Carpe Dia & Co.

Dia & Co. is one, of a rare few, personal styling companies catering to plus size women. 

To sign up you give all the ‘regular’ information and take a style questionnaire. The questionnaire covers everything from your personal style, how often you dress casually or in business attire a week, the body parts you want to show off or hide, and what items you aren’t interested in, and price points. 

You the pay a $20 styling fee. Here is the key, that $20 is credited to anything you choose to keep from your style box. If you choose to keep everything in your box, you receive the $20 credit plus 25% off everything! Great deal. You can choose a one time box, a monthly box, and other subscription variations. 

My experience is as follows:

I wanted pants and tops with a business casual feel, no dresses or accessories. 

Beautiful boxed and personalized.

The top images: Ember colored pants – these were awesome for the most part. Exact length I like, comfortable, and stunning color. My only issue was the waist gap, which is an issue when you buy pants to fit your hips and thighs. 

Black and white stripe blouse – loved the sleeve detail, color, and material … but had the generic plus size boxy cut that isn’t flattering on me. 

Black Skirt – Nothing not to love. The only reason I didn’t buy it is because I already have a few almost exactly like it. 

Peach blouse – love the color, fabric, and cut, however, it was too small in the chest for my ladies. 

Skinny Jeans – the first pair of skinny jeans I’ve ever tried. Good on length and fit, but just showed all the unflattering leg dimples.

Overall, I felt the sizing was a 9 on fit and they had my style at 8 ( on a 1-10, 10 is high scale).

I ended up sending it all back and am out my first $20 styling fee. That isn’t too bad, because I have now made my personal comments about each piece on the Dia & Co. site and they will be better able to style me next month and I know more about what I truly prefer. 

I say the $20 fee is worth at least one good try for every plus size gal!




Midnight Musings

Oh Lordt, it is officially June 1, 2017 at 12:07am and I can’t sleep!!!

Why, you ask? Well, settle in and let’s take a look at that. 

1. I live a pretty awesome life with high-functioning anxiety. Most people don’t realize it, but if you know the signs I could be a poster child. Busyness is my crack. I am addicted and though it drives me nuts and gets me frustrated, slowing down too much creates a lot of anxiety for me. 

I choose to see the good sides of this: I am a productive individual in my personal life and my career. I do consciously make time for me to be devoid of action, aka morning meditation time. 

2. I am like many others who take antidepressants daily – I consider stopping the process. 

So, here is where I am now. I have been a little high strung the last few weeks and didn’t realize I was down to my last few pills. 

🙀 The morning routine had become a little robotic and I was just dumping one in my hand, taking a swig of water, and moving on. 

Then on Memorial Day, I stopped in my tracks as nothing came out of my bottle. I would have to skip a day and refill my script the next day. 

However, Tuesday came and went. I was wrapped up with projects in my head and it slipped my mind, though I noticed last night that I was a bit down…emotional…over-thinking…

Aren’t those normal emotions? I sometimes greatly dislike that all my emotions somehow need to be validated by a reason or it is automatically hormonal – shit, I am a woman and maybe it is hormonal – why can’t it be easy. Lol

So today, I think, ‘I feel fine, I don’t really need those pills.’ Ok STOP! This is where many, including myself in the past have just stopped regardless of the repercussions. Not a good plan – these happy pills can have a wicked bite. 

I forced myself to get the pills today. I took one right after work and now here I am – wide FN awake with a thousand ideas in my head. I am using this time to write out drafts of future motivational talks, creating bullet journal pages, reading the textbook for my C.MI™ course, and well, taking the break to create this Ranty McRanterson blog post. 🤣😂

Ok, now I feel better. If you are up reading this I suggest you write it out until you get it all out. It helps!


The Night We Met

Many of you know this song (The Night We Met) from the Netflix’ latest new series, 13 Reasons Why – it struck a chord with me instantly, but not because of the show.

When I saw my first, and currently only, concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, I saw Lord Huron (the band who sings this song) and Trampled by Turtles. It was an all around bucket experience. It was part of a personal awakening for me. Working hard and making my dreams come true. Seeing myself as more than I had prior to the age of 36, loving myself, my body, and who I was becoming.

As I stood in awe of my surroundings, the first chords broke the air, made their way around the rocks, and embraced me. It was this song that was my first to be heard that evening. The evening that the universe and I connected in a way I will never forget, nor that I can ever truly explain. I cried, I was filled with joy, I was humbled, and I was changed.

Here are the lyrics by Lord Huron:

I am not the only traveler

Who has not repaid his debt

I’ve been searching for a trail to follow again

Take me back to the night we met

And then I can tell myself

What the hell I’m supposed to do

And then I can tell myself

Not to ride along with you

I had all and then most of you

Some and now none of you

Take me back to the night we met

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do

Haunted by the ghost of you

Oh, take me back to the night we met

When the night was full of terrors

And your eyes were filled with tears

When you had not touched me yet

Oh, take me back to the night we met

I had all and then most of you

Some and now none of you

Take me back to the night we met

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do

Haunted by the ghost of you

Take me back to the night we met

These lyrics, those moments – I felt I had written them for myself, my old self, the person I thought I was supposed to be, the person I was before I was consumed by grief and depression and yet, I realized that I was going to make it despite, or maybe because, of the ghosts that haunted me.

That night, as the shooting stars flew, the storm clouds swirled in, and the light mist came down. I was renewed, I was reborn, and I was okay…really okay, and ready for changes I was going to make going forward.

And here I am today, 4 months sober and continuing the healthy changes in my life.


Finding the Magic in the Magic Kingdom

Our first full day of Disney Magic began in the Magic Kingdom. We had made very special advanced dining reservations to have breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table at 8 AM. This allowed us into the park before actual ‘rope drop’ and was entirely worth it!

We awoke early and prepared for the day. Hopped on our Art of Animation bus to the Magic Kingdom and enjoyed the sunrise over Seven Seas Lagoon. We watched the ferry boats starting to cross the water to gather passengers and waited in absolute excitement.


We had read before leaving that the Magic Kingdom Railroad would be down for refurbishments and the opening show had been changed, so we were prepared. The magic truly starts before you even walk in the gates. I cannot express how amazing each cast member is…if only all customer service was so good!

Upon entering the gates, we walked into the Main Street USA square and caught our first glimpse of the castle. It was everything I had hoped for – amazing, beautiful, whimsical…I teared up a bit! We were able to make our way down Main Street USA, take some great family photos and make our way to Cinderella’s Castle.


The area is really beautiful, with benches tucked away, fountains, and flowers. We were greeted at Cinderella’s Royal Table by women of retirement age in renaissance style costumes (I know where I am going to retire!). We checked-in for breakfast and made our way INSIDE the castle to meet Cinderella, herself. It was a whirlwind, but wonderful.



Meeting her first princess! Look at that smile 🙂


Then we climbed the spiral stairs to the dining room. The decor was regal and comfortable. The food was delicious! A starter of mixed pastries and great coffee had me falling in love. We met Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, and Ariel.




When our breakfast was over, we made our way back down to the Castle corridor. The Welcome show had already begun on the Castle stage, but we had a perfect spot to watch from the corridor and we were the only ones there (other than cast members). They allowed us right up to the rope and we got to wave to all the characters that had been on stage as they returned to the castle. We all decided we had a much better view and were so happy to not be stuck in the entrance crowds.



Now to the rides! Our very first ride was…



It’s A Small World


It is iconic and fun for the whole family, but it also showed the kids the beginning of rides as compared to the fast, technologically advanced thrill rides of today.

I then enjoyed a grand ride on the Prince Charming Regal Carousel with our daughter.



After that, it is a blur of fun! I know we rode The Little Mermaid Ride, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Astro Orbiter, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, People Mover, Magic Carpet Ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain….I am sure I am missing some.


Our kids’ very first coast ride was Seven Dwarves Mine Train. It was amazing. Super fun, with great theming.


One of the best shots from our trip! Seven Dwarves Mine Train


After a day of play, we spent our evening in my Restaurant pick – Be Our Guest! I am a HUGE Beauty and the Beast fan! I feel I am a ‘Belle’ type and my husband has a wicked awesome beard (and is possibly a little stubborn)…close enough right.

The meal was fantastic. The whole atmosphere was elegant and so well themed…and YES! the Grey Stuff is delicious!


As dinner ended, Wishes fireworks began and it was a remarkable finalé to a magical day!



I love reliving our magical memories! We are already talking about our “next” trip 🙂




#HoucksMagicalDisneyHoliday2017 – Day 1

WARNING: This whole trip review will come in time over multiple posts….be prepared to read and see lots of photos! You have been warned.


It is hard to believe that we left for our big Disney vacation a month ago! After all the pre-planning, planning, and travel – the trip went by so fast, yet the memories fill me with joy each day.

We left our home, in Brookings, SD, on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 with all of our luggage in tow, to spend the night in Sioux Falls, SD. Our flight left FRD airport at 5 am and we didn’t want to drive so early in the morning. For getting up at 2:30 AM, our family was pretty chipper and excited for our trip.


The kids had never flown before and they were bouncing with nervous energy. Honestly, we had very smooth travel. We had enough time between flights to eat at our connecting airport and everything worked like clock-work. (I am SO thankful!)


Upon arrival in Orlando, we made our way to the Disney Magic Express check-in. With the swipe of our wrists, we were in the queue for our hotel bus. The Motor Coach was comfortable and played Disney cartoons for the kids (of all ages).  It was a nice 30 minute trip to the Art of Animation resort.



We picked this resort for it’s Nemo Suites, which were just the size we needed, the value, and the great transportation system – and we were NOT disappointed.

Here is a look at our Suite:

Table holds a Murphy bed.


We were also right next to the BIG Blue Pool! And our first order of business was to take a dive before dinner in Disney Springs.



After a quick shower, we were off to Disney Springs to look around and enjoy dinner at Morimoto Asia. This was my husband’s choice of venue  – he is a ramen lover, Chef Morimoto fan, and we wanted to try Wagyu beef for the first time.



We called this our early 5 year anniversary dinner.



Disney Springs is a great area that I would frequent often if I lived in the area. Stylized promenades full of specialty shops, eateries, and great outdoor seating for what seemed like miles. We purchased our Mickey/Minnie Ear Hats, enjoyed the Lego store, and stopped by Amorette’s Patisserie for treats.





Hardest decision of the day!

After a full-day of travel, we were happy to be in Disney, but retreated to our room early to rest well for our first day in the actual parks – Magic Kingdom!


More on our Disney Adventure to come!


Moving Past the 1st Test


Did you know that the number 40 is mentioned 146 times in the Bible? The number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial, or probation. This is what my first 40 days of sobriety were, though I don’t feel that I have yet hit my greatest temptation.

The changes I have seen after 40 days:

Relationships – My marriage is the best it has ever been! We are communicating more, spending more time together, and I feel like we are really partnering on big decisions that affect our family. Friends are roughly the same, I don’t feel I have lost contact with anyone based on my decisions. In fact, most of my friends (near and far) have been very encouraging.

My children are receiving more of my time and attention because I am home more and you can see the difference in their behaviors. We spend more time playing games, reading books, and just hanging out.

Money – I definitely see my pocketbook having a little more filler these days, though I can always find a way to spend it, I feel that the items I purchase now have more meaning and function.

Health – I am down 5 lbs. I haven’t really changed my eating habits much. I am drinking more tea and Le Croix waters when I don’t want tap water. I am sticking to my yoga and meditation routine which feels so good. (I actually miss it when I don’t do it.) I am able to do shoulder stands now and am pushing deeper into my yoga practice. I feel stronger, physically and mentally. I am also loving my Pilates/Barre class on Thursday nights – it is a great time to get away from my daily routines.

This weekend my bestmate came to visit. It was the first time I had gone out to the bars since I quit drinking. It went very well. Not every establishment offers N/A beer or ginger beer, but I was able to find something non-alcoholic to enjoy. The bar scene is certainly different when you are the sober one, but it wasn’t bad. I felt I got more out of the conversations with my friends, I still laughed until I cried and had a great time with people I love.  At the end of the night, I got everyone home safely. I went to bed, got up about my normal time and felt great. I am enjoying that a lot!

I may have passed the first trials, but I am preparing for more so that I don’t lose sight of the goal. Life has been great without alcohol and now I know I can hang out without feeling tempted.

Hope your 2017 is going well! Make this year a personal journey.