Saturday, 29 July 2017

Summer Minimalism and Blueberry Cake

When I walk down the street in my smallish town, it strikes me that more people than not are employing a form of style minimalism.  This may or may not be deliberate and it is arguable that some people do it more stylishly though also arguable that many people aren't concerned much with being stylish.

Personal style minimalism can be summed up with the advice to wear simple clothing, only one or two accessories, wear what suits you and what you like.  You can't please everyone so there will always be someone who thinks you don't look good.  So what.  I would suggest that most people also don't care what you look like so suit yourself.

As I settle more and more into a return to a minimalist personal style it isn't any sort of calculated thing.  It's comfort in my own skin, knowing what suits my lifestyle and personality and understanding that I like many things that don't work for me.  Finding what works and appeals has been the process and inspiration can come from admiring others but it can also obscure and impede that process.  Perhaps it is a necessary delay while discovering one's true self.

I don't believe that we invent ourselves, I believe we discover who we are.  There can be different aspects to discover at various times in our lives, certain traits that are more or less significant or ways we wish to modify who we are and how we live.  But all of that is already within us.  Inventing ourselves would imply that nothing previously existed except raw materials.  From the moment we are born with a set of genetic tendencies we begin to experience life, developing ideas, strategies, understandings, habits, responses, all of the things that shape who we are.  We spend life becoming ourselves. 

When I wore multiple layers, accessories, creative outfits, I was still being myself.  I was being the explorer version of myself.  I was still trying things that appealed, that spoke in some way of who I am.  

In the process of that experimenting I discovered that part of who I am, a very significant part, is also someone who is physically comfortable in less, who feels movement and ease inhibited easily.  I also discovered that part of who I am at the moment is someone who has limited access to the styles I wanted to try.  Trying to find appropriate layering pieces and accumulate a wardrobe of creative layers became too all consuming and exhausting.  Who I am is not someone who wants to make that a hobby or passion.   Multiple accessories get physically in the way of my reading, writing and painting efforts so they accumulated on my dresser and were rarely worn.  All of this trying, exploring, learning and concluding IS part of who I am.

The result at this point is that it has lead me back to the style I had before I ever began searching, and before I got a bit mired in my work uniform.  For most of my life I have been told that I look great, that I am stylish or always look put together.  It's a nice compliment and I have a tendency to dismiss compliments as insincere even though I understand logically that they aren't all insincere.  So if other people saw me as looking like I had a distinct style and that it was appealing, then I must have been doing something effective before the period of great experimentation.  I thought that because it came easily to me that it couldn't be all that special.  I didn't know that being able to effectively combine colours, to know how to wear something that 'goes with' rather than something that matches was a skill.  I didn't know that French women were lauded for wearing a scarf with everything.  I have always worn scarves.

I was wearing what I liked, relatively minimal outfits but with a finished and deliberate look.

I was not overthinking outfits which is surprising considering that I overthink most things.  

I was doing some things wrong, in that I was usually wearing colours that didn't flatter me, but I have always been drawn to earth tones, muted warm colours and those strange, dirty yellow-greens that most people run from.  I just believed that when I wore those I was sort of cheating or getting away with something.  It's funny how well an erroneous belief can stick.

Fast forward to now, when I know my best colours and I am sure about what I want to wear, there is still a challenge in finding these things.....

getting good quality and good fit at a price I can afford
finding a good selection in a small town
and not being very comfortable with online shopping for clothing.

But now that I have realised I am content to have a small wardrobe, to wear the same things over and over, and that while my personal style may help define me my individual clothing pieces don't, limited selection is less of a problem.

In summer, I become even more minimal than in Winter, as hot sweaty days, allergies and the need to wear sunscreen all inhibit my use of makeup.  A motorcycle helmet means simple hair is best and I must accept some damage to whatever bouncy effect I achieved upon first washing and drying it.  Accessories get in the way of reading, writing, painting or just look a bit silly with my motorcycle jacket, so all summer I've been wearing two gold studs in each ear.  I am usually barefoot or in the same pair of cognac coloured sandals unless I am wearing my motorcycle boots. 

And yet I still dabble in lipstick.  The concept of wearing no other makeup other than lipstick seems like something a bit old fashioned, from the days of a powdered nose and some lipstick being required to look presentable, perhaps also gloves and a hat.   My grandmother wore no makeup other than to sometimes powder her nose on going out in public and my great aunt wore her signature bright red lipstick year round.  It seemed natural and normal that they did these things. Every generation has the additions they consider indispensable or the small touches they would rarely go without and I might be mistaken but if I had to guess I would have said that for my generation it is eye makeup.  The advice is often to use just a flick of mascara if nothing else.  Once I might have followed that advice.  I think I did in the eighties.

A flattering colour on my lips seems to wake up my face, bring out some colour, make my eyes sparkle, and because I don't do a dramatic makeup application I can achieve a stained effect that suits the minimalist makeup approach.

I have mentioned before that I am particular about lipstick scent and taste.  Everyone is different but for me the Revlon Super Lustrous bullets are scent and flavour free.  They are available in drug stores for a reasonable price and I can find good colours for my True Autumn palette.  Applied and blotted twice, I get a minimal and subtle look and the colour lasts well, only sometimes needing reapplying after eating or drinking.

                                                       Revlon Peach Me

                                                 Revlon Rich Girl Red

I am wearing two particular colours this summer, Rich Girl Red which is a sheer coral red, somewhat like a tinted lip balm, and Peach Me  which is a more neutral, soft, my lips but better sort of look.  I was initially hesitant as Peach Me is a pearl format but either pearl works for me or it is a very subtle pearl.  It isn't sparkly or chalky as I worried it might be. In these photos I have just swiped it on straight from the tube once.

Rather embarrassingly, I own four nail polishes that are all very similar.  I make my excuse that they look a bit different in the bottle, but when painted on my nails L'Oreal Julianne's Nude is indistinguishable from Sally Hansen Mudslide.  L'Oreal Bare it All and Au Naturale are the same colour but Bare It All is slightly thicker and more opaque.

Very short nails, rough cuticles and sloppy application aside, here is what they look like on my nails, first Julianne's, then Mudslide, Bare it All then Au Naturale on my pinky.

I favour last year's purchases, Julianne's Nude and Bare It All.  This year's mistakes will go to a thrift shop.

If you were drinking coffee or tea while you read all of that then you should have had a slice of this Blueberry Cake!

It's a bit like a coffee cake, very moist, and bakes up well in a loaf pan.  Because this cake is low carb and moderate-high in protein and healthy fats, I don't hesitate to eat it for breakfast.  It is easily part of a low-carb/keto eating plan.


2 1/8 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup dry sweetener ( I use Splenda )
1/2 tsp salt
5 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil or non trans fat shortening, melted
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 cups blueberries-fresh or frozen though frozen tends to turn the whole loaf purple

 Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in the liquids, mixing well.  Fold in the blueberries last.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease it well.  A square pan also works, but watch baking time.

 Bake 50-60 minutes, checking that it is neither raw in the middle nor over baked.  My cake in a loaf pan does best at 55-60 minutes.  Some foil placed loosely over top for the last ten minutes can help.

Cool and remove from pan.  Slice and enjoy!  Can probably be frozen but mine always gets eaten quickly.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recommendation for lipsticks. I too am fussy about taste and scent. Will check out the Revlon range. Not that I wear much if any most days.
    Experimenting a little with new colours at the moment.
    I love these colours on you with your new glasses and the peach top. So lovely.
    I had to laugh as I too possess multiple nail polishes that are almost identical. Mine are rose gold. Funny, I just realised before I discovered my new colours, my favourite nail polishes were rose gold and orange red. Maybe I intuitively knew something about my colours.
    Xo Jazzy Jack


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