Be ugly, take risks and find a way.

My high school drama teacher and director once said to me during notes of a play we were doing, “Karen, you need to stop being afraid of being ugly.” At the time, I took it to mean I was too vain–which I knew to be true. As I got older I heard his words resonate with far more meaning. It is not a fear of being physically ugly that holds us back on stage and in life, but fear of being emotionally ugly. To greet what ever makes you vulnerable, opens you up to the human-ness of life and allows you to share yourself and tolerate it in others. However “ugly” it may be. So often I would think of him and wonder how he was doing. I would reflect on how much he meant to me. How he gave so much of his time to me and shared the kind of criticism that never wounded, only inspired. Four years ago, after a 33 year absence, I found a way to reach out to him. For a couple of years, when he was in Florida or I was in NYC we met for coffee. He had intimated that he had a life altering diagnosis that would result in dementia but he was not in danger yet. Then two years ago, he didn’t answer my texts, or emails. I put it out of my head-busy with life. I tried to reach out again a few months ago. Nothing. I feared he was gone to me. Finally, I realized that putting it off trying to reach him was the single worst thing I could do- for him and for me. I wrote his wife a letter, the old fashioned kind with a stamp, expressing my love and concern for them both. Within in days, she emailed me and let me know which phone numbers to call to reach him. He isn’t doing well. But he is still doing. I can’t let a person whose wisdom still lives in my head, and who also lives in my heart go. Be ugly, take risks find a way.

Summer Black

Maybe it’s because I am a New Yorker at heart, but black still resonates style for me, even in the summer. Here are a few black dresses that can easily transition into colder weather– one day, far into the South Florida future.

White Out

Vince

All white outfits used to elicit comments like,” you look like a nurse,” but since there has been a generation of people who never saw nurses in anything but scrubs, I haven’t heard that comparison in forever. An all white outfit is timeless chic.

To What Length?

So much of what I enjoy about style isn’t what is “in fashion” but the appreciation of why something looks great. The litmus test of what is good looking isn’t that it’s the hottest trend, but a well done execution including the right proportions. To that end, I am scaling back on shorter dresses and skirts. The longer, below knee length not only works because it’s currently fashionable but it works with my post middle age sensibility.

Iconic Palms

CW Stockwell Martinique
CW Stockwell Martinique, CW Stockwell Image

The April 2019 issue of Architectural Digest features a wonderful “Object Lesson” article by Simon Upton of the origin of the iconic banana leaf/jungle wallpaper. The wallpaper used to be the only way to enjoy this tropical feast, but now you can purchase an iPhone case, robe, or beach towel with this iconic design at https://www.dorothydraperfw.com

Freshening

Very tired of the yellow

We have all heard of Marie Kondo and her KonMari method. Some people have more of a hoarding tendency than others. Some are natural purgers. They see an item in their home that isn’t being used and feel no attachment to it. Out it goes to goodwill, the garbage or to a friend. I like to think that when I bring an item into my home, a corresponding one is removed. It doesn’t work perfectly (I do share my home, so it’s hard to make an unanimous decision.) I was very tired of my laundry room painted yellow walls and harsh fluorescent lighting. A little freshening was in order.

Paint, lighting, moulding.