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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Pass The Mustard, Please

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

OK, let’s talk about mustard outfits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh well, until next month,

Remember God loves you and so do I.

It’s Not Your Grandma’s Shawl, Deary!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello to all my Gal Pals,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Ho, Ho, Oh No! I’m Seeing Red!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get started!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a Wrap!

Hello To All My Gal Pals,

This has been a time of such high drama I thought I would reference the theater throughout the blog. I have had the most fun writing this one and said I would continue to write the blog as long as it was fun for me. My first theater reference is to the movie “Pollyanna” (hopefully most of my friends know this movie) and the “glad game”. If you remember, Pollyanna was able to find something positive out of a bad situation. Well, I am glad to see annoying retail commercials on TV because they are not hundreds of campaign ads. I am glad for the mundane everyday flyers in my mailbox because they are not political statements. Even though I log into Facebook with some trepidation ( I won’t say anything further but I am sure some of you can relate), I am glad that most of the posts are ones of unity, family pictures and humorous cartoons (we could all use a good laugh these days). Of course we all should be more like Auntie Acid who says “Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth”. So I am continuing to be glad and always smiling.

For those of you who have been with me from Blog #1 you know that the purpose of this blog is to demonstrate that older woman can look fashionable while hiding the tier 3 belly, the lowest tier of the fat layers we seem to acquire after 55. As fashionable Maxine says “I’m at that age where I can achieve ‘that layered look’ completely naked”. I would prefer to have that “look” by layering my clothes and jewelry. You also remember I am not necessarily into trends. As Gianni Versace said. “Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide who you are”. You should forget the rules and if you like it, wear it. My motto is “If you wear things you love, you just look better.” Of course, in this day of Covid there aren’t many places to go that I need to get dressed up. These days I seem to relate more to Maxine who said, “At my age, my number one fashion question is “Can I nap in it?”.

So let’s get started with the fashion of the day. The title of the blog is so appropriate for three reasons. “That’s a Wrap!” can refer to the end of the election, what is said at the end of a movie scene, or what could be considered an accessory in fashion. Many times you can find a fashionable wrap in the accessory department of a store. I decided to do something different in this blog. I am going to wear the same black top and pants in each picture and show how you can accessorize it with a different wrap and jewelry to make a completely different outfit each time. I have about 10 pairs of black pants of differing styles and 15 black tops ranging from sleeveless to long sleeves. From simple pairings of black tops and pants, I have enough wraps, jackets, sweaters, etc. to make over 50 outfits. So my advice, invest in black. The nice thing about black is that it masks whether your clothes are expensive or inexpensive. I don’t have the budget to buy expensive pieces and I subscribe to the philosophy of Maxine who says, “Wouldn’t it be nice if retail therapy were covered by health insurance”.

As a school psychologist I have always been interested in the concept of “perception” because it dictates so much of human behavior. I have been looking into the relationship between visual perception and the color black. I wanted to know why we look so slim in this color. I will try to summarize it for you as best as I can. Black increases the slimming illusion because it does not reflect light. Other colors are affected by light projecting reflections or casting shadows in areas where your body curves or the material bends and wrinkles. Black on the other hand doesn’t have that effect so any imperfections remain hidden. The human brain is hardwired to seek out light over dark. Here are some other good reasons to wear black. It never goes out of style, it means never having to worry about matching it with other colors, it camouflages stains, it can be layered endlessly, it flatters every skin tone, it allows you to go wild with accessories, and it always looks kind of dressed up. I rest my case.

I am going to use a little outdoor decorating to highlight today’s blog on accessorizing. When landscaping, I worked with hardscapes and softscapes. The hardscapes include things like decks, ponds and retaining walls. The softscapes included shrubs and trees. All these are fairly permanent to an area and become part of the landscape design. The picture below should be familiar to you because I have used it in other blogs but it looks significantly different. The softscaping is the same but the “accessories” make the area look completely different.

Similar to the landscape design concept, adding different accessories to a black “softscape” creates a whole new outfit. No one is the wiser to the fact that you are often wearing the same two articles of clothing. That is why I feel my accessories expand my wardrobe. Accessories have the capacity to express an individuals identity and personality. I have a big personality and my accessories reflect that.

I told you earlier that I was going to add a little theater to my blog. I decided to reenact scenes from some of my favorite movies. In each scene I am wearing the same black “softscape” with different accessories. See if you can guess the scene before you read the description. The three wraps you will see all came from a little store called The Beach House in Saugatuck, Michigan. They were on sale and ranged from $15 to $39. I tend to buy most of my pieces from the middle of August to the middle of November because the boaters and other tourists return home and the boutiques in these boater towns put their merchandise on sale.

Hopefully you guessed “Saturday Night Fever”. It was hard for me not to smile but John Travolta looked very intense in this scene. My jewelry goes beautifully with the rusty fall color of this striped wrap. The black is slimming but the colorful wrap is what catches the eye. I love layering my jewelry. See the jewelry below.

This grouping has the Aztec Indian feel to me. The black ring was bought at a free trade store in St. Joseph, Michigan. It is made of a wood from South America. The other ring is made of mixed metals but most of the grouping is made with gold metals. I love layering so on each wrist and my neck I wore two accessories. I love the use of feathers in jewelry. All pieces are color coordinated with my outfit and each other. I always try to make sure the pieces I choose make sense. I start with the necklace and work outward from there, building on some aspect of the necklace.

The hills are alive with the “Sound of Music”. I wish my singing voice was similar to Julie Andrew’s but I do OK in that department. When you wear all black you have to wear jewelry that stands out. Every accessory other than the wrap have a beautiful shimmer. You can shine with a very simple outfit. You can’t see it in the picture but my shoes are black and they sparkle. See the rest of the sparkly accessories below.

There is a leaf theme in this grouping. The only accessory that doesn’t sparkle is my watch. Even the stems and leaves of the scarf are outlined with sparkles. By the way, olive green is a hot color for this winter. The leaf slide and the leaf earrings are not a set even though they look like they are. The slide came from a cute little boutique in Holland, Michigan and the earrings came from Petals and Twigs in New Lenox, Illinois. The leaf bracelet was part of my mother’s costume jewelry collection and is filled with man made diamonds (in other words “fake”) as is the long necklace. The cuts in the metal bracelet create the sparkly appearance.

I went all out on the scenery for this pose. I pulled the shower curtain and mat out of my bathroom and set it up in my bedroom. It is not the best pose to highlight my wrap but I think you “get the picture” (Psycho I hope). You never get to see Janet Leigh’s body but this is my interpretation of what it probably looked like as the knife was coming toward her. This wrap is a beautiful color and even matched well with my shower curtain. What I like about this wrap is that you can wear it several different ways. It looks so cute as an asymmetrical poncho. I didn’t wear shoes because, after all, who wears shoes in the shower (of course, who wears clothes in the shower)? Shower jewelry is shown below.

This necklace really shows off my personality. Not only do I love flowers but I really love chunky jewelry. I recently read that chunky jewelry supposedly makes women look older but how much older can I look at my age? Because the necklace is so large, the rest of the pieces have to hold their own weight. The flowers on the bracelet exactly match the necklace flowers but these pieces were not bought together. The dark orange ring goes well with the dark orange flowers and the white stone of the other ring looks like one of the petals of the flowers. The peachy colored watch also goes with the colors of the necklace. The nice thing about this necklace is that I have the options of pairing it with so many different accessories in my collection.

Well, that is it for today. I am trying hard to keep off the few pounds that I lost over the last few months. I don’t like exercising but I love going for long walks with my dog. I agree with Aunty Acid who says “I don’t exercise. If God wanted me to bend over, he would have put cupcakes on the floor”. In reality they wouldn’t last on the floor because my dog would assume they were for him (I would hate to fight with my dog over food). I decided I needed a pick-me-up so I am putting up my Christmas trees this weekend and binging on Hallmark Christmas movies. I hope you can find the joy in something you will do this weekend.

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

Join Me For A Cup of Joe

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Happy International Coffee Day! It was just a coincidence that my topic and this coffee day merged. I planned on this topic three weeks ago and found out it was International Coffee Day the day I was taking pictures for the blog. Anyway, I love coffee. I love the way it smells, I love the way it tastes and I love the way it looks when the barista makes those cute little designs in my cappuccino. In fact, it was those cute little designs that inspired this blog. I love the color combination of brown and cream. However, full disclosure, I can no longer drink coffee (sigh). I miss those pumpkin lattes in the fall. The reason I no longer drink coffee is best described by the words I surprisingly read on a coffee cup, “Coffee shops are gas stations for humans”. What happened! Is this part of getting old? One cup and I feel like I am 9 months pregnant. This reminds me of a poster I saw in a shop that reflects my life “Getting older is like living in a haunted house. Lots of noises, smells, bumps and lumps that you just can’t explain”. I miss my coffee!

Don’t you wonder where the phrase “cup of Joe” came from? Who is Joe and why are we using his name to refer to coffee? Well, I just had to look it up so I did a search. There are a few different theories because no one knows for sure but here is what I found out: 1) it is possibly a shortening of “cup of jamoke” from java + mocha”, 2) it signifies that coffee was the drink of the common man as “Joe” was a term often used to indicate a common fellow or guy, or 3) the US soldiers in WWI (1914-1918) referred to a serving of instant coffee made by G. (George) Washington Coffee refining Co. (found in 1910) as a “cup of George” and that the abbreviation of George was “Geo” which was read as “Joe”. I am going with theory #3 because I am a sucker for a good soldier story. Now that we have had our trivia fix for the day, let’s talk fashion.

Before I move on to the fashion of the day, I sometimes like to talk about a current fashion trend that I may or may not think suits someone of my age. I have this love-hate relationship with jumpsuits. I love how they used to look on me and I find them very stylish. I hate that they are usually belted which makes my belly stick out and I hate that you have to almost totally undress to go to the bathroom. At my age there are times (more often than not) when there is just not enough time for me to unbelt, unzip or unbutton, pull my arms out of the sleeves and try to hold on to the jumpsuit so it does not fall down on the bathroom floor before I can finally sit down on the toilet. Those of you of my age know exactly what I am talking about. I think Maxine says it best, “You know you are getting old when you can’t walk past a bathroom without thinking ‘I may as well pee while I’m here’. Well now that I have totally depressed myself about what used to be I want to talk about what I think looks great on me because it hides all my bumps and lumps.

As I stated before, I love the combination of brown and cream and have many outfits that reflect this love. I don’t have as many of these outfits as I do the black and white combination but they come in a close second. This blog will show the last of my summer clothes for this summer. That means no more sleeveless or very lightweight outfits. This blog will also show the last of my summer flowers because it will be time to put out the Halloween/Fall decorations. The problem is that the last of my summer flowers still look great. I got rid of many of them which is why you see the wall sconces on the Shepard hooks and the decorated sprinkling can in the hanging plant decoration. I love the outdoor painting of the poppy field that I have sitting on an easel under the front porch overhang. Goodby Summer! I will miss you!

OK, LET’S GET STARTED!

I feel like the hostess with the mostest in this outfit. The brown stretch pants are so comfy and the tunic was a summer bargain at Chico’s. I typically can’t afford the clothes at Chico’s so I wait for the sales. This tunic was a steal! It was originally marked at $89.50 and I got it for $17.10. I paired it with gold sandals that have tiny beads on them. I love the layered look of the jewelry which is made of beads, beads and more beads! Take a closer look below.

You know how much I love me a good poncho and this one is very sheer. I wear a similar color sleeveless top underneath. It looks great with these wide leg pants and the lace-like edges of my 2 inch heeled shoes are similar to the lace-like edges of the poncho. I love flower jewelry and this outfit just called out for gold flowers as I have pictured below.

You have probably seen this necklace/earring set if you frequent craft shows like I do. You can see the similar theme of gold and flowers. The flower jewelry will get put away until next spring but as you know from past blogs, I have many more where they came from. It is an addiction! I am drawn to “pretty” and there are so many pretty outfits and accessories out there at great prices and I can’t seem to pass up a great deal on something “pretty”.

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes you think are so cute but you have nothing to wear with them? These are those shoes for me. You have to wear a top with no pattern on it because the chances of finding a top with a similar flower in the same color is difficult. But I just happen to have some jewelry that matched the shoes and made the casualness of the brown jeans look a little more dressy. The lacy edge of the scarf looks great with the lacy edge of the top.

Again, if you frequent as many craft shows as I do, you probably have seen this necklace/earring set. The bracelet is just on a stretch band and none of the jewelry was expensive except for the watch. I hope they have summer craft shows next summer, I look forward to them each year.

Well, that is it for today. Here is where I like to talk about my endeavor to lose weight. I did lose a few pounds thanks to cardiac rehab sessions. They keep you moving for 36 minutes straight and believe me when I tell you I really need that. Am I so stiff from lack of movement after my surgery or could it be from old age? That reminds me of something humorous I heard that may answer that question: “I AM NOT OLD! I lifted my arms, I moved my knees, I turned my neck and everything made the same sound: Crrrraaaaccccckkkkk…I came to the conclusion that I am not old, I am crispy.

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…..

I AM BACK! I want to thank all the well wishers and those of you who sent prayers my way after the surgery. I also want to thank all of you who inquired as to my healing progress and provided needed encouragement. That first week was like Hell on earth because I couldn’t take pain medication but each day after that week brought a little bit of hope that things would get better. I especially want to thank my sister who is not only my photographer/proof reader for this blog but became a full time care taker for me, my dog, my house and my flowers for 6 weeks. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.

I think the title of this blog is so appropriate considering what I have just been through but on the bright side, if there was ever a summer to have major surgery this was the summer. Between the virus and the extremely hot, humid weather, I would not have ventured out much anyway. I read, did jigsaw puzzles, watched movies and napped. I once read on a poster “When I was a child I thought nap time was punishment. Now it’s like a mini vacation”. I was sorry that I couldn’t get a blog out earlier this summer because I have so many cute summer clothes. I decided that I would still show some of them in this blog and the next. If you recall from a past blog, I do not adhere to the “NO WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY” rule.

The saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. However, because of my sulfite allergy, I cannot have any foods or drinks that contain lemons, limes or grapes. So I prefer the saying by Ron White, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade then try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka and have a party”. Vodka I can do. I decided to do a blog on fashionably fruity clothing. I recently read a women’s magazine that pictured a two page spread on citrus infused outfits and accessories. The title was “Chic and cheerful in citrus” and I loved it all. Every year designers inject zing into summer styles with reinventions of fruit inspired fashions which are always on trend. I started thinking, what is it about looking at fruit that makes us cheerful? Renoir, Picasso and especially Cezanne painted famous stills of fruit in bowls or on a table. What made them so popular? I think it is because anything in nature related to spring and summer create feelings of renewal, refreshment, and hope springs eternal. Summer fruits are emotional reminders that happiness lies in simple pleasures. We find summer outfits with fruity patterns to be refreshing.

Before we go on with the topic of todays blog, I have a bone to pick. Every once in a while I read a description about a fashion piece and I say to myself, “The writer clearly does not consider the age range of it his/her readers”. For example, there was a picture of a medium length, olive colored blazer worn by model Cindy Crawford. In the description of the blazer, the writer states “….the lapels act like an arrow that points to and showcases the smallest part of the torso”, meaning the bottom of the lapels point to her little waistline. Clearly this article was not meant to appeal to me. I am no Cindy Crawford but I remember reading that inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate. My inner Cindy Crawford has been well sedated. My belly certainly does not need to be highlighted. I once read a poster that perfectly describes my belly, “I learned how to belly dance today, I didn’t have to do much. I just gave it a little shake and the darn thing started dancing all on its own”.

The fruit I will be highlighting today will be lemons and pineapple. The color yellow is my favorite color because it reminds me of sunshine and it is a color that goes with just about any other color. I took a picture of my yellow bicycle yard decoration below.

Sorry about the neighbors cars in the picture. I didn’t have the nerve to ask them to move them. Anyway, when I put flowers in a container or with a specific yard decoration, I always consider how all the colors look together. The nice thing about the yellow bike is that every color goes with it so I could put any plant I wanted to into the back basket. In the small front basket I put a multicolored solar light. I usually have summer flower baskets hanging from the Shepard hooks but between the heat and looking less than appealing from maturing at the end of the summer I put these wall decorations up until I buy my fall flowers.

So let’s get started with my fruit enhanced clothing. There is one thing to remember. Too much fruit is neither good for your digestive system nor for a fashion statement. Carmen Miranda (hopefully some of you know who this is) wore a lot of fruit on her head but it looked OK because she kept it isolated to one part of her body. Be careful not to have too many competing fruits or you will look like a fruit salad.

This is a great sundress for strolling around your favorite vacation spot. If you go to South Haven or Saugatuck in Michigan so many of the tourists are wearing swimming cover-ups so this sundress fits right in. This is a great belly cover-up and so light weight for the hot, humid weather. I wish I had a better tan but I wasn’t able to go to the beach or pool this summer. I paired it with my sandals that look like they are made of straw and straw flowers.
I paired my outfit with a green amethyst and silver necklace I bought at the farmer’s market in South Haven from a woman who makes her own jewelry. I chose these earrings because they look like little lemons. One ring is made of silver and milky yellow topaz that I bought at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago and the other is a silver and green peridot that I bought from a jewelry shop in Saugatuck that sells pieces made by local jewelry designers. Yellow and green is the theme.
I bought this top after seeing it in the two page fashion spread of the women’s magazine I mentioned earlier. It just spoke to me. I tend to buy my tops a little big so they hang nicely around my hips and belly but that usually means the arm holes might also be a bit too big. That is why I have so many different color tanks to put underneath. When I see this outfit I think “How refreshing”. I paired it with white pants and lemon patterned shoes. Are you surprised that I would just happen to have a pair of lemon patterned shoes in my closet?
I thought this necklace looked like a lime. The ring has green peridot chips and the yellow bracelet has thin green streaks in it.
I love white on white in the summer. It looks so crisp and clean. I got this man tailored shirt with tiny pineapples on it at Chico’s. It was on the first day I was able to drive and my car just automatically took me there. If you have ever shopped at Chico’s you know how pricey they are. This shirt was on the sale rack and then they had a 40% off of everything in the store. With my 5% membership discount, the shirt, with tax, cost $40.00 down from $99.00. Such a bargain! For those who would prefer a more fun look than a classic look, this outfit looks great with the green vest and the retro purse. I have paired the outfit with green apple nail polish and these great sandals that zip up the back (they were on sale at Landsharks in Saugatuck).
Even though it has never been decided whether it is OK to mix metals in fashion, I rarely do unless I have one piece that is made of both of the metals.
In this case it is the bracelet with the tiny pearls. The pineapples in the shirt were orange, yellow and green so I wore jewelry that would enhance those colors. I love the ring I bought recently that was from an estate sale. I cannot remember the name of the heart shaped, green stone but it is in a beautiful silver setting. I chose these earrings because they remind me of the pitting of pineapples.

Well, that is it for this blog. As far as my weight, I am not doing badly considering I was home bound for so long. I did not gain the quarantine 15 because my diet these days is limited. I cannot do sulfites which means pretty much nothing made with preservatives, no herbs, no spices, etc. I am having some breathing problems and dairy seems to make it worse so I gave up dairy.

Now for a recommendation on something other than fashion. If you haven’t already seen it you should go to YouTube and watch KD French, a gospel singer who sings both lead and backup vocals in a song called “ The Fridge Again”. It is so funny! So let me leave you with these wise words, DON’T LET AGING GET YOU DOWN. IT’S TOO HARD TO GET BACK UP!

Remember, God loves you and so do I!

It Seems Pretty Black And White To Me!

Hi to All My Gal Pals,

The picture above was inspired by “Where is the Panda?” black and white picture search puzzle one of my friends posted on Facebook. Can you find me in the picture? Just look for the red clues. Can you tell how much I like black and white outfits? I wish I was Sweet 16 again but I am more than 4 times that. I decide to add the silver ribbons to my Sweet 16 sign (16th blog) in celebration of my birthday this week ((May 1st) since my annual birthday party will be on hold.

Well let me start this saga by saying what I always say “God works in mysterious ways”. In my last blog I told you I had shingles and a virus. Well, it turns out I did not have shingles. The blisters on my tongue, the burning eyes and my nasal passages closing up as well as my shortness of breath for 4 weeks were from a virus that landed me in the hospital. While I was in the hospital they decided to try and rule out other possibilities for my shortness of breath. They did not think it was Covid 19 but went back and forth trying to decide if I should be given the test. I did not get the Covid test but one of the tests they did conduct was a heart cath and those of you who have seen my posts on Pam’s Gal Pals group page on Messenger know that I was told I need triple bypass surgery of the coronary arteries. Well, after talking to my surgeon this week I have been upgraded to quadruple bypass surgery. Since elective surgeries have been given the go-ahead they are thinking the surgery will take place in a couple of weeks from now. Can you imagine the outcome if I did not get that virus that put me in the hospital! These are scary times and there will be no family members next to my bed to offer comfort but I am comforted in knowing that I am never alone. My faith is strong and no matter what happens I know God is with me. Also, I think of the quote “Whenever you feel sad, just remember that there are trillions of cells in your body and they all care about you”. It also reminds me of an Aunty Acid quote “Starting tomorrow whatever life throws at me I’m going to duck – so it hits someone else”. I should have ducked sooner! The reason I am sharing all this with you is because it may affect getting my blog out next month. Well, with that out of the way, let’s move on to more happy topics like fashion.

Coco Chanel was quoted as saying “A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous”. When I think of the black and white combo I think of “classic”. It reminds me of the southern charm of Tara in the classic movie “Gone with the Wind”, timeless and beautiful black and white art gallery photographs, and my daughter’s black and white wedding with red tricolor roses which was one of the classiest weddings I have ever attended. There are endless ways to wear this combination. As famous designer Karl Lagerfeld once said “Black and white always looks modern whatever that word means”. Coco Chanel said “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony”. According to Harper’s Bazaar, wearing black and white head-to-toe has become a BAZAAR standard as their editors acknowledge it’s the easiest formula for a put-together look. They also call it a timeless combination writing “…this graphic way of dressing is a lifestyle not a passing trend”. In my picture above I am displaying several of my tops with a black and white pattern but I also love the look of flowing black pants with a flowing white top or a pair of black leggings with an oversized man tailored shirt. One of the best things about this color combination is that it is easy to accessorize because any color goes with it but I tend to only accessorize it in red. Of course these days with my binge eating my fashion style is whatever the hell fits me!

In this blog I won’t be demonstrating the similarities between landscape design and fashion design because I am using that space to display black and white fashion through the seasons. From my past blogs you know that black is the GREAT MINIMIZER. I have about 15 pairs of black pants of varying styles, ranging from casual to somewhat dressy. All of the outfits I am wearing in this blog hide my tier 3 belly because generally that is what black clothes do for me. So let’s move on to some of these outfits.

My first outfit is a great spring outfit and those of you who lunch with me may recognize it because I love it so much I wear it a lot. I love adding a pop of color with red accessories when I wear black and white outfits. Adding that little pop of red reminds me of the greeting cards that are photographed in black and white but they add a little red cardinal or rose. This checked top (another purchase from Saugatuck) is very light weight and somewhat see-through so I wear a black tank top underneath it. I pair it with black jeans and I love the combination of the straight, almost checked lines of the sandals with the checked pattern of the top. These sandals have a wedged heel and are really comfortable.

This is a great bracelet that can also be worn as a necklace because each end has a clasp that can be hooked on to a specific silver chain. I saw the “Diva” charm and knew it was meant for me (bought at an antique store in South Haven). You know from past blogs that I like a little contrast in pattern so this polka dot watch really looks cute with the checks.

This is a great summer outfit. I think I bought these leggings for $16 at CVS. I love the looseness of the flowing top and how it is longer in the back than in the front. In a past blog I told you that if you were going to wear a patterned bottom with a solid top, you have to wear a statement piece or an eye catching piece around your neck. A person’s eye will go right to the pants so you need a way to draw the eye back up. This necklace looks like it was made to go with these pants. This necklace was another great find in South Haven, Michigan. These sandals are so comfortable. The upper part is made of a soft but sturdy cloth material. They really compliment the outfit.

The necklace and bracelet look like they are from the Art Deco period. The translucent and opaque halves of the bracelet are especially reflective of that period. Because of the design of the necklace I was able to wear different shapes in the rest of my jewelry. I got this watch at the Odeum craft show which I attend twice a year. The great part of this watch is that you can buy different decorative bands for it.

Welcome to Fall. The leaves are falling from the tree in the picture depicted on the long sleeved shirt. The contrasting patterns of the shirt and the vest look great together because they don’t compete with each other. The straight lines of the vest seem to create a frame for the picture on the shirt. I was looking through one of the People magazines from March and there was a picture of Kristen Bell wearing a white and black thin striped Tee shirt with very busy flowered pants. There was no common color between them so to me they clashed. However, People magazine thought it was great and they put together a similar outfit for their readers. I don’t get it and I would never wear that combination but apparently others think it looks good. Anyway, these pants are made of a semi-light weight material with moderately wide legs. The sandals have leather uppers with braiding on the sides and a one-inch wide heel.

The straight lines of the stems of this flower pin go so well with the straight black lines of the vest as does the straight lines of the ring and watch. I have worn these earrings in past blogs but decided to wear them again because they are shaped like the leaves falling from the tree on my shirt. Because of the contrast in pattern between the vest and shirt, I wore solid colors in my accessories.

Welcome to winter. The off white polka dots in this top look like snow flakes falling down on the trees below. This top is a heavy knit and flairs below the bust line hiding all the fat rolls below it. It could easily be worn as a dress by a short person but, since I am not a short person, I wear it with off white leggings. Tim Gunn was once quoted saying “If you have to ask if a clothing item is a dress or a top, it is always a top”. This outfit looks great with black heels even though I am partial to matching my shoes with my pant color.

I don’t often wear my good jewelry with my blog outfits but this is an outfit that screams for pearls. The pearl bracelet is costume jewelry but all the other pearls are real. I love this watch because the little crystals look like little pieces of ice when worn with this outfit.

Well, that is it for this blog. God willing I will do some sort of blog next month. Maybe it will highlight some of my favorite pieces of jewelry instead of my outfits. There is no sense in talking about my weight ‘til this pandemic is over. As Aunty Acid says, “Desperation is shaving before stepping on the scale”. At this point, I don’t think shaving my whole body and losing a limb would make a dent in my weight! I am afraid these days my fashion sense is overruled by my need for comfort. That reminds me of a poster I once read, “My swimsuit told me to GO TO THE GYM but my sweatpants were like NAH GIRL, YOU’RE GOOD”.

Remember my friends, God loves you and so do I.

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.