Sunday, 29 March 2015

Vote vote vote for little Amber

Who's that knocking at the door? If it's (YOU GUYS)
Let 'em in and sit 'em on a pin (SORRY SORRY), and we won't vote for Amber anymore
Shut the door forty-four, you're out! 

Okay but if you haven't yet, please go check out the shortlist for Arc Poetry Magazine's 2015 Poem of the Year where you can see my poem, "By the time he hit the floor" and vote for your pick to win the Readers' Choice Award. (Voting now closed—thanks everyone!!)

Okay, now the outfit talk: 

brown wool hat: Parkhurst Basque beret, from beloved Netty Vintage, worn here
plaid flannel shirt: Finley, Dillard's, 75% off sale (a.k.a. "Shoepocalypse")
sort-of obi / wrap belt: no-name, ebay
brown midi skirt: Worthington, thrifted, worn here
scarf: local discount / overstock store, worn here other-patterned-side out
red skipping shoes: Fluevog Modvogs Jen

And now we can totally see some awesome Grandmas with a jump rope:

Vecchie bastarde!
Signore di una certa età e a una certa maniera saltano con la corda.
Posted by Paolo Ruffini on Tuesday, 29 July 2014


I'll be taking my beret over to Judith's Style Crone for April's Hat Attack! And I'm done being bossy, promise. I have moved on to the deep ponderings of the universe: Why don't skipping / jump rope / clapping songs make much sense, Miss Mary Mack? And why don't I have any brown shoes? 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Horse I Rode In On

"Smell you later" indeed. So things have been kind of awful, thanks for asking. And you? It's so good to see you! I'm definitely ready to talk about outfits.

And also static cling situations. 

Before we do, some really fantastic news: my poem honouring my dad's telling of his dad's passing has been shortlisted for Arc Poetry Magazine's 2015 Poem of the Year (grand prize $5000, eep!) "By the time he hit the floor" is also about tobacco farming and bee-keeping, and there's a love story too. See it together with the other contenders—and vote for the Readers' Choice Award until March 30. Voting now closed. Thanks, all!

ridiculously '80s-tastic horse jacket: Crazy Cowgirl (Made in India), thrifted
burgundy enamel necklace: Tuleste, My Habit
black drawstring-waist midi dress: Joe Fresh, same one in olive green here
stretch-suede cowboy boots: Donald J. Pliner Soni, My Habit

Family photos of my poem's subjects are below the jump. I'm especially grateful to my father for his generous permission to write about his life. 

Coming up: more excellent-news updates on the Writings and Such page, and a page of Fragrance Free resources. (ETA: done and done!)

In the meantime, I'll see you over at Sheila's for Shoe Shine. Tell me everything I've missed!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Smell You Later

I was doing all right there for a little while until the fridge went kaput (it was a Monday, of course) and for extra fun my environmental sensitivities also went ahead and levelled up. I've had difficulty tolerating perfumes, colognes, hairsprays, scented lotions, bodywashes and other fragranced products since serious illness required lengthy toxic treatment - my office has been posted "scent-free" for ages while as a whole my workplace is currently just "scent-reduced" in policy - but recent exposures are making me more acutely ill and resulting in longer-lasting symptoms. 

After a bad week and a half of multiple scent incidents, one morning a coworker wearing "body spray" stepped into my office and within a minute I was overcome and lost a day's work and a second day's better functioning. So frustrating! And isolating - a wedding without hugs and with waves of intense unwellness and having to deek out, limiting occasions I risk going out into our heavily-fragranced world, becoming too afraid to invite family over for a birthday. 

grey / red / orange winged scarf: Saachi, My Habit
silver scales and teardrops necklace: ebay
olive green drawstring-waist midi dress: Joe Fresh
orange ankle-strap flats: Cydwoq Instinct, ebay, worn here (see some of my '80s hairdos!)

During last year's month-long escapade, Hideous Rash Of Unknown Origin (of which my favourite part was the eyelid hives), the prevailing wisdom was that if I hadn't recently changed laundry / cleaning / personal care products, during a new-onset reaction would not be the time. I've since been guided by this list of products generated by the Environmental Health Association of Quebec as I continue to detoxify my practices at a much faster pace than before. A bit of excellent news: Penny Lane Organics Deodorant actually works! 

antique orange amber bracelet: a gift from my mother, and
watch: Stuhrling Tuskegee Skylancer, both worn here

oatmeal layering tank: Joe Fresh, several years old

But just yesterday, I accidentally poisoned myself with the ordinary weekly chore of replacing the garbage bin liner. We'd kept using the same brand of kitchen trash bags without taking notice of their increasing toxicity - instead of just being a gross scented-smell for a few seconds, now they cause me an acute reaction, and I can't believe I ever paid money for them or had them in my house. That short article I linked, 11 Disease-Causing Ingredients Added to Garbage Bags, is also worth a read for its concise articulation of how "fragrance" impacts health. Even for us no-TV and trend-resistant folk, the power of marketing to affect ideas of "normal" is incredible. 

Returning to my other recent preoccupation, I am mystified that high-maintenance stainless steel finishes are the current standard in major appliances, but somehow not surprised that the really good fridge options are limited to units so giant they'd require kitchen renovation. Dodging perfumed customers and cologned sales associates in the cornucopia of off-gassing that is the furniture / appliance store experience was super exciting, let me tell you. I am sad having to replace my old almond side-by-side fridge with its fake wood-grain handles that is so perfect in my 1950-built kitchen (shown here on last fall's applesauce-making day): 

Despite the general consensus on side-by-sides, I never had trouble fitting plenty in this fridge, and the narrow doors were ideal for its location adjacent to our entrance-and-basement-doors nook. Alas, no way could I justify the quadruple prices of gorgeous retro style (oh North Star, oh Big Chill, oh Smeg), but by the time I need to revisit this issue, hopefully a long long way from now, maybe GE Artistry will be available in colours, in Canada, and with reversible door hinges. Unfortunately, I can't wait that long, and a hunk of energy-efficient and apparently "smudge-proof" stainless steel arrives tomorrow. 

Going way back, I regret that I was ever so stinky with perfumes and scented crap myself - those '70s and '80s gems Love's Baby Soft, Bonne Bell Lipsmackers, Dewberry products from The Body Shop, then there was Dior's Poison (predictably!), Laura Biagiotti Roma, Givenchy Organza Indécence, and also tangerine-patchouli-rose and vanilla massage oil mixtures. And candles and incense and aromatherapy. And high-potency Venus lotion from the local hand-made soapworks. Never mind the essential big hair products: Dep gel, Final Net, Aussie Mega Scrunch spray. I wheeze, remembering. What are your scent stories?

Though not always able to take the place of a warm embrace, in case they could be useful, here are some potentially affectionate and enthusiastic ways to greet people with a not-hug: jazz hands, high-five, an arm's length hand clasp and eye contact, a sassy wink, finger guns, some jumping, a fist bump, exchanging bows, curtsies, or self-hugs, and of course the namaste. I will be very glad to see everyone when I'm chilling out and breathing easy at upcoming link-ups: Sheila's Shoe Shine at Ephemera, and Share-in-Style: Summer at Mis Papelicos. *** Edited to add: Over at Spy Girl, it's 52 Pick-me up: Goddess, and my outfit honours the winged ones - Nike, Victoria, Aurora, Isis, Ma'at, Nekhbet, Nut, Inanna, Siris, Lilith, neolithic Bird goddess, Ariel, Anat, Artemis Orthia, Badb, and of course the Harpies, Furies, Sirens, and Angels - and this resident of my garden:

Do you experience newer (increasingly artificially-formulated, less biodegradable, engineered for time-released dispersal and greater broadcast) fragrances as more toxic? Does your workplace have a policy? Have you had to or chosen to make changes due to care for the environment or other reasons? You can also talk to me about major appliance woes, or, even better, just outfits, accessories, and shoes are really good too.