Saturday, March 31, 2012

A post full of favorites....

My favorite blouse....Ellen Tracy, thrifted

My favorite skirt.....Vintage aqua leather skirt, thrifted

My favorite shoes.....Nine West, eBay

Necklace....  Vintage, thirfted

Favorite gold bracelets.....Inherited from my wonderfully stylish mother!

My favorite sweet husband!

Even loving the way the sun is catching my growing gray locks!

When I put this outfit together, it simply was the culmination of wearing my favorites at the same time, and lo and behold....IT WORKS!  I NEVER would have thought this color combination would work and I can't really dissect why it works, it just does.

The moral of this story is to fill your closet with items you love, that make your heart sing!  Hence, you'll have outfits that evoke the same reaction!

Love Love Love and lots of air kisses headed your way!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Dignity No Charity" and a Marketplace India Giveaway

When Marketplace India contacted me about collaborating with them, my initial instinct was to balk.  In general, I've never felt good about what I've observed of blogger/brand collaborations.  But, rather than quickly decline, I decided to look into what Marketplace India is all about.  And in the current climate of frustration with fast fashion and what that means for women worldwide (see what Terri tweeted), Marketplace India provides a stylish alternative that stays globally responsible.

Marketplace India is a fair trade not-for-profit organization that helps women artisans in India organize themselves and their businesses to create self-sustaining and dignified means of income to build independent and hopeful lives for themselves and their communities.  You can read more about it here.

I was given a choice of 4 items and while the other three choices were more colorful and would photograph better; I opted to go with a top that I knew I'd wear again and again.  I was THRILLED when it arrived!  The cotton is so incredibly thin and light that I can wear this tunic all summer long!  I ordered a large to make sure I had plenty of drapiness.  For the first wearing, I decided against  over styling and just let the tunic be my guide.  If we listen, our clothes will basically tell us how to wear them....I'm a clothes whisperer now, don't you know!

I piled on the "organic" feeling accessories, wooden, stone and leather necklaces and wooden bracelets.  Add on the leather platform sandals and this felt like the perfect way to do casual!  I think next, I'll pair the tunic with pencil skirt and cinch it at the waist with an oversized belt.  I keep coming up with so many ways to wear this bit of loveliness!!

So let's share the love!  Marketplace India has been extremely generous, offering one of my readers a $100 gift certificate to use in their store.  Pam is also running this giveaway, so be sure to enter both!  For my contest, simply go to Marketplace India and come back and leave a comment on what you'd buy with your $100!  For extra entries, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  I'll draw a winner on Friday, April 6.   I would also ask you to please promote this giveaway, Pam's and any other MI collaborations on your social networks.  Let's get the word out that there ARE viable alternatives to fast fashion and it's exploited workers.  Alternatives that, as stated on the Marketplace India label, are all about "Dignity Not Charity"!

UPDATE:   My fabulous friend, Anne of The Frump Factor, is also participating in this collaboration so please check out what she chose and increase your odds of winning a generous gift certificate!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Oh Deliver Me From Shoe Lust!!!!

I don't know what's come over me.  This is NOT me.....  I'm Serene.  I'm thrifty.  I put together $10 outfits.  I try to rise above clothes and shoe lust.  But oh my word....these babies, I REALLY REALLY REALLY want sooooooooooo bad!  Nine West, I'll scrub your toilets!  I'll write your emails!  I'll hang dead chickens on the door of your enemies!  Need something done?  I'm your Girl Friday!!!  But I MUST. HAVE. THESE. SHOES!!!!!!!




Okay, I've gone for a bike ride and hopefully gotten it out of my system for now!  I don't normally do these kind of posts, but what can I say?  At the end of the day........I'm just a woman......who loves a shoe. (Heavy Sigh)


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Femme's finals words....Last words of famous women

The other day my husband sent me a link to this, a compilation of manly last words spoken by famous men. Needless to say, I loved this whole idea and so it sent me on a search of last words of history's famous (and infamous) women.  When it comes to men, there are endless sources of last words.  However,  I was shocked to find that there really are so few resources of the final quotes of women.  And regarding women of color, I simply couldn't find ANY.  

Last words are both intriguing and meaningful.  Intriguing because sometimes they're spoken with no knowledge of what's to come.  And meaningful, because it's the final opportunity to speak one's peace.    Some are quite poignant knowing that death is imminent and, in some cases, at hand.  I completely excluded suicide quotes because I wanted to avoid even the slightest appearance of romanticizing such a death.  

So here is a list of all the "last words" of women of note that I could find.  As a woman who has spends her life using up words like oxygen, I can only hope that whatever my last words may be, just let them be kind.  

Marie Antoinette - Queen of France

"Pardon me Sir, I did not do it on purpose"  
Spoken to her executioner after stepping on his foot.

Joan Crawford - Actress
"Dammit!  Don't you dare ask God to help me!"
 In response to her housekeeper's prayer.

Frida Kahlo - Artist
"I hope the exit is joyful and hope never to come back"

Queen Elizabeth I - British Queen
"All of my possessions for a moment of time!"

Talulah Bankhead - Actress

Anne Boleyn - Second wife of Henry VIII
"The executioner is, I believe, very expert, and my neck is very slender"

Edith Louisa Cavell - British nurse and patriot executed by a German firing squad.

"Standing, as I do, in the view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough.  I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone" 

Ethel Rosenberg - American Communist convicted of espionage and executed.  
"We are the first victims of American facism!"

Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Poet
In response to her husband's query regarding how she felt.

Lady Nancy Astor - First woman MP in Britain
"Am I dying or is this my birthday?"
Upon seeing her family gathered around her bed.

Coco Chanel - Designer and Style Icon
"You see, this is how you die."

Jane Austen - Writer
"Nothing but death"
When asked by her sister if there was anything she wanted.

Amelia Earhart - Pioneer Pilot
"Gas is running low.  We are on the line 157-337.  We will repeat this message.  We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles.  Wait."
Radio Transmission

Mata Hari - Exotic Dancer and Accused Spy
"Harlot, yes.  But traitor, NEVER!"

Charlotte Bronte - Writer
"Oh, I am not going to die, am I?  He will not separate us, we have been so happy."
Spoken to her husband of 9 months

Emily Dickinson - Writer
"I must go in.  The fog is rising."

"What is the answer?"  (When no reply was forthcoming) "In that case, what is the question?"

Anna Pavlova - Ballerina 
"Get my swan costume ready"

"Is it not meningitis?"

Martha Beck - Murderess
"My story is a love story, but only those who are tortured by love can understand what I mean.  I was pictured as a fat, unfeeling woman.  True, I am fat, but if that is a crime, how many of my sex are guilty?  I am not unfeeling, stupid or moronic.  My last words and my last thoughts are:  Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
Made before her execution.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

***Meaningless Numbers***

Silk blouse:  Thrifted and chopped off the arms, Skirt:  Thrifted, Shoes:  Lela Rose for Payless via eBay

I found this skirt at a new favorite local thrift store.  I saw it on the racks on a couple of visits and finally decided to just get it to sell because it has such great details....side zips that go all the way up the thigh, a great stretchy fabric and tailored seams.  It's a size 2, so as much as I loved it, I was fixated on the size.  But as I was in the dressing room trying on some other things, I eye balled the skirt laying in my cart and thought, "MAN!  I swear that looks like it would fit me!" and so I went for it and braced myself for a few moments of sweating, pulling, grunting and possible tears!

But guess what!?  BAM!  FABULOUSNESS was born!!!  It fit so great that I knew it was meant to be
AND an object lesson was learned.....


Perusing my closet, you'd find everything from 2 to 16 and everything in between!  That size 2 no more makes me tiny than the size 16 makes me full figured!  I'm just me and those sizes just don't mean a thing!  Makes you wonder why we put so much significance on a number, eh?  


Sunday, March 18, 2012

When Heels Feel Like Home

Blouse:  Silk Liz Claiborne, Thrifted, Skirt:  Zanelli, Thrifted  Heels:  Nine West via eBay

While I see soooo many beautiful outfits throughout the blogosphere, I've found myself returning again and again to what really feels like me.  This perfectly fitted pencil skirt and pink silk blouse are just so ME!  My plan is to hack off some of the sleeves of this top and make it short sleeved.

And with this all, I'm wearing possibly my all time favorite shoes!  When I'm in heels, I swear, it just feels like home!  I hope all you girlies have a fabulous week!  BTW, if you're interested, you can check out my store here.  Also, be sure to check out Visible Monday over at Not Dead Yet Style!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Body Changes = Attitude is EVERYTHING!

Disclaimer:  My husband LOVES the zipper detail in this skirt and just couldn't resist pushing the limits of my conservative comfort zone!

A few weeks ago, I read this post by Natasha detailing her coming to terms with no longer being a size 8.  Of course the title caught my attention...utter transparency snatches my attention every time. Natasha's opens her post stating,

After months of denial, I have finally accepted the fact that I am no longer a size 8.   In my acceptance, I did the unthinkable, but probably in hindsight the right thing, I removed most (there are just some pieces I couldn’t let go of) of  the size 8′s (especially the pants) that were taking up space in my closet and donated them.  

First of all, I think I totally love her!  Seriously!  Secondly, it's with growing acceptance that I say, "I can relate!"  The past year, my body has changed dramatically (to my eye, anyway).  It's not typical weight gain, but rather age related (I'm 45) weight redistribution.  I almost feel as if I'm in someone else's body sometimes!  My waist, which I've NEVER had an issue with before, has thickened.  My breasts, (I've always been flat chested) have grown (GASP!!) without any outside influence!  My legs are stronger and firmer than ever, so that's been a plus.  But I have to accept that my body is NOT the same as it was a year ago, or two years ago.  And that doesn't HAVE to be a bad thing.

As in most cases, perception is everything.  I can perceive myself to be "heavier" or I can choose to see myself through a woman's eyes; understanding that bodies change and it's a natural part of life.  Skinny doesn't equal attractive anymore than curvy equals fat.  But I'm going to be honest here.  This has not been an easy transition in my thinking, nor is it complete.  But I can honestly say that I'm getting there.

One of the things that helps is knowing that I'm doing the healthy things; and so if this is where my body rests, then it must be my "normal".   I regularly exercise.  I eat healthy MOST of the time.  I've spent a HUGE chunk of my life dieting.  Feeling guilty for eating.  Wanting to look like someone other than myself.  I'm really not interested in going back to that twisted mindset.

So from what I can tell, I have three choices.  1....I can get depressed and whine about getting older.  That is soooooo not me!  2.....I can determine that I'm not letting this happen and amp up my workouts and carefully guard my calorie intake.  NOT really feeling this option at ALL!  Do I REALLY want to spend my life working for my body?  Isn't it supposed to be working for me???  or 3....Accept and Embrace this new, more.....dare I say it?  BOMBSHELL figure!  Monty, I'm going with what's behind Door #3!   I guess one's never to old to learn how to work the BOMBSHELL!

 And by the way, PLEASE be sure to check out the other visible ladies over at Not Dead Yet Style!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Amorous about being Glamorous!

How to Add Glamour to Your Everyday Look

Feeling "Oh So GLAMROUS" in my bronze silk blouse!

Gloria Swanson once said that ever since she was a child, she wanted to be grown up as soon as possible.  I can relate!  I've always been enamored with glamour, or at least, my idea of glamour.  And all the glamorous people I knew were grown up!  Grown ups got to wear whatever they wanted.  They got to wear beautiful clothes and have fabulous times!  I wanted to be that pretty girl throwing her head back laughing with glossy lips, silky hair and every eye trained on her!

I'm going to sheepishly admit, that I really haven't changed much.  I'm still smitten by glamour!  The definition of glamour is "the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks."  It's also characterized as "magic or enchantment".  Ahhhhhh, now we're talking!  ENCHANTMENT.  I just love to say that word!

So the trick is how to bring glamour to the good old every day.  Not many of us have what would be considered glamorous jobs, or even glamorous lives; but does that mean that glamour is reserved for a select few?    A resounding NO WAY!!!    After all, glamour is more a state of mind than anything else!  So whether  you're a stay at home mom, picking up after children all day long, or a runway model jetting the globe; you can still add a touch of glamour to your life and look!  But first things first, let's start with adding glamour to your look!   Starting at the top:

Add some enchantment to your hair by giving it a spritz of perfume!  I love the idea of my hair smelling good and you'll feel incredibly feminine when you catch a whiff of your perfume when you move your head a certain way!  Another idea?  Choose a striking color!  See Ms. Gorgeous below?  No special style, but she's a standout!  While most women are making a run on L'Oreal to color their gray away, she's flaunting it and standing out in the crowd!  Glamour does that.  It says, "Just TRY to take your eyes off of me!"


If you do nothing else to your face.  If you go bone bare on the make up; you can still add some glamour by adding some glimmer!  LIPGLOSS!  Yes!  Glossify those lips and you'll not only look a little more glamorous, but you'll certainly feel more glamorous as well!


Does it get more glamorous than Lynda Carter circa the Wonder Woman years?  I think not!

Whatever you wear, wear it with something with some pizazz!   Take a look at the pictures below....The first is from Oscar PR Girl.  She's really wearing something so simple, but the drama that the train cardigan adds is PERFECTION!  THAT my sisters, is GLAMOUR!  Now take a look at Shey! She took a very simple skirt and cranked in and up the glamour with a sequinned top.  The look went from "Meh?" to "VA VA VOOM!" in 3.2 seconds (or the time it took her to put on her sequins!)


What I love about this is that it affirms the fact that glamour, magic, enchantment if you will, has NOTHING to do with money.  It's wearing that little something that's unexpected and a bit dramatic.   So even if you're a stay at home mom, you can still add a touch of HUZZA HUZZA to your soccer mom look!

Okay, you KNOW what I'm going to say here.  Break out those heels girly!  They go with EVERYTHING!  They really crank you toward 10 on the glammometer!  I know.  I know.  Sometimes heels can be difficult to walk in or hurt one's feet.  No worries, you can still get the effect with these alternatives....
The kitten heel is a great alternative to the vertiginous options saturating fashion magazines.


The wedge heel has been a great stepping stone on the way to a full out stiletto heel.  Or just park it right here and stay with the wedge!  Offers up the "WOW!" without the "OW!!!!"

Alright, so it's not the height that's getting you, it's the toothpick wide heel that you're teetering on.  Got ya covered!  Just go for a wider heel!  

Last, but certainly not least in the quest for glamorizing our look is our choice of accessories.  My two personal favorites are jewelry and belts!  Add a statement piece of jewelry to a white t-shirt and jeans.  Belt a tunic dress over a pair of skinny jeans or trousers.  Don't think that'll glam you up?  Take a look...

Without the belt, this is a pretty plain, demure dress.  But throw on this AMAZING belt and Christina transforms a vintage thrifted piece into a cover glam look!

 And from the Queen of Accessories and the statement necklace, Debbi shows how an amazing necklace can take a neutral outfit and make it COMPLETELY unforgettable!

I could add more to this list; but I think you get the picture.  So maybe we're not jet setters or fashion models.   But that doesn't mean we can't add glamour to our style like we'd add seasoning to our meals.  In fact, I think that's what glamour really's not the salt and pepper (those are the BASICS); but it's the paprika!  The Italian oregano or the sprinkle of saffron!  It's that little bit extra that doesn't just meet the need, but feeds the soul!  And so I leave you with a tad bit more inspiration from the glamour gal who put it into words for us!   Cheers my sisters!

BTW, check out the ultra glamorous Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style for more inspiration!