Week 22: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties-Capsule Wardrobe Edition

Fall from my backyard.

Is it even fall if I haven’t pulled out the sweaters and hit up the local cider mill for warm donuts and fresh apple cider? Well, yep, I guess it is. Mother nature is in complete disregard of my personal time table as the temperature has indeed cooled and the leaves are all glorious. I’ll have to check going to the cider mill off of my fall list soon before the temperature tumbles too much for it to be enjoyable.

But in the vein of fall, I have come up with a favorite fall cocktail (#14), which I made for my husband. It’s apple cider (sadly purchased from the grocery store) mixed with two shots of Disaronno. I rimmed the glass with caramel and crystalized sugar. He gives it two thumbs up! Perfect for watching football or those cool fall evenings.

Apple Cider and Disaronnno – a perfect fall combo!

I am going to be updating a few items. You may have noticed I haven’t been reporting much on item #3, “Do fifty random acts of kindness throughout the year.” I have been doing a few things that I haven’t reported on because sometimes it’s not necessarily my business to share. Besides, it’s nice to fly under the radar and to do things without “getting credit” for them. But, as the holidays approach, I’ll ramp it up a little and do a few things that I feel comfortable sharing, just in case it might inspire someone else to do a similar act of kindness.

I am not sure when I will be able to do a 5k. Right now I am struggling with hip flexor issues. I do exercises to strengthen that area (when I remember). I still hope to accomplish it, even if I end up walking most of it. It hasn’t stopped me from working out on the NordicTrack and I have completed 44 workouts of my 50 workout goal. This week was a zebra safari in South Africa, a walk through Hawaii past the Kona Ironman starting line for the run/swim and a walk through a petrified forest in Argentina. I still really enjoy doing this in addition to my 3 day a week bootcamp.

I made a couple new dishes this week but neither was share-worthy. They both came from Noom, Old World Goulash, which tasted a bit bland and apple cider glazed pork loin which sounded awesome, but disappointed in flavor. I will only share successes for recipes that Mike and I both enjoyed.

Speaking of Noom, I am still using it and though progress seems slow, I am indeed progressing. I completed 4 weeks this past Friday and am down 5 pounds. I am half way to my goal so I’m not complaining! It’s been fun reading encouraging and enlightening articles and trying new recipes and Mike’s been very supportive throughout the process. If you want to check Noom out for yourself, here is the link.

Now that we are turning to more indoor activities, I have started on item # 21, “Complete the complicated puzzle that my husband Mike bought me.” This is a wooden puzzle he purchased at a specialty shop in Denver. After working on it for 15 minutes I was left trying to decide if it was supposed to be a present or penance. The pieces are all laser cut, and made of wood. There are only a few obvious edges; points and pieces come together to make a lot of the edge instead of pieces that are flat on one side. I started it Friday. Mike has also been known to fit more than a few pieces. In fact, we’ve even made a fair amount of progress since this photo was snapped. It’s actually a fun challenge and I ultimately decided it is really an awesome present. I will report progress in the future, but this may take a while!

Challenging but fun!
Many of the pieces are shaped unusually, or like birds, people or flowers. You’d think that would make it easier. Not so much.
I love this puzzle board I bought from Amazon. As much as I love doing puzzles, it bothers me to leave it out on the table when I am no longer working on it, like when we’re expecting company. This allows me to store it and pull it back out when I am ready to work on it without losing my progress!

I’m continuing with my French class and Duolingo. I still listen to Pimsleur French V to supplement my learning and also do Duolingo flashcards and Duolingo Stories. I try to do at least a half an hour a day, usually more. I finished the Masterclass by Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale. It was awesome. I really felt that she was enjoying imparting wisdom in whatever time remains to her. In fact, she as much as said so. I also started another course by Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief at Vogue. Her course is on creativity and leadership. So much to learn, so little time!

I am still trying to do daily meditation with the Headspace App and visualization, mostly successfully. I don’t get to the meditation every day and even when I do I sometimes suffer from a wandering mind. I shall nevertheless persevere!

The last thing I want to share is I’ve started on my Florida capsule wardrobe. I purchased a few things, but mostly shopped my closet. I still will add some dresses, shoes and accessories later. My primary neutrals will be black, navy and white.

Black cropped slacks with two short sleeve options and a dressier off the shoulder long sleeve option.
Jeans with a white tea or a floral cami. The black sweater can go with most of the clothing clusters.
White cropped dress slacks with red print cami, or navy or black sleeveless tops.
Black and white checked ankle pants with white sleeveless button front top or black sleeveless dressier top.
White jeans with blush sleeveless shirt or black and white striped cami with a navy light weight open front cardigan.
Navy capris with navy/white striped sleeveless shirt, or navy cranberry patterned shirt or white sleeveless shirt.
Optional tops for the navy, white or jean bottoms.

This wardrobe of 6 bottoms, 17 tops and 2 sweaters will provide me with 81 different outfits, not including the variations the sweaters could provide. Between the two sweaters there is a sweater option for every outfit, especially important in those air conditioned Florida restaurants and malls. Almost everything goes with everything else, with the exception of the gingham pants, and even they have several options outside of their cluster. Once I’ve added shoes and accessories and throw in a few dresses, I’ll have even more options. I’m pretty pleased with the way this all came together.

Speaking of Florida, we should be closing on our house in a few weeks. We were pleasantly surprised that we are able to do this remotely. We are having our realtors do our walk through for us to add to anything the inspector may find. Looking forward to spending a little time in the sunshine, but right now I’m off to enjoy Michigan’s beautiful fall weather. Happy Fall, y’all!

Week 12: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties

Good morning from Michigan’s upper peninsula, where the drinks are cold and the internet is spotty. We are up in Cedarville for the week, renting cabins with extended family and friends. I hope to have more to share about it and a few more bucket list items to check off next week. Since I am on vacation, this will be short and sweet.

Prior to heading out, I did manage to check off item # 44 on my bucket list. I took Kobe to North Bay Park near our home for a nature walk. This is a lovely little gem on Ford Lake with a wooden boardwalk that goes through the lake and wetlands, perfect for viewing water fowl and wildlife. Kobe loved it and I hope to get back there with him at least one more time this year.

Kobe ready to tackle the trail!
Scenes from the boardwalk.
Loosestrife growing amongst cattails.
Ducks on a log
The boardwalk in the water. You can see a viewing platform in the distance which we didn’t climb as Kobe has difficulty with steps.

We also had our contractor Tony back out to replace some cracked thresholds and tiles in our foyer (Bucket list item #4). We were lucky to still have some tile stored from when we built the house 20 years ago. I was a little worried the new grout lines would be obvious but we thought we’d go this route first, and if we didn’t like the results we’d rip it out and select new tile. But we were fortunate and Tony did a masterful job. It’s hard to distinguish between new and old grout. Can you tell?

Can you tell where the replacement tiles are?

Despite our spotty internet connection, my Duolingo streak remains intact at 719 days. French classes restarted last week. Since I’m up North, this week, I’ll be following along remotely. I’ve finished John Grisham’s new book, The Reckoning. It was pretty good. Now I am on to the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I am on book #44 of my 50 book challenge, which puts me 14 books ahead of schedule, a comfortable enough lead to let me tackle the last book in the Poldark series after this. Update on skydiving, it’s been rescheduled for August 25th due to my daughter’s work conflict. We are looking forward to tackling this together.

If you’ve lived in Michigan for any time, you know “going up North” is what one does for vacation, or at the very least for a long weekend. We are at Spring Lodge, in some cute little cabins along the lake in the Les Cheneaux area. Les Cheneaux means “the channels” in French. There are a series of islands which form long channels, thus despite being one of the Great Lakes, these smaller channels are calmer, making them perfect for boating and water sports. Our family has been coming up since my girls, now in their twenties, were little. My daughter has even named her dogs Mackinac and Cheneaux. As we’ve been coming up to this area for so long, it can be difficult to find something new to do. Castle rock? Check. Mackinac Island? Check. Mystery spot? Check. Soo Locks? Check. The list goes on. But after widening the circle a bit, I believe we will be heading out sometime this week where I will tackle bucket list item # 25 -take a day trip to somewhere we’ve not been before while in Les Cheneaux. I hope to share some awesome photos with you.

Well that’s it for this week. I know I put down my cold drink down somewhere. I’m off to find it. Either that or a nice nap. Cheers!

View from our front porch. Notice the water level is so high, many of the docks are under water. Ours is o.k. because they built a second level above the waterline.
Lakeside view
Another beautiful sunset.