a trip to the fifties

The Man and I went to a Halloween party on Saturday at a friends house. I can’t remember the last time I truly dressed up for Halloween other than some peacock feathers and makeup.

For the longest time I couldn’t think of what I could wear as a costume, and I kind of wanted us to match, so we came up with the idea of a couple from the fifties. I had a dress that the Man convinced me to buy at an estate sale – new with tags – for about $10 that would be the perfect base. His costume was infinitely easier – dress shirt and slacks plus a robe and a pipe and he was the perfect fifties gentleman home from a long day of work.

So I had the perfect dress, some over the top jewelry, and kitten heels ready to go. I did some Pinterest searches for easy fifties hair and makeup and got to work. Saturday turned out to be miserably rainy and cold, but never fear! I had the perfect “coat” to go along with the theme.

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Sassy fifties pose.

My German Grandmother’s fur cape-let was perfect, and time period appropriate, along with my Nana’s pearls, my mom’s diamond watch, and my already vintage (and way before the fifties!) engagement  ring. To top it all off, I had an “inside” look with a fancy apron, ready to serve my fifties husband.

I was thrilled with how the look turned out. It was funny because one of the women at the party asked me “Is this real?” to several pieces of my ensemble and was astonished when I said yes. I also told her that my Nana would be proud. She was one of those fifties women who would meet her husband at the door, dressed up, makeup on, and dinner finishing on the stove. So often now, we look down on women of that generation, who took care of their husbands and the home and were happy to do so.

Talking to my mom later Saturday evening, she said that Nana thought grandpa worked with intelligent men and women all day, and he should come home to a woman who was not only intelligent but also beautiful. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that.

So here’s to you, Nana, and all you beautiful, hard working, and intelligent women who stay home and take care of your kids, your house, your husband… whatever you do. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you aren’t amazing and just as hard working. And there’s nothing wrong with taking delight in being beautiful while doing it.

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Martini, dear?

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in celebration

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open. – Muriel Rukeyser

In honor of Women’s History Month, the internet has been full of empowering accolades, reminding us women aren’t bossy, that we’re all beautiful, we’re all powerful, and that we can do and be anything that we want to be. And yesterday marked the 102nd birthday of the first 18 girls registered in Girl Scouts. I proudly went to work wearing my Girl Scouts membership pin with my 25 year member designation. Because, you see, I am a card carrying lifetime member.

IMG_20140312_114207_333But no one asked me why I was wearing my pin. I doubt it’s because everyone knew it was the Girl Scouts birthday, but no bother. I felt proud wearing it.

As the craziness of the week comes to a close, I realized that I never stopped to really celebrate and honor what it is to be a woman, aside from that one moment where I chose to wear my Girl Scouts pin to work. And in my day to day life, I rarely, if ever, stop to think how hard I have worked for everything I have, and how much I have grown. How I have stuck to my convictions and started speaking up for myself in ways that I never would have dared to before because I’m a woman, and have largely worked for men who don’t appreciate those under them, especially not women.

I never stop to think how crazy and challenging and amazing it is to simply be a woman in this day and age. And especially to be a woman who is so blessed to have the rights and privileges that I do, and live among the technological advances that we do, and have a voice that is heard, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.

Recently, I find that I don’t keep in touch with my friends other than those I see at work because just keeping the house running and making ends meet has been such a chore, and a struggle.  When the laundry isn’t done or a bill isn’t paid on time, I take it as a personal failure and embarrassment, and retract even further into my own world. And that’s okay to do for a short amount of time, but not for forever.  I’m working on it, friends.  I will return the phone calls and letters. Please be patient with me.

Tonight, as I settle in to work on some freelance stuff, my mind keeps going to my mother, who I am so very blessed to have and so excited to go see this weekend for the first time since Christmas.

And then I keep thinking of one of the dearest, most beautiful women that I have in my life and have the privilege of calling a friend, who is truly one of the strongest and most amazing and giving people I have ever met. She has counseled me and cried with me and comforted me, fed me and answered my crazy cooking questions, supported me and understood me and laughed and cried and drank wine with me. Today, she found out she is being promoted, which is long overdue, and well earned. When I found out the news I literally jumped up and down in my office and teared up, feeling so excited for her that she was finally recognized. So, my dear Michele, congratulations on being the kickass woman you are, and finally getting something that is so very deserved.

Women don’t get thanked nearly enough for what they do. We all have our private trials and tribulations, pains, and life experiences that are difficult and beautiful. And when we rise above all of that and are seen to be the intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, giving people that we are, it is rare and it is joyous. And when one of my women friends gets recognized, it is the best feeling in the world. I am proud to be a woman, and lucky to have the women I have in my life. A month isn’t long enough to celebrate. I think I need to start celebrating everyday.