Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Haircut 100

Did your mother cut your hair when you were young? Mine did. It usually went like this:

Oops! That's a little uneven. I'll just straighten that up a little.

Oh, oh! I'd better even that side up now.

Whoops! Oh, well.


Thank goodness hair grows out or I'd still look like this!

circa 1963, ready for the Scandinavian Festival

Things haven't changed much, except now it's me with the scissors. It usually goes like this:

S#@*%&! That's uneven. I'll straighten it up a little.

Bloody *&*%# hell! Now I have to even that side up!

Crap! G*&d@*&^%$! moth%#$%$^son of a @$*! %^&(&*%#!@!!!!!#@*^&%!!!!!!!!





You would think I would have learned after all these years. Actually, I have learned one thing - if it's shorter than you wanted it but the shape sucks, you have to cut some more until the shape is better. Super short hair with no shape is just a prison haircut, and that's a style I work hard to avoid. Except for maybe the striped shirt.


still petulant after all these years


I just keep cutting and trimming and thinning and shaping for days - I'm constantly sweeping up hair! It looked horrid yesterday, but I think I finally got it to a point I can live with now. I might even like it a little. Tiny. Bit.
 

Have you seen Fabulous Fashionistas? You can watch it via this link (thanks, Sara!). It was a great! I really loved these women, especially Jean. I hope I'm half as healthy and interesting and gorgeous in 15 or 20 or 30 years. I could start now with a signature prison haircut...

To all my American friends, have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember how lucky you are. And to everyone else, I'll be thinking of you while we have a four-day weekend!

Val

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cold, Gold, and Wild




ice broke this lovely old pot of my grandmother's

Very cold and frosty here, like the deep recesses of my mind. I feel in a slump, maybe brought on by the wintry weather, maybe brought on by an unfulfilling job.

Also, I had a back spasm this last week - very painful for the first few days, and I didn't move around much. I was only comfortable lying on my side, so it was very difficult to sip my wine in a ladylike manner. A bendy straw had to be employed.

 


But I was able to do a lot of reading, thanks to my new Kindle and a beautiful cover (from dobeeubags on Etsy).



I propped up the cover and could read comfortably while reclining, only having to move to tap the screen and turn the page. And I was turning pages pretty quickly. I read two amazing books that I want to tell you about.



First, I finished reading The Goldfinch (all 784 pages) by Donna Tartt, which I had started in late October. If you haven't read Donna Tartt, get thee to a bookstore!
She's a snappy dresser, and she's written three books - all very dense and rich and offbeat and compelling and funny. It takes her about a decade to write each one. Within the first page or two (of any of them) you will realize that you've just boarded a dirigible and are suddenly leaving the ground. Eventually you look around and see how enormous this craft is. It moves at a steady and persuasive pace, moving high into the sky sometimes, and other times coming so close to the ground you're afraid of what will happen next. But the captain has full control of the ship, you can't stop now, and the journey is spellbinding. The Secret History has been my favorite so far, although I also loved The Little Friend - even the scenes that involved snakes, and I hate snakes! The Goldfinch is a little more uneven and hangs a bit precariously on a small painting that seems to be forgotten for whole sections of the book. However, the author has such an incredible talent for creating characters and locations, from Manhattan to Las Vegas to Amsterdam, and it all comes together in the end. The mood and the characters still haven't left me, even though I read another book, which was also compelling.

I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. She writes a true account of her solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. But the book is more than a trail guide. She talks about her mother's death, her divorce, her experiences with men and drugs, and weaves those into her account of hiking 1,000 miles alone. I would never be that brave, but I would love to experience that solitude and being totally enveloped in the natural world - for a few nights. She was on the trail for almost two months! It is a story of healing, but it's not sappy or predictable. It's honest, determined, and incredibly well-written. They're making a movie of it now with Reese Witherspoon playing the author, but read the book. You know it'll be better than the movie.

What are you reading lately? I can always use recommendations!

Val

Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Kill an Earworm

Do you watch The Big Bang Theory? We didn't until a few months ago, and now we're hooked, damn it. It's on every night at 7:00 AND 7:30, and when it's not on because of stupid football games, we are pissed off. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you watch an episode or two.

But DO NOT under any circumstances listen to the theme song! Use your mute button or turn the sound down! You think the song is cute and harmless, but it's like heroin! You'll find it funny, then you'll figure out all the words and try to sing along (it's very fast), then you find that it is in your brain every hour of every day - while you're talking to your friends (Our whole universe...), having intimate relations (...a hot dense state...), eating dinner (...expansion started - Wait!). You will always be thinking of that song. Always. If this has happened to you and you finally kicked it - and I've just revived it, I'm so sorry.

But I think I have a cure.

Get another earworm. Try not to get one that will also eat your brain, but maybe go back to an old one that you know you have under control.




For me it was an Italian rock group, Litfiba. I saw one of their videos when I was living in Italy, and I got their tape "Pirata." I hadn't listened to it for a few years but unearthed it a week or two ago. Now I've got Italian earworms (Devi urlarle al mondo cosi il mondo lo sapra). Oh, yeah, much cooler than It all started with a big bang - Hey!

 
men's shirt - Michael Kors; skirt - Christopher & Banks; tights - Hue; boots - Caressa, thrifted; belt - retail


Nothing to do with earworms, but Spy Girl's next prompt for 52 Pick-me-up is Trend Salad - pile on as many trends as you can. Check it out on Wednesday.

So I've got plaid and houndstooth goin' on here, and a snakeskin belt.




More trends, although maybe not current - turquoise jewelry, square-toed shoes and cat-eye glasses.

turquoise bolo from my grandfather

Gray hair is the next big trend!



Gotta go. It's time to watch The Big Bang Theory.

Also linking up with Tres Chic Style Bits!

Val


Monday, November 11, 2013

Share the Power!



I told you a couple of weeks ago that I had been contacted by Marketplace: Handwork of India inviting me to collaborate on a blog post featuring an item from their fall collection. They let me select a piece to style and blog about, so I chose this dramatic red and black Mohina tunic.


It's well made, 100% cotton (I love cotton), and the pattern and embroidery accents are beautiful!



Maybe "hippie threads" aren't your bag, man, so I wanted to show you how groovy this piece is. Take a look at how I can wear this tunic for work, casual happenings, nights out, or even for a holiday party.



I have a couple other tops from Marketplace (seen here and here), and I was wearing one the day I got the email from Shanti Freitas asking if I would collaborate with Marketplace! I didn't set out to blog for sponsors, but in this case I'm happy to do it. Marketplace is a non-profit organization that does more than selling clothing, accessories and soft furnishings. It's an organization that helps promote social change for women in India by giving them a chance to earn money as well as learn business skills.



It sickens me to read about women in other parts of the world who have no power over their own lives, when they're forced to submit to a patriarchal society and are denied education. I truly believe that if women were empowered in every society, we would have less conflict, less violence, less blatant greed in the world. We need men, but they need to treat us as equals.



I'm not a social activist, but I want to support Marketplace: Handwork of India because they are empowering women. Marketplace works with 480 artisans who are organized into 14 independent co-operatives. Within the cooperatives they are able to take on various roles and learn different aspects of the business. They're able to work at home, so they can continue to look after their families and work in a safe environment.



Besides women's clothing and accessories, Marketplace also creates and sells scarves, men's shirts, curtains, pillow covers, and a few other household furnishings. Each item is tagged with the name of the cooperative that made it. These cooperatives are also described on the website, so you can find out more about the women who made your clothes.




Joy of Joyatri's Adventures in Vintage will also be doing a post for Marketplace, and you can read more about what Marketplace is up to by looking at their blog.

Thanks for reading! Have a look at their website and see if there's something you can't live without. Share the power!

I'm taking this on the road and linking up with:


And I'll be adding more links as the week goes on until I reach Florida for Visible Monday!

Val

Friday, November 8, 2013

I never need to shop again

Seriously.

I went to Goodwill the other night to look for a black midi skirt, and I didn't find one (so I guess I will be shopping again).

Then I thought I'd take a quick look at the tops. And I bought four.

The Four Tops



I actually have quite a few pants and skirts, so I really did need some more tops. I set out to look for some with a longer short sleeve - and I ended up with cap sleeves, bell sleeves and puffy sleeves. But I love them all, and they'll be fine for the office with a jacket or cardigan, and they'll be fine in the summer on their own. So many things to mix and match - these have increased my wardrobe exponentially by a factor of LOTS!

Here's my favorite, and the one I wore first.




I love the spots and the colors and the sort of retro look. It's cotton and silk, and from Banana Republic originally. I'm wearing it with an old faithful green cardi, and thrifted belt and shoes. My necklace is two jade whales that used to be earrings - my dad brought them back from Alaska years ago, when I was young and had smooth skin and no wrinkles.



The rust colored jeans (Lee) look fantastic with this top, and this shirt will also look great with just about all my tights, skirts, pantaloons, jodhpurs, jeans, slacks, trousers, jackets, cardis, shoes, boots, necklaces, scarves. You get the picture.

I'll be receiving my new tunic from Marketplace: Handwork of India soon, and I'm looking forward to doing that post. Stay tuned!

Val

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pimp My Coat

First of all, did you see this article about Visible Monday and all the visible women who take part and blog? They even mentioned Late Blooming Sparkle, although they implied I was part of the homegrown British "younger crew." Oh, well, it's fun to get noticed!

Now, I need your help! I've got an excellent and virtuous rain coat that needs some zing.


It has a good length that keeps my knees from getting wet, water beads up on it, and it's lightweight. It has a removable hood, a removable lining, snap pockets, and hand-warming pockets (or whatever you call them).



I bought this coat a couple of years ago at JCP, and since then I've seen about 238 women wearing the same coat. I almost took the wrong coat home after a party when I put on one that looked exactly the same, but had some stranger's gloves in the pocket.


I just want to give it some new life. I especially don't like the gray lining anymore - I see it everywhere!


I don't want to do any heavy duty sewing. It's actually the ripping out of seams that scares me the most. But there must be something I can do to make it unique.


That's why I'm asking advice from all you creative and talented people. What would you do? Any great ideas?


Val