2nd Day of Opening Faculty Meetings

I felt so professional! Most likely it was due to wearing a dress. With a colourful silk scarf as a belt. And deep turquoise earrings to bring out  the same colour in the scarf.  [Updated September 12: linking up with notdressedaslamb here because Catherine makes it fun to figure out what to wear!]

Pictures of me taken by my husband on our deck

The scarf is a gift from a colleague who is Spanish and returns home to Barcelona every summer. This summer included a trip to Italy, where she purchased the scarf, which is from Denmark though made in India. 

These!

Not much more to say than it's all about these fabulous sandals. Everything else about them I said in my prior post. Being a reformed shoe-aholic, am looking forward to seeing all the #iwillwearwhatilike link ups around this fun theme of summer sandals. (Thank you Catherine!)

I Wore What I Liked!

So perfect that this week's #iwillwearwhatilike link up theme was going to be summer sandals because in my outfit it is totally the sandals that make the outfit special!

It may be difficult to see these amazing shoes so I'll tell you a bit about them. They are made by Arche, a French brand. A few weeks ago I was in New York City with my 85-year old Aunt. We went into the Manhattan Arche store because my granddaughter wanted to go into a store. It could have been any store but it wound up being this one, so in we went.

The shoes were the last ones remaining and the size was not usually my size, but I couldn't resist trying them on because of the color and material that supports the ankle. At almost 3 inch heels, they are also quite a bit higher than my standard daily shoe wear. However, they were also on sale at almost one-quarter of the original price and the fit was pure comfort.

I demurred; they were out of my budget regardless of the sale price, and I had no need for such a pair of shoes. My Aunt disagreed, saying they were fabulous shoes and a bargain like this should not be passed up. She then went and purchased them for me!

As for the outfit, I wore it yesterday to a 95th birthday celebration luncheon for a neighbor at the other end of our street. It was a sunny, hot, humid afternoon with rain forecast for later in the day (it came at night) and I dressed for pure comfort while still wanting to up the ante from my typical summer wear.

Oh, and as for the actual #iwillwearwhatilike link up theme of all-white, I no longer wear much white due to my propensity for having it wind up no longer pure white before the day's end!

Judith Boyd's July HAT ATTACK!

Each month a new Judith Boyd post arrives in my email inbox. Judith is the Style Crone and her posts inspire me with the beauty of each photograph, and the wisdom and expressiveness in her writing. I was particularly touched by this month's Hat Attack post. Judith, a former  hat shop co-owner, is wild about hats! Each month she explores a venue near her home in Colorado, and at her side as photographer and co-explorer is Daniel. If you read this month's post, you will likely see what has touched me to add my hat to this month's Hat Attack.

This hat comes from Ecuador and was a gift from my daughter-in-law and son when they came to the United States. They spent almost two years living in Chota, near Ibarra, which is about 2.5 hours north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. If you are curious about their adventures, you can see what they were up to living off the grit.

Florals for Spring

I have not had much success with trying to post to linkups. I have yet to figure out the dimensions for an image, other than my very first linkup which was achieved via pure luck! Still, being home with the flu (yes, I had my flu shot!) and it being the start of my school's two-week vacation, trying to link up to Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike link up was well worth getting out of bed and attempting!

In the short time I've had this dress (less than a year), it has provided much enjoyment to wear. I discovered the pattern at a street crafts fair in Chatham, MA, on the wonderful island of Cape Cod. The booth was staffed by a Cape Cod parttime resident, the rest of the year being spent in Florida, and she was the remarkable seamstress who made these lovely dresses. She took the measurements, purchased the materials (wish I had taken a picture of the array of colorful patterns available) and sewed the dresses. Her husband, a retired engineer,  cut out the patterns. I thought the price quite reasonable at $75, and of course, placed an order. I had one stipulation, to please make the dress knee length rather than the calf length that the seamstress tended towards.

My dress arrived about a month and a half later, but alas it was calf length! I am 5 feet, 2 inches, and calf length dresses dwarf me. I could have returned the dress for shortening but decided it was more efficient to bring it to a local seamstress rather than mail it back to Florida from New York.

I have since discovered that it would be helpful to have a rear zipper. Easy enough to get on; not so easy to take off. I asked the local seamstress about inserting a zipper, and was told the dress was not designed to have one added. I am not convinced a rear zipper is impossible, and may one day make inquiries with someone else. Meanwhile, the dress continues to delight!

What is it that delights? The colors, the patterns, the zest of the dress, the fit, the flounce.

PS August 2016 – Back in July I brought this lovely dress to a different local seamstress. Actually, it is a husband and wife team who, it turns out, have been on our main block for 30 plus years. Amazing to me that I never discovered them before; it took my daughter-in-law to discover them while she was here. Anyway, they have rendered this dress beyond perfect because there is now a left side zipper than runs from the armhole to below the waist! I can put this dress on and take it off with absolute ease! 

It's A Wrap! (February)

My top-of-the-world outfits for February were worn towards the start of the month. While most of the month saw me in pants, I take pleasure in the "togetherness" of these two outfits and the ongoing acknowledgement that my closet holds some wonderful dresses that I know how to style.

This first dress was purchased with my at the time not-yet daughter-in-law when we went shopping for a dress to wear to her marriage celebration. I had seen this picture in H&M's online catalog and both of us thought the style might look well on me. Turns out, we were right! And as my daughter-in-law suggested, it could get much wearing beyond the celebration as a jumper or sleeveless dress. Again, right on the button!

This second dress is more of a tunic, and I've shared it before as a favored top from Desigual, purchased with my at the time not-yet daughter-in-law in Belgium. The leggings are easily over ten years old, and were a hand-me-down gift from a neighbor who is part French and spent many summers visiting her mother in southern France. The leggings, which are soft as can be, came from a small store in her mother's neighborhood, long since gone out of business. The forecast called for rain, rain and more rain, and my LL Bean boots (similar to mine) kept me warm, dry, and comfortable, given that I spend most of my school days on my feet.

Adaptive Design

Four days a week, Monday through Thursday, I am a lower school STEAM Integrator on the Pre-K through fifth grade campus of a Pre-K through twelfth grade independent school. (In the United States independent schools are private schools.) STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math. Throughout the year this position lets me spend my days with just about every student in the school. 

Our fifth graders learn about the human body as part of their Science classes and that led to Adaptive Design. One of the teachers is a former special ed teacher, where her experience taught her the benefit of having adaptations, both physical and non-physical, in the classroom. She decided to bring this knowledge into her approach with her current fifth graders and their study of the human body.

Additionally, our school has a MAKE Studio where projects of all types take place. The Studio is outfitted with materials (many of them recycled), equipment and space for items that can be designed, prototyped and made. For instance, one fifth grade class prototyped and built neurons and synapses using a multitude of found materials.

For the class incorporating adaptive design, the teacher investigated many resources and was delighted to discover Adaptive Design in New York City, which led to five of us taking a one-day workshop this past Tuesday. The workshop was customized to meet our needs of learning skills and techniques to bring back to our fifth graders which would help us guide them in a series of adaptive design projects for students at our school.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop for: 

• learning new skills and techniques

• doing something new that I would not ordinarily have the opportunity to try

• hands-on tinkering and making, almost like playing!

• experimenting with designing and prototyping

• creating two pieces that I could take home and that could be used by me or others

• giving me ideas to use in possible workshops 

The photos are of the work space, the cell phone holder I made out of three-ply cardboard (all one long piece!), a sample foot rest or yoga prop made from a shoe box and supported inside by cardboard rolls, the start of my yoga prop, and the finished yoga prop awaiting exterior finishing (which I will do at home).

Yoga Teacher Training

Good day! Taking it slow here as I'm busy journaling my 200-hour yoga teacher training over at Yoga ~ Dance ~ Music ~ Movement, a blog I began in August 2010. My training began a few weekends ago in January on a cold Friday night and then was immediately suspended for the next two days thanks to the snow storm. The training takes place over ten weekends (Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday) spread over five months.

Highlights of this training include proximity to my home (just four miles!), intimacy of the group (just nine students and three teachers), and the repeated stating of my teachers to make this training our own. We are not learning, nor are we being asked, to become cookie-cutter model teachers. Rather, we are learning, and being asked, to open ourselves to the various ways of approaching, practicing, learning and teaching, then find what works for us as individuals and take that into our lives, our practice and our teaching. Thank you Paula, Patty and Susan!

It's a Wrap! (January)

With only two outfits to share for this month, you might think that the rest of the month I fell flat on my face fashion-wise. Delightfully, that was not the case! Ever since beginning this blog I have upped the ante with my daily dressing. I leave the house most mornings feeling that the winter's day is improved because of how I look, which impacts how I feel (or vice-a-versa). 

This really isn't meant to be a fashion blog, and I've decided to just share those outfits that make me feel on top of the world. The first outfit (on the left) I wore on my husband's birthday early in the month. I wanted to look extra special as part of celebrating his day! The outfit matches my mind's eye of myself, and on this day everything was perfect including my hair, freshly washed in the morning so the curls hadn't gone flat due to being slept on or from the dry indoor climate.

The second outfit is my favorite Desigual dress (worn previously in the fall), purchased as an early birthday gift for me by my daughter-in-law when I was visiting in Brussels in 2012. The dress is woven with memories and associations that always caress me when wearing the dress. My three-year-old granddaughter chose the jewelry, which also has special meaning – the turquoise-gold necklace was my Mom's and the pink earrings come from Ecuador, where my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter lived after Brussels and before New York.

And the shoes. Ah, the shoes. These red Hush Puppies are SUPER COMFORTABLE and perfect for a full day of standing, walking up and down stairs and to and fro classes. And red shoes, well, that alone makes them perfect! Oh, and did I mention they came from Brussels, from my daughter-in-law and her mother, who know I have a passion for this model of Hush Puppies that can only be found in Europe. (The US version has different heels.) My daughter-in-law's mother and I gave the "kids" a 100-page photo album to celebrate their 10 years of knowing each other and 1 year of marriage. We were trying to figure out how to make it feasible for her to pay for half the cost, and then I came up with the idea of Hush Puppies. :-)

Both pictures thanks to Jeremy, my wonderful office-mate.

Vacation Movies

Back in mid-December I read Margaret Manning's Sixty&Me article, 6 Heartwarming Films for Women Over 60. Then came the start of my December vacation which coincided with the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As with all movies of a certain genre (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter), my husband and I like to go on opening day, and if any combination of our sons is home we all go together. So it was with Star Wars, which our older son treated us to, and which was our first experience with senior ticket prices!

We aren't big on going to the movies though, as we both dislike being bombarded by advertisements. As for the previews, I enjoyed them as a child but these days it often seems that more often than not the previews being shown do not match the audience in attendance. For instance, why is a preview about a violent movie being shown to a family audience?

Nonetheless, my husband and I managed to see more movies this vacation than we see in a typical year! With the exception of Star Wars, all the other movies were viewed at home thanks to Apple TV and iTunes (except where noted otherwise). To mark this new family viewing record (!) here they are in order of viewing:

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Man From Uncle
  • The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (this was on youtube; based on the book of the same name)
  • I'll See You in My Dreams (a Blythe Danner movie)
  • The Martian
  • Ricki and the Flash
  • Tangled
  • This Changes Everything (documentary about climate change with Naomi Klein and based upon her book of the same name)
  • E.O. Wilson – Of Ants and Men (PBS documentary about the eminent biologist, sociobiologist and entomologist, who proposed the idea of eusocial)
  • Mr Turner (about the artist James Turner in his ending years)
  • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suite (a Gregory Peck movie)
  • Love and Mercy (the Brian Wilson story)
  • In Defense of Food (documentary with Michael Pollan based on his book of the same name)

Besides watching movies, usually in the evening, I thoroughly enjoyed a photography challenge (more on that here), reading (50 books in 2015!), walking, a few field trips, and a Christmas Eve kayak. All in all, a most satisfying and stimulating 17 days. Ahhh.