Tag Archives: fashion

#PRAllstars – photo critique

My niece and I adore the runway. Tonight was even more fabulous with @ninagarcia appearing as a judge. The episode was shore (resort challenge!) to be tailored and classy from head-to-toe.

When my niece and I cannot get together on Thursday nights, usually because of “almost the end of the work week fatigue”, we talk about the episode via text. This is real time commentary as the episode airs:

Despite being super fans, the drop-off is not unusual. One of us ends up apologizing on Friday and re-watching over the weekend. Last night was no exception. Melissa fell asleep but I still named the winner. Ken made a statement and won by a landslide.

D.C. is next and those are my initials. I wish I could capitalize on our Super fan-dome, put my mark on the competition and be a superfan mentor in an episode. Melissa could join me. We would be politely honest, the perfect juxtaposition between sweet and sassy, and very editorial.



Holiday exercise

All the step, fit-bit and workout conversations during the holidays is a drain on my psyche. I am not a regular fitness participant, can’t commit to a daily routine and even dole out punishment to myself for lack of motivation. Just yesterday I was kicking myself, instead of the punching bag, because I still make excuses for not exercising.

Today is a new day though.My outlook is more positive. I haven’t given myself enough credit. While I don’t have a gym membership or workout partner, I exercise plenty, especially during the holidays:

Weights – who carried up all the Christmas stocking holders from the basement? Those things aren’t light x the whole family x 2. That’s a set.

Speaking of which, add to that:

Stairs – cellar stairs are the original homemade elliptical. I AM a stair climber. I went up and down the stairs for eight buckets of tree limbs, ornaments and decorations. If you count the roasting pans, extra paper towels and added chairs I’ve also brought upstairs during the holidays, I may as well start training to climb Everest.

and climb I do:

Plank – the hot topic buzz word of the fitness world. No, I don’t lie on the floor and hold myself up with my elbows. What I did do was walk the planks of our second story, holding onto beam work, to wrap garland in all the right places.

Someone put out all the greenery, lights and presents. It wasn’t an elf.

Laps – I enjoy running and love to swim but don’t typically count laps. I need to participate in team sports where laps are just part of the process, not the actual goal. Given that, I’d say I completed a lot of laps shopping at the mall and walking parking lots in December.

…and I did it in high fashion:

Push-ups – I do not have the proper form for push-ups. Coaches have always told me to put my ass down and modified push-ups seem like cheating. The push-up bras I wore over the holidays allowed for a solution and whether you consider it cheating or not, those underwires gave me the proper form on a daily basis.

Add to that the form and beauty I adorn to all my packaging:

Curling – I took time to curl several times a week. Curling ribbon is one of my favorite holiday exercises. I only wish I knew how many miles I’d logged wrapping pretty gifts.

The last few exercises were when I really dug in:

Leg lifts – After every wrapping session, shopping excursion or meal planning event, I finished off with leg lifts. In a sitting position under a lit tree, I put a pillow on the coffee table and lifted my legs up to enjoy a hot beverage.

Holiday fitness includes the ultimate cool down as well:

Sit-ups – I did. I sat up at multiple tables to enjoy some delicious snacks, meals and desserts. Repetitions are key to the best sit-up results. Sometimes the sessions were so long, I was even sore afterwards.

Now I can add to the holiday fitness conversations. I am ready to give myself credit for all my hard work. To anyone that disagrees, I say,

“Step off.

I am a bit fit and

it works out for me.”


When you go to your first office party as a participant in the ugly sweater contest but it’s not an ugly sweater contest at all.

The first person you see is the admin at the front desk who is dressed in such a cute elf top she could be the lead toymaker in a live production of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Her green, red and white top even has jingle bells adorned on the cuffs and collar but you are naïve enough to think it is just attributable to her happy nature. Clearly she hadn’t read the memo that she emailed to the staff.

That’s when you go to the break room and see the one woman that is older than you in a gorgeous black velvet jacket with a silk embroidered Christmas scene that could land itself in a gallery. Obviously, she had not bought it at Walmart nor worn her best jacket because she thought it was an ugly contender.You smile and say hello like it’s any other December day but do not take off your coat.

A walk to your private office will help you sort this potential fashion blunder out. You stayed up all night sewing crocheted snowflakes to the oldest red sweater you owned. It was embellished with the worst felt Christmas decorations your kids had ever made. Even midnight hadn’t stopped you from adorning it with gold and silver glitter you threw into the smeared overdose of glue gun horror.

As you mentally change your mindset from clear winner to office loser, you wonder how to continue the morning? You start by rereading the office party luncheon invitation. Lunch is at noon and there will be two judging’s in the morning: one for the nicest office decor and a second for the ugly sweater winner. As far as you’re concerned, your sweat equity ugly sweater efforts are confirmed, so you proceed to the ladies room.

You just about melt when you see the lawyer leaving the bathroom in not just a gorgeous merino wool snowman sweater but an entire dress. She even has black high-heeled boots to emphasize her Christmas fashion statement. Only a top hat and pipe would have heightened the look. She probably had them back in her office so Kris Kringle himself could ask her to perform some magic during the luncheon.

You do what you have to in that situation. You take a shit to demonstrate how you feel, hold your head up high and own it as you strut back into the office – even when people look away or smile in a way that neither acknowledges nor inquires about your holiday sweater. You swallow hard once you’re back at your desk and realize you still have to stand in front of the entire office when it’s your turn for the Yankee swap.

All of this composure is held together even when you realize that joke gifts will not be the norm either. Booze and lottery tickets are the hit as you wonder what you’re reddened face will look like once someone opens your six pack belt of gingered ale.

The hour and day go by as slowly as an entire winter in New England. Snowman lawyer wins both the office decor and “sweater” contest with a fast tally of 32 to zero. A clean sweep…and all you can do is take the broom to clean up the glitter from your participation in the not-ugly-sweater-contest.


Brimfield Flea Market is host to antiques, industrial salvage, oddities, miles of fields and food vendors as well as paintings, porters and dealer personalities. These antique dealers stage their tents awaiting sales while buyers scope the huge territory waiting for just the right item. My September visit demonstrated both sides of that vintage coin. A dealer’s display of this  little guy stopped me in my tracks. What is he waiting for?

– a glass display box?

– the next onlooker reaction?

– better eyeware fashion?

– someone to purchase him?

– his next meal?

I know, perhaps:

– sunlight?


– an undertaker? 

It seems the taxidermist left him in the dark and feeling a little stuffed.
Photo challenge

Yoga pants can die

Our washer was on the fritz, so I headed to the local laundromat after work one day. I was upset but I didn’t have to break down too. It was just laundry I couldn’t do within the comfort of my own home. All I needed to do was break a Jackson to get enough quarters for three loads of laundry. 

I’d put all the baskets in my car before work. After getting off the train, I drove down the road to “Bubble-It” and found three washers in a row near the door and the plate glass. How much was that laundry in the window? 


After playing washing machine slots to get all the washers tumbling, I set my alarm and drove farther down the street to visit my parents until time was up. I headed back knowing I had quarters left in my roll but reminded myself it was my washer that broke, not my dryer. I thought I’d just load up my wet laundry and let it take a spin at home. However, that was before I realized I’d have to heft about 187 pounds of wet clothes and towels in and out of my car. 

I did the math of both time and expense and decided at 25 cents for seven minutes, I could stay for another 21 minutes and complete the task at hand. It was dark outside when I started but I had The Sun magazine to keep me company. Other dryers were going and people seemed to come and go, so I stayed to play again in my new found casino.

I counted out 9 more quarters and gambled on whether my towels would be fluffy enough to take back home. The dryers were popular. There weren’t three in a row and I hadn’t bet on that. A couple of dryers were also broken and there were no floor attendants to assist with the non-functioning machines here.  I used one available dryer near the window and I found two more, one up and one down, toward the end of the row.

Once each of the three were spinning, I rotated back to the front window and got lost in my favorite magazine. After absorbing two articles, I got up to check the timers. 1, 2, 3 minutes left…each was almost done as a man came in to take out his clothes as well.

We said hello, wished each other a Merry Christmas and then got talking about his little kids. My first alarm went off as he added that he had six kids. I started folding as he mentioned their range in age and that he’d gotten started later in life. I folded another pair of yoga pants as he said he had just enough time to get back home and see them before bed. He finished putting all the clothes from his second dryer into a sack, threw it over his shoulder and took off like Santa Claus.

Once he was gone, I opened my own drawstring bag and put all my daughters intimates inside. I folded a couple of towels and wondered where the brown one came from? It’s always interesting doing dorm laundry. I find new clothes bought from a mall outing or stiff bathing suits that never got hung to dry.

I saw a ‘Pink’ wasteband and wondered exactly how many pairs of yoga pants my daughter now had? I folded it and added the Victoria Secret pant to its black pile in my laundry basket. I pulled out the matching zippered hoodie and was glad my daughter seemed to no longer wear XS clothes. While I was folding her stuff, I had heard the other dryers go off. One had our towels and sheets and the other load contained the clothes of my husband and I. 

I know my daughters refold any clothes I wash for them but I figured it would keep the wrinkles at bay until they were put away. I had purposely left the jeans for last. If they weren’t 100% dry, I could finish drying them when I got home. 

It was late, I was tired and there was nobody left in the building to distract me. I refocused on my task at hand and decided I could fold the other two loads at home. That’s when I noticed the jeans were from Old Navy. My 20-year-old may buy a workout top from there but we’d not bought  jeans from there in years.

Hell no, I thought, as I held them up in front of me.

…her jeans were not a size 16!

The fucking brown towel was not her roommates.

She does NOT own 53 pairs of yoga pants. 

…I’d touched someone else’s underwear!!

I threw everything back into the bohemouth machine as fast as I could. I dumped the drawstring bag of intimates out on top of the damn laundry that I’d taken the time to fold, closed the door and made sure nobody was coming back into the laundromat at that moment.

I turned back to see my daughter’s laundry sitting at rest in the next machine. I threw it all into my basket, wrinkles and all, and ran outside with her unbagged undergarments.

I doubled-back for our towels and sheets and made a second run for my car. The last of the loot was still inside. My own clothes were the ones in the front window, on the top, I reminded myself as I ran back in for the last of our laundry. 

Time was suddenly of the essence. I’d spent 21-minutes waiting for dry laundry and God only knows how much longer violating someone else’s.

I did not want to come face-to-face with whoever it was. They couldn’t know who was behind their night time panty raid. It was a gamble to get out unnoticed. Too many minutes had passed.

I hedged my bets and left my dryer sheets and detergent bottle. Merry Christmas to them. I just wanted to be back in the comfort of my New England home.

In the woods. 

Where I could finally break down, realize the error of my sleepy ways and count my losses.

Fashion Statement

My youngest daughter was never a huge shopper.  When she was an early teenager at the mall, she took forever to pick out an outfit.  It was a point of exhaustion – she circled back to each store three times before a decision was made.  As she got older and had money of her own, what she did spend was minimal and  thoughful.   It became a point of pride for me – she knew the value of a dollar and didn’t create impulsive looks.

Nowadays she seems even more frivolous and thoughtful of her image.  She buys an item and once it’s home, she admits to herself that she doesn’t need it.  Away at college, she orders something on-line from time-to-time.  When she comes home, she wants to return the item.

That’s where I come in. 

She has me do her bidding:

  • I remember one of the first times we made a return at the mall.  I was glad she wanted to spend time with me.
  • The second time, it felt great to be a Mom taking care of her baby girl.
  • The third time, I worried that she was shy or perhaps I was enabling her?

If she was the driver, in another store or sick at home – I was her front man.  I did not mind going to a trendy store counter stating, ‘it is too small’.

After another year of this behavior, I’m smarter.

I’ve also become

leary – skeptical – suspicious

forever 21 side

Although I don’t know why – she has the receipts.  Well, if she doesn’t, she has the tags. The stores have policies and procedures for returns.

Last weekend her grandmother and I picked her up before Easter.  She asked if we could go to the Harley shop to return a shirt before we got on the highway.  She drove us to the city dealership but wanted to stay in the car and visit with Grammie.  She handed me a bag.

It didn’t seem like a manipulation.

She and her Dad had been to the Harley Davidson shop the prior weekend to use her Christmas gift card. I was happy to give my daughter and Grammie some 1×1 time.  I held my own walking into the bike shop.  I felt confident in my jeans and about my transaction.

I was greeted at the door and brought over to ‘the ladies’ at the clothing counter.  I told them I wanted to exchange the small shirt in my bag for a medium.  I didn’t think it was a problem.  It was a Harley shirt – from their dealership.

The one time I didn’t have a receipt or a tag, I was questioned – twice.   The manager was summoned.  I assured her I just wanted to complete an exchange.  She acknowledged me but continued to key the numbers on the inside label.

I started to feel like it was a setup.

The feeling was confirmed when the woman with the tight black T-shirt (well – the one with the manager tag on her full bossom) turned back toward me.  She told me the shirt style I had was only sold eight months ago.  Their return policy was thirty days.

I felt like I deserved thirty days.  I won’t be making any more returns.  I also don’t think I’ll return to that Harley dealership. My daughter didn’t have much to say for herself.  So, I spoke instead – something about exhaustion and not being proud.