Friday, February 17, 2017

Paris Is Always A Good Idea: Day Six

I think it's about time to get this trip wrapped up, non?  It's taken me so long to get to day six, and now the pictures I took with my good camera have disappeared.  I'm hoping they're hiding somewhere in my computer files, or maybe the cloud?  I do not understand the cloud, so let's hope they're not there.  For today, I'll have to share what we took with our cell phones.  If you missed the first five days, you can read about them herehereherehere, and here.

We woke to another warm, sunny day, perfect for a trip out of the city to visit Versailles. Having finally figured out the train situation, our plan was to arrive early to avoid the long lines to get into the Chateau.  Success!

Standing outside, waiting for the doors to open, and taking in the opulence of the outer chateau, it wasn't hard to imagine why there was a French Revolution.  I can see the peasants' point.

The Queen's Wing was closed for renovation, so we toured the other half of the chateau fairly quickly.  The Hall of Mirrors was breathtaking.

After grabbing a picnic lunch to go at a cafe, we headed out into the gardens.

In the distance you can see the Grand Canal.  In Louis XIV's time, authentic gondoliers, imported with their boats from Venice, lived in a little settlement next to the canal.  Today you can rent rowboats and sing to yourself.

We wandered around the gardens, finally stopping for our picnic lunch.  There are beautiful pictures somewhere, if only I can find them.

After eating we made our way to the Trianon Palaces and the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette.  Back in the day, Versailles was an escape from the pressures of ruling a country.  But as the Chateau became busier, Louis XIV needed an escape from his escape, so he had a smaller palace built out in the north 40.  Later generations expanded the area and added Marie-Antoinette's Domaine.  All sorts of shenanigans went on out there.

The palaces and gardens here were intimate and even more beautiful.  If I ever build a palace for myself, it shall be made of pink marble.  

There was a grotto, and a hamlet, and a Temple of Love.  Damn, I wish I could find my pictures!

Exhausted from our day of pretending to be French royalty, we caught a train back to Paris. There was an epicerie fine in our neighborhood, with yummy looking salads and meats in the window, so we stopped in for some dinner goodies. After smiling at our terrible French, the owner asked where we were from.  It turned out that he and his husband had honeymooned in Seattle many years ago, so we spent an hour talking about all things Pacific Northwest. 

After dinner and a few glasses of wine on the terrace, it was off to bed.  Tomorrow I had a date with Mona.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New Year Styled: I Got Dressed

Welcome back to New Year Styled with my fashion sisters at The Blended Blog.  Thank you to everyone who linked up with us last week!  We keep growing and it's thanks to all of you.

If you read my post last week, you know that I completely failed at following the create28winter2017 prompts.  I vowed to do better, and guess what?  I actually got dressed in something other than workout clothes and sweats - and it was all from my closet!

First up was neutrals.  It's often gray here, so I need a little color in my life, and rarely dress completely in neutrals. But this leopard print scarf added some fun to my asymmetrical tunic and leggings.

Polka dot paradise threw me a bit.  My closet doesn't have many polka dots, and I have no idea why.  I love them on everyone else.  This outfit was just "meh", and it might be time for the sweater and tshirt to go.

Cozy knits, on the other hand, was not a problem for me.  I have a bit of a sweater addiction.  We visited college boy over the weekend, and it was very cold and snowy. Sweaters and duck boots were a must.

I love red and pink together.  This was a fun look for Valentine's week.

And finally, perfect pearls.  This is one of my favorite blouses, but I rarely wear it.  Next time I think I'll try it with white jeans for a date night look.

Linking up  with The Pleated PoppyThursday Fashion FilesFashion FridayFabulous FridayPumps and PushupsHow I Style ItNot Dead Yet StyleMy Refined StyleThursday ModaI do DeclaireAgeless StyleWednesday's Wardrobe  

Now it's time to link up!  I hope you'll join us again this week, and follow along with #theblendedblogstyle. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mindful Monday: Hygge

My favorite quote from one of my favorite movies.  I shared Ferris Bueller's Day Off with my boys a few years ago, and sadly, they weren't that impressed.  I guess you had to be there.

For the longest time, I've been ignoring Mr. Bueller's wise advice.  Rushing around, crossing things off my to do list, and rarely taking time to STOP.  Afraid that if I didn't cram tasks into every minute of every day, I might miss something.

But the only thing I'm missing is the good stuff.  Life.

Have you heard about hygge?  It was a new word to me when I saw it a few weeks ago, but since then it's popped up everywhere I look.

Pronounced HOO-GAH, it's a Danish word that means.....well, it's kind of hard to explain. Generally, it's approaching your life, and the way you live it, with positivity, gratitude and enjoyment of simple pleasures.  It's a mindset that embraces a warm, cozy atmosphere and contentment.  It's cherishing the important people around you, and making time, and letting go.

Although the Danish have been practicing hygge since the 1800's, it's only recently become "popular" in England and the US, and was one of Oxford's words of the year for 2016.  Not a surprise, given these uncertain times, that we're searching for comfort and happiness with the ones we love.

I've started a list of ways that I can practice hygge.  Simple dinners with friends and family. Sitting with a warm blanket and an interesting book by the fire.  Having a glass of milk and a few chocolate chip cookies.  A Sunday chat on the phone with my son, away at college.

Slowing down, looking around, and enjoying where I am, alive in that moment.  

I think Ferris would approve.

Do you practice hygge?  Give me some things I can add to my list!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Loves: Chocolate or Money?

Since T has been away at college, I've tried to send a care package once a month.  And with Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to do something special.

However, he doesn't like chocolate very much.  What?!?  I know.  I'm not sure he's actually mine.

A few weeks back, I saw an easy idea that I knew would be right up his alley.  Honestly, give the kid some cash and a gift card for food and he's happy.

The first step was to remove some of the chocolates from the candy heart.  I felt it was my duty to sample them, since it would be a shame for good chocolate to go to waste and all.

Next, I folded up dollar bills in different denominations and taped them into the empty spaces.

Finally, I added a gift card to his favorite restaurant, boxed the heart up with some home made cookies, and sent it off.  The college kid gets money, and I got to each chocolate.  Win win.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Be sure to stop by The Blended Blog where I'm sharing some of my favorite blog posts from around the internet.  There's some good stuff!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Year Styled: The Poncho

Welcome back to New Year Styled with my fashion sisters at The Blended Blog.  Thank you to everyone who linked up with us last week!  We keep growing and it's thanks to all of you.

This month, my friends Carrie and Whitney brought back Create28 for a winter 2017 edition. Since I'm shopping my closet and not the stores, I was so excited when they released the prompts.

Hooray, I thought!  I shall follow each day and choose an outfit from my closet.  What a fun way to re-mix and re-think!

And then I spent the next five days in sweats, which might be a new record for me.  And I'm not even sick.  In my defense, I was working on tax prep, doing some major organizing, and there were a few snow days thrown in.  I didn't even leave the house.

I did finally manage to get myself dressed in this cute sweater poncho and Wit & Wisdom jeans. Which kind of felt like sweats, so maybe it doesn't really count.

Anyway, the tax prep is done, the snow is mostly gone, and I'm still on a shopping ban, so I'm ready to try again.  I shall follow each day, and choose an outfit from my closet...

Linking up  with The Pleated PoppyThursday Fashion FilesFashion FridayFabulous FridayPumps and PushupsHow I Style ItNot Dead Yet StyleMy Refined StyleThursday ModaI do DeclaireAgeless StyleWednesday's Wardrobe  

Now it's time to link up!  I hope you'll join us again this week, and follow along with #theblendedblogstyle.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nuggets For The New Year: Meal Planning

I often dream about having a personal chef.  In my perfect world, I wouldn't have to grocery shop or cook, and every night a delicious, healthy dinner would magically appear on my table.  In this dream I also look like Gisele, but whatever.  Although my husband is a great chef, his schedule keeps him from making meals most week nights. Alas, that means it's up to me Monday through Friday.

In the past, I didn't plan ahead, which meant most evenings I was scrambling around, trying to figure out what to do with whatever happened to be in my fridge.  And nobody was very happy with what I came up with, including me. One day last fall I decided that weekly meal planning would make life a lot easier.

This is what my husband makes on the weekends.  Or what my imaginary chef would create.  My meals do not look like this.

Every Sunday I sit down with my calendar and my recipes, and I decide what we'll have that week.  I usually do a few weeks at a time, then tweak it each Sunday as the schedule fills up.  I have a huge binder with family favorites, and recipes that I print from the internet when I see something that looks good.  

Recently I discovered  This website allows you to choose your meal plan (clean eating, paleo, kid friendly, classic, etc), and then provides a week's worth of recipes. Since my husband is eating low carb, this has helped me find dozens of new dinners. The only drawback is that they charge $29.99 a month.

Each week we have one "salad" night and one "crock pot" night.  The crock pot is my best friend, next to my actual best friends.  I usually also choose one chicken recipe and one with beef.  (As a side note, every year we buy a side of beef from our farmer friends, and I highly recommend it.  We know that the meat is hormone and chemical free, and it usually works out to about $1.50/pound, which is so much cheaper than the grocery store.  You can contact your local 4H to find out who sells beef in your area).  Fridays are for leftovers, if they're not already gone, since I live in a house of men.

After I finalize the meals, I start a grocery list with everything I don't have on hand.  There are tons of grocery list printables online, but I like this one from Time Warp Wife because it's simple.

And that's it.  Not exciting, not gourmet, but it works for us.  At least until that personal chef gets here.

Now, hop on over to R Squared to see what Christy's meal planning looks like!

Friday, February 3, 2017

January In Numbers

January, where did you go?  It feels like I spent most of the month in my office, buried in tax prep. Ugh.  But I did manage to get out now and again, so I thought I'd share my January in numbers, and link up with the fabulous Deena at Shoes To Shiraz.

I just passed day 300 of my Invisalign treatment.  Although ten months have gone by pretty quickly, there are moments every day when I want to rip them out and be done.  I've already seen a huge difference though, so I'll press on.

Zero dollars spent on clothes.  None, nada, zilch.  For now I'm having fun going through my closet and remixing pieces.  I'd like to keep it up for a few more months, but pretty spring things may start calling my name.  Must stay out of stores.

We've had 5 days of snow, and 15 sunny days.  Which means not a whole lot of rain.  Super weird for January, but I'm loving sunrises and sunsets like these.

I worked out 25 days this month.  I'm very committed to a #bettermeby50, and exercising is a huge part of the equation.  I'm mixing yoga, cardio and strength training so I don't get bored.  Now if somebody could please take away the chocolate....

College boy was home for 23 days (8 in January) before heading back for second semester. I loved all the activity at home, with kids coming and going.  Saying goodbye was hard, but spring break will be here soon.

1 haircut and 1 color appointment.  I feel like a new woman.

4 lunch/coffee dates with friends.  I needed to get out of my office cave every once in a while, and my friends were kind enough to listen to me complain about taxes.  

We saw 2 movies - Passengers and LaLaLand.  Enjoyed them both, because Chris Pratt and Ryan Gosling.  And singing and dancing and suspense and romance. Plus the popcorn was yummy.

And....I actually read 2 books too!  The first was The Year We Turned 40, and it was just so-so.  I wish they would have fleshed the characters out a bit more, but the concept was interesting.  I just finished All The Stars In The Heavens by Adriana Trigiani.  She's one of my favorite authors, although this book was different than her usual style. It was kind of historical fiction, with Clark Gable and Loretta Young the main stars of the story.  Definitely a good read!

(Speaking of reading, there's still time to join the Blended Blog's virtual book club.  We're just picking our first books, and we'd love to have you join us).

Happy weekend, friends!
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