Monday, September 30, 2013

Of Apples and Personal Anniversaries

Well, it could only be a matter of time!

Our Miss GetFresh has a birthday today!  We hope you have the loveliest of days GF and that you get all your heart's desires in the coming year, particularly as they relate to certain orange boxes!

So a little cake for you..

We had a lovely day here yesterday.  It was +24, an unheard of temperature for the end of September (though with global warming, it does seem like we say that a lot, doesn't it?) and we went for a little apple picking adventure.

We picked McIntosh and Cortlands and I imagine that there will be a few pies and crisps in the coming days!

In honour of our little apple picking adventure and of GetFresh's birthday, I thought I might share the poem After Apple Picking by Robert Frost:

After Apple Picking

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

I hope you have a lovely day GetFresh and that the rest of you do as well!  Stay safe out there!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Sunday Pop-in

Hi everyone!

Sorry I have been MIA the last few days - I had promised myself that I would complete the first draft of my second book before the end of September and so I have been locked in that little room I've shared with you working away like a beaver.  Thankfully, and happily, it is now complete and I am putting it aside for a month before I begin the first edit.  Lest you think that means I will slow down, well - nope.  I have a big October planned, putting together my new website, writing the backstory for my next novel and doing some edits of other work.  Oh yeah - I will also continue to send out the first one as well and I am looking at taking some courses.  There is no rest for the wicked! or is that for the optimistic?

Thanks so much for all your comments on home economics and cleaning.  It is so interesting to hear about everyone's experiences!

I wanted to share a special experience that Barry and I had last week.

On Thursday night, Barry and I had tickets for a fundraiser for our local theatre company, Theatre New Brunswick.  For four nights, The Last 5 Years was performed by Fredericton natives Natalie Roy and Tony LePage, two wonderfully talented performers who now live and work in NYC, pursuing their dreams of being successful working actors.  They are on their way.  Tony (who is the son of a friend of mine) is a featured performer in Rock of Ages on Broadway, Natalie has done a number of roles and will be featured in an upcoming episode of Kevin Bacon's The Following.

To say that these two are talented would be too grossly under-describe their talent.  For 80 minutes straight they performed the play, which is basically non-stop singing and chronicles the courtship and subsequent breakup of a married couple.


They are a beautiful, talented couple and I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before they make it big - they have the talent and the drive and most importantly, the charisma, to achieve their dreams.  We were lucky to get to see something special performed by individuals whom I think are the cusp of big things and I think everyone in the audience knew what a special treat it was.

Bravo Tony and Natalie and best of luck!  And if you are going to NYC, go see Tony in Rock of Ages!

Last night we went to a Thai dinner party, hosted by good friends of ours.  It was great fun and the food was wonderful.  The highlight for me, besides the good food and company, was lying down on my friend's Tempurpedic mattress!  I am starting to think about buying a new mattress in the next couple of years, so it was a great chance to try it out! 

What's up for today?  Well it is a gloriously sunny and warm fall day so we go for a drive this afternoon and then pick some apples.  Hmmmm... I love freshly picked apples!  And then I may make spaghetti and meatballs, using my favourite recipe by Ina Garten.  I may have shared this before, but it is worth sharing again!

Spicy Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti

2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, All Rights Reserved
Serves: 8 servings


  • 3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (85-percent to 92-percent lean)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated aged Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 (24-ounce) jars good marinara sauce, such as Rao's
  • 2 pounds dried spaghetti, such as De Cecco
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (or Asiago) cheese, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the bread is in medium crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggs, and stir lightly with a fork to combine.

With your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 2-inch-round meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pans. Brush the meatballs with olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.

Pour the marinara sauce in a large, low pot, add the meatballs, and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain and place the spaghetti in individual bowls, and top with 3 meatballs and lots of sauce. Serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.

I hope you have a wonderful day - see you tomorrow!  And stay safe out there!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Whither the domestic science course?

There are things you need to know about me. 

One of them is that my mother did not keep a clean house.  At least by herself.

She cooked (a bit) and did the (odd) wiping down, but to call any of the domestic arts her forte would be akin to saying Bill Clinton is shy to glad-hand - it ain't so.

We had a cleaning lady, Fay, who would come once a week and clean up while my mother would read voraciously on the couch.  I would follow Fay around because I liked to clean and have things tidy, too.  But to describe Fay as my mentor in cleaning would be a gross exaggeration. 

Later, Fay left us and we did most of the housework (my sister and I) until we moved out, but it was spotty at best, although I took great pride in being the only person who actually cleaned behind the toilet...

I am a self-taught cleaner and still learning.

And I get a huge delight out of this learning.  Martha Stewart came along in the early 1980s and just in time too; I could find out all that I had missed from Martha.  And it turns out I had missed a lot!


Later, I ordered myself a copy of Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts in 2005 and poured over it - who knew how often and how best one should change one's sheets, scrub one's floors, etc, etc. - Cheryl knew!  I was fascinated by housecleaning and homekeeping - it was like visiting a foreign land I had always wanted to be part of!

It has been my bible ever since!

But I was not a complete luddite, for I had benefitted from that long-lost course: Home Economics.

I thought of Home Ec. yesterday when I was blogging about tricking out my blazer.

Home Economics had its origins in the late 1800s/early 1900s, when caring for a home in a clean, healthy environment was just the ticket to keeping people alive.

When I took home economics in the 1970s, we focused on sewing, child-rearing, money management and food (cooking and nutrition).  A bit of health was thrown in for good measure. 

I loved my home economics textbooks, with their pictures of spotless homes and clean refrigerators, its warnings for us to avoid restaurants with house flies (something that I abhor to this day - I think the housefly in the restaurant was the equivalent of the red plague for young impressionable home economics classes). 


There were no boys in our classes.  They were off taking manly courses - shop and automobile repair.

And then it all fell out of favour. 

Led first in the 1970s by women who rightly said that forcing girls to take courses in the so-called "womanly arts" was offensive, that choice was everything, home economics and shop classes become co-ed.  In our school system at least, these courses were eliminated by successive budget cuts that saw domestic arts as less important than math, sciences and typing (it was the 80s by then after all).

Home economics, and home care in general, were equated with keeping women "down", which makes sense, since the early feminists, the ones from the generation immediate to my own, had been subjected to textbooks that advised them to take care of their man and leave their petty domestic concerns aside - his needs were paramount. 

But... and but...The house was still there.  And some people wanted to care for it. And knew how.  But others were lost.

My extended family would come over for Christmas and they would tease me because I wanted to have a lovely house with lovely table settings and lovely food.  It was foreign to them.  They enjoyed the fruits of my labour but there was an underlying message that I was not a 'true' career woman, interested as I was in these pursuits.  In fact, I kind of closeted my interest away in polite company, as if the domestic arts were an embarrassment, something one would only choose to do because one had to clean the house or cook a meal, not because that was an interesting thing to do.    For me, a working mother with two young children, it felt like the condescension towards home keeping had not only continued, but had expanded to include many women now as well.  Those of us, men and women, who liked a beautiful home felt that our pursuits were less than interesting; we were frivolous and somehow throwbacks.

I think that worm has turned, although Statistics Canada does advise that women still bear an unequal role with respect to housework.  I am curious to know if they measure other aspects of caring for a home and must dig into that; I might do a smidge (and only a smidge) more housework than Barry - but he does all the yard work, home repair, etc. etc.

But we have a whole generation of young people who no know some of these domestic and mechanical arts unless they were fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents who specifically taught them.  Who do not understand the principles involved in baking or sewing, do not know how to build a basic bookshelf, change a tire.  They pay others to do it all for them now and I think, more's the pity.  Cause this is the stuff we are going to need to know for the zombie apocalypse, right Tabs?

I haven't had a sewing machine for well over a decade - my last one was a 1960s Singer, inherited from a friend who had 'traded up' to a machine with a built in button-holer - I can't imagine what sewing machines can do now!

But I want to find out: I want a sewing machine again.   I want to teach both of my kids to sew. And knit. They know how to cook (a bit), they understand nutrition, I am teaching them to clean - my son goes to his girlfriend's apartment and insists that the girls wash their dishes and mop their floors. 

Keeping a house in good repair, keeping a body in  good repair, is a smart and wise thing to do. 

I am curious - do your schools have these kinds of courses or are they gone with the wind like they are here?

Am I the only one who found cleaning a bathroom after an awful day at work a satisfying thing to do???

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Have a great day and stay safe out there!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Style Wednesday: Crafting a new blazer

Well you can blame my latest antics on Dani.

You remember her very tasteful post on Harris Tweed?

Well I kept thinking about the fabulous tweed blazer I had seen on The Rose web site:

I had forgotten about "tricking out" an outfit.  You see, your dear old WMM was one of the girls in the late 70s/early 80s who was wearing their dad's shirts over ripped sundresses, bedecked in Police/ The Clash/Elvis Costello/Sex Pistol pins and safety pins strategically placed all over same-said clothing.
We were reading Austen and Kerouac and Atwood and drinking too much and writing a lot of bad poetry, and some good, and generally having a grand time, except when we were having the most morose times ever....
One of my favourite items of the time, which now I will have to take pains to recreate, was a man's red corduroy smoking jacket with black satin lapels which I wore over a pale blue bonwit teller ballet-style dress.  God - I am having a serious flashback and a moment of pure joy, remembering when we were doing our own thing in thrift shops and not giving a HANG about what was or was not in style.  So even as I am writing this I am thinking: "well old girl, let's get at it again and have some fun" and I think I shall..
But I digress.  So I was looking at the blazer above and I was thinking of this wretched Michael Kors blazer I had in my closet that I bought two years ago and then immediately wished I hadn't.  It is not my shade of grey (no pun intended) and I was peer-pressured into buying it by the clerk and then I even tried to consign it and the funky girl at the shop didn't even want it and I was cursing myself for paying $250 for a blazer that I did not care one whit about and had worn all of 3 or 4 times.
But then I had a moment of inspiration:
I decided to take inspiration from Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink and trick up my jacket.  Actually, I think I told my daughter I was going to pimp it up:
So I got out my sewing box, which is the sewing box that I purchased at the Newbury's store in Calais, Maine in 1976:
Even has the tag I put in inside. 
I had old notions and buttons:
And then I bought a few bits and bobs at the fabric store:
I cannibalized an old Nougat London sweater I had that didn't fit well and which was a bit stained and a few hours of jaunty sewing, accompanied by a glass of wine and good spirits, and voila:

The Capricorn patch was on a camel-coloured knit hoodie that I had in grade 5 and which I was very proud of - I couldn't believe it when I found it at the bottom of my sewing kit!  It was the Age of Aquarius man!
Amazing how grand knit doilies can look when paired with silver linen buttons and new tartan ribbon..
 My little toile heart feels very Les Miserables to me...Do you see the tiny W?
The flowers stolen from the other sweater:
The varied buttons, the triangle of raspberry plaid, the ribbons and tweeds.
It was all just delightful.  And oh-so-over-top!
Honestly, I was in heaven while I was playing with this and when I was all done I had a blazer that I would want to wear!
Now I am off to chase old men's Harris tweed blazers at the sally anne and frenchy's and have a tweed version!  Could I have found my next career or ought I stick to writing????
Do you bedeck your clothing or are you very tasteful now?
In honour of remembrances and craftiness of days gone by, I thought we might end with a little Clash..

Oh God - I do love that song!!!!  Dani may be wearing her proper Siegfried homage next year in the British countryside, but I think I will pop over and see her for a day trip but I will be traipsing around the British countryside looking like this:
God I would like that coat on the right....
 Oh they were heady years, till everyone died...

So how about you - do you ever festoon your drab clothing?  Am I the only one who is veering into Martha-Stewart-meets-the-Clash-land????

Have an awesome Wednesday and stay safe out there!



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Glitter on the Highway, Glitter on the Navy Shoes...

Oh, when the time comes for me to go and meet my God, won't you just bedazzle me into the ground?  Glue a few sequins on my tombstone?

I do not know if my love of glittery shoes is a direct result of my love for the ruby slippers, but I do love a shiny, glittery shoe - you can be all sedate and proper on top and then BAM! - look at your feet and then: "damn! those are some fine feet!"

As you know, I have eschewed heels higher than 2 inch!  So it is important to me that despite wearing heels that leave me, well, almost as close to the ground as I already am, those heels have some pizazz.

Enter the Kiki.  You know I love them.  I think Dani and I should be doing public service announcements for them.   This is my fifth pair of Kikis.  I am not proud of that fact, though in my defense, they have been bought over the course of several months and always for a good sale price.  However, I do love them. They are lovely chic, comfy shoe.

But to quote everybody on Game of Thrones who is about to die or get very cold:


and with winter, one needs a little more sparkle, because when winter comes so does Santa Claus and parties and presents for pretty girls from their husbands. 

and I will be ready.  Hell, I am ready now.

So when J Crew released the navy glitter Kikis, I was all over them.  There was a dilemma - navy kikis or burgundy ones?

Silly question - of course I will need both.  But the burgundy ones aren't available until October and someone might have an event before then.  I MUST be ready.

Here they are in the all their glory:

The glitter on these should be okay, if my Lula glitter ballets, now going on their third year, are any indication.

I thought I would show you three different ways I plan to wear them ( I am doing an Audrey Bella here - well actually, these were just the first three items I could think of!)

Casual - with jeans and a tshirt: (this just seems very Ines to me, n'est pas?

Winner Paris T, Nougat London cardigan, Richy and Skinny Jeans, Kikis....

Simple: J Crew black cashmere T, jeans and Kikis:

Dressy: a navy Pink Tartan skirt (oldish), black cashmere T (black tights when the time comes) and Kiki.  The navy Kikis just make your heart do a back flip!

Oh and with navy tights and my navy bottoms, navy dress, navy blazer.  Wear it with my pinstripe suit...

Can a burgundy be far behind?  And don't they look kind of like Dorothy's slippers?

Kiki glitter ballet flats

So what do you think?  Can you use a little glitter in your life??????  And I may have peer-pressured Dani into buying these...

Tomorrow: Wendy, embellished: a craft project

Monday, September 23, 2013

Into the Woods, with a disco soundtrack

Sign says, Woo, stay away fools, 'cause love rules at the Love Shack!
Well it's set way back in the middle of a field,
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the hallway
The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack baby! Love Shack, that's where it's at!

Well it was a 50th Birthday party after all and the birthday boy was the kind of fellow who would need to celebrate this rite of passage in the woods, so off 10 of us trooped for an overnighter to our own two love shacks in the woods. 

There were two cabins at our disposal - a 3 bedroom 'party' cabin and a 2 bedroom one (which was taken by ourselves and our good friends D&D) . 

Rustic - but comfortable.  And frankly, the view inside wasn't the story - it was the river out front.

which the Canada Geese (hey it is Canada!) loved, though they make a horrendous mess!

One man braved the river, his fly rod in hand, though if truth be told, he caught nary a nibble:

Barry using my dad's old fly rod, looking very river-runs-through-it...

The shenanigans were as per usual. 

And that was in the afternoon.

The long day's journey into night party is not for the faint of heart.  There is pacing that must be done, lest one find oneself needing to sleep before the dancing begins or unable to prepare the evening's meal.

But we were paced indeed, the food was divine (a Mexican feast/potluck), the music began in earnest when it ought, the birthday boy wore his 50th birthday sash, yes we DID dance to Love Shack and as is often the case, as we wound down the frivolities late into the night, someone (well me) put on Stairway to Heaven.  Yes. I AM that kind of party person...

The morning was a more subdued affair.  One's friends, so well made up the night before, were pale and bleary-eyed.  There was a bagel-dropping incident courtesy of Rewired's husband - it is a truth universally accepted that when one shows off one's balancing abilities, no good will come of it and none did, though we employed the 5 second floor rule and ate them regardless, because carbohydrates are critical for the morning after. 

Then we checked out, drove an hour home through the gorgeous colours that paint our New Brunswick autumns, and promptly took a nap, because after all, the Emmys were on last night and one needed to be refreshed for the red carpet...

Only one more 50th party to come in the near future.  It is a good thing - I need to recover! 

Tomorrow: Kiki navy sequined ballet flats review!  Have an awesome day and stay safe out there!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Miller Time Friday - Confessions, an update on Meeses (!) and Florist-Wanna-be's

Thanks all for your great advice yesterday!

While I won't wear the fancy pants for working, I WILL dress in them sometimes for dinner and have made a vow to wear one pair of fancy pants at least once ever couple of weeks.  Like everything else in my closet, they gotta be worn if they want to stay!

So the capsule wardrobe exercise lasted three days.

Oh, they were a good three days. 

But then today I got up and I wanted to wear white jeans and a black tshirt and I didn't want to wear any more navy and camel for a few days.

This speaks more to my inability to adequately plan a capsule wardrobe that had sufficient va-va-voom for someone with a whimsical personality - two colours doesn't cut it, and so the next ten items I work with will have a couple more thrown in for good measure.  In the picture above I am wearing the $350 Marc Cain skirt that I bought for $90 during the big going-out-of-business sale this summer,  It is so comfortable and the material feels so luxurious.  Well done Wendy and a reinforcement that buying one good thing, regardless of price is worth a lot.  Honestly, I would have paid full price for this.  I expect to wear this once a week all fall and winter.

I was out beginning the fall clean up yesterday.  There are STILL mosquitoes in our yard!  In only 30 minutes, I was bitten 12 times!  this is unheard of in September and is an indication of the warm, wet summer and fall we have had and are having.  I hate to wear bug spray but am being forced to the next time I go out or I won't get the work done!

Speaking of bug spray, we are off to a cabin the woods (sounds like a horror movie!) with some friends for an overnighter tomorrow, so there will be no Random Saturday musings (perhaps there will be Sunday Regrets?).  One of our pals is turning 50 and that means a Mexican feast and dance-fest in a place where no one will hear us!  We will truly be in the middle of nowhere, so I do plan to bring the bug spray!

Yesterday, I went around the yard and gathered a lovely bouquet of late summer beauties - hydrangeas, dahlias, honeysuckle, lilies, hostas, ninebark branches, geranium, phlox.  Fall arrives this weekend, and so for me, every blossom is a gift; they will be gone soon enough and I will be missing them till next May or June.  I wonder at times about the wisdom of living in a place where the growing and blooming period is so short: I look at my pictures from last Spring and my desperate desire to see anything blooming and I think: why did my ancestors stop here?  Why do I stay here?  There are many places, and you all live in some of them, where the blooming season is considerably longer.  Sigh....

But they are pretty, aren't they?  I have always had a secret hankering to be a florist.  I love flowers and I love to play with them.   I was trying to think this morning about movies where one of the main characters is a florist, but I can't think of any - can you?  all I can think of is Pete Postlewaite in The Town, but his florist character is decidedly darker than the kind of florist I would be!

 We had another visit from a mouse last night!  So now ALL of my food is containerized in lovely containers purchased at Winners (I already had a lot of them..)

I need a few more, but it's a start...

And a picture of Barry cleaning our the cupboards:

He doesn't know I took this picture...

I slept for 9 hours last night!  It turns out you can wear yourself down!

Other than that, all is quiet here - Son has gone off to Prince Edward Island for an overnighter and I am going to have a nice quiet evening and be early to bed, as I imagine tomorrow night will NOT be an early night!

In honour of visitor, I propose a

Mickey Mouse cocktail:

Shake all ingredients (except lime wedge) with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the wedge of lime and serve.
I do not like tomato juice, so I will pass and just have a lovely shiraz...

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Challenge for Thursday - is it possible to incorporate fancy pants into an everyday stay-at-home wardrobe?

Yesterday, you saw the ten items I am "playing with" this week.  You gave me great advice.  Of course even as you were saying that you missed wendy colours, I started missing them, too!

But there is a section of my closet yet to be discussed.  No - not fancy party dresses or the couple of sensible suits that are in my back closet to be pulled out when needed. 

Fancy Pants.

As you know, I have several pairs of them:

Pom pons

Tabs and I's pants...she wears then one week, me the next....
and these:

Café capri in silk foulard
silk foulard

Yesterday's J Crew rollout got me thinking about fancy pants. 

Lately, I have been buying only basics from JCrew - the odd sweater or tshirt, the only exception to my restraint has been the Kikis, which are multiplying like rabbits, but which get more and more comfortable with every wear.

When I purged my closet, the fancy pants stayed in the back of the closet, like three lonely Rockettes waiting for their time to be called out onto the stage to "put on a show".

And in the end, when looking at yesterday's rollout, I realized that what I still like about J Crew, despite all of my nattering and spending the bulk of my small clothing allowance elsewhere, are the colour and the texture.  Except for high end designers, you do not get this from other mid to low priced retailers, at least not around here.

In the end, after putting so many things on my wish list which I really didn't wish for (am I the only one who gets a message that says "Why the hell are you wishing for THAT Wendy?) What I would like to add to my closet this winter from J Crew is simply this:

Collection cashmere long-sleeve tee
cashmere T in snow

Collection cashmere Tippi sweater
cashmere Tippi in Heather sky

Lest you think I have gone all neutral and sensible on you, there are a couple of other things I would love to see in my closet:

Collection café capri in pintucked heavy shantung


Collection café capri in metallic marigold print
oh and that bobbly sweater is pretty nice, too... ;-)

The image that made my heart sing was:

love these colours

But here is the thing:  I am a self-employed writer (okay, should I say "I want to be a self-employed writer" given I have made no money doing it yet????) working from home.

And despite my love of them, I am often timid to bring them out except for "events".  But here is the other thing: I have almost no events.  (wait till I start book signings!

So my question to you and the challenge for me - how can I incorporate these items into my everyday wardrobe?  With sensible shoes and boots and no heels.  Without statement necklaces?

I do not want to leave things for "special occasions" so much anymore (well except for fancy dresses!) - if it is in my closet, it needs to work for me, dammit!

I know you will all have strong opinions about how to do this well and I can't wait to hear them.  Or you will tell me that it is impossible and get over it!  Either way, it will be appreciated! 

Have an awesome Thursday and stay safe out there!