By: Sharon Mosley
Halloween doesn’t have to be a fright night when it comes to having a little fashion fun. Just get a little creative. Nina Garcia, fashion director of Marie Claire magazine and judge on the hit TV series, “Project Runway,” and author of her latest “Look Book: What to Wear for Every Occasion” has a lot to say about getting into some costume drama come Halloween.
“For the style mavens among us, Halloween is the ultimate game of dress up,” she says, “a night stripped of regulation, where we can finally go completely GaGa (as in Lady) if we want to.”
Here are some of Garcia’s tips for celebrating Halloween at the office and after hours.
—Garcia is not a big fan of dressing up for work, but if you do plan to make a full day of costumes, she suggests toning it down a bit for the workday and saving the real thing for after hours.
—You don’t necessarily have to come up with two completely different looks for work and an evening bash — smart editing is key, she notes. Leave the naughty nurse and the sexy cat outfits at home. “Even though you’re in costume, nothing should detract from your ability to command respect from coworkers, subordinates, and bosses. Are you really going to walk your supervisor through that PowerPoint presentation dressed as a zombie?” Let’s hope not.
—Don’t dress up as anyone in the office. Halloween or not, most people do not finding mockery charming, admits Garcia. Neither do most people find costumes that could be perceived as making light of a real tragedy in good taste … no notorious serial killers. Ditto for politicians or religious figures — you’re bound to offend someone.
—Instead, if you are celebrating Halloween at the office, wear something witty and G-rated, advises Garcia. It’s a great time to show your own sense of creativity and ingenuity. Wear a costume that will impress your bosses. “Choose a costume that is not completely contrary to your normal attire and is nothing too wacky.”
—Before you leave the house, ask yourself a few questions: Is this too sexy? Will I be embarrassed to see pictures of myself? Would I wear this around children? If you answered yes to any one of the above questions, except for the last one, you should leave your costume at home for the after hours party!
—And if for some reason you’re the only one not to get the memo … have a backup of an office outfit, in case no one else is dressed up in costume when you get to work.
—Save the fun stuff for the adult parties, and then knock yourself out! Witches, vampires and pirates are always easy to imitate. Or take your cue from pop culture and music. Celebrities and reality TV stars are also fun inspiration: Miley Cyrus or the bearded folks at Duck Dynasty anyone?
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Open House to Highlight Physical Therapist Assistant Career Training Opportunity
Western Technical College is hosting an Open House for attendees to learn more about training and education as a Physical Therapist Assistant. The Open House will be on Monday, October 21st from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Branch Campus located at 9451 Diana Dr. Faculty and staff from Western Tech will be on hand to provide information on applying for the program and to answer questions about the curriculum. Attending healthcare providers will be entered into a drawing to win a set of new scrubs, and all attendees will be entered into a drawing to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
Of the growing demand for PTA’s, local Physical Therapist, Denise Campbell, PT, Dip. MDT, OCS, says, “As insurance requirements change and healthcare reform takes place the need for high quality physical therapy providers will increase. Specifically the need for PTA’s will greatly increase because of their unique position given their education and licensure.”
According to the American Physical Therapy Association www.apta.org, which represents more than 85,000 member physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students of physical therapy, National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is celebrated each October. APTA members are encouraged to use NPTM as an opportunity to reach out to consumers and educate them about the unique benefits of treatment by a physical therapist.
What: Open House: Physical Therapist Assistant Career Training Opportunity, Western Technical College
When: Monday, October 21st, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Western Technical College, Branch Campus – 9451 Diana Dr.
Information: (915) 760-8157
Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves for Men
By: Sharon Mosley
As the weather cools down, the fall style trends heat up, and many of us head to the stores and surf the Internet to see what we can add to our wardrobes to celebrate the change of seasons. It may seem like we girls have all the fashion fun, but there are plenty of ways you guys can put some newness into your closets, too.
Here is a roundup of the top 10 items to put on your fall checklist suggested by Tom Julian and other menswear experts at the Doneger Group, a fashion retail and consulting group.
1. The crewneck sweatshirt — We have observed the emerging athletic influence into leisure dressing (which we call ath-leisure), and as a result, the crewneck sweatshirt looks great with items like premium or designer denim or five-pocket rich colored corduroys. Look for sweatshirts that are pieced fabrics or detailed with knit wristbands or neck collars.
2. Cardigan sweaters — The alternatives to casual sport coats. Wear the cardigan with patterned shirts, accessorized with a knit tie or bow tie. Take note that some cardigans are designed with shawl collars or with full lapels.
3. The printed shirt — A great visual focus for a wardrobe from the traditional guy who might like a small foulard pattern style button-down sport shirt to wear quilted vest and khaki pants or to the modern guy who might like a paisley print dress shirt with a dark slim suit and no tie.
4. The work shirt/shirt jacket — A weekend outerwear option that works well with a chambray shirt, flannel shirt or plaid shirt and worn with denim or cords. We also like the jacket around 30″ to 32″ in length.
5. Slim-fit Sport Coats — Think two-button, narrow lapel (from 2-3″ wide) with a clean silhouette and flap besom pockets. We would use the slim sport coat only with flat front pants, denim jeans or dress wool flannel trousers. Directional dressers are using the slim fit cargo with the slim fit sport coat.
6. Corduroy Pants — Pants with texture from five-pocket jean styles in thin wale to tailored dress styles in a wider wale with creased seams (a product that would require dry cleaning). Also, some cords are mixed with stretch fabric for comfort and wearability.
7. Wool Trousers — Dress pants that range from Super 100 performance wools to wool blends for small checks, tweeds and herringbone patterns. We like the trousers dressed up with a shirt and tie or a lean looking turtleneck.
8. Modern-fit jeans — Time for men to go modern in jean silhouettes. Look for slim or straight over boot cut or relaxed fit. We also like the Japanese denim (darker, heavier) with selvage or the red interior stitching that allows one to cuff the jean and show the hem.
9. The biker jacket — Classic and cool ala James Dean, or edgy and rock cool like Adam Levine. The jacket can be all leather or pieced leather. It can be cropped and asymmetric in cut or blouson. We like the Biker jacket worn with a long-sleeve, v-neck t-shirt and black jeans. The classic jacket is still zipper front and adorned with quilting, seaming and banded collar.
10. Urban Boots — From the ankle boot to the Chelsea boot, from the biker boot to the rugged country style, the boot options are endless for men. We like seeing a boot added to the mix of wing tips, canvas lace-ups, driving shoes, sneakers and leather loafers. Boots are now a year-round fashion must-have.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
City Seeks Public Assistance with Controlling Overgrown Weeds
The recent rainfall has weeds sprouting up throughout the El Paso community.
To help educate the public about municipal codes related to overgrown vegetation, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department’s Code Compliance Division will step up enforcement of weed violations over the next month. Code inspectors will notify property owners or tenants of violations. Violations not corrected within the designated period may result in a citation or clean-up fees if the City has to clean the property.
“Overgrown weeds and other vegetation are unsightly and have a health and safety impact on the community. Overgrown vegetation can harbor mosquitoes, rodents and other vectors that impact the public’s health and safety,” Elda Rodriguez-Hefner, Code Compliance Division Manager said. “We are asking for the public’s assistance in minimizing these public nuisances by keeping their yards trim and by abiding by the municipal code and maintaining the vegetation in the parkways and alleys abutting their homes and businesses.”
Environmental Services reminds the public to avoid code violations related to weeds by trimming overgrown vegetation in their yards, as well as, parkways and alleys abutting their properties.
Title 9 of the El Paso Municipal Code states that grass, weeds or uncultivated plants should not be allowed to become overgrown. Weeds must not be allowed to grow to 12 inches or taller or become a nuisance.
The City of El Paso helps control weeds in public rights of way, parks and public facilities by spraying them with herbicides. To learn more about codes related to overgrown vegetation review Title 9 of the El Paso Municipal Code at www.elpasotexas.gov.
Ten Steps to Welcome in a New Fashion Season
By: Sharon Mosley
Now that you’ve sweated through most of the summer, it’s time to start thinking about the new fall fashion season ahead. I know that for many of us, there’s still plenty of steamy days to come, but it doesn’t hurt to start at least doing a little planning to refresh those tired summer wardrobes. After all, the new fall collections will be hitting the stores and online as you read this!
So take some time out now to plot your shopping strategy, even if it’s just shopping in your own closet!
Step One — Collect magazines. August is the month when you will see those giant “books” of fashion photography beaming up at you in the checkout aisle. Buy at least one or two or three. These will give you great ideas to get inspired. Rip the pages out, and start your own “Pinterest” collection. No, you may not buy the $2,000 leather jacket, but you may find one that you love for $200.
Step Two — Think, think and think some more. Yes, it really does pay off to ask yourself a few questions about your wardrobe every now and then, especially at the beginning of a new season, and especially if your life has changed any in the past year. Think about what’s coming up in your future. Any job changes? Any special events? Travel plans? (Or that dreaded high school reunion?)
Step Three — Make a list. It sounds simple, but it works. An organized approach to shopping is one of the best ways to insure that you stay focused. But then, I also believe in the “I love it. I have to have it.” theory, too.
Step Four — Shop your closet. After you browse the magazines and make your lists, take a look at your own closet and see what you already have. I often catch myself buying the same things over and over again (black pants anyone?), only to find several pairs in my closet that would have been just fine.
Step Five — Make your accessories count. Take inventory of what handbags, shoes, jewelry, scarves, etc. you already have. What condition are they in? What did you “wear to death” last year. What needs replacing or updating? Accessories are one of the easiest and often inexpensive ways to instantly update your wardrobe.
Step Six — Replacing the inevitable. Some of us like to hang on to our possessions until the last thread is worn out. But a new season is the perfect time to consider when that cherished pair of designer heels from 1999 that’s showing some wear and tear should be forever banned from our closet.
Step Seven — Call in reinforcements. Enlist some help. If you have a friend or store associate whose personal style you admire, this is a good time to ask for her help. Invite her over and make it a party for two. Scope out your closet and ask her advice. With a glass of wine or two, you will probably get some good feedback.
Step Eight — Experiment with color. This is another easy way to get the season’s newest look. Zero in on the “color” of the moment. Emerald green happens to have that cachet this year. But so does “Mykonos Blue” according to Pantone, Inc., the color authority who follows the trends. So how about combining the two? But, if you love red, there’s always that hot fuchsia “Vivacious!”
Step Nine — Stay in the present moment. We all have clothes that we hang onto forever: the prom dress from 1979, the bridesmaid dress from 1989, the cocktail dress from 1999, but if these clothes are not working for you now, consider giving them to charity. I love “vintage” clothes and accessories, but sometimes we have to admit the vintage has just run out of style.
Step 10 — Be true to yourself. Whether you feel like you need to replace your whole wardrobe or you just want to buy a few new things, remember that ultimately you will be the one wearing your clothes. Wear things you love, and every new season will be a chance to explore a new you
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Summer Fashion Coolers
By: Sharon Mosley
If the summer heat wave makes you want to roll over in your bed every morning and wake up in October, \ you may need to swallow hard and take a chill pill. Or take a deep drink of one of these fashion coolers. Here are a few ways to beat the heat of summer in style:
Heads up! There’s nothing hotter than long hair dripping down the back of your sundress. Take a clue from the trendiest hair stylists and pull it back into a ponytail or a chignon at the nape of the neck. The trick is to add a volume building mousse before your hair is dry, according to the experts at John Frieda. Then spray with an all-day hold hairspray. And so what if it’s all a little messy with a few strands of hair sticking out here and there? The look of these “deconstructed” chignons are loose and easy, perfect for a hot summer’s day or night. Headscarves are another hot trend to keep tresses at bay in hot weather.
Ditch the black! When the temperature is soaring in the 90s, you don’t want to be wearing that all-time heat soaker-upper — black. You’ll bake … and ugh … even probably sweat a little. So instead, lighten up with one of fashion’s favorite color palettes this year … white. Whether it’s a white chiffon tunic top, a white cotton oxford shirt, breezy linen cropped pants or a sophisticated white sheath dress, this is the time to choose to let those rays bounce right off of you.
Get shortie! Just looking at those dark denim jeans in your closet during the hot summer months can give you a heatstroke. Instead, opt for a pair of printed denim shorts or Bermudas. Even cropped pants can be a lifesaver that won’t drag you down like those full-length boot cuts you wore last winter. Stick to lighter washes of denim. Now is the perfect time to try a pair of distressed jeans — slashed with instant built-in air-conditioning. Check out the selection of denim shorts at Old Navy.
Go for a tropical punch! Summer is the best time to play American tourist in Hawaii! For those of us who tend to steer clear of all those bold tropical prints during the rest of the year, why not give your warm weather wardrobe a vacation and ease into these breezy prints that are all the rage this year? Stepping out in a maxi dress blooming with huge hibiscus flowers will surely give your spirits a cool lift.
Free your soles! No feet encased in heavy sport sandals and socks! So unless you’re trekking through the Rockies, it’s better to give your feet some breathing room. There are plenty of stylish ways to step out this summer in our favorite flip-flops. Yes, I know they’re just one step above going barefoot. That’s the point, isn’t it? But if you’re tired of the same ol’ rubber thongs, then check out Tkees (tkees.com). These colorful thongs will give your feet real personality. Don’t skimp on the pedicures either … whether you do it yourself or visit a salon!
Slather it on! With summer heat comes itchy, dry summer skin. Try adding something new to your beauty routine … products that are soothing and refreshing. The Lulah collection is a great place to start. From the parent company Thymes, Lulah is an assortment of aromatic body washes, lotions, spray mists and hand creams in delicious scents, such as vanilla orchid, citron, peony, magnolia fig and ginger. Lavanila has bottled its vanilla scents into handy non-spillable roller-ball bottles, and L’Occitane has refreshing packages of totable towelettes — great for tucking into your beach bag.
Ban the bling! Keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum during hot, sticky weather. A hat is a must-have for sun protection, but leave the big baubles at home. Fall is right around the corner!
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Bridal Bliss on a Budget
By: Sharon Mosley
There’s one day that many women want to be perfect — their wedding day — a day filled with romance and the perfect ceremony with their perfect significant other and, of course, the perfect dress. But when you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to get that perfect dress, then you’ve got to think outside the big white dress … or do you?
Fortunately, there are plenty of retailers now doing some rethinking about those expensive bridal dresses for you. Think you’d ever shop for a wedding gown when you’re shopping for laundry detergent? Now you not only have traditional bridal boutiques to help you find the perfect dress, you also have big retailers like Target to give your bridal budget a break.
“The average bride shops at between four and six stores before settling on The One,” says Nina Willdorf, author of “Wedding Chic” (Penguin, 14.95). According to a 2013 survey by TheKnot.com, brides spent an average of $1,211 on their wedding dress in 2012.
“When was the last time you spent somewhere in the vicinity of several thousand dollars on an item of clothing you wore once? How about … never,” says the style expert.
“So why should this day be any different? Yes, it is one of the most meaningful milestones in your life. And, yes, the dress sets a mood. But that doesn’t mean you need to make the commitment ‘Till Debt Do I Part’ when purchasing your wedding dress.”
Here are 10 tips from Willdorf on finding bridal dress bliss without breaking the bank:
—Familiarize yourself with what drives up the price of pretty frocks, so you can choose detailing wisely. The designer gowns, fabrics and intricate details will cost you more.
—Simple is always better on a budget, especially when it comes to your dress. And it’s also often the most elegant and streamlined that many modern brides are choosing today. Price hikes can happen in two ways: with the initial cost and for altering extras. Indeed, alterations of fancy dresses can add hundreds of dollars to the original cost of the dress.
—Think outside the box, and don’t automatically go for a white, poufy dress. You can save big. Willdorf’s own dress was a “non-wedding” dress in silk organza with spaghetti-straps and no elaborate inner layers or beading. (By the way, Willdorf also paid a fraction of drycleaning costs simply because her dress was NOT a traditional wedding gown.)
—Shop at the right time for considerable discounts on your dream bridal and bridesmaids’ dresses. Willdorf suggests shopping in February and August before shipment of new seasonal stock arrives to get the best deals.
—Scope out alternative shopping spots. Bridal boutiques can be one of your best bets; it’s true especially for one-of-a-kind designer gowns. But also consider checking out online vendors, sample sales, consignment stores and now retailers like J.Crew, Anthropologie and Target for ideas. Just make sure you are aware of return and exchange policies.
—And if you really know exactly what you want, you might choose to be your own designer designing your won dream dress. The key, according to Willdorf, is to know exactly what you want, from top to bottom. You won’t need as much time, and you can forget extra charges for alterations.
—Be sure to get good prices on all your other accessories by doing research on what these items should cost — and how to save on them. If you get a great deal on a sophisticated simple dress, you can splurge on a beautiful pair of earrings or necklace that you can wear again and again.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Style: From the Inside Out
By: Sharon Mosley
Bobbi Thomas does not believe that “fashion” and “style” are interchangeable. As a frequent contributor to NBC’s “Today” show and author of the new book, “The Power of Style: Everything You Need to Know Before You Get Dressed Tomorrow” (24.99, Harper One), Thomas believes that true beauty comes from the inside.
“Fashion alone is an external thing, not a way to identify you,” she says. “Style, however, is about being whole and balanced.”
Thomas started her professional life as a rape crisis center counselor, so she knows how much self-esteem can affect how we view our own sense of style.
“Whether I’m on NBC’s ‘Today’ show talking about the latest trends or hosting events at JCPenney or Gucci, I believe in leading a woman toward discovering her authentic self — her personality, her essence — on the inside and then reflecting that self on the outside through style. My ‘makeovers’ are more about self discovery and reinvention than overhauls and major transformations.”
And Thomas admits that she “loves a hot shoe or stunning gown as much as the next girl,” but she likes to delve deeper. “Style is about a lot more than stuff.”
Here are Thomas’s 10 steps to “Matching the Outside to the Inside” from “The Power of Style:”
1. See Yourself. First, work on developing a healthy image. Thomas suggests getting serious about using “mirrors” around you like your friends and home to reflect your best qualities.
2. Act the Part. Be aware of your body language and check out what verbal and non-verbal messages you are sending. Pay attention to how people react to you. Remember appearances do matter.
3. Speak Up. Appearances do matter and conveys a “language” that you communicate to others. Thomas suggests thinking of your style as a “brand” to promote who you are and what you want to say.
4. Know Your Worth. Acceptance of yourself is key and worth whatever effort it takes. Invest in yourself and your “packaging.”
5. Put a Plan into Practice. “Input equals output,” says Thomas, who urges women to keep a style journey, set a budget and find time for fittings to find the perfect outfits.
6. Learn Your Colors. In order to choose the most flattering style statements, Thomas encourages women to study their “colors,” and find out whether a “warm” or “cool” palette best suits your skin tone. Hues from red to yellow, including brown are considered warm, while hues from blue-green through blue-violet, including gray, are considered cool.
7. Balance Your Body. Know what silhouettes of clothes work best on your own particular body shape. Thomas identifies several “X factors” that will help you determine which clothes will flatter your unique shape.
8. Perform A Closet Cleanse. Yes, a clutter-free closet is one of the keys to enjoying getting dressed everyday, according to Thomas.
9. Make a Most-Wanted List. Think about the items in your closet that you wear the most and make a list. There is a reason that you like certain clothes. But by making a list, you become more aware of what kinds of clothes you are attracted to. Then before you buy anything new, you will know automatically know what kinds of clothes you love to wear.
10. Time to Go Shopping! Of course, this one is the most fun. Thomas has lots of tips about shopping — one of the best — “Shop with friends, but buy alone.”
How To Jazz Up Your Wardrobe
by: Sharon Mosley
Let the fringe and the feathers fly. Dance into spring, and put some swing into your wardrobe by jazzing it up and channeling the styles of the Roaring Twenties a la Daisy and Jay: the main characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” and of Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated film adaptation.
From Prada to H&M, there’s some Jazz Age glamour for everyone. Here’s how to kick up a little art deco flair of your own:
—Start with the drop-waist flapper dress. There’s no better way to jazz up your wardrobe this spring and summer than to don one of these slinky sheath-style dresses embellished with beading, metallic threading or embroidery.
—Go with the high-low hems. From the knee to the ankle, this is a great way to highlight your best features by choosing a dress or skirt with a pointed hemline that dips and rises in all the right places.
—Choose chiffon. Free and flowing is the name of the dress game when it comes to kicking up your heels in the deco designs this year. The fabrics are soft and supple, providing nonrestrictive flattering silhouettes — perfect for doing the Charleston.
—Add some fringe and feathers. Whether on that flapper-inspired dress or a hip-length jacket or swingy skinny skirt, fringe and feathers are a jazzy way to dress up anything you put on this season. And it’s really easy to throw on a feather boa to give your cocktail dress instant drama.
—Get exotic. Patterns and prints are another way to jazz up your wardrobe. Think geometric art nouveau or East Asian designs in particular. These artistically inspired motifs are easily incorporated into your everyday wardrobe with kimono-style jackets, shawls or scarves. Look for the unstructured evening coat trimmed with fur to be even more of a jazzy hit for fall. And harem pants, anyone?
—Add accessories. The fashion extras that complement all the Jazz Age designs are legendary, especially the millinery — from tight-fitting cloche hats to elaborate jeweled and feathered headpieces to Oriental toques and turbans.
—Add jewelry. Accessorize with long ropes of cultured pearls, arm bracelets and chandelier earrings. Top it off with a decorative “pouch” purse trimmed with tassels. And complete your jazzy look with T-strap pumps.
Now you’re ready to dance the night away!
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Positively Charming — Gifts for Mother’s Day
By: Sharon Mosley
Don’t have any gift ideas for one of those most important women in your life? How about a gift that fits no matter what size your Mom is? It’s one of the best ways to give the significant women in your life a present they’ll really appreciate — just think charming bracelets!
There are lots of ways to say “I love you” with jewelry that becomes an heirloom and are one of the most personal gifts you can give. Personalized bracelets have always been a great way to celebrate special occasions. I still cherish a special bracelet from high school dangling with sterling cheerleader megaphones and tennis racquets.
Every generation has a new way of collecting these wearable memories — Moms have been wearing charm bracelets since the days of ancient Egypt.
“People seem to have always had the need to adorn themselves with beautiful, symbolic or magical things,” says Tracey Zabar, artist and author of “Charmed Bracelets” (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 19.95).
“Ancient peoples relied upon amulets and other lucky charms to ward off the “evil eye” and other bad spirits, and then they held fast to religious charms promising fertility and love,” acknowledges Zabar, who has designed bracelets for Barneys New York and Kate Spade.
Indeed not since the ’50s when Lucille Ball collected gold charms celebrating the musical career of her husband, Desi, to Jackie O’s single-charm bracelet, charms are once more making a big comeback, and Mother’s Day is the perfect time to give your mom a gift of history on her wrist. It’s one of the most personal gifts you can give and pass on to the next generation.
Here are some of Zabar’s tips on composing your own charm bracelet:
—First, decide which side of the fence you are on: do-it-yourself or prefab. Are you the type of charm braceleter who enjoys the thrill of the hunt and collects charm mementos over time? Or are you the instant-gratification type who sees a gorgeous ready-made bracelet that stops you dead in your tracks and that you must have immediately? Determine which category your mom fits into.
—Commit to a metal. If you are starting a bracelet for your mom, you might want to take a cue from the jewelry she already wears — mostly gold (often, more expensive) or silver (more casual). Zabar recommends sticking to 14-karat gold for charm bracelets.
“It will stand up to the clinging and clanging of the charms.” There are also lots of alternatives now for moms who want a different look — check out all the woven leather bracelets that have more of a hip vibe.
—More is more. Try to choose real stones and pearls as often as possible, says Zabar. “Since most of the stones are tiny, they aren’t that expensive. You don’t need the perfect color or quality; just make sure that the stones are pretty and you don’t see any obvious inclusions or chips.”
—Pick a theme. If you are starting a bracelet from scratch for your mom, consider buying charms in just one category — fashion, family, travel landmarks, dogs, hearts, buildings or flower charms, for example. Or your mom may prefer a hodgepodge of charms — You may want to start with one charm and let her dictate how she wishes to build the bracelet.
—And if your Mother happens to run out of room on a bracelet, you can always start another one, or a charm necklace!
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Shaping up for Spring and Summer
By: Sharon Mosley
As the weather warms up and you shed all those winter layers, you may shiver a little at some of those extra pounds gained over the last few months. But as you lighten up for the spring and summer days ahead, think about emphasizing the best parts of your body shape and forget the lumps and bumps for now. At least until you put that swimsuit on for the first time!
Here are some quick tips for accentuating your positive assets this season:
—First, take a spin in front of the mirror and assess the situation — What are the best things about your body, and what are the “not-so-good” things. We’re talking legs, waist, arms, etc. The trick is to play up the best parts and learn how to disguise the flabby arms or the thick waist or the big hips.
—Then think about what your favorite “go-to” outfit is — the “uniform” you turn to that makes you feel great. There are usually several versions of this in our closets, and we intuitively know what looks best on us. Take stock of the condition of your favorite pieces. Often, it’s these essentials that we wear day in and day out that may need replacing — the great pair of jeans, the simple pencil skirts, the knit cardigans, tees and tanks.
—Then get ready to shop for this season’s interpretation of what you feel is your most flattering outfit. Some of the most flattering shapes for most women, no matter what season it is, are fashion classics that are always in style. Some of this spring and summer’s best options may be the wrap dress in a pretty floral print, the sheath dress in a dramatic contrasting stripe, the black suit with a tuxedo jacket or the tailored trench coat in a bold color.
—One of the fastest ways to shape up your wardrobe is to pay attention to your waist. Cinching in a jacket or dress with a belt gives your waist instant definition. Or you can do the same thing with Asian-inspired obi sashes or ribbon belts. Peplum tops are still a stylish way to shape up your mid-section, too.
—Don’t be afraid to play with prints. The new colorblock graphics can actually trick the eye with strategically placed patterns that flatter your body. Look for bold stripes that line up in all the right places and provide an optical hourglass illusion that slims you down fast.
—Proportion is key. You may love to wear flowing bohemian tunics in the summer, but if you do choose these roomy tops, then keep it simple and streamlined on the bottom. Slim white jeans or cropped pants will balance out the top half. If your tops are sleeker, then a flowing pant or A-line skirt will be your best bet on the bottom. Remember, opposite silhouettes attract — fitted tops with looser bottoms and vice versa.
—Stock up! When you do find the pieces that fit and flatter you the best, don’t be afraid to stock up. Buy several styles of long tank tops in several colors to layer under sheer tops and short jackets. Buy two pairs of those cropped pants that fit you so well. Stick to the basics you love and just add a few new pieces that will transform your wardrobe and flatter your body at the same time.
By: Jeff Rugg
Question: I am slowly landscaping my backyard. I am seeing what grows best in what amount of sunlight and moving things around while they’re still in the containers in which they come. Can I spray weed killer first? I need to fill in and level the ground. Do I use sand, topsoil or potting soil? Does the weed blocker that comes on rolls go before or after the fill? Can I dig through the weed block material? I want to add plants a little at a time and maybe some sod.
Answer: It sounds like you have the makings of a great beginning gardener. Most gardeners will experiment with placing plants in different locations and moving them when they don’t seem to do very well. I must mention that either the label that came with the plant or somewhere in a book will state of how much sun the plant needs. In other words, the research has already been done.
I think the biggest problem I would have with your testing of the locations is that you are leaving the plants in the pot. That isn’t a fair test. The plants will need more attention to their watering and fertilizing needs in the pot than in the ground. So, a plant that isn’t doing well during the test may be perfectly suited for that spot if it was planted there.
Set the plants next to each other to see how they look. Check to see if they form a nice combination of colors and visual textures. And then look at the plant label to see how big they grow and plant them appropriately.
Whenever you determine a good combination and location to plant, you will need to prepare the surroundings for the new plants. If there are weeds or lawn grasses in that area, they need to be sprayed or transplanted. Weed killers take a few days to over a week to soak into the whole root system.
If the weeds are all low (or can be mowed down), you can cover the whole area in half a dozen sheets of newspaper, up to a quarter inch thick. Wet the ground first and then wet the papers after they are laid out. The paper needs to be weighted down with a couple inches worth of compost, leaves or mulch. After a couple of weeks, most plants under the cover will be dead and you won’t have used an herbicide. You can plant into the area before or after the papers are installed.
Before planting, create the proper slope and elevation changes to get drainage away from the house and to fill in any low spots. The soil used should be similar in make up to the soil that already exists. If the existing soil is sandy and you add topsoil to a low spot, the two soil types are not going to drain the same and you will be creating more problems. Potting soil is designed for containers and it is more like an organic amendment than a true soil.
If you can till in new soil to create a blended soil over a larger area, then by all means bring in as much good soil as you can. You only get one chance to add soil. After the plants are installed all you can do is add topdressings.
Rolls of cloth types of weed blocker are very useful in some situations and not so good in others. They can do a good job slowing weed growth in flowerbeds, but when organic mulch material or soil is added on top of them, weeds can grow just fine on top of the weed blocker. Weed blocker materials are at their best when used under gravel mulch. They prevent weeds from coming up and prevent the stones from sinking down into the soil underneath.
The most important part of adding a few plants to your landscape at a time is to have a plan. If you know what goes where, you will end up with a great landscape. If not, it will just be an eclectic collection of plants (which can be fun for a gardener, but it drives other people crazy). The planning can be as simple as knowing that the plant in the corner needs to be taller than the plant it replaced, that it needs to have big leaves to offset the small leaves on another plant and that it needs to tolerate sunlight and wet soil. That way when you see a plant that only fits a couple of those requirements you can pass it up as not being the right plant for the plan.
The official plan is fun to create and then you really know what goes where but even then rules can sometimes be broken. So get out there and have some fun.
Email questions to Jeff Rugg at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Addressing the Dress
By: Sharon Mosley
Don’t say no to adding a dress to your shopping list this spring. It’s an easy solution for what to wear — anywhere. The one-piece dress is a no-brainer for work or play, and it’s a great travel companion. From floaty and flirty pastels to bold and graphic modern prints, the dress is a personality piece sure to please even the most discriminating fashionista!
Choose from these key dresses for success shapes this spring and summer:
—The A-line dress — The sheath dress has been “the” last word in dress fashion for the past few years. After all, it’s been a classic for decades — most recently reintroduced to a new generation of style-savvy women a la First Lady Michelle Obama.
But the newest classic has more fit and flare. The focus is on the waist — whether it’s belted or banded. And unless you’re a Kim Kardashian (who is expecting), you should go for a “figure-skimming” not “figure-hugging” dress style. Look for pleated accordion-style dresses for more dresses that don’t cling, but swing.
—The Printed dress —Another one of the season’s favorites — The patterned prints are exploding. But don’t expect to see any shrinking violets here — the dresses that you’ll want to wear this year make a bold statement. Think large colorblocks, washed watercolors, oversized stripes, tropical flowers, harlequin checks. The bigger the better. A word of caution — to keep prints from becoming overwhelming, stick to dark background and one pattern per outfit.
—The Lace dress — In a season of special occasions — graduations, weddings, proms — the all-over lace dress may be the perfect way to break out of the winter doldrums. Lighten up with this feminine fabric interpreted in a myriad of ways — and colors. A white lace frock may say “bridal,” but in sugary candy-colored pastels, it’s a winner; in black, it’s a cocktail stunner.
—The Sheer Dress -Spring and summer is the perfect time to go sheer — no, not totally, of course, but designers take care of that, too, this season. By layering sheer fabrics on top of sheer or other opaque fabrics, the effect is romantic and provides endless options. These ethereal dresses are the perfect backdrop to lightweight cardigans and coats or jackets.
—The Ruffled Dress — One of the season’s trendiest details, the ruffle is showing up on sleeves, cuffs, necklines and waistlines. Flirty and flouncy, ruffles are a real way to fluff up your spring wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to get a little ruffled! In soft silks, chiffons and jersey knits, these ruffles are meant to rise to any occasion.
—Dresses that go to all lengths — Choices of hemlines abound this year with dresses from short to long and anywhere in-between. Choose a python mini for a night on the town or a long floral caftan for a poolside patio party. And the newest way to show off your legs in a dress? Cover them up! The midi-length is back. Your knees never had it so good!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM