Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of Kangaroos, Mushrooms and Acceptance


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!

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29 comments:

  1. I think you look absolutely fantastic in it! I sometimes also find that if I go a bit out of my comfort zone I find the same reward- I find out something looks fabulous on me, even though I would never have thought to try it before. But then oooother times it all crashes and burns haha. But this right here is one of those good times :)

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. It's sooo nice to hear from you. Marlen! I am really taken with this dress, and I agree with Beate - art deco vibe, and 1980s I think, which, I guess, used art deco influences.

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  2. They are fantastic pictures and I'm sure the memories will always be cherished.
    I love the unique dress, the graphics, texture and colors and all!! The hat is a fun accessory on you too.
    You always inspire me to do more in Seattle. I haven't been to a play in years.

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    1. Thank you, Joni! I am sooo into theater and plays these days (or these months? :). It's exciting and very addictive. :)

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  3. Your father looks very dapper. Your home seems so perfect for you...pretty, quaint and artistic. It's so nice to read about others experiences with the arts. I think you look splendid in your hat and dress.

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    1. Thanks so much, Glenda! I love my home - it's cozy. :)

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  4. Cool and elegant, and I think your hat fits you nicely! gorgeous!! and I 've understood very well your considerations about how comfort zone becomes uncomfortable! oh yes!!
    Glad your parents enjoyed a typical christmas pantomima!! it's a lovely tradition! (we have a puppet show festival at our local theatre!)
    besos

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    1. Life has such interesting twists with all these familiar/unfamiliar, comfortable/uncomfortable zones... glad you get it! xxx

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  5. Your hat looks wonderful and the colours in your drapey top are perfect. You can waterproof suede, there's an aerosol product available which does work. No need to ruin your favourite shoes.
    Going to the panto is a tradition here. I haven't been for decades but they were such fun...he's behind you!
    Love the family photo.xxx

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    1. I tend to forget this product! Thank you, Vix - Justin says he has it, we just need to use it. :)

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  6. I really like that dress and the hat looks great too. Your parents look lovely all dressed up for the panto at the theatre and it's so nice you are able to share such great times all together.
    (Just to let you know I clicked on the image to check out your stories but the link didn't work - it may be my iPad.) xx

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    1. Thank you for letting me know, Jayne - I checked out the link, and it seems to work. I bet you saw many funny pantos in your home country!

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  7. You look great in that dress. What a good purchase. Your parents are still young. I do love colorful clothes. Have a great day!

    Jasmine x

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    1. I am so happy I decided to buy this dress - it's definitely one of my best, it will be hard not to wear it. :)

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  8. You look very good in this outfit and I love the hat. I get your comfort zone philosophy:)

    I jumped to the stories instantly. I love the graphic side of the site, but do you have any clue, how I can put it into translator? I would love to read the stories soooo badly.
    Boxes are awesome!!! So detailed, wow, wow, wow. The nautical one is like a dream or this one also is so lovely: https://picasaweb.google.com/chickenleghouse/SiberianBirchContainers?feat=flashslideshow#5205725716154640738
    Colaboration with Anya's art turned out magical!
    I read history your mom wrote and I really like it. It was great to see the photos too.

    When you said, you'd taken your parents fot that panto, the question that popped to my mind was whether they enjoyed because of the language. That's cool they did.

    Your parent's look much younger than they really are! Thank you for sharing the photos.

    On one hand these scars can be a big bother and block us but on the other hand they formed us too. Wounds heal but leave scars forever and I don't think it's good or bad. It's just natural and what we make of it depends on us. That's awesome that you shape your life by self understanding. It's such a struggle saver.

    Thank you for your support with my health. I'm back home now and just sore from the stitches and breathing tube but in general all is good and I take quite nice painkillers and eat a lot of ice cream:)) xxxxx

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    1. Oh my dear, get well soon! Ice cream is the best remedy, isn't it? :)
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I am so happy to hear my brother's art touched you, he is genius really... he learned all by himself - he digs deeply into whatever field he gets interested in. He even made his own hand tools for his beresta boxes. My father and Andrei went to forest hundreds miles away from where they live to gather the bark. It's an ancient form of art, but not too many artists work with it oddly enough.

      As to translating, I use Google Translate (just copy and paste), it gives me an idea of what people write about. Of course, it does not work with creative writing very well, but some things you'll understand. I hope it helps. I am working on a bilingual book these days. xxxxx

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  9. my dear - this is so touching!
    a scar shows that you have lived actively in the real world - not under a cheese bell. or in a ivory tower. you are that wonderful person because of your experiences and how you deal with them. for that we love you!
    your parents are such a lovely couple and i´m sure they´r very proud of you :-)
    i did this too - thinking that the shoes will widen - kind of east european old school. but almost ruining my feet lately i have learnt the lesson....
    last but not least - your outfit has a strong art deco vibe to me - which suits you very well! great colors too! and i love your attitude about looking like this or that. why not channeling a mushroom - or a bear? a octopus or my own granny? so much possibilities beside of the usual fashion bore :-)
    greetings to your parents!
    hugses! xxxxx

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    1. You really touched my heart, Beate! I read your comment to Justin when he came back from work, and he said: she is a special person. And yes, you absolutely are! I wish we could chat face to face. Some day we will... xxxxx

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  10. It's so good to see you! I am struggling a bit still/again but am so glad I popped in today. I don't see any mushrooms or kangaroos but I do see a gorgeous woman in an amazing dress and a great hat. I loved looking at the photos of your family and reading your well thought out and beautifully written words as always. I would have no problem with your turning this into a philosophy blog! LOL

    When my son was little we used to go to a Christmas panto every year on Boxing Day. (That's the day after Christmas) They were lots of fun and laughs and it was great to go with our whole extended family even though half of them are now my ex-family.

    Did I mention that you look great in that dress and hat? I did? Well it's worth saying again!
    xoxo

    PS-love the additions to your sidebar too!

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    1. Shawna, you warmed my heart with your kind, meaningful words... and made me smile as you often do! I keep tweaking my new additions to the blog. Things will move for a while - just like furniture moves in my house, almost nothing stays still for very long. :) We are quite philosophers here in this house, very rarely we talk about so called practical things. Life, love, finding yourself, being true to yourself... Come over, we'll talk! xxxxx

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  11. Natasha, you look amazing in this dress! It's a very unique cut -- looks great on you. Не знала, что у тебя столько интересов. Молодец, и когда ты все успеваешь! Ты и вышивать оказывается умеешь :)

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    1. Оксана, вышивала совсем чуток несколько лет назад - одна вышивка у мамы висит дома, одна у меня тут, остальное неоконченное в архивах. :)) Мама научила в детстве вышивать "веревочкой" (не помню, как правильно называется), а уже когда повзрослела, заразилась крестиком, больше не экспериментировала. Сейчас меня не тянет рукодельничать - интересы в других руслах. Хотя иногда руки чешутся чего-то сварганить. :)

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  12. Natalia, so glad you stepped out of that comfort zone, the cut and colour of your draped dress just perfect. Your floppy hat really suits you ,I can see this as the start of a new accessory for you. So glad you all enjoyed the pantomine, especially your parents. Lifes path can take many twists and turns, finding the right path is an going adventure . You are a talented, sensitive soul , I hope your journey continues along a peaceful way.

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    1. Thank you so much for your heartwarming comment, Jill - you really touched me deeply. You are amazing! Hugs! xxx

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  13. I just watch the video,so wonderful i love all those people and i love the young photographer
    That dress is perfect for you, you chose well the hat is fantastic
    We have to get out of the box and try to stay out, if we want it enough the universe listens!
    I say that because i went on a lot of interviews and you know me i'm not the conventional type when it comes to clothes, but you i keep it simple, nice and ya colorful - But a friend of mine who was one my work reference, said, you know Ariane a potential employer ask me if you would be flexible to dress down a bit...sure she said my friend, Ariane will more than willing to wear a suit when needed.
    I had no problem with the comment, you know, you have to be careful in the corporate world...but you know what happened Natalia...
    I got a job yesterday, yes finally and i will be the admin assistant for the director of a non profit org for the blind and the best thing about is that my boss is blind!
    Here goes the universe for me!

    Arianexo

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    1. What a fantastic story to share!! I read it to Justin and we both had a good laugh! There is a cosmic joke in there, said Justin. :) I am sooooo happy for you, Ariane! :) xxx

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  14. So much to think about in this post, Natalia. First - the dress. It looks wonderful, the unusual draping detail and the chartreuse/mustard colour are perfect on you. It's always good to try something different, take a risk, in clothes and in life!
    And the hat - oh how well it suits you, wear more hats, please!
    It's lovely to see your parents out and about with you and to hear that they are enjoying all the experiences that you can share with them. Panto isn't my favourite thing, I must confess, though we went to many as kids, and of course I have taken my own children too. They don't want to go this year, we'll go and see the new Hobbit film instead (I'm relieved at their choice actually!)
    How much of ourselves, our lives and our interests, we choose to share via our blogs will differ for all of us. Personally, I applaud and am touched by those who are open about themselves, scars and all. You're right, all those experiences go to make us who we are, and accepting that is part of a healthy approach to life. You are a warm, thoughtful and insightful woman, Natalia - don't ever stop being you! xxxx

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    1. What a heartwarming comment, Curtise! You really touched me, dear friend. I wish we could sip coffee and chat for hours! Hugses! xxxxxxx

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  15. You just look amazing in this dress, Natalia! I love the swath of yellow - and the hat is wonderful! Your parents look so festive. Thank you so much for linking up to Shoe Shine - those are fabulous shoes!

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