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!