18 In Women Now

Women Now: Sharing 2017 Moments Off My Phone

SAX Consignment

Shopping for fingerless gloves at SAX Consignment in San Anselmo


Oh sure, I have presents to shop for, cookies to make, Christmas Eve dinner to plan but what am I doing instead? I’m going through my phone and looking at what none-fashion photos I took this year, photos someone else took using my phone, or photos in texts from family members that I’ve saved. This relaxing activity made me remember that before I was taking clothing and style photos to share on my blog, newsletter, or Instagram, I was taking photos just for the fun of it. I always think I’m someone who doesn’t have hobbies but photography could be my hobby in the coming year!

So this snapshot of my snapshots over the year is mostly sentimental. If you’d rather do anything else but something holiday related, I’ve just given you your out! Enjoy this little time capsule of 2017.


While I was in Cabo San Lucas this November, my daughter Erin was traveling in Japan. She texted me this street scene from Kyoto. I’m mesmerized!


Streets of Kyoto

Street scene in Kyoto


Santa Fe is such a special spot for many people and I’m one of them. It was great to get back there in June. This is a portion of the St. Francis Hotel lobby. Wouldn’t this be a great meditation spot?


St. Francis Hotel

Feeling peace in the lobby of the St. Francis Hotel in Santa Fe


Here is another part of the St. Francis Hotel, taken at night. I could be in this space for hours and never feel antsy. Do you have places like that?


St. Francis Hotel in Santa Fe


One of the highlights of my time in Mexico was visiting Flora Farms. I share lots more about that trip here. One of the small shops on the Flora Farm property was a wine and coffee shop. While hanging out there enjoying my latte I was fascinated by how the barista stood casually at the counter with his feet crossed. He looked so comfortable! I wonder if he teaches yoga on the side.


Flora Farms coffee shop

Twisty legs in Cabo San Lucas


The Wine Country Firestorms

Memories of the fires in Sonoma and Napa Counties are fresh in our minds while prayers go out to Southern Californians fighting blazes of terrifying magnitude. Boy oh boy.

With so much gratitude I look at this picture of my kids, Caitlin and Trevor, wearing those ever important face masks to keep the smoke from hurting our lungs. When Russ and I decided it was time to evacuate, my twin brother, kids, and Mike, Erin’s husband, if they were married, showed up in record time. I mean within forty-five minutes! All of them! My next door neighbor marveled at how quickly a flock of family members were there to help. I’m so proud to be part of this family!


Wearing masks in Sonoma to keep out the smoke

Caitlin, me and Trevor in the essential accessory in Sonoma County


When it was time to come back to our home, I stopped at Mollie Stone’s in Greenbrae and bought supplies to make our house feel better. It needed some tender loving care.


Refreshing our Sonoma home

Shopping for house treats after the fires


The Sonoma Plaza was decorated with children’s art, expressing appreciation for the firefighters and neighbors who came to save homes and our town. Of course, nearly 9,000 structures were lost in the Wine Country fires and recovery will be a long process. This tribute helps the healing.


Sonoma Plaza after the fires

Wrapping the Sonoma Plaza trees in love and appreciation


Sonoma Plaza after the fires

Children expressing appreciation to first responders



My home life goes beyond Sonoma

In my heart, I have more than one home. I have my Sonoma home and then there’s the place I go home to and that’s Fargo, North Dakota and western Minnesota where my dad and my younger brother live. I have nieces and a nephew and most of them have kids. It’s a big family!


A fan of Fargo

Once a North Dakotan, always a North Dakotan!


One person, Carson Wentz, is a North Dakotan who has hit the national stage. He came from North Dakota State University in Fargo where he played football for the NDSU Bison. I watched him play in college (on TV) and then he was named the #2 draft pick for the pros. The Philadelphia Eagles snapped him up and he’s been a phenomenal starting quarterback in his first year and now his second. This picture is taken off my TV screens. It’s so fun to watch him play because even in the pros there are so many North Dakota fans wearing the green and yellow jerseys from NDSU.

I decided I was going to quit being a fan when two weeks ago he suffered a torn ACL in the game against the Rams and that ends his season. What a crushing blow! But my sports moratorium is over. I’ve been watching the NDSU Bison march through their competition and they’re back in the finals again looking for their sixth championship win in seven years. Go Bison! That college championship game is on January 6th, 9 am PST on ESPN2.

Our family watches and texts each other throughout the game. Makes me miss Mom. She was a huge fan.

When Carson Wentz made a video to his fans the day after his injury, he was wearing a Bison jersey, not an Eagles jersey, and included North Dakota as the fans he knew were hurting right along with him. Hey Carson, you’re a class act and we’ve got your back!


Carson Wentz from NDSU Bison football

Carson Wentz wins a wider audience in the pros


I’m visiting Dad and my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces and their kids, etc., after Christmas. Only Auntie Brenda will travel to North Dakota in the middle of winter. Foolish? Or bravish? I’ll let you know! Plans are to be making lefse with these beauties. I heard their first batch was a bomb. I’ll bring my experience to the mix to make this Norwegian treat that we all lust for.


Making lease

Jessie, Wendy, and Carly making lefse


I’ll also plan to see Mother’s friends, the Church Ladies. Here I am this summer with Marge and Bonnie who are two of the members of the quilting group Mom belonged to at Dent United Methodist Church. She loved them and so do I!


Dent United Methodist Church ladies

The Church ladies share their love for Mother.


I Heart Pairs

Here’s a good pair, Russ and me! This was on Mother’s Day at b. Patisserie in San Francisco.


Mother's Day in San Francisco

Cuddling and eating pastries at b. Patisserie


Another great pair! Two ghosts filling the taupe polka dot ceramic heels that I bought on a fun summer day in Battle Lake, Minnesota, not far from where Mom and Dad lived on Dead Lake. I bought the felted ghosts on a shopping trip with Mom at the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota. Boy, we had fun!


Norsk Hostfest

Ghosts from the Norsk Hostfest


This seems to be our pose! Here we are in Santa Fe on my birthday in June.


Russ and I in Santa Fe

Happy days in Santa Fe


The Home Office

Well, this is where I am right now, tapping away on that keyboard sitting on my Mid-Century Danish desk. I spend a lot of time here writing blog posts and writing content for image consultants for my Monthly Marketing Bundle program.


Brenda's home office

Feeling gratitude for my home office in Sonoma


I’m not alone in there. Bella keeps me company and not always in a good way. When she sleeps on top of my files or papers, that’s fine. But when she walks back and forth across the keyboard, her tail swishing in front of my screen, she’s not helping.


Bella in the office

Bella is sleeping on the job


On Office Tuesday when Caitlin is here doing admin stuff, bookkeeping and helping me with ideas for the Monthly Marketing Bundle program, she often scoots Bella out. “We’re working here!” she’ll say. But sometimes Caitlin’s flat on her stomach on the floor doing paperwork stuff while Bella snoozes spread out on Caity’s back.

Here, my office mate is pretending to shed real tears over something I’m fretting over. She sure can make me laugh! I’ve also never been around someone who actually sings while she works. We work hard on Tuesdays but we have fun at the same time, mostly thanks to her!


Office Tuesday

Caitlin sheds pretend tears


One of the marvelous things that the members of the Monthly Marketing Bundle group are doing is coming to Sonoma in February for our Nearly Annual MMB Retreat. (That thing Bella does, walking across the keyboard blocking the screen? She’s doing it now!!)

These are image consultants from all parts of the US plus Canada and Australia. We’ve done it once before and it was amazing!

What you’re looking at here are our scheduling notes for the training programs that will happen during February 6 – 8. I love looking at these plans on the table. It’s a reminder of how dreams become reality!


Planning details for the MMB Retreat

Planning the Nearly Annual MMB Retreat


Quotes that energize me

I’m a sucker for quotes. Here are four of my favorites this year which I found on Instagram.


A yoga master

A yoga master born in 1918


Winnie the Pooh

The wisdom of Winnie the Pooh


Can you relate?


Quote for people aging

A really good recipe for people who age!


Looking forward to the New Year


Here’s wishing you a winning year ahead!


winning awards

My Miss Congeniality award from 1969 is a great Oscar party prop


The little card with the bird sits in my office as well. There’s much to be thankful for. One of my greatest gifts is YOU! Thank you very much for showing up here on the blog, for cheering me on and others, for sharing your great experience and wisdom. It’s been a grand year!


Thank you card

Thank you to YOU!


As we come near the end of the year, share what happened this year that graced your life. Where is your gratitude coming from? We’re all ears!




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  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    December 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you dear Brenda for sharing your beautiful thoughts and images. I hope 2018 brings you good health, courage when you need it, continued love from those you cherish, and lots of laughter, so precious for the soul. My beautiful boys, Darcy , Dominic, and gorgeous fella , twin sister, family and friends, sustained me this year. So did my moments by the sea, my garden, and time taken to replenish my energy, in this hectic life. But, the added suprise was my kindling of my shy love and learning, about fashion and creativity, and soul. Such new found joy! So thanks a million for your inspiration and encouragement ! Sending warm love from Oz

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

      So great to hear the things that sustain you and the kindling of your shy self! May she flourish more and more in the New Year! Thanks for all the love you share with me and everyone who visits this blog. I so appreciate it! Love from Sonoma!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2017 at 3:42 am

    My gratitude for the blessings in my life (family, home, work and friends) comes from my opening my heart and minds eye to GOD and the infinite love he/she shows me daily. 2017 has brought challenges but also deepening faith and a willingness to “turn it over” and be still. I am a work in process and 2018 will undoubtedly see me struggling to achieve and maintain peace.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:06 am

      I find your comment inspiring. With the worries that showed up in December, I dusted off the slogan “Let Go and Let God” and felt relief! Always a good thing to remember that “stillness” is sometimes the very best “action” to take. Thanks so very much!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Hi Brenda, I so enjoyed seeing your year in review, thanks for sharing. I especially enjoyed the photos of you with your husband, & your home office. Love your feline office manager, she knows how to relax! I could relate to all the quotes & saved them to my quote “box”. Happy Holidays & best wishes for 2018. 🙂

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Happy Holidays to you too, Brenda! Yes, Bella knows how to take breaks and seize the moment! Maybe she will be my mascot in 2018. All the best to you and yours this season!!

  • Reply
    Kathleen O'Brien
    December 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

    what a marvelous post – such an interesting year – but best of all it makes me think of my year and loving the life we have. Thanks so much – Merry Christmas and happy new year full of wonder and delight.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Kathleen, that is the best result of posting this blog–that it reminds you of your lovely life! Merry Christmas to you too! Wonder and delight. Love it!

  • Reply
    Cindy Scurry
    December 19, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Love this post! Love all the quotes and pictures. You and your husband are quite a handsome pair!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Thanks, Cindy!!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou Hartman
    December 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for this positive and uplifting post. Hope you have wonderful holidays!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Mary Lou, I’m wishing the same for you! Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    December 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Is it possible to chuckle and tear up at the same time? Yes. Ah, Brenda, your musings and insights bring me such a feeling of connection in a thread where I can’t really indulge in my first tier of family and friends. I think that is why I cherish the Community you have created and deeply nurture. I am grateful for you and all the Dear Ones in this thread. This year has been surreal. Fires, disasters and fiery folks. My trip to Canada was fabulous and reassuring that people everywhere are mostly focused on caring for each other. I am grateful for time spent with music, art and creativity. My teachers are so very patient. I am grateful that Nature has the capacity to repair and show us how we can be a part of continued cycles of renewal. I am grateful for increases in consciousness …often through pain. Stories bring me sublime moments of Joy and for that I am grateful.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Oh, I do love your gratitude list. When you mention teachers, it brings back memories of great teachers in my own life. And Nature, yes, completely. Cycles of renewal. Opportunities continue to show up. Thank you for your contributions to this Community and all the Loved Ones here. I adore it!

  • Reply
    Cathy Bonnett
    December 20, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Thank you for this lovely post. I decided to read fashion blogs instead of the news this morning! Good choice.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Cathy, well, I’m sure by reading fashion blogs you won’t have missed anything that can’t be recapped at the top of each and every hour of the day. Wouldn’t it be kind of fun if fashion inspiration was aired at the top of every hour each day?

  • Reply
    Kathy Peyton
    August 18, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    My mother and her family lived near Battle Lake MN. We visited there for years. Sadly they’re all gone now. I love your ideas and inspiration!

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      I’m so sad that we didn’t make it to Battle Lake this year. It’s such a great place. Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

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