A Simple Guide to Vintage Apparel for Everyday Women

20170920_1621561448742695.jpgI am a plain-Jane, regular, everyday working momma! There I said it! My wardrobe consists of work clothes, some jeans and cotton-blend shirts, and clothes I wear to the gym or on the occasional outdoor adventure.  Basically, its pretty bland; despite my best efforts at picking up sales  from The Loft or at a big-box store, there just aren’t that many exciting pieces in my closet.  And why should I need more…its not like I go that many places: work, ballgames and various weekend outings with my kids, that’s about all I have time for these days!   I settle for clothing that I just wear, not clothing that makes me feel good! But deep down I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE looking fabulous and I care tremendously about the environment and the hands making the clothing I wear, as well as the amount of dough that I spend on my wardrobe. Let’s face it, we can’t afford high fashion AND basketball camps, private school, vacations, groceries and our mortgage!!  I imagine many of you feel the same!

I know you have heard the terms “vintage” or “sustainable” or even “thrifted” and think….”why would I need some over-priced OLD or out of date clothing.  Further, where is in the heck would I wear that funky mess!?! Its not like I am going to a music festival or a night out on the town!  What would the other soccer-moms think if I showed up in that get-up.”  The TRUTH is that most regular, everyday women; I am talking to my middle-aged mommas here, not the teeny-boppers in a training bras – although they can learn to LOVE vintage clothing too – it will be so much cheaper on your wallet momma! I  digress – the TRUTH is that most regular, everyday women can LOVE vintage apparel for sooooo many reasons!

1. Its cheaper,

2. Its cheaper,

3. It is already proven to be of higher quality than ANYTHING you can purchase at a big box store or on a crappy online site,

4.  It keeps clothing out of landfills and is better for the environment,

5. Its a unique piece that can bring back nostalgia or that you can feel fabulous while wearing – 100% guilt-free!! (We know that the momma guilt struggle is REAL) and finally, my favorite reason to consider vintage is that

6. Its REAL – it has a story, it was loved enough to survive decades in someone’s attic or closet and I feel like wearing it allows someone’s legacy to live on! (Deep – I know, I can’t help it).

So, why don’t more women like me wear vintage clothing and accessories!?!  The answer is simple – THEY JUST DON’T KNOW HOW!  That’s right, my guess is that most women like me would love to add a few vintage pieces to their wardrobe, but just need a little guidance on HOW to wear it, WHERE to wear vintage and the best way to PURCHASE!

I give you my guide to wearing vintage for Everyday Women:

START WITH ACCESSORIES

This one is easy …think grandma’s pearls or your great-aunt’s earrings.  Family heirlooms count too! And what a better way to honor a family member than by showing off a piece that belonged to them and maybe they even loved to wear for a period of time. This can go so much further though…I have a red belt from the 1980s that I can remember my momma wearing to work, it is the perfect accent to so many of the outfits!  Modern costume jewelry is expensive and mostly a remake of vintage jewelry anyway….just wear the real thing girlfriend!  And lets not forget about vintage handbags!  This is my personal favorite!  It is easier than one would think to find amazingly unique vintage handbags in perfect condition for dirt cheap!  One can even find designer bags relatively easily!  I once found a vintage Coach crossbody for $10 hanging on a sidewalk rack in Bramwell, WV (Google it…its a teeny tiny town)!  Jackpot! Let’s face it, we can all stand to be a little more daring with our accessories and purses, you know you want to!

MIX AND MATCH MODERN AND VINTAGE STYLES

So you aren’t ready to go full on 1970s one-piece track suit…that’s completely normal.  The fun part about vintage is that there are NO RULES!  You can pair your favorite jeans with a 1980s top or better yet, figure-flattering, high-waisted jeans with that LOFT top that you found on sale last week!  Our momma’s knew a thing or two about clothing that looked better on women’s bodies!  Low-rise jeans were not designed to look good on those of us who carry any extra weight in our mid-section

SHOP PATTERNS THAT YOU LOVE

 

Vintage patterns are the best!  I know what you are thinking…”I do not need to be wearing a yellow and brown 1970s mess!”  But that is often not near the case at all, unless you are into those hideous patterns and then I’ll leave all of those for you my friend!

The whole point of this little blog post is to inspire you to LOVE what you are wearing and have some fun figuring it out!

Purpose Is A Myth

As a member of the human race we get so wrapped up in the concept of  Purpose…or at least I do anyway.

Who am I supposed to be?  What am I supposed to do?  And all this while calling it the will of God…

I am afraid I am missing the point with these deep, life-changing questions of myself… I am not to be looking for the fabulous being I will become or the higher purpose I will achieve in the future – a shiny image of myself with the world and God doting over me, but rather – God is concerned with the now and the small ways I treat the people all around me.

grayscale photography of group of people wearing volunteer printed shirt

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Everyone we encounter is fighting a battle we know nothing about – always be kind!!

Its time to get over fulfilling our purpose, even in the name of God, and start simply living for Him in the ways of everyday life.  We are called to fulfill His purpose, not ours.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”  Romans 8:28.  Those small gestures will become a way of life that may or may not leave our names on the lips of others but who cares – we are who God says we are – NOTHING else matters! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…Jeremiah 29:11.

Also, God doesn’t always reveal things to us in our time.  This is hard when we feel unsure about God’s purpose for us, but its important to trust in His plan and His timing. You see, He planned these things out long before we even knew…the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

A final thought – Never compare your work to someone else’s.  If we all served God in the same way then we would not accomplish much for his kingdom would we?  Each of us has the ability in our daily lives to reach someone that no one else can…and we may not even know it!

Happy Monday Ya’ll!

Cornbread BBQ Cups

Whoever said “necessity was the mother of invention” must have been looking for something to make for dinner in our house last night!  While our little weekend getaway to the beach was good for the mind and soul it was not great for our weekly meal planning or grocery shopping!  So, here it is Wednesday night and I have yet to grocery shop for the week and supplies are running low.  My mission, scour the freezer and cabinets for something to throw together for dinner that is actually edible and will not take hours to prepare…

What do former BBQ pitmasters always have in the freezer?  Frozen pulled pork BBQ of course!  That and a few ingredients from the pantry and we are all set!

Cornbread BBQ Cups:

1/2 lb prepared pulled pork BBQ (psst…if you were not BBQ caterers in a previous life you can buy prepared BBQ in your freezer aisle or deli)

Jiffy Cornbread mix, 1 egg, 1/3 cup milk

1 can Petite diced tomatoes in tomato juice

minced garlic (to taste)

a dash of of BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix cornbread in a bowl according to directions and set aside.  Heat BBQ and mix in the undrained tomatoes, garlic and BBQ sauce, this will keep the BBQ from drying out and give this concoction extra flavor.  I also recommend adding corn or anything else that interests your taste buds!  Grease muffin pan and spoon in cornbread mix approximately 1/4 full.  Fill with BBQ mixture (about a tablespoon in each cup, there is no exact science here) and top with additional spoonful of cornbread mix.  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Let stand 2 minutes to cool.  Enjoy!

Overall, my family gave this dinnertime creative moment an 8/10! (Minus points because I forgot to grease the muffin pan!).  Also, there are no pictures of this creation due to the aforementioned failure to grease the pan…not pretty but tasty!

Let us know what you think!

 

 

Welcoming This New Season

I’m making it official…I am back from my blogging hiatus…again!!  It’s not that I haven’t thought about my blog almost daily, it is just that I have been too busy surviving this crazy life to write about it! That, and basketball season, a new job and life in general, has had me distracted!  So, here we go…bear with me as I get back in the saddle and remember how this thing works!!

I have had this blog 2 years now and can honestly say that its really difficult to blog consistently when I have my paying job and life to live at the same time!  But…I love it so much!  SO, my promise to myself, 3 months into this year…BLOG!  And do it as consistently as possible!

green grass on sand overlooking body of water

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

It is truly amazing what a weekend of sunshine can do for you!  As we enter back into our cold, gray world after a weekend excursion to a volleyball tournament at Myrtle Beach I am energized and feeling hopeful and determined in my spiritual life, our home, my physical fitness, everything!!!  I’m ready to kick start this spring and new year!  Yes, I know its March…and my first blog post of 2019…I’m a little behind but that’s ok, the sun is FINALLY shining!

Let’s talk about some GOALS for this new season!  Since I missed resolution season and I always screw those up anyway….lets just go with GOALS:

  1.  Say YES to God!  Focus less of my life and more on the lives of those around me, whether its holding a door and giving a smile in an everyday activity or finding ways to make this life better for a friend or complete stranger my answer will be YES in faithfulness!
  2. Gain control over my home and calm the chaos!  Last year I started out on a real roll!  I organized and cleaned and truly started the year out in a place of joy and renewal in our tiny home…and then Team Gunter had some life-changing events over the summer that ushered my blogging hiatus and turned our home upside down – literally and figuratively!  I have not been able to gain control since but I am determined!  SO, pray along with me; I am a pretty sucky Proverbs 31 woman but I’m gonna start working on it!
  3. Love this life we have been given and show gratitude for every moment of it!  I all too often find myself in a pity party for things in life that I am not exactly happy about…without even noticing how ridiculous that is (see Goal #1).  We have so much to be thankful for and its time to start showing it!

 

How About A Holiday With No Shopping At All!!!

So maybe its the fact that I am completely broke right now, but the thought of a holiday with my family without ANY shopping at all is sounding pretty appealing right about now!

grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Let’s face it, unless you have time to peruse through little boutiques and markets, shopping at big box stores or the mall during the holidays is no fun at all! They don’t do it in those Hallmark movies we are all so addicted to do they!?!  Not once, has the leading character from Christmas Lane, while staying at the local inn in the most charming town you have ever seen, ran out to Walmart to haul in three buggy loads of stuff to wrap and stuff under the Christmas tree!  You see, that’s why we love Hallmark movies so much!  They enjoy and remind us of the simplicity of Christmas – Love, family and hope!

rain of snow in town painting

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Now that’s not to say that I won’t be doing some shopping this season (you heard that right, I have barely even started)!  I have an 8 year old little boy who will expect that he has been good enough for presents on Christmas morning! And teenage daughters – I do not need to elaborate on this one! But so far this season I have enjoyed not stressing over what I am going to BUY everyone!  I made some candles for Hayden’s teachers awhile back and have picked a present or so for the girls but that’s about it so far, and I’m lovin’ it!  Our family decided to otherwise scale back on gifts except to the little ones and Husband and I hardy ever buy for each other. Instead of my holiday planning revolving around what I need to buy, I have spent time thinking up new dishes for Christmas morning and inviting my grandparents to enjoy the day with us!

What can you do to re-think your holiday and make it less stressful?  Let yourself have that Hallmark movie!

have a very merry christmas greeting card

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How To Shop Small This Holiday

I know its a catchy phrase but what does “shop small” really mean!?!  While it is most certainly that cute little top from the boutique on the corner, its also Esty purchases and ordering fingernail stickers from a friend on Facebook or picking up the cutest crafty household decoration from a street fair!  Take advantage of every possibility my friends!  Shopping small not only promotes growth in your downtown and community it puts much needed cash in the pocket of your friends with a side-hustle for the holidays!!

architecture buildings business car

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Here are a few of my favorite things to purchase “Small”:

  1.  Art & Home Decor – this one may be a bit obvious!  I love funky art and especially re-purposed items!  I pride myself in decorating my home with unique finds that have a story! 

  2. Scarves & Jewelry – almost every single lady on your Christmas list would enjoy receiving a scarf or unique piece of jewelry from a boutique. My mom always finds the best jewelry pieces for me!  The possibilities are endless! 

  3.  Handmade Products –  I am a sucker for almost anything handmade.  The thought that someone put something together with their own hands thrills me!  My dear Husband makes handmade wood crafts from whiskey barrels!  They make fabulous unique gifts, check him out on Etsy at BackyardSpiritsWood (Backyard Spirits Wood Products)!!
  4. Essential Oils – Yep, I hopped on that fragrant DoTerra bandwagon a long time ago!  I order most everything I need from my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law!

    white and purple flower plant on brown wooden surface

    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

  5. Boutique Clothing – I am not a huge clothes shopper, give me a thrift store or antique shop any day!  But I do love a cute little boutique where I can have a conversation with the owner and try on the products they have so carefully picked out for their shop to my heart’s content!

What are you favorite “Shop Small” items???

5 Reasons Why Coaching Your Own Kid Stinks

I have been coaching basketball for 8 years now and I do not hold back the fact that I LOVE coaching and I LOVE my team, but its not always as easy as it seems!  It started out all innocent and fun…during Elle’s first season of recreational basketball she was the only girl on the team and the neanderthals coaching the team paid absolutely no attention to her, or many of the other kids for that fact.  She learned very little about dribbling or the rules of the game – things first year players should learn!  So, after that season I decided that I knew way more about basketball than those guys and could at least communicate with the children without grunting…and 8 years later I’ve coached recreational basketball, travel teams of all ages, a middle school team, a junior varsity team and have had the varsity team at our local high school for the last 4 years.

img_124842995410275136335999.jpegI love coaching young athletes, I love seeing them grow and mature, not only in their basketball skill but as young women!  For many years I gave up coaching my own kid in travel so that I could coach the high school teams.  I missed travel and middle school games in which Elle was playing so that  I could be there for practices for my team to advance our program.  Some nights I hated it, but my pout didn’t last too long, as I loved being in the gym with my players, having faith that Elle was surrounded by coaches that loved her in the same way and our family cheering for her in my place.

Now though, she has finally made it to my roster and I have come to the realization that, at least at this level, it stinks coaching your own kid!  You see I think there is a common misconception that being the coach’s kid is a perk…wrong!  We are talking about a girl that has washed more stinky uniforms than she can count, has endured cold nights on a silent bus while Mom stews in the front seat after a loss (even though she wasn’t old enough to play in that particular game) and as a 5th grader even got recruited to ensure the varsity players were running the sprints they were to run as a punishment when Mom stormed out of the gym to collect herself in the locker-room!  Being a coach’s kid is NOT always fun! And now, shes on the roster!

20180127_1501071139183230.jpg

Here are the Top 5 Reasons Coaching Your Own Kid Stinks:

  1. I Am Always Second Guessing Myself.  When dealing with Elle I am constantly asking myself if I am talking to her and thinking about her in my “mom” voice or in my “coach” voice.  I second guess every decision I make – and it makes me feel horrible!  I have coached this team for 3 seasons without worry about what others think and say and now I am a mess!
  2. When A Player Or Parent Is Mad At Me – They Take It Out On Her!  When this happens I want to kick into “momma bear” mode and tear apart the offender -it just cant happen though, and Elle has to learn to deal with it!
  3. I Miss Big Moments And Plays!  Parents live for this right?  That moment when your kids does something so spectacular in a game that they can talk about on the way home and at work tomorrow!  Not me, I am focused on everyone’s big moments, and often miss hers – or they become a blur that I have to go back and watch on game film after another parent mentions it to me! My bragging to co-workers and peers is about my whole team!
  4. I Am Still Relying On Her For The Dirty Jobs! Yep, she is still washing her (now teammates) smelly uniforms and helping to clean up the gym long after practice is over.  She was recently accused of getting more gym time than others…well she does alright, vacuuming the locker-room or cleaning trash out of lockers left by her teammates.
  5.  I Miss Just Being Mom!  While I am more than thankful for the time we get together both at home and in the gym…Its difficult to console her after a loss when I have just told the team that I am disappointed in their performance and they need to work harder!  I miss the opportunity to just love on my kid!  I am vigilant though about reminding her that this is a game and no matter her performance (and what I say about it in the locker-room) I love her beyond measure and always will!  I sure hope she is listening…

20180512_203514602044593.jpg

 

2 Weeks and Counting…The Basketball Season Countdown

    img_20180703_234246_6747610938281689502199.jpg We are exactly 2 weeks away from the start of basketball season and I can hardly think about anything else!

 

     Did you see how I just jumped right back in there, like I have not been on a blogging hiatus for 4 months now!  Yep, daily chaos, summertime fun, school starting back, a jury trial and writers’ block have gotten the best of me this summer (and fall)!  It isn’t as though I haven’t thought about blogging…I think about it all the time.  I write down ideas and quotes I like and think would make a good post; I carried my computer with me on vacation and while Elle was at basketball camp but this past summer I decided I just couldn’t write about it, I had to live it!  Unfortunately, Team Gunter also dealt with a bit of heartbreak this summer which may have added to my lack of blogging – if you can’t say anything nice…yada yada yada!  But anywho, I am back at it now and just in time for my favorite time of the year…BASKETBALL SEASON!!

     Why do I love basketball season so much…let me count the ways!

  1. I love the sounds, sights, smells and feeling I get from being in the gym. Yes, I  said smells!  It takes me to a more peaceful place.  I learned in college that there were not many problems that God and I couldn’t work out while in a gym alone with a basketball and prayers!

    brown basketball on grey floor

    Photo by Bk Aguilar on Pexels.com

  2. I love to see my daughter and players putting in the work to achieve their goals.   In today’s world our kids expect to simply have things handed to them; if I leave my players with anything, I hope that one of the lessons they learn is that nothing good in life is ever free and that they can accomplish any goal they set their minds to as long as they are willing to put in the WORK!  So, I ask them to keep a notebook to show me what extra work they have put in during their free time and in the summer.  I also want them to be writing down their goals and keeping them in sight as they progress down that path! I had the pleasure of reading a devotional by Crystal Stine called Holy Hustle, based upon her book by the same name.  In the passage she discusses that God intended the work before us and therefore we should do it as if working for the Lord and give him the glory! It made me ponder about doing a better job of serving the Lord in all three of my professions: criminal defense attorney, part-time basketball coach and Mom; not simply just going through the motions for a paycheck or March! Ouch and Amen! (P.S. I ordered the book! I can’t wait for it to arrive!) 

     

  3. I love seeing the Sisterhood come together!   I started coaching basketball at the local middle school and junior varsity level five years ago.  We had a blast that first season; the players were relaxed without distractions, they trusted each other and me and we had very successful seasons!  Once my little 8th graders got to high school and influenced by the older girls and lost focus, life wasn’t always so easy.  We have had many highs and lows in the last 4 seasons but this year…the feeling is already different in the gym during pre-season workouts…they are focused, positive,  having fun and trusting each other and me like never before…they are developing into not just a team but a Sisterhood!   When I was in college and one of my teammates or I would be asked to join a sorority during fall rush an upperclassman teammate of mine, Brooke, would always quickly chime in that we were already in a sorority and our induction process was far worse than any hazing the sorority sisters could cook up.  We ran together, lived together, ate together, rode buses at all hours of the night together, endured injuries, heart-brakes, milestones, wins and losses together.  She was right, this was the closest thing sisterhood I could imagine.  Now that college is well in my rear-view mirror I still love and miss my teammates dearly, and have a complete desire for my daughter and the players that I have had the pleasure of coaching for the last 5 years to experience this type of relationship, one relatively few women their age get to understand…the sisterhood of  teammates.20180924_1457015713093968130368214.jpg

Summer Is Finally Here – Time To Learn!

Hello Friends!  I apologize for being MIA but its been a busy few weeks and while I have thought about it repeatedly, I have simply not had the time or energy to sit down in front of my computer to write!  Today, I am supposed to be lounging at the lake reminiscing with some of my college teammates and their families, BUT life had other plans…sick kid, low funds, busy work schedule this week…it just didn’t work out!

board boardwalk bridge close up

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

While I am super bummed that our plans didn’t work out, this is still the first official weekend of summer vacation for my kiddos and I have lots to do as we plan for them to be home for the summer!  This year we have decided that Elle is old enough and mature enough to help us out with Hayden – she is great with him and Husband and I are not usually very far from home for work.  In fact, Husband and I both have a home office we can work out of in a pinch!

So, Monday morning Hayden will start “Elle School”!  I am in the process of planning activities that will help to break up their days, while hopefully keeping Hayden motivated to read and learn so that starting school in August will not be miserable for him or Husband and I!  Also, it keeps BOTH of them from sitting in front of the television all day!

The first week’s activities will involved learning about volcanoes!  This is a request of Hayden’s since he caught a glimpse of a news clip of the erupting volcano in Hawaii. On task this week:

  • volcano art project
  •  Google search of volcano activity
  • library trip for books on volcanoes and
  • an actual erupting volcano in our back yard!!

Other topics Hayden wants to learn about this summer include dinosaurs (he can probably give this lecture rather than learn something new but that’s ok), other STEM projects, the solar system and race cars, including how the engines work!!  Hayden is also participating in a summer reading challenge through our local library (10 pages or one picture book a night will earn him a pool party!) Finally, our weekday summer plans for Hayden includes a few trips to children’s museums and lots of outdoor and pool time!

20180609_102714393717728.jpg

What types of summer activities do you have planned to keep your little ones’ minds engaged and having fun!?!

Mom Life – Are You A Mary or A Martha??

As women in today’s world we take the word “busy” to a whole new level!  In a life full of distractions and a society with a constant sense of “more” it is so easy to be swept up in the details of living everyday life that we miss the important parts!!  Today is the day we ask ourselves:  Are you a Martha or a Mary?

time-management-3 pexels-photo-321576.jpeg

We began a women’s bible study in my church last night from a series called “Living Life Together.”  First of all let me say that for as many years as I have considered myself a Christian, with the exception of a brief summer youth group experience, I have never really participated in a bible study group!  So, this was a first for me, and had this been a month ago I would have told you that I was too busy to participate in a bible study on Wednesday evenings!  Occasionally it is refreshing to be wrong!!

The study began by chronicling the busy lives of women and how easy it is to become so preoccupied with the aspects of surviving the day to day of our very full lives that we step away from what is truly important.

In Luke 10:38-42 the bible chronicles the story of Mary and Martha, two sisters who learn that Jesus has come to their village and will visit their home!  As he arrives and is welcomed into the home, Mary simply sits at his feet – listening to Him and worshiping Him.  Meanwhile, Martha goes about the tasks of entertaining the Lord! Eventually, Martha becomes upset that Mary was of no help whatsoever with Jesus as their dinner guest! Martha finally breaks down and asks Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!”

Now, most of us are cheering Martha on at this point right?  Help a girl out already! Its not everyday that the Lord is sitting in your living room – it needed to look like the pages of Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens up in there!

The Lord’s response:  “Martha, you are troubled about many things, but only ONE THING is needed, and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.”

The pastor in the country church I grew up in would say… “Ouch and Amen”

Are you a Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, focusing on Him and the truly important things in life, or a Martha, being so busy entertaining and paying attention to the details that you miss the big picture — THE LORD IS IN YOUR HOME!  Put down the dish rag and go hang out with Him already!!!

pexels-photo-852793.jpeg

Jesus was telling Martha that while it is important to serve, developing and nurturing a personal relationship with the Lord should be above all else.  In order to do that we must be completely present with Him – not just in the same room, busying around doing menial tasks!

This concept follows through to our families as well!  The title “Mom” also encompasses the role of problem-solver, mentor, housekeeper, cook, laundress, income-provider, psychologist, doctor, grounds keeper, maintenance worker, travel planner, and occasional veterinarian!  With all these roles it is easy to be CONSUMED with the multitude of things your family “needs” and at the same time, completely neglect spending time with our children and significant others.  I mean real, quality time here folks – not just being in the same room!  Be TOTALLY present!  Ouch and Amen again!

It is time we all be a little more like Mary – it is time to be with, instead to doing for!

Not that “doing for” is bad, in fact we are still called to serve and frankly, that laundry isn’t washing itself.  The point that I think Jesus is conveying to us, especially us busy moms, wives and women in general, is not to become so concentrated on our precious To Do Lists that we lose sight of what is most important – Our TIME developing a personal relationship with not only the Lord but also our families and loved ones!

This life is all about people & relationships make the most of it!

We are on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend and I have been struggling all week to determine what adventure Team Gunter can get into next – our decision after much prayer and discussion with Husband and Elle:  hanging out in our backyard – TOGETHER!

20170303_181455.jpg