Sunday, July 15, 2018

It's All In The Numbers

Riteaid stores have this thing called higi, a health and wellness kiosk that measures and records certain health data through a procedure that only takes 15 minutes. It records the blood pressure, pulse, weight, and body mass index of an individual.

When I first moved back to Hampton in 2014, I sat down at the kiosk for the first time and recorded my numbers. At that time, my weight was 142 lbs and my BMI was 24.42, normal weight. Two years later, I recorded my numbers and my weight then was 162 lbs with my BMI increased by 3.55 to 27.98. I was now officially categorized as overweight. Oh my.

Note that the weight gain occurred in the years I was working big-box retail. I was a depressive sloth with a strange schedule who had learned how to stress-eat my feelings until I finally escaped that job.

So, now, two more years later; after reaching a high of 170 lbs at 5'4" tall, my exercise routine has me holding steady at 165 lbs. So, I did keep gaining but not at the pace of that first increase and I am currently walking approximately seven miles a week outdoors in this southern heat. So, I'm doing pretty good.

My wardrobe has suffered. As I find things no longer fit or are no longer comfortable, I've been moving them over to one side of my closet. That side is now taking over! So many lovely things that I can no longer wear....

My exercise routine has to increase, despite this heat. I need to take my diet more seriously, eating less is not producing the weight loss, like I hoped. It also isn't that enjoyable. I need to also research more on anti-bloat foods (low FODMAP*) because my stomach is frequently betraying me when I start to think I can wear something cute again. Suggestions about that are very welcome.

One bright light I found is Rini Frey aka @ownitbabe on Instagram. I appreciate her philosophy about accepting your own body and not being too hard on yourself. It has helped.

* Look at the good-to-eat list first, most things can still be enjoyed, just in moderation.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Wedding Guest Dress Breakdown: One Year Later

Speaking of weddings, my niece got married last year on June 10. That spring, I had written a series of posts on the making of the two dresses I wore, a green silk evening dress and it's multi-color slip. I ended up finishing the main dress a mere two days before traveling to the wedding and didn't get any satisfactory pictures of me in my complete outfit.

So on the one-year anniversary, here's an update on how I wore the dress to that wedding. I pretty much looked at it as if I was going to an awards banquet. I researched and sourced the individual elements from all over. There were plenty of things that I bought and returned, things I lucked out on, and even things I eventually would regret not buying.

I received a hint of what I wanted to wear when I saw a swatch of emerald green silk crepe de chine and it reminded me of my favorite green dress in Atonement. Once I decided that was the way I wanted to go I started thinking of a 1920s-30s vibe. Of course, I didn't take that literally. However, the dress pattern I chose, Vogue 2745, did have the v-neck, elongated waist, and a handkerchief hem reminiscent of 1930s style.

My most important concern was my hair, a short curly natural that was drastically cut too short a week before this event. So how was I going to style it to fit this dress and the romantic vibe I wanted to have? Luckily, my love of award show red carpet reporting came to the rescue as you'll see below.

Moving clockwise:

1. Once I saw this double-tiered Jennifer Behr gold headpiece that Janelle Monáe wore to the 2017 Vanity Fair party I knew what I needed to find. This led to a search of accessory shops such as Claire's; however, I never really expected to find something that came so close, but I did!

2. The winning earrings came from Charming Charlie's. Why did no one tell me about this amazing place, all organized by color? They have everything, purses, scarves, jewelry, even tiaras! These earrings not only picked up the emerald but also royal, turquoise, and chartreuse. They will be worn lovingly for years.

3. An extremely cheap $1(!) compact mirror from Michael's arts and crafts, of all places, in a green that matched my dress perfectly. I also bought two more in pearlized white and royal blue for the bride and her maid-of-honor.

4. Yes, I actually found an extremely similar headband, the gold double row daisies headband shown here from, although I found mine locally at Claire's.

5. The Style & Co Paycee sandal in Red from Macy's. I bought these because they weren't as tall as my first choice, the 3" high Monrae from Jessica Simpson. However, the Paycee non-adjustable ankle strap turned out to be extremely constricting and I had to change shoes in order to dance.

Monrae sandal

I ended up wishing I had gone ahead and bought the taller Jessica Simpson's even though I probably would have taken them off too but at least I would not have had to compromise on style.

6. The Wanda zipper wristlet, an adorable purse in gold from Charming Charlie's. This will surely get a lot of use in the future.

7. L.A. Girl Color Pop nail polish in Amour, a fabulous red that adorned my toes in those perfectly color-matched shoes.

So, I wish I had a picture here to show you all these elements coming together but I didn't actively try to get a picture of me taken in the completed ensemble. Someone did get two pictures of me that day with family and hopefully I can get them color corrected so I can post here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

She Did Good!

Harry and HRH, The Duchess of Sussex, 
Countess of Dumbarton, and Baroness Kilkeel.


Stella McCartney

I loved both these, the ceremony gown was even more streamlined than I had imagined and so thoughtful with symbolism. However, it was not as accurately fitted as it should have been from a design house such as Givenchy. It was disappointing but I chalk it up to the stress she's been under these last few weeks and Meghan probably not being as bothered with the loose fit to have them take the dress apart for alterations.

When I first saw Meghan, my first thought was of Princess Angela of Liechtenstein, the first black female royal bride. The dress, veil, bouquet, minimal makeup, and the lack of opulent jewels are so similar.

Princess Angela of Liechtenstein in 2000.

Then the Internet reminded me of the resemblance to some other European royal brides who also admire a classic streamlined, romantic style that allowed themselves to shine more than the dress or their adornments.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, 2001
 and Infanta Cristina of Spain, 1997.

She did very well, indeed.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Meghan Markle, What Will You Wear?

On Saturday, Ms. Meghan Markle will step out of a car wearing a dress that will be news all over the world, in mere seconds. The common thought is that her dress has been designed by Ralph & Russo. I'm not so sure. Well, maybe I'm biased, but most of their dresses that I've seen seem so over the top and I don't want Meghan to be given any more of a hard time than she already has. I'm a huge wedding gown snob, probably because they're the closest things we have to vintage evening gowns from Charles James, Worth, and Dior. To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of Diana or Catherine's actual dresses; however, I thought they both looked beautiful and happy so I really just want Meghan to have the same. She's had such a hard time just to be with the man she loves.

Though because of that curiosity, I decided to see what other designers could have been in the running. Also, if she did choose one of these, I can then claim a small victory.

By the way, I vote complete sleek hair updo, a new tiara, slim a-line dress, either fully embellished or starkly unadorned. Also, her mother will walk her down the aisle, culminating in a precious moment when she hands her off to Harry, perhaps with a hug.

Here's a dress I posted to Instagram a while ago as what I'd choose for her if it were my choice:

Pronovias 2018 Raigal gown

Back to other possibilities:


Temperley London - The Bohemian vibe of this collection makes this designer a real possibility and I could see these fitting in very well at Windsor. They also would compliment the floral design and that elderflower-flavored wedding cake.


Sassi Holford - I have to admit I would love if Meghan chose someone who wasn't even on the radar, like London local Sassi Holford.


Amanda Wakeley - These gowns are just perfect. That first one is particularly lovely and classic, with a twist. I could definitely see Meghan in something like that! Another real contender.

Phillipa Lepley - Their lovely romantic dresses, rendered in styles both architecturally structured and lushly romantic, would  definitely allow for a lot of variety and skill  when completing a custom dress order.


Jenny Packham - I was surprised she wasn't mentioned to be in contention. I think she's still a valid possibility. I definitely see her being able to  capture Meghan's vibe correctly.

Viktor & Rolf - I doubt she'd pick this avant-garde design house but I was pleasantly surprised by how wearable and striking their gowns were. Let's call them the "wild card" choice.

Burberry - I still think this is a possibility, despite her mother, Doria, being clearly seen with their garment bag on her way to London. My thought is that Ms. Ragland's actual event dress never left London, and this is something else entirely. The design house could still be dressing the bride, though it is less likely now.

Erdem - Now, I couldn't find any examples of Erdem wedding gowns but pulled these from his various collections, those last two from 2009. I'm sure he would make a beautiful dress, perhaps shooed away from the large florals, top-to-toe modesty, and ruffles look for which he's more currently known.

Elie Saab - Here's another long shot, but oh how great one of his designs would look at Windsor! He's also had experience creating royal wedding gowns, having made the dresses for both Princess Stephanie (2012) and Princess Claire (2013) of Luxembourg.

Well, I could keep going with all the other designers she has ever worn that could pull off such a gown, but I won't. It's now time to be patient and wait for noon in Windsor (7 a.m. my time!) to view her choice and rejoice in the near-royal couple's joy on Saturday.

Good luck Meghan!!!!