Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End News from Nowhere

News Flash!!!!!
Yesterday. Big City in West Nowhere. Regular Unleaded Gasoline: $1.74 a gallon!!!!!
I never thought I'd live long enough to see it drop below $2.00 a gallon. That is all.

Good things can happen even if they are just little. Even small victories can taste sweet. But this is a Very Big Deal for us as we have to drive so much, so often. And as much as I am not in love with my crappy old car, I am pleased to be reminded just now that it gets over 30 mpg. ( I'm not so pleased to report that after all last week's repairs, a headlight has gone kaputt. The good news is that if this keeps up, I will have replaced so many parts that it will no longer be an old car. The fun just never stops. But we are still moving down the road with a few dollars more in our pockets after a fill up ... and that feels pretty good this time of year!)

... And in Other News from Nowhere ....
One Major Holiday down, one Major Holiday to go. I wish you all a Very Happy New Year with lots of love and thanks to you all for reading my silliness and writing to me about it. Please go safely and stay out of trouble on this always boozy holiday. Nothing bums me out more than to see mug shots of my friends (or worse) on the news.

Reviewing my last year's *New Year's Aspirations for 2014 ... How'd I do?
I'm no fool. My character is not upright enough for the staunchness of resolutions. I love a good challenge as much as the next woman, but I refuse to set myself up for failure. I can set some priorities, identify improvements that need to happen, and fantasize how life would be if I actually had my act together, but if I don't have a lot of stern resolutions to live up to I do a lot better. Let's take a very quick look at last year's list, and see how I did.

My Facebook Blog Page:
Well, it's there. I forget most weeks to even post my own blogs. I'm not much of a FB kind of person.

Redesign website:
Did that! Done.

Find a better way to keep in touch with bloggy friends.
The idea was to read more and write less. Stay current. I often don't get around to read everyone's blogs before I bend to the self-imposed pressure get out my own weekly post, or even get to respond to all the kind comments from the previous week. Much of it has to do with my very busy Wednesday-Sunday schedule. I know we all have limited available blog-cruising time, and mine is pretty much limited to Mondays and Tuesdays. I have to really hustle to get a post up so I can join Visible Monday, and that's when I can do most of my catchup. I did, however, make my sidebar blogs-I-read list more usable, so I give myself a very few tiny points for that. Much improvement is still needed, though, so I persevere.

Try to find some different backgrounds for photos.
Major Fail. Still working on that.

Get a current avatar that reflects the changes.
Good news: I'm finally happy with my haircut. I love my long pixie, and while I don't think it is wildly flattering or makes me look any younger or slimmer it is, I think, a more proportional look for me, and it just feels like the most authentic version of me thus far.
So, I finally made a new Gravatar. About time, wasn't it?

(These are more about my wardrobe than the blog...)
Spend more time recombining (wardrobe) items.
One of the best things all of my bloggy friends do for me is to inspire me to do this. Like everyone else, I wear my favorite things a lot, but I've found that I get stuck putting the same pieces together. All my bloggy buds have taught me to mix it up, and provide the inspiration for specific new combinations ... so thank you all for helping me increase my sartorial mileage!

Renew, recycle, and reuse!
Props to so many of you who have encouraged me to get off my butt and actually use the few sewing skills I actually own. I've always had to do the basics, but I was more creative and bold this year because of your example, bloggy sewing-divas and artists. You know who you are.

Continue to try to find a decent resale/consignment shop and actually use it.
I'm crap at this. There just are none here that work for me. I'll continue to keep scanning my radar for them, though.

Try it on before you buy it. Really.
This was the year when I made this rule one of my shopping modus operandi. I've left so many items behind in the fitting room ... and saved myself a chunk of change, and more than a little heartbreak and self-loathing, I know. It's also taught me how favorite brands usually fit me, and that's a time saver as well.

Love it or leave it.
Putting this into practice has been one of the best habits I've cultivated this year. It is a huge money saver, of course, but this year I've really enjoyed combining items that I already love. I'm embarrassed how long it's taken me to understand that it's a lot easier and more fun to combine pieces that I really love wearing than trying to shoehorn in items that are just meh just to get the good out of them. Duh.

* I haven't compiled Aspirations for 2015, yet. Stay tuned.

Yes, you just saw this jacket last week.  But in the spirit of
closet shopping, wearing the pieces I love the most, and trying new combinations, here it is AGAIN. But with a Missoni for Target dress I haven't worn in some time but love a lot, a Call it Spring messenger that suddenly feels fresh with these Gianni Bini equestrian-esque dress boots.

A better look at the boots ... this is True Boot Love.
They are in my possession because of a non-traditional 
collaboration with Santa. But I'm happy.


Before I conclude this last blog post of 2014, I'll leave you with a final news item. I've been a bit of a Doris Downer lately, I know, and this December has not been an easy month to enjoy. In keeping with that theme, on Saturday night, the son of a dear woman-friend that we hadn't seen in a while stopped by the restaurant to let us know his mother was in the hospital, fighting off a desperate and very frightening illness.

We stopped by the hospital on Sunday afternoon to see her, and you all know that terrible feeling of worry and anxiety that marks this kind of hospital visit if you've lived very long. We finally found her room, but I'm pretty sure you can also identify with the sickening little clutch you feel around your heart when you find the room empty of the patient you're looking for. We found a nurse, and she solemnly informed us that my friend had gone downstairs to the chapel. After a mutual sigh of relief, we then had to decide whether or not to bother her and invade her privacy there, but we really wanted to see her, so we headed to the chapel to wait for her to come out.

We found the chapel, and just outside of it we also found a small crowd of very happy people, laughing and talking and taking photographs. And there, in the center of the crowd, we found our friend sitting in a wheel-chair ... in a lovely dress, in full makeup, clutching a bouquet of flowers, wearing a white veil and a big smile.

My friend had just married her Significant Other of many years, surrounded by their families with music and flowers and cake and lots of joy.

Isn't that just the best, most amazing thing? I'll chalk that up as one of those rare, sweet, year-end mega-victories I've been looking for.


I'm joining the Bubbly and Intoxicating Patti at her year-end edition of  Visible Monday  ... where we all go to be much more than just visible!


  1. Tears in my eyes, best, most amazing thing, YES! Thank you for sharing such a feel good story Jan!

    Love your lists posts, and I disagree on only one point. I think your hair is indeed wildly flattering! Just sayin'.

    My friend was over for a Christmas visit a few days ago, and I was fairly drooling over her boots...a Christmas collaboration best describes the arrival of hers as well! I say it's all good! Those are killer boots you have and they look fantastic with your Missoni dress!

    Happy New Year Jan....see you in 2015!

  2. That was such a wonderful story. It made me smile. Happy New Year to you, Jan. The year 2014 was a wild ride, but I kept my resolution add more color to my wardrobe. I'm proud to say that I did well. Speaking of color, your hair looks more vibrant than before. Is this true? Regardless, I love it and you look incredibly edgy. Love it!

  3. I am humbled that you consider my blog worthy enough to be on your sidebar. I blush giddily.

    Ah, I need to revisit my aspirations list as well. I don't think I ended up as successful as you.

    I've been a Debbie Downer (poor Debbie!) too, but sadly, unlike you, I've been one all first semester and I need to snap out of it too. It's not like me to be so negative. C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? That said, I must admit to feeling rather rejuvenated, not having to update my blog this entire holiday break. Maybe I need to give myself more sabbaticals like this, eh?

  4. Wow what a wonderful story about your friend! I recently went to the hospital to see a friend who just gave birth and was so excited to visit the family. It hit me like when I was in the elevator that the last time I was in a hospital was when my father passed away in June - the tears just started flowing out. Hospitals are never a fun place and I had to compose myself and remember that I was there to celebrate birth of a beautiful little girl. I was reminded that there may be sadness but there's always happiness - you just need to look for it.

    BTW, I am totally jealous of your gas prices. I was so excited that I paid $2.65 this morning. I really thought I hit the jackpot.

    Hope you had a great Christmas and 2015 will be an amazing year for you!


  5. Thank goodness about your friend! You had me very stressed for a second there at the end. Great hair and those BOOTS! I'm so damn excited about gas. Also, about bloggy time. I don't answer comments on my blog unless they are asking me a question or something. I just figure I'll comment on the next post---tit for tat or whatever. I follow almost everyone who comments anyway so it works out.

  6. Jan, so pleased about your friend and that you made it to join her for the celebrations.A positive way to end the year, hope your car problems have been resolved.I am impressed with what you have been able to achieve from your aspirations list, if I had one mine would never come close. Good news on the gas pricing bonus, same here, though nowhere near as good.
    Love those boots, Santa has such good taste. Happy New Year to you.

  7. Patti_NotDeadYetStyleDecember 30, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Your friend's love story is the best thing I've read in a month - what a lovely event, and I wish her and her new spouse the very best. You are my kind of woman, who takes Resolutions as rather Suggestions, instead of guilt-inducing Mandates. And you look like a million bucks. Thanks for linking up to Visible Monday and joyous new year to you, my friend. xox

  8. I love that story you shared. So sweet. I cannot believe that gas was $1.74 a gallon. I was doing the happy dance that I found it for $1.95 here. I do not understand OPEC and the pricing of oil. It is a big scam to me. Happiest of New Years to you!!!

  9. What a fantastic story! And a brilliant wonderful note to leave 2014 behind and start on a new optimistic 2015. So very happy you shared it. This world is too jammed with bad news stories. A bright one really enlightens my day.

    I LOVE that coat and you are looking mighty fine lady!

    I am like you, I don't set myself up for failure and go out of my way NOT to create New Year's resolutions. That said, you did very well at achieving most of yours. Maybe there is something to it after all?

    Happy New Year Jan! May it be full of good health, laughter, love and maybe, just maybe a new car : ) One can always dream.


  10. That was a truly fabulous story! A happy ending is always a good thing.
    I love those boots my friend and the coat is truly fabulous as well. I never do the whole resolution thing...goals are good, but the whole hoopla surrounding New Year's resolutions is just too much pressure.
    Happy New Year Jan!

  11. You're not a downer; manure occurs!
    Happy New Year, my adorably fierce friend in fashion ;-)


  12. Great read and I am always happy to hear of Happy endings stories. Happy 2015 to You & Yours!!

  13. I will give you comments on different points.
    You have a crazy long list of bloggers you follow. If I had to visit all of them every week, I would be dead.
    I am thinking of another photo at the top of my blog. Which means another avatar etc.... I cannot even remember how I made the first one!!!
    At least I wasn't one of these bloggy friends that taught you how to remix and combine haha. As I hardly ever do. I usually wear everything the way I once invented it.
    Your boots are so beautiful. You will have lots of wear out of them I am sure. To begin with they do go very well with the Missoni dress.
    And the wedding you describe is like from a story book. So sweet, so hope giving.
    Hope you have a lighter and brighter year coming my dear Jan.

  14. A wonderful encouraging story at the end of the year. I am glad about that happy end.
    Enjoy your holidays dear Jan, Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you again stylish lady from nowhere.

  15. First off...I LIKE the haircut. I think it is very becoming on you, even, yes, dare I say it...wildly flattering. I love this outfit, too, especially those boots! Your take on "resolutions" and update on how you've approached them throughout the year was very interesting indeed. On facebook, I sympathize. Frankly, I detest it. So much so I deleted my account last January and have not looked back since. I save so much more time in my day without it. It's made me see, too, what real friends are.

    Now, as for gasoline...lucky you. As Frenchies, our gas prices are ALWAYS super expensive (welcome to Europe). They've gone down some, they're about €1.25 or so a liter now, which is roughly about $6.00 a gallon. Thank goodness we don't have to drive such great distances.

    Happy New Year to you and Dan!

  16. Northern mum down SouthDecember 30, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    What a lovely story Jan, it has given me a much needed lift just reading your post and seeing your smiling face looking gorgeous in that great dress. All the best for 2015 xxx

  17. Wow, that's the sweetest story! And I love your self reflection on your year's aspirations. Choosing wisely and looking for true love while shopping is something I'm working on too and getting better at .. bit by bit anyway. Certainly wishing you all the very best in 2015, Jan! Looking forward to another year of fashion and smiles with you!


    Dawn Lucy

  18. You find the best dresses at Target and those boots are to die for. I am trying to heed your last two points: Try it before you buy it and Love It or Leave it. These are my two down falls and the first one causes me return grief (where is that darn receipt!) and the second one - the clothing always ends up at the Good Will. So those are two lessons I will apply in 2015.

    Happy New Year to you Jan ~ it's been been a pleasure to read your blog (and comments on my blog) in 2014.


  19. Oh the relief - a happy ending! Congratulations to your friend.
    You look wonderful, Jan, the dress and jacket are fabulous together, but the addition of those extremely elegant boots is genius!
    Well, I think we can only do what we can do in life - we try, we strive, but there are limits to our time and our energy. You're a really busy woman, and the fact that you post weekly, and always get around to leaving thoughtful, kind and supportive comments means a lot to me.
    Happy new year to you and Dan! xxxx

  20. I think you achieved quite a bit for 2014 so congrats! I love those boots...they look so fierce and you just looks fabulous!!! Happy New Year to you and your family!


  21. Thank you, Sue ... glad you liked my boots and my story. I'm feeling sad today as my friend is in the ICU and failing fast, it seems. But I'm stubbornly going to remember her as she was on Sunday night.
    We all WILL have a much improved 2015. I don't mean to be a sad-sack as I am planning some evening self-indulgences with a new drawing app, and a movie or two. Additionally, we had a very good New Year's Eve at the restaurant in spite of a crazy early part of the day (MORE expensive car probs... I can't believe it ) so am beginning 2015 just as I want it to continue! Dan's at work and feeling positive, and I'll go with that.
    Hope you're having a wonderful first day of 2015, darling friend!

  22. Thank you, Glenda. Yep ... I'm happy with the cut, and had a brush with what is avant garde hair color (by mistake) but am refining that. Nice to be able to have control over it and "play" without too much "payment!"
    Hope you're spending your first day of 2015 in just the way you want to!

  23. Sabbaticals are important, and I hope you're having some lazy fun. A good time of year to take one as everyone is already frantically busy.
    My funk is all about external stuff, and while it's a MASSIVE pain in the ass, it's not anywhere near as bad as inner-life issues. So often, though, when I'm in that space, hind-site reminds me that my funks usually preceed some positive action on my part on my own behalf. May this be the funk before the storm of good stuff for you, my young buddy. So relish your sabbatical.
    I hope you're spending this first day of 2015 doing just what will do you the most good!
    (And here's my secret for successful aspiration-fulfillment: set the bar low! Works like a charm.)

  24. Your words to the ear of the Universe, dear Alice. Thank you so much for the wishes for a better new year. I'm setting my sights on one!
    My friend is in the ICU today, and it doesn't look good. But I have my memory of her joyful wedding to hold when I think of her.
    We had a great night at the restaurant last night, after a complete crap day of MORE expensive car repairs, but all worked out well. I AM looking for newer wheels, so my intention is out there!
    I hope you're spending your first day of 2015 doing just what you want to be doing!

  25. Hey, Becky! Thank you so much for your kind remarks. I love to continue the conversation a bit longer, so I try to answer all the comments. For me, it's always about the ideas. But I fully realize everyone wants their share of the attention, and that's where I need to improve ... your way is probably the most effective! Tit for Tat ... so true.

  26. Thank you, Jilly. My friend is now in the ICU, and it looks grim, but I'll have that pretty memory of her, always. We had a very good night at the restaurant, but our car broke down AGAIN and we almost didn't get open at all. The more work we have done on it, though, the fewer things can go wrong, right? Seriously, it has to go!
    Glad you like my boots! My Santa's taste is awful! So I have to work around!
    I hope you had the best New Year's Day ever!

  27. Awwwh, thanks, Mel. Thanks for the kind words. I hope you are spending your New Year's Day doing just what you want. I still can't quite get over how much I love the Cat Bar. I want to go to there!

  28. Thanks so much, Vix! Sadly, my friend is in the ICU now, and things look grim, but I'll always have that lovely picture of her in my head.
    Why wait 'till January for resolutions? Because that way you have a timely post topic, silly! Seriously, you are right, as always!
    I hope your New Year's Day was spent doing just what you wanted and that it was fabulous!

  29. I'm sorry to report that my friend is in the ICU and things are grim, but I'll always have that perfect picture of her in my head. Life.
    Thank you, Patti, for your sweet wishes. Back at you, lovely Hostess with the Mostest!
    Hope you are spending your New Year's day doing just what you want to do!

  30. Thank you, kiddo! I agree; the world oil market is as arcane as any economic structure I know even a little about. As glad as I am to see cheap gas, I know it's probably not great for the environment (removes incentives to support renewables.) But I'm so glad to have the nickles stay in my pockets this time of year!
    Hope you are having a great New Year's Day!

  31. Thanks, Suzanne. Always glad when you like what I wrote. I'm so looking for a new(er) car ... yesterday it broke down on us on the way to Big City, had to be towed ($$) then supplied with a new water pump, belt and adjuster (freaking yikes ... $$$!!!!) and cost me 5 hours I'll never get back. In spite of that we opened only 15 minutes late, and had a very good night. We both want off this automotive roller-coaster, and are looking for a better 2015! I don't mind the toughs so much if there are more peaks! Dan knows I mean business about that ugly purple piece of crap, and he's being very good and quiet! Ha!
    Hope you are having the best New Year's Day ever!

  32. Thanks, Debbie! Sadly, my friend is in the ICU today and things are not looking good. But I'll have that memory of her wedding, always.
    Resolutions? I wouldn't do anything even resembling them if the subject didn't make a useful blog post! I accept your wished for a good 2015, and send them right back to you!
    Hope you enjoyed your New Year's Day in some decadent and satisfying way!

  33. Thank you, Darling Alicia! I'm sad to note that my friend (only 47) is in the ICU, and the prognosis is not good. I'm so happy to have that moment to remember, though. Manure, does indeed, occur, and really ... life is so fragile.
    We had a great night last night (after much car hassle ... again!!! $$$!) so I'm happy to be tired and looking forward to a decent weekend up-coming.
    I always appreciate your psychic sensitivity to what's going on here. Saturn is in Virgo in my chart. I have not a clue what that portends, but but I hope it's not too nasty. Am watching the Mercury slow-down in January with determination to dot my "I"s and cross my "T"s ... generally keeping my head down.
    Hope you are spending the first day of this 2015 in fine style, Alicia.

  34. What a nice surprise to find your friend getting married! It can really make your day!
    Those gas prices are great, though we aren't as cheap as yours, yet. Target has some really cute dresses this year, but I've been trying not to buy too much. This one really suits your style! :)

  35. And right back at you, Neti ... late but nonetheless heartfelt! I'm looking forward to see what you come up with in 2015!

  36. Hello, Darling Greetje ... I have yet to get to my notes on your keep/cull list, but they're written up! Stay tuned! Thank you for your very nice thoughts and comments. They always mean a lot to me. Your posts remind me of how highly authentic a woman's style can be, and I'm always so impressed the conversation your choices present. You do make your wardrobe say so much!
    I'm further behind than ever ... my friend passed this weekend, and am trying to shake off the grimness. Not going to the memorial service, and will probably be in trouble for that, but just need to remember her as a bride. I'm determined to cheer up today.
    glad you like my boots ... I've put a moratorium on wearing them for a couple of days 'cause I wore them way too much!
    Now we can all settled down and enjoy the beginning of a whole new year ahead!

  37. Oh how dreadful, the passing (away?) of your friend. I am like you, I never want to see the de

  38. Thank you, Sabine! Like every year, one of my goals for the new year is to keep up with all my favorite blogs ... your's is certainly one of them! I hope the new year is treating you very, very well so far!

  39. Looks like this is your day to hear from little, ol' me! Thank you! I'm really happy you like the way the hair is going! I'm very pleased with it, so far.
    Facebook: I use it mostly for our restaurant, and I don't post much because no matter what I say, I know I'll offend someone!
    I send your New Year's wishes right back to you ... hope you and your family have a wonderful 2015 !

  40. I love your posts and your outlook on what life throws at us good or not so good! The last note just reminds me not to dread things however they may first appear and to enjoy the moment. Thank you for your blog and I wish you and your loved ones every good wish for 2015! x

  41. Mrs_Jack_of_all_tradesJanuary 6, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    Happy New year, Jan! You have a great blog and sense of style regardless. I too am thinking that I need another background for my pictures.. the door step have seen too many shots (some good, some.. lets not go there) we'll see how we both do in that department, ok? All the best for 2015 and keep writing!

  42. It was a nice moment, I admit. Glad you enjoyed it and that it perked up your day! Especially since you send such kind comments, too! Let us hope 2015 is better for all of us!

  43. The True Love rule should work terrifically for you, Dawn Lucy ... you look fabulous in everything you put on! Let's all count on a better 2014. Looking for more fun with the blogs, too, and know I'll get some much appreciated inspiration from yours! Thank you so much for reading and writing!

  44. The pleasure has been all mine, Monica! Glad you enjoyed what I wrote, 'cause that's what it's all about for me. Happy New Year to you, and may we all have a better one than last year in 2015!

  45. Oh, hi! I note I've missed a couple of your blogs, so will be over ASAP to catch up. Thank you for this last year of kindness and patience and understanding, and especially for your grand blog that makes me smile every single time ... and yearn to purchase two one way plane tickets! Happy New Year to you, as well, young lady.

  46. Thank you, Janise ... it's been a treat to read every one of your posts that I've seen. Your taste and talent has been an inspiration, and your beauty has been a pleasure to appreciate. Hope you and your family have all the best things that 2015 has to offer.

  47. Thank you for all , Laurie. That dress is from fall 2011 and the Missoni collaboration. I haven't worn it as much as I should have, but like a lot of my clothes, I like it better with short hair! Isn't that odd? I suppose my short hair really suits my style, in that sense, too.
    Have a Very Happy New Year, Laurie ... you and your whole family!

  48. Hello, Darling Director! I totally get your feeling cheated! I'm so perverse, I'd go out and take a car trip to need a fill-up!
    I'm with you, too, in having trouble with T shirts and fit. They are often too long in torso, arms and wide across the shoulder if they fit the boobage ... and they vary so much that they have to be tried on. That's why I haven't worn them a lot until recently, 'cause I did a concentrated quest and found a couple of reliable cuts that I like a lot.
    Thank you so much for your kind comments about my outfit and my new favorite boots ... I'm trying not to wear them every day and with everything.
    I'm sorry to say that my friend passed away less than a week after her wedding. It has been a bumpy ride here for the last few days, but I join you in looking forward to that softer, quieter New Year you talked about in your post. I appreciate your kind wishes and I know that things MUST get better soon.

  49. Jan, I am sorry about the loss of your friend, and of course very sorry for the loss her new husband has experienced. Many of the people around me have been losing loved ones and it can be hard not to feel totally frightened by that, as though that loss and sadness might be contagious and just keep going. Then I remember that life really is nothing more than birth and death endlessly and I am just part of that. We all are. And I focus on the love and joy that I have found and continue to find and remember to just enjoy it in the moment. Easier said than done, but that is my philosophy for living and I have reasonable success following it. I also recommend going through life wearing a favourite pair of boots with everything! xoxoxoxo


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