Four years, tomorrow. July 22, 2013, my family and I closed the door on an empty house in Pennsylvania and opened the door of an empty house in Colorado. The biggest leap of faith we’d ever taken. Hands down.
We relocated 1,700 miles from the edge of our comfort zone…and looking back, we’d do it again in a minute.
Before we moved, I saw myself as someone who would most certainly live somewhere other than where I’d grown up. I pictured myself living in a place that would truly feed my soul. In the meantime, I grumbled about my surroundings and I waited for an outside force to change my situation.
I figured that someday, life’s circumstances would push me beyond the boundaries of the only life I’d known...and I’d end up in a land with abundant sunshine.
I wasn’t taking any action to create a new life in a different location.
I’m not a risk taker. I’m not an early adopter.
I’m slow to change.
So how did we end up taking the leap?
Looking back on it now, I believe the Universe decided merely to force our hand a bit.
It basically came down to three things…
1, Our first family visit to Colorado. August, 2012. Sunny, dry and 80 degrees. My eyes were opened to an alternate summer. There was indeed a climate other than "hazy, hot and humid".
2, We endured yet another late winter filled with sleet, freezing rain and endless gray skies. 40+ days. Our moods were dark and our spirits low.
3, Greta was finishing 8th grade. High school was only months away. Our three kids are just 42 months apart in age...we knew we needed to jump or stay put for another seven years.
We held family meetings, considered our options, worried, researched, cried, talked, voted, explored and ultimately...
We made an enormous decision to make an enormous change.
It was the very best choice we’ve ever made. Period.
If you dream of a change...
a new job, a new spouse, a new body, new friendships, a new business, a new house, a new city…
Decide what you want and commit to the change you envision.
Begin by taking the necessary steps to get things rolling. Baby steps are fine.
Hold on tight...it might be a bumpy, unfamiliar ride. That’s okay. The road is smoother on the other side.
Expect some panic. Breathe. Keep breathing...right through the anxiety.
Trust that you’ve made the right choice and allow yourself to settle in to the terrifying, but exquisite newness of a fresh chapter.
For me, it was moving to a place with more sunshine. What's your dream change? Please share!
If you don't feel you can write it in the comments, feel free to email me at email@example.com
I firmly believe that the simple act of putting your dreams out there is often just enough for the Universe to take notice...and begin shifting your story.
Change is all there is.
This summer, I'm reminding myself of this daily. (sometimes hourly:-)
Big changes happening again for us in the next five weeks or so. Greta is finished high school and heading back across that 1,700 miles to attend university.
Feeling stuck can seem safe, but it rarely allows for anything amazing to unfold.
Test your limits. Stretch yourself.
Don’t wait. Start today.
Just imagine who you could be when July 21, 2021 arrives...
Thank you for being here and sharing this journey with me. As always, I welcome your comments and questions.
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Have a fantastic week!
“The days are long, but the years are short.” Whoever first said those wise words was certainly wise to the reality of raising children. A new adult arrived at my house this week. Greta turned 18 yesterday. As I reread that sentence, my breath catches and a lump forms in my throat. Huh? There must be some mistake. My first born child has just wrapped up her childhood? Incredible and impossible at the same time.
In honor of Greta’s big birthday, this post is about her.
Recently, as one might expect, my mind has been flooded with memories of Greta as a child. Much as it seems like a ‘blink’, the giant bank of memories tells me that she has been around for quite a while:-)
I guess it is time for her to be eighteen.
Whenever I pause to sift through the 'Greta moments' , one always stands out. This specific event highlights her very essence. Greta's giant, thoughtful, loving heart was especially evident on this particular day.
I’m a little blurry on the exact timing, but Greta was around six years old.
In our basement, I kept a container of ‘special’ gift wrapping supplies. The container held a collection of beautiful ribbons, ties and tags reserved for embellishing very important gifts.
One afternoon, Greta decided to do some type of ‘craft project’.
For the record...I come from the craft-projects-are-almost-always-too-much-trouble camp. My own mother, however, comes from the complete other camp...the-bigger-the-mess-the-more-fabulous-the-project! Thus, Grandma was always in charge of making things like Valentines and granola:-)
Anyway, Greta was busying herself with her project...while I was most certainly in the weeds with whatever her two little brothers were up to.
Greta was always incredibly well-behaved and mature. I knew I could count on her to ‘play nicely’ while I tended to the needs of the boys.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I have no recollection of the finished product.
I only remember that she helped herself to one of the ‘special’ ribbons.
She had chosen a piece of wine-colored organza ribbon.
She cut it in half.
For some reason, this sent me over the edge of parenting that day.
I freaked out.
Irrationally and loudly and cruelly.
I’m not sure if it was because she hadn’t asked. Or if I’d had an especially tough day with three kids under six. Or I had important plans for that exact strip of ribbon. Doesn't matter.
No excuses. I really messed up.
A while later, Greta appeared with the ribbon.
With pride and pure love, she presented it to me.
She had hand-sewed the two pieces back together to again form one long length of ribbon.
Revisiting this memory is painful. Heart-wrenchingly painful.
I’m still embarrassed by how terribly I’d reacted.
I hurt Greta and crushed her sweet spirit.
And in return, she worked to secretly repair the damage with small, sweet stitches.
The love in her gesture has blown me away ever since. I’m humbled by her kindness, which I surely didn’t deserve. With five deliberately placed stitches, she showed me that our teachers can be tiny.
Greta shared with me the incredible power of love...and it’s ability to heal.
I kept the ribbon tied softly around the rod in my closet for years. Seeing it was a reminder to choose kindness first.
I still have the ribbon. It’s tucked away in a box of treasures. It’s one of the trinkets that will survive every KonMari Method clean-out I ever perform.
This small strand of ribbon is a keeper.
Before I pulled the ribbon out to take a photo for this post, I casually (and cautiously) asked Greta what she remembered about the incident. I was afraid to hear her thoughts. I feared it would upset her to relive that day.
She smiled and looked a bit blank. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t remember that at all”.
She went on to mention that she believed I was ‘making it up’.
I thought of the repaired ribbon safely tucked away downstairs.
And silently thanked the Universe for such grace.
I was sure Greta still wore the scars of that day. Thankfully, it seems I was wrong.
I’m blessed beyond belief to have this amazing human in my life. Being Greta’s mom is a true pleasure. I’m thrilled to be soaking it all in before it’s time to move her across the country for the next chapter.
Mamas...hug your babies close.
It. Goes. So. Fast.
Just for fun, here are a few more bits about Greta…
She loves stripes as much as I do, possibly more.
She dislikes Auntie Anne’s pretzels.
She speaks French.
She’s had Scarlet Fever.
She hated Paris on her visit. (Thankfully, that’s changed)
Her bedroom is always straightened up.
She spent years galloping instead of walking.
She was breech and born by Cesarean...12 days late!
For a few hours, her name was Amelia.
And here’s a link to my interview with Greta about fashion and style. It was part of a writing challenge posted while back. Missed it all? You can check out the entire series, 31 Days of Simple Style here.
Weekly Updates, here.
I hope this phase of your summer is lazy and lovely.
Thank you for following along and for letting me bask in all things Greta this week. I know my recent posts have been a bit more personal as a result of the current season of my life. Your continued support is the best. Sending you love.
I don’t know exactly what I expected from my 50’s, but I’m finding this season of my life to be very interesting and eye-opening. I’ve been doing some intense work on myself lately. As many of you know, this work began in earnest last October with a 31 day writing challenge (Simply 50 - refining life for the next decade). Since then, I’ve been in the thick of it as I try to really live the words I chose for that challenge. I've discovered this work is fascinating and difficult.
I’m realizing a lot about myself...
I have changes to make.
I have habits to break.
I have limiting beliefs to release.
I want things to happen faster.
I want things to slow down.
Recently, I was becoming lost in the minutia. The details of the journey were bogging me down.
I was completely overwhelmed by the entire process and by the urgency I was feeling to fix myself!
Then, right on cue, the Universe stepped in with trio of wake-up calls.
I’ll quickly share the recent events that have led me to reevaluate my Project Fix Kristen timetable and some of my methods…
Most of us vividly remember our first best friend. Mine was a neighbor in the suburbs of Philadelphia...and later a school-mate. We were about four years old when we met. Her name was Susie.
Ours was my intro into the world of friendship. I’m smiling as I type, recalling our easy joy and shared laughter.
Decades ago, we lost touch. While I think of Susie fondly from time to time, I haven’t connected with her in ages. I learned recently that she died several years ago at age 45. I had no idea. The news stopped me cold. My heart aches knowing that she’s gone. (Update below)
At a family wedding, my father-in-law collapsed just as the bride was about to walk down the aisle. Out cold. Chest compressions. Ambulance. Overnight hospital stay.
He’s only 68 years old. Thankfully, it was diagnosed as dehydration and he was released the next day. He’s feeling fine. What a frightening 15 hours.
My daughter’s boyfriend left our house around 10 pm. He drove literally one block and in a freak accident, rolled his small convertible car. Miraculously, he walked away uninjured. Shaken and scared, we waited for his parents to arrive. Surrounded by a fire truck, police cars and a dozen neighbors... I tried to shut off the ‘what if’ game in my head. Thankfully, everyone was safe.
Once I moved past feeling completely rattled, I witnessed the true wake-up call potential of these events that occurred within the span of one week.
Crisis has a remarkable way of slamming us into the present moment.
Everything else falls away and we are here. Now.
The little shit no longer matters.
We’re left with compassion.
It’s how we deal with what happens that determines our happiness. How we perceive our circumstances really is our choice. Every moment of every day.
Half-empty or half-full.
Some days my commitment to choosing happiness always is strong and other days the work of finding even a sliver of happy seems daunting.
But...I’m all in.
I’m fully committed to this journey of self-improvement.
There are times when I’m so excited about the changes I see in myself that I’m positively giddy.
But, there are also moments when it feels like I’ve opened a can of worms that I’ll never control.
Two steps forward, one step back.
I'll take it.
All this to say, a trio of wake-up calls has put me back on course. Moving forward (with more patience) towards the changes I'd like to make. And the person I'd like to be. At the very least, I owe it to Susie to continually strive to live my absolute best life.
What changes are you making?
Are you gentle with yourself during the process of changing? (If so, please share your tips:-)
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Thank you for reading. And commenting...my replies might be slow, but I always read every single comment and smile:-)
Have a super week!
P.S. Regarding my friend Susie...
The Universe is truly amazing!
Okay, here's the brief update...
After I learned of Susan's death, I spent some time searching for her mom and brother online. I haven't had any contact with them in 30+ years, but I hoped to locate them and offer my condolences.
Through Facebook, I found someone I believed could be Susan's brother's wife.
As I was sharing this experience with my family, my daughter mentioned a boy with the same (unusual) last name who'd been in one of her classes her sophomore year. '
We did a bit more research online...
The world is incredibly small:-)
A week ago, I had the pure pleasure of sitting down with Susan's brother, sister-in-law and mother at her brother's home. Less than three miles from where I currently live! Over 1,700 miles from where we first met. Neighbors again and we didn't even know it.
I'm blown away by the workings of the Universe. It was such a full-circle moment that I'm still breathless when I think about all of us sharing stories and remembering Susan. And missing her.
Gotta love the Milky Way!
Top photo credit: Peter Cain
Loveland Pass. August 2016. Family 14er Adventure.
When I’m asked a question often enough, I try to turn it into a post. I figure if lots of women are inquiring about a certain topic, maybe it ought to be explored. Today’s question is this…
What should I do with the clothes in my wardrobe that I've worn, but aren't really dirty?
In my opinion, this category of ‘not dirty enough to launder yet’ clothing is mostly limited to the pieces we hang out in or wear casually.
The bulk of the clothing that I wear for life outside of my home...to work, on dates, to events...is hung back up after I wear it unless it truly needs to be laundered.
If I wear a blouse for a few hours, I usually hang it back in the closet until the next time I wear it.
Here’s how I handle the pieces I’ve worn that aren’t yet ready for the wash...
All of my denim is folded in a wire basket on a shelf in my closet. After wearing, I give my jeans a shake, unroll the cuffs, empty the pockets, refold the jeans and put them neatly into the basket. Once my jeans start to feel a bit too stretched out and saggy or show any actual dirt, I toss them into the wash.
Same goes for chinos and washable pants.
Sweaters are refolded and returned to the sweater shelf.
Blazers are hung up and buttoned.
Cotton t-shirts are usually washed after every wear. Unless I’ve only had a top on for a short time. I prefer the freshness of a clean t-shirt when I’m getting dressed to go out.
If a garment becomes soiled or smelly, I wash or dry clean it immediately.
Then there’s the already-worn wardrobe grey area.
I believe what women are really wondering is this…
What should we do with the items of clothing we wear almost every day?
The hang-out-at-home clothes, kick-around jeans and shorts, sleepwear, etc?
Here's my solution...
I have a large fabric-lined wicker basket (similar to this one) in my closet that acts as a holding tank, of sorts. When I’m changing out of my ‘everyday’ clothes and they aren’t dirty yet...I loosely fold them and place them into the basket. This way I can grab them easily the next time I get dressed.
This basket holds...
The clothes I wear when I'm working from home.
The pieces I throw on to drive my kids to school.
The comfy stuff I change into when I arrive home after I’ve been out in ‘real clothes’ all day.
I’m more than happy to wear these items on repeat until they really need to be washed.
Other methods for storing your 'not quite dirty' clothing...
Use a designated hook in your closet to hang the ‘wear again tomorrow’ garments.
Dedicate one drawer to hold the items you'll wear several times before laundering.
With five people in my family, I try to do as little laundry as possible. (I still do multiple loads, 4 days a week) So, I definitely want to avoid washing things that aren’t really dirty. Plus, machine washing and drying takes a toll on fabric and I want my clothes to last.
For the record, I do wash the obvious stuff after every wear...socks, undies, workout clothes, swimwear, etc.
As for the semi-clean clothing, the ‘holding tank’ solution works for me.
What do you do with your ‘not ready for the laundry clothing’ between wears?
Please share! It's always helpful to hear new solutions to silly everyday issues.
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Have a super week!
It’s official. We’re in a new season. In the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve just passed the longest day of the year. Summer has arrived. Depending on your circumstance, summer can mean three months of warm, lazy days and nights...or endless weeks of wrangling littles who are out of school.
Most moms with school-age children feel a bit of panic at the start of summer vacation. I’ve recently heard at least a dozen moms lament that having their kids home is really "kicking their butts"!
I get it.
As a mom of three, I’ve sometimes had a love/dislike (hate’s too strong a word for the season of sunshine:-) relationship with summer.
The dog days of this season can seem longer and hotter when the kids are home all day.
The end seems completely out of sight.
Until it isn’t.
I can see the end. At least I can glimpse it when my eyes aren’t full of tears.
This is my eighteenth summer as a mom.
The days of wondering what I’m going to do, plan, create, or invent to help keep my three children entertained are long gone.
If I find myself counting the minutes until nap-time, it will be for my own nap.
It’s highly possible that I’ll see less of my children in the coming weeks than I do during the school year.
But the absolute, knock-the-wind-out-of-me kicker...is that this year, at the end of these sun-drenched nine weeks... it will be time to pack up my oldest and send her off to college.
I’m no longer the mom who’s dreading summer because of how exhausting it is to have small children at home...all day...when you’ve grown accustomed to having a few hours to yourself.
I’ve crossed over to the other side of parenting.
The side where my kids are busy doing their own thing...and my first born's childhood is wrapping up.
And while almost all of me is completely good with it, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the sometimes crushing sadness I feel at this milestone.
I know this is exactly what should be happening now. I’ve worked really hard for 18 years to arrive at this point, but it sure changes how I feel about summer break.
I’ve always loved summer.
Sunshine and warm temperatures are the foundation of my happy place.
But when I look back over the past 18 summers, I recall lots of stuff I resisted…
smearing sunscreen on squirmy, sweaty little bodies,
too many errands with tired, crabby toddlers,
a bathtub 'swim' to cool them off when they looked like they might have heat stroke,
wiping sticky hands after a melty, messy Popsicle.
And sadly, I’m certain I said, "No" too often.
I’m more present now than I was back then. I pay attention better...possibly because my 'mom tasks' are fewer. We all have more time and more energy at this stage of the game.
But, August is coming fast. I can feel it waiting just up ahead.
My plan is to settle in. I’m going to soak up this summer. I’ll deep dive into all the feels of having Greta prepare for her next chapter.
And I'll begin preparing myself for mine.
After a bit of soul-searching, I've decided there are some things I could change to help make this summer more enjoyable and ultimately more memorable.
I’m committed to the following simple tweaks to bring added presence and joy to this fleeting season...
Really listen. Put down my phone and ignore my computer when my kids want my attention. Yes, I should already be doing this...but sometimes I don’t. This one simple shift and the season already feels better.
Eye contact. They deserve this. Always. Morning, noon and night, I love the sight of these people. They matter. Hopefully, this gesture helps to remind them of that important fact.
Hug more. I think sometimes I shy away from hugging my kids because their teenage bodies feel so big against mine. Their little kid selves are almost undetectable now that they’re tall and strong and capable...and some days that's crazy painful for me. Get over it, Kristen. Hugs those kids!
Laugh often. Have fun together time each week. Within the fullness of everyone's schedule, sometimes we forget to laugh. I’ve never been the ‘fun mom’, and while I can’t go back, I can bring more fun and silliness into Now.
Keep it fresh. I vow to do one new thing every week. Last week it was as simple as buying two boxes of packaged, frozen treats. Ice cream sandwiches and Dilly bars. So simple. My kids lit up with delight. This week, Greta and I took our first High Fitness class together!
Stay present. Aim for less internal and external freaking out about the future. Now is Now...all three of my kids are home this summer. I’m going to be here too.
Skin care. I'll apply sunscreen happily when asked. This will be my job for only a few more summers. I'm certain I'll actually miss it. Luckily, there are still some areas it’s easier for mom to reach...my pleasure.
Read and nap. This one's just for me. Self-care:-) I’m settling in to this new habit quite nicely. A few pages of a good book followed by 20 minutes of shut eye and I’m a new girl!
Be the driver. Willingly and with a smile. I have no licensed teenage drivers at my house. I’m okay with that. Two have permits and we’re quickly rounding the corner to a time when I won’t need to drive them anywhere.
Soak up the sun and all the rest of it.
Be here Now.
Do you find summer stressful or relaxing?
How do you stay present to enjoy the season?
Thanks for reading. I hope you're summer is off to an amazing start!
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My apologies for the video glitch. I'm re-posting this with a video that actually works.
As I unpacked my summer clothes a few weeks ago, I realized that I desperately needed a few fresh tops. My old favorites were starting to look a little sad. One of the beautiful things about tops for warmer weather is that they’re usually made from wonderful lightweight fabrics. The downside of those dreamy, delicate fabrics is that they don’t hold up to lots of wear and washing. Realistically, you might only get one solid season from a top before it starts to lose it's luster.
I wanted several new tees and tanks, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money. Determined to find some deals, I enlisted the help of a shopping partner...in this case it was my son Peter:-) and we hit the mall.
It was a bonus day in the world of top shopping!
I actually found too many styles I really loved. In the end, I narrowed my choices down to the eight best!
If you’d like to know where I buy my go-to, wear everywhere, affordable tees and tanks…
and see which ones made the cut and came home with me…
Check out the video below!
Where do you buy your favorite tops?
I'd love to know...please comment below.
Thanks for being here:-) I hope you're enjoying the season!
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A successful shopping trip usually results in some amazing new purchases. You head home with a bag full of treasures you can’t wait to wear or use. But what happens when you revisit those items and realize that maybe you don’t love them all as much as you originally thought? Or later you've found your groove with a new garment and discover it’s not holding up very well?
Enter the flip (not so fun) side of shopping...
Returns styles vary. I’ve worked with customers who tend to return most everything they purchase and I’ve also worked with women who don’t ever return an item, even if it’s still hanging in their closet months later with the tags on.
Seems the topic of returning is a bit taboo. Women rarely share their views on the subject. However, when I'm not wearing my Anthropologie hat, I am often asked for some honest guidance about how to best return an item.
I’m happy to offer my two cents on the fine art of returning.
My hope is that this information will make you a better shopper and a better returner:-)
First off. Let me assure you that I'm something of a master at returning things.
I'm going to share two personal tales of extreme returns...if you'd rather skip right to the tips, just jump below the next photo:-)
The absent vacuum.
I returned a vacuum cleaner, without actually having the vacuum cleaner with me.
We purchased a vacuum cleaner from Sears. It came with a one-year warranty. We used it for six months and it stopped working. I grabbed the receipt and the vacuum and headed to Sears.
They took it in for repairs. I was told I’d receive a call in a week or two when the machine was fixed. I waited. I called. And waited.
Around the beginning of week four, I called again. I was informed that the vacuum wasn’t fixed yet. That afternoon, I went into the store.
I told the salesperson that I’d like to return the vacuum. She looked at me like I was nuts since I didn’t have the vacuum with me...remember, Sears had it in their repair department.
These were desperate times...Greta’s first birthday was the following week. We were hosting a family party. I needed a working vacuum.
After lots of explaining and demanding...I successfully returned the absent vacuum and purchased a new one. Problem solved.
The empty paint can.
In this instance, I was very noticeably pregnant, which I believe helped my case:-) I purchased a gallon of interior latex paint from Lowes. I don’t recall the brand, but it was “guaranteed to cover any paint color in only one coat”. I had them tint the base a beautiful soft yellow. The perfect newborn color.
I proceeded to paint the room. I was painting over a pale lavender.
The new paint didn’t cover well. At all.
One coat coverage? Baloney.
I painted the entire room. I used every drop of paint in hopes that it would miraculously cover well once it was fully dry. No luck.
I grabbed the receipt and the empty can and waddled back to Lowes.
I requested a refund. The man assured me that the can was empty. I agreed and told him the paint was on the wall. Further explaining that I’d purchased the correct quantity for the room size and the coverage was terrible.
Again, after much discussion and demanding, I was refunded my money and purchased a second can of paint to finish the job.
Here’s what I tell my clients regarding returns:
The very first and most important rule of returning is this...
Only buy what you absolutely love!
The chances of needing to return something are much greater if you don’t love it to begin with. So, if you’re on the fence in the fitting room...don’t buy it! Don’t expect the garment to miraculously improve once you take it home, chance are it won’t.
1. What's the policy?
Know the store’s return policy before you buy. There are loads of different return policies out there. Learn what’s acceptable in your favorite shops.
Anthroplogie? Best return policy in the business!
Forever 21? 21 days to receive store credit only. Jewelry cannot be returned.
So, be certain you can live with your options before you head to the register. And keep in mind, if store credit is your only choice, a store credit at that you’ll later use to purchase something you truly love (or on a gift for someone else)...is far better than an itchy sweater, tags on, in your closet until it goes to Goodwill.
2. Do the work.
Be willing to actually return any item that you aren’t wearing. Don’t waste money by leaving things hanging in your closet when they could be returned for a refund. Errands suck, but schedule and do them in a timely manner.
Two reasons for this...stores appreciate being able to put the merchandise back on the sales floor while it's still full price. If you hold on to an item for ages, chances are it's on sale when you finally return it...thus the store loses money because you took your time with the return. Also, most retailers have a return grace period after which you'll only receive store credit or possibly not be able to return the item at all.
3. Proper information.
Make it easy on the store (and ultimately, yourself). Sign up for a store’s loyalty program. Today’s technology makes it possible for retailers to retain a record of your purchases, allowing them to access your receipt information when you need to make a return.
Back up plan...
I strongly believe you should also keep your receipt. Mistakes happen. The data is only as good as the system or the human entering it. Most often an email receipt is an option at checkout. This prevents you from having to store a paper copy, but provides you with added security.
If at all possible, plan to do your returns when the store is a bit slow. Like when the doors first open in the morning, dinnertime...not Saturday afternoon! The return process will be smoother and more pleasant for everyone if you try to handle it when the store isn't too busy.
For the best results, merchandise should be unworn with the original tags still attached. Sometimes this isn’t possible. But aim for this, as it simplifies the entire transaction.
5. Don't push it.
It's best not to abuse your right to return. As you may have heard, most retailers do in fact flag chronic returners. Customers who return lots of merchandise and do it often can be viewed as a security risk.
I’m a firm believer in returning merchandise that doesn’t perform well.
If a garment falls apart after being laundered according to the garment care tag, I’d return it.
Zipper breaks after normal wear? Take it back.
Excess shrinkage? Return it.
Retailers need to know if their merchandise isn’t satisfying the customer. If faulty items aren’t returned, they can't know that their product has disappointed their shoppers.
Shopping takes time, energy and money. By choosing well initially, you’ll be able to avoid most returns. This frees up your time for more fun...which is awesome!
If you're like me, having a bag full of stuff to return riding around in your car fills you with dread! So gather up the merchandise and the receipts and get it done!
One more thing...
What about gifts you can’t or won’t use?
My belief is this...if at all possible, you should return a gift that won’t/can’t be used. If you have a gift receipt, great. You'll likely receive a store credit in the amount of the original purchase price.
Often a retailer will permit returns without a receipt, if the items are unused. You'll be given store credit or exchange for the lowest selling price.
Not sure where it came from? Try to determine where the gift was purchased or find a retailer that carries the same merchandise, you can likely return it for at least a bit of store credit.
Explain to the salesperson that the gift simply doesn’t work for you and ask what options are available for returning or exchanging.
When we give a gift we should want the recipient to really enjoy the gift. I’d have no issue with a gift I’ve given being returned or exchanged for something the person would enjoy more:-)
And finally, be nice.
A little kindness goes a long way during the sometimes lengthy, difficult return process. Let's be honest, nice goes a long way always.
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I'm sure you have your own return tales.
Tell me! I'd love to hear them.
Thanks for being here. Have a wonderful week.
June. One of the Northern Hemisphere’s most beautiful months. If you live here, you're likely psyched, as the joys of the season are just beginning. I love summer. Always have. I thrive on sunshine. I feel best in warm weather. I welcome the easier pace of no school for my kids. As a friend of mine wisely says, "Summer is when my inner girl comes out".
The trouble with summer is that it sometimes comes with big expectations. We often wait all year for this carefree month...anticipating all of the fun it will hold.
Big pressure. And like anything that comes with 'big expectations'...if we aren't careful, summer can end up letting us down
Social media can make summer a challenge.
Theodore Roosevelt was right...
Comparison is the thief of joy.
We scroll through Instagram and see hundreds of photos showing perfect summer days. Sparkling images of the ideal family outings. The stuff that our dreams are made of.
But, what if you have no plans for a spectacular summer getaway?
Or you return home and sink into a post-vacation funk?
Here are some ways to bring a little Summer Vacation into your life, even if you’re not leaving home.
I use the following 'hacks' to create a casual, laid-back summertime vibe when I'm staying put for the season...
Switch up your usual thirst quencher. My go-to? Sparkling water packed with ice and a splash of fruit-flavored Italian soda (think San Pellegrino) and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. With a straw. In a glass you love.
Want something portable? Try Spindrift.
2. Glow, girl.
We all know that the sun (in anything but small doses) is super damaging to our skin. Yet, who doesn’t feel better with a little color? Or a savage tan? Give your skin a tropical boost. No skin damage, just a healthy "I've been basking" glow. Here's my favorite.
3. Fresh Face.
Try some new makeup. Light and easy for the warmer weather. Less is more.
4. Transport yourself.
Read a book or watch a movie that takes you away. Live vicariously through a cast of amazing characters. Get lost in a story that fills you up.
A couple of my 'escape' favorites (certainly not award-winning films, but embarrassingly captivating:-)...Summer Lovers. Little Darlings and Monte Carlo. Prefer a good read? The Sun Also Rises.
5. New menu.
Change what you eat. Strawberries, peaches, watermelon, tomatoes, leafy greens...devour what’s fresh in your area. Wow your taste buds with a bounty of summer flavors.
6. Al Fresco.
Eat outside. Picnic or patio. Move the meal outdoors. Plug in a string of white lights and feel your mood improve. I love Cooking Light magazine for easy seasonal meals.
5. Be a tourist.
Plan a day date or a family outing that rocks. See your town through the eyes of a visitor. Pick something new...do something you've never done before. A Live List is a super way to keep stretching yourself and your family.
6. Light a candle.
I'm not sure who figured out how to make a candle smell like the beach, but I'm forever grateful. My first and still favorite is the 'sea salt' candle is from St. Eval Candle Company. I'm not sure if it's still available in the U.S. I bought mine at Terrain many years ago. Terrain now seems to carry this one instead. My bet is it's a great option, I just haven't tried it yet.
7. Clear out some clutter.
Use your slower days and looser schedule to get rid of stuff! Make a plan and declutter your life. The rewards are better than any vacation! Ever.
8. Be present.
Now is now. Be right where you are. Find beauty and give thanks for what is.
Remember, this isn’t about pretending to get away.
It’s more about being happy where you are.
Make today special whether you're in an exotic locale or your own backyard.
And feel free to snap a cool pic and post it on social media. Loving your life as it is...is 100% enviable:-)
How do you celebrate summer?
I'd really love to know...please share below.
Have a very happy June!
And for those of you with kids at home...
Remember, Eighteen Summers: It's all we get. Warning- don't click that link without a few tissues in hand. There really are only 18 summers before they head out. Believe me, I know. I’m here already.
I’m working on me this month. It’s time to put the finishing touches on some personal changes. A few that are long overdue.
Anything you’d like me to explore here this summer? Just comment below and I’ll work it in.
Have an amazing week. Thank you for your presence in my life. This community is such a blessing.
Memorial Day Weekend. The official start of summer...even though the calendar has us waiting until late June. Since we had heavy snow at my house last week, I haven't given much thought to my summer wardrobe...but I'd better start!
If you're hoping to add a few new tops to your wardrobe this season, now's the perfect time.
Anthropologie is having a sale on sale!
I’ve never shared my Anthro Faves from the sale room before....but today, I'm doing just that.
Below are my current favorite markdowns at Anthropologie.
I'm sticking with tops because they're an easy fit.
And it's always nice to start a new season with a fresh top or two:-)
If you shop this weekend (May 26-29, 2017), you’ll save an additional 40% off of SALE merchandise. That means 40% off of the lowest markdown price!
Please know that some of these styles might have limited stock levels. Be sure to check online and in your local Anthropologie.
When in stores, if you don’t see an item you want on the sales floor, be sure to ask an associate for help. Sometimes there is more sale merchandise tucked away in the stockroom.
Hoping that by mentioning my sale ‘faves’, it'll help you can snag a few awesome deals and get on with the cookout phase of your holiday weekend!
As always, I’m not being compensated in any way for this post. I just enjoy sharing what I know and love at Anthropologie.
Deep-V Ribbed Top $39.95
This top is a lightweight layer for cool summer nights or chilly air-conditioning. Beautiful drape. It looks much richer than a sweatshirt. You can dress it up or down. All of the colors are pretty in person.
Peplum Pocket Top $49.95
I love this top. It’s essentially a sweatshirt with a stylish twist. The upper fabric is French terry cloth. The bottom is linen with just the right amount of flounce. It’s chic and easy to wear.
Margot Gathered Top $29.95
A t-shirt with a dash of sass. This top runs a bit big. It’s quite flattering on the body. Both colors options are flattering.
Washed Linen Shirt $49.95
This blouse is great buttoned up or worn open, more like a jacket. The green is less yellow in person. It’s good in all colors.
Alexe Embroidered Bomber $99.95
I love this bomber. It’s elegant and well-made. It works over a dress or pants...and looks equally sharp with a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. The same-color embroidery on the back is stunning.
Allyson Textured Top $39.95
Perfect for date night. I own this top. It wears like a blouse, but it’s a knit. So comfortable. So pretty. I didn’t realize it came in military green...now I want that one too!
Maddie One-Shoulder Top $49.95
This chambray top has super style. The lines are good. The fit is a bit short so you might need to pair it with high-waisted bottoms. It’s a nice summer alternative to a basic chambray button-down or tank top.
Ruffled Linen One-Shoulder Top $29.95
I love this top. It’s a little playful and so pretty on the body. Soft and easy to wear on a hot day.
And since we currently have an awesome selection of new merchandise, I’ll throw in two of my favorite full-priced styles...
Seamed Raglan Tee $38
I haven’t purchased this one yet...but I think it’s on my short list. Cool detailing. Nice price. I’ll probably buy it in white. I like the idea of a new white tee with some interest.
Draped V-Neck Tee $48
I have this tee in grey. It’s fabulous. Effortless, but a touch more fun than a basic, athletic-gray t-shirt. Big surprise: I’ve even worn mine under a blazer with jeans:-) Super good.
Happy Sale Shopping!
Hope you find yourself a fab top at a dynamite price.
Questions about the pieces shown above? Or any Anthropologie merchandise? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for following along.
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Feeling much gratitude for those who we remember on Memorial Day.
My first born child will graduate from high school tomorrow. It’s been a week of sometimes dizzying emotions. Long to-do lists, party preparations, the rapid firing of a dozen school year's worth of memories, out-of-town guests and the knowledge that our family is about to experience a wonderful (but profound) occasion. One that ultimately sets in motion a slew of enormous changes.
A few months ago, I vowed to do everything in my power to stay as present as possible during the weeks and days leading up to this grand occasion. I decided that I was going to soak it all in.
Well, I’m here.
It’s the eleventh hour.
T minus one sleep and it’s time for her to walk. Milestones can be tricky. Milestones that involve our kids, often take our breath away.
The past has a way of sharpening the edges. Making things that much more acute. Flooded with mental images of our ‘little kids', we often feel paralyzed. Trapped in our thoughts. Unable to move forward because the future seems scary...or completely inconceivable because she was just heading to Kindergarten five minutes ago!
Something happened to me earlier this week.
I felt a shift.
Without any decision or forethought, I felt myself surrender.
verb. abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to.
I rarely use the word surrender. The last time I recall even considering the word ‘surrender’ was when my three children were small. I was smack in the middle of the full-on mothering years. Monotony was the norm. Repetitive tasks filled my days. I felt a bit resentful and overwhelmed.
I stumbled upon (or the Universe directed me to:-) a book titled Surrendering to Motherhood- Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul by Lois Krasnow.
This honest, 200 page read opened my eyes to the art of surrendering. Ms. Krasnow’s words hit home. I needed her message. It helped me yield to the demands of my busy life mothering three toddlers. In yielding, I discovered some contentment.
The act of surrendering is powerful. The relief that follows the ‘letting go’ is profound.
I’ve been overcome by an unexpected wave of peace this week. My heart and soul have decided to simply ride it out.
All the way.
Right through the heartstring-tugging sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, past the celebration of Greta’s exceptional K-12 career. . .and clear into next week when I’ll be that mom who can say, “My daughter just graduated from high school”.
The tsunami of emotions? I’m riding that out, too. Feeling all the feels.
In the past few days...I’ve quietly fallen apart talking with favorite Anthropologie clients and old neighbors. I’m sure if the deli counter guy asks ‘How’s it going this week?’, I’ll become a puddle. I'm very thankful for waterproof mascara.
But...and this surprises me a bit...it feels okay (even good) to feel it all.
I guess I always thought of surrender as a sign of weakness. I usually opt to dig in my heels and fight. Often I'm merely fighting myself by resisting what is. Holding on too long to an idea or a thought or a way of being.
I’m beginning to think that all the work I’ve done to be more present is actually paying off. I truly believe that this week’s unconscious surrendering is a beautiful byproduct of living more fully in the Now.
I didn’t choose to surrender, it just happened.
By yielding to all of the feelings, emotions and memories that accompany this big life event, I’m finding real joy.
I am incredibly proud of Greta.
I’m excited for the Now when her name is called and she walks to receive her high school diploma.
I will be 100% present.
Surrendered fully to the moment and the milestone.
Happy Weekend, folks. If you see a woman in the grocery store today who looks like she’s been testing her waterproof mascara, whisper a wish of surrender...she might be needing it.
Weekly Updates right here.
Thank you for following along.
P.S. I’ve been randomly listening to Pomp and Circumstance on my phone since before Greta’s sixth grade graduation. My hopes? That by the time she graduated from high school, I’d be immune to its triumphant sound and not fall apart during the first few measures. No such luck. It’s playing in my office as I type these words. Blubbering mess:-)
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,