Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome to "Project Style ~ 2012!"

It’s New Year’s Eve. I can’t believe 2011 is almost over. My, how time flies! This year has been a real lulu…generally good…mostly successful…occasionally even fabulous! I practiced yoga semi-regularly…excelled in pole-dancing…managed to adhere to a sometimes healthy/often dreadful diet…lost twenty pounds…and found ten of them again this month at the Christmas buffet table…

But for 2012, I’ve decided to forgo the usual New Year’s Resolutions…you know…lose weight…get in shape…stop eating coconut cream pie for breakfast, etc.

Instead, I’ve decided to do my part to bring back style….

Style? What does that mean? Well, there are endless varieties, and everyone has some type of style…no, really they do. But the kind of style I’m referring to heralds back to a time when life was kinder…gentler…more gracious…more graceful…more…well…stylish.

No, I’m not sinking into a sad, wistful…and futile… state of longing for days gone by. I have no intention of rejecting technology and modern conveniences. And I’m not trying to be pompous, pretentious, or snobbish. My quest for style has nothing to do with money, exclusivity, denial, or keeping up with the Jones’s. It has more to do with personal satisfaction and quality of life.

I want to watch TV less…and read more. I want intelligent, engaging conversation…a contemporary version of the salons of Paris. I want to go to museums…listen to jazz…enjoy afternoon tea…keep fresh flowers on the table. I want to pay more attention to the way I look when I leave my house. I want more organization and less chaos. I don’t want to live beyond my means, but I want the best that I can afford.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If you want to change the world, start with yourself.“ So, my Resolution for the coming year is to combine the best of both worlds…to take advantage of the truly great things that technology and modern life have to offer, while giving a nod to the timeless style and glamour of the past. I will be documenting my quest for style in Food+Clothing+Shelter with a series of posts throughout the year. I’ll share my sources, inspirations, successes and failures. Who knows...maybe I'll start a revolution.:) It’s going to be an interesting year. Welcome to “Project Style ~ 2012!"

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year! C

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy, Happy Christmas...

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!

~ Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Retail Worker's Reflections On The Holiday Season...

I usually experience mixed feelings of joy and melancholy during the holidays, and alternately sing along with the relentlessly cheerful Christmas music and tear up over the lone string of twinkle lights and the two little sock snowmen on my mantle. For an artistic person such as myself, it’s a pitiful display of non-creativity, but after years in retail, it’s the best I can do. Because by the time I get home in the evening, I’m just over it.

To all of you non-retail people, I know that’s hard to understand. “But I LOVE Christmas!” you say. “I adore the crowds…the gaiety…the decorations…the glitter…the piped in Christmas music at the mall.“ Yeah…spoken like a true civilian.

But if you had to deal with the manic crowds, the people who walk in thirty seconds before closing with a long shopping list, the forced gaiety, the glitter in your hair, socks, and eventually even your underwear, and 900 truly dreadful versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas“…ten hours a day…seven days a week…beginning the day after Halloween until the end of the year….

For every power shopper out there in a tacky “HO HO HO” sweater covered with bells and ribbons, there’s a guy working at a bookstore with a deadpan expression, being forced to wear felt reindeer antlers, looking like a deer in the headlights.

You know how Bing Crosby’s rendition of “White Christmas” makes you want to cry? Well that’s a great warm and fuzzy moment…three or four times in a Christmas season…but three or four times a day for two whole months can be really depressing.

After years of saying “Merry Christmas,“ retail workers are now expected to change to the more p.c. “Happy Holidays.” I am a liberal, open-minded person. I freely appreciate and acknowledge the holidays and customs of all cultures. But I grew up in the fifties and sixties when people said “Merry Christmas.” I don’t say it with any sense of exclusion or bias…it’s simply the way I grew up. I’m a Christian…I celebrate Christmas…sometimes I slip up and say “Merry Christmas.” So, sue me…

And then…a few questions…

Why do people just assume that if they saw something in a store last year, or two months ago…it’s still there? It’s a store…stores sell merchandise…other people actually buy things too…it’s not a museum…

Why do people with children think that retail workers are obligated to baby sit their kids while they shop? Are they REALLY unaware that their children are racing through the store, screaming at the top of their lungs and climbing shelves full of heavy, breakable objects? I don’t want to spank the kids. I want to make their parents stand in the corner with their noses in a bulls eye for a time out, to re-think their parenting skills…

Why do people look at store hours posted on the door…see that the store has just closed…and then rattle the door and mouth…”are you closed?” YES! YES, if the sign says they close at six…and it’s two minutes after six…they are, in fact, closed. And here’s another surprise…they have a life. They make plans for after work…just like you do. So while you’re poking around after the store has closed…picking up every item on the shelf…asking if it’s on sale…they’re another minute late for dinner with their family and friends…

But at the end of the day…

It’s cold outside. I’m sitting by the fire…wrapped in a blanket, admiring my Christmas decorations on the mantle. I’m watching “White Christmas,” with a cup of hot tea, a bowl of homemade vegetable soup, and a box of Kleenex. I’m experiencing mixed feelings of joy and melancholy…singing along with Bing and Rosemary, and Danny and Vera…

I love Christmas…! C