5 Ways to Style a Spring Transition Wardrobe…

0293CC97-4C79-440D-AC0A-DB0E6E985787Late winter and early spring always brings fickle weather which presents wardrobe challenges too! If there was ever a time to shop our own closets- it’s in the transition seasons. One dreary days several weeks ago, one thing to remember- it’s still Early Spring! That’s why we pull together a Transition Wardobe! There are pops of bright colors showing up- still black, camel, denim and classic navy’s are still good in early Spring, there will be plenty of time for late Spring pastels! I pulled out some of my favorite light weight winter pieces and played with a few new accessories, most were inexpensive finds- that frankly perked up almost everything!

Here’s Five Ways to Style a Spring Transition Wardrobe!

  1. Scarves! Unless your scarves are heavy or holiday prints, keep your scarves ready to layer over a dress, sweater or jacket. You can also add a bit of spring color with lighter weight scarves.BAC59E60-8166-45E7-A2E7-3F144FA8C5B1
  2. Accessories are my favorite way to update a wardrobe any time of year! I found these ribbon badges recently, since they weren’t expensive- I bought several! Pretty necklaces, or Iconic Pearls, worn alone, clustered together, or even with a pin- these pieces certainly update a suit jacket, a dress, even a favorite sweater blazer. Remember, it’s still chilly! Transition is a blend of two seasons ! And- here’s an inside tip: If you add a bit of sparkle on your ears- it automatically brightens your face, at least until the sun begins to give it a natural glow! And  let’s face it- you can never go wrong with a Chanel style felt camellia! Perfect this time of year!9AA21B43-37CA-4C58-A6A1-E52C4C8EA1F9
  3. Dress up a Sweatshirt– Another ribbon badge dresses up a sweatshirt here, I’ve also seen sweatshirts with tasteful scattering of pins, brooches and embellishments  (strong emphasis on tasteful, darling) just look at these silk roses clustered with a crown pin! You’ll feel absolutely regal! 044FBEB3-8325-41D4-B2DC-F39D421E008A658771B8-81A3-4752-B424-7FDCB55E8533
  4. Layer on a Vest– I certainly don’t pack away classic vests until late spring. The white down vest definitely won’t be put away until after we get back from our spring vacation to Colorado Springs! Vests can also help create a bit of shape to shapeless dresses, tops and blouses.0293CC97-4C79-440D-AC0A-DB0E6E985787
  5. White Blouse- the great white shirt is the one thing I would encourage you to buy in Transistion Seasons! Why? There’s nothing like a white shirt to update a wardrobe, though the white blouse can become dingy, yellowed or even have small stains. I checked my white blouses, a few needed to have stains removed, treated and soaked, then taken to the cleaners for a heavy starch! Also, I do love a starched denim shirt to layer any time of the year- in spring? Almost an essential.DA3E66F6-AC77-42FF-8851-77F36CD51A87

And-  as a Bonus– we have a few tips!

  • This spring the color story is filled with bright color from head to toe, if you can’t bring yourself to be that bold- use pops of color, in a first layer- tank, lightweight tee shirt, scarf or a cute rain coat.
  • And while my small handbag, a gift, is black- small handbags are still making a good showing…especially if they’re like this one and convert to a backpack! Great for hands free travel too!893044B0-A277-437D-A777-98CCD37B014D
  • And…walking on the wild side is still going strong… Shopping your closet is a good idea! I’ve had this cashmere animal print sweater for years (I added a leopard print blouse last fall) Even if you add an animal print belt, driving mocs, loafers or shoes can perk up your wardrobe- check your closet- I’ll bet you have an animal print in there somewhere!
  • Speaking of shoes- block heel shoes are a smart move any time, in spring with fickle weather- block heels offer more stability along with style! I updated this year, with a black suede. However, I’ve seen block heels in lots of color too! Head to toe, think about adding a pop of color to your Spring Transistion Wardrobe.
  • And, while we might joke about not wearing white before Easter, White Jeans are the exception! For the Spring Transition Wardrobe- especially on a beautiful day- the classic pairing of White Jeans and a black Sweater, Blouse or Top almost makes us feel like summer is on the way!

So! Head to your closet, pull out a few things you love, accessorize, layer, add pops of color, check out your great white shirts (even a denim one or two!) on pretty days, White Jeans and Black Top are a classic. Then…Pull out your walking shoes, add a pair of block heels and swap out your pocketbook.  There you have it! Our 5 Ways to Style a Spring Wardrobe!

Love y’all, Camellia

p.s. Feel free to email for a few sources on accessories and great white blouses! This is not a compensated post, however, we’re happy to share some resources and tips!  Send us a email with Spring Update in the subject line to –  brenda@camelliascottage.com

*All photographs are obviously mine!

Skin Care Tips from Camellia…

6D8B13DF-D837-44B4-97F7-667344F7836CThere’s no doubt that Winter takes it toll on our skin; and while Spring is on it’s way…our thoughts turn to the time when we’ll shed these winter coats in favor of lighter weight clothing…which means- do I have to say it? Our skin will be revealed! Even after years of working in the fragrance and cosmetics industry- I must say, I’m always learning new things and paying closer attention to the largest organ in the human body- our Skin. It actually takes a lot for me to be inspired by new treatments and products- yet, I do think these tips are worth sharing!8611396A-D832-427A-A45C-DC05C93C7F0A

  • Dry Brushing: This is my first and best skin care tip! The photograph you see is a dry brush that I purchased after reading about the benefits of dry brushing. I had to convince myself that it actually worked, and I’m here to tell you I’ve reaped the benefits! So, I ordered the full set of dry brushes. Not only is dry brushing a natural skin care product- it is also a practice every adult should be using! Dry brushing removes dead skin cells while at the same time – those nubs in among the bristles are stimulating the lymph glands to help rid the body of toxins, and… you’ll love this- it also aids in toning and tightening the skin! There are several different prices and products for dry brushing available, just make sure the bristles are of natural fibers. The dry brush set should come with directions also. The idea is to never get these brushes wet. Stand on a towel or a bath mat before you get into the shower or bathtub. When you brush your legs do it in upward strokes- always brushing toward the heart! The set I bought had a large body brush, a hair brush which stimulates the scalp and a side effect is it works to de-tangle.  Also, in the set was a face brush which I was more reluctant to use, since I make an all natural scrub to exfoliate my facial skin. Y’all? this facial brush is wonderful! There is a ‘map’ that comes with my brush set to show you how to dry brush the face- so, it doesn’t just act as an exfoliator- it also stimulates my face and neck. I can actually see and feel the results after only a few weeks! So, if you add just this one thing to your skin care routine- it’s not a fad- it’s an ancient practice worth trying!353B73FE-8D03-49E9-97DC-9D7B377B8815
  • Water: We all know about drinking more water and wintertime it’s critical to drink more fluids. I’ve been trying to make pretty water to entice me! Here’s one I made recently-with cucumbers, mint and lime!  As great as it is to consume more water- if we’re dehydrated in the first place, our internal organs are making the best of liquids we consume well before the benefits reach our skin! So- here’s a tip to make a good long soak do double duty- add ingredients to the water. The old remedy for aching muscles is Epsom Salts and yes it does work. However, adding any natural salt will bring precious moisture to the skin surface and make that just brushed skin look and feel wonderful. The other thing you may want to add to bath water is dry milk in granular form. Now…if Cleopatra knew this was good for her skin, who are we to second guess her? The science behind milk baths- is that lactic acid in milk is a natural skin softener!! Read that again! Lactic acid softens the skin! You can also add dry milk to your favorite skin scrub and make it even better!9C53FD5D-B997-40C8-AA78-93D876E217FF
  • Vitamin C Serum Touted by skin care experts as natural Botox®! You can pay almost any price you choose for Vitamin C serum. Now, you may be consuming loads of Vitamin C in tablet form or drinking lots of citrus juice, which is terrific for your overall health- again…it would take masses of orange juice before the benefits actually reach your skin! So, here’s what I’ve done in the photo above- I saved lemon peels, put them in 2-3 cups of water and brought the pot to a boil (the house smelled wonderful!) Cover and turn off the heat. Allow this mixture to steep for a few hours, then discard the lemon peels and keep lemon water serum chilled. The result is a lemon water, which is a homemade Vitamin C Serum. Orange peels will work as well. Vitamin C is water soluble, so it’s delivery system to the body, and also why it doesn’t remain in the body very long! With the homemade lemon serum- Dip a  cotton pad into the lemon water serum, then saturate your face and neck. You will be surprised to note a skin tightening effect. This skin treatment is delightful, can be repeated as often as you choose and is practically free!  The essential oils in citrus have been proven to reduce fine lines, fade sun spots, minimize wrinkles and have an excellent track record on delivering antioxidants to the skin. And that’s not all, lemon and orange oils are very potent- so potent in fact that used in furniture polish, they restore dry cracked wood, what do you think the effect that lemon serum would be on the skin? They do work on fading age spots, minor skin tags and even reduce scarring after surgery. Now, to be honest, there are wonderful Vitamin C Serum products on the market, some are very expensive and not all that much better than the less expensive ones- just look for at least 20 % vitamin C serum in the product!

What I want you to take away from these tips, is that they are safe, natural and proven. And, please use a good face and body moisturizer on the skin after these treatments, all natural moisturizers abound. Just make sure the term ‘all natural’ is actually true and is plant based. If you want to deliver an all natural moisturizer from your pantry, you can’t do much better than straight Olive Oil- which has a healing effect on  the skin.  If you want more skin care tips- send me an email- I will be happy to tell you the name brand of the dry brush system I am currently using- it is economical and all natural bristles; I will also recommend a few Vitamin C Serum products I am currently testing and seeing the results, quicker than I would have believed possible. We are not being compensated in any way for these recommendations, however, I do feel they are high quality and for a very reasonable price.  Email us for this information, our address is: brenda@camelliascottage.com

I believe good skin care helps us feel better, improves our overall look- first take care of the skin,  then apply the makeup- is the rule! One of the best ways to age gracefully is to take care of ourselves inside and out!

Love y’all, Camellia

*All information is gleaned from my own background in the industry and personal testing and research, if you experience any side effects, rashes or other skin problems- discontinue use. I never recommend a product that we haven’t tested first!

*All photographs are obviously mine.

Roses and Lace…

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As much as we Southern Ladies love our Pearls, we do have an inordinate fondness for Roses and Lace- touches that fairly exude feminine fashion! A lace handkerchief carried with a wedding bouquet,  rose corsages pinned to lace blouses or dresses are classic pairings. My sister and I were already wearing lace trimmed blouses with little corsages from a young age. One Christmas, our aunt and uncle were taking us out on the town to the ornately beautiful Alabama Theater decked out in our finery, with our little pocketbooks too.img_1883

I think fashion is at it’s best when it is classic and simple- and this idea isn’t new, Leonardo da Vinci said it best way back in the 1500’s- ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. A Classic Black Dress with Pearls can take you anywhere, darlin’ – Karl Lagerfield famously said: ‘One is never overdressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress’.image

The least expensive way to update a Black Dress or even a Wardrobe of Classics is with Accessories. A friend of mine received a beautiful Christmas bouquet of white roses this week just when I was trying to figure out what to wear to an occasion, I thought these three White Silk Roses pinned on a Lace Patterned Wrap might be just the thing. Winter clothing is often structured, it can benefit from soft beautiful accessories.image

Coco Chanel loved using a floral pin- either in the same tweeds she favored or with Millenary Grade Flowers- like her iconic Camellia pin- she repeated Pearls and Floral Pins over and over in her classic designs. I think Southern ladies were doing this long before Chanel came along but we sure do appreciate her highlightin’ it for us! A word of warning- pins and brooches can be heavy- so make sure what you pin it on can support the weight and alternately some fabrics are heavy so make sure your pin can pierce the fabric- if not? Use a heavier pin behind it and clasp the pins on just the fabric’s surface. Holiday dressing isn’t all about glitz and bright colors, sometimes neutrals can be just as beautiful, just make sure you add Red Lipstick-the iconic ‘Cherries in the Snow’ would perfect this time of year.

Try Roses and Lace to soften your Winter Wardrobe. And if you are looking for some last minute gift ideas, a Warm Wrap or Scarf, an Accessory such as a Beautiful Brooch or Floral Pin and a great Stocking Stuffer would be the all time best selling red lipstick– Revlon’s® ‘Cherries in the Snow’ ! Of course if you have no time at all- send a Bouquet of Roses!

Love y’all, Camellia

photographs are obviously mine- the vintage photograph of me and my sweet sister are from our private collection and the Cherries in the Snow lipstick photo is from AOL images and may be subject to copyright. The rose pins were purchased from a small vendor several years ago, the scarf was purchased locally.

 

Beauty born of Trouble…

imageWomen from the Deep Coastal South love our Pearls. The Mother of Pearls is the Oyster, one of our most highly prized culinary gifts from the sea. Especially in November and December when the waters are cold enough- out of our beloved bays and inlets fishermen retrieve the finest oysters in the world from their peaceful beds beneath the waters. Stormy rough waves or an out-of-the-blue rush of water- a grain of sand enters the rare oyster. The sharp edges bother and irritate the delicate flesh of the oyster. All oysters live in a close knit community called an Oyster Bed. image

A Pearl Oyster lives in secret pain- silent agony. The oyster has no means to rid itself of this tiny bit of trouble. Unnoticed by the others in the watery bed-the oyster is experiencing inner turmoil and pain from just a tiny errant grain of sand. It hurts the oyster, it bothers the bivalve- after all the oyster was just sitting there trying to survive when the grain of sand came out of nowhere. Troubles are often like that.  To survive, the pearl oyster must  decide-

  •  to accept the pain,
  • find a way to live with the pain,
  • cover the grain of sand,
  • round off the rough edges.

Oysters have a way to heal themselves of troubles which will not go away. Within the oyster’s delicate system there is a God given remedy for pain and heartache. The lowly oyster patiently secretes a substance which surrounds an aggravating bit of trouble. There are times in our lives when we endure trouble born out of a small things- secret living griefs that-

  •  must be endured,
  • knows no relief,
  • interrupts our sleep
  • and threatens our peace.

We do have choices- we can:

  • ignore the pain
  • hope it will go away-
  • minimize the trouble –
  • ‘Oh it’s just a small thing, I’ll be alright’-
  • wait in excruciating silence,
  • wonder how to endure a painful uncertain future. image

As the tiny grain of sand digs deeper, a constant nagging source of pain, the oyster may clamp shut hoping to avoid another grain of sand that could cause more pain , more trouble. When the oyster accepts the grain of sand– the oyster’s system takes over the healing process. Beauty will be born out of trouble. It takes a bit of effort on the part of the oyster- to survive, patience endurance is required. Bit by bit a milky substance is secreted-  the grain of sand becomes a part of the oyster. Hidden in the injured flesh of a lowly rustic living creature, a Pearl is being formed. With longsuffering patience, and in cooperation with the Merciful Provision of God- small irritations and troubles have the potential to be transformed into valuable luminous loveliness-Pearls. image

Born of Trouble, lonesome pain and solitary determination- the Oyster’s life work becomes  a thing of infinite beauty and value. So may our irritations and pain become tokens of beauty which glorify God. This morning our prayer is that the Lord will string together our heartaches and irritations and show us the gleaming luminosity of our lives- Beauty Born out of Trouble. On this, the Merciful Day of our Lord, may we ponder the dilemma of the Pearl Oyster- living proof that a thing of Beauty can be born out of Trouble.

Love y’all, Camellia

All photographs are mine

Alabama Backroads Beauty…

 

 

75BEC44E-B2E7-4316-ABFA-802C59978E7FAlabama is a beautiful and unique state- we have mountains, rivers, lakes- all the way down to the most beautiful beaches and bays you can imagine! In the Fall, folks like to take a Sunday drive to see the colorful displays of autumn beauty or stay beside one of our Lakes, hike through the woods to see a Waterfall or stop at a Roadside Stand. When Mother Nature shows out and throws down carpets of gold, green and red and happily reaches her arms up to the sky with brightly colored leaves– it’s breathtaking when we have a beautiful Fall, y’all! Let’s get going on our Road Trip- through the Backroads of Alabama…

Off we go!

Let’s get over to the Rivers and Streams…

And take a look at these close ups!

 

And stop at a road side stand…jeremy-fall-30-marketYou can almost hear the singin’…. ‘For the Beauty of the Earth…’ ringing out from the churches!jeremy-fall-27-church

 

How thankful we are for the enormous talents of Jeremy Miniard and his generosity in sharing these beautiful photographs of Alabama the Beautiful! Enjoy!

Love y’all, Camellia

find Jeremy at jeremy-miniard.fineartamerica.com

photographs may not be reproduced without express permission from Jeremy!jeremy-fall-26

Tacky or Tasteful #3…

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The South is a Matriarchal society. There’s a reason our Daddies said, ‘Ask your momma’. For all our feminine clothes and flirting…it’s true y’all, Southern Women are ‘Steel Magnolias’, who rule the roost with an Iron Hand whether the Roost is the size of the Chicken coop or a Big House on a hill. They insisted on- Tradition, Tact and Taste- otherwise their families would erode into Tacky or even worse- Trashy. They knew that classic dressing would last- if you had a Nice Black Dress and a Good White Blouse- you could dress Tastefully whether you had a fortune or lost one.

A whole lot of us, including me, wore a mix of new, homemade and hand-me-down clothing. We were not poor, I just had an older sister. If garments were well made and classic, they stood the test of time. Then there were some who learned the art of Tasteful Fashion by association with friends who had Mothers who insisted that Dressin’ Decent was the right thing to do. It boiled down to self respect and respect for others. I still believe this. I can never forget hearin’ our mommas say– ‘Always leave something to the imagination darlin’

So, to end Fashion Week at Camellia’s Cottage, let’s talk Accessories and more…

  • Pearls
  • A Good Watch
  • A Nice Pocketbook
  • Monograms
  • Sunglasses, Diamond Studs and Lipstick

Some of us come from the school of wearing a Single Strand of Pearls- others like to pile them on! I’m with Chanel who wore ropes and ropes of them! Nothing dresses up the neckline of a blouse or a simple dress like Pearls. Just don’t wear your pearls on your wedding day – my grandmother thought wearing pearls on your wedding day signified a string of troubles! Though that is not a proven fact.

A good Watch, whether it’s Cartier or Timex sets off any outfit casual or dressy. Our mommas wanted us to have a Watch because they expected us to be on time– for school, work and get home when we were supposed to! jackie-kennedy-vintage-cartier-black-turtleneck

A Nice Pocketbook is always a necessity. Let’s face it- if Queen Elizabeth thinks carryin’ a pocketbook is the right thing to do- who’s gonna argue with her? The Fashion Icons carried them too!

Monograms-Give a Southern Woman a blank surface of fabric and we can figure out how to monogram it! Several years ago- I inherited a mink stroller from my friend’s mother – on the inside her name had been monogrammed. In the South, if we ever get a cool snap, we’ll throw on a fur coat- real or faux- with jeans or our finery. However, after inheriting the mink stroller, to be honest I never had the occasion to wear it until our family flew to Montreal one winter– I wore it on the plane. Of course I was burning up! I looked down and saw Sybil’s name monogrammed inside and immediately was horrified thinking- if that plane crashed- they would think Sybil had died all over again! I love monograms.  Monogrammed handkerchiefs, scarves and jewelry are classic.monogrammed-silver-bracelet

A great pair of Sunglasses can take you anywhere! Not only do they stave off cataracts at the beach, but protect the delicate skin around your eyes and are a touch of glamour! The Fashion Icons agree!

Hold onto that thought… because I am about to share some well kept secrets

Diamond Studs, real or faux, are appropriate for young ladies and the ah…Southern Belles who are aging gracefully. I’ll never forget when chandelier earrings became fashionable- a Southern Mother told her daughter-‘Ruth Anne, the only appropriate place for chandeliers to hang are from the ceiling!‘ The truth is- wearing earrings is fun when  you’re young…but when it comes time to get a job? Listen to the Southern Mothers- ‘Nobody’s gonna hire you if all they notice are those earbobs janglin’ around!’ Wear Diamond studs instead. Now,hang in there with me… Think- Sunglasses, Diamond Studs and Red Lipstick! 

The truth is- Red Lipstick in all of it’s varied shades is the most classic pick of all timeRed Revival from Maybelline™ and. Cherries in the Snow from Revlon™ are all time favorites. Red Revival on the left- Cherries in the Snow on the left. Both have that Hollywood glamour!

 Diamond Studs bring sparkle up higher on your face, actually brighten the eyes and detract from fine lines! For those times when you wouldn’t be caught dead actually getting out of the car but need to scoot to the drive thru window at the bank-Sunglasses and Red Lipstick are a lifesaver. And finally, darlin’ …if you are gonna inflict your bare feet on the general public- please paint those toenails Red!

I can’t resist showing you my ever glamourous friend, Lorrie- she’s worn Red Revival Lipstick for years!morton-tims-event-1-029

Oh, I’ve had so much fun laughing with you during our Fashion Week at Camellia’s Cottage. Don’t be Tacky, be Tasteful in all you do! Of course we’ll never run out of advice from our Southern Mothers!

Love y’all, Camellia

The top photograph is from my friend Paula’s personal collection. The bottom photograph is from my personal collection. Other images are from AOL and may be subject to copyright.

Instinct or Fitness…

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I’m just going to admit it- I’m uncoordinated. I will never be good at sports or exercising. Never have been, do not aspire to it.  First of all, going to a gym without at least some color on my face- blush or lipstick -would be sort of horrifying for me. I would hate to inflict that on anyone. I no longer buy swimsuits. I still call them bathing suits-I do not wear bathing suits so as not to inflict my aging body on the general public.  I can wear a cute cover up and have a fine old time. IMG_1398

The last time I tried exercising in a group publically was in an aerobics class at my church at least 30 years ago- it was a disaster– no really, I am not kidding. The building had indoor/outdoor carpeting. I  had on a cute new outfit with socks and tennis shoes. I stood on the back row of a class of 30 women, just in case. I could not get the steps right, I could not shift several steps to the right and hop, flailing my arms around in the air at the same time. I hopped-scooted over…my tennis shoe caught on the indoor outdoor carpet I stumbled backwards, trying not to hurt anyone or break their rhythm and ended up flinging myself into a whole wall of metal folding chairs. It was not pretty, it was loud with all of those chairs falling like steel dominoes. The acoustics in that room are pretty good… let’s just say this was not a joyful noise unto the Lord.women exercising dailymail.uk

I have tried to explain being uncoordinated for years- especially when folks tell me about steps and swings and all manner of fitness routines. I cannot risk it.  I’m not proud of this.  I have tried walking on a tread mill more than once and more than once have managed to trip and skid off, machine still rolling.women on treadmills vintage

My husband, a person of considerable athletic skill, has known and accepted my uncoordinated style; since as newlyweds he let me go with him on a run…when we got back he said-

  • ‘How ’bout letting me run by myself from now on?
  • ‘Why?’
  • ‘Well your feet flap on the pavement.’ Enough said.

I signed up for golf lessons many years ago…the instructor told me at the end of the first lesson- ‘Ma’am, golf just isn’t your game.’ He didn’t offer to return my money…I didn’t ask either.vintage woman golfing

I really accepted my ineptness early on…when I was in college I was required to have a certain amount of physical education.

  • I took tennis.
  • I knew the rules, I aced the written tests.
  • When my grade came out, it was a glaring ‘B’ –
  • I asked the instructor why he had given me a B-
  •  Graciously he said, ‘You don’t have the Killer Instinct.’

Most Southern folks start planning their funerals when they are in their 40’s if not before…Please believe me, I know this- we have a morbid fascination with the process. It could be argued that dyin’ is more fascinating in the South. When I want my husband to listen to anything I am saying – I just have to say- ‘When I die…’ or ‘I want this played at my funeral.’   He listens up.

Recently I was contemplating an extra roll of fat I had found- it’s none of your business where I found it-I was thinking maybe I should give fitness another chance. I’ve got some important tests coming up- my cholesterol screening and BMI. I thought of all the personal risks involved. To exercise is risky for me.  I have decided that having-

Beloved Wife and Mother

She Never had the Killer Instinct

Carved on my tombstone-is sounding better and better all the time.old tombstone- aol images

Meanwhile, before I start pushing up daisies- I’m keeping close to the ground and digging in my garden…

Love y’all, Camellia

The photograph of the tennis player and the swimmer are from a vintage encyclopedia- called The New Wonder World- last copyright- 1941 by Geo. L. Shuman and Co.

The women on treadmills- attributed to an article by Huffingon Post

The golfer, the group photograph of women exercising and the tombstone from AOL images and may be subject to copyright.

 

Loud…

loud print vintage dress

 

It occurred to me recently that if you are not from the South, you might not understand how we talk. Words that normally have just one clear meaning for other regions- may be couched in southern code- like loud. With that one exception of our yelling at SEC football games…we teach our children to speak kindly, softly and as quiet as possible. Even if you’re driving home an important point, use non-offensive language- please.

My favorite example, when I am challenged on this point- is my friend Linda. For years, Linda was the Director of a sizeable rambunctious group of kindergarteners… when she wanted to get the attention of one, a few or the whole bunch of wild Indians; Linda would lower her voice to a whisper instead of getting louder! So, yes- Southerners use the word ‘loud’ just like the rest of the country. But there is loud like talk radio- and there is loud like a printed dress and again there is loud- like perfume-here’s how we respond:

  • Loud Talk-‘Well, bless his heart, do you think he’s deaf or does he just talk loud because he’s coarse and common, or doesn’t know better?’
  • ‘Turn that music down, it’s so loud I can’t hear myself think!’
  • If we really want to get sinister, we say- ‘You’d better quieten down, you’re talkin’ loud enough to raise the dead!’
  • Loud Style-‘Now why in the world would her momma let her go out in that loud print? As pale as she is, she just can’t stand up to it- in fact, I’m not sure I know anybody who could wear loud prints effectively.’
  •  ‘That necktie the preacher had on was so loud, you couldn’t hear a blessed word he was sayin’. Bless his heart, his wife should’ve known better than to let him go shopping by himself.’
  • ‘The black dress was fine but those hot pink earbobs and matching high heels, well, it was a cryin’ shame- it was so loud it ruined the whole look. And the nerve…the nerve of her wearing her grandmother’s pearls with that outfit! Mattie Rae would roll over in her grave, if she could see it’. *The scarier version is ‘Mattie Rae’s is twirling in her grave!
  • Loud Odors- ‘Well, I guess we’ll know for a week that she cooked collards! The smell is so loud, somebody needs to crack the windows and doors open-now.’
  • ‘Now why, would anybody order those loud oriental lilies for a funeral blanket? By the time, the funeral parlor’s shut up all night, smellin’ up to high heavens. For a solemn occasion it’s roses, those lilies are so loud they just ruin the whole effect.’
  • ‘Honestly, we couldn’t taste the food for those loud cinnamon red hot candles she had burning, right smack dab in the middle of the table!’
  •  ‘If she keeps wearing that loud perfume, she’ll be sending the wrong signals- only a gardenia bush full of blooms or a streetwalker smells that loud.’ collage of fragrances

Since fragrance is one of my specialities- Let me help you out a little bit here… I worked for some of the finest fragrance companies in the world, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, L’air du Temps, Bvlgari,Tiffany, YSL and more…  I worked for European fragrance lines, which still use real flowers and essential oils for the basis of their perfumes. Americans engineer synthetic fragrances so well you can barely tell the difference except for how it reacts on human skin.  Since I reeked of fragrance by the time I came home from work- I developed sensitivities to fragrance and hardly ever wear it except on special occasions, which I have come to believe is the appropriate use of perfume. Women no longer ‘layer’ their fragrance and shouldn’t…with powder, lotion and spray. Here is what most women want to know…how do I know which fragrance is right for me? First, my responses will be for European fragrances, the rules are unclear on synthetics.

  • First when choosing a fragrance you must understand that your nose cannot process more than 3 fragrances at a time. You can clear the nose by deeply sniffing coffee beans.
  • The best and most effective way to choose European fragrances is by your skin tone.
  • The rule is: the darker the skintone- the darker the color of the fragrance (in the bottle) you will be able to wear, without it getting too ‘loud‘.
  •  If you are very fair skinned and get ‘pink’ in the sun- go for a fragrance that is almost clear in the bottle. If you really love a fragrance that is darker than clear…do not buy perfume or parfum
  • For a lighter version of a fragrance you love, buy the eau de toilette or the even lighter cologne, each one has a descending amount of the actual perfume in it.
  • For an even lighter fragrance consider body crème, lotion or even soap.
  • The best perfumes have a top note, a middle note, this is the heart of the perfume and a base note– which has the most irritants in it.
  •  A perfume that smells good in the bottle reacts with the skin’s natural oils and will definitely smell different as body heat distributes the fragrance and causes the fragrance to bloom– or get ‘loud‘.
  • Buy the smallest version of fragrance available- European fragrances are perishable.
  • Store your fragrance in a dark cool place to extend the oils and the shelf life.
  • Speaking of shelf life- as you age, your skin is more delicate and thins out- you may need to adjust the strength of your fragrance or even consider a change. This is also true at various life stages – expectant mothers or change of life etc…
  • Know what you are allergic to! If you have seasonal allergies in the spring- florals may set you off, if you are allergic to live Christmas trees- fragrances with cedar, pine, bark or wood resins may not be for you, the same is true if you have allergies in the autumn- scents with patchouli (moss) or various leaves which we associate with fungus. Citrus scents are the least allergen producing. Allergens will usually be found in the base notes and will be listed on the box.
  • And if you cannot wear fragrance at all? One of my all time favorite scents is Jergen’s Lotion!  Just for heaven’s sake…don’t go cheap and don’t get loud!

Love y’all, Camellia

P.S. I met Oscar de la Renta once, he told me he loved Southern women because they are not afraid to be feminine! Gotta love a man like that! He walked around his mother’s garden in Santa Domingo and picked a bouquet of flowers and herbs – which became the classic Oscar de la Renta fragrance!

Crowning Glory…

 

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To Southern women, our hair is our Crowning Glory…So, it’s a big decision whenever we start to go grey…for redheads or blondes, the decision is not so dramatic- it’s just silver threads among the gold or copper! For brunettes, it can be quite traumatic. Take me for instance…from childhood, my hair was as close to black as you could get and my eyes are this weird shade of green- very light, sort of chartreuse or lizard green…My great aunt Trix- exclaimed regularly…‘Isn’t she unusual?‘ and I never ever thought she meant that in a good way.

When the grey hairs started coming in more regularly than I thought was necessary…a decision had to be made.  Dark hair and dark eyes are a better aging combo than dark hair and light eyeswe start looking washed out. And who wants to look washed out?  That’s tantamount to looking washed up. In the South- looking washed out is almost as scary as that Ptomaine Poisoning our mothers were always telling us we would get if we ate at uninspected places. First, I followed my grandmother’s ancient advice- ‘If you look bad, get a permanent wave.’ I guess I thought if the grey hairs were coiled up tight with the others they wouldn’t be so noticeable- not true.

So amid the unsolicited advice- ‘Get that hair dyed’…and solicited advice from my beauty operator- ‘let’s put a few streaks in it’; I began the transition. I went lighter, had a few streaks put in, I looked like a blonde polecat. Back to the bottle again. When my book was published I was in the frame of mind to look as young as I could. I told the hairdresser to just do it a little lighter than my natural color which was dark brown. Dyed dark brown hair color was a pure vanity decision for the book cover.  Soon, reality sank in, I was dealing with roots. Now, Southerners have an unnatural fascination with our ancestors- our roots…however roots near your scalp isn’t pretty. We may want to know who your people are, but we don’t care whether your string of pearls is real or cultured; nor whether your hair is natural or dyed. The main thing is, Southern girls want to be cultured and real pretty, especially when it comes to our Crowning Glory.

Next- I had a semi-permanent wrench put on it, and I sat for hours with R2D2 foil squares, the pole cat look returned. I started looking in magazines and online, a good many famous people- namely movie stars of a certain age…were going naturally grey. Emmie Lou Harris, Linda Evans, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren, Anderson Cooper, Diane Keaton, Ali MacGraw and who can forget Meryl Streep’s silver locks?

Of course we all know that men get ‘distinguished looking’ with grey hair- I don’t hear those same sentiments about women’s grey hair. To my surprise, there were articles written about ‘grey being the new black’ with stunning examples.

Then, a blogger I truly admire- Vicki Archer, of French Essence-beautifully let her readers know of her decision to go grey. Something clicked when I read her article. I too, was going to go grey. Now, I certainly didn’t want folks to say- ‘well, she’s really let herself go’ or ‘bless her heart she sure has aged’ or ‘she needs to dye that hair’…after all a woman’s hair is her Crowning Glory- it’s biblical. Following the hairdresser’s suggestions, she warned me it would take a long time, I said I was prepared or thought I was. imageA local magazine called and wanted to do a story on my book- I could hardly have a photograph done with ‘roots’ showing! I listened to the ancient voices in my head…‘Once a woman gets a certain age- she can’t wear long stringy hair’…I had a semi-permanent wrench put on and as you can see, I had my hair cut it as short as possible! After over two years…I am finally natural again, I also decided that I missed my hair having a little length to it. When I started blogging the advice was to use a professional photograph, the book cover photograph was the only one I had…but really Darlin’ I need to update-morton tims event 1 004

It’s not a professional photograph and who knows if I will ever figure out how to change it across all media- but I’m going for ‘truth in advertising’.  And I’m gon’ try to keep some color on my face, lipstick on my lips and remember that a smile is the best face-lift. I may be too old to successfully flirt, but can always flatter. I know I’ll never get tired of hearing or telling funny stories. The pearls might not always be real, but you can never have too much culture. No matter what color it is or how it got that way-A woman’s hair truly is her Crowning Glory. For me- Salt and Pepper is the Spice of Life!

Love y’all, Camellia