Jenny: Appearances Matter

As I said in the last post, I bought this derelict cottage.  It was darling but it looked as run down as it was: leaves on the discolored roof, paint peeling off down to the wood, the yard wild and overgrown.  So one of the first things I did to both stabilize the house and signal to the neighbors that I cared about them was have the house painted and the grounds mowed and cleaned up and a new roof put on.  And I put out a welcome mat and put pots of daisies and mums next to the front door.  The inside was still moldy, but the outside said, “Somebody who lives here cares.”

That made perfect sense to me, so I don’t see why I never made the connection to my body.  Appearances are so superficial, I’ve always told myself.  Make-up is ridiculous for me, it just slides off my face anyway.  Why should I spend a small fortune on a haircut when the only people who see me are Lani and Alastair and the kids, and they have to love me anyway because they live with me?  And yes, I’m wearing a lot of worn out pajamas all day (I love my job) but it’s just me and the dogs, so that’s fine.  It’s vital that the cottage look wonderful on the outside, but me?  What’s the point?

Well, I think it’s the same point as painting a house full of mold.  You have to start somewhere and signaling to the outside world that change is happening is a good place to make that start.   The neighbors were lovely before I painted the cottage, but afterward they were even lovelier, giving me lots of praise and encouragement, so now I can’t wait to landscape the front yard next spring.  Okay, maybe the spring after that, money is tight, but still, fixing up the house makes me want to fix it up some more.  I think maybe fixing up myself will do the same thing.

I just have to figure out what I want to fix.  The make-up thing is still not for me unless I have to do some public speaking, but I could take a lot better care of my skin and nails and hair, especially my hair which, now that it’s turning gray, is really dry except for the not-gray parts which are still oily.  I’ve stocked up on different products that swear they’ll make the gray shine and the dry go away, so I’ll let you know how that works out.  I am absolutely not coloring this gray, though.  I’ve earned those gray hairs.   But it’s getting really long and as Conventional Wisdom goes, gray hair shouldn’t be long and sexy, it’s inappropriate unless you’re Judy Collins or Emmylou Harris.  What to do?  Screw Conventional Wisdom, I’m joining Judy and Emmylou in the Sisterhood of the Long Gray Hair.

So basically, my plan is to change my look from this . . . to this:












And I’m definitely joining this:




56 thoughts on “Jenny: Appearances Matter

  1. Appearances matter, but mostly how we appear to ourselves. At some point during my divorce, I realized that I hadn’t worn makeup in three years (who am I kidding, it was closer to 6). That wasn’t the reason for the divorce, but it was a perfect window into how I felt about myself. While I have regained some of the weight I lost post-divorce (and I’m not happy about it), I still won’t leave the house without makeup and real clothes on. I even put makeup on after the gym. I doubt anyone notices but me, but I still do it. I can remember that feeling of looking like a derelict cottage.

    Your sunny yellow cottage looks happy, and that’s the way we should feel inside and out, no matter what type of “paint and landscape” we use.

    BTW, conventional wisdom was meant to be challenged. Long-live long hair! :O)

  2. Ro Heim says:

    My hair, which is more white than dark brown, is now down to my waist. There was no intentional plan to grow it this long. I simply never got around to getting a hair cut. Now I’m thinking it’s time to go short. Really short. That would be the first of several changes being made this year. First lose the hair, then lose the weight. The losses will be much more intentional than the gains were.

    Change is scary. But that can be a good thing, right?

  3. When I had my daughter and gave up office work, three years ago, I was terrified of losing myself utterly. One of the ways I combatted that was refusing to wear baggy, saggy, no-one sees me so no-one cares clothes. I dress better now than I did before I gave up work, I still feel like me, and my daughter always tells me I look pretty, which is the biggest boost of all.

  4. Kylie says:

    Wow, another place to lurk in awe of all you brilliant ladies. The weight loss thing….god it can be so hard. I’m sure you will get lots of brilliant hints and tips on the journey but I’ll toss in the one huge thing that worked for me. I threw my scales OUT. Actually, I destroyed them and then threw them out. That was 3 years and 30 kilograms (no idea what that is in pounds) ago. I go by how my clothes fit, how I feel and every now and then when visiting friends (or a store) I borrow some scales just to see where I’m at in the master plan.

  5. Kira says:

    As annoying as it is, what we wear and how we look affects us… Maybe you can have one day a week when you wear something fabulous? Just one thing, it doesn’t have to be a whole outfit. But it can be. And if you don’t have, you should get. Every woman must have something that makes her feel fabulous. It’s not optional.

    Take this from someone who works from home and wears “exercise clothes” most of the time. But I have this one leather jacket, from Italy … I feel like a different person in this jacket. And I do get dressed up on the Sabbath, even if I don’t go anywhere, in honor of the day, and in honor of myself.

    If you have long hair, do you have fabulous hair accessories, that make you smile when you glimpse them in a mirror?

    The little things do add up, and emotions follow actions.

    Sending you all my love and appreciation for all your books and blogs over the years.

  6. Micki says:

    (-: Yes! Silver-maned goddesses!

    This appearance thing rings so true. I blame 19th century girls’ literature. So many little heroines were plagued by The Vain Girl who couldn’t get her wittle foot in the heroine’s shoe . . . or they just didn’t want to be the girl who was always looking in the mirror.

    This is not black and white, though. It’s a pendulum swing right through a bunch of gray areas.

    Where I live, appearances really do matter. I get a partial pass because I’m foreign, but I tried to leave the house last month wearing some fairly nice (but thin) knit/jersey pants, and my kids said, “You’re wearing THAT??” and then calmed down a bit and said, “Well, the casual-jammie look is quite popular these days.” (-: I could have gotten away with it in the States in a work place, I bet.

    I hate that it matters so much. I prefer to live in my mind. But . . . people do treat me differently when I am wearing better clothes, and some of that makes me think differently about myself, too. So, I try hard to at least have a fresh set of curtains on when I go out. (-: I won’t play with the paints, though.

  7. Thank you, Kira!
    I have some great hair sticks that I love. And I did buy new pajamas over Christmas and they’re fabulous: red pants with big pink polka dots and a soft pink long-sleeved shirt, purple plaid pants with a soft purple long-sleeved shirt, that kind of thing. (If those sound familiar, you shop at Target.) What I really love, though, are my sundresses, so once I get to the point where I have time to sew again–by spring, I hope–I’m going to start making stuff I love. And will probably blog about here. Lucky you.

  8. romney says:

    Whoh! Is that the same house? That kinda makes me think I should do some work on my own front door…

  9. Ylva Hedin says:

    I know how it is to work from home and the only one to see you is the dogs. Im known to take them on the morning walk i my pyamatrousers… that once where pink now they are… well… kind of gray. And I discoverd the same thing. I have to change and dress and look like I care about my self. If I dont, why would others?? The dogs like me even if I have my once pink trousers on but other people may just think Im the crazy lady with the terriers… 😉 When I started to change I noticed I became more happy and easy going about mostly everything!

  10. Robin S. says:

    Yep, working on the hair, skin, and nails will definitely make you feel better. I spend too much time sweating and/or dirty to mess with the make-up and fancy clothes everyday. Comfort is a huge issue for me. But taking care of the essentials (oh! and shaving the legs regularly, too) helps remind you that you are worth the time and if something comes up, you’re ready to go. Jammies and all.

  11. JulieB says:

    I love the door. I think what you said really resonates. I remember after my kids were born, I hadn’t spent money on things for myself in a long time, including pajamas. I decided that if there was a fire, I’d want to be wearing something that I really liked in case I had to run out of the house in the middle of the night, and in case that would be the only clothes I’d be left with. Hello Nick and Nora flannel Pj’s.
    Earlier in the fall, I was on a minimizing kick, and I forced myself to really go through and get rid of clothes that didn’t fit or needed repair (unless I _loved_ them and they fit, in which case I took them directly to the car for repairs). I also decided to limit my number by season based on Project 333. I didn’t worry as much about the number (I think I ended up with closer to 37) and packed away items that were out of season. It really helped me in that I was able to see what I had, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with laundry, and I realized I usually only wore my favorite things anyway, so getting rid of the extras lifted a weight off, both visually in my room, and mentally.
    Not to change the topic, but your moving and Krissie’s potential plans for moving struck a chord when I read this article on NPR yesterday.
    It talks specifically about addiction, but also how location makes people stick to a routine, even when the consciously try to change it (lose weight, limit their internet time, stop smoking, etc.) I think there is really something to the article, and I think it speaks to significant ways people need to consider when they want to change something. FREX: when my husband wanted to stop smoking (years and years ago) I told him not to bother at that point; he drove to work with his brother, who smoked, and worked in an office where everyone else smoked. instead, he tried to limit his smoking, either didn’t smoke at home, or went outside. When he changed jobs two years later, he tried and quit permanently.

  12. Kathy Scappace says:

    The thing about a haircut is that it gives you a new way of seeing yourself. I had always been a long hair kind of person. Even when I developed a huge gray streak in the front of my hair. Until one day my daughter asked me to go with her and my granddaughter to get my granddaughter’s hair cut. My granddaughter was seven years old and refused to brush her hair unless we let her get it cut.

    She won the battle. But when the time came to cut the hair she was scared.

    So my daughter and I got haircuts too. We both went from waist length hair to shoulder length and could not believe how much lighter we felt in our mood from the change.

    My daughter has since let her hair grow back out but I like the short hair better as it is easier to care for.

  13. Marcia in OK says:

    Long or short, a good haircut to get you started just for shaping and cleaning up messy ends can make such a difference in how it feels. You notice it when pulling it up, or washing it out, or when running your fingers through the ends while you’re thinking.

    For me, just for me, I always wear lipstick or gloss because it always makes me smile at myself when I pass a mirror or reflective surface. And, I keep my nails looking nice because I can always see them. They might not be polished, but they will be trimmed and filed with cuticles in check. If they aren’t well, I’m probably in the blue funk, and I can start hauling myself out, by doing my nails and reminding myself that I get to be in charge.

    Others notice the change in you – just like the neighbors noticed the paint and the flowers on the porch. They’ll smile at you too. (Check with S & L – I bet they’d have great ideas on nail polishes and patterns. Matching and perfection isn’t really the point. Fun and moving forward is.)

    Thanks for the place to share. Commenting reminds me that I know some stuff, and that it makes a difference for me. Maybe, occasionally, for someone else too.

  14. Jenny, I first saw you in person at that conference at Penn State in 1996. Your hair was short. You were fabulous. When I saw you at RWA last summer your hair was the longest that I’ve ever seen you with and my first thought was, “Wow, she looks fantastic.” I think you are one of the women who can rock long gray or long salt and pepper hair. Go for it!

    Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m in casual clothes. Even my day job attire is casual — shorts, t-shirts, sandals. I dress up for conferences or the occasional meeting. Lately, I’m tiring of the t-shirt look and have picked up a couple of shirts to which I can sew a logo patch so that I still represent the facility.

    The areas where I am absolutely a full-fledges girly-girl are skin, hair and nails. Unlike you, I’m not ready to embrace the gray hair so I get it colored on a regular basis. I also get a manicure every two weeks and a pedicure once a month. I’m trying to schedule facials once a month or once every two weeks and I use good cleansing and hydration products on my face. These are not vanity indulgence. I consider them essential for good health!

  15. Jenny,
    Get a great haircut. Your hair is something you wear every day. If the cut’s good, and it’s not one you have to fool with a lot to look good daily, you’ll be so much happier.
    And who says you can’t have long, gray hair? You can if you want to.
    I wear pajamas a lot, and I do feel guilty about it. Comfortable, but guilty.
    But elastic waistband jeans are pretty comfy, too, and I like big, bright colors. So a big, bright-colored top, and I’m not fashionable by any means, but I feel okay when I look in the mirror.
    Most makeup just gets in my contacts, and I don’t like how it feels on my face. So I hardly ever do it. When I do, Bare Escentuals. Best ever at covering up and evening out. Feels really light on your face, too.
    Did find face cream I love — Burt’s Bees, a night radiance and a day radiance. I think my skin looks really good since I started using it.
    Been telling myself the women in my family have great skin. My mother’s is still gorgeous, and she’s 68. Hardly any wrinkles, either. Astonishing.

  16. This cracks me up. Both Jenny and I were thinking appearance and body image and we hadn’t really talked about it (except about The Photo and our differing reactions to it).
    Amen on getting the long hair trimmed, and amen on loving long, gray hair. I think most women look fantastic in it.
    I do like the idea of dressing up for myself one day a week. Unlike Crusie I don’t usually work in my jammies. I tend to get dressed before I hit those keys, though I can go days without brushing my hair.
    Really, sprucing ourselves up a bit isn’t self-indulgence or weakness. As Crusie’s surgeon told her when she went in for a little nip and tuck, it isn’t vanity, it’s maintenance.

  17. Jane says:

    I would argue that not only is sprucing yourself up not vanity – it is actually self love. You take care of the things you love. So if you take care of yourself, its that much easier to love yourself and stop with the negative, go-nowhere inner talk.

    For me that was hard advice to follow when it came it my size and clothes. Shopping felt depressing – you actually need to look in a mirror when trying on clothes. That did not support my denial of my weight gain. Since shopping felt bad, I would just buy a tentlike garment and give up or not start at all. That’s ok when I’m just at home with the dogs, but sooner or later I had to go out. I’m not very socially adept anyway, I didn’t need that extra layer of discomfort from ill-fitting or ugly clothes. So I had to take the reality check on size and style to get clothes that fit and flattered. Now I try to dress like I love my body. I read that in a book somewhere 😉

    Gray hair rocks. I have been going gray forever, now at 51 it is a really pretty color. However, it just blends into my increasingly pale face. So for me, a color weave to cover about 1/2 the gray is way more flattering. But I envy you women who wear it well.

    Anyway, huge post to say yes to personal curb appeal!

  18. I started turning gray when I was 18 years old. I was salt and pepper gray by the time I was thirty. So naturally I colored my hair — for years and years.

    When I hit forty, I finally asked why I was putting myself through this expensive torture. And I couldn’t come up with a really good reason.

    So I went natural and have never looked back. Now, in my late 50s, my hair is a lovey shade of white. I wear it in a boy-short haircut — the spikier the better. (Although my husband would be happier with it longer.)

    But either long or short, I think gray haired women are beautiful. Why is it that a gray-haired man looks distinguished but a woman feels like she needs to cover it over in order to be pretty. I think that’s just a load of bunk.

    Gray hair is pretty. If you take care of it, it shines bright and makes you look wise.

    Good on you, Jenny, for embracing it!

  19. Krissie,
    I’ve seen some gorgeous long grey hair. And when I see a woman wearing her hair like that, I think… there’s a woman who doesn’t care what anyone says about what she should do. She obviously loves her hair, and she’s going to wear it anyway she pleases. Good for her.

  20. To colour or not to colour, there is the question. Ten years ago I never thought I would, I had red hair all my life and was secretly happy with it and the wild curls that would have looked great on some novel heroine but not on a fat middle aged woman who had just recovered from thyroid cancer and was going through premature menopause and working at a job she HATED!!!!! and was surrounded by young slim techies whom she thought all needed a smack up the side of the head. A few years ago I looked in the mirror and wondered who that nasty old woman was in there looking back at me. By that time I had survived ovarian and endometrial cancer and menopause was the least of my worries although I will always and forever hate hot flashes. I looked at the stray grey hairs at my temples as a gross afront to everything that I had believed (redheads go grey later than other colours). Finally, after being “disabled” for 2 years I looked again in the mirror at that old woman and decided that she was just too depressing. So, I found a few boxes of hair dye that resembled my natural colour and decided that moisturizers were going to be a part of my life, well forever! So, now I dye my hair. I don’t like it and I wait about 6 months in between because I want to really see if one day I actually decide to embrace the grey. I mean, I decided to accept I’m fat and lot 25 pounds, maybe if I accept the grey it will naturally go back to red? I am learning the hardest thing in life is to not beat myself up, to get anxious about the scales, grey hair, living in pajamas (like yesterday). Some days I just let it all go and think, I am what I am and people love me as I am. Those are good days…… wish I had more of them. I just realised how intimidating it is to write to writers, my spelling an grammer are not my strong points.

  21. i love that you did these housekeeping posts.

    that appearance matters is something i learned after college. i stopped living in jeans and t-shirts because i lucked out at a few sales and got pretty dresses. people treated me differently. and then i acted as if i was worthy. and so a positive cycle was born.

    sorry for the lower case. i feel like whispering. actually i feel like mouthing the words without using any voice at all. but that’s my stuff.

  22. There is so much I want to say but feeling like the new kid here I am also wary of your early impressions of me.
    Let me tell you I can relate to the no makeup (never did bother with it) and graying hair (having thoughts about how to handle that) and severely in need of a hair cut/trim/shaping…
    I went a few years ago to a beauty school for a quick trim. Student stylist. She said not a word to me while trimming my hair and I have no idea what question the instructor asked her when she was done but I heard her response that I was a zero on the scale. That has bothered me since.

    My home is the oldest and most run down in our area.
    I am proud of the history and character but I need to make it more attractive and welcoming at least from the front. And from the side that faces the cemetery.

    The main point is having fallen into the dress for comfort class. I do dress for playing with the dogs.
    Sadly, when I had to find clothing to wear to a funeral last month (as we age those events do come up) I discovered none of my proper clothing fit!

    At least for a few months my house looks like the others buried under a snowy coat of white and I can be just as hidden bundled into layers and scarves and mittens but spring will come. Unlike a butterfly who emerges from a cocoon beautiful my house and I are both going to need some effort.

    I spent 50 years not caring about being stylist but am ready to concede that paying attention to detail can improve many areas of life.

  23. I’m with you on the make-up, it just melts off my face. I use a good treatment and a moisturizer, blush, lipstick and “do my eyes” and then I’m good to go. I get a mani and pedi at least once a month, and have stopped dying my own hair. I wear the hair short (real short) and get a color once a month (golden brown). Now that I have a lot of gray the color looks like I have expensive low-lights because they turn gold. : )
    I once heard that hair is the frame for your face. I tried going gray but looked washed out. I went back to color, and I could see the marked difference. With working out at a gym almost every day, I tend to wear gym clothes and sneaks. I write fully dressed for the day, sans the shoes. The only comfort I’m allowed is my leopard slippers. : )
    Working on outward appearance isn’t vanity, just like with painting the exterior of your home, you’re showing the world that you care.

  24. Yes, absolutely.

    You take care of things you love.

    If you don’t love yourself, you won’t take care of yourself.

    Saw Oprah with author of Women, Food & God yesterday, and the author was talking about how we bad-mouth ourselves constantly.

    “We do it thinking… if I hate myself enough, I’ll change?”

    And pointing out how awful that was both for us and our self-image and as a motivator.

    If we hate ourselves, why would we do anything to help ourselves or take care of ourselves?

    Really hit me as a deep truth I can remember and use to be better to myself.

  25. Romney – Don’t know where you’re from but I’ve read some really cute books with lots of pics about ‘door gardens’ which is really just the landscape right outside the door. Mostly in England, I think.
    I got the books from the library so I don’t remember names offhand but I could dig for them if need be.

  26. I started out not dying my hair. Then I was working with mostly 80&90 yo & I felt older than I am – so I dyed. Now I’m reconsidering but my gray is like horse hair consistency, I swear.
    Funny, but I put on makeup (foundation & lipstick only) for the first time in weeks this morning.
    Jenny I’m so loving the thought of you in your cottage on the lake closer to your gkids. You rock!

  27. See, I loved your gray hair at nationals. I remember thinking at the time that it was a great look and I wish my hair was that pretty. (It is graying, so I keep it colored. It is not a pretty gray whatsoever, and my mom’s is, so maybe there’s hope for mine some day. Right now, it’s just sad.)

  28. Katherine Peterson says:

    I’m very glad that you are enthusiastic about your new projects. With regard to appearance I have a couple of comments. Makeup: years (and years) ago I had the pleasure of a makeup consultation from Paula Begoun (the ‘Cosmetics Cop’). My mother-in-law-to-be arranged it just before my wedding. Ms. Begoun took one look at me and said, “You clearly are not the make-up type, how about we give you a proper skin care routine, an appropriate shade of blusher (I can do really scary things with pale), and a little lipstick, it is a special day after all, and leave it at that. I will teach you. You’ll be beautiful, all brides are, and comfortable.” Bless her. My operating principle ever since has been good skin care, and don’t worry about the make-up. Clothing: I go with Olivia Jewel’s (by Helen Fielding) rule for living number 10: only buy clothing that makes you want to do a small dance. This principle works well during winnowing-out sessions too. Hair: Tricky, the despair of my stylist when she realized that I really do think of the car window as a styling aid was a sad, sad thing to see. The less I do, the better; corkscrew curly, and fine. When I look in the mirror and hear ‘on the good ship lollypop…’ playing in my head, it’s time for a haircut.

  29. Atomic Betty says:

    People do react differently when you dress well. This is why I have to go ahead and get new work clothes that fit again now that I’ve lost some weight so I can step up dressing well at work again (I’ve been better about keeping a set of clothes that fit in the more casual arena).


  30. Atomic Betty says:

    I think we tend to let appearances go when we feel run down. I have to remind myself every time that I really do feel better when I take the time to take care of myself. I almost always feel better when I dress up a bit, and this is helped by doing my best not to buy shoes or clothes that aren’t comfortable. There’s no reason that dressy can’t be comfortable too. I needed this reminder. I’ve been lurching closer to the less dressy end of work clothes, and I should correct that trend.

  31. I love the long gray hair and the fabulous new cottage door. As for makeup, sometimes just wearing good moisturizer, mascara and lipgloss does the trick.

  32. For years I wore jeans, tee shirts, and sneakers to work and rarely bothered with makeup. Working in high tech allows you to do all that. Then, later, I started buying cool clothes and wearing them to work and I felt quite stylish. Now, at my new job, I have to dress better. Not suits, but a higher-level of business casual than I am used to. No jeans. Sneakers only around the office, never to a client’s.

    So, gee, I had to go clothes shopping! Yes, I did buy some things at TJ Maxx and Target, but most of my work clothes have come from Chico’s. I am addicted to them: I know that I’ll find things that fit me, that feel great to wear, and that suit my personality when I shop there. I just need to a) make more money so I can shop there more, and b) develop more of a PLAN for my work wardrobe. (I’ve also bought some play clothes there, too. Sigh. I love Chico’s.)

    My ReFabbing must include a wholesale sort-thru of all my clothing. Nothing more comes in unless something goes out.

  33. Oh, and my niece bought some awesome eye makeup. Sure, she’s 13-but-looks-17, but I’ve decided I’ll look excellent in the spiky dark mascara and especially the sparkly eyeliner that won’t flake off into my eyes. I’m reclaiming my creative, colorful, and idiosyncratic and original personal style. Who says 50 (+1, very, very soon) has to be conservative-looking and matronly, dammit?! Not me! (Did I mention that my now mostly blonde hair has a swath of bright pink across the bangs, just for fun?)

  34. Why does the lighting in the change rooms have to be so God awful. I know we can’t try things on in the dark… (well actually I’d give it a shot.) And the mirrors lie, I’m sure of it, I’m really not that tall. I have a long body and shortish legs, when I try swimsuits on I can’t stand up and the cups sit somewhere near my waist. Years ago, I tried one of those boiler suits on, got my arms and shoulders in, but couldn’t stand up…and couldn’t get it off. The best part was laughing with my sister until we could hardly breath. I wear comfy stretchy clothes that give and move with me.
    I hadn’t seen a friend of mine for a few years, she asked what have you done with your hair, it’s gorgeous …Nothing, I’m just going grey. 😉

  35. Micki says:

    LOL, I’ve got auburn hair, and my first gray came in when I was 14. I had great hair. In my mid-30s, enough gray came in that it was this horrible, wishy-washy pink, so I started playing with the henna, and now it’s kind of a crazy color . . . but at least it’s not pink. My mom went silver early, and I think I’ve got her hair. So, when I hit about 45 or 50, I plan on cutting my hair really short and letting it grow out silver, just to see what happens. I can always dye it again if I don’t like it.

    My great-aunt was this amazing woman, and she dyed her hair almost up to the end. (-: Beautiful red.

    I think it’s all about what works for you. I’ve got two role-models on opposite ends of the spectrum to follow (-:.

  36. Oh Lord, I have that hair too, Toni, and I’m not a whippersnapper! (oh funny! It first that said hippersnapper and I think I like that even better. Maybe that’s what I am, a hippersnapper…)

    Anyway, I have no idea what to do with my hair. It’s awful. But there a loads of women around here with long, sexy, beautiful grey hair.

  37. Julie says:

    Find a wonderful stylist and get a fabulous haircut as many times a year as you can afford it, whether that is 6, 4 or less, the haircut and the stylist that knows what they are doing is completely worth it! Also, it feels really nice to be that pampered.

    Paying for pedicures is pure indulgence for me, but I usually splurge a few times in the summer when all I wear is flipflops.

    The clothes, well when you get to your closet, get rid of everything that doesn’t fit, or make you feel fabulous. You will feel sooo much better about your wardrobe and body. If you really love your sundresses, wear them year round, just add tights/leggings and long sleeves shirts and sweaters in the winter!

  38. Gwendolyn said “I just realised how intimidating it is to write to writers, my spelling an grammer are not my strong points. ”

    Me too, Gwendolyn, me too. *sigh*

  39. Kim Cz says:

    This makes so much sense and the really strange thing is that I have said as much to other people but I have forgotten lately to apply it to myself. It’s hard to remember though, I am a stay at home mom who is homeschooling, so some day’s we don’t leave at all. I always get dressed for the day but I end up in exercise type clothes. You never know if you are going to be cleaning out the bunny condo or raking in the yard.

    I have long hair too, the gray is minimal, so far. I love my hair but I don’t do much with it day to day. That’s someplace to start. 🙂

  40. Kim Cz says:

    I love sundresses too. I wear them a lot in the summer here in Arizona. You’ll have to post what pattern you are working on. 🙂

  41. Carol says:

    I saw you in July and loved, loved your hair. I want hair like you and Judy and Emmylou. Just a gray streak in the front for now.

  42. When I was young, there was a beautiful woman in my church with long, long white hair. She wore it up all the time in a lovely, classic French twist and it was perfect. So maybe learn an easy updo?

  43. Last week I went to a funeral. A former co-worker I hadn’t seen in a while said, “You’ve gone all Georgia O’Keeffe on us.” My hair is long, mostly gray, with a white streak in the front.

    I colored it for years. One night I was in a burger place where the cashier’s hair looked purple under the funky light. I flashed on my dye job. I didn’t want to look like that. And I didn’t want to look like the little old spiky-haired ladies at the supermarket.

    So Hello, Georgia! I can think of worse role models.

    Welcome to the club, Jenny.

  44. Kate says:

    My hair is green – when I turned 31 I realized I didn’t want to turn 40 and never have green hair. So I bleached it out and dyed it and I have never gone back. 38 this year and I have never gone back to my original color. I’ve been every color but my true love is a deep emerald green. My son is almost 10 and he doesn’t remember me any other way. Screw the rules.

  45. German Chocolate Betty says:

    I am coming to this way late, as I just discovered the site. However, here’s my bit for the “Jenny facade”.

    PERMANENT MAKE-UP!! I forked out a ridiculous sum a few years back for eyeliner and lipliner. It is GREAT. I get up in the morning and I look already good (well, for me, anyway). The lipliner made my lips look fuller, even though it’s no more than half a shade different from my lip color (although the slightly pinker tinge also makes the lips look like I’m wearing gloss or something). The eyeliner, which actually more “embedded” between the lashes than truly “liner” above them, means that my eyes are outlined.

    Oh, yeah, and I dye my lashes once a month. Here in Europe you can get a little kit for 6 Euros which is good for about 10-12 applications (about a year in my case).

    Oh, yes, and my waist-length hair is graying, but I wear it up and I feel good about it. It’s me, and I’m 56, not 26, so what…

  46. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Me too, but I’ll tell you, it was worth it. Oh, yeah, I also have had the eyebrows “filled in” — start out a light brown, but faded (as tattoos do) a tad toward a grayer color. Which is perfect, because in the meantime my hair is gray, so that look natural too.

    It’s just wonderful waking up to a FACE each morning — it’s almost like in the movies, where they wake up fully made up, haha. Of course, I still have the bags under the eyes and the creases on my cheeks (stomach sleeper), but the rest is, literally, wash and go.

    BTW, ref: expensive face cream. Aldi has a really good face cream (“Lacura” is the brand, this one is sort of light turquoise color) which contains sunscreen and disappears immediately (like Olay) for about $5. I think it is called hydrogel or something similar in the States.

    Like you, I also hate face creams that I can still feel 30 seconds later. You might want to check it out (Aldi is in Michigan and in Virginia, so I assume you have them in Ohio too). Been using for years ’cause I am too cheap to pay for Olay… (Which here in Germany is marketed as “Olaz”…!)

  47. We have an Aldi, I’ve just never known what it was. It’s between Steak N Shake and Sam’s Club so I’ve seen it a lot. I think I thought it was an auto-parts store. Must go inside and look at face creams now.

  48. German Chocolate Betty says:

    They have mostly food — it’s sort of the European forerunner of Sam’s Club and Costco, (been here in Germany for decades, ALDI is the ALbrecht brother’s DIscount food chain). If you know Trader Joe’s, you already know Aldi, because that’s their US-only “gourmet” Aldi.

    ANYWAY, they have good stuff at a good price. Not as big a selection as the Sam’s, etc., but also rolling “special offers”. A friend of mine in the Detroit area who is a professional chef buys a lot of his stuff at ALDI.

    Their cosmetics stuff is good value for money. (They have about 6 different kinds of face creams, and there’s even a night cream which is not goopy…and that is hard to find.)

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