ISSUE # 4 

The Informed person's guide to beauty, fashion and lifestyle.

YOU HAVE SEEN women at poolside wrap a towel around their waist 
or chest and make a quick knot or tuck. This is called a sarong,
and when the item is designed for it with curved hems and ties,
it can add a lot of interest to your look.  

Sarong skirts make a nice change the from straight,  multi-gore
or long and billowy skirts to which you were  introduced in my
last contribution. They add softness and a  casual elegance to
your look. The most versatile ones are  pre-wrapped and pre-tied,
in a print or color that builds with  your other clothes. They
are simple to hook together, but  because they dominate a fashion
statement, top it simply. A  cat-suit, body suit, leotard or tank
top may not be advisable for  you, but stay away from a frilly
poet's blouse; the two pieces  will compete for the eye's attention,
and the look will be too  busy. As a rule, when skirts are special,
tops should be spare.  At the very least, use a top that tucks
in and has a close fit.  And do not use a tailored jacket with
a sarong skirt, or you will  end up with a strange bulge; save
the blazer for sheaths or  drindles. In shopping for a sarong,
choose softer, lighter  fabrics for a prettier, more flattering
wrap and drape. Stay  away from stiff cottons, denim and twill.

Another addition is a dramatic top. A clean long shirt in a  comfortable
fabric -- get that tunic if you haven't done it yet.  Or maybe
it will be a shirt with long collar points and huge  puffed sleeves.
And if the blouse is exceptional, keep the  bottom simple: narrow,
simple skirt, or tapered pants, leggings,  slim jeans.  

As an across-the-closet rule, never dilute a dramatic,  grand-
gesture piece by wearing it with anything that competes.  

As you build a wardrobe, choose pieces with staying power.  You
can get clothes with style longevity by getting classic cuts. 
You can get these to be more feminine by choosing softer fabrics 
and colors. Try transparent fabrics in a blouse or skirt. Such 
a skirt can be worn under a long tunic, and a blouse can be worn 
over a tube top or leotard, or under a jacket for a more modest 
look. A sheer scarf can make the plainest suit more feminine and 
dramatic. Somewhere down the line, consider a softer jacket with 
a natural shoulder line.  

A sheath dress can have scarves, blazers and sweaters added  to
change their look. A sheer shirt as a jacket with a classic  necklace
is more elegant for evening than the blazer and bolder  jewelry
you can wear to work. Tie a sash around your waist and  wear a
big cuff bracelet and earrings to make it fun.  

Big white harem pants can be worn with that blazer and a  matching
scarf around your neck for an elegant look.  

Find a shirt with a long hem and tie the ends around your  waist
for a sexy twist to a classic shirt shape. You can tie the  hem
loosely low for a more demure look, or higher to bare the  midriff
for a more revealing look. Such a look can be accented  many ways.
I remember the old bell-bottoms used to work well  this way, and
you might consider today's tighter, slimmer jeans  with such a
top. The sweeping billowy skirts that were already  recommended
in part one will do nicely, or you can wear stirrup  pants in a
nice spring color or print.  


Maybe you don't stand in front of your closet thinking "I  have
nothing to wear." But often shopping for a new outfit can  take
place in your own home. "Most of us have what we need; we  just
have to rethink, rearrange and regroup," says a New York  wardrobe

Go through everything in your closet or collection at least  once
a year. Twice a year is even better. Look at every piece  individually
and consider what you really wear. Most women wear  a few favorite
outfits over and over again.  

Try on a few of your clothes, then divide them into piles.  One
for the dry-cleaners. One for getting rid of. One for  mending,
altering or updating. One for clothes that are just  fine as they
are. Remember that if you haven't worn it in three  years, it's
probably okay to get rid of it.  

Break up all your suits and think of different ways of  putting
things together. Both pieces of a black suit can  probably be worn
with many things in your wardrobe. Reorganize  your closet into
separate sections for jackets, skirts, blouses,  etc.  

Try to combine your sweaters and blouses with many different 
jackets, skirts and pants.  

Pull out all your accessories. Do you have a lot? Hang  scarves
where you can see them. Keep jewelry on view for  inspiration.
Display earrings on a wire grid, hang necklaces  from a nail or
a belt hanger. Use a tackle box for pins and  earrings. Or pin
pins onto a small pillow. Find the courage to  try a little larger
earring, a wilder scarf, a bolder belt.  These can all completely
change your look.  

Photograph your new outfit combinations so you'll remember  the
way you put them together. Paste snapshots on the inside of  your
closet door, or create a photo album for your own personal  style

Make a list of the items you'll need to complete your  wardrobe.
Keep in mind how versatile some basic pieces are, like  a black
turtleneck, which goes under almost everything, a good  black skirt,
and bodysuits, which pull everything together.  Jackets are important
wardrobe-builders; that's where you should  invest your money,
to get good fit and quality. A jacket will be  with you for some
time hence.  


Consider your words as a gift to the one your toasting. Be  sincere,
upbeat, flattering and if possible make reference to  your relationship.
Be brief; think three sentences, not a  speech. Be audible and
articulate. As a courtesy, wait for the  host (or the senior person
at business functions) to propose the  first toast. If none is
forthcoming, discreetly ask your host if  you may offer a toast.
As you give that toast, stand, lift your  glass and make eye contact
with the toasted.  

If you are called upon in advance to make a toast, prepare!  Enlist
a sympathetic ear or practice from a script before a  mirror. Also,
don't omit the clinking of glasses to honor the  history of the
toast. In Medieval days, the ring of the toast  was believed to
drive away the evil spirits.  


Examine the samples. Make sure that the photos are the type you 
want, that they have the same look and style that you are  seeking.
The photographer is likely to place his best work  before you.
Ask him or her if she can accomplish the same effect  with you
as the subject. Ask him or her how any difficulties or  problems
you have in mind will be overcome.  

Scrutinize the quality of the prints. Ask whether  retouching
and color balancing are done automatically or only  upon request.

Ask exactly what the fees include. How long is the sitting,  and
what happens if none of the proofs are to your liking. Does  the
price include a specific number of enlargements? Can you  keep
the proofs? Make sure you know precisely what you're  getting for
your money.  

Are the samples done by the actual photographer with whom  you'll
be working. In larger studios, perhaps one photographer  did the
albums and somebody else will be on called for you.  

Inquire about delivery time. Make sure that it's reasonable  and
within your schedule. Some couples wait for up to a year for  their
wedding pictures.  

Establish a rapport. Exchange ideas about what your looking  for.
Ask for references. Follow them up.  


THE FIRST STEP to moving forward is to realize that you are  stagnating.
before you can take control of any growth, you have  to understand
what your problem is and that you have a problem in  the first
place. Complacency will keep you forever in your  situation. If
you are unhappy, it's time to recognize that you  are this way
and try to figure out what you are lacking.  

Next, you have to define the problem. Often we think we  know
what the problem is, but I find that I often externalize my  problems.
It is so easy to blame other people for our  unhappiness. It's
just as easy to blame others or even  "circumstances" for our problems.
But the fact is that  circumstances do not make us what we are,
but they show us who we  are. Your problem has to be stripped
of all the external stuff  and boiled down to things which you
can personally control.  Sometimes there are things that we think
we can't control that we  really can. For example, some of us think
that we can't control  our job, but the fact is that we can. We
can quit, we can ask  for a new office mate: there are lots of
changes we can make if  we will just empower ourselves to do it.

Only after you have discovered that there is a problem and  what
it is are you ready to start planning out what to do about  it.
Often people start to do things before they have figured out 
what the problem is. Just as often, instead of planning some  course
to change things, people dwell on their problem and refuse  to
dream up any courses of action. When you focus on your  problem
like this it is called worry. "Worry" means thinking  about what
you don't want. And the funny thing about life is  that we usually
get the things we think about. Why worry? If  anything, it will
help you create precisely what you're worrying  about. Better to
dream at this stage; begin to think up  alternatives and things
that you might do to change your problem  situation.  

Another really common response to some of the things you  might
dream up is, "well the problem with that solution is ..."  Do not
be afraid to exchange one problem for another. Often,  there is
a clear path back to the previous problem, if the new  problem
is worse. More often, though, I perceive that exchanging  old problems
for new ones is a legitimate pathway of growth; face  the fact
that we will always have problems, and we can dwell in  our old
problems and stagnate, or trade them for new ones, and  maybe in
a few years, the BIG problem won't seem so big.  

After you have dreamed up several possible solutions, choose 
one, then imagine how your problem would end up if you did this.
Keep working with your alternatives until you find an outcome 
that you are happy with. Run through this script you've created 
for yourself all the way through to the end several times.  

Then start on it. It may not go the way you planned, but  keep
in your mind your desired outcome. Focus not on the  stumbling
path that you find yourself taking, but in the ultimate  outcome,
the situation you're trying to create. You'll find that  a lot
of the things that keep you from getting there are your  excuses.

But excuses can be devastating to a plan. There is so much  going
on inside of us that we all need an edge to get the better  of
our subconscious, because left to it's own, it will run our  lives.
It will give you rationalizations for not proceeding with  your
plan. It will throw all kinds of emotional baggage in your  way.
It will fight you every step, unless it is recruited to be  your
ally instead of your enemy.  

But here is one of the ways that magic rules your life.  Either
way, your subconscious will tell you the same things, but  framed
the right way, they are your friends. The wrong way, and  you are
depressed, contrary, sad, and not any fun at all.  

Western culture has a really big investment in analyzing all 
of this, but it has been my experience that analysis cannot help 
us overcome our emotional baggage. We can figure, analyze and 
calculate to exhaustion, but after we finish, we are still  scared.
Or jealous. Or grieving. Common sense does not cure  your panic.
Basically, rationality has no hope of understanding  emotions;
emotions are of the heart, not of the mind.  

There are times when we doubt our own judgment on big  issues.
Sometimes we think we might be going off the deep end,  and I
ask, how deep is your deep end? Some of us have pretty  deep deep
ends! I think mine is pretty deep. Certainly deep  enough to drown
in, if I'm not careful to stay afloat.  Fortunately, I learned
how to swim, and the real purpose of this  article is to pass on
a few "strokes" for those of you who find  yourselves just "treading
water" a lot.  

You see, when you tread water, you use all your energy up  and
never get anywhere. Not only is it easier to stay afloat  when
your moving, but your also getting yourself out of the  situation
that's causing you the problems in the first place.  Maybe you'll
even find a part of the lake that isn't so deep, and  you can reach
the bottom with your feet.  

What I'm trying to say with this metaphor is that you have  to
have a direction. Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream"  and
his dream gave him the power to endure all the racism,  violence
and rudeness so that he could bring his message to us.  Proverbs
(in the Bible) says that without vision, the people  perish. When
you lose your dreams, you die. Without our dreams  we lack that
direction. We find ourselves on a treadmill going  nowhere; or
treading in deep water, eventually to run out of  energy and drown.

Sometimes our choices are horrifying. Sometimes we are  scared
senseless about the decisions we have to make. We are  paralyzed.
Perhaps we are empowered and productive employees,  great family
people, contribute to the community in large ways,  but in this
one little thing -- or big thing -- we simply can't  move forward.
Perhaps our decisions are going to hurt people  whom we care about.
Perhaps our decisions are going to hurt us;  maybe we just can't
think of a course of action that doesn't  hurt, or maybe it's simply
one of those cases where it's going to  take more pain to get through
the existing pain.  

Start by convincing your rational mind that you really want  to
go through with it, that the decision needs to be made. You  can
use such tricks as listing pros and cons and prioritizing  your
results. Consider carefully what you would be leaving  behind and
what you would be gaining by your chosen course of  action. Think
about how they would affect all the areas of your  life: your hobbies,
activities, relationships, work, church  groups, spirituality,
etc. Then think about the advantages of  staying where you are.
Do you really have to give these up?  

Picture yourself five years down the road, and look and see  what
it would feel like to have stayed where you are now all that  time.
Would you feel as though you wasted those five years? And  what
if you went ahead and proceeded; how would those same five  years
look in retrospect?  

We tend to cling to what is familiar. This is called  inertia,
or the physical notion that an object at rest tends to  stay at
rest. The emotion that favors inertia is fear, which is  a response
of your body to change.  

Ah, yes, fear. Just as we will always have problems, we  will
always have fear. Fear is not an emotion associated with  danger,
although often danger accompanies fear. Fear is more  accurately
associated with the unknown; all fear is fear of the  unknown.
If you're scared of snakes, you can assuage your fear  by learning
all you can about snakes. You can study them, handle  them, learn
how they behave, and you may always have a healthy  respect of
them, but your fear will subside.  

Fear is created in the mind. We can place a plank on the  ground,
and let's make it easy: the plank is two feet wide and  ten feet
long. Almost anybody can walk such a plank without  falling off,
and with no fear at all. Place this same plank 200  feet above
the ground, and suddenly we have far fewer volunteers  to walk
our plank. It's the same two feet wide, the same ten  feet long,
but now your subconscious is not thinking about  walking across
the plank; it's thinking about falling. And  falling is what you
fear, not walking that plank.  

So, don't think of falling. Convince yourself that you're  going
to step off the other end unharmed. Picture it in your  mind. While
you do that, consciously address the physical  symptoms of fear,
the tightening of the gut and the shortened  breath. Consciously
relax, and take long, slow breaths.  

Fear has a survival value, a purpose. When you face an  unknown
situation, it's advantageous to remember how you faced  it, providing
you survive, so that a similar situation in the  future will be
remembered instead of being unknown again.  Memory, or more correctly
recall of memory, is linked to the  emotional amplitude of the
memory. Things that cause you great  pleasure or pain are more
easily remembered than mundane  happenings. Fear is a gift given
to enhance our memory of facing  unknown situations.  

So when you begin to feel afraid, make an effort to realize  that
the reason you're afraid is simply that you've never done  this
before, and you a begin given the gift of clear memory for  this

And one more little facet: fear and excitement are the same  feeling.
You can create the same physiological changes and  emotional feelings
by excitement. At the top of a roller  coaster, are your scared
or excited? Sometimes hard to tell,  because they're really the
same. If you can take that "Oh, NO!"  feeling and change it into
an "Oh BOY!" feeling, reframing fear  into excitement, it's easier
to get over that drop. Then you can  just hang on and scream like
the everybody else.  

Another thing about fear often forgotten is that fear goes  away
after you decide. Remember that plank? If you decide not  to walk,
you aren't afraid any more. You decide that you will  walk, and
know certainly that you'll succeed, your fear will be  greatly
attenuated. Whether you do what you fear or you don't,  the fear
goes away after you decide. Particular fear, that is.  

Know that as long as you face new situations, you will have  fear.
It's not something to escape or avoid. As surely as we  grow,
as we make plans and advance... as sure as we solve a  problem
now and then, we will have fear. Learn about fear, learn  to be
friends with fear, and you'll be less controlled and  paralyzed
by it. Just as we trade our old problems for new ones  when we
grow, we trade our old fears for new ones. As long as  there is
change, there will be new fears to face.  


All dressed up and nowhere to go? Polishing the silver should
be  done more than twice a year, girls. Why not prepare yourself
a  romantic dinner for YOU! If you are a kitchen ignoramus, you
can  call a local deli or grocery store that has such a service
and  have your dinner catered, or even order take out food from
a  Chinese.  

But really do it like a formal dinner. Decorate your table,  and
be sure to have candles. Put on some soft dinner music, jazz  or
classical. Use the good china and silver, and treat yourself  like
a lady.  

Want to protect your nails while gardening? Wear nail polish,
says Cutex, a major distributor of nail polish. Do you need any 
more encouragement?  

Don't shave your legs right after waking up. While sleeping, 
your skin puffs up with fluids, and they need time to disperse.
Afterwards, the hair shafts will be more exposed.  

Foundations with SPF 15 or more are a good way to deal with  incidental
sun exposure of the kind you get driving or walking  outdoors.
Few people, however, apply foundation evenly across  the entire
face. Ears and neck, for example, are frequently  unprotected and
are important areas to protect.  

Makeup is less effective during sports or outdoor  excursions.
Designed to be easy to apply and lighter in texture,  cosmetics
wear off faster than a real sunscreen, so for  activities in which
sun exposure is expected, don't depend on the  sun protection in
makeup to be effective.

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