Folding my chonies

I’ll never forget that day. You came over to my house earlier than expected. I wore only a towel, no makeup, wet hair. I flipped out a little. We hadn’t been dating long. Relax, you told me, take your time.
I kept getting ready in the bathroom and left you in my bedroom. I came back in holding a toothbrush in its packaging that I’d picked up earlier at the store. Your eyes got wide. A small gesture that said, “I want you. Stay”. You looked like you’d just received a Big Wheel for your 4th birthday – the one you only told your puppy about – no one else. Wide eyes and an open expression. I looked down and saw your hands holding my chonies. You’d been quietly folding my still warm laundry for me – and I wanted to cry. Now who got her Big Wheel. Except this time no one knew that was the gift I wanted – even me. 
I’d prayed for someone matching your exact description shortly before you’d arrived, so it never really occurred to me that it wouldn’t work out. The illustration of you fit so perfectly, down to “drinks red wine while dancing with me to Mo-town music”. 3rd date. Your house and your suggestion. Otis Redding. The lesser-known tracks.  
You daydreamed out loud to me our wedding plans, one month in. Maybe we could have a taco truck at our wedding, Kat, since we met at Taco Tuesday. Touching. Sweet. Brown eyes and piel canela at the kitchen table over Peet’s coffee while you cooked our breakfast. 
We were on and off – never solid for long. You met all my family. I met the occasional uncle. A brother. 
The last time you came over we had a conversation about chonies. You weren’t wearing any boxers and you worried it was obvious, even covered in jeans. I wasn’t either, I mentioned. 
Things I knew: You were moving. I would miss you. 
Things I didn’t: You had a girlfriend. In 5 days you’d ask her to marry you. 
This was goodbye. There were no besos just one very long abrazo that I can torture myself with if I want to. I don’t. 
Months later, my horizon is finally wide again. Blinders. Off. Driving in open space.
I still think of you, occasionally. I guess I’ll always wonder.
But I don’t think of you. When I think of chonies. Anymore.

Happy Feet

                Women know this truth: clothes can make your whole day. And shoes can dictate your whole outfit. A pretty pair of peep-toe pumps ushers in Spring. Knee-high, silky, black boots can take you well into the evening hours and will elevate your skirt to a whole new level. And likewise, shoes make my mood.
                I have noticed myself paying particular attention lately to my tootsies, and their coverings. Whether I’m getting dressed for a date or to meet a client, I’ve witnessed myself searching for a specific set of soles to set my mood. Ever since I left my office job about two months ago, I’ve been relishing the fact that I can now dress not only my upper body, but also my feet, any way I see fit. Of particular significance is the fact that I can actually work this way. In casual, laid back footwear, I’m still able to retain a “professional” demeanor and attitude.
               A long time ago I told a good friend about my ideal mate. She had asked for a description, and the best way I knew how to do it was to make a list of behaviors. That way it wouldn’t be up for interpretation. Instead of saying “tall” or “cute” or “great smile,” I detailed the ways in which he’d interact with me. It is funny now looking back; footwear was even in my description of a life partner. My list went something like this:
-Is a professional by day
-Wears flip flops on nights and weekends
-Dances with me to Motown classics while drinking red wine
-Makes me laugh till my sides hurt, even grocery shopping, especially at the DMV
Somehow this list seemed to describe my soul mate. Implied of course is that he is a good person with a kind heart who is masculine, but still a total sweetheart.
               My list has stayed roughly the same over time. I’m still searching for that masculine, sensitive sweetheart of a guy (he may be among those great guys I already know or he may be completely unknown to me at this moment), though now I realize that the footwear component of the descriptor was an emotion or feeling, a way of being, an energy most of all. I want his life pace to match mine, so that he can be laid back and calm, relaxed and still attentive, present in the here and now and also interested in life beyond today.
               A good friend, S, always wanted to marry a doctor until she finally realized it was her who had a passion for the health care field. In the same way, I believe my seeking this man in the flip flops may have inspired my own lifestyle change–from a 9-5 traditional job to more of a flexible schedule, from a dress code to a dress-as-you-feel mentality.  Because my soul is happy, my feet are now content in heels or flip flops, slippers or Mary Janes. And just like J, my sister-cousin (she is really only one of these though she feels like both), said about wedding dresses, “I like the way I felt in that one”. The way she wants to feel and be on her wedding day spoke volumes about the choices. Oh the similarities: frocks and fellas, shoes and soul mates.
               I’ll leave you with this anecdote: I got lost in Los Angeles and its many suburbs this weekend. It took me an additional 2 hours to reach my destination, and even though I was in heels, I laughed about it just like I was in a pair of Reefs or Rainbows, enjoying the ride, taking the detour in stride, and learning even more about Sherman Oaks and Simi Valley, just like I hope my future mate will be able to do with me. My resounding thought as I drove down the street was, “Maybe this is the way to get there.” And so it was 🙂

Getting Specific


Dear Readers, Welcome to 2012! And thanks for your comments and encouragement while FSOG was on hiatus. I wish you all peace, prosperity, and a sweet life in this new year!
Getting Specific
I’ve always loved options. The more variety, the better. My sister-in-law notes that I’m forever consuming two beverages at once (milk and water, wine and Diet Coke, cranberry and vodka?). But lately I’ve been thinking perhaps it’s time to get specific. I’ve never viewed myself as wishy-washy. I’m quite committed to the values I hold dear. Children’s rights, health education, that art and music are integral to human existence. It’s that I don’t always feel the need to “lock ‘em in” once I’ve found what I seek. I like to sort, then re-sort when I feel like it. I’ll take a new route home just because I feel like it. Novelty intrigues me. As do new ideas, concepts, and plans for the future. But it does beg the question, if I’m always changing my mind, how can the universe bring me exactly what I want in my life?
This FSOG post is about the garments of your home. Recently I re-purposed a beautiful scarf, covered with angels. Angels have been an important symbol in my life as of late, and this scarf, given to me by a dear family friend, has them in spades. I’ve never been able to bring myself to wear the almost tapestry like material. It feels ornate and celebratory – not really work-place attire and it’s hard to make them work in everyday fashion. So when I was looking for a flowy piece to decorate meditation corner, angels it was.  In the practice of feng shui, it helps for every activity in your home to have a corresponding space, and vice versa, so that you know what your space is intended for.  And so I recently created a beautiful nook, solely to be used for meditation and contemplation, to welcome in 2012. The scarf took on new definition in the meditation corner – it was such a perfect fit. Aesthetically the gold hues picked up the gold in my rosary beads (yes, I’m still a Catholic girl at heart), and also offset the dark hues of my Buddha statue (an equal opportunity Catholic girl : ) ). And for those that follow feng shui, you are perhaps familiar with the Bagua Map.
The Bagua Map is used to guide placement of objects within a home or bedroom space. You simply lay the bagua map over a hand-drawn image of the space you’re working with to determine the quadrant where your furniture and other items reside.
My meditation corner is in my Fame/Reputation area, which seems to be progressing nicely. I’m currently contemplating many changes for myself, and this area being cleared out for new beginnings is a step in the right direction for me. I feel the angel scarf is adding to that by providing me with helpful guides whenever I need a boost.  The meditation corner is also in this space in my room to allow my thoughts to steer me in new directions. Simply looking at the area gives me a peaceful state when my mind feels cobwebby, overrun with possibilities.  When I sit in my newly adorned space surrounded by my gold and white trinkets I start to imagine new career possibitlities, lifestyle changes I will make, places I will travel. And my subconscious seems to know this as well. It’s as if whenever I pass by this space, I spy a partially open jounal, awaiting my pen to meet its page and continue to craft ideas, make them more definite, exact.

Have you ever heard that the universe/God/Allah brings you what you spend most of your energy on? It’s definitely a tenet of the law of attraction. The universe delivers what you most focus on and feel most passionately about. At 22, for me, that was freedom and independence….and so I got them. At 26, it was a career and life purpose. Well, I’m 30 now, and I’m in my nesting phase. Simply working on setting up my space is a project that motivates me. It can take hours of my time, and its still my favorite part of unwinding. When expectant mothers “feather their nest” they ready themselves for the baby’s arrival. Now, I’m not currently expecting, but in a way, I see myself readying my nest as well. My new meditation corner is a beautiful part of my morning routine and it is helping to solidify the fact that while variety is certainly nice, and has always been my fallback position, what I seek currently is continuity.

What area in your home, if any, is your meditation corner? What garments make you feel at peace and centered there? Is there a way you can bring quiet to your mind simply by wearing something or placing symbolic item on your body?

Sweater Vest Boy

Here is October’s guest post, by Sweater Vest Boy!

If your friend told you they were thinking of marketing a line of sleeves–sleeves and only sleeves–you would laugh in that person’s face, right? No one would cover just their arms and leave their midsection bare, you would tell your poor, misguided pal.

So then why do we accept the sweater vest?!

What is its purpose? No one in the history of cold has ever said to themselves, “My chest is freezing, but my arms feel fine!” Just to look at it, the sweater vest is the torso’s version of the backwards cap. It’s as useful as a finger-less glove or a sole-less shoe.

The thing is this: we don’t accept the sweater vest. We fear the sweater vest.

Don one, and watch yourself transform in the eyes of the people around you. You become powerful, respected, under that sleeveless sweater. And to others, the secret of that power is impenetrable, like the knitted chain mail of an argyle knight.

To your friends, your colleagues, or even strangers on the street, you certainly don’t seem any warmer to them–but you do seem wiser. And, obviously, you must be, right? After all, they have no idea why the sweater vest even exists, while you seem to have unlocked its mystery, and now wear it proudly.

The sweater vest is invaluable to anyone who is expected to have all the answers, or to lead others, when in truth maybe they don’t know much at all and can’t lead anything. The sweater vest is good for a few extra IQ points. If you’re locked in a seemingly irresolvable argument, you had better believe the person across the table will take one look at your sweater vest, think for a moment, and decide, “I had better give up. They obviously know more than I do.” In case of any sort of emergency, you shouldn’t feel foolish calling out, “Is there a sweater vest in the house?!”

Why the sweater vest? we ask. Why do soldiers march when walking seems safer and more comfortable? Why do doctors scribble when obviously they are educated and must have had to communicate on paper at some point in order to earn their medical licenses? Why do Starbucks drink sizes come in strange languages?

We don’t know. And it’s the fact that we don’t know that intimidates the heck out of us–because they must know.


Cardigan Girl


One of the most memorable Cardigan girls.

     It’s October in Bakersfield. Even though I’m eating sweet potato fries at an outdoor café, wearing a swim suit underneath my tank and skirt, I’m thinking about cooler fall weather. And I’m pondering Halloween. Like most things in life, I take great pleasure in the planning that goes into something, whether it be travel, an event, a party, a new job, a new life:)  And around this time of year, I enjoy the act of creating Halloween costume concepts, sometimes more than actually wearing my creations and attending festivities. If I do it right, my Halloween costume demonstrates not simply a mere identity on October 31st, but rather a part of a story, one that requires fellow party-goers to inquire as to my inspiration.

     In order to understand my idea for this year’s costume, it’s important to know that, somehow,  the cardigan (button down long-sleeve) sweaters in my closet get more wear than almost any other piece. Dare I say, even my dark-wash jeans. Versatile, appealing, adding a touch of polish and finish to almost anything else I own. With a belt or without, with a long necklace or sans. Not only do I enjoy the stylish traits  of a well-made cardigan, no matter the fabric, but I also enjoy what a cardigan can represent. To me, it’s professionalism, poise, power, grace, and gall, all in one.
      Which is why this year for Halloween, I have decided upon Cardigan Girl. She is, perhaps, me, perhaps all of us office girls who fancy a cardigan with most  any ensemble to tie the look together, or make it workplace appropriate. You could say Cardigan Girl is my own version of a superhero. My alter ego. My better half. Her super powers are 1) an affinity for the written AND spoken word and the guts to use each to her fullest ability, and  2) a penchant for picking up any work-place vernacular (depending upon the environment) as readily as if she’d attended architecture school for four years, or dormed with only engineers in undergrad, or kicked butt as a one-woman sales team, pace-pace-leading her way to closing the deal every time. Not to mention CG has a talent for incorporating a sharpened yellow #2 pencil into almost any fashionable hairstyle.  I would think twice before messing with CG at the office. I love Cardigan Girl for her witty one-liners in staff meetings, because she has the, ahem, cajones to speak plainly and succinctly when disagreements arise. Sometimes I slip into CG mode when I need a shot of bravery, or espresso.  Cardigan Girl can cleverly do it all, on the sly, with a wink and a smile.      
      As part of her Halloween get-up this year, she’ll have a glittery “CG” shirt on underneath, what else?, a cardigan. My version of CG also wears her black and brown mixed tortoise shell glasses, a pencil skirt and a button down long-sleeved white shirt.
     So, fellow superhero lovers, who is your superhero and what does this identity say about you? What costume is your hero adorned with? And what might you recycle from the old bureau this year for Halloween? Which pieces have an identity beyond you, or enrich yours just a touch? 😉    
     And stay tuned, as later this month, Cardigan Girl’s friend, Sweater Vest Boy,  will have his own story for you.
     Happy dressing:)

Shoe Philosophy: Sole Purpose


Dear Readers,

Please enjoy the following from our inaugural guest contributor, Jeannie Hart. Guest authors will be a monthly feature on Feng Shui of Garments.


Heels, flats, pumps, peep toe, sandals, casual, business, does it really matter?

For me, shoes make an outfit. There is a whole philosophy in shoes. Everything from what kind to how many you have can say so much about your personality.

A friend asked, “I have two pairs of shoes. What does that say about me?”

“That you are dependable.”

You see, it’s not always the type of shoes people wear; it’s also how they use them, and sometimes how they buy them. My friend currently owns two pairs of shoes, but when she has a job interview, she will buy a new pair. To me, that act is allowing the possibility of something new into your life. Instantly placing a frame of reference in your head saying it’s time for a change. The physical act of placing on a new pair of shoes before a job interview can alter your mindset.

I have a shoe closet. Shoes assembled in rows, categorized by heel height, color, and type. One could say it’s my thing. Every shoe in that closet I bought for a specific reason. Sure, just like any attraction, it started with an, “Ooh, you’re cute.” But once the newness waned, the true reasons for those shoes start to shine forth. I remember my first pair of Calvin Klein heeled riding boots. They were beautiful—soft leather that stretched and formed perfectly around my calf and a gentle touch of silver in a buckle which offset the dark brown of the boot. When I wore them, I walked taller. My dresses would twirl better when I pivoted. They made my inner confidence glow. I had more than my fair share of ‘come hither’ moments in those boots.

Some days—most ladies can attest to this—we can feel like crap. We feel ugly. If we are single, we feel like we are going to end up with forty cats. If we are married, we can feel like our husband doesn’t think we’re sexy enough. On those days a good pair of shoes can define what you are feeling. You can give in and wear flip flops or a pair of UGGs that make you feel comfortable and at home. There is nothing wrong with finding comfort within your skin. Or you can let your shoes lead the way to a new perspective.  The simple act of choosing what pair of shoes you will wear can open your viewpoint to how brilliant your day can be. The physical act of slipping on your go-to heels or your dependable flats seals that idea subconsciously.  Before you know it, the worst day has turned into a day where you got free coffee from the cute barista who wrote his number with a smiley face on the cup.

What about you? Do you have a pair of shoes that when you wear them you feel fabulous? What does your shoe collection say about you?

Jeannie Hart is a writer and artist in Central California. She enjoys exploring the depths of interpersonal relationships while infusing the nuances of social commentary into her work. As a lifestyle journalist, she hones her dialog wit with help from the greatest characters, artists. Jeannie develops writing workshops and lectures in conjunction with the county library system and is an advocate for the literary arts.

Making Room

    Today’s post is about opening yourself to more by having less. Addition by subtraction! Anyone who knows me can attest to my clutter habit. Roommates, this means you:) However, recently, I’ve been trying to de-clutter my entire life. Knowing this was an issue, I have been drawn to books like It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul. I believe because of my mindset, and the new techniques I’ve learned, clutter has been less appealing and easier to deal with: When you buy less, you have less, and it’s less necessary to constantly reduce clutter in your life.

     Any of you who studies the Law of Attraction knows that one of the main principles is to have only enough and to have only what you love. So this week, I’m de-cluttering by actually touching every item in my closet and in my drawers. If my heart is not singing when I place my hand on the item, it goes. So far, I’ve rid myself of mostly gray sweaters that don’t do anything for my skin tone.  I feel that symbolically I’m also chasing away gray rain clouds, a la Charlie Brown. I can literally hear “It’ll never work” with every piece of clothing I put in the bag for Goodwill. Anything uncomfortable, unflattering, or that brings up any bad memories is being tossed into the bag. It feels amazing, and my room feels lighter as well. Or perhaps I feel lighter and freer when I’m in my room, and thus, the feeling resonates.
     How has this affected me? The results have been better than expected! My closet looks better. I know that everything in my wardrobe serves a purpose. When I sort through my laundry I no longer wonder why I’m hanging onto certain pieces. Everything is there for a reason. And this was an easy principle to translate to the rest of my world. If all of my garments belong in their place, so can the rest of my life decisions.
     Participant Challenge: If you really want to take the feng shui principle to a higher level, try to empty one entire drawer. Apparently the universe may pick up on this and attempt to fill any empty space by adding newness to your life. What might you be hanging onto that you can rid yourself of? What has a home because it’s been difficult to discard, not because you actually need it or love it? Could someone else be using and loving this item better than I am?  
Dear Readers, I so enjoy your comments and I hope that this particular entry inspires you to share.
P.S. In the next few weeks, look for work from other authors. Our monthly guest contributor posts are about to begin.
Simplify and beautify:)