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Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking Back and Forward....

Can you believe it? Another year has nearly come to an end. Of course that means looking back at what has transpired and looking forward to what is to come and what we might want to make as goals to reach for and of course the good old resolution lists. I thought I might share my past year as a way to catch up new readers and then of course post my list of resolution and goals with you all.  I would love it if you all shared with me here on the blog in the comments or over on the Facebook page under the blog post link once it pops up. 

It is not easy to recall a whole year. Oh sure certain things stick out, but really it all seems to be a bit hazy. I guess cause I am always trying to look forward as opposed to back. Been sitting here looking at the blinking cursor and blank page trying to figure out what to share. I will do my best to touch on a few things that stick out to me. January of 2014 saw myself and my husband finally getting and being able to afford health insurance. This was a huge thing as we had not had insurance for a few years and my health was quickly declining during that time. I had spent most of 2013 house bound and 2014 was not promising to be any different if I did not get medical help. I saw our primary for the first time the week after the insurance kicked in and that started a progression of appointments, tests and when April 17th rolled around, I had a total hysterectomy via the DiVinci procedure. Within just five days, though still quite sore, I was back out walking , not far at first, but by week two I was walking three miles and never looked back! I am so happy I did the surgery, not having debilitating monthlies, severe anemia and never ending bladder pain from the pressure ( I had huge fibroids) and being able to dress how I want and go out and not have to worry about accidents was amazing! My health is not perfect, never will be. I still have an immunity issue, I still have fibromyalgia, arthritis and bladder and GI issues as a result of the fibro, and now have a few things like tender breasts that never go away and hot flashes, to contend with, but I will take all of that and be grateful! I am still healing, it can take up to a year, so who knows, maybe some of those latter issues will clear up a bit too! 

When I knew I was going to have surgery, I started concentrating on bringing my blood pressure down, and trying to loose the nearly 20 pounds I had put on over the last several years being almost continuously on a monthly cycle made it hard, but I started walking 3 miles, then 4, and then 5 most days, and at times more than that. I rarely drive anymore, even to go shopping other than groceries. Rain or shine I am out there. By the time surgery rolled around I had dropped about 12 pounds, and nearly a full dress size. Once surgery was over and I could again  begin walking, the rest of the weight came off and I have managed to maintain within two pounds up or down from my goal weight/size. During this time I also began to experiment more with my looks, I jumped back on the hair color bandwagon, after going natural for over a year ( for the second or third time. I loose count), and decided to try out being a red head again. I played with everything from a reddish blond to more intense deep red. It was fun. But so much up keep! Funny how you forget such things. 

I tired of not the red, but the constant upkeep and having to wear a hat each time while I was out for a walk, especially during the Summer months, so as Fall approached I decided to go back to the dark brown hair, thinking maybe it would be easier, at least you can then buy that hide the gray hair spray! 

My hair pretty both ways and I did look younger, but the upkeep was no different and I soon tired of that too. So thinking it over, and with support from fellow all natural ladies I had nearly all the hair color cut off, except the bangs, I was not willing to go with a no bang look, so with some minor pushing, I decided to do something fun that I had always wanted to try, and I colored my bangs bright blue! 

The blue bangs have been a big hit, I even have strangers stop me on a regular basis to tell me how much they like them. I have many tell me I am not "allowed" to not have the blue bangs, to never let them go all natural! We will see. Currently I am growing them out as once again I want to grow my hair out to a slightly longer look, and want to see what my hair will look like now with being all natural, but who knows the bangs may remain or come back. They too require upkeep and even more often than normal hair color!!  I may be a girly girl, but like to make things easy on myself. Plus it makes a mess ! Not something I want in my pretty bathroom. 

Something else that began to change as my health, weight and my hair did was my style. It began with the lightened hair and a desire to have a lighter look, experiment with color in my wardrobe, as well as experiment with a new more casual way of dressing. Having spent two years dressing with a nod towards the 1920's and  1930's style of clothing and then a year of living in my pajamas most days, I wanted to find a happy medium. I did a silly thing and donated the bulk of my wardrobe and traded out my beloved black, white and gray and brought in colors, and I can hardly believe I am writing this beige!! 

Then I took an energy and style course based on ones energy through Dress Your Truth , I found out that for my energy type, I could indeed wear my black and white and that really beige is not my thing. I am not a beige person. Sadly so many wonderful items had already been donated, what was a girl to do? I went shopping of course! I had been reading a lot of fashion blogs about casual style, and landed on one I THOUGHT I liked , well at least on others, and one I thought I could live with, and went forward with it. It had a street, masculine, and casual/relaxed vibe with a bit of edge to it, call it tomboy chic if you will. Around this same time I discovered Imogen Lamport's Inside Out Style Blog and her "Evolve Your Style" course ( did a blog on that!) and used the private FB group associated with the taking of this course for a way to try out my new to me look. I received positive feed back, but I was not feeling positive in the clothing. Something was missing. I was feeling a disconnect. 

With long chats within the group and then also taking Imogen's Seven Steps of Style ( yes there has been blogs on that here, and here too ) I discovered that I was missing my feminine touches, my sparkle and pearls. All the things I used to wear when dressing in the 20's and 30's nod to fashion ( I say nod as I was not wearing vintage and it was not authentic to the last detail) , I also was more classic and where I might have been edgy at one point and do have tattoos and a nose ring, I was not that person any longer, I could admire it and do admire the look, and that of the tomboy chic, but my heart has been, always will be and needs to be more to the soft classic feminine side of things. During this time of experimenting with my wardrobe, I was often given the opinion ( and it could have been the short pixie hair cut and my love of stripes) by many , that I had a Parsian Gamine style going on. Well I have quite often in the past been accused of being a Francophile, so I began channeling that as well, just tiny touches, and while I was at it decided to draw upon my love of retro ( having dressed for many years in vintage and retro styles of the 1950s) and add in touches of that style as well... well working on that over time. So stay tuned for that in 2015. But here is a little sample... touching on a little bit of all the words in my style recipe. 

Something else that happened in 2014, my first vacation in nearly 8 years! We went to Monterrey, Carmel, Cambria, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach , our old home town of Arroyo Grande , Paso Robles, San Francisco, Point Reyes and Bodega Bay. It was a wonderful trip, filled with whale watching, walks along the beach, great food and wine and sight seeing. Yep, blogged about that too.... but here is just one little grouping of photos from that trip....

Caverns and caves were along with plenty of wine tasting happened in 2014 once I had my surgery making it so I could once again do such things, and you can always take a peek at those adventures and daycations under that very heading under labels here on the blog. I am sure wine tasting will continue through out the coming year. There is so many wonderful wineries here locally and I am always willing to spread the word of good ones to try. We have run out of serious tourist type daycations in this area, but you never know. Maybe even another full on vacation may happen. All in all it has been quite the eventful year, even though I have probably left a lot of things out of this blog that has happened this year. 

Now on to looking forward. I may be facing another surgery, and one that could make a big impact on how I dress, how I feel about myself and of course for awhile any activity, not wishing to go into details right now, as it is not 100% and well that is an entire blog in itself, but no fears I will share once I have more details and know it is going to happen. I will be continuing with French Girl Friday posts but not only will I be from different books I purchase to read and share, but also recipes and just little ways that I bring a little French into my daily life such as the photo below where I am picking out French cheeses to bring home and have for my daily snacks. Of course I will share my adventures in growing out my hair, and changes to the house and yard here at Muse Cottage, so there will be many things to look forward to here on the blog and over on the Facebook page. 


Been thinking a lot about what I want on my list for this coming year, my resolutions, goals and desires for the coming year. I have a few, some are mentioned above, like growing out my hair, but I have a few others , most of them kind of girly and fun, but hey there are no rules right? There is not many, but then there is always the ability to add more and I do not want to overwhelm myself !!

1. Grow my hair out to a still short, but more feminine style,

2. Go a year without coloring the BULK of my hair.

3. Continue to eat better and walking long distances ( classic New Years resolutions right?)

4. Make more of an effort to get dressed each day, wear a touch of make up and s spritz of perfume.
5. Read more ( instead of playing video games) before bed. 

7. And this is a biggy.... Learn to speak French! 

So there you go, a look back an a look froward, now it is your turn, what are you looking forward to? Do you have any resolutions, goals? Let me know here in the comments or over on the FB page. 


  1. Hi Ruby, Thanks for the year in review. Have you heard about It's a free on-line language course. I'm taking Italian on it now and using another site,, which is connected to Duolingo for practice. It's a fun way to learn. Ciao and Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Liz,
      Nice to hear from you. I tried to comment on your blog from time to time, but could not find a place to do So.
      I have not heard of that site. Rob bought me the Rosetta Stone 5 disc set!

  2. I just started a new blog...
    specific to upcoming plans. The other blog requires me to post by post ok comments and about half the time I forget to give permission. I'll be concentrating on the new blog.

  3. Will you let me know if you can make comments on the new blog. I've been having trouble with the comments box. It will be there and then it will be missing. I've been chasing it all day.


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