Thursday, 28 July 2016

Image: the main secrets

                 Image result for witty female quotes about being positive

What is the main image secret?

In any area of image, we need to know exactly what it is that we want:

  • if it is how we look: then, exactly how do we want to look, realistically
  • if it is our weight, it could be about wanting to look good in a swimsuit, or be a particular size
  • for our health, we might, for example, want to be able to walk, run, bike, swim, etc, a certain distance
  • or, we might look messy, and want to look tidier. Or to be more organised. There are many possibilities.

What are we prepared to do to get it?

The next step is: what are we willing to do on a daily or regular basis, to be, have, achieve, our goal? It helps to make a list. Obviously, if we want to get to our goal quite easily, we shall have to start somewhere. Sometimes I think that we forget that:

  • there is always a start point
  • an achieved point
  • that is followed by maintaining the achieved point.

If the start point is A, and the end point is B, what are we prepared to do, what can we actually do in our life, to get to that point B? Whatever it is, and it can be a few, or many, things, these are what we can do, are prepared to do. They are the very things that keep us on our course towards point B. And when we veer off the path, as one does (!), our "things" that we were doing, are what we can return to, to resume our journey to point B.

It doesn't matter what it is we are working towards, this will work for us all.

Doable things help

And we can work out little do-able things, along the way from A to B. For example: 

  • looking good in a swimsuit might entail some food changes and some exercise. The exercise could be walking and light weights
  • for a food list, what about starting with: drink two litres of water each day; eat slowly & enjoy your food; eat at regular times
  • more things can be added as the first suggestions become established in our life
  • we could start walking for ten to fifteen minutes a time, adding five minutes each week, until we are walking for the length of time that we have available
  • two to three times a week we could do what was in the previous post, starting with maybe eight repetitions of each exercise, adding a few more repetitions each week until we can do two lots of ten  repetitions. The next step would be to add some baked bean cans as weights, or water bottles.

They create sign-posts

A sign post is something that we have managed to achieve to get us to our goal. In this case, it could be, for example, walking twenty minutes, then twenty-five, then thirty. Another sign post could be going down a clothing size. Choose the sign posts that matter to you, that mean something, that tell you that you are getting towards your goal.

One of the secrets of the secret

Make everything do-able, that is truly one of the secrets. One of the biggest, yet seemingly most trivial things that I've ever done to reduce stress and be more organised, is to get my clothes ready the night before. Yes, so trite, but what a difference it has made to my mornings. I swear that it takes less than a minute the night before. But it always took way longer in the mornings. I am a double Libran, and having to make choices like "what to wear?" in the mornings as I headed off to work, etc, it was overwhelming and stressful. At night I am too tired to be so Libran, so I just get it done.

To sum it all up

  • today we are looking at knowing exactly what we want to do, in any area
  • that we need a realistic start point A, a finish point B
  • what to do that is do-able in our life, to get there
  • hat would be our sign posts to let us know that we are progressing? 
This simple system has worked for me with many things, from business to gardening to health. Many years ago I went to Weight Watchers. They had a little booklet where you put star stickers each time you achieved a sign post. I didn't understand it at the time, which may have been one of the reasons that I was a serial failure at WW.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Image: exercise

                         Related image

Start with exercise aka movement

I was talking to a friend last night who was undergoing an image overhaul. And I just thought that it would be colours, clothes styles, that sort of thing. But no. It was more. Listening to my friend tell me one or two things that she had to start with, I thought that it would be fun to do it too. Basically we are looking at our life, so it's not just one's appearance.

The first thing to do is, do some exercise everyday. So here, we can be looking at anything from going to the gym everyday, to going for a walk, doing some yoga or callisthenics. The list of possibilities is actually quite big.

I worked in gyms for years, teaching yoga. I certainly learnt a lot from the people (nearly all ladies) who came to the classes. Now I do know that you need time and space to do a lot of exercise, and many of these women either didn't "work" (have an "official" job) or were retired. So going to the gym each day was easier for them. 

Inspiring fit ladies

However, one of the most inspirational ladies, ever, whom I taught, was 80. I asked her about her fitness. She replied that she didn't do much anymore. She was going to a ladies only gym everyday except Sunday, for a fitness class. The classes varied from yoga, to pilates, to bootcamp, to keep fit. She had a thirty minute walk on the treadmill  beforehand. Not much!!! My goodness, it was heaps. She looked amazing, and could do more difficult poses than many of the others in the class. Her diet was just as "regulated" and automatic. Prior to all this, she had run everyday, for years, and done callisthenics. Whenever I feel lazy, which can be often, I think of this woman. She honestly had kept her figure after childbirth decades prior, and maintained it.

One of my friends had kids, a job, a home, her own garden, so had very little free time. She is a gardener by trade, so is very strong & fit. Each evening she was doing elbow planks and side elbow planks for her abdominals plus some yoga salute to the sun.  Yes, I know. Massive guilt reading this.

I met an older woman who was trying a fitted jeans in the most trendy of jeans shops. She got one skin tight pair to wear around her husband (very cute idea!) and another, less tight one, for the weekend. She walked every single morning for about forty minutes. And had for years.

I had always only ever done yoga, ever since my mid twenties. It wasn't the full-on stretch and hold for a long time, type. Nor was it strenuous. It had always been adequate until my mid forties. I didn't need to do much walking or anything else. But the time had come where I knew that I needed something extra for body tone. Joanne came to stay. She had a totally killer body. Of course, I wanted to know how she got it: ten minutes, first thing every morning, using cans of baked beans, or even no weights, body tone exercise. Each exercise was done twenty, so to fit it all into ten minutes, she would have been moving fast. Totally the opposite to yoga. I had to work this out in my head, I was so unused to anything like this. Plies with toes turned out and squats, for legs and buttocks. There was a side leg lift for outer thighs but this is not an area that I need to worry about so I skipped that. Crunches combining bust exercise: have your arms by the sides of your chest & as you crunch up you bring your arms up and cross them at the wrist, above the chest. Triceps kickbacks & pushups. I mean, really, how hard is all that? I can tell you that it really works. I only ever did each exercise ten times, and probably slower than Joanne.

Then there is a woman whom I taught in a gym, for years. She came once a week for an hour yoga class. It was her easy workout each week. Every other day, first thing, she would walk, run, swim, lift weights. She varied it, and had a routine with her husband whereby one would be getting kids ready for school whilst the other exercised, then they would swop over so that the other could then do their fitness routine.

Look at what suits you

So, reading all this, I do know that it can seem quite daunting. But I really just wanted to give some inspiring examples. It can take trial and error to find out what suits you and your life. So, today, let's all think about ways to add a bit of exercise each day. And do it. If it's not right for you, do something else tomorrow. But try to get some in everyday day:

  • even just a short walk. Or a couple of ten minute walks, at a pinch
  • try some pushups against a bench, or wall
  • do some plies when you have 30 seconds
  • some crunches before bed
  • if we make things easy, then we can do it
                                     Image result for ladies bench push ups

I shall add these suggestions: 

  • two x ten minute walks
  • pushups
  • plies & crunches
  • all twenty times each, daily
  •  I already do ten minutes of easy yoga sun salutes most mornings. Some sun salutes are hard. I've learnt that for myself, if it's hard, it becomes too much and I stop doing them. And I'd rather just do them than make it too daunting.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

continuing with chic: other aspects of chic

                                Image result for la vie parisienne

Being Chic Is An Attitude

I do know that there is more to being chic than how we look. It also seems to be an expression of personality, and, a joie de vivre. An interest in others. How we live both in society, whether it's work, friends, or just generally mixing with people. Wherever. A generosity of spirit.

And generosity itself is also chic. Taking a cake to someone, giving a gardener some cuttings, giving a friend who is a bit down, some of your time. What little gestures of generosity are you?

As for being interested in others: I am a shy person, I had to learn how to chat with others. I usually ask a person what they do in their life. That always leads to an interesting tete-a-tete. If there are children, I ask about them. There is always something about another person that is interesting! It is tres chic to be interested in other people. It denotes a warmth, an affection.

Chic people know other people

We all need people in our lives. Loneliness is not chic. So, if your life needs more people in it, this can be done through groups, hobbies, study, sports, getting out and about meeting people. Once you get into the habit of it, you won't be so lonely anymore. Actually, if I was lonely, I would volunteer my services here and there, to give to people: old folks homes, doing some things for neighbours in need, like shopping, childminding, lawnmowing: the list is endless. When we realise that there are those whose lives are worse than our own, our own life doesn't feel so bad anymore. If you are lonely, what could you do to meet people? Especially people with similar interests?  If money is tight: what can you do that is free, to meet people, or even just to be where others are? Like a village market, the library.

And it is chic to be cheerful. A great way to feel happier about oneself and one's life, is to practice gratitude. I silently say: "thank you Universe" when something nice happens, and I aim to find many things to say thank you for, each day. What can you find to be grateful for? I currently am very grateful to be living where I can have a vegetable garden, see the stars at night, watch the dawn come up, listen to the birds, and also that I have family and friends.

                           Image result for shabby chic

Our Homes Can Be Chic, Too

And in our homes, too, is where we also express our chic-ness. That personal touch that is just us. When we have a family, or are flatting, of course that is harder to do, but I do know someone who actually does do it, in a most unobtrusive way, whilst sharing a house with others.

We can look at our living situation to see how, even if only in a minute way, we can express our flair. Whether we live with others, or alone, we can make things more attractive. Attractive is the main way to look good, and that also applies to our living spaces. The first way to do this is with cleanliness and tidiness. Not perfection, but looking nice. Put things away, clean the kitchen and bathroom. Not rocket science. It is very chic to have a nice living space.

I personally adore the shabby chic look. And I love antiques. I don't have room for many nice bits and pieces, so I have a couple of original vintage pieces of furniture, and few wee pieces of antique crockery. I have yoga "stuff" in my home, too (I teach yoga): wee statuettes, "Om" signs, a meditation yantra (containing geometric forms which symbolise something esoteric). Not too much of anything, but enough to make me happy, with a bit of the type of things that I love.

How can you express chic in your home?

  • what is unique about you that can be echoed in your living space, whether it be your bedroom, flat, home, garden?
  • what do you love that makes a statement about you?
  • what would you love to have in your home? It can even be something as simple as having flowers on a coffee table. Remember, we are expressing our chic here.

So, today, here were some things to ponder, about our chicness.

Friday, 15 July 2016

30 chic days: day 30: are kiwis chic?

                                   Related image

The final day in Fiona Ferris's 30 chic days, to celebrate the release of her bestseller: 30 Chic Days. If you would like to read, or listen to, the 1st 3 chapters, here is the link to Fiona's lovely blog: Going through Fiona's site to get to see the book, is actually more supportive for her. Her facebook site is:

For my last day in this chic series, I have done some sleuthing to see if we kiwis ladies are chic. I kept a lookout wherever I went. But I felt that I needed something to compare it with, so I sneakily talked to french women. I figured that french restaurants, bakeries & delicatessens were easy places to do my research in, & I actually only talked about the food on sale (french food places are very busy!). I also have known french women, so I remembered aspects about them too.

They talk quite fast, are very expressive with their face, body, & hands & I think that it's because the french language is very expressive. They are friendly. They do have beautiful complexions, some wear make-up, some do not. Many have slightly messy hair, which I like. I really disliked the fad for straightening hair & trying to make it look perfect, that was prevalent in New Zealand for so long. And even when french ladies are wearing jeans & very casual clothes, they do look different, and it's hard to say why.

I saw a french woman who had pitch black hair in a messy high bun, with a straight fringe, make-up, red lipstick, wearing very modern and very casual black, and grey, clothes, with jewellery made from real silver vintage cutlery. She looked amazing. Actually she was the real french chic inspiration, for me. I realised that chic was about simplicity, unique-ness, and imperfection.

I do think that there is NZ chic, & more than one type of chic look, but I don't think that everyone has it:

  • I know arty people who personify chic yet are not Parisian chic
  • there is also the casual chic, of jeans and a top or two, sneakers, Converse, ballerinas, or ankle boots
  • slightly messy but artfully cut, or coloured, hair
  • le non make-up look provided by mineral powder, lip balm, mascara. Very nice
  • my youngest grand daughter (thirteen years old) was recently wearing fitted light blue denim jeans, a navy and white sailor-striped tee, with tan mock suede flat ankle boots. Her long hair was in a pony: she looked chic! (I asked where all the gear was from. Grand daughters are a great source of current fashion & beauty info)
  • I was in a clothes shop recently, & one of the salesgirls was so chic! I had to sneakily peek at her, so as not to be a staring weirdo. Very current clothes; long hair; le non make-up look; her baggy silky type tee was slightly tucked into her elegant black harem-type pants, just at the middle of her waist, no where else; ankle boots; loose, long, cardi top, all very casual, a bit untidy, all so chic
  • then there was the very expensively upmarket chic look of black, red and white, with slightly messy hair, and very expensive accessories, that I saw on a woman in a very expensive Auckland suburb
  • then the older women with their short hair, cut casual & modern; black top and pants which honestly can be from any decade, any price. With a large, plain, unusual necklace, or a long untied scarf. It looks fantastic. So age is no barrier to chic-ness.
  • today I saw a young woman in a cafe. actually it was her black quilted, Chanel-look, gold-chained Guess bag that I really saw first. I was mesmerised by it. She wore a plain black long sleeved tee, with black leggings that did not look expensive, and little ankle boots. She looked good. Looking at her, I really could see how you mix different priced gear, even mixing dressy with casual, to create a chic look.
  • then there is The Big Night Out such as engagement parties: I went to one a few months ago. All very chic, there was a definite look, even though everyone was dressed differently. Le smoky eye and artfully slightly messy hair are definitely part of the general evening out look.
  • in the CBD, tailored black chic is still de rigeur for the businesswoman. No matter what is said about "classic" clothes, they actually do undergo subtle fashion changes
  • for those who love vintage, or le hippie look, mixing it with modern gear, is sooo chic.

Chic seems to me to be an attitude, a personal style, and yes, I have seen many examples of kiwi chic. For those who have it, the way that they personify it, is their "look", with casual being toned down, as an ease of dressing, le non make-up look but secretly wearing some, whilst evening & dressy glam is full make-up, and non-structured hairdos, but the clothes do seem to have a simplicity, whether casual or dressy.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

30 chic days: day 29: what I learnt from joining in with

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I have almost finished blogging my first ever 30 chic days, as part of a general, international, invite from blogger Fiona Ferris and her internationally successful How To Be Chic blog site, to do 30 chic days with her. Fiona is on facebook also. Fiona's new book 30 Chic Days is a bestseller on Amazon - way to go Fiona!! The 30 chic days that I have been doing is to support that. Fiona is also a fellow kiwi, so that was an extra impetus.

I also spent a whole night binge reading her 30 chic days series, of which she has done four. The best type of bingeing, in my opinion. I must be honest, being chic is a wee bit new to me. I was once, when I worked with a Swiss-Italian woman who inspired a friend and myself to copy her. I loved doing that. But that was back in the day, and life then took over. There was no time for chicness, or so I thought.

What is chic?

Chic-ness is to do with skill, accomplishment and denotes a certain flair, a certain je ne sais quoi. Fiona certainly looks chic, although I do notice that she has emphasised more, one's inner qualities. Such as serenity, gratitude, organisation, thrift, and she not only works on these things, but periodically also reviews them, for herself. Which in itself, is quite chic, I feel.

So that is a really important hint: learn to be skilled in an area of quality, and revisit it from time to time. Fiona has also made her home life rather chic, and this has inspired me.  She had little routines and little arrangements in her home. 

What I have personally learnt

I have been updating my routines over this 30 days, so that is a big plus. And, as a visual person, I tend to need whatever I am involved in, to be within sight, but I am being more dedicated with my diary lists instead, rather than have clutter, and putting my wee "doing" stack away. Which of course, is chic.

Fiona also has many posts on her blogs about clothes, dressing, elegance, and beauty. The main lesson in maintaining your complexion, according to Fiona, is regularity. I agree. I have been more methodical in this. She changed her life to include little routines. For  example, extra hand, nail and chest care. It inspired me: over this 30 days, I have been massaging my hands and chest each evening before bed.

I also notice that Fiona dresses tres chic-ly, she is very up to date in an elegant way. I have been secretly watching wherever I go, to see who is chic. My understanding of chic dressing has changed, and I like it. This will be an ongoing project for me: moving into appearance chic.

I realised quite quickly into the 30 chic days, that I really did not enjoy writing so much about myself. And my diet was not that interesting. Fiona has some lovely food posts & recipes. A while ago, I was going to post my recipe for red lentil soup, but something made me look to see if Fiona had also done so. She had! It was a bit different, but I was quite tickled by this. (I didn't post my recipe!)

But I was okay with posting each day. It was a happy priority. I only missed a day, when the internet was not working in my area. I have lived and practised awareness for most of my life, but over these 30 chic days, I needed to have a different sort of awareness: was I dressing chic? was I behaving chic-ly? was I speaking chic-ly? was I eating chic-ly? and so on. This was new. And enjoyable. The whole 30 days has also been fun. So, thank you Fiona.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

30 chic days: day 28: what I learnt from vintage chic

                                    Image result for 1920s french chic                                             
My Vintage Chic Inspiration

Look Like a Million, written in 1978 by Leslie Field, is the book that I have been reviewing as vintage chic. Leslie had been a journalist all her adult life, including as a Fashion Editor for top magazines like Glamour, Ingenue; feature journalist for The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, & Daily Express, all British newspapers; and at the time of writing book, she was the editor of Tatler magazine.  She had also started a radio programme called The Passionate Shopper, reported on two other top radio shows, on fashion and beauty. It was from this background that her own style emerged. And also from years of earning very little money. And especially from caring about how she spent that money.


Over the years, I have followed much of her advice. I am often told that I look years younger than what I am. Although I'm not so sure. If I do look younger than my age, then a lot of this was due to Leslie's advice. I have read a lot of these types of books, like Leslie's one, and honestly, this was the best for me, always. I have also loved 2 Lipsticks & a Lover by Helena Frith Powell, and Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange. Fiona Ferris's Chic books are lovely. The Chic & Slim series by Anne Barone are good too. I am reading an american one at present, & I just keep thinking "whaaat?" as I read it. It's not chic.

How It Affected How I Dress

I've never worked in the corporate world, so some of Leslie's dressier suggestions I have never followed. My life has always been more casual, but I still followed the basic principles that she suggested: 

  • I wear separates
  • I layer clothes in winter
  • black is my "neutral". I always have black pants, & now black jeans, plain black shoes, black converse type boots
  • I have had a black jacket since I found this book, not always the same one, even if I seldom use one anymore
  • because I do healing, am a yoga teacher, and have a casual life, I almost always wear pants
  • I also always have a plain black cardigan, and a lighter coloured, bulky one for winter
  • I have a couple of plain merino jumpers, in muted turquoise, & another in muted dark blue
  • but it seems that I am still a bit overdressed, which is just me. even though I aim to dress simply, so I am looking to be more casual, and therefore, appropriate, with jeans and such.


  • I keep my accessories
  • I have kept a gilt-type floral make-up bag to use as an evening clutch, and I also have a very old, tiny black evening bag with a silver chain handle
  • I have used flax bags as summer bags, which is so New Zealand
  • for years I used a tote bag to go to and from work on the bus, and I am now on the lookout for another. So useful
  • I have used shawls as evening cover-ups ever since reading this book, sometimes using one of my meditation wraps
  • I also have both a wee fold-up umbrella & a bigger one, as Leslie suggested
  • I had a fantastic black "straw" hat from Amazon for years, then my sister decided to make it look nice with tons of bright flowers glued onto it, a couple of years ago. I still haven't been able to find another one.

...... And Upkeep

  • I mend clothes, clean my shoes, hang up clothes, aim to look nice, have my own "look", although I am slowly working towards changing it
  • I have for many years, bought a pair of simple, black cloth shoes from department stores, for each summer
  • I make sure that I have short sleeved tees for summer, and long sleeved ones for winter. Some black, some in a nice colour
  • I have a couple of things for gardening in, now. Old clothes.

Le image

  • I make sure that my hair looks shiny and healthy
  • I am not really the person to do nail polishes, but maybe one day
  • my make-up is lighter and rosier in summer, with deeper, richer lipstick and eye make-up in winter
  • I have learnt how to use less make-up, and blush very subtly to do an uplift look
  • I can't do an uplifting thing with my hair because it always falls flat, no matter what
  • Camellia taught me a more modern way to line my eyes, and how to use bronzer to make me have a better jawline
  • I have basic make-up & skin care routines, even if my skin products might not be the norm

Plus Decoration

From time to time, I have had trademark jewellery:

  •  when I was a young mum, it was large thin gold hoop earrings, a medium embossed gold bracelet and a New Zealand jade and gold ring, all gifts from my mother
  • then it was a beautiful silver marcasite watch from my (ex) husband, and a couple of expensive, long silver-chained pendants from mum
  • next were crystal pendants and dangling earrings
  • followed by malas (meditation beads) worn as necklaces & bracelets, with small necklaces of Indian Goddesses 
I am definitely mistress of overkill! One of my grandchildren sorted out my jewellery and I had a mass junk biff-out. In recent years, I have not been wearing  much jewellery, but I do know that can change.

The Easy Way To Make Changes

I have been updating my look in small increments. This is a good way to stay current. The great french perfumes such as Chanel Number 5, are always popular because they are always updated, a wee bit here and there. So we can do it too! I recently had my make-up changed, and it makes me look better.

Inspired by rereading Look Like A Million, I am going to give Leslie's diet a try-out, with a few wee changes to make it more suited for me; I have changed my exercise to include more daily walking, plus about ten to twenty minutes of yoga and body sculpting exercise, morning and night.

Reading this, I can see that I learnt a lot from Leslie's book, I'm always glad that I found it years ago. I hope that somewhere in these blog posts I've written, that you found some good tips for yourself, too.

Monday, 11 July 2016

30 chic days: day 27: do-it-yourself-make-over

                                 Image result for vintage french dressing up  drawings
                                             (circa 1975)

When 'Make-Overs" First Began

Leslie Field, vintage chic author, had been a Fashion Editor for Glamour magazine when she was younger. Glamour was the first magazine to do make-overs, way back when. So it is no wonder that Leslie used this phrase, and, she had been lucky enough to have been one of the people who had a make-over with Glamour.

What Is A Make-Over?

A make-over is about giving yourself a new look. A new figure, a new face, and new self confidence. 
Leslie said that the fabulous thing about the human body is that every effort you make shows up for the world to see: 

  • dieting can make a difference in a week or two
  • exercise can start to change your shape at the end of the first month
  • giving up drink, drugs & cigarettes will start showing in 7 days
  • a new hair-do or make-up scheme is evident in hours. 
She said that if you really want a new you: what are you waiting for? Start now, and three months from now, your best friend will have trouble recognising you.

Make-over At Different Periods In Your Life

She also felt that different ages are time for re-assessment: when children go to school, or leave the nest; when you reach thirty, forty, etc, and that the most important thing is to be yourself, not start a wild search for lost youth. To always remember that the fastest way to grow stale is to stand still, and that clothes that are too young paradoxically make their wearer look older. 

There may be a time when fashion is exactly suited to your face and figure, the rest of the time you have to find out what can be adapted to you.

How Not To Date Yourself

One of the things about fashion, is that fashion reveals only one section of our body at a time. Over fifteen years ago, bare abs were IT, (thanks, Britney Spears), but a few years on, young people were screaming "gross" at older women still showing their middle. In the 1960s, it was legs, in the late 1970s, long flowery, mid calf dresses were the rage. In the 1980s, women wore those awful shoulder pads. Followed by massively billowing clothes (no comment!!) 

Showing the wrong body part, and even emphasising the wrong part, is an instant ager. Honestly.

And Leslie said that fashions in make-up change a great deal more than fashions in clothes, so it pays to update your make-up too. A few years ago, for example, we were all bronzing our faces, now if we do, it is very subtle. Decades ago, women wore powder, now it would be a very light mineral powder, brushed on. Instead of foundation, we moved onto tinted moisturiser, now it's BB or CC creams. Twelve years ago, women were wearing lip gloss. Now a pile of gloss on your lips looks old fashioned.

Make A Flexible Plan For Your Daily Habits

Although Leslie followed a diet plan, she often "cheated" and allowed for that, sometimes skipped her exercise class, and similarly in her beauty plan, she felt that she cheated nearly as often as she kept to her plan. 

She advised not to expect perfection, and not to waste time punishing yourself. She advised that it was never too late to start good beauty habits. Daydream about what you want to look like more than anything in the world, and keep that picture in the back of your mind. Because you'll never get anywhere if you don't know where it is that you want to go.

Keep records

Leslie recommended recording things, especially a daily weight, and your measurements of height; bust; waist; stomach, about 2 centimetres below your waist; hips across your navel; each thigh & calf at their widest part. Remeasure yourself each 4 weeks. Probably for weight loss, it would also pay to record food, drink and exercise. And digestive problems: this would show up if you not only record what you eat and drink, but also how you felt in the hours after.

Be objective

For your face, hair and body, be objective: work out the best parts and emphasise them. The "bad" points: some you can change by diet, exercise, make-up or hairdo skills. Then there are the others that you can't change. Leslie recommends to camouflage them and then forget them. I thought that it was funny how we both listed: shiny hair, small hands, small feet, high arches, in our pluses, with baby fine hair, left ear sticks out, splotchy complexion (mine are from sun damage), nails that break easily, protuberant tum, in our minuses. Strangely, it all made me feel a bit chic!

I hope that you enjoyed vintage chic, a la Leslie Field, from 1978. I always have, and I have so enjoyed blogging about it. I hope that you enjoyed the read, and that you found some advice, or an impetus, to do your own make-over, which may be trial and error, or not. There is youtube now, with tons of make-up advice, according to your age. For example: teens, early twenties, and the rest of us. Have fun, enjoy your journey.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

30 chic days: day 26: vintage chic travelling


Image result for vintage french travelling drawingsTravel In Style

Continuing Look Like A Million with Leslie Field: vintage chic, circa 1978.  Leslie felt that travel luggage was definitely a cheap and cheerful area of expense. She felt that if you want to be chic with a label bag like Gucci or Louis Vuitton, you were better off getting a big shoulder strap bag or a tote bag that you would get use of, when still on the ground.

As a journalist, there was an early period where Leslie had spent as much time travelling as she did on dry land. She got herself a carpet bag satchel, and a plastic dress bag (do they still exist?), so that she could take them on the plane herself to save hours waiting around for her suitcase to appear at the other end of a flight. Whatever could fit in those two bags came with her. No snob, Leslie suggested brightly coloured, lightweight canvas cases from department stores, and if you have to travel light: get a duffel bag, with everything packed inside sailor fashion: rolled up & stuffed tightly. She also felt that it was easier to take two smaller bags than one big one, if you take a lot with you.

For weekends away, she had a small blue denim case which was fine half full, but also expanded amazingly when needed. She would take:

  • a skirt or jeans
  • about six different tops (which I'm assuming she included layers when needed, and she always took a heavy cardigan)
  • she liked to play tennis and her jeans and sneakers were fine for that
  • her dressing gown was also used as a pool cover up in summer
  • a pair of sandals (I've always taken jandals after reading this years ago) for around the pool and padding off to the bathroom
  • she often took gumboots too, lots of books and a toilet bag.

Organise For Travel

For overseas trips that were either one week or two weeks, she felt that the organisation was the same as for a weekend away. Leslie had quickly learnt that you didn't need to take a lot of clothes: 

  • a skirt and coat (or suit - it was 1978!)
  • lots of different shirts
  • two nice dresses for dinner out every night
  • on longer trips she took one more dressy outfit, just in case something big came up
  • her toilet bag had the same things, but in a larger quantity in it, as for weekends away
  • she didn't take much footwear either on these trips: boots (if needed); walking shoes, or sandals; flat heeled black silk pumps; & a small evening handbag
  • plus of course bathing suit & tees if the destination warranted it

Leslie didn't do special clothes for different countries: she dressed for either a hot country or a cold one. Everything that she packed was in perfect condition, mended, etc, everything was packed tightly, and her toilet bag and make up bag were kept with her at all times whilst travelling. She always popped on the socks that the airlines provide, rather than wear shoes/boots.

I've Often Travelled In Minimalist Style

I've travelled overseas a few times, plus had many weekends and a week here and there, away. I truly took Leslie's advice to heart. I once went to India with a child's backpack schoolbag that I could wear, a money bag tied under my clothes, a small cheap bag which I could carry with a sleeping bag inside. It was so easy to carry my gear. I watched people dragging big cases around and having to find porters as we travelled. My sleeping bag is a cheap one that has travelled overseas and around New Zealand, by two people, more times than I can remember. It is so old that we can't remember when we bought it. And my small, cheap, travel bag is equally old.

A Tale From India

I was shocked at the amount of clothes and "stuff" that people took, as those India journeys were about going to ashrams, where fancy clothes are definitely out of place. I knew that I could wash clothes and hang them out, so I had enough for 3 days, plus a couple of sleeping things. It was all so easy. My wee torch was from KMart rather than Kathmandu, my clock was a few rupees from an Indian market. At one railway station, the train doors were about a metre higher that the station, and there was quite an unexpected gap between the train and the station platform. We were ordered to throw our baggage onto the platform. I heard things break as my gear landed. I was so pleased that there was nothing expensive there! We then had to take a flying leap (for us shorties it was just that!) out of the train.

It's Easy To Travel Light To Bali

A month long trip to Bali was so easy: a few changes of very light clothes, swimsuit, jandals, toiletries, towels, small hair dryer (which I didn't need to use). Weekends & weeks away are equally stress less for me, I never take more than four changes of clothing, including what I'm travelling in.  But I always include something to keep me warm. These days, my fantastic Nikes come too, for walks and such. I've taken many weekend seminars, and attended a few others. There are never tons of bathrooms so I learnt, quickly, to only take essentials, and to be quick.

Another Tale From My India Travels

On ashram trips and seminars, I would always check out the showers, toilets, and any laundry facilities, asap. One trip in India, at an ashram, a friend discovered a "secret" unused toilet building. What a treat, no more queuing for the loo! We kept silent about it for a while. Then I told a lovely Slovakian lady, and said not to spread it around. The next time I went to use it, it was full of Slovakian women puffing frantically and silently on their ciggies. (no smoking for the punters in an ashram). I had to rejoin the queue for the other toilet.

Friday, 8 July 2016

30 chic days: day 24: Looking After Your Looks

                               Image result for vintage french woman  pampering face drawings

Take Care Of Your Face

According to Leslie, vintage chic author, flawless skin is hereditary, but for the rest of us, good skin is largely self-discipline; nothing will work if you only do it now and then. Whatever you have to do for a clear skin, you have to do all the time. And although our skin type may not change: for example dry, normal, oily, sensitive, combination. But what can change is the condition: wrinkles, texture, and sunspots being some.

Skin care was the only thing that she spent money on as a matter of course. After much trial and error, she settled on Clinique, using just a few products. It took three minutes each time, using them in rotating upwards motions. For your interest, she used Clinique cleansing oil, their soap with a BufPuf, tonic, moisturiser, and three days a week she used their 7th day scrub. When she was feeling flush, she used a Clinique eye make-up remover, but when money was tight she used baby oil. She never had facials. She had regular habits, & hadn't varied her routine for five years. When the products that she used were on special, she would stock up on them.

More Leslie-isms: use moisturiser on slightly damp skin to help it be more easily absorbed. In summer, drink more water and use moisturiser more often (moisture gets washed away by sweat). When flying put on extra moisturiser before you take off, wash your face and apply more moisturiser before landing.

                                 Image result for vintage french magazine woman in bath

Look After Your Body skin

For her body, she was equally prudent and methodical. She confessed to being frugal with body lotion, generally using Vaseline Intensive care. Leslie used baths, rather than showers, using nice bath oils (use baby oil if you can't afford them), but when Leslie was feeling poor, she would buy borax powder at the chemists, and toss a couple of tablespoons into the water instead. She would hang a lavender bag from the tap as the water ran, to make the bathroom smell nice and relax her, also she scrubbed herself with her Buf Puf, using soap, and pumice on her soles and heels.

Other Hints

Although many women shave their legs and such, Leslie waxed her legs, underarms and arms. She had electrolysis for other areas; she was heavily into good grooming. For treating cellulite, she advised lots of raw fruit & vegies, lots of water. She advised standing tall, and recommended learning how to walk gracefully, because pride shows in the way you walk and hold yourself.

All commonplace today. But not so in 1978.

Leslie felt that having a tan made her feel sexy, skinny and healthy. Bur she didn't want to destroy the elasticity of her skin by tanning, so she used Clinique sunblock which stopped sunburn, and took heed of avoiding the sun between 10.30am & 3pm. So far ahead of the times. Her hints for sunburn: soak in a bath with 1/3 cup of baking soda stirred in. For face: strong, cool tea; when it dries on the face, rinse face with cool water.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

30 chic days: day 23: more smelling nice: body & home

                               Image result for vintage french woman  fragrance drawings

More Perfume Hints

Another tip for our body is to layer our scent. This can be done very easily by having an unscented body lotion and just popping a squiz of perfume into it. Then use the scent, and top your scent up later in the day. There is also the option of "training" friends & family to give you lotions, and soap, etc, in your favourite scent for xmas & birthdays.

Some other tips from moi: you don't have to go all matchy with scents, just make sure that your soap is unscented and your deodorant has just a tint of a smell. Then it's easy to have everything blend in. Of course, you can get very decently priced body washes and lotions in the same "scent" just from the supermarket.

Essential Oils For Delicious Smells

If you do have a nice essential oil, like lavender, geranium, or ylang ylang, you can pop some into grapeseed oil for your body lotion, or into your unscented lotion. Inexpensive and delicious smelling. And, just one drop of lavender or geranium, if you have either, is magical in your night moisturiser.

And In The Home

What about in the home? 

  • You can wipe down many surfaces with lavender oil
  • You can put it in a wee spray bottle with water to "refresh" your rooms
  • You can also spray your ironing board with it
  • Pop a few drops in with your washing powder when you do your washing
  • Put a dab on the corner of your pillow just before you go to bed for a great night's sleep. Lavender is a very calming oil.

I love to open up doors and windows each day for a fresh smelling house. One of my kids used to ask: why is there wind blowing through the house? But we can use nice smelling stuff as well. There are scented candles, oil burners and incense, which for me are more night time things.

I love to pop "things" in my clothes drawers: 

  • empty soap wrappers
  • incense packets
  • this morning I put an empty tiny box that had held a perfumed oil, in with my socks
  • I've also used empty perfume bottles
  • I like to put my perfumes in as well
  • if you're cash-strapped, you can get a squirt of a very expensive perfume on some blotting paper in department stores to stash in with your wee undies
  • there are also bath salts in little cubes that you could use
  • and I like to put soap wrappers etc in my cupboards with towels and sheets, too.

Pot Pourri 

The vintage chic book that I've been reviewing, had a most charming recipe for pot pourri: 

  • the author Leslie mixed any flowers that came her way as gifts, such as roses, geraniums, lavender.
  • lay all the flowers to dry in a single layer on a tray, in any warm place, and turn them over until they are crumbly
  • the flowers are completely dry when the petals fall off the stalks as you shake them; rose petals hold their shape so you can leave the flower whole
  • heap the mixture in pretty bowls, ones with wide necks give out a stronger scent
  • add a teaspoon of orris root powder to each container and mix it through. This helps preserve the scent and the colour
When Leslie was feeling extravagant she would add the ends of bottles of scent or bath oil to the mixtures and give them a new lease of life. A good stirring revives it magically. Experiment with flower colours and scents until you find the one that pleases you. Pot pourri can be placed nicely around the home, or in cupboards, for lovely smells.

She also made small fabric sachets by:

  • cutting out two pieces of fabric, seven and a half centimetres by twelve and a half centimetres, or thereabouts
  • sew them together along two long and one short side, inside out
  • turn right side out
  • fill them with pot pourri mix
  • tie up the top with a scrap of ribbon. 
If you don't want to sew the bags, you can also buy similar bags from $2 shops, and fill them. Leslie put these sachets in every drawer. When the smell began to be faint, she just poured scent on them and put them back, making sure the damp side doesn't touch any clothing, or it will leave a stain.

rewriting your life

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