Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day and Book Discussion

Happy Valentines Day!


It will be a quiet celebration Chez WMM - we are saving our pennies for NYC and so will likely go out for a nice cup of coffee this morning (Starbucks, Tabs!) and then make a nice meal at home tonight.  We will also only exchange cards, although I suspect that red roses will be coming my way!  I hope that you all have a wonderful day, however (or if you even do!) celebrate!

Book Discussion:

As you all tediously know, I have placed myself on a self-imposed wardrobe budget for 2013. 

Already, this budget is paying huge dividends: it is forcing me to think carefully about every purchase made and it is also making me realize how much I was shopping and to what end?

So it was with interest that I happened to hear an interesting radio interview with author Phoebe Baker Hyde, who has recently published a memoir, The Beauty Experiment, chronicling a year in her life when she eschewed all beauty trappings - no makeup, no new clothing or jewellry, no salon haircuts.  The book explores a year without following the traditional trappings of what it means to be a woman, as well as a consumer.  Hyde's opinion is that freeing herself from beauty regimes and shopping forced her to look at herself in a different way, and find her sense of confidence from within, not from what she was wearing or how lovely her makeup was.


For those who are interested in hearing the interview, you can find it here:

http://www.cbc.ca/q/episodes/

It aired February 12th and the interview was done by the wonderful Jann Arden, who is an amazing Canadian singer/songwriter, so it was doubly entertaining for me.

After listening to the interview, I hied me over to the author's website when I got home.

phoebebakerhyde.com/

Now some of the stuff on the website is a little holier-than-thou, however true it may be.  We could do lots with our disposable income that could help humanity,.   Many of us already do.  And apparently the book has been receiving both strongly negative and strongly positive reactions.

But there were two things that struck me as interesting on her site:

1) The Beauty Wealth Calculator, where you honestly put in all of your expenditures of the last year (I suppose you could do everything you own, but really, who has that kind of time?).  I won't share the number that my expenditures came to, but it was shocking to see it in black and white.  Since I am already on a budget it was a moot point, but it certainly reinforced that I needed a budget and that clothing can NOT be my hobby.  I am ready to learn Origami GF!

and

2) could I go without makeup or proper haircuts?  In the book, Phoebe wears no makeup for a year and basically only partakes in upkeep that a man would partake in: she cuts her hair into a short "man cut" (which she goes to the barber to get), actually does shave the pits and legs (justifying that because men shave) but that is basically it.

My thoughts:

I have had the man haircut twice, once in 1979 and again in 1991.  I will not do that again, I do not know why I did it again in 1991!  I discovered that my head is the shape of a block.  It has 4 different cowlicks.  I am not good-looking enough to pull that off.   As well, my hair has completely changed since turning 40 and looks lifeless unless coloured.  I will stay coloured until I have enough silver to go silver.  And then I will go silver with a vengeance!

And no makeup?  I go with no makeup around the house.  But I am sure I could not go many days wandering around town without it.  The colouring on my face is uneven.  Lipstick picks up my mood.  I certainly don't wear a ton and I do everything I can to make it look as natural as possible, but none?  Oh my!


So could you do these things: no new frippery or wearing of makeup for a year?  Do tell - I am fascinated. 

 And in the most happiest of events, my Hibiscus tree, which was a great trouper all last summer and which we brought inside to over-winter, is leaving dormancy behind!  We woke up this morning to this most wonderful flower:




Now that is a happy February event!

Happy Thursday All!  Stay Safe out There!

42 comments:

  1. What a lovely flower!

    You really made me laugh with your comment about your head being shaped like a block and having four cowlicks!

    I think that these various lifestyle experiments are interesting. I like reading about them, and learning about the insights that people gained. I think the concept of doing without can be illuminating, but it doesn't mean it's "the right way."

    I have a desire to do some sort of lifestyle experiment. e.g. live in a tiny house; not buy anything new for a year, etc. I have thought about not buying clothing new for a year.

    I've mentioned it before, but I love the blog zerowastehome. There is somebody who has truly implemented her values in her lifestyle.

    Oh, I guess I have a lot to say about all of this, I could go on. Ultimately, I think that those experiments are interesting, and that most of what all of this drives towards is finding meaning in our lives, and that somehow reducing our materialism helps create space for that.

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    1. HI Abby! I am kind of with you on these "experiment" books - I haven't read this one but I will say, she was very lovely in her interview. However, I think in other online discussions involving her, things degenerated quite quickly. I like zerowastehome. I could never be that pure, but I really admire it. I will say, hitting 50 has made me begin to evaluate all aspects of my life - I need to take better care of my health, while I ate healthily, I could do better and I am now getting more exercise, I need to make decisions about the kinds of things I want to spend my working and personal life doing. And I agree that somehow reducing our materialism does create a space. Now that I am on a strict budget, I am absolutely picky about everything i buy. I was quite thoughtless about it before.There weren't monetary issues, so why worry? Except, and all of my blog friends who come here know that it is true, I was unhappy with chasing trends in an effort to evolve my style. I am nothing but a work in progress, but I know one thing: am keeping the concealer! :-)

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    2. :)

      I notice that online conversations on these topics often degenerate. I honestly think that people feel threatened by the idea of questioning their lifestyles and assumptions. The proponents can be pretty holier than thou, but I notice the defensiveness/anger even when the conversation began neutrally.

      It's so great that you're taking time to think and are eating better, exercising more, and reflecting on what you want next.

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  2. First of all Starbucks - I cannot pass up a sweetly sick cup of fancy pants coffee from there, it's my adult version of the "penny tray" at the local sweet shop - a tray that the owner would bring out from behind the counter if you asked for it - everything was one pence and if you had ten pence - phew - best spent five minutes dithering in the world!

    I must go look at that calculator, I don't wear make up at home or to the gym, it's funny, men look at me so differently when I have make up on but then I don't have eyes without make up, just two small hooded raisins for eyes.

    Oh and a round of applause for Abby's last paragraph. Especially that searching for meaning part, now that I am approaching 50, I keep thinking, what now?

    Ahem - can you tell the difference between my comments? Three words means I'm on the iphone and out in the street, this verbiage - sprawled on the sofa with the laptop!

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    1. No I could not tell. I just always assumed that when you are brief it is because you only had quick, deep things to say!!! heehee (I am making myself laugh out loud!

      I am okay on the eyes w/o make up (my daughter, as only a daughter can lovingly say when taking my pictures "Your eyes look too god damn big in that picture, mum!") but it is nothing at all on my lips that is my undoing and the slight rosacea I have developed in last 5 years. Without lip colour I am auditioning for the part of Elizabeth I in any costume drama, all thin lipped and deathly pale!

      I think you would be okay on the calculator - it doesn;t include gifts (or I didn;t make mine include gifts!)

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    2. Thanks Tabitha.

      I loved penny candy too, the possibilities!

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  3. For some reason - my reply not working well. Abby - my experience about conversations degenerating is similar to when I was a young parent. Everyone wants to believe that how they live or parent is the right way. I remember being such an insecure mum early on. I am not at point in life when I am fascinated by how differently people live and think and honestly, I learn something every day, especially from the folks here. I don't use it all for my life, but I love the diversity! And I am trying very hard to judge no one in life anymore or be jealous if others have more than i. I always remember how much more I have than others. And in the end, it is all stuff and you can't take it with you, so enjoy it along the way!

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    1. whoops - that should have read NOW at the point... damn autocorrect!

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  4. Unfortunately, women are and have always been viewed differently than men. The judgements are mostly from the other women. Men might notice one flaw but the ladies can see them all. Ok, I could not buy clothes for a year..except, undies and socks. I know I have enough already to wear. I could also do with out make up. I wear minimal amount already. But I could never have a man cut...I could though wear it in a pony everyday. I do however love to get gussied up now and again. Oh, I'm hitting the mall this weekend with daughter. Got to feed this economy.

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    1. BB - keep that American recovery going!

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  5. I am going out a big limb here. I think for the most part we are a group of intelligent hard working women who are often too hard on ourselves. As you said WMM, many of us are already thoughtful and charitable. Being thoughtful consumers does not have to mean deprivation. I live in a completely male household, and while I can assure you that one and all, they would happily forgo clothing purchases, and grooming expenditures, in no way shape or form would they give up the sports related purchases. I can assure you that the running sneakers, baseball equipment, fishing gear, golf clubs and skis costs far more than my wardrobe. That does not even begin to account for the actual cost of the lessons, golf and ski outings, fishing trips, cross country races,etc. And I shudder to thinks at how much money is spent for "snack" food during those outings! I am not a high maintenance groomer, but I enjoy the routine I have. And, I can go to a mall, walk around, get some exercise and enjoy looking with out feeling compelled to buy. Dare I say I am wearing makeup and nice clothing while I am doing that!

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    1. Knit Yarns, I agree with you. I also think that it's a bit of a myth that men don't face any appearance pressures. Yes, they are different, and yes, we live in the world of the white man, but at least where I live, the men are expected to dress well, always be groomed, and most wear a fancy watch.

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    2. Knityarns - you are right - DH is learning to be a pilot. His monthly lesson is more than my monthly clothing budget! :-)

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  6. REFORMATION So many wonderful nuggets here already today, and Tabs waxing lyrical. Must have been the Starbucks and sweet tray recall! WMM and all, much I will take away and mull (making space to change, concealer, socks and undies as a necessity, acceptance, appreciation, budget, whuf!)

    I've always agreed that appearance standards are "unfair" to gels vs. blokes as well as among women. However, as I grow older, I've also come to appreciate the joys, treats, variety we get that the guys just don't. (One wallet for years, how dull.) Until I was about 30 or so, vast majority of the time I was a tomboy (of looks), short hair, chapstick, white tees and tennies. I'm still fairly low maintenance (the DH and local girlfriends wouldn't stand for hours of getting ready anyway.) But I do put on a bit of make-up daily now, entirely for myself, because it makes me feel not pale, tired and dull. That way I can smile and focus on other things, versus self-critique. Again, know thyself.

    Spending is another hot topic, no surprise given the years of global economic turmoil. I think it helps to realise that purchases, beyond the true neccessities, are a personal choice process - the same as what we eat or what we do in our own time. People focus on different things - (no particular order) - home, car, kids, travel, closet, experiences, obligations - and those change at different phases of your life. I think it's all about finding the balance that works for you and your family and allows you to hopefully not be too stressed about the future. Make the most of what YOU have.

    I also feel very fortunate to have grown up around some "third world" places that helped me see the world a bit better, as well having access to the diversity of forums like this. Many of these books focus on "first world" concerns. Valuable insights sure, but a collection of choices and information, something millions and millions simply don't have. Lucky (fortunate) us, IYKWIM.

    WMM That is a gorgeous bloom that so reminds me of growing up in Jamaica. Have you ever tried hibiscus tea? Happy to bring some over when it's time for that origami session. And thanks for the "deep think". ;-)


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    1. On a lighter note, hope the 'bucks is followed by lots of chocolate, red wine etc <3

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    2. GF - great post! In previous work like, used to work life I was responsible for programs for persons living in poverty. Changed my perspective of ever comparing my life to anyone else's - we do have more than enough and we do forget it at times I guess.

      Having said, a wee bit if frippery makes one's soul sing! I am just working to not make as many flipping frippery foul-ups! My alliteration for today!

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    3. Gotcha WMM, fab frocks are my new-found frippery!

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  7. I find the idea of not wearing make up, not doing my hair (not getting it done professionally) and not buying clothes completely ridiculous. I don't want to do it:)!
    I enjoy doing these things and life is way too short to be miserable. It's a great idea to track spending and not blindly buy, buy, buy, but to give it all up just sounds insane to me.
    Happy Valentines Day! We just do cards and a dinner at home. My son loved his card his morning and that's priceless to me:)

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    1. A - I am with you. I think that people are doing this stuff to get book deals. I certainly don't plan to buy the book. However, if my "EAT CHOCOLATE EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR WHILE SAVING WORLD" book proposal comes through, I certainly hope you are all with me! Heehee - that sounds like something that should be saved for April Fool's Day!

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    2. Wendy - I was going to say that I think people do this to get book deal/ get noticed, but I didnt want to sound mean. I knew we were on the same page! I am eating dark chocolate m&ms as we speak! I will absolutely support you and buy your book about eating delicious chocolate! I will buy the kindle version and the real deal hard cover my friend!

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    3. So jealous! Foreswore sweets till Easter! Thought doing that, and a couple of other things (like say exercise) would kick start health! Oh pls have 2 extra for me!

      My real book title would be "7 habits of really successful book publishers and airport sops!"

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  8. I'm always a little suspicious at these "all or nothing" lifestyle experiments. Too "holier than thou" to appeal to me. Moderation is key in all things. And yes, Abby's last paragraph is perfect, and enough.

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    1. Agree. Though see my book proposal above.

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    2. I think I'm so oppositional by nature, that if I was told I had to eat chocolate everyday for a year, I wouldn't want it, although I think your point about book deals is on target. I think it's sort of sad that these are the kinds of books that people are wanting to read. One more book on "French Style" and I'm going to puke.
      I've always retreated from fanaticism of any sort, although I can be very disciplined when I want to be.

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    3. Agreed! First book on French style cool, now everyone has French style (but me!)

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  9. I listened to the same interview on the CBC and I was glad I did, I had a read a review of her book and she didn't come off very well. Then I visited her website and I could see why, the whole "you could buy this materialistic thing for yourself or give the money to buy goats for a village". Well I think most of us know that already, and certainly the women who would bother to read the book/visit the site would know that. I think that percentage of income spent on clothes/beauty vs charitable giving is a private thing and I think many women are very generous without being told to be so!
    However I did think it was interesting that she decided to do this radical thing, in the interview she said she couldn't believe she "had to take care of a baby, keep a clean apartment, be a good wife AND look pretty all of the time". I think it was a maturing process for her, I remember that "holy crap, what?" feeling when I started my family, the pressure to do everything well and have a good marriage, to look and be pleasant, to make the best of everything, it can be overwhelming.
    I would never get the man cut, I also have a block head with 4 cowlicks! I wear makeup because it makes me feel better and dressing well has been an interest of mine since I was 3. Of course I couldn't always afford to do so and I think women enter different stages of their lives, we figure things out and then we can move on. It's all good.
    Great discussion Wendy and have fun at Starbucks!

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    1. Back from Starbucks, marriage still intact! Even had a nice fruit yogurt to go with it - the decadence of it all!

      I am kind of like Kathy on the whole "everything in moderation". When someone tells me not to do something, I want to run right out and do it. DO you think that is a personality flaw!!

      The best thing about aging, is starting to let the stuff you describe above fall away, isn;t it Dani?

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  10. Of course we could do it, it is easier that you'd think and there are plenty of women that don't use make up and never color/cut their hair professionally. Sometimes they are focus on other, more worthy things, making the world a better place, their kids, their family, whatever. But that has zero appeal to me. I choose to groom because I want to bring a little beauty into the world, similarly to decorating my house or making food visually appealing. Remember the story of the women in the concentration camps being most excited about lipstick in the book 'Thoughtful Dresser'? It is not about spending, even cavemen and animals grommed themselves. Being obsessed with shopping and constantly tweaking one's wardrobe is another story. I strongly believe that curbing it does bring you more peace of mind but it is the same difference as easting healthy diet and being anorexic or being obsessed with diet products. It is not the activity itself that is the problem but compulsiveness of it. I'd personally choose 'sinners' over 'purists' anytime.

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    1. AJC - WELL SAID! And to quote poet laureate Billy Joel: "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints" too!

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  11. I'm certain I could go without all of the trappings if I had to, but I prefer lipstick, manicures and hair color to a bare face and sprinkles of gray. If someone prefers to go au natural, more power to them. Like Dani, I've been clothing and style my entire life.
    Most of all I could do without someone judging what I do and I'll do my best to act in kind.

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    1. I am with you! Speaking of which - can you remind me of awesome brand of shoe you recently bought?

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  12. Well, going without makeup or a proper haircut, is not something I would do by choice. If I had to, of course I could, but I honestly really like all those girly things. I enjoy being a woman, and all the 'trappings' that go with it. I understand the point about saving money by not doing them, but honestly, you can still do it all for very little expense, so that it does not take up a large part of your budget.

    All of the things we do in life, whether it be work, shopping, exercise, diet, etc. should be about balance...moderation is key in everything, as Kathy said.

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    1. Off topic WMM, but speaking of boy movies (that we were talking a bit about the other day)...I was watching 'Midnight in Paris' again last night, and realized that the actor who plays F.Scott Fitzgerald is also Loki in the Thor and Avengers movies. Did you happen to watch either of those Superhero movies with your son?

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  13. I love him FFM! He is also the lovely captain who dies in battle in War Horse! So good!

    I am like you, I like the girls stuff - why else would we have been made girls! Off topic right back at you - have you seen the Drew Barrymore makeup at Walmart? Isn't here yet but was wondering about the quality...

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    1. Oh my oldest son saw that movie when it was in the theatre and said it was really good. We do have a copy but haven't watched it yet, so that will now be on my list to watch soon. I will be on the look out for him!

      I have to make a trip to Walmart for science experiment supplies in the next day or two, so I will be sure to check for the DB makeup, and let you know what I find. :)

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    2. It is great, but keep box of Kleenex handy! And will be interested in hearing about all your science experiments!

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  14. great post Wendy and like Dani I also heard it on the CBC. Seems drastic to me. I like being in the middle coasting. Mentally I need to put some effort in everyday. Makes me feel good and if I don't usually run into somebody.
    Have a wonderful Valentine's with your family.

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    1. You too Marsha! I agree - drastic never works for me!

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  15. I read Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping a while back. These types of books/stunts always make me feel irritated and defensive. I'm sure that says way more about me than the authors. :)

    Happy Valentine's Day, Wendy!

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    1. While it may say something about you and I that we feel irritated and defensive, I like to think that it means we are more live and let live!

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  16. Hope you had a happy Valentine's, WMM!

    No make-up OR haircuts/dye jobs for a year? Yeah, right. Wouldn't dream of it. The last time I had short hair was 10 years ago, and I have no intention of going back there again. Also have no intention of stepping out without any make-up, even if it's just to walk my dog.

    I had a triple grande, half sweet toffee nut extra hot non fat latte first thing this morning! :)

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    1. I was a decaf non fat cappucino!! I am right there with you Rose!

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Kindness is a virtue...