Capes And A Little Black Dress

Top O’ The Mornin’ and Happy Belated St. Patty’s Day to All My Gal Pals,

I planned on getting this blog out last week but stuff happens. I ended up with shingles and a respiratory problem (no cough or fever). I cannot even imagine what those with the Covid-19 virus are going through. I have asthma and those of us with breathing problems know what it is like when you get sick with a respiratory illness and have difficulty breathing. I believe I am getting better on both fronts. My prayers go out daily to all those who contracted this awful virus. I am so thankful for so many things. I personally thank every cashier that waits on me, my pharmacist for showing up to work so I can get my inhaler, my doctor and her nurse that show up each day so I can ask for their advice and there are so many others that I can’t thank personally like truck drivers, delivery men, all hospital workers, postal workers and everyone who is doing their best to keep us safe and helping us to get the things we need. It seems like such a trivial thing to continue a fashion blog but I think we occasionally need something else to think about so here is my contribution to just that. On a lighter note, I am a single woman with 3 bathrooms that are always well stocked with toilet paper. I figure if I move from bathroom to bathroom I can wipe until mid summer.

Luckily, none of the clothes I am showing you today were stuck at the cleaners. I dropped some of my clothes off at the cleaners right before I got sick and the person behind the counter asked me when I wanted them back. It seemed like a crazy question to me. I said there was no hurry since I didn’t know when I would be able to go anywhere to wear them. I have been doing a lot of reading to occupy my time and in one magazine I read that Kourtney Kardashian stated she feels most desirable when she is naked. I just cannot relate to this! I can better relate to Aunty Acid who says “The scariest feeling in the world is in the split second when you lose your balance in the shower and think ‘Oh God, they’re going to find me naked!’.”

Let’s talk fashion. I love a little black dress! Not only is it slimming (Yeah!) but it is like a blank canvas waiting to be adorned with color. I love Karl Lagerfield’s quote “One is never over dressed or under dressed with a little black dress”. I have dressed them up with beautiful accessories and dressed them down with a short white jean jacket and white canvass shoes. Sara Bareilles even sings a great song called Little Black Dress. The little black dress can be traced to the 1920’s and Coco Chanel helped to popularize it. The most famous little black dress is the stunning dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Diane von Furstenburg said “The little black dress is the true friend…she travels with you…is patient and constant…you go to her when you don’t know where else to go and she is ALWAYS reliable and timeless”. I love to adorn my blank canvas with beautiful jewelry but even better I love to accessorize it with a beautiful cape. Fashion accessories are something used in a secondary manner that complete the perfect outfit. That is exactly what a cape does. It seems funny that in the last blog I was talking about fur as an accessory and in this blog I am talking about a cape that can keep you warm in a changing season. That reminds me of another Aunty Acid quote “I’m finally getting rid of my winter fat now I’ve got spring rolls”.

Let’s start with one of the pictures I took from my house before I moved.

I thought this was an appropriate picture for this blog. This canvas hung outside where I could see it every day from my living room window. The colors make it beautiful and the painting of the poppies brings back so many memories. My dad used to have a raspberry patch at the back of our yard when we were growing up. He was afraid the neighborhood kids would climb the fence to get to the raspberries and hurt themselves so he ripped out the raspberries and planted red-orange poppies. The sign above the painting is so appropriate for these times, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain”. Adding the paint to the canvas is like adding colorful accessories to a little black dress. So let’s look at some examples.

First I want to describe the little black dresses I am wearing in each of the photos. The one on the left is a knit dress that is ribbed through the bust area then flairs out with pleats, hiding all my midsection rolls. It has a beautiful cowl collar and ribbed sleeves. The one in the middle is a sleeveless swing dress which also hides THE BELLY and is one that you can throw on to run to the store. The sheath dress on the right has capped sleeves and pockets. Designer Jason Wu stated “A perfectly fitted sheath dress that can take you from day to night is something every woman should have in her closet”. With each outfit I am wearing 4 inch heels but it feels like I am wearing 2 inch heels because of the platform under the balls of the feet. You could wear any size heel with these outfits.

How is this for an accessory? Talk about a painting on a canvas! The nice thing about capes is that they can be worn several different ways. I have turned this cape so the buttons go over my shoulder. I am holding it out so you can see the scene on the cape but when I put my arms down it just looks like a palatte of paint. It looks great with the straightness of the sheath dress. All the capes I will be wearing in this blog came from stores in the towns around the cottage in Michigan.

The flower pin looks great against the colors of the cape as do the two bracelets, ring, sunglasses and earrings. The sky is the limit when you have so many colors to work with. And like my capes, all of these accessories came from the little boutiques in Michigan.

As you can see, this cape is reversible and is beautiful on both sides. My sister tried to capture the back of the cape in the mirror behind me. I am wearing it with the long sleeved little black dress because it is made of a heavier material which is perfect for our March weather. Again, you have many colors to work with for accessories but with this outfit I went with the pattern instead of the colors as you can see below.

The two tone silver flowers on the necklace reminded me of the flowers on the cape. The beautiful bracelet was a gift from my sister, daughter and son-in-law. It is from a fine jewelry store in South Haven, Michigan. The removable charm on the bracelet is a gold and silver wreath. This is a very popular bracelet and the store carries so many beautiful charms.

This cape came from The Bridge in Holland which is the fair trade store of handmade items that I described in an earlier blog. Again, it is a reversible cape that looks lovely on both sides. This picture does not do the cape justice because you can’t really see the beautiful sheen of this material. It has a ribbed knit collar and is lightweight enough that you can unbutton it and wear it as an indoor jacket. I am wearing it with my swing dress.

The earrings and bracelet are a set and came from a store in Douglas, Michigan that sells estate and antique jewelry. The earrings are clips, of which I have many, because I love old jewelry.

Well, that is it for today. I am not even going to talk about a diet because I am bingeing on comfort food that consists of sugar, sugar and more sugar. It doesn’t help that I am also bingeing on competitive baking shows like Zumbo’s Just Desserts and The Great British Bake-off on Netflix. The funny thing is that I don’t bake. In fact, I barely cook unless I can throw a piece of meat on the George Foreman Grill and pop frozen veggies into the microwave. I think that right now we all need a little comfort food. I like Aunty Acid’s thoughts on this, ‘If we’re not meant to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge?’.

So just remember during these hard times God loves you and so do I. Stay healthy and safe.

Just ‘Fur’ You

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my Gal Pals!

Valentine’s Day is the day we celebrate love. It does not necessarily need to be a day we celebrate with a sweetheart but can be a day when we spread the love to our parents, children, friends or someone we know who needs a little extra love this day. It is the day when single women can indulge in their favorite romantic movie or book and eat a box of candy (sugarless for my friends who are diabetic) or dance all night to their favorite Motown music like “My Girl” while in their favorite pajamas. Whether you are with someone else or by yourself, enjoy the day knowing you are loved by me and all women who support other women. Remember to love yourself and celebrate “You”.

Will miracles never cease! I actually posted this blog on time. Being on time is a concept that often escapes me. My family always remarks on my tardiness and I recognize this to be a personal weakness. The first step to fixing a personal problem is recognition of that problem but that is where I get stuck. It reminds me of a poster I once saw “I hate being late but I am so good at it”. I wanted to make sure that my 14th post was on the 14th of February which just happened to be on Valentine’s Day. I am sorry about the sleepy eyes in these pictures but we took these picture on the day after I went out to see a band that is still together from my high school days (looooong time ago). They used to be called Grey Stone Fox but they changed their name to Not Dead Yet. I wasn’t out too late that night but these days it takes my brain time to settle down after hearing loud music and no matter what time I go to bed the night before I am always up at 6:30 the next morning. Maxine says it well “Congratulations on reaching an age where you wake up at the same time you used to go to sleep on Saturdays”.

Enough about me, lets talk fashion. I love the look of fur! I find it classy and rich. Whenever someone wears fur, even as an accent piece, my eyes are automatically drawn to it. If you have read all my blogs, you know that I will not wear real fur. First, I can not stand the thought that an animal had to die just so I could feel pretty. Second, I am so allergic to fur that I would be sneezing, coughing and eventually not breathing (my asthma would kick in). Today faux fur looks just like real fur. Now, there are those who would argue that the chemicals used to make the faux fur are not good for our environment but I feel like sometimes we have to pick our battles when it comes to what we should or shouldn’t do to save our environment such as should we drink out of single bottles of water?

Anyway, just a little bit of history of fur in fashion. Fur has been used for warmth, durability and status symbol since earliest of times. In certain early societies it was felt that there was a transference of the strength, power, courage, skills, prowess and fertility of a particular animal to the human being that wore the fur. Also, particular animal skins or furs were reserved for the ruling and elite classes. Some barons were known to mortgage their lands to buy ermine for their wives. Furs were made much more accessible to the masses due to advancement of technologies for processing pelts. It was during the 1930’s that fur was used in abundance by designers as trim of coats, collars and cuffs. However, it was around the 1980’s that using real fur became controversial and faux fur became popular. No matter what your choice, real fur or faux fur, fashion furs continue to have staying power and because of mass production are a lot cheaper. That reminds me of a joke:

A mother and daughter are shopping together in a mall and the mother eyes an expensive fur coat. “This year”, she says, “I think I will buy my own birthday gift instead of having you and your father shop for me”. The daughter loves this idea. The mother says “I think this fur coat would be perfect for me”. The daughter protests, “But mom, some poor, dumb, helpless creature has to suffer so you can have this”. “Don’t worry, honey” the mother says, “Your father won’t get the bill for a couple of weeks”.

What you will notice in all my pictures is that when I wear faux fur, I wear very little jewelry. The fur beautifully accentuates the outfit so there is little need to wear any other accessories. That brings me to my garden design picture.

The Angel Wing Begonias are the focal point of the picture. I put a large garden ornament next to it. This unique caterpillar ornament with the beautiful large rocks as its body is almost 4 feet long yet it barely accentuates the flowers and you might give it a fleeting thought but your eyes will return quickly to the begonias. This is similar to the relationship of fur and jewelry. When worn together, the jewelry might get a fleeting glance but your eyes will be drawn quickly back to the fur. The jewelry does not enhance the outfit, the fur does. So let’s look at some outfits I put together just ‘fur’ you.

I love the trim on this hooded, faux fur coat. It feels as good as it looks. I think I got this coat for less than $200 at Carson’s and it is worth every penny. It is so warm and luxurious. I feel like royalty when I wear it. I love the hood, large cuffs and all the trim work but most of all I like the pockets. I have to have pockets on a coat. I have on brown leggings that feel so smooth and silky and a pair of patent leather wedge heels. The earrings and ring are shown below.

I wore large hoop earrings and a heart shaped topaz ring. The ring seemed appropriate for a Valentine’s Day blog. I love gold jewelry because it makes me feel rich and glamorous just like the coat I am wearing.

This sweater has a faux fur trimmed collar with faux fur pieces around the charcoal grey ribbon flowers. It closes with a tie string at the top. The ruffled hem mimics the ruffles on the cuffs of the ribbed sleeves. The pants, the sleeveless shell under the sweater and the wedge, suede shoes are all the same charcoal grey as the ribbon flowers on the sweater.

Could this ring not be more perfect for this outfit! The rhinestone in the middle is surrounded by a tightly wound charcoal black ribbon which is surrounded by a beige ribbon that flairs out from the center. Jewelry doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to enhance the outfit. I wore these black leaf earrings to go along with the flowers on the sweater.

You know from past blogs how much I love ponchos. This one is trimmed with faux chinchilla. I am wearing it with a black turtleneck pullover top. I always like to have something around my neck because it is so long but I don’t want to wear a necklace that would compete with the fur. I remember reading a book by Nora Ephron called “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman”. She talked about how she hated her wrinkled neck and how all her women friends of her age were wearing turtleneck tops or scarves around their necks. I am very lucky that the skin is still smooth on my neck but without something around it I look like a giraffe. I am wearing a pair of black dress pants and patent leather heels. In the background you see the storage of some of my lapel pins. There are clear pockets on both sides and both the pockets and pins are arranged from smallest to largest. My other pins are in boxes because they are part of a set. All together I have 77 lapel pins.

You know from past blogs that if I am wearing an outfit with clearly defined lines, my jewelry must also have the same lines. I bought this albatross lapel pin in New Zealand after going boating and observing them in their natural habitat. The earrings are clip-ons that I bought in an antique store in Michigan. I love the geometric design and they perfectly match the colors of the outfit. The ring really enhances the lines of the Chinchilla.

Well, that is it for today. As for my diet, even with cutting out so many foods that contain sulfites I have not lost a pound. I think there are too many foods that I love that don’t contain sulfites but do contain a lot of calories. I decided one day that I was going to start an exercise program. I was so psyched to get back to Zumba. Well after one day I was in terrible pain in my thigh below my artificial hip. I could hardly walk and I am scared to try again. So as it is written on one of my dish towels “I started a new routine. Every day I do DIDDLY-SQUATS”.

That is it for this blog. Hopefully I will get the next blog out in three weeks. So for now, remember God loves you and so do I.

Inside or Outside?

Hi to All My Gal Pals,

It is good to be back! Between holiday parties and get-togethers along with some health issues that started in October, something had to give and unfortunately it was my blog. Today’s blog was suppose to go out last fall but now is more appropriate for spring unless you are in the southern part of the country where this blog is probably appropriate right now.

So, how do you like my picture? I was trying to duplicate those beautiful cheekbones of Angelina Jolie but ended up looking more like Dory the fish. However it did seem to take out the wrinkles of my face! That reminds me of a Maxine cartoon I recently read, “Darling, you are not old unless going braless pulls the wrinkles out of your face”. Hey, if it works, I’ll try anything!

For anyone who may be new to this blog, I want to recap its purpose. At a certain age we begin to notice strange things happening to our body especially in the mid section I refer to as tier 3. It is NOT a positive to be able to say “I have flabby thighs but fortunately my stomach covers them”. Just because we have that bulging belly that keeps us from buttoning those pants we used to wear doesn’t mean we can’t look fabulous in the clothes we do wear. It is just picking out the right outfit to accentuate your good qualities and minimize those parts of your body you are not real fond of. Let’s face it, we are getting older so we need to accept it and as Maxine says “With age comes new skills…you can laugh, cough, sneeze and pee all at the same time”.

As you know, I have a lot of clothes. So even though I don’t care about trends, something in my closet is always trending. Royal blue is the color of the year but I don’t wear a lot of blue. I think it is because it reminds me of a uniform I so did not want to wear when I worked at a hospital. Some of the outfits I picked for this blog are trending because bright colors, assymmetrical details and dark florals are in vogue. I like them because the outfits minimize my hips, belly and rear end. That begs the questions, why does everything slow down with age except the fat that reaches our hips?

So lets talk fashion! I have several articles of clothing in my closet that I am not sure if they are to be worn inside as part of my outfit or outside as a cover up when it is a little chilly. You know I like to put in a plant example to show how fashion design closely resembles landscape design. So lets talk about the fern as an example.

The fern is a perfect example of the dilemma “Inside or Outside”. These look beautiful outside on the front porch of my new townhouse but in my horticulture classes, these plants were taught as indoor plants. I guess that just goes to show that in design certain looks can be either-or. I wish it were still this warm out right now!

I love taking pictures in front of the closet in my new place because it gives all of you the ability to see the back of the outfit as well as the front. This beautiful duster jacket is very lightweight and is 90 percent polyester and 10 percent spandex. It is a purplish-gray with raspberry, gray, dark purple and cream colored flowers and leaves starting at the waist. The inside of the jacket is tan. It has a beautiful see-through collar that goes from top to bottom. I paired it with burgundy colored pants and shoes with a cream colored, light weight sweater. I also have paired it with a ribbon and yarn neckpiece. There is such a thing as wearing too much of something so I minimized wearing too many flowers by wearing this neckpiece instead of the flowered necklace that goes with my earrings. I have taken a picture of my jewelry as seen below.

Don’t you love the sunglasses that match the outfit! One of the best pieces of jewelry that I have is the floating faux pearl necklace. Because it looks so simple, I can combine it with other necklaces to create a layered look.

This would be an outfit where the jacket becomes more of an overcoat for a chilly day. The bright yellow duster is made of 96% cotton and 4% spandex. I love the pleats in the back that start at the waist to give me a little more free flowing material around my mid section. It has great deep pockets and seams for accent. Underneath the duster I am wearing a man-tailored, long shirt that covers my hips and black skinny pants. Since I will be taking off the duster indoors, I have to make sure the outfit underneath hides my bulges. I have paired the outfit with over-the-knee boots and a fringed scarf. I have a picture of the jewelry below.

I like to buy jewelry that is really different from other pieces I have. This butterfly cuff bracelet is one of those pieces. The little black and silver heart ring has a tiny diamond in the middle. I think I bought it through an advertisement I saw in the TV Guide.

This jacket is a beautiful bright color and it has an asymmetrical hem. I do not like drab colors in the winter. Just because it is drab outside doesn’t mean we have to bring that drabness indoors. The more colors the better. Can anyone say they look better in drab colors? If you want to be a wallflower and not get noticed then drab colors are for you. I have added even more colors through my scarf and jewelry. This outfit can be worn as indoor or outdoor fashion. A better picture of the accessories is seen below.

The feathered pin is a great accessory for keeping a scarf in place. One of the rings has multicolored stones and the earrings pull in the colors of the scarf. The watch, ring and bracelet are each a different color of purple.

Well that is it for now. I am afraid all the socializing I did in December was not good for my waistline. I should do better this year because it turns out I am allergic to foods that contain sulfites. Those foods high or moderately high in sulfites are causing my asthma attacks and all foods containing sulfites tend to upset my digestive track. To help me keep my diet on track I bought a kitchen towel that says “My heart says chocolate and wine but my jeans say, ‘For the love of God woman eat a salad’!

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Cut It Out!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, I have finally moved into my new place and hoping to get back to a regular schedule with my blog. I love my new place! I’m claustrophobic and this townhouse is so open and has so many windows. I will describe it to you a little later in this blog except I will tell you now that the only downfall is the 17 steps to the second level. There is a little landing half way up where the steps make a direction change but it is a long way up. I try to take as few treks to the top as possible. That brings me to my first quote (author unknown) “I will never be over the hill because l’m too darned tired to climb it!”

Let’s talk fashion! The trend I am highlighting today is the open shoulder look. The cutouts at the shoulders not only highlight my best feature but also helps me to cool down in this hot and humid weather. I am so confused about the aging process. I thought as you got older everything slows down including the metabolism which in turn makes you more sensitive to cold. The older people I know are wearing sweaters while I am sweating, even in air conditioning! I am one of those lucky people who has never experienced hot flashes, but for the last several months I seem to get really warm after exerting a little bit of energy (like climbing stairs) and find it hard to cool down. I feel so uncomfortable! Do you think this could be a good thing like maybe I am going through a reversed aging process? Well, this quote says it all, “I need to get my life together! This weather made me realize I can’t go to hell!”

At this point I usually put in a garden picture of which I have many but for this blog there is a feature of the townhouse that depicts so perfectly the cutout trend I’m highlighting in this blog.

I love the cutouts in the walls! The two cutouts in the walls are like the two cutouts in my top. I love this place because I feel like I can breath. My sister is taking this picture from the living room that has a vaulted ceiling going up to the second level. The ceilings in the formal dining room, dinette area, kitchen and guest bathroom are all 9 feet high (now you see why there are so many stairs). I love that I can interact with my family and friends in other rooms because I can see everyone no matter where I stand. I have so many large windows that when they are open, I feel like I am in the outdoors under a pavilion. It reminds me of my trip to Phuket, Thailand. I stayed in a massively large tiki hut where the bedroom and bathroom had walls but all the other rooms just had a thatched roof.

Enough of house talk, let’s look at some of my clothes that are fashionable, comfortable and hide the worst feature of my body, the dreaded belly.

Before I talk about my outfit, I have a new walk-in closet that I am standing in front of but it is packed with clothes and accessories because it is only equivalent to two double closets. I have a double closet in the second bedroom but I had 5 double closets at the house I sold. Also, I wanted to show you how I store my 108 bangle bracelets. They are assorted by color and I like that I can see each one so I can figure out quickly which bracelet I want to wear.

This is a beautiful top. It has a floral overlay with an attached stretchy white undershirt. Both layers are fairly loose and fall just below the belly so the belly is minimized. The sleeves also have two layers creating a soft ruffle. The green cropped pants are stretchy and so comfortable. The sandals look like they are made of straw with a straw flower on top. They match the straw yellow color in the floral top. I have the picture of the accessories below.

The color scheme of the jewelry goes beautifully with the outfit. The necklace is gorgeous and not real expensive. I bought it at The Bridge in Holland, Michigan. It is the only fair trade store in Holland and it features handmade jewelry, scarves, baskets, stone sculptures and other unique handmade gifts and products from 35 developing countries. The gold flecks in this man made green stone make this necklace a standout. I get so many complements on it. I love the ripple in the gold earrings and the design on the gold bracelet. The flower ring on the left came from a craft show and the one on the right from an antique store, both in South Haven, Michigan.

This gaucho looking outfit is so comfortable. The pants are wide leg crops made of 100% linen and the top is made of cotton and polyester. The beautiful pattern in the top has a flower looking design embedded in it so I paired it with metallic flower earrings seen below. The top has a burnt red band around the hem so I paired the outfit with a beautiful metallic bracelet that has the same colors as the top and the filigree metallic design is similar to the pattern in the top.

I wore a garnet gold ring along with a cream colored flower ring. The filigree patterns and flowers are seen throughout the outfit. I love this hat! It was a new purchase this year at the craft show in South Haven. I have quite a few hats because if I am going to be out in the sun for a long period of time I wear a hat to protect my face. It needs all the help it can get!

This green top is perfect for the weather we are now having in my neck of the woods. It is very light weight and made of spandex and polyester. The seersucker pants are green and cream checked and they make my legs look thin (miracles do happen!). The neckpiece has a mass of gold metallic threads throughout so I paired it with a scarf that also contains a mass of gold metallic threads throughout. There is a better picture of the neckpiece below along with the jewelry I am wearing.

You really can’t see the gold threads in the neckpiece in this picture but it shines when worn. I paired the outfit with all gold jewelry including an emerald and diamond chip ring, and a gold, pearl and peridot bracelet. The gold earrings have straight lines like the straight lines in the pants. The links in the gold bracelet match the checks in the pants.

Well, that is it for this blog. I am still the same weight but I am building up the muscles in my legs by climbing the stairs a few times a day. I met a neighbor named Pam (easy to remember) who teaches fitness classes through the park district and she got me some free passes. Since I no longer spend a lot of time gardening and I am eating out a lot with friends, I think I am going to give it a shot. I will let you know how that turns out in the next blog. Until then, remember, God loves you and so do I.

Time To Make a Change

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

The title of this blog not only describes the fashion concept I will be writing about but also what is happening in my life. I had intended to write this blog in June but life got in the way so instead of writing about beachwear at the beginning of the summer I am writing about it at the end of the summer. The reason is simple, I made a major change in my life. I went from a fairly large house on a half acre of gardens located in a forested area to a townhouse in a subdivision that does not have a patio big enough to support patio furniture. I took some pictures before I left to talk about, but I no longer can see the gardens from my window. Change is sometimes hard to accept but necessary.

So, before I packed up my house I gave several articles of clothing to charities (over 200 pieces). Some of the clothes went to an organization that works with providing clothes to the homeless but the majority went to a resale shop that supports women and children who need shelter due to domestic abuse. Having volunteered for the crisis center I can tell you that many of the women in the shelter really need the access they have to these clothes. Many times the women and their children come in to the shelter with only the clothes on their back because their situation doesn’t allow for them to pack up something to wear. For those women who truly realize it is time to make a change in their lives, they need clothes for interviewing when looking for a job. One outfit can make all the difference between getting hired or not getting the job. First impressions are so important. I commend those women who have the strength not to go back to the abusive situation they came from. My only quote during this blog is from Bob Marley who wrote” You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”. I could have sold some of my clothes and made a nice profit but knowing that I might have helped some woman make a positive change in her life as well as the lives of her children is such a good feeling. Kind of like the feeling you get at Christmas when giving to others.

With that being said, let’s talk fashion. Even though the summer is almost over, I still have the beach on my mind. I just moved within the last two weeks. I closed on the house on a Friday and left for the cottage in Michigan early the next morning because I was too tired to stay home and unpack everything. I spent a glorious week on the beach and just got back to my new home a couple of hours ago. I will be going back for a long weekend on Labor Day when once again I will be spending time at the beach. So with that in mind, this blog is about layering your clothes so you can go to breakfast or lunch at a restaurant and then go swimming at the pool or beach. I am very fortunate that the beach is just down the path from the cottage so food is never far away and I can wear just a simple coverup to and from the beach. However, when I have had to go down an elevator to go to the pool or had to drive to the beach from a hotel, I typically would stop and eat lunch on the way. If you have ever been to the Dells, you know that you might stop at a pancake house before going to Noah’s Ark. I was just recently at Silver Lake Pizza parlor just a few yards from Silver Lake Beach in St. Joseph, Michigan. It gets quite the clientele from the beach but it clearly says on the door that all beach wear must be covered up with clothing. So I am posting some simple outfits that I can wear under those circumstances.

I am putting up a simple picture from my garden just to show you how layering is an important element in landscape design just as it is in creating an outfit that you can change into and out of for swimming.

By adding layers you creat depth to your surroundings. Here I have the flagstone patio as the base, with the next layer made up day lillie’s and ground cover. The next layer is the flower box around the deck with the table and chairs seeming to add another layer. Not exactly as great as the hanging gardens of Babylon but the same principle applies.

So let’s talk fashion and incorporating concepts of layering and quick changes.

I know this picture looks a little risqué but I wanted you to see that there is a bathing suit under this outfit. I always wear a hat at the beach. You will never see me without protection for my face. This hat is one of many I have and it says”Do Not Disturb” in cursive along the brim. You have seen the coverup before in blog #3 where I wore it as a top. This is my favorite bathing suit coverup. I always carry a large beach bag and I can easily put my leggings and knit white top into my bag and I am ready to soak up the sun. I always wear a watch to the beach so I know when to turn over. Both my watch, sunglasses and sandals are navy blue and I am wearing simple studs in my ears because other than a watch the studs are the only jewelry I wear to the beach. To add a little color I am carrying a very colorful tropical looking beach bag.

This is such a wonderful bathing suit coverup! It is so comfortable and lightweight. It looks like a long sundress when I walk down the beach. I just paired it with a little white t-shirt, white sunglasses, white watch and gold sandals. Just remove the white t-shirt and you easily slip this on and off at the shoulders as needed. The pineapples give it that tropical look. I love how it makes me look thin!

A few years back there was a fashion contest TV show called Fashion Star with Jessica Simpson and Nicole Ritchie as mentors to up-and-coming designers. There were buyers who would bid on any designs they thought would interest their customers. One of the buyers was from Carson Pirie Scott and Co. and they had this coverup in their stores the next day. I loved it so much I also was in one of their stores the next day to buy it. The caftan ties just under the bust and falls just above the knee. I paired it with black sunglasses, watch and Jams which is a brand of lightweight pants that have a drawstring at the waist. My black sandals carry on the flower theme and my beach bag draws out the red in my caftan.

Well, that is it for this blog. I lost a few pounds during the packing and moving but gained it back in Michigan. It is blueberry season in Michigan and blueberries taste great in ice cream, scones, donuts, cookies and pie. I guess life is a balance. Till next time, remember God loves you and so do I.

Stop and Smell the Roses

‘Stop and smell the roses’ has become my mantra during these hectic days. I feel like life is a whirlwind and I am sitting in the middle of the chaos. I put my house up for sale and had a contract on it in two weeks. If all goes well, the closing will be the first week in August. Other than having planned my two week vacation for the first two weeks in August, having no place to live (although I might be headed to Lockport), and having to figure out what furniture to take and what to get rid of (I am going to downsize), I have nothing to worry about! I want to rent a townhouse on a limited budget which is not easy to do. I pray a lot and have great faith that all will work out so I am not panicking. But enough about me, let’s talk fashion.

In case you haven’t guessed, this blog is about roses in fashion. A lot of things are trending this year like neon colors and fringe. Other than a couple of workout T-shirts, I haven’t seen much in the way of neon colored clothes in the stores. I love fringe and have several pieces in my closets. In today’s blog I have combined both neon and fringe with rose patterns. Rose patterns seem to come in and out of fashion but appear to have become really popular after the “Beauty and the Beast” release in 2017. In fact, jeans with roses on them, either in the pattern or with an appliqué, have been very popular since then. You can find them embroidered on hats, jackets and purses. We associate the rose with love and who can forget the line in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

We tend to give roses to someone when we want to communicate we love them, when we want someone to know we are thinking about them or maybe to communicate we are sorry after an argument. However, there are some arguments that even a rose can’t fix. I am not sure who said it but I agree, when a woman starts laughing during an argument, she has flipped her psycho switch and is about to murder you. Flowers are not going to solve this problem! Roses have been a way to communicate to others for many centuries. The language of flowers first gained popularity in the mid-1800’s. The color of the rose has meaning such as white for spirituality and new starts, red for love and romance, yellow used to be sent (in 1800’s) to communicate jealousy and infidelity but in modern times it means friendship, cheer and good health, pink signifies grace, elegance and beauty, orange means enthusiasm, passion and achievement, peach means modesty, sincerity and gratitude while cream suggests charm and thoughtfulness.

When the flower delivery guy brings that bouquet to our door, we can’t help but smile. Comedian George Carlin once said about our love for flowers, “Flowers are one of the few things we buy, bring home, watch die and we don’t ask for our money back.” Not only do we love to see them on our tables but we like to see them as a pattern on our clothes unless you are my daughter. I often wonder if Jessica got any of my genes. Let me give you an example. At Christmas I decorate 6 rooms in my house from top to bottom with each room having a theme (ex., the family room is Santa’s workshop). My daughter’s idea of Christmas decorations consists of a green Gatorade bottle with mini Christmas lights stuffed into it. She would prefer to have a rock garden consisting of nothing but rocks so she doesn’t have to water any plants. She typically wears black and white outfits but might occasionally throw in a muted color. But I must say, we went out shopping the other day and she liked a dress that had flowers on it. Maybe I am wearing her down or the genes I passed on to her are finally kicking in!

Finding a garden picture to depict the theme of this blog was easy. I love roses until they get black spot (ugh!), but not all my varieties get the disease. Let me show you a picture of my favorite roses in the yard.

This is the entry way into my perennial garden. You have to pass under this rose covered arbor to get to the garden gate off to the right of the arbor. This picture was taken a few weeks ago. The arbor is usually a mass of pink flowers but, as many rose growers know, you occasionally have to do a heavy pruning and this was the year for these climbing roses but you get the idea. Like many rose plants, the flowers only last for a few weeks and the loss of the flowers is even greater once the Japanese Beetles come out around July 4th. I’ve given up trying to control nature so I have to accept that there will be some losses to insects and animals.

So let’s look through some rose colored glasses at a few of my favorite outfits for the summer months.

In the first picture I wanted to show you how I store my long necklaces (typically 18 inches or longer). I hang them on the 4 rods of a pant hanger which makes it real convenient. All I have to do is swing out each rod until I find the one I want. Altogether, I have 43 long necklaces.

I get so many compliments on this neon summer print dress. I know it is hard to tell but the whole dress is made up of rows of roses. The dress has white lines going down it in a random pattern. It has green roses (constant rejuvenation of spirit), orange roses (passion and enthusiasm), white roses (spirituality), pink roses (grace and elegance), yellow roses (cheer), salmon roses (desire and excitement) and black roses (sorrow). It is no wonder when I wear this dress I’m filled with mixed emotions! I am wearing it with a great pair of black, 2 inch heel heals that are open at the toe and back with cut-outs on the sides. I love these shoes because the upper part of the shoe is made of a stretch material and takes the shape of my foot.

The jewelry consists of 3 brass bangle bracelets with different patterns on them and a necklace with multiple brass strands and hundreds of tiny brass beads on the strands. The earrings are similar to the ones I wore in the last blog except these have green leaves and are triangular in shape. The ring is an orange topaz.

If you read blog #2 you know how much I love ponchos. I have several summer ponchos but this one is my favorite. I love the colors and the fringe! I wear a white sleeveless shirt underneath because any other color takes away from the beautiful flowers on the poncho. The roses are a combination of peach, salmon and rose-pink with other flowers of different color blues and green leaves. The stems are silver metallic strands going through the poncho. I paired it with peach cropped pants but you have so many choices as to the color of your pants when you wear this top. The sandals are so comfortable! They are Clarks and are in a peachy-pink color.

You already know how much I love antique jewelry. These earrings look like little butterflies with blue topaz on their heads and are clip-ons. The bracelet is costume jewelry but the blue stones match exactly. The bracelet and earrings are not a set but they look like they are just that. I matched it with rings that have peach coloring on one and a turquoise blue on the other. Both colors are in the poncho and both came from an antique store.

This top reminds me of days gone by when I used to love the peasant look. It has a connected sleeveless under shirt and the over shirt falls right at that “sweet spot” just below my belly to give the appearance of not having a large belly (how sweet it is!!). The small abstract designs on the top are a deep gray blue and there is navy and gray blue in the flower pattern so the top looks great with navy blue jeans.

I put a picture of my sandals with the jewelry because they got cut off in the picture and I think they are so cute. They are kind of a goldenrod coloring and match one of the colors in the flower pattern. The colors in the earrings are the exact colors in the flower pattern also. The cute little silver bracelet came from a fine jewelry store in South Haven and the center of the flower is gold. The flower is a charm and is interchangeable with other charms. My silver collar necklace has a flower slide that matches some of the rose colors in the flower pattern of my top. My watch has a navy blue band although it looks black in the picture.

Well, considering all that is going on in my life, like a lot of packing, I was surprised I got this blog out in time. I have managed to stay the same weight even though I love ice cream in the summer. I keep lying to myself by saying I have replaced my fat with muscle mass from working in the garden. It makes me feel better. Oh well, Like Elbert Hubbard (great philosopher) once said, “Don’t take life to seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive”. Wow, think about that one!

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

Life Could Be A Dream(sicle), Sh Boom Sh Boom

Hi to all my gal pals,

Don’t you love the orange bubble wrap?! I took a short hiatus to get my house ready to put on to the market. My sister Vicki, our friend Rick and I have been working furiously to get it looking like a brand new house and to start packing up my things. I also have been working to get the yard ready and doing some contract work in between. I am sure many of you can relate to what I am about to say. I really was so busy I wasn’t taking great care of myself so the first day I got to relax (3 days ago) I got terribly sick. It is like your body says “OK, I will give you a pass while you are doing all those things you absolutely need to get done but the minute you are done, you will suffer the consequences of your actions”.

A couple of months ago I was out with the “Keystone Girls” (my neighborhood childhood friends) and asked them if they remembered the ice cream truck that used to come down the street. For all my gal pals who grew up in the 50’s you will know what I am talking about. We would hear the bell ringing and run into the house to get money from our moms. I asked if they remembered how much a Dreamsicle cost at that time. I thought it was a nickel, someone else thought it was a dime and the rest just couldn’t remember. For those of you with good memories (there are fewer and fewer of women our age with good memories) who remember how much a Dreamsicle cost in the late 50’s, let me know how much they cost. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know what a Dreamsicle was, it was vanilla ice cream in the center with a coating of orange ice cream on the outside. These days I am not as particular about my ice cream selection. I just love ice cream! It is my favorite dessert but I love it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. When I was raising my kids, we would occasionally go to Baskin Robins for dinner. It is the best midnight snack! As Aunty Acid would say “If we’re not meant to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the refrigerator?”. However, she also said “Do you ever get up in the morning, look in the mirror and think “THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT!” Unfortunately ice cream has a few unwanted calories but who is thinking about that when you are choosing from 31 different flavors.

Thinking about Dreamsicles, I love the combination of white and orange and I wear the color combination during the warm weather. There is something special about the color orange. I recently went into my contract job and the administrative assistant had a beautiful bouquet of flowers on her desk. The colors of fushia, yellow and green were gorgeous but my eye kept getting drawn to the orange roses. Orange is a standout color so if you want to stand out, that is the color to wear. I use white as a base color so the orange can take center stage. I have a lot of white pants and capris (or pedal pushers as we called them while growing up). As I was deciding what to showcase in this blog and was thinking about pulling out the white pants and capris it got me thinking, why do we have to wait until Memorial Day to wear them? It was always a fashion rule that you don’t wear white pants until then. So with a little research I found out that if you were part of the elite crowd in the 1900’s and could afford to leave your homes during the summer months (end of May to beginning of Sept.) for the sea or the mountains, you would wear white in the oppressive heat. But when the summer was over and elite went back home, white clothes had no place in their real life wardrobes so the cutoff for white clothes became Labor Day. I think this is a silly rule and I have never been part of the elite crowd so I usually break out the whites in March and wear them until it gets cold. Besides, my fashion style is whatever fits me.

So how do I connect this topic to my garden? Easy! I love this tree that grows up in the middle of my deck. It stands just outside the French doors of my bedroom and gives me privacy from anyone driving or walking down the street on the other side of my neighbors house. It is a Sargenti Crab Tree with conical branching at the base and when in full bloom, it looks like a vanilla ice cream cone. In the spring and fall it can be a little messy on the deck but it is beautiful with it’s mass of white flowers and red crab apples that look like little berries. This picture was taken the day after Mother’s Day this year.

So let’s get started with my Dreamsicle outfits.

In the background you are seeing 28 of my 32 flower pins. I love how they look with my outfits. This is not how I store them but I wanted you to see them so I pinned them to a couple of my scarves. They usually sit on the hutch of my dresser and become part of the decor in my flowery bedroom.

The top I am wearing is made of 100 percent polyester. It has a ribbed look and when you crush it, it springs back to its original shape. It is made by Bala Bala and they have several pieces made from this material. The pieces together are a light as a feather. In the spring and summer I like to wear two piece sets like this because I get so cold in air conditioning and like the option to wear it as two pieces or just the sleeveless top. When choosing a shorter top, make sure it is loose and hits just below the belly to give a false appearance of a smaller belly. These white pants are a little dressier than most of my white pants and I am wearing them with one inch sandals. The earrings are drop pearls that match the pearls in the necklace. Because I have such a long neck, I like to double up this necklace so that one strand goes around my neck. the metal in the necklace is gold so I am wearing a gold watch and a white bracelet to match the white of the pearls.

Just as I think every woman should have a little black dress, I also think they should have a little white dress. Because I have been working so hard on my house and the weather up here in Chicagoland has been so rainy and cool, I don’t have a tan on my legs yet but white outfits always look good against a tan body. It has no waistline so it looks good on any shape. I am wearing it with white flat sandals and dressed it up with a few accessories so I can wear it just about anywhere. I have paired it with a beautiful orange scarf and with gold accessories. I have a separate picture of the earrings and the mandarin garnet necklace so you can see the details in both.

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For those of us with a little belly (Ha! Who am I kidding?) the layered look is the greatest thing since ice cream. It allows us to wear the short jackets that we love and hide our belly at the same time. Here I am wearing white jeans and a white T-shirt with 2 inch cork wedge sandals that have a few gold studs on the straps. My accessories are all gold because the fake zippers on the jacket are gold. The jacket has wavy lines of gray, yellow and white. My gold accessories are the serpentine gold necklace and a gold colored collar necklace. I’ve taken a picture of the earrings and oversized ring so you can see how I match the straight lines of the zipper and the straight lines of the earrings and ring.

Well that is it for today. I have lost 10 pounds since last November. Why is it that when you lose weight the belly fat doesn’t seem to go away? Well, there is not much I can do about that and I can’t afford liposuction. That reminds me of my favorite Aunty Acid saying “Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we will never cease to be amused”. I hope to have my next blog completed in three weeks. Until then, remember:

God loves you and so do I.