Blogging in Colombia: Manna for the Senses

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I See…

Medellin, a city of 3 million filling a valley and sprawling up the encircling foothills of the Andes Mountains. During the day, the colors are warm orange, foliage green and light baby blue. On the eighth floor, our room is level with the distant mountains, offering a birds’ eye view of the lush growth filling all the available space between and above the teeming array of terra cotta apartments, tenements and shacks. Thus far I have not seen 1 solitary home.  They are tucked away somewhere, out of view.  

The metro system unites the villages above city-proper with cable cars like ski lifts dangling above the metal roofs which are often held in place (or not) by stacks of bricks, old tires and garbage bags full of what– I can only guess. It is surreal when you are  floating in the air, so far removed.

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People, people, everywhere… Walking, bicycling, crazy wild on motorcycles, hanging out of impossibly crowded busses, standing-room-only on the metro, and disappearing into yellow taxis swarming all over the place! Even in jammed-up traffic, I am impressed with the lack of road rage– never a harsh word, have I heard.

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Waxing Poetic at Summer’s End… Or ” What sagging Skin?

Comfortably situated on a sturdy wooden park bench uptown, I watch the children play in the water-feature across the street, its foamy cascade, a sweet relief to the dog days that define late Summer. The effusion of flowers are just past full bloom, proudly touting seed pods and rose hips, having fulfilled their seasonal purpose in the circle of life. Brave stalks still reach toward the sun while others bow low, calling it a day, fulfilled and content with their place within the cycle.  
But I’m a little wistful at the thought of winding down, as the season is sure to pass, changing my preferred lifestyle and of course, the clothes that I love best.
Still enamored by strappy tops and sleeveless-ness, I choose to ignore the body parts that seem to have deserted me, having fallen ungracefully towards gravity’s callous pull. My mirror and I have a love/hate relationship, so I am taking the path of least resistance by enlisting a dose of healthy denial–opting not to bemoan that which I do not see.
Personal style is an individual freedom that I foster. Developed from a whim, it becomes an exercise of creative expression. An art form, if only in my own mind, it is a liberty that I claim from having lived this long!

The setting sun is casting sky-blue-pink across my pervue, the sky, a gigantic canvas for celestial finger-paints of color and light. The cicadas seem to herald the day’s end, grateful to have lived another day or perhaps they are celebrating the passage into the coolness of the night. Their constancy is reassuring and reminds me of fresh mown hay on a still-life from my childhood when living seemed easier–or at least, less complex


There is a heady sweetness in the air coming from wave petunias, thick and luscious to the bees. A young woman has begun to trill a folk song across the way, her guitar the only accompaniment to her soulful lyrics, so clear and pure and hopeful.

And now it’s dark– that deep velvety blue, backlit from the sun just setting. I’ll go home now. Many Thanks for sharing your time and attention.

Dressing Strategically with Earrings

Earrings–more than meets the eye!

I never leave home without them–seriously. I’ve been known to stop and buy a pair just because I forgot them and didn’t feel properly dressed.

You probably have a style you like you feel comfortable with but it need not limit your options.  Just because you’ve been a stud kind of gal does not mean that you can’t experiment with something edgy–a different sort of look–a new expression of your personality.

How we present our selves is more about how we feel than how we look.  What we think is imperceptible, is anything but–something as small as an earring can change the way you hold your head and make eye contact, for instance.

Who knows?  By experimenting and expanding your repertoire, you just might find your inner snaZZy, waiting to be released.   Maybe it’s time to let it out to play.

Aging has that effect sometimes.  It’s often a life stage that sets us free(er), allowing for change, reminding us of our teenage years when we longed to find ourselves.  Growing older in years  can have that freedom of discovery too.  And our habits bespeak our experience.  Change 1 little thing and the paradigm suddenly shifts, opening us up even further.

Ok, back to earrings–an adornment women have been wearing for centuries; the Sumerian women purportedly wore them 2500 BCE.

FYI:  Earring Definitions

Studs are usually posts, attached to the lobe or top of the ear (or even the nose–but that’s another subject).

  Dangles do just that, with a wire or stud securing the suspended article which is free to       move in a mobile-like fashion.

  Drops consist of a stud at the lobe with just one large jewel or article suspended  from it.

  Chandeliers, similar t the dangle, is more complex–sometimes having several tiers.

  Cuffs fit around the ridges of your upper ear.

  Gauges are the hole expanders and exist just beyond my understanding.  Old fogey?      Maybe.

Earring Tips:  

Short neck?  Avoid long-dangles.

Long neck?  You have more options

Avant-garde? Do what you will!  (my personal favorite)

Round face (widest at the cheekbones with no taper to the chin), Long drop or dangle earrings to elongate your face and make it look slimmer. Avoid large circular earrings, hoops and button studs which only emphasize the roundness. Also, stay away from drop earrings with a dangling round disc. The roundness will only make your face look rounder. Earrings for round face shape…

Long and Narrow Face: Choose earrings that emphasize the width of your face. Studs, clustered earrings, short dangles, hoops in a medium to large size. Round earrings will widen your face, and make it look fuller.

Square Face: (forehead and jawline are similar widths) need to soften the hard edges of their face. To do this choose go for earrings that are medium to long with rounded edges. Oval shapes soften things up, and circular earrings and hoop earrings work well too. Stay away from square studs or any kind of earring with a square as it only reinforces the squareness.

Heart Shaped Face: If your forehead is wider than your cheeks and the lower half of your face narrows like a heart then you have a heart-shaped face. In this case, you need to counterbalance your sharp chin with chandelier or tear drop earrings. Earrings that are wider at the bottom than the top help fill in the lower portion of your face, so your face is more balanced.

Oval Shaped Face: (the widths of your brow, cheekbones and jaw are almost equal)  Lucky you! You can wear almost any shape, but triangular earrings or simple studs will show off your lovely cheekbones best!

Bone structure will determine the size and weight of the earrings you will look best in.

Small, fine bone structure: (Meryl Streep/Sharon Stone/Jodi Foster ) Choose earrings that are thin, fine, flat and delicate.

Medium Bone Structure: ( Teri Hatcher, Madonna, Liz Hurley) Opt for medium weight and size earrings.

Large Bone Structure:(Oprah, Donatella Versace) You can carry off  medium to large, heavy, chunky earrings.

(Thanks to Deborah Boland, creator of Fabulous after  40–http://www.fabulousafter40.com/best-earrings-for-your-face-shape/)

Fruit of the Vine

Old World Wine Country

Packing into Jim and Leslie’s car, the 5 of us set out for wine country, up-country style.  North of Mondovi, the drive gets steep and the scenery is breath-taking as the vineyards create patchwork-patterns below.

Each vineyard has a villa, it seems, and a label to call its own.  In one of the favored towns, we had ample samples of that fermented grape juice and marveled at the elegant taste of each one.  Again, it was difficult to find food with vegetables–meat dominates the northern climes–but olive oil, bread and cheese suits me fine.

Taking a day to stop for pictures, laughing with old friends awhile exploring God’s green earth is just another one of my favorite things.

Chink, chink… (the sound of glasses toasting)…

Clothing challenged in the Midwest

When I left Hawaii to return to Ohio, I was adamant that I’d wear my tropical prints and vivid colors–no matter what.  I remember the plane ride, with attendants dressed in Aloha fabrics, as I pined for Paradise lost.  We’d lived there 2 years but I wasn’t done with Hawaii yet–but alas, I digress…

When we landed in L. A., I was amazed that everyone seemed to be dressed in black.  What?  Is this not the home of the avant guard? Where’s the joie de vivre and individuality that I had imagined thrived there?  My experience is that warm climates beget colorfuSnaZZy multi flower over top front viewl attire–but my theory seemed out dated and didn’t bode so well for my commitment to wild abandon.  Nevertheless, I determined I’d walk my own walk to whatever beat I felt.

And so–onward to Ohio with a trunk (maybe 2) full of sunshine fabrics and funky styles… It had been many years since I’d lived in the mid-west.  Moving from Maine to Hawaii was a culture shock for sure but I hadn’t lived in Ohio for 16 years and somehow I thought it would have transformed as much as I had.

Architecturally, all the brick caught me off-guard–I felt smothered and claustrophobic for awhile.  No swaying palms nor daily rainbows.  I couldn’t even see the horizon for the tall buildings and summer smog.   Where were all the international cultures, colors and foods?  And what’s with that southern twang?  I felt I’d back-stepped into days gone by–not that much had changed and at first look, the attitudes hadn’t either.

But I was still influenced by my other worldliness so I dragged out my favorite clothes and wore them amongst the jeans, cut-off’s and sweats that I saw everywhere.  Did I stick out?  You bet–like a red hot persimmon in a field of yellowed corn! But I didn’t care–for awhile.

16 years later, I look at my closet and see that I have way more gray, black, and brown than I care to admit.  Oh, I have fun colors and cool textures all right but they are more for accent and effect than everyday wear, I fear.

Even my forays to the Big Apple are not as splashy as I’d dreamed.  Black is seen as sophisticated and understated–I get it.  But truly, I’m attracted to the bright as the proverbial moth to the light.

So this year, I’m coming out of my dark closet.  I found a bright pink winter coat –my break from the winter-doldrums, like a butterfly emerging, intoxicated from sleeping too long.  And what of oranges, yellows and limes?  Why do we not usually associate these with year-round wear?

Not one to hold back, I’ve scoured some reSale shops and have some SnaZZy-worthy items–soon to be added to my shopping site, www.SnaZZyThreadsReSale.com Snazzy pink 2 items

Winter–it’s a wrap!

I seem to say it often and I’m known to say it loud–I am not a Winter type… nor do I embrace sweater-weather and crisp cold nights (the only crisp I like is of the apple variety).

I know this because I gave the North woods a good shot by living in Maine over 7 years, experiencing minus 40-degree temps with snow above my knees, followed by a long overdue mud-season,  they call Spring, ushered in by consummate clouds of black flies looking for blood!  Let me tell you, after a few years, it became harder and harder to appreciate the view.

Being a clothing aficionado, it didn’t take long to grow tired of  LL Bean and the like.  There’s only so much you can do with flannel and down.  And what about those snow-mobile suits–were they made by women-haters?  Have you ever tried to find a place to relieve yourself on the tundra of a frozen lake only to find you have to practically undress to do it?  When it’s subzero, that’s not funny (unless you survive it and live to describe it later–in a blog, that is).

I did wear those cutesy leg-warmers and tights were “in” back then too. Remember those knee high suede fringed boots?  (I first saw them worn by one of the musicians in the group Chicago).  Yep, I had those.  And I accessorized with ear muffs, fleece caps and an arsenal of mittens and gloves, for every occasion.  (To be fair, I was titillated by silk long underwear–which serves me still.)   And underneath all those layers were wild sox, to feed my kitsch-craving–but the inner layer was rarely revealed because it was too darned cold! Ah, but that’s when you’d bring out the brandy–and commiserate the cold away.

There’s nothing like the baby blue of those clear, cloudless skies.  Is it the cold or the view  that takes your breath away?  White has more sparkle there.  The trees–crisp white birch and towering lush evergreens–provide texture, color and visual relief in an otherwise undisturbed canvas. Snowshoes come in handy–I’m proud to say I mastered them while pregnant!

But back to the clothes… There are many weavers and artistisons on that island and they work all Winter long (emphasis on long), to supply the boutique shops and craft fairs with textiles and art for the Summertime tourists– 10,000 strong.  The locals barter amongst themselves and so I was the recipient of many of those splendors.  From bunny and goat, to loom for weaving then transformed with natural dyes and creative endeavor to make the finished product– a one-of-a-kind piece of art.  Now that kind of clothing interested me!

Maybe that cold clime is where I developed my fascination with jackets and coats.  I must say that I have more of those than I do common sense, sometimes.  I’m attracted to long ones, short ones, pink and lime green ones.  I have jackets that look best with pants and others that particularly show off skirts.  When confronted with temperatures that cause me angst, I resort to my coat closet and find something that suits my fancy.

Yeah, there’s the silver lining.  I knew if I wrote long enough, I’d find one regarding Winter’s long freeze.