Cardigans Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Okay, first of all, forgive me as I have selfied. I had no available photographer this week so I figured out I could use a light stand as a tripod workaround. I always lose the little piece on the tripod that attaches the camera to the tripod, rendering said tripod useless. But the hard part of selfies isn’t where to put the camera or how to take the picture from umpteen feet away…it’s how to get yourself in focus!!! So, my apologies in advance for a high percentage of not-quite-in-focus pictures.

That said…I really enjoyed wearing this Karen Kane floral dress from Gwynnie Bee…BUT it was only wearable with a cardi over top. It was a little too clingy to my hip bumps and my tummy on its own…but a cardigan is magic and just glides right over those things and you’d never know there were any problem areas at all!

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Aforementioned hip bumps…not quite as evident in the photo, but trust me, they’re there.

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And tummy…

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But with the cardigan all that just disappears…

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Interestingly, my friend Julia over at When the Girls Rule just posted today about a top she calls “the fixer.” And I think a loose-fitting cardigan falls into the category of “fixer,” as it fixes whatever’s underneath. I’m borrowing your term, Julia, cuz it’s brilliant! 

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So if you have something that seems a little too snug for you in spots, don’t necessarily discount it. If you love it, you can “fix it” with a loose cardigan over top.

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Plus, they’re wonderful for extending your summer wardrobe into the cooler months of fall. I’d had this dress in my Gwynnie Bee closet for some time, and it just arrived now in the middle of October. Layering the cardigan over it made it autumnal!

Speaking of autumnal, just some borrowed scenes from my girlfriend’s front porch…

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What I Wore:

  • Karen Kane floral dress via Gwynnie Bee, 24
  • Old Navy black duster cardigan, 2x
  • Hat from Headcovers Unlimited
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I’m Feeling a Little…

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Okay, a) lookit my cute boy!

b) I’m feeling a little Sporty Spice in this outfit

c) A little spunky

d) A little…NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER-Y!!!! Yup. Got my scan results back and finally heard the words “no evidence of cancer,” which is what you want to hear at this point. That’s not the same as “cancer free,” they can’t say that yet. Once you’ve gone five years with no evidence of cancer THEN they can declare you cancer free.

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So, yeah. Good news. Funny thing though, I don’t feel like I’m as excited about the news as other people! Honestly, I never felt that this cancer at this time was going to be the end of me. Not in a “I’m such a positive person” way, just in a “in my bones” way. Like when I knew I was going to have a girl when I was pregnant with my daughter. I just KNEW.

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So, the chemo stuff hasn’t worked its way out of my system yet, my blood cell counts are still low so I still don’t have much energy and they have me going back weekly to monitor my bloodwork…but I’M ON WAY TO FEELING BETTER. And I don’t have to have anymore *(*%&(*!! treatments, YAY.

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So Caleb and I are getting out a little more.

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The one-eyed kitty was distracting him.

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And perfect for a little stroll around the neighborhood is this Junarose dress from Alexis Krase at plusBKLYN. I love pairing the blue tie-died dress with the grey thermal knit cardi from Avenue and sneakers.

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Thanks everyone for all your thoughts, prayers and good wishes throughout this year – I appreciate every one of you. And now I just want life to go back to NORMAL!!!

Pictures by my friend Karen.

Til next time….

I’m Cranky, but…

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I’ve been feeling very cranky this week. Everything is pissing me off: my keyboard, the mouse, the dog, the bug that keeps buzzing in my ear at night, the return of heat and humidity, this %&(&^!! acne. And more.

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In trying to figure out what the REAL issue is…I think it’s the waste of this entire year to stupid cancer and the accompanying surgery and treatments. I’ve felt crappy for too long, I’ve been stuck inside and sedentary for too long, I’ve missed out on doing fun things with friends and Caleb…and myself.

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So, treatments are over. I certainly don’t FEEL better yet…but I’m trying to force myself out a little more. A teeny tiny walk with the dog. Sitting in my chair at the beach at sunset. Having ice cream with a friend in town. Easy things but…IT’S GETTING ME OUT OF THE DAMN HOUSE!!!

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So, as the title said, I’m cranky, but…I’ve tried to keep things as easy for myself as possible this year (well, except for moving, ha ha – that was not ideal timing but it’s done). A dress like this helps. The Sharagano dress is a drapey chambray (I think it feels like a Tencel blend) and SO easy peasy to wear. It’s a loose swirly tent-fit and hardly wrinkles. I rented it through Gwynnie Bee and when the sale price went to SIXTEEN DOLLARS I snatched it right up. I love this spicey orangey rust color and it goes well with several of my duster length cardigans so I can wear it well into the autumn.

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And oh yeah, POCKETS.

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So, yes, I’m cranky, but…things are GOING to get better. Each week a little more of the chemo poison will leave my body and I’ll start feeling better and better. I’ll be able to start living MY life again…not CANCER’S life. Stupid cancer.

Soon I’ll be spending less time laying in bed and more time watching sunsets.

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Pictures taken by my friend Karen. Thanks!

Transitioning….

Transitioning from summer to fall…transitioning to my new hood….so many ch-ch-ch-changes going on!

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There’s certainly no shortage of lovely scenery around here for shooting…this is a park and marina a half mile from the apartment. It’s *really* nice at sunset.

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This dress is from a special collection by Ann Taylor Loft via Gwynnie Bee. No, Loft does not typically do plus sizes (sadface). But I was able to rent a couple pieces from the collection through Gwynnie Bee, and I really love this dress. It’s a blue/grey paisley print jersey knit sleeveless swing dress (MY FAVORITE!!!). And by just adding a lightweight black longline cardigan over top, I could extend the outfit well into the cooler temps of fall.

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I haven’t done much exploring in the area yet but yesterday after the shoot I did drive around just a little bit and found the yacht club which also had a lovely view.

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It’s a very “walky” and “doggy” area. Parks, many restaurants, etc. welcome dogs and that’s so nice.

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The paint. Not really wet.

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I look forward to feeling better SOON and being able to walk around more and bringing Caleb with me.

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What I Wore:

Keeping it Simple

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So I’m realizing how simple I’ve made my wardrobe this summer. I typically like an outfit to consist of multiple items. But this summer I guess I just threw in the towel on “outfits.” Even a dress and cardigan seemed too complicated. One-piece dressing. That has been my jam this summer. Easy peasy.

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BUT…I admit…a little boring! For me…and definitely for you guys. There’s been no layering, no pattern mixing, no clashing colors. No “three ways to wear a ____.”

Yawn.

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I WILL get back to some more interesting outfits. I WILL mix it up. I WILL make sure there’s (almost!) always a takeaway from each post. But this summer I gave myself a pass. I was just happy to get SOMETHING on my body that would allow me to leave the house 🙂

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That said, let’s look at this, yet another easy look. Not to mention what has become one of my signature styles – the nightgown look, ha. Or, in this case, sort of 1940s depression and or pre-war mental hospital dressing gown – and I mean that in the best possible way! I love that look! It’s simple to put on and easy to wear. What could be better in the heat of the summer?

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The dress is by Junarose, from the lovely Alexis Krase at PlusBKLYN. It’s a super lightweight breathable cotton w a darling indigo blue geometric print. She has such great stuff!

My photographer was my daughter when we took a drive out east looking for a sunflower field but finding a wine tasting instead 🙂

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Back home later in the day it was a little cooler and I topped the dress with my cropped denim jacket.

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What’s your go-to simple outfit?

What I Wore:

When Life Hands You Lemons…

…turn them into a duster and wear them!

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So, this is a throwback to Memorial Day weekend. Somehow I’d forgotten I had these pictures or, more honestly, I didn’t like my hair that day, ha, so I kept skipping over them. Not quite so critical of my hair now that I don’t have any, ha ha.

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This story is certainly testament to the adage “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” Hair, health, loved ones – I’ll let this be a reminder to not take things or people for granted…and to appreciate and acknowledge the wonderful people in my life. I say this sitting next to an unopened box of thank you cards I’ve been meaning to write out since MARCH, acknowledging all the wonderful, caring and generous things people have done for me this year when I’ve been so…compromised. Ha. I don’t like to say I’m sick because I don’t feel SICK…but I have been compromised by the treatments. And people have been so helpful…or at least they’ve tried to be! I’m not good about accepting help. I always feel like *everyone* has problems/issues/weaknesses, etc., why should *I* get special treatment??

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But preparing for my move this week has really whooped my butt and fortunately I have some wonderful people helping me out so everything can get done. Because *I* am DONE. There’s very little juice left in this body right now and I have another chemo treatment later this week, so…THANK YOU to everyone who is helping me survive this move!!!

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Anyway, I got this dress from Gwynnie Bee, the Alice & You striped button down shirt dress, in a size 26. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but when I got it it was GINORMOUS. I still really liked the look of it, so instead of wearing a striped tent, I rolled the sleeves up, left it unbuttoned, and wore it as a duster over one of my favorite bases: black leggings and tee.

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So while it wasn’t *exactly* what I wanted, I was able to turn it into something I liked.

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And there were some beautiful irises blooming there that day that reminded me of my beautiful friend, Iris 🙂

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So…make some lemons work for you, one way or another…and don’t forget to appreciate the beauty in your life.

AND, a special treat – witnessing me in my utmost embarrassment…before I share the new apartment with you I thought I’d show you where I’ve been living for the past five years. Please Be Kind. It’s been a helluva year, cleaning has not been anywhere near the top of my list, and add “packing” to that and…oofah. The apartment is…well, you be the judge. Ha. The good news (for me!) is that viewing this a week after filming it, I can see how much progress I made in the past week (thank goodness! there was a night last week when I had a little meltdown because I was sure I was not going to be ready in time. But I will. Phew!).

Week in Review: Week 78

I really really tried to get a blog post up this week but. Work has been busy, evenings have been busy. I’m pooped. I’m sort of trembly all the time, sort of hard to explain but suffice it to say I GOT NO JUICE. But there were still a couple high points this week, so…

I got goodies from plusBKLYN !!! Look how fun their packaging is with hearts all over. I heart YOU, Alexis Krase! My favorite summer dress is from there (see below) and now I have a NEW new favorite that I will share soon!

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New favorite summer dress from plusBKLYN

I’m living on the edge. Yes, I kept driving.

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Ooh, one of the new plusBLYN dresses, this awesome indigo tie-dye dress. Was a chilly day so I needed a cardi over, but. The boxes are encroaching.

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My lovely friend at work gave me these two tiny elephants. They kind of look they were sculpted out of teeth. Which makes them weirdly even more appealing.

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A super-sweet parent from work gave me this tropical print bandana and I’ve been waiting to wear it with this outfit. I never did really pull all my summer stuff out this year so this was buried in the winter clothes and needed a trip to the cleaners. I can’t wait to have access to a washer/dryer in the new apartment! ps, I feel like my eyebrows are disappearing 😦

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Me and some friends went to this wacky “movies on the river” night to see Jaws. It was an interesting way to see a movie…but wet and cold.


We’re the second row back, second raft from the left. You can’t really make out it’s us, but it is.

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My “new mom” raided HER mom’s scarf collection for me and they are UH-MAZING!!! Lots of vintage, touristy ones, one has dance steps on it, another nautical terms, awesome 70s colors. This was a Rome tourist scarf (it says “ROMA) and is perfect with my favorite black dress.

My sister sent me an eyebrow pencil and was like USE THIS. I rebelled for awhile but gave it a try here…and it’s good. It’s very subtle but looks like I have full eyebrows again.

See the picture hanging on the wall at photo left below? I scooped it up at an auction many years ago and have always loved her…walking along a seaside cliff, looking so JOYOUS. I always said I want to feel like her. And now, with my headscarves, I sort of LOOK like her!

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We made a trip to the new apartment to move everything I’ve already packed…but there are Still. So. Many. Boxes. To. Fill. This weekend is IT. I MUST finish up, no matter how trembly I feel. The week ahead is moving and chemo so I really need to get’er done!

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I *will* have a new blog post up this week that includes an embarrassing video of my current apartment in its current state and a throwback outfit that somehow never got blogged from way back in May!

I can’t believe “summer proper” is almost over. I hope y’all are having a good one.

xoxo Bettye

 

It’s Not All Good

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So. I have to talk about The Cancer today. Through most of this time I think I’ve been pretty good at keeping my Game Face on. I am not by nature a perky, positive person. I consider myself more of a realist and prefer to face *all* things, good and bad, and not pretend bad things don’t exist. But I *have* really tried to find the good in the situation…to find some beauty along the way…small joys, blah blah blah.

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But yesterday I hit a brick wall. With all the rashes and diarrhea and queasiness and infections and sores and exhaustion and other joys that I have mostly kept to myself…the thing that I’m having the hardest time with is…losing my hair. I knew it was going to happen. I knew the particular chemo drugs I’m getting have that as a side effect. But I still hoped I would somehow escape it.

Nope.

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You know how a little hair always comes out in the shower? That’s normal. But yesterday…it just wouldn’t stop coming out. Big clumps and handfuls. And tears. Then when I tried brushing it out…it wouldn’t stop coming out. My brush was full of hair, my hands were full of hair…if I touched hair, it was coming out. I finally just wrangled it all into a messy bun and called it a day.

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I don’t know if it’s really noticeable yet because pulling hair back into a bun is sort of like a glorified combover (ha ha) but I’m sure in bright light it’s visible. And is only going to get worse.

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I’m afraid to take a shower this morning because so much more is going to come out. I’ll just wash my bangs in the sink. And hope for the best.

So I’m seriously stressing out about what I’m going to put on my head. I KNOW there are 12,000,000 options…but I don’t really see anything that looks like ME to me. I don’t feel sick, I don’t want to LOOK sick. I don’t want to look like someone ELSE. I’m not a hat person EVER – not in the winter to keep warm and not in the summer to shade my face…so this concept of having to put something on my head in the morning and leave it on All Day Long – at work, shopping, etc, just feels so awkward and foreign to me and I DON’T LIKE IT. I DON’T WANNA. WHAAAA.

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There. This is my time I’m allowed to be mad and sad and bitchy and complainy. I’M ALLOWED. I don’t want anyone trying to cheer me up, cuz you CAN’T. No one’s words can change the way I’m feeling. I’m terrified and angry. And I’m just gonna roll around in that for awhile.

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So, now that I’ve alienated half of you (ha ha), I can proceed with my outfit. I LOVE this dress. It’s by Rachel Roy via Gwynnie Bee. It’s dark dark grey and feels like velvety slinky silk. And it has this cool drapey effect on the front that hides EVERYTHING. It’s light and flowy. It’s EASY. Which is exactly what I needed yesterday.

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And we found the perfect location to shoot – this abandoned movie theater. Crumbly and littered…and yet even it had a little spot of wild flowers still growing. Even when I only WANT to focus on the ugly, I find some beauty. Damn it! Ha.

Free’n’Easy

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I. Love. This. Kimono. To me it represents freedom, peace, joy, beauty…EASE. Things that have been sort of missing from my life lately. I’ve been so exhausted from treatments that my only time outdoors is pretty much walking from the car to wherever I’m going…and back again later on. I’ve missed beautiful spring evenings and beach sunsets.

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But this day I managed to spin a couple times…and walk in the grass barefoot…and feel a little easy and free.

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Fashion can do that for you. It can transport you, make you feel like a different person or like you’re living a different kind of life. And right now I need some of that.

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Do you have something special you wear when you want to feel better?

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And the good news is, I finished radiation last week…and I’m starting to feel a little more human again. Not SO exhausted all the time. Staying up past 7pm, ha.

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So here’s to feeling free’n’easy…whether in spirit or style.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Johnny Was embroidered kimono via Gwynnie Bee, 3x
  • Charlotte Russe skinny jeans, size 24
  • J Jill linen blend tee, size 24

What Did I Buy?! Plus BKLYN

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Me, owner Alexis Krase and Marcy Cruz

It’s my last week of radiation – yay. It’s a good thing, too, cuz at this point I am beaten down. Life is pretty much work, treatment, home to lay down. But this past weekend I dragged myself up and out, picked up my buddy Marcy, and headed into Brooklyn to a new plus size boutique I’ve been seeing all over social media called Plus Bklyn.

Plus Bklyn is a funky little shop at 455 Graham Ave., Williamsburg, that caters to trendy ladies from size 14-26. Owner Alexis Krase and colleague Ivy were so charming and hospitable when we visited. We tried on bunches of fun things – there were dresses, tops, bathing suits, sunglasses, bags, jewelry and so much more!

So let’s play What Did I Buy?!

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Junarose, size 24
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Junarose, size 22
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Magical Unicorn dress, size 24

What do y’all think?

It’s so nice to have a new in-person plus-size shopping destination, I’ll definitely be back!