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This space is all about seeking
EXCITED CHILLS and creating a
simple, authentic, beautiful life.
I do hope you'll stay a while!
I credit the 'camera-flipping' icon found in several apps on my iPhone. I believe it was the accidental bumping of that button that first made me sit up and take notice of the current state of my own face.
Here’s the scene… You’re preparing to take a photo with your phone. Erroneously you tap the button that reverses the camera so now you have a CLOSE UP of YOUR FACE!
What the wrinkled, saggy heck?!
If you’ve had this experience (and you’re over 37), then you probably know what I’m talking about. Yikes!
The first time this happened to me, I think I almost screamed out loud. I was utterly shocked to see what my face looked like from that highly unflattering angle. It was not good. Frightening, in fact.
I recall quickly flipping the camera around so that it properly focused on the subject ‘out there’. I then let the wincing subside and got on with my day, trying to put the saggy, haggard image out of my mind.
Not long after the initial phone incident, I caught the reflection of my unaware self in a large store window. There’s that woman again! Is that what I look like to the world?
I guess what I saw is commonly referred to as Resting (Middle-Aged) Bitch Face.
And honestly, it’s terrible.
I started to freak myself out, and then I thought... 'Grow up, Kristen'.
It was simply time to get real and come to terms with my very own face.
I’ve said it before, aging isn’t for sissies.
It is for the privileged.
I’m thankful to be aging. Some people aren’t so lucky.
After considering the situation a bit, I realized that I’d become a bit delusional about my own face.
Here’s a story that explains how I think it happened… stay with me.
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a special event with my father. The keynote speaker was General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. The general shared something I will never forget. He was referring to being a leader, but the concept seems relevant in the case of me not recognizing my own face.
Schwarzkopf explained how Grizz, his "wire-haired Dachshund who weighs 15 pounds and looks like a dust mop," is the "undisputed leader in the Schwarzkopf household," and his other dog, a 90 pound well-bred German Shepherd, is not.
"Grizz has never looked at the mirror," he joked. He explained that Grizz acted like he was every bit as big and strong and scary as the German Shepherd. He didn’t know any better. The image Grizz saw daily was that of his 90 pound cohort. Grizz simply assumed that he was also a 90 pound German Shepherd.
"It doesn't matter whether you're tall or short, or whether you're brilliant or not"... if you look at a 90 pound German Shepherd every day, it’s only natural that you’ll think you’re the same.
That's it! Exactly!
I work with younger women, I follow younger women on social media, my business mentors are younger women, I live with a younger woman.
And while I don’t for one second actually think I’m a younger woman, I guess I'd begun to assume (clearly failing at The Four Agreements) that I had the skin of the younger women I see or at least the skin of my younger self:-)
I’ve since shifted my thinking. I’m now keenly aware of the actual state of my face.
I’ve found that honest awareness is always the first step to acceptance. And the ultimate dream is to move gracefully towards true appreciation and authentic admiration of our whole self.
I’m good with my face. Wrinkles, non-Chicklet teeth, splotches, spots, rogue hairs and all.
How are you with your face?
Which of the following sums up your current feelings?
No mirrors, ever!
Doing all I can to keep things in place!
Letting everything hang, sag and wiggle, and loving it!
Here are my suggestions to help you love your aging face...
1. Follow some incredible mature accounts. Robin Wright. @robingwright Maye Musk. @mayemuskMaye Bobbie Brown. @justbobbiebrown
2. Spend time with contemporaries. Ditch your younger friends for the day and hang out with those who truly understand your issues. Or bask in the clarity and profound beauty of the elderly. Someone 20 years your senior instantly offers a perspective shift.
3. Remember that everyone ages. For a quick reality check, I just Google the young faces I grew up admiring. Elle Macpherson. Cindy Crawford. Brooke Shields. Julia Roberts. While they all look amazing, they also look older.
(Side note: Just don't Google Halle Berry. She defies nature. At 51, she still looks 31:-)
4. Know this, you are BEAUTIFUL exactly as you are. Your amazing human form only gets one go-around. So look in the mirror and smile! Start today. Embrace your face! We'll work on the body later...
Who do you love following? Please share!
I'd welcome a few more seasoned women in my IG feed.
Thank you for reading. I’m so grateful that you’re a part of this community of kindred souls.
Stay connected with Weekly Updates.
Have a magical week!
In an effort to keep it real... here's my face today.
Know what? The forward-facing camera isn't quite as terrible when you actual smile:-)
Today I’m sharing a story. It’s a tale that I hope will remind us all of the magic of generosity and the power of pure goodness. This story includes a little bit of manifesting, a dash of serendipity and a big bunch of friendship.
Once upon a time...
I saw a friend rocking an amazing top in her Instagram story. It was everything I dream of in a piece of clothing… navy blue, simple shape, European-vibe, interesting fabric. Timeless classic.
Just one glimpse of the top and my wardrobe wheels began turning.
I’d been feeling like my style needed a wake-up call. I’d been pondering it, but not all that seriously.
Seeing my chic friend in that navy top served as a springboard.
That garment became the ‘imaginary’ anchor point of my yet to be created new wardrobe.
It embodied the look I was craving. Effortless. Sophisticated. Unique. And always navy blue.
I texted her and asked where she scored the incredible top. She thanked me and explained that she'd acquired it years ago in Japan, in an underground subway shop. We agreed it was a great shirt and that was that.
In a strange departure from my usual self, I did not obsess over where I could find that exact top. I considered it a rather mature decision since that obviously seemed impossible.
Instead, I allowed that special piece to serve as inspiration. A sartorial nudge.
I began to imagine my new wardrobe.
Knowing the power of ‘what you feel, you attract’, I pictured a similar top hanging in my own closet and felt the joy of my new wardrobe coming together before the fact.
I was ready to begin a personal style renovation. My friend had launched a rocket of desire without even knowing it...
Three days later, I arrived home to a small, soft package from said friend. I figured it was a t-shirt for an upcoming event that she’s included me in.
Curious… I open the envelope. As I peek inside, my breath catches.
I see the familiar, interesting navy fabric. It can’t be. I pull the folded fabric out of the package. It is neatly wrapped in a length of simple string. No note. No explanation needed. This is kindness in its purest form.
Literally, giving me the shirt off her back.
The tears come fast. I’m laughing and crying at once. It’s only Monday, but my week is already made. I feel so much love radiating from the beautiful hand-me-down top. The ultimate zero-waste gift.
Those of you who know this treasure of a woman, won’t be surprised by this selfless act. In fact, you likely have a piece of her already in your own home. I’m keeping her anonymous since I don’t think she’d want the extra attention;-) But she is the rarest form of human. Selfless in a way that makes you take notice. Genuine in a way that makes you want to try harder.
I share this story to remind all of us how simple it is to be nice.
Kindness can be found in the smallest gesture.
This week, I’m challenging myself in two specific ways…
First, I’m going to notice the kindness of others. I’ll tune in to witness everyday goodness. Small kind acts that I might otherwise miss… when someone allows another to merge in traffic, when I hear a compliment being given, when someone receives a tender embrace, when someone holds the door… you get the idea.
Second, I’m going to look for ways to spread my own simple kindness daily. How? By doing some of the things mentioned above; and giving my time without hesitation, offering a hand before I’m asked, being present when I would ordinarily be multitasking…
You with me? Let’s do this.
Please share your own tales of kindness… given or received.
I’d also love to hear what you've manifested lately? I’m pleased as punch to report that I manifested an incredible navy blue top:-)
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Thanks for reading. And sharing.
Streamlined resolutions. Lots of people are ditching their list and instead selecting a single defining word at the start of a new year. I’ll be honest, I’ve never chosen one word as my focus for the twelve months to follow. I kept hearing this was a ‘thing’, but it wasn’t my thing. I’ve historically been a bit washy washy when it comes to goals and decisions, so I wasn’t too jazzed about locking myself in with one specific word.
That said, this year I actually found myself intrigued by the idea of picking one word as my anchor for 2018.
I’ve been plowing through some major life tweaks lately. So, I decided to keep rolling with the changes and become a person who chooses a word.
Yes, I'm a little late to the game since it’s already February, but I didn’t want to rush this choice. I carefully consided lots of words. I sorted through a bunch… pausing often to see if I’d found ‘my word’.
Truth is, I kept avoiding the word that repeatedly popped up. I didn’t want that word to be my final choice. It seemed far too simple. Trite, even. There had to be a better, more fitting, less basic, more interesting word.
Yet, the harder I tried to find a different word, the clearer it became that my word had already been decided.
My youngest and my dad. I still can hear the sound of their laughter.
Pure and simple. Deep and soulful.
What I crave more than anything else in my life right now is JOY.
Somewhere in the daily grind of the past decade, I’ve lost touch with my automatic internal joy.
This discovery came slowly at first. I didn’t want to believe that my life was lacking joy. More specifically, I shuddered to think that I wasn’t a joyful person.
There was a time when I was that girl who was always happy.
People would regularly comment about my consistent good mood and my contagious positive energy. I know that girl still exists inside me. In fact, I can usually spot her when I’m out in public.
I’ve determined that my lack of joy is most evident when I’m in my own home, surrounded by the people I love fiercely. I find this both embarrassing and depressing. I should certainly feel joyful at home.
I've come to recognize that the stresses of adult life and parenthood sapped my sparkle. When I’m home, I find myself bogged down with unrealistic fears and unnecessary worries.
The real truth is, I have so much more to be thankful for than to worry about.
Yet, I notice that sometimes when walk through my front door and I’m quickly pulled back into my own head. I begin to stress about the future based on worries I drag in with me from the past.
I’ve been in the process of letting go and moving beyond the old stories and habits for a while now.
I’ve made huge headway.
I’ve shifted a lot.
But honestly, it’s taken long enough. It’s time to speed things up. I’ve reached the tipping point. I’m done.
So, my word for 2018 is JOY.
Simple and straightforward.
This three letter word will remind me of my goal for this year.
Seek, experience, share, offer, invite, nurture... JOY.
A compass of sorts, leading me back to what matters. A nudge to keep me on track to bring more joy into my everyday life. Every single day.
I guess I was a little premature with the whole one word thing.
Apparently, I will have two words to guide me this year.
I find it fascinating how the Universe has a way of getting our attention, even when we’re cruising along... basically oblivious.
Recently, this single word kept popping into my head. Over the span of a few days, I felt the increasing presence of this word. The sensation was odd, yet I couldn’t shake it.
I shooed it away, assuring my mind that I was good. I’d already chosen ‘my word’ for this year.
Yet, it kept appearing. Waiting to be noticed.
I became curious about how it might help me. I decided to examine this common word.
I researched the actual definition of the word LIGHT.
As I read the long list meanings, I smiled and nodded to the Universe.
Okay, I thought. I get it.
LIGHT needs to be part of my year.
Here’s a sampling of what LIGHT means...
the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.
"the light of the sun"
an expression in someone's eyes indicating a particular emotion or mood.
understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.
spiritual illumination by divine truth.
make (something) start burning; ignite.
of little weight; easy to lift.
gentle or delicate.
free from worry or unhappiness; cheerful.
Those snippets of 'light' are woven into many things I'm currently striving to include in my life.
Most specifically, I'm seeking to be lighter in my mind and my heart. To 'lighten up', if you will.
And I'm deeply invested in allowing my light to shine. Brightly and without the filters that were previously in place.
Turns out, LIGHT is the perfect reminder for me in so many ways. Clearly, I needed to include this word in my 2018 theme.
So, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I'm letting two words be my litmus test.
JOY AND LIGHT will be my checkpoints as I navigate the creation of my very best life.
Okay, your turn!
Do you pick a word, words or phrase to help direct the flow of your year?
If so, please share your word and a bit about why you chose it.
I believe we all benefit from the experience of others. I’m so thankful that you’re here.
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Have yourself an amazing week!
Happy Groundhog Day. Which I personally think should be Groundhog’s Day, but that’s just my opinion. This odd holiday doesn't effect me much because regardless of whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, I’m planning for an early spring. I do find it interesting that since the 1993 release of the movie by the same name, Groundhog Day has become pop culture slang for feeling like you are literally repeating days. Over and over and over.
We’ve all been there. Same old, same old.
On one hand, creating routines is super helpful for making our lives run smoothly.
On the other, strict routines and regularly scheduled days can sometimes feel very much like a rut.
I’m a firm believer in implementing systems. I believe in devising a set way of doing necessary tasks so they aren’t forgotten in the shuffle of daily life.
Specifically, I have a fixed morning routine and an evening routine. As well as a Sunday morning routine… involving many loads of sheets!
But every so often the normalcy and familiarity of it all makes me want to scream!
I start to feel trapped on the proverbial hamster wheel!
When that feeling creeps in, I need a change. I long for something to shake up my identical days. I’m of the mind that a getaway to an exotic beach would certainly do the trick… but that solution is rarely in the cards.
So, I use three simple ways to change things up just enough to make me feel less like Bill Murray's character and more like a woman living her very best life!
Since I’m usually a stickler for adhering to my predetermined plan, sometimes I need a permission slip to allow myself to step away from my routine and venture down a different path. No medical doctor required. A post-it note will do.
Grab one and try something like this:
Now, take action!
Once you’ve been 'given' permission, make a plan to change things up.
Here are my personal favorites for breaking the grip when life begins to feel repetitive...
1. Take a personal field trip -
All those spots you drive past and think, “I’ve always wanted to go in there and check it out”, this is your chance. I keep a running list of the places I want to visit. Then, when I need a change, I pick a spot and wander through. It's a great way to get to know new places and people in your very own town. If you already know your town like the back of your hand, no problem. Get started on the next town.
2. Go down the rabbit hole -
What are you curious about? Delve to your heart’s content. I have a hard time allowing myself to read, watch, listen to and research all of the topics that interest me. Whether for business or pleasure, I feel guilty when I spend too much time seeking and absorbing new information.
I was feeling like a lazy slug for scrolling through style and simplicity websites or watching YouTube videos to learn a new skill, when my awesome husband gently reminded me that Apple spends over $10 billion a year on R&D! The R&D phase matters!
So, I let go of the guilt and gave myself a permanent pass. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to know or learn, dig in. Get lost in every piece of information you can find. Soak it all in until your head starts to spin. New ideas are born here.
3. Call a friend -
Chances are she’s feeling the same way. Meet in a new spot for a walk or a cuppa. Think of a question to ponder and explore together… What’s your dream vacation? If you could have another first name, what would it be? What career would you pursue if you were to start over? What life hack do you wish you’d discovered? Consider your time together a gift to each other. Be fully present and bask in her amazing glow.
4. Friendship First Date -
Now’s your chance. Reach out and make plans with your girl crush. We all have one. Who’s that girl you’d love to sit down with for an hour and get to know better? Contact her. This is a sure-fire way to shake off the doldrums and step out of your everyday groove.
5. Start small -
If the above options seem like they're just too much to consider... simply take a baby step. Drink your coffee in a different spot in your home. Dress up a little. Eat something new for lunch. Take a bubble bath or a walk. By changing something, even something relatively insignificant, you'll shift your energy. Alter your perspective. Suddenly, it won't feel so much like Groundhog Day.
Just so we're clear, I totally believe that routines are wonderful for keeping us on task.
A well-designed routine helps navigate the fullness of our days. But when you begin to feel like it’s always the very same day over and over again… Allow yourself to hit reset.
Veer from your predictable course...
The spring will return to your step.
Your smile will brighten.
Your load will feel lighter.
You’ll return to your routines ready to repeat them several dozen more times before you need to break out the permission slips again.
How do you stop the monotony when you feel like your days are running together?
I'd love to know what works for you.
Thanks so much for reading.
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Have a super week!
Oh, I love January with its built-in fresh start! I always welcome the opportunity to begin again (except moments ago, when my laptop decided to erase the first few paragraphs of this post;-). Retailers everywhere are following the old adage, "Out with the old, in with the new". Post-holiday sales are clearing away last season's merchandise and making space for what's to come.
It’s been a while since I rolled out my Anthropologie favorites. It’s crazy how the January arrivals send a definite vibe of spring. I tried to pick pieces that were wearable no matter what this month feels like in your town. For me, one day it's 70 degrees and the next day it's snowing. Go figure!
While stores might look a little bare right now, hang tight. There are amazing pieces coming in almost daily.
I believe I need to make a solid plan for my wardrobe...
Or I'll surely be tempted to go overboard! Especially with conversation tees!
Here's what I have my eye on currently...
Positive Living Graphic Tee $68
I have no shame in my love of graphic, conversation tees.
And, if they're in French (lots of them on the Anthro website)? I'm a complete pushover.
It was hard to pick just one to feature, but this message won first place!
Lorena Flutter-Sleeve Pullover $98
This sweater is incredible. The lines are chic and sophisticated. The fabric is weighty and soft.
It also comes in dark grey. I've had several clients buy it in both colors. It's that good.
Embroidered Boyfriend Utility Pants $128
These pants are perfect for a mind that's thinking spring and a forecast that's not quite there yet.
They'd be fab with booties or sneakers. Pair with a chunky sweater now and a blouse or tee later.
Tamera Wrap Dress $128
This metallic fabric is having a moment and it's easy to see why. It's super flattering on every skin tone. Soft and fluid. Hangs beautifully. This dress is a winner. Easy to dress up or down. Just as good with boots as it will be with sandals.
Barela Tie-Waist Top $58
I can't possibly look towards spring without considering new stripes! This top is a nice alternative to a classic Breton striped tee. The details are fresh... princess seams down the front and a tie at the hip. Flattering and effortless. Yes, please!
Kinston Wrap Top $68
Another fabric that's everywhere right now... this amazing matte jersey. So soft! I only see black on the website, but the Boulder Anthropologie has this top in a gorgeous muted red. Such a sexy upgrade from a basic long-sleeved tee.
Camo Joggers $118
My favorite camo pants are Sanctuary cargos from last year. These are the updated version with a comfy twist. We can't keep them in stock. So flattering and comfortable. I might need to grab these, too. You can't have too much green camo, right?
Rose Scissors $16
An odd addition, I know. Allow me to explain...
Ages ago, I had a beautiful pair of all metal scissors. After arranging some flowers, I tossed a bunch of garden clippings into thick woods behind my house and the scissors went with them! I searched many times, but never found them in the overgrown thicket. Fast forward to last week when I spied these beauties at the store. Love at first sight! And they fit into my new 'less waste' lifestyle since they have no plastic parts.
Glazed Indigo Pot $12-$36
I love these pots! Perfect for a little greenery to tide you over until spring arrives. Sturdy and lovely. And priced well. Can be used indoors and outdoors.
Colorado Vase $16-$32
How could I resist these? Especially since I live in Colorado! Such simple, modern shapes. Dreamy colors! I love the pedestal bowl... but I think I want them all.
I hope these finds help ease any winter blues you might be feeling. The days are growing longer. One minute at a time.
It's good to be back in this space. Thank you for being here with me.
If you'd like to receive weekly updates, you can sign up here.
Questions about anything you see at Anthropologie? Happy to offer my two cents. Just ask!
Have a magical week.
AND YES, I will gladly share my solid wardrobe plan... once it's in place:-)
Happy 2018! Ahh, I've missed this space. I'm happy to be back. The last 30+ days have been full. Really full. Long school break for the kids. Grandma in town. Birthdays. Holidays. Work. Traveling husband. Oral surgery. Most days were joyful and fun. However, we did have one terrifying evening and a few sad days tossed in to keep life interesting.
In the end, I’m extremely thankful and all is well.
I’ve been dragging my feet with regards to welcoming 2018. I don't know about you, but I need a deep breath after the frenzy of the holiday season. Come January 1st, I'm too wiped out to contemplate what's next.
Maybe I’m just taking liberties and granting myself some necessary wiggle room, but I can’t get jazzed to start fresh until we’re back in a normal daily rhythm.
For me, the ‘new year’, as in the time of resolutions, goal setting and embarking on big changes, doesn’t begin until after my kids are back in school and my youngest celebrates his mid-January birthday.
That's this week... so, we're finally here and it feels amazing!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Long exhale. I'm ready.
I so appreciate your patience while I stepped away from the blog for the past month. It was time to redefine my business and update my website.
I’m excited to announce...
The Together Act rebranding is finished!
While there's still a bit of fine-tuning to be done, I’m pleased with the result. Fingers crossed that you like the changes!
‘Self-taught web designer’ is not the hat I wear best, but I’m determined to keep learning and growing by doing things that stretch me. I’m sure the website tech support team is thrilled that I’ve stopped bombarding them with questions!
Want to take a look at the new site?
The Together Act
This week I’m working to get my groove back. I'm craving a plan and goals and time to clean out the fridge.
Here’s where I’m starting:
1. The Brain Dump.
I might be a bit too fond of this awesome activity:-) It feels so incredible freeing to pour all of the thoughts and things out of your brain.
Grab some blank paper (I prefer lined, but it’s your choice) and a pen or pencil. Start writing down all the things that you keep thinking about… the master to-do list that’s on replay in your mind. Dump it onto the paper. No need to sensor or categorize. Just dump. Include every little thing that you’ve been stressing about. All the great ideas you don’t have time for right now. Let it flow. Keep writing. It’s a bit like popping corn… only stop when the flow of words slows waaaay down.
2. Pick a word.
This is new for me. Find one word that will anchor the year ahead. I know lots of women who use this simple trick to shape what the new year brings. I haven't done this before, but I'm giving it a go.
Spend a little time thinking about what you want from the year ahead. Goals. Dreams. Theme. Quiet and stillness will likely bring a word or two to the surface. Ponder your options and settle on one word that sums up what you want to experience in 2018. The coolest part? Your word will act as an accountability partner. It will remind and guide you throughout the coming year. I love the intention set by choosing one word to represent your life this year. I welcome that a single word can be a tool to hold me accountable for 365 days. I’m not quite settled on my word. Close, but not committed. I’ll keep you posted...
3. Decide what matters most.
Overwhelm often begins with too much to do. A plan helps you to stay focused on the important stuff. Make a plan for your Brain Dump list and your year.
Take a look at your Brain Dump and decide what you can accomplish in the next week. Chances are you can't do it all... so schedule, delegate and let go as needed. Then consider the coming year and determine (loosely) where you’d like to spend your energy. Perhaps something feels incomplete from last year. Do you have a tiny seed of an idea that’s ready for a growth spurt? Maybe you’ve been waiting to leap… the first month 2018 is the perfect time! Make a list of the 4-6 things that you most want to pursue during the next 12 months. Small or grand. Post that list where you can see it often. Put your intentions out there. The Universe is listening...
I hope you enjoyed a magical holiday season. Please comment below with any questions or email me at email@example.com
Thank you for being here.
Kindness and sunshine,
Thank you for your patience as I work out any kinks.
Typos? I’m sure there are many. Feel free to point them out and I’ll make the corrections.
In fact, I’d appreciate it;-)
Hello Kindred Souls-
Next Tuesday, I will happily celebrate another trip around the sun. Having a birthday so close to the end of the calendar year can create a self-reflection double whammy! Adding another candle to the cake is reason enough to reevaluate where we’ve been and where we’re heading. But toss that birthday into the merry month of December and it creates a hotbed for revamping and resolution-making!
Obviously, I find myself in this interesting spot every year. In the past, I’ve met 12/19 with resistance because I wasn’t where I wanted to be with regards to personal growth and development. I was often impatient with myself for having slacked on making...what I felt were...overdue changes.
This year is different.
I feel at peace. I am exactly where I belong.
Bring on another birthday!
Let the ball drop!
I am ready!!
If you’ve been visiting this space for a while, you’ve likely noticed some changes over the past few years. This simple blog, that began with a focus on style, has fleshed out a bit.
I first felt the shift during 31 Days of Simple Style in October 2015. Writing about style every day for a month, I realized that while style is important to me...there were other topics I really wanted to explore and share.
In 2016 (Simply 50) and again this year (Simply Now) , I used the Write 31 Days challenge as an excuse to step away from all things style and crack myself wide open. The daily writing allowed me to deep dive into turning 50 and cultivate a practice of becoming.
I learned to welcome the discomfort and challenge of uncovering the best possible version of myself. I began to truly embrace change. I’m certainly a work in progress, but I feel like I’m actually making progress:-)
I’ve received the most wonderful feedback from some of you. I’m so humbled by your thoughtful comments and encouraging words.
It seems many of you are in this very same place.
A place of becoming.
Wanting to be your super best self...and eager to implement new ways to create the life you crave!
I’ve mentioned that 2018 will bring some changes for The Together Act and the blog. I’m excited and nervous and hoping you’ll love what’s ahead.
Here’s what you can expect…
The website and blog will be ‘under construction’ for the next several weeks as I update the look and feel of The Together Act. After six years, it’s time for a brand refresh. New logo, new layout, new photos, new services…
Style and wardrobes will still have a solid place on the new site, but an incredible life includes more than just great clothes. So...I’ll be expanding into other topics that have helped me on my quest to refine life for the next decade. I'll share what I've learned and what I'm discovering about topics such as...minimalism, decluttering, simplifying, wellness, manifesting, love, mindfulness, parenting, friendship, zero waste, travel and lots more.
My friends, I’ve been listening to you. It’s clear that we are all on this journey together. I firmly believe we should support each other as we each create the life we dream of living! “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Author Unknown
I’m looking forward to navigating the next phase with you!
Let’s do this!!
It saddens me that some readers might not welcome the new direction and decide to unsubscribe. I'm thankful for every person who stops here, even briefly. But, I must follow my heart and it's leading me to change...
If you're not already receiving my weekly updates by email, you can sign up here and be ready to roll in 2018!
Happy Holidays to you! Breathe deep and enjoy this magical month.
P.S. The photo above was taken at the close of 2016. What a wonderful year it has been. I'm ready to step into 2018 with my hand in Matthew's as we continue to create a simple, authentic, beautiful life.
Photo credit: Cole Laurain (www.instagram.com/colelaurain)
Last week, I confessed to my *serious* problem of not having enough fun. I shared that I’d realized something as I searched for an image to include in the post. Today, I’ll let you in on what I discovered...but first let me tell you my fresh thoughts on fun.
I’ve spent the past several days trying to generate more fun in my life and paying close attention to when I was having ‘fun’.
Certainly there are different types of fun and varying views on what qualifies as ‘fun’.
For instance, I love to iron...so armed with a basket of ‘to be ironed’ clothing and a spray bottle, I can set myself up at the ironing board for 45 minutes of true fun.
Others might cringe at the thought. Just like I do when it’s time to prepare a meal.
It’s all relative.
My idea of fun, might not be yours. And that’s fine...unless we’re trying to plan a fun evening together;-)
The point is, we all have a build-in fun meter. We intuitively know when we’re having fun.
We can feel it. Excited chills, if you will.
I’m deeply committed to finding fun and the accompanying feeling as often as I possibly can. I now understand that this is vitally important to improving the quality of my life.
Okay, back to my revelation...
As I scanned my computer screen for photos to include in last week’s blog post, I noticed something.
Not surprisingly, there were lots of photos of me smiling. Dozens of images with me looking happy.
However, as I considered each picture...what stood out the most was how unhappy I’d been when it was taken. Not mad or in a bad mood, but internally unhappy.
Maybe not ‘unhappy’, but definitely lacking joy.
With a whole lot of hesitation, I went deeper. I wanted to better understand what I was feeling.
I singled out at least a dozen images. I paused and allowed myself to really ‘go back’ to when the photo was taken.
What was happening that day, month, season?
I realized that FEAR was present in almost every single frame.
I was afraid of something in every shot. And looking back now, I realize that I let fear and worry put a damper on hours of what should have been wonderful experiences.
I allowed worry to consume me. My irrational fears ran the show. No topic seemed off limits...
I began to search more frantically for a photo that didn’t conjure a behind-the-scenes feeling of fear. Photos from entire outings and events were bypassed because all I could see was how scared I’d been at that time in my life.
What a waste.
What a sad and sorry waste of some incredible times.
Here’s the obvious kicker….
Do you think that any of what I’d been so paralyzed worrying about actually happened?!
The bills were paid
The relationships mended
The kids survived the sleepover
The water softener was fixed
The rain stopped
To do list, done.
Things worked out.
I’ve spent so many years being overwhelmed by worries.
I’ve allowed fear to permeate almost every single aspect of my life.
Last Friday, something inside me snapped. I refuse to let fear sap the fun from my life any longer.
I won’t allow another photo op to be hijacked by the ‘worst case scenario’ that I create in my mind.
(Honestly, this entire topic makes me angry with myself. And that anger is inspiring real change. How dare I complain of being held prisoner by my irrational, first-world fears. There are people who face terrifying events and circumstances every single day. They are in danger and truly have something to fear. Thankfully, that is not my situation. I am using profound gratitude as a tool to cleanse my mind of old fears.)
As I began cracking myself wide open over the past several years, I became aware that I had this persistent issue with fear. I could tell that worried too much. My first thoughts were usually of the bad, not the good.
My fears seemed to grow from two main roots.
Becoming a mother. I never realized how much there is to fear until I had my children. Overnight, the world became a frightening place.
Having a serious financial setback. Small money worries suddenly became all-consuming. Years later, those fears were still deeply in place, permeating my every decision.
As is the theme for my life right now...I have some work to do to flush out the remaining fears.
I’ve touched on the work I'm doing before...here and here and here.
The time has come to put my fears to rest for good. Syonara! I’m out.
I’ve already done quite a bit of work on letting go of fear. I’ve upended lots of irrational, limiting beliefs surrounding what I fear. This book helped.
Last night, I looked through the old photos again. I was patient and kind with myself and my thoughts. I could actually see how far I’ve come. I realize that I’ve released a lot of past junk. I could spy some really happy moments.
What about you?
Curious about what you’d feel if you looked back over images from the past ten years? Scan your photo file or photo pile and take a look....
What emotion stands out as you recall the moments captured?
Hindsight certainly shed a bright light on this subject for me!
Ideally, I'm now choosing to let fun replace fear. I make a conscious choice to find fun in a situation when I feel fear creeping in. But at the very least I'm calling on gratitude to nudge the fears away.
I’m chipping away at this old habit and it feels amazing.
Letting go of the stuff that holds us back is never easy, but the resulting freedom is so incredibly worth it.
What limiting belief is it time for you to toss?
Thank you for being here and allowing me to share. I welcome your comments...they inspire me and help me grow.
Have a simply beautiful week. Slow down and embrace this month that tends to feel full and frenzied.
And Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister!
I was recently asked an innocent question. A simple inquiry. Embarrassingly, it was one I could not answer. I was in the checkout lane at the grocery store. My typical weekly trip. The clerk was a friendly young man. As he scanned my items, he enthusiastically asked, “What did you do for fun this week?”
Instantly, I thought...what a sweet question.
I pondered. I hesitated. I froze.
I couldn't reply. I realized I didn’t have an answer.
I kept searching my mind for the fun that I’d surely had in the past seven days.
Nothing. I had nothing to offer.
I wanted to cry.
How was it possible that I had nothing to say for myself when asked about the fun I’d been having recently? That just couldn’t be right.
I replayed the question all the way home and for much of that evening. I fully believed that I must have somehow overlooked the obvious fun I’d had.
I even looked up the definition.
noun 1. enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.
This was beginning to stress me out. I couldn’t recall a single event that I would truly consider real ‘fun’.
I’d watched a few TV shows with Matthew.
I’d smiled at some wonderful Instagram posts.
I'd loved connecting with my Anthro family and clients.
I’d had a few good workouts.
Was that enough? Maybe I was being too harsh a judge of what qualifies as 'fun'.
The entire topic has been haunting me a bit since the young chap posed the question. I’m sure I came across as a cranky old woman who long ago gave up on fun. Again, I want to cry.
I want to have fun.
I want to be fun.
So, it’s clearly time for a FUN makeover.
I’m adding this to the parts of my life that I am tweaking and improving in my fifties. This pile is already pretty giant, so I figure what's another self-improvement?! ;-)
(See Simply 50- refining life for the next decade and Simply Now- knowing, learning, yearning for more info on what I'm currently fixing)
As with the other areas that need help...
I believe in starting with an evaluation.
What does fun mean to me?
What activities do I consider fun?
How much value do I place on having fun?
How can I incorporate more fun into my daily life?
I've decided to start with a fun probationary period.
Here's what I'm committed to for the month of December:
Make time for me. Self-care feels fun. I know that when I'm relaxed I'm more fun.
Lighten up. My eyes are now open to my serious nature and my tendency to worry way too much. I obviously need to revisit my feelings about Fear. It's time to up my 'expect the best' game.
Laugh out loud every day. Random YouTube silliness and my very own teenagers are always good for a chuckle. Everybody got time for that.
Accept my own idea of fun. Even if it differs from the norm. Find joy in the moments that feel good. Fun doesn't mean funny.
Remember the fun. By reliving the fun times in my mind, I'll attract more fun and I'll always have a ready answer when asked to recount my recent fun!
This mini-study has made me realize that I’m not particularly lighthearted. I’m not easily amused. It's often a struggle for me to be fun.
However, if I include some common synonyms of fun...relaxation, entertainment, pleasure, leisure...then I definitely have fun most, if not every, day. Whew! I feel much better now:-)
I love naps.
I love meditating.
I love reading and learning.
I love some Netflix and chill with Matthew
I love sharing a meal with my family.
I love time with my friends.
If all of the above qualify as ‘fun’, then I’m good. I’m having fun!
How about you? Are you fun?
What did you do that was fun this week?
Please comment below so we can all learn how to be more fun!
Thanks so much for being here. Your support means the world!
December is my very favorite month!! I'm still working on lots of new stuff for The Together Act...it's exciting and exhausting and actually fun!
Have an awesome weekend!
The top photo is from a million years ago. Matthew and I were babies. I remember that night being very much fun.
The second photo is from a few years ago in North Carolina. I recall someone being elbowed in the eye...but there was laughter and love and pure fun.
As I scrolled to select images for this post, I became very aware of something. I have more to say on this subject, but I'll save those thoughts for another time.
There are so many milestones associated with motherhood. The firsts and lasts keep coming for decades. The firsts are often poignant and easy to recognize. The first smile. The first time the baby sleeps through the night. The first steps. Sadly, some of the lasts are lost in the shuffle. We rarely recall the last time our child nurses or naps or sweetly mispronounces a word.
I think we'd all appreciate some warning that the 'last' is coming.
I wish I’d had some notice before I gave each of my children their last bath. I would have paid more attention. I would have been more careful to keep the shampoo out of their eyes. I would have slowed down. And then I'd have cherished snuggling them close in a warm towel.
I would have truly savored the very task that sometimes pushed me over the edge at the end of a long day.
For nearly two decades, I’ve been warned by the wise women a few strides ahead of me on the mothering trail.
They assured me it would go fast.
They cautioned me not to blink.
Trouble is, it’s impossible to keep our eyes wide open for very long. We have to blink.
You talk with the mother who's attending the spring concert at the elementary school. But your child is still toddling...so it doesn’t quite register.
You listen when another mom tells you about touring the middle school. But your child is in the spring concert at the elementary school...so it doesn’t quite register.
You hear moms sharing tales of their teenager’s prom, driver training, college applications and grad parties. Your child is in middle school...so it doesn’t quite register....
But you can sense that the years are speeding up and while you can almost imagine your baby in high school, you’re afraid to listen.
The firsts keep coming…
And so do the lasts.
Staying present helps. Pause and remember to focus on the Now. Breathe. Whatever stage you’re in...that’s where the magic happens. Don't miss it.
I’ve arrived at another big moment in motherhood. Another first.
Tonight, I become a new version of ‘that’ mom.
I'll be the mom whose child will be ‘home from college’ for the very first time.
Greta hasn’t been in our house since she left for Boston in late August.
(Crazy to think a journey around the world would have taken that long in the late 1800’s:-)
It’s time for her to come home to visit. We miss her.
Before midnight, she’ll be back in our house. And I’ll sleep better than I have in 80 days.
I'm about to join the ranks of the moms who have college kids home for Thanksgiving break.
In the thick of it, each stage seems to arrive slowly.
However, in hindsight...you become ‘that’ mom pretty darn fast. I’d urge you to pay attention when the moms ahead of you share their tales. But, I know you won’t hear their words. You can’t. You’re not ‘that’ mom yet.
I spoke with one of ‘those’ moms yesterday. My sister-in-law.
She's one of the moms who are still way ahead of me.
Her oldest will be thirty in February and that almost 30 year old baby is engaged to be married in September!
Logically, I believe I’ll be there one day...daughter turning thirty. Baby getting married. But I can’t see it clearly right now.
Currently, my focus is on hugging Greta when she comes home from college for the first time!
Stay present and soak up every single minute.
I've never been more excited about Thanksgiving.
I now fully grasp how it feels to want your children home for the holidays!
Just imagining what it will be like when all three of my kids are out of the house...and how incredible it will be to have them all home again even for a few sleeps...brings fast, hot tears.
If you have grown children who will be returning home this holiday, enjoy the time with your babies. I'm happy to be joining your club. I'm one of 'those' moms now.
Thanks for reading. I'm working on some exciting changes for The Together Act. I'll be sharing more over the next month. January is going to be really good!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.