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A poem inspired by Spring

cardinal-082

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal
 
I just know when he is around
His calls are so loud, seemingly urgent
He flits about from branch to branch
My eyes could not find him.
 
He doesn’t rest
‘Til he hears the answer to his calls
 
Suddenly, a beautiful red appears
On a sea of green
Soon, a lesser red alights to join him
They both fly into the skies…..
 
Mating season has begun.
 
 
Copyright, April 11, 2017
 
Cynthia Angeles

The right to vote

I don’t usually post anything unrelated to art in my blog, but this time, I strongly feel I have to.

Land of Many Stripes Land of Many Stripes

Voting is an important right of every US citizen, but with it comes a huge responsibility: to actually show up and vote, and to vote sensibly. Base your decision on facts – NOT on lies and distortions that abound in email messages and social media.

THINK hard and weigh the facts. Politicians are not perfect; they make mistakes like we do. However, do not vote for someone just because you like him or her. And don’t vote based on your gut feeling or your conscience. Most of us ignore the glaring facts and insist on our “feelings”. Use your educated judgment.

Immigration is a major issue in this presidential election. A lot of us are affected by this, which gives rise to strong emotions which may cloud our judgment. REMEMBER, the United States of America is a country built by immigrants. AND, DO NOT FORGET, that we stole this land from Native Americans.

Terrorism is a big concern and a global problem. But America cannot isolate itself and expect its world power to continue. We must extend our hands to the rest of the world. It is only through cooperation and intelligence exchange that we can resolve common problems.

We are all citizens of these United States: young, old, black, white, yellow, brown, red, straight, LGBT, poor, rich, etc. Open your minds to the facts and VOTE RESPONSIBLY.

SO:  Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or Independent, please vote on November 8; and vote sensibly. DO NOT BE COMPLACENT about this presidential election. Your participation or indifference will decide who will lead our nation for the next four years.

The Art of Dressing Elegantly – For Women of a Certain Age: Rule No. 7

Rule No. 7:  You’re never too old to look good!

Some women give up on themselves just because they are “old”.  Age is a state of mind.  I am reminded of a friend in her early 90’s who lived on a limited budget.  She never failed to stretch and exercise every morning.  She walked almost everywhere.  And, when she did, she was always immaculately dressed – not expensively, just elegantly.  She kept her gray hair short and complemented her clothes with lovely silver jewelry.

I can never forget the time she showed me a lovely Kenzo scarf she bought on sale at Filene’s Basement (remember it?).  She was so excited about how drastically reduced the price was.  She was 92 at the time.  Through all the years that I had known her, she had always carried herself with grace in both dress and manners.  She had always been the epitome of a lady to me.

The woman below illustrates a style that is simple, classy, and timeless.  Even carrying a cane did not detract from the elegance she exuded.
 mature woman with cane
Photo from Pinterest

 

The Art of Dressing Elegantly – For Women of a Certain Age: Basic Rules 5 & 6

Rule No. 5: Keep it simple!

This is the most important rule to remember. Understated elegance is simplicity at its finest. Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Katherine Hepburn had it. Lauren Bacall has it. A lot of us work hard to achieve it. Think minimalist!
Spend what you can on clothes of good quality because they will last you a long time. The simpler the lines or style, the more versatile it is.

About 15 – 20 years ago, I saw a lovely sleeveless woolen dress in chocolate brown, with a matching jacket in a shop in England. I fell in love with it, but the price was more than I was willing to spend. It was a Valentino design. I could still kick myself for letting that go. The tailoring was just beautiful. If I grew too big for the dress, I could have had it altered. The swing jacket would have lasted me for years.

Most women wear black because it is easy to work with. Choose a few basic colors that you like and look good on you. If you are dark-skinned, the world is your oyster. If you’re on the pale side, perhaps, camel brown, tan, and pastels will suit you better. You can get wild in your choices, but make sure your colors and patterns don’t clash. Solid colors are a safe bet but you can mix-match them with more adventurous designs.

Here is a woman dressed in well-coordinated attire. She could have gotten away with a chunky silver bracelet in addition to her dangling earrings, but she opted to keep it simple. Casual? Yes! Elegant? Yes! Achievable? Easily!

Street Style - NL
Photo from Pinterest

The few times that I have traveled to Italy and France, I always marveled at how well mature women there dressed despite their age. They don’t apply lots of makeup on their faces or wear clothes meant for younger women. They simply wear clothes that fit right – not too tight nor too loose. And, they carry them well in spite of the extra weight on their bodies. So, where do we find these clothes?

Rule No. 6: Watch out for sales!

You don’t have to travel far to buy good quality clothing. Several times a year, shops sell their merchandise at reduced prices. Scour the clearance racks! I would avoid shopping online or by catalog unless you are familiar with the company’s sizing and the quality of its merchandise. The following is a list of shops where you can find affordable, but stylish clothing. These stores may not be your cup of tea but do shop around and find your style that agrees with your budget.

CHICO’S (https://www.chicos.com/) – Visit Chico’s sales racks when you have a chance. They carry nice separates and accessories in various colors and sizes.

H&M (www.hm.com/us/) – Believe it or not, you can find inexpensive, but stylish sweaters, tops, skirts, and accessories from this store. They may cater to youngish clientele, but one can find lots of separates which can be suitable for all ages.

T.J.MAXX (http://tjmaxx.tjx.com/store/index.jsp) – This store can be a mine for good bargains if you know what you’re looking for.

MARSHALLS (http://www.marshallsonline.com) – Again, I would advise against shopping online just because you want to be sure of the fit of the clothes. If there is a Marshalls store near you, then you are in business. They offer lots of choices at reasonable prices.

JJILL (www.jjill.com/) – Their clothing and accessories are pricey, but if you check out their sales, you may be able to find some classy outfits within your budget.

DRESS BARN (http://www.dressbarn.com) – Here is another store where one can find affordable clothing and accessories. They carry women’s clothing in both regular and plus sizes.

ZARA (http://www.zara.com/us/) – Zara is pricier than H&M, but you’ll find stylish clothes of good quality and lovely accessories at reasonable prices here.

Go through the sales racks at Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and their outlets. Shopping requires a lot of patience so it is never a good idea to shop only when you need something. It puts a lot of pressure on you to find it quickly and even pay a hefty price for it. Shop leisurely and you will probably find a “keeper” and a bargain at that!


Next: Rule No. 7

The Art of Dressing Elegantly – For Women of a Certain Age: Basic Rules 1 & 2

Below are basic rules to follow in developing the art of dressing elegantly:

Rule No. 1: Do not wear tight-fitting clothes.

Can we really look good in our autumn years? Yes, we can! Women come in all colors and shapes but we all get the extra flab in our bodies as we age. We should not put our mature figures into form-fitting clothes that may have looked good on us in our 20’s and 30’s. Be realistic! If you have clothes that you really like and don’t want to part with, have them altered to fit you better. If you decide to wear leggings to go to the corner store or a yoga class, make sure you wear a tunic, a long shirt, or a cardigan that covers your bottom.

Rule No. 2: When in doubt, wear separates.

Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Be honest but don’t despair with what you see. You may be top-heavy and slim at the bottom; slim at the top and heavy at the bottom; top and bottom heavy, etc. Whatever your shape is, it is almost always safe to wear separates.

A woman who is top heavy and slim at the bottom will look good in a loose top that covers the hips, and a slim skirt that is just below the knees (or a pair of slim trousers that will balance the big top). It is probably time to donate all the mini-skirts you still have in your closet. However, if you’re lucky enough to still have a good figure, you may get away with “doing” the usual list of “don’ts”. Be adventurous and bold if you please, but keep it classy.

In the image below, the British actress Charlotte Rampling wears a simple pant suit, black handbag, and black wedged heels. She is very slim, but her jacket grazes her figure just right – not tight nor loose. Her standing collar could have allowed a small string of pearls but she chose not to, thus emphasizing her long neck. She could also have worn a bracelet, a ring, and a watch, but her style is relaxed and unfussy. It is a very simple outfit, yet rich and elegant. You don’t have to follow Ms. Rampling’s style. Just take a cue from how she carries herself and develop your own.

Charlotte-Rampling-027


Next: Rules 3 & 4