On Grieving

The headlines in entertainment today seem to have a common theme: touching tributes made to the late, great Robin Williams.

It wasn't long ago that I was looking through the book shelves, deciding what to get rid of, when I came across a book with my father's handwriting inside the front cover.

It's been just over 20 years since my father passed away, and the sight of his handwriting can still make my heart catch in my throat. I wear jewelry he made and I think of him. Sometimes, when I see a misspelled word, I think of him: Dad was a great guy but a lousy speller. (Love you, Dad!)

So I wonder how it must be to have lost a loved one who was famous, or even just in the public eye in some way. How emotional it must be to be Steve Irwin's child and flip on the TV to see a clip of him. Robin Williams' family must be touched and ragged at the same time over the outpouring of kind words and memories of him. The old family movies on film will bring me to tears every time, with all those beloved souls gone. I can't imagine how it would be to have your lost loved ones suddenly in front of you in any number of ways at any moment. Back when we still had television, I remember seeing a commercial featuring the famous TV pitchman Billy Mays: they were airing the commercial some months after the man's death. I wondered that day how difficult it must be for his family to hear that distinctive voice, played at twice the decibels of the rest of the TV show, as all of his commercials were.

In this era of social media and instant sharing, there is the extra complication. How horrible it must be to find yourself or your loved one in the cross-hairs of those disgusting internet trolls who get some sick kick out of saying hurtful, hateful things, just for the sake of being a nasty person. If they take to the social media to share a moment, a photo, a wistful thought or a bit of honest pain, they are skewered.

What a challenge it must be for them to carve out some private grief. For me, grief has been partly about finding a neat little compartment to tuck it away in, so that I could process things at my leisure. The ones who knew and loved Robin Williams will never get the luxury of a private grieving on their own terms and at their own pace.

For a time, we look back at the one we lost and they seem to us a shining angel of all things good. It feels wrong and dishonorable to think of anything except how great they were. Later, the day comes when you think about the loved one you lost and you are able to remember the whole of them: their flaws and their brilliance, their beauty and their foibles. Will Robin Williams' family ever get the space to come to that comfortable place, where they can think of their dear one with love, comfort, pleasure and only a little bit of pain?

Until that day, I will pray that they find a little comfort, a lot of privacy, a gentling of their grief and I will pray that all internet trolls be abducted by aliens...and not the ones as nice as the one who came from Ork.


Fashion, Fun and Fabulous!


Today, I want to introduce you to my new favorite fashion blogger!


Meet Carisa Haas of risaknows.com. I love Risa's taste in fashion, but I especially love her FUN with it. There's nothing stuffy about her, and I think she has the perfect balance of loving fashion without taking it all too seriously.

risa roRisa was kind enough to play along on an interview. See what she has to say to me, and be sure to check her out at risaknows.com!


Describe a stranger you have seen lately who you thought looked especially fabulous. What made them stand out?

I saw a lady the other day at the hair salon. She was wearing white skinny jeans with a leopard blouse and her shoes were black wedges and on the inside of the wedge was a little bit of leopard print. And she looked fabulous, she looked like she liked leopard print and not like she was a leopard. Which I feel is important because sometimes people take matching when it comes to animal print way out of context. Here is an example of what I am talking about. 
                                                                       I've been tucking in my shirts like this for years. Glad to finally see it validated on Pinterest. Haha

Tell me ten things that every woman should have in her wardrobe.

Firstly, you should have at least one pair of black heels. I don't care if they're pumps, wedges or stilettos. They can be practical or not practical, whatever works best for you. Number two on the list is a black dress, and it doesn't have to be little either. Just as long as it's the right fit and compliments you. Thirdly, every woman needs a red pair of flats and I say red because it's a pop of color that you can wear in any season. You should also own a statement necklace as well, a tasteful one that will work with anything dressy.  Number five on the list is a great pair of tights. The right pair can make your legs look slimmer and help you get away with wearing a dress that is too short. Another accessory that every woman needs is a watch because it's as much as an accessory as it is a timepiece. A gold watch is a great way to dress an outfit up(try leaving it loose so it looks like a bracelet). Number seven is a classic trench coat. Think of it as an investment, you will probably keep this item the rest of your life. You can wear it over suits or jeans. Now, let's talk blazers and why you need one. I know they aren't the most attractive piece of attire to some people but the right one will compliment all body types. Make sure to get one that accentuates your waist because you don't want it to look like it's swallowing you. Blazers are great because you can pair them with little dresses, skirts, trousers or even jeans. And the last accessory is a scarf, this needs to be a printed one. Find something that works for you. You will be grateful for a scarf when you need something extra other than just a plain jeans and t-shirt outfit. Let's be honest ladies, no one likes a boring outfit!! Lastly, every one needs a striped shirt because it's a classic. It looks great with brights and prints and you can wear it peeking out from underneath a blazer. And there you have it, 10 things every woman should own in their closet. This list is nothing fancy, all pretty basic and it will help you with your future fashion dilemmas. 

If you could only have one beauty item in your arsenal, what would it be?

If I could have one beauty item in my arsenal then it would be the 'Flash and go' by Silk'n. It's the best thing in the entire world, a laser hair removal tool.  Because who likes shaving? Definitely not me, I would use this thing until I didn't have any hair. 

Do you think someone can be too young or too old to be fashionable?

Absolutely not because there are fashionable clothes out there for all ages. I believe that it just takes effort to look nice on a day to day basis. And sometimes when you're older then you don't care what you look like. And that's OK, too, but I also believe that it's a confidence builder. Everyone knows the saying 'when you look good, you feel good,' and it's true! So, if you are older and still have the desire to get up everyday and put your face on and do up your hair then your not too old to look fashionable. And if you are older and you just don't know what to buy to look fashionable then go to Target for pete's sake. Everything in that store is mostly up to date with fashion trends and they have clothes for everyone. They even pair up with designers sometimes to create special lines of clothing. And if you don't find anything there then I suggest you look at Eillen Fisher, J-Crew, or even go to Macy's and check it out. It's all about finding what works for you! 

What is the most fun and trendy item in your wardrobe?

The most fun and trendy item in my wardrobe right now would be my 'Lita' boots. They are beautiful shoes from the one and only Jeffrey Campbell. And they are actually more practical then they look and super light weight. I wear these in the winter with leggings or in the summer with denim shorts or dresses/skirts. They are a little retro and that's what I like about them. Jeffrey Campbell made a fashion trend with these shoes in 2012 and continues to make unique ones to this day. 
Here are my Jeffrey Campbell Taupe Lita boots. 
                                                                               Jeffrey Campbell Taupe Litas


What is the most fun and trendy item on your wish list?

The most fun and trendy item on my wish list right now is a body chain. I am obsessed with them, and yes you can wear them with actual clothes now and not just your bathing suit. They are that extra piece of jewelry that you can accessorize with and look fabulous. Here is one I found on Etsy.
                                                                              Body chain, that's a pretty neat idea for summer.

If you were going to be stranded with one fashion designer to wear forever, who would you pick?

This is definitely a toughie but I would choose Joe Dahan. He is the maker of the brand 'Joe's Jeans.' The brand itself is amazing because they pride themselves on modernized wardrobe statements and they have the best fitting jeans around. And he doesn't just make jeans either, he makes everything from shoes to outerwear. 

What is your pet peeve of fashion faux pas?

I would have to say my fashion faux pas is most definitely the muffin top. It only bothers me when people try to highlight it. Like they are proud that they have love handles hanging over the side of their jeans. It's really not ok, and if you don't own any other pants then come up with a solution to this problem. Like a longer shirt with a cardigan or how about some jeans that fit!



What fashion trend should be burned forever and erased from our collective memories?

I would say those god-awful 'Shape-up' shoes. What was Skechers and those off brand companies thinking? These are not ok, at all. It's like they were trying to reinvent 'The Spice Girl's' platform shoes. But they added a twist like these will make your butt bigger and legs toned. Who were they kidding? You couldn't pay me to wear these, by far one of the worst fashion trends.

If Audrey Hepburn could see you RIGHT THIS SECOND, what would she say? (No fair running to the mirror now)

She would probably tell me that green foundation will never be in because I am wearing an avocado face mask. But she would adore my satin pajamas. 

When you’re having an “off” day, what do you wear? Schlumpy dumpy holey yoga pants to match the mood, or do you dress yourself into a better frame of mind?

I usually dress myself by mood. If I am having an off day then I go to something comfortable. I'll wear a maxi skirt or dress with some gladiator sandals and cute pieces of jewelry. Usually feeling comfortable and presentable makes me feel better. 

Who is your real-life fashion inspiration? (friend? Grandma? Favorite auntie?) Why?

I would have to say my real life fashion inspiration is my Grandmother. She is a blessing to me because she is 67 years old and still puts her make-up on everyday and does her hair. The woman could still shop circles around me. She is that person who oozes fashion out of hers ears and has been like that her entire life. If I need advice of what to wear to something or If I am shopping, she is the first to get the mirror picture to tell me how I look. Everyone in my family knows they can turn to her for honest fashion advice. If we look awful in something then she is the first to tell us that our dress is too tight and we look like a stuffed sausage or If our shoes don't fit. She isn't being mean, it's just her honest opinion and most people wouldn't tell you that. So thank you Grandma for for being upfront with me for my fashion mistakes, you have made me a better fashionista today. 

What is the absolute, gotta-have, can’t-be-cool-without-it thing to own right now?

I would have to say a name brand watch. Most specifically a 'Michael Kors' because he is the best when it comes to watches. And yes, they are a little pricey but again it's another investment for your accessories. Here is a picture of mine, I practically wear it everyday. It's one of my signature pieces. 
                                                                              Michael Kors Watch Rose Gold



If you could only wear one pair of your shoes for the next month, show us a picture of the ones you’d choose.
Only one pair of shoes for a month? This is insane but luckily I have the perfect pair that I picked up from Nordstrom for 50 bucks. They are a nude 'Dolce Vita' baby wedge and they have been my go to shoes this summer. 
                                                                         I really like these :) Nude Wedge Sandal

I completely agree with Risa about one pair of shoes every day for a month. That would be a nightmare!!!

Thanks so much for playing along Risa. I'll be reading you!!


When I Grow Up...

There's a woman I know at the corporate office: she is higher up on the food chain than me, and she has a vast body of knowledge that I can't begin to guess at, but those are not the reasons that I want to be like her when I grow up. This lady has a lot of qualities that inspire me.

She's real. Intelligent, funny, spunky... a real woman. I suspect she could (figuratively) kick my ass into next week if she felt like I needed it, and I would never want to cross her. But I also suspect that she would defend a friend against any threat, and successfully, too! She knows what she likes and what she won't put up with. She has grit and wit and wisdom.

I think that's what I want to be when I grow up: gritty, witty and wise.

A Day in the Life

I bumped into a former customer of mine. She said, "You're not at the insurance agency anymore! What are you doing now?"

If only I had been faster on my feet, I could have told her. This week, I've been
a librarian
a maid
race car driver
personal assistant
human GPS locator
dog trainer
stylist
booty call
movie critic
dishwasher
plumber
blogger
historian
a redneck
and a wino.

AND an office manager!