CHEAP THRILLS

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, the summer is just about over and for some of you it’s back to work. For me, as each season passes I feel myself getting a little older. As I get older I really feel those problems that come with aging. As Aunty Acid says “My body is a temple….an ancient, crumbling, probably cursed or haunted temple”. Memory recall is the worst! Case in point, on our ride home from the cottage a week ago Sunday I told my sister I had an appointment with Dr. Hutchinson, my pulmonologist. Three days later on the day of my appointment I could not remember his name and had to look it up on “Mychart”. Why couldn’t I remember his name three days later? When it comes to memory I have a lot of “WHY” questions. One “Why” question I have always been interested in and it continues to fascinate me is why music influences recall of long term memories? I love to listen to the oldies, especially songs from my teenage years. Some oldies bring a smile to my face and I say “I love that song!” while others evoke somewhat of an emotional response because they remind me of a dance club I used to go to or a person who was special to me. What I want to know is “Why” do certain songs cause such a visceral response in me that I literally find myself in a flashback to a specific time and place. As a teenager I listened to hundreds of songs so “Why” do a handful of songs cause this visceral reaction? For me these songs include Peter and Gordon’s “World Without Love” and Merrilee Rush’s “Angel of the Morning”. In these flashbacks I can tell you everything about very specific moments in time including the names of the people I was with even though I have not seen them for over 50 years! It is like I am reliving the whole sensory experience! “Why” can I not remember the names of some of the people I worked with for several years before retirement or my doctors’ names or remember what I did last week but if I hear one of these “flashback” songs I can remember every detail about a 50 year old occurrence?

I was never sure if others had these flashback experiences when they heard certain songs until I did some research and found out that, supposedly, most people do. I decided to do a search on the internet to see if someone could explain this phenomena to me. Memory recall was my favorite topic in neuropsych and all my psych friends will understand it when I say I say I am a Luria nerd and I still pull out his book about the brain for nighttime reading. There is not a lot of research on this topic but the articles I did find describe this type of memory as “like stepping into a time machine”. Different parts of the brain work together to create this type of memory which involves processing auditory, emotional, sensory and episodic information simultaneously. Music has a way of generating emotions which tie into memory. These visceral memories stimulated by music often come from certain times in our lives (psychologists call this time the ‘reminiscence bump’) and typically occur during our teens and early twenties. The lyrics of music during our teen years enhanced the good times and helped us survive the bad times. Our teenage years were quite emotional for most of us and the music we listened to became part of our memories as did the sensory experience of the environment at the time. So when you hear specific songs they act as a retrieval cue for these emotionally driven flashback memories and you get to be a teenager again for a short period of time. Take it while you can get it!

Well, enough about aging, let’s talk fashion. I usually do a short segment on garden design but I decided to do 4 outfits instead because I found so many great deals. The title of this blog is “Cheap Thrills” because I get excited when I find a bargain. That is why in each picture I am doing my “happy dance” as I sing along to the oldies. I am on a retirement budget so I rarely buy something expensive to wear when there are so many cute clothes out there that will hide my belly and won’t break the bank. Hiding my belly is the priority. My belly must be like Aunty Acid’s belly which she describes this way “I started belly dancing today. It was so easy, no effort at all! I just gave a little shake and my belly danced all on its own”. Each of the pieces I am highlighting in this blog cost $40 or less. Under each picture I will tell you how much each piece cost and where I got it. So let’s get started.

Here I am doing my happy dance because of the deal I got on this poncho. I saw this beautiful white poncho in May while looking through Chico’s flyer. The price was $109 which was way too much for me. So I waited to see if it might end up on the sale rack. Well, at the beginning of July, Chico’s had a one day, on-line sale and there it was for $25! My 5% membership discount offset the tax and the shipping was free. Such a deal! I am wearing it with my turquoise Jams which are my favorite summer pants which is why I have them in several colors. The outfit looks great with my turquoise flip-flops. The accessories really complement the look (see below).

The outfit has kind of a beach vibe so I paired it with the fish necklace and bracelet that reflects this look. The green and turquoise colors of the jewelry look great with the outfit and the turquoise sunglasses finish off a fabulous look.

I think I am singing along with a song from the movie “Grease” in this picture. This beautiful lacy cover-up was a steal at $27. I bought it at Petals and Twigs in New Lenox. It is a gift store in a Victorian house owned by Trinity Services and the profits benefit people with disabilities. I paired it with a white top and my yellow Jams (I do love my Jams!). The outfit looks great with my white sandals with a 1” stacked heal. You can use any color accessories when you use yellow as a base color (see below).

When you are wearing an outfit that contains a lot of the same color you have to bring in other colors to offset it. I felt that a necklace would get lost with this outfit so I chose a green flower pin instead. The yellow flower earrings go so perfectly with the flower pin. The bangles allowed me to bring in the orange color of the watch. One of the rings contains 5 green peridot stones and the other contains an opaque yellow quartz stone. Together they compliment the outfit beautifully.

I am doing my happy dance in this picture because this cover-up was inexpensive on one of Chico’s on-line sales. At the end of July Chico’s had another one day sale and this wrap was originally $109 marked down to $39 and then I get 5% off because I have a membership. What I love about this wrap are the different patterns and textures of the material. It has a button and loop in front to keep it closed. Underneath it I am wearing a sleeveless navy blue top and I have paired it with white pants. My sandals are white and navy blue as are my other accessories (see below).

My ring, bracelet and necklace all have the same navy beads and the necklace, earrings and the other ring all have faux pearls. I wore a silver watch because of the silver in the necklace.

I think I have a classic rock song playing in my head in this picture. I am overly exuberant in this picture because I love this shirt dress! When it is hot and humid outside this is the kind of dress you want to reach for. It is 100% polyester and is so lightweight. It has side pockets and drop sleeves. I don’t typically buy dresses anymore but this is what I call a “throw-on” dress. If you need to run out for something at the last minute, you can just throw on this dress. I love it because you can dress it up or dress it down. It was 50% off at the Beach House in Saugatuck and cost me only $40. What a deal!

Because the dress is such a neutral color I felt that I should pair it with similar neutral colors. The earrings are made of wood and match the dress perfectly. The gold and cream color bracelet goes so well with the taupe and cream color of the scarf as does the taupe ring and watch band. The watch is made of rose gold and the other ring is made of yellow gold and rose gold.

First, I am so proud of myself that I got this blog out this month. I was on vacation for two weeks so I did not think there was a chance in hell that I would get it out in time (I am known for being late). Secondly, and speaking of vacations I am happy to say that I did not gain a pound over the two weeks even though I had 2 banana splits, a chocolatte ice cream sundae, 6 chocolate covered caramels and a half pound of bakery cookies. My liver doctor would kill me if he found out! The only thing I can figure is it was a combination of power walking during my power shopping, walking up 73 stairs from the beach to the top of the cliff and not much in the way of snacking between or after meals. See, power shopping is good for your health! When I am home I tend to snack the most in front of the TV but we do not have TV reception at the cottage so I am busy doing other things like reading, jigsaw puzzles and playing games on my iPAD. When I’m at home I tend to eat a light diet described by Aunty Acid as “…I eat by dayLIGHT, I eat by moonLIGHT and sometime I eat by refrigerator Light”.

Well, hopefully I will get my blog out on time next month. So until then remember “God loves you and so do I”.

COLOR ME TROPICAL

Aloha to all my Gal Pals,

I want to explain how I ended up with the picture above. Lately I seem to have a lot of wandering thoughts. A few of these wanderings make sense because they are related to something important like solving a problem. However, I am astounded by the majority of them because I start with one thought related to something in my immediate environment and somehow that one thought takes me to far away places. That is how I ended up with my intro picture. I was listening to the song “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys which made me think of tropical islands which made me think of the movie “South Pacific” (that I recently watched) which made me think of soldiers in the South Pacific (my father was one of them) which made me think of Betty Grable as a pin-up girl which made me think “Wouldn’t it be fun to recreate a pin-up picture for my blog” since it is about tropical outfits and VOILA! I guess I should be thankful that my mind works at all. There are days I think it is giving me the silent treatment. I once read something on a poster that makes me worry “Getting older is just one body part after another saying, ‘HaHa, you think that’s bad? Watch this!” UGH!

We are in the midst of one of the hottest Julys in history. It is hot, hot, hot! It makes me think of Crabby Maxine who says “If hell’s gonna be this hot, I gotta start being nicer.” It seems like the perfect time to wear those tropical outfits. A little history on tropical attire for women which evolved from those service personnel of the South Pacific I was referring to earlier. After WWII ended in the 1940s Hawaiian print shirts, sarong dresses and tropical flowers have been popular clothing in summer. Women of the 1940s through the 1960s hosted Tiki parties as did restaurants and dance halls. To dress for these occasions, women wore tropical print dresses called tiki dresses. The tiki dress had two main shapes. Full circle skirts (i.e. swing dresses), and the very narrow pencil shaped dresses associated with the Pin-up Girl that is still popular today. All were made with tropical print fabrics. Backing up a little farther in history, the Christian missionaries, who arrived in 1820 to set up operations in Maui and Oahu, preferred the native women fully clothed instead of half naked. Mission women designed the Hawaiian muumuu to accommodate native women of all sizes, and the muumuu continues to be popular today in richly decorated native floral patterns. With the current heat, I feel like I am on a tropical island. I always find it funny when I hear men complain to women about the heat. Most of us can relate to Crabby Maxine who says, “To me summer is just one long hot flash”.

I think I showed you one garden picture that contained my dad’s hibiscus plant. I decided to make it the focus for this blog not only because it is a tropical plant but because it is 30 years old.

It stands almost 7 feet tall in the pot and it has managed to stay alive in my unheated garage during subzero weather. When my dad passed away over 20 years ago I inherited it and take care of it in honor of him.

OK, let the tropical fashion show begin. Every tropical outfit is not complete without a hat, sunglasses and a tropical drink in your hand.

This top is not only a beautifully colorful article of clothing and covers the tummy, it was a great buy from Chico’s because it was on sale, I got a member discount and I had a gift card from my birthday. I think I might have talked about my Jams before in another blog. They are light weight, loose fitting pants that have an elastic waste and tie string. They remind me of “I Dream of Jeannie” pants but not so transparent. I have them in several colors. I use to wear them on hot days in the garden to keep the mosquitos off my legs.

I decided to show the tropical pattern along with the jewelry I paired it with. It is hard to find accessories in the purplish-pink color of the flowers and butterflies but not impossible. The watch band and the earrings I wore are exactly the same color. You can’t tell by the picture but the sunglasses’ lenses reflect the turquoise color. The bracelets and rings also compliment the turquoise in the pattern. The necklace says “Chic”.

I love this outfit because it just flows. I wish you could feel the material of this light weight tropical top. The only way I can describe it as “rich”. It was a splurge buy this past February when I took my sister out for a shopping trip at Von Maur for her birthday. It always happens that I am out shopping for someone else and I end up also buying something for myself. But in my defense it was a great buy and it minimizes my belly. Some of the flowers in the top are navy blue so I paired it with a summer pair of wide leg, navy blue pants and navy sandals.

I love dragonflies and I miss seeing them around my pond. Butterflies and dragonflies go beautifully with tropical flowers. The colors in the butterfly bracelet are exactly the colors in the flowers of the top. The sunglasses have a navy blue frame and the ring as well as the watch are the same green colors of the tropical leaves.

Two years ago in August of 2019 I did a blog about outfits that you could wear out for lunch then go right to the pool. This is one of those outfits. Instead of a top I am wearing a black bathing suit with a pleated overlay that hangs over a pair of black Jams (described previously). It is easy to slip off the Jams and the tropical duster is a great poolside coverup.

I always make sure I have a watch when tanning so I know when to turn over and of course it is always color coordinated with my bathing outfit. The lovebird bracelet and the necklace are coated with a shiny coppery color. The necklace has lovely matching earrings but to be perfectly honest I rarely wear dangling earrings to the beach because I would have to take them off and sure as shootin I would lose one of the earrings. I have a collection of earrings that are no longer a pair. I keep them just in case I come upon the lost earrings but I am giving up hope. I think I have a better chance of finding a missing sock.

OK, I haven’t lost any more weight since the last blog but during the summer I am glad not to have gained weight. I love socializing while sitting outside and eating desserts. I think I mentioned last week that I bought a Yonana and it satisfies my ice cream cravings. The problem is I have a lot of other cravings in the summer (actually all year round). Aunty Acid taught me to pray “Dear Lord, let me only crave water this week” but I can only hold out for about an hour. The problem is I don’t like water. I drink it only because I’m told I have to drink it for my health. My brother sent me an email poster that reflects my feeling about giving up my guilty food pleasures at my age. It says “Did you know? By replacing your potato chips with grapefruit as a snack you can lose up to 90% of what little joy you still have left in your life”. Amen to that. I prefer to enjoy what is left of my life so I subscribe to a quote I read “I’m fat but I identify with skinny, I’m trans-slender”.

Well, that is it for this month. I am so proud of myself for getting this blog out on time. There were no major disruption in my life over the last 4 weeks. So hopefully I will get the next one out in August. On the other hand you may get a notice that I copied from Aunty Acid that states “ATTENTION ALL! Due to my recent carb setbacks my summer body has been postponed for yet another year! Your patience is, as usual, fully appreciated. Please bring me a donut. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.”

Until then, remember God loves you and so do I.

The World Is Black, The World Is White

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

It has been awhile! I thought I might not get my April blog out in time because I had so many reports to write but I had no idea what life had in store for me that created barriers for getting out my blog for over 3 months. You know how they say “When it rains, it pours” or as Aunty Acid puts it “I’m not sure if life is passing me by or trying to run me over!”, well it felt like I was run over. First, I hurt my back and had to make my annual trek to physical therapy. Why I think I can lift heavy things is beyond me. Remember when we were kids and we couldn’t wait to be older? Well, now I am here and it sucks! So to continue this saga, my sister, who is also my photographer, ended up with a very bad case of shingles. She has been in pain for over 5 weeks with a rash on her abdomen and lower back. She is also one of the 2% of people who get an associated pseudo hernia. She has a bulge on her abdomen that will last 3 months up to a year. Hard to believe she got the shingle shots! Then we both got Covid. I had the fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, nausea and headache. Sadly, I realized I am at that age where I never know if all my aches and pains are due to old age or if there is actually something wrong with me. For the most part I am a very happy old lady but I have those days where I just don’t give a damn. It is like Aunty Acid says “My 4 Moods: I’m too old for this crap, I’m too tired for this crap, I’m too sober for this crap, I don’t have time for this crap”. Yep, that says it all.

As you can tell from the mime picture and title (I love 3 Dog Night) the theme of this blog is black and white. If you read blog #16, I did a whole write up about the use of black and white in fashion. I have so many black and white pieces in my closet so I decided to do another blog with some of my favorite black and white outfits. Black and white are very neutral colors so the trick is in finding interesting pieces or finding fun accessories that enhance the outfits. Black and white can be very elegant, very interesting , very boring, very casual or anything in-between. I typically will wear a pop of red with these colors but with the right accessories you might just use a pop of red on your lips which is what I have done in todays’s blog pictures. When you add accessories to an outfit think about the scale of the pieces you use. The size of your accessories have an impact on the final look. Your accessories should enhance your outfit, they shouldn’t overpower it. Accessories add dimension, depth and individuality to a look. Never wear something that doesn’t feel like it is working with the rest of the outfit. Black and white outfits are trending for 2022 but the combination is classic so it never really goes out of style. Maybe that is how I should think of my age. I’m not getting old, I’m just becoming a classic!

I really don’t have any pictures of my gardens that would depict the black and white theme of today’s blog but I used many “accessories “ in my gardens to enhance the beauty of the yard. I would create little areas that added interest to a very large area. Below I created a very simple cluster of items that created a very cozy, relaxing area. The colors are coordinated and the candle chandelier adds a little ambiance. Something to think about when you are putting together an outfit. When putting this grouping together I thought about color, scale and interest.

OK, let’s look at some belly hiding outfits through a black and white lens.

This is a very preppy look and is trending for 2022. I am not a stickler for trends but I really like this look. I like the classic cut of the shorts and checked patterns are very much in style. Just like I think every woman needs a little black dress, I also think she needs a black suit coat. I have shown this jacket in many of my past blogs because it is so versatile. I am wearing a loose fitting white top to minimize my tummy. This is a very casual outfit so I scaled back on the jewelry. I think the patterned sneakers look great with the checks.

I not only try to think of the scale of the jewelry when pairing the pieces with the outfit but I try to think of the scale of each of the pieces to each other. I kept to one color of metal and each of these pieces compliment the checks of the shorts even though they are very simple pieces.

I just happened to have a pair of pinstriped pants in my closet that go beautifully with the pinstriped top I just bought at a cute little boutique in Saugatuck, Michigan. My favorite part of the top is the asymmetrical hemline. The black sandals look great with the stripes. A solid black shoe would have been too overpowering for this outfit. Even though the pinstripes are interesting it is the jewelry that really enhances this outfit. Whether you are designing a room or putting together an outfit, stripes look great with flowers.

The flowered necklace is the statement piece in this grouping. The earrings are part of the set and look like the petals in the flowers. The only other flower is in the small ring. You don’t want to go overboard with too many flowers because you want the necklace to be the star of the show. I stayed with the gold metal and chose pieces that would not only enhance the outfit but also enhance the necklace.

Gauze outfits are really trending this summer. This outfit would look great at a black and white beach wedding. I kept my jewelry simple because I wanted the top to be the statement piece. The gauze pants I bought at The Bridge in Holland and the top at The Beach House in Saugatuck. I love shopping in Michigan! The flowered sandals are simple and look very summery like the rest of the outfit.

I love the polka dot watch with this outfit but I think the stars of this grouping are the dangling pearl earrings. I bought them from a jewelry crafter at the open air market on River Street in Savannah, Georgia. The cluster of pearls look a lot like the floating seeds you can see on my lovely top. When I am going for a beach vibe I automatically reach for pearls.

As for my weight, I have lost about 12 pounds since I started this blog. I have to keep it off because my liver doctor will have me weigh in when I see him in November. He said 10 pounds this year and another 10 next year. Unfortunately I have the same problem as Aunty Acid who says “Every time I lose some weight I find it again in the refrigerator”. My biggest downfall during the summer is my love of ice cream. I think I might have found a great alternative. I just bought a Yonanas machine and it makes a great ice cream substitute that tastes like ice cream but is made from frozen fruit. I probably would have no problem losing weight if I follow the cardiologist’s diet which is “If it tastes good, spit it out”. It ain’t going to happen!

Well, let’s hope no more crap gets thrown my way so I can get my blog out next month but as we all know SHIT HAPPENS.

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

All Wrapped Up, Birthday Girl

Hello to all my Gal Pals,

My birthday, the big 7-0, is not until May 1st but with my poor track record of getting my blog out on time I thought it best to celebrate with blog 32. I wish I could say I don’t feel like I am 70 but I do. Auntie Acid says it best “After 40 your body has a mind of it’s own and after 50 it will frequently remind you”. I am often reminded. I also am celebrating my 100th belly minimizing outfit! Speaking of belly minimizing outfits, I did something I have never done before. I wrote to a women’s magazine regarding my disappointment with their fashion section. I have been buying this magazine for several years and with each edition I would shake my head thinking “Do they really understand the women who buy this magazine?” Some of you will recognize the section I am referring to when I say “Who wore it best?”. They show two different actresses wearing the same article of clothing and determine who wore it best. It is not that I disagree with their choice but the outfit typically worn best is also the most form fitting. It is usually worn by an actress with a small waist and flat belly which is not the typical shape of the average woman over 50. We tend to have thicker waists and a belly bulge so we can’t wear those outfits that highlight the waistline. I probably won’t get a response from the magazine but at least I got it off my chest. If they won’t listen to me they should listen to Aunty Acid when she says “It’s true….life begins at 50 but everything else starts to burn out, spread out or fall out”.

It is 70 degrees as I am writing this blog so I am in the mood for spring and I just planted a container of pansies. They are very hardy and will live through the frost of the season but I will pull them into the garage if we go below freezing. I am thinking “flowers” so I decided to break out the spring outfits and highlight the flowers we have all been waiting for. I have done blogs about ruanas and kimonos but I was never sure what to call wraps that are a little of both. Let me explain, a modern kimono jacket has a front opening, loose sleeves, the front and back hems are the same length and they typically have a side seam that goes from sleeve to hem or close to the hem. A ruana does not have a side seam and differs from a poncho in that it has a front opening but it also has a front and back hem that are the same length like the kimono. The question is, what do you call a jacket that has defined loose sleeves, hems the same length all the way around but only has a few inches of a side seam? I found one website where these jackets are called “Kianas” meaning a mash-up of the two different styles. I don’t think they know what to call them in the Soft Surroundings catalogues so they call them “toppers”. I just call them “wraps” which is defined as a loose outer garment. I love wearing these loose outer coverups because they hide all my body bulges! I have accepted my bulges but as Aunty Acid explains “A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the people who mention it”.

First, let’s start with a small outdoor design. Just like with a simple outfit, simplicity can be beautiful in an outdoor setting.

Since I am thinking spring I have to have a picture of flowers. And to celebrate my 100th outfit I am going back to the beginning. I think I might have shown you this cluster of form and function. This was my front patio that I tried to make inviting so if one of my neighbors walked by they felt invited to come and sit a spell. It is a small little area that hopefully made those who sat down feel “wrapped up” in the beauty of nature and the warmth of friendship.

OK, let the spring fashion show begin!

My pose will be the same in all three pictures because I want you to be able to see the patterns on the wraps. This wrap has a burst of white and hot pink flowers (hard to see the pink flowers but they are there) on an orange background which is paired so beautifully with the orange jeans and white sandals. I typically don’t like wearing belts unless they have a buckle so I can keep it loose and I only wear one under some sort of coverup that hide my bulges. This blouse has 3 layers so I have the belt over two of the more form fitting layers and under the top free flowing layer. Because of the wrap, I am able to hide all my bulges. What I love about most wraps is that they are inexpensive but they make a big statement. I bought this wrap on sale for around $30 dollars. The accessories shown below really help to accentuate the colors.

These accessories match the orange and white in the color of the wrap and all metals are gold colored. Since the pattern is so bold, it is best to go with bold jewelry.

As I have stated in past blogs, I don’t like plaids but I love checked material especially black and white checks. Red just pops against the black and white material. The leaves are a deep green and look lovely against the red flowers. I have paired the wrap with a black pair of slacks and black sandals. The sleeveless blouse has two loose layers with the top layer being very sheer. This wrap was bought at Von Maur at full price for $35 and worth every penny. The jewelry below is meant to highlight the red and green of the flowers.

The red flower necklace was handmade by working women in Africa. The flowered earrings were hand crafted and bought last year at the Odeum spring craft show in Villa Park. I am looking forward to going again this year. The watch is exactly the same color as the leaves in the wrap. The rhinestone ring matches the checks of the wrap.

This is one of my favorite wraps. It has differing patterns and within each pattern are lots of little flowers. I am wearing it with my mustard color jeans but you have so many choices of possible colors because of the multiple colors in the material. I have on an eggshell colored short sleeved top, mustard color sandals and an olive green belt, all are colors in the wrap. This wrap was the most expensive. I already told you I would never buy any article of clothing for more than 100 dollars unless the piece was exceptional. At the beginning of the summer this wrap cost over 100 dollars at Chico’s. No way was I going to pay that amount for a wrap. By the end of the summer it was on sale for $59. With a coupon and my member discount I was able to buy it for less. SOLD! The accessories you can wear with this wrap are endless. I chose the ones below.

The olive and rust colors in the necklace match the colors in the earrings but they are not a set. Both are made of stone but the necklace is handcrafted and the earrings were probably mass produced. I paired it with rings with olive green and orange stones. The band of the watch is olive green. The eggshell, gold and silver colored wrap bracelet with a magnetic closure is hand crafted with a beautiful gold cross on the charm. I bought it at a South Haven craft show in the park while vacationing in Michigan.

Well, that is it for this month. I hope I can get another blog out before May 1st but who knows what will happen between now and then. As for my weight. I haven’t lost any more weight but neither have I gained back what I lost. Sometimes I can relate to Aunty Acid’s frustration when she says “Age is only a number, weight is only a number. I’ve decided that numbers are really starting to piss me off!”. I would like to know how the body decides where it will shed those pounds. Unfortunately for me, it decided to make my face and my waist thinner. Here is the problem, losing fat in my face highlights my wrinkles and losing weight in my waist highlights my upper and lower abdominal fat tiers. My midsection no longer has a belly button but it has gained a smiley face.

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

I Meant a Straight Jacket Not a STRAITJACKET!

Hi to All My Gal Pals,

I’m late again with this blog but life happens. I just picked up 2 more psych cases so I can’t even guarantee the next one will be on time but I will do my best. It seems like I am unable to keep up and I am only working part-time so I am still asking myself how I used to get things done when I worked full time. Is it because I am getting old? One of the reasons I am glad to be back at work is because it forces me to use my brain again. I was beginning to feel like Aunty Acid when she said “I find that these days 95% of my conversations start with ‘Where was I?’ or ‘What was I going to say?’. It also forces me to use a little technology again other than social media or games. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I am technology challenged. I totally identify with a quote by Dave Barry, “Buying the right computer and getting it to work properly is no more complicated than building a nuclear reactor from wrist watch parts in a darkened room using only your teeth”. I am sure all the people I worked with are nodding their heads and chuckling. If it weren’t for friends like Liz, who is a technology guru, I would have been pulling my hair out and accomplishing very little at work. Aunty Acid describes it the best; “I’m on the INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY but I’m in the slow lane and my blinkers are on”. Let me put it to you this way, I only have a flip phone and a landline phone but I like it that way. My daughter asked me when I was going to get a big girl phone. My response “NEVER!” Let’s face it, many of you with iPHONES occasionally feel like Crabby Maxine who says “I miss the days when you could slam down your phone without it costing you $300”. You can’t fight progress but you can unplug a good chunk of it. Consider me officially UNPLUGGED!

Alright, enough about me, let’s talk fashion. This blog is about jackets and jeans. Jackets are a great way to hide that belly bump that appears sometime after fifty. Most of us don’t want to dress up any more so we reach for our go-to jeans unless, after being home for so long and eating our way through life, they don’t fit any more. That reminds me of an Aunty Acid quote, “I signed up for aerobics at the local gym…they said wear loose clothing….If I had any loose fitting clothing I wouldn’t have signed up for freakin’ aerobics!”. So true, so true. I did a past blog on jeans so this one will focus on jackets, the kind you can wear indoors. I try to give you a little history about the article of clothing that is the topic of the blog. Women started wearing short jackets in the Victorian era to provide warmth for lightweight gowns. They followed the high waisted style of the dress but had long sleeves and a high collar. They were known as “Spencer” jackets. Up to 1954, jackets were fairly bland, like the jackets of the Suffragettes. But along came a a French designer named Gabriella “Coco” Chanel whose designs for women’s jackets and suits were rejected by European designers but embraced by American women because the style of her jackets were modern and liberating. Her jackets were straight and structured, almost boxy and devoid of any darting, with a single seam down the center back and made pretty by beautiful embellishments. You can go to almost any event or party by pairing your favorite jeans with a lovely jacket and matching accessories. I love to take one of my pretty suit jackets and wear it with jeans.

As far as an outdoor picture, I have given you a picture of my winter garden. Planting was easy.

Even though it looks like it could be the Alps, it is the same area I always decorate in front of my house. That little blob on top of the hill in the forefront is my little Matty in his outdoor jacket with a faux fur trimmed hood. He has almost as many winter coats as I have thanks to his Aunt Vicki who loves to spoil him. I promise next time I will put up a picture of flowers so we can all start thinking spring.

Let the fashion show begin! You know I hate drab colors in the winter so my jackets have to have colorful patterns.

This jacket is great because it is reversible so I get two outfits from it. The flowers are light blue, black and gold with a cream background on one side and a black background on the other side. The buttons are hard to see but they are very pretty on both sides. I love a jacket that has pockets (thank you Coco Chanel!). I paired the jacket with a black top, black jeans and black flats. I would feel comfortable wearing this outfit almost anywhere and not feel out of place. The accessories below help to dress up the outfit.

The antique silver and bright gold metal necklace totally matches the flowers in the jacket. I paired it with bright gold bangle bracelets, a silver and gold watch, antique silver earrings (not part of a set with the necklace but they go so well together) and my black wooden ring along with my antique silver metal ring with a rhinestone in the middle to match the ones in the earrings.

This jacket is like wearing a piece of modern art. You can wear it with almost any color jeans. I have paired it with dark turquoise jeans, a black turtleneck top and black, 1 inch heeled shoes. The sleeves have an 8 inch flair between the elbows and the wrist and I let the sleeves of the top hang below the flair. The jacket is the statement piece so the accessories are barely noticed.

I decided to highlight the red color in the jacket so I paired it with a red heart necklace since Valentines Day is around the corner, very modern pair of earrings, and a red watch. I wore this bracelet because it goes so well with the jacket and highlights autism awareness. I am not sure who gave me this bracelet but maybe one of my LWASE co-workers can help me out on that. One ring has a greenish-yellow stone and the other a turquoise stone. So many options of jewelry with this jacket.

PEACE! I think I told you that I am a 60’s girl at heart. I love everything about the 60’s but especially the fashion. This Boho-chic jacket is one of my favorites and I wear it often. In the past I talked about combining texture and pattern in a single piece and this epitomizes that design concept. The lower part of the sleeves and the lower part of the jacket are made of a stretchy polyester while the upper part of the sleeve and the bodice are made of a crushed velvet with the lapel made of a sheer material. I have paired it with a maroon pair of jeans that go so well with the coloring in the crushed velvet and a greenish-gold top and maroon colored shoes.

I decided to highlight the blue in the crushed velvet part of the jacket so I am wearing a faux, blue stone necklace with earrings containing beads that contain the same blue stones as in the necklace (not part of a set). The blue ring and rope-like bracelet remind me of the 60’s and the antique gold watch goes well with the coloring of the jacket.

OK, let’s talk weight (ugh!). Actually I have lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the blog. It only took me a little more than two years. I have 5 more to go to make my liver doctor happy. I have had to adjust my diet because my heart doctor wants me to give up fats, my liver doctor wants me to give up starches and sugar and anything that’s left I am allergic to because of my sulfite allergy. I figure the only things I can eat are bland poultry and occasionally red meat. It reminds me of another Aunty Acid quote, “Dieting is easy….it’s like riding a bike….and the bike is on fire….and the ground is on fire….and everything is on fire because you are in HELL!”.

Well, that is it for now. I am not a football fan but I always root for the underdog. I hope you all have a happy Valentines Day. I am going to ignore what I am suppose to do and get myself chocolate covered strawberries, my favorite dessert and partially healthy. The only sweets I seem to be able to eat without having an asthma attack is chocolate. However, maybe I am allergic to it because of the way Aunty Acid describes it, “I think I am allergic to chocolate. My ass and thighs are showing definite signs of swelling”.

On that note, till next time and remember God loves you and so do I.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT BASS

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Happy New Year or as Aunty Acid would say “Happy New Year – Try not to screw it up”. It has been awhile since my last blog. I have been so busy with going back to work to do a few evaluations, getting ready for the holidays like decorating (it takes 5 full days to decorate inside and outside), write Christmas cards (I’m down to 30), shop for presents (thank you Vicki for doing some of it for me) and hosting get-togethers (Christmas Eve and Christmas day). I am finally getting some needed downtime. Aunty Acid says it best “I’m in a really good place right now. Not emotionally or spiritually, just on my couch with my dog.”

I find that I become reflective around the holidays. I think last Christmas I wrote about my memory Christmas tree and thinking about all those who were important to me that have passed on. I think I am most reflective the week after Christmas and before the new year. The hustle and bustle are over and the day after Christmas I suffer from the Christmas Blues. I find that the day after Christmas I am still on overdrive but have nothing to do and I question whether I really celebrated the true meaning of Christmas. So I turn off all the overhead lights, turn on all the indoor Christmas lights (and there are a lot of them) and listen to my favorite Christmas carols like Silent Night, The First Noel and O Come All Ye Faithful. My favorite carol is Angels We Have Heard on High. As it played in the background, I found myself thinking about all my earth angels. I remember the pastor giving a sermon on how God puts people in your path of life to help you. He said they might be there for a minute or a life time but they are there when you need them. So as I reflected on the year 2021, I thought about all those “earth angels” that were in my life that made it such a wonderful year during a horrible pandemic.

I was fortunate enough to have a few “earth angles” in my corner this year. One of them is a family friend named Rick. Rick is not only a friend but is the best handyman a single woman could have in her life. For those of you who are single, you will totally understand. Within the first month after buying my townhome, the dishwasher, oven and water softener stopped working correctly. Rick to the rescue! He fixed what he could then helped me shop for and installed what couldn’t be fixed. He is very selfless and has helped all of us in the family for quite a few years. Another “earth angel” is my sister Vicki. We fought like cats and dogs in our younger years but during my husband’s and son’s illnesses she was my rock. No matter what I needed she was alway there and continues to be through today. I hope all of you have or had an “earth angel” in your life. Even better I hope that God will put you or I in the path of someone in need where we can be an “earth angel” to him or her. Don’t be an Aunty Acid who spouts “I’ve just found out the world doesn’t revolve around me. I’m shocked and upset!” We all know someone like that.

I love the fact that a bass guitar is much like my figure, a little bigger at the bottom. I also love that the words in Megan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass” remind us that women who have a little fat on their bodies are perfect from their bottom to their top. However, this blog is about accessorizing the “base” (a little play on words). A “base” is the foundation you build on. I have done these blogs before where I wear the same “base” outfit and accessorize it in different ways to create a whole new outfit each time. The monochromatic “base” in this blog is winter white. Winter white outfits are totally on trend and it is a color that flatters most skin tones. Winter white is never pure white and always has a creamy/ivory color to it. There is nothing more luxurious than a winter white outfit. It has the ability to make every ensemble look seriously expensive. It looks so chic and can lift your mood. For some of you winter whites can be daunting because you are scared to get your clothes dirty. Stop overthinking it unless you are klutzy or plan on making snow angels. I love Aunty Acids quote “You know what outfit looks best on everybody? SELF CONFIDENCE! Rock it and own it ladies!”.

I always like throwing in an outdoor scene that depicts the topic of my blog. Here is a picture of my townhouse with this year’s Christmas decorations. Last year I did an outdoor scene with deer, a tree and warm white lights. This year I took the same “base” and accessorized it with a snowman, a penguin and bright colors. You can totally change a look using different accessories.

My neighbors tell me they can’t wait to see my display for the next season. Sometimes just changing the type of plants or one new decoration can make a display look different from the previous year’s display.

OK, let the fashion show begin.

This is a great outfit for a more casual New Year’s Eve party. The gold metallic-looking Boyfriend jacket is a statement piece so your jewelry should be understated. The “base” is a winter white lightweight sweater, stretch pants and shoes with a 1inch heel. It not only looks good but is very comfortable. Just what you want to wear to party in on a long night.

Nothing looks better with winter white than pearls. The metallic pin and earring set along with the rings are gold like the jacket while pulling out the winter white color of the “base” through the pearls. A gold bangle and a metal gold and silver watch round out the simplified accessories.

This gorgeous wrap is not only lovely to look at but is also functional on a cold day. The wrap contains multiple colors of pink with green and winter white accents. You know how much I like a little fringe to add to the interest of an outfit. The jewelry goes perfectly to bring out the accent colors of the wrap.

I just bought this ring at an antique store in South Haven, Michigan. It has a beautifully carved outdoor scene in a pink stone. The multi strand green necklace helps to highlight the green in the wrap. The watch is a metallic rose-gold. The bracelet is a soft pink with gold trim and accented with pearls. The earrings are made of an antique gold filigree design with tiny pink flowers and white leaves painted on the metal.

I have three of these “transformer“ wraps. It can be worn several different ways. I think I wore my blue one in my blog “That’s a Wrap” but I configured it differently. It is a perfect length when worn as a vest with a monochromatic outfit. This piece was purchased at “The Beach House” boutique in Saugatuck, Michigan.

I love all the different designs and textures of this grouping. The earrings look like the feathers of the necklace and the metallic looking bracelet is made up of animal prints that also go so beautifully with the necklace. The taupe and gold watch along with the abstract design of the taupe and pearl ring match one of the colors in the necklace. They all blend so well together.

Well, let’s talk about my weight. Why is it that it takes four weeks to lose five pounds but only four days to gain it back? I recently went to see my liver doctor who told me I had to give up sugar and starches (like that is going to happen over the holidays). He also told me that the two pounds I lost put my BMI score in the “over weight” category which was better than the “obese” category I was in 6 weeks prior. I was so proud of myself I went out and celebrated with a scoop of ice cream from Coldstone. Well, Christmas sweets just put me back into the latter group. When trying to think positively I go right to Aunty Acid who helps me to remember “Yes, I might have gained a little weight this year but at least my flip flops still fit”.

Hopefully I can get the next blog out sooner. In the meantime, remember God loves you and so do I.

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.