Author: Janna

36 years old; it ain’t the end, but it sure ain’t where I began…

I feel a tad bit rusty here, and I really should be utilizing Abby’s dwindling nap time to do some serious meal prep or yard work right now, but I wasn’t about to break my birthday post tradition.   They’ve really become one of my favorite time capsules here and I enjoy re-reading them each year as I reflect upon my year and think about the upcoming one.

Last year I had just finished my first Whole30 and felt amazing.  I focused on really trying to let myself Just Be me.  I think I did a pretty good job of that last year.  For the first time in my life it felt like my mind and body had been reset.  I felt energized, confident and happy.   I knew what foods to eat to make me feel my best both mentally and physically, and I could really tune in when things started to stray and when I needed to clean up my diet to get back to “normal.”  I still believe that Whole30 is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

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That being said, a year later…I know I’ve strayed too far from what makes me feel my best.  The stress of moving and losing Summit led me back to some old habits and I started to notice Bianca creeping back in here and there.  So as I type this I’m on day 7 of a Whole14 to try and get back to that “good” place.

Yes that means no cake on my birthday.  No wine.  No chocolate.  No Big Dipper.

Gah.

But really, when I decided to do these 14 days and realized that my birthday would fall in the middle….I sat back and thought:  what better gift could I give myself?  The gift of getting back to the point where I know I’m at my best.  For me.  And my family.

Besides, I can honestly say that I enjoy a fresh mango almost as much as chocolate.  Almost.

This year it will have to do.

So as I think about the upcoming year, I’ve decided that I need to put a renewed focus on myself.  Not necessarily in the same way that I did last year, instead I want to focus on courage.  To talk more openly about my feelings.  To loosen up.  To let myself have more fun.  To give myself “permission” to make mistakes (with whatever it may be), and to have the courage to move forward the best way I know how.

It also means that I want to really start evaluating what makes me happy.  And to start to find the courage to pursue it.

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Life’s just too damn short.

I can’t help but think about my mom at these times.  She died when she was 37.  Thirty seven!  Insane.  I can’t imagine, I mean, I feel like there is so much left to do with my life and she never got that chance.  It really just helps me put things in perspective that you need to find your passion, your love, your purpose and follow it.  I’ve always struggled with figuring that and this is the year I want to focus on figuring it out and DOING IT.

To have courage.

To forgive my flaws.

To smile.

To laugh.

And to maybe whip up some coconut cream with that mango.

(hey, it’s compliant).

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Birthday girl who will probably regret posting this picture, but holla!  It’s my birthday.  You’re welcome.

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pssst….you can my previous birthday posts here:  32, 33, 34, 35.

 

…they are a changing…

Why is it that the highest highs are met with the lowest lows?

In the past few weeks it feels like my whole life has changed.   We moved to a new house {finally!}.   Outside of town.   With lots of room to run and play.   A house with room to stretch our arms that has my creative juices bursting at the seams.   With a WOOD SHOP.  And my {almost} my dream kitchen.  It’s close.  Oh so close.

 

And then just a few days after moving in, I had to make one of the hardest and most heartbreaking decisions of my life:  to say goodbye to Summit.    I know I need to write about this more but to be honest it’s still too raw.  I miss my friend.   I miss her companionship.  I miss all of the things that I thought I wouldn’t, like how she followed me around, and her little black puffs of hair everywhere.  Losing her has proved to be one of the most heartbreaking events I’ve had to endure in a long time.  And it hurts.  I can’t honestly remember much about my life before her…she’d been with me for 14 years and through much of my adulthood.   Every memory has her in it and she was probably the one thing that had been a daily constant in my life.  Losing that is hard.  Changing your habits is hard.   Knowing who to turn to in times of sadness like this is hard.  It’s strange, but it’s hard to know how to grieve without her because she was the one I would usually go to for comfort.  Whether it be together on a hike, or just snuggled up on the couch or floor….her silent companionship often comforted me in times like this.   I feel a little lost and a little empty.

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Needless to say, my emotions have been all over the board.  The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.   On one hand, trying to get excited about the house and all of my projects seems trivial.  On the other, I know that it’s a blessing to have so many things to do that will preoccupy my mind.    And in the end, I just know that focusing on things that I enjoy, and the things that I love to do will be healing.

On top of it all, we decided to potty train Abby right smack dab in the middle of all of this.  Which has turned out, quite frankly, to be the easiest thing on my plate.  She’s actually done great through all of this transition and loves her big girl room and her playroom.  I am so thankful that she is adjusting so well and she definitely brings a smile to my face everyday.  She is so funny and inquisitive and sweet.   The love I have for that little one is fierce and in some ways her innocence and not-quite-old-enough-to-understand these sort of things has been a nice distraction.

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And THEN….(yes there’s more)…there’s the sugar dragon.  Yeah, after almost a full year of learning about food and really making it my focus to fix bad habits, be healthy and eat food that makes me feel my best….I’ve gone an woken up my sugar dragon.    Ok so I’m not popping Skittles and mowing down Snickers….but I definitely catch myself mindlessly eating chocolate chips, dried mango and paleo-fied baked goods.  Oh yeah, and wine.  And beer.  All of which is basically sugar.  And it makes me angry because after trying so hard, for so long, it seems like I haven’t quite broken that habit of turning to food in times of stress.   It’s frustrating.  I know there’s been a lot going on for me but I just wish I would remember that the one thing I can control is how I feed my body, and feeding my body junk (or heck, even too much “healthy” treats like dried fruit) isn’t going to make me feel good.

I honestly didn’t write this post to complain.  Or to make anyone worry.  I just need to process all of this and ya’ll know that for me, writing it out helps.   And I want you to know that I do feel hopeful.   For the first time in a long time, I have a project list.  I have things that I can’t wait to get home and work on.  I know how to slay that dragon and it’s just a matter of committing to whole30 again.  So while things have changed, I know I have the tools to find my path again.   And my support system, my family, is still right by my side so in that sense, I probably have everything I really need.

Stitch Fix Review – October

Can you believe it’s Stitch Fix time again already?!

So you know the drill…I try on the five items I received and break it down for you (what I liked, what I didn’t like), and whether or not I kept the item.  And then half of you yell at me for returning something that you think looked good.   It’s ok, I’m cool with that.

After last month’s fix I left a note for my stylist asking her to (1) omit any stripes (2) include some color and (3) include something I can dress up for the Holidays.   I also left pretty detailed feedback on why I kept items vs. returning them…and I think that’s really helped in making my fixes better and better each month.   So don’t ask me why I look so angry in all of these pictures….because so far this has been my best fix yet!

So let’s get started!

Layle Shirred Shoulder Button-Up Blouse — $58.00

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First of all, I love pink.  Kinda like I love coconuts.  This shirt is a great color, perfect for skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans, and has some fun detailing on the sleeves (shirred shoulders and pinned sleeves).  I think it will be a great top for work but can also be dressed down to be a bit more casual.   This was a no-brainer.

VERDICT:  KEPT

Leo Contrast Trim Blouse — $68.00

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There is absolutely nothing nice I can say about this shirt.  I knew the minute I pulled it out of the box that I would hate it.  And I do.  I mean look at my face….I can’t wait to take it off. It’s just not my style at all….the colored trim, the pirate sleeves.  No.  Just no.  The only reason I tried this on was to prove how ugly it was to you, dear readers.

VERDICT:  RETURNED.

Milan Lace Print Back Pleat Top — $58.00

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You knew it was coming.  The one I’m indecisive about.  And I know if I returned it, this would be the item that everyone said I was crazy for returning.  I think the problem is that I just can’t quite get comfortable in it.  When I pulled it out of the box I thought it was most likely a No.  But then I tried it on and I thought….well….maybe?  It’s kind of cute.  It’s definitely different than anything I own which is actually kind of refreshing.  But would I really wear it?   I actually think this shirt is perfect for my sister.  But for me?  I don’t know.

VERDICT:  KEPT.  Live a little, Janna.  If you hate it your sister will take it.

Selfridge Cowl Neck Long Sleeve Top — $48.00

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I looooooooove this shirt!  The only color I love as much as black and pink is grey.  I love the style, I love the fit.  And obviously anything that helps hide my flaws *cough, belly* I will buy 2 of and wear every other day.   So this shirt is a keeper.  I love the look with jeans and boots but also think I’ll wear it with skirts (like a pencil skirt to work).  I was too lazy to add a fun statement necklace or earrings but I think that will work well too.

VERDICT:  KEPT.  Obvi.

Rocco 3/4 Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress — $88.00

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And then there was this little number.  Another item that if I dare return everyone would yell at my face.  Don’t get me wrong…I think this dress is pretty dang flattering.  And it actually has a heavy liner so it lays nicely, is a bit warmer, and kind of “evens things out” ifyouknowwhatimean.   So here’s my “but.”  While it’s flattering in pictures, I’m not sure how flattering it would be all the time.  I feel like I would constantly be trying to stand up tall to keep everything in check and I have never ever liked anything that ties at my waist.  It’s a bit more fitting than I usually go for and maybe I just need to get over it.   On the other hand, it is super comfortable, I love the liner, I love the look of it with boots (and my scarf from the last fix!), and it would be dressed up for the Holidays with a fun chunky necklace.   So again….totally on the fence here.  I’m sure the suspense is killing you…..

VERDICT:  KEPT.  I just need to get over it!  Wear something fitted while I still can, eh?

Overall I thought this fix was fantastic.  My stylist listened to my feedback, gave me some color (successfully!), and threw in a few things I wouldn’t have necessarily picked out on my own.  And even though one of those items was hideous, I’ll forgive her.

So why, after such a successful fix am I going to change my Fix Frequency?  Because dude.  My stylists are just too good! I’m spending way too much money on clothes and momma wants a new house.   So for now, I’m changing my shipments to every other month.

Are you ready to try Stitch Fix yet?   I think you should!

Until next time….

Yes I cut my hair, and yes those are the booties that I swore I’d never wear,
Janna

Random Ramblings

I just got back from a sisters weekend in Portland.  Some people like to make fun of the fact that my sisters and I dedicate  one weekend each year to spending time together, but it’s one of my favorite traditions (besides cousin’s weekend…hello!) and something I truly cherish.

This year was special because my little sister was running the Portland marathon and we decided to make our weekend out of it.  The food in Portland….oh em gee…the food.  Let’s just say my paleo lifestyle was out the window for a few days as we dined on made-from-scratch breakfasts at Mothers, wine and tapas at Andina, and multiple desserts at Papa Haydns.   And it was soooo worth it.   But of course the biggest news was the marathon and I couldn’t be more proud of my sister.

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But let me just be completely honest for one hot minute.  Cheering someone on at a marathon is NO JOKE.  We ran our little butts all over that town just trying to make it to the next check-point and wave our sparkly pom poms.  In retrospect…I should have trained for this.  My other sister and I made a pact that we wouldn’t let on how extremely tired we were after the race because dude…..she just ran a marathon.   Who are we to complain?  But duuuuuuuuude.  I was  kind of dying.  We took our job so seriously that at one point we thought she passed by us (thanks to the not-so-accurate tracking provided by the race website) so we started sprinting down the course trying to catch her.  Yeah, I don’t know what we were thinking either.   Then all of a sudden, we hear this yelling from behind us….”I’m back here!  Wait!”  Turns out she hadn’t passed us and she totally saw us running down the course and wondering what in the H-E-double-toothpick we were doing.

At least she witnessed our dedication.  Right?

Well curiosity got the best of me and when I got back to Missoula I mapped our run/walk around the Marathon course that day.  ELELVEN miles.  Yep.  ELEVEN.  I do not feel bad for feeling tired.  Or for the dessert that night.

So note to self:  The O’Connell girls don’t half ass anything.  You ask us to cheer you on in a marathon?  Sure.  And we’ll run a damn near a Half while we do it.

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Did you know that it’s common practice these days to only put ONE space after a period?  ONE.  I don’t know when this happened and why I wasn’t informed, but I’m still the dinosaur putting TWO spaces.  And I don’t really want to stop!  I feel like I just got slapped across the face because my mind. is. blown.  ONE space?  What the hell!

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I’m officially declaring myself coocoo for coconuts.  I haven’t really met one variation that I didn’t like (except coconut water, that stuff tastes like armpits).   Coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flakes, toasted coconut flakes, coconut flour, coconut sugar, coconut meat, coconut oil.  Yep.  I want all the coconuts.   My favorite little treat lately is peaches, cinnamon, canned coconut milk and coconut flakes:

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Also, I’ve been using coconut oil as face moisturizer for over a year now.  I feel that’s long enough to finally admit that I love it, and that it works just as well as the super expensive stuff (probably full of chemicals) that I was using.  I feel like my skin is well balanced now (not too dry, and not too oily).  There are only two drawbacks I would warn you about if you want to try this:

  1. The first time you put it on your face, you will be hesitant.  It felt very very wrong and weird.  You get over it eventually.
  2. If you cook a lot with coconut oil (I pretty much use it and avocado oil exclusively), sometimes in the summer when you put it on your face you’ll run to the kitchen to see what’s burning.   Or so I’ve heard….

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My official stance on hunting season is that it’s freeing, it’s productive, it’s welcomed….but it’s lonely.

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These boots.  I must have them.

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I don’t talk about my job a lot here….it’s not the most interesting topic (Deploying Wireless Solutions?  Upgrading User Interfaces?  Anyone, anyone?  Bueller?)  and I know people from work read this.  But I just have to say that lately I’ve been feeling like I need more.  I’m so incredibly lucky to get to work part-time at a job within my chosen career path – a part-time project manager position is rare, mostly because projects aren’t part-time.  They are moving forward and changing every day.  So much can happen while I’m gone that if I don’t stay connected on my days off then I can be behind when I get back.  It’s a double-edged sword I guess.  The root of the comment here, however, is that I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to spend time on things that aren’t necessarily fulfilling.  Lately I’ve been feeling a little unfulfilled with my work and I’m trying to figure out if it’s a phase or if I need to explore other opportunities.   Life is just too dang short to spend your days doing something that you’re not passionate about…even if it’s only on a part-time basis.   Maybe it’s just a phase.  I’ll just have to see.

dividerEach morning Abby asks “where goin today momma?”  And if I don’t say “Momma’s going to work” she asks me the following questions (always in this order):

We goin to park?

We goin to gym?

We goin to brewery?

Um……I guess you know where I spend my time.  Busted.

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After several conversations with my girlfriends regarding the Diva Cup , I decided to take the plunge and purchase one.  I wish I could tell you the story of my first cycle using this new contraption but it’s probably not appropriate.  But I will say this.  The first three days are a freak show.  The last few days are a slightly less freaky freak show.

Unsurprisingly, I am still undecided about the longevity of the Diva Cup in my life.

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The hardest part about trying to stick to a Whole30 lifestyle is giving up sweets and chocolate.  I don’t do very well at it because damnit I like chocolate.   But lately I’ve been making a treat that I don’t feel too guilty about and I thought you might like it too.

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Banana Smoothie

  • 1 ripe banana (the riper it is, the sweeter it is)
  • 1 cup coconut almond milk (this is my favorite cuz it’s sweetened with coconut cream instead of sugar like most non-dairy milk). But you could use any form of non-dairy milk.
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ice

Throw it all in a blender and you’ve got a cold, frothy treat that’s also pretty darn good for you.

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We’ve kinda been all over the place today, eh?  Marathons, coconuts, diva cups, deep thoughts, and smoothies.  As always, thanks for reading all of this nonsense.

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Xoxo,

Janna

Stitch fix review – September

I’m trying something new today because (1) I think it’s fun and (2) I’ve found similar reviews super helpful.  If you don’t like the idea of Stitch Fix, or watching me try on clothes, you might want to check back next week for a new post.  If you DO like both of those, carry on.

I assume you have all heard of Stitch Fix by now so I’ll spare you the details.  You can read all about it on their site, but the short version is:  it’s awesome.

Here’s how a review works – I show you what was sent in my Fix, try it on, and then give a review of why I did (or did not) keep the item.  It’s kinda corny, kinda fun.  I’ll just throw the disclaimer out there now – that I think taking pictures of oneself is probably one of the most awkward things ever.  In fact the only way to make it more awkward would be to then post said pictures on the Internet.

This was my second Fix and I was pretty stoked to tear the box open.  I’m not sure how I waited the four hours until nap time on Monday when it arrived.

After my first Fix last month, I left a note for my stylist mentioning that I wanted some fall tops that could easily be layered.  I think she did a pretty good job with that and I can tell that she’s been stalking my Pinterest board.  I pin a lot of stripes because I like the way it looks (and I like stripes in general), although I’m beginning to think that maybe they aren’t for me.  You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

I may have squealed a little bit when I opened the box because whoever my stylist is has obviously picked up on my love for neutrals.

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So let’s get this party started!  First up….

Sweet Rain – Thomas Striped Raglan Sweater — $58.00

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I like the idea of this sweater (the color, the stripes, the material), but I did NOT like it on.  The sleeves were too short to be full-length and not short enough to be considered 3/4 length.  Am I unaware of this hip new trend or were the sleeves just too short?  It looked weird and felt unintentional.

The whole thing felt too short through the torso anyways, but maybe I’m just used to wearing longer tops.  At any rate, I couldn’t quite get comfortable in it.  I think the pictures make it look cuter than it was – although they did make me give this sweater a second glance.

VERDICT:  Returned.

Tart – Jenny Scoop Neck Striped Knit Top — $68.00

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More stripes.  So….I actually took this top off and thought:  “yeah, I’m keeping that.”  But when I started editing these pictures I had second thoughts.  I mean, it’s cute, kind of, but $68 cute?  I’m not sure.  That’s a LOT more than I normally spend on a shirt and honestly this one was kind of “meh.”  The neckline is a little weird and I’m not sure how I could pair a necklace with it (which it seems like it needs?) since the shirt itself is so busy.  Maybe I’m just not built for stripes.  At any rate….even though I originally thought I’d keep it, it’s going back.

VERDICT: Returned.

Liverpool – Rizzo Pull-On Skinny Ponte Pant — $98.00

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These pants threw me for a loop.  I couldn’t quite decide whether to keep them or not.  One one hand, they are sooooo soft.  And stretchy.  And don’t have buttons or zippers.  And they fit perfectly.  But on the other hand, they are basically just a glorified tight/jegging that have pockets sewn on.  FAKE pockets at that.  Fake pockets that don’t do much for my bum (they seem like they’re placed too far apart).  AND $98 dollars seems a little expensive for tights (even glorified ones).  Right?

But these are more than tights – they’re thick like a pant so you don’t have to feel like a teenage girl who is just wearing thing see-through tights as pants.

In the end I decided that a good fitting pant is hard to find and I would likely wear these a lot.   Plus you usually wear a longer shirt with skinnies so it’s not like my butt is going to be showing much.  Oh, and did I mention these look awesome with heels?  I just forgot to take a picture.

VERDICT:  Kept!

Sweet Rain – Leandra Cable Knit Caccoon Cardigan — $58.00

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Again, I was on the fence about this one.  First of all, the material of the cardigan is cable knit so you can see through it at times to whatever is beneath (a colored shirt or bare skin).   I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.   Second, it fits just a little strange….the arms are kind of like….how do you say it….a flying squirrel?  What’s the fashion word for that?  But it was a little different to get used to because the cardigan feels a little wonky and tends to want to fall off of my shoulders.  But it’s the perfect length, drapes nicely, and is an awesome layering option.  I like cardigans and layers, especially this time of year.    In the end, I decided it was different enough and comfortable enough that I could overlook the cable knit holes.

VERDICT:  Kept!

Octavia – Betty Chevron Infinity Scarf — $32.00

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Chevron?  Yes.   Scarf?  Yes.

VERDICT:  Kept!

Overall I’m still excited about Stitch Fix.  I think for the most part, the items I’m getting are a reflection of what I’ve told them I like (in my Style Profile and Pinterest Board).  But I am starting to question my ability to wear stripes and I asked them not to include any in my next Fix.  I also asked for some color (getting crazy, I know), and some fancier items for the Holidays.

One thing I have noticed is that I am spending more on clothes than I normally do.  I’ve kept three items from each fix and it usually ends up being around $150.  That’s quite a bit more than I have spent on clothes in the past and it’s probably not something I want to continue to do each month.  I may re-evaluate how often my Fix comes (maybe every other month?) or try to limit my purchases to only items I really love.  It’s easy to get excited about something and get caught up in the moment with it (you only have three days to decide what you want to keep and what you’ll return).  So that’s something I’ll be thinking about more as time goes on.

Oh, and I thought I’d share one last thing – with each item in your Fix you get a style card.  It basically shows you styling options for that item (what kind of shirt to pair the pants with and jewelry/shoe suggestions).  I’ve found them helpful and wanted to find a way to keep them organized so I could easily find them.

So far the best system I’ve come up with is to punch a hole in the card and put it on a ring, like so:

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Then I just hang the ring on my jewelry hook for easy access.  Like so:

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It’s easy to grab when I’m getting dressed and maybe need some ideas on how to pair things.

So there you go – wasn’t that fun?

Are you interested in trying Stitch Fix?  Here’s a referral link where you can find out more. (Note, I get a $25 credit if you sign up through my link.  Here’s to more scarves!)

Xoxo,

Stylin’ Janna

Faux real this time

A few years back I spent wayyyyyy too much time with an iron and some wax paper.  Remember when I made this faux capiz shell light?

Honestly I can’t really believe that I did that.  Ahhhh….the blissful pre-child days where you had a good 4 hours to spare ironing wax paper!  Ha!  You fool!

Anyways, while I do still love me a capiz chandelier, I was growing tired of this faux version.  And truthfully, three years later, it was starting to get a little wonky – it no longer laid flat and some of the circles were starting to curl.  So I’ve been “on-the-lookout” for something, anything really, to replace it with.  I knew I wanted something girly and feminine in the room though because overall I try to keep a masculine feel to it…not like the Hubs cares, but I’m sure he doesn’t want floral explosion going on in there.  Wait, neither do I….

I was mostly looking in second-hand stores and on Craigslist for something that I could re-purpose but nothing ever really interested me.  So one day (probably after another discouraging house hunt), I browsed Overstock and found this little gem:

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via Overstock

Voila’.  I loved it.  It was simple, elegant, and a little bling-blingy (but not overly so).    Sometimes you just have to wave the white flag for finding that perfect thrift find, and succumb to the fact that the Internet has everything we need (where’s that sarcasm font when you need it?).

A week later, she was up!  P.S.  Have you ever installed a heavy light fixture by yourself?  It gets…..entertaining…..to say the least.  I had 3 pillows teetering on top of three boxes, all stacked on the bed so the chandelier could rest on them while I connected the wires.  You’ll be glad to know that I ALSO had an emergency backup plan in place (a friend was to call me 20 minutes after I started) because the Hubs was gone all week hunting and I was terrified that Abby would wake up from her nap and I’d be electrocuted.  Yes, I’m paranoid….and yes the best time to install blingy chandelier’s is when your husband is gone.

Enough blabber.  Check it out!

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I realize now that I was SO over that capiz chandy….because I LOVE this one.  So so much.  In fact, instead of Taylor Swift keeping me up at night, now it’s this blingy-bling on my ceiling that I can’t stop staring at.  It’s the little things.  Or, is it the blingy things?  Same diff.

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An oldie but goodie

Did you know that I started this blog in 2011 as a New Years Resolution?   It was about that time that I really got into reading other blogs and I was in awe of the projects, stories and everyday life people were sharing.  I started to learn that there was this big ‘ol world in the Blogsphere where you could connect with someone halfway around the globe.  You could learn how to make something new.  You could get the confidence to do something out of your comfort zone.  You could shed a tear while reading a post written by a person you’d never met.  It was so exciting, comforting and fulfilling in a weird sort of way, and I wanted to share too.  I wanted to make connections.  And I wanted to inspire other people.

Anyhoo, the other day I was going back through some of my posts (I got suckered in by the “Related Post” widget that pops up at the end of each post) and had a grand old time re-reading some of my earlier entries.  Forget inspiration, turns out I can be quite funny too, amiright?

I ended up coming across the story about el Sheepo, whom I would gladly forget about except that he is lying right next to our computer desk, so he stares at me incessantly when I write, and I was cracking up.  Since I have quite a few more readers than I did back in 2011, I thought I’d reshare it today.  Seems fitting since it’s hunting season and all.

So whether this is your first, second (or third?) time reading this post, enjoy.  (Please excuse the poor pictures and red kitchen!  Both have improved since then!)

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The first question The Hubs asked when I told him I was going to start a blog was:  “Oh great.  Are you going to use it to talk bad about me on the Internets?”

Who me? Do what??

Honestly!  I see no reason to use this medium to complain about The Hubs.  Yes, it’s a place for me to talk about events happening in my life, voice my opinions  and discuss whatever else I deem important.  But to air my dirty laundry?  I don’t think so.  That’s what girlfriends and wine are for.  Of course there are times where I may pick on him…just because he gives me such great material….but I would never write about anything private between the two of us, or dish on something that was hurtful.  I’m not heartless!  I know where to draw the line.   So, know that when I write things that seem to poke fun of him; it’s all done with the best intentions and probably to get a laugh out of someone (myself included).  Because I know that some of you out there can relate to what I’m saying.  And laughter is the best medicine, right?

That being said though…I did warn him that this particular topic would come up.  And it’s ok because he already knows exactly how I feel about the situation.

The situation I’m about to discuss is serious.  It involves my kitchen and a sheep.  I know…I know.  You’re confused already.

Let’s back up 17 years:  The Hubs is a teenager.   He draws a coveted Bighorn Sheep tag.  And I say coveted for a reason….some of the other phrases I’ve heard people use to describe pulling a Bighorn Sheep tag in Montana are:  “nearly impossible,” “if you’re lucky enough to draw one,” “you’d never have a prayer of drawing one.”  My personal favorite?  It’s the hunting equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.  Ok I just made that up.  But it’s true.  Another article on the Internet said an Illinois hunter paid $245,000 for a Bighorn Sheep tag.  Craziness!  So you get it right?  These things are pretty rare?  Coveted one might say.

So Little Hubs gets a tag.  Little Hubs goes out hunting and sacks a huge Ram.  Little Hubs is proud.  His Dad is proud.  His Mom is proud.  His sister is proud.  Everyone is proud because who, at such a young age, gets a Bighorn Sheep tag and shoots a huge ass ram to boot?  The Hubs.  That’s who.   All of this proudness resulted in a shoulder-mount of this coveted ram.   Yes.  That means hair.  And eyeballs (The Hubs says they’re marbles, but honestly it doesn’t really matter because eyeball or marble, they still follow you around the room all creepy-like).

Do you see where I’m going with this?   Do you remember me saying kitchen earlier?

Am I starting to sound (a) rational or (b) kinda like the mean wife who hates the coveted ram?

I can’t decide either.

Why don’t I take this opportunity to introduce you to the man ram of the hour?

There he is in all his glory folks.

Let me just set something straight before I go on.  My issue isn’t with the sheep itself (even though sometimes I feel like Harry from Harry and the Hendersons….wanting to look on the other side of the wall to see where the rest him is!).  But really…I get it.  It’s a big fricken deal to get a tag for one of these.  And it’s a big deal to The Hubs…so I have to respect that.  Did I ever think I would have half of an animal hanging on the wall in my house?  Ha Ha.  Get real.  I’d never even eaten wild meat until I met The Hubs.  Honestly, I prefer an antler mount (where you just show off the antlers…so no eyeballs) to a shoulder mount.  But like I said, I guess I get it, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that “yes Janna, you will have half of a dead animal hanging on your wall.”

So, my issue is with the current placement of the sheep.  Remember this post where I showed you my spoon collection and hutch?  Something was lurking in the outer fringes of those shots…

Are you thinking “maybe it’s ok…it’s not like it’s front and center of everything.” ??

Actually my friends….it is.

Mr. Sheep has a front-and-center view of everything I do:  cooking dinner (breakfast/lunch/snacks), washing dishes, unloading groceries, eating, entertaining guests.  You name it.

In fact, to the untrained eye (unlike myself), he’s probably one of the first things people notice when they enter our house.  Here’s a shot down the hall through our living room (where the front door comes in).

Maybe you’re starting to see my side of the story.  I’m not sure where or how  “coveted  ram” fits into my decorating style.   In my defense, it was hung before I moved in…so I’ve kind of gently decorated around it for the past 5 years.  And it’s not exactly one of those things you can demand be removed…it would be like telling Charlie to give back the Golden Ticket.

The other issue is –assuming sheepo has to stay— that there really isn’t a better place to hang this thing in our house.  Our kitchen has really tall walls (that extend up to a loft above the kitchen) so there’s plenty of wall space.  In reality I guess I should feel lucky that the sheep got hung here instead of “in-yo-face-style” on our standard 8 ft walls in the living room.  I should also consider myself lucky that I came along when I did, because I know that The Hubs still considers parts of this wall to be prime real estate for future hangings.

I’m imaging a big wall clock here….The Hubs imagines his latest elk rack.

I’m not kidding.  There is currently a debate in our house about where his Elk rack from last season should go (something about how it’s the biggest he’s ever gotten….measures really big…..yadda yadda yadda).  Maybe I’ll write about that someday.  Ooooo….maybe I could do a poll and see where my readers think it should go!  Stay tuned….

So there you have it.  My biggest decorating dilemma.  Should I embrace the sheep and make him part of my style (you know, Santa hats at Christmas…camo in the fall)?  Probably not.  For now…I’ve chosen to pretend it’s not there live with it because (1) it could be worse (I think) and (2) I don’t even notice him staring at me anymore.  Plus, it’s always a little amusing when someone new comes over and I see them notice it for the first time.

The best I can hope for is moving into a new house someday where I will decide be an active player in the placement decision.  Wait, no.  It will have to be a requirement that we have some sort of rustic den or man cave in a new place.  Isn’t that where all the animal heads/racks and beer fridges should go anyways?  Not in a kitchen.  No no.  Far, far away from the kitchen where I’m actually trying to eat.  (Have you ever tried eating something with a big bowling-ball eye staring at you the entire time)?

Gosh.  I feel like maybe I have aired a little bit of my dirty laundry here.  I guess it’s just another day in the life of a hunting wife.  Trying to find balance between somewhat of a stylish home and coveted sheep heads.  Ugh.

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Since writing this, the sheep head has obviously been taken down (not in any way, shape, or form, due to the post mind you).  You can read about that, here.