Growing it out

LogoDry hair, oily hair, straight hair, curly hair, thick hair, thin hair, coarse hair, fine hair… is there such a thing as a woman who is truly happy with her hair? It seems that we always want the hair that someone else has! Apparently, we’re also willing to spend a lot to get it. I have no idea how accurate it is, but one estimate that I read recently stated that American women on average spend approximately $700 annually on their hair. That would include haircuts, perms, colouring, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and other styling products, as well as accessories including combs, brushes, curling irons, straightening irons, and clips.

Like most women, I get tired of my hair. A few months ago, after keeping it short for many years, I started wondering if perhaps it was time to try a longer style again. I asked you what you thought and several readers urged me to let it grow. Here’s what happened:

 

In today’s photo, I had just come from the hairdresser. She trimmed the ends, shaped it a bit, trimmed the front and thinned out the top. She also had fun playing with my natural curl so it’s a bit wilder looking than I usually wear it.

I still haven’t decided what my ultimate goal is or how long I’ll let it grow, but reaching the point where I could tuck it behind my ears was a milestone. Summer probably isn’t the best time to be trying to grow it out, but it helps a lot to be able to tuck it under the edges of my cap when I’m golfing, especially in the wild winds that we’ve been having lately.

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While we were chatting today, my hairdresser (who has only been doing my hair for the past couple of years) asked how long it’s been since the last time I had long hair. I honestly couldn’t remember, but it must have been back in the 90s. Here’s a photo from way back then!

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Yes, I’ve aged a bit (okay, maybe a lot!) but I still have incredibly thick hair. I lose a little after each of my cancer treatments, but still my hairdresser has to thin it! I know… some of you would love to have thicker hair. I wish I could share a bit of mine with you. As I said, we always want the kind of hair that someone else has!

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Retail therapy

LogoI’ve never indulged in retail therapy. I don’t shop because I’m feeling lonely, stressed, depressed, or bored. I confess that the fact that I live 85 km (53 miles) from the closest mall might have something to do with that! On Tuesday, I travelled that 85 km to spend two hours sitting in a dentist’s chair. On the way, I stopped to have several vials of blood taken for post treatment testing. No one could blame a girl for adding a bit of shopping to a day like that, could they?

Just before I left home that morning, I checked my emails and discovered that Payless ShoeSource had a BOGO (buy one pair, get a second pair half price) sale starting that day. Of course, I had to stop in and check it out!

In my world, there are two kinds of shoe shopping. If I’m looking for shoes (or boots) that I’ll be doing a lot of walking or hiking in, I want quality, support and comfort. I’m willing to pay for that and Payless isn’t the place I usually go looking. If, on the other hand, I’m looking for something fun and I don’t want to spend a lot, it’s definitely my go to. I’ve actually been surprised, however, to discover that most of my Payless purchases have stood up well and have been very comfortable. Hopefully that’s true of Tuesday’s purchase! Here they are, the Fiona Pointed Toe Ghillie Shoes by Brash.

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I knew they were going home with me the minute I tried them on! They’re perfect for wearing with summer’s shorter pants. Here, I’ve styled them with a pair of capris that I bought off a sales rack in the middle of winter and the white sateen crop pants that you’ve seen several times before. You first saw the black lace top here.

Shopping Payless, especially their BOGO sales, is a bit like thrift store shopping in that they don’t always have a particular shoe in the size you wear. I was lucky to find this pair in my size, but I couldn’t find a second pair I wanted, so I bought a package of socks to take advantage of the BOGO savings. I can always use more socks, especially at half price. The shoes themselves were a fantastic buy. Marked down from $49.99 to $16, they actually rang in at $13! Bonus!

I’ll be back to town for more dental work next Tuesday and the Tuesday after. Hopefully retail therapy doesn’t become a bad habit!

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Wink!

It’s Wink Day again today, a day set aside by the Canadian beauty industry to bring awareness to the appearance-related effects of cancer. For over 20 years, the industry has helped tens of thousands of Canadian women undergoing cancer treatment look and feel like themselves again with programs such as Look Good Feel Better and FacingCancer.ca.

Last year and the year before on Wink Day, women were encouraged to post pictures and videos of themselves wearing blue eyeshadow (with the hashtag #winkday) as a way of raising awareness of the Cancer Blues. The Cancer Blues is a term used to describe the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment, an often ignored consequence of the disease that can seriously affect a person’s ability to fight and thrive through the ordeal. On both of those occasions, I happened to be in Calgary visiting my daughter, so we both took part.

This year they’ve dropped the blue eyeshadow and are simply asking women to post pictures of themselves winking and share who it is that they’re winking for. It could be a family member, friend or acquaintance; anyone who is experiencing the effects of cancer treatment. I decided to wink for neuroendocrine tumour (NETS) patients worldwide. Since the zebra is our symbol, here’s my attempt at a zebra wink!

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An unusual find

LogoAs many of you know, I love thrift store shopping. It’s the thrill of the hunt and finding something unique or special that keeps me going back. That, and the prices! It’s not looking for something that I need, but finding something I can have even if I don’t need it because every item in the store is so affordable.

When I saw this particular garment, I knew I needed it. Well, actually I just wanted it really badly! I wanted it to fit perfectly. That’s the only problem with thrift store shopping; everything is one of a kind. If it doesn’t fit, there aren’t any other sizes to try on.

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As is often the case with second hand clothing, the size tag had been removed, but it looked like a possibility, so I headed for the dressing room and discovered that I was in luck! $2.50 made it mine!

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I’m not actually sure what to call it! Made of delicate translucent polyester with slits almost to the waist in front and on both sides, it clearly isn’t a dress. Perhaps tunic is the right word.

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Whatever it is, it’s incredibly lightweight and comfortable and the black piping is a nice finishing touch.

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In these photos, I chose to wear it with black and white camis and last year’s white sateen crop pants, but it looks great over black leggings too. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I think it would also look good worn unbuttoned as a long vest which gives it added versatility. Its final advantage is the fact that it packs well taking up almost no space in a suitcase and adding virtually nothing to its weight, something that I almost always consider when buying clothes.

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How much is too much?

LogoIf you know me or you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you already know that I’m not a Trump supporter, but what does that have to do with fashion?

Earlier this week, while traveling with her husband, Melania Trump stepped into the Sicilian sunshine wearing a colourful appliquéd jacket by Italian fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana, that sells for $51,000 USD.

Excuse me?

$51 000! 

And that probably doesn’t even include the matching clutch!

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For those of us north of the border, that’s almost $70 000 CAD!

Contemplate for a moment the fact that electing Donald Trump was considered a triumph for the common man. He fashioned himself as a proud champion of the ordinary American who was fed up with big money running the country. Then consider that his wife’s jacket sells for just $5516 less than the median household income for the United States in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is presently available) which was $56 516. I don’t know of any common man, or woman, with a clothing budget like that one!

I can’t help wondering what the common American would do with that $51 000. Pay off their mortgage? Send their kid to college? Pay for health insurance? $51 000 would buy a lot of groceries!

One of the things to consider when trying to decide if the price of a garment is too high is cost per wear. It makes sense to put more money into an investment piece that will be worn many times season after season than an item that will only be worn a few times. If Mrs. Trump wore her jacket once a week for the next five years, it would still cost almost $200 a wear!

Unbelievable, and in my opinion, inexcusable!

Paddling the Battle

Our new kayak’s maiden voyage on Sedgewick Lake yesterday afternoon just whetted our appetite for a longer paddle today. The Battle River, a tributary of the North Saskatchewan, meanders its way across central Alberta and western Saskatchewan. We headed for Burma Park, a small campground on the river about a 40 minute drive from here. The park itself is located on the south side of the river where the bank is too steep and unstable to access the water, but we found a perfect spot just across the river on the north side.

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We spent an hour paddling upstream enjoying the beautiful sunshine and the breeze which kept the mosquitos away. The only sound was our paddles in the water and an occasional bird call. Paddling steadily against the river’s flow, I was very thankful for the weights I lifted all winter!

When we decided it was time to turn back, we lifted our paddles out of the water, leaned back and let the river carry us for ten minutes while we enjoyed a snack and simply enjoyed the solitude. After that it was only fifteen minutes of easy paddling before the vehicle came into sight again.

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Though much of our kayaking will probably be done further from home when we’re on holiday, I also foresee many more hours paddling the Battle in our future.

Maiden voyage!

Well there she is; our brand new toy!

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After debating whether to buy two individual kayaks or a tandem, we decided on the two person variety for a couple of important reasons. The first one is ease of transport. It’s much simpler to strap one kayak to a roof rack than two and easier to carry one boat to water than two. Secondly, with a tandem kayak, one of us can take a grandchild out and introduce them to the sport. It also doesn’t hurt my feelings any to have the stronger paddler of the two of us in the boat with me instead of in a separate one!

Once we’d made that important decision, it was time to go shopping. The field was instantly narrowed significantly as tandem kayaks are much less common than single seaters. We first considered the Pelican Alliance 136T, available at Canadian Tire, but I wasn’t overly impressed. It was the plastic molded seats that concerned me the most. I didn’t think my bony butt would find that very comfortable especially on longer trips. We took a quick look at a sleek, shiny model at MEC, but it looked like the Lamborghini of the kayak world and was way beyond our price range. Then we saw the Pelican Unison 136T at Atmosphere and it was exactly what we wanted!

It’s made of RAM-X Premium, a multi-layer polyethylene and is built to provide a high level of stability and great manoeuvrability and tracking. It’s an excellent recreational kayak that is also built for comfort. In addition to padded seats and seat backs, it also has adjustable footrests. For longer outings, it has plenty of space for gear including a quick lock hatch with a 60 L storage bag, a cockpit table with a 4 inch day hatch (perfect for carrying cell phones and other small items), bottle holders, and a bungee cord on the bow to carry extra belongings. At 67.4 lb, Richard and I can carry it and load it onto the vehicle quite easily.

We brought it home yesterday and took it for it’s maiden voyage this afternoon, a spin around the perimeter of Sedgewick Lake. It handled beautifully.

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Now the only question on beautiful days like today will be do we go golfing or kayaking? Today, we managed to do both!

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