Oh my gosh, you guys! SSIF was the best, best birthday weekend anybody could ever wish for! It started out in fine style when I was picked up at the airport by the lovely and charming Sheila in her sporty little Mini Cooper! I was just sorry the hotel wasn't further away so we could have gabbed longer and taken in more of the beautiful sights!

First of all, don't let anybody tell you that Seattle is cold and rainy! The weather was fabulous and I've got the picture to prove it! (no. 1) I roomed with the lovely Denise and even though our room was tiny and we even had to share a bed, it couldn't have been more delightful! And of course her style quotient was off the charts all weekend long! Here she is with our fearless leader at the Sunday cocktail party (2), and a longer view, also featuring a very very chic Sveta and Deb's back in her lovely new jacket (3)!

I didn't get many photos because I was having camera issues, but here's Kari experiencing her first oyster (4) and Debbie, Angie, bj1111 (Ruth), Derinda and Deb at the Sunday oyster-fest (5). And Angie trying to get us all to stop gabbing long enough to take a group pic (6).

And more random shots of Saturday lunch (7), cocktail party fun featuring our incredibly gracious hosts with Greg and Vicki (8), bj1111 leaving to catch the red-eye she'd booked so she could make it to the party (9), and Ann, Kari, Aida, and Angie watching a slide show from Paris Fashion Week on the big TV (10)! SO MUCH FUN!! Oh, and Anna explaining how to do Oysters Seattle-style in my favorite of her amazing weekend outfits (11)! And of course it wouldn't be a YLF get-together without the shoe shot (12)!

On the shopping front, my goal was to refresh my fall/winter wardrobe with some game-changing pieces and also to find a fab plaid shirt. Mission: Accomplished!! The game-changers were acquired in the very first hour of the very first day when Angie helped me find a fab pair of maroon culottes and some gorgeous navy/cobalt track pants, both of which I plan to boldly wear to work! The plaid shirt had to wait until the last hour of the last day, but in between I scored lots of other goodies and I couldn't be happier with my (embarassingly large) haul!! Oh, and the Deal of the Weekend has to have been the brand-new-with-tags Equipment silk shirt from the consignment store for $99 (tag says $208)!

I have been talking for more than a year now about buying fewer items but spending more per item, and I think it's finally happening. Normally I wouldn't even set foot in Club Monaco, for example, because I have it in my head that it's too expensive. And yet here I was, bold as brass, buying two pieces there at full price and feeling awesome about it. My new smaller closet means my wardrobe will need to contract a bit and I want to make every piece really count!

But of course the best part of any YLF get-together is meeting Fabbers and friends old and new. I swear I was positively star-struck to meet Anna and Inge and Sveta! And Jenava looks just as much like young Elizabeth Taylor in person as she does in her photos. Natalie's three children are even MORE adorable in person than in pictures, if that's possible. Diane is the most beautiful, charming English rose you could ever hope to meet, Debbie is the fiesty Texan who just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny, BJ1111 looks even better with her head on her shoulders, and, and... I could go on all day long. There is not a woman among the group whom I am not thrilled and proud to count as a friend!

And in house news, I came home to find that the long-awaited sliding glass doors had finally been installed in the den, and the planting had begun in the back yard. SO AWESOME!! I bought this house because I knew I could open up that room to the outdoors, and the result has met and exceeded my expectations! And as a bonus, the mirrored French doors were installed on the new (smaller) master bedroom closet. BIG FUN!!

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