, cherish and understand is not magic--just another aspect of me that I've deservedly claimed.

If you have owned your right to your intuitive gifts, you understand where I'm coming from.  If not, it's not too late to do so. I'd recommend this simple strategy to acquaint you with your own Wise Self: for a period of time (maybe a month or so) take note of every time you receive those thoughts of inner knowledge...and follow up with how many times you ended up being correct.  You may feel like you've discovered how to pull a rabbit out of your hat.  Not so; you've only learned to honor your ever-present (innately-gifted) intuitive.

Joy, peace and Monday hugs! T.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pink Love!

A recent (10/20/12) art journal collage dedicated to my love of all things pink!

Funny how, in the past five years or so, I've rediscovered my passion for those things I loved as a child--including the color pink.  If ever a month was symbolic of this delectable hue, October is.  In accordance, here's what I'm lovin' that's pink this month:

My pink yoga mat + pink-embellished yoga mat bag

Pink bloomers (mums) I spied downtown a few days ago

My pink ribbon "to go" mug 

Pairing my pink polka-dotted blouse with black polka-dotted scarf & lace

Favorite "at home" tea mug (Vera Bradley)

$4 vintage, pink sparkle pin (purchased while enjoying last month's artist's date)

Replacement pink (journal writing) pen--
ink cartridge fiasco ruined the other one late last week :(

Fellow pink lovers (and all others, of course!), hope you enjoyed today's rosy tribute to my fave color!  Hugs and joy, T.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October Artist’s Date...Comfy is Where It's At

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always ventured outside of the house to enjoy my monthly artist’s dates.  Knowing today’s forecast promises both chilled temps and rain, I am opting for sheer comfort versus adventure this month.  You see, both my body and soul need a bit of added nurturing—some bona fide TLC right now. 

My “all I want this weekend” list contains several projects I'm truly itching to tackle.  Some are biz related (embarking on an e-course, finalizing the agenda for November’s Tickled Pink Creativity Circle, fine-tuning the script for my first podcast).   Others are just for fun (reading, art journaling). 

A host of fab authors (Alexandra Stoddard, Kimberly Wilson and SARK—to name just a few) advocate getting things done from bed—when the mood strikes. Mark’s headed out for a hike (possibly in the rain) this afternoon.  So, guess what I’m doing? That’s right!  Brewing herbal tea, playing yogi tunes, lighting candles, fluffing up the oversized/comfy pillows--then, gathering books, my computer, art journaling + art journaling supplies--and heading to bed. 

Of course, I won’t be totally alone.  Tabitha absolutely LOVES when I work from bed. She’s always at my side—ready and willing to help (smile).  At home and not quite solo this month, it’s still every bit an artist’s date because I’m responding to my own inner knowledge of what I need most: the ability to comfortably immerse myself in projects near and dear to my heart. 

Have you engaged in an artist’s date this month?  If so, please share.  If not, consider settling in to do something absolutely comfortable to you today! 

Hugs!  T.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dreary Day Sparkle

Friday is my favorite night of the week.  Post dinner out, Mark and I had planned to enjoy this evening on the patio, fire dish lit, sipping hot cider with a nearly-full moon shining.  Today's forecast threatens to be cold, rainy, and just plain dreary--which puts a definite damper on the eve's patio soiree...  (Boo!!!)

Not a prob...  I’ve decided there’s more than one way to get my sparkle on--despite it all (smile).  Here’s how:
  • Affirm, “Today, I shine from within.”
  • Wear sparkle (accessorizing with vintage glass beads, and possibly the shoes featured above...); 
  • Employ a few of the strategies from this past post;
  • Engage in my stained glass window theory, so my light shines brilliantly—without hesitation;
  • Radiate loving kindness all throughout the day;
  • Mindfully sip sparkling water during a well-deserved, mid-afternoon 9 to 5 break;
  • Dedicate my efforts, today, to the four shining stars I’ve recently lost; and
  • Make it point to lighten at least one other person’s load or brighten their day somehow. 
And, tonight, who knows?  It might be too cold and rainy for the fire dish, outdoors.  That, however, only means it is a great time to light the fireplace and cozy up to its warm glow; which is not too bleak an alternative...

Happy, sparkling Friday to you!  T.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fearless? No. Coping? More So...

From my art journal (October 2010)...

What scares you? Really frightens you to the core? 

For me, it’s not things that go bump in the night (so to speak). Rather, what I fear most are the unexpected events in life--those things over which I have no control; specifically as they relate to the health and well-being of loved ones. 

My fears first came to light about six years ago, during my youngest sister's hard-fought battle with cancer.  During that time, I wrote my first book, Eternal Presents: Accepting and Using the Precious, Intangible Gifts Others Give Us. My writing actually served to carry me through--somewhat became my crutch of bravery during those beyond-difficult months. 

In the book, I reference myself at a younger, braver, time (when I was in grade school).  I had written a story I wanted to have published in the school newspaper.  You see, being a “lowly” 9-year old, I worried the older students would never even consider reading my submission—much less publish it.  Without hesitation, I scheduled a meeting with the school’s principal to see if he couldn’t help me in my quest.  Turns out, after reading my story, he did.  That’s me below—posing next to the scarecrow that served as the centerpiece of my first published work (October 1971). 

During my sister’s illness, I never truly felt devoid of fear.  It honestly affected nearly every aspect of my day-to-day living. As I wrote about my younger, more-courageous fourth-grade self, I couldn’t help but to ask, “Where did that brave little girl go?” 

Those feelings of sheer fright haven’t lessened in the past six years.  Life’s experiences within this past month have unfortunately shown me this.  Losing loved ones and/or seeing them quite ill still brings about those same horrific sensations—which include my fear of having to accept loss, allowing myself to fully experience sadness, and accepting the fact that some things we have no control over.

My ability to better cope with my feelings has improved a bit, in recent years; thanks to journal writing, gratitude giving, affirmations, meditation and a host of other soothing techniques.  Striving to be more fully present in each, given moment has helped as well. These were all tools I either didn’t utilize or only sporadically engaged in during Karolanne’s illness in 2006.

On a brighter note, my dear sister, Karolanne, will celebrate six years of living cancer free in November.  And, on a lighter note: there is another thing that absolutely terrifies me...snakes (which some folks totally understand and others don’t). So, I either solicited a “Me, too!” or a giggle from you—depending on which camp you fall into. ;)

What scares you? Understanding that your fears may not entirely dissipate (regardless of how much you want them to), what strategies have you developed to better cope with them? 

Love and peace, T.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Creature Feature, Feminista Style!

Tabitha (my beloved diva pet) is a polydactyl (also known as a six-fingered cat)!  

This week, marks the three-year adoption anniversary date of Tabitha, our beloved pet tabby cat.  Located online via Petfinder, her listed description described her to a T: loveable and always willing to help.  In fact, it included what could only be deemed as her personal message to potential adopters: “Can I get you your coffee?  Be your personal assistant? Tie your shoes for you?”

It was the adorable photo below, however, that stole my heart forever (smile).  One day after learning of this little gem’s availability, we drove 20 minutes north (into Toledo) to finalize the adoption of her through the Lucas County Humane Society. 

In addition to being mentioned on the blog numerous times, she’s been featured in the following past posts (herehere and here).  Oh...and, lest we forget...her upstaging screen debut during my first Tickled Pink Woman Television video (click here to view). 

She’s cuddly, lovable and thinks she’s a dog (Actually, Mark says she thinks she’s human!).  Greets us at the back door every time we come home, curls up with us to watch whatever is on television, races me up and down the stairs inside the house, and camps out with me as I write and create art from my home office. 

She’s also a diva: hates getting her paws wet, has no interest in going outdoors (or in other cats for that matter), is afraid of insects and literally screams when she doesn’t get her way or if something scares her.  And, as you can see from the photo below, when she plays, she has to be in control or else she’s a force to be reckoned with (we’ve learned to let her win all string and other kitty-play games)!

A few years ago, I wrote a couple of pieces related to women and pet ownership for the Examiner.  As might be expected, our furry friends not only define us--they benefit us in ways beyond the obvious. You can access those articles here and here. I know my lovely doll sure has enriched my life tenfold!

Joy, peace and creature comforts to you this fab Wednesday!  T.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Art Journaling: If on Another Planet, I'd Still Have...

I'm always looking for great art journal (and personal) inspiration. A few days ago, I came across an insightful exercise in a great book I am currently reading, Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit by Mari Messer.

Messer's challenge is this: "What if you were suddenly whisked away to another planet? You have to leave everything behind: your family, friends, pets, home car, job possessions, everything. What would you have left? You have 10 minutes to make a list."

I must confess...  It took me more than a few to move beyond the thought of leaving my beloved family, dear friends and adorable diva pet behind.  After a bit of refection, however, I recognized the fact that this activity would be one to fuel my spirit--make me focus on the reliance of solely myself versus all things external.

Using the art journaling technique, demonstrated in this past blog post, I created my list (A photo is featured above.).  Here's a sampling of what I'd still have if suddenly whisked away to another planet:
  • my dreams;
  • thankfulness for all I have had and still have;
  • my sense of humor;
  • hope for the future;
  • great taste;
  • beautiful memories;
  • inspirational thoughts;
  • the desire to create;
  • love in my heart;
  • my friendship with myself;
  • the ability to laugh out loud, sing, tell stories and say whatever I want;
  • the ability to rise above it all;
  • my Wise Self;
  • daily challenges to ascend;
  • self-celebration;
  • affirmations;
  • the capacity to make mental lists that lift my spirit;
  • meditation;
  • my yoga practice;
  • an ability to tap into the power of deep breathing;
  • pink pride;
  • just enough feistiness to fight for myself;
  • compassion; and
  • knowledge that I will (somehow) survive--despite it all.
I highly recommend giving this activity a spin. When you get beyond the alien aspects of it, it's honestly a blast into self-empowering, other-worldly realms (smile!).  

Joy & peace!  T.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thoughts on Balance + Life...

This past weekend, I wrote, I created, I balanced work + play...and I felt the sparkle re-emerge...

When I think of walking a tightrope, my first thoughts are of a rather precarious situation.  This weekend, however, I did, in essence do just that--walked a tightrope.  There was nothing risky or dangerous about it, though.  Instead, it was about moving forward--keeping a balance, employing beloved author SARK's micromovements, and realizing the sacredness of being firmly planted within the present.

Friday evening,  movie night was savored as planned.  Vintage spooky movies/programs and fab snack food was the focus.  Enjoying a night off--spent in, at home, simply having fun--was delectable--in more ways than one (smile).

Saturday morning, post my standing breakfast date with Mark, I picked up where I'd left off more than three weeks ago by resuming the writing of a sample chapter for my next book.  I also blogged, tested software for podcasting, wrote in my journal and art journaled.  Saturday evening, we enjoyed dinner out; then, settled in to watch The Girl on HBO (enjoyed, BTW...).

Sunday, I did a spot more book writing.  This time, it was only for an hour-ish.  Nevertheless, I resumed where I left off weeks ago--which is a step forward.  It's not terribly exciting...but, Mark and I tackled some major housecleaning for the remainder of the day (which had gone by the wayside this past three--possibly plus--weeks). After dining on vegan chili at home, we settled in to watch Boardwalk Empire (It's more his thing than mine, but I have to admit I love seeing all the art deco fashion and jewelry...).

Did I feel a bit wobbly in maintaining my balance this weekend?  Definitely.  All in all, though, everything seems to have normalized (a bit) as a result of my efforts. Feels good to, again, get on better footing--so to speak.

Here's to a balanced week for us all! Joy & peace, T.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Late Bloomer Musings

Is there anything more beautiful than an October rose?  I snapped this shot outside the hotel where we stayed in Michigan last weekend.

This autumn, I find myself fixated on signs of growth, new life, and positive change—wherever it can be found (see recent related posts here and here).  Late blooming flowers provide an abundant source of evidence that lovely things can and do occur, despite adverse conditions.

Perhaps I am gravitating to these exquisite beings because I, myself, am a late bloomer—in oh-so-many ways:
  • didn't drive on a freeway until I was in my mid-twenties (Born and raised in southwest Indiana--we had no freeways there, and for the first quarter of my life, I rarely ventured outside of that area.);
  • began my undergraduate education at the age of 28 (with a working + college student husband and two small children alongside--smile);
  • earned my graduate degree in my 40's while working full-time and enjoying weekend/evening soccer mom status; 
  • never considered myself one of the "popular kids" until I was elected as President of the local Zonta Club (four years ago); and 
  • didn't recognize what I truly wanted to be "when I grew up," until a few months ago (at the age of 50)...
Mums are naturally meant to bloom late; roses—not so much.  I’ve decided I’m a cross between both varieties (smile).  Some of me was meant to bloom at a later point in time; other parts…well, those aspects happened contrary to all the externals involved.  Myself, I’d like to think that blooming is always possible—regardless of age, season or circumstances.  

Surprise Sweetest Day gift from Mark included bona fide late bloomers: mums! :)

Below, are a few more pics featuring late bloomers I spied on last weekend’s journey.  I hope they serve to inspire you to continue to grow, bloom and to uncover the positive aspects of change.  T.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Everyday Thoughts on Art & Nature...

“Every day try and read a poem, listen to an inspiring piece of music, 
look at a wonderful painting or go into nature.” –Lynne Franks

My excursion into nature, last Monday morning, meant me snapping fall photos from the patio in my pj’s (smile).  The photo above is one taken that morning. 

The sage advice (also noted above) is courtesy of author Lynne FranksSeed Manifesto.  Mindfully incorporating the presence of art and nature into my life (each day) doesn't always happen the way I'd like it to.  I've worked out a modification, though, that seems to be working well for me.  I don't know Lynne Franks personally, but have enjoyed reading many of her books. Since she embraces the concept of practicality; I wholeheartedly believe she'd approve.  Here goes:

All music inspires me. I listen to it daily.

Poetry is something I rarely take time to read, but I do devour scads of non-fiction personal development books, inspirational blogs and educational articles throughout the week; feeding my soul every bit as much as poetry would. 

As for wonderful paintings, I don’t make it to the museum as often as I’d like.  I do try, however, to see beauty and art in pretty much everything.  Yesterday morning, I marveled, while driving to work, at the sight of a combine parked in a freshly-picked field of corn as sun dappled down upon it amidst the dark clouds overhead. It was picture perfect.  

I may not venture, daily, into the forest, but I seek nature’s beauty every opportunity I can; whether it’s on a walk taken from my front door to my mailbox, spying falling leaves from my office window or listening to the sound of rain pelting the windows in the early morning hours as I lie in bed.

Getting ready to dash out for my Saturday morning breakfast date with Mark, downtown.  Wishing you a fab day! T.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Soul Food (Literally + Figuratively)

A frightful scene from movie night a few years ago...

Friday evenings, Mark and I generally venture downtown for dinner at one of several local haunts.  Tonight, however, I’m looking forward to an evening in--observing a tradition we established some years ago—when both of our sons still lived at home: movie night. The boys are grown and have moved away (sigh), but movie night lives on at “Bradley Manor” (smile).

Usually observed the third Friday in October, we watch a line up of spooky vintage films/programs (including It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) while nibbling on fab snack-like foods and sipping hot cider, pumpkin ale, or whatever else we can scare up (wink). I’ve put together a great Halloween tunes playlist we can enjoy listening to while preparing the night’s goodies. Plus, I always light a collection of seasonal candles I’ve gathered. It’s one of my favorite nights each year, and I’m truly looking forward to it!  Connecting with those I love in a way that brings me joy; two words sum it up best for me: soul food—both literally and figuratively.

What’s your plan for this evening?  Wishing you a Friday that is fun, festive, and feeds your soul!  T.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Play Like a Girl!

Elegant, feminine, and sporting a look that’s timelessly classic; naturally, I was flattered when my employee told me that the lovely paper doll, pictured above, reminded her of me (smile!). Donning a floral hankie as a skirt, this doll was recently gifted to me on Boss’s Day by a woman I supervise at the 9 to 5.

Posed atop my workplace desk, her presence has served to transport me down memory lane.  You see, as a little girl, I loved playing with paper dolls.  My favorites were a collection of dolls with matching traditional costumes from around the world.  Sadly, until this little sweetie appeared a few days ago, I had all but forgotten I ever even played with paper dolls—much less how I had relished doing so!

A few months ago, I wrote a post extolling the joys of reclaiming childhood’s lost passions (Missed it?  Please click here.).  What dear Eloise (Yes, that’s what I’ve named my little doll...) reminds me is—not only the value in recapturing lost passions—but also the importance of dedicating time, daily, for childlike play. 

Her message to me is clear: work hard, yes; but, play with equal fervor. It is what I already strive to do.  Ms. Eloise is just gonna help me to follow through with this a bit more often, though...

Soar from a swing. Dance. Tell fascinating stories. Finger paint a masterpiece. Play make-believe and dress-up.  Even if it’s a newfound craze the all-grown-up you has uncovered (for me, it's yoga), engage in it with little girl abandon—the very same you once possessed as a child.  Have fun with it; being fully present as you enjoy its charm.

Quite simply, there are two rules of thumb regarding playtime big girl style:
  1. just do it (make time for play of some sort daily); and
  2. play your heart out (I’ve already explained this part, right?)!
A happy and playful “little Friday” to you!  T.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scary, but Authenticity Means Embracing It All...

Not sure if it's evident or not, yet...  But, I simply adore Halloween! Yes, moi--lover of all things Zen, elegant and feminine--also adore the most kitsch-ish, ickiest, and strangest of holidays.  Living authentically, though, means I embrace it all--including those things that seem out of place; qualities that are juxtaposed in ways that, somehow, just don't seem to fit.

With everything that's happened as of late, I had almost resigned myself not to decorate the house for Halloween this year.  Following Monday's much needed day of partaking in "guilty pleasures," however, I discovered what I needed most was to embrace those things I truly enjoy, yet sometimes feel not-so-entitled to (in this instance: decorating the house for the upcoming holiday).

Turns out, it was exactly what I needed--to honor and give way to my genuine, authentic self.  Afterwards, I felt a tad more renewed...

Below, are a montage of pics--featuring a bit of the indoor decor.


I absolutely heart the Peanuts gang!  Mark bought me several Halloween-themed Peanuts figurines a few years ago.  He loves to tease and say that Sally was me as a little girl.  Based upon the pictures below, I'm beginning to think that he may have a point. ;)

May your day be laden with authentic expression!  Joy & peace, T.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Indulging in Pleasures Sans Guilt...

Hesitant to admit it, but I adore sipping from this Halloween mug--even when it's not October!

Yesterday, I indulged in a much-needed day away from the 9 to 5.  Amidst approaching deadlines, staffing issues and an assortment of other workplace concerns, I decided to grant myself a vacation day. At first glance, it felt like I was engaging in a guilty pleasure.  Yet, given four recent deaths in my family (I received word of a third uncle's unexpected death over the weekend), and my son's wedding (a lovely, joyous occasion--but certainly a major life event), this day turned out to be anything but a guilty pleasure.  Rather, it was self-therapy of the highest form.

The afternoon was spent primarily decorating the inside of the house for Halloween ('tis the season!).  My morning, however, was purely laden with what I refer to as "guilty pleasures."  Okay--here goes--true confession time...
  • slept in ('til nearly 9 a.m.!)...
  • spent the a.m. in my pj's...
  • stepped onto my patio (in pj's) to snap pics of fall beauty...
  • drank an entire pot of pumpkin flavored java with cream...
  • watched taped episodes of Ghost Whisperer (Yes, I know.  It is somewhat seasonally-appropriate, though.)...
  • nibbled a couple o' pieces of delicious dark chocolate while watching TV... 
  • enjoyed time doing absolutely nothing--simply sat and cuddled Tabitha (beloved diva tabby cat) for a while...
  • allowed myself to have a good cry...
This morning, I felt somewhat renewed, ready to begin again.  Perhaps it was yesterday's pleasures (I'm no longer deeming them to be of the guilty variety...).  

Let's all pledge to engage in at least one totally-therapeutic "guilty" pleasure, today.  Me? I'm not quite sure yet what mine will be, but it will be one I enjoy thoroughly--one that feeds my soul.  Would sure love to hear about yours, though (either today's or your favorite anytime guilty pleasures).

Joy and peace.  T.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whimsical Fashion Elegance

Today, I enjoy a sacred day off from the 9 to 5--post this past Saturday's lovely wedding ceremony.  Members of the bridal party (including the parents of the groom and bride) were each given a pair of sunglasses, which they donned during their introduction at the reception hall.  The pair I wore are featured above.  I simply adore touches such as this!  It is, yet another, great example of living life as art. I plan on sporting these babies every time the mood strikes.  Not only do they have sentimental significance, they are whimsically elegant!

Following this same theme are other examples of whimsical elegance from this past weekend...

Mixing Patterns...
Headed to Michigan, happily sporting mixed patterns (here, stripes and peace signs).  When mixing patterns, the trick I use is to join two pieces that are both in the same color palette (here, I used black and ivory) for personal expression that is whimsical--yet, elegant.

Borrowing from the Boys...
Here I am at the salon the morning of the big day (pre-updo).  I wore a black camisole, black skinny jeans, black tall boots and my son's drab olive green canvas shirt (American Eagle), which I belted like a cardigan with a Betsey Johnson vegan leopard print belt.  The secret to borrowing from the guys is to add something totally feminine to it (e.g. leopard print belt). Another example of me borrowing from the boys? My gifted sunglasses are shown above.  Mark received a fab pair of black aviators.  Guess who is going to borrow them from time to time--perchance while wearing a LBD?!?

Pairing the Unexpected...
Proud mama of the groom, I'm headed off to the ceremony.  I paired a stunning maxi dress with matching arm warmers (both from TranquiliT) for more whimsical elegance (It's the arm warmers that adds the whimsy as they are totally unexpected).  I wore vintage jewelry and wrapped it all up with the lovely silk scarf  featured above as a belt (the scarf/belt was from Goodwill and was only $1).  This adds even more whimsical elegance (using a thrift store item in such an unexpected way).  Oh...and the silk Anne Klein scarf featured above? Well, it's another $1 thrift store item, I'll likely be pairing in some unexpected fashion in the near future (smile).

Wishing you a whimsically-elegant Monday!  xox!  T.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Weekly Date Night=Blissful Couplehood

Me and Mark--Celebrating our 30th in Nassau (2011)

When Mark and I got engaged (many moons ago), my father gave us a piece of advice that we have adhered to quite faithfully: "Go out on at least one date as a couple a week."  Of course, there have been times (e.g. births of our sons) when we missed a week or two along the way.  But, all-in-all, we have, quite happily, observed date night on a regular basis for as many years as I can remember (smile).

Today, we will joyously celebrate the union of our oldest son, Andrew, to his lovely soulmate, Amanda.  I offer them this same advice:  "Go out on at least one date as a couple a week."

The excerpt, below, is from my book, Eternal Presents Accepting and Using the Precious, Intangible Gifts Others Give Us.  The passage references the importance of keeping date night sacred--which Mark and I have continued to do for over 30 years now--even during those crazy-busy days when we both pursued our undergraduate educations (Mark did so while working full-time) and were simultaneously parenting two young boys.  It abundantly sums up my thoughts on date nights (and the importance of honoring them) :

Mark and I honored our ongoing commitment to “date night” each week—even at the busiest of times. “Date night” is the time we spend together alone and away from home—without the boys and without our other friends. At times, “date night” took place during the daytime hours. For example, if he and I both had a break in our daily schedules, we would meet on campus to talk while enjoying lunch or a snack break together.

We had very limited financial resources in those days, so “date night” did not necessarily mean we had to spend much or any money to enjoy time together. We had established a babysitting network among several other young couples who were friends of ours—also with young children and limited incomes. This allowed us to take turns babysitting free of charge for each other. 

At times, Mark and I simply enjoyed a walk on campus or a visit to the mall to window shop on our dates. Sometimes, a meager couple of dollars yielded a memorable date. Driving to the local ice cream shop, we would purchase ice cream cones. Thereafter, we would head to the newly-built housing developments in town, where we would cruise through and share with each other our dreams about the home we would some day own. 

Stealing moments away, each week, from our daily grind enabled us to ensure we had needed time together alone as two adults. During these precious breaks, we would talk about everything good, bad and in between that was happening in our lives. Our dates helped us to stay connected and provided us with consistent recharging that relationships must have to stay young and fresh.

All the best! Love, T.

On Wearing Different Hats…

Some folks only wear hats when it's cold outside.  Not me.  Cold, warm, rainy, sunny, snowy--whatever the season--I adore wearing hats.  In my worldview, however, not all hats are tangible...

For example, I’ve learned to wear a different proverbial “hat” when I’m in the office; versus the one I might don while on my own time.  To break it down further, whether on my own time or at the 9 to 5, I mindfully select which “hat” I must sport for each given occasion as it presents itself.

Case in point: the supervisor hat I wear when counseling an employee on performance issues is different than the one I wear when we are celebrating a successful workplace achievement together. Another example: in the past few weeks I have grieved due to several recent, unexpected losses of loved ones.  Tomorrow, I joyously celebrate my oldest son’s wedding day.  As this week progressed, I’ve quickly had to put a different hat on--in order to acclimate accordingly. 

For the fun of it…I’ve included a few pics of me (below) doing something I simply adore…wearing different hats (of the real variety this time)…each specifically related to the given occasion and season.

Joy, peace and happy Friday to you!  T.