Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Word on Shopping

Jinnis writes that she finds she spends a lot less money shopping when she only buys things she absolutely loves.

YES! Right on, Jin!

While it's not fun to schlep around shopping and to come home empty-handed, it is eminently worth it for your wallet, your confidence, and your closet to only purchase items that really work for you, that make you feel terrific, and that fit beautifully (or that will fit beautifully with the help of your tailor).

If you loathe shopping and would rather head out once a year and pile a bunch of serviceable items onto the check-out counter rather than take the time and effort to find truly lovely garments, consider this: shopping can be a good time to observe humanity, to check in with pop culture trends, and to cast your pastoral attention beyond the confines of your own parish. Shopping time can be an opportunity to let your visual sense override your verbal sense for a couple of hours (something that I find helpful to my creative process), and to just stroll around and empty your mind for a bit.

Not so bad, eh?

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Subtle Wash Of Color," My Foot!

Make-up designers and fashion editors, do you take me for a fool?

Listen up! I am a forty year old woman who has been reading your bloody silly magazines since I was a teenager, and I know that you have to invent new drama around the same old make-up colors and products year after year to keep us buying rouge and mascara and lipstick, but this has just gone too far!!

I have now seen like three feature articles from you guys where you have a fresh-scrubbed model who looks to be about 16 years old in extreme close-up, with something ridiculous on her head like maybe a Dr. Zhivago fur hat, and she's just wearing NO MAKE-UP AT ALL. Okay? She's not wearing a STITCH of make-up, and you go ahead and do a full description of her made-up "look" just the same.
You can't just SAY, hey, we've totally run out of spin about the same old red and pink lipstick and black eyeliner and rosy rouge that we always pimp, so you start lying! You are SO LYING! Do NOT tell me that that bare faced child model is wearing a "sheer nectarine" lip color that's just all the rage, because I have EYES and I can see that she's not wearing ANY lip color whatsoever except maybe Vaseline! Who do you think you're kidding?
And those beauty articles with the girls with the scrambled hair and totally bare faces? Don't go telling me that they're wearing "dewy, subtle washes of color," because they're not wearing ANYTHING! They just got out of bed! They didn't even wash their faces!

Let me just say this. When you're 19 years old and you slick a little Vaseline on your lips and eyelids and cheekbones and some brilliant guy takes your photo under the most flattering lighting money can buy, and then some other guy Photoshops your image so that every pore is flawless and every eyelash is glimmering, bare-faced works great. It's gorgeous.
But when you're a middle-aged woman who just got six hours of sleep because it's obviously Catastrophe Week at your church and you didn't get the memo with the dates, and your have purple rings under your eyes and your hair is flat and greasy because you just didn't think it was worth the fifteen minutes it would take to wash and blow dry it, you don't want your fun, diversionary beauty magazines to just LIE to you and tell you that this fresh-scrubbed "look" is flattering. Or that it's even a "look." Most of all, you don't want these fun, diversionary magazines to LIE EVEN MORE and list fourteen products that, if you purchase them, will help you achieve this "look," when you know very well that all it really requires in real life is a tub of Vaseline, a set of lights, a genius photographer, and a professional art editor.

Personal to Scarlett Johansson: Honey, lose the peachy gloss. I miss your red lipstick!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

PeaceBang on CULL-ah

When I say the word color, I always want to pronounce it like a Long Island lady,
as in "Honey, you really got some CULLAH at the beach today!"

It's the end of the summer, so I have some nice CULLAH right now, which means I can wear dark brown and look nice, rather than like a piece of deadweed.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.
One of you asked my advice on the subject of CUL-lah.

It's amazing how much of a mystery we have made of color. I'm sure you've all participated in some version or another of one of those Color Me Beautiful programs where you sit under a harsh spotlight and some manically enthuastic woman with big hair throws various swatches of fabric against your neck in a desperate attempt to prove to you that you are a Spring or a Fall or a Summer or a Winter.

And then you go shopping and fall in love with, say, an inky blue blouse that feels like heaven, is cut like it was made for you, and looks simply smashing on you, but you don't get it because you're a Summer, and it's NOT YOUR COLOR.

I hope you never did that. By all means, have fun and get your colors done. But, you know, don't drink the Kool-Aid, my sweets. If you're a summer and you want to wear black, go out and rock some black. Just make sure you add extra blush and maybe a dramatic smoky eye or add a bright lipstick.
That's why God gave us cosmetics, my darlings! So that we could not only appreciate color but that we could actually WEAR it on our bodies without having our facial features disappear completely!

PeaceBang has a few tips on color (completely unscientific, you understand, without any swatch throwing whatsoever):

1. Color is supremely important to your overall look. Choose it wisely and wear colors that you adore and that feel right for your personality and persona. This doesn't mean you should dress all in purple because purple is "your color." People who hate purple won't want to be around you, and is that fair?

2. Fabric and cut are just as important as color in choosing a garment. If you love a garment's color and it hangs wrong or isn't a nice fabric, or doesn't fit, leave it be.

3. Adult women should generally avoid soft pastels. They're too evocative of the nursery, they look good on very few complexions, and certainly clergywomen don't need them in their wardrobe, unless it's a delicious buttery yellow classic sweater set, or a beautiful baby pink blouse that makes your skin glow (and that you can wear under a black suit or pair with a smart black skirt). If you must wear pastels, try to limit them to accents and consider them carefully: do they communicate cutesy, or do they communicate soft beauty? Men, you can look fabulous in pastels, but only on structured, crisp garments. 'Cause I'm not ever going to give you permission to wear that salmon pink Nantucket sweatshirt, no matter how much you beg.

4. Neutrals are important but they are not as simple as they seem. As I have said before, off-white is not just off-white. There's ivory and ecru and eggshell and tan. Choose whites and neutrals to suit your skin tone (you can only fudge so much with make-up). This goes for blues and maroon tones, too. There are many, many blues in this world, and nothing looks cheaper than a badly dyed navy. Nothing makes a man or woman look more jowly than a flat, deep blood maroon color. And there is a certain shade of powder blue that should be taken out and shot.

5. Orange looks particularly good against dark skin, but it can also be surprisingly beautiful on some white folks. White men, don't be afraid to consider a tangerine orange tie, or a pink Oxford, for that matter. But not if you have a ruddy face.

5. If you don't wear make-up and you're over the age of 40, you have to be particularly mindful of the way certain colors can wash you out or make you look sallow or bluish.

6. Hair color can make or break your look. It is never silly to spend a good amount of time considering your hair color, comparing swatches, looking at photos, examining your skin and hair tone under different lighting, and consulting with your hairdresser. Haircolor has a huge unconscious impact on people's perception of you, and it is an expensive beauty investment. Don't feel foolish asking your hairdresser about highlights vs lowlights, what she means by "caramel" when you're thinking "honey" and asking for a re-do if the color still doesn't please you a few days after it's been done. Your hair colorist wants you to be happy. If you need to have a re-do, do not expect to pay, but do tip, unless the bad first effort came about due to egregious failure to hear what you requested.

7. You should love the colors you wear, not choose them because you think they're "right" for you. You may look terrific in lime green, but if lime green is inappropriate for the season (and it's gone totally out of fashion anyway, after a huge surge in popularity in 2004-2006) and if it makes you feel peevish, choose something else.

8. Colors have an emotional impact on people, including you. Use them to your advantage.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Emmy's Commentary

Here it is, folks, the best of the best:

If you don't have time to read your way through all the commentaries (do try, though... I mean, who else could make an anagram out of Eva Longoria's name?), let me just point out the issue with Frances Conroy and Candace Bergen.

I love and admire both of them. A lot. However, they both attempted the belt-the-hips look that has come back in with a vengeance and was last seen in about 1986, back when both Ms. Bergen and Mr. Conroy were younger and probably had a lot less hip.

Words to the wise: (1) adapt fashions to your body type. (2) Recognize that age changes your body type in ways you can't control or anticipate.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cutesy Jewelry

Organizing jewelry is a big hassle, and if I was a smart cookie and not a raccoon who sends her acquisitive little claw after every shiny thing, I would pare my baubles down to the classics:

Silver hoops
Brushed gold hoops
Something enormous and blingy for dressing up
Diamond studs
A few necklaces and rings

HA HA HA! I have to laugh until it hurts!

I'm sure that you, like I, have a few more items than those I've listed above, and if you're like me, you buy a string of colorful beads or a pair of crazy earrings with the thought that they will just make an outfit, and in the end you go right back to the old favorites. Eventually, the crazy earrings and the beads get donated to the church fair. And so it goes, until we work that raccoon DNA out of our systems through the slow process of spiritual or genetic evolution.

But 'til then, dears, do keep your accessories organized so that you don't have to dig for them. They can be a wonderful way to make an outfit more memorable and beautiful, but not if that fabulous brooch is buried under your socks and bras.
Get a few hanging organizers here,
and you can see all your lovelies!

PeaceBang organized all her baubles, bangles and beads yesterday, and told herself with great and serious sternness that she is not to buy ONE MORE THING for at least a year. And then she promptly went out to purchase trousers at the mall and bought a pair of brushed gold hoops by Kenneth Cole, who really makes the most terrific, affordable and wildly fashionable stuff.
You can blame SisterBang for this, as if I hadn't seen a pair of earrings that I knew SHE would want, I never would have blithely tossed the second pair for myself onto the check-out counter at the same time.

Yay, though I walk through the jewelry department of Lord & Taylor,
I will fear no impulse purchase
for Thou art with me...

Finally, pooches, do reconsider those image-undercutting jewelry items you've been keeping for sentimental reasons. You know what I mean: the teensy little butterfly earrings that would be more appropriate on a sixth grader, the huge plastic dangly necklace that was in vogue when you had an asymmetrical hairdo, the bolo tie from your days on the prairie that just looks bizarre in your new, urban setting, the big serpentine poison ring from your goth days.
Jewelry speaks volumes. Just make sure that yours is speaking what you want it to say. If that old chipped peace pin has a story behind it, tell the story. If you're wearing a battered old monogram ring with the wrong initials on it, don't keep it a secret that it belonged to your grandmother. If you're wearing your daughter's Wonder Woman barrette as a tie pin, wear it proudly and eccentrically, and make sure the tie is elegant. The trick is to look interesting and intentional, not accidentally silly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

As Seen In "Essence"

Helpful powder pigeon Kim in St. Louis sent me this item,

"Style isn't something you can buy, but it issomething you can develop," shares Kathryn Finney,author of 'How to Be a Budget Fashionista:The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less'....After receiving a master's in international public health at Yale University, she started, ablog about smart shopping and fit tips."

So what do you say, guys and gals? I'll go upstairs and die on my bed of this headache, and you go check out!!
Read what she says about being a Hot Mama instead of being a Hootchie Mama. Good stuff, Maynard.

Off to roll around in bed and groan now!
I'm really looking forward to it!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

For Bodacious Pagan Clergy Women

Before I take to my bed to die of this violent headache, I must share with you this web site for women with enormous pachangas:

This is definitely not clergy-wear unless you serve a pagan congregation that expects you to look like a flowing goddess type with major cleavage at all times.

If you're a person who gets his or her sexual mojo going by meditating on images of bodacious babes, this catalogue is for YOU!!

Me, it gave the giggles. It was the "Sale Rack" page that did it. I, in my best Groucho Marx, couldn't help but think, "That's a rack alright!"
Thanks, MotherBang dearest, for the link! She is home safely from England and I'm so relieved I could maybe digest some solid food soon!

P.S. For the reader who sent a link to some fabulous pumps last week, I did see them and I LERVED them!

Some Cute Boy's Shoes

Wait a cotton pickin' minute. I thought I got food poisoning from Heaven Cafe but I just found out that Michael had it too, on the exact same days! The plot thickens, but we can't think of anything we ate the same except for some sorbet. It wasn't the Revenge of the Lobster, because only Paul and I had lobster. But maybe God was smiting Michael anyway, for mocking the poor lobbie as we prepared it for our feast:

We'll never know.

But I did want to show you Paul and Michael's shows, boys, because they are darn cute and I thought those of you who are currently frolicking about in Crocs and Birks might like to see them for inspiration's sake:

I don't know the makes or anything, but I like the cuteness factor a lot. They manage to be shoes that aren't sandals or sneakers, but not uptight Wall Street either.

Even Sick, I Will Come Through!! I MUST!


:::::::::::sound of distant wailing as PeaceBang runs to tune into the "E" channel in the hopes of catching a replay of the red carpet:::::::::::::::;


I see with great horror that In Style magazine is showing jumpers as a new, cute professional look for autumn.

I'm not horrified by the magazine spread, which features really attractive 20-somethings clad in adorable, high couture jumpers paired with great shoes or boots, textured hose and fantastic accessories. These gals mostly look wonderful, creative, hot -- in short, just right for traipsing gaily into Manhattan to their jobs as advertising mavens or copy editors of fashion magazines or muppeteers or whatever it is they're doing.

My horror only comes when I imagine one of my clergy readers getting wind of this and thinking, "Oh good, jumpers are back in style! PeaceBang was so wrong about them! I can't wait to take out my denim jumper with the buttons on the shoulder and wear it to church!"

Oh, oh, oh. Please don't do that. Please realize that there's very little sartorial connection at all between what the fashion magazines are showing and your denim or linen or corduroy jumpers, purchased at J. Jill or Coldwater Creek. They may all be called "jumpers," but what they communicate are completely different messages. One is fresh, insouciant, even a bit ironic, and absolutely youthful. The other carries an unmistakable whiff of Romper Room or the Harmonic Convergence ("My Best Friend Went To the Harmonic Convergence And All I Got Were These Lousy Crystals").

If you're clever, you can indeed add some pizzazz and shape to your old jumpers by adding a belt, or putting a fitted, nifty-looking shirt or lacy bloue underneath it, adding some terrific jewelry, or adding a pair of knock-out boots. Do something with it to lift it from Frumpy to sort of Professional Creative look. Wrap your hair in striped cotton from Marrakesh. Wear six interesting, multi-leveled chains around your neck. Bad news, bubelahs: If it's denim and v-necked with buttons down the front, trust me: it cannot be saved. It epitomizes frump. Donate it. Use it as a baking or painting smock. It should not adorn your ministerial body in public.

When the vast majority of the world sees a woman in a jumper, they are led to expect not leadership, but Nilla wafers and juice boxes for snack time. If that's your model of ministry, by all means ignore everything I've said and rock your jumpers for all their worth. But don't break your heart reading this blog, 'cause PeaceBang is not writing for you. Case in point? When I googled "denim jumpers," I found a web site for homeschooling moms, written from the Christian perspective.

'Nuff said!

denim jumper

Back For the Fall

Hello dear readers!

I am back from vacation and in the final days before the full swing of the church year begins again. Looking at the number of beloveds who have suffered some health or other crises just recently, I am terribly glad that I have my fall shopping out of the way and can get myself prepared, heart, soul and lipstick, to be a strong and present pastor to my people.
Lady Death may look great in her glamorous black velvet cape, but she got nothing on my Steve Madden knock-offs from Payless. I am going to outdress and outclass that bitch coming and going, I tell you. She says, "Honey. I understand. You hate me now, but someday you and I are going to have a spa day that you will love."

She's right, but as for now I fear and fight her.

My heart feels wrung out with fear and helplessness when I contemplate saying goodbye to any of those cherished men and women who are on my private list of People Who Should Not Be Mortal. What else to do but stay close by them, pray, keep funeral readings updated on the computer, and order a new robe from WomanSpirit? I bought a tiny hammered silver cross when I was in Provincetown. I have a feeling it will not leave my neck.

Love is stronger than fear, and nothing is stronger than the scent of Philosophy Empowermint Body Wash in the morning. I breathe it in and know that I can do what must be done to face the day.
No, really. We have to laugh. Don't we have to laugh? We have to. Ministry is way too scary and serious not to laugh at.

I see my hair colorist this Wednesday afternoon for a dose of auburn to cover my straggly grays and some foils to keep my face framed in shining light from summer, however faux that light may be. I fear that I may be spending a lot of time bedside this coming year, and all my white hankies are cleaned and pressed and waiting in my lingerie drawer, little cotton soldiers in the army of the Lord.

I moved my bed so that my bedroom would have better feng shui. My room faces Main Street and the constant zoom of cars makes me highly anxious at night, even with a noise machine. The back bedrooms either have anxiety-provoking attic stairs in them (ghosts! intruders hiding up there!) or lack closet space.

My body, having fought off a stye, two bouts of fever blisters and food poisoning recently, obviously needs some help in the immunity department. I will start taking my Astra 8 herbal supplement again, daily, as soon as the food poisoning is really out of my system. After that, it's back to the gym, breathing exercises and prayer every day, eating organic as far as I am able, and no more cheap thrills like staying up 'til 3 am finishing my book.

I've laid in a good store of undies, hose and socks (10 pairs of nude, off-black sheer hoses, black tights and a collection of navy/charcoal) and ironed my blouses. Everything is back from the dry cleaner, and I pick up some things from the tailor next week. My boots are being re-soled, and I've had my teeth cleaned. In the absence of a Magical Elixir to save everyone you love from suffering, these are some of the things we can do.

I am sitting before the computer taking deep breaths and re-imagining how our Caring Committee team will do its ministry this year given all the recent hard news, and how we will seamlessly invite more participants into the blend. Non anxious. Non anxious. Non anxious.

PeaceBang recommends:
Kiehl's Lavender Foaming-Relaxing Bath With Sea Salts and Aloe Vera
Kiehl's Mineral Muscle Soak Foaming-Relaxing Bath with Sea Salts and Aloe Vera
EO Bath House Bubble Bath in Rose & Chamomile
The Universalist Prayer Book, 1895.