Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Hysteria and Hiatus ... Maybe

Every year at this time we present our Dickens Dinners, a full scale, costume epic at our little pub-style restaurant. We hold them on the last three Sundays in December. I always think that the seven-course dinner, formal tables, wines, costumes, sound system, staff, crackers, folding fans, musicians, carolers and all the other minutia will not make me sleepless and crazy this year.

How could I be so wrong? I am long gone, around the bend to Crazytown.

And in addition to the crazy, it all feels really weird because it has gone from 52 degrees to near 70 degrees the next day, and back to the mid-40s the following day with a low in the 20s that night. The outfit photo below is from day before yesterday. It was warmish when I planned what to wear, and at least 15 degrees cooler when we took the picture.

That's the reason my shoulders are up around my ears. Good thing this shot looked okay, because it was the last one I could manage as I was nearing hypothermia. Photo editing removed the blue from my lips.

You can learn a lot from photos of yourself. The goal was to add a little edge to the sweet Bisou-Bisou blouse and Peter Pan collar by adding faux leather pants. I chose the little Aldo leather pumps as a classic, lady-like grounding. The idea worked alright, but the peach camisole that I chose to wear under the sheer fabric makes my torso look blocky and thick. Perhaps a navy-blue or dark pink cami underneath would show through better, and be more flattering.

Photos really can point out elements you miss in the mirror, can't they?

I might not be able to come out and play again on Visible Monday until January. But if I can't, I'll be watching you all in your holiday splendor! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Renewed, Recycled, Reused and Restyled ( ... or My Selfish Season)

(This post is dedicated to its muse, the indefatigable and dedicated Bella Q., The Citizen Rosebud  herself.)

This is absolutely the most difficult and uncomfortable time of the year for me to shop. Don't get me wrong ... I love shopping for my nearest and dearest, and delight especially in finding something for the Huz that makes him grin that special grin. But it is also the time of year when I am bombarded by all the neat stuff I've wanted all season! All the luxe goods; the jewels, the shoes, bags, perfumes ... they beckon tantalizingly like sailors' sirens. It's a constant battle with my lower self to avoid coming home with a bunch of bags filled with stuff for dear old Moi. Not to mention how hard it is on my pitiful budget.

Bella and a dedicated and fast growing legion of wise women all over the world have dedicated their shopping funds to the ethic of "shopping second-hand first." Or vintage, or consignment, but renewing and recycling and up-styling in gorgeous ways that have my constant admiration. But, I had not considered shopping for the holidays this way. There aren't many shops here that are much more than indoor garage sales, but in seeking them out, I have found at least three pretty snazzy resale shops in Fort Smith that offer holiday-shopper-selfishness-salvation and gifting opportunities as well!  Now that I've found these, there are bound to be more!

While looking around at these three shops, I came up with some (surely not all) categories of people that you can buy for in re-sale shops during the holidays ...

1. Your girl-friends or family that just live to prowl these places ... Gift Certificates for them!

You know them. The ones that always look effortlessly chic and at home in their clothes, and when you complement them, they tell you (smugly) that they got it at a vintage shop for some minuscule amount. They may be tough to choose specific gently-used items for, but how happy would they be with a gift certificate for their favorite resale shop?
Consider ... these certificates can go a very long way in terms of purchasing power, and you are helping everyone involved achieve a more petite carbon footprint.

This brings to mind a second category of giftee who might enjoy such a gift certificate.
How about one for your adorable and noble ecologically-focused friend or relative for whom every purchase should have sustainability cred?  Man or woman, this could work and really be appreciated!

2. Collectors of "vintage" accessories.

These women are easier to buy a gift for... the ones who love bangles, brooches, rings, watches, handbags, etc. from any era that is regarded as retro or in any way trendy.

3. Yourself.
Given all the temptation out there to pick up a little something for yourself ... how about splurging on something that catches your eye at one of these places? The damage to your budget and conscience will almost assuredly be less than it might have been, you get an almost guilt-free treat and, as above, you do some good ... or at the very least, no harm.

Think about it.


And if you are in or near Fort Smith, Arkansas, I'd point out these three places as great examples of holiday shopping spots for Thrifters, Restylers, and Vintage enthusiasts. ( They all offer Gift Certificates!)

On the west side, in the old down-town area:

Emi-Lee's on the Avenue,
Upscale Resale
315 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901      479-452-5488

There are cases full of great jewels and accessories, from the merely glitzy and glamorous to the truly grand. In seconds, I'd found half a dozen things I wanted.
Look carefully, 'cause solid upscale brands abound, and there are some very pretty things everywhere you turn. These women, led by owner Dawn Howell, know how to merchandise.


Material Girl
11 North 3rd
Fort Smith AR 72901 479-651-9078

Just around the corner from Emi-Lee's, you'll find this very welcoming and charming shop. It's full of great finds, and I particularly liked some of the handbags! They are both consignment and a boutique, with some great values on makeup items (new, of course.)   You'll meet the team, consisting of Desiree Jeffrey (manager-daughter) and Patti Williams (owner-mom) and they'll make you feel welcome.
Patti let me know that there is a First Thursday, open-till-8:00pm evening for shops in the area, coming up on December 6th. There will be sales and drawings for Christmas goodies!


A new kid in town, and on the east end of Rogers Avenue:

Pretty Woman
8434 D Phoenix Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72903 479-226-3399

The first thing I saw when I first visited this shop was a rack with the cutest faux fur vest ever, and it would have been mine had it been in my size! It was on a rack with a lot of other great things, and the owner, Belinda Adams, is growing her stock every day. She has lots of well chosen jewelry and accessories besides lots of sizes of clothing, and she is specializing in Plus size fashion! She has a real understanding of the ecological and social value of contemporary thrifting (and offers complementary cookies for her customers! I love that.)


On another subject entirely: Last week's post about Faux Flat Boots ...
Here I am, showing them off for Patti's Visible Monday . Come see all the stylistas, fashionistas, restylistas and vintagistas in our natural habitat ... the Outfit Photo!

Have a great week, and drop a note to let me know what you think about any of the above!