Cindy La Ferle on September 13th, 2013
Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” — Coco Chanel
Fashion trends are as fickle as Michigan’s four seasons — which is partly why I’m weary of women’s magazines that make me feel old, outdated, or uncool if I’m not wearing what they’re promoting.
But I love clothing and accessories, and have always appreciated beautifully crafted or unusual pieces, new and old.
For years I’ve haunted thrift shops in search of one-of-a-kind treasures to mix with my own wardrobe basics. What I enjoy most about vintage pieces is how they make an outfit totally personal — especially when combined with something new.
Among my favorites: a vintage Christian Dior tux jacket; a 1970s double-breasted blazer with huge tortoise-shell buttons; and a statement necklace refashioned from 1950s costume jewelry. I also own several vintage scarves, belts, and evening bags — always handy for jazzing up the ubiquitous little black dress. While some of my evening dresses from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s are collectibles and not entirely suitable for wearing out, I wear most of my vintage clothing and jewelry.
If you’re as interested in this topic as I am, you’ll want to check out the the September 2013 issue of Traditional Home, which includes a fascinating piece on vintage couture and jewelry collectors. Detroit’s own Sandy Schreier, whose museum-quality clothing collection is respected by world-class curators and fashion designers, is featured in the article.
My own collection of isn’t nearly as chic or noteworthy, of course, but it brings me endless pleasure and often comes in handy when I work as a background extra in films.
Whether I’m shopping for a costume or my personal wardrobe, I carefully examine thrift-shop clothing for damage before I make a purchase. I’m not an accomplished seamstress, but I’m handy with minor repairs and stain removal — and always willing to change buttons. If a piece isn’t hand- or machine washable, that’s usually a deal-breaker for me, unless we’re talking about a couture piece offered at an exceptional price.
An added bonus: Some of the best thrift shops in my community support local charities, or are run by charitable organizations. It feels good to know that my purchases support others in need. Fashion is fleeting, after all, and I’m glad I don’t have to break the bank for it.
Cindy La Ferle on September 7th, 2013
It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.” ~Joyce Maynard
Did you hear all the school bells ringing last week? Though autumn isn’t officially here yet, the start of the new school year never fails to begin the season for me. Change is in the air — and I’m ready for it!
For many who’ve launched their kids to college for the first time, it’s also the beginning of the empty nest transition.
If you’re having a tough time letting go of your student, you might find some comfort in my new column for Michigan Prime. The September issue — which also features great back-to-school tips for middle-aged and “senior” students — will be delivered this Sunday with The Detroit News and Free Press, or you can click here to read it online.
Cindy La Ferle on September 3rd, 2013
When summer gathers up her robes of glory,
And, like a dream, glides away.”
~ Sarah Helen Whitman
Summer is on its way out, school has started, and you can almost hear the screen doors slamming shut all across town. Still, September is off to a beautiful start this year. I love how the humidity left suddenly this week; how the gold splashes of black-eyed susans in the garden are hinting at the richer autumn hues to come.
While I’m usually sorry to see summer fade, this year I’m almost glad to say good-bye. Since mid-June, I’ve undergone two painful surgeries in addition to managing my mother’s ongoing health crises, which included, among other calamities, two hospital stays to treat an infection on the ankle she broke at the nursing home in April.
But I’m happy to report that things started brightening up in August — better late than never, right?
Once we got my mother settled — and my own surgical wounds semi-healed — Doug and I decided it was time to plan something more exciting than munching the salad bar for dinner at the Beaumont Hospital cafeteria. For starters, I dusted off the patio furniture and invited a few old friends for an outdoor pizza party on the first night of the Woodward Dream Cruise. (Doesn’t every gardener like to show off?)
Best of all, Doug and I made a couple of trips north to the little slice of heaven known as LeBear in Glen Arbor. No matter what’s going on in my life, I can’t help but relax when I lean back in a deck chair and stare at the teal-blue waters of Lake Michigan from our porch at LeBear.
The week before Labor Day, Nate and his wife, Andrea, flew up to LeBear for a long weekend with their friends. Andrea had to fly back to Chicago for work, but Nate was able to stay the rest of the week with Doug and me. Though he spent his afternoons working on his computer, we ate meals together and enjoyed hanging out as a family in the evenings. And while we all missed Andrea, I have to admit it felt nostalgic to be ‘just the three of us’ on vacation — something we hadn’t done since Nate was in high school.
On our last night in Glen Arbor, I was able to snare a family dinner reservation at Blu. Annexed to LeBear — with a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan — Blu consistently earns top culinary reviews and five stars. More than anything, it was a treat to watch our last Lake Michigan sunset of the season with my two favorite guys in the world, a bottle of Conundrum, and, finally, a rich chocolate dessert. It doesn’t get any better than that.
With summer ending on a happier note than it began, I’m ready to rev up for a new season. There are so many things to look forward to, and I’ve recommitted myself to optimism.
There’s so much to be enthused about now. For starters, Michigan Prime went monthly this summer — and I’m totally enjoying the rhythm of writing a regular column again. Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine purchased one of my essays for their January 2014 issue. This back-page essay will also include a photo of “The Importance of Ancestors,” a mixed-media piece I crafted last year. Topping it off, in August I rejoined an inspiring group of professional women writer-friends — a monthly commitment that I’d put aside because I was too busy caring for my mother.
If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s that life doesn’t stand still and wait for you while you sit in the hospital or book doctors’ appointments. You have to make time for everything you want to do and for all the people you care about — before the sun sets on your best opportunities.
Cindy La Ferle on August 28th, 2013
“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but real friendship is a slow-ripening fruit that needs our time and attention.” — Artistotle
With so much going on in our lives, it’s hard to find time to nurture our longterm friendships, let alone start new ones. Yet countless studies show that social relationships are crucial to our well-being — especially as we age.
Furthermore, the benefits of using social media don’t rank as high as person-to-person contact. “Face time” isn’t a luxury; it’s key to our health.
With that in mind, Dr. Irene Levine (“The Friendship Doctor”) created The Friendship Blog – a terrific resource for anyone who wants to master the art of friendship or resolve sticky relationship issues.
Featured in national media, Levine is a psychologist and author of Best Friends Forever. As she notes in the introduction to her blog, friendships are both rewarding and complex: “These unique bonds often run deeper than family ties, and sometimes last longer than our relationships with spouses or lovers. Yet there are few agreed-upon ground rules or roadmaps,” she says.
Maybe you need to detoxify your relationship with a difficult coworker, or regain balance in a one-sided friendship? Or maybe you’d like to rebuild your network with new contacts — but worry about appearing too pushy or needy? Does your child need help making friends? Whatever the dilemma, Dr. Levine’s Friendship Blog invites community conversation on any friendship topic you can imagine.
Cindy La Ferle on August 22nd, 2013
“Welcome to the Great Plastic Surgery Debate — between women who do and women who don’t, and between the pressure to look 25 no matter the cost and our desire to be true to ourselves.” — Jane Ganahl
Timing is everything, isn’t it? This week I’ve reached the two-month anniversary of the Mohs skin cancer surgery on my right cheek. As I mentioned in my essay on this topic for Michigan Prime, the five-hour procedure included plastic surgery reconstruction techniques to repair the three-inch incision.
Calling it an ordeal would be an understatement, but the pain and numbness are improving now, and the scar is healing … slooowly but surely. And there’s comfort in knowing the cancer was successfully removed.
Yesterday, the September/October issue of Spirituality & Health arrived in my mail, and the cover story caught my eye immediately. Written by veteran journalist and author Jane Ganahl, “Staring Plastic Surgery in the Face” delves beneath the surface (pardon the pun) of this controversial topic. The excellent piece shines a light on the spiritual and psychological aspects of aging — and why so many women go under the knife in order to meet the beauty standards of our youth-obsessed culture. Ganahl approaches the topic even-handedly, admitting she used to “judge” women who paid surgeons to tighten sagging jawlines and erase wrinkles.
Ganahl’s debate got me thinking. After undergoing Mohs surgery to repair a potentially disfiguring skin cancer, I’m not sure, now, if I’d submit myself to a facelift or cosmetic fillers to “fight” aging. For now, I’m grateful to be healing, and hoping to remain skin-cancer free while my new scar slowly blends into the laugh lines on my cheek.
What’s your opinion on this topic? Would you consider cosmetic surgery?
– Collage image by Cindy La Ferle –
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