Monday, December 12, 2011

Are Bloggers Protected By The First Amendment?

See the editorial here, in the NY Times Editorial page.

NY Times Article

What do you think?  Do bloggers have the same rights and protections as members of the press?  One thing's for the sure, the founders who came up with the Bill of Rights and The Constitution never saw the Internet coming.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Technical Difficulties

The management of this blog would like to inform her readership that she is having technical difficulties, in the fact that she used up all the memory on her old SD card, purchased a new SD card, found out it was an SDHC card, and can't get it to work in her camera; therefore, she needs to bring it back to the store from which she ordered it (Staples) and see if they can a) fix the problem b) give her a replacement in exchange for the wrong SDHC card.

Until such time as she can start posting pictures again, she has these questions for her loyal readership:

Do you need a holiday post - what to wear, what not to wear (do you really need me to tell you that the Rudolf sweatshirt with the flashing nose is best left for those quiet evenings alone with a cup of cocoa and a good book?), how to decorate your home (since I only decorate minimally with free stuff from Rocco's garden center and stuff I find around the house, I'm probably not the best person to tell you what to do in that area), how to make holiday treats (go to the local pastry shop!  Duh!), cute holiday outfits you can make for your pets (see below) ... and, and, and ... I'm running out of steam here.

Or would you rather I did a kind of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert New Year's Special, featuring ideas for outfits to wear on the biggest date night of the year?  No pressure, really!

Or the other option, which is to focus on year-end-close-out business/new year preparations, in terms of getting your home, finances, wardrobe, goals (I don't like resolutions; I prefer goals - less pressure) and papers (I hear certain readers laughing; they shall remain nameless) in order for the new year.

Lastly, I'd like feedback on what topics you would like me to address in 2012.  I'm sorry that unlike other fashion bloggers, I have no pictures of myself wearing different outfits on my blog - I have no one to take pictures, and I don't have a tripod and one of those things that allows you to take pictures of yourself.  I asked my roommate, but she's uncomfortable with her photography skills.  I hope to remedy this in 2012 - a trip to B&H Photo will be in order.  Anyone want to come with me?

 This is Buster, my niece Rose's dog, wearing her holiday best.
 The Norwegian krumkakke, and my sister's mad delicious mini-brownies.  Yeah, this scene didn't last long.  If you really want to dress up your krumkakke, whip up some vanilla cream, or chocolate cream. You'll faint with delight.
This is my brother John, in his newly renovated kitchen, Christmas Eve 2007.  He used to play Santa Claus when my nieces and nephews were little.  See the resemblance?


Until next time, I'd like to thank all of you for sticking around.  I know there are a lot of blogs out there, some good, some not-so-good; thanks for spending your valuable time reading and commenting on mine. I hope to provide good service now and in the future!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FILOFAX SALE!!!

In consideration of my last post, about agendas/planners/organizers, I just received an e-mail that Filofax is having a sale today on a select group of planners and agendas.  Get 'em while they're hot!

Follow the link:

http://www.filofaxusa.com/store/specials.asp?OID=258

I hope if you were considering making a planner purchase, one of these little babies can help you out!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Filofax: Or, Why This is the Perfect Planner

 A picture of my Filofax Classic, on the right, from 2009.
A picture of my Filofax Classic, top center, from this year.

In my opinion, the Filofax is one of the best organizers/planners/agendas you can buy.  My sister relies on the Slimline; I prefer the Personal size.  They come in a huge range of pricepoints:  From $33 to $2,300 for lizard skin.  Their reasonably priced leather planners start at $69, for a fully outfitted planner, with all the bells and whistles.  Even more importantly, accessories, add-ons and additional refills of calendars, address pages and ruled pages are also reasonably priced.  A Filofax Personal calendar refill will set you back $10.50, whereas a Day-Timer Desk calendar refill can cost as much as $30.  While Filofax brand is hard to find in stationery stores on Staten Island (Spotlight Stationery on Hyatt Street used to carry them, but that's long since gone), stationery stores in Manhattan carry a range of Filofax refills.  The Filofax website frequently runs free shipping promos, and if you purchase from the website, you don't have to pay tax.

Filofax agendas are also very durable.  I've had my most recent one (pictured above) since 2007, and the one I had before that, I purchased in the late 1980's and it finally bit the dust this year.  It didn't even bite the dust because it fell apart ... it just looked very worn.  But it held up to years of wear extremely well.  It was a basic brown leather Filofax, and at the time of purchase, it cost me about $80.

The Personal size Filofax agenda can fit in a medium sized handbag, along with a wallet, Smartphone, iPod, various and sundry "personal" items and small Moleskine notebooks.  See second photo above - that's the stuff that fits in my medium sized handbag.

The Filofax is a ring-binder planner, meaning all the pages are hole-punched to accommodate a ring-binder.  You can buy a hole-punch for the size of your planner, in case you want to insert your own pages.

Filofax agendas come in several sizes:  Mini, Pocket, Personal, Slimline, Compact and A5 (the largest, suitable for a desk agenda).  Most sizes and models come in a variety of colors and pricepoints, from affordable and reasonable to outrageously expensive and exclusive.

The web address is:  www.filofaxusa.com

Filofax is a British brand.

Another type of agenda/planner/organizer I sometimes use is the Day-Timer.  However, due to the expense of the calendar refills, and the large and cumbersome size of the planner (the Desk size) I own, I find myself using this infrequently, if at all.  However, the calendar pages that come with Day-Timer include some information that people will find useful, which aren't included with the Filofax, such as maps of time zones, hotel chain numbers, rent-a-car chain numbers, area code listings for cities in the United States, moon phases (handy for pagans and others of an astronomical bent), expense account pages (although Filofax has expense pages as well, they aren't set up in a such a way that they would be easy to use for business purposes), and also a neat-o shopping list for people with diabetes.  The Day-Timer planners come in a ring-binder format or spiral-bound notebook format that you can insert into a cover.  Accessories and add-ons are also available.

Day-Timer has such a multitude of choices, sizes, styles and pricepoints to choose from, that I'll just post their website here, and you can see for yourself the plethora of choice that awaits you.

Another brand that looks interesting is Moleskine, known for being the notebook of Picasso and Hemingway.  I like to use Moleskine notebooks for keeping a journal on the run, tracking my daily expenses, and when I don't have access to a computer, tracking my reading habits (when I don't have access to www.librarything.com).

However, they also have planners available in an 18-month academic calendar style, a daily planner, a weekly planner and a monthly planner.  I personally haven't used the Moleskine planner.  Checking their USA website, their 2012 daily planners run from $12.95 and up, which is pretty reasonable; however, they are small, not built to hold a lot of paper (which could be a good thing in that it would force you to clear out your planner once a week), and do not come with address books.  Address books are sold separately.  They are sturdy, but due to their construction (hard-backed or soft-back paper) they do not come with refills - you have to buy a new calendar each year.  Also, for someone like me, who uses address books, note pages, and a daily planner, this method would not work well, since it would require that I carry three separate books for each activity, which would be inconvenient, cumbersome and might lead to losing or misplacing something.

Of course, if you really want to go for something more expensive, and in a good quality leather, there are the Coach leather agendas, which come in sizes 6"x8" and 4"x7" with a pen loop.  The paper refills are moderately priced, and include a datebook and an address book.  Some models include space for notepaper.  This is for the minimalistic planner customer ... someone with a less-is-more philosophy.  Coach's new agendas have a very updated look, with the Op Art "C" logo, and a zip-around closure, to hold all your business cards, love letters and photos of celebrities you met in Saint Tropez.  They are priced at $148 for the 4x7 style and $198 for the 6x8 style.  It doesn't say on the website whether the daily planner and address book and pen are included, but I'm going to guess that they are not.  Also, they're not called "planners/agendas/organizers" - they are called "slip jackets."  I don't know why.

Here's the link love:  http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/-accessories_businessaccessories-10551-10051-18408-en?t1Id=68&t2Id=18408&tier=2&LOC=LN

Update: Coach no longer carries their leather agendas on the website. They have to be ordered by phone (888-262-6224). However, the Coach website still carries the paper refills for their leather agendas. They no longer carry the slipcases; instead, they now have tech cases.  (Information current as of 2/5/2016.)

And that's the run-down!  I hope you can find a nice planner among these choices, or that it will at least get you thinking, because it is the time of year to start planning your calendar for next year.  I purchased my Filofax refill for next year already, and put it in my agenda.  I also purchased some pen refills for my Filofax pen.  I'm still debating whether I should use the Day-Timer Desk planner ... it seems like a good thing, but $30 is a lot for a planner refill, when I may not end up using it.  Suggestions, anyone?

This entry is dedicated to the MelMeister, who requested guidance and information in her search for a new planner.  Hope this helps Melissa and anyone who is in search of helpful information about agendas, planners, organizers, calendars, refills, planner accessories, add-ons and other related items.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: "Beauty: The New Basics" by Rona Berg

It took me awhile to read this book, not through any fault of the author.  It is a comprehensive book, covering every aspect of beauty and maintenance. At the end of each section, there's a Beauty Time Line for the area of the body covered in that segment.  It's separated into three sections:  The face, the hair and the body.  The section on the face includes an introduction to basic skincare including ingredients, FDA regulations and how to read labels; skincare, including exfoliation, cleansers, and moisturizers; facials; aging; skin problems; and makeup, including tools and accessories.  The section on the hair covers haircare, hair color and haircuts and styles.  The last section, The Body, covers bath and body, hands and feet, and the spa experience.

This book is packed full of information and it's presented in a down-to-earth, witty, conversational tone that readily engages the reader.  She covers every possible aspect of beauty care and maintenance, and in addition to giving product and brand recommendations, she gives recipes that you can create at home, for an at-home beauty treatment.  She tells you when it's best to spend money on a product, treatment or service, or when you can limit your spending.  She also tells you which products, treatments or services you can do on the cheap or at home, thus saving money.  She also covers cosmetic surgery.  She has a glossary, a list of appendices and an index at the end of the book.  In the appendix, she gives lists of resources for spas and salons in different cities in the U.S. and Canada as well as London and Paris.  She has a comprehensive bibliography for recommended reading.  And she has something that endears any author to me, a list of people she wanted to thank for their help, guidance and inspiration in producing the book.

Highly recommended reading.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Trends That Have Become Modern Classics

I've been downloading and reading various articles about everywoman's wardrobe essentials.  Everyone has a different idea of what these items should be.  There's the ubiquitous white shirt, the pencil skirt, the dress pant, the jacket, a good pair of dark-rinse jeans, the trench coat, the white cotton t-shirt, and a camisole or tank top.  However, I think there are some "trendy" items that have made it into the realm of the classics.  Here they are:

The fleece jacket.  The fleece jacket has earned a spot in my style repertoire, because I don't like to be chilly, and it has a casual, sporty look without looking sloppy, like an old faded sweatshirt.  I bought this one ages ago at a store in Manhattan.  I liked it so much, I bought my dad one, and two for myself - this one in red and another one in gray.  It has a good length (low hip), a 3/4 zip, and elasticized bands on the hem of the sleeves, which makes it comfy to roll up the sleeves.  It also has large, on-seam pockets in the front, which means you have the storage option of pockets, but without the bulk.
 The 3/4 sleeve top (the pink sweater has 3/4 sleeves and a V-neck).  I like the 3/4 sleeve, and I think a lot of other women do, too, because it keeps your arms warm, but you don't have to constantly keep pushing your sleeves out of the way to wash up, type, write, draw, look at your watch, show off your bracelets, or do whatever it is you need to do with your sleeves rolled up, like get to work!  Also, it's easier to wear 3/4 sleeve jackets with a 3/4 sleeve or short sleeve shirt, because the alternative is just WRONG.  V-necks are also good for us larger sized women, because they allow us to show off some skin in a nice place on the body.
 A t-shirt with detailing at the neck.  Shirts with detailing at the neck have become very popular, I've noticed, whether it be fabric detailing, or graphics or beading.  Coldwater Creek has some great shirts with neck detailing.  Once again, like the V-neck, it brings attention to a nice area on a woman's body.
 A dressy denim jacket or a denim jacket in a unique cut.  I think it's safe to say that the denim jacket, in almost any cut, has become a modern classic.  This model from DKNY Jeans is a classic blazer cut, with updated seamed detailing, and zippers on the sleeves.  I haven't worn it yet, it's been too warm, but soon, soon!
 The fedora!  I love the fedora, in summer-weight straw styles, or in wool felt for the colder months.  This trend has been going strong for a few seasons now, and I think it will be around for quite a while.  Just make sure you get it in a classic "film noir" Humphrey Bogart style, and not a style that makes you look like a pimp on the lam.  Unless you like that kind of look ...
The denim skirt.  I love the denim skirt, but please, please, please don't wear the tight denim mini skirt with leggings.  It's a trend that's seen better days.  Like, the 80's.  I loved the 80's, but this is one trend I wouldn't want to see return.  Unfortunately, on Staten Island, this trend seems never to have died (neighbor lady, I'm looking at you!).

That said, however, the denim skirt looks cute at knee length.  Stay away from the kind with heavily detailed seams, and go for a clean, classic cut.  I really don't like the way the fly looks in the front (why is it there?  They're not pants!) because the unfortunate phenomenon of "tenting" occurs, which makes a lady look less like a lady, in my opinion.  It's a detail that's simply not necessary.  Same thing with buttons on the front.  If you do get buttons in the front, go for a lighter weight denim, and an A-line skirt, otherwise you're going to have the "tenting" phenomenon again.  Unless you like looking like a guy ... if that's your thing, go for it!  Tent away!

I was at a conference at the College of Staten Island on Friday, and I noticed quite a few of the young ladies were wearing a classic 80's combo:  knee high boots, leggings and a tunic sweater or jacket.  This is a look that must be done with care.  Keep your bum covered unless you want perverts looking at you. Also, this look works better on women with long, trim legs.  I used to be one of those women.  Alas, this is no longer the case, so I won't be wearing this trend, even though it is temptingly comfortable.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Great Closet Cleanout, Fall 2011 Edition

Here's a view of the armoire, with all the fall and transitional clothes:  
On top of the armoire:  My secret hoard of Beanie Babies and plushies, in the LL Bean Duffle Bag, and in the canvas box, a Seaside Wreath from LL Bean.  But you don't really want to know about my obsessions with Beanie Babies and the sea, right?  Moving on:  Top shelf:  fleece sweatshirts and vests, microfleece wraps (brown and black); 2nd shelf from top, first cubby: white button-down shirts, white t-shirts and colored t-shirts; 2nd cubby: unmentionables; 3rd cubby: bras; 4th cubby: camisoles and tank tops.  3rd shelf from top, left to right: athletic wear, including bras, tops, pants and capris; more colored t-shirts; long-sleeved knit shirts; logo t-shirts.  4th shelf from top, left to right: socks, cotton sweaters, black knit pants, brown and tan corduroy pants; brown knit pants.  Open drawer on bottom:  That's where more socks live, plus the laundry bags.  

 The family jewels.  They seriously need some organizers, because they're all just lying around in a mosh pit in there - all the necklaces are mixed together, the bracelets, too.  I need to pay a visit to The Container Store.
 The top portion of my closet.  On the top shelf are my "investment" bags (plus the immortal snakeskin in the Dansko shoebox).  In the acrylic cubbies beneath are an assortment of Steve Madden flats, casual and evening bags, cell phone accessories (???) and the purple thing is a beautiful scarf that I've had since ... 1980-something.  It's beautiful.  It doesn't need any other reason to justify its existence.  The acrylic cubbies are a purchase from The Container Store, and they're very handy for utilizing space in closets that have high ceilings.  You can just stack them on top of each other.  They come in a range of sizes, I believe, and you can arrange them in a variety of ways.
 I cleaned out the hanging section of the closet pretty well.  I got rid of several pair of pants that had just been lying around taking up space.  Now I have more room for all the stuff I bought over the spring and summer!  The wooden hangers are also purchased from The Container Store.
 My scarves!  I love scarves; I think they're a great way to add "pop" to an outfit in the colder months, when I tend to wear more neutrals and dark colors.  The scarf hanger is (you guessed it!) from The Container Store.  It's finished wood, so it's snag-free.
 A closer look at the pretty colors of the scarves.
 This motley looking selection is actually my shoes in boxes, my backpack (the black thing on the floor), my violin (the black thing to the right), and the thing in the Lot Less bag is my new yoga mat, that I bought for $5.99!  As you can see, I got rid of the night table that was in there - now it's in the living room, being used as, who would have guessed?  A table!  I keep my lamp on there and my roommate uses it for her boombox.
 Silk scarves:  One is for Valentine's Day (the one with "Love" and hearts and red flowers), a spring scarf, and a "Hermes" type scarf (no, it's not really Hermes, but a girl can fantasize, right?)  The "Hermes" type scarf is actually a thrift store purchase from way back in the 80's.  Apparently I have a lot of trouble giving up some things.
 More scarves:  the blue and teal scarf with the Chinese symbols on it is very special to me, as it was given to me for a birthday present from my sister.  It's kind of my "lucky" scarf; I like to wear it when I'm giving big presentations.  The purple scarf I purchased from a "wearable art" and craft store in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, NY.  It's a fancy evening scarf, so when I go to a fancy dinner or gala evening event, I like to wear it.
 Saying good-bye to the sandals as I put them away for the summer.
 My night-table and bedside reading:  O Magazine, InStyle Magazine, other magazines, and Rona Berg's book, "Beauty: The New Basics."  I really like Rona Berg, she writes about makeup in an intelligent and amusing way.  Sometimes reading about makeup or fashion is like watching paint dry (really, who wouldn't rather be reading Stieg Larsson or Jo Nesbo?), but there are some good authors out there, and Rona Berg is one of them, in my opinion.
More bedtime reading:  Joseph Campbell, "The Hero With A Thousand Faces," Peter Walsh, "How to Organize Just About Everything," the aforementioned "Beauty: The New Basics," and more Peter Walsh, "Enough Already!  Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You."  I guess you could say that's an "aspirational" reading list.  I aspire to be wise, beautiful and well-organized.  Or at least a reasonable facsimile of such, LOL!  Oh, the bookends are a pair of light blue hands, from Jonathan Adler's line for Barnes & Noble.

Well, now that the dust has settled (sort of) from the transition from summer to fall, I don't think I need much, but I would like to get some ribbed, fitted long-sleeved t-shirts.  I have plenty of dress shirts and dress pants, but I need more casual clothing, since I'm not working, and chances are if I do get a job, it's not going to require I wear a suit and dress shoes every day.  I just need long-sleeve tees I can wear underneath sweaters in the cold weather.  In colors other than brown or black.  I think I would also like to get two more pair of khaki pants in neutral colors.

But I have a confession to make - I still have not settled on an anchor color for my wardrobe, or a signature piece.  I guess my signature piece would be the scarf, since I have so many of them, but really people know me for my handbags - but that's expensive!!!  As far as colors go, I have a multiplicity of neutral colors in my wardrobe: black, brown, navy, khaki and gray.  I like them all, I wear most of them, but it limits the combinations of outfits I can make.  Clearly, I have to put some thought into this.

I've decided to start wearing makeup more frequently, but I find I have a lot of questions about it, and I'm finding it difficult to figure out exactly how to go about it.  Back in my 30's and early 40's I used to wear makeup frequently, but for some reason I stopped.  Now I can see the point of it; also formulations have improved, and there are products that aren't irritating to the skin that are available, and I'd like to try them, but zounds, last time I went to The Body Shop to buy makeup, I felt like they took advantage of my ignorance and talked me into products I didn't need or want.  This is why I hate shopping for makeup - the sales associates see me coming and they don't see a person; they see an ATM machine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Is Almost Here!

And it's time to transition my wardrobe pretty soon.  Stay tuned this week for the Great Closet Cleanout and Wardrobe Transition (yee ha!).  I haven't even figured out what to buy, because I still have to see what I have, what I have to get rid of, either by donating or tossing, and what needs repairing.  The plan is to take everything out of the Rubbermaid tote that I use for out-of-season textile storage, and along with all my current dirty laundry, send it out to the famous Spa Laundry, so they can wash and dry everything.  I have to do that Tuesday, and send everything to the laundry Wednesday when I'll be home, so I'll be here to pick it up when they deliver it.  Then I'll be sorting the fall/winter and summer clothes, putting the fall/winter clothes in the closet and armoire, and putting the summer clothes away in the magical Rubbermaid tote.

I promise to take pictures.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Odyssey of the House of Halston

Halston designed what I think is the world's most perfect dress, an organza fuchsia jeweled spaghetti strap ballgown with inverted pleats on a dropped waist and a ruffled hem.  It was stunning; you can ask Geena Davis, she was there, too!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/fashion/the-men-and-women-who-would-be-halston.html?_r=1&WT.mc_id=ST-D-I-NYT-MOD-MOD-M217-ROS-0911-L1&WT.mc_ev=click

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Uh, Oh, Fall Is Coming ...

The weather is cooler (in the 70's!), there's a briskness in the air after Tropical Storm Irene, and even though it's still warm out, Halloween decorations and goodies are appearing in the stores along with back-to-school merchandise (I love me some back-to-school merch!).  So you know that means only one thing (well, two things actually):  Fall is on its way ... and those evil little monsters a/k/a "students" will soon be populating the streets, trains and buses again.  Ick.  The less said about them the better.  On the positive side (well, I'm trying to think positive, anyway, considering that Fall is the time of year I typically run into "mood disorder" trouble), there's all the new fashion coming out!

I was going to do a run-down of the trends, but you can get that anywhere.  So I don't think I'm going to do that.  So I have to figure out what I will do.  Does anyone have any requests of what they'd like to see me cover?  More denim?  Denim is really big this fall, and the trend is actually to have matching denim pieces, or mismatched denim pieces.  It's weird, huh, how one season can change things?  So now I'm glad I bought my denim 3-piece suit, because I'll be right on trend.  And that denim pencil skirt from Lane Bryant that I bought is everywhere.  And the denim trouser pant is right on trend, too, so as far as I'm concerned, I'm good to go!

Also, one of the great things I did with my money when I had it, was that I bought a black 3-piece suit - pants, jacket and pencil skirt.  I also had all my clothes tailored to fit me, so not only am I on trend, but I look good, too!  And I'm so glad I bought the black 3-piece suit, because I printed out The Closet Inventory from The Budget Fashionista, and one of the items she recommends getting is a black 3-piece suit, with skirt, pants and jacket.  She also recommends some things I don't have, like black pumps, a strappy evening sandal, a brown or black leather boot (I'd like to get a pair of boots this fall and I have my eye on a pair of Dr. Martens "Gaucho" boots - I'm just happy that I'm not working anymore and don't have to please anyone but myself when I dress, so I can whatever I want!) and a 3-piece suit in a neutral color.  She recommends white shirts, of which I have plenty, so I'm covered there.  I also have nude heels (not those nude Christian Louboutin platform heels you see all the celebrities wearing, LOL!).  My nude heels are really a blush pink color in a croc print and they're from Aerosoles.  I think these can take the place of black pumps, unless I wear black hose, in which case ... I'm screwed, I think.

Also, I have some really great resources for tights (We Love Colors, Avenue, Spanx) and J. Jill sent me their new catalog and they go up to a size 4X.  They have a great easy-wear and easy-care line called the Wearever line, which features simply styled dresses, jackets, skirts, tops and pants and cardigans, suitable for traveling and getting through a busy day.  I would say these outfits could go easily from work, to meetings, to social gatherings.  I'm glad to see a straight-size retailer getting in on the action in the plus-size market, and not just offering sizes up to 22-24.  It would be great if more retailers saw the potential in offering a wider assortment of sizes, both large and small.

You know what else would be great?  If all retailers adhered to the same standard sizes.  I find even within their own brands, they don't do that.  With Coldwater Creek for example, last year I bought two cardigans from them, that were size 2X, the largest they had.  I'm usually a 3X and I was swimming in them!  Meanwhile, I can't wear their size 24 pants because they're too small.  Also, why don't they offer plus sizes in the store?  I very rarely see extended sizes in their store - if I do, it's usually out-of-season merchandise that looks like a hairball a cat coughed up.  Seriously, it's wrinkled, it's stained, it's damaged ... show us plus-size gals some love, CC!  Don't be h8trz!

And, to get back to the sizing dilemma, in Lane Bryant sizes I can take a 22-24 top and bottom, but sometimes I have to go up to a 26 - and then the garment is too big in the waist and I have to have it tailored.  Same problem with LL Bean.  I love LL Bean (don't tell anybody, but I think they're my favorite retailer) but I recently bought a denim skirt from them (see the post I did on denim a few weeks ago) and it fit nicely through the hips, and the length was good, but the waist!  OMG!!!  It came down to just above my hips, not at my waist at all (I have a high waist).  So I was spending the day pulling my skirt up by the waist.  Obviously, I should've gotten it tailored to fit, but I was anxious to wear it.  Well, marry in haste, repent at leisure, I always say.  Often I rush into something only to regret it later.  I can always get it tailored, though.  We'll just put it in the clothing care budget for next month.  LL Bean fitted clothes are usually too big in the waist for me, whereas their Perfect Fit Pants fit, well, perfectly.  No alterations needed.  Elastic waistbands work wonders.

Well, it's nearly 2 AM.  A question to my readers (all 9 of you):  Do you find that clothes generally fit you, or do you have to have them altered, and are there any brands that fit you better than others?  In general, what have your experiences been with finding clothes that fit, whatever your size?  I know smaller-sized women have issues with clothing fit, as well, as do tall women.  I'd like to hear from you!  Does anyone else have these problems?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lingerie Loves Your Curves

Well, it's late, but better late than never, right?  Right!

The challenge for "Lingerie Loves Your Curves" week was to write about how you were treated differently because of your size, how the fashion industry perceives women of size, and assorted other topics.

Well, I didn't write about how I was treated on school based on my size, because when I was in school I wasn't large - I was a little meatier than some kids, but my weight never went above 140 until I was in my 20's.  I did have a therapist when I was in my 20's who was always on my case to lose weight.  Therapists seem to like to do that.  My therapist now gets on my case for losing weight.  But back to school - when I was in school, kids had so many other "reasons" to pick on me - I was weird, I played violin, I was a bookworm, and generally considered an oddball, so my weight wasn't really the issue as much as my personality.  I liked that I was weird and not like other people, I liked standing out from the herd, so I figured, "F*K 'em if they can't take a joke."  Really, I don't know where I got my spunk from, but I had a lot of it.  I hear a lot of my friends talking now about how they tried to fit in when they were in school, and really, I just never bothered, because I never saw the point.  I don't know if I would have handled it the same way if people had picked on me because of my size.  I like to think I would have.  Now that I am, shall we say, "a woman of size," I still don't take crap from people on account of my size.

As far as the fashion industry goes, acceptance of people of all sizes still has a long way to go.  I like the fact that there are now more plus-size models, like Ashley Greene and Lizzie Miller, who have become superstars.  It's an improvement from when I was working in the fashion industry.  We're still a long way from banishing the anorexic models usually seen on the haute couture runways, and it seems like the more women of size make strides in being accepted in the fashion industry and in society in general, the smaller the women in the fashion spreads and on the runways become.  I don't think the backlash is inevitable.  I really think the fashion industry's standards of beauty, though they have evolved, is dictated by some people, mostly men, at the top of the industry, who create and generate the images you see for mass consumption.  In other words, it's a manufactured backlash.  As such, it can be countered by different images and role models of women, of all shapes, sizes, colors and cultures.  I think it's important for retailers and designers to cater to the population of women to whom they market their products, and to be inclusive.

Diversity benefits everyone.  Well, everyone except maybe Karl Lagerfeld ...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For All You Denim Lovers ...

I was looking at Real Simple's online magazine today and guess what?  They have beaucoup information on denim!  Take a look:

http://browse.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing/jeans-pants/index.html

Real Simple is a great magazine with lots of good information and colorful pictures, so I recommend you give them a try!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Truth in Advertising

It's come to my attention through this post in this blog ....

http://smartypanties.com/2009/10/20/ftc-endorsement-guidelines-what-bloggers-should-know-and-whats-going-down/

and similar blog posts in the same blog, that bloggers are required by the FTC to disclose their sources of revenue, and whether they're getting compensated in cash or in kind by the companies whose products they review or feature in their blogs.

Well, I never receive revenue from any of the products or companies you see in my blog.  When I started this blog, I knew I wanted it to be a revenue-free zone (pretty weird, right?).  You see, I'm on a fixed income from disability and anything I earn I have to report to the government, because I can't earn above a certain amount in any month.  So it would be a TREMENDOUS pain in the ass for me to collect revenue from companies, report it to the government and then have to worry about going over the limit of what I can earn in that month.  Also, and more important, I wanted to be an honest blogger.  If I hate something, I want to be able to say I hate it without having to worry about nastiness and repercussions from a company.  I want my opinions to be totally my own.  Because, fundamentally, that's all they are:  Opinions.  I expect you, as a discerning reader, will take them with a grain of salt and come to your own conclusions.  Also I didn't want to be the type of blogger who tries every product thrown at her, only to say to her readers:  "This product is great!  It cleared my skin/eliminated my lines/washed my dishes and cooked dinner to perfection!!!"  Because you would be able to tell I was bullshitting you.  And even if you couldn't, I could.  And I don't want to do that.  I've known a few of you for a long time now, and even if I haven't known you for years, I have enough respect for all of you not to insult your intelligence.

So rest assured, the opinions in this blog are totally my own, and I'm not under the influence of any companies, authors, online or brick-and-mortar retailers, publishing companies, psychiatric institutions, tattoo and piercing parlors, alternate realities or TV shows (heck, I don't even own a TV!).  However, in the interest of full disclosure, I am under the influence of psychotropic and medicinal drugs, so there may occasionally be a warp in the space/time continuum, a blip on the screen of reality, while I'm writing this blog.  You have been warned.

Also in the interest of full disclosure, I read MANY, MANY magazines:  O, People, People StyleWatch, More, InStyle, Real Simple, Storage and expected to arrive soon in the mail, Better Homes & Gardens.  I also read the New York Times online.  The Post and the News can go choke on their own sputum for all I care.  They are rags fit only for wrapping fish.  I also happily purchase most of my books from Amazon.com.  The less I have to go out and interact with people and The Great Outdoors the happier I am.  Did I mention my neighborhood has no sidewalks?  It's a real challenge getting anywhere while avoiding being hit by a vehicle.  Try it sometime!  Believe me, you'll develop a new appreciation for life.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's in the Bag

Because I've been seeing these posts everywhere (what's in the makeup bag, what's in the handbag) I decided to do one, too, not wanting to be left out of the trend.  :)  That's the contents of my summer handbag, right there.

I used the LL Bean Design-Your-Own-Tote service to design my own handbag.  The bag is about 6 years old.  
 From the top, left:  A Coach mini-skinny (a gift from an old boss), Love, Etc. solid perfume from The Body Shop, cucumber & melon hand sanitizer, The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Oil-Free Facial Lotion SPF 15, Burt's Bees Hand Salve, large Band-Aids (in case of blisters), Neutrogena Deep Clean Oil-Free Makeup Remover Wipes, because NYC gets hot, sticky and grimy in the summertime!
 Some Bonne Belle Lipsmackers, and The Body Shop lip glosses, a Sharpie double-pointed black marker, Zebra Sarasa black and oxblood gel pens, a highlighter, a MetroCard (NYC's mass transit payment card), a comb, a Revlon Mirror, Halls cough drops (in case of dry mouth), Shout stain remover wipes, a stack of business cards.
 My tan Filofax Agenda, my Coach wallet, tissues, Moleskine notebooks:  my reading log and my portable journal.
 A wider view.
The whole enchilada.  I can't believe all that crap fits in that one little bag!  My secret:  I use Ziploc baggies.  My friend Diane introduced me to the concept.  It makes it easier to find little items that would otherwise get trapped on the bottom.

I usually carry the featured handbag from June to September.  Then in October I switch out to my Coach black pebbled leather hobo.  I also have black and brown leather satchel handbags from Coach.  The brown one is very old - from the early 90's.  I like lighter handbags in the summer, though.  It's hot enough without toting leather around.  Straw or canvas seems like the way to go.  I like Coach - they're expensive, but you get what you pay for - I use my black pebbled leather hobo almost every day from October to June, and it still looks good.  I've had it for four years now.

I think I've said before that my theory on handbags is that a lady should have at least three:  A fall/winter everyday leather bag, a dress leather bag, and a summer bag, of a lighter material, like canvas, cloth or straw.  If you want, you can throw in an evening clutch, if you go to a lot of glamorous evening events, and a light-colored leather dress bag for the spring/summer months.  If you go to the beach or on picnics in the spring and summer, you should get a sturdy tote bag - LL Bean makes good totes, and you can design your own, and have it monogrammed with your initials or name (see bag above).  You can also use a large tote for going to the farmer's market.  A budget-conscious option is to use the reusable shopping totes you can get for $.99-$1.99 at the supermarket or drugstore, or use the free ones that some stores give away with purchases.  Aerosoles recently had a gift with purchase where I received a fleece blanket and a colorful cloth tote with my online order.  Cosmetic companies are good for that, too.  They always seem to be giving away tote bags with their gifts-with-purchase or bargain purchase-with-purchase (like where you get a $155 gift set for $35 or something like that - I am not wise to the ways of the cosmetic counter - I only know enough to know I should stay away from it!).

Of course, if you're vegan, or just want cruelty-free products, you can get good bags in nylon, vinyl or pleather, canvas, cloth or straw or even recycled rubber - there are so many eco-friendly materials to choose from.

Anyway, it's getting late in the morning, and I have to do my weekly day-of-beauty ritual.  Once a week, I try to give myself a facial mask, exfoliating salt scrub, condition my hair and moisturize from head to toe.  I should probably moisturize every day, but sometimes I'm just too busy and the schedule does not allow for those extra minutes.  Or I'm too tired, LOL.  

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is It Possible To Have Too Much Denim?

My denim collection, not including jeans:

 From left to right:  DKNYC Denim Jacket, Coldwater Creek Denim Jacket, Lane Bryant Denim Jacket

A close-up of the DKNYC Denim Jacket.  The sleeves were too long, so I had to have them shortened.  There was a zipper on the bottom quarter of the sleeve, which had to be shortened as well.  It takes something away from the jacket, but the sleeves were too ridiculously long.  
 The Coldwater Creek Denim Jacket - I got it on sale for about $20!  I use this for casual wear, like going on walks or to the deli, or cruising around the neighborhood, or running errands.
 The Lane Bryant Denim Jacket.  I use this for dressier casual occasions, like going out with friends.
 Hey, I thought this was an all-denim show!  :)  These are my sunhats.  The one on the left is the Ultrafino Panama Fedora I've been wearing everywhere this summer.  The one on the right is my LL Bean sunhat - it's more ladylike.  I haven't worn it yet ... I'm waiting for the right occasion.
 Closeup of the Panama Fedora.  The cut-out pattern above the brim actually keeps my head cool and ventilated.  The wide brim provides shade and sun protection (along with sunblock, of course).
 Closeup of the LL Bean sunhat.  It has a cord so you can fasten it under your chin.
 Denim overload:  A three-piece denim suit - jacket, trouser-style pants and pencil skirt; and a gored denim skirt from LL Bean.
 The jacket and pants, from Lane Bryant.  The jacket has ruffled trim, which is cute and classy.  I wore this combination with a white t-shirt and some costume jewelry to my friend Jack's birthday party, and I got a lot of compliments.
 The denim pencil skirt, part of the suit from Lane Bryant.
The gored denim skirt from LL Bean.  I'm dying to wear this for a casual occasion!  I think I might have to have the waist taken in, though.

One of my chief fit problems is that my waist is small compared to my hips and bust, which I know is supposed to be an asset, but it really makes it difficult to get clothes that fit.

So what do you think, is this too much denim?  It's too hot this time of year to wear any denim, really, but from Fall to late Spring, it's appropriate.  I think I'll be getting a lot of wear out of these outfits when the weather gets cooler.

Some people say you shouldn't wear two denim items together at all because it's overload, but I think I would make an exception for the suit and wear the trouser pants and pencil skirt with the ruffled trim jacket.  I confess I also wear the more casual denim jackets with jeans.  I also wear them with skirts and khakis and my LL Bean Perfect Fit pants.  I would be more inclined to wear the DKNYC jacket alone, without any other denim item, and the LL Bean gored skirt, too.

So apparently I went from having a lot of black in my closet to having a lot of denim, LOL!  Time to come up with some creative combinations to make some cute outfits!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Unexpected Trip to the City

Friday night my friend Ange called me up and asked me if I was planning on going to the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) NYC Metro Wellness Conference on Saturday, at the NYS Psychiatric Institute.  I told her I had planned on going, but forgot to RSVP.  She said she RSVP'd that she'd be bringing a group of people, and would I like to come?  Of course I said yes.

So Saturday I went to Manhattan.  The Wellness Conference was great - I went to Stress Management, which was very relaxing and soothing, then I had a Reiki session, then I went to LaffYoga, Laughter Yoga, which was a lot of fun, even though I started out in a bad mood (because I'm me, and that's how I roll).  I was feeling kind of depressed for some forgotten reason, so I faked the laughter, but eventually I got into it and it felt pretty good!  There's a LaffYoga class for free every Wednesday night in Times Square.  I think I'd like to go.  It burns calories, and believe me, I need that.  So I'll be doing Prana Yoga and LaffYoga.  I was supposed to go to yoga tonight, but once again, I forgot to RSVP.  When I called the teacher, the class was all filled up, so there was no room for me!  So I RSVP'd for the next class.  Hopefully I'll remember to go.

After the Wellness Conference, we decided we'd like to go to the Village so Ange could get her eyebrow and nose pierced, and Kristin was entertaining the thought of getting a tattoo.  Long story short, that's exactly what happened.  I also wanted to celebrate the passage of the Marriage Equality legislation, and toast the friends who didn't live to see this day, and Judy Garland, whose death kick-started the Gay Liberation Movement and the Stonewall Riots.  We did the toasting at a bar called The Grisly Pear, which was a Karaoke bar.  Those performers were awesome ... they had some serious pipes!  One guy in particular was excellent, Seth, who rocked the house with a performance of "Born to be Wild."

But the people-watching in Manhattan was fabulous, as always.  I saw one couple in particular, a man and a woman, who looked to be about in their 60's, who got on the train at Lincoln Center (66th St.).  They were impeccably dressed.  They were wearing white linen shirts and khaki linen pants.  They were both blond.  They looked like they walked off the beach in the Hamptons.  They looked relaxed and casual, but nothing was out of place - their linens weren't even rumpled.  I think they were the height of summer chic.  There were plenty of gorgeous young things on the train, all in miniskirts or shorts, and they were cute, but this couple took the cake for class and elegance.

I wish I had taken my camera with me ... if I had known I was going to be traveling around town that day, I would have, but I didn't know.  We took pictures in front of the Stonewall Inn and in a little park across the street.  I hung out for a while in Father Demo Square Park, and managed to drop a huge blob of chocolate ice cream down the front of my white shirt and down my pants leg.  I thought I got the stain out of the shirt, but you can still see a shadow.

Lane Bryant was having a sale on that particular t-shirt, and another style t-shirt, buy 2/get 2 free, so I bought four for $49.50.  I can't really afford it, but I don't want to walk around in stained clothes, either.  I made a really big purchase earlier in the month, two pillows from The Company Store - a bed pillow (where you can prop yourself up in bed and read) and a Euro Square to replace my current Euro Square, which is over 20 years old.  It's soft and comfy, but it's really time to retire it.  I have to start curbing my spending.  I still don't have proper hangers, a full-length mirror or a tall, wide bookshelf, and I've been wanting to get those things for the longest time.  But hey!  I'll be able to sit up in bed and read!  Not to mention that I need an ironing board.

But I have to say, everyone was very nice when we went to the city on Saturday.  When we stopped to figure out directions, people stopped by to assist (we didn't need assistance, but I guess we looked like tourists, LOL), and in the Village, everyone was so polite, easy-going and nice!  Quite a change from NYC on an average day.  On an average day when you bump into someone, you have to be wary that they might want to start something with you, but on Saturday everyone was so polite and friendly - when I bumped into people, they said "Sorry!  Are you OK?"  and I was like, "Oh, I'm sorry.  Yes, I'm fine, are you OK?"  It was like everyone was on happy pills.

Oh, I decided to get a membership to Weight Watchers instead of buying a Coach bag.  I figure that will help me more in the long run, and it would cost about as much, or actually, I just did the math, it will cost less.  So I think that was a good decision.  They were also having a sale, where it was free to join up, so I signed up online for the Monthly Pass.  Now I just have to get my butt to a meeting!  My sister got on my case.  She pointed out that last time I joined, I stopped going to meetings.  I was like, "Yes, but I lost weight anyway!"  Also, one of my friends started going to Overeaters Anonymous and I might go with her.  I figure, now that I'm disabled, I have all this time on my hands, I might as well use it for self-improvement.  As we said on Saturday, as we were running around the city, "What else am I going to do, sit home and surf the Internet?"

Wow, I'm so tired, I put my head down and I almost passed out!  Time for bed, at 2:22 AM.  Goodnight!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rodents, Style, Fashion, Shopping, and Online Fashion Services

So, things have been happening here.  There's been a sad proliferation of furry little woodland creatures scurrying about, digging in the garbage, terrorizing the villagers of this peaceful (though beleaguered) little apartment complex.  I called the Health Department, and they came to investigate.  Hopefully something will be done.  I don't fear much in this life (or out of it), but the rats have got to go!

I've also been studying psychopaths, so between the rats and the psychopaths, frankly I think I'm doing pretty well in maintaining my sanity.  I'm only afraid of two things:  imaginary demons (I do a good job spooking myself) and rats.  Psychopaths are a little scary, too, but I'm used to them.

In fashion news ... well, there's a whole lot of fashion news.  Last week, Avenue had a 10% off 1 item/40% off 4 items sale, and I cleaned up!  I bought two sundresses, one in turquoise and one in brown, two white camisoles, which I don't think I'll be needing, but you never know, a multicolored beaded necklace, to go with both dresses, and low cut socks.  It came to $50, total, which I think was pretty good.  I wore the brown sundress with the necklace on Thursday to dinner and the movies with a friend, and she complimented me on it.  I wore the necklace Saturday to the SI Children's Parade and Festival, which was fun.  I wore my black LL Bean Perfect Fit Crop Pants and crystal blue sleeveless shirt and Coldwater Creek light wash denim jacket that day with the necklace.  My friend Patty, my outreach partner, complimented me on my outfit.  Patty always looks good, so I was pleased.

In accessories news, I purchased 3 sunhats:  One from Lands End, which I'm returning because it is, frankly, a POS, another one from LL Bean, which is cute, but untried as I haven't worn it yet, and my favorite sunhat so far, a straw Panama Fedora, that I bought from Amazon.com from a company called UltraPortofino.  I get a lot of compliments on that hat.  I did an outreach with my friend Patty at the SI Pride Festival last Saturday, and that hat was very popular.  So that's a keeper.  It fits perfectly, too.

Undergarments and exercise wear:  I bought two pair of Fitness Pants from LL Bean - they're a little snug.  One is a crop pant and the other is boot-cut.  They're not so snug as to look bad or be uncomfortable, but they are form-fitting.  I ordered tops from Champion, because for some crazy reason, LL Bean did not see fit to offer Fitness tops in Plus sizes.  Go figure.  They have a Fitness jacket, but no tops.  I do not comprehend ... do Plus size women exercise topless?  All we need is a bra, a warmup jacket, some pants, and we're good to go!  "Wait a minute, honey, aren't you forgetting something?"
"What?"
"A shirt???"

Anyway, Champion to the rescue.  Hopefully it will be a good Internet shopping experience and not a horrible one, like I had with Jockey.  I ordered a bra from Champion, but I took one look at that thing when I got it out of the package, and I was like, "No way is this going to support me."  Sometimes I think the people who make clothes honestly have no concept of what it's like to dress a woman's body.  I mean a WOMAN'S body, not a 12 year old boy's body, which seems to be the fashion ideal.  Not that there's anything wrong with 12 year old boys, but they aren't women.  So please stop trying to dress us like we are 12 year old boys.  Cuz we're not!!!  As evidenced by the fact that most of us do not walk around carrying skateboards, with bugs in our pockets and smelling funny.

Yes, I'm sure Karl Lagerfeld is reading this blog with bated breath, the realization suddenly hitting him square in the brain:  "Merde!  Women are not shaped like boys!  Mon Dieu!  Alert the media!  I must redesign my entire collection!  Someone call a Plus-size modeling agency!"

Well, he'd be SOL, because plus-size models are like what, size 10?  12?  They're not really plus-size.

But anyway, getting back to my undergarments (because I know you're fascinated, LOL), I bought 2 pair of Spanx power shapers, which fit like a glove, once I got it on, which took about 30 minutes of huffing and puffing and stuffing, but hey!  I looked great in that sundress!  The other undergarment is a pair of white boxer briefs that I bought from Junonia, a company one of my friends introduced me to.  They have a great selection of Activewear for Plus-size women, including a line called Quik-Dry, which is a moisture-wicking fabric suitable for exercise, whether it be yoga, biking, hiking or working out at the gym.  However, they also have a line of undergarments that guard against that most evil of all evils that plague larger-sized women, especially in the summer months:  chafing!  They have the boxer briefs, which have about a 5" inseam and a comfort panel, and they're made of Quik-Dry fabric to keep you cool and comfortable.  That's what I bought.  They are NOT shapewear, so they don't hold you in and keep you smooth; but if it's a hot day and you can't stand the thought of being stuffed into your Spanx, and it's not a terribly dressy occasion, it's a good alternative to pantyhose (who wears those anymore?), or the more prosaic boxer shorts (let's face it, we've all done it - stolen the guy's clean underwear to wear under a dress or skirt on a hot summer day so we don't have to deal with THE CHAFE.)  I haven't had occasion to wear them yet, so we'll have to see how it goes.  They also have longer-length bike shorts with light support, with an 11" inseam, which was too long for my purposes.

In other news, other online fashion style services have come to my attention:  Dressing Your Truth, with Carol Tuttle, and Fabulous After 40.  My humble opinion is that you should save your money, but hey, if you look into these style services and decide you want to plunk down $300 and up for some badly produced reading material, that's up to you.  I personally prefer MissusSmartyPants, not because I follow blindly, but because I've seen what's out there, and so far she's the only one that I see offering anything substantial for the money, at a very reasonable price.  And the more I see what's out there, the more reasonable her price seems.

Carol Tuttle's Dressing Your Truth system is a kind of blend of New Age philosophy, the seasonal colors system, esoteric and metaphysical elemental symbolism (I know this because I'm a witch, and I studied the heck out of that stuff), some Asian philosophy and some Christian philosophy as well.  If that works for you, fine.  Me, I'm confused.  She lost me at the elemental symbolism - I couldn't figure out where I fit in.  I had attributes of this one, but some attributes of that one, and sometimes I feel like that one over there, and other times ... aw, heck, I couldn't figure it out.  But I bought the $39.99 dealio, which was a book, "Discover Your Personal Beauty Profile," two DVD's, and an online course, which I finished in 3 hours (one night similar to this one, when I couldn't sleep).  Maybe when I finish reading the book and watching the DVD's I will have a better idea of what my Personal Beauty Profile is and what "season" or "element" I am, but until then ...

Fabulous After 40, a website fashion service created by "The Glam Gals," JoJami Tyler and Deborah Boland ... great idea, terrible execution.  I mean, ladies, proofreaders are YOUR FRIENDS!!!!  Spellcheck is a wonderful invention!  Editing is a great thing!  Please read your work before you present it to the world at large!!!  Because really, if you're going to ask me to spend $9.99 on a 12-page e-book - you damn well better blow me away!!!  And give me some kernel of new information, not something I've read a few dozen, or hundred times before.  Give your readers, who are willing to shell out their hard-earned cash, which is not easy to come by in these times, something new and fresh to read, and something that they can actually READ, not something they have to work to piece together from the mismatched sentences and paragraphs that blight your work.

So yeah, I was not a happy camper.  Hey, ladies, you may be fashionable and thin, but at least I proof my blog.

Those were my Adventures in Fashion.  It's 6 AM and I haven't slept at all tonight.  The pdoc will not be happy.  I'm going to eat breakfast, take my meds and try to go to sleep.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Listmania

I'm still planning a trip to the Big Apple ... I'm hoping a friend or my sister or other female relative will come with me.

So far I would like to go to:

Tip Top Shoes
La Crasia in Grand Central
Maybe a BIG COACH STORE!!!  (Just got a coupon for $100 off $300 - who could resist???)
The Container Store
Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic on Mercer Street
Maybe stop in at the original Kiehl's on Third Avenue - I used to love shopping there.  They have the best stuff.  Maybe sunscreen???

I should probably visit a few of my old favorite neighborhoods, too, like Greenwich Village, the East Village, the Flatiron District (Jo Malone, I hear you calling me!) and Chelsea.

It's really weird, for years I avoided the city.  I just hated having to go there after 9/11/2001.  I saw the whole thing happen.  I was in an express bus going into the city on the Gowanus Expressway, and really, it traumatized me.  So I really haven't gone into the city for fun, only unless I absolutely had to on personal business or for work.  There are a lot of things I miss about the city - the drive, the energy, the stores, the little out of the way places, the parks, yes, even the crabby, know-it-all people.  But I don't miss the crowds, the people rushing everywhere, the rudeness, the nastiness, the dirt (NYC has to be one of the dirtiest cities in America, really, and it's not like the Sanitation Department isn't holding up their end - it's just that the people are pigs).  Mind you, I say all this with love and the knowledge that I am in fact, PART of the City of New York.  In fact, I'm an honorary citizen, but I won't get into that, because that's bragging.  But I have a plaque!  And a commendation!

I'll have to find more nifty places to go on my trip to the city.  I may have to break it up over a few days. But this sounds like the beginnings of a plan!

I hope to be reviewing Nina Garcia's oeuvre, all four of her books.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Picspam of the Great Transition from Winter to Spring/Summer 2011

 My unmentionables soaking in the sink.  Note the Johnson's Baby Shampoo!  Good for fine washables.

The top of my closet, after the spring/summer transition.  The tan bag, 4th in from the left, is the bag I'm going to be using for my dressy summer/spring bag.

 From left to right: Belts, shirts, jeans, pants, skirts, jackets, dresses, robe and scarves.

 The bottom of the closet.  Shoes, backpack and casual summer canvas bag from LL Bean.  My grandfather made the night table and my father refinished it for me.  What's a night table doing in a closet?  The housing program had two night tables in the room already, and I'm not giving this one up.

The armoire.  Storage on top.  First shelf from top: Fleece sweaters and wraps, in case it gets cold, which is does sometimes in NYC in the spring and summer.  2nd shelf from top l to r:  Surf shoes in the plastic box, scented drawer paper, unmentionables.  3rd shelf from top, l to r: Important papers, summer weight sweaters, t-shirts and tunics.  4th shelf from top, l to r: Tube socks, summer weight cardigans, black knit pants.  Open drawer: more socks, shorts, wool socks (in case it gets cold).

 Another view of the armoire.

 All my spring/summer purchases, mostly unopened, that I have to try on.

 You may be wondering about the Compass Rose pillow.  It's a sham I got from LL Bean back in 2007. I don't think they have it anymore.

 Top to bottom, left to right:  Black Perfect Fit Crop Pants from LL Bean, navy linen crop pants from LL Bean, DKNYJEANS denim jacket from Lane Bryant, a black pencil skirt, from Lane Bryant, sleeveless pima knit cotton tees from LL Bean in crystal blue, white and amethyst.

 From top to bottom, left to right: the DKNYJEANS denim jacket, an exotic floral print cardigan and A-line skirt from Lane Bryant, a white cardigan, Hollyhock v-neck tee, black pencil skirt, all from Lane Bryant.

 The v-neck tees from Lane Bryant in Hollyhock, blue jewel, raspberry rose, white and blue atoll.
The neck detail of the blue atoll v-neck tee.  It draws attention to the neckline and decolletage, which is a good thing!

My friend Erica has promised to come over and help me with the trying on process, to make sure the clothes fit and are the right color, look good on me, etc., all that good stuff.  I went a little crazy during a recent LB sale and bought 5 t-shirts, plus 5 panties and 2 bras (not pictured).  I got the shirts to go with the exotic floral print skirt and cardigan - hopefully it will all look good together.  Even if the skirt and cardigan have to go back (because they fit terrible, or look awful, heaven forbid!), I'm keeping the tees, because I really love the colors and styles.  Plus, they pretty much go with practically everything in my wardrobe, so that's a good thing.

I really need to get a full-length mirror, so I won't have to ask friends to come over and tell me whether my clothes fit or not.  Still, I do like getting a second opinion.

I don't want to post pictures of my Style File because that sucker is getting HUGE!!!  I went through it and weeded some things out, but it's still enormous.  I think it's indicative of the plethora of information that's out there about fashion, style and beauty.  I had no idea when I got into this hobby that it would be so consuming.  I enjoy it, but if I'm not careful, it could take over my life.  I want balance, I don't want to get all crazy about style/fashion/beauty blogging.  There's more to life.  However, it's a hobby I enjoy, so I'll do it as I feel like doing it.

Have a pleasant week!  I have to take care of my fine washables now.