Fashionable Or Not, Here Are My Answers To The Fashionista Questions

Over the weekend I saw that Carol had answered these questions. She got them from Melanie who got them from Rory who asked them originally. I thought this looked like fun so I did it too. Here are my answers.  

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Q1 How important is colour in your life?

It’s very important, so much so that I have a blog tag for it: Colors Of My Life.

Q2 What is your most favourite colour to wear?

Blue, all shades– but not at once.

Q3 Is there a colour that you wear that brings the best out in you and in others – in so far as compliments?

Teal or aqua.  I get compliments when I wear either of those.  They bring out the color in my blue, sometimes greenish, eyes.

Q4 Are you a person who likes to overdress for the day or are you a follower of the credo, less is more?

Less is more, my gentle readers.  Overdressing makes me feel silly and contrived.

Q5 What are five of your best items of clothing that you simply couldn’t be without? [and l don’t mean underwear/socks]

T-shirts, cotton sweaters, Birks, denim jacket, jeans.

Q6 Do you dress for the season, as in colour wise, or just throw on whatever is warm and practical?

Remember the book, Color Me Pretty by Carole Jackson?  With a hat tip to her seasonal color analysis [learn more about yours here], I dress for each season using colors I know flatter my skin tone;  I’m a summer.  Then I add a shade or two associated with whichever season it is, so that I “blend” with the world around me.

Q7 If you were going for an evening out and the dress code was ‘smart casual’ what is your ideal outfit and why?

Dark jeans, silk blouse, a spectacular necklace + simple hoop earrings, leather flats with a bit of attitude.  Why?  ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

Q8 If you were having to attend an important meeting or appointment and the dress code was smart – what would your outfit be then?

Dark pants or a pencil skirt in wool [maybe], a blazer or v-neck cardigan, white blouse or t-shirt, small necklace + stud earrings + watch, flats or pumps [depending], a stylish leather purse.

Q9 How many pairs of shoes do you own, and what is the breakdown [as in casual, smart, evening, leisure]

Flats [5], sandals [12], pumps [3], boots [5], athletic [5].  This means I have 30 pairs of shoes.  Is that a lot?  Seems like it to me.

Q10 Do you have classic clothing, or classic items in your wardrobe that you have had for years and never go out of fashion if so name three?

Of course I do!  I’m all about classics.  Three items are*: cotton cardigan sweater by Lands’ End, three-quarter-sleeve blouse by L.L.Bean, Court bag by Coach [from before they lost their mind].

Q11 Are you into plain colours, wild colours or outlandish designs or a mixture and which do you favour more?

Clear colors, simple textures, as little pattern as possible.  Nothing too match-y, match-y.  I want people to see me not some goofy overpowering pattern or unflattering trendy color.

Q12 Do you have a favourite quote with regards fashion or design – if so what is it?

Yes, it is bien dans sa peau, a French saying that means to be happy + comfortable in your own skin.  ‘Tis a goal and a mantra.  I read about it first in French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano and the idea has stayed with me.

Q13 Knee high socks, ankle socks, shin socks or no socks?

No knee socks ever.  Ankle socks sometimes in the winter when it’s cold everywhere I go.  Sans socks when possible.

Q14 Can you see the connection between colour and music and if so does it influence your dress code for the day in any way?

No, I don’t see a connection between color and music.

Q15 If you are going out somewhere special and want to listen to some music to put you in the mood whilst getting dressed up, what do you listen to? [Provide link please]

I play no music while I’m getting dressed.

Q16 How often do you buy new clothing for the season or the year?

I HATE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES, however I may buy one or two new items each season… if I have to… preferably while shopping online… so I don’t have to go near a store… with other people in it.

Q17 Remember tie-dye from the 70’s was it a thing you followed, bought into or worse, how do you feel about it now?

I have no strong opinions about tie-dye.  I’d wear it on a t-shirt or scarf, if I liked the colors in it.

Q18 What is the brightest coloured item of clothing you have in your wardrobes/drawers?

I have a bright pink [blue undertone] fleece jacket that I wear more often than you might think I would.  It goes with everything I own.

Q19 What is the most expensive item of clothing that you have in your wardrobe? How often do you actually wear it?

The most expensive item of clothing in my wardrobe is my lined wool winter coat that I wear when it’s below 30ºF outside.

PQ20 Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Nope, answered them all, thank you very much.

Q21 Is being ‘fashionable’ important to you, or is being comfortably attired more so?

Being stylishly attired is important to me, which means that occasionally I’m fashionable, but for the most part means I follow my own aesthetic that I’d describe as relaxed classic with a little boho chick thrown in for fun.

I have a casual vibe.  I like simple structured clothes in natural fabrics, with an occasional foray into animal print or ethnic print or lace or tiny shiny bling.

I want NO extra fabric draping all over me, NO sports team apparel, NO tacky jewelry or makeup.  Just me, pulled together without fuss, comfortable in my own skin**.

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*Hello FTC! As usual no company has paid me a cent to talk favorably about their products here. Fear not, my old friend, The Spectacled Bean remains an ad-free blog.

** In case you’re interested, three personal style blogs that I like are: GIRLS OF A CERTAIN AGEThe Vivienne Files, & une femme d’un certain âge.

Making A Decorating Decision Whilst Sitting On A Bar Stool

Spoiler Alert: There is no calamity in this post. For longtime readers this will be shocking because usually when I get involved in buying furniture something goes wrong.

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IF YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THIS BLOG for a while you may remember that last fall Zen-Den & I spent a Saturday away from home because our electricity was inexplicable off in the house.

[Full story here.]

Well, what I didn’t tell you was that as we sat in the chicken joint’s bar, eating our sandwiches, dawdling over beer, watching a college football game that we had no interest in, we both noticed that the swivel bar stools that we were sitting on were comfortable.

Darned comfortable.

They weren’t like the awkward ancient curvy wrought iron bar stools that we had at our kitchen counter in our home.

So while in the bar Z-D turned over one of the stools hoping to find the manufacturer’s name on the bottom of the seat, but there was no name.

Naturally this didn’t slow us down in the least. When we want to know something we are intrepid. Blame it on our love of mystery novels and TV police procedurals. We find the answer.

Thus it came to be that, using a smart phone, we snapped a few pics of these stools, and googled them once we got home.

We found the manufacturer’s website and discovered that they make about a gazillion and seventy-two bar stools: different styles, different heights, different metals, different wood seats, different fabric seats.

All lovely.  Somewhat pricey.

• • •

Look at who’s peeking over the top of the kitchen counter!

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THE STORY WOULD HAVE ENDED THERE except for the fact that in early January I received a coupon in the snail mail from Wayfair.  The coupon said that as a first-time buyer I could get 10% off anything I ordered plus free shipping.

On a whim, motivated by the coupon, I went online to see what Wayfair had to offer… and just for the fun of it, I looked to see if they had counter height bar stools.

Well, the angels sang…

Come to find out Wayfair offered one basic style of the above-mentioned company’s bar stools available in a size, and in a metal + wooden seat color combo, that worked in our kitchen.  Plus, using my precious coupon, *even better* these bar stools were the right price.

[Some assembly required.]

So lickety-split we ordered these bar stools from Wayfair.  They arrived without incident, and over the weekend Z-D put together our new bronze metal with dark cherry-stained maple seat counter height swivel bar stools.

Life is good when you’re sitting pretty– and comfy!

• • •

Feast your eyes on this svelte beauty! I dare ‘ya.

• • •

[Hello FTC!  Please note that I’m sharing what happened while buying this furniture.  There was no monetary &/or other compensation involved while shopping and purchasing this furniture.  But you already knew that, right?  However, to be clear, I just wanted to add this disclaimer.]  

Sitting Pretty On New Kitchen Chairs

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Just like on HGTV, here’s a teaser for the BIG REVEAL.

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I’M ALL ABOUT MISMATCHED CHAIRS.  If things are too matchy-matchy, I get nervous. [What if I stain or break something? Then what? Things won’t match.]

I prefer the positive energy that eclectic style brings to a space.  So after years of perfectly coordinating table and chairs in our kitchen, it was time for a change.

Here’s the story.

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DSCN5946
Is this box from Hannibal Lecter or Pottery Barn?

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I BEGAN THIS PROJECT BY SEARCHING for chairs in brick & mortar stores and online.  Eventually I decided which new chairs I wanted around our Ethan Allen kitchen table, which we’ve had since we moved here 15 years ago.

DSCN5950
UPS plopped this very large box, filled with chair pieces + hardware, on our front stoop and I dragged it inside.

To make the table look better, Zen-Den painted the pedestal a warm neutral shade, SW6141 Softer Tan.

I figured that we’d use 2 dining chairs from Arhaus that we already had, knew to be comfortable, and were no longer being used in the dining room.  To these we would add 2 new chairs from Pottery Barn, ordered online.

We received the Pottery Barn chair pieces in a very large box.  Then one of us put them together in the foyer on Sunday morning while the other one of us photographed the event.  For posterity, ‘ya know?

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DSCN5947
Looking lonely, a chair back leans against the wall, waiting to join together with other chair pieces to make a seat.

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I’M GROOVING ON THESE NEW CHAIRS, brilliantly built by Zen-Den.  After sitting on the wobbly, match-y Ethan Allen Windsor chairs that came with this table, these new sturdy chairs are wonderful.

They coordinate with, but don’t match, our former dining room chairs repurposed as kitchen chairs– all of which makes my frugal, design-y heart happy.

No higher praise than that, eh?

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The BIG REVEAL shows my eclectic sense of style works for us.

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[Hello FTC!  I know it’s been so long since we spoke, but I wanted to make sure that you understood that there was no monetary &/or other compensation involved with these kitchen chairs.  The foregoing is my opinion about things, shared here– just ‘cuz I can.  We good?]  

A Conversation In Which I Learn Something About E-book Readers, I Guess

Make no assumptions…

IT’S BEEN STORMY here this week.  Some days the sky has been as dark at 11:00 a.m. as it is at 11:00 p.m.  This weather phenomenon has been the talk wherever I go.

As you would imagine.

ONE THING THAT I’ve learned during these exceptionally dark mid-days is that my Kindle Paperwhite does what it claims that it’ll do.  That is, it automatically adjusts to the changing light conditions, making reading an easy pleasant experience.

I’m rather impressed by this.

SO I’M CHIT-CHATTING with two acquaintances, a man and a woman both in their early 50s.  And I mention, in passing, as a way of having something topical to say, that I’ve enjoyed my Kindle during these dark days.  And both of my acquaintances said: “what’s a Kindle?”

They did not know about e-book readers.  Any of them.

I WAS STUNNED, and started trying to explain what a Kindle is– what e-book readers are– how you use them– the different brands of them.  Et cetera, et cetera.  But while I talked, hoping to inform, these two seemingly normal people just stared at me like I was talking Martian gibberish.  Which to them, I was.

Can you even imagine? 

# # #

[Hello FTC!  Please note: I’m opining here about an object that I bought with my own monies and just happen to like.  I received no compensation of any sort for this review, such as it is.  I mean really, who would pay me to say this?]

An Impasse Whilst Wicker Furniture Shopping + A Short Quiz

THE STORY:

Zen-Den and I have been researching online and shopping around town for wicker furniture to replace the sad stuff that’s in our screened-in porch now.

Currently, our furniture is a country look with a Band-aid beige wicker frame, tufted parchment-colored cushions + old floral pillows.

It’s ugly.  It’s worn out.  And its days are numbered.

So now in an effort to upgrade the furniture and to continue transforming this house into a home, we’re faced with yet another expensive decorating decision.

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Example of traditional country-style wicker furniture that we now have and may buy again. [source]

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THE CONVERSATIONS, MORE OR LESS:

HIS IDEA:  “This may sound boring, but we could buy the exact same pieces of furniture again, only this time in dark brown wicker with off-white cushions.”

MY [1st] IDEA:  “We could buy the same country-style furniture, but in different pieces, in a warm medium brownish wicker with subtly patterned cushions– coordinating floral and stripes, perhaps.”

HIS IDEA: “This may sound boring, but we could buy the exact same pieces of furniture again, only this time in dark brown wicker with off-white cushions.”

MY [2nd] IDEA:  “We could replace the existing furniture with the same pieces, only this time get a light gray wicker frame with medium to dark-toned blue cushions that wouldn’t show the dirt.”

HIS IDEA:  “This may sound boring, but we could buy the exact same pieces of furniture again, only this time in dark brown wicker with off-white cushions.”

MY [3rd] IDEA:  “We could go with a completely different frame, one that is more modern & linear.  Then we could get a nut-brown wicker with ecru + tan striped cushions.  Plus two new matching end tables in the same wicker with glass on top.”

HIS IDEA:  “This may sound boring, but we could buy the exact same pieces of furniture again, only this time in dark brown wicker with off-white cushions.”

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Example of more up-to-date, linear wicker furniture that we might buy this time. [source]

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THE QUIZ:

  1. What do you think that Zen-Den wants the new furniture to look like?
  2. Which of the two people involved in this decision has the most creative ideas?
  3. If you were to place money on it, which person do you believe will make the final decision about the furniture that we buy?

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[Hello FTC!  Please note that there’s no monetary &/or other compensation involved regarding our preference for this brand of furniture.  Considering how pricey this furniture is, would that it were so, but that ain’t gonna happen.  Hoping that all is well with you, FTC.  Long time no see.]  

An Unsolved Mystery: What Became Of Dottie?

When the weather turns sub-zero, my thoughts turn to carbohydrates.  All kinds of carbohydrates.  Some of which are meant to be eaten with delicious stews and soups.

Carbohydrates like corn bread.

Homemade.  Using Dottie Dorsel’s Corn Meal, a regional favorite.  A product packaged in a rectangular shape made of thick paper.  Traditional.  Easy to find on the shelf.

• • •

So I went to ye olde K. Roger to a buy some of Dottie Dorsel’s Corn Meal and instead what I found was Dorsel’s Corn Meal.  Packaged in a slick corporate plastic bag with a zip top and large writing that excluded Dottie’s name.

This, I said to myself, is an outrage.

I mean, Betty is still with Crocker.  Duncan is still with Hines.  Aunt is still with Jemima.  [Okay, the last one’s not the same, but go with me here.  I’m on a rant.]

SO WHAT HAPPENED TO DOTTIE DORSEL?

The heroine of our story.

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{ Image courtesy of dannwoellertthefoodetymologist }

• • •

Naturally I started researching this mystery because it’s fricking cold outside and I ain’t going anywhere on foot or car [if I can help it] I had the time and I was curious to see how the current owners of Dottie Dorsel’s Corn Meal would explain themselves.

I discovered that:

  • Dottie Dorsel, aka Dorathea Dorsel, was a real person from northern Kentucky whose father owned The Dorsel Milling Company in the late 1800s.
  • I learned from a recipe in a 1999 cookbook that the company was at that time called the Dottie Dorsel Company.
  • I know that today Prairie Mills owns, what it refers to as, Dorsels Brands.
  • I cannot find any corporate PR releases or newspaper articles that talk about the change in packaging– or why Dottie’s delightfully alliterative name was left off the new package.
  • I can find some recipes online [here and here] from the early 2000s that mention using Dottie Dorsel Pinhead Oat Meal (another regional favorite), but Corn Meal recipes, specifically mentioning Dottie, do not seem to exist.

• • •

Clearly, there’s a conspiracy going on here.  A cover-up.  You can’t go around messing with people’s names on food packaging, can you?  I realize that Fig Newton dropped the Fig from its name, but Fig wasn’t a real live person who I related to on so many levels.

Fig was a fruit.  Duh.

All I can guess is that Dottie must have overheard something so sinister or stumbled upon a secret so dark that there was a need to rub her out.  Which lead to some mysterious someone axing her first name from the packaging of her own regionally famous corn meal.

BUT WHY MUST IT END THIS WAY?

That’s what I can’t figure out.

[Hello FTC!  I forgot to add this disclaimer when I wrote this post, so I’ll add it now… a few weeks later.  I’d love to tell you that this company was savvy enough to respond to my concerns, but no such luck.  Meaning that there was no compensation for what I said here.]

Improving Ms. Bean: One Step At A Time

And now for something different…

I’VE NEVER been one to talk about medical issues on my blog, and I’m not about to change that policy now.  But today, by bending my own personal blogging rules just a bit, I’m going to share with you, my gentle readers, that I am overweight.  Not much, actually.  But enough for me to decide that it is time for me to change some of my evil less-than-healthy ways.

TO WIT, and finally getting to the point of this post, I bought a fitbit.  I chose the Zip one, which is a small pedometer that you attach to yourself each day.  Then it does all the work for you by keeping track of your steps.  All you have to do is walk.  A lot.  And have a desktop computer or a smart phone that you use to see all of your stats.

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IF I were a cynical woman, at this point in my post I’d tell you that this little gadget has confirmed that I do move.  Most days.  More than I can believe.  Yet I am plump.  Which I kind of like, but that’s the sort of statement that could get my Woman Card revoked, so I won’t focus on the body image topic today.  Nor will I be cynical, because I am a paragon of good health and positive thinking.

I’M ENJOYING my Zip.  It’s a groovy fuchsia color, and has this cute little [mostly] smiley face on it.  Sometimes the smiley face sticks its tongue out at me when I’ve been sedentary for too long.  I like that.  Technology with a bit of motivational attitude is exactly the sort of thing to get me stepping more.  And maybe, just maybe, weighing a few pounds less.

I’ll let you know. 

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[A message to the FTC: I didn’t receive any compensation of any kind for my opinion here about this device.  I know that you worry about such things, so you can rest assured that, as usual, there is nothing here for you to see.]

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