Saturday, May 31, 2014

What Do I Know?

I really like thinking about types/seasons/color systems--it has been something either in the back of my mind or on the forefront since I was age 25. Finding my true colors and what I should do with clothes, hair is back on my mind again. What to do? 

Back then we all read the book, Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson and thought about whether we were Springs, Summers, Autumns, Winters. Since I loved Autumn best and all of those colors, I secretly hoped I was an Autumn. But no, I had a draping at J.C.Penney by a CMB specialist and she said I was a spring. (But I think she tossed a coin between Summer and Spring.) I tried following the Spring palette but it was difficult. I had trouble finding those colors and I didn't really look good in the reds, and just looked tired. But maybe I just was tired!  (I had two more boys by the time my oldest was six-years-old--yes, four boys!) 

This is me, about age 29, exhausted, with two boys around 20 months apart. But I'm wearing a "spring" sweater  by Liz Claiborne. Spring? 
Years later around age 40 I was draped by a Beauticontrol expert and she thought I was a Winter. I was due for a makeover and needed new clothes. Around that time I lost my mother and had moved (and moved away from most of my support system) and was having a tough time. I really needed a "lift." 

Age 40 at the funeral of my mother. Winter? I did wear a lot of black for several years. 
So I went along and about the time all of my boys were taking off, and I was doing some writing, I thought it was time for another makeover. I turned 50 and was doing a lot of writing columns and articles. I was told I needed head shots for my writing. I had a stylist cut and color my now graying hair and came up with this next photo. 

Age 50, doing writing and speaking, working as an officer in my local writing chapter. Not winter. Not spring? Not my natural color. But…did it work? Maybe? 

I then got another online "draping" by a very competent color analyst and was now learning about a 12-season system (she started training for a 16-season system in the middle of that) that got even closer to "your season." I was about 53 at this time and knew I was "fading." She looked at many photos, and decided I was a Light Summer!

I felt like this didn't even look like me! Really? 

By this time I was frustrated with more than just the season--finding clothes and trying to adjust to all these changes in my life was overwhelming. I wasn't really ready to hear that I'd changed "that much." It was now hair, hair color, clothes, clothing "style" and that fading color in skin and eyes too. What to do? I had never been able to wear pink before and it really bugged me because that was the "signature" color of Light Summer! 

I went looking late one night for another system and I did read up on the Sci-Art system, but couldn't decide on my own. That's when I found a "type" system and when I'd viewed all of the videos, I decided on one type by personality and face features and tried to "be that." I finally got a confirmation from the founder--and wasn't sure I could live like that. I kept trying but at least this time I could follow a system that also encompassed color/style/jewelry/makeup/hair! That was something I was looking for--simple rules and style.

But I kept coming back over and over and it just really bugged me. I then joined a really great group, but recently, I was overwhelmed by all the choices. Who am I? How am I living? What looks best and how do I bring it all together??

See if any of these are "me!" Will the real Crystal stand up? 

LOL!! And it comes down to several things I've discovered:

  • I have to love my hairstyle and the time it takes to do it. The color needs to suit me and my coloring now. 
  • I have to feel like the style of clothes fit my lifestyle. (Usually casual or business casual.) 
  • The jewelry must be stuff I love to wear (I know this one--silver pieces and they're usually "one of a kind" and distinctive and I like dangly earrings.)
  • I want to look healthy and like "me" and good in everything I have.
  • Things I wear should go with flip flops, sandals, boots or sporty shoes. I will wear heels for special events. 
  • Must be comfortable clothes, but not sloppy. I prefer a little bit of tailoring, and no ruffles, but it's ok to have lace. Very little pattern--NO BIG FLOWERS. 
  • I must be able to wear jeans, jean jackets,boots, my jewelry and bracelets and my wedding rings/Russian Orthodox cross ring.
  • I want to have a palette of colors to take with me, the right makeup and especially lipsticks, so everything just goes together! 

Is this too much to ask? I know I'm headed into a new phase of life and I'd just like to do it gracefully. And I'm pretty sure--I haven't felt like things are going gracefully yet.

With most of the above list, I feel like Summer is the right road--but Light Summer? Cool Summer? Soft Summer? And am I totally off-base? I feel pretty much like a T2. T2/1? T2/3? T2/4? or do I need to go back to Spring and just lighten everything? 

I think I'm ready now (and haven't been for a full year!) to face everything. What is it? Light seems right, but I'm not sure if I am warm still, or need to cool it down. 

Just tell me. Sigh.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Reason for the Title, "This Ain't No Glamour Detail"

One of my favorite places in the entire world, other than Indiana and Tennessee, and the beach at Fort Myers, FL, is Savannah, Georgia. The first time I was in Savannah was at a regional championship trapshoot competing in a sanctioned regional trapshoot. 

I couldn't get over the azaleas at the gun club entrance. At least I shut my mouth long enough to take the photo. (And later would stuff my mouth with Savannah cuisine and pralines.) 

This is me at a Savannah, GA club getting ready to compete in a regional trapshoot in front of those totally beautiful azaleas
 Many of the places I've been to around the USA are related to trapshooting during a certain period of my life. Most of my life has not been too glamorous. I always want to look like the Audrey Hepburn of life; instead, I come across more like Harlow Hickenlooper.

We had just left a blizzard in Indiana (it was in February.) I didn’t think we were even going to make it out of the state. So, I had to have my photo taken there because even on a good day in Indiana, I had never seen such a profusion of colorful flowers. I felt even a bit glamorous. This is as glamorous as I get, though. I have to have God's glorious creation backing me up to get a good "glamour" shot.

Some people see shooting sports as glamorous. I have hung out with and shot with the rich and famous, it’s true. While eating a greasy hamburger in the clubhouse between rounds, I listened to my shooting companions talk about the best places to fuel up their private jets. 

Me in my trapshooting clothes. 
And my Italian-made shotgun is considered "sexy" by others in this sport. The Italian craftsmen, who hand-designed and made my gun, are swoon-worthy.They come over from Italy during The Grand American Championships and take care of any problems you are having with your gun, so I have actually talked to them. My goodness is all I have to say about them.

The first time I ever shot trap targets, I knew it was a sport I was going to like. But trapshooting has never been glamorous for me. It is a "rush" to powder a little round orange clay target flying through the air. But this shot of me right before going out to shoot is the best I look all day. After shooting, my cheek or shoulder could be bloody or bruised, sweat has soaked through my shirt and gun grease decorates my sleeves. It's not pretty.

When I first started shooting, it was hard to remember everything: put in your earplugs, put on your shooting vest, put on your eye protection, bring your box of shells, keep track of how many times you shoot, shoot on your turn, after five shots move to the next station, look at the target, don’t call for the target until you’re ready, call only on your turn, stay still while others shoot, keep your gun open at all times until it’s your turn to shoot, breathe easy, look over the gun, look over the traphouse, don’t pull the trigger until it is in your sights--and, well, phew, there is a lot to remember. But eventually it became second nature to me.

Getting custom made ear plugs 
But at the time I started shooting, I didn't see a lot of women. I wore a vest too big for me, because it was a man's vest I'd borrowed, along with my gun, which was also too big. My cheek was beaten to a bloody pulp with a knot on it the size of a baseball, because the gun stock was too high and thunked me each time I pulled the trigger. 

I could barely hoist the gun up to my shoulder, which caused me to lean back. It was a wonder whenever I did hit a target--which I hit enough times to keep me coming back. So, after each practice session, I was a mess, but determined. Since you load one shell at a time into the gun barrel, each time I opened to load, a bit of grease would smudge on me somewhere. I ruined several shirts and jeans that way.(And I would just use them again for shooting. I'm smart like that.)
Learning something new can be frustrating!
A lot of men shoot in this sport, of course, and some have been shooting since they were small boys. I had only shot a gun twice—and both times were handguns, not a 12-gauge shotgun. Some of the men I met were WWII, Korean Conflict or Vietnam veterans, and they had been hunting all of their lives, too. Some were law enforcement or special tactical weapons guys.They had forgotten more than I even knew about shooting. I looked clunky and slow, I'm sure. 

But I was a bit of a novelty, too. Still, I wasn’t an Annie Oakley. It was hard work for me. They all had advice and gave it out freely. Talk about the most confusing time of my life.

“Hold your gun higher.”
“Hold your gun lower.”
“Close one eye to focus.”
“Whatever you do, keep both eyes open.”
“Use a longer gun. Use a heavier gun.”
“Use a shorter gun. That gun is too heavy for you.”
“Wear a vest to hold your shells. Get plenty of padding in the shoulder.”
“I never wear a vest. Get one of those belts and get a shooter's tee shirt.”

With shooting buddies at The Grand American Trapshoot World Championships
One time early on I was practicing on a particularly hot day. I don’t know where my husband had gone, but I was left on the field to shoot practice. I’m sure I was frustrated. In those early days of shooting, I was always frustrated. I wanted to do better. I just knew I could be good at this. And I really liked doing it. And I'm one of those determined people who will dog at it until I'm exhausted. 

This older man was sitting on the bench behind the trap field  watching me. Because it was so hot, my face was not only flushed with the heat of the day, but also from the gloves and long-sleeved shirt I had on to protect me from the now-heated barrel. Sometimes the barrel gets so hot, you can suffer burns. People in shooting sports are the most safety conscious of anyone I know. 

I already had some blood seeping through my shirt at the shoulder, and I was sweating--there's no dainty way to put it. My hair stuck out everywhere, even though I had pulled it back and stuffed it under my hat. My cheek was swollen and bruised. Arms and shoulders ached. I had lifted that gun over 500 times. It ain't a sport for the puny.

Dehydration becomes a problem, so you have to make sure you get some shade and some water between rounds. I walked back to my bag and the bench where the man was sitting and relaxing. I was braced for whatever advice he was going to bestow on me, because they all did that. This one spat on the ground before he spoke.

"You know, honey, this ain't no glamour detail."

I don't know why, but I thought of David (of David and Goliath fame) when he had put on all that armor King Saul loaded him up with when little David said he was going to battle with Goliath. I was thinking to myself, I wonder if anyone pointed that out to David, right before he dumped all the armor and said, "I got this slingshot and I'll get some stones on the way..."

"Rhaaaa-it! Rhaaaa-it! Bring me my smelling salts! I believe I'll swoon..."

"Frankly, Scarlet, you're a wimp. You know, dahling, this ain't no glamour detail, this wah-r, and all."

I didn't know what to say. Usually when someone offered me unsolicited advice, I would say, "Thank you," and then would go on, ignoring the man in my face at the time, and keeping the advice from my coach (my coach was a professional and quite wise) firmly planted in my brain. This was something I just wasn't prepared for at the time, though. I'm surprised I didn't spit my water all over him from the shock.

And so now, in this time of my life, I'm trying to focus on the target--to get a functional wardrobe in colors that make me look put together and healthy and maybe even a bit glowing. It's hard when you get all sweaty about it!

At another trapshoot in Phoenix, AZ 
So, now you know my mindset here and how I approach this thing of color/style/closet domination.  Hopefully, I'll "get" it soon. I would like to find a bit of my own true beauty, acceptance and glamour in my life at this age.

I'm the third from the left in case you don't recognize me! (It's been a few years.) 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Comparisons: Choose One!

Whenever I'm posed with a dilemma, I can't help but make comparisons. I look at this or that and compare and try to categorize it. 

So, that's what I've tried to do with this whole color/energy analysis in the last year. It has caused me to go round and round because I get such conflicting information. 

I'm down to these most days:

1. Am I Light Spring or Light Summer? Do I have a spring influence and am summer, or have a summer influence and am spring?
Am I 1/2 or 2/1?

Light Spring Blue or Light Summer Blue?

2. Am I Cool Summer or Soft Autumn? Am I soft? 
(Is that 2/4, 2/3?) 

3. Am I Bright Spring or Some Other Spring?
Really bright spring seems to overpower me and I don't really like the straighter lines. So, 1/4? 1/2? 1/3? Clear colors? 

4. Am I a 4/something? That would be winters and there are the combos 4/1, 4/2, 4/3. I don't think so, but doubt creeps in when I seem to test out in Type 4 personality things.

And what's really confusing is that I get good arguments for any of the above from various people. Who do you trust to really know you? To really give you a good opinion about your coloring? I've trusted each one and still get differing opinions. 

Or I get mamby-pamby, wishy-washy opinions of "well, how do you feel?" "what do you want to be?" "what are your problems with this type or that?" 

Just say it because I have trouble understanding what you're trying to say! I hate it when people beat around the bush. It drives me straight up the wall to have to try and read what you're saying to me. In fact it makes me ice-cold mad. 

Only two people ever told me that they thought "for sure" that I was a certain season/type. The first one said she thought (given as her professional opinion) that I'm a Light Summer. She indulged me with discussion about it, answered my million questions and still held to her opinion though she said if I wanted to try Light Spring or Cool Summer just to see, to go ahead. LOL. (She had a good point!) I keep coming back to that one because she really did take her time, looked at childhood photos, listened to everything. That would be type 2/1. 

This is what she sent to me to prove her point: Light Summer. Convincing, huh? 
The other person immediately said I was Type 2 with a secondary of 3. She also had good points. She wouldn't discuss it but simply said that I was using too much of my secondary, but probably for good reason. That actually made sense to me, too. But the colors didn't seem to jive with me.  

I can really see Light in me. I am so fair, I think I actually reflect back whatever color I'm wearing. I am translucent. I'm so fair, my eye doctor has said I'm light blonde clear through to the back of my eyes. So, here's the test--Light Summer (like one analyst said) or Light Spring (which does have some evidence.) I have had more than one person say she thinks I'm 1/2 and one person went so far as to say I'm 1/2/3/4! (Four being last!) 

I've been told to do a 30-day challenge. I did do it with T2 (summer colors, but mostly soft summer colors.) After awhile, I got overwhelmed with emotion. I'm probably a mood dresser. That means I go to my closet and pick things out according to my mood or the occasion. With a closet full of things that really do not follow a rhyme or reason, that gives a lot of credence to T1 and thus, T1/S2 Light Spring. 

I know I need to start with the hair. I found a file yesterday going over my hairstyle (and color) and I did get a hairstyle I liked at the time. Not sure I can find anyone who can do the color and finding the right color as I'm fading is tough for me, too. 

Thirty days to change. Shall I do 30 days of Light Summer and start with my hair? Or go warmer and do Light Spring?
Light Summer Red? Or Light Spring Red? 

Light Summer Green? Or Light Spring Green? 
Light Summer Colors? 30 Days of this? 
Can't decide. (Another point in favor of T1 or T2? Or both!) 

I did this hair from age 50-52

#1 Hairstyle. I like the length of this. 

#2 Hairstyle: This is like the style I had.

Hairstyle #3: This color is close to what it was  when I was younger. I think I've faded too much to maintain that color. 

Hairstyle #4: Let it grow! 

Hairstyle #5: Let it grow, but not so much. 
I just think if I could decide, I could move on and think about other things with greater intensity. Get one thing off my plate, get my wardrobe into shape and move freely about my business at hand! Is that too much to ask? Is it wrong to just want to feel confident of who I am, spend less time choosing clothes for the many activities I have? 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

There Comes a Time

There comes a time when you have so much information, it becomes a big tangled mess! And I'm at that point. I am stepping back, going back to the beginning and doing a "do-over." 

I've been told so much conflicting information, I just don't know any more. I've forgotten to trust the small, still voice within me. 

Which End is Up? (This is from underneath "Cloud Gate" in Chicago)
 And with that comes release. You're released to be. To be yourself. To just like what you want to like. To wear what you know looks good. Be who you are. 

I've aged. I know some things about myself just from living and going through so many things. I don't like being told what to do or who to like or what to be. 

My Grandmother Anna on the far right. I want to know her and her sisters! The one on the far left, Mina, was a writer like me. 
I love dressing in layers. I love antiques, antiqued jewelry, blue colors, denim and dangly earrings--preferably in antiqued silver. I'm quiet and I like being quiet. I don't scream around or get excited. I sit and watch. That should be a big sign, right? 

I love all of these people, my husband's people, and we still have the house where this photo was taken. I love that.
I love reading fiction, gardens, editing, books, dinners with family, pretty things, pens, dolls, genealogy, reading history, movies, art, country things, country music, the Blues, guitars, old photos and hiking. 
These are my people, Swedes who lived in America. This photo is an interesting character study for me and  it's way too formal for me. 
I prefer quiet evenings by a fire outside just talking and laughing with close friends & family. I love log cabins and country living. I love watching birds, especially birds that come down on the pond to feed in the evening, and I love hearing the owls at night. Kittens, puppies, babies, softness, comfy chairs, Shabby Chic--all go to my loves list. 

When I step back and really look at myself…I'm gentle and soft, a bit goofy,but detail-and-goals-driven. 

All that adds up, doesn't it? I question, question, question--but if someone tells me, NO MORE QUESTIONS! well, that doesn't stop me from questioning! I'm persistent in wanting to know. I have just as much right to be here, to question, to know, as you do! And you can tell me to back off, but I then push harder (though I may take a different tactic.)

This "feels" like me, for what it is worth. I feel less-stressed about it all, already. 

Where do you go to get yourself "centered?" I know I have to get outside, be by myself, listen to birds chirping, or watch snow falling and maybe watch kittens play. I write in my journal and read. There comes a time when I have to put my hands over my ears and listen to my heart. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What I Like About You

It's hard sometimes to really know someone, isn't it? We have all these filters and belief systems and just plain prejudices. We shut down conversations before they start. All those rules of engagement. Dishonesty. Feelings hurt. When all we want is to listen to others and then be heard, too. So, sometimes we just need to be still and listen. Sometimes. 

When we meet someone, we instantly make a judgment. Usually we decide if she is the same or different as ourselves. We decide if she's dressed appropriately, or if she cares about her appearance. If she's this label or that.  

I (personally) think about if she is hiding something about herself, or if she's even being truthful in the way she presents herself to me. Some people dress in a way that just invites you to say hello or would you like to get a cuppa coffee? And sometimes I am just wrong about someone. (But not often.)Sometimes I'm intuitive and sometimes I can read the child within. Sometimes. 

But usually my approach has always been to just accept you as you are in those first moments, first step--and then I make judgments later. I don't go into it thinking about rejecting you until I've gotten to know you! LOL. Like for example, not knowing someone, but the first thing she points out are her Christian Louboutin shoes. Should I admire them and delight with her? Or think, "Well, big whoo-hoo!" (I choose to delight with her.)

And so, I naively think that they'll react the same way when I present myself to someone--that this person will just accept me as I am. But I've been wrong about that, too. Many times I've heard (over and over) that, "I thought you were stuck up! You're not. You're such a nice person!" or "I thought you would be arrogant. You're not. You are so funny!" and on and on…. So, in my quiet way, I've put up walls I didn't know I had. 

So, with that in mind, I started a journey to really show who I am by my appearance--to get past those first time judgments. I quit wearing so much black and standing back in crowds waiting for everyone to approach me. I now try to be more casual in appearance and friendly ("Smile, Cris!" is what Pom Pon HS coach said to me over and over…oh, yeah! Beam on!)  I make the first move by introducing myself, even though it's out of my comfort zone. 

Because all those times I stood back and fretted about how to approach people or how to not be awkward really didn't accomplish much except to get me the labels: 
"Stuck up!" 
"Thinks she's smarter and better than us." 
"Nice, but so quiet."

So, going out of my own shoes and trying to walk around yours, I might learn more about myself and maybe even like getting to know you (and your Athlete's Foot…oh, wait…another topic.) I may not have said too much or expressed what I felt about a topic, but I would know how you felt. 

Still, they may never know how it makes me feel to never express my own passions and I'm still not part of the conversation. And that's the point of having relationships--conversing--isn't it? Having an exchange. Of what? Because I was so quiet, I had a friend who used to say to me, "we need to go to Kmart and get you a backbone!" And then she made me buy red lipstick. 

I quietly went back to wearing gloss, but for a moment I almost believed that this was what I should be--a woman who wore really red lipstick. I wanted that. Because frankly, I DID have an iron backbone and could out-stubborn and dig my heels deeper than anyone we knew. But no one saw that.

Should I wear it on a tee shirt so that they know? I know a lot of quieter people seem to get tattoos of what is important to them. Or wear the tee shirt. Or wear steampunk jewelry or leather pants. (Skip the leather pants, Crystal!) LOL. 

Somehow I'm going to find what makes me look more pulled together, relaxed, friendly, and puhlease, not stuck up! but maybe instead they'll think, "She's fun and so charming, I want to know her better!" But do I want others to really know me? Jury is out on that one.  

So, how do you dress to show who you are? How do you convey how you think and operate? Do you wear certain colors, styles? Tell me. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

When You Get to Be My Age

When you get to be my age, some things become important and some things just aren't worth my kind of time. For example, I have this thing about shoes, but I don't like just any shoes. (I do have heels, but I've gotten where I just don't wear them.) They must be comfortable, and well, they must be comfortable. I do have some pride and will go for flash. Nothing too frumpy, though the second photo could border on frumpy. 

Yesterday afternoon, though temps were cool, I took inventory of my flip flops and some sandals and wore flip flops around the house. Here's what I came up with. 

Just got these this month. They caught my eye and matched an outfit I had in mind.

Wore these everyday on my trip to Florida this year. Will be wearing them a lot. Coral is a preferred color for me. 

Adore these Naots. Not only are they comfortable and easy to slip on, they have a bit of bling in gold gems and little flowers on brown leather. I would buy outfits just to go with these!

I have more but that's all for now. I have two pair of flip flops with jewels on them made by the Justin Boot company. Those are cool. If I can't wear sandals, I tend to go for my boots. I would have 10 pairs of boots if I could. That's for another shoe blog post. I do have a pair of tennies, but I don't really like wearing them. I would prefer to have a pedi when wearing sandals, but I just haven't had the time for it. I can't decide on the color of nail polish, either.

I did sort out a bunch of clothes into piles to deal with. The piles are:
1.My sweatshirts (obviously an important part of my wardrobe. 
2. clothes I have a tough time parting with because of expense or quality and needing something else to replace them, but they probably need to go. 
3. clothes I'm still deciding if the color suits me. I just don't know. 

I sort clothes I'm getting rid of in my big garden tub (because I don't usually like taking long soaking baths)

Here are yesterday's color photos, and I don't know if I am wearing the best color for me or not. Not sure how to categorize the color of this sweatshirt, either. It's comfortable and I like that it says "Mackinac Shoreline Division." I got it eight years ago on a golfing/wedding anniversary trip to upper Michigan. I fell in love with it immediately and had to have it. It's made by Big Cotton. It has a few bleach stains on the front and is frayed at the cuffs. Probably isn't flattering, but I didn't care. I had my hair up in a clip in back and wore a soft blush. I'm thinking of cutting my hair short because I really hate messing with it at this length. 
For this one I'm wearing a T1 lip color called Geranium (a pink)
This one is my very light T2 lip color called Dusty Rose (a rose--ha!)
I'm in a stretch where my husband (I'll refer to him as The Irate Overlord) is working early so we get up at 4 a.m. I hate that. I feel pretty much dragged out all day during these stretches. I ache all day. It's hard for me to feel too motivated. Thus me pulling out the Mackinac hoodie to just "be." 

I still go back and forth between T1 (spring) and T2 (summer) colors. I think it might come down to the neutrals. Light Summer goes into some spring colors so they can be flattering. Light Spring has some summery colors. Both palettes have some of the same colors. The hair for both can be light blonde--some gold highlights and some ash blonde if light enough. I don't know. 

These are sweatshirts I'm considering keeping

As far as my personality, I don't think I'm a T1/T2 or a T2/T1 most of the time. I'm a bit abrasive and can be hot-tempered sometimes, and both those types (T1 & T2) can be awfully nice. I don't think I'm that nice. So, then I begin to consider T2/T3 again. I do have a push, a drive and can be bossy. So, again, makes me consider eliminating both Light Summer and Light Spring. 

I keep headgear and necklaces on this rack I hung on my wall. What does that make me? I have edited some of them out and I tend to put like with like (gold with gold; silver with silver.)

This is my earring rack on my dresser. I have a lot of earrings I like but never wear.  Mostly because they're too fussy, but I just think they're pretty.I have a lot of costume jewelry, but tend to just wear the simple quality stuff.