Monday, April 30, 2012

Thrown Together

I needed a quick casual outfit for work one day last week. I knew we were mostly going to be moving stuff and taping off trim to prepare for painting our office. It didn't have to be painting clothes but needed to be comfy stuff I could bend and move in all day. Yes, I admit the scarf came off almost immediately because bending and scarves don't mix. Still, I put it right back on when I left for lunch because it was so cute.  I really thought there was no way it would look good with the striped shirt but somehow it worked . . . at least in my mirror. So I went with it. I'm still getting used to scarves that aren't for the deep winter. They are fun for Spring, but let's face it, I live in Georgia. Scarves will be off my list of possibilities by mid-May.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sprucing up a bit

You might have noticed that I've been neglecting the blog slightly. Well, I have a project going on right now--painting my office. Two volunteer youth groups from local churches came and started painting it for us. Now we just have to finish the work. It was great but it took up two of my recent weekends. So to make up for the lack of outfit photos, I will give you a glimpse of the work so far. Loving the colors and of course I've always loved the high ceilings and old fireplaces. 

The background of this one is the crimson kitchen. My co-worker and I both have husbands who want all walls neutral. So we went nuts on color at our office. So much fun!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Outfit Photos Are Like Potato Chips

Betcha can't take just one! I admire some style bloggers who have a clear vision of what they're doing. Some take one outfit photo, usually in the same place each day. Simple, yet effective. I considered whether I should take the same approach, but decided at least for now that it's just not me. I really am all over the place just like my blog. I love wandering and can't sit still, have a million interests and go exploring daily if possible. 

That's the positive side, folks. The negative side of it is that I want to be an awesome photographer but am still learning. So I take a bunch of shots. Then I fall in love with several and can't pick just one. I mean, look how the lines of the picnic tables and shelter come together. I tell myself that digital photos mean I can delete them all and start over, but I tend to save them as if I'll never get another chance. What is up with that?

Colorful Relaxation

What could possibly be better than a hammock? One of my favorite memories is from a college trip. We loved relaxing in hammocks at language school in Costa Rica. It seems like such a tiny part of the entire experience, but ever since then I've said, "Someday I'm going to have a really nice hammock. You know, not like the stringy skinny one we take on camping trips or the lame ones on a frame. No, I wanted a really colorful "hangy" one. Notice how I make up words when needed. So much easier than actual eloquence!
I found this one at TJMaxx for $14. So my hubby actually went out after dinner and quickly hung this one for me. Unfortunately, I think our deck is going to need some reinforcement before we use it regularly. It felt very Avatar-ish-- like those big leaf hammock things they curled up in. Ahhhhh!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kite Flying Day

What do you do when a crazy-warm spring suddenly gets cooler and really windy? When you have a perfect day that looks like this? You fly a kite. Unfortunately, I got no photos of the kite but it's the dollar store Spider Man variety. And yes, I really did wear this to fly it. Our black cat Ash watched it the entire time and pounced on it anytime it hit the ground. This just might be the only kite I managed to reel back in and put up for later. Of course if it had been expensive, it would have gotten hung in the top of a tree or sailed away!

I'm debuting my new glasses. I wanted some a little more trendy, but I looked totally goofy in some of the more fashionable ones. Maybe I'll try out some wild ones from one of those website with cheap glasses.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gold, Fit-Flops and Pet Bloopers

I love the elegance of the outfit and the basketball goal. I chose not to crop it out because, well, this is my real life. Boys, basketballs, dog hair, and laundry.

 Foot Time
Excuse the Fit-Flop knock-offs but after being on my feet for several hours, these dogs were barking. For people without RA, I try to explain my limited allotment of what I call "foot time". Even my husband doesn't totally understand but he tries. Basically my feet have a very limited time they will allow me to stand up before severe pain kicks in. As you can imagine this makes things like cleaning house, museum visits, and Christmas shopping complicated. Since I only have a short standing time allotted for the day, I literally have to choose between things like grocery shopping and house cleaning. If I take a walk (healthy, right?), then I may have to forgo something else later. It doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize all the stuff that usually requires standing like doing laundry/dishes, attending a party or cookout, grocery shopping, talking to a neighbor, playing catch or frisbee with the kids, etc.

I few years ago when my family was going to Disney World, I actually phoned ahead to see if any accommodations are available for people who can't stand for long. "No, I can walk but standing for long periods causes severe foot pain." Response? Crickets chirping! Maybe they thought I was just some slob trying to get one over on them, but they had no solutions for someone like me other than whatever their fast pass thing is called. If I didn't require a wheelchair, that just didn't compute apparently. I survived with a good bit of pain and sending my family on rides without me because of long lines. Next time I think just using a wheelchair might be advisable,depending on how bad my feet are acting up. I'm not down on Disney because they seemed very willing and able to help if I were unable to walk. They are legendary for their customer service, but they just didn't understand my special needs at all. If I hadn't lived it, I probably wouldn't either. I really didn't intend to get on my soapbox just because of flip-flops! On to more silly fun.

Turn and Face the Camera
Once again the pets hijacked my home outfit photo session and reminded me why I love to seek out other locations. First there is the dog butt in the background of an otherwise perfectly good photo and then the cats strolling in front of my shoes.

How Many Cats are required for Cat Lady?
I figure I would be one cat away from "crazy cat lady" status if I weren't married since we have 2 outdoor sweeties and one cranky geriatric indoor/outdoor cat. My son tells me you must be single and have at least 4 cats to be a "crazy cat lady". I don't know who sets the standards for that but O.K.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Crazy Lady Day--We All Have 'Em

Thursday was a work at home day because I was worn out. All I needed to do was create a display for a community fair. So since I didn't have to look all professional, I decided to risk wearing my hot pink jeans again. Yes, I'm probably too old for them and I kinda felt like that crazy artistic person you know that doesn't follow normal fashion rules. We all know somebody like that, right?

When I spotted my neighbor's yard filled with little yellow flowers, I just had to pose there. He was at work and I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Now I'm wondering if he was home because the very next day he was out cutting his grass, weeding, etc. Maybe I made him self-conscious about his weeds. More likely he just thought it was the crazy neighbor lady who photographs herself all the time tresspassing all over my lawn.

 Mommy's got back. Maybe I need to only wear these jeans with shirts that cover my behind.

 Watch as I artistically let the scarf flow in the breeze behind me. Weeee! Sometimes I amuse myself with what we do for our blogs!

Awesomely awkward pose alert:
I was trying for something different, but ended up looking like I'm on a rock toilet. Hey, it is different!

And That Goes For Adults Too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Something Basic and Comfy

 So a friend talked me into putting together a booth and activities about bullying for a health fair held for 5th grade kids. I talked to 300 students about bullying, and I think I'll go to bed now. Before I do, take a look at the posters we made. I put the slogans on there and then let the kids sign saying they thought bullying isn't cool. Cheesy right? Well, it's such a complex issue that it's tough to adequately address in a 7 minute presentation, but the kids enjoyed actively participating with the posters. I left the posters for the principal to hang in their hallway, but of course you know I had to snap some pictures first.

Arm Shame--These are your arms on RA

As if women didn't have enough to worry about, now we are expected to have toned arms too. Mine seem to have gone downhill since last summer as far as flab goes. It is such a sensitive subject for me that I chickened out of including these in my last outfit post. What can I say? Maybe tonight I'm too tired to care. 

A kayaking shoulder injury sidelined me in August. I'm just glad it happened after a full summer of kayaking and swimming every weekend. Then let's factor in the Rheumatoid Arthritis. My rheumatologist tells me based on my x-rays that my wrists are where some of the most extensive damage was done before I started on Enbrel. Before developing RA I enjoyed weightlifting, but now even the lightest weights hurt. I have better luck with resistance bands, but after the shoulder injury even that went by the wayside. I'm worried about swimming this year because the shoulder still freaks out when I raise my arm. So crawl stroke is probably out but breast stroke is probably still possible. After resting all winter I went kayaking a couple of times on some very mild runs. It seems crazy but it's such a gentle motion paddling the water that I usually do O.K. The new develpment is thumb issues though. I've got to either find some gloves of get some pad thingies for my paddle because my right thumb swells and gets this fluid-filled cyst type thingy on it after paddling a while . . . Hey, but for me that's doing good. 

All of this to say RA and other health problems can wreak havoc with your body image and that really sucks! That's about as deep as I can manage tonight after a long day. I know I should just be glad for how much functioning I still have. I know I should be glad the active inflammation and joint damage seems to have been halted by the Enbrel. I know I shouldn't worry about stupid things like flabby arms. . . and yet, I do worry about it. Tonight is one of those times I don't have a lot of answers. I'm just baring my soul and my arms in the hopes that someone else will see that they are not alone.

Oh, and the earrings? I forgot to include them in yesterday's outfit photos.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Should I wear for . . . A Meeting on a Rainy Day?

Well, not this. I had set out a grey, black and white outfit, but I decided I needed color since it was going to rain all day. And since it was nice and cool, I decided on long pants. 

This is what I  was going to wear.
 When I looked outside and saw this, I changed my mind!

 I ended up not with the brightest colors, but with some color. Excuse the tired face. This was after a long day of meetings and class at night. I'm doing good to still have the outfit on for a photo!

Little Miss Fancy Pants

Well, I just don't see myself going all out and wearing pastel jeans because they just wouldn't work on me. But then again, I've been known to utter those kinds of things before. Things like oh, I'm just not a girlie-girl, or I'm just not interested in fashion, or I'm too old and fat to wear that. I believe I also said I would never join a Baptist church, date a redneck, live in a really small town, ride a four wheeler, take up kayaking, leave Alabama except to move to South America or something . . .  Well, you know, things change!

I have been eyeing the bright shades of pants, though. They looked like fun to me and not babyish or geriatric. Don't be mad, I just know from past experience that most pastels make me look like I mugged a grandma and took her clothes. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm a little Dotty

So I'm on my way to teach a class at a church in another county last Wednesday, and suddenly realize that *gasp* I haven't taken an outfit photo for the day yet. I see a shopping center/neighborhood where construction started just before the housing market crashed. It has this lovely white fence and high quality streets all ready for houses and families that never came. "Roads to nowhere" are sad, but they make good backdrops for photos. And the brick? Well, that was once I got to town in case the sunny ones had lighting too harsh. A woman's gotta be prepared, you know?

On a happier note, I've always been a little dotty and decided it's time to show my unique personality on the outside.
Polka Dot Blouse--Walmart
Flats--I'll have to get back to you on that!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Ray of Sunshine

The print on this dress has some yellow in it and I had been on the lookout for a yellow tee or sweater to play it up. I've played up the black and the red in the print before, but my wardrobe doesn't contain much yellow. So this weekend I stocked up on some basic tees, including this little yellow ray of sunshine.

Does Fear Decrease After 40?
Until recently I never would have thought to have this tee, red belt and black shoes but I'm tired of living in fear. Wardrobe fear is limiting just like other fears that sometimes hold me captive. When I was 25 I thought the exciting parts of my life would be over at 40. Totally the opposite! There's something about something about turning 40 that is freeing for women and makes us think, "Well, why not?"

At 25 I was in a domestic violence situation with a man putting me down every day telling me I was worthless. I was desperately trying to get started in my career in a job that was totally wrong for me to my very core. In fact, I blame job stress for developing RA rather than the man, although he did forbid me to leave that job unless I could find a higher paying one. So in a way it is his fault. . . as much as it can be someone else's fault. I wore clothing he O.K.'d, not that I had any sense of style then anyway!

How different things are now. Still, I sometimes find myself battling fear and indecision. My husband thinks I can do anything and can't believe how much I let anxiety immobilize me.  He sometimes teases me about changing my name to "what if". All that thinking and worrying is really tiring and doesn't get you anywhere. This is the year I've decided fear is for the birds. I'm stepping out and taking risks even if it means making some mistakes. Clothing is just one small area but it contributes to the feeling of confidence in ways I never expected.  How about you? Does clothing sometimes have deeper meaning for you?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Summer Casuals--What's a Woman to Do?

 I mentioned a few days ago that I had reached a point of needing to revamp my casual clothing. Age, changing body proportions, changing styles, etc. cause me to have to change from time-to-time. Somehow my casual hot weather clothing had reached a style crisis. Here's my first attempt at better Summer outfits. It's pretty simple but already it looks better than what I've been doing.

Anybody got any style tips for a 44 year old woman who lives where it regularly stays above 90 degrees from May to September? Layering? I don't think so. I have taken to layering in the last few years due to the dreaded nipple issues, but lets not even go there tonight!

Last year I discovered cute little Summer dresses are awesome for Summer, but now I need other alternatives.

 Here's where I assume the slimming "I gotta pee pose"!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It All Started With A Red Vest and a Belt

Although I didn't consciously plan to do a series about color, apparently I'm on a color kick. Each outfit lately seems to feature a pop of bright color, and each color holds deeper meaning for me. So either I'm getting deep and philosophical about all this style stuff or I desperately need a vacation. This thrifted red sweater vest is so versatile. It's a little baggy/shapeless but the belt whips it into shape.
A Few Notes on Belting from a non-expert
I have a teeny waist and big 'ol hips and butt. And yes, I had twins 14 yrs ago which means my belly remembers how to stick out. You'd think with a teeny waist, belting would be a cinch (groan). Not so! I'm less fearful of belts now that I'm learning how to not have the belt look like a birdie perched on a big 'ol poking out belly. For several years I've tried to do belts but they made the outfits less flattering, not more. I'm not sure what to tell you exactly because I've just done a lot of experimenting. Sal at Already Pretty and some other folks have great tutorials and I've watched those and just done a lot of blog surfing and experimenting. 
General  Belting Rules For pear/hourglass/x or whatever that work for me: 
-Belting high, but watch closeness to the boobage. This is tricky!
-Usually shirt tucked out, but I have a high-waisted skirt that works tucked somehow. 
-Flat on the front i.e. no bows, flowers, poufs. This knot seemed O.K. somehow.
-Wide flat belts, yes. Sashes tied at the front, no
-Belt under jacket or sweater. Usually over is too bulky