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.

APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS

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.