Okay, it’s official. I’m a groupie. Brenda Kinsel read my blog. I have all her books. I have given several away over the years. I read her blog and “Tips and Teasers” every month.

When I found she’d left a comment on my blog, I had to read it twice to make sure it was really her, and then I got on the phone and woke the Baby up in Boston, and screamed “Brenda Kinsel read my blog!!!” After the Baby calmed me down and asked me what the comment said, I had to read it to her, because I couldn’t remember what it said. Didn’t she get it? Brenda Kinsel!!!! Then I had to email Mr. GG (who was in a meeting) and let him know. He was happy for me in a bemused way.

So naturally for the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about clothes. And talking about clothes. My sister told me about a site called “” which lets you plug in all your measurements and then suggests outfits for you, which you can order up immediately from a variety of vendors. I fooled around on the site for a while. It was fun, but I find I still have a disconnect between what I like and what looks good on me. At least these days, I try to buy only stuff I love, and it is amazing how things co-ordinate colorwise and stylewise.

I still tend to focus on the details instead of the big picture. Which is why I have this thing for shoes and purses and vintage jewelry. I may be in a white shirt and jeans, but it will be accessorized with several chunky raw turquoise necklaces, or an art nouveau enameled floral pin, or a bright cardigan. I have several pairs of green shoes. I love green shoes and boots. Mr. GG makes me jewelry, and even though he keeps giving me new stuff, I truly love my moonstone ring, celtic braid cuff, and the massive hammered silver cuff he gave me years ago. (He also made our wedding rings, oh so long ago – he made braided Turk’s Head knots out of the same piece of gold wire. That is romance, Mr. GG style. Pretty cool, huh?).

My mother-in-law gave me a family heirloom opal ring with my name and “1899” engraved on the inside. Turns out Mr. GG’s great grandparents had the same names as he and I do. I love that ring. I also crocheted a bunch of my Cracker Jack charms into thin strings of embroidery floss and wear 3 at a time. I have some real pearls, and I have bakelite bangles. I have a collection of enameled bar pins, and pendants of fossilized turitella shells that Mr. GG made. I wear all this stuff, depending on the day, the event, or my whim.

Ah, I see I digress again. Get used to it. That’s how my brain works. Anyway, since I am officially a Brenda Kinsel groupie, I have a story for her.

When my mom died, we did not have a funeral. We had a celebration of life for her at her favorite restaurant. We played a CD of photos we’d made for her retirement party. The Baby assembled several huge posters with photos of Mom throughout her life. We put out souvenirs from her trips to the Democratic National Convention and political stuff that meant something to her. We invited everybody. And the place was packed. People came, talked, ate, laughed, told great stories, and raised several glasses to Mom.

My sisters, sister-in-law, and the Baby and I all chose a piece of Mom’s jewelry to wear to this shindig. We stood in a receiving line, each of us sporting a pin or earrings or necklace that was Mom’s, as people came by to tell us how great Mom was. Some of them recognized our jewelry. The Baby wore a pink satin cocktail dress with long black gloves, and a complete parure of aurora borealis crystal jewelry Mom bought in the 1950s. (It was a very casual event). But the Baby pulled it off, and plenty of people told her she was as beautiful as Mom always said she was.

Anyway, wearing something that belonged to Mom, but that also reflected our own personal style, somehow enhanced this occasion, and added some kind of personal bonding between us women. That is the power of clothing and accessories. I’m not saying it is always like that, but it can be.

Oh well. I still haven’t purged my closet this season, but I have been looking at issues of Lucky, In Style, Victoria and County Living. I am back in the research phase – seeing what resonates on my horizon this month.

And as far as being a Brenda groupie goes, how about we all put on something we LOVE today (and celebrate being fine, strong, attractive women), in her honor.


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