Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What Types of Jeans Will Fit Your Shape

Gap jeans - come in every color and last a long time

These are my tried and true experiences of jeans from watching women try them on to trying them on myself.  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule based on how YOU like your jeans to fit.

Hourglass or Pear-Shaped Girls (Smaller waist and Larger hips)

I'm one of these girls.  And universally, I have found 4 jean brands that fit me the best: Citizen Jeans, GAP jeans, Pilcro (which is the Anthropologie brand), and some cuts of Paige denim.  Current Elliott is not bad either, but only the boyfriend cuts..  Not every cut of Gap jeans, fits this type, but there are many that do. 

Athletic Build (Long and lean with waist and hips almost the same)

The brands that will knock it out of the park for you are J Brand, J. Crew, Mother, Current Elliott, Seven jeans and Gap.  I know I mentioned Gap above, but I swear they have a fit that will work with your body type.

You'll notice, I only described 2 body types.  That is because if you are slender, the athletic brands will fit you will and so will every other jean out there.  Curvy, pear-shaped and hourglass - all jeans will fit you the same.

Curvy Frames that are not like the ones above

NYJD denim is A-MAZING and so is Cookie Johnson's CK denim line, Cookie is Magic Johnson's wife and boy is her denim premium. This line looks amazing on pear-shaped women and skinny women as well.  It is just fantastic.

Not every denim out there is mentioned, because I don't have experience with EVERY denim line, and there are also denim lines that I don't like, because the denim is fantastic, but the fit not-so-much.

Most I have ever paid for a pair? $225.00 and worth every.single.penny.

Places I find jeans?  I mostly buy mine at the Gap or thrift premium jeans at second-hand stores.  I started doing the latter because because I could find a wide variety of makers, they are already broken in and I find a lot of amazing deals.  Like the jeans with hand embroidered birds on them that were sold at TOOTSIES when I worked there and sold for $425.00.  Two years later, I found them for $56.  People stop me at the gas station while pumping gas to praise them, they are that beau-ti-ful.

I'll suggest some national places to buy next time and places to get help.  I'll also suggest some local Houston women that I think are good at listening and helping you find the jean that is right for you.

PILCRO jeans - Anthropologie jean - come in solids & patterns

Monday, June 19, 2017

Things You Thought You Knew About Your Jeans

Paige Denim jeans - found at a secondhand store

Nothing feels better than a great pair of jeans.

But do you know how to fit yourself? Do you know their proper care?

Here are a few tips:

1. Buy them as TIGHT as you can.
Jeans stretch more than a lot of fabrics.  Customers often complained that they bought a pair of jeans at the store, they looked good there, and then after they wore them, they got baggy in the leg, especially under the butt, and in the waist.  They also lost shape in the thigh. I explained that they need to buy them according to the stretch, which I'll explain next.

2. Know how much stretch is in them.
Look at the tag.  Premium jeans will have 2%, but most jeans have 1% and most jeans that won't ever look good on you have 0% (so please don't buy these unless you are gardening in them).  If it is two percent, and you are a 6, buy a 4 for sure.  If 1%, then use your best judgement.

3. Limit how often you put your jeans in the dryer and for God's sake, NEVER dry clean them. You might dry your jeans all the time to get them back into shape.  I do the same thing sometimes, but it's not good for your denim or for the stretch in the denim.  The more premium the denim the less you should put it in the dryer.  So, I dry the ones from the GAP, but not my Citizen jeans.

4. Jeans can go in the freezer.
I got to be good friends with the JOE'S jeans rep in Houston.  He and I would talk a lot of nerd talk about jeans.  Jeans should not be washed often, and really probably never (I know you are grossing out now).  If you spill something on your jeans, put them in a baggy in the freezer over night. Tomorrow morning, pull them out and that gunk on them will just flake off.  if it is something oily, you need to wash them.  Pairs I have with embellishments on them, freezer treatment only and I promise, they look great.

5. Size does NOT matter.  I have jeans in my closet that fit that are size 10 and size 4, and I am probably closest to a 8.  Nothing annoyed me more than someone refusing to BUY a pair of jeans because they were not going to go a size up, i.e. they thought they were a 4, but won't buy the brand if they fit in a 6.  Silly rabbit.

Later, I'll tell you what jeans fit what types of bodies, where to go and where to get help.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Obituary for Joseph Valentine Quigley

Joseph Valentine Quigley

Joseph Valentine Quigley passed away peacefully at home December 25, 2016.  Born February 14, 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana to the late Catherine and Joseph Benedict Quigley, he attended Cathedral Grade School. During his eighth grade year, he went onto Saint Meinrad Seminary in Saint Meinrad, Indiana to prepare for the priesthood.  Years later, he graduated from Butler University with a BA in history, and attended law school at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.  After one year there, he met Clarissa Jan Lux and they were married June 11, 1955 in Shelbyville, Indiana.  He later received his MBA from Indiana University.

Joe joined the ranks of IBM and enjoyed many years of employment with them.  He went on to work at other Fortune 500 companies, notably Smith, Kline and French in Philadelphia, now Smithkline Beecham and RCA, now General Electric, in New York City.  In 1976, Jan and Joe moved to Houston with their six children to take a Vice President position in Planning and Development with Gulf Oil (now Chevron).  He later started his own firm, known as Quigley & Associates, which was a consulting firm that specialized in strategic planning working with companies such as Phillips Petroleum, Brown & Root, BFI, Outboard Marine Corporation, Pratt & Lambert, and the list goes on.

Joe enjoyed public speaking, was a gifted writer and had an incredibly beautiful signing voice.  He wrote a business book titled Vision that was published by McGraw-Hill.  Along with tennis and running, he loved a good book or a collection of poems, and was especially fond of short story anthologies.  He was passionate about Notre Dame football, even at lullaby time, when he sang the fight song to his children in a hushed voice.  He loved traveling to far off places and he never met an oyster he didn’t like.

His generosity and hard work will always be remembered, along with his ability to problem solve and help those in need.  He believed in giving back and was passionate about helping non-profit organizations.  He was a  Board Member of St. Joseph Medical Center, The University of Saint Thomas, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory and Saint Meinrad Seminary.

He is survived by his loving wife, Blanca Gonzales and her children, Danielle "Dani" and Sal, and siblings, Mike, Jerry and Kitty and the late Danny and Mary Ellen.  He was father to Karen Quigley Micciulla, Joseph Shaun Quigley, Kathleen Quigley,  the late Tara Quigley (Shaw Cranfield), Beth Benefield (John Cahill) and Molly Quigley (Bob Truscott).  He was also a devoted grandfather to Alyssa, Max, Faith, Noah, Ryan, Aaron, Julian, Paige, John, Matthew, Jake, and Lucy, and an uncle to countless nieces and nephews.

There will be a funeral mass on Monday, January 2, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., at the Co-Catherdal Church of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What To Do With 4 Bushels of Blackberries

Blackberries in the bucket - ripe. The red ones on the vine - not ripe yet.

It all started with an Instagram picture of my friend, Sharon Rupert Dunaway, picking berries in Houston in July somewhere near Houston, Texas.  With camp out for the great Lucille,  I started making a Summer Bucket List and decided this must be on it.  I found a great downloadable one to use thanks to The Day Designer, Whitney English, that you can get here for free.  Her organizational tips, list and planners have been beyond helpful, but that's another post entirely.
With the idea of sunshine, hats on our heads and buckets in our arms, I started researching which farms had what and what hours they were open, etc. and landed on P-6 Farms, in Montgomery, near Conroe, Texas.  Let me save you the time and trouble for the novices, like myself, to know that July in Texas means the only berries still available to pick are blackberries. When the lady at the front counter says, "Stay at the front of the rows," just politely ignore her since it is almost the end of the season and all the blackberries at the front have been picked already.  Go to the farthest row and head to the back.
My 84 year old mother picking blackberries
Pro Tip: Pay attention to the prices before you start picking. Because . . . we picked 4 buckets and when they rang me up, imagine my surprise at $65.00.  I was more than happy to give that to the farm, well deserved, but what I don't like to do is waste food. An opportunity presented itself to figure out what to do with these. My mom and I got home and she diligently cleaned them all, while I made dinner and dessert, which was a cobbler from our day's bounty.

Below are all the recipes I found and used with pictures and links. I made other things and I still have 2 galloons in my freezer. As many of you know, I am new at the culinary arts, but I love a challenge and this made a very memorable July for me and my family

This was so pretty, you could not begin to take a bad picture of it
Blackberry ice cream you can make without a churn.  I received this from the fabulous Amy Huff, who saw my plentiful supply and was more than ready to lend me a helpful hand, plus she introduced me to the blog it came from, Baked by an Introvert, and what can I say, but that I identify with her completely. #introvertsunite

Next on the list, I looked for cocktails and this blackberry mint julep was it.  I loved making the simply syrup for this (in the picture on the left), but the cocktail on the right made for some messy business in the kitchen, and my white porcelain sink.  Taking the blackberries and pushing them through a sieve does not only stain you, but everything else it touches.  Muddle next time and live with the seeds is what I say, and wear black when you are doing it.

I loved this Martha Stewart drink recipe called Blackberry Mint Julep. You have to do the sieve thing with the blackberries for this one, as well, so you might as well do a very large batch and then try both.  I preferred one over the other, since they both have completely different tastes.

John Besh's cobbler from My Family Table, a cookbook that I love, love, love because I am most interested right now in Southern fare (things like grits & seafood dishes are tops on my list).  I have made this before and you can use any type of fruit, but unfortunately this time, it was a bit mushy the next day due to the ripeness of the berries. Note to self: add cornstarch next time.

By far, the best thing under the sun, was this recipe, called Grilled Fontana + Blackberry Basil Smash Sandwiches. If the name alone doesn't compel you, the pictures will.  When you make it, pleasssse, have no shame or guilt.  God did not put these things on this earth and the blogger who put them together, Jessica Merchant, for you to do anything but savor them.  Amen.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What's Your Goal - To Be a Blogger or a Writer?

A good friend, and even better writer, asked me the other day what advice I would give her about blogging, as she launches her very own blog.  You're not Chicken Little if you dare to put your words out in the world, so I applaud the many who do.  Before you think about the business of your blog, I implore you to . . .
Make your blog
personal playground
and laboratory
You've probably started a blog, because you have something to say. Something compelling you want to write about and share your knowledge with others.  Before you start, understand your goals for blogging.
  • Are you blogging to be a professional blogger?  This means you derive income from your blog. 
  • Are you blogging to market your business?  This might look like short posts to talk more about what you can offer to others.
If you google tips on blogging, you will find these "gems" of wisdom repeated over and over:  
  • stick to a schedule
  • be consistent
  • have something of value for your reader
A beginning blogger might go on Facebook looking for advice on blogging, and readers, not bloggers, give advice - they, of course, mention the schedule and consistency. Why?  Because they benefit from you it.  But ask yourself - DO YOU?  You are not getting paid for this, most likely, so I'd rather you think about why you are blogging than why you need to be consistent. 

Readers, who have never done a blog, have no earthly idea what goes into just one post.  It is not just composed of writing - there's photo editing, word editing, research, etc.  The amount of hours it takes me to do one post like this interview, of a website highlighting moms and creativity, might take 5-6 hours. An interview like this one takes about 7-8 hours.  And I'm not getting paid a nickel for any of it, which is not a comment made to complain.  It's a comment made to help you understand the time involved, in order to help you align your time and energy with your goals.

The three main reasons people give up on blogging are:
  1. The amount of work it takes.
  2. No income is being derived from it.
  3. No one is reading it.
Here is how I made my blog work for me and pull a profit.
  • I keep no schedule.  Why?  Because I am a freelancer and work at a variety of things where my schedule changes weekly. I may have more time one week to post than another.
  • I try things out.  Bathroom Diaries is the one that I love the most right now.  If someone thinks it's weird, what do I care? I'm not doing this as my real job.  And I love interior design, so this enables me to do something quick, fun and that makes me smile.
  • If I have something to say, I say it.  My blog is not about mental illness.  But if I have a subject nagging at me, I write about it and move on.
  • I use it as a vehicle to promote things I love, like artists, and learn from them.  Interviewing creative people is my crack.
  • I keep blogging.  I love the visual and written memory of my days here on this planet for myself and for my kids.
When someone reads my blog, and takes a moment to comment, that is money to me.  But even if they don't, I keep going, because I enjoy writing.  I want to be a paid writer, not a paid blogger. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

10 Most Popular Questions Regarding Louis Vuitton

Working in retail since I was in high school, when people ask me where I've worked, and I mention Louis Vuitton, I seem to get the same questions asked.  I thought you might be interested in what they are, and what the answers would be.

1.  Is their stuff leather?
Everything Louis Vuitton makes has a component of leather on it. Some bags, like the EPI leather line, are composed entirely of leather.  But what most are referring to when they ask this question is the brown signature fabric with the LV stamped on it that you see everybody carrying.  This is composed of cotton canvas that has a PVC coating on top.   Things like the handles on these bags are made of an undyed, natural cowhide, known as Vache.

2.  Did you get a really good discount?
The answer is yes.  The best discount I ever got in 32 years of working retail.  How good was it?  When I started in 1998, I could get wallets for $25.00, Speedy bags (originally designed for Audrey Hepburn, don't you know) for about $100.00 and when shoes were first introduced, a pair for $49.95.  It's not this good anymore, or so I hear.

3.  They burn all the stuff that doesn't sell, right?
Wrong.  All the prices I mentioned, in my answer to question 2, are great for employees because discontinued items, damages, etc. are sold to the employees.  These are known as RTVs (Return to Vendor).

4.  I heard they were now producing in China.
Ummm . . . no.  They have a factories in the US, France and Spain last time I checked. 

5.  How can you tell if a bag is real or fake?
We got asked this question so much, especially by phone, that I wanted to scream.  There is no formula I can explain in 2 minutes that could convey how we know.  With the large amount of products manufactured, there are specific linings used in certain products, types of stitching, hardware that cannot be replicated, etc. I could look at your specific bag and tell you 15 ways it differs from the original.  With so many knock-offs out there, I can't give you an explanation by phone.  But, if you go into the store, and compare to the real thing, you'd be amazed.

6.  They have a Lifetime Warranty?
What has a lifetime warranty?  Name one thing that is used every day that has a lifetime warranty.  It's not going to be a wallet or handbag, I can assure you.

7.  What was it like to work there?
Awesome.  Incredible.  And hard work.  But good hard.  The pace is tough, you are on your feet the whole time, and it is always busy. But I like being busy.  

8.  When do they have sales?
Never.  This is why as a retail manager it is a dream to work there - no markdown's ever.  

9.  How do I clean my bag?  
Depends on which bag you are talking about.  If it is white spots on your signature canvas . . . that is probably from bumping against the wall with the bag and it is paint.  A Magic Eraser or a very slight amount of Windex on a very wet paper towel will take it right off.  Your cowhide handles?  Can't really be cleaned.  You can use saddle soap, which will darken the leather, but if they have gotten too dark, you can also get new handles put on for a fee and have a basically new bag.

10.  I just carry a fake, because you can't really tell the difference anyway.
Let me be frank here - you are no longer my friend.  Why? Because you are supporting illegal activity.  Read the book, Deluxe, and then we will talk about the fact that you are supporting terrorism, illegal drug trade and a variety of other activities that use the sale of counterfeit goods to support and money launder their business.  I saw raids on these businesses.  And you contribute to it by having the vanity and ego to want the bag, but to not pay for it through the proper channels.  

My stance is unpopular, I am sure, but I stand behind it 100%.  Buy real or don't buy.

I hope that answers many of your curiosities. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NOLA Art & Gallery Love

When we arrived in New Orleans last week, it was 
the day before the French Quarter Fest

The festival brought in artists from all over the country, 
lining their work around Jackson Square and 
adjacent side streets.

This artist's work above, Epaul Julien, was among
my favorites. His photographs use a gold leaf/resin process.
I wish you could see the patina of the gold in the photos.
Simply exquisite.  The juxtaposition of the reclaimed
lumber frame against this rich texture was intriguing.

Next to him was an artist who did geographical maps on reclaimed lumber. Her process involves building a frame out of wood, painting and staining the planks, varying the planks by adding vintage fabric and then somehow adding the map to the top of the boards.  The map has a raised texture and 
I couldn't help but think this looked quite Anthropologie-ish.

I wish I could find her card.  
I probably threw it in a pocket . . . somewhere.

The piece below with the man and his kite,
actually moves.  It's as if you feel wind blowing.
 How someone could carve, paint, build
and then make it movable is well, beyond me.

I learned a new term, as it is known as 
a Mixed Media Automatron.  I fell deeply in love
with this artists work.  His name is Tom Haney, from Atlanta,
and the gallery in NOLA where I saw this is Red Truck Gallery.

My boss, Susan Jackson, alerted me to the next artist's work.
Chris Roberts-Antieau has her own gallery, and I'm not
quite sure you can categorize her art or her by simply 
saying she is a fiber artist.  Much of her art does involve
using a needle - quilted, embroidered, etc., but the vibe
of the gallery and the humor in the work is 
something extraordinary.

Take this squirrel with the mustache.  Part of an
installation called "Phantom Limb Illustrated."
Hanging from the ceiling are various false legs
with wings on them.  Below the legs, is a wooden
landscape with all types of taxidermy animals
like Mr. Maximillan Squirrel (the name I gave him).

There is a lot going on in this gallery.
I went back about 5 times.  This artist has a prolific
body of work.  I even got to go back in the offices
and in a behind the curtain gallery.

Chris had subject matters that just kept making me laugh
out loud.  Like "James Brown's Legs" and a piece
thanking little people in film with depictions of
a flying monkey, R2D2, Yoda, E.T., etc.

I could have shot 1,000 pictures just in this space.
You can find Chris' work at Antieau Gallery, which is at 927 Royal Street.  Chris is a woman, by the way, and has reddish hair.
Look for her, as she is often there, and is one of
those artist who doesn't tell people about her work.
She's more interested in what you think about it.