Chapter 54

If midlife dreams came true, oh, wouldn't that be nice...

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Ever wonder why some people are positive and others are negative?   Many are ambiguous, but we all know those that are more extreme in either direction.  Those attitudes can make or break a friendship, a family, an organization.

Usually I’m a positive person.  I will actively look for the bright side of things.  There HAS to be a silver lining somewhere….and dammit, I will find it 😉   I need something to look forward to; something positive to feel, experience, to imagine.   If I manifest it, it will come.  There are those whose negativity brings me down.  WAY down.  I don’t like feeling like that, and my natural inclination is to try to help these people see life isn’t ALL doom and gloom.  Sometimes they come around, and they feel better.  Sometimes they don’t.  If they chose to remain wallowing in their negativity, I chose to avoid them like the plague.  We all get to make choices!

Negativity is contagious.  It can spread like wildfire.  It’s especially toxic in an environment where you have to interact with these type of people on a regular basis, such as a family member or coworker.  Some are like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh….always down and out.  Then you have those that are VERY vocal about their unhappiness, unwillingness to change or to see things from anyone else’s point of view except their own narrow position.  I envision many of these people operating from a place of fear.   Fear of failure.  Fear of losing.  Fear of change.

My Mantra

In my own dealings with these people, there are things I silently remind myself:

  • I do not have to make their issues my issues
  • They are responsible for themselves, and conversely, I cannot “make” them happy.  It’s an inside job.
  • I am responsible for my own happiness.   I, meaning me, alone.  Nobody else.

Life isn’t a contest.  Who cares who has the most stuff?  It isn’t about stuff anyway!  Or job title, type of car you drive, or how much you paid for that bauble your wife is wearing around her neck.  And it’s not about who is the most whatever – the most miserable, who has it worse.   So many people seem to try to “one up” each other these days; or maybe I just notice it more.  Have you ever come from a place you felt was a true or close understanding of a situation only to be told you had no idea how bad things were, there was NO WAY you could have experienced anything this bad, let alone empathize with it?   How on earth would someone know what I have experienced?  I may not verbalize everything.  I may not walk around with a long face all the time when things are tough.  In fact, they may very well be the ones who have NO IDEA.  I just have to shrug and move on.   The older I get, the more I get it.  It’s all about how we treat each other.

Worry Robs us of Today

Worrying is not going to pay the bills, make you healthy, fix the broken water pipe in the basement, reign in that out of control kid, or repair your marriage.  We have all made mistakes.  What we do afterwards is what really matters.  How do we make things right?  Beating yourself up for things that happened in the past isn’t constructive unless you learn something from it.  Learn the lesson, then move on.  LET IT GO.   The only thing worry, unhappiness, and negativity does is eliminate the ability for us to be in the moment.  If you spend your time worrying about things that happened in the past, or what might happen in the future, you can’t be present at this exact moment in time.  And that is really all that’s promised to us. This moment, right now.

Make the most of it.

April 2017 Stitch Fix Reveal!

This post contains affiliate links.

OK.  I know it’s May 3rd.  SUE ME.  The box arrived last week, I just had no time to write.  It’s concert season!  That’s going to happen.  I’ll write more on the great concerts I’ve been attending soon.  Meanwhile, I need something to wear to them, so here we go!

I am drawn to new clothes like babies are to brightly colored toys.  GIMME THAT.  One day I came across an ad for Stitch Fix, where a personal stylist sends 5 items of clothing &/or accessories straight to your door, and I was intrigued.  Here’s how it works:

What is Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix is an online styling service that delivers a personalized shopping experience right to your front door.   You fill out a profile, and a personal stylist hand picks pieces that fit your taste, budget, and requests.  Each box contains five items of clothing, shoes and accessories for you to try on at home. You have three days to decide what to keep, and whatever you don’t love, just send back in a prepaid USPS envelope. Shipping and returns, and exchanges are free!

How does it work?

1. Fill out your Style Profile, which is a detailed questionnaire about sizing, likes & dislikes (colors, preferences, that sort of thing), budget, etc.  Link to your Pinterest board!  My stylist Crystal is great about crawling my board when she designs my fix!

2.  Set a date for your fix!   You will be charged a $20 styling fee, which is credited towards anything you purchase in your fix!  It’s like having a stylist FOR FREE, people!   I’ve never had a 0/5 fix, so I’ve always had my $20 credited towards purchase.

3. Try everything on in the comfort of your home, and decide what you’d like to keep and what, if anything, you want to send back in the postage-paid envelope.  If you decide to keep it all, there’s a 25% discount in addition to the $20 styling fee credit!  Pretty cool, huh?  Lots of times I keep things I would NEVER try on in the store.  Then you give them feedback on each item for next time.  That’s the beauty of this service – which leads me to:

This is not a subscription service!

You get to decide when you want delivery.  Every 3 weeks?  Fine!   Every 6 months?  No problem!   It’s on YOUR terms!

The company does NOT pay me to review their clothes or accessories – my opinions are solely my own.  However, if you do decide to try Stitch Fix, and use this link I will get a small referral fee.  Thanks!

On to the fun stuff!

April 2017 Stitch Fix Reveal


I was SO excited to see my that little square box filled with happiness sitting on my front porch when I got home from work the other night!  It was dreary out, and the colors inside were poppin!

Stitch Fix April 2017 Reveal 2


April 2017 Stitch Fix Reveal 3

I love the personalized note and seeing how to put all the items together!

April 2017 Stitch Fix Reveal 4


The first thing that caught my eye is the Daniel Rainn Vivenne Floral Print Sleeveless Blouse.  The gorgeous colors and happy flowers (flowers make me happy,  ah HEM, Mr. Chapter54, I’m talkin’ to YOU lol) jumped out of the stack at me.  It didn’t grab or pull anywhere, just kind of flowed over the problem areas.

April 2017 Stitch Fix Reveal 5


Verdict:  KEEP

The emerald green of the Skies Are Blue Kendruh Layered Hem Knit Top caught my eye next.  I thought the hemline was really cute, and the fabric pretty perfect – not too heavy, not tissue-light – for those iffy spring days when you aren’t quite sure WHAT to wear:

Stitch Fix Reveal April 2017 6

Verdict:  KEEP

The cobalt blue of this Papermoon Bastilla Lasercut Tulip Sleeve Blouse is the only thing I liked about it once it was on….I just can’t pull off something like this – definitely made for a different body type:

Stitch Fix Reveal April 2017 7

Just not what I had in mind 🙁

Verdict:  RETURN

The Renee C Linscott Crew Neck Top is a shirt I have been jonesing for – I LOVE this top!  JUST NOT ON ME.  🙁  The material had no stretch to it and the shape was too boxy.  Big disappointment, I SO wanted to love this one!

Stitch Fix Reveal April 2017 8

Note to self: NO

Verdict:  RETURNED 

The Milo Bootcut Pants from Kut from the Kloth fit so badly I am not posting pics.  Shocking, because that brand in the size I was sent ALWAYS fits – and to test it, I went to my closet and tried a few pair on.  Yep, still fit.  So it was the cut and definitely the material of these particular pants that didn’t work for me.  They were tighter in the waist, looser in the leg, and WAY too long.  For me!  I’m 5’8″.  NOTHING is WAY too long for me!  Just a really strange fit.

Verdict:  RETURNED

So this fix was a 2/5.  I don’t consider it a loss, because my stylist Crystal has been watching my Pinterest board and sending me things I am looking for.  I think maybe next time I’m going to let HER decide what to send, now that she can actually see photos of me in the clothing, she may have some ideas to shave off 100 lbs. or so 😉

Have you tried or considered trying a subscription clothing service?

What does Spring mean to you?

As I sat in my home office with the windows open this beautiful spring week, I have had the pleasure of listening to the squeals and laughter of the playing kids across the street as they embrace the warm sunshine on their winter-weary bodies and the freedom from books and structure for a week.  Spring to them means Spring Break.  Little kids enjoy the time off from school, with later bedtimes, playing outside, or possibly going on an adventure with the family if all are so fortunate. College age kids indulge in escapades with their friends, making memories that will be told as “hold my beer” stories for many years to come. Young working parents stress over childcare options while their children are out of school – do they dig into vacation time now, find a trusted caregiver that will watch their precious cargo without skipping the mortgage payment this month, or just say the hell with it and take off for someplace that will create lifelong memories for the whole family?

All those days are in the past for me now. Spring still continues to excite me, although I still wish I had the luxury of having time off work. However, when I work from home I get to see the daylight. The budding trees. I allow myself to take a lunch break and sit outside, surveying the garden and trying to come up with an easy, low-maintenance plan (Anyone have one? I’m all ears!). I get to play music and work easily, comfortable in my own environment. Anyone who thinks people who telecommute don’t work much have it all wrong. If anything, we work more!  It’s always there.  In your face.  The guilt of not taking care of it can weigh you down like a lead balloon. Also, we are comfortable. Comfortable, happy people tend to do more.  It’s a proven fact.  Happier workplaces are more productive ones.  I’m happy at home.  I like my work.  And it’s easier to get more done from home then at the office, where I am interrupted every 10 minutes for one thing or another.  At the end of the day, I have to make a conscious effort to shut down my work laptop and close my office door in order to separate work from home.  It IS a lot easier when the weather is nice 😉

Can you believe this kitchen LOST an ugliest kitchen contest? #cantmakethisup

This year, spring is signalling a change in our home – also known as “shit’s getting done”!   The kitchen project, stalled for an obscene amount of years due to crazy serious circumstances that were certainly beyond MY control, has finally started chugging along again.  “Kitchen project” means different things to different people.  Here’s what it means to us:  replace what was gutted out in the fall of 2007.  Like put up some walls.  Lay a floor.  Put in a walk-in pantry.  Maybe some cabinets or 20.  Plus other things that encroach on parts of the house adjacent to the kitchen that were demoed and need to be resurrected.   I have drooled over many posts from people who have had their kitchens remodeled over the years.  I have seen complaints about the dust, the inconvenience, the annoyance…”how long must this go on?” – and then poof! they have a fully functioning, completely done kitchen anywhere from 6-26 weeks.  Mine has been like this for approximately 492 weeks.  Give or take.  So all you lucky ducks out there, please take great joy the realization that this is a very BIG DEAL to me.   Realistically, it will probably take another 2 years before it’s done.  That’s another 104 weeks for all you math whizzes out there.  When it is finally done, we will be having the biggest freaking party this town has EVER seen.  After that we will sleep for 6 months.  And then we will sell the damn house and be done with it!

Here in Chapter 54-land, we don’t hire contractors.  We Do It Ourselves.  Thankfully, my husband has hands of gold and holds a city license to do things, so he is more than qualified.  And seriously…there’s nothing hotter than seeing a guy in work boots and Levis with power tools doing a labor of love!   I love everything about this.  My Pinterest boards are on overdrive.  I want to hear your Do it Yourself stories!   See pictures!  Get recommendations!   Especially on gorgeous yet affordable cabinetry.  Has anyone used Costco’s ready-to-assemble cabinets by All Wood?  How about their semi-custom line?  There are many other “discount” cabinet outlets out there.  Please share your kitchen remodel stories!

Spring.  New beginnings.  My heart just sings.   Enjoy the season!



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