My New Happy

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

When You've Only Got A Hundred Years To Live

Last Saturday, the world lost a truly amazing human.  After a long, wonderful life, Grandpa Ed decided that his time here was done.  He would have been 101 years old in September, and while his mind was still sharp, and his sense of humor intact, his body was finally giving out.

After nearly five years of dialysis, he was exhausted.  He couldn't drive anymore, or golf, or head to the library.  And I think he was ready to see Grandma Mary and his son, Rick.

I will miss so many things about him.  His hugs.  His laugh.  The way he listened intently to what you had to say.  The way he loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and cared so much about each one of us.  Grandpa Ed was the sun of our family, and we circled around him like planets, trying to soak up everything we could.

I've learned so many things from him.  A few years ago I wrote about a few of his "lessons", and in honor of his life well lived, I'm sharing it again.

Family is important.

Grandpa Ed and Grandma Mary had four children.  When my mom was eight, grandpa was offered a job that required him to travel around the United States, staying in each town for several months at a time.  He didn't want to leave his wife and kids behind, but he needed the job.  So they sold their house, bought a 20 foot trailer, and took off as a family.  I can't imagine living in a small trailer with six people, traveling the country, for seven years.  I'm pretty sure I'd be heading back home after a few weeks.  But that's what they did.  And they never regretted it, because they were together.  

From those four kids, grandpa has eleven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, and we all love him madly. He makes time for each and every one of us, because family is important.

Stay active.

Did I mention Grandpa Ed is 96?  He still lives in his own home, drives, and his mind is as sharp as ever.  Every week he golfs 18 holes, and only in the last year has he used a golf cart because his hips hurt.  He walks around the block every day, and he's been known to pull his bike out when his car is in the shop.  When I asked if he wore a helmet, he just giggled.  Guess what he's getting for his birthday!  He says staying active has kept him alive this long, and I'm not going to argue with him. 

The simple things in life are usually the best things.

Last year my boys wanted to take grandpa to Pink's in downtown Los Angeles, because they are known for their fabulous hot dogs, and hot dogs are one of grandpa's favorite foods.  He was a little dubious about Pink's, but being the trooper he is, he was willing to drive an hour and wait in line another thirty minutes to try a dog, because the boys said it was worth it.  His verdict?  The ones at Costco are just as good, half the price, and way less trouble. Sometimes the simple things in life are the best things.

A positive attitude helps you get through anything.

Grandpa Ed's life certainly hasn't been perfect, and he's had his share of health troubles. He's survived prostate cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer and melanoma.  Luckily everything was caught early when most treatable, but through every surgery and illness he maintains a positive attitude.  He tells me there's no point in being depressed about it - what will be, will be. Except when grandma died, I've never seen him sad - he just smiles and gets on with living.  

Life doesn't end when you get older.

When he was 80, grandpa took up painting and drawing as a hobby, and he's pretty good at it. He set up an art studio in his formal living room when grandma passed (I'm sure she haunts him over this - we were never even allowed in that room).  He goes to the senior center every week - always on the lookout for new friends.  Not a day goes by that he doesn't get up at 7am, get dressed in his signature jeans and polo shirt, and head out of the house.  Sure, there's an afternoon nap every day, but not until he's accomplished something.

Don't blink

Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your "better half"
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

-Kenny Chesney

Thursday, June 13, 2019

What I Wore - May

Oops - better late than never!  Last month I did a huge closet purge, and vowed to wear what I already have and limit my purchasing.

Which I mostly stuck to...sorta.

Here's a few highlights from May...

I've really been enjoying pattern mixing lately.  This knit blazer (similar) goes well with any other pattern.

I'm still on the hunt for a jumpsuit that will work with my height, but for now this one from Old Navy (similar) will have to do.  The mustard purse came in a recent Stitch Fix and I love the color!

Another blazer, and pumps!  Who am I?  I found a bunch of blazers during the closet purge, and I'm wearing them all to see which ones to consign.  This hot pink one might be for sale soon at Salt and Light.

Speaking of Salt and Light, this adorable floral midi dress isn't leaving my closet anytime soon.  It's still available in yellow, pink, and blue, and it's so comfortable, I feel like I'm wearing my pajamas.

I also discovered a lot of colored pants.  I bought this pair of pink jeans from Loft (similar) last year, and I love how they look with navy.

Did you see my review of Infinitely Loft, their new subscription service?  This navy lace dress was one of the first things they sent to me, and I'm kind of wishing I had kept it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Stop, To Move Forward

Raise your hand if you feel like you're always running.  Days are planned to the minute with work and activities and stuff to do.  If there's a hole in the agenda, it's immediately filled with something from the to do list.

It seems we've almost gotten addicted to the idea of being "busy".  I know I have.  A few years ago, I was feeling depressed and anxious.  There were many days when I didn't want to do anything.  I accomplished the most minimal of tasks, doing only what I had to do to get by.

Now, I'm feeling better and excited about the future.  And I want to seize every moment, to make up for the time I lost.  Which means I'm constantly working  to further my hopes and dreams.  Trying to be more organized, more productive, more everything.

But sometimes you have to stop for a minute, in order to keep moving forward.

Last weekend we had nothing on the calendar.  Not a single appointment, activity, or to-do was on the schedule.  I woke up on Saturday morning, worked out, showered and then what?  I immediately consulted "the list", trying to decide what to tackle first.

And then....I took a seat.  Maybe I just needed to stop for a bit.  

Which is what I did.  I read an entire book.  Got outside and took a few walks.  Watched shows that were piling up on the DVR.  I think I even took a nap.  I didn't meal plan, schedule plan, or plan anything, really.

At first I was restless and almost guilty.  Feeling bad about relaxing?  I really had gone too far.

By Sunday evening, I realized how wonderful it had been.  I felt rested and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world.  

The rest of the summer is looking pretty busy, and I don't see another quiet weekend for a while.  But that's okay.  I stopped, and now it's time to move forward.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Come Join Us At Salt And Light

A long, long time ago...thirty years to be exact...I graduated from college with a degree in fashion and a dream to one day own a clothing boutique.  But life, and kids, and a different kind of company came along instead, and that dream ended up in the "maybe someday" pile.

Until a few months ago, when my fairy godmothers swooped in and said "come join us at Salt and Light".

I believe that the universe puts people in our path for a reason, and I'm thrilled to announce that I'm joining two of my very favorite women as we continue to grow this fantastic community, with a little clothing sprinkled in for lovely measure.

What is Salt and Light Lifestyle?  It's a supportive, uplifting space where we share our takes on life, along with some awesome apparel.  We want you to know that you are beautiful, valuable, seen and heard, right here, right now.  No matter your age, your size, or what life is currently throwing at you, you can sit with us.  And look fabulous doing it.

The clothing at Salt and Light includes newly curated pieces for every body, as well as gently loved, quality consignment items.

Coming this fall, we'll be back with new podcasts, fun events, and some big announcements.

I'd be forever grateful if you'd follow along on Instagram, where Deena and Abbie serve up a daily dose of entertainment and inspiration.  Check out the website, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Pinterest.  If you're interested in consigning your apparel, email me at

Thank you, Deena and Abbie, for inviting me on this journey, and allowing my long lost dream to have wings again.

"You know what's rad?
Women who lift up other women.
Women who know their beauty isn't dimmed by the beauty of those around them.
Women who collaborate.
Women who share their gifts.
Women who are sassy or shy.
Basically WOMEN.
We believe we're the bees knees.  And so are you."

-Salt and Light Lifestyle

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Rent With Infinitely Loft

Happy Thursday!  What are your plans for the long weekend?  I'm off on Saturday for a fun adventure, so be sure to follow along on Instagram.  You won't want to miss it!

How do you feel about renting clothes?  There are several subscription services available, like Rent The Runway, Le Tote and Armoire.  I've been using Le Tote off and on for a few years now, but recently I've had trouble getting seasonal, fun styles.  Everything they want to send me is wintery and boring.

When I saw that Loft was entering the rental game, I decided to give them a try.  I'm a fan of their clothes in general, since their styles are pretty and feminine and fit me well.

My first box had three items, and I loved them all.  This red floral maxi skirt was so comfy, and can be dressed up or down.

This navy floral dress is so pretty and surprisingly soft.  Infinitely Loft has tall, petite, plus, and maternity sections.  I'm glad I chose this dress in a tall, as it hit just above the knee.

The final item was a floral sweatshirt tee, with puffy sleeves and the prettiest print.

Why rent clothing?  For me, it's fun to check out different styles without having to buy them.  Yes, I have plenty of clothes in my closet, but I like to try pieces that I might not normally purchase.

The positives of Infinitely Loft? 

  • The different size options.  There's something for everybody.
  • Free shipping both ways.
  • The chance to buy an item you love, for 50% off.
  • Everything so far has been seasonal.  I'm only seeing spring/summer styles.
  • The ability to start selecting your next box online as soon as you notify Loft that you're sending a box back.
  • Prioritize your top picks, to get them first.
And the negatives?
  • The cost is a little more than Le Tote.  Loft is currently $64.95 a month.
  • Since they're brand new, there aren't a large amount of styles to choose from.  But they seem to be adding new arrivals several times a week.
Have you tried rental clothes?  What did you think?  Let me know if you have any questions...and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Weekend Vibes: Baking and Flying

Here's how I usually operate:  Happy to stay in my comfy home, don't want to try anything new because SCARY and what if I hate it?  I get over myself and do it, fall in love with the thing and the trying, and wonder why I don't just accept all the new things, all the time.  Anyone else with me?

Last weekend was a double header of newness, that started with baking.

Apparently, you're either a chef or a baker.  I'm neither, which makes it especially fortuitous that I married a man who can whip up a gourmet meal in five minutes.  He'd like to learn more about baking, since his grandfather was a baker in Norway, but didn't get a chance to pass on any of his tips and tricks to George.  I was just along for the ride, hoping there would be lots of sampling of baked goods.

King Arthur Flour just moved to our area, and they offer evening baking classes as well as multi day, intensive lessons.  I thought it would be a fun birthday gift for my hubby, and I chose "Hand Pies", even though I had no idea what they were.  But it sounded like there would be eating involved.

The instructor was amazing.  She'd been up baking since 4am, but was enthusiastic about her craft and walked us through everything step by step, with a sense of humor.  I would have been asleep in my pie dough.

Fillings prepped and ready to go.  I was even allowed to help with this part.
Pie dough made, rolled out and cut.  I did NOT get to help with the dough, but honestly, I was okay with that.  BTW, that's a French Rolling Pin and it's the bomb.
Now we wait...and take selfies, of course.
And voila...Hand Pies!!

So much fun, and so delicious.  I would definitely recommend this for a date night, even if you've never baked a thing in your life.  Next up, croissants!

On Saturday, it was time for my birthday gift, courtesy of my older son.  A few years ago we went "jump out of a plane" skydiving, so I've crossed that off the bucket list, and once was enough for me.  

We'd driven by ifly a thousand times, an indoor tunnel skydiving venue, so I was excited to see what it was all about.  Sort of.  

After checking in, we headed upstairs where you watch the action while waiting for your turn.  It looked intense, and nobody in the tunnel was smiling.  But there were little kids flying, so how hard could it be?

Soon we suited up and headed in for the training video, which informed us that shoulder dislocation was possible and quite common.  Earplugs, goggles, helmet, flight suit.  All jewelry, including rings, had to come off.  Yikes.

I almost backed out.  I need both of my shoulders to be located, thank you very much.  As I stepped up for my turn, and felt the crazy wind tunnel, I thought I might pass out.

But once I was inside, being guided by my instructor, it felt wonderful.  The wind is definitely intense, much more so than actual skydiving.  Which is why nobody was smiling - the wind tells your cheeks where to go.  As soon as I got the hang of it, the instructor let go, and I truly felt like I was flying.

It looks like a small space, but below that net it was a long way down.  And also a long way up.

My two minutes were over too soon, but all my body parts were intact.  My hair, however, was another story.  Don't bother with styling before iflying.  This is an adventure I'll definitely try again.  Maybe I'll even learn to flip and soar.  Nah, probably not.

So what did we learn last weekend?  Stop being so comfy, try the new things, and fall in love with excitement, uncertainty, learning, and adventure.  Take a chance and soar.  And eat all the baked goods.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Copycat Camo

A few months ago, Deena and Abbie shared the cutest little camo skirt from their new shop, Salt and Light Lifestyle.  And I knew it needed to be mine.

Even before it arrived, I was dreaming of ways to style this fun maxi skirt.  But I kept going back to this look by Deena.  I changed things up with a black Paris tee and sneakers and I was so comfy all day.  The skirt has the perfect amount of stretch and can be pulled up or down depending on the length you want.

The queen of camo, Vanessa from Xtremely V, had a few more cute styling ideas.  My favorite was the camo skirt as strapless dress option.  It might be a little short on me, but I'm going to give it a try on the next date night.

If you also need one of these skirts in your life (and trust me, you do), head over to Salt and Light Lifestyle.  And then send me all your styling ideas!
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