Monday, April 21, 2014

Awards, Less Hair and The Arrival of the Hummers

I have to first thank the very lively and lovely Linda Cassidy at her blog A Labor of Life for nominating me for The Liebster award. I had to decline her honor because I've done them so often that I've finally run out of interesting factoids about myself and people to send it on to. I'm so happy, though, that she thought of me. It's always an honor, and I appreciate it. Thank you again, Linda. I have to tell you, she has one of the most fun and interesting Liebster responses ever. 

Go look now!
I'll wait.

Glad you're back. It was fun, wasn't it? 

Now I have to acknowledge and thank one of my favorite bloggers and cherished bloggy friend, the charming Maricel from My Closet Catalogue . She's a lady after my own heart 'cause she loves the words and ideas as much as she does the pictures and the clothes. She's nominated me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award and I'm thrilled to be in the company of the other nominees. You can see them all at her link!  This is one I can do because it's mostly about other bloggers, some of the ones who make it all worthwhile for me.

The Rules
1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her post/page and/or sidebar.


2. The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days (1 week) – this can be done at any rate during the week. It can be ALL on one day or a few on one day and a few on another day, etc.

3. The Nominee shall name his or her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during the 7 day (1 week) period.

4. The Nominee shall make these rules, or amended rules keeping to the spirit of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, known to each reader s/he nominates.

5. The Nominee must finish this sentence and post: ”A Great reader is…”

And following Maricel's format:

The Awesomeness ... And the nominees are (all at once and alphabetically!):

Alicia at Spashionista
Debbie at  Fashion Fairy Dust
Greetje at No Fear of Fashion
Jean at Dross Into Gold
Kim at PopCosmo
Shawna McComber at The Director of Awesome
Vix at Vintage Vixen

"A Great Reader is ..."
Okay, there are a few more bloggers than the rules require, but that's fine according to Rule 4.  There are just some bloggers that cannot be left out. These women always let me know when they read and enjoyed what I wrote.  I'm thrilled when anyone takes the time to read my blog, whether I know that they did or not. But in my book, a truly Great Reader is one that takes time out of their lives to read my blog, and also takes the time to make a comment about what I wrote, whether it is to agree, disagree or just indicate that it made them ROLFTAO.  That conversation is the best thing about blogging for me and is the reason I write at all.   My constant effort is to return the favor, and although I fail sometimes, I keep trying. Those readers and writers are the main reason I love blogging ... the brilliant women and men who are brave enough to show out and off just a little, all in an effort to make their own worlds just a little more beautiful.
Every one on my list is, by my definition at least, a Great Reader and a worthy recipient of the WTRMA.

None of you are obliged at all to play, but please just know you are much appreciated and forever admired.


Less Hair and Hummers are Here

Those of you who visit here often know the hairdo-angst I've subjected myself to in recent months, and this looks like the last, best effort to find a secure and fun hair-and-head-space. I like my new cut a lot, and am just blown away that I can get up in the morning with hair I don't hate. And boy, has my prep time shrunk to almost nothing! My overall proportions look less Hobbit-like, and that's a good thing.




And by Hummers, I don't mean the high-end, odd looking and gas guzzling military/family (?) SUVs. I mean our little Ruby Throated Hummingbirds that have been arriving in our area. I court them with a sucrose feeder that I put out the first week in April. They've finally found it, and I'm wearing my MNG by Mango hummingbird shirt to celebrate the return of my little friends!




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Linking up with the Best Colored Patti at Visible Monday
Late Breaking!  Also venturing out to plat at 
Well Shod Cherie's Shoe and Tell Monday .

Come see what all the fuss is about!




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Meeting Trina !


Our meet-up was some months in the planning, with false starts and bad weather spoilers, but it finally happened. Last Sunday evening, I got to meet the completely lovely Trina, owner  of her very popular blog Tea Time With Trina .
She and her charming and romantic husband were in Northwest Arkansas for business, and we met up at our favorite PF Chang's China Bistro. Dan and I were late, of course, and it was my fault (more about that to follow ...) but we found them waiting patiently in our reserved favorite booth.  So nice!

Trina is even more lovely than in her blog photos. She is as delicate, and her features even prettier and her open smile more welcoming than you can tell from her blog. But, until you meet her in person, you really can't appreciate what seems to me her lovely core of serenity and calm. She has an attentive quiet that is madly attractive. She is interested and interesting, and that always makes for good conversation. And she has the best natural posture of anyone I've ever met. She doesn't show off and go on about the use of chopsticks (like some short persons present at the table) and I don't think she even had seconds (unlike the rest of us. Some had thirds ... "Go, Dan!") Trina is wonderful, and it was my great pleasure to meet her and the equally wonderful Mr. T (he has a name, but I'm not sure they want it public, so I'll just punt.) We hope to see them again soon, as Mr. T is often in the area and Trina joins him. How cool is that?

We were almost the last diners to leave, and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening. Neither Dan or I could manage our camera ( we've never used it with the flash! Duh ...) so Trina sweetly sent me a couple of photos to plug in here. Thank you, Trina, for keepsakes of a lovely and memorable evening!



... and one with our fellas.



We were only about 10 minutes late, but it was my fault because we squeezed in a quick stop at the big Northwest Arkansas Mall. It took just a tad longer than I planned. I don't get there often, and it was a great treat. I've been pining for a pair of red, ankle strap d'Orsay pumps, but haven't found any yet. I did, however, fall hard for a buttery soft pair in a deep pinky-coral at Aldo. The price was right, and as they didn't have my size but offered free shipping, that took a little extra time to arrange. Late, but for a good reason: great shoes.

Although I don't have them in my possession yet, here's a picture of The Pump That Made Me Late for Dinner with Trina. Not quite, but almost red.



It was too rainy and windy to photograph on Sunday, so here's a re-creation of what I wore to dinner.
This skirt is the second I've made, and I am in love with this Chinese brocade. The swirling dragons and pheasants are rendered in metallic gold, light red and light green embroidery. So pretty. Not a summery fabric, but I'll wear it anyway with lighter weight tops. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Next, a more casual, summery print maybe? I'm currently a one trick pony with this pattern, but it's precisely the shape I want, and that's the best reason to do it myself.




The exposure in the photo below is stranger still, but I wanted you to get a better look at the brocade. You can see the black-on-black blossoms woven into the background more clearly.




I just had the best day!  Thank you, Trina, for all the travel time ... I'm so happy to have met you at last!

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Please pop over to the wonderful blog of one of our favorite fellow-bloggers at Terry's Two Cents .  He was kind enough to feature me among some of his favorite "likes" of the week, and I'm among some stylin' company!  Thank you so much, Terry! 




Monday, April 7, 2014

Just Showing Up


"80 percent of success is showing up."

This wisdom is attributed to Woody Allen and that's how he remembers saying it, although he's often credited with saying "80 percent of life is showing up." And whether it's applied to life or success, there are a lot of variations on the idea:

"Showing up is not all of life - but it counts for a lot."
--Hillary Clinton

"Most of life is showing up. You do the best you can, which varies from day to day."
--Regina Brett

( I include this personal snarky-fun favorite that I apply politically, although I'd certainly never apply it to our blogging process... )
"Showing up every day isn't enough. There are a lot of guys who show up every day who shouldn't have showed up at all."
--James Caan

However, I would absolutely apply this next very perceptive variation to style/fashion bloggers of all ages, especially those over 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and beyond;

"Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think."
--Brene Brown

This post is dedicated to the always fabulous Patti and her constantly evolving blog Not Dead Yet Style, where she offers us a safe space to show up at her biweekly Visible Monday link-up. She sets the tone with her own welcoming and kind comments, and her openness to all kinds of inspiration. By devoting her time and energy to this project, she has given us all a place to say our say, show off our best, pose questions, provoke thought and give and receive encouragement. Here at Patti's, we can meet a grand diversity of invariably interesting women. To a woman, we are malcontents about staying in the cultural, social and political backwaters to which the traditional powers of our society have always been all too happy to relegate us as we age. Visible Monday is a great venue that plays its part in a needed, positive social evolution. Patti's efforts change lives. Because of Patti, I now have more than a passing acquaintance with women all over the world, and they have each become vital elements of inspiration and information in my life that I could have not imagined even 10 years ago. This is a special thank you for all your devotion to Visible Monday, Patti. My life is so much better because of your project, and I know I'm not alone in this.
I hope you never doubt its value.

So, even though I'm pretty much just showing up this week, dressed in yet another iteration of my blazer, skinnies and heels uniform, I'm glad and honored to be with the rest of you who bother to get it together and show up and show out just a little or a lot.

We rock. All of us. And especially Patti. 





It was drizzly and chilly when this was taken, and all my outfit plans were reassigned to a another, nicer Sunday.   (Waaa.) Right after this was taken, I went back inside to grab my raincoat and ran off to the Big City with Dan.  The outfit is remarkable only because of my color defiance of the crappy gray skies.  I wore a few brights in my silky-ish Asian-inspired tunic by Kenneth Cole.  And the pumps are Vince Camuto.  I figured if my plans for wearing cute sandals was weather squashed, I'd at least stomp through the puddles in a cool but closed-toe shoe with some character.  I drop these brand names because, although it must seem so, not everything I wear is from Target.  Most, I admit, but not all.

Just sayin'.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Co-Inspirator Women Bloggers

I'm always inspired by my sister bloggers. I recently wrote about a Really Good Hair Day and some choice compliments that resulted, and I was particularly inspired by a comment from the lovely Alice at Happiness at Midlife .

Besides the nice things she wrote about hair and outfits, she wisely noted:
"This is a good reminder to compliment strangers when you mean it - it could really make their day and who knows what kind of day they are having."

Alice is one of my Top-Ten Nice Person Role Models, and you can see why by the thoughtful observation. She's also freaking fabulous dresser, but that's another subject for another post. She also knows what she's talking about. What she suggests is something I've always done because it's a nice thing to do; we all know how good it feels to hear that your best is noted by someone. I also do it to keep my worst nature at bay. It's easy to become judgmental and less than constructively critical when you're looking around you to see what other women are wearing. (Especially when you're not feeling up to snuff yourself.) To curb my natural inclination toward snarky mental comments, I began to discipline myself by trying to find at least a couple of things that I like about what I see other people wear. Finding one thing is easy. Finding additional elements is sometimes a challenge, but it really makes a difference in how I perceive other people in my limited little world.

Particularly older women. You have to mean it, as Alice points out, because you can get yourself in trouble if you don't. It hasn't been that long since I saw a very elderly woman pacing along in her walker, looking very spiffy in the red wool fedora and red leather gloves she'd chosen to go with her tan coat and shoes. I caught her eye and, as I was about to sail past her, I said, "Love your hat."
She said " Oh, thank you. What is it you like about it?"

Nobody does that.

And, from her tone and a surprisingly suspicious look in her eyes, I got the feeling she was taking me on. She might have just been feeling chatty, but I'm pretty sure she wondered if I was just being glib or condescending.

I replied, "Well, I like that particular deep red. And I like it with your matching gloves. You look very polished and put-together. I don't see that often here. "

"Hmmph," she said. "Glad you like it. It was nice of you to say so."

If this was a test, I'm glad I passed it. Clearly she had her BS meter fully charged and operational, like so many of us little old ladies so often do. Yes. But I was glad that I'd actually taken a second or two to take in the elements of her outfit and appreciate it more fully. And I'm glad I said something, because I think she was pleased. But it's always better to mean it, and to leave them thinking that you know what you're talking about. That makes it even better!

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Another of my Sweetheart Bloggers List toppers is the delightful Sue at A Colourful Canvas .
Sue is a consummate co-inspirator who has cheerfully showed us all how sewing your own wardrobe can be an art form. At least when the needle is in Sue's facile fingers. She's inspired me to quit griping about not finding any of the spring midi skirts I want, and just get off my butt and make some. So I did. Make one. An easy beginner pattern wasn't as easy as it might have been, and it's still too big in the waist. I've already removed at least 5" off the finished skirt circumference, so how much "ease" does anyone really need, I ask. I'm disappointed that the gorgeous, rosy-metallic fabric reads more like leather, but you get the idea.

   


 I've got this pose down, don't I?
And look, new shoes!


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I'm linking up with three more co-inspirators, the Divine Jill at Everything Just So and the Lovely Adrienne at The Rich Life on a Budget at their How I Wear My project ... this month's subject is The Skirt.  
And, last but not least, the always thoughtful
Seeker at Tres Chic Style Bits linky party!
All kinds of fun up in here!

Late Breaking Link ... 4/7/14
I'm at Patti's Visible Monday, catching up
with all the glamorati there!  Join us to see what's up!



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Spring 2014 Lust List

Yeaaay! Spring finally happened on Thursday, March 20 at 11:57 CDT.

I've been compiling the spring version of my Seasonal Fashion Fixation List since mid-February. It's magical how the official change of season transforms it from just a sad little wish list to an actual to-do list. 
The Quest is on. 
It's Go Time.

I keep the list in a permanent file that I modify seasonally on Evernote. I'm a big Evernote fan. (Not a commercial ... I really just like it.) It's a fancy (and free version!) app that makes it easy to digitally keep and organize all the stuff one jots down on scraps of paper and in notebooks or journals. Best of all, it automatically synchronizes my laptop version with the mobile version I carry around with me on my tablet, so it's great for keeping the Seasonal Fashion Fixation List accessible. I get an especially big kick out the strikethrough function that lets me cross off found items once they're actually in my clutches.  

I know. I need to get a life.

Here's the SFFL, subtitled 
My Spring 2014 Lust List.

(I keep some reminders that apply to every season
 above the list proper.)
Every-Season Revealed Wisdom
"Love it or Leave it!"
"Try it on!"
"Move buttons, shorten sleeves and adjust hems. Otherwise, if it's a big alteration job, leave it."

Keep 'till Memorized for Target Brands ...
(Did you know this? I didn't, and the info helps. If you don't shop Target, then never mind.)
Xhileration: Junior ... very Junior
Mossimo: Red tag is for Juniors
           Black is for Misses
Marona: sensible, basic Misses
_________________________________________
Spring 2014 Considerations 
(some season specific admonitions ...)

Don't panic or get too caught up too early* and buy a bunch of stuff ... do what you can and really shop your closet for silhouettes.

Do the purge and put away the winter stuff! (Not done yet. 'Weather too iffy' is my current excuse.)

Minimal thinking; If you don't haz it, cultivatez it. Simple outfits will take few but good accessories.

Neutrals on neutrals with cool accessories look fresh. Tight tops are not good, and fit is key for every item.

New this spring? Long silhouettes.

Consider muted pastels ... tertiary?

Consider darks tones. Black and white feels really doable.
_________________________________________

( ...and then categories of wished for stuff and a few rationalizations for why I need the stuff )
*Shoes
...are the exception for early shopping. Your size goes fast, so make up your mind on the basics.

Embrace the mid heel!
(Shoe Carnival has some decent heels this year for around $40)

You also NEED a pair of simple, plain leather, classic black pump!!!! Give the old ones a decent burial, 'cause they've been good friends, but they're dead.

D' Orsay pump, mid heel ... with ankle straps? (Think hard about these! Trendy, but so wonderful. )

Strappy white sandal? LI or LI! ( means Love It or Leave It) No nurse shoes.

Pastel pumps

Cute mules
 


Handbags:
If new ones try to seduce, hold out for True Love.

Any clutches must fit the Kindle Fire! Bright colored clutches? These can work ... kindle+wallet +phone+mini-keys, and in the bigger bag with all other necessaries for your long day trips.


(Just found this one ... It's cork!  Much cuter and larger than it looks.
From Francesca's Collections.)

Good black clutches of substantial size.


Tops:
After review, you need:

Black and white striped tee ... boat-neck, decent quality

Crop tops and silky camis to go under ... NO REALLY, GET SOME!!!! Try ON for length.

Black, white, gray or colors Tissue Tees, Layering Tees ... crew, boat-neck ... light weight, should skim not hug.

Art print tops ... these are really appealing, especially structured shells. Be picky about print ... not all "art" is created equal.


Shirts: You need some.

Longer fitted silky tunics ... sleeveless, solid colors ... you could LIVE in these this summer with the right cut pants.

Joe Fresh (at JCP) has some pretty blouses, but they look huge! Try on. These can look madame if you're not careful.

Another creamy white shirt for hot weather ... light weight with sleeves? No pockets on boobs.

Pants:
Don't buy a lot of jeans. Really, you're in pretty good shape.

Find ankle length, good fitting black twill-ish pants ... sleek ones, please. At least one pair.

And printed ankle pants ... you now know how to easily slim them from the knee, so find some you like. Try on for waist and fit before you buy ... then alter. Small pattern, please, Short-stuff!

Skirts: Dig around, see what you already have.

Midis ... pleated or circle much better than gathered! Make some, if necessary. Drop the waist for tucking. Crop tops will work with these if carefully fit.

Dresses:
Wear old sheaths with updated accessories.

Pink. I want a pale pink dress.

Unders
If you ever remember to do it, keep looking for that perfect molded-cup minimizer bra that you can buy without taking out a second mortgage. (This is the unicorn of my list .. has been sitting here for at least 3 seasons.)

More Cabernet undies! $12.00 at Dillards.
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It is unlikely that I will buy all of the things on this list. They are the ideas that interest me for this spring. And it's high time to look ahead. The photo below is a reminder to me that there is a point where it's time to stop farting around with last season's closet orphans, send them on to a home where they'll be loved and get on with the change. 

Spring is a mean season that way.



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Linking up with 
The Cat Wearing Patti at Visible Monday
and The Very Good Blogger Seeker at 
Tres Chic Style Bits