Thursday, April 30, 2009

DIY Makeover Quote of the Day #5

I like this. It's sort of an antidote to yesterday's review.

I'm of the view that the older you get, the more quietly you should follow fashion-- follow it, of course, but at a distance.

--from Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me, by Lucia van der Post

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How To Be Paranoid About Getting Old

As I said last time, I just finished reading "How Not To Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better" by Charla Krupp.(How's that for a mouthful?)

Her introduction is called "Forget Aging Gracefully" and she spends several pages discussing how awful it looks to get old and how likely a woman is to get kicked out of her job if she doesn't look as trim and beautiful as the younger women around her. I'm not sure I agree, but I guess considering she has spent her career as fashion editor at various magazines, she may have a point, at least in her own case.

The basis of the book is spread in large letters across pages two and three:

We're not going to grow old gracefully (or gratefully.)

We're not going to celebrate our wrinkles (you've got to be kidding)

We're not going to join the Women Who Had Too Much Work Done club (like our mothers and their friends.)

We're not going to look old.

From there she gives you a quiz to discover your maintenance level: High, Medium, or Low. I fell somewhere between Medium and Low. For example, on question 9:

You wash your face with:
a. whatever your dermatologist prescribes.
b. a prestige brand cleanser
c. whatever's in the soap dish

I have a nice cleanser, but it's not a "prestige brand," so I don't exactly fit.

Or number 12:

Your handbag that you tote day in, day out
a. is one of several must-have bags of the moment.
b. is the one new bag you buy every season.
c. is the same one you've used for years.

My purse is one of three or four that I switch between, depending on the season, and I get a new one when one wears out. Where does that answer fit?

The author classifies herself as High Maintenance and freely tells us that her yearly upkeep runs $7,398.

The rest of the book is chapters on specific things you can do to look younger, such as wearing bangs, lightening your hair color (a "must" for woman over forty, she says), whitening your teeth, changing your makeup, updating your hemlines, or not wearing too much jewelry. The purpose here is to learn to look "Y&H" (young and hip) and NOT "OL" (old lady).

Much of the advice is actually good, and there are pictures of celebrities, and an occasional "real" woman, to prove it, although her insistence on NO wrinkles, NO gray (or even dark) hair is annoying.

The best part is that every chapter includes options for High Maintenance, Medium Maintenance, and Low Maintenance, which is helpful. In the chapter on Managing Your Wrinkles, her list of "Brilliant Buys" for Moisturizers includes choices such as Olay Complete Defense SPF 30 Daily UV Moisturizer for $13.99, Estee Lauder Hydra Complete Multi-Level Moisture Creme for Dry Skin, $40, and Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Cream, $360.

However, in the chapter on updating your eyewear, here are the choices:

High: Updating your eyewear every season is de reguer. It's no different than buying new shoes and bags. You need a pair of glasses for the office, for the weekend, and for black-tie events. And then there are sunglasses, sports glasses, driving glasses, lazy-Sunday-afternoon glasses... Go to the chicest boutique in town and do one-stop shopping.

Medium: Update only one category a year in your wardrobe of frames for work, play, and dressy occasions. Go to the chicest boutique in town to research the frames you want, then shop smart online. Bring the frames to your optician and have the lenses put in.

Low: Buy one pair of super-chic glasses that serve all your needs. To save on the frames, buy hip reading glasses at a department store or specialty shop, bring them to the optician, and have your prescription popped in. To save on sunglasses, consider transitional lenses.

This is pretty typical of the kinds of advice she gives. The HIGH option is so off the charts that I can't imagine anyone who could really do it. My glasses cost me about $500 a pop. To buy six new ones every season is an expenditure I don't even want to think about. However, I will say that if you are used to spending three to five hundred on a new bag or a pair of shoes every few weeks, then it may not seem that outlandish to you, so go for it.

The LOW option is most likely impossible. Those cheap drugstore frames will not have the lens template for your optician's lab to use to cut the lenses. Yes, they could just use the original lenses for a pattern, but then the new lenses will be too big for the frame. Even if you come in with an old pair of glasses that you bought from them, if the frames are too outdated, they will not be able to put new lenses in for you, because they have thrown away the templates. (Ask me how I know.)

In summary, If all you want is some ideas for staying fresh looking as you age, this book isn't it.

However, the book follows its premise very well. If you despise the idea of looking older, you will find a lot of practical advice and pep-talking.

Say it with me: We will NOT get old! You can do it! There's no place like youth! There's no place like youth!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DIY Makeover: Quote of the Day #4

I just finished reading "How Not To Look Old" by Charla Krupp, and I want to give you a review, or synopsis, or at least my opinion of it. And as soon as I sort out my thoughts, I will.

In the meantime, here's another fashion quote for you:

But I remain dependent on The Jacket. Even jeans and a plain t-shirt will look pulled-together with a good jacket. I probably splurge a bit more on jackets now than any other article of clothing, because of the power they have to make or break an outfit. Except for handbags and shoes, of course. A great pair of shoes and a dynamite bag will make whatever you're wearing look more stylish.

--from Une femme d'un certain age

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The End-- Or is it?

We spent the afternoon today playing a music program for a Volunteer Appreciation Tea. And since Hubby had said this would very likely be the last time we would play a program as a family, we decided to do all of our favorites. We didn't spend any time thinking about pleasing our audience, only ourselves.

So we played "Hannah's Song," a song GuitarGeek wrote, and "It's Good to be Home," a song LovelyDaughter wrote. And "There is a Peace," a song they wrote together. Altogether we played five songs our kids wrote, a couple of which we've only done in public a handful of times, because they were rather special, only appropriate for certain audiences. The other five songs were songs that were favorites of one or the other of us, and all had some sort of story connected to them.

In other words, these songs represented US, as our family music band. All these songs were from our hearts, and inspired us in some way, which is why we did them in the first place.

We played our best, because we were enjoying our songs, and enjoying sharing them with the ones listening. And the strangest thing happened.

Everyone loved us. I mean, really loved us. We haven't had so many people come thank us, or ask for CDs, since we first started playing together. We were all shocked and gratified and blown away.

All the way home we were asking ourselves, What happened? We were ready to throw in the towel, figuring our time for family music was over. Family practicing was a pain, getting ready for a program was difficult. There were tensions because of differing tastes in music style. But as we talked it over, we figured it out.

As best I can see, it's like this: Somewhere along the line we lost our passion for who we are as a musical group. We became torn between our own individual preferences, and what we thought our audiences wanted to hear. Our music became uninspiring to us, and in consequence, uninspiring to our listeners.

When we first started playing about eight years ago, we got quite a few calls for programs, and we were playing two or three times a month, sometimes more often, which I think is a lot for a young family with many other responsibilities, and not getting paid more than perhaps gas money. (A family we knew who made their living with a travelling music show was playing about once or twice a week.) But in the last couple of years, we've played maybe six times TOTAL.

In light of that, I think my assessment is correct. We had lost our passion, our vision, and were trying to please people, and therefore we were no longer pleasing.

As I told our kids when we got home: We were just US, and people like US. People LIKE the sum of what we all become when we play together what we are really good at, and when we like what we play. They really do! I am breathless with wonder.

And now we have a question in front of us. Was this just a wonderful bang to end our family music "career"? Or have we been given vision to take up the baton and move forward once again? It's rather coincidental that I have lost all of our program music. We had to do all of it from memory. I thought to myself that that could be a sign; a sign that either we are done, or that it's time for a new direction.

One thing is sure. We definitely need to record what we did today before these songs that our kids wrote-- that are not actually written down, but are only in memory-- disappear into the busy-ness of life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quick Takes Friday

1. I finally got my seeds planted. You know, the ones that say "start indoors six to eight weeks early"? We have approximately five weeks till we usually put our garden in. Close enough.

2. However, I think I got a little carried away with some of them. I have something like 47 baby broccoli plants. And if every hot pepper seed sprouts, I will have about a hundred of them. And those aren't even for me, they're for the boys. So I guess they have 30 plants apiece. Whew. At least it's not 100.

3. We are playing a musical program on Saturday, and I'm feeling a little sentimental about it because Hubby says this is probably our last program as a family. With LovelyDaughter married it's getting harder to pull off, and with DrummerDude planning to go off to YWAM next fall it will be even harder. We've already pulled back quite a bit in the last year and played only a handful of times. But to more or less officially declare it DONE is, well, sad, and makes me wistful.

4. Regarding my wardrobe makeover: I suddenly realized recently that I am all set for fall and winter, but I have very little now for spring and summer, so I've been planning, or trying to plan, my warm weather outfits. I decided to go with red and white with splashes of other bright colors, and keep a little of the black and gray, at least until it gets really hot.

5. I had a little time yesterday to stop at the local Goodwill store, and I found a few more items for my new wardrobe:

--a tailored, knee-length red skirt
--a crisp stretchy wrap skirt in a bright red and white print. (still new with tags!)
--red sleeveless blouse that matches the red skirt so well it looks like a two piece dress.
--black and white polka dot dress. It's strapless, made of stretchy knit, and ties around the neck. (I'm still debating if it's "age appropriate" or not. If not, LovelyDaughter will be the gainer.)
--white eyelet skirt

I spent an hour in the evening mixing up all my clothes, and I must have done a good job choosing these new items, because I was able to make all SORTS of combinations.

6. Hubby has been up to his ears in spring work--tree trimming and roofing--which is wonderful. It keeps me on my toes because I have to be ready to pack a lunch at the drop of a hat, or have a meal ready at home, and also have lots of cookies and other goodies ready. Yesterday I made something I call "Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies." They're good, and they have enough nuts and oatmeal and raisins that you can eat them for breakfast with milk and feel nourished.

7. Remember when I said I was sick? Well, I think I'm well, but I have a lingering cough, and it's getting VERY old. Any suggestions for getting rid of chest crud?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DIY Makeover: Quote(s) of the Day #3

More from The Pocket Stylist, by Kendall Farr:

All women should worship the almighty unbroken line. Meaning, we're always looking for silhouettes and proportions that will create the longest-looking body line.


If a "must-have" piece you've clocked in the fashion pages doesn't help you achieve thet vertical line it created on the model, you'll leave it in the dressing room and look for a version of the idea that works for you.


In fact, there are only two kinds of clothes in the fashion universe: those that fit and flatter your body shape and size, and those that don't.

Monday, April 20, 2009

DIY Makeover: Quote of the Day #2

A trend is only relevant for you if it has a shape that fits and flatters your body.

--from The Pocket Stylist, by Kendall Farr.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DIY Makeover: Quote of the Day

Stylish: wearing clothes that suit your personality, your body shape, proportions and colouring along with good grooming and a great pair of shoes will make you stylish.

--from Inside Out Style.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Links I Found to Cool Info About Looking Great, or What I Do When I'm Sick

So. Yesterday I felt pretty crummy. Tired, wrung out, and coughing all day. Actually, that should be COUGHING. It wasn't so much the quantity as the quality, meaning, I didn't cough non-stop, but when I did cough it was powerful.


I took the time to do some hands-on internet research about fashion, style, clothing, and creating your image, and I'd like to share. (I've also told myself no more studying till I've digested what I've already learned.)

Here are some great places to go learn about style and fashion, especially if you're over forty:

Inside Out Style. I learned about Color and Value and Contrast and Proportion. And the gal there likes to put together outfits and show you what she means. Very helpful.

Of A Certain Age. Subtitled "Musings, Stylings and Inspirations for Grownup Women."

Real Style, Real People. Subtitled "AN AFFORDABLE AND REALISTIC TAKE ON STYLE! For those of us who've left our twenties in the dust, or thirties, or fourties..." My favorite thing on this blog is when she posts a photo of a celebrity and then a photo of how she recreated their great outfit.

And here's one I really like: Fabulous After Forty-- Fashion and beauty advice to help you Tweak Your Chic™. The two gals who write the blog are fashion savvy and enthusiastic, which is fun and encouraging, and they also publish a FREE bi-weekly e-zine that you can have sent to your inbox, which of course I have done.

I have written before about what I have learned about creating a wardrobe, and now I'm learning about how to have style. It's fun, even if a little overwhelming, and I'm determined to begin now to be the person I want to be in this second half of my life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brief Makeover Update

I had a chance to try out my new wardrobe this past weekend at the conference we were at. It was a smashing success: the other ladies on the worship team-- who had no idea I had been making myself over-- had incredibly nice things to say about me and my new look. (One outfit I wore: Black tailored, fitted shirt; black leather skirt; black tights; black patent sandals; grey metallic cardigan; white scarf; necklace with matching earrings) I'm very pleased with the result, since these ladies are very well-dressed themselves, so I think I got an "A"!

I've been looking around some more, seeing what else I can learn, and basically trying to brainwash myself, so to speak, into thinking more stylishly, and I found an interesting comment in the book "Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45" by Christopher Hopkins. The author said that too often for woman our age, our fashion shows more about who we have been than who we are now. He encourages woman to make a statement about who they actually are now.

That has stuck with me, and I've been thinking about it. I agree, with one slight modification: I want how I dress to be indicative of who I want to become in this next half of my life. I really am not sure who I am at this point. But I'm beginning to have an inkling of what I'd like to BE.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In which the weather can't make up its mind

We're home after our weekend adventure. I say "adventure" because after a beautiful spring day Friday, on Saturday a spring storm came through and threatened to snow us all in. By mid-morning, the interstate was closed west of us to the Wyoming line. Therefore, the people in charge decided to end the conference early: at noon Saturday, instead of five o'clock.

We got out of there at two, after tearing down the sound gear and packing up, etc. It was snowing pretty good, and had been for a couple of hours. After a while we drove into rain, and it rained on us most of the two and a half hours home. Shortly after we got home we heard the town sirens go off and learned that two tornadoes touched down a few miles from us.

It rained most of the night, turning to snow by morning. When we got up Sunday our electricity was off, and there was snow on the ground and snow stuck all over our trees. Good thing the trees haven't leafed out yet, or there would have been a lot of damage from the heavy, wet snow.

It was our Sunday on the worship team, so we got ready for church, and headed the van out. The interstate was covered with a thick layer of frozen slush, the wind was strong, and there was lots of snow in the air. It wasn't actually snowing much, but the high winds were whipping the snow around and visibility was very poor. Also, the road was slick and we kept sliding around. We could only go 35 mph. Then we noticed we were the only vehicle on the road, except for one sand truck/snow plow. After a very few miles Hubby decided this was ridiculous. At that rate our trip to church would take well over an hour instead of 45 minutes.

We called our worship leader and told her we were turning back, and at the next exit we discovered that the interstate was CLOSED. I'm not sure, but we might have only gotten on because of a fluke-- the gate post at our exit had been broken off by somebody sliding on the ice. (I had actually seen the broken post, and had said, "See? I told you that was a stupid place for a post on that curve! It's right where someone would hit it if they were going a little too fast and missed the corner." Which I always say because Hubby loves to play race car driver on the entrance ramp, and it always looked to me like he was going to hit that post!)

Since the interstate was closed, we couldn't go either west (on to church) OR east (back home) and had to drive gravel. It was pretty much white-out all the way. I'm glad we were only a few miles from home.

Back home, down in our little valley, it was once again a picture-postcard-perfect day. Very little wind, pretty snow on everything. Electricity back on. By afternoon, the temperature had come up and the roads cleared themselves nicely.

Today, it's sunny, but too windy and wet for Hubby to do the tree work he has lined up, so he is in the shop, making bowls on his turning lathe. Swede is here too-- Hubby called him up early and said, "We got pancakes and eggs, if you bring the bacon!" Swede has his turning lathe here too, and it's a party!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Still Here, Still Thinking--Wanna Join Me?

Tonight I'm trying to head off to bed early, but it's not working. MB3 is working with someone else (besides Hubby) tomorrow and needs a lunch packed by 6:15am. Have you ever had to pack a full meal and two snacks for an 18-year-old boy who is working on a roof all day? It's quite a task believe me. However, I have all but the sandwiches ready to go already, so I won't have to think too hard at 6 in the morning. And then I'll have an hour before I have to pack DrummerDude's lunch. Think it's enough time for a nap? :)

Then, at noon, Hubby and I and GuitarGeek head out to help with a conference-- it's a yearly event that we've participated in for several years now. We will be taking a sound system and our instruments, and will be playing on the worship team tomorrow night and Saturday. I'm looking forward to it.

I've been a little anxious about my wardrobe for the weekend, but not for my usual reasons. Usually, I'm uptight because I don't know how to come up with something dressy out of my limited wardrobe. But this year, I have lots of choices! It's just been a matter of what the weather will be. Hubby just checked the forecast, and now I know: dress for spring tomorrow (sunny, high temp of nearly 60), and winter on Saturday (4-7 inches of snow!) That's spring in Nebraska for you!

I have a lot of things I've been thinking about lately, as I mentioned the last time I posted, and I've written quite a few posts in my head. Sorry you've missed out on all that. Some of it's been pretty deep and soul-searching. I've agonized over doctrine, and other questions of faith. I've been surprised at anger (my own), sorrowful over selfishness (yes, my own), annoyed at pet peeves. If I'd been writing all those things down it would not have been a very pretty place here the last couple of weeks; although, it might have been interesting. (More interesting than say, no posts at all?)

Well, if you'd like to start a conversation, go to No Longer Quivering and take a look around. One of the blog writers is from my home state, and I used to read the paper she edited, as well as the columns she wrote. Her recent sudden 180 degree turnaround, away from God, has been quite a shock to me (and is one of the things that's been on my mind.) After you read her story, I'd love to have you come back here and tell me what you think.

I probably won't be around till Monday, or maybe Sunday, so you have plenty of time to decide what to say!