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Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
Personal Style Through The Ages
By bernadette Ulsamer

I’m a firm believer that women shouldn’t feel like they CAN’T wear certain things, i.e. crops tops only for the super-skinny. Whether 25, 45, or 65 a woman should feel free to dress comfortably, and express herself through her clothing as she sees fit. However, personal style does and should change as a woman matures and develops. For myself, I’m no longer wearing the more kitschy looks of my 20s, but instead opting for edgier ensembles. And while there are a ton of “guides” out there on what items of clothing are appropriate for particular age ranges, there’s not a lot on how, or why style alters at specific ages. So here’s a breakdown by decade on the transformations of personal style.
  20s: You can get away with a variety of wild choices during this ten-year period. You can also get away with a lot of cutesy, frilly, and “ironic” styles. Think pleated skirt with a graphic tee, grandpa cardigan, and printed tights. Looking at you ModCloth (full disclosure I do occasional freelance copy editing for ModCLoth so I’m VERY familiar with this type of ensemble). Where ever you chose to shop this is the time to explore and experiment with fashion to find out what you like and what fits into your lifestyle. Also, younger women can pull off cheaper, “fast” fashion; they don’t call it Forever 21 for nothing. So, go ahead and try an array of styles, push yourself, and get a little crazy. Go for complicated silhouettes, mad layers, and play around with vintage and retro trends.
  30s: When you hit the big 3-0 it’s time to cement your grown-up style and accept that the days of being a “girl” are long gone. In your thirties you’re a woman now and most adult women cannot pull off the same styles at their teenage and 20-year old selves. This is the time to stop chasing after trends and truly come into your own clothing confidence. I’m not suggesting you can’t wear the jeans, T-shirts, and slinky dresses of your 20s, but more so it’s time to upgrade those style choices with higher-quality garments, pieces that have a longer shelf life then a handful of weekend romps. In terms of working life, a woman in her 30s may find she needs to step up her game on the job, so now would be the time to create and improve upon your working “uniform”. If that “uniform” is a suit and button-down shirt, then find ways to keep things fresh. If you wear jeans at your job, make sure your denim is kept in good shape—no frays, holes, or fading. Whatever your working life requires clothing wise, be sure you’re dressing for the job you want, not necessarily the job you have. I know that’s a bit cliché, but still valid.
  40s: After a decade of focusing on work, family, and other people’s needs, a woman in her 40s may now find she has the time and the income to further refine her personal style. Income is a big factor in how individual style progresses as we age. As a woman gets older and advances in her working life, she may finds she has more money to invest in clothing and her appearance. Retailers are very aware of this income factor in terms of age and style. I once heard it explained in this way: Old Navy is the girl in her 20s, Gap is for a woman in her 30s, and Banana Republic is there for the lady in her 40s. Not that a 42 year old woman can’t rock some thrifty Old Navy finds, but the “chic-atude” if you will, increases with the price tag and age range from store to store. (FYI, all three are owned by the same parent company, coincidence…) So, your 40s is the decade to curate high-quality and strikingly chic pieces in your wardrobe, like silk blouses, cashmere sweaters, and dresses that fit you effortlessly. Also, now is a great time to pamper yourself more frequently, you’ve earned it.
  50s: The 50s are a time of keeping things simple, not only in dressing but in life. At this stage of the game, most ladies have let go of a lot of meaningless hang-ups and have a strong roster of life hacks they’ve developed. To match that expertise leave off the bells and whistling of complicated garments and reach for the sleek simplicity of streamline silhouettes. Like in the 40s the 50s should lean toward chic instead of cute, graphic instead of girlish, and belts over sashes. In years past I’ve seen dresses and even pants with ribbon sash-ties marketed to more mature women and it makes me wince. In my opinion a belt is preferably over a bow tied around the waist. A 50-something lady is not a present at a party, but an adult woman.
  60s: There are so many gorgeous, stylish 60-somethings out there right now. There are also a lot of clothing marketed toward women in their 60s that can be a bit “mumsy” like the sashes mentioned above. Each decade of life brings so many changes and even though you may have refined your personal style it’s never too late to switch things up and/or improve on what you have working for you. If you find yourself in a bit of a style rut at this stage of life, look to those gorgeous, stylish 60-something mentioned above. Think Helen Mirren, Diane Keaton, Lauren Hutton all beautiful and making the 60s look better than ever. In fact, no matter your age finding a fashionable celebrity to emulate is a great technique to pump up your style quota.
  70’s, 80’s, and Beyond: Like the 20s this can be a great time in your style-life. A “woman of a certain age” can get away with whatever the heck she wants! You’ve lived your life, raised your family, worked hard, and have seen a lifetime of fashion come and go. So have fun and don’t be afraid to try whatever style tickles your fancy. On the flip side, at this point in life you know what you like and what works for you, so there’s not need to fix what isn’t broken. And, it’s at this age that those investment pieces from your 40s and 50s really pay off. So, keep wearing them with pride, or maybe hand then off to a deserving daughter or granddaughter.
  Two final thoughts: while trends do come and go many of them come back around. A good rule of thumb is that if you lived a trend in your heyday it’s best to leave it alone when it resurfaces 20 or so years later. So I won’t be sporting a flannel shirt with a lacey slip dress, which has become popular once again. I left that look along with my combat boots in the 90’s. And secondly, there are styles and items that look good at any age. Pieces like black boots, knee-length skirts, wrap dresses, button-down shirts, and dark wash jeans are timeless. And, a final final thought, all of this advice can go right out the window if you don’t agree, because a woman, no matter her age is free to wear whatever she wants!

Music's Twice as Nice With the Ken Wittman Trio 
By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz

Shakespeare once wrote "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players..."
It’s the last Wednesday of the month and a small crowd has gathered at a downtown watering-hole to experience music created by one of the regions most well-tuned and enjoyable acts in Central Pennsylvania, the Ken Wittman Trio.
  While there's plenty of talented and exceptional performers in the region, Ken Wittman and his crew take music to a higher level by seamlessly interweaving the talents of three unique musicians into one harmonious, fluid sound. 
  Music fans can experience that sound at the Bullfrog Brewery at 7 p.m. the last Wednesday of each month.
  "After all these years performing we just show up and have fun playing together with our focus on self-expression as each player just listens and we become one unit making music," said the band's namesake, Ken Wittman. "It’s music that comes alive and is totally authentic. The comment we hear from people the most is 'You guys are having to much fun.' and that really is what we are doing as we make our way though uncharted musical journeys called songs."
  Joining Wittman on this musical journey are two innovated performers, drummer Joel Vincent and the trio's newcomer, Rod Chubb providing guitar and vocals.
  Together the trio effortlessly plays a high-energy mix of jazz, rock, funk and even pop style tunes together to create a musical experience that always sounds spot-on.
  From "Stardust" and "Moondance," to "Frieddie the Freeloader" and "Just the Two of Us," the crew also showcases some of their own cool original songs.
  "What sets our music apart from others is our approach. "Years of playing together gives us the ability to anticipate each others musical vocabulary, offering us very expressive, fluid, smooth and creative sound," Wittman said, "We have been part of that scene one way or another for decades. Rarely is there a verbal cue for what is next, someone just starts playing and we're all in."
  With 50 years of performing, not only is Wittman experienced, he's one of the area's most seasoned and revered musicians having performed in a number of bands including area favorites Voyage, Alison Wonderband, the Bobby McCreary Big Band and Jazzin.
  Although he's played a wide variety of musical styles, his love of jazz and performing is what truly brings him the most joy.
  "As you know, Williamsport has some of the best musicians you will find anywhere," Wittman said. "We have been part of that scene one way or another for decades. We have people from all over including small and large cities traveling that tell us that they are amazed by the caliber of music coming from our little town of Williamsport."
  While Chubb might be new to the trio, he's no stranger to performing. With a resume that includes being both a songwriter and singer, Chubb has been playing the guitar for the past 35 years and has taught guitar and bass full time at K&S Music for many years and continues to bring a fresh perspective to music.
  "I have had lots of musical high points. One would obviously be doing studio work in Nashville and being able to meet and work with many very talented people. I accompanied a singer on the Grand Ole Opry that was performing a song a friend of mine wrote. It was a great experience that I am very lucky to have had."
  Chubb noted one reason the Wittman Trio excels at music is the experiences each member brings to the stage.
  If you mention Joel Vincent's name to music fans across the Susquehanna Valley words used to describe him include talented, professional, entertaining and a dedicated supporter of the local music scene.
  No matter if he's part of the audience or on stage banging out a driving beat, music's as important as food, clothing and shelter.
  Besides setting the beat for the trio, Vincent shares his talents as a drummer with the likes of The Blind Chitlin Kahunas, Rubber Soul, Doug Mcinn, Gabe Stillman and so many others.
  "I've got the best seat in the house to watch all of my favorite musicians and closest friends do their thing like no one else can," Vincent said. "It's home sweet home, man." 
  From excellent tunes and style of performing, its no wonder the Ken Wittman Trio is a highpoint in the local music scene. 
  "Someone should attend one of our shows if they enjoy seeing excellent musicianship, interesting interpretations of their favorite songs and they want to be exposed to music they have never heard or may not be as familiar with," Chubb said. "Enthusiasm is infectious and we have a great time playing together."

Planet Mom
It’s in the Bag
by Melinda Wentzel

  I have a love-hate relationship with my purse—every purse I’ve ever owned, actually. My current bag-of-choice is ridiculously overloaded, unwieldy on its best day and represents just one more thing in my life that I need to haul around as a glorified grown-up. However, there are times when I can truly appreciate how practical it is. Moreover, its cavernous interior and zippered compartments thrill me beyond compare, and its impossibly soft exterior makes me weak with pleasure. Besides, who has enough pants pockets to accommodate the embarrassment of stuff we routinely jam in our purses? Not me.
  Of course, I’m part of the problem. Years ago I fell in love with a tri-fold wallet that is roughly the size and heft of a cheesesteak sandwich. And because I couldn’t possibly say no, it’s something that must be housed within the confines of my crammed-to-capacity pocketbook—along with an inhaler, eleventy-seven Band-Aids and a nail file I can’t find to save myself. Such is life. Naturally, there is an abundance of tripe in there as well—a penlight I never use, snapshots I rarely sift through, wads of paper I’ve scrawled upon that are no longer relevant, gum that lost its elasticity eons ago and a tiny, leather-bound calendar, circa 2013. I’m stumped as to why it’s still in there. It defies all logic and understanding.
  Apparently (and perhaps sadly) my habits are wearing off on at least one of my daughters. Not long ago, her purse resembled a lumpy throw pillow on the verge of bursting. After weeks of nagging, I finally convinced her of the wisdom behind purging it. Among other things, she discovered her long-lost earbuds, a rock the size of a small potato and a pair of dirty socks that, presumably, belong to someone in the marching band. What’s more, the socks don’t match. Go figure.
  Admittedly, instead of lugging my purse around, forever contorting my body to prevent the insufferable slide off my shoulder, I wish it would trail behind me like a small, obedient dog so I wouldn’t have to cart it anymore, invariably winding up with a stiff neck. Nor would I have to keep track of its whereabouts, a burden with which I’ve struggled mightily since the days of adolescence. What’s more, there’s always the dilemma of where to put it when I get to where I’m going. Cautiously I shove it beneath my seat in waiting rooms and movie theaters, hoping against hope that no one spilled soda there or left behind a wad of germy tissues.
  That said, public restrooms pose the greatest challenge for me as it relates to stowing my purse. It seems there’s never a hook on the door or a suitable shelf to set it on, and I REFUSE to wear it around my neck like a cussed cowbell. As a last resort, I set it on the floor, although it pains me greatly. Shortly thereafter, I obsess about the microbes of horribleness now fused to the bottom of my bag.
  On those rare occasions when I choose to forgo carrying a purse altogether “…because I just can’t deal with the wretched thing today,” I turn to my husband to remedy my dearth-of-pockets problem, beseeching him to cram his pockets with whatever it is that I cannot live without. And because he is a Boy Scout in the truest sense, he obliges. Likewise, he comes to the rescue when I can’t find something in particular within the murky depths of my bag by suggesting that I “…stir it with a stick until it comes to the surface and then grab it before it disappears again.” Smart man.
  If all else fails, I dump its contents onto the floor and rummage around until I locate the elusive item. Like a fool, I shove the hideous mass back inside instead of seizing the opportunity to rid my world of all that is unwanted or unnecessary. Without question, it’s in the bag.
  Planet Mom: It’s where I live, purse-severing with a purse that brings both misery and joy to my life. Join me there at the corner of Irreverence and Over-Sharing www.melindawentzel.com and www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.

The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schilichenmeyer

“Drinking in America: Our Secret History” by Susan Cheever
c.2015, Twelve
$28.00 / $34.00 Canada
259 pages

At least once in recent memory, the spirit moved you.
It moved you to babble more than normal, glad-hand a little too much, and generally become much more gregarious. The spirit moved you, and you paid dearly for it the next morning with cottonmouth and a good strong headache. So read the new book “Drinking in America” by Susan Cheever, and you’ll see that you’re in good historical company.
  It all started, says Cheever, with the Pilgrims. They set off from England to America in 1620 and arrived late in the fall, cold, hungry, and “running out of beer.” That wouldn’t have been a problem, except that beer for the Pilgrims was rather important. One of the first things they constructed was a brew house.
Within a decade after their first (very rough) winter, the Pilgrims were joined by the Puritans, a group that was more aristocratic than Pilgrim “riff-raff.” They helped ensure that the New World had taverns; everybody drank then, including infants and small children.
  “By the time of the Revolution,” says Cheever, “the colonists’ drinking habits had escalated until each colonist was drinking almost twice as much as the average person drinks today.”
George Washington was happy to profit from alcohol, but John Adams’ family suffered from inherited alcoholism and by the early 1800s, drinking to excess was beginning to be seen as a bad thing. In 1805, the doctor to the Founding Fathers encouraged temperance. Then again, he also believed that alcoholism caused spontaneous combustion…
  Americans rebelled over whiskey taxation before they ran to rum “with a side of cider,” thanks to Johnny Appleseed. Alcohol affected how Native Americans perceived white newcomers, who gave them stronger liquor than they could make themselves. Booze was a means for slaveholders to control their slaves, a way for doctors to perform surgery during the Civil War, and a method for settlers to bond. It was famously prohibited (although “few people took the… ban seriously”), and it affected the health of countless men and women. Alcohol might have caused the death of a President. And it almost “brought this country to the brink of World War III…”
  We are, by and large, a nation that likes its tipple whether for church, relaxation, or for fun. In “Drinking in America,” you’ll see how that’s nothing new: we’ve come from a long line of party animals.
  And yet, some of us aren’t necessarily proud of that: author Susan Cheever adds a personal spin here through anecdotes about her father, who was an alcoholic, and the struggles he had. Those observations act as a buffer between tales of booze, bars, and bottles of all the things we drank (or not), people who encouraged drinking (or not), and how alcohol changed America, which makes for a book that goes down like a smooth glass of wine after a long day.
  Whether you’re a drinker or a teetotaler, if you like a wee nip of history, then here’s the book you want. Read “Drinking in America”… if the spirit moves you.

Comedy Show Coming Valentine’s Weekend

Share some love and laughter on with a stand-up comedy show on February 13 in The Comic Shop LLC at 218 South Market Street in South Williamsport.
  The comedians featured include Chris William, of Sunbury; Bill Russum, of “Parts Unknown”; and Mike Carpenter of Selinsgrove.
  They have performed in Williamsport in the past, including at the Pajama Factory, most notably to record a compilation comedy album called “MNMOM Presents: Accuracy Before Comedy.” The album is currently in production.
  Kevin Seibert, of Williamsport and a comedian himself, is hosting the upcoming show at The Comic Shop, which will be the shop’s second time hosting a comedy event. Seibert said, “Chris, Mike, Bill, and I have participated in open mics and shows together for a couple of years now. When the owners of The Comic Shop were nice enough to offer us a place to do comedy, we jumped at the opportunity. We’ve loved performing in Williamsport in the past, and we can’t wait to do it more.”
  Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show goes from 8 to 9 p.m. There is a $5 admission fee. Additional shows and open mics are planned for the future, on the second Saturday of every month.
  To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/TheComedyShopWilliamsport.


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