Missing

It’s almost Thanksgiving (just a few days). Soon, it will be another birthday for me. And another for my mother. Then, Christmas. And New Year’s. I don’t make resolutions because I consider myself and my life a Work In Progress as I’m always constantly working on my things (diet, fitness, mind/body, debt, time-management) on a daily basis, in fact.

Somewhere along the line of starting a family (it was along, hard road, enter two doctors, a fertility clinic which was unsuccessful—it took five years to get to that point; we were almost considering adoption or fostering); our son is a toddler, now (enter some friends moving out of state and switching jobs), I’ve seemingly lost a part of myself. I miss my friends. I lack a support system. And I can feel it. I am going through something major (emotionally) and have to deal with it by myself. It’s very complicated and I can’t divulge it in full detail, anyway. I’m feeling very lonely. I catch up with people using Facebook or some random text messages.

Here are some examples of triggers (the mounting evidence). Recently, a few weeks ago, I saw someone who might’ve been an old friend during my college days, but she didn’t recognize me, so maybe, it wasn’t her. She was a close friend but lost touch with her after she graduated, for some unknown reason (she was supposed to backpack around the world with her best friend). Years ago, I searched for her on FB but kept drawing a blank as her surname is a common one for her group. I also searched for an old friend (someone who saw me through my divorce) on FB but came across the same problem with the name, and who knows, she could have a different one if she’d married. Recently, one of my junior high best friends contacted me, and it’s like we keep missing each other with calls. I’ve also sought out old high school friends, but maybe it’s the same thing, a new name.

Life is busy. I work full-time. When I come home, it’s all about making dinner, spending some time with my son and also, tending to all the home stuff (you know, all the parts that don’t get done over the weekends—laundry, cleaning, mending, sorting, organizing, searching, switching, food prep, etc., because, well, weekends are very, very busy). Home tends to be a place where things are never-ending (there is so much “pending”). I am an optimist/ realist but the reality of our home’s situation is wearing on me (this is the other major frustrating thing); it was built in 1954 and there is a long list of things to fix (it is an entire whole letter-sized page!), but I don’t have the time or money to deal with it, right now. We want to move and get into a newer property, but like I said, there is so much “pending.” Another factor is there is pressure from family members to sell this house to one of them, but in all honesty, we have to do what is best for our family.

Anyway, it’s almost seeming like I’ve got to seek out new like-minded friends (who have children in the same age group) because, the truth is, we all need friends in our lives. (Maybe when our son goes to school, we will meet other parents. I’m hoping, anyway.) Otherwise, it’s a lonely place. And life is too short to go it alone. I suppose I need to work on time-management and make some time for friendly meet-ups, too. A few months ago, a dear friend (she’s one of the ones who’s moved out of state), came to visit, and though it was short, it was a real treat to see her and talk again, face to face (and her younger son) at a small boba place in Chinatown, plus she hadn’t seen our son since the last visit. It really reminded me of how much I miss her in my life.

I’ve had this long-time belief that it is easy to make friends, but it is harder to keep friends. And I just really miss my true friends. Need to get back on Skype again and make those calls again to reconnect again.

T-Shirt Re-dos

A high school friend of mine on Facebook posted that womens t-shirts should be cut to women’s bodies and this inspired me to come up with this blog post. On youtube, you can pretty much find all sorts of sources. I like viewing tutorials regarding DIY sewing, re-fashion, etc. So here’s a list of the my favorite ones.

 

 

 

I’ve got broad shoulders and a narrow waistline, what do I wear that flatters my shape?

These are a couple good references online, to see help you categorize your body type.

http://shopyourshape.com/body-shapes/

http://hubpages.com/style/womenfiguresshapes

I’ve got body specifics that aren’t really the norm, in this country, unless you’re an athlete; in my case, an ex-athlete, I was on the Swim Team in high school (but I still swim laps whenever I get the chance). Yes, I’ve got swimming shoulders (the magazines refer to this as a Reverse Triangle or Inverted Triangle Shape). I actually like my broad shoulders because, well, I don’t feel like a skinny woman, it makes me feel a little more prominent (I like my definition, it makes me feel strong, that I have upper body strength; Women need to do weight-bearing exercises regularly for overall optimal health and well-being, plus the whole osteoporosis thing scares me); I have narrow hips and thighs. I am basically a size 8 on top and a size 0 or 2 on the bottom (it’s really difficult to find jeans that fit me properly). On one hand, some people may view me as “small”, due to my height, some people call me “tiny” (I’m really a Medium) while other Asian groups (Yes, like the Korean shop owner in Hawaii) may view me as “Large.” (I can wear kids clothes sometimes, like in fan sports gear, size Large or X-Large. In Juniors sizing, I am a size 9. In Womens, I’m a size Medium. Just wanted to give you an idea of my various sizes.)

Here are some good tips:

http://insideoutelle.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-dress-with-broad-shoulders-101.html

I’ve found that I love the way racerback styles (tanks or dresses) look great on me. (I always wear the right type of bra because I don’t like my underthings being exposed. I also leave the house with makeup and make sure that my outfit is presentable, but that’s me. I used to be so mortified when I was a young girl and my mom would leave the house to go shopping, in curlers and a house dress.)  The experts say not to wear boatneck type tops; I think that I only have one of those. I never liked the whole padded shoulders trend and it seems like the styles come back here and there, over the years. If I buy something with pads, I always take them out. I have to be really careful with jackets and fit. The experts on petite frames (short) say not to wear a large floral print, but I usually ignore that tip (I have lots of dresses with floral prints and they looks fine on me). On maxi dresses, the experts advise to keep it at ankle length, but I don’t like tripping on my clothes ( I don’t wear heels). For years, I saw the experts on TLC’s “What Not To Wear” advising their subjects to accentuate the smallest part of their waist—I agree with this tip. I find that I can’t wear shapeless dresses or I get lost in it, and it makes me look bigger than I actually am. To fix this, I add a belt on loose dresses. (The only exception to this rule is swim coverups.) It seems like the “fit and flare” looks good on most body types. When I wear my fit and flare dress, I often get the question, “Did you lose more weight?”

My point is, that you need to dress to your style (my summer uniform is a dress and a cardigan), your comfort level (how much skin you show), and your taste (boho, vintage, mod, preppy, professional, etc.). Find what looks best on you by experimenting. You won’t know for sure until you try an item on! Enlist the help of an honest friend who will be frank with you. I usually ask my husband and if his answer is No, I might get the item if I LOVE it. We all have our insecurities (things we need to work on), but this is meant to help you with finding the right things to wear now, for your current body type, not what it was in high school or whatever. After all, don’t you have a better day when whatever you’re wearing compliments you? I just like dressing up with the best options. I’m not high-maintenance but I like looking like I care about my appearance.

Favorite Maxi Dress Tutorials

There are so many free resources online. It’s amazing. Why spend $30- $50 one one dress, when you can DIY with the type of fabric, colors, and prints, that you prefer, and that’s custom fitted to your body shape?

Here are some videos to checks out:

As you can tell, I like DamaV425 on http://www.youtube.com

 

I also like this lovely lady, pinkchocolatebreak’s tutorials on http://www.youtube.com, too—she has so many different tutorials!

I tried copying and pasting another one of hers, but when I did that, the video was not the same as the one I wanted. But you can check out her posts and subscribe if you like her, too.

These are the regular ones (not videos):

http://sweet-verbena.blogspot.com/2011/07/boho-maxi-dress-tutorial.html

This one involves the use of RIT dye, but it doesn’t mean that you have to go that route.

easy DIY maxi dress with just one seam! | sewing tutorial

This fabric is easy to use/sew, as this material is sold at Jo-Ann’s; I asked the fabric cutter, how you determine what amount you need, because I didn’t have a clue. She told me you wrap it around yourself, so one me, it ended up being one yard that I needed. If you are short like me, you chop off the bottom, and you can sew straps on to complete the look (also the fabric cutter’s advice). 

http://www.merricksart.com/2013/02/greek-goddess-shirt-dress-tutorial.html

I love this blogger’s posts! 

http://www.merricksart.com/2012/05/swimsuit-cover-up-maxi-dress-tutorial.html

This is the first one I saw from this blogger’s site.

A 3-Seam Caftan Tutorial.

Caftans are making a comeback! This one’s a keeper.

http://wraysist3rs.blogspot.com/2012/06/sunshine-striped-maxi-dress.html

I do love the colors and creating this short-sleeved, fun, multi-layered maxi dress!

http://www.dearestjackdaw.com/2012/06/tutorial-old-vest-to-tiered-maxi-dress.html

This ones uses a frilly tank top and different layers to create a nice-looking maxi dress.

http://imperfectlypolished.com/2011/09/22/diy-maxi-dress/

This one uses a tank top and fabric to create one nice piece, and I thought this was the best source to explain things step by step, too. 

http://sewpetitegal.blogspot.com/2014/08/20-minute-convertible-maxi-dress-skirt.html

This one is one of those dual-purpose dresses, ideal for travel. 

http://www.pearlsandscissors.com/2013/08/simple-summer-maxi-strap-dress.html

This one is a nice one, though, you have to purchase the pattern online. I thought it was a nice simple design, though. 

Cruise Packing Tips (on the “Norwegian Jewel” specifically)

Before your cruise: Pay for your cruise, book  your shore excursions, pay for your gratuities (up front—it’s slightly higher post-cruise), print out your tickets/itinerary, print out your luggage tags (yes, it’s paper, and you will need to follow the instructions), make a copy of your ID’s and passports, make a copy of your suitcase contents, make out-of-town arrangements, and, finally, get rid of perishables in your refrigerator (get some frozen foods for convenience so you have food when you return unless you want to go to the store on the day of your return).

When selecting clothing and other essential items for your cruise, keep this in mind:

(1) Select a few basic colors ( for example, black, blue, or khaki), along with a couple prints, and be able to mix and match all of your pieces. The general rule is to have more tops than bottoms. Consult the following for inspiration. I found a couple of neat blogs on the subject: (1) One suitcase packing, recently discovered (http://www.outfitposts.com). (2) Another that I’ve been following for a while is (http://www.travelfashiongirl.com). Lay out your pieces on the bed. It takes a bit if planning but it will be worth it. I noticed lots of people (we saw many people many different times) wearing the same clothes and when we disembarked; I also noticed many seniors (easily composes 75% of the cruising population) who packed very light. I prefer to have options but I am not dragging everything with me (we already have more stuff to bring because we’ve got a toddler son). But there is a better way, packing smarter and lighter.

(2) If you are a minimalist, and prefer to wash your items in the sink (use clorox wipes before doing so), there is a hangline in the shower of the Norwegian Jewel. If you run out of room in the bathroom, you can hang items in the closet, if they are not too wet (make sure you squeeze out all of the excess water). Some travel brands like Ex Officio has clothing that dries quickly. The website http://www.Travelsmith.com also carries travel-friendly items. If you brought wrinkled pieces, you can also hang them in the closet and spray some wrinkle-release spray on them. Some people also advise that a hot shower’s steam can take the wrinkles out.

(3) Bring items that do double-duty or even triple-duty. Pashminas, scarves, or sarongs are very handy (as an accessory or an outer layer when it gets chilly). These items can change up an outfit very easily. If you plan on wearing some items more than once, then, this is the perfect accessory. Tunics (if it’s long enough and sarongs) could double as cover-ups as swimwear alone is not allowed in the main dining room (the buffet does not have a dress code). Leggings can serve as gym wear, sleep wear, walking wear, and as a base layer (under your jeans). Shea butter is great for full-body moisturizing, but it can be used for your lips, small cuts, dry rough spots, etc.

(4) Walking shoes which are comfortable are a MUST-HAVE (*you will be doing lots of walking and stairs, because there is a wait for the elevators, keep in mind, you will be with many, many Seniors), a sweater or lightweight zip jacket for nightly walks on cold and windy decks (after a heavy meal, you will want to do this, trust me), your travel outfit should have long pants or jeans—when we disembarked, it was raining, boy, was I glad I wore my jeans instead of my capris for travel (*this should be your bulkiest outfit to save space in your suitcase), and possibly, white clothing for the White Party (if you plan attending).
(5) Some other important essentials: a travel pillow (the pillows are always too bulky for me), a day pack (use it for the beach and/or shopping too (double-duty)), a case of water and/or soda, protein bars (a handful is enough) or pkgs. of nuts or candy, a sippie cup for your little one (if you have small children), a portable mug (for coffee drinkers), napkins or paper paper towel, medications/vitamins, ginger candy, motion-sickness aids, water shoes (for rocky beaches), zip-loc bags (came in handy when I collected seashells on the beach or to keep organized, or empty netted produce bags, so the sand comes off), large plastic bags (for your dirty clothes unless you have a designated LAUNDRY bag; there is no laundry self-service on the Norwegian Jewel), stain-remover pen, travel size bathroom spray, clorox wipes, highlighter, small alarm clock. (Please note, strollers need to be rolled up during the tenders.)

(6) If you are familiar with the ship, you can eliminate some items from your inventory (unless you are very picky). I know that the Norwegian Jewel supplies the following items in the staterooms: bathroom- handsoap, shampoo, body wash, cabin- hair dryer, safe, mini-fridge (it is stocked- but you pay the premium, for example a bottle of water is $5.50), in the closet- hangers.

My favorite POSITIVE sayings

Use the Daffodil Principle, Stop waiting…

Until your car is home is paid off

Until you get a new car or home

Until your kids leave the house

Until you go back to school

Until you finish school

Until you clean the house

Until you organize the garage

Until you clean off your desk

Until you lose 10 lbs.

Until you gain 10 lbs.

Until you get married

Until you get a divorce

Until you have kids

Until the kids go to school

Until you retire

Until summer

Until spring

Until winter

Until fall

Until you die…

There is no better time than right now to be happy.

This is taped on my computer screen so that I look at it everyday as a reminder.

Let Us Rise Up and Be Thankful

Let us rise up and be thankful,

for if we didn’t learn a lot today,

at least we learned a little,

and if we didn’t learn a little,

at least we didn’t get sick,

and if we got sick,

at least we didn’t die;

so let us all be thankful.

  • The Buddha

I remember hearing Goldie Hawn back in the 1990s tell an interviewer that “Happiness is a choice.” I never forgot that quote.

The following is my absolute favorite poem of all time; saw it in when I was in high school and it’s stuck with me all this time:

Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious
to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

Steals & Deals on the famous mall brands

Semi-annual sales usually run twice a year (January and June). I have a large family so I am always on the lookout for ways to save money (Christmas and birthdays), so I buy year-round. I keep a gift closet for this purpose. I’ve been doing this for years. It helps keep my gift shopping budget in order. 

I’ve got June displayed below because it’s currently the month of June.

Bath & Body Works– June- discontinued scents, some are cut to 50% off, some are cut to 75% off; each area is clearly marked with price guides (love that!) throughout the store. There are 18 locations in Las Vegas, but here are some of the locations: the Fashion Show Mall, The Boulevard Mall, Miracle Mile Shops, Downtown Summerlin, Centennial Centre, Town Square, the Galleria, Village Walk, just to name a few.

The Body Shop– June- discontinued scents or products, usually at $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, etc., price points—red labels, while sets vary in price; usually in the front or middle of the store, depending on the store location. (The online inventory looks better than what I’ve seen in the stores lately.) Located at the Miracle Mile Shops, the Fashion Show Mall & the Galleria.

Victoria’s Secret– June- bras (!!!), underwear, and beauty products (online inventory on the bras on sales vastly differs from that of  inventory in the stores). Ladies, you should get fitted, because it’s a good chance you are wearing the wrong size! Located at the Forum Shops, The Palazzo, the Fashion Show Mall, The Boulevard Mall, the Miracle Mile shops, Downtown Summerlin, & Town Square.

Yankee Candle– June- discontinued scents, to make room for  new scents; usually in specially marked bins (this is your chance to get votives and melts for a dollar a piece). Located at the Galleria.

Disney– June- the twice-upon-a-year sale- be sure to check all the sales racks for specials, either in the front or the back (note: not the outlet stores, different promotions). Located at the Fashion Show Mall & the Meadows Mall.

Other places to search for more steals and deals: Premium Outlet Malls, South and North – Gap, Banana Republic, Nike, Adidas, Fossil, Vera Bradley, Quiksilver, etc., just to name a few (there are two locations in town), T.J. Maxx/Marshall’s, and Ross. In town, we have the Dillard’s Clearance Center in the Meadows Mall. Some people also check out Steinmart and Burlington Coat Factory. And another one, especially, great for children’s clothing (Yes! they grow up so fast!) is, Fallas Paredes. (And if you don’t mind a short drive, there is an outlet mall at the stateline of California and Nevada, which is called “The Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, Primm.”)

A good general rule is that clothing in the department stores usually always go on sale. At the end of summer, is when you can get summer inventory (swimsuits, beach towels, etc.) at a steal. It’s the same instance when another season ends, like winter stuff gets reduced drastically because the stores need to switch out their inventory (making room for the new Spring line). So, just keep that in mind. After the season ends, sale time!

Online sources for gift card resellers (a certain percentage is knocked off, depends on each brand):

http://www.cardcash.com

http://www.giftcardrescue.com

I do love a good bargain. I am a reformed shopaholic. I still go shopping. But I keep a mindful budget. And if you keep a gift closet, like I do, make sure you go through it periodically, so you’re not stuck getting multiple things in one size, gender, or style. It helps you to figure out who to buy for next on your list.