Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (Part Six)

May 28, 2010

Close your eyes… Go back to where you felt your most powerful, your most beautiful, your most YOU. Where are you? What are you wearing?

I go back to the darkest, most dangerous blue, the colour of my cottage lake writhing under the fury of a Quebec North wind. I am a woman most confident at the extremes, leaning head first into the blast, my toes curled into the freezing sand. Challenging the forces of nature, I channel their power through a ragged pair of Disney 101 Dalmatian pajama pants. Bits of frayed fabric blow out behind, joining the loose sleeves of a plaid Salvation Army shirt tied at my waist. My hair is my flag, and I fly it with an almost devilish pride. I throw out my arms and dare the wind to take me at my most.

Anne Bonny ~ What a dame! Pirate, feminist pioneer - such an inspiration! Although I may have to dial down the cleavage... maybe just a touch...

Need to catch up on this Saving Cymbria blog serial?

“I’ve been thinking about dressing more like a pirate.” I said, between bites of a TV supper on the couch with my husband.

Not the kind of statement you want to leave hanging. But hang it did, for a torturous 10+ seconds before the awkwardness shook itself loose. The awkwardness was all on my end, but that’s nothing new. You know you’ve got a good man (and don’t I know it!) when he can take these sorts of things in stride.

“Nothing extreme,” I continued, “just going for that sorta’ feeling.”

He nodded (a gesture of heavy meaning from the man), grunted “yah sure,” and went back to his munching. As I said, a good man. Housekeeping out of the way, I took the next logical step – COLLAGE…

I collage~you collage~we all collage! Go ahead and make your vision tangible with a personal style collage. All you need are a few fashion magazines and some scissors (oh, and glue). Snip outfits and individual pieces that connect you back to your power moment. Or, if you’re having trouble defining/refining your inspiration, simply collect images that tickle your amygdala, and wait to watch your style patterns reveal themselves in your collage. Stay tuned…

(image sources)


For the first time on my walk home from work… the gate by the tracks was open

March 4, 2010

.
So I went through…

7.2 minutes later: There I am, inching along a narrow mud-slicked ledge, fenced suburbia to my right, a perilous 20′ icy-cliff drop on my left – with only a paved off-ramp to catch me! One slip and I’m rush-hour roadkill. Clinging to the sparest of twigs, I creep forward, only one thought in my mind…

“This is so cool!”

There’s something ridiculously wonderful about getting lost in your own city, especially on your most familiar route. When was the last time you allowed yourself to explore? It’s spring isn’t it? What better time to dive sneaker-first down a rabbit hole?


Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (Update I)

February 16, 2010

Since beginning this makeover, I have officially been hit on twice (albeit mildly) at the grocery store. This, as any woman will attest, must be logged as quantitative proof of progress. I bragged about this new development to my dear hubby, who was suitably impressed. Although, come to think of it, maybe he was a little too impressed. I’ve always assumed he thought of me as the blond Pied Piper of Calgary, trailing a long line of hapless suitors behind. Why else would I have spent 10 years learning the flute and waking up for 7:30 band practices!

Need to catch up on this Saving Cymbria blog serial?


Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (Part One)

February 5, 2010

The Before...

We live in a blank canvas world. Social conventions, notions of class, and even the dictates of fashion are becoming increasingly flexible. Such freedom can leave one floundering when it comes to communicating (or even defining) one’s identity. Who are we without structure? What happens when a society disconnects from its own history and traditions? 

We are becoming a surface people, all sound bites and profile pics, status updates and 140 character tweets. I’ve rebelled against this new framework from the start (although, I suppose you did just catch me blogging~wink). I’ve tried my best to dive down under the surface chaos – a life lived in ripples is a raw deal if you ask me – and explore the cool, still world under the waves. But, as you can see from the pic above, it’s bloody well time to come up for some air! 

There is a boon to all this surface talk. For the first in history, we have the unique opportunity to have our projections believed. If the world is so intent on taking us at face value, why not play the game? But on our terms. I’m not talking about plastic surgery and piles of makeup, but more about establishing a personal style that projects our strengths and ambitions. It’s about Focus.  

I invite you to join me in a 2010 personal style makeover. To tell you the truth, I’m actually quite nervous about this project. Will I have have the guts to follow it through? What about maintenance? Can I do it inexpensively? And, of course, the question all women ask themselves before embarking such journeys… Will it really make a difference? 

Let’s find out!

CLICK HERE to read more of this Saving Cymbria blog serial


Into the future – one celebrity purse auction at a time!

November 27, 2009


How often do you see a well built man in his underwear lay down his purse, ever so gently, and hit the floor for a vigorous set of clap pushups? Want to get in on the action? And find out why my husband wasn’t worried? My article about the YWCA of Calgary’s first annual Open Your Purse event is now up at Calgary Fashion – The Fashion Media Collective.

Dear readers, I recently wrote about a momentous life choice. It’s incredible what can happen when you risk a front-row-center chance on your dreams. Ending up, literally, front row center is just the beginning…


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

November 17, 2009
click through for a closer look

The tome in all its glory ~click through for a closer look~

Which would you choose? This tome was waiting for me in the middle of my desk one recent Monday morning. I’d already been offered the promotion, but the spiral bound beast of a book made it suddenly real. Robert Frost’s poem – along with my life – flashed before my eyes. Was I really going to become a geophysical technician?

Almost everyone I surveyed pushed for “Yes!” Huge pay increase, new skill-set, broader career options… how could I say no? Not to mention give up the unprecedented honour of being the first Printing Supervisor (aka Paper Roller) to ever be given the opportunity to start training up the geophysical food chain. Flattered? Yes. Tempted? Sure.

But…

There’s a reason why people say they “fell” into their jobs. Do I want a passive, accidental future? Do you? We live in an incredible era of choice. While it’s true that such freedom can be crippling – the studies have been done –  we may as well take advantage of our post-modern culture while we can. For the first time in human history, there is enough flexibility, in terms of our basic survival, for us to pursue our passions. There is a cost, of course. Once one takes an active roll in one’s future, there is that heavy, inescapable pressure of having to back up words with work – hard work. What to choose?

I said no.

What now? All I can do is keep listing to that little voice, the one that wants so badly. What’s yours whispering in your ear? Mine wants to write, to challenge, to design, to explore. I don’t know what happens from here, but I have faith in the future. And as long as I keep writing towards it, I’ll know I’m on the right road.

Note: Yes, that is Will Wheaton – aka Wesley Crusher from Star Trek TNG – straddling my office moisturizer. How does that intro go again? To boldly go where no one has gone before…  how apropos.


A short note on the importance of context…

November 11, 2009
An inoktook in Banff

An inukshuk in Banff, Alberta - Larger than life?

How wide do you stretch your frame of reference? Not just in photography, although these Banff pics do make a snazzy allegory, but in how you see yourself. How close do you crop?

It’s really a matter of context. How much are you willing to let into the picture? One word on a page is black and white, but it’s funny how quickly the paper turns grey as you add to the story. It takes real courage to rip yourself out of a nice, cozy, swaddled reality. As we extend our frame of reference to include the motivations of other people, cultures, and histories, we are forced to surrender (albeit incrementally) the security of control – a hard sacrifice for those who prefer to direct their worlds, and be justified by them.

I’m not talking about abandoning yourself to some universal “flow”, but more about finding a way to exist as a secure self in an open, ever changing world. The first step is to allow yourself to be justified (validated) by an outside source – Gödel was onto something. I know I’m being biased here, but I highly recommend God. The next key is to give up a little of that control. Can you hear it? Yep, that’s the world, and it’s still  turning, a miracle, I know.

Get to know yourself, without judgment or regret. Just be honest for a minute, within the context of only you. Who are you? What do you really want? Ok, so maybe a minute is cutting it a bit tight, but you get the idea. This self-knowledge can take away so much of the questioning and vulnerability of “big picture” living. Once you’re ready to open your frame of reference, you’ll be amazed at how the scale of everything changes. Sure, in the grand scheme of it all, you shrink down almost to nothing, but you’ll be amazed at how many new, big, bold possibilities can squeeze into a big life.

Hmmmm... not so much!  Note: special thanks to context leg model G

Hmm... not so much. ~Special thanks to leg model G~