The Upside Of Stress

July 20th, 2015

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About a month ago I was scanning the bookshelves at my favorite bookstore, The Tattered Cover HERE, just a few blocks from my home.  I was looking for a new book by Gretchen Rubin which was about changing life habits.  I’m always seeking new ways to improve the quality of my life and Style Crone has always been about transition, transformation, aging and the life affirming benefits of creativity and style.

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In the process of my search, my gaze landed on The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal, and as I read though the quotes by authors (including Gretchen Rubin) who wrote in praise of the book on the back cover, I sensed that it was just what I was looking for.  Recently available for purchase, it includes new and cutting edge research on the benefits of stress, and “why stress is good for you and how to get good at it.”

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I finished the book a few weeks ago and have been practicing the simple recommendations to change my belief and mindset about stress.  It has completely changed my perceptions regarding stress and its effects on my body and brain.  New information thrills me, especially when small shifts can revolutionize a life pattern.

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In the past I worried about the toxic effects of stress and how it impacted my health. I was fearful about the release of the hormone cortisol HERE and its negative influence on my immune system.  I was concerned about the shortening of my telomeres HERE, and how that affected my longevity.  Everything that I believed about stress was negative.

However, according to Dr. McGonigal, Stanford psychologist and award-winning teacher, the only thing that is negative about stress is believing that it is harmful. Changing one’s mindset (the power of beliefs to shape reality) and embracing stress may be the key to well-being.  Her TED talk HERE reveals this brilliant woman’s theories about the potential and benefits of rethinking stress.

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I have been faithfully following the practices that she recommends to change my belief system.  I simply allow myself to acknowledge my stress when I experience it, welcome it by recognizing that it’s a response to something I care about, and use the energy that stress and anxiety give me to do something immediately that reflects my goals and values (paraphrased from Dr. McGonigal’s book).

Obviously this is a simplification of the information that is included in the review of the research that is included in the book and what this approach can do to change how we deal with stress, but so far I have been impressed with the results.  I’m intrigued by this adjustment in thinking and how it can produce positive change in my life.

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Photos By Daniel

Speaking of change, the above photos are the result of a one month outgrowth of white hair beneath the red.  So far I’m excited about this transition and enjoying the process.  More to come!

Multi-colored floral harem pants – boutique in Paris, black top – yard sale, vintage blue hat with rhinestones and feather trim – hat shop in the 80’s, jewelry – estate sales, black platform sandals – retail sale.

Back To My Roots

July 13th, 2015

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I’m back to regular programming and my rose garden is in full bloom.  I love to travel, but returning to my sanctuary always feels comforting.  It’s time to settle in and give my home and garden some much-needed attention.

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Time to smell the roses and take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that surround and ground me.

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In an effort to simplify my life and more fully embrace the aging process, I’ve made the decision to allow my natural hair color to grow out over the next several months. I feel excited, ambivalent, confident, unsure, determined, hesitant, and most of all, curious.  Like any transition, it will be a journey of discovery.  I have many role models in the blogging world and in real life who have inspired me.

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Photos By Daniel

It’s not all black and white.  Or red and white.  I’ve been a redhead for 22 years. Before my 50th birthday, I chose a new hair stylist.  Assessing my then blonde locks, he made the comment that I looked a bit “washed out.”   I went with his recommendation to “go red,” which happened over my lunch hour.  When I returned to work my colleagues didn’t recognize me.  And I’ve loved the color ever since.

However, the texture of my hair has changed and the color doesn’t hold like it did years ago.  I’ve been thinking about it for several years, but now I’m ready.  I support the choices of others to dye or not to dye.  Hair color is something we can control, unlike many things in life that can change on a dime without warning.

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Photo By Linda

Just for fun, I went with my friend Linda to a wig shop, where I tried on “headwear” in white, which is the color that my roots display beneath the red.  It’s a big change, but it’s not life or death.  And if I don’t like it, hair color isn’t permanent if I don’t want it to be!

Vintage navy pillbox with trim and sparkle, bangles/bracelets and vintage navy/pink earrings – estate sales, Uniqlo tunic on sale in NYC, cropped skinny jeans – Buffalo Exchange, blue pumps and pendant – gifted.

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This will be my final NYC post, featuring visual images of treasured moments. It’s taken me over a month to explore my adventures and savor the memories. The above photo was taken by Mr J on our first day in the city, enjoying an early morning walk in Central Park.

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We spent hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art HERE, at the extraordinary exhibit, China Through The Looking Glass HERE.

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I wore a second vintage kimono for the day, along with my vintage blue straw cloth hat.

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The luxurious gown by Chinese designer Guo Pei HERE was one of the many examples of haute couture throughout the exhibit. The headwear is by milliner Stephen Jones HERE.

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I was thrilled to have tea with the gorgeous, generous and talented blogger Lyn of Accidental Icon HERE.  Since the day she began, I have admired her blog, her style, and her writing   She is even more beautiful and intriguing in person and we were so engrossed in conversation that photos didn’t enter my mind. I’m including an image from her blog, which displays her love for Japanese designers and large vintage earrings.

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I took the train with Mr J to visit his warm and welcoming family from the Bronx, where he spent his childhood.  Grand Central Station was our launching point.
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Debra Rapoport never fails to amaze, with her creative ensembles, kindness and artistic flair.

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I had the pleasure of meeting the talented and accomplished photographer and beautiful person, Eva Weiss HERE, who I was introduced to by my friends Jean and Valerie of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas HERE.

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What are the chances of running into the stunning Patti of Not Dead Yet Style HERE, on her birthday in a consignment store in the East Village?  It was a magical moment that demonstrates the power of connection.

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No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to a flea market HERE!

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Thank you Mr J, for another grand adventure. I loved the sights and events, but it’s the magnificent people of NYC that always make every visit special. Until the next time!

Hat Attack #24

June 30th, 2015

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July’s Hat Attack was designed by Carol Markel, milliner, artist and blogger at Femme et Fleur HERE. I chose this beauty from Carol’s “Hat Shop In A Box,” which was featured on my post of last week.  Carol names her creations, and this chapeau goes by “Circle In The Square.”  I love its geometric shapes and vibrant colors trimmed with a touch of sparkle.

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I was honored to be photographed by the generous and talented Denton Taylor HERE just before leaving Manhattan for LaGuardia Airport and my flight back to Denver. Denton has several blogs, including Silver-Haired Beauties HERE, a homage to beautiful women with natural hair.

Denton’s photos are showcased regularly on Sylvia’s 40+Style HERE. Thank you Sylvia, for the feature on your blog several weeks ago HERE.

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Photos by Denton Taylor

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After purchasing “Circle In The Square,” I didn’t take it off for days.  It had a special energy that I felt drawn to.  Then Carol shared the history of this beauty, and I understood why.

Carol wore “Circle In The Square” and a dress of her own design to the Museum of Modern Art to participate in the museum’s new program for people over 65, “Prime Time.”  Four models, including Carol, posed in the museum’s Sculpture Garden, while people of all ages sketched them.

The above photo was by Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style HERE, with a painting by Andre Derain as background.  The photo was posted on MoMA’s Instagram account and received 4000 likes.  As Carol states, “Circle in the Square has been seen by lots of eyes.  Maybe that’s why it has so much energy.”

Now it’s your turn to throw a little headwear love my way!

Please display your hat, headwrap, headpiece, fascinator, hair flower, headband or other adornment for your head that you adore, give The SC a JULY HAT ATTACK  and kindly link to Style Crone somewhere in your post. Can’t wait to see the beautiful contributions that you share throughout the next week. Participation will be open through Tuesday, July 7th.

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One of the highlights of my NYC adventure was the tea party hosted by artist and milliner Carol Markel of Femme Et Fleur HERE and artist and hat maker Debra Rapoport of Better With Age, Better With Syle HERE at the home of Carol and her husband, artist Richard Cramer.  The tea was in honor of Jean Barrett of Dross Into Gold HERE and moi.

It was a delightful gathering of creatives and this post will focus on the wonderful and kind people who gathered for an afternoon (and into the evening) of frivolity.  Other bloggers present at the tea have included images of the table covered with delicious treats and Carol and Richard’s artful home.  Please check out the links throughout my post!

The group above includes several of the attendees; from left to right: Marsha Carlin, Jean, Carol, Debra, myself and the elegant Joyce Carpati, a regular on Advanced Style HERE.

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Carol was dressed in her party finery, including a hat from Paris that was pulled from the top shelf of a closet in the middle of the party. Now you know that we were partaking of something other than tea!  She is also wearing the infinity scarf gifted by Jean. I love her mix of colors and her playfulness.  Carol blogged about the tea party HERE.

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Debra was a vision in her outfit, which was handmade, gifted and thrifted. Her hat was made with papertowels and her neckpiece was handcrafted on the very day of the party.  Now that’s talent in all of its glorious spontaneity!

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Mr J had a fabulous time at the tea, as evidenced by his warm smile and mischievous expression.  He is the perfect travel companion and I’m grateful to have him in my life.

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It was wonderful to see the warm and talented Jean Barrett of Dross Into Gold.  Jean was the first blogger that I met after launching Style Crone and is always glamorous in her beautifully upcycled ensembles. Everything she wears is handmade or thrifted, and her hat is truly a work of art. Jean blogged about the party HERE.

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It was a delight to meet the gorgeous artist and talented photographer Feda Eid of The Electic Photographer HERE, after following her incredible blog and Instagram posts.  Her red dress and earrings were handmade and she blogged about the party HERE, including photos of the amazing food and festive surroundings.

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Feda, Jean and Richard shine together in this photo.  Richard is an accomplished artist and art teacher, and shared some of his remarkable stories during the afternoon.

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Jewelry designer Diana Gabriel models the stunning jacket that she discovered at Off Broadway Boutique HERE.  I love everything about this look, from her edgy haircut to the shoes on her feet.

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Artist Elke Kuhn made a grand entrance in her red large brimmed Patricia Underwood hat, accessorized by bracelets and beads.  She really knows how to put together black and white, topped off with the perfect amount of red.

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Jean, on the left, and Valerie, on the right, of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas HERE, add fun, style, magnificent hats and humor to any event that they attend.  No exception here! I loved standing “tulle to tulle” with Jean and her hat by Amy Downs HERE. “Tulle to feather” next to Valerie was quite the treat too!  Read their post about the tea party HERE.

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Jean, one of the Ifs, snaps a shot of the fabulous Nonnie Balcer, who wore a lovely pale blue suit and black wig for the event.

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There was art of many types at the tea party.  Outfits, hats, jewelry, scarves and the treasured art of connection. The dresses in the above photo are designed and created by Carol Markel. I know this post is about people, but I couldn’t resist including an image of the brilliant colors and geometric shapes that popped before my eyes.

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Debra and her partner, singer and songwriter Stan Satlin, are always a visual wonder.

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Shopping for a hat in Carol’s “Hat Shop In A Box” was a thrill!  I purchased one of these beauties, and it will be featured as July’s Hat Attack!

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I’m finishing just as I started, with another group photo.  It includes the image of Carola Vecchio,  third from the right, who is not only wearing a hat, but holding another in her hand.  I love it when someone brings two hats to a party.  Many thanks to Carol and Debra for an afternoon to be remembered always!

I began my NYC adventure at the Frida Kahlo Exhibit with the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas HERE, in my vintage floral kimono with vintage man’s shirt, vintage red chiffon skirt and red embroidered shoes. I wore this composition again to the tea party.  The only new addition was the vintage green headpiece with attached green tulle, which can be playfully thrown around in any direction at a moment’s notice.

Wearing the same outfit twice was a packing strategy, and it was also the first time that I wore the kimono.  It’s been in my closet forever, and was waiting for the perfect opportunity to flaunt its florals at two extraordinary events in NYC.  This gives credence to the concept that if a piece can be worn once every 20 years, it’s a keeper!

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