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Mirror Musings from Thailand

There’s nothing like culture shock to help you reflect on your own people! I’m writing from a cyber cafe in Bangkok where tuk-tuks, giant tour buses, hot pink taxis and motorcycles zip by. But go a street over and traffic may be at a standstill for hours. It’s taken over an hour to get a mile each day, traffic is so bad. Yet, traffic in this gentle, spiritual country has already enlightened me. So I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

1. As bad as traffic gets, no one honks. No one flips the bird. And they don’t have road rage. They accept traffic as something to deal with in this city. Reminds me a bit of “No worry, be happy” in Jamaica, but this is the Buddhist peacefulness on 2 or 4 or more wheels.

2. Why must we be so quick to judge? In our little group of travelers, I’ve heard at different times how rude the Japanese are, how Germans don’t bathe, how people’s feet smell in the temples when we have to take our shoes off… startling all the ugliness that you can find when looking for it. With each comment, I wondered “what are all these other people thinking of us?” if that’s what we notice?

3. Nothing beats an ice cold beer when it’s hot AND humid. And you’re eating spicy foods. One of life’s true pleasures.

4. Like Gideon Bibles, hotels in Thailand have copies of The Teachings of Buddha in every room. What beautiful, simple words of wisdom. I think I’ll “borrow” it.

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Mike Baumgartner interviews Chris Hauri for Jobcast Radio Episode 12

Mike rips into our beloved government for “discovering” we need jobs, why he loves healthcare, and just how scary 2010 unemployment is becoming. Mike interviews Chris Hauri from mirrorwomen.com about transitions in life and career.

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Please Bring Back “DON’T”s!

Remember Glamour magazine’s “Don’t”s? These were candid shots of fashion faux pas captured on the streets of New York City. The unknowing style slayer was somewhat hidden by a black bar placed over her eyes in the photo. But everyone knew that if they were ever caught as a fashion felon, they would immediately be recognized behind the drawn-in mask.

Back in the days when Glamour was relevant (or is that when we were relevant to Glamour?), my sister and I would rush to the pages that held the commandments of what to wear. We believed that Glamour would steer us well and well-dressed if we obeyed. We feared the black bar across our eyes!

So the other day I was standing on the el platform in downtown Chicago when I saw a young woman across the way dressed in total disarray (to my standards). My first thought was “Now, there’s a Glamour ‘Don’t’” and I half expected to see a black bar across her eyes. But then I looked again and, horrified, realized she might actually be a “DO”! Has fashion gone so far from what we learned in the 60s and 70s that Glamour has betrayed us?

Her outfit may have been chic – ridiculously high heels (how can she walk in those?), cropped pants (high-waters, we called them! Expecting a flood?), cropped jacket with short sleeves that didn’t (and couldn’t) button in front (was the jacket just 2 sizes too small?) with a long-sleeved flannel shirt underneath (didn’t these go out with Kurt Cobain?). And nothing really matched. Like blues and browns and green. Did she look in the mirror? Where was that Glamour “Don’t” black bar?

And that’s when I realized how far we’ve come from Bobbie Brooks and Bonwit Teller. When outfits were outfits and clothes fit. And we probably even listened to our mothers about fashion.

Glamour still has “Don’t”s and the dreaded black bar, but mostly these are used for celebrities. Young women don’t seem to fear the stigma of being tagged as “Don’t”s. They don’t even read Glamour much any more.

I’m looking for a new fashion bible for our bodies, lifestyles and desires. A cheat sheet that helps guide me into clothes in the morning so I won’t embarrass myself in public. Give me some realistic Glamour “Don’t”s along with some appropriate “Do”s.

I just hope that we, as women of every age, never lose that great feeling of dressing up and knowing we look like a Glamour “DO”. Whatever we’re wearing.

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