Dressing My Best: Lips

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Headscarf: Dollar Store, $1
Shirt: secondhand, $6 from consignment store
Undershirt: Downeast Outfitters, $8
Bracelet: booth at Pike Place Market, $16
Jeans: American Eagle brand via Downeast Outfitters, $12.50
Loafers: secondhand Cole Haan brand, $2 from thrift store

Knotting a scarf on top of my head makes me feel a little like a housekeeper. In a good way.

Way more often than not, I wear Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers as my sole lip treatment, but to celebrate my lips on this fine blazing June day, I went for some bold lipstain instead. Little known fact: putting stuff on your lips correctly can be tough, and looking at the pictures from the day, I can see that I did so a little unevenly.

But it feels oh-so-ladylike, right?

Dressing My Best: Torso

Monday, June 27, 2011

Necklace: some beachside shop in Oregon, $10
Shirt: secondhand Downeast Outfitters brand, $3.50 from thrift store
Belt: secondhand, $2 from thrift store
Right hand ring: gift from mom
Rose bracelet: gift from brother and sister-in-law
Watch: borrowed from husband
Leather bracelet: booth at Pike Place Market, $16
Skirt: secondhand J.Crew brand, $10 from consignment shop (shortened with hair elastic and leaf pin)
Sandals: gift from mom

I've had this shirt for a little over a month, and even though it's ultra-basic (and cheap), it has become one of my favorite pieces. I love the color, the sleeve length, the neckline -- everything about it. Summer in Provo has been hot as the blazes so far, so I'm all for things that don't need layers on top or underneath. The skirt, too, is a new addition; I bought it on a shopping trip with my mom the weekend of my brother's wedding. It has proven to be marvelously versatile and easy.

Continuing on with academichic's "Dress Your Best" challenge, today, I'm dressing for my torso. My torso is a bit on the long side, throwing that golden ratio of body proportion right out the window. I can shorten its appearance by wearing a high-waisted skirt or placing a belt a bit higher than usual, but for the most part, I don't like to take these measures. Being long of torso is a quirky yet happy little thing about my body, and I'm much more likely to draw attention to that rather than to disguise it with tricks. I wore a shirt today that fits close to the body and emphasizes my shoulders/chest/waist, then added a belt slung low across my hips.

Good ol' dictionary.com defines "torso" as "the trunk of the human body." What a cool visual, drawing that connection between the center of our bodies and the trunk of a sturdy tree. (And given this definition, what are we to make of the phrase "junk in the trunk"? Is that slang more appropriate for pot bellies than generous booties?) My trunk is pretty much straight up and down, slight but sturdy. Thanks, Torso, for being the place where my limbs grow from and the vertical root of my body.

Now give yourself a hug around the waist and share: what's the deal with your torso?

Dressing My Best: Skin

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Necklace: vintage family heirloom
Dress: Downeast Outfitters (here), free with store credit
Flower pin: handmade by my mom
Heels: secondhand American Eagle brand, $8 from thrift store

This new dress of mine is quite the number. It fits the bill for that infamous "Little Black Dress" every woman's supposed to have in her closet, but the lacey print makes it both quirky and extra-classic somehow. The cut is really flattering, the fabric is tough to wrinkle, and it has pockets. Pockets, I say! The only downside is that it features straps to be tied in the back. I get the appeal of this addition, since it can make any dress fit a little neater without requiring a tailor or sewing machine, but I tire quickly of feeling that little knot in the middle of my back. I resolved the problem in this case by wrapping and overlapping the straps behind me, then bringing them to meet on the side and securing with a flower pin that matched the creme print on the dress. Not the perfect solution, but it worked for today.

The academichic ladies put out the call for style bloggers to "dress their best" -- dedicate some outfits to body parts or attributes that we deem our best. Today, I'm celebrating my skin. I went for a dark color (courtesy of my beloved new dress!) to demonstrate the unabashed, undisguised lightness of my skin. Some call it "porcelain," some call it "fair" or "pasty," but I'm good with calling it pale. I'm pale, y'all. There are no tan lines to be had. You will get no apologies from me on the subject of super-white legs.

My dad and brothers have that olivey skintone that tans so well in summertime, while my mom and I are on the "burn-or-be-white" end of the spectrum. While I sometimes wish for skin that will look great when decked out in oranges, yellows, and earthtones, this is the skin I have. Purples and blues are the colors for me. Over time, having gravitated away from my friends' middle/high school fixation on beautifully bronzed skin, I've come to really appreciate the pale.

I'll also give a little shout-out to my complexion, which has improved mightily since this time last year. Those folks on the Proactiv commercials may be cheesy, but they also speak the truth when they say that having "bad skin" -- acne-prone, scarred, whatever -- can really take a toll on your confidence level. I've tried to up my skin care consistency in this past year, and while I'm still never without a pimple or two, the change is noticeable and much appreciated. Rather than uttering that common lament -- "I have such bad skin!" -- I'm giving my skin a little love today. Thanks, Skin, for keeping my insides on my inside and looking so good in turquoise and plum.

Let's pass the microphone along: How do you feel about your skin?

This Was Seattle. Photographically.

Friday, June 24, 2011

(Featuring me, Craig, our niece Sydney, our nephew Wes, and Craig's brother Brian.)

Moff's Law, the Bible, Clouds, Freelance Writing, and Surgery

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I just checked, and it turns out that I have not lost a SINGLE subscriber/follower to this blog, in spite of my repeated absent phases. This can only mean that most people don't clean out their Google Readers as frequently as I do, or that you've all been waiting with bated breath to see if/when I would return to blogging.

Your patience has been rewarded. For today, at least. Below, you will find some observations I've had lately, inter-spliced with pretty but unrelated images.

(image source)

Yesterday, in my habit of bounding from website to website to see what I can see, I came across this excellent statement called Moff's Law. I'm not sure it's a law so much as a well-stated pet peeve, in response to people who dislike analysis of books/movies/music/art of any kind and say, "Why can't you just enjoy the thing instead of analyzing it?" That kind of question really bothers me, but I've never been able to articulate why very well. I found the "law" here at Autostraddle and will include an excerpt for your convenience:

'Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???” ... First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is. Because that is one of the things about art, be it highbrow, lowbrow, mainstream, or avant-garde: Some sort of thought went into its making — even if the thought was, “I’m going to do this as thoughtlessly as possible”! — and as a result, some sort of thought can be gotten from its reception. ... Now, that doesn’t mean you have to think about a work of art. I don’t know anyone who thinks every work they encounter ought to only be enjoyed through conscious, active analysis — or if I do, they’re pretty annoying themselves. And I know many people who prefer not to think about much of what they consume, and with them I have no argument. I also have no argument with people who disagree with another person’s thoughts about a work of art. That should go without saying. ... when you go out of your way to suggest that people should be thinking less — that not using one’s capacity for reason is an admirable position to take, and one that should be actively advocated — you are not saying anything particularly intelligent. And unless you live on a parallel version of Earth where too many people are thinking too deeply and critically about the world around them and what’s going on in their own heads, you’re not helping anything; on the contrary, you’re acting as an advocate for entropy.'

Well said, Moff. "When we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is." In some moments, all you want to say about a movie or a book is that you liked it or you didn't. But when you've got more time and inclination, it's a nice mental exercise to look for metaphors, seek out the symbolism, make connections, and reflect on why you liked it or didn't. Some people will just roll their eyes and scoff when you do this, acting like you're an over-educated snob for having a multi-sentence reaction to something. This? It bugs. Don't be like that.

(image source)

If you go here, you'll see a detailed and stunning chart of contradictions that appear in the King James Version of the Bible. It's a pretty startling image, and all the claimed contradictions are explained at the bottom of the chart for simplicity's sake. Now, I'm not sharing this to stir up controversy. I love me some good Bible verses and routinely find myself inspired by what I read in those pages. That said, I'm puzzled by the school of thought that teaches a total lack of error in the Bible, that favors literal interpretations of every passage, and this chart I've shared sums up why I feel that puzzlement.

(image source)

My internet friend Heather wrote recently about letting go of guilt, and she shared a great quote that got her thinking about this topic in the first place. Part of that quote:

"We can retain our self-conscious personalities while at the same time becoming aware of our inner selves. To do this we must first rid ourselves of the unnatural emotions of fear, shame, and guilt, for they are like clouds preventing us from seeing who we are and what we're capable of doing."

That imagery of the clouds is really poignant to me. Have you ever gone on a flight during a really cloudy day? While you're checking in at the airport and waiting on the jetway, it's all gray and perhaps rainy. After you get going, though, the plane cuts through the clouds, and you see. There's the sun and the cool shapes on the top of the clouds, all this stuff that always existed but was just hidden because you were underneath a thick covering. Maybe fear/shame/guilt do the same thing -- make us believe in a false reality, one where the sun has disappeared and we're bad people.

(image source)

So, Seattle. We spent a good five days there and got a sense of where in the area we might want to live. Craig did job-seeking type things and had some success. It looks like this show is really getting on the road! When friends and fam learn that we're moving to the Northwest, a somewhat common reaction is a concern over the weather. But it's so cloudy and rainy! So depressing! How will you stand that? According to Wikipedia, fountain of knowledge that it is, Seattle itself is actually not as sopping wet as everyone imagines. And anyway, I know a week's time there isn't a huge frame of reference, but for whatever it's worth: the weather while we were there was perfect. A little drizzly, mostly sunny, bouts of breeziness, and a great temperature. So I'm at least not worried about that part of moving.

There are two main areas that are still uncertain, and they're biggies: job(s) and an apartment for us to live in. It would be easiest if the job part got figured out first, and Craig's making good progress. My job situation is more flexible, it seems, because I can keep my current job for a short while after moving to Seattle. I've actually been thinking of trying my hand at freelance writing. This link is giving me some stuff to think about on that front. There are some skills required by freelance writing that I don't have in my metaphorical toolbelt, but I'm gonna look at it a different way:

There are some skills required by freelance writing that I'd really like to develop. See how I flipped that?

(that bunny is praying! image source)

Personal news: I'm getting surgery on July 11th. Me. I've never had surgery of any kind, not even of the dental variety. I've never had stitches or a broken bone, never had an IV, never been under local or general anesthesia.

This surgery will be pretty mild as such things go -- I'll be under general anesthesia, but the surgery itself should only take about 40 minutes and I'll go home the same day. However, since the work being done is in a tender lady-place (read: my vagina), the recovery might be rough. There will be very little walking for about two weeks, but sitting will hurt as well. I'll try to go easy on the pain meds, but no promises there.

The timing of this is surgery somewhat poor, with the move and everything. However, I've been dealing with this problem for years now, and if something can cure it, then bring it on, no matter the inconvenience.
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