Monday Musings: Stillness in the Vineyard

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Let me start this post off by saying, if you are in the North East and preparing for Winter Storm Juno to dump close to two feet of snow on you, I’m incredibly jealous. I wait for snows like this all winter long. It looks like the DC area will be on the outer fringes of this storm with a slight dusting headed our way. In any case, I may have worn my pajamas inside out last night in the hopes of increasing the chances of a snow day! Stay safe and make sure you drink a glass of snow day wine for me!

Two weekends ago, the hubby and I attended a mini retreat at the Veritas Farmhouse. Veritas is a very special place for us. We visited the winery on our very first weekend getaway as a couple. We were married at Veritas almost five years ago. Any time we get a chance to visit the Charlottesville/Waynesboro area of Virginia, we make sure to stop for a glass of something. To me it’s sacred ground, the place I realized I was in love with my now husband and the place I pledged that love to him in my vows. The Farmhouse at Veritas now offers mini-retreats, a day long event that includes yoga, brunch, hiking in the vineyards and finishes up with wine tasting and cocktail hour. What I love about these mini retreats is they follow the seasons and the progress of the vines and the winemaking process.

In January, everything in the vineyard is pretty still – the vines, the work in the vineyard – everything. Pruning of the vines will begin towards the end of January/beginning of February, but until that time, it’s quiet.  It’s the preparation stage if you will, the calm before all things that will follow in the coming months as the grapes begin to grow and the vineyards prepare for wine making. The retreat activities were aligned to this preparation stage. As the grapes lay dormant, preparing for the year ahead, so are we preparing for the year to come. We set resolutions and goals. We begin plotting the course of our year as best possible. And we begin to slowly initiate these goals, looking for personal growth and working to become the best version of ourself.

The day started out with yoga where we were asked at the end of class to write down everything that no longer served us, everything we wanted to get rid of this year. We then tossed the paper into the fire as a symbol of letting it all go. It was quite powerful and set the tone for the rest of the day. Yoga was followed up with a delicious brunch and bubbly, served on the most gorgeous plate settings. We hiked off our brunch around the vineyards where we learned more about the current state of the vines and took in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountain views. And we ended the day with a wine tasting and education session, learning more about the wines produced at Veritas and what goes in to producing some of the best wines Virginia has to offer.

For me, it was an incredible day. I left feeling centered, grounded and at peace. Just like the vines preparing for all that is to come this year, I assured myself it was OK to be still and not always have all of the answers. I threw away the “bad” into the fire to leave room for all of the good ahead. If you are in the area or are looking for a great weekend getaway, check out the rest of the mini retreats. The next one is in April when the buds break and the grapes begin to grow. The owners Patricia and Andrew are so lovely, and the quality time spent with them throughout the day learning about the vineyards and the wines is totally worth the trip. And of course there is wine so…yeah. That goes without saying!

 

Sweater Story, Part 2

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Guys, we are over the hump! Thank goodness for Thursday. This is a four day week for me which means everyone at work tries to cram five days worth of everything into four. It’s hell.  I’m exhausted, and I’m ready for a weekend full of big fat nothing! Do you ever have weeks where the best thing you can think of doing on the weekend is staying in your PJs, ordering takeout and binge watching your favorite Netflix series? Those weekends are the best! And I guarantee you that one of those days will be spent all day in this sweater.

Look familiar? Yep, you’re correct. I’m wearing Tuesday’s laundry! I told you this sweater went with everything in my closet! (And this weekend it will pair very nicely with my animal print pajama bottoms!) The other item that goes with everything? This Forever 21 coat. That’s right, Forever 21. Early last year, I made a promise to myself that I would quit Forever 21. And I did, cold turkey. I didn’t shop there all that much to begin with, but when I did,  I always fell into the quantity vs. quality trap. Then I’d be super pissed at myself that I filled my cart with stuff I didn’t need just because of the price. Shopping there was like being in a bad relationship. You’d stay away for awhile and feel super proud of yourself only to be drug back in and hooked once again. Not healthy.

When this coat popped up in my Instagram feed, I had one of those cartoon skunk, hearts shoot out of my eyes moments. I couldn’t resist.  It was love.  I know some people like to invest in coats, which I think is great. But there have always been a few things I’m hard on that honestly never last as long as they should. Coats fall into that category for me (with the exception of the leather jacket). I’d rather throw down 40 bucks for a coat that will last a year or two than 400. That’s when I realized I could keep shopping at Forever 21, I just had to remind myself which items were worth it and which always ended up in the donate pile. So now I stick strictly to coats, jackets and summer maxi dresses. I loved this one so much that I picked it up in gray too after the Holidays. The camel color is sold out but gray is still available! And please don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the store at all. Growing up, more was always more. And I’m still working on the concept of adding pieces to my closet I will wear day in and day out vs. picking things up I don’t need just to have more stuff. It’s a balancing act I hope to get right someday soon. For my hubby, it can’t come soon enough!

Have you struggled with purchasing things you don’t need or trying to streamline your spending? Any tips to share on overcoming the more vs. less battle?

 

Sweater (similar): H&M
Jeans: J.Crew
Booties (similar):  Old Steve Madden
Coat (in Gray) (similar in Camel): F21
Bag: Express
Sunnies: Ray-Ban

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Sweater Story, Part 1

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Growing up, an older couple lived across the street from my childhood home in PA. Susie and Ed never had children, so my sister and I became like their adopted grand children. They would have us over on Holidays. We would celebrate our birthdays together. And I’m sure it was nice for my parents to have another set of “eyes”on us in the neighborhood. Not that we were little hellions or anything. However there was that one time my sister stole construction signs and orange cones…

For Christmas, when I was about seven years old, Susie gave me a pale yellow fisherman sweater. Before I tell you how that went, you have to understand I had very strong opinions on things when I was little. Even clothing. I think I already told you how my mom would send pants for me to wear under my dresses on gym day because I refused to wear pants of any kind. The great sweater incident of Christmas 1988 was somewhat similar. Looking back, I’m sure my mom was completely embarrassed with my actions. I threw an ever loving fit over this sweater. I’m positive I told Susie it was ugly and that I’d never wear it. I promise you I was a nice child, but when it came to certain things, I did not hold back. Sweaters happened to be one of those things. Of course I regret the actions of that snotty seven year old, but there are some days I wish I could channel her brazen honesty back.

My thoughts around sweaters haven’t changed all that much from when I was seven. I’m pretty particular on the fit, shape, material and texture. If it is shapeless and boxy, it’s a no. If I’m going to be scratching myself silly all day long due to its itchyness, it’s a hell no. Over the years I’ve weeded through my collection, leaving me with those sweaters that rank on the cozy, warm and overall maximum wearability scale. This h&m turtleneck sweater from last year makes the cut in all categories. It’s soft and cozy, has a length that hits at mid-hip with a little high-low action, and it goes with everything in my closet from flouncy skirts to skinny jeans. Oh and I can’t say enough good things about this J.Crew skirt. I searched all fall and most of winter for the perfect flippy little black skirt. During their sale last week, I scooped this one up and couldn’t be happier. It’s also pretty twirly as well. I may or may not have started twirling in the parking lot until I made myself dizzy. I guess that seven year old (with much better manners, thank you very much) is still in there somewhere.

Sweater (similar): H&M
Hat: Express
Skirt: J.Crew
Booties:  Sigerson Morrison
Tights: H&M
Bag: GiGi New York

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