Monday, December 30, 2013

Bloggy Resolutions ... Happy 2014 !

It takes a brave woman to list her most personal New Year's Resolutions on her blog. We generally don't make resolutions about the parts of ourselves we already like (although that's not a bad idea, actually!) so it's our least favorite mental private-parts we focus on. Bad habits, bad ideas, bad self-image, bad reactions, bad memories. Bad, bad, bad. And generally highly personal. We list all the bad things we think about ourselves and write vows that we may or may not keep about what we'll do to improve the situation. And frankly, for me this can result in some Serious Bloggy TMI.

This is not the way I want to spend my New Year's self-contemplation this time around. And you'll undoubtedly be glad to hear that. You're welcome.

But since this is ostensibly a personal style blog, and since I do like to consider ways to make the coming new calendar year a better one, here's a list of items I plan on improving in the coming months to make my blog life better and easier and more fulfilling. And as I love a good win-win, they should make positive change in your reading experience as well. After all, mi cyber-casa es su cyber-casa.

So here they are, my 2014 Style Resolutions

Facebook Page
Did you know that I have one for Fort Smith Stylista? I constructed it but have done nothing-zero-nada to promote it. So, I will figure out how to make a button for the page to make it easier. In the nonce, if you'd like say hello, you can pop over to . I will figure this all out someday.

Redesign website:
I'm ready for a change in appearance. Stay tuned.  

Find a better way to keep in touch with bloggy friends.
I have way more bloggy folks I'm really interested in than I know how to keep up with. Lately, it's been all I can do to get my own blog out. As in real life, I need to listen more and talk less ... that applies to my cyber-life as well. This will change.

Try to find some different backgrounds for photos.
My pics are dull as dishwater, and I want to be more creative about this. If I'm going to plaster my mug all over the Internet, I should try to photograph it in more interesting surroundings. So many of you inspire me! This, by the way, is probably more just wishful thinking than a firm resolution. We shall see.

Get a current avatar that reflects the changes.  Sigh. 

(And the following are more wardrobe oriented 
than about the blog ...)

Spend more time recombining items. I just know there are lots of better partnerships in my closet than I'm seeing or using.

Renew, recycle, and reuse! Not a week goes by that I'm not inspired by you repurposing and resdesigning geniuses! (Jean at  Dross Into Gold and Nell at Nelesc Design , I'm  talking to you, especially. )

Continue to try to find a decent resale/consignment shop and actually use it. This is an ongoing project. Bella (the wonderful Citizen Rosebud ) you will always be my hero and inspiration here!

Try it on before you buy it. Really. Take it back if necessary.

Love it or leave it. Also ongoing. This is the most satisfying concept I adopted this year, and I highly recommend it.


Thank you all, who read my stuff and write to me about yours. You are all my coinspirators ... and I thank you all for the happy hours your hard blogging work has given me. I promise to try hard be a better blog-pal this coming year!

I leave you with a shout out to a blogger who is one of my newest and probably my most esoteric style inspirations of 2013: 
Maricel at My Closet Catalogue
We share a love of all things Dr. Who, and she's talked about and shown a lot of Tardis Blue this season. This has to be my Color of the Year for 2013, no matter what Pantone has to say about it.
I give you my take on Tardis Blue ...

I'm linking up with the Always Adorable Patti at Visible Monday to see what a whole bunch of wonderful folks are resolving for the New Year. Join us!

Have a brilliant 2014, everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Tis the Season ...

Merry Christmas, Happy Zwanzaa, and belated warm wishes for both Chanukah and the Winter Solstice. Ooops ... almost forgot; a belated Fabulous Festivus as well. We offer Season's Greetings to one and all.

My husband, Dan, especially loves A Christmas Carol ... the story as published in 1843, and all the film adaptations as well. It doesn't matter which one. We both love Dickens' themes of transformation and redemption. (Dan is living proof. He didn't become a cat-person until his 60s. And if that is not some serious transformation, then I don't know what is. The cats say that his evolution rises to the higher feline standard of redemption. But then, they would.)

But I especially love the concepts that surround the Winter Solstice. For me, it's about coming from the darkest, most internal time of the year and back into the Light. In fall, I admit to feeling a little relieved at the end of summer, that most outgoing of all seasons. When fall arrives, it feels to me like the natural return to a more inward-attentive season of the heart, mind and spirit. But with the marking of the Winter Solstice, things feel like they begin to lighten up just a bit. My optimism begins to take over from my habitual deep-fall broodiness, and I'm glad to celebrate lightness again, and my hope for personal enlightenment is renewed. That hope includes my wishes for all of man and woman kind. After the hours of dark and light become equal, the light stays just a little longer every day and it seems time to get on with the business of doing the activities of daily life with more enthusiasm and hope.

Dan loves the Winter Solstice for those same reasons, he claims. But I also know that he waits for it so he can ask complete strangers if they have noticed how the days getting longer on December 22nd. You have to be there. It's mildly amusing to watch their expressions of polite confusion.  He thinks it's hysterical.

To all of you who regularly read what I write, or only read occassionally, or just happened by today  ... thank you for all the gifts of beauty and friendship and insight you've shared with me this year. Let's celebrate first what and whom we love the most and then get ready to take another fantastic trip around the sun. Once more with grand gusto and your own, inimitable personal style!

Happy Holidays, no matter how or where you celebrate them!

In French: Joyeuses Fêtes!
In Spanish: Felices Fiestas!
In Vietnamese: Hạnh phúc ngày lễ
In Chinese: 節日快樂
In Irish: Laethanta saoire sona
In Swedish: Trevlig Helg!
In Romanian: Sarbatori Fericite!
In Korean: 행복 휴일
In Indonesian: Selamat Hari Raya!
In Mandarin: Jie Ri Yu Kuai
In Italian: Buone Feste!
In German: Forhe Feiertage
In Dutch: Prettige feestdagen
In Hawaiian: Hau’oli Lanui
In Gaelic: Beannachtaí na Féile
In Hindi: Naye sāl kī hārdik śubhkāmnayeṅ
In Russian: Счастливых Праздников!! 
In Belarusian: вясёлых святаў
In Nepali: khuśī chuṭṭiyām̐
In Hebrew: Chag Sameach
In Canadian : Happy Holidays, eh?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lending List and Leather-ish Vest

I'm happy to see that some of you want to read this great book and are happy to pass it on. This shouldn't be too complicated a process. I'll send this book on to the first person on the list (that would be Val Sparkle.) When she's done with it, she can just get in contact with the next person on the list for her mailing address (that would be Alice) and send it off to her. Alice can do the same with Becky and so on.

That way all private addresses stay private. I'll lose track of the list eventually, so please let me know if you want to read the book and I'll try to find it for you. The only thing I ask is that if you borrow it, please send it on as long as there are people who want to read it. (It's a paperback that we're handing off, so who knows how long it will stay in one piece? Just tape it back together and send it on!)

So, in the order they were received, here are the first borrowers:

The Thoughtful Dresser Lending List
1. Val Sparkle of  Late Blooming Sparkle  
2. Alice of  Happiness At Midlife  
3. Becky of  Pink Cheetah Vintage 
4. Pao of  Project Minima 
5. Dawn of  Alter Ego Fashionista 
6. Suzanne of  Suzanne Carillo Style Files 

Let me know how you liked it. I just love an interactive project!

And for those of you who just stopped by to see what is up this week from my teeny-tiny-little-mind , here's me in a faux leather vest, a georgette-ish tunic shirt, jeans and my very-old-but-still-good suede boots.



Drop a line, please, and tell me what's going on with you!


Today, I'm hanging out with our favorite Winter Blooming Patti at Visible Monday
and at "Pretty in Plaid" Seeker's Tres Chic Style Bits

Join us for all the linky fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Icebound with "The Thoughtful Dresser"

I swore I was going to make this week's post a positive one as my most recent bloggy offerings have been devoted to whining and navel gazing about hair issues.  You've all been patient and very kind and deserve better.

Then a record breaking ice storm hit us here in MidNowhere, knocking out power to thousands here in our part of the world, and we were part of the mess.  Couldn't get out to the restaurant, but then no one else could either.  We woke up Friday morning to no heat or light, and ... AAAACCCKK! ... 
no Internet (!!!)  No matter where you are, these big and inconvenient-but-survivable weather interruptions to our fairly easy lives are a massive pain in the ass.  But unlike the quick devastation of our frequent tornadoes, we saw this mess coming, and were able to prepare at least a little.  We've been pretty lucky so far, as our power was restored late Saturday evening. Wine was opened in celebration and layers shed as the heat came back on.  As of Sunday afternoon there were still 10,000 out of power on the third day in, and as of Monday, there had been over 60,000 in Arkansas affected, and I'm pretty sure they're not done counting.

Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International famously advised the world that we'd all "better light a candle than curse the darkness."   He was referencing other circumstances; a world much more horrific than ours, but the advice is well taken and practical.  At our house, there certainly was some cursing, but candles were lit and we got by.

The Positive Part ...

Even without Internet access,  I had some hours of completely absorbing entertainment  because the friendship and generosity of two bloggers who live approximately 4,404 miles away from me.

Some weeks ago, the fabulous Curtise of her lovely blog, The Secondhand Years , sent me a much appreciated care-package that included a book she though I would enjoy: Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser.  She was so right!   Curtise had been given it by the equally fabulous Vix, who brings us her luxuriant and lively blog,  The Vintage Vixen . Not sure where she got it, but my thanks go out to both of these generous women for passing this book around and sharing the wisdom!  

Because I knew instantly that I would love it, I had been saving it for a time when I needed some serious fun. No time like a power outage to guiltlessly indulge in some serious goofing-off, so I grabbed the book, wrapped up in a big blanket (closely accompanied by the shorter haired dogs and cats)  and camped near a big window.  I read into the night with the help of my "Itty Bitty Book Light" until I'd finished it.  I closed it reluctantly about midnight, and I'm sorry it's done.  As soon as I'm in funds again, I'll be haunting Amazon, looking for more of her books.  Thank you so much again, Curtise ... bet you didn't know you were doing such a grand and comforting thing when you posted this book off to me!

Ms. Grant is one of those women that you just know you'd love to death if you knew her in real life.  She's only a year younger than I am, and although she grew up in England, lots of her experiences are like mine and will be appreciated by our whole generation. Younger readers will get it, too, because we all wear clothes, and the love of them is pan-generational.  She takes on the subject that so many of us dabble around the edges of; why we care about what we wear. Then, she treats our favorite guilty pleasure with a refreshing respect that is completely without apology. 
She often elevates the discussion to the near-poetic.  As in a lot of wonderful nonfiction, the bibliography alone is a tiny treasure, a road sign pointing to other sources of reading pleasure!

The fundamental act of dressing is her subject, too.  Not a how-to or book of style suggestions, The Thoughtful Dresser is a sometimes funny and occasionally heartbreaking group of connected essays and stories about what has often been regarded as a purely a feminine pastime and our weakness .  She reminds us that our love of the pleasures of dressing is, besides being one of our most effective tool of seduction, an effective and time-honored tool used to gain and maintain sovereignty over our own lives.  She writes with the incisive insight of personal experience and passion about our lust for handbags and shoes, and why they are aspirational objects of desire and pleasure instead of just functional items that keep our feet dry and our stuff organized.

What style or fashion blogger doesn't want to know more about the pleasures we take in our dressing rituals and why they are so important in our lives?  Because I interrupted Dan's own reading so often during that snowy day, insistent that he hear a particular bon mot or concept I thought his sociological heart might like, even he wants to read The Thoughtful Dresser now.  It's that good, 'cause he's a picky and serious reader.

A Possible Bloggy-Friend Project:

Because this book seems destined to be passed on, if anyone wants it I'll be happy to send it on.   What I'd like to do is keep it going.  What if we all swear a pinky-oath to send it on and keep it moving?

Let me know via Comments if you're interested, please.  

Thoughtfully dressed to go into the Big City, pre-storm, to stock up on some 
provisions for the correctly predicted nasty weather ...
This is an old, very warm faux fur-lined (and washable!) coat by Tribal that I wore with my also growing-elderly Ralph Lauren lug-soled boots and my Phillip Lim for Target shirt.


Linking up with the always interesting Seeker at her linky, 
Tres Chic Style Bits! Come join us
and see what's going on over there!

Monday, December 2, 2013

HAIR ( not the musical ...)

I had no idea that a simple haircut would be such a big emotional deal to me.

I've recently written about being a bit down in the dumps about my appearance, and a few weeks earlier, I wrote about burning big chunks of my hair off in an accident with a candle, and consequently getting it cut into a chin-length bob. It took me until the day before Thanksgiving last week to put the two events together.

Duh. I just had to finally admit that I hated having to cut my hair when I wasn't ready to do it, and hated how the resulting style looked on me.

I look like a garden gnome in all my pictures since "The Bob."

I've had hairstyle-fails before, but they didn't send me into a funk.

Next, I indulged in a good, thoroughly cathartic fit of weeping. Then I went to my old salon in the Big City, clutching a photo of a style I liked better and begged a stylist to fit me in without an appointment. She cut another 1.5 inches off, add some texture-y layers and show me how to flip them around a bit to break up what looks like an old fashioned "page-boy" to me. I am still learning some new hair styling skills, it's still bob-ish (in fact, another version) but not as rigid looking and I am happier.

But the big surprise in all this is how much I didn't like my original cut, and how low I felt about it. It was a good, competent haircut, but really not how I want to look. Lots of the women whose looks I admire most wear bobbed locks with panache, great flair and look completely beautiful in this very popular style. I envy all of you. I've appreciated and tried to internalize all the compliments and support I've gotten from so many of my bloggy friends in the comments section. But on me, I think it looks uptight (wow... how long has it been since you heard anyone use that word?) and more than a little constipated and stuffy. And I think I look just a little mean. I take notions about things, like leopard print and denim jackets and camouflage prints. Apparently, that applies to some hairstyles as well.

I'm still not happy about my hair, and I don't want to grow it long again, but I see a spark of potential. And I'm feeling better now that I've given up trying to force myself into liking it. Perhaps it's just me in my maturity, but life is seeming way too short to spend any more time at all trying to accept a haircut I don't like.

So I won't.

Here I am, still stuck in dressed-down, post-holiday, errand running mode, with the new cut. It was so cold out that Dan was shaky and the picture wasn't very sharp. I adjusted the color ... blouse is close, as are the oxblood jacket and cordovan booties. My hair came out much brighter than it really is, though, but you get an idea of the cut.
I was wearing lipstick that was almost burgundy ... go figure.


I'll be showing up "late but present" at the always sweet-and-kind-looking Patti's Visible Monday 
and the ever inquisitive Seeker's linky party, 

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Grateful For ...

For those of you outside the US, this Thursday we'll be celebrating our Thanksgiving. Here, the day is marked by excess: we Americans almost always set out to deliberately over-indulge in our favorite seasonal foods and beverages with family. We may not like our relatives, or particularly care for turkey, but celebrate together we do. The feast itself is usually scheduled for early afternoon. That's to allow for the traditional nap that follows and/or our other national tradition-obsession; hours and hours and hours of college or pro football. And that is usually accompanied by grazing on leftovers, and extra servings of dessert.

But at its best and in its deeper meaning, it's a national day of gratitude. We're supposed to spend at least a portion of the day counting our personal and collective blessings. I am first grateful for my Darling Dan and the rest of our very small and peculiar family. That absolutely includes all our four- legged and furry or big, hairy, hoofed "children" as well as our wild and domestic winged babies. I celebrate the health of all the above, and the health and happiness of our immediate and extended two-legged family and friends.

It's just the two of us here, so I'm grateful that Dan doesn't want the whole traditional demonstration of excess for dinner on the big day. We just make lots of only our very favorites dishes and enjoy them with a good bottle (or two) of better wine than we usually drink, and a bottle of cheap champagne to finish the evening. (We find the bubbles nice on a full tummy.) I'm also grateful that he doesn't watch football ... and that brings me to another thing I'm especially grateful for.   Satellite television
allows us to save marathons of favorite series we've missed on the DVR, or movies.

I have a whole list of important and serious things to be grateful for but, as you see, I'm also grateful for many of the less high-minded elements and fun parts of my life. And since this is (ostensibly) a style blog, I have some gratitude to express about the style and sartorial life as well.

To start, I'm grateful that Dan and I just dress up our best jammies or jammie-equivalents on Turkey Day, and call it good. It's all about the food anyway at our house. I might or might not wear mascara, but will absolutely brush my hair. I'll lounge and help cook in cozy black leggings and a new, black and pink lace print sweatshirt in ... ahem ... "French terry" that sports a different, silkier front panel.

Speaking of Target* ... I'm grateful that we finally got one in our Big City. I have fun at our Target. And because of their designer collaborations, it's one of the few places where I can have at least some of the same kind of fun as women in more urban areas have.

Another Target thing I am grateful for this year is Sonia Kashuck's new line of fragrances with companion creams and other body-care yummies. There are four different scents in the line but I'm enchanted with her Pink Innocencia. I'm a little bit of a fragrance snob. I have standards -- they're low, but I do have them -- and I generally try to step it up a bit from Big Box perfumes with celebrity names. However, Kashuck has some serious design and quality chops, and this tuberose, magnolia and amber fragrance is right up my alley.

 It comes on pretty intensely right out of the bottle, but settles down quickly and just glows softly all afternoon. Great for layering too, with hand and body creams, all inexpensively available. Lovely for everyday, especially when I'm here all by myself all day with the dogs, cats and horses. They don't care much if I smell good, but I do.

As much as I love Target, I won't be anywhere near it on Black Friday. Which starts as early as Thursday evening, right after dinners. It has become the most insane shopping day here in the US, and I'm grateful that I'm avoiding this part of the holiday madness. I like a good sale as much as the next woman, but I'm too little and too old to compete with younger, or larger, or more determined (or sometimes just meaner) women for deep sale prices and parking spaces.

I'm grateful that this was the year that I managed to get all my favorite magazines, including the fashion glossies, in digital subscriptions on my Kindle Fire. I love it. I can now carry ALL of them around with me along with my book collection, sketch pad, music, web browser and a movie or two if I wish.

And I'm grateful for happy style accidents that sometimes happen. While wandering around JCP (yes, again ....) I found a brown and black striped boat-neck sweater that I just love. On sale. And I'm grateful how well it goes with a brown and black stripped skirt that I've had for a long time. It has looked okay with other tops, but I think it's now part of an "outfit" with the two happy pieces together.

And I'm grateful that our recent warm day has turned to much cooler weather, so I could bring out the tights and boots and leather and enjoy wearing it

Finally, I return to my list of important blessings. If you're reading this, I'm thankful for you! And if you leave a reply, I'm extra thankful. And if you are one of the great but unsung style-bloggers from all around the world that I count among my bloggy-friends, bloggers who inspire me daily, weekly and always, and who share with me your pretty clothes, interesting lives and smart opinions .... I'm grateful for every one of your posts this past year. You help bring the world to my door, you challenge my preconceptions, make me think, let me learn, and keep me from being as isolated as I might otherwise be. I'm thankful for all of that and every one of you.

So, where ever you are, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

*This is not a sponsored post by Target. Or JCP. Or anyone. I'm just a fan.


This is me, linking up with 
the adorable and always charming Seeker at
Tres Chic Style Bits  on Mondays. 
 Do drop by, and definitely feel free to show this new Linky Party some love and Link Up!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winter Heat Wave!

Yesterday, the local temperature was 81ºF (about 27 ºC ) and the low was supposed to be about 38 ºF  (  just over 3 ºC )! 
Not sure about the low because I wasn't awake to verify it in the wee hours of this morning. It had been down in the 50s for the daylight hours last week, but it's still warm and into the mid-60s today.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but WTF? I'm completely discombobulated with this weather. Will someone please remind Mother Nature that it's freaking November?

Cancel that ... no doubt I'll have cause to regret my complaints come January or February. But for now, it's difficult to plan how to dress ahead of time. The post outfits I had planned for today were way too cozy and bundled up to wear comfortably, so I opted to punt.

I decided to do more digging in my closet for items I love but don't wear often, and was rewarded with a happy surprise or two that look winter-ish but are cool enough to be comfy in this strange spring-like weather.

This little skirt has been in my closet forever and survived several purges because I just couldn't give up on it. I've just never found any items that worked well with it. 
It's very pretty but it's always seemed an odd length that suddenly  seems much more workable with the current revival of the midi skirt.  Midis are problematic for me, but I just love the length of this sweet little skirt. The silvery embroidered and scalloped hem is enough excuse to keep it!

This top was a surprise for me because I found it very recently on the sale rack at Target after they gave up on the recent Phillip Lim collaboration. I think the original $39.99 price tag understandably seemed high to many of our local Target shoppers. I was tickled to find it on sale, though, and I like the fit a lot. Its jeweled collar has seemed a little wintery until now, and will look great under a blazer or moto later on, but I thought it gave the little skirt a nice excuse to dress up and go out. I didn't actually wear the skirt on our trip to the Big City yesterday, but I'll wear it to work soon. The restaurant is always warm enough to go sleeveless!

The top did get to go to town, 'cause I pared it with coated skinnies, best booties and a little tougher silver watch and chain-link bracelet than I'd usually choose for it. That worked pretty well I thought, and I had fun wearing it.

But I'm especially happy that this nice little skirt has finally found her match! 



Excellent!  It's Visible Monday again, and I'm linking up
with Doing-Great-Things Patti at her place!  
Also, I'll be hanging out "somewhere in the Atlantic" with the very chic and sleek Seeker at her NEW link-up party,

Monday, November 11, 2013

Style Choices and the Grim Reaper

It may just be a hangover from our recent Halloween festivities, but I've been feeling more than a little grim this week about how I look. Especially in photos. Although the numbers on the scale remain constant, I feel fat. 
And ancient. 
I hate my hair and my face. 
I even hate my first name. 
We all have days, weeks or just moments like this, and the grimness is transitory (we hope), and often followed by a better, more optimistic week.

As I mused in a comment to someone on one of the blogs, somewhere, it's only been recently that I've realized that many of the favorite clothes that live in my closet today will still be there the day after I'm dead.  Ick!

Barring being run over by a very big truck, or being struck by lightning, or succumbing to a quick and deadly failure of a critical organ, I'm not likely to croak  very soon. I'm in pretty good health so far as I know, so I'll probably live for a quite a while yet, but none of us come out of this alive. I don't mean to be a complete downer here, but it's a fact. (Except for Dan, according to him. He intends to live forever, and I devoutly wish him success with this project.) 

Assuming I predecease Mr. Immortal, he'll have to clean out the closets at some point. Knowing his attention to all issues of sustainability, he'll recycle it out into the world, somehow.

So, at a certain age, I think we all have to honestly assess just what the hell we're saving all the good stuff for!

All of you vintage collectors have to be aware of the wonder of the vibe that's sometime left behind by past owners of your new-to-you garments; mysterious and full of an intriguing and contradictory sense of potential. Selfish cow that I am, I don't want to risk feeling like I missed a lot of the potential fun my favorite garments suggest to me while I actually own them. I want to have worn out and be completely finished with my best stuff when I move on to any other plane of existence.

So, I am making a concentrated effort to pull out and wear my favorite things much more often. Not just the costlier closet inhabitants, and my mother's good jewelry, but the fun stuff ... like the recently excavated $9.00 tutu, or costume jewelry that I bought just because of how much fun it looked to be at the time.

I have recently unearthed two chambray shirts that I really like so much that I've taken the time to properly shorten for better proportion. But,  as many of you know, I'm slow to to adopt new style ideas without first completely over-thinking them. I've been fussing around with ways to wear them where I don't look like a farm hand or an elderly teenager. In the spirit of living-it-up just a little, I've combined them here with some unrepentantly fake sparklies. I love the way this looks on young women, and don't much care if it looks jejune on me. I really needed to have some fun with casual wear this week, and piled on the trends ( ... 'scuse me. Style ideas.)

Blue chambray, my favorite deep red skinnies, my sparkly gold pumps that I don't get to wear nearly as often as I like, and bronze chains, 
rhinestones and pointy things.

Detail ... with me weirdly reflected in
one of the round stones on top!  The reflection
looks like a tiny little matador with a mustache.

A still casual, but slightly fancier charcoal-ish chambray shirt ...
silver chains, baubles and rhinestone necklaces.  Individually fun, but 
much more fun together.  Also, my favorite black coated jeans and 
shoes with a pewter cap-toe pumps that I just adore.

Again, detail. The top necklace needs an extender ... 
I'd prefer to wear this with an open collar.

So, I'm feeling better about everything.  I have two, new go-to outfits for days that bring even a tiny case of the blues. 

 The other thing I figured out is that if I only add things to my wardrobe that I completely adore, and keep on doing it, I might live a very, very long time, and gorgeously ... I'll need the time for all the fun I intend to have playing in my closet!


Linking up with the Peplumed Beauty Elena at her 
 and at The Sleek and Chic Seeker's
Tres Chic Style Bits #3
(Hope she lets me ... we don't know each other yet!)

Late Breaking Update  11/18/2013: 
I'm joining Patti at her fabulous Visible Monday ! Come over and see what we're all up to!


Have a great week, all!  Thanks for reading, and feel free to let me know what you think about what I wrote, or anything you want me to hear!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Bit of Baroque from Bisou Bisou

I love the Baroque period in art, music, architecture and philosophy. It's a period of elaborateness of design only surpassed by the era that followed, the completely over-the-top Rococo period. Next to the Rococo, it's positively restrained.

The Ecstasy of St. Theresa

The Calling of St. Matthew

According to the OED, the era's name derives from similar words in Portuguese, Spanish and French for a "rough or imperfect pearl." What a lovely idea.

Baroque pearls!

To our contemporary eye, a little Baroque goes a long way. Although, clearly there have been some fans in the design world who are making more than a little of it. This fall especially, and in contrast to some pretty stark minimalism and a sea of highly tailored and simple silhouettes, we're seeing unabashed references to the Baroque all over the place, in jewelry and embroidered fabrics and laces ... but very little of it is casual. Or even close to affordable for the likes of me.

More D & G, but with  putti prints.

Leave it to good old JCP to once again surprise me, and provide me just the right amount of what I want. I just found this very sheer Baroque print with a faux leather panel by Bisou Bisou.

It's just a sleeveless tunic-top, which I'm looking forward to wearing with a skimpy black camisole underneath and an "after 5:00-ish" jacket on top. But of course I want to wear it NOW, so I'm layering it with a light weight tee for this suddenly cooler weather we're having and more casual occasions. I also like the contrast of  faux leather trousers, and added the suede heels with tassels for yet another texture.

Just a little Baroque for little old me. I'm such a sucker for a bit of historical romance!


I'm joining our favorite Lovely Patti, the Lacy Cat Lady at Visible Monday
and the Ever Elegant Elena Fay at 
Hope you'll pop over and see what everyone is up to!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plumbing Problems and Tulle Skirts

As you all know, plumbing problems are the biggest pain in the tuchas. They're not only intimidating, destructive, sometimes difficult and often expensive to repair, but they can make you feel defeated and deprived. In this case, it was a dying pressure relief valve on our water heater, and the failure of this single piece of plumbing hardware took away our hot water, making it really hard to maintain basic hygiene ( yak!) It also deprived me of long, luxurious soaks in my tub, and made it impossible to color my hair.

(This is a new pressure relief valve.  It is not as innocent as it looks.)

The fix for this snafu was simple in theory: turn off the water, disconnect and unscrew this little item, screw another one in, reconnect it, then turn the water back on and you're back in business. The problem is that the little bastards have a tendency to seize up and won't budge. This one was just such a stubborn little bastard. Much heaving and hammering, huffing and straining ensued.  Without boring you with all the details, it took us several days (!!) to get it unstuck and get our hot water back. And when we did, we were seriously proud of our accomplishment. (Dan was the one to actually make it move, but I take credit for taking many futile turns at yarding on the pipe wrench, and the eventual application of the penetrating oil that finally dissolved the mineral deposits that made it stick. )

Reasonably, you ask, "What has this to do with personal style?" The answer is this: the triumph one feels over a big plumbing problem solved is a huge confidence builder. That burst of self-assurance combined with the giddy, celebratory relief of having your hot water back is so heady that you can suddenly feel confident enough to wear whatever you 
damn well want to.

My little black tulle skirt has been hanging in my closet for months, and I've never worn it for fear of looking like a modern Miss Havisham. So full of self-esteem was I that it suddenly seemed just the thing to do. A woman who can help fix her own plumbing and manage excellent hygiene for days without hot water from the tap should be able to wear a tulle skirt with aplomb. 

 I swear that when I opened the closet, I heard that little wisp of a skirt whisper "Now... now is the time ..." in that swishy, scratchy, soft voice that tulle would have if it possessed the ability to speak. I also pulled out the black nylons with the tiny polka dots, just for this special occasion. Woo hoo! I thought my new, black, moto-ish jacket helped push this combination right over the edge. 

 I wore the whole outfit to the restaurant on Saturday evening and had the best time! I'm unlikely to wear it often, but it felt good to try it at least once. And not one person thought it was a Halloween costume. Or said so, anyway.

Here's Dan feeling too cool to be seen without shades. He's not only happy to have the job accomplished, he's relieved that I'm no longer freaking out. He's also wearing one of his Phillip Lim for Target shirts that he found on the clearance rack. He had a good week several ways.   


So ... thanks for reading, have a great week and remember:

Wherever the confidence or inspiration comes from, whether it's from the pages of Vogue or Plumbing for Dummies, it can feel wonderful to grab it and run with it!


Late Breaking News!  At last, I'm in time to link up with the Fabulously Talented and Intriguingly Interesting Spy Girl, Anne and her  52 Pick-Me-Up  linky party!  I'm going to visit with the most interesting women ... join me!