7 In Women Now

Women Now: Sharing 2018 Moments Off My Phone

Casual winter outfit

Lazily reviewing 2018 like Christmas isn’t in a week


If it’s the holiday season, it must mean procrastination time is here. I don’t know what it is about mid-December that makes me want to travel back over the year, but it takes precedence over the shopping, wrapping, baking, and decorating most people are doing or have done. It seems to be my thing: review the year and then get ready for Christmas. I did it in 2017 and now it’s looking like a tradition.

Don’t worry, it’s not like I’m going to show you slides from a three-week trip or anything. Just a few pictures from my phone that make me smile.

Oh joy, the family’s all together now

The family selfie

Matt, Maggan, Caitlin, Brent, Me, Anders, Erin, Russ, Trevor, Lanie


This family selfie means more than you could know.

It was hard to be happy last Thanksgiving because our Swedish family was missing from the table. Maggan was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon after Anders was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Part of their “we” time was spent getting their treatments at a Stockholm hospital and then going to coffee afterward.

We first met in 2002I think it was—when Maggan was editor of Tara magazine and I flew to Stockholm to do fashion makeovers on four of its readers. Oh gosh, we lose track, but I think it’s been at least a dozen years in a row that we’ve been together in November…until last year.


Thanksgiving 2018

Russ, Anders, and Maggan this Thanksgiving


I’ve written about the Swedes before. The two of them changed our holiday dress code for the better. And Maggan wears clip earrings, so when I found several pairs in Mom’s collection after she passed away, I sent them to Maggan who made great use out of them. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about this. Mother would have loved sharing them with her.

It turns out that when it comes to cancer, we’re identical twins. Our specific breast cancer is not a common variety. We decided that since we’re family, it only made sense that we shared the same diagnoses.

Here’s Maggan in April showing me how her hair was growing back.


Maggan from Sweden

Maggan and her stylish hair in April


This was Maggan in August on her birthday (we’re just a few weeks apart in age).


Maggan from Sweden

Maggan on her birthday


Here’s Maggan from two years ago when she was shopping at a thrift store on San Anselmo Avenue for more clip-on earrings. Thrift stores seem to have the best selection.


Thrift store shopping

Thrift stores have the best clip on earrings


Maggan and Anders came to SAX Consignment to see the girls’ store that same day. Maggan bought this jacket and those two rings on her fingers. She wore them this year too.


Shopping consignment stores

Maggan in her new jacket from SAX


Happiness is being together again!


Proud of my girls and their consignment store

Speaking of SAX Consignment, I’m so proud of my daughters being in business together. It’s been over two years ago since they bought the store.


Consignment Shopping

Erin at SAX Consignment


Consignment shopping

Caitlin at SAX Consignment


I often stop by when I know they’re working. And I often spot things that seem to want to come home and live with me, like this vintage Gucci bag and the striped t-shirt and navy blue swing knit cardigan I’m wearing. They all came to me at different times. It’s awfully handy having daughters who own a consignment store!


Consignment shopping

Most of my outfit came from SAX Consignment

Our youngest client was born this year


Styling Baby Owen's outfit

Our third generation client, Owen


I feel like I’m related to Owen! He’s been christened our third generation client. I’m so lucky to have worked with this lovely family for 26 years! This picture was after Owen had posed for his family’s holiday photos. I helped his mom and dad pick out his outfit. Is he the cutest baby ever?


Don’t tell my family, but we’re making lefse for Christmas Eve

When I was visiting Dad in Minnesota in January, we made lefse. It’s a Norwegian specialty food. Kirk and Wendy, my brother and sister-in-law, were sharing a new recipe with me. If you can roll out a pie crust, you can make lefse. Gosh, it tastes so good right off the griddle, rolled up with butter and sugar inside.


Making lefse

Rolling out lefse in Minnesota


Mother used to send me packages of Carl’s lefse at Christmas time. We always had it on the table on Christmas Eve.



A Norwegian treat


I think I found it somewhere in the Bay Area once, but I don’t remember where. It only seems right to make it ourselves this week. Don’t tell my kids or my twin brother, okay? It’s going to be a surprise!


Making lefse

A special rolling pin to make lefse with


Discovering new things on my walks in and around Sonoma

I have a few areas where I like to go for walks. Some of them are here in town. This year I wanted to do more exploring. One day I came out of the hills overlooking Sonoma and cut in on a city street. Can you imagine my delight when I found this tree decorated in crocheted doilies?


Crocheted doilies on trees

Vintage fiber art on trees in Sonoma


Sometimes I’ll go for an adventure on a Saturday and go somewhere I’ve never been before. I found a spot near the Donum Estate, about a fifteen minute drive from home. I parked the car at the edge of the narrow road, went through a rusty gate and started walking. I discovered these gorgeous wetlands. I love this kind of landscape. I was all by myself, no one around me, and a tiny bit scared, especially when I heard gunshots.

It’s near some kind of hunting area (I saw signs on my way back to my car). Aside from the gunshots in the distance, it was a great hike! Lots of birds, too.


Hiking near Sonoma

Exploring the Sonoma wetlands


Our last visit with Max

Max is a Holocaust survivor and a wonderful human being. I wrote about meeting him in LA when we were working with his daughter, our client. We were with our client in LA again this July and had lunch with Max one day. It’s always a treat.

Always well dressed, he shared stories of shopping with his wife at trunk shows and his years of being a dance instructor. I love when we get to know our client’s family members. He had a lot of stories to share about his daughters growing up years. He had a long life lived to the max.

A generous philanthropist, Max Webb died this October. He was 101.


Max Webb

Erin and Max having a laugh in July


It’s the little things

Give me a stack of magazines on a lazy day and I’m happy! Aren’t these paint color names hilarious? This came from House Beautiful.


Paint color swatches

Creative paint color names


I love words most, but numbers can thrill me too. I had to take a picture of my odometer reading as it lined up with the same numbers as the outside temperature.


Playing with numbers

Seven is a lucky number, right?


And the big things

We started with a selfie and we end with a selfie. I look at this picture I took at an ice cream social this August with Dad, and I see two people who love each other. We shed tears together and laugh together. We cover all the bases.

In church in October we were singing the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Dad leaned to me and said, “I hear us singing that as a kid back home.” I could picture myself singing that as a kid back home in Sunday School in the same church basement where he sang it at that age.

I call on him for advice. At the end of one conversation he said, “If you need some more wisdom, call me tomorrow.” Dad will be 93 on January 29th. I’m fully aware with each conversation I have with him just how precious that moment is.

It’s hard to live far away from loved ones. Maybe you know something about that too.


Spending time with Dad

Enjoying a moment with Dad at the church ice cream social


Okay, my dear friends. I’ve taken you through some of my pics from 2018. I think I’m ready to climb into the attic and pull out some nostalgic holiday decorations. There’s still time, right?

How are you spending this 5oth week in December? Do share!


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  • Reply
    Lianne MacGregor
    December 18, 2018 at 4:57 am

    My grandparents had both of the pictures hanging on the wall behind you and your dad in their home. Thank-you for the beautiful memories these pictures evoke.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Oh how I’d love to meet Maggan. Your post made my eyes glassy but then I’m tearful putting together my FB post today. It’s the 30th anniversary of my friend, Effie, passing away from BC. Heres’s to a healthy 2019 & just want you to know how grateful I am for our new friendship.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Thank you for the walk down memory lane!

  • Reply
    Tangerine Meg
    December 18, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Glad you took time to reflect back (amongst the tendency towards a hurry-hustle vibe around at the moment). Thank you for sharing happy and human moments from your year!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    January 5, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Ohh what beautiful photos and memories. This year was beautiful, but sad because my wonderful Dad died in November. Poignant to reflect on the cycle of life . Thanks for the beautiful blog Brenda! What would do without you ! Sending love from Oz .

    • Reply
      January 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Trinnie, I remember your postings about your dad. You spoke so lovingly about him. I really felt it in my heart. Big hugs to you, my friend!
      Love from Sonoma

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    January 9, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks beautiful, that message means a lot x

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