Pepperberry Faves and No One’s Perfect

I’m still on a writing hiatus while I wait for inspiration, so in the meantime, I’ll share my favorite Pepperberry pieces from their new collection.

pepperberry spring 2014 faves

Of the three, I’m most tempted by the purple shirt dress because it’s multi-seasonal and versatile. The jacket is only good for cool weather, but it also seems super versatile. I’ll be sure to update you if I buy one of these. (As for style personality, I think these are leaning toward Randi, with a nod to Clare.)

Oh! And I also need to eat my words about ordinary bodies a little bit. Just as Henriette Steenstrup reminded me that none of us are ordinary, this Huffington Post article reminds us that nobody’s perfect–not even Amy Adams. Thanks to a reader for doing more research than I did (although I still think she looks pretty perfect in American Hustle)!

“‘Some of these actresses or public personas who are very public about their disciplined diets, more power to them. I just don’t see the point,” Adams tells Allure. “I’m just not going to be one of those people photographed in a bikini where people are like, ‘OMG, look at Amy!’ I mean, it might be OMG, but not for the reasons I want.”

[. . . ]

Perfect isn’t normal, nor is it interesting,” she declares, adding of her looks, “I have no features without makeup. I am pale. I have blond lashes. You could just paint my face — it’s like a blank canvas. It can be great for what I do.”

 

Fitting In ~ Love the One You’re With

If you can’t be with the one you love, honey,
Love the one you’re with.
Love the one you’re with.

I’ve seen a few lingerie bloggers’ recommendations for Valentine’s Day goodies, and I’m thinking about love and what I’ll be doing for my Valentine this year. First, I should tell you what I did last year. Late last spring was a milestone anniversary for my spouse and me. I’m the less romantic of the two of us; I forget gift giving occasions with regularity. My sweetie is the opposite, and never fails to mark a birthday or Hallmark occasion with some expression of love.

As a surprise, I decided for Valentine’s Day to celebrate with a month of daily treats and surprises for him: breakfast in bed, a heart shaped cookie left on the pillow, making favorite dinners, leaving hand-written notes, a foot massage while watching TV, that sort of thing. I confess that some of the inspiration was an attempt to butter up my Valentine in the hopes of getting a pair of diamond earrings for our anniversary. The earrings never materialized, but it hardly mattered. I had fun planning a daily treat. It’s not easy to come up with something new each day, especially on a limited budget, but it was a great thing to do. I learned something about refreshing love with a commitment to acting in the best interests of the one you love. It became no longer what I would get out of it, but entirely what I could put into it.

This year, I’m thinking about what loving myself entails, particularly as the shape I inhabit isn’t my first choice. I’ll be my own Valentine for this month. Each day for the month of February, I’m doing something good for me. These are treats, surprises and good-for-me actions. Some are new routines and others are out of the ordinary, behaviors to get out of a rut and to remind me to love me by acting in the best interests of me. I haven’t given up on last year’s Valentine, but he still has that cellophane wrapped heart-shaped cookie, so that needs a new approach. In the meantime . . .

How do I love me? Let me count the 28 ways . . . .

  1. Started guitar lessons. Love this mind and want it to learn new things.
  2. Gave myself a manicure. Love these nails and need them short to play the guitar.
  3. Walked up eight flights of stairs to my office. Love these legs, and walking up 132 steps each work day will get them toned.
  4. Making a deposit into a Roth IRA. Love my future self, and I’ll appreciate that savings someday.
  5. Getting a Fitbit. Love this heart beating inside my chest, and going to treat it well with 10,000 steps per day.
  6.  Getting my five servings of vegetables & fruit. Love this colon and giving it plenty of fiber.
  7.  Exfoliate & moisturize. Love this skin I’m in with a Spa-At-Home day.

And so on, each day for the whole month. Ideas welcomed.

What I’ve learned just a few days in is that it takes exactly as much effort to love a body I’m less than thrilled with as it does to love one that is flawless. And I’m just as deserving with this shape as I’d be with any other.

My Multiple Style Personalities, Part 2

Since I currently have only two style personalities, it may be more accurate to title these posts, “My Split Style Personality”. At one extreme is cool Clare Underwood from House of Cards. At the other extreme is warm Randi from Lilyhammer.

henriette steenstrup 1

henriette steenstrup b

henriette steenstrup c

henriette streenstrup d

In one sense, Randi’s outfits are much easier than Clare’s–no shapewear involved! Everything is in comfortable knits. However, in another way I find her outfits far more challenging–different colors and patterns! Blending colors and patterns is so difficult for me that I usually settle for a lot of neutrals with just an accent color. Clare has it easy with all her greys and blacks.

It looks like Randi has a basic formula that works well for many busty women: a base column of color topped with cardigans and accessories. She balances the bottom with complementary tights. Randi’s boobs receive absolutely no attention–her clothing is all about reflecting her personality. (Unfortunately, her waist receives no attention either.)

Henriette Steenstrup, the comedic actress who plays Randi, belongs on our Celebrity D+ List.

henriette steenstrup d cup and up list

henriette steenstrup wrap dress

The telltale wrap dress . . . .

henriette steenstrup 2

Don’t you absolutely adore this final photo? (It’s from this post.) Although Lilyhammer‘s treatment of women has disappointed me, I’m thrilled that they used an actress with an “ordinary body” in Season 2–even if we can’t really see it under all those clothes. Actually, this photo makes me realize there may be no such thing as an ordinary body after all!

 

 

Ordinary Bodies

The strangest thing caught my eye during the pool party scene in American Hustle: ordinary bodies. After the movie, Mr. Campbell even brought it up before I could. It was the kind of party where adults did cannonballs and got their hair wet and didn’t let the way they looked in a swimsuit keep them from wearing one. The extras completely stole my attention away from the stars.

ordinary bodies in american hustle

The male star, Christian Bale, fit right in with his awkward comb over and weight gain.

americanhustlepoolpartyandyetagain

Amy Adams, on the other hand, took everything back to business as usual.

americanhustlepartysceneright
She was supposed to catch the male lead’s eye, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t blend in. Ironically, however, she was so typically Hollywood-perfect that she failed to catch my eye. I quickly processed her exotic swimsuit, duly noted that she looked amazing in it, and peered around in hopes of catching more of the ordinary extras. Sadly, the scene switched immediately to Bale and Adams alone in another room, talking about music.

Side note: This wouldn’t be a blog about boobs if I didn’t take this opportunity to highlight the impossible waist-length necklines that Amy Adams wore for the rest of the movie. Inspired by Jerry Hall, Bianca Jagger and Faye Dunaway, her necklines were meant to establish both the confidence and vulnerability of her character, Sidney Prosser. Curious how she avoided nip slips? Double-sided tape and careful carriage.

amy adams plunging necklines american hustle-001

Fresh from American Hustle, Mr. Campbell and I began watching the Netflix series Lilyhammer. I had high hopes during the very first episode. Not only is the main character, Johnny, ordinary looking. So is his love interest, Sigrid, whom he meets on the train to his new hometown in Episode 1.

johnny and sigrid on the train

(Spoiler Alert: I don’t give away major plot points, but I do mention details from the second season below.)

I had high hopes that Lilyhammer would do with its lead actresses what American Hustle had only managed to do with its lead actor and extras–use “imperfect” women. In just the second episode, however, I suspected this wasn’t going to happen after Johnny fired a woman for complaining that the metallic shorts he wanted them to wear in his new bar were a violation of the Working Environment Act.

ordinary waitresses lilyhammer

Johnny then asks his manager, “Those were the best looking waitresses you could find?”

“Yep,” he answers.

“Half of those broads were on the wrong side of menopause.”

As the show continues, women’s bodies become more and more idealized. By season 2, the waitresses could be Victoria’s Secret models.

lilyhammer corset waitresses

The wise and loveable sheriff is replaced by a woman on the “right” side of menopause.

lilyhammer sheriffs

Finally, even Sigrid is replaced. The special education teacher at their children’s school catches Johnny’s eye when she’s no longer wearing her glasses* while drinking with a friend at his bar. (Granted, Sigrid broke up with Johnny at the end of season 1, but did the new love interest have to look like she could be his granddaughter?)

new love interest lilyhammer

——-

There’s a double standard that permits the male leads in American Hustle and Lilyhammer to look ordinary–even homely–but requires the female leads to look spectacular. The double standard isn’t going away any time soon. I know better than to look to the mainstream media for images that celebrate women’s bodies in all their diversity, but that is why that pool scene from American Hustle surprised and affected me. It made me realize how accustomed I am to standard images of beauty and how much I long to see more “ordinary” women’s bodies represented in movies and television. 

*As Rachel Dratch explains in her book, nowadays “the best friend is someone slightly less beautiful than the leading lady, except with brown hair. Or glasses! ‘Hey! She’s wearing glasses! My brain now sees her as slightly less attractive than the lead! Everything makes sense in the world!’”