November 12, 2017:

Hola!

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RIDICULOUS!

I have several rants today, so I'm getting right to it!

10 Pants Every Woman Should Own
From Glamour
First of all, women wear slacks, not pants.  Men wear trousers.

Secondly, the average wearer of the "pants" featured in the article is about 17 - except for the office worker who is advised to have an "office appropriate" pair of slim ankle "pants" and a pair of "classic pumps" that look in the photo like spiked heel platforms.  Yeah, right.  Real professional looking.  Can you say HOOKER?  Any female where I work who showed up in such an outfit would be sent home - not fit to be seen by clients.  What are the people at Glamour smoking these days, geez!

Thirdly, does Glamour intend to write itself into oblivion by catering to the teenaged set?  Get a clue, Glamour: they don't give a shit about your magazine, and neither do most 20-somethings whom, I believe, are your actual target market.  Glamour is an old, has-been rag trying to stay pathetically youthful forever.  It ain't gonna work, Glamour.  You are doomed.  You could have aged gracefully with the babyboomers but - well, that's water under the bridge, darlings.  You won't ever get them back now - you have a reputation among them as nothing but a trash sex advice magazine written by fake people who know nothing about what it really takes to make a relationship work for 20/30/40 or 50 plus years. 

Anti-aging tips from Redbook.  Another magazine desperately trying for the advertising dollars of the 20-somethings.  Give it up already, they don't read you.  All those women who answer your silly surveys are LYING ABOUT THEIR AGES, you dummies!  Don't you KNOW that?  Geez. 

Did you really think that by using a photo of Demi Moore in the article that it would make it appealing to us "women of a certain age" (whispered, with a shudder, rather like "He Who Must Not Be Named." Demi Moore these days looks anorexic and the hippy hair belongs on someone 25 years younger.  Not exactly conducive to convincing those (whisper, shudder) "women of a certain age" to pay attention.  Oh, her again.  Sigh. 

There are so many things ridiculously wrong and just downright stupid in your "advice" that I hardly know where to begin.  Here are a few lowlights:

-- Shimmery eyeshadow on "crepey" eyelids?  REALLY?  I MEAN, FRIGGING REALLY? Shown on the eyelids of an 18 year old, of course!  Did you get your make-up advise from the guy who used to make up Bela Lugosi?  Google it...

-- Use a creamy black eye liner pencil and draw a line OUT TO THEREEEEEEEE....... you know, like Cleopatra eyes.  Oh puLEASE!  Any kind of eyeliner or shadow in a "cream" is going to smear and crawl up into those crepey eyelids, darlings - trust me - I speak from experience!    Again, make-up advice for someone who wants to look like a freak or is, like, 12 years old.

--  Cream blush -- see comment above.

And, possibly the worst possible piece of advice from yet another article:
How to Reduce Darkness Under Your Eyes with Zinc Oxide
SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB that skin, girls.  That's right, the article recommends SCRUBBING AWAY WITH AN EXFOLIATING WASH, and be sure to scrub that delicate undereye area where the offending dark circles are, because this will magically banish the accumulated "puffiness and pooled blood."  Yeah.  Right.  And give you permanent wrinkles well before your 20th birthday if you follow this excruciatingly STUPID advice.    And after you've done that, be sure to RUB IN plenty of zinc oxide all over the offending area -- but don't get it in your eyes, it could burn. 

This was worse than another bit of ridiculousness I read elsewhere (alas, I did not keep the url, probably a good thing) about "opening up" your eyes by using copious amounts of blue mascara on your lower lashes.  Probably the woman I saw on the bus this morning followed this advice, except she didn't have dark blue smudges all over the top of her cheek bones and flecks of dried mascara cascading down her face - she had BLACK dried mascara flecks all over her face and smudges like a football player on the tops of her cheekbones.  Along with her obviously out of the box black hair, she looked - exactly like the racoon such make-up (and hair color too, no doubt) were designed to banish forever and ever!

Finally, a woman who got famous by writing a best selling book telling other woman HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD passed away at 58.  The article said - as if this is the highest paeon of praise "She was 58 but looked perennially 49." I am sorry for her family's loss but I just cannot muster up much sympathy for someone who would write a book and steal money from desperate women by selling it to them.  When did it become a fucking sin in this country to be OLD?  I mean, really?  Like 1950's style Babuskha OLD?  Or just someone oh, say over 50, who can be kicked to the curb now in the economic downturn with no recourse for age discrimination, even though everyone and her grandmother knows that's what is happening.  Charla Krupp, why didn't you ever write a book to help THEM?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lovely Evening Bag!

I just happened to see this at Sam Moon this evening.  It really is beautiful -- its looks belie its cost!




Fashion Evening Bag
  • 5"H x 10"Wx 2"D
  • Silver Metal with Clear Rhinestones
  • One Pouch Pocket Inside
  • Shoulder Strap Included
  • Brown, Tan and Taupe Sequence

    $15.99
    Item #: 372932

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 Golden Globes

How is she not perfect?  Like - FRICKING WOW!


Drop-dead gorgeous Katherine McPhee, at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.
Soon the new t.v. series "Smash" featuring McPhee will premiere. 

This "nude color" lace gown is perfection for the actress' coloring.  The style of the gown itself -  not quite fish-tail, not quite Barbie 1950's - is perfectly fitted to KM's body but not skin tight, which I detest because skin tight is so de classe'! And with her figure, she doesn't need skin tight.  Nude colored platforms (thankfully, not peep-toed!), a few rings, no other distracting bling, and a small "jeweled" clutch.  The dress shows a modest amount of perfectly proportioned legs and ankles.

Absolute perfection.  One of the most beautiful young ladies of our time - and no fake boobs anywhere in evidence!

Street Fashion in Madrid 2012

Boots of all kinds
HKM Madrid Waterproofs
89,95 British Pounds

Pashimas and scarves, cheap (3 for 10 euros at street vendors everywhere, 4 euros for one)
Silk screen printed scarfs were more expensive.  The scarfs with abstract art were selling the best
Animal-print scarfs were less expensive and not being bought, not even by the ignorant tourists (I include myself under that category) (indicates they're passe, darlings)
What was selling: 
Square traditional-style silk (synthentic silk) "scarfs" with "moderne" prints in black, grey and white
Square traditional-style cotton-blend "scarfs" with sewn-on ball fringe in black and rich "Moorish" designs in neutral colors (greys, greyish-greens)
Pashimas in deep, rich colors in all patterns other than animal print
Pashimas in neutral paisley

Black leather jackets, hip length or shorter - I saw nothing longer on the street worn by the ladies
Knee-lenth or longer mink coats (never shorter than knee-length; no fur jackets and no faux-fur seen - it was either the real thing or no fur at all)
For top of the line Spanish leather goods, shop Loewe

A lot of color-treated hair. Tawny shades and "reddish" shades (but nothing too bright or obviously fake)
For older women, light-colored shorter hair worn in layers - a rather "60's look" -- but you know what, that hair goes with those mink coats they wear
For younger women, long layers with caramel-colored highlights, but I also saw lots of short to medium-length bobs in all colors.
I did not see any stark blondes anywhere in Madrid among the Madrilenos, only a few tourists (thank Goddess!)

Skinny jeans everywhere - I can tell you personally that the H&M store on the Gran Via was HOPPING

Little girls do not wear jeans or slacks, even when playing in the parks! - only dresses or skirts and blouses

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fashion Report from Madrid

Back home from a week in Madrid, sigh.  Well, I am glad to be home, but we had a wonderful time in Madrid and the weather was FABULOUS!  Absolutely no rain at all even though the winter is generally the rainy season and the temperatures were well above-normal during the day - into the mid-50's F. At night the temperatures were still what this Wisconsin girl considers mild - around 32 F.  We didn't have a day without blue skies and lots of warm sun.  It was wonderful.

Of course I - doh - didn't think to actually take photos of the fashions I saw while there, so this is a written report, unless I stumble across something that I happened to catch in one of the nearly 600 photographs I took of the sights!

First of all, it is a lot different now how people dress than when we went for our first visit, in October, 2002.  Back then, people were more smartly dressed than now.  It was much harder, then, to tell the tourists from the natives. Back then, it was usually only Americans who wore jeans and sneakers and unfailingly were advised by travel websites NOT to do so, so as not to make yourself an easy target/mark.  As if anyone listened...  Well, I did.  I did take a pair of jeans with me, but no sneakers, in 2002.  My standard shoe for that journey was a hard frame flat that held up well to the pounding of the streets of Madrid and Toledo and the countless cobblestones we trudged over.  I "dressed up" - that is - I wore work clothes mostly.  Dress slacks, nice dress tops and jackets.  Here's a photo of me taken in Madrid in 2002 before the Acala Gate - I've got jeans on but also a faux-suede dress jacket that I regularly wore to the office with a short sleeve mock turtleneck underneath and my trusty carry-everything size purse.  Sorry about the image quality - the really good photos are stored on my ancient desktop that is no longer hooked up.  Hmmm, must do something about that...



January, 2012 was a whole different ball game. There wasn't anything remotely resembling a work or dressy outfit in my luggage this trip.  I had only 2 pair of jeans with me (one to wear and one spare), my worn-out clogs (comfy as all get out!) and I often wore my Green Bay Packers hoody (nice and warm with a turtleneck underneath). 


Here I am on January 9, 2012 sitting in the Plaza Espana waiting for Mr. Don to finish taking his photos.  The sneaky man snapped several of me when I wasn't looking.  We had our day trip to Toledo that day and I didn't want to trudge along with my too-big old winter jacket, so I had on a long sleeve turtleneck, over that a grey fleece sweater and over that a faux-suede big shirt.  Jeans, ratty old clogs and a different but equally large purse (comparable to the size from 2002) complete the outfit, along with my trusty sunglasses.  Hmmmm, not much difference actually, despite 9 plus years, except I need to drop a few more pounds...  Even my hair style (and color) is still pretty much the same.  Hmmmmm... 

Notice the group of people behind me.  These are Madrilenos.  How can I tell?  Because two of the ladies are carrying a shopping bag and both men are wearing hats and are not sloppily dressed.  Notice what they're wearing: one man has on blue jeans and a suede jacket, the other man has on a black leather jacket and grey cords or jeans; one of the ladies is wearing a knee-length black coat that seems to be perfectly matching her dark hair.  Her hair is loose and down to her shoulders.  One of the ladies looks to have grey or perhaps pale blonde hair, is wearing a light colored jacket and slim-cut black slacks.  The third woman has tawny-colored tresses and her jacket seems to also match her hair color.

This trip I couldn't help but notice it seemed EVERYONE was in jeans and a lot of people wore sneakers.  Boots of all types were very popular with the ladies, and skinny jeans with the younger women, whether they had the figures for them or not.  It was hard to tell who might be a tourist and who might be a Madrileno, unless she (or he) was obviously dressed up for work.  The general uniform for teenaged Madrilenos was tight jeans, boots (tall heeled, short, every height in between), or Ughs or Emus, also saw many younger women wearing wool-knit booties with faux-fur cuffs.  Honestly, walking into the James Joyce Irish Pub, I could not tell the difference between the people and their outfits there and any bar in Milwaukee! 

The older women of Madrid wear fur coats this time of year and generally have well-coifed hair.  People still wear their "Sunday best" on holidays and, of course, on Sunday.  Friday, January 6th was a national holiday and a holy day for the Catholic Church -- the Feast of the Three Kings (Epiphany), so people were off work.  Children were busy celebrating their last days of freedom before returning to school at the close of the holiday season.  The entire weekend I saw well-dressed families out strolling up and down the streets of Old and Bourbon Madrid and in the many plazas, squares and parks that dot Madrid.  Little girls were dressed in skirts or dresses and tights with Mary-Jane style shoes and velvet-collared coats!  No casual jeans for them.  They were dressed up to the nines, with well dressed hair, often with ribbons woven through braids or clipped in.  They were just so precious!

Many of the women color their hair - you see many different shades of red, blonde and shades of caramel and light brown, as well as high-lighted and frosted hair.  Many of the older women wear their hair chin length or shorter, while I saw many young women wear their hair mostly shoulder length or longer, and wavy, layered with streaks of caramel highlights.  I don't want to stereotype, though. I'm speaking generally in "averages" because I saw many young women who were what I would call "avant garde" in their fashion choices, including all kinds of piercings and ripped up clothing, etc. and extreme hair colors like deep black, purple, and pink-streaked, among others.  Those, however, were rather less common than you would see say, on the streets of New York or Chicago or LA.

It is the norm for couples in Madrid to walk arm and arm.  Generally the people are not "tall" -- it was quite evident when Mr. Don and I were holding our places for the Feast of Three Kings parade on the night of January 5th that we of average American height often towered over the natives!  Don is all of 5' 8" and I'm just under 5' 4".  You do not generally see obese Madrilenos, which is a little surprising to me because they seem to have a lot of sugar in their diet - but perhaps not much fat, which is an issue with what Americans eat.  Yes, women of a certain age appeared to have the usual "middle age spread" due to hormonal issues but I didn't see any 200-300 pound or larger fatties walking around.  Generally the people are handsome.  Many of the women have the most amazing cheekbones, and many of the men are darker and very handsome, with flashing eyes and dimples.  I saw a lot of flashing male eyes and dimples, I must say :)

Well manicured hands are the norm among both females and males.  This being Spain, it seemed the majority of men I saw had nice leather jackets.  While many women wore leather coats too, woolen coats of all types (along with the fur coats) seemed to be preferred by the ladies.  The lengths of the coats that the ladies wore were all over the place.  I saw mid-calf length all the way up to waist length, and all different sorts of styles: pea coats, button downs, flared, belted, fur-collared and not, funnel-collared, etc. etc.  In short, pretty much what you would see fashion wise in any sophisticated major urban area.

What I did not see too often was women wearing those ridiculously high spiked heels.  Wearing such a shoe in Madrid's streets would be akin to asking to have a fatal accident.  There are cobblestoned streets and sidewalks everywhere; I do not recall seeing such a thing as what we in the US consider a "sidewalk" of plain old concrete.  And often, the sidewalks consisting of marble squares were undeven, pitted with holes and missing tiles, or the mortar has come loose and the tiles wobble when you walk over them!  I, in particular, seemed to have a penchant for finding loosed tiles on the sidewalks.  The women I saw wore very fashionable (not dowdy and definitely not granny-style) but mostly low-heeled shoes.  I was soooo glad to see that!