Sasee Magazine - March 2023

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“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”
March 2023
-Yves Saint Laurent

A Place Where You Belong

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A Curated Collection of Sun-Kissed Style 910-579-1525 • 17 Causeway Drive • Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469 Hours: 10am - 6pm Daily (Closed Wednesday) Text to Shop: 910-520-5197 Spring has Sprung!

About the Cover Artist: Tashe is an artist and art lover based out of Ukraine. She primarily likes to work with ink on paper as well as oil, acrylic, and mixed media. She is always learning and enjoys trying new techniques and styles. From city life and coffee stops to fashion and love, she is constantly inspired by the everyday life of women. Her work is full of emotion as she is known and adored for “celebrating the female body in a tasteful way.” Tashe’s artistic purpose is to show off how every woman has her own unique inimitable beauty, and she wants her viewers to delight in this beauty with her.

You can see or buy her artworks here:

4 :: :: March 2023 Contents Volume 22, Issue 3 Charmed by Diane DeVaughn Stokes Sasee Gets Personal with Jessica Hughes: Owner of Pink & Red Thrill of the Hunt A Jewelry Box Full of Memories by Gina Benson Spring into Style Silly Socks by Jessica Marie Baumgartner Shopping with My Teenage Daughter...Lessons Learned by Francine Garson Sometimes I Talk to Myself by Erika Hoffman Finding Your Fashion Muse by Sharon Smith 8 10 12 14 16 18 24 26 28 “A Passion for Fashion”

from the Editor

Regardless of which time period you research, fashion has always been a pinnacle form of art – one that constantly changes yet also comes full circle often. What you wear and how you present yourself to the world have forever been lively discussions throughout history. From clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, hair accessories, makeup trends, belts, scarves, eyewear, and (Sasee’s personal favorite) hats, the fashionable options are endless to create your personal style.

Speaking of having an abundance of choices, how many of you have the chronic condition of being fashionably late? Apparently, this personality trait is genetic. Completely wrecking my room with colorful clothing while trying to find the perfect outfit can get messy quickly, but the final result is usually well worth the temporary disarray.

Specifically dressing for occasions is my new favorite. I love a theme and any reason to get extra creative with different styles. A couple of years ago, I wrote how I like to keep my makeup natural (which is still true most days) and that the only one I trusted to do my makeup was my best friend, Jamie McNair (who recently graduated from cosmetology school). Well, due to my performance side gig, I have actually grown quite fond of designing fun and bold-colored makeup looks when it comes to special events. In fact, I have somehow become kind of good at it – even Jamie, the professional artist, has been impressed.

I love how fashion has the power to bring people together. At the same time, fashion also creates a safe space for people to express themselves uniquely. Take a look at our Spring into Style spread which shows off the many dynamic pieces from our local shops that will inspire you to express your passion for fashion.


Delores Blount

Sales & Marketing Director

Susan Bryant

Editor Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

Account Executives

Erica Schneider

Gay Stackhouse

Art Director

Patrick Sullivan

Contributing Photographer

Chasing the Light Photography

Web Developer

Scott Konradt

Accounting Gail Knowles

Executive Publishers

Jim Creel

Bill Hennecy

Suzette Rogers PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 •

Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright

6 :: :: March 2023
published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission.
Sasee is
All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material, in part or in whole, prepared by Strand Media Group, Inc. and appearing within this publication is strictly prohibited. Title “Sasee” is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office


I am certainly not a frou-frou kind of girl. I hate carrying a purse. I buy my shoes at outlet stores and have far fewer of them than most of my girlfriends. I hate dressing up in formal attire and would rather put on my comfy “slogging suit” as I call it, because it’s obvious I do not jog and never will.

I like to go around town and to the grocery store without make-up and maybe that’s because I have to wear so much of it when I am on TV that sometimes I need a relief. I’ve always said if I got in a car accident on my way to work, they would put me in jail assuming I was a hooker buttered up for the kill with layers of foundation, plus colorful cheeks and lips. Most of my jewelry is cheap costume stuff, and not because Chuck never buys it for me. He actually has surprised me with a few impressive pieces.

But speaking of jewelry, there are a few oldies but goodies that I have never stopped wearing despite the fact they went out of style years ago. I’m sure some people laugh at me when they see me wearing these items. They are probably saying, “Get over it already”! Who dictates what’s in vogue and what is not anyway? Where is that written? Is there a National Jewelry Board of Directors I am not aware of?

Perhaps you too have a charm bracelet. My wonderful parents presented me with mine upon my eighth-grade graduation. That was when gold was so much cheaper than it is today. They even added a graduation cap charm. You know, the one with the tassel on it that kids throw in the air upon receiving their diploma. The following year, they added a clown charm for my birthday since I was always the family comedian, and a Christmas tree charm was happily discovered among my Santa presents. My best friend, Randy gave me a beautiful heart charm and soon the bracelet jingled with every move I made, certainly like the Pandora ones most women have today. But sadly, in the late seventies, needing a down payment to buy my first house, I cashed in the charms, and everything else of value I could get my hands on including gold pieces from previous boyfriends, but luckily held on to the bracelet. After all these years, it has never tarnished or faded. It looks brand new.

Do you remember Add-A-Bead necklaces? Well, I still have mine from the 60s and wear it often. It has thirteen beads as I was born on the thirteenth of December and that’s always been my lucky number. Filling it up with beads would never have been my style. Thirteen was perfect.

What did you do with your college ring? Since I was on the ring design committee at Francis Marion University, I guess mine was more precious to me than most college rings are to folks later in life. Besides, it is black onyx and I can wear it with just about every piece of clothing in my closet, so I had it made into a pendant on a gold chain. I get more compliments on that than any other piece of jewelry in my collection, except for my wedding ring in the shape of a flower. Thank you, Chuck.

The way I figure it, there’s no sense in wasting old gold jewelry just because I GOT OLD, right? And now, I also have my grandmother’s wedding ring, and my mom just recently gave me hers. I guess I’ll have to start to alternate wearing them with my “slogging suit” or change my attitude and start acting sophisticated and dressing up more.

So, as you can tell, I am very nostalgic BUT you’ll be proud of me when I tell you just last year, I finally got rid of my mood ring and Spiro Agnew watch. I tried turning them over to a consignment shop figuring they are antiques now and must be worth something! But no one was as “charmed” with them as I once was!!! So be it!

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Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the Co-Owner of Stages Video Productions and is the Host and Producer for the TV show “Inside Out” on HTC Channel 4. Her passions include her husband Chuck, writing, scuba diving, and the ARTS! She is the author of “Floating on Air- A Broadcasting Love Affair.”
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Gets Personal with Jessica Hughes: Owner of Pink & Red

Q: When did you fall in love with fashion?

“I remember looking at magazines as a young girl and trying to recreate looks with items I had in my closet. I realized quickly I liked things that were lively, full of color or pattern. I also used to LOVE watching Miss America or Miss USA. If it sparkled, I wanted to wear it. (That still rings true.)”

Q: Which 2023 fashion trends are you most excited for?

“Magenta is the 2023 color of the year, and at Pink & Red, we enthusiastically embrace this! I’m also truly in love with the resurgence of feminine details on clothing right now. Soft ruffles, flowing fabrics, beautiful florals, and lots of colors make it truly fun to select outfits.”

Q: When and why did you open Pink & Red?

“We opened Pink & Red on May 1, 2021. When the previous store was closing and an opportunity presented itself, I knew it would be the chance of a lifetime to share the joy of dressing up with our customers. We have been so blessed by the support our little store has been given by the community.”

Q: What is Pink & Red’s mission?

“Our mission is to Inspire Delight. Everything we do, say, post, sell, or share is done with the intention of delighting our clients. Life throws a lot of curve balls at each of us, and there is so much that’s out of our control - but we know that every day each person must get dressed. We hope each day we can help you choose something to wear for any occasion that can bring some delight your way!”

Q: Do you have any nostalgic perfume memories?

“Scents are such powerful drivers of memories. Every time I smell Chanel No. 5, I think of my grandmother. She wore it all the time and gifted me my first bottle of it when I was in middle school. Another special fragrance memory for me is my Bridal Bouquet full of roses. Just after our wedding, I went on a trip with the intention of finding a fragrance that would remind me of its sweet scent. I found the perfect one: Acqua di Parma’s Rosa Nobile.”

Q: Does your personality match your style?

“I’m a person who genuinely finds joy in lots of things each day. I think it’s true that while not every day is a good day, there is good IN every day. My closet looks like a rainbow exploded inside it and it’s full of detail. I hope my style full of color and bright patterns reflects the joy I find in things around me.”

Q: What are your favorite ways to dress up?

“Whether it’s a small thing like a lipstick/nail polish shade or a big thing like a piece of furniture or a wallpaper at home - Color is a fun way to bring life to your day! One of my favorite rooms in our home is my office. With a beautiful blush pink ceiling and blush pink zebra striped wallpaper, it’s a fun, feminine wonderland!”

Q: Do you believe it’s important to express yourself through fashion?

“I believe your clothing and appearance is a reflection of you, NOT a definition of you. It’s true I LOVE to dress up and am excited when I’m able to get new bright, fun dresses or clothes but there are also times when I need to rest and just grab the oldest, most comfortable thing I can find. (My go-to lounge shorts are from 1997 when I moved onto campus to begin college!) I love to fix my hair or makeup for the day, but there are also times I need to run a quick errand and will head out with a ballcap and fresh face. We, women, can be both! We can love color but enjoy a little black dress. We can be a skilled makeup artist who chooses not to wear makeup. We can enjoy a trend on our best friend, but not have to get the same thing for ourselves. There are no rules. I love being able to embrace fashion or style for where I am, how I feel, or what I’m doing that day; and appreciate the ability to know it’s okay if that is different from one day to the next.”

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A Jewelry Box Full of Memories

I couldn’t wait to get my ears pierced. I counted down the days until my “double-digit” birthday and the moment I woke up, I was ready to be transformed into a glamorous earring-wearing 10-year-old. Mom wasn’t moving quite fast enough (laundry can put a real damper on things!) but eventually, we left the house and drove uptown to the only jewelry store (Rudolph’s) that offered ear piercing (this was before Claire’s and the plethora of piercing shops gracing many towns today).

I already had a small collection of earrings in a beautiful little gold box. My Aunt Jan had given me some of her old earrings (my favorites were a gold ball with an oval charm swinging delicately below…they were the only “dangle” earrings in the box). I had brought them with me so I could prance out of the store, pushing my hair behind my ears for all the world to see the new, bejeweled me. Much to my dismay, the owner of the shop explained that I had to wear the “starter” earrings (boring little, and I mean LITTLE, teeny-tiny 14K gold balls) and that if I took good care of my ears by turning the earrings daily, I would be wearing the dangly ones soon (not soon enough). Mr. Rudolph told me that it might pinch a little, so I just put on a brave face and said I was ready. It more than pinched a little, it hurt a LOT! I blinked back tears and a few seconds later, the pain was gone, and I was now among the earring-wearing people of the world.

Our 4th-grade pictures were coming up and I begged my mom to let me change my earrings to the “dangly” ones, even though it was 2 days before I was supposed to. She eventually said yes because I had been so responsible in taking care of my newly pierced ears. On picture day, I made sure that the school photographer could definitely see my new gold dangles when she told me to smile.

Several years later, when I was in high school, our town finally got a Mall. In the center was a rectangular-shaped kiosk of glass cases filled with the most whimsical jewelry I had ever seen. Even the name of the company had a playful ring to it ~ it was called Pididdly Links. There were heart charm necklaces, cherub pins, and earrings, moon and star designs, lockets that really opened to keep pictures of your loved ones close to you, small etched glass pieces ~ it was a treasure trove, and I once again fell in love with a pair of “dangly” earrings. They were almost shoulder dusters, antiqued brass cherubs that appeared to be standing atop a

beautiful hand-painted heart. Inside the heart was a smaller heart made from a sparkling Swarovski crystal. I pictured myself wearing them on Valentine’s Day with my new red sweater. I asked the price and found out they were $38. I did a quick calculation and even if I saved up my allowance, I wouldn’t be able to get them before Valentine’s Day. I looked at them every time I went to the mall and one day they were gone. Some other lucky girl would be wearing them with her new red sweater.

The Friday before Valentine’s Day, I opened my locker at school and there was a little wrapped gift box with a small card ~ I recognized my friend Stephanie’s writing immediately, opened the box, and inside were the cherub earrings! She had been listening to me pine over those earrings and went back to buy them for me just in time for Valentine’s Day. I ended up going on my first Ski trip that Valentine’s Day ~ I certainly couldn’t ski, but I did have the best earrings on the slopes!

Fast forward to a few days after graduating from college. I am job hunting and although I think I am a worldly young woman who will perhaps move to a big city or even abroad, this little ad catches my eye: “Local jewelry business in search of someone to market designs. Some travel is necessary. Inquire in person.” I put my “interview outfit” on (a tan skirt and jacket with medium heel pumps). When I looked in the mirror, I thought the outfit could use a little “pop” and even though it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, I grabbed those cherub earrings along with my resume and headed out the door.

I pulled up to a fairly nondescript building not even 10 minutes from home. I smoothed my skirt, took a breath, and walked up to the door. Above the address on the door was a familiar name: Pididdly Links! I knocked and was let in by a man who turned out to be one of the Owners. Steve invited me in, took my resume, smiled, and said “Nice earrings”. After the interview, if you can call talking about everything from favorite music, best friends, and a little history of the company (his amazing wife is the designer) an interview, he said he’d be in touch in a day or two. This was before cell phones and emails…we didn’t even have an answering machine! I was so afraid that I’d miss his call, not to mention this golden opportunity, that I borrowed our neighbor’s answering machine until I heard the message “You got the job!”

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For the next few years, I had the absolute pleasure of traveling around the country representing “The Most Romantic Jewelry this side of Paradise.” I wore the new designs at each trade show and acquired quite a collection that I still wear today. My favorite pieces of jewelry are ones that have a story and evoke memories. When I think of that first pair of dangly earrings; my grandmother’s charm bracelets (one charm was a birthday cake with candles that actually popped up and another was a small church and you could look into this tiny keyhole and see the Lord’s Prayer); the turquoise ring from Carson City ranch that my Dad bought me, a small Taurus Tiffany charm necklace handed down from another aunt, the sterling silver tranquility ball that my mother-in-law used to wear (I wore it on Thanksgiving Day and my nephew, now in his 30’s with 2 girls of his own, saw it and yelled out “Hey, Nan’s magical fairy ball necklace!”…he remembered!), and of course, those Cherub shoulder dusters, I am transported back to a time of pure JOY.

It is often written that of the 5 senses, smell is the one that conjures the most vivid memories, but for me, it’s a jewelry box. When I open it, I see what is truly priceless: time beautifully spent with family and friends.

Gina Benson was Northern born with a Southern heart. She embraces the beautiful imperfections of everyday life. Cooking with her husband and her daughter’s smile are 2 of her favorite things in the world! :: March 2023 :: 15
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S g pr i n into STYLE

Wonder and Wilde

Good Deed Goods

Need bad hair days to SMILE about? Go smiling into Spring with this relaxed-fit Happy Face Flower Baseball Cap. Pre-washed soft cotton finished with floral embroidery.

Created by BoBo Choses, their new collection, Living in a Shell, features this adorable Sailboat All Over Top & Skirt woven duo.

Litchfield Books

Books & Bling! Swarovski Crystal Jewelry is now offered at our shop so you can get creative with both your books and accessorizing looks.


Handcrafted in Austin, Texas, the festive and diverse Consuela Bags are the perfect accessory for any occasion.

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Pink is always in style. This darling outfit is a staple for spring and summer looks and would be a great option for Easter.

The Mole Hole

Firefly Mosaic jewelry offers intricately embellished artisan jewelry, specializing in innovative color mixes and meticulous workmanship. These designs are elegant, yet whimsical, and sparkle with the use of Swarovski crystals.

B. Graham Interiors

Resembling layered lotus leaves, this rectangular mirror is made of intricately pierced metal in a rich gold finish and is sure to enhance any entrance hall, bedroom, or bathroom vanity.

Grady’s Jewelers

Handcrafted in Bali by skilled artisans, the Sterling Silver/18k solid gold dragonfly design hinged bangle features real citrine gemstones. Ten meals are donated to Feeding America for each item purchased.

Surf Unlimited

Kerisma Wing-sleeved Red Sweater and a Chaser Rainbow Lip Bite Smooch White T-shirt.

Silly Socks

I’ve never been one to keep up with the latest trends. If I see a dress or cute top I like, I’ll save up and buy it. Sometimes my tastes fit the modern crazes, sometimes I’m going against the grain, but the best way to describe my fashion sense is that I love bold bright colors.

Honestly, most of the time I like looking like a rainbow threw up on me. I love contrast. This is great when I’m gardening or running around with my kids, but sometimes I have to tone it down.

Thankfully, there is one piece of clothing that I can hide and never have to alter to fit formal settings and dress code worthy events: socks. They’re a perfect expression that slides into my boots in the fall and winter. In spring, if I’m feeling silly, I’ll wear them with slip-ons or sneakers just to be silly. Even striped knee socks or cute patterns can be worn with heels if my dress is long enough or I’m feeling extra expressive.

Silly socks don’t get enough credit. As a kid, most of us complained if we got socks as a gift but I’ve now reached an age where I can’t get enough of them. And the weirder, the better.

While some women obsess over shoes and handbags, I’m more focused on ensuring that my feet display my personality whether others can see them or not. It’s a style that I’ve passed on to my daughters.

My eldest is much more traditional. She loves long dresses and clothes that look like they came from the 1800s, but give her a pair of silly sloth socks and she is ready to slip them on.

My youngest daughter is a bit more like me. She loves bright colors and anything that really stands out. I call her my little butterfly because she’s also the most

outgoing little social lady. Her love of silly socks goes just as far as mine.

Whether weird patterns, prints, or just the brightest shade of fuchsia, there’s something about a pair of silly socks that calls out. They need to be worn. And the more that I wear them and show them off, the more I find other women enjoying this hidden burst of expression.

No matter the occasion, a pair of silly socks can offer a bit of humor or some added joy. Sometimes I keep it to myself. Not everyone needs a laugh when visiting a sick loved one or attending a funeral, but I do. So just hiding something bright and happy underneath a nice pair of boots or a simple skirt reminds me that I’m always me, no matter what I have to face.

It may sound a bit strange, but that’s how fashion works. No matter what we love to wear, there is always something that perfectly offers up a reflection of our inner light. Even when hidden or covering the smallest body part, every fashion sense has something to say!

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Jessica Marie Baumgartner is a homeschooling mother of 4, author of various books, and her work has been featured by, “Missouri Conservationist,” “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” & more. :: March 2023 :: 19 Coastal Luxe Interiors Better Living by Design 843.946.6644 6613 N. Kings Highway • Myrtle Beach, SC 29572 • Retail Therapy Available Tues - Fri 11am - 4pm In-Home or In-Store Interior Design Consultation by Appointment New Construction & Remodel Material Selections (Cabinets, Lighting & Flooring) 843-237-8138 Fresh Market Commons • 11421 Ocean Hwy Unit D • Pawleys Island, SC 29585 Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm • Sun: 1pm - 5pm We are more than books Beautiful Stationery, Cards, and Gifts for All Occasions We host events frequently. Check our website for tickets and info for upcoming events. Purchase your tickets early to ensure your seats. :: March 2023 :: 21 The Market Common 3032 Nevers St, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 843-232-7009 • Mon-Sat 10:00am - 6:00pm • Sun Noon - 6:00pm Home to Over 70 Local Artists! Original Art • Photography • Classes & Workshops
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Shopping with My Teenage Daughter... Lessons Learned

As a precocious seven-year-old, whenever my daughter was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was always the same.

“I want to be a teenager.”

A cute, funny, and charming response from a pigtailed little girl who insisted on dressing in pinks and purples –a child whose teenage years seemed to be very, very far away.

But as the years flew by and my daughter grew older, we discussed what I’d thought was an exhaustive list of potentially troublesome situations that might confront her –problematic friendships, scholastic concerns, peer pressure, bullying, body image issues, and toxic relationships.

I had ideas. I had strategies. I had rules. I was prepared. Or so I’d thought.

But as all parents know, it is impossible to anticipate every single challenge that might arise as their children grow older. Still, I never expected that I’d need to come up with strategies for an activity my daughter and I had always enjoyed – together.


But seemingly overnight, the little girl whose favorite parts of a trip to the mall had been a romp through a now-shuttered toy store followed by a stop at the Food Court for a sprinkletopped cookie dough ice cream cone had morphed into…a teenager!

It didn’t take me long to realize that I’d need to devise a new set of rules. For myself.

1. Eat first. Trust me that a hungry adolescent on a shopping trip with her mother will not bode well for either of you. Whoever coined the term “hangry” was onto something.

2. Follow the leader, and in this case, that will be your daughter. Keep your face neutral as she steers you into store after store stocked with mountains of trending-for-teens clothing and accessories. And although the floor may vibrate

with the kind of thumping, bassline-heavy music that makes you want to run fast and far, do not cover your ears.

3. Unless you are asked (and that time will come), do not choose and pull clothing from the racks for your daughter. She knows best. Just ask her, and she will tell you that. Your job will be to help her carry her selections as she searches for the perfect pair of jeans, leggings, shirt, jacket, sweater, dress, hat, or all of the above. As these things accumulate, if you’ve come equipped with your lightweight and handsfree shoulder or (even better) crossbody bag, your arms and shoulders will thank you. When you become more familiar with your daughter’s go-to stores, you’ll learn to make a beeline for the nearest chair or bench where you can comfortably keep watch over her growing pile of “maybes.”

4. Do not assume your daughter will invite you into the dressing room with her. In fact, it’s best not to assume anything. Remember that this is new terrain – for both of you.

5. Do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, roll your eyes, shake your head, sigh, smirk, or (heaven forbid!) laugh. And never ever begin or end a sentence with, “When I was your age…”

6. Use the sandwich approach. If your daughter steps out of the dressing room in an article of clothing that is in your opinion, too short, too tight, or even just plain ugly, find something positive to say. The color, the fabric, the fact that it’s on sale – anything. Just say it. Then, oh-so-gently, suggest that perhaps she might want to keep looking before making a final decision. Follow up with a short lukewarm positive statement. Keep your fingers crossed, and remember that, if you’re paying, you do have ultimate veto power. This should be used wisely, sparingly, and only in the most desperate situations.

7. As you and your daughter move through aisles and racks of “stuff,” you might notice something that appeals to you. Yes, you! But keep moving, walk past it, and make a mental note to come back later. There will come a time when your daughter will be interested in shopping with and for you. This is not that time.

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8. If possible, avoid visiting a mall or other teenage shopping meccas with your daughter during what, in her world, are considered “prime times.” These usually include Friday nights, Saturday afternoons, and any other times when you’re likely to encounter the roving bands of middle and high schoolers who tend to travel in packs…without their mothers. If your daughter does spot one of these groups, especially if she recognizes any of them, remember your own feelings as a girl of her age, and quickly duck into a store and remain out of sight until she signals you that the coast is clear. Extra points for doing this without being asked!

9. Keep smiling and keep moving. Do not yawn, groan, or complain that your feet hurt.

10. And always remember that at the end of the day, a sprinkle-topped cookie dough ice cream cone – maybe even with two scoops – awaits you both!

Francine Garson is the author of the novels, Follow the Leader and Things, is a former law school administrator and independent college advisor. Her shorter work has appeared in several online and print magazines, and her flash fiction has received awards from the National League of American Pen Women and WOW-Women On Writing. Learn more at :: March 2023 :: 25
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Sometimes I Talk to Myself

I have a longtime Southern friend, a superb fashionista, who thinks that people who wear tee shirts with sayings on them look… tacky. So, when I’m around her, I wear flowery prints and don’t follow my natural instincts. Most of the time, which is when I’m not around her, I sport a tee that reads: “Sometimes I talk to myself. Then we both laugh and laugh.” When I attire myself in that shirt, folks smile. It’s a conversation starter.

In the fall of 2021, I was in Germany on an Amadeus Cruise, and the young bursar, a girl from Hungary, laughed aloud when she read my shirt. It was easy enough to translate. I’ve another one, a pale green shirt, which says: “I’m only talking to my dogs today.” Sometimes, folks will stare at that comment and then raise a questioning eyebrow. Others comment: “I have days like that” and we both chuckle. When I taught high school, I purchased a dark tee that advised in bright white letters, “If you have something to say, please RAISE YOUR HAND and place it over your mouth.” Needless to say, I never wore that shirt to school. I wanted to keep my job.

As one gets older, humor is a godsend. I no longer seek out movies that are tear-jerkers. I’d rather listen to crass comedy shows than cry at a tragedy produced in a swanky theatre on Broadway. I prefer Netflix shows like Only Murders in the Building to ones dealing with drug addiction and hopelessness set in the Ozarks.

Sometimes, I wear shirts I’ve bought on trips. Usually, an adage or funny expression is emblazoned across the chest, like the one from New Mexico that says: “Carpe Diem, Mañana” or my shirt from N’awlins that reads: “Laissez les Bontemps Rouler” or the one I wear every Fourth of July which reads: “Born in America - a long time ago.”

Luckily, my husband is a confident guy and doesn’t feel my antics in any way reflect on him. Would he wear a collarless shirt that says, “I’m with Stupid?” Never. The guy’s not stupid. Even if his wife likes stupid sayings and anything that might evoke a laugh, he does his own thing, which is to dress like the professional he is.

I took a friend to a birthday lunch and because she spends a lot of time creating masterpieces in the kitchen and spends much time visiting her in-laws, I bought her a coffee mug for a present, which in bold letters says: “Commas Save Lives.” Under that declaration, one reads: “I love cooking my family and pets.” She seemed pleased with the gift.

Humor is the lubricant that makes the gears of life run more smoothly. If you’re a naturally funny man, punster, or prankster, great. If you need help with an icebreaker, buy yourself a shirt with a funny caption and believe me, you will make an impression and cause a smile or two from passersby.

But, if they don’t appreciate your sense of humor or mode of dress, Fuhgeddaboudit. You do You! Enjoy yourself. And don’t overly worry about looking tacky. Have you ever seen a golfer?

26 :: :: March 2023
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Finding Your Fashion Muse

What fuels your fashion finds? What inspires and guides your fashion journey? Some have an actress they emulate or an influencer on Tik Tok, while others still peruse fashion magazines.

Navigating a world of playthings as a child, my mother’s closet was filled with high heels, color, and beauty, and I soon rushed towards it! She was my first fashion role model. Her hope chest was filled with many tantalizing things, but I adored the journals filled with her clothing sketches the most. As a pre-teen, I started doing my own sketches and started contemplating a journey into fashion college. Though I didn’t end up there, fashion became one of the enduring loves of my life. My fashion odyssey always drew inspiration from the women I surveyed every day. Although my mother was at the forefront, I remember telling her how much I appreciated the visions of certain women around me. From very early on, I knew what I liked; what I loved, as well as what I disliked.

As a poor farmgirl, I yearned to embrace elegance, to abandon the everyday boredom of jeans, t-shirts, and boots. I remember a hunger to soak up that other world, the one that fashion magazines presented. Armed with a skeleton budget, I tried to imitate the elegance shown there. Although I didn’t achieve the effect I wanted, at least I tried. People always commented that I “just didn’t dress like anyone else at my school.”

One of my biggest influences has always been the movies. Early on, Aubrey Hepburn became my muse. Who can forget the dresses from Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s? As a teen, I was even looking for a “little black dress.” These looks were iconic; I still see the influence today. The Amazon original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel made me sigh with pleasure as it presented many frocks that could have stepped right out of a Hepburn movie.

Movies continued to inspire me to look for different pieces throughout the decades. When I watched Pretty Woman, I remember yearning to be transformed, like Cinderella, albeit not through prostitution. I diligently searched for a matching jacket to wear with my tailored shorts, and even added more polka dots to my wardrobe! I believed someday this “ugly duckling’s” wardrobe would be transformed into a swan’s.

During my college years, Sex in the City gave me weekly doses of wardrobe envy and inspiration. I remember at that time being impressed with the variety of styles reflecting each character’s moods and personalities. I always gravitated toward Charlotte’s style, but as I matured, I learned to appreciate Carrie’s more. She took so many fashion risks that I couldn’t appreciate at the time, but I subconsciously learned from her to make daring new choices.

To this day, I still draw inspiration and soak up all that television and movies have to offer. I noticed, with interest, that Beth from Yellowstone inspired some of the jewelry and clothes appearing in stores these days. I eagerly wait for every new Emily in Paris episode to queue up, just so I can dream about escaping to France, and decide which outfit I like the most this time! Will Wednesday Addams initiate a return to goth fashion? Will it give me a new outfit to add to my closet?

Where do we search for our muses today? Where does your passion for fashion stem from? Is there anyone out there who obsesses like me? Do we challenge ourselves to push the fashion envelope, like Carrie Bradshaw does? Or do we blindly follow whatever passes for office wardrobe etiquette in our small, safe sphere? Maybe you could pause for a second and drink in all the fashion around you. In a world gone mad, fashion still provides art for my eyes and peace for my soul.

Sharon Smith

is a teacher by trade, but a writer by choice. She grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. She loves singing, fashion, and practicing her own version of What Not to Wear with her friends.

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