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Days of Thanks #3

Today I am thankful for this: New experiences.  And they wouldn’t have been possible without the removal of toxic people from my life.  This isn’t just a silver lining.  Though brief, thanks to Covid and the lockdowns starting, for a short time I got to spend weekends in Seattle going to XFL games (I had season tickets, and will again when the XFL restarts) and out to clubs.

In my hotel room in Seattle, rocking a black Hervé Leger Nathalia bandage dress and just about to head out too Grimm’s. It was quite a night!

I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to go out and do these things when my life had toxicity.  I’d have been given too much hell, and the people mentioned yesterday would have done who-knows-what about me going out dancing.  Alone.  I love dancing and moving around, but there would have been hell to pay.

At the last XFL Seattle home game

But instead I did have a time, no matter how brief, where I got to go out and just be me as me, not the mom-me, the wife-me, or the seamstress-me.  I got to find that, when I’m not trying to fit into a mold, I’m more social.  Maybe it’s not worrying about fitting some preconceived idea about how someone should be, no one telling me I need to tone down the glitter makeup since I “need to remember [I] have a kid” and such.  I can talk longer with random people in museums since I’m not ignoring whoever I’m with or at risk of boring them.  I can dance like no one’s watching while everyone’s watching.

These are things that I couldn’t have freely done before.  Even though they’re now in the past, for who knows how long or if we’ll ever really get them back, I at least got to have those experiences, and I’m thankful for that.

Days of Thanks #2

In keeping with the theme of yesterday, today I am thankful for this: Learning who my real friends aren’t through losing my two best friends.  Or, being free of friends who weren’t real friends.

I am certain at least a few of you…okay, all of you, are wondering what on earth I could mean, how I could be thankful for that, and what it has to do with yesterday’s post.  Buckle up for some stuff that might be summed up as drama.

Some of you might remember that I was pickpocketed in Paris in January, when I was there with my daughter who had just turned 10, and my cash, debit cards, and ID were in my phone case.  I should have been able to vent a bit to my two best friends, right?  I merely mentioned to my best friends that I was pickpocketed, and they decided to tear into me for not being grateful to be in Paris.  I didn’t say anything about that.  I was worried about making sure my daughter had what she needed until USAA was able to get a new card to me and I could get to a money wiring place to get cash.  I literally had none.  They both blocked me on Facebook, phone, etc., and my first feeling was…

Relief.

That hit me hard, realizing that I was relieved that my two best friends of eight years had blocked me, and then I figured out why I was relieved.  Over those years, I’d done everything I could for them, whether that meant derailing a long-planned family trip to go two states away when one was in a car crash or providing a home for the other when she needed it.  But I couldn’t vent to them about anything.  They would always be “too busy” or “out of spoons” for me despite leaning on me for everything.  The only emotions I was allowed to have around them was happiness with the temporary exception of when one of my cats died.  But I was even chided for being so upset when one of my dogs, who was literally there when my daughter was born (home birth) died.  Yeah, I wasn’t even allowed to feel anything but happy even then.  I didn’t see the imbalance until I felt an unexpected sense of lightness.  Worse, one of them managed to get me ostracized from my local social group by claiming I was an adulteress.  Someone contacted me about it, which is how I found out.  Even still, lightness.  Relief.

It might also be worth noting that these two “friends” spent three years trying to convince my husband I was cheating on him.  I found out after two years, forgave them, and didn’t know they continued until January of this year.  I do know the reasons they had, and they’re not flattering to them.  Their reasons, stemming from jealousy of the trajectory of my life when they were at a better place than I was when we met, are ultimately irrelevant.  They caused real damage to my family in that time.

In “losing” them, something I can now put quotes around, I gained freedom.  I could breathe.  When you can ever say that about someone no longer being in your life, they probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with.

And this will be relevant to tomorrow’s post.  Thankfulness for severance from toxic non-friends is indeed something to be thankful for on its own, but it led to something else that…I literally can’t even think go how to describe it.  I’ll try in tomorrow’s post.

Days of Thanks #1

This year, more than almost any other year, It’s difficult to find things to be thankful for.  I don’t think there’s a single person alive on this planet who isn’t struggling in some way, whether big or seemingly small.  But I also think there are still some things we can all find to be thankful for, even if it feels like scraping the bottom of the barrel.  I think it’ll help to do that, and would like anyone who reads this to join me.  Nothing is too small.

My own first day is simply this: The knowledge that it is okay to not feel happy all the time.  That “Choose joy” stuff is well intended, but makes it seem like we can simply choose not to have emotions.  The most positive person in the world will still hurt upon the loss of loved ones and beloved pets.  You can’t just choose your way out of it.  Yet there’s been this massive push toward telling people to just choose to be happy.  But that’s simply not something we can always choose.  When you understand that it’s okay to not always be happy, especially right now, you don’t feel guilty for not “choos[ing] joy.”

Give yourself permission to feel what you feel.  Silly as this will sound, this Barbie video…BARBIE…is one of the best I’ve seen on this.

So for today, I’m thankful to know that having a full range of emotions, the sad and the mad and the frustrated with the happy and relaxed and upbeat, is okay, and in fact, something to embrace.  You can’t know what happiness feels like without also knowing what sadness feels like.

Summer check-in

How are you doing, my lovelies?  If you need to vent, please feel free to, even if it’s venting things you think are insignificant.  Sometimes it can help to blow off steam by focusing on the smaller things that are aggravating so we can take breaks from worrying about the bigger things.  I hope everyone’s doing okay.  It might be hoping a bit too much to hope anyone’s doing well when so many of us feel like we’re just trying to make it from day to day, if not hour to hour or minute to minute.

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Dior Junon gown

Before I planned my my early 2019 trip to Paris (which was already going to include a jaunt to Paris), the V&A Museum in London had already sold out of its tickets for its special Dior exhibition.  But then I realized something…  See, despite the museum being free to enter with special tickets only for some things, I’m a paying member. As I see it, it helps keep the museum running.  (If you can swing it, please consider a membership for the V&A.  It’ll help with ongoing expenses that the museum has.  Even when closed, there is maintenance for textiles and various artworks.  Even if you have no intention of going to London, there are perks, like their print magazine, and they do ship it internationally for no extra cost.)  And at the V&A, members not only get into those exhibits for free, but also don’t need to get tickets.  So, despite the tickets being sold, my membership let me get in anyway. 😀 I was so excited when I realized this!  That meant I would get to see one of my favorite-ever designer gowns, Dior’s Junon gown!

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Red silk net dress

There really aren’t many silk tulle gowns still in existence from the regency era.  For a long, long time, silk was sold by weight instead of by linear length.  So merchants would soak it in salt to make it weigh more.  Unfortunately, salt makes fabric frail and eventually shatter due to the razor-sharp edges.  So seeing on of this age in such pristine condition (the one I own needs substantial restoration work) is incredible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Periwinkle-lilac regency walking dress, an ensemble in three pieces

In January 2018, when I was in Paris the second time, I decided to make a spur-of-the-moment trip to London, and deeply regretted not taking my zoom lenses with me when I found that some gowns I loved were on display.  But I also hadn’t intended to take any zoomed in photos in Paris, and so didn’t take those lenses at all.  When I returned to Paris in March 2019, I went both with pre-existing plans to go to London again, and with my lenses.

One of the gowns I was most excited to see was this beautiful periwinkle…well, I’ve seen it called a redingote or a pelisse, but the description of it calls it a walking dress with spencer, skirt, and bodice. Clicking all images will open larger version of them.

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Money-matters during a time hard to think about money

I’ve had a few people inquire over the last several days about if my pricing will change a lot since there’s this event later this year or that next year that they’re hoping to still get to attend.  Since I just read something concerning that I knew was likely to happen, but now have confirmation, I’m going to address this here.  Money is never a comfortable topic, but even less so now that the world has been upended.
Many fabric manufacturers have stopped producing fabrics for the time being. I’m not sure who all retailers and wholesalers those manufacturers ship to, though I do know that Gap Inc (owner of Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy) is among them, and I’m not sure yet what that will mean for us here in the future. Right now, I do have a stash to fall back on (thank goodness–I was called obsessed and crazy and all kinds of things by old friends for my stash…well, good thing I didn’t listen), and will be trying to stock up on anything else I can that I anticipate needing to try to prevent having to increase pricing, and to lower some where I reasonably can, effectively a pay cut.
That’s the short answer.  Of course a short answer means there’s a longer, expanded answer as well.

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Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty’s Prince

Women’s ensembles are usually the ones that get the attention, whether that’s a ballet tutu or an 18th century robe a la française.

Héloïse Bourdon and Christophe Duquenne as the princess and prince, photo mu Tal Gomita

 

But men’s ensembles can be just as intricate, sometimes even more so.  This costume, worn by Christophe Duquenne, is a great example of this.  The beautiful embroidery and crystals on beautiful jacquard, the gathers in the back…

Of course the bottoms are always plain.  The dancer’s legs shouldn’t have to compete with a bunch of detailing.  Standard men’s dance tights are worn that allow very free movement, and very free admiration of the hard work male dancers do in perfecting their bodies.  It’s one thing to be lean, but another to sculpt their bodies the way they do.  Sparkles and tons of textures would draw attention away from them getting to show off.  And let’s face it.  If you’re a male dancer, you want to show off what you’ve built just as much as you want to show off your skill.  Take it from me and every gym rat I know–it’s far easier to get lean than to build muscle mass to show off. Continue reading “Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty’s Prince”

Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

The first time I went to Paris in 2018, I went to the Palais Garnier because of course I did.  While there, I stumbled upon a couple costumes that had been set up as part of a display that wasn’t yet finished.  Oops.  Turned out no one was supposed to go there yet….  Oh, well.  Too late.

Héloïse Bourdon and Christophe Duquenne as the princess and prince. Photo by Tal Gomita

In this post, I’ll share some photos of the princess’s costume.  Disney named her Aurora.  So the princess wasn’t originally called that.  She was just la belle au bois dormant, and she came to us from France.  However, she is just plain known as Aurora now, or Aurore-with-an-E in French. Continue reading “Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty”