Monday, September 23, 2019

Happy 1st birthday to my blog!





I did it! The blog has made it a year. Have I had gaps in posting? Yep, but I still made it! I have accomplished so much in this year too. I started this blog as basically a creative outlet and to put into words some of what I went through with Ray's cancer journey. Most people have said I was never really verbal about what the journey was like and what we actually experienced. I have gotten countless messages from people thanking me for sharing and that it in some way helped them or touched their own life.

When Love What Matters printed my story I connected with so many people that have gone through the same journey or just wanted to show support. Through the story being published members of a group that all have the gene found me and invited me to join their online group and I have learned invaluable information from them. This in itself was worth writing this blog.

The outfit sharing is a creative outlet for me. I love to style outfits and shop to find cute things or great deals. I love to dress myself and my girls. This part of the blog is most fun for me. Writing the Widow Wednesday posts leave me in tears quite often (as I have heard it does to the readers as well) so these are the posts I can have fun with. From finding the outfit, to styling it, finding the perfect location to shoot, and then writing the post it is time consuming but something I enjoy doing.

A huge goal for any blogger is to become a Rewardstyle and/or Shopstyle blogger and I achieved both this year! I never in a million years expected to be accepted so it was a huge surprise to me, usually you need large follower numbers and I have a small following but very loyal. I have built this end of my blog by staying true to me and products I believe in and truly love. My next goal is to build this into something more people find and read and continue to support me through using my links to shop (yes, I make a small commission when you do!)

If you have been reading here since the beginning or anywhere in between...THANK YOU! You have pushed me outside my comfort zone to share things I wouldn't normally share and given me an outlet for my creativity.

Outfit linked below as well as similar shoes (mine are old)


Friday, September 20, 2019

In-between weather days




This time of the year is so hard to dress for. Cool in the morning and evening and hot during the day. Either I like to layer or wear outfits like this. This dress is so cozy, (if you haven't noticed a common theme to my outfits) it is a brushed fleece material.

I paired it with these wedge sandals that I have had for a few years to dress it up a little. I could easily have worn it with flats, mules, booties, or even tennis shoes. I linked a few pairs that look similar to the ones I have on. I love this style, the buckles up the front really give an outfit some character, that otherwise would be rather plain.

This bracelet is a HUGE steal. I ordered a few different ones from this retailer to try because although I love my Victoria Emerson one, it is expensive and broke. They have great customer service and sent me a new one, but I still was looking for another alternative. I have a few from this other retailer and I am impressed for the price.

This time of the year is my favorite though, so I am going to embrace the weather changes even if I have to change multiple times a day to keep up with the weather.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Important support

I know a few weeks ago I did a whole post on the support from my WTE mom group. I wanted to touch on the support from my other friends. I don't want to call out specific people because no matter how big or small the help it is all remembered and appreciated.

So often I get asked, "What should I do for someone that is going through the same thing?" and honestly every person is different. Different people need different support while going through this. We were fortunate enough to have the help of family and friends when it came to things around the house or help watching the kids, etc. We had good medical insurance and didn't really incur any bills from his illness. We regularly received calls and texts asking what we needed. People would drop off food and send cards.

At the time I would hate people asking how I was doing, because I wasn't sick. Looking back I realize how important that was. I know I probably just said "fine", but opening that communication is important. No one can understand that role unless they are in it. I never wanted attention on me, as I said I was "fine" I wasn't sick.

After Ray died the people that included us for a sense of normalcy and to get us back out. I won't forget the friends that invited us out to eat with them, to events, etc. Some of these same friends have been through some things now and I have always felt bad that I haven't been able to support in the same way. That is one thing I have learned. I can help other widows and talk to them, support them, or people that are sick, but when someone has lost someone I can't seem to face it.

I had friends step up and put on fundraisers for the girls. I can't say how much this means. A big fear for me is always how to pay for potential medical bills they may one day have. That money is all tucked away for when they should need it.

I could probably make this a very long post with everything that was done and the support we received but just knowing I had people to lean on and give us a sense of a normal life back meant the world.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Life Update

I know I said I would update on why I have been not posting as much and quite honestly I know it seems like to do a post all I have to do is sit down and do it or take a few pics and post but a lot of time and planning go into a post. My widow Wednesday posts can bring up a lot of feelings for me and can be emotionally draining at times. My outfit posts require time to put together the looks, find a location, shoot the looks, link the items, and finally write the posts.

My time lately was focused on the kid's last few weeks off of school. We took the trip to Niagara Falls kind of last minute after having a change in original plans and then when we came back I was dealing with the school.

I know I have posts about this and you can search my blog if you want to read them, but Ray was dyslexic and I believe both girls are as well. Since Kindergarten, they have shown signs. The short side of the story is they were tested in 3rd and 4th grade and neither showed a learning disability. When Lily entered 4th I had started a program on my own that showed success, as well as had researched a lot and knew it was dyslexia. After pushing she was retested (different measures were used) and qualified. Needless to say, not many in the schools even know what dyslexia is, yet statistics show 1 in 5 students have it, or what to do for a kid that does have it.

Lily entered a resource room class last year and made progress for the first time. I loved her teacher and her regular teacher, but before spring break her teacher went out on medical leave and the sub that was filling in wasn't there a lot because she was still in college. At this point she started complaining about going to school again, her grades were dropping, and her accommodations weren't being met. I had to contact the resource room teacher and explain.

Summer was retested again last year and again didn't qualify, but I had an issue with the testing and the results. I had a principal converse with me in ways that clearly showed he lacked knowledge in dyslexia and what a student that has it can achieve or will achieve and what it effects.

We went for middle school orientation and already things that were supposed to have been accommodated were not. I was then challenged about my concerns and again the conversation showed a lack in knowledge by the staff and I had had it.

I contacted the advocate who I had tried to reach before and she wanted to meet right away. We met and put in place a plan for both girls. This plan involves retesting Summer outside the school and also moving Lily districts. I didn't want to move Summer. This was such a hard decision to move her out of a school district she has been in since Kindergarten and friends she has grown up with. She seemed fine with the transition and I implemented the change of district.

Lily went to her old district for the first week of school and on Monday started the new one. She was really excited to go to the new school and I was for her. The staff was welcoming and the school seems much smaller and a better fit. She came home the first day crying and cried all last night and this morning. She complains the classes are too easy, yet the school said she tested as being in an even lower class. I am so conflicted on this change of schools and if this was a good move for her. I really feel like the districts don't know what to do with these kids that struggle with dyslexia. I think her reading and writing capabilities hinder her being able to show what she is really capable of.

I hope to be able to update this post in a few weeks with her progress as well as Summer's progress and where we are at with the districts.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Darker colors Fall Inspiration





I am back! Wednesday I will do an update post on what has been going on and why I have been missing on Instagram and the blog.

Today I wanted to share an outfit that I shot a while ago and haven't had a chance to post. Fall is by far my favorite season and I love the transitional fall weather. I love the cool mornings and evenings with the warmer afternoons. Sometimes it can be a challenge to dress for it and I just recommend layering!

Start with an easy base that you can add to and dress up or down. This dress is a great affordable find that can easily be layered. It can be worn with a leather jacket, cardigan, or sweatshirt over it.

I could also wear it with knee high boots, flats, booties, sandals, or even tennis shoes. I wore these fun Zara find from the sale to give it a pop of pattern. The Zara sale is over now but it is one of my favorite times to stock up on trendy pieces at a good price. These were under $15.

Below I will link the items that I have on and some other pieces that can be layered with this dress or shoes that would also go well!


Monday, August 19, 2019

End of Season Sales





I get asked all the time to share some of my shopping tricks. This is a big one...shop at the end of the season or off season. I get some of the best deals this way. Snow boots in July? Yes!!! My kids don't care if they are the prior season's stock. I score huge deals this way.

This dress is another example. I bought this at the end of the season last year at Target. I have actually bought quite a few things from Target this year with their new Wild Fable line, but before that I never shopped for myself at Target. I spotted a TON of this dress on the clearance racks. I grabbed one and tried it on and it was a perfect fit. Even the people in the fitting room and dressing room attendant all said this dress was made for me and I had to get it. I get compliments every time I wear it and the best part...I paid under $10 for it.

I am not much of a clearance shopper, but now I do head over and browse. You probably won't find me searching them unless I am looking for something specific. I tend to look for things that I can transition into the following season. Even though this is a summer dress the black color makes it something I would wear into the fall and even put a leather coat over.

This season star print has been huge too! I am glad I grabbed this when I did because it is on trend without breaking the bank.

Since I grabbed this last year I am going to link some other star print items that I love!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Widow Wednesday--9 Years

9 years. I can't believe it has been 9 years. For me the anniversaries of his death don't hit me as hard as the day he was diagnosed. Maybe being Christmas Eve and a holiday or maybe because when he died I finally felt he was at peace and not suffering anymore. I have always had a harder time with the anniversary of his diagnosis.

This year it fell on a Saturday, so we attended a memorial mass and dinner afterward. Normally, the girls and I will do something to remember him that day. Something he enjoyed to do or liked. This year it felt rushed with the mass. We made him a new flower for his vase and Lily and I took it to him on the way to mass. Of course this causes us issues almost every time. Not sure why I picked the top? It fell as I was trying to put it up and broke causing marbles to go all over (I use them to weigh it down). Lily was laughing and probably so was Ray. We ended up taking the old one apart and putting the new flowers in it and managed to get it up. It doesn't look great, but it is the thought that counts right?

Every year they say it gets easier, but it doesn't. You just learn to live with it and the hurt/hole. If you are a widow and reading this then you know no one understands the hole that this loss has left. Yes, other people miss this person but it is different for you. They continue with their lives, but it is a hole that can never be filled in yours. Even if you remarry this person will never be the father of your children or the person to fill all those hopes and dreams that you once made. No one else understands how your daily life is different, not just holidays etc.

Every year I think...Do I post about it on my Facebook and other social media? or do I quietly honor him on our own? Then I receive messages before I even make a post and think that I am sure others want to have a space to honor him too and remember him.