Remember Project Style 2012...my New Year’s resolution to bring more style into my life…my noble stand against blandness, apathy, negligence and sloppiness? Well, I haven’t forgotten. In fact, I‘ve become particularly interested in style…not just mine…but other people‘s style as well. When I say style, I’m not just referring to superficial appearances.
However, I have noticed that personal appearance is usually a reflection of how we feel about ourselves, how we care for ourselves, and how we express ourselves. Before I know anything about someone’s “inward” personality, I’m aware of their “outward” style.
So what have I discovered about style? Regarding others, I find that I’m drawn to creative, artistic, quirky people…friendly, outgoing, open-minded people…non-ethnocentric, animal loving, non-picky-food-eating, fully-engaged-in-life people, with a natural curiosity about life. I admire adventurers who take the road less traveled.
On the other hand, I’m turned off by the ones who try too hard. There has to be a relaxed confidence in their artistic-ness…their quirkiness…without that strident “in your face” “pay attention to me” quality. I’m attracted to people who are focused on the positive, enthusiastic about their interests, and dedicated to their causes…people who ARE what they appear to be, and not just playing a part. In other words, there has to be substance to back up the style.
And what about my own style? It’s a work in progress. I’ve been keeping a journal…writing down my thoughts, ideas, and things I want to read, see and do. I’ve discovered that my thought processes tend to be scattered. Ideas blast through my brain like rounds from a machine gun, and my abilities to focus and follow-up are not always the greatest…unless I write them down.
Here are some of the thoughts and ideas that I’ve written in my journal…in no particular order…but they are thoughts and ideas that influence me and my style…
Watch TV less ~ And yes, I’ve been doing this. I have stopped watching the news in the evening…too depressing. I have been watching old movies though…the good ones that make me laugh…like “Barefoot in the Park,” “Auntie Mame,” “The Thin Man series,” and “Harold and Maude.” I bought the dvd set of the seventies TV series, “MacMillan and Wife,” with Rock Hudson and Susan St. James…witty and quite stylish! I’ve been watching Andy Griffith’s “Mayberry” a lot lately…takes me back to my childhood, in a good way. And I do love HGTV and The Food Network.
Read more ~ I’ve read several of the books listed on my Project Style 2012 post, and I plan to read them all by the end of the year. And I’m reading Jim Donovan’s “Don’t Let An Old Person Move Into Your Body”…a fabulous “wakeup” book to read when you start to feel melancholia about getting older.
In honor of my Mom, who passed away earlier this year, and my maternal grandmother, who taught Mom how to cook, I started a blog of Southern desserts called Sweet+Sophisticated+Southern. I’ve been translating the recipes from Mom’s cookbook for the blog. I say translating, because these Southern ladies baked from scratch and memory, and didn’t write down too many instructions. It’s a bit of a crapshoot/experiment, but lots of tasty fun!
In the process, I’ve acquired a new fascination with the culture and history of the South. I daydream about sheets drying on a clothesline in the hot summer sun, screen doors, magnolia trees, crepe myrtle and honeysuckle, old pickup trucks, town squares, and sitting on the front porch watching the sunset with my grandfather, drinking big glasses of sweet iced tea. I guess you could say I’m getting back to my roots.
This summer, I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite Southern literature…”To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee, an anthology of stories by Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, William Faulkner, and Willie Morris. (“My Dog Skip” rips my heart out) I’ve also discovered “Garden and Gun” magazine. I know, it’s a strange name, but it is a really interesting magazine about all things “Southern.”
Since I live in Texas now, I want to explore the state more. I particularly want to go to San Antonio, Marfa, Austin, and Fredericksburg…when the weather gets a little cooler! Also, I want to find all of the best barbeque joints here. I grew up on BBQ pork in, and around, Memphis. BBQ here is beef brisket. It took some getting used to, but it’s really good…and “when in Rome…” Eventually, I’d like to write a book about BBQ…Tennessee vs. Texas..:-)
Which brings me to getting in shape…my standard New Year’s resolution for the past twenty years. I want to be trim and healthy, but I don’t want to analyze every bite of food that goes into my mouth. I just can’t. I can eat in moderation, but I simply do not want to maintain a rigid diet…even if it’s better for me, and even if I might live longer as the result. I love food too much, and life is just too short. Moderation is the key…
Exercise…ditto. It has to be fun. I enjoy yoga, playing with Ralph at the dog park, hiking, biking, and bowling, but I’m not interested in killing myself at the gym. I love to dance! I don’t mind thirty minutes on the treadmill and a round of weights occasionally, if the weather’s not cooperative.
I’ve been taking a little time to “stop and smell the roses.” I relax more, and enjoy things like fluffy, white towels, clean French bed linens, and fresh flowers on the table. I like to stroll through the Farmer’s Market downtown, go to art museums and galleries, and catch a matinee at The Angelika Film Center on my days off. And I love having a cappuccino in the afternoon at my favorite bakery/coffee shop.
My personal style? As in, appearance? Also a work in progress. It’s still a tad lazy. Not much makeup. Hair blown dry in the car on my way to work. Lot’s of black, no iron clothes. I’m attempting to put myself together with more flair for my job, but I still wear yoga pants and flip-flops to the grocery store. But that’s me! My style suits my lifestyle. I’m happy, healthy, and having a great time! Hopefully, that shows…
I suppose what I’m saying is, life is what you make it…style is how you live it…and if you are living life to the fullest, your life will be reflected in your style. And your style will be AWESOME!