Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Last Post

This will be the last post at Late Blooming Sparkle. If you haven't already, you can follow me at Muse Fondue, the fondue of the future!

I found the code to add Google Friend Connect to Muse Fondue, so there are gadgets to follow me in all sorts of ways.

Now it's time to lock up here, but I'm not boarding it up. You can still peek in the windows.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Are you still here?

Come on over to see me at Muse Fondue! I'll be shutting down Late Blooming Sparkle after a few more redirects.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Muse Fondue

Further to my previous post, I've been spending a lot of time trying to think of a new blog name. I don't want to change my blog into anything different, but I just want a new name. I've been using random name generators online and tossing about all sorts of ideas. Finally, with no help from the random name generators, the muse visited me – and she brought fondue.

Muse Fondue.

Yes, that's really it. Click on the name to go to my new blog, where you can read the rest of this post.

But before you go over there, let me announce the winner of the purple paisley earrings. It's Curtise, who guessed Prague! My city was Tel Aviv, only 1,629 miles away from Prague..

I'll see you in my new digs!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's in a name?

This striped top has been seen a lot lately. Here I'm recreating the asymmetric drape from this early post, which was in the wrap-up in my last post.

top - JCP; pants - Lee; belt - thrifted; pin - gift from Bella; screamin' red shoes - Dexter

It's these shiny red alligator loafers that steal the show, though. Smooooooth, huh? And of course I'm going to link up with Shoe Shine at The Citizen Rosebud.

If you saw me playing Black Jack in Vegas you'd probably stay away from my table 'cause I look like such a shark.

You can just call me Slick.

Except Slick is my brother's nickname. It's funny because he's a rugged and sweet guy. He drives dirty old cars that are held together with charisma, and I can't remember a time when he wasn't wearing jeans. Kids and animals love him. The nickname Slick was given to him by his longtime buddy, who must have had a good reason for it. (I'm thinking it had to do with picking up chicks when they were spending a lot of time in bars.) Or it was just meant ironically.

photo taken in my newly tidied Craft Salon, Balinese musical frogs to serenade me
That's how I feel about using the name Val Sparkle - it's kind of ironic. I do like sparkly things – like this belt and pin – but I don't think of myself as sparkly. I don't jump out of bed each morning beaming sunshine out of every orifice. I started using "sparkle" for my Etsy shop, Sparkle Park Designs, because I couldn't think of anything else. But now that's dead, and I'm thinking of rebranding my social media self. Yes, I'm seriously thinking of changing the name of my blog and also my profile name.

What if I just called myself Val?

What if I changed the name of my blog to something short and sweet and new?

And do you have any suggestions?

I might also use a different email address, so I'd have to have a new Google+ profile.

Would you follow me if I changed, or is it all just too much trouble?

Sunday, January 19 - Linking up with Tres Chic Style Bits at Searching the Inner Me.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

100th Post! The Good, The Bad, and The Meh

Here I am at my 100th post! I hoped to hit this milestone at the end of last year, but December didn't really work out as planned. However, it's still January and it's not too late to do a wrap-up of the last year and 99 posts. This is really an exercise for me to see what works and what was laughable. So without further ado, I present to you The Good, The Bad and The Meh.

I'll start with the bad so we can just get that out of the way.


Beautiful thrifted dress that just doesn't fit right, and maybe too sweet for me.
And let's all just agree that white tights are a baaaaaaaad idea.
I was deliberately being a slob here, and I would not wear this in real life. No, really, I wouldn't.
This jacket is going back to Goodwill. It has no shape or style, and the color is too lettucey.


Kind of not really me, but I won't say I'll never wear this again.
Two loose white things? Too loose white things.
Again, not really me - ruffles at the hips. I'll probably take the top back to Buffalo Exchange.
The colors work well, but the jeans look a little sloppy with the top tucked in, I think.


From a very early post - I love the asymmetric way I wore this top.
This was posted on Facebook before I started the blog. I love the striped skirt with leggings and sandals.
Kind of masculine, but I really like this one. The jacket is actually burgundy, and I like the shirt hanging down below it.
My Marketplace: Handwork of India tunic - a classy and colorful kind of casual.
Well, I just look fabulous here!
Again, fabulous! Although I'm not keeping these sandals - there's nothing comfortable about them.

So, what have we learned here? I'm not sure, but as I was looking back through old posts I realized two things. One is that I did hit a slump a month or so ago. And it may be related to the second thing I realized - I really miss sunny days! But I think my slump is slipping away because I already have ideas for more posts, starting with showing you some new shoes next time (two new pairs - it was retail therapy!).

Now it's time to do another giveaway. I've closed my Etsy shop because it was just a waste of space. That's okay, some of my products were a waste of space, too. But I've picked out something that I think is pretty cool, and I'm going to give it away. 

A pair of Purple Paisley earrings. The wires are nickel-free, and the oval bit is paper covered in resin. The little paisley charms hang independently from the ovals.

As with my previous giveaway, if you're interested in entering to win, just mention a city in your comment. I've randomly selected a city somewhere in the world – it's well known enough that you should be able to think of it without looking at a map – and whoever comes closest geographically will win the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­earrings. I'll announce the winner in about a week.

But I'll be back before then to show you my new shoes. For now I'll just say this - red alligator!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Travel Companions

I usually walk to work – it's only a mile – and I see certain people regularly walking at that hour. For instance, I meet a group of women going for a five-mile walk every morning, rain or shine. They're probably in their 60s, and they start at the country club. They all look like they're pretty well off, and they dress similarly with well-groomed hair, sunglasses, and expensive sportswear. I call them the Stepford Crones.

I walk past a school just before the bell rings, and I often see certain mothers walking home after taking their kids to school. I usually say hi, and today one of them stopped me and said, "I just wanted to say that you've always got the cutest scarves and accessories when I see you."

How sweet, and how fun! I always think I'm just sort of ordinary, but then someone stops and says something like that and it makes my whole day! The Crones also compliment me from time to time, which is nice since some of them seem kind of bitchy.

Here's what I was wearing this morning when I got complimented, which is convenient because I'd already decided to do a post about the dependable clothes I took traveling – and I was wearing those clothes! Except the scarf, a gift from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, which I didn't take on this trip.

My recently bepimped black raincoat, which has a hood and big pockets (also seen here). It never wrinkles, and was easy to fold up and put into my backpack while we were trapped in LAX. I also took these fleece leopard gloves, which I could have washed and dried in any hotel room (and I probably should have after picking up salty sandy things on the beach at Charmouth).

Thrifted Sporto boots, previously seen here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. I love these! They're nothing fancy, but they're comfortable and walkable, and they hold up to rough treatment, like walking on the shingle beach at Charmouth.

They were $5 at the thrift store, so cost per wear is now about 5 cents.

Lee denim trousers. They look a little better than jeans, and with a bit of Spandex in them they hold their shape and don't wrinkle.

These were thrifted, and they're similar to four – yes, four – other pairs of Lee trousers that I bought new in black, charcoal, grey denim, and brown (the brown ones are now shorts after I fell on my knees on the oiled lane at the bowling alley).

I always forget to take pictures of me carrying my handbags, but this is the one I took with me.

It's great for traveling because I can shove all kinds of things into it, and then just sling it across my body and forget about it. The smaller pockets mean I can quickly find passports, boarding passes, lipstick and aspirin.

I also took the pink ruffled shirt as an alternative to long-sleeved tees. It looks pretty close to the Pantone Colors of the Year for 2001 and 2011, which means I'll be linking it up to Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up – Pantone Party!

Do you have dependable travel companions? Are they boring but comfortable and you wouldn't live without them?

Also linking up next week with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, and Shoe Shine at The Citizen Rosebud.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Holidays with British Airways

Happy New Year, everyone!

So far 2014 is a bit of a challenge. I started writing this post at Heathrow airport on New Year's Day as we were waiting to fly home. Then I wrote some more at Los Angeles airport (LAX), and a little more from our room at the Radisson Hotel at LAX after our connecting flight home was cancelled.

I'm finally at home, and so, so relieved to be here!

We decided on December 20 that we would fly to the UK to see my mother-in-law, whose health is failing. After committing thousands of dollars and our tired selves to British Airways, we left Eugene in the early hours of Christmas Eve, only to lay over at LAX for 12 hours!

Christmas Eve, LAX

At least the international terminal is newly refurbished, and was fairly empty. Gee, no one wants to travel on Christmas Day?

To get in the Christmas spirit, we had sushi, udon noodles, tempura and teriyaki.

 We finally left LAX at 10PM, attended by British Airways staff wearing Christmas headbands and smiles - it made me a little teary-eyed because I'd already been awake since 4AM and in transit since 8:30. Flying through the Christmas night, the pilot was able to make up some time with the help of reindeer dust (his words)!

Heathrow airport (like LAX) has never been so quiet. The roads of southern Britain were also blissfully empty, and we arrived at my mother-in-law's at 7PM on Christmas Day.

She lives in a beautiful village in Somerset, an area with golden Ham-stone buildings and villages with names like Mudford Sock, Huish Episcopi, and Ryme Intrinsica. We stayed at a small bed and breakfast in Over Stratton, about a mile away.

Boxing Day morning, Over Stratton

The weather was surprisingly dry so we were able to walk back and forth to my mother-in-law's, and we also had a chilly Boxing Day picnic at the beach at Charmouth with my sister-in-law.

We had a chance to catch up on British television, but some of the satellite channels weren't available.


The B&B was attached to a four-star restaurant serving local foods and ales, so we splurged on a really excellent meal there one night. The soup was cream of celeriac, Stilton, pears and cider, and it was delicious!

In fact, over the course of a week we ate way too much food - good British cooking. If you think you can't get good food in Britain you really need to go there and try some excellent pub food!

Sunday roast - beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings

Not to mention the Indian food! We had an Indian meal on our last night in the UK - New Year's Eve - that can only be described as ambrosial. This was in Windsor, where we stayed so we could get to the airport first thing in the morning. The Christmas decorations in town reflect the fact that the queen has a castle here.

Windsor Castle, New Year's Eve

We flew back from the UK on New Year's Day. Once again, we had several hours at LAX, this time in the dirty, noisy, crowded domestic terminal. I guess we fit in because we were pretty dirty by that time. I was so looking forward to getting home and peeling off my smelly clothes, getting into the shower - but our flight home to Eugene was cancelled! Damn American Airlines!!! We insisted on a hotel voucher (they weren't going to offer, it seems) and at least slept well and had showers. We made do with semi-clean clothes the next day, and stayed in the hotel lobby until late afternoon to avoid the chaos of the airport as long as possible.

I quit taking pictures by this time.

It was not a fun, but a necessary trip. We not only saw my mother-in-law and were able to say good-bye, but we also saw my stepchildren and grandchildren. Although it was stressful and I need to detox for a month, I may eventually remember this as being one of the most special holidays.

I look forward to catching up on other blogs now and seeing what you've all been up to!