Thursday, December 20, 2012

Have a Blessed Holiday Season

I'm going to take a bit of a break for the holidays. I still have lots of shopping to do and very little time. Lots going on these days - just trying to find a moment to breathe can be difficult.

I hope you, your family and friends have a blessed holiday season. I will try to return for a chit-chat before 2013 arrives. In the meantime, enjoy celebrating this wonderful season.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

- Luke:2 1- 14

To say this will be a difficult holiday for some is an understatement. I pray the families of Sandy Hook and residents of Newtown feel surrounded by love and support from near and far. There are more angels watching over us now. Peace be with them and with all of those who love them.

Image from HSA Parents blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Blogger: Easy fashion fun for the holidays

What do you get the fashionista in your life for the holidays? Well, look no further for inspiration, because guest blogger and celebrity stylist, Anya Sarre, has offered up some great holiday gift-giving ideas. Take it away, Anya!
As the temperature drops and winter holidays approach, you may be wondering what on earth you’re going to wear to holiday parties and get-togethers. You want to make a great impression, but how can you be sure your look will turn heads?
First, be sure to select an outfit that is comfortable as well as fashionable. When you feel good in a well-fitting style, you’ll look even better. The confidence you’ll exude will grab attention and impress everyone. This secret works for the stars and all the top runway models. It will work for you too.

Fortunately, winter fashions this year offer plenty of comfortable fashions to keep you cozy and stylish through the holiday season and beyond. Knitwear options top the charts for hot, cold-weather trends.

Toss a cable-knit sweater over a button-down top and add a pair of straight-leg or skinny jeans for a cozy, casual look.
For a dressier look, replace the jeans with black silk trousers or a tailored skirt. (Editorial note from Jen: Or this fun, frilly number that I couldn't help but add!)
Pinned Image

If a holidaygathering is on your schedule for the day, spice up the look with some seasonal sparkle. Choose a sweater with metallic threads, or layer on a shimmery scarf.

Pinned Image

Winter jewelry also adds a festive touch to everyday looks. Long, dangly earrings dribbling with sparkling stones draw provide a cheery frame for a woman’s face. Smaller earrings pair well with a popular layered necklace, a great way to add a little frosting to your holiday look. Bracelets or cuffs, the bolder the better, will add even more polish to either look.


Of course, you can’t forget the shoes. For extra holiday fun, pick a fun pair of metallic pumps to go with your skinny jeans...
Pinned Image
...or pick your favorite pair of boots instead and keep your feet toasty warm no matter how low the mercury falls.

Holiday time can be stressful for anyone, but with comfortable fashions and a little extra sparkle, you can shine at every party you attend. Whatever your personal style, remember that self-confidence is the best accessory. When it shows, nothing will be able to stop you on your way to high fashion and holiday fun.

Anya Sarre is one of Hollywood’s most influential trendsetters. A nationally recognized celebrity stylist, Sarre is known for her impeccable eye and ability to tie any look together with the perfect accessory. Named “Best Television Fashion Stylist” for her appearances on Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and countless other media outlets, Sarre is the go-to fashion expert for Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.

Images from, Pinterest

Monday, December 17, 2012

I have no answers, just strong opinions

At what point will the leaders of this country stop trying to control weapons and focus heavily on the PEOPLE who are violent and the mental illness from which they suffer? I read this recent article posted by a mother of a mentally ill child. It's heartbreaking to read what she deals with on a day-to-day basis.

When her son is on a violent tear, her only option to protect herself and her other children is to have her son arrested. He's 13. There are more mentally ill people in prisons than ever before. That's our country's solution. Put them in jail; don't attempt placing them in a hospital for the mentally ill. In fact, let's cut funding for such facilities and make them few and far between. Yeah, that will solve the problem.

I don't want to use this forum to argue about gun control. But, if you look at some of the most horrific crimes in recent history where children and adults were gunned down - Norway and Russia for example - these mass killings took place in countries with some of the most stringent gun control laws in the world. So, at what point is the focus placed on mental illness? Take away the weapons and these people will still find ways to harm others.

Before I jump off my soap box, I also have a message to share with the media on the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy:

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I'm disgusted with how the tragedy in Sandy Hook played out in the news. It was pathetic from the very beginning and every journalist involved should feel a sense of shame. Why are you trying to interview a 9-year old just hours after this event? (And why are those parents allowing it??) Why are you giving a face and a name to the killer so he can accomplish his twisted goal of achieving posthumous fame?? Like every other mass shooting, we will always remember the names of the killers, rather than the names of the victims.

I did not intend to start off my day with this rant, so sorry for that. But, this story has consumed me, likely because my children are the ages of those killed and because I have great relationships with their educators. There's no wrapping my head around it. It's just sitting there, weighing heavily on my mind, as I'm sure it is on yours.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Events of the Day

I started my morning off with this sweet elf and his kindergarten friends as they entertained us with a variety of holidays songs.

When I returned to my office with a warm heart after several hugs and kisses from my little man - and his older sister who was allowed to leave class and attend the show - I was hit with the horrible news about the elementary school in Connecticut. Words fail me in describing this kind of madness. Why? Why take the lives of so many innocent children? My stomach turns every time I think of it.

I will go home this evening, hug my kids and hold them for a long while, as I'm sure will many other parents near and far. We will pray for the lives lost, for those who were injured and for the families of the victims.

Image property of JMW A Place to Dwell Blog

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Son's Mealtime Blessing

My five-year old son often sings a mealtime blessing that he has learned at school, in which he thanks Jesus for food and friends. (Keep in mind that my kids go to a Catholic school.)

He recently learned a new song, and asked the other night asked if he could sing it before dinner.

His new blessing?

"Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, light the menorah..."

Yes, a big smile crossed my face, but I managed to stifle the laugh.

Happy Hanukkah, friends. Hope you have a wonderful Festival of Lights!

Image from Miva Merchant

Monday, December 3, 2012

Royal Heir

The Royal Palace has confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting. Yay!!

Cheers to the happy couple!

Image from the Associated Press

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Human Spirit

Just had to share a couple of videos I've seen in recent days that show amazing human spirit.

The first one features two brothers. The older brother, Bailey is a marine, returning to the U.S. after a tour in Afghanistan. He surprises his younger brother, then University of Illinois  basketball player (now in the NBA), Meyers Leonard, during practice. It's a great moment. I dare you not to cry! (Yes, this clip is a little dated, but as many military families celebrate holiday homecomings this time of year,  just had to share.)

You've likely heard of the more recent story about a New York City police officer who is seen buying a pair of shoes for a homeless man. Unknown to the police officer, the kind gesture was caught on camera by a tourist, who then wanted to share Officer Lawrence DePrimo's random act of kindness with the world.

Thank you, Officer DePrimo, for reminding us of how we should live our lives and treat others, especially those less fortunate. You truly are one of New York's finest. And, thanks to the Leonard brothers for showing us the importance of family and to never take our loved ones for granted. Great lessons to carry with us throughout the holiday season and into the new year.

Images from msnbc and the DailyBig10

Monday, November 19, 2012


This past weekend the kids and I went to the opening day of KaLightoscope, a fantastic light  and Christmas village display at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville.

Miss E. was there for a birthday party, so Little Man and I tagged along with other parents and siblings to view the displays. (Tickets are normally $20, but the birthday girl's mom works at the hotel, so we received complimentary tickets. Score!)

In the area where there are massive light displays, Chinese silk is stretched over flexible wire to create Christmas scenes. Then, they are illuminated. It's a very pretty sight and amazing to think of the time that went in to creating each piece.

If you're in the Louisville area, this is a great event in which to take your kids and kick off the holiday season. I believe there may be other KaLightoscopes in different cities, so if you have one near you, try to go!

Images all property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Friday, November 16, 2012

What's on your list?

Princess Grace, wrapping presents in her bedroom at the palace in Monaco
Photo by Howel Conant

Next week is Thanksgiving, yet the stores have been featuring Christmas decor for weeks now. A house down the street from us put up their Christmas lights last week! I imagine the tree lots will be stocked soon, too.

So, any thoughts on what you or your loved ones want for the holidays? I think I'm due for a new pair of running shoes. I know, I shoot for the stars, don't I? This morning, my 7-year old daughter said she wants an iPod Touch and press-on nails. What?? I blame her friends with older siblings. And Disney Channel.

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trying to wrap my head around this one...

Okay, I really shouldn't go here, but this story is so convoluted and bizarre, that I just have to comment on it. It's the train wreck that keeps wrecking and wrecking. I can't stop shaking my head over this one.

So, if you're having trouble keeping up with this hot mess, the flow chart above may help. The main story now is that Gen. Patraeus will testify in front a House committee tomorrow about the attacks in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassdor Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Patreaus contends that his resignation from the CIA over a sex scandal had nothing to do with his upcoming testimony over the Benghazi attacks. Uh, huh.

As easy as it would be to go political on this, I'm pulling out the soap box to discuss another aspect: the utter stupidity of people who conduct these affairs and communicate via email, thinking they won't be discovered. Hello?? In this case, the man is the HEAD OF THE CIA. The CIA has a knack for discovering classified information, don't ya know. I bet they can crack that secret Gmail account code. Well, the FBI certainly did.

It never ceases to amaze me the arrogance surrounding this and other such scandals: "I'm above it all. I'm untouchable. I will get away with this because I'm a powerful person."

Ugh, what a mess. Have you been following this crazy story? What are your thoughts?

Image from

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sin, Music and the Devil

What's on tap for us tonight?

First Reconciliation
Our daughter will make the sacrament of First Reconciliation in December. Parents have a meeting tonight to discuss what to expect in the coming weeks. Many of us have not been to confession in a very long time. My outlook on it?


kidding, folks. Don't send me hate mail. (Okay, maybe there's a little truth in there for us Cradle Catholics. :)

After the meeting at church, a girlfriend and I are going to see Lindsey Buckingham in concert . It's an acoustic performance at a small venue. I've never seen Fleetwood Mac in person, so should be interesting to see one of their front men perform. (I hope he sings "Holiday Road" from National Lampoon's Vacation. Just kidding. Well, I kinda hope he does. :)

Finally, my Kentucky Wildcats play the evil Blue Devils. My thoughts on this match-up? The same thing I've said since 1992: Suck it, Duke. (Yes, I'll be asking for forgiveness for this comment later. Although, I like to think God will give me a pardon on this one; I believe in my heart of hearts he roots for the Cats.)

Shew, busy night, folks.

What's on your agenda, tonight? Anything relaxing or are you burning the candle at both ends these days?

Image from

Monday, November 12, 2012

Timeless Attire

I adore full-skirted dresses and a-line skirts. Gorgeous. Never goes out of style. When I see these frocks, I'm often reminded of the holidays.

Jewel-toned fancy dresses for holiday balls, cocktail parties and New Year's Eve celebrations. If only I had a reason to indulge in such lovely clothing. (Alas, no formal events this holiday season. Yet.)

You can also wear these elegant lines to work, with a cardigan, changing up your standard business attire.

Lovely, lovely silhouette. Audrey and Grace certainly wore it well.

Images from,, J. Crew, and original source of Hepburn and Kelly unknown

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What I've Learned this Week...

Hello, friends! Well, it’s been an interesting week. Let's sit down for a chat and I'll share a few things that I've learned so far...

  • Your child will get sick and the school office will call right as you are participating in a presentation with a group of executives. You will leave early, pick up your child and see that he’s covered in a rash from head-to-toe. The child’s doctor will be stumped with this condition and ultimately rule it as a virus. Then, your Kroger pharmacy won’t have the prescribed medicine, so you travel to a second pharmacy to see if they have the medicine. And it just so happens to be senior citizen day at the grocery store where the pharmacy is based. You will have a breakdown in the parking lot.

  • We always buy too much damn Halloween candy.

  • Iron-on badges for Brownie uniforms are a farce. They never work and at the last minute, you’re forced to pull out a needle and thread to sew the patch on. Hey, Girl Scouts, ever considered Velcro? Hello??

And finally…

  • If you give people free stuff, they will support you. And those getting the free stuff will see this as a very good thing. But what they haven’t learned, that I have, is that they’ll experience no upward mobility through this practice. But, that’s okay because they're getting free stuff. Motivation is not the goal here; dependence is.

And that's all you'll hear from me on that particular topic. Moving on.

Image property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Let's do this!!

Image from Gridiron Belles FB site

Monday, November 5, 2012

Random Thoughts

As a follow-up to last week's blog post, glad to see that Bloomberg finally cancelled the NYC Marathon, although the call came about 72 hours late. Thumbs down, mayor. Continued prayers go to the victims of this terrible storm. Stay strong, friends.

In other news, how nice was it to gain an extra hour of sleep Sunday? I loved it, but it's tough when it's darker earlier in the evenings. Back to the treadmill on weeknights.

Next topic, do any of you watch "The Walking Dead" on Sunday nights? Yes, I'm a regular viewer of a show about the zombie apocalypse. But, when Andrew Lincoln (Rick) is a lead actor in a show, well, I'll be watching.

 Poor, Rick. He needs a hug.

Anyhoo, did you see last night's episode? Holy cow. Never thought I would tear up during this program. Sure, plenty of cringing and covering my eyes, but I was surpised at how moving some of the scenes were last night. Whew.

And one more thing: VOTE TOMORROW! No matter what side you are on, we should exercise the freedom we have in this country and vote. I'm sure I don't have to tell many of you this - I imagine the polls will be overflowing.

Images from Guardian UK, and

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon: To Run or Not to Run?

The New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world, is scheduled for Sunday, just a few days after Hurricane Sandy devastated the area. There’s some division over whether this major sports event should still take place or should be postponed.

There are a number of supporters, including Mayor Bloomberg, who say that the thousands of visitors to the area will help boost their economy, especially helping small businesses hurting after the storm.

According to an article on MSNBC:

The New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, said the event will bring $340 million to the city. The club also announced on Thursday that it will donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate, to aid New Yorkers affected by Sandy.

The Rudin Family, one of the founding members of the marathon, said it would donate $1.1 million and the ING Foundation said it would give $500,000.

On the flip side, some city officials are worried that first responders helping residents with restoration efforts may be diverted to cover the marathon. "If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream," New York City Councilman James Oddo said on his Twitter account. "We have people with no homes and no hope right now."

There’s even a  Facebook page called “Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon.” The same MSNBC article states:

A Facebook page called “Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon” had more than 27,000 likes and growing on Friday morning. Claiming to be started by a New York City resident, the page says, “The last thing NYC needs at this time is an extra 100,000 people or so flooding our already devastated streets. Things are not back to normal. Our city is working hard enough to recover please do not complicate things with a race.”

One commenter suggested Bloomberg should “postpone [the race] for a month or so and then use the race as a perfect platform to showcase how ALL 5 BOROUGHS have recovered. That shows resilience, and RESPECT for the citizens who have suffered, without foregoing the economic benefits of the race.”

While the offer of proceeds from the marathon going to help residents is generous, in my humble opinion, postponing the event would be the right thing to do. And where all these runners from outside New York staying? Do most of the hotels in the city and outlying areas have power? Are some operating on generators?

What are your thoughts? Move ahead in an effort to bring prosperity back to the area? Or postpone out of respect to those recovering from the storm and continued clean-up taking place?

Images from and Pinterest

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And so it begins...

Hope you had a Happy Halloween! Three more weeks until Thanksgiving!

Image source unknown.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween!

Image property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Monday, October 29, 2012


Sending thoughts and prayers to the folks in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Hurricane Sandy, also known as the "Frankenstorm," is wreaking havoc like nothing folks in that region have ever seen.

I've been tracking the beating Sandy is giving to my beloved Outer Banks, via the Town of Duck page on Facebook. Here are some photos of beachfront propery posted earlier today:

It makes me so sad to see this.

I heard on the news that the flooding in New York City has caused the rats in the subway stations to seek higher ground. Yeah, that's bad.

To my blogger friends who live in these areas, I'm thinking of you. Stay safe!

Images courtesy of the Town of Duck Facebook site

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chanel No. 5's New Ad Campaign

And the first male spokesperson for the Chanel brand is...

Brad Pitt. In one of the lamest commercials of the year.

As I watched it for the first time the other night, I thought it was a satire of other "sensual" ad campaigns, and would turn out to be an ad for Chevy trucks or Geico. I kept waiting for him to start laughing. But he didn't. The rest of us did.

I could think of so many other actors more suited for this role. My boyfriends favorites Jude Law or Henry Cavill would be perfect.

Bottles of Chanel No. 5 would be flying off the shelves if one of these two peddled the perfume. Alas, we get scruffy Mr. Pitt. (Sorry, I've always been a member of Team Aniston, so there you go.)

Of course, for a perfume that's been around for more than 90 years, they missed the boat in not signing a male spokesperson earlier...

What do you think of Chanel's new ad campaign?

Images from Chanel No. 5 and some selected from Pinterest - original sources unknown.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Mayonnaise Jar and the Two Pints of Beer

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two pints of beer.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed again that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the rest of the space. He asked once more if the jar was full, and his students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two pint glasses of beer from under the table and poured the contents of both into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, children, health, friends and your favourite passions; things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, would still make your life full.”

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.”

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children, take time to get medical checkups, take your partner out to dinner and play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the leaky tap. Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities, because the rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem to be, that there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.”

- Author Unknown

Story and image found via Shits & Giggles Facebook page

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My VP Debate Connection

Tomorrow night is the vice presidential debate. There will be a hyper-focus on this event, perhaps more so than other VP debates, because of the two men participating: Biden and Ryan. And given that Obama was considered to have lost the first presidential debate,  Biden's task is to be the attack dog. So, many will be closely watching his performance against Ryan. Who, while young, is a very smart guy. Should be quite the show.

I have more than a casual interst in this debate because Hubby is doing some freelance marketing/PR work for it. A colleague who has his own marketing/ad firm was hired by Centre College, the school hosting the debate and Hubby's alma mater, to handle media relations for the event. So, he engaged Hubby to assist. He'll be in the "spin room" with the journalists directly after the debate. I bet that'll be the most frenetic place in the country at that moment.

Hubby sent me the above photo from campus. The MSNBC camp is raring to go.

Even Abe Lincoln has his credentials for the event. Although, I understand he won't be going anywhere near the theatre.

Will you be watching the VP debate on 9, 10, 11, 12? (9 p.m., Oct. 11, 2012)

Images property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

To-Do List

My original to-do list included buying juice boxes and toilet paper. I like this one better. This will at least help me strive for a Zen-like experience at the Kroger.

What's on your to-do list?

Image via Title Nine's Facebook site

Monday, October 8, 2012

Run Like a Mother

I completed my first 5k run on Saturday!

As you may know, I trained for the last 10 weeks to build up to a walk/run in a 5k. In between, I had surgery which set me back a bit, but I rallied enough to race in the Highland Cup 5k. It was a smaller event compared to other races in the region, only 373 people, but it was a great starter race for those new to 5k running. The race course winds through one of the most beautiful areas of Louisville. At one point I looked down one of the hills at the steam rising off a creek below and just felt so alive and glad to be pumping my legs on an early Saturday morning. At that moment I thought of the question that runners often ask themselves and the answer they provide: "Why do I run? Because I can."
Sarah Bowen Shea (left) of Another Mother Runner and Christy Turlington Burns

Speaking of running, in past blog posts, I've mentioned the site, Another Mother Runner,  and the books "Run Like a Mother," and "Train Like a Mother." Be sure to check out their latest pod cast where Dimity and Sarah, the mother runners behind the site, interview Christy Turlington Burns, supermodel and founder of the non-profit, Every Mother Counts. She's training for her second consecutive New York City Marathon and encouraging people to run as part of the Every Mother Counts team to raise funds and awareness for maternal care. What is Every Mother Counts?

Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. Every Mother Counts seeks to engage new audiences to better understand the challenges and the solutions while encouraging them to take action to improve the lives of girls and women worldwide.

These runner gals competed in last year's NYC Marathon as part of Team Every Mother Counts

During the pod case, Turlington Burns discusses the difficult childbirth with her first child and how fortunate she was to have a top-notch medical team to handle her emergency situation. This led to the creation of Every Woman Counts. I can't imagine not having these medical resources, yet so many women around the world will never have access to this kind of medical care. In addition to marathons, Every Mother Counts places special importance on 5k races. In rural villages in third world countries, an expectant mother walks at least 3.1 miles to the clinic for medical care. Imagine doing that 9 months pregnant, to and from the clinic. I could barely walk across the room during my two pregnancies.

So, if you're planning to run a 5k or other race in the coming months, in additon to the cause for which you are likely racing (medical research, neighborhood ministries, etc.), consider running on behalf of Every Mother Counts. Every expectant mom deserves the best medical care possible and every new baby deserves a healthy birth.

Images from Another Mother Runner and and EMC Facebook site

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spiritual Thinking

I borrowed this from Marianne of Haven and Home. I thought it was so beautiful and wanted to share it.

Do you consider yourself a spirtual person? Do you talk to God or a higher power on a regular basis? Does it give you comfort? It does for me, although being the control freak that I am, I often wish I knew what His plan was for me at that very moment. "Live and let God" can be a tough thing to do. But, He has bigger shoulders than I do, so there are times I have to leave the heavy lifting to Him.

Image from