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!).

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More Gratitude

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Wow, it was fun doing a shoot again! I’ve had messages from several people saying not to worry about the blog and just focus on feeling better, but the blog is a really good distraction for me right now. I can’t just think about CANCER all the time – and believe me, it’s always trying to take the top position in my brain. I’m guessing the time may come during treatment when I. Just. Can’t. But for now, while I can…I love doing it.

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But I *am* lucky to have people who care enough to tell me to take care of myself. So…I’m feeling a gratitude post coming on!

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I’m SO grateful to all the wonderful people who have been there for me – emotionally, physically, transportationally 🙂 I generally live a pretty solitary life and I always worried about when I got “old and sick” (not that this is THAT, but…) how I was going to manage on my own…but people haven’t even made me have to figure that out. They’ve just been right there for me every step of the way. And that’s been really nice.

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I’m grateful that I had a pretty quick and easy recovery from surgery. Sure, I had a couple bad days in there, but for the most part I think it went pretty well. A month out and I’m feeling pretty much normal. The doctor initially didn’t want me to go back to work for six weeks! But this is my second week back and it’s all good.

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I’m grateful I found a dress to fit, ha! All my swelling has gone down, 20 pounds worth, gah, and I’m back in my normal clothes. This is a Gwynnie Bee dress, it’s cute, right?? I wanted something a little bright and springy and this definitely fit the bill. I love a dress with a slip layer and an outer layer like this – it keeps everything looking very smooth. It’s sleeveless but down by the water last night it was breezy and chilly so I wore it with this longline cardigan and some new chestnutty-brown flats. I have to see if I can pull out the insole and replace it with an arch support insert because otherwise GAHHHH!!!

I’m SO grateful that spring finally seems to be here! I feel I handle the cold less and less well every year and I’ve been really anxious for some COMFORTABLE (not HOT, but…) weather. And this week has been that – comfortable – and I’m appreciating the heck out of it. I’m grateful to be able to wear dresses with bare legs! Tights are the devil’s work.

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I’m grateful to My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless for taking these pictures. I’m grateful for so many scenic places on Long Island to shoot!

I’m grateful that I’m remembering to be grateful. That has not always been my strong suit, so…yeah. If nothing else good comes out of all this, at least there’s that.

What I’m Wearing:

Weeks in Review: 54-58

Yeah, one of these days I’ll get back on track with regular weekly Week in Reviews. This year continues to just be Crazytown. I can’t believe it is April 1…and yet it is. February and March are dead to me. But let’s get caught up and hope for a better week!

I spent 15 days in the hospital between February & March. This was surreal and not so much fun…

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Except for…gifties and flowers and balloons and visits…

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…and a daughter who snuck in special treats…

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so we could have a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.

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When I was FINALLY released I discovered she (daughter) had gotten me a nice new bed set…what a pleasure to sleep in after the scratchy hospital sheets.

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I had some packages waiting at home for me – things I’d ordered before all this nonsense began. I’d been excited for this cute grey and white striped tee dress from Lane Bryant but it was kind of gigundo and I’ve returned it. Still on the lookout for soft comfy clothes for spring and summer.

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As soon as I was up to a little outing we drove to a nearby beach for a short sunset stroll. I’d missed seeing this.

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Janey has been thoroughly enjoying my surgery recovery time. For many days in a row I was just horizontal on the sofa from morning til night. Having sofa company pleased her no end.

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I had some more unpleasant news from the doctor this past week when they got the pathology report from my surgery. In a nutshell, they did *not* get all the cancer out with the hysterectomy. I have now been diagnosed with Stage 3 Uterine cancer and they’re recommending radiation and then chemotherapy. I’m getting a second opinion but I’m not expecting to hear anything radically different from the original recommendation. This doesn’t feel like my life. And yet….

Work sent me these flowers that day. And yes, Work Family, I COULD use a drink.

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The doctor cleared me for work and driving so I went and got a haircut. I went to a nutritionist to hear about things to eat and/or avoid during chemo.

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And yesterday I had the nicest day I’ve had in ages…just being NORMAL…a wonderful friend picked me up for a drive to the ocean…and in spite of the wind and rain, it was just so nice to be out of the apartment, not doing anything health related. I really value a day like that.

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So. I go back to work Monday. I think I worked 9 days in February (between snow days, the Maine adventure, winter break and being in the hospital) and like 2 days in March. I’ll have a couple normalish weeks now and then I start my treatments. So I’ll be here when I can. I miss the blog. I miss planning outfit posts. But against my will (ha) other things are pushing their way to the top of the list.

Hope you all have a great week.

PS – I just realized it’s April Fool’s Day. I wish this post was an April Fool’s joke…but it’s not.

xoxo Bettye

Catching Up…

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Totally random picture of my dog cuz come’on. Is he not the handsomest ever? And there had to be SOMETHING good about this post….

So…February has been a very challenging month for me…I’m not seeing the end of the tunnel yet either, but…the show must go on. And I don’t want this to be a pity party post, but I do want to explain why I have been MIA.

To start, I have some health/medical issues going on, nothing So Serious, but painful and at times incapacitating…they have made it difficult to meet up with anyone to shoot blog photos. I have a vision for this blog and I get frustrated when I can’t make it be The Way I Want it To Be…so I put off and put off, thinking an opportunity is right around the corner, and before you know it an entire month has gone by and there hasn’t been a blog post in ages!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know about my trip to Maine and how we got stuck there in blizzard after blizzard and finally had to just drive home because if we’d waited for a flight to actually leave the ground we might still be there! I missed both Valentine’s Day AND my blog’s One Year Anniversary (Happy Blogiversary to Me!). I’d had plans for a special anniversary shoot, but that didn’t happen and I don’t see it happening in the near future so I’m going to have to come up with something closer to home. Like…right here in my living room 😦

That’s another issue I’ve been having. When I started the blog it didn’t really occur to me just how much I was going to have to rely on other people for blog photos. I’d been getting Outfit of the Day shots done pretty regularly, but One Photo in the parking lot at work, and Ten-ish Photos in an interesting location are very different animals. And my friends have been great…but a year in I’m sure they’re getting weary of me asking them to do photo shoots with me, and they all have their own lives and their own issues and I totally get it. I’m SO appreciative of the time they gave me over the last year…but I’ve got to come up with another plan. I know some people do selfies with their tripods but I have a cheappieceofcrap tripod that doesn’t support the weight of my camera and lens so I can’t trust walking away from it. I’ve taken some blog photos in my apartment by creating a “tipsy tripod” out of two end tables stacked on top of one another but I’m not a fan of doing blog post after blog post with pictures of me in front of the window in my living room. Yawn. It bores me just thinking about it. The photography is a very important element to me and I’m so frustrated that I’m being unable to achieve what I envision in my mind’s eye.

And last but not least, I’ve had computer issues for the past month. My computer got wiped out by a bad virus* (yes I have anti-virus software and no they are not foolproof). It was awhile before I could get that looked at (cuz money). The computer guy thought he had it fixed, but no. So he gave me a used computer from his business (I couldn’t buy new cuz money). That had its OWN issues and he eventually came back and brought me ANOTHER used computer this week, and knock on wood, so far so good. But trying to do ANYTHING on computers that keep fritzing out on you is very frustrating and eventually I just threw in the towel and Let It All Go.

So, that is my story. I’m sorry this was so unbearably long, but I wanted to explain my trials and tribulations. And as I mentioned while commenting on someone else’s blog, Life is Not Always Pretty in Blog-land. Sh*t Happens. Things Break. We don’t feel well enough to shoot. Blizzards. Photographers (shockingly, ha) are not lining up at my door hoping to take my picture. Wah Wah Wah. Poor Me. I don’t want to be that person…but this month…I really felt like that person. I’m hoping the new month ahead, the new season, *something* will bring about a change, cuz right now I can barely get out of my own way.

I’m not looking for “oh poor you,” I just wanted to explain my absence.

I’m going to stop talking now 🙂  And tomorrow will do a big “Many Weeks in Review” catch-up post and hopefully next week be back on track. Cuz I really miss blogging when I don’t do it. I’m always thinking of post ideas or things I want to share…and I miss you guys 🙂

xoxo Bettye

* Oh! The virus, just to give y’all a heads up. It was a phony “update your Java” pop-up. Computer guy said if you ever see that, don’t click it, but go to the Java website instead and see if there’s actually an update and download it from there if it is.

My Week in Review: Weeks 40-43

Ooh, I’ve been remiss! In my defense: Holiday and Sick. So I’m doing a big Week(s) in Review catch-up here and can then proceed as usual starting next week. Do you guys even *like* Week in Review? I’m coming up on Fashion Schlub’s 1 Year Anniversary and am thinking about switching some things up. I feel like I get more new people liking and commenting on the WiR posts, which I guess is good? I don’t know? I’m just stumbling my way along in Blog-Land. Thoughts?

Gosh, THIS seems forever ago! I’m actually just taking the tree *down* this weekend. Sadface.

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Janey was helping not helping decorate the tree. Funny little crooked-faced cat.

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Janey loves sitting with me at the computer. And the sofa. And bed. And the toilet. You get the picture.

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I’ve been trying to eat more fruit. My reward for eating an orange is a vegan gingerbread cupcake from Batata Cafe in Northport.

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I love old building advertising. I loved painted signs, I think they’re so much more charming than big plastic or polyvinyl (or whatever those canopy type things you see everywhere now) signs.

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Meh. I so loved the other book of hers I read, Secrets of a Charmed Life…I was disappointed by this one.

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The last day of work before vacation is lovely. We’re all so productive and get just tons of work done.

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I drank a toast to the start of vacation. Alright. I drank a *couple* toasts.

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Exmas Eve with my baby.

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Christmas Day. We exchanged gifts at my apartment then went to dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant and drove around looking at Christmas lights. It was a nice low-key day. I like a low-key holiday.

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My boy.

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We drank a toast to the holiday. Alright. We drank *several* toasts to the holiday.

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I LOVED The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Do recommend.

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Ha ha. Christmas had too many toasts and threw up in their front yard.

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I spread my friendship wings (ha ha, someone dear to me used that phrase once when I was making a new friend and it has just always stayed in my heart and head) and made a new friend when we photographed one another for our respective blogs – Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me. You can see some photographs I did of her here.

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That day we shot was cold and super windy and we were out in it all day and I got SICK. This is what sick looks like.

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I’m trying to tackle some small projects in the apartment this winter. This is one of the cubbies staring me in the face when I sit at the computer and I was tired of it. The top pic is the before, the bottom is after. Ahh. But where did I put those chocolate chips??

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Which brings us to today and it is snowing out so I’m staying in with some work, some projects and some reading. But not enough snacks. Unless I can find those chocolate chips.

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Phew! All caught up! Holidays are over, tree is coming down, now the long cold blah winter begins. Will have to make effort to spice things up! Who’s with me??

Gratefulness

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I have to confess: I am not a positive person. My glass is not half-full. I do not easily see “the bright side of things.” Or rather, for every “good” I also see the “bad.” I see both. Everything HAS both. I don’t wish to be more “positive” if that means ignoring the negative. I hate being told, “smile, it’s not so bad,” or “look at the bright side.” To me “look at the bright side” means “ignore the dark side.” I’m here on this earth to experience *everything* – the good and the bad. Events, emotions, all of it. I consider myself a realist. I want to study the bad AND the good….and only then can I form an educated response or plan. Only that feels responsible to my “self.”

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So a holiday like Thanksgiving can be challenging for me. Sure, I can come up with a list of things I’m grateful for. But as I’m making up THAT list in my mind, I’m ALSO making the list of things I’d like to change, to improve on, to better.

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I know I have it better than SO many beings on this planet. I have a home, an income, I have my relative freedom, no one is going to kill and eat me. But I wish for so much more. There are things I’ve lost that I long for. And sometimes that wishing and longing, especially at a time like this, makes me feel ungrateful.

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So I’m going to really make an effort to make a practice of being grateful. I might do some of it here. You guys will keep me honest if I forget, okay?

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I am grateful for friends who support me, laugh with me, continue to ask me to be a part of something. I am grateful for my dog Caleb who has been a part of my heart for so many years and who keeps me company and keeps me active. I am grateful for family who, while they live far from me and I don’t often see them, I trust would help me if I really needed it. I am grateful for a job that not only helps me keep a roof over my head and food on my table, but also allows me some creativity and to work with really special people. I am grateful to be born into a country where I have freedoms and options as my birthright. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for a strong, brave, independent, healthy daughter.

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Last Saturday I was grateful for a beautiful day spent with friends…and the ability to travel to interesting places. After a trip to a museum, we stopped at Cedarmere, the charming Roslyn country home of 19th-century poet, newspaper editor and civic leader William Cullen Bryant. On this day the foliage was really outstanding and we all took pictures of the trees, bridges and buildings. I wondered if you’d enjoy seeing some pictures of locations we go to to shoot – what do you think? Yes or no?

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I am most certainly grateful for the people who help me with this blog as well as the people who read and follow it and post comments. That’s my friend Linda in the photo above who has photographed several sessions for Fashion Schlub, including this one. Linda, I’m so grateful for all your help!

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I would like to end by wishing friends and followers a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have things to be grateful for.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Old Navy black&white striped swing dress, 3x (most comfortable dress on the planet!)
  • Maurice’s cropped jean jacket, 3x. Sold out, similar here
  • Mustard yellow rayon scarf, don’t remember the brand, from Marshall’s
  • Target red faux converse sneakers