Monthly Archives: January 2012

Outer Banks Outdoors with the Whitley Boys

My father-in-law, H. Wayne Whitley, Jr. (seated) & friend fishing at Oregon Inlet


I love this photo. My father-in-law was a great outdoorsman and he passed his love for fishing, hunting, and the great outdoors onto his son, who, in turn, has passed it on to our sons.

Martha and Wayne, Virginia Beach
Wayne III, Wayne IV and friend 1987
Sam, crabbing on Pea Island 1993
Michael, at the beach 1996
Wayne IV

Closet Smack-Down

My last post  inspired me to completely, no holds barred, head-to-toe empty my closet, clean, organize and purge. It was remarkably easy taking everything out, putting it back was a challenge.

I have a nice closet:

with lots of shelves









My plan was simple, based on tried and true advice. If it hadn’t been worn or used in a couple of years, or it no longer fit, out it goes. As a result, I took a huge bag of clothing and shoes to The Loft in Kitty Hawk for consignment.

Wine bottles in tall boots keep them from flopping over

For now, my closet is a warm, inviting place and I have a greater appreciation for the things I have and wear regularly.



Baby Needs New Shoes

Sniff, sniff. Baby needs a lot of things and a girl’s weekend shopping trip in DC or Charlotte is at the top of my list. It just isn’t in the cards right now, so sometimes the next best thing is to look at your clothes and shoes in a different light. Mixing them up, trying new combinations.

And that usually means its time to clean out my closet and organize. I have just gotten inspired from this:

The Glitter Guide: Style At Home: Krystal Of This Time Tomorrow. Take a look at the way her shoes are organized. For one thing they are up at eye level, which is way cool. And one shoe is facing front, the other facing back. You can see the toe and heel at the same time, it probably saves a little space too.

And I found this advice at www.kaboose.comA Clean Closet is a Happy Closet

“Organize your wardrobe by type, and then by color within type. For example, arrange your closet as follows: dresses, skirts, pants, blazers and jackets, sweaters, blouses, long-sleeve shirts, and short-sleeve shirts.

Organize items within each clothing type according to color, such as: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.”

I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

Closet cleaning and window shopping…

I love this dress, it’s timeless. Paired with this bag by Jimmy Choo, and neutral pumps, classic style.

The Loft Debuts in Kitty Hawk

I stopped by the big grand opening party at The Loft last Saturday. The Loft is a new upscale consignment store on the Bypass in Kitty Hawk (Milepost 4). I say consignment, but don’t be misled to think it’s a dreary place with piles of old broken furniture and grandpa’s old suits.  The ambience at The Loft is inviting and comfortable, ala Pottery Barn.

I asked owner Diane Fisher to define her creative input. She said, “I have eclectic taste. I like funky and well-made items, and I like to mix this in with classic pieces.”

She has definitely created warm and tempting vignettes with high quality furniture, rich textiles, lighting, and fun accessories. I was enamored with a baby blue sleigh bed and bed linens.

Her partner, Angie Brown, oversees the clothing consignments and has collected some great pieces from designers like Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Vera Wang and Seven For All Mankind. A full-length fur coat graces a manikin next to a shabby chic china cabinet.

Over 300 people attended and enjoyed appetizers by Chef Wes Stepp of Red Sky Cafe and music by DJ Fresh.

Check back again – I am going to feature a weekly update on new merchandise at The Loft.

Sunday Morning Run

It’s 38 degrees outside, clear, but dark. says that the wind is from the north at 0 miles per hour – hmmm – how is that even possible?  Getting layers together for an early morning run with my buddies from Outer Banks Bootcamps. The hardest part is getting out of bed. No, wait, the hardest part is getting out of a perfectly warm car with heated seats. No, sometimes the hardest part is keeping up with everyone else.

So, surprisingly, I was able to keep up with Christine this morning,  she is usually pretty fast. She’s rocking the advanced 5:30 a.m. boot camp with some hard-core intrepid athletes. Thanks for taking it at a more relaxed pace, Christine.  I enjoyed the run and especially the companionship this morning.

My last post was about fitness fashion. I need a couple of items to round out my cold weather gear. These are on my want list:


Fitness Fashion

I don’t roll out of bed and grab any old t-shirt, ratty sweat pants and go work out.

Stylish friend Joan on left, me on right

With kickboxing and boot camp, I’m up and at it about 5 or 6 times a week.  I get up extra early to be sure the clothes are clean and go together – no mismatched socks for me.

Indeed, no matter where I’m going, I always hear my mom’s voice admonishing me to: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

Which has been revised somewhat in my head to read:

Anyway, stylish choices for fitness gear abound on the Outer Banks. Living at the beach goes hand in hand with an active lifestyle. You’ve got surf shops, running stores, golf and tennis stores and department stores (TJ Maxx in Nags Head). My friend Kendra sells Kena Activewear through her Facebook page here. The Kena line has super cute well-made clothing using bamboo blend fibers with superior wicking properties.

My style is pretty simple, black fitted pants or capris, compression panties (the anti-cellulite shorts by Solidea are awesome, available at or, body wicking tee or tank, scrunchy or hat for my hair, sunscreen, tiny diamond hoops, waterproof mascara and lip gloss. This time of year, I might also add several layers for warmth, gloves and a warm hat.

While this top definitely shows off a well-toned back, it’s not very practical for doing sit ups or burpees on the beach – ouch, sand, sand everywhere!

Shoe Envy

Who doesn’t love a great pair of shoes? How about a fantastic pair of boots? Finding the right shoe to go with an outfit is the perfect accessory. Actually, I’ve been known to build the outfit from the shoe. There are few shoe stores on the Outer Banks that can compare with the legendary shoe departments at Nordstrom or Dillards (MacArthur Mall), Belks (in Raleigh or Charlotte), Neiman Marcus or Zappos (online).

But that’s okay, because my life on the Outer Banks really only require four styles: running shoes, flip-flops, boat shoes or suitable flats and rain boots. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t stop me from  buying or lusting after other shoes.

My friend Beverly (watch for her grand opening of Café Franco in March in KDH) and I have an ongoing Shoe Competition via Facebook. We try to outdo each other with either the most beautiful or bizarre shoes found on the Internet. The comments posted by our friends have been pretty hilarious. Here’s a sample:

"u have got to be kidding me" by Martha
"Upholstery for your feet!!" by Joan
"that's a shoe?! Yeah, I'd like to see y'all run in those!" by Mel

Recreating the Outfit

I try to buy local as much as possible, but almost every girl on the Outer Banks likes to leave the island for a day and go to a MALL. My favorite is MacArthur Center in Norfolk, and my first stop is always Nordstrom. On a recent trip, I found a pair of AG straight-leg jeans in teal (definitely a trendy color – but they were on sale, and well made). I paired them with a mustard long sleeve tee, and brought them home.

Have you ever noticed that outfits never look the same as they did in the store? Maybe it’s the lighting and the mirrors in the store’s dressing room, or lack of good lighting in my home. I don’t know, but I wasn’t feeling the love when I put them on for the first time. So I wore the jeans with something safe, and  the top with my favorite blue jeans.


Then I saw this outfit at, and thought yes… these colors do belong together.

So, I tried again, and added a vintage chiffon scarf that belonged to my mother and a beaded lariat.

New Year’s Resolution: Thinking Outside the Box, the Beach Box, that is

As I was stumbling the Internet the other day, I came across a blog,  The tagline is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

The gist of the current post, as with most New Year’s posts, is about setting goals. And the goals at The Nester are relative to house and home.

Which got me thinking.  I live in a 25 year old reverse-floor plan single family home. We’ve made three major renovations, but it’s still a REVERSE FLOOR PLAN. For those of you not familiar with this layout, a reverse floor plan is a house on pilings (typically 8 feet above ground), with a drive under or carport and (hopefully) an entry on the ground floor, bedrooms on the middle floor, and kitchen, living, dining and maybe an extra bedroom on the top floor. A lot of homes on the Outer Banks are built this way to take advantage of views of the ocean or sound from the upper floors.

No Water Views Here

As the trees grew in our back yard, our views of the ocean dwindled. We haven’t had a view of the water for at least 10 years. We love where we live, but we are over the stairs. We want our main living areas – the kitchen, living and master bedroom to share the same floor at ground level. But tearing down and starting over is a major expense and not in our foreseeable budget.

So we’re stuck in a mode of not doing anything, except basic maintenance. But the post at The Nester made me take pause and think about making some goals of my own. Here are a few of her ideas (I won’t list them all here, just the ones that spoke to me):

  •  What’s my favorite room in my house? Why?
  • How and where does my family hang out together?  What’s working for that room? What’s annoying in that room?
  • Is there something in my home I want to do but I’m afraid?  What if I take that risk?  What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Am I neglecting my home and not putting money into something that is needed?
  • Stop apologizing for your home.
birds on beach aug 2009 twilight

What to Wear?

As an agent at a marina community, surrounded by wooden boardwalk, boats, sand and marsh, my typical workplace uniform consists of layers: jeans or khaki’s, logo embellished tops, comfortable walking shoes. Polished to meet clients, yet appropriate for the elements. People don’t want to buy property at the beach from someone in a suit and heels.

However, today, I had a meeting with a fund-raising committee, and I wanted to be a bit more sophisticated. I realized as I pulled this skirt from the closet, that it’s been several years that I’ve worn it.

So this consists of my favorite go-to black turtleneck from Ann Taylor, skirt found at Lady Victorian in Duck, NC, Wolford tights and Cordani shoes purchased at Belks in Charlotte (they have a great shoe department)!