Beauty, from the best-ofs files, How to pick a guy, wife stuff

The Middle Way for Women

This was written on TC blog back in 2011 by CL. She gave me permission to use it in this best-of series. I borrowed it because I can’t think of anything much written by Christians on the subject of women and modesty that doesn’t make me wish there was someone, somewhere, with a modicum of sense. Someone not so open-minded that their brains have fallen out. The “bikinis are fine!” crowd spring to mind here. Someone not so prudish and wound up at the sexual nature of men and women that they make me recoil. The “revealing of curves or enhancement of any kind is evil” crowd springs to mind here. Then I remembered that there was once, someone who wrote on the topic in a way I could get on board with.

This is my first post here. My husband planted a seed and I have nurtured it – it was a fruitful union and this is what we have procreated.

Have you noticed that a single woman dresses to attract, then when she gets married, she dresses to minimize? A married woman dressing as if she were single, going on girls’ nights out, is not generally looked upon well, even if the stigma appears less than in times gone by, and most married women intuit this.

What are attracts men is simple but seems complex because it is counter-intuitive. Often a woman showing too much skin gives off a vibe of selfishness. Such intentional dress is often intimidating to men; the better quality betas often do not have the confidence to approach – or they simply don’t know how to approach such a woman except perhaps to ask, “How much?” Of course the alpha guys will approach her, but the good guys will think twice more often than not.

The women overly concerned with modesty often have a body language that is not attractive. Their posture often is such that they hide their curves. This is body insecurity, which is not an attractive trait. Often these women have the walking gait of a man. But even those seemingly unconcerned with modesty do this – I see women all the time dressed to the nines but walking like a man, slightly hunched even, with legs apart instead of one foot in front of the other. In this case, the woman who is modestly dressed yet carries herself well is going to attract more attention than the one showing a lot of skin but who doesn’t know how to carry herself in a feminine way.

This is the middle way. Wearing clothes that do not reveal too much but walking with confidence: shoulders back, breasts out, standing tall. Walking like a woman, one foot in front of the other, which causes her hips to sway even without heels. How many times do you see women hunched over with her arms pulled forward or crossed to disguise her breasts? This is not attractive. Rather, good posture, smiling, not wearing a lot of makeup, shorter finger nails without obnoxious bright colors will likely cause the good men to notice and the alphas to hesitate in ‘using up’ such beauty.

The peace and glow of a woman after prayer or a woman really striving toward God shows up in the way she carries herself. Cads often do have a code of conduct to not ruin such a woman. Furthermore, she is not easy and it would take a larger investment of his time than he typically is willing to give. So in this way, she can attract quality men without flaunting herself and still look good while at the same time protecting herself.

The middle way woman attracts a better quality man because that man sees all of her character, including her comfortable confidence in her sexuality, since she neither flaunts nor disguises. Sometimes this kind of woman will later change her style of dress to be like the woman concerned with modesty. That is disconcerting to her man. He wants to be proud of his wife and show her off a bit. If she does not want to be eye candy for him sometimes – and not just in private – this can lead to disinterest from him and insecurity in her, which causes their connection to become more distant and usually a woman reacts by holding on to him and pulling him back with her claws. Oh, if she would just draw him back with her wiles, by planting some irresistible private intimate images in his mind.

A better approach is for her to do the opposite of most women; when out with him, she can dress a bit more revealing; she can find out what he would like to see and do that for him. The attention of the world is on the two of them and the focus is more diffused. They will see her in context with him; he is there to protect her. When this is done right, she is noticed as a beautiful woman, and people look at him and think, “Lucky guy.” Men live for this feeling – it affirms his masculinity. The focus is no longer on her; it is redirected to him. She feels good, because he feels good and also because this makes her feel more attractive, thus increasing her confidence. She will pick up on the admiration others have for her man and delight that such a man is her man.

Emotions are contagious. In a relationship the two are often feeling the same things. It is good to remember this, because this is the way to fix things. Being willing to do things like this for your man encourages him to be open about what he wants from you, and the more you show yourself willing to please him, the more the positive emotions will overwhelm the negative ones. This isn’t to say you are a doormat, but that you show yourself willing to please. In the modern world, this will set you apart from the average woman, as will dressing nicely but not slutty and carrying yourself with poise and confidence.

Yes, I realize that this post was void of any Scriptural reference or mention of “shamefacedness”, that word in 1 Timothy that has been bastardized to within an inch of its poor life. I’ll get into that later. Trust me on that, because I have something to say about it.

Advertisements
Beauty, from the best-ofs files

1947. When People Got Dressed.

This one is from 2013. Just in time for those who get dolled up for New Years. I’m too much of a fuddy-duddy for all that, but I appreciate the notion nonetheless. I’ll go glam in Febuay for our annivesary.

My husband and I saw the movie 42 recently, and I was so enamored with the fashion that I could barely appreciate the film, set in 1947. Women wore dresses and pumps to the ball park. The men wore shirts and ties. It was intoxicating to me, all the care that was put into presenting oneself well and with dignity, and I’m not even a particularly formal dresser. I enjoy my sundresses and sandals.

As I watched I wondered who decided that slovenly is necessarily more comfortable, and that the quickest route from the bed to the door is the best one. And then I looked at myself and realized that I had encased my hair in a clip of some sort every day for the past week. No curls, no extra effort, just twist it up clip it and go.

I tried to make up for it wearing dresses and dangly earrings because big earring look better with up dos, but I was taking the short cut. No amount of lip gloss was going to change that. It is very easy to get into a rut, especially when your husband is too busy to really look and pause long enough to ask “What’s up?”

Since it’s Friday, I figured I’d lighten things up with a bit of vintage fashion inspiration.

42-wife

The first photo is the actress who played Jackie Robinson’s wife in the film. She’s gorgeous, but  more importantly, look at how the people at the ball park are dressed!

1940-fashion

 

No frump here, and that yellow dress is divine. Next up: Hats!

 

another fashion hat

1940s-war-ration-fashion1

I saw this last one and immediately thought of our resident expert on all things beautiful:

turquoise-1940s

Consider this the TC shallow fashion blog of the week. Have a great weekend!

American identity, Beauty, cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world, spirit led living

Happiness is boring to postmoderns.

‘Tis a statement of fact that postmodern people -including Christians- have been effectively de-normed. We do not know how to appreciate simplicity, to be content, to be happy,  to rejoice with those who rejoice, or to mourn with those who mourn, or even define bedrock terms from a Biblical framework.

All most of us know how to do today is gawk, gossip, and gripe. It’s a sad truth, but it is a truth nonetheless. This was a hard pill for me to swallow a few years ago when I first committed a more positive thought and conversational life. That’s not to say that I fully achieved this. It was hard then, and it sometimes still is, but it’s easier now that I accept being mostly on my own looking for the joy in the dailyless of life, and being thankful for it.

Every now and again, however, I run across a fellow traveler who is quick to offer a response of heartfelt joy to someone else’s good news, good fortune, or acts of Christian kindness. Someone who offers exuberant, unsolicited praise for their husband, gratitude for their church, and just seems to be looking for the good in a world awash with bad news. It encourages me, as did this piece I stumbled upon via Rod Dreher:

Boy oh boy, is Felix Miller ever right:

Contemporary young people on the right may be described in many ways: Transgressive. Ostracized. Principled. Unpopular. Free-thinking. Reactionary. Traditional. However accurate—and perhaps damning — one thinks these are, there is one label that greatly worries me: Joyless.

He’s not talking about being funny, in a smart-alecky way. He’s talking about something rooted in love. More:

Many on the right, especially those who identify as “Alt-Right,” spend massive amounts of time rejoicing in the pain of those with whom they disagree. The fact that videos about “libtard meltdowns” and “Butt-Hurt Crying Hillary Voters Compilation” have far more views than videos about Shakespeare, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Dante’s Commedia, should tell us something. Young conservatives and reactionaries, much as they flail their hands at the death of Western civilization and the loss of wisdom, do very little in the way of actually preserving the beauty and truth underlying this great tradition. If joy is truly a result of love, man must be very careful to develop the right affections in his breast. Right now many on the right seem hellbent on cultivating affection for dank memes rather than for truth, goodness, and beauty.

Miller says that G.K. Chesterton ought to be our model. We can’t simply say what we’re against. We have to say what we’re for, and not only that, but we have to live it out. If we really believe what we say, then “we must show our countrymen that there is a better way.” Miller suggests eating, drinking, and making all kinds of traddish merry. More:

This may seem abstruse, but in fact it is one of the most practical realizations a young traditionalist can make. Simply change your habits to help bring friends and family into rituals and ways of life that affirm reality. Host a formal dinner! Go to an art museum! Have a picnic in which you read classic poetry aloud! This is how we can create a sustainable traditionalism in the West.

What I am advocating here is not aestheticism, but communally gathering around all that is true, good, and beautiful. Politics is ordered toward promotion of the common good, thus in order to engage in politics we all must first have a love for the good. We cannot base the rejuvenation of our dying civilization upon a shared animosity, for as Chesterton reminds us, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

True, this. Is it any wonder the world is in the mess that it’s in, and the church along with it? Why do so few seem to ask whose interests are served by our perpetual state of discontent, blaming, criticizing, finger pointing, and fighting?

Sadly, I think I know the answer to the questions. It’s because our natures, deep down, love darkness rather than light. Not only that, we’re mentally lazy and cognitive misers. That may be redundant, but it’s worth a double emphasis.

Joyful living and appreciation of others demand that we subdue our sinful tendency toward selfisness and criticism. Put simply, poking sticks and complaining is just more fun, if only because there’s much more company on the crowded road.

The news of the day is grim, and there is lots to criticize, murmur and complain about. Make a choice to choose life over death, blessing over cursing, joy over discontentment. Really, how much can any one of us do to stem the tide of evil perpetually reported for the express purpose of instiling fear and squelching whatever peace we have? Not much, so why volunteer to be terrified and agitated?

As for us and our house, we are making efforts, real efforts, to embrace beauty, family, community, and Ultimate Truth.

 

 

Beauty, wife stuff

Comfortable in our skin.

I saw this story and as a mother of many daughters, I was reminded of a recent encounter where conversations and thoughts were sparked. Namely, about authenticity and trusting that God knows what He is doing when He makes us the way He deems best.

At our daughters’ commencement, several of us got separated, going in different directions for different things. SAM to get better shots of his girl, me to the ladies room, etc. Upon re-entering the crowded venue I didn’t immediately notice a man looking at me, trying to get my attention. I was looking over him, as I always look a little higher when I want to find my husband in a crowd.

When I finally did notice on him, he walked up to me and told me he thought the way I wore my hair was “beautiful”. I thanked him just as my husband and I found our way to each other in the crowd. My husband later made a joke about my picking up strange men, and one of my daughters asked rather pointedly, “Black guy?” The majority of men who compliment my girls on their hair are non black men.

As it happened however, this gentleman was black. Her next query was one of his approximate age. He was about my age I said, and she figured as much. The older ones are used to and more comfortable with black women straightening their hair and the younger ones haven’t quite matured enough to appreciate a look outside of what they see as the dominant look qua Beyonce, Kerry Washington, etc.

 Sidebar: Those are generalizations, and not absolutes. There is always an exception to be found to any general statement. Without generalizations, communication itself becomes impossible and generalizations do not emerge from nothing. Now, where was I…

Another of the 1,000,001 things I love about my husband -contrasted with many other men we know- is that when I made the transition from wearing my hair chemically straightened to wearing it in its natural state, he never objected. He never complained or requested the chemically straightened tresses that I’d worn from when we met in 1992, even knowing I would immediately straighten it if he asked.  This was 18 months ago, in transition, but before that it was longer. He was still cool with the curls. Once again, his overall confidence made it easier to confidently embrace the natural me.

Confidence left unchecked can easily become a vice. Nevertheless, it takes confidence in this culture to walk confidently in our God-given states, particularly if you’re a woman. Everywhere we look, we’re implored to change and alter things about ourselves -big and small- to appeal to as wide a consensus of attractiveness vectors as we can. Whether it was me with 28 years of relaxing or the woman who faithfully spends exorbitant amounts to be blond, or at least not gray. Those don’t even include the massive uptick in the amount of money spent on cosmetic surgeries year after year. The barbie girl is just the most extreme example of a dominant trend.

Single women are in a particularly vulnerable state. I am blessed to have the task of meeting the preferences and desires of one man. One who, quite frankly, has a high standard threshold. If I had the task of most single women, it would seem incredibly overwhelming in this climate. Niche culture has eaten away at the things we should do “in general”.

In general, stay fit, dress and groom well, followed with being kind and competent, would be enough for any woman to tackle as she navigates the single life in hopes of finding a mate. Those generalities however, are just the tip of a massive and winding iceberg. General rules have been tossed aside.

For example, I tend to find large tattoos ugly things, detracting from a woman’s beauty. However for many men tattoos (even arm-length ones), are just fine and dandy. You can expand this to include colored hair, overdone makeup, too much skin, etc. I could probably fill a page with things that were considered gauche when I was a teenager yet are perfectly acceptable now. “Nappy” hair was also on the list though, so…

I don’t engage in modesty debates anymore, for a host of reasons, but one of which is that in the absence of a commonly held set of belief about what is and is not acceptable for a woman to wear, there’s too much subjectivity. Even women who preach modesty can find themselves on the wrong side of someone else’s scale, and one man’s modesty is another man’s slutty. Given my propensity to feel choked without a décolleté just shy of too low, I decided to let my husband mind my business and let other women’s husbands and fathers mind theirs.

One thing that I do feel strongly about, and which every week I find my conviction growing, is that our best bet is to be the best, as beautiful, and the most honorable we can be in our own skin, and let the chips fall where they may.

Disclosure: I spend money, and sometimes quite a bit, on my appearance. What does that mean exactly? I’ll answer if asked.

 

 

 

Beauty, el's rabbit trails, just for fun

Friday Frivolities 10: Fashion Stuff

I’m fairly certain that fashion -in the traditional sense- isn’t really frivolous. It has always been that how we present ourselves to others sends a message, else Paul wouldn’t have bothered to address women directly about the way we present ourselves to the world. Additionally, we all understand intuitively the power of dressing for the job we want, the respect we want, the mate we want, etc.

In the grand scheme of  things however, and given the bleak state of the world and culture we live in, fashion conversation may seem frivolous. That is, until we stop to consider that life goes on and we still have to go out into the world and do the day to day things we need to in order to meet the needs of our families. My man has strong opinions about m appearance as well. To that end then, a frivolous fashion post!

~Our kids started school* this week. It isn’t school in the traditional sense, since we are still at home, homeschooling three full days a week, but it was certainly  new experience for them. One of the novelties was having to abide by a fairly strict dress code, one which I am certain I’d have trouble filling for them if they were at school five days a week. It is a good thing, however, when I contrast it to the lax standards we’ve expereinced in other supplental homeschool settings. It is as follows:

  • Shoulders covered, no tank tops. or sundresses without cardigans.
  • No shorts for anyone middle school and up and for elementary school students, they must be at least knee length.
  • All dresses and skirts must cover the knees when seated
  • No cleavage visible when females bend over
  • All boys shorts must have collars
  • Jeans -if worn at all-must be neat, with no frays or rips, and worn with a belt.
  • Parents are subject to the same dress code as students when on campus.

Our 9-year-old, being elementary aged, has more freedom than the 11-year-old, who complained at first. When you spend most of your time in a relaxed, casual home atrmosphere, your definiton of comfortable clothes is the standard fare (particularly in Florida): Shorts, tank tops, jeans, t-shirts, sandals. They enjoy the educational experience so much however,  that they are less bothered about having to get dressed on a day besides Sunday.

~Hearth shared a really great article with me about fashion color choices for women of darker hues. It’s no secret that black/brown women have a lot more leeway with regard to the colors we look good in, but it doesn’t mean that we look good in every color and a few tweaks here and can make a big difference.

I was fairly unfamiliar with the idea of deeper value and contrast, so I learn a lot about fashion and color from my interactions with Hearth. Have I ever mentioned here that she has written a book on the subject of women’s fashion and how to do it right? Well, she has, and you can find access to it here on the review I wrote for it when she published last year.

~One of my fashion challenges is variety. Generally, I wear almost any color that strikes my fancy, but when I know I look good in a particular color, I can overwork that color in my wardrobe. A couple of years ago, it was deep orange. I still wear that on occasion, but more recently, I’ve heavily leaned on navy blues.

*With this dress, which one of our daughters gave me as a gift from Unique Vintage, I added red accents (shoes as well as the cami) to cover the base of the very low neckline.My makeup looks like it’s melting because it was nearly 100 degrees that day, two weeks ago. It’s just one in a long line of pieces purchased in various shades of navy blue. It doesn’t hurt that my husband really likes me in the color as well, but I need to mix it up. My wardrobe is starting to bore me.

~Lastly, I stumbled on a product that has caused me -yet again- to change my favorite hair product line. Given that this especially marketed to those of us with thick, curly hair, it’s not for everybody. It’s relatively expensive also, but I have a permission, a directive even, to spend a few extra bucks if needed to look good. I also like their mimosa hair honey hair for the scent as much as the shine effect.

*There will no doubt be plenty of classical education and literature comentary at The Reading Room. I am learning as much as our kids, and loving every word of it!

.

 

Beauty, el's rabbit trails, just for fun, wife stuff

Friday Frivolities 5: A hair raising edition

This is a hair raising edition because I’ve been thinking a lot about my hair this week. It’s not all I’ve been thinking about, of course, but it occupied more mental space than usual.

~It started last weekend when an older male relative asked my husband why- given his relative “youth”- he won’t dye his hair or beard. He has a fair amount of visible gray. He said no. The hair grows back too quickly, making it a frequent endeavor, and a waste of time. Most importantly, he’s fine with his gray hair.

The man countered that it just helps make a guy more attractive, no different from what a woman does when she wears a little blush to spruce up. My husband replied, “That is exactly my point. ” His pithy end of the dialog made me laugh but also made me think.

I’m thinking a bit about my own gray strands, which I usually color every 6-8 weeks for the express purpose of covering the gray strands peeking out in front. I’ve pondered it for a while now, even reviewing a book on the topic. Lately, I’ve been going longer between colorings because it does take time I need to spend on other things.

I almost never get around to coloring without going at least a couple of weeks with my visibly gray strands, which kinds of defeats the point of coloring in the first place, no? That’s an awkward angle, but the point is the gray hairs, not my big eyes. I couldn’t figure out how to do one and not the other without an even weirder picture.

Some days, I don’t mind them. It’s only a little, and only visible when I wear my hair pulled back, such as it is now. Other days it bothers me and it’s those days I find myself getting the color in. It’s funny the things we lament that previous generations of women never thought about. I just don’t want to find myself at 65 or 70 with a full head of black hair thinking I’m fooling anyone. 25 years seems like a long time from now but time passes quickly.

~This next bit is about growth of another sort: Veggies! I may not the worst gardener who ever planted a bed, but I am no doubt in the lower 50th percentile. Nevertheless, and with a lot of helpful tips and reminders from the man, I have been able to grow and harvest some good looking vegetables so far this summer. Here is yesterday’s take:

wp-1498054881202.jpg

Two eggplants, and three tomatoes. I didn’t have eggplant Parmesan on my menu for this week, but I may have to consider a menu change.

~My word for the summer is “productive”. As much as we’re told about wife and motherhood being hard jobs, for me the reality is that a plan and a some focus can do wonders.

**Caveat: I am NOT referring to mothers of babies and preschoolers here. My “baby” is 9.**

The challenge, or at least my challenge, has been to resist the temptation to coast, doing what I need to get by (“good enough is good enough”) without stretching myself in ways that will force me to grow.

With that as my focus, it’s been remarkable that I have done twice as much around the house and errands, taken naps and walks when I need them, did some things to stretch and challenge myself and still indulge in occasional 30-45 minute time “wasters” such as writing this post*. It’s been a good season.

~Lastly, I mentioned a while ago that I was reading up on how to start my own SCOBY to make kombucha at home. It turns out that this was not as easy as The Kitchn made it appear to be. The main problem was finding a pure, unflavored bottle of kombucha to use as a starter. I went to every natural food market I could think of in our area and not one had a kombucha that was unflavored.

Fortunately for me, I have the hookup with good friends who are into this kind of thing and one of them gave me a SCOBY, which has brewed enough kombucha to make another SCOBY. So I have the makings of a SCOBY hotel on my hands. Problem is, everyone in my house thinks it looks disgusting:

wp-1498074999260.jpg

The brew still tastes good, and it’s good for me, too.

Have a great weekend!

*I don’t really believe that writing this post was a waste of time.
Beauty, healthy living, Humility is important, wife stuff

Exceptions don’t validate fat acceptance movement.

This post is mostly fresh, and partly re-warmed leftovers from a 2012 entry on my now defunct blog. The message is still relevant as the trend of forcing the national consciousness towards acceptance of what should be rejected has gained more steam over the past five years.

This couple’s photo and story, along with glowing commentary on how this husband proves that love and sexual attraction are much more about what’s on the inside than the outside, is another boon to the fat acceptance movement. It comes when many women are working out harder to look good in bikinis and tank tops as summer kicks into high gear.

This hoopla is an attempt to do two things. The first is discouraging women from exercising self-control and taking charge of their health. The second is to denigrate natural, healthy male sexuality by implying that men who prefer fit women are evil, mean and shallow creatures who value a woman’s appearance over her character.

The problem with this is that our outer life is usually a decent gauge of our inner life. In other words, a few extra pounds as we age or after the birth of a baby are one thing. It’s easy to see how this can happen when we do not make the necessary adjustments to mitigate the natural changes which come with aging or child birth. Perpetually carrying around an extra 50 or more pounds for years on end, however, may indicate an issue with self-control that will rear its head in other areas of life as well.

To use a woman who has earned the love and devotion of a man over several years, has given him two young children so far ( this is a young couple),  as an example to indicate that any chubby chick can reasonably expect to land a hot guy is ridiculous on its face. Does it happen occasionally? It does, but exceptions don’t create new rules. Rather, they highlight the opposite tendency of most people.

I seem -perpetually- to be losing (and gaining) 20-25 pounds so this isn’t body shaming. I am also, despite the extra weight which makes me painfully average among American women my age, married to a man who is above average in looks and indisputably conventionally handsome. He is not rocking abs anymore like that guy, but I digress.

Like the husband in the Yahoo story, mine is virtually blind to what I view as the disparity in our presentation, roundly dismissing with incredulity any assertion on my part that he is the better looking half of this duo. Gratitude doesn’t begin to summarize my response, but I’ve also had nearly 25 years to rack up the track record that led to his love blindness. I was also pretty fit when he first laid eyes on me.

There is a bigger problem here though, no pun intended. I was discussing this with a friend and she pointed out that we (the larger culture) have reduced this subject to black and white, when there is plenty of room for gray.

We have relegated “fit” almost entirely to the realm of emaciated models or world class athletes. Normal healthy ladies who aren’t obese yet also without muscled arms and bikini worthy abs lament their lack of fitness. So you’re either a total health nut or you eat donuts and Doritos, without much middle ground in between.

For those women who can’t or don’t want to get to super fit, they give up on just trying to be a normal healthy human weight. It would be good for us to accept that normal human doesn’t usually look like an athlete or a model, but nor does normal healthy human equal obese. We’ve fallen into the ditches of extremes.

As I thought about her words, I was reminded of a trip I recently took with our girls into an Under Armor outlet store, drawn in by the desire to take a closer look at a very large Incredible Hulk statue they had placed there. Instead of being shirtless, as the Hulk is normally seen, he was wearing an Under Armor shirt.

The store was a picture of the extremes my friend mentioned, with the super fit perusing the racks alongside those who clearly seemed to view the clothing as athleisure rather than something to get sweaty in. Since I don’t fall into the former category, I voiced my concern that I looked like I belong in the latter category. Our daughter looked at me and assured me that I am not what anyone has in mind when they think “fat people”. In other words, I’ve allowed my mind to be trapped in the thinking of extreme dichotomies when considering what it means to be healthy. And I know better.

Even though I find this love story romantic and sweet, it’s a bad idea in these cases to celebrate exceptions. Especially at the expense of encouraging the greater population to do their best to be as healthy as possible. It is not only foolish. For many women, this is downright deadly.

Beauty, black in a multi-culti world, Homemaking stuff, just for fun

Friday Frivolities 4: Fashion, funnies, and furniture notes.

It’s been a very rainy week and as such we’ve been indoors a lot, with exceptions for a couple of trips to our local library which has amazing activities, events, and classes to beat the dog days of summer doldrums in our city. Even if it wasn’t raining all week, it would be a sweltering sauna all day, followed by a hand swatting mosquito farm at night. Such as summertime in a tropical climate. We’ve made good use of the time though.

The life changing magic of tidying up rather than reorganizing old, useless stuff:

We’re doing some much needed redecorating and painting of the interior of several room in our house which offered the perfect opportunity for some much needed purging.  I have been following along as Annasach documents her adventures in minimizing her spaces, and I found it rather inspiring as well.

Our children have faced this purging of their things with mixed results, but when their room is restocked, it should be much easier for them to keep clean when there is less junk in there to contend with.

They don’t make things like they used to:

The man and I recently shopped for living room furniture. After visiting every major store in our area, I narrowed down what I liked best; a sectional which easily seats the seven of us plus one more person and an oversized matching ottoman.

Before finalizing the order and ponying up the cash, we did some research: reviews, etc. We couldn’t find anything about the particular furniture I’d chosen, (new release), but we found plenty of negative reviews about the company I’d chosen to buy the furniture from.

Before I panicked and headed back to the drawing board -since I really liked what I’d chosen- we decided to check consumer websites for reviews of every major furniture store in our metro area. After all, people usually on put their thoughts on record when they are disgruntled  rather than pleased and the company I was ordering from is pretty big.

I included stores known for producing high quality furniture as well, since I was prepared to get what I paid for and shell out more cash for better pieces which will last many years. I am glad I decided to do that, because the results were telling.

Even among companies such as Ethan Allen and Thomasville furnishings, it was easy to find numerous complaints of workmanship, service, delivery times, etc. While that was a little bit discouraging, it did settle me down about the choice of furniture I had settled on since there was clearly no guarantee that going with another company, and buying something I didn’t like as much (I’d already been to all of them anyway) was necessarily going to yield better results. Bottom line is that they just don’t make things like they used to and all the stuff is probably being made by the same company anyway. Just another one of those little things that you miss from yesteryear.

Feminine fashion and perception:

Every couple of months or so I click over and see what interesting stuff has been presented at the website Beyond Black and White. I have a whole lot of opinions and thoughts about their overall agenda (some favorable, some not), but one thing I appreciate is the blog hostess’ push to encourage black women to embrace a more feminine attitude and persona.

Recently she discovered the lure of the pinup girl look after seeing a lot of women dressed in vintage wear while on vacation. She decided to try the look and was amazed at the reaction she got from people. People were suddenly drawn to her, and she the only thing she’d done differently was girl up her look. A lot.

I liked the post because we have known about models like Angelique Noire, the black pinup for a few years, and I wrote before that one of our daughters is very drawn to the highly feminine vintage clothing look.

In reality, it’s not just black women who could use some girlying up. Women as a whole have lost touch with the innate desire to embrace and be beautiful, but black women do have a steeper curve when it comes to the perception of femininity, which is one of the things I do agree with Mrs. Karazin about.

Friday funnies:

I am not, I repeat NOT like the parody Kyle Exum masterfully presents here in his “Mom Rap”. However, our 10-year-old says that there are a few lines in this funny video that for sure remind her of me. It is very funny, so enjoy, the Mom Rap:

 

And enjoy your weekend!

 

 

 

Beauty, el's rabbit trails

Friday frivolities: things I like, 1.

This is just what it implies; not deep. However, in the interest of supporting the notion that it’s perfectly fine and normal for women to enjoy being women and all the stuff that goes with, I want to start sharing some things which are not necessities of life, but make being a girl kind of fun.

I *get* the whole frugal thing. I live on a budget, too, and not everything I mention will be costly. In fact, some of it will be cheap or even free. Just not today. Today my frivolities are beauty products that no woman needs but that I enjoy and also don’t cost an exorbitant amount of money

  • Cocoshea Honey Sugar Scrub, Body Wash, and Body Lotion. I have no doubt that there are cheaper or even free alternatives to baby soft skin but currently, I am using these.
  • Easy Breezy Brow Shape + Define Brow Mascara. I have never been good at taming my own brows, and have had hit or miss luck having them shaped professionally. I like shaped brows, but not thin ones (my brows are already on the light side), and I’d rather leave them alone than have them done wrong. My daughter discovered this stuff a couple of weeks ago, and it does just the trick. I like it a lot.
  • ApHogee Curlific Moisture-Rich Leave-In. This specific product is, as it implies, for thick, curly hair, but ApHogee is a an excellent line for repairing and infusing protein and strength into all hair types. My hair likes moisture so this is a great way for me to do that on an every other day basis between shampoos.

Those are a few of my unnecessary necessary beauty products. Feel free to share any of your own, including natural ideas!

Have a great weekend.