Thursday, January 28, 2016

As January Ends...


I wish I could say January plodded along, but in fact, it has felt like it's flown by!

We are very busy these days and I've been loving watching movies and cooking on my downtime! 

The Feng Shui and shopping my own closet are going very well and Mercury is finally out of retrograde so things can quiet down.

While I have not visited any online shopping sites, I do get the odd email, some with pictures and I assume others are in the January blahs because in a two day period I got two emails about how I need to embrace the bright pink lip!



Apparently, the year of the nude year (there was a year? how did I miss that?) has passed and now we must all love pink.

Fortunately, I do.

Bright pink is fun.

*:


It makes one think of robust health and is one of my favourite Valentine colours.

how to wear bright lipstick // pink lips:


My favourite hot pink lipsticks/pencils belong to Nars:

NARS Funny Face Semi Matte Lipstick - Funny Face ($27) ❤ liked on Polyvore featuring beauty products, makeup, lip makeup, lipstick, beauty, lips, nars, funny face, long wear lipstick and long wearing lipstick:
Funny Face

And Yu:

NARS satin lip pencil in yu:



I wholeheartedly endorse a little pink this time of year. It, and pink champagne, cure all that ails one.

Handwriting on the Wine #design #packaging PD:


Of course, the lipstick would be in the frugal category, the pink champagne, not so much.

Since I have all of the above in the house, I think I will follow the lead of the pinterest picture below and put all my pink books together. I think it would be swell to see them all together and might tide me over until my peonies are in bloom again!




Just the idea makes me happy! 

Hmmm - it seems like those blogger emails were onto something with their pink lipsticks!

Hope you are enjoying the winter weather and thinking warm thoughts!
xoxo Wendy

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Why Retire? Or Why Not?



I was thinking about retirement today for two reasons:

1 - Grace Coddington has decided at age 74 that she doesn't want to be tied solely to Vogue anymore, but wishes to do other, varied, things;



and


2) Stan Lee. I was thinking of 90 year old Stan because he is still SO active in the Marvel Universe of comics, movies, TV shows and products.



In so many traditional occupations, there is an expectation that an individual "retires" from their work around age 60 or 65.

This is not necessarily the case in the entertainment business, where in-demand talent can work on for decades past their peers in more traditional work places - think Betty White, George Burns, and so on.

Lots of people are thrilled to retire. Now is the time for them to pursue long-buried hobbies (that can now potentially turn into careers), travel, spend more time with their families.

And yet I am intrigued by those who work until the day they die. My great-grandfather worked at his boot factory well into his eighties. Granted, those were the days before pensions, but still, from what I have been told, he loved what he did and going to work made him feel valued and valuable.

I once read a study that said the earlier you retire the longer you live. that no longer seems to be borne out by the facts.

There is research  now that indicates people who love what they do may in fact live longer.

The best decision I ever made was to leave my job. Personally, I was so young I do not consider it a retirement but a career transition.

My new job, writing between 30 and 40 hours a week, thrills me.  The worst days writing are better than my best days working at my old job (even though I sometimes loved that job very much!)

I guess the key to all things in life is to find something you love and DO IT. Do it hard and with purpose and embrace it.

I hope to live to be a very old lady and I hope to be working the whole way there.  Perhaps it won't be 30 or 40 hours a week, but it will be something, and it will make me happy.

Something to think about!

And for those of you on the east coast - hope you are all dug out! 

xoxo wendy




 

Monday, January 18, 2016

What are the Odds?


Apparently, 62:4,000,000,000.

This week Oxfam released a report that contained the startling statistic that the 62 wealthiest people on this planet have a combined wealth equivalent to the poorest 4 billion.

The world's 62 richest people own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest people.


Scarier still, that wealth is getting more and more concentrated: in 2010 388 people had the combined wealth of the poorest 4 billion. What happened to the poor 322 who fell off that list? they are likely licking their hurt feelings on a yacht somewhere...

If you don't find those numbers scary, well this isn't the post for you... :-)

What exactly does this mean? Well it tells me that we have a lot of individuals whose personal net worth is the equivalent to many countries' GDP.

It also tells me that many of us are making these rich people even richer. The richest on the list is CEO of the luxury brand that makes your favourite Louis Vuittons and other over-priced items coveted by many (though many say the quality isn't what it used to be - I wouldn't know).

It's hard to imagine needing that many billions. I mean, surely 1 billion is plenty enough for the average person. Perhaps the other billions might be shared to raise the quality of life for the other 4,000,000?

And really, once you have that much money, you are, in effect, a person-state yourself. No need for you to vote; you are probably able to buy whatever political favours might be required for your particular business.

What is most disturbing, apart from this obscenity of wealth, is that the wealth of the poorest 4,000,000 actually dropped by 41% from 2010 to today. Thus the rich truly are getting richer and the poor? Well things were horrific before and they're getting hellish now.

Unlike we taxpayers, many of these wealthy individuals have their money in off-shore accounts, perfect tax dodges. Imagine what some of that money REALLY circulating could do.

Research has shown that every increase in the minimum wage or welfare rates has a direct and positive impact on our economy. Every time we lift someone out of poverty we reduce child abuse, spousal abuse, we improve mental and physical health, and we make our communities safer.

Some of these billionaires are giving it all away - hello Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg - but not enough. And it is clear that those who are doing so are making a tremendous difference.

This can't go on forever. The history of this planet is people getting fed up and doing something when things get too out of balance. We all have a responsibility towards our fellow man.

And yes, if you're wondering, this has helped me keep my "no shopping" for awhile vow very easily. :0(

It's worth reading about. And it's important. It effects us all, even if we don't realize it!

And yes, I promise next topic will be much lighter, but this was too important not to talk about.

 

Friday, January 8, 2016

New Year, New Order


Hey everyone!  Happy New Year! 

Sorry I was incommunicado the past couple of weeks - my son was home from University and I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.

And now it is the end of the first week of January and I am desperately trying to catch up with everything!

I don't know about you, but every time I take down the Christmas tree and decorations - and you know how many I have - I feel an overwhelming desire to purge and bring order to my universe after the chaos and gluttony of the holiday season.

And as is my wont, that typically includes everything in my life - clothing, body, space.

I am about to turn 53, I am about to have my first book published, I am doing things in my life that make me happy and am surrounding myself with people in my life that are of a like mind and all is good, except...

I need to get back into shape. That isn't just weight loss, it's getting stronger. To help me on that journey, Barry bought me a fitbit for Christmas - I love it!


I am back doing my yoga regularly, lifting weight again, meditating daily and walking, walking, walking. I am not snacking. I have already lost 3 pounds and I feel great!

I have also, on top of everything else I've been reading, feng shuing the whole house.  Do any of you use feng shui techniques to help the energy in your space?

Last fall I took an online course from Kate Northrup about Feng Shui and loved it. Her course focuses mostly on the wealth and prosperity sections of the bagua map, but I wanted the whole meal deal, so followed up and read a great book by Terah Kathryn Collins that Kate recommends and since then have been going room by room to make the changes.


The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Room by Room


I need to keep that good energy flowing in our house! I am nowhere near done, but each room I do gives me a real sense of peace. While I liked the konmari method, it was a bit too Spartan for my tastes. Feng Shui help you focus energy to feel content and prosperous in all areas of your life. Everyone's approach will be slightly different and there's nothing wrong with that.

In particular, I wanted to focus on the health and family and career areas and have been making my own little shrines and removing things that have bad energy.

More than ever, I feel that the transition I have been undergoing these last few years is finally slowing down and I am where and with whom I ought to be. It is a lovely feeling and one I want to cultivate!  I will let you know if the Feng Shui helps!

And  am vowing to buy nothing superfluous clothing-wise this year. I really have too many clothes as it is, and I am getting off the hamster wheel of shopping in 2016, less about my pocket book and more about being more frugal and leaving a smaller footprint on the planet. I will keep you posted on that!

Finally, today is David Bowie's birthday AND the release date of his newest album!  We love David in this house. In fact, we danced to his wonderful song, Wild is the Wind at our wedding many years ago.

So maybe that's where I'll end. Who knows where the winds of life will take us this year? I can't wait to see!



Have a great week!

xoxo wendy





 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas "Time"

Three or four years ago - I think...


Albert Einstein famously said "The only reason for time is so everything doesn't happen at once."

And yet at Christmas time, more than any other time of the year, it feels as if everything is happening at once.

That garland on the tree? I bought it in Maine, across the river from where I grew up and suddenly I am in grade three again, and we are colouring a Christmas scene across an entire chalkboard in dusty shades of red and blue and green and yellow and I cannot believe how beautiful it is and how wonderful my grade three teacher, Miss Read, is to let us have a picture we've done stay on the chalkboard for three whole weeks instead of wretched math problems.

Then I'm six and fighting with my grandmother, who is staying for us for Christmas for the first time because my grandfather is dead, and she thinks the tinsel garland ought to be hung vertically, when everyone (at least my father and I) know that it must be hung horizontally. We are both in tears by the end, for different reasons, and she is the bigger person and acquiesces, though it feels a hollow victory to me and I try to be extra nice.

A glass of sherry and her dog Happy...
 


That stocking hanging on the mantle in the basement this morning?

same crazy hair!
 

It's in my hands when I am one year's old and there is still the old stain of an orange I left in the toe for too long, concentrated as I was on my chocolate orange.

The Christmas of the Barbie Camper mixes with the Christmas of the air hockey game. There are all the boxing days in Hampton, and some in St. Stephen, and the year my older cousins got a pool table which I thought made them the luckiest people in the world.  I discover The Chieftains and Elvis Costello singing "The St. Stephen's Day Murders" and always think of my cousins.




There are the years my mother cooked, then me, and soon enough I suppose, someone else. I am forever thirteen in my mind, hugging a giant stuffed Pluto with delight, then I am a mother and watching my children vibrate as they waited to go down and open presents, just like Margaret and Patrick and I did.



There's my dad's best friend Johnny Walker getting a race track for Christmas when he was in his fifties (I was so impressed!) and us playing it again and again all Christmas Day night while the grownups drank rum.

There are Christmas Eve services and the love I feel for those people in the small church, who only weeks before had watched me be an angel in a pageant or mangle my verse from "A Visit from St. Nicholas" - why'd I have to get the "As dry leaves that before a wild hurricane fly" verse anyway?

There is the Queen, Christmas Candy, dirty dishes, the goose. My mother is thirty, then fifty, then gone. We are sledding, it's a green Christmas, it's a blizzard.

I'm lying under the tree, bereft that it's over. I'm opening paper advent calendar doors, lighting advent candles, almost sick with anticipation. Barbie and I are singing Holly Jolly Christmas on the radio, Joanne and I are sliding on New Year's Day. I am caroling after a gift exchange at Anne's.

I am a mother and there are videos and handmade ornaments and "Baby's First Christmas Ornaments".





There is the great Battling Tops tournament in St. Martin's at my Great Aunt's. My grandfather in Port Elgin has a table top tree and I am secretly horrified. There are books and sweaters and fudge and Smarties towers that become banks after Christmas. Someone has made us mittens. Someone gave me scratchy pajamas. Mostly, I want toys and later, a boyfriend.

My mother is dead and my dad spends Christmases with us and one morning he sleeps so soundly that my five year old son thinks he's passed away in the night. Later, there is a Christmas morning in the O.R. while the kids wait at home to open presents. Then I am in Saint John at a hospital with my grandmother on Christmas Day and she holds my hand and can't speak much and I am scared because she is supposed to speak A LOT.

It's all there and more. We exist together, these memories and I, and they can overwhelm me and make me sad and they can make me smile with delight.

2015


That time is a construct is a thing of wonder to me, and yet I feel it in my bones. Every cell in the body of that small girl cuddling the stuffed animal above has changed since that Christmas morning many years ago and yet I have all of her feelings and I can slip back into that morning as easily as I slip into my evening's bath. She has never left me. I am not visiting the past I feel, but opening another door in my mind. We are all there together, in the present.

As a great philosopher named Dr. Seuss once said:  Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.

Some of those hands are here in 2015, some exist within us. Both are real.

I wish you the loveliest of Christmas and holiday "times" this year and wish nothing less for you than a blessed and healthy 2016 for you and your loved ones.

xoxo wendy



 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mix and Mingle and Sparkle and Ruminations on Style (or my lack of interest thereof)


Some wonderful posts by Kim at Northern California Style and Jennifer at A Well Styled Life made me think about this post.

I haven't bought much this year, clothing-wise, but I always do like my shoes. And while an expensive shoe is no doubt a thing of beauty and longevity, sometimes you need something else. Sometimes you can only afford something else.

My dress this holiday season was black.

Boring huh?

But I added some accessories, and most of the sparkle came from my shoes.

It seems that over the last few years, I have allowed my inner disco ball to have its day. This morning I lined them all up and kind of went "huh, that's a lot of sparkly shoes."

The red ones were $30 at Payless and make me feel like Dorothy!


Perhaps I do not need any more sparkly shoes.

On the other hand, a pair of sparkly shoes in the dead of winter is a fine thing: a conversation starter, something to look at under the dinner party table, something that makes you stand out, for good or bad. When my toes twinkle, I twinkle.

At one point, I considered ridding myself of some of these things, and yet I loved them, in spite of it all. In my book, loving something is a sign that one should keep the thing even if they aren't perfect or tasteful. I can think of dozens of things I would part with before I could completely eliminate sparkle in my life. And while darling Jennifer helped me realize how best to present myself to the world now that I am in my fifties, a sparkly party shoe will always be in my closet. It seems my shoes are the Iris Apfels of my closet.

I have learned many lessons this past year: that like is best with like, that creativity and bravery are valued by me more than anything and that I don't have enough to say about clothes, especially when compared with those who genuinely have a flair or budget for it. I like clothes, I just don't care enough it seems to work at, and it is work for me, as I am not a natural. A few nice pieces of clothing are swell, sure, but it doesn't go much further than that for me.  I much prefer to see what others do there and admire from afar.

Shoes on the other hand, are a different matter. I love my shoes. And I love variety in my shoes and boots. None of the shoes in the picture above were expensive (save my old Donald Pliners) but they are comfortable and I love them.

Over the past year I have struggled to keep this blog interesting and I suspect at times I have failed. When I started blogging several years ago, it was a way to get back into writing and truthfully, the fashion blogs were what I stumbled upon first. But really, I wasn't particularly good at it and I spent more money than I cared to in order to keep up. I am not a fashionista and the effort to try and be one was not satisfying for me.

I will always admire the style of others, but to be my authentic self, I must admit that while I like to look nice, I am not all that comfortable sharing my blah outfits of the day! :-) And this is no critique of others for their love of clothing and their beautiful style. We are all unique, and our interests  should be celebrated.

I am even contemplating a moratorium on clothes shopping for awhile, and simplifying things further.

So I hope you will stick around as I muse on other things (and the odd pair of shoes), including creativity, bravery, family, and all the goodness in this old world.

xoxo Wendy

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

An ode to the Christmas Card and other types of card




There was a time when everyone sent Christmas cards, wasn't there?

I can recall being a wee lass and waiting for the mailman to arrive (ah the heady days before Community mailboxes) and the delightful thwack! as a small stack of white and red envelopes, many festooned with seasonal stickers, came through the mail slot and landed on the floor.



It seemed as if most of the cards were from people I didn't know (my parent's old university pals), but I didn't care. Many were from neighbours from across our small town, for in those more formal days, people sent cards to their friends, or it least my mother and her friends did.



Some of those cards contained thick handwritten letters that shared the highlights of their year. Others had mimeographed notes inside (remember them!) - the iconic "Christmas Letter", with a small signature at the bottom written in the perfect penmanship of adults who had grown up in a time when fine penmanship was graded.


I miss those days. Each year I find myself sending fewer and fewer cards. Sure I hand-deliver cards to my friends, but somewhere along the way I've lost addresses or I talk to them weekly or monthly on Facebook and it feels as if the Christmas Card is superfluous.

And yet...

There is something inherently delightful in taking a moment to choose a fine card, or box of cards, and writing a small personal note that wishes the recipient the happiest of Chanukahs, the merriest of Christmases, good cheer for the coming year. Those fine sentiments warm our hearts to send and receive, and they are like sprinkling fairy dust on our friends and neighbours.

This post is mine to you. And if I had all of your addresses, I would send you a real one!



And speaking of cards, I got my new author business cards this week. It was very exciting! I have seen a rough draft of my book cover, and I am about to get into the editing with my editor. No final date yet for the release, but things chug along at their own pace and I am grateful.


The fellow who did the design was aces and is currently working on my website!

Have a happy rest of week! Will write more on the weekend after my annual Christmas dinner with lip-synch battle attached (because it wouldn't be Christmas at my house if we weren't singing and dancing!)

xoxo Wendy