Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do You Dawdle?

daw·dle  (dôdl)
v. daw·dleddaw·dlingdaw·dles
1. To take more time than necessary: dawdled through breakfast.
2. To move aimlessly or lackadaisically: dawdling on the way to work.
To waste (time) by idling: dawdling the hours away.

It doesn't matter how early I get up in the morning, there will still be a mad rush to get out the door by 7:00 AM. I am fairly self-efficient- the alarm goes off; I drag my butt out of bed and start sleep-walking my way through my morning beauty routine. I second guess my outfit a couple of times, and then I eat some sort of breakfast. In fact I've streamlined my morning routine so much, I've actually been able to post blogs in the morning lately.

But Sean is a dawdler. When I use this phrase my students always look at me like I am speaking a foreign language. I thought it was a Southern thing, but now I'm not so sure. I try to trace back through my life where I might have first heard or seen the word dawdle, but I can't remember. However, I am well accustomed to dawdlers. My sister is one of the world's worst dawdlers (if you are reading, I love you, Desi!), and apparently Sean is taking after his auntie!

Breakfast is an hour-long affair over here, punctuated by battles to brush his hair and his teeth, get him dressed, put his shoes on, so on and so forth. This child does not get in a hurry. It's kinda sweet and whimsical at this age, at least for me. Curtis, on the other hand, is responsible for getting Sean to school and himself to work, so he's a little more stressed by the morning dawdling.

I hope I enjoyed these pictures. They were taken by my dawdling sister, and she may be so mad at me, she never willingly takes photos of me again....

Monday, January 30, 2012

A "GRAY"ve Situation

It is my experience that we all gravitate towards certain items throughout our lives. Like moths to a flame, there are simply people, items, places, whatever that we are naturally drawn to. This isn't a blog about soul mates. It's a blog about my obsession with the color gray.

It's clear I have a "problem" with the color gray (see here, here, and here for further examples). Gray has been my favorite color since at least 1999. It's my safety color- not as stark as black, not as earthy as brown or khaki. It's like a magnet pull. I see something gray and I want to buy it. Currently in my closet I have 6 different gray sweaters- I don't care who you are, that's too many.

I go through phases where I have to outlaw purchasing gray items for my wardrobe. People crease their brows when you say gray is your favorite color. "Really," they will say thoughtfully, "but that's so... depressing."

So, when I walked into my local Gap, I immediately noticed this beautiful gray wool skirt. And even though it was too big for me (what a great problem!), I couldn't resist the gray color and the $4.97 clearance price tag!  And I promise I haven't forgotten how to smile. This is what happens when I am taking pictures at 7:00 A.M. to catch the fog. I'm too tired to remember to smile!

Happy Monday! What's your favorite color to wear?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday: My Husband

Next week is my 8th wedding anniversary with the wonderful husband, Curtis. We were high school sweethearts, so technically we've been together FOURTEEN years, but who's counting anymore. We were friends in high school and dating was just the natural progression. He was (and still is) the sweetest, kindest, nicest, funniest man I've ever known, and I am thankful every day for having him in my life. Sadly in the hustle and bustle of everyday life- with jobs and a kid and bills and all that wedded bliss bull, sometimes I forget to tell him how important he is to me. So my husband became the natural choice for today's Thankful Thursday.

Dear Curtis,

Thank you so much for putting up with me for the past 14 years. I know I can be a total pain in the butt and super-lazy, but I hope you also realize how much I love you. I'm thankful every day that we met on the cheesy school field trip. I'm thankful that you agreed to co-direct that lame video for my creative writing class. I'm glad we started passing notes in class. I have a terrible memory, but I will never forget sneaky hand holding in French class and in the lunch room and in between seats in other people's cars.

I am thankful that I have gotten to see you grow from a young man obsessed with wrestling, video games, and football to an old young man obsessed with...well, wrestling, video games, and football. I know that I am so lucky to be with you because I get to be myself with you. I love just sitting with you in comfortable silence- reading, watching T.V., scanning the internet whatever. I love that we can have deep discussion about "True Blood", "America's Next Top Model", and any number of other girly shows you watch with me. I love when we get really cracked up about something and can't stop laughing (it's usually fart-related, but whatever, it's still funny!).

I am thankful that you help provide for our family, and that you take your responsibilities very seriously. I'm glad you aren't some sexist jerk from the 50's who thinks men can't wash dishes or vacuum (although I wouldn't mind being a housewife sometimes!). I'm thankful you pay the bills because I know how stressful that is. I'm thankful that you keep a job and that you've never let me quit a job, no matter how much I hated it, without having another job already lined up. I am thankful that you supported me and nearly single-handedly raised Sean for the time that I was in graduate school (including that hellacious summer of night and weekend classes non-stop).

I am thankful that you are the father of our son. I couldn't imagine a better man for the job. You are raising him right and you are patient and loving and clearly enjoy spending time with him. I am thankful for all the baths you've given him, all the diapers and Pull-Ups you've changed, all the nights you've put him to bed. I am thankful that you realize and cherish the importance of being a dad.

Thank you for all the naps you let me take. Thank you for all the support you give me to follow my dreams. Thank you for not being too mad about the tattoos and that time I got my nose pierced. Thank you for always telling me I am beautiful and sexy no matter what I look like! Thank you for reading, and being interested in, every blog I write and for listening to me drone on and on about blog-related stuff. Thank you for starting your own blog, so we could have even more to talk about.

Thank you for always making me feel little and petite, even though I'm not. Thanks for holding my hand and turning up the heat and sleeping on the edge of the bed. Thank you for calling me out when I have a bad attitude or spend too much money or don't carry my weight around the house.

Everything- Michael Buble

You're a falling star, You're the get away car.
You're the line in the sand when I go too far.
You're the swimming pool, on an August day.
And you're the perfect thing to say.

And you play it coy, but it's kinda cute.
Ah, When you smile at me you know exactly what you do.
Baby don't pretend, that you don't know it's true.
Cause you can see it when I look at you.

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, You make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.

You're a carousel, you're a wishing well, 
And you light me up, when you ring my bell.
You're a mystery, you're from outer space, 
You're every minute of my everyday.
[ Lyrics from: ]
And I can't believe, uh that I'm your man, 
And I get to kiss you baby just because I can.
Whatever comes our way, ah we'll see it through, 
And you know that's what our love can do.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You are Feeling Very, Very Sleepy...

It has been a whirlwind of awesomeness over here lately. I have been so busy with blog-related stuff that I can barely keep up. I spent most of the weekend taking and editing pictures and working on posts for my blog and guest posts for other blogs. This was one of my goals for 2012, and I am so thrilled! It reminds me of when I was in graduate school and I always had papers to write and articles to read, except that was torturous and blogging is amazingly fun. My mind is currently racing with what I'm doing and what I need to do.

I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have going on right now, but boy am I tired. I still think I am sleep-deprived from Sean's stint as a newborn, so I try to justify my naps by saying I'm catching up for lost time! Every afternoon about 3 o' clock, I hit a wall of tired. I just want to curl up in the bed and nap. But I don't do "power naps"; in fact, the very idea is insulting to me. Who wants to take a 15 minute nap? What's the point?

I want to curl up under the covers and warm and cuddly and SLEEP. For hours. Yes, I wake up feeling like crap, but that's so not the point. the point is sleeping in the middle of the day is so decadent that it is impossible for me to avoid. At the same time, sometimes I absolutely MUST take a nap or I know I will not make it through the rest of the day. It's not something I'm proud of, but sometimes I'm just so tired that I can't see straight. Part of this is health-related, but I also know part of it is laziness.

Full disclosure: I did stop writing this to go take a nap. Oops!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dignity, Importance, and Excellence- Do We Respect?

Aahh, sleeping in on a Monday. Writing a blog post in the morning in my pajamas in my bed. Heavenly. I know I will spend ALL day reading and writing blogs.  I love an extra day off during the week, but I try to be mindful of why we are out of school (while I relish the extra time lounging in bed and being a totally bum).

I didn't watch the Golden Globes last night, but I watched all the recaps, and I was very moved by Octavia Spencer's acceptance speech for her supporting role in The Help. She mentioned Martin Luther King, Jr, and one of his famous quotes, saying, "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." Um, wow! That's going on the whiteboard at school tomorrow. I wasn't actually familiar with the quote, but I LOVE the idea.

She was rightfully defending the oft-scoffed job as an actor, but it clearly can apply to any aspect of life. Let me discuss shallow pursuits first. I often have to defend myself and my blogging. Not because people make fun of it, but because people don't understand it. "So you take pictures of yourself and put it on the internet. Why?" I get the impression that I am either viewed as crazy, egotistical, or severely misinformed about my actual fashion prowess. What's the point. they wonder. But I know I am making a difference. I know I am doing a worthwhile thing. I know I am uplifting humanity. So it should be treated with dignity and importance. I have women tell me(both in my blogging world and in real life) that I encourage them and boost their confidence. I give them the courage to try something new or the push to get out of a rut. I cannot express in words how wonderful that feels.

In my everyday life I am a high school teacher. Can you imagine a job more fitting to King's quote? I have the opportunity everyday to influence someone's life- to encourage and inspire- and I should do this with painstaking excellence, not in a halfway manner. But think of all the other professions which are ignored or humiliated- fast food worker, waste disposal services, blue-collar workers. Are they not uplifting humanity? Then why are they treated like a lower class of citizen, like what they do is embarrassing or unimportant? Clearly this is more of a Labor Day post, but it was laying heavily on my mind this morning, so that's what you get.

I am posting this quote in my classroom tomorrow because i think it will spark conversation. Conversation that needs to be had. And I have a renewed drive to perform with painstaking excellence, not just phone things in. Happy MLK Day!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Occasionally Stylish: Maternity Mode

Recently, my dear friend Sara revealed that she is pregnant and expecting her first bundle of joy! She also revealed in a blog comment,  "Hey, can you please be my maternity stylist? b/c these black yoga pants are the only thing I own that I can fit into, ha. :)". 
Sara has just hit the second trimester and is struggling to find her maternity style. Now, I'm no expert; I haven't been pregnant in five years! But I know from my own experience a few things that work and don't work.

Bright Color? Check!
Classic Shape? Check!
Cute Bump? Check!
Lots of Cleavage? Check!

So DON'T Works!

Yep. Those pants are up over my boobs! Gross!

 I'm not sure that anyone should EVER have seen that picture. EVER! But you know, I'm all about telling the truth over here! And the truth is sometimes maternity fashion is not pretty.  However, we've come a long way, baby!

I'm not going to write too much about Maternity Wardrobe Staples and Essentials-you can get all the basics- t-shirts, camisoles, layering tanks, stretchy pants, etc. at Target or Motherhood Maternity. And there's nothing wrong with yoga pants! Nothing at all.  I'm also a big fan of sweaters and cardigans, because you can wear them post-baby. Same thing with maternity pants. Don't pack those babies up- there's something to be said for elastic waist pants- even once your baby is four years old...

I love skinny jeans. So invest in a couple of pairs in different rinses and mix and match with cute, roomy tops!

I also LOVE my chambray dress, so I'm digging this maternity style from Old Navy. Top it with a long cardigan and a belt and you've got a great outfit, and I'm telling you, that dress will become a wardrobe go-to!!

A pair of boot-cut jeans is also essential. I personally loved full-panel jeans(like pictured below), but Old Navy has a huge selection of jeans with different rises.  Also, please avoid empire-waist tops. They are just not flattering! I don't like maternity clothes that make women look like little girls or baby dolls. You are a woman who HAD SEX and it now going to have a baby. You are probably growing and your boobs are getting big... embrace these new curves! Don't hide them!

So, I love dresses. I love these dresses. I want to buy these dresses. I'm not pregnant. They are that awesome!  Top with a denim jacket or cardigan sweater. Wear with a bright scarf and boots. Awesome!

Remember how I just said I love maternity dresses... well I've actually featured one on the blog. I didn't come right out and say it was maternity, but now that I am revealing all my secrets... here you go. It is gorgeous, and I love it.

No surprise I'm sure, but I'm also a big fan of dresses. Also don't neglect your accessories- belts, scarves, jewelry, awesome shoes. I'm going to share with you some wardrobe-building pieces, but be sure to spice it up with accessories you already own. When nothing you own fits, you'll be happy you have so many awesome shoes, unless you are one of those gals who's feet expand during pregnancy. Then you'll be really happy you have lots of pretty necklaces.

Maternity clothes are so stylish now, and Kohl's and Motherhood both have HUGE plus-size selections. There's no reason to feel frumpy as you expand your family.

So what's next for Occasionally Stylish?! What occasion do you need help styling?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday: My Mother

I wanted to be really facetious today with Thankful Thursday, and thank my local meteorologists for not making it perfectly clear that it was going to be windy and freezing today.  I mean, I'm sure they said it, but I really needed them to tap on the TV screen and say, "Hey, Katie! Wear some tights and some long sleeves or you are going to freeze your butt off this afternoon." Yep, that didn't happen!

But this is not supposed to be a facetious series. This is supposed to be sincere.I am struggling a little bit because I have SO many people to thank that I don't know who to choose. I don't want anyone to feel slighted or overlooked. Tough decisions. Today I sincerely thank my mother.

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for being such a great mom. I feel really lucky (And I'm not just saying that because you are watching my son this weekend... although it definitely doesn't hurt. So if you wanna make the thank you list then you know how to butter me up!)  You are a great mom, but you are an incredible grandmother. You do so  much for Sean; I could never repay you- either literally or figuratively. You are awesome! I am sorry for that time when I back talked you about brushing my teeth way back in elementary school, and now I appreciate that you made me every day because nice teeth are important. I'm also sorry that time I got mad at you after my college graduation and I ripped up all those car payments checks you gave me. That was really dumb.

I completely understand why you never put batteries in some of our toys. Those suckers are noisy! Thank you for bathing me and cleaning up after me not only as a child, but also after I had Sean. That was one of the most humbling and helpless moments of my adult life, and if I ever need to return the favor, I totally will. Thank you for buying me a book or magazine EVERY SINGLE TIME we went shopping, even though I admit I was mad when you wouldn't let me read at the dinner table.  You are the best mom I could ever ask for. Hope someone shows you how to get to this website because otherwise you'll never find this post!

Thank you. I love you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hunger Pains, A.K.A Momma's Gotta Eat!

I'm so hungry. This is not unusual really. I spend most of my day fighting off starvation (according to me). However, today I had to go to the grocery store. ALONE. Usually grocery shopping is a family affair which means we have Sean, and we get in and out of the store as quickly as we can. My husband is really big on making lists and sticking to them. I make lists but they are just suggestions, a starting point if you will.

Today I had a list. It had chicken, cheese dip, and plastic cutlery on it. Three things... I didn't even need a list really. And it didn't do me any good because I forget the cutlery. 

I did get two kinds of chips, two kinds of crackers, two kinds of waffles, three kinds of sandwich meat, and 4small containers of ice cream (can you tell I'm indecisive?). For the official record, we bought all the healthy stuff on the Sunday family grocery trip and I need was meat for dinner. I have failed as a mother, but apparently I make a really good pot head or 8-year-old. I mean who am I shopping for?!?

I am blaming this on Curtis. He knows better than to send me to the grocery store alone! I'm also blaming it on "lady problems." Those problems can be responsible for a myriad of things, right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Show Some Spirit

So, this is probably the first and ONLY time I will ever mention football on this blog, but I have to brag just a little! My alma mater, The University of Alabama, won the BCS National Championship last night, and Crimson Tide fans down here are ecstatic.  I pride myself in not being an obnoxious football fan, but I think my husband would just say I'm not really a fan. However to show some spirit yesterday and to show some celebration today, I dressed in team colors.

Here in the South, houndsooth print are ubiquitous with one man, UA Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. I'm not going to get into the history and the lore (I'll let Curtis take care of that), but trust me- down here wearing houndstooth is pledging allegiance to the Crimson Tide. Luckily houndstooth is also a very classic and stylish print, so I was able to wear it without being *too* over-the-top. And I am IN LOVE with my new red tights from HUE (be prepared to see them again soon!)!


Monday, January 9, 2012

I DO Take it Personally

I promised last week that I would show you all some of the photos I took all by myself, but I got caught up in wedding stuff and life in general, but as promised here it is. Curtis (the fabulous and hilarious husband) bought me a tripod for Christmas- so I've been excited and a little apprehensive about trying it out on my own. My camera is so basic and ancient that it doesn't have an available remote shutter, but I made it work with the self-timer.

I was really nervous to show up at the park by myself. I was relieved that no one was there. I parked and situated myself as far from street traffic as I could, and tried to just imagine myself as a "real" photographer taking landscape pictures- not some self-absorbed narcissist snapping shots of her daily outfit. Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun. I didn't feel rushed or self-conscious. I was so pleased with this first set of photos that I rushed out to the park the next day ready for a repeat performance. Instead the park was covered up and some random dog and his walker kept trying to creep closer. The "I'm a real photographer" mind-set didn't work and I was incredibly nervous and awkward. Not a usable pic in the bunch. Seriously. I was too worried about what the other people there were thinking about me to enjoy myself and get the job done.

So the teachers at my school had a "homework assignment" over Christmas break. We were supposed to read The Power of ICU, a book explaining how to implement a "No Zero Policy" at the high school level. I'm not going to bore you with the nitty, gritty, but I read and highlighted REPEATEDLY the idea that as a teacher "I can't take it personally when a student doesn't do work for me" and that" it's not about me." These are very hard concepts for me to embrace in my teaching life and in my personal life. I take everything to heart. Who knew I was so sensitive?

My husband used to call me "Little Miss Take Offense" and I think the nickname is pretty self-explanatory. Every sideways glance is someone judging. Every laugh in the hall is directed at me and what I'm wearing. Every furtive glance down at a cell phone is a secret text message to someone about me. When I first started teaching, I was super concerned with my students "liking" me. It's really hard sometimes to separate your adult self from your teenage self when you are working in a high school (I think those difficulties are compounded for me because I teach at my alma mater and my ghosts seemingly haunt the halls). It's a second chance at high school!

But then students don't like you (well, me, but I'm trying to be hypothetical). They talk about you. They complain about you. The use of social media is both a wonderful thing and a dangerous thing, especially in the hands of teenagers. Everything is an opportunity for drama. I've taken major steps in the past year to separate myself, and to not take things as personally. While it is incredibly tough, I know it's for the best. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. As I spend this year working towards my goals and aspirations, I am going to try to stop taking things personally- both at school and with the blog. At school, I will remind myself I am there to teach, not to make friends. With Hems for Her, I will not take it personally when people and companies I tweet don't respond or emails go unanswered. It doesn't mean they are purposely snubbing me because they think I suck, even if it is what it feels like.

It's a long road, but I'm determined to not take things personally, well, except my pictures... See how I tied all that together?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Occasionally Stylish : Party Time {Curvy Edition}

I am the first person to admit when I have screwed up, and frankly, I feel like I have screwed up big time! This week I posted another installment of Occasionally Stylish- which is my attempt to give you some outfit ideas for special occasions- first dates, weddings (eventually maternity and interviews and so on). These features take a TON of time. You'd think just posting some pictures would be super easy, but I have to find the outfits, download the pictures, save the links- it's a long process, but I do it because it's like the ultimate in window shopping and my hope is it will inspire some of you to think outside of the box.

However with my most recent Occasionally Stylish post, I unintentionally left out a major chunk of my readers. One of my comments said, "Cute outfits. My problem would be that the dresses only come in regular sizes. Bummer!" And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. Literally, I've lost sleep over this, and even though I don't think it was the reader's intention, I feel like I have gone away from the original point of Hems for Her. I created this blog because the number of "quality" plus-size bloggers out there was severely lacking. I wanted to show people that we don't have to be stick thin to be stylish and beautiful.

You may have seen this article floating around Facebook this week, but it really strikes home with what I am talking about. In Plus Size Bodies, What Is Wrong With Them Anyway? Plus Model Mag editor Madeline Figueroa-Jones shares some startling statistics, including:

- Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
- Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.
- Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
- 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.
I personally fit most comfortably in a 14-16, so I'm what they call in certain circles "Small Fat", although frankly I prefer the circles that call me "thick" and mean it in a good way (you know what I mean?!) This may be the first time I've ever publicly said what size I wear. There's such a stigma attached to that little number, like our entire self-worth is tangled up in what section we shop in the department stores. I'm in a weird in-between- too big for regular clothes and too small for most plus-sized clothes, but I never want to leave out those plus-size ladies by not including outfits for them as well.
From now on, Occasionally Stylish posts will feature styles for all sizes- there is a huge world of plus-size styles available in stores and on the internet, and I am going to introduce my readers to companies they may have never heard of. Companies that are committed to embracing curves, not embarrassing them- which was my original intent with Hems for Her. So all of that being said, I want to show you some beautiful dresses for women with beautiful curves. I intentionally refused to feature any "Little Black Dresses" in this particular post- unless they were embellished with lace. I want you to realize you don't have to limit yourself to black dresses in an attempt to "blend in" or "look slim". When you shop with a company catering to curves, the quality and construction flatter you and fit your curves so you can be proud and smokin' hot!

Kiyonna is a company whose tag line says it all-- Sophisticated Style, Size 10+. Their sizes go up to a 5x and while most of their dresses are a little pricey (averaging $128), for a special occasion dress that you can wear to multiple functions for multiple years, I think it's worth the investment. Plus when you see how beautiful these dresses are, I think you'll agree! I also really love the website- it's clean and easy to navigate, and they feature real women as models and plus-size bloggers. Here's hoping one day I'm awesome enough to be featured there!

Another company I am very impressed with is Eloquii by The Limited. Now at The Limited I can buy scarves and jewelry and that's about it, but last year The Limited listened and created Eloquii- a plus-size line than features sizes from 14w- 24w. The website is awesome- great fitting guides, beautiful models, amazing sales. 

And if you are like me and you don't like to show off your upper arms, a classic Bolero Sweater is your best friend. You can wear it with almost anything! Eloquii has this bolero sweater on sale for under $30 but this is an easy wardrobe piece to find!

Be sure to tell me what you think! And tell me what you'd like to see!

 Linking up with What I Wore Wednesday and Transatlantic Blonde! Check it out!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Occasionally Stylish : Weddings, Receptions, and Dinners

I don't have many occasions for really dressing up, so when I get the chance, I like to go all out! This weekend is super special to me because my sister-in-law Stephanie is getting married Saturday and I am the matron of honor. I've known Stephanie nearly her entire life (fourteen years), and she really is like a little sister. Since I'm in the wedding I don't have to worry about what to wear to it, but I do have the rehearsal dinner tonight, so I got on Kohl's website to pick out some wedding and party-appropriate dresses.

Apt. 9 Origami Ponte Sheath Dress $42.00
Jessica McClintock Pleated Satin Clutch $21.50
Vera Wang Platform Heels $34.99

Elle Color Block Accordion Pleat Empire Dress $25.60
Vera Wang Platform Heels $34.99
Vera Wang Rhinestone Wristlet $39.50

Apt. 9 Cowl Neck Sheath Dress $ 42.00
Elle Platform High Heels $41.99
Jessica McClintock Sequin Handle Clutch  $47.60

LC Lauren Conrad Lace Surplice Overlay Dress $54.00
Vera Wang Platform Heels $34.99
Glitter Envelope Clutch $24.50 

I can't wait to show you what I ended up wearing to the rehearsal dinner (think gold and glitter and sequins)!

Which outfit would you chose for a special, dressy occasion?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Over the weekend I read an interesting article about John Kralik. He wrote a book called A Simple Act of Gratitude in which he spent a year writing thank you letters to different people. What a simple and wonderful idea; I wish I had thought of it! Now I am the world's worst about writing thank you notes (just ask my in-laws) and I'm pretty sure there are a couple of items from our wedding registry eight years ago that never got thank you notes, and I know it's a "dying art." But I also realize how ungrateful it makes me seem.

Kralik says in the article, "This project transformed my life. I saw how much I had been blessed by so many people in different ways, and acknowledging their blessings seemed to make them multiply."

I love this idea. Love it. I'm hoping to make it a regular feature because, frankly, I have many people to be thankful for and I could use an attitude of gratitude.

Here are the tips Kralik offers:

Refrain from sending an email. Handwritten notes feel special, almost like the person is there with you. I use plain off-white cards that have my name printed on the front and my name and address on the envelope. 

Perhaps start by thanking the people who just gave you holiday presents. Open with “Dear So-and-So,” identify the gift (“the red and white tie”), and say one sincere thing about why you like it (“It’s a perfect match for my blue suit”). 

After thanking your close friends and family, write to people who helped you at critical moments. I reached out to the doctor whose operation cured my pain, and to another doctor who told me I needed to stop drinking. 

Your message doesn’t need to be long and eloquent—my cards are small, with room for only three or four sentences. By sticking to a few lines, you keep the focus on your thank-you and on the other person’s kindness. 


Now I just have to figure out who to start with!

Dear J.C.,

Thank you so much for taking these beautiful pictures of me. You are the main reason I am doing this blog. You gave me the confidence to do something I've always wanted to do because you believed in me. Your encouragement and kindness and willingness to take pictures (even though I'm sure you have better things to do than take pictures of an overweight, 30-year-old woman with a tendency to shut my eyes and squint), keep me going. Thank you for pushing me in this new direction. You are a beautiful and talented young woman and I can't wait to see where your life leads you.

Thank you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Do You Like the New Me? {And A Giveaway}

Here's a sneak peek at tomorrow's post! I'm really excited because I took the pictures by myself!

I am so beyond excited to unveil my new blog design to you today! It might be the cutest I've ever seen. I usually wouldn't say that out of modesty, but since this wasn't my creation, I feel like I can do a little bragging! Kristin over at Simply Klassic Blog Design redesigned the blog for me. I gave it to myself for a Christmas gift!

Kristin is not only an awesome blog designer, but she also has her own lifestyle blog, Simply Klassic Home, chronicling her life as a crafty and creative single mom of two of the most beautiful children I've ever seen! I really consider Kristin a friend as we found each other through a guest feature I had on Momma Go Round back in the infancy of Hems for Her, and we've been bloggy buddies since then!

Her customer service is second-to-none. She worked with me every step of the way and even installed it for me! Ummm, it doesn't get much better than that!  Well, maybe it does.... Kristin is giving away a new blog header to one Hems for Her reader! So if you have a blog, or you've been thinking about starting one, here's a great chance to get a professional and precious new header. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the blog. The giveaway will end on January 11!

Kristin is also going to offer a 10% discount to any reader! All you have to do is use the code HEMS at checkout.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Say Hello to My Little Friend: Feathers & Freckles

Over the holidays I was able to do so much- I read a ton of books; I napped a lot; I shopped; I ate too much and drank too much; I watched a ton of television; played tons of Words and Hanging with Friends, and I read blogs until I was bleary-eyed. As much as I love my own blog, I equally love reading other blogs and discover new "friends". After stumbling upon Feathers & Freckles, I was immediately smitten with Megan. She is so cute and likable and her warmth and kindness really shine in her writing and photos. I felt like I had known her forever as I read through her blog, and I knew I HAD to share her fresh and funny take on life and fashion with you. It is my pleasure to introduce Megan!

Hi there! I'm Megan from Feathers & Freckles, a redhead who blogs about fashion but doesn't obsess over it. (I'd rather obsess over my cat, Swedish Fish and Emma Stone).

Since I live off of a small paycheck, I typically turn to thrifting for rounding out my wardrobe. Sifting through other people's donated crap can be both depressing and frustrating but also incredibly rewarding. It requires a lot of patience, a high tolerance for bad odors, and a personal stash of hand sanitizer. (Optional: earplugs, plastic gloves and pepper spray).

Over the past year I've thrifted a lot of skirts - and I've had a few regrets, like passing up this gem. Below are some of my favorites:

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Since talking about fashion would put me to sleep, I generally write about my life - past and present - be it my adventures taking photos of myself, my love for monkey shoes, or my bad history with children.

Hop on over any time and say hello!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Kissed a Boy (or 72) and I Liked It- A New Year's Post?

Ah, a new year has arrived. When I was an angst-filled teenage girl, I would spend New Year's Eve scribbling in my diary- all of my dreams and aspirations and hopes. Oh, yeah, and a list of all the boys I had kissed that year (emphasis on the KISSED part, and also note cheek kisses totally counted). I ended 1997 with nine names on the list. What can I say other than I read an article in YM that a girl kissed an average of 72 (!!!!! in hindsight this must have been misread or mis-typed... 72 really? That's A LOT!) guys before getting married. I was 14 and I had kissed a whopping one guy, so I figured if I wanted to get married before I turned 80 that I needed to get busy.

I'm a list-maker by nature. There is something so satisfying with making lists and marking off lists. So let's start with the easy one.

Guys I kissed in 2011:

1. Curtis (the husband)
2. Sean (the boy)

Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations:

1. Be more positive, especially with things related to work
2. Stress less (also work related)
3. Exercise....
4. Stop Spending SOOOO much money!
5. Be grateful and appreciative

Blog-Related Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations

1. Build up my readership
2. Focus on the readers I have
3. Produce quality content and photographs
4. Decide if I want to start seeking sponsorship
5. Have guest posters and find people who will let me guest post for them

I am so excited to have you with me as I begin 2012. I have so many exciting things planned, and I can't wait to share with you. Please share your resolutions, suggestions, or encouragement with me. 

You can even tell me how many boys you kissed! ;)

By the way, I didn't even come close to 72 guys! I meet my future husband in 1998 and my lips have been his since then!

Linking Up With Transatlantic Blonde: What I Wore Wednesday!
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