Calling All HGTV Lovers – Boston Junior League Show House Tickets On Sale

I love design!  I love seeing how people take a room and transform it to meet their needs and show off their style.  When I receive my InStlye magazine, the celebrity home section is always what I turn to first.  My favorite flight treats is the latest copy of House Beautiful and Elle Decor and when the show Trading Spaces came out, I like many of you was an addict anticipating the end result and commenting on what I liked and disliked in the rooms.  With many, many hours of watching HGTV under my belt I know I would kick ass as a Design Star.  I am a design geek!

This being the case, I couldn’t be any more excited that the Junior League of Boston is once again hosting a Show House.  After a 6 year hiatus, the league is currently selling tickets to their 35th Show House this fall.  Visiting Show House is an opportunity to get into the mind of amazing local designers and see their work up close and personal.  I can’t wait to see all the gorgeous looks they come up with.

   

So what is this whole Show House all about? Located in Newton, MA – The Potter Estate has a long history.  It was originally built as private home but has since been a school and convent and is currently being lent to the league for Show House.

The estate has 36 rooms being designed with their own look and feel.  With no central theme, designers will be taking a room and transforming it to showcase their talents and imaginations.  Modern, contemporary, traditional – many design ascetics will be on display.

Here is the floor plan that will give you a better idea of the space the Potter Estate holds.  

 

Some of these pictures of rooms from Show House’s of the past give a great peak into what might be in-store for this year.

Check out these Kitchens.  Two very different looks.  Country Chic vs. Sleek and Modern.

 

How about this serene formal living room.

A cozy hallway nook with amazing hand panted murals on the wall.

And how about a little sneak peak of a room from Michael Carter from this years house.

Want to buy your ticket? Tickets are $30 when purchased on-line before October 12 or $35 at the door.  You can also purchase them from a Boston Junior League Member like myself anytime for the discounted $30.  When purchasing them on-line make sure you note my name (Danielle Bourke) or Pin It Blog when you purchase your tickets.  Then shoot me a note and I will double check to make sure your tickets are all set and ready for you at will-call.  
Didn’t get a chance to buy them on-line to save the $5.  Shoot me a note and I can arrange tickets at the $30 rate for you.

What does my ticket purchase support?  The Junior League of Boston is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.  
Tickets sales to Show House support Junior League various community based programs such as JLB Arts, Kids In the Kitchen, Digital Impact, Leader Within, Learning Circles, Germaine Lawrence Mentoring Program, Strong Women Strong Girls, Dress For Success and Healthworks Community Fitness.

Other information you might want to know –

  • Address – 71 Walnut Park, Newton, MA, 02458
  • Parking and Public Transportation – The estate has parking available on site. If is also accessible via public transportation.
  • Dates – October 16 thru November 18, 2012
  • Hours – Tuesday and Wednesday 10am – 4pm; thursday and Friday 10am – 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm; The house is closed Mondays and Halloween.
  • Children – Unfortunately, due to the nature of the tour and decor, children under the age of 12 will not be admitted.   
  • Reservations – Pre-scheduled reservations or tours are not needed.  You can come tour during any of the open hours.  Tours will be scheduled on a first come first serve basis on-site.  If a long line forms, organizers will work with you to schedule a tour time so you can go have lunch, coffee, do some local shopping and then come back for your scheduled tour.  

Designers – Show House has 35 top local interior designers involved.  A sampling of those involved are:

Elizabeth Benedict

Lisa Tweed

Mally Skok

Kristen Rivoli

Wow!!!  Some amazing talent is on hand for this project.  I hope to see you there.

Emmy Fashion Couch Quarterback

I can imagine there were a lot of households in turmoil last night.  A battle over football or the Emmys.  I chose the Emmys – my favorite couch quarterback activity.  I love seeing the outfits and what people come up with.  You never know what will come down the red carpet.  A glass of wine (ok, a couple glasses) and it can get downright interesting!

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Although I was a bit underwhelmed, there were some definite hits and misses. Here are some highlights. 

Gennifer Goodwin – Love her, loved the dress, was not a fan of the shoes.  A bit too matchy matchy.  Would have loved to see her in a strappy nude or gold shoe.

I LOVED this look on Edie Falco.  The play of the silhouette was amazing.  This is how to look sexy, classy and comfortable.  Nicely done, Edie, nicely done!

Ugh, really Elizabeth Moss.  Ruffles, flowers and washed out blonde hair.  It looks like you toned up a bit from past award shows land this was the perfect opportunity to WOW and showoff your fab new figure.  Alas, this was a miss and my least favorite look.

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January Jones, why do you always look so bitchy.  It is hard to like anything you wear when you always ruin it with your bitch stare.  So you’re  an actress, you could at least ACT like you’re not a bitch.  

Yay Tina Fey!!!  One of my favorite funny ladies getting it right.  Whoever your stylist is, keep her!!  It is so great to see you looking great and not in black.

Ok Angelina, take note, this is how you flash some leg!  Not sure I liked the double slit though.  It took the outfit just one step further than was needed but I am sure it helped Heidi Klum be one of the few who stayed cool in the hot LA sun.   

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Sophia has great curves, there is no denying it, but this look was a bit too beauty queen, don’tchya think? Then again, those Latin countries are hard core about their pageant queens.

Finally, a young star that looks sweet and age appropriate.  Adorable!

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Didn’t Adele already wear this dress?  Again, one of my least favorite.  Worn by Lena Dunham, one of the hot new talents on the scene for her HBO show Girls. This look will not go down as one of her successes.  Maybe she felt she was showing enough skin in the opening credits and wanted to cover up and frump up for a contrast.  I think the rest of us would have preferred something that highlighted her figure and cute pixie cut.  Hopefully, she got Gennifer Goodwin’s stylist’s phone number.

Way to go double stick tape – you had a tough job to accomplish last night and it looks like you held your end up!  Let’s hope Kat Dennings never puts you in that position again and finds something that fits her fab figure a bit better next time.

Dear Melissa McCarthy, Can I dress you….please…..pretty please.  As a bigger girl myself, I totally get it can be a challenge to find something figure flattering that shows off your assets but covers up the parts you hate.  You are gorgeous and this whole look is not.  I am sorry but puffy sleeves do not help camouflage your arms they just make them look bigger.  Let’s chat!!  I am sure we can come up with something flattering.  Think Ocatvia Spencer last award season.  Big girls can look curvy, sexy and make the best dressed list!

Looks like someone told Hayden it was a toga party.  Again, less is more.  The dress underneath looks like it would have been a gorgeous choice on it’s own.  Why muck it all up with this plastic wrap toga crap.

Kate Mara, why didn’t you dress your sister Rooney last award season.  She could have used your help.  This look is lovely!

Well, the winning color of the night seemed to be yellow.  It was great to see the pops of color in the crowd and most of these ladies did it right.  Well most of them.

As for my least favorite, I hate to say it but I really did not like Julianne Moore’s dress.  It was just too much yellow.  The sleeves and the high neck with no other contrast.  Too much!

The look of the night I did love was Leslie Mann.  The color blocking and pops of turquoise – perfect!  The best part is she just looked so comfortable in the outfit (I always love a pocket).  Great look!

And to cap off my commentary, I have to comment on the opening with Jimmy Kimmel and his botox disaster.  The scary part is he really did look like a Real Housewife.  

The scary part is he really did look like a Real Housewife.  With a long blond wig he could have been Taylor from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ botox twin sister.  Too Funny!!!  Hopefully, it will get those ladies to step away from the botox – maybe?

Apple Harvest Time – A Bushel Or A Peck?

It’s that time of year when the days are warm, the evenings cool and there is an abundance of apples.  It is apple harvest season.  Time to go pick your bushel or peck and find some yummy concoctions to use up all those apples.

I got my peck last weekend when I organized a little field trip to a local orchard with my Dinner Club friends and their families.  It was a lovely day, warm and sunny, the perfect day for picking apples.  

Things have been a bit crazy here so I haven’t had a chance yet to break into my bounty but I can’t wait to come up with some yummy ways to use my apple collection.  Here are some recipes that have made my apple baking short list.

Apple & Honey Galette from The Forest Feast in honor of the Jewish New Year.

The Apple Financier Tart from the Cooking Channel looks like an amazing treat you would find in a French pastry shop.

Never able to resist a cupcake, these Caramel Apple Cupcakes from The Craving Chronicles look so yummy.

Ok, how adorable are these Apple Pies.  It’s a baked apple and pie all rolled into one.  Genius twofer from the Chronicles of a Domestic Dilettante.

I don’t really crave apple pie myself so these Baked Apple Egg Rolls from the Blog Alaska From Scratch might be more up my alley.

Gotta love a quick bread!  I like to eat them for breakfast with cream cheese and my favorite Latte. Try this Zucchini & Apple Bread from Fork, Knife, Swoon.

You don’t have to always use your apples for sweets.  Here are some savory treats to put your apples to good use.

Sage apple and cheddar scones from Buried Carrots.

Brie and Apple Tarts – A nice treat from Blog Hungary to go with a glass of red wine.

This is my new favorite frittata to make when I have friends over for brunch – Alida’s Kitchen Apple Cheddar Frittata. I have made it several times and it’s always a great hit.

Cool weather also makes me crave beef stew.  Check out this Beef Stew with Marjoram and Wild Apple from Tes at Home.

Bacon, goat cheese, apples stuffed in French toast.  Awesome!!  Thanks Home Is Where the Cookies Are.

Have you been apple picking yet?  What is your favorite apple recipe?

Fall Nails

I love a good manicure! There is something about having a great mani that makes me feel polished and put together (even when I am schlepping around in gym clothes).  It is also such a nice inexpensive way to treat myself.  

Lately, I have found myself pinning favorite fall nail colors on Pinterest to help reduce the dilemma of decision making.  One favorite resource I found on Pinterest is The Beauty Look Book.  It is an awesome blog that introduces latest products and colors.  I love how the blogger presents contrast and themes of favorite cosmetic colors in great light so you can really see how it will look.  If you are looking to update your favorite choices, I highly recommend you check out her site.  Here are some of my favorites:

Fall Favorite Burgundy

Mauves are a very popular nail color this season.  I love this color on my toes.  It is a nice neutral that blends well with my skin tone and also wears well showing chips less toward the end life of my pedi.

A lovely array of nudes.

A kaleidoscope of fall colors.  I am totally feeling the Dior Silver Purple.

Check out these sexy colors from Tom Ford.

Another great resource I found was the Blog Spaz and Squee.  Some favorites are:

Essie Demure Vixen – Love this neutral

Essie No More Film – Deep purple

OPI Parlez Vous – A lovely fall lavender mauve

OPI Don’t Know Jacques – A fun grayish brown

And of course I have to include the most talked about nail color this fall. Never has a nail color caused such a raucous.  You know what I am talking about.  Michelle Obama’s nail polish from her DNC speech a few weeks ago.

Mrs. Obama wore the gel polish Vogue from Artistic Color Gloss.  Good luck finding it! 

Chicken And Waffles Appetizer

I know Facebook has it’s pros and cons.  People love it, hate it, want nothing to do with it, are obsessed with it.  I totally get the feelings.  I have my moments with Facebook as well but one thing I am forever grateful for is how Facebook has connected me to some fabulous people from my past whom I’d lost touch with.  Through Facebook, you find out how much you have in common with people you might not have been more than an acquaintance with in the past.  It’s a great way to reconnect and get a second chance at friendships and bringing great people back into your life.    

I recently had this exact experience with someone from high school.  Juliet and I were friendly in high school, as our social circles intertwined at times.  She was super smart, taking all the smarty classes – me, not so much.  She was also a part of our school’s famed chamber singers – it would be a punishment to hear me sing!  This being the case, our interaction was pretty limited.  We were always friendly but never had any interaction past graduation.  Until Facebook! Through Facebook, we discovered we’ve been sharing the same city for years and decided recently to get together for drinks and to catch up.  It was such a great time and I’ve totally enjoyed reconnecting.  Thank you Facebook.  

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On our first get together, Juliet’s husband, Steve, ended up meeting us at a local restaurant for dinner.  One of the menu items was Chicken and Waffles.  Steve was fascinated by this concept as he had never heard of this popular dish before. Although he ended up ordering a burger (the original craving he had that evening), he mentally put Chicken and Waffles on his “Must Try Soon” list.

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Having this fun couple over for dinner last week, I knew I needed to incorporate Chicken and Waffles into the menu.  Although I didn’t want to serve it as a main course, I thought the concept could be a great base for an appetizer.

Since I had some more time-consuming dishes on tap for other parts of the meal, I wanted to keep this quick and simple – three ingredients.

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Eggo Waffles – not having a waffle iron, I knew making waffles from scratch was out of the question.  Since childhood, I always loved Eggo waffles, the perfect toaster breakfast and now the base for my appetizer.  The best part is they now sell bite size little mini waffles – perfection!

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BBQ Chicken Bites – also not having time to properly prepare some yummy homemade fried chicken, I thought popcorn chicken from the freezer section would be a great quick solution that would work great with the Eggo waffles.  I actually found some great chicken bites that were covered in a honey BBQ sauce in my local grocer’s prepared food section.  I loved the idea of adding BBQ sauce to the traditional southern dish.

Syrup – you can’t have waffles without syrup.  Nothing fancy, Mrs. Butterworth is our family favorite.

The result – GLORIOUS!!!!  

As soon as I put the plate down, you should have seen Steve’s face light up.  He was so excited and I was thrilled to start off the night with such a great fun tidbit.

Recipe

– Eggo Mini Waffles
– BBQ Popcorn Chicken
– Syrup

Chicken
– I warmed the chicken by wrapping it in foil and placing it in a 350 degree oven.  I wanted to make sure the chicken did not dry out as it has a tendency to if you microwave it or bake it in the oven.  Wrapping it in the foil helped keep the moisture in.

Waffles – toast according to directions.

Place a piece of chicken on top of waffle mini, drizzle with syrup and serve.  

The Accent Chair Trap

Design decisions can really screw with you, especially if you think you have made a bad decision in the past.  This happens more often than not accent chair – you know those upholstered chair with the fun bright pattern you see in design catalogs, showrooms and magazines.

Falling for this trap happened recently to a wonderful family I know. When Rachel and her family moved into their new home she purchased an accent chair to add a pop of color to their living-room decor.  Loving the color red, she poured over color swatches and finally decided on her choice.  Excited about the purchase, she couldn’t wait for it to be delivered.  When it finally arrived they hated it!

Now, this is not a horrible chair, it happens to be quite lovely; however, I do feel Rachel’s pain.  I have been in her shoes – standing in one of those monster furniture stores trying to pick out a swatch from thousands, all the time hoping I made the right decision.  Then you take your collection of little swatches of fabric home to make your final decision – biting the bullet, you put in your order and wait weeks for delivery.  Your chair is delivered – you realize your worst thoughts came true and it is all wrong.  That pattern you loved on that little swatch is now blown up and is plastered all over a chair sitting in your living room.  It is now a mocking chair, smirking at you daily – a constant reminder of your EXPENSIVE mistake.  This was my mistake.

I thought it was great when I was picking it out.  A chair and a half with a fun contemporary pattern that had lots of color so it could grow with me long term and my changing tastes long term.  Ha!!!  That is what I thought.  I quickly grew out of the pattern and even though I had a lot of colors to choose from it was all earth tones.  Not the look I was at all wanting in my apartment when I moved.  It was also a big piece and didn’t exactly fit well in my smaller living room.  It now sits in my parents’ living room, as it works for them.  Not a waste, no, but not exactly the long term investment I was hoping for.

This past weekend, Rachel and I poured over fabric sample books for a replacement chair.  We both had spells of design anxiety while thumbing through the books.  What if we make the wrong decision again.  What if I lead her down a path she hates.  Ah, the pressure, the pressure.  

In the end, I feel we made a great decision – we are both excited and best of all, her husband loves it as well (he really dislikes the red flower chair).  

Afraid of falling into the accent trap?  Here are some tips I have learned that might help you avoid the pitfalls Rachel and I have been through.

  • Avoid trendy colors and patterns when purchasing expensive investment pieces of furniture.  Focus on creating a neutral base with pieces that are timeless and focus on texture to add contrast and interest.
     
     
  • Purchase a yard of the fabric you are going to have a non-refundable custom piece upholstered in.  It is worth the few extra dollars to have that large piece of fabric live with you for a bit to make sure it doesn’t become your very own mocking chair.
  • Keep trendy patterns and colors to soft goods like pillows, rugs, curtains and accessories.
     
  • Know your budget pain point.  How much are you ok with spending and then walking away from – $100, $300, $1000? Shop for accent chairs that are below your pain point. That way if you don’t like it, you will be ok to let it go – hello Craigs’ List.  Some great resources for finding inexpensive accent pieces are HomeGoods, Target, Ikea, Pier One, World Market and Overstock.com.

                           IKEA

                           PIER ONE

                                   TARGET

                          WORLD MARKET

  • Slipcovers – they are a wonderful thing and cover many mistakes.

Have you ever had a decorating mistake?  What have you regretted purchasing?

Cheers To The Weekend – The Chatty Cathy Cocktail

Is it just me or is the week after Labor Day one of the hardest to get through and the weekend can’t come fast enough.  Yes, it is a short week but those always seem the longest.  Come Friday, a cocktail is well deserved.

So, in honor of making it through the week, it’s time to cheers the weekend with my new favorite drink – The Chatty Cathy Cocktail.

Ok, I just made that name up as I did the drink when I found a great sale on Grapefruit Belvedere vodka at the liquor store last weekend.  The name has nothing to do with the drink but more the effects!  The Chatty Cathy seemed fitting because after drinking a few of these last weekend – I could just not shut up.  

I know, hard to believe (wink, wink)!  But even I was thinking – Wow!!! Why can’t I shut up.  I just keep talking and talking and talking….Shut Up!!  And since my nickname in college was Chatty Cathy, it seemed an appropriate name for this new drink.

It’s a simple drink but has two of my favorite liquors – vodka and St. Germain.  I hope you enjoy it and find it to be a great way to start your weekend.

The Chatty Cathy Cocktail

2 parts Grapefruit Flavored Vodka (I used Belvedere Pink Grapefruit)
1 part St. Germain
Large Splash of Sparkling Water 
Lime

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine vodka, St. Germain and soda water.  Shake and pour into a chilled martini glass.  Top with a squeeze of lime.  

CHEERS!!!

Fashion – Fall Trends

When I was younger I used to covet the fall issues of Seventeen and InStyle magazine – thumbing through them and planning my outfits for the new school year.  I grew up in warmer climates and was always jealous that the fabulous clothes I was seeing in the magazines just didn’t work in the warm weather.  Wool and tweed?  Not easy to find in Hawaii.  When I moved to New England, I was excited to finally be able to wear some of those fabulous outfits I used to dream of wearing.  

Years later, I still get excited about planning and shopping for the cooler weather ahead.  It means packing up the white pants, sundresses, and pastels and moving into warmer colors and layers.  This year there are a number of trends that are popular for fall.  Some of the trends for the season are bright jewel tones, navy and black, embellished collars, peplums, texture and prints, pencil skirts and men’s wear.  Keeping these trends in mind, I put together a few ideas for outfits I would love to add to my wardrobe.

The first trend is burgundy.  This warm jewel tone is so hot this fall and can be found everywhere.  I used to identify burgundy with wardrobes of my past (hello high school plaid flannel) but I am loving the revival of this color with a more modern twist.  Here is a day look that is perfect for the office.  The H&M dress incorporates the embellished collar trend and how hot are those Rupert Sanderson Mary Jane shoes!

Keeping a night on the town in mind, I fell in love with this sequin sheath dress.  Adding a brown biker jacket and leopard clutch – so sexy!!!

H&M flare dress, $47 / AllSaints leather biker jacket / High heels, $39 / Rupert Sanderson mary jane shoes / L’Wren Scott leather handbag, $1,075 / River Island brown clutch, $24 / Stella & Dot vintage jewelry / Stella & Dot vintage jewelry / Stella & Dot hematite jewelry / Stella & Dot anchor earrings / Stella & Dot jewelry

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The second trend is men’s wear and making it feminine.  Suits, oxford shoes, western style chambray shirts – all seem to be everywhere this fall.  Again, this trend reminds me of wardrobes from the past, but I am loving the more feminine tailoring and colors designers are focusing on.  It is not about oversize and making women look like men, it is about taking inspiration and making it work for us ladies and our curves.  I love the outfits below and the twist on the oxford shoe in mustard yellow and leopard. 

Madewell western shirt / Vivienne Westwood Red Label brown jacket, $890 / Schumacher green skirt / Current/Elliott boyfriend jeans, $220 / Wedge heels / Dolce Vita suede shoes / The Cambridge Satchel Company leather satchel handbag / FOSSIL leather shoulder bag, $300 / House of Harlow 1960 vintage ring / JouJou red earrings, $39 / Long necklace, $7.89 / Becksöndergaard wool scarve, $110 / Wet Seal belt

Here is a quick shot of my twist on one of these outfits – can we say I am a bit obsessed with leopard this season!

Chambray Shirt – TJ Max, Orange Loafers – Marshalls, Leopard Pencil Skirt – J.Crew Outlet

What are your favorite trends this season?  How do you plan to wear them?

I’m Gonna Be A Hair Model – EEEEKKK!!!!

I was recently asked by my cousin to be her hair model for the color training class she is taking today.  When asked, my immediate response was “Of course!”  I have been bugging her forever to touchup my roots and I want to support her any way I can as she works to become an amazing hair stylist.  She is talented and has a real passion for it so I couldn’t imagine saying anything but yes.

BUT…(yes there is a but)….I have to admit I am a bit nervous.  Not that she won’t do an amazing job.  It’s more that I am nervous about the people who are teaching her.  Do they have the skill set to train her correctly and guide her in a direction I will be proud to walk out the door with.

Ok, I know I sound totally high maintenance but I really am not.  Well yes, ok, I am high maintenance about some things but not usually about my hair.  I do trust hairstylists and am very open to their ideas on what will work best.  I like to hear from my stylist what they think would work best for me.  They are the expert and I trust in their knowledge.  However, I have recently gotten burned with bad color.  A recent trip to a top Boston salon for highlights by the salon owner left me with what I called calico cat hair.  

Calico Cat

 

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It was so bad that when I arrived at another salon to have it fixed, the receptionist gasped and commented that she hadn’t believed my hair was really as bad as I had described over the phone.  She said most people over-react but it seems I was telling the truth.  So you can see why I might be a bit gun shy.

To prepare for the color session I decided to have my cousin cut my hair last week.  I figured I needed a cut and it would give her a chance to play in my hair a bit and get familiar before our session with foil and bleach.

I quickly pinned a bunch of styles I liked to a board on my pinterest so she could see what styles I liked.  It’s so great to have a bunch of looks right at my finger tips to show a stylist.  No more collecting magazine clippings and trying to remember to bring them with me.  Here are some of the looks I liked.

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My cousin did a great job and I am so happy with the cut.  It is one of the best cuts I have had in a long time. It has the long layers I was looking for which works well with my fine wavy hair.  Here are a few after shots. The one on the left was taken right after my salon visit and the other was from a few days later after some self styling with a round brush.

*Quick cuteness pause – how adorable is my nephew – love that face.

So, now it is time for the color.  Here are some of my inspirations.

   

LOVE Eva’s dark hair with low lights.  Perfect for fall.

 

Gorgeous!!  A bit of a subtle umbrae which I like a lot more than the dramatic umbrae looks that have been popular.

Mariska always has amazing hair.  I love the light sunkissed look framing the face.

Another great warm brown – digging the dimension the color gives Jennifer Love’s hair.

Which one is your favorite?  Do you get anxiety before a visit to the salon?  Is there a reason behind your anxiety?

Well, I’m off to get ready for my appointment.  Wish me luck!  I’ll be sure to post an after picture.