Don’t tell Santa!
Today I opened my first Christmas presents.
I know, I know, Christmas is still a week away but my Style Me Pretty blogging buddies and I exchanged gifts today. Deena at From Shoes to Shiraz set up our names through Elfster and each of us received the name of another blogger to buy for. We decided to send one another regional gifts that represent the area where we live because we are really all over the map.
My little elf turned out to be Sarah from Foxy’s Domestic Side. I have gotten to “know” Sarah through the Style Me Pretty Challenges and was immediately drawn to her warm smile in our first challenge together. I have enjoyed learning more about her sweet family through Sarah’s blog posts and invite you to stop by her blog, too. She has the cutest family – two darling children she has nicknamed Baby Fox and Mini Fox – and she and her hubby share the sweetest love story.
So my box from Sarah arrived about a week ago. I might or might have shaken it just a bit but it was carefully packaged and I couldn’t tell anything about what was inside. I gave it up trying to figure it out and put the box in the living room until today.
This morning I jumped out of bed, showered and got dressed in today’s Winter Challenge outfit of the day (modified a bit) then hurried downstairs to open my box. I peeled away the brown paper and opened the box.
Inside I found this sweet note from Sarah.
Beneath the note were four carefully wrapped packages, each with a little label.
And inside that shiny foil paper…
Everything I will need for a day of fun in the sun and a day at the beach or the pool come summer time.
A thirsty red and white striped beach towel.
An inner tube to float lazily about the pool or the sea.
Some SPF 50 lip balm to keep my pucker pretty.
And the cutest polka dot bag to keep my pool/beach gear in.
Can’t wait to go back to the beach with all of my goodies. If I listen real hard, I can almost hear waves crashing on the shore already.
Thank you so much, my sweet secret elf Sarah.
Coincidentally, Paul and I were just going through our Cancun and Punta Cana vacation pictures last night. We bought a 24 picture frame at Kirkland’s last weekend to display our beach vacation pictures. We each picked our favorite photos and I had them developed and picked them up yesterday. Looking at all of that sun, surf and delicious food made me so anxious for summer. Paul has said that this summer we have to stay home…BOO! But I am hopeful that by the time summer rolls around, he will have changed his mind.
While I am thinking about summer already (thank you, Sarah!), winter hasn’t even officially begun and yet we are about half-way through the Winter-Holiday 2014 Style Me Pretty Challenge. I haven’t participated as actively in the last couple of challenges, written fewer posts, taken fewer selfies but I think perhaps that is a sign of how much I have grown since “meeting” Alison Lumbatis last spring.
When I stumbled across Alison’s blog and posts about her first fashion challenge, I was in a rather gloomy chapter of my life. I had retired very reluctantly from a job I had loved working for 25 years. I was recovering from a second surgery on my cervical spine in six months time. I had no direction for my “new” life and had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with all of my new-found free time.
I was stuck in what Alison calls a yoga pant-wearing “mom rut”.
During the spring, for over a month from the opening of registration to the last day’s challenge outfit, I had a reason again to get up every morning and get dressed. I began making virtual friendships to replace those work-friendships I missed once I retired. And once I was out of bed, dressed and feeling confident, I found places to go and things to do.
I took mosaic lessons and painting classes. I started working part-time as an art teacher and library substitute. I adopted a healthier lifestyle – exercising regularly again once my neck healed, eating better, taking time for daily devotions, writing, reading, scrapbooking and just enjoying my wonderful life.
Maybe eventually I would have crawled out from under my retirement bed and started living again even if I hadn’t found Alison and her challenges. But I wouldn’t have been as well-dressed, that’s for sure!
So thank you, Alison.
Thank you for helping me return to living life.
Thank you for daring me to try new things for the outside of me (boyfriend jeans, white skinnies, maxi skirts and dresses, pattern mixing and lots of leopard) which has lead to my trying new things for the inside of me (painting, mosaic work, swimming, blogging).
I look forward to 2015 and all of the adventures that the new year will bring.
And I know that no matter what life throws my way, I will be dressed for the occasion.