Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions are a tired affair: we make 'em and break 'em with little real impact on our lives.  Plus, we usually fail to imagine serious change.

It's going to be different for me this year.  I'm going to actually do what I promise.  Given my dogged nature, there's some certainty in that.

I have a few resolutions -- including two secret ones.  I'll tell you them, but you have to keep them a secret.  Okay?

Here are the public resolutions: I plan to learn how to take better pictures (with my new Nikon camera); I want to exercise more and, like everyone else, I hope to lose a little weight -- or at least find tighter Spanx.  :)

Here are my secret resolutions -- for half a century, I've had two dreams, neither of which I've ever experienced and, to be frank, I'm not sure how I can achieve either one.  I invite you to offer suggestions for my predicament.

My secret dreams are: (1) to wear a prom dress -- one with a big, pouffy full-skirt; and (2) try on a wedding gown. 

I'm not sure how to achieve these dreams since I'm really shy and never make a scene in public.  I can't just walk into a bridal-store and say, "Show me what you've got."  It takes all the courage I have just to shop in thrift- and discount-stores where there is no sales-help.  The essential problem is that while I'm not embarassed by my yearnings, I don't want to discomfort anyone while pursuing them.  I'm extremely empathetic and would never ask a saleswoman to indulge my unconventional wishes because I worry about disturbing her tranquility and that of other female-shoppers in the store. 

Do you have any ideas for making this a reality?  Making a gown out of toilet-paper?

And what are your New Year's resolutions?

Turning The Page

Happy New Year!

This was a great year for me.  My life took a sharp turn toward joy
as I searched for new ways to express myself and be happy.
Finding you guys and blogging was a fabulous discovery;
nothing will ever be the same.

I wish you mammoth joy for 2011.  And pretty outfits!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Several bloggers have been noting anniversaries of their blogs, so let me join the group.  It was one year ago that I resurrected an old non-fashion blog and turned it into what I have today.  That blog was on an outmoded site (LiveJournal) from which I later moved here to be able to post better pictures.

My first post was, in hindsight, embarassingly candid.  I wasn't sure what was out there in the blogging-world and was tentative about how people would react to me.  Amazingly, nice people like FreedaMeg and Diana gave me positive feedback and encouragment from the outset.  That helped settle my anxiety and allowed my blog to blossom like a pretty flower.

Blogging has, for me, been especially valuable.  More than just showing clothes, blogging allows me to express deeper parts of myself in ways I'd always dreamed about.  And making good friends through blogging has been icing on the cake.

Thank you for supporting my blog and being part of my personal growth.  Conversing with you guys has been one of the major highlights of my life.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


There are some old films that deserve to be pulled from obscurity and enjoyed in the present.  Let me tell you about two of them.  Both star the adorable Sandra Dee.

Sandra Dee was a popular actress in the 1950's and '60's.  She portrayed Gidget in the original movie of that name.

In the early 1960's, there was a series of three movies depicting a character named Tammy Tyree.  In the first movie, Tammy was played by Debbie Reynolds.  In the second and third films, Tammy was played by Sandra Dee.  While you can watch the first one if you want, I recommend the second and third films with Sandra Dee.  (They are called "Tammy Tell Me True" and "Tammy and the Doctor.")

Tammy is a country girl who grew up in a houseboat on the river with her grandfather and a pet goat.  Tammy speaks in an old-fashioned way with a pronounced rural accent and archaic words.  Her language is appealing in its own right and a main focus of the films.  "He looks as discombobulated as a short dog in high grass," she says of someone.  She describes people as "monstrous kind" and ends statements with, "I reckon that's all I have to say about the subject."

The idea of the Tammy movies -- which really works wonderfully -- is that an uneducated, unworldly girl visits "civilized" society (where people act badly) and finds it perplexing: the odd ways of modern people are "mighty peculiar" to her.  Tammy has admirable values which radiate out and influence everyone around her.  She reminds people of the importance of honesty, loyalty and basic decency.  Eventually, she converts all around her to recognition of these fundamental values.

The films are entertaining and you can't help but love Tammy.  Try 'em!

P.S., Both films are on a single DVD, available at NetFlix and other places.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Gifts

Did you get anything nice?

I received the Nikon camera I asked for.  It's a digital SLR -- which means better blog pictures!

How 'bout you?

"Black Swan"

This movie is terrifying.  And fascinating.  It is not about ballet, it's about madness.

A defining characteristic of film as a medium is its ability to engage you viscerally.  That capability is used to great advantage here.  When you're able to see into the mind of another, that can be horrifying if the person whose mind you're entering is crazed.

I've seen all of Darren Aronofsky's films and he's a master at depicting madness.  His "Requiem For A Dream" was a terrifying view of drug-addiction from the eyes of an addict.

Here, we see a young ballet-dancer on the verge of artistic success who is plagued by pressure to be perfect and, seeing through her eyes, we're never sure what is real and what is her delusion.  The power of the film lies in that confusion.

I especially enjoyed the subjects plumbed by the film: the pressure to be perfect; the tendency to control others; and complex personal relationships.  The good-girl/bad-girl duality is everywhere in the film, starting with the White Swan/Black Swan ballet plot and extending to other dichotomies, like prim/sexual behavior.

The performances by Natalie Portman, Vicent Cassel and Barbara Hershey are riveting.  You can't avoid being pulled into their insanity and then rocked every direction with it.  Milos Kunis does a credible job as Portman's rival and Winona Ryder has a cameo-role as the ballerina being cast aside.

This movie is captivating art and I recommend it highly -- but only for those capable of handling extreme depictions.  The film isn't for pansies.  I can imagine people fleeing it in terror if they expected it to be a sweet dance-movie.

Friday, December 24, 2010

She Flies Through The Air...

We share a common interest (fashion) that draws us to one another.  Occasionally, we see beyond that and learn more about our blogger-friends.  I enjoy that process, especially when the information is as thrilling as this...

One of my favorite bloggers, Tracy, lives in San Francisco.  Tracy just revealed on her blog that, in addition to being a snazzy dresser, she's a trapeze artist!  Tracy has mastered several of the "aerial arts."  The essence of those activities is that Tracy climbs high up in the air and performs artistry with her body while hanging precariously from ropes and fabric.  It's amazing!

Tracy's newest post is full of fascinating information and superb photos of Tracy doing her thing.  I'm so impressed!  What's even more moving is that Tracy began this activity only six years ago and had to conquer an inhibiting fear of heights.  Tracy proves it's never too late to achieve our dreams!

Tracy, you're my new role-model!  Just be careful up there... :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's nice to have friends.

One of my blogger-friends, who uses the name Toadmama, created this seasonal header for me.  Isn't it cute?

In addition to possessing computer skills, TM is a skilled photographer; her blog frequently displays beautiful pictures.  She is also a motorcyclist.  You have to admire that!

Tonight, I had a little Christmas miracle.  I had some time to waste so I wandered into a discount store I'd never been to before (Fox's).  Browsing the racks, I found a gorgeous Jessica Simpson dress.  It has a full skirt (which Freeda and Sheila keep urging me to wear), a large herringbone print, nice woolen texture and, inside, a pretty red lining and petticoat.

The dress came with a skinny black belt but I replaced it with a cuter skinny mustard-yellow belt.  I'll probably add my yellow scarf to complete the look.  The proportions of the dress, with the full-skirt, should create a nicer silhouette than my other dresses.  At least that's what Freeda and Sheila keep telling me.  :)

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Feel free to share your holidays experiences: I care about you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I like to buy gifts for people and put a lot of thought into getting the perfect thing.  I'm naturally empathic so it's easy for me to select the right presents for my friends.

A few years ago, I realized that nobody gives me gifts that I really want.  Rather than feel sorry for myself, I came up with a solution: when I'm shopping for others, if I see something I like, I buy it for myself.  I spend only a tiny fraction of my gift-budget on myself (usually around 10%) but doing this makes me feel good.  It's a little treat I enjoy.

Do you guys ever do this?  Have you ever bought anything for yourself when shopping for others?

This year, while I was in Virginia, I picked up some sparkle -- glittery red nail-polish, a shiny necklace and two glimmering rings.  They cost very little but please me a lot.  Here are pictures of my Christmas gifts to myself:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Virginia Beach in Winter

Had a great time in VA.  I love beaches in winter and they had a terrific light-show set up on the boardwalk.  Here are some pictures...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good News and Good News

Before the good news, I have some good news.  I just got my computer back from the shop.  Whew.  It feels satisfying to have it back in my hands.  I like the feel of this machine, the way the controls are organized.  I type and navigate faster with this one.

Now, the good news.  Tomorrow, I'm going to Virginia to see my friend Karen again.  I last saw her in July and had a blast with her new friends.  It'll be a whirlwind of socializing this weekend.  I'll be back on Sunday with photos and tales.

Here's a pic from my last visit and, below it, is an old photo of Karen on my first motorcycle a decade ago.  Isn't she adorable?!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something New

I want to try new poses.  New ways of presenting myself.  This post is an example of that effort.  The outfit itself isn't really important: what matters to me is experimenting with new angles, new postures, new moods.

I'm pleased with this result, except for unexpected reflection from my pink lipgloss.  What do you think of this experiment?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Does He?

I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker this week which raises an interesting question: Does your romantic partner read your blog?  Do you wish he did?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finally Lucky

I never win anything so when the lovely Tamara of Cherry Colors did a random drawing, my expectations were low.  But I won!

The price is a gift-certificate to CSN Stores, a chain of home and office supply stores.  It's based in Boston and has stores all over.

This is Tamara on the left.  Isn't she cute?!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bold Colors!

A few weeks ago, I visited my friend Xenia (Doe Deere) at her appearance in Bloomingdale's to promote her makeup company (Lime Crime).  Hubby Mark took this cute photo of us.

Is this enough color for you?!

All-Time Favorite TV Show

I was really impressed by your responses to my last post on icons.  Your comments were candid and interesting.  Culture plays a huge role in our lives and understanding which particular icons appeal to us reveals a lot about who we are inside.

I'd like to continue exploring the subject of influences, this time from the ubiquitous medium of television.  My question is: what TV show most influenced you?  What TV show captured your closest attention?

For most of us, it's a show from our childhood or early youth, usually with a character we identify with.  Who's your favorite character?

During my youth (and likely before your time), Mary Tyler Moore starred in a show named after her, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."  In it, Mary played a woman working at a local TV station.  The show was a comedy and had great actors in it (e.g., Lou Asner; Valerie Harper; Ted Knight; Gavin MacLeod; Betty White).

The show explored what it was like for a young woman to be in the workplace.  It's considered a feminist classic because of the ground it covered; as important as that, the show was engaging because you learned to care about Mary and her co-workers.  Mary believed her colleagues at work were "family" to her and she ended up loving them.

What was your all-time favorite TV show?  Why?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Do you have a favorite icon?  Among popular ones are Barbie, Tinkerbell, Wonder Woman and Hello Kitty.

My favorite icon is Betty Boop.  I love Betty.  She's often misunderstood because, on the surface, she seems sexual but, in reality, her character is pure and sweet.  Betty's creators wanted her to be girlish and, in her cartoons, she certainly has that quality.

Most people have never seen a real Betty Boop cartoon.  That's sad -- they are really good.  Made in the 1930's, the 110 Betty Boop cartoons are entertaining and fun.  Betty has a cute dog named Pudgy who dances and plays with her.

Trivia: Betty was based on a famous actress of her time, Clara Bow.

So who are your favorite icons??

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Seven New Facts

Sweet Marilou of Twenty York Street just granted me the Stylish Blogger Award.  I suspect she was motivated more by the candor of my recent posts than my rudimentary fashion-style, but I'll take it any way I can get it. :)

A perk of the Award is the chance to share seven facts about myself.  Hold onto your fascinators; here we go!

1. I love words and eagerly add new ones to my vocabulary.  Recently, I've started using "sanguine" (cheerfully optimistic), "dolorous" (full of grief and pain), and "hypergamy" (a woman marrying above her class [e.g., Kate Middleton]).

2. My mind retains trivia of almost every kind.  For example, did you know that Hawaii used to be called the "Sandwich Islands"?

3. The primary reason I love motorcycles is because riding them is dancing with nature.  Operating a motorcycle is about movement and balance, skill and grace.

4. I grew up with a younger brother, Richard, whom I loved.  Sadly, Richard died of a sudden heart attack when he was only 33 years old.  Death at that age is too young to be caused by heart disease so doctors suspect he had a congenital heart condition (something genetic he was born with).  Many of my family-members have had heart problems so I don't take life for granted.

5. I grew up during the 1960's when having long hair was really important: it showed the world who you were.  Unfortunately, my father had been a barber before he became a cop and he didn't want Richard and me to have long hair so he physically wrestled us into the basement and cut our hair short, over howls of protest.

6. My parents tightly controlled my childhood and closely monitored everything I did.  To evade their scrutiny, when I was 10 years old, I furtively kept an empty coffee-can buried in our backyard.  I used the coffee-can to hide my secret pair of pantyhose.

7. Blogging, and meeting blogger-friends, has been the most joyful thing to happen to me in decades.  You guys rock my world. :)

Thanks, Marilou!

My Second Dress

Here is the second new dress I bought last week.  It isn't special and it isn't stylish, but I like it.  I like it 'cause it's my favorite color and 'cause it's traditionally feminine.

With your lifetime of experience, you're probably bored with ordinary, traditional clothes but they have a place in my heart.  I hope you'll indulge my affection for them.

I try to learn from every experience.  Are there any lessons here?  Any ways to improve this look?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Holiday Season

Well, it's certainly arrived...

The holiday season is here.  Christmas carols on the radio; shoppers in the mall; a look of frenzy on people's faces.

How are you handling it?  Do you enjoy this time of year?  Or is it too saddled with chores and obligations?

I try to consciously enjoy the season despite its greater demands.  I cherish buying gifts, sending cards and contacting my friends.  Remembering to value the connections in my life is important to me.  How 'bout you?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Dress

I love dresses.  I only have a few and should really buy more.  I shop mostly in thrift-stores and rarely find dresses there; I usually get skirts and tops.

Several bloggers are doing "Dressember," where they wear dresses every day this month, which got me to thinking I should add new dresses to my wardrobe.  At least one or two.  So I went to Marshall's this week (it's a discount-store) and found two cute dresses for only $12 and $15.  That doesn't break the bank.

Here's the first.  I like it.  What do you think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Questions and Answers

Jodi from day2daywear just tagged me with a list of questions.  Actually, unlike a lot of lists, these questions are good ones so I took them seriously.  Perhaps you’ll learn something about me from the answers below.  Feel free to ask any follow-up questions if I perk your interest.

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

That changed.  At first, when I was very young, I wanted to be a mommy.  I wanted to have a baby and take care of it.  Then, when told I couldn’t be that -- and why -- I learned my universe of possibilities was radically different and limited.  

Feeling eyes constantly upon me, I suggested things to see how they’d fly.  I was often surprised by my parents’ reactions.  For example, around age 10, I said I wanted to grow up to be a college professor.  I anticipated my parents’ approval of that job since I imagined it to be synonymous with “smart.”  My parents hated the idea, however, and strongly condemned it.  They deplored intellectualism even though they had no foundation from which to judge it.  Neither of my parents went to college and neither had any interest in or awareness of intellectual discourse.

The question posed is actually what did *I* want to be so, to answer that, I’d say a writer.  That is still what I want to be when I grow up.  I admire good writing and feel I can contribute to the river of informed commentary.

2. Favorite childhood game?

House.  It’s where everyone gets a domestic role and plays it while interacting with other kids playing other roles.

I knew, from harsh experience, that female roles (e.g., Mommy) weren’t available to me so I always chose the next best thing: to be the baby.  At least that way I could be near Mommy and live vicariously through her.

3. Most favorite birthday?

My 50th.  I decided to make it a big event, so I invited all my best friends (about 100 people) for a huge bash.  We rented a very posh, very expensive place which served extremely high-quality food with exceptionally-attentive service.  And we arranged for an  eight-piece live band to travel up from Philadelphia to play: they were so fabulously good that everyone got up and danced their hearts out.  I was placed at the head of an endless conga-line that grooved to a pounding beat.  The birthday was exactly what I wanted it to be: an intensely memorable night.

4. Something you have always wanted to do and haven't yet?

That list is long...  Practically every female experience is on it, from wearing a prom-dress to nursing a baby.  

Of genderless experiences, the list is topped by publishing a book.  I’ve published many magazine articles and been cited in books, but publishing a book of my own would be special.  It couldn’t be any book, however; I can easily pump out an ordinary tome; it would have to be a book I was proud of, having researched carefully, written with enthusiasm, and released to cause some effect on the world.

5. What was your first love?

Reading.  Still is.  I was the only kid I know whose mother said, “Stop reading that book and go out and play!”  My parents were critical when they complained “you always have your nose in a book.”

6. First musical idol?

A bubblegum-music group called “The 1910 Fruitgum Company” which had the hit-single, “Yummy Yummy Yummy.”  (The lyrics went, “Yummy Yummy Yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy...”.)  I remember dancing to the tune at a family Christmas party when I was 6 years old.  I thought they were fab!

7. Favorite gift?

A yellow Schwinn bicycle when I was around 8 years old.  It had a purple banana-seat and tall ape-hanger handlebars.

8. If a theme song played everywhere I went what would it be?

“Love Me Or Hate Me,” by tiny British singer, Lady Sovereign.

9. Favorite city to visit?

Boston.  I love that city.  I spent three years in law school there: going back now fills me with fond memories from the past and powerful insights into how far I’ve travelled since then.  Also, it’s a fun town with lots of great things to do (especially shopping) and it has more history than anywhere else in this country.

Thanks, Jodi!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


There are many bloggers who create interesting posts and have real personal style.  They may not have 100 followers but their blogs are genuine and warrant attention.

One of my favorite bloggers is Stel who lives far, far away in the magical country of New Zealand.  (I heard they shot "Lord Of The Rings" in its lush countryside.)

Stel is a charming young woman whose sweetness permeates everything about her.

She just put up a post about her visit to a castle.  A castle!  Now that's the best photo-backdrop I've ever since on a fashion-blog!

Here's where you can find her blog.  I recommend a visit.  And here's a picture from the castle:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


What do you read?  Which magazines do you like best?

I read a lot and of the dozens of periodicals I peruse, right now there is no better magazine than The New Yorker.  It wasn't always as good as it is now, but the current editors turn out the best writing around.

In addition to smart political commentary, it examines a wide range of subjects with extraordinary depth and accuracy.  Several of its articles have broken journalistic ground to serious acclaim.

I have a subscription to The New Yorker and read every issue cover-to-cover.

Another magazine I subscribe to is Harper's (not Harper's Bazaar).  It fulfills my intellectual desires and has exceptional prose.

I survey most "women's magazines" and subscribe to Glamour which is my favorite.  Which is your favorite?

I also read all motorcycle magazines in print but I doubt you want to hear about them.  The best of that bunch is one called "Rider" which focuses more on adventures you can have than on boring specs of machines.