WHAT is it with BLACK?

Have you ever been to a Meet-UP meet up?
They are great, you meet lots of like-minded, friendly men and women. Friendly of course – we are in Canada.
I just came back from a Glitzy Night with the Ladies of Love Laugh Inspire in a Lounge bar near the US border.
The dress code suggested to show up in glitzy, sparkly, shiny outfits. And what did lots of ladies show up in? In black!!!
They either didn’t read the fine print or black is the new glamour sparkle!

What is it with black? The most boring colour (it’s not a colour actually) under the sun.
Black is a universal phenomena; around the world little black dresses or suits are accepted attire when you visit the opera, the theatre, a funeral or a ‘fun’ night out with the girls.
And what about the happy bloke who is getting married?
black dress

Say what you want about black, call it powerful, strong, sexy, elegant, timeless.
To me, it is BORING and wearing it means you are playing it safe!
Rightfully, there is nothing wrong with being safe! Tell me, why not make a statement instead?
Bring back glitter, glam and colour when you go out!
The one really good attribute of wearing black: It makes you look slim! Just saying…. now I get it ladies. You all looked fabulous!

WHEN It’s HARD to be a WOMAN

On day three of my 22 – day challenge I want to enlighten and delighten you about the most frustrating ‘thing’ we women face on a more or less regular basis!

If you think I am referring to                                                                                              Our daily shower-shave-make-up routine,  Finding yet another excuse not to have sex (“I don’t feel like it” is a statement, – not an excuse), – Getting our period whilst out and about, wearing white pants, – Getting a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and realizing: Dad has forgotten to show us how to change one of these, or Learning that getting pregnant is easier than raising children, please think again!

All these above are slight inconveniences – they come with the territory of being a woman! No, what I am refering to is the agonizing, time consuming quest to shop for the perfect dress!

Nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the fruitless outcome of wandering through the mall, visiting one shop after the other, trying on countless items and still come home empty handed. You have the vision in your head, you have the money, and still can’t find what you came for.

My fashionable Self at the beginning of my quest   C.Waschko

My fashionable Self at the beginning of my quest C.Waschko

I’ve done the mall walk many times over, this time I went to Value Village instead- at least their dresses won’t shrink or fade anymore!

A fun shop for all of us who like a good challenge!  C. Waschko

A fun shop for all of us who like a good challenge! C. Waschko

At my age (younger than Madonna, older than Nicole Kidman) I prefer to shop for something that suits me rather than what is in fashion.  My body type (taller than, but less trim and muscular than Madonna, more toned than Nicole) calls for a dress that ends above the knee. If you have short legs, anything below the knee makes them look even shorter.

This one is too long, with the wrong pattern   C.Waschko

This one is too long, the wrong pattern.    C.Waschko

This one is too short, need a tan first     C. Waschko

This one is too short, need a tan first                               C. Waschko

I love sleeveless outfits – then I notice my upper arms are more flabby than “normal” these days. Ok, no sleeveless for me today. Something low cut is pretty cool too- but only if you can fill out the cleavage bit! Here again, this one comes off the list. I like a slim cut, not a tight fit! The difference between figure hugging and tight is choosing between looking like a pro or a sausage – here we go again, we are back to sausages!

Nice one... for somebody else!   C.Waschko

Nice one… for somebody else! C.Waschko

What about colours or patterns?  This is another, all too serious matter altogether. As a matter of fact I know, green, brown or lilac doesn’t suit me, vertical stripes make us look fat. One of my favourite colours is blue- the problem is, I own way too many shades of blue already!

How difficult is it to find a good fitting, half sleeve, knee length dress with a round neck? Very! I couldn’t find it at Value Village either!

Dear husbands, boy-friends or partners of sorts, do you see how difficult it is for a woman to find the perfect something? (not you, the dress)!

The next time your respected spouse comes home with her new outfit please give her a hug, pay her a compliment and don’t look at the price tag! Most likely she went through hell finding what she came home with!

I will see ya’ tomorrow!

SUNDAY’s BEST, ALWAYS ABOVE THE REST

I have to hand it to my mother: This lady knows how to dress for any given occasion! I don’t know of anybody else who owns so many Sunday’s Best outfits. My mom has an obsessive obsession to label the week days and match her outfits accordingly. E.g. Monday is ‘meet the girls’ and swimming – day, Wednesday is market day, Saturday is ‘let’s clean the house and party – day’, Sunday is always Sunday’s Best day!

Mom went as far as putting me into that white, lacy number on our visit to a horse farm, because – you guessed right,- it was Sunday.

For good measure she keeps an extra special ‘something’ in her wardrobe. It is well protected, wrapped up in plastic. My guess is as good as yours: At their age, “Four weddings “are over. They are slowly approaching the “Funerals”part. One never knows when the next, unexpected invite arrives..

Not only does mom matches outfits with days, she also orchestrates wardrobe choices according to the seasons. God forbid my dad or brother show up without their allocated, goofy Christmas tie for Christmas dinner!

I also recall early memories of Easter egg hunts, dressed in my bunny PJ’s.

Our mother didn’t stop at clothes. Next to our Sunday outfits we had our Sunday – best-dinner-plates, or the plates for Easter, Mothers Day or Christmas. We had plates for our own family and for our visitors. Depending on their status or relationship to us (friend, close friend or very close friend) our mother pulled out “Villeroy and Boch”or “Woolworths own”. (She still does!).

For the first 20 years of my life I shared a roof with my parents. This is a long enough time for certain idiosyncrasies to rub off – if I want to or not!

Our own kitchen contains a ‘to-look-at-only-unit. It is filled with beautiful, under used, 100 year old dinner plates, inherited by my grandma. Do we use them? Of course, once a year, come Christmas.

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What about my beautiful tea set? Has there ever been a special occassion worth sharing it with the rest of the world? Of course, once or twice!

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Do I have a Sunday’s Best? You bet I do. In my case this translates to stored away, under used, forgotten dresses.

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On February 17th I will host my official book launch party in the company of our invited guests. This is reason enough to pull out all the stops. Unfortunately, I inspected my stash this morning – my former Sunday Bests are either too sexy (no,no, I am an author now), too tight, have the wrong style, wrong colour, are eaten by moths or still display shoulder pads. Oops, isn’t Joan Collins the only one still allowed to wear them?

Coincidently, my chosen date falls on “MY WAY DAY” which gives me the official permission to launch my book my way- regardless of Sunday’s Best or not.

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It’s off to the shops again. I will splurge out on another Sunday’s Best.  But this time around it will be a timeless piece. After the launch I will follow the example of my mom: It will be wrapped in plastic and stored away! What can I say, I am her daughter, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

The Illuminators

If you read some of my posts before you know that Canadians don’t really care about fashion (check out: “High Fashion”) and Vancouver has been voted as one of the ‘most unfashionable cities in the world’.

Canadians wear what they want as long as it is ‘comfy’and protects against the weather. But let me tell you this, as unfashionable as they are in the clothes department, Canadians know how to dress up their houses during the Christmas season!

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If you are North American and you are reading this, please excuse my ignorance.Of course you are used to twinkle lights on every house, bush, tree or ornaments attached to your property. I, on the other hand, am a money conscious, energy conserving, disciplined German housewife! The only extra-vaganza my parents indulged in was the lit up pine tree in front of our house. In Germany, electricity is expensive! We turn off the water while we brush our teeth. By November we bought a whole seasons’ supply of candles from IKEA. My mom said she wanted to create a wonderful, cosy atmosphere.-but I figured they wanted to save energy!

Let’s go back to fashion in Canada: Nobody gives it a second thought if you wear your pyjama bottoms to the shops, nobody cares if you wear shorts in the middle of winter (aka, now) or if you prefer flip-flops over winter boots. Everythings goes and I am loving it!   I noticed a certain change of consciousness when the season changed from autum to nearly winter:  At the end of November an invisible switch switches on in the brain of most Canadian house owners!

Even if the average house owner is not interested in the latest fashion, they sure know how to decorated their houses for the season! I believe there is a secret competition going on around here who can outshine the neighbours with the brightest, most colourful and fancy arrangements. All I can say is this: What Canadians saved over the previous 11months in fashin goods, they will spend on their electricity bill at the end of the year.

Normal and unassuming during day light, houses transform into a festival of extra-ordinary illuminations as soon as it gets dark!

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It is a feast for the senses! All this was prepared by caring husbands who gave up their free Saturday: Every single light bulb was single handidly polished before the string was artfully stapled around every window frame and along the gutters,

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I personally prefer ‘simple’over éxcessive’.2012-12-03 11.06.45

I keep our light decoration inside the house and wouldn’t want to force my light spectacle on innocent by-passers. But this is me- and this is what life is all about: We are all different- We all like different things! And this is how it should be! This is what makes us all so extra-ordinary!

Whay do you think of this one?

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I nearly crashed into the nearest lamp post when I saw this house. All I could think of is this:

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”.

Childhood Memories, Nordseeinsel SYLT: Blessing or a Curse?

Image

FEDER_Software_SYLT014

This awesome picture is my Past

Dear Island, You are responsible for shaping my early childhood memories.

I blame you for setting a high standard for every other island I visit.

You are the reason why for example I prefer eating shrimp fresh from the boat and not at a fancy restaurant.

Subconsciously you make me compare every beach I walk on. Every other one is too hard, too dark, too muddy or has too many pebbles.

My mother is convinced your wonderful, healthy air is responsible for my overall good health (North Sea air contains a high amount of salt- which in turns equals healing power!)

This is not your fault – I should blame my parents for dragging me to you, year after year. But even now, as a “mature” woman the love affair continues. I left Germany over two decades ago, today I live in Vancouver, but the memories remain!

It has to stop, right here and now!

Believe me:  Nothing compares to you- nothing compares to these wonderful Nordtfriesen islands up in the top left hand corner of Germany.  The Friesen-style houses only look good on the islands; sunsets look spectacular when you watch them from your Strandkorb with a glass of cooled white wine in your hand.

Friesen House

You are the love of my life, always will be, but it’s time to give something else a chance to shine, to  be extra-ordinary!

The following is your lesson I have to learn from you:  If I want to fully appreciate the beauty of something else I have to stop comparing!   Sylt, you are not better, you are only different!

Sylt, I imagine we can form a harmonious partnership – but this may also be the reason why I never attempted to live with you! In my mind you are perfect- and I don’t want to be disappointed. I’d rather live with the illusion than be proven wrong by reality.

Instead of living with you permanently, I will enjoy you in short spurts whenever I return. And when I visit you it will be with another bottle of wine from “Gosch.”(The islands most popular fish and wine bar) It’s fun to watch the rich and beautiful (in Germany that is) strut their stuff.- Or shall I rephrase this: the many wanna – be rich and of average looks waddling past.  The idea of paying to walk along the beach is still unheard anywhere else in the world, but then, you have your reasons for charging us!

This was then, this is now:

Pender Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands, lining the coast of Vancouver.

Like the rest of Vancouver, Pender is understated. If Vancouver holds the trophy of one of the worst dressed city in the world, Pender Island needs an award for “Easy Going” and “Hippy Chic”!

These two islands are worlds apart – but oh so special in their own unique way!

On Sylt you are judged by the clothes you wear, the size of your wallet and the colour of your AMEX card.

On Pender you don’t show off, you are not here to shine with your new trophy wife – you come here to just be yourself!

Pender is a rough beauty, raggedness on an unprecedented level.

Nothing cries “chic” or “sophisticated” here. Nothing eludes arrogance. Everything is so nice and refreshingly normal on Pender. Let it be the local residents or the day visitors.  I have seen and tasted more organically produced fruit and veggies on Pender, I have noticed more hand produced – or – crafted items here than I have ever noticed on my childhood friend.

If Pender is the rare diamond found on water, then Sylt is the fine cut and polished sister. And I love them both!

Extra-Ordinary places are found around the world and yes, my heart is big enough to carry them all!

HIGH FASHION

Most Popular Female Outfit

Forest Gump

First things first::

I decided to save my immigration fund and hit the road of pre-promotion for the book alone! With all the information at hand I figure, How hard can it be? Honestly, I don’t believe in short cuts: I have to put the hours in, make mistakes and figure out which way suits me best!

On the shrinking waistline? It is definitely not shrinking yet! Last week the bike was my best friend: Just going down to the grocery store equals a mini “Tour-de Maple Ridge!” It is all mountain terrain! The thighs are becoming more muscley but the love handles found their spot on my body they really like…..to be continued!

Our chosen country is a melting pot of different nationalities!  Immigrants from all over the world are calling Canada their new home! Which is cool, because it is all about globalization! We are all part of one big family, regardless of colour, accent or upbringing. One of the major differences between here and let’s say Germany (where I grew up) or The Netherlands (where we lived for 12 years) is the attitude towards being different!

Here ONE CELEBRATES DIFFERENCES, whereas  in the two European countries,

YOU NEED TO FIT in to be accepted!

Let me elaborate. Among the many acquaintances we met along the way and friends we made I am definitely not known as a fashionista! Far from it! I never know what is in fashion, I only know what feels comfy and what not to wear if you have short legs, a no bra size and.-now- wobbly upper arms.

Where we lived in our little village in Holland, the ladies look fabulous!!! They spent lots of money on the items displayed – and it showed! Name brands, the newest styles, well-groomed from tip to top!  Believe it or not, these ladies know how to cycle in their high heels,  how to balance their grocery bags and their kids on the front and rear seats of their bike AND still look good!   It was a pleasure to watch, but put on a lot of pressure to “fit in!”  Personally I believe as long as it is clean and not torn, put it on! Oh well, it is easier said than done! Especially there! Germany is the same. Even if people don’t mean to, you are being judged and looked up and down upon if you don’t display some sort of style! But this was then, this is now:

Imagine our relief when we heard on the radio that Vancouver still ranks among the top 5 places in the world to live, but is named “most unfashionable city in the world” by the people who should know!

One of the items Dominic (the “fashionable” husband) was stressed out upon arrival, was the added expense to buy a brand new wardrobe for our new life here in Vancouver!  Actually, we live in Maple Ridge,a still undiscovered gem in high fashion circles, ignored by any species slightly in tune with fashion!

Maple Ridge is a mecca for horse lovers, it is the rainforest of BC, the area of choice to bring up your children. Considering these facts one finds  residents displaying their flip-flops, rain boots or track suit bottoms more than anything else! Judging by the amount of sports wear seen in the street, one can come to the conclusion that the locals are  among the fittest, healthiest, most active  people anywhere (don’t know if this is true or not)!

Dominic is in heaven, he can finally live out his honest summer style, inspired by Forest Gump, and nobody gives him a second look! I am in heaven, because there is no need to buy any new clothes whatsoever!

Either way of living and attitude towards fashion is just fine. You have to decide how to deal with it on a personal level.! But here is the dilemma I am facing:

It is too easy to fall into the trap of “no-fashion”. It is too easy to put on the loose-fitting bottoms, crocs and hit the road. And the best thing is: Nobody cares! In order to keep some personal pride and get a sense of being ” extra-ordinary” I make sure to put on my European outfits every day (if they still fit over the expanding waist) and get fabulous compliments!