Friday, June 19, 2009

She's a Butterfly!

"Pretty as a crimson sky..." I raised her all on my own. Now she is whole and ready to fly...daughter o' mine is in graduate school and studying hard. She is hardly ever here any more and I miss her terribly.
But I know she must leave home and is that not what all good parents want? When she was an infant, I read a passage in a breastfeeding book about how all too soon "your baby will leave you to go to school". I remember sobbing my heart out at the thought of my baby turning into a little girl and trotting off to school one day! That day did come and we were both ready, though bittersweet it was. Since then, we have had many leave takings and comings but I know that we are headed towards home plate now.
My experience with mothering has been wonderful but poignant. I did not want to be a single mother - it was forced upon me when she was barely twelve months. But I loved the role of mother and enjoyed nearly every moment. She made it easy. When someone compliments me on my daughter, I always reply, "I had excellent raw material". She was born good and I know how lucky I am.
And so this year, she's a butterfly...."like the purest light in a darkened world; so much hope inside such a lovely girl...You should see her fly, it's almost magical, it makes you wanna cry, she's so beautiful...God bless the butterfly, give her strength to fly, God bless the butterfly!"
Warm Weather Dressing

My favorite summer ensemble may feel a bit pajama-like but certainly doesn’t look so. By layering my favorite linen wide-legs, with a camisole top under a floaty cardigan, I can have the appearance of sophistication without looking as though I am wearing lounge wear. The secret to this is donning tasteful jewelry and accessories with clothes that allow the air to move under them. Warm weather dressing can be challenging as the last thing one wants is to look like a rumpled bed instead of a soignée sophisticate making her way to the office on a sultry morning.

I once thought that the only women who looked pulled together in the summer were those who live with a central air conditioning system, but now I know it is possible to be chic in hot weather. Of course, this involves a well thought-out plan.

  1. Always have your clothes ironed and pressed before the heat wave sets in. Is there anything as uncomfortable as standing over the ironing board the morning after a 70 degree night with hot rollers in your hair, desperately trying to remove the creases in your linen blouse before work???

  1. Wear light colored clothing or cooling pastels so as not to retain heat when you are walking at lunch time in the midday sun. Save your chic black items for the fall and winter.

  1. For pants, select wide legged ones or tailored ones of stretch cotton. Polyester need not apply.

  1. Wear tops that are slightly loose and never clingy. If one is uncomfortable with the appearance of arms, ¾ length sleeves offer cover without being restricting and still look summery and elegant.

  1. Powder the inside of sandals and ballet flats and avoid socks and stockings as much as possible. Remember to only wear sandals that fit well and do not rub. Blisters on one’s feet can be seen in facial expressions! Pas de chic.

  1. Classic, conservative dresses look attractive in lightweight fabrics. Go for a simple line such as sheath in a cotton sateen or linen.

  1. Instead of a confining jacket, keep a tissue weight pashmina folded neatly in your handbag, tucked away for that blast of air conditioning in a movie theater or shop. A soft, light weight cardigan dropped across the shoulders and held together with a silvery brooch will look nice too.

  1. Keep makeup simple. A light tinted moisturizer with SPF for daytime, a bright and cheery lipstick, and a swoop of mascara is all that is necessary in the summer. Anything more can melt like frosting on the face in bright sunshine.

  1. Find a light elegant scent and keep it stored in the ice box. Spray liberally before leaving the house for a nice jolt of cooling.

  1. Wear hats. Every summer beauty needs a stunning straw hat with a brim wide enough to shade the face. Ditto a fun canvas beach hat that can be crushed into a beach bag.

  1. Wear head scarves to hold back the hair when taking a ride in a convertible. Take a page from Grace Kelly’s book and wrap it securely around the head and double wrapped tied around the neck. So “To Catch A Thief”.

  1. Go for simple jewelry with impact. A strand of faux pearls, opera length, diamond stud earrings, coral or turquoise all look wonderful in the warm weather months and mimic the elements of the sea.

  1. If possible, lighten your handbag. A structured rattan bag is so charming in the summertime and it will hold all the extras that are required for the season: sunscreen, water bottle, pashmina, scarf, sunglasses, summer novel.

  1. It is tres important to have a handcream on hand that contains an SPF.

  1. Never underestimate a tepid evening bath to lower the body temperature and induce a good night’s rest.

  1. Don’t fuss with elaborate hairstyles. Fluff whenever possible and make use of headbands and silk scarves to keep a fallen hairstyle in line.

And don't forget to take siestas. Lots of them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Early Summer Beauty

Summer beauty
can be a challenge. The hot weather along with summer's monkeywrench, humidity, can make one's hair limp and unmanageable. However, the worse thing that Uncle Humidity does to us, is related to how it makes us feel: listless and unmotivated. But summer is not the time to renege on our beauty promise to ourselves. In fact, summer may be the perfect time to step up our beauty routines.
A tepid bath in the evening with a handful of Epsom salts is just the thing before drawing that batiste nightgown over our heads. This bath will not only soothe but lower the body temperature and help induce a peaceful sleep. Some of us prefer cotton pajamas with camisoles but the ubiquitous nightie is the coolest garment for nighttime restoration. A friend recently told me that the perfect attire for summer nights is the three piece pajama set: pants, camisole, and matching bed jacket, especially for the nights when our air conditioner is running full throttle. Whatever garments are chosen, one must be careful that everything possible has been done to create a restful environment and bodily condition for sleeping. Cranky picnic goers and their ilk are no fun.

So, despite Uncle Humidity, take care in the evening to maintain your beauty routine. Take the aforementioned water cure, wear lightweight bedclothes (and do make sure your bed is crisp and fresh before tucking in), and continue with your eye cream and unguents. A light spritz of your favorite toilet water would also be a welcome addition to your nighttime regime, especially if it is kept in the ice box during the day.