So THIS is what happens when women try to do it all…

June 7, 2010

It seemed like such a great idea at the time… A quick toilet scrub while running out the door to my full-time job. In pursuit of maximum efficiency, I squirted some cleaner in the bowl and went at it with a vengeance (quite literally). I attacked the chore with such violence, I must have looked like I was plunging some horrible clog. Until…

Exploring the delicious, pine-scented back woods of Quebec, one quickly learns to walk a few paces behind a partner. No, our dear French Canadians do not subscribe to some antiquated religious diktat – although the prevalence of front yard Virgin Mary ceramics do make one wonder. The gap is simply to prevent one of those prickly, dew laden, boughs from clocking you in the nose when it whips back across the path.

We lose so much in the time-clogged rush of being a modern woman; so many of life’s most beautiful lessons are forgotten in the mania of “having to do it all.” As the brush caught on the rim, and a heavy spray of yellowish, mucky, bleachy, ‘water’ splashed up into my face, I grabbed hold of the gentle quiet of those pine-lined trails to stop from screaming. No, life is not fair (especially before 7am), but it’s nice to know there’s still enough justice, somewhere out there, to make sure I was wearing my glasses!

(image source)


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)


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

March 30, 2010

This new beauty diet could use a little salt...

‘Stumbling’ upon a rerun of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab, I was shocked to hear Kerri Ann Peniche describe how, even as a child, she was forced to primp for every public appearance – middle school to grocery store. Her mother’s mantra, “because you never know where you’ll run into Mr. Right,” had an insidious effect on her daughter’s psyche. Lipstick in the produce aisle? Poor girl never stood a chance.

My parents, an artist and a poet, lived by very a different set of rules – none of them involving a hairbrush! Needless to say, we had a whole lot of fun, but advanced personal grooming was part of some other world, right along with daily dish washing and remembering other people’s birthdays. Personally, I’ve never been afraid of glamming it up, but only on occasion. The idea of daily maintenance, aiming for some rudimentary baseline, has never made it past the “wouldn’t that be nice” phase – until now. Part of my hesitation has come from knowing that for any perfectionist, the word baseline is such a tease. Where do you stop? Lipgloss? Eyeliner? Flat-iron? Where do you draw the line?

When you’re used to jumping between your own 1 and 10, how do you settle at 5? There’s a risk in projecting an honest, albeit lightly highlighted, self. Suddenly, there’s nothing to hide behind, no more comforting “he’d have noticed me if only I wasn’t wearing this sweater” delusions. And what if they do start noticing? I’ve been married to my own Mr. Right for almost 7 years, why would I want random strangers judging/soliciting me? Doesn’t ‘being on display’ just add more pressure to a person’s day?

The way I see it, the only way this can work is if our projections are 100% authentic, which is only possible once we’ve fully explored (and come to terms with!) the who/why/how’s of our most private selves. And, since time creates a dynamic system, and no system, even if static, can be fully justified within themselves (good ol’ Gödel), we come to an impasse. Or do we? For me, this is where faith comes in. It takes the edge off, so to speak. When your confidence is rooted in the infallible, that confidence (though not necessarily you) becomes impervious to smudged eyeliner or moments like these.

But enough talk… on to the action. In the pics below – because what’s a makeover without hard evidence – I’m glamming it up with my new highlights and Covergirl Lipstain in Berry Smooch. Because, like I always say (at least since this past Saturday), why snag your hair with gloss when you can set it free with tint!

Having a Winston Churchill moment with Covergirl Lipstain - Air kisses (in Berry Smooch) for all!

I have two confessions before I sign off. First: like all self portraits of quality, these come directly from my bathroom mirror. Second: I had just come back from the grocery store – sorry Kerri Ann. But in my defence, it was lipstain, not lipstick!

Need to catch up on this Saving Cymbria blog serial?


This gal’s dream girl

March 8, 2010

Elbow deep in dirty dishwater, I threw back my head and cried out her name…

“MARTAaaaaa!”

Someday, somehow, somewhere, we’ll be together. I just have to hang in here long enough for fate to connect us out of billions. Her gentle green eyes haunt my every chore, promising relief, freedom… joy of the purest kind.

I know my fantasy is horribly politically incorrect, especially after this, but I really don’t care. I dream of my Marta the way soldiers dream of peace, the way golfers pine for the snow to melt. She is the light at the end of my tunnel, a constant, almost physical, presence giving hope to my housework addled self.

I would know her if I saw her on the street – the vision has become so tangible. Over the years, I’ve modeled every feature of my model maid. But I doubt there really is a Marta. And if, by some miracle of justice, she does exist, somewhere out there, I’m sure she’d have better things to do than our dishes!