Happy New Year!

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I’m back! It’s been a busy holiday season. Now it’s a new year and it’s back to the blog.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. All the best to you in 2012!

I also want to take this opportunity in my first post of the year to say THANK YOU for being faithful readers. Thanks for subscribing and recommending to others. Thanks for taking the time to write a comment. That is a blogger’s biggest compliment. It also lets me know that someone is out there reading, and quite frankly keeps me going.

It was 2 years ago this past November that Style by Karen was born. It’s hard to believe at times. I still enjoy blogging and the ideas are still coming. There are many fashion blogs out there. I try to be different. That being said, I love hearing from you and welcome topics YOU would like me to cover. I hope to hear more from you in 2012. I have a few new ideas up my sleeve and am anxious to share with you.

I start out the year with a snapshot taken of my family on Christmas Eve. It was a beautiful sunny day which is rare this time of year. My husband thought it would be great if we all “dressed up”. I doubted my teenagers would go for the idea, but they didn’t object. My youngest son even went to scope out some possibilities for the photo, and he came up with the colors. There was one problem. This was all decided one day while I was at work. I had NO INPUT whatsoever.

Some of you would probably welcome that. Me–not so much. I like putting the clothes together, and of course I think it should center around what looks the best on ME! :)  They all look good in most everything. We were not using a professional photographer this time–it was just a snapshot. I need all the help I can get. My “dream” color scheme centered around a new green jacket I love was not to be.

I was quick to point out that shades of blue, black and gray would not be conducive to the gray Northwest weather. (I had not looked at the extended forecast) Wearing gray or black causes problems for me in photos. It washes me out and makes me look tired. Another color had to be incorporated so I suggested purple.

My husband had a great purple sweater, but can you believe that with a closet full of clothes and a dozen scarves I had nothing to wear? When you work part time retail during the holiday season, the last place you want to go is the mall on Christmas Eve when you have the day off! Three stops and three scarves later, we got it put together.

Is it my favorite photo? NO. I’m quick to be critical. However, it has become more and more difficult to get the four of us together now that our oldest son is in college. They all hate the posing and the time it takes. So I’m thankful for what I got, even though it is far from perfect.

Here are two of the best. The top one is my favorite, but I got outvoted and the 2nd one went on the family New Year card.

I’ve been formulating a post in my mind on “What to Wear for the Family Photo” for months. I’ve interviewed a professional photographer. Perhaps this post is the perfect transition to that topic.

So what about you? Are family photos–even a snapshot a “production” at your house?

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Merry Christmas!

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I hope you are enjoying this wonderful holiday with your family.

I’d like to thank you all for your support this year. Thanks for reading and thanks for referring your friends. I appreciate all your comments both on the blog and through personal e-mails.

I look forward to bringing you more advice and tips in 2011. And there will be a few giveaways as well.

This will be my last post until the New Year. Best wishes to all of you in 2011!

My family informed me there would be no family Christmas photo on the blog this year. I understand. My Christmas greetings end with a photo of one of my trees. I’ve always wanted a gold and white “fancy” tree; I’ve been collecting decorations for years. I haven’t put it up in several years and I’m not really sure why. It turns the living room into my favorite room in the house during Christmas, although the kids still prefer the family room tree!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

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Grads and Dads Part 1

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Congratulations to our Amenity Shoes winner, Comment #2 Renee. Thanks for all your comments. I can tell from your interest that I may be spending a little more time on shoes in upcoming posts. I’ve had to take a 2 week hiatus from Friday Fab Finds on Facebook due to my schedule. This week I had technical difficulties. Shoe photos are coming on FB.

In the month of June we get used to the retailers referring to Grads and Dads. While I am challenged at working my typical fashion advice into this post, I felt that the topic deserved some space since this year I have a Grad at my house! My oldest son Ethan graduated from high school last week. You may recall from a previous post, last fall I was encouraged to co-chair the All-night Senior Grad Party. I stayed up until 5:30 AM, threw a party for family/friends 36 hours later AND I’ve lived to tell about it. Honestly, it never would have happened without the help of my dear husband. It was a team effort. I am also grateful to family and friends who helped me the day of the party. Needless to say I was exhausted by Sunday, but oh the fun we had!

Since we’ve been having an unusually wet spring, it wasn’t about to let up on June 10th. It rained the WHOLE DAY! Friends advised me to do pictures at home rather than try to gather at the stadium as it would be sheer chaos. Good plan. I was also grateful for my covered front porch as you can see the wet pavement in the background.

At one point we finally just had to move inside for the group photo.

Then it was off to school to oversee the bag check for the party. Love this picture of excited Seniors.

It was COLD at the stadium so what I wore for photos was not appropriate. Instead I’ve switched to my wool coat and a scarf! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are from Texas and needed to adjust quickly from nearly 100 degrees to 50!

By the time they seniors had to line up on the track the sun was peeking through. It was a perfect evening without rain.

On Saturday we had a wonderful outdoor party and it was 80 degrees!

And now for at least ONE fashion tip. The short sleeved cardigan is Bobeau from Nordstrom. At $39 it is reasonably priced– super comfortable and flattering. They appear to have different colors in the stores. I wore it with a lime green tank. White capris are WORN from a local boutique. The shoes from Sofft almost passed the test–still undecided if they are keepers. Here is another version  that may work for you. My apologies for the lack of details in the photo. No time for posed photos of the hostess!

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It’s June: Graduations, Weddings and Travel

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Congratulations to our Kika scarf winner: Comment #10, Amy B. Thanks everyone for commenting. I’ve been asked how I choose the winners. I have a very scientific method: I ask an impartial person who has not read the comments or names to pick a number. If a number chosen has been a recent winner, I would choose again. So far that has not happened. Until my readership and comments increase, your chances for winning are great so keep the comments coming.

It is June! You would not know it in the great Northwest. We are used to rain, but the month of May has almost been unbearable. If you sign up to live here, you just know that rain must be tolerated for certain months so we can be known as the Evergreen state. We also have grown accustomed to “living with it” because the months ahead make living here worthwhile. From mid-June through October, it is one of the best places in the country. 75- 80 degrees, no humidity, rivers, mountains and the ocean an hour away. We pay a price and this year that price is big. Comments about boats and arks are all over Facebook, the weather forecasters have never seen anything like it and everywhere you go people are complaining about the rain! The 10-day forecast looks promising; we can only hope.

June is known for Graduations, Weddings and Travel. I will cover these topics with a fashion perspective in the weeks ahead. First up: Graduation. My oldest son is graduating from high school next week. It’s an exciting and busy time at our house. We have family coming from out of town. I’m the co-chair of the all night party(yes I must stay up until 5 am) and we are hosting an outdoor party two days later for family and friends.

I worked fashion into a Mother’s Day post. That was relatively easy. Fashion tips for a graduation ceremony in an outdoor stadium in unseasonably cool weather may be more of a challenge. I will do my best and post pictures of course!

 A week later I have a wedding to attend and will take note of what women are wearing this year.

 I’ve been helping several clients pack for trips and will share that as well. And I haven’t forgotten: Swimsuits! I’m doing the research and will hopefully have the post ready soon.

And in between all of this valuable info, I have a Giveaway from a local shoe store and possibly several others which are in the works. I’ll work hard to keep on schedule and bring you great tips. Let me know if you have a request.  Happy June!

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A Mother’s Day Tribute

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Congratulations to our Here We Go Again winners: Comment #2: Sandi has a GC waiting at the Broadway Location. Comment #8: Eva, GC at John’s Landing locale. Have fun!

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms! I hope you enjoy a day of pampering. My boys are growing up and sometimes I feel like they do not need me quite as much anymore. However, there are times when mom still saves the day. (reminders, schedules, money!)  Being a mom is a tough but rewarding job. Whether your children are young or all grown up, give yourself credit for a job well done and enjoy this day!

This post is a tribute to my own mother. My mom passed away suddenly when I was in college. I was 20. Sadly, this was several years before I met my husband and had a family. I always wished they had the opportunity to know her. My husband has heard so many family stories that one time he said to me,”That sounds like something your mom would say!”  There is remarkable power in a story since obviously he had never met her. And you know what–he was right on. Can any of you relate to sounding/acting like your mother?

When I started my new business and blog, my oldest sister made an interesting comment, “Mom would have been proud of you.” I had to laugh a little because we both knew that my mom was not a “fashion plate” in any way. She was actually kind of a tomboy. Mom liked to be outside and played fast-pitch softball. In fact she played well into her thirties when she had three small children. My parents owned a dairy farm and started out in 1941. Life was tough, money was tight and they worked very hard. Fashion was not a focus in her life. She was fortunate to have a dress to wear to church. My siblings and I had a frugal upbringing. Of course, being the youngest of five, I was spoiled. (so I’m told) Still, it was never easy convincing my mom to buy me clothes. She always thought I had enough, and I always wanted more! My sister and I are pretty sure that our love for fashion is a direct result of not having a large selection of clothes when we were young. If you have been reading for several months, you’ve seen I have an eye for nice things. However, I do have a very practical side when it comes to prices, amount of clothing needed, making WISE choices and now consignment. All of this stems back to how I was brought up.

Since I started working one/one with women, thoughts of my own mother have come up frequently. My mom did not have a lot of confidence with dressing . She didn’t really have a knack of putting things together for herself, yet loved to pick out suits & ties for my dad. I was born when she was 42. Can you imagine? Today this is common, but in that day and age-not so much! When I hit my forties, I realized how difficult that must have been. I always remember my mom saying if others asked, “she keeps us young!” When it came to dressing though, she lost her shape. Losing weight after 40 just is not easy. There were not personal trainers, diet books or designs that camouflaged your middle. I now can completely relate to her struggles. 

Shortly before she died, my mom and I went on a shopping trip with my aunt and a friend. Living in a small town in the Northwest corner of Washington, the stores were not plentiful. A trip to Seattle was a treat. Keep in mind: My mom HATED shopping. A day in a mall was NOT her idea of a good time. But something happened. She had fun. She found clothes (even boots) that looked great. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I believe that a few flattering outfits helped raise her confidence to a new level.

Today I meet women just like my mom who may not have the confidence in dressing, hate shopping and putting things together. A common pattern among women is to take attention away from themselves and focus on their families. They give time and spend money on someone else, but rarely on themselves. I encourage you to change that pattern and take time for yourself.

Although we did not share the love of fashion, my mom was a role model in so many other ways that helped me become who I am today. For that I’m grateful. I love you Mom!

I wanted to share some photos of my mom over the years. I love looking at old photos and thought you would enjoy the nostalgia AND styles.

 

 Mom at age 42 with me!

There are few photos of the two of us in later years. Below is a photo at my parent’s 40th anniversary the year before she died. I’m wearing her wedding dress and pearls. (For a short time in the Forties and Fifties, some women wore suits or dresses that were not the typical wedding white.) I love these photos and am so happy for the memories.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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