Feb 21, 2016

It's Official: Shoestring Sally is on Blogging Hiatus

After a couple months of keeping mum, I decided that I need to step away from the blog officially for a bit. To be honest, I'm not quite sure if I will resume it or in what form. I just know right now my heart's not in it, my time and resources are wrapped up in other projects, and I feel I've lost a firm grasp on what I want this blog to be or where I want it to go. I will continue to post on the Shoestring Sally Instagram, less sure about Facebook & Twitter. It's all up for analysis, repurposing and reinvention at this point. Perhaps I just need to step away temporarily. We'll see! Best to all who have read and supported me over the years.


Dec 3, 2015

#Prayers May Not Be the Solution --But They're Not the Problem Either!

Mind if I vent? I gotta vent!

I like to keep it light on here generally so I apologize to my regular readers who come here for easy fare about books, clothes, decor and what-not but I'm kind of irritated by the whole "quit sending prayers" thing and I just need to vent a little.

Prayer Backlash in the Wake of Yet Another Shooting

Following yesterday's San Bernardino shooting there has been a lot of press about prayer backlash. The Atlantic just published a rather interesting analysis of the politics involved and makes some worthwhile arguments. But I'd like to take a moment to address the issue from a more personal angle and here's my two cents: this whole prayer beef is bull. Oh I get it. People are angry. People want action. Specifically people want to see tighter gun legislation and better homeland security. People want to see results and above all they want to feel safe. But getting your knickers in a twist over people typing things like #PrayforSanBernardino --or in many cases #PrayforSanBernadino because people keep ditching the second R-- is just more smoke and mirrors separating you from taking real action. Because you know what, people gotta have something to say when they are confronted with such horrific news. People got to acknowledge other people's suffering somehow and if that involves the letters p-r-a-y in a tweet or a Facebook post then so bloody be it.

The Real Culprit is Fear

I think what is at the heart of this prayer controversy isn't politics, it isn't religion --BUT FEAR. We are terrified the killing won't stop. We are terrified over the fact that day after day we are sending out cyber prayers to people dead, dying, and grieving and it has become a routine part of our day. Perhaps it is the new normal of it all that is getting to us. The Grim Reaper has taken up residence with our daily social Graces and thus we need conventions to follow. We need things to say when chaos descends and chaos comes swift and often these days. Sending prayers out to some tragedy online is like saying "God Bless You" when someone sneezes or "Are you ok?" when someone stubs a toe. The consistency of it has rattled us but at the same time we need such constants that we can turn to and rest our fears upon, even if it just for the amount of time required to type 4 letters. We aren't actually taking to our chambers and kneeling down in prayer, forsaking all other actions, we're just taking a moment to breathe, to make sense of it all, to say "I recognize your pain and I send you love." In the immediate aftermath people need something to say, they need to express feeling and love and compassion so let people just take a moment to acknowledge the horror of it all and put it into words that we as a people can instantly process and maybe even take a little comfort in --and get on with the business of making things better.

Judgment Does Not Equal Action & Prayers Do Not Equal Apathy

Also think of this, what people do online can tell you all about them but it can also tell you nothing. Maybe that strident SJW you follow on Twitter is too damn busy reposting memes about gun control and condemning people for "just praying" to actually get off their duff and write their congressman about gun control. Maybe that friend on Facebook you know who is sending #prayers on the daily is actually doing something concrete in their community to make a difference.

In Conclusion

In conclusion I think we are so scared and hungry for answers we're just trying to create imaginary problems because we need problems we feel we can solve. Like it might feel good for a minute to get people to question their motivations about something they type on social media because it creates an illusion that we're actually generating dialogue instead of contributing to the noise. Newsflash: it's noise. And yes, we definitely need MORE than prayers right now. Prayers are not the end-all, be-all solution. But they're not the problem either. After all, when we pray to God we are not boasting that it is the answer, rather we're merely seeking help with the question.

Sending love and prayers to all, no tragedy required.

Nov 23, 2015

Healing Colors: Living in the Pink!

It's been a little over two weeks since I recounted my stylish adventure at Club Monaco and I have really been struggling during this time: I hurt my foot, or rather I re-injured my foot, for this is a sudden recurrance of an old problem. Pain management has dominated my days and unfortunately a recent cortisone shot from my doctor has had little effect. I have to wear a terribly unfashionable night splint and I am clomping about the house in Birkenstocks as it is the only footwear that isn't aggravating things. In short, it has been a bother! Coupled with the tragic events that have been playing out on the news lately it's been hard for me to keep my chin up. But one must, and I've been thinking a lot about how we can hold on to health and happiness.

Ever since last week's horrible attacks in Paris and Beirut, I've been reflecting a lot on the power of color and what colors I instinctively turn to in dark, disheartening times. Overwhelmingly I have been gravitating towards pink. The Saturday after the Paris attacks I spent much of the day glued to the news --yes I'm one of those people! When tragedy strikes I devour the news networks. I heard someone theorize that it's a coping mechanism, a way of getting things to sink in. All I know is by afternoon I needed the warm embrace of healing colors around me.

Embrace the pink!
While out shopping, I found my eyes drawn to cheery glass bottles of this rose-colored lemonade drink and I spent a long time savoring bright bundles of pink roses at the florist. I was hungry for pink. Mad for pink! Back home, I lit a large rosey-pink floral candle and basked in its maternal glow.  Right then and there I needed pink and its positive associations of love, of hugs, of plump, plush peonies and sweet tea roses, of mother's hearts and soft kisses.

Pink is a color I have made peace with in recent years. You see, I had turned on pink. And can you blame me? Every "thinking" woman rebels against pink at some point, feeding off the intellectual's pink backlash. Pink: a sophmoric, bimbo-esque, oppressive enforcer of gender roles! Fight the Barbie! Fight pinkification! And aren't we sick of all that pinkwashing in support of breast cancer charities? We've gotten very cynical about pink, haven't we? Well this week pink has kept me sane.

Fill the dark times with light!
Pink can be strength. Pink can be warmth. Pink can be the soft, fuzzy sweater that protects you from the cold. This week I realized that a yearning for pink is a signal to take care of myself, to mother myself a bit more. It's all about balance. When the world around you is too cold and dark, call upon your warm power colors. And pink can be powerful!

So if the news is getting you down, or like me you're struggling with a health matter, or maybe the weather has just given you the blues bring a little pink into your life: a flower, a candle, an article of clothing. Anything! Just think a little pink today. You deserve it.


Nov 8, 2015

Love x Style x Life: Sally Meets Garance Doré!

November is already shaping up to be crazy busy. In retaliation I've been indulging in an especially lazy weekend away from the city the last couple days, but I'd be remiss if I didn't take a few moments to recount one of the week's highlights: meeting fashion blogger, illustrator, and photographer Garance Doré!
Sally meets Garance Doré (right).
Thursday evening I ventured to the Club Monaco store at the Boston Prudential Center, where Ms. Doré was signing copies of her new book Love Style Life. The book is a must-have for fans of Garance and she was just as warm and inviting in person as she comes across on her blog and in interviews... Yes! Rest assured, GD-devotees, she does not disappoint. 

Love Style Life is an artfully rendered, luxe-to-the-touch paperback containing a pleasing hodge podge of photographs, style tips, celebrity profiles, humorous musings about life, and more. In short, it's packed with plenty of wit for your brain and beauty for your coffee table.

The book signing event itself was thoughtfully executed; indeed, her present book tour is a well-crafted and superbly designed collaboration with the fashion brand Club Monaco.

While at the Boston store I couldn't help but marvel at the seamless brand integration of Club Monaco's current line with the look and feel of Garance's book. Soft and subtle creams, pinks, and ecrus dominate Club Monaco's racks and shelves, with occassional rock n roll dashes of black and charcoal. The message? At Club Monaco you can get the book AND you can wear the book! Fabulous. Another wonderful touch are the pink cards on some of the clothes identifying for the shopper Garance's favorites. Coupled with top-notch customer service by the very helpful Club Monaco staff (including cocktails while you wait to meet Garance!) the end result was a luxurious experience for those in attendance, not just a queue up, and speaking of queues...

Of course I'm not going to spill too many beans about what's inside the book but at one point while waiting in line I opened it up to this amusing little passage where Garance dishes on her native France and about how Parisians loathe to wait on line for anything:

From Garance Doré's Love Style Life
I certainly got a chuckle out of that --of all the pages in a book for me to open to while queued up to meet the author! Well, let's just say we were a very unParisian crowd that night for everyone was in high spirits to meet Garance. And it was definitely worth the wait as she spent a fair amount of time talking with each person whose book she signed, which most certainly doesn't always happen at a book signing! Once again, I must single out the excellent staff at Club Monaco for helping keep things organized and pleasant, which is no small feat in such a fashion-packed venue. A nod also goes to the Central Square Florist for creating the beautiful bouquets gifted to visitors:

The icing on the evening's cake: fresh flowers!

In summation, snap this book up and if you can get to a Club Monaco to meet Garnace, DO IT! Tour dates & details are available here. As for me, I have a few more thoughts to share inspired by my Garance encounter so stay tuned for my follow-up post Style is Happy. Until then, may you live simply yet stylishly, Shoestringers!


Nov 4, 2015

A Belated Halloween Treat: Barbara's Vintage Costume

Dearest Shoestringers, I wish I had discovered this picture in time to to post it for Halloween but I only noticed it today! My father's dear cousin Barbara posted this snap on her Facebook page this past All Hallow's Eve and it is so adorable I simply must share it with you. After all, us Shoestringers love vintage fashions and hand-me-down treasures! Luckily Barbara is a loyal fan of my little blog shoestringsally.com and gave me her full blessing to share it with you today:

Vintage Halloween costume, 1946 or 1947.

This picture was taken around the time Barbara was in 6th grade, either 1946 or 1947 by her estimation. She told me she thinks the dress was her grandmother's, late Victorian or early Edwardian would be my best guess though the daring peep-toe pumps look a tad more contemporary! Looking at this photograph I do so envy that Barbara grew up at a time when her family hand-me-downs were so beautifully and intricately made, elegant and full of history. But that's quite a saucy pose young lady! I doubt granny would have shown that much leg. ;-) But then again, Halloween is a night when we all can be just a teensy bit bad. Thank you so much for sharing, Barbara!