Posted in Hey look! I'm blogging!

Tying Up Loose Ends

Maintain Blog
Since we are coming up on the end of spring, I thought it would be appropriate to do a little bit of blog spring cleaning of sorts.  These are updates, pictures I’ve been meaning to post, and various other miscellany.  Enjoy!  🙂

1) Since posting my first two Fashion Friday posts, I’ve acquired some clothing to fill in the gaps that I had.  I’ll also update the actual posts, but I’ve had several requests to actually see the clothing on me because they’re curious about my style, especially after my posts on my DIY yellow shoes and shirt-to-skirt.  So I put together some outfits with my new additions.  Much fun was had!  😀  Here are the results:

T-shirts:

2 more tees in unpredictable colors (preferably navy blue & yellow)

Navy blue t-shirt: Mossimo (bought at Target in 2012).  Khaki shorts:  Eddie Bauer (gifted).
Belt & feather necklace: ???
(gifted).
*Author’s Note:  Coincidentally, I got my hair cut a couple weeks ago, and this is the first
official picture that I have of it.  Mostly because this is the very first day that I didn’t loathe
the way my hair looked.  🙂

Yellow t-shirt:  Merona (bought at Target in 2012).  Jeans:  Avenue (bought 2012).
Earrings: Target (bought 2012).  Scarf:  ??? (gifted).  Owl pin: handmade by Sequins–check out her & her friend’s awesome fashion blog!!  🙂 
 (gifted).
1 cream or white long-sleeved tee

White long-sleeved t-shirt:  Herman Geist (thrifted).  Dark purple pinstriped skirt (part of a skirt suit): J.B.S. Limited (thrifted).
Gray fedora: Charming Charlie (on loan indefinitely 🙂  )  Gray belt (shown here tied around neck as a necklace):  ??? (gifted).
*Author’s note:  I had fun putting together the styling on this one.  I know the typical, classic styling of a white
tee is with jeans and perhaps a scarf, but I wanted to show the versatility of this classic piece, so I pushed my
fashion boundaries a bit.  I love the result!

 
Skirts:
1 all-season work skirt

Gray & black colorblocked skirt: H&M (thrifted!  score!!!).  Black sweater: Charter Club (thrifted).
Earrings: ??? (gifted).  Necklace (shown here tied around waist as a belt): ??? (gifted).  Cream flower pin/clip: booth from an expo (bought 2012).

2)  Confession time:  Even though my Memorial Day experience was indeed memorable and I said it was enough to not make me worry about the fact that I didn’t finish my May pictures to take list, my strong dislike for leaving things unfinished took over.  So here are the missing pictures from the list, no longer missing.  😀

BBQs

From the pool-opening party at our complex.
Prom happenings
I was unable to actually take a picture of prom happenings since a) I am no longer prom-going age and b) I don’t have a child who is prom-going age.  There were some missed opportunities as hubby and I were driving around these last two weekends, but alas, I forgot to bring my camera.  (One highlight I especially regret missing:  dressed up teens getting into a white with black flames Hummer limousine.  White with black flames!!  Epic, I’m telling you.  Epic.)
So instead, here is the picture I have for you:

Violet’s Senior Prom, 2000.  I thought the gloves were tres elegant, and I custom-made
the shoes by hot-gluing red roses onto them to match the rose pins in my hair (both of
which are hard to see in this picture).  Um, Senior Prom was awful.  But that’s another story
for another time.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations
As noted, my Cinco de Mayo celebration was…interesting, to say the least.  If you didn’t read that particular post, the Reader’s Digest version is that we ended
up celebrating it with a Taco Bell Doritos locos taco by the lake.  Here is the picture I promised:

“Derby de Mayo”, 5/5/2012.
Students moving out of the college dorm
I’d like to go on record to say I don’t just randomly stalk college dorm rooms to see if I could snap a picture of a complete stranger coming out of their dorm rooms.  🙂  That said, here is the last picture I took of the view of the very last dorm room I stayed in my final year of college, right before I locked it up and drove away:

As an added bonus for you, Dear Readers, is a snapshot of the rarely-seen Pointerfingerness Monster.  😉
But seriously…that’s what gives this picture so much charm for me.

People drinking mint juleps or wearing hats for Derby Day
Again, you need to reference the “Derby de Mayo” post to fully understand this picture, but basically we didn’t have mint juleps.

Pie shake combining sour cream lemon pie and vanilla ice cream.  Yummy!

Fabulous Derby hats:

These are pictures from the TV when we watched the Kentucky Derby.  I love the blue hats!  They’re fabulous!

The actual hat I wore on Derby de Mayo (forgot to take a picture of me wearing it); late Derby hat donning with a friend while at the mall (substituted coffee for mint julep).

I know your minds probably have some great comments developing, but just in the off chance that you don’t, here are some questions:

Which of the above outfits is your favorite on me?  Any styling tips?  Any fun Derby de Mayo (and subsequent Super Moon) stories of your own that you’d like to share?  Any stories of tying up your own loose ends?  How was your senior prom?  Tried any new fabulous drinks lately?  What’s your favorite BBQ food item?  Any great moving out of college stories?  I’m all ears!  😀

 

Posted in Making Memories Mondays

Making Memories Monday: Respects and Remembering

Pictures to Take Throughout the Year

May (week 4)

(Author’s Note:  I realize it’s now June, but it took me awhile to actually get to finishing this post.  Depending on how today goes, I may post a June Making Memories Monday post, too.  🙂  )
Though I know what Memorial Day is about, it’s something I’ve never really given much thought to previously.  Since I worked in retail for over 10 years, Memorial Day meant a busy day at the mall.  On the years I didn’t work on Memorial Day, it was about a barbecue with the family.  Even though many men on both sides of my family–including my father and father-in-law–were in the military, I’m lucky to say that none of them lost their lives during a war.  If that were the case, perhaps Memorial Day would hold more meaning for me.  But I am decidedly and unwaveringly anti-war, and it’s hard for me to see so many lives being lost to defend our freedom.  Even my father, who as I mentioned is retired military (he was in for the full 20+ years), quite adamantly and frequently exclaims, “I hate war.”  So you can see why I may avoid traditional Memorial Day observances.  To be surrounded by heartache and sadness isn’t the way I like to spend my weekend.  While I do respect the fact that they gave their lives to protect this country, I hate the reality that LIVES are indeed the cost of freedom.  And young lives, at that.  And sometimes innocent lives.

Anyhow, off my soapbox.

On a related note, I am terrified…really, really terrified of cemeteries.  As a little girl, I would always close my eyes when we were about a block away from the cemetery that we always passed on the way to church.  I still do that on some road trips where I know cemeteries were located.  Some of them have super-creepy vibes to them and I would want to pass them as quickly as possible.  I’d often stay in the car and sing happy songs to myself while others would want to hop out and check them out.  A friend once told me (or perhaps it was my husband) of a road not too far from where we lived that had one of the most haunted cemeteries in the U.S.  Bad idea.  So anytime we actually drove on that road, I’d scream, “Drive faster!  Drive faster!”  like a madwoman.  Upon my husband’s inquiry as to why he should break the speed limit (I’m usually a stickler–nay, grandma driver–when it comes to speed limits), I replied in a panicked voice, “I don’t want to open my eyes and see an angry ghost.  I won’t be able to sleep for months!”  On a trip to Gettysburg one year, I stayed in the car while my history-loving husband went out and explored in awe of the battlegrounds and monuments.  I, meanwhile, thought I was going to be sick, I was so frightened.  I can’t say that the hubby put up with every single one of my unreasonable freakouts (I mean, really, who would?), but he has for most of them.  For that, I’m incredibly grateful.

I don’t know exactly why I’m so terrified of cemeteries (and pretty much any landmark associated with death, if I’m to be honest with myself), but I have a few theories:  it could be that I’m scared of ghosts, which I am.  But even moreso, I think it’s that I don’t like being in a place where the only reason it’s there is a result of hate and violence.  Being surrounded by that negativity, devastation, and sadness makes me want to hide.  I’m not good with the subject of death in the first place (I’ve never been to a funeral in person; I’ve only either watched them on TV or attended wakes or memorial events).  Couple that with bad juju, and it’s a toxic combination guaranteed to give me the heebie-jeebies.  That would probably be why I wasn’t too keen on the Alamo, would hate to visit the Sendai region of Japan, and would cringe at the notion of visiting Mount Vesuvius.  It’s probably also why I always avoid the mummy rooms of museums and curiosity shops.

But something pretty profound happened this Memorial Day weekend.  Armed with the determination of checking off another thing on my “Pictures to Take” checklist, I purposefully sought out a cemetery that I could take pictures at.  I’m still amazed that I made that decision on my own, with no prompting from anyone or anything else but the May checklist that I wanted to finish.  Behold, the power of a to-do list!  🙂

So in the middle of the mini-road trip/vacation/camping trip at a small town, I asked the hubby to make a pit stop at the cemetery before going on with the rest of the day’s festivities (which did, by the way, include a barbecue).  He didn’t question anything and just agreed.

Upon approaching the gate, I counted my lucky stars that the cemetery wasn’t one of those old, creepy ones with huge, dilapidated stone pillars and trees with skeletal branches.  It was quite verdant and pleasant and peaceful and well-maintained.  I walked from gravestone to gravestone with a purpose, trying to find some indication that it was decorated for Memorial Day.  I was feeling okay and didn’t feel the suffocating need to flee, so I counted that as a victory right away.  My husband was quick to call me over to a grave of someone who served in the military:


I snapped a picture and said a silent thank you, giving my appreciation for this person fighting for our country.

I moved on quickly, in search of a grave that looked decorated for Memorial Day, as decreed by the Almighty Picture Taking List.  But then something weird happened.  I felt the need to stop and take pictures of all those I found that served in the military, even if–especially if–they were not decorated.  These people deserved just as much, if not more, respect than those who had flags galore on their graves.  I didn’t want these undecorated graves of soldiers to remain forgotten, so I took some time to say hi to these people, too:


(by the time I got to Gus of the U.S. Navy Reserve’s grave I started thinking about how cool these pictures would look in black and white…)

I was surprised I still wasn’t getting incredibly creeped out, so I kept going and finally found some graves that were decorated:
cemeteries decorated for Memorial Day

This last one’s my personal favorite, even with my shadow:

What I love so much about it is the story it portrays (which may or may not actually be true, but I don’t care.  I’m going to pretend it is until someone tells me otherwise, so there.)  Albert served in the military during World War II, so Phyllis had the heartbreaking yet proud job of being a military wife.  Ever since 2006, Phyllis would go to Albert’s grave on Memorial Day to pay respects to her soldier.  They led a long and happy life together, and will lead one after her death, too (as you can see, Phyllis is still alive).

We walked around for a little bit longer, but my brave reserve started to run out after we ran across old infant graves, unmarked graves, and the grave of a recently-deceased 19-year-old man.  My mind started winning out over my determination as I remembered the sad parts of cemeteries, the parts where the deceased didn’t live long lives, or they didn’t have a living relative or friend to even know who they were.  I realized that when I was strolling around on the grass, I was sometimes walking about six feet above dead bodies.  Then I heard a few owl hoots and that’s all it took to promptly squeeze hubby’s hand and beg him as calmly as I could to make a quick exit.  As we drove away and I reviewed the pictures I took, I half-jokingly told him that I would probably burn the camera if I happened to spy a ghostly image in any of them.

He told me he was quite proud of what I did, and that I decided to put aside my fears of cemeteries to pay my respects, and I suddenly felt much better about my decision to go.  Indeed, I had very real fears of what I just did, but it was nothing compared to the fear those soldiers must have felt leaving behind their families to put themselves in the crossfires of war.  For that, I think the least I could do is pay them respects.

A couple of other things happened that weekend that made the title “Memorial Day” quite appropriate.  First, the town we stayed at for Memorial Day has property that my husband and I camp at about twice a year.  We get together with friends and family, and it’s been a tradition for at least 30 years (I think it’s actually more like 40).  My husband invited me to partake in this tradition when we first started dating.  It’s where I first met my parents-in-law.  Suffice it to say, this property has many great memories attached.  Almost four years ago, the owner of the property–and a friend of both of ours–passed away.  This August will be the last official get-together at this property, and I’m sure it will be a bittersweet one.  So as we hung out in town, I remembered our friend and said a silent hello.  The cabin we were staying at had some creaks and odd sounds like cabins do during the night.  Normally, this would keep me up because I’d be so scared, but that night, I pictured our friend putzing around the cabin and felt safe instead.

The other thing is that a high school classmate of mine was tragically killed last Memorial Day weekend.  She was on my mind as we started the trip, and she entered my mind again as we passed her little memorial on the way home.  They had since added a sign with her name on the memorial, and her death was made more real.  I was saddened for awhile, and the weight of all the death I experienced and thought about over the weekend finally caught up with me.

When I got home, I went online and found Memorial Day pictures of Arlington Cemetery, the War Memorials at D.C., and various other cemeteries around the U.S.  They were of families weeping at gravestones.  There were two that especially captured my heart: one of a young woman weeping and holding her young infant tightly with one arm, the other arm draped around (what I assume is) her recently-deceased-from-war husband’s grave; the other of a young boy of about five sitting next to (what I assume is) his father’s grave, arms around his knees, openly crying.  These pictures made me tear up, and I remembered that a friend of mine’s sister’s husband was killed in the war a few years ago.  My heart broke for the devastation that war causes once again.

But something changed in me that weekend.  I didn’t think of sales.  And although there was a barbecue, I thought more of those who gave their lives for us.  For once, I embraced it and didn’t shy away from the real meaning of the holiday.

The ironic thing is that I realized I didn’t really take “significant” Memorial Day gravesite pictures, because the graves I took pictures of weren’t of ones who died in war.  Also, with how determined I was to finish my Pictures to Take List for May, there were actually a few pictures that I still missed (BBQs, prom happenings, and students moving out of the college dorm, if you must know).  But I was strangely okay with that.  I’m proud of what I did on Memorial Day, and I’m even prouder of the fact that a to-do list led me to it.  It reinforces the notion that these life to-do lists and this subsequent blog is helping to enrich my life in ways that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.  For that, I stand in amazement and gratitude…of myself, of my life, but most especially for the ones who have passed away.

To Conquering Your Own Life Fears,

Posted in Making Memories Mondays

Making Memories Monday: Welcome to May, and Welcome to Me! (The Big Reveal)

Pictures to Take Throughout theYear
May (weeks 1 & 2)

      Welcome to a new month, and a new list of pictures!  I love new challenges, as long as they’re fun, and this is no exception.  Capturing these pictures have already proven to be difficult.  My living grandmas are too far away to be able to capture a picture of their hands, and I lacked the funds to have either a Cinco de Mayo or Kentucky Derby outing.  The latter was especially difficult, as plans were already made to go to a local racing track to watch the Derby, but at the last minute it had to be cancelled because we couldn’t afford it.  I was wholly looking forward to having my first mint julep and had a fabulous hat and dress to wear.  Rarely do I throw temper tantrums due to financial problems, but boy, did I throw one this time around!  I’m talking full-on pouting, tears, and pulling a blanket over my head so I could sulk.  Part of me is ashamed that I acted like a two-year-old, but part of me has come to terms with the fact that maybe the tantrum was a necessary release of built-up stress.
But the tantrum and grumpy mood lifted, and I sought out to still have a great May 5th.  I think I was successful!  Hubby and I went yard-saling and scored some great finds.  I got two necklaces, a board game I’ve been looking for for years (Whoonu), and a kaleidoscope (something I’ve been asking for as a gift for a very long time, but no one ever believed I was serious) all for $2.50!  As a bonus, I also got some lavender paint (purple is my favorite color) for free, so I need to use it for a future project.  We then had a “budget” combo Cinco de Mayo/Kentucky Derby celebration, wherein we watched the Derby on TV while I sported a hat, ate a Doritos locos taco from Taco Bell (our poor excuse for “Spanish” food), and went out for a date where we shared a pie shake (infinitely better than either a margarita or a mint julep!).  I also got to acquire other pictures from the list, and now I’ll share these memories with you.  Also, at the bottom of this post is a “big reveal”.  Enjoy!  🙂

Grandma’s hands

A stranger grandma’s hands, from this year’s early Mother’s Day celebration with my mom:  a charity event at a nursery.

My husband’s grandma’s hands, from our most recent visit with her in June 2010 (this picture was taken on her 80th birthday!).

My grandma’s hands, from our most recent visit with her in April 2011. (She’s holding

a picture of me and my family.)

**Our other two grandmothers have passed away.  May they rest in peace.

Flowers in the garden


Hey, it didn’t specify that it had to be from MY garden!  For an early Mother’s Day celebration, I took

my mom to a charity event at the local nursery.  I loved the orchids and gazing ball display’s colors,

then we went outside and I picked out my favorite rose name (Moondance) and random flower (purple, of course!)

I like to think that if I DID have a garden, it would have those flowers in it.  Mom and I had a fabulous time.

*This Dandelion in Plant, however, is actually in our apartment complex!  🙂  I love how a pretty weed grew in a plant. 

I very hurriedly edited this in Photoshop Elements.  All I did was enhance the dandelion’s color (more saturation) and

downplayed the plant’s color (less saturation).  I actually have more skills than what is shown, but I’ll have to leave that showing

off for another day.  😀

Mother’s Day presents

I picked out specific colors and flowers to create bouquets for both of the moms in my life.  The first pink and white one is for my

mother.  Her favorite color is pink, and the cute, feminine, classic look reminded me of her  The red and yellow bouquet is for my

mother-in-law.  Her favorite color is red and I wanted to pair it with some yellow for a bright and vibrant effect, just like her personality!

You saw the Mother’s Day celebration I had with my mom at the nursery.  For my mother-in-law, we went on a bike ride

on actual Mother’s Day since it was such a beautiful day (and she loves riding bikes!).  This is the view of one of the rivers

we passed on the biking trail.  I also treated my own mom to different things throughout the week, including a couple of

skinny belts (she’s very much into fashion) and a book full of New York Times Sunday crosswords (it’s her new hobby).

 Cinco de Mayo celebrations

**This space reserved for picture of Doritos locos taco by the lake.  I thought I had gotten the picture off my husband’s phone, but I guess I haven’t yet.  Same with our stand-in for margaritas & mint juleps:  the epic pie shake!

People wearing hats for Derby Day

This is the one I wore when I watched the Derby on TV.  I have more pictures, but I have to find them.  Hmmm…methinks some pictures are missing!  😦

****AND!!!  The.  Big.  Reveal!****

“Violet, your blog is nice and everything, but why don’t we ever see pictures of you?  Why are all of your photos of clothes NOT on you?  We want to see what kind of outfits you put together.  We want to know the face behind the words.  We want to know that you really exist!”

Okay, perhaps you haven’t actually thought this.  But here’s the thing:  I purposefully never included pictures of me because I’m a bit really hyper-paranoid about showing my face to strangers on the Internet.  I’ve had an experience with a stalker before, so I’m not a huge fan of disclosing pictures of myself.  But I had an interesting conversation with a few friends of mine who are fellow bloggers, and they all brought up the points that 1) if someone really wanted to stalk me, they’d find me whether or not I posted pictures of myself on my blog, and 2) having a picture of myself up on my blog would make me more relatable because then they could put a face to the thoughts and experiences I share.

So, I reveal to you, ME–with my beautiful mother!  (Author’s note:  While I’m providing a picture of myself, I’m still not providing my real name.  Violet’s a pen name.  Baby steps, I guess.  Ha.)

Photos with Mom

Eating cupcakes at the nursery charity event; Girls Night Out on my 30th birthday; also on my 30th birthday picking out cute dresses and taking pictures of ourselves in the dressing room because we could.  🙂

So…hello!  It’s nice to meet you all, and I shall be posting more pictures of myself soon.  🙂

Hoping I live up to your expectations,