Tag Archives: fashion

I Love your Mask

Photo by Anton on UnsplashYou bet it’s been a while. There’s something I have to tell you which, given your own circumstances, you may not know so you’ll have to trust me on this. It’s not all that easy writing a shallow blog in the middle of a pandemic. Don’t get me wrong. Even in the midst of this disaster, there remain ports in the storm. Places where you can escape reality. Suspend your disbelief for a little while. Glimmers of a time that may seem a lifetime ago. Like Hallmark which, in the midst of all the current chaos, has held up their end of the bargain by releasing one love fest movie after another. I mean who doesn’t want to escape reality for a couple of hours watching a handsome young Prince fall in love with a beautiful, albeit common woman, against the better judgement of his most ardent protectors. Sure there’s a little turbulence along the way but it’s all hunky dory in the end. Like that would ever happen in real life. Or a young photographer who is chasing mythical waterfalls but literally falls head over heels in love with a very grounded and handsome, in a rugged sort of way, trail guide. Sure these remarkably familiar flicks can get a tad tiresome but fortunately Hallmark has now come out with their own vintage wine which, I am pretty sure, means they acknowledge we will need a little “somethin’ somethin’’” to help us get through their Spring season, not to mention this seemingly everlasting pandemic of ours. Hallmark aside, what I am saying is, while our world has not become entirely bereft of these refuges, they are about as difficult to find as hen’s teeth. And I only put it that way because apparently it is possible to find a hen with teeth. 

Now I’ve said this before but, in “Shallow Be My Name” fashion, I’ll say it again. Shallow people have feelings too. We can be happy or sad, empathetic, sympathetic, sorry, confused even surprised at times. Pretty much the whole gamut of emotions just like everyone else. Because like everyone else, I am heartbroken each time I turn on the TV, or read the paper, or wake up to the news on the radio to learn that more people than we had ever imagined have become sick and died from this virus. Who would have thought that one year later we would learn that the worst case scenario would not be the worst case. But here we are. Many of us isolating in our homes having not seen friends or family for what seems to be an eternity. Spending our precious time figuring out who can see/hear us and who can’t as we fiddle with technologies that we are led to believe are “user friendly”. We just haven’t figured out who those users are yet. It’s been a long haul for us all but, as they say, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. It’s true. Someone said that on the news just last night. So we hope. And are hopeful. In the meantime, it never hurts to try to put a smile on one’s face.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about today. Masks. We’re all wearing them. At least I hope we are. Here’s what I would like you to do. Think back to when this whole thing started. You remember. When you were lined up for toilet paper and finding Lysol wipes was like finding a needle in a haystack. Which, I understand, is slightly more difficult than finding a hen with teeth. But I digress. Think about masks back in the day, as some like to say. The first thing that’s likely to come to mind is not actually being able to find any. Hard to imagine these days but there was a time when you couldn’t snag one of those blue puppies for love or money. Not even quite a lot of money. They were simply nowhere to be found. If you did manage to find any, you guarded them with your life, because it was your life they were guarding. Admittedly they weren’t pretty but they worked and we could get our hands on them if we really tried. And then this happened. 

I first noticed things changing while watching Ms. Pelosi in those United States of America. Can’t say when for sure but I do recall one day remarking that no matter what she wore she had a mask to match. A little blue in her jacket, a little blue in her mask. Florals complimenting florals, plaids enhancing other plaids. I should have known something was afoot right then and there. Next thing I know my fav clothiers were adding masks to their repertoires. It now appeared that I could order a mask/sweater combo. I was beginning to realize there was an apparent need for me to acquire a more diverse mask wardrobe. From that moment on the whole “masks as a fashion accessory” just exploded. No longer were we satisfied with the two pieces of a bikini. Now we were offered the trikini designed to cover our most and least private of parts. It wasn’t long before I noticed there were walls of masks available at my local dispensary, everything from solids to florals, understated to overstated, lbm (little black masks) to full out, rhinestone adorned, velvet evening masks. Seemingly there was no longer any excuse for a fashion faux pas when it came to masks.

Perhaps however, the most telling experience I had was standing in line at the grocers. A young woman at the next till called out to me from under her mask. At first I wasn’t quite sure what she was saying, what with the mask and all affecting my hearing. Had I accidentally cut in front of her? Was my milk leaking onto the floor? Did I somehow mistakenly pick up the non-organic zucchini? Did she like my new hat as much as I do? Nope. It was none of those things. My new friend was complimenting me on my mask. She loved the design on my mask and she just wanted to let me know. Hmmmm. Masks as a fashion statement. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not all that difficult to find those refuges in this storm of ours.

 

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I’m with you Marie!

As a shallow person you might expect that I would be inclined to wholeheartedly embrace the latest and greatest trends and crazes that have popped up sporadically over the past few decades. Seems to me that makes some sense. I mean following the crowd simply to avoid the “Fear of Missing Out” should rightfully be an integral part of a shallow person’s disposition. Embedded in the DNA. But not this shallow gal. To be frank I have lived a life that, while not exactly dancing to my own drum, does try to avoid falling prey to the flavour of the day. Just ask my sister-in-law. She’ll tell you I wore my high-waisted “Mom” jeans long past their due date. And now that they appear to back in style there are none to be found in my closet. Go figure. You’re talking to someone who has had the same hairstyle not just for the better part of this decade but the preceding one as well. At any given time it might have been in vogue or not. Honestly, I wouldn’t know or really care for that matter.

To be fair, I did wear a cowboy hat (no, I wasn’t the only one) for the better part of the ‘60s but never was there ever a pet rock, beanie baby, cabbage patch doll or Tickle Me Elmo in my home. I have steadfastly resisted both the Instant Pot and, more recently, the sou vide cooking crazes and I have not once entertained going on the Paleo diet. Not convinced yet? Well perhaps this will help. I can’t recite even one sentence written by Deepak Chopra or Malcolm Gladwell nor quote anything by Maya Angelou. Mission accomplished, I would say. So you can only imagine how shocked I was last week when I found myself falling lock stock and barrel for what just might be the the most popular cultural phenomenon of our time. Perhaps not our whole time, but at least for the next 6 months. And unless you have been living under a rock, as apparently I was until about two weeks ago, you will know that the only thing I can be talking about is the “life changing magic of tidying up” by the one and only Marie Kondo.

I know. It surprised me too. I mean who would have thought that tidying up could be so captivating? That devising a new way to fold a T-shirt would inspire a bevy of devotees to swear their lives have truly been transformed now that they no longer stack, but rather “file” their clothes away in the drawer. But perhaps, like me until recently, you don’t know. Haven’t heard. So let me explain. Ms Kondo has taken the world by storm with her books and a Netflix show that encourages all of us to divest ourselves of our possessions that no longer bring us joy. We do this by handling each and every item we own and deciding whether or not it sparks joy in our lives. If it does, great. If not, out it goes. Just like that. Well not exactly. Because this whole process, from start to finish is rather spiritual. So before we start we say a prayer to become one with our home and then we thank each and every item, before we toss it of course, for having been a part of our lives. I suspect for good or for bad. Which might not always be easy. Not sure about you, but I won’t get much pleasure from thanking that old skirt of mine for pointing out that at some point in my life I actually had a 24 inch waist. Or the sad reminder(s) that I never should have worn horizontal stripes. Ever. Or the stark reality that I actually wore a cowboy hat for the better part of the 60s. Nonetheless there’s something about this approach to life that appeals to me. Because it’s simple.

That’s right. It’s just so simple. And that’s why I can wholeheartedly get behind this current craze. You see, as a shallow person I don’t really like to dwell. On anything. If I can find an easy way to make something happen, well I’m gonna jump on that. Especially if it means making my life oh so much better. I mean let’s face it, meditation can take up a good part of the day and exercise, well that’s a never ending story. But this. This you do once and bam! You’re done. At least that’s what Ms Kondo tells us. Unclutter our spaces and we unclutter our minds, lives and (admittedly this is just my take) our very souls. So, if throwing out a few shirts, tossing a book or two and shredding some long forgotten papers is going to bring me joy and transform my life, you bet I’m going to jump on that bandwagon. Sign me up. I’m with you Marie!

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To go or not to go…It’s a question

reunionPlease don’t get me wrong. I’m not insinuating that any of you are shallow just because you read this blog. I know that many of you (and by all accounts there are “many” now) just want to know how the other percentage (small as it may be) lives. You’re curious and that’s ok. I mean, from the very beginning it’s what this blog has been about. At least I’ve always thought of it as a little window into the life of a shallow person. Sometimes you can see your reflection in a window, sometimes not. I suppose it all  depends on how the light falls. Having said that, something has recently happened to me that I would bet my bottom dollar has also happened to you. Because, like me, I’m guessing that each and every one of you attended elementary school. And this comes as a result of that.

As usual, before I get to the crux there’s a little something I have to say. For the most part, I have spent the time since elementary school, and there has been a lot of it, pretty much minding my own business. It’s not that I don’t think about my preparatory alma mater once in awhile.  I’ve even been known to take a drive by when visiting the old neighborhood, just to see if, like me, it’s still standing. It’s just that in the intervening years I have moved from my hometown, not once but thrice, each time substantially further to the west. As a matter of fact, at this point I’m just about as west as one can get in this coast to coast to coast country of ours and with each of these moves the chances of casually bumping into someone from the “good ol’ days” has substantially diminished, along quite frankly, with my memory.

It’s not that I have completely divorced myself from my long ago past. Of course I’m on Facebook and, as one or two of you know, there have been a couple of “blast from the past” moments where me and my former clarinet band mates have had a chance to get together to share some notes. But those connections have been few and far between leaving me, for the most part, with little recollection of my first grade teacher or the popcorn man or even whether I was chastised by Mrs. Elder for not having my sneakers as white as they should have been for gym class. Ok, clearly that one I remember. So with this in mind, you will understand how surprised I was to find out that this year is the 75th anniversary of my elementary school. (No, not my 75th, just the school itself.) And to discover that yes, there is going to be a reunion.

I don’t know about you but as a shallow person my head starts to spin just a little as I consider the implications of this event. It might not surprise you that one of the first things that crossed my mind was my closet. I mean just what might I have in that closet of mine that I would want someone who hasn’t seen me for the better part of 50 years to see? Keep in mind that I was raised in a rather tony part of the big city where parents regaled at the thought of having their six to twelve year old children wear a uniform lest it inhibit their fashion sense.  Oh boy, it’s all coming back to me!  Apparently I didn’t have as much at stake as others may have as now, with most of my days spent working from my home office on this laid back little island of ours, it’s a bit of a stretch to find much beyond jeans and a tee on those hangers of mine. Hence the conundrum. Does one  “come as I am” and not betray thy inner self, or would a trip to the local boutique to drop a bundle on some designer duds which, might I add, are likely put together in the same precarious third world building as that tee of mine, be in order? Honestly, as a shallow person I can go either way with this one. But that’s just one of the many questions that have popped into my head upon learning of this impending get together.

Like who’s going to recognize me anyway? Not that I’ve done anything in particular to look different. There’s been no cuts and tucks, no needles and pins in this face of mine. Heck, I’m lucky to take the time to draw on a couple of eyebrows every morning. Astonishingly, my hair is the same colour as it was way back when, but even so, I’m pretty sure time, in and of itself has taken it’s toll and there will be those who must  inconspicuously glance down to my “Hi, My name is ________”  tag that no doubt we will be asked to don upon entry.  As will I to theirs. Bottom line, if neither one of us truly knows who we are talking to is there really a point to all of this? I mean if I really want to talk to strangers I might just as well amble on over to my fav Starbucks, sit down beside someone who appears to be around the same age as I am and start up a conversation about times past. I won’t even have to worry about making that trip to the boutique.

As you can see this whole thing has caused me much consternation. So now, if you don’t mind, could you put yourself in my Toms for a minute or two and help me as I struggle with making the decision that underlies everything else. To go or not to go? Because, it seems to me, this really is the most important question of all.

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Just don’t do it!

stop symbolAs the writer of possibly one of the few blogs on the internet that openly celebrates the rather maligned state of “being shallow” I have always felt it important to share with those who are interested, how to traverse this one little life of ours on the shallow side of the road. No doubt, those of you who have been with me from the beginning, can recall the helpful life lessons presented in posts like “Forgetting, It’s an Art”, or the entire “Folk Fest” series, not to mention the little gems of advice found in “Shallow People Travel Too”, “Blasts from the Past” and/or “There is such a thing as a free lunch”. But lately I’ve been reconsidering my approach to self-help. Lately I have actually been thinking that there could be some value in sharing with you the things that, as a truly shallow person, I would never think of doing. Because knowing what not to do seems to me to be important too. So here’s a list. Not an exhaustive one but a list just the same.

Buddhist Meditation Classes: It may surprise you that this would be at the top of the list as it probably isn’t something one considers doing each day or even lands upon by happenstance. As a matter of fact, there may not even be an option for this type of learning experience in your place of residence, depending on how large and/or diverse that place may be. But suffice to say that in my hometown there is in fact such a class and one of my dear friends has opted to give it a shot. Don’t ask me why. The mere mention of it brought back long, repressed memories of team bonding exercises, all of us lying on the floor with our eyes shut while some self-appointed new age guru recited, in what can only be described as a “nails on the blackboard” monotone voice, relaxing mantras, cajoling us to conjure up images of where on this earth we would most like to be at that moment in time. For me that answer was easy. Anyplace but here. And while my outside voice responded to my friend’s news with “Good for you. I wonder if I’m free that night” the little voice in my head shrieked “just don’t do it!”

Join a Cult: When I was a kid in the “big city” there was lots of opportunity to pledge allegiance to an almost endless number of street corner deities. While the sales pitches differed, some were happy, some sad, others just plain scary, all welcomed new members with open arms. Looking back I have to admit that while the ones with the long black capes were “de rigueur” in the day, I think I knew in my heart that the whole cult thing really wasn’t for me. And it wasn’t just because this particular group (despite their appealing garb) tended towards what can best be described as “the dark side”, given their fixation on the fella down below. It was because no matter what the choice, whether it be the sun, the moon or the capes, belonging to a cult requires an enormous commitment. I mean all that fundraising, chanting and dancing in the street, well wow! It all takes so much time. And even then, even before I became the “shallow gal”, officially, I knew I wasn’t prepared to get into anything like that. And I was right. Shallow people just don’t do that. They don’t join cults.

Exercise: This one is a little more complicated. It’s not that shallow people don’t do exercise. I mean you know I do. As a matter of fact, I frequently go down to the basement to get on that treadmill of mine while watching a couple of my fav shows on the tube. So this one isn’t so much about “doing or not doing” but more about “why” you’re doing it. You see some people exercise because they know it’s good for them. It’s good for the heart, it’s good for the bones, really it’s pretty much good for all parts of the old bod. Shallow people, on the other hand, exercise to lose weight, plain and simple. You put on a few, you gotta do a little exercise to get ‘em off. So in this case I suppose it’s ok to “do it” just as long as it’s for the right reason.

Write a blog: Oops!

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This is Not a Resolution

pink fleece3Most of you know by now that, other than having a penchant for the “Top 10” of anything, I don’t really make lists. There are no resolutions at the start of the year; nothing in my bucket; and certainly no promises I can’t keep. Having said that, I am always open and ready for suggestions that just might make my life a tiny bit better than it already is. Not that it isn’t great. I mean, here I am in one of the most beautiful places in the United States of America spending my days sipping on a “grande” and evenings watching the sun sink into a sea of remarkably vivid yellows, reds and oranges. But every once in a while something happens that makes me want to change things up a little. And that’s what happened just the other day.

Big surprise. I’m sitting on the patio of my local Starbucks working hard at listening to the interesting conversations going on around me, at least the ones that are taking place between people. Because something I may not have mentioned is that there are a lot of dogs here at the beach and most of them appear to be very close to their humans. So close that for some reason unbeknownst to me (I share my home with a cat, which we all know is a horse of a different colour), the humans here seem to believe their dogs have an excellent command of the English language, and so they talk to them. In full sentences. And sometimes, when you’re listening in on other people’s conversations, that gets just a little confusing. Although none of this has anything to do with my life changing experience because on this day there were no interesting conversations. There was only a very cute little girl.

Let’s face it, with a few exceptions, kids in general are pretty cute. I see lots of them everyday and, other than the ones that live in my house, they normally have little to no impact on my life. But this little girl with her shiny jet black, silky locks, was different. It wasn’t because she was able to amuse herself playing a lonesome game of hide and seek while her parents chatted away at their table. Nor that she was exceedingly well behaved as she patiently waited for them to finish their afternoon delights. There was nothing remarkable about that. Nope. What made this little girl stand out from all others was her extraordinary sense of fashion reflected in her outfit which I am pretty sure she alone was responsible for putting together. Here’s what she wore. To protect herself from getting a chill she donned a purple, leopard patterned, down vest. She sported this over a red striped jersey dress and for added warmth, a pair of apple green leggings. To complete this ensemble she chose a pair of pink striped socks and blue canvas shoes. Although looking very “couture” not one item in this collection of designer duds matched. And she looked perfect.

I’ve said it before so I suppose I’m saying it again. I’m no fashionista but if there’s one thing I know about, it’s matching which, I get, is not all that difficult when your wardrobe consists primarily of black t-shirts and skinny blue jeans. But I do get “dressed” every once in a while and when that happens you can bet your bottom dollar there will be no conflicting colours or patterns to jar the eye on my 5’2” frame. Although my shoes may not always match my purse, mostly because I get up late and who has time to make the transfer of goods from one bag to another, you can be pretty sure they will at least coordinate with whatever else is on my body. Listen, you’re talking to a girl who has 15 watches in a variety of colours, and north of 30 belts so there’s a pretty good chance that those accessories are going to harmonize. I mean how could they not? And while many would say this propensity to coordinate is a “good thing” I cringe just a little as I recall my latest conversation with my hairdresser when, in her attempt to complement, referred to my style as “matchy, matchy”. Translation: “boring, boring”.

Which is why I was so inspired by that little girl on the Starbucks patio that, while not making an actual “resolution” I have decided to change my ways. Of course this is easier said than done as my predilection for dressing in complementary tones is rather ingrained in my being.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like “everything” I wear matches. I mean I have been known to arrive at work with one navy and one black sock but that’s usually because I have put them on in the dark and who couldn’t make that mistake. And I do have a pair of shoes that are designed to be mismatched (the left is different than the right) but maybe that doesn’t count since they actually are a matching pair. Nonetheless, I am painfully aware that to fully meet my goal I’m going to have to put in more than a modicum of effort but there’s always a first step to be taken and I have taken mine. Yesterday, as I got ready for my daily walk on beach, against what was heretofore my better judgement, I chose from my otherwise monochromatic wardrobe, an orange “t” topped by a rather shocking pink fleece. And without a second glance in the mirror, out the door I went in all my unmatched glory.

Now I know what you’re thinking and to put any of your doubts to rest, the answer is yes, as unlikely as it may seem, I really do own a pink fleece.

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