Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why I am Losing Weight Even Though I am a Part of the Body Love Movement

As I face a new chapter of my life I must consider what this previous chapter has taught me. Over the past two years I have grown tremendously through blogging. I have come to understand aspects of me that were once unexplored. I have come to love who I am despite my flaws. And I have made new friends and connections that never would have been in my life without being a blogger. This chapter has brought some of the highest and even the lowest moments in my life. However, just like a book or a fine meal, this course will not last forever.

If you have been following for any length of time you already know that I struggled with my weight and self esteem a lot as young person. In fact, even early in my marriage I was still feeling the effects of it. Now as I am finally coming to a place of acceptance and even love for who I am, I have to make a change. A few months ago I posted that I recently received a diagnosis that changed my life. It wasn't truly clear how much my life was really going to change. In the process of seeing doctors, getting tests, and researching there are been several things that have been reoccurring. One, weight loss is needed and immediately. Two, at some point in life I will need to be prepared to end my work career in disability rather than retirement. Third, I can't keep pretending and going on with things as normal because it will only make me worse. I must start making changes! Lastly, being disabled is expensive. For the sake of time, I am only covering the weight loss today.

Here's the facts: I totally agree with the BODY LOVE movement. I don't mind being plus size and sometimes I am even rather happy to be so. Yes, I do have bad days were nothing fits and I feel "fat". Although I talked about it off and on, I never really planned on changing.

All the statements above are still true, except one. I do plan to make a change now. There is no more "talking", its about time to get to"doing". Its not because I hate myself or even because  I want to buy nice clothing (although it will be nice), its about living a high quality life. My doctor put it in a way I will never forget. When it comes to degenerative arthritis, weight loss is one of the best ways to reduce pain and slow degeneration. My doctor said it this way, "If you told a cancer patient that by dong something it would be like being half way to a cure, they would waste no time or money to do it. However, with weight people put it off or think they don't need any help when for them it could be just as critical."

So, I am getting help. Over the next few weeks I will watched carefully as I do a medically guided diet with medication. Over the next year I should go from who I am to half of me. Its all so scary and a little exciting all at the same time. It requires so much work, money, and courage to take this step that will change who I am FOREVER.

I here to ask you, my readers, fellow bloggers, and those who are a part of the BODY LOVE movement to be my support. I am doing the best thing I can right now for the body I love, losing some of it.

I'd love to hear your encouraging stories, comments, and ideas below in the comments.

Let's make this my BEFORE picture

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Goodie Bag Giveaway

I love to do giveaways of my favorite things. In fact, my favorite theme for giveaways is "A few of my favorite things," where I send a mystery box to the winner packed full of all the things I am into right now. Its a fun box to fill!

Anyway, we got one going on right now!!!

The Giveaway Ends at 8 pm Eastern time on September 6th 2014.

Here is how to Enter:

1. Like or follow either my Twitter or Facebook pages (or both):

2. Follow me via Google+, Blogger, or email

3. Comment Below with what  you did.

EXTRA ENTRY: Tweet about my blog and tag me @dolcedellavita
(Please include that you did that in your comment with you username!)

Be on the look out on Twitter and Facebook for the winner!

For full rules please see my Contests and Giveaways page.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Hostess and the Guest

We are on the final leg of our classic party planning topic. I am partly sad and partly excited about this because I have decided to hold up on doing any more on my "Being Classic in a Modern World" series for a while. Do not worry, we will get back to it a few more times in the months to come. I just feel like we need a little break and I have plans to some FUN!

Now, to the topic at hand!

The Hostess

Whether you are hosting alone or co-hosting, there a few things that help you to be classic at it. First, have most of your preparations (such as food) ready to go. You miss out on your own party and lose the chance to be a great host if you are spending your whole party in the kitchen. Second, greet each guest as they arrive or soon after. If you have a large number of guests, this is critically important. No one really wants to feel forgotten about. Attempt to make small talk with every guest at some point. Third, don't spend the whole time stressing. Allow yourself to enjoy the party and let the little things go. Lastly, dress comfortably and classic!

The Guest

Being a guest has changed a lot over the years. I truly feel like a few classic rules still apply.First, always RSVP. Please please please... if you do nothing else, do that. It helps the host or hostess prepare for food, entertainment, etc. Second, be no later than 15 minutes late. If you are going to be, be considerate and let the host know (in advance if possible). Last, dress to the formality. If you are unsure, ask.

Now, for some less required but still wonderful guest thoughts:
If the party is even remotely formal, bring a gift for the hostess. This has died and it breaks my heart. I feel like as a hostess, I put a huge amount of work into making the party special for my guests. This small token allows the guest to show they appreciate the effort. This is not really required for small get togethers, especially between very close friends. However, there is no rule that you can not!

Anyway, this is the short and sweet look at being a classic hostess or guest. I would love to hear your tips on being a classic host or a great guest. Feel free to share in the comments below!

Be on the look out for some awesome new adventures over the next few days.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Location, Decoration, Entertainment and Food

You know how many people you are inviting, you've picked lovely invitations and you know what your celebrating. Now it is time to get into some specifics! Places, food, entertainment, and decorations are the fun part of entertaining if you ask me! Once you have narrowed down how many people will be attending it is easier to start planning these things. 

The first on the list is location. Without a good location the best and most important parties can fail. However, I have found that with a little help and a lot of creativity, you can make any space into a good one. The only rule that can not be broken in my opinion is having enough room with seats for everyone in attendance. People will feel uncomfortable and will lose enjoyment if they can not even find a place to take a seat.

I currently live in a rather small apartment but I love to entertain. So when I have a party pushing over ten people I get creative with my space. I will move furniture around, rent or borrow chairs and utilize the outdoor space that I have. This allows me to entertain a little larger group even in my small setting.

If you have the money to rent a location, go for it. It helps with the clean up but can make set up a bit more challenging. It also gives you a restriction on length and time for your party if you do no rent for the entire day. Hotels, churches, libraries, and banquet hall are all options to consider when planning. Always choose one that fits the purpose of your event. (I would not likely put a cocktail party in a church or a dance party in a library!)

Once you have chosen a location you can move to entertainment and decorations. Nearly every party requires at least a little background music. Some parties require much more like a DJ or band. Look at the size and budget for your party. Remember when choosing a band or DJ you are paying for so much more that a night of entertainment. You are paying for their set up, equipment, and take down. Decorations are the fun part. Once you have a reason to party it is usually fun to chose a theme as well It makes buying invitations and party supplies easier. A few of my favorite themes include:
  • New York City
  • Luau
  • Masked Balls
  • Colorful
There are hundred, maybe thousands of themes to choose from so don't feel limited. Do a little internet searching and if you have the time play around with a few ideas before settling on one. You can find ideas on my Pinterest boards: Unplanned Party Plans and Renew and relive I DO.

Last but certainly not least you have FOOD! I feel like I could have spent an entire post on this subject alone. I love to prepare the menu for my parties. I always look to find creative ways to serve and prepare my food. The only rule of thumb here is to keep it simple enough when you are cooking that you are not spending your whole party in the kitchen. Other options include pot lucks and catering, all depending on the formality of your party.

If you are looking for a few fun party food ideas you can check out my Pinterest Boards: My "Julia" Project, Cooking Crafty: Nummies, and Cooking Crafty: Starters.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Invites and Thank Yous

I apologize for my lengthy time of blog construction. Background issues in blogging are so much more challenging than I expected them to be! Anyway, we can now get back to our series on being classic in a modern world. We just started talking about planning classic parties. We discussed the preparation stages prior to having a party already. Today we are talking about invites and thank yous. We are covering how to decide how many and who to invite to each different kind of party.

First you must decide how big a party you would like to have. Below is a basic estimate of how many people WILL attend for each type of party.

 BBQ/ Outdoor Parties- 2-4 families (approx 4-15 people)
Tea Parties- 4-6 people
Home Sales Parties-8-10 people
Small Cocktail Parties- 10-15 people
Small Dinner Parties- 4- 8 people
Children's Parties- 5-8 kids (approx 15 in total)
Milestone Parties 20-100 people (depending on milestone)
Anniversary Parties- 8- 20 people (unless a milestone, see above)
Formal Parties- 25-150 people
Wedding Receptions- 100-500 people (not as in some places)

After getting a general idea of how many people you would like to attend you party, you have to prepare to send invites. Unfortunately purchasing invites will be more costly than thank yous. This is because you need to send about double the amount of invites as people you would like to come. This is true for almost every kind of party except perhaps the ones that you are only inviting the closest of friends or family. (Such as tea parties, some children's parties, and BBQs.)

Invites should fit the formality and size of the event. Classically paper invites are the only way to go. However in modern times, even a classy lady can do internet based invited for home sales parties and informal get-togethers. This does not apply to weddings or any other more formal event!

Thank you notes follow by similar rules. Paper is best for any sort of gift. A simple internet thank you may be fine for thanking guests for coming to an informal event.

I rather enjoy the creativity that looking for, designing, and writing invites and thank yous provides. I have provided a link below to one of my favorite companies to purchase invitations and thank yous for children's parties. It is an affiliate link, but everything I say about companies is true and honest opinions of mine. I like support companies I already love!

Shutterfly Photo Books 120x90

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to Plan a Classic Party

There is really so much involved in planning even the smallest get together. (If you are like me that is- perfectionist, party planner, Martha wanna be.) However some parties are easier to set up, plan, and do than others. First we have to discuss the levels of parties in the most classic sense.
My Wedding Reception

My son's 1st birthday party

BBQ/ Outdoor Parties
Tea Parties
Home Sales Parties
Small Cocktail Parties
Small Dinner Parties
Children's Parties
Milestone Parties
Anniversary Parties
Formal Parties
Wedding Receptions

I tried to list these from least to most formal. It can be a tricky line when considering many of these parties because today's culture has reduced the formality of some and increased the formality of others. This list is based on my personal opinions of formality.

When considering planning a party you have several questions you need to ask yourself first.
  1. Why am I planning this party?
  2. How many people do I wish to attend?
  3. What kind of food would I like to serve?
  4. What will serve as entertainment?
  5. How much time do I have to plan?
 These five simple questions can make a big difference and reduce alot of stress when planning a classic party. The next set of questions come after you answer the ones above.
  1. What is the budget for this party?
  2. Where do I plan on holding this party?
  3. Do I need help in planning, setting up, and running the party?
  4. Are there any special considerations (age of guests, allergies, etc)?
  5. How can I simplify my plans?
Party planning can be stressful and expensive so it is important to consider these things early on. Some people just do not like to be hosts and hostesses and smaller, simpler parties may be their easier options. Another option is to recruit help. Catering, bands, and other friends are all resources one might consider when planning a classic party.

I really think you need to write the answers to these questions down. I also think that every party requires at least two weeks for planning time. The more formal the party the longer it requires. Weddings can take anywhere from six months to two years to plan.

The next post will go into more detail on invites and thank yous and how to figure out who you should invite.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to be Classic in a Modern World

Interestingly enough, I see more classy people now that I am involved in the blogging world. Perhaps this is because I don't see all of the aspects of the people or perhaps its because bloggers inspire one another, either way it has been encouraging to me. I have always been accused of being an "old soul". With that came my desire and passion for being a woman is truly classic. I find pleasure in standing out by doing things that are not meant to stand out. In a world wear loud, crazy, and sometimes obnoxious are popular, I enjoy being motivated and classy. This is not to say that I don't love some fun, wild, and crazy things or that I've never done anything not so classic. I have, I just have such a a long history and love for classic that it far outweighs them.

If you look through past posts or the recent ones where I spoke on classic fashion, you can tell that I appreciate modesty. I can also see the purpose behind good quality (even when circumstances deter me from having such things). If you have been a reader for a long time you know that I love to be a hostess, I am honored in my role as a wife, and work diligently to be a wonderful parent to my boys. Some of these qualities  I would consider to be uncommon in this modern world. I also take more pleasure in helping, giving, and building up others than thinking of myself. As I see it, if your mindset is focused on others, its a whole lot easier to be a classic woman in this modern world.

I promised categories of all kinds for this series and I intend on making good on my promises. I am excited about the next category. Being my favorite, "being a hostess" is next on my list for discussion. There are so many aspects with this.
  • Planning and types of parties
  •  Invites and thank yous
  • Cooking and Preparing
  • Decorating 
  • Being a great hostess
  • Being a considerate guest
Among the things I wish to discuss will be how to dress for, set up, invite others to and plan different levels of formality, creative and classic ideas for decorating and cooking, and what is expected out a host or hostess.

You may be wondering how and why I even know much about all this. This is all I can say- I grew up with a very good hostess for a mother and I have read etiquette books from many different generations and pulled out the aspects that still apply today.

I wont say I am a perfect hostess or guest, but its a goal I strive for and I feel like it a skill every classic woman should have a basic understanding of.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just so Classic- Denim


Last, but not least in my classic wardrobe selections- denim! Although this has not always been in a classic list, it is now something no one would go without. Certainly denim has a new more chic persona. I enjoy mixing denim with more formal and classic pieces to really create a timeless look.

Blazers with jeans, polos and pearls with a denim skirt- there is great flexibility with being modern and classic!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Just so Classic- Work Wear

Work Wear

Not every classic woman is a working woman, but I think that the numbers are now high enough to include this in my classic fashion. I happen to be a working woman and these outfits really make me think professional, classic, and timeless. Nearly all these pieces could have been purchased yesterday or years ago and still be relevant. These colors are of course not the only options. Camel, navy, pintripes, and greys all fit well in a classic wardrobe. Some people would also include a classic sheath dress which I included in the little black dress section.