Saturday, December 31, 2011

Can you tell I got a camera for Christmas?

I'm a picture taking fool right now, I tell ya. Partly because I don't know what the heck I'm doing and partly just because it's so fun. My husband bought me a Canon Powershot sx230 hs, and I'm so excited. For several years I thought about getting a DSLR but decided on this for now. It's got some fun settings to play with, you can adjust the aperture and all those other fun photography terms I'm trying to learn, or you can just set it on auto. You can put it on "portrait" and it knows you want the subject clear and the background a little blurry (Yay! How does it know?). As much as I would like a DSLR eventually, my brain is just not equipped to figure that much out right now. Besides I want something I can just sling across my shoulders or stick in my purse and go, not a large heavy camera.
We have several shutterbugs in our family, especially my grandfather "Pop". Mom says he would be fascinated with digital cameras, self-timers, etc. He took a famous picture of my grandmother and he by tying a string to his toe. Boy would he love a self-timer! I love going through all the old family photographs he took. In fact, he gave me my first real 35 mm film camera when I was 19 and it was a Canon Sureshot. So I had a soft spot for Canon even though I haven't had one since then. I had many awesome adventures with that camera until I lost it coming back from the Philippines. Ever since then I've missed it, but I think I found it's digital equivalent. 

I spent our Christmas in Myrtle Beach playing with the settings and taking a million pictures. Hopefully my outfit photos will improve now that I have this baby.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beach Casual for Christmas

For our beach Christmas trip I had some awesome outfits packed with the intention of having my husband do a  beach photo shoot. However, my foot problems started acting up meaning athletic shoes all the time. So my cute tunic/leggings and dress outfits look stupid with those shoes and it's too cold to go barefoot. So we elected the casual look for our outing to Pawley's Island today.

New camera, new tripod and 10 seconds to get across rocks and turned around. This is what you get.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I just ate cookies!

Last Christmas I was still following a "lifestyle change" that was "not a diet". O.K. my thinking is that whenever someone is telling me what to eat and what not to eat, that is a diet, but that's another story. I had way more success on this particular plan than any others and actually felt better. So I'm truly not complaining, but lets call a spade a spade. Anyway, my point is that last year I cut out my favorite Christmas tradition of making and decorating cookies with the kids. At that point I didn't think I could make them and eat them in moderation. I don't regret that decision, but this year I decided to just enjoy the cookies. I lost 15 lbs. total and learned a whole lot about how different foods affect me. Right now due to scheduling and stress, I'm just maintaining and for right now that's O.K. 

The plan allows for periodic indulging rather than banning junk food altogether forever. However, now that I ate a plate full and totally feel like crap, I remembered that eating junk makes me feel bad. That was the main valuable lesson I learned while on that diet. That knowledge keeps me mostly eating healthy. So in a way I guess it is a lifestyle change now that I'm self-motivated. Still don't B.S. me and tell me it's not a diet. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pajama Time!

I will not be posting an outfit photo this morning since I'm wearing a sleep shirt and PJ pants.  Maybe later on today if I feel like it. I'm off work until next year and moving slow this morning.

Yesterday's outfit wasn't photographed either because I work an exact replica outfit, something I rarely do now. I wore the black leggings, turquoise tunic/dress and long sweater vest from Old Navy. O.K. I'll put a picture in case you forgot.

Amusing story. . . I love the look of weathered brick and have been scouting locations. Since I work in a downtown historic area, it's everywhere, but finding a semi-private place is hard. I'm still self-conscious and don't want to just set up my tripod in a high-traffic area. So I spotted this parking lot. Tough photo shoot though because it was super windy that day. My camera actually toppled off the top of my car and I ended up setting it in the seat with the door open. When I drove away I realized I was photographing myself across the street from the back of a men's shelter and across from a probation reporting office. Nice scouting, huh?

When my husband saw this outfit he did a complete head to toe eye sweep but didn't say a word. I'm taking that to mean he thought it was weird. Usually he comments if he likes something. Oh well, I like it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Should I Wear To . . . A Community Meeting?

This dress and cardigan are as comfy as pants. I almost wore burgundy tights but decided since I'm over 40 and  about to attend a meeting, maybe I should go more conservative. Then tonight I looked at some other bloggers with their cute bright tights. Maybe I should have just gone for it. Is it time for me to get brave?

Holiday Blues

The peacock blue and teal looked so awesome together that they practically glowed. You'd never know it by these pictures though. Ah well, I will photograph it when I get my new camera and see if it looks any better.

 For some reason I'm not loving myself in pants/trousers these days and I'm ready to A. Ditch pants altogether, B. Get them all altered or C. Go out and purchase all new pants. Right here at Christmas I can't afford to do any of the above! I read somewhere that people with my body shape--X, hourglass, pear or curvy depending on who you ask--have trouble with trousers pulling across the crotch. Well, I can vouch for that. It seems all of mine sag horribly or are too tight with no in-between perfect fit. As a person who has always bought straight off the rack and hoped for the best, this is all a major change of mindset for me. I had my 1st wedding dress altered and not much since then. After I hemmed them, they are the proper length for flats, but I'm loving my BOC by Born heels. I hesitate to call them heels as they are comfy and kind of wedge-ish. I just know my feet actually tolerate them pretty well.

These pants don't look terrible I guess, but my standards are getting higher. Hopefully watch for changes in the new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mirror vs. Photos

I have spent most of my life preferring pants over dresses and skirts and also being afraid of leggings. Now all the sudden, my preferences are reversing. What gives? I would have to say recent weight losses and shifts have something to do with this, but primarily photographing myself in different outfits almost daily has had a huge impact on me. For some reason, I can't get a good objective view from the mirror. Looking at photographs allows me to step back and get a better idea what I really look like.

I found this out several years ago in the famous "clown pants" incident. I had these pants that I loved bought from the clearance rack for $8. They were baggy elastic waist pants with a bold autumn leaf print. The fabric would have made lovely curtains or throw pillows, but pants? No. I wore those things all the time and my husband would just cringe. All that time I thought it was just his personal preference for dark colors and simple solids. Nope, they were hideous, but I didn't know it until I saw a picture of myself in them. I'm still searching through old photos so I can post one here, but it's possible I destroyed them all.

Anybody else get better insight from photos?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tunic Sweater on a Sunday

I've gotten really brave lately about wearing leggings. Let me put it this way, I gave birth to twins and it had an effect on my belly, O.K.?  I'm not a stick woman--more of an hour & 1/2 glass than hourglass shaped. Most of the time I'm just fine with that but I thought it ruled out certain types of clothing completely. Now I realize I have to use leggings carefully and selectively, but I can wear them. See exhibit A:

Leggings are very comfy for crawling around in the floor after toddlers. Since I keep nursery during Sunday school, my church clothes have to be baby-proof. Then I want to look good in the choir too!Could it be these are actually slimming? It makes me look smaller on top somehow. I'm between 38D and DD according to the recent bra fitting I had, but you'd never know it from these pictures. That's one complaint I have about tunics or long sweaters--they make me look flat and a mile wide especially in the hips. I see a little flattening and maybe an emphasis on my hips, but somehow this whole thing works.

But watch out, my hubby started giving me instructions for poses. . . 

I call this next one my "Baby Got Back" shot. Maybe I was attempting one of those weird arched back poses models do? Someday I'm going to do a post of all photo bloopers, and this will be in there! See the camera really does add 20 lbs and this time it was all added to my posterior!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scenes From A Saturday

I had good intentions of getting outfit photos in natural light, but it just didn't happen. My husband agreed to snap a few photos with his phone. So here is what I wore for a road trip, Christmas shopping and dinner at El Nopal. The boots were added at dinner and quickly whisked off again. I'm hoping to be back wearing fun shoes some next week. That makes putting together outfits so much easier. My camera is under the tree, I just know it is! Can you tell I need it?

Casual Continued

 I'm continuing a casual trend here because of my casual footwear. Also Fridays are usually casual or even "clean the office day" since we don't have a cleaning service or rather your looking at half of the cleaning service right now. I'm loving this burgundy cardigan because I can pair it with all kinds of colors--like this purple tee here.

And I was trying to hurry to beat the sunset so I could get a quick outdoors shot. So when I hurriedly set up the tripod and this shot, I got what looks like a monster blade of grass in front of me. Hey, I'm asking Santa for a better camera and hoping for much better photos for this blog. Maybe I should also ask for better photography skills too.  Like I've said before I'm using a $60 Kodak Easy Share Sport. It does have it's advantages though. When I was taking these, it started to sprinkle and I didn't scream and run for the hills.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Goin' Casual

My feet are feeling totally better but I'm still afraid to wear dress shoes for more than 1/2 a day. At first this discouraged me and I didn't even want to do outfit photos. However, since part of this blog's purpose is encouraging others with fashion barriers, I thought it might encourage others with foot problems. This is just part of my life that I'm opening up here. So instead of the big hold up that I thought it was, this just fits right in to my purpose for being here. I have done the whole skirts with althetic sneakers look before. Not a good look for anyone really, unless you're commuting or something. In fact the charicature someone drew of me for my baby shower when I was pregnant with twins was a huge me in a huge denim jumper with untied reebok's. Yes, even 14 years later I'm embarrassed and appalled. It was kinda funny though. Lets see if we can go for a more attractive casual look.

And just for fun I threw in my faux fair isle crochet sweater!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crochet Corner--Scarves and Shawls

As much as I would like to totally envelope myself in crochet and roll around in it . . . well, it just wouldn't be "cool".  Since I'm an avid crocheter and a baby novice knitter, I have given a lot of thought to what it means to wear something you made. I mean, you want people to say, "Did you MAKE that? Cool!" You don't want them to whisper behind your back that it looks like something their grandma made in 1972. Admit it; you have somewhat of an ego too. Come on. I mean, I'm learning about courage, self expression and wearing what you like, but at the end of the day I don't want what I wear to be so whacked out that people wonder about my sanity. One safe way that you can play with crochet is to add a crochet accessory like a scarf or shawl. The yarn I chose for this shawl is bright scarlet Berroco "Seduction". With a name like that, there's no way it could be a "granny shawl". It was purchased in Savannah at Wild Fibre, the first real yarn store I ever visited. Ah, good memories!

Hmmm. I'm posed in a decidedly non-seductive pose in my "burn at the stake" pose against a post under my deck. I've got to find a new pose. This has become my default one when I don't want to figure out what to do with my hands. Still not totally at peace with photographing myself I guess. Here's a back view of the shawl. It's got some imperfections but I love it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shoe Shots

As a result of the recent foot rebellion, I broke down and went shoe shopping even in the thick of Christmas shopping season. Ow, now my wallet hurts. We're having to keep it simple for Christmas this year but my workout shoes are, oh about 2 years old. They are running shoes but I don't run in them due to the arthritis. My feet would really kill me then! But I do walk, hike and play a mean game of Dance Central in them. Really, I should be shot for not totally pampering my difficult feet more often, but since I wear fit flops and Merrill sandals all summer and Merrill clogs in winter, the athletic shoes don't get worn out very fast. I decided I needed some dress shoes that don't kill my feet so I can look stylish without pain. Here they are!
I'm so excited about how comfy these are that the shoes got their own photo shoot. Yes, sad I know. They are brown Un Bridle from Un structured by Clarks. The athletic shoes I bought are New Balance Country Walker in brown. I didn't post a picture because they are just brown walking shoes. I love them partly because they fade into the background I'm hoping they won't be as noticeable as white sneakers on bad foot days.

Oh, and there was an outfit that went with the shoes. As an afterthought, here it is.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

I said for December I would experiment with unusual color combinations. So here goes. I decided to try my red sweater vest over a brown/black plaid shirt. I know it doesn't sound like much but it's a big stretch for me to put something together that isn't an obvious match. Who knew picking out clothing combos could be fun? Over the last several months I've suddenly taken to grabbing things out of my closet and sticking them together just to see what happens.

Thanks to my recent foot rebellion, the Merrill clogs are my footwear of choice for a while. Hubby and I have a running joke about how sexy they are. And the nutcracker? Why am I holding a nutcracker? Well, as much as I collect anything, I guess I sort of collect them. Also, I believe it's a law that once you've taken ballet, you HAVE to love the Nutcracker. So, there you go. 

Grinch Colors

We're having a Grinch theme at church because of a sermon series our pastor is preaching. The front of the church is even decorated Whoville style, and there's a stuffed Grinch that shows up in different places around the sanctuary. So when I got dressed Sunday morning, Grinchy colors appealed to me. This sweater is almost his exact color and the scarf I call my Oscar the Grouch scarf because it has a muppet-like feel to it. It has some cookie monster blue mixed in. Usually I hate, yes hate, working with novelty yarns but I did crochet this one just before swearing off any fun fur, eyelash or otherwise difficult yarn. I hear it's easier to knit with it, but since I'm a very, very new knitter, I haven't tried it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crochet Corner

I've been wanting to do this for a while now. Handmade knit and crochet items are sometimes difficult to style. So I wanted to do a series of posts about wearing handmade items in a flattering way. I have been crocheting for a long time and have made many sweaters and vests without a lot of thought about  how the lines of the item will hit me or whether it will be flattering. I would just think it was a gorgeous piece and want to make it. Recently I've been getting rid of any unflattering ones and being way more choosy when I start on a new project.

This grey sweater has crochet in the middle and knit sleeves. If I remember correctly the middle was crocheted vertically in back loop only half double crochet (for those who care).

 It has some telltale wrinkles from storage where I just got all my winter sweaters out of the attic. Oops! Since we actually had fall this year, I'm just now switching out all my clothes.

Christmas Party Time

Today I'm recovering from last night's Sunday school Christmas party. Yeah, I know what you're thinking--how fun could a Sunday school party be? So fun I'm having to recover from laughing for 3 hours straight. No a polite giggle either; I laughed till I cried. We have a lot of zany people who know being a Christian isn't about a list of do's and don'ts and spoiling everyone's fun. It's about a relationship with Jesus, and since God invented humor, He intended us to use it. Anyway we play extreme death match "Dirty Santa". No not that kind of dirty--this is Sunday school people. It's the kind where you can "steal" another person's present. For some reason the hotly contested items are almost always snowmen items.

This year it included a stuffed animal moose and an elf that vaguely resembled the woman's husband. Swapping these items caused much hilarity that was more or less good clean fun. You kind of had to be there, but it was awesome.

Hopefully, I'll get some outfits posted later in the day.