Monday, July 28, 2014

Jan Interrupted or My Summer Mini-Disaster Saga (Continued)

Warning: the following is a long, only tenuously 
style-tethered story, so feel free to skip down to the photos.)

If I were less aware of just how tiny my minuscule place is in the Grand Scheme of Things, I'd be tempted to think the universe was out to mess with me this last week. Of course we have to take responsibility for what happens to us in life on some level, always, but it is also true that stuff sometimes just happens.

We had been been preparing for what is always our very largest business weekend of the year, and organization is critical. It seems, though, that the Fates needed a good laugh and chose us to be the butt of their joke.

Last Wednesday, when I foolishly looked ahead and imagined smooth sailing after some previous weeks of choppy cosmic weather, the actual weather blew up an unusually violent summer storm that flooded our restaurant. We were in the Big City at the time, trying to make our grocery run, so there was no one there to manage the damage until that evening when Dan arrived to open for dinner. It wasn't very deep water, but it doesn't take much to be a huge pain in the tuchas and do some damage.

As they say on the evening news, "in separate but related incidents" the storm knocked out our WiFi router, which took our credit card machine with it. So on Thursday, I spent some long hours on the phone with a very patient tech-rep, me clambering up and down step ladders to get to the router and carry out her diagnostics. In spite of our heroic efforts, she finally determined that we needed a new router.

That meant an 80 mile round-trip to another Big City for me, and another session of ladder clambering on my return. Once the router fix was accomplished, the credit card machine refused to like the new router enough to hook up with it, so another evening's dinner hours came and went without the ability to accept credit cards. (Imagine a big scowling emoji here. )

And in a "separate but unrelated" incident" that took place while the above diagnostic efforts were going on, Dan's business PC decided to roll over and die a very permanent death. I know at this point you are wondering if I am not just making this all up, but no. I assure you I am not. I spent a lot of that evening setting up my ancient backup laptop to be ready for Dan's use, with hours spent updating essential programs needed to get it up to speed.

After Friday morning and last minute joint efforts with the tech-rep from the credit card machine manufacturer, the machine was successfully rebooted just in time for the onslaught of the lunch crowd on the first day of festival. (Imagine happy emoji face here.) 

 The local wine festival is lucrative but challenging for our little restaurant. It happens in a block-long park right out our front door, and is held on what are invariably the hottest days of summer. And the local wineries (bless them and keep them, really) serve free wine to all the freebie-seekers that converge on our little town that day. So, imagine hundreds of hot and sweaty people, many of whom are already three sheets to the wind from the free wine and are in a something-for-nothing frame of mind, converging on our little restaurant that has eleven tables, and is not set up to do fast food. Always a challenging effort, always a mixed blessing, but this year a surprising success because of our tiny but really good staff.

Seems like the Fates decided to back off and cut us a little slack. Yeayyyy.

However, I'm still behind on my bloggy stuff, so I thought you deserved to know why. I'm trying so hard to come see you all and reply to all your so much appreciated comments for the last couple of weeks here. I probably should just lay down and beg off, but I'm stubbornly persevering, because chatting with you all is my great joy and pleasure, and am really grateful for your patience and support.

Sunday brought a little rest and our customary afternoon run into town for groceries and a bite to eat.
This is What I Wore.



Just before we headed home, I stopped by TJ Maxx for a quick look-see. And almost as if the Fates were trying to make up for being nasty, I found this pair of BCBGeneration black, navy and cobalt suede d'Orsay pumps for next to nothing and in my size. As you see, they'll be perfect with this same dress the next time I wear it, and I see this shoe carrying me on into winter with other things. Excellent. I'm quite sure I deserve these shoes.



Almost like a sweet little cosmic apology for all the craziness, wasn't it?

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I'm lucky to be able to link up with the ever-glamorous Plaid Mad Patti at Visible Monday
Come see what all the fuss is about!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adjusted Expectations and Overdressing

Perhaps not as much "back in it, on it and all over it" as I had hoped to be this week, but things are looking up and getting done. Just dragged away by an unusually tasky week again, so I hope you'll continue to be patient. I'm anxious to have more time to get around to see all my favorite blogs, and will begin catch up some tonight. Our little town has it's very largest wine festival happening this coming weekend (less fun than you might imagine in our industry) so I'll be able to carve out more time after that. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

Dan's birthday was Saturday, so we celebrated Sunday by driving north to a bigger Big City to dine. I had a little time to shop at the Pinnacle Hills mall Promenade, self-described as a "retail lifestyle center."

Well.

I had been there a few years back when it was new and tony, and at that time it boasted some nicer stores (Gap, Coach, Aldo, Fossil, Banana Republic, Loft, Sephora) but over time it's switched its focus to a younger crowd with the same-old Forever 21, Charlotte Russe and Payless Shoes as we have here. Sad ... all the interesting shoe stores are gone, and although it's still a pretty outdoor mall, post-modern and charming, only a couple of the better stores remain. I left Dan and his Kindle happily entertaining a hoppy IPA and a plate of calamari and took off on a tour around by myself.

 I was so overdressed. I chose this lacy little maxi with comfy-but-cute chunky sandals, a tote and minimal jewelry to take me shopping, but I stuck out like a sore thumb with everyone else in cutoffs, flips and tanks or tees. I was also the only old lady out and about, and most disconcertingly, the only woman shopping alone. Aside from a few moms with baby-buggies, everyone else was in a pack or in pairs.
Odd.



I was still empty handed after an hour in and was heading back to collect Dan for dinner when I found a Soma Intimates store. ( Does anyone else instantly think of the happy-drug called Soma from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World ... "a gramme is better than a damn" ? ) Arkansas is lousy with Victoria's Secret stores, but I didn't know we had the more upscale Soma. I've been looking for a good molded-cup minimizer bra to keep the boobage in check for a long time but have had no luck. Bingo! On a "twofer" sale, in my size and color and with a brilliant fit. Doesn't get better than that.

Before dinner and quick-like-a-bunny, I put on mixed-pair dangly earrings (fun!), changed into dressier coral d'Orsay heels and took the clutch out of my tote ... and voilà ! Fancier for dinner! Again I was overdressed, as I so often am, but I felt fabulous and Dan was pleased.



Everything just tastes better when I'm wearing heels and a pretty dress.

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A final note: I was pleased and surprised to find that this is my 100th post.  Time flies when you're having fun.
Thank you all for letting me feel like I have something
worth talking about!



Monday, July 14, 2014

Back In It, Back On It, and All Over It.

After over a week away to help make some important decisions about the future of our business, I can report that all is copacetic (or at least approaching it) and I'm at last comfortable coming back out to play. We had to do some serious thinking about how we want to continue since we decided to carry on with our little restaurant. And there's no doubt about it; some of the decisions were based on our ages.  Of course, that mindset has slopped over into my thinking about how I want to conduct my own aging generally and how all that affects personal style.


Consequently, I've been doing a lot of consideration of what I want to personally accomplish and how I want the rest of my life to be.  Some of that is inevitably about what I wear and what I want to say with my choices. I have no big conclusions to offer you, only an increased awareness that the process is really important to me. It can be good to reach for a modicum of control where there seems to be none. I hope to get much older, and hope to do it with as much consciousness and thoughtfulness as possible, for as long as it's fun.

I've missed you all, and am sorry that I'm so far behind in getting around to see what you all are up to. I owe all of my blog-buddies some catch-up time at your respective blogs and will make that the focus for the rest of my week.

So, here's a What I Wore photo for your consideration. 



Wasn't hard to make a decision about how to dress. It was bloody-blazing-hot and humid (your can see the indelicate sheen of sweat on my chest) and I dressed to go off to the Big City for supplies and a bite to eat with Dan on Sunday. Keeping it simple, 'cause it's serious summer-for-real now. A loose-waisted cotton dress ( that Dan especially likes) over jeans to keep it comfortably casual. But, true to form, I couldn't bring myself to get too casual, and chose minty high heels just because really wanted to wear them. No jewelry except the wedding rings and a plain gold and turquoise band, and lots of antiperspirant. Lots and lots of antiperspirant ....


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I'm off to say hello to everyone over at Festive Patti's Visible Monday . What cool a treat after a long, hot weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How Rude!

Really.  How rude of Real Life to interfere with my Bloggy Life!
Oh well.  In the interests of putting food on the table for us and the animals, some professional concerns require my attention for the next few days.  

So here I am in my work clothes.   This is my summer uniform; slightly dressy top, comfy skinnies and a sweet little heel (can't see the ankle strap, and the color is off, but these little bronze d'Orsay pumps by BCBG were a gratifying purchase at deep discount, and they are wear-all-evening comfy.)




The top you saw here last winter ... it's a favorite and sheer enough to be comfy on this 95 degree afternoon.  Summer is here.

Ho hum.  Yawn.  I expect I'll frequently choose some variation on this combination, but I'm feeling the need to step it up a notch.  Stay tuned.

Please note the little ear cuffs.  Since I've cut my hair so short, I'm suddenly yearning for earrings, which I haven't worn in a couple of decades.  I'm particularly fond of these sleek little cuffs, more sedate than the ones I wore in the art school era.  Shopping for earrings is a challenge because there are so many to choose from.  Bazillions of them.  Any suggestions?



Late and on the run, I'm joining the ladies of Visible Monday over at the ever elegant Patti's.  Lots to look at and love over there!  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Will Wonders Never Cease?

If you live long enough, you'll see it all.

Lots of you know I love me some glossy fashion magazines. They've been a part of my life since I was a little girl (with a decade or so of feminist fervor diluting my devotion just a little and some student and non-student years when I couldn't afford them.) And I have a process for reading them. In the same way some people ritually twist apart the halves of an Oreo cookie, then eat the filling first and chomp the cookie last, I have a similar technique that allows me to really savor magazine contents. I do what is technically called a flip through wherein I rarely stop to read, but just let the visual feast tease the palate. I'll put the magazine aside, and when I next pick it up, the actual reading begins. In that process, I'll sometimes make a note or two on what I've seen for my personal use or inspiration for blog commentary.

I was in a happy flip-through of the July issue of Lucky, when I thought I saw the words "Embrace high waisted: It makes curvy/petite proportions work." ( Imagine the sound of screeching automotive breaks here for effect.)

Surely I misread.

I stopped and flipped back. There it was. In the "Dear Lucky" style advice column by Jean Godfrey-June, she featured an interview with the insightful and delicately beautiful young blogger, Wendy Nguyen ( http://www.wendyslookbook.com/.) Ms. Nguyen addressed the advantageous wearing of flared or pencil skirts and offered the above advice, word for word. I wasn't hallucinating.

Well, I'll be.

All of my life, one of my worst figure flaws challenges has been my short waist. So many years with so many suggestions and artifices to hide my short waist and make my torso look longer! But now, I'm advised as a petite with a surplus of curves to "embrace high waisted!" I can do that!

I do understand that "high waisted" now means what we've all understood as at our natural waist, perhaps at the top of that range, but I'm suddenly IN THE BALL PARK. I'm almost NORMAL!
After a lifetime of fretting about my high waist, I'm actually OKAY. What do ya' know about that?! (Yes, it's important to be proud of one's personal idiosyncrasies, but sometimes, it's just neat to fit in. )

Same afternoon, at JC Pennys: I found a Nicole Miller crop top and pencil skirt that I've longed for but dismissed as unworkable, and they were deeply discounted, on clearance, and sort-of in my size. Both pieces look easily alterable, and I remember another piece of advice from Ms. Nguyen about crop tops and the petite woman; "Where it's cropped is the important thing: It can't be right below your bust, but it also can't end too low. The tops should start a few inches above the smallest part of your waist."

I took home a skirt one size too large, and with two quick seams, nipped in the width and the waist so it fit very high. The pretty design at the hem would have been ruined if I had taken it up from the bottom. The top was my size, but longer than was flattering. So, with one seam, I raised the hem to a more flattering spot as well. Ta-Da!



I think it works well, and with a black cami under, there is no possibility of exposed midriff, keeping it at least closer to age appropriate.

Thank you, Wendy Nguyen.

Soon, we might well be seeing magazine cover headlines advising us to "How to Rock Your Droopy Boobs!" and maybe "Pancake Backside is The Shape for Fall ! "

You laugh, but it could happen. I now know anything is possible.