The Surprise

I don't know if what I'm about to say is a cliche or not, but absence DOES make the heart grow fonder. There are so many family members I miss. Some far, far away. Some forty minutes away. And some unfortunately (for us, not them) in the bosom of  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And this, too, may be a cliche but you REALLY don't know that you've got until it's gone. Hey, the rock band Cinderella thought this cliche was strong enough to write lyrics. 

This isn't a depressing post. Believe me. I just wanted to share with you how doing something so small could mean so much, for so many people. 

A couple of weeks ago, before Coptic Christmas to be exact, our Aunt sent us an invitation to her retirement party via Messenger. Or what our family group fondly refers to as Messenger 2.0 (as a side note, we did have an original Messenger without a digit, but it wasn't well received by many). Because of the complaints some of us received, we went rogue and created 2.0.  Now, let me also tell you that the messages in this family group can sometimes turn into a cacophony of gifs , emojis, bitmojis, and stream of consciousness thoughts and forethoughts. Basically, complete nonsense. Hmmm, looking back, I can see why some of us (I'd like to think we're intellectually superior) went rogue. And not to sound corny, as I often do, 2.0 has really brought us, the renegades, together. All topics discussed, no holds barred. If you want to share your dinner creations with the group, post on 2.0. Got a great snapshot of your kid dancing, post on 2.0. Want to tell the group that you're sick, post a  pic of yourself on the couch, Kleenex in hand. Instant connection= instant "how did you make that", instant great job, and instant feel better. 

So, in the middle of all this horseshit (said very lovingly), our Aunt, sends a picture of her retirement party invitation, and says, "All of you are invited." I thought for a brief second about the proposal, and then asked the hubster, "Do you think we can go?" His answer: find someone to cover for me for 3 days and we can go. What?! Seriously?! No more thinking about it?

And that was the beginning of the surprise to head west to California.

In those 3 days, I learned so many lessons:

1. As the Bible says (not turning religious or anything), rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. And this occasion was definitely joyous.

2. Paradise without people, is not worth going in to. California is a beautiful,  beautiful state. But what makes going there feel like paradise is the people, our family, that lives there--not the palm trees (although they're breathtaking), not the 72 degrees and sunny, not that Lisa lives there (and that I may run in to her at SUR), and not the shopping experiences (as painful as that may sound).

3. Regardless of distance, regardless of time, regardless of money, regardless of health, regardless of responsibilities, regardless of obstacles, regardless of a lot of "I can'ts", don't ever hesitate to show someone how much you love them. And even though a congratulatory phone call, card or message on 2.0 would have been enough, nothing compares to the warm embrace of a loved one. Nothing.

4. Children do grow to emulate their parents. They copy what we do (and sometimes when we're not looking or actually paying attention). The learn from us, the good and the bad. For my kids, this was an invaluable, unintended lesson for keeping connected with their relatives--the ones far away, but close to their hearts.

5. The heart never disappoints. Never.

Why can't we all be together?




Just Navy

Just navy today. Best part of this outfit today is my new hair color. Totally in love. 
Oh, FYI....the military diet challenge results: lost 4 pounds in 3 days and gained 1 pound back. Not bad.

Suede Purse: Kate Spade. Find similar here. 

Here's the look:
Blazer: Macy's. Find here.
Skirt: Calvin Klein
Blouse: Spense. Find similar here. 
Bangle: Brighton. Find here

Shoes: Nine West. Find similar here.


Military Diet Challenge

Military Diet Challenge Accepted. So my older son asked me last night if I had ever heard of the military diet and if I wanted to do it with him. He started out saying that it is a 3-day diet and you can eat ice cream and meat. I said, "Wait. Stop. Does it have hot dogs and cottage cheese?" "Yeah, it does," he said. Okay, when I was growing up it wasn't called the "military diet." It had my mom's friend's name. And for all the times that I have tried this diet, I still can't remember that lady's name. The only thing I remember is that my mom would go on this diet before a special occasion or after she had indulged in post-fasting delicacies. She would say, "I want to do {insert friend's name here} diet."  AND from what I still remember, the diet did work. It promises 10 pounds of weight loss. I think that when my mom and I would do it, we would lose maybe half of that or so. Nonetheless, it did work.

And here I am after all these years, going on {friend's name} diet again. But this time around, it has a very tough name. Is this what it feels like to be in the military?

I told my mom that I was going to do this, and her response was, "Wait for me until I come back." She's currently out of state with my brother's family.

I should have taken the opportunity to ask her what her friend's name is.

Bringing out the real jewelry today. I can't remember for what birthday or anniversary my hubby got this for me. But, I do miss wearing it.

Nothing beats a pair of American Eagle jeans. I have had these for a couple of years now. Loving them paired with these Coach Lace Ups. Find similar ones here. My dad gave me $100 for Christmas so I bought this Michael Kors purse (may have added a couple of more dollars to the $100). Find similar bag here and here. 

Here's the look:

Black sweater old.
Vest: Old Navy. Find similar here.
Jeans: American Eagle. Old.
Shoes: Coach


Where the Heck Have I Been?

Wow. This feels so strange. Just me and my thoughts. I really don't know why I have not blogged for the past 6 or 7 months. Maybe I just got tired of posing and editing and making sentences? Hmmm, that's not entirely true because I have been very present on Instagram. My teenage niece recently told me that I have perfected the selfie. That's a huge compliment.

Maybe I just got tired of fervently asking my teenage son to take pictures of me? Maybe I got fed up with my supposedly excellent camera that stopped cooperating? Maybe I began to hate the way my hair looked on camera? Maybe my day job is consuming all my time?

I really don't know. But what I do know is that I miss writing. Albeit fragmented thoughts.

So, maybe in 2017 I'll learn to take more pictures, or have pictures taken of me. It's not like I have stopped dressing up or stopped wearing bling. On the contrary, the bling game is definitely on.

And you know what, I am not even going to go back and edit this blog. Raw. I'm going to be raw in 2017. Oh, no. Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting away the makeup brushes or the concealer. Just unedited. Just a bit.

Pray that I get a cooperating photographer!



P.S. You can check out my Instagram...I am very much alive there.


Stripes and Pearls

Happy Father's Day and the Glorious Feast of the Pentecost to all of you! If I look like a lobster in these pictures, it's because I spent about 9 hours on a soccer field watching my son play in a soccer tournament. His team came in 2nd place...not bad. My only regret is that I wish I put on some lotion. I'll try to remember that for next time.

This knit dress was a total bargain. I picked it up (in two colors) last week at the Banana Republic outlet store. In case you are interested, you can get this deal online (NOW) as well.
Here is the look:

Dress: Banana Republic (black and white stripes; online they have the navy option).
Shoes: Maddden Girl, super old
Purse: LV
Necklace: Chloe and Isabel
Earring: Baublebar
Watch: Timex

My feet look like a road map.


Brighton Day

What can I say? I just love everything that Brighton makes. I know that some ladies don't care for Brighton for various reasons, like its products tarnish or break, or cost too much.  I can honestly say that I have never had a problem with Brighton. Wait. Maybe one. A few years back, I bought a link bracelet and one of the links got "unlinked." Is that even a word? Regardless, I took it to a small boutique that sells Brighton (mind you, not the same place where I originally bought it), and they were able to send it back to the company to get fixed. I may  have just paid for shipping. But it came back to me better than new, fixed, polished and in a new pouch. And I have never had a problem since. I even like gifting Brighton. I think every woman needs a piece of Brighton.You know, almost three years I wrote to the company telling them how much I love their jewelry. I just needed to tell them that they rock and literally brighton my day. I wonder what the person who read my letter thought?

Maybe, something like, "Okay, lady. We get it. You like our stuff. We do too." 
"Yep, just the type of people we target: middle-aged women with a jewelry addiction. There are plenty of you out there. That's why we have an empire."

But in reality, my reply was a short, sweet note.

I wouldn't mind being their brand ambassador. Okay, now I just sound like I've been watching too much reality t.v.

If you haven't owned a Brighton piece yet, check it out...it just might brighten your day!



Here's the look:

Blazer: Kasper. Old.
Top: Liz Claiborne. Old.
Skirt: Calvin Klein. Old.
Purse: Dooney & Bourke. Find here.
Shoes: Tahari. Old.

I'm just amazed at the rain. 

Fish Necklace: Brighton, old.
Ring: Brighton. Find here. 

Watch: Fossil. Very Old.
Bracelet: Brighton. Old.