I might have told this story here before, but…I can remember being little, 5 or so, and counting the interminable days til Christmas…(and probably whining a bit about HOW MANY, SO MANY days) and my mother probably tried to console me and suggest that I be more patient, but the only part I really remember is her saying that TIME GOES FASTER AS WE GET OLDER. I couldn’t understand it at the time (how does time go faster? a day is always 24 hours, a year 365 days…) but obviously what she meant is our perception of time goes faster as we get older. And, of course, she was right. Relativity and all that.
This week on the blogosphere and all across social media, I’ve been reading about it being the END OF SUMMER…I’ve seen outfit posts with cozy cardigans…one just pointed out that it’s only FOUR MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS…I read this week that Starbucks will begin selling their Pumpkin Flah Flah drinks earlier this year – in AUGUST. COME ON, PEOPLE!!! It is STILL SUMMER!!! It is ninehundredmillion degrees out, I can’t even go look at a sunset because it is TOO DARN HOT and yet I am looking at women in red plaid skirts and leopard coats and cowboy boots on street style blogs.
Isn’t it enough that our minds trick us into thinking we are on a roller coaster of time, speeding along faster and faster to the inevitable end? Do we have to play along? Can’t we just enjoy a season for what it is now – hot and steamy and sunny and beachy – and keep wearing gingham and sleeveless blouses and swing dresses with slides and breezy kimonos and drinking iced tea with orange slices and mint and eating tuna salad on crackers? Can’t we just enjoy summer until we can’t squeeze one more drop out of it and THEN…when there is actual crispness in the air, THEN we can cozy ourselves into a chunky knit and suede booties and have a hot sweet autumn-flavored drink with whipped cream and look out the window at the changing leaves?
That’s what *I* intend to do. I’m not setting one foot into fall until I have to. And then I will enjoy the heck out of it.
Which brings us to today’s outfit (phew, I knew I’d get here eventually). I wore and shot this back in June – the first week of summer – but it got set aside as I’d shown a very similar top just the week before and I will show it now because it is summery and it is still summer.
This is another Andree by Unit embroidered rayon top via Gwynnie Bee -I showed another one here and I still have a few similar items in my GB closet. They’re so easy and summery. Lightweight, colorful, easy breezy fit. Over my favorite Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans. Which, if you want to talk about how many times you’ve worn something, I’ve had these a year and I’ve easily worn them 30 times or more. And my Aldo espadrilles, which also got a lot of wear this year and will continue into fall.
So, just an easy outfit. But that’s what summer’s meant to be. EASY. It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. Remember??
What I Wore:
Andree by Unit rayon top, 3x. Out of stock. Comparable here and here in plus size and here in straight size.
WARNING: This may be The Most Boring Week Ever. Get out now while you still can.
Trying to be more mindful of what I eat. Peanut butter and honey on apple slices for morning snack. Which was actually breakfast as I didn’t get up in time to eat anything before work. This might be the most unappealing food picture ever. Will not be Instagramming it.
High Point of my Week: watching the weeds grow.
Friday’s missing outfit from What I Wore This Week.
A perfect example of a “what are they thinking??” collaboration email. After reviewing my site and “seeing that you talk about men’s fashion”?? Uhm, WHICH day was that exactly?? Needless to say they are getting a No, Thank You. Ha.
Instacart brought me my groceries so I didn’t have to go out. I love getting the groceries delivered. It saves time and lugging. And money, as I don’t impulse shop.
This looks like a pretty motley grocery delivery, so I’ll explain. Haagen-Dazs, no explanation required. I’m making a white bean artichoke spread to go on the wasa crackers as an afternoon work snack. The peppers and radishes are a morning work snack, just as-is, raw and crunchy. I’ll pull the chicken apart for chicken salad with scallions (either on a sandwich or scooped up with the wasa crackers). The tomato, red beans and red onion is for a salad – those three items w a bit of mayonnaise (it and the juice from the tomatoes make a nice simple Russian-esque dressing) and salt and pepper. The almond breeze is for cereal and smoothies – I have frozen fruits and vegetables and acai stuff. It’s lovely to think I will get up in the morning in time to make healthy smoothies. But the reality is that I will probably not, so that is where the Cap’n comes in. And I’m making a big pot of spaghetti tonight that will last me several dinners in the week ahead…and I have salad fixins already in the fridge and I’ll probably go out to dinner once or twice. So. There’s my groceries explained.
I finally broke out the watercolors! In my defense, it’s a first attempt. I’m happy that it’s recognizable as what it is. I’ll keep trying.
I passed this pretty restaurant patio on my way to meet friends for dinner.
I had alcohol. And a three mushroom quesadilla.
Wearing #273 for this dress, more or less. I’m going to cry when I stain or rip it. Literally. Plus, my eyes are disappearing from my face.
And today, Sunday, was a whole lotta nuthin. Trying to plan something for the week ahead so it’s not…like last week! It’s my last full week before vacation, so…there’s that.
Hoping you have a more interesting week than I did!
It’s time once again to play What I Wore This Week! Fortunately I chose a better week for it this time. The last time I did WIWTW (c’mon, you can do this!) I was on vacation so it was like “here I am in my nightgown, here I am in my bathing suit, here I am in the dress I wore whenever I wasn’t wearing my nightgown or my bathing suit.” This is a week of work outfits (with nary a bathing suit in sight).
Monday – this was a normal workday. I didn’t expect to be running around taking a lot of pictures so I dressed accordingly. I went out to dinner with a friend but I changed before dinner cuz spilling.
Tuesday – another workday. Again, I expected mostly to be in the office all day and I wasn’t going out after work, so.
Wednesday – workday but I did expect to be taking pictures offsite so I dressed accordingly. Cool. Plus, haircut!
Thursday – I knew today was going to be a big picture and running around day but it was just too hot for jeans! I started out the day with the same white cardi as yesterday, but I took it off for the outdoor pic portion of the day – revealing my shoulders at work – oh the horror. When I got home I was just too hot to put it back on even just for the picture…and I also got out of my sneakers and into my slides. Not to mention, all I had in me was a quick cell phone snap, apologies for crappy blurry fuzziness. I’m done for today. Not even meeting friends for dinner tonight as planned…as soon as I finish this post it’s straight to bed for me!
Also, no Friday. I meant to start on Sunday so there’d be five days by Thursday and I could schedule this to post on Friday. But I forgot. Then I was going to put on tomorrow’s outfit and shoot it tonight. But I’m too tired. Ha. I’m a b-a-a-a-d blogger.
I will leave you, instead, with this Thursday Throwback…from two years ago, August 2016. When I still had hair and a dog. And wore dresses with waistbands.
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The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize. ~ Steel Magnolias
I don’t generally do a lot of accessorizing because I’m lazy a beacon of minimalism.
But do I like it and am always admiring others who do it well. Honestly, it’s expensive to accessorize well! Bags are costly, belts, hats, shoes, even little slips of fabric (aka scarves) are not inexpensive! Don’t even get me started on jewelry! So, what happens when you have a limited clothing budget is, you buy as few accessories as possible, and all in neutral tones so they go with as many outfits as possible. You can always tell someone with $$$ (or at least savvy shopping skills) because they have unique, extremely NON-neutral shoes on or a wild print bag. You know that is not their only one. If someone could only have one bag, they’re probably going to go with black. Or something equally neutral (relative to their wardrobe). I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but overall I think that’s a safe statement to make.
All that said, I do think about outfits and accessorizing a great deal. And I wanted to share some of my thoughts – I don’t want to call them “tips,” because I’m no expert…but these are just my thoughts. Do with them what you will. We all know there are no hard and fast rules in fashion…but I do tend to follow some guidelines (remind me to tell you the story about my high school boyfriend and “guidelines” sometime).
The more neutral or monochromatic the outfit, the more you can accessorize. Conversely, the more colorful or patterned (or textured) an outfit, the less “extra” you need. Every outfit does not need shoes (well, yeah, you probably do need shoes, ha), bag, scarf, hat, necklace, bracelet, etc. Even if “it goes.” It’s the same concept as “we don’t need to own everything we like.” You don’t need to put on everything that “goes” just because it does.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Let ONE item be the focal point or statement piece. Just one. If you have pops of color or statement pieces all over the place, NOTHING really stands out. It’s like highlighting EVERY line in a text book. EVERYTHING can’t be The Most Important Thing. It’s just up to you to decide what IS.
The days of matching bag to shoes is over but if you want to have one accessory really stand out, you can spotlight it by letting everything else “disappear,” by keeping them in the same color, tones or pattern. For example, you want to show off your new mustard yellow bag. By keeping the rest of the outfit and accessories either monochromatic or a coordinated range of neutrals, the one thing that’s different – the mustard bag – is going to become the focal point. For example: black dress, black shoes, olive green utility jacket – mustard bag – POP! Or blue denim with a white tee and leopard print flats (a neutral in my book) – mustard bag – POP! Conversely, mustard yellow floral dress with natural wedges….and the mustard bag just blends into the overall color scheme. Which is fine – and I’ll talk about that in a minute – but if you want that bag to be the focal point, that is not the way to do it.
Okay, a minute’s up, so now I’ll say this – when you’re putting an outfit together, you’ll want to decide if you want a focal point, or if you want the entire outfit to work together as a cohesive whole. A monochromatic look can be beautiful! Think cream on cream on cream or grey on grey…I always think a solid color outfit done well is so chic and classy. You don’t always need (yes, I’m back on that again) a “pop of color.” And monochromatic doesn’t have to mean every item is exactly the same color, all the pieces can be slightly different but in the same color family – like coral, muted orange and barely-apricot cream. The same but different.
The more I look at the pictures of my outfit here, the less happy I am with it (DAISNAID*). I had wanted the black and white pattern mixing (the stripes on the dress and hearts on the bag) to be the focal point. So (at the time) I thought that wearing everything else in neutral tones – the soft beige cardigan, natural hat and white sneaks (would have preferred a beige flat but) would be a good disappearing foil to the graphic black and white items. In reality I think they’re too contrasting. If I’d worn the black cardigan instead, then the black and white items would have been the statement part of the outfit. But wearing a black cardi on that hot sunny July day just seemed unbearable, so…this is what I ended up with. And as such, it’s a good “what not to wear,” ha ha.
I also thought I would like the orange scarf tied to the handle of the tote, but now I just find it distracting, pulling my eye right to it. Likewise my bracelets – coordinating with the scarf. There were just too many things going on. I’ve learned that lesson by viewing these pictures. Maybe the orange pop of color on the black bag would be good with an otherwise all black outfit…or a black tee over white jeans – because in such a simple color scheme, the orange scarf on the graphic tote would be the “star of the show.”
I think that’s the point. Decide what you want The Star of the Show to be, then find a way to spotlight it…rather than just pulling multiple colors out of an outfit – bag one color, shoes another, print with more colors, etc. The eye doesn’t know where to go! Like with graphic design or home dec or garden design, the best design guides the eye to where you want it to go.
All that said, these are just my thoughts about accessorizing. Everyone has a different take on fashion, but I thought I would just put these ideas out there as food for thought. I’d love to hear how you decide how to accessorize!
Ok – random guy jumping into the shot. Why. Why. Why.
What I Wore:
Old Navy black and white striped tee dress, size 3x. Old. Similar here and here in plus size and here and here in straight size.
Old Navy palomino (color) duster-length cardigan, size 2x. Very similar here in plus size and here in straight size.
Kate Spade graphic tote, old. I can’t find the heart one anymore, but there are a couple other black and white designs here and here and here. Just a note – my sweet niece gave me this bag for my birthday last year – Thanks, Jenn!
I did this a little differently this time. Rather than just listing the things I did (which can read a bit boring, even to me!), I’ve shared the Best and Worst Things from each day. Sometimes when I get in a “nothing is good” funk, this exercise helps me to remember that there is some good every day. But I can only acknowledge the good by recognizing the bad, so…here is my “Best Thing/Worst Thing” of July. Let me know how you like this format.
7.1 Best Thing: I was motivated and productive and spent 6 hours completing a blog project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Yay Me. Worst Thing: Saying goodbye to Katie again 😦 The visits are too short.
7.2 It was a Day of Bests: In spite of some anxiety I got myself to the beach and it was wonderful. My friend joined me and WENT IN THE WATER WITH ME!!! We’ve been going to the beach together for YEARS and I’ve never see her in past her ankles – Yay, Mochi! And I saved a drowning ladybug. The Worst Thing? I didn’t even want to think about a worst thing today as the day was so lovely…but then I looked at my checking account balance. Oofah. Downer.
7.3 Worst Thing: Due to my own procrastination (I HATE making phone calls and put them off As Long As Possible) I can’t get an appointment for a week-and-a-half to get my car detailed (it’s still Very Doggy from Caleb) so I can’t start Ubering this week (re-read yesterday’s Worst). Other Worst (ugh): I kept seeing out the window that the sky looked amazing at sunset and I just never got myself out there and now I’m kicking myself for missing it. Other Worst (I got a million of’em!): The blog post I wrote for tomorrow is like The Worst. The Best? Uhm…that nothing EVEN worse happened.
7.4 Best Thing: I FOUND FIREWORKS! AND AN AWESOME APARTMENT IN TIJUANA, WITH OCEAN VIEW, BEACH ACCESS, GIANT BALCONY, ALLOWS CATS – FOR $450 A MONTH!!! Worst Thing: I can’t move to Tijuana.
7.5 Best Thing: Spent the day at the beach and it was glorious. Worst Thing: Got a BT (BLT minus the L) on my way home and it was HOT. Like they put the whole sandwich under the broiler after assembling it. So the roll was hot, the mayo was hot, the tomato was hot. Weird and ew. Why would they do such a thing? I’ve never had a hot BT in my entire life! BUT if the worst thing that happens in a day is that my sandwich is weird…that’s not a bad day.
7.6 Best Thing: Had a full, fun day with a girlfriend out east, a lovely lavender farm as our main destination. Worst Thing: When I went to pay for something in the shop at the lavender farm, my debit card was missing! Oh no! Other Best Thing/Luckiest Thing: When I said to the cashier, “don’t start ringing it up yet, I can’t find my debit card!” the other cashier starts asking me “WHAT’S YOUR NAME? WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” I was like, huh? “Bettye Rainwater,” and she reaches under the counter and hands me my debit card! It had fallen out of my jacket pocket while I was traipsing around the field and someone had already found it and handed it in! Phew! The lovely day continued.
7.7 Best Thing: Did absolutely nothing. Worst Thing: Did Absolutely nothing.
7.8 Worst Thing: And by worst thing I really mean Saddest Thing…went to a good friend’s father’s wake. Best Thing: Was blog productive in the afternoon which means more free after-work afternoons
7.9 Worst Thing: Vacation over. Back to work. Barely slept. It’s The Worst Thing Trifecta. Best Thing: Went to beach straightaway after work and it was delightful.
7.10 Worst Thing: How can I fall behind so quickly? Already behind on week’s blog work so missed out on dinner with friends, boo. Best Thing: They got to go to their favorite Greek restaurant, which I don’t like so much. Best thing for them, that’s okay. I don’t need to be greedy.
7.11 Worst Thing: I forgot to get my free Slurpee! Best Thing: I did my first Uber ride. Was sort of a cheat, as it was for a friend, but still. Other Worst Thing: Had a disturbing vision/brain/who-knows-what occurrence…a friend said maybe it was an ocular migraine. Dunno, but it scared the you-know-what out of me. OTHER Worst Thing: Washed my two favorite summer dresses. Delicate cycle, cold water, no dryer. And they both shrank! One is no longer wearable, boo. The other is wearable but is not the delight it once was. I’m a little devastated. As devastated as one can be when losing an article of clothing. I mean, you know, come on. It’s clothing. Not my child.
7.12 Best Thing: Got my car washed and detailed, so it’s clean for the first time in ages. Worst Thing: The cleaner they used inside the car REEKS. It wasn’t an immediately recognizable cleaner scent, like pine or lemon or “mountain fresh.” I couldn’t place it til I got in the car later after sitting in the sun with the window up…just cleaned public restroom. Oofah. Like, cheap industrial cleaners just barely masking an unpleasant toilet-y odor below. It was not good. The car didn’t smell prior to the cleaning, it was just dirty. Ugh.
7.13 Best Thing: Friday. Worst Thing: Car still stinks, can’t pick up rides like this!
7.14 Best Thing: Had photoshoot with great photographer after rescheduling like a million times all spring and summer! Worst Thing: I’m crippled. Walking around for 90-minutes in non-supportive shoes really does a number on my feet and hips. I can wear non-supportive shoes most days to work and that’s fine cuz I’m not normally doing a lot of walking. Other Best Thing: Because I’m crippled I feel justified in lying on the sofa all afternoon reading, when there are really other things I should be doing.
7.15 Best Thing: #NationalIceCreamDay! Worst Thing: #SundayNightBlues
7.16 Best Thing: Went to the beach after work for some solo beach zen downtime. Worst Thing: Monday
7.17 Best Thing: Got my ASOS order super fast. Worst Thing: ASOS dresses ridiculously sized.
7.18 Best Thing: Got a $5 tip on a $5.78 Uber ride! Worst Thing: This week is taking For. Ever.
7.19 Best Thing: First day this week I got to go straight home after work and had no plans! Worst Thing: Effed something up at work and feel like crap.
7.20 Best Thing: FRIDAY!!! Worst Thing: Alarm didn’t go off, overslept and was late to work – first time this has happened since we started using new clock-in app at work and I will be docked 7 minutes pay. Ugh.
7.21 Best Thing: My new COTTON nightgown arrived – woven cotton, not knit – so it is COOOOOOL, baby! What a difference wearing that vs. the cheapy synthetic nightgown I’ve been wearing for almost two years! This will DEFINITELY get 30 wears. This will get three hundred wears! Worst Thing: It was a stunning day – cool, dry, breezy – and I didn’t set foot outside the apartment.
7.22 Best Thing: It was a good blend of productive and relaxing. Got some blog work done and did two Uber rides, but also went to the park and watched a movie. Worst Thing: #SundayBlues
7.23 Worst Thing: Went to storage by myself (hate going by myself, it’s creepy and hard) and couldn’t even find what I went there for. Best Thing: The unit was emptier than I remembered. Maybe I can get it emptied out by the end of the year!
7.24 Best Thing: Got to see my two girlfriends who I haven’t seen in awhile because life. Was good to catch up. Worst Thing: I’m very very tired. So tired.
7.25 Best Thing: I got to come home after work and do absolutely nothing. No Worst Thing about that.
7.26 Worst Thing: My computer is in a coma! I don’t know if it can come back from this!!! Best Thing: I was almost done with the Friday blog, just had to add a couple things and schedule it, which I managed to do from my phone, so I’m not thrown off schedule. Yet.
7.27 Best Thing: Got some awesome pictures at work today. I now do a Week in Review blog post at work like I do here. It seems pretty popular! Worst Thing: I tried a couple workarounds for my computer situation and none of them worked. I’m gonna have to take it somewhere and throw money at them to Please Fix It!!!
7.28 Worst Thing: Had to work all day on a Saturday and it was The Hottest Day in the History of the Planet. Best Thing: Someone suggested one more thing to try with my computer and it worked!!! I’m back in business and will take the $$$ I was going to spend on repair or new purchase and invest in a 1-year subscription to Carbonite, so everything will automatically back-up to the cloud and someday when the pc dies for real, I won’t have to panic about my files.
7.29 Best Thing: I spent the entire day on the working-again computer! Worst Thing: Heard some bad news about a friend.
7.30 Worst Thing: Monday. Best Thing: Above-mentioned friend is okay.
7.31 Best Thing: Went to the movies with an old friend. Worst Thing: Got funky stomach right after movie and had to dash off before we could really chat.
And that was the Best and Worst of July! I’m undecided if I’m going to keep this up. Thoughts??
I recently saw a list of 10 ways to start the day, they were all very positive and the list was lovely, as though someone had hand water-colored it. Very nice. The first thing on the list was “#1 don’t hit snooze” and while it couldn’t have been any clearer, for some reason my wacky brain read it the first time as “#1 don’t kill anyone.” And I thought, now THAT’S a great way to start the day! So I’ve come up with my own version of great ways to start the day…take it with a grain of salt, but it works for me.
Wow, June flew by! I’m getting settled in a “new normal,” which is a good thing. I still don’t feel like I was quite on my best blogging game this month, but…I think I’m feeling ready to start stepping it up again. Is there anything in particular y’all would like to see? More of, less of?
Okay, come on – this first look is sheer perfection to me. Minimal, classic, chic, modern, but so…effortless. It’s The Cool Girl look, but…like she doesn’t even know she’s a cool girl. Which is the best kind of cool girl! That simple white shift dress + black biker and black bag – love.
I’ve been following Anna for awhile now, mostly her YouTube vlogs but I catch up on her blog posts when I can, too…she’s very down to earth and personable. I think she’s the first person I ever saw (a few years back) do a clothing haul video and I Was Hooked!!! Definitely visit her blog and Youtube for real talk about fashion, hair, beauty…and general life and work things.
Debbie is the QUEEN of Layering. And All Things Boho. Boho is my Cool Girl Wannabe alter ego. This kimono. I DIE. I told her that if it goes missing someday…it wasn’t me.
But as much as I dream of being all flowy and colorful like she is, the most important part of her blogs is the stories. They’re often like parables…starting out in a “well, THIS happened” kind of way, but ending up with some sort of message about how we can all be better people – not in a judgy way, but in a “living by example” way. At least that’s how I see it 🙂
And when my Cool Girl self and my Boho self get tired and I just want to be me, this is who I want to be. Relaxed, quiet, but not predictable. Caroline of Un-Fancy has such a gentle vibe and this outfit exemplifies that. Loose-fitting, but not baggy pieces…in muted tones. Nothing looks complicated and yet…it’s all seamlessly perfect together. Her wardobe has the Palette of My Dreams. Low contrast, hushed tones, very soothing.
She and Style Bee co-host a 10×10 Challenge a couple times a year, where you select 10 items from your wardrobe and create a different outfit every day for 10 days…and you share your daily outfits on social. Every time I want to do it but then…life, ha. Maybe next time. Maybe you’ll do it with me?
I saw two movies (at the movies) this month and highly recommend them both. First is Book Club and I highly recommend it. I laughed out loud and shed a couple tears. A nice story with well-acted, appealing characters (and the male leads were not hard on the eyes At All).
The other was Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the documentary about Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. What a lovely, gentle, brave man. I had tears running down my face the entire time. We need more good people like him today.
I only read two books but would recommend them both:
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ve read several by this author now and I’ve liked them all. They’re all stories about relationships though I wouldn’t call them romances. They’re very quick reads but all have had an interesting plot or story-telling twist. They’re not great literature but they’re great when you just something quick but that’s not sappy or ridiculous.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. This is a more serious topic, historical fiction, with one of those back-and-forth story-telling methods that so much fiction seems to employ these days. One chapter would be set in the early 1900s during World War 1, and the next in the late 1940s just after the end of World War II…and eventually you learn the common thread between the two. A well-told interesting story...although (if I may make make one criticism) I found some of the dialogue (more so in the more recent era) sort of…unnatural. Like, no one really talks that you, ykwim? It didn’t spoil the story for me but I noticed it.
You know what, I didn’t try anything new this month. I had to go back and check my Amazon order history to be sure! My Amazon impulse purchases are way down now that I’m not buying dog food on there weekly. I was always like, “well, as long as I’m already placing an order I may as well…” Amazon probably wonders where I’ve gone to. So I have nothing to report here for June…except some savings! Not a bad thing.
That’s it for June. I can’t believe it’s almost July! Next week I’ll be back with Week in Review…I’m hoping it’ll be a good one since as of today I’m On Vacation!!!
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I could have called this post “The One Where I’m Not Wearing Pants,” but…I thought that might attract the wrong sort of attention.
I revisited Savers again today. I tried to really have an open mind as I looked through the racks….but. But I have a very limited color palette (which is a fancy way of saying I’m picky), so my eyes slide past a LOT of “no’s” before they’re able to slow down at a maybe. I did manage to find a couple things to bring into the fitting room…and one item actually came home with me (woohoo), in addition to two books that are on my “want to read” list.
First, this was my outfit of the day. A dress. Which will help you understand the “no pants” comment in a moment.
Ah. No pants! Ha. Anyway, my love of striped tops made me bring this into the fitting room even though it’s only a 2x. Not surprisingly, it’s way too tight. I am not a tight-fitting clothes gal.
This I tried on just for the color and stripiness of it (it’s a sickness). The fit was not good. I wouldn’t have gotten it anyway with the flowery decal things. I find embellishments like that very dating. In five years the striped top will still look fine, but the morning glories will be so twenty-teens.
I can’t even show you the next two on cuz I had no pants AND no tee shirt underneath. But a few weeks ago I was standing in line behind a woman wearing black trainers, black leggings, a long-sleeved tunic-length grey tee with a red and grey plaid button-down shirt tied around her waist. That look could be messy…but she made it into perfect athleisure chic and I haven’t been able to get the look out of my mind. Now, I can’t tie anything around my waist (I’ve always said plus size designers should make a shirt with crazy extra-extra-long sleeves just so big-tummied girls can tie them around their waists!) but I can wear something unbuttoned over a tee and maybe get the same look. This lilac color is not in my usual palette, but I like the soft navy stripes and I have navy leggings…AND it’s a very lightweight drapey fabric, which I like.
I tried this top for the same reason as the one above but this one did not pass the fabric test. Also very lightweight, but in a floaty sheer cottony way, as opposed to the rayon drapey way of the lilac shirt above. For me, drapey: yes, floaty: no.
So this is what came home with me. I’ve got a vacation week coming up and I plan to spend many days on the beach and am stockpiling books in preparation. Plus, look how nicely color coordinated everything is!
I tried to buy this Dalmatian candle for my niece but, shockingly, she was not interested. I know she will live to regret that.
And that is the extent of this week’s thrifting adventure. I wish I could have the good luck of Maggie of Thriftshop Fashionista, she finds super cute things All The Time!!!
Hope everyone has something nice planned for the weekend!
Wandering around Savers yesterday afternoon, looking for the rare plus-size NON-pink-sweatshirt-with-kittens-playing-with-a-ball-of-yarn motif, I found myself in the “stuff” section. You know, Christmas tree dessert plates, plastic-framed watercolor prints, six copies of EVERY Nicholas Sparks book ever written, green bubble glass florist’s vases. Stuff.
I usually avoid the stuff section. After years (and years) of being surrounded by stuff – my own and other people’s – I really acquire very little in the way of stuff. Ha, my “land-friend” may tell otherwise, as she sees the Amazon Prime packages that arrive, but they have been mostly dog and cat food and paper towels and toilet paper, so I don’t have to lug heavy stuff in from the car. And the occasional book.
I feel I have always been seen as a person with a lot of stuff, because a) there were the many years that I sold stuff “vintage items across all categories” on ebay, and with every auction lot I’d bring home to polish up, photograph and sell online, MOST would go, but a few items inevitably stayed; and b) I inherited most of my mother’s stuff, and she was a collector slash garage-saler slash garbage picker slash borderline hoarder.
Now SHE had a lot of stuff. It was not so out of control that first time guests to the house would necessarily realize. The first floor – entryway, living room, dining room, kitchen – was always neat and tidy. But open the door to the screened-in back porch…or make your way to the bedroom upstairs…or enter the amazing attic…and….there was STUFF. And mostly decent stuff. She had a good eye. There were a lot of dishware and collectibles brought back from their time living in Japan when my father was in the Navy. She had a number of mid-century items – furniture and decorative accessories. Nice rattan porch furniture. Tons of costume jewelry. Dishes. Sandals. Table linens. And SILVER. I’d have to say her #1 obsession was with silver. Platters and trays and tea-sets and pitchers and salt-and-pepper shakers (oh my). Mostly good silver-plate but also some sterling. There were also stacks of old New York Times and notebooks filled with hand-written winning Lotto numbers, but mostly it was kind of interesting stuff.
But the one thing that always struck me as…really out there...because when you grow up in a situation, no matter how unusual or dysfunctional it is, if it’s all you’ve ever known, it just seems normal to you. The one thing, that to me, crossed the line, was The Good Beach Towel Closet. I think the bathrooms each had 2-3 sets of towels, which seemed pretty normal I guess. But there was one linen closet devoted to just beach towels. And we went to the beach fairly often as a family…and *I* went a LOT. But those towels were not for local beach trips. No, they were saved for our annual trip to Ocean City, Maryland where we went every year for Labor Day week.
We started going in the mid-60s when it was really not well known at all, and continued up through the late 70s/early 80s. My mother really discovered it when I was about 6 years old and we lived in Newark, Delaware. My 6-year-old self remembers it like this, so take it with a grain of salt – my mother had a friend who was in trouble with or danger from her husband and she needed to get out of town and hide from him asap. So my mother (I have no idea where my father was during all this. My memory of my mother is that she was not an adventurous person, which makes this story so amazing to me) gathered her friend and me and a cooler full of food, shoved us in the Plymouth, and we zoomed out of town. With no plan. We just drove. We ended up driving along miles and miles of beach…and finally hit the (at the time) little beach town of Ocean City, Maryland. Small beachfront hotels and crab shacks, a boardwalk and amusement park and miniature golf. It was a 6-year-old’s delight. We stayed all weekend and “hid out” and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And when we returned home at the end of the weekend (I have no idea what ever happened with the friend) my mother must have told my father all about it because we started going there every summer…even when we moved from Delaware up to Long Island (adding over 150 miles each way to the trip). As I got older sometimes I was allowed to invite friends to come along, sometimes my sister, brother-in-law and baby niece would join us, sometimes I made friends there during the week. Sometimes it was nice to be there alone – we’d all do our own thing and just join up for dinner’s out, our sunburned skin warming us in the lobster house air conditioning. And we had beautiful towels. Colorful patterns and prints, the largest towels available at the time – no dinky towels or bed sheets for my mother’s beach trips!
And when we returned home after our week of surf and sand and sun, my father going back to the office and me starting a new school-year, my mother would wash and fold all the beach towels, fold them neatly and stack them on the shelves of the good beach towel closet. Where they wouldn’t be seen again for another year.
My mother passed away 28 years ago. Many of her things were split up amongst family members, some things were sold at the most amazing tag sale Massapequa Park had ever seen, and Ham the Garbage Man carted off larger items and furniture. I took just one of the good beach towels. My favorite one that I used every year. A large solid-colored orange towel. I just got myself a new beach towel two summers ago when that one became so threadbare it was falling apart.
While I may seem like someone who has a lot of stuff, I think, because of my mother’s “collecting” (to say it in the nicest way possible), as I have gotten older I have become very much the opposite. I have one beach towel. I have one pair of bath towels. One set of bed sheets. One pair of dishtowels. You’ve seen my closet. I really do not like acquiring things. Books. I buy books – but I almost always pass them on to others after reading them. And when I’m gardening I love to buy plants. But for the most part, I do not buy stuff.
So I was a little surprised yesterday, when wandering around the stuff section of Savers, to find two throw pillows, two paperback books and a clear glass vase in my arms. And it just got me thinking about my mother and The Good Beach Towels.
I’d really intended to share my thrifted clothing finds with you today, but…the best laid plans, blah blah blah. So I thought I’d share a memory instead. Hope that’s okay.
“People, let me tell you ’bout my best friend…he’s a one boy, cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.”
I lost my best boy last weekend – my beautiful, gentle Caleb. If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve seen him quietly slip into pictures, or heard me talk about an adventure we had. And I know it’s not fashion or body positivity or anything related to this blog…except that it’s about my life. And his loss is life-changing for me.
People say “Oh, you lost your dog/pet/fur-baby, that’s so sad,” but he wasn’t really any of those things. He was my PARTNER. And that might sound…bizarre or dramatic or awkward, but…for the past 14 years he has been with me through ups and downs, losses, moves, new jobs, break-ups, my daughter moving away, cancer, happy times and sad. Until last year when I was sick and then he started slowing down, he went with me almost everywhere except work…and he sometimes went there! He is the one who has gotten me out of the house, out of my shell and my head, and out into the world, into nature. He helped me exercise. He trained for a 5k with me! I don’t understand “walking” without a dog! What are you supposed to do with your hands without a leash to hold or a silky head to touch? How do people go walking in the woods or desolate areas without the company of a Big Brave Dog? I can’t imagine just sitting in a park alone. He was such a great meeter. He would sit with me, so quietly, people were always drawn to his beauty and good manners. They would start chatting with me about him. Without him?? I’m just a weird lady sitting alone on a park bench.
I remember so well the day I brought him home. I got him from an Aussie breeder upstate, Rising Star Australian Shepherds – he wasn’t a good fit in the show ring so they were looking for a pet home for him. She sent me his picture…
…and it was love at first sight. They live quite far up north, so we agreed to meet mid-way at a dog show where they would be. When I got there, they introduced Caleb and I, gave me some instructions and handed me his leash and were like, “Okay, bye.” It felt strange and sad to be taking him away from the family and dogs he’d lived with for over a year, but he was such a good boy walking obediently off with me, a total stranger. I put him in the crate in the car with a soft bed, water pail and rawhide bone, then headed home. He sat quietly watching out the window. After about two hours of driving I got off the parkway for a bathroom stop. It was a mild day and I parked in the shade with the windows down, ran in quick to use the bathroom then hurried back out. I opened the hatch, opened the crate door…and he literally FLEW out of the crate, jumping up on me excitedly as if to say “YOU CAME BACK FOR ME! I THOUGHT I’D BEEN LEFT HERE! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! YOU’RE MY MOTHER!” and he has been my devoted shadow companion ever since.
I thought I was getting a dog for us, for me and Katie, but he bonded with me in that moment – and by the time he met her a couple days later, he was My Dog. He loved her, she was His Girl…but I was The Mother.
So I didn’t know him as a puppy but I have some pictures from the breeder…
From Day One, he was a total gentleman, and I credit his breeder with that, with starting him so well. But I also credit him, as he was always extremely intuitive, practically knowing what I expected of him even before I did. Everything I taught him, he picked up so quickly, I hardly felt like I “trained” him, it was like he just knew. And I took him everywhere with me. I’m a big proponent of extreme socialization and taking dogs into every possible situation and because of that he was accepted everywhere we went because he was always so quiet and well-behaved.
Everyone that met Caleb loved him.
People and animals alike.
But his kitties loved him best….
He loved going in the car anywhere….
…and we were always on the lookout for new fun places to go.
We loved going to the woods…
…and the beach and into the water…
…the muckier the better 🙂
He loved the snow!
Or maybe it was me who loved the snow…and he just wanted to go with me wherever I went. Sometimes even to work.
But it didn’t matter where we went or what we did…as long as we were there together.
He was my beautiful boy…with the most sincere expression.
I loved hurrying home after work to see my boy…and he was always right there waiting to see me.
Around the house he was very quiet, and sometimes I’d look up and see him peeking at me from around a corner…as if just checking that I was still there.
One of the most endearing things he did, every night, was to come rest his head on the edge of my bed…I would stroke his head for a minute and tell him what a good good boy he was, how he would be my best boy always…and then I would say goodnight and he would lay down next to my bed and go to sleep.
He was a good boy, a happy boy…and he brought Such Joy to my life for such a long time.
He just had his 15th birthday earlier this year…I knew he wouldn’t be with me much longer.
But there’s no way to prepare for this loss, this sadness. My lovely little family keeps getting smaller and smaller. Katie moved away years ago. Madison passed away two summers ago. Now my Caleb is gone. It’s just me and Janey.
I know this is long. I hold no grudge for anyone who clicked away halfway through…or who scrolled to the end, skipping over bits. I had to share our story for me. To try and show why I am unbearably sad now. I feel sort of unattached from my life, like my anchor is gone. I feel like I’m trying to find way my back to…someplace I don’t even really want to be.
I’ve been saying goodbye to my friend for eight days now. I wanted to explain my absence from the blog and the internet in general. I have so many wonderful memories…things that are making me sad right now…and I had to just…let some of it out of my head…let a little steam escape.