Tag Archives: Free People

Warning: This Post Is Really Cheesy (But It Has Jazz Hands)

 

Like Wilbur?

 So, you know how I’ve been playing around with makeup lately? And I got this great new Kevyn Aucoin makeup book and palette for Christmas? Well, my father-in-law gave me the nicest compliment recently: “Wow,” he said. “You look absolutely radiant today.” I instantly felt beautiful. And loved. And it felt really, really good.

Sweet, right? But my next thought was, “It’s just the makeup.” Then, I remembered that a couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law told me he had made one of the nurses at his retirement community happy because he called her “radiant.” And further, he had told me that he annoyed one of his friends by taking the man’s wife’s hand, kissing it, and saying that SHE looked radiant.

I began to feel disappointed… but the glow inside was still there. Dammit, I thought, I AM radiant. And I allowed myself to feel radiantly happy… not because someone thought I looked pretty (or stylish or well put together or young or skinny). The truth is, being called radiant made me feel like I mattered to him, that I had a positive effect on him, and, just maybe, that I brightened his life a little bit.

It didn’t hurt that Paul took my hand and agreed that I looked radiant, and kissed me. I love him.

It would have been quite easy to dismiss the compliment, especially after remembering he likes to use that word “with the ladies” (his phrase). But you know what? I’ll take it. Women have a hard enough time feeling that we are okay just the way we are. Yep, sometimes I feel crappy about how I look. Sometimes I just feel crappy in general. We all do. But on the other hand, I often feel happy and loved and full of life and, yes, radiant, no matter what I look like.

My friends, you are all radiant. Celebrate yourself! Go out there and shine tomorrow.

Hey! I actually sat down to write tonight feeling a little out of sorts. And now… woo-hoo, I feel radiant! I can’t wait to shine tomorrow, with you all. Let me know how it goes. 

Feeling radiant. (And if you care, Free People flannel shirt, Free People T-shirt, Free People denim jacket)

 
**I never made it to Broadway, but I can always flash those jazz hands…

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Long Overdue Visit with Nordstrom Liz, with Fashion Tips

Finally got to shop with Nordstrom Liz again — she moved to a more distant Nordstrom a year or so ago and I hadn’t gone to see her since the move. Friday night I took Lizzie and a bunch of her friends. We had dinner with Nordstrom Liz and then tried on a bunch of clothes in the fancy, large dressing rooms that Liz had put together for us. I could hear the girls giggling and trying on clothes and hats and boots, while I shopped and got some fashion advice from Liz. For example:
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I Am Now a Ninja; Fear Me, People

Today I saw a Tweet from a writer friend who suggested, “Don’t know what to write? Add Ninjas.”

What would a middleaged woman (MAW) Ninja look like? She’d totally be a bad-ass, fighting for:
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Technology Tears plus Thoughts on Short Bodies

I have been asked to include better pictures when I post items about style, but have been challenged by the fact that I have no initiative when it comes to technology. But now I am happy to announce that my photos should be improving. Here’s why:
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Are You Frightened in Public Restrooms? Also, Socks

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who enter a public bathroom worrying that they’ll find a dead body in there, and those who put the dead bodies in there.
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Why I Hate Umbrellas but Love Nordstrom Rack

We don’t seem to use umbrellas in Northern Colorado. It doesn’t rain much, and it usually stops early and dries quickly. Also, everyone in Colorado, including middleaged women, is obsessed with the outdoors; I guess it’s not “cool” to carry an umbrella. Even MAWs put on our mountain climbing jacket with the oversized hood and head out. And we do NOT hunch our shoulders or duck our heads. We walk proudly through the rain, even if inside, we’re cursing the weather.

Last Thursday, though, Nordstrom Rack opened in our town, and I took a stand against being umbrella-less. I took extra care with my hair and makeup because it depresses me to be in a dressing room and see how pasty I look in that light, and how flat my hair gets from pulling items over my head. 

We get over 300 sunny days a year here; Thursday, of course, was pouring rain. (I tried to think of a metaphor like pouring cats and dogs only better, but nothing’s coming. Suffice it to say it was pouring like a motherfucker.) I searched the house for an umbrella, because I didn’t go to all that effort just to have the rain ruin my hair. I  found an oversized one in the garage (which I now realize is a GOLF UMBRELLA, the source of the problem) and was thrilled with it. At first.

So: I get to the car and unlock it, and realize the umbrella is longer than my arm and wider than the opening of the car door. I try to sink backward into the driver’s seat while simultaneously closing the umbrella like graceful women do in the movies, but, like a giant grabby octopus, the umbrella snags itself between the car door and the car itself, making it impossible to close either the umbrella or the door. I turn the umbrella sideways; rain pours onto my boots. I lean out to click the little clicky thing. An additional bucketful of water pours onto my shoulder; more rain drips into my sleeves and collar. I get the damn umbrella closed; now I am holding it straight out of the car, at arm’s length, as though I am about to joust. I wonder what to do next (but am secure in the knowledge that, if a dark knight on a horse appears with a lance, I am well prepared): I can pull the umbrella into the car, across my lap, and onto the passenger seat, but that will shower water everywhere. Also, I suspect the umbrella will not be satisfied with the passenger seat: it will want to reach across the console and share my seat because it hates me. Maybe I should have initially crawled into the BACK seat, left the umbrella to drip on the kids’ seats, and climbed over the console to the front.

Finally I jump out of the car, open the back door, shove the enemy onto the floorboards, and fling myself into the front again. I’m sure you’re wondering how my hair survived: surprisingly, it was fine. Unfortunately, I was sweating furiously from exertion so I can’t say the same about my makeup.

Nordstrom Rack held crowds of women and squeezing through the aisles was a challenge, but we were all in a good mood and feeling festive, as though a throng of friends had come home for the holidays and we were all enjoying our little shopping spree while waiting for the rum punch and figgy pudding (which never came, might I add).

Despite the lack of refreshments, the trip was a success: I bought a pair of ballet flats , a blouse, a “fashion leather” jacket (which I think means “it’s not real leather but we think it still looks good”), a belt (reversible, brown on one side and gold on the other), and a lightweight, drapy sweater.
  
 

Free People sweater, Jessica Simpson ballet flats, Michael Kors belt


Couple of tips for shopping at the Rack:

1. Get a cart. It’s best if you bring a ton of different sizes into the dressing room because there aren’t many attentive sales folks to find your sizes. Without a cart you will be hauling too many clothes around, and the arms of the shirts will drag along the floor, and you’ll trip on them, potentially ruining a great outfit.

2. Tell the person who hands you your number at the dressing room to NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR CART. I lost mine and there were no more to be had. When I tried on shoes, I had too much to carry and it was very awkward (though I still managed, bless my heart).

3. If, like me, you balk at buying $40 or $60 or $80 bras at Vicky’s Secret or even Macy’s, definitely check out the Rack. I got a perfect DKNY T-shirt bra for $16. It’s very supportive (it tells me all the time how nice I look).

PS: Just remembered I also got a black Calvin Klein blazer. Everything together was only $250 (shoes, sweater, blazer, jacket, belt, shirt). Impressive, Jen. Very impressive.

Lifestyle Dictates Personal Style (but Sometimes Too Late) : 3 Examples

Here are some examples of how your lifestyle choices can dictate your own personal style. Try to be smarter than me.

#1. Lifestyle experience: You go to the farm/corn maze with your young children. They play with shedding rabbits, watch pig races in the mud, smash pumpkins with baseball bats and try unsuccessfully to dodge flying pumpkin guts (fully authorized) and wander through the petting zoo. Your daughter wraps her sticky arms around you, distraught because she has lost her lollipop. You look around and spy it stuck to the side of a sheep, tangled in its wool. You yank the lollipop out of the fleece, pulling out many hairs and bits of stick and mud along with it. Your daughter asks for it back.

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Style choice: Next time you go to the farm, you remember to not wear your leather jacket, your newest cowboy boots, and your best jeans. (Yes, it should have been obvious, but I thought the cowboy boots were the perfect touch.) Alternatively, go for the avant-garde: wear a fleece vest or jacket and stick your daughter’s lollipop to it.

#2. Lifestyle experience: You’re snowboarding with your besties. You have finally started wearing a helmet after that last severe fall when your head hit the snow with the force of your son hitting a pumpkin with a baseball bat. You ask your sister-in-law if she wears a hat under her helmet. She says she does. You put on a wool hat. Midmorning on the slopes and you feel the sweat trickling through your hair. Your head itches and you can’t get to it through the helmet. The Colorado sun beats down on your head and is reflected up from the snow; it’s a mild and lovely day. You can’t enjoy it because of the head-sweat. Your sis feels great and says you shouldn’t have worn a hat. You say, “But you told me to wear a hat under my helmet!” and she says, “Well, yeah, but not today!” At lunch, when you take your hat off, your friends stare at you and snicker. Actually, they guffaw, chortle, and cackle. Later, you look in a mirror and words fail: your hair is matted and sticky and flat in some areas and poking out like sticks in others. (I think it was then that my friends started calling me “Mattie.”)

Style choice: You decide to never follow Angel’s advice again (which you should have already known). You put your hair in a ponytail before you put your helment on in the morning to try to keep it obedient. It doesn’t work. You buy a cuter hat for cold days, and at lunchtime you refuse to take it off. On hot days, you put up with their laughter (every. single. time.) and plot revenge.

# 3. Lifestyle experience: You take your kids to the city to see The Book of Mormon. You dress up: short skirt, tailored jacket, and 3 3/4 inch heels. You walk from the parking lot to the theater to look at the billboard. You walk a few blocks to the restaurant, and back. You wander the theater district so your son can take photographs. You enter the theater and climb several flights of stairs. Your seats are “stool” seats: you are sitting on a high, padded stool. Your skirt insists on riding up your thighs. When you climb off the stool at intermission, you fall off your heels. When your daughter is so entranced and excited by the show and talks about how much she wishes she could meet the actors, you offer to take her around back to wait for the actors to leave the theater. She doesn’t even know that’s an option, and is so excited that she speed-walks around the theater to the stage door. You hobble after her. You wait on your high heels for 15 minutes. The actors come out, encourage young enthusiasts, sign programs, chat for awhile. Your nicely tailored jacket begins to feel tight across the shoulders and, obviously, your feet hurt. You long for pajamas. The night is not over. You still have the hour’s ride home. (Author’s note: go see the show. Seriously.)

 

Lizzie, adorable and comfortable in MY Free People tunic.

Style choice: Plan ahead, for God’s sake. Honestly, you should know better. A night at the theater is not like a party; know that there is walking involved, and that you’ll be sitting for hours so wear something comfortable. Also expect that standing at the stage door will now be standard operating practice in this family and plan accordingly.  A nice, fitted jacket and 3+ inch heels are probably perfect for a business meeting or tea party, but not theater (unless you live in NY, and then I think you have to wear heels all the time). Leave a pair of pajamas in the car. Better yet, stuff them in your purse and change in the bathroom after the show.*

*Not that I ever go to either business meetings or tea parties. Actually! Now that I think about it, I happen to throw my own tea party every year at Christmas, with Lizzie’s friends and their moms (also my friends), so hah! Don’t know if it really counts, though, since I stopped serving tea after the first year when it became clear that all the moms vastly preferred the wine that was also on offer, which morphed the following year to margaritas. So no tea, and no tea cakes or finger sandwiches. Instead, something that’s easy to serve on paper plates and lots of time for playing mother/daughter Christmas charades which should be incredibly stupid and lame but which is actually hilarious, probably because of the margaritas on the moms’ parts and the levels of delirious excitement about Christmas on the part of the girls. We use the landing of the stairs which overlooks the living room as a stage. Girls and moms run up and down the stairs, fighting for the chance to act out incredibly easy charades, such as:

Charade: act out the song “Oh, Christmas Tree.”

Charade action: point at Christmas tree.

Now that I think of it, that’s probably not the best time for a short skirt and heels, either. I think my tea party is another perfect venue for pajamas.

 

It’s an actual game!


Couple of lessons I’ve learned: 

  • Do not let your desire to be stylish get in the way of being comfortable. Make sure you own enough comfortable but classy clothes to wear on those occasions when your outfit needs to meet both of those criteria.
  • Plan ahead. This should be a no-brainer. I blame my ADD. I am a terrible, terrible planner. (By the way, ADD is a convenient disorder to be diagnosed with later in life. It can always be twisted, in some way or another, to take the blame for anything. I recommend getting tested. If you need help spinning your answers in order to get a positive diagnosis, let me know.

Damn, damn, damn. I swore this would be a shorter post. I thought my points would be so concise that I originally planned 10 of them. Then 5.