Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Did you know that March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month? No? Well, don't feel bad. Up until a few days ago I didn't, either.

For those of you that are not familiar with CP it's an incurable condition which, according to Wikipedia, is generally caused by "damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three. Resulting limits in movement and posture cause activity limitation and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception, and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability; impairments can also be found in cognition, and epilepsy is found in about one-third of cases. CP, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems that arise as a result of the underlying disorder."

In short, I have brain damage (hecklers insert snide remark here).

The truth is although this blog has made me more conscious of how my Cerebral Palsy comes across to others in the photos and videos on my posts I rarely give my condition a second thought otherwise. But that's because I've had 50+ years of practice to forget about it. I've lived a very "mainstreamed" life (and raised a lot of hell) but I am the exception and not the rule. There are many, many men and women with CP out there that are constantly underestimated, misunderstood, and overlooked.  They can't forget about it because every day presents new challenges to move, to speak, or to prosper. Please take a little time this month to do a little research on, read a book about, or ask a few questions regarding Cerebral Palsy from a professional or a "member of the club" like me.

Since the ribbon for Cerebral Palsy Awareness is green, and yesterday was St Patrick's Day, today's outfit is the one I wished I had photographed in time for Adrienne Shubin's "How I wear my green" challenge.

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It was finally warm enough for me to wear a lighter jacket to take these photos in a little park at Nashville West Center. This lined, embellished jacket is by Life Style petite and is perfect for a spring day. It's also the only new piece in the outfit. The flat-front, pull-on Westbound petite jeans are from the thrift store. I'm a huge Beatles fan so when I found this Abbey Road T-shirt at T J Maxx I had to have it. Wing-tipped, denim, Groove oxfords were a Marshall's find from last year. They somehow got put away and forgotten about so this is their debut. The Sophie watch is one of my favorites purchased four years ago. The battery died last year but I replaced it just in time for this year's hot color trend.

I realize the T-shirt is a bit askew. I'm afraid I can't always straighten out the minor details before my hubby starts snapping photos. Because it's nearly impossible for me to hold still or smile without grimacing I try to strike some semblance of a pose before he starts taking many, many pictures in hopes that some will be usable. This is a symptom of my particular form of Cerebral Palsy. Forgive me; I'm not going to sweat a lopsided shirt too terribly much.

Linking up again with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and my first Monday Mingle.

Fashion Friday: Just Do It - Always

Indulge me; I'm going to carry the fitness theme into this week's Fashion Friday because I have a few thought's to add to my previous post.

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The outfit here, which would be fine either at the gym or at your house, is really not nearly as important as the idea. These are just basic activewear pieces; yoga pants, biker shorts, sports bra top, zip up hoodie, and athletic shoes. If you're me the only two items to be picky about are the sports bra top and the footwear. Most of you will have no trouble (and some of you no need) finding a well-fitting sports bra. I have yet to find one, and it's not from lack of trying, so I just wear a regular bra and tee. Your athletic shoes should be where you spend your cash. Make sure they fit well and are geared towards the activities for which you are wearing them.

The exercise equipment pictured aren't just props. I use all of these at some point during the week in my workouts. Instead of a bicycle I use a stationary peddler but the workout is comparable. The point I want to make, especially to those of you with physical limitations, is you have to tailor the concept of exercise to your own abilities. Only you know the difference between possibilities and excuses.

Do it today, then do it tomorrow, then the next day. After a month you'll be able to see yourself always doing some form of physical activity.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

A Month To Be Passionate About

How cliche would it be to go all Cupidy-Bonbon-and-Red-Rosey this time of year?

So cliche that I'm not going to do it. Well, not literally, anyway. Lots of my fellow bloggers are doing a fine job with traditional Valentine's Day iconography so I'm going to focus on the most intense, undistilled facet of love.

I want to talk about passion. Passion is more compulsion than emotion. It focuses our attention on how something or someone makes us feel and compels us to act. It pushes any rational thought out of our minds and replaces it with a never-ending quest for fulfillment of that compulsion. Addiction is passion taken to the extreme. Extremes are usually ultimately negative and rarely a good thing.

But passion is always a good thing. It's about living instead of merely existing. So this month I'm going to share some of my passions with you, and some of them may raise an eyebrow or two.

For example, take a look at this outfit.

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If any of you find this attractive please turn in your "Fashionista" card immediately. It's a hideous outfit; $8 velour hoodie from Old Navy, $3 Victoria's Secret sweatpants via Music City Thrift, white wool knee socks, and 2007 model Ecco Mary Janes via EBay. The only redeeming article of clothing here is the black tee with Mr Spashionista's logo on it - and it's only appropriate outside of this application when worn underneath a jacket. For the longest time I thought the lettering across the back of the sweats read, "Oink" instead of "Pink". I'm not making that up.

But I'm passionate about this outfit and wouldn't part with it for the world. This is my workout wear for the winter months. Because I am a 51 year old woman with CP being as fit as possible is important to me. Several years ago I had a leg injury that required I go through physical therapy. While I was there I learned how to stretch and exercise and began getting stronger. Now I exercise every day. I also walk around my back yard with my two dogs as often as I can. That's the reason I'm so particular about my footwear.  It's very difficult for me to walk outdoors, even with my crutches, and I've found these shoes have the best fit for that specific activity. However, they don't work well for indoor exercises or even the stationary peddler I've been using since Christmas so I usually lose them before I  work out indoors.

None of this will cancel out the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy, but it does make me healthier in other ways, and I am healthy compared to a large number of my peers. If I have to forego my workout for a day I find my body craves it. Who knew that it would take me almost a half century to become passionate about exercise?

By the way, If you think this getup is bad I actually have a Muppet-pelt parka I add if it's hovering around freezing when I go for my walk. I'm not going to show you that gem - just think Snufflecripagus.

Fashion Friday: Out Damned Spot

I promised to share with you what I wore to the Nashville Shakespeare Festival's performance of MacBeth.

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Okay, not as over the top as last week's Fashion Friday outfit. Nevertheless, it certainly stood out amidst the sea of grey sweatpants and beige puffer jackets. Honestly, is it that difficult to dress up just a little?

There's only a few recent pieces here, but the idea was to pay homage to the play and it's plot. Red, of course, is the appropriate color for this purpose. This Connected Apparel red cowl necked wool dress was purchased this past fall from TJ Maxx and set me back a mere $20. My wing tipped Mary Janes by Franco Sarto are 3" high - my maximum - and are five years old. The Marvin Richards faux fur leopard cape was my nod to the infamous soliloquy and is last year's clearance find from Stein Mart at $30. You've seen the skull clutch from Shi before so you know it was a Christmas gift. Although you can't see it in this photo I'm also wearing the antique citrine necklace I received for the holidays.

I enjoyed the production and set design of the play immensely. I did not enjoy a fair portion of the acting. It is the downfall of nearly every Shakespearean play I've seen that the actors race through their lines as if they'd just been set ablaze and must spit out their words before the fire can be extinguished. When will they learn to slow down enough to give the bard's words the weight they deserve? Lady MacBeth, in particular, was delivered manic from beginning to end, devoid of any sort of character arc whatsoever.

Still, I appreciate the actors, even Lady Mac, and those that worked so hard to realize a Shakespearean play on a cold January night in Nashville. It's not an easy task and I understand that all too well. I look forward to their interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream this summer.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Santa Baby

Yes, I'm going there! But this one needs a bit of personal backstory.

This blog is only the latest in a series of subjects I have pursued over the years. Before I started Spashionista Report I was involved with the longest running guitar podcast called Six String Bliss. I became a member of their community because my husband was featured on one of their episodes for his boutique pickups. I stayed because they're an incredibly nice community of guitar players. I ended up being their "Bliss Army General", closing out each show with a listener-submitted song and co-hosting a theme oriented album podcast twice a year.

I've always been a frustrated musician - my palsied hands just won't allow me to play an instrument consistently well. Not long after joining the SSB community I became friends with recording wiz Jan Buchholz who introduced me to a program called Reason by Propellerhead. It allows you to modify MIDI files or actually draw in notes voiced by different instruments of your choosing. I could finally make music!

So I did. for about 5 years I contributed to the Six String Bliss albums that I also produced. Not every track made the album, and Santa Baby is one that I did all by myself and reserved to play for the week of Black Friday/CyberMonday. Hubby compiled the video for me - he's very good at that. I know it's over-the-top-campy but I hope you enjoy it.

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Now get back to your holiday sales. I scored ridiculously well on Black Friday. What about you? Did you brave the crowds or stay home to shop online?

Exploring New Places

After the wonderful time I had at the National Czech and Slovak Museum's Alphonse Mucha exhibit, we still had an entire day in Ceder Rapids before our return to Nashville. We decided to explore some of the surrounding area and ended up at the Amana Colonies. My new friend Deb Brown suggested that we meet there for lunch but I decided that it was high time to do some serious shopping before the noonday meal

The Amana Colonies are similar to the Amish and Mennonite communities you may be familiar with one big exception; they enjoy all the same modern conveniences that we do. You can read more about the history of the Amana communities here.

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It was really lovely to see all of the old buildings and the specialty shops. Alas, only half of the buildings had access for wheelchairs, but this is understandable because there are historical guidelines that have to be adhered to in the modification of any of the buildings to make them accessible. Instead of being upset I was thrilled to take in the scenery and I decided I was going to patronize the shops that did have wheelchair access!

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We went into the Amana Woolen Mill and saw the looms used to weave cotton and woolen items. There were all manner of blankets, scarves and other items available for sale, all of which had been made right there. As you can see from the picture I decided I could use a few scarves. I also found a wonderful white wool blanket with my initial monogrammed on it that was on clearance because it had been custom-made for someone who did not pick it up. image

I also went into a cute little clothing boutique called Yana's. I picked up this red and pink stone bracelet which my husband actually pointed out to me and a headband with a beaded flower on it. The headband, which seems fairly unassuming, makes quite a statement. image

The weather was perfect. I wore my purple pants with a white shirt and my grey studded oxfords. I also wore my big purchase from the previous day - a silk scarf from the museum featuring one of Alphonse Mucha's decorative patterns.

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All in all it was a lovely day. Next time I will show you where we stayed and the new friends that I've made.