Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creativity, Conversation, Imagination and a Walk

During our mall walks, if Marty and I have something interesting to talk about, we can get really involved in the conversation and the laps go so much faster. We're actually walking faster too!

Today was one of those good conversation walk days. We talked a lot about movies, media and pop culture. How if Coen Brothers had to make Burn After Reading (or any contemporary American movie maker, for that matter)with the restrictions and censorship of 50 to 70 years ago what would it look like?

Working within boundaries can actually liberate creativity because it forces people to find more creative and innovative ways of expressing sentiments and ideas. Implied meaning (namely sex and violence) trusts that the viewer is bright enough to fill in the blanks. And be creative with their own imaginations. Brain exercise, you know?

P.S. I am by no means suggesting a return to censorship but rather, say for example, a movie maker liked this idea and recreated a contemporary movie within the old screen guidelines. It could be very cool.

Monday, March 30, 2009

References

Marty here. A couple of weeks ago I said I would periodically give some job seeking tips. Today the topic is references. Nowadays, employers are doing all kinds of background checks including criminal background and credit checks. They also rely heavily on references, primarily work references and to a much lesser extent personal. Generally, if you’re new to the labor force -for example currently in high school with no work history, then you’re going to rely on personal references. After that, it’s important to build up some good work references. It’s not enough to give a prospective employer permission to call your previous employer. Many employers, in order to avoid possible future litigation, will only verify dates of employment, whether you were a good employee or not. So begin by calling a former supervisor or co-worker and asking if you can use him/her as a reference. The more information you can provide them regarding what type of job you’re looking for, the better. Sending them a copy of your resume is helpful. Getting more than one contact number is too. Also keep them updated. People can become forgetful in a hurry. Once you have all the contact information down, including name, address, telephone number(s), email address, and in what capacity they worked with you – get it all down on paper. You should have at least three references. If you fall short on three, then use personal. Type up a separate reference list on the same type of paper (you can even use the same heading) you use for your resume. When you get to the interview and the interviewer asks you for references, hand over the list. This seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve interviewed dozens and dozens of applicants over the years and the majority end up fumbling with their appointment/address book, or cell phone directory, or have some names and telephone numbers scribbled out on a sheet of paper. Not all that impressive. It’s the little details that add up and eventually lead to success.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Burn After Reading

We watched Burn After Reading the other night and expected it to be a typical comedy, reviews reporting how hilarious it was.

When I realized it was by the Coen Brothers (per the cover info), as I watched it I realized more and more it would be a Coen Brothers comedy. Not split your sides laughing funny, more subtle than that, filled with irony and twisted humor.

In this instance, it was about the farce "intelligence" today. Much of the humor didn't show up until after almost an hour of watching it. We were looking for light escape and while I wouldn't call it that, in retrospect I did enjoy it. It's an "intelligent film"*,with an amazing play on what constitutes "intelligence," but don't take my word for it. See it for yourself. Here's a taste.



*(I write it as film rather than movie because film is what the subject was referred to in college studies back in my days).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Windmill Update


....from Cape Cod Today

Marty here. I've written about the proposed wind farm in the past, possibly not on this blog - I don't remember. Anyway, there is well-organized opposition to this, despite the obvious benefits. It comes down to spoiling the view for a few select people who have ripped the beaches and built trophy homes along the shore. Today, The Cape Cod Times (the local "newspaper") had a story which I picked up on the website Cape Cod Today. Apparently, the cable running from the farm to the shore is 7 inches in diameter, except that the Times reported it as 7 FEET in diameter and even had an image of 7'6" basketball star, Yao Ming to dramatize the size of the cable. OOOOOOPPPS.........of course, we've known all along where the Times stands on the wind farm...
Cape Cod Today Story

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rago Shapette Waist Cincher, Style 21



We love Rago, not only their wonderful shapewear products, but the company itself. They are very friendly, personable and accommodating people there. Most of their products are made on premises in New York, so you know the quality control is there. This is the Shapette Waist Cincher. It's a chameleon of sorts. In white it's very innocent and ideal as bridal wear, garters and all. In black, with the garters removed, it's a versatile waist cincher that can be worn under or even over. Black with garters is wicked, a take-no-prisoners curve creator. It has hook/eye front closure, removable suspender straps and metal, not plastic garters. You can check it out here:
RAGO SHAPETTE WAIST CINCHER, STYLE 21

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hattie McDaniels

Marty and I watch a lot of old movies, and I do mean old. Some go back to the 20’s and 30’s. Last night’s was a 1935 movie with Katherine Hepburn and Hattie McDaniels called Alice Adams. Fred MacMurray was also in it, but the real star for me was Hattie McDaniels. She played a maid (this was a typical role people of color played back then – or a minstrel – or a musician), but she played the BEST maid. Man, that chick had attitude, chutzpah – she was hilarious. The expressions on her face told more than any words could.

Back in college, I showed a video for a Sociology class about movies and racial stereotyping. It really opened my mind, so I have always been very sensitive to this issue ever since. I feel embarrassed when I hear “darkie” and other words in these movies. But Hattie helped. So did Alice’s brother who showed how music was one of the boundary breakers between people. He was pals with the musicians playing at a fa-fa social event he escorted his sister to, and was shooting craps with them at one point (yes, shooting craps, another stereotype). But it was Hattie and the music breaking down some barriers that spoke to me.

What troubles me is how stereotypes still persist in many movies today. When we watched the movie Crash a few years ago, that was like, wow, blow me away! It was one of the few movies I’d ever seen that hit all our stereotypes right on the head. Just something to think about. In the meantime, here’s to Hattie and music.



**Image from Red Hot Jazz

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Afternoon Tea and Cookies

I have developed this (very bad?) habit of afternoon tea and cookies. Maybe it's the daily walks that I justify this with. Maybe it's my Irish heritage.

It all started with Salty Oats a few years ago. Not being much of a lunch person, it was the perfect snack to have with my tea and fruit in the afternoon. I don't have a cookie every day, mind you. Sometimes, it's just graham crackers or wee ginger snaps (or other deadly buttery goodness I whip up thanks to Marty making it so easy for me since he gave me a KitchenAid mixer -- and when I don't want to share I use chocolate cuz he doesn't like chocolate!)

There are days when I just totally crave a hearty homemade cookie and cold, windy days like today is one of them. So I whipped up my own version of chocolate "salty oats" to have with my tea. Terri would understand (the salty oats creator) as I brought her one of my plain versions a few summers ago when I saw her every week at our farmer's market.




To go with my afternoon cookie, I have become addicted to Mighty Leaf Chai. I brew a homemade pot with my secret source chai in the morning, but for the rest of the day it's the convenience of a Mighty Leaf Chai teabag. And, I'm running up quite a bill for the boxes of it I've been buying along with Salty Oats at my local coffeehouse. So I have to cut back somewhere. Hence, my baking. And when I went to the Mighty Leaf site today for a picture, I found they are having a sale on the chai! I have been watching since September, the last time it was at this price. It's an investment, but in the long run I'll save enough to pay for those boxes at my coffeehouse.


**salty oats image from Chow
** tea image from Mighty Leaf

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sales Reps



How do we decide what gets sold on our web site? One of the ways is through meeting with sales representatives for the many manufacturers. This is Rich Leavy who represents Va Bien, Carnival, Aviana, Elita, Squeem, and others. Rich has been in the business for many years. He is able to give advice on what might work best for us, and also listen to us and relay needs to the manufacturers. He has much input into new styles. One thing I really like about Rich is that if we like something but he thinks it won’t sell well for us, he’ll say so. Rich came by last week to show us some new Carnival and Va Bien styles and to also show us Squeem, AFAP, and Elita products. We do not currently carry products from these companies, but are considering doing so.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Latin Mass

Marty here. Patricia and I haven’t been regular Mass goers for years now. For me, Mass was an integral part of growing up. For years we went to Mass every Sunday morning at 7:15. Once they started doing Saturday afternoon Mass, many parishioners, my self included, jumped at the opportunity to get it over with early. A little before this, Vatican II had brought many other changes to the church, including switching Mass from Latin to native language (English) and turning the altar around to face the congregation. What they did in effect was take much of the mysticism and ritual out of the Mass and made it a very commonplace experience. It was funny because I had been expressing this to Patricia a few weeks ago and then we were watching our Joseph Campbell DVD (interviewed by Bill Moyers before his death in the late 80’s) and Campbell said the same thing.

Well today we turned back the clock, so to speak, got dressed in our Sunday best and went to a Latin Mass that St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis has been recently holding every Sunday at 1:00. Seeing many women (about half) with hats or those lacey things ( I call them doilies, Patricia knows the correct name) brought back memories.

I took Latin in college –I graduated from a Seminary College- but it was nearly impossible to follow the Mass, especially having forgotten to bring my glasses and not being able to read it from the booklet. One thing that I had forgotten was how at communion time we used to kneel along a long semi-circular railing surrounding the altar. As a small kid I can remember trying to squeeze in wherever you could – sometimes it could be quite competitive.

We left with a good feeling, a grounding of sorts, and look forward to next Sunday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old Rubber Girdles

I was chatting with an elderly customer the other night and we got to talking about Playtex girdles of yore- the rubber ones with names like “Living Girdle,” Magic Controller”, and, my favorite “Mold and Hold.” She remembered the struggles of squeezing into rubber, especially on a hot day. These girdles were all rubber with tiny little air holes, and she said she would sweat through the holes to the point where her skirt or dress would get visibly wet. My first thought was “thank goodness we don’t have to put up with this sort of thing today!” But then I also thought, we still sweat and torture ourselves today, except that instead of in the name of fashion, we do it in the name of fitness -pounding the pavement jogging or working out at the gym; sweating through spandex instead of rubber. Maybe times don’t really change.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies -- yum yum! -- and I don't have to share because no one else likes them ;). I use apple, baby spinach and local frozen raspberries (picked last fall), and the spring water we get in Sandwich. Delish!

I was reading blog archives from Em's blog and stumbled upon the smoothie post. From there, I went to Sarah's blog with some recipes. I have been wanting to try green smoothies for some time now as I love fruits and veggies, but don't always like to eat them, if that makes any sense. However, I don't mind drinking them and have been having a smoothie every day -- actually craving one -- it probably equals 3-4 servings of this food group, so I'm well on my way to my daily quota. So easy and soooo good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grenier Seamless Long Leg Unitard



Grenier came out with this lightweight unitard about a year ago. Unfortunately they did not have photos for it. We took some photos, including the one you see here, but the quality of the photographs was poor, so we never listed it and waited for Grenier to come out with pictures. They finally did come out with a picture, so you can check it out by following the link below. This seamless microfiber bodysuit is very lightweight and provides moderate control. It has engineered control zones to support the breast, flatten your tummy, hips, thighs, and lift the derriere. Of course it has the quality that Grenier is renowned for, and is made in O Canada. It comes in sizes 34-40.

GRENIER 6596 LONG LEG UNITARD

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erin Go Bragh or Ireland Forever!

As the granddaughter of an Irish rebel from West Cork (Glandore) I take particular delight in the story of the Nine Famous Irishmen. Sometime around 1848, during the "Young Irish Disorders," nine men were captured, tried and convicted for treason against the queen.

The judge asked if they had anything to say before he sentenced them. To which one of them replied, "My Lord, this is our first offense, but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise on our word as gentlemen to do better next time -- sure we won't be fools to get caught."

Unfortunately, the judge (couldn'ta been Irish) did not get the perverse Irish humor, more's the pity, because he sentenced them to to be hanged until dead, drawn and quartered. Hearty protests ensued which caused Queen Victoria to change the sentence. She banished them to the wilds of Australia for life.

About 25 or so years later, Queen Victoria could not believe that the Sir Charles Duffy, elected Prime Minister of Australia, was the same Charles Duffy she had banished to Australia so many years before. She decided to find out what happened to the other eight.

She found out that Thomas Meagher (the wisecracking dude who pissed off the judge) had become the Governor of Montana. Terrence McManus and Patrick Donahue both were Brigadier Generals for the USA. Richard O'Gorman was Governor of Newfoundland. Michael Ireland followed Morris Lyene as Attorney General of Australia. Thomas McGee was the Minister of Agriculture, President of the Council Dominion of Canada, and a member of Parliament in Montreal.

And the last of the nine? John Michel was a writer and prominent New York politician. His son went on to become the Mayor of New York City.

So, Here's to the Luck o' the Irish! Erin go Bragh! Happy St. Patrick's Day and may we all be so lucky!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Home Gardening

We love to grow our own veggies, and it appears that it's going to catch on big time this year. Check out this AP story here:

HOME GARDEN

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Everyone's Irish

It's the time of year when people from all over wear green and become Irish for a day (or in some places a week). Last week Marty and I went to our local St.Patrick's Day Parade, still a youngster in the world of parades, but fun and promising. The weather was glorious. Yesterday, Marty and I went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Newport, RI. The weather was a wee bit cooler than last week's, but still lovely. The Newport parade is over 50 years old. It was awesome -- We both love to people watch and I was as thrilled with the crowd as I was with the parade. Here's one of the many videos from the 2009 event. (Whoops! Had to switch from the first video I posted -- it pays to preview! Gah!)



More here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Job Searching

Marty here. For the past 25 years or so I’ve worked in employment services. Jobs are becoming much more difficult to find, so I thought that from time to time I’d give some helpful tips. One thing that I can’t stress enough is to not rely solely on ads in the newspaper or online. It’s a very small percentage of available jobs that actually get advertised. Target places that you would like to work. If you submit a cover letter and resume, or if you’ve filled out an application, don’t leave it at that – follow up. Give the prospective employer about a week, then follow up with a phone call, email or by stopping by, depending on what kind of job it is that you’re interested in. If there aren’t any job openings, politely ask if you can check back periodically, then do so. There are very few static companies out there. Typically, there are employees that quit, get fired, retire, go out on maternity leave, or even get promoted. You just have to be there when one of these things happen. The bottom line is, if you’re relying on advertisement to find job openings, you're not really trying. And if you don’t do follow up after you do apply, you’re really decreasing your chances of finding the right job.
If you’re unemployed right now, don’t get discouraged. Not having a job is hard enough on the psyche. Being continually rejected in the job search process makes things even worse. Keep your head up and keep trying. The more you try, the more you may be rejected, but remember, you only have to hit on one.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Irish sayings

I love Irish wit and wisdom -- heck, I love most cultures wit and wisdom for therein lie some of our collective human truths...Marty and I are watching the Joseph Campbell interview series with Bill Moyers and Joseph mentioned an Irish quote in the context of one of their discussions: "Is this a private fight or can anyone join in?"

Saturday is the Newport St. Patrick's Day Parade but here's the video from our local parade from last weekend. My dad's carrying the Irish flag for the Sons of Erin. Last year he did too -- during a blustery, stormy March Nor'easter. This past Saturday's weather was a gift -- glorious and sunny with highs in the 60's.



Here's a link to more fun Irish quotes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Round the Clock Girdle Top Pantyhose

Round the Clock Girdle at the Top Pantyhose is the most popular style of pantyhose that we sell - that is, it would be if we had decent stock. It is one of the most popular styles of pantyhose ever; they've been manufactured since pantyhose was practically in its infancy. According to our customers (and we've had much RTC feedback from them), they love the firm support combined with their durability ("they never run!"). BTW, if you're wondering about the difference between these pantyhose and control top pantyhose, these have firmer control, much like a girdle.

There were some manufacturing problems early in 2008, then Levante took over control of operations. Production resumed with a short run last spring, but there were further difficulties. We have not been able to get substantial stock since December of 2007. That is about to change. They are taking orders again, so we should begin seeing stock by late April, early May. We will need to raise the price slightly, from $11.99 to probably $12.99. I would expect the same quality as before, as they've obviously taken the time to get it right.
If you need a firm control pantyhose right now, I would recommend either the Berkshire 4757 Shaper Top Pantyhose, or the Falke Wondershape Girdle Top Tights. Links to all three follow:

ROUND THE CLOCK GIRDLE AT THE TOP PANTYHOSE, STYLE 137

BERKSHIRE SHAPER TOP PANTYHOSE, STYLE 4757

FALKE WONDERSHAPE GIRDLE TOP TIGHTS

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Looney Tunes and the Full Moon

Tonight is the full moon, the full worm moon, according to the Farmer's Almanac. The Northern and Eastern Indians had a name for each month's moon -- wolf, snow, pink, flower, buck and so on. It's how they kept track of the seasons and named their months. When the European settlers arrived they followed suit and gave the moon names, too. I suppose there are many variations on how the moons were named, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I love the moon in all its manifestations whether full, crescent, new, waxing, waning -- doesn't matter. Ever since seeing Neil Armstrong step onto the moon back in 1969, I have been captivated by her mystery, charm and power.


The world is just a bit kookier when the moon is full. I've had children and I've worked for several years in a hospital. More babies are born on the full moon (just ask the docs, nurses and mothers who are all in the know). Emergency Rooms are notoriously busy (not to mention the Psych Wards). Police calls are usually off the wall (just ask a cop what s/he thinks of working during the full moon). Yeah, I tell you there's something to this. But it's kind of fun because at least we know there's something to our lunar madness.

If the ocean's tides are pulled by the moon, and man is made primarily of water, does it not stand to reason that the moon's phases affect us in some way? The Moon is one beautiful, powerful piece of Mother Nature, and I say "way to go, Mom!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nylon Stockings



There always seems to be some confusion when it comes to hosiery terminology.. We keep things simple -as much as possible anyway. We sell tights -generally speaking a heavier, thicker pantyhose; pantyhose –sheer hosiery with a built-in panty section sometimes with control panels; thigh highs (or stay-ups) -hosiery that comes up to the thighs and stays in place usually with a built-in silicone band; and finally, nylon stockings –these are stockings that do not stay up on their own. They must be held in place by garters, a garter belt, or a girdle. We carry a nice selection of nylon stockings, including back seam styles. At one time we used to sell vintage nylons (from the 1950’s through 60’s), but we had a couple of complaints about their integrity, and, not being able to examine them without unwrapping and unfolding them, we decided it wasn’t worth selling them. We still have a sizable stock of vintage, but we just use ‘em for modeling purposes. But check out our current selections here:

NYLON STOCKINGS

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day Parade

Marty here. It's a little early for a St. Patrick's Day celebration, but this is the right way to do it. Have a parade the week before the holiday, then you can celebrate again the next weekend - extend the holiday for two weeks! This Cape Cod parade started in West Dennis and ended in South Yarmouth. I took a few pictures, but it was a really long parade with marching bands, bagpipes, floats, etc. At the head of the parade, carrying the Irish flag was Patricia's dad!







Friday, March 6, 2009

Vintage Clothing

We still have a sizable selection of vintage items up on the site. You just have to look around to find everything. Dresses, swimsuits and sleepwear are in the LOUNGEWEAR section, while vintage bras are in the BRAS section and vintage girdles are in the SHAPEWEAR section. We are no longer actively seeking vintage wear, so eventually our vintage stuff will fade away. In the meantime, we still have much more old stock to add (when we have the time), so check back often.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Catalog

We've been getting quite a number of requests for catalogs lately. We had no intentions of doing a catalog due to time, cost and the fact that everything is easily accessible online. However, if any of you out there would be interested in receiving a periodic catalog, let us know by email or the feedback page. At this time we're cool to the idea, but that could change with enough interest.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's Fashionable

There are some fashion blogs and television programs that are very mainstream, narrow-minded, critical and ultimately, rather boring. Their sense of fashion and style is very absolute and cookie-cutter like. Anything or anyone deviating from the norm becomes the subject of insult or indignation. Sometimes they may latch onto something more daring, as long as it’s from a well-known designer. Granted, the well-known designer probably got the idea from the streets. Fortunately, there are enough confident, creative free-thinkers out there who don’t care to be a square peg in a square hole and dress for themselves, wear what they like and aren’t afraid of criticism. Ultimately, many of these people become the trendsetters. They may initially be labeled as eccentric and marching to the beat of a different drummer, but in the end and unknowingly they become as the pied piper…

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Barry Manilow Repellent

First there was the teen-b-gone device known as the Mosquito. There have been so many complaints about the legality of the device that someone must have thought “what would be just as irritating to listen to, but at the same time would be legal anywhere? Why, Barry Manilow of course!!! Here's a kind of funny AP story from today. The only question I have is, won’t Barry also repel legitimate shoppers?
Manilow and Unruly Teens

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Additions



We've added to our Cette collection, including over-the-knee stockings, cotton tights and queen size pantyhose. You can check them out here:
CETTE STOCKINGS AND PANTYHOSE

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Evening

Marty here again. I drove Molly back to Amherst today. She still isn't feeling good, but needed to get back so she wouldn’t get behind on classes. Round trip was 6 hours. Patricia is feeling a little better today and actually had made peanut butter cookies for me while I was gone. She can talk a little now, although her voice is raspy and breathy. It’s actually kind of sexy – in a Kathleen Turner sort of way.
We're supposed to be getting a Nor'easter overnight here in New England. Worcester (where a drove through to and from today) is forecast to get over a foot of snow, while here on the Cape they're saying 6-10 inches with a mix of sleet and rain. We'll see...