Monday, December 26, 2011

The Christmas Miracle




With a heavy heart, I went to my baby brother's house on Christmas Eve as we always do. I had an inner struggle as to whether or not to keep my phone by my side for the call I was dreading or just to leave it in my purse and be as present as I could be.
I left it and tried to be a merry as I could, which was greatly eased by my beautiful niece Vera (who only needs to call me "Ellie" and I'm putty in her hands) and my own daughter who was so excited at Santa's impending arrival.
After a couple of hours I couldn't help myself but go grab it and was relieved to see that no call had come. When we bid farewell and drove home I called my mother to check in. 
My grandfather had broken ribs in the fall which were causing internal bleeding that they could not stop. The doctors had said on Saturday morning that they would transfuse him one last time, but then that would be all. They would just see that he was made comfortable after that. To our great astonishment, someone arrived unexpectedly in the room that evening to transfuse him again. As surprised as my mother and her siblings were, they allowed them to do it.
Since that last transfusion all of Pop's vitals have been stable.
I got to speak with him on Sunday morning and it was the best gift I ever could have received.
He told my mother that God had come to see him and he asked him if he could have one more year here.
He said that God told him he could.
I'm so glad he did.

My children set their alarm clocks for 6am to open gifts on Christmas morning. It was one of the best Christmases I have had in years. My daughter framed an old picture of herself and wrote me a tear inducing note. She gave Daddy an ornament with a picture of herself as well and an equally beautiful note.
We had a big breakfast of Challah French Toast then I spent the rest of the day preparing our dinner feast while everyone played with their new toys.
My father and stepmom came over for dinner and we drank too many Old Fashioned's and ate our way into food comas.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers....I am more appreciative than you can imagine.
I hope you all had an amazing day surrounded with your loved ones because that in itself is the best gift of all.











Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bittersweet Christmas

First off, I want to say THANK YOU to all of my readers from the bottom of my heart. Your comments brighten each and every day and I cherish the friendships that blogging has built.
Recently I have been receiving some truly heartfelt emails from some of you and I want you to know how much that touches me. To actually take the time to write an email in itself is a sweet gesture, but the words I have read have been imprinted on both my heart and soul.
I am indeed convinced that blog friends ARE the best and you all prove that time and time again.
So to each and every one of you...whether you are just a "lurker" (I like the word bystander better, lurker sounds creepy) an active participant, or one of my blogging besties, I wish for you and yours the most merriest of Christmas and truly all of the best that 2012 has to offer.

It is a bittersweet Christmas here for us. My 90 year old grandfather suffered a terrible fall on Friday morning. After quite a few ups and downs, things are not looking well and the reality that his time with us is now very limited has begun to sink in.
He is my maternal grandfather and for the past 38 years I have only spent a couple of Christmases without him. He and my grandmother were a virtual second set of parents to my siblings and self and to say we are close is an understatement.
While I will never be ready to ever say goodbye, I am beyond grateful that both of my children have had the chance to know him on the same level as I always have. They formed close bonds with their great grandfather  and that does not oft happen. 
So this Christmas I am simply remembering the 30 some odd Christmases I have had with him and am thankful that he was here in my home for the holiday last year. These are memories I will always cherish, as he made Christmas a very magical affair. This morning I collected some of my favorite Christmas pictures of him and the smile they have put on my face is much needed.
It would truly take a Christmas miracle for our current situation to change, but I can't lose that little glimmer of hope. 


 me and pop

pop helping me open my gifts

 the holidays were always party time at my grandparents house

nan and pop slept over our house every single christmas to be there to open gifts with us



december 1994
this is my son with his great grandparents



christmas 2010

pop in october at my cousin's wedding. the last time we were together.

my pop. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grace Under Pressure









I hope everyone had a good weekend.
I know I did.
On Friday night I expanded my culinary prowess by making Coq Au Vin for the first time ever and it was a mighty success. Even the picky eater of the household agreed! On Saturday I went to see a performance of The Nutcracker with my daughter and my step mom at a college. It was done by the New Jersey Youth Ballet and was so much fun. It was geared towards children and it was narrated which was a great help in keeping the kids engaged and from asking 100 million questions throughout the performance.

My father suggested that we meet up with the menfolk afterwards at my husband's favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. It is the kind of place that is cozy, intimate and where the food is all prepared fresh to order with seasonal ingredients. The food is always delicious. We sat down, opened a bottle of wine and just as we were   starting to converse the waitress came with the children's sodas and dumped the whole tray straight down my back.
I was in such shock at first it took me a good couple of seconds or so to react. The poor girl dropped to her knees scrambling to pick up the now empty glasses apologizing profusely. I grabbed an empty glass that was now resting in the curvature of my lower back and handed it to her. I could feel my blood pressure rising as I grabbed napkins to start drying off my wool skirt, my wool coat and my button up shirt. I was very quiet at first but I didn't lash out. Other waitresses had now rushed over and our own waitress just kept muttering apologies. I asked politely for some kitchen towels since the napkins weren't very absorbent and I was very wet.


Without any premeditation, and despite being wet, sticky, embarrassed and totally uncomfortable I actually found myself starting to laugh it off and telling the poor girl that accidents happen and not to worry about it. My father chimed in and we both were convincing her that it was no big deal. She was so shaken she never returned as our server and I didn't see her helping anyone else either.
My natural instincts took over and I was glad that I reacted as I did. It was not "put on" and I'm sure she was worried as I could have handled it differently.

Once upon a time, quite a few years ago I was out to lunch with my boss at the time, a loud and pompous woman who was a few years younger than myself. I remember the waitress bringing us our drinks and dropping the tray down the front of my boss who was neither kind nor forgiving of the accident. I recalled how terrible I felt for that poor girl as she started to cry as my former boss berated her. It was dreadful. The manager of the restaurant came over and she went after him as well with such venom that I in turn was embarrassed to be seated across from her.

Reflecting on that incident as well as what just happened to me got me to thinking about how we handle things. What happens when instincts kick in before the mind can make a conscious choice on how we will react. It also made me think about who really had it worse in my situation. Myself or the poor waitress who was probably so shaken she couldn't work the rest of the night and lost out on her pay. Hopefully her boss didn't come down on her. My shirt went straight into the wash when we got home and my skirt and coat can go to the cleaners and all will be well again. Plus, now I have a laughable story to share with friends and family. It is my guess that the waitress had it far worse and I am glad I did not add to her already traumatic experience.

How do you handle the unexpected? 


Today was my daughter's class Christmas party and this is what I wore. I am not a huge fan of the cardigan, but this drape front one is the perfect solution. It fits the way a cardigan does not and that makes me happy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it in my dresser this morning with.the.tags.still.attached.
I forgot I had bought it and it was a pleasant surprise to "uncover" it. Like shopping without having to spend any money!

*Don't forget there is Free Shipping over at Katy~Did through January 1st!*

cardigan: express
top: vera wang (thrifted)
jeans: express
boots: coach
necklaces: express
ring: vintage, heirloom
earrings: ?
sunglasses: banana republic




Sunday, December 18, 2011

Free Shipping!


Just popping in to let everyone know that I am offering Free Shipping on EVERYTHING at Katy~Did starting today through January 1, 2012.

*offer applies to US orders only*
*items will be shipped USPS Priority*

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Early Bird...







Is there a such thing as too much sleep?
Yes, there is!
Since I have been home I have averaged anywhere from 6-10 hours a night. A far cry from coming home from work at 1am and being in the car by 6am to go back.
Ironically, I function best on 5-7 hours. Anymore than that makes me feel pretty sluggish. I might possibly be the biggest morning person you ever met. I prefer to get up anywhere between 4 and 5 am and consider sleeping past 6am "sleeping in"! In order for me to start my day off on the right foot, the formula should look like this:
~Rise by 5:30am the latest
~Make coffee, empty dishwasher, do laundry (if necessary)
~Drink coffee while ironing hubby's work clothes and making lunches for school/work
~Make beds and tidy up the house
~Do Pilates, Yoga or a Jillian Michael's DVD while daughter is dressing for school
~Take dogs with us as we walk to school then take them the longer way back home
~Shower & dress
~Out the door for any errand running by 10am.

If the morning looks like this, then I am generally in high spirits for the rest of the day. I am a total creature of habit and if I can do the same routine again and again it makes me happy.
If the day does not start off like that, there is a good chance I will be mildly to severely irritated for the duration. 
Now, don't get me wrong....before you go thinking I am some Martha Stewart programmed robot or a Small Wonder (remember that show?) I must admit that I do have a witching hour. 
Just after 9pm I lose all patience if pestered and am generally wanting to crawl into bed and fall asleep to House Hunters. (I never find out which house they picked!).

The early bird catches the worm and if she misses the worm then she lets the world know it!

Speaking of birds, this dress has been in the purge pile off and on for the past few months. It is from F21 so it's one I could part with and never feel much sorrow. Yet, there is something about it that has me unable to break with it. I pulled it out this morning and the soft cotton and easy fit just screamed "Wear me!". I ran errands and had appointments all day and as far as I am concerned it was a good choice!

Do you have a morning routine you hate to break with? 

dress: f21(last fall)
turtleneck: max studio (old)
tights: express
boots: coach (old)
denim jacket: yuka jeans (old)
earrings: jcrew 
glasses: express

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All Dressed Up & No Where To Go






This is my new uniform.
I've always been a fan of the button up shirt and the crewneck sweater and worn together I find it to be a match made in heaven. Generally I wear this ensemble with ballerina flats, or high boots but a few times recently I have taken my old school Kangaroo sneakers out on the town. I am not much of a sneaker girl (unless I have a butt kicking session with Jillian Michaels) and wearing them out and about is a bit out of my comfort zone.

Yesterday I strolled into the schoolyard for afternoon pick up in an outfit exactly just like this. One of the mother's that I have been friendly with for a few years came up to me and said:
"You went back to work didn't you?"
I must have looked utterly confused for a moment (since I am at pick up every day and when I worked I was lucky to be there once a week) and with one eyebrow arched quizzically I was like "Huh?"
"You were all dressed up on Thursday. I figured you must have gone back to work!"
I hesitated and in that brief moment she exclaimed:
"Oh.my.god. Don't tell me you dressed like that and your not even working!"
Finally realizing that she was talking about this outfit I laughed and explained that I had been out to lunch and shopping with a girlfriend all day.
She said I put her to shame, waved her hand up and down me and passed a comment that I probably think this look is "casual". And I admitted I do. I think I even said something to the effect of "Oh, I'm super cas today!" Then I looked around I noticed I was the only mom standing there not in some sort of work out wear.

So the moral of the story is, even though I feel as if my outfits have become quite mundane and similar and that I even wear sneakers more than ever (on really busy errand running days), I am still overdressed in comparison to others.
And somehow that is not at all consoling.

What do you consider appropriate casual wear?


*as a side note, there is a bunch of vintage jewelry in the shop! Check it out! 
www.katydidvintage.blogspot.com *

madras shirt: jcrew
sweater: thrifted
jeans: express
sneakers: kangaroos (and yes, with the zippers and everything!)
sunglasses: banana republic

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Blog Friends Are Best


Yesterday's post brought a comment from Janet and I knew as soon as I read it that I would blog about it today.
Because it's something I have been thinking about for a long time.

Blog friends are really some of the best kind of friends there are.

I've spent the past 24 hours trying to think of all the reasons I can prove this statement to be true and I can only come up with one single answer.
Blog friends are best because the foundations are built upon common interest not circumstance.
Finding a bosom buddy blogger is almost the same as finding your soul mate on a site like Match.com.
Don't laugh just yet....hear me out.
If you went on a dating website you would enter all your personal information and it would link you up with someone who shared all of those same opinions and interests. In blogging, we are sharing our thoughts, opinions, likes, dislikes, and giving our readers a peek into our private lives. Through our words we share our personalities. Through our photographs we invite someone in to our world. If they like it, they come back. If they really like it, they comment. Then through these comments conversations can begin and that's exactly where the friendships start.

Think about your friends in your "real life".
How did you become friends?
Is it because you are neighbors? Co workers? Significant others have been friends for a long time?
People we befriend due to circumstance.
Out of all of your "friends", how many are there simply because you met one day and shared common interests? Maybe not that many...and perhaps it is brazen for me to say that those are the only friends that will probably be around for the rest of your life. 

In relation to yesterday's post, I think that is part of our problem.
The majority of the people we surround ourselves with are our friends due to circumstance.
And perhaps that is why it's so easy to say "It's too far" or "I'm too tired" or "I don't feel like it".

I have had the great privilege to meet some of my blog friends in real life. There are others that I would give my eye teeth to spend time with in person. Ironically, the bloggers I consider my good friends don't live lives parallel to mine. In fact, we are all at different stages of life, parenthood, marriage or companionship. We live in different states and sometimes even on opposite sides of the world. We pop in every day or so to touch base and connect. Strengthening bonds that might just last a lifetime.

Have you developed amazing friendships due to blogging? 

p.s Can you all keep my Ryan in your thoughts tomorrow am? She is undergoing a root canal in a baby tooth...not fun!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm Dreaming....




of a fabulous Christmas cocktail party.
You know the kind.
Where women wear gorgeous fancy dresses and the men are all dashing in their best suits.

The entertainer that I am, I spend my days dreaming about it. Selecting the perfect invitations. What kind of food I would serve? How I would decorate? And of course, what I would wear? I would most certainly break out my Waterford wines, highballs and rocks to serve the drinks. Bing Crosby singing the perennial Christmas favorites softly playing in the background.

The other day I mentioned this to my husband and he started laughing.
Sad, right?
Truth is, we don't know people who would be into playing "dress up" and attending a party like that.
What has happened to us all?

I was raised in a family where we all dressed up for church on Sunday and stayed in our good clothes all day. We ate dinner in the formal dining room on Sundays and used our good china. Holidays were exactly the same. In fact, we even dressed up for our elementary school pictures! Some of in which my brother is wearing a suit and I am in a fancy dresses my mother handmade.

Dinner at my grandparents homes started with cocktails and appetizers every.single.night.
I have the fondest memories of cheese and crackers, pigs in a blanket and the adults drinking Old Fashioned's or having a Tom Collins. Every single year my maternal grandparents would throw a huge New Year's Eve party. Long after I was supposed to be asleep, I would sit at the top of the staircase and watch as women went by wearing shimmering party dresses and the men were not far behind with their party blowers and hats. If I was lucky, someone would spot me there and dash up the stairs to lift me up and carry me down into the festivities.
And oh, how magical!
People were laughing, and singing....there were conversations in every corner....people were enjoying themselves. Having fun.

Today it almost seems like a novel idea.
A fantasy maybe.
I love how the scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where Clark is in the attic watching the old home movie reels of his youth. 
Those are the kinds of parties and gatherings I remember from when I was young.
And I can't help but wish they still existed.

Too stressed, too tired, unwilling to drive "too far"....there are all sorts of excuses why we shouldn't and couldn't.
But if we think of the joy it will bring for those few hours...with our party blowers and hats on...drinks in hand...we might just realize that it was totally worth it.

Do you dream of gatherings like in the "good old days"?


















Friday, December 9, 2011

Katy ~ Did

Guess what???
It's been a labor of love that has taken me a lot longer than I initially anticipated, but I am now a business owner!

Officially tonight, my online shop
is OPEN for business!!!!

Since this project has taken forever and I have had plenty of time to think about writing this post telling you all about it, I thought I would give some background and answer some possible FAQ's!

The Katy ~ Did was the name my grandfather used for all of his boats he owned back in the 50's and 60's. I inherited all of his nautical memorabilia from the Katy ~ Did and with the love my grandparents had for making old new again, I felt it was an appropriate name!
The header on the shop is actually a vintage wooden "boat" purse my grandfather had commissioned as a gift for my grandmother Katie and is one of my most prized possessions!

As you all know, I am a vintage lover! I have been buying and collecting vintage for almost 25 years. Most of the items I am launching with I have already had. Sizes will begin to vary a bit more now as I expand my searches with the shop in mind, since previously I had mostly myself in mind! ;)

Why not Etsy?
Etsy requires items that are at least 20 years old. I find a lot of "better brands" in my excursions and want to be able to sell anything I feel strongly about. If I score a great JCrew item, you can bet that I want to pass those savings along to you!


Is it safe? 
Yup! I am set up through PayPal so you can just pay securely right through them. They handle all of your private information and money transfers. It's the same as buying on Etsy or eBay. It's safer than handing your credit card to a clerk at a bricks and mortar store!

What about shipping prices?
Shipping prices are factored in to each item depending on it's size and weight using the same calculating systems as eBay and the USPS website. I will expand to International shipping in the very near future, however, if there is something you want to buy and you live outside the US and I know you, just email me and I can work it out with you!

Why on Blogger?
I am no computer wiz. BELIEVE ME, I am not. Designing this page by myself was a true test in patience for me. Due to my lack of skills and desire not to bloat prices because I have any kind of overhead, I started here  knowing that I can always expand and buy my own domain when the time is right. And if we are all lucky, I'll hire someone to upgrade it who knows what they are doing!

Is this why you quit your job? 
Absolutely not. The idea came to me after I was home already and had put things on both Craig's List and eBay. I debated just selling items possibly on my blog. The truth is, I walk away from a ton of amazing items time and time again because they are not in my size, or perhaps I just know I will never wear them. Now, this provides me with a way to bring those unbelievable things to your doorstep!

Haven't I seen you before?
That's right. Some of the items for sale you may very well have seen featured on this blog. I will be adding those photos as a page to the shop so people can see some of the items styled and worn in real life.

What next?
Well, who knows? Anything can happen! I am hoping this will just continue to fuel my passion and be a fun hobby for me. Some of my blogging besties will be featuring finds on their blogs in the very near future....so stay tuned!!!

Have a question I didn't answer?
I'd be happy to ~ email me:
shoppingtheclosetblog@gmail.com



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Timeless






Is sometimes the only way to go.

pants: jcrew cafe capri in navy
button up: jcrew
sweater: limited
loafers: jcrew
coat: express
sunglasses: banana republic
handbag: guia's
jewelry: tiffany's
watch: citizen