9/30/2011

Who Doesn't Love Free Music?

I love free stuff. Especially when it's good quality free stuff.

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret of mine. People often ask me how I find new music, new artists that aren't mass marketed on TV and radio. How do I know these fantastic yet somewhat unknown bands and songwriters that fill my life with a rich texture?

Well twitter is one source...I pay close attention to the tweets and recommendations of specific musicians who have steered me well in the past. If they say so and so is worth a listen, I trust them and go preview their music on iTunes or search for them on YouTube.

But I have a limited budget for new music so I can't just go buying every new album I want to check out on iTunes. I also don't believe in pirating music, finding illegal download sites that can also sometimes bring you viruses and trojans. Karma, baby.

That's where Noisetrade comes in for me. Noisetrade is a site established in part by one of my favorite artists, Derek Webb, where musicians can submit songs, samplers, and even entire albums to be downloaded completely free and totally legally. They only ask for your email address and encourage you to share the link via social media outlets. They suggest that if you like the album, you leave a tip of any dollar amount you want.

Noisetrade has a TON of quality music available for download, always free. All different styles and genres too, though it seems heavy on the singer/songwriter stuff. I have found loads of good music from Courrier, Ben Rector, Green River Ordinance and The Civil Wars, just to name a few.

Right now you can get the entire new Forlorn Hope album, Hope for the Hopeless, free on Noisetrade. They make highly enjoyable rock and roll, you may remember me posting on them before. The Houston Press also did a great write-up on Forlorn Hope. Check it out and if you like it tell your friends.

9/28/2011

Jon Acuff's Advice for Maximum Productivity

Yesterday was a day off from work for me so I eagerly registered for and tuned in to watch The Nines, a free live webcast on Christian leadership with dozens of exceptional speakers. I stumbled across it last year and was blown away by the content from some of the greatest pastors and creative leaders from a very wide diversity of church types. The talks run about five minutes each, back to back, from early in the morning till early evening and cover topics like vision, time management, physical health and cultivating your staff.

Now since I am not on staff at a church you might wonder why I'd be so interested in something like this. My belief is that everyone is a leader of some sort, even if it's only in their home, and everyone, even non-Christians, can benefit from these principals and pieces of advice. I also believe that if you are a Christian, you ought to be leading by serving in a local church somehow. Note that I said leading by serving, which does NOT mean you have to be head of a committee or department to be a leader. Greeters and ushers are leaders. Volunteers in nursery and Sunday school are leaders. Every follower of Jesus is called to serve.

One of my favorite speakers of the day was Jon Acuff. No surprise there, since I've gushed about his blog and books here before. The guy is hilarious and gets his point across well.

Jon started with a super funny story about his fear of spiders and related it to the fear many leaders have about time management. Leaders really do fear wasting time and not having enough time. I can relate to that, can you? Do you ever feel like you need to pack each and every moment with maximum productivity?

365.3Well Jon's first advice was to make sure you are matching up your activities with your energy level. That makes sense, right? So why do I wait till the end of the evening when dinner is cleaned up, the kids are in bed, the laundry is folded, and the lunches are packed to sit down and try to write a great blog post?

Jon says writing creatively is about a level 8 activity, so he usually writes when he feels his energy level is high, such as on the plane to an event. Now answering email is only a level 2 activity, so he usually does that on the plane home when he is drained. I actually tend to do the opposite of that because I'm extremely extroverted and events usually energize me and fill me with tons of new ideas and content to share. I have been amazed sometimes and how the words pour out of me on the plane ride home.

Also I know I put out better content when I sit down to write early in the morning. It's just easier, so I need to carve out time for that early instead of waiting till I'm zonked. Even if that means getting up earlier and saving certain brainless tasks till my energy starts to wane.

One hour of work before noon is worth two hours of work after lunch.

When do you find your energy level is high and the productivity just rocks?

9/27/2011

Water Water Elsewhere?

When I'm not writing here at Water Water Everywhere you can often find me in a few other spots around the tubes of the Internetz. One awesome site that I write for regularly is All Things Chic, a style blog covering all things awesome but specifically focused on fashion for real life.

If you're curious about what's trendy this fall and how to wear it, look no further than my "How To" post on this year's hot trend, capes and ponchos. After I wrote that post last week I happened to be cruising through Target when I saw this really adorable poncho from Merona which would have been a great addition to the post. So I figured I would add it here!

Another favorite topic of mine is the joy of consignment shopping. A lot of people don't believe that you can find awesome stuff at consignment or thrift stores. Some folks are grossed out by the idea of wearing someone else's clothes, which I personally don't understand, but they don't realize that you can find brand new stuff with tags still on them at resale shops. So check out what I found at a local resale shop in this post I wrote for All Things Chic.

There's a big difference between cost and value. Just because something costs more does not mean it's worth more. 

Hope you're having a great week!

9/26/2011

Soccer Mom Times Two

Crush-0136Last week marked the advent of having two children in after school sports at the same time. One had practice Tuesday, one had practice Thursday, and they had back to back games on Saturday. I'm a firm believer in each child only being allowed one after school activity at a time, and this might not sound like much but it's more than enough.

Mike had class all day so it was up to me to get two kids and all their stuff to their soccer games on Saturday. My awesome friend Monica volunteered to drive us and pick us up, (still can't drive w/ my broken foot) but when I got to the fields it took me a little while to figure out that I had mixed up whose game started first and so we were on the wrong fields entirely.  Thank goodness for email on my smartphone! Also I'm glad I always try to be painfully early to things, so ten minutes of searching for Alex's team still didn't make us late for Nathan's game. Off we hiked across the complex to the bigger fields where the 6-7 year olds play, with our chairs and equipment. 

It was really hot, and Nathan's soccer field was much bigger than the younger kids' field, so there was no way he could hear me from where I was sitting. Which is a shame because he is a bit lost on the field this year, trying to figure out actual positions instead of just chasing the ball everywhere. So he spent a lot of time just standing in one spot while the one coach (there should be two) tried to encourage the others. We were most definitely out couched in that game.

Nathan's game ended just barely in time for him to collect his snack while I packed up our two camp chairs. I had, of course, forgotten to bring an extra snack for Alex. I really hate to be late, or even not early enough for Alex to warm up, so I rushed off with hardly a word to the other parents. We trudged across the complex to Alex's game where I found my neighbor, Chuck, coaching the four year olds with an iPad in his hand.

Now Chuck is a great guy, but a sports fanatic he is not. He's a tech geek and a musician...super friendly and laid back. I was surprised and grateful to hear he would be coaching Alex this year. His assistant coach, Diego, is much more the soccer guy. Chuck was concerned with making sure each kid got the same amount of playing time so he found an app to help him rotate kids in and out. I had to laugh.

Crush-0037When his wife arrived she saw the futility of him trying to coach with an iPad in hand so he passed it off to her, and she promptly passed it off to me, knowing I'm a bit techy myself. It was a good idea in theory, but I had trouble figuring out when to start and stop the clock, and around halftime the iPad overheated and just quit.

Like I mentioned...it was HOT out. Texas hot. Summertime hot, not September hot. Also the field was a dustbowl, lacking in any grass at all because of our extreme drought, so we all got to be utterly filthy, including my boot and the bare toes sticky out from it.

Alex played well enough for his first game but I am surprised by his lack of aggression. He had seemed  very aggressive when playing at home on his own, but I guess it's different with a pack of boys and one ball. His team got beat pretty badly,  but I don't think he even noticed.

One really amusing part of having both kids in soccer now is watching Nathan coach Alex. As soon as Nate figured out that Alex would be on a real team this year, he took him out in the backyard and tried to teach him some skills. He even got him to run around the yard, telling him it would build speed and endurance. (Ok, so he didn't use those words, exactly.) During the game he cheered for Alex and gave him coach-like pep talks on the sideline.

This is all really hilarious coming from our not especially enthusiastic, non-athlete. It's tremendous watching the two brothers interact with love and respect...at least some of the time.

Almost makes being a soccer mom worth it.

Are your kids in sports? Do you enjoy it?

9/23/2011

Fashion Friday, Missoni for Target

Unless you were living under a rock last week, you probably heard that Target launched its biggest designer colaberation ever with major Italian fashion house, Missoni. Housewives everywhere literally lined up outside stores before they opened and snatched up all the beautiful merchandise with Missoni's signature zigzag colors but without the sky-high pricetags. The whole entire Target website crashed from all the ladies trying to snag some (including me) and it was down for more than a full day.

I, unfortunately, and homebound with my broken foot so I could not get to my local store. I tried the website first thing in the morning, grabbed a dress I really really loved and wanted and before I could add it to my virtual shopping cart, the crash happened. *sigh* I resigned myself to the fact that Missoni for Target was not meant for me.

But my luck would change a bit this week when I finally managed to get to the Target with Mike, my first time inside any store at all in three weeks. After picking up a few groceries I scooted on down past the shoe department and found freshly stocked shelves full of these stunningly gorgeous Missoni black pumps. I fell instantly head over heels. I can't even wear heels right now or for the foreseeable future, but I knew these wouldn't last so I grabbed my size.

Then I scooted on down to the women's clothing department where I found one lonely rack of Missoni full of things people must have returned, including some adorable toddler girl pieces. If only I had a toddler girl, right? But I did snatch up two pair of AMAZING patterned tights, the berry and the blue ones shown here. It's hard to see how awesome they are, just trust me. I can't wait to find things to wear them with.


So did you manage to score any Missoni for Target? Do you care?


Fashion Friday is the most fashionable day of the week! Thanks for stopping by: link up your fashion posts and join in the fun! Fashion Friday Sponsorships are available - contact us for more information!


9/21/2011

Wordless Wednesday, 7th Birthday Edition


Last week my firstborn baby turned 7. He'll be taller than I in another couple of years. He's so smart and serious and has his own unique sense of humor. He loves animals more than anything, especially our dog, Pepper. I think he's pretty great.

9/20/2011

Struggling

I knew something was coming. Don't get me wrong, I'm not by any means a pessimist or a fatalist. Life had been too comfortable, too easy, too good lately and while I'm grateful for it and praising God for it, I knew it wouldn't last forever. The Bible promises suffering for those who will really follow Jesus...PROMISES it.

That's right, hear me, nowhere in the scripture does it say giving your life to Christ will make every day awesome and make your dreams come true. It says quite the opposite. "In this world you WILL have trouble...". Every day there is a cost to being a disciple. We are called to die to ourselves...that is to deny what we want in favor of what He wants for us. Suffering is given to us as a gift, to build and shape our faith. But it's not a gift in pretty packaging.

Some suffering is simply the result of our own stupidity, the consquences of our selfish decisions and actions. But some suffering is not the result of our own sin at all, like the blind man Jesus healed in John 9.

"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."


So I knew that it was only a matter of time till life would throw me a curveball. I figured that was it when I broke my foot and had to learn to deal with being totally dependent on other people to drive me and my kids around. I could see the obvious lesson and having been trying to learn it, despite how hard it is for me. I'm not a homebody and definitely not an introvert so being homebound for a week while Mike travels is tough. I admit to struggling with this though I consider myself fortunate how temporary the situation is.

What I didn't expect was the real trial of my grandfather falling and being hospitalized leaving my grandmother to fend for herself. I knew the crisis day was probably coming when we would have to intervene to be sure they are cared for, but I did not think it would happen while they were in Boston and CERTAINLY not when I have a broken foot and can't physically go help them myself. And since my sister just had a baby the timing could not be any worse.

I don't want to go into a ton of detail about all the various aspects of this crisis that make it so much harder than your average health or senior care struggle. The extremes of various personality traits come out when placed under pressure. I know eventually it will all resolve itself but right now it is not just a daily struggle but an hourly one that threatens to last weeks and months into the future. I spend a ton of time on the phone and the rest of the time thinking about my mom and my grandparents. I pay their bills and try to calm everyone's nerves and suggest next steps. I wish and wish and wish I could be there. It literally consumes my thoughts.

All the while I am trusting God for His hand in the situation, on all parties involved. I try very hard not to feel anxious, but it's a struggle. When the pastor in church asks us to place our burdens on Jesus and let them go, I try, and I pray, but I feel guilty for the moments when I don't feel burdened. I do have those moments though, because of the Lord's great mercy I can put my whole trust on Him and feel free to worship and listen and learn.

So if I seem distracted and tired and not as smiley as usual, know that things are hard and more than anything we need your prayer. I'm putting my firm belief in intentional living and choosing joy to the test. I still believe that joy is a choice and stress is more about how we respond and react to a crisis than the actual circumstances themselves. As much as part of me would like to rush past all this hard stuff, I know I'm called to be grateful even for this moment and dwell in it so that I can learn from it.

9/16/2011

Eisley In Concert with Macy's MStyleLab Tour {Houston Event}

This Fashion Friday I've got my mind on Macy's and their great clothes for teens. Macy's has an awesome web presence and Facebook community called mstylelab where young fashionistas can check out the latest trends and looks for the season, shop and share what they find with friends via social media. Now mstylelab is also presenting an awesome concert tour with great bands giving in store concerts around the country! Hot musical acts like Soulja Boy and The Ready Set are performing in store and offering guests an up close experience with the artists.

This weekend Macy's is bringing the msytlelab concert tour to Houston! On Sunday, September 18th at 2:00pm, Macy's Woodlands will host a band I know and love, Eisley! They are great female-led pop band that is on a national tour right now. While they have fans all over the world, many local readers will recall that they are native Texans. This concert is a special rare acoustic performance by the band.

Macy's shoppers will experience an exclusive performance in the Juniors Department. After the performance, the bands will host a meet and greet within the mstylelab for the first 300 customers who make a $35 purchase in mstylelab or Young Men's. The day after each event attendees can visit the mstylelab Facebook page to download your picture with the band.


How cool is that? So if you're local to Houston I highly recommend you plan to spend Sunday afternoon checking on Eisley in concert. 

Disclosure: I received a gift from Skimbaco to bring you this really exciting news. 

Fashion Friday is the most fashionable day of the week! Thanks for stopping by: link up your fashion posts and join in the fun! Fashion Friday Sponsorships are available - contact us for more information!

9/15/2011

31 Days To Find Your Blogging Mojo

I love blogging. I've had this blog since 2004 and before that I had other sites I used for writing. The number one reason I love it is the community...that's you. The awesome people who read, comment, "Like" and share on Facebook and Twitter are a great community. In case you were wondering, I don't blog for the money. I have a need to write, to take photos and share them, to express myself and share everything I learn in life.

I'm always seeking ways to improve this here corner of the Internetz so that you, my community, will get the most out of it. I read a ton about the art of blogging, so I naturally gravitated towards Bryan Allain's new eBook, 31 Days To Find Your Blogging Mojo. I've heard Jon Acuff speak highly of Bryan before and his book was recommended by my friend Sara Mae, so it had to be good...right? (That right there, my friends, is trust capital that Jon and Sara Mae have built up over time with their blogs. But that's for another post.)

Bryan's book released on Amazon today but I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy last week and I dove right in. My first impression? It is hilarious. I absolutely love writing that combines fantastic humor with hella useful information. I am not particularly funny but I love to laugh.

31 Days To Find Your Blogging Mojo has short, easy, specific, actionable chapters for each day with a snippet of pure unrelated humor in between each chapter. Every day has a particular assignment. I admit that I have not completed every assignment...I just got the book a few days ago after all! However this was what I tweeted after day one:


What hooked me? The assignment was to write down what you wanted your blog to *feel* like when someone visited it. That word is key to me because I am an ENFJ and so many other books and articles on blogging are pretty analytical and logical. They want you to think your way into a better blog. Bryan is appealing to my preference for making decisions based on how something feels. Score! 

That's just a small taste of the great advice in this terrific little book. It's available via PDF and for Kindle at Amazon now.  If you want to find your blogging mojo...go pick it up now. 

9/12/2011

Kellogg Virtual Breakfast Recap

My husband made me this awesome breakfast on Saturday
Last week I invited everyone via my blog, twitter and Facebook to have breakfast with me on Thursday...virtually! I was happy to join a gaggle of other wonderful moms and a lovely nutritionist with Kellogg to talk online about our family morning routines and breakfast habits. We talked about our challenges and shared our solutions with each other while getting useful information from an expert.

The talk was hosted by The Motherhood and our discussion was led by Cooper Munroe, mom of four, and Sarah Woodside, MS, RD, and Nutrition Business Partner at Kellogg. Sarah shared some startling results with us from the Breakfast in America survey, namely that while 77% of young children eat breakfast every day, that number declines to 50% in middle school and only 36% in high school.

Sarah shared that “Both kids and adults need to eat something in the morning to refuel from sleep and refresh their energy levels for a productive day ahead,” and Julie at A Year with Mom and Dad agreed, “As a former middle school teacher, I can't stress enough how much it affects a child's behavior and learning when they are not starting the day with breakfast (and a good one!).”

The other ladies and I chatted about what we do to encourage our kids (and ourselves!) to eat breakfast before school. One mom shared that she makes mini-quiches in a muffin tin with eggs, veggies, sausage, etc and freezes them. She said they were easily reheated in the microwave for a protein packed quick breakfast. I thought that idea sounded awesome.

Molly mentioned that she's often so busy getting her kids fed and ready for school that she forgets to eat breakfast herself. I mentioned that I keep Special K bars in my purse for days like that...they are easy enough to eat in the car.

My biggest solution is to have my kids go to bed early so they have no trouble waking up early. I also take the time to lay out clothes, put homework in backpacks and prepare lunches the night before. Any time saved in the morning is worth it if it means a fully belly of breakfast to my kids.

So if you weren't able to join me for the virtual chat about breakfast, I'd really like your advice, comments, opinion, etc on this:

What do your kids eat for breakfast? 

and

What are your problems and solutions for a busy morning routine?

The Best Laid Plans

I had planned to sit down this weekend and write a whole bunch of blog posts for the coming week. Since my foot is broken I'm doing a whole lot of sitting around, so I'm trying to be productive any way I can.

Sunday I was happy to be able to get out of the house and go to church. I was surprised how much my leg muscles and energy seem to have atrophied because even standing for a few songs required my crutch and tired me out.

I think I was already feeling a little fragile when the pastor played a video of September 11, 2001 showing the plans crashing and the buildings falling while listening to emergency communications. It was too much for me, to big a screen, to loud, too dark. It transported me immediately back to that day and my heart started to race like crazy. If I had not had a broken foot I would have gotten up and walked quickly out the back door, but I just sat there and shook like a leaf. I don't need to relive the event in order to remember it. I can listen to other people's stories without problem but I don't need to be mentally placed back in that trauma and forced to feel that same pain and fear all over again in order to remember.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like most of the people here in Texas did not experience 9/11 with quite the same intensity as those of us in New York, DC and Pennsylvania. Back then I was getting on a plane every week or two. I had lots of friends and colleagues on planes that morning, and lots of friends in the city. I drove into Manhattan regularly, my favorite city in the world, for work and for pleasure. I had been in the World Trade Center several times, and even sang with my choral group inside the Windows on the World restaurant at the top. One of those times is when I shot the photo here.

So anyway I left church yesterday shaken. Thankfully they were doing a baptism outside as I was leaving, and that cheered me up and reminded me of what matters and how unshakable our God is. I love how our church celebrates changed lives.

Grandad-0113Unfortunately after church and lunch I got word from my mom that my grandfather had fallen and passed out and was in the hospital where they were running all kinds of tests. If you've been following along you may know that my 91 year old grandparents are a big part of why we moved to Houston. But during the summers they move back to their other house in Boston. So they are up there with no family and only a couple of friends who can help. My grandmother can't drive and can barely fix herself a meal since they are used to eating every meal out. I do not like the idea of her being at the house alone. She relies on him for so much and is in denial about the decline of his health.


So it's a frustrating and stressful situation which ate up all my mental energy yesterday, which is why I didn't get any blog posts done for this week. Except this long and rambling one. If I didn't have a broken foot, I'd be in Boston by now, but with it I'm not of much physical use. I am convinced, by the way, that all this is part of God's plan to humble me, make me feel helpless and rely only on Him...as I should always. It's just so easy to forget Him when we feel in control of our lives, but without His hand it would all fall apart.

So praying and trusting in the Lord I start my week.

What are your plans for the week ahead?

9/08/2011

Fashion Friday Dilemma... Post Pregnancy Style

My sister and my mom a few weeks ago
I love it when my regular readers ask me to help the solve their fashion dilemmas. I'm more than happy to help my friends solve their issues affordably and give them some advice. Shopping for other people is almost as fun as shopping for myself and doesn't cost me a cent!

So this week my sister called lamenting the fact that her fitted tops do not work with her temporary postpartum body. She is normally a runner and very slender but we all know what giving birth does to our bodies and she is no exception. I have no doubt she'll be back in her snug tops soon so she doesn't want spend a fortune on a short-term wardrobe. Plus she's nursing so she's looking for nice tops that are also functional.

I asked about the weather in Virginia first, mentioning that jackets and cardigans work well for camouflaging tummy pooch. She said it's still shorts weather and I remember how nursing keeps your body temperature elevated anyway. 

My first stop when I think "temporary" wardrobe is Old Navy. Their clothes are pretty inexpensive and not generally made to last more than a season or two. We're not talking investment pieces here. 

I found they are still selling this blouse I got for free during one of my Old Navy Style Council shindigs. I. Love. This. Blouse! It's very sheer but really doesn't show too much and sheer is perfect for warm weather. Perfect for looking pretty while hiding imperfections. I wear it with olive green or grey shorts. 
An how about a little more color, also from Old Navy? Love this blouse at only $14. 


Next stop for me is Kohls online. They are always giving me coupons for 15%, 20%, or 30% off, not to mention Kohls cash promos. So with one of those coupons this draped top by Simply Vera is cheap and has the perfect colors for fall. 


So those are just a few options for tops. I also suggested that she get a couple of lightweight scarves to wear tied around her neck but hanging down in front of her midsection....scarves are super stylish and hide a lot! 

Got any more idea to help my sis (and countless other women) disguise that post-baby body? 


Fashion Friday is the most fashionable day of the week! Thanks for stopping by: link up your fashion posts and join in the fun! Fashion Friday Sponsorships are available - contact us for more information!



9/07/2011

Join Me for the Kellogg Virtual Breakfast on Thursday!

Back to School BreakfastI'm a big believer in breakfast. Even as a busy mom I never skip it, because I know it jump starts my metabolism for the day. Not to mention the fact that if I don't eat, my blood sugar stays too low and get grumpy.

I always insist that my kids get enough breakfast to eat before school as well. Sometimes that means very healthy options, sometimes it means quick treats, but always a full belly.

This Thursday morning I am pleased to be co-hosting a virtual discussion all about breakfast with Kellogg and The Motherhood. We'll be talking about the results of one of the largest surveys on breakfast ever taken, Kellogg's Breakfast in America survey. One of the key results is the alarming trend that as kids grow, less and less of them eat breakfast daily. The discussion will be led by Sarah Woodside, MS, RN, and nutritionist for Kellogg. You can also check out the continuing conversation afterward by following the hashtag #LoveURCereal on Twitter.

When: Thursday September 8th at 11:00 am EST (that's 10am local Houston time!)

Where: The Motherhood, Register now!

I really hope to see you there and that you'll join our conversation about family breakfast!

Disclosure: I am being compensated to co-host this event, but all opinions are my own and I promise to always be honest with you. 


Wordless Wednesday


This is the sun-streaked morning drive down a gravel road to Nathan's summer camp. So yeah, this photo (taken with my iPhone out the front car window) is a couple weeks old but I love it.

Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." 


What's on your mind when you begin each morning? 

9/02/2011

Fashion Friday: Fall Skirts for Work

I love a good excuse to go shopping and boy have I got one this week. Earlier this week I broke my foot and now I have to wear one of those gigantic air cast walking boot things. I can't get jeans or even pants on over it so for the next eight weeks I'll be wearing shorts, skirts and dresses. Also flats, because walking with one high heel and a flat boot would look even more awkward.

I'm so grateful that I work from home right about now. (I'm an engineer.) I can't even drive myself at the moment, since it's my right foot. I do, however, have a big business trip to contend with in October. It's the water industry's annual national convention with 20,000 registered attendees. It's in L.A. and I think I will still go but I can't wear my usual pants suits so I need some new skirts! It would be helpful if some of them could be worn with my company logo shirts which are white or blue polos and blouses from Lands End for Business.

Skirts are not a major wardrobe staple of mine and many of the ones I own are slightly too short for a professional setting. Also due to the awkwardness of walking and sitting with this boot and sometimes crutches I'd like to avoid snug pencil skirts and stick with A-line or pleated cuts.

First stop for a basic black pleated skirt that should work with anything and is highly affordable? Kohls, of course! I like the length of this one and the little flare...it's a really good shape for a curvy girl like me.

My next stop is always Target where sometimes I can find a great wardrobe basic for a great price. I think this brown knit skirt fits the bill to replace my khaki pants. I'd have to try it on to be sure the knit works, sometimes less structured pieces only emphasize the wrong kind of curves. 


Now these skirts work and serve a function but they are a touch boring, so I have to head to my very favorite skirt and dressmaker, Boden USA. Isn't this print fun?! 



Now granted, this skirt isn't going to really work with any of my company logo shirts, but that's ok with me. I think you can look both totally professional and fabulous fun and stylish at the same time. It all goes into how you pull it together with accessories and how you carry yourself. Besides the fact that I'm not 25 anymore trying to build credibility among my peers, I've been at this job awhile and most people know me and what I'm about.

So your thoughts? I'm still thinking of ways to actually decorate the boot itself which is a boring black color with huge velcro straps. So your ideas are welcome!!


Fashion Friday is the most fashionable day of the week! Thanks for stopping by: link up your fashion posts and join in the fun! Fashion Friday Sponsorships are available - contact us for more information!



9/01/2011

Mat Kearney's Young Love...Album of the Year? {Review}


I promise you I am not exaggerating when I predict a Grammy in Mat Kearney's near future. This new album, Young Love, now available for only $4.99 on Amazon, is nothing short of fantastic. I think it has mass appeal to a wide audience. Fans of pop, alternative, rock, country, R&B and even gospel will all find music to love on this album.

Mat Kearney is a storyteller and a poet of the most gifted variety. The lyrics of Young Love paint vivid images of characters totally relateable to nearly everyone. Who hasn't experienced the crazy passion, struggles, earnest dreams and naivety of youth?

But unlike many other brilliant lyricists, Mat also has a gorgeous voice and serious rhythm. The album is well produced, for sure, but unlike many pop albums it is far from shallow.


To this critical music lover, this is gourmet music disguised as mainstream pop.

The success of the first single, Hey Mama, is well deserved. It's highly singable and fun and just makes you want to dance. But where the album starts with such a fun pop track, it dives equally into deep hard ballads like Rochester and Seventeen. They are as raw an challenging as they are hopeful.

Every track on this album is one I can listen to over and over. That's a great LP. So I hope my ringing endorsement is crystal clear.

Now check out this great video for Hey Mama. I DARE you not to smile, tap your toe, sing along or even get up and dance around your office/kitchen/living room.



Disclosure: I received a free copy of Young Love for review curtosy of One2One Network, but all opinions and words are mine, ALL mine. Some links are affiliates, which means if you click through it to buy this amazing album I get a few pennies. But trust me, it's worth every cent. I'd buy it again if I lost it. 

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