December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Monday, October 31, 2011

Eco-Fashion, Sustainable Fashion, Animal-Humane Fashion

I haven't vetted any of these websites other than checking out Vaute Couture the other day (see post below), but here is a list of brands with online presence that promise to be eco-friendly, sustainable and animal humane

Here is the home page for Eco Fashion World

Interestingly enough, this evening when I got home I discovered in the mail a catalog from sonsi.com.  Sonsi doens't promise to be eco-friendly, sustainable or animal-humane but while looking through it I did find a plaid pea coat from Lane Bryant that I fell in love with - and - NO WOOL!


Cotton/polyester/acrylic blend, $169.95.  Now, if it had been a red plaid, I would have bought it...

Versace for H&M

I just learned tonight that a new H&M store has opened with my reach - at Southridge!  It's a 10 minute bus ride away!

I read an article last week about Versace designing a line for H&M at Yahoo OMG, and I wrote a big article here about it, showing my favorite pieces, except none of the images I'd saved would open!  I do not understand why Versace and/or Yahoo would do it when I wanted to give these pieces an - ahem - audience here :)

Now I can't find the original article, but here is the complete collection featured at fashionista blog.   

There are many pieces that are ridiculous.  Others are beautiful, and still others are definitely wearable.  This assumes that one has the right figure :)  I don't.  But some of them are beautiful and not outrageously priced, considering you're getting a top name designer.

Here are a few of my picks:

Above, pink silk sheath with gold studs, $199!

Beautifully designed!  Sleeveless tank with gold and silver studs in Grecian key design, stretch jersey 100% cotton, machine washable (cold)!  Best of all is the price $49.95.  There is a matching skirt and also what are either leggings or jeggings with the same design. 


I copied this one the other day from that Yahoo article - it's called a "cape" dress - gorgeous!  I didn't see it, however, at H&M or at the fashionista blog.


This scarf was another item that caught my eye in the Yahoo news article, but I did not see it at H&M or the fashionista blog.


This is also an exquisitely tailored menswear tuxedo jacket that I clipped from the Yahoo news article, also didn't see it at the H&M website.  In a small enough size with rolled up sleeves (if you didn't want to play for alterations), it would suit a femme beautifully, I think.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mascara

Hola darlings!

For years and years and years, I used Maybelline's basic waterproof black mascara - the stuff in the white tube that hasn't changed in like 100 years.  Very interesting - I don't see it listed at all at the Maybelline website anywhere.  Maybe the stuff I was buying all those years was left over from WWII.

I liked it because it generally didn't smudge on my then oily complexion even after hours and hours, and I was able to wash it off with my Dove soap (which I began using at age 22 and continued using until 2001, when I switched to a generic brand of Cetaphil on sister Darlene's recommendation -- she was right, by the way -- and then in February 2010 switched to L'Bri products, which I've been using ever since.  More about that in another post.)
Somewhere along the line, I think it was as a result of an article I read online one day in a fit of fashion mystique, I switched to Maybeline's Waterproof Great Lash, and I liked it fine, except it dries out rather quickly in the tube.  I used that for many years and thought I was fashion forward...

And then, one day, well less than a year ago, I was trekking through the local Walgreens on the way to pick up a prescription refill and I stopped at the cosmetics display.  I needed some new mascara.  I reached for Great Lash and then stopped.  I thought - what the hell - and looked at other products and brands that I'd never paid any attention to before. I don't suppose it was any coincidence that this was a few months before the advent of my 60th birth year.  The upshot was that I purchased Maybelline Waterprooof but Washable Lash Stiletto, and have been using it for some months.

I like Lash Stiletto a lot.  It gives me great looking long lashes, longer than I ever had with any other product I've used before, that's for sure!  I find this more important now since suffering through major eyelid SAG.  EEK!  Eyelid wrinkles too.  But you never read about THOSE - not anywhere, darlings!  It's like they don't even exist, which is utterly ridiculous because of course they do!  I've got them, and I'm not the only woman who is suffering such a fate, either.  There must be millions of us going through the same thing, all at the same time!

And the make-up manufacturers are just ignoring us!  We're the chicks with all the money.  Twenty-somethings don't even have jobs these days - they don't have a pot to piss in let alone extra money to spend.  But chicks my age - yeah, we've got money and extra to spend.  So why are we being ignored?  Because we are - GASP - BABY BOOMERS????

I don't get it.  But then, that's why I've never got "fashion" either.  All this baloney worshipping "women" in their teens who have the bodies of seven year olds.  Yechy!  Perverted, if you ask me.  Well, you haven't, but I'm telling you anyway.

Soooo - back to mascara.  My Maybelline Lash Stilleto is just about "out" and I'm now on the hunt for a new mascara.  I wouldn't have thought twice about it before, I would just have purchased the same brand again and happily used it.  But now I'm a VOGUE reader, darlings.  All those ads, badgering me to try this, and try that, and buy this, and buy that...

Well, whatever...

One thing - it doesn't wash off easily, because I don't use "soap."  I use a gentle aloe-based cleanser formulated by L'Bri that has no soap in it whatsoever.  Taking the mascara off is a chore.  I can soften it up with the cleanser and get some of it off with gentle swipes of a wash cloth, but obviously I'm not going to SCRUB my eye area (or any other portion of my face, for that matter) with a wash cloth or anything else, like with a scrubby (GODDESS FORBID!).  So I'm left to letting the L'Bri cleanser "soak" into the lashes for awhile and then 'scraping' off the excess mascara between my fingernails.  Which leads to a whole separate problem - black crud encrusted underneath my fingernails!

Enter Gwen Stefani.  I love Gwen Stefani.  Even with her fake dyed white hair.  She has stayed more true to her core than Christina Aguilera, whom I also like, but no longer admire as I used to - she's gone far too commercial and diva for me but I did like her on NBC's "The Voice" and will watch again even if she's on because there are still occasional glimpses of the nice girl she is underneath all the glitz and crap and glam.  Anyway, back to the mascara --

Gwen Stefani is advertising L'Oreal products these days and among them is a new mascara called "Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara."  I kid you not.  Who the hell can remember such a name?  Not me - I've got major dementia these days.  But - I saw it on special this morning in the local Target advert for like $6.99 - and it actally costs something like $8.99, which is absolutely ridiculous.  I won't pay that much.  Lash Stilleto costs like $6.99 not on sale and I'll stick with it, unless I can find VFFLM (whew!) on sale at Walgreens.  There is not a Target store within my easy reach so advertising it on sale doesn't help me.  I can't get to the store without trekking on the bus for something like 4.5 hours.  Not happening!  [Note: Interesting.  The L'Oreal website would not allow me to copy a link to this blog for the Voluminous line of mascaras!  Now wouldn't you think such a product would be more than happy to allow a link back? I've decided I'm NOT going to be buying this product after all, just because they're such schmucks about links-back!]  According to the images in the adverts, the lashes this mascara promises to deliver look positively fake!  Long, lush, yeah, absolutely fake.  Will it deliver?  Hmmm, well, if it ever goes on sales, I'll check it out and let you know!

No wonder dudes think we're crazy.  We must be fricking crazy, going through all this just for mascara!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Compassionate Fashion: Vaute Couture

Hola darlings!
Vaute Couture's "Belden" coat
Thanks to a post that my fellow blogger Jill Bielawski did under my "Red Coats" thread, I found out about Vaute Couture, Inc.  Jill left a link and I visited it last night, and spent about an hour exploring the website.  It's not the easiest to navigate but I think I found out everything I needed to know, including looking through VC's fabulous line for its third "run" of custom-designed coats!  I mean, darlings, just check out one of the coats!  This one is called the Belden, and I love, Love, LOVE it!

Unfortunately, I missed the cut-off for online order discount (15% if you ordered by October 24th); AND, as I mentioned in my response post to Jill, every single one of the designs that I liked the most were already sold out!  EEK!  Well, I guess that means I have good taste -- or I'm not avant garde enough to think outside the comfortable norm where everyone else is at!  [Check out Vaute Couture's Fall/Winter 2011 Look Book - tres cool!]

Hmmmm.....   Am I avant garde in my fashion sense?  Hell no.  But I'm working on it, I'm working on it.  In other areas of my life, am I avant garde? Hell yes! 

Anyway, I signed up for the Vaute Couture email newsletter and hope to get word of when the next fashion run will be produced.  I would like to order something to show my support.  I especially want a RED COAT.  LOL!  Yes, I know I'm totally obsessed.  I'd much rather spend a couple hundred more to support a business that is supporting such a wonderful cause and also helping support unique American-based designers, artists and sewists/tailors, not to mention the producers of the sustainable and animal-free materials that are used in the production of Vaute Couture's garments.  I will also be purchasing a garment that will last a long time - not wear out in 2 or 3 years like the crap sold to us from China.
Vaute Couture "elephants" sweat shirt, made
with water-based ink.
The idea of compassionate fashion is new to me, but very very appealing.  Sustainable fashion isn't enough; after all, wool is a sustainable product, coming from sheep, but after reading Jill's and other people's accounts of how wool is process today (absolutely horrifying, don't read about it unless you have a very strong stomach or have no feelings about mistreatment of animals)  I've nixed the idea of buying anything ever again that contains wool.  And you know, it doesn't have to be like that! 

If I ever get any readers, I urge you to do some independent research on how animals are treated - or mistreated - as they provide us with various types of wool (cashmere, for instance) and other natural materials that are woven into fabrics or processed (alpaca, camel hair, horse hair, any kind of fur, any kind of leather, where an animal has to be killed in order to be skinned to provide his or her pelt/skin).  There are humane ways to harvest these materials that we use, and cruel, barbaric ways.  In this day and age, really, why are we still using any method that is cruel and barbaric? Just because it's cheap?  Just because we can?

This isn't an animal rights blog, I'm writing about my personal experiences in discovering a sense of fashion, so I'll leave it at that for now.  However, if we can buy clothes that are made from materials that don't hurt animals, why do anything else?  I mean, really, why do anything else?  Do some research before you buy, check labels before buying.  That's all it takes to live with a clean conscience. 

I love this Vaute Couture sweatshirt that I call "pink elephants!"  I have a collection of glass, ceramic and metal pink elephants, started with one little old pink ceramic elephant I inherited from my Grandma Newton when she died in 1960.  It holds front center stage today, all these years later, in my curio cabinet in a collection of pink elephants (or elephants that have some sort of pink on them) that I assembled so Grandma Newton's pink elephant wouldn't be lonely. 

Elephants, of course, are closely associated with the ancient game of chess.  The piece that today in chess (the western version of the game) we call the Bishop was actually once a mighty war elephant, sometimes in later years depicted with a tower on its back that sheltered bow-wielding warriors.  Yeah, I know this is a blog about fashion, but I'm a chess history fanatic as well, darlings, so you'll have to bear with me :) 

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Eye-Opening Experience on Video

Hola, darlings!

I'll do another post or two later but right now I'm rushing because I'm eager to see the Grande Denouement of Project Runway Season 9!  Already I saw the news of WHO WON.  EEK!  Can't wait to see the collections and all the drama, oh my :)

Anyway, while I was scouting around on the internet during lunch hour today, I came across this video and it really opened my eyes.  I mean, yeah, I guess I knew that some people put on eyeliner with a brush, but I'd never seen it done before and I always thought that anything applied with a brush (other than lip gloss) had to be a powder. WRONG. 

For years I've been using pencils on my eyelids, and some time ago I switched over to a pencil that is a sort of hard traditional type pencil (like the old Maybelline "eyebrow" pencils that I still have a few of in my junk make-up box - I use them to fill in nicks on dark furniture - no kidding) and a sort of liquid, but it neither, actually. It's Revlon ColorStay(c) eyeliner/crayon contour in "Blackberry."  I picked it out because I was looking for a different kind of pencil, something not so "hard" on my eyelids, which are not as taut as they used to be...

The color on me is not like the color on the cap, which is a sort of lucious smokey cross between maroon and a reddish-purple with some bronze in it.  To me, once applied, it just looks black, but it's not harsh like I suppose an actual black liner would be.  I have modified the way I line my eyes from my younger years and it seems to work okay with the sagging eyelid thing I've got going on, the inevitable result of gravity.  Don't think about it now, darlings.  While I would like to remedy the situation, I'm too cheap to spend the money for cosmetic surgery in an attempt to fight gravity for say, oh another 10 years or so; I'd much rather continue to go on nice vacations and smile a lot, even if my eyes do shut down to almost nothing slits these days and I look all cheeky (the facial kind) in photographs! 

In my younger years, I lined my eyes from all the way in to all the way out; now I start at the outside corner with a thick somewhat uptilted line and taper it down to nothing as I approach the top of my iris.  The inner half of the eyelid is left without liner.  I work the line as close as possible to the lash line.  That seems to work to "open" them up from the sagging and drooping look.

I like this Revlon pencil/liner because once applied it lasts a good long time and doesn't "melt" into the crease in my eyelid or unduly smudge.  I went through several different types of eyeliner pencils, including my favorite (see below), where this happened and I was not happy about it. Still, by the end of the working day, the Revlon ColorStay(c) liner is definitely not as "crisp" as it starts out in the morning!  With some practice, I learned how to apply it "heavier" in areas where I want more definition and "lighter" on other parts of the lid where I want just a hint of definition.

Anyway, I still draw on liner under the lower lashes.  Under eye liner is a gorgeous color that Mr. Don mails to me from Montreal - he's so sweet about that!  I first discovered this eye pencil in 2002 when visiting Mr. Don in Montreal after our trip back from Madrid.  He took me to a shopping district and I had a blast roaming around Hudson's and the piece d'resistance - Ogilvy's Department Store.  Hmmm, come to think about it, he must really have been totally in love with me, because what man would willingingly subject himself to a day's worth of shopping with his oooh-ahhhhing girlfriend?  It was at Ogilvy's that I found Dior's Crayon Khol in color brown 887.  Except it's not brown, darlings!  Not by a long shot!  It's a gorgeous mixture of red and purple and brown and I just adore it!  I've used it ever since. 

And, since the Dior blend lasts a very long time, I only have to email Mr. Don every few years or so and request that he make the trek to Ogilvy's make-up counter and pick me up another eye pencil.  Hmmmm, come to think of it, maybe he's still in love with me...  The only place I could find this Dior pencil sold locally was at Sephora, and there is not one within shooting distance of where I live.  Since I do not drive, Sephora is out of range. 

The thing was, as time went by, when I lined my upper eyelids with the Dior product, it would be smudged by the end of the day and I would have an "echo" arch of eyeliner above the crease of my eyelid, certainly where I had not drawn it!  But I love the color so much that I still use it, and honestly, it behaves much better lining the area beneath my lower eyelashes.

So, I've got the best of both worlds.

And then, I saw this video today.  Well, actually, the one I first saw was "how to accent brown eyes with eyeliner."  But my eyes aren't brown.  They're hazel.  I swear they used to be a reddish-brown color, but now they're greenish brown with possibly a few gold specks.  How is that possible?  Was I just deluding myself all these years, thinking that I had eyes the color of an old fox's pelt? Well, maybe not the most attractive analogy, come to think of it.  Is it possible for one's eyes to change color?  Probably not - I was probably deluding myself all those years.  Oh my.

So, anyway, I didn't even have to do a search because just a little further down on the page was a video for "how to accent dark hazel eyes."  Now, really, I don't know if mine are "dark hazel" but they are definitely hazel, as you can see clearly in this photo that I took of myself just a few week or two ago:

Hazel eyes!  See - they're definitely not brown, like my hair.

I learned that I'm supposed to be using a honey-colored with bronze eye liner that I should be applying with a brush!



I love Melissa's look in the video, but honestly, if this eyeliner is able to be applied that thickly and look that "wet," it has no chance of lasting very long on me.  I'll end up with the "rainbow" double eye-lid effect above my iris. 

But the color that she used, now that made me think.  Should I perhaps experiment with a honey brown with bronze or honey bronze or whatever, and give up my beloved Dior Crayon Khol in brown 887

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Red Coats!

After the heads-up from a fellow blogger Jill Bielawski about why I shouldn't be thinking about anything with wool in it (except the kind that I knit myself, produced by humane producers), I started digging around for a red coat without any wool - no wool blends!

I found these coats at dillards.com - neither has any wool in them.  Both are designed by Jessica Simpson:

Jessica Simpson Notch-Collar Coat
$99.00 Dillards

Jessica Simpson Pocket Coat
$129.00 at Dillards

Both coats are made of a polyester/viscose/spandex blend.  Not exactly environmentally friendly because of the use of petroleum products to make the synthic fabrics, but on the other hand, no sheep are being tortured to make wool for these coats, either.  We KNOW how to raise animals in a humane way.  We know how to shear sheep's wool in a humane (not "by piecework") way.  Let's just start doing it, and leave the petroleum for gasoline and vasoline production.  Geez, people!  This is the 21st century.  Aren't we better than our barbarian ancestors?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Do YOU Wear To A Chess Tournament?

Oh my gosh.  Today I played in the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XIV.  I arranged ahead of time to play only the first 3 of the 4 scheduled games because when I played in the HCCC a year ago, I was utterly exhausted by the time R4 came (at 6 p.m.) and my game was brutal and short - I lost.  Well, I lost all of my games that day, and today too, but that's neither here nor there.  I just didn't want to be taking the bus home in the dark in an exhausted state, and then face the long walk from the bus stop home.  The darkness just makes me want to curl up under my blankey and go to sleep! 

The thing is, a year ago, I was heavier and I didn't like my hair and I looked old and dumpy, particularly next to my young, beautiful friend, Shira, and I dressed old and dumpy.  But I was really, really comfortable. YECH!  This year I've turned over a new leaf, spurred, no doubt, by the 60th advent of my birth this year. 

So I hemmed and hawed for two full days about what to wear today to HCCC XIV!  Utterly ridiculous, really, since most of the people there don't even actually see you - sometimes not even when they're sitting right across from you over a chessboard :)  Now, that's focus! 

And I was still hemming and hawing this morning until the last possible moment, when I HAD to leave the house in order to walk to the bus stop in order to catch the bus get to the tournament site on time!

At first I was not going to wear jeans; I was going to wear a very sophisticated get-up:  a black knit bat-wing pullover (it's been very successful at the office), a turtleneck, and black slacks. Then I toyed with the idea of going totally in taupe - the same outfit I wore to lunch with Alexandra Kosteniuk in St. Louis last month.  I loved the outfit, but I looked horrid in the photo that 'Sis took of me in it.  Better not.  Then I thought about pairing another successful "poncho" style top in multi-colored cotton yarn over a cream turtleneck with my brown, taupe, black, and navy blue slacks.  That's ridiculous, you'll be the only person in the entire hotel not wearing jeans.

I wore this (self-photo taken after I got home from the tournament) - dark grey short sleeve cardigan, black mock-turtleneck, and my recently new Amanda jeans that aren't in a "women's" cut!  At least at the beginning of the day my hair was rather attractively arranged, but by the end of the day it was looking the worse for wear after tearing my hands through it so many times, arrrgggghhhh!  I thought the outfit was successful.  I was comfortably dressed but I also felt stylish.

Hello!  That's me, in the reflective bronzed glass surface of my old entertainment center in the family room.  Should have kept my shoes on, but I took the pic on the spur of the moment.

If I ever play in another tournament, I promise to step the outfit up a notch or two.  For now, I mark myself "E" for Effort.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Might Be Able to Sew This...

Goddess!  I've got to stop looking at patterns at Vogue.  I haven't done a thing on the two projects I've got sitting on the dinette table!

But I like the color-blocked version of this top - and I'm thinking it would make a great-looking dress - all I'd have to do is make it longer...and I would make the neckline much shallower.



Vogue V8771 Misses ' Top, Very Easy

I Want This Jacket!

I just saw it over at Vogue patterns:


It's by Koos van den Akker: V1277 Misses' Reversible Jacket
Advanced - meaning waaaayyyyyy out of my sewing abilities, looking at it makes me dizzy!  But I LOVE it.  The cut is fabulously figure-flattering and it looks so warm and cozy, and I LOVE the pattern combinations and the fact that it's totally reversible.  Wow. 

I'm on lunch right now at work - just had to blog about this, couldn't wait until I get home tonight to do it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Check Out David Pecaut Square's 2012 Collection

Fashion Week in Toronto!  I came across a link to this article at Xinuanet.com (Chinese propaganda news written for English language folks) while reading about some interesting archaeological discoveries in the Mongolian desert!  The Chinese government throws in "articles of popular interest" to make it seem like Xinuanet is a legit "news reporting website" but no one is fooled, darlings!  LOL!


So, I see this model and I just love her hairdo - or maybe it's the shape of her face, or the shape of the face with the hair with the kookie sunglasses - she's sort of Paris Hilton better looking :)  The outfit she's wearing - blech. 

The looks went rapidly downhill from there; guess I'm not into skin tight barely there swim suits that I didn't find flattering on flat-chested models and somehow managed to still make them look like they had too much flesh because of the "squished in" factor.  Was it just badly fitted articles (frankly, I find that hard to believe) or were they deliberately made to make the models look like they had some body fat and not in a good way?  Either way, I didn't care for them, nor for the no-bra looks.  Come on - do you really think women in Canada are going to go for the nude boobs look?  Granted, I haven't spent a lot of time in Canada, but I have visited Montreal several times and I didn't see women dressing like that!  Most of them, indeed, look like me - a normal woman with a normal figure, not six feet tall and 100 pounds with nothing on her chest to bounce up and down as one walks!  Yeah, they're not exactly going to be flocking to the braless look.  And for a sheer slip of material over your body, you can go to Joann Fabrics and buy some organza, hem it in a large rectangle, wear it like a poncho over a tank top or bandeau bra, and get the same look with some support! And dare I say - for a lot less $$$ too :)

Come to think of it, the look the model above was wearing was fairly close to something normal/saleable.  Guess a lot of designers aren't interested in "saleable" these days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can You Ever Be Too Rich or Too Thin...

Hell yeah as to the second.  As to being too rich, I've never been and never will be, so I can't answer that from practical experience and won't answer that personal reasons.  But as to being too thin, my eyes tell me when I look at photographs of actresses and I read stories of what it was like for some women who got "too thin" -- WELL, suffice to say I don't wanna go there, darlings!

Not that I will - but you know, obsession is a very funny thing.  Just when you think you're on top of the world and have it all some big "O" will grab you by the hairs on your butt and haul you right back down to the mass of humanity that is the rest of us.  Oh, you may not act like you've been hauled by your "short hairs" (har!) but you do know what I'm talking about...

If you don't, more's the pity for you, you're going to end up in HEll playing hockey with the "Devil" for awhile until you've learned a little humility.  Then again, maybe you'll take St. Paul's place in HEAVE-n.  We just don't know until we die what, if anything, happens.  That's the enduring mystery of life.  How ironic!  Death is the enduring mystery of life...

Anyway, about this being too thin thing.  Now darlings, as you all know because I've been very verbal and wordy about publicizing it, I'm "working on my figure."  I'm using those words because 'Sis told me that if I say the forbidden words "LOSE WEIGHT" I won't really lose it, it will just find me again and tack itself back on.  Well, maybe.  But maybe not.  I'm not afraid of words.  I know how they work.  I know their power, you see, having learned to be a wordsmith when I was just a wee 13 year old and I literally (and figuratively, too), wrote and thereby "mentally talked myself out of" an inferiority complex -- to the point where not only could I walk on the same side of the street as a gang of boys without crossing over the other way so I wouldn't have to face them (something I'd done many many times), I could walk right up to them and through them and past them, staring them in the face all the way, and I didn't DIE!

That was such a revelation - and it took me a lot of words to myself to work myself up to the point of doing that!  The point is, I did it.  Quaking all the way, knees so watery I thought I'd fall right down in front of those boys and then the taunts I'd have to endure - I would die!  But I didn't fall, or even trip, and I didn't die (obviously).  Oh yeah, some of them stared, and a few of them hooted, and some of them may have even said words under their breath, and some of them goggled at me, and to some they didn't even see me.  I ignored them all, as if they weren't even there, except for that glancing "you're not important' eye contact that seemed to miraculously arise from within my CORE. 

I waited until I'd passed them and a good half block away got around the corner, at West Bow Street and South Muskego Avenue (a block from that rickety old upper flat where we lived).  There was an old tavern, whose name I've forgotten.  The building is gone now, there's a used car lot in its place, in Spanish.  Everything in that neighborhood is Spanish now.  But back then, the tavern's entrance door was angled to the intersection; however, it had "side walls" built out on either side to block the wind. It was those "side-walls" I took advantage of...

Not that they were looking back, but those boys couldn't see me from down the block, as it appeared I'd rounded the corner -- but had actually ditched into the tavern's door (that tavern was open back then 24-7), and my legs gave out on the tavern floor as the door swung shut behind me.  No one inside noticed until I was already picking myself back up, after what seemed like an eternity.  LOL!  I was probably down for the count about 10 seconds; probably not even that long. Then, POP, right back up on those still shaky legs.

I faced down that "gang" of boys every single school day, five days a week, for the next six weeks straight. I never did "pop into" that old corner tavern again.  I didn't need to.  And at the end of that time, I was, for all intents and purposes, basically cured of that inferiority complex I'd had.

Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci, at a party
celebrating the premier of their new movie.
All of which leads me up to this photograph of Demi Moore that I saw tonight at the Vogue website.  She looks ill, darlings!  She's way too thin.  Her arms look like skeleton arms.  Her face is too hollow. She has no waist, or hips.  Next, her hair will start to fall out - mark my words (although you won't be reading about it at Vogue Online, darlings!) I'm not happy about this, and it's clear that she's not happy either, else she wouldn't be looking like a concentration camp survivor.  Ms. Moore, if I was your age, and I knew what I know now - yeah, da yada da yada, but it's true.  DAMN!    I sure as hell wouldn't be putting up with that shallow know-nothing of a husband you currently have!

Demi Moore, you need to shed that asshole to whom you're currently married.  He's a schmuck!  He's not worthy of you.  Kick him where he deserves it, let him swim with his little spermies stewing in a hot tub with naked stranger 20 something bimbos and who the hell knows where they've been spreading their - er - well, whatevers?  Oh, ICK.  Disgusting!  You're so much better that Asston Kushner and will be soooo much better off without him dragging on your skirttails.  Personally, I never did understand why you left Bruce Willis, but hey, shit happens. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jacket Fashions from Charlotte Russe

Website is having a sale now!!! Five dollars off orders of $30 or more online.  Tonight I scoped out these really cute fashion jackets.  They won't keep you warm in 30 below zero F, but for right now, they are spot on.  Best of all, the prices are great!  Yeah, these clothes probably won't last 10 years, but on the other hand, if you want today's looks now, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to get it and you can give them away a year from now and take a tax deduction for the donation if you itemize your deductions, darlings!  I would team these jackets with dress slacks or a skirt and dark hose or opaque tights. 

I think looks 1 and 3 could be worn under a heavier coat and stand on their own as an "in office" look.  Looks 2 and 4 are "outdoorsy" but possibly could be worn indoors - it would depend on how thick the material is.  In my office, which is always cold, that would be welcome!  Coat 5, especially would look great over dress slacks or a long black skirt...

Knit Moto jacket with sash, $34.99 (hand wash)

Belted military trench, lined, $44.99

Lovely in Lace trench, black lace print on pink,
$34.99 hand washable knit!

Plaid toggle coat with detachable hood, lined, $39.99

Woven houndstooth check with belt, lined, $44.99

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shoe Booties = Whore Shoes

Hate the look - isn't this what Julia Roberts wore back in the 1980's hit film "Pretty Woman" when she was protraying an LA prostitute?  Come on, designers, can't we do better than this for NORMAL women?  Geez.

From what I've seen online, most shoe booties look like whore shoes. They suck.  Must have been designed by people who really, really hate women.  And we fall for it.  Stupid us!  Thankfully, they haven't caught on yet in Milwaukee (THANK YOU, GODDESS!)  Just a few examples - from Nordstrom's website, and Nordstrom really should know better, tsk tsk.

Dior 'Muse' Studded Bootie, $1,100.00.  Well, darlings, if you want to walk
around with your feet looking like dead octopus legs (arms? limbs?) hey, who am I to deny you?
Jeffrey Campbell 'Kelsey,' $164.95.  HOOKER HOOKER HOOKER...
Jeffrey Campbell, 'Zip-2' wedge, $189.95.  Are we in 7th century China with the bound-feet?
Is that the look the designer is going for?  Makes me want to puke.
Stuart Weitzman, 'Title,' $450.00.  Stupid is as stupid does...

Beverly Feldman 'Studs 'n' More,' $298.00.  LOL!  Beverly is laughing
all the way to the bank for every stupid woman who actually buys this look!

Come on, designers.  I'm 60 years old.  I'm a hot 60, yes, but darlings, really.  I'm not going to attempt to walk around in this kind of garbage "boot."  And the prices - ridiculous.  Are you pocketing all the money you aren't paying your slave-labor workers to produce this crap in Bangladesh and Vietnam (China's gotten too expensive to produce this kind of crap, there are actually 'labor movements' going on there now, much as the government tries to suppress them - gasp!) 

One other note - I haven't checked this out with any local podiatrists, but I'm fairly certain that the cut of these boots will lead to lots of broken ankles down the line.  They do not offer ANY support of the ankle at all and, let's face it, we haven't seen statistics but I'm fairly certain there are a lot of women falling 'off' of these damn things, without even trying! 

Come on, designers, there are about 50 million 'boomer' age women out there in the the USA alone, with LOTS of money to spend.  Most of us don't want to look like hookers or court broken ankles.  Bone breaks at our age can be disastrous, darlings? Don't you know this?  Haven't you read it - anywhere, at any time?  Don't you ever read anything other than NY Fashion rags? 

Give us something to SPEND our money on, for Goddess' sake!  Please!  There's a whole world of real women out here, waiting....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interesting Photo


These are four editors of international editions of Vogue: From left: Emmanuelle Alt, Franca Sozzani, Anna Wintour, and Alexandra Shulman. Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images, Jacopo Raule/Getty Images, Stuart Wilson/Getty Image

Article at nymag.com
All the International Vogue Editors Will Hang Out Together for the Very First Time Next Month October 11, 2011

This apparently unprecedented moment of unity will take place at Japan Fashion's Night Out, which will be hosted by Vogue Nippon editor Mitsuko Watanabe in Tokyo on November 5. British Vogue reports that this is the very first time that Alexandra Shulman, Anna Wintour, Franca Sozzani, and Emmanuelle Alt have banded together for a social function. Hopefully the Milan scheduling debacle will be straightened out by then, because otherwise there might be some tension in the room. (On the other hand, if things are all resolved on that front, it'll be super laid-back and no one will judge each other and everybody will do shots together, like normal Vogue parties!)


I know that Anna Wintour is NY Vogue and Franca Sozzani is Vogue Italia.  Evidently Shulman is British Vogue.  Does that mean Alt is Paris Vogue?  I don't know how old Sozzani is, but she has not aged very well - unless she's 100.  I read recently that Anna Wintour is 62.  She looks great - wonder if she's had "work" done on that face?  She hasn't changed her hairstyle in about 40 years.  No wierdo hairdos for that lady, nosiree.  She knows what suits her and she keeps it. 

Some of the comments!  LOL!  I thought this one was hilarious:

The cast of Sex and the City have really let themselves go, haven't they??

Talbot Runhof Spring 2012 Show

Georgia sent me the link to this slideshow.  I liked several of the looks, thought many others were ridiculous!  I see now that I picked out four looks and three of them are slacks and tops!

Here is probably the most ridiculous (IMHO):


Here are four looks I really like:

I love the neckline on the blouse, and the sillouette.


Looks stupid without a bra or cami, but the slacks and blouse are fab!

Easy and elegant!
This is my favorite.  I'm just a sucker for
illusion dresses and this also has those fun leggings.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Makeover City: The Recent Faces of Me - oh oh

My makeovers this year are coming fast and furious! 

I've been taking photos of myself lately and I'm not very good at it, but it just seems too dorky to ask people at the office to do it and then try to pose to look "cool" or whatever (I just want to look like the stunningly gorgeous woman I see staring back at me in the mirror most days, that's all).  I'm no good at posing despite all those seasons of Top Model I've absorbed.  Sigh.  In trying to take photos of myself I can just be as silly as I want in front of the camera and there's nobody there but me, so I don't care!  I've deleted tons of pictures, darlings, let me tell you!  That's the wonderful thing about a digital camera - loving it. 

Anyway, here I am, after a "trim" (I think she took quite a bit off, actually -- you'll see what I mean when you see the picture that I took of myself with a laptop cam on Sunday), and a custom-color job. My "stylist," Joni at Executive Edge (Milwaukee), had to talk me into this darker color.  Okay - a note about using "stylist" - that seems to be a fashionable word but I've been used to calling her my hairdresser, you see.  Yeah yeah, LOL!  Talk about old fashioned!

Back to my text:  I wanted to go with perhaps a deeper red color with a touch of brown.  After going back and forth, back and forth, and looking at the color samples and me emphasizing that I wanted a color that would complement my complexion, which has olive undertones, we reached a compromise.  This color is a blend between two colors, and has "blue/red" undertones.  That made me leery because I thought it would be too cold for my warm skin tones, but she said the color I had, which was just a temporary non-permanent color, had too many orangey tones.  Yeah, she was right about that.  The temporary wash-in color fades quickly.  Today we were going to do a "permanent" color with more staying power. 

Here I am, on October 11, 2011, in my oh-so-fashionable animal print top!
I know I have wrinkles and laugh lines, and also jowls and a double chin.  I just
want to look the best I can be.  I'm not trying to look 20, or 40.  This pic, I think, captures my "spirit"
as well as being a true representation of my new hair color and the newly-trimmed "do."
I think I look cute. 
Let me tell you - the color turned out darker than I thought it would and I'm sure not seeing any red tones in it!  But, as Joni and I have learned since I first started going to her in November, 2008, my hair has a mind of its own when it comes to color, and despite our best efforts we just never know precisely what it's going to do when we 'do' it with color.  This one's a winner.  Now, will it stay that way?  Time will tell...  Joni has the custom mix formula she used written down but there is no guarantee what it will turn out to look like in six weeks when I go for a color touch-up and another trim.

I like this color because it is complementary to my skin tones and when I first looked in the mirror at myself at the salon I thought my eyes really "popped" out of that portrait because of the new color of my hair.  My eyes are not a true brown, they are hazel; this hair color seems to bring out the gold and brown specks of color more. 

So, here I am on Sunday, October 2, 2011, no make-up, sweatshirt on all funky from yardwork earlier in the day, and my first attempts at taking photos of myself.  Notice the hair color:

About all that can be said for this bare-faced photo is that my
hair was shiny and my double-chin wasn't showing :)

Looks just a few shades lighter, maybe, than my current color, and a touch (?)  more red.

But, here I am on Sunday October 9, 2011 - doing my patented wine glass divination (I correctly predicted that the Brewers would defeat the Cardinals by a 3-run margin, although I had the final score wrong: I said 10-7 Brewers, the actual score was 9-6 Brewers):

Oh, flaws, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...
I need to update my inventory of Walgreens 'readers!'  These
are from 2001 - and look it. 
The sun was sinking in the southwest when I snapped this photo using my webcam.  As you can see, I look orange all over - or maybe that's a "pink" glow?  Well, I wasn't red faced from drink despite what it looks like, LOL!  But the hair color - you can see the definite red tones in the natural "sunlight" of a shady backyard (I was on my deck, my yard is shaded, and I was under a patio umbrella).  There I am, no make-up, and dirty grungy hair too! 

That backyard grunge "look" is still a hell of a lot better than this awful photo that Isis took of me in St. Louis while we were having lunch with GM Alexandra Kosteniuk on Saturday, September 10, 2011:

Alexandra looks beautiful in this photo.  Mr. Don used this photo
of me at Goddesschess.  And he wonders how come I kicked his
skinny butt to the curb two years ago?  The man has no fricking sense! 
Alexandra looks beautiful, as always.  I, on the other hand, look puffy-faced and slit-eyed, the light is hitting my face in the worst possible way to emphasize those downward sloping lines on either side of my mouth and my turkey-neck (not to mention the double chin, eek!) and the light is bouncing off my face at all the wrong angles.  Horrid!  My arms also look like logs. Now darlings, I'm not one to make light of my weight issues - I've got many pounds to shed before I'm back to what I consider a healthy weight.  But this photo emphasized all the wrong things.  In short, my dear friend Georgia knows everything about taking a photo of a woman with certain, shall we say "issues" because we're the same age and share many of the same issues.  I did not look that bad in St. Louis!  Honest!

Here is another photo that 'Sis took of me while eating dessert later Saturday evening:

My nose doesn't look so big in this photo. 
So why does it look so big in the other photos?
For certain, it's not a little stub-nose.  It's a French nose,
maybe there's some Gallo-Roman blood in our line, that I was
only able to trace back to the mid 1550's in France...
Despite catching me with eyes closed and from the side, this photo shows several things: (1) I'm not as fat puffy-faced/slit-eyed as I appeared in the photo with Alexandra Kosteniuk; (2) the hair color is true to what it was in St. Louis and it shows a whole range of colors because I'd been putting "washes" of color over the high-lights that Joni had been doing on my hair for almost two years -- I had re-colored my hair about 2 weeks before the St. Louis trip (September 8 - 12, 2011) and despite it's "changeling" appearance in these various photos, I was happy with the color. I thought it "warmed up" my skin tone; and (3) the hair style and length are spot on. 

The funny thing is, I'd already had Joni the "stylist" take off a good inch from the sides and even more from the back, about the first week in August, 2011 - well before the St. Louis trip.  And when I visited Joni again on September 14th, two days after I got back from the St. Louis trip, I had her take a lot more off the back, and angled the sides toward the face and she cut off at least another inch on those sides.

So, in the space of about four months, I shed several inches of hair, although it doesn't necessarily show in photos.  What I need to find are some photos - if any exist - of me and Mr. Don when we went to Las Vegas in March of this year.  I also travelled through several incarnations of hair coloring.  I've also shed twenty pounds, and that doesn't show, either.  More to come off.

And so now, here I am, back to a basic warm brown hair color.  LOL!  That's the color I was trying for back in August, 2008 when I used a "medium brown" hair color in a DYI fit (those fits always end up costing me money in the long run, don't ya know) and it turned so DARK it looked nearly black!

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Blouse - Four Looks

This is cool!  From the Vogue pattern website - they have a magazine they put out and you can page through some sample pages of the current issue.  I've supersized it so you can see the outfits more clearly.  I love the fact that Vogue has also accessorized the different looks - it makes it so easy to dress smart! 

Of course, I don't have a closet big enough for four different pairs of shoes, let alone four different handbags, and all that jewelry?  Oh please!  LOL!  Still, basic wardrobe 101 indicates we all should have at least one good white blouse, one good pencil skirt and a nice matchy matchy pair of dress slacks and fitted blazer.  Crepe drapey black dress pants are something I need - with the tendency of my ankles to swell so much now I think they would be a better fashion choice for dressing up.  In those photos 'Sis took of me dressed in my fancy best in St. Louis, my legs looked horrid.  The dinner wasn't until 9 p.m. and after running around all day my ankles were very puffy - I could barely get the sexy sandals I searched for so long to buckle.  Ach. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Patterns I Love!

Wow - I don't know what happened here.  I thought I had published at least a couple of different patterns I found the other day while schmoozing around the internet - but when I opened this up there was just a big blank page.  Sorry about that!  This is McCalls M6161 and I just saw it at the McCalls website

Here's one that I found that looks so simple to make.  A v-neck and some side seams, what could be simpler, right?  It's the material that makes the outfit - I think this looks fabulous and would look wonderful on 'Sis - hey 'Sis, if you aren't reading this blog, shame on you.  Only kidding, I'll email her with the pattern number and a link.  It seems she's caught the sewing bug lately too...


The question is, where do I find material like that???  This tunic in a solid color just wouldn't be the same.  But a vibrant stripe, maybe, or how about a furry look a/a Sonny and Cher -- wouldn't that be wild! - or this Indian-blanket look. This tunic looks so simple to make, even I could do it - speaking of which, I really must get working on my own snakeskin poncho tunic...

Update:  I passed along the pattern number and a link to 'Sis and she likes this tunic.  She is part Cherokee and will be attending some pow-wows in a few weeks, so she's going to make a trip to the local fabric store and see what she can find.  She's already got "cowboy" hats and boots, not to mention the requisite southwestern look belts and beautiful turquoise and silver jewelry.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Even More Sweaters!

Three more sweaters from Rainbow Shops purchased on Thursday.  I'll admit these aren't necessarily the best quality construction, but they will do for me during this transition fall/winter just fine, and they're really cute!  Some of the stitching is loose or coming apart on a couple of the sweaters, but an hour's sit-down with a large darning needle and some thin thread will set things to rights.

This sweater was one I posted on my wish list, available at J.C. Penney from Alyx.  I didn't record the price.
This is the Rainbow sweater by Caren Sport, $19.99.  I think it's a fair copy.  I actually like the
roomier sleeves on this version because I'll be wearing a warm turtleneck underneath.
This is the "artist's smock" cardigan I fell in love with when I saw it.  It fits like a dream.
It's a tighter weave and heavier acrylic blend material than the Caren Sport patchwork sweater (above) but
it also has a few areas where a darning needle needs to be applied!  The top part is a creamy beige
color and as you can see, it graduates in bands down to a dark brown border around the bottom.
They're a little hard to see but there are two patch pockets on either side, and two large buttons
close the neck.  The a-line styling is very flattering.  A Rainbow purchase, also by Caren Sport, $19.99.

This is another one of my purchases that doesn't look like much on the hanger, but actually worn
it's very figure flattering.  It will be very cute with a turtleneck underneath and is long enough
to be worn as a sweater dress with tights and boots or worn over slacks as a tunic - I'm not a
leggings or jeggings person.  Rainbow purchase, by DG Sweater Co., $16.99. 

Can you believe those prices!  I'll gladly do a little rescue work on the sweaters because I was able to purchase three of them for less than $60.  Each sweater can be worn either for work with dress slacks or, in the case of the red color block, can be worn as a dress by itself, and will go casually with jeans.  The artist's smock would look great with some corduroy jeans, as would the patchwork sweater. The patchwork sweater and the red color block sweater could - if I get really brave - be adorned with a nice belt in the general area of my reappearing waistline.  What kind?  Something soft that wouldn't dig into me!  Well, we'll see.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh Happy Day....

Last night while digging around in my still-being-cleaned-out closet, I came across an old jacket that I bought back in 2002 and happily wore until I gained weight and the jacket no longer comfortably fit.  It's hung in that closet, collecting dust, ever since.

Dust!  Geez - so that's what happens to the things stuffed waaaayyyy in the back...  I need to start covering my clothes with plastic covers or at least cheap plastic garbage bags, har!  Yeah, I guess that's a comment on some of my clothing choices...

Anyway, I pulled it out and thought, what the heck.  I tried it on.  IT FIT!  Not only did it fit, IT FIT REALLY WELL!  I can button it with no problem - not even a little slight pull across the chest or the back of the shoulders!  WOW.  So, I tossed it in the dryer to remove the dust and I wore it to work today.  It looked great!

It's by Norton McNaughton - is that brand even in production anymore???  It's a light green color, not acid green but like a light lime green.  The material is a sort of microsuede and it has a slight herringbone weave to it. The workmanship on the jacket is great.  The only "issue" - and it doesn't bother me - is that the jacket is so old the buttons have turned color.  I vaguely recall that the buttons used to match the color of the jacket.  The buttons now are a darker, deeper shade of green than the jacket.  I know the jacket didn't fade because it matches the color of a skirt (not separates, the skirt is by a different maker and doesn't fit -- yet) that I bought to wear with it back in 2002.

I can't believe that jacket really fits!  After all these years.  Now I'm encouraged to try on two other jackets from the same period hanging in that back part of the closet gathering dust.

Here's a photo of the Norton McNaughton jacket:


Eh - too lazy to crop the bottom of the door off.  The jacket looks much cuter in person :)

I stuck one arm in a pocket to show how cleverly those pockets are inserted into the seaming of the front - they are practically invisible. 

I wore the jacket with a simple short sleeve polyester shell of black, blues and greens in a sort of animal print from a time when animal prints weren't even invented yet, the blouse is so old!  But you know how polyester is - it lasts forever.  I added navy dress slacks, and a gold tone chain necklace and it all worked.

I noticed something tonight - my waist is coming back :)  That's why these slacks I bought in August are feeling a little loose these days.  And the periwinkle rain/shine coat I bought in the spring from LL Bean needs to have its buttons moved over - 2.5 inches!  Woo woo!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Update on those Light Weight Woven Sweaters from Rainbow Shops

I visited Rainbow Shops in the mall downtown today and found the cutest style of sweater!  I just love it.  Haven't been able to find an image of it, it's not included in the Rainbow Shops style book for autumn online. 

It's a sleeveless cardigan style that buttons with two large buttons on a tall collar.  It's a sort of mandarin-style collar is the closest description I can come up with at the moment.  The knit is thick and soft, so probably acrylic (I didn't check the contents labels today, I was short on time).  Other than those two buttons and a hidden button on the backside of the collar to hold it upright in place when the two "showing" buttons are buttoned, that's it for closures.  The sweater is designed in an A-line and is long - ending a few inches above the knee.  It looks rather like an artist's smock.  The best part is that the back of the sweater is a marled look and the front is a sort of knitted ombre look, graduating from a pale beige color on top to a brown color at the hem!  There are two patch pockets in front a few inches above the bottom of the sweater. 

The sweater also comes in a pale grey to black ombre look with a black/grey marled back.  I like both colors very much, but I already have a lot of grey and black in the closet.  Some of the looks won't do for winter - too light-weight - but this sweater will be perfect.  A lighter long-sleeve knit for November and the beginning of December, and a heavy cotton long-sleeve turtleneck for late December and January.  I'll go back tomorrow and try them on - didn't have time today.
Today while I was looking through the Rainbow Shops style book for autumn online, I spied the two light weight knit or woven sweaters that I wrote about back on September 20 (I think).  Those sweaters have garnered many compliments.  This is not how I wear these little sweaters!  I wear them over a long sleeve blouse or turtleneck with dress slacks. I can tell you that they look much better on me than they do on the hanger!  On the left is the multi-colored "poncho" style sweater; on the right is the red/black/white/grey short dolman sleeve sweater.  As you can see, they're also very cute with jeans.