Time To Get Down And Dirty

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

In one of the women’s magazines I read there is a small section where a woman shares an embarrassing moment. Well, I am going to share with all of you my most recent embarrassing moment (heaven knows there have been many!). I had a small get-together for my sister’s birthday and all went well until I put the candles on the cup cakes. After my sister made a wish and blew out the flames she asked me what “number” candles did I put on her cupcakes. I said “69” at which point she said she was only 68. I said that can’t be because we are three years apart and I was going to be 72. Well, I was quickly reminded that I was going to be 71 not 72. Now, there are both positive and negatives to this situation. On the positive side I am younger than I thought (yeah!) but on the negative side, other than being embarrassed, I am wondering if this is a sign of dementia. So, when I saw this as a foreboding of things to come I started researching to find out if this is truly a potential problem. Have I gotten to the point that Aunty Acid describes as having a true memory issue? She says and I quote “Sure it is OK to talk to yourself. It is even OK to answer yourself. But when you start asking yourself to repeat what you just said, you might have a problem”. All is good! I haven’t reached that stage of memory loss.

I am happy to report that forgetting one’s age as we get older has nothing to do with deterioration of our faculties. As children we look forward to our birthdays because it means celebration and presents. In our teens we look forward to the age when we can get our driver’s license and in our early twenties we look forward to the age when we can drink alcohol. In middle age we look forward to the age when we can retire. In all these situations our birthdays are important points in our lifelines. However, after retirement our birthdays seem less important. Birthdays are just reminders that we are getting older so they seem less exciting and more exhausting. I hate to make this macabre statement but as we get older death becomes more imminent. As your age gets bigger, the number of years you have left gets smaller. So, in summary, the upside is that I don’t have to worry about dementia yet but on the downside, well, do I really have to explain? We really don’t know what is in store for us in the future. It is like Aunty Acid says, “I hate when someone asks me where I see myself in five years from now when I don’t even remember where the hell I was 2 days ago!”. So true!

Well, spring has sprung! It is time to get rid of the drab and focus on beautiful colors. We are so over having cabin fever and are looking forward to being outdoors. Some of you are planning your summer gardens and visiting new places. Others just want to sit on their decks with a drink in hand and watch the world go by. I am looking forward to breaking out the spring and summer clothes. I hear that magenta is the color for spring but for me I love a burst of colors. I don’t see anyone telling Mother Nature “Sorry, you can only put out magenta flowers this year”. Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or the use of colors to heal. Chromotherapy is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colorology. Colorology is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment. For example, red is used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation while blue is believed to soothe illness and treat pain. I guess different strokes for different folks. Let’s all of us be our most colorful selves this season and be happy doing so!

Of course spring makes me think of flowers and I am already getting my containers ready for planting, especially those spring flowers like bulbs and pansies. I have shared with you many of my favorite containers of flowers so I thought I would share with you my recipe for my potting soil and why I do what I do. Below is a picture of all my ingredients.

As I get older I need to make sure my containers are light weight so I can move them easily. I typically use a plastic or resin container because they are so light weight. I like Ace potting soil because it has the consistency of top soil but if I would fill a container with it I would not be able to lift it. So I fill the bottom of the container with good old styrofoam packing peanuts that I get from the UPS store because the roots of my annual plants don’t need a whole container full of potting soil. Before I put in my potting soil I put light weight landscape fabric over the peanuts and up the walls of the container which keeps the potting soil and plant roots from mixing in with the peanuts. I tend to buy 4 inch pots of flowers so I make sure that I leave 7 inches from the fabric to the top of the container (2 inches below the 4 inch potted plant and 1 inch at the top for watering). I carefully put the potting soil over the landscape fabric so I don’t pull down the fabric along the sides of the container. The reason I make my own blend is because I want to make sure my add-ins are evenly distributed. First I mix in a little bit of perlite for better drainage then I add in the water storing crystals, both are mixed in evenly throughout the potting soil. I do not put the water storing crystals in my spring containers because I do not want my bulbs and fleshy roots to rot out in the cool, wet spring weather. I do not use them in my summer containers when planting tuberous begonias because I need the potting soil to dry out between waterings otherwise the tuberous roots will rot out. The last part of the recipe is to evenly work the Osmocote into the top 2 inches of the potting soil. I do not buy a ready made blend because I am never sure of an even mix of add-ins. At the end of the year you can throw away the annuals, pull out the landscape fabric with the remaining dirt and you can keep the packing peanuts for next year.

OK, let’s leave winter and move into spring and summer outfits.

You know how much I love ponchos. They hide all sin! If you have been watching Chico’s flash sales you probably will recognize this top that I got for less than $50. I consider it an early birthday present to myself. The colors that are swirling through this fabric remind me of moving water. I paired it with these wide leg pants (made of polyester, rayon and spandex) that literally flow like water when I walk. This “flowing” water theme is carried through to my accessories as seen below.

Let me tell you my crazy thought process when picking out jewelry for this outfit. This necklace reminds me of a water lotus plant and the turquoise parts of the earrings are like little water falls. The rest of the jewelry was chosen simply based on colors in the poncho.

This kimono was also an early birthday present I bought for myself and was also less than $50 from Chico’s flash sale. There is nothing that yells “spring” like flowers do. Because this is a fairly long kimono, I am wearing a mid-thigh length white top underneath. The leggings are navy blue as are the pumps. It is a very slimming look.

The long chain necklace is made of round navy blue beads and I paired it with a floating black bead necklace. The flower earrings are also navy blue with a rhinestone center and edging. The yellow watch and the white bracelet pull out the colors of the flowers. I wear the yellow and blue star rings on my pinky fingers.

I bought this topper at VonMaur for less than $25 a few years back. I love the combination of black and white checks with red flowers. Anything that hides my belly is worth the money! I have paired it with a white sheath top and semi-wide leg, light weight, black pair of pants. I typically choose shoes that match my pants but the red shoes look so good with this outfit.

I am very particular when choosing red accessories. There are so many different shades of red so I try to be consistent with the same shade of red in my accessories. The red in the topper and the jewelry is an orange red. The necklace was made by a woman in a third world country so of course I had to buy it to help support her. My earrings are hard to see but they are decorated with little red cardinals. My watch face and rings reflect the square shape of the checks in the topper.

I am now going to sound off about this whole “losing weight” situation. Isn’t there some unwritten promise that we will “feel” so much better if we lose a few pounds? Well, after losing 24 pounds since starting this blog I am still waiting for that promise to kick in. The only thing I feel is FRUSTRATION. We live in a world of celebrations, bakeries and food commercials which I am faced with constantly. My liver doctor said I need to lose another 10 pounds and I am only allowed a sugar dessert once a week. FRUSTRATION! Even after losing 24 pounds I am still in the same “overweight” category on the BMI chart. FRUSTRATION! I don’t find it any easier to get out of my little Honda Civic, my legs still feel very tired after my daily 2 mile walks and I don’t feel any more energetic. FRUSTRATION! I am told that losing weight is healthier for my innards but because I can’t see that benefit I do not find it highly motivating. The only upside is that I can justify buying more clothes that fit me (as if I need any more clothes!). My family and dog love me no matter what my weight is and I really don’tcare about the dating scene. If losing weight makes you feel better, how come I was happier being heavy? Maybe I should just follow Aunty Acids advice, “People don’t want to hear about your diet. So shut up, eat your salad and be sad.” UGH!

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

Scarf It Up NOT Scarf It Down!!!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I wanted to ask the person who coined the phrase “You are as young as you feel” if he continued to believe this as he grew older but, alas, he died at the age of 52. John O’Donohue was an Irish priest, poet, author and philosopher (it figures) who wrote that quote at the age of 41 so he never got to experience what it was like to be a senior citizen and all the physical maladies that come along with aging. As Aunty Acid puts it so bluntly, “Sure I’m REtired, I was tired yesterday and I am freaking tired today!”. So, as a 70 year old woman I can say that there are times when I feel younger than my years but that could change within a day, a minute or even a second especially on days when there is a change in barometric pressure. Today is one of those days. It is suppose to rain tonight and my arthritis believes the weatherman. Scientists say that there is no proof that there is a correlation between precipitation and inflammation of the joints. Well, someone forgot to tell my joints that because the myth still lives on in my body. I wonder, if John O’Donohue lived to be 70 would he have rescinded his famous quote or would he have continued to live in LaLa Land? I guess we will never know. By the way, did you know that on March 23 of every year we celebrate As Young As You Feel Day? Well, I know what Aunty Acid would say about that, “I’m EXHAUSTIPATED…which means I’m just too tired to give a crap”. I love it when I learn a new word!

Today’s topic is using scarves as accessories. A scarf is a perfect combination of function and fabric. They are considered appropriate for every season. They can help to keep you warm but they are also popular fashion accessories (especially for those trying to hide a wrinkled neck). They are made of many different types of material (ie., chiffon, woolen, silk, cashmere, etc.) and many different styles (ie., cowl, infinity, triangular, stole, shawl, etc.). The origins of the scarf trickle back to Ancient Egypt, precisely to Queen Nefertiti. Josephine Bonaparte collected over 400 scarves which make my 70 seem paltry. The emergence of scarves as accessories began after World War I as a way to add a little joy on the homefront in London. In 1937 French fashion house Hermes started producing luxurious silk square scarves and they were popularized by Queen Victoria. A scarf can be used as a finishing piece that adds another layer to your outfit. A scarf is one of the best ways to pull together an outfit and make it cohesive.

I am not writing about a garden design in this blog because I am using the space for more pictures on how to make a scarf the focal piece of your outfit as well as a beautiful accessory for your coat.

So, let’s get started.

I love this scarf with my dark purple coat. It is so light weight and the craftsmanship is amazing. I saw it at a craft show but could not afford it. Apparently my sister thought I was worth it and surprised me with it at Christmas. I think it is made of boiled wool but I am not sure. Each flower is made up of individual pieces so expertly put together.

After you take off your coat, the scarf makes a beautiful accessory that becomes the focal piece of the outfit. I paired it with a light colored top so it would stand out and a pair of dark purple jeans. When you wear a focal piece like this no one is looking at my bulges which are well hidden by this top.

No one is really going to be looking at my jewelry when I wear this scarf so I keep it simple. I am not wearing a bracelet because the sleeves of the top are so long. I am wearing two different shades of purple with the gem stones in the ring and earrings as well as a green stone in the other ring that matches the green of the leaves in the scarf.

I have doubled up this fringed infinity scarf to wear over my blue wool coat. I am wearing my blue and pink flowered jeans and pink pumps.

I unfolded the scarf to wear as a single loop and you can better see the lovely cutout flowers. You know from past blogs that I love the fringe look. The long, button down, loose top as well as the scarf hides my bulging tummy. If you want to have the scarf stand out wear it with a light colored top.

I wanted to add a little contrast to all the pink accessories so I am wearing a navy blue slide that I bought at an outdoor art show in downtown Chicago. It was made by a teacher trying to supplement her income so how could I not buy it. The watch is rose gold with a pink band. The beads on the bracelet pick up on whatever color is in the outfit. The cutouts of the earrings go so well with the cutouts of the scarf. The flowers in the ring goes perfectly with the flowers in the necklace. I love this ensemble!

This scarf is made of a very thin fabric so it has to be worn with a lightweight spring coat. The multiple colors of the scarf with the reddish-purple background pairs so well with the plum raincoat I am wearing. The flower extravaganza is on both the front and the back of the scarf and you notice there is a dark turquoise wine bottle on the lower corner for added interest.

I take off the raincoat and I have a beautiful outfit with the same scarf. The cream colored flowers in the scarf go beautifully with the cream colored, lightweight sweater and wide leg cream colored pants. With the cream colored base the colors in the scarf really pop. Again, I love that the scarf covers my belly.

I have several pieces of jewelry that would go with this scarf because of all the colors in it. The cream colored flower earrings go perfectly with the cream colored flower ring. You can’t see the whole scarf in this picture but every color in the beads of my bracelet can be found in the scarf.

I really don’t want to talk about my weight. I haven’t been on the scale in 2 weeks. Every once in a while I go on a binge especially when I am stressed. It started with the hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries that the stores were selling for Valentine’s Day. These are one of the few desserts I can eat so when they were so available I was eating several a day for a week. Then the binge continued with left over ice cream from Vicki’s birthday party. Finally, I was so sugared out that I started binging on salty chips. Aunty Acid describes my binges perfectly when she asks “Am I the only one who eats a snack while looking for another snack?” Hopefully I am coming to the end of my pigging out. I will say I don’t do this very often but when I binge I GO BIG!

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

Give It A Rest!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

After hosting three Christmas get-togethers for family and friends, packing up Christmas decorations into 45 large plastic tubs then catching a respiratory virus that has lasted for weeks, all I could think about was curling up on my couch and relaxing. To me relaxing is lounging on my couch and reading a good book, listening to the “oldies” or watching an old movie. So I started thinking, what makes a song an “oldie”? What defines an “old” movie? At what age do we become “old”? So for the first two questions I decided to do a little research and here is what I found. One site considers a song to be an “oldie” if it was released during the period of 1950 to 1969. So, does that make me an “oldie” because I was living during this period? An old movie is considered a “classic” movie and, according to one site, films have to be at least 25 years old to be considered “classic” for the national film registry. I prefer to be considered “classic” than old. According to the dictionary an “oldie” is: ‘One that is old. An old person or thing’. Which brings me to my final question, at what age do we become old? According to Crabby Maxine “You know you’re getting old when you get butt jiggle, arm wing flap and boob wobble when you brush your teeth”. Maybe old is as Aunty Acid describes when the only pole dancing you do is to hold onto the safety bar in the tub. When my daughter was a teenager, she considered me to be old in my 40’s and never failed to remind me. Maybe we become old in our 50’s when we qualify for AARP. Are we considered old when we are in our 60’s and qualify for Social Security and Medicare? Is it all relative? To an 80-year-old person, I may be young. I think I will go with that line of thinking.

I realized that we are creatures of habit. Many of us are retired so why do we continue to act like we are still working? Let me explain. Why do I continue to do these relaxing acts only on Sundays when I could do them any day? Why does my sister continue to eat dinner at 7:30 when she could eat whenever she wanted to? Why do my cousin Sally, Vicki and I go up to the cottage in Michigan together for long weekends, typically for holiday weekends, when we could go up any day during the week? There are no good reasons for us to continue these behaviors but we keep doing so. That is because habits become “wired” into the neuronal circuits of the brain. The more you do something, the more your likely to do it in the future. I feel much better knowing that my crazy behaviors are normal. On the other hand, I can relate to Aunty Acid who says “Some days I astound myself, other days I put the laundry in the oven”. Maybe my crazy behaviors are not so normal.

What is considered “comfortable” clothing is relative. The outfits I am wearing in this blog are “comfy” to me. They are loose fitting, stretchy, something I can easily nap in but are still stylish. You won’t see me lounging in an old pair of jeans. I love what Crabby Maxine says about an old pair of jeans, “Today, I started off great until…I tried on an old pair of jeans and threw my back out while tucking my tummy in!”. Doesn’t sound comfy to me! If someone comes to the door, if I need to run to the store, or even if just want to feel better when I am sick, I make sure I am wearing a comfy ‘coordinated’ outfit. These are the outfits I like to wear when I curl up on the couch to relax. Right now I am curled up on the couch writing this as I am wearing one of the outfits I am modeling in today’s blog. I am still suffering from the after effects of the virus and psychologically I think that if I look good I will feel good. It’s the little things that make all the difference when you want to chill out!

Speaking of little things, my garden picture is of one of my favorite summer containers.

It doesn’t look like much in the picture but let me explain why it is such a great container. The dwarf boxwood shrub is over 3 years old and stands only 10 inches tall. I leave it out all winter long in the concrete hypertufa planter (18L x 13W x 7D inches) up against the sliding glass doors. The concrete and moss that make up the hypertufa help to keep the roots somewhat warm in the winter. During the summer I fill it with colorful mini cacti and succulents because the planter is porous so it drains well. It is a great little garden for those of you who often forget to water their plants because I rarely water it at all. You can go on vacation and RELAX knowing your little garden is just fine without you. If you are good about watering, you could fill it with herbs. The snow during the winter provides moisture as does the rain in the summer. The planter might be small but it is so heavy I need a dolly to move it.

So, get comfy and check out these outfits.

This is the outfit I am currently wearing as I write this blog. The lightweight cream colored sweater and sweatpants are loose and allow me to comfortably curl up on the couch. The bluish-green, hooded sweater-jacket is basically made of the same material as the stretchy sweatpants. THE WHOLE OUTFIT IS CUTE AND COMFY.

The jewelry is pretty simple because I may fall asleep on the couch and I don’t want to wear any jewelry that would make me uncomfortable. I am always wearing a watch so I chose one that was eggshell in color with gold trim and faux diamonds around the face of the watch. The rest of my jewelry also contains gold metallic pieces. The earrings and the ring are the same blush-green as the sweater jacket and the ring has itty-bitty diamonds around the gem stone. The bracelet is made of cloth with gold beads so it is not cumbersome.

What is more relaxing than being a lake bum? The pants tie at the waist and has back pockets. They are not stretchy but they are loose and comfy. The top is hooded and loose fitting with a little bit of stretch. The outfit is great for lounging just about anywhere.

Every thing about this outfit screams “outdoors” so I am wearing a silver pair of butterfly earrings and ring. My bracelet has the interchangeable charms so I decided to wear it with a “wave” charm. The watch is off white and the necklace is striped with 4 different shades of blue. Some people would not wear jewelry with a lounging outfit but I feel naked without accessories.

You can really tell how miserable I am feeling by the puffiness of my eyes. Of all the outfits, this one is the most comfortable. It is made of acrylic and polyester and it moves as I move like it is part of my skin.. The top is loose and covers my tummy while the pants are form fitting but stretch with every movement I make. It has a ribbed collar and cuffs for a little added interest. The buttons are mottled with two shades of taupe.

The earrings are made of 4 different metallic colors so I am able to wear different metallic colors in the other accessories. The ring is silver metal with a tiger-eye stone. I pulled in the other metals with a copper color watch and matching bracelet, and a simple gold necklace and a rose gold colored bracelet with love doves.

OK, let’s talk about the Christmas weight. Surprisingly, I only gained two pounds which is a miracle considering all the chocolate and homemade cookies that I ate. Even more surprising those pounds came off easily. However, I don’t know about you but when I don’t feel well I tend to eat comfort food. For me, comfort food is ice cream. I figure by the time I am healthy I will have gained back the holiday weight and then some. Oh well, I have realized that the pounds come and go but ice cream is forever. I have to be careful, though, because I could end up like Aunty Acid who stated “I decided to go for a jog today…As I set off I realized it was my butt cheeks cheering me on”. Maybe I just won’t go jogging.

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

The Three Days of Christmas, Ho-Ho-Ho

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, another Christmas is upon us and I am so excited! As you know from my last Christmas blog I go crazy with decorating. I truly have a Christmas house with all my every day decorations and some furniture shoved into my second bedroom. Every wall hanging and knick-knack has something to do with Christmas. So many people have told me I should be on a Christmas Walk which is such a wonderful compliment. It takes me over 40 hours to decorate but I think it is worth every minute. I am not sure Matty appreciates it especially after I dressed him up as Santa. I have 3 parties at my house during the holidays. When all the festivities are over I feel a little sad but, like Crabby Maxine, I am never lonely because I have four men in my life. I get up with Charlie Horse. I spend the day with Arthur Itis. I dine with Will Power. And I go to bed with Ben Gay.

Last Christmas I wrote about reminiscing Christmases past but this year I want to concentrate on Christmas present. As many of you like myself have lost loved ones who we miss all the time but especially during the holidays, we think of the holidays we enjoyed when they were with us and wish we could spend another joyful Christmas day with them. There are times I get a little weepy but I am now able to grieve for a short period of time then I think of the joy my loved ones brought to my life and I start smiling again. Then I think of the many blessings I have in my life right now and I need to make myself present for those I do celebrate with on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Our lives are so hectic every day and even more so getting ready for Christmas that I want to make sure that when I get together with family and friends they know how much I love their company. Unfortunately we never know who will still be with us next year at this time so when you get together with others in your life make them feel important and special. Every one needs to know that someone cares about them. Let that someone be you.

Here is a Christmas riddle. How do you know Santa is a man? Answer: No woman would wear the same outfit every year! I always wondered why we decorate with red, green and gold colors. There are many different theories but I found an article that I thought represented this tradition the best. The red symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, green is the color of the evergreen plants like holly and mistletoe which represent Christ’s life and eternal nature while gold is often used to represent the sun and the Son of God who will bring light into the darkness. Then I wanted to know if there was a Christmas dress code. I did a little research (I am a little nerdy that way) and found out that we no longer have a specific code and we can dress up however we want. There was a time when our elders would have been appalled that we show up on Christmas Day in our blue jeans but times have changed. The Christmas dress code of dressing up ended in the 1990’s and thus began the “anything goes” feel to the holiday season. These days our choices range from cozy to glamorous, from silly holiday sweaters and flannel to glistening accessories to color-coordinating green and red. If you are attending a Christmas themed party or social outing, follow the theme of the event. I for one am not really into buying clothes that can only be worn during the holidays but I do have a few pieces, both old and new, that can be worn no matter what the theme of the party. Hence, the Three Days of Christmas.

This is where I usually insert a picture of a landscape design. I could have gone out and shown you pictures of snow covered evergreens and told you about the importance of incorporating them into your landscape for winter interest. Instead, I decided to show you something I did within my townhouse that kind of goes along with the “gold” theme of Christmas and is a great indoor design strategy.

The walls of my townhouse are all a very light taupe and my carpeting is off white. I have a very open concept and I felt that I needed an accent wall to break up all the “lightness”. I have a wall that is 17 feet high and I decided to paint it a caramel gold color. It goes beautifully with the stair banister, my metallic gold decor and it adds a richness to the environment. It looks exceptionally pretty surrounded by Christmas decorations.

Well, let’s look at the three days of Christmas outfits.

This outfit is for those of you who are celebrating Christmas Day with football, games like Charades or Pictionary, or sitting around with friends and family vegging out with pizza or finger foods. I love this Christmas tee shirt because it is not red and green. It is a navy blue with two tone pink colored poinsettias. I paired it with my most comfy blue jeans and navy blue boots (just in case you end up having to be outside maybe looking at Christmas decorations in the neighborhood). A comfy pair of sneakers would look good with this outfit too.

I love how the poinsettias go down the left arm sleeve on this “Life Is Good” tee shirt. In the last blog I told you how our library foundation had a used jewelry sale. No piece was over $2. I got these poinsettia earrings for $1. The deep rose glass petals look lovely with the pink color of the poinsettias in the tee. I paired it with a green watch and a garnet gem ring. I cannot afford to buy myself fine jewelry so when I go into an antique shop I look for faux gem rings with beautiful or unusual settings. I loved the setting of this faux emerald ring but the picture does not do it justice.

This outfit is for those of you who are going to a family or a friend’s Christmas get-together where you will probably have a traditional sit down or buffet dinner and just enjoy each other’s company. I liked this jacket because it is made of sweatshirt material so it is comfy and it is forest green not a bright green. I have had this jacket for over 20 years. It looks like new because I only wear it once a year. It is decorated with embroidered Santas, Christmas tree and ornaments. I paired it with a red turtleneck top, black slacks and and black flats.

I love the Santa button! The embroidered ornaments are gold in the center so I paired the outfit with round, gold clip-on earrings. The bracelet was made by one of my coworkers and the stone of the ring matches the green beads of the bracelet . Again, I love the setting of the faux stone.

This is an outfit I would wear to an evening Christmas party. It is more formal and it makes me look thin. I bought this cover-up at Alsip Nursery in Frankfort. It is a large garden center that sometimes has cute clothes. The Santas go all the way around the cover-up and it is made of a stretchy material. I paired it with a back turtleneck and black leather looking skinny pants. I dress it up with 1 inch black heels.

The necklace and earrings were bought at the library jewelry sale. I got the gold and red necklace for $2 and the matching earrings for $1. I wore a pearl ring that matches the pompons of Santa’s hat and my red ruby ring. I wore the thin gold bangle and gold watch on one wrist and the black bracelet on the other.

I try not to think about my weight during the holidays but I am proud of myself for losing 23 pounds since the start of my blog four years ago. My liver doctor is soooo happy with me since the majority of the weight came off this past year. I wish I could say I was diligent in following a diet but most of it came off because of circumstances. Recently I had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and ended up with blisters all over my mouth which made eating difficult. Then I ended up with back spasms while putting up Christmas decorations so I ended up flat on my back which made eating difficult. As Aunty Acid says “It’s bad news when your back goes out more than you do.” The nice thing is I feel OK about eating Christmas cookies and candy, the bad thing is I don’t know when to stop eating sugary Christmas calories. I will say that my heart doctor was not happy with my diet so I had to curb my breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast while increasing my intake of plain oatmeal. Good thing I like oatmeal.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to a new year of blogs to share with you. I hope you know you are all very important to me! Aunty Acid says it best “I don’t want anything for Christmas. I just want the person reading this to be happy, healthy and loved.” (see, she is not always sarcastic!).

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


Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I want to talk about the side effects of getting older. I don’t mean to be negative but I agree with Aunty Acid who says “I spent my entire childhood wishing to be older….and now I’m here. Well, this crap sucks!“. I recently saw Katie Couric on T.V. talking about how she was only 6 months late in getting her mammogram and they found early stage cancer. Most of us find it uncomfortable if not painful to get our mammograms but I say to all of you who have not gotten their yearly mammogram “JUST DO IT!” (Wow, I sound like a Nike commercial). In my last blog I told you all that I was having a colonoscopy. I had my first colonoscopy when I was 58 and they found 2 precancerous adenomous polyps and I was told I needed to get a colonoscopy every 5 years. When I was 63 they found 3 precancerous adenomous polyps and again told to come back in 5 years. Well, when I was 68 Covid hit and they were not doing colonoscopies so I had to wait an extra 2 years. This time the majority of my 12 polyps were precancerous adenomas and one was very large. Now I have to have another colonoscopy in 1 year. I am a stickler for getting my preventative tests done on time and very fortunate that the results were not life threatening. Colonoscopies are no fun because of the prep but the test itself is easy for the patient because, hopefully, you are knocked out (otherwise you would know what a Muppet feels like!). I get it, there are no “butts” about it, colonoscopies are a pain in the ass, literally. So for all of you who have been avoiding getting a colonoscopy done, I say to you “JUST DO IT!”

OK, let’s change the anal topic of colonoscopies to that of fashion. I am sure we have all been asking ourselves this burning question (not) “Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?”. The theme of this fashion blog is landscape art. Fashion is regarded as a part of visual culture, a kind of body art. Prompted by this, some of the world famous fashion designers have made outstanding collections based on the art movement, allowing us to interpret fashion as a form of art. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent incorporated artist Mondrian’s abstract painting into his collection. Designer Gianni Versace was inspired by the pop art movement pioneered by Andy Warhol. Designer Alexander McQueen was inspired by artist Gustav Klimt, the master of symbolism. Christian Dior was inspired by my favorite artist Claude Monet. Monet used his home and garden for inspiration and captured the natural landscape in his paintings. Christian Dior used to spend a lot of time in his garden drawing his collections just like Monet did.

I love to add a picture of landscape design that relates to my blog so here are a couple of pictures that depict perfectly the color, texture, and form of landscape design.

I don’t know who landscaped our townhouse units but they should be commended. I put the first picture in to show you how the landscaper planted a tree outside every door of all 180 townhouses. In the second picture you see the trees that surround the perimeter of the townhouses. The landscaper used form, color and texture beautifully to maximize fall colors. This last picture looks like a piece of art.

So, lets see how landscape art can be used in fashion.

I love this beautiful fall wrap! It is reversible and has a totally different fall scene with a different mix of colors on the other side. The landscape scene is a river flowing under a bridge in a forest of fall colored trees. The wrap is buttoned at the shoulder. Underneath, I am wearing a blood red orange turtleneck top and a black pair of pants. With a wrap like this jewelry is really not needed but I feel naked if I don’t wear some sort of accessories which you can see below.

There is no sense in wearing a necklace with this wrap because it would be lost in the landscape. I wore the tricolor bracelets on one wrist and the gold bracelet and watch on the other. I wanted to accentuate the greens in this piece of art so I paired it with a green ring and earrings.

The scene on this top reminds me of an old European seaside village. I always get so many compliments on this top because of the beautiful colors of the landscape. I am wearing it with my royal blue pants and navy blue shoes. It is a very comfy top that hangs beautifully over my tummy and hips.

I decided to use accessories of orange and yellow because I wore the royal blue pants to pull out that color. All the metals are gold and the earrings are also made of metal. The bracelet is made of wood. The necklace gets a little lost because of the vibrancy of the top but I feel naked if my neck is exposed and I don’t have a necklace on.

This is my favorite raincoat. The abstract landscape is that of a very modern city. It is kind of like a Dali painting. You can see the sky with the high rises of the city buildings and the streets down below. This is a reversible coat with the other side the solid color of the collar/hood that you see in this picture. I am wearing it with black leggings and over the knee suede boots. I am also wearing a black turtle neck top so the jewelry I paired with the coat also look good when I take off the coat.

I love the colors in these earrings. The library foundation that contributes to my local library had a used jewelry fundraiser. They sold used jewelry people contributed to the cause. You cannot believe the mass of jewelry collected. The sale went on for two days and they sold each piece for one or two dollars. These earrings cost me a dollar. All-in-all I bought 14 pieces for $21. I was in heaven! I just happened to have a ring with some of the same colors in the earrings. The purple bangles and the greenish- yellow watch go beautifully with the outfit.

Well, this is where I talk about my weight. Last blog I told you I lost 5 pounds due to my colonoscopy prep. Well, 4 pounds came right back. I did manage to keep 1 pound from returning. However, I may gain that pound back plus a few more because we are headed up to Michigan for the events of Girls Weekend in South Haven, Shop Till you Drop night in Holland and then, closing up the cottage for the winter. We tend to eat out most of the time and I don’t really make wise choices when I am on vacation. Why is it that it takes forever to lose a pound and no time at all to gain it? I remember reading a poster that said “Isn’t it strange that as we climb life’s ladder, everything about us seems to get fatter except our damn bladder!” Isn’t that the truth! That saying reminds me of something Aunty Acid says, “Remember: The length of a minute depends entirely on which side of the bathroom door you’re on”. Wow, doesn’t it seem that a good part of this blog referred to the excretory system? I promise to get my head out of the toilet before the next blog.

I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and, until next month, remember God loves you and so do I.

Like A Rose Under The April Snow (Barbra Streisand)

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I decided to write about how thankful I am for beauty products. Crabby Maxine puts it this way “I have natural beauty but time keeps doing unnatural things to it”. Hear me out before you think I am coming from a place of vanity. By 2025, the annual total for the beauty industry will be $716 billion dollars worldwide. I am thankful for the hair coloring that colors my gray. I have nothing against those of you who like to go au naturel but it is not for me. In fact, my bookclub friends promised me that if I ended up in a nursing home they would make sure my hair would get dyed every two months and I am holding them to it! I am thankful for face cream that keeps my skin supple between the deep wrinkles. I am thankful for the eye coverup that hides the purple bags under my eyes or I could go au naturel and do as Aunty Acid recommends which is to tell people the bags under my eyes are Prada. Now this may sound like vanity but it has more to do with recognition. For over 50 years I have worn makeup almost every day and dyed my hair blond. I continue to do both so others can recognize me. I’m afraid when I start to lose my memory I may not recognize my reflection in the mirror because I am so used to seeing myself as a blond with makeup. I am not sure if I told you the story about my sister who was in her condo hallway getting Christmas decorations out from her storage closet wearing no makeup and she ran into the woman who just moved into the condo across from her place. Later in the day, my sister got a call to go into work so she got ready which included putting on makeup. When she got home from work she ran into the same neighbor who said “I think I ran into your roommate earlier today” (my sister doesn’t have a roommate). So someone wisely said, if your going to be a mess you might as well be a “hot” mess and let’s face it, “Beauty sleep is a lie. Everyone looks like crap when they first wake up” says the expert known as Aunty Acid.

Sometimes all it takes to feel beautiful is to wear something that makes you feel that way. I really hate fall and winter fashions because I love color and last month I walked into some of my favorite boutiques and saw nothing but drab colors. You all know by now that I am a pretty colorful person inside and out so I find those outfits that make me happy which usually includes flowers or bright colors. Just because we are going into cooler seasons doesn’t mean we have to give up on flowery patterns. According to Vogue, fall florals will be this seasons Go-To prints. They state that “These slightly darker, more muted versions will not only complement your existing wardrobe but will make your fashion transition from summer to fall that much easier”. I love to feel good by putting on something that I think makes me look good which means it hides my belly. If someone else thinks I look good it is a bonus. I love this Crabby Maxine quote “When someone is staring at me I assume they’re taking notes on how to be fabulous”.

Well this is where I put my landscape design pictures but I am going to show you pictures of the front of my townhouse and talk about my current plant dilemma.

Here is my dilemma. These pictures are from today and as you can see my little summer garden is still beautiful. Most of my neighbors have had their fall decorations and plants out since September 1st. They started putting up their Halloween decorations on September 15th. I have such beautiful fall decorations but they don’t look good with my summer plants and there is no room for them as long as my summer plants are out. I was hoping Mother Nature would cooperate and send frost my way because I can no more throw out a lovely plant than I can throw out a lovely article of clothing. They say we might get frost tonight but if not there won’t be another chance until sometime at the end of next week. This time of year the weather is so unpredictable. The psychologist in me feels Mother Nature is not only Bipolar but clearly off her meds!

OK, let the Fall flowery fashion show begin.

I love to dress up a pair of jeans! The white ruana is embroidered with the most beautiful shiny silver thread flowers. I love to tell you when I get a good deal. This ruana is from Chico’s and it was on sale from $119 to $59 dollars. With my membership discount and a $20 coupon it cost me $39 with tax included. It was worth every penny! Underneath the ruana I wore a simple short sleeved white top and I paired it with dark silver, 1 inch heeled sandals. You could wear this outfit anywhere. I wore it to a pub to meet with some friends. The ruana is great for a cool Fall evening.

I decided to wear all silver to accentuate the silver threads of the embroidered flowers and the beautiful trim. I layered my necklaces and both go so well with the ruana. What I love about filigree necklace is that I can wear it as a necklace or a brooch since the chain can be unhooked from the back. I also wore pearl earrings and ring to go with the longer necklace. The silver bracelet has a wreath charm and I love that I can change the charms.

This top has flowing long sleeves and I paired it with royal blue corduroy pants. I got it at one of my favorite Saugatuck boutiques and it was a great buy at $40.00. I paired this outfit with a dark cherry pair of shoes that go so well with the cherry red flowers in the top. You have so many options with the color of the pants you wear with this top.

I was never a fan of kiln fused dichroic glass until I saw this necklace at a little shop in Grand Haven. The owner of the shop made this beautiful pendant and she explained how she fused three pieces of glass together one of which was black which I think made the piece interesting. I am going to put a plug in for the shop called Silver Fire Gallery and Gifts. The colors in the glass are the same colors in the top. The orange and yellow stones of the rings go beautifully with the top and I decided that the rest of the accessories should match the gold on the chain of the necklace.

I had Vicki take this picture in a way that you could see the front of the sweater in my reflection while seeing the flowered pattern of the back. What you can’t see in the picture are the beautiful small pleats down the back. The front of the sweater and the sleeves are made of a black wool blend material. I paired it with a black pair of jeans and black flats.

I felt the flowered panel had an oriental flair so I chose jewelry that reflects this style. The design of the necklace makes it look very Asian and the black onyx stones of the earrings go so well with the beads in the necklace. The bangle bracelets also have that Asian flair and I picked them up at a resale shop for $5. I don’t know if you can see it but the shape of the pearl ring is the same shape of the watch. I don’t typically wear fine jewelry but the color of the ruby ring goes so well with the flower pattern of the sweater.

I guess it is time to talk about my weight. On that front there is good news and bad news. The good news is that I lost 5 pounds. The bad news is that my weight loss may be due to the colonoscopy prep I had to endure a few days ago which means it might be temporary. Regardless, for today I am going to revel in the euphoric bliss of my weight loss even though it is not grounded in reality. I enjoy getting my picture taken “butt” this was not a fun photo op. If you have never had to drink the delicious prep solution (said no one ever!) my advice is to just take your pillow and a book in the bathroom with you after you drink it because that is where you will be spending several hours and losing several pounds from your body. I can no longer argue with those who tell me I am full of crap because it is true.

Well, sorry to leave you with my anal malady. I am shooting for November for my next blog. Until then, remember that God loves you and so do I.


Hi to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Aloha to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World Is Black, The World Is White

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Wrapped Up, Birthday Girl

Hello to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

OK, let the spring fashion show begin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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