Thursday, June 22, 2017

Motherly Advice...Pretty pictures do not a pantry make....

 
Are you someone who adores spending time on Pinterest? On Instagram? I know I am. I love a pretty picture, and confess that I am greatly influenced in what I achieve in my day, by how visually pleasing the effect will be, when I am done.
 
I love the gleam of my hardwood floors when they're freshly swept and mopped (yes that is my new Falcon oven peeking at the right hand edge of this shot...delivered yesterday...
 

 
....and so too, the gleam of my beautiful Tasmanian Oak laminated beam bench and buffet tops....

 
..I love looking from my kitchen bench, across the living area, to our bank of louvres and out into our shady tropical garden. It's a special pleasure...

 
....and in the Master Bedroom, I love the soothing ivory and blue colour scheme, with my hand embellished faux Moroccan blanket...

 
...and toning throw rug, fringing elegantly draped over the antique blanket box that I bought with my very first pay packet 41 years ago. The framed photograph was produced by a local primary school class, for their school fete. I won it by Silent Auction, for just $50. Isn't it the sweetest?

 
So, when it came to my kitchen, I was similarly influenced by how darling it could look. Over a period of years, and aiming for this sort of idea, below...
 
 
...I assembled an extensive collection of vintage Harlequin kitchen canisters. Different types, but mostly full sets. The anodised metal one at front right you see in the next picture, being the exception. I had some wild idea (not entirely misguided), that I would find mates for that one in my thrift store shopping expeditions. I augmented this with my collection of recycled jars, seen bottom right, which I topped with a rainbow of crystal door knobs. I loved them. Husband less so. He says he doesn't mind a bit of Vintage Charm in the kitchen, but I think he means me...lol!
 
On the occasions when Husband, or my lovely sons or daughters-in-law cook for the family, it's been difficult for them to navigate my Rainbow canisters. The canisters say Flour or Sugar, but which one is Plain Flour or Rice Flour? Which is Raw Sugar and Caster Sugar? Where is the Quinoa? And which canister holds the teabags, and where is the filter coffee kept? Sigh. It sure was delightfully dreamy looking at those sorbet hued canisters, but jeez...not easy to find stuff.

 
My recent win of kitchen appliances, gave me a whole new viewpoint. Suddenly I didn't have to make do with pastel canisters, and a sorta, kinda half French Farmhouse, half 50s Retro kitchen any more. The centrepiece of my kitchen would now be my Falcon Range...
 
 
 ...and I could fulfill my dream of a true French Country Farmhouse kitchen.
 
Cupboards were emptied....eee-yew...scary what gathers in there over the years...
 
 
...cleaned and painted white...

 
...even cutlery drawers were madeover...here before...
 
 ...and here, below, after...
 
 
...and new clear canisters sourced for just $8 each set of three in graduating heights. 
 
Fifteen sets of three in all, plus some chalkboard style labels and a white pen, saw my kitchen changed from chaos to calm...



 My favourite pink vintage canisters and bread bin were retained and given pride of place. They still make me smile...
 
 
...and now a calm, harmonious arrangement is in place for my extensive array of cooking ingredients. No matter who the designated chef is, ingredients can be found easily, levels checked instantly, shopping lists made simply, and order reigns supreme.


 
It's been a real lesson for me. I was so focused on having a Pinterest Perfect idea of a kitchen, that I neglected to appreciate who uses the space, when and how it's used, and why it needs to be a space where anyone can walk in and find what they need. Sure, it needed to be an area in which I loved to work, but I am not the only one working there!
 
It's now time to pretend I've had a windfall of a longed for appliance or piece of furniture in other rooms of the house, and evaluate those space for functionality, and not just the pretty picture they make.
 
After all, this is my home. Not a Pinterest board. Right?
 
What about you? Are you influenced by the plethora of pictures with which we are bombarded these days? How do you keep your home, yours, in the era of Pinterest and Instagram?
 
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nannas recipes in four sentences...Crepes and Crepe Stacks

 
Light as air crepes...
 
In a large jug, whisk one cup of flour, one egg, one tablespoon of oil or melted butter, a pinch of salt, and enough milk to make the batter resemble the consistency of pouring cream, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Heat a non stick pan over medium-high heat, and barely moisten it with some oil wiped over with a paper towel. Pour in a scant quarter cup of batter and swirl it to spread the batter thinly, allowing it to dry out and lift at the edges, before flipping. Slide from the pan to a waiting platter and repeat with remaining batter.
 
I like to layer this to form a sort of cake, using Nutella, Jam and Cream or even just lemon or lime juice (freshly squeezed) and caster sugar between the layers. Yummy!
 
Some tips for crepe perfection...
 
1. Only use a non stick frypan.
 
2. Find yourself a stainless steel spatula with a squared off edge. Plastic spatulas with rounded edges make it very hard to lift and flip your crepes neatly.
 
3. Do not use too much oil. A light smear or spray is all that's required.
 
4. Don't use too much batter per crepe. You only want a couple of tablespoons of batter to give you enough to swirl for a side plate sized crepe.
 
5. Don't make the crepes too large, as they'll be hard to flip, and won't look as pretty when stacked.
 
6. Make sure the crepe is dry and frilly around the edges and bubbly on top, before you try to flip. It should be virtually cooked on the top, and only require browning once flipped.
 
 
7.  Serving variations are only limited by your imagination. Savoury fillings can include leftovers, vegetables, meat, fish or chicken in a white sauce rolled inside cigar style, topped with cheese, and baked in a moderate oven. Sweet fillings can be fruit, mousse, spreads or simply citrus juice and fine sugar. 
 
 
8. Start with the pan on the highest setting, and be prepared to discard the first crepe in each batch as you get the technique and temperature right. Reduce the heat to medium high after the first crepe.
9. Crepes make a great substitute stacked as a sort of layer cake, used instead of lasagne sheets (especially for those who eat gluten free), and served as an inexpensive and elegant brunch or breakfast.
 
 
10. Roll them like cigars, fold them into little half circles or quarter circles, or simply enjoy layered with sugar between the layers.


 
Yum!
 
How will you enjoy your crepes?
 
 
 
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Motherly Advice...Finding Contentment in less...

 
I've written copiously on this topic over the years. You can read about my thoughts on surviving depression and disorganisation here, and here. I wrote here, about what children remember. Here we discussed Nurturing of Self, Home, Spirit and loved ones and how that brings contentment. And here in one of my Insourcing posts, and thanks to a friend and reader, Mel, I found much in my own life, for which I was thankful.
 
I've had periods of plenty and lean periods both. You too? Life does have a swings and roundabouts way of things sometimes. One year you're up, the next you're down. Relationships break down, life moves on, new relationships are discovered. Todays career promotion, is tomorrows stress. Toddlers become human (lol), before reverting to toddler like behaviour in their teens.
 
If you let every little swing this way, and roundabout circle that way, dictate your mood, you'll never find contentment.
 
Career?
 
I confess that when I was younger, I was convinced that contentment lay in self-fulfilment through my career. I certainly gained a great deal of financial satisfaction that way. I was respected by my peers and I liked that as well. But, I missed out on much of my sons growing up while I was at it.
 
That said, I do not regret my career girl days, and nor should you, if you're in that position now. They taught me a great deal about myself and the big, wide world out there, and certainly rubbed off some of the naivetĂ©`, that was part of me back then. I should add though, that the cut and thrust of car/hair/jewellery/childs achievement type conversations, at School pickup probably did the same....lol! Hair raising stuff, I tell ya!
 
Thankfully the Universe saw fit to bless me with a daughter later in life, and the contentment that I have found in being a full time Mum and Caregiver, has been abundant.
 
Stage of Life?
 
Sometimes I think it is a coming-of-age thing, this contentment. You have to live a bit of life, to appreciate what's really important. And what seems important at 25 or 35, can only be deemed less so with the tyranny of distance. Certainly what makes us happy at 20, is not necessarily what brings us joy at 50. What is achievable at 50, is perhaps impractical or simply impossible, at 20. 
 
It helps to accept that part of the swings and roundabouts of life, is that each stage has it's own joys and relish them as they come. Your children will never be 3 again. Sometimes I wish for the days when mine were 3. But then I wouldn't be enjoying the fact that they're 23 or 33, now, would I?
 
Social Circle?
 
Some people think that you have to have a group of like-minded friends to find contentment. There is a little grain of truth in that. But quite frankly, I don't have a single friend in my day to day life, who is at the same stage of child rearing, financial thinking, and Nanna-hood, that I am. I do however, have a close circle of online friends who fulfill that need admirably. Thank the stars for blogging! Maybe you too, can find support and contentment that way.
 
Visitors Eyes
 
Anyway, the main thing I've learned in my lifetime, is that contentment has little to do with acquiring the small stuff. I confess I've been as guilty as anyone of thinking that filling my home with knick knacks that make a statement about my personal preferences, was the path to contentment.
 
One day I had this epiphany. I don't actually know why. But I was just about to pay for something in one of those glossy magazine worthy shops. You know. The ones that smell divine, and have something playing on their muzak that sounds like it's coming from an old French film noir. They also usually have lots of mirrors, twinkly lighting, and a great deal of temptation, right down to the divinely wrapped and scented soaps next to the register, that like the candy at the supermarket register, implore you to part with just a little more of your hard earned cash.
 
It truly was like a bolt out of the blue. I just suddenly realised that even when I got my purchase home (frankly, I don't even recall what it was), my own home was still not going to look anything like the shop in which I was currently standing. Because the thing I had in my hand was only appealing, nestled amongst the plethora of other similar items. All that twinkle and shine, all that crystal and glass. All. That. Stuff.
 
Without warning, I felt a bit claustrophobic. All That Stuff was suddenly Too Much Stuff. Both in the shop and in my home. I returned home, and looked at things with fresh eyes. With Visitors Eyes. Do you ever do that? It's actually a trick I learned in my career girl days. Whenever the Big Boss was visiting from wherever, we looked around the office with Visitors Eyes. Pot plants would disappear in a flourish, desks would be cleared, and office refrigerators cleansed of their stash of month old home lunches.
 
It's a good strategy. The Visitors Eyes.
 
Don't get me wrong. I still love my little pretties around me. But these days, I am far more discerning about what I have on display. I choose judiciously, and only display my current favourites. Those can change seasonally, or with my mood. Rarely do I have more than a handful out at any given time, and no longer do I hand over my hard earned dollars to glitzy homemaker stores. I make my own 'home'.
 
A Peaceful Life?
 
One thing I've decided unequivocally, is that Contentment for me, means a peaceful life. One begets the other. Peace = Contentment and vice versa.
 
Not for me a noisy Café` breakfast that relieves us of $40-$60 of our hard earned cash, when I can cook mouth watering Crepes in an instant at home for mere cents...
 
 
I find an odd contentment in having an organised home. A recent investment of just over $100 in clear kitchen canisters, actually saved us several hundred in renovations. We thought we lacked space, when what we lacked was organisation.

 
 
A beloved and extensive collection of vintage Harlequin canisters, was whittled down to just my favourite pinks. And they now shine as they are no longer jostling for attention amongst the many. Clutter begone!

 
Spending time passing on skills to my children and grandchildren brings me peace and contentment. I lost my Nanna at aged 11, but she has continued to be an enduring influence upon me in everything from baking to gardening. I want my children and grandchildren to have those same memories when I am gone.
 
My daughter recently baked this cake...

 
We enjoyed it with Passionfruit Curd made by her also, using home grown passionfruit. I used this as an opportunity to also teach her how to make 3 minute vanilla bean custard.

 
My Granddaughter looks forward to baking with Nanna, as I did when I was her age. And the fact that the icing isn't perfect, is completely irrelevant.
 
 
 
I've spoken often about drying inexpensive bouquets of supermarket roses, to use in craft projects, or simply to display as is.
 

 
And a recent decision to hand paint our own existing crockery, in preference to purchasing a set in the colours we wanted, has seen everyones creativity come to the fore, making memories in the process.

 
 
Everyone has a favourite flower or herb. It's always been a special joy of mine to grow a single favourite in abundance. Once upon a time, that was garlic chives and jasmine in tiny pots near my rented front door. Now I am privileged to grow fruit trees and flowers in abundance in my own back yard. My French Lavender is an ongoing pleasure.
 

 
 
And our citrus trees attract all kinds of wildlife. You cannot imagine my granddaughters excitement at finding this butterfly right at her eye level yesterday.
 
 
And then there is the supreme contentment of knowing that our own example, sets the tone for our loved ones.
 
After a busy morning of fun with my granddaughter yesterday, she declared it was time for a cupcake and a cup of tea. I made the tea, she found me a book (ironically A French Woman for All Seasons which I don't think advocates cupcakes...lol!), and brought me a cupcake she and I had made together.
 
Lessons learned, memories made.

 
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Friday, June 16, 2017

A New You...Dressing the Petite Plus Size Apple Shape...Investment dressing....

 
In my year long quest to find a more Chic presentation for my 57 year old self, I've made two investments that I think are amongst the best I've ever made.
 
First of all, I invested in Marie-Anne Lecoeur's French Chic Academy.
 
As I found Marie-Anne just before Christmas last year, and we were off on an overseas holiday, I elected to pay using the payment plan. That payment plan has just been completed, and I now have lifetime access to the Academy, and in fact, to Marie-Anne herself, who is generous with her time and advice on all manner of questions relating to what to wear, when and how, to present oneself in the most flattering light.
 
The most profound change I made once I had invested in Marie-Annes course, was to stop shopping. I mean really stop shopping. I was always proud of my thrifty ways, and my knack of shopping at the 'right' sort of thrift stores. I found many a good bargain over the years, and never once felt guilty about the spending. I was shopping frugally, supporting charity, recycling and wearing designer labels for a fraction of their retail cost.
 
BUT, was I dressing in the way in which I truly wanted? The honest answer is a no. I was finding things that I thought were 'me', and which suited my budget and looked nice, but were they the most supremely flattering garments? Not always, no. However, I justified that by telling myself that these items were costing under $10 per piece for the majority of the time, so if I only wore them 4-6 times, and then re-donated them, I was still doing okay. Meanwhile my wardrobe was bursting with things I didn't wear, and my sewing table was groaning under a mountain of garments that needed little alterations.
 
It couldn't go on. So I just stopped. Just like that. As you do with any undesirable habit built up over years, when you finally have the motivation. No longer do I just pop in to my favourite Op Shops as we call them, for a look. No longer to I spend up to $50 a week on items that surely are a bargain, but which are not going to live in my wardrobe for longer than 3 months. No more do I flick through the Sale racks in my favourite department stores, buying things based mostly upon their impressively reduced price. I just don't do it. Suddenly, there was the money I needed to invest in my course. And as there are weekly updates, I found I was looking forward to these, as much as I previously anticipated my trips to the Op Shop!
 
Marie-Anne's course suddenly made sense of all of those platitudes with which we are familiar, describing why the French are renowned for their Chic style, and why they continue to be admired worldwide, for their immaculate presentation. I'd heard many of them over and over in my lifetime.
 
 Here are some:
 
Invest in classics
Invest in quality
Buy the best you can afford
Have fewer garments, and love everything you own
Look for beautiful detailing
Buy what suits you
Buy what you love
 
Do any of those sound familiar to you too?
 
The thing is, that this advice is open to interpretation. And I'll be honest, my interpretation hasn't always been that accurate.
 
Let's deal with a couple of these today.
 
Invest in classics - well to me that means having a couple of pairs of jeans, a blazer, a white button down shirt, a pair of boots and a leather handbag. All items I've sourced according to the many '10 Things a French Woman has in her Closet' types of lists we've all seen hundreds of times. But what the lists don't tell you, is that there are a million variations on jeans, blazers, shirts, boots and bags, and what suits one person, is not necessarily going to suit you.
 
Because the number one thing, and in fact the FIRST thing that Marie-Anne taught me, was this.
 
 Are you ready? I've been talking about it a lot this year.
 
~ DRESS FOR YOUR BODY SHAPE ~
 
Honestly, that one piece of information was life changing for me.
 
First of all, I'd thought for many years, that I was an Hourglass shape. And yes, I may have been at one stage, but I haven't been for many years. I am an Apple shape. And not only that, I am a short, slightly overweight Apple shape. One of the most difficult shapes to dress.
 
Secondly, much of the information available on dressing the Apple shape, is seriously misguided. Belts? I don't think so. Rockabilly style dresses with fitted tops and gathered skirts, (and belts!) worn with mile high heels? Um. Nope. Lots of layers to 'disguise' fullness around the middle? Isn't that self defeating?
 
For every body shape, the aim is the same.
 
~THINK LONG, LEAN, AND WELL PROPORTIONED~
 
This is especially true for we who are petite and plus size. We desperately want to look taller, more slender, more streamlined. Right?
 
Here is the sort of thing that is marketed to the Apple Shape woman constantly. This is the very look I have cultivated for the last decade, wondering why I just didn't look the kind of 'pulled together' that I wanted. After all, this look is sold in the plus size section of every retailer you can possibly imagine, so it must be right....right?
 
Wrong.
 
 
 
Retailers are about fashion, not style. Retailers want you to buy stuff, so they present their stock in whatever manner required, to make you buy. They don't care if it actually looks good on you or not. In our case, they just label it 'Plus size', or 'Curvy', or use a full figured celebrity name on it, and we all just follow suit. Are you hearing me? And what it doesn't take into account, is that Plus Sized women can be all different body shapes too. There are Plus sized Apple shapes, Plus sized Pear Shapes, Plus Size Rectangles, Plus sized Hourglass, and Plus sized Inverted Triangles. What suits you as a Plus sized Pear, will not suit me as an Apple any more than it would if we were both slender. It's a stupid 'one size fits all fat ladies' sort of approach. Infuriating.
 
The look above, continues to sell, year in, year out, because we curvy types have been convinced that this is the only thing we should (can?) wear. Can I share what I've learned from applying the advice from The French Chic Academy, that has seen me donate 5 such Waterfall cardigans to my favourite charity bin?
 
1. These are usually made in a fine, closely woven knit. In theory, we Apple shapes SHOULD wear fine knits over bulky ones as the bulky knits add...well...bulk to our shape. But these waterfall cardigans are usually long at the back, and a fine knit is going to cling to your behind, accentuating all that is BIG about it. That might be okay if you're into the Generous Booty Brigade (and more power to you), but it's not the look I'm cultivating.
 
2. The whole 'waterfall' thing is considered flattering because it hides all of our perceived figure faults. Overly generous chest? Hidden. Round tummy? Hidden. Curvy thighs? Hidden. But it also hides all of our good points. Our generous chests are a good thing. Accentuated with a flattering V-neck in a slim cardigan or sweater, with appropriate visually lengthening accessories, our chests (fitted with the right size bra...a high chest is a youthful chest so says Marie-Anne), they can balance out our rounded tummy and thighs. V necklines are good for we Apple ladies. A V is visually lengthening in itself.
 
3.  We Apple shapes should studiously avoid anything that adds bulk to our frame. That goes for any superfluous fuss and frills....including waterfall cardigans. All that extra fabric might look okay front on, but side on, it presents the same problem as wearing a belt. To me, it looks as if I forgot I was fat...lol!
 
If you like that look, there are ways to wear it so it flatters our silhouette. Let's look at how, according to French Chic principles.
 
The looks featured in the panel above, have a few faults. White is always going to make the part of your body on which you wear it, look larger than it is. Light colours 'advance', dark colours 'recede'. The second and third variations, both have the models (who by the way are NOT a plus size Apple shape....another trick!) wearing a white top with a nondescript neckline. That's okay to show off the cardi I guess, but not the most flattering way for us to wear it.
 
The best way to look Long and Lean, is to wear darker colours, or at least to not 'break' the visual silhouette by mixing colours. This means that a monochromatic (meaning single colour, not black and white) look is more flattering.
 
So...
 
~WEAR MONOCHROMATIC COLOUR SCHEMES~
 
Look for plainer lines, forgoing the whole 'waterfall' idea. Of course, when I went looking for an image of something along those lines, it was almost impossible, but if you search 'Tunic Jacket' or 'Long Blazer', some ideas pop up. I liked this one.
 
 
 
 
I know, I know. She's not a petite plus sized Apple either. You begin to see the problem, don't you. But this jacket is better. It's more structured, it's in a fabric that is closely woven, but this one is not likely to cling where you don't want it to, and finishes at a point around the hips where it won't make you look larger than you are. I'd add weights to the inside hemline (a Chanel trick to make your garments drape more beautifully... fishing weights work well). This jacket has a narrow lapel, that forms a long flattering V shape down your centre front. It has that all important downward pointing V detail on along the hemline, tricking the eye into making your look long and lean. It also has an interesting zipper and cuff detail that draws attention to your lovely wrists. Little details are key in adopting a French Chic outlook, and you should look for subtle details in your key pieces. Worn monochrome in any colour, this jacket would be a Chic choice, for sure.
 
Thus...
 
~ELIMINATE SUPERFLUOUS FUSS AND DETAIL~
 
Now let's look at two other points...
 
Invest in quality
 
and
 
Buy the best you can afford
 
These points have confused me for most of my life. Investing in quality made sense in terms of longevity, but I always wondered what you did when fashions changed. And buying the best you can afford? Well I was doing that by shopping thriftily at Op Shops and end of season sales, wasn't I?
 
Here's where I was going wrong, and why 'fashions changing' shouldn't have even been in the mix.
 
The every day French woman, does not care about 'fashion'. She cares about 'style'. She cultivates a small wardrobe (partly because she only has a small closet in which to store it) of beautifully curated pieces, that she wears perennially. She adds investment accessories to bring variety to her choices.
 
I love that word 'curated'.
 
"Curated (kyew-rayt) verb to select, organise and look after the items in a collection."
 
Isn't that in itself, a revelation?
 
When I look back over my life, my 'style' has not varied greatly. I've always favoured jeans, straight skirts, blazers, pearls, scarves and long blouses. I've always looked for a classy presentation, depending upon where I was on that day. Some days I've been better at that than others. My size however, defeats me.
 
 I have grown from a size 8 at 21, to a size 16-18 at 57. That said, over each decade of my life, my size has not changed significantly. As for many of us, it's been a gradual 'creeping up' of things. So had I spent $120 on that divine silk blend t-shirt, or $650 on that designer blazer I admired greatly, and still regret not purchasing, I would have enjoyed wearing them for many years and probably not needed as many garments in my wardrobe. I would have been imminently proud and satisfied, in 'curating' those pieces.
 
 Instead, I went about spending $50 here, $75 there, perhaps $120 on a single occasion outfit, and never wore any of them more than a handful of times. Suddenly, that advice makes sense.
 
~DO NOT BE A CONSUMER. BE A CURATOR~
 
As for the advice 'buy the best you can afford', I have to confess that this is one of the very first questions I put to Marie-Anne. I had heard that French women beat a path to Monoprix (sort of the French version of Target or KMart) to purchase their Cashmere sweaters each Winter. Surely that is not buying the best you can afford. Her response was simple, and another revelation for me.
 
She said that French women know the value of a Cashmere sweater. They do indeed buy the best they can afford, and if the best they can afford is Monoprix, then they will buy a single Cashmere from Monoprix for 75euro, over several inferior synthetic ones for 25euro each. BUT they prefer to save for the expensive Cashmere they really want. They would rather wait, make other sacrifices, and invest in the quality Cashmere sweater of their dreams, and look after it. Invest in quality. See? The two really do go hand in hand.
 
~SAVE FOR THE ITEMS YOU REALLY WANT~
 
I had wanted a strand of Baroque pearls since forever. I've written about that before. So armed with Marie-Anne's advice, I used the savings I was making on not shopping, to INVEST in my dream pearls. I've showcased them a couple of times now. I love them so much. These were my second investment. The first being of course, my investment in The French Chic Academy.
 
I'd heard, and read often, that pearls enhance the wearer, and that they are versatile, and timeless. I even had some pearls, purchased as a wedding gift by my husband.
 
 
But these pearls always felt very formal to me, and even though I saw others wearing them daily, I never felt they were what I was after. I wear them, but rarely. I wasn't getting that vibe that people rave about when discussing pearls.
 
I've often heard too, the advice that the 'fake it till you make it' strategy works with pearls. I have to now categorically disagree with that. Once you've seen good quality, genuine pearls against your skin, and felt the sheer weight of them, there is no way you could ever compare them to faux pearls in any way, shape, or form. I've seen department store faux pearl strands selling for nearly $200 because they have some designer name attached to them. I've seen 'estate' genuine pearls selling for twice that because they belonged to someones Granny, that look exactly like my wedding pearls. For $500, I was able to invest in exactly the pearls I wanted. Genuine pearls, that truly are everything I'd been led to believe pearls should be. That might sound like a lot of money, but again, if I had exercised some discipline some years ago, if I'd 'thought like a French woman', I could have had the pearls of my dreams and been enjoying them for so much longer. I've spent more than $500 on accessories in the last decade, and not worn any of them more than a dozen times.
 
THESE pearls, the ones at the top of my post, are the pearls I now wear almost every single day. Every. Single. Day. I wear the earrings daily. The long necklace, several times a week, and daily if I can. Just the thrill of knowing I have them, makes me far more careful about choosing my daily outfit. I WANT to wear them, so I now 'curate' my wardrobe, to ensure that I have every available opportunity to do so.
 
 
I purchased my pearls from Laura at JaguarJems, and she has pearls to suit every budget. And sure enough, when you see genuine, superior quality pearls up close, and come to appreciate their lustre and beauty, I guarantee that they do indeed, enhance the wearer. There is nothing like them. Especially these beautiful oversized Baroque ones. I made sure that I chose the colour of pearls, that was most flattering to my complexion and hair colour. Not for me, the traditional creamy ivory pearls. I wanted the lustrous blue-violet ones, to compliment my silver hair and blue-green eyes.
 
I got exactly what I wanted, and for a price that I consider 'an investment' and 'the best I can afford', whilst still staying within my budget. I paid for my pearls, AND my course, by using those very principles I'd heard so often, but did not make sense of until now.
 
I feel quite the grown-up.
 
Husband and I went antique shopping yesterday. We wanted to buy an interesting trinket as a joint wedding anniversary gift. So something warm and comfortable was the order of the day as far as dress sense goes.
 
Here below, you can see that I assembled an outfit that is:
 
Monochromatic (single colour or tone on tone) using dark denim, a fine knit navy cardigan with a row of vertical buttons to carry the eye vertically, a V neckline, and a plain black blazer with no superfluous detail.
 
Uses accessories to make me look long and lean. A scarf in a colour that is flattering to my complexion and hair, tied so that it shows a V at the neck rather than up around my neck choker style, dangling earrings, a long necklace.
 
Free of fussy detail, frills, or fabric, that would add bulk to my frame.
 
Was comfortable, warm, appropriate for where I was going, and saw me looking Chic (always my aim) for the entire day.
 
Saw me showcasing my investment pieces...my pearls and a pure silk scarf.
 
The metallic silver sneakers are another investment. I bought these three years ago, and they were expensive by my standards. Over $200. But they have a properly supportive innersole, and are amazingly comfortable and versatile. Normally the advice for long and lean, would extend to wearing heels, but sometimes, that is simply not practical. What I love about these, is that the metallic finish renders them (to my eye at least) almost like a nude shoe. They could look clunky, but they don't. I have worn them constantly for three years and they are still going. I had a pair of silver imitation Converse sneakers that I paid $20 for at around the same time. My feet hurt in them, and I wore them but twice, before donating them to charity. Another lesson.
 
 
 
So what are your thoughts?
 
Are you thinking Long and Lean? Are you using monochromatic colour schemes, and eliminating superfluous fabric and detail, to visually trick the eye into thinking you are taller and more slender? Are you buying the best you can afford and investing in quality? Are you striving to be a Curator, not a Consumer?
 
Tell me all....
 
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