Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Classy Woman is Confident



When I was a teen my mother and I would shop together for clothing quite a bit and because we were the same height with the same overall frame, we could share and essentially expand our wardrobe as a result which was a huge bonus. While I have memories of fun trips to the mall of us getting some great deals, carrying our shopping bags in the crook of our arm while eating frozen yogurt together and laughing, I also have other memories. I remember my mom trying on outfits and because of her youthful appearance for her age many sales clerks would think we were sisters often telling her she looked far too young to have a daughter my age. While some might see it as an ego boost, I think all this flattery may have gone to her head as she became even more engrossed in her physical appearance. She would often ask: "Does this dress make me look fat?" When I replied with a NO, she'd say, "Are you sure? Do you think I look too old for this?"

Even at that age I found her lack of confidence in the 'dressing' department and need for such constant validation as it pertained to how she looked quite annoying and not at all something that I wanted to emulate. I promised myself I wouldn't be that woman with my friends or my significant other. To this day she tends to still fuss about and obsess over her physical appearance to the point of dressing much younger than her age. It's hard to live in the present moment and enjoy the company around you when you're focused on yourself all the time. Besides, what man is attracted to a woman without confidence and who constantly second guesses herself and her decisions? I also knew that the last thing I'd want to do it point out my areas that may have needed a bit of improvement. It's always more fun to focus on the areas which you feel best about.




We've all had friends or other ladies in our life who have asked that dreaded question: "Does this make me look fat?" and to this question I have the following reply below as it pertains to being a classy woman.

Part of being a classy woman includes being a confident woman who is decisive in her choices-that is one of her most attractive qualities! She isn't wishy-washy and always asking others for their opinion nor does she require their validation. She takes the time to learn about and appreciate herself, others and the things which are important to her so she can make the best decisions possible with boldness and without regret!

Did anyone else grow up with a mother or friend who always asked this question. How did you respond and what did you take away from their behavior?

Thanks for Reading!

XO


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Reminder For When You Feel Like Quitting



Every Sunday I like to share a 'Sunday's Thought' on our Facebook Community Page. I thought this was a good reminder as we all feel like giving up at in area or another at times. Let me encourage you. Don't quit! The Lord rewards those who have the courage, faith and strength to persevere. When you run out of your own, pray and ask that He will give you His Strength to keep pressing on. We cannot do it all in our  own strength nor were we ever intended to. The sooner we recognize this and put this into practice, the less burdened and heavy we will feel.

I ask for His strength, courage, confidence, joy and determination from time to time when I feel as though I've run low on my own and can't go any further and He has never let me down yet!

I hope you all have a beautiful Sunday & thanks for reading!

XO

Monday, April 22, 2013

Half Way There! 20 Weeks and Counting....




First off, I'm so sorry for my lack of posts lately! Life has certainly become much more hectic as I now have more appointments and baby-related things to attend to while still maintaining everything else. As I promised from the beginning, I will continue to share photo updates with all of you. I'm a bit behind on this one as I'm now over 22 weeks along. I thought I'd share the pics that we took at both 20 weeks as well as 18 weeks (I've been posting bi-weekly to an album via my personal Facebook page for my friends and family back home who I will not see during this time so they can follow the progress.)






This milestone week was particularly exciting as we got to see our little jumping bean on the ultrasound. Two friends gave me the bright idea of drinking either orange juice or sweet tea 30 mins beforehand to make sure baby uncrossed its legs and let's just say that baby was moving around so much that the technician couldn't get clear measurements or photos at times! 

About 15 minutes into the appointment our technician told us she was pretty sure of the baby's sex. She took some more measurements and highlighted images to print and when she was positive she asked us if we know what we were having. We both knew what we hoped the answer was as we did have a preference but neither one of us wanted to say something and be wrong, so she shared with us what our little one was and showed us how she knew by pulling up a few images on the screen. It was such an exciting time and tears of joy came for me once we finally knew one way or the other for sure what we were having. Most importantly though, and what we had prayed the most about was that baby would be healthy, we were relieved to find out that everything was looking very healthy and on schedule and also that my due date remained the same. I'm a planner and I've always known that I wanted to know beforehand to prepare the nursery in a way that truly reflected the kind of space I wanted for our little one, I also thought it would help me bond and connect with baby in a more specific. We've had baby names of both sex chosen since the first year of our marriage so now that we actually know the sex, we enjoy speaking about and to our little jellybean by name.

For months I have been pinning images to a secret board on Pinterest and planning a gender reveal party down to the fine details. This is something that I've known for a few years that I'd want to do. The day I had to order the invitations I took a step back as I was feeling really overwhelmed with having so much on my plate. It was hard to let the idea of this cute party and reveal go but I realized I wanted to enjoy this time in my life and not feel stressed out while trying to fit in as many things as possible. Sadly, I decided it was a 'nice to have' and not a necessity. I am now going to use the budgeted party money as well as my time and energy towards something more long term (vs. a 2-hour party) like the nursery and some home improvement projects and I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We plan to share the gender with our friends and family in the next couple weeks in a cute, fun and free way which I'll be sure to share with you also really soon! :) Until then, it's still a secret but I finally began a registry and have begun purchasing a few items that incorporate gender specific colors.




Here are some 18-week photos below, the point at which I began living in comfy dresses! ;)







Click {here} if you missed the 16-week update, and {here} to see my original announcement. 


{Fun Facts}

What I craved the most this month:  I can't get enough of Watermelon! It's a fruit I love but lately I've been eating a big 32oz container of pre-cut watermelon DAILY! It's a nice way to begin my day or treat to stay cool during our 90-degree spring days here in Florida. Aside from my cravings for fruit, I also crave greek yogurt, pickles and kalamata olives regularly-all things I ate regularly before becoming pregnant.

The most memorable moment this month: Seeing our little one on the big screen during our 20-week ultrasound for the first time! Tied with this was learning the sex of our little jelly bean. :)

The most exciting development during this time: I first felt baby move at 15.5 weeks but since about 18 weeks I've felt baby move daily often several times per day, especially right before bed and first thing in the morning particularly if I lay on my back for a few minutes. Sometimes I get some pretty big bumps which always make me laugh as I wonder what new moves baby is learning.

Weight gain from 16-20 weeks: 6.5 lbs. I gained 10.5 lbs total by my 20-week check up and am feeling great.

Regular Wardrobe or Maternity Clothes?: While I've had fun picking out a few new maternity items over the past month for a little bit later on, I'm still wearing all of my own jeans, dresses with stretch, etc. I spent a few hours emptying out my closet and drawers last week of all winter clothing as well as items that I can no longer fit into or won't fit into soon which are in storage bins that hubby placed in the attic. I just gained a whole lot more closet space for my upcoming maternity wardrobe!

What was the most special memory from YOUR half way point? Was it learning the gender or seeing baby via ultrasound or maybe something else that was unique? How soon did you know what you'd name your little one?

As always, thanks for reading!

XO

Thursday, April 11, 2013

And the 3 Book Winners Are....




Thank you to those who entered, and bravely shared their personal story/or the story of someone they love. We pretty much had a 1:1 winner ratio, these types of giveaways are very specific and I knew the number of entries would likely be under ten. I had one reader (Missi V.) who did not want to publish her personal story for all to see in the comments and chose to e-mail me via our Facebook community page instead. 


Congratulations to:

Missi V.
Julee
Catherine Mac


Please e-mail me your mailing address (or the mailing address of the person you wish to have the book mailed to) and I'll ship the books shortly. :) I pray this book will be a blessing and will offer breakthroughs as you or a loved one works to repair their broken heart. 


Today we're running a fun little poll on our Facebook page called 'This OR That?' where you can share your preferences on things like 'Flats OR Heels?'. I personally enjoy sharing my personal preferences and favorite things (who doesn't?) so hop on over and participate, we've had several ladies leave comments already.

Thanks for Reading!

XO


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Picture Hanging Dilemma & Nursery Art Ideas



Over the past couple months I've been working with a few new design clients. The one thing that all three of them had in common was needing assistance in the area of wall art. I definitely find that it's the finishing details of artwork and accessories that really make for a great space. Both for my clients and within my own home I take a bit of extra time finding just the right accent accessories, especially when it comes to art.

Another thing that two of my clients are looking to create is a gallery wall-one of them (an e-Design client) happens to live in a Chicago loft space and is feeling frustrated looking for art and thinking of ways to hang art on the exposed brick wall in her living room. It posed an interesting challenge for me that I was determined to find a solution to.

If you live in an industrial-style space, have an exposed brick wall, want to hang art on a concrete wall or are looking to hang some expensive framed art pieces that require a sturdy picture hanging solution, look no further than AS Hanging Systems! They literally have a system for every possible scenario.


{here is an example from their website of what their systems can accomplish}


All three spaces are still a work in progress at this point but I've had a lot of fun with the details of a nursery I'm designing for a friend of a friend who is choosing to wait to find out the sex of their baby during the birth. So, I'm designing my first gender neutral baby's room! While I can't show you the finished overall design just yet, I thought I'd share some cute nursery wall art that I came across recently. The mama-to-be wants to incorporate a beautiful photo of her little one from the baby's newborn photography session in the space. Since she is a lover of sustainable, eco-friendly furniture and decor finds, she especially loved the personalized bamboo wall art plaques I suggested.

We are still looking at other possible options for wall art. Based on her requirements, below are a few I've recommended to her so far.


{I fell in love with these personalized bamboo wall art plaques as an eco-friendly addition}


{here is another personalized bamboo plaque option with multiple images by Paper Culture.}





{unlike my other picture hanging dilemmas, you can see this piece is easy peasy.}



{I love how thick these plaques are and seeing that bamboo!}




{I am a big fan of Tara's high-quality signs and regularly follow her blog Between You & Me
I couldn't resist this 'You are My Sunshine' sign in a gender neutral yellow. 
You can see more of her wall art via her Etsy shop.}



{This personalized canvas uses one of my client's favorite patterns-chevron/zig-zag. 
It also happens to be one of my favorites as well and comes in 3 other colors.}


All this nursery designing has got me thinking of my own baby's nursery (which I have yet to do anything with) but I'm hoping that my 20-week ultrasound this coming Monday will help set things in motion as we'll (hopefully) get to find out the sex if the little bean cooperates. Up until now I've just been pinning pretty images, ordering a few coordinating fabric samples and taking home paint swatches from the hardware store and paint shops whenever I happen to be in one. ;)

Do you have any tricky walls that you've found creative solutions to for hanging art? For those who have little ones, was there a special piece you just had to have (or create) for your baby's nursery to complete the room? I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks for Reading,

XO




*photo credit for first image

Friday, April 5, 2013

Giveaway: 3 Winners!




Since it's the end of the week, I have a quick little book giveaway for you today-it's a gift for the heart. As I've been hearing stories from others regarding loss lately (like my husband's cousin who lost her Aunt & Uncle in a car accident just 2 weeks ago) and I know there are many who struggle to move forward after having endured other difficult circumstances, I wanted to share a book that I thought might help.

I have (3) copies of Paul Davis' book: 'Breakthrough for a Broken Heart -Overcome Your Disappointments and Blossom Into Your Dreams' to give away! You might recognize the name because he's my husband. ;) It's a quick and powerful read including some of his own personal stories. He was married once before me and sadly his previous wife was unfaithful, this prompted him to write the book a few years later just before we began dating 7 years ago, and includes many other types of examples also. I hope it will be a blessing to someone struggling. Paul is an Author of 15 books, a celebrated Life Coach as well as engaging Public Speaker sharing messages of hope, truth and inspiration.




If you or someone dear to you has lost a loved one, gone through a painful divorce/ breakup or perhaps has wounds from their childhood that are not yet resolved, be sure to enter our giveaway for the chance to win a copy.

Entering is simple but you must be a follower of this blog (via Google Friend Connect in the right hand sidebar).  #1. Simply leave a comment letting me know who you think the book would help (you can always email me the personal story if you don't wish to leave it in the comments, just leave a comment below that you are doing so) and #2. Follow me via Facebook or Twitter (or both if you like!) That's it! :) One comment entry per person. Open to all readers Worldwide. All books will be mailed to your address of choice via Media Mail.

Normally, I use Random.org or Rafflecopter to select the winners but this time I'm going to read your comments and let my heart select the winners. I'll be drawing the winning names on 04/09/13 @ 11pm EST and announcing them on 04/10/13. Good Luck!

Thanks for Reading!

XO



*image credit

Monday, April 1, 2013

Manners Monday: Cleaning Up After Yourself



I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful Easter weekend! Ours was kept very simple and this year we didn't even have a formal Easter lunch or dinner. I missed seeing family but it was nice to do something different this year, just us two (I guess I should be saying just us three now). ;)

It's been a few weeks since I posted a Manners Monday post and like nearly all of the posts I write,  today's post was also inspired by a personal experience. Last night after a late church service we were famished and decided to head out to any sit-down restaurant that was open at that time. Thankfully living close to an airport, that area always has restaurants open later. Upon finishing up our own meal, Paul and I were shocked by the mess left by the table of four sitting beside us. It was a table with two adults, a  10-year old and an 8-year old. There were paper wrappers from straws left on the ground, napkins under the table, on the seat and food as well as other paper wrappers from sugar packets, etc., all over the place. I would have been ashamed of myself if I was that family, they left the table looking like a pigsty.



Today's post is a reminder about the importance of cleaning up after one's self and any kiddos you may have with you. I sometimes hesitate to write certain posts because I don't want to insult my readers. However, when I see certain behavior continually taking place in society, I feel compelled to write such posts because there are clearly many folks who aren't aware that what they are doing is not acceptable behavior.

10 Ways to Clean up After Yourself

1. Tuck in your Chair-When dining anywhere whether it be someone else's home, your own home, a restaurant or fast food location, always tuck in your chair when you leave. Tuck in the chairs of anyone at the table that hasn't done so (I find myself doing this the odd time for hubby). Servers can easily trip over the chair leg and people can get a bag or sweater snagged on a chair back. It just helps create more space and keep a tidy area AND it's the way you found it upon sitting down.

2. Bathroom Paper Towels-Many times in public restrooms there will be the option for paper towels along with hand dryers but I find many just toss the paper towels on the floor, especially if they are handling the door on the way out and there is not a trash can nearby. If this is the case, hold onto the paper towel and toss it into the nearest garbage bin upon exiting. Sometimes if I'm in a washroom and it's relatively clean minus a few random wads of paper towel on the floor, I'll take a clean one to pick them up and toss them. It takes but a few moments to make a cleaner space for everyone.

3. Disposal of Chewing Gum-Many of us endured finding blobs of hard gum under our desk in school or having the unfortunate experience of stepping in hot, melted bubble gum in the summer sun. It's no fun. I see people wad up gum and toss it on the street, sidewalk and other areas all the time. The simple solution is to place it in a tissue and put it in the trash or use the wrapper of a new piece of gum you're going to chew (if it came in one). In a pinch, if I don't have a tissue, receipt or any paper and my gum foil package is near the end, I'll put it into the package until I'm near a trash bin. More on chewing gum etiquette {here}.

4. Clean up After Pets- Your pet is an extension of you. We discussed this topic in detail already here during a previous Manners Monday post on pets. Just a quick reminder that if you have a dog, not only should you have it leashed while going for a walk and carry a plastic bag to pick up any waste that it creates, equally important is to clean up the waste left in your backyard. I have a next-door-neighbor with three dogs that they do not walk. They simply allow the dogs to do their business in the backyard and I'm yet so see them clean it up although I don't see it lying around everywhere per se. All it takes is the first wave of hot weather to remind me it's there and it's not pleasant when we open up all of our windows. Not only is it the polite thing to do but it's one of the jobs that comes with choosing to be responsible for owning a pet.

5. Take Everything You Came With- About a year ago hubby and I had some free passes for Epcot so we decided to spend the day there. While on the monorail, a couple took their belongings and left a bag filled with garbage sitting on the seat. Whatever you choose to bring with you, pick up along the way or purchase, becomes yours. If you no longer want something, it is also your responsibility to take that item with you and dispose of it properly. I also see this happen a lot on subways, airplanes and particularly in church. Bulletins, candy wrappers and all kinds of things are left for the staff to clean up afterwards-completely unnecessary. I cringe when I see people picnic in a park or spend a day at the beach and leave their trash behind to end up in the ocean. It's comes down to laziness and disrespect.

6. Don't be a Slob in a Hotel- Since housekeepers come in just hours after a hotel room has been vacated, many think they can treat their room in a way that they never would at home. They throw trash on the floor instead of placing it in the waste bin, toilet paper gets left on the floor instead of making it into the toilet itself, tissues are left all over the counter along with soap wrappers, etc. Yes you are paying for a room which includes cleaning but the amount of effort it takes to put things where they truly belong is minimal and it shows respect for not only the hotel and housekeeping but for yourself as well. The same holds true for cruise cabins or any other accommodations you'll be staying in. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. If you were the one cleaning the room, how would you hope to find it?

7. Clean Up After Your Kids-Like pets, children of course are always an extension of you. We first discussed raising polite children {here}, which include tips on cleaning up. Sometimes I'll be shopping in a store and see a child spill soda or eat a snack the parent has brought along and pieces are falling out of the cart all over the floor. What's sad is when I see the parent recognize it and keep moving like it never happened. If a child pulls clothing off a store rack, removes items that they shouldn't be touching, it is the parent's responsibility to put the items back where they belong. The same is true in a restaurant where a quick tidy up before leaving is a must. Where I find this to be even more concerning is in the home of a family member of friend. I've watched kids track dirt into someone's home on a muddy day, leave their toys strewn all over a room while 'visiting' and even spill drinks or color where they shouldn't be coloring. It's so important to be respectful and value the property of others when in their home.

8. Properly Disposing of Cigarette Butts- One way to quickly make a beautiful place less attractive is to fill it with discarded, stepped on cigarette butts. Throwing lit cigarettes out the window of stepping on one outside of a storefront is not only unattractive but it litters our earth with trash. I would highly doubt that the person who does this also acts the same way at home. I find it particularly irritating to see stepped-on butts at the end of our driveway from those who walk by via the sidewalk. They are not different than any other kind of trash. If you smoke and must step on the lit part of the cigarette butt, be sure to dispose of it into a trash bin or the cigarette disposals filled with sand outside of an establishment. More on smoking etiquette {here}.

9. Recycle any Recyclables- As someone who has recycled as a young child, it pains me to think of tossing a glass bottle into a garbage bin because where I'm visiting doesn't have a recycling bin. I'll typically take home a glass or plastic bottle if there isn't one nearby. Our city provides us with a large rolling cart so it would be irresponsible to toss it and requires pretty little effort on my part. If we all chose to take home that one bottle or container and recycle it the way it was meant to be, our planet would be a much cleaner place and it's truly the proper way to clean up after yourself and it teaches children at an early age what goes where.

10. Dining as a Guest in Someone's Home- While many hosts will sometimes insist that you should sit because you are the guest. Try to be mindful of what it takes for a host to prepare their home and meal for you to be their guest. Offer to clean up when everyone is finished eating by clearing plates, silverware and discarding napkins, etc. It's a small gesture but every little bit helps your host out. Always offer to help with the dishes or tidying up wine glasses in a sitting room, etc. The host will have a lot to do after the event has ended and will be most grateful for anything that contributes to the clean up. It's also a sure way to get invited back as a guest in the future.




Remember, it's always best to leave an area that you've visited cleaner or at least as clean as you found it. You never know when you'll be the next person in line and besides it's the classy thing to do.

Do you have any you'd like to add to today's list? Is there one thing you see happen over and over that you wish others would be more mindful of? Leave a comment and share your thoughts! :)

Thanks for Reading!

XO




*image credit
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright © The Classy Woman ®