An Essay On Yesterday. Grief 17 Years Later

Well I actually started writing the blog post two weeks ago but I sort of lost my steam to share.  I told my husband what was on my mind and heart, to which he responded, yes definitely, you need to share this.

So here we go.

The thing about loss 17 years later is that it doesn't surface as much.  I can easily go weeks even months without a tear.  The strange thing about grief is that I then feel guilty to not be feeling it.  It's an attachment to the lost, to my mom.  Such a silly fiercely real thing.  And it took a very long time and years of counseling to realize that just because I don't always feel the pain of her loss, does not mean I am not loyal to her and my memories.

But it's still inside.  Sometimes it's as little as the flutter of a butterfly passing by.  Other times it's like getting hit with a monster wave that I didn't see coming.  Shocked to be knocked off your feet you can gasp for breath and stay rigid, getting knocked on your ass - or you can swim with the wave allowing it to awaken all your senses.  This is a new thought process for me, years in the making, and I still need a reminder.  Fight or flight is a powerful human extinct, meant to literally save our lives, so again I still need reminding to hold that little girl's hand and let her know she is safe, the wave will not overtake her.  And then I remind my heart that it will not stop beating.

And the gift of awakening my senses is the flood of new memories, those I had forgotten.  Sweet sweet gifts of remembering.  With that tears, but these tears are part of my story.  And feeling her near is what I long for more than most anything at times.

It also turns this day, what would be her 60th birthday, when the tendency is to crawl into bed under all the covers and wait till the storm passes, into a day of empowerment.  I am stronger than I think I am, and grief will always be a part of me, but it doesn't win.  And pain is not the only way to stay connected to my mom.  This is not the end of the story.  The hole in my heart is real and valid but the darkness shall not overcome.

So trusting in my strength and the power of God's reconciliation, today I gave myself the space to deeply feel, with all my senses, in the hope of feeling how I've become like my mom in ways I haven't even realized.

Like a conversation we never got to have.

Starting with my almond milk latte.  Not sure she would appreciate paying $3 plus dollars for a cup of coffee but could I talk her into trying almond milk?  I like to think so.

I just love this photo because I look so much like her but I can't pinpoint exactly why.  I already chuckle over my love of Mom jeans, I can't get enough, she was rocking this look two decades ago.   She is totally saying "I told you so."  Dare I say I even just ordered taper legs.  and those tee shirts, she tucked ALL the way in.  Commitment.  Right there with ya mom. 

But a new realization, wearing my tennis shoes all day long.  As I type this I am sitting in my tennis, in my home.  As a mom I just get more stuff done, and they are comfy.  She was on to something.  The last one's I remember her wearing were all white. 

Crying at the first day of school every year, and lots of days in between.  I got this from her.

Cleaning my kitchen floors is therapeutic.  I get it, I should it more often. 

Belting out my favorite songs in my best singing voice, which is terrible, and inherited from my  mom, kids cringing.  Brings a smile to my face and heart.

That big mom purse.  She used to sport a big leather backpack, like santa's bag, everything we could imagine we needed inside, yet she was the only one who could find it.  I mean really.  This is a trait we absolutely share.  A leather backpack has been on my wish list for a while now.  Gosh I almost hate it when she's still right. 

And my kids making me braver than I ever thought I could be. 

This was today's treasure.

I happened to have a date planned with my oldest son.  In the spirit of truly living this day, I decided to remind him of what today meant to me.  The vulnerability is that my heart is 100 percent exposed and children get to have the response they want to have (which is both refreshing and maddening as a parent.)  Being vulnerable without expectation is so hard.  Ultimately I want him to know my mom so badly but this is NOT a burden I want him to bear, and I want him to have the freedom to feel what he wants. 

I let him know what the day was, we decided together to celebrate my mom's birthday over cupcakes.  In public.   And the rest unfolded in a gift I will always cherish.  And maybe Riese will never know.  And then I wondered what moments like that happened for my mom, that as a kid I never realized.

They happen to have candles for sale, when asked by the server who we were celebrating, Riese said,  "it's my Grandma Chris's birthday."  So matter of fact like we do this every year she just happens to be in Hawaii because it's her 60th and yet so momentous to me that I will never ever forget that moment.  Then we sat and lit the candle, and sang happy birthday.  Something I've never had the courage to do since she died.  So simple, and brought into the light.  And she was there with us in that moment.  In my son, and in me.

It's both liberating and terrifying to publish this, thank you for letting me share.



That Valentine's Day Mixed Tape...CD...er Playlist

Well I happened upon these old photos that I had forgotten to post and it struck me as a fun coincidence as today being the day we celebrate LOVE and what is the quintessential Valentine love gift?  The good old standby mixed tape.  Both thoughtful and thrifty - those compilations of favorite shared songs.  Those combinations of musical notes that evoke all the memories.  Songs totally do it for me.

Today in the car an old school love ballad came on that immediately transported me back to the roller rink, YES rollerskating I'm not kidding, and that skinny girl with the big teeth, big feet and even bigger hair desperately - well what felt so desperate at the time - longing to be asked to couples skate.  AND then I realized that this was in elementary school, which is what my two children are in.  WHAT??  There's no way.  And for the record, no one ever asked me to couple skate.

Their loss!

Just to be clear I am NOT old enough to have made mixed tapes for Nick, even I can't imagine how long that would take to do, but for sure I have burned a few CDs in our journey.  I think we still have them in the car along with the Tim McGraw CDs that I banned Nick from playing for the last decade after two solid years of country music themed road trips.  I'm not gonna hide it - we did play "You Think My Tractor's Sexy" at our wedding, and I still love it.  You know that CD case above the visor?  We still have that.  That's where they all are.   Me - a field trip mom (in Seattle, where school buses apparently aren't for driving to field trips, rather parents are, hmmmm) when I put the visor down to shade the sun the kids make funny remarks like what's that?? why do you have CDs in your car?  Well kids...

I heard best buy has stopped selling CDs.  First I didn't know anyone still bought CDs??  Second, wow the end of an era.  Am i right?

I spent 30 mins or so the other day making myself a Spotify account.  Having been inspired by a couple of songs I had heard that day I was all excited to put together my first playlist in the few minutes I had before school pickup.  But then after several frustrating minutes I realized that if you don't have the premium package, Spotify takes the liberty of adding in suggested songs to your carefully curated playlist.  So Good Old Days became East Atlanta.  Ugh.  At least I think that is what was happening.  I gave up.  No playlist.

A note on my outfit.  Anyone else getting a wee bit tired of winter wear?  but I am also trying hard not to invest in too much more warm clothes - I know warmer days have to be a coming soon!  And I soon will have a spring wish list much longer than I can justify.  One way I like to mix things up is by taking a summer dress and layering a turtleneck and tights underneath.  I think it works.  I also like wearing tights and boots the same color.

Just a few rambles.

Spread love today, everywhere you go, sing it from the top of your lungs.  And love yourself, that skinny awkward child inside.  It's what the world needs.

And maybe make someone a playlist.

Happy Valentine's Day,

photos by Angie.


February Faux. 6 Favorite Faux Fur Coats On Sale.

turquoise faux fur coat

olympic rings

You should see the chair in my bedroom.  It's covered in a lot of faux fur...white, red, navy, brown, I've acquired quite a collection over the years, and since this winter weather is showing no signs of letting up - it's all making an appearance. 

I mean who needs a cat?  

I love that faux fur has been strong the last few seasons, and now it's bigger and brighter than ever.  The newest addition to my collection is this turquoise faux fur coat.  I wore it the last few days while in Whistler.  It works with casual jeans and a sweatshirt, just as well as it would with something more fancy.  I love the texture of the longer fur, although I did get it stuck in the car door handle, hazards of fashion, and the deep turquoise color is fantastic.  And I scored it on major major sale.   (It runs quite large, I am wearing an xxs/xs and it's roomy.)

One of the best parts about February is that we are still in the thick of winter coats but they are all starting to go on sale.  Hey when life gives us lemons...

So today I am sharing my favorite faux fur currently on sale.  (click on the image for details)

Now if I could just figure out how to store and organize all my fluff.  Any suggestions??

Happy Monday.



DIY Hair Mask With Essential Oils. The Curl Files

I didn't get any great photos to prove why I love this mask because my day just didn't go my way.  I had planned a day of cleaning and organizing my house while my hair soaked up all the goodness of a good deep conditioner.  Of course life came up in the forms of sick days and flat tires and pouring rain, so let's just say the house did not get organized.  NOT surprising.  The photo above was taken the next day on my Iphone, after my hair mask and being caught in a downpour.  I gotta say the frizz was less and the shine and curls were much better than expected considering the circumstances. 

I also love this mask because everything in it I can eat.  I have been hunting for all natural deep conditioners.  The challenge is choosing which ones to invest in, they are often expensive and don't come in sample sizes.  Why is that??  Just let me purchase a single serving!  And reading the fine print - are they truly all natural??

Lastly I love this mask because of the addition of essential oils.  We use essential oils a lot in our home.  The lavender and geranium help to keep your scalp healthy and increase blood flow which promotes hair growth.  They also repel skin mites which cause your hair to fall out prematurely.  I warn: do NOT google this.  These oils are also thought to increase the stability of your hair follicles, which for curly hair is key. 

So I have also been researching making my own hair mask.  After some tweaking, this is the one I have landed on.  I have used it a few times and I love the shine and definition it gives my curls. 

Plus, I could actually eat it, nothing I can't spell or explain. 

The other key, to any deep conditioner, is heat.  My favorite way to deep condition is with the Hot Head Thermal Hair Cap.  It's a hair cap made with rice, you simply microwave it to heat it up.  Genius.  It stays hot for about 15mins, then I just pop it back in the microwave for 1 minute and back in business.

My Curly Hair Mask:

all natural deep conditioner

DIY hair mask

essential oils for healthy curls

After doing this mask treatment, my hair doesn't feel as smooth and slippery as it does when I condition it normally, the first time I tried it I was a little concerned.  But the results once I've styled my hair are awesome.

So next time you have an avocado that's just getting too ripe to eat, mash it into your hair.  And then tell me about it, I wanna hear what you think?



My Guide For Wearing Socks With Heels.

This is a trend that I am sooooo excited about.  I have always loved socks with heels, yet I have rarely done it.  Until now.  I partly credit my age and season of life, but also this journey of blogging for all who want to see - I have come to realize if it brings you joy - do it.

Frankly, it doesn't matter if it's a major fashion faux pau if it's major to you.

Are fashion faux paus even still a thing?

Just to make it clear, this trend is not.  To be clear.

But a few guidelines, according to me, might be helpful.  If you are thinking socks could be cool, but nah....let me attempt to change your mind and hold your hand into this one.

(click on images above to shop)

1.  First, the sock shouldn't be too tight, squeezing the ankle/lower calf is not flattering.  The challenge of course is you want your sock to stay up - no hungry shoes.  This is why I like socks that have even just the smallest ruffle detail on the top edge.

2.  Start with a heel that you would wear tights with, this is the easiest to add socks too.  I'm not saying this is the only type of shoe that warrants a sock but it's the place to start.  The easiest look is to match your socks to your shoes giving you that "sock booty" shoe style.  I love this look but have yet to find an actual sock booty that fits the way I'd like it to.

how to style socks with heels

(click on images above to shop)

3.  Let the style of the shoe dictate the type of sock.  For instance dress shoes - dress socks.  Chunkier booties - chunkier socks.  Hip clogs - a patterned hip sock (a patterned sock works so well with this type of neutral shoes.)

clogs with socks

(click on images above to shop)

4.  You may need to put a padded grip under the ball of your foot, socks can your feet slip right out, you can also use these.  Or just stick to shoes with ankle straps.

5.  Finally, my favorite place for socks is Free People.  Many of the socks above are from their 3 for $30 sale.  What I like is the price, having seen other similar socks for much more, the styles - sweet details like metallic stitching, simple ruffles, stripes, they have gotten their sock selection right and the fit - not too thin not too thick and a nice bit of stretch to stay in place but not squeeze.

Not ready for heels?  How about switching out your typically sneakers socks or adding lace detail to your oxfords, and of course birks with socks...a few more pairings to inspire on this monday...