Bandanas Of The Heart And Hearth

As the USA moves into spring we applaud the sun and light (even as we shiver in the evening or wake up to a blanket of March snow.)

Is sky blue and cozy the perfect spring pairing?

I recently bought this small “lace” cashmere scarf.


Perfect for spring days when the wind is colder than the sky would suggest. Worn under my Barbour, or J. Crew field jacket, a Northern California layering strategy par excellence.  Unfortunately Bompard sold out, but similar options are legion. Winter will come again.

I might also replace the throw blanket I bought this winter. As the weather lightens, tobacco-colored wool feels heavy.

I’m thinking yet more sky. Blue from periwinkle to cornflower to aqua to someone’s eyes.

And maybe new cushions! Spring warmth all around.

Somehow this brings to mind the bandanas of my teenage years, how jaunty but shy I felt the first time I tied one around my neck.

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When You Learn You Don’t Know As Much As You Might Have Thought You Did, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:13am

Since I announced I’d be changing my writing practice, moving to Medium to write about politics, I’ve been reminded of two little truths.

First, learning something new presents difficulties you won’t foresee. Second, habits matter as much or more than intent.

Leaning something new, well, I’ve learned that politics are hard. Ha! Cue riotous laughter all around. I should be more specific. Politics are hard to write about.

See, while I can develop a political opinion pretty quickly – see a pattern and make an observation – this snap judgment methodology takes me only about 80% of the way to a substantive thought. In style, 80% works. The final 20% you can muster with bluster, impunity and good hair. But 80% in politics drives you to the border of insight and dumps you there, standing on the dry ground of your particular ideological camp. Surrounded by weeds.

Besides, political opinions affect life and death. Denim silhouettes, not. These days writing takes longer.

And the importance of habit? In the past seven years I had spent six days/week, 7-11am, either writing or pretending to as I poked around the Internet. Except when I was working, when I wrote from 6-8am and then all Sunday morning. A serious writing schedule.

When I decided to give up consistent style blogging, I also gave up  four mornings/week of those allocated time slots to volunteer teaching or yoga classes. Surprise, the remaining three don’t give me enough time and space, because it does feel like mental space, to publish regularly.

Why tell you all of this? Well, first of all, because you’re my community for thinking about life. But also, maybe, this is a useful story. If my experience is to be trusted, making changes can be more difficult than expected. If you are planning a shift, be ready for a bumpy start. I don’t think it means you’re doing it wrong. And make sure that you set yourself up an infrastructure of habit and ritual as support.

I’m sorting this out. After all, nobody depends on me right now. Few dominoes have fallen.

But if you’re in the middle of a more complex change, maybe it helps to hear how best-laid plans, even for the well-resourced, can sputter. I suspect you’re doing an excellent job.

Have a wonderful weekend and here’s to never ever giving up learning.

Local Girl Makes Good, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:23am

Remember these tights, from this post on same? By Marilyn Pollack Naron, the drawing is practical and charming at once.

Happily, you can now browse a whole website of Marilyn’s work. So endearing. Want to be cheered up, or, alternatively, add to your already broad smile? Go look.

Wait, there’s more, she has also illustrated a cookbook about meatloaf, authored by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer.

In other, sadder news, Leslie at Hostess Of The Simple Bungalow has lost her mother. She might feel support in condolences.

Me I’ve done nothing lately except host a presumably quite robust rhinovirus. Cough. Am recovering. I hope you’re all healthy and that you have a good weekend.


A Proposed Methodology For Lips Over 50

I’ve written about lipstick before, here, and here. But I stumbled upon my current favorite when shopping with my daughter. Motivated by a desire for safer ingredients, we found this, by Bare Minerals.

A matte liquid lipstick, it’s quickly kicked all my other lip colorants to the curb. The first application surprises, this stuff slips on like liquid clay. But it’s also surprisingly easy to use precisely, so no need for pencil outlining. I let it dry, then add lip balm on top. This is the most natural look I’ve ever found – not cake-y like some lipsticks, not overly shiny like a gloss. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say matte liquid lipstick + lip balm looks like an actual lip. Miraculous.

I first bought the shade above that renders either as a  cool dusty pink or a slightly warm brown pink, depending on the colors you’re wearing. It’s called Boss, and they say it’s a dirty pink beige. I like my descriptors better. Works for my coloring about 95% of the time.

But on those occasions when I wear a fuchsia scarf, I need to go brighter and pinker on the lip. So I just bought this from the Sephora line, in Sweet Raspberry. Inexpensive, also safe ingredients. Not quite as luxe in feeling as the Bare Minerals, and technically a “cream lip stain,” whatever that means, but so many colors!

I’m not sure I’ll ever wear solid lipstick again.

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Out And About In The Virtual World, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:27am


On Instagram, some spinners.

The whirligigs of Year of the Rooster.

A post shared by Lisa Carnochan (@amidprivilege) on

On Medium, my struggle to understand the emotional infrastructure of political positions.

On Twitter, two book recommendations.

And other voices.

Dani at Mop Philosopher gives us a couple of recent posts full of outfit color for a trip to Italy. The perfect Saturday morning browse.

I do miss you guys. Hope all is well.


That Same Dress, Yes, Again, New Boots

#TBT, as they say, Throwback Thursday, to Valentine’s Day night.

A post shared by Lisa Carnochan (@amidprivilege) on

As we see I succumbed to the brown boots, and having done so, realized I longed for a little blue to liven the look. Luckily, I’m blue-endowed. And so it went.

Blue MaxMara three-quarters coat, same Prada dress I plan to keep wearing as long as I can, brown Dickers, and the earrings I had customized on Etsy for my brother’s wedding.

The brown boots and fishnet stockings are infinitely more playful and less classic than black boots and black tights, but that felt right for the night.

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If You Give A Style Sort Some Black Boots She’s Going To Want The Brown Ones Too

The other night we went out to dinner at Boulevard, a San Francisco institution. I wanted to get fancy, although it’s never required here, so I wore my Prada dress. Also black Isabel Marant Dickers, black Wolford tights, Blue Nile earrings, and this MaxMara camel coat. As I looked in the mirror, I realized I’d get a lot of use out of brown shoes to wear with that same dress.

After all, Prada is not inexpensive, and the fabric is woven to last another decade – at least. It would be only sensible to increase its versatility. Sensible used advisedly.

Untitled #214


The next day, we went shopping for a Valentine’s Day present. Early, but we were in the mood. We happened upon a Kenzo tiger tee in bright pink, and I found myself wearing it that night, again with the camel coat. And thought, “Hmm, brown shoes might do better here too.”

As it happens, Marant now makes her Dickers in a brown leather. I know they fit, I know they are comfortable, I’ve had my black ones for five years. I’m mulling it over.

Brown shoes or not, if you were also unaware of how well camel suits pink, isn’t this a happy circumstance? You did already know that one spectacular dress is often more useful than ten that are simply acceptable.


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Some Days You Want To Save The World, Some Days You Just Want Pretty

In the midst of storms both political and thunderish, I’ve found myself drawn to pretty things. We were at the Stanford Shopping Center the other day and I saw this, from Stella McCartney. Beautiful.

But expensive. I noticed Anthropologie is also offering decorative, almost painterly goods.

Less expensive. Still pretty and a balance to passion.

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When You Just Can’t Be A Lifestyle Blogger Any More

Bear with me. Or not. I always appreciate your time.

2016 hit hard. We moved Mom as best we could, she has settled in, but Donald Trump became president. In my eyes that puts our most needy citizens at risk. I have to do something. For those who already know they won’t survive all ~1400 words below, and I do understand, let’s cut to the chase. I’m shifting my writing practice.

In Brief

I plan to write, for the most part, on new topics in a new venue. I won’t close up what we’ve built here, but I’ll be cutting back.

  • Privilege becomes something more like Kim French’s blog, Girls Of A Certain Age. I remember when Christine commented that although she disagreed with us, she thought Kim and I had good taste and she read us in that light. The thought stuck with me. I want to keep posting the short pieces you’ve seen recently, probably once a week. Topics to include: notable pieces of clothing and household goods; photos of my garden; maybe a few more pencil sketches.
  • I will write about my new focus, politics and society, here, on Medium (I’ll self-publish, kind of like a blog, but I won’t have to maintain the infrastructure.)
    • Why the new interest in what we might call “civics?” I know I’m not knowledgeable, but I wake up every day wondering about our country and wanting to make a difference. I was uneducated about style when I started Privilege, so I figure I’ll learn as I go along.
    • Why Medium? So as not to break Privilege. It’s a child of my heart, and we already know it’s not set up for political discussions.
  • I’ll post any outfit shots that seem interesting to Instagram. Probably  far fewer point-and-shoot Lisas on the blog going forward.
  • I’ll stay on Twitter for chat, quips, rants.
  • Saturday Morning posts will be occasional, and usually a summary of links to anything else around the web that seems noteworthy, including anything I might have written or said or photographed elsewhere that I want you to have access to. If you so desire.

This, my friends, is the plan. You might wonder, why?

In Not Even Remotely Brief Because Feelings Are Involved

Let us deconstruct.

I began this blog in 2009. In the beginning, it was personal, I was anonymous. I found my way to style blogging by responding to what the increasing numbers of readers seemed to enjoy. I found my stride, as one does. Along the way I have written about my identity, and party pants, in once place. I’ve explored, with your inestimable help,  feelings about my body, being a woman, work, being “cool” or not, art, and all the realities of Sturdy Gals.

You have taught me how to write, regularly and carefully. How to cosset inspiration. Thank you all so much.

But such self-exploration has been possible only because the world seemed safe. America, in my mind, had more than enough and was ready to share. Luxury, in that world, could coexist with compassion.

Here’s what I’ve realized. This blog reflected, if not overtly, my political beliefs about our country. Naïvely, I believed that by deconstructing privilege, my High WASP culture, I could in fact convince people that our highest goal is generosity. That when humans have what they need and believe they can get what they want if they only work hard enough, compassion follows like clean air after rain. I thought I was modeling well-behaved privilege, and I foolishly felt people might join me. Or change their minds.

It was all kind of unconscious.

Turns out that I’m actually the “elite,” and, I’m the enemy. Oh Lisa. How misguided to believe I might affect something so heart-lodged as political conviction? Turns out some people actually didn’t feel we had enough, and were angry or afraid of all of those who did or might.

So I have to stop exploring selfhood and society by writing about cashmere sweatshirts. I still want the sweatshirts, I may still search for the sweatshirts, but I cannot sit down and write at length intelligently or creatively about the sweatshirts. I can’t care enough.

Note, I do not judge anyone who does still care. There’s room for recreation. A need always for style, design, and art. But my words keep taking me elsewhere.

Straight out, Trump appalls me. (Note that conservatives and Republicans do not always appall me. Trump is different.) A loud alarm rings in my chest every morning. “Danger arrives. Gather information. You must lay everything you find on a white table in a white room to scan for patterns. You have to understand to protect the lives of people you care about, even those you don’t yet know.”

Unless I can see clearly I can’t help anyone. To see clearly I have to talk. To talk, well, I need to write. And I do not want to break Privilege. Political posts here have proven terribly divisive and I can’t stand division in a place where I have wished my son a happy 25th birthday, mused over sleeping next to my daughter, told you about my second wedding, and drawn goofy little pictures of flowers.

Hence the new plan.

How Will This Actually Play Out?

I have no idea. I hope you bear with me. It is, as always, your choice.

A Simple Favor I Ask Of You (Given What I Have Learned From Going On 9 Years Of Writing “Privilege” As Personal Discourse But Also A Lifestyle Blog)

When these decisions made themselves, for in the week of November 9th it felt as though I had no choice in the matter, the difficult parts of blogging became suddenly untenable. So I want now to tell you what the other bloggers you follow may face, and I want to urge you to support them.

The Hard Parts Of Blogging That Bloggers Don’t Complain About Because They Love What They Do

  • Technology (You have to keep updating your site, things break, you deal with clunky interfaces)
  • Scheduling (Blogging seriously really is a job, you plan, you schedule, you edit)
  • Balancing truth and privacy (How much do you share? How do you balance authenticity with the need to be useful or entertaining?)
  • Adhering to one’s values (It is possible to commercialize without selling out, but you have to have a very strong code of ethics, and you, and at least I, have to watch over myself carefully)
  • Comparison is the thief of joy (Some other blogger always does it better than you and even when you know why you do what you do, if you’re competitive at all, it rankles)
  • Really mean comments (Need I say more? I didn’t mind the comments about my hair, but about my values, that’s been tough. It has also made me feel that if I’m going to be arguing politics I might as well go all in)
  • Commenting in general (Replying to one’s own comments and commenting on other blogs becomes a writing project in and of itself. I actually hope now to have more time to comment on your blogs)

In other words, while I’m exiting substantive style blogging, I hope you give incremental increased support to my cohort. I will name a few who feel familiar in style and/or voice. Une Femme. Faux Fuchsia. High Heels in the Wilderness. Materfamilias, Grechen.

Maybe now you will start writing your own blog. It’s deeply worthwhile.


And, As They Say, In Closing, With A Heavy Heart

I can’t finish this without one more thank you. Wait, you know, I do not want to overstate my importance. I’m just a smallish blogger, with a wonderful, constant, intelligent, courteous set of readers who often write our best posts with their comments.

This is not my best writing. I’ve been drafting it for several weeks but maybe I’m just conflicted. At the end of the day, one says  Eloquence Schmeloquence and gets going.

But inside of me, in me as I sit here on the peanut-colored sofa wearing plaid flannel pajama bottoms, a very old Princeton sweatshirt, and a new pair of lavender sheepskin slippers that my son gave me for Christmas, it is, as High WASPs say when confronted with a surge of our own feelings, not inconsequential.

Thanks a million. A million billion million stars and feet in the water.



The Sturdy Gal Hears The Call Of The Moors And Succumbs

I meant to get a J. Crew field jacket in black, but they discontinued the color. So, here I am now that California is raining. And raining. And raining.

We shall call this Queen Elizabeth tromps the moors and then gets on a motorcycle.

A photo posted by Lisa Carnochan (@amidprivilege) on

A Barbour Beadnell in waxed cotton. Classic, meaning boxy as heck. Meant to last for eons, if you send it back for rewaxing now and again. Worn with these Aquatalia boots, Citizens of Humanity jeans, a Stutterheim hat, and an old, old, grommeted belt. A little moto always saves the Sturdy Gal from her proudly dowdy heart.

I am so glad to see the rain again.

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