The Blue Gardenia

Inspirations: The perfect dress for the perfect seduction November 16, 2009 16:46 2 Comments

Don_draper_rumba_dress It is late at the adult center. Very. The DJ has played horrid music all night. Music he regards, you are quite sure, as youthful. Imma Be is not a rumba. I Kissed A Girl is not a waltz. The DJ is old enough to know better. He is darn close to tumbling out the other side of middle age. He will not see 50 again. Heck, you'd wager your favorite Walter Kerns that 55 has come and gone for him. You won't see 35 again. You won't. And you are one of the youngest people in this ballroom. 

Sigh. Heavy sigh. Long sigh, dramatically drawn out. Susan Hayward is, after all, your role model.

Fantasy time-out. You are wearing McCall 3440, copyright 1955. The 4-ply silk crepe caresses your skin. The hydrangea pink flatters your softly fading tan. You feel wonderful. You feel irresistible. You feel like you are going to live forever and enjoy each and every moment.

A finger flicks your shoulder. A voice murmurs in your ear, May I have this dance? Your reverie interrupted. Suddenly. Drat. You are annoyed. Oh so. But then, the notes of Noche De Ronda, your favorite rumba, begin. Spanish guitar. You cannot say no. You want to dance. You must dance. You put your hand in your partner's. Rise to your feet. Only then do you lift your eyes. Only then do you realize your partner is Don Draper. None other. Calm. Solid. Handsome. But is he a polished dancer? Mmmmmm. It's your fantasy. You decide.

Lantana + roses + blue grama grass seed + toil = beauty. September 12, 2009 17:22

I can hear the sound of violins . . . Oh. Enough.  I won't bore you with Sway lyrics, dear readers. I've done that before, I'm sure. But. You know I love that song. I do. So much.

Today, let me share with you pictures of our new yard. This is not the reveal, as they say on the home decor shows. Not yet. There is still work to be done. Planting. Edging. Weeding. But there has been progress. Much.


First, tilling.


Then planting.


Then deep Bertness thoughts. I'm sure. Thoughts that have nothing to do with exhaustion or sweat or desire for ice cold tea.

And since I know you really want to know: Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado do one sizzling version of Sway. Absolutely.

Take one capsule of fashion fantasy, and call me in the morning. August 12, 2009 12:37 1 Comment

1930s_dress_pattern_6303 So, my friends, today I have the blues. You are doubtless shaking your heads in disgust, saying, "Denise, every day you have the blues. Every day." And sometimes, you know, I feel that's true. Absolutely. I do.

(And if I may quote Townes Van Zandt, I ask you, my patient readers, will you still love me when I'm down and out? Will you stand by me in my time of trial? Or something like that. You know what I mean. Don't you? I know you are doubtless bored to tears by my damp tissue dramas. But. I beg you: Hang in there. WIth me. By my side. Etc.)

Anyway. What's a woman to do? Switch anti-depressants? Toss the Celexa? Try Lexapro instead?  Wellbutrin perhaps? Well. Maybe. But, first, there's that unpleasant COBRA situation that must be straightened out. Resolved. In my favor, of course. Faith, my dear readers, faith and action.

Another possibility: Call a friend. No. No can do. They are likely bored with my sniffles. And if they slammed the phone down, think how devastated I would be. That might push me right over the edge. And quickly.

So. I decided the best option, the best avenue to a happier mood, was the gorgeous street of dreams, vintage sewing patterns. I turned first to the 1930s. The Great Depression, yes. But also the era of Carole Lombard. Irene Dunne. Myrna Loy. Just looking at the patterns brightened my day. A bit. But which pattern, if made up and worn, would actually make me feel better? Stronger. More able to competently, coolly, calmly — without raised voice — handle life's sometimes nasty realities? Like health insurers, senators, representatives.

I chose Butterick 6303, view A. All the views are terrific. They are. Each and every one of them. This is truly a pattern to make the accountant smile. But view A has that wide collar that I find so irresistible. It's double-breasted. The sleeves have those ever-so-sassy cuffs. Love them. Love it. Completely. Absolutely. I see it in a periwinkle cotton sateen, with a white organdy collar and huge mother of pearl buttons. Huge.

Yes, I feel a smile playing around my lips.  I do. I feel that darn attitude of gratitude Oprah constantly touts swelling in my heart. Oh. Yes. Yes.

Life isn't so bad. Really. It isn't. And with Fred Astaire (lovely, lovely, never ever change) on the CD, it positively — forgive me — sings. Albeit in a whisper.

If you can't eliminate the negative, try this August 7, 2009 20:13 2 Comments

Ella_fitzgerald_dress OK, sweeties, this is what I did after I  blogged last night. Kendra of the Goddess of Gumbo's Sugar Hollow Diary tagged me (whatever that means — you know what a cyber Luddite I am) on my Facebook page. It proved a fun challenge. Very. It took my mind right off  the COBRA nightmare.  For a brief while. And I can tell you, dear readers, that I am ever grateful for that respite. Because I can obsess. Really.

So. If you want to try it yourself, here are the rules: Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Cleverly, I said. I insist.

You may use Ella, but you MUST use different song titles. No cheating. Try not to repeat a song title. This assignment is a lot harder than you think. Truly.

It would make me so happy — positively blissful, of course — if you share these with me. Just be sure to use the artist/band's name as the subject of your email or post, or I will rap you across the knuckles with a pica pole. Sharply.

I chose Ella. Of course. (Although I have been listening a lot this week to The First Cut Is the Deepest. Love the Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow versions. Wish Linda Ronstadt would cover it in the studio. Then hers could move into the Number One spot. You never know.)

Are your pencils sharpened? Here you go:

Are you a male or female:

Sophisticated Lady

Describe yourself:

The Lady is a Tramp

How do you feel:

I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Describe where you currently live:

Mountain Greenery

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:

I Love Paris

Your favorite form of transportation:

A Ship without a Sail

Your best friend is:

Little Girl Blue

You and your best friends are:

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

What's the weather like:

Too Darn Hot

Favorite time of day:

In the Still of the Night

If your life was a television show, what would it be called:

I Could Write a Book

What is life to you:

Just Another Rumba

Your fear:

Fidgety Feet

What is the best advice you have to give:

Ac-cent-tchu-ate- the Positive

Thought for the day:

When You're Smiling (the Whole World Smiles with You)

How I would like to die:

Reaching for the Moon

My soul's present condition:

A Foggy Day

My motto:

Let's Face the Music and Dance

So there ya go. If you're fretting over something, try it. Better than a crossword puzzle or a cup of tea. Really.

(And, yes, I do want the dress Ella is wearing here. Luscious. Absolutely.)