Valentine’s Day Shopping

As I was reminded in the RED VELVET HEART BOX aisle at CVS the other day, Valentine’s Day is not far off. And people can piss and moan all they want about it being a fake holiday, I don’t care. I love *every* holiday. I want to decorate for it and dress for it and plan a special meal for it and send out cards for it and give gifts for it. I just love holidays. I love any day that sets itself off from all the other days that just start to run together…get up go to work buy the groceries walk the dog make the dinner watch tv go to bed lather rinse repeat. I love the SPECIAL days.

SO, I will be needing a Valentine’s Day Outfit. I’ll be away that week (surprise trip ahead, woohoo!) so I have to plan early. Hence, this post. I thought we could do a little window shopping together…maybe you’ll even find something for yourself…it’ll be just like we’re girlfriends at the mall together.

My first stop was at CowCow. Remember The Christmas Dress? That was from CowCow. They have every style of clothing imaginable, in umpteen sizes (including plus sizes up to 5x (which they call xxxxx-large), in every graphic conceivable. So I just knew they’d have some good Valentine’s dresses.

Hart’s Long Sleeve Skater Dress from CowCow (sizes xs through xxx-large). This is just a fun graphic dress. It’s long-sleeved so you could wear it on its own or under a black or grey cardi or blazer.

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Chocolate Pink Hearts Gift Wrap Reversible Skater Dress also from CowCow (size xs through xxx-large). I love pink and brown together! I would totally wear this with my oversized pink chenille cardigan and blush pink slip-on sneakers (that I’m actually still searching for)!

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Then I hit Nordstrom.com where there were TONS of things in their plus size section, but I narrowed it down to a few favorites.

If I was going out to a fancy, romantic dinner, I’d love a dress like this. An easy loose shift style in a feminine color…and the ruffled sleeves are short enough to not fall into my fancy soup.

Tahari Bell Sleeve Ruffle Shift Dress • Tahari • $138

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If I was going out for Galentine’s drinks with my girls, this would be amazing. Over a white tee and under a denim jacket. With those same blush slip-on sneakers I’ve yet to find.

ELVI Nude Sequin Slipdress • $85

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This dress would be perfect if I was making dinner at home for a special guy.

Soprano Tie Front Lace Dress • Soprano • $55

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And if it was a casual rom-com movie night at home with (chocolate drizzled caramel) popcorn, this would be so cozy for curling up on the sofa.

Caslon(R) Chenille Poncho • Caslon • $66.33

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What do you think? I’m not sure what I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day because, as I said, I’ll be away…so it’s sort of hard to pick what to bring to wear. I think last year I was stuck in a snowstorm in Maine!

Which do you like??

Just so you know, some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you click on or buy something, I will make a small commission.

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Just Keepin’ It Real

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Just keeping it real today. I have no photographer. It’s cold out. Whaa Whaa Whaa. So, I’m shooting indoors with the tripod and timer. And all the puppies. This is Muggles the Puggle. He wants to know Where is The Treat Surely There’s a Treat Why Are You Holding Out on My Treat. Caleb is staring off into space in the background. I’m sure Gracie is somewhere MacGuyvering a way to ACTUALLY get the treats.

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Ah. There she is. She hasn’t found the treats. Aunt Bettye is Very Good at Hiding the Treats.

I’m dressed for some light erranding, mud-and-poop cleanup in the yard and some photo editing. Maybe a nap. But I’ll change for a nap. If I’m going to nap, I go all in. None of this fully-dressed dozing off on the sofa nonsense. I’ll change back into my nightgown and get in bed. I don’t treat myself to naps very often as they throw off my already precarious night-time sleep, but when I do, I take it very seriously.

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I did not “blog-ize” the apartment before shooting. Is that because a) I like to keep it real, b) I didn’t realize how messy it was til I saw the pictures, or c) I’m lazy? You believe what you like. Yes, my Christmas tree is still up. I think Monday it will come down. Sadface. It’s the least wonderful time of the year.

Janey likes to sit on the arm of the desk chair when I’m at the computer and bump me incessantly with her head or TAP TAP TAP me with her paw.

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What do you wear when you’re just hanging around your house? I’m a “get out of day clothes as quickly as possible and into my nightgown” person. Wig, bra, shoes all off ASAP. I did my time. If I’m at home I want to be comfortable. Even “comfortable clothes” are not as comfortable as no clothes.

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I know what you’re thinking. This was The Lamest Blogpost Ever. Ha. So I learned a new trick to share with you.

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It’s still lame. But now there’s a GIF. And if you, like so many, are confused about how to pronounce that – here’s some useless information. The creator of the GIF, or Graphics Interface Format, says it’s pronounced JIF, like the peanut butter. The rest of the internet/world says he (the creator) is wrong and it’s pronounced with a hard G like in the word Graphics that it comes from. You say it how you like. I won’t judge.

What I Wore:

  • Grey cocoon cardigan from Charlotte Russe Plus, size 3x. Old. Sinilar here
  • Black and white striped tee from Rainbow Shops, size 3x. Old. If I could find something similar I would own it and wear THAT one.
  • Black skinny Refuge plus size jeans from Charlotte Russe, size 22.
  • Red sneakers from Target

 

Week in Review: Week 99

The week began with snow on the ground and puppies all over the apartment. Shocker. Ha 🙂 It was a full week back to work after the holidays and being sick and snow days.

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It was still cold.

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So, for better or worse, I was super bundled up.

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In the interest of my “pamper myself more” resolution, I did get flowers from Trader Joe’s for the apartment. In case you don’t live near a field of wild flowers or your city’s floral wholesale district, I believe that Trader Joe’s is THE best source for a large selection of reasonably-priced, healthy cut flowers. For $12 I have flowers in the bedroom, bathroom and living room. I’d have split them up even more but I still have not unpacked all the vases (because there’s nowhere to put them when I do). I usually buy three different varieties then mix them all together into bouquets.

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The street I usually turn up to come home was closed off at both ends so kids could sled. How sweet is that?

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One more present under the tree. See those starburst lights? Fun, right? It’s an app called kirakira+. It was .99 but that felt worth it to me for all the Christmas pics I take.

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Still snow.

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Remember a couple months ago I did that photoshoot with Jennifer from Peanut&Pip Photography? I got the rest of the pictures and am In Love with them! These are my favorites…

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Gorgeous, right?? She does such beautiful work…if you’re local and want family portraits…she’s your gal.

That was my week. Lots of snow and puppies. Not expecting much different in the week ahead. Well, maybe mud and puppies.

 

Loving the Skin You’re In

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So, if you know me or have been following my blog for awhile, then you know that last year I had cancer (I hate to keep saying that over and over but though there is currently no evidence of cancer, it and the treatment effects are still impacting my life. The gift that keeps on giving, ha ha, ugh). When my hair started coming out two weeks into chemo (i repeat, UGH) I decided to just get my head shaved cuz the clumping and constant hair loss was really a pain in the butt. So I went to a lovely salon called Posh in the town where I was about to move and had what remained of a lifetime of long hair buzzed off (read about that here). A group of girlfriends joined me for moral support, pictures and ice cream afterward.

ANYWHO, I was oblivious to what else was going on that day in the salon, and unbeknownst to me, there was an esthetician there that day who noticed the group of ladies at my side and the laughter and support they offered me.

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Skip ahead to just a couple months ago, I got a private message on Facebook from a woman named Afrodite (what a great name!) explaining who she was and what she’d seen that day, and offering me a complimentary facial because she was interested in oncology skincare therapy (read: specializing in skin care for cancer patients). Ooh! How lovely! I’d never had a facial so this certainly seemed intriguing, and several weeks later I found myself in her new soothing studio.

I asked Afrodite about oncology skin care (something I’d never even realized existed!) and she explained that the emphasis is on DETOX. Between surgery, medications and treatments, the last thing a cancer patient needs is more chemicals. She looks for holistic ways of treating skin issues that arise from cancer treatments. Those issues vary based on the specific chemo/radiation treatments used but it is usually extreme dryness and dehydration of the skin, acne and sometimes burns from radiation. I personally struggled with facial acne during the second half of my chemo, until only just recently. At a time when you’ve already lost your hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, to add a faceful of acne just added insult to injury!

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Afrodite became interested in this specialty while attending beauty school and accompanying a friend during chemotherapy treatments. The friend talked about the changes she was going through physically, and while losing her hair and experiencing skin changes were small sacrifices when fighting for her life, she felt like she really needed to feel and look good to feel “normal” at a time when so much of her life was not normal. She started getting facials monthly as a way of relaxing, which she felt was important in her recovery. After this experience, Afrodite found an online school in Atlanta, Georgia (The Skincare Therapy Institute, Corp) and earned a certificate in Oncology Skincare Therapy.

Afrodite plans to build her practice in this specialty of esthetics. She also does eyelash extensions for clients that lost theirs during treatment. She researched skin care lines made specifically for these special care clients and found a company called Hale & Hush, whose products she loves using.

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Fast forward to me lying under a sheet on a warming bed in her darkened studio, gentle yoga-ish music playing, soft scents filling the air…and rich lotions and potions being applied to my face with a feather touch. Products were brushed on, rubbed in and gently wiped off. Puffs of steam kept the air and my face hydrated. It all felt sort of mysterious as I mostly kept my eyes closed and never *really* knew what was going on, but it was extremely relaxing.

Afterwards, she sent me home with some Hale & Hush face wash to use on my newly hydrated skin. I’m not much of a “product” person, mostly I just wash my face in the shower with the same bar soap I use on my body, scrubbing hard with a Buf Puf to exfoliate, followed by Trader Joe’s antioxidant facial moisturizer. But I *am* using the face wash she gave me and it does feel nice.

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Afrodite said, “If I can make one woman feel better during this challenging time of her life than it was all worth it.” Well, she certainly made *me* feel better. I’ve had no acne breakouts since that day in her studio and the whole experience prompted me to make “pamper myself” my main resolution for 2018.

If you’re local and interested in a facial or eyelash extensions, or want to treat a loved one going through cancer treatments to a really special experience, reach out to Afrodite Boukas at (631) 645-0115 or by visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Lash-Goddess-by-Aphrodite-1872189119763998/

I’m so grateful to Afrodite for noticing me that day in Posh and for extending this generous invitation.

Thanks to my daughter for taking pictures that day.

My 10 Favorite Outfits of 2017

AKA It Was Too Cold Last Week to Get a New Outfit Photographed (if I’m being honest) So Let Me Recycle Some from Last Year. In my defense there WAS a snow bombogenesis cyclone, or whatever they ended up calling it. Translation: there was a lot of snow, a LOT of wind, and temperatures in the single digits all week. I thought I would be able to make some new outfits out of the items from last week’s winter haul, but in reality I sent everything back except one thing – that’s a conversation for another day. So, blah blah blah, I have nothing new to post this week. But I do like taking a look back over the past year and revisiting my outfits, sharing with you what worked or didn’t work for me. So. That’s what I’m gonna do!

#10 – Old Navy striped dress with Charlotte Russe tencel button-down and my beloved Superga velcro sneakers. I love an easy outfit. I love stripes. I love this tencel blouse over just about anything. Win win win.

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#9 – Hey look, the tencel button-down again! This time with a grey long sleeved tee from Avenue and this amazing Lucky Brand cardigan (rented from Gwynnie Bee), over Charlotte Russe cropped skinny jeans. I love the concept of layering, and it looks so great on slim straight bodies. I have a hard time making it work right, or look right to me, on ME. Still, this was a good attempt.

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#8 – This time I’m repeating the Charlotte Russe skinny jeans…now with a white linen blend tee from J. Jill and a dreamy Johnny Was kimono rented via Gwynnie Bee. This kimono was so so pretty.

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#7 – Hey, guess what I’m wearing again? The Charlotte Russe skinny jeans and the linen blend tee from J. Jill. This time with a lightweight cardigan from Torrid. And my Supergas. First day wearing them. And I fell on a hill and almost rolled into the pond in them!

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#6 – Ah, the much-loved (and much-worn!) magic black (or maybe it’s black magic!) swing dress from Asos…with the much sought-after denim jacket from JC Penneys, a borrowed leopard scarf, my Gorjana hoop earrings from Nordstrom, with lined footless tights from Maurice’s and black booties from Avenue. Super comfy and can go just about anywhere.

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#5 – Another Old Navy jersey knit dress with the ochre chenille cardigan from Target that I am UB-SESSED with. The color is amazing, it’s super soft and cozy…and the length is perfect for dresses or pants. Same tights and boots as above.  Vintage Echo scarf that belonged to my mother. Thanks, Mommy!

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#4 – A super cute botanical print top by Junarose from PlusBKLYN under olive green fleece cardigan from Rainbow, black leggings by Faded Glory from Walmart, with my comfiest sneakers from Adidas.

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#3 – Uh-huh. I wore a dress that looks like vintage Christmas wrapping paper. I’m a real bad-ass. Come on – how cute is it?? The dress is from Cow Cow, the black cardi is Old Navy…tights and booties same as above.

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#2 – Nothing dramatic here, but a solid pulled together look that I’ll wear a gazillion times. Old Navy striped jersey knit dress (yes, I have a lot of them!), Old Navy cardigan, golden mustard scarf from TJ Maxx, otk boots from Avenue.

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And my #1 Favorite Outfit of 2017 is this amazing bird print dress by Junarose, from PlusBKLYN. I know this isn’t much of an “outfit,” it’s just a stand-alone dress. But that’s what makes it So Perfect!

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I’m sure you noticed there’s a lot of repetition among my favorite outfits. I’m grateful to have so many pieces I like enough to wear repeatedly! I feel like I’ve chosen well when something gets a lot of wear.

I’m not putting links to the items cuz they’re all old and out of stock (well, the two Junarose items might still be available on the PlusBKLYN site – they were still there the last time I browsed there). But they’re mostly such basic items, each of the mentioned sites probably has something extremely similar.

Thanks for taking the little walk down memory lane with me!

xoxo

Week in Review: Week 98

Well, THAT was an exciting week! Ha ha, just kidding. I’ve barely left the apartment since New Year’s Day. I had some sort of evil stomachey thing for two days and then we had SUPER SNOW BOMBOGENISIS so two snow days from work…and then the weekend! I HAVE to go out this morning because I’m out of everything…and to make sure the winds didn’t re-snow the car in since being shoveled out on Thursday. So, I’ve just been a hermit recluse, which is really my favorite way to be anyway (yes, I am my mother). But I really needed that. Tomorrow will be back to the real world.

So we start off with some pics from 2017 – the top nine pictures from my two Instagram accounts – the first is Fashion Schlub, the second is Bettye Rainwater Photography, in case you were interested in following.

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I started off the new year with a nice day in Brooklyn with a friend. Breakfast at Egg, then driving around a bit in the bitter cold just seeing the sights. That’s one of my favorite things to do.

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Then the snow came. I know this doesn’t look like much but I don’t usually have snow on my little porch at all. It was mad windy, yo. It just occurred to me I should find a new place to hide my spare key (I’m notorious for locking myself out) because right now it’s buried under a ton of snow. Oh gosh, I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

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The puppies were not concerned about the snow in the least. I’ve been dog-sitting this week so have many puppies.

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Since it has been so bitterly cold they only go out for a few minutes at a time.

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But I love the snow. I love the quiet when it’s falling. I love that it covers everything up at a time when things are brown and bare. I love that it slows down the world. And traps you inside. I *really* love snow days (ha ha). In Bettyeland it would snow heavily right at Christmas and the ground wouldn’t be seen again until the crocuses start to bloom in March/April.

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And at the end of this week I had the surprise of being mentioned in a Ravishly feature on plus-size fashion in the workplace. That was kinda cool!

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So that was my quiet week – just me and the puppies and the snow. Real life will start barging in today when the vet comes to check on Caleb…and I have to lug cardboard and online shopping returns out to my car…and grocery shop and pick out outfits for the week…and blah blah blah. Real life. Am grateful for my little respite from it.

And on we go….

 

Resolutions + Plus Size Try-on Haul Video

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I’m still working on my resolutions for the new year. I’m not usually a hard-and-fast resolution sorta gal; I usually pick a fun thing I want to challenge myself to do more of – like drink more or wear more jewelry, ha ha. But after 2017 I do sort of feel like I need to get some things in order. I need to get PREPARED. That’s one of the resolutions, but I’m still fine-tuning (that seems to be a recurrent theme of the new year also) it and most of them…but the one I’m certain of is…to pamper myself.

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To have flowers in the house, go for mani-pedis and foot massages and get my hair done when I have hair again. Have a facial. Not just pampering, but being kind and gentle with myself. Last year was a hard year. It was painful and exhausting and took a lot out of me. I need to feed myself and care for myself and build my mind and heart back up. Get a comfortable sofa so I can relax and read and enjoy looking out the window. Ask friends for help when things are too hard. Eat good food. Be Good to my body. Nourish it, stretch it, exercise it. Rest it. If I need to sleep all day once in a while, do that without feeling guilty. Make my home more pleasing. Empty the corners of boxes and piles of stuff. Create lovely vignettes to enjoy when I come home. Live in silence when I want, live in music when I want. Just be good to myself.
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I’m still working out the technicalities on this one, but one year (I think 2011) I did “Do Something New Every Week,” and that was really a good one but it was more Big Picture things, like “do a 5k,” “get reiki.” etc. I think this year I might do a “Try Something New Every Day” resolution. I know that sounds imposing but they can be Very Small Things: go to a new bagel shop, turn down a different street when driving home, make a new recipe, try on a pair of shoes you wouldn’t normally try. It’s just the point of keeping your mind open to new and untried things rather than being comfortable and settled in routine.
That’s it for resolutions for now…and onto something NEW and exciting that got its start in 2017 but just went live in 2018 – and that is that my new blog-friend Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style shared Fashion Schlub as one of her “Styled By…” posts! I’ve been reading such nice comments from her regular readers, I’m so grateful to her! Be sure to take a look at her blog – she has such an adventurous and fun fashion sense – I think you’ll really enjoy her blog – AND she’s a sweetheart, to boot!

 

And this week’s weekly vlog is a plus size winter try-on haul showing clothes from Old Navy, Woman Within and Charlotte Russe. Take a look and let me know what you think – I think my videoing and editing skills are getting a little better!

All photography by me.

A Little New Year’s Fine Tuning

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First post of 2018. Well, yesterday’s Week in Review was first but that was supposed to go up over the weekend, I’m just running on delay right now…this is the first intentional post of 2018.

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And still, before I speak to resolutions/goals/etc for the new year, I want to talk about something that hit me last week. While this blog is newish (ha ha, almost 2 years old and it still feels new to me), I’ve been blogging for quite a long time. There were blogs about the town where I lived, a blog about the house I lived in, which morphed into the first Brooklyn apartment (the blog, not the house); a blog about the Brooklyn neighborhood I lived in; a blog about my vintage clothing business on ebay,  which turned into a personal photography/thoughts/feelings/hopes/dreams sort of blog. There was an updated professional photography blog. There was one I did with my daughter when she was living far away from me (I can’t put my finger on a link to that one right now). Suffice it to say there have been many blogs. But my personal favorite is Once I Saw a Dragonfly, which is the “hopes dreams feelings” one.

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I’d sort of forgotten about it and came across it last week while looking for something else. And I started reading the old posts. And I couldn’t stop til I’d read them all. They didn’t feel to me like something I had written, but I found them charming and touching. And I long to create something that lovely again.

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So, while Fashion Schlub will of course remain fashion based, I plan to share more of myself in that way I was once able to in Once I Saw a Dragonfly. I hope this is alright with you. It really won’t be that different than it is now…and maybe that time has passed and my voice is just different now. I will also share more of my personal photography, sometimes within an outfit post, sometimes in a separate post if something seems worthy. I used to so love photography…but some of the passion faded when I started doing it professionally and *my* vision was no longer the priority. I hope to find my vision again.

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Because here’s the thing about blogs, for me: my favorite ones are not necessarily about one topic or another. I might wind up up on a new blog because of the topic: fashion, photography, cooking, gardening, whatever. But I’ll keep coming back because of the writer’s voice. Because something in their words or experiences resonates with me. Because they invite me into their life. Because they end up feeling like a friend. Because they DO become a friend.

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That’s the sort of blog I want Fashion Schlub to be. A place where friends come.

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Okay, enough mushy stuff! The new year has me feeling very sentimental and emotional.

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About the outfit! Once again, the magic invisible dress. The much sought-after denim jacket – FINALLY!!! A loaner leopard scarf from a friend (Hi, Mochi!). My cozy lined footless tights combined with a pair of thin silk sock liners (it seemed really cold the day we shot this – now that temps have been below 20 for over a week, that day seems positively balmy!). A super easy, comfy outfit that can be worn to work, on a date, or on a girls’ night. A perfect look to start the new year in.

What I Wore:

  • Black sleeveless Asos Curve dress, size 22. Old, similar here.
  • Plus size denim jacket, size 3x. Sold out, similar here.

I’m linking-up with Emma Peach’s Style with a Smile link up. Be sure to visit and check out her amazing black lace New Year’s Eve dress (WOWZA!!!) as well as the other lovelies who are linked up there!

Week in Review: Week 97

This is the final post of 2017. I’m not doing a “year” wrap-up right now…I’ve got stuff going on right now, getting ready for a friend to come for dinner and the day has been very hustly-bustly…for now I’ll just do the usual Week in Review…

I realized once I looked back at my phone for pictures for the week, that I didn’t do much besides work…and Christmas. I may have said before that I am usually off from work the week between Christmas and New Years, but not this year as I had used up all my paid time off being sick earlier in the year. Usually I spend this week recharging, regrouping and reorganizing…and sleeping late 🙂  So I’m feeling a bit behind the 8-ball already and its only the first day of 2018!

Anyway, mostly Christmas pics this week…

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Ha ha, my one organization project was cleaning out my purse…pretty thrilling stuff here on Fashion Schlub!

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And Mother Nature running a very tight ship this year…we had such a lovely mild autumn and literally The First Day of Winter and the temps dropped down into the teens and 20s and have been there ever since!

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And that was the last full week of 2017.

I have just a little video “card” for you for New Year’s….

See ya next year!

Top 5 Fashion Schlub Posts of 2017

Here we are at the end of the year that I thought would NEVER end…and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what the most popular posts were from this roller coaster year.

In the #5 spot was a Week in Review post just after I got out of the hospital in April. Boy, I hope to never spend that much time in a hospital again!

The 4th most popular post was a much happier occasion, which was moving into my new apartment back in August.  That really was a great change for me and my life and I’m still grateful every day for the opportunity.

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In the #3 position was a post about gratitude for all the people who’d been so great during my time in the hospital.

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The 2nd most popular post was me getting cranky about starting to lose my hair due to chemo. That was a tough time. I feel like I’d been pretty stoic about all the cancer-related events leading up to this, but…losing my hair? Nope. I was gonna moan and complain about that.

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And the Top Post of 2017 was when I had my head shaved during chemo. Yeah, that was an interesting time…and I’m still living with the effects of it.

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Wow, what am I going to blog about in 2018 if I don’t get sick or move again? Haha (funny not funny)??

I am so thankful for all of you that have been reading my posts and commenting and sharing – it means so much to me and it’s been nice knowing I have friends along on my journey. I hope to have more fun adventures in 2018, so let’s look forward to that as we close out 2017.

I’m going to take the rest of this week off from posting…but I’ll see y’all next year!