Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Big Drawing, A Liebster and a Versatile Blogger

Because these kind (and highly intelligent, certainly discerning, deeply perceptive and invariably beautiful and undeniable talented) women thought of me while casting about for nominees for the Liebster and Versatile Blogger awards, it's more than high time for me to thank them. By tardily-but-sincerely responding ... as much as I'd like to send cash.

Anyone reading this, please click over to their respective blogs because they are always excellent reading.
Sue at A Colorful Canvas  ... "Orange Crush"
Veshoevius at The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe ...  "Flamenco as Fashion Trend"

(Where, by the way, you can see them interpret a very difficult color in two entirely different but seriously successful ways via their current posts! What a great serendipitous collaboration that morphed into a tutorial!)

So, without further ado, and in chronological order ...

The Liebster 

Sue honored me with a Liebster Award back in February ... and part of that is to answer some questions. They were:

Katharine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn?
     Impossible question! I'm physically like neither, but admire both for similar reasons. Kate had a highly individualized, often boyish style of dress, Audrey was the ultimate lady but could wear anything. Both were highly talented and prolific women. Slight advantage to Audrey because she was married to Mel Ferrer, on whom I bestowed my first childhood crush when I was about 8, just after seeing War and Peace.

Summer at the beach or winter on the slopes? 
     Neither. Grew up at the beach, so been there, done that. Don't ski well, so that's out. The ideal summer would be spent traveling in Europe with huz Dan ... that has yet to happen, but anything is possible. Yes. I believe that.

If you could be any character from a Disney movie, who would you be?
     Another deceptively difficult question, Susan. Disney has a character for every cultural archetype imaginable, in every possible variation! But I'd have to go with Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. Who wouldn't want to be a delicate fairy creature, immortal, whizzing around Never-Never Land? Truth is, though, I'm much closer to Jesse the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story 2.  Ouch.  Sigh.

What is your perfect Sunday afternoon?
    Champagne-loaded brunch with my huz at somewhere wonderful, a little shopping and an art museum or two, ending with dinner with the huz at the best Japanese restaurant in the world. Not much to ask, is it?

Chocolate or Lemon?
Chocolate always, except for fish topping and in iced-tea.

Are you content to sit in traffic, or do you feel compelled to find a jam-free route?
    We don't have traffic in Arkansas. Arkansans think we do, but we don't.

Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?
     Reading, by a length.  I must read every day, and have at least one book going (it's a compulsion) but I don't get to watch as many movies as I'd like ... I'm an old movie buff, and love the new ones.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you choose?
      Almost any era could be fun, but I'd have to be rich as Croesus. It's not fun to be poor in any era.

What did you have for lunch today?
     One slice of whole-grain, flourless bread, spread with hummus spiced with red-pepper flakes and topped with red bell pepper slices. And diet ginger-ale. That's my lunch most days.

What is your idea of a perfect picnic? Food choices and location please?
     Cold lobster, prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes in cold pasta salad, real hard-crust French baguette and cold, hard butter.  Two bottles of a really good Red Zinfandel, dark, dry and peppery as sin.  At the Shakespeare Garden at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Ca.  And a chauffeur to take us back to our hotel.

If you went on a trip and had to utilize three different methods of transportation, which three would you choose?
     QE2 ( this is fantasy, isn't it?)  horseback in Provence,  ending with the Orient Express. To the end of the line, of course.


Here are the Real Rules for the Liebster.
Thank and link back to the person who nominated you
Write 11 random facts about yourself
Answer the 11 questions written by the person who nominated you*
Nominate 11 other bloggers
Write 11 questions for the other bloggers to answer

*Instead of doing that precisely, I'm going to suggest that anyone who is interested in playing along with me should just step up and have some fun. Let's put it this way ... if you're reading this, you're nominated.

(For those of you who are scoffing right now, remember that participation makes for a great Blogger's Block cure to keep in your bloggy arsenal. Just for that day when you cannot think of another thing to write about. If you do not have Blogger's Block now and again, then you are a better woman than I am, no arguments.)

My questions for you are (and I really want to know...)

1. Do you like your fashion/style media delivered via internet-to-tablet, internet to email in-box or post office-to-mail box?

2.  If health, comfort or expense were not issues ... Doc Martins or sky-high Manolo Blahnics?

3.  Who's you favorite Doctor Who?

4.  On the same theme .... favorite Captain of the starship Enterprise.

5.  Game of Thrones or Game of the Week?

6.  If you could have pick one public figure (living or non) to be a regular reader and of your blog, who would it be?

7.  Favorite guilty-pleasure band, any era.

8.  Dog, cat, or both? Or neither?

9.  If you could have any sound wake you up in the morning, what would it be?

10. What did you want to be when you grew up?

11. Considering the current economy ... what is your fantasy choice for your post-retirement, second career?

The Versatile Blogger 

The delightful Veshoevius honored me with the Versatile Blogger Award and the rules for this are somewhat less complicated:

Nominate some other new bloggers, I'll leave the number up to you. (Or, as above, if you are reading you are nominated!)

Let them know you have nominated them. 

Share 7 random facts about yourself (feel free to share more or less as you see fit.)

Thank the blogger who has nominated you.

Add the Versatile Blogger Award to your post.

 Please let me know if you decide to play, and know that I am really interested in what you have to say! Feel free to just leave a comment here, or put your answers on your blog.  But gimme a shout.  I'm nosey.

My seven Random Facts

1.  I'm a California native.  That makes me an official Daughter of the Golden West.  I've always thought that was cool.

2.  I just bought silver patent leather, pointy-toe pumps, and they are some of the most comfortable "work shoes" I have for the restaurant.  I swear to whatever Gods claim me.  

3.  My favorite object in the whole world (besides my wedding rings) is my Kindle Fire 8.9.  If I lost it I would implode.  

4.  I prefer unpolished toenails in summer.  On me.  I just do.

5.  I have an unusually small lower mandible, and unusually large teeth.  This, as you might imagine, has been problematic.

6.  My husband is the first person, always, to read my blog every time I post.

7.   I write most of my posts on my laptop, sitting on my "command central" chaise lounge, sitting cross-legged with a black toy poodle, a white chihuahua and a hair-challenged Westie.  And sometimes one of the twin herringbone tabby-cat girls.  Not sure which one until I look carefully.  

And finally, below you'll find one of my avatar drawings that was inspired by Jess at Animated Cardigan and Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey ,  the wonderful young mistresses of their Style Imitating Art project.
The inspiration source that Jess chose was a painting by Gustave Caillebotte:

And here is my response. "Janime" ( "Javitar"?) is wearing an illustration of my own dress, with a slight alteration of the actual print to better respond to the painting. Sadly for me, I was too late to get this in with the rest of the responses (the very kind Jess may well be able to patch me in later. ) But I was really inspired by this week's project, and I got carried away.
(Know it's huge, but the second largest was too small.  Sometimes, size does count.)

Finally, I'm linking up with the beautiful and ultra hospitable Patti at  Visible Monday . She is, in fact the source of all this inspiration, so join us all there to see what's going on with many more of her fans!

Please drop in for a chat ... I try hard to get to every comment.  Love to hear what you're thinking!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Suzy Menkes' article, "The Circus of Fashion" has upset me way more than it should. Really, her disdain for those she perceives as un-and-under qualified fashion bloggers is far away from my realm of concern. Her influence on me is from such a rarefied distance that I might never have noticed it at all if I had not seen it's negative effect, directly and indirectly, on two of my favorite women, both bloggers, whose opinions I value and whose happiness does concern me.

One of the women I mention will remain anonymous in my discussion. Without breaking her confidence to me, I can say she has lately questioned whether her ideas have a legitimate place in fashion blogging. This is, in part, because there are so many younger, more conventionally beautiful women, with more resources to spend, and therefore, in my friend's perception, seen as more interesting and valid. It is fair to mention her worries because I'd bet a lot that there are few of you who are reading this that have not fretted about something similar, at least once.

Veshoevius, the creator of her blog "The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe" has recently been public in her response to Ms. Menkes' commentary. And she is the other person I reference, but she has different reasons for her response. She doesn't need my defense, or even my support as a sister style enthusiast. But because I just really like and respect what I know of her, I hate it that even for a moment, in her own words, she felt "kind of ashamed to be a blogger." I'm relieved that she wrote us around to her intelligent conclusions about Menkes' complaints. And I was relieved to see her subsequent post showing her back in all her lovely fighting form. But I hope so much that she will not take that first initial jolt very seriously or for any length of time at all.

There seems to be a consensus that much of what Ms. Menkes said is true. She was certainly factual in many of her comments, but the meaning that fact holds is still subject to interpretation. The fashion industry created the crashers, the photo-op chasers, the over-the-toppers and is responsible for their flourishing. Ms. Menkes is an important cog in that great big, hard grinding wheel of fashion commerce. Since, as Veshoevius points out, the entire goal is to sell as many of us as possible the most possible product, it seems particularly counterproductive to slap around those who are your best customers! Fashion victims, indeed. It seems outrageous to me that the very people you want to convince to buy your product should be told outright that their opinion of the product is without merit.

In any art or design education worth a bit of salt, the artist learns the value of critique. In school, it is done by peers and instructors. And in the best of all worlds the student gets better as the result of appropriate critique and the process should be welcomed. Out in the world, when the artist (or designer) puts their work out for all to see, that critique does not and should not stop. When buying an artistic product, the customer's subjective, taste-based opinion may not be the only one of value, but it is the only opinion that counts ultimately in terms of the sale. And my sense is that those who sneer at the participation of the hoi-polloi don't really want to sell a lot of garments.

Additionally, Ms Menkes asks, "Who needs to graduate from Central Saint Martins in London or New York's Fashion Institute of Technology when a homemade outfit can go viral on YouTube with millions of hits?" Good question, but the answer lies dead center within her question itself. If these graduates are not realistic enough to understand that they will indeed compete with the merit that exists beyond the scope of academia, then these venerable institutions fail their students in fundamental ways. Our own academically-accomplished Veshoevius was too polite to say that these graduates often cannot hold their own with rocket scientists and brain surgeons, but I'm not. My own education comes from another similar (but not so tony) fine arts college. I can say with certainty, our graduating institutions don't guarantee talent and taste. 

All of you who are reading this are aware that there are growing numbers of women, younger and maturing, fully mature, and some of us downright aged, who are no longer content to sit down, shut up and gently fade away as the end of life approaches. Women like Patti (at Not Dead Yet Style) host women like me and my silent friend and Veshoevius at cyber-gatherings like her Visible Monday project where style blogging women ( sometimes triple digits in number !) show up to show out just a little. The process is gentle, and the point is to assert our visibility in a safe place where all are encouraged. Critique is not the point here.  Encouragement is.  We are not professionals, for the most part, nor are most of us selling much of anything. There is some light commercial activity, but it is usually geared to our niche audience and presented by members from our own ranks. It's a movement, I tell you, and it's growing. It is a good, kind thing to happen within the often callously and deliberately unkind fashion world.

Establishing an office space in an ivory tower often leads to an inability to see what's happening on the ground. It follows that it's not surprising that Ms. Menkes can't see us at all. So I shouldn't take her comments very seriously, and I hope my anonymous friend and Veshoevius will join me in carrying on without Suzy's approval.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Three's My Limit

Every religion I can think of (without doing much more research than one of my style-blog posts deserves) puts some serious significance on three.

It's the the biggest number I can automatically count in multiples beyond 12 without pausing to think.

It's absolutely my glass-of-wine limit before falling asleep.

It's often associated with magic in fairy tales (three bears, three little pigs, three wishes ... I'm sure there are more.)

It's the number of lines it takes to make a triangle, which is really an important part of geometry and you really need triangles when you draw pointy things ... dunce caps, stars, vampire fangs.

It's the number of points used in triangulation (duh!) ... which is, in navigation, the location of an unknown point by the formulation of a triangle having the unknown point and two known points as the vertices. (I have, in fact, done this.  Once.  With help. )

It's the absolute maximum number of scoops one can practically pile on an ice-cream cone and still manage to eat most of it. I know this from experience.

And three is the maximum number of prints that I have managed to mix successfully. I'm sure that more are possible. But any more makes putting an outfit together too much like work, and more work than I want to do getting dressed for ANY occasion.

Navy and white stripe knit blazer plus
Navy and white polka-dot peplum top plus
Navy and white abstract print scarf = Taaaa Daaaa!

( And how about that little yellow leather belt ? Yes? )

What's your print mixing magic number?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Linking up with the EVER POPULAR PATTI at  Visible Monday !

Please stop a minute and say hello ... it really makes my day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monkey Mind Days

You know those days when your thoughts swing on mental vines from subject to subject? The days when you find yourself standing in another room with no earthly idea why you are there, and it's hard to focus on anything for more than a few minutes? Monkey Mind Days. They happen a lot in the spring. They're a sure sign I need to meditate to clean out the short term memory banks. 

Wait, what is that shiny object over there?...

The Monkey Mind was on all day yesterday.

Nowadays, if I'm going to use a drawing in a post, I finish the very time-consuming drawing before I actually do any writing. The following is what the Monkey Mind was coming up with while I was painting the booties.

"I love this outfit. I really love, love, LOVE these flower-dy jeans. They look awful blue grey here. They're really a dark charcoal. Don't worry about it, no one will ever know if you don't tell them.

Is this outfit too young for me? Naaaah. Well, maybe. But I don't care, I'll wear it anyway 'cause I love it. Susan Sarandon would SO wear this outfit. Wow... you sure do worry a lot about age appropriateness, especially when you have the gall to tell everyone else not to. You worry too much. Nobody listens to you anyway, so why make yourself crazy? Yeah, but I don't want to LOOK crazy.

No. This is cute, and even if it is too young, it works.

It works ... what does that even mean? You heard it all the way through art school in every critique you ever sat through, and used it yourself. A lot. It's sort of like the French je ne sais quoi. It's that indefinable thing about something that you like. Not completely indefinable ... might be the whole outfit brings a vague pleasant memory, or you loved James Dean and Joan Jett and they always wore a motorcycle jacket, or that the color peach really flatters near your face. Or that floral print jeans just feel modern to you. Too trivial to say, or even think very hard about, so you just say "It works."  Huh.

Actually, it's that the jacket keeps the flower-dy jeans from looking too sweet. As do the booties. How can anything called a bootie not be sweet? Glad I found this coral (peach?) t-shirt in last year's stuff. The length works, and covers the old tummy just fine.

Speaking of covering the tummy, it's almost time to get out the put away the dark Spanx tights. I'm gonna miss them. But that means it time to bring out the Spanx long-panty things! Yeaaaay. I do not get those women who go on about why they don't need them, would NEVER wear them. Yeah, well, maybe not. Lucky them. Or maybe they should wear them, but just haven't figured it out! Ha! They probably are too young to remember how awful real girdles were. Nope, I love me some Spanx. Sleek and comfy. They make it possible to wear dresses in insane heat. They wick, they don't make you sweat more! And they're not so hard to get into. Only one or two hits on the asthma inhaler, and you've got 'um on.

Why doesn't someone invent a wee, tiny little panty that controls the tummy and eliminates VPL? Like a control top thong. Maybe not.

Speaking of things not so useful, that "Leibster Award" didn't amount to many hits. Many real hits, that is. I did start to get a whole lot of link-spam from the always charming "Anonymous". Gotta put the old "Prove You're not a Robot" thing back on. Anyway, it's not the number of hits, its the fun comments. And the answers to the questions. Maybe we could invent a variation on the Liebster by just sending around only a set of style questions. Call it "Style Tag for Nosy People", and play it like real tag.
Nope ... just what we need is another techno-annoyance in the form of chain letters. Better not.

Speaking of "better not" ... isn't there some chocolate still hidden in the back of the pantry?"

And that is how it went, all in the space of a few minutes. Hope your day was a lot more organized and focused. But I got it done, and am ready to join the Always Perfectly Organized Patti at Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style . Late as always, but there we are!