Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Bloggy Holiday Blast From the Past

Merry Christmas Eve to you all ... no matter how you celebrate!

Bet you thought you'd heard the last from me, didn't 'ya? Nope. I promised myself that I'd at least post my undying love to you all for the holidays, so here I am!  I will probably always be your little friend who always shows up late to the party!

Just a quick catch up on personal events since last I posted:

      Dan survived and is currently thriving after a little hernia surgery. So happy he's all fixed up. I'm fond of his doctor; he came into Dan's hospital room the morning of the procedure, and greeted me by saying "I see you got your old dad to come in to get this hernia fixed." Adorable, I thought. Dan thought not so much. The good doctor does not deserve his reputation for lacking a sense of humor, IMHO.

      Our business winter season is not so dismal this year! I'm reaping the rewards of finally figuring out how to take advantage of a particular Facebook advertising program that will allow me to get the word out to readers within a 50 mile radius, and happily, we are starting to see some results. This is still our slowest season, but it's not desperate, and for that I am gratified and grateful.

     Beyond that, not much news to tell. Things don't change much here, other than whether they run smoothly or they don't. Oh, yes ... almost forgot. The pony is still hanging out with my big ol' mares, and he still shows occasional bursts of optimism but remains thwarted by physics. Poor lad. Someday we'll have to give him a name, I guess.

As quiet as it is here, there's still a little happening on the personal style front that I can report.

1) I bought a pair of flats. And I wear them sometimes. I feel like I'm standing in a hole when I do, though. Okay, I tried them. But they're not as much fun as heels.
    Seriously, I don't have many flats I really like, but I do like these Old Navy loafers. Especially with skinnies and a scarf and raincoat. Much better than sneaks and a more retro-urban look than booties. Will wonders never cease?

2.) Speaking of skinny jeans ... they didn't die after all the declarations of their demise by the denim cognoscenti. Mine have settled back into rotation with their reincarnated cousins, the straight leg jeans and most of the boyfriend jeans have been relegated to a bottom drawer with only occasional outings. Still love my rippy jeans, though, and the closer fitting ones best.

3) As I wrote a couple of times, I was all excited about the opening of the new Burlington store in our little Big City. It opened. It was nowhere near as nifty as I remember the Burlington Coat Factory in the Seattle area. Not surprisingly, it has a big selection of coats. And lots of other stuff as well, but most of it looks pretty drab and as unsubstantial as the Big Box store brands without the trendiness. There are some "better brands" but their pieces look leftover. There are about a gazillion handbags, all in a similar classic top-handle satchel style, and all in a vast array of black and brown.
You win some, you lose some. TJ Maxx will not be losing a large share of my business after all. 

4)Some bad style-related news is that I'm having trouble getting my photos from my camera onto my computer. Windows 10 updates are still wreaking minor havoc with my digital life, but I'm still optimistic that it will all sort out before I have to freaking replace my current freaking laptop (!!!!!!)

5) But the VERY good news is that Waterlogue (an extremely nifty app that converts photos into pretty convincing watercolors) has finally been made available for PC! And I nabbed myself a copy! I've been so jealous of some friends/fabulous bloggers who have been showing off with their photos on iPad (if you're reading this, SpyGirl Anne, I surely mean you. Your Daily Truck series is the BEST!)

Since I have no new pics to show, I'll jazz up some old photos here:

My favorite corner of our restaurant.

Lovely for pet pics.

Not so much for people, usually.  (This is probably what I'll wear on Christmas Day ... it will be in the 70s I'm told!)

Although, I may keep and use this version of my
avatar ... the lack of detail makes me look a LOT younger... way too many decades younger!  Probably not a good idea, but tempting.  Really tempting ...


That's it from Mid-Nowhere.
Hope to check in more often in the coming year.
But for now, and whether your celebrate Christmas, Christmas and Boxing Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Winter Solstice, Pancha Ganapati, HumanLight, Newtonmas or Festivus, I send my annual big, smothery cyber-hugs with my best wishes that you enjoy



With special thanks to the Glorious Patti and her world-famous Visible Monday, without whom I'd have missed knowing a world of wonderful women!  I'm heading over there right now ... join me!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole ; Google Search

It's cooling off here in Arkansas. Finally and at last. We're getting some rain and that's all to the good. However, we're entering the doldrums as far as our business is concerned, and fuhball (every FREAKIN' NIGHT!!!) and huntin' keep folks here from dining out as much. May the World Series be decided quickly. Halloween (very, VERY big here for private parties and events as we're in a low population density and very rural area) and the state university Homecoming all happen this coming weekend. That means we just have to settle for the leftover non-U of A grads and the few non-sport addicted curmudgeons who turn out all the lights and flee the trick-or-treaters. 

 Pickin's, as they say, are slim for our little destination gastro-esque pub/restaurant.

While things are fiscally dismal challenging, it's no surprise to us and happens every year. Given that we do everything we can to minimize the problems and maximize the positive, we grit our teeth and persevere until spring. I've learned to save some great books to read ( Amazon is my almost unending source of free/low cost digital reading and gaming and movies via their Prime program. Cannot recommend it highly enough! ) I keep some interesting DIY projects on the back burner to fire up when needed. I record and we binge watch the best of the fall television, too. During which I try NOT to EAT.

And I try to allow myself the freedom to fall down the most interesting rabbit holes that Google search provides. Here are a few random, Googly things I've discovered or revisited of late ...

On a recent Google for "style role models 5' and over 60 years old," I eventually came across these style notes on Ruth Bader Ginsburg (one of our three women justices on the Supreme Court of the United States ... ahem.) She's one of my top ten admirable women of all time, with her style sense only an eeensy-weensey footnote in her long life of great accomplishment and service. At 82 and 5'1" she sports her trademark gloves and statement necklaces in ways that look more editorial model than elder stateswoman. I'm all admiration that she manages to look sleek and chic and beautifully dressed with a sparkling-dry bit of humor and more than just a little mature edge. And this she serenely rocks while helping interpret the Constitution of the United States of America, and thereby shape the world we live in.

This is how I want to dress at 82. (RBG is center here, in the white and black jacket.) I love the gloves she matches to every outfit (sheer black and minimal ones here... a style habit she picked up during a bout of chemotherapy and happily kept.) And I want to be able to chat and sip champagne with another Supreme, Elena Kagan)

In theory, a crocheted collar and gloves would read sweet and elderly.  She combines them and achieves a cool factor that works with her no-nonsense features and sharp intellect. 

Read the article and see more HERE at The Cut. 


Completely apart from Secretary(and presidential candidate) Clinton's  politics (and in this highly polarized political season it seems everyone either loves or hates her, so I ask that you suspend your left or right leanings for the moment) a Google search for "Who is dressing Hillary Clinton" netted this weird little article. See what I mean HERE .

She and I have a lot in common physically, and share short body-to-head proportion, short legs and a down-turned mouth and serious expression when listening or concentrating (yes, we both suffer from Resting Bitch Face, but stay nice, please.) And because of this, I am amused by this author's imaginative but completely unrealistic cut-and-paste of her head set atop the shoulders of catwalk models wearing outfits that this editor thinks might work for her. Real-life proportions are blithely disregarded. 

I do this to myself, though, in my head. Doesn't always work well for me either, but I found it interesting to see what these designers think what might spin well for our age group.

And I'm reminded that she finally got out of Arkansas, so maybe there's hope for me yet.


I've mislaid my link to one of my favorite guilty on-line pleasures, so I had to run a Google search for "Girl Genius online comic" and am happy to share this nerdy-steampunky adventure by Seattle denizens Phil and Kaja Foglio here at the very first episode. "A Gas Lamp Fantasy Comic" promising "Adventure, Romance, MAD SCIENCE" this elaborate epic has been running for a bunch of years, so prepare to fall down a deep, deep rabbit hole when you CLICK HERE .

I don't think the Foglios would mind me promoting their comic by using this image ...


And in nosing further around the links provided by this search, I found this brand new super-hero comic for the most die hard fashionista, Heroine Chic. It's about the strange challenges facing a novice stylist and designer serving a postmodern super-hero clientele. Only a few episodes to catch up with, so CLICK HERE for the fun.

Again ... just promoting the 'toon.


Gratefully hurrying over to the Well-Traveled Patti's 
fabulous Visible Monday link-up. 
(Thank you again, Patti, for the extra time!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Head Cold Excuses and The Doctor

I'bh had a berry bad code. Or allergy. Flu maybe. But whatever it was, secondary upper-respiratory nastiness ensued, so I got some antibiotics and a perfectly lovely codeine cough syrup for bedtime that seems to have done the trick. Mostly better now, thank you. 

Codeine notwithstanding, I'm at that stage of recovery when you're so glad not to be miserable anymore that you achieve a natural high.

Not much to report, consequently, and I'm going to post briefly and spend my spare time between now and next Tuesday catching up with you all.

The pony left, and we sighed with relief, happy in the hope that he had just given up his wandering ways and gone back to his family. ( See more about this ... the last two paragraphs will explain the pony.)

And then he came back. I'm beginning to wonder if he's not a message from the Universe to just lighten up and embrace some optimism. Remember to get out and have some fun. Be the pony.

I'm still looking forward to the Burlington store opening. No sign of it yet. I've spent too much time parked and idling in front of the construction fence, looking for signs of progress. I wouldn't be surprised if security came out and asked me to "move along, ma'am." Open, open, open.

See, I've made a skinny scarf! I learned that I can take enough off one side of a wider scarf and have plenty left to wear the wide one as usual. Good to know. Find some styling ideas here .

After a summer of lighter weight, more flattering aviator sunnies, I fell completely out when Doctor Who introduced his sonic sunglasses. Mine aren't sonic, but here is my homage to our very own guitar shredding, technology wearing, Boomer-generation Doctor.


Off to join the True Blue-on-Blue Patti at her 
amazing linkup Visible Monday .  You should
drop in to see all the fall fashionistas!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just a Little Story About How Cool My Husband Can Be

Google says that to make the 101.6 mile trip from my driveway to the Target parking lot in Rogers, Arkansas it takes 1 hour and 37 minutes. But below this information, at the very bottom of the page, in teeny, tiny print, Google added a disclaimer stating that there are lots of variables that may affect the accuracy of this estimate (and blah, blah, blah ...) Well, they were right about that part, anyway.


Sunday morning, September 27th at 8:00 AM, the Adam Lippes for Target collection (or just a tease, a mere taste of the collection; the few sad pieces we get here in Mid-Nowhere) would be available for me to see and buy. I'd kept a small chunk of change aside just for this purpose and was ready to buy.

We got up at 4:45 on Sunday morning to get on the road by about 6:15. Experience told me that the very early start on Sunday morning would make for almost zero traffic and a faster trip. We'd both worked a fairly busy Saturday night, both had head-colds and neither of us had slept much or were feeling particularly perky. But we managed morning animal chores, coffee, baths and showers, and all the stuff one does to get out the door on time.

Still, in spite of our best efforts, we found ourselves running just a few minutes behind and we arrived at about 5 minutes past 8:00. Only three other cars were in the lot ahead of us, but I bailed out of our car and made for the Target entrance at kind of a wheezy trot, with Dan following behind, lugging my purse for me. (What a guy. How nice is that?)

It took only seconds to find the Adam Lippes display; the pitiful, two little racks holding 10 pieces allotted to us out of over 50 pieces from the collection, and then the rack holding the only dress I really wanted.

As is their stupid habit for smaller stores, Target allowed this store only one each for each size of every item. One XS, one S, one M, one L, one XL and that was that. At about 8:07, I realized that there was no Medium where there was supposed to be a Medium. My size. I looked around for the woman who aced me out and there was no one in sight.

Dan is such a good guy. He stayed close and made sweet, sympathetic sounds as I stupidly checked and re-checked the tags on the XS, S, L and XL, hoping one of them was the M and had just been put on the wrong hanger. Nope.

After raging a little and huffing and sighing and blowing my nose, I decided to try on the Large. I was pretty sure it would swamp me, but decided I was at least going to get to try one piece on after hauling my sleepy, congested old self all the way to a far flung Target for this stupid non-event. Dan reminded me to look for the shoes I wanted, and true to Target form, there was one pair in each size. At least Ms. Earlybird McDressGrabber, my arch-nemesis for today, didn't wear a 6.5 and want MY shoes as well as MY dress.

Dan took the L, my 6.5s and the cart toward the dressing room, while I ambled behind, pouting and snuffling as I scanned the rest of the Women's department for other pieces that I might like enough to keep the trip from being a total loss.

When I caught up with him waiting out the dressing rooms, he said, "You know, I just saw somebody head in there, and I think she had your dress."

"Oh, that's just swell," I groused as I grabbed the dress and shoes to try on. "Goody for her."

Just for good measure, I checked each open dressing room in hopes that my M might be a reject and hanging still in one of the empty rooms. No such luck. I chose the open dressing room next to the only other occupied room, and tried on the L. I was swamped by it, like I knew I would be, and decided then and there not to bother with the massive alterations it would take to make it fit. All the while, I could hear the woman who had my M moving around in the room next door, and the rustle of fabric as she tried on her selections. Sad Jan.

I also decided to put the adorable shoes back, because I couldn't be a truly pitiful martyr if I bought them without the dress to go with. No matter that I could instantly think of at least five outfits that would look better with these sweet little shoes.

Dan was patiently waiting for me, and was respectfully quiet as I tossed the L and the shoes back into the cart to return to the racks so some other woman would not suffer the same disappointment. It didn't escape him that I was wearing my Ultra-Mean face, and here I have to hand it to him. It took courage for him to put a hand on my shoulder and say, "Just hang on a minute, Sweetheart."

"WHAT?" Sweetheart snapped.

"The woman who has your dress is still in there, and I don't think that medium is going to fit her. Just wait until she comes out."

There are times in a marriage when the benefits knowing each other really well and all the years of teamwork really pays off. I am sometimes truly in awe of Dan's powers of observation, and just how savvy a shopping strategist he can be. We waited about five minutes, and finally Ms.Earlybird McDressGrabber emerged from the dressing room carrying several items, my M among them. I pounced.

I pasted on my most ingratiating grin, pointed to my M and asked her, "Did that dress fit you?"

"No ..." she said, surprisingly non-startled by a short, grinning stranger with a big red nose, accosting her with personal questions outside the Target dressing rooms.

"Can I have it?" I asked.

"Sure!" she said with a nice smile, and handed over my M. What an adorable lady she was, not at all the sleazy Ms. Earlybird McDressGrabber I imagined her to be.

I gave her my thanks and dashed back into the dressing room to try on the M.  Excellent. Too long (of course) but an easy alteration and a good fit in shoulders, hip and bust. The little shoes came home with us as well, and that is how Dan's sharp eye and good instincts helped me score my dress.

I never knew he had such finely honed set of competitive shopping skills. I'm a lucky girl.


I admit, this little dress all by itself doesn't inspire. However, this styling example from the collection look-book is right up my alley.

In fact, I can think of a couple of other combinations using pieces I already own. My long sleeveless blazer would work, as well as the shorter sleeveless vest. Absolutely worth the trip and all the angst. Success snatched from the jaws of defeat, and all is now well.

Thanks to you, Dan!  You always rock my world and come through when it really counts.


Joining the Polka-Dotty Patti, hostess of her wonderful linky party, Visible Monday .  Come see what we're all up to this fall!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rocking the Pre-Shop

That first cool morning sets me yearning to begin making my fall wardrobe purchases. But, the minute I start itching to get out the door, inching toward it so I can start spending some of what I've been fiercely saving since July, I manage to put on the mental brakes.

"Hold off," says I, sagely. "The best stuff isn't out yet. "

"True," I reply to myself. "All I saw last week was the dregs of summer sales and a few, sad looking, fall-ish separates."

"First, we gotta go through last year's stuff ..."

I resist my smarter and better-self with muttering, moaning and complaining.

Ignoring myself, I continue, "And figure out what we'll wear again this year."

"Awww! Nice to see old friends again!" I add, perking up a bit.

"Then see how we can freshen it all up with some new pieces!"

"Excellent," I reply, congratulating myself on my wisdom and restraint.

"But right now, we can go PRE-Shopping !"

"The BEST ! " I shriek, running for my cash and keys.

It stays hot here so long that over the years I've adopted the technique of pre-shopping to keep me feeling like I'm doing something other than just window-shopping for fall things. I wrote a little about this last year, but I've got it down to a science now. I mostly just prowl my usual haunts, seeing what's starting to come in for the new season.

But to make it more fun, I make a contract with myself containing the understanding that if I find something spectacular that I can easily afford without breaking the bank, I can bring it home if it's 1) True Love 2) tried on in-store, 3) an item that will help me transition from hot summer to the slightly cooler fall temps with stuff I already have. And finally, 4) it must possess enough utility to go with me deeper into winter.

(The exception to the wait-and-see part is footwear. I've written about my creative rationalization for fall shoe shopping in previous posts. I buy early if I possibly can because I have a common shoe size and they go fast. Really.)

This DIY-brainwashing cuts out all of the impulse shopping, allows some few but intelligent purchases and lets me feel like I'm doing something proactive. It keeps me from spending too much ahead of the arrival of the best stuff when fall weather really gets into full swing. I've even found I can begin thinking of Pre-Winter-Shopping and retain a bit of cash to spend on myself when the grooviest holiday items appear.

In the last few years, I've discovered another particularly satisfying and handy use for the process. There are occasions when I want to ride the escalator up to the Better Floors in our one upscale-ish department store. When I'm feeling particularly hedonistic, I treat myself to a trip through the racks where there are items by designers I see in the glossies, the names we all recognize, but that I rarely can afford. In Pre-Shopping Mode, I can easily make the trip a fact-finding tour to see what the local 1% types will be wearing, how a good cut looks, what I might wish to find in a more affordable version, and so on. Invariably, a sales woman will come and offer assistance. Instead of ducking my head and replying "just looking" and getting the side-eye and tight smile reserved for lookie-lous, I smile confidently and say, "No, thank you. I'm just Pre-Shopping the season." You'd be amazed at the response you'll get. "Ah!" she'll softly exclaim, and smile knowingly as she drifts respectfully away. Complete pony-poo, but fun and effective. You should try it.

Some Items From My Fall 2015 Pre-Shopping List :

I'm pretty well set up with ankle booties from an obsession I indulged last winter, but I'm looking for a pair of nude or blush or warm beige booties. (Google "nude blush bootie," then click on Images and see what you come up with. I dare you.)

Excellent with winter white jeans, yes?

        Or maybe something more dressy like these pretties?

And I'm sort of pining for a pair of rougher, strap laden ankle boots to toughen up the look of some feminine silhouettes I have in mind.

These are a little sleek, a little tough ...

but these are closer to what I'd really like.

I loved seeing all the well structured, tailored, long sleeveless coats and blazers last year, but none appeared here until this month. I've actually already found and nabbed a long one and a shorter version, both in black, that met all the standards listed above for Pre-Shopping purchase. I'm glad I did, 'cause they went out of the store fast. Satisfaction is sweet. I've begun wearing them with some summer tops for the transition, but see them with tees and long sleeved tops and tunics and weightier shirt dresses for winter. She shoots ... she scores.

         Similar to mine, and a bit shorter,
but I'd love one in this navy!

Again, similar ... and I only aspire to 
bring this much attitude.

Speaking of long and shorter tunic tops, asymmetrical hem sweaters and blouses, and traditional button-down shirts and shirt dresses, see the following candidates:

We're finally seeing some of these faux layered sweaters/shirts and they are becoming yet 
another minor fixation of mine.

This brings us to the sub-category of plaid shirts.  They're everywhere, and I didn't do them when they were grunge basic in sturdy fabrics.  The current iterations, though, include some gauzy styles that work niftily for the transitional weeks now upon us.  I have these two already.

This one actually has more drape and shape 
than shows here, and the colors are richer!

This Mossimo for Target dress I wear differently; open all the way, minus the belt like a duster-vest. Over a black leather-ish, high-neck tank and black skinnies, ankle boots or with  black heels.  Loved wearing it to work recently ... swirled elegantly as I sashayed around.

I'm declaring a moratorium on any more plaid shirts for the moment. I suddenly love what I can do with them ... but stay tuned.  I can turn on a dime.

Another idea that I'm allowing myself to obsess over more than just a little is the completely attainable and surprisingly cool looking skinny scarf ! I can get swallowed easily in traditional winter scarves, and often forgo wearing them at all as I get too warm to keep them on after coming in from the cold. I've left them behind to be lost permanently.

Enter the new kids in scarf-town; they can lend a cool androgynous edge, and function as much like a necklace as a scarf. A skinny scarf can become that illusive third piece without a bit of bulk or fuss and prettily hide a neck-ring wrinkle or two. They can work as well in summer as in winter. They can be easily made at home without looking home-made (a major virtue here in rural Mid-Nowhere, the absolute dead-end of the fashion supply chain) and I stand a pretty good chance of keeping the long ends out of my dinner plate when we go out!

Not with shorts for me,  
but the rest is doable and fresh to my eye!

I'm sure more ideas will take me as the season wears on, but this is my current Early Fall Pre-Shopping List for F/W 2015. Stay tuned, 'cause I know I'll want to show off some results soon ... Autumn always takes her sweet, slow, southern time transitioning into fall, y'all. 

Please don't hesitate to tell me about your own Pre-Shopping adventures, if you have them!


Flying late and low, trying to get to the
Color-Happy Patti's
Visible Monday link-party.  Join us!


A special note to all those who sent their astonishing support and empathy for all my summer-time-bloggy blues: 
You've made me feek all better now.  I'm blown away by your efforts to perk me up ... it worked!  I'm still trying  to answer all your notes, and will finish them ASAP.  To all of you, especially to those of you who haven't heard fro me yet, I send my best thanks and massive affection.