On the river again…

There isn’t going to be a Fashion Friday post today. We spent the last few days camping at Big Knife Provincial Park and when I’m camping, fashion is the furthest thing from my mind! Instead, I’m going to share a couple of kayaking experiences with you.

The weather forecast for Monday called for extreme heat, so after a leisurely breakfast we decided to head for the river before the day got too hot. The sun was shining, the air was almost still, and everything was so fresh and green!

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At this time of year the water is high, so we were able to leave the Battle River for a bit and paddle up the much shallower Big Knife Creek. It was like entering another world; a world of untouched and incredibly peaceful wilderness. Unlike last year, we spotted just one beaver and heard only one mighty tail slap. The rest of the time, the water was like a mirror and the reflections were amazing. 

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Returning to the main river, we continued upstream. On the way, we chose a spot where we’d pull ashore for a picnic lunch on our way back. 

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It was there that we had the most amazing experience. We were just returning to the boat when we heard a loud splash just upstream from us. A moose was swimming across the river and I had the camera in my hand!

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She even stopped on the hillside and posed for me before heading into the bush!

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When we started kayaking four years ago, I could only paddle for about an hour and a half before feeling like my arms were going to fall off. On Monday we paddled for almost four and the GPS told us that we’d travelled 10.5 miles (16.9 km). We were pretty impressed with ourselves, but also glad to be back in camp by the time the temperature rose to 35ºC (95ºF) later in the afternoon! 

Our second kayaking adventure was quite different and I didn’t even think to take any photos. We’d done some hiking on Tuesday and left camp for much of the day on Wednesday to go to Camrose for medical appointments, so we decided that we’d go for a short paddle yesterday morning before packing up and heading for home. There’s a bridge not too far downstream from the campground where Secondary Highway 855 crosses the river, so we decided to kayak there and back. The river widens in that area and when we got out on the water, we realized that the wind was MUCH stronger than it had appeared back in the campground which is quite sheltered. It was at our back, so we had no problem getting to the bridge, but when we turned around we quickly realized that there was no way that we were going to be able to battle our way back to the boat launch. Paddling as hard as we could, we were barely able to move forward. Water was splashing over the bow and I was immediately soaked from the waist down. Thankfully, we knew that there was a small road down to the riverside by the bridge that people use to go fishing, so we found a spot to land the kayak nearby and only had to carry it a short distance to that road. Of course, the vehicle was still at the boat launch and now one of us had to walk back to get it! Since I’m trying to walk lots anyway, I volunteered. Richard waited with the kayak while I walked almost 3.5 km (2.16 miles) back to the vehicle. That’s not a lot farther than I walk most days, but much of it was uphill and that horrendous wind was trying to blow me off my feet; the feet that were wearing only water shoes! That definitely wasn’t a fashion statement, but I can say that I’m very thankful that I don’t kayak barefoot! 

 

Skinny jeans, yes or no?

LogoAccording to the Gen Z teens and twenty-somethings, who are young enough to be my grandchildren, skinny jeans are done, dead, over. Apparently they’ve reached their expiry date. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The younger generation needs to distinguish themselves from we oldies by rejecting what we wear and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s always been. If their mothers and grandmothers were wearing baggy jeans, they would choose skinny. The fashion industry also needs to keep changing styles or they wouldn’t sell enough product. That’s not new either. So, skinny jeans are out and baggy ones are in.

On the other hand, a lot of older fashionistas are are making it clear that they’re not ready to give up their skinnies and I’m definitely one of them. Though I’m not adverse to wearing looser jeans and often do, I still like my skinnies and I’ll continue wearing them, especially my favourite grey ones from cabi which you’ve seen on the blog several times in the past.

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This is a super casual, comfortable, relaxing at home on a rainy day look. Hubby and I dashed outside during a lull in yesterday’s all day rain to snap a couple of photos for this post. I’m wearing the cabi jeans with the Uniqlo denim shirt that you first saw here, a plain white Uniqlo t-shirt, and the white leather sneakers that just had to be mine.

I wonder how much the changing trend from skinny to looser jeans has been influenced by what we’ve been wearing for the past year. I think, in many cases, jeans hung in closets while wearers, stuck at home, turned to the comfort of softer pants like leggings and sweats. I admit that squeezing back into skinnies, especially if you’ve put on a few pandemic pounds, might not be particularly comfortable at first and looser jeans would have a certain appeal.

I also wonder how the move toward baggy jeans will influence the footwear market. After all, what other jean style tucks so neatly into tall boots?

Personally, I would say that skinny jeans are not dead. They’re simply not a trend anymore. They’ve moved into the classic style category and will likely be around for a long time yet. If you like them, wear them. If you don’t, don’t. That really should be the one and only fashion rule, shouldn’t it?

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Lady in linen

LogoA couple of months ago, I wrote this post about the blue denim shirt that I had recently purchased at Uniqlo. I actually bought two blue shirts that day, but I’ve been waiting for warmer weather to start wearing the second one, Uniqlo’s Premium Linen Long Sleeve Shirt.

In the past, I avoided linen because it wrinkles so badly, but after reading so many positive reviews about this cool, comfortable, all-natural fabric, I decided to give it a try. I do admit that at first I was constantly tempted to take it off and iron it again, but I just kept reminding myself that linen is supposed to look wrinkled. It’s something you just have to embrace if you’re going to wear this light, breathable fabric, and it’s part of what gives it a casual, summery vibe. For a dressier look, I’d definitely suggest a linen blend. While not 100% wrinkle free, they do at least promise a slightly less crumpled look.

I’m wearing a size medium, my usual size in Uniqlo tops. I could probably wear a small, but I like the shirt’s comfy, casual, and slightly oversized look and feel. Here I’m wearing it over a column of navy made up of the sleeveless cabi Scallop Top from their Spring 2019 collection and a pair of capris that I picked up at our local thrift store last summer. The well-worn sandals are from SoftMoc.

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One of the things I like to ask myself when I’m considering adding something to my wardrobe is whether I can wear it at least three different ways with items that I already have in my closet. If so, it will probably be a good purchase. This won’t always work for something like a special occasion dress, but it’s a good rule of thumb for most other wardrobe purchases and it definitely works for this one.

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Here I switched the cabi top for a plain white crew neck t-shirt from Uniqlo. I don’t often tuck my tops in, but the linen is so lightweight that even though the shirt is quite voluminous, the fabric didn’t bunch up and add volume around my waist.

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The beautiful feline is our next door neighbour, Sophie. She thinks that our yard is just an extension of hers and that we are some of her people and we’re just fine with that! ❤

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Clearly we should have taken the photos of this final look before I tucked the shirt in! You can definitely see what I mean about linen wrinkling.

Do you wear linen?

Kayaking, hiking, and bridge building

We kayaked to Saskatchewan yesterday. That might sound like an amazing feat, but only until I tell you that we were camping on the Alberta side of Dillberry Lake which straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. We were across the provincial boundary within 5 minutes of leaving the boat launch!

Camping, hiking, and kayaking are my favourite summertime activities and we chose Dillberry Lake Provincial Park for a short getaway this week because there we could enjoy all three. Though it’s less than two hours from home, we hadn’t been there since the early 1980s! The lake was much smaller than we remembered and we were able to paddle all the way around it in less than an hour.

We spent several hours out on the hiking trails the day before though. The “knob and kettle” topography of the area consists of hummocky mounds (the knobs) and water-filled depressions (the kettles) that form a series of small lakes. We hiked the entire trail system (8.93 km) which is made up of several loops alongside and around some of these lakes. With the exception of bazillions of birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, we didn’t see any wildlife, but we saw plenty of evidence along the trail to suggest that they were there.

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At one point, where a tiny wooden bridge should have taken us across the water exiting one of the lakes, industrious beaver had built a dam and flooded the trail. A temporary floating bridge had been brought in to enable hikers to cross, but clearly that wasn’t enough. Would we have to turn back?

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Where there’s a will, there’s usually a way. With a little temporary bridge building on Richard’s part, we were soon on our way again! The beaver had built themselves a fine home in the flooded end of the lake.

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A little further along, we ate our picnic lunch at a lovely rest spot overlooking one of the lakes.

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We were back on the trails for a short jaunt this morning before packing up to come home. This time we saw two majestic moose at fairly short range, but unfortunately neither one waited around long enough to have it’s picture taken!

Walking challenge update #1

This is just a quick post to update you on the walking challenge that I wrote about in this post on May 2nd. My plan was to walk (or hike) 300 kilometres in the five months leading up to our 45th wedding anniversary on October 2nd. The anniversary actually has nothing to do with the challenge other than giving me a good end date to aim for! I wrote about my plan because knowing that I’ll be reporting my progress on the blog makes me accountable. It gets me off the couch and out the door on days when I really don’t feel like walking! 

So, how have I done so far? In order to meet my goal, I need to walk at least 60 km a month. For my American readers, that’s approximately 37.3 miles. In the past month, walking 6 days a week, I’ve actually covered 87.07 km! 

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Most of my walking so far has been on the streets of our small town, but I also explored some of the Hardisty Nature Trails and this week we’ve been camping at Dillberry Lake Provincial Park where we did a short 2.3 km hike on Monday evening and then hiked 8.93 km on Tuesday. With a small group of friends I also took part in a 5 km fundraising walk for multiple sclerosis on Sunday. Together we raised over $2500! 

One thing that I’ve discovered in the past month is that I need to invest in a new pair of walking shoes. So far, I’ve been wearing old ones that don’t have much life left in them. I do have my trusty Merrell hiking shoes, but I don’t want to wear them out walking the streets of town. I could also use the ASICS running shoes that I bought last year specifically for the treadmill, but I want to save them for indoor use. Hopefully by the time I update again a month from now, I’ll be able to show you some new shoes as well as reporting another 60 km or more. 

 

Wearing shorts after 50

LogoThere seems to be an unwritten fashion rule that says that women over a certain age shouldn’t wear shorts. This week, I’m going to join several other bloggers in attempting to debunk, or at least question, that concept.

On Monday of this week, three of the bloggers that I read regularly and another that I’ve only recently discovered teamed up to discuss the topic of wearing shorts after 50 or 60. I hope they don’t mind if I share a bit of what they had to say with you and add some thoughts of my own.

Susan Blakey of une femme d’un certain âge wrote that she hasn’t worn shorts, except for working out, for a decade or more. For the blogging exercise, however, she tried several different shorts outfits including this one.

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So why do women in their 50s, 60s, or beyond hesitate to wear shorts even on hot summer days? There are many different reasons, but the most common one is probably the fact that we’re self-conscious about how our legs look. They may not look as great as they did when we were in our twenties, but as Tania Stephens of 50 IS NOT OLD says, “I probably wouldn’t even look at your legs if we met on the street. I might notice your eyes, smile, hairstyle, and even clothes, shoes, jewelry, and handbag. BUT, unless your legs were colored bright orange, I probably wouldn’t give them another thought.” She certainly looked comfortable and confident in her white jean shorts and blue and white striped sweater.

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Choosing the right length and style of shorts for your body can be challenging, but a pair of shorts can be just as fashionable as any other item of clothing and they can be dressed up or down. Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life didn’t want to look too sporty, so she chose a looser cuffed and pleated pair that doesn’t look like they’re meant for the gym.

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It was only through these three collaborating with Deborah Boland of Fabulous After 40 that I discovered her blog. She decided to go with an upscale look that proves without a doubt that wearing shorts after 50 doesn’t have to look frumpy. In fact, it can be sophisticated!

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Deborah had the suits with shorts look that has been on trend since spring 2020 in mind when she put together this ensemble. I tried a similar look last summer.

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I liked the outfit, but my summers are usually pretty casual. When it finally warms up enough, I’m more likely to be seen wearing shorts on the golf course with a sleeveless golf shirt.

I’m not telling you that you should wear shorts if you’re over 50, or like me, over 60. I’m simply suggesting that you shouldn’t let someone else’s opinion or a so-called “fashion rule” dictate what you wear. If you’re truly uncomfortable with the idea of wearing shorts, if that’s really not your style, then by all means don’t wear them. If you’re unsure though, and want to give them a try, I’d suggest going with a longer pair that end just above the knee. They tend to look less boxy and you likely won’t feel as self-conscious as you might in a shorter pair. For more ideas and advice, click the links to the blogs I mentioned above.

Now it’s your turn. Do you wear shorts? Why or why not?

What are your style adjectives?

LogoWords are powerful. Words can build us up or knock us down. Words can also help us build a wardrobe and create outfits that say what we want to say about ourselves.

Several years ago, I chose three adjectives to describe my style… classy, confident, and comfortable. I’ve since added two more… casual and creative. The fact that they all start with the letter C makes them easy to remember, but that was simply a coincidence. Every time I get dressed, even if I’m not going anywhere that day, I stand in front of the mirror and run through those five adjectives in my mind. I’m happiest with my outfit if it ticks all five boxes. I’ve also used these words to help me weed garments out of my closet that probably didn’t belong there in the first place and to help me make wiser purchases.

Once in awhile, there are, of course, dressier events (or at least there were before Covid) when casual doesn’t work to describe the look I’m going for, but even on those occasions I use the other four adjectives to guide my outfit choices.

One of my fashion goals in the past couple of years has been to add more colour to my wardrobe, but since I still gravitate toward neutrals I’m not ready to make colourful one of my adjectives. Besides, you don’t want too many style adjectives. I would suggest three to five.

So, here’s an exercise for you. Below is a list of 48 adjectives. Look them over and choose three to five that describe what you would like your wardrobe to say about you. Then, share them in the comment section below. If the words you want aren’t on the list, feel free to choose different ones, but the English teacher in me says please don’t use boring words like nice or pretty. For this to be effective, you want your words to be more specific than those.

minimalistic             sophisticated            fun                      eclectic

bold                        sporty                   elegant                  edgy

trendy                   sexy                     classic                   tailored   

whimsical                glamorous                chic                     feminine 

artistic                 polished                 coordinated              cute

funky                    stylish                 dressy                   outdoorsy

relaxed                  graceful                 unique                   quirky

confident                preppy                   bohemian                 classy

colourful                approachable             lively                   creative

strong                  fierce                   youthful                 vibrant

casual                    current                  responsible              authentic   

cool                     happy                    modest                   soft     

Screen Shot 2021-05-19 at 8.46.05 PMEvery one of us is unique and I can’t wait to hear which adjectives you choose!

Hardisty Nature Trails

In the part of east-central Alberta where we live the land is flat, but 30 kilometres to the east, the town of Hardisty is nestled into the rolling hills of the Battle River valley. Hubby and I love to hike, so we were delighted to learn recently that a system of trails is under development in the area surrounding Hardisty. Of course, exploring them became a priority!

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In 2019, when the Hardisty and District Development Group was formed, they polled area residents asking what they wanted to see in their town. Brittany MacMillan, of BAM Fitness, was quick to respond. “More walking trails!” was her proposal. “We can get you the equipment and the manpower if you show us what your vision is,” she was told and from there the project took off. By October 2019, a map had been finalized, permission granted, and the cutting of trails began. By the following August, the final loop of the river trails was finished. Trail cutting, clearing deadfall, installing gates, building benches, and much more has all been done by volunteers from the community. Plans for this year include adding signage and extending the trails into more treed areas. Another loop is also in the plans which will join the river trails to two other loops including one that circles Hardisty’s nine hole golf course.

This morning, on what promised to be the hottest day so far this year, we set off to explore the river trails. If only a train had come by at just the right moment, this would have been a perfect photo!

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Though we were barely out of town, it seemed as if we were much further away. We were surrounded by nature and couldn’t hear anything but the occasional bird. 

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In those areas where the leaves are coming out on the trees, their brilliant green was striking against the bright blue sky. 

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In many of the open areas, leaves are just coming out on the silver willow bushes. In another couple of weeks, their strong spicy scent will fill the air. 

Trail maps are available at businesses around town, but I printed one from the Hardisty Nature Trails Facebook page. We got a bit confused at the far end of the trail and may have walked right off the map, but we were ready to turn around at that point anyway. According to our GPS, we walked exactly 5.0 kilometres (3.11 miles) in total. On our way back, we stopped and enjoyed our lunch sitting on this grassy patch beside the river. 

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We look forward to returning to explore the other trail loops at a future date. It’s wonderful to have something like this so close to home! 

Has Covid changed how you dress?

LogoMy mother was 17 when WWII broke out on September 1, 1939 and 23 when it ended six years later. I remember her telling me about how fashions changed during the war. Shortages and efforts to conserve precious materials for the war effort brought about shorter hemlines and more streamlined silhouettes in women’s suits and dresses. Decorative elements disappeared, resulting in a more classic style. For men, single-breasted suits replaced double-breasted, lapels narrowed, and trousers were no longer made with cuffs. There were even restrictions on the number of pockets a garment could have. 

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With many of the men away at war, women were called upon to replace them in the work force. My mother left school and went to work in a paper mill. Pants became a staple of women working in factories. Once they discovered the comfort and convenience of wearing pants, they were reluctant to give them up when the war ended. This resulted in a permanent change in fashion. I don’t remember my grandmother ever wearing pants, even to work in the garden, but pants were very definitely part of my Mom’s wardrobe for the rest of her life. 

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Mom dressed for the mill

Until I started doing research for this post, I didn’t realize that jumpsuits (or boilersuits as they’re called in the UK) which seem to come and go as ladies fashion to this day, had their roots in a very practical item that originated during WWII. Known at that time as a “siren suit”, this one piece garment could be hastily pulled on over pyjamas or a nightgown when the siren blew and the wearer had to escape to an air raid shelter. 

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Even Winston Churchill had a siren suit!

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We aren’t living in wartime, nor do we face the deprivation that our parents and grandparents faced during those difficult days, but the past fourteen months have been a time of unprecedented upheaval and whether we like it or not, Covid will result in cultural change. Fashion is a potent reflection of a period in time and it’s interesting to think about how our current situation is changing how we dress. 

I have one friend who has already been informed that she will continue to work from home even after the pandemic is over and I know of several others who are expecting the same thing. Brands and retailers have seen a huge shift in the kind of clothing that people are purchasing. While many of us simply aren’t shopping at all except for essentials, sales of comfort-wear items, such as sweatpants and leggings, have increased. The question now is whether this turn toward casual, easy-to-wear clothing will persist once life returns to something closer to normal.

Has Covid changed the way you dress? If so, do you think this will be a permanent change? Is there something you look forward to buying and wearing once the pandemic is over? 

Fashion humour

LogoI’m quite surprised at how easy it’s been to keep Fashion Friday going for over five years without running out of new topics to write about, but lately the well of ideas seems to be running dry. I think it’s more than writer’s block though. I’m sure it’s partly due to the fact that I’m bored with the clothes in my closet and I’ve hardly bought any new ones in the past 14 months, but I think it also has a lot to do with the state of the world we’re living in. Writing about fashion seems pretty frivolous when you’re living in the province with the highest rate of active Covid cases in Canada and the United States and the situation is getting worse every day.

After wracking my brain for something meaningful to write about this week and coming up empty, I decided that maybe what we actually need is a bit of fashion humour to lighten the mood. We don’t have to look any further than the runway fashion shows where designers display their latest creations to find a few laughs and ask, “What were they thinking?”

Perhaps it would be best if designers didn’t let their creative juices flow when they’re hungry!

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I’ve always said that a mother should grow a new arm with each new child. Perhaps that’s what this designer had in mind, but that would be one big family!

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There’s a lot going on in this Easter bunny inspired outfit, but look at the sleeves. They’d be perfect for a mom whose arms are tired or perhaps for someone who’s broken both arms. The mask is also a nice touch during these pandemic days.

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Then, of course, there are the styles with no arms at all!

Cozy is nice, but this is a bit much, don’t you think?

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This one would certainly keep you warm on a cold winter day.

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Layering for warmth is a better idea, but it would appear that this designer didn’t quite grasp that concept.

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Some outfits are creepy…

and others are just too weird for words!

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A few the outfits shown above are clearly unisex, but today I also have two special designs for any men in the audience who like to show off their underwear!

Though I can’t actually imagine anyone wearing any of these creations except on the runway, I do have to admit that some of them are walking works of art. In some cases, very weird art, but art nevertheless. In my opinion, this one from China is both artistic and quite beautiful.

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Though I’m obvously struggling with it a bit at this point, I do want to keep Fashion Friday going, so if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like me to write about, I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section.