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.