The Fall of Unfinished Business

Today is the first day of Fall and I am declaring this season "The Fall of Unfinished Business".  I'm pretty good at coming up with ideas and taking steps to start on these ideas, for example, buying supplies or sharing my plans with you.  I'm also pretty good at getting overwhelmed, procrastinating and thinking, "this, this and this needs to be done before I can do that".  And when I'm trying my best to live "one day at a time" I often choose to do the thing that rewards in the moment over doing the thing that rewards in the long term.  A lot on my to-do list is for my home, a passion of mine, but it's hard to work on/spend money on a house when we don't know the future of it, adding on, building, moving...  Weeks of pondering ideas turn into months that turn into years of not doing what I love.  All of this might sound like excuses but it's real and I want to get past it, now that I am able. ;)

For the first time in a long time I have some time to get these things done, tell it to your neighbor!  Both of my kids are now in elementary school and it's less of a struggle to gain momentum and tackle projects and major responsibilities.  But I know from the success of #31Days2GetOrganized I need to set up some accountability, camaraderie and support.  Would you like to join me in #TheFallOfUnfinishedBusiness? I'm going to post my "frog eating" and project completing on this blog, Facebook and Instagram.  I'd love for you to join me if you're in the same boat, together is better!  Hopefully I'll be finding sources, like someone to make me a pillow, and sharing those too!

My list is long, it's in no particular order and I know I'm forgetting some things.

#TheFallOfUnfinishedBusiness To-Do List

1. Beaver Creek vacation blog post (better late than never to write about my favorite vacation so far).

2. Kids art storage blog post.

3. Lego party post.
4. Frame and hang Donald Robertson print.
5. 12 continuing education hours by the end of October.
6. Frame and hang Paris Texas print.
7. Hang peacock mirror.

8. Have pillow for bed made.
9. Have slipcover for daybed made.
10. Garage sale or giveaway accumulating stuff in carport and shed.
11. Finish reading The One and Only.
12. Finish reading The Gifts of Imperfection.

13. Refurbish vintage beach chair (had for a year and a half, from round top).
14. Halloween ornament idea (purchased supplies a year ago).
15. Collage idea: Christmas Aftermath (saved scraps from last Christmas).

16. 3 More Dala Horses (purchased supplies a year and a half ago)
17. Returns to store.
18. Returns to be shipped (shipping and mailing are a huge weakness of mine).
19. Put photos in empty frames.
20. Hang Joseph's Annex sign.

21. Hang Ford sign.
22. Hang Lilly and Beau's black and white preschool photos.
23. Hang antlers.
24. Wooden initial project with family.
25. Legal stuff.
26. Business stuff.
27. Car stickers (includes windshield repair).
28. Backyard and window box.
29. Organize Legos.
30. Respond to long overdue emails/ messages on Facebook.
31. Plan a 20 year reunion.
32. Clean and return borrowed Mickey Mouse costume (this has been in and out of my car for 3 years).

I'd like to finish a big part of this long to-do list this fall, I don't think I'll be able to do it all but as much as I can!  I want to do this before I commit to anything new, before I act on another idea, before I buy anything more and before I start to pursue some big dreams I have for this blog and for myself.  These things are taking up space in my head, in my hallway, in my closet and I'm ready to get it done!!! Please join me and use the hashtag #TheFallOfUnfinishedBusiness when you post.  Also, make sure your posts are public on Facebook or make sure you're Instagram profile is temporarily public if you want to share your posts with others.  You can always direct message me too! Let's do this!!!


These Are My Keepers

For me, the Nordstrom Anniversary sale involves a lot of ordering and returning.  Well I am finished with that whole process and I'm happy with my keepers.  I'm so happy that I need to tell my neighbor about them before time is up!  The sale ends tomorrow, prices go up Monday, Aug.3rd!

First up, I had to get gear for Round Top.  Last spring one of my rain boots got a hole in the bottom and my foot was sloshing around in mud all day.  When I saw these black Hunter boots had a navy stripe down the back I knew they would look awesome with denim.  And who wants to keep track of an umbrella at Round Top? So I finally invested in my first rain coat since I was 5 years old, ha!  I love how this trench allows me to have a shape, this is a size XS.  This will be great for rainy day drop-off and pick-up at the elementary school as well.  Here are a few clickable thumbnail links to my gear:

And now that I'm taking care of myself and working out on a regular basis, I need more activewear.  My favorite leggings are Zella and they are always included in the Anniversary Sale.  Thank you, Nordstrom!  Here are my keepers in clickable thumbnail links:

Normally I wear a small in these but I had to go down a size in the zig-zag leggings.

My everyday CZ studs were looking sad and tarnished.  So I did a style upgrade with these!  They make me feel "edgy".  And the sales associate said they were one of the first styles to sell out in the store, this gives me confidence to do the "edgy".

Now these were a huge purchase.  I've always loved this style boot and I've been wanting to replace my worn out black knee high boots with something more sophisticated.  These were the keepers and FYI: I had to go down a size in these boots.

Last winter I didn't have any easy sweaters I could throw on with leggings or jeans, dress up or dress down.  I like the style and the price of these.  I have wide shoulders so most of the time a shoulder seam doesn't hit in the right place and shirts are too tight. These sweaters have raglan and dropped shoulder style sleeves, perfect for my wide shoulders!

Last but not least, my favorite thong, it's on sale!  What's special about these? There are no lines when I wear a form fitting dress or pant.

I now consider all of these selections "tried and true" because I'm not on the fence about any of them.  I've hemmed and hawed, I've been to the store to try on multiple sizes, I've finished my returns and these are my keepers! Now good luck to you in the final hours of this amazing sale!


Shopping Experiment Take Two!

A typical department store sale is a lower price on a leftover item from a previous season.  A Nordstrom Anniversary sale is positively different!  It's a ton of new styles for the upcoming season (even some tried and true favorites) offered at much lower prices for a temporary period of time, then the price goes up!  I like to use the sale to save on back-to-school shopping for my kids.  Last year I had so much fun with my  "Shopping Experiment" post that I thought I'd do it again!

We had fun again to say the least!  Here's the "experiment": When I shop for my kids I do my best to keep their likes and dislikes in mind.  But what if my kids went shopping without me and what if they didn't have to think about versatility, price, size/growth?  And what would that kind of personal expression look like for them?!  Could I just go with it?  So I had them pick out a "First Day of School Outfit" from the Anniversary Sale without any help or opinions from me.  I also selected an outfit for them I thought they'd like with the usual mom things in mind (durability/versatility).  I hope it gives you some back-to-school shopping ideas if you're shopping for kiddos.

Thumbnail links to items:

These are my picks for Beau.  I thought I did pretty good with the Spiderman Tshirt considering graphic tees are not my favorite, ha!  And I included a hoodie because according to my daughter, "He needs a sweater for kindergarten because the classrooms are freezing!"

Thumbnail links to items:

These are Beau's picks for himself to wear on the first day of school.  I love it, so fun to see his style at just 5.  I don't know if I can go with the minions hoodie, ha! But the Star Wars Tshirt is a win win so I ordered it up a size to fit him better.

Thumbnail links to items:

These are my picks for Lilly and she liked all of it!  Success! This denim moto jacket is adorable!

Thumbnail links to items:

These are Lilly's picks for herself and I am blown away!  She had so much fun and I love her style!  I never would have picked up this dress but I think it looks so cute!  And with the leopard, I wish I could mix and match patterns like this!

Thumbnail links to items:

Of course my Daughter wanted to put together more than one outfit and I was amazed again!  She has a talent, I love it all!  This was the sweater she wanted to get for the classroom, she's very excited about it.

Thumbnail link:

I had to take a close-up of the jeggings she selected.  They sparkle and they're not itchy at all, super soft!

I hope this experiment was as fun for you as it was for me.  I learned I can open my mind, give them more freedom, let go of my style on them and let their personality shine through!

The Nordstrom Anniversary sale starts TODAY and prices go up Monday, Aug 3rd.  So we have a little over two weeks to take advantage of the savings, good luck!


Summer Style Shape Up Giveaway!

I fell in love with taking care of myself last summer.  It had been a while since I worked out on a regular basis, I'm talking since before my wedding, that's about 12 years!  And last summer I realized I couldn't keep waiting for a window of opportunity to open for me to exercise.  I was also feeling inspired by my friends who were prioritizing working out and they seemed healthy inside and out!  So I decided I had to create the opening and I had to put it before this blog.

I made a plan.  I could get my endurance up by riding my bike and then when I felt comfortable I could go to a studio class to get my strength up.  My very good friend, Jennifer, is an instructor at DEFINE Body & Mind, a growing studio.  I thought going to her class might not be so intimidating because she would be my built in buddy!  And she was!  My plan worked, the rest is history and I fell in love with fitness in the summer of 2014.

So when I heard Elaine Turner and DEFINE Body & Mind were partnering up for a HUGE giveaway I jumped at the chance to spread the word!  This is an awesome chance to make your window of opportunity and get a summer wardrobe, too!  Here are all the details:

For Houston and Woodlands Area readers only:  Get summer ready with Elaine Turner + DEFINE! One lucky winner will receive 6 months of unlimited DEFINE classes, a $1,000 Elaine Turner shopping spree, and a complete DEFINE Activewear outfit, tell it to your neighbor!!!

Enter to win May 13 - May 27 at the following locations:

Online HERE 
Elaine Turner Stores -  CITYCENTRE, BLVD Place, Rice Village and Market Street (The Woodlands)DEFINE Studios - West U, Montrose, River Oaks, Tanglewood and The Woodlands

If you're curious about DEFINE Body and Mind and if you'd like to get to know Elaine Turner, check out the latest episode of Elaine's Big Life - DEFINE fitness!.  Elaine is glamorous and hilarious and I've enjoyed watching her behind-the-scenes video diary series on YouTube.  Subscribe to the Elaine Turner YouTube Channel, new episodes come to your inbox and you'll be the first to watch and laugh!  I like to watch it on my phone when I'm getting all cozy and winding down for the night.

It was a pleasure to meet and workout with these two inspiring entrepreneurs, Henry with DEFINE and Elaine with Elaine Turner.  Their businesses "give back" like I've never seen before!  Check them out and good luck with the GIVEAWAY!!


Just A Few Things About Grand Cayman

Some say, "Variety is the spice of life."  But for me, "VACATION is the spice of life!"  And a vacation with my girlfriends is VITAL!  This post is about our most recent trip.  We were all set to take a road trip but our planning took an exciting u-turn when we decided to fly to Grand Cayman!!  I hope this post has you booking a trip to Grand Cayman and knowing what to do when you get there.

Travel Time:  When I only have 3 nights away for fun I want to get to my destination fast!  For Houstonians, United Airlines offers non-stop flights to Grand Cayman and the flight is only 2 hours and 50 minutes.  That's faster than my frequent road-trip to Dallas!  For other major cities, several airlines offer non-stop flights, here's a chart to give you an idea:

Cab System: I've never met a cab driver in GC I didn't like! This was our method of transportation. The drivers would give you their card and ask you to call them if you needed a ride.  If they weren't available they'd call their friend for you.  This all started with the very first cab we stepped foot in upon arrival at the airport.

Where To Stay, Good Question:  We had the hardest time deciding where to stay.  I created this map  and a cost comparison to help us figure it out.  It was between a Deluxe Oceanfront Room at the Westin Grand Cayman (top green pin on map) or a Garden View room at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman (bottom green pin on map).  The two hotels looked like they had about the same linear feet of beachfront but the Ritz was a much bigger resort (so maybe more crowded on the beach?).  At the Westin we'd be able to slide open our patio doors and walk onto the beach or at the Ritz, the walk to the beach from the room (red pin on map) was estimated at 5 min. per the website room description.  So it was The View vs. The Luxury.

We chose the Westin where this was our view, morning, noon and night!  Can you hear the relaxing ocean waves slowly rolling in?!

And when you choose the less expensive hotel, then you're more inclined to reserve a private cabana for two days!  This is where we ate lunch both days and when a short storm blew through we just closed the drapes and rode it out. :)

Red Sail Sports: One of the benefits of staying at the Westin is access to Red Sail Sports.  These are the people who put the adventure into your vacation!  In my opinion, they are the best way to get out to Stingray City (see below). After seeing the other sailboats I was happy we were in the hands of Red Sail Sports,  I was impressed with their practices and felt safe.  We took the 9 am sail on one of their 65' luxury catamarans out to Stingray City and then to snorkel on a reef.  The trip was about 4 hours and cost us $80 each.

Sting Ray City: I wanted to go to Grand Cayman just for the sake of Sting Ray City.  It's an area of sand bars where the stingrays come to interact with the people (because the peeps bring easy food).

I suggested it to my friends even though I had no idea how I'd have the courage to do it.  A couple days before the trip I led an Al-Anon meeting for the first time and chose the topic of Courage in hopes of combating the fear.  Then on the sail out to the sandbar I talked to a 6 year old girl who had nothing but joy and excitement and she couldn't wait to get in the water with the Rays!  I also knew my God did not want me to live in fear and worry.  And with my friends, we were in it together, not alone!

By the time we anchored at Sting Ray City I was that 6 year old and could not wait to have my turn to hold the Stingray.  The fear was gone, completely!

Does this look like courage?  I hope so!  Now, how many tries does it take to get a selfie with a Stingray? Lost count! Ha!

Can't wait to look back at this one when we're Golden Girls!  What an adventure! Write Stingray City on your life's to do list!

Dinner at The Wharf:  This restaurant is touristy but you've gotta go to it!  It's oceanfront and located at the start of Seven Mile Beach.

You'll get to watch the sunset as you eat dinner, glorious!

AND the biggest draw is all the tarpon fish!  You can feed them if you want, fascinating to watch how they go from 0 to 60 in 5.0 as they dart through the water at The Wharf.

Dinner at Calypso Grill:  This restaurant was recommended to us by everyone!  And we will do the same for you!  If you're going to have one fancy dinner, make sure it's at the waterfront Calypso Grill at Morgan's Harbour, West Bay.

The ambiance inside and outside is charming and the food is delicious!  After you book your flight for Grand Cayman, send an email to Dine@CalypsoGrillCayman.com to reserve your table for dinner. "Order the Sticky Toffee Pudding!"

Friday Night at The Ritz-Carlton's Silver Palm Lounge: This is a must if you like to dance and people watch.  Do you see the glowing light in the picture above? That's where the DJ was and they got started around 10 pm.  For a while no one was dancing, but it only took one!  If you know my friend Laura, you know she has the courage to start a dance party at the Ritz-Carlton.

And before we knew it, the whole lounge was on their feet, no backs against the wall.  And the night was unforgettable!

Seven Mile Beach: Amazing relaxing water that we loved hanging out in as if it were the pool.

George Town Yacht Club:  This is a great place to hang out if you have a few hours to kill between hotel checkout and airplane departure.  And no worries if you realize you don't have time to wait for a  cab to take you to the airport, you can walk. Ha!

Reward, Relax, Rejuvenate and cherish Relationships. These are the 4 Rs I've come up with to motivate us all.  Whether it's a staycation or a trip to Grand Cayman, if you want it, YOU can make a vacation happen!  We booked this trip mid June and were on a plane at the beginning of August.  Forward this post to your girlfriends to get the ball rolling!

If this post has you feeling sporty, I selected a few rash guards I'm loving right now!  Click on the thumbnail picture above to shop it.