26 April 2017

Wondering Wednesday: "Only Three Outfits for a Single Woman???"

Portrait of a Young Woman - Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun - Public Domain
Dear Ladies,

Reader Nena asked today's question, based on last week's Wondering Wednesday.

For any woman, the key to forming a versatile wardrobe is the clever combining of separates, so even though one has few pieces, one may combine them in a large number of ways.  

Single women, because most of them work away from home, do need a separate work wardrobe, but the rule of three can apply to keep the clothing expense to a minimum.  Three jackets or cardigans, three tops, and three skirts go a long way toward meeting a working woman’s wardrobe needs. These nine pieces combine to form twenty-seven outfits, if the colors and textures work together.  

What about clothes for dates?  The etiquette of dating/courtship varies greatly based on location and culture, so I can only write from the customs here in the United States.  Here, most dates are  casual: picnics, sporting events, activities with each other’s families, outdoor activities, and other similar functions.  Today, hardly anyone under the age of sixty does the “dinner and a movie” date that was popular when I was in my teens and twenties, so a great number of dressy clothes are not necessary for dating.  Three tops and three skirts make nine outfits, which would seem to cover quite a few dates before becoming repetitive.  I don’t believe that most men care about the clothing that women wear, as long as the outfits are attractive, modest, and appropriate to the activity.

I believe that many men fear marrying someone who wastes money on expensive clothes and marrying someone who only sees them as meal tickets or means to an end. Showing men that we value the womanly art of thrift can help to alleviate those fears. 

Buying expensive clothes isn’t sinful or anything like that, if the clothing can be easily afforded, but how we spend our money shows what we value.  Answering the question “Why do I dress the way I do?” helps to clarify values and priorities.  

I hope that my little “woman-to-woman” ideas have helped.

Agape always,

20 April 2017

Wondering Wednesday: "What Do You Consider a Minimum Wardrobe?"

Clip Art is Courtesy of Microsoft.
Dear Ladies,

Are you feeling well, doing good, and sharing your joie de vivre with others?  I hope so!  

The question for today reflects a new anti-materialistic spirit that is permeating the younger people in the world, or so it seems to me, anyway.  Younger people are rejecting the "gotta have more stuff" spirit that has led many cultures in our world for the past several decades.  

I say, good for them!  There's much more to life than the accumulation of unneeded material goods.

What I consider to be a minimal wardrobe follows "The Rule of Three" for clothing:  one to wear, one in the closet, one in the laundry.  Thus, a woman needs three aprons, three housedresses, and three "going out" outfits.  To stretch the wardrobe even farther, the "going out" outfits could be three tops and three skirts, making nine outfits, plenty of clothing for nearly any woman.  

A minimal wardrobe would be problematic for a woman who did not have her own laundry facilities; at the same time, if a woman knew that she had fewer clothing options without spending two hours going to the laundromat, she might be even more careful than usual to avoid soiling her clothes.  

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped you.

Agape always,

15 April 2017

Another Reason for Mom to be Serene

Young Mother Sewing - Mary Cassatt - Public Domain
Because I am widowed now, my number one earthly concern is not my husband but my children.  But even for mothers who are fortunate enough to be married (which seems an odd thing to write but there it is), children remain a very high priority.  I truly believe that raising our children to be healthy, society-building adults is the most important contribution that women make to the wider world.

Therefore, I read with interest an article from the May 2015 issue of Obesity Review by Eleanor Tate and company: "Do Stressed Mothers Have Heavier Children?".  Ms. Tate and her fellow researchers analyzed the results of seventeen different studies on childhood obesity and its prevention, and they found a relationship between mothers' stress levels and children's unhealthy eating:  when mothers are more stressed, children are less likely to consume fruits, vegetables, and other health-promoting foods (from the article's abstract). 

Perhaps the effect of mothers' stress levels on their children is more pronounced because mothers generally spend more time with their children than fathers do or because mothers who are stressed model unhealthy eating behaviors for their children.  Whatever the reason behind the effect, the effect is undeniable at this point.

What's a mother to do?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but I find the following activities helpful to increase my feeling of serenity and to decrease my feeling of stress:

  1. Pray.  Prayer is reaching out to God in a verbal way, whether through the spoken word or through thought.  If you don't believe in God, I suppose that meditation would be a substitute, but I don't know that much about the practice, hence the supposition.
  2. Learning to be Content. This one is difficult.  The world's consumer-based economy rests on women being discontented with their lives.  "I'm ugly, so I need this cosmetic." "My clothes are out of style, so I need new."  "Our car isn't as nice as the neighbors'.  Let's purchase a new model."  To help me to be content, I have learned to focus on what is right in my life without ignoring the problems I face.
  3. Practicing Positive Problem-Solving.  Rather than stomping around the house or repeatedly "venting," I try to think of actual, practicable solutions to problems.   I start by brainstorming possibilities: listing anything that comes to mind without judgement.  I then remove or modify the ideas that are a bit on the outrageous side and narrow until I have a few workable solutions. Do all my solutions work?  No, but coming up with possibilities keeps me moving forward in a healthy way.
  4. Find Something Beautiful in Nature Each Day.  When life is particularly stressful, seeing the world as an ugly place comes easy.  I have found it helpful to look for something beautiful in nature each day: insects (some insects are quite beautiful in their own way); leaves; birdsong; cloud patterns; stars; moonlight; warm sunlight or the breeze on my skin.
  5. Take Some Physical Exercise.  A few minutes' walk or turning on some music and dancing for a while helps my feeling of serenity almost immediately.
  6. Take Some Mental Exercise.  I have discussed my compulsive reading before, so I won't bore you with that.  In addition to reading, I have found crossword puzzles and Su Do Ku to be helpful ways to boost my serenity level.  
Your results may vary on all of these suggestions, of course, but as always, I hope that my little woman-to-woman ideas have helped.

Agape always,

More of my writing is available on my Etsy Store:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/HomekeepingTreasures?ref=l2-shopheader-name

12 April 2017

Wondering Wednesday: "How Can I Connect with My Husband?"

Aucassin and Nicolette - Marianne Stokes - Public Domain
The dear lady who posed this question was desperate for an emotional connection with her husband. Her Mr. Husband was Dr. Husband, so most of his emotional energy flowed to his work.  She longed to connect emotionally with her husband and set about doing so by begging him, seducing him, and engaging in other ineffective techniques.

I perceive that admiration is the number one way to encourage emotional intimacy with Mr. Husband or Mr. Potential Husband.  Please let me explain with a brief excerpt from my curriculum, A Fascinating Companion:  
"Adult males face a constant struggle to move forward in life. In higher education and in the workplace, men face an environment that is often hostile to them, particularly for those men who espouse a more traditional worldview. Most men marry eventually, and if he is not careful, a man may marry a physically attractive woman utterly lacking in character who will take him for all he is worth, leaving him bitter and broke at mid-life. 
"In sum, most men have gone through their lives experiencing varying levels of misery and disrespect.  Admiration helps to heal men’s wounded spirits." (page 124)
The woman who "helps to heal [a man's] wounded spirits" (ibid.) allows him a feeling of safety.  He can let down his guard; he can allow himself to feel.  When that happens, emotional intimacy almost always follows.  At least, that has been my life experience.  

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped you.

Agape always,

In addition to purchasing a copy from me directly or receiving one as part of my Advanced Marriage Enrichment class, A Fascinating Companion is available from my Etsy store:   https://www.etsy.com/listing/502461466/a-fascinating-companion-marriage?ref=related-2

10 April 2017

Femininity Friday-ish: Classic Feminine Makeup

Dear Ladies,

(By way of explanation, I was almost ready to publish the following blog post and videos on Friday when I received some news that distracted me until this morning.  Another punch with which to roll.  Semper Gumby is my secret motto, apparently.)

Attractive, appropriate makeup is part of the Feminine Persona for most women.  Although makeup styles differ depending on culture and fashions, classic feminine makeup for the past seventy years or so has included a smooth complexion along with eye and lip enhancements.

What about Conturing?  Conturing has gone in and out of fashion--mostly out--and techniques vary greatly, depending on the individual woman's face shape and bone structure.  Conturing, it seems to me, should be taught to each woman individually by a professional who knows what she is doing.

Classic feminine makeup, by contrast, can be learned casually and individualized on one's own.  I like to wear a dark pink lipstick (examples: Raspberry Glace by Clinique when my finances are better $$ or Revlon's Love that Pink when finances are tight $) or red lipstick (examples:  Tabu's Bermuda Red $$ or Revlon's Love that Red $) and a makeup base that matches my complexion exactly. I enhance my eyes with eyebrow powder rather than eyebrow pencil because, due to health issues, my natural eyebrows are nearly non-existent.  I don't wear eyeliner because I have hooded eyes, preferring to line my eyes very softly with a charcoal gray pencil instead.  I use a neutral taupe eye shadow with just a bit of bright color on the center of my lid.  Two coats of mascara, and I am done with the entire operation in less than ten minutes.

The first video features a woman with a warm, golden complexion who likes a bold red lip color.  She also demonstrates  the application of false eyelashes.  I don't wear false eyelashes due to issues with the adhesive, but they dramatically enhance the appearance of the eyes. Both videos may include advertising, but I do not benefit from those ads.

The second video shows a woman with cool coloring who likes to neutralize her pink-toned complexion a bit by using a neutral makeup base rather than a pink-toned makeup base.  She shows how to change her look in a subtle, but effective, way.

I hope that you enjoyed both videos and I encourage you to enhance your Feminine Persona in some way today.

Agape always,

PS: My Marriage Enrichment Curriculum is available on my Etsy shop as well as on Lulu. I appreciate your help with supporting my family.  Thank you.