What the heart likes to do

I am so happy about the opportunity I had to give an old bike away to a friend who needed it.  My friend’s son is interested in bike riding and actually rides to school (college) from home.   My friend told me the current bike was not functioning and how much her son enjoyed biking.  They needed a functioning bike and I happened to have my husband’s bike that has been sitting in our garage for far too long.  It’s really old (1993) and it’s a Schwinn when Schwinn was good.  Before I was married my soon to be husband had me believe that he would adventure on bikes, canoes, camping, etc.  That lasted maybe a handful of times.

I had to get new tubes and a chain for the bike (about $50) to get in into working condition.  The gear shift doesn’t work anymore, despite the attempt to flush the lines.  I was told they may start working, although admonished not to get my hopes up.  Still the bike is stuck on a comfortable riding gear.  With Houston being so flat, you don’t really need to shift gears anyway.  It will cost $40 to get new shifts and $20 to install on each. For this bike as old as it is, the $50 spent to get it functioning was well worth it.  A new bike now-a-days is at least $400 at the bike store.  Of course they have the latest and the greatest options.  This bike is steel and heavier than the carbon frames.


My friend arrived with her son.  Which warmed my heart.  Now a days it seems that kids just aren’t as appreciative.  Not this kid.   My kids would never ride a bike to and from work or school.   I would ride to work back in the day, not to save gas, just for the exercise.   My friend’s son was so appreciative and told me about his riding paths.  Again, warming my heart that he has found exercise he enjoys.  It is so special to me that I can contribute something that fosters the desire to keep going on this path.  There is just not a better feeling.  I hate throwing things away.  Finding a purpose provides meaning.

Cycling has so many good purposes, traveling from here to there, good for your knees, exploring beautiful scenery, physical challenge, etc.  There are so many places to travel in the USA and ride.  Back in the day, I almost planned a trip alone to Martha’s Vineyard to cycle the island.  I may someday go back to that plan.  Just listening to the bike shop chatter, there are trails in the blue ridge mountains and in many other places that you can ride for miles. I can’t wait for retirement.  I can definitely see me on these trails.

What the heart likes to do

Stitch Fix

I gave my husband the gift of a personal stylist.  The men in my house don’t like to shop, which is great for me and my daughter because we more than make up for that (her more so than me)!  I’ve never been one to pick out clothes for my husband, however one day he went to work for business casual Friday and I thought maybe he could use some options.  I’m definitely not a serious fashionista, but I have noticed over the years the look of Friday business casual has gotten too slouchy.  Maybe this is more comfortable, however, my husband is trim and honestly the baggy un-tucked shirt look just doesn’t look good.  Just because you get older doesn’t mean that you can’t find something comfortable that looks nice, especially for work.  I really am not one to talk, I throw stuff on and look like hell when I walk out the door.  If it was for work though, I would make an effort to be more put together.

Internet marketing has gotten good, somehow a company matched me with Stitch Fix because I have done some online searching for personal stylists.  I thought my husband might find it interesting.  Recently, he traded in his 80s white tennis shoes he wears with jeans for colored casual shoes and this was a moving moment for the family.  Instantly he no longer looked like a middle aged Michael J. Fox from the 80s.

The one thing I didn’t like about Stitch Fix is that you have to make a commitment to ordering without really knowing the full process.  When you setup a profile, it asks for a credit card, and you can’t go beyond that until you do.  You do say how often you would like a delivery.  I decided that we would do once a quarter.  When you setup your profile, you list your age , sizes, price range and you pick from pictures of outfits that suit your taste.  You also pick out patterns and colors that you like and what to avoid.  The first outfit I requested was something for business casual.  It takes about 10 days from the time you place your order to get your “surprise”.

My husband opened his gift after a short explanation from me on what it was.  He was willing to take a look.  In the box came 3 shirts, a pair of pants and shoes. Two of the shirts were button down long sleeve and one was a polo short sleeve.  The pants were casual and olive color and the shoes were casual grey lace ups.  A card with the items pictured in outfit scenarios (in color) came in the box with a descriptive note about the items and how to wear them.  The examples had clothing like jeans that weren’t included in the box to show you how to incorporate the items with your existing wardrobe.  You keep what you like and send the rest back (free shipping) within 3 days and you pay only for the items you keep ($20 charge per item for your stylist). That’s it.  He kept 2 items.  Sweet.





Stitch Fix

Tis the season to gift (ideas)

There is nothing like the stress of Christmas shopping.  With 1 week away the pressure is officially on.  Yesterday I woke up at 5am feeling inspired.  I finally did a bunch of Christmas shopping online.  I’m still struggling to come up with unique thoughtful gifts.  I do love to give, it’s hard to come up with new ideas for people that you have probably given to for years.

I’m on a kitchen theme this year.  There are just some things you need to replace.  So a gift of cutting boards, knives, measuring cups, etc.  (Meat thermometer that you cook with in the meat).  That’s the theme I’m going with.  In my Texas adventures this year I did really like the fact that you can get Texas olive oil.  So I found the olive orchard we visited in Wimberly Texas online and ordered a bottle for my friend.  It was pricey for olive oil.  The gift does have that unique factor I was going for.

For my dad I was really going for some good cookie sheets and remembered I love Pampered Chef cooking sheets.  So this can be a good thing or bad, I always read the reviews now (and participate in giving reviews as well).  For the pricey Pampered Chef pans a good percent of the reviews said they warp.  WHAT?? NO!  So then back to Google and a search for good pans, I found some on Amazon with good ratings.  I really hope they work out, cause that is what I went with.  What would we ever do without consumer reviews and online shopping?  This seriously is the best thing since sliced bread.

We do a white elephant at Christmas with my husband’s side of the family.  There are at least 10 adults plus.  We each bring a $50 wrapped gift and place them on the table.  Then all of us draw a number and the person with the number one picks a gift first.  The gift can be stolen a maximum of 2 times.  This is a nice idea for a large family when you don’t have the funds to buy for everyone. And challenging because what the heck do you get?  Believe me I have executed Google searches on this for years!  If I go with the kitchen theme, I may make some happy, but what about the people who don’t cook?  I mean last time I got a Victoria Secrets gift card, what if my father-in-law picked that?  LOL!

Next, when the boss invites you over for a Christmas party and likes wine what do you bring?  I mean, I’m good with any table wine.  I do appreciate a really good wine, and the wine served at his party was really spectacular.  My husband thought I should ask the Specs liquor store people for a good wine.  I wasn’t really sure about that.  When my husband hosted his party we did it at a really nice wine restaurant (they serve food, wine is the main attraction).  The wine we had was really good and they selected it.  So, we found that wine at Specs and at least have an idea that it was good.

What do you get a teenage boy?  Google and Pinterest are saving me again.  They have some really great ideas for giving gift cards and the presentation of them.

Last but not least.  We had two parties that required a gift for $10-$20.  One of the parties was a gift card exchange.  I tried to find a creative way to give more than $10 and found just that on Groupon.  I purchased movie tickets at a local theater that serves food for $5 a ticket (worth $10 per ticket).  I put two tickets in a popcorn box that I got at a party store and stuffed it with theater style candy (hot tamales and M&Ms) and a bag of microwave popcorn.  This we used for my husband’s office gift exchange as well.

Gifting can be fun and stressful.  I’m up early again to try and finish shopping.  Tis the season!





Tis the season to gift (ideas)