Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Friday from Snow-Covered Michiana

Michiana, a small area that includes counties in southwestern Michigan and north central Indiana and centered around the home of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN.

Hubby and I drove up to Granger, IN from warm and humid Louisiana on Wednesday.  It was a 15 hour drive for us, but one we make as interesting as possible. Actually, the view from the car is not one that would keep you awake; on the contrary, it is a rather boring drive.  So, we entertain ourselves by listening to audio books. This trip was spent with David Baldacci's "The Forgotten." 

Anyway, the day before we left, the temperature in Shreveport was in the mid 70's. I kept my back porch doors open all day, enjoying the wind that was blowing a storm in our direction. After the cold front that preceded the storm, the temperature when we left at 4AM was 48 degrees. It was interesting to watch this number make a steady decline as we drove northward. 

When we reached Kankakee, IL where we take the country road eastward in order to avoid Chicago traffic (honestly, the GPS actually sends us through a corn field at one point, dirt/mud and all), the temperature was 32. Once we reached the Toll Road, about 60 miles from our destination, the snow started.  Oh how I wish we had the means to capture what these trillions of tiny sparklers swirling around in front of you look like.  When we arrived in Granger, IN, it was a cold, windy, snowy 28 degrees.

Unloading the "Hillbilly Clampett" wagon was done in short order with all 7 of us participating.

The next morning, it was 18 degrees with a windchill of 4.  And the snow!  Oh my!

If you have never seen lake effect snow, there is no way to describe its absolute beauty.  The flakes are huge and it blows - sometimes it is completely horizontal, other times it is swirling from all directions.  I simply cannot get enough of it!  We are supposed to get an additional 2-4 inches.

Yesterday afternoon I did get outside long enough to take a few pictures.

 This little bird landed on a branch right above my head and was perfectly content to be photographed.

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Weekend Report

Miscellany Monday with Carissa.
I Love Weekends
All those years when I worked outside the home, I could hardly wait for the weekend.  Even when the kids were still at home and I wasn't being paid for my labor, there was always something to plan for or look forward to on the weekends.  Now that I am retired and home all week, I still look forward to the weekend. Hubby and I may or may not do anything exciting or different, although we do try to.  I guess old habits are hard to break. 

Saturday afternoon a week ago, we decided to just go riding around. We have lived here ten years and there are still areas and things we have not seen.  We have some of the most beautiful old architecture that is difficult to see when navigating the streets.  So, we explored our city and had the best time basically doing nothing except appreciating the history and beauty of this southern city, and spending time together.
Caddo Parish Court House
From Texas Street Bridge looking west toward the majestic First United Methodist Church.
The beautiful First Baptist Church which is celebrating 50 years in this location on a hill.
One of my favorite homes in the Highland area.
This weekend was a bit different.  Saturday morning, I had the privilege of spending time with some of the sweetest young ladies. They had spent Friday night at a church sleepover in one of the girls home.  I had not seen most of these beautiful girls since retiring so it was great seeing them again. My, what a difference almost two years makes. 

The theme was "New Year, New You!"  We talked about what God desires in each of us to make us Beautiful Without and Within.  The girls had fun playing with Mary Kay Cosmetics and I loved every minute of it.

Shelby was just a little 6th grade girl when I last saw her, and now she is a beautiful 8th grader who is just beginning to wear a little makeup on special occasions.  It was my reward to just watch her response in seeing her own transformation.  Helping young girls and women feel better about themselves brings me the greatest joy.

It was a great morning girls.  You are all so truly beautiful without and within.  Thanks for inviting me!

In the evening, Hubby and I met good friends for dinner before going to the Riverview Theater to hear the Shreveport Symphony. We no doubt have the best symphony around. It is always a night we look forward to. 

Today, we had a great Sunday School class and worship service after which we met some long-time friends for lunch. These are those special kinds of friends that you just simply pick up where you left off.  There are no secrets.  You can reminisce and laugh at those awkward events and relive the treasured experiences in your past.  You can share a couple hours together and promise to do it more often. 

Yes, this was a weekend worth looking forward to.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Look Book: Your Underground Fashion Secret

On this Monday morning, I am going to borrow from a "friend" who is one of my favorite Image Consultants.  I have read many of her eBooks and have received so much inspiration from her books and articles as well as personal communication.
I love the idea of a "Look Book" that Diana describes in this article.  Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wonderful example of a lady and how a lady presents herself.  Thank you, Diana.

Look Book: Your Underground Fashion Secret

Date night, anyone?Have you ever wondered how fashion stylists put outfits together? Just where do they get inspiration for some of their amazing looks? Do they have a secret club? An underground publication? Or do they somehow just “see” combinations that no one else can?

Not exactly.

Fashion stylists, like fashion designers, draw their inspiration from everywhere. Movies are great sources, as are interesting street looks. But a lot of it comes from learning what colors, fabrics, and styles go together, and then mixing them in new, unexpected ways to create an interesting look.

So how can you follow their lead to create interesting new looks for your wardrobe?
By creating your own “look book.”

A “look book” – or portfolio – is a collection of photographs used by models, photographers, designers, and stylists to demonstrate their work. They can carry it with them or post it online to allow potential clients to see their skill.

But it’s also a great way to compile looks you like to use as styling inspiration for yourself.

Have you ever gone to your hairdresser with a picture of a hairstyle you liked and asked her to recreate on you? Or have you ever pulled out a picture from a magazine of a great-looking room you wanted to copy? I think everyone does.

Well, to get inspiration for great outfit ideas, start doing the same thing for clothes. You may have a few pictures here and there – in a pile someplace, or in a file online – but if you get organized with it, put them all in one place, and add to them regularly, Two things will happen:

1. You’ll dress better
2. You’ll shop smarter

Why? Because you’ll begin to “see” combinations like a stylist. You’ll find the same colors and elements used again and again in new and interesting ways. Or, you may discover unlikely combinations that you never thought of before.

I’ve been posting outfits on my Facebook page for the last few days. Some of the most liked include:

Great office look
Great casual look
Great color combo
Some people didn’t like the shoes, others didn’t like top, but these got the most likes for two simple reasons:

1. Simple, clean lines with unexpected pops of color.
2. Easy to recreate from most closets

You don’t have to have the designer brands shown in the pictures. You also don’t have to duplicate every element. Wear different shoes. Skip the earrings if you like.

But do focus on what catches your eye that you can then duplicate from your own closet. Then, get creative.

One of the hottest trends right now is mixing dark red with leopard print. If you like that combination and have those pieces in your closet, consider putting them together. Here’s what I shared on Facebook:
Red and leopard print
Here’s best-dressed reality star Lisa Vanderpump’s take:
Lisa Vanderpump
Lisa Vanderpump and her “Vanderpump Rules” cast
Photo courtesy of

See how interesting this becomes? You probably wouldn’t have thought of combining a red dress and leopard print shoes if you hadn’t seen someone else do it.

That’s what makes a personal “look book” so valuable. You can’t remember every cute combination you see. But if you put them all together in one place and add to and reference them regularly, it will stimulate your creativity.
Black, white, and gray

Like the black and gray but don’t have that exact jacket? No problem! Wear the gray jacket you do have. Or, switch it around and wear gray clothes with a black jacket. Take the elements you like and see if you can duplicate it from pieces you already have. If you can find new ways to wear old favorites, you’ll breathe new life into your wardrobe.
Black, white, and gray
So what’s the easiest way to build a “look book”?
  • If you prefer paper – like pictures from magazines or pictures you printed off from online – then keep them all together in a notebook or folder for easy reference.
  • If you’re a big Pinterest fan, build your own scrapbook, pinning as you surf.
  • The way I tend to do it is by hovering over a picture I like online, right-clicking my mouse, and saving it to the “look book” folder on my hard drive.
Do whatever works best for you. Your end goal is to have it all in one place so you can reference it easily whenever you want.
Then, try some of the styling ideas you see.
Brown and black
What you’ll soon discover is that not only will you dress better, fashion will become fun again because everyone will be super-impressed with your fashion savvy. What do you know that they don’t, dressing like you have a personal stylist?
Just tell them that you have access to a secret underground fashion publication know as the “look book.” They don’t have to know where you got it. ;-)

Diana Pemberton-SikesDiana Pemberton-Sikes is an image consultant and author who has helped tens of thousands of women dress better during her fashion career. If you’d like to know how to dress better but don’t know where to start, grab a copy of Wardrobe Magic. Read it today, start dressing better tomorrow

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Weekend and Arts

Les Mis
Hubby and I saw this film on Saturday with special friends.  When asked what I thought, the word "Wonderful" was the first to come to mind.  I have seen the stage play (not on Broadway) a couple times and loved the performances.  But, the movie on the BIG screen, was amazing.  The raw emotion and oh my goodness, the music just had me in tears.

Teddy Allen, who writes an article in our Sunday paper wrote this, and I can only say, "Amen!"
"If the music alone doesn't get you, this tale should, this ever-human story of redemption, of injustice, of childhood lost, of misery verses hope and of "nothingness to God."'


One of the things Hubby and I enjoy most about living in Shreveport is the appreciation for and availability to so many types of "ART" and all that encompasses.  For instance, we look forward to hearing our amazing Shreveport Symphony several times a year, Centenary College's Performing Art's performances, and of course the Little Theater and so many other area venues.

On Sunday afternoon, we saw the StageCenter Theater's production of Evita.  My what amazing local talent we have.

Golden Globes

Okay, what can I say about some of the dresses that showed up on the Red Carpet?  Not much!

Would you have chosen this color for a satin night gown on the carpet?

I am just not at all sure what  Emily Mortimer was thinking when she selected this one. And then, she obviously skipped out on her hair appointment.  From her expression, she regrets both decisions.

Cute Kelly Osbourne had some good things going with her little mint green dress until someone realized there was left-over fabric and made box pleats to tack to the hem of the dress.  What can I say?

Nancy O'Dell looks lovely in this shade of blue, and the dress certainly showcases her gorgeous figure, but the dress itself reminds me of a medieval warriors metal body armor.

Okay, that is enough negativity.  There were some beautiful dresses on the Red Carpet.

Maria Menounos is lovely in this neutral figure-flattering dress.  I think her jewelry and hair are real compliments to the simplicity of the style.

Hayden Panettiere is so cute in this little detailed mermaid.

Anne Hathaway
This is a lovely 2-piece, but I wanted to see a touch more earring.
Love the Les Mis haircut.

Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery
I like the dress overall, but not sure about those shoulder pads.

 Taylor Swift is enchanting in this eggplant dress

Jennifer Lopez
And oh my goodness that body!

Did you have a favorite?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Luncheon & Fashion Uniforms

Today, several of the ladies from my Sunday School Class met at the Glenwood Tea Room for our monthly luncheon.  These are a delightful group of women and I always look forward to this time together.  
  As I was thinking about what to wear, I kept coming back to my uniform.

I have a variety of casual clothes in my closet and yet, I find myself wearing basically the same sort of thing all the time.  Only since retirement, of course.  And on these past cool, damp days of staying inside, this has been my uniform.

But, my "business casual" uniform usually consists of either black or blue jeans/pants, either a white or black pull over knit top and an assortment of scarves, jewelry, sweaters, jackets and shoes.

Thinking about this reminded me of an interesting article my Daughter-in-Love sent me from USA Today by Marie Puente, about "Famous Folk and Their Fashion Uniforms."  I did indeed find it interesting, perhaps because I could so easily relate.

A classy lady who has found her uniform style and sticks to it.
 These are closets of women who wear a uniform.

Ms. Puente pointed out that there are a parade of celebrities, stars and designers all who wear more or less the same thing all the time, despite having all the money in the world and resources for strutting down Fashion Avenue.

 Think of the late Steve Jobs and his black turtlenecks and black jeans,

Hillary Clinton and her infamous pantsuits,
Zuckerberg's gray T-shirt drawer,

Vera Wang's tunics and leggings,

and this list would not be complete without the icon, Coco Chanel.

The author quotes Elyssa Dimant, a fashion historian and author of "The Style Mentors, in pointing out that there are several reasons why this "uniform-style dressing" has spread to the "adult world of high-powered, high-paid grownups."

1st, is the person who just can't be bothered and wears the same pieces simply because it fits and wears well.

2nd, is the person who is incredibly calculating such as Coco Chanel.  She felt very strongly that a person should have a select number of pieces at any given time and in perpetuity to establish identity.  These are identity wearers.

3rd, is the one who is just drawn to sensibility, aesthetics, so that it is less about identity and more about what they are attracted to.  I think this is me.

Elyssa Dimant says, "I advise people that if it works for you, or you just love something, to go with it and wear it all the time and not be afraid of it."

So, I'm planning to stay with my casual uniform.  How about you?  Do you have one?