Sunday, April 13, 2008

connections in my blog neighbourhood

Paul and I took a walk around the island this morning -- the sunshine is with us again today -- and I played tourist with my camera for you. Above is one of the older cottages, once lived in by its owner year-round, now rented through the year by students or other frugal or adventurous types. Numerous quaint cottages still hold their own here against the increasingly large recent additions.This log home looks as if it will fit in quite well, although we're not quite used to it. Not nearly as big as many of the new homes, and it looks as if the owners have been careful about the building's footprint, leaving much of the surrounding vegetation.
This pretty little cottage has served as either year-round rental accommodation or summer living for its owners for much longer than the fifteen years we've been on the island, and I hope it's here for decades to come. These kinds of homes provide the diversity that gives the island its charm, in my humble opinion.
Speaking of diversity . . . This seaplane (which gets hauled the 50 metres or so to the water by that chopped-off car) belongs to the owner of a summer place on the island.

So now that I've wandered around my geographical neighbourhood, it's time to branch out to my blog neighbours.

After I wrote last week about my insecurities vis-à-vis posting photos of what I wore (and then wrote a fervent thanks to all who left encouraging comments), Une Femme posted a very chic photo of her newly short-haired self sporting a fichu in very Parisian fashion, and referred to my post as providing some momentum for putting herself out there. Then I found that Mardel, a reader prompted to de-lurk by my post, had been thinking and writing along similar lines when she read (and linked to) my post, and she's also posted photos of herself wearing combinations and/or single elements (canvas sneakers, the right jeans, a hand-knit sweater) that make her feel happy. She writes very thoughtfully about the process, revealing some of the concerns we women of a certain age share about how we present ourselves to the world, but coming down firmly on the side of cheery self-acceptance and enjoyment of what Une Femme calls living "a delicious life" in our maturity.

Then Linda Grant at The Thoughtful Dresser posted a piece titled The Tyranny of Beauty in which she pointed to, and elaborated on, an article Lisa Armstrong had written for The Times about "our lookist society." In that article, Armstrong quotes Sheila Jeffreys, author of Beauty And Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West, who says that we are seeing in the media "virtually no challenge to the wall of thin, youthful images. The definition of what's attractive is becoming narrower." Grant adds to her citation of Armstrong that her conversations with makeup expert Mary Greenwell have made her aware of the lack of reality in magazines: "There are no photographs, apart from paparazzi ones, that are not airbrushed and photoshopped. No-one hasn't had botox, fillers, at the very least. This means that the (apparent) gap between what we look like and that the celebs look like gets wider every day. Born beautiful, they appear not to age." As a result of this phenomenon, as Armstrong points out, women in responsible, senior positions in business and in government, are being dissected and ridiculed in the media for their looks or their failure to dress stylishly enough.

While some might argue that by posting photos of what we wear, myself, Une Femme, Mardel, are fanning the flames of lookism, I like to think that in our own small way, we are providing those realistic images that other media fail to offer. When we show that we still care about style even as we age, we make it a little bit more possible that we will like what we see in the mirror rather than compare ourselves despairingly with the impossible-to-achieve looks of media icons.

What do you think? Is that too grandiose a claim?

Some other blog connections this week: Nancy, over at Sewwest, was justifiably awarded an E for Excellent blog award, and she's passed along the honour, listing mine as one of a number of blogs she enjoys -- I've checked out the others and I'm flattered to be in their company.

To pass along the compliment, since you already know what blogs make my day, I thought I'd concentrate on the excellent blogs I look at for a dose of Paris when I'm away from that city and to get psyched up for returning to it.

1. Aimée at PutYourFlareOn who's just opened her dream café in Paris

2. Tara at ParisParfait

3. Polly-Vous Français who recently posted about shoes from a Frenchman's perspective

4. Café Mode

5. Garance Doré

6. the wonderful Paris Daily Photo

7. David Lebowitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, now one of the funniest food/Paris bloggers around

And finally, one last connection in my blogging neighbourhood. Thanks to Thomas at The Sunday Best for the gorgeous photos of spring flowers in his city, and for introducing them as a tribute to my own garden photos. Thom's greater control of his photography equipment is immediately apparent and reminds me that one of my goals for this summer is to spend some time learning how to best take advantage of my camera's offerings.


  1. I read that clutch of blog posts (and had written one of my own) that all appeared at the same time, I was really pleased - are we starting a "movement".
    Thanks for those Paris links, they are great!

  2. I love your neighborhood pictures! I live in the Arizona desert, so your island reality is so different from my dry-as-a -bone neighborhood. Thanks for sharing. Elaine

  3. Cybill: Yes, it's great, isn't it! Maybe it is the start of a movement.
    Mommafar: Thanks. Nice to have you drop by from so far away.

  4. I'd say the comment is overblown, at least to my observations. In "popular" media the definition has always been narrow, but online that definition is being constantly challenged.

    As for the camera, my one tip - up the colour saturation setting.

  5. Thomas: You're probably right, but at least we're continuing to challenge.
    And thanks for the photography tip. I'm going to try to spend some time on this over the summer.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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