rsadelle: (Default)
I hate most of my clothes, and I've decided a new fall/winter wardrobe is more than worth the money. (It helps that I actually have money to spend on this.)

What I really want is someone who can look at me, listen to what I want in clothes, and then either go shopping with me or tell me what I should be buying. But in the absence of that, I'll take any advice you have to give on the subject.

I am very picky about clothes. )
rsadelle: (Default)
I had this grand plan yesterday that I was going to get a lot of things done, and I did get a fairly large number of them done, but then I got distracted by reading [ profile] justthisfic's Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, which I recced to friends as "trans Brendon," and she describes as "genderqueer fic." It made me cry, in a good way. It also meant that I was already in a space where the question of who you really are was on my mind when I started reading Style Statement.

Here's how the style statement exercises work: there are eight sections meant to represent different parts of your life. Each section has a series of inquiry questions. First are the "what works well for me" questions, followed by a "filter & interpret" section that asks you to look at what's "important and intriguing," "themes," and "words, images, or feelings." Then there's the "what does not work well for me" section, followed by the same filter and interpret questions. I did each of the eight sections on a sheet of paper.

Some of it wasn't surprising. My idea of home and stuff is light and uncluttered, which I knew.

Some of it amused me by how well it fit into an 80/20 split. My fashion and sensuality page is all about simple, soft, clean lines, kind of businessy (what's working in my wardrobe: polo shirts, v-necks, two of my skirts, new socks; what's not working in my wardrobe: jeans, scoop necks). But then for "Even though it's completely out of style or over the top I secretly love . . . because:" section, I said, "miniskirts, because I like my legs, like feeling them bare." In the "If money were no object I would go out today and shop for" section, I have "pants (not jeans), dress shirts (stretch, no-iron), skirts," and then sex toys. For "important/intriguing," I wrote down, "comfortable, businessy, sexy edge."

Some of it was surprising. I still have this high school idea of myself as smart, intellectual, rational, inflexible. When I looked at my spirit and learning, relationship and communication, and service and wealth pages, it's all about love and close relationships. Fandom and women showed up all over the place. My answer for "My purpose in life is:" was "to write, to be there for my closest friends, to be a good friend."

Once you've done each section, you write down all of the "outstanding words and themes" from each section, then narrow it down to "three to five words that have the strongest resonance and attraction for you," then write out synonyms for each of those words.

My five words: light, love, simple, stories, comfortable.

Love resonated so strongly with me, but it doesn't describe physical things, which your foundation word has to be able to do. The format for their definitions of foundation words is to describe the spirit, then the look and feel, and then they have a series of words in italics. In the profiles in the book, the creative edge word is the one that get the italics. I didn't really want to read all of the foundation word definitions, and none of the ones in the profiles felt right, so I started skimming the italicized words for one that included love. The italicized words for "Graceful" included love, compassion, kindness. I wrote "Graceful?" down as a synonym for love.

In the next step, you write down the three or four possible words in two identical columns: the left is your foundation word possibilities, the right is your creative edge word possibilities.

My four words: understated, graceful, simple, comfortable.

In the back of the book, they have a chart of the most common foundation words arranged in ways that similar words are near each other. Understated, graceful, simple, and comfortable make a C around natural.

Then you cross out anything that couldn't describe a material object or doesn't feel like it could be 80% of your life from the left column. Then you cross out any word that's still in the left column from the right column. Then you play around with combinations until you find the right one.

The only one I crossed out from the left column was comfortable, because it showed up all over my pages, especially in physical areas of my life, but their definition for it just didn't feel like 80% of my life. It's a good fit for the 20%, though, because "Comfortable is the consummate pleasure seeker. Physical comforts are paramount, and sensual gratification is a fundamental part of their lives." That sexy edge fits right in there.

I like the ideas of understated and simple, but their definitions just weren't right either.

I kept coming back to "graceful." I don't think of myself as graceful. But.

Spirit: Greek mythology tells of sister goddesses of joy, charm, and beauty called the three Graces. Graceful is poised and dignified and, at her best, is a giving, generous spirit who seeks to impart kindness and dignity. Love is her fuel; goodwill is her motivation and guide. Graceful prefers meaning and substance but will practice courtesy and compassion rather than forcing her views about a situation. Graceful has a sense of fit and propriety, a craving for balance and good form and proportion. She adores harmony and material and immaterial luxury - from finery to leisure. Rooted in feminine power, Graceful has a quiet and steady confidence. She endeavors to make everything special in the most considerate and ultimately charming ways, and she tends to make it all look effortless.

Look & Feel: Adroitness, agility, allure, attractiveness, balance, beauty, cleanliness, ease, elegance. The proper fit and hang. Flow, warmth, comfort, harmony. Shapeliness, smoothness, style, suppleness, symmetry.

attentive, benefaction, blessing, breeding, caritas, charity, compassion, consideration, cultivation, decency, dignity, divinity, etiquette, favor, finesse, finish, forgiveness, form, friendly, generosity, goodwill, invocation, kindness, love, mercy, poise, polish, prayer, propriety, tact, tastefulness, thanksgiving, royalty
It seems like too much, but they say, "This is not the time to be modest, act small, or fear grandiosity," and, "If you feel yourself shying away from words that seem 'too big' or 'too special,' then it's time to expand your perspective." It doesn't fit who I still think of myself as being, but it fits who I'm trying to be. It fits the part where love was the most important word that came out of all of the sections. It feels more right than "understated" or "simply." That brought me to this style statement:

Graceful Comfort

What's funny is that there's the part where it seems like too much, and then there's the part where it seems so boring. It reminds me of the intense training where I was fascinated with the interesting woman who worked with teenagers at the Model U.N., but really connected with the quiet urban planner. I've been thinking recently about how I don't think I'm that interesting or special. But then I think about my friends who don't think they're anything special when really they're amazing, which makes me think I'm special and amazing too and I just don't see it in myself. Maybe I'm just special and amazing in a quiet, comfortable way instead of in a flashy way.

They say the style statement is supposed to be your true self, and that it should work for you indefinitely, possibly for a lifetime. I don't know if I would have come to the same answer ten years ago. I wonder how much of that is that I've changed and how much of it is that I've allowed myself to be who I truly am rather than who I think I should be. I wonder if this will still work for me in ten years.

Here's where I ask you: Does Graceful Comfort sound like me?
rsadelle: (Default)
Since my third happiness commandment is, "Ask," I think I should follow that commandment sometimes.

I'm throwing a bachelorette slumber party at the end of this month. I really want some cute/neat/fancy pajamas for it. (I would have really liked some before I went visiting people, but I didn't quite get to it.) My current pajamas are Sesame Street pajama bottoms with a Target men's t-shirt. What I really want are classic styling satin pajamas. The complicating point is that I'm short (5'2"), and so I need pajamas that are similarly short. Victoria's Secret has some, but not in a color I want. Any other suggestions? I can be flexible about fabric, but no flannel. I might also be flexible about pants vs shorts and long sleeves vs short sleeves, but I think I really want pants and long sleeves so I can wear them for more of the year. I would very much like something that's not horribly expensive.
rsadelle: (Default)
Okay, maybe not slutty, but definitely sexy. As I've mentioned, my ten-year reunion is this summer. I can get a second wearing out of my dress by wearing it to the rehearsal dinner for [ profile] allegram and [ profile] dedalvs's wedding.

Does anyone have any experience with Victoria's Secret's clothes? Specifically:
  1. Their dresses. I particularly like the curvy jersey ruched dress, the knot-front curvy jersey dress, the v-neck curvy jersey dress, and the sleeveless wrap dress. (Hmm... There's a theme there.) I don't have a good picture of me now, but if you've seen me recently and have any ideas about what (of those or other things) would look good on me, I'd love to hear it.
  2. Their sizing. More specifically, does anyone know how Victoria's Secret sizing compares to JC Penney (my pants are a.n.a. size 8) and Eddie Bauer (I'm wearing size S shirts, although weirdly I think the long sleeve S are a little big, while the short sleeve seem to be mostly right).
rsadelle: (Default)
[ profile] kaygrr is posting something she's grateful for every day now through Thanksgiving. What a fantastic idea! Gratefulness/thankfulness practice is a good way to increase your happiness, and it's an area I think I could do more of, so I'm joining [ profile] kaygrr in this movement, if two people a movement makes.

Today, I'm grateful for my dance class. I really needed to move, which we did. We also did new things today because BDTT went to a Moroccan dance workshop over the weekend. In addition to a variation on a schikatt-style step, we did some trance-dance/hadra steps. Usually I find these a real challenge - remember that I'm a control freak, and while I can let go of my need to control other people, I do still have to be in control of my own self - but today it was much easier. I'm not sure if that's because I wanted to move or because I've engaged in some good personal growth, but either way, it was fun.

As an extra fun bonus, I was a belly dancer for Halloween (this was the first time in fifteen years or so that I wasn't a witch), so I took advantage of class to get one more wearing out of my costume. In the normal swing of things, I forget how much more fun it is to wear something interesting to class. I certainly had more fun looking at myself in the mirror, and I think it helped me get into the right frame of mind to dance better.
rsadelle: (Default)
The scary part about letting go is that things that used to matter so much just aren't that important anymore.

In the past, when I've gone to Monterey on vacation, part of the reason has been to go to the beach at Pajaro Dunes. When I was a kid, my grandmother rented a house there for a week, and my family and she would stay there all week and my grandfather would stay just for the weekends. When I think about it, I think she did it every year, but it was probably only three or four years. We would wake up very early, and she'd take us for walks on the beach in the fog at low tide to gather shells. One of the days we were there, my dad and my brother would take Grandma's Porsche (my dad was the only other person she would let drive it) to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, and my mom, my grandmother, and I would take our car and go shopping in Carmel. We would always go to the Aquarium one day. Mostly, though, we would spend time together in the rented house and on the beach.

This year, I didn't go to that beach when I went to Monterey. I was sick, and the prospect of climbing up and over the dunes was too much for me. So I thought about it, and I realized it was okay. I didn't have to go. I have the memory of going there with my grandmother. I have an absolutely beautiful picture I took of the beach one year. The actual place wasn't that important.

I had the same sense of letting go on that trip that I've had paring down my house.

Because I was thinking about this entry, when I got dressed for Rosh Hashanah services, I put on a Star of David necklace that came from my grandmother. (I think I didn't get it until after she died, but I have the impression that she meant it for me, like maybe she intended to give it to me at a later date.) It's a small pendant on a very fine chain, and every once in a while during the service, I felt the chain brushing against my skin.

I've reclaimed other things of my grandmother's too. I dug out the quilt she made that used to be on the couch in the den in her house, and it's now the throw on my couch. I went to my mom's house and took two and then two more of my grandmother's photos.

I've been working on this entry off and on for so long that I have no idea where I was going with it or if I had more to say. What strikes me on rereading and trying to finally finish and post it is how, in the process of letting go, I've found things I already have that I want to hold onto.
rsadelle: (Default)
This is the sixth in an occasional series.

Remember when Gap jeans weren't working for me? Well, soon after that, I got some pants from Eddie Bauer, and they were too big, which finally knocked some sense into my head.

When things don't fit, my first thought is that the style doesn't work for me. I never think to try a different size.

So I finally went to JC Penney and tried on jeans two sizes below what I was wearing, and with my coupon, bought all four pairs of this year's versions of what I wore last year that they had in stock.

I now wear a size 8. 8! That's a single-digit number! I almost couldn't buy the pants. If I hadn't had a coupon that expired that day, I might not have.

Some time after I bought jeans at Penney's, I went to Old Navy without much hope of finding anything pants-wise, but browsing anyway. I discovered that some of their pants come in lengths short enough for me to wear. So I was trying one a pair of them, a stretchy kind, and they didn't fit right. Because I had finally realized sizing might be an issue, I went out and got the next size down. And then nearly panicked because their size 6 stretchy pants fit me, although I actually didn't like the style on me. I had half-heartedly planned to do more shopping that day, but I had to go home instead.
rsadelle: (Default)
This is the fifth in an occasional series.

When all my pants were too big, I decided I would wait until fall to buy new ones because I would just wear skirts all summer. The flaw in this plan is that it's freezing in my office (something that was not true last summer), so even when it's 100 outside, I'm wearing jeans and socks and shoes to work. (This is also why I gave up my hunt for good sandals. If I'm only wearing them for a few hours on weekends, I can wear the cheap, mildly uncomfortable ones.)

I can no longer stand my pants. All my jeans are one size too big, and my khaki-style pants (which I have to wear once a week because I don't own quite enough jeans) are two sizes too big. I hate them all. And, of course, Penney's no longer carries either pant, so I can't just replace them with the same thing in a different size (which is how I prefer to shop).

My strategy, the last couple of times I've been in Penney's, was to find any pants in my size in a fabric I didn't hate and try them on. Last time I was there, I tried on a pair of pants, looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "Oh, yeah, I've tried these on again." They're actually extremely comfortable, but I don't like the style. Between the cut and the vertical pinstripes, they make my legs look weirdly skinny.

I've been reading all sorts of blogs recently (possibly more on that later), and one of them was raving about Gap jeans, so I thought I'd go try them on and see if they were worth it. The second pair I tried on had the same weird skinny effect on my legs. Then I put on my own jeans, and they didn't look that different.

Here's my revelation: When I look at myself in the mirror, I'm usually only looking at my top half. If I'm using the long mirror in my closet to look at the top and bottom halves of myself, I'm usually wearing belly dance clothes, which means harem pants or a large skirt.

It's not the clothes; it's my body.

This, of course, shot my concentration all to hell, and even though I tried on a few more pair of jeans, I have no idea which styles would work for me. (This is hard to determine anyway because they don't carry petites in store, which means the space for the hips hits below my hips and looks weird.) Once I thought about it, I realized that I'd actually noticed this in the context of the pool. Last summer, I would swim laps until I was tired, backfloat for a bit, then swim more laps until I was tired, and then get out. This summer, I'm just swimming laps and then getting out of the pool, but I still like a little relaxation in the water after my laps. I no longer float. Or rather, only the top half of me floats. My legs just slowly sink into the water. Presumably this is because muscle is more dense than fat, and a lot of the fat in my legs has been converted to muscle. So yay to muscle, but boo to not being able to float anymore.
rsadelle: (Default)
My cousin's wedding reception is on Sunday. I finally bought a dress. It's black with sparkles (the glitter gets everywhere; I will probably never wear it again), fake wrap v-neck top, sleeveless, swirly skirt. It's going to be cold, so I need something on my legs. Pantyhose and tights are a pain in the butt (sometimes literally). Does anyone have any experience with thigh highs? Do they actually stay up? How high do they go? Can I get quality ones at Penney's or Gottschalks?

I also don't know what sort of colors I should be looking at. The same color as my legs? Black to go with the dress? Fluorescent pink to spice things up?

Remember when I needed makeup advice for Rocky Horror? Well, I haven't learned a whole lot since then.

I'd like some lip gloss. Back in the day, I liked Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Bronze Lilac, which is now discontinued. It looks a lot redder in the pictures than I remember it. I'd like to buy cheap instead of expensive. Of course, then I think, "If I buy something and don't like it and buy something else, I'll have spent as much as I would have if I'd just gone to the makeup counter at Gottschalks and had them help me pick out something expensive." Any suggestions for color or brand?

I also would like to figure out what to do for eye makeup. I wore black eyeliner for my belly dance recital last week, and it's too strong for my face. But I don't know what would be good. A brown? And what about eye shadow? Does anyone know of any good pictures of really good eye makeup I could copy? (If it helps, you can see the description of my dress above, under "Hosiery.")

Other makeup questions:
  • What about some kind of concealer/foundation/powder sort of thing? (I really have no basic girly knowledge.) Do I really have to? (I dislike wearing makeup.)
  • I'm also thinking about some kind of body/face glitter, in silver. Anyone know of anything good?
  • I'll probably buy some nail polish, too, if the removers Greenfeet sells actually work on regular polish. I saw a silver sparkle coat yesterday. (Yes, I'm the crazy kind of person who goes to the drugstore on Christmas. I was desperate for a new sponge.) I can't decide if I should do just that or some other polish with that on top. How do I figure out what color nail polish to wear?
rsadelle: (Default)
Apparently I'm the only one bothered by this journal being less fannish because no one seems to care about the fannish bits. I'm still on the fence between my Te issues and it being okay to be personal here, but I'm also inspired by a secret from this week's PostSecret--(psst) if we all gave freely and sweetly of ourselves we would all end up with MORE--so here we go.

Ten or So Things You Might Not Know About Me )

Moment of Fannish Outrage
CBS has picked up Close to Home, which is terrible, for the rest of the season, but they've cancelled Threshold, which is awesome.
rsadelle: (Default)
I'm looking for a non-evil place to buy DVDs at a reasonable price. I won't go into Blockbuster, Best Buy, or Circuit City anymore; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tower are very expensive; and Target's selection is pretty limited. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Lesson 1
When grating cheese, be careful of your grip. Grate only the cheese, not your knuckles.

Lesson 2
Next to the door of the synagog is an intercom with a sign that says, "Doorbell. Push to talk. Release to listen." Isn't that the truth.

Good Thing 1
My boss complimented my outfit today. Twice.

Good Thing 2
Listening to the Once More With Feeling soundtrack this afternoon made me happy, and then I realized that Sky gave me her tape of the episode, which I will be watching as soon as Threshold is over. Mmm, Threshold.

Good Thing 3
When I came home today, the new Kane CD was on my porch! I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm very excited about it. So excited that I promptly broke off one of the corners on the plastic case while taking the shrink wrap off. Doh!


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Ruth Sadelle Alderson


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