Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I Would Wear On A Cruise

Recently, a friend asked me to do a post on cruise-wear. As a frequent traveler, I've learned through the years that it's easier to create a mini mix-and-match wardrobe than it is to pack a lot of different outfits that don't go with anything else.

My personal choices for a cruise wardrobe (see photos below) might seem a little boring to some, but I like the idea of black, white, and neutrals, with pops of color. These are the pieces I would take...some or all, depending on how long my trip was going to be. Also, some cruises might require more evening-wear.

Take at least one lightweight, long-sleeved shirt. I like the loose, white crinkle cotton one below. The sun can get pretty strong in the afternoon...protect your shoulders from getting sunburned. And take a hat.

My preference is to look cool and understated. I don't want to be the "obvious tourist." in Hawaiian shirts, sneakers, fanny-packs, and tee-shirts with witty sayings printed on them.

I tend to under-pack, because I don't like schlepping bags around, but luckily, summer clothes don't take up as much space as bulky winter things. If you like to wear more color, just remember to take colors that co-ordinate well with each other, to avoid packing up everything in your closet.

Don't forget your sunglasses, and your sunscreen! 
Bon Voyage!  C  














A great straw hat!
Fabulous Little Black Dress!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Are You Doing Enough With Your Life?

Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough with your life?

There are times when I think I should be doing more. Oh, I can pile on the activities…laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, appointments, working, hanging out in coffee shops with a good book or my laptop, going to the dog park (with Ralph…I don’t go there alone), trying new restaurants, going to movies, galleries, museums, boutiques, or painting, cooking, writing, etc. There is no end to the mostly enjoyable things I can do to pass the time.

But as I get older, I sometimes wonder if I’m filling my days with a flurry of activities to avoid the void. What is “the void?” It’s that uncomfortable feeling that my glass is more than half empty. I’ve come to the unpleasant realization that, realistically, some dreams just can’t come true.

When I was nineteen, I had a lot of dreams. I also thought I had all the time in the world to do the things I wanted to do. And I did. But now that I’m approaching the autumn of life, time has become a precious commodity, not to be squandered.

Don’t get me wrong…I’ve accomplished quite a bit in my sixty one years. I have an amazing daughter, graduated from college with honors, and have a decent and rewarding career. I have great relationships with family and friends. I’ve traveled extensively, and well…I’ve had a really interesting life. Still, lately I feel the urge to use my time more wisely…to decide which pastimes are worth my time, and which ones are a waste of time. Which dreams do I pursue, and which ones do I finally let go?

I could bore you with details of my hopes and fears, and of the pain of letting go of dreams that will never come true. But I won’t do that, because dwelling on the past makes living in the moment impossible. And living in the moment is really the only way to enjoy life. The past is in the past. And the future? Who knows?

I still have dreams and aspirations. Young people don’t expect people over a certain age to have dreams and aspirations. It’s like they think we’ve reached the pinnacle, and now it’s just a matter of coasting down the other side of the hill into…what? Complacency? Obscurity? Comfortable numb-ness? Well, I’m not ready to go there. I have things to do, and I don’t even know what some of those things are yet.

I do know that, the more I learn about life, the more I realize there is so much more to learn. Dorothy Parker said, “curiosity is the cure for boredom…there is no cure for curiosity.” And I’m still curious. I think the key is knowing the difference between idle pastimes to fill a void, and rich, satisfying experiences that deepen the meaning of life.

The truth is, it’s not all about me. Quelle horreur! No really, I have a lot of fun exploring the world on my own, but in the end,  it will be the love and laughter and connections with others that I will remember most fondly. Time spent with my family, playing with my grandchildren, road trips with my boyfriend, dinner and a movie with friends, chatting with the old guys at the coffee shop, discussing art with strangers in the museum, watching Ralph run with the pack at the dog park like a proud mom…those are the things that make life juicy. And the journey continues…


Monday, January 28, 2013

We All Need To Relax Sometimes...

We all need to relax sometimes. Last night, I enjoyed an evening of relaxation, and it was exactly what I needed...
  • First, a thirty minute yoga routine...nothing strenuous...just some breathing exercises and mild, stretching asanas to relax the neck, shoulders, and back, followed by fifteen minutes of meditation to relax the mind, and a cup of peppermint tea with organic raw honey to relax the tummy.
  • Next, a steamy bubble-bath, complete with scented candles, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, a moisturizing facial mask, and a slathering of my favorite body butter.
  • Then, a light dinner of homemade vegetable soup with shaved parmesan, sesame rice crackers and a perfectly ripened pear.
And finally, I was off to bed with a good book. I'm reading David Lebovitz's Living The Sweet Life In Paris. Stress level = Zero. Doux!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

But I Don't Want To Clean The Kitchen! Snacks For Dinner...

One of the great things about being a grown up is that I can eat whatever I want for dinner without an adult telling me, “that’s not dinner!” You know what I’m talking about…chips and salsa…popcorn…hummus and pita chips…finished off with a hefty serving of caramel praline ice cream.

I’m aware that snacks are not substantial meals, but I only eat them occasionally. And the reason is not necessarily that I’m craving snack food. It’s because I’m just too tired to prepare dinner, and I REALLY don’t want to clean up the kitchen afterwards!

There’s nothing more intimidating than a sink full of dirty dishes staring me in the face, when all I want to do is relax, read a book, or watch TV. And since I don’t have kids with nutritional needs in the house anymore, why not snack?

Of course, I have nutritional needs too, so I’m not talking about snacking for dinner every night. Maybe just once a week, on my favorite HGTV night. And I’ve figured out a few ways to add a little substance to my snack food dinner repertoire that require minimal preparation, without destroying the kitchen…
  1. Heat up a Lean Cuisine pizza in the microwave. (cook it on the box and then throw the box away…no dirty dishes) Enjoy it with a small bowl of raw veggies. I keep air-tight containers of raw veggies and fruits in my fridge at all times, so they’re ready to go.
  2. A wedge of brie cheese with some peppered water crackers, a sliced apple, a handful of grapes, and a small piece of dark chocolate. Yummy!
  3. When in season, wrap chunks of cantaloupe or melon with thin slices of Proscuitto. Have it with slices of fresh baguette drizzled with a little olive oil.
  4. When in season, put tomato slices on slices of baguette, with slices of soft mozzarella cheese, topped off with a drizzle of olive oil, and a few twists of cracked black pepper and a dash of sea salt.
  5. Scramble eggs with grated cheese, and spread peanut butter or Nutella on a toaster waffle. One dirty skillet…it’s an easy clean up.
  6. Cereal. I love Rice Chex and Special K, jazzed up with nuts, seeds, berries, and dried fruit, with almond milk. 
  7. A smoothie, made with a cup of frozen berries, half of a frozen banana, a cup of orange/mango juice,  a blob of plain yogurt, and enough almond milk to make it drinkable through a straw. Yes, it does dirty up a measuring cup and the blender, but I just rinse them out and put them in the dishwasher immediately. Easy-peasy…
  8. When I have hummus and pita chips, I like to drizzle the hummus with a little olive oil, and add a handful of Kalamata olives and a big glass of low-sodium V-8 juice.
And then sometimes, I just want to eat salsa and chips, popcorn, and ice cream…and since I’m a grown up, who’s gonna to stop me?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nine Things That Can Improve Your Quality Of Life...Really!

I am not a doctor, so I’m not qualified to hand out medical advice. But there are a few things that I think can improve anyone’s quality of life, regardless of his or her age or gender...
  1. Drink more water. Seems obvious, since the average adult body is made up of 50-60% water. However, for years I almost never drank water. Tea, yes. Coffee, yes. But rarely did I down a glass of water. Now that I drink six to eight glasses a day, it makes all the difference. My skin, clarity of mind, digestion, and regularity have all improved dramatically as a result of adding pure, fresh drinking water to my daily routine.
  2. Practice yoga and meditation every day. I can’t explain it, other than to say it’s about everything that we are…physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  3. Spend time outdoors every day observing nature. It makes you realize that you’re a small but integral part of something vast and amazing.
  4. Have a dog as your best friend. Because if you have a dog, it WILL be your best friend… no judgment, no questions, no conditions. BFF...
  5. Appreciate fine art, music, and literature. Go to art museums and concerts regularly, and read the classics again. It’s all so much better when you’re grown up and you don’t have to do it for a grade.
  6. Keep a vase of fresh flowers on your table or desk. Daisies are my favorite. Watch the flower scene from the classic, cult film, Harold and Maude (click for link) and you’ll know why I love daisies, and why Maude is one of my favorite role models for growing up, but never, ever, growing old.
  7. This one you might find odd, but here goes. Discover the nuances of fine tea. Read The Book of Tea, by Okakura Kakuzo. (click for link) Learn to prepare and savor a proper cup of opposed to dunking a poor quality tea bag in a cup of tepid water and slamming it down on the way out the door. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. (water is number one) Tea is an art, and the ritual of drinking tea is incredibly rewarding. It really is a form of meditation. Check out this link to my favorite go-to website for fabulous teas.
  8. Learn something about all cultures...their beliefs, rituals, philosophies, religions, etc. You don’t have to agree with, approve of, or accept what you discover. All you have to do is make the effort to open your mind just enough to comprehend their way of thinking, regardless of how ill-conceived you think that is. Fear and hate hurt the fearful and the hateful, as much as they hurt the feared and the hated.
  9. And last, but not least, smile :-)...and always eat the best quality chocolate you can afford. My favorite is right here in Dallas. (click for link) Don't live in Dallas? You can still smile, because they ship!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hung On U...It's In The Bag!


Speaking of supermodel Patti Hansen, have you seen her line of bags, called Hung On U? (click for link) 

The Hung On U shape is based on an original black suede version made for her by a friend in the 80's. It's a collection of slouchy, sack shape bags that sling around and across the body for hands free wear, and come in a variety of materials.

The name Hung On U was her husband, Keith Richard's idea. One of the perks of being married to a songwriter...they're always clever with words!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Actresses and Models Need Down-Time Too...

Actresses and models don't wear evening gowns ALL the time. Occasionally, they ditch the sequins and feathers and enjoy some down time, just like you and me. And they still look fabulous...just like you and me! Here are a few of my favorite actresses and models in some great casual looks...






PATTI HANSEN (w/husband, Keith Richards, who also looks pretty snappy)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

See Your Beauty! Love Your Beauty! And Pass It On!

There’s an article going around on FB now called, I Am Beautiful: How To Raise Girls With Self Esteem. (click for link)  I think everyone with a daughter (or son) should read it. And I think everyone else should read it too. Why? Because in our beauty and youth obsessed culture, it’s so hard to look at ourselves with LOVE, and so easy to pass that on to the younger generation…

I’m not talking about saying, “I’ve got these wrinkles, or this gigantic nose, or this big, fat butt, but I’m going to ACCEPT it because I know there’s little or nothing I can do about it.” I’m talking about loving yourself SO much…just the way you are RIGHT NOW…that you wouldn’t change anything if you could! Like, if someone asked you the question, “If you could change only one thing about your appearance, what would it be?” You could honestly and emphatically answer, “Not a damned thing!”

Some people say, “embrace your flaws.” I say, we DON’T HAVE flaws. Embrace YOURSELF! Embrace your UNIQUE-NESS! LOVE that which is you, and only YOU!

I’m not a big fan of “beauty contests.” I know…they give money, scholarships, and such to the winners, and I know…they SAY “it’s not just about physical beauty. bla, bla…” But really, have you ever seen a girl who weighs 150 lbs. win Miss America? Have you ever seen a girl with a nose like Barbara Streisand win Miss Universe? Have you ever seen a 50 year old woman become Miss America, or Miss Universe? No. There are contests specifically for “plus” size women, and contests for women over 40...but you will NEVER see them compete with the Barbie doll beauties in Miss America or Miss Universe…who, by the way, are beautiful.

My question is, why are we divided up into categories in the first place? I mean, why can’t I be Miss America? I’m not married. Why can’t you? Does the idea of competing with those girls in a beauty contest seem laughable to you? It does to me because I know that, even though I’m happy with the way I look, there is no way in hell I will ever be Miss America, if I’m to be judged by the prevalent standards of beauty that dominate our society. I couldn’t even compete when I was twenty. And don’t think for a minute that young, impressionable girls don’t watch these things, and compare themselves to the contestants.

There are teenage girls and young women out there who cannot conceive of ever winning a beauty contest; who feel their physical appearance will never measure up, and who, as a result feel “less than.” Beauty contests aside,  I think it’s sad, that every girl (actually, everyone) can’t look in the mirror and see herself just the way she is RIGHT NOW, and think, “I AM BEAUTIFUL!” And really mean it…

We must stop the madness! And we have to begin with ourselves. We can’t preach self-love if we don’t practice self-love. So don‘t say, “I love myself, but I just need to lose twenty pounds…or I’m great, but I need a nip here and a tuck there, or I hate my nose, or my hair, or my belly…but I must accept my flaws.” I’m not talking ACCEPTANCE…I’m talking pure, unadulterated, enthusiastic LOVE! See your beauty! Love your beauty! And PASS IT ON!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Cargo Eye Shadow ~ Fiji ~ The perfect transitional color!

A few weeks ago, I decided to go to Ulta (click for link), to talk to a consultant who knows more about makeup than I do, which is next to nothing. I don't wear a lot of makeup, but I feel that I need a bit, just to give my face a more polished look. Actually, I wear much less makeup now than I did forty years ago, when I didn't really need it at all.

The thing about makeup is, if you take good care of your skin, and you do all the things you're supposed to do to stay healthy...exercise, drink lots of water, eat right, get plenty of rest, don't need to wear a lot to look good. However I enjoy makeup, not necessarily to cover anything or to hide anything. I just think it's creative and fun...especially eye-makeup. After all, I was an art major.:)

I've always worn brown eye shadow. My hair is light to medium brown with golden highlights, and my eyes  are green, so brown was just the best color for my face. But now that my hair has a significant amount of gray, mostly around my face, the brown eye shadow doesn't seen right anymore. But I tried gray eye shadows, and they don't look good with my eyes and the brown part of my hair.

Hence, the consultation with an expert. She suggested Cargo's Fiji, a taupe powdered shadow than leans toward plum. Eureka! Looks good with the gray hair...looks good with the brown hair...looks good with the green eyes. The color is perfect for me, and the texture is soft and easy to apply. Problem solved!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tales Of A Female Nomad...Rita Golden Gelman

I'm re-reading a book that I read a few years ago, called Tales Of A Female Nomad, by Rita Golden Gelman.  It's an inspiring and fascinating story, worth reading more than once, about a middle-aged woman who leaves an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of connecting with people in different cultures. She sells all of her possessions and becomes a nomad, living in exotic places all over the world. So often, we have those wild and crazy ideas about following our hearts and living our dreams, but this woman actually did it. And she's still doing it. Check out her website and blog:


Friday, January 11, 2013

Casual Does NOT Have To = Sloppy!

Deciding what to wear on casual days doesn't have to be a mystery. Being pulled-together doesn't mean being uncomfortable, and casual doesn''t have to be sloppy. I'm NOT talking about laying-around-watching TV-casual, or cleaning-the-house-casual. I'm talking about leaving-the-house-casual...running errands...going to the grocery store...meeting girlfriends for lunch and a matinee. Looking good doesn't have to be a just requires a little planning. Here are some looks for everyday that are casual and comfortable, but still very appealing, coordinated, and stylish.

These first four outfits are all from Eileen Fisher  (click for link)

This basic, but not boring outfit of jeans, white shirt, and jacket is from Chicos (click for link)

These last two great, casual looks are from JJill (click for link)

Casual does NOT have to = Sloppy!