December 7, 2016

State of the Blog

Since I haven't posted anything since September 1st, I wanted to drop in for a little talk about the state of Gracious Southern Living.   I don't even know if there's anyone around that will read this (although according to my stats there are some lurkers - LOL)!

My first post was in December, 2007.   So this month I have been blogging 9 years!   That's a long time in the blog world, at least I think so.    I loved how I found a vehicle for my love of decorating by "meeting" so many other like minded people on line.    I had been fairly active on Rate My Space and one day on another RMS post (I think it was Cindy from My Romantic Home) I saw a reference to her blog.   When I clicked over I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!   I saw her sidebar which featured other blogs and from then on I spent many hours drooling over seeing how other folks that loved to decorate and share their homes.   I decided I'd like to try my hand at blogging and thus "Gracious Southern Living" was born.

My taste has drastically changed over the years.   When I first began my blog, my home had red walls, gold accents, greens, chocolate browns, etc.   Of course, most everyone else did too.   Shabby Chic was taking over a lot of blogs and I loved that look too.    So I slowly began changing out my reds, golds, greens, etc. for a more neutral palette.   As of today, my home is decorated in cremes and whites, very calming and peaceful (but not Shabby....I think that trend is about over).   But it took me many years to get to this point.    I've also never shared a full "tour" of my home, which I regret because I do love how it has turned out.    I guess I just never thought my photographs turned out "perfect" enough to share.    In other words, my pictures didn't do my home justice.

We recently completed the last two rooms on my husband's bathroom and one of the guestrooms.    They both got planked walls and painted in Dove White.     So now my entire house has been updated to my satisfaction.

When I started my blog my daughters' twins were so little....around 3 years old.   Now they are 12 and she has had another baby, a little boy who will be 2 on December 21st.    My son has two children, ages 11 and 6.     We are so blessed to be close to our grandchildren, who bring us such pleasure and joy.

My sweet mama is 96 years old!   If you've read my blog for any time, you've  followed along from us having to move her out of her home to assisted living and now in a nursing home for the past 2 years.    She is very happy and well cared for at her nursing home.    She is still sharp and loves reading her Kindle, working crossword puzzles and playing bingo.     I am fortunate that I am able to spend a lot of time with her.

I'm not sure when I turned the corner (so to speak) on blogging.    Without getting into specifics, so many long time blogs that I've followed for years have really changed and not in a good way.   I know some blogs have become dependent on income from their blog to make a living, but I don't want to go to a blog and be inudated with ads and sponsored posts.   There's just not the "personal touch" on so many blogs anymore that I enjoyed.   Of course, there are still some blogs I enjoy but they are few and far between. 

Well, this post just isn't coming out like I planned.  I don't know what the future of my blog holds....will I ever post again here?    I'm certainly not ruling it out.    But for the time being, I'm content to just take some time off from the blog.

I have enjoyed interacting so much with so many of you.   Some that comment on a regular basis, and others that just read and never comment....and that's okay too.   I have made some wonderful on line friends and still maintain contact with many of those "virtual" friends.

If you'd like to follow along with me until I determine the future of Gracious Southern Living, I have become fairly active on Instagram.    You can follow me on IG here.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Until we meet again......

September 1, 2016

Happy 1st of September!

August 9, 2016

Don't Blink!

Just a few short years ago my daughter's twins started "big school" as they used to call it.   Now they are 12!   Taylor started middle school yesterday.   Her twin brother goes to a private school and he started last Friday.    He has a mild form of Aspergers so he goes to a school geared to help him better than the public school he was attending.....he loves it and is doing so well.  

I was browsing through some old photos recently and found these I took when they started school.   

I took these their first day of kindegarten.    Yes, I spent the night with them so I could be there to experience their first day #overinvolvedgrandparent!

 Arriving at school

 Finding their desks all ready for them

 Telling mommy goodbye....the hardest part! 

 Jackson was sooo excited to be going to "big school"

 Meeting his teacher

NOTE:  At Taylor's 6th grade graduation last May this same teacher walked her up to the platform to receive her diploma.   Their kindegarten class was the first kindegarten class of the first day of a new school

 I think school is going to be fun!

Bye mommy = I'm a big boy now!

NOTE:  The little boy in orange shirt reaching out to shake Jackson's hand is the son of a boy that used to date my daughter in high school!

And here's the one from this morning (taken with her cousin who is one grade ahead)

Whoa.....who are these girls?!?!!   Who told her she could grow up so fast?    They both got braces a few weeks ago.

No photo of Jackson as he didn't want his taken....maybe he'll let me or his mom get one later.

Time really does fly and I treasure each and every moment I've shared with these sweet "babies".   

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go dry my tears!

June 28, 2016

Finally Some Answers To My Health Issues!

Well, if you've read my blog recently you now that I've been sharing about some issues I've had with my left leg/foot since last November.   I started out going to my orthopedic surgeon who took a foot x-ray and stated I didn't seem to have a stress fracture and that he didn't see any need for an MRI at the time.   I didn't argue with him as I HATE MRI's and thought "he's the doctor and he knows best".    I ended up going to him twice, after which he referred me back to my general doctor....from there I went to a neurologist for nerve testing (showing negative results), another trip to my doctor for blood work (normal), and then a vascular surgeon for an ultrasound for deep vein thrombosis testing...negative for that as well.   Based on all the tests and doctor visits over a seven month period, according to them I was "normal" but I was getting worse and to the point I could hardly walk.   A simple trip to the grocery store put me in excruciating pain and I had to spread out my errands over several days as I simply could not walk comfortably.

After getting some great suggestions from comments on my blog, I went back to my GP and insisted on an MRI.   He knows how claustraphobic I am and said I could take 3 Xanax for my anxiety.    Let me tell ya'll, that did the trick!    I climbed up on that thing, put a washcloth over my face, requested classical music and my husband sat next to me rubbing my shoulder and talking to me.  

The results are that I have a bulging disk(disc?) at L4-5 and spinal stenosis.    I had that same diagnosis several years ago but didn't have this kind of pain.    Why didn't someone (doctor) even suspect that and why did it take 7 months and me having to demand an MRI to get to this point?   All those co-pays and prescriptions!  

Anyway, I decided to go to my chiropractor who has treated me in the past for this problem before going to the orthopedic.    I believe all he'll do is send me for PT and to me that's just a legal form of torture!     As of today, I've had three "adjustments" and my chiropractor has given me more information than all those other doctors combined.    I do feel some relief and realize I didn't get this way overnight and it won't be a quick fix.    One of the issues is a calcium build up around the vertabrae which of course causes the nerve to be compressed and the pain ensues down my leg.    I'm going to go this route for at least a month and then maybe will go to the ortho to see what he suggests.

Thank you all for your comments, concerns, thoughts and prayers!    I know they have helped me.

On a lighter note, this past weekend we celebrated my mom's 96th birthday!   What a milestone.    She is amazing....reads her Kindle (just ordered her a 2nd one) and is very involved in activities at her nursing home....especially bingo.   They call her the bingo queen because she wins a lot!    Other than loss of her most of her hearing, she is quite the steel magnolia.    Is up to date on the news and follows the current election antics!  

Here's a little collage I made of my kids and grandkids at the birthday party....I can't believe I couldn't find the one with my mama in it!   They brought her some ice creme (her favorite) and she wore a Mexican sombrero while they sang Happy Birthday!  

I'm sure most everyone has big plans for the 4th of July weekend.   We normally go to my sister's lake place and have a big cookout but this year we're going to our son's house and my sister and her family are going to the mountains.

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th!

June 13, 2016

Fresh and Fruity Summer Drinks

I don't want you to get the idea I'm a big drinker at all but I occasionally do like a glass of white wine or a "girly" drink as my husband calls them.    I only like the fruity drinks, you know the ones that might have a slice of fruit or little umbrella attached.

During one of our last visits with my son and DIL she made me a drink she called "Hey Girlfriend" and it was so good.   I don't like to taste the alcohol at all, just the sweetness.    With summer upon us and July 4th coming up, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite drinks with you all.

  • 1 shot Malibu Coconut Rum
  •  1 glass ginger ale
  • 2 freshly squeezed limes (or more if desired)
 That's easy and soooo good!

 Here's another recipe I found on a site I follow on Facebook

  • 1 can pineapple juice (46 oz)
  • 2 cups Country Time lemonade mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans Sprite
  • 1 bottle of Pineapple Coconut Rum

Obviously, this makes more than one drink!

Another good fruity drink is an Amaretto Sour.  My sister and I always order one whenever we're out with our Misters.


Classic Amaretto Sour Recipe 

This delightful combination is among the easiest drinks to make.


  • 1 1/2 ounces amaretto liqueur
  • 3 ounces sweet and sour mix
  • Splash of lemon-lime soda, such as 7 Up or Sprite
  • Maraschino cherries


  1. Combine and shake the liqueur and mix in a cocktail shaker.
Pour the contents into a glass and add crushed ice and as many cherries as desired.

Like I said before, I'm not a big drinker at all, but whenever I do order something one of these would be on my list.   In fact, there's a bottle of white wine in my refrigerator now that's been in there over a year! 

June 9, 2016

"We Have Fire" and Health Update

We saw that note taped to our favorite Chinese restaurant a few years ago and it sure was appropriate for us a couple of weeks ago.

My husband owns a lawn and landscape business and has more business than he can handle sometimes (which is a good thing, right?)   Anyway, Mondays are his "off" days from his City job so he still works on Mondays, just not for "the man".    He has 6 yards in and around our home he cuts on Mondays in addition to his other cutting jobs all over town the rest of the week.   

He was cutting our neighbor's yard and I had gone out to open our back gates so he could pull his truck and trailer into the back yard when he finished.   As I was going to open the gates, I noticed one side was open, and he was running up the driveway yelling for me to move my car, which was parked on our driveway parking pad.     You know how things happen and it seems like it's in slow motion...that's how I felt.  I thought I noticed one of his riding mowers on fire at the end of the driveway but it was just a little flame.    He was trying to get to the water hose but it wouldn't reach where the mower was.    I jumped in my car and moved it to the back yard.    About that time I heard a "whooosh" and the mower was engulfed in flames!    The gasoline was running down the curb toward his new truck parked there and I was terrified it would catch on fire and explode!    I ran in the house and called 911 but the fire seemed to get worse.   He was able to move his new truck across the street but there was no containing the fire.    Finally, after what seemed to be a looong time, the fire department got here, but in reality it was probably no more than 5 minutes or so.    They were able to contain and put out the fire quickly.   

While that was bad enough, what we have experienced with our insurance company has been a nightmare.    I'm pretty familiar with how they work as one of the attorneys I worked with was also an insurance adjuster and we represented insurance companies for years.    They have a number they are authorized to offer but always start low, hoping you will take the first $$ offered.    Without getting into that nightmare, we finally got our "offer" this week and it's a joke!   My husband had to go replace the burned out lawnmower the next day and let me tell you, those things aren't cheap at all.    It's part of his livelihood so he had to replace it quickly.    Thank goodness we had the resources to do that and not have to wait for the joke of what they are offering for "replacement" cost.     He has a lot of equipment insured with this company and I believe they will either (a) raise his rates or (2) cancel us but they need not worry, we won't be staying with them after this experience.    He has never filed a claim before.     Even the adjuster who called us with the replacement cost was surprised his "boss" offered such a low ball figure.    We have not agreed to the offer yet and naturally have not signed a release at this time.

When something happens like this it makes you aware of how quickly things can escalate into a tragedy.   Although we lost a mower, things could have turned out a lot worse if we'd lost the truck or our home had caught on fire.  

Now back to my health update.    I'm not going to get into the whole story, but try and give a brief synopsis of what's been going on.    Back last fall I started having a lot of problems with my left leg and foot.    I went to see my orthopaedic in November and he said he couldn't tell what it was.     Since then I've been to my regular doctor for blood work, a vascular surgeon for an ultrasound, my neurologist for nerve testing, then back to my ortho and regular doctors two more times.    All tests turn out negative and they are at a loss as to what it is.   I've been prescribed some pretty powerful pain medications, none of which help.    I don't like taking medication at all so since they haven't helped I don't take them.   I went back to my regular doctor this week and insisted on him referring me for an MRI which I will have this Friday.    I'm am extremely claustraphobic and although it's supposed to be an "open" MRI I've had that before and it's still scary to me.  

My doctor has prescribed an anxiety Rx that I will take, and my husband will be in the room with me talking to me and helping to calm me down.    My doctor said he thinks the problem might be with my back so we'll see.   If the MRI doesn't show anything, I have no idea what my next step will be.    All I know is my leg/foot is getting worse and I'm unable to do things such as housework, shopping, exercising, etc. without being in extreme pain.    This has got to stop!

If you've read this far you get a star today because I know this has been a pretty boring post.    But I haven't been around in a while and just wanted to check in with ya'll.

Hope to be back soon with a little outdoor project I'm hoping get started on soon.   

May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Never think freedom is "free"!    Thanks to all the men and women, past and present, who have put their lives on the line to keep us safe!

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful weekend!

May 21, 2016

Don't Blink

Twelve years ago today, at 5:00 a.m. and 5:02 a.m. these two angels came into the world and changed our lives forever.   

A little back story..... the day my daughter was going to find out the sex of the baby, I was supposed to go with her but both my husband and myself had nasty colds so I couldn't go.    Her husband was out of town on business and couldn't be there either.   We sat at home anxiously awaiting the phone call.    Finally the phone rang and she sounded a little upset, asked if I was sitting down and said she was having twins!    I really thought she was joking but she finally convinced us she wasn't.   She said when the ultrasound technician was checking her, the woman said "I know one of them is a boy"....Shannon said "what do you mean 'one of them'!!!   Apparently the doctor suspected she might be having multiples from things he said during his examinations and sent her for an early ultrasound.....we didn't suspect anything since it was her first pregnancy and we thought it was normal to have one that early.    Although twins do run in my family, my mom had twins and her grandmother had two sets of twins! 

It wasn't until the 2nd ultrasound a month later we found out the "other one" was a girl!

 3 years old

 We babysat them at a hotel in New Orleans while their momma and daddy attended a wedding there.  

They are fraternal twins, but I think they really look alike here

School days

Christmas at Jackson's "other" grandmother's house

I love this one

Rare snow day here in Alabama a couple of years ago

One of Jackson's great-grandmothers has a pool in her yard and he loves to swim!

One of Jackson's hero's letting him "play" with the big boys

Growing up way to fast for me

Jackson and his two best buds

I took this last winter....Taylor and I had one of our "special days" as she calls, Starbucks and lunch out....I treasure those times

Thank you for indulging me in a little walk down memory lane.   

Happy birthday T&J.....we love you sooooo much!

May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day weekend!

We will be taking my mom out to dinner tonight with two of her grown "kids", some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

(this was taken a few years ago at my daughter's home....she will be 96 years young on June 22nd!)

Hope all moms have a wonderful Mother's Day....take time for yourself, indulge in a little pampering and enjoy your day. 

April 20, 2016

The Time I Took Viagra and Other Interesting Tidbits

I think we're all friends here, right?   And I hope this isn't TMI for anyone but if it is I apologize in advance!

So about the Viagra.....a couple of years ago I was at a doctor visit and mentioned that I was having to get up frequently during the night to go "potty".    He said he'd give me some samples of an Rx and if it worked, he'd give me the prescription for it.    The samples/prescription was Vesicare

Not long after that I was talking to some people and as "old" folks do, we were comparing our aches and pains and how becoming older was affecting our lives.    I said I was taking Viagra for my frequent bathroom visits during the night.    No one said anything and the conversation resumed.

Later on I was telling my husband about it and he said "you didn't really tell them you were taking Viagra did you?"   I said well, yes, I did.....then I realized it wasn't Viagra but Vesicare!     When I ran out of my "Viagra" I didn't get the prescription for the Vesicare as I couldn't tell it helped but it might be time to give it another chance (LOL).

ETA:   I was going to post a cartoon image of Viagra but when I googled it there were several sites but the one that caught my eye was the "before and after" page....uhhh, I don't think so.   

For some reason, I have a hard time remembering people's names, or call them something other than their real name.    I blame it on my BFF Judy.   She and her husband are the "king and queen" of calling people by their wrong names so I tell her that has rubbed off on me.     We have a friend named Scott but he looks like a "Chris" to me.    So I call him Chris and he's in my phone as Chris.    It doesn't hurt that he also looks like Toby Keith so every year he sends me a message on my phone that says "Merry Christmas from Toby Keith"!

Talking about my friend Judy and her husband, years and years ago she and her husband had a car for sale they had listed in a local publication that you advertised in for items to buy or sell.    Her husband was in insurance and worked at night sometimes.    So one night they got a call inquiring about the car for sale.   Judy told them she really didn't know a lot about it but to call her husband back to get all the details.    When the caller asked when was a good time to call back, she said that they kept "erotic" hours so they would just have to keep calling until they reached him.   Of course, she meant "erratic".   I don't know if the person ever called back though!

One year her husband asked me if "Bob" could get him some Auburn-LSU tickets.   I said "who's Bob"?   He said you know, your son-in-law.   I said "his name is Don" to which he replied "I've always called him Bob and he always answers." 

This next little "tidbit" I may have shared before but I love to tell it.    My mom and I were traveling to my sister's house to visit for the day a few years ago.    She's a huge reader and was always getting books at the local library before she got her Kindle.    She asked me to pick up a book for her when we got back home and I asked her what the name of the book was.   She said "Killing KFC".   I said you mean "Killing JFK" and she very calmly said yes!    Guess where we ate lunch that day.....yep, KFC!    One time she had a yard sale and sold a wheelbarrow without a wheel!   (You can't make this stuff up, right?)

When my granddaughter was around 3 we were at their house one night having a big Mexican spread.   My daughter had put all the fixin's on the table, including a carton of sour creme.   Taylor (my granddaughter) looked at it and said "I not like hiney creme mama"!    She thought the sour creme looked like the "hiney creme" she used when changing their diapers!

Whenever we're up on the lake and out on my son's boat, we love to see all the huge McMansions that are usually 2nd homes to some of the elite.    My son always calls that "stupid" money (ok, that's not really funny but it kinda is to me).

By the way, the above lake property belonged to former CEO of Health South in Birmingham, Al who is now serving time in prison.   Greed doesn't pay off!   It is amazing to see in person!

Just one more thing before I go.....(I can hear you breathing a sigh of relief)!    My favorite show is back on....Southern Charm!    It's trashy and classy, all at the same time.    Love me some Southern Charm!

My friend Katie from Preppy Empty Nester wrote a great piece about her love of this show over on her blog here.  

That's all the tidbits I've got for now (you can exhale now)!

Ya'll have a great week!

April 11, 2016

A Boy's Room In The Making

When my son and his family moved from Birmingham to Spanish Fort last year, my daughter-in-law immediately asked me to help her decorate their new house.   Well, now, you're talking my love language!   She has got a great start in the den with the addition of the sectional she ordered.    I have to say it is the most comfortable sofa I've ever sat on.    It's a gray linen fabric from the Paula Deen line (those of you that don't like PD please don't jump on me!).      There are two La-z-Boy leather recliners also.    We gifted them a rug (she picked out and ordered) and when we were down after Christmas I bought her a couple of lamps, one a floor lamp and the other a table lamp.    So "we've" got a good start and plans to finish out with wall art, pillows and accessories down the road.   I'm so sorry I don't have a picture to share but next time I'm down there, I plan on taking some interior shots of the den.   Since I don't have a picture of the den right now, how about a few of their backyard?

The other room she's concentrating on is my little 5 year old grandsons room.    His bedroom in Birmingham was just the baby bed converted to a "big big" bed and a changing table.     I'm kind of surprised my 10 year old granddaughter hasn't insisted on a room re-do (yet) but seems satisfied with what she has for now....thank goodness!

I'm very fortunate in that my DIL asks my opinion on her ideas and never seems to get insulted or mad if I am honest with her.    Some things are too pricey (she has good taste) and others just aren't to my liking, but in the end it IS her house and her child so that is always in the back of my mind.     But I must say, so far she's taken all of my suggestions/ideas and is implementing them in the room.  

The first thing (and only thing done so far) was deciding on a paint color.    The room has a chair rail and she wanted contrasting paint above and below the chair rail.      At my suggestion, she had the wall above the chair rail painted Kendall Charcoal and below is an off white (I'm not sure the name of that paint color, her painter suggested it).      I sent my DIL a photo of Melaine's son's bedroom (My Sweet Savannah) and she loved the wall colors which is the inspiration we used for the walls.     

She is looking for a headboard and nightstands.    She will also use a bamboo shade and possibly I'll be making drop cloth drapes, unless I can find something else that I think will work.    We are ordering the duvet from Ikea. 

The closet has a great closet system and built in drawers so there is really no need for a dresser in the room.    She wants him to have a little desk and chair and he got a teepee from us last Christmas which takes up a lot more room than I thought it would.   There is a playroom upstairs so he doesn't keep many toys in the bedroom.     Here is basically what she'd like to do....seems like it would not be too hard to DIY and fairly inexpensive, useful until he needs something more substantial.

She's been looking at some wall sconces from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, but I told her if she had to have them wired to the wall, she'd have to patch those holes if she ever wanted to rearrange the room but she seemed determined to use wall mounted lamps.    Last week on one of my numerous trips to Target (LOL) I found two table lamps almost identical to the ones she'd been interested in from PB and RH at a fraction of the price.    I face timed her and "convinced" her I thought she'd be better off with two table lamps vs. the hard wired wall ones, and she totally agreed once she saw the lamps.    They are nestled in my trunk along with some other goodies to take to her next time I'm down that way in a month or so.

Oh, and they were on sale!   Yay me!!!

I think she (we) have a good start on his room, even though it's only been painted.    She's taking her time finding what she wants, and trying to keep within a budget.  Once she finds a headboard and end tables we can start putting the room together, hopefully by the time I get there in a couple of months.     I'll definately be taking photos and sharing them on my blog.

One last thing....I've been having a lot of trouble with my left leg and foot since last November.    I've been to my orthopaedic doctor, a neurologist for nerve damage testing and my general doctor, and so far they can't determine what's going on.    I'm going back to my orthopaedic on Tuesday and I'm hoping he can figure it out.    It's so aggravating to hear "can't find anything" yet I'm in constant pain.    It hinders our traveling and my day to day activities.    I just hope we can figure it out and get on the road to recovery.

Ya'll have a great week and I'd love any good thoughts or prayers you could send my way on Tuesday.

February 23, 2016

Focus on Fashion Unfolded by Mandy

I go through what I call "stages" which chiefly revolve around decorating or fashion.    Right now I'm in my fashion "stage".    I've lost about 20 pounds during the last year which necessitated a new wardrobe (yay!).    However, I usually stay true to the style I'm most comfortable with....casual but classic.

I'm not sure how I found out about Mandy and her Instagram page but boy, am I glad I did!   She's one stylish lady that has given me a lot of inspiration about putting outfits together and even branching out beyond my normal comfort zone to try other things.

Please meet Mandy....the force behind the wildly popular fashion Instagram called Fashion Unfolded by Mandy.

I just love her hair too!   In fact, I recently changed my hairstyle (it was time too) and it's similar to hers, just not quite as short.    Since I had my hair cut in a similar style (just last Friday) I get compliments everywhere I go!   In fact, on my way home the day I had it cut, the toll booth guy said "darlin', I love your hair"!     The next day at a restaurant, the waitress took out her phone to take a picture of it!     But I digress......

Based out of Davenport, Iowa Mandy is a wardrobe stylist who helps women organize their closets.    She can help you weed out unwanted and unused clothing and accessories, take you shopping to buy needed items and style you so you look your best using things you have!

Look how she takes a simple classic black jumpsuit to get all these different looks.       You could also do this with a black dress or black top and pants.     I have styled black on black with a denim jacket and zebra scarf like Mandy and love this look!

This is one of my favorite go-to simple yet looks fabulous!   And check out the red purse!

I'd love to find a denim tunic to wear with my black leggings....throw on a scarf and it takes it up a notch.

Does it get any classier than a great white shirt and jeans?  

I'm looking for a black denim vest to get this look....add some silver jewelry and you can go anywhere

I've featured the above outfits as they represent how I usually dress so I was happy to see I have a little fashion sense!   I love having simple, classic pieces that you can pair with accessories for completely different looks.

I recently had a chance to ask Mandy a few questions and wanted to share with you a little about her.

 1.   When you can't think of anything to wear, what's your go to outfit?

As of right now, I would say it's a pair of distressed slim boyfriend jeans, a pair of heels or booties, a long sweater/jacket/vest layered over a basic t-shirt or tank.   I also throw on a long necklace or scarf to balance it all out.

2.    What's the one wardrobe essential you can't live without?

A structured blazer!   Love, love love!!   A fitted blazer just looks so polished and put together.   I love pairing my blazers with boyfriend or flare jeans.

3.    What would you say is your favorite fashion piece at the moment?

That's a tough one.   I have so many right now!   If I had to pick one, it would be my long black leather vest from Vince.   It's a fabulous layering piece and adds interest to any outfit!

4.   Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

Being from the Midwest, I have always drawn inspiration from magazines and looks I have seen on television.   However, one of my favorite hobbies is to go shopping!   Not always to purchase items, but to see what the latest trends are.   This would be my main source of inspiration!   Of course social media too....Instagram!!

5.   Have you always been interested in fashion?

Yes!   Growing up in a small town in Iowa, my exposure to fashion was limited to say the least.   Despite this, I was particular about how I looked even from a very early age.   Fashion magazines and television were my resources as I found my personal style.   I learned to put together stylish outfits by using the clothes and accessories that I had, taught myself how to do my makeup, and even cut off my long hair myself to prepare for the new school year!

6.  Where do you live and tell a little about yourself.

I live in the Quad Cities, which is on the Iowa/Illinois border and my business is located in Davenport, Iowa.   We have all heard the expression, "If you love what you are doing, you never work a day in your life!"   This certainly has become true for me as I have decided to turn my love of fashion and great style into a business.   My name is Mandy Wiebenga, and I am the founder and owner of Fashion Unfolded by Mandy.    

My husband and I have been married 21 years and we own a landscaping company in the Quad Cities along with some rental property.

I enjoy traveling, shopping, working out and entertaining friends and family!

I appreciate Mandy sharing a little about herself with me.    My only complaint is she doesn't live close enough for me to get some help with my wardrobe!    Maybe one day she can do some kind of Skype or come into our homes via computer to help!

You can find Mandy on Instagram or Facebook here.

I hope you visit Mandy....I know you'll love her style as much as I do!

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