Preview Top Trends for Fall

Keep up with the latest trends.  Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

Keep up with the latest trends. Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

 

Each season our buyers at Tres Mariposas present a trend seminar for our staff so they will be up to date on the latest.  Last week, our wonderful contemporary buyer, Gesuina Legaspy, gave us a fun preview of what’s going to be hot this fall. I’ll share half of her top ten trends for fall 2013 this week and the other half next week. I’ll also give you an inside look at Gesuina’s “trend board,” a typical presentation tool used by both designers and buyers.

Here are Gesuina’s predictions for what will be popular this fall:

  1. Rocker Chic: Think black leather jackets and studs galore. You don’t have to be a serious rock-and-roller to get into this tough, yet sophisticated look – but you might feel like one after you put on an updated motorcycle jacket!

    Rocker Chic

    Rocker Chic

  2. Digital Print (or exploded print):  Lots of designers use photography as an inspiration for their designs, but now textile designers are reproducing actual photographs in their prints for fabric. It’s a trend we call digital print. Think of photos of all kinds of things – landscapes, buildings, faces, whatever — reproduced on dresses, scarves, and even pants. Digital print is innovative and fresh.
    Digital Print

    Digital Print

     

  3. Jungle Fever: Animal prints never go away, and this season python and leopard prints will be big. You’ll also see some accessories with fur from animals that you won’t find in the jungle. Watch for calf hair and pony hair on handbags, wallets, and even coats.

    Jungle Fever

    Jungle Fever

  4. Navy, the New Black: Navy blue is THE color for fall. It’s both classic and neutral and you can mix it with just about anything. This rich dark shade is the go-to color this season, night or day. Wearing navy with black is a sophisticated trend that started in Europe. Some people might wonder about mixing the two colors, but you can just tell them, “It’s a very European look.”

    Navy is the New Black

    Navy is the New Black

  5. Illusion Additions: Feminine “illusion” necklines and sleeves — made of sheer fabrics that cover but don’t conceal — have been an ongoing trend, especially popular in wedding dresses and evening wear. Illusion designs leave something to the imagination and can be very flattering. Designers use fabrications such as mesh, tulle, and lace for these designs. What’s new this seasons is the use of illusion fabrics in panels on the side of pants and dresses.

    Illusion

    Illusion

So here we have five very different trends to watch; tune in next week for the rest!

Step into Tres Mariposas or check out more of Gesuina’s Instagram to learn more about the newest fashions!

 

My Charmed Life

Have you ever thought of your jewelry box or jewelry collection as representing your life story? A biography in a box if you will.

I just finished reading “My Charmed Life: Rocky Romances, Precious Family Connections and Searching for a Band of Gold,” by Beth Bernstein. In this new book, Beth recounts that her fascination with jewelry began at a very young age. She grew up to work in the jewelry industry.

“I believed in wholeheartedly in the transformative power of jewelry – how it made me feel more regal and glamorous, changing me from a shy, ordinary girl into a shimmering princess from a faraway land,” she writes. She says she hopes her book “will appeal to women who have fallen in love, felt loss, learned to start over again and have been transformed by the enchanting power of jewelry.”

As she came into midlife, she realized that her life was a collection of memories represented by various pieces of jewelry. “All of the precious keepsakes in my jewelry box reveal part of my history: not just material possessions but sparkling memories that link together the family, friends and romances that inspired me to write this book,” she writes.

In a recent interview in “Accent” magazine, Beth reports that since her book was published, many women have written her about what their jewelry means to them and, sometimes, what jewelry meant to their mothers. In a way, mothers and daughters have shared jewelry boxes, after daughters inherit important pieces, for instance.

“Almost everyone who wrote mentioned the relevance certain pieces have to significant moments in their lives: the exciting time they got their ears pierced or the magical moment they were first given jewelry by a buy,” she writes. “Women have told me about the pain of selling their jewelry after a divorce, the joy of receiving their engagement ring, the bittersweet memories conjured up by their mom’s charm bracelet.”

I think most of us can relate to the emotional significance of jewelry. One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a crystal cross that belonged to my mother. My mother and I shared a love of crosses. Although it is not an expensive piece, I always get compliments when I wear it. And I always love saying, “It was my mother’s.”

I must confess that as the book continues, Beth gets a little heavy on the portion of the subtitle, “Searching for a Band of Gold.” I couldn’t keep up with the descriptions of all the gorgeous Adonis-like boyfriends. It became a little repetitive that decade after decade; the author was so focused on finding a husband. I read on though, sure that by the end of the book Mr. Right would have appeared to put a ring on her finger. Not so!

Instead, Beth finds redemption in another way – a way many women eventually find peace of mind – that she is content as herself, without Prince Charming. This breakthrough comes when Beth realizes that she can purchase her own jewelry. Life doesn’t have to be about waiting for a man to serve up life to you on a platter or in this case, in a jewelry box. As the book jacket says, “she realizes that the brightest gems are the ones you give yourself, and finds freedom she never thought possible.”

Wise words for today’s women. Give this exercise a try: go through your jewelry box and look for those pieces that carry memories of people, places, and events. You might even think about buying special pieces to give to your loved ones so that they will carry on happy memories of you! "My Charmed Life"

Consultants can help navigate change

In the past, I’ve written about the creative energy of change in a small business.  I often

ask myself and my staff what can be changed to improve our store and our customers’ shopping experiences. Whether it’s trying out new business practices or creating a shoe department, I don’t mind shaking up the status quo now and then. Remember our Nicole Miller store-within-a-store or our Men’s Night Out? I’m never afraid of committing to new concepts!

Change is good – and in fact, change can be fun. It can also be challenging, to say the least. I’m like a lot of you out there who own your own business. Maybe part of you loves to innovate, but on your other shoulder a more conservative voice is questioning each and every move. In times of major change, I often hire outsiders to help increase the likelihood of success in waters I have not previously charted.

A confluence of events recently spurred our latest change. First off, our fine jewelry business has been a strong growth category over the last five years. Secondly, after a local fine jewelry store closed, one of their associates wanted to join Tres and help us expand that category.

At first, I was negative about that idea. After all, didn’t I already have a successful business without the havoc of a major change? Well, one’s true nature usually triumphs and sure enough, I couldn’t resist the siren call of a challenge. Two new associates joined our staff and I began plans for expanding our fine jewelry business.

We had already outgrown our existing fine jewelry space. With plans to expand the category, an upgrade and expansion of space was critical. We decided to rearrange our store to give more space to fine jewelry. So I researched jewelry store designers to help us create that new environment.

Did you know that there are professional designers that just specialize in such areas? I found Shane Dunn in Phoenix and began working with him. I’m glad to report we are on track and I love his vision.

Just one hitch.  When we expand fine jewelry, that will displace accessories.  And when we find a new home for accessories, that will displace something else. You know the domino effect.

Remember how when you got a new couch, suddenly you needed to repaint? After you painted, then you needed new carpet and so on. It’s like that.

So we decided to take this opportunity to revisit the whole store!  Shane works with a noted specialist in store design, David Larson out of Phoenix, so we hired him, too, to “remerchandise” and transform our other departments.

I am a tad skeptical of anyone I don’t first meet in person, but we corresponded. When he wrote that his most important point was making our store “that kind of business that makes your clientele excited about their next visit (with) a mix of entertainment, retailing and relaxation,” he had me at the proverbial “hello.”

He has years of experience in fashion merchandising – basically the art and science of display and arranging lines of clothing and accessories on the selling floor – and taught store design and merchandising on the college level for eleven years. David has worked with a variety of retailers, from Nike to the flagship Disney merchandise store at Disneyland.  About 20 years ago, he worked with some Downtown stores here.

We enjoyed meeting him at our store last Saturday. He talked about the psychology of shopping, the flow of a store, “merchandise adjacencies,” balance, alignment, and first impressions. He discussed how spatial arrangements can make shopping easier, more user-friendly.

Having a fresh new ambiance is all fun and exciting, but can remodeling pay off? No one can predict, but he gave an example of a store he worked with that sold metal home goods, such as Nambe and fine copper. He completely re-arranged their displays and the owner told him the next year that sales were up 160 percent. Interesting!

We’re eager to see what he comes up with as he arranges our various puzzle pieces and analyzes our existing departments. “You are brave,” he told me. “This type of tinkering with an established business, and the budget that it requires, is not for the faint-of-heart.  But the rewards are real.”

In spite of the remodel, we’ll stay open. And we’ll be reminding ourselves: change is good!

Please Pardon our Dust!

Please Pardon our Dust!

Behind the Scenes at Luxury Jewelry Company

Sapphires from Thailand are so famous that they were featured on a Thai postage stamp in 2001.

Sapphires from Thailand are so famous that they were featured on a Thai postage stamp in 2001.

If you are in the jewelry industry, you know that Thailand has a rich history in gems and jewelry. Something about the topography makes Thailand and nearby regions rich resources for fabulous gems.

Thailand gives us the dazzling red “Siamese rubies,” for instance. Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province is known for extensive deposits of blue sapphires.

It’s only natural that hundreds of years ago, the Thai people began combining their artistic flair and these local gem resources to develop a thriving jewelry industry. Skills handed down through generations plus modern manufacturing techniques helped the country become a global production and trade center.

As I wrote last week, I recently visited my daughter and her family in Thailand. I had been wanting to get a better sense of the jewelry industry in Bangkok, so for this trip, I made arrangements to visit one of the luxury firms. I ended up enjoying a fascinating jewelry tour and education.

I visited the production center for a jewelry company that designs and manufactures luxury pieces with prices ranging from $5,000 to $250,000. They are well known in luxury destinations around the world, but I cannot divulge their name to you.

Secrecy and discretion were the rule of the day! When I saw the artisans and craftsmen working, I immediately wanted to take pictures. (Remember: Wherever I travel, I am always thinking of my dear readers!)

“Not possible,” the intelligent and handsome Swiss manager said with a smile, so I put away my camera.

This factory employed more than 150 Thai workers to produce jewelry for their own design house. Additionally they manufacture for other designers worldwide. For instance, a European design house may outsource the manufacturing to this company or one of the others like it around Bangkok.

Many European designers are reluctant to admit their creations are actually produced outside of Europe. Think about it: “Made in Italy” is a prestigious luxury designation, but not everything can be produced in Milan, Rome and Florence at all the different price points retailers require!

I wonder if designers and customers will eventually be more accepting of high-quality goods coming out of places like Thailand. In the garment industry as well as other industries, people are increasingly concerned about exactly how and where products are made.

Recent factory tragedies, such as the building collapse in Bangladesh, have put the spotlight on Asian manufacturing conditions. However, this Bangkok jewelry manufacturer operated in a pristine factory with skilled workers and craftsmen who were obviously treated very well.

As I toured the various areas of the facility I observed most of the steps in jewelry making:

Concept. The process begins with the designer’s drawing and visualization of the jewelry piece. These sketches are referred back to throughout the process.

Stone selecting. An entire work team was devoted to selecting stones. If a necklace is to have 10 sapphires, for instance, the finest jewelry will have 10 stones that are very, very similar in quality and color. Craftsmen may sort through hundreds of sapphires until they are satisfied with the 10 stones that, when assembled, will create the most magnificent piece.

Processing the stones. The gems must be ground, cut, buffed and polished with a keen eye and high level of skill.

“Lost wax” casting. Have you ever wondered how the raw bulk gold became the finished product? The “lost wax” casting method was developed in ancient times, although modern tools are now used. The object that is to be created is first sculpted out of wax to exact specifications. The wax sculpture is encased in plaster. After drying, it is put into a kiln to melt the wax, leaving its hollow image inside the plaster encasement. Molten gold is put in the hollow spot.

Setting the stones. Stone setters are like surgeons. They must have a steady hand and a meticulous eye. They are perfectionists in symmetry and placement.

Polishing. The metal becomes smooth and shiny. Impurities are steamed off, and remaining sharp edges are buffed away.

I was overwhelmed with the well-organized facility, the use of age-old skills, the intricacy of the work and the obvious contentment and expert professionalism of the workers. If I were to own a beautiful piece of jewelry made by these practitioners, I would be most proud to have an example of fine Thailand-made jewelry.

The World Gets Smaller and Other Adventures in Travel

Travel is a sure way to improve one’s perspective and get outside the confines of our own little worlds.

As summer vacations approach, it’s a great time to think about how we can expand our own horizons, whether we are travelling overseas or visiting friends and family nearby.

I just returned from Bangkok. Even though I’ve been to Thailand a number of times to visit my daughter and her family, my experiences there and en route often teach me a lot. It never ceases to amaze me how the world keeps getting smaller.

• On my flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok, I was seated next to a good-looking young man. When I asked where he was from, he replied, “Russia and Los Angeles.” He was a cinematographer and native Russian. An ad agency in Los Angeles saw his work and invited him to move to the United State. And now he was flying to Bangkok to shoot an ad for Johnnie Walker whiskey.

My first thought: “Wow, the world is small.” No longer is talent isolated to one area. The best global talent is easily identified and recruited.

My second thought: “They drink Johnnie Walker in Asia?” I learned that the brand is quite successful on an international level, generating a real need for ads that make a global statement.

• One American woman I met, part of the ex-pat community in Bangkok, is a highly educated chemist who works in the drug industry investigating off-label uses of medications originating in Asia. Very interesting person.

• I also met a woman employed by an American designer handbag company. She is in Thailand to help prevent counterfeit copies and knock-offs of their products. Another interesting story.

Not only does travel introduce you to fascinating new people on vacation, but travel also inspires adventure, and I had quite an urban adventure of my own this trip.

As you may know, Bangkok is an international center for raw gemstones and jewelry. I wanted to get an insider’s view of this industry, both for fun and for my business, so I made an appointment with one of the world’s top high-end jewelry designers and manufacturers.

Now Bangkok is a huge international city with incredible traffic problems and construction issues. You can get around by taxi, by foot, by bike, by motorcycle or even sky train, but you do not want to have a rental car.

Off I went in a taxi, hoping the driver could find the jewelry designer headquarters and a bit nervous about my lack of Thai-language skills.

We eventually turned onto the designated street. “Drat,” he said, indicating the place was in front of us but there was a barrier. So we drove a very circuitous route around this Bangkok neighborhood and he let me out nearly in front of the building. I could see the name of the jewelry firm on the side of the building so I figured I was home free.

However, as the taxi drove off, I saw that I still needed to navigate around a fence! I managed to ask some men sitting nearby which way to go to work my way through the maze. Finally one of them volunteered to take me.

Then he got on his motorcycle and motioned to me to get on the back. I was a bit stunned – I’d never been on a motorcycle before! – but I climbed on and held on tight.

The whole time, I’m thinking, “What have I done? I’m on the back of a motorcycle with a stranger in Thailand. My husband will surely kill me if I die this way.”

I was thrilled and relieved when I was safely deposited at the door of the vendor.

This jewelry design house exceeded my expectations. They represent true luxury, designing and manufacturing pieces from $5,000 to $250,000. I had a wonderful and highly educational in-depth tour with the handsome Swiss manager.

At the end of my visit, he asked if I had a car waiting for me. I told him, no, I came in a taxi. He graciously asked if I would like a ride home. I was so relieved and, of course, said yes. He then asked an employee if he had an extra helmet … and I knew that I was about to have my second-ever motorcycle ride!

So I was chauffeured back to my daughter’s apartment by motorcycle through the chaotic streets of Bangkok, holding on for dear life. And yes, my husband did just about kill me when he found out.

Next week: What I learned at the jewelry designer.

Nan wears a helmet on one of two motorcycle rides in Bangkok, Thailand, her first-ever.

Nan wears a helmet on one of two motorcycle rides in Bangkok, Thailand, her first-ever.

Jewelry Stylists Pull Together Looks

Untitled-4-01We all know about celebrity stylists — those miracle workers who advise stars and assemble stunning and distinctive looks for them. A great stylist can pick out outfits that reflect your personality and make you look better than you ever thought you could.

My new friend Brianna Miller is like one of those stylists, but she specializes in jewelry. She has what many women would consider a dream job. As a jewelry stylist, she is an artist who works not with paint and brushes, but with gorgeous necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pins. Her canvas is every woman ready to play with new ways of wearing her favorite pieces.

Think about how some talented interior designers can rearrange your own furniture and then add just the right fresh pieces in up-to-date styles and colors. Suddenly your same old, same old space looks new. That is kind of like what happens when a good jewelry stylist like Brianna Miller gets to work on your jewelry wardrobe.

 

While working at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, Miller discovered –and honed — her gift for styling and selecting the right jewelry for every ensemble. Her creativity and eye for color, textures, and proportions helped her succeed, but she also learned to “read” a woman’s lifestyle and fashion profile.

“For me, styling is all about finding my client’s personal style and drawing it out,” she says. “It’s about elevating her style to make her the best version of yourself.”

She loves hearing women report back to her things like “everyone told me I looked fabulous, but it wasn’t about one specific piece — it was about the entire look!”

 

The flexibility of mixing jewelry drew Miller to Ippolita, the line of distinctive hand-crafted jewelry launched by Italian designer Ippolita Rostagno. She now works at the company, designing jewelry, merchandising, and of course, styling.  A California native, Miller grew up in Malibu and her own personal style combines cool, casual freshness with luxury.

 

The last time I worked with an experienced jewelry stylist, I had a great time. She showed me a bunch of options for putting different necklaces earrings and bracelets with the same outfits. It was amazing how the jewelry completely transformed the look. She used jewelry that I would never have thought of using with some of the casual looks and then with some of the dressy looks.

We were working with some new pieces in the store, but then she helped me with my own personal look. I already mix jewelry styles frequently, but this stylist helped me learn fresh new combinations. For instance, I sometimes wear my mother’s giant sparkling cross with Ippolita long layered necklaces. I would never have thought of that.

They say a great jewelry stylist can open your eyes to new ways of seeing and wearing things. You don’t have to be a movie star to enjoy the benefits of a celebrity jewelry stylist – come meet Brianna Miller at Tres Mariposas Friday, May 10, to see what she suggests to go best with your own necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings. Your new jewelry pieces will feel like old favorites and your old jewelry will gain a new lease on life!

It’s a crazy changing jewelry world in El Paso

It’s was big El Paso news, verging on the excitement level of gossip, when Lacy & Company announced their Going-Out-of-Business Sale in November.

Ellen and Charles Lacy built an amazing jewelry business that had taken care of El Pasoans for over two decades.  But retirement beckoned and they heeded the siren call.

Since then, El Paso jewelry retailers and customers have been atwitter about changes.  Customers immediately began asking us as Tres Mariposas, “What are we going to do?  It won’t be the same.”

Although national jewelry store operator Ben Bridge has taken Lacy’s space, I predict that not one jewelry store will replace them. Different stores are strong in different areas.

So here’s a quick update on how the retail jewelry landscape is changing.  It’s my job to keep you up with the gossip!

  • Ben Bridge Jeweler, 7040 N. Mesa St.  Ben Bridge is a well-known chain of jewelry stores. Their new El Paso store, which they are calling “Ben Bridge Jeweler, formerly Lacy & Co” is stocked with core Ben Bridge merchandise with the icing sprinkled on top by Ellen Lacy.
  • Deutsche & Deutsche Fine Jewelry and Watches, Fountains at Farah.  With stores in McAllen, Laredo and Houston, Deutsche & Deutsche is taking advantage of the changes in the El Paso market, and taking the leap to the new Fountains mall.  You may have already seen their teaser billboards.  Deutsche & Deutsche is especially known for watches.
  • J. Edwards Diamonds, 7430 N. Mesa St. and 1840 Joe Battle Blvd. These stores are known for their amazing bridal business. Gina Silverman of J. Edwards says they haven’t seen an impact from local changes.  Gina is remodeling the Westside store so watch for a glamorous update.
  • Jewel Gallery, 7134 N. Mesa. Linda Medrano has carved a niche specializing in estate jewelry.
  • Johnson Jewelers, 5860 N. Mesa St. and 1320 N. Zaragoza Rd.  El Pasoans know Randy Johnson from his ad campaigns, “I want to be your jeweler.”
  • Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches, 5857 N. Mesa St.  Susan is a brilliant master gemologist and artist.  She has created a special niche in helping clients with estate planning and appraisals.
  • Sheldon Jewelry, 5446 N. Mesa St.  One of the oldest businesses in our city, this store was founded in the old Sheldon Hotel in 1912. The well-loved Kligman family has owned the store for decades.
  • Tres Mariposas, 5857 N. Mesa St.  The fine jewelry segment of our business had already grown tremendously over the last five years.  We thought that with this change in the market, why not take our jewelry focus to the next level?  Former Lacy & Company employees Carmen Bagby and Flori Trudeau approached me about bringing their expertise and energy to Tres Mariposas – and I was thrilled.  We are now constructing a new Jewelry Boutique within Tres Mariposas to accommodate more fine jewelry lines with a fashion focus.

So there you have it: a look at El Paso’s jewelry landscape! A rising tide lifts all boats and all of us retailers can benefit from the exciting developments on the horizon.

20th Annual YWCA Luncheon: Better Than Ever

I have two questions. First, how do they do it?  Every year, the women of the YWCA have an incredible speaker at their annual April luncheon – and every year it gets better. I’ve long had a special interest in the YWCA, and I eagerly anticipate this annual event. This year’s guest is world-class financial guru Suze Orman. What a coup for this important fundraiser!

USA Today has called Orman “a force in the world of personal finance” and a “one-woman financial advice powerhouse.” A two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, New York Times bestselling author, magazine and online columnist, and a highly sought-after motivational speakers, Orman has it all: fame AND brains, style AND substance.

As a numbers person, an accountant by training, I’m interested in what she has to say. But as a fan of fashion, my second question is this: What she will wear?

It’s no accident that a dynamo like Suze has an amazing wardrobe and always looks great. However, it’s not just a matter of income: I think that most successful women know the positive impact of personal style.

In my opinion, Suze is a very smart and savvy woman who has made personal style part of her success.  So how does she do it?  And what tips might there be for the rest of us? Let’s think about what we can learn from her.

  • Her style is genuine.  Suze Orman’s style is a reflection of her bright personality and her common sense approach to life.  She hasn’t copied someone else.  She doesn’t flip flop who she is from year to year.
  • Color.  Orman uses the power of color to her advantage and she likes solid colors. She doesn’t get stuck in a black rut like some of us do (who, me?)

    Face framing perfection

    Face framing perfection

Face Framing Take Two!

Face Framing Take Two!

  • The flattering face-framing neckline.  Orman use collars to her advantage.  She often turns up the collar up to frame her face, or wears a neckline designed to illuminate her face.
Relaxed but oh so stylish!

Relaxed but oh so stylish!

  • Sporty-relaxed-modern-classic style.  Orman’s style doesn’t fit in a single category – she picks what works for her across the board. She does not stray into the showy-trendy styles and yet she does not come across as stuffy. On the other hand she uses classic like wonderful woven cotton shirts and tailored pants.
Lengthy aspirations!

Lengthy aspirations!

  • Great Jackets.  Orman knows her body type and knows she looks great in longer length jackets. She’s right.
Luxurious leather.

Leather Jackets are just right!

  • Leather.  She wears leather jackets often. I agree, you can’t beat a leather jacket — versatile, luxurious, and easy.
  • Hair style.  Orman keeps her do smart, short, and casual.  Short hair and highlights, especially for someone with her golden tan, are proven strategies for a more youthful look.
  • Appropriate use of jewelry.  TV personalities know you can’t go on air with giant jewelry and clunky bracelets to jingle into the microphone and flash off the camera. Orman doesn’t go overboard with accessories; she usually accents with earrings and a simple necklace that enhance her style and add to her glow.

Camouflage clothes: In fashion and in real life

Nan and her son Creed in Arizona

Nan and her son Creed in Arizona

Sometimes I write about fashion trends that are on a high. Other times I tell you about a trend that doesn’t really fly. Camouflage prints – those mottled olive green and gray patterns – are one of those trends that work elsewhere, but not here.

On my recent buying trips I saw a lot of camouflage prints trending for fall. I saw all kinds of camouflage prints on shoes, handbags, pants, shirts, and accessories. However, my experience with previous surges in camouflage fashion wear has taught me that this is not a favorite trend of El Paso women. So you won’t be seeing many camo-print items at Tres Mariposas this year.

On the other hand, over the last few years, I have developed a whole other kind of interest in my camouflage clothing, an awareness that was heightened this weekend. Lots of mothers can relate to my reason for this interest: I have a son serving in the military.

My husband and I took a weekend road trip to Tucson, the home of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, to see him and I couldn’t have been more proud. Creed recently returned from Afghanistan, where he flew rescue missions, piloting high-tech Pave Hawk helicopters.

Creed has done an excellent job of trying to protect his mom from fearful thinking. “Oh, Mom, this deployment (his third), I’m pretty bored.  Not so much to do.”  This has fed so nicely into my tendency toward denial!

Now that he is back, I learned that, yes, he was bored some.  But in between the boredom, he and his crew were doing their real job:  flying into the heat of battle, facing enemy fire, and working their high adrenaline butts off to save the critically wounded.

You may have caught the very interesting National Geographic Series “Inside Combat Rescue,” where embedded cameramen followed Creed’s unit for four months. The series premiered in February.

Watching the program, I was keenly aware of how strong my denial had been. I am so relieved that he is back in the States! We had a great weekend, including fine dining at Anthony’s in Tucson and a mind-cleansing hike in the beautiful Sonoran Desert mountains. For a brief while, we were able to put military camouflage out of our minds.

“Now, for the first time in history, the United States Air Force is allowing cameras to follow these highly skilled airmen, with advanced medical training, to war…. With strategically placed cameras on airmen’s helmets and more than 40 cameras mounted both inside and outside of the Air Force’s HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, National Geographic Channel joins more than two dozen active missions, capturing each heart-pounding, unfiltered moment of war as never before. “When a soldier is down and time is running out, an elite unit of Air Force rescue warriors will risk their own lives to rescue those injured and clinging to life. In Afghanistan and around the world, Pararescuemen or PJs; their leaders, Combat Rescue officers; and their PaveHawk helicopter teammates fly into the heat of battle, often facing imminent enemy threats, to save the critically wounded. They’re part warrior, part guardian angel, part medic and ALL hero.” -- from National Geographic Channel’s program notes

“Now, for the first time in history, the United States Air Force is allowing cameras to follow these highly skilled airmen, with advanced medical training, to war…. With strategically placed cameras on airmen’s helmets and more than 40 cameras mounted both inside and outside of the Air Force’s HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, National Geographic Channel joins more than two dozen active missions, capturing each heart-pounding, unfiltered moment of war as never before.
“When a soldier is down and time is running out, an elite unit of Air Force rescue warriors will risk their own lives to rescue those injured and clinging to life. In Afghanistan and around the world, Pararescuemen or PJs; their leaders, Combat Rescue officers; and their PaveHawk helicopter teammates fly into the heat of battle, often facing imminent enemy threats, to save the critically wounded. They’re part warrior, part guardian angel, part medic and ALL hero.”
– from National Geographic Channel’s program notes

 

Printed pants: The Next Big Thing

Nan’s sister came to town and the first thing she did was buy printed pants!

Nan’s sister came to town and the first thing she did was buy printed pants!

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Women are continuing to wear slacks this season, but you’ll find nothing ho-hum or boring about the next big trend in pants. For spring and summer, it’s all about the print.

Printed pants are fun, playful, and a great change of pace from those everyday black pants. Today’s popular prints range from dots and animal prints to florals and graphic patterns.

Print pants are one of those trends that can look fantastically chic. Or, when the look is not executed well, they can be a “Fashion Don’t.”

A few tips for wearing printed pants:

  • Wide-leg print pants in flowy fabrics are wonderful for social occasions. Just be sure you don’t wear them too short. This pant needs to fall below the ankle, not above.
  • Big floral or graphic patterns can be beautiful on wide, palazzo style pants. However, on more tailored pants or jeans, choose small- or medium-sized prints.
  • Keep the rest of the outfit simple. Pair print pants with a beautiful sold soft silky shirt in a neutral shade. Likewise, don’t choose an overly patterned handbag or distracting jewelry. Let the print of the pants be the star.
  • You’ll see prints against all hues of backgrounds. A rule of thumb here is that a dark background for print pants will be more slimming.

I was glad to have my sister from Amarillo in town last week. As usual, she wanted to come into Tres Mariposas to look around. She went right for the printed pants and looked great in a variety of graphics.

The next time you’re shopping, give print pants a try. You might be surprised what an impact they can make on your spring-time look!