Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End News from Nowhere

News Flash!!!!!
Yesterday. Big City in West Nowhere. Regular Unleaded Gasoline: $1.74 a gallon!!!!!
I never thought I'd live long enough to see it drop below $2.00 a gallon. That is all.

Good things can happen even if they are just little. Even small victories can taste sweet. But this is a Very Big Deal for us as we have to drive so much, so often. And as much as I am not in love with my crappy old car, I am pleased to be reminded just now that it gets over 30 mpg. ( I'm not so pleased to report that after all last week's repairs, a headlight has gone kaputt. The good news is that if this keeps up, I will have replaced so many parts that it will no longer be an old car. The fun just never stops. But we are still moving down the road with a few dollars more in our pockets after a fill up ... and that feels pretty good this time of year!)

... And in Other News from Nowhere ....
One Major Holiday down, one Major Holiday to go. I wish you all a Very Happy New Year with lots of love and thanks to you all for reading my silliness and writing to me about it. Please go safely and stay out of trouble on this always boozy holiday. Nothing bums me out more than to see mug shots of my friends (or worse) on the news.

Reviewing my last year's *New Year's Aspirations for 2014 ... How'd I do?
I'm no fool. My character is not upright enough for the staunchness of resolutions. I love a good challenge as much as the next woman, but I refuse to set myself up for failure. I can set some priorities, identify improvements that need to happen, and fantasize how life would be if I actually had my act together, but if I don't have a lot of stern resolutions to live up to I do a lot better. Let's take a very quick look at last year's list, and see how I did.

My Facebook Blog Page:
Well, it's there. I forget most weeks to even post my own blogs. I'm not much of a FB kind of person.

Redesign website:
Did that! Done.

Find a better way to keep in touch with bloggy friends.
The idea was to read more and write less. Stay current. I often don't get around to read everyone's blogs before I bend to the self-imposed pressure get out my own weekly post, or even get to respond to all the kind comments from the previous week. Much of it has to do with my very busy Wednesday-Sunday schedule. I know we all have limited available blog-cruising time, and mine is pretty much limited to Mondays and Tuesdays. I have to really hustle to get a post up so I can join Visible Monday, and that's when I can do most of my catchup. I did, however, make my sidebar blogs-I-read list more usable, so I give myself a very few tiny points for that. Much improvement is still needed, though, so I persevere.

Try to find some different backgrounds for photos.
Major Fail. Still working on that.

Get a current avatar that reflects the changes.
Good news: I'm finally happy with my haircut. I love my long pixie, and while I don't think it is wildly flattering or makes me look any younger or slimmer it is, I think, a more proportional look for me, and it just feels like the most authentic version of me thus far.
So, I finally made a new Gravatar. About time, wasn't it?

(These are more about my wardrobe than the blog...)
Spend more time recombining (wardrobe) items.
One of the best things all of my bloggy friends do for me is to inspire me to do this. Like everyone else, I wear my favorite things a lot, but I've found that I get stuck putting the same pieces together. All my bloggy buds have taught me to mix it up, and provide the inspiration for specific new combinations ... so thank you all for helping me increase my sartorial mileage!

Renew, recycle, and reuse!
Props to so many of you who have encouraged me to get off my butt and actually use the few sewing skills I actually own. I've always had to do the basics, but I was more creative and bold this year because of your example, bloggy sewing-divas and artists. You know who you are.

Continue to try to find a decent resale/consignment shop and actually use it.
I'm crap at this. There just are none here that work for me. I'll continue to keep scanning my radar for them, though.

Try it on before you buy it. Really.
This was the year when I made this rule one of my shopping modus operandi. I've left so many items behind in the fitting room ... and saved myself a chunk of change, and more than a little heartbreak and self-loathing, I know. It's also taught me how favorite brands usually fit me, and that's a time saver as well.

Love it or leave it.
Putting this into practice has been one of the best habits I've cultivated this year. It is a huge money saver, of course, but this year I've really enjoyed combining items that I already love. I'm embarrassed how long it's taken me to understand that it's a lot easier and more fun to combine pieces that I really love wearing than trying to shoehorn in items that are just meh just to get the good out of them. Duh.

* I haven't compiled Aspirations for 2015, yet. Stay tuned.

Yes, you just saw this jacket last week.  But in the spirit of
closet shopping, wearing the pieces I love the most, and trying new combinations, here it is AGAIN. But with a Missoni for Target dress I haven't worn in some time but love a lot, a Call it Spring messenger that suddenly feels fresh with these Gianni Bini equestrian-esque dress boots.

A better look at the boots ... this is True Boot Love.
They are in my possession because of a non-traditional 
collaboration with Santa. But I'm happy.


Before I conclude this last blog post of 2014, I'll leave you with a final news item. I've been a bit of a Doris Downer lately, I know, and this December has not been an easy month to enjoy. In keeping with that theme, on Saturday night, the son of a dear woman-friend that we hadn't seen in a while stopped by the restaurant to let us know his mother was in the hospital, fighting off a desperate and very frightening illness.

We stopped by the hospital on Sunday afternoon to see her, and you all know that terrible feeling of worry and anxiety that marks this kind of hospital visit if you've lived very long. We finally found her room, but I'm pretty sure you can also identify with the sickening little clutch you feel around your heart when you find the room empty of the patient you're looking for. We found a nurse, and she solemnly informed us that my friend had gone downstairs to the chapel. After a mutual sigh of relief, we then had to decide whether or not to bother her and invade her privacy there, but we really wanted to see her, so we headed to the chapel to wait for her to come out.

We found the chapel, and just outside of it we also found a small crowd of very happy people, laughing and talking and taking photographs. And there, in the center of the crowd, we found our friend sitting in a wheel-chair ... in a lovely dress, in full makeup, clutching a bouquet of flowers, wearing a white veil and a big smile.

My friend had just married her Significant Other of many years, surrounded by their families with music and flowers and cake and lots of joy.

Isn't that just the best, most amazing thing? I'll chalk that up as one of those rare, sweet, year-end mega-victories I've been looking for.


I'm joining the Bubbly and Intoxicating Patti at her year-end edition of  Visible Monday  ... where we all go to be much more than just visible!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bah, Humblog! And the Seasonal Wisdom of Doctor Who

Let's not kid ourselves. This time of year can be our most joyous, but for most of us, the lead-up to a splashy Christmas and party-hearty New Year can be the most stress ridden and difficult part of the season. A lot of you are nodding in sisterly and justifiably cynical agreement, but there's always some Perfectly and Perpetually Poised Pollyanna who (with humiliating accuracy) reminds me that stress is a construct of my own response to internal or external forces that affect my life, self-imposed and over which I have complete control.

To her, I reply "Bah-Freakity-Humbug, and please go peddle your superhuman self-control and serenity somewhere else, girly! I'm doing the best I can with what I got."

I'm not good at managing my pre-Christmas angst. It's always our slowest time of year at our restaurant as we're so deep in the hinterlands and 40 miles away from any Christmas shopping areas. One eats where one shops, and we fall off everyone's radar. I get it, but knowledge aforehand doesn't make the annually inevitable financial pinch any easier to manage. And every year, there's some treat from the Universe that makes it all just a tiny bit more difficult. This December, Dan blew up his car ... I gave him mine to use and one of its fairly new tires promptly disintegrated on his way to work. That got fixed, but the process meant we had to be closed for half-day of much needed income. The good news was that the tire warranty netted a prorated refund of half the purchase price of the blown tire. The bad news was that three days later, the breaks on the car noisily and dangerously insisted on being replaced, at just over twice the cost of the tire refund.

But we and the car are safe and operational, so (knock on wood) it's probable the seasonal worst is over. I'm breathing again, keeping fingers and toes crossed that no more mini-disasters befall us and that just a little business will come our way. Both seem possible as the holiday proper nears, and we will be able to enjoy two rare, whole days off in a row together ... with food, drink, prezzies, movies, books and a family tradition, this year's Doctor Who Christmas episode!

In the midst of this week's automotive and business drama, I remembered my favorite modern holiday quote; it's from the 2010 "A Christmas Carol," a Whovian intragalactic re-imagining of Scrooge's transformation through the power of love and the Christmas spirit. The Scrooge-esqe, deeply cynical, old rich guy, Kazran Sardick, says:

"On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, "Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark." Back on Earth we call this Christmas. Or the Winter Solstice. On this world, the first settlers called it The Crystal Feast. You know what I call it? I call it expecting something for nothing! "

I certainly don't agree with his assessment of charity, loving kindness and generosity of spirit, but I was struck by the idea of being "halfway out of the dark" because that's how it feels to me so often.  I love of a lot of things about winter, but there is an undeniably strong, genetically hard-wired urge within all of us to draw nearer to the bonfire or the hearth fire, not just for warmth, but for the protection the fire light brings from all the dangers that lurk beyond in the dark. Our ancient ancestors had different things to fear, but even today we are wary of what may be waiting for us in the dark.

We still have to travel the rest of the way through an often harsh and sometimes frightening and destructive season.
I've always loved the Solstice especially because at that balance point, we begin the second half of the journey back into the light. Also implicit in Sardick's statement is the reminder that although we may pause and celebrate our triumph over the dark and the revisit the hope of more gentle seasons to come, there is still a way to go. But so far, so good.

So, sometime during the Christmas Eve Mexican dinner Dan and I will have, or during the Chinese Take-Out Christmas Day-all-day-feast, we'll pause and raise our glasses and send our good wishes into the aethers with a delicate clink to sound their coming. Our toast will be the words of Doctor Who himself; "Yeah. Christmas. Halfway out of the dark," because we know that in the second half of winter, the light becomes just a little brighter every day.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Christmas and Boxing Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Pancha Ganapati, HumanLight, Newtonmas or Festivus, I send you all big, smothery cyber-hugs with my best wishes that you enjoy ...


Linking up with the wonderful Maricel at Tardis Tuesday! over at her always interesting site, My Closet Catalogue .  What a great Whovian Idea!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Big Old Mixed-Up Pink Creamsickle ...

On very rare occasions I decide I want to go for demure.   And last Sunday I had a yen to wear my cream and pink sweater that doesn't get to get out and about often.  

There's a reason (or three) I don't wear this little sweater that often, and when I do feel demure, I don't feel that way long.  I thought about wearing some girly pumps, but after a couple of tries decided on my slightly military-looking black chap boots instead.

That's better.

But the best part of this mixed feminine-masculine outfit is that it works with my mixed metal rose-gold and silver watch. 
It's by Rotary, and one of my collection of automatic skeleton watches. I don't often bother to show the details, but I wear them all the time and this one is especially pretty. 

Hard to get the rose gold just the right color here, but you get the idea.  I love to see the workings move when I check the time.

I wear it with this little rose gold and silver ring with wee-tiny pavé diamonds.  I wore my original engagement ring out long ago and just have never had the stones reset.  So I often wear some other delicate little ring in it's place. This one is a favorite.  It's a better photo to show the color of the rose gold of the watch, too.

Feminine-masculine is an old style option, but the rose gold-silver combination feels fresh and interesting to me.  Even though the outfit is not that big a whoop, the accessories are what made it fun to wear.


Pausing amid the pre-holiday crazies to stop over at the Always Lovely Patti's Visible Monday ... come over and see what the Grown-Up Glamourati are wearing!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Back to Our Usual Weather and Not Quite Marsala

That warm spell didn't last long!  We now return you to our regular programming.  Cold, with high humidity, lots of sun and and just enough rain. This was WIW on Sunday for our trip to the Big City.  Lots of happy closet shopping here, but you haven't seen the boots, bag or sweater before.  

I feel kind of dashing in these booties and leggings, and the coat-as-cape adds to that. This old wool coat you saw a long time ago, I think.  I spruced it up for this winter by removing the collar to change it up, and I'm happy I did. The bag is more interesting than it looks here ... it has a stitched and quilted pattern for texture on the cream colored wings. A good size for shopping.

I'm being more than a little careful about the red shades I'm wearing since the recent Great Haircolor Adventure is still in process.  Still love the cut though, and that's a happy place for me.

When we made the photos, I didn't realize that the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 had just been announced ... Marsala (the color inspired by the fortified Sicilian wine, not to be confused with Masala, any of the various blends of spices used in Indian cookery ... yummy though they both sound..) Pantone makes a completely unabashed marketing tool of this annual event, lest anyone mistake it for anything more official than it is. The color is described in a variety of ways, and there's the usual amount of love-hate stuff from the design and fashion press, but here's a color sample so you can decide for yourself.

I haven't been wild about the last few year's choices, but I like this one.  For me, it's nice because I may see more of a color that I like out and about, and that's fun.  But that's all it is.  Nice and fun.

None of what I'm wearing is exactly Marsala, but all three pieces are cuddling up next to it pretty close. A complete, timely, handy and happy coinkydink, I thought.  Good thing, too, 'cause all I had was a cold weather outfit post.  Saved by Pantone.

Late breaking update: I'm going to join in at The Truly Elegant Patti at her Visible Monday link-up!  So fun, so come with!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wonky Weather and a Hair Adventure Update

It was 78 degrees (25-ish C) here on Sunday when this photo was made.  Not a Sunday in the late summery weather of last September, but on this last Sunday, November 30. Yesterday. The high today was 35 degrees (1.6 C).  We had the AC on in our car on the way to town on Sunday, but heat blasting on the way in to work this morning.  
Disconcerting and sort of time-warpy, but pleasant.
The unseasonable warmth did give me a chance to go lazy and all easy-peasy and wear my one and only graphic T ... my Audrey Hepburn shirt ... my favorite blazer and a newish red messenger bag.

I found the silky little Audrey shirt on sale at Target, (in my size, which rarely happens) and if it was not true love at first sight, it was an infatuation that turned into shirt-love after I slipped it on.  And how can one not love an image of Audrey? (The red cursive is supposed to be her signature.)  Besides the bag, the rest was a matter of closet shopping some of my favorite dress-up-dress-down coated jeans, shoes and the rest.  Guilt free and fun to wear on a lazy Sunday.

Below is a better view of the bag.  It was a rare pleasure for me to find it on clearance, after I'd zeroed in on it the first time I'd seen it a few weeks ago, but put it right back on the rack after I looked at the original price. 

 This never happens to me.  So, I'm pleased.  I'd wanted a red bag to sharpen up a lot of darks I'm drawn to this winter, and this functions just fine.  Lots of fun compartments, and the drop is a dandy length to sling over the shoulder with a jacket or coat.


Hair-Color Debacle Drama Update: As predicted, super-stylist Kay did get a massive laugh at my adventure in bright hair color. A great cut helped a lot.  It's simmered down with washing and a couple of applications of a warm-red color refreshing glaze.  Neat!  It's still bright, but I don't mind it so much.  And the consistent acquisition of my personal color is no longer an issue.  Excellent. I'm no longer unhappy and that is my preferred emotional state, if I get to choose!


Late as always, I'm heading over to the Snazzy in Blue Karina Dressed Patti for her Special Edition Visible Monday !
You could win a dress from Karina dress and see how a lot of fabulous women are working their looks!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Just a Little Heads-Up for Kay ...

You know how it is when the store where you buy your specific hair color is completely out of it? And you run around looking for your color at your backup source-stores, but it's nowhere to be found? And you know you could get it on line but it would be a minimum of two days to get it and you've already let your roots grow too long and you're looking pitiful, necessitating some remedial action right NOW?

And I know you know how it is when you've had a lovely glass of wine with dinner, and you and your husband have been talking about how, now that you're getting older, that you shouldn't stop taking risks or get into to too many life-ruts. Been there, right? So, you know how it is when you're getting tired of dinking around, looking for this one item and you decide to try another brand, thinking to yourself "how different could the same shade be?" And, as you grab a Light Auburn you know how you forget that your usual L'Oreal Preference brand tends to be more of a natural looking blend than the more fashion-forward intensity of L'Oreal Feria colors? Which you pick up in the Feria Power Red brand, 'cause you're now feeling a little adventurous?

So then, you know when you mix the color and your eyes bug out of your head at how much the mixed up color looks like very bright, cherry-red Jello ? And you know how, because you are 40 miles from another package of hair color, you slap the garish pink stuff on your head when you absolutely know better?

I hate it when that happens.

On the box, the color calls itself Rich Auburn True Red and adds the more jazzy Ruby Rush (yikes!) to the name, just for fun. Rush indeed. I should have believed them when they labeled it as part of their Power Reds collection. Anybody who has colored their own hair for awhile knows that these names are subjective at best and slapdash approximations at worst. It could have just as easily been called OMG Red! or WTF Auburn! or, to my eye, most accurately Freaking Hot Pomegranate Pink!

I cannot blame L'Oreal because I was warned.

I'm living with it until it fades, because, in truth, it's almost wearable. In natural or incandescent light, I could describe it as substantially and boldly brighter and edgier than my usual shade. However, under florescent bulbs, it still looks closer to a so-not-flattering dark hot-pink-on-the-purple side. (It's pinker than the photo shows. By quite a lot.)

I don't completely hate it, and it's not the most outrageous thing I've ever done to my hair. But the worst is knowing that when I go to get my hair cut this Wednesday, my always wise and kind and patient and adorable stylist, Kay, will fall down and bust a gut laughing at me. I just know she will. It just seems decent to give her a little warning. Hope I don't cause her a serious injury just before Thanksgiving.

Here I am with the loud hair, trying to distract you with how I've winterized an early fall look you saw HERE . A wide-collared faux leather jacket, a pair of sling-back booties, and my newish Olivia and Joy cobalt blue and black satchel (which I got on scandalously deep reduction at TJ Maxx ... they never disappoint) make for a more wintry interpretation of the basic sweater and ankle trousers. I'm pleased with this look.
And, of course, I don't hate it when that happens.


Happy Thanksgiving to all here in the US, and have a lovely week wherever in the wide world this post finds you ... I'm thankful for every single one of you! (And especially for Kay and Salon Adorn!)

Speaking of being thankful, I'm joining the Vintagey Yet Thoroughly Modern Patti, impeccable host at her linky party, Visible Monday .I'm always grateful when I get to do that. Come see what all the fuss is about!

Late Breaking: Tardy for .Tardis Tuesday ... swinging over to the Starry Night Beauty,Maricel's link up.  You should come!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ned Stark ; a tragic character but he was right about Winter ...

... 'cause here it is.

It may not be winter officially for a month yet, but it is a pretty good imitation of it. Our heating system chose this time to go on it's annual, season-opening fritz for a couple weeks, but all is repaired and cozy.  We are reveling in the warmth. Feels like a vacation. North of us the cold is deeper, but it was in the high 20s and low 30s on Sunday when we dressed to make our trip to the Big City.  

Cold weather is coat weather. That's one of my favorite things about the season.  This little, heavy knit coat is perfect for my trips to town as it's light weight and cozy at the same time.  These trips involve lots of time in a warm car or in a warm store with quick arctic-esque dashes between car and door. This is one I can comfortably keep on while I'm stomping around in the store.

My teeth gritting grin says it all ... "take the picture ... take the picture ... hurry up ... I AM smiling, so just take the damn picture!"

This is my first winter with the short crop, and scarves are taking on a new importance. I liked the almost reverse image of the coat's print this scarf added, and did a lot to keep my neck warm! This photo not only shows the patterns working together but how chilly and windy it was.  A  freezing gust poufed up the right side of my scarf, making it look like less of a gracefully draped scarf than an upholstered toilet seat cover.  Just take my word for it, please. It looked much better when the wind died down. 

Not taking on any topics tougher than winter coats today.  Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying this most invigorating season!


Late Breaking: It's Visible Monday at the Lovely Patti's ... come on over and see what we all are up to!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stuck In My Craw

The following is from a conversation between fashion designer Mona Kowalska of A Détacher, Heidi Julavits, author and one of the editors of the book Women in Clothes, and writer/childbirth educator Ceridwen Morris (p. 29) ...

      "Ceridwen: I just turned forty-five, and the look that's being pitched to me is about being MILF-y, sexy -- but whatever you do, don't look like you're forty-five. Like the idea of being a capital-W Woman is not so great. We should all look twenty-eight.

      Mona: And the result is these terrible human collages. Sometimes you see someone from the back and they're all worked out and wearing skinny jeans and then they turn around ....

      Heidi: Eep! And they're seventy!

     Mona: I'd prefer someone dressed in a dowdy way."

I've gone on lately (and on, and on ... I know) lately about attitudes toward aging that I see and hear. I'm going to do it again. The above bit from the book Women in Clothes has been stuck in my craw, and I need to hock it up and look at it. Disgusting image, I know, but I'm pretty put off myself with this little snippet. Right here, I'm going to issue a note that I do not intend to condemn the whole book because it is a book full of a variety of opinions and experiences. I will, however, note that one of the elder-bashers is an editor of the book. Just saying.

What we have here are women complaining about ageism in our culture and particularly within the fashion industry. Then they make a quick 180 and wind up firing on women older than themselves. I understand that they deplore social forces that demand youthful looks. I also understand that they believe when women dress to appear younger and meet an impossible standard of youth, some Baby Jane-ish looks can result.


Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962

Most of us would agree that this horror movie still from the early 60s reaches the level of a "terrible human collage." (This great role as a deranged, former child-star was a career boost for an aging Bette Davis and won her nominations for the Oscar, Golden Globes and the BAFTA awards for this performance.) I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time equating this image with that with the woman who is "all worked out and wearing skinny jeans". The woman they describe as "all worked out" suggests a healthy woman with a great shape that is admirable from behind. And one who chooses to deck out the admirable figure in contemporary style.

Please note the following images. 

Lauren Hutton at 70 for Lucky Magazine

China Machado at 85 (really ... freaking 85!!!!)

Of course these women are exceptional and both won the gene pool contest big time, but the fact remains that they are old women in skinny jeans. No "terrible human collages" here.

 "Eep! And they're 70!" says Ms. Julavits of the woman she imagines in the conversation. This is not happy surprise she's expressing. Her response implies that it's inappropriate for women to look good in their 70s. Please understand, dear reader, the comments are not about a woman who looks bad in her skinnies. This is about a woman who looks good until her face shows her age.

But it's the last comment that really steams my rice: "I'd prefer someone dressed in a dowdy way."
There's no equivocation here ... this woman states that when you're old, you're no longer permitted to dress in the same way that a younger woman might choose. You gotta look old so we're all clear that you really are old. You are no longer free to look vital and modern and part of the world you live in. You're relegated to a syle-nil status. Get out on that ice-flow and stay there! Don't confuse us and disturb our stereotypes about age, and especially don't cause us to adjust our world view. We need you to settle down and look how we expect you to look at your age.

But absolutely, no matter what you do, don't show us that youth can be overrated and is not automatically present in all examples of female beauty. You just can't fly your flag as an old woman and get away with it.

Eep, indeed!

The three women in the conversation above are not 20-somethings who still hold on to the callow assumption of immortality. These are really bright and accomplished women in their 40s who clearly have some kind of concept of their own progress in life by this point in their lives, and are plainly resistant to the pressure to look younger. It makes me wonder if they assume that there is some mysterious cut-off point where they will only be graceful in their aging if they give up all interest in dressing themselves in any interesting or attractive way. Do they truly feel that being a capitol W-Woman is achieved by sometime in ones 40s but you have to give the trophy back after you get older?

These comments are not from a group of gnarled, dusty, old misogynist fellows kvetching about uppity women. These are otherwise smart and accomplished women talking this way ... and that is what really, truly what bugs me.

I sometimes have the uncomfortable suspicion that one has to actually get old before we realize that we can always, always be all that (or only that) we think we can be. If I had known this earlier, I might have done things differently. These three women will get there, if they are lucky, and I hope they remember this conversation with some chagrin.  In fact, I hope the chagrin starts anytime now.

Finally, this is the second time in a couple of weeks that I've been pissed off by something said by someone named Heidi (click here to see my other Heidi rant.)  For all you Heidis out there, and for the record generally ... I don't think or mean to imply that all women named Heidi are women of limited empathy for other women further along in the the aging process. Just these two particular Heidis.


This is me, trying to look reproachful and smile big all at the same time.  A difficult face to achieve, and I admit the fail.  Nor am I an "all worked out" old lady, but I do wear skinnies without shame.  If I am a "terrible human collage" then they must just look away if they see me coming. Eep.

This tunic-sweater is the one thing I got from the Altuzarra collaboration with Target.  I really love it.  The low shoulder embellishment is flattering without looking like 80s big-shoulder pad extreme.

The appliques were much nicer than I thought they'd be.
My photos didn't show the detailing on the neubuck booties,  so here they are: by U.S Polo Associaton, and I loved wearing the gold with the gold.  The funny marks just above the heel are their embroidered logos that show a couple of polo players and their horses. 

(Disclaimer: I have never played polo, but I do know how to ride, so I guess I can wear these if non-riders wear "equestrian" boots.)  


I'm taking it all over to The Leafy and Lovely Patti's Visible Monday with all the other Capital W-Women! Join the movement!
And, late breaking, I'm joining Our Wonderful Sacramento at her Share In Style!  Come see the shooooooes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy as Pharrell ...

And that's pretty darned happy.

Not much to talk about this week except how much I love my pink coat.  The weather went from the 70s to the 50s overnight, and I was FINALLY able to wear my pretty new coat to town on Sunday.  And my pink mirrored aviators.  Love them too, and between the coat and the sunnies, I'm about as content as I get with what I'm wearing.  

So that, as they say, is that.  I'm going to go put my pretty pink coat on and watch some television.  I wonder how much the sunglasses will affect the screen color ....

Update (11/10): Goin' to Patti's Visible Monday !  Come with me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Tale of Two Unicorns .......... and Carolina Herrera

This story was inspired by an old nursery rhyme that you all may know ...

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;

She gave them some broth without any bread;
She whipp'd all their bums, and sent them to bed.

                                                     from J. Ritson, 
                                                    Gammer Gurton's Garland,
                                                    or The Nursery Parnassus: a choice collection of pretty songs
                                                    and verses for the amusement of all little good children who
                                                    can neither read nor run
                                                                    (1794, rpt., Glasgow, 1866), p. 27.

                            (Or Mother Goose. Whichever.)                      

Once upon a time, in a backward little village, far, far away from anywhere of any consequence, there was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Classic Stiletto-Heeled Black Pump. (We'll just call her Old Woman because it's much easier. ) She had so many pets, she didn't know what to do, but that's another story for another time.      

One morning, Old Woman stirred her old bones early to go to market and resume her unending quest for the most magical and elusive of wardrobe pieces; the Perfect Crisp White Shirt. Late that afternoon, as Old Woman flipped wearily through the Women's Medium Long Sleeved Shirts rack at Ye Olde Discount Department Store, she was startled when ... POP! ... the great designer Carolina Herrera suddenly appeared at her side, as if out of nowhere!

"Old Woman," the great designer began. "I know of your sincere desire to find the fabled Unicorn of Fashion, the Perfect Crisp White Shirt, " she continued, in perfectly elegant, Spanish-accented English. "Why, Old Woman, do your eyes bug out so? You should see a doctor about that. And you may close your mouth, now. It looks very stupid."

"I'm sorry ... who are you? You look like Carolina Herrera, but you can't be," Old Woman stammered.

"That was fast. You're smarter than you look," the apparition murmured to her self. "Okay, so you found me out. I'm just a figment of your imagination. An illusion. The psychological manifestation of your anxiety caused by your foolish fixation on one, impossibly perfect item of clothing," she continued, her exotic accent turning abruptly into a Midwestern version of American English. "But illusory help is better than no help at all. And you need help, you know? Besides, you can't afford the real Carolina Herrera. "

"Hey ..." Old Woman began defensively.

"Here's the deal," the apparition interrupted sharply. "Rather than just granting your wish, all poof-and-there-it-is, I'm advising you to grab the very next white shirt that you come upon in this rack, and actually go and try it on. You'll be glad you did, I promise. But remember this; unicorns come in dark neutrals as well," she said, in a more kindly tone.

Then, as abruptly as she arrived ... Pop! ... the spitting image of Carolina Herrera disappeared. Only then did Old Woman notice other women near her giving her some seriously suspicious side-eye and pulling their children closer.

Old Woman decided, for once in her life, to do precisely what she'd been advised and sure enough, she soon came upon a lovely, tailored white shirt by Jones New York. The moment she touched it, the shirt whispered to her, " I am the shirt you desire. I am the White Unicorn of tailored shirts. Take me home with you. And while you're at it, take my sister ... the shirt right behind me on this rack. She is the fabled Black Unicorn, and just as rare and magical."

"Time to get my blood sugar checked," Old Woman decided as she carried both shirts to the fitting room. "Or maybe just skip that second glass of wine with lunch ..."

As all good stories do, Dear Reader, this one has a happy ending. Old Woman ended her quest with more than she dreamed of, and took both shirts home at significantly less than suggested retail price. She hung them in her closet, and the shirts chatted happily to one another about their new home and how inferior the rest of the clothes were, giggling about their escape from the Final Clearance rack. They chattered on, non-stop. Into the wee hours of the morning. And because they kept the Old Woman awake with their merriment, she got up from her bed, threw both shirts into the washing machine and laundered them in cold water with no chlorine bleach as the instructions advised, in Woolite and on the longest possible wash setting. In the morning she dried them thoroughly on the Permanent Press cycle and hung them back in the closet.

But now, they were silent and never, ever spoke to anyone again, because, as everyone knows, washing a new shirt takes all the magic out of it as well as the factory sizing.

But Old Woman was pretty sure she'd wear them Happily Ever After anyway.

Carolina Herrera (the real one)
in her signature white shirt

Me (AKA Old Woman) having my own 
budget-Carolina Herrera moment in
Jones New York.  Still ... not bad.

Of course, she does it in black, as well.

And so does Jones New York! 
So happy ..... 

Update (11/10)  I'm going over to Patti's Visible Monday ... come see what all the fuss is about!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Old Lady Runway Rant

If I hear Heidi Freaking Klum or Nina Freaking Garcia say one more time, "That looks old lady" when they mean dowdy, old fashioned, unfashionable, outmoded, out-of-date, passé, unstylish, or frumpy, I will be forced to reconsider my weekly indulgence in one of my favorite guilty pleasures: watching Project Runway. (I participate in lots of other light-minded pleasures and activities. I just don't feel guilty when I indulge in them.)

I'll miss you, Tim Gunn. But I have to say, Tim, you should be all over this one and on my side.

It is just plain ageist, incorrect and mean-spirited to employ two words that describe an at least passably well-behaved and civilized woman who has attained a considerable number of years past her youth when Ms Klum attempts to describe an especially unhip outfit made by one of the anxious competitors. The fact of a woman's age doesn't and never should automatically define her stylishness or un. When Klum says this, she implies that we old women look dowdy in whatever we're wearing simply because we are not young, no matter how great our clothing might be without us in them. Oldness makes everything about us uncool.

She uses this phrase fairly frequently, and I cringe for her when she does it. I try to remember that as a non-native speaker she does worlds better in English than I do in her native German, and I can understand her searching for a word while on camera. But it isn't live-broadcast, so somebody needs to look at editing out this gaffe the next time it occurs. Really, it's important to at least be clear and respectful when she's paid as much as she is to opine about something as subjective as the hipness of clothing design.

Garcia often climbs on the band-wagon with Klum, but sometimes has the grace to use other, only slightly less offensive terms such as madame, or mother-of-the-bride in the same insensitive way. As the 49-year-old mother of young sons, it is likely that she will one day wear her carefully chosen and couture outfits at the nuptials of her grown boys, and she won't be a spring chicken by that time, either. I guarantee that she won't like to hear her ensemble unkindly described as "soooo mother-of-the-groom." I'd offer her the excuse that she may well not have been a childhood speaker of idiomatic English as she was born in Columbia, but I won't because she holds a bachelor's degree from Boston University as well as a second one from FIT.

Yooo-hooo, Ms. Klum and Ms. Garcia. Hellooooo. We're sitting right here in front of the TV. We're old but we can still hear you.

I know. It's American Reality TV. Therefore, I should not be surprised. I also know this isn't so-much-of-a-much all in itself, and the next, most obvious step should be to let it go now that I've vented. But it's been a week where I've been noticing more disdain exhibited towards older women than usual in our language and popular culture and media, and it's been frustrating. I beg that my darling vintage-enthusiast friends will cut me a bit of slack and not pummel me for equating only current, knife-edge newness with great style. I do not mean that at all. It's the equation of advanced age and non-style that I object to. I've been chastised black and blue because I neglected to clarify my smarty-pants glibness. Completely black and blue, I tell you.

In fact, since I'm bound to offend someone, I'll apologize ahead of time and show my contrition by wearing my black and blue shame right out in the open; in a very soft and comforting blue Max Studio extra-fine merino wool sweater over my Old Navy black and blue hounds-tooth Pixie Pants. And my navy, cobalt and black suede d'Orsay ankle-strap pumps ... more black and blue, from me to you.
Oh, yeah. And my sleek and snazzy Old Lady bag, too. 
Snap to you, Heidi.

Taking this silliness to the Lovely Lacy Patti at her Visible Monday link-up.

Hope to see you there.