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,