My Secret Hiding Place

Sometimes, you find yourself in need of a “time out”. Whether the frustrations of the day are piling up or you just need a mental break, it’s nice to carve out a few moments focusing on something you enjoy. For me, the quiet respite is found when I can hide away for a  few moments in a sweet little paper boutique. Stationery Loft owner,  Heidi Campbell and I became fast friends about 3 years ago when we realized a unique, and in these days rare, affection for fine paper.  Beyond her incredible selection of personalized notes and gifts, her sweet service always ministers to my heart. She always has the perfect idea at the right time and she understands the preferences of customers.  Over the years our visits have surpassed the task of careful gift selection, but  rather have served me in ways I didn’t really anticipate: Heidi has become my friend.  And for me, that’s the best part. I can stop by with my Starbucks to hang out while admiring beautiful things! What could be more relaxing than that? The boutique was recently heralded by Stationery Trends Magazine,  as first runner- up for  “Trendy Stationer of the Year” award.

During last week’s visit, I stumbled up this cool little battery pack gadget for your iPhone.  You just charge it up, and carry it in your purse.  When the phone needs juice, just plug-in the fashionable battery pack to the phone! Voila! You’ve up to 3 hours of power.  Really???? Apparently, the shop can’t keep them on the shelf.  I also noticed a neat little motivational book entitled “Where will you be in 5 years?” In lieu of a card with cast for the graduation, perhaps I could tuck the moo-lah into this book of good advice?Lord knows these kids need some!  Go visit the shop at 4748 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland. By the way, the boutique always shares really clever gift presentation ideas on its Facebook page too. It’s definitely worth a like!

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Good News? My Life Is Like The Movies!

Before you read any further, you must watch the clip featured below.  Seriously, watch it!

The Lice Scene

It’s true. I was riding in the field with my boss today, who incidentally was just promoted to Senior Management, when I received this message from my mother:

“Not to stress you out, but Olivia has lice. Call me.”

Not to stress you out?  Really, now. Could you please repeat that?  Wild panic gripped me instantly and was notably discerned by my superior. As it turns out, she was extremely supportive of my leaving immediately. I suspect secretly she feared a contagion. Nevertheless, I bolted to Walgreens to RID myself and my family of this untimely pestilience. Luckily, upon inspection (thanks, mom) everyone else is nit free. We  discovered it early, but that did not prevent me from  washing clothes, sheets, towels. I imagine this activity will carry on late into the evening. Wow. Lice. Seriously?

Good news?  My life is like the movies!

Dumbfounded

This look is classic. It’s my most prominent facial expression these days. “Hey! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I’m peering into a garage where I suspect the kids are either shoving sidewalk chalk in my car’s gas tank or creating a flood with the hose. I know. I know. The hose is a harmless activity, save the fact that it is NOT our day to water. Owen believes deeply that thirsty plants are not adequately quenched unless we can all swim in the beds. By the way, we put our house on the market last week. I’m now testing the delicate balance of keeping a house show-worthy while my 4 and 5 year-old children wreak havoc on the place.  This, my friends, could put a sister over the edge.  Way over.

Shorts: Kohl’s , Shirt: Trina Turk, Shoes: Sam Edelman, Sunglasses: Tory Burch, Bracelets: Alex& Ani and Stella& Dot

10 -Second Tirade

How can I sum up today?  In a word: lousy.  Forgive the negative expression, but a series of unfortunate circumstances tried to derail the Optimistic Express, I’ve been riding for several weeks now.  It started with a naughty behavior report from Olivia’s teacher…an assertion that was clearly validated at home when she decided to spray leave-in conditioner all over her bedroom carpet. The carpet, which I just paid a couple hundie to have cleaned last week.  Naughty, indeed.  Next, I went to a doctor’s appointment where I was rightly informed that I’d gained 14 lbs since my visit last year.  To this, my eyes began to fill with tears and quickly transformed to fire with the physician’s next question,

“What have you been doing?! When you walked in, I could see it in your face.”

Um…excuse me? Is he referring to the obvious pound increase?  Really? Did he just say that aloud?

“Well, apparently not enough”, I responded.

“Stay away from carbs. NO Carbs!”

At this point, I’m in a full-on flashback of the infamous “No Soup Fo You” scene from Jerry Seinfeld.

“I love Carbs. I crave carbs.”

He just stared at me, then made a remark about how he’d never be overweight if he were a girl.  I mentally checked out at that point.

He continued, as I  I aimed to receive his wise counsel on all of the things I should be eating. Of course, I omitted any disclosure of my current love affair with all species of M&Ms.

During the post-appointment wrap up at the front desk , I learned the appointment cost double what I’d anticipated.  I crossed my fingers and swallowed hard as they ran my card.  “Approved!”, the receptionist chirped. Yea approved with a $10 dollar overdraft protection charge. ugh. Pay day is not until Friday and right now I could punch Dave Ramsey in the nose. Came home, made an emergency transfer from my savings and then cried some more. As it turns out, my bank account is anorexic.

Oh…here’s yesterday’s outfit. At least it’s something sorta sunny.

Southern Supper

You can sense the change of season in the air.  I love this time year as it marks the end of school for students and teachers. It’s also time for family vacations and an invitation to welcome a more relaxed approach to everyday issues of life….at least for a couple of months.  Last night, we celebrated my nephew’s upcoming commencement at a party honoring him.  From a game of corn hole to a good ol’ Arnold Palmer served up in a Mason jug, the party was perfection in true southern style.  When I met John Michael, he was 3. He is son to my husband’s only sister, Stephanie. Steven and I actually shared our first date with John Michael and his parents watching Disney’s Pocahontas on Ice back in 1996.  It is unbelievable for me to think that he his now 18 and headed off to play college football on scholarship!  I’m really proud of him. Last night reminded me of the faithfulness of God in all things, and again, of how much I really appreciate my wonderful network of family and friends.

 

Pants: Ann Taylor Loft, Blouse: Hattie’s Branches (current), watch: Michael Kors

That Crazy Chick.

I’m in a dancing mood today.  You may think I’m feeling a salsa because of this delicious bat-girl boho silk blouse. That’s partially true. Yes, it does have wings, and yes, I absolutely did wear it to work today. We need have a national day of celebration honoring this blouse for  three significant reasons:

1. It’s undeniably fabulous

2. It was purchased with a gift card

3. 100% silk Leifsdottier…..

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scored for $19.99 (@ 93% off! You do the math)

Nordstrom Rack, I love you. Truly.  That’s all I have to say about that.

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Incidentally, I’m beginning to see bird trend in my last few posts.  From hummingbirds to angry birds and now I’m wearing wings. Hmmm.   Maybe I’m about to fly on out of here.

Recently, a friend of mine says “I just want to know who takes all of the pictures for that blog?”  When I’m really lucky it’s my husband, but in most cases, it’s moi.  And, I’m not all that great at it.  Because I’m all about full disclosure, I thought you might enjoy the ridiculousness of this series of photos. These wouldn’t normally make the cut.

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So, it’s not easy….and actually may be mildly disturbing. That’s one crazy chick. I’m off to meet the girlfriends for dinner! Go me!

Angry Birds

I feel like I should be sitting in a circle of chairs amongst friends and fellow and sufferers, saying:

Hi, My name is Aimee.  I’m an Angrybirdaholic.

During a variety of delays on my recent trip to Philadelphia, I finished the two books I’d brought along. I found myself stranded with nothing to do, and remembered that Owen had downloaded Angry Birds.  2 rounds and I was hooked. Now would be a great time to discuss the implications of the angry bird trance:

1. Fighting with your kids instead of mediating their arguments “NO!  STOP! IT’S MOMMY’S TURN!!!!”

2. Thinking about your bird-bombing strategy before cleaning the bomb that went off in the playroom.

3.  Grocery shortage

4. Facebook post deficit

5. No new blog photos

6.   Laundry pile-up

Perhaps the birds can help me make a dent in eliminating items from this list?

What If It’s More Than Just A Humming-bird?

My parents are a master class in anthropology. When I feel inclined to dig a littler deeper into the interpersonal relationship of a rare species of the betrothed, I just tag along with them for the day.  They have been married for nearly 40 years.  A classic tale of crazy young love, except contrary to today’s norm, they’ve stuck it out. Duked it out, actually.  That being said, they love each other in that imperfect, knit-picky, and chronically annoying sort of way.  For me, the eldest/mediator/buffer for my siblings, I’ve unique insight into their oddities. Today, I joined them for our community’s annual art festival on beautiful Lake Morton for  a continuation of study.

Let’s take for example my dad: the social butterfly, an unapologetic extrovert, who happens to be the third-born of 5 children, and in my opinion, semi-starved for affirmation and praise. He is very smart, “very tenacious” (as he reminded me in a conversation today), knows no strangers and loves guitars. All of these things led us to  a very lengthy wait  in each of the booths that offered any form of rock icon art.  My mother, who would rather be at home hunkered down in her sewing room or tweeting about all things politics, was visibly flustered by his aimless wandering.  “It takes him so long to make a decision”, she says, as we peered at him from outside the booth. He continued his shuffle through boxes of prints. “He won’t even buy anything, she says.”  Nearly a half-hour later, he resurfaced with a bag of treasure.  She rolled her eyes.

And then, the strangest thing happened.   We happened upon a display that showcased  a variety of exquisite copper metal pieces. Some of them being wall art, but others designed for a garden.  I noticed my parents’ intrigue as they admired the art. For a moment, they seemed to have  connected with a fond memory of the past.  I noticed a spark of enthusiasm as they discussed it.

“Remember, Steve? We used to have this kind of art on the walls in the old house on Forestbrook!”  

“Oh yea. The ships. Aimee, we had this huge ship sculpture of metal. Pretty cool. Looked just like this stuff. I should have kept those. They were nice.”

I remember mentioning somewhere in all of it that the garden stakes would be sweet in his flower beds.  Then, mom and I walked off.  He stood for several minutes, analyzing every single humming-bird stake on display. Studying them, looking at every detail.  I could see Mom was frustrated, again.  “He always does this. We don’t need that!”

After what seemed like hours, Dad comes walking up with copper hummingbird garden stake and hands it to my mother. It’s tied with a red ribbon.

“Happy Mother’s Day”, he says as he gives her the bird and walks away.

Mom stood there. Dumbfounded and staring at it. “See? He buys me something he wants and justifies it by saying Happy Mother’s Day.” 

I did see it, and for a moment  felt  awkward and a bit confused. But my assessment of the scenario was altered abruptly by a fleeting thought….“He’s simply remembering a happier time and longing to connect with it.”

Isn’t that what we all do sometimes? Remember when times were better….when we were younger….when we were happy?  Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Though years go by and circumstances bear pressure on relationships, we still search relentlessly to connect with the heart of our happiness, wherever it is hiding.  Yes, we say things we don’t mean. Yes, we  can make assumptions or misinterpret motives. We get into the habit of thinking the worst. I believe this is true of my folks. At the end of the day perhaps Dad just wanted to revisit the copper metal ships that he he hung on the wall wife of his youth. Maybe today, the humming-bird  was the portal by which he knew how to get there.

Make sure you love big today.

Dress: MM Couture, Hattie’s Branches, Glasses: Tory Burch, Hat: Target

I Gotta Be Honest…

I had a bit of a pity party today.  I’m feeling under the weather.  My kids were not well either and  to top it off, we’re beyond overextended on weekend festivities.  You know how that goes, I’m sure. Nevertheless,  I found myself in a deadly combination of “woes me” and ” I deserve it” and was sucked into Target spend violations. During the noontime hour, I substituted a healthy lunch for raspberry M&Ms and the grocery budget for shorts and skirts for myself.  To keep or not to keep? That is the question. Surely a couple of skirts from Target would be least costly, and certainly more therapeutic, than a trip to the walk-in clinic and a z-pack for myself, right?   think my throat is already feeling better.  Besides, I was able to accomplish some gift purchases too. Now on a brighter note, my precious niece celebrated her very first birthday today!  We attended a party for her this evening.  I will absolutely take this opportunity to brag on how fabulously gorgeous and delicious she is.  She also agreed that purchasing the pink shorts (shown below) at Target was very important to commemorate her special day. ah hem. Who could deny a smile like this….

Beautiful new Susan Shaw jewelry available now at Mayzies!

“A-MAYZIE’S-ING”

Living in a small city, it’s always great  hear whispers of a new boutique, especially if houses a variety of products you like! Last Thursday, the new gals in town opened their raspberry pink door to a very eager group of  friends and family. A few days later, the community at large welcomed our new little bright spot! Specializing in personalized gifts and apparel, Mayzie’s is eye candy for lovers of a graceful monogram and a bit of southern charm. Owner, Lisa May and her daughter Amanda, boast top  clothing labels like Lilly Pulitzer  and High Cotton, along with jewels by Susan Shaw. Interestingly enough, the ladies don’t stop with fashion and handbags. You’ll find anything from linens and table top to baby gifts and collegiate spirit items.  The niche? They can monogram just about anything! The girls are eager to help you select the perfect gift.  Of course, my restraint failed miserably when I saw the acrylic monogram necklaces. I ordered straightaway!  Moon and Lola makes the pendants in a variety of different colors and sizes. I went for the modern design in chocolate-brown. Want to get on the neon trend, but don’t see yourself draped in a hot pink sheath? Try the monogram  in hot pink, orange or neon yellow!  Such a cute way to ease into bold style!

Mayzie’s is located at 4636 Cleveland Heights Blvd in Lakeland, next to J. Burns Pizza ( a very dangerous pairing for this girl!) If you stop by, tell them Aimee Reed sent ya. 🙂

(Last photo c/o Mayzies)

Water Walkin’

These days, I’m learning to expect the unexpected.  It’s funny how you go along in life thinking things will always be a certain way, or that you’ve things figured out…at least for the most part.

“And then, suddenly…”

I sense my family is in a season of suddenly. I love to read the bible. Have you ever noticed how many  suddenly moments are scattered throughout?  Yet, when we are encountered by appointments with destiny, we are surprised. For we who live by this Word, it’s even more astonishing that our response can be utter bewilderment when such things are revealed. Yet, God is patient. He is kind. He is in the direction and the instruction, formulating steps to help us get it just right. Many times, God’s requests of us are too big for us. He wants us to step out. He requires our trust. It’s easy to say, we believe Him, but what about when he asks for all of it: your life, your security, you plan, your destiny? If he asked me to walk on a really big wave, would I? Would I , really?  I was reading about Peter this morning (in the wee hours of this morning…it is 3 am) . I love thinking about Peter; how he saw Jesus coming , and asked to join Him on the water.  Jesus bid him come, and instantly Peter stepped foot on the water.  I was thinking about what it might have been like for Peter…the exhiliration of defying natural law. He was walking on a breaker, knowing that the I AM was empowering Him.Peter, jumped out of that (comfortable, safe, dependable, controllable) boat and walked on a big sea.  

“But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was afraid and began to sink.” He saw the waves. They were larger and much stronger than him. Walking on water was miraculous and beyond realm of imagination. He began to doubt. The bible says, “Instantly, Jesus reached out his hand and caught and held him saying, ‘Oh, you of little faith. Why did you doubt?’ ”

Peter saw the waves. He took his eyes off Jesus.

In the book for Mark, the story of Peter was not mentioned, however the incidence of Jesus approaching the boat and calming the storm was, and I like what it said:

“And He went up into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were astonished exceedingly for they failed to consider or understand the teaching and meaning of the miracle of the loaves; in fact their hearts had grown callous (had become dull and had lost the power of understanding.)”


You see, earlier that day, Jesus fed 5000 people with a couple of loaves and fishes. The disciples witnessed it. They had seen, but not understood. The sign witnessed early should have been preparation for the miracle they’d see on the water, but because their hearts were not prepared to receive it, they were caught off guard.  What is he showing you? Are you prepared to receive it? I love the child-like anticipation that caused Peter to jump out of the boat. I love the way the disciples followed Jesus everywhere believing in the signs and wonders. It inspires my faith. But the one thing I must have …that I can’t live without… is the power of understanding. I long to hear and understand more than any sign wrought. I want to know the I Am in a way that propels me across the storms of life, and unchartered waters, unafraid.

He is bidding us all to come.

She Put A Tee With That!

The other day, my friend Keira, over at  A Pretty Penny, told a funny little story about some shorts she spied on my blog. What she didn’t tell ya is that I was recently inspired by HER! A few months ago we purchased a skirt in common. I, too, scored it with Kohl’s cash. When she featured it on her blog, I thought, “Wow, She put a tee with that!”. I’d utilized the skirt only for dressier looks. To me, it was a terrific idea and decided to try it immediately.

As a gifted florist, boutique owner, and style blogger, Miss Pretty Penny is a pretty busy lady. If you’ve not stopped in to read of her adventures, you  really should. Her heartwarming humor and southern charm will make you feel like you just found your new best friend. I adore her thrifty style sense, and willingness to share her finds with us!  So, my dear, I gotcha back. 🙂 Here is my interpretation of your excellent style suggestion.  Thank you for helping me find another way to wear this free-flowing frock! Check out her look here The pretty [pleated] skirt effect

Skirt: Lauren Conrad, Kohl’s; Tee, Loft; Shoes: Tory Burch; Belt: Target; Bag: Kenneth Cole; Sunglasses: Chloe

Waiting To Take Off…

Prior to leaving for a turbo injected series of business travel events this week, I had a Monday evening date with my husband.  I was describing this sense of expectation I was experiencing in regard to the two of us fulfilling our destiny.  It was a conversation a bit unusual for us because, I couldn’t fully define a tangible reason or event to validate it, nor do I normally think in terms of a holistic calling.  Rather, I focus on the daily checklist and prioritize life solely based on matters of urgent importance and deadlines. I don’t usually allow myself the luxury of dreaming in big illustrious pictures.  But, something happened inside my heart when I had a glimpse of what life could become; an internal snapshot, if you will, of our purpose. I was reminded of 3 specific revelatory words that were spoken to me by 3 different people in 3 very different periods of my life. Only this time, they all seemed to fit. I could sense how they were connected. I could see the alignment and it sparked expectation. The only analogy I could use to describe my feeling was one I shared with Steve that night,

” I feel like we are sitting in the airplane, on the tarmac just waiting to take off…”

Why is she talking about this silliness, you may ask?  It is for this reason, “In the journey of your life, don’t ignore the signposts.” Our hearts have a very unique ability to discern, to connect with truths working in us and ones that are spoken over us.  When the connection is made, it births purpose, direction and expectation.  It inspires hope.  The signposts represent clues to the journey and affirmation that you are on the right path. They can be a simple word, a meeting, sung in a song, expressed in an unexpected thought.  Nevertheless, when you encounter one, pay attention.  You never know when, in the course of a seemingly normal day, you’ll get another piece of the puzzle to propel you into your destiny. Be watchful. Be looking. Be expectant.

This week, I found myself in 2 different cities, attending meetings with a variety of people…some familiar, some new.  Where normally I’d be keenly in tune to my professional opportunities or thinking around career, I noticed that this week’s travels engaged a far more expansive insight. I began to think beyond current state or even in the short-term, or about myself.  I was suddenly inspired by the hope that my life, thus far, has been a preparation for a grand collaboration. All this time, I feared my inability to declare a grand vision…that my husband needed to create a significant plan for us.  Only now, am I learning that some people are the visionaries- the innovators, but they need carriers.  Only now am I  beginning to see we may very well be called to get alongside and help people carry out their vision.  I can sense the delight in service. .

Not long after this epiphany, did I actually find myself on a plane, returning from Philadelphia. The flight scheduled to leave at 6:05. At 7:00pm, I found myself literally sitting in the airplane on the tarmac, just waiting to take off.  Signposts. They are everywhere.

This is about all of Philly I saw. No time for leisure.  My only leisure was this copy of the New York Times and a cup of coffee.

I Gotta Jet!

Literally.  I have to fly out of here…really two minutes ago.  I’m currently hiding from my 2 little ones to type this post.  I probably only have about 2.45 minutes to finish this before they begin terrorizing. As soon as they realize i’m not paying attention it’s like somebody sounds the war bugle and they are on the hunt!  Today, we have 1 clogged toilet, water melon sticking to the wood floor (Owen decided to have a bowl of it, only the melon was the bowl and he was digging in it with a knife), Livie walking all 176 animals in the jogging stroller and me trying to pack to catch a plane.  At 2 pm this afternoon, I will be giving a presentation in Tampa and a re-run of it tomorrow, then flying to Philadelphia for another meeting.  So, I’m running. Current blood pressure 130/90. Thanks, Kids. If you’re the praying type, please pray for Steve and our Insurance agent. They will need it. These kids are wild.