Sunday, June 28, 2009

A shout out to JTD

In my excitement over the organization of my closet, I forgot to mention that all of the folding of clothes for the shelves was expertly done by my other neighbor, JTD (aka Martha-Stewart-At-Heart).  

The girl knows how to fold clothes.  She often comes over and we chat while I fold laundry and our boys play.  Only she ends up refolding everything I have ever folded because it is not straight enough.  My linen closets and kitchen towel drawers are impeccable because of her.  (I offer to do the same favor for her when the boys play at her house and she is folding laundry, but I am not allowed near her clean clothes).  Every so often my husband will open his t-shirt drawer and say, "JTD was here, huh?" because he knows that even if I spent all day trying, t-shirts that I have folded could not be as beautifully folded as the ones she folds.  

And to top that off, when she was done folding for my closet, she spent 45 minutes on the phone with some Apple tech support guy in India trying to figure out how to get my wireless connection working again.  She has a way with men like I have never seen.  Despite the fact that my AppleCare account is expiring and he should not have talked to her without charging $45, he totally helped her, waited patiently on the phone while she crawled around under my desk looking for wires, and ultimately they got it fixed.  

I love my neighbors.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Elements of Style

As long as we are talking fashion, J gave me a list of wardrobe essentials that she believes every woman should have.  These are the basics, we should also have a closet full of clothes that reflect our own personal style and that make us feel great about ourselves.  

Here is the list and how I am doing:

1) Black knee length dress (aka LBD) - need a summer style, have a winter style
2) Trench coat - have
3) Black dress pants - have one pair of black cotton capris but I don't think that's what they mean by dress pants
4) Fitted white dress shirt or blouse - need (although you can tell by my wardrobe that I have about 20 white shirts that are styled to hide the dreaded muffin top.  i need to work on the "fitted" part.)
5) Pair of dark wash jeans that you can dress up - have
6) Slim/Pencil skirt (black or khaki) - need
7) Black pant suit - don't think i need this!
8) High heel sandal in a neutral color - have if a soft gold counts
9)  Black high heel pump - have
10) Black loafer or ballet flat - need (how can that be possible??)
11) Structured bag in a classic style that will not go out of style - need (i am guessing that my faux leather brown hobo bag does not count as a classic style that will not go out of style)

Too bad white t-shirts, khaki pants, and merrells don't make the list of wardrobe essentials.  I'd be all set!!  :)

I don't take this too seriously but I do find it fun and very interesting!

On Closets

My neighbor is a visual merchandiser for the fashion industry.  I had no idea what that was until I met her.  Basically she takes all of the clothes that the store wants to sell and displays them- on the racks, on mannequins, on the shelves, in storefronts, etc.  She puts the outfits together, she accessorizes them, etc. She only does very high end stores so this woman knows fashion.

Although she works in fashion, she has the same keen eye for interior decorating.  It is the understatement of the year to say I LOVE her style.  Very understated, casual, but elegant.  I could never pull it off in my house o' testosterone.  But I can dream.  

Anyhoo, this morning we both had some time on our hands (ok, so I created time on my hands by sending Hubs to get the oil changed in both of our cars and plopping the boys in front of the tv. Not the end of the world on a saturday morning, right?)  so I invited her over to help with my closet.  I am very, very good about weeding out what I don't wear.  I am of the philosophy that if I haven't worn it for one entire year then I'm not ever going to wear and I toss it in a flash.  Other than my wedding dress and a few precious outfits that my boys have worn, I do not save clothes for sentimental reasons.  And about 18 months ago I made the decision that no matter how cute or stylish or on sale something is, if it doesn't make me look long and lean, I ain't gonna wear it.  (Workout clothes and pajamas are one huge exception to this rule).  All of this is to say that my closet it in pretty good shape to begin with.  

But once J came over and started working her magic, it was like my closet was transformed.  Take a deep breath, listen closely, and take notes.  This is good stuff.

She organized everything completely by color (previously I had arranged things by color and style - so all white short sleeve shirts were with all my other short sleeve shirts, also arranged by color).  Now, if it's white, for example, it is together, no matter whether it's a tank top or a sweater.  (But within each color there is a progression according to length of sleeve and material so all the white tank tops are together, all white tshirts are together, all white blouses are together, all white sweaters are together, etc).  

Then, the clothes, within their color group, were hung from light to dark.  So whites, then light pink, then orange, then navy then black.  (You will notice that I am pretty basic when it comes to my clothes.  Not a lot of variety or color.  My mom thinks it's boring.  I choose to think of it as Armani-simple.)

Are you still with me?  After that, which was like the heavens opening up it was so beautiful, we moved my jeans from hangers to shelves, we moved pants and dresses to a different part of my closet, handbags were stuffed (the brilliance!) so they would stand up straight and I could see them.  Then she spread the hangers apart so that my clothes filled the entire rail.  

I swear, if you were to look in my closet from a glance, you would think I have a gorgeous wardrobe.  The truth is, it's all markdowns from Gap and J Crew*.  But it looks so incredibly pretty. 

The other key thing, which I did years ago, is switch to all the same color hangers.  J thinks I should invest in all wooden hangers but it's awfully hard to justify a $10 hangar for an $8 shirt.  The padded hangers I have interspersed (for my sweaters) with the white plastic drive her batty and the wood hanger I have for my one (yes, one) skirt is also an eyesore for her since there are no other wood hangers.  

Anyway, what is the point of telling you all of this?  No point other than walking in to my "new" closet gives me such delight and glee and I wish the same for all of you.

(*The one exception is the pair of Joe's Jeans that I have.  They were full price $150 from Bloomies.  I won a $100 gift card and treated myself to a pair of designer jeans.  Oh sweet Jesus, the difference they make in my butt.  I actually feel, dare I say it, HOT in them.  If you do not have a pair of Joe's Jeans, march yourself out and buy a pair (or whatever brand transform your rear from long and never ending to high and perky).  You will never ever regret it.  I wear them on average 5 days a week and when they get ratty I will buy myself another pair whether or not I have a gift card.  That's how amazing they are.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Got a wake up bounce in the bed from my kids at 6am to see the decorations they put up for me.  :)  

Life is good.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Forty Eve

I have 3 hours left of being in my 30s.  If I lived on the east coast, I'd be 40 already.  I gotta tell ya, it doesn't feel all that great.  

There have been times in my life, when I was about to make a transition, that I have felt the need to mark a passage in time.  Like I needed to say a formal goodbye to one thing and then say a formal hello to another.  Sometimes it happens on a New Year's Eve.  Once it happened after I decided I needed to get over a broken heart and move on.  It has happened when I've said goodbye to useless habits.  

Tonight, I'm feeling it again.  I just want to be left alone to write and meditate and reflect.  Of course, I have 3 children, 1 husband, and 2 parents here with me so I'm not necessarily alone.  But I am in my room, in my bed, wearing my favorite fleece, and quiet.

I have decided that it's not so much the year FORTY as it is the fact that this is a rite of passage. All of my children are in some sort of school.  Chances are very likely that we are done having kids.  The things my children require of me as "mother" are not what they used to be.  I actually see in the not so distant future the chance for me to focus on me for a tiny bit each day.  The nights when I will lie (lye?  who cares?) in bed whispering and snuggling with my children are more in the past than in the future.  While they still love to sit on the couch with me, snuggled under a blanket reading books, I know those moments will become fewer and farther between.  There is nothing about turning 40 that is different than turning 39 and 363 days, for example.  It's just a bit of a more formal, more recognized marker to show the passage of time.  

Several of my friends have told me that the anticipation of 40 is much harder than turning 40.  I think that will be the case for me.  Frankly, I just want to get tomorrow over with.  I ran into a friend today who turned 40 on Thursday.  She told me she was really anxious about it and then woke up on her 40th and thought, "This?  All this fuss for THIS?  No big deal."  I'm hoping that's how I will feel.  

And frankly, it's not like I'll have a chance to really dwell on it.  It's my oldest son's first day of sports camp, which means lunches, waters, snacks, sunscreen, out the door by 8:30, etc.  Then my little guy has to be to his camp by 9.  My middle guy has a playdate coming over.  It will be a typical crazy day.  

I just got an email from a friend.  She told me that when "older" women are asked what their favorite decade is, the most prevalent answer is 40s.  I get that.  Children still at home, hopefully a bit more financial security than earlier years, young children but not the all-consuming infants, hopefully a peaceful home and marriage.  

One final thought.  About 8 or 9 months ago, I started on a campaign which I referred to endearingly in my mind as "fabulous by forty."  What I have come to realize is that by saying fabulous BY forty, i am referring to 40 as an end-point.  What I want is fabulous in my 40s.  I am hoping these years can be about rediscovering, recommitting to myself, learning more about who I am, caring less about who others want me to be, learning to love to workout, not for the workout but for the power and strength it gives me.  

2 hours, 10 minutes left.  I'm smiling now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Actually having an argument with my 5 year old about whether or not he can play with matches in the leaves in the backyard.  

It's going to be a loooooong summer!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

At this moment

Aaron is taking down the crib.  We are converting the nursey into a bedroom.  

I am not thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm not really feeling the gratitude post yet, but I am sure I will.

I'm reading a new book on parenting called Love and Logic.  It's supposed to be great.  We'll see.  I'm skeptical.

One funny story:  Ben wakes up in the middle of every night crying and calling for me.  I stumble into his room without even opening my eyes, pull him into a bear hug, and we sleep that way for the rest of the night.  It's totally fine with me, not even a blip on my radar screen.  Last night, though, at 1am, I awoke to him SCREAMING HIS BLOODY HEAD OFF.  Honest to God, I thought someone was ripping off his finger nails.  I jump out of bed, race into to my "spot" on his bed, but he's not there.  I feel around the entire bed.   Not there.  I am totally disoriented.  I hear him, but where the hell is he?  I finally realize the screams are coming from under Sam's bed.  I turn on the lights, blinded by the brightness.  I realize he is screaming, "I'm stuck!"  And the kid is literally stuck.  I have to pull him out by the ankles.  I turn out the light.  We climb into our spots on the bed and fall asleep.  This morning I asked him about it and he says he wasn't under Sam's bed, Sam's bed got on top of him.  Wouldn't you just love to know??????

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shitty mood

In the car today, on the way home from swimming lessons (which my kids HATE and complain about every single week), Sam whispered to Jack, "Jack, you better stop it.  Mom is at the end of her rope."

It always makes me laugh when kids use expressions like that.  What must they think it means?  But Sam clearly had it right.  I am so irritated right now, I just want to climb into bed with a few magazines and zone out.

Here is my abbreviated list of complaints:
1) Despite doing everything right (ha!) with Sam, his list of acceptable foods is basically down to  cheese quesadillas and pasta with jarred (not homemade) red sauce.  
2) My house is a disaster.  I'm not sure it's ever been so messy.
3) Somehow, hitting each other has become common place and acceptable with my children.  How did I let that happen?
4) I am so sick of parenting books.  I've been reading up on managing sibling rivalry and managing spirited children.  I want to shove their "5 simple steps to family harmony" up their ass.  Seriously, come live in my house for one day and then try the 5 simple steps.  Not so simple, eh?
5) My middle child has become miserable lately.  I know what he needs most in just love, love, love but it is not easy to provide that when he makes it so unpleasant to be around him.
6) I ran a freaking marathon yesterday and today I woke up feeling fat and ugly (WTF?).

I think is a good list for now, eh?

Hopefully tomorrow I can write a gratitude list.