I Love Linen

I Love Linen

I’ve just returned to Stockholm after 10 beautiful days in Palermo, Sicily and I feel like I left summer behind. It’s not that the weather isn’t beautiful in Stockholm–it’s only 6:15 AM as I write this and it’s a sunny, cloud-free day and already closing in 20C (68F for you Americans). 🙂 But when you’ve been spoiled with Sicilian heat and waking up to 26C (79F) in the morning and 30C (86F) by 10AM, a mild Swedish summer morning feels winter has come back.

Before I left for Sicily, I treated myself to a few things to help spiff up my vacation wardrobe…and then I decided to pack light and left most of it at home. I hate heavy suitcases. I limited myself to 5 shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of linen pants, and then the usual amount of undies. My plan was to wash clothes every few days. This is what I usually do when we have an Airbnb rental.

(Photo credit: hm.com)

I ended up picking up two of these linen-blend t-shirts: one in white and another in blue-grey. They were my staples while I was in Palermo. They worked with everything from dressy linen pants to jeans to my favourite faded (and old) olive-green twill shorts from Lands End. Since we were travelling light and the apartment we rented didn’t have a washing machine, it meant a lot of washing things in the kitchen or bathroom sink and hanging on coat hangers out on the balcony to dry.

Both shirts held up well.

I only wish I’d ordered more–now the blue one is sold out. I think I’ll order 2 or 3 more of the white one before it too sells out. These could come in handy when I head to Philly in August–and we know East Coast summers are hot, humid and sticky. I need shirts that can keep me from feeling blech and this one definitely fit the bill while I was in Palermo. 🙂

(Photo credit: hm.com)

I spent most of my time in shorts–the hubster and I are not fashion plates, nor do we really care if everyone else makes themselves look spiffy for la passeggiata–we wanted to be comfortable and relax without having to stress over what to wear. I found these cute linen shorts just a few days before we left for Palermo. At first, I was worried they’d be too short. I will admit that my thighs are nowhere near as firm as they used to be. I don’t count myself as a gym bunny or a fitness girl so thigh gap is not something I give a hoot about. But even back in the day when I still went to the gym 5 days a week, I never had thigh gap and, despite having super-firm legs back then, I hated really short shorts. Well, these were just the right length and–since they’re linen–super comfy on even the hottest days while we were in Sicily.

(Photo credit: hm.com)

The last thing I packed, but never actually wore, was a linen shirtdress.

I’m not someone who wears dresses often–I usually hate wearing them because they either look…wrong on me…or just feel so damned uncomfortable. This one is a joy to wear. I am so glad that H&M (unlike a lot of other brands) realised that we curvy girls like cute shirtdresses too.

True confessions: I ended up not wearing it at all. No, it was not because it didn’t look good on me (it looks great on me! Yay!). I honestly thought I would wear it in the evenings. I had these grand ideas we’d go to a fancy restaurant or three, but we ended up going to more casual restaurants while we were in Palermo, so it was easy to stay in shorts and a t-shirt.

But this dress will NOT go to waste. 🙂

I’ve got a book signing in New York in August, so I think I will wear this dress, another H&M find, while I am there. I have the feeling I will wear it a lot to work now in June and July. It’s so cute. 🙂 It will look great with Chuck Taylors or cute sandals.

I would love to say that my linen obsession has abated…but that would be a lie. I’ve ordered a linen tunic + some linen pants and they’ll be waiting for me in Philly. Someone take my credit card away. 😉

Are you a fan of linen? What’s your favourite go-to outfit for summer vacations?

 

 

 

My closet is chock full of clothes…and I have nothing to wear

My closet is chock full of clothes…and I have nothing to wear

Honestly, this is ridiculous. I am going to a wedding on Saturday morning and I cannot figure out what to wear.

 

I’ve been trying to figure this conundrum out for the last two weeks, but so far I am coming up with nada. Part of the problem is the weather. This year, Swedish spring has been mostly rain-snow-more rain-more snow. The cute little dresses in my closet? Yeah, they won’t do if the wind is a-blowing and there’s snow and hail pelting me. So today during my lunch break, I went to H&M–where I usually find fun things. Did it help? No. All they had for a curvy girl like me was jeans and t-shirts. I thought perhaps I’d find a cute sweater. I’d seen a really nice outfit online, but apparently it’s not available in the shops. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Swedish stores have a tendency to pretend that if you are larger than a size 10 or 12, you don’t exist. Or you don’t buy clothes.


But this is my usual conundrum. I have a lot of clothing. I don’t have a lot of things that work for dressy occasions, because most of my friends are already married or living in sin and not interested in getting married and Swedish people don’t generally have these mega-weddings like Americans do. They usually have nice, sensible weddings at the county courthouse or something small and informal. Unless, of course, they are addicted to Bridezilla and then they decided to have a big wedding that becomes insane. But that doesn’t happen very often. They’d much rather splurge on a nice honeymoon or their first house or apartment together.

So after not finding anything interesting there, I went to Lindex. I found a great white dress there–but I can’t wear white to a wedding. I think I may buy that dress anyway. It’s too cute not to be in my closet. I have no clue when I will wear it, but I really, really like it. Maybe I can find a cute pair of Converses to wear with it. Maybe I can convince Tord that we should go to Paris or Rome just so I can wear that dress. I’ll probably spill red wine or gelato on it. I am good at spilling wine. 🙂

But I think a woman who writes about sexy Scandinavian men should have a cute dress or three in her closet, don’t you?

Now if only I would walk in heels. But alas…those days are over since my left knee is still not back to normal.

Ah well, cute sneakers will have to do.

Lindex at least provided me with a pair of lace pants. I am not sure what I will pair them with, but they were cute. There is a top that matches the pants, but I thought it was too short. I like tops that come at least to my mid-hip. I might pair it with a cashmere sweater. That way I will be warm if it’s chilly outside. Or maybe a chiffon tunic with a mohair cardie? I could also pair them with some ballerina flats….or my pink suede trainers. Hmm.

Decisions, decisions.

It would have been awesome to find a top that worked with the pants, but the Clothing Fairy didn’t seem to have enough fairy dust to sprinkle on me today. I shouldn’t complain–at least I found some pants.

I don’t usually wear pink. It’s one of those colors I’ve avoided most of my life. I blame my mom for this–when I was a kid, she used to try to force me to wear pink all the time. She made me wear pink to my senior prom. I still grimace when I remember all that horrible powder pink on that dress….ick. No, that dress was not for me, but my mom loved it and refused to pay for the black dress I wanted. She told everyone I picked out the dress. I didn’t pick it out. I gave up. Every dress I liked, she hated. We’d spent two weeks in prom dress-shopping hell. When the sales assistant showed it to me, I shrugged. I tried it on and had already decided I wasn’t trying anything else on. We bought it. And my mom was over the moon. I was…meh.

But now at the age of 47, my aversion to pink is not as strong. There are still shades of it that give me the heebie-jeebies, but I’ve managed to buy and like two pinkish sweaters recently…and my pink suede trainers.

I think I need to figure out a wedding wardrobe. I should just buy a few pieces that are my “base wardrobe” for wedding season. They can come in handy for those other events that inevitably take place during the summer (engagement parties, baby christenings, etc). I guess that will be my new project for the next few weeks. Making this a reality…or I can always put if off until next summer. 😉

 

 

 

Closet Confusion

Closet Confusion

In January, I decided I haven’t had enough interaction with actual people. I sit in my house, by myself. And truthfully, I was a little bored with my own company. So I opted to go back to work. The day I asked my old boss if I could have my part-time job back, he asked me to start that afternoon. (It’s good to be missed).

Unfortunately, working in public again presented a major dilemma for me. Most of my professional clothes are out of style, and I simply can’t show up wearing my regular work-from-home uniform of pajama pants and a hoodie. There are limits to decency and nobody wants to see my ultra-thin paisley jammie bottoms. It was time to inventory my closet.

Luckily, I’d bought some dressy clothes to attend a few conventions last year. Dresses, pants that weren’t exactly jeans, silky tops and sweaters that still fit (bonus!). And I’d just bought a couple pairs of shoes while visiting my parents (my mom and I turn shoe shopping in a performance art ). So I wasn’t in as bad shape wardrobe-wise as I’d thought. Plus, with the way fashion works, everything old is new again.

So I toddled off to work every day last week, happy to be interacting with people and looking smart. Now, if only my boss hadn’t decided I should be an bookkeeper. Because no amount of fashionable clothes will ever make me love numbers! I majored in Journalism for a reason.

At least, I’m a fabulously dressed numbers-cruncher.

Oh how I love pyjamas

Oh how I love pyjamas

I had this grand idea that I was going to write about the most perfect pair of jeans, but then something happened. I caught the flu. I have chills, I have fever rushes, I cough a lot, I sneeze a lot, my head hurts, I have zero energy. Needless to say, I’ve spent the last four days in my pyjamas.

Today I am wearing my Space Pyjamas from Asos Curve. I had to have them after watching Peter Dinklage do his “Space Pants” skit with Gwen Stefani on SNL. Even now, just thinking about that skit, I am giggling.

“Look at my pants with the eyes in your face/my legs are covered in outer space/SPACE PANTS!”

 

I adore my Space Pyjamas. They are soft and cozy, which is exactly what I need when I am feeling pretty icky. My skin feels pretty sensitive due to the fever rushes, so it’s nice to have pyjamas that feel cool and soft. And right now, these pyjamas are making me feel like all is right in the world, even when there is so much that is just….WRONG.

Space GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But, seriously, my favourite part of the day, even when I am feeling well, is when I come home from work and put on my loungewear (which is simply my pyjamas).  As soon as my pyjamas are on, I know I can relax, read a book, take it easy. And it usually means I am not planning on leaving the apartment for the rest of the evening. Ahhh.

So right now, when I have barely been outside the house, it’s imperative that I have the coziest of pyjamas. And right now, my Space Pyjamas are fitting the bill.

Do you have a favourite pair of PJs?

 

Batting 1000

Batting 1000

1113998_1346967573593_full It appears as though the popularity of makeup only seems to be growing recently, and particularly in my home as my girls embed themselves in the dreaded teens. They’ve launched a makeup revolution and dragged me with them. And why not – makeup is fun, it’s transformative and it requires skill and practice to perfect. It can change not just the way you look but the way you feel, even the way you view your surroundings. I’ve recently become obsessed with false eyelashes. I’m blaming my girls—let’s go with that. When I look out from underneath long, luxurious lashes I see a rose-colored world before me. I’m inspired to seek out beauty and loveliness wherever I can. And bat my lashes, there is definitely a lot of batting going on.

 

Makeup and beauty are related, but I don’t want to conflate the two—they aren’t synonymous. Beauty has different meanings across cultures, over different time periods, even from one individual to the next. Makeup, although a tool to achieve certain beauty standards, holds its own place. If you think of beauty as a city, makeup is a building in one neighborhood of that city, perhaps an adorable two-floor walk up with bay windows and excellent lighting. Using makeup is just an incredibly personal act. Anyone who does or has done it, probably remembers with a certain amount of warm, happy sentiment, learning to apply and wear it, and, like a tattoo or a keepsake, a particular beauty product carries with it an immediate recollection of certain feelings and experiences.

 

Our attitude about makeup and beauty changes over the course of our own lives. What we may have loved about makeup in our teens and twenties, the fact that it makes you look older, more mature or more rebellious, is no longer something that appeals to us. But the intensely personal nature of makeup, the fact that it markedly changes how we look and feel, affects our level of confidence, and how much or how little to wear is such an individualized choice, that it infuses each tube of lipstick, fluffy brush and eyeshadow pot with a deeply touching degree of meaning.

 

 

In my upcoming contemporary release, Positively Pippa, the heroine is a girly-girl, who loves makeup, fashion and everything flirty, frilly and fun. She is based on TLC’s Stacy London (host of What Not To Wear and Love, Lust or Run.) Her appreciation for aesthetics has in part inspired me to experiment with makeup. When I apply false lashes, which is by no means an easy feat and requires a steady hand and a delicate approach with the glue (that crap gets everywhere), I can’t help but think of Pippa and my time with her. When I brought her to life in the book, she appeared at my side as an exciting, bubbly BFF, inspiring me to push my boundaries and explore new parts of myself. From this point forward, whenever I put on, or even see, a pair of jaunty eyelashes in their little purple box, I’ll think of Pippa and her affect on me. The way she exhorts her “clients” to be the best version of themselves.

 

Famous makeup-fan Tammy Faye Baker is known for saying “Honey, I am going to my grave with my eyelashes and my makeup on.” That’s a woman who knows who she is! The way you feel and think about makeup, your relationship to it, defines who you are in so many ways. Your makeup is a narrative of your own individual, unique truth. At the end of the day when you take off your makeup and lashes, make sure that you’ve written the story you want to tell, because that’s all that matters.

 

sarahsig

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season to Sparkle!

‘Tis the Season to Sparkle!

warm-wishes-for-the-holiday-season

 

Red and green may dominate this time of year, but the holiday season also encourages one other element.

Whether subtle shimmering like the sun shining off fresh snow, or a sea of sequins that screams party, now is definitely the time to pull your sparkly pieces out of your closet.

It’s all about celebrating. Think about your holiday party or ringing in the new year. A sprinkling of sparkles makes it even more festive.

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And let’s not forget that plenty of makeup and nail polishes come in glittery shades too!

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If you’re worried that you might be overdoing it, take comfort in the words of fashion icon Iris Apfel:

“More is more, and less is a bore.” 😀

May your days be Merry and Bright (and Sparkly),
Susan-Sig
Let’s get our Christmas Sweaters on

Let’s get our Christmas Sweaters on

By Carrie Elks

Well folks, it’s that time of year.

December 1st has finally arrived, which means there’s no escaping the holiday madness. Trees are up, lights are flashing, and the Christmas sweaters are being taken out of mothballs and pulled over our heads.

I confess, I do have a Christmas sweater. Here in the UK it’s a staple part of many people’s wardrobes. There’s even a ‘wear a Christmas Sweater for Charity day’, so only the meanest Scrooges among us refuse to look stupid in wool.

Here’s me. Cool huh?

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One of my favourite things is seeing families wearing Christmas Sweaters. Especially if they send you a card with them wearing it. Something like this would work. See how happy those kids are?

1000 Images About Family Christmas Photo Ideas On Pinterest - Best Resume Collection

Now this is a blog about romance, so you may be wondering how looking stupid fits in with falling in love. Well, I have two words for you. Mark Darcy. Phwoar. (Okay, that’s three. But who’s counting?)

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The first time he meets Bridget Jones, he’s wearing a ridiculous sweater, but somehow she falls for him anyway. And isn’t that what romance is all about? Loving the guy whether he’s wearing a silly sweater or a fabulous six pack (sigh). Because really, it’s what’s inside that counts.

And in case, like me, you really want to see the scene again, here’s Bridget and Mark’s first meeting.

 

Whatever you’re wearing this December, I hope you rock it.

Carrie Pink

That Minimal, Criminal, Sinful LBD

That Minimal, Criminal, Sinful LBD

While surfing the internet looking for a topic for today’s blog I happened across this:

Now even I know that no matter what her shape, size, or age, every woman needs this all important garment in her closet. This isn’t just a dress. This is a statement. It needs to be you.

Beautiful young woman in black dress

Find that shape, length, and exposure you’re comfortable in, but keep it on the daring side. Little means little.  A side slit, a little cleavage, or some lace can make a big difference. And make sure it highlights your best assests.

Believe me, every guy, straight or gay, notices a woman in an LBD on one level or another. So shop, shop, shop until you find the right one, because a mistake here can be disastrous.

punk screaming in theatrical mode

Once you’ve found the right dress, you are not done. No way.

Female bag, shoes and accessories isolated on white

It’s now all about the accessories. Bag or clutch, sunglasses, jewelry, and those all important shoes. Accessories are the frame to that perfect picture. Just enough to enhance without taking away from the artistry of the dress and that amazing woman within.

So…have you got one? Do you own it?

 

Sophisticated woman holds a blank tablet computer.

Oh, girl! I like how you accessorize.

So is there a guy equivalent to the LBD? Let me know in the comments below.

I may need to go shopping.

Steve

Winter is coming…and I need shoes!

Winter is coming…and I need shoes!

It’s that time.

Yes, the dark days of autumn have arrived in Sweden, and now I have to wear socks and waterproof shoes again. See? I love autumn when it’s sunny and the leaves are changing colors. I hate autumn when it’s been cloudy and rainy for days and I can’t remember when was the last time I saw any proper sunlight. Right now, I feel like a zombie.

And my feet are cold.

So, yes, socks it is again.

And waterproof shoes.

Chelsea boots from Wera.

Chelsea boots from Wera.

I have a mission now to find some cute shoes that will be my go-to shoes for the season. Shoes that can take rain…snow….whatever curveballs Sweden decides to throw at me. Whatever I buy needs to be comfortable, stylish enough to wear to work, but laid-back enough that I don’t feel like I’m wearing someone else’s shoes. I’m a big fan of Chelsea boots because they’re pretty versatile. My old pair finally bit the dust, so maybe it’s time to replace them with a brand, spanking new pair?

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Tripoli boots from Läeder by Nature

Or maybe I need a pair of sturdy boots that can handle snow and slush, since it won’t be long until Kung Bore (the Swedish equivalent of Jack Frost) makes his first appearance. I used to have a pair of leather boots similar to these Tripoli boots from Läeder by Nature. I practically wore them to death, I loved them so much, and I’ve been trying to find the perfect replacement pair for ages. These could do the trick. Of course, I would need to buy some rag socks or boot socks to wear with them. The awesome thing with boots like these is that they just need to be oiled from time to time to keep the leather in good condition. Also, oiling them improves how well they stand up to moisture. Hmm. What do you think? Should these be my new boots for the autumn and winter?

Cool winter sneakers from Canada Snow.

Cool winter sneakers from Canada Snow.

If this winter is anything like last winter, I may not need proper boots. We hardly had any snow in Stockholm last winter. I spent most of the winter in leather sneakers with a sturdy outer sole. Maybe I could get through an entire winter with a pair of boots like these from Canada Snow that are more like sneakers? They sure look comfortable. And I could imagine wearing them with jeans, leggings, skirts…not that I wear skirts very often, but still. 🙂  And that sole looks like it could handle Stockholm slush and snow and all that jazz.

Of course, there is the possibility that I buy all three…we’ll just have to wait and see… 😉

My Signature for the Blog

 

Facing Fashion Forward into Fall (10 Must-haves of your work-from-home wardrobe)

Facing Fashion Forward into Fall (10 Must-haves of your work-from-home wardrobe)

With Fall around the corner, back to school trends in stores, Fall/Winter runway looks emerging and clothing starting to make the transition from bright and breezy to more muted colors and heavier fabrics, none of this affects me in the slightest. As an author, I work from home, and while I may not wear mascara, heels or lip gloss every day, I still bring my personal style to the table (or laptop as the case may be). You’ll find me carrying out a crucial daily beauty regiment consisting of splashing cold water on my face, and looking divinely disheveled during my grueling commute, a shuffle from bed to the computer, coffee in hand and a patch of dog hair fastened securely somewhere on my person. It may seem challenging to pull all of this together, so, as the new season approaches, I thought I would share with you my must-haves for the work-at-home woman. While fashions may change, certain staples will always work for sitting on various surfaces around the house and answering the door for deliveries and the occasional plumber or handyman.

The yoga pant of near endless variety-2

 

First of all, one cannot launch oneself into a day not-at-the-office without an ever-flattering yoga pant, which can be in differing shades of black (from washing and wearing over a period of time) and vary in length from ankle to half an inch above the ankle, and, on casual Friday, a fun version that comes up mid-calf.

 

Footwear repellant even to the dog

 

You may not have co-workers, but you could have a faithful friend nearby, your beloved pet, who sheds a tremendous volume of hair on your clothes and furniture. Your favorite accessory, an incredibly unappealing pair of shoes, might be too horrid even for your typically easy going associate. But rest assured that it won’t affect your working environment, a comfortable place for him or her to curl up will go a surprisingly long way in smoothing over these disagreements.

 

the track pant of unknown origin and size

 

When the day calls for an even more formless look, reach for a pair of track pants. Ideally, you should be unsure of how exactly you came upon them and what size or shape they were meant to accommodate. You may be tempted to rush out and purchase this staple, but resist. The right pair will mysteriously appear alongside your yoga pants.

 

the dizzying variable mismatched socks

 

 

The right footwear is a must, and here I am referring not to the afore-mentioned atrocity, or a pair of rabbit slippers (or unicorns, flamingos, whatever you’re into, feel free to have fun here), but to a mind-blowing number of mis-matched socks, in an array of colors and styles, forever destined to wander the earth (or your livingroom) in search of its lost counterpart. Recycle and reuse, give the homeless sock a purpose.

 

the t-shirt nobody would claim ownership of

 

On weekend shopping excursions, you may find unique vintage pieces or wardrobe gems that might be pricey, but work flawlessly with any outfit. That has absolutely nothing to do with this next garment, a T-shirt that nobody could be bothered to claim after it went in the wash or somehow otherwise made it’s way into your house, but owes its charm to being ridiculously comfortable.

 

the foundation farmer of uncertain age and undeniable comfort

 

You may think you’ve nailed your outfit of a track pant well-tied at the hip and a novelty shirt, but it’s all for naught without the right undergarment, a really, really comfortable bra that you’ve had for so long you can’t recall if you purchased it to pair with a very old, tattered shirt you’ve worn for 3 days in a row or for a special evening on the couch in a cardigan, also quite old and no longer holding it’s original shape.

 

the shapeless , fluffy bathrobe

 

It may not surprise you to know, that one piece you absolutely cannot live without, as an author who can go days without walking outside, is a fluffy bathrobe, preferably well-worn, shapeless and in a drab color, so as not to detract from the accidental t-shirt.

 

the cardigan of questionable hue

 

Who can imagine a life of working from home without a trusty cardigan, one that’s positively soothing when slipped on, to ward off the mid-shuffle morning chill, and which was definitely a very different shade of whatever it is now when you first came to possess it.

 

the ever versatile pajama-2

 

Is it a day when you can’t be bothered to change out of what you were sleeping in last night? With the right accessories, your pajamas can be the perfect ensemble in which to battle writer’s block, or procrastinate on social media when you have a massive amount of editing to work on. They transition easily from bed to desk to couch.

 

accessories are king

 

Of course, no outfit is complete without accessories, most of which are completely and unquestionably functional, such as your reading glasses, and the rest of which you bought with the best intentions but have been laying in wait, unused, for such a length of time you probably decided the statute of limitations had run out on them, such as your Fitbit, in mint condition, still in its packaging. If you don’t need reading glasses, you might consider purchasing a clear glass pair. Nothing adds to your intelligent wordsmith persona like a pair of glasses.

 

I hope you’ve found this helpful in planning your fall (or year-round) wardrobe, express yourself, have fun, and remember that no coffee stain is too bold when you’ve got the confidence to pull it off!

 

the possibilities are limitless