Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Engaging A Personal Stylist- The Search

Since Winchester, Virginia is not renowned as a fashion Mecca, I knew that I would need to investigate personal stylists and fashion consultants based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. While not ideal for me from a logistical perspective, there were really no other viable options. The distance is approximately 90 miles and with that, commensurate cost increases for travel time. However, I decided if I were to take the plunge, I wanted the best consultants I could find for my price point.

I conducted my preliminary investigation via Google and located several consultants that seemed like viable options. Primarily, I was looking for stylists that felt approachable, have a verifiable history and footprint, multiple reviews by customers, free vetting by phone or Zoom, and in- person wardrobe analysis. An in-home closet edit was a non-negotiable requirement.

This is not an overnight process. The investigation, interviews and scheduling took about 6-8 weeks for the first meeting.

I’ve posted a few photos to show just a bit of my pre-edit sweater collection.

Monday, February 27, 2023

An Everyday Woman Engaging a Personal Stylist


Personal stylists are for royalty, celebrities, power brokers, and politicians seeking to appeal to voters, right? A-listers, B-listers or wannabes- not 63 year old insurance claims professionals with an eye towards retirement! While I loved the many seasons of What Not To Wear when Stacey & Clinton played fairy godmother to an unsuspecting fashion disaster, helping to transform Cinderella from dowdy to fabulous in a week, it never occurred to me to hire a style consultant to help me curate my wardrobe and create outfits that would take my style from fairly good to fabulous.

But during our post Christmas mini vacation, my husband suggested that I explore utilizing a stylist to help me refine my style and ‘kick it up a notch’.

It did take a bit of time to contemplate moving forward. After all, it is not an inexpensive endeavor. 

Ultimately, following a cost/benefit analysis, I decided that I could save money by refining my style, learning how to make outfits with items I already own, develop an appreciation for what styles, colors and silhouettes work for me, and identify WHAT NOT TO BUY! 

Essentially, I wanted the equivalent of the nuns in elementary school telling me Do Not Talk During Fire Drills. Walk away from the peach hued sweater! Give me a list of flattering colors and provide guidelines.

I’ve already learned one thing….no more cotton tees needed!

I will share additional aspects of this journey in additional posts. 


Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Angel Maker by Alex North / Book Review


Because I loved The Whisper Man, I was thrilled to receive an ARC of The Angel Maker courtesy of Celadon Books and NetGalley. The premise is fascinating. Is our destiny pre-determined or do we have the opportunity to change it by exercising free will? Serial killer John Locke wrote obsessively on the topic. After his arrest, his writings disappear as do his two sons: one who participated in his father’s hobbies and the other who did not. 

This story is juxtaposed with a contemporary story involving Katie Shaw, married mother of the precious toddler, Siena, who is pulled into the search for her estranged brother Chris, an addict who never recovered psychologically from a random attack when he was a young teen. 

The multiple story lines weave from distant past, to the current day murder of a beloved philosophy professor to flashbacks to the attack on Chris. 

The book, which feels part police procedural, part mystery, party family dysfunction and part thriller never truly gels for me. There are too many non linear pieces that don’t fully create a cohesive story. While I truly enjoyed The Angel Maker, it did not leave me feeling satisfied, that the many loose ends ultimately worked, or left me wanting more.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Mainstreaming Children With Behavioral Problems Has Destroyed American Public Schools


Once upon a time children with behavioral problems were kicked out of public schools. They were sent to reform school, juvenile detention, military school, or a mental health facility where their violent behavior did not result in harm to other students, teachers or administrators. But in the 21st Century, the bullies, mentally disturbed, psychologically unbalanced and behavioral problems are protected by social activists, administrators that care more about money and/ or image than safety, panderers, woke ideology, and society focused on the misguided belief that public education should be available to all. 

A public school education should use the tax dollars of citizens to educate those who have an ability to learn, the social skills needed to act civilized in a group setting, and the appreciation of what is right and what is wrong.

The evidence that has been uncovered regarding the first grader who shot his teacher in  a Chesapeake, Virginia primary school is horrifying. The school administrators allowed a violent, disruptive, disturbed child to attend school in a classroom with children he was tormenting, bullying and threatening. Students in his class were not in a safe learning space. Administration personnel knew he was a problem, but let him attend classes with a parent. What an utter failure! The kid should not have been allowed across the threshold of the playground. 

What about the teachers and administrators in the New Jersey school that allowed four other students to kick and beat with a water bottle another student! What, and the superintendent tried to blame the child’s father for giving other young people an excuse to bully? 

Why did nobody stop the horrible behavior? In either case? Perhaps it is time for responsible adults to stand up, fight back, take the asylum back from the lunatics, believe teachers, institute a process for disciplining those who deserve it, and get back to teaching the basics: reading, writing (including penmanship), arithmetic (without laptops or calculators), civics, history, geography, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. It wouldn’t hurt to include music, art, home economics, industrial arts, and respect for fellow humans. 

If we weren’t forced to attempt to educate the uneducable, those tax dollars collected could be put to far better use. Instead, many classrooms just provide free babysitting for parents.