What to tell you about this outfit? Hmm, let's see. The dress is something new to me, "outside of my comfort zone" would be the correct description. Only outside of that zone actually feels quite comfortable to me - it's inside of the zone which gets uncomfortable, to tell the truth. And I am not only talking fashion here. Just think of it. We stretch outside of our so-called comfort zone when we feel uncomfortable staying inside of the zone. It's that very discomfort of staying inside of the the circle (or a box, if you will) we got used to which makes us move outside of the "comfort zone". So really, the "comfort zone" becomes a discomfort zone, and vice versa - a new territory, a "discomfort zone" becomes the more comfortable and desirable place to be. 'Nuf philosophy, it's a style blog after all, isn't it? I laid my eyes on this dress the minute I saw it on the web. I had my doubts about the lines ("Won't I look like a kangaroo in it?" I asked myself), the price was biting, so I waited for quite a while. But I found myself coming back to this design over and over again - some part of me knew it was the dress for me. So I used the opportunity of a Black Friday sale and from the comfort of my sofa, the dress was ordered. When I received it and put it on... I knew I found my new favorite.
Hats are something I've wanted to experiment more with. I loved wearing different kinds of hats when I lived in Russia - from feminine formal looking ones to romantic berets and beanies of all sorts which I usually knitted myself - now Anya rocks them, by the way, after my parents brought a couple of my knitted wool beanies here. This is a beautiful 100% wool floppy hat which I believe will go with many outfits. I don't think I've owned a wide brim floppy hat like this one before, but I always admired them on others. "Won't I look like a mushroom?" I asked myself. But then I decided, so what even if I would. I love mushrooms. They are cute and tasty. And I love kangaroos. They are cute and friendly. And none of them really seem to mind looking like mushrooms or kangaroos - they just go about their business. So do I.
These are my "theater" shoes - I try to only wear them indoors as they are suede, and it's often wet outside in my corner of the world. But it was such a lovely day, and the park by our local performance center is so beautiful, with the view of the sea and mountains, and really it's more important to live fully than to keep your suede shoes dry. The shoes are not just fancy, but have a comfortable sole, and I bought a pair like this one for my Mom as well, and a pair in red for me in addition (they are high quality and were ridiculously discounted - a pair of shoes which cost about $200 for only $30 or so). The problem is that we both have wide feet, and the shoes are typical medium width. I guess it's my Soviet time habit to think that shoes will stretch - but really how they can stretch if the width itself is wrong? Gosh, I can be so silly at times.
When my parents were getting ready to come to stay with us, I asked them to bring their fancy "going out" kind of outfits because I knew I wanted to take them to see a play or a concert with us. So when we went to see Jack and the Beanstalk, made in the genre of a traditional English Christmas pantomime (panto), we all dressed up. Our sweetest, talented and so lovable photographer, Justin, took such wonderful photos of us - I really like how they turned out and I know that we'll treasure them forever. Look how snappy my parents look! They are 68 and 69, and both love colors as you can tell.
If you are not familiar with the term English Christmas pantomime, you can read about it here. The term is really deceptive because performers not only talk, they also sing, dance and make hilarious jokes. (I don't follow mass culture, so I don't get all of them, but even the ones I get make me cry from laughter, and if you think that I forgot to bring my tissues with me again, then you are right, I did forget.) I took Anya to a panto before, as it's a Christmas tradition in town (the artistic director of our local theater is originally from England, it might have something to do with it). A few years ago we watched Pinocchio, and it was a true masterpiece. I was worried a bit that my parents (who only speak Russian) would be bored, but actually they really liked the performance. They appreciate the very core, the essence of this type of theater, which is how engaging it is. Everyone, from little kids to papas and grandmas will find something to get excited about. The audience truly becomes a part of the performance, and everyone leaves with their spirit uplifted. To me, it is art as it ideally should be.
And these are a few snapshots of our walk in the park while Justin was getting the second part of our large group (of 6 people) - our daughter Anya with her friend. The theater is only a few minutes down the road from our home (and such a pretty woodsy road too), and for a small and frankly quite sleepy town, it is surprisingly to have such a gem almost literally in our backyard.
I want to thank you for such a positive response to Oldushka. If you are interested, there is a short documentary the author of Oldushka made with a team of other young folks. It was released in 2012, is only 25 minutes long, with English voice-over. I loved it! You can find it here.
Speaking of documentaries, have you watched the Advanced Style? Do you know that it's available on Netflix? I've watched a few times already. Such films are very reassuring to me.
And the last thing to share for now. I've added a few links to my blog - they are on the top panel and on the right sidebar as well. Some of you won't be interested, while others might be - but that's all normal, right? When I started this blog, I almost wanted to be anonymous - not quite to that extent, but leaning towards that. I felt like I needed a fresh start, I was hiding or escaping from a few deep wounds, trying to heal and see my life in a new light. I feel like that hiding period is over or mostly over, and I am ready to connect the many disconnected dots of my life. This blog means a lot to me. But it's only one side of me, and there are so many more. Feel free to ignore the added changes or browse and find some surprises there - it's all up to you. I write in both languages, but modern technology allows one to translate whatever into whatever these days, to get a rough idea at least, and thanks goodness for that. I've done and have been doing a lot of things in my 41 years of living. I gained experiences, both wanted and unwanted. I got misunderstood and unappreciated for the very things I poured my soul into, which left a few scars, and at times I doubt that they will ever go away. But at other times, when I connect to the deepest part of me and feel peaceful, I know that with enough love, anything can be healed, even the deepest wounds. And that love comes from me, not from any outer forces, not from other people, not from long gone spirits - just from the depth of my own soul. Bringing together different sides of me is a part of this healing process - the process of acceptance. I am doing it for me, simple as that.
Sending you all love, dear readers and friends.
Обнимаю - and that was "hugses" in Russian
("hugses" is the word my daughter used to say when she was little... kisses and hugses - it's logical really :).
Dress - 6th&Lane (available on Lane Bryant web)
Hat - Lane Bryant
Shoes - Umberto Raffini
Clutch - Cole Haan via TJ MAXX (old)
My parents styled themselves in the clothes they picked back in Russia.
Location - Knutzen Family Theater in Federal Way, WA
Linked up with Sheila's Shoe Shine - come to share and see party shoes!
Linked up with Sheila's Shoe Shine - come to share and see party shoes!