The Great Southwest

Today I thought it would be a nice change of pace to produce a post that's derived from earthy, southwestern influences. I have mentioned to you, on previous occasions, that I'm greatly inspired by the cultures of Native Americans and Mexicans. Both cultures are catalyst for a huge trend this fall season, and though this trend is currently HOT, I always have southwestern pieces on rotation in my closet, regardless of what the fashion world says. As a matter of fact, I wrote a post on December 10th, of last year, called Spanish Flava, which gave you a first glimpse at my taste for the great southwest lifestyle.

Today's look is constructed from pieces that I've had in my wardrobe for some time. The newest piece is the hat which I purchased last year from Forever 21. The anchor for this look is a pair of Ralph Lauren boots that I purchased over 17 years ago from TJ Maxx. The dress comes from my favorite little local vintage boutique. The jewelry comes from a wide variety of places...Mexico, inherited from my mother, Anthropologie (the large colorful ring), and from a couple of boutiques. I hope you enjoy this look which was shot on a road, near my home, that housed many ranches for horse breeders.

Little did I know, that the women headed my way on horseback, would allow one of her friends to model with me. Meet my friend Tally! The woman on horseback (who fell in love with my dress) allowed me to pose with him. At first he and I had to become comfortable with one another. But after a gentle pat and a bit of coaxing, Tally and I soon became good friends.
My new friend, Tally!

A variety of jewelry adorns this look. The nail polish is Marney by Zoya
Boots by Ralph Lauren

Navajo necklace and turquoise ring were inherited from my mother.

As my husband photographed these images for this post, I was reminded of the great work from artist, Georgia O'Keeffe. I felt like this post was a pastiche, of sort, to her great work. As I stood gazing up at the dusty, rolling hills, I could clearly see why she saw such beauty in the many layers that we call the great southwest{wink}

I love to read your views, please, leave your comments below.

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Photographs by Freddy


Seize the Gray

Since making the behemoth decision to ditch the dye, I have received oodles of compliments, on my hair, from friends and strangers alike. While getting my teeth cleaned, and having my mouth hanging wide open, my young and good-looking dentist said to me, "Mrs. Harrison, your hair is stunning." Just recently I met-up with a friend, whom I haven't seen in over a year, and the first thing that came out of her mouth was, "I love your hair!" The last time we saw one another, I had just applied a substantial amount of chestnut brown #4 into my hair. She, like others in my circle, had no idea that my crown had transformed itself...seemingly overnight, into my salt and pepper curls. I tried my best to hide my two-toned head of hair until recently, when I decided to not look back, put on my big girl panties and seize the gray...

Today's outfit is in celebration of my silver/gray crown. I have selected to wear my favorite go-to dress that I have dubbed my LGD (little gray dress). It is the most perfect little dress that I found on clearance at TJ Maxx (ages ago) for only $10! I have worn this dress to many reporting occasions during my days as a newspaper style columnist; to dinners; and to school functions for my sons. It's super easy to wear and requires zero fuss. I simply pull it on and go...no zippers or buttons...and it has pockets! And here is the most magnificent quality of my LGD - it is made of sweatshirt/pant material, so you can just imagine how comfortable and easy to maintain it must be. Ahem...just like my hair (I had to throw that in). I have decided to pair my easy dress with a bold, statement necklace because frankly speaking, I feel quite bold by giving the standards of what's attractive the boot.

Today's Look - Sweat Dress via TJ Maxx (ages ago); Shell Necklace: Francesca's Collection (ages ago), My Favorite Vintage America Nine West Sandals via eBay; Sterling Silver Bangle from Mexico, Sterling Silver Ring purchased at the Pasadena Flea Market. Sorry folks, I'm not wearing anything new today so I don't have any links for you.

My naturally curly salt & pepper crown of curls.

Closing the door on Hollywood - the gatekeepers of what's attractive.

Just this morning, I saw a very inspiring story from the Huffington Post regarding actress, Ali MacGraw. Who doesn't remember Ali's flowing brunette hair in her 1970's iconic starring role in Love Story with Ryan O'Neil? In the Huffington piece, Ali proudly shows her now embraced, glorious silver hair; and how she was able to walk away from the standards of "Hollywood" to be her true self. Click HERE to watch the short interview. She looks positively regal!

In order for Ali to make her transition to silver, she had to leave the judgmental glare of Hollywood. With all of its positive attributes, the downside of California is its obsession with youth. The thought of showing your years is considered an outrage, and only a few brave souls have been able to buck the system...or leave it behind all together. I, too, receive the stares. Sometimes I wonder what they're thinking. Are some saying, "She needs to see a colorist?" Or, do they look and me and secretly wish they had the courage to Seize the Gray{wink}

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Photographs by Freddy



I have always been a fan of accessories, especially a great belt. Whether they're deemed "in style" or not, I find that adding well-made belts to your accessories collection to be a major plus factor in the details department. While many view them as simply utilitarian, I see them as an opportunity to make a statement all of their own. I enjoy wearing understated pieces and then allowing my belts and other accessories to hold the conversation. You'll find that these added touches will have a great deal to say...

Since my wardrobe is a cross between classic, quirky and a bit bohemian, my belts tend to also represent these three categories. Here is a great example of one of my favorite belts from a post I did on 11/9/13 called Hippie. Some of my belts are classic leathers with a chic buckle; others are quiet and add a simple statement to the look; while others are the focal point and command a great deal of attention. For today's look, I have chosen to wear a quirky and albeit bohemian leather floral belt with very classic and basic attire. I have had the belt in my collection for well over 25 years. I purchased it when I worked in management for the Limited Corporation. The belt is from the Limited Express. Now known as simply - Express. I was influenced to revisit this dear friend of mine after viewing the spring 2015 collection for Michael Kors, which left me swooning...to say the least.

Michael Kors s/s 2015 {source: Style.com}

Today's Look - Tank top: Loft, Crinkled Midi Skirt: H&M, Denim Jacket: Loft (from past season. Updated HERE), Michael Kors Brena Flat (still available on eBay); Belt is a vintage Express; Clutch: vintage

Brena flat by Michael Kors

To pull off good accessorizing without a hitch, it does take some skill. Accessorizing is the part of dressing that can kill or enhance a look in an instant. I consider it to be somewhat like the icing on a cake. The icing can either be delicious and add to the overall appeal of the cake, or, it can be simply awful and ruin it. Others will find themselves having to eat around the icing to get to the good part. Understand what I mean? Here are my 6 personal rules to adding accessories:
  1. Accessories should compliment the feel and flow of your attire;
  2. I try to stick with elements when wearing jewelry (silver, gold, rose gold, etc). I never go head-to-toe matchy-matchy. In other words, if I'm wearing orange attire, I wouldn't wear orange earrings, bracelets, handbag, shoes, belts, etc. Choose elements;
  3. When considering my own image (personality, body type and scale), I believe that less is more;
  4. Let one piece make a bold statement and let the other accessories take the quiet approach;
  5. It's not necessary to put accessories on every part of your body. For myself, I seldom wear necklaces because I quite like the bare look of my shoulders and neckline;
  6. As for shoes, the weight of your shoes should compliment the weight of your attire. If you're wearing a light summer dress, then wear it with a more delicate sandal or shoe. If you're wearing heavier fabrics, then chunky, weighty shoes are more appropriate. But this isn't to say that certain sandals can't be worn with sweaters. I find this look to be very chic on a cool, autumn day. However, even sandals can have a certain weight. An outfit can look off kilter if the shoes are all wrong.

How do you enjoy adding the details to your attire? Are you a less-is-more, or a more-is-more kind of dresser? Remember my friends, it's all in the details {wink}

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Photographs by Freddy


A Little Pattern Play

I admire people like Natalia from In the Writer's Closet who can pull-off pattern mixing without a hitch. Natalia puts looks together with different patterns and textures and it works. However, for myself, I have always been intimidated by the whole idea. Each time I have made the attempt, I end up re-examining myself in the mirror and then removing an item in place of a solid piece.

Today I had to get in touch with my inner Natalia, so that I would have the courage to step out and enjoy a little pattern play. I played it safe and took the easy route with stripes and polka dots. But here's why I chose to first stick my toes in the water before diving right in...First, I realized I don't have many patterns in my wardrobe. Yep, much of my closet is based on solids. And second, though I like the look of pattern mixing on others, I'm not quite sure if this look is for me. Get where I'm going? I chose the subtlety of tiny dots and a finer stripe because I feel like this pattern play meshes much better with my style.

Today's Look - A-line skirt is by Willie Wear and was purchased from TJ Maxx ages ago (similar on Amazon); The top, which I've worn for you before, was purchased at Nordstrom Rack (also ages ago. Options on Shopstyle); Sandals are by Nine West (very old); Belt is by Michael Kors also purchased from TJ Maxx; Polish is Devil's Advocate: essie; Clutch is vintage; "G" Monogram: Swell Caroline; Apt 9 Open Ring: Kohl's and Crackle Quartz Bracelet: Urban Solstice Designs

Delicate jewelry to compliment the delicate dots and stripes.

By the way, these photos were taken at 8:00am this morning (Tuesday) and already the temperature is at 95 degrees. Our weather has been scorching hot with temps coming in at 115 by noon. So truthfully speaking, under these circumstances, I would much rather dive into the deep end; but I had to play it cool {wink}

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Photographs by Freddy


A Fashionable HIIT

I am not a fitness instructor or health physician. 
Please consult with your doctor before beginning any type of physical fitness schedule.
If you have been following So What to Twenty for some time, then you know that I am a proponent of the fitness B4 fashion philosophy. I strongly believe that we should take care of ourselves both physically as well as emotionally. Especially women of a certain age. During this time of our lives, we have given so much of ourselves, and our muscle tone begins to deplete at an accelerated rate. I am a strong advocate of the mind/body connection. There have been many days when I would find myself in a not-so-pleasant mood. Rather than sulking or enjoying a pity-party, I have made the decision to grab my workout gear and sweat the annoyance away. By the end of my workout, I always feel 100% better physically and emotionally. Exercise always clears my head and enables me to concentrate on what is important. In essence, you receive dual benefits by making exercise a part of your daily life.

Back on May 21st, I did a post called Sarong'd where I told you that I had slacked off a bit on my daily workout. That neglect showed up in my inability to fit comfortably into my clothing. Since I don't have the type of income that allows me to simply spend freely, and I wasn't happy with the idea of purchasing larger sizes anyway, I decided to up the ante and start a more aggressive workout schedule. So, on July 8th, after taking on the new schedule, I did a post called LEGZ, in which I shared with you my current workout schedule and routine.

Since the LEGZ post, I have stepped it up even further by participating in a very challenging program called HIIT.  HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): A training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. I'm not going to sugar-coat this type of training...It is very intense and not for the faint of heart. Let's put it this way, since beginning HIIT, I have dropped two dress sizes. But let me also add this bit of important information - I am not a big eater and my genetic makeup comes from a long line of petite people who were also very physically active. Because the HIIT training is very high energy, I have had to increase my caloric intake. On an average, I would probably consume no more than about 1200 calories per day. I have had to increase it by 2000 to take in at least 3200. This has been a HUGE challenge for me, because after working out, I tend to lose my appetite. So, when I eat, I dive into whole foods which consist of good carbs, and protein. I try my darnedest to stay away from processed foods.

As I type this post to you, I just completed Day 3 of a 5-Day HIIT. There are many HIIT workouts available on YouTube, however I have found that Fitness Blender works best for me. Here is Day 1 of Fitness Blender's 5 Day Workout Challenge for you to check out and perhaps try:

I know my workout is rigorous and may be intimidating to some. And I know some of you have stated you don't like exercise. I understand that sentiment. At one point in my life I didn't care for it either, but after the birth of my first son (17 years ago), I have since made it a part of my life. Experts say that it only takes repeating something for 28 days in order for it to become a habit. I suggest start small - even if it's a walk around your community, or stretching each morning...do something to get yourself started. Like I stated earlier, I just completed Day 3 and man do I ache! But like any fitness junky, I feel as if I didn't accomplish anything unless I have that muscle soreness. So yes, I view it as a good thing. Am I sad I dropped two sizes? Nope. The only negative is that I have had to dish out $$ in order to have my wardrobe altered. Maybe I should take up sewing{wink}

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Photographs by Freddy



Opposite: a person or thing that is totally different from or the reverse of someone or something else.

I find, that when creating an outfit, by selecting opposing pieces, I often bring about a more interesting ensemble that melds together quite nicely. For myself, I find a person's outfit more interesting when the pieces weren't purchased as a complete look, and are not matchy-matchy. Tweet Worthy --> Having the ability to mix and match your way into an ├╝ber stylish look is super chic, and extends your wardrobe beyond belief. But you must have the imagination to do so. For myself, opening my closet and putting opposing clothing items together is the ultimate play time. Rarely do I purchase a complete look, but opt to by separates with the idea that I'll be able to wear them with other items in my existing wardrobe.

For today's look, I have put together an outfit in which the pieces were purchased from many types of retailers and different price points. In other words, nothing was purchased together, nor with the idea of being specifically worn together. However the look is harmonious. The photos were taken in a place that plays well with today's opposites. Enjoy!
Sturdy and Soft: Denim vs. Chiffon
Today's Look - Petite White Jeans: Loft (similar option), Top is super old purchased from TJ Maxx (option at Amazon), Clutch: Juicy Couture, Sandals: Nine West Vintage America Collection (limited addition), Cuff: J.Jill (old) (option on Amazon), Knuckle Rings: Everything Silver (options on Amazon), Polish is Mink Muffs by essie

Skinny and Billowy: Skinny jeans with a Billowy top

Black and White: Opposing light reflections

Bold and Delicate: Statement accessories mixed with Delicate accessories

Near and Far: Close vs. Distance

High and Low: High Heels with a High/Low top

Open and Closed: Open and Closed Door
Short and Tall: Glenda vs. Surroundings
Is it safe to say, that in life and in fashion, opposites are meant to be? What are your viewpoints on buying separates (with the idea of having an abundance of options in your wardrobe) verses wearing made to be worn together coordinates? Let's see if we have opposing views{wink}

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Photographs by Freddy