Monday, June 14, 2010

DIY Makeover Quote #14

"It takes creativity to wear one dress ten ways; any dummy with a credit card can buy out the mall."

--from Rebekah, via Academichic

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Long Time Gone

There have been a lot of things going on around here in life, and in my head. Much of it has been too complicated or too personal to write about here. Also, as I've mentioned before, I've discovered Facebook, where I can sum up my life in short blurbs, and I read all the blurbs of my friends' lives.

I have just a few items of interest to share. One, I'm going to be a grandma in a few short months. New relationships! New roles!

Two, I am re-connecting this fall with an aspect of myself that I have ignored and even shunned for a long time: I'm going back to school. I'm not sure yet where that journey is taking me, or how long it will be, but I'm excited.

Three, because of those two things, I am seriously considering shutting down this blog altogether. I already post very infrequently, and it may be time to close it down as I move into the next things.

This blog was originally about finding myself in my mid-life-- whether I communicated that or not-- and it looks like I AM finding new direction and purpose, so it remains to be seen if I still need this particular outlet.

If you try to find me later, and you can't, you'll know what happened!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Fashion: Elie Saab

This is an auspicious day: I found a designer whose designs I like, and would actually buy and wear if I had a big pile of money in my back yard. Here are a few of my favorites from Elie Saab's Fall 2010 lineup.

I could see myself wearing this one to church:
Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

Or this one (with a camisole):
Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

I like this one too:
Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

The bandage neckline and body-hugging skirt catch my eye on this one:

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

And this jacket! Oh, I like this jacket!:
Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

I don't know what this is supposed to be; some sort of new camouflage? But I like it:

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

And something lacey:
Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

Can I wear this one, pretty please? (with a long nude slip underneath...):

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

I wish I had a red carpet event to go to:

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

On second thought, maybe I want this one instead:

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

Or maybe this one:

Elie Saab Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

I can't believe that I liked over HALF of this designer's collection. I'm sure it helps that many of the street length dresses were knee length--much more desirable from my 48-year-old point of view than the shirt-length dresses other designers are showing.

It's probably good thing I don't have lots of money or I would want to spend it all on these dresses!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fashion Peeve #4: The Future is Yesterday

Here in Nebraska we are still in the tight clutches of winter. Yet last week when I was out shopping I saw spring clothing boldly displayed, and all the winter stuff was crowded onto a few clearance racks. I can understand that. Even though we are probably at least a month away from being able to wear any of the new styles, I can see that it's fun and interesting to plan ahead. Plus, it's a welcome distraction from the unending snow and ice and cold temperatures.

BUT--and here's my latest peeve-- now I'm seeing fashion forecasting for NEXT FALL! Come on. I'm not ready to think that far ahead. I still have to plan what I'm going to wear this coming summer!

Related to that is this: Fashion forecasting is a game, not biblical prophecy.

At least, that's what I've decided. People who love and know a lot about fashion try to guess what the new trends will be in the next couple or three seasons. Sometimes they are right, but just as often they are wrong. Sometimes they were right for only a brief moment. I saw fashions last spring that only lasted long enough for the first run to get bought, and then the trend was gone again. If I had jumped, I would have only had time to wear my cutting edge whatsit once before it would have been So Last Week.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fashion Friday: Oh, NOW I Get it.....

"Haute Couture should be fun, foolish and almost unwearable" - Christian Lacroix, high-end French fashion designer.

To wit:

Givenchy Spring 2010
Givenchy Spring 2010 Couture

Christian Dior Spring 2010
Christian Dior Spring 2010 Couture

Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2010
Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2010 Couture

Chanel Spring 2010
Chanel Spring 2010 Couture

Valentino Spring 2010
Valentino Spring 2010 Couture

Alexis Mabille Spring 2010
Alexis Mabille Spring 2010 Couture

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wardrobe Maintenance

Looking at photos of myself over the years, I realize I used to have pretty nice clothes. They weren't expensive, but I looked reasonably put together, especially in college, where at my Bible college I was required to wear dresses to class; and in the early days of my marriage, when I still had those college clothes. But somewhere along the line I lost whatever sense of style I had, little as it may have been, and I'm wondering what happened.

I've been thinking about it, and I think I've discovered the answer. My wardrobe suffered from lack of maintenance. Since I had no "style" to speak of, I had no plan, no vision of what  my wardrobe should consist of. It was mainly whatever caught my eye, that I could afford, that looked halfway decent on  me, that matched at least one other thing in my closet. (One style sense I did have was the love of mixing and matching.) Over the years, as I've changed shape and sizes, what with having babies and growing older, I've outgrown or worn out different items in my closet, and I never replaced them.

Many years ago my wardrobe had a lot of brown and cream. For example, I had a nice brown linen pencil skirt and a cream sweater with pastel flowers embroidered on the shoulder, and to go with it, a pair of tan heels. There is a photo of me wearing that outfit, while holding my first born, who was one year old at the time, and I actually don't cringe when I look at it. But what happened? Well, the waistband on the skirt became too tight--my waistline just never went back that skinny. The sweater became pilled and a little shrunken--and besides, at some point I became disgusted with acrylic sweaters and threw all of mine out. (I did "replace" them, sort of--with cotton sweatshirts! What was I thinking?) I don't remember what happened to the shoes, but my guess is I ran out of things that I felt "went" with them, and got rid of them. Eventually, my wardrobe degenerated to the point where I was wearing jeans everywhere, including church, because that was all I had. It never occurred to me, when I outgrew my brown skirt, to find another brown skirt, to keep  my wardrobe going,  or to find another cream sweater in a different fiber when I tired of the acrylic one.

Now, I've learned. I've learned that when I find a basic, classic piece of clothing in a color and fit that suits me, I will replace it when it become unwearable, as many times as necessary, until I change my style and I need something else. But I will no longer just let something die. It must be replaced if I want to keep my wardrobe to continue to function efficiently.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Makeover Quote #13

My memorable quote today comes from an unexpected source: On Writing Well, by William Zinsser. The author is discussing the subject of good taste in your writing style, and then he gives this example:

A woman with taste in clothes delights us with her ability to turn herself out every day in a combination that's not only stylish and surprising; it's also exactly right. Taste is the instinct to know what works and to avoid what doesn't.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Triumph of Individual Style: A Review

The most helpful book about personal style that I've read so far is this one: The Triumph of Individual Style: A Guide to Dressing Your Body, Your Beauty, Your Self

The book approaches style from the perspective of art. Using many illustrations from famous paintings of women (usually nudes), as well as charts and diagrams, the authors show that all body types are just that: types--not problems or flaws--and all are beautiful. The key to showcasing your personal beauty is in the art world: proportion, line, and color.

With the authors' help I began looking at my body as a work of art, a sculpture or a painting, and I began to understand the basic principles behind why certain clothing shapes and designs work or don't work on me. It's a matter of proportion. Just as in art, there are certain lines and proportion that are generally pleasing to the eye, and the closer you can get to that, the more pleasing your form will be to others. And it's not a matter of the "in" body type this season; it's a matter of working with the proportions of your own body.

There is also a whole section on color, with pages of color swatches that you use to find your own personal palette of color. I did this exercise with my daughter and we each ended up with a little key ring of color cards of our "colors." The difference from other color theories being that in this case the colors were truly MY colors: the four colors of my eyes (the iris, the ring around it, the specks, the whites), the two colors of my hair (the base color and the highlights), the two colors of my skin (the actual skin color, and the undertone), rather than a set of colors that are supposed to look good on me. The idea behind this is that you will then find colors to wear that enhance the colors of YOU. This actually works. I have found that my eyes, instead of being green are actually two shades of gray that look green from a distance. This is why certain shades of gray seem to make my eyes bigger and prettier.

The last page of the book has an unexpected quote that sums up the philosophy of the book:

For thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fashion--Just Me

These are some photos of me that I entered in YouLookFab's Maxxinista contest a while back. I didn't win the $300 gift certificate from TJMaxx (boo) but I did get to see myself from the outside, so to speak, by taking pictures of my outfits and looking at them objectively. There are several more that didn't make the cut, but they are buried in the bowels of my laptop, which is inaccessible right now because the power cord died again. If and when I get my laptop back I'd like to post those pics also and get some advice on why those outfits don't work as well as I'd thought.

First up, one of my favorite outfits that I have worn quite a bit. With the jacket--
Maxxinista Gray and Pink, part 2 by cynthikat.

Without the jacket--
Maxxinista Gray and Pink, part 1 by cynthikat.

Next, a great fall outfit, using clamdiggers with boots, instead of jeans, and using the "column of color" idea I learned at Inside Out Style. Although, technically, I should be wearing the cardigan open, so the denim blue flows in a long line.
Maxxinista Black and Blue by cynthikat.

I liked this next outfit better before I saw the photo of it. I'm wearing a white vee-neck tee under the cardigan, and in real life, about an inch of it shows at the neckline, which is difficult to pick out here. The shoes, I love. I get complimented every time I wear them, even though according to some stylists they are all wrong, because they have a horizontal strap across the foot, supposedly making my legs look short. However, I think the horizontal line is counteracted by the vertical strap, and the fact that the shoe is very open, showing a lot of foot.
Maxxinista Black and White by cynthikat.

What do you think? I'm open to comments and suggestions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fashion Peeve #3

I didn't title this Peeve, because I'm not sure how to phrase it in a pithy way. It's going to take me a whole paragraph, or at least a sentence, and here goes:

What's with the fashion experts who tell us that the cheap way to update our Look every season is with bags and shoes? Bags and shoes are not necessarily inexpensive, especially not the ones the same experts are telling us to update with. A trendy leather bag for $800? A pair of killer heels for $300? I'd hate to see what the experts are paying for their jeans and sweaters if those are the CHEAP items.

Personally, I don't like to spend more than $2500 for a bag, but that's just me.....

And really, I don't think I own a single "bag," because I buy "purses."

However, I do like my shoes to be of as high of a quality as I can afford. I like good leather, comfort, cute styling, and something that will last a while. I hold to the philosophy of Hercule Poirot---Mystery writer Agatha Christie's famous detective---who said that however shabby an impoverished British Lady may have become, her footwear will always be of the highest quality.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Does anybody else get these?

I got an interesting piece of mail the other day. It was addressed to The Main Grocery Shopper {well, that would be me} and the letter inside began:

Dear Shopper,

As a Nebraska resident, you play a key role in our Consumer Surveys.

Once in a while we carefully select individuals {oh, you do, huh?} in your community---those whom we feel represent the smartest, most value conscious shoppers {well, thank you}. If our hunch {hunch? Your "mass mailing" hunch?} is right, you are such a person.

I read through the enclosed survey and felt like throwing it over my head in frustration. Under the category "Grocery Products" there were listed items such as bottled water, cookies, crackers, frozen fish, frozen meat substitutes (what is that?), frozen pizza, salad dressing, whipped topping, snack bars. Beside each item there were two check boxes for me to tell how often I buy these products. Here were my choices:

3 or More Times Per Month or 1 or 2 Times Per Month.

Seriously? Who buys whipped topping every week? I buy juice once or twice a month, salad dressing a few times per year, hot dogs once in the summer, frozen fish rarely (it's expensive here in the landlocked midwest), and "frozen meat substitutes" never.

The rest of the survey was the same. Lists and lists of products I never use, such as canned soups and frozen waffles and artificial sweeteners-- all wanting to know how often per month I buy them.

Either this survey is ridiculous or I'm more out of step with modern America than I knew--which, of course, is very possible. The kicker was this question:

How often does your household do the following At Least Once A Week or Twice a Week or More Often?

~Prepare meals from scratch {uh, every day, twice a day}
~Use ready-to-serve dishes {never}
~Order in or take-out {how do you do that, anyway?}
~Eat at a restaurant {once in a while}

By the end of my perusal of the survey I came to see that if I filled out any of it, I would probably soon be inundated with magazine subscription requests, and coupons for products I never use (to encourage me to try them), and credit card offers. No thanks. I threw the thing away, in spite of the cheerful promise that I "may" receive "a chance to win thousands of dollars in cash."

Do you get consumer surveys? What do you do with them?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Makeover Quote #12

I started very early to believe in an inside-out concept--that if you look as good as you can, you will feel better. ~~Jil Sander, designer.

How you feel in clothes is as important as how you look in them. ~~Leah Feldon, author of "Does This Make Me Look Fat?"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Like a kid in a candy store...

....that's what I'm like at the annual Library Book Sale. There are tables and tables of books set out for sale, either library discards or donations, priced at ten cents for a paperback (twelve for a dollar!) or fifty cents for a hardcover. Them's penny candy prices!

In spite of the fact that I love the annual January sale, I never seem to keep up on what week it actually transpires each year, and it's hit or miss for me. Sometimes I catch it, sometimes I don't. This year, I happened to walk in on it, and not having prepared for it, I only had a dollar or so in change with me. So I stuck to looking at paperbacks, figuring that was the biggest bang for my literal buck.

The biggest find (literally and figuratively) was this:

For several months now I've been wanting a copy of The Jerusalem Bible, partly because I've read about it and it sounded interesting, and partly because, to tell the truth, I'm a bit of a bible version junkie.

Years ago, I had all sorts of odd versions, and then I had the misfortune to read a couple of books that argued that the King James version was the only inspired, God-ordained version, and I got rid of all my non-KJV bibles. Then I changed my mind, and once again I am enjoying accumulating and reading many different versions. (Most of them, except for my KJV {smile}, are cheap paperback copies, because how can I justify owning piles of expensive leather bibles--even though I would love to if I could afford it--when so many people don't even have ONE bible? That's my guilty disclaimer... Anyway...)

On my bible shelf at this moment I have:

Phillips New Testament
The Five Books of Moses (Everett Fox)

and, now, of course, The Jerusalem Bible.

Which brings me back to my original thread of my great deals at the book sale. I was so tickled at finding the bible, beings as that particular incarnation is out of print and hard to find, not to say kind of expensive when you CAN find it, that I figured I bought the bible with my dollar and the other eleven books were FREE!

And now I just have to share something. This morning as I was waking up, wondering how achy I was going to be once I got up, and wishing my golfer's/tennis elbow would subside, I suddenly thought I knew why sometimes we feel betrayed by God. If we are put here in this life to accomplish certain things, and are given promises by God that he would help us, then  we find we are failing because we are ill, and feeling helpless and abandoned-- well, it sort of feels unfair. God is expecting things from us we can't do. In addition, we know that we walk by faith, not by sight, and that we are being trained in faith-- but for what? Normally when a person trains for something, it's because they are going to do that very thing. You practice running to run. You practice dancing to dance. The idea of learning to live without hearing God speak, or seeing him work, or without his help, seems to point to a horrible eternity. As I asked Hubby later, What are we being trained for?

But then. This morning after my vacuuming was done I picked up my new bible, and began reading. I just sort of flipped around, reading a few pages here and there, getting a "feel" for it. Then I read this, from 2 Corinthians:

"...though this outer man of ours may be falling into decay, the inner man is renewed day by day. Yes, the troubles which are soon over, though they weigh little, train us for the carrying of a weight of eternal glory which is out of all proportion to them."

Oh my goodness. There's my answer, in my exact terms. We are being trained for glory. Wow. I don't know exactly what that will look like, but it's gotta be good.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

36 Ways to Reduce Stress

I stole this list from via It's Almost Naptime. I especially like (read: need to work on) number 11. Also, my response to number 35 is "Thank God!"

1. Pray

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say "No," to projects/activities that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and un-clutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you to do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K. M. S. (Keep Mouth Shut.) This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough exercise.

18. Eat right.

19. Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write thoughts and inspirations down.

22. Everyday, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until its time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus!"

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but yourself not at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33. Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fashion--Outfits for Spring

Here are some looks for this spring I'd like to copy. Well, either the look itself, or certain aspects of it.

1)For example, this outfit from Ann Taylor:

See the nice, soft gray/black slacks? See the blue sweater? Yes, I like this. I've begun experimenting with the black+blue or dark gray+blue vibe, after I saw a write-up about black and ink blue that inspired me, and it's working. I actually bought a thin-striped denim blue/dark blue flyaway-type cardigan on clearance at TJ Maxx not long ago. I intended to wear it with denim, to create a long, lean monochromatic line, which, by the way, does look nice. But then the other night I tried it with black jeans, black boots, and a vee neck black tee. Wowzer. I liked the look very much. So-- new color scheme for late winter, early spring: black and denim blue, or black and inky blue.

Also, yes, the dark gray comfy pants. I have a pair something like that with elastic waistband for sleeping in. Ancient, and stretched out. But one day Hubby brought them to me to put on in place of my jeans while I was relaxing by the stove, and the sharp look of the dark gray with the brown shirt I had on suddenly made me realize I was missing out on another great wardrobe option. So the hunt is on for dark gray pants, possibly comfy knit, and also denim, or corduroy.

2)Here's a look from Ann Taylor Loft:

What I like: the skinny jeans. The jacket. The scarf. The wedge sandals.
The belt? Not so much. I'm so short waisted I get all bunchy and lose my waist altogether when I belt over top like that.

3)This outfit is from Banana Republic:

I like the skinny jeans. I've been wearing regular flare leg jeans tucked into boots a lot this winter, which is giving the effect of skinny jeans-- the straight leg look all the way down-- and it seems to look nice on me. I like the leather jacket. I'd like to get one if I can. I like the skinny scarf thing.

4)Another one from Banana Republic:

I don't look very good in khaki colors, but the general look is what catches my eye here: the skinny jeans, the trench, the scarf-- and look at those shoes. Some sort of shoe bootie. I think that's the spring version of jeans tucked into boots: skinny jeans with booties.

5)Aside from the fact that the skirt is WAY too short, this outfit from Banana Republic looks very do-able.

In fact, I can actually make this outfit already. I have black leather boots, black tights, a black and white graphic skirt, a black vee-neck boyfriend cardigan. I'll have to try it and see if 1) it works with a knee length skirt, and 2) it works for me.

6)And one more, this time from J Crew:

See those skinny jeans with the booties? That's the look!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wearing Black and Gray

A year ago I had two black items in my wardrobe: a pair of slacks, and a long (ankle length) skirt. Those were worn approximately twice a year for worship team events.

Since then, I've learned two things. One, black is considered every woman's safe/good color, and everyone ought to have some black because you can wear it almost anywhere and be appropriate. Two, I look good in black! I never knew either of these two things before.

By now, I have accumulated quite a bit of black, but it's taken me some time to get used to it, mostly because I feel so dressy in black. I don't know if black is inherently dressy, or if it makes me look so good that I look like I'm dressed up, I don't know.

The other color I've discovered is gray. Not heather, sweatshirt gray; that shade of gray is why I've also never worn gray before. In that shade of gray I look like I should be laying on the couch recovering from the flu. However, when I wear dark gray, from silvery graphite, to charcoal, to almost black, my eyes shine and my complexion glows. I get lots of compliments.

I don't own as much gray as I would like, because the right shades are not easy to find, but you can bet gray is on my shopping radar at all times now.

Now I just have to learn to shut out the voices of many stylish people and designers who are saying that black and gray are "boring" and "unadventurous." Those voices are cheer leading women--who have been following the rules up till now and wearing black for everything-- to break out and be adventurous with color. After all, this is the season for that "pop" of color. (I'm so tired of that phrase!)

(Actually, the "pop" of color has become so trendy that it's more like popcorn--red bag, teal shoes, orange necklace. How many different "pop"s can you have before you look silly?)

But for me right now, black and gray--and yes, with an occasional "pop of color"--is my adventure!

What about you? What colors look fabulous on you?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Makeover Quote #11

...our ultimate goal: to be highly selective in your clothing choices; to choose only those clothes and accessories that balance or are in harmony with Your Body's Design Pattern.

By balance and harmony we mean capturing a visually pleasing relationship between you and your clothes so that your total presentation looks stable and in proportion, and that your clothes are "in tune with" the design elements found in your facial features and body.

--from The Triumph of Individual Style by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do You Want to FOoooOF?

I want to write a book review for a book called "Flatter Your Figure" by Jan Larkey, but I don't remember exactly how to write one. Or maybe I wanted to write a book "report" instead of a review, but I'm not sure what the difference is....

Well, whatever. I am going to tell you a little about the book, and what I think of it. How's that?

Here's the book:

Flatter Your Figure

This is actually a sort of workbook, with lots of drawings, where you are led to measure and evaluate each part of your body and decide if you are long-waisted or short-waisted, or long-legged or short-legged, or round-shouldered or square-shouldered, etc. This is "FOoooOF-ing," as the author calls it, or "Figuring Out Our Figures."

Then you decide if you have a Major figure problem (which needs camouflaging) or a Minor figure problem (which needs the attention drawn away from) or No figure problem (which may be an asset that needs accentuating.) You look these things up on a little chart where you find a number to use in the rest of the book, where the author has several pages of illustrations of over 200 style elements (collars, necklines, sleeve lengths, shoulder lines, hemlines, etc), each one coded by number. Using your number, you can soon find out which styles are flattering for you and which ones are anathema.

Things I liked:

1) She differentiated between "figure" problems and "fit" problems, which simply means that if you can't find something to fit you, it may not be your problem, it may be the fault of the clothing manufacturer. With this in mind, people probably had fewer "figure problems" when they had all their clothing custom made by a tailor!

2) She also pointed out that you may have neither of those problems, you may have a "mother/other" problem, where you have been criticized enough on your clothing choices and your body that you perceive a problem when there really is none.

Things I didn't like:

1) In spite of the emphasis on accepting your body for what it is, the whole book was still written from the perspective of problems, and how to solve them. Why is it that our bodies are full of problems? Who decided these body shapes are a problem?

2) While there were explanations of, say, why line is so important (vertical=slimming, horizontal=widening) the explanations didn't go far enough. I was left asking "Why?"

3) Some of the discussions of problems and solutions were dated. That is, the author promoted broad shoulders and narrow hips as a universal ideal, when, in fact, that was the style Look of the Eighties.

4) Some of the style options that my little code number told me were flattering, are not flattering on me.

My conclusion is that this book is a good first step if you know nothing about style and you need help defining your shape. My first reading of the book I felt I had hit gold. And then the shine faded because I felt the book didn't go far enough to answer my questions about how to dress well.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fashion

Today I want to do something new and feature some cute clothes that have caught my eye lately. If I can't actually buy stuff, I can pretend, right?

1. I love this motorcycle sweater jacket from Banana Republic:

I like the slightly asymmetrical zipper, the wide collar, and the odd twist of a motorcycle jacket made of merino. (Or else the odd twist of a merino wool sweater made to look like a motorcycle jacket.) I could see myself wearing this around the house, as well as out running errands, with jeans and boots.

2. For a dressy occasion, I'd love to try this Boucle sheath from Talbots. Not that I know what "boucle" is but I'd like to try it.

3. I also like this faux wrap dress. Although I don't know why I look at, and long for, dresses, when right now I have very few occasions which call for a dressy dress. Howsomenever, I STILL wish for a quintessential Little Black Dress.

If the neckline turned out to be a little low, I would wear a cute camisole underneath, either in silver gray, for sophistication, or in red or bright pink, for a "pop" of color.

4. This long-sleeved v-neck tee looks soft and durable and very useful:

5. This shoulder-gathered tee also catches my eye, but I'd have to try it on to find out if it camouflaged or accentuated my already fairly hefty shoulders. I don't want to look like a football player!

6. And these Fidji shoes would be so cute for spring and summer:

7. Speaking of shoes, I love the look of these booties for knocking around in:

8. And finally, I want a pair of dark gray pants, probably fairly skinny and fitted, either denim, or corduroy, or even some sort of heavy knit. (But not double knit, heavens, no.) I have no picture because I haven't found any yet that I like. Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maybe "procrastination" was my word for 2009

And if I'm not careful it will be my word in 2010 also, since this New Years Quiz to review the past year should probably have been posted, like, oh, three weeks ago.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
~Well, I joined Facebook.

~I started using fabric shopping bags (that I designed and made myself).

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had thirteen things I wanted to try to do this last year, and I did five of them. I haven't really thought yet about making new goals. Hm. If I'm going to, I really should start thinking about it, shouldn't I?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
At least, not in 2009; but very recently there was a birth in the extended family:

Isn't she cute? Her name is Olivia.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. But someone close to a friend did. Oh, and there was another one, too.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No dates, exactly, but there were some highlights:

~My youngest son's 18th birthday party where we had 30 people over to make homemade pizza.
~Going tanking with friends (a blast) and as a result, helping my daughter survive a nasty river bug (a blast of a different sort).
~Going out for an anniversary dinner at an expensive restaurant and drinking champagne-- paid for by our kids.
~Forming a new band called Hanbury Tree:

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Learning to become a mother to a married daughter and her husband. (Well, I'm still learning, but I think I've made much progress.)
(I know my daughter got married in August 2008, not 2009, but I spent the rest of 2008 just adjusting to the idea that my daughter was GONE, and didn't learn anything.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting the garden go to crap-- again. And thereby not having a pantry full of home canned goodness to live on this winter.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I've suffered something that appears to be an awful lot like fibromyalgia, and the novelty has definitely worn off. And that led to some pretty miserable days of feeling like a tired, lazy, achy bum and feeling depressed about it.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A pair of fashionable, but warm and practical and comfortable, knee boots:

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Our friend Swede, who remains our friend no matter what and sometimes brings over meat and ice cream for supper.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Can't say-- too incriminating.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Groceries. At least, that's what it felt like. And that's not always the most inspiring way to spend money, especially when I have visions of new clothes and books and vacations.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Learning new music and performing with Hanbury Tree.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? I Dreamed A Dream, as sung by Susan Boyle

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? about the same; well, maybe a little happier.
thinner or fatter? about the same

richer or poorer? poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being depressed and achy.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Snowed in, with my family snowed in with me.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
No. But I didn't fall OUT of love either, which is an accomplishment in this day and age.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Well, if I watched TV at all, it would have been What Not To Wear. As it is, since we don't have a TV, I watched as much of it as I could via You Tube and the What Not To Wear website.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read? The Triumph of Individual Style, by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor
The Triumph of Individual Style: A Guide to Dressing Your Body, Your Beauty, Your Self

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Two songs:

26. What did you want and get?
A pair of boots, see #11.

A pashmina. THIS pashmina:

27. What did you want and not get?
A cashmere sweater. (my hobby this year has been CLOTHES. Can you tell?)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

The whole family watched it twice last week, and we are still quoting quotable lines out of it. ("SQUIRREL!!")

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
What did I do? I turned 47. And that answers the rest of the question as well.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my husband had not been sick and depressed. If I myself had not been sick and depressed. If my oldest son had not been sick and depressed.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Learning, growing, changing. I started wearing black and gray, and dressing a little more sophisticated. I would say I've been giving myself a style makeover, except that makes it sound like I had a style to begin with.

32. What kept you sane?
Using "The Divine Hours", by Phyllis Tickle.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Susan Boyle (interesting odd fact: she's my age.)
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34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm rather distraught over government health care.

35. Who did you miss?
My daughter, when she was in another state with her husband for four months. My second son who has been off on a missions adventure since September. (but he will be back in February...)

36. Who was the best new person you met?
The couple with whom we formed Hanbury Tree. A pastor of a local Methodist church, and his wife.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Keep my stinkin' mouth shut. Even if it kills me. No wait, that was 2008's lesson. Um...

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Call your name every day
When I feel so helpless.
I've fallen down
But I'll rise above this
Rise above this."

From "Rise Above This" by Seether.