Party Crashing

Every December we throw a holiday party for our nearest and dearest friends. The invite list is up to about 55 people and we have anywhere between 30-55 people show up each year. This past year the group was on the smaller side, which is nice because as the hostess it gave me more time to chat with my friends.

At about 9:30, the party was in full swing and I was standing in our front hallway talking to our friend Jen when a young woman I had never seen before walked through my front door. ( We had a sign on the door that indicated to our guests not to ring the doorbell but rather to just walk in. ) The woman was maybe 20 years old, dressed very casually and holding a rear view mirror. It took me a minute to register that a) I had no idea who she was and b) she has holding a part to a car.

She stood there, looking around and I walked up and said,”Hello! Merry Christmas”.   Nervously she said, “Hi, um I was driving down the street and I accidentally hit a car parked in front of your house and took off this rear view mirror.”  (The street we live on is very old and narrow and I can easily see how this happened.)

Jen, my friend who I was speaking with when the young woman walked in came over and said, “I think that’s the mirror to our truck.”  Jen was very calm about the whole thing and went to get her husband Steve because cars are his thing. Steve, one of the most congenial humans I’ve ever met came over to our small group. “Yep, that looks like my mirror,” he said. He asked the girl to walk outside so they could look at the car together. When he came back in he told us that he thanked her for doing the right thing by trying to find the owner and he wished her  a Merry Christmas and told her not to worry about it.

It takes courage to stand up and do the right thing in our day to day lives. For this young woman she had to go into a house full of strangers and own up to her mistake. Not knowing what she was walking into or who she would encounter. And it takes a certain maturity to extend kindness and forgiveness and move on with your life.

Doing the right thing, being brave, offering kindness, extending forgiveness, speaking up, and living your truth  are the best parts of what it means to be human.  Let’s keep that in mind in the coming months.

BedBathBeyond…Way Beyond

Here we are a few days before Thanksgiving 2016. Last night I had very vivid dreams of preparing to delivery a eulogy for my father. My dad died 8 years ago. He’s always on my mind but most recently a friend, L,  has been struck with the same cancer that killed my father.  My tie to L is through a mutual friend and also through my father.  After my mom died we were looking for a personal assistant to help my dad, then a busy executive who was crushed from the sudden and tragic death of my mother. He hired L to help him and they formed a lovely friendship and mutual admiration. And I, in turn, got to know  L. About a year ago L moved across the country to Seattle in search of better job prospects and a new life. Six months into her new adventure she as diagnosed with stage4 lunch cancer.

I have been sending cards, small gifts and texts to L and last night our mutual friend gave me an update on her progress. I went to sleep with L on my mind, and i think by connection, my father. So a dream about him is not unusual. But the email in my inbox this morning was an email from Bed Bath and Beyond with the subject line targeting my father.

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First I have to say I was struck by what a good coupon it was. How come I’ve never gotten that offer? Even in death, my father has more purchasing clout than I do! And it came through at 6:22am.

Let me say that over the years my belief system has been challenged, and today although I would love to find out that there is something beyond this life, I am not counting on it. Was it my father trying to communicate? It would be impressive that he could find his way into the Bed Bath and Beyond database, manipulate it and send me that email this morning. Is it more likely that the giant retailer is hurting and mining data that somehow cross referenced my father and me, more likely. It is odd that I have never before received any email marketed to him. And so I will spend the day calculating the statistical probability of this happening. I do believe in math.  But it does have me wondering if  the “Beyond” in Bed Bath and Beyond has a hidden meaning. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Stranger on a Plane: Post Election Kindness

November 15, 2016 – – Yesterday was one week since the historic presidential election that yielded  surprising results. So surprising that there have been riots, fear, hate, speculation, adulation and celebration throughout our country every day since the results have been announced.  If your candidate lost or if your candidate won everyone seems to be in a bit in a daze  and very cautious because the outcome was so unexpected.

As I was flying  back from West Palm Beach to New York ( business, not pleasure), about 20 minutes before landing we hit turbulence. And it was rather hairy. The plane pitched and dropped and there were screams,  not mine but from those around me. I became very fidgety. As a frequent and normally fairly relaxed flyer turbulence rarely bothers me. Not yesterday. I think I was tired, somewhat anxious and preoccupied ( not election related but work/life related) and I was susceptible to fear.

Out of instinct I grabbed the hand of the man next to me, a complete stranger who had a 20% resemblance to my husband. I said to him, “Would you mind holding my hand”? Without hesitation he took my hand and said, “Of course. You’ll be fine, we’ve got this”. We sat silently holding hands for about 10 minutes until we landed. I found myself leaning into him, holding tightly and not feeling the least bit awkward. Safely on the ground I turned to him and thanked him and he replied with a smile. That was it. We didn’t exchange any more words, never asked to know one another’s name. It didn’t matter. I don’t care who he voted for  or what he does for a living because it doesn’t  matter.

As I write this at 5am on Wednesday morning, I am still not feeling awkward about the incident at all, although part of me feels I should. But yesterday it was nice to be reminded that in the end, most people are good and kind and decent and that even though things may look dangerous and people are afraid, that if everyone finds a way to come together  we’ll be fine, we’ve got this.

 

 

The Man in the Silver Blazer: Richard Simmons and Me on a Tuesday in NYC

Wednesday, October 8, 2013

As I stood in front of a restaurant in midtown in the the heart of Times Square and the theater district, I watched the crowds go by.  Tourists from all parts of the world, folks in town for business squeezing in dinner before a broadway show, and locals cutting through on their way home or to the train or subway.

It was about 6:45pm and the sun was setting. I  glanced up the street, east, searching the crowd coming toward me for  the faces of two dear friends meeting me for dinner. 

 I saw neither of them as I glanced east on 43rd street. But I did see a man in silver blazer and grey slacks walking with an entourage headed my way. When you grow up here you just note things that seem a little different and let it digest  in your brain to then categorize it as good, potential danger, just plain weird. Hmm a little odd I thought, silver blazer…

But as the image filtered through my brain it began to register as familiar and I looked again. The  man, about 60, was struggling to walk a bit from what appeared to be an injury of some kind. But I knew the curly hair and the cherub face was none other than Richard Simmons.  If you don’t know 80s exercise  of Sweating to the Oldies fame or even as a guest on the Howard Stern show then take a look here. 

I grew up in the 80s and think of Richard as always wearing those star spangled sateen shorts, jumping around, very energetic and maybe shedding a tear in a dramatic way to emphasize his passion for helping people struggling with weight loss. 

As Richard walked closer toward me and my brain registered who he was i couldn’t help myself but to smile and say hello. He stopped to and said in his most enthusiastic Richard Simmons voice, ” You are beautiful!” To which I replied, Oh you are so sweet thank you! . Richard smiled and continued on his way. Got a few steps, stopped  beyond me and a turned around  and said , “You are  so beautiful, inside and out!” 

Now at my age, fighting the good fight to keep it all together in the looks department, I will gladly take  kind word any day of the week but what really struck me was that the comment, the second comment,  was so consistent with the Richard Simmons personal brand he has built over all these years. A man known for trying to make people, in particular women, feel good about their bodies no matter what shape they are in and giving them hope and a kind word. 

A random encounter, a kind word from a not so stranger, dinner with  dear friends. It was a wonderful night in New York.

As I texted my husband to share my encounter with him, his reply was,     ” How does he know about your insides?” 

So You Want to Be a Daytime TV Guest

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 (First posted 4/2102 see update at the end)

Tim Gunn Helped Me Not Fear My Rear

His lips moved, I know he was speaking but I heard almost nothing. After he said something about how lovely I looked in my dress, I was on cloud nine. He was talking to me, looking at me and sharing very important insider tips and information. I nodded where appropriate, I even asked a question. And yet, I heard almost nothing. I was mesmerized by his piercing blue eyes looking at me! His pink plaid shirt under his tailored grey suit, all of that  perfection is this man I have admired for so long. It was some of the best two minutes of my life. I was a foot away, he was talking, I was nodding, it was just the two of (and 100 other people but I didn’t even see them or notice them). I touched his arm twice, he had his around my waist for a solid 176 seconds. At one point he whipped me around to look at me face to face and remarked how well preserved I was. He was a gentleman, attentive, warm, and sincere. I savored every minute of that morning  the way you would a wonderful glass of wine or imported dark chocolate – one marvelous moment at a time.

It All Began With An Email

A few weeks earlier I was reading though one of the email lists I receive  throughout the day from journalists or tv producers who are seeking subjects to speak to them on a certain topic. One caught my eye asking for Fashion Questions for the ABC daytime show “The Revolution” featuring a panel of subject matter experts including fashion expert Tim Gunn and home improvement celebrity Ty Pennington. Having just had a conversation the day before with a friend about my struggle to find pants, I decided to write an intelligent question about my struggle and included a simple photo taken from my phone. When I hit send, I knew that I’d be contacted, no magic I just knew. So when the call from one of the producers came a few weeks later I was very pleased. You have to understand this was the opportunity to ask my question of the man I have admired for years for his ability to enlighten women on how to dress their best, for this teaching and coaching skills of new designers. I had read  his books and admired that the man he presented to the world appeared to be consistent, and to me, usually a sign that it was genuine.

Pants Are The Problem

After being asked to send in some more photos, my measurements and a little more about what I was trying to learn  I was confirmed as a guest for the “Ask Tim” segment of the Revolution. I was to show up at the Chelsea TV Studios one morning the following week at 8:30am. I had only told my dear friend  Maura, about my original email, but she was unable to come with me. I asked one more person and when she was unable to get out of work I made my decision. I decided that though I was 46 and couldn’t find a pair of pants without the help of an expert, I was going to go on this adventure solo, be in the moment and enjoy myself without worrying about anything else for those few hours.

Now for those who know me you might be surprised that I had a fashion question. I am on top of trends, dress well and know how to shop. I’ve helped friends organize their closets, shop for big events and have even studied fashion design, pattern making, illustration and the history of fashion. But I wear dresses 90% of the time when I leave the house. My wardrobe consists of dresses, skirts and a few random   cargoyish pants I wear around the house. I have not purchased a pair of dress pants for 7 years. That’s a long time.  I love dresses.  I can spot one on a rack and without trying it I  will know if it’ll look good. Give me a Trina Turk dress or a Milly dress and I am in heaven. Just don’t ask me to buy pants. I fear my rear and therefore avoid the challenge of pants. The night before my TV debut Maura sent me a text that read  “Don’t you find it ironic that your ass is what is getting you on tv”?

The Big Day

The next morning I put on a lovely grey dress with a pleated skirt, a purple cardigan, a 20 year old Hermes scarf, cute grey mary jane heels and an adorable trench coat. I looked the same as do on most days ready to go! I  ran to catch the 6:43AM into Penn Station. Below is a photo of me on the train platform that morning.

6:43am ready to Revolutionized

I arrived exactly on time and as I walked down the street I saw Martha Stewart looming large on the side of the building. Apparently Martha films at the same studio. I walked in the door, up a short flight of stairs and was met by a nice young girl whose job is to check in the guests. I had a few minutes to wait as the producer came down for me and learned that the young woman was an intern at NYU graduating in a few weeks and was hoping to land a permanent job in TV production.

Arriving, Hair & Make-Up And a Slight Change of Plans

Finally, it’s “all about me”!

The friendly young producer Samantha, who had been my contact, came down to gather me and usher me into a conference room on the first floor. On the table were make-up tools and curling irons. A few moments later, Steven the make up artist for the show who works on the guests, entered the room and it lit up with his warmth and charm immediately. When it was my turn he worked gently and with confidence and I let him do his thing and I  have to say I never looked prettier in my life. Not even on my wedding day! I looked like me, but the best Japanese anime version of myself I could have ever imagined. What a wonderful and unexpected gift I was given by Steven.

My other two “room mates” were Moriah, a 6’3″ science fellow, coach and oh yeah, high school physics teacher who had also had been selected for her question for Tim. Her height has always presented a challenge when trying to select blazers and she’s been forced to purchase men’s blazers and have them tailored, but it’s not working. She was asking the great and powerful Wizard of Gunn to help her too. Teri was part of another segment that had to do with diet and fitness. A super nice woman who was just crazy enough to exercise on TV was a  a natural. This picture was taken after Steven worked his magic on us all. The man is a genius.

L-R Me, Steven, Moriah and Terri after our makeovers

Samantha ran us through what would happen, what we should say, how to say it and we did that about 4 times each.

HDTV, Colors That Pop, and Don’t Forget To Smile and Wave

By now I had been asked to change into a red dress I had bought which I thought looked super on me but turns out, as seen in a photo from that day I may look a little less  fab than originally thought.  But I don’t want to skip ahead. Now that we were dressed in TV  colors to make us “pop” and our faces and hair where HDTV ready, we were brought up to meet and pass inspection from the senior segment producer. Tiny, beautiful and of course, well dressed, she inspected us, coached us and practiced with us. Telling us to have fun, smile, be animated, wave on cue, when to stand, and where to walk. I had not yet even been in the studio so how would i remember all these directions? By this time the show had been filming for 45 minutes and we were now just a few steps away from the set. We heard the cheering, saw Ty and the other hosts. The sets, the camera crew, the producers, assistants,the  talented stylists and all the humans that go into making 60 minutes of television 5 days a week were buzzing around us like flies.

The smile and wave was the only thing I was nervous about. I can be an animated speaker but I’m not an animated smile- waver. In fact I have a Mono Lisa smile despite good teeth. It comes from years of practicing to smile with only my eyes because as a young teenager I thought it would reduce the wrinkles on my face when I was an old woman, like you know 47. By the way, all these years later my “style of smile” is finally in fashion. The Middleton sisters are not teeth smilers either.

Show Time

We were told we would be placed in the audience.  Tim would call our name, we’d do our manic smile wave and he’d say “Tell us your question” at which point we are to jump up and animatedly ask the question the way we were coached. The coaching was not to change our question, but rather to get the question framed out in the short time allotted. Tim and the team knew the question because on the set were solutions to our problems and the segment is about Tim teaching and explaining how to resolve it.

Tim Gunn said Hi!

I think it’s fair to say I don’t get particularly star struck and am not flustered easily. But that morning I felt like a school girl who has spent the past three years staring at a cute boy in math class and this was the day he was finally going to say hello.

As I followed the stage manager to my assigned seat, Samantha whispered something to Tim who was onstage and he looked right at me, smiled, waved and said “Hi Linda”!  I waved back in double time and smiled wide – with my teeth showing! It was a blissful exchange of greetings (at least it was for me). Two seconds later the audience and I are were being directed to smile and clap as they come back from commercial and then it was show time! “Where’s Linda?” Tim said, camera tight on me, I waved and smiled  (this time no teeth- years of training kicked in) and he said “what’s your question”? At that point I popped up out of my chair and explained that I’d love to wear pants, but always wear dresses and have not bought a pair of pants in years. He said he could help!

With that I came down on the stage and we stood on opposite sides of mannequin.  He then looked me straight in the eye and said something like( b/c those eyes are mesmerizing I can’t give you the exact quote) “Well you look great in dresses!!  To which I demurely tilted my head to the right and said i small “oh thank you”. Then he went on to earnestly explain the three styles of  pants: straight, wide leg and skinny. How to select them, how to wear them. This wasn’t a “make over segment” with me trying on pants or anything like that, so after the three mannequins my segment was over and I scurried back to my seat as I had been previously directed.

Tim Time

During my time with Tim I never saw the audience, I never saw the crew. It was me, Tim Gunn, three mannequins and nothing else mattered in the world. Then as fast as it happened it all ended. Show over!  Moriah’s segment ended the show so she was still on stage with Tim and Samantha. I figured I was in that crowd and I could hang. I sauntered up there and sidled up next to Tim and stood there for what seemed like an hour (but was actually 10 seconds) I and kept saying to myself – SAY WHAT YOU CAME HERE TO SAY TO HIM. YOU MORON, TIM GUNN IS STANDING NEXT TO YOU. JUST SAY IT!

So I turned to him and said, “I really admire your work. Your teaching style is incredible” He said he had been  a teacher for 29 years and I softly said I knew because  I had followed his career and read his books.  I stopped there because I didn’t want to become stalkerish or scary;but what I wanted to say was “Thank you for all that I learned watching you coach and teach the designers on Project Runway. Thank you for writing your books and behaving in a way that is consistent with my beliefs of etiquette, kindness, and thankfulness. Thank you for teaching women how to better dress themselves. Thank you for being a role model.” So instead I just said it to myself.

Then Moriah asked if we could have pics taken with Tim and he said “of course” without any hesitation. Just another tiny example of how gracious he is. Back in the green room (actually it was yellow) he posed with us for pictures and  asked us what we did for a living. But here is the thing. He actually listened because his responses were specific to what we were saying. Case in point, to which was my most favorite part of the day and a comment I will always cherish. When we were side by side taking photos he asked me about my career and I mentioned that I’d been in marketing for 24 years. He spun around to have me facie him, squinted and said “You look fabulous” to which I replied “sunscreen”.

A few minutes later it was over and I walked out onto 26th street and rushed back to Penn Station to catch a train. I reflected on my day and pondered why I hadn’t told more people about my adventure and what I would do now. I’ve decided not to watch the episode when it airs in a few weeks. It was never about being on TV and frankly as a 40 something with body image issues, I don’t want to watch it with my harsh critic’s eye. I don’t want to critique myself and obsess over my lumps and bumps or the angle from which I was shot or how I looked when I smiled and waved. I have decided to give myself a gift and remember the day as it was, looking through my eyes.

Author’s Note. As of this posting on 5/21/2013 one year later “The Revolution” has been cancelled,   I am still the Goldilocks of pants and I have yet to view the episode on my trusty TIVO.

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Black Sequin Dress

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I just finished cleaning my closet and I have a black sequin dress on the brain.

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It sits on the top shelf of my closet. She only wore it once and I’ve never worn it but I can’t part with it. The black sequin dress is a full length, sleeveless sheath dress with thin straps. The dress is lovely and it represents many thing about the relationship between my mother  and I  and our collective body image issues.

My mom was 69 years old when she died from injuries sustained in a bizarre accident ( a gut wrenching tale for another day).  At the time of her death she weighted about 118 pounds. Her weight ranged from 115 -135 at her heaviest when she was full term pregnant with each of her three children. Mom liked to share that she walked out the hospital in  pants she wore before she was pregnant. She couldn’t understand how women of my generation would gain so much weight when they were pregnant.

At 5’7”, my height too, she had what appeared to be a healthy relationship with food. She believed that you could eat what you wanted in moderation. The key was self-control. In fact almost every night she had a tiny bowl of ice cream a small handful of peanuts and 3 pretzels. Oh, did I mention that she smoked? Every day since she was 15 years old. I think that may have had something to do with her fabulous metabolism.

Despite her enviable figure she never saw herself as pretty enough, thin enough or suitable to be wearing anything that was remotely revealing or sexy. That point of view seems contrary to photos of her as a young woman in the 1950s dressed beautifully, coifed and sporting matching red lips and nails.  Time changes all of us but the insecurities that she had as a girl of 10 who learned, by chance, that the father she knew was not her biological father and the mystery around her father of origin was never fully revealed. The scars of not knowing were ones she refused to look at or explore – they were to be ignored and stuffed away and she focused on what she could control.

Mom and Dad glam even at the beach
Mom and Dad glam even at the beach

Speaking of control, both my mother and her mother were a little weight obsessed when it came to my sister and I. Being thin meant being disciplined.  My grandmother, who was about 4 feet 10 inches, a former nurse with a quick intellect and sharp tongue liked to remark when my sister or I were  “getting broad in the beam” . Her version of calling us fat asses.  What was to be the last remark my mom made about my weight came about a year before she died. At the time I was pissed, but I can laugh today because she really was such a good person, awesome mom but a human being who could be a ball buster. I met her at the train station and I just cut my hair from the middle of my back to super short. I had been gaining weight steadily for the year previously and I was up to about 180 pounds. We were together for about an hour and I asked her why she hadn’t commented on my hair. She replied, “I was so distracted by how bloated your face looked I didn’t notice your hair!”.  Well, that certainly explained it!

My weight  has swung dramatically since I was in high school. Once after a car accident at the age of 17  I ended up with a broken femur, wicked concussion and 5 months of out high school recovering. My weight went down to about 102 pounds. I would weigh myself several times a day and eating or rather, not eating, was a game. But in our world we didn’t go to therapy to discuss, we ignored it and stuffed it away and focused on what we could control.

Recently I  found a picture of my 21 year old self, on my way out the door on a new year’s eve circa 1986 and my dress was knee length, black velvet with a corset front. I am in awe of the tiny waist I had. (not to mention how BIG my hair was). But more than that I am struck by two things. First, there is not one ounce of joy on my face. Probably  because I hadn’t eaten a  full meal  in about  5 years. I think I was about 115 pounds at the time. The second striking thing is that at the time I was full of not’nough’s. Not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough. All of that was self-imposed.  I  feel so sorry for that cranky, skinny girl.

21 and hungry
21 and hungry

I remember the night mom wore the black sequin dress to a formal affair with my dad. She looked beautiful but she insisted on wearing a shawl to cover her arms.. The woman had not an ounce of fat on her. I was so frustrated at her for not seeing how pretty she looked.   But I wonder what she thought when she saw pictures of herself  from that evening. or from any earlier time like the pictures here. Did she look back and appreciate how lovely she looked at the time?

Or was she filled with not’noughs?

A high school girl.
Mom’s high school girl pic.
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The Hurricane Bench and a Moment of Heartache

My garage was torn down today as a result of a huge tree that fell during the recent Hurricane Sandy. As I looked at the debris that was being pulled out I saw it. The blue bench that had been at my father’s home until he died four years ago here on Long Island.

As I looked at the broken blue bench, it was the first time in 8 days that I let myself feel sadness for my own loss, fear, anxiety, disorientation, and I acknowledge the frustration of the hardships we are ensuring without power, heat and hot water, not to mention the next few months of what will be personal and business complications as a result of Sandy.

The blue bench had been a fixture at my Dad’s backyard. He had painted the wooden bench  blue because that was my mother’s favorite color and he missed her every day since she died in 2002.

The bench was located in near the pool in his  beautiful backyard. My father died almost exactly 4 years ago from lung cancer. The bench is where he would sit outside for hours upon hours during the last years of his life, too tired from the lung cancer to do much else.  Dad took great pride the plantings around his property. He had “supervised” as every single one was placed in the ground.

In fact, he could name each plant, tree and flower  and would talk about how big they would be in the years to come. I recently visited the property and it took my breath away to see his vision come to fruition -they were all now incredibly beautiful, lush and large.

On the day of my sister’s wedding, two short months before he passed away  he sat there on the bench and people would visit with him.  The last picture taken of my father and I was from that day.  He was seated on the bench and I was crouching down next to him. I love that photo.

In addition to the bench we lost more “stuff”  on the day of the Hurricane when  the huge oak tree crushed our garage and it’s contents. But we were luckier than so many of our friends, neighbors who endured such loss on October 29th, when Sandy roared onto the shores of the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

As I looked at the bench, cracked, broken beyond repair it reminded me of my father who, at the end of his life was broken beyond repair. The feelings at the time of his death of helplessness and frustration, of not being able to fix the situation,  came rushing back to me. In that moment I could actually feel the fresh grief over my father’s death for all over again, symbolized by that bench, and  multiplied by hundreds of thousands of people throughout the region.

My breath was taken away by the collective sadness over the loss of life, property and the safety and security that was literally washed away with the hurricane. That sadness is palpable and can be felt in the air up and down the East Coast.

As I chatted  with a friend whose home was ravaged by the hurricane and the related floods  he remarked how we are the lucky ones and that we have “headaches” vs. “heartaches” and he is right.

But just for today I allowed myself a moment of heartache.

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Post Prom- The Girl in the Black Taffeta Dress

Today while I was dropping off decorative pillow cases at the dry cleaner I was struck by all the prom dresses that were hanging, cleaned and draped in plastic waiting to be picked up.  I wondered about the young girls, who they were, what they wore, what their night was like, was it everything they had hoped for? And now what? What will become of that dress. Will it be worn again?

I recently saw a picture of myself in my  prom dress. And if it wasn’t packed away again I’d scan it and post it b/c it was SO fabulous. It was black, taffeta or taffetaish, with  puffy shoulders, and a peplum waist. It was knee length and boy did I think I was rockin’. It was, after all, the 80s. Early 80s, even worse. With my smart Olivia Newton John hair ( sans Let’s Get Physical headband) I was a vision. A vision of what, I’m not sure.

What I look at that picture I think about how complicated that girl’s  life had already started to become ( long story for another day) but also how innocent she was and how much would come her way. All the wonderful things that life would bring her her and all the challenging moments that will force her to grow and learn.

That night of the prom as I said goodbye to my parents I couldn’t have imagined a day when they would both by gone; one as a result of a horrific accident and the other from grips of lung cancer.  The disappointments that come with growing up and moving through my 20s, 30s and now my 40s.  Living through a failed first marriage that I finally, with age and wisdom,  take at least 50% responsibility for that failure.

That girl had no  idea on the night of that prom how many career re-inventions should would go through (and love every onef them). Or relate to the  intense sense of failure and sadness that she would feel from not having children but growing to accept it over time.

The girl would have been delighted to know about all the incredible people she would meet, the dear friends she would  cherish along the way.  That young girl, 15 years after that photo was taken, would meet and marry the love of her life. An incredible life, a real person’s life was  waiting for the girl in the black taffeta dress.

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Wearing Your Heart on Your Chest

The other day, I met the cutest 4 year old girl name A. She was wearing a little topknot on her head, sundress, sandals and even little earrings and best of all a big wide smile that revealed two missing front teeth. Within 10 seconds I was completely and madly enchanted by this kid.

A is missing ribs that protect her heart.
I met her at the office of her Orthotists who was designing a protective vest or what her mother calls, her Heart Protector, so that when she goes to kindergarten in the Fall she can interact with the other children and minimize the chances of severe injury.

A’s mom shared that the cause of the missing ribs and other complications that affect most of her internal organs, including her uterus, kidneys and liver, is the result of a missing gene. All the specialists that A has been to say the same thing – they’ve never seen this before. Luckily there is a physician in Philadelphia who believes he can help A. and is working on some options. Prior to coming to see her Orthotist, A was wearing a baseball chest protector from Modells that her mom tried to modify to fit her.

A. and I chatted for a while. We both love the super pink color that she picked out for vest and when told her she was very “on trend” with her color selection, she smiled at me. A. told me about the string beans she’s growing in her backyard and I shared my love of pizza with broccoli on top. Then it was time for her to go.

A walked out of the office wearing a super pink vest with a large red abstract heart shape on the front to protect her heart from the world. As we waved good I could feel my heart ache a little with affection for this little girl and a little sadness for what her journey will hold for her. I found it a little ironic that the little one who has to protect her heart was able to pierce mine that day.

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Bra-apalooza!

My box o’ bras arrived yesterday and when I opened it I was overwhelmed by how many were in there- 20 in total. So I took them out of the box and spread them on my dining room table until this morning. My husband’s comment when he saw them was “Great! I can wear these on my head!”. Silly.

My goal was to find a seamless t-shirt bra with the support, coverage and style I was seeking. I just finished trying on all 20 bras. WOW! Laura, my brasultant (I made that up sorry) really did an amazing job of listening to what I was looking for. I tried on bras I never would have tried on in the store and tried on more than I ever would have in the store. I loved being a home and being able to try the bras under my own clothes.

I’m a 34D so not the easiest fit in the world ( i know too much information but it’s relevant to my story).   I believe the right bra makes you look 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter and a bad bra will detract form even the most expensive clothing.

Here are the brands and styles I was sent and though I liked almost all of them the total amount in bras sent to me was $1214 (including sales tax). That’s a lot of nylon/lycra. I’m keeping the ones with the 🙂 symbol and am keeping the list with my notes for future reference. The prices for the bras are standard MSRP and range from $52 -$69

  • Freya AA4233 🙂
  • Fantasie FL2231
  • Chantelle 1241
  • Natori 131040
  • Natori132025
  • Panache3376
  • Chantelle 3612
  • Chantelle 3951
  • Panache 5320
  • Wacoal 843115
  • Wacoal 853118
  • Wacoal 853155 🙂
  • Wacoal 853191
  • Wacoal854119 🙂
  • Wacoal 85814
  • Le Mystere 955 🙂

What a great experience this has been. FreshPair.com has made me a customer forever! Check them out and have your own Bra-Apalooza!

 

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