Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Pre-quel or a Se-quel, either way it's more about Soft Autumn

Reasons for thinking I have warm skintone:

I am very fair but I can tan.  Or at least I did in my youth, and when I tan it is a golden brown and not a red-brown.

I look very yellow next to my ex-husband who looked very brown/red next to me, although we would both be considered fair to medium-fair complexions.

In some lighting I look more golden beige with tawny rose in blush and lip tones.

Reasons for thinking I have cool skintone:

Pink and blue look good on me.

My cheeks flush more pink looking than peach-but then I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone flushed peach naturally.  Or maybe I just don't know the difference between pale pink and pale peach.

In some lighting I look ivory skinned with mauve-pink lips.

Images Online that supported my considering Soft Autumn...

This woman was draped as a Soft Autumn in Sci/Art.  Looking at her I would have guessed Soft Summer.  She looks cool to me.  The hair and eyes certainly do though they aren't supposed to be taken into consideration in the Sci/Art system, which says any skin can have any hair and eyes and that whatever you have is right.  Other systems like to offer up stereotypes of hair and eye colours for different seasons.  If you follow the link you will see that this woman tried many hair colours and she does indeed look best with her natural colour.  Sure someone could convince her it's mousy, but it looks right.  See if you don't breathe a sigh of relief when you get to it.

                                                            Source

Here is another woman, draped as Soft Autumn, though I must say that those drapes look very bright to me.  Perhaps that is because they are vibrant on her.  I Doubt I would select any clothing in all of those colours, definitely not the bright green or pink.  These also do not have the russety warmth that you associate with autumn.

                                                   Source: Pinterest, dead link.

This woman is also draped a Soft Autumn.  I would look at her also and guess a cool season.   She is shown in her very best drapes and they differ slightly from the woman above but are all from the same palette.

                                                                Source

Given the pink tones in this womans skin I would have been mislead.  I doubt I am the only one but somewhere along the way I grasped that the main issue was a pink vs peach kind of process.  If you look good in pink you are cool and if you look good in peach (or coral or salmon) you are warm.  The differences seem to be a little more subtle in the muted palettes.

The woman in the middle does have a sort of golden looking skin colouring but the other two women look very neutral to me, making me wonder, as I am wondering in my own case, if it's necessary to choose between Soft Summer and Soft Autumn.  I would like to know what the deciding factors were.

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This woman wears Soft Summer drapes.  The differences between these and the drapes above seem quite subtle. 

This woman is also draped as Soft Summer. I might have predicted she was a Winter.  She definitely looks cool to me but it could be the hair and eyes misleading.  I don't think I can pull off a red lip like that, but do I think that because it's too dark, or have I been trying reds that are too cool.  This is the point where I again remember how much I love Revlon's Rum Raisin.

                                                                 Source

Most celebrities who are typed as Soft Autumn have a noticeably golden look.  But then, the celebrity ideal is blonde and tan, so even  if they aren't that naturally they tend to enhance in that direction.

The stunning Rosie Huntington-Whitley is typed as a Soft Autumn.  While she often has a golden look I think it is enhanced.  She is fair skinned, with cool blue eyes and naturally light brown hair.  The mauve-pink of the lipstick is pretty and not the peach I would expect a Soft Autumn to wear.  She seems to have bronzer on and a warm toned blush.  I think the key to Soft Autumn might be warm pink and muted gold, rather than the bright gold and orange of True Autumn.  There are photos of her aplenty wearing a variety of colours to varying degrees of success but it's difficult to make this woman look bad.


With light brown hair and a golden suntan, this colouring looks more like my childhood colouring.  my hair was slightly redder but this tan colour is familiar.  I haven't seen it in a couple of decades.

                                                               Source

The experts cannot decide whether Angelina Jolie is Soft Summer of Soft Autumn.  She is sometimes typed as a Winter, particularly by those who tend to go with the brunette is Winter, blonde is Summer approach.  I think she definitely does look best in soft and muted colours, but it's a tough call whether warmer or cooler is best and photography and makeup tricks don't help in making that all.  She isn't as golden looking as Rosie but she isn't obviously cool either.

She looks amazing here in this warm muted green, and soft earthy makeup.

 
                                                Source: Pinterest dead link

Natasha McElhone is also typed as  Soft Autumn.  In this photo she looks lovely in some very cool and soft pinks and blues that I would have thought were Summer colours.  Perhaps the photo is manipulated.  In most photos I find of her she looks tanned and hair a bit brassy, and thus sort of golden all over, the Hollywood requirements.

                                                               Source

This image is usually cited as evidence for Natasha being a Soft Autumn.  The lighting is brassy but the colour seems to work and I note that the lip colour is a medium warm-red which also seems to work.






                                                                Source

I love the makeup colours here, though they eye is rather heavy for a daytime I.  the colours of lips and cheeks don't strike me as obviously warm or cool, but that sort of dusty brown-pink tone I love.  I got hung up on thinking Soft Autumns had to wear peach or coral, but pinks warmed with brown seem to be really good.

In trying to find photos of these Soft Autumn celebrities where they aren't suntanned is tricky but when I do find them I am beginning to get a sense of the peachy-golden fairness that typically makes the fair-skinned Soft Autumn.   

I am no longer convinced that someone with soft, muted colouring is limited to only the Soft Summer palette or the Soft Autumn palette, though some colours will be better than others.  I don't necessarily buy into these deal-breaker colours, whereby if you can't choose between Soft Summer and Soft Autumn you check to see if you are better in dusty rose or a dusty topaz yellow colour.  I suspect there are women who look great in both, or if one is marginally better I am not sure it matters.  

The Soft Autumn deal-breaker colour is something like this, though I do not know that this model is a Soft Autumn. The idea is that only a Soft Autumn looks amazing in this colour.  I am distracted by the fact that it looks a bit like she just wrapped herself in a bedsheet and went off to the party.

                                                              Source

I think that for the soft and muted people it's best to select from the whole range of soft and muted colours, with varying degrees of warmth or coolness, instead of accepting the warmth and coolness divisions created for the two separate palettes and limiting yourself to one of them.  In someone who's neutrality of colouring allows for warmth and coolness to be present, it just makes sense that the potential for a variety of very personalised palettes exists when drawing from both the Soft Autumn and Soft Summer selections. 



Other Soft Autumn celebrities are Giselle Bundchen, Drew Berrymore, The Olsen twins and Beyonce, Melissa McCarthy, Adele


These images are from Pinterest and a dead link.  The top one is a close up of a Soft Autumn swatch fan and the bottom one is a Soft Summer swatch fan. Not all the colours are visible but the differences seem quite subtle and I would wear colours from each.  I don't think the warm and cool differences are even enough to induce any apparent colour clashing when combining these colours.   The Soft Autumn colours seem to be slightly brighter though my favourites are the most muted of them, just as it is with the Soft Summer palette.  I'd never wear that bright pink in 5.3 or 6.3



Saturday, 24 September 2016

Finicky Findings of the Colour Journey


Semi-bedridden for over a month, I've had the opportunity to ponder many things, but it's no surprise that the first pondering I put on this blog is about colour.   I've got no doubts about being suited to the soft, muted colours but I find myself fixated on trying to decide if I am best as a neutral-cool or a  neutral-warm.  

The last time I posted the photo directly above, Steffi from Steff in Scotland commented that it looks to her as though I am definitely a soft.  My conclusion had been soft-cool but she didn't say that.  She said, definitely a soft and I took that to mean she was not certain it was  the soft-cool.

As you can see, different photos will skew warmer or cooler and that makes it tricky.  I am not actually trying to identify my palette based on photos, only using photos to help illustrate my thinking and experiences.  But the fact remains that I see myself in different lighting  and thus do not have a really strong grasp on whether or not my colouring is more warm or more cool.  I have come to believe my camera makes things a little cooler in general, as comparisons of a variety of photos I've taken with the real life objects would indicate.   I know I can look warmer in direct sunlight, where some golden colours in my skin tone show up and my hair can show reddish highlights. 

I am a person who strives to find the best answer and I will pour over all of the input until I feel satisfied.    If it were as simple as wearing which colours I like best, the two palettes above are my obvious choice.   Perhaps it is that simple.  

For some people, the right colours are really obvious.  I have paid too much attention to the input of others, I think, and been lead astray, but then again, I never thought about colours as being only a little bit warm or only a little bit cool.  Very rich, strong warm colours do nothing for me.  Neither do very strong cool colours but people tend to prefer them on me.  Given the choice between a royal blue and a deep mustard and anyone would tell me to go with the royal blue.  

We have a cultural bias towards stronger colours, seeing them as happier, more powerful, more vibrant and we have a cultural bias towards being vibrant and powerful.   So, extroverts in bold colours are what we admire and what many aspire to be.  I got caught in that trap too, that idea that it was no okay to be me.  

What is more powerful, I wonder, a woman dressed in a bold red, or a woman dressed in colours that flatter her and make her feel good?  It shouldn't be difficult to answer that.

Having said that, we all have our version of red.  We all have our own version of most colours with a few exceptions and the understanding I was missing for most of my life was that it was the qualities beyond warm and cool that could matter most.  

Some people are very obviously warm or cool, and that feature is the most dominant aspect of their colouring.  This makes it easy to divide people into colour palettes labelled for the four seasons, allowing for a light cool, a dark cool, a light warm, and a dark warm.  This works for  many people but not everyone.  So the seasonal colour palettes were divided some more, paying attention to other properties and we got 12  or sometimes 16 versions of colour palettes but they still all asked which a person was predominantly, cool or warm.  They all assume that is the most important feature of your colouring.  Then other qualities follow, such should your colours be  bold or muted, shaded with black or toned with white?  

I have been stuck under the assumption that I am more cool than warm, although fairly recently realised that I have some degree of warmth.  Others told me I was cool so I believed it.  It has never quite felt right, and yet it was never glaringly wrong either and although I am neutral I do think I lean a little cool, making royal blue a better choice than deep mustard even though neither is a good choice.   It's the choice between looking old and tired, or old, sick and tired.  

It was makeup that helped me realise I was not purely cool.  Cool toned makeup, even when it is pretty makeup, sort of sits on my face instead of looking like all the loveliness eminates from within me.  

I now believe I can wear warmer colours than I thought I could, because my dominant colour feature is not warmth or coolness but mutedness.  Yes, there will be colours that are too warm in that soft autumn palette but not many.  My own personal neutrality might be 60% cool and 40% warm.  If such a thing is measurable.  Although I've always though I was okay in nearly any pink, I think there are some pinks that are a bit too cool and my best pinks are always muted in some way, either with a brown or mauve and even some of the soft warm pinks that you might call salmon or peach are good, so long as they are very soft and muted.  I had ruled out peach by looking at a bright, highly pigmented peach only, not realising it was the saturation and not the warmth that was the problem.

 
The Seasonal system, claiming to be seeking the best possible palette for an individual, directs you to only one palette.  

I think that this works well for some people.   As I was mulling over my desire for this Soft Autumn Palette, I came across a site called Style Yourself Confident and on it the stylist presents a set of  four palettes that are seasonal, which are just the right thing for some people, and then six that she calls Tonal.

 With the Tonal palettes, she tells us that not every colour in the palette will be our best colour, and I think that is a significant difference compared to seasonal palettes where we are told that every colour in the palette will look great on is.  Whether or not we like the colour is another matter, though people usually do like colours that flatter them.  

In the Soft Summer palette there are no colours I dislike, though being very fond of the softest and most muted looking colours, even the Soft Summer palette has one or two colours that seem very bright to me so I tend to like them less.  It may be true that the Soft Summer colours are my very best, but I am heavily drawn to the Soft Autumn palette and don't see a need to rule it out.  I have not been draped professionally and I've tended to buy cool colours my whole life so many of those Soft Autumn colours are untested on me but I do know that some of them are good.  In past experiments with warmer colours, I will not have been paying attention to saturation and so may have reacted thinking oh this colour is too warm for me, when in fact it was too saturated, too deep or too bright. 

So the Tonal system offers up a palette that is basically the Soft Summer and Soft Autumn combined and then says I won't want to wear every one of these colours but can select easily from amongst them, knowing that the feature I am looking for in colour is mutedness and softness before anything else.  Within those guidelines there will be options that are brighter than others, warmer, or cooler, darker or light, and there is a version of every colour if you remember that colours are on a spectrum and so my version of red might be muted enough to seem more like dark pink or dark coral.  It will read as red on me because of the way it compliments my own natural colouring.

I first noticed this when playing with lipstick colours.  What reads as red on my lips is not always an obviously red lipstick.  Lipsticks from the red section are typically too heavily pigmented for me and I end up blotting them significantly.   I've always known that my best lipsticks had a bit of warmth to them, brown pinks are much better than true pinks and my favourite red is still the brown red of Revlon's Rum Raisin.   If I could find something that resembles it heavily blotted when applied straight from the tube I'd be very happy.  My lipstick experiences are telling me I am not predominantly cool, that there is some degree of warmth in my colouring, but I've never pulled off a lipstick that skews orange.  Heavily pigmented lipsticks in any colour don't really flatter me, as there is nothing else on my face that is heavily pigmented.  I've not really tried the peachier nudes though, always believing I needed to keep a good dose of pink in there.  I would like to experiment with some warmer pinks than I've yet tried.

Lesson from makeup:  I am not purely cool.  

I also want to experiment with some warmer toned clothing.  My mind goes back to the soft olive green winter coat I have and how I get so many compliments when wearing it.  It's one of those colours that is difficult to pin down as cool or warm but seems to be in the neutral-warm spectrum.  An accidental purchase of Soft Autumn instead of Soft Summer. 

I have often heard or read the rule that warm and cool colours should not be combined, but I am not so sure about that if a person is a combination of warm and cool herself.  The whole point is that we look best in the colours that are within us.

Pairing one solid coloured warm colour with one solid coloured cool colour, tends to look more like an accident than any deliberate colour mixing.  I found this graphic on a site explaining why we need to figure out if we are warm or cool.

                                                       Source

To my eye these colours do not clash and that is because they are all soft and muted.  I find harmony of chroma really significant and when colours look to me like the clash, it's usually because there is just no harmony to be found anywhere, not in temperature or chroma.  If the sample above showed all of these colours in a very bright version or a very deep version I still would not find them clashing.  

The secret to mixing warm and cool colours is to keep the chroma the same and to use more than two colours in the outfit so that the mix looks deliberate.  It might be monochromatic but using warm and cool, or it might have two larger swathes of colour with a smaller third colour in accessories.

According to Pamela at Style Yourself Confident, the colours of the seasonal palettes are very precise. 

Autumn colours are always warm, deep and soft
Winter colours are always cool, deep and bright
Spring colours are always light, warm and clear
Summer colours are always cool, light and soft

 
 When analysed in the eighties I was analysed as a Winter and I really think the woman had no clue what she was doing. She pronounced my brunette mother and myself Winters and my blonde friend and her blonde mother as Summers because we all looked better in bright pink than in bright orange but mum and I were 'darker' looking.

Knowing that this was in error, I then went to Summer, still believing that I was definitely cool in colouring.  It was certainly better, and you can see some degree of cool, soft and light in me, but it wasn't quite right because I am not purely cool.  I knew I wasn't overtly warm so where to go from there?  One ends up with a good enough palette but not feeling quite right.  

The 12 seasons were needed because many people are neutral, a mix of warm or cool on a sliding scale, add varying degrees of lightness or darkness and sub-seasons are born.  

The Tonal Family system is another way to address the people who don't fit exactly into the four seasons and I am beginning to think it a better way.  If warmth or coolness are not your dominant feature, then why focus only on a palette that is one or the other?

If you are deep in colouring and not obviously cool or warm, you are of the Deep Tonal Family and can explore a range of warm and cool colours that are deep in saturation.  They will come from the Winter and Autumn palettes.  Every possible deep colour will not be your best but you probably look just as good in some of the cool and deep ones as you do in the warm and deep ones.  Maybe it's not a 50-50 divide but why miss out on those colours?

Browsing different Soft Autumn palettes I came across this picture from the Style Yourself Confident site.  Featuring actress Susan Hampshire, it shows how she might conceivably select from all of the colours that surround her in this image, despite their being a mix of warm and cool.  The unifying feature is their soft and muted quality, a quality which you can also see in the woman herself.  To me, these colours don't look as soft and muted as the colours in the Soft Autumn and Soft Summer palettes I've used at the top of this post, but there is certainly some variety amongst the palettes of different systems and further to that there is the variation in colour one gets with photographs and computer screens.  They do mostly look appropriate relative to her though and colour characteristics are always a matter of comparison.



 Analysts of the 12 seasons type will say that if you know what to look for you will see that one aspect, warm or cool, is just a little better than the other.  I am questioning how much that little bit matters in this case.  I've even seen the Seasons Analysts acknowledge that yes, some women are so near the centre of the warm-cool divide that they can borrow from a sister palette.  They maintain that this is diminishing your opportunity to look your very best.  

So if Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn don't work for you, and you just can't figure out which Seasonal Subtype you belong in  try the Tonal families, to see if Bright, Light, Deep, Muted, Cool or Warm are better categories.  Maybe some of us are trying to narrow it down too much.

As for me, well I am not questioning that I am muted/soft.  It is my comfort zone, my aesthetic preference and I believe it is truly consistent with my own colouring.  I can pull off deeper colours if I wear the makeup to go with them but look washed out without it.  In muted colours I look like I am wearing soft makeup even when I'm not.  I believe that if a colour palette is right, you will still look good in no  makeup and the appropriate coloured pyjamas.  I don't know if for me that is Soft Summer or Soft Autumn or if it is both of them and thus simply a Muted palette.  It's fun to try to figure it out, though I really do not need any clothing items at all.  Perhaps a tee shirt, pair of pyjamas or a scarf from the thrift shop is the best way to experiment for now.  I'm dying to go shopping for things I don't need!  But for now I am still in bed, still recovering.  It's going to be slow but there is progress. 

If this post is excessively rambling even for me...blame the drugs.  I'm still on a high dose of morphine.  

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Laughing is a Gas

A bit of an adventure has occupied me this past month.  I believe I am coming out the other side now but will probably have to be careful for awhile.  My early summer fall down the stairs may or may not be connected to my ruptured disc, I don't know for sure, but following the fall, although a few visits to physiotherapy put my sacrum and pelvic bones back in line, I continued to experience mild sciatica.   It didn't improve over the weeks and then suddenly, one day it got worse and I fell to the kitchen floor in great pain.  I could not move in any direction with agonising equal to childbirth or worse pains. 

A few hours at home with the pain worsening, hyperventilating until my body went numb and shook incessantly, and being unable to get assistance in any other way, I asked my mother to phone the non emergency ambulance.   They were very kind, assessed the situation, gave me laughing gas and got me into a special chair designed to transport patients over tricky terrain where a stretcher on wheels won't go.  In this case that tricky terrain is three flights of stairs and no elevator.  Happily high on laughing gas (rather like chugging back three glasses of wine instantly) I prattled away about all the scents and smells that assailed me.  One of the ambulance attendants was chewing Juicy Fruit gum and the scent of artificial grape overtook all other sounds and smells.  I believe I had my eyes closed which may explain why scent and sound took over.

I spent three hours in emergency where they gave me a cocktail of pain meds, checked to see if I was able to walk two hours after, which I wasn't, and again after three hours, which I was using a walker.  I was released with a prescription and sent off.  My Dad went to obtain a walker and Mum took me home to their house where I could be popped into bed, fed and medicated under supervision and there were no stairs.  I am there still, three and a half weeks later, diagnosed via CT Scan with a badly ruptured disc right above the sacrum at L5/S1  affecting the nerves that travel from my lower back, down my right leg and to my right foot.

Improvement is gradual but steady.  I am heavily medicated but after dosage trials which lead to hallucinations and night terrors, I am comfortably taking medications that address the pain and inflammation, allow me to heal and don't give me any other troubles.  Other than the attendant constipation that is to be expected but I have some revoltingly strong orange syrup for that too.  It is really only today that I am beginning to feel grumbly about wanting to go home.  It's a sign of progress when the patient is grumbling, progression from the days of just lying there totally unable to function, dependent on others, to feeling a bit miserable at wearing the same old pair of pyjamas all day, and not liking the selection of books she has at her bedside.  It's a sign of progress when she decides that she will grumble on her blog, that she will write.

The last writing I did was while awake and hallucinating under the influence of too much morphine.  I had the notion I might be the next Coleridge and pen my own Kubla Kahn.  I have been afraid to look at it since the night I wrote it.

I am typically very optimistic, except when I am not.  I know my family thinks I am deluded wanting to go home in a few days.  Significantly, I cannot sit nor stand for more than a few minutes at a time.  How will I manage my specialised diet and will I remember that I am not to lift anything over 5 pounds?  Surely I will forget and pick up the cat.  I think she weighs six.

I sleep a lot but when I am awake my prime methods of amusement are reading and small dribbles of writing.  I do a lot of thinking of course.  When do I not?  I worry about my plants dying, because as wonderful as my son is he will not remember to water them.  I worry that I am a defective person.  Hah!  I know, I hear you telling me we are all defective.  Perhaps I worry that my defects are not normal defects.  

I foresee a blog post contemplating defects.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Eating My Veggies




Cooking is something that brings me joy, though I am fortunate to have access to and can generally afford delicious and high quality foods.  Food is one of the ways I show love, but a passion for good nutrition as well as good tastes means I am going to find a way to make those vegetables delicious rather than constantly feed my loved ones chocolate cake.  Though I will do that too!   It's easy to forget to consider myself one of those who deserves delicious wholesome food as an expression of love, though in fairness my stamina and energy often do not allow me to cook much.  I try to make large batches and freeze things so that my freezer is well stocked with soups and stews, something easy to reheat on the non-cooking days. 

I have mentioned before that I eat a low carb, high fat diet.  This statement tends to alarm people but it is what brings me optimum health and is backed by science, though media is slow to update the public and many still fear fat too much and sugars and starches not enough. Carbohydrates are the macro nutrient I consume the least of and what I do eat comes from mainly from vegetables, small amounts in dairy and nuts.  I love vegetables, but I've never been a huge fan of them raw, nor of salads made mostly of leaves, though a leaf does make a good carrier for some nice creamy dressing.

It's hot lately, and one of the hottest days of summer occurred today but I still turned on my oven and had a vegetable cooking party that should have included a glass of wine only I was too busy and forgot!  Afterwards I sat in front of the electric fan and had a nice big glass of sugar-free lemonade.  Ahhh

 Here it is before going in the oven.  I wish I'd had more green beans.  I roasted them at 400 degrees F for about half an hour, stirring them half way through the cooking time.



In my opinion vegetables are never better than when they are roasted.  A good mix of roasted vegetables is a great way to use up a hodge-podge and in my case, buying many vegetables in advance can be risky.  If I don't have the energy to cook every day then vegetables end up rotting in my fridge.  It's better to cook up a large batch and eat them over the course of a week, just reheating as needed.  So I roasted green beans, mushrooms, onions, fennel bulb, red pepper, eggplant, carrots and garlic, tossed in olive oil and butter.  When they were done, I added salt and herbes de provence.  Yum!!

Another thing I do with roasted vegetables is puree them in tomato juice or pure tomato sauce to make a thicker, richer tasting sauce that's great with meat or added to soups and stews.

I also had baby spinach and baby kale to use.  I wish I could say I grew most of these veggies but that's not an option for me.  

One of my favourite dishes is something I thought up myself but probably didn't invent.  I don't think there is anything new-it's all been done before.  I call it Creamy Kale Custard and this is how I make it. 

Here is some stuff you need:




I definitely take shortcuts to reduce my required energy output but I still want to cook with real food ingredients.  I usually buy spinach and baby kale in these horrific plastic tubs which are at least recyclable.  I find it the freshest of what is available and the only way to get organically grown leaves.  I can't afford to buy all my produce organically grown, but I prefer to with leaves, red peppers, apples and strawberries.  Whether or not buying food labelled organically grown is worthwhile or not is a huge debate you can immerse yourself in online if you care to. 

Other shortcuts I often take is buying bags of already grated cheese when they are on sale and dehydrated chopped garlic. 

For this recipe you need

1 onion                1 cup cream (I use half 18% and half 33%)*
butter                   1 cup crumbled feta cheese
olive oil                1 tsp salt
4 eggs                  garlic
5 cups greens


When cooking I am not always terribly precise about measuring.  The eggs and cream ratio I stick with as it gives me a result I like but other measurements are generally just approximate. 

Chop the onion and soften in a frying pan with a generous knob of butter and some olive oil.
I just like it done this way but you could skip this step.  Combining butter and oil keeps the butter from burning and I like the flavours of both.

Put the cooked onion, 1/2 cup of feta and the garlic in a baking dish.  I don't know if mine is 8x8" or 9x9" or something in between. 



Whisk together the eggs, salt and cream ( * I used what is called coffee cream or table cream here and whipping cream.  I've made this with full fat milk as well. ) Lens cap optional.



Put the greens on top of the onion mixture.  I don't actually measure out 5 cups; it's more like five handfuls.  I combined a bit of spinach with baby kale in this case.  It's just preference.  Pack the greens down with your hands and top with the rest of the feta cheese. 

It will look like this:


Then pour the egg-cream mixture evenly over top.  I press it all down with my rubber spatula after, just to even it out.


This dish would lend itself well to being topped with breadcrumbs but I didn't have any gluten free and low carb bread on hand. It would also be lovely with more grated cheese on top, any white cheese or cheddar.  Is there any such thing as too much cheese? 

Bake it in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the centre.


This makes about 4 servings if it's the main dish and 6-8 if it's eaten as a side dish. I happily eat it for breakfast too.


Tomorrow it's a pork roast in the slow cooker! 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Life is About Change

This morning around 6am I wrote a really good blog post in my head as I lay in bed.  I was exhausted from shopping for vegetables and prepping them all and doing some big batch cooking the previous night, so instead of getting up and recording all of these brilliant thoughts, I went back to sleep and woke again at 1:22 pm having forgotten entirely about writing anything.

I have been wondering if this blog is dead and whenever I am wondering something it usually turns out to be very true.  Is it resting or is it dead? I don't yet know but something is going on.  Or not going on.  Maybe it's just change.

We all go through change.

I am somewhat aware of having a blogging audience though its seems a little surreal and I tend to forget.  Through blogging I met a wonderful group of women, mostly personal style bloggers whose blogs I was reading at the time I began this one.  They welcomed me to their blogging community and supported me.  They were (and some still are) regular readers and commenters on my blog.   Then two things happened.

One is that I figured out my personal style and also figured out that I didn't want to photograph it.  What to do?  Well, I rarely lack something to talk or write about and I am still obsessed with colour and still have opinions on style and clothing and various other things.  And the theme of this blog was never quite set in stone though I don't think I am succeeding at writing for a target audience.  I write for myself and to reach anyone I happen to reach.  I like to imagine connections, commonalities, being able to help someone somehow with my own experiences.

The other thing that happened is that I got exhausted and overwhelmed because I took on too much.  Any of us can do that.  We all have our limits.  Mine are more pervasive in my life than I want them to be, or perhaps more than I think they should be in order for me to live up to the societal standard of business and extroversion.

In my offline life I am not terribly social and I do not have a large circle of friends.  I have many acquaintances and several casual friends whom I might see once or twice a year.  I have two close friends, parents, a son and a partner who are my priorities in life.  This is the maximum I can manage and even then I do not meet my own standards.  Why did I think I could manage a large online social circle as well?  I suppose I thought so because the internet provides a certain amount of anonymity, a casual environment, the privacy of one's own home, all which appeal to an introvert.  And thus I mistakenly thought I could maintain a circle of online friends whose blogs I would read daily and comment on.

Hah! Why would I think that when I see my closest girl friend about once a month? 

I am not capable of demonstrating how much I care, how interested I am and of being a supportive friend to every person I meet whom I really like.  And yet I have somehow gotten the idea that I should.  Or maybe it's not a should, maybe I would like to, but it's definitely not realistic.  And why should I imagine that most people will notice or care if I slip quietly away.  I cannot imagine myself  as important to too many people even if well liked.

So what is going on with my thinking that I am struggling with enormous guilt over this shift?

If I knew the answer to that I probably wouldn't have a blog.

I am driven to write and I write in many places.  I readily share my thoughts, opinions and musings on many subjects though am also much more private than I at first appear.  This blog is not about the people in my life.  It is not a family lifestyle blog.  I do not talk about my son, my partner or my parents other than to sometimes mention them in passing.  In many ways my intention was to write about how I go through life coping with a debilitating autoimmune disease, and yet I've found that I don't like to dwell on the negative, on my limits, on the obstacles.  There are large gaps in the story of my life if you try to piece it together by what you read here.  It's very easy for me to forget that this is the internet, that it is public and forever.  On the other hand, perhaps I am subconsciously more aware of that than I realise myself.  I don't care that there are now many photos of me looking less than my best and that sometimes I even get startled by my own image if I do a google search for something.  And it's not likely to be photo I actually like.  I wonder sometimes if anyone has used a photo of me randomly as an example of something.  Resting bitch face?  Ugly skirt?  How not to pose?  Not that I care.

What I care about, what I am protective of and  typically don't write about is not 'what' but 'whom'.   I realise that I have tantalisingly dropped the word 'partner' a few times and yes that is my way of dipping my toes in the ocean.  As I figure out where this blog is going, and it may just amble for awhile, I am also figuring out what aspects of my personal life will be told here.  Some are too precious, too personal, too complicated to share.  Some of my own stories are tangled up in the stories that also belong to others and they are not mine to make public.

I've been so exhausted for the past six months that I've done little writing or painting.  I've had little to share and it felt like my style journey was over, at least for now.  There has also been something else occupying much of my attention.

Fairy Tale Romance : The Abridged Version.

I have had a very rewarding long distance friendship for several years and although we clearly loved each other we thought there were too many obstacles keeping us physically apart.  Despite this we could not give each other up and thus accepted the limitations of the relationship rather than reject it and move on.  I kept this relationship very private, though not a total secret, and typically referred to myself as a divorced and single woman.  One day, several months back, a misunderstanding occurred in which my friend and I each thought the other was breaking it off.  This thankfully brief period of grief was when a friend convinced me to take my mind off things by trying online dating and I recorded some of my experiences here.

Thankfully the 'break-up' and the online dating lasted only five days and after getting things all sorted out again, we made new plans and new arrangements and are moving forward together as a couple.  I imagine I might want to write more about this in the future but for now I am not sure. 


There are many thoughts in my head about relationships, abusive marriages, moving forward in life, but it's easier to post terrible pictures of unflattering skirts and talk about whether or not I am a Soft Summer and more socially acceptable too!  Transitions are coming and while they may not involve clothes I will probably find myself writing about them.












Friday, 5 August 2016

Soft Summer Yellow

My relationship with yellow has always been complicated.  It's one of the colours where I love some versions and really dislike others.  I could never find a yellow that flattered me so have not even attempted to wear yellow since 1986.  In home decor I tend to favour ochre yellow and certain mustards but never felt they were my best colours to wear.  I also love pale buttery yellows but those seem to show up in the shops much less often than brighter yellows.

Once I had Soft Summer colour swatches to play with I fell deeply in love with the Soft Summer yellow and am now on a quest to find it.  I must have some clothing in this yellow!

The closest I have come so far is a very very pale yellow tee shirt that my mother informed me was cream.  I still think it's very pale yellow but it does seem to depend what colour you see it next to.  Whatever you call it, I love it.  It's coloured something like this one from Soft Surroundings.



In the meantime I collect pictures of what I believe to be Soft Summer yellows on my Pinterest board, keeping in mind it is difficult to identify a colour without comparisons. 

                                                            Source: Pinterest


                                             J Crew dress-not sure of picture source



I love the yellow on the top and the grey-blue colour on the bottom of this image.  Soft Summer yellow gets a bit of a greenish look as it gets darker, because it is toned with a bit of blue-grey as all the colours are.


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If I were younger and doing the bride thing, I would wear a pale yellow gown.



                                             A flapper  bride could wear this one.

                                                      Pinterest dead link


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I keep coming back to look at this colour combination though I wonder if the scarf is a bit too bright.  Still, it gives me ideas!






This isn't my Polyvore set and I wouldn't wear any of these things but I love the yellow of the dress.

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This pale yellow is probably my favourite.  Just a little more yellow than cream, perhaps. Pale butter.  According the site these are actually white roses, so it's just the lighting that makes them look yellow.

                                                  How about a soft yellow door?

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                       It looks like my key word when shopping should be buttercream.

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How could I not even realise how crazy I am about soft yellow?  Well the secret's out now.  I could keep collecting pictures all night.


None of these images are mine and they were all sourced through Pinterest.  I have attempted to follow the links and attribute the source but I don't think all sources I've credited are original.  

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Soft Summer Celebrities

 This turned into a very long post.  It seems to be the way I do things lately-huge post once a week.  It's just me, sorting my thoughts, getting it out to make room in my head.



 Many of the Soft Summer celebrity examples have darker skin and are notable for a low-medium contrast between hair, skin and eyes.  However, most celebrities are also likely to have dyed blonde hair and a faux tan.  It has been close to thirty years since I've gotten a deliberate sun tan and in avoidance of the so-called farmer tan I always applied sunscreen when I went out to do any gardening.  Any slight colour I may pick from brief exposure is generally not noticeable to anyone.  It has also been a good twenty years since I've attempted to be a blonde and in the past year I've given up all dying experiments and am just wearing my natural hair.  Until I discovered the Soft Summer category of personal colour analysis I thought I was dull and boring looking.


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We are not taught to see beauty in the soft and subtle appearance that is natural to the soft season categories.  Anyone who has ever had her hair colour called mousy or dish-water believed that in order to shine she had to correct her hair.  In the picture above, Kerri  Russel is wearing makeup.  She probably has the whole works-brow pencil, eye liner and shadow, foundation, blush, lipstick-but it is applied lightly and the colours are soft.  There is no bronzer.  There are probably highlights in her hair but they are subtle, just one or two shades away from her natural colour, thinner and thicker sections coloured but not too many of them.  Her dress is a beautiful soft blue.  She looks gorgeous and you could believe that she just naturally looks like this.

A Soft Summer can pull off black but a muted softened black is best-more slate or charcoal.  Typically, wearing black does require some dramatic makeup to balance it.  Kerri pulls off this look though I would make the dress a softer slate colour and the lips less icy pink if I could.  I prefer the look in the picture above but sometimes we dress ourselves to suit the situation more than to suit our own natural look.  The eye liner used here does not appear to be black, though it is dark. 

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This is what happens when Soft Summer wears black eye makeup.

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So much prettier without, in my opinion.  Now we see those stunning eyes!

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The best glamour photo of Kerri Russel I have found is this one.  The makeup is still more dramatic than every day makeup but it's soft, smokey, blended, and the lips are not ice-pink.  Photoshopped, yes, but still stunning.  Keep this stylist!

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 Here is another glamour look that is less soft but still works because it is how Soft Summer does bold.  It's still softer than the red dress photo above.  Kerri's best version of a red dress would be less saturated and a slightly bluer-red. I have a medium-dark mauve pink lipstick that reads as red on me.  The lipstick Kerri is wearing is probably more pink looking in the tube but it has the same effect as a bold red lip.  Her eye-liner is probably charcoal, not black and it's smudged slightly.



 When I get my makeup wrong it sits on top of my face.  You look at me and see makeup.  If I am in the right general region of colour you might see pretty makeup.  That's what happens when my makeup colours are too cool, and what I discovered when I experimented with the True/Cool Summer colours.

Of course you can do whatever the feck you want to.  If you like neon purple lips and rainbow eye shadow you are clearly not aiming to look like you woke up like that.  If you are goth and line your eyes heavily in black because you like the goth look, not because you think you are making your eyes more beautiful, then you are aiming for something different from what I am talking about.  In fact the goth look probably works best on those of us who don't wear black well, since the whole look is aiming for death warmed over slightly.


  When we see celebrities or models we are usually seeing them in a highly manipulated state, regardless of whether the manipulations are believable looking or not.   Thus you will see the same lighter coloured celebrity typed sometimes as a summer and other times as a spring, or a darker coloured one sometimes as an autumn and other times as a winter. It can be difficult to determine if someone is Soft Summer or Soft Autumn just going by photos. 



Thus, Finding celebrity examples of your seasonal colour type is probably not overly helpful.  Looking at celebrity images may have actually delayed or confused my journey to identifying my own colouring.  I had initially thought I was Soft Summer and then with so many of the celebrity examples having duskier skin than I do, many of them tanned whether faux or real, I kept second guessing, and thinking that my slightly higher contrast level must mean True/Cool Summer.  I eventually realised that my photos were not always going to be accurate representations of my colouring in the same way that they aren't always for celebrities.  Different lighting can enhance or detract in different ways.  I became frustrated with taking outfit photos because I couldn't get accurate lighting so the darks looked much darker and the lights much lighter. I have seen photos of myself where my eyes and hair looked nearly black. 

 I can get very natural lighting in my kitchen sometimes but I now know that my camera is still making the image cooler.  I learned that trying to take photos of some beautiful yellow fabric which kept showing up as white in the photo.  In brighter sunlight I look a little more golden and that is also closer to what I see in the bathroom mirror because I have a skylight in my bathroom.

These photos are about a week apart, taken in different rooms with different levels of sunlight coming in the window.  I am probably wearing mascara in the top photo, and no makeup at all in the bottom one. 


                                                      Here is the difference.








So, figuring out a celebrities seasonal colour type from photos is tricky and it's not the way to figure out your own either unless you use a large quantity of photos for comparisons and eliminate the obviously inaccurate pictures.  Comparing pictures of yourself or even your reflection in the mirror with pictures of celebrities is not the best or easiest way to figure out your own type either though it might help narrow it down.  Photos like the top photo of me lead me astray in the direction of True/Cool summer because the picture is very cool toned.  I do wear the lightest shade of makeup available in foundation but it's a neutral one, not cool or warm.  The cool ones are too pink and the warm ones too orange.





 When True/Cool Summer wasn't quite working I noticed it first in the makeup.  But I also realised that I was instinctively selecting Soft Summer colours and convincing myself they were True Summer colours.  Without a comparison the difference is subtle.  I just naturally sought the softest and most muted cool colours I could find.  I also am drawn to cool shades of brown which do work for a Soft Summer and typically do not work for a True/Cool Summer who is best in light to medium grey. While dark colours can drain me if they are heavily saturated, Soft Summer colours do include darker tones than True/Cool Summer does. T/C Summer is brighter. 

I decided there was a hierarchy of what suited me.

Best:  soft and cool-neutral

Second Best:  cool tied with very soft neutral-warm

Second Worst:  dark and strongly saturated

Worst:  bright and saturated

Deadly:  bright and warm


I also noticed that while many of the celebrities identified as Soft Summer have a sort of slightly tanned, dusky skin tone (a caveat being that they are probably also spray-tanned) there were some identified as Soft Summer who at least sometimes looked as fair skinned as I do.



Naturally darker haired, paler skinned celebrities thought to be Soft Summer include Kristen Stewart, Bianca Balti and Rachel McAdams and Emilia Clarke as well as Kerri Russel, who I began this blog post with.


                                          Emilia Clarke     Source


                                          Bianca Balti      Source



And finally, I read that Soft Summers are often misidentified as Winters, especially so in the days of Color Me Beautiful and only four seasons.  That is exactly what happened to me.  I knew it was wrong and I was miserable with the designation.  Winter colours felt oppressive.




I am going to stop right here....okay not quite here but soon.  I bought myself a second Soft Summer colours fan to use when shopping.  I ordered it from True Colour International, an Australian company,  and am very pleased with it.

It's difficult to find photos with accurate colouring but this one is really good.  It's just not quite the whole fan.

                                     Source: Pinterest further links seem to be dead


Here is the fan spread out.  Also found on Pinterest but with a dead link.






I am currently obsessed with the Soft Summer yellows.  Expect my next post to be about yellow.