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

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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.

Trying Before Buying

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I’m still mucking around with the wireless shutter remote. I think that thing hates me almost as much as my sewing machine. But I’ll keep going til I either Get It…or it “accidentally” gets stepped on and crushed into the asphalt.

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Fortunately not everything is as frustrating as photography! Renting plus sized clothing from Gwynnie Bee is *super* easy. I’ve been using the service for almost three years now and I’ve learned so much about what looks good on me, what I’m consistently comfortable in, even what my “fashion personality” is!

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By having the luxury of being able to try and wear many different styles before buying (or returning!) you really get a feel for what items work best for you. Trying on an item in a dressing room for a few minutes, or even bringing it home to try on with your own clothes, is just not the same as wearing an item out in the world, in and out of the car, to work, out to dinner, etc. Many things look good in the mirror when you’re primping and posing…but as soon as you start moving around in your real life, all sorts of issues can pop up! The notorious “bust gap” when you sit…or dresses that ride up Just a Little Too Much when you walk or slide into a car…or that fabric that seemed fine for two minutes in the dressing room, after 2 hours is itching your neck like crazy…etc.

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You can try Gwynnie Bee plus size rental service for one month FREE, just click the text link at the bottom of this post. I pay for the “one item out at a time” plan and typically get 4-5 different items in a month if I wear an item once and return it the next day. I don’t own a lot of clothes, so having one extra item every week really helps keep my wardrobe fresh and interesting! Give it a try for a month – you’ve got nothing to lose…and a bunch of clothing items to try!

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What I’m Wearing

This is not a sponsored post, I am not being paid to write this. I am a happy customer…and if you join up after doing the one-month free trial using my coupon code, I will make a small commission. 

GWYNNIE BEE: Why buy it when you can GB it? Free shipping. Free exchanges. Free 30-day wardrobe rental.

The weekly vlog is up on my YouTube channel. This week is In the Dressing Room at Target. I try a couple things outside my “usual.”

It’s Almost December!

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So! I have been toying with the idea of doing another 30-day challenge in January – which is challenging myself to wear a different outfit every day in January, but now I’m thinking that, instead, maybe I’ll do Vlogmas (vlogging every day in December leading up to Christmas)! I’m SO not prepared for that, but I’m a big believer in just jumping in first and figuring it out later…and vlogging Every Single Day will help me get up-to-speed on All Things Vloggy pretty darn quick!

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It could be awful..for me AND you, ha! But I think I’m going to give it a go…if I can’t do it, I can’t do it…but I’ll certainly give it the old college try. They’ll be short, maybe 5-10 minutes a day, more or less. So…I know you’re excited, ha ha! If you want to witness this, just subscribe to my Fashion Schlub YouTube channel.

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That aside, this is another day of tripod/remote shutter selfies. On this day, a man walked his dog up to where I was shooting and proceeded to ask questions about what I was doing, including “would you like to take a picture with Miss Wiggles?” Uh, OF COURSE!!!

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Then a town worker truck pulled up, and they knew one another, so THAT guy got out of the truck and started asking me questions about what I was doing…and then they both stood there watching me. AWKWARD. Suffice it to say I didn’t get too many pictures that day. And they’re really not doing this outfit justice, because I LOVE this potato sacky dress from ASOS Curve (their plus size section) and faux leather jacket by Chelsea & Theodore via Gwynnie Bee…and I loved them together. But I didn’t get to check my car window reflection between shots so my wig was wacky and the jacket was askew and my tights are dirty. But that’s real life, so. There ya go.

Speaking of Real Life, I’ve just uploaded another video, “Switching Out My Plus Size Wardrobe from Summer to Winter: Part 2,” wherein I get all my cold weather clothes out of storage, cull through them to decide what stays and what goes, and add the “stayers” into my closet. It’s scintillating stuff, be sure to watch.

What I Wore:

* Asos Navy Ripple Stitch Dress, size 22
* Chelsea & Theodore Taupe Drape Front Faux Leather Jacket, via Gwynnie Bee, size 2x

Today I’m linking up with A Labour of Life and her Labour of Fashion link-up party!

Size Matters

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No, I’m not talking about THAT. Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter.

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I’m talking about clothing sizing. And how *annoying* it is. It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit, but when you have roadblocks all throughout your shopping travels, it’s nearly impossible. Things like: clothing manufacturers not adhering to a global sizing standard, items being available in straight (and even petite) size that don’t exist in plus sizes, or one of my biggest pet peeves, clothing that gets taller/longer as the sizes go up.

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According to Livestrong.com, the average height of non-Hispanic white women is 5’4.” And here’s a shocking fact: as we gain weight, we do not also get TALLER. We get WIDER. But in my search for Sizing that Works for Me, I keep finding lines that get taller as they get larger. Melissa McCarthy’s plus line is very “tall.” Target’s Ava & Viv does this. So does Lane Bryant. I was excited to try something from the new Target line, A New Day, but guess what? Same fit issue as Ava & Viv. As I sized up to accommodate my hips/belly (my largest part), the item length stretched down towards my knees and the sleeves were absolutely ridiculous! UGH!!!

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So, imagine my delight in coming across Loft’s (soon to be released) plus size collection. First I tried a swing dress – my go-to default style. Very good. THEN I got brave and tried a more straight cut dress (shown) and BAM! Not only were the measurements hip-friendly, the proportions stayed true to an average height woman (I happen to be 5’3″ so am just below average height) – the shoulders were not swallowing my upper body, the sleeves were a good length, and the dress length itself was good.

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I. Am. So. Pleased. THANK YOU, LOFT. I understand their plus-size line will go live in early 2018…but they did a small release to Gwynnie Bee and that is how I was able to try several pieces.

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I now have several companies/designers that I know I can buy from, and as long as I stick to certain styles, items will fit. That sounds simple but it was a long time coming and a LOT of trial and error. Avenue tends to fit a wider, shorter body. Old Navy Plus can get a couple inches long in larger sizes, but the shoulders fit well and you can always have the length shortened. Asos Curve items *usually* fit a shorter, wider silhouette (though I’ve had the occasional ridiculous outlier there). And now Loft. I am grateful for these baby steps designers/manufacturers are taking in the fashion world. I do long for a day when everything I see in a straight size will also be available in a plus size, but til then…things are better than they *were,* by FAR.

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PS: if your brain is still thinking about sex, maybe take a look at a recent post by Shelbee On The Edge, she  wrote about “The Midlife Sex Conundrom.”

I’m happily linking up with #iwillwearwhatilike

What I Wore:

 

Did you know you can try Gwynnie Bee FREE for 30 days?? Just follow the banner ad below for more details and to sign up.Fall Collection 2017

Cardigans Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Okay, first of all, forgive me as I have selfied. I had no available photographer this week so I figured out I could use a light stand as a tripod workaround. I always lose the little piece on the tripod that attaches the camera to the tripod, rendering said tripod useless. But the hard part of selfies isn’t where to put the camera or how to take the picture from umpteen feet away…it’s how to get yourself in focus!!! So, my apologies in advance for a high percentage of not-quite-in-focus pictures.

That said…I really enjoyed wearing this Karen Kane floral dress from Gwynnie Bee…BUT it was only wearable with a cardi over top. It was a little too clingy to my hip bumps and my tummy on its own…but a cardigan is magic and just glides right over those things and you’d never know there were any problem areas at all!

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Aforementioned hip bumps…not quite as evident in the photo, but trust me, they’re there.

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And tummy…

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But with the cardigan all that just disappears…

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Interestingly, my friend Julia over at When the Girls Rule just posted today about a top she calls “the fixer.” And I think a loose-fitting cardigan falls into the category of “fixer,” as it fixes whatever’s underneath. I’m borrowing your term, Julia, cuz it’s brilliant! 

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So if you have something that seems a little too snug for you in spots, don’t necessarily discount it. If you love it, you can “fix it” with a loose cardigan over top.

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Plus, they’re wonderful for extending your summer wardrobe into the cooler months of fall. I’d had this dress in my Gwynnie Bee closet for some time, and it just arrived now in the middle of October. Layering the cardigan over it made it autumnal!

Speaking of autumnal, just some borrowed scenes from my girlfriend’s front porch…

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What I Wore:

  • Karen Kane floral dress via Gwynnie Bee, 24
  • Old Navy black duster cardigan, 2x
  • Hat from Headcovers Unlimited

I’m Cranky, but…

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I’ve been feeling very cranky this week. Everything is pissing me off: my keyboard, the mouse, the dog, the bug that keeps buzzing in my ear at night, the return of heat and humidity, this %&(&^!! acne. And more.

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In trying to figure out what the REAL issue is…I think it’s the waste of this entire year to stupid cancer and the accompanying surgery and treatments. I’ve felt crappy for too long, I’ve been stuck inside and sedentary for too long, I’ve missed out on doing fun things with friends and Caleb…and myself.

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So, treatments are over. I certainly don’t FEEL better yet…but I’m trying to force myself out a little more. A teeny tiny walk with the dog. Sitting in my chair at the beach at sunset. Having ice cream with a friend in town. Easy things but…IT’S GETTING ME OUT OF THE DAMN HOUSE!!!

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So, as the title said, I’m cranky, but…I’ve tried to keep things as easy for myself as possible this year (well, except for moving, ha ha – that was not ideal timing but it’s done). A dress like this helps. The Sharagano dress is a drapey chambray (I think it feels like a Tencel blend) and SO easy peasy to wear. It’s a loose swirly tent-fit and hardly wrinkles. I rented it through Gwynnie Bee and when the sale price went to SIXTEEN DOLLARS I snatched it right up. I love this spicey orangey rust color and it goes well with several of my duster length cardigans so I can wear it well into the autumn.

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And oh yeah, POCKETS.

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So, yes, I’m cranky, but…things are GOING to get better. Each week a little more of the chemo poison will leave my body and I’ll start feeling better and better. I’ll be able to start living MY life again…not CANCER’S life. Stupid cancer.

Soon I’ll be spending less time laying in bed and more time watching sunsets.

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Pictures taken by my friend Karen. Thanks!

Transitioning….

Transitioning from summer to fall…transitioning to my new hood….so many ch-ch-ch-changes going on!

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There’s certainly no shortage of lovely scenery around here for shooting…this is a park and marina a half mile from the apartment. It’s *really* nice at sunset.

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This dress is from a special collection by Ann Taylor Loft via Gwynnie Bee. No, Loft does not typically do plus sizes (sadface). But I was able to rent a couple pieces from the collection through Gwynnie Bee, and I really love this dress. It’s a blue/grey paisley print jersey knit sleeveless swing dress (MY FAVORITE!!!). And by just adding a lightweight black longline cardigan over top, I could extend the outfit well into the cooler temps of fall.

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I haven’t done much exploring in the area yet but yesterday after the shoot I did drive around just a little bit and found the yacht club which also had a lovely view.

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It’s a very “walky” and “doggy” area. Parks, many restaurants, etc. welcome dogs and that’s so nice.

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The paint. Not really wet.

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I look forward to feeling better SOON and being able to walk around more and bringing Caleb with me.

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What I Wore:

New Beginnings

Well, this weekend I moved into the new place! That was H-A-R-D, between not feeling well while packing, having chemo two days before moving, etc. Fortunately I had a lot of support on moving day and we got’er done in record time. Unpacking is another story, but at least everything I own is in one place again. More or less 🙂

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I’ve felt a little disoriented all weekend – sleeping in a new place, not knowing where my things are (I mean, they’re all in boxes, but WHICH boxes?!), feeling more tired than usual. It’s making everything feel a little surreal.

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Everyone keeps asking “aren’t you excited for your new beginning?” And I AM, I just can’t really FEEL it yet, if that makes sense. I have to come out of this disorienting fog and exhaustion first – new beginnings are great, but they’re also hard. Big changes and all that. Change is exciting but exhausting.

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My honorary niece, Gracie The Warrior Princess.

My daughter is coming over shortly with some groceries (and a garbage can!) and to help me get a little unpacked, so I can locate things like underwear and a pot to make soup in. I’ll feel better once I REALLY know where things are, not just “here somewhere.”

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This was the first time I wore this dress – and THAT was an easy “new beginning.” Another loose and easy-fitting dress, which was a blessing at this time. It’s a Style&Co dress via Gwynnie Bee, in a 3x. Lightweight blue Tencel, my favorite dress fabric, with a subtle white bandana print – you can see the print best in the last photo. On my head I’m wearing a vintage silk scarf that belonged to my mother. And my favorite Superga velcro sneakers.

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I found the Halloween decorations, I’m so relieved!

AND we did this little photo shoot at the new apartment! There’s a little new apartment tour at the end of this blog post, which is WAY less embarrassing than the old apartment post from last week – be sure to watch and “like” on YouTube!

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I *know* this is a good new beginning for me and as soon as I feel better I will jump up and down and shout HUZZAH! Well, maybe I’ll stand up and say Huzzah. But I will definitely FEEL like jumping up and down.

And let me know if you want to see further apartment adventures along with the outfit posts…I’m going to be videoing anyway so I can easily share if you’re interested.

Hope you’re all enjoying your week!

Bettye xoxo

When Life Hands You Lemons…

…turn them into a duster and wear them!

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So, this is a throwback to Memorial Day weekend. Somehow I’d forgotten I had these pictures or, more honestly, I didn’t like my hair that day, ha, so I kept skipping over them. Not quite so critical of my hair now that I don’t have any, ha ha.

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This story is certainly testament to the adage “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” Hair, health, loved ones – I’ll let this be a reminder to not take things or people for granted…and to appreciate and acknowledge the wonderful people in my life. I say this sitting next to an unopened box of thank you cards I’ve been meaning to write out since MARCH, acknowledging all the wonderful, caring and generous things people have done for me this year when I’ve been so…compromised. Ha. I don’t like to say I’m sick because I don’t feel SICK…but I have been compromised by the treatments. And people have been so helpful…or at least they’ve tried to be! I’m not good about accepting help. I always feel like *everyone* has problems/issues/weaknesses, etc., why should *I* get special treatment??

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But preparing for my move this week has really whooped my butt and fortunately I have some wonderful people helping me out so everything can get done. Because *I* am DONE. There’s very little juice left in this body right now and I have another chemo treatment later this week, so…THANK YOU to everyone who is helping me survive this move!!!

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Anyway, I got this dress from Gwynnie Bee, the Alice & You striped button down shirt dress, in a size 26. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but when I got it it was GINORMOUS. I still really liked the look of it, so instead of wearing a striped tent, I rolled the sleeves up, left it unbuttoned, and wore it as a duster over one of my favorite bases: black leggings and tee.

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So while it wasn’t *exactly* what I wanted, I was able to turn it into something I liked.

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And there were some beautiful irises blooming there that day that reminded me of my beautiful friend, Iris 🙂

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So…make some lemons work for you, one way or another…and don’t forget to appreciate the beauty in your life.

AND, a special treat – witnessing me in my utmost embarrassment…before I share the new apartment with you I thought I’d show you where I’ve been living for the past five years. Please Be Kind. It’s been a helluva year, cleaning has not been anywhere near the top of my list, and add “packing” to that and…oofah. The apartment is…well, you be the judge. Ha. The good news (for me!) is that viewing this a week after filming it, I can see how much progress I made in the past week (thank goodness! there was a night last week when I had a little meltdown because I was sure I was not going to be ready in time. But I will. Phew!).