Do these pants make me look groovy?

Spying myself in a shop window while I walked Roxy this afternoon made me realize I have to start dressing better.

Really, even a strong advocate of “clothes don’t make the monk” like myself has to draw the line somewhere.

Pretending I’m Charlize Theron in the movie, “Sweet November,” is not working anymore.

Let’s face it, Charlize wearing a ratty poncho still looks like a million dollars.

Me?

I still look like I’m wearing a ratty poncho.

Such is life.

In my defense, the day doesn’t seem to have enough hours.

It seems to pass by at lighting speed and before I know it, I only have a few minutes before Roxy has an accident on the carpet, or the Son starts screaming, “I’m sixty seconds away from gnawing on the legs of the dining room table!”

Is this the time to color coordinate an outfit and select the right accessories?

I don’t think so.

And so, with the intent of taking care of business before I have to witness the Significant Other trying to slice through a frozen pound cake with a butter knife, I’m out the door wearing whatever I threw on in the morning.

Today’s outfit consisted of a pair of pajama pants emblazoned with the word “groovy,” an old T-shirt that once upon a time used to be black but now has taken on a muted shade of gray, and a pair of old Birkenstocks I bought at a thrift shop ten years ago.

Hardly the epitome of groovy.

Tonight, I pondered why it is that some of us abandon our inner fashionista at a remote truck stop, never to be rescued again.

Do we do this because we’ve become too lazy to bother with our appearance?

Or do we do it because the older we get, the more our enlightened state tells us that clothes are not part of our spiritual essence?

Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter what we tell ourselves or how we try to convince ourselves there’s nothing wrong with our schizophrenic wardrobe choices.

The reality is that we should invest time on ourselves.

We deserve to put ourselves first.

Before our spouses, before our grown up “children,” before our furry friends.

It’s important for us to realize that we also matter.

Regardless that we may think that outward appearances aren’t important, the reality is that much of the time, looking good means feeling good.

And so, after much soul searching, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s time to modify my “monk” mentality.

Because while it may be true that a badly dressed monk is still a monk, wearing a pair of pajama pants that say “groovy,” doesn’t mean I’m looking groovy.

How important is it for you to look nice?

Photo Credit: The Son


Today I’m linking up with Heidi’s Black and White Wednesday.
Black and White Wednesday

Is comparison the thief of joy?

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”– Theodore Roosevelt

When Corinne, from Everyday Gyann, encouraged readers to write a blog post that agreed or disagreed with this quote, I knew immediately which side I was on.

Not that there are any sides, mind you, since you can also take a “middle path” approach.

However, given I’m an all or nothing type woman, I believe comparison robs us of joy.

Before writing this post, I thought about which personal example I could use to back up my argument.

And the example that immediately came to mind was fashion magazines.

Yep. Fashion magazines.

When I was younger, I was addicted to magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Marie Clare.

These were the fashion bibles I consulted whenever I needed to know what to wear, how to look, and what to buy.

Like a starving castaway who’s stumbled upon a bunch of bananas, I gorged on the information these magazines provided; believing I was more beautiful, savvy, and trendy for following their recommendations.

Yet fashion magazines didn’t just rule my life, they ruled the lives of all my friends as well.

Every afternoon, we would get together to discuss the latest trends and styles.

Coffee cup in hand, we would pass judgement and snicker at anyone who passed in front of us wearing what we deemed to be out of style.

I would come home after these sessions to make lists of what I needed to wear, what make up I had to use, and even what I needed to eat, to look just like the models in the magazines.

The comparisons started off small.

“I could never pull off that look.”
“If only I had her ass.”
“If only I was that thin.”
“If only I had her hair.”

Before I knew it, I was convinced I could never measure up to the women featured on the glossy pages.

My self esteem plummeted.

My self confidence abandoned me and before long, I was suffering from a mild case of depression.

However, this didn’t stop me from browsing through the pages of Glamour, searching for ways to make my waist smaller, my hair shinier, or my lips fuller.

My friends felt the same sense of inadequacy at not being able to measure up to the long-legged models who resembled Barbie.

One afternoon, nana saw me lying listless on my bed; crying because I didn’t have a particular model’s long blonde hair.

“Bella, what’s wrong?”

“Nana, I’m not beautiful and that makes me sad.”

“Who told you that you’re not beautiful?”

“No one. I just know.”

Just then, nana spotted a magazine peeking out from under my bed.

“Have you been comparing yourself to the women in these magazines?”

“I’ll never be as beautiful as them.”

“You silly girl. You do yourself a disservice when you compare yourself to others. You are who you are for a reason. There is no else like you. You are unique. Enough said. Now go get cleaned up.”

As soon as I got up from the bed, nana picked up the pile of magazines and deposited them in the trash.

It was the last time I looked at a fashion magazine while nana was alive.

Fast forward I don’t know how many years and fashion magazines still have the same effect on me.

The minute I start looking at the leggy models with the perfect hair, I revert to making comparisons and before long, the joy has been sucked out of my day.

The other day I came across an online article that stated,  “A 1995 study found that three minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine caused 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty, and ashamed.

Could these feelings be attributed to women comparing themselves to the air brushed models that grace the covers of these magazines but have been Photoshopped to within an inch of their lives?

I believe the answer is yes.

In comparing ourselves to women whose appearance has been modified by software, we are setting ourselves up to feel inadequate; frustrated by our inability to resemble such perfection.

I think it’s time we stop comparing ourselves to others and start appreciating our own beauty, talent, and uniqueness.

In the words of nana, “there’s no one like you,” and that alone should make us feel extraordinary.

Do you find comparison robs you of joy?

Today I’m linking up to the Comparison Blog Hop on Dangerous Linda and Everyday Gyaan.

Can someone pass the bruschetta?


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Felipe Neves

Last night, as I carried out the preparations that would ensure an eve of much deserved rest and relaxation, I heard the worst sound a woman hell-bent on unplugging can possibly hear–the phone ringing.

Carefully placing my wine glass on the table, I hurried to pick up, all the while praying it was a telemarketer asking if I wanted to buy a time share in the Cayman Islands.

But alas, such was not my luck.

I had barely said hello when I heard my sister screech, “Do you know that So and So just got back from skiing in Austria? Skiing! In Austria! And the bitch came back with a tan! I tell you Bella, life is passing us by, sister. Passing us by!”

I braced myself and made a grab for the wine glass, certain it was going to be one of those conversations.

Taking a sip of my wine and a bite of my bruschetta, I settled comfortably on the couch.

“We’re in our forties! In our forties, I tell you! And what have we done with our lives besides ruining our shapes and acquiring stretch marks from giving birth? Nada, I tell you! Nada!”

For some reason, she was repeating the last phrase and/or word of everything she said.

I poked a breadstick into the humus and tried to chew quietly.

“And these kids! If we could at least say, my son the doctor or my daughter the rocket scientist, but hell no! We’re lucky we can say, my son the student! Really, how long is it going to take them to get their Bachelor’s degree? I’m already fifty thousand dollars in the hole! But even so, I’ll consider myself lucky if my firstborn gets a job as a manager at Best Buy.”

I inhaled the heavenly scent of olive oil as I dipped a piece of crusty bread in it.

“And you! All that slumming you do, dressing like a homeless person, and for what? Yes, Bella, mark my words. The angel of death will soon greet us and all of this sacrifice will be for nothing!”

I grabbed the tiny spreading knife and spread brie on a cracker.

“I had dreams, you know. You had dreams! You were going to win a Pulitzer! And me? I was going to discover the cure for Alzheimer’s. But the way this is going, we’ll be lucky if we get Alzheimer’s so we can forget how we pissed our lives away. Pissed our lives away!”

I slowly inched for the wine bottle and poured myself a second glass.

“I was going to live in a fancy house, drive a fancy car, dress in fancy clothes, and walk a fancy dog. Instead, I’m stuck in this money pit with a leaky roof, drive a second-hand passenger van, wear whatever’s on clearance at Target, and my idea of walking the dog is putting him out on the doorstep and telling him to pee and scratch the door when he’s done.”

I bit into another bruschetta and repositioned the cushion behind my lower back.

“And you! Your idea of action is walking Roxy in the forest wearing those hideous sweatpants and that old polar fleece jacket that’s full of dog hair! I cannot believe you’re not upset by all that is happening to us. Or I should say, NOT happening to us. We should be on the arm of men like Gerard Butler or Jim Caviezel, dining and wining on the Amalfi Coast. Instead, we’re lucky if Laurel and Hardy take us to the drive-thru at Mickey D’s!”

I slowly unfolded my cloth napkin and delicately wiped the corners of my mouth.

“Where did we go wrong, Bella? Where? We’re educated women. We speak three languages. We graduated Magna Cum Laude, for the love of God! We dated good looking men. We were good to mom, dad, and nana. Why does the Universe hate us? Why aren’t we the ones returning with our dentist husband from a skiing holiday, sporting a freakin’ tan? Why, Bella, why?”

I reached for the wine bottle and poured myself a third glass.

“Bella? Are you listening to me? Have you heard a word I’ve said?”

“Woman, I have heard every word you’ve said. Are you done?”

“Yes, yes I am.”

“Are you feeling better?”

“Much better.”

“Good.”

“Next week, same time?”

“You betcha.”

Does venting help you feel better?

Who’s wearing her New Year’s Eve party dress?

I love my WordPress blog.

One of the reasons I do is because of a little integrated tool called Akismet.

Akismet polices spam.

It makes sure spam comments don’t worm their way into the comment section and instead, remain in the spam box.

However, every now and then, certain spam comments make my day.

Why?
Cause they make me chuckle.

Dan, the spammer, cracked me up today.

He said, “The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn’t disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you’d have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you weren’t too busy looking for attention.”

Really, Dan, really?

Have I really disappointed you?
Was it really your choice to read?
Am I whining too much?
Am I really busy looking for attention?

I’m disappointed, Dan.

Especially since this is the first time you’ve commented.

You know what the Son would say about you?

That you’re a hater, Dan.

Nevertheless, I’m committed to starting the New Year on good terms with all fellow men and women.

And that means you too, Dan.

While Dan’s intention may be to direct some attention his way, he does have a point.

Because there is someone who’s been vying for attention this past week: Little Roxy.

Our little Miss has been misbehaving in ways none of you can imagine.

She’s been destroying her toys, barking loudly, clawing at the doors, and today she even, ahem, had a little accident on the carpet.

I’m under the impression that the holiday madness has taken its toll on our furry friend.

After all, my food comas, lethargy, and the extreme cold, have resulted in fewer daily forest walks.

And the many phone calls, store outings, and occasional guests, have all deprived our little Miss of her usual amount of attention.

Thus, she’s taken to acting a little naughty.

I think Roxy figures that negative attention is better than no attention.

However, today was different.

A package arrived in the mail from the Daughter, the Niece, and my mother.
For little Roxy.

It was filled with little dresses, a new leash, and even snow shoes.

Roxy was excited to try on her new clothes, and even more excited to once again be the star of the show.

Ironically, this makes me think that Dan could be on to something.

Because I too get a little cranky when I stop being the center of attention–sometimes.

For now, I’m happy allowing Roxy to take center stage.

After all, she’s the one with the new clothes.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and blessed New Year’s.

And I hope all of your wishes are granted.

Thank you for reading and for taking the time to leave so many lovely comments.

They make my day, every day.

Roxy, the Significant Other, the Son, and I wish you all a happy New Year!

And now, here’s Roxy, the little fashionista, modeling her new outfits.

Enjoy!

Could these shoes be Jimmy Choo?

Roxy says, "Let it snow!"

Because all girls deserve an animal print coat with a faux fur trim!

Even better when it has a hood.

Roxy's ready to party in her party dress!

XOXO,