Monday, December 9, 2013

SNAP Challenge, Take 2

SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

SNAP Challenge - Live for a week on the current assistance - Was $36 per person in DC, now $30.

I just completed my second SNAP challenge, $30 for a week of food.  I chose to do it again now, just after Thanksgiving, because of the cuts that SNAP faced at the beginning of November. The last time I did SNAP, I did it on $36 for the week. $6 may not sound like a lot, but this past week, I realized just how much that $6 was worth.

Bottom line, I was hungry. And it sucked, and I am angry. Not for me, because this was my challenge for just a week. I am angry because I am aware more than ever how many people in this country are hungry right now, and that Congress is to blame for it, and needs to restore that funding immediately. There was no human reason to cut that crucial assistance, and I challenge each that voted to cut SNAP to do the challenge for a week.

Since I had done the challenge before, I already had my plan of what to eat.  I don’t eat fast food, and I am mostly vegetarian, although I love bacon and a piece of steak on occasion, things that were definitely not on my shopping list last week. I also chose not to buy milk and cheese, for as much as I love them, they are expensive and could easily eat up half of my budget.

My list from the grocery store included half and half, coffee, chobani yogurt, fage, orange juice, bread, oatmeal, almonds, and luna bars.

My list from the farmers market included spinach, squash, onion, apples and eggs. I am so proud to support FreshFarms market in Dupont every Sunday. It is fresh organic produce and eggs at a reasonable price, and for every SNAP dollar, you get $2 in farmer market dollars.  That means even more now with the cuts. The soup I made from the market ingredients and the spinach I ate with eggs or in a smoothie was the best food I ate all week. Including vegetables in a SNAP budget is so important, and I am so thankful that FreshFarm understands that, too.

What can I say about the week? I started on Sunday after Thanksgiving, and I made it (barely) through Saturday. By Friday, I was pretty much out of food. That’s when that missing $6 reared its ugly head and I realized a luna bar and a chobani was all I had til the end of Saturday.

That’s when I got really mad. And that’s when I saw your tweet about the SNAP challenge, and here we are. I have gone back to spending about $50 at the grocery store, and thousands upon thousands are once again living on that next $30 for a week of food.

It’s wrong, and I hope that may more folks that do this challenge and talk about what it really is like. Then maybe it will become understood that it is imperative that Americans do not go hungry if there is anything can be done about it. And of course there is. Restore the funding to SNAP is the first thing.

* note - this was written upon being asked to share my reflections with DC Hunger Solutions, who works to create a hunger-free community and improve the well-being of low-income DC residents.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Suddenly Autumn

And so here we are, the Autumnal Equinox is upon us, and the weather is agreeing it's so.

I'm not sure when I fell in love with Fall, I used to hate it. The shorter days, those first cold winds that go right through you, lots of gray skies, depressing, right? Maybe it's climate change and I don't think winters are so dreary, maybe it's because Fall is just so beautiful in DC. If I were a tourist, I would come visit here NOW. These days into October remind me of what winters in Santa Barbara, CA where I went to college. Except it just stayed like that into Spring, without those harsh January/February days where everyone on the East Coast bails for warmer destinations. Remember that Bangles song - "Hazy Shade of Winter" - it was played at the beginning of the film, "Less than Zero" It takes place in LA over winter break. I was living there when it came out and the imagery of that song and those California winters are still my favorite. Those days, cold and night and in the morning, but clear days where you could stay in the sun and cling to that endless summer, or be in the shade and acknowledge the season in a sweater and boots. Alas, ultimately, DC could get another snowpocolypse and SB will not.

So with that in mind, the switching out of the wardrobe from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter commences. I did mine yesterday, with the Skins on tv, the first squash-apple soup of the season on the stove, deep breathing throughout. As I live in a really tiny apartment - not complaining, love it - the closet space is, well, limited. So you take a former dress shop owner with over 100 dresses, and all the other clothing that takes up space, jackets especially, well, you can see why I've now added, have become an expert on small space wardrobing. I laugh now to think of my now sold condo in Rhode Island and its expansive closets, and additional storage space. I have about 1/4 of the space I once had, which means I have consigned, donated to charity, or given to friends more than 1/2 of my wardrobe, while my remaining exists in the closet, 2 dress bags under the bed, and a large plastic tote, that's it. And I love it. It's incredibly freeing to only own what you love, what you know looks great on you. There's simply no room for anything that doesn't.

dreamy closets...

closer to reality in a DC apartment...

So my closet is done, what about yours? Need help? I love doing closets, and now that mine is done, I can draw my attention to yours. 3 hours max, it usually takes closer to 2. Basically, we go through your wardrobe, keep what's great, donate/consign what doesn't, and make a list to get to update and go with what's staying. And of course you get my impeccable style advice. Don't worry, I'm not expensive, and I don't want to change your style, I just love to see it elevated, refined. It's fun, I promise. 

In the meantime, so looking forward to seeing the DC street style in the next few weeks. I'm still seeing some flip flops, which truly does kill me a little bit, but alas, I remain optimistic that the ladies will step it up. It's the gentlemen in DC I'm noticing are already looking sharp and in their Fall attire - less khaki, more dress pants, great jackets, and gasp, suits. Thank you, gentlemen. And Happy Fall! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The March on Washington, 50 years later...

It is moments like this that I am especially glad that I live in Washington, DC.

This coming Wednesday, August 28th, is the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington for Jobs and Justice. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, the most iconic moment to have evolved from that day, is an image that I hope every American sees, as it was truly a moment to dream of what could be in this country of ours. Although his speech is especially remembered as a comment on race, the March itself was far more encompassing. People marched for Jobs and Freedom as the title says, but also for voting rights, for dignity, for the end of Jim Crow, and yes, for DC Statehood.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of the commemoration of that March, on the same land that 50 years ago, America had a dream. The dream is still a work in progress, for sure. But what I saw yesterday was the very best and most intense moment I have had in a long time that left me overwhelmed by hope. And I believe that hope is a crucial component to the dream becoming real.

For a reminder of what hope is...

Definition of HOPE

intransitive verb

: to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion>
archaic : trust
transitive verb
: to desire with expectation of obtainment
: to expect with confidence : trust

It really is a fantastic word, isn't it? 

Waking up yesterday morning, even going to bed Friday night, I was feeling a palpable buzz in the city. After a rainy Friday, the sun made a spectacular appearance for sunset, and the air cooled and dried of humidity. Waking up to the air coming in through open windows on Saturday morning, I had that great feeling when you get when you just know it's going to be a good day.

I had wanted to begin my day at the DC Statehood rally at the DC War Memorial on the Mall before going to the events and speeches at the Lincoln. But alas, Saturday was a required work day for me so I had to figure out a different plan.  Having looked at the schedule, it looked like the Lincoln part of the program would be over by 3 so I could go for a few hours leading up to that, and that's what I did.

By the time I got to the Mall at about 12:30 (SO thankful that Capital Bikeshare had bikes and spaces available where and when I needed them!) people were coming in the opposite direction, and I was so worried that I had missed it, and that the March had left the Lincoln earlier than I had planned. But alas, as I made my way across the Mall towards the Lincoln, I saw that I was right on time...

As I was on my own, I wandered through the crowd intensely present and observing it all. I was so struck by the thousands of people gathered and the t shirts and signs that most clearly said why they were there. And it was voting, and dignity, and the end to the new Jim Crow, and jobs and freedom, and equality and yes, DC Statehood.


As I wandered towards the Lincoln, I was struck by not just the sheer number of people, but how many types of people were there. I saw every age and color, men and women, thousands and thousands of them, all having made the effort to come be part of this moment. And although their specific causes may have differed, it was overwhelming to see so many people gathered in support of what the 1963 March on Washington meant to them, and the hope that they all still have that the causes are still worth marching for.

As I walked and realized this all, listening to the speeches over the loudspeakers, I saw that people were smiling at me, as I pardoned myself past in the very crowded paths and meandered my way closer to the Lincoln. I realized that I was smiling as I walked through, and folks were smiling back. Such a simple act really, but it was that interaction that made me feel very much a part of where I was and what I was experiencing was an amazing sense of community on a pretty profound level.

By the time I made it to the Lincoln, Bernice King was speaking. In the spirit of her father, she spoke about unity and equality and dignity and asked us all to join hands. And we did, my left hand clasped in the hand of an elder black man, my right clasped in the hand of a younger black man. And we prayed for hope and that the dream would be fulfilled. And the older man hugged me and I hugged the younger one, and the event was over in advance of the March. 

I continued on my way, as it was time to go back to work, so content that I had come to witness this wonderful moment, and with a truly renewed sense of hope that the dream will be fulfilled by me and all those people just like me on the Mall.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reflections on the Voting Rights Act Today, and Moving Toward Equal Access for All

Funny, as I waited for the decision to come down from SCOTUS on the Shelby case, I very much expected to post here shortly thereafter. The reality is that learning of the decision that Tuesday morning left me very much at a loss for words. Even now, I am not writing because I have figured it all out, oh no, I am not even close to there yet. I am writing now simply because today, as promised by Congress, there was a hearing on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), and watching it allowed me to focus on it, and to see who is going to be responsible for fixing it, and hearing the powers that be, speak to the issue. And I am left wondering, can it be fixed? Yes, I believe it can be. But in our current state, by this Congress, will it be fixed?

As SCOTUS obliterated aka found to be unconstitutional, Section 4 of the VRA, on Tuesday morning, June 25th, almost a month ago, it was kind of like a backhanded slap upside the head. You're shocked, and surprised, it's not the worst thing ever, but it's offensive.

Section 4 is the enforcement of Section 5, and necessary for it to function as prescribed. However, Section 2, which is sometimes called the heart of the VRA, was not struck down, so technically, there is still voting rights enforcement that can occur, but on a much smaller and much more specific scale.

It was not a simple verdict, not at all. On one hand, SCOTUS almost legislated how the VRA could still exist - which many will say and have said, is not the job of SCOTUS at all - but yet also left the true fate of the VRA to Congress. This is where I think it gets really really complicated.

Since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and as recently as 2006, the Congress overwhelmingly, with bipartisan support - even from the states covered by the VRA - voted to reauthorize it. It was a total no brainer, even in the midst of the second Bush Administration. Perhaps it is that very fact that is so sobering today as we move on from here. It isn't a no brainer anymore. As we move towards the extremes of partisanship, the fate of the right to vote is in the balance.

Today, in this grand move to hold the hearing on the future of Voting Rights Act, as a Congressional response to SCOTUS' challenge, only 2 TWO Republicans showed up. Just not a good sign on any level, and for me, and I think for anyone who cares about the right that every American should have fair and equal access to the vote, I am left with this hollow feeling in my stomach. To think that the most basic and important right that we as Americans have, that has historically been more of a challenge, to put it mildly, to exercise that right, is no longer a bipartisan, nay a nonpartisan issue, as it has been since the Voting Rights Act was passed amongst blood shed and the will of the American people, leaves me a bit perplexed.

So, where DO we go from here. I know where I want to go, where I want this country to go, and where all that treasure the right to vote want it to go - to ensure fair and equal access to the right to vote. It's that simple. And in the current state of this unprecedented partisanship, that hard.

I am truly thankful for the civil rights community that has come together as a coalition behind this most essential right that the movement aspired to and did, up until June 25th, rectify, although it had issues still. The Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, The Advancement Project, the Brennan Center, all of the scholars, and all of the advocates, have all truly come together with such a force, that I truly do believe we will continue to fight and ultimately, we shall overcome. And justice will be served, and every American will have fair and equal access to the vote.

So much work to do... Game on.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Voting Rights Victory in Arizona and for All

As the 10 am hour came and went this morning, upwards of 30,000 people followed to find out what opinions the Court had rendered. As we speed towards the end of June, truly important cases and issues lie in the balance and that includes Shelby v Holder.

But alas, and nearly amazingly, after 4 opinions were read this morning, the final one was Arizona v ITCA! And as Justice Scalia stated that federal law preempts Arizona's proof of citizenship requirement,  we who support access for all Americans to the vote had a victory in the first of the two voting rights cases the Justices are considering this term.

The funny thing is, in Arizona, this is a BIG deal, and has been the hot issue there for months. Perception among people outside of Arizona though, not so much. A reaction along the lines of, it's not a big deal. That kind of pisses me off. It is a big deal to all the people is has easily enabled to register to vote, and to people like me who were there advocating for its passage as Bill Clinton became our President.

In 1993, the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA) was passed in Congress. NVRA is more commonly known as "Motor Voter" and its intent was to make it easier for people to register to vote. That's always a good thing, you know, helping people access democracy and their civil rights and such. And what a great idea to be able to register to vote when you get a drivers license. I will in fact be doing that tomorrow, when I surrender my Rhode Island license and get my DC license (and lose my voting rights and be taxed without representation, but that's another post altogether!) Fill out a form, check the box that asks if you would like to register to vote and WHAM! You are a voting member of our democracy! It was cool when I was 23 working on it, it's still a great addition to the voting process 20 years later.

Ah, but Arizona. Arizona wanted to impose its own regulations to the NVRA, and today SCOTUS said they could not. Phew. This gives the responsibility of the U.S. Congress to control the voter registration laws of our country, and states must yield to those laws.

I could go on and analyze this for you, but of course it was done hours ago by many. I direct you to Lyle Denniston, who has been writing on the Supreme Court for 55 years here. Yes, 55 years. He knows his stuff, I am a fan. 

So it was a good Monday in DC. Next opportunity to get the Shelby v Holder opinion will be Thursday morning at 10 am. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The 45th Anniversary of My Birth, A Historic Reflection

All I can figure is, I must have been really alert inside the womb. 45 years ago this morning, in New Jersey, I came into the world. 4 June 1968. A date two months to the day after MLK, Jr. was killed, that day being when RFK spoke words that prevented Indianapolis from the rioting that night, which was so prevalent in other cities especially my DC, that night; and the day that same man gave his last speech in LA, CA. The civil rights movement was literally losing its voice as I was being born. People that were conscious of that time have told me so many times, "Hope died that night." I was mere hours old when hope died...and civil rights has been my innate passion since the day I was born. Many years later, I got, to me, validation of its significance from one of my heroes, Tim Russert, when he looked me in the eye and told me that I was born at a truly historic moment and that my passion was palpable. But that's another story for another time...

Until I went to college, I never knew anyone born on my birthdate. Then one day, as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, I befriended a girl named Martine, who not only shared my birthday, but was born in California, the very state that a few hours later on the day of our birth, would witness the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. And the most amazing thing happened. Not only was she barely aware of the events of that day, but she didn't have any thoughtful connection to the CR movement. At the time, I just thought that was fascinating. I think up until then, I thought that everyone who shared my birthday would be affected by the historical events of the time. Nope.

It's funny, I've always had two very distinct passions, dressing, and civil rights. Here I am, all this time later, and they are truly 2 evolving passions. I went as far as I desired with dressing, but even now put on the back burner as a career, it is still something I truly love and share with others regularly. It's just there, and a part of me. But civil rights, and for me voting rights especially, that is what made me angsty this morning awaiting SCOTUS' released decisions. The 2 voting cases were not among them, and so we shall wait, til next Monday at the earliest... that is my still developing and enveloping passion, to ensure that this slide I see back to what was so wrong in the 60's, that made true progress, rearing its ugly head again today. I must make sure my voice is heard in advocacy, to continue to move towards fairness, equality, for every person in this country, regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. Yes, I still hold that ideal, all these years later, in the face of so much ignorance and hate towards anything that is different. I know as sure as I type, it is in our rejoicing in our diversity, that we can truly accomplish anything. That's just me. And a whole lot of others that I am proud to call my heroes.

I find myself, and many things at this moment, hanging in the balance. I am taking this moment to reflect on my, and our collective history, and always our limitless potential, alas, but there are decisions that will greatly affect ability to reach our potential. That is why, at the end of the day, I choose hope. And optimism. That there is more good than bad, that there is, at the end of the day, a collective wish that we all share that things will be good, be better, and that the common good, and justice, will prevail. And that truest wish is my wish that I share on this, the morning of my birth, for the good of each and everyone of us.

And peonies.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Girl, Interrupted.

A month ago, the finish line at the Boston Marathon was bombed. It's a place I know well, having done the same thing as a child that many did that day...went to the morning Sox game, then walked over to the finish line. Such a rockin' spot, I loved it, the energy! I remember it just being a happy and fun yearly event, and it was all good...and it still is a great memory. But still. I wasn't there, and my friends that ran it where not near it, so it's not a personal connection to the events in the way it is for those who were physically there, but it affected me, as it did many others just like me who have the same stories of growing up there and doing the same thing...and today someone posts on twitter that tomorrow is the month anniversary, and it feels like it was much longer ago...

I have not posted since Boston happened. I would have if the Supreme Court had issued a ruling on the voting cases, definitely, but I guess I just took a moment, a month off... I'm coming back now.

A few of the cooler things that were posted in the days following that day...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring has so sprung in DC!

Ok, so it is FINALLY Springtime in DC in all of its glory! All of a sudden (haha) in the past few days, everything just popped, and it is beautiful.

I have been so busy enjoying the fabulousness, that I have neglected writing, so I'm going to cheat a little bit, and let the pictures I can't stop taking, bring you into Springtime, too. Wherever you are...


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Cleaning Your Closet

As I look out a window of gray skies, and temperatures still hovering in the 40's, I find myself daydreaming about Spring and and my Spring wardrobe. Here we are, late March in DC and it remains strategically tucked away in my shoebox of an apartment in the city. It's just not time to switch yet, which is becoming a test of my patience. I love my Spring wardrobe, it's full of my favorite dresses and skirts and shoes, having evolved mostly from my shop. Some of my favorite dresses are going on 5-8 years old, and I am so ready to ditch the sweaters and coats and gloves for a long while.

Others have not waited, some have started wearing those light Spring dresses, and shoes sans covering, looking kind of freezing and odd as most everyone else is still dressing appropriately for the weather, which in DC, is not resembling its typical March self. I want to be in that Spring dress and sandal, too! But alas, the temperatures aren't forecast to go above 50 this week though, and that's with rain. Maybe next week...

As I do have such limited storage, I think I've had to become an expert editor with my wardrobe. There simply isn't the space to acquire new things without something leaving my closet. My storage is 2 dress bags under the bed, a big box in the closet, and my largest suitcase, that's it. The good thing about this, is that switching my closet out takes hardly any time to do the actual task. But why I love spending a few hours doing it, is because it gives you the opportunity to really see what you have, which things need to be replaced, and where the holes are, which are your opportunities to add a few new things from this season's styles.

Spring seems to be a good time to replace your layering basics - tee shirts, camis, cardigans - all these things are on sale in Spring, and it's the easiest way to add some color interest to your Spring wardrobe. We've all been in black and gray for months and months at this point, I'm so over it, aren't you?

When you're switching your closet, it's also time to try everything on that zips. The moment of truth, did you gain weight over the winter. Confession, once about 6 years ago, nothing with a zipper fit. That was a big wake up call for me. I had gained about 8 pounds over the winter, and until I tried on my Spring clothes, I really had no idea. I went on Weight Watchers for 2  months, lost it, and that was the end of that. Ever since, my weight fluctuates a few pounds, but not a size. I decided that was not a road I wanted to go down, especially at my age where losing weight takes a major concerted effort. Not fun, and I'm happy to have apparently gotten the hang of maintenance for the duration.

Another great thing to do when you initially switch out your closet is to put all the hangers in the closet in opposite direction. It's the simplest way to figure out what you're actually wearing. By June or so, you can look at those pieces still on opposite way facing hanger and figure out why. If you're just kind of done with the item and it's just taking up space, this is the time to choose whether to consign it or donate it. It really depends what it is, and what kind of money you're talking about, but I find the most satisfaction in donating work pieces to an organization like Dress for Success, and consigning dresses and dressier pieces for cash to go towards a new item.

Spring is also a great time to take a good look at your shoes. I feel like I have been in boots forever at this point, and am so looking forward to putting them away for next Fall. I think we all have more Spring/Summer shoes just because they're so much more fun to wear - flats, sandals, our heels - in colors, metallic, prints, the possibilities are endless. Look at your shoes from last year, how are the heels, the fabric, the leather? Take care of your shoes if they are meant to last. Maybe that worn out flip flop can be thrown out and replaced...

Ahh, flip flops, and thoughts of the pool, and the beach, and glorious warm weather and sun.... It's inevitable, right?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Signs of Spring

One of my favorite things about living in DC, is that Spring comes early. Being from the New England coast, March is often the cruelest month, as hopeful crocuses and daffodils are often pummeled by snow and bitter winds. We would stay well bundled up though March there, so over wearing sweaters and tights and boots. But here in DC, March days brings the first 60 degree days, budding trees that will soon make DC pink and white, and, thanks to the hour of sleep we lost on Sunday, daylight that stretches into the evening, and we're all out, with less layers, enjoying our early Spring.

But alas, with the warmer temperatures, comes the onslaught of the abundance of crimes against fashion. Already, with just the few nice days we've had, our streets are spotted with articles of shoes and clothing that should just never be worn together. There are 2 types of shoes with which I cannot stand to see on the downtown streets of the city as I walk to work each morning, Tom's and flip-flops.

1. Tom's Shoes to Work. No.

Let me begin by saying, I love Tom's Shoes. The philanthropic objective is admirable, and the product is a fun and comfortable shoe. BUT and this is a big but, when worn with the appropriate everything else. Like here...

And here, if you need celebrity inspiration...

Shorts + Tom's = perfect

Jeans + Tom's = great

**Leggings + Tom's = ok

**Leggings are not pants ** (that's going to get a post of its own, obv.)

Skirts + Tom's = More complicated.

Fun when done casually, like a t shirt and a short flirty skirt and Tom's can be perfect running around the city on the weekend, brunching, walking, biking. But Tom's with a pencil skirt, or other more business cut attire, well, that actually makes me angry, in a fashion anger kind of way. It is just wrong on every level - it makes an otherwise sharp look, which you need to kick ass during the day, look frumpy, unorganized, and absolutely not professional. It is the paradox of the Tom's. Can be fabulous, can be a disaster. And too many women I see in DC are undermining themselves in this crime against fashion.

Which leads me to my near absolute no-no with Tom's.

Dresses + Tom's = Ugh.

Pretty much unless you're Keira Knightley, and really not even her. Better shoes for that dress are right next to her, which makes me think she was at a Tom's event, but whatever. Liv Tyler's outfit works, but it is specifically casual, that's not a professional work look obviously, so the fun casual Tom's appropriate spirit is happening there. Point is that a dress has a zillion other much prettier options. Like these...

Pointy flats are back! Ladies, this is news! To me, they are the perfect city shoe, as they are flats that you can wear all day, but like their sister the pointy heel, they make you look skinnier and taller! Shoe nirvana!

Why they had pretty much evaporated from the market for the last 4 years, I have no idea, but I am rejoicing that I can FINALLY replace my favorite matte gold pointy toe flats. Those shoes have been to the cobbler every spring for the last 3 years for a tune-up as I would once again not find anything to replace them. Currently lusting over the options...

I know pointy toes scare some, but I promise you, try them and you have have the love I do of them. I always put some lambswool in the toe (available at CVS for less than $5 for a bag with the foot stuff) and of course, Dr. Scholl inserts. Flats so often just have no support, even the more expensive ones, so these ensure you have arch support and cushioning - really important if you walk a lot, but something everyone should consider. I am still stunned that there are a lot of ladies walking around in shoes that aren't comfortable. Super unnecessary and silly! These are my go-to's that work in all of your shoes, not just your flats. There are ones for guys too, they need the support, too! I've tried the CVS brand, and they're a few dollars less, but they just aren't as comfortable and they definitely get worn out more quickly.

So that's my Tom's rant. Spread the word ok? No Tom's during the workday. No Tom's in offices where suits and dresses are happening, ever. Thank you.

2. Flip flops

Just. No.

So everyone will read this and I won't see this on my walk to work anymore, right? ;)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dressing DC

When you leave your house in the morning, whether dressed to the nines, or dressed in sweats and a baseball hat, you make the choice about how the world will see you. And all the world's a stage, right? Well, treat it like one, and you can show the world that you are confident, you are fabulous, and you are ready to take it all on - and then watch what happens. That's the really fun part. You open yourself to the power of knowing that whatever happens as you go about your day, you are projecting your best you: your style. And that's when the really good stuff happens. ANYthing can happen. Really, I've seen it. And better yet, I can help you get there.

When I was younger, going to Catholic school and wearing a uniform every day, I became obsessed with a new show called, "Style with Elsa Klensch." It was on CNN on Saturday mornings, and basically this English woman would, in her lovely voice, talk about the couture collections being shown in Milan, Paris or New York. Of course I realized right off the bat that these fashions weren't really realistic for me, but as Coco Chanel so eloquently put it, "fashion is transient, style endures." How fun to figure out what would look great on me, what my personal style was. And I decided that since I had to get dressed every single day, I was going to do it the best I possibly could.

This rather simple realization at a relatively young age, has stayed with me all these years later. I know absolutely what looks good on me and what doesn't while still having fun with it.  Eventually I realized people, both men and women, were often asking me about their style, what to wear to a specific event, how to be appropriate for a specific meeting, or even for help with their entire closet. And so it evolved, and I began dressing others, long before I really understood the term "stylist" was. As mentioned in a previous post, for a little while I had my shop where I did this full time with clothes I chose from the current season's offerings. All a very fun and successful venture.

So here we are. Or here I am, no longer focused on dressing others as a career, but here in DC. Back to professional work attire most days, casual Fridays, going from work to social event, and weekend events. These are dressing challenges we all face. Some are doing it well, some not so much.

I think I live in a pretty fascinating place to see style and fashion. When I lived in DC last time, in the 90's, no one was going to mention DC and style in the same sentence. Now, evidenced by the idea that DC has become Hollywood East, and with it, an influx of fashion, the good, the bad and the ugly. DC also has an enormous population of 20 somethings, those the fashion is most evident on, again in its best and in its most tragic incarnations. I am all for innovative fashion choices, but Toms with a pants suit, nor a club minidress with a jacket over it, does not count. Ever. And leggings are not, and will never be, pants.

And so this will be my venue to talk about dressing, because it needs to be done, and I know that I can help. Stories from clients, and hopefully eventually stories from people that may actually read this will be shared anonymously, as well as just my take on what I'm seeing and why it's so right, or so wrong and how to fix it. Learning some guidelines, getting your wardrobe to a place where it becomes almost a no-brainer, that anything you put on is going to be the best it can be for you, is incredibly powerful in its most basic level. When you know you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, look out world. It doesn't cost a lot of money, it doesn't take a lot of time, and the benefits are spectacular.

Game on.