Essential Needs in a Minimalist Life

September 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm ($hit I learned living off grid, Freedom, Health, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Red Carpet, Style, Uncategorized)

20160418_113812Why Fashion No Longer Matters and Style within Function is Everything.

 

The wardrobe I brought from California included dresses made by up and coming California designers, quality vintage, business slacks, skirts and silk blouses and few pairs of blue jeans and tee shirts. My shoes included boots for riding and white leather Keds for sailing, leather flip flops and a couple of pair of high end kitten heels.

One year later I one two more pairs of boots for snow and rain, and haven’t worn most of my old life shoes. The snow boots were worn almost daily this winter as we receive a fair amount of snow frequently (November through May) and in drop loads of six or more inches at a time.

The jeans I brought were of the pre torn variety with cute embroidered flowers I had added. I had to make patches to cover the tears or freeze even with leggings underneath. My sensible daughter found this rather hilarious. Quality leggings matter as they need to be worn often. I now look at blue jeans with a different eye. Now is the weight of the cotton going to stand up to riding, barn chores, wood cutting, horse slobber, poo and getting stabbed at by unruly pinyon branches? Are there weak areas that are likely to tear? None of this spandex added for better fit! That makes for a weaker jean…I know it is a fact. I need boot cut as I am wearing them the bulk of the time and skinny jeans are just nonsense for so many chores and must be tucked into boots.

I have literally worn out most of my favorite long and short sleeve tees. They are cleaning rags now. I know that the cost difference in a quality tee versus fast fashion is worth every penny. Carrying a chicken back from the edges of danger means you may get a gougey chicken toenail poked through your shirt. Quality ones hold up cheap don’t.

Socks have taken on religious significance. Find a favorite and stock up. Comfort and quality are important far beyond the unicorn print or the frilly lace top. No microfibers or synthetics…ever. I never really wore socks much except when riding so this flip floppin’ girl had loads to learn. This isn’t about any certain number of pairs but enough to change once or twice a day and get me until laundry day…which may have been postponed due to a storm a day or three.

Cashmere sweaters rock. They are the perfect layer between shirt and jacket. I had to sacrifice three to daily wear and have mended two numerous times including making elbow patches. The third one has now become patching parts. The red sleeve is a sweater for the tiny dog to keep him warm and visible in snow. He can layer it under his winter jacket.

Cotton Knit camisoles are my religious garment. I have always got at least one on except in our delicious brief summer. Enough to get to laundry day 45 miles away in town but not so many they take up precious space needed for leggings and socks.

Hat means cowboy hat if you don’t want to fry your face off. Baseball caps are groovy and all but lack protection from sun, random tree branches your horse rides you through in the woods and keeps rain out of your eyes. I have given away most of my old hats. I have a summer cowboy hat and a winter one.

I had moments where I felt like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin but I too had chosen this and knew it would in time reveal many new splendors. I also felt like Ava Gabor in Green Acres and some days I felt like Eddie Albert her husband. The personal growth I have attained is beyond measure.

So I guess this past year I have learned to buy clothes for the life I have not some version of who I think I am supposed to be or a persona I represent. These clothes are the real me in my real ranch life.

 

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Signifiers Tell us What is Expected as Well as What to Expect…Sometimes

July 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm (Excellence in Business, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years ago I dated an artist who had a well paying day job and yet he dressed in rags when not in work uniform. Although a very handsome man, when my younger daughter saw his photo (in rags) she teasingly ask if I had taken to dating the homeless.

I have been having an ongoing discourse amongst my colleagues, friends and fashionistas regarding the purpose and meaning of signifiers in dress. We have covered such topics as watches, fabrics, skirt lengths and more and have even had additional revelations regarding skirt or slacks in the business environment.

Last evening while watching the popular british series Downton Abbey Maggie Smith’s character the Dowager Countess of Grantham is shocked at seeing two of the gentlemen at an evening dinner wearing black ties. She looks as though she may pale and faint at this social faux pas and remarks ” are we having a barbeque”? as though they were dressed so far from the occassion she was madly confused. Her comment made me giggle and giggle until I was laughing so hard I was nearly apoplectic!

Dowager Countess

To many this attention to detail of dress with the British aristocracy is nothing short of pointless…or is it? haven’t we always been taught to make a good first impression? Dress for success and are given social cues when invited to event s such as black tie or dressy casual. We all know what these terms mean or least we need to find someone who can interpret for us so we don’t show up to the formal in our barbeque casual dress.

Think about how you interpret the signifiers set before you the next time you meet someone and then what message you were sending with your choice of wardrobe and accessories. More on this topic in another blog.

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Following Your Dream Without All the Baggage

April 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, Freedom, Local Made, organized simplicity, Relationships, Style, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years back when my then husband and I were doing trunk shows as vendors with Nordstrom we developed a philosophy of never checking our baggage. We needed to carry on the jewelry for obvious security reasons and being parents we never had an extra minute to spare in our 48 hour sales weekends. We would fly out of San Diego first flight on Friday, race to the rent a car location at our destination and find our way to the Nordstrom store in time to be set up and ready to sell when the doors opened. In this we were successful.

I had parents who, although somewhat supportive made it clear they did not want to be burdened with picking up our children and minding them while we were as they put it “gallivanting off somewhere”. My dad would drop us at the airport every other weekend and say “okay have fun on your vacation”. He was not being funny, I think he honestly thought we were flying out for fun and frolic.  Airport, rent-a-car, store, quick meal, hotel rinse and repeat then fly home. Not a whole lot of sightseeing going on unless you count how many rent-a-car kiosks or Nordstrom lunch rooms I have toured.

I had a leopard print chiffon over cotton sheath dress (remember the Debra McGuire style of the mid ninties)and heels (with a back up pair of Dr. Scholl’s sandals) and grey Anne Klein suit with golden blouse that were my uniform to show off my delicious jewels and maintain some sense of conservative decorum. One outfit on, one in the bag and my business partner cum husband just changed his skivvies, tie  and dress shirt. This time saving and aggravation saving philosophy saved us numerous hours and headaches. Many of our colleagues would travel as if they were heading to Europe for the season with steamer trunk size bags containing who knew what! I remember one occasion when one woman’s suitcase went to Chicago when we all went to Salt Lake City. She had nothing to change into and worse nothing to sell except her matrix, store owned merchandise. We cringed for her as she stood over her case of treasures pulling back stock to display up top and trying not to look like she came unprepared. She spent a small fortune on a new outfit to wear day two.

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Fast forward a few years and I had fired my partner (as sales rep and husband) and was preparing to leave for six months at a French business school. I brought my eighteen year old son along for the first couple of weeks for a vacation. He had a large backpack. I had a carry on bag and a backpack which contained my laptop, my zillion files and documents for the French government and my university. The carry on had all my clothes and shoes. I did not need to bring a lot since I was going to be in France the couture capital of the world (je suis desole NY c’est vraiment.)  I ended up shipping clothes home to avoid being a pack mule on my return that summer. Those early lessons in traveling light have always served me well.

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How does all this have anything to do with following your dream your ask? All of life is a journey…yes I know you know that…so with that in mind we need to carry on only…it just simplifies things allowing us to receive all the good things we deserve in life without being weighed down by the safe and known.

Happy travels.

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Can I be Green and a Fashion Lover?

April 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm (Art, Local Made, Remanufactured goods, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The short answer is maybe.

Paul Rico

My ability to be green depends on some less trodden paths down which will make all the difference…

So as I focus on being a green fashionista I will continue to buy from local designers who make their clothes and accessories locally as well as shop my friends discards, thrift stores, consignment shops and swaps for charity. I m often complimented for my outfits and I believe selecting my clothes through time and space gives me greater freedom than just relying on what is new in the shops. This photo above is of myself and Paul Rico Fashion Week San Diego 2012 for Spring 2013. This is THE little black dress I ordered from Paul Rico who is an amazing local talent. I will post a photo of the one he made for me with a longer hem and made to fit my body not just a “size”. I can combine the latest and vintage for the look which can only be me. : )

Where is my fashion designed and manufactured? What types of safeguards are in place to minimize pollution in the creation process. Am I buying a pretty dress made in a not very pretty sweatshop employing humans who will never be able to afford this item and struggle to meet basic needs or was it made locally by independent artisans who determine their own working conditions? These are questions I want to ask at my favorite local boutique at home or when visiting another city.

That brings me to another thought. I like to buy things made in the area where I am. I don’t want to buy made in China in Paris, I want to buy made in China in China. I like to buy southern California made swimwear as the designers and manufacturers understand my lifestyle and how that one piece may become my top later at dinner with a wrap and a skirt.  My daughter bought me a beautiful cotton wrap while living in Thailand…they know sarongs.

Am I willing to buy remanufactured? I am because the cutest jean jackets ever have been cobbled together from others with patches, embroidery, changed collars and yet they are timeless and add fun to any casual outfit. My favorite turquoise mules have been repaired more times than I can count but they still get compliments and fit better than ever.

This photo taken with some phone that was still primarily a phone back when was taken in downtown SD after four hours of dancing at the EL D and walking back to my car parked a zillion blocks uphill away. My friend lent me one half of her flip flops she had in her purse should this need arise. The blue shoes have seen many a dance floor since as well and with the scalloped trim in light green they go with so many outfits. I haven’t had those jeans in years and the DJ from that night is big time in LA these days.

What can you do? Feel free to comment with your ideas, experiences and thought on this topic.
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Video Master Group Made up of Women Who are Anything but Masters of Vid.

March 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm (Excellence in Business, Red Carpet, Style) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Recently I have been working on getting my long overdue website ready for launch as a direct retailer of my art. Currently my art is available wholesale and through retailers.

Having spent the past few years working predominantly on additional skill sets including cabbing, carving, drilling and faceting gemstones I have not expanded my presence beyond a handful of retailers. This is about to change as i now have an inventory of cut stones, as well as jewelry made from recycled metals, gems and naturally occurring seaglass. The beautiful broken glass dumped into our oceans and tumbled into soft edges and washed up on distant shores. Trash into treasure.

Seaglass and Abalone Hemp 003As part of my website I want to incorporate videos of myself ranting on about the importance of shifting our consumer lifestyles to be more eco friendly and sustainable all while enjoying ourselves in the moment. So far my personal videos are pretty lame.

This video was made on the fly by Media Pro who happened to be in the building and shot this at the last second for me when I gave an impromptu talk about part of my story to some fashion students from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dHLWvCAmIfQ#

As you see I was not made up and my hair looks like it just rolled out of bed. So some of the entrepreneurs at Hera Hub have joined forces and started a private group called Video Masters on Facebook for the express purpose of posting anything and everything in video.

Here is a typical “did it myself” video for your enjoyment er rather amusement. or not as word press won’t allow me to upload the short clip : (

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Excellence in Business is Never an Accident.

March 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm (Excellence in Business, Health, Letting go, Style) (, , , , , , , , , )

Yesterday I picked up my beloved Acura from her brake servicing, oil change and detailing. Now my sweet ride has 108,000 miles on her and I bought her as a fresh baby car from Kearny Mesa Acura back in 2005. I have always kept her reasonably clean and washed but had decided that after the 100,000 mile mark I would splurge and pay for a full detail from the awesome staff at Kearny Mesa Acura. Now keep in mind that I have never allowed anyone else to so much as change oil or rotate a tire. Is this because I have lost my mind and like to pay more you ask? Or is it because the level of customer service is so five star***** on point I cannot even conceive going anywhere else! Always helpful, courteous, and detail oriented it feels like swinging by a friend’s place when I take my car in for service.

Yesterday when I saw the amazing detail job including removing a small dent in my bumper I was blown away at how beautiful my reliable, speedy chariot still is after these past 8 years. She was shiny and sparkling clean and the carpets no longer had mystery stains and dog hair woven in to the nap. Thank you Mike Fentress for the always impeccable service and the cool loaner car.

13 years of 5 Star Service for my Acuras

Tonight I will head over to Spa Eco Chateau in Mission Valley to enjoy the far infrared sauna to sweat away my troubles and refresh my mind body and spirit. I use my time in the sauna to meditate and do simple yoga poses. I find the time goes so quickly. The sauna has helped me in my detox program as part of a healthy diet, exercise and wellness plan. Christine the owner is always positive and upbeat and working to improve her amazing customer service and add more options to the growing menu of massages, facials, chanel 2, ionic and infrared treatments as well as Classes on topics including reiki and healthy eating. This chic little spa located on a green hillside in an open area office complex is reminiscent of spas in Paris where you are literally in a converted apartment complete with chic little lamps, Louis Quatorze chairs and a living plant wall in the reception area.

Spa Eco Chateau is part of my wellness team

Last but never least is my shared office space at Hera Hub. Founded by the indefatigable Felena Hansen Hera Hub is the new definition for entrepreneurial women’s networking concept. Shared office space for women where the designs, accents, furniture and events are geared for women rather than the more typical model of the shared office space. Felena has thought of everything including a full calendar of events, courses and meet ups all put on by members and often sponsored by Hera Hub. This is the office I always dreamed of and a whole lot more!

Hera Hub the spa inspired co working space for women entrepreneurs.

So there you have it! In a world in which I fear mediocrity is more than many strive for, there are shining beacons of top notch business systems with customer service that is rivaled by none and always exceeding client expectations. I have hope for the world ❤

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Red Carpet Academy for non Celebrities

February 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm (Letting go, Red Carpet, Style) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I had the pleasure of attending the first Red Carpet Academy seminar put on by the accomplished Anita Miranda of Media Pro in San Diego and Phoenix at Hera Hub Sorrento Mesa location.

Red Carpet AcademyThis event is designed is teach the lay person how to be prepared when faced with a media event. Your event may be a corporate seminar, family or class reunion or an actual bring the local media event. I am often at art events, in store trunk shows and other events which may involve public speaking and photo opportunities and I know I have not always been pleased with the photos of myself after the fact.  I also am a very off the cuff speaker and have the knack of thinking on my feet but ask me to repeat that on camera and suddenly I am Bambi in the headlights of an oncoming 18 wheeler.

Red carpet Academy from Media Pro.

This is where The Red Carpet Academy came in to play. I arrived along with the other participants at 8:30 am on a Saturday with two outfits in tow, three pairs of shoes and naturally my Ellen Scott Grable  jewelry collection to select from. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect but I am one to jump in and figured whatever I learned would add to my on camera confidence. Miranda brought in speakers who were entertaining, informative and easy to relate with as they were entrepreneurs too. Often as an artist, business luncheons and networking events really don’t resonate with me as I have my own unique set of challenges and opportunities.

CAM00254This photograph of Myself and Laurie Itkin, The Options Lady was taken after being given tips on makeup (It was done for us while describing why each thing was done), hair and selecting from the clothes we brought using those colors that would add that je ne sais quoi to our photos. Keep in some of us (read me) came in looking like we just rolled out of bed on a Saturday morning with little direction and others looked like they had been born styled! Miranda made sure everyone was styled to show off their best assets.

Laurie is a redhead and dresses conservatively with an eye for detail in quality fashion making her look impeccable every time I see her. I am a mixed color previously dark brunette who loves fashion and yet has a little preppy side so I may wear my J. crew with vintage ripped Levis or a silk skirt. As a jewelry artist I love color and like to think in terms of contrasting jewelry colors and whether or not my wardrobe is jewelry compatible. This event taught us how to maximize our strengths and practice on overcoming our weaknesses. SUCCESS!

Felena Hansen founder of Hera Hub office space for women also inspired us as she always does. She talked about why she needs to show her best side whenever possible in interviews and why it is okay to ask for the same when doing an on camera interview. She talked about gaining confidence to promote ourselves is a healthy and constructive way.

Hera Hub

I learned a great dea,l made new friends and connections. I had such an inspiring time I would recommend the Red Carpet Academy to anyone wanting to polish their public appearance skills and learn when to use a professional photographer Natalia Robert Photographer, or even a video pro for your web site Video Pro. There were many more coaches, professional broadcasters and media professionals on hand to assist and advise.

A Saturday well spent!

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Fashion Week in my Closet

February 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Letting go, Style) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So I have been trying on clothes in order to determine what beloved items no longer fit (too big finally) and/or no longer suit my style.

This task has taken on runway proportions as I combine and toss things together to see what makes a solid piece in an outfit. I found a black lace tee shirt whose back is now being sewn onto my zebra print sweater’s back. I embroidered over the neckline of a skritchy Prabal Guhrung tee shirt so that I may enjoy it with my turquoise corduroys this Spring.

I discovered Miss Daisy the six month old Bulldogge has chewed the heels of my favorite yellow snakeskin heels.

The Lilly Pulitzer corduroys two sizes too big will become a knee length skirt to be worn with the hot pink chiffon sleeveless top. The black sweater that never looked right on me is heading for the Hera Hub clothes swap to benefit The Monarch school of San Diego and Planned Parenthood. Also the Levis I gladly relinquish to another with the beginnings of holes in them they are at their prime. The shrug sweater that was not my style will also find a happy new wearer.

I realize I really like skirts over jeans or slacks. I have a pretty good collection of nice skirts gathered from other’s closets, thrift stores, local designer’s wares to wear and even a few purchased by my mother. So I will try each on and be willing to share my overstock with my skirt wearing sisters at Hera.

I have enjoyed this wardrobe overhaul and all it means to me in my life which is in a constant state of overhaul.

Sorting out what works from what doesn’t is always the trick. It isn’t about the fashion but rather your personal style. Wear what makes you look good and feel good. If it means breaking  out your Nancy Reagan red dress and rocking it with your vintage candies go for it if works for you. I have noticed over the years the only people who look awkward in fashion that stands out are the ones who are forcing a look that is incongruent with their inner fashionista. In the eighth grade I had a red corduroy Eisenhower style jacket and matching wide legged pants with high waist AND cuffs. Some kids giggled and made fun while a few edgy fashionistas whose father’s let them shop in New York and Paris understood my statement. I had that jacket many years after the pants were sent on to fashionista recycle. I wish I had it today!

I currently own a jean jacket and a corduroy jacket so maybe that means I’m greedy, or just prepared as I have loaned the corduroy jacket out many a time to friends. I should slip a library card in the pocket for check out! I have refrained from ornamenting it as the jean jacket has a variety of after market trims and embellishments on it.

Back when I still wore suede slacks I had these to wear with my Lady Diana Blue silk blouse. Many thought I was out there wearing these together I thought I rocked it…I still think that : ) women's opportunity week 85 001Yes that is me looking quite conservative in my pearls at the Women’s Opportunity Week Fashion show with talented clothing designer Tawny Walkowiak. Tawny made the delicious suit she is wearing.

So back to editing my wardrobe and my life…add, take away, alter to fit, repeat.

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