When I’m feeling blue and my energy levels are down a monochromatic outfit is in order. Adding just a smidge of bling and some new shades helps to lift my spirits. I created yesterday’s low-key vibe by going with several shades of gray.
The ensemble consisted of a charcoal gray tank top, gray capris, light gray hoodie tied around my waist, and gray sneakers. Earrings, cuff bracelet, shades, and white cane made me appear as if I hadn’t a care in the world. It’s worth mentioning that I got the capris and shoes on sale, added stacked coupons, and used Ebates to accumulate cash back on my online purchases.
After I uploaded the collage in this post it occurred to me this look serves another purpose as well. The range of gray from light to dark and shades in between is a simple example of sight loss. The similarities, although on a grander scale, demonstrate what the loss of sight looks like from vision that is sharp to no sight at all. It’s anywhere in between these two where varying degrees of sight loss occur.
Blindness is not simply seeing vs. unseeing. This is why we have to use great care in assumptions. Many people, myself included, use a white cane or guide dog even though we have residual vision. We need this mobility tool(s) to navigate safely and to let others know we cannot see very well.
So last week my doctor calls with the results of my bloodwork. It’s mostly good news although while my good cholesterol is high my bad cholesterol is also high. He suggested statins I said, “no, what else can I do?” I already knew the answer I just wanted to see if there was a loophole.
You gotta understand, I have nothing against diet and exercise except, I really, really, really want it all my way, is this too much to ask? Apparently so because now I have to grow up, act like an adult, and take my health seriously.
Motivation to return to the gym means I had to invest in some new workout gear. After scouring some of my favorite online stores I settled on Kohl’s where I found these cute black lattice hem capris. They are so cute I wore them to my mother’s doctor appointment the other day.
Today’s exercise apparel is chic enough to wear while running about town. For the look in the photos, I added a black workout tank top, white hoodie, and silver sneakers. Since the goal is to create a casual appearance my jewelry was at a minimum (remember, I always wear earrings) but I got to sport some of my new hair – YAY!!
Back when I was a youngster through my high school years, there were many days I wished I could just disappear. I was a prime target for bullying in school because I was so quiet, shy, and afraid, and after school homelife wasn’t much better.
Thankfully time, distance, and many therapy sessions later have muted most of my childhood memories. There are however triggers from time to time that take me back to a specific situation.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know the primary focus of this blog revolves around style as it relates to blindness. However as I’ve said many times we are so much more than how we appear which is why I weave stories of my life into my outfit posts. Today’s memory partially revolves around the brightly colored fleece sweatshirts in the attached photos (more on this in a minute).
For years I thought I was different because I grew up in a dysfunctional environment however I’ve come to understand my main issue was unworthiness. In adulthood my codependency evolved into a strong desire to strive for perfection and to always be in control.
While my need for control had its own set of issues, when it came to someone I cared about being threatened my lioness instincts kicked-in. One of my bullies found this out firsthand when he decided he was going to pick on my little brother, to this day I still have the scar to prove it, I chased the creep down, unloaded on him and didn’t realize until afterwards that I skinned my knee.
Through protecting my younger brother my inner crazy was unleashed. So it only made sense when one of my other bullies thought she could still push me around, I channeled the crazy and from that day on the bullying ceased.
If I thought discovering I had a lioness instinct was huge imagine my surprise when, in my last year of high school, I finally found a way to become accepted. Prior to 11th grade if I wasn’t in school or studying, I was sleeping. Sleep was my way of escape so it really wasn’t a revelation that being introduced to alcohol would bring out a Steph I didn’t know existed.
For the first time in my life I was outgoing and fun to be around. Finally, I could become the person I always wanted to be because alcohol relaxed my inner turmoil. I now had a social life and was one of the kool kids.
When I began having children it was time to get serious and I remained true to my childhood vow that life would be different for them. I was unafraid to show them affection and would hug, kiss, and tell them at every opportunity that I loved them. I needed them to know they were valued, wanted, and more importantly loved. I would have fought to the death for them however while I loved them like crazy, I was strict because of that whole codependency/perfectionism thing.
Looking back now I can see how I’ve become so intense and how losing my eyesight would push me over the edge. In order to move onward after a life-altering situation like sight loss at some point you have to succumb to the circumstances.
So what does all of this have to do with fitting in? The answer in three words: The. White. Cane. When I first began using my white cane I felt like it was a beacon. I stood out and at times felt uncomfortable but I had to keep pushing through because as I saw it I had two choices: give up or give in. I chose to give in because giving in meant that I was going to accept my situation and learn to work within the parameters set before me.
In today’s photos I decided since I stand out with the white cane I might as well go all the way and wear bright, attention-getting tops along with my little granny boots and coated jeans. These fleece sweatshirts are two of three (third on is displayed in Mix and Re-Mix) that I got for $6.00 each at Kohl’s. Following and in Alt-text are descriptions on the photos.
Outfit #1 – fluorescent coral fleece sweatshirt, black-coated jeans, black lace & faux leather lace-up booties with a kitten heel and a multi-colored fringed scarf (in shades of burgundy, brown & white) tied like a loose neck-tie. Accessories are lacy diamond-shaped dangling earrings, silver bracelet and rings.
Outfit #2 – This outfit is exactly the same as outfit #1 except I’m wearing a bright peach colored fleece sweatshirt.
Outfit #3 – This outfit consists of the same jeans & booties but I’m wearing a gray & white striped tee and a black boyfriend blazer cuffed (cuffs are black & white plaid). Accessories are a long pendant fringe necklace, silver and gray beaded stretch bracelet and the same earrings as in outfits 1 & 2.
I hate shopping!! I especially hate shopping malls. Wow it felt good getting that off my chest.
There are certain stores, that when I know ahead of time that I’ll be visiting them I need to prepare, and by prepare I mean I have to take ibuprofen for the inevitable headache that will emerge. Through the years I’ve tried to get over my mall phobia to no avail and here I am today a nervous wreck at the mere thought of having to set foot in a mall.
Since my boys know me well, or at least I thought they did, I was completely taken aback when my youngest son, who waited until we were well on our way into Pittsburgh the morning of New Year’s Eve I might add, announced that he had to stop by the mall. I’m thinking to myself “are you kidding me?” I mean, I had no medication on me which meant I would have to simply endure the unpleasant headache-inducing experience drug-free.
I should have prefaced this tale with my thought process on an intentional trip to the mall. It begins with careful planning. I know what I want, where I need to go to get it, I get in and get out, it’s just that simple. Since I always prepare for contingencies I typically have a backup plan and an addition backup plan to the backup plan because you never know.
Well anyway, as I was saying, my son and I end up at the mall and I’m thinking that he’s thinking like I think but Nooooooo. We get in there and he asks me, where (I can’t even remember what the name of the store was because I’m thinking “now you knew you wanted to come here so why don’t you know where you want to go,” but I say out loud “I don’t know, where’s the store directory?”
We went to, gee I lost count of the number of stores, and the only things he walks out of there with are headphones and diamond stud earrings. Now keep in mind, and I didn’t find this out till we got there, he was looking for a pair of pants. I must say though in spite of the dire circumstances I did pretty good, didn’t even hyperventilate or have a panic attack (I must be maturing).
So why the aversion to shopping and shopping malls in particular?
I don’t like to spend money, especially in view of the fact that I have none
Trying on clothes in a store fitting room is not my idea of a good time
Unless there’s a firm plan in place I can’t do roaming aimlessly about in a mall
I don’t like to spend to money
While I’m not crazy about malls if I can find some good deals online I’m in the zone. For example the week between Christmas and New Year’s there were a number of stackable discounts. In other words there were already discounted items and additional percentages off the sale prices.
Included in today’s post (1 pair of jeans equals 3 outfits) I’m wearing two of several tops I got for a fraction of the cost. The gray microfleece v-neck sweatshirt from Kohl’s ($6.00) and the double v-neck long sleeve tee from Express ($5.99). The way it worked at Express: the original cost was $19.90 and it was marked down to $9.99 with an additional 40 percent off which made the final cost $5.99.
By the way I liked the microfleece sweatshirts so much that I got 3 different colors totaling $18.00 and the original cost for one was $20.00.
One of the things I want to focus on this year is how to dress well while being on a fixed income. The jeans I’m wearing in the photos are one of three pair I bought last year after Christmas from Ann Taylor. The total for all three was under $100 because I took advantage of the year-end savings and stackable discounts.
So one of my first tips is to buy quality clothing off-season and if you can do it with multiple discounts it’ll save you even more money.
Taking proper care of your clothing by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Maintaining an inventory and sticking to a budget to prevent buying things you don’t need.
Following are the descriptions of the 3 collages in which I’m wearing the same pair of skinny jeans:
Outfit #1 Navy Blue Double V-Neck Long Sleeve Tee | Express
Navy & white long paisley scarf (wrapped around the front of my neck, twisted at the back of my neck then brought the ends to the front to hang loosely), navy heeled ankle boots with a zipper in the front, silver dangling earrings, silver & turquoise bracelet and a silver rhinestone hinge bracelet.
Outfit #2 Gray Microfleece V-Neck Sweatshirt | Kohl’s
Black & white long polka dot scarf (tied the ends to make it an infinity scarf and double looped it around my neck), black suede knee-high boots, silver dangling earrings, and silver bracelets on each wrist.
Outfit #3 Silver Sequin Cami (old) | Express
Black faux shearling cardigan sweater, gray heeled ankle boots, black & silver dangling earrings and a silver rhinestone stretch bracelet.
Remember when you feel good, you look good. Wear what makes you feel good! Have a fabulous weekend!! ~Steph