Blue, Navy Blue….. My Steady Boy Said “Ship Ahoy”

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Sorry I missed my September post but I was dealing with a health crisis that seems to be not as bad as I expected. The experience really was a test of my patience. In fact, it reminded me of something Aunty Acid said “The only exercise I have done all month is running…..out of patience”. I am one of those people that when I run into a problem I want to solve it right away. What I realized is that sometimes I need to count on other people to help me solve my problem but their priorities are not always like my priorities. For example, in the past I would start a decorating project at home but there were some parts of it that I couldn’t accomplish because I didn’t have the strength or skill and needed help. I would have been more than willing to spend the money and hire someone but my husband would always volunteer to help so we didn’t need to layout any money. He was an excellent handyman but my projects were typically added to his “honey-do” list and I knew my problem might not get solved in a week, a month or even a year. The longer I waited the more my frustration grew and Aunty Acid always says it best “Lord, Give me patience because if you give me strength, I’m gonna need bail money to go with it”.

As for my health, I was told I had a mass on my abdominal wall and my liver was darker and larger than it should be. The biggest problem for me was why no one could identify what this mass was and the CT scan couldn’t help the doctors identify it. So, I see this as a problem that needs to be solved right away. When my doctor said she was going to get an opinion from a surgeon, I waited a week. Then I had to make an appointment with the surgeon so I had to wait another two weeks (God give me patience…but please hurry!). The surgeon had no idea what the mass was so I had to have an MRI completed. I had to wait another two weeks before I could have the MRI done (In the mean time I did have my patience tested…it was negative!). Apparently their priorities to solve this problem was not the same as my priorities. I wanted this problem to be solved yesterday. To date, they still don’t know what the mass is made of but the good news is that it’s origin does not involve any of my internal organs. The plan of action is to wait for 6 months and reschedule another CT to see if the mass has grown. My first reaction was similar to something Aunty Acid said “The chill pill I took this morning appears to have been a placebo” but then I chose to see it as a positive circumstance. My liver is still functioning normally even if it looks all wrong and no one has used the big “C” word with me so far. I often go to Aunty Acid who usually says it best “I’m in a really good place right now. Not emotionally or spiritually, just on my couch with my dog”.

Wow, that was a lengthy intro so lets move on to design. The topic is “navy blue” but you really don’t find much navy blue in the garden. So, let’s look at sailor white instead.

This is the scene you see as you walk up to my front door. I decided that I was going to decorate with red this year. I used white flowers in my design because a splash of white can dramatically brighten a design and can make dark red and greens look more prominent. The white flowers of the mandevilla vines and the whiteness of the decorative willow tree that lights up make the red of the geraniums and hibiscus pop. The white flowers in the painting keep the red flowers from overpowering the scene and the white flower/purple leaf begonia help to highlight the red flower of the angel wing begonia.

Well, lets get back to the topic. I have to be honest, I do not have a lot of navy blue clothes because I associated the color with an ugly uniform I used to wear with my job at a hospital. However, I really have started to see the benefits of it in my wardrobe. Navy blue is a dark shade of blue that resembles black. The term was used as early as 1813 in reference to the color of the officer uniforms of the British Royal Navy that were dark blue since 1748. A variety of different dark blues are commonly called “navy”. Navy is one of the most widely used shades of blue in history and around the world. The meaning of navy blue resonates with many different cultures as well as a color of strength, reliability, bravery, stability, honor and power. The best thing about navy blue is that everyone looks good in it because it flatters the vast majority of skin tones. It is a color that can be worn year-round. It can be formal or casual and it goes with every other color in your closet. Like black, navy blue can hide flaws and create a slimming illusion. Because it is a classic shade, you can afford to think about navy blue clothes and accessories as an investment that you will keep for years. Every season, designers always opt for some navy blue outfits.

Well, let the show begin!

“Blue navy blue I am blue as I can be ‘cause my steady boy said ‘ship ahoy’ and joined the navy.” As you know from past blogs, I like blocking in fashion. Having the navy blue in strategic places makes for a very slimming look. To go with the ruana I am wearing straight leg navy dress pants, a sleeveless navy top and navy pumps.

The metal of the earrings in this picture is deceiving. They are silver but the lighting makes them look gold. I stayed with the navy and white theme with a white and silver slide necklace, navy blue watch, white bangle and white ring. I don’t have a navy blue ring but the blue star sapphire looks good with the outfit.

Waving goodbye to my steady boy. This poncho is definitely a summer clothing item. It has gold sequins (love anything gold!) and different shades of blue and peach waves running through it. I am wearing it with a pair of navy blue jeans and a sleeveless navy tee underneath. Unfortunately, you can’t see my sandals but I will tell you that they are gold with blue beading.

My favorite accessory is the pair of earrings. They are made of metal and are mostly navy blue with a little bit of peach. They are one of my purchases this year from one of my favorite boutiques in Saugatuck. The navy ring looks perfect with this outfit. This is one of my favorite bracelets with the words “Well-behaved women rarely make history – Eleanor Roosevelt”. That is my mantra!

So sad to see my sailor boy go ship ahoy. This top is the perfect example of how every color goes with navy blue. I love the big pockets and different color “bubbles”. The wide leg navy blue pants have an elastic waist which makes them so comfortable.

I don’t need to wear too much in jewelry with this outfit because the colorful “bubbles” are the real focus of this outfit. There are so many colors on this top that I just chose some jewelry with the same shape and color.

That is it for today. I lost a few pounds not because of stress but because I have cut back on the chocolate and replaced it with apples. Apparently my “fatty” liver is made worse with sugar. The doctor said I could continue to eat chocolate but I know he has no idea how much chocolate I ate each day. I just hate that my liver is called “fatty” and that I can’t camouflage it like I do with the clothes I wear. I am with Aunty Acid who says “I try to avoid things that make me fat…Like scales, mirrors and photographs”. The fact that I know I am carrying around a fatty liver freaks me out!

Until next time, remember God loves you and so do I.

Little Jeannie One Note

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I am running a little late with this months blog because Vicki was my house guest during her quadruple bypass recovery and I am currently in the process of buying the townhouse I currently rent. Buying the townhouse is very unnerving to me. I realized that all my major purchases in life were based on my age. When I was a teenager, I didn’t mind having an old used car because I knew I had plenty of time to get a new car. When I was in my twenties I didn’t mind buying a a nice used car because I had plenty of time to buy the car of my dreams. In my thirties I didn’t mind buying a small starter home because I had plenty of time to save my money and buy a nice family size home. In my forties I got the car of my dreams (a little red convertible, 5.0) knowing that I was working and could eventually pay it off. I also got the house of my dreams knowing that a 30 year mortgage payoff was possible. In my 50’s my husband passed away and I realized how short life is. I had a major decision, do I try to keep the house or sell it? I kept the house but, in hindsight, I should have sold it. Financially it was draining and I realized I no longer had all the time in the world to pay off my bills. I eventually sold the house in my 60’s and I loved renting but my landlord decided to sell the townhouse so I had a decision to make. Do I buy it or do I look for another rental? What is unnerving is that I realized at almost 70 I don’t have all the time in the world. Being on a fixed income and looking at a 30 year mortgage that I know I will never pay off I realized that I was buying a place that needed some work and that I no longer had plenty of time. I don’t mean to be macabre but sometimes truth smacks you in the face. It’s like Crabby Maxine says, “You know you’re getting older when the younger generation show up on the cover of the AARP magazine”. For those of you who don’t need to worry about money you may not be able to relate to my unnerving revelation. There are a few perks to growing old, I can follow the path of Aunty Acid who says “When I get old, I’m not going to sit around knitting. I’m going to be clicking my Life Alert button to see how many hot firefighters show up.”

Let me explain the title and picture for my blog. “Jeannie” is because I decided to take some of my old but favorite pairs of faded, denim jeans and dress them up. I have many pairs of jeans of various colors but don’t we all have those favorite denim jeans we never get rid of? The age of my jeans range from 1 year up to 20 years old. I love my 20 year old jeans because we have grown old together. I know it seems like I am hung up on my age but it is as Crabby Maxine says “My age doesn’t bother me, it’s the side effects.” The “one note” stands for the monochromatic coloring of the outfits. I like to take different shades of one color and come up with a nice outfit. You can really show off your colorful accessories when you dress in monochromatic shades. Monochromatic outfits tend to appear more modern and make you appear taller and slimmer which is great for all body types, from petite to plus size. Texture is an important element when putting together monochromatic outfits. If your monochromatic outfits were comprised of the same fabric throughout, it would come off looking dull. That is why I like using denim jeans because most of us would not wear all denim tops. We don’t want to look dull, we want to think like Aunty Acid “When someone is staring at me, I assume they’re taking notes…on how to be fabulous”.

I used monochromatic plants when designing my 50’ by 15’ shade garden seen below.

I am not sure if I used this picture in other blogs but it depicts beautifully how to use plants in shades of green to make a lovely garden. I have all green and variegated leaf hostas, epimedium, ferns, lenten rose, goat’s beard and the green leaves of white flowering hydrangeas. There is a beautiful metal arch in the center that has “God Bless This Garden” written on the arch with a cross in the container underneath. I added a little color with the annual begonias in the container and perennial purple leaf coral bells.

Now let’s look at some monochromatic outfits using some of my favorite old jeans.

Pant suits are in this year so I threw on my favorite suit jacket with my old black jeans and a black capped sleeve top. I think I said before that I love to wear gold jewelry with black outfits. In the summer I tend to push up my jacket sleeves. Not only is it cooler but you can see the wrist jewelry as seen below. I also have a picture of my sandals below because when you are wearing monochromatic shades in your clothes you should also match your footwear with your outfit.

I am wearing sandals that I picked up at Meijers for less than $20. I loved the gold band that runs across it. The three necklaces on the right all contain rhinestones and create a layered look which is so on trend. The lapel pin and rings also contain rhinestones which look great with the necklaces. The earrings have both silver and gold hoops which I love because then I can mix my metals. The gold watch, link bracelet and bangle bracelet came as a set.

The short sleeve olive green jacket was purchased at a Holland, Michigan craft show. The leather looking pocket has metal studs and rhinestones and the same leather looking material was used at the shoulder as a background to the beautiful stones of varying colors. I matched it with a green top and faded green jeans. The sandals are more of a sage green. Here I added a little more color in my accessories.

I laid the jewelry on the jacket so you could see the ornament sewn onto the shoulder of the jacket. I wore old rhinestone earrings (that have screw-on backs) because of the rhinestones on the jacket ornament. I pulled out the rusty red color from the ornament with the bracelet and the crystal of the long necklace looks great with the rhinestones. The watch has an olive green band and the rings each have a green stone. I love these sandals that zip up the back.

The denim jeans were once a light cocoa brown but with all the washings they have been through they are now more of a taupe color. The whole outfit looks great with my taupe walls. The cape looks like it is suede but it is polyester and spandex. It has a beautiful cut-out pattern and goes great with the shoes that also have a similar cut-out pattern. Brown accessories look wonderful with the different shades of taupe.

I laid the jewelry on the cape so you could see the design. The necklace was bought at a craft fair in Holland, Michigan. The feathers are real and the metal is gold. The watch and bracelet are a set and they are a copper color and contain rhinestones. The ring has a smokey taupe colored stone and the wood earrings and beaded bracelet are also a set and designed by a crafter.

It will be interesting to see if I lose any weight. I still weigh the same as I did for the last few years but I have decided to give up my candy Kisses. My primary doctor told me it was OK to eat a little chocolate but what she didn’t know was that I was eating a little chocolate every half hour for 16 hours a day. The cardiac rehab staff told me that chocolate is bad for me so I get my sugar fix from apples and Frosted Flakes. Let’s see how long I can hold out. It has only been a week. Going on a restrictive diet is difficult for me. I am afraid that I am more on the same wavelength with Crabby Maxine “I hate brushing my teeth at night because that signifies that you can’t eat any more food…and I’m just not ready for that kind of a commitment”.

Well that is it for me until next month. I think I will be a homeowner again by the time you hear from me. So until next time,

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Pretty In Pink, Part 2

Love, love, love Andrew McCarthy!

I’m going to start this blog with a quote from Auntie Acid who says “I’m starting to think I’ll never be old enough to know better”. I remember telling my kids that they were old enough to know better when they did something stupid. I guess I am one of those terrible parents who preach “do what I say not what I do”. Apparently, my siblings (who are also in their 60’s) and I have that faulty thinking that we can still do those activities we used to be a able to do with no problem. I am in physical therapy because I thought I could lift heavy plant containers, my sister thought it was OK to run with my dog a couple of weeks before her heart surgery which ended with a broken wrist, and my brother was able to finally take a deep breath after 3 weeks because he was playing around on his boat pier and bruised his ribs. I guess I never really wanted to know what it would be like getting to the age I am. I remember when I was much younger I thought people my age were so very old. I also remember my father telling me his brain led him to believe he was still young but his body often reminded him that he was anything but young. Crabby Maxine puts it this way, “Young at heart, old everywhere else.” I was wondering “Why do we do those things we do without thinking about the consequences that come with aging?”.

I once read a very profound saying (probably on a T-shirt) that said “Think old and you’ll be old. Think young and you’ll be a Delusional Old Fart”. You can’t win! I decided it was time for me to research why I do those things that might hurt me without thinking about the consequences. Unfortunately, my path to learning about aging was not a pleasant one. I think that the outcome of all that research is that aging changes everyone and we need to accept that our lives won’t stay the same. I think the biggest lesson I have learned is our bodies don’t recover as quickly as they did before. Why is that? Well, here comes the sad story. Our cartilage naturally deteriorates with age and, as our bodies natural shock absorbers wear out, our joints are less able to absorb the demands that our lives place on them. It is a gradual process that sneaks up on us when we hit 50. At 30 we start to lose calcium because of tissue loss which reduces the amount of water in our body so our bones become less dense. I knew about height loss (which starts at age 40) that comes with aging in the bones, muscles and joints but I thought of it as a positive because I was so tall I found it difficult to find pants that were long enough. Unfortunately for me, most of my shrinking is from the waist up. People typically lose almost one-half inch every 10 years after age 40 and we lose a total of 1 to 3 inches in height by the time we hit 70. Our muscles generally lose strength, endurance and flexibility which are factors that affect our coordination, stability and balance. The long-and-short of it is that I have to start thinking about my age before I tackle something that might hurt me. Let’s leave this subject with a chuckle from Crabby Maxine who says “I’m thinking of leaving my body to science. Even scientists can use a good laugh now and then.”

Let’s get to the fashion topic of this blog. At my age I hear the word “hot” and my mind automatically goes to “flashes”. I love how Aunty Acid describes the reason we get hot flashes “Because nature decided that periods, pregnancy, labor, delivery, stretch marks, saggy boobs, and cellulite weren’t enough punishment.” Well, this blog is about “hot pink” which is my favorite pink color. Emotionally it is said that hot pink inspires a more passionate, playful and sensual love. It exudes warmth and happiness and a love of life. The color hot pink brings out memories of Elle Woods in the movie “Legally Blond” when she goes to Harvard in her hot pink leather suit or Marilyn Monroe’s sultry dress in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. A little history; fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli made “shocking pink” popular in the 30’s and 40’s. Before becoming a part of fashion houses DNA, pink was used sparingly for centuries. She made it her signature color and her designs stood out against the restrained palettes that overtook fashion during World War II. The shock value of her designs challenged the preconceived ideas of color, especially pink, and set her apart as a designer.

Shocking pink or hot pink as we know it today is often used in landscape design with roses, hydrangeas and geraniums. I feel that no other color can compete with the hot pink for catching one’s eye. I have a picture of my hot pink flowers below.

This is what I see out my dining room window. Right next to this rose bush is another bigger one with a more draping habit that also produces hot pink flowers. The great thing is that they alternate bloom times so I have hot pink roses all summer long. These bushes sit between a 4 foot wide cluster of Shasta Daisies and a small rose bush with peachy-orange flowers. Neither of these can compete with the beauty of the hot pink roses.

Ok, let’s look at the “hot” pink in my closets.

You already know that my favorite color is yellow and I did a whole blog on mustard yellow. The thing about yellow is that it goes with almost every other color. This two layer hot pink top is bold but the sheer pleated top layer is very feminine. It goes beautifully with the mustard jeans and sandals I think I wore in past blogs. It’s best to accent with a purse the same color as one of the two main pieces when color blocking. You can add other colors with the rest of your accessories as seen below.

The mustard color shell of the necklace, along with the colorful beads, help to make the outfit look cohesive. Since mustard is a brownish yellow I chose a necklace with brown leather instead of the typical black. The wood painted bracelet matches perfectly to the necklace even though they are not a set. The earrings are also painted wood and the colors of the rings and watch help to accent the colors in the necklace.

This is a two piece, button-down, hot pink top. Underneath there is a spaghetti strap slip top with a gauze-like material top over it. Hot pink always looks good with white so I combined it with a hot pink and white polka dot scarf, calf-length white leggings, white sandals and white jewelry. The white takes away some of the “shock” in the shocking pink.

The pearls in the jewelry go perfectly with the white polka dots in the scarf. I typically try to match shapes and metals. The necklace reflects the roundness of the pearls and polka dots as does the watch. The necklace is made of silver and gold metals so I can use either in the rest of the jewelry. The gold rings, bracelet and drop earrings continue the round pattern and contain either real or faux pearls.

I will never give up my leggings. They are way too comfortable. In past blogs I said that if you are using a patterned legging, you must pull the eye back up because the pattern dominates the outfit. The pattern in the leggings have alternating patterns of flowers and a geometric design. I pulled up the eye with a black scarf and a necklace I bought many years ago. I wore neutral black shoes that go great with the geometric design in the leggings and the color of the scarf.

The flower colors in the necklace match the leggings perfectly as do the rest of the beads. It is eye catching which is what you need to bring the eye up. The earrings and the necklace are a set and instead of wearing two rings I wore one big ring and because the necklace was so busy I wore a colorful watch but no bracelet.

Well, that is it for fashion so let’s talk about my weight which is exactly what my gynecologist wanted to talk to me about this past week. Even with all my food allergies, I apparently now weigh more than I did 3 years ago when I last saw her. I wanted to whip out my research and tell her that my metabolism has slowed down with age but somehow I don’t think she would have accepted this excuse. She would probably never except the Crabby Maxine philosophy that I subscribe to which is “How do you prevent sagging? Just eat until the wrinkles fill out!” Sounds good to me.

Until next month, remember God loves you and so do I.

P.S. thank all of you who prayed for my sister. Her heart surgery went off without a hitch and she is out of ICU.

Pretty In Pink,, Part 1

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, ladies, it has finally happened, I have officially become my mother! There were clues along the way that this might be happening but I refused to accept them. When I think back the clues started when I was in my 40’s and it was evident when I became frustrated with the behavior of my adolescent children. I remember trying to impress them with my wisdom like “money doesn’t grow on trees” and the minute these type of statements left my mouth I was aghast that I sounded like my mother. At this point I didn’t truly feel like I was becoming my mother. It started becoming more evident when I was in my 50’s and I couldn’t remember the names of people and objects that I knew as well as my own name. I often tell the story of when I was an adjunct teacher standing in front of my class of beginning horticulture students at the local junior college. During one class I found myself apologizing because I was having a senior moment. They understood what I meant when I asked each of them to get one of the black things sitting on the counter in the back of the classroom. One of my young 18 year old students raised her hand and asked “Do you mean the microscopes?” I embarrassingly answered “Yes and thank you”. It reminded me of a similar Aunty Acid situation that went like this “I want to say some beautiful wise words about growing old …..(long pause) …CRAP, I forgot what they were!”. I realized I was using words like “whatchamacallit” and “doodads” much more often and yet I still refused to believe I was becoming my mother.

I loved my mother very much but she could sometimes drive me crazy. I think the thing that frustrated me the most about her as she aged is that she would start to tell me about something and she would go off on these tangents while trying to make a point. Twenty minutes later I was never sure if she actually made her point because I couldn’t remember how the saga started but there was no way I was going to ask her to start over. Well, now I have resigned myself to the fact that I have become my mother. Lately it seems like I will be talking to someone about something that happened and while doing so I sometimes realize that I need to give them more information to help them understand so I interject with what I think is a tidbit of what they might need but in doing so I tend to forget what the point of my original story was and, again, I find myself apologizing because it is so obvious that I can’t remember what the heck I was originally talking about. Aunty Acid says it best, “I’ve reached an age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me”.

Well, lets talk fashion. Before I talk about “Pretty In Pink” I want to address my new readers and explain the purpose of this blog (hopefully I will be able to get back to the fashion topic). I explained the purpose of this blog in my very first posting but the long-and-short of it is how to dress oneself fashionably when one has the typical belly fat “tiers” that pop up after the age of 55. The clothes I model come out of my closets hence the title “A Peek Into Pam’s Closets”. Ok, let’s talk pink. I was reading an article that said if you haven’t worn pink since it was forced on you for your second grade picture, it is time to reintroduce it into your closet selections. I for one rarely wore pale pink because I thought it made me look washed out but I get so many compliments when I wear it. In the 18th century, both men and women of the upper class wore pink because it was considered a stylish color. At one time it was only considered romantic, feminine, cutesy and delicate. Today’s pink is considered powerful, political, fun, androgynous, punk and sexy and it is pretty. Light pink is considered chic and can be paired with silver, buttery yellow, black, brown, other shades of pink, blue denim, navy and sky blue, gray, dark green, melon orange, plum and believe it or not “red”. That leads me right into my garden design picture.

This section of my garden took up about one-third of the 50 foot space. I like to combine different color flowers so I had to find a plant that would complement the red Monarda that stood 5 and a half feet tall. I was able to pair it with the pink plumes of the Queen of the Prairie flower that was slightly taller than the Mondarda. According to an article titled “A Month of Fashion Risks: Pairing Bright Red and Pale Pink” somewhere along the way, red and pink got a reputation for clashing terribly which resulted in women avoiding the color combo like the the plague. But, as with all things we scoff at fashion-wise, the pairing started to come back a few seasons ago, with top designers proving it not only doesn’t mismatch, but actually looks achingly modern together. In fact, it is now dated to still think the two colors shouldn’t be worn together.

I tend to wear white with my pink pieces but I have no problem combining it with other colors. So, let’s look at what I have in my closet.

This is a great outfit to wear out on a boat or on hot days with cool nights. The sweatshirt flairs out under the bust and falls to what I call the sweet spot. It is OK to wear a short top as long as it covers the belly and falls loosely over it. I love sweatshirts that have hoodies and zip up the front. There is nothing worse than trying to pull a sweatshirt over your head and exposing your bra and it’s contents because your shirt came up with it. When I wear canvas shoes I pair the outfit with simple accessories including the pink purse on the floor holding a bouquet of peonies.

I love that the top edge of the purse is similar to the hem of the sweatshirt. I wore a simple faux pearl bracelet with the ribbon symbolizing breast cancer support. The stone of the slide also has a silver ribbon running across it. The pale pink earrings match the bracelet and the darker watch band matches the purse. I pulled in the white with the stone of the ring.

I love this button-down shirt because it is so light and airy. The jeans have a flower pattern on them with flowers and leaves the colors of dark gray-blue, powder blue, pale pink, peachy-pink and cream. Because it truly is a very feminine top, I wear it with lacy scarves. I drew out the color blue of the pants with my jewelry that can be seen below. I paired the outfit with metallic pink sandals.

I knew that it would be hard for you to pick up the color of the pants in the previous picture so I included the pattern in this picture. The necklace has a dark blue stone as does the matching bracelet along with lighter blue stones. All the rest of the jewelry is silver because there was so much pink in the rest of the outfit and I wanted the blue jewelry to stand out.

This beautiful stretchy knit top is so comfortable. I just want to say to be careful when you wear a stretch knit top because if you have a little fat on your back you need to wear a bra that will conceal that roll of fat or it will be very noticeable above the strap. I love the handkerchief hem and the asymmetrical neckline (hard to see with the flowers in the way). I typically wear shoes that match my pants to make me look long and lean but every once in a while I break out of my box and wear shoes that will match my top. The top is long so it automatically makes me look long and lean. There is a double seam that goes down the right side of the front of the top. The color is a beautiful shimmery pink.

The slide and matching earrings are made of shells that are brown and pale pink. The bracelet is also made of shells and each shell contains the colors of pink, cream, dark green and brown. I typically don’t mix my metals but the color around the face of the watch is rose gold.

So, on to the topic I hate the most, my weight. My body must be happy right where it is because I neither gain or lose weight. I would probably lose weight if it weren’t for chocolate candy Kisses. Because of all my allergies there are only a few snacks/desserts I can eat and one of them is chocolate. So I buy the Kisses because they are small and I tell myself I can eat these small little pieces of chocolate in moderation. Well, I am lying to myself. It’s like Aunty Acid describes “This clumsy chocolate keeps tripping into my mouth…Oops, there it goes again. Oops and again….” Before you know it I have eaten half of the family size bag in two days. The reviews on chocolate and it’s affect on your body is so mixed. An article out of Mayo Clinic tells us that chocolate reduces risk factors for heart disease and may also help lower blood pressure. The American Cancer Society says the flavonoids in chocolate may reduce damage to cells. Medical News today says dark chocolate can reduce heart disease. That being said, all of them say that more research has to be done on the benefits and there are risks in eating chocolate because of the sugar and fats. I know dark chocolate is best for you but it gives me a headache, it constipates me (too much iron) and I don’t like the taste. Apparently it comes down to moderation but how many candy Kisses can I eat and still be within that realm of moderation? I cannot tell you how much I love chocolate! It’s like Aunty Acid says, “CHOCOLATE – It’s like sex you don’t have to shave your legs for”.

Well, that is it for my 26th blog. When I first started the blog my sister questioned me having enough clothes to sustain the blog. I laughed and as of this point I have presented over 75 outfits. I figure I will run out of things to say before I run out of clothes in my closet. For those who know me well I am sure you are laughing because you know I will never run out of things to say. Speaking of my sister, I am putting out a prayer request for my sister who is having a quadruple bypass in July. She is not only my best friend but she has stuck with me through this blog as my photographer so please keep her in your prayers.

So to all my Gal Pals, remember God loves you and so do I.


Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I love this time of year because I love all the color. Everyone is beautifying their homes with pretty flowers and I am no exception. When I lived in my house before moving to the townhouse I think I spent close to $800 in annuals to add to my gardens and to put into containers around my house. I probably bought more than I really needed but the question is can you have too many flowers? Therein lies my biggest problem, drawing the line between need and want. Can you have too many clothes? Can you have too much jewelry? Since moving I have given away 14 thirty gallon size garbage bags of clothes. However, that has not stopped me from buying more. I am a lot like Aunty Acid who said, “As I get older I’ve found I’m always walking into things…mostly shops” but it is more than that. I was worried that maybe I was addicted to buying anything “pretty” but I realized that couldn’t be it because there are many clothes and accessories out there that are “pretty” and I am able to pass on buying them. I then thought maybe the addiction was “pretty” plus “sale” but that can’t be it because I get lots of sale magazines filled with “pretty” clothes and I can easily throw away the magazines and forget about the “pretty” clothes that are in it. I think that my biggest problem is Michigan. When I go up to the cottage with my sister and cousin, the routine is eat, beach, read and shop. Maybe I NEED to shop because I NEED to adhere to the routine. Well, I have realized it is not an addiction after all (whew!), but instead I have an obsessive personality and I cannot break a routine. I must eat, beach, read and shop when I go to Michigan or I suffer from great anxiety! Wow, I am glad I solved the problem! I feel better!

Once again I am in heaven when I go into the clothing stores because big, colorful flowers are trending in fashion. Some trends never go out of style like denim and the little black dress. One of the biggest style statements that remains timeless is the floral pattern print. I recently listened to an interview with designer Diane Von Furstenberg and she was asked “Now that women are able to get out of the house and socialize, what should they wear?” and her response was “Fashion is seasonal. It is spring, they should wear something colorful and something with flowers on it”.

In a past blog I wrote about color and emotions. Today I am going to write about the colors we wear and our personalities. Fashion is about self-expression. The clothes you choose say a lot about your personality. The science behind the relationship between color and mood is extensive. An excerpt from the book “Psychology for Artists, Futurists and World Builders” states that our attention goes to whatever stands out in our visual field, be it glittery gold, luminescent fireflies or bright red flowers. Bright flowers entice us in the way neon spinners entice fish. Bright colors attract us and dull colors put us off. We tend to like bright blue and red insects better than grey beige, brown and black ones. For example, we call the lady bug pretty. That is an unlikely descriptor for a beetle. Think of the words we use to describe dull colors: dingy, impure, muddy and faded. Yuck! As far as what we wear, those who like to wear brighter, bolder colors tend to be more extroverted, and feel more alive and engaged with the world. Those who like wearing neutral colors are more introverted and like feeling safe. I personally love big, bold colors and I am pretty sure that many of my friends would describe my personality as big, bold and colorful.

As you probably already figured out, this blog is about colorful flowers in fashion design but it is also very important in landscape design. I am a big container gardener. I love combining colors and textures. At one time I counted twenty containers around my old property. Currently, around the townhouse, I have three rose shrubs, Shasta daisies, astilbes, hydrangeas and other blooming perennial flowers and shrubs. To have a truly beautiful garden, it needs flowering shrubs, perennials and annuals. But if you don’t have an “in ground” garden you can make one with containers like I did in the above picture. I am fortunate enough to have Little Kim lilacs in that area that are in bloom but once those blooms are gone in a few weeks the annuals are still going to provide color and will be going strong all summer long. Below I am including a picture of containers, which includes the deck box, that I put together for my previous house. I think I posted a similar picture when I started the blog. There are several potted plants in the picture but you only see the flowers. The red chairs add more pop to the design like a piece of jewelry.

Ok, let’s look at some of the colorful, flowery clothes I have in my closet. But before we do let me tell you that my sister and I had to retake two of the pictures. Aunty Acid once said “Welcome to the age where your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either”. In this case neither of us remembered that this was blog #25 not #24 as we had originally indicated on the chalk boards.

Whenever I wear this top I think of my dad who had a poppy field in the back of our house when we were kids. You know how much I love ponchos and this one is so light weight. I think I told you I rarely spend more than $50 on an article of clothing. This top was originally $99 and it was on sale for 40% off at Chico’s. Since I am a club member, I got another 5% off and I had a gift card for $20 (most family members know my favorite gift is a gift card from Chico’s). In the end I got it for $39. The black pants are “Jams” and they are so light weight. In fact, I have them in 5 different colors because they are great for the hottest of weather. They are so light weight I used to wear them for gardening on real hot days to keep the mosquitos off my legs.

I am not sure why but I love to wear hoop earrings and bangle bracelets when I wear a poncho. The red flowers on the cloth hoops look great with this outfit as does the green watch which pulls out the green of the leaves on the poncho. I just bought this ring at an antique store in downtown Naperville. The owner did not know what the stone was but it looks like a vibrant coral amber.

Instead of taking these pictures in front of my bedroom closet I decided to take them in my dinette area since my kitchen/dinette areas are both garden themed. I moved out my table so you could see the whole outfit. As I have previously said, flower patterns never go out of style. To show you how old this outfit is, I just recently cut out the shoulder pads that were attached to the underneath top. This three piece outfit is over 20 years old. The red is not a ruby red but more of a pinkish red. What I love about it is that there are three contrasting patterns on the jacket. The stripes are under the flower and I think you can see the diamond shape patterns on the lapel. On the back of the jacket is a large block of the flower pattern. I always try to match the color of my shoes with the color of the pants for a slimming look.

The dark red watch, earrings and garnet ring compliment the red outfit but the emerald ring and the green and mustard yellow bracelet help to highlight the other colors in the outfit.

I love the tropical look and I love wide leg pants. They just flow when I walk. The pants are the star of this outfit, but as I have said in past blogs, you have to find a way to bring the eye back up to your face so I matched it with a beautiful coral scarf on a simple white top that is loose fitting. This is an outfit that begs to be worn with flip-flops because it reminds you of Hawaii and the beach.

I am pretty sure you have seen many of these pieces before but they were made for this outfit. The large, gold leaf necklace goes so well with the large leaves of the pants. So in keeping with the leaf theme I am wearing a silver and gold leaved bracelet. I needed to add a little black to the upper part of my body so I am wearing a black and gold watch along with black leaf earrings. The yellow and coral stones of the ring also are in the leaf shape. One of my favorite summer necklaces is the one I got at Chico’s that says “chic”.

Well that is it for another month. As for my weight, I am now gaining because I am footloose and fancy free and able to go out and socialize with my lady friends. As Aunty Acid says “Finally my winter fat is gone ….Now I have spring rolls”. My diet, because of so many severe allergies, is limited. In fact it is easier for me to tell you the few things I can eat than those I can’t. It is getting expensive because the one thing I can usually eat when I am out that doesn’t contain any allergens (like herbs and spices, grape products, preservatives, etc.) is lobster. I hate buying anything that doesn’t give a price and says “market value” but it is better than the alternative which is usually the inability to breath. One of the foods I can eat is chocolate. It is a good thing I have clothes that hide all the side effects from eating quite a bit of it. Well, until next month stay safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (but be careful because I am not very inhibited).

So remember, God loves you and so do I.

Thin Stripes? Yes, Yes, Yes! Wide Stripes? No, No, No!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,I am a little late getting out blog #24 because we opened the cottage in Michigan last week and I enjoyed a few days of relaxation. Spring has officially sprung for me when we open the cottage. I am sure many of you travel to a place you have been visiting for years and it brings back such wonderful memories. That is what happens to me when I go to the cottage because I have been going there since I was young and have so many happy memories of my time there. I remember playing cutout dolls with my sister that we bought at the local hardware store, fishing with my dad off the pier in South Haven, and roasting potatoes in a fire we built on the beach. It was so nice spending time with my family at the cottage because all the everyday stressors were left back in Illinois. Today people are so into their phones they forget about quality time with others. That reminds me of something Aunty Acid said “My phone died. So I spent time with my family. They seem like nice people”.

Going back to Michigan reminds me of a childhood where I was able to stay out ‘til dark catching fireflies or playing hide-n-seek with many of the kids on my block without having to worry about “Stranger Danger”. It reminds me of a time where I enjoyed high school activities without having to worry about high school shootings. Maybe I was too busy raising my own family to be worried about world poverty and climate damage. But now that I am of a certain age and retired I find myself worrying about all of these things. I do not have any grandchildren but I want to make this a better world for all children so I can no longer be oblivious to what is happening beyond the walls of my home. The great thing about going to the cottage is I that when I am there I only remember the good things and I leave all my worries until I have to return to the real problems of the here and now. Where has time gone? I love this quote from Aunty Acid “I want to go back to the days when my biggest anxiety was stopping the cassette tape before the DJ started speaking when I was recording the top 10”. I know Some of my readers are asking themselves “What is a cassette tape?”. Boy do I feel old!

Before I get too nostalgic let me get back to the subject of fashion. How do you like the above picture of my dog? He was arrested by the fashion police for wearing a wide striped outfit and his punishment was doggy jail where he had to continually wear those wide stripes. I think most of us have articles of clothing with a striped pattern. I always thought that horizontal stripes made you look heavy while vertical stripes made you look long and lean. Well, after a little research, I found out that I was only partially right. Apparently, according to scientists, horizontal stripes can make you look thinner and vertical stripes can elongate your figure and make you look taller. However, the wider the horizontal stripes the more they draw your eyes outwards which makes the wearer look wider while vertical stripes draw your eyes upward and make you look thinner. Thinner stripes are harder to focus on therefore they are more slimming regardless of whether they are horizontal or vertical. The key is to have slim stripes that are less than two inches wide. Looking good when I go out is the goal but sometimes even I slip up. Once again that reminds me of an Aunty Acid quote “Some days I can go out looking like a million dollars and not see one person I know. But if I go out looking like crap, suddenly it’s a freakin’ class reunion.”

Here is where I like to insert a garden picture that depicts an element of design that goes along with my fashion focus for today’s blog. Tall grasses that are flowering draw the eyes upward. In past blogs I have talked about plantings of differing textures, sizes and shapes. Tall grasses are the best vertical elements in a well designed garden or container. This is a picture of the outcrop area at the corner of what used to be my flagstone patio. The grasses acted as a way to get privacy from the neighbors as well as creating a separation between the patio area from the rest of the yard.

Alright, let’s look at some examples of my vertical stripes. I don’t need to look taller but I sure do need to look slimmer.

Here I look tall and slim with my narrow stripes while my little jailbird looks short and squatty in his wide stripes. Black and white stripes are classic and the contrast in color is even more slimming. The strappy sandals compliment the straight lines of the striped shirt. You can really tell how much I like leggings by how often I wear them but you can’t beat them for comfort. However, I will always wear them with a top that covers my bulges. I love how the back of the shirt is longer than the front.

I love bangles and jewelry that dangles and I love the layered look. The necklace on the right can be worn as a short or long necklace. The earrings were part of a different set set but they look great with the rest of this metal and beaded jewelry. Sunglasses can be used as an accessory like a headband when not being used functionally to keep the sun out of your eyes.

Matty and I are grooving to the song “Jailhouse Rock”. I typically don’t like to wear gray but this is a dark gray so I don’t look washed out and the diagonal stripes add that little element of interest. Because of the narrow stripes on this stretchy material the focus is more on the bust area so you don’t really focus on my tummy and hips. I consider that a win-win. I love these shoes! I call them my Barbie Doll shoes. Remember the clear heals that Barbie wore with some of her outfits. Because they are clear plastic it looks like you are not wearing shoes. I will put them with my jewelry below so you can see what they look like. I wore out my last pair that had three inch heels. These only have a stacked two inch heel so they are much more comfortable.

The bracelet and earring set as well as the painted metallic flower pin were estate sale pieces that I bought at a jewelry store in Douglas, Michigan. Unfortunately the store is now closed because the owner retired. Fortunately for me there are plenty of boutiques and antique stores in Saugutauk and South Haven that sell great jewelry. These shoes are comfortable and they go with everything! Two words for anyone who thinks cute shoes aren’t important: Cinderella and Dorothy.

Matty has finished serving his time so we are both feeling good. He intends to shed those prison stripes and promised to never wear wide horizontal stripes again. This high neck, layered white top goes beautifully with the white and taupe, striped, wide leg pants. Again, stripes look best with strappy sandals. I am big on wide leg pants because they are much cooler than form fitting pants. I can see myself walking my dog on the beach in this outfit.

This necklace allows me to wear other accessories of different shapes because so many of those shapes can be found within the necklace. The necklace contains the straight lines of the chains with the roundness of the beads. The pendant contains the round shell and metal piece as well as the round marble and elliptical metal charms. These are the same shapes that can be found in the earrings and bracelet.

I usually write about my weight in this section but instead I am going to talk about my age. I turn 69 this May (if I am remembering correctly). I remember the days when I couldn’t wait to grow up and drive or foolishly thought growing up meant I could do whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it I remember thinking that people of my age were ancient. I read a great quote on a poster that describes old age in a humorous way “One minute you’re young. And the next, you’re turning down the stereo in your car to see better”. I may be wrinkled on the outside but as Crabby Maxine says “I have inner beauty and I have the video from my colonoscopy to prove it”. I will leave you with that image until next month.

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Pass The Mustard, Please

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I just got my second dose of the Covid vaccine and so far so good. I did have a mild, delayed reaction to the first vaccine so I am hoping I won’t have any with the second. With the first vaccine I had some difficulty breathing, achy muscles and felt extremely cold. On a positive note it means that my immune system is not completely shot. Being in the priority group reminds me that I am a “senior” who is best described by Aunty Acid in the quote “I’m at the age where an ‘all nighter’ just means that I didn’t have to get up to pee”. Being a “senior” is a hard pill to swallow but I always try to find the positive aspects of being old. For me, one of the positives was that I got to live through the 60’s as a teenager. At a time of “Peace and Love” I loved the music, fashion and even my high school experience. I know that not everyone liked high school but I loved the social life. Going to sleep overs, football games and dances was just the best! But even better was the music. When a song comes on the car radio from that decade I find myself moving and singing along which probably looks pretty funny to drivers who pass by me in traffic. When I hear songs like “My Girl”, “Good Vibrations”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Sugar, Sugar” such wonderful memories come flooding into my brain. I remember dancing with my friend Mary Rita as we watched American Bandstand. You are probably wondering what triggered this nostalgia. Well, recently I was out clothes shopping with my sister and I was wonderfully transported back to the 60’s when I saw so many nouveau bohemian styles like flowing maxi dresses, peasant tops and paisley prints. I loved the fashion of the 60’s and I remembered being so happy when I turned 16 so I could go out and get a job to help pay for my own clothes. I am so thankful that those long term memories are still with me. But just when I was feeling good about being a 60’s girl I read the following by humorist Dave Barry “The Sixties are now considered a historical period, just like the Roman Empire”. My bubble has been officially burst!

Speaking of the 60’s do you remember the mustard gold appliances? Well, I am not so sure about that color for appliances but it is a great color on clothes. My favorite color is yellow but little did I know that there are over 50 different shades of yellow. I thought there was bright yellow, pale yellow and mustard yellow. One of my favorite songs of the 60’s was “They Call Me Mellow Yellow” and the subject of the song was a girl named Saffron. At the time I had no idea that saffron was a shade of yellow. I don’t care if the shades are called saffron, marigold or goldenrod, these are all mustard to me. The color is often used in interior design, clothes and fashion. From jackets to shoes and pants, you’ll find many articles of clothing in this shade. Those who wear mustard are seen as bold and individualistic which pretty much describes me. It symbolizes creativity, warmth, optimism and diversity. Mustard yellow is ideal for those that appreciate brighter colors and are looking for something more sophisticated, classy and perhaps respectable. It looks great when combined with various shades of taupe and darker shades of beige, also colors like gray, black and indigo. However, it is also considered a neutral hue when worn with burgundy, turquoise or purple. If you have never worn the color, give it a try. To quote fashion designer, Kenzo Takada “Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick with the same menu”. So today’s blog highlights some of my mustard color clothes.

Typically I try to tie in the focus of my fashion blog with a garden design element but today I am tying it in with spring. Spring officially starts for me in March when my friend Rhonda and I trek down to Woldhuis Farms Sunrise Greenhouse and buy our Senetti plants seen below.

I typically buy my potted flowers while they are still in bud but these are already starting to pop. The shape of the plant reminds me of a chrysanthemum and the flowers will be this mass of daisy like blooms. This beautiful plant has spring flowers that come in vivid blues, magic magentas, ultraviolets and stunning bicolors. They thrive under cool temps down to 35%F but will continue flowering through the warm days of spring and early summer. It is a great plant if you are into spring flowers and want something to add to your pansies and bulbs. This week the Senettis were on sale. If you buy 2 at $5.99 each you got the third for free. I cannot pass up a good sale!

OK, let’s talk about mustard outfits.

This ruana wrap reminds me of the 60s. It is made of flowing material and the sleeves bell out just below the shoulder. The majority of the print is a beautiful brown, mustard and cream paisley print with patches of cheetah and rows of tiny peach flowers. Throughout the wrap is this amazing gold thread that makes this piece a standout. I matched the leggings and the short, capped sleeve swing dress with the taupe in the wrap. These days dresses that hang loose from the shoulder are called swing dresses but I remember a time when they were called tent dresses. I have paired the outfit with a pair of dark taupe shoes.

I decided on this necklace because I wanted to dress up the outfit but if you wanted to dress down the outfit, pair wear the ruana wrap with a pair of taupe or dark brown jeans and tee shirt then wear more casual accessories. The colors in this necklace perfectly match the colors in the wrap. The watch is a dark taupe and the bangles are antique gold. The rings are an amber yellow and cream in color.

You can probably tell by now that I love short swing dresses. There is nothing better to hide that protrusion just below my waist. This is a sleeveless swing dress that has black trim around the neckline and arm holes. I put a black, short sleeved shirt and a pair of black leggings underneath. Pair it with black flats or a low wedge heel and you are good to go.

I love chunky jewelry and this necklace looks perfect with this outfit. It is so unique and adds that little bit of “wow” when paired with such a simple outfit. What I like the most about this necklace and matching earrings are the different metallic colors. I have paired it with a brass bangle bracelet and a black watch with gold trim. I went simple on the ring because the necklace is the statement piece.

This spring sweater is very slimming. Because the diagonal seam goes up the front it pulls your eye away from my mid-section. The dolman sleeves make my arms look slim and the cowl neckline also pulls the eye upward away from the paunchy belly. I paired it with a dark brown pair of pants and dark brown shoes.

I don’t always remember where I buy my jewelry but when it is as unique as this necklace and earrings, I remember. I bought this necklace at a little boutique in Saugatuck, Michigan. It is made entirely of nut shells and beads and goes so beautifully with my sweater. I paired it with a dark brown bracelet with gold trim and gold rings with a gold watch.

Well, that is it for now. I have neither gained or lost any weight. I think I must be bored because, as Aunty Acid says, “I am not like other girls. I know what I want for dinner. I’ve been thinking about it since I finished lunch”. Hopefully life will get back to normal and I can work off a few pounds through summer activities. Who am I kidding! I love lunching with my friends several times a week and now that I’ve gotten both doses of the vaccine I can start meeting up with them again.

Oh well, until next month,

Remember God loves you and so do I.

It’s Not Your Grandma’s Shawl, Deary!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

How do you like my crabby grandma picture? Do you think it is a foretelling of things to come? I was taken aback when I saw it. My sister definitely got my best side. I thought I would try to depict my favorite cartoon characters of crabby Maxine and Aunty Acid. I think I nailed it! Actually this picture reminds me of something Aunty Acid said, “I am not saying I’m old and worn out but I make sure I’m nowhere near the curb on trash day”. I’ll be sure to remember that!

Before we get into the fashion portion of the blog, I thought I would get up on my soap box. I am starting to go through my clothes closets and purge. I get stressed and angry when I have to try and cram my lovely clothes into a tight space knowing how wrinkled they will get and I might have to actually iron something. That reminds me of something Aunty Acid so profoundly said, “Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel but you know what that means…more laundry”. The best thing for me is to part with some of them to lessen my stress and anger but I have a difficult time parting with things I love. It is for that very reason that it saddens me that I had to unfriend some of my Facebook friends because doing so was the best thing for me. When I first joined Facebook it was because I wanted to let all of my friends know when my blogs would be posted. I soon realized that I enjoyed my Facebook time because I was able to stay in contact with co-workers after I retired, reconnect with high school friends and be uplifted with inspirational and humorous quotes. Now, I am really climbing high up on that soap box and I hope I don’t lose any more Facebook friends. I am going to, for the first and last time, talk about politics but it has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. It has to do with political decency. I applaud those who are politically passionate and I believe in a two party system. As a school psychologist, I worked with students on conflict resolution and coming to a win-win outcome. I tried to get the students to listen to each other but I also tried to make them understand that if they resorted to hurtful retorts, no one wins. Groucho Marx once said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”. In some circumstances he may be right. I did not mind political postings even though I thought there might be a better platform for them. What I did mind was the nasty tone some of my friends took in their postings. When you have to resort to making fun of a candidate’s facial appearance or promote vengeful acts, you have lost the argument. These types of posts made me saddened and confused. It was some of the same people who were posting beautiful Christian, inspirational quotes who were posting some of the most vicious attacks on candidates. It was because of the stress and anger that I felt due to these posts that I had to take control of my emotions and purge the source. I just want those friends to know that I value our friendship outside of the political arena but I would ask my Christian friends to ask themselves one question before posting something so hateful: What would Jesus do?

Ok, let’s talk fashion. In the past, when someone would talk about shawls, I used to think of the knitted or crochet type older women would wear to keep warm. However, in the mid to late 1990s the pashmina created a resurgence of the decorative element of the shawl. I love to learn about the history of fashion and I think the history of the shawl is interesting. Fiona Anderson wrote an article about the shawl and said the shawl, as an item of female fashionable dress, derives from the Eastern Indian word ‘shal’, which is a male garment that consists of an unstructed length of material with woven or embroidered patterning. The first shawls worn by Europeans in India were worn by men. However, in the 1760s when female dresses were made from flimsy, lightweight material typical of the draped elegance of Ancient Greek and Roman dress, they were perfectly complemented by the warm and gracefully draped shawl. So, todays blog will feature shawls of different types which enhance monochromatic outfits. What I like about shawls is that you can find some beautiful ones that are inexpensive but make an outfit look like a million bucks.

I usually put a garden picture here that has something to tie in with the topic but today I wanted to show you what I see when I look out my front door.

I love living in the end unit of the townhouses but this is what happens at the end unit in the winter. I am 5’9” and this mound is at least 9’. Any guesses on how long this is going to take to melt if we don’t get anymore snow? I am thinking middle of May. My neighbors are always complimenting on my outside decorations but I don’t think they will get to see my Easter or spring decorations this year.

Oh, well, let’s look at some things that I think are nice and we can look at them inside the townhouse.

I decided to use the rocking chair as a prop to remind me to celebrate the fact that I can still stand on my own two feet. The monochromatic outfit in this picture is an off color of white. The nice thing about the shawl is that you cannot see that the off white color of the top is not exactly the same color as the cream colored pants. I love how this shawl drapes in the front and back and hides all those protrusions called love handles and my 3 tier tummy. This is a square shawl that can be worn many different ways. I always wear a pin of some sort to keep the shawl in place. I try to always wear the same color shoe as my pant color because it makes me look long and lean instead of squat and chubby (which is quite a feat!).

I love my feathered pins! I have many of them and wear them whenever I have the right outfit. Typically I choose my accessories based on my choice of necklace but when I wear a shawl I base it on my choice of decorative pin. I love the brown and cream colors of the feathers on the pin and how they go beautifully with the outfit. So here is my thought process for picking the rest of my accessories which for some reason reminds me of an Aunty Acid thought, “Sometimes I wrestle with my inner demons. Other times, we just hug and dance”. I guess that describes how I make my choices. First, when I think of brown I automatically think of gold jewelry. I love gold jewelry! Since the middle of the pin contains rhinestones,I am going to try and pick accessories that contain faux gems to match. First, the brown bracelet is hand painted with gold vines and off white leaves. I wear the gold color watch and bracelets together. I then pair those with the gold rings, one decorated with a topaz brown heart and the other with a cluster of rhinestones. The earrings are made up of synthetic brown stones, rings of rhinestones and off white faux pearls. Voila!

An oblong shawl can be worn over both shoulders but it can also be draped over one shoulder. Since shawls originated in India I decided to wear this one like a sari and pin it at the waste. I love the beautiful colors in this shawl and as an extra bonus the other side of the shawl has the same colors but they are in different places. For example, the large area of dark rose at my shoulder on this side would be black on the other side. I wore this colorful shawl over a very monochromatic black outfit with a pair of black pumps.

Again, I build from the Indian elephant pin (staying with the theme of the outfit) which is made of a clear acrylic with beautifully painted lines and a rhinestone belt. I paired it with antique frosted acrylic earrings that have a ribbon of rhinestones and they are clip-ons. At work I loved to wear clip-ons because I wore large earrings and it was easier to take them off when I was on the phone. Because the acrylic took on a purplish cast when paired with the shawl, I wore rings that also had purple stones. The ring at the top is one of my favorites. I bought it at an antique store in Michigan and each stone is a different color purple. The bracelet with its purple and pink colors matches the colors in the shawl as does the olive green band of the watch.

This lovely flowered, triangular shawl would probably not keep me warm but it is so pretty that I don’t really care. In case you haven’t noticed from past blogs, I really like fringe on my clothes. The navy blue monochromatic outfit would be bland without something to spice it up. I think this cinnamon colored shawl does the trick. Again, I have matched the shoes with the outfit.

I said I loved feather pins and this one is so colorful. The feathers are brown, black, purple, pink and olive. There is navy ribbon with pale blue polka dots near the center and a rhinestone decoration in the center. I decided to highlight the rhinestones in the rest of the accessories. The leaf pattern rhinestone bracelet that takes on a feathery appearance and the beautifully cut glass earrings belonged to my mother. The earrings are the screw backs you find on antique earrings. The bracelet watch is a beautiful copper color adorned with rhinestones all the way around it and it also seems to have a ribbon running through it to match the ribbon on the pin.. Both rings also have rhinestones on them.

Well, that is it for this blog. I typically talk about diets in this section but Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so I think we should all wear red, eat chocolates and watch our favorite love story. Mine is the movie “Holiday” with Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz. There are not many movies I would watch over and over but this is an exception. So there is no dieting for now and Valentine’s Day is just one more excuse that I am using. Actually, I think I am going with Aunty Acid’s excuse, “I’ll tell you why I can’t lose weight…I’ve got metal fillings in my teeth and my refrigerator magnets keep pulling me into the kitchen”.

So, until next month remember, God loves you and so do I.

Dahlings, Even Puppies Look Good In Polka Dots, Ha, Ha, Ha!

Hello to all my Gal Pals,

Happy New Year and, full disclosure, no puppies were harmed to get this coat! I hope you are all staying safe and I hope to see many of you soon. In my December blog I talked about how Christmas was a time of reflection for me. New Year’s, however, is a time of looking forward. I think New Year’s Eve is a celebration of “Hope”. How many of us wrote in our Christmas cards the very same hopeful message that I used in the second sentence of this paragraph. We are all hoping for a better 2021. The definition of “hope” is: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. It is the very thing that helps us get out of bed in the morning when life is difficult whether we are worried about paying our bills, anxious about our jobs or illness of a family member. It is the hope for better days that helps us put one foot in front of the other so we can move forward. We repeat phrases like “Hope Springs Eternal” meaning people can find a reason to hope even in the bleakest of situations. Many of us know that Paul tells us in First Corinthians that three things will last forever: Faith, Hope and Love. There is no greater reason for belief in “Hope” so I will end this paragraph with that thought.

On a lighter note, I gave up on my “hope” of falling back to sleep after two hours of tossing and turning. That reminds me of an Aunty Acid quote “You know that amazing feeling when you get into bed and go straight to sleep, then wake up in the morning feeling fully refreshed and raring to go? YEAH, NEITHER DO I!”. So I am writing this blog at 4:15 in the morning. I am sure many of you can relate to this dilemma. I had originally planned on writing about a different fashion topic but at the last minute I decided I had to write about something that makes me happy. As I was tossing and turning, so many ideas started coming into my head and as Aunty Acid says “The biggest lie I tell myself is ‘I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember’ “ so I just got up and wrote them down. During this time of turmoil in our country, I wanted to write about something that might put a smile on my reader’s faces. Who cannot smile when they think about polka dots on the dresses of Minnie Mouse at Disney Land, Lucille Ball on “I Love Lucy” or the scene in “Pretty Woman” when Julia Roberts attends the polo match.

Before I start to talk about my happiness with polka dots (what can I say I am an emotional fashionista), I want to talk about my personal dislike for plaid outfits. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that plaids have a place in fashion but only as an accent with a couple of exceptions. I am sure if you were out Christmas shopping in the ladies department you probably saw a lot of plaid. If I were to wear any of the plaid dresses I saw, taking into consideration my height and weight, I would look like a horse with a plaid blanket draped across it’s back (definitely not a pretty picture!). In one of the December issues of a woman’s magazine I looked through there was a picture of Kelly Ripa wearing a lovely silver sequence pencil skirt and she had the audacity to pair it with a casual plaid, button down shirt (what was she thinking?!). The outfit reminded me of a crabby Maxine quote “I’d describe my current fashion style as whatever is on the floor “ which, honestly, is what the outfit looked like. Kelly has enough money that she could have done better. I think plaid scarfs, plaid comforters on a rustic cabin bed or plaid button down shirts to wear with jeans are just fine. I have one black, gold and red plaid top I may or may not pull out at Christmas but that is it! The problem with plaids is that they are popular one season then you don’t see them trending until another 5 to 10 years have gone by. I don’t have enough room in my closets to hold on to them until they re-emerge in popularity.

Now back to polka dots. I agree with actress Anna Kendrick who said “You can’t have a bad day in polka dots”. The thing about polka dots is that they never go out of popularity. Unlike the 1 lone plaid top in my closet, I have 13 polka dot tops, 3 polka dot cropped pants and 1 polka dot dress. Most are in the classic black and white combo but I have some in more colorful hues. Polka dots have been around since the 1800’s when sewing machines were developed that could create perfectly round and evenly spaced dots. “Polka” was derived from a Czech peasant dance and “polka” branded items came out of the dance craze like polka pudding but the polka-dot pattern was the one that really stuck around into the present day. Polka dots are synonymous with flamenco dresses, Frank Sinatra released a song called “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and who can forget the “The Itsy, Bitsy, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. Polka dots were worn by icons like Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, and Goldie Hawn. Some of you may prefer a very small polka dot while others would prefer larger, showy polka dots. I think you should wear whatever makes you happy and minimizes your tummy.

This is where I typically relate garden design to fashion design. Below is a picture of the sun garden at my previous residence. It was a 50 ft by 15 ft garden containing perennials and annuals.

I love to mass plant Pentas which are annuals that rival geraniums. The habit is the same but Pentas draw butterflies, hummingbirds and bees to them. The flower cluster is in the shape of a Hostess Snowball dessert and comes in very showy colors. When I mass plant my annuals I plant them in a diamond pattern which is exactly the same pattern found in a classic polka dot array. I wish I had a better picture for you to see the pattern but I had no idea I was going to need it when I started this blog.

OK, lets look at some polka dots and get happy.

This is a very light weight swing top that buttons at the collar. The button is like an accessory on this outfit so no other accessory is needed because polka dots alone make a statement. I have on a pair of black trouser pants and black shoes with a 1 inch wedge heel.

I kept my accessories simple with this outfit. The black ring is more oval but every other piece has a round “polka dot” feature. I thought gold made the outfit look a little more dressy but you could easily dress it down with jewelry that looks a little less formal.

I took this pose because the mandarin collar makes the outfit seem very Asian. The silver background looks like newsprint with large ink spots all over it. It looks great with a pair of leggings and flats to continue that Asian look. I love three-quarter length sleeves because you can see the wrist accessories.

Accessories enhance the outfit and should be congruent with the overall look. Here we have round, round and round just like polka dots.

This top reminds me of the tops from my past blog called “What a Contrast!”. It looks like it is made up of a patchwork of different materials and as I previously said this is a good look as long as each of the different patterns have a common thread to pull it together. On this top the common thread is polka dots. It is a see-through top so I put a capped sleeve black top underneath. I paired the top with a black pair of jeans and the same black flats previously seen.

The polka dot watch looks great with this outfit because there are so many different patterns of polka dots in the top. I wouldn’t have worn it with the previous two outfits. The little rhinestones in the watch match the round rhinestones in the ring. I love the ribbon that ties the pearl bracelets together. It makes the bracelet look more casual and it is a casual outfit.

Well, that is it till next month. On the topic of my weight I am happy to say that I did not gain any weight over the holidays. In fact, I lost a couple of pounds but I have a long way to go. In fact my goal is similar to that of Aunty Acid’s which is “To be able to clip my toenails and breathe at the same time”. I shall leave you with that image.

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Ho, Ho, Oh No! I’m Seeing Red!

Ho. Ho, Ho and Merry Christmas to all my Gal Pals.

I love Christmas! I decorate my house from top to bottom in 6 rooms. Many of my Facebook friends have been to my house during the holidays and can tell you that my loft is all North Pole with Santas, elves, reindeer and toys, my living room is outdoor Christmas with winter birds, snow bears, and the red truck with the evergreen tree in the bed of the truck, my guest bathroom is decorated with angels, the kitchen and dinette area are decorated with snowmen with gingerbread accents, and my formal dining room is my red and green room that is decorated with poinsettias, holly, fake evergreens (I am allergic to the real thing), berries and green/red plaids. I have two and a half Christmas trees (the half is my 38 year old daughter’s baby tree). Speaking of my daughter, I recently asked her how she could possibly be MY daughter. She wants nothing to do with real plants and I had a botanical garden at my former house. She wants nothing to do with Christmas decorations and I have to rent an 8 X 10 storage unit to house all my Christmas decorations. She reminds me of Maxine who is confused about Christmas traditions. One of my favorite Maxine sayings is “Apparently ‘deck the halls’ is good but decking the Christmas carolers is bad. Go Figure!”

On a more serious note, I tend to get very reflective during the Christmas holiday. My favorite room in my house is my dining room because that is where I put up my memory tree. I have at least 75 ornaments that have special meaning because most were given to me by my family, friends, and students. Why is it that I can remember who gave me each and every ornament from over 30 years ago and yet I can’t remember anything that happened this past weekend? Go figure! I love Aunty Acid who said “My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember all of the stuff I was suppose to do”. Then I become upset because I didn’t remember them and I can’t go back to sleep. Anyway, the most precious ornaments on this tree are the ones that remind me of those who passed on before me. A cardinal ornament for dad who used to watch them feed in his back yard, the beautiful ornament I made with my mother while sitting at her kitchen table, the golf shoes and cigar ornaments for my husband who did not have the temperament to golf, and the ornament my son made for me when he was young that has an adorable picture of him in the center. I tend to get very weepy when I hang these ornaments. I find it helps me to remember the reason for the season and because Jesus was born and died for me I have the promise that I will see my loved ones again. Knowing this I can move on and remember that until then life is good.

OK, lets talk about Christmas outfits. There was a time when I was teaching that I would buy cute Christmas tops and sweaters. I wore them for years because they were like new each year after only wearing them once or twice during the holiday season. However, after a while you say to yourself “Why are you spending so much money on Christmas clothing when you can buy yourself something you can wear several times each year?” That is when I started buying red tops and sweaters and using my fun Christmas accessories to make them seem more festive. As I have said in previous blogs I really dislike the drab colors of winter so red is my alternative color. I think everyone looks great in red. I remember a red-headed friend of mine who said she looked terrible in red. I have a hard time believing this. There are over 200 shades of red. There are shades of orange-reds, pink-reds, brown-reds (eg., scarlet, burgundy, maroon ), etc. There is something for everyone! You can wear navy, winter white or black pants with a red top. Red is a bright, warm color that evokes strong emotions. Red is associated with love, warmth, passion, power and comfort. Red is also considered an intense or even angry color that creates feeling of excitement or intensity. Even if you don’t like my outfits you have to admit that they look festive and that is the goal.

Before we look at the outfits I like to always add a little outdoor design that relates to my fashion blog. Below is a picture from the front of my house where I have shown you past seasonal decorations.

I took this picture just before sunset so you could see the bales of hay and the little evergreen tree next to the stag. I live in an area of Lockport called Willow Walk and if you walk around the neighborhood you will see several willow trees. I thought it only appropriate to put up a willow tree decoration that looks beautiful when each branch blows in the wind. The horns of the stag and the willow have warm white lights that pulsate on and off while the penguin, bushes and the body of the stag are made up of cold white lights. Even though the display is really monochromatic the two different whites add some dimension to the scene. The reason I am using this picture to make my point about not spending money for something you can only use for a short period of time is because there is nothing in this picture that says Christmas decorations. It is a beautiful outdoor scene that I can keep up until March unlike the very definite Christmas display I have put up on my front porch that will need to come down by January 6th.

Let’s get started!

Congrats to my sister for making me look thin in this picture! I love this outfit and will wear it often around the holidays. This is a simple red oversized top with black trim, leather looking skinny pants, and leather boots. It is the accessories that make it look like a Christmas outfit. I am standing in the North Pole room next to a sleigh filled with toys for good girls and boys. One thing I know is that Santa is a man because no woman wears the same attire every year.

I bought this tie at a Christmas craft show. If you are a crafty person, it should be easy to make. I love these earrings where the large part of the candy cane is the piece behind the ear. I am not sure if I ever previously described my white stone ring but the setting of the stone flips over and there is a purple stone on the other side.

I am standing in my formal dining room with my memory tree behind me. This is a great hostess outfit. If you are a person who does not want to wear a lot of red, just adding the red pashmina makes the outfit festive. The wide leg pants and the oversized black top are so comfy because they are made from materials that stretch. This is the kind of outfit you want to wear when you might eat too much. The front hem of the top comes to near mid-thigh while the back falls to mid-calf with tuxedo-like tails. When I hostess both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations, I typically won’t wear shoes so I make sure my toe nails are polished with red nail polish that match my finger nail polish. Below are the accessories that make it feel like a Christmas outfit.

I believe my friend and co-worker Jill made the pin. I worked in a school where some of the staff members made such cute jewelry and I loved going through their selections. During Christmas I might pull out the fine jewelry like this ruby ring that my mother passed down to me because she knew how much I loved it. When I wear it I feel like she is with me.

I am standing next to the tree in my living room. I love to wear three-quarter length sleeves because you can see the Christmas jewelry. I love the ruffle look at the bottom of this top. You cannot see the large red buttons that go down the front but they look wonderful with the round candy-like decorations on the scarf. You can see that I pull up the viewer’s eye by adding the winter white color through my necklace which makes the outfit more cohesive. It is rare that I don’t wear the same color shoes as my pants but here I make the exception because it adds that fun element to the outfit.

I am sure one of my co-workers made this bracelet but I cannot remember who it was. My pearl ring matches the pearls in the necklace and the synthetic jeweled ring matches the synthetic jewels in the bracelet. The round green and red earrings go beautifully with the round candies on the green scarf. This is called pulling together a coordinated outfit. Pictured is my only Christmas watch that has a decorated Christmas tree in the center. I bought it merely because it is Christmasy. There is no way I can read the time on it unless I have on my cheaters which won’t happen because they don’t look good with the outfit.

Well that is it until next year. Another year down and as crabby Maxine says “Stop looking at me when people say ‘Out with the old’!” I will leave you with a quote from Jay Leno that sums up this year “The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington D.C.. This wasn’t for religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin!”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my Gal Pals! Remember, God loves you and so do I.