Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

six words: more beautiful

6 simple ways to look great :
1.      Cut your hair.  Seriously – do it.  The best way to look infinitely better overnight is to have a great hairstyle.  No matter how chic the matter how much you are rocking the body you are in (and every body can be totally rocked)... if your crowning glory is just hanging there like a blanket around your face, well, it’s NOT so glorious.  And you deserve to be glorious.  Instead of assessing your hairstyle close-up in the mirror, take a few steps back...check out your complete silhouette to see if your hair is accentuating your entire image or just sort of dragging you down.  Find yourself a good stylist and go for it! 
2.      Stand up straight.  For real, this will make your body look waaaay better; your clothes will fit nicer and it will even take years off you -- both visually and physically.  Good posture uses your muscles properly, keeps your bones and organs optimally aligned, and helps keep aches and pains at bay.  Practice mindfulness to conquer this issue.  Whenever possible imagine a string coming from the top of your head and pulling you upright.  Let everything else fall into its natural place from there...we want you standing tall, not rigid.
3.      Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.  I can’t say this enough...put on any combination of clothes sans jewelry and with few exceptions it just isn’t going to be as interesting.  And adding interest is what creates’s what makes even a plain tee and jeans look polished and put together.  Don’t be afraid of significant pieces, either – and remember that usually it is most flattering if your accessories match your stature.  It’s also a good idea to keep the focus on one area so as not to overwhelm...and since your best bet is to bring attention to your face, you rarely can go wrong with a necklace (or layer 2 or 3)...tho earrings can work too.
4.      Change your make-up.  Do you wear a lot?  Try wearing less.  Do you wear hardly any?  Try wearing a little more.  Try a new color, a new application method, a new focal point.  Do you play up your eyes?  Try a more subtle approach on your peepers and play up your lips instead...or visa versa.  Find some new way of using cosmetics to shake things up, even if it’s just a small change.  Tried and true is good...but don’t fall into a rut....experiment once in a while.  Play!  It’s only make-up. 
5.      Wear comfortable shoes.  Yeah, I know, those heels make you look sooooo tall, they make you look leaner (unnecessary) and your butt looks good because of how they make you stand.  Or so you think...but do they?  Sure, when you pose in the mirror they might look awesome, but what about when you are walking around in the real world???  Do you have to take silly looking baby steps...are you trying not to grimace in pain...are you oddly tilted, slanting or hunched over trying to balance yourself?  Do you think no one notices this?  Trust me, it’s obvious.  Of course you can wear heels...just be sensible about it, please.  Nothing looks less attractive than a woman wearing unnaturally high shoes and hobbling around.  If you can’t walk a block or even take a natural stride for crying out loud -- ditch the stilettoes and platform pumps.  Get real and get comfy.    
6.      Smile...(or at least relax your face).  Have you ever caught yourself in the mirror and wondered why you looked like such a sour puss?  If people are often asking you what’s wrong, it might be that you are looking dour without realizing it.  Go to the mall and you see how many folks look downright unhappy?  (are they?  that's a different post)  Looking more amiable makes you automatically look more attractive.  Mindfulness comes into play here, just like with posture.  Whenever you think of it, try to relax your facial muscles, unpurse your lips, unclench your teeth, and think of something pleasant.  Not only will you look better, but you’ll probably feel better too.  Win/win!  Plus, people might respond to you in a more positive way – yet another bonus. 
And speaking of a's another six words on the subject: 
Remember, beauty is as beauty does.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

six words: small house

small house + no quiet = writer's block
mama needs quiet space to write
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

six words: feeling unwell

skipping this SWS
...or am I?
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

six words: hot stuff

my hero this week -- guess why
click for the answer
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

clothes shopping? read this:

1.      There is no such thing as a "figure flaw."  Your body is not flawed, no matter what.  There are only clothing shapes that are flattering vs. unflattering...and even that is subjective.  You get to decide.  Try to experiment without judgment.
2.      You don’t need to hide any part of your body.  Camouflage is for the military.  Just look for ways to accentuate what you like, that alone can distract from what you might be less comfortable with.  The big picture is more about finding that sweet spot of pleasing proportion. You’ll know it when you see it.  Once you do, don’t settle for less ever again.
3.      Wear your favorite colors.  Chances are if it’s your favorite color, it looks good on you.  Either way, always choose colors that bring out a glow in your skin tone and make you is truly amazing how much of a difference good color choices can make.
4.     Speaking of color -- black doesn’t automatically make you look thinner (and it’s not about that anyway).  Clothes that fit properly can create a smoother line on your body, which is often perceived as more flattering -- color has nothing to do with that.  You can play with color density to focus attention the way an artist does:  lighter shades highlight, by comparison darker ones tend to recede. 
5.      Shop accessories with intention.  Accessories can create style, direct focus and completely change perception.  They expand any wardrobe manifold.  One necklace can turn a plain tee & jeans into something elegant or trendy.    A belt can transform a sack into a pretty dress.  Accessories shouldn't be an afterthought, they are the punctuation, the finishing touch that completes even the most simple outfit.  That doesn't mean they always have to stand out, just that they are always an essential compliment.
6.      When shopping, if something is too small, SO WHAT?  Size doesn’t matter, it’s only a guide to finding the best fit -- and fit is everything.  Move up to the next size with no self-recrimination.  If that’s not available, just move on to the next garment.  There are enough pretty things out there in the "shopping universe"...just keep looking until you find the best ones for you.  No. Big. Deal. 
7.      There is no way manufacturers can possibly create garments that fit every body properly...our shapes are all too diverse.  So a lot of clothes won’t work right off the rack, regardless of size.  Take control of your clothing and be willing to tailor whenever needed...even if that ends up being all the time.  It is WORTH it.  Buy less, get better fit.  You will be much happier.  Really.
8.      Accept what you can’t change.  Yes, theoretically we can change our weight/size...even influence our shape a bit.  But certainly not instantly...and let's stop worrying about all that anyway.  When you get dressed, simply focus on looking the best you can in the body you are in right now.  Because right now matters more than any other time, and you deserve a beautiful now. 
9.      Don’t compare yourself to anyone else EVER.  It's pointless.  There is only one you, with your own unique beauty that no one else can possess.  So how can you possibly compare the incomparable?  Sure, it's ok to consider others as people to potentially emulate and learn from if you find them admirable and worthy, but you'll never be just like them, nor will they be like you.  Oh, and if someone else ever tries to compare you to another person, they're the one with issues -- it’s a reflection of their own insecurity or ulterior motives.  Don’t buy into it. 
10.  Last but not least, be comfortable and enjoy your clothes.  When all is said and done clothes are really just a practical necessity, yet we’ve sure created a lot of issues surrounding them.  Try not to lose perspective.  It's not about trends, money, size or age.  What you wear isn’t who you’s just a temporary reflection, part of a fleeting representation.  Choosing your clothing should be practical first, and then beyond that it can be creative, fun and even confidence building.  But it’s still just fabric on your body.  It can’t change who you are; clothes have no inherent power.  Only you use it to shop well.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

six words: lazy days

dedicating myself to a relaxing summer
doesn't that look cool and inviting?
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013


what sleeps in your heart,

is the truth of it

curled up like a cat,

soft and purring

but indifferent


what sleeps in your heart
could it be that trapped voice,
like one drowning
under ice
who sees the surface
but is unable to break through,
mouth full of water
on the sharp thin verge of surrender
to the overwhelming
weight of cold 

what sleeps in your heart
is who you really are
and if you don’t see that
you may sink to the bottom
and never wake up

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

random ootd photo & new hair!

It's summer time and the living is easy.  Let's have a random style related outfit of the day post, shall we?

The big news is (drum roll please):

I got my first hair cut in 4 years!

Yup, that's right, four years ago I got my last cut before chemo. After treatment my hair grew back very slowly, and very differently from how it was.  First it came in tight little curls, then course, wirey waves.  It didn't grow evenly either.  So I simply trimmed my bangs and kept cutting off strange wayward waves until something akin to my previous hair emerged.  It was finally time to get a real grown up hairstyle again.  The result is this simple layered bob.  I like it...though it is a wee bit shorter than anticipated. 

Anyway, I wore this outfit last week when the weather took a cooler turn.  We've been calling this old zebra striped blouse from Kohls my magic seems to go with everything...paired with any color cardigan it works.  It has also fit me at several different weights -- yeah, it really is magic.

The new lightweight cropped cardi is from Target and I'm in love with the orange color.

My dark jeans are Sante Fe bootcut from the Avenue.  The bone colored Dansko Sissy sandals are thrifted and I live in them for the summer...truly the most comfy pair of shoes I own.  I often find them for sale new on eBay and have them in other colors. 

So, there you go, an ootd.  Hope everyone enjoys these early days of summer!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

six words: slowly sorting...

I only wish my attic was this neat...
and full of antiques!
...because boxes lead down memory lane

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

confessions of a slow-baked couch potato

I am so busy doing nothing, that the idea of doing anything — which as you know, always leads to something — cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.

~ Jerry Seinfeld

I just might be a hardcore couch potato.  There, I said it.  The truth is, I love to sit around.  Of course, I’m not exactly doing nothing.  I do a lot while I lounge about.  Talking, reading, writing, thinking – these are my favorite pastimes and conveniently all can take place from my living room sofa.

(Does anyone remember that children’s show The Big Comfy Couch?  Well, my dust bunnies might be bigger.  Seriously.  Oh, and I wish I had as much cool stuff tucked under my cushions as Loonette the clown does, but there’s just lint...and aforementioned dust bunnies.) 

Don’t get me wrong, I have to get up off the couch plenty.  I exercise, run errands, do laundry (now and then), cook for and feed various people, even clean once in a while.  Okay, all kidding aside -- I don't channel surf, nor do I gorge on junk food and I’m also an animated person in my demeanor.  People even describe me as energetic and enthusiastic...and I am, just not by inclination. Yes, if only they knew the truth, that by nature I’m more of a sloth.  Now, sloth is considered a sin by some and a trait to be ashamed of.  I guess I have been embarrassed by my slothiness at times.  Everyone else seems to be so busy that I tend to feel a little guilty.  Or at least, I used to. 

We live today in a culture of busy is better.  Ask someone how they are, and more than likely the answer will be “busy” – complete with the litany from an exceedingly long to-do list.  This is not necessarily a good thing.  An article in the NY Times last summer refers to busyness as trap, even further, as a means of hedging nothing short of existential angst.  I’ve noticed that the complaint of being over extended is almost treated as a badge of honor.  Everyone is trying to cram so much living into their lives that they aren’t actually living IN their life – instead they are continuously burying every present moment with frenetic activity, and often as a means for distraction.  

(There are people in this world for whom free time truly is a luxury.  They work harder in order to survive than most of us can possibly imagine.  People in those circumstances are obviously not busy for the sake of being busy.  To them, no doubt, this could all sound churlish or elite;  they should have such problems.  Mindful of that let me just say – busy is clearly relative.) 

As I blogged about recently, during breast cancer treatment I did a lot of reflecting on what mattered most to me.  When my mortality seemed immanent I didn’t care about projects I’d never complete, activities my kids didn’t participate in or how messy my house got (as if).  Every single ounce of guilt or expectation went right out the window.  Think about that -- no expectation, no guiltIt was a rare opportunity, a moment of unprecedented clarity for me.  And as I went thru the mental files of my life I realized some of the best memories were the times I just sat still and talked with my children...listening to all their thoughts, great & small.  It was those precious moments with no agenda, no pressure to accomplish anything, that gave me great joy.   

I’m not suggesting everyone sit on their couch and vegetate for the sake of happiness.  Things need to get done, sometimes a lot of things...and sometimes we want to engage physically.  Being active is healthy; in fact, it’s one of my personal goals, to be more active.  But it’s another goal of mine to let go of as many inessential activities as gently cull from my life what is unnecessary, because being busy is, in my opinion, decidedly not better. 

Kids need ample unstructured time to let their imaginations grow...and so do us grown-ups.  We need time to slow down, to stare out the window and day dream, to be creative not as a means to an end but for the sake of creativity itself...we need time just to let our minds wander...we need time to be.  Socrates said an unexamined life isn’t worth living.  If you are too busy filling every moment with a flurry of activity then there’s no time to examine anything to begin with, let alone much of any substance worth examining when all is said and done.  Busy is not only not better; it can be the very thing that, instead of filling your life, leaves you completely empty.

I found out there are others interested in letting go of busy, such as those in various slow movements --slow food, slow home, heck, there’s even slow fashion!  But truthfully I feel like some of these slow advocates are still too ambitious for a slacker like me.  Perhaps my speed isn’t slow, it’s off -- as in turn off everything, sit down and settle back for a bit, get reacquainted with your family, your friends...and your own self, too.    

Like at this very moment...I am sitting (where else) on my couch typing these words.  My kids will be up soon, and the first thing they will do is come sit next to me, curling into my waiting arms all groggy and still warm from sleep.  I’ll put this laptop aside and breathe them in, take a moment to absorb the sweet scent of childhood in its precious brevity.  We’ll talk about what they dreamed last night and what they want to do today.  I’ll remind them we have chores and schoolwork, but after that the day, this day, is ours.  We’ll begin it from this place of centering, the middle of our lives and our home, this humble, slightly sagging, well-worn sofa.  The dust bunnies will be there, too, lurking...and that’s okay.  They can hang around for a little while longer...I don’t mind.  I have more important things not to do.



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

six words: staycation

taking this week
off from blogging!
Hope everyone has a lovely week -- see you next saturday :)
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Friday, May 31, 2013

keep off the grass

you owned the neighborhood as a kid
wandering from yard to yard
never considering
such inconsequential matters as privacy
or the vague intricacies of lawn care
it was all yours, except
for the yard belonging to that mean man
the one every street had
the one who didn’t let you walk
on his immaculately groomed grass
and who called your mother if he ever caught you
he was the one your parents even thought
was kind of a jerk
except they never said it, of course
never agreed with you, of course
but, as they reprimanded you
telling you for the umpteenth time
to stay away from his yard
or you’d be confined indefinitely to your own
significantly reducing the size and scope
of the entire universe
they seemed to exchange secret, knowing looks
as if perhaps, remembering
their own childhoods
their own mean men
they secretly understood, maybe
they sympathized in silent camaraderie
when you moaned about how unfair it was
because he had the nicest grass to play on 

Monday, May 27, 2013

define this

Someone asked me recently if I was going to go back to posting daily outfit pix. I don’t think so, though I’m sure I’ll do one now and then. I guess the nature of this blog has changed a I have, certainly. Then came the question, are you going to change your blog name? I hadn’t really thought about that.  Does the name, Fashionably Later still fit?  

I’ve been getting back to basics on many fronts in my life so maybe I should try including this blog in that effort, too. Since one of the first rules of blogging is to find your niche, that means you need to define yourself. I decided to start there.  For inspiration I searched on the present name of this blog, Fashionably Later, and I got...well, my blog, but after that came a review in the Boston Globe of the Sex In The City movie from 2008 and some tumblr picture of a person wearing cut-off denim shorts. Not exactly helpful. So instead I tried Googling the phrase of origin, Fashionably Late.  Here is some of what came up from that:
-The refined art of being just late enough.
-When you show up late, so everyone will think you have a life.
-Getting noticed by arriving at that time, in other words standing out by being late.
-Arriving late to an event to give the impression that you are a busy, popular person.
I kinda like the first one. The second one made me laugh -- none of them really helped, though.  Maybe I should go back to the beginning. When I started Fashionably Later it was supposed to be a fun little wardrobe diary for a middle-aged mom, with a small slice of life tossed in now and then. I wanted to rebuild my confidence and prove that style was something any woman could create regardless of her size, vocation, budget or age. It wasn’t about making a major fashion wasn’t about fashion at all, not in the sense that word is typically used. For me this was about one woman’s "re-found" desire to look her best as a simple act of personal empowerment, and doing so a little later in life. I shared it for entertainment, and because I thought just maybe it would inspire someone else in a similar never know.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to the style blog – I got diagnosed with breast cancer. And what I had intended as a positive but fairly lighthearted endeavor quickly became something very different.
I wrote about my cancer journey, about my life, about things way beyond what I was wearing. And the people who once commented on outfit choices or accessories now were leaving me the most amazing comments that carried me through the worst time of my entire life. They gave me hope, they cried with me, they uplifted me and some even kept vigil when I wasn’t here. I “met” other women with cancer as well as a slew of talented and supportive writers...a diverse little gathering coalesced for me here. The outpouring from my tiny corner of the blogosphere was one of the most touching things that has ever happened to me. I’ll never forget it. Never.
A lot has changed since my cancer diagnosis four years ago. I’ve changed, my body has changed, my goals, even my tastes have changed. In some ways perhaps for the better, but to be honest, in many ways I still mourn for the woman I once was. I miss her. Of course, everything always don’t need cancer to have that happen. That’s just life.
As I try to find my voice again and recreate myself I don’t completely know what is in store for this blog (let alone anything else). I don’t see it returning exclusively to style commentary or a wardrobe diary, but I’m not ready to say goodbye to all that completely either. There are so many other things I want to write about, too, things I've got on my mind.  Perhaps despite typical blogging advice I shouldn’t focus on finding my niche or defining this blog any more than I should try to strictly define myself. I don't need any more limitations at this point in my life.
I've decided for now not to worry about descriptions anymore.  This is who I am, this is what I like and here’s what I feel like writing about. It might not always be cohesive, but I'm still doing it with my own sense of style...and definitely a little later than I had originally planned. Based on that, the name Fashionably Later still fits pretty well, I think -- so I guess in the end some things haven’t changed that much after all ;)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

six words: first exhibition

Megan's beautiful sketch won Honorable Mention!
sketch close-up
happy girl, proud father

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(hey, that was six words too!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the proper attire

I donated the dress I wore to my father’s funeral
gave it away
placed it in the bottom of a bag
under an old coat and some shirts
the dress was nice
but I have no need to wear it again 

my father died in spring
and it was difficult at a time like that
to figure out what to wear
the lightness of the season counterbalanced
with the needs of a somber occasion
but it wasn't a somber dress
in fact, it was almost exuberant
a large scale print of abstract flowers
splashed across a flouncy skirt
it was sleeveless, with an exaggerated collar 

my choice for necklace 
was the only jewelry he ever gave me
hematite beads,
once known as blood stone
the strand doubled around to fill in the empty space
created by the open V-neck 

his death was a surprise, he wasn’t sick,
they say my father died in his sleep,
peacefully, on a warm spring evening
flowers blooming in the dark outside his window
as colorful as my pretty dress
he hated that dress
so I don't need it anymore