Re-blog: Green Dragonfly blog giveaway.

Would you like to win a pretty & handcrafted shawl? Well, check out the original post. Thanks to D’NALI blog for posting/re-blogging this.

The Green Dragonfly

When I finished this wrap not too long ago and posted the pattern details I got a number of disappointed comments saying the pattern was too difficult to read because it was in Japanese… so because I love you guys and I had enough of the wool left over I decided to make another just like mine to give away to one of you, my lovely readers.

Its a beautifully soft light shawl, very lacy, yet surprisingly warm… perfect for cool spring evenings or autumn days.

This giveaway is open to ANYONE ANYWHERE in the world, and Ill draw the winner on Sunday October 14, 2012.

To Enter: {{This giveaway is now closed}}
Leave a comment!
OPTIONAL for additional entries:
follow the green dragonfly (if you are already a follower let me know) (1)
facebook it (1)
tweet it (1)
blog it (1)
instagram…

View original post 11 more words

Advertisements

Fashionably late.

I attended my first ever, bona fide fashion show with 3 women. (Meetup is the best.) But before you see the photos, I’ll briefly open a window (just a bit) into a small part of my life.

Rate this:

09.22.2012

I actually was “fashionably late” due to missing the train. I’d say that my style reflects New York City, but… well… suffice it to say that no one asks me for fashion tips.

Pardon, I’m rambling.

Anyway, I attended my first ever, bona fide fashion show with 3 women. (Meetup is the best.) But before you see the photos, I’ll briefly open a window (just a bit) into a small part of my life.

Before moving here, I was small. Throughout my life I was either teased for being too skinny, or told “I wish my body was like yours” (or some variation thereof). I could eat almost anything I wanted, in any amount, when I wanted. Freshman 15? Never happened to me. I was never overweight. In spite of this, I didn’t like myself.

Fast forward to now, and I’ve gained weight since moving here – never been overweight in my life until now. You never miss what you had until it’s gone and in my case, I wish that I appreciated my health & body more. I’m not used to it and it affects me a lot, negatively. (NOTE: This is not about looking down on overweight or obese people, so don’t pen any hate mail.) Being unable to fit most of my old clothing, yet not knowing where to find affordable & fitting clothing, made me look & feel slovenly (along with any other negative feelings). This was especially so in 2011.

Toward the end of 2011, I re-evaluated many things in my life and decided that working just to pay bills wasn’t worth it – mentally, financially, physically or emotionally. I resolved to make myself more of a priority in 2012 and beyond, and I’ve done alright so far. However, figuring out clothing sizes & cuts & colours & etc. was/is still a bit of a challenge. I also sustained an injury that has made it hard for me to work out & lose weight. (Getting older isn’t much help with weight loss either.) I found out about a stylist’s Meetup workshop and got a free ticket. Her tips gave me some ideas about where to start, as fashion has never really been my forté.

Little by little, the tips are helping, along with attending the show. Not only did I see women of different shapes & sizes (dressed better than me, no exaggeration), races & ethnicities, I also got a look into some of the latest trends. I know that I’ll never be a true fashionista (mostly because I generally hate shopping), and I may never dress like a true European (of any race or ethnicity), but I’m developing my style and now have an idea of what’s classic, current & fitting for me. I’m trying to work with what I have, no matter my size.

Alright… enough about me. I and the 3 women had a nice time; we wandered around for a few hours & each got something to bring home for ourselves. One even scored a great DKNY denim jacket for a decent price. Check out a small sample of the show’s offerings.

Kat & Bee. http://www.katandbee.co.uk/
Kat & Bee. http://www.katandbee.co.uk/
The Branch. http://www.the-branch.co.uk/
The Branch. http://www.the-branch.co.uk/
MariaFrancescaPepe. http://www.mfpepe.com/
MariaFrancescaPepe. http://www.mfpepe.com/
Vivienne Westwood. http://www.viviennewestwood.co.uk/shop/womens-accessories/shoes/
Vivienne Westwood. http://www.viviennewestwood.co.uk/shop/womens-accessories/shoes/
American vintage. www.cashmerebytania.com
American vintage. http://www.cashmerebytania.com
Free (and purchased) goodies.
Free (and purchased) goodies.

The following photos are from the ALICE by Temperley catwalk show. ALICE by Temperley is a collection under the Temperley London line.

Caroline Flack, host for ALICE by Temperley catwalk show.
Caroline Flack, host for ALICE by Temperley catwalk show.

And here’s one of my small purchases from Kat & Bee.

If you’re a fellow expatriate, have you experienced body changes? How did they affect you (if at all)? How did you adjust to the changes? Are you pleased with the changes, or are you learning to work with what you have?

Short commercial break: Trayvon Martin.

This isn’t a 100% travel- or expatriate-related post, but it’s important enough for me to stray away from those topics for a second.

Rate this:

https://twitter.com/#!/spinstercompass/status/181834199068721152

(written March 17, 2012)

Trayvon Martin.

This isn’t a 100% travel- or expatriate-related post, but it’s important enough for me to stray away from those topics a bit. As an expatriate, it’s important to me to keep abreast of current events in my home country. The following story is also one of the reasons why I left the United States and, therefore, somewhat relates to my expatriate experiences. I’m going to keep this post short because Trayvon Martin’s story infuriates me to no end, and I refuse to read or listen to anything about it until this cold-blooded racist asshole killer gets locked up. However, I wanted to give this story another platform so that it can reach all corners of the earth if possible.

When I first heard about this, I read that the scumbag killed an innocent & unarmed Black American 17-year-old named Trayvon Martin because he looked suspicious in the neighborhood… even though his father lives in said neighborhood. I checked to see if this boy had any criminal history because sometimes, people protest certain things even though the person involved was less than savory while alive, but of course this boy has no criminal history whatsoever. Then I read that when police searched the 17 year old’s body, they found a bag of Skittles & a can of iced tea – no weapons whatsoever. (I guess that Skittles & iced tea are really fucking lethal weapons that either I didn’t know about or described as such in state or federal legislation since I moved over here, unbeknownst to me.) Then I read that this scumbag is still walking the streets 1 month after he gunned down this innocent & unarmed Black American boy who went to the corner store to buy his little brother some candy & something to drink. As a matter-of-fact, this scumbag just started college courses to study criminal justice!

Who looks more dangerous?
Who looks more dangerous?

Now do you understand why this infuriates me? Now do you see why I refuse to read or listen to anything about this until this scumbag gets locked up & sentenced to no less than 25 years to life?

I’ve said enough; I feel the fury & rage again so I’ll end here.

Please, I beg of you, sign this Change petition. While I’m not listening to or reading about this unless real justice gets served, I suggest that you read more/do your research about this senseless & needless killing on your own. And if you feel so moved, raise hell about this case. One way that you can do that is by calling Sanford (Florida) Police Department’s Bill Lee at (407) 688-5070 (overseas – 001 407 688 5070). Tell Bill Lee to arrest George Zimmerman, the scumbag who killed this boy for no valid reason. Call Bill Lee until he can’t take it anymore. As for me, I’ll repeat this one more time:

I refuse to read or listen to anything about it until this cold-blooded racist asshole killer gets brought to justice. I don’t want to hear anything less than 25 years to life. Anything less is unacceptable.

UPDATE: Over 1,000,000 signatures. GREAT!!! 🙂 http://www.wesh.com/r/30738229/detail.html Keep on signing, keep on calling, keep on raising hell.

New York Times op-ed piece http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/opinion/blow-the-curious-case-of-trayvon-martin.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share
I’m not the only one blogging this. http://showedupandshowedout.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/trayvon-martin/
Witnesses to his death heard his cries before he got shot http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/15/2696446/trayvon-martin-case.html
Audio – 911 call http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmnqKotpSD0
Change.org petition to arrest this scumbag killer http://www.change.org/trayvon
MoveOn.org petition to arrest this scumbag killer http://www.moveon.org/r?r=272971&id=37516-14438746-KyhaBix&t=2

No pomp & circumstance.

It’s always amusing to me when I go home or have telephone and/or e-mail conversations, and people say things like…

Rate this:

https://twitter.com/#!/spinstercompass/status/179310141122940929

It’s always amusing to me when I go home or have telephone and/or e-mail conversations, and people say things like

So, did you have tea & crumpets with the Queen?

LOVE the British accent! (because there’s only one, of course) Everyone sound so posh & proper over there.

Everyone is so well off over there! You’re so lucky!

And my favorite:

There are projects over there???!?!?

Pip pip cheerio.
Pip pip cheerio.
How splendid.
How splendid.

If one thinks about it, I wouldn’t be here if my services weren’t needed. If this place was as perfect as many imagine it to be, I’d be in Switzerland instead. (Does Switzerland even need have social services?) To make things simple for those folks who may or may not read this, think of Washington, D.C. in the United States. The person considered to be the most powerful man on the planet – the President of the United States – lives there in a beautiful House, yet less than 5 miles away are some of the roughest neighborhoods in the nation.

Check out my photos below to get a better idea of the conditions which I work in every day.

Empty.
Empty.
Schoolyard.
Schoolyard.

Neighborhood homeless woman.
Neighborhood homeless woman.

SMH.
SMH.
Notorious estate, empty & condemned.
Notorious estate, empty & condemned.
View from a doorway.
View from a doorway.

Pomp & circumstance? Not really. Real life? Yes.

Royal Wedding.

I knew I wasn’t going to watch the Royal Wedding live & in living color. However, it’s nice to live/be somewhere in the midst of history taking place.

Rate this:

I knew I wasn’t going to watch the Royal Wedding live & in living color. I hate crowds, I don’t have the energy to camp out for hours or days like I had when I was younger, and I just can’t. 😐 However, it’s nice to live/be somewhere in the midst of history taking place. So instead, I spent the night at my co-worker’s family’s house. They, too, are American expatriates, and my co-worker’s husband actually wrote an article about the wedding for his hometown newspaper (he had to go for at least a few minutes).

Kass’s blog entries about the Royal Wedding:
Royal Wedding – Yuck. Prolog
The Royal Wedding: On The Scene
Royal Wedding Part 2: Journo-ism (unedited version of published newspaper article)

There isn’t really much to say, so just take a look at the pictures below. Please pardon the bootleg nature of the photos. 😐 Enjoy.

With this ring I thee wed.
With this ring I thee wed.
HRH Queen Elizabeth & husband Duke of Edinburgh.
HRH Queen Elizabeth & husband Duke of Edinburgh.
It's official: husband & wife.
It's official: husband & wife.
Fly-over.
Fly-over.
One of many crowds.
One of many crowds.
Catherine.
Catherine.
Balcony.
Balcony.

The kiss.
And finally, the kiss.

Come on over (part II).

A few weeks ago, after working together one evening, J invited me to have dinner at her family’s home. Continued.

Rate this:

(If you missed the 1st part, just click here for it.)

J arrived with niece & daughter in tow and I got in the car. It was already dark, so I didn’t see what anyone looked like until we got to the house. J’s daughter asked where I was from, and as soon as those 3 words came out of my mouth, I regretted them.

Me: “New York City.”

Here we go…..

Oh my goodness! I’ve always wanted to go there. What’s it like? What part are you from? I just wanna go there and shop! How much does it cost to go there? What was it like growing up there? Oh, this is great! I can’t wait to go there one day. What’s their fashion like? (Sidenote: I, Spinster, am the wrong person to ask about any kind of fashion.) I’m sure there’s tons of stuff to do there! And I gotta try the make-up there too! There are probably so many things there that we don’t have here!

And on and on for most of the ride back to the home. 😐 I only answered 1 or 2 of her questions before J told her to calm down a bit. Thank goodness. The anxiety was in full swing.

We got back to the home and J’s husband, a Frenchman (non-English-speaking except a few basic words), greeted me while a couple of female family members put the finishing touches on dinner. The rest of the kids were upstairs until J beckoned them to come downstairs and greet me. (The boys, who are the oldest and in their 20s, didn’t come down; that didn’t surprise me one bit.) She told them to give me hugs & kisses, which was adorable, and they did. Nice warm family. It calmed me down a bit. And wouldn’t you know it? All of the girls who were teens & adults were wearing skinny jeans along with their hijab! They didn’t think I was a whore after all! 😐

I took off my coat & sat down, staring into space whilst waiting for dinner. I felt like an exotic animal because the kids stared at me. The older ones asked me more questions while offering me food & drink. Since I was late, they’d already eaten so the food was just for me. It was strange eating alone while they talked, but at least they were talking instead of staring at me. The food was good & filling. (sampling of typical Mauritian cuisine)

After I finished, I sat back on the couch & twiddled my thumbs. One of J’s older daughters (the one in the car) asked me some more questions that made me groan inside, and then she asked me something I considered strange:

Do you like make-up?

Again, wrong person to ask.

I said

I own some but I’m not into it like most women. I keep it pretty simple when I wear it, if at all.

She asked about different make-up brands and their possible existence back home. I told her about Sephora (my usual go-to for make-up) & offered to show her the website. We wound up looking at the site for a while. This excited her because, unbeknownst to me, she studies cosmetology in college. See, J’s ancestors are from India. Mauritius (detailed Wikipedia entry – Mauritius) has a sizeable Indian-origin population, and so does the United Kingdom. In general, when Indian women get married (or have other milestone events), they sometimes require intricate make-up application, which can only be done by someone who knows their stuff. Since J’s daughter is learning, the Sephora website is perfect for her. It was as if I found some hidden pot o’ gold and gave it to her.

Although her question was strange to me, it did something to me: it decreased the anxiety, relaxing me little by little. I don’t know what it was – maybe having the focus on make-up instead of me? Whatever it was, I felt a little more at ease. I asked them questions about Mauritius, how J met her husband, their religion (born or converted), etc. As an aside, the younger children are at different levels of learning the Qur’an (online version here – Qur’an), and the younger ones had to wake up early the next morning to learn their next sura. Although I’m agnostic, I can appreciate, to a small extent, the positive role that religion can have on people. I think the family is a little relaxed when it comes to Islam (detailed Wikipedia entry – Islam) despite being orthodox; as mentioned earlier, the girls/women in the home wore skinny jeans and watched different TV shows & etc. (Please pardon me if this seems like major generalizing; this isn’t what my intent is, nor should it be taken as such.) Basically, American media doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Time flew by. We didn’t know it was so late, so I decided to get going. I got up, put on my coat, and held out my hand for a handshake. J’s daughter said

No, we don’t do that here. Give me a hug.

I gladly obliged. Younger daughter also gave me a big warm hug. My world lacks hugs, so I appreciate the few that I can get. They said “Don’t be a stranger, come back soon.”

J & her husband put on their coats and readied themselves to drop me to the overground train station. This time they used the family van. As we drove though, I noticed that we drove past the station, and that’s when J asked me for my address. It kinda caught me off guard.

Me: “Wait, you’re not taking me all the way home, are you?”

Yes. We can’t let you go home this late by yourself on the train. We’re taking you home.

Caught off guard again. Me: “Oh wow, thank you so much. You really don’t have to do this. I really appreciate it.”

And they dropped me all the way home, straight to my front door. I walked in the house, satisfied with the evening’s events. I felt the fear and did it anyway, which is 1 step forward for me. It’s hard to push past uneasy feelings, very hard, but it’s possible.

I was, and still am, overwhelmed by the unconditional acceptance given to me by certain people since being here. Sadly, it’s not something that I’m used to. Or maybe I’m looking into this too deeply, I don’t know. But in a world where one has to have certain qualities & characteristics to “fit in”, where everything about a person gets questioned, picked apart even….. Usually in a negative way, as if one isn’t good enough just the way one is….. it’s overwhelming (but nice) being welcomed with open arms.

I’ll be visiting them again, and they even offered for me to spend the night (I’ll likely accept the invitation). It’s nice to escape every once in a while, even if it’s just to another part of town, and just relax, knowing that all you have to do is just be.

Come on over (part I).

A few weeks ago, after working together one evening, J invited me to have dinner at her family’s home.

Rate this:

“What the hell did I get myself into?” I wondered aloud while preparing to go to J’s house for dinner.

Might as well start from the beginning…..

After working together one evening, J invited me to have dinner at her family’s home. J is a translator/interpreter, and I acquired her services through my job to communicate with a family whose 1st language is French. We worked together before & after my Christmas vacation, and she seems like a nice woman outside of work. I don’t know her age but since she has 5 children, one of whom is in his 20s, I assume that she’s a little older than me. Therefore, I’d not think that she’d invite me to dinner. After all, I’m younger than she is….. Maybe less mature?….. unabashedly American (whether I like it or not)….. not Muslim….. Why have me over for dinner?

So it was surprising that after one of our last visits with the family, she invited me over. We left the home & walked together quietly as usual until we split to head to our respective buses, and before I got a chance to walk off, she said “Would you like to come over for dinner one day?” I was kinda taken aback because it came out of nowhere, but I managed to say something to the effect of

“Wow. Thank you. Sure I’ll come over. Just let me know what your schedule is and let’s take it from there.”

Even though I accepted, the suddenness of it still left my mind boggled. What did she want from me? 😐

2 weeks passed and we set up for me to come over on 03.11.2011. I was looking forward to it….. at first. She’s from Mauritius which, to me, means learning about a new culture and (most important) trying new food. But that good old social anxiety crept up on me as it usually does. (While I’m a private person, I don’t mind sharing my “flaws”, like the social anxiety, with others if it helps others who experience the same things.) I had at least 1 week to mentally prepare myself, but mind over matter doesn’t always work for me. My mind was racing:

What should I wear? They’re Muslim; I don’t want them to think I’m a whore (whatever that means). What if I do or say something wrong? I don’t know these people. What’s their culture like? What if I don’t like the food? Would it be rude to say something about the food if I don’t like it? Okay, I’ll stay for no more than 2 hours and then I’m going home.

“What the hell did I get myself into?” I wondered aloud while preparing to go to J’s house for dinner. Nothing seemed to fit right. I forgot to look up directions to get there. Then I felt hot and changed clothes. Then I felt cold and changed clothes. Then I felt fat and changed clothes. Then I put on make-up and hated it. Then I took off the make-up and hated it. And these damn pimples! I’m too damn old to still be getting pimples! And why does my face have to look like this? And dear god, I’ve gained more weight than I thought. What if my breath stinks? My life is a complete fail. What was I thinking, accepting this invitation? I bet I’ll regret this.

I drove myself bonkers. And made myself late.

Since I was late & didn’t feel like ironing clothes, I decided on a new pair of skinny jeans even though I didn’t want to wear them. I forced myself to re-apply the make-up, checked my breath, put on my new coat & sneakers, and left the house. It was a cold but clear evening and, despite the anxiety, it was nice to get out of the house & see a different part of town. One of my unofficial resolutions for the year is to go out more now that I’m more settled into life in a new country, and anxious or not, I needed to do this. You can’t move forward if you don’t take the 1st step. Since I was running a little late, I high-tailed it to the bus to get to the train station. It was a pretty easy route despite weekend service disruptions. When I got to my destination, I called J to pick me up as planned; since she doesn’t drive, her niece drove while she & her oldest (I think) daughter went along for the ride. I anxiously awaited and wished myself luck.

To be continued…..

My sentiments exactly.
My sentiments exactly.

London Fashion (Faux Pas) Week.

I decided to take a short break from what I normally discuss to blog about fashion over here. I’m by no means a fashion expert. Trust me. 😐 So please take this with a grain of salt.

February 18-23 marked the arrival of London Fashion Week, a twice-yearly apparel trade show that takes place in February and September. While I’m not a fashion expert, I’ve known about the Big Four fashion weeks (New York City, London, Milan & Paris) for a very long time. The styles put forth range from structured & muted to colorful & unlimited; affordable to very expensive; made for regular chicks & chaps like me to made for socialites only. As I’ve gotten older, my appreciation for fashion has grown. I’ve mentioned this in past entries – practicing make-up application, dressing comfortable yet more feminine, looking to different & decent fashion blogs for help & inspiration, etc. So while I’m not a die-hard fashionista, nor do I go along with every single trend that comes out every few weeks (whoever created jeggings, revamped gaucho pants and pajama jeans should be slapped), I pay a little more attention to what’s “in” that’ll last a long time. In other words, I like seeing clothing that’ll last at least 1 generation – classic, so to speak, like the necessary little black dress for women that’ll never go out of style. Donna Karan, Chanel, Calvin Klein, and Ozwald Boateng are but a few designers who make timely, long-lasting, classic pieces. Of course, my salary doesn’t afford me the luxury of buying pieces from most of these designers, most of the time….. 😐 but hopefully you get what I’m saying.

With that said, it surprised me upon moving to this country that everything is not as it seems when it comes to fashion here. I’ll explain.

Before moving here, I visited twice over the past few years and, for the most part, admired (and still admire) the fashion sense here. I’d already known that this country is home to a major fashion world capital, as shown by the high streets being lined with designers ranging from Brooks Brothers to Burberry, as well as stores ranging from Topshop to John Lewis to Debenhams to the ultra-expensive-and-sometimes-gaudy Harrods. Moving here wouldn’t change that…..

Or so I thought.

Below you’ll find some proof that not everyone here shows the fashion sense that this fashion capital should exude worldwide.

Am I really that out of fashion? Has my eye for fashion gone blind again? Is this really what's hot & trendy today?
This must be Dis-United Weave/Wig-Dom instead of the United Kingdom because this is a very common sight around these parts.
Don't even know what to say about this. *shaking my head*
Come on son. --Ed Lover

Someone help me understand. Where’d London Fashion Week go wrong that these travesties occurred? What’s your signature style? What, if anything, would you improve about these folks’ fashion sense? Am I wrong for doing this?

Realizations (part II).

I’m getting used to, and appreciating, some things about this country….. universal healthcare, broad cultural diversity, tons of things to do around town if I so please….. different foods…..

Rate this:

With the amount of time I spent at home, I did what I usually do – think too much. Or maybe it isn’t a matter of thinking too much; that I have a 2nd home & traveled to my always-1st home gives me plenty of material to compare & contrast. I decided to compile a list of most of these thoughts for your reading pleasure. (Here’s part 1 for those who didn’t catch it.)

7. Sometimes, clothes do make the person. Putting my focus on clothes that fit my frame, as opposed to focusing on weight gain & body image, helped me feel a bit better about myself (check out this entry for details). I also purchased a small amount of make-up to add to my collection & accentuate my natural features, and I’m making more of an effort again to put it on, even if it’s just a little lipstick every day or every other day. Next step: enrolling in at least 1 activity that’ll keep me healthy & tone up my body in the process.

Make-up.
Make-up.

8. If I move again, no matter where that is, it should be to a temperate climate. I’m sick of dealing with bitter cold, snow, blizzards, black ice, etc. I’m settling in here and I also grew up with somewhat-harsh winters, but this gloomy weather (rain, snow, clouds, fog) is utter shit. Thank goodness that England has decent summer weather.

Tired of this.
Tired of this.

9. I can’t deal with New York City public transportation anymore. Lacking a car for most of my time at home sucked big time. I don’t own a car here (yet) and public transportation here has taken some getting used to, but for some reason it seems even more aggravating to manage back home. It’s easier to get around with a car, even in a metropolis as huge as New York City. Next time I go home, I’m gonna save enough money to rent a car for the length of my trip.

This makes England public transportation very fun.
This makes England public transportation very fun.

10. I love New York City. When it comes to each borough however, I hate Manhattan. It’s so overrated. It’s just not the same anymore. We can thank the very-well-off & the invading hipsters for that (as well as their Brooklyn invasion). I’ll take the other boroughs over Manhattan any day. (I have to admit though….. I’ll head uptown to Harlem for some good fried fish or Senegalese food, or Washington Heights/Inwood for delicious Dominican food. Besides those small areas, I’m over it.)

11. I can’t hop around from state to state like I used to when I was younger – road trips, catching flight upon flight, etc. I was supposed to visit family members in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida, with possible trips to Georgia, Arkansas and Washington State. My cash isn’t that disposable (never really has been); I’m not that young anymore; and last but certainly not least, I need people to meet me halfway. My great-aunts, who are in their 80s, are exempt from this for obvious reasons. Everyone else should meet me halfway at least once during my visit.

12. I’m getting used to, and appreciating, some things about this country. I’m thankful for universal healthcare, broad cultural diversity, tons of things to do around town if I so please, and all the different foods available to me, among other things. I even appreciate things as small as not ever having to pay ATM fees when I withdraw money from a bank that’s not my own. (I can’t stand the banks here in general, but that’s another rant for another blog entry.)

My thoughts are many….. too many. Part 3 coming soon.

Thoughtful.
Thoughtful.

Hot mess.

I don’t think I’m ugly at all, but I’m by no means a beauty queen. I’ll never be the main “character” in a music video. I’ll probably never be a rich man’s trophy. I’ll never win Miss America, Miss World or Miss Universe. Letting myself go makes me feel worse about these (possible) facts.

Rate this:

Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on
That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong…..

Drake – Best I Ever Had

Before.
Before.

I don’t think I’m ugly at all, but I’m by no means a beauty queen. I’ll never be the main “character” in a music video. I’ll probably never be a rich man’s trophy. I’ll never win Miss America, Miss World or Miss Universe. Letting myself go makes me feel worse about these (possible) facts.

As a little girl, I didn’t have much say over what to wear, so Mother Dear dressed me in pink & flowers & ribbons, oh my. 😐 Add to that the ritual of getting my hair done, and all of those things added together just gave me more to mess up when playing outside games & climbing trees. So the road to being a tomboy was pretty easy to find. Navigating that road got even easier by fashion trends of the day. A girl/young woman/woman could wear boyish clothing and not be automatically typecast as a particular type of lesbian. (Nowadays it seems the opposite – if one dresses in boyish clothing, it usually reflects one’s sexuality. This is a broad generalization only for the purposes of this entry, so please don’t take this personal.)

Fast forward to college, and though I still had some elements of boyishness about me, I dressed a little more like a girl (no) thanks to my then-boyfriend. His sister was a girly girl and always had guys milling about, so I guess he wanted me emulating her. As time went on, I had to learn how to come into my own.

Fast forward again and although I don’t prance around like the belle of the ball, I became a little more focused on better caring for myself – different forms of exercise (health is important to me), manicure & pedicure once every 1-2 months, hair done every 2-3 months, clothing with a more feminine edge, a little make-up from time to time, a little jewellery from time to time. I was more mindful of taking time out for my Self, pampering my Self on a small budget, so to speak. For those who know me well, I’ve never been a vain/shallow/superficial person even though I took better care of myself; therefore, my appearance is near the bottom of my list of priorities.

I got my hair done right before I moved overseas. I wanted it to last a long time (which it did) so that I’d have time to find a hair salon in this foreign land (which wasn’t hard but took some time). I remember getting a manicure & pedicure before moving over here; after all, it was summertime and dressing nicer was in full effect.

Summertime came and went. And I still hadn’t gotten a manicure or pedicure. Eagle’s claws would best describe my fingers & toes. 😐

In addition to work, I’d moved into my own flat, which came unfurnished. Although it’s nice enough that it doesn’t need a lot of furnishing, it’s still something that only I can do as I’m on my own. That meant more money toward furnishings and less disposable income. In addition, I still have financial obligations in the States along with new bills in this country, and a weak economy that weakens all worldwide currencies makes keeping those obligations even harder. Add to that the unexpected expenses that come with any major move, such as illness & prescriptions & customs taxes from shipping my goods and etc. (more entries about those things in the near future), and the last thing I worried about was how good I looked on any given day.

Then the brisk cold weather came. When it was warm, I walked all over the place. Call it an excuse, but cold weather doesn’t inspire me to walk. Gym memberships are not cheap in my area either. Although I don’t eat much, I didn’t move around as much as I did during the summer and….. I began to notice rolls & creases in different places. Clothing got a little tighter. I can’t go clothes shopping all willy-nilly with my financial obligations, so I returned to my tomboy days of wearing big clothes. The only thing that demonstrated that I wasn’t a boy is my long hair….. and with the new hair on my chinny-chin-chin, maybe the long hair didn’t help after all. 😐

All of this, coupled with the challenges of moving, makes me feel & look less than. I’m used to looking like a boy now and I don’t have enough energy to make myself look nice. Or maybe I’ve become complacent, who knows. I just know that I’ve given up.

I got my hair done a few days before going home, and it was a lucky shot because a new salon opened in my area and the prices are right. Besides that, I’m feeling low about my appearance (and a few other things). I’m gonna get a manicure/pedicure whilst at home, and I’ve set aside a little cash to go clothes shopping – shoes, boots, sneakers, jeans, pants, whatever it takes. Hopefully new clothing will have at least a small impact.

Epilogue: I’ve purchased some nice clothing and, thanks to myriad post-holiday sales & clothes being cheaper in the States, my pockets aren’t hurting as much as I thought they would. But even if my pockets took a hard hit, I’m happy that I can finally begin feeling better about myself. It’s about time I do something for myself; the corporations can wait for once.

How have others in my situation, especially those who have expatriated, handled it? How do you keep up appearances, if at all? How do you keep your spirits lifted, if at all? What are your cost-cutting strategies for keeping up your appearance?