Monday, February 19, 2018

Dreaming of Spring...Dresses and Things!

Doing A Little Spring Day Dreaming
(Not A Sponsored or Gifted Post. No payment was received for brands/stores mentioned in this post. All writing and opinions are my own)

There's nothing like a little unseasonably warm weather to get one dreaming...about Spring and all the things that can go with Spring. First off, lighter, brighter the dress and filmy scarf wrap I'm wearing in the above picture. I love this color combination. How about some other pretty Spring dresses? Let's go "dream" shopping and see what we can find.

Three Quarter Sleeve Shift Dress with Self Belt
How pretty is this floral dress with 3/4 bell shaped sleeves? It really says "Spring" doesn't it? Bell shaped sleeves seem to still be "in" this season.


And how lovely is this paisley print faux wrap dress? I love the price points on both of these dresses on clearance at Stein Mart!


Wish I had someplace to wear this dress!  I wonder how I would look in that ruffled hem?!  This is more expensive than the other two, but oh so pretty!


I do believe that this light blue striped dress would look great as is or paired with white leggings. What do you think? The half sleeves are bell shaped. Love this style!

Finding anything so far you like for Spring? How about shoes?

Cigola Flat

I like this pink flat a lot. Don't know if I could wear that pointed toe or not, but it's a lovely Spring color!

Betunia Loafer

Hmm...what do you think about this leopard print?  Leopard print is certainly trending right now. Not sure how "Spring like" this is.

Lole Sandal
Add caption

OK, couldn't wear these in a million years, but, we're only dream shopping, right?!  Do you ever try something on just to see what it would look like on you even though you know you wouldn't buy it? Yep, me too!  Wouldn't these look smashing with that light blue striped dress with the bell sleeves?! (And I would be smashing down the stairs wearing them!)

Softey Slide Sandal

Uhhhmmmm...I don't think so. Although, these are probably very comfortable. 

Camerolona Pump

Ooohhh, now I really think these are pretty! Maybe I could wear them since they have a block heel? I think these would go well with the ruffled hem hot pink dress. 

Neda Sandal

OK, this is more like it. I think I could wear this slip on sandal with either of the print dresses or the light blue striped dress. Plus, I wouldn't fall down wearing this block heel. Score!

How about if we finish off with some handbag shopping? 


I really like this blue tassel clutch. Very pretty. I'm always drawn to blues.


This is a nice floral bag with a longer strap. The colors are very Spring-like!


Love this hot pink tote. I still enjoy carrying a tote with a smaller bag inside that I can pull out and carry into stores. This would work well with that. 


This smaller dome satchel would be a practical choice for both hand carrying and wearing on the shoulder. And...the flowers and colors say, "Spring!"

Well, this dream shopping spree is coming to a close. Which of the dresses, shoes or purses was your favorite?  Didn't find anything you liked? No problem. The great thing about "dream shopping" for Spring is that you can do it whenever you like at no cost to you! 

Hope you'll let me know what you liked. I love your comments!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mid-Week Inspiration: Finding Hope

A Little Bit of Hope

It is rare that I go a whole week without blogging. But, in recent days, my mood has been so gray that I just didn't feel like putting forth the effort. I've had a little bit of a "pity party" although I hate to admit to it. The winter months are always depressing to me and my shoulder woes have added additional irritation, along with a few other bits that I won't bore you with. If you have ever suffered through feeling the "blahs" and walking around teary eyed, then you know what I've been feeling. 

I feel a bit guilty even admitting to having these feelings, because, in the scheme of things, I have so much to be thankful for in my life. But, the dreary days of winter can lead to dreary moods. And, yes, having a chronic pain in your shoulder doesn't help! Sometimes, just reminding yourself over and over that you "shouldn't" feel down doesn't help. It's actually much healthier to "feel what you feel" and admit to it. So, that's what I'm doing.

I'm happy to say that today has given me renewed hope. The sun is shining (hallelujah!) and the sky has been blue with mostly fluffy white clouds. And, best of all, we actually have temperatures in the 70's here in Asheville! 

I went walking at the North Carolina Arboretum today and reveled in the warmth and sunshine!  It was so wonderful to be outside and, although no flowers are blooming yet, I can think back to when I've been there and everything was in full bloom! Remember when I shared the lego exhibit that was at the Arboretum? Can you believe the butterfly and flowers in the above pic are all legos??!

Being outdoors surely lifted my spirits and I am happy to report that, for the time being at least, my shoulder has stopped aching. I know that this warm weather will not last (it's much too early)  and my shoulder will ache again, as my frozen shoulder has not yet reached the "thawing" stage. Dreary days will come again and there is more physical therapy in my future. But, how wonderful to have a reprieve! Today has given me hope, and that is just what I needed to get out of my blue mood. 

As I was driving to the arboretum today, these verses from Ecclesiastes kept coming to mind; 

"To everything there is a season.....a time to weep and a time to laugh..."

I've certainly been in a weepy season recently. But, today, I was given the gift of laughter, and happiness and blue skies and sunshine! I was given hope! And, I feel so much better for it. I know that, no matter what mood I am in, I am always loved by a mighty God, who stays with me through the gray days.....and the days filled with blue skies and sunshine!

What kind of day are you having? Gray and dreary...or bright and sunny?  Hope you will share!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Things I'm Delighted to Share

Short But Sweet..Things I'm Enjoying
(Not A Sponsored or Gifted Post. All Writing and Opinions Are My Own)

You haven't heard much from me this week, I'm afraid, as I've gotten sidelined for a couple of reasons. The online class I am currently teaching has been much more labor intensive than previous ones. This is a good thing as I have more students! The class is wonderful and I have been amazed at the thoughtful online discussion that is occurring. But, it is taking up a lot of my time which means less time for preparing blog posts! On a less happy note, I have had shoulder pain issues around my rotator cuff and am in physical therapy for six weeks! The physical therapists are thinking I have a frozen shoulder. I'm doing exercises multiple times a day to help with this. It's definitely an "Owie..."  So, today's post will be short and sweet as I share some things with you I am currently enjoying. First off, is the pillow that you see in the above picture.

Before things got crazy, I sewed this pillow with my own two little hands and I'm very delighted to share it with you! I have had this fabric for years and used it to create table displays. This year, I decided it was time for a pillow. Although it works well for Valentine's Day because of the hearts, the patchwork colors really go with any time of the year. I don't plan to pack this pillow away after Valentine's Day. It's the perfect size to spruce up our bed and to tuck behind my head or to prop under my sore arm. 

Next on the agenda: I'm back with Olay!  I used to use the original Oil of Olay years ago as a face cream. Then, my sister got me started with using the Clinique dramatically different lotion and I gave up using Olay. A year or so ago, I received the Olay Serum as a Christmas gift and loved it so much that it has now become my go-to face serum! I recently bought some of the original Olay lotion to supplement the serum. I love the way the serum makes my face feel and my makeup flows right on after applying the serum. I don't dislike the Clinique lotion, but the price keeps going up and I must admit some irritation over the fact that the stores that offer the "free gift" Clinique bags keep increasing the price point you have to buy in order to qualify for getting the free gift bag.  So, I'm back with Olay and delighted to share it with you! I will say, the serum is not cheap, but it works for me! The original Olay creme is about $8 bucks at our drugstore. It may be even cheaper at Walmart. I know the serum is cheaper there than the drugstore prices. 

Finally, I'm delighted to share these little stone garden critters with you! I picked these up at A.C. Moore and I just think they are adorable. I love the colorful flowers on them. It has been so dreary in January and, now, in February and I look for ways to bring some type of flowers into the mix. These are positioned on the porch table where I can see them as I work at the kitchen sink and as I stare at them the bunny and squirrel seem deep in conversation about something. What do you think they are saying to one another?!

Like I mentioned...short and sweet today! So, tell me, what are you delighted to share? Please take a moment to tell me!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Weekend Inspiration: Being Generous With Words

Using Our Words For God

"Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it; if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help." 
( From I Peter 4;  The Message)

Earlier this week I came upon this scripture during my devotional time and it seemed to speak to me. The emphasis on being generous with words, and letting those words be God's words, gave a sort of blessing to the "work" I have been doing in retirement. Blogging and teaching online, has become a true joy and something that I both feel passionate about and also feel a responsibility for handling properly. I want to be proud of the words I put forth and I also want them to honor God. Although my blog is a lifestyle blog, and not every post is devotional, I still want to use my words carefully, no matter what type of post I am doing. The same holds true when I am responding to students on my online classes. 

This is true in all of life, though, isn't it? No matter what "work" we are pursuing, whether it be at home or somewhere else, we carry our faith with us. I know that for myself, I sometimes allow the irritations of life to get the best of me, and allow my words to not always be a blessing to others. I realize that this is part of being human, but, I'm not proud of it! Thankfully, we serve a forgiving God who meets us where we are, reminding us of the blessings and gifts we have been given. 

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer." 
(Psalm 19:14)


Friday, February 2, 2018

A Touch of Red in my Plaid Cape

An Understated Valentine Look

Who says that you have to be decked out all in red in order to sport a Valentine look? Today, I'm shopping my closet to bring you an understated Valentine look with just a touch of red.

This plaid cape is the star of today's show. Purchased recently at A.C. Moore on sale, the black, grey, white and maroon red plaid colors match so well with a thrifted pink blouse and my black Gloria Vanderbilt pants and George brand heels. I love the length of the cape in back. 

I shot a close-up of the cape fabric so you could see how pretty the material really is. I understand that today is "wear red for women" for heart health day. So, this post fits right in, although it is not completely red! 

Even though I decided to let the cape do the talking in styling this outfit, you know I had to add some bling! I kept the jewelry fairly simple with this pretty gold stretch bracelet, a gift from one of my sisters....

And, these simple pink Paparazzi dangle earrings. The pink earrings tie together well with the pink blouse I'm wearing. 

Because of the way this cape is constructed, the front "flaps" of this cape would look great belted, as well, creating more versatility with styling. What do you think of this look? Do you have a cape in your closet? Are you a fan of plaid? Hope you will take a moment to share. Your comments make me happy!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Cassie Cat Chat

A Few Words From The "New" Cat

Cassie Cat relaxing on her soft bed
Cassie Cat's Book Jacket Photo for Future Reference
"Wait, did you get my best side for the header photo? Is my fur neat? Did you use the side shot I liked? "

Oh, hello there! My name is Cassie and I thought I had better go ahead and introduce myself since no one else around her seemed ready to do it...ahem! I am what you humans would probably call the "new cat" in town and on the blog. Yes, I know, my predecessor was known fur and wide as an, "Ace Cat Reporter." I make no such claim, however. I am simply my own cat self and plan to share a few tails with you every now and again, whenever Love allows me to be on the computer. That's why I plan to call my posts, "Cassie Cat Chat." I like to chat, after all. I spend a great deal of my day chattering away at squirrels, birds, bears and whatever creatures pass by the back door while I am on what Love and Softie call, "my perch." 

Who are Love and Softie, you ask? They are my humans, of course. I own them now, you know. Oh yes, I see what you are thinking. Why am I not referring to them as the "Ace Cat Reporter" did as Fur Mama and Fur Papa? Because, quite simply, I think those are silly names. I certainly have never met a cat who referred to their humans that way. And, I am a cat of the world. I was on my own for over a year before I picked out my two humans. I have seen the world. I wasn't dropped yesterday, you know!

Every cat must name their humans once they get to know them, of course. At first, understandably, I was a bit shy around them. But, then, I noticed that the human woman was very kind to me, gave me food and tried to hold me if I would allow her the privilege. I made her wait a bit. No sense putting all four paws forward at once, you know. Oh yes, I made them both wait quite a long time before allowing them to touch me. I must admit, however, that the woman does have such warm clothing when she holds me and gives me little kisses on my head. I seem to remember feeling this warm and cared for feeling when I was curled close in the litter with my own cat mother. A distant memory to be sure. Anyway, I decided to name the human woman, "Love." 

Softie is another story. I had his number from the first night I spent in this house. He sat for long hours on the floor tossing a silly toy around trying to coax me from behind the couch where I had taken up residence. You observe....I wanted to make certain that I had made the right choice in picking out my humans. It's a very delicate thing, a cat choosing her humans. After awhile, I decided to stay. And that's when I began training them...Love and Softie, I mean. I could tell right away that Love was one of those humans who would probably try to impose rules on me; silly rules like "don't scratch the furniture" and "don't set one paw on the kitchen counter." I soon found that Softie would become my ally in training Love. Oh, she still fusses a bit over scratching the furniture. I will try to give her what she wants......some of the time.....just to keep her happy. I am proud to say, however, that I have conquered the kitchen counter. With Softie's help, of course. Love should never have taken that long trip to West Virginia, heh, heh. I knew Softie would cave on the kitchen counter your humans can take awhile. Sometimes even nine lives...or so I am told. I am a patient cat, however. And, I now know that my choice in choosing my humans was the correct one. 

As this is my first post, I will not tail all my stories at once. And, I have quite a few tails to write about, in fact. Oh yes, I'll be back another day to chat more with you. When I convince Love to allow me to use her computer. If all else fails, I will enlist Softie's help. He has a computer, too, you know. They really are both great humans for a cat to own.

A bit of catly advice for you to take with you from this post: keep alert for anything that may appear out your back door, keep your tail held high no matter what, and run exuberantly throughout your house on all four paws at least once daily for maximum health! (Hint: sliding around corners on your claws makes it more fun.)

Purringly Yours,
Cassie Cat

Linking With: Marilyn's Treats Wonderful Wednesday

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Weekend Inspiration: Dancing In The Second Half of Life

Falling Upward While Dancing

I'm reading a book right now that is very interesting and provides extremely deep and thoughtful reading. If you have never heard of Richard Rohr before, I recommend that you check out his writing. This is my first foray into his writing about spirituality and I must say that his thoughts about falling upward into the second half of life have me doing a lot of thinking about how all of my experiences up to now can lead me into how I live this second half of my life in retirement. 

I won't do justice to trying to explain his writing in detail. I can, however, offer some quotes from the book to whet your appetite for the delectable style of his writing. For instance, he begins Chapter 1 entitled, "The Two Halves of Life," with the following quote from Carl Jung:

"One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning; for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie." (Carl Jung, The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche)

He goes on to explain that while the first half of life is more about creating our life "container" by learning what makes us significant, finding community and learning how we will support ourselves, the second half of life is more about finding the actual contents that our life container was truly meant to hold. He writes that all of the life experiences in the first half of our lives can help us to find out what our "container" should truly be holding. He quotes Mary Oliver who said, "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" And he says that many people continue to work on filling their life container with things that end up needing repaired rather than following the scripture from John 21 where Jesus instructs his disciples to, "throw their nets into the deep," and bring in the huge catch that is waiting for them. 

I have to admit that much of what Richard Rohr writes is so deep that I find myself reading small bits at a time, thinking for awhile, and then coming back to read more. And, I don't completely subscribe to everything he says. However, there is much in this book that has touched me deeply. Throughout the book, Richard connects what he is writing with various scriptures and quotes from other sources. One thing that I read this past week has really imprinted itself on my mind. Richard writes: 

"When you are young, you define yourself by differentiating yourself; now you look for the things we all share in common. You find happiness in alikeness, which has become much more obvious to you now; and you do not need to dwell on the differences between people and exaggerate the problems. Creating dramas has become boring. In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition. God has taken care of all of that, much better than we ever expected. The brightness comes from within now, and it is usually more than enough. The dance has a seriousness to it, but also an unself-conscious freedom of form that makes it bright and shining."
(Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, Chapter 10, page 120)

I love thinking of my time of life now-this second half of my life-as a dance. And my dance doesn't have to look like anyone else's dance. This not a competition! I can dance without being self conscious or needing to copy someone else's moves. Free form is OK! I wonder if this is how David felt when he danced before the Lord with all his might in 2 Samuel 6:14?  I just know that whatever form my dance takes, I want it to be authentically Debbie and I want it to offer praise to the Lord. 

"Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory." Psalm 149:3-4

How is your dance coming along? Are you falling upward into the second half of your life? Have you read writing by Richard Rohr? Hope you will take a moment to share.


Linking With: Becoming Press (this will appear on my Where I Party page in future.)