Sunshine in a Store

Happy Dogs on Thursday, little friday, Thankful Thursday and almost wedding day!   No, not me…  but dear, local friends are tying the knot on Saturday, and I’m so very happy for them.  As the commercial says – and I say to Gretchen almost daily – who doesn’t love love?

November 2010 004

Blooper photo hint about Gretchen's post

Gretchen has a nice post about pet safety today.  

See?  They don’t always cooperate during a photo shoot.  No one is looking anywhere near the camera.  I can’t explain why I chopped Sis’s face out of the photo, unless they were looking at me when I started pressing the button… ?

Boo!  There’s no photo online of my local Pink Palm‘s new spot, but on a cold, wet evening, those pretty pink shutters were a sunny port in the storm for several of us with the JLC.  While I don’t love to shop, it’s impossible to NOT enjoy a private shopping event complete with refreshments, friends, a fabulous door prize and staff who clearly were happy to see us.

That’s my Thankful Thursday – time with friends, new friends, and as passionate as I am about the League, I’m always thankful when we can foster another relationship in the community.   The new scarf proclaims “Lilly loves the League!” and I can assure you, here in C’ville, the League loves Lilly too.  FYI – Lilly online is sold out of the limited edition JL scarf, so if you want one, head to your local store.  Gasp!  I sure hope they’ll make more…

What is your sunshine on a cloudy/rainy day?

Gap, Baby

Ann Taylor - nice look, no lycra

… not to be confused with Baby Gap…  I don’t need a baby shower gift right now! 

Some of you already know what I mean – that gap that pops up between the two buttons at the fullest part of your chest on a blouse that buttons up the front.   I mentioned it last week, and Star Spry sent me a link to a fab shirt designed to very literally battle the buldge.  Looks great, but talk about sticker shock!

While petting my wallet and murmuring about just wearing knit shirts for the rest of my life, the new to me blog Wardrobe Oxygen took on this very topic today.   If you have such issues, please click over and then report back.  Do any of you have brands that work? 

Look ma, no pin!

And talk to me about safety pins.  This is going to make you laugh and cause you to wonder if I should ever leave the house in other than easy to wear knits, but I am pin-challenged.  Rarely do I do more good than harm, not to the garment, but to the overall look.  The Knight snickered on Thursday – true wrap dress – that surely, showing a little skin would look better than that pucker.  Hem.

Have you tried Sal’s friend, double-sided fashion tape?  Would that be less challenging for me?

Accessories make 5

My friend Jess shared a friend’s rules for accessories.  I hadn’t heard of this, but I love it!  Note:  all comments included in the text are presumably from the original author. 

Part 2: The 5 Point System
This is a little trick my friend told me she learned from her mom. How can you accessorize without looking gaudy and overdone? You use the 5 point system — i.e., every accessory equals a certain amount of points and you should never go over 5 points. Here’s some guidelines:
♦Earrings: Studs = 1 pt, large or chunky hoops = 2 pts
♦Necklaces and Bracelets: slender/small = 1pt, large/chunky = 2pts
♦Hair accessories: 1 pt each. In the case of my hair accessory today, I gave it 3 pts — 2 pts because of the loud color and 1 pt for the bronze detail
♦Watch: 1 pt or 2 pts if extra large/loud
♦Belt: 1 pt
♦Wedding Rings: I never count these as points!
♦Shoes: You’re supposed to count these as points, but I never do. I say the higher the heel, the better!
♦Bags: Again, you’re supposed to assess points, but I say the more texture the better. Besides, are you really going to drag your bag with you everywhere you go? No, you’re going to give it its own chair! 😉

Gosh, I’ve always considered myself a light accessorizer, but according to this list, even if I skip shoes, bag and wedding ring, I NEVER leave the house without a total of four points – EVER.  I’m assuming scarves also should be included, so there are times I roll out with pushing TEN points.  Yowza.  Again, that’s without adding shoes or a bag.

182441_527163383818_62700009_31009421_8325764_nLet’s look at this photo of me from Vintage Vegas.  It’s blurry, as it’s a photo of the photo from the photo booth, but it’s the only thing that shows even some of my accessories.

What you can’t see:  a gold dress watch, two small, gold bracelets on the right arm, the wedding band (doesn’t count) and another ring on the right hand.  That’s four points right off the bat.

February 2011 014These are the earrings, so I’m quite sure they’re two points.  They are definitely my flashiest, biggest pair, but I lurvers them.  They’re pushing “vintage” status; I believe I bought them to wear for the first New Years Eve the Knight attended as a married couple, but I’m not positive. 

That brings us to six points already.  I also carried a small, black wristlet and wore flashy gold shoes, but no one saw those unless I raised my skirt off the floor to show them off.  The dress had a matching wrap, so I don’t know whether that counts as an accessory or not, so I’m somewhere between six and nine points, and frankly, I think the outfit could have used a necklace, which would have been another two points, and had I worn beaded barrettes to hold back my hair, we’d have been at a whopping 13 points or so.

I honestly don’t know that I’ve EVER been over accessorized in my life, but 13 points sure is a long way from five.  What say you?

Snowy Prints

March 2011 003… paw prints, that is. 

Yeah.  That was taken around dawn yesterday, on the deck in The Woods.  Imagine.  And now, more is predicted for Wednesday.  Seriously!?  I love snow, but there’s a season for everything, and this is SPRING.  There are wilted flowers and buds all over podunk.  Boo! 

You’ll note there’s no photo of the wee one, nor do you see tiny paw prints.  She stuck her head out the door, caught a snowflake on her head, and that was that.  She truly didn’t go out until the stuff began to melt several hours later. 

How was your weekend?  Mine was totally unremarkable.   Didn’t leave the house until the Knight insisted we needed groceries last night…

Sis is asking for some good vibes for a friend.   We’re all on pins and needles waiting for the update…

In Spite of the Forecast…

Dangitall, I’m in a spring state of mind.  I’ve spent the morning under a down throw with a warm little doggy in my lap and a big girl stompin’ around looking for spring for me.  Gretchen and I were finding happy spring outfits to inspire us.

**This blogging thing works.  I just deleted an outfit I was admiring because I realized I wouldn’t really wear it.  Go figure!**

Coldwater Creek Spring Look

First up, a go-anywhere get-up.  I could even take Sissy to the vet in this, because the jacket is machine washable.  Hmmm….   This is definitely a look I see in my wardrobe.   I’d wear it with my favorite metallic brown wedges from last year.  Until it warms up enough for bare toes, I’d want flats.  Oh – and click on the photo to visit Coldwater Creek for the look.

I’m really liking this outfit, which brings me to the real reason I sat down to write this post.  Are  you familiar with the “shop from my closet” type blogs?   I have a LOT of very gently worn (or not at all) clothes that I am thinking maybe I’ll try to sell at bargain basement prices, rather than just sending them to GoodWill.  I’ve never recovered from learning that a competitor of theirs just bundles up their clothes donations without even looking at the contents when their shop is full, and the clothes are shredded so the fabric can then be recycled.  I have some clothes that deserve that fate, but many that don’t.

I don’t even have my own PayPal account, so this would be a big adventure for me.  I don’t know if I really want to put in the time for photos and shipping, so any input will be appreciated.   It would give me a little more incentive to buy a few transitional outfits between now and wherever I end up with my weight loss journey.

Yes, there are local consignment shops, one even near the League office, so weigh in there too.  I do have to tell you…  the only dress I’ve consigned was my first wedding dress, and that shop had quite the fire and the inventory was lost.  Yes, I was still a paid firefighter at the time, but I wasn’t in town that day.  Irony, eh?

Gap Spring Outfit

Why yes, I do love browns and pinks together.  Why do you ask?  That’s a cashmere cardi too.   I don’t know that I sport that dusty pink so well, but the model and I have similar coloring…  Still, I think especially with the jacket above, I’d rather add that 3/4 sleeve cotton cardi I consider a warm-weater staple. 

Interesting that my fave summer wedges would work with this outfit too, and are in fact, similar enough to what the model’s wearing.   The Gap also calls the skirt color gold, so I imagine my gold flats would work with it too? 

Huh.  Seems there is some logic to doing a little wardrobe planning.  I already have two pairs of shoes that would work with this outfit.   The skirt might be coming to live in the Woods, but I’ll snag a cardi and top elsewhere.  Do you have a go-to place for the basics?  I’m talking shells, tees, capris… the stuff most of us wear most of the year?  Or do you just grab what you need when you catch it on sale, or …  ?

This mindful shopping thing could take on a life of its own, but it beats moaning about the snow that’s coming. 

Old Navy Get Ruffled Look

I actually found three different outfits at Old Navy that inspired me, which is entertaining, because other than buying dog toys and such there, I’ve never had much luck.  This is my favorite of the three, which also makes me giggle, because guess who doesn’t wear yellow – ever?!  But I want this look.  The scarf is sold out online, so I’m going to have to hit the store, and I’m more likely to wear denim capris or a mini skirt, but maybe in August, when the humidity and the “in the shade” temperature are both pushing 100, I’d appreciate cute little shorts and a sweater for the AC indoors?

I don’t know about their shoe selection.  I’m thinking my Target espadrilles that aren’t here yet might work, or cute little Ked sneaks that seem to favor the scarf?

Please tell me.  Can I wear that cheery, soft yellow if I have something very much like that scarf – with darker pinks with in – near my face?  Be honest!

Now quick-like, before the temperature drops, the girls and I are going for a good, long walk.  What are you doing on the first Saturday of spring?

Snow Songs


Baby girl - March 2, 2009

Ever notice there are no songs about snow in early spring?  That’s because it just ain’t right!!  I’ve been saying all winter that we can’t write off snow until April, because some of the more significant snows happen in March, albeit usually early in March.

Why yes, they ARE calling for snow in my world this weekend.  I’m not amused, and I’m not expecting any real accumulation, given that three days ago, it was 70-something, and last night, my cute boot heel sank into the mud beneath our pea gravel walk.  Hrmph.

Instead, the two songs bouncing around in my head today are Sir Elton John’s Crocodile Rock – because I heard it while I was in the shower and it’s a life-long fave – and James Taylor’s Carolina in My Mind, because I think that’s the only way I’m going to OBX this spring.


More like it - March 28th, 2010 OBX - Fur girls having quality time with their uncle on the beach

What’s on your weekend agenda?   And how do you deal with funky weather?  I know some of my California girls are all but washed away, and I know those in the Northeast are REALLY sick of snow…

Be True

I’ve really enjoyed our fashion chats recently.  I do want to be clear though that I’m hardly a fashionista; in fact, those of you who know me in person know that  while I’m not a candidate for What Not to Wear, I am much more LL Bean than Neiman Marcus, my little fancy dress fetish aside.

March 2011 032

My furgirls both have a strong sense of personal style!

I also firmly believe that as long as you’re happy with yourself and the way you dress, none of these rules are absolutes.  I have always lived in horse country, where no one thinks a thing of a woman shopping in the same clothes she’ll wear to the barn when she finishes her errands.  Very few of our restaurants have dress codes, and I think we’re a pretty easy-going community in general.

My problem is I lost my sense of self somewhere along the way.  I got in a rut and then got used to that rut and now, I’m finally reconnecting with ME.   These fashion “rules” posts have been food for thought for me, and clearly, some of you have had strong feelings about them too.  Thank you for sharing them with me!   With my “flesh and blood” friends, I pick up a lot of their sense of style and attitudes about fashion just through regular contact.  Since many of us communicate exclusively electronically, these chats that evolve from blog posts really add new dimensions to our friendships.

June 2010 012

Gretchen posing in her pleased preppy look

Anyway, Happy Dogs on Thursday!  I blogged a bit about the girls on their blog about their own identity issues.   Neither of my girls are post children for their breeds in one respect or another, and I am curious about how your pets stack up against the stereotypes.

I can’t believe it’s little friday already.  This week – this month – has flown by, or is it just me? 

Thankful Thursday finds me actually loving the girl in the mirror.  I mean that sincerely.  She looks good, feels good, and that’s not something I take for granted.  I always TRY to like her, but sometimes, we’re at odds.   I’m feeling sassy again, so look out world! 

What are you thankful for today?

Five Fashion Mistakes

Before I launch into the fashion mistakes, I wonder if any of you are wearing the contact lenses designed for those of us with astigmatisms?  There seem to be two or three different brands, and I’m just curious…  I gave up on contacts time and time again because I can’t get them in with any success no matter how often I practice.   I’m just wondering if the shape of my eye has anything to do with it, and therefore, the lenses designed for my problem might actually work?

I have to tell you how much I love the links y’all send me.  Even if I don’t do a whole, separate post because of them, I read/watch/take them in.  On the good days – like last Saturday when hair, dress and attitude all collided for a little self-appreciation – you deserve part of the credit.  On the bad days, you help me realize that personal growth never stops.

Katie sent me a link that Yahoo Canada featured the other day.  Five Fashion Mistakes that Age You…  You can watch the video if you like or just read the text version below.   My comments are in green, because it’s springy!


Pencil skirt from Coldwater Creek

A loose-fitting pencil skirt:
The whole point of a pencil skirt is to look polished and slyly sexy. We count it as a wardrobe staple, but not if yours doesn’t fit properly and looks more like a frumpy, boxy table skirt. A quick trip to the tailor can take care of this problem. Make sure the hem sits at (not below) the knee and the skirt fits snugly at the hips. Wear it with a tucked-in shirt to show off your waist.

I think this could be better stated.  As Marjie put it …  Show your knees.  They’re almost always thinner than the thighs, which adds shape and appeal. 


Like I have shoes to MATCH this bag?! (I don't have the bag either, for the record.)

Matching shoes and handbag:
Your grandma probably told you about this “rule” because when she was in her stylistic prime that’s how ladies turned it out. Today, we’d put it in the same category as matching your lipstick to your manicure or wearing coffee-colored pantyhose. DON’T DO IT! The modern view is to create fresh pairings that make people think, “Wow, I never thought that would go together, but it looks fantastic!”

Hem.  I was being “up to date” when I thought I was just lazy.  It’s a pain to transfer bags, and frankly, even with my host of bags, I don’t have enough to match every single pair of shoes I own.   Now a question for you…  does this hold true for dressed up, carrying a tiny bag/clutch too?


Maybe this in navy?


You should be suspicious of anything that’s a set. Twinsets lack imagination and personality and can be put in the same category as “mom jeans” — which means, “I’ve given up on style.” Instead, go with a printed shirt under a cardigan or a striped sweater over a simple, solid tank.

Huh.  Okay… I sure am glad I didn’t buy that red cotton twinset earlier.  Now I’ll buy a great little 3/4 sleeve cardi and a handful of solid tees and tailored shirts… I guess.



Well, this is just contradictory.  The simple fact is, you can always find A chunky heel that’s in style.   See that sandal?  Someone else can tell Frye they’re frumpy.  No, they aren’t low, but they aren’t outdated either.  (And no,  I haven’t bumped my head…  I’m shaking my head over the orange trend this season!)

Oversized, tailored men’s shirt:

Can we get you some Reebok high tops with that? Maybe some leg warmers? Baggy button-downs give the impression that you’re trying to hide your body. Go for a menswear-inspired fabric, if that’s the look you love, but choose a shirt that’s tailored with seams and darts to accentuate the positive.

Um, sometimes some of us NEED to hide our bodies.  I still think there’s nothing cuter than a very pregnant woman in the summer sporting her hubby’s dress shirts with capris.  I also consider the standard white dress shirt the Knight always packs for vacation my back-up beach cover-up.  And I’m sorry…  some of us can’t buy a tailored shirt with enough darts to make it work without a peekaboo gap.   The photo is of an Ellen Tracy “striped boyfriend tunic” from Macy’s, so here’s another “mistake” I challenge.

What say you about these mistakes?  I agree at least in theory with the first three, but I totally disagree with the last two. 

Darn - these ORANGE chunks aren't available in my size!

Chunky heels:
Especially low ones. If you’re wearing these for comfort, that’s no excuse because there are many different types of heels in fashion right now, such as kitten heels, wedges, and platforms. You’re sure to find something that provides stability and style.

Donation prize

March 2011 002I like to think I’ve always been a cheerful giver.  I try to support my friends when they are supporting their causes, although like the rest of the world, I can’t always give and I can never give as much as I’d like.  So, when Nichole wanted to support Tiger World, I did…

In return, two fab prizes arrived on our doorstep last week.  For me, there was the latest One Skein Wonders book, and for the girls, a small pink camo travel bowl.  Thanks Nichole, and to the donors of said prizes!  They will both be well-used.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to Tiger World.   Pop over and read about their efforts to blend conservation and education…

March 2011 004

Of course, the girls had to pose with THEIR prize.  Gretchen COULD tote the lightweight bowl herself, but not comfortably. 

March 2011 006

The DIVA on the other hand, thought it was a funky little pillbox hat.  Hem.   She could likely tote it on her collar and never really notice, but I think I’ll be the one clipping it to me if it comes to that.  DIVA likes to chew while she walks. 

A very quick review of said book.  I like that it is divided by category.  For my use, it’s a little heavy on little person patterns, but there’s certainly plenty in there to catch my interest too.  According to Ravelry, there are 86 patterns in the book.  Hera Headband is most likely to jump on my needles, because I don’t know about you, but 50 degrees in the shade with a March wind still makes my ears COLD!   Likewise, Gretchen thinks she should have The Manwell, a tiny wee dog sweater, for those without Ravelry access.

No, I’m not knitting.  Some of it is a lack of time, some of it is former knitting time has been re-allocated to dog walks and workouts, but mostly, my mojo is just gone.  Poof.  Vanished.  Part of me thinks knitting is as much habit as anything else, so maybe I should just MAKE myself pick up the needles instead of looking for new fashion blogs to read.  Hmmm… 

While I ponder that, I’m going to snack on a Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Granola Thin.  It reminds me of a Girl Scout Thanks A Lot, but it’s only two points.  It’s not really healthy, but it’s tasty and I’d like to think it is better than a cookie.  Want one?  There are ten to a box, so gather ’round…  

General Mills seemed to think you’d like to see all the nitty-gritty facts.  Hrmph.  Trust me… the photo doesn’t do ’em justice.

Essentials Part 2

Photo courtesy of BRES

How was your weekend?  Mine – as usual – took on a life of its own, and THE DRESS is now winging its way back to Dillard’s.  No shopping in the big city for me, but Gretchen says weekends are for lap-time and long walks.  Kids in the Kitchen was FABULOUS, with a record-setting attendance, despite the perfect weather.  My friend who owns the Blue Ridge Eco Shop does have me thinking that I need worms  a Wormtopia.  I used to compost rather rustically, but then came Sissy the dog with no boundaries.  Now, as you know, she has absolutely no freedom at all, so I could compost again, and let those worms make fertilizer for the roses…

I should have a better segue from worm poo to wardrobe essentials, but it’s Monday and I got nuthin’.  So, it’s back to Mr. Gunn and his wardrobe essentials, with my apologies.  We’re all trying to save the planet, right?

Tim Gunn’s 10 Essential Items Every Woman Needs
• Basic black dress
• Trench coat
• Classic dress pants
• Classic white shirt
• Skirt
• Blazer
• Day dress
• Cashmere sweater
• Jeans
• A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit

The first five items were covered in THIS post, so we’ll jump right in with the blazer.  Anyone else think of a Chevy SUV when they hear the word blazer?  No?  Well, I do have three of these too, all in the target size I *THINK* I’m heading towards.  All are wool.  One is black, one is red with black lapels, and one is a deep hunter green with gold buttons.  I’m not sure any meet current blazer cut and style requirments, but until they do fit, I can’t be sure.

I do think this Worthington option is what Mr. Gunn had in mind.  Maybe buy a dark suit with a skirt and jacket that can both be re-purposed as needed?  (Or this jacket and its matching separate skirt-friend?)

Does anyone know what I should look for in a “timeless” blazer these days?  How many buttons?  How deep on the lapels?  I was always taught a well-fitting “suit coat” bottom hem should rest in the curve of my fingers with my hand bent inward, but maybe the model’s hem is higher?  I don’t have long arms, but petite jackets are usually a miss, because I do have a long torso and a chest that definitely isn’t any word that is a synonym for small.  Hem. 

Ha!  No pun was intended, but yeah, many of my jackets get their sleeves hemmed. 

Day dress.  We do agree on what a day dress is, right?  No?  Well, that’s because it’s not clearly defined much of anywhere.  It’s kinda’ like “preppy”…  it brings to mind something a little different for each of us, but they’re all similar enough notions, or so I suspect.  Wiki reaches back to the 19th century, when a “day dress” was more discrete than an “evening dress”.  

I tend to think of a day dress as a Sunday church dress of my youth.  It’s not a sundress or a casual jumper or denim anything.  It’s a nice dress, probably closest to a traditional career dress as one gets these days.  It most assuredly is not strapless or anything you’d pull on over a swimsuit.   The image above is a tropical weight wool blend sheath.   I’m not sure it’s the day dress I’d add to my essentials, but I think Mr. Gunn would approve.


Cute & cashmere, but not an essential

Ah, the cashmere sweater.  I touched on this in the first post.  I know some of you are going to insist there are items on this list that won’t work in your life, and I totally understand.  My wardrobe is starkly different now than it was when I worked 10 24-hr. days a month in a navy uniform, and had the rest of the month to present myself as I pleased.  However, I do have a life outside of the shop, and while I pout a little every time, I do leave the house without the DIVA and her drool and claws. 

I will say it again; EVERYONE should own a cashmere sweater.  No, they aren’t cheap, but you can find them on eBay, at thrift stores, and many of you could knit your own if you were so inclined.  So unless you’re REALLY allergic, there’s nothing you can say to convince me otherwise… we’re all worthy of cashmere.  It’s warm, soft, light and just plain yummy.  

Me, I’m a cardigan girl, but as I do believe Mr. Gunn intends for us to stamp our own individuality and style on this list, you go for a pullover or a keyhole short-sleeved cashmere sweater if that’s what sings to you.   I am also sure that while I love the Babs (above), Mr. Gunn would have heart palpitations if I suggested it was my essential cashmere sweater.  Hem.  No, I’d like to have a solid, maybe something more along the lines of the LL Bean Classic Cashmere Sweater…  I’m just really not feeling LL Bean’s seasonal colors right now though.  The blue is too periwinkle and the pink is too mauve.  Meh.

That brings us to jeans.  Jeans are my standard work pants, but you know what?!  I ditch them for yoga pants when I get home as fast as I change out of a cocktail dress.  I think I’m going to try a pair of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans when I get to my goal weight.  Anyone else have a brand they love?  Or can you tell me how to pick one of the 100 styles of NYDJ for my own body?!

I picked the pair in the photo because they’re stretch.  I like stretch because it helps with the “back gap” I have with all pants.  I most assuredly will NOT be wearing my jeans with heels, nor do I want a peg leg, nor a wide leg…  ??  I just want a dark denim with a straight leg, a not-hip hugger waist, and a little lycra.  Is that too much to ask? 

Evidently, it is.  I spent some more time on Nordstrom’s site, and I can find what I want in a black, but not a traditional denim.  Sigh.  If you find ’em, let me know, okay?

Now.  Praytell… what on earth is “a comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit”?  I like yoga pants and a non-imprinted tee for around the house or rushing to the firehouse or working out.  Is THAT what Mr. Gunn means?

I NEVER tuck my shirt in though.  How is that comfortable or practical when working out?!

Whew.  We marched on through Mr. Gunn’s list in two posts.  Please do tell me what your essentials list would look like.   For instance, there have been many times in my life I’ve not had a day dress in my closet (that fits), and there have also been eras where there were no slacks, even no jeans and I still don’t have the perfect cashmere cardi, but I intend to right that wrong this fall.

Of course, if you’re already tired of my fashion babble, pop over to the girls’ blog and you can read about dog food – again.  And don’t forget to tell me about YOUR weekend, unless you did your taxes.  I have enough of them in my life, thanks!