good life · Memory

“Fancy Dress” Party

What a fun weekend!

Friday was Pizza Night with some movie time thrown in. On Sunday, BB played chimes at church, and we went out to lunch.

But Saturday was Three Party Day! First a birthday party for one of BB’s classmates at a park here in town. Then we had a fun Holiday Pop-in at Molly’s house. I hadn’t seen her new place yet, and it is adorable. She is so creative, so while the kids watched Frozen, Husband and I wandered around the house, admiring all the handiwork. (She placed her TV in the fireplace, tuned into the Yulelog – it’s pretty fantastic.)

After that, we headed home to get the kids ready for a sitter and headed out to our “Fancy Dress” party. When I first got the Evite, I only skimmed the title, thinking it was just a party to dress up a little, but when finally opened it, I learned that the idea was to wear fancy clothes from your past – old tuxedos, prom dresses, bridesmaids’ dresses, even wedding gowns. There would be prizes for attire ranging from Elegant to Tacky, and there was even the opportunity for costume changes throughout the night. YES!

First, I told Husband that this was a perfect opportunity for him to wear the tuxedo he had from the wedding he was in last year. He just laughed at me. “I don’t have that tuxedo – I returned it – it was just a rental.” I was certain that he owned that tuxedo, and he was certain he did not. So certain, in fact, that I was beginning to wonder about my memory. Now, I know that my brain just doesn’t work the way it did before kids, but I’ve always prided myself on having pretty stellar recall. But maybe I just made the whole thing up? Stranger things have happened.

I told Husband that, if in fact he did not own a tuxedo, he could easily wear one of his suits. “I don’t have a suit,” he said. This I knew to be false, but I assured him that if there was nothing to be found in his closet, I could definitely pull something together. He gave me a look. “Who do you think you are you talking to?” I asked. I am the queen of thrifted costumes. This is my element.

So, on Monday of last week, I went to his closet. And I found this:


The tuxedo from the wedding. I messaged him, “I don’t like to say ‘I told you so’ but….”

He replied, “I can’t believe you would stoop so low as to go buy a tuxedo, just to be right.” Funny guy.

Now for mine. When I went home for my 10 year high school reunion, my mom and I cleaned out my closets and donated some of my dresses, and I knew I didn’t have room in my suitcase to bring the rest back with me, so they are still there. I do, however, have one sparkly prom dress that made the move to California with me. I always thought I would use it for a refashion project, turning it into a skirt, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I got the dress when I was a sophomore in high school. I had been dating this boy, and we broke up, but I had agreed to still go to prom with him. It was about a week prior to prom, and we were talking on the phone, making arrangements, when he asked if I could pay for my own dinner. And his. That’s when I said I wouldn’t be going to prom with him, and my dress would stay hanging in my closet.

silver sequin dress

Luckily, in classic form, my dad had somehow found the dress in a classified ad. The girl who was selling it lived down the street from us.

sequin details

She had made the dress herself, adding beading detail around the top and down the middle and was selling it for $10. I hadn’t fully embraced my thriftiness yet, but I really liked the dress at the time, so I got it. At $10, I felt no guilt for buying a dress for a prom I didn’t end up attending. (I have, however, worn the dress as part of a Halloween Bunco costume. I added a red satin sash with the words “Miss Cellaneous” – was feeling pretty clever that year.)

The “Fancy Dress” party was fantastic, complete with a photo booth reminiscent of Olan Mills prom photography and, not one, but two chocolate fountains. We had a blast but forgot to take photos.

fancy dress party

So imagine this photo taken with Husband in his tux in front of draped fabric beside a poinsettia. It would have been just like our actual Christmas Dance and Prom photos, except for different dresses and, of course, color-coordinated bow ties.

Memory · Style · Thrifts · white

No Ruffled Feathers Skirt

So, I was thinking about what I should do for the rest of September – because you know 31 Days is coming in October! I could keep going with the How to Update Vintage series, but really, there are so many of those that it will probably just be ongoing for the REST OF MY LIFE.

Then I thought of my white dress. What better way to celebrate September than a complete disregard of Labor Day fashion rules and dedicate the rest of September’s projects to WHITE!

Today’s project would have been a great one during my two weeks without a sewing machine, but I forgot about it. You know how people talk about “pregnancy brain” (no, I’m not expecting) and “nursing brain”? I think it’s just Mama brain. I am so forgetful these days. I was at a meeting last night, dividing up jobs, and I had to stop, not once, but twice, for my friend to repeat herself because I completely missed it the first time.


So, I got this skirt, knowing I was going to change it. I was looking for a straight white skirt, something simple and basic to wear with everything. I was hoping to find a white denim skirt, but in the realm of thrift shopping, you can’t always get THAT specific.


It’s pretty cute, but I’m not much of a ruffle kind of gal. I knew when I bought it, the pleated/ruffled bottom of the skirt would have to go. I saved it for a time when my seam ripper and I could become best buds, thinking I would take apart the hem, remove the pleats, and rehem.


But then when I looked at it, I decided, What the hay! Let’s just cut it off very carefully and see what happens. Only one tool needed for this – the fabulous F scissors. F for “fabric” of course. Need some super sharp ones if you’re going to cut that close to a hem.




Perfect! Just what I wanted.

Speaking of things you lose when you become a Mama, would you believe I used to have curly hair?


I know – the epitome of maturity – the only photo I can find right now. I’m not even sure how old this photo is (celebrating Magazine Mom’s birthday) but I was still wearing a watch, so before I had an iPhone, obviously. Anyway, lots of waves and curls. After I had BG, my hair went straight. Like, stick straight at the ends.

DSC_0071I decided to try my best to have curly hair today – I used product AND a diffuser, and this is the best I could get. Seems that BG took all my curls with her, because she has the most beautiful golden ringlets. I kinda miss those curls.


Anyway, thrilled with how this turned out. That’s the secret to thrift shopping – make it work.


And here’s how I’ll wear it with boots this fall.

Rules, schmools, I say.


31 Days · creative habit · Good to Know · Memory

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 27: The Pendulum

I’ve been talking a lot about memory this week. Sure, I’ve been forgetting things here and there, but honestly, this month, I feel like my memory has improved overall. (Well, except that one day when I completely forgot to blog.) Or maybe it’s just my perception of how things are going.

See, I’ve got this theory.

Life has been really busy and full and crazy the last few months. And for most of that time, I felt crazy, too. My head just felt too full, confused, foggy.

Last month, I remember talking with Husband after the kids were in bed, lamenting how everything just felt out of control. He told me to list the things that felt crazy, and even as I spoke them, I realized they probably wouldn’t feel super overwhelming to others, or even to me usually, but they did. I felt like I needed a mental break, and I wasn’t getting it. He could name 2-3 things each day that should feel like a break to me, but they didn’t.


Then I read this post by Jennifer Fulwiler that made me think she was in my own head. In the article, she talks about having things in your day that SHOULD make you feel relaxed but don’t, and about seasons in your life where everything feels so crazy. Yes! Amen!


You should read the whole article, but what she realized is that there are a few specific things in her life that contribute to internal order, to helping her feel energized, like she’s had a break, and that things don’t seem so crazy. (The author’s list includes writing, jogging with music, and reading a well-written book. Mine includes journaling and creating something.)


This article made so much sense to me and resonated with something else I’ve been pondering. We spend a lot of our time “consuming” – reading articles (magazines, newspapers, blogs), checking Facebook, listening to the radio (news stories, music with lyrics), scrolling Pinterest, watching TV, processing email. But then there is “producing” – for me, writing or sewing or making jewelry, for others, it might be painting or choreographing or designing or cooking. (I imagine there’s even a “neutral” – meditating, listening to instrumental music, reading. You aren’t really creating something new that didn’t exist before, but with listening and reading, you are interacting with the piece, creating in your mind visually what is happening.) A phrase from my teaching days comes to mind: “Meaning Making”.

I see it like a pendulum. If we spend too much time in “consuming”, we get out of equilibrium. We need to spend some time in “neutral” and “producing” activities to get that equilibrium back.

I’ll be honest, things haven’t gotten less crazy this month. I mean, I’m trying to create something and blog about it every day in addition to many other things on my plate. But for the first time in several months, it doesn’t all FEEL crazy. Sure, I’m still forgetting things (almost daily), but I don’t feel desperate for a break like I did before. Since I’ve been spending a little time every day producing, I feel much more balanced – a little bonus from working on my creative habit.

So, what about you? What are the activities that really make you feel refreshed? That fuel you instead of draining you? Are they all “producing” or “neutral” activities, or do “consuming” activities help you relax, too? I’m curious about what this looks like to different people.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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