Holiday Spirit

8 Reasons why getting into the spirit has been a challenge


  • My youngest went to college this year and isn’t around to appreciate my enthusiasm over gifts, decorating and such.
  • I don’t have a reason to buy any holiday themed snacks, ziplock bags or Press-N-Seal for a school lunch. I have put them in my cart at Target several times, only to take them back out again.
  • It has been cold enough for a fire in the fireplace maybe twice. A nice rip roaring fire going sure feels like winter.
  • There aren’t any school band concerts to attend. The ones where they play Sleigh Ride, my favorite holiday band song.
  • We haven’t had a reason to put cookies out for Santa in a very long time. So therefore, even baking cookies becomes less exciting.
  • People just don’t have holiday parties anymore. Where did all of the holiday parties go?
  • Buying gifts for older kids certainly can be challenging. I know that college kids need cash more than anything but cash is such an impersonal, boring gift. And trying to get everyone’s schedule aligned for a trip is nearly impossible.
  • I own my own business and have no employees. I know for a fact I will not be having an office Christmas party this year.


Stitch Fix #12 Has Arrived!!



So this is what Stitch Fix #12 looks like for me! I was very excited to get some fun fall tops. I am pretty good about checking Pinterest to see what others are getting in their fixes for this month. I add the ones I like to my Pinterest Board and let my stylist know to check my board. I had a different stylist this month. My LOVE my usual stylist Whitney, but luckily for me Aubrey also did a great job on my fix!


Urban Expressions Carter Zipper Detail Satchel in Turquoise $68.00

This was the first thing that I took out of the box and what a great bag it is! The only downside to this is that in Fix #10, I was sent a smaller bag in almost the very same color. I have a daughter turning 19 next month, so she is keeping this bag. And the rest of the Fix looks like this!

Stitch Fix #12

41Hawthorn Moni Geo Print & Camisole Blouse $58


41Hawthorn Lizzy Colorblock Striped Sweater $68


RD Style Vivianna Open-Draped Knit Cardigan $68


Market & Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top $58


The only item I am sending back this time is the 41Hawthorn Moni Geo Print & Camisole Blouse. The sleeves are really tight and uncomfortable. Otherwise it is a really cute top!

Aubrey did a wonderful job filling in for Whitney this time! I can’t wait to see what is in my next Fix!

If you love the idea of a stylist picking out some wonderful pieces for you and sending them right to your doorstep, then use my link and sign up today!

Surviving IKEA opening day!

IKEA opened store #41 in St. Louis Mo today and it was a major event. A major event for the media, the city, shoppers, and people like me, professional organizers! I went with 5 other professional organizers and we had a plan. Going with a plan is the only way to survive a day like this.

First of all we got there early. But not too early. We didn’t sleep out starting on Monday to try and score a couch or anything crazy like that. We met at The Boathouse restaurant in Forest Park where we left our cars and all rode together. (Aren’t we smart, carpooling). We arrived at 9:00 and got a primo spot in the underground garage. There were at least 1,000 people already in line, but the line was  so it wasn’t too bad at all. We were handed a goodie bag with a water bottle, a tape measure and a handy screwdriver set. Organizers love stuff like that!! And by 9:15 we were in the door!!  We were greeted with much enthusiasm. It was electrifying! St. Louis favorite Fred Bird was there to greet guests too. IMG_4837 IMG_4831IMG_4865IMG_4832

One thing was also decided was that we weren’t going to buy anything today. It was a huge fear that the checkout lines would be outrageous. So we went about the task of picking our favorite IKEA item. We all chose something different, and they all had to do with organizing. I chose this cute little metal storage cart. It could be useful in the home office for supplies, the craft room for craft supplies, the pantry for small items, the bathroom for things you want to keep handy and the dorm room for all essentials. For $30 I think this is a great find!


IMG_4860After we had wondered around the store for about 2 hours we made our way down to the checkout only to find out that THERE WERE NO LINES!! We could have loaded up bags and carts and gone totally crazy! We were very surprised to see that there were 26 checkout stands and all of them were open. If they continue to run the store like this, then it will be a fantastic place to shop.


One other thing to be aware of is the food here is actually very good. We got to sample some cookies and the amazing cinnamon buns. Also notice that the food is not expensive either. I hear the Swedish Meatballs are good, but we didn’t get to sample those today.


The first 2,000 guests were given a secret envelope. Most of them had either a $10 gift card or a buy one get one free coupon for a hot dog.

So my top tips for shopping at IKEA would be:

1) Go with a plan. Allow 2 hours if you are just going to wander around.

2) Take the measuring tape, pencil and shopping list they offer at the entrance.

3) Take pictures with your phone of the rooms and ideas.

4) Look at everything! There is so much to take in and enjoy. And you will get some great ideas.

5) Go with friends! It’s so much more fun and they might notice something that you have missed.




In honor of Father’s Day

In honor of Father’s Day yesterday, I am re-posting my first blog post from two tears ago. It has some relevance in relation to Father’s Day, but it has special meaning to me as we near the 29th anniversary of my dad’s passing.



June 26, 1986. It was a Thursday. I am 20 years old, home for the summer after my sophomore year of college. I have a full time job and a wonderful boyfriend. The phone rings early that morning as I am in the kitchen getting coffee. It’s my cousin in Indiana. “Sheila, this is Donnell. Your dad died.” A statement, just that simple, can change your life like no other.


I ran out on the deck to catch my breath. I haven’t been able to catch my breath since. There are many reasons why.


He was 47. Sometimes when he traveled to Michigan on business he stopped at my aunt and uncles house in Indiana to stay the night. This was one of those nights.


He died? How is that possible? I just talked to him last night. My mom and 17-year-old sister were out somewhere when he called. I chatted with him briefly and said I would see him when he got home the following week. I don’t even remember if I told my mom he had called.


My sister had just finished up her junior year of high school. She was a typical high school girl in the 80’s, and had recently gotten caught drinking by our dad. Trying to prove that he was in control, he told her that she was grounded until he got home from his business trip. He never came home. She’s 44. Is she still grounded?


What happened after this is still so much of a foggy hazy mess. I transferred to a local college, my sister tried to figure out if my dad died hating her and my mom lived on vodka and tonics and peanut M&M’s.


We had a funeral. I remember struggling with what to wear. Does it really matter? I can wear clothes and breath air. Dad can’t.

Hundreds of people came from across the country. My dad was somebody that everybody liked. Funny, smart, hard working and kind. He had a lot of friends. None of them could believe he was gone and so young. How are you girls going to make it? What the hell, we had no idea.


We went to therapy. We survived. The autopsy came back saying he died of a massive heart attack. Do people die of heart attacks? I certainly did know any that did. I did not have one friend at the time that had lost a parent. Either did my sister.


The one thing I had not counted on when I lost my dad was also losing my friends. I had a pretty close group of girl friends, or so I thought. When you are 20 and you lose a parent, no one really knows just the right thing to say. In my case, my friends said nothing at all. They stopped calling me and stopped asking me to do stuff with them. I even found out later that one of my good friends was telling people that I became addicted to drugs trying to deal with the death of my dad. I called him and confronted him. I remember this like it was yesterday. He admitted he was telling lies about me and sent me dozens of roses as an apology. I threw them into the woods.


I was so wrapped up in helping my mom and sister try to navigate life that I barely noticed my friends weren’t calling. I had that wonderful boyfriend anyway.

After about a year and a half of trying to make our way, my mom decided to sell the house and move to Indiana. Back to the same place my dad died. She is from Indiana and figured that blood is thicker than water so she wanted to move back to where her family lived. She had grown tired of being the third wheel with her friends. At least she had friends.


Now, don’t get me wrong, we had friends. But the people that stuck by me and were there to help during this very difficult time were the guys my boyfriend was hanging out with. They became my best friends too.


My sister had gone off to college. I was working full time and going to school full time. And still dating the wonderful boyfriend. If my mom was moving away, I guess I could get my own place. We had talked about getting married but maybe not for a while, we were so young. But in life, when things don’t work out as you had planned you make adjustments no matter how big they are. So in April of 1988, at the ages of 21 and 23, we got married. My mom moved that July. Life was moving pretty fast.


It gets pretty normal and mundane for the next 20 or so years. We bought a small house, had two babies (15 months apart), built a bigger house, had another baby.

We took vacations, went to thousands of kids sporting events and basically worked hard at life. Meanwhile we raised three amazing kids.


And then a little bump in the road. In May of 2009 at my yearly routine ob-gyn visit as my doctor is listening to my heart, he asks me if I have been having chest pains or shortness of breath lately. My response was, of course, I have three teenagers, isn’t that normal? He walks out of the room and when he returns he hands me a card for a cardiologist and says, I want you to call him immediately.


I did call and was seen in a week. I had so many tests run on me that I had to start keeping a running list with me at all times. A TEE, Echo, Stress Test, bubble test, EKG and finally a CT in August. The CT revealed a 10cm x 13 cm cyst in my chest cavity that was attached to the thymus gland. It had to come out immediately. I was scheduled for a left chest thoracotomy the following week. Life as we knew it was changing drastically.


A thoracotomy has got to be the worst surgery a person can endure. I was in the hospital for a week. One night, after I had been taken off of the morphine pump, I was in such pain that it took me over an hour to move my finger about three inches just to push the button for the nurse. I know this because I watched the clock. He came in and asked me what my pain level was on a scale of 1 to ten. It was a 12. The next three months were horrible, but my family was there to support me and help me through it all. My mom came and stayed with us for a month. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and shopping all fell to her. She was an amazing help.


At my three-month follow up with the cardiologist he says that I should be feeling awesome since that cyst is gone, and not pressing on my heart and lungs. Speaking of that, shouldn’t I be able to breath better? I just wasn’t feeling that great. He did something not many doctors do, but sent me to another doctor. One with more experience.


That Dr. ordered another stress test, chest X-Ray and Echo. I had a V02Max test and finally an MRI. It was decided that a Cardio Catheter would be the best test to reveal what exactly was going on. So in January of 2010, five months after the thoracotomy surgery I was told that I would need to have open heart surgery to repair pulmonary valve stenosis.


Is this what my dad suffered from and why he died so young? It turns out, no we do not have the same issues, but heart disease is hereditary. I had open-heart surgery in March of 2010 at the age of 44 to replace the pulmonary valve in my heart, which is a birth defect. I am a member of the “zipper club”. I have a 10-inch scar running down the center of my chest. So here it is, in almost exactly seven months I have had two of the most major surgeries a person can have. But I am alive. I am a survivor.


Time has passed, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by going on a two week trip to Europe that included a seven day western Mediterranean cruise. We went with three other couples, some of the best friends a person could have. See! I do have friends! Friends that actually mean something to me.


I am 47. The same age my dad lived to be. I have thought about this every single day since my birthday. And I will think about it every single day until I turn 48. The day I outlive my dad. That is such a strange thing to strive for. But for me it’s not been an easy road.





Stitch Fix #10

2015-06-07 19.25.52


Urban Expressions Quinn Crossbody Bag      $48

Pixley Avah Chevron Print Dolman Sleeve Top     $58

Collective Concepts Cynthia Graphic Print Mixed Material Top   $58

Collective Concepts May Chevron Print Knit Back Top  $54

Level 99 Dilan Distressed Boyfriend Jean   $108

My Love Affair with Post-Its

When my kids were little, like 100 years ago, it never failed that they would come into my room after I was already in bed to tell me something important. Something important that was needed for the next day! I forgot to sign a permission slip or their planner, they needed money in their lunch account, or they needed something from the store, whatever. I knew that I would never remember these important conversations once I fell asleep. So I started having them write it on a post-it and put it on the counter in the bathroom. I wouldn’t be able to miss a bright colored post-it right next to the sink first thing in the morning!

My kids started writing me these notes in elementary school. A lot of them were funny and I wish I had kept some of them. If I had known that one day I would be blogging about this, I would have taken pictures of them.

My youngest is in her senior year of high school and she still leaves me notes in the bathroom. I never hear her come in the room to deliver the note. She’s stealthy that way.

These notes are usually gentle reminders that she is staying after school, her clarinet needs repair or there was an issue with her car she forgot to mention to dad.

I keep post-its in the bathroom because my best ideas come to me when I’m in the shower. I know I will forget that great idea by the time I get back downstairs to my desk.

I have Post Its on my night stand so I can jot something down that I think of just as I am falling asleep. Like every night. Or in the middle of the night.

I also keep post-its in my car. I usually think of great things while driving and since Siri and I have a salty relationship, I end up scribbling a note at a stoplight and sticking it to my planner.

Some other great uses for the awesome Post-It are sticking them to something that came in the mail that you need another member of your house to take care of. Communicating with other family members in the house, by leaving notes on the kitchen counter. Grocery Lists. Labels on just about anything.

I love the many different sizes and colors they come in too. I like to write a quick note on one and stick it to my cell phone. That to me is way easier than typing a note on the reminders or notes app on my actual phone. I have to open the phone and then open the app. Why would I go to all that trouble when the post-it is just right there, stuck to the outside of my phone? I like to stick post-its to my laptop wrist rest area with reminders for something I need to do in the morning.

Now using these handy little sticky notes can also get out of control and really not add any benefit to your schedule or organizational plan if you just keep piling them on your desk. And you never throw away the ones with the tasks that you have already taken care of. Someone living in my house might do this very thing. Just sayin’.

So as you can easily see we use Post-Its at our house for just about everything.

I hope you find just as many uses for them as we do!

Stitch Fix #7

Stitch Fix #7