Fashion Friday: American and Proud!

I am a first generation American. The first in my family to be born in the United States my Franco-Cuban heritage will always be a part of me - but I'm as American as they come. Needless to say I enjoy celebrating my country's birthday. I am fortunate in that I live in the boonies and every year my neighbor two houses down goes all out and treats us to a full-blown fireworks show hubby and I can watch from our deck.

So, in honor of the holiday, this week's outfit is a few days early and is all about the 4th of July.

Admittedly it borders on literal but the stars and stripes are more a palette than a uniform here. The idea is to look cool and casual without looking sloppy or cliche. The stars on the skinny jeans are the only element directly lifted from the US flag. The detailed burgundy top is perfect for a hot summer night. The white stars oxford shoes are by Unrated. I actually own these shoes and they are very chic and summery, even for an oxford. The shoulder bag and accessories pick up on the colors in the top to round out the outfit. If it were me I'd need a sheer or lacy shrug over the top to cover my MUA (Matronly Upper Arms) and bra straps - because they just don't make a strapless bra for girls as busty as me. I'd also need clip-on earrings because my ears are no longer pierced.

Ready to sparkle?

Fashion Friday: Cuba Libre

Last Friday we went to France. This week I'll tap into my Cuban roots to bring you an outfit cool enough for the soaring summer temps yet hot enough to make you look like a million bucks.

Remember to keep it referential, not literal. The eyelet dress can look matronly if you don't pair it with fresh, modern accessories like the bangles and the fedora. If you're unable or unwilling to pull off a strapless dress pair it with a white 3/4 sleeve lightweight bolero or shrug - belt it if it won't stay put. The sandals here, very reminiscent of tropical resort trendiness, sport a modest heel and a secure side buckle. Can't do a heel or a sandal? A T-strap ballet flat would work just as nicely here.

You can also check out this outfit and others I've created on my Polyvore page.

Please give me your feedback. Is this something you'd wear? What is it lacking to make it work for you?

Your Mama

On this Mother's Day I'm finding it difficult to push the thought that the older I get the more I look like my mother out of my head. A shorter, rounder version to be sure, and one with my father's skin and eye color, but the facial features are undeniably hers.

Big shoes to fill as my mother was a model in her younger days with an 18 inch waist, smaller boobs, and perfectly arched eyebrows. It seems as if I was born fat. I certainly always had big upper arms and my chest developed early and rapidly surpassed hers. It always disappointed her and I was put on many diets as a child. No matter how much weight I lost I was always going to have my great grandmother on my father's side's body type. When I was in my mid twenties I decided that I was going to have that 18 inch waist if it killed me. I consumed only 250 calories a day and dieted and exercised my way down to 92 pounds. I wore a child's size 14 and was finally able to fit into my mother's black straight legged jeans.

My cup size never changed, though. I still wore a D cup. I looked like a popsicle stick with two cotton balls glued to it. More importantly, I had done all of it for the wrong reasons. I wanted my mother's approval - which I did not get. "Just ten more pounds and you should be there." It was then that I realized I would never be "there" and began eating normally again.

The fault for this little fiasco rests squarely on my shoulders and no one else's. My mother wasn't, and isn't, a monster.  She's a smart woman who is a talented musician and artist and went from riches to rags to self-made woman. She just wants things to be exactly as she thinks they should be  - even if that's not possible. It is this one personality trait that finally made it necessary for me to establish some boundaries that she finds unacceptable. I'm sorry things have ended up this way, but it's her choice at this point.

So, when I look in the mirror, as I did yesterday on my 51st birthday, I hope that I can retain all of the positive qualities that are my mother and let go of all the ones that don't work so well. But I think, perhaps, this is the struggle that every child goes through.

Thanks for the great cheekbones, Ma, and for every good thing you ever did for me. And Happy Birthday to me!

Me at 51

I promise the next post will be much less maudlin and much more Spashionista-like.

The Good, the Bad, and the Palsy

It would hardly be fair of me to ask you to scrutinize your Outer Spaz and honestly evaluate your apparent flaws without me doing the same. The difference is I'm going to do it here, publicly, for the whole world to see. Or at least the handful of you out there reading this.

So here we go.

Let's start with the non-Palsy related issues. At just 5' tall I am short even by petite standards. I'm also short waisted which means I look heavier than I am and my body type resembles an apple. To call me voluptuous would probably be an understatement.  My hips aren't tiny and I wear a G cup - yes, I said G - and even though I'm an apple I do have some hourglass curves. Unfortunately, I have 150 lbs worth of curves. I'll talk about weight issues later, but I would like to assure everyone that I am healthy insomuch as I don't have hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, or any other weight-related health condition other than guttus enormous, and I'm working on that one. I'm also working on my flabby arms and thighs, but  I gots 'em so I'd better cope with 'em. At the end of my thick ankles I've got really wide, Fred Flintstone feet, too. Oh, and I'm almost 51 so the amount of work required to attempt to keep my body in check, let alone get in better shape, conjures images of Sisyphus.

On the plus side I have a nice, long neck, decent hair, a good smile if I can keep from spazzing, delicate shoulders, and great cleavage. My husband says I have a great behind, too. Unfortunately when I'm in public it's usually planted in a wheelchair so I can't really count it as an asset; pun intended.

These are the body issues that I have to consider when I shop for clothes or put together an outfit. This is the part of my Outer Spaz that I can most effect. But we Palsies and others with physical disabilities have to factor those things into our physical equation.

I think the Palsy deserves it's own post so I'll tackle that next time. In the meantime if you made your list and all you saw were flaws look again. While we're on the subject of your list, since we're in this together, how about sharing it with me? I really, really want to hear from others who undoubtedly have different issues on their list than I do.