The First Leaves of Fall and a Season of Transition

The First Leaves of Fall and a Season of Transition

Yesterday, Day 98, and today, Day 99, of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project have been busy. I’ve been immersed in writing the acknowledgements for my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul (there are so many!). In addition to that, I’ve been collaborating with the award winning author and writing coach who edited my book for publication. She is graciously writing endorsements for the front and back of the book. I was thrilled when she invited me to attend a writing group last night where I was able to have the synopsis critiqued so I can edit it down to a blurb to fit the back of the soft cover and the inside jacket of the hard copy. This is one of the most important decisions because whether a potential reader (hopefully you) likes the blurb or not often determines if they’ll read the book.

I’m so thankful that I’m in this season of transition in my life. Being able to work from home in order to focus on everything that I need to accomplish to meet my deadline for the book to be released in January of 2018 is a blessing. And as I posted earlier this week, being able to do so from my office outside is a beautiful one. This morning, as soon as I stepped on my deck I saw the first cluster of changing leaves. They were confirmation that I should end the blurb where the writing group suggested – as Lee, the heroin, enters fall and a season of change and transition. Though she’s fictitious, from the time I imagined her, our lives have had parallels.

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Transition. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who is trying to figure out my blogging voice, my target audience for my blog and novel, and all of the details that go with these decisions, at times I feel a bit overwhelmed. I believe my content, be it career, home, image, or lifestyle, all with faith running through it, contains valuable insight and inspiration for women. I so want to encourage and inspire you! That being the case, I hope you’ll hang in there with me as I find my way through all I want to share until I  land on what you’d like me to share… Like these leaves, I’m hanging in there through this stage of transition and am thankful for the reminder that though I can’t always see through the trees, He’s always shining down on me and has got me through it all.

~ Pink Collar Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Collar Coach’s Outdoor Office

Pink Collar Coach’s Outdoor Office

Following a morning meeting, Day 97 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was the perfect day to work outdoors. In such a beautiful setting, it’s no surprise that I had a productive day working on the front matter (everything that comes before the story actually begins) for my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul. I finished my dedication page and even fashioned it into a poem, completed the epigraph page, and secured an endorsement from an award winning author. It along with one from a former Cincy Enquirer book reviewer have me that much closer to being able to submit everything I need to meet the January 2018 publication target.

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My back deck served as my office today. White wicker in weather resistant resin from Menards. was a Mother’s Day gift from my hubby a few years ago. We had to search high and low for white So happy I didn’t settle! Simply Shabby Chic pillows ($5 clearance at Target) are easily tucked away in wicker look storage container from Culver. The garden stool got a fresh coat of white spray paint this weekend to hide years’ worth of wear. Sisal rug was $20 at Walmart.                                                                      The pop of bright green in the birdbath was a $2.50 clearance score from my local grocer. It was filthy and broken. Cleaned up and repaired, it fills an empty corner with color.                                                                                                My Mac Air in it’s Hot Lips Pink Speck case from Best Buy makes it so Pink Collar Savvy & Chic.  
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My youngest stepson has an interest in and a talent for photography. When I asked him to snap a pic for me, he jumped right in and took several. Me, Pink Collar Coach in a lace top and A-line skirt, both Calvin Klein. 
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My love of pink is evident amidst the beautiful greenery of the woods that is our backyard:     Pink Calvin Klein sunglasses, Timex oversized watch, geraniums and petunias,                                  and even my low calorie drink! 

I’m very  blessed to have outdoor spaces like I do, but prior to me being intentional about making them extensions of our indoor space, they were underused. Now, most days, my youngest stepson can be found with his feet propped up on the wicker catching some rays (with lots of sunscreen of course). And last week, my hubby even suggested we have dinner on the deck when my oldest stepson stopped by.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who wants to inspire others to live their best lives, I  hope these pictures will cause you to want to get outside. You can create a functional oasis in your outdoor space too. It doesn’t require a ton of money, it just takes some imagination and intentionality. Now is a great time to pick up outdoor furniture on clearance at retailers and you can always visit garage and yard sales, flea markets, and second hand stores for treasures. Once you’ve scored or repurposed your finds, take your laptop, cell phone, notepad and pen or whatever you’re working on, and try to work on it surrounded by nature.  If you’re anything like me, whether paying household bills, filling out mounds of back to school paperwork, preparing the Sunday School lesson, or a report for the next staff meeting, you’ll enjoy the task more in your outdoor office.

Use What You Do as Decor and Do it More (For Me, It’s Dance)!

Use What You Do as Decor and Do it More (For Me, It’s Dance)!

It’s Day 96 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I didn’t get to dance! Although my day started with a phone call for me to proceed with getting my Zumba certification and teaching a weekly class at my local Y, the class I’d looked forward to attending this evening was cancelled. Of course I understand that instructors have things come up, but I’m always disappointed when they do and hate to miss a day doing something I’ve loved since I was a child and have incorporated into my adult life. So, since I have dance on the brain, I figured I’d blog about it.

Surrounding myself with images of dance is inspirational and actually motivated me to pursue a lifelong dream of teaching it. Growing up, we were too poor for me to be able to take classes, but that didn’t stop me from dancing every chance I got. I used to choreograph dances for the kids in my neighborhood and we’d have talent shows and invite anyone who’d come. I was a huge fan of Fame and Flashdance and feel like I actually channeled Jennifer Beal as I’d dance my heart out in my kitchen, especially to Michael Sembello’s epic “Maniac”. Like Beal’s character, Alex Owens, even without formal training, I could just dance. I don’t say that in a boastful way, I just feel the music in every fiber of my being. The lyrics from “What a Feeling” resonate:

Well, I hear the music

Close my eyes, feel the rhythm

Wrap around 

Take a hold of my heart

And much to the surprise of a Zumba sister, who startled me when she approached me last week, I do dance with my eyes closed! As an adult, I’ve taken ballet, tap and jazz. Then I took my first Zumba class and was hooked! When I’m dancing, the world disappears and it’s just me and my Maker – no matter the type of music. Like David (2 Samuel 6:14), I dance before the Lord.

But it’s not just dancing itself that brings me joy; it’s dance itself. I love the images associated with it. This is just a sampling of dance inspired decor displayed in my home.

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Charcoal sketch I recently purchased for under $10 at TJMaxx. I first saw a similar one in a Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic book.      It hangs in my living room & draws the eye up to the cathedral ceiling.
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Photograph of a ballerina that sits on the floor opposite above. I love the similarities in the poses and the juxtaposition of the artworks’ placement. When coming down the stairs, you can see this ballerina peeking out from between the end table and the Shabby Chic style chair.                        Her pose draws the eye down. 
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If you look closely, this oil canvas says, “Vivir con Passion”, Spanish for “Live with Passion”. This beauty used to occupy my cubicle a few jobs back but now inspires me every time I sit at the kitchen table. The plate rack I inherited when I married my hubby is one of the few decorative pieces I kept and it houses my collection of Simply Shabby Chic plates. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who believes in decorating with the things you do, I encourage you to fill your home and office with images or objects that reflect your passions. Be it animals (i.e. photos of pets in pet-themed frames), bicycling (I’ve seen an antique bike hung on the wall), gardening (tools set out on surfaces), flowers (real or artificial bring life to every room), a hobby (decorate with sewing or crafting paraphernalia), and sports (my hubby has golf trophies and newspaper clippings from tournaments on display, including a pink golf ball I added). Love to travel? Blow up pictures to re-live the experience. You get the idea…Use what you love as decor and you’ll be inspired to do more of it!

Can’t wait for Zumba tomorrow. : )

~Pink  Collar Coach

 

Pink Collar Coach Getting Things Done in Grab n Go Green

Pink Collar Coach Getting Things Done in Grab n Go Green

Day 95 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was a day to get a lot of things done. Between working from home and running around to take care of things on the personal and professional side, I still needed to be pulled together to present myself in public. Though there’s a tendency for today’s busy women to throw on yoga pants, a T shirt and flip flops if not in the office, I still believe we can be comfortable without looking as if we simply don’t care.

Besides, I love being a girl and would rather be in a comfy, pretty dress for business casual than pajama pants. I’m always shocked when I see women leave the house looking as if they just rolled out of bed. It’s not a look that leaves the impression most of us want to! There’s looking like we work hard for the money and looking like “She Works Hard for the Money”! Taking a little time to slip on an easy care grab and go dress or pants and top in fun colors is just as fuss free as sporting drab athletic attire. And running a brush through hair and adding a dab of makeup does wonders for the self esteem and boosts the spirit.

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Pink Collar Coach in an oldie but a goodie. I’ve had this Calvin Klein synthetic green sleeveless dress in a fresh green for years. And believe it or not, I spotted the shoes at Cracker while there for Mother’s Day. The white Calvin Klein bag I scored this spring has the exact same perforated pattern as the shoes. Talk about sweet serendipity! Since  tend to run cold, I keep a lightweight sweater with me at all times. This on is Calvin Klein as are the sunglasses.                     Maybelline’s Nearly There lipstick is my all-time favorite- neutral with a kiss of my beloved pink.  

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who wants to share my styling tips with others, I’m including a list of what to look for if you like this look:

Get the Getting Things Done Grab n Go Look

  1. Easy care dresses, pants, and tops in fun, solid colors.
  2. Lightweight cardigans, shrugs, or jackets in staple colors (i.e. white, black, khaki).
  3. Colorful  shoes with details such as perforation, stripes, or hardware.
  4. Quality handbags to pull look together and keep you organized.

I hope this inspires you to build your wardrobe with these pieces. They transition well into fall and even winter when layered with sweaters, tights, and boots and will more than pay for themselves with years of function and fun. Especially if you purchase them at affordable discount stores like my go-tos: TJMaxx or Marshall’s. And I recently found some of my favorite brands at Burlington Coat Factory. All that to say, if you follow these styling tips and score them at a good price, not only will you be able to get things done in grab n go green (or any other color in the rainbow), you’ll save some while you’re at it. Now that’s being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose!

Pink, Red and Pops of Purple – More Than The Colors in My Dress

Pink, Red and Pops of Purple – More Than The Colors in My Dress

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Pink Collar Coach in Calvin Klein wrap style dress with pink, reds, and pops of purple. Black cami keeps the V-neck from plunging too far. The handbag and pumps are also Calvin Klein. I don’t often wear red lipstick, but Maybelline’s On Fire Red has enough of a pink undertone to make it doable for me. If it looks as if I’m looking up, I am. My tall hubby was the photographer! All of other makeup is Maybelline as well – my go-to. Silver Moroccan pouf is one of my recent all-time best scores from Home Goods while the Aubusson needlepoint rug is a decade old TJMaxx find. Simply Shabby Chic sofa slipcover and pillows.

Day 94 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project provided an opportunity to be with family and to make new friends. Following the christening ceremony for our family’s newest member, we left church and went to celebrate at the parents’ home. There I had the pleasure of meeting a relative on the husband’s side who’s returned to town to access her support system. This amazing young woman, who I’ll call Cee, is dealing with an incredible challenge, yet from the short time I spent with her, though her body is under attack, I found her spirit to be indomitable.

I’m humbled and in awe that God continues to put women in my way. Many of them are fighting valiant emotional, physical, social and/or spiritual battles. My heart for them must show on my face because so often, even if perfect strangers, they share their stories with me and then tell me how much I’ve encouraged them. I’m always blown away by this because I’m beyond blessed by each and every encounter. Today was no exception. My new friend taught me about strength, tenacity and pursuing your dreams despite a dire prognosis.

I shared my own breast cancer scare with her and showed her pictures of the battle scar from where I had a giant growth that presented as malignant but turned out to be benign removed. We then traded stories about the changes our health challenges and hormones have wreaked on our bodies, including the need for a better bra! When Cee told me her age and I let her know I am actually two years older, she exclaimed, “Girl, you look good!”. And so does she. Three weeks past her latest chemo session and with no hair, Cee radiates true beauty.

One of the reasons I’ve come to love blogging so much is not only does it make me more mindful of  capturing meaningful moments after the fact, it makes me more so in the actual moment. So, as my time with Cee drew to a close because my big fat blended family had to go, I thought about what I was wearing and knew I’d remember it because of meeting her. The pink will remind me of my passion for women, especially those fighting health challenges, including breast cancer scare because of my own scare; the red will make me recall her valor; and the pop of purple will say, “She deserves a purple heart for positivity during her fight!”

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who wants to maximize my unique God given strengths to coach, encourage and inspire women to live their best lives, all to His glory, I’m writing this blog and sending it to her as a first step in our relationship because what she said as she hugged me –  that she felt as if God had us meet – echoes my thoughts exactly. She’s a writer who writes plays about women! Wow. She’s so Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose! It just goes to show, when we live life on purpose, God puts special people in our path. Even if the original goal of the day was simply to post about wearing a dress with pink, red and pops of purple!

~Pink Collar Coach

 

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Pretty

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Pretty

Day 92 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project found me  pouring through images to try to find the perfect front and back cover for my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul. I’ve always had a few non-negotiables around this – pink, roses, and a dark, curly haired girl that resembles my heroin, Lee, dressed in a vintage dress, all set in a Shabby Chic interior. I’m happy to say that after countless hours and mounting frustration, I finally found The One my heart was longing for. Actually, there are two images in the same room, one with the female model and the other without. There is only a bit of pink in each of the pictures, however, I can rectify that with the title and my name providing the pop of my preferred color. They’re not perfect (I need to get over myself a little on this one), still they’re SO quintessentially Shabby Chic and pretty.

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Simply Shabby Chic curtain panel, tablecloth, napkins & holders, table runner, flower cloche, plate box, cereal bowl, lantern lamp, journals, photo box, clock, and rectangular candle holder. The floral pitcher is Rachel Ashwell Treasures.                                                                                          All of the other items in the room are Shabby Chic inspired. 

 

 

Much of my search was conducted in the dining room, which also serves as my office. It has a lot in common with the final images I chose in that it’s not perfect, but it certainly is pretty. It’s also comfortable. And functional. Despite the stains in the chair from drinks spilled while people sat around enjoying one another’s company, or as children did their homework. Despite the smallish size and the oak china hutch I inherited from the other Tammy (hers is with a “y” as opposed to my “i”) and wish desperately I could paint white!

The reason I can still see the beauty is that I focus on the meaningful moments, like the chandelier and dining set that I purchased with money my beloved Daddy left me when he died too early at fifty-two, just four years older than I am now.  I see beauty in all of the authentic Simply Shabby Chic and Rachel Ashwell treasures I sacrificed to buy in order to furnish the townhouse where I created a home for my children and myself after my abusive wasband made me homeless.  I see so much beauty in the way I’ve poured my heart and soul into curating, collecting, and creating a space that is truly a sanctuary.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Chick who is a self-professed perfectionist, embracing the Shabby Chic philosophy of perfect imperfection comes easily for me when it comes to my home’s decor. I’m alright with old-fashioned and wonky and can’t imagine living in a suite full of furniture from a showroom. Relinquishing my idea of perfection when it comes to my book is not as easy. But it was possible. The images I finally landed on are described as “Dressing Table in Old-Fashioned Room” and “Young Woman Holding Dress”. Both make me nostalgic for days gone by. And the young woman’s hair conjures up Lee… While the images may not be perfect, they’re pretty perfect for beckoning readers to take a look back at the Seasons of Her Soul.

What in your life is pretty, even if it isn’t perfect?

~   Pink Collar Coach

Pink Collar Coach’s Picks – Novel Review – Before We Were Yours

Pink Collar Coach’s Picks – Novel Review – Before We Were Yours

Day 91 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project has me trying something new: Book Reviews. Growing  up in a dysfunctional home in an impoverished neighborhood, reading a good book was an escape into another time and place. Today, I’m a grown up with a dysfunctional family! And though I no longer live in a poor neighborhood thanks to a good education, hard work, and a whole lot of God’s grace, there are few better ways for me to take a step back from my personal and professional life than to submerge myself  wholeheartedly into the fictitious lives of the characters in a novel.

Contemporary Christian and historical fiction, chick lit, and recently the occasional light romance a la Debbie Macomber, are my genres of choice. As much as I love to read, I’m fairly selective and have had the same list of favorite Christian and secular authors for twenty-plus years. The bad news about that is many of my beloved authors like Maeve Binchy and Belva Plain have died in the last few years. It’s a heartache knowing I’ll never pick up a new book written by them…The good news is I’m broadening my horizons and exploring new authors. Lisa Wingate is one of them.

Before We Were Yours is the second novel I’ve read by this author. And while I just spoke of escaping to another place and time, the Memphis children’s home where this adaptation of real-life events unfolds in the summer of 1939 is not a place one would want to visit. The disturbing, riveting plot depicts the kidnapping and selling of poor children to wealthy families. Wingate delves deeply into how this brutalizes the Foss children in particular, who are taken from their carefree lives as river gypsies and plunged into brutality, grief, and loss that would be indescribable – apart from Wingate’s gifted ability to describe it. The damage done to these children, seen through the perceptive, wise eyes of Rill, the eldest daughter, is far reaching and has ramifications for generations to come. Yet, there is some redemption…As much as this story left me incredulous about the inhumane lengths to which some will go to get what they want, I was equally in awe of the resilience of the human spirit and its capacity to bounce back in order to ultimately get what it needs.

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As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who truly believes we read to know that we are not alone, this book is one that will not only educate readers on one of America’s most notorious scandals, ultimately I believe it will remind you, as it did me, of a promise. For those of us who have had loved ones stolen away, or families ripped apart, through deception, death, divorce, or other dastardly deeds, one day, what we lost will be restored. Perhaps not in the same form, but if we’re open to receive, however that is manifested, God will restore.

How you might ask? I suppose you’ll just have to read Before We Were Yours to find out…

~ Pink   Collar Coach