Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

Bling and a Book

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I have said that I hate spending LOTS of money - but I DO like BARGAINS. And I hope I have found another one - a 4 carat blue topaz cubic zirconia ring in a stainless steel setting. Not silver, but the ring is the same color and hypoallergenic, so the metal suits me fine.  Now I looked it up and 4 carats is a pretty large stone - about the size of a small prune more or less, anyway, larger than a pea - so that is a pretty flashy cocktail ring. Got it at Beyond Retail for just over $20 with shipping.  Not bad, I think.  I mean, it's not GLASS.

My mother had a large blue topaz I think my sister got - but since cubic zirconia is practically a gem,  I am fine with this! And the silver color and the blue of the stone just fit my wardrobe.  Hmm, I have been invited out to a birthday party at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, all dressed up - and I think it would be just the time to debut the ring! Then if I am wearing a dress that I have gotten out of the closet - and I think I have one that I have only worn once - then it will still feel quite special. And that's a bargain, don't you think?

The point is to live LARGE and ENJOY things. I can do that even at my increasing old age and hope to continue to do so.  I have a lot of nice costumey jewelry, all gotten at good prices, so I could always get my investment back on them by taking them to market if I had to...

Reading a book by an author of my mother's generation, Margery Wilson, which I got out of the library after having stumbled upon another of her vintage advice books in Bart's in Ojai - for $.50! Apparently she was a silent movie ingenue with D.W. Griffith in the silent days and then transformed herself  into a 40's self-help guru and wrote at least 8 books on various aspects of charm, style, and living well as a woman. The one I stumbled upon in Bart's bargain shelf is YOU'RE AS YOUNG AS YOU ACT - which has a lot of pointers that still hold up. (She's big on posture and other aspects of physicality that she became acquainted with as an actress - very valid to this day.)

The book from the library is HOW TO LIVE BEYOND YOUR MEANS (I just loved the title and had to read it) and while it has to do with a sort of thrift, it emphasizes a positive, expansive and glorious kind of living.  She quotes from Emerson (?) - "There is hope in extravagance, there is none in routine." and then goes on to Aristippus - "Of extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods." Now, this was written in 1945, just at the end of World War II, so this has even more meaning, being in contrast to the scrimping on the homefront that had gone on.  "So fixed is my determination to get more than I pay for that my conniving to accomplish my goal is devious and fascinating, " she says. There is nothing wrong with that, she tells us. Live life to the hilt!

I cannot agree with her more. I have always had limited means, but I must say that I am very vain of the fact that I have maximized their value through alternate routes to getting what I wanted. The ring is a case in point.  For all that I will wear it, cubic zirconia is just fine, thank you very much. The diamond versions of it (and there are a few around the big stone) are just as good as real diamonds, the price of which is help up by the diamond cartel - and you have to be a scientist to tell the difference. Is anyone going to look that closely at my ring? And again, much better quality than the cocktail ring I got at H&M, which is handsome, but I think the gem is  PLASTIC - it's black, so it looks like onyx or something - but if you scratch it, it would show....(I glammed up the setting with some metallic nail polish to "age" the metal - most inexpensive things are too darned shiny.)

And it lifts my spirits - a little extravagance to make me feel less like Cinderella in Hollywood! Diehard cheap skates may not worry about keeping up appearances - but even aging actresses, DO.



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