Business Casual

cover
“Who said Business Casual has to be boring?”

We have forgotten how to dress. I like yoga pants. . .for the gym. Or lounging at home. Or the occasional visit to the massage therapist or doctor, when you need to get your clothes off quickly. But not for work. We’ve slid down into this oh-so-casual look of low maintenance, which really just gives the appearance of “I don’t give a sh*t”. Lack of time is just about priorities. If you don’t care about your appearance, what else does that translate into? Lack of funds. . .sorry, I don’t buy into that either. I used to sew my own clothes when I couldn’t afford new prices. Nowadays, consignment stores are popping up everywhere offering designer wear for low-budget prices. I don’t get the “ewww, pre-worn” prissiness. How many times do you think that brand-new shirt was tried on before you bought it? At least the consignment store wares are clean.

Halfcaption
“Tell me again, that bullsh*t story.”

I have never been a fan of business suits, at least the bland, woolen versions. Me, I like a little bit of edge to my business look. I scored this vintage Claude Montana blazer off of Poshmark, an online consignment boutique. Italian made, impeccable tailoring, it features those power shoulder pads so famous in the 80s and early 90s. Mr. Montana was famous for that power suit look, but unfortunately went bankrupt in the late 90s. I consider it an extra investment that I now have two Claude M blazers. Paired with the Hermes scarf in place of a tie (another Poshmark bargain), and Manolo Blahnik wingtips, this defines my version of the power suit. Affordable, due to the secondhand purchase, this look is classy with a definite edge. A better business casual than the blazer and ripped jeans favored by the younger crowd, not that I don’t like that look.

Why I need this look when I’m three weeks out from retirement, speaks more to my opinion about dressing than anything else. I am happiest and feel more like my self when I am dressed well. I’ve been like that since a small child, and then it was ingrained into me when I attended Patricia Stevens Fashion and Business College in the late 70s.

Patricia Stevens originally began as a way to educate and polish young women for entry into the workforce. Part of the curriculum included personal development and appearance. Classes included etiquette, modeling and professional presentation. We were required to dress in heels, nylons and dresses every day. These days, that might generate the opinion as sexist, but I did not and still do not feel that way. We were taught to look professional and act with professional manners. Pretty damn good skills to have. I have read research study findings that state attractive people get better jobs and pay. I don’t think that means you need to be beautiful, just well presented. If you have ever sat on an interview panel, those that come in looking like the job they want usually get the job they want.

One of the trainings that was ingrained into our being was the “Patricia Stevens stance”, a modeling pose with the weight on the angled right foot, forward facing left foot, hips turned to appear narrow and wide shoulders. A feminine, yet powerful presentation of self. I can drop into that pose instantly. When I do, I feel confident and beautiful, even while wearing yoga pants.

Ratatouille

cheese-4611388_1920
Image by Sergei Belozerov from Pixabay

Whether it be a delicious French country dish made from harvesting late summer vegetables, or the animated film centered around a rodent gourmand who dazzles a restaurant critic with the same dish, ratatouille involves nourishing our soul.

In the Chinese calendar, we are on the verge of the Year of the Metal Rat. These zodiac Rats are know for their industrious nature, and the ability to gather sustenance and prosperity and tuck it away much like the harvesting of late summer vegetables.

I am a Metal Rat and fit that profile quite well. Coincidentally, I am petite and small-boned and quite adept at hiding in corners. You will often find me there, worrying and working myself to the bone, typical behavior of the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Although it might not be listed in this lucky sign’s traits, I do love me some metal music.

If you are a fellow Metal Rat, it is our year to shine. Metal is a conductive energy, so whatever we touch will have powerful energy behind it. Be careful and vigilant where you focus your thoughts and tasks, you don’t want to waste that power down the wrong path or in too much worry. I consider it quite auspicious that I am about to retire and making plans to building the next chapter in my life’s story. My efforts have been in the left-brained, logical world for many a year, so I am gearing up to give my right-brain, creative side some release. #Create!!

Even if you are not a fellow – ahem – rodent, it is a potent year for shoring up your resources. Invest wisely, beautify your nest and fill your coffers with that which sustains your life. The little rat is a workaholic worrier, always afraid there is never enough financial abundance, yet loves practical luxury. That little nest will always be stylish and those little feet shod in beautifully made shoes. The task at hand for the rat, is that in order to avoid excessive worry about money is to not overspend. Go green, recycle, upcycle, my little friends, and don’t overlook secondhand and consignment shopping. I have just discovered this market, and have scored some lovely luxury items at minimal cost. Minnie Mouse understands that you can look fabulous and be frugal at the same time.

Don’t neglect the inside, while covering up the outside. An overload of chemicals will keep you feeling off, bloated, itchy and overweight. Chemicals are everywhere and in most everything, and our bodies have difficulty in eliminating them. Think of your intestines and skin as a filtering system, and drink pure filtered water every day. Eat organic, non-GMO food. Rats have thin skin and are susceptible to the “itchies” and you don’t want to look like that. This is going to be a big year and you want to keep your body in as good a condition as possible so you have the energy to give it your best. Not that you shouldn’t do that any other year.

Remember to be a little social too, my fellow Rats, all work and no play is unhealthy. Our workaholic tendencies cause us to put all our duties before play, and usually there isn’t enough time nor energy left for play. Yes, I know you want to put the laundry away before going to the party, but no one has ever died from not having folded towels. A much refreshed you is a much happier you.

Come out of the corners, little Rats, dream big and put those plans into action. Be sure to join those celebratory parties when you meet a milestone. #wineandcheese

PS. I’ve also been told that rats make good pets.

Halloween Week 3 and Finale

finaleBonestock in my front yard has made it into its final week.  We survived wind, snow and now more snow.  My T-Rex took a serious stage dive in week 3 and we thought he was lost to a broken neck.  He survived to live on for future Halloween fun.

Week 3 featured “Country Joe and the Dead Fish” and the finale is none other than the incomparable “Janis Goblin”.  I hope you have enjoyed my Halloween tour as much as I have.

Janis

Last night, my Sweetie and I drove to the east side of Denver based on a recommendation to see a Halloween display.  OMG!!!  Two blocks of old stately mansion homes, with every house done up in a massive display.  Flashing lights, sound effects and even creatures from outer space, these people took decorating to a whole new level.  I felt rather inadequate.  (not really)  My favorite was what appeared to be Jurassic Park.  Someone had parked their Jeep on their front lawn with the appearance of having crashed into a tree.  Next to the Jeep was a T-Rex – much larger than mine – with its jaws wrapped around a skeleton neck and pulling it from the roof of the jeep.  Stunning!  Next to it was a grouping of T-Rexs (is that the plural?) in various sizes, from a hatchling to a child-sized creature.  Across the street was Area 51, complete with a huge spacecraft.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure I’m not remembering everything.  Kudos to the Oneida Street neighborhood for your entertaining and fabulous display.

And to one and all, Happy Halloween, Day of the Dead, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, All Saints Eve, and whatever and however you enjoy and/or celebrate this passage of fall.

Trick or treat, anyone?

Ever Evolving

smartphone-1987212_1920
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Aging. There is a reason why it is a verb and not a noun. Or a journey rather than a destination. Some days I just blaze through them when I am focused on a task and not even notice that the time has passed.

Other days, I look in the mirror and think: WTF what is going on here?

Lately, I’m a bit obsessed with my wardrobe. I’ve always been a fashionista, with a tendency to make a statement with my clothing. I like edgy with leather moto jackets and studded boots. I like bohemian with flowy prints. I like color, texture and patterns. No one that knows me would call me beige.

What comes with aging, that is so mind-boggling, is the constant state of body change. All you women out there who have gone through menopause, know exactly what I’m talking about. There are a gazillion blog posts written on this very subject. Lots of WTF moments.

Change is inevitable, but I think it is difficult to accept what happens to your body. Your boobs get bigger and they droop. Your ass gets bigger and droops. And then there is this round thing that shows up around your waist like a Monday morning donut. WTF. It is not an easy task to get them corralled and back in shape.

A diet shouldn’t be a diet, but a lifestyle. Learn to love vegetables. Eat hormone free meat. Seriously? If it makes an animal get bigger, what do you think happens to you? Practice intermittent fasting, if nothing but to eliminate the digesting grumbles in the middle of the night. Take supplements because, yes, they really do work. Drink water with a chunk of lemon in it. It makes you pee, but you’ll notice the puffiness goes away.

Exercise. Walk. Take the stairs. Do weight-bearing repetitions several times a week. Even if it doesn’t do much for your shape, your bones and joints will love you. Having muscles will help you get out of bed in the morning, instead of just rolling over and hoping you don’t end up on the floor. Our muscles get weaker as we age, so you can counteract that by lifting weights.

Take care of your hair and skin. Nothing ages you faster than looking like you don’t give a sh*t. Gray hair looks awesome when it is well-cared for. Spending money on good hair products is worth it. Same thing with your skin. If you live in a dry climate, like I do, moisturizers are a must unless you like itching your way through winter. Coconut oil works quite well.

Keep up with your teeth. Brush, floss, see your dentist. Healthy teeth keep you healthier.

Breathe. Meditate. Get out in nature.

It will make it a lot easier to go back into your closet and throw out all the things you bought last year that no longer fit.

Halloween Week 2

week2If you read my post Halloween Is Coming!, you will know that I love to transform my front yard into something entertaining. The theme for this season is “Woodstock, err Bonestock”.

The first week featured “Jimi Hend-Rex”. Well, on Thursday evening Jimi was singing “All Along the Watchtower” and just as he sang “the wind began to howl” a big gust blew in and Jimi took a stage dive. I think he may have O.D’d. Poor Jimi. R.I.P.

So today, a new lineup took the stage. “The Boo” have made a special appearance, however as just a 3 piece. Mr. Entwistle was unable to make it.

I hope you enjoy my Halloween fun just as much as I do. And stay tuned for Week 3.

Rock On!

Halloween Is Coming!

IMG_20191006_151509616 (1)Halloween is my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a child, I have loved dressing in costumes. It is a moment in time when I get to be someone or something else. In the past few years, it has taken on a new life with decorating my front yard. Now we are the hit of the neighborhood.

I’ve changed the theme each year, and then reluctant to put my – err skeleton crew – away, they take on new life at Christmas. The first year was random scenes that changed weekly. My crew consists of 2 skeleton people, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 chicken, 1 bird, a fish, a spider, 1 owl and a six-foot tall T-Rex. Some of them stay out all year – the owl for sure.

 

Last year’s theme was football, called “The Pumpkin Bowl”. The score ended Rex 10, Bones 6. It’s a little difficult to tackle a T-Rex. They all buddied up for a victory parade on Halloween.

IMG_20191006_151305952 (1)This year honors the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock, however in my yard it is Bonestock. First in the lineup is Jimi Hend-Rex. I think The Boo will show up in week 2. Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess. Or maybe I just like to keep everyone guessing.

And to all those legendary musicians who made Woodstock still going today, Rock On, and RIP to all those who have left us. Your music lives on.

Festi-fall

IMG_0687Every now and then, my fashionista side says “let’s go play fashion shoot” and off we go to some interesting locale to get my vogue on.

September is nearly at its end, and the leaves are changing colors and floating to the earth. These last few days of warm weather herald a flurry of festivals; whether it is an outdoor concert or a romp through a pumpkin patch. Or for many, a chance to suck down a few gallons of beer at an Oktoberfest.

The beautiful colors of fall had me pulling on some festival worthy garments, such as this gorgeously embroidery tunic from Johnny Was, aptly named “Festival Tunic”. The pants are from Sundance and the 4-inch platform sandals are by Schutz. Although I wouldn’t recommend sauntering through a pumpkin patch in them. The happy hippy hat is from some shop in Estes Park.

IMG_0674Fall is such a lovely season. I think Mother Nature gives us all Her glory as a present before the frigid days of winter. Something to stick in our mind as we hunker down and nurture ourselves while She rebuilds herself for another season. And so should we. Getting out there in all my glory helps to remind me that whatever is hiding beneath those layers of clothes, like it or not, it is me and I can rebuild myself with all the intent and care as Mother Nature. Sometimes She, too, doesn’t look Her best, but with faith and knowingness comes another season to get Her festi-fall on.

And so will I.

IMG_0681

Rainy Days and Mondays

rain-84648_1920“Always get me down.” (The Carpenters, 1971) It’s been raining a lot, for the middle of May. Yes, I know some of you have been getting snow and I certainly don’t envy that. We plan on setting up our little pool next weekend and I’m wondering if we might get frostbite. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be stormy, just a dandy way to start the work week. Sigh.

The weather is always volatile this time of year. The planet is making its bi-annual tilt from winter to summer (or the opposite for the southern hemisphere). I realize the tilt is an ongoing shift, but the wild and wacky weather makes it seem as though it is happening within a month. I guess I could liken it to riding down the road, doing 70, in a convertible and without a hat. Mother Nature’s convertible is a little larger and she likes to get a little “showy” with the lightning strikes. Reminding us just who is in charge. I am always grateful to get through Spring without too much of a spanking.

IMG_20190519_132436966 (1)

The rain is certainly good for the garden. I’ve discovered that I really like growing flowers. Their beauty, of course, and just the riotous colors, shapes and sizes. With each bud, a surprise lies inside and you must wait patiently for it to reveal itself to you.

IMG_20190519_132612255 (1)We added to the perennial collection this weekend. A few things didn’t make it through the winter so they needed to be replaced. We also have a dead zone towards the front so instead of trying to suffer through another round, we put in some blocks and raised the bed. Naturally, it had to be filled immediately. I found this bright, candy red, small rosebush that called to me. I haven’t grown roses in, oh probably 15 years. I guessed that little bush was what I needed. The pots and the planters always get annuals and I change them up year-to-year. I could not resist the very fascinating fuschias even though the location might be a bit sunny for them.IMG_20190519_132640740 (1)

I am always excited when the buds appear. Flowers mean I made it through the winter and hot days are ahead. I love the laziness of a hot summer day. I love floating in our little pool. Dinner outside. Cocktails with friends. It’s sort of like recovery after a surgery. It just makes me feel good.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving us the rain so that I can appreciate the sun.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

Leat-Her Wear it

I’m not a big fan of leather coats. They tend to be too bulky and too stiff. Even my fave – the biker jacket. But when I saw this coat in the Sundance catalog (Robert Redford’s company), I decided that I seriously needed it. So I searched up a coupon and then pressed the Order button.

I’m glad I pressed Send. This coat is like butter and it has enormous style, almost military/calvary in its cut. The buttons come to a V at the waist and then the remainder are hidden. Those couple are a little hard to button from the inside, but oh-so-cool. It’s great for a slightly warmer winter day in Denver.

I know that from a social viewpoint, leather and its sister, fur, get a bad rap. Along with eating their contents. I have no “beef” [pun intended] with anyone’s choice; it is all in how you grew up. I grew up on a self-sustaining farm in Iowa. We raised milk cows (my favorite, as previously written), stock cows, pigs and chickens. We grew corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. We planted a huge amount of potatoes and an average-sized garden. We ate what we grew and sold some for profit. That is what farming is all about. In the middle of an Iowa winter, having a freezer full of meat is a necessity. We had canned vegetables and potatoes in cold storage, but it is not enough to feed a family through those long cold months.

Pigs and cows were sold at the stockyards, which gave us money to live on. They, of course, generated meat, but the hides had to go somewhere. So, they became coats, shoes, belts, handbags and so on. A very practical use of all the parts. I abhor cruelty in any form, but it normally doesn’t exist in a family farm situation. All our animals, right down to the adorable baby ducks were well cared for.

So if you see someone walking down the street wearing something you don’t agree with, allow them their choice. They might be farm-raised like me. I’m sure no one will berate you for wearing broccoli on your pants.

So let her wear it.