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A Vacation Style and Thoughts

June 15, 2023

After two weeks of “real vacation,” I’m starting to get back in the swing of everyday life. But not without a shift in disposition. That vacation did me a world of good. I’m feeling more energetic, joyful, content and in control. Obviously I needed the time away from work and home, along with a change of scenery and pace. So I thought I’d share just a few thoughts about that while I also review one of the outfits I wore in Maine.

Vacation Outfit and Thoughts
linen pants // ruffle neck tank (gifted) // linen bomber jacket (gifted) // similar sneakers (more economical option) // market tote // crochet trim floppy hat (gifted) // earrings (gifted)

First up, in case you’re here just for the outfit, let’s talk about what I’m wearing. After five straight days of rain and just one other day with some sunshine (on Wednesday), we were able to have a lovely, dry visit to the Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island. It was still in the high 50s to low 60s that day, so I opted for my full length linen pants, a striped ruffle neck tank and my soft washed linen bomber jacket. This easy, breezy outfit felt perfect for a slow stroll through these lovely gardens.

Asticou Azalea Garden
the Asticou Azalea Garden on Mount Desert Island in Maine

I actually wore my navy braided thong sandals that day, but changed into my white leather sneakers (more economical option) for my walk around the garden. Of course I wore my crochet trim floppy brim hat, too. And after five days of no sunshine, I was happy to wear it!

Vacation Outfit and Thoughts

The only jewelry I took on our two-week vacation was the earrings above and these gold hoops. Yes, I kept things very simple on this trip. For me, that was part of the vacation – not thinking about clothes and accessories for a little while. So I packed pieces that intermixed easily, few shoes, two shoulder bags and two pairs of earrings.

Linen Pants
linen pants // ruffle neck tank // linen bomber jacket // similar sneakers (more economical option)

My linen pants fit true to size; I’m wearing a medium. And they are also available in spring moss green and flax. For reference, I’m 5’8″ and they’re a nice length on me for casual summer pants.

striped ruffle neck tank and washed linen jacket
striped ruffle neck tank and washed linen jacket

I think I ended up wearing this striped ruffle neck tank more than any other top. And undoubtedly I’ll continue to wear it frequently throughout the summer. It’s just so versatile. And I love the way the ruffle around the neck covers your bra straps for easy wear. The striped ruffle neck tank runs true to size and comes in a bright blue and white stripe, too. Mine is indigo and white.

striped ruffle neck tank
linen pants // ruffle neck tank (gifted) // linen bomber jacket (gifted) // similar sneakers (more economical option) // market tote // crochet trim floppy hat (gifted) // earrings (gifted)

Another heavy-hitter in my vacation capsule wardrobe was the white linen bomber jacket. I wore it for almost every day of travel (or kept it close by for going into restaurants and such). And I wore it frequently for excursions such as this one. After our garden walk, we had tea and popovers at the nearby Asticou Inn and then I browsed around Bar Harbor while James had a photography excursion. So my linen bomber jacket felt appropriate and perfect for all of that. The jacket runs a little large, but I’m wearing the medium for a trending oversized fit. And it comes in navy, a soft red and a beautiful turquoise.

Touring the Asticou Azalea Garden
linen pants // ruffle neck tank (gifted) // linen bomber jacket (gifted) // similar sneakers (more economical option) // market tote // crochet trim floppy hat (gifted) // earrings (gifted)

And now, if you’d like to stick around for a few minutes, I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on my recent vacation. And while I do, I’ll share some of the other photos James took in the garden.

Asticou Azalea Garden
Asticou Azalea Garden

Evidently I desperately needed a vacation. I hadn’t taken a real “work-free” vacation for at least three years. Every time we’ve gone somewhere I’ve continued to work. After all, it’s very easy to do my work wherever I go. And if I take too much time off, it has all sorts of ramifications on my business.

Asticou Azalea Garden

Plus, I actually love what I do. It took me at least a week to stop thinking about and dreaming about work even while I was doggedly stepping away from my duties. That’s why I didn’t share about our trip on Instagram stories. Nor did we take any outfit photos, other than this one set I’ve shared with you today.

Asticou Azalea Garden

I had to draw a firm line in the sand for myself. And I had to enlist help from James to keep me from engaging too much with reader comments and questions. This work I do can be all-consuming if I let it.

Asticou Azalea Garden

But James tells me the stress and weariness was starting to show up in my photographs. And as I edited yesterday’s YouTube video (filmed three weeks ago) I saw the stress all over my face and heard it in my tired voice. As much as I love my work, I was getting burned out.

Asticou Azalea Garden

So as we were driving home earlier this week I thought about what that meant. How could I have been burned out if I love what I do? Why was something that brings me such pleasure causing such stress and angst?

Asticou Azalea Garden

The conclusion I came to is probably one that many of you already know. A life out of balance is teetering on disaster. I had lost my work/life balance. It was showing up in several ways:

  • I had no joy in life’s little pleasures.
  • I had nothing of value to bring to a conversation.
  • I was getting angry and bent out of shape over reader comments.
  • I was gaining weight even though I was exercising and eating well (because my hormones, undoubtedly, were out of whack).
Asticou Azalea Garden

I’m sure there were other signs of burnout, too. But I guess I’d rather not focus on that now. Having had a couple of weeks to step away from my work and focus on other things, I feel so much better. I have more energy, joy and enthusiasm. And I’ve had several real conversations with people in which I felt engaged and alive and truly interested in what was being said. Yeah, it’s the little things.

Asticou Azalea Garden

So I’m going to try to do a little better about maintaining a proper work and life balance, even as I work. Truthfully, summers are a little better for that anyhow because I tend to get outside more, read a little and eat more healthily. But I’m also working at other things that will hopefully help me stay more balanced in the days and weeks to come.

Asticou Azalea Garden
Asticou Azalea Garden

And James and I have recommitted to our monthly “explore Ohio” days, too. I think getting out and exploring our world is such a mind opener and soul breather. It causes me to slow down, look around, breathe in and relax a little.

Me at Asticou Garden

How do you go about keeping balance in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts, too.

Asticou Azalea Garden

Thanks so much for dropping in.

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Blessed for My Day

It’s easy to get out of balance in life. Sometimes it’s the “good things” that tip us over the edge. We could be serving others, working hard, focusing on an all consuming goal or taking care of the things that truly must be done. But, like Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, if we miss the main things in life because we’re working hard at the good things, we can quickly show signs of burnout.

Mary’s burnout caused her to be short-tempered with her sister. More importantly, it robbed her of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit at the feet of the Savior. Let’s ask the Lord if there are things in our life that are consuming more of our time and energy than they should. And let’s allow Him to show us the “one thing {that} is necessary” so that we can have renewed joy and purpose.

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but only one thing is necessary; for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:41-42

xoxo, Kay
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33 thoughts on “A Vacation Style and Thoughts

  1. Dear Kay,

    Love your wisdom, truth and sense of humor! Oh, and of course, your fashion tips. You are a joy.

    I share your love of Maine too. We live in Rhode Island, and have visited Maine numerous times over the years. You are welcome to visit RI, anytime too. I know you would love Newport and our beaches!

    1. Thanks so much, Pamela. We’ve actually visited Rhode Island, specifically Newport. We had one of our best ever lobster rolls there!

  2. I’m so glad you had a good vacation! I love to garden and that is a stree deliver to me. Lying down for fifteen minutes with a soothing meditation app is relaxing, but I have to admit I am bad at doing it. Having tea and reading your blog is also relaxing! Thank you for your frankness. We are all human:)

    1. Thanks so much, Karin. Those are great suggestions! I have used a meditation app before, but also am not very good at doing it regularly. I’m not much on gardening, but I know there are similar things I can do to keep balanced. And yes! to the cup of tea!

  3. What a beautiful place to visit. Thank you for sharing your holiday and so happy you are feeling better. Love you.

  4. Dear Kay,
    thank you so much for your openness about having felt the burn out. I very well know what you mean. It is wonderful that you had a grwat time, could relax and feeling better now 😄
    Most of the symptoms I have as well plus problems wirh the gut due to overthinking and stress. The mind gut connection so to speak.
    I am a teacher and I am looking forward to my holidays to come to my senses and get my power back.
    Thank you for all your wonderful videos and blogs and tips 🥰 love them and they help me to relax
    Angel blesdings Moniks 🥰

  5. I so enjoy reading your blog and watching your videos. I have said over and over that I know “I am a Martha” and do not take joy in that…but I do think realizing that helps me to try and improve on that aspect of my life. I love to get out and run/walk each day. I know that I am blessed that I can do it and seeing God’s glory all around me just clears my head and releases stress.

  6. Thank you for sharing! Also I loved your closet video and I’m sorry it stressed you out! 🙁 I transitioned to working mostly from home around 15 years ago when I moved into consulting. It took me awhile to re-establish a line between working and not working and there were lots of little things I changed, such as turning off certain notifications on my phone while I was at home, making sure a lunch break was actually a BREAK, and taking up new hobbies that I enjoy to keep me away from my laptop. But the biggest single thing I did that helped me was to establish a work area. My office is where I work. When I’m not working, I don’t go in there and I don’t take my laptop out of my office (except when my office is being cleaned!) because the minute I do, my mindset shifts. Somehow I would say I wasn’t “really” working because I was sitting in my comfy chair in front of the TV. But I was working; and I was only half-there with my family at best. So now, I physically leave my office at the end of my work day, and I don’t read emails on my phone or respond to slack messages. My boss knows he can call me if it’s urgent. And guess what–no one has ever died because I didn’t respond to their email at 8 pm on a Sunday night. So I always give that advice to everyone who is working from home–establish physical boundaries and then your mental boundaries will be easy.

  7. Just a short note to let you know you bless my day. Look forward to reading your blog every morning–just gets my day off to a good start. I’m retired after teaching for 42 years. I loved my teaching years because I knew it was my calling. Yet, I had to be careful not to let it become a 24/7 job. Delighted that you took time to breathe and refresh! Welcome home.

  8. Blessings to you, Kay! I am a 58-year-old mother of six (ages 16-38) and grandmother of six. I home educated all of our children, and my youngest has two more years of high school. By the time he graduates, I will have been doing this same thing for 35 years. All of that to say that I am familiar with burnout! Amidst the busyness of homeschooling, I forget what I like to do, and the things God made me to enjoy. Your thoughts on the need for refreshment resonate with me, and I will take your words to heart!

  9. The photos are beautiful. Glad you shared them. I am glad you had a chance to take a break and enjoy a vacation. And I loved your outfit, it was very relaxed and chic.

  10. I have a feeling you were being too hard on yourself. I am sure you were still engaging and just as kind and lovely as ever. That said, your body was telling you something. Work life balance is a cycle, a continual process, not a one time event. I so struggled with this when I worked because I loved my job and I took it to heart. Sometimes I had to remind myself that as much as I believed my job was important, it wasn’t life or death. And nothing that happened or went wrong at work was life changing. I remember one time stressing sooo much about a work project that wasn’t going well. During that time, I went to see my then 5 year old perform in a concert at school. One little girl, who was part of the chorus, was so stressed, she started crying and could barely participate. It made me realize the stress is in our heads, we create it, we put pressure on ourselves. We know the right things to do, eat healthy, get some exercise, go outside, enjoy our family, count our blessings. For me, I need some alone time now and then, whether it is a walk, or reading alone outside. We are so grateful for what you do for us, but we think “You did good” by recognizing your stress, taking a break and reprioritzing.

  11. Kay, what a great post. It’s so easy to mentally cross the line and think our work is our signature but really, we are our Creator’s signature. I use the Hallow app to ground my thoughts and it’s helped me a lot. I enjoyed James’ photo essay in this post!

  12. Aaw Kay I’m so pleased you had a good time and James helped you take a proper break , you so obviously needed it and no matter how much you love your work that you do , sometimes you just need to take that Bundle off your back and leave it at the door and once you learn to say ‘No’ a couple of times it reallt does get easier. I too loved my work and patients/family at the Palliative Care Unit , but I was taking it home and mulling over everything and neglecting my family really , until one day our lovely New Manager decided to use the money that was donated by some lovely families for us Staff to have some nights out . Our Manager asked us which we would like either Meal/Spa or Meal/Theatre((I chose the meal/theatre it was ‘South Pacific ‘ ) but more importantly she enrolled us on a Wellbeing Day with different Speakers/Therapists and a Lovely Psychologist who recognised I (and some of my work family) were taking it home and burning ourselves out , like he said “If you don’t put on your Oxygen Mask/Lifejacket 1st , how can you be any use to anyone else”!. Your outfit looked Fab just so holidayish and comfortable but Smart too and Kay you look Happy and Relaxed . Asticou Azalea Garden looks gorgeous , I bet it was so relaxing just walking around there? . Just remember when people make unkind comments online it just says more about them than you ! . You take care Lovely Lady 🥰Xx

  13. Kay, I read your post for today with much interest. It concerned me that your were having life balance issues. I have these sometimes myself. Even after many challenging working years, I am still finding this to be the case in my retirement, I still have problems putting “chores” aside. I wanted to share something our pastor has reminded us of. God knows we need rest. After all, having created the our world, he rested on the 7th day and saw that it was good. He commands us to rest on the Sabbath to honor him and recharge ourselves. So yes, I’m sure you needed a much deserved break from a long spell of work, but we all need a weekly renewal as well. I hope you can rest and recharge on our special Sundays so that you can face the new week with your usual joy and vigor that you so kindly share with us, your readers.
    Blessings to you and James!

  14. Happy to hear your real vacation was a success! The pictures are beautiful. Being surrounded by nature really gives us a chance to calm down and rethink whatever it is that boggles the mind ….it works for me every time. Problems I thought were complex are simple with a clear view and plan in place. I have three large county parks in my area that are from 15 to 50 minutes away. The closest is Lake Erie (SE MI) with freighters in the distance and a lot of wildlife.
    Long walks and bike rides are other options but when overwhelmed my lawn chair (in my trunk) and reading material will do. Sitting by the shore in a shaded area is my favorite “me time” in the warmer months.
    Love your outfits, especially the white jacket. Your closet is small but so well organized it’s amazing. You were very generous in showing it.
    Now I want to go to Maine.

  15. I was saddened to hear that you are suffering from burnout, and hope that you will be able to let commenter’s words roll off you in future. As the Japanese say “The nail that sticks up gets hammered,” and by putting yourself out there for our benefit there will be comments at times that may be negative, but the overwhelming positive ones will hopefully counteract them. I truly love your daily blog, and read it first thing in the morning for inspiration. Please tell your husband that his photos are magnificent (the ones you included from your vacation were spectacular). I have no advice about burnout except to say that I understand, having been in a creative entrprenuerial business for many years. Keep on keeping on. Your fans need your cheerful, upbeat videos and wise words.

  16. Hi Kay – I am a little older than you – 67 actually. And I can totally relate to not having a vacation in recent years. Both Jon and I retired early to take care of my Mother, who passed in 2017. By then we were used to being homebound and rushing like maniacs to get back when we were out. Then 2020 hit – crazy times and more isolation. We opened a small dog boarding kennel to help make ends meet for our hobbies, here at the farm. I also started a Youtube channel. From all that – This is what I know to be true. You must treat your business like a business with regular business hours. And, you must schedule days off for your life spirit and vacations. Otherwise you become a screaming fishwife!! LOL Clients and readers sometimes need a gentle reminder of boundaries. My phone/texts go unanswered after 12 noon on Saturday until 730 AM Monday. And I am totally loking forward to a 2 week camping trip in October in the North Georgia Mountains. Take care of you and your family first – always! God’s Blessings to You! Julia

  17. Kay,
    I don’t see how you do all you do! I only get your emails with the blogs and videos in them. I am not on Facebook, Instagram , and all the other things you do, that I am not sure even what they are. I am computer dense ! Ha! I am glad you realized you needed time off and it is fine to not hear from you on your time off- that should just be your special time for family and sanity and we would be here when you get back on line. 😃🙏

  18. Kay, So glad that you got what you needed from your vacation. Thanks to James for those beautiful photographs.

  19. Hi Kay, I am 69 next month, retired last year during a two-year illness that left me a permanent ostomate, married, with children and grandchildren. Your daily posts are not only helping me to find a sense of style, but they are helping me to get used to life with an ostomy. One thing I dread is getting in the shower every morning now that I have a ‘bag,’ but when you do your posts on skincare, etc., it encourages me to try to enjoy the process of taking care of myself even with the changes. I bought Native through your link and it’s amazing how much an ‘elevated’ underarm deodorant can boost one’s spirits! LOL! To keep life balance, I go easy on myself. I make mental notes about the things I need to work on, as I recognize them. Then I go about working on them, but with no timetable, just a goal. That way each time I make progress, I know I’m headed in the right direction, and when I stall, I know I’m still headed in the direction I want to go, it just takes time. And I keep a sense of humor about life! Sometimes that’s hard to do, but I truly can see the light side of life when it’s there, so I go with it! 🙂 I’m retired now, but I remember the stresses of work. Thank you for what you do!!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration. Life can throw us a major curve ball, can’t it? And I’m inspired by your commitment to push yourself a little more despite the challenges you have now. I do know women who have truly “hung it up” when faced with similar physical challenges. They’ve just given up and resigned themselves to a lesser life. I know it’s very hard some days to do the things that help you show up more, but I’m so inspired by the fact that you graciously challenge yourself.

  20. This is your cutest outfit yet! Darling on you. Looks playful and happy and the most vital….. RELAXED!

    Yes… balance is vital. You figured it out! You have a great partner who you can lean on. Life is short. You help so many people! Thank you!

    My new husband ( we r both widowers) and I only say we will help ….. no more titles! It works!

  21. You should check out a cabin in Hocking Hills. My husband and I spent a week at Tranquility Lodging in the Cozy Cottage Farmhouse Cabin. It’s in Logan, Ohio. So relaxing and lots of areas to hike and explore nearby!

  22. James has an exceptional eye ` the photographs are beautiful! Thank you for all you do for us Kay. I so enjoy every Saturday when I look at your week’s work! God bless!

  23. I live in New Brunswick Canada and Bar Harbor is one of our favorite spots to visit. My husband and I try to get there a couple of times each summer. We also love hiking in Acadia. It’s too bad you didn’t have nicer weather. We also try to visit Asticou gardens while there. I also appreciate your Blessed for My Day. It’s amazing how often the verses speak to me or enhance something I’ve read or heard in church. God bless.

  24. Dear Kay,

    I discovered you a few weeks back when YouTube put you in the top of my queue. I read this post you wrote above about your burnout and your vacation yesterday with great interest as I was home recuperating from a recent compression fracture to my L1 vertebrae and then impending sciatica debilitating pain shooting down my leg and barely able to walk for a few days. I just turned 63 years old, have recently been labelled with osteoporosis, am pre-diabetic and have gained 30 pounds over the past 6 years, as living a life of post menopause has set in. I have eaten well, exercised, prayed, meditated, and in spite of all, the weight gain, developing arthritis and other issues have crept up. I’ve been searching for the answers. I used to be tall (5’10”) long blonde, thick hair, vibrant and outgoing. I’m now about 5’8” ish and have been trying to find myself in this aging body. Over the past year, I have really struggled to find the meaning of aging gracefully. I love the idea of clothing the body you have for the life you live and the size you are as opposed to the one you used to live years ago. And truthfully, I don’t want to live that life any longer. I’m exhausted, from the inside out. I had given up a bit on my appearance, because it felt just so hard to make it work, but finding your site and YouTube videos has helped me to reengage and understand that I am never giving up. (I bought the Hair Biology products, by the way). There is a 63 year-old version of myself that corresponds to that younger version but maybe can carry a bit more grace, ease and flow that has come with the years of character-building experiences.

    You never know who you reach or how you reach them when you choose platforms such as yours but please know there are those of use out here in cyber-land getting the messages we need from the words you write and the pics you post.

    I hope you feel recharged from your time off and thanks for being true to your mission.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Camille. I understand those body struggles more than you may know. It really is hard getting older. So aging gracefully is not something we coast into, is it? It takes real effort and perseverance. I’m so glad you are enjoying and benefiting from my content. That is very encouraging to me. 🥰

      1. I bought this white linen jacket from Talbots. I LUV it. I literally wear it or carry it everywhere. It goes with every single thing in my closet. Thx!!!!!!

  25. Frankly, for me the only way to have a “work/life balance” is to get rid of the “work” part! ahaha Really! We decided to live under our means, and retire relatively early so we could travel and generally do what we want when we want to. We have ZERO debt (not even a mortgage or car loan) and I wouldn’t trade my stress-free life with anyone I know. I don’t need a big fancy house or car. We have a very comfortable home and 2 nice vehicles. But most important of all, we have our health, our family and FREEDOM! All priceless to us. The decision we made to “downsize” and pay off ALL debt years ago, is really paying off now. BEST decision we ever made. As much as we both loved our work, it was still “WORK”…And it still requires TIME…time away from family and time we weren’t traveling and doing things that gave us even MORE joy. Time is finite and we now have the freedom to choose how we use it. NO greater feeling. I highly recommend it!

  26. I have had the idea of exploring my state once a week but I ha we never been able to get it off of the ground. I hope that’s seeing this post I will be motivated to go. Thanks for reminding me of this idea.