Personal Style, Personal Flair

Recently Ali over at Wardrobe Oxygen posted about knowing your own personal style versus copying the style of a blog you follow. I thought it was a very interesting article, and one the generated a lot of feelings in her readers. It also got me thinking about the direction of my own blog.

Those of you who know me know that I love clothes. Cardigans and socks especially. When at work an outfit seems incomplete to me without a cardigan, colorful tights, or oddly patterned socks. I gain ideas from friends, TV, and blogs.

I don't read fashion magazines, I never did. A lot of that comes from growing up in a very small town (less than 2000 people) that did not offer easy access to shopping. You had to learn to dress within the confines of the stores readily available and make it your own. DFW was about a 3 hour drive, so on rare occasions we got to go "good" shopping in Fort Worth.

Closet Makeover!

Let me preface my post by saying I am not proud in any way of the condition of my closet. Those that have lived with me (or know me well) know that I am very particular about some things, and totally lazy and a slob with others. My clothes are something I am sloppy with. I can remember clearing a trail from my door to bed through the clothes on my floor in high school (and college). So, in the vein of brutal honesty....I am going to show you my closet before the wonderful makeover it received.
Don't judge me too much.


Okay, so as you can see, my closet was a mess! I keep saying my closet, technically J and I share this, but all that stuff on the ground is mine. And, I had actually moved a few things out before I started taking pictures. (Like I said...honesty)

We decided the best and most affordable option for us was to add some shelves, sweater cubes. and something to hold belts/scarves. I had also found an earring storage project I wanted to do. So this morning we headed to Lowe's. We picked up four shelves, three for the closet and one for the laundry room, the brackety things that go with it, and the other items we needed. Then we went to Target to get the sweater cubes. (Then we got side tracked, spent 30 minutes at Cutie-Patootie and an hour at the mall.)

We cleaned everything out of the closet floor, vacuumed and steam cleaned it, for good measure, then let it dry. Once it was dry, J went to work.

A small improvement.

I went to work on a few small DIY projects and J went to work on adding the shelves. He did it very quickly! Even with A helping. It took him 20 minutes, maybe. 
New shelves!

As you can see, A was a big helper! Also, those shelves look great! Yes, this means, we (I) are losing a rack for clothing, but I think the gained sanity will make up for it. I had shoes in the closet and shoes in the bedroom and shoes in the living room and shoes in the dining room. I have a lot of shoes.

Final product:

So there it is! The final product! Or at least the mostly final product. I need to find somewhere to put the cold weather accessories and wash about 8 more loads of laundry and put them away. Also, I had to make a few decisions about what shoes to keep. I literally ran out of room, and I can not go back to shoes everywhere. So here is a bucket of shoes that did not make the cut. 

It is okay, most of these were shoes I rarely wore, or have replaced with a cuter version. Also, for perspective, here are J's shoes. There was no more storage room for his shoes, so I said he could put his in the floor, so long as they stay out of the way. I don't think it will be a problem.

J's shoe pile. 4 pairs of shoes.
So, what do you think of our closet makeover?

All the World's A Stage: Days 3 and 4

On day three we headed to the New Globe. I had hoped we would be able to actually go to a play, but we waited too long to buy tickets. Touring it was amazing though. We were very lucky, as I am certain we had the best tour guide they have. His name was Callum and I love him. He was a great tour guide. He gave us all sorts of information. He also occasionally acts at the theater.

After the Globe we went to Westminster. I don't have many pictures from this, because you are not allowed to take pictures inside.

It is truly an awe inspiring thing. I can't really put into words the beauty that one building can hold.

After Westminster we went to the Tate Modern. It was very crowded. The great (and not-so-great) thing about museums in London is that the normal exhibits are free. So the Tate Modern, Tate, National Gallery, British Museum are all free to get into. This means they are crowded. We went to the 5th floor to see some of the more interesting pieces. Including Claes Oldenburg's  3-Way Plug. This room also had works by Warhol and Lichtenstein.

There was also a light instillation project that had words zooming down narrow tubes. I sat and watched it for a few rotations, but J said it gave him a headache. We wandered around a bit more then decided to head back to the hotel.

Day 4:
The fantastic ceiling at the British Museum

We started day 4, our last day, at the British Museum. You could easily spend 5 or 6 hours in this place. We spent 1 1/2 and went for only the Egyptian and Greek wings. The next time I come to London I will plan better.

After the British Museum J and I hopped a bus to Stonehenge. Stonehenge, for us, was magical. I get how some people look at and think, gee a pile of rocks isn't that special. For me though, it is mystifying. I can not wrap my feeble mind around the myths that surround Stonehenge. I buy into these fables. I love that no one knows how or why these rocks are here. I love that there are multiple theories, none of which can be truly proven. I love that claims that would otherwise be laughed at as crazy are somewhat accepted amongst Stonehenge fans.

The location is not as serene as you would think, it can be found directly off a fairly busy road. But, once you get out there, you don't notice the traffic, or the other tourists. When we got there it was relatively uncrowded. This meant we could take our time and get close to the ropes. It was quite chilly out there. I had on my sweatshirt, but I had to actually use the hood!

The drive to Stonehenge from London took almost 2 hours, so once we arrived back in town it was evening. We spent our last night in London at Piccadilly Circus. I did not care for it. I guess that is how Time's Square is in New York. Lots of lights, people, and noise. After the quite grandeur of Stonehenge everything about Piccadilly seemed fake.

We headed back to our hotel once last time, packed up, and went to sleep. It was a fast fun four days. I can not wait to go back.

Two Tails of Love.

We bought Sophie the May before we got married in 2006. She was part of a litter of 8 for sale in front of CiCi's. J called me at work (back when I was still working for T-Red) to say that he had found dachshunds for sale. He was thinking of getting a little all brown one, but there was one he thought I might like. She was black and white and brown and gray. And the runt. I screamed Yes! Number 8 was ours, but we thought Sophie Peanut was a better name.  She is supposed to be a mini, but she isn't. Even when she is not fat, she is not a true mini. That is okay though, we love her as is!

A year and a half later we were at some Denton festival and I visited the ASPCA's booth. My heart was breaking, and I begged J for another dog. It will be good for Sophie I told him. (Sophie really did need some socialization, trust me.) The dogs at the actual festival were all already adopted, but they had more at PetSmart. So J (being the great man that he is), drove us to PetSmart. While there, it took one look at "Patsy" to know she was meant to be a part of our family. Patsy was a transfer from another shelter where she had run out of time. She was 9 months old, a mutt, and scared. We fell in love. It was very difficult at first. We changed her name, she did not look like a Patsy! Her new life, free from whatever bad had befallen her before deserved a new name. Thus, Lucy TuTu was born.

It was not easy. Lucy was (and in some cases still is) very skittish. She hates loud noises, does not like to be caged, and used to flinch when you went to pat her head. We knew it would be tough, we had no idea what she had been through before the ASPCA found her. However, for putting in time and love, we have been rewarded with the sweetest dog ever. Our lives are fuller for having these two be a part of it. Sophie is high maintenance, Lucy is a little neurotic, but they make our lives complete. For the brief time I get to spend with them, I want their lives to be safe, fun, and happy. And they will repay me in kind.

Wonder what she is thinking...


Lazy bones.

Lucy, hiding from my camera.

Mind the Gap: Day 2

Day 2 was filled with walking. We started at Buckingham Palace (well, the Royal Mews then BP), walked to Harrods, then to Hyde Park, and then from Hyde Park to Kensington Palace.

In the photo to the left, I am sitting on the side of the palace. The man in the background was wearing a fedora, a tie, and a leather jacket, while reading a newspaper, and drinking Dr. Pepper and Jack Daniels. The bottle was next to him. J was sure he was undercover secret service for the Queen!

We walked along the fence to the front or main entrance to Buckingham, and it was breath-taking. The gates alone were massive. The coat of arms on the front was so intricate.

From Buckingham Palace we walked along the Green Park, through the Wellington Arch, onwards to Harrods. I had to go to Harrods. If only to ride the Egyptian Escalator. Harrods was everything I thought it would be, floor after floor of overpriced shopping wonderment. The only item we bought was a gift for A, but boy, if I had money....damage would have been done! We did spend money in the food hall as well. Here we picked up the makings of a picnic and made our way to Hyde Park.

Hyde Park is crazy. I guess being from rural-ish Texas, I am not used to going from massively busy traffic to a quiet, green, park. It is like an oasis in the middle of a loud, dirty, noisy desert.

While in Hyde Park we walked the length of The Serpentine. I spent a good 30 minutes laughing at the ducks and geese as they turned themselves vertical fishing for whatever it is that grows in the bottom of The Serpentine.

We made our way from Hyde Park to Kensington Park, our goal: Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace is currently open to the public for touring, but not the apartments where the royals lived (or still live). It is undergoing construction though, like most of London, in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. We decided we didn't need to tour the palace. Instead, we opted for tea at The Orangery. 

The Orangery was amazing! It used to be a greenhouse where they actually grew oranges. The center pieces were real little orange trees! The pictures above is a collage of sorts of our time. The tea itself was lovely as well. We had the Orangery special, which included all the food pictured above (one stand a piece!) and a full pot of orange tea. The tea is probably the best hot tea I have ever had. The sandwiches were....different. Cucumber and cream cheese=good, ham and cheese=good, cheese and marmite=not for me, salmon and cheese=didn't even try it. The cakes and crumpets were so good, but it was way too much food.

After all this, we were exhausted. We walked up the Kensington gardens and caught the tube back to our hotel, took a nap, and then headed back to the Westminster area to see everything at night.

We had dinner at The Sherlock Holmes, fish and chips again! 
After dinner we wandered down near the Eye. I wanted to see everything lit up at night. While we were there, we indulged in a Wonder Waffle and the street performers. There was a fantastic band playing covers and an older woman dressed as a yeti.

I think this was my favorite day of our trip, but stay tuned anyway! All the world's a stage: Day3.

London Calling, Day 1

Day 1

We left DFW for Charlotte, then Charlotte to Gatwick. The flight from DFW was a little bumpy, and the flight to London was loooooooooooooooong. As someone who has rarely flown, I wasn't mentally prepared for over 8 hours on a plane. The good news, we had tv's where we could pick from about 10 movies. The bad news, they did not work the entire way there. The plane to Gatwick was 2-4-2 across, and we were thankfully, in a 2. We flew overnight, so after about 4 hours on the plane, we both crashed.

London 7:40 am. Texas 1:40 am.

J at Victoria Station
We did not have time to waste, so we got started. Gatwick is a 30 minute train ride from London, so we rode the Gatwick Express in to Victoria Station. We also did the "local" thing and bought Oyster cards. Oyster cards are great, they were pre-paid cards that you scan for the tube, rather than buying a ticket each time. 

We took a bus (the DLR was closed) to the closest area to our hotel in the Docklands-Limehouse area of London. The DLR is an above ground rail system that connects to the tube at Bank. We had about a 5 minute walk from that station to our hotel. It was not a touristy area, but we didn't mind.

J walking down Butcher Row. Imagine that in a really scary Vincent Price voice.

The dark tunnel we had to walk through to get to the hotel.

After dropping all of our bags off, we went back to the bus stop and the tube and headed for the Tower of London. The Tower was amazing. I find it so hard to picture all of these castles and fortresses being hand made. We spent about 2 hours roaming around the Tower, before heading back to our hotel to actually check in.
A raven from the Tower of London.

Our first night ended with a trip on The London Eye. It was amazing. We were able to view almost the entire city from one of the pods. If you are unfamiliar with the London Eye, it is essentially a giant Ferris wheel. 

Those tiny dots are people!

The entire rotation takes 30 minutes. The pod holds about 20 people at one time. 

After our ride on the eye, we wandered around for a while, basking in the beauty of the Thames, Big Ben, Parliament, and all the people. We found our way to a pub, The Red Lion. Here we had our first round of fish and chips. J had mushy English peas as well.

Our first day in London was a great one. The ride on the eye was truly a highlight of the trip.

Coming soon, Mind the Gap--Day 2.