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.

A Date With Inspiration

Inspiration; a word that gets tossed around a lot. What does it mean to be inspired?

For me, inspiration requires action, otherwise it's just an empty word. So, thanks to my friends Glenda Watson Hyatt and Deb Brown,  I found myself in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit The National Czech & Slovak Museum's latest exhibit, "Alphonse Mucha; Inspirations of Art Nouveau".

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If you've been paying attention to the blog you know that I'm an artist - or, at least, a reasonable facsimile. I have modern technology to thank for my being able to express myself artistically (albeit a hand injury has forced what I'm hoping is a temporary hiatus from artwork). I have Alphonse Mucha to thank for being a huge inspiration in what I do.

‡ Images pictured are as follows: Top Left - Princess Hyacinth, Bottom Left - Bieres de la Meuse ©Alphonse Mucha; Top Right - Princess Hyacinth Redux, Bottom Right - Giselle ©Alicia Searcy @ Gallery Celesta.

To have had the opportunity to experience his life's work in photographs, lithographs, posters, jewelry, interior design elements, and paintings meant the world to me. I spent just under 4 hours marvelling at a body of work that changed the world. What I witnessed was no mere collection of pretty pictures but rather a testament of purpose-driven, nonverbal storytelling. It opened up a whole new level of understanding about the process of translating inspiration to execution. It changed me and the way I approach the creative process forever.

So what does one wear to a life-changing event like this?

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How about a dark lavender Vivienne Tam dress, my trusty grey ankle boots from Shi, a wide grey belt from Target, and some Art Nouveau inspired jewelry from The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which is my local museum. The forecast was for rain and it was raining through the early morning. I came prepared with a lightweight black windbreaker and purple hat but as soon as we arrived at the museum the rain stopped altogether, the clouds parted, and the sun shone. It was...perfect.

Are you inspired yet? What are you going to do about it?

Call For My Carriage

You know, the one that says "Nissan".

I have a confession to make. I'm already back home. I posted last week's entry from my hotel room. Now I can tell you all about my trip.

Let me start by saying the weather forecast was for unseasonably warm temperatures. I checked for several days prior to packing and finally decided on three outfits, two pairs of shoes, and several accessories. I was ready.

Mr Spashionista and I threw our suitcases and a cooler with drinks, snacks, and lunch into our rental car and headed out early to make the 9 hour drive from our house to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We decided it would be best to drive straight through.  Given the circumstances comfortable, casual clothing was the order of the day.

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Nothing fancy here, just my Nine West thrift store jeans, Blue Canyon Petite top, and Lucky Brand Mary Jane clogs (not pictured). I knew that I would be sitting for the better part of nine hours so I wanted an outfit I could stretch in and shoes I could kick off if need be. I'm glad for it, too, because it was a long haul. I'm used to stretching and moving as much as possible at home to avoid aches so it was tough sitting still for so long.

Fortunately, the view on the drive up was breathtaking with the fall colors at their peak for the season. Even better, thanks to my new Note tablet, for the first time ever, I was actually able to take some good pictures.

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I guess I can retire the Palsy Cam; hooray!

In the next few weeks I'm going to show you some beautiful places -  and some great outfits!

Pack Up Your Troubles...

in your Louis Vuitton bag and smile, smile, smile.

I think in one of my previous posts I briefly mentioned that I haven't been away from home for recreational purposes in about 13 years. I've got a million excuses for this and very few really good reasons. As I get older, slower, more "special needsy" I realized that it may not be long before a trip away from home is more of a production than it's worth.

About six months ago my favorite artist's Facebook page announced that 250 of his pieces would be on exhibit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa until the end of the year. It's the first time his creations have been shown in the US since 1999 and I've never had the chance to see any of his work in an exhibition. Should I go? More importantly, could I go?

Mr Spashionista said, "We're going. That's all there is to it."

So here I am, packing for a few days in Cedar Rapids courtesy of one terrific husband, a wonderful house/dogsitter, and with accessibility and tourist tips from two lovely ladies. I'll get into specifics soon. For now I'm just concerned with packing. There are some things I need to pack that are disability specific. I'm mildly stressed about that because want to be sure I don't forget anything vital. But the bulk of my stress lies in having to cherry pick just a few outfits and accessories that are going with me. I have to be sure I bring clothing that is appropriate for what I'll be doing, comfortable enough to let me do it without feeling constrained or exposed, and accessible enough that I don't have to stress out if  I have to use a public restroom.

The first thing I'll do is pack the medications and supplements I take every day. Instead of a suitcase full of pill boxes (I need every inch of space I can get!) I'm using a 7 day pill dispenser. I carry a small pillbox in my purse so I'll move my meds in by dose as needed. I'll also packing small quantities of "as needed" prescription medicine - anything I can't get from any grocery or convenience store. The next item is my carpal tunnel wrist brace that I have to wear to support my left hand while I sleep if I don't want to spend the next day with a numb hand. Last, but not least, is my blindfold, because lack of sleep will definitely put a damper on my waking hours.

T J Maxx proved to be a great place to find a good-sized cosmetic bag. In it I'll store portable makeup brushes and applicators, makeup and remover, tweezers, clippers, emery board, safety pins, fabric tape, ear plugs. A trip to Bath and Body Works during one of their sales yielded travel-sized shower gel, lotion, and body spray in the same fragrance I wear at home. Likewise Publix provided a travel kit with shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush and paste. The shower scrunchie was separate. I already had a trial sized mouthwash bottle, and the lint brush and mousse are Target purchases.

The only real albatross is going to be my lighted makeup mirror. I wish I didn't need it, but as I'm blind as a bat I have to have a 10x mirror to apply makeup unless I want to look like a rodeo clown.

Maybe I can sweet talk Mr Spashionista into putting it in his suitcase along with the 700 chargers we need for all of our "devices"!

"What about the clothes?" You say. I'll show you those once I get to Cedar Rapids. I may even try to do that in video form; we'll see.

Fashion Friday: Travels With Louis

Louis Vuitton, that is.

This week's Fashion Friday is centered around my fabulous thrift store find, the Louis Vuitton Keepall 60 Shoulder Bag.

The outfit is made up of classic, tailored separates. Straight-legged trouser "leggings", belt, three-quarter sleeved V-neck top, blazer, and pointy-toed flats. The accessories are the focus here - they're all from Louis Vuitton. Of course, the anchor piece is the Keepall, but I also chose a Monogram Tulum Pochette Key Cles Holder, a Vintage LV Lock Necklace, a pair of Authentic Louis Vuitton Kusama Waves Flower Sunglasses, and a Louis Vuitton Tambour Mysterieuse Watch. Even the cane is special. It's a Twisted Bocote Hame Top Exotic Walking Cane from Brazos Walking Sticks.

All in all it's a sophisticated combination that shows a lot of love for LV. Will I ever come close to owning any more of these pieces? Maybe, but if all I ever see of this outfit is the Keepall I'm not going to cry.

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!

What Would You Do?

If you were out on an adventure and found something you needed to embark on another, longer, more exciting adventure?

I found myself faced with this question as Mr Spashionista and I entertained our company from across the pond - remember, I introduced you to them in Reconnecting The Dots?

We spent several days together and I was in heaven. Not only because I got to see my old friends, but because I got to spend some serious quality shopping time with my newest friend. Lindsay is a beautiful girly-girl with a serious talent for shopping. We spent about half her visit finding great bargains for her to take home to England. Alas, we forgot to take a photo of all the goodies together so she promised to email one to me and I'll save it for another post.

This post is about something I found while the two of us were pillaging one of the local thrift stores. Actually, that's not true. Lindsay found it and, under normal circumstances I wouldn'tve bought it because it would've sat, unused, at the top of my closet.

Recognize it yet? It's a Louis Vuitton keepall 60 shoulder bag. Leather tag, suede interior,"made in France"; the real deal. And a deal it was at $50. My luggage sank in the 2010 flood two years ago and I hadn't seen the need to replace it until now.

I bought it because later this year, for the first time in over 10 years, I will be taking a trip and this bag is perfectly suited to my requirements.

Of course I'll be chronicling my journey and will divulge more details later. But I just couldn't keep my treasure to myself a minute longer!