Yard/Garden Plans and Spring Fashion

Good morning my friends!

Or I guess afternoon by the time you will be reading this. It’s set to be an absolutely gorgeous Sunday here in Southeast Missouri! Yesterday Michael and I picked up 20 bags of mulch, some potting soil, rose food, lawn food, and Preen weed preventer. We spent our day together yesterday, and now today we’re each on our own to get some things done. It’s currently sunrise and pretty chilly outside, so I’m taking this time to get a blog post out for you and a little meal prep done for Michael, then it’s outside I go!

This has been quite the rough week – in case you noticed a Thursday post didn’t go out. I caught my youngest son’s cold and was sick Monday and Tuesday. I also had some teenager drama to deal with – I’ve been fortunate that both of my boys have had good heads on their shoulders their entire childhoods. And they still do, but my oldest pushed some boundaries and is trying to “spread his wings” as I heard it stated. And some of his judgment calls haven’t been the greatest.

I’m still fortunate that he isn’t doing anything bad, and a little correction now should resolve things. But it can be hard to switch to “tough mom” mode, particularly when he is so much like me and we are very close. But my first role in his life is parent, and sometimes the discipline must come out. It doesn’t come without a toll, however. I’ve not had anxiety in a very long time but I sure did this week. Being sick and dealing with something emotionally draining at the same time has been a major challenge on my stress levels and on my sleep.

It’s proving to be a slow recovery, especially on the sleep. I’m going to enact some sleep hygiene rules that I had set for myself while struggling with insomnia, to ensure that I don’t end up back in that state again. I am very lucky that I have an amazing and supportive human in my corner, too. Michael has been such a huge help, from talking me through things and giving me ideas, to just squeezing me tight and giving me some needed comfort.

The boys are at their dad’s for the weekend and I will be heading off to pick them up this afternoon. Tomorrow starts a brand new week, and I’m hoping that everything will start to move forward.

On the meal planning front, I actually didn’t plan anything for next week – I was sick on Tuesday, my normal meal planning/grocery order day. So I just threw a bunch of usual items into my order and decided I’ll wing it. If you’ve been around for a long time then you know I used to love creating recipes. But with Michael and Gabriel around now I find it’s a lot easier to plan ahead for so many people to find things that will please them all – especially Gabriel who is even pickier than Hunter was at that age, which I didn’t think was even possible!

This last week got completely away from me with everything that was going on. I had planned some quesadillas for one meal, and a lovely roasted veggie dish at another meal – and none of it got made! Which may be a plus, since I didn’t get to plan for this week. I can just make those meals for this week instead. The poor boys lived on sandwiches, leftover pizza that Michael had from the weekend before, and Chinese that I ordered on Monday, which was enough for two days.

I don’t recommend ordering out and avoid it except on occasion. But it is nice that the place I order Chinese takeout from has a vegan-friendly (although sadly definitely not oil-free) dish on their menu. It’s a tofu and veggie dish in a Hunan sauce that is pretty tasty. I always order with the noodles, too, instead of rice. Both boys, Michael and myself actually prefer the noodles to the rice, so it’s kind of nice to have something we all agree on!

While the meals didn’t get made this week (Michael’s dinner and lunch did, because I made it on the weekend before I got sick), here is the plan:

Here are the photos of the Salmon Salad and the Black Bean Salad, plus a stuffed sweet potato that I made for lunch one day and managed to snap a picture of to help fill in the gaps!

I’ve also been trying my hand lately at video shooting and editing, which it turns out I actually enjoy more than photography because there is just so much more creativity and fun things you can do with video. I’ve been shooting primarily on my iPhone for Instagram right now – no YouTube yet – but I’m loving making reels of my cooking and kitchen work. If you’re not following me on Instagram yet, I would love for you to see what I’ve been up to! You can check out my Instagram account at plantbasedloren. I just posted the latest reel over there of the healthy banana muffins I often make Michael for breakfast.

The one thing that has truly brought me some joy this week, is my Spring and Summer wardrobe makeover! I always add a few new pieces each year, but this year has been a bit of a wardrobe transformation with the change in work situations which is likely to be permanent. My professional wear has been retired to a rack in the basement, and I’ve been building a more fun, casual wardrobe since I’m now working from home.

I don’t have to worry about whether the outfits are A) business casual, or B) suitable to a dress code. That means I can buy tops that are V-cut, a little cropped, spaghetti strap, etc. I can wear shorts and cropped pants, and my skirts and dresses can be above the knee. It’s so freeing!

TJ Maxx Haul

Michael and I went to TJ Maxx yesterday to do a browse and I came home with a haul. Their dressing rooms are still closed because of Covid, so I have to buy, try on at home, and return. I ended up keeping about half of what I bought – three flirty, floral tops and a blue and white stripped dress that will look lovely with the new tan waist belt and sandals I have arriving soon from ThredUP. And I picked up a beautiful white Vince Camuto sweater – as if I really needed another white sweater!

I’ve ordered items from Chic Wish, petal & Pup, and ShowPo, and ordered a pair of white crop leggings from Amazon. My color palette is very much white, pink, sage and periwinkle for the upcoming Spring & Summer season. Now to hope that everything fits and there isn’t too much returning and exchanging!

I’ve never ordered from Petal & Pup before so I’m not sure what to expect from their dresses. But I have a lace top and pink skirt from Chic Wish that I am absolutely in love with, so I can’t wait for the new skirts to arrive! The ShowPo order I’m a little skeptical about – I’ve ordered from them several times, but the sizing is usually off because it’s an Australia-based company that doesn’t necessarily get their US sizes right. Sometimes my normal size fits and sometimes it’s tiny.

My normal size in the shorts already showed up in my email invoice as an AU size 6, and the current pair of shorts I have from them that just barely fit me say 8 on the tag – but the pink shorts also have an elastic waist so it might be okay – we shall see! The dresses are a toss-up. I bought in the same size as other tops and dresses I’ve ordered from there – sometimes they fit and sometimes they swallow me whole and I have to exchange for a smaller size. If the shorts and dress both fit and neither need exchanged, it will be a miracle.

That is the most frustrating part about ordering online – but honestly, the brick and mortar stores just can’t keep up with online fashion. I would love to purchase all of these lovely items from local stores, but they just don’t carry fashion like this. TJ Maxx is the only store in my town that has items that fit my style. We have a shopping mall, but it’s very hit or miss, and definitely geared more towards teens and 20-somethings.

We also have stores like Target & Kohls outside of the mall. But again, they are very hit or miss. Actually, Kohls is just a miss – they have a teenage girl section, and a frumpy older women’s section that offers very little for those of us aged from upper 20’s to upper 40’s. And they definitely don’t have much for small-framed, petite women like myself (anyone else in the 5’3 club??). Even their smaller sizes are still meant for women who are full-figured in the hips and thighs, which I frustratingly am definitely not.

I feel like these companies need to watch their online competitors and adjust accordingly if they hope to compete with a web-based world that is forcing their brick and mortar closures. The styles and the fits that they offer are lackluster in comparison.

The sun is up and shining brightly now (it’s nearly 9am), and it’s warmed us up to whopping 41 degrees. I need another 20 degrees to be comfortable out there, but by the time it’s that warm I will already be on the road. So I will have to bundle myself up and get to work. On the yard and garden plan for today:

  1. Water my tiny little sprouting seedlings in the raised bed (we’ve had tons of rain but they’re hiding out under a cold frame/greenhouse cover)
  2. fertilize my roses and mulch the beds around them
  3. spread preen in the garden beds and lawn
  4. start mulching the large bed in the front yard, and replace any landscape fabric that has ripped or shifted
  5. if there is time left – mow the lawn and spray for weeds (I suspect this will need to wait for another day)

I also need to till up my tomato bed and work in the bone meal that I bought yesterday, but tomatoes won’t go in for about another month so I don’t need to be in a big hurry. I have pots needing filled with soil so they can be planted with flowers in another month or so once the lows begin raising up above 35 at night and the danger of frost is past.

At this time of year it really is more yard work than gardening. The grass is starting to come back to life – and the weeds always outpace the actual grass, so this is the time for weed control if I want to keep it from getting out of hand. I sow my grass seed in the fall so that it can sprout and take root before winter. That way I can spread pre-emergent weed control in the spring (this is the kind that prevents weeds that come up from seed, like crab grass, from growing and taking over the lawn) without having to worry about it killing my grass seed. I also spray a 2-4-D weed killer on the lawn to hit all of the broad-leaf weeds that come up from root rather than seed (goggles, gloves and mask are a must for this). Both the pre-emergent and the weed killer will need done again around the 1st of July . I also re-mulch everything since leaf cleanup around here sadly takes a lot of the mulch along with it.

About mid-April, the fun stuff begins! I get to plant the rest of my vegetables and pretty flowers. I’m planning to buy a new trellis for my clematis since it’s outgrown the one I had up for it. I’ll get to start more herbs in my herb garden too, and the strawberries and lilac bush should be in bloom. Since I’ve finally sorted out my garden situation (my back yard struggles for enough sun to grow vegetables, so I’ve had a lot of trial and error the last four years), I can start to work more on flowers and I’m very excited for this!

Okay lovelies, it’s time to stop talking and start doing! I’m headed to bundle up and get outside. Thank you for reading, and I will see you back here again soon!

Love,
Loren

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