Guest blog by Jennifer Haugh
“Part 2: A Maine for All Seasons” is here! If you haven’t already checked out Part 1, make sure to take a look. Enjoy Part 2…
On Muscongus Bay, you can get your lobster dinner one of two ways. One is what I call classy style at the Anchor Inn, where you get silverware, dinner plates, a tablecloth, and some wine.
The other is fisherman style on the upper deck at Shaw’s Lobster Pound, where lobster boats bring their haul to a dock below. You can order your lobster meal and local microbrew at the counter, grab your plastic fork and knife, and wait for your meal at a picnic table.Either way, you’re looking at just a $15 or $20 investment in some of the happiest moments of your life. You promise never to return to a Red Lobster franchise.
You can only eat so many meals in one day (unfortunately) or glide through a picturesque waterscape before you can put off mid-coast Maine’s wealth of other qualities.
Ever looked at the Maine state quarter? Engraved on it is a rendering of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, one of 68 lighthouses along the Maine coast. Once you get out of your car and begin to explore, you’ll understand why this site was chosen.
Glacially carved slanted rock formations make for atmospheric views of the sea with a pinch of salt in the air. The lighthouse is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day for views of its Fresnel lens and an overlook of the coast, and downstairs is the charming Fisherman’s Museum run by volunteers who look like they just retired from lobster fishing. If you thought the ocean smells fishy, not here. In Maine, the aroma of rosebushes fills your nostrils instead.
More such greenery and rosiness is available on display just down the road near Boothbay Harbor at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a stunning, 250-acre feast for all senses. In fact, one of the Botanical Gardens’ niftiest exhibits is the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses, where you can experience a form of reflexology, an aromatic herb display, organic munchies off the vine, a sound cavern, and endless opportunities to lose yourself in wooded beauty and restful quiet.
While I must admit that many of Maine’s most attractive outdoor features are better enjoyed during the summer months, I stole up to Newcastle-Damariscotta for a winter weekend in 2011. I stayed at Oak Gables Bed and Breakfast, open year-round, which is this impossibly huge estate surrounded by gently sloping grass fields, apple trees and the Damariscotta River.
Because it was February, Oak Gables was completely unoccupied except for me. In the morning I awoke peacefully to the sounds of melting ice as the sun came up. The sounds echoed the way my body melted into further relaxation under the blankets as I laid half-asleep in blissful paralysis. Because in Maine, dripping water is as clamorous as it gets. I’m still plotting my move there. Someday.
Guest blog by Jennifer Haugh
Get ready for a taste of Maine! Jennifer is back to share Maine with us. Beware, after reading this post, you might start planning a trip to Maine. Jennifer, the floor is yours…
The sound of icicles dripping at dawn was what did it for me. The verdict was in: Maine is beautiful any time of year. Even February.
In June 2009, I took my first trip out to New England, a road trip that consisted of following hunches on locations that sounded pleasant. I learned that there are no slums on Cape Cod. Waterbury, Vermont has great pizza shops and pretty sunsets amongst the folds of the Green Mountains. Boston has freaky-looking 17th-century gravestones. It was all wonderful.
And then there was Maine.
I had picked a town based on its name alone, Newcastle, next to Damariscotta, in mid-coast Maine. If you look at a map, you can see that the region is characterized by some divinely inspired maximization of shoreline, with a series of inlets, bays, rivers, and islands, all glacially carved to perfection. Wherever you stand, there is sure to be water all around you.
Crossing the state on the drive to the coast, I passed a house on a county road with a row of honey jars on a picnic table and a basket of money in the front yard. The sign read, HONEY $5 PER JAR. Of course. In Maine, the honor system actually works.
Evenings in Newcastle begin at the Newcastle Publick House (the extra K just kills me), a cheerful, modestly upscale pub in a three-story Federal-style brick building with watercolor murals and Arts and Crafts wooden chairs atop the old hardwood floors. You can get anything from seafood to steak to chicken pot pie to wash down your bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Everyone at the Publick House always seems to be in a good mood. The twilight over the Damariscotta River feels festive, and you’d immediately like to begin sketching plans on a napkin to drop everything and move to mid-coast Maine and run a B&B and a classic movie house. (Or that’s just me.) Because why would you want to be anywhere else? Except it’s a cloth napkin. Of course. In Maine, they keep it classy—they keep it real.
One day I made a reservation with Midcoast Kayak to toodle around Muscongus Bay with a guide for most of an afternoon. The weather was looking sketchy, but since my time there was limited, I was determined to go unless Katie, the guide, called it off. As if fate had intervened, the clouds parted in the sky and the air temperature warmed to a perfect 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water had calmed to a rare glass surface. I was the only enrollee.Katie was nearly as excited about this trip as I was. Even after hundreds of trips out, the wonder of it all was clearly detectable in her voice as she described to me the history of the lobster fishing, the geological significance of mid-coast Maine’s uniquely slanted rocks, and the bizarre story of the unsinkable wreck of the Cora Cressy, the 1902 schooner that was once a Prohibition nightclub.
At one point, the sun seared through rolls of fog so quickly along the islands dotting the coastline that it was hard to chase them down with a camera. We passed an island where we saw Boy Scouts at camp. Of course. In Maine, boys go camping on islands.
Paddling amongst the lobster fishing boats can make you start thinking about eating fresh lobster. Because you’re in Maine. If there’s one thing you’ve seen on a Maine license plate or on the state magnet collection your grandmother stuck all over her refrigerator, it’s a picture of a Maine lobster.
“Part 2: A Maine for all Seasons” is coming soon….
Guest blog by Claire Bailey
If you haven’t already read “Part 1: Looking the Part,” make sure to take a look. In part two, Claire shares how to select the right pieces, and how to put an outfit together…
To select the right pieces, take your time. Building a complete professional wardrobe takes years because the idea is to build a wardrobe that will last for years to come. To build a quality wardrobe you do not want to buy too many pieces at one time, especially in the beginning when you are learning what works for you. Buy classic, timeless pieces instead of trendy pieces that will be out of style in a year or two. For example, five years from now houndstooth will still look fabulous while ikat will look dated. Classic pieces have a good sheen or texture to them. Think faux silk and tight weaves. Stay away from jersey knit and other fabrics that look casual.
Wear professional accessories. Buy jewelry, belts, and shoes that are simple and can be paired with many things. It only takes a few pieces of jewelry to go with any outfit in your closet. Jewelry does not have to be made of real metals or jewels, as long as the manufacturing looks high quality. Invest in simple pieces that can be mixed and matched.
To look professional, buy simple shoes that do not make more than one statement. They can be a color, have a unique texture, or an edgy cut, but be careful about combining these features or the shoes may not look professional for the office. Heels make woman look feminine and powerful. If you have never worn heels on a regular basis then the idea may seem scary. Heels take time to get used to because your stabilizer muscles have to develop, but overtime heels can become an extension of your legs and they will no longer be difficult to walk in. It is worth the perseverance of stumbling around and enduring achy feet to get to where you can slip on a pair of heels and hit the door without a second thought.
Invest in the right undergarments. You do not want your panties or bra to show, ever. This includes showing the back side of your bra, also known as back fat. I recommend the Spanx bra which is very comfortable and contours to the body leaving a seamless look all the way around. Invest in good camisoles and tights for cold weather. Keep your shoulders and thighs covered year round.
Consider the laundering requirements of items before you purchase them. I avoid dry-clean only clothes for work which saves time, money, and hassle.
Finally, do not allow yourself to get frustrated if you make a less-than-perfect purchase. This will happen but if you are watching sales and using coupons, count it as a casualty and get rid of it if you can’t wear it so that you can move on.
To put the outfit together, think of creating a cohesive whole. Many days there will be something that restricts your outfit in some way. Maybe you don’t have the right undergarments, a pair of shoes needs to be repaired, or you are going to a birthday dinner right after work. Once you determine your limitations, select the article of clothing that imposes the most restrictions and design the rest of your outfit around it. That article will likely determine your color pallet. For example, if you determine that you need to wear a dress so that you can go straight to a social event, then select the dress that is best for your event and will still look professional for the day. Next select the rest of your outfit around that piece.
Most clothes will require accessories that fall into three main color pallets—black, brown, or white/color. Gray falls into black, golds fall into brown, and some clothes do not have black or brown and would be made too dark if paired with them, these clothes fall in the white/colored category and should be paired with tan accessories rather than black or brown. Generally brown color pallets look best with golds and pearls. When putting an outfit together, keep it simple by selecting one or two colors or textures and find pieces that compliment but don’t compete with your foundational pieces. Also consider the season when selecting color pallets, in the fall focus on earth and jewel tones and wear lots of gold and pearls; in the winter wear jewel tones, black, white, blue, and geometric patterns; in the spring wear feminine colors and include some glitz and glam; and in the summer wear bright colors and fabrics that are not as stiff.
Think about how each piece works with the rest to create a cohesive whole. This can be done through layering. A necklace, blouse, cardigan, skirt, belt, and heels will create interests and sophistication.
Blog by Rachael
To some, clothing may simply be considered fabric, thread, and stitches that allow us to feel comfortable in many kinds of weather. The warm wool of a winter sweater keeps us comfortable in the winter, and the the light softness of a summer linen is perfect for a hot day. To me, I see clothing as much more.
Fashion is an art. It is a form of expression. In magazines, blogs, and in movies, we watch as clothing comes alive to us. It is an indicator of a time period, a mood, and a culture. Fashion can acquaint us to the past and it can connects us to different cultures. Cultures around the world continue to adapt new fashion, but in many cultures traditional forms of fashion are still alive.
One traditional form of attire is the South Korean “hanbok” dress. The dress consists of several parts. There is the “chima” or a skirt that wraps-around, and the ” jeogori” or a blouse shirt/ jacket. Altogether, the full ensemble is often referred to as “chima jeogori.” These days, the traditional ”hanbok” dress is worn for special occasions or ceremonies, such as a child’s first birthday, a wedding, or a funeral.
In November 2012, on my way from Malaysia to the US, I had the privilege to stopover in Seoul for nine days. It was my first time visiting Korea in three years, and I was beyond grateful to have the opportunity to visit with old friends, rediscover the streets I once enthusiastically roamed, and indulge in the brilliance that is Korean cuisine. However, one of the greatest aspects of my return was staying with my friend and his family in Incheon, South Korea. During my stay, his mother decided to have a “hanbok” dress made for me as a gift. I was beyond excited and truly humbled to accept such an exquisite and precious present.
When my friend’s mother so graciously presented me with the large, rectangular box, a huge smile came across my face. I felt so overwhelmed and excited to not only be presented with a beautiful “hanbok,” but to be presented with an expression of Korea. I slowly took off the top of the sturdy box and inside was the perfect arrangement of red tissue. As I peeled the tissue back, a folded, handmade ”hanbok” smiled back at me, as well as a matching red purse. The full skirt was a vibrant red, and the little jacket was a creamy, mint green. The opening of the sleeve were hand embroidered with flowers and yellow and pink blocks of fabric.
As his mother watched, I pulled the ”hanbok” out of the box with great care and went to the room to try it on. His mother showed me how to wear the pairing undergarments, and she showed me how to wear the little jacket. She then taught me how to tie the well-known and traditional bow on the front of the jacket. Finally, she took my hair and braided it to the side, and after, she took a step back and gave a sincere smile of satisfaction.
She took my hand and led me to the full-length mirror, and when I saw myself, all I could think was, “This is the most beautiful garment I have ever worn in my life.” By wearing the “hanbok,” I felt the beauty and expression of the Korean culture. The dress now sits perfectly in a box next to my bed, I cannot wait for the day I am able to wear it again!
Guest blog by Claire Bailey
Lauren, who is part of the Lauren Olivia & Co. team, first met Claire in Chicago. Claire and Lauren have never lived in the same State, but they have had many travel adventure together. Claire is currently a lawyer, and she has some professional dress lessons learned to share with us. Claire, the floor is yours!
On the first day, during the first hour, of my new job at a law firm, I discovered that I was not dressed appropriately. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go home to change because there weren’t any professional clothes at home either. Since that time almost four years ago, I have been slowly building a professional wardrobe. My first goal was to look professional only two days a week. Once I had enough professional clothes to consistently look professional several days a week, I starting dressing professionally three days a week, then four, until I had enough professional clothes to look the part each day. Over time I have collected the beginning of a great wardrobe. I’m not there yet, but I have come a long way from the canvas clogs and jersey knit dress that I wore to my first day to the office.
On this journey, I have learned that building a professional, reasonably priced wardrobe can be accomplished in four steps: find the proper fit, pay a reasonable price, select the right pieces, and put the outfit together.
Wearing clothes that fit your body shows that you pay attention to details. To find the right fit, you have to understand your body. That includes being honest with yourself about your shape and size. Even if you are not happy with where you are, you still need to wear clothes that fit. The more you understand your shape, the better you can draw attention towards the features for which you are most confident and draw attention away from others that you would prefer to downplay. You don’t have to settle for uncomfortable clothes to find pieces that look sharp. Do not be afraid to purchase clothes that have a little stretch as long as they do not give so much that they look baggy or worn.
The next step is finding stores that sell clothes that fit your specific body. Department stores are great because they have a lot of variety, but variety means lots of clothes that fit different body types, and that can be very frustrating in the fitting room. It is easier to find a line of clothing that is consistent in sizing so that you can buy anything in the store in your size and know that it will fit you.
To pay a reasonable price, watch sales. You can buy quality clothes at the same prices that discount stores sell poorly made clothes. The trick is knowing when to buy. Once you find a few stores that sell clothes that fit your body, subscribe to their online coupons. If you don’t want the coupons to tempt you to spend extra money, create an e-mail filter so that all e-mails from your stores are moved directly into a “shopping” folder and bypass your inbox. Then pay attention to your wardrobe and when you notice missing item, start checking your coupons until you find a good deal. Then buy the pieces that you are missing. The best coupons apply to sale items and not just full-priced items. Consider only going to the sale portion of the website to browse. This method works really well for building a professional wardrobe over time, so take your time and don’t try to buy too many things at once.
Stay tuned for part 2….!