thinking pink…

As many of you are likely aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s always pretty amazing to see all of the areas of support and such strong action and it actually makes me hopeful that with so many people banding together, we may actually have a shot at making a serious change. While one month of concentrated efforts is amazing, as an individual it’s even more important to keep it in mind year round. Educate yourself. Take action. Be safe.

On a personal level, I should probably know more than I do. There is a history of cancer in the women in my family. Ovarian and Colon to be exact. Though not breast cancer, the diagnoses are just as scary and the history is sobering. You like to think that you’re prepared, that you won’t be one who has to worry, but the truth of the matter is that you never really know.

I don’t typically talk about boobs on my blog, but here I am. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I was always told about the importance of doing self-breast exams. I know that the exams aren’t fool proof, that if there is ever any question, you should have it professionally checked out, but still… it’s something. In the Fall of 2008, I actually found a lump. Enter panic, tears, and everything else generally associated with a full on freak-out. I called my mom for a few reassuring words and made a plan. I woke bright and early on Monday after a fitful night of sleep and was lucky to get an appointment for that afternoon. The doctor’s initial assessment was comforting, but didn’t fully set my mind at ease. He said it didn’t feel abnormal, as far as large lumps in a breast are concerned. Still, he referred me to a breast specialist at Beth Israel for a consult. I went through all the steps… the biopsy, the period of waiting, and finally the confirmation that it was, indeed, benign. A fibroadenoma to be exact. Huge sigh of relief on my end, but emotionally draining nonetheless. Despite the diagnosis, it was recommended that I move forward with an extraction. The doctors didn’t have any reason to worry about anything changing, but it was a big lump, about 3cm actually. The surgery was scheduled for January of 2009.

My friend Annie was my day-of-surgery companion. The tough exterior that I so often try to flaunt is actually a bit of a front and I’m not sure I would have been able to do it on my own. Annie was a trooper, rising early, staying calm and making me laugh as usual. The doctors assured me that they’d get it out with no problem and would go in around the nipple so as not to leave too much of a scar. I went under listening to my doctors jokes and the soothing sounds of Ella Fitzgerald. I don’t remember much about waking up, but Annie claims that I was a little loopy from the anesthesia. Apparently I told her that my doctor signed my boob and that I tried to flash her in the middle of the very open and crowded recovery room. For the record, he did sign it.

I’m absolutely one of the lucky ones, but the importance of awareness is always on my mind. Be aware. Check yourself. Make sure to schedule annual exams with your doctor. And if you too find yourself among the lucky, make sure to stay strong and supportive for other friends in need.

In Support of Breast Cancer Awareness:
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The Tutu Project
The Pink Initiative
the NFL goes Pink for October

Helpful Exam Info information:
[remember, self-exams are not typically accepted as an adeuqate means of early detection. It merely a way to keep an eye on yourself and perhaps give you that key tipoff that you need to make a trip to your doctor]
Exam Tips via NBCF.org
Tips from breastcancer.org

A Photo A Day :: October

I’m participating in an awesome little photo challenge called A Photo A Day by Fat Mum Slim. I’ve been posting everything through instagram, but suppose I should start throwing them over to twitter as well! Regardless, I thought it might be fun to share the weekly recaps here. If you’re not already following me on instagram and now you’re curious about what else I’m posting (more pictures of sawyer, of course!) you can follow me here.

The Big Unveil

I’m not sure how big the unveil really is, but it sounds exciting, right? It’s a tough step to re-start a blog after nearly two years of inactivity. Sure, there were little posts here and there, but a happy valentine’s wish and a kick-ass video share hardly count as steady content. I think that’s why I’ve taken so long to jump back in. I didn’t want to do it halfway and I didn’t want to do it on a site that I wasn’t at least a little proud of. So, I revised, scrutinized and discarded no less than 6 different layouts and finally settled on what you see here. It’s simple and clean, and it suits me just fine;).

Some of you have been with me since Just Plain Lovely first launched back in 2010 — some even since the Clarabella days — and some of you are brand new. Thank you, truly, for sharing your day with me. You JPL veterans may be wondering: “Where the heck did you go?”. The answer is simple… from the moment I got engaged (Christmas Night 2010) I devoted all of my extra time to scouring wedding sites, looking for fashion and décor inspiration, charting bits of progress here and there via a private tumblr account. I truly wish I’d been one of those ‘do it all’ gals who turned her wedding prep experience into a brand new blogging experience, but I suppose my multi-tasking was already stretched too thin.

So, to catch you up… here’s what you missed, in a nutshell:

Since then it’s been fulfilling, challenging and engaging new job + adoring new husband + cute beyond words new puppy + ‘I can make that!’. Not so bad, right?

With all that said, I’m hoping you’ll forgive me for my silence. I can’t WAIT to get back into fashion & accessories round-ups, music obsessions, artist showcases and now a whole new angle on DIY. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to email with story ideas or a simple hello. We’ve got a fun road ahead!

sick day wish list

It appears to be cold season in Maine. I’ve been seeing people fall, one by one, on Facebook. I usually scoff at colds. I like to think that I have an iron-clad immune system, but every once in a while, even I get knocked down. It just so happens that every once in a while is right now. Boo. Perhaps I’m being a bit of a drama queen, but still. At the very least, I’m lucky enough to be working from home today! That means all-day pjs, making my own schedule (for the most part), drinking lots of OJ and taking breaks to watch Gwyneth hold her own on Glee. It also means I’m thinking about my ultimate sick day wish list which I’ve conveniently compiled to share with you. Feeling cozy yet?

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top (l to r): holy tea – $24.50, bright morning tea cups – $128, laelia quilt – $168, cable knit hot water bottle cover – $30; middle (l to r): anthology magazine – $12, screen printed pillow cover – $18.50, cashmere cowlneck sweater – $228, goose down comforter – $209; bottom (l to r): wicked good clogs – $49.95, knit neckwarmer – $198, Fields by Junip – $7.99, flame leaf bowl – $16

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truth be told… I’m wearing the slippers, I just bought the Junip CD on iTunes and I’m browsing the online version of Anthology Magazine. Not too shabby!

it’s a stitch!

[image from Design*Sponge – click here for more!]

A few weeks back, I discovered DIY instructions for a pretty awesome tote bag by Renske on Design*Sponge. Being the wanna-be crafty gal that I am, I immediately shared my discovery on Facebook, with a feeble request for sewing machine donations. I wasn’t truly expecting a reply, and figured if push came to shove, I could try sewing the bag by hand. Shockingly, I actually got an offer from a former high school teacher of mine. He mentioned that he and his wife had an old one kicking around that didn’t get much use and he’d be happy to see if off to a good home if I could swing by and pick it up. Conveniently, he lives just about 10 minutes away from the new house, so J and I drove on over for a visit.

It was pretty fantastic to see my old prof after about 15 years. He looks just the same and had the same light-hearted demeanor that I remembered from my school days. He and his wife were incredibly welcoming and kind and offered up a few memorable anecdotes. I have no doubt J and I will head back for another visit very soon. So, thank you to Peter and Jean:). My first sewn creation goes out to you!!

Without further delay, may I introduce to you the latest addition to my crafting family, the Singer:)

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Now, I haven’t operated a sewing machine since I was roughly 14 years old, but I remember holding my own back then. I’m looking forward to taking this beauty for a spin. It might be a little ambitious to start with Renske’s tote, but I’m an ambitious gal. Get ready for a guided tour of my attempts coming later this Fall. I’m sure that you seasoned sewers will get a huge kick out of it;). Maybe you’ll even offer up a tip or two? Wish me luck!

I’m back!!

A new home… a new season… I am SO sorry for that gigantic hiatus. It’s been hard to settle into some good quality time with this old old mac of mine. We’ve been moving and un-packing, job-hunting (me), raking leaves, and watching every weekly episode of our darling Dexter;). It’s a busy life, you see. I never meant to step away for this long, but here I am… hopeful for this new Fall season with loads of ideas to keep me busy and (hopefully) you entertained for the rest of the year.

Even with the move, J and I somehow managed to snag another lakeside spot. I’ve been pretty fortunate with my home views since moving to Maine, and this spot is no different. So we have a huge lawn full of leaves that need removal. So we’ll have lots of shoveling come first snowfall. So what?? Take a peek and a think you’ll agree it’s worth it!

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hiatus

I’m shocked and honored to see that despite the obvious lack of recent posts, a few of you out there are still checking in! Aw shucks… and thanks:). My sincere apologies for disappearing. It’s been even busier in the past few weeks than I’d anticipated. A new job partnered with continuing freelance opportunities, a big move (this weekend, yikes!), house guests (yay!), a race that I’m not quite prepared for, and general continuing life changes. We all go through these times in our lives…   times of transition resulting in pure chaos… but we always pull through.

It may be another week or two until I’m able to pick up with regular posts again. I do have all sorts of stories just aching to be shared, so please come back and visit again soon:). Until then, be well and enjoy the beginning of Fall!

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new shoes!!

Despite what you might be coaxed into believing by my many posts about shoes and boots and such, I haven’t actually bought a pair of new shoes in quite some time. I’ve been carefully considering what might be the most practical, yet stylish purchase that also wouldn’t break the bank. Take a peek at the beautiful lovelies pictured below;). More on TOMS and how much I love them next week.

For now, I’m rushing off with an old college friend (hi M:)) to see another old college friend (hi A:)). Good times. I’ll be back on my regular posting schedule next week with all sorts of updates about apple picking, homemade apple pies, statement necklaces, rings, and maybe some other fab slides to consider for this Fall. Till then…

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loveliness on a tuesday

I didn’t have anything big prepared for today, so I thought I’d just share one of the lovely things I get to see when I walk out of my front door every morning. I hope that you all had a terrific long weekend with plenty of time for friends and family to send off summer in style!

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to a life of adventure…

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I like to think that J and I have a pretty sweet story. We first met 17 years ago. I spotted him at study hall, in the back of our high school’s auditorium. My friend and I giggled and plotted ways for me to introduce myself. Once I finally did, we went to his senior prom together, saw Jackson Browne at the Civic Center,  Tori Amos at the State, and slowly started getting to know each other. Cursed by the shyness and various insecurities often associated with youth, we ended up parting ways. I went on to finish high school and he played hours upon hours of guitar and practiced sketching in one his many sketch books. It was years and years until we crossed paths again. We’d had the random bits of contact here and there, but didn’t actually see each other until one fated evening… a little reunion over the holidays in 2008. Even then, we said we’d stay in touch, but didn’t talk for a few months after.

In May of ’09, I came back for a quick visit with the family. I had posted something on Facebook (yes, Facebook) about having some free time in Portland, wondering who was around and luckily he responded. We ended up meeting for a drink on Cinco de Mayo at one of the worst bars either of us had ever been to. But no matter… it’d already started. From then on, we wrote nearly every day for a month and a half until he came to visit me in NY in the middle of June. We’ve been together ever since. He is the most caring, intelligent, and truly amazing man I’ve ever met and I know that I’ve met my match;). We celebrated our 1 year anniversary (17 years after our first date) with a trip to the Mount Washington Hotel for a little romance, fine-dining and adventuring. Do most couples celebrate by going zip-lining? I doubt it, but I’m sure glad that we do. Here’s to a lifetime of  new adventures!

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(no hidden meaning here… it was honestly the first trail sign we encountered;))

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[psssssssst… this is my 100th post:)]

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