I turned 37 earlier this month. While in days gone by it was considered not polite to ask a lady her age, I'm not against sharing. And, besides, they say life, like a fine wine gets better with age. I've always liked the analogy and so far it has proven to be true. It was a wonderful day and my mind, in adding to the festivities had this little bit of dialogue on repeat.
That's how I'm looking at this birthday year. I'm not old. I've got a lot ahead of me. In fact, I felt excellent my whole birthday. Everything made me smile! As if that weren't enough, the universe seemed to share with me that this year is going to be a sweet one. I received so many kind birthday wishes, and best of all...cake!
I had not one, but five total cakes over the course of birthday celebrations. Sadly, we only captured picture of four of the cakes. We dug into the fifth one too fast, but rest assured it was amazing and delicious. You can see what they looked like in the picture on the right.
First was a cake The Boy and I made for my day job, a pineapple carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. Next up, one of my bosses made me a homemade German Chocolate Cake (my favorite!). Would you believe she used whole wheat flour and less sugar? It was one of the most decadent cakes I have ever tasted. Don't get me started on the toasted walnuts and the coconut frosting. After that, a slice of Polish cheesecake. We typically go out for Polish food for my birthday. Well, our local place found out it was my birthday so I received that lovely slice and a rousing rendition of both Happy Birthday to you and Sto lat. Last but not list (at least of the ones shown), The Boy and my husband made me a chocolate pear cake. Somehow The Boy decided this was the kind of cake I needed. Nothing would steer him from and we have no idea where he came up with the idea. It was pretty good. As if that weren't enough, for my birthday party, we had a delicious Chantilly cake from Whole Foods. It's a good thing calories don't count on one's birthday.
In non-cake related sweetness, I would say my favorite part of my birthday was said birthday party. My husband invited several of our closest friends for a casual gathering. Good food, good fellowship, lots of laughter and as noted above...cake! I couldn't have asked for a better celebration.
All the sweetness, abundance and fun surrounding my birthday and the days that followed feel like a clear indication that I am in for a sweet year. I will take it with open arms and you can guarantee I will share it with others. I'll leave you with a rare shot of The Boy demolishing his slice of the epic German Chocolate Cake.
Have you had a birthday or special day that brought a smile to your face? I'd love to hear about it. For now, accept a little sweetness from me (and perhaps a slice of leftover cake). Until next time.
I'll be seeing you.
It's hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone. I can tell you I was nowhere near ready for it. With all that has happened this past year, it's sometimes hard to find the joy of the season, but I'm striving to do so. I've had a lot of good moments and a lot of defining moments. As I look to 2018, I am grateful that I faced the challenges I did and walked out stronger on the other side.
I thought I'd share my top five moment from 2017 with you. Sometimes it's so easy to look at the negatives, but I strive daily to find the positive and especially earlier this year, it was the only thing that got me through.
I've made a list of goals for 2018 both in my personal life and writing life. I thought I'd share a some of them with you.
What are your goals for the New Year? I'd love to hear. How do you plan to achieve them?
Till next time...
I'll be seeing you,
Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, I get Bing Crosby's "I've Got Plenty To Be Thankful For" from Holiday Inn stuck in my head. This year especially the song holds a great deal of meaning. If you followed me on social media earlier this year, you'll know I went through two surgeries back to back and lost about three months due to recovery. It has been a very humbling experience. The lyrics Bing sings in the movie talk about how he doesn't have much, but that the simple things he does have are enough to get by. And, it's a great reminder in these times that at the end of the day, I have plenty I can be thankful for.
This month, I thought I would reflect on the top 10 things I am most thankful for. I know I have plenty to be grateful for, so I'll keep it simple:
Time for me to get back to NaNoWriMo! What are you thankful for this year?
Till next time.
I'll be seeing you!
Yes, the above title is something I hear quite a lot when it comes to my hair when it's pin curled. If you've been following me for a while you know that I desire to share the dying art of pin curls, and that I love a good retro wet set. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was blessed with a lot of hair that is extremely healthy and stick straight. None of those things are really conducive to wet sets, but I'm stubborn and I make my hair conform to my whims.
But, how did I get there? It's only fair to tell you that it's taken me seven years to get my sets to where they are today. It took a lot of work, a lot of patience (which is not my virtue), and tenacity. I also would not be here today without the help of my amazing stylist, Dez. She has worked with me every step of the way to help me achieve my #hairgoals.
When I started, I hadn't a clue where to really begin. One of the first resource books I acquired was Daniela Turudich's 1940's Hairstyles. Talk about a scare! Setting patterns? Specialized hair cuts and hair cutting diagrams? Brush outs? What was this sorcery? Stubbornness prevailed and I set to work with some help from a few people (like Dez).
The best part about having Dez as my stylist? She knew exactly what the sorcery meant. We usually talk about a new (to me) technique or something I'm curious to try at each hair appointment. I'm always learning and always striving to make my sets better.
We also have things pretty much down to a system. She cuts my hair in a modified 1940s haircut: the middy. She usually uses a razor rather than scissors, and modifies it with layers rather than a blunt cut so if I don't feel like setting it, I don't look like I have a bad mullet. It is also not uncommon for her to take out a ton of weight to make it easier for the curl to hold. It has made all the difference!
Want to see a horror story set? This was early on. The curls are squashed and barely hanging onto life. You can see the massive amounts of hair that weighed the whole thing down. I'll guarantee that shortly after the Honor Flight was finished that set fell. I've at least learned now that should my set fail me (for example if it's still wet or for some reason the curl didn't take), I can restyle it with a snood, put it up in a poodle-do a la Betty Grable, or create a back roll. While I force my hair to do as I want, I also am flexible enough to listen to what direction it wants to go. And working with it rather than against it usually results in an awesome brush out. Clear as mud?
By contrast, this is what seven years of hard work and practice (and the right hair cut that doesn't pull out the curl) looks like.
I can say I feel much more at ease and accomplished with wet sets. And that book by Daniela Turudich? It has become one of my greatest resources because the sorcery has been unlocked. Wet sets will always be known to me as "pin curl adventures," but now I can sit back and enjoy the ride a bit more.
Have you tried pin curls or did you wear them daily growing up? What was your biggest challenge and what did you find was the most useful tip to help you achieve a great set? Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear.
Till next time. I'll be seeing you!
This past weekend, I went to the event that introduced me to World War II reenacting. Every year, Midway Village in Rockford, IL hosts World War II Days, the largest World War II reenactment in the Midwest. It's always a nice trip for me when I get to go because I have so many friends attending. I went on Saturday only as a paid spectator rather than as a reenactor, but you can guarantee I dressed.
The weather was brutal! If you read my post about the RWA National Conference at Walt Disney World, I can safely say it was about as bad as the weather that trip. Hot, humid, oppressive! Several people went down from the heat over the weekend. I was so glad I opted for a cotton day dress and a poodle-do (in all its frizziness), though I could have done without the foundation garment. I honestly didn't even make it back into the woods or out to the main battle (which they ultimately cancelled when a brush fire started thanks to the dry grass and pyrotechnics). I spent much of the time hidden in the shade gabbing with friends. One friend, Lisa, decided to take advantage of me sitting in front of the typewriter at their RAF encampment to snap a few pictures.
Overall, though, I enjoyed visiting with friends, shopping amongst the vendors, and getting a chance to play in my favorite era. I even scored a new vintage purse that I can't wait to use in the near future. It's a nice event that has a lot of history in the area, though I am probably a bit biased.
I'll close with my top three moments from the day.
1. The delicious Polish food served by a local church. Even though it was heavy, the salt was perfect for replenishing electrolytes. But, really, I never turn down Polish food.
2. Chatting up an adorable World War II Army Air Corps veteran and hearing his stories. His wife told me my outfit and hair looked perfect, but that she would have worn socks with the espadrilles I was wearing. Who knew?
3. The working World War II spotlight that someone brought out. It was amazing! Your eyes couldn't help but draw themselves heavenward, searching for enemy aircraft. And the distance it could be seen from was crazy!
Till next time.
I'll be seeing you!
What a whirlwind! RWA Nationals is over for another year and I still feel like I am running around. It probably doesn't help that this past weekend I took a trip to the 16th century.
This year, RWA held it's National Conference at the Swan and Dolphin Resort on Disney World property. RWA + Disney = One awesome time for me! I apologize in advance that I didn't get more pictures of the RWA action. I am a Disney girl at heart.
I arrived on Tuesday with fellow WisRWA members, Lori Oestreich and Carla Luna Cullen, and immediately dove into the parks. Hot and humid doesn't even cover it. The weather made you feel like you were in a veritable oven. But, when one is at Disney, one powers through.
I was most excited to try out the new rides in Pandora in Animal Kingdom. I had a fast pass for Flight of Passage and it did not disappoint. Check out some of the beautiful scenery while I waited for my turn to ride.
After spending some time in Animal Kingdom it was time to head back to set my hair.
I did make it a point to hit the parks at least once each day. Even though I'll be back later this year, I wanted to visit some of my favorite haunts, eat some of my favorite foods (Can we say Jambon Buerre Sandwich and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels?), and check out some of the new things. They also announced the day after I arrived that The Great Movie Ride and Ellen's Energy Adventure would both be closing in the middle of August. I adore The Great Movie Ride, so I had to cram in a visit to that.
One of my favorite park moments was Wednesday when I went to Hollywood Studios in the morning. It has been my dream to have my pictures taken while dressed in 1940s attire down the Old Hollywood portion of Hollywood Studios. Thanks to a wonderful PhotoPass photograher, my dream became a reality. He took some stylized pictures of me next to my favorite spot. They were perfect! Sadly, I don't have any to share right now as I have not ordered them, but do watch my Pin Curl Adventures page because I guarantee at least one will go up there.
The rest of the conference was amazing. I attended some great presentations. Most notably, I learned a lot from Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan on marketing no matter what level of writer you are. They have a choose your own adventure e-book called Your A Game: Winning Promo for Genre Fiction. I highly recommend it.
I also met some wonderful new friends as well as connecting with those I don't see on a regular basis. I can't say enough about the community RWA has built. We are a community set on building each other up, making everyone feel welcome, and helping each other grow no matter what level a writer is at. I am honored to be a part of this organization.
Saturday, I attended RWA's Chapter Leadership Breakfast and Town Hall. Since I am the Vice President of Communications for WisRWA, I gained a lot of valuable information and was able to connect with other board members from other chapters. I am looking forward to taking back the information to WisRWA to help make us stronger.
I also had a blast at the RITA awards. Our small contingent of WisRWA members even had a chance to congratulate Beverly Jenkins on being the recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inspiring!
Sunday was Lori's and my last day so I made it my mission to visit all four parks before we left. I rode all my favorite rides, though I passed on Flight of Passage simply due to stand-by wait times. While it poured all day, I thoroughly enjoyed having Disney time. The only sad part was that France sold out of my favorite sandwich. Oh well, guess I'll just have to get it next time I go.
I'll leave you with a picture of all of my day outfits from the conference. I, of course, dressed 1940s every day, but made sure to keep my hair off my neck. For more pictures, check out my Facebook Fan Page and tell me which outfit you liked the best.
I'm already looking forward to RWA18 in Denver! Hope to see you there!
I'll be seeing you!
As I begin my very first blog, I hope this finds you well. One would think that as a writer blogging would be easy. I do not find it so, but am willing to give it the old college try. My aim is to share fun tidbits about the 1940s era, bring you with me on some of my Pin Curl Adventures (and maybe some of my other adventures), and have a place to share news as it comes. I hope you'll follow along with me on my journey.
I'm off to RWA Nationals next week in Orlando, FL. I've been outfit planning for months. I plan to take on the heat, humidity, and threatening thunderstorms with poodle-dos, rain bonnets, and adorable overshoes as I not only attend the conference but have a wonderful time at Disney World. I expect to learn a lot, network, and enjoy being in the company of my fellow writers. If you'll be there, please stop and say hello. You can also follow me on social media to see all the highlights.
Here's to a wonderful weekend!
I'll be seeing you!
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