Now that winter’s here, my sweater wearing is on full-force. My personal yarn of choice is cashmere. It is incredibly soft, thick, and luxurious…and is really the only natural wool that I can wear next to my sensitive skin. It adds needed warmth without unnecessary bulk; I don’t like looking like a linebacker in those thick, chunky sweaters!
Of course, most of my cashmere sweater collection is vintage. I look for the thick, plush cashmere, preferably made in Scotland. There is just no comparison to most of the “whisper thin” cashmere sweaters that are out there today. Good quality cashmere can last a lifetime, so it’s a good investment. In fact, several lifetimes, as someone wore these sweaters a long time before me!
I love how cashmere retains scent. One of my favorite things to do is wear a different vintage perfume each time I wear a certain sweater. The scent gets picked up and blended with the others, forming a whole new evocative aroma. They become pieces of poignant delight, a magical signature, which is especially nice on these dark, dreary days. I’m a bit sad when I have to wash the sweaters though. All that captivating scent down the drain. But it just gives me the chance to start a unique combination anew.
I shall remain forever devoted to cashmere, but sometimes it’s good to spice it up!
It’s the last day of 2009 and time for New Year’s resolutions to be made. I have decided that I will only make one resolution for 2010, and that is to “Go Orange”. This has been brewing in me for a while now. You see, I feel that I have finally reached my personal tipping point in the whole “Go Green” thing that’s being pushed upon the public with increasing force. Let me say that you will probably not find a greener-living person than myself. It is something that I live every day with every fiber of my being. I am just getting tired of being marketed and lectured to by high-living celebrities, politicians and writers who want me to ‘do as they say, but not as they do.’
This finally hit full-force for me last week when I was shopping for a new 2010 calendar. As I searched rack after rack, they all seemed to be labeled “Recycled Paper” or”Eco-Friendly”. Calendar after calendar of “Living a Greener 2010” or “365 days of Save the Earth Tips”. I finally bought the only calendar than didn’t have a hint of ‘green’ in it; a gorgeous calendar of colorful calligraphy. And it felt liberating!
So I decided that I want to go orange! I really love the vibrancy and warmth of the color orange. It is the color of desire, excitement, independence and enthusiasm; all desirable traits in my book. Being a natural redhead, I’ve felt comfortable all my life in living with orange hair. I like to wear orange too, in moderation of course, too much orange can be a bit overwhelming. It is a fun, optimistic hue – and a great way to start the new year.
So while I will continue to live a ‘green’ life, I will be fully embracing the orange. And guess what? 2010 will be the Chinese Year of the Tiger…and, of course, tigers are orange!
Yardley of London – any fashionista who lived in the late ’60s/early ’70s will remember their fab advertising campaigns; I know I do! My blog post on vintage bar soap spurred Yardley of London, oh wait, now it seems to be just “Yardley London” to send me an assortment of their bar soaps to try (more on this later). This inspired me to look through my collection of late ’60s/early ’70s Seventeen magazines, knowing that I would find some great examples of the vintage Yardley of London ads that intrigued me so.
Who could resist the beautiful English actress, Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet in the film “Romeo and Juliet”? She was featured in a flowery romantic ad for Oh! de London fragrance in 1968. “Oh! Romeo, Romeo, Oh! Falling in Love, Oh! Happy Dizzy Wonderful World, Oh! Rapture”. Just incredibly effective advertising I’m sure, given the smashing success of the movie. It was the “Twilight” of the day.
Another ad from 1969 featured the impossibly gorgeous (English, of course) model, Jean Shrimpton. Dressed in country Victorian attire, in pigtails (?!) Jean glowingly hawked the Country Treats soap/skin care line. “Remember the way girls used to be? Innocent…shy…They smiled a lot and their skin had a pure glow, fresh as rainwater…the soft fresh country clean, men dream about…the clean that’s really beautiful…the way girls used to be…the way YOU can be now.” Wow – makes me want to go scrub my face right now if I want to look like Jean Shrimpton!
Anyhoo, back to the soap. As I’ve said before, I love vintage bar soap, so I was eager to try the current Yardley soaps. They have a new natural soap collection which is fabulous, combining the great features of traditional bar soap with natural vegetable-based ingredients. They have the gently cleaning and softly scented features I love. I also got to try, once again, their traditional English Lavender soap which they have been making since the 17th century (now that’s vintage)! It has the very poignant, familiar scent that is so lovely. It is nice to know that vintage-type bar soap is still being made, and I don’t necessarily have to hunt it down in estate sales!
It was good to be reminded of fond vintage memories of a great product. Yardley may not have the splashy ad campaigns of the past, but it’s nice to know that they are continuing the tradition of creating fine luxury soaps in this day and age!
I really love taking walks around my neighborhood. It’s good exercise, I get fresh air, chat with my neighbors, and it’s free! No membership fees to a sweat-filled gym for me. While I enjoyed walking, it really wasn’t necessarily meeting the workout requirements for me…or at least I wasn’t feeling much benefit. So when I first started hearing about the rolling rocker exercise walking shoes, my interest was piqued! They looked big and clunky and were expensive, so that threw a wrench in my plans for awhile.
Well this all changed a few weeks ago when I found a pair of MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) “antishoes” (as they call them). They looked brand new, were in my size, and yes, they were at a second-hand store – hooray! I was finally going to be able to try them without breaking the bank! MBT’s are based on a principle of natural instability, like walking barefoot on natural ground such as sand. They are supposed to activate muscles, improve posture, and help the back. Worth a try!
Trying them on for the first time, I felt like I was putting on Herman Munster boots! They are definitely big and clunky – quite heavy too. Walking around the house, they actually started to feel good. Trying them on my walk was really fun. Once I got into the rolling rhythm, I was chugging along or rather, gliding. My posture improved greatly as you just naturally stand up much straighter wearing them. I feel like a well-oiled walking machine in them.
When I took them off I had the same sensation I feel after I take roller or ice-skates off – kind of like getting my land legs again. I definitely felt muscles twinges (activating?) and more like I had a workout. So I really think there is something to these shoes. It has only been a couple weeks, but I’m feeling the benefits already and hope to reap more. In fact, I already have my eye on the sandal antishoe…thinking ahead to those hot summer walks!
Now that the cold, damp and clammy weather has settled in the Pacific Northwest, my feet have been letting me know for quite a while now that it’s time to get out the warm socks. I have cold feet. VERY cold feet. Almost all the time except for summer. Oh blessed summer when I can wear sandals to my heart’s content; no stocking comes near me then!
Fall, winter, and spring are a completely different story. My feet turn into icicles and I have to make valiant attempts to keep them warm at all costs. You see, for a couple winters in a row now, I have developed the very old-fashioned sounding condition of chilblains. Chilblains are caused by exposure to cold and humidity in susceptible people. The coldness damages capillary beds on the toes and causes swelling and redness. For a long time I never knew what the condition was, but a Google search on my symptoms turned up the correct chilblain result.
What’s reassuring is the “cure” for chilblains. No drugs, treatments, or doctor visits required. Just the simple solution of keeping your feet and hands warm during the winter! For me, this has been investing in a variety of warm socks. Wool socks in different weights, microfiber, cotton, angora, and cashmere socks. Also nylon and microfiber tights. I have fuzzy woolly slippers too. My feet are always sufficiently clad at all times during winter.
I know now that I cannot go out and shovel snow in my rubber Wellies without several layers of thick wool socks! I made that mistake last winter during a particularly severe snow/cold snap. I was shoveling snow for days on end without enough protection for my feet, and they paid the price.
So I continue to keep adding to my sock collection. Luckily there are so many fun, cute, and stylish socks out there. My feet thank me that they are being kept warm. Warm feet are happy feet…and happy feet make a happier me!
It was interesting to see Martha Stewart speak off the cuff the other night regarding Sarah Palin. Perhaps caught unawares, her true feelings surfaced pretty quickly. Calling Sarah Palin “very boring”, “dangerous”, and “confused”. While Martha is certainly entitled to her opinion, she came across as shrill, catty, and elitist. It’s disturbing to me to see a woman of influence treat another woman of influence in this dismissive way.
Whatever happened to good manners and political neutrality in talk show hosts? What about lifting others up instead of tearing others down, no matter their political leanings? How about some tolerance and open-mindedness? Do we now have to be divided politically while we learn housekeeping hints?
I’d like to see a good old-fashioned return to manners. Let’s show respect for one another, no matter our differences. You don’t build yourself up by berating others. Let’s be for something instead of against something.
I’ve been a Martha Stewart fan for a long time. I love her devotion to creating a better home and a more creative life. But I think Martha needs attention in the civilities department. Manners and good words are as essential to gracious living as setting a table or cooking a gourmet meal.
It’s a good thing.