Attention–I Am A Walmart Shopper!

Yes. I am! I love shopping at Walmart. I have been poorly judged on my decision to shop at this ginormous vault of discount goodies and slashed prices.  And I don’t care.

Walmart front

Yes. Walmart IS one of my shopping happy places! I’m also proud to admit this.

When I’m in France, I love shopping in various boutiques both high-end and lower-end.  I get all excited knowing that I will be shopping at Rondini for great sandals and on the other hand, I can’t wait to get to Geant hypermarche because I am fully aware that I can grab a well-padded bathing suit top for as low at 5 euros.

And my favorite department store in the USA is Nordstrom.

Nordstrom. To add to my resume

I may have hated working here, but as a customer, I LOVE Nordstrom. It really is the only department store I shop in these days.

Before it went out of business, my favorite department store was B. Altman on the corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Altman

B. Altman–there was no greater store…

B. Altman

And it was the best store for children’s clothing. I remember dressing like this as a child. It’s too bad that kids no longer wear nice ensembles like this….

Running a close second place was Best & Company, which also met a sad retail demise.

best--co-1954---sunny-harnett

Best & Co. one of my mother’s favorite stores. Why can’t we bring dressing like this back?

And back in those days people held the “Five and Dime” stores such as Woolworth’s, Newberry’s and McCrory’s in a higher esteem than they do Walmart.

MccRoary's

McCrory’s was a great 5 & 10 cent store. I loved rummaging around the shop in Ewing, NJ..

sign-newberry-01

..Newberry’s was also epic. I purchased my first lipstick at Newberry’s in Bay Shore, NY when I was 13 years old!

Woolworth's

…but the mother of ALL five and dime’s was Woolworth’s!  You never knew what you would find for less than a buck!

I’m gonna be straight with you here.  The average Walmart employee earns from $9.00 to around $13.00 an hour—depending on full-time or part-time positions.

When I was at Nordstrom, I earned straight commission. However, if I did not make commission, I then received a $9.00 an hour salary. But—I did make as low as $7.00 an hour depending on the amount of returns that were held against my commission.

At least Walmart employees don’t have to worry about commission. So does Walmart really treat their staff that badly?  There are worse establishments to work in.

27walmart-web2-master1050

True. None of the employees here need to worry about commission or returns. And that is a great thing to not have to worry about!

The Walton family also may be on the “right” side of the political table, but the Walton Family Foundation built the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville Arkansas.  Seriously—if a family loves the arts and culture enough to create a museum for American artists—well, they can’t be all bad now.  My politics may be on the opposite side of this family, but their efforts to support the arts brings a certain amount of bipartisanship between them and me.

Crystal Bridges Museum 1 view from inside to the river

Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.  An homage to the American Artist…

The Revenant painting

...showcasing great paintings such as “The Life of a Hunter–A Tight Fix” by Arthur Fitzwilliam

That being said. I love shopping at Walmart because I save a ton of money. Yes. The Walton Family helps in contributing our trips to France every year by allowing us to save tons of cash on groceries and basics.

Did you know that I was able to find CLEAR Vanilla extract at Walmart?  No other grocery stores in my area sell it—and this is needed to make the Momofuku Birthday Cake! I hit gold. I also get my canned cherries for Bonaparte’s beloved Clafoutis at Walmart.

Clear vanilla

..and although it may be imitation vamilla, you can’t tell the difference once it is incorporated into the recipe!

Other staples in my pantry, such as rice paper, rice flour, and almond flour can be found at a far less price than at Wegmans.

Two buck rice paper at Walmart

Less than two bucks at Walmart. I make my spring rolls from this gluten-free rice paper.

Magnum white chocolate

Bonaparte LIVES for the white chocolate Magnum ice cream bars. Walmart has the lowest price I’ve ever seen.

Here’s a photo of the groceries and other items we bought at Walmart earlier today. The total bill came to less than $100.00. Had we purchased all this at any other grocery store, the bill would have been about $20.00 more.

Goodies from Walmart

I have no issues buying groceries at Walmart. The magic is up to the cook–not the store! These items would have cost a lot more at Wegman’s, Acme or any other local supermarket!

My drugstore cosmetics are a lot less expensive.  Look at the Covergirl Outlast Lip Cover. It was $7.24 at Walmart. At other drugstores the price on this lip color can range between ten and twelve bucks. You’re welcome!

Drugstore cosmetics

I’m a huge fan of the Covergirl Outlast lip color. It DOES stay on for a long time and Walmart not only has the best price, but has a great selection.  Mascara and eyeliner are also great buys here as well!

Hair accessories!

OK–so the display isn’t the most pleasing, but the selection of hair accessories is astounding!

See the macaron on this t-shirt for little girls?  It is absolutely adorbs. At a high end store it would be upwards of $25.00. You just know how pretentious those upscale mommies can be. They would kill to have their little girls in a shirt like this. Well guess what? The working class mommies can have their daughters dressed in a more French chic this year at school! Thank you Walmart!

macaron t

If Walmart had this shirt when Oona was a child, it would have been hers. Oh lalala Walmart!

My adoration for low-end-high-end never ceases. And in order to carry the leather Longchamp bags that I adore so much, I’ll purchase smaller accessories at Walmart.

For example—those hoop earrings that I love so much. Why on earth would I spend hundreds of dollars on them when I can purchase an entire card of hoops for less than five bucks.  Believe me. If anyone dares to come up close and personal to inspect my earrings, they are entering into my private space and I will get physical to make them exit my personal space. Nobody can get close enough to me to be able to tell these earrings are dirt cheap.

cheap-cheap-but-from-afar-who-cares

In addition, I am the queen of misplacing earrings. If I misplace an inexpensive pair–it is nothing to stress about. The necklaces to the left are perfect for vacations because you don’t have to worry about ruining “good” jewelry while swimming or touring!

I don’t care what kinds of people shop at Walmart and I don’t judge.  Many Walmart shoppers cannot afford to shop at upscale stores or fancy name-brand supermarkets. So what’s wrong about the Walmart shoppers? Just because they look different doesn’t mean they aren’t nice people.

The People of Walmart

Personally, I think this older woman’s get up looks no different than those ensembles of the oftentimes “Advanced Style” site. Challenge me if you don’t believe me!  And look how happy she is! What’s so bad about the socks and boots on the woman in the photo on the right?  Don’t judge a book by her cover!

I actually feel safer in a Walmart store than in a mall. Why? You ask. Well, because if some nut comes in to bang, bang, shoot ’em up at random, I know that somewhere in another section of Walmart, is a guy or woman with a bigger weapon just waiting for their moment to become a hero! I rest my case!

I have never and I mean never come across a rude employee at my local Walmart. The Walmart in Norristown rocks!

I can find inspirational quotes at Walmart.

Inspirational t shirt

Now THIS is not only inspirational, but it is a very pragmatic quote!

During the holidays, Walmart has the best stuff!  The embellishments for Christmas wrappings are ridiculously inexpensive.  In addition, fancy stores are very stingy with their gift boxes. At Walmart, you can get a ton of boxes for next to nothing. What’s in the box is more important anyway!

More Walmart Christmas

Walmart is my Christmas wonderland….

Packing the trunk

…and I load up on the great and very real poinsettias that Walmart has available every Christmas season!

Although I won’t purchase shoes or bags at Walmart, I’ve purchased bathing suits, underwear and some seriously cute shift dresses!

Inexpensive shapewear from Walmart. Comfy but really not very shapeful

Walmart has GREAT shapewear.  Less expensive than SPANX  and sucks the fat in!

Walmart has, hands down, the best back-to-school supplies selection and prices. I wish the kids were still in school just so that I could load up on loose-leaf paper, rulers, highlighters and scientific calculators!

I have no idea what this is but it is 88 cents.

I have no idea what these are, but they were in the school supply area, I almost bought one because I like the 88 cent price!

Scientific  Calculator

This electronic calculator is eight bucks at Walmart. It’s so …scientific!!!!!

While waiting on the line at the cashier, I can find exotic gourmandise snacks to go with some intellectual reading…

Exotic snacks

I don’t care HOW long I have to wait on the line as long as I get to munch on a bag of these while reading…..

Intellicent reading material

…..this!  Obviously the Walton family are not Hillary fans. I sure as shit hope they ain’t supporting Trump!

I am not a snob. Nor am I an elitist.  I go where the bargains are.  And they are here.

And even though I usually make sure I look nice when I go shopping at Walmart or any other store…

me

Whether it is Nordstrom or Walmart, I always like to look nice when I’m shopping. Pearls to look classic. A denim jacket to be on-trend. Neutral makeup…makes me feel good.  But…

It warms my heart to know that I can go shopping at Walmart dressed like this and nobody will give me a second glance!

I can go to Walmart Dressed like this!….if need be, I can leave the house like this and know that I can enter through the automatic glass doors of Walmart to get a tube of toothpaste and nobody will think I’m weird–I’ll fit right in!  I love Walmart!

And speaking of school supplies, Walmart has the best back-to-school commercial.  Whitesnake–can you believe it????????? I got chills! Chills!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Heel Mary Full of Grace, My Shoes Are With Thee..

One of the great things about being back in the office groove is that I get to dress up again.  The President of the small company where I am now employed prefers a professional look—especially when bankers and other financiers drop by.

And, as I am the first person they will meet and be greeted by, it is important that I look my best–from the top of my well-coifed hair to the tip of my toe-cleavaged feet.  And that means only one thing.

Toe clevage.

My feet and my toes are so happy to be back in the pointy-toed shoe groove!

It’s time to revisit all those pointy-toed heels that have been sitting in my closet for almost two years!!!

 

Re-inventing the (w)heel

Do we see a pattern here ladies?  Even though the time has come to dust these heels off, I do believe this (w)heel needs to be reinvented with a different kind of heel. Perhaps a clunkier one!

That’s right ladies.  The only encounters I’ve had with my stilettoed buddies have been greeting  them good morning while reaching for my casual Rondini sandals or my Bass Weejuns.  And I never forget to  bid them bonne nuit when I undress for my evening slumber.

Cannes. Last night. BLOG GOLD. My new rondini bikinis.

My newest Rondini Sandals purchased earlier this summer. They will be in hibernation soon!

OK—so every now and then I’ll sneak into their little tiny home, otherwise known as the closet,  to show them the newest sky-high footwear that MarieClaire has sprawled throughout the pages.  (You know how I feel about fashion magazines due to their lack of older women as models—but MarieClaire has been known to showcase my Frenchman’s grandfather’s, Jacques Henri Lartigue, photos. This magazine gets a pass from me!)

Five year old Nine West platform heels. Slightly clunkly. Slightly ladylike.

..and speaking of sky-high footwear, these babies are almost five years old. I LOVE these shoes. They are still on trend with the chunkier platform, but the heels are thinner. Hold on to shoes they may be in style for a while!

My high heels have been neglected and will be socialized once again!

Somebody else likes heels too!

Hmmm. Somebody is eyeing these shoes and it isn’t with love.  Chippy is hungry for leather. Again!

And there are two things that I need to do.  I need to make sure that my feet are well-pedicured and I need to learn how to walk again.

barefootin

My feet will thank me when they return to being pampered with a weekly pedicure!

Yeah.  You read it correctly. I need to learn how to walk again. In heels.

Although I’ve been blessed with naturally high arches, they still need to conform to the shape of the shoe’s incline.  My ankles have become weak from sitting in front of my computer whilst typing on the keyboard. They have also become quite weak from lazing around like the princess I am as I watch various episodes of the Housewives franchise and curse them out in envy for their shoes.

Joséphine de Beauharnais and Napoleon Bonaparte

Yeah. Well, Bonaparte IS my better half–so that does make me an empress, which is royalty. I’ll bet Josephine didn’t have to learn to walk in sky-high shoes!

Anyway, I started to practice walking in heels again last night.  I also started my practice after two aperitifs. Bonaparte was nervous and started speaking in French. He thought I didn’t know what he was saying.  After living with a Frenchman for over ten years, I knew he was calling me a crazy nut who was going to break her neck.

I couldn’t help it though. My inspiration was a photo of a model (albeit young) walking down a runway in pointy-toed, over-the-knee boots. I could tell from her stance that these boots had a very high heel.

FashionBoots-1024x1019

THIS is an inspiration to me. I need these boots. I WANT these boots. I COVET these boots!

High heels along with clunky shoes have been seen all along the runways  for this fall.  If runway models could walk up and down a shiny path of flooring in heels, then why couldn’t I walk gingerly over carpet and hardwood in heels that are, quite possibly, higher? It also dawned on me that I need to buy a pair of boots like that. The boot’s construction would support my ankles and would possibly help me to run a marathon in them!!

disco-inferno-51574c6c4657c

Wait!  Are the runways actually showing CLUNKY shoes like this?  Be still my heart and bring back memories of shoes we wore during the days of Disco! Remember this infamous album cover of the Trammps Disco Inferno? I want those shoes!

And for my inspiration, I can always go back to earlier this summer when I spotted the “Lady in Green” on the way to St. Tropez. Remember her?  She was the best-dressed older woman of all time. And she wore pointy-toed, high heels!

Ste. Maxime. Best dressed woman in France.BLOG GOLD

Best dressed woman in St. Tropez!  And look how well-heeled she is! I hope I see her next summer!

With fall and winter on the way, it’ll also be fun to bring new friends into my family of heels.  Perhaps a  suede, wine-colored pair of heels or rust?  Or perhaps even rust or wine-colored flats?   Who knows?  But I can tell you this much. My feet will thank me. And so will my pointy-toed heels!

 

 

FullSizeRender

Would you like a bit of wine with your toe clevage?  Or are you more rust worthy? I’m regretting not buying these little darlings during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. 

Tell me.  Are you still enjoying your stiletto heels?  Are you wearing those pointy, toe-cleavage bearing shoes?   Don’t you feel more ladylike and alluring when you are wearing them?  I need to know.

Perhaps it is time to trade these heels in for a clunkier one!

Are you diggin’ the heels?  Or are you going  the chunky, clunky, wedged , platform or flat route? 

I’m going back to revisit my heels now. I’m wearing that lovely floral pair pictured above to the grocery store.  Those slippery aisles will be my perfect training ground!! I’ll be praying a couple of “Heel Mary’s” that I don’t slip and fall! I also need some grace!

How could I possibly NOT give you the song that came from that platform shoe’d album cover. For old times sake–The Trammps. Disco Inferno!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 30 Comments

Shit Bad Moms Do

Bonaparte and I saw the movie “Bad Moms” last weekend.  We went to see it on the recommendation of my daughter, Oona. She mentioned that I would love the movie because of the many “bad mom” moments she remembers during her childhood. She also said that the movie made her cry because she missed those moments.

Bad moms

Um. Yeah!  I’m definitely a member of the “Bad Moms Club” In fact, I’m a blend of all three of these bad moms:  Kiki, the stay-at-home mom. Amy, the mom who’s trying to do it all and going through a marriage break-up. And my favorite–Carla–the slutty single mom who crosses boundaries!!!

Well, I have to say—I thought “Bad Moms” was one of the greatest films of all time. And only because it portrayed moms as we are.  We make mistakes. We aren’t perfect.

Carla

Carla could quite possibly be one of my alter-egos!

Even the ones you think are perfect? They aren’t. They are just good at hiding things.

perfect mom

The “perfect” mom–she’s a drawing! She isn’t real! As much as you know this mom–she is hiding a ton of shit!

Young moms today have it harder. They have to live up to all the “perfect” mommy bloggers, and those Pinterest Pins that’ll have you thinking you are a complete fail if you cannot create some sort of intricate food item for your child.

Pinterest-Fail-Strawberry-Lemonade-Cupcakes-storyboard

 

Pinterest-Fail-Bunny-Rolls-storyboard-1

Quite honestly, I would have been the mother of all Pinterest Fails if I had to live up to the perfect specimens on the left.  I’m glad that made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies and brownies were baking mom successes when my kids were young!

It’s also harder because of political correctness. God forbid if you discipline your child in public, some do-gooder will think nothing of reprimanding you, filming it on their cell phone, and post it to Facebook—just to show how socially conscience they are. Well, karma will kick them in the ass tenfold!

jill-duggar-derick-dillard-lg-md

Yeah. We ALL know “do-gooders” like these members of the Duggar family  cult–and boy do they have a closet full of secrets!! So judge “mental” they are! 

Anyway, after mulling my mothering skills over, I’ve come up with a list of shit I’ve done as a bad mom over the years. It’s pretty bad so if you can relate, please tell me some of your personal bad mom happenings.

Here goes:

I breast fed each of my children until they were three years old. It wasn’t because I wanted them to have the most natural form of nourishment. No. It was because I was too damned lazy to wake up in the middle of the night to give them a bottle.  I also figured that as a stay-at-home mom, I could save money by not feeding them formula and that would equal more stuff I could buy for me!  It was also easier to shove a tittie in their mouths rather than have to deal with whinging and whining.

Sorry kiddo. You are cut off. He's getting the breastmilk now!

Yeah. That’s right!  No milk for you!  There’s a new hungry boy in town!

Remember the movie “Beetlejuice”?  Yeah. It remains a family favorite.  Roman was two years old when the movie came out. Oona wasn’t even born yet.   In my home, nothing is censored.  And little Roman’s favorite scene was when Beetlejuice…

Roman loved to recite that moment. And I would laugh hysterically  whilst telling him–“Oh stop. That’s naughty” And I would laugh some more. Only a truly insane and bad mother would laugh at that.

The biggest bad mother moment was in this old post.  Click on the link and scroll down to St. Ignatius School.

It is no secret that I have a filthy mouth—especially while driving.  One fine day, many years ago, I had to drive from Pennington, NJ to JFK airport to pick my brother up.   Oona was about 7 years old and asked if her friend Megan could come for the ride. Fine.  Somewhere along the Belt Parkway I heard Megan say to Oona. “Let’s play a game.”  “We can see how many times your mom says the “Eff” word”.

Thank God Megan’s mother knows me well.

Another time I went to a Halloween party. I made a great costume. I went as a lady baseball player from the movie “A League of Their Own”. By the time I came home, I was in a league of my own. I drank so much that I threw up all over the kitchen floor when I came home—in front of all three kids.

League

Yes. I made this costume and my look was fabulous–but I threw up all over it and had to trash it!

I was in bed the next day until three in the afternoon. Those kids were on their own. Only a truly selfish and bad mom would do that.

Luckily I taught them to be self-sufficient at an early age so they were able to fend for themselves.

Bad moms teach their daughters the fine art of ironing.

Teaches her sons to be self-sufficient from a young age.

..and there’s a reason that my children played with fake kitchens and irons.  The Bad Mom in me taught them to be self-sufficient!

Other bad mom moments through photos:

Opens the wine and has fun with her toddler

Instead of disciplining my 18-month old son, Roman for going into the fridge, taking out sausage and wine, I turned it into a memory with a photo.  It was late afternoon so I opened the bottle and had a kitchen picnic! I’m sure he slept well that night after breast feeding him with my wine-infused milk!

photo on the subway platform

I put Jake into a dangerous position on the subway platform for a “first-day-of-kindergarten” photo…

A truly bad mom will always force her children, no matter what grade they are entering to take a first dday of school pic

…and I continued that “first-day-0f-school” photo tradition.  Jake may have been off at college, but Roman and Oona were at home. There was no escaping me and the camera!

Bad moms will let child climb on furniture and eat.

I allowed my daughter to sit on furniture and eat. Proving to my family that I was the most vile mother on earth.

Bad moms take their kids pictures with monsters

I didn’t shield my children from scary monsters…

Endanger her children with wild farm animals.

..nor did I shield them from dangerous wildlife!

Let's her kid forget table manners every now and then.

I allowed them to forget about table manners every now and then…

Lets her daughter dress any way she wants to.

..and I allowed them to dress themselves..

Let's her son pick out his wardrobe

sometimes!

Allow her daughter to dress inappropriately at a young age.

I allowed my daughter to dress inappropriately in public…

A bad mom dresses to embarrass her kids

..and I did too!

And then bribes her with soda and garbage to dress the way mommy wants her to!

But, being the horrific mother that I am, I also bribed my daughter into wearing what I wanted her to wear. And I bribed her with soda and fast food…

And let them have birthday parties at McDonald's

..and I had birthday parties for the kids at…*gasp*!! McDonalds!!!

Yummy Fast Food for Baby!!!

Yum!  What toddler doesn’t love a good fry??

Will make her chicken-poxed daughter be in a wedding

Chicken pox didn’t stop me from allowing Oona to be a flower girl in her cousin’s wedding!  Here she is at the rehearsal dinner. A bad mom allows this. A GOOD mom would ruin the wedding by keeping the poxed out child home!  (BTW, when the pox are like this, the disease is no longer contagious. Bad moms know this.)

Give her child a bad body image

A bad mom gives her child a bad body image..

Beetlejuice and weird glasses

..and embraces the strange things kids enjoy putting on their faces!

Buys matching underwear then takes pics.

A bad mom takes photos of her kids in their underwear..

Tell them Santa brought them snow for Christmas

…and does not mind when her children play with those foam packing pellets that get all over the house. Instead–she joins in on the fun!

A bad mom will make her child dress up as Humpty Dumpty

A bad mom will try to dress her child up like this….

But he'll smile through it.

…and then get a happy smile when she tells him he doesn’t have to wear that get up!

Bad moms bury their kids alive

A bad mom will bury her children in the sand…

I let my kids eat organic before it became popular

..and will not panic if they try to eat it. Sand IS organic after all!

Makes your kids stand out in the rain

A bad mom will make her children stay outside in bad weather. So what if they catch cold?  Then they get to stay home with me and have fun!

Bad moms make their sons shovel snow

A very bad mom will make her child do chores like shovel snow..then make hot cocoa!

Bad moms send their kids to catholic school and laugh out loud years later..

An uber bad mom will keep old composition books from her kids’ school days. Then she will find something like THIS and start laughing out loud till it hurts. I swear I don’t remember this but boy, did it make me laugh when I found it yesterday! And BTW, he meant “religion” as a subject in school! I’m guessing he wasn’t fond of spelling either!

Jake and roman in front of the white house

A bad mom INSISTS on taking tourist pics of her teenaged sons. And they comply–or else!

The face your child makes when she realizes mommy is not right in the head!

..a bad mom just smiles when her child comes to realize that “mommy is just not right in the head”!

Spiderman at the thanksgiving parade

A bad mom will make her children stand out in the  freezing cold weather at the Thanksgiving Day parade to see balloons like this!

A bad mom lives vicariously through her children

A bad mom will live vicariously through her child. But she also knows just WHERE her child is on the weekends! Practice!

Runs up and cuts in the graduation procession to take a pic!

And a bad mom will stop at NOTHING to snap a picture of her child during a life event–like cutting into the procession at high school graduation!

I didn’t tell my children, nor did I announce to everyone within earshot how cute they were.  Instead I reminded them that the world does not center around them and they will discover that not everyone likes them. That was such a bad mom thing to say!

I would rather tuck them in their beds at night and tell them I loved them and thanked them for making my day a better one.

I punished them when they were naughty. But I praised them when they carried out a good deed.

My bad mom shit—well, yeah, it was bad at times.  I had nobody close to me to offer advice.  I could only go on instinct. Sometimes the instinct didn’t work that well, but most times, it did.

When you child gets back at you for being a bad mom

..and to get back at the bad mom, your child will turn into a badass who does this!!!!  I was so angry at Oona for A. going skydiving and B. going skydiving and NOT telling me until after the deed was done!

So to all those moms out there with younger kids. Be yourself. Go with your gut. Don’t allow others to judge you or your children.  Don’t try to be a Pinterest Princess.  Nobody is perfect—and that’s what’ll turn you into a great mom!!

badmoms Party like a mutha!

Party like a Bad Mom because you deserve it!!

It wouldn’t be complete without an anthem to bad moms all over:  Mother’s Little Helper–the one. the only. Rolling Stones!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 35 Comments

Shit Old Ladies Do

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on Atypical 60:
I’m becoming increasingly pissed off at the way women over 50, or in my case, women 60 and over, i.e. OLD LADIES are treated. The fashion industry sucks when it comes to older women. I’m not…

Gallery | 9 Comments

I’ve Done Some Shopping………

Alright. I’ve learned quite a bit about handbags while working at Nordstrom, and have been educated about “brand name” handbags, I’ve learned that some of the popular brand names are really good while others—well, they are pretty crappy.

Naturally, my all-time favorite brand of bags is Longchamp and I was passionate about guiding buyers over to their line.  I love the leather bags and they continue to make the bags in France. My Longchamp bags are my little leather babies!

Longchamp made in France

Yes. Longchamp bags ARE made in France.  I cannot say the same about many other EXPENSIVE brand name bags!

And during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I did a bit of shopping.  Thanks to a customer who noticed an error in price when I ordered the caramel colored Le Pliage Cuir Tote by Longchamp for her. I was able to make the same purchase—except with a 20% discount.  Yes!  This one bag showed up on the Nordstrom site for $185.40.  With my discount, it was $148.32 plus tax.  That same bag is now $530.00.

Long champ leather bag caramel

I swear to you if the wonderful customer I helped did not point out the low price, I would have NEVER gotten this bag.  I am so in love with it that I’ve taken it to my new job every day. I don’t think I’ll be rotating this bag any time soon!

But my Longchamp purchase, along with the price of many name-brand bags,  got me to thinking-could I find a bag comparable many brands that department stores sell. Would  I be able to find a bag and  a wallet for under $100.00?  Most brand name bags are $200.00 and up—and I’m not even going to touch the price point of designer bags.

This would be a challenge.

I did my research by going to various stores in the mall during my breaks. Neiman Marcus—most of their bags are out of my price range.  Macy’s had garbage. Complete garbage.  And much of it was pricier garbage.  Same with Lord & Taylor.  Bloomingdales was on par with Nordstrom. Other specialty shops such as H & M and Forever 21 had inexpensive bags, but they were cheap looking and close up, looked poorly made.

So I decided to go online and researched on Amazon. After looking through hundreds of no-name bags, I came upon a “company” named Borgasets.  I first came across the brand when looking for wallets.  The one I kept going back to was a decent looking tumbled leather one and looked like it had room to spare. Lots of slots for credit cards and two zippered compartments. For the price of $32.00, it seemed pretty decent.

Wallet out of the box

The Borgasets wallet.  I am diggin’ that shiny tumbled leather…

I searched some more and found a leather tote also by the brand Borgasets.  The brown leather tote looked really nice.  It had the look of a high-end tote bag, the fact it was leather was a good point and it looked roomy enough for my needs.  In addition, it was the same tumbled leather as the wallet. At $62.00 it still came under my budget and since there was only 1 brown left in stock, I ordered it.  Both items came in at less than $100.00.

Oh. And both items are made in China. I know, I know…I’ve made the promise over and over again to purchase goods made here. But—the Made in America label is oftentimes incredibly expensive. And next time you go shopping for a Tory Burch bag, or a Kate Spade bag or a Marc Jacobs bag—take note of where they are made.  I rest my case.

Burch bag

Yeah. I spent more money on this small Tory Burch crossbody bag than I did for my leather Longchamp tote.  This bag serves the purpose but it is WAYYYY over priced. It is normally $225.00 and I purchased it with a hefty discount while on sale.  Chalk it up as a dopey purchase on my part. Never again!

When the wallet was delivered, I was somewhat surprised to see that the packaging looked more high-end then I expected.  The wallet also came in its own little dust bag too. I thought that was a nice touch.

I was really expecting the wallet to be covered in bubble wrap only. I was pleasantly surprised to see the wallet come packaged like this.  The dust bag is good for storage.

Wallet opened with nothing in it

Wallet opened.  It has quite a few slots for credit and other cards..

Wallet opened top view

…and has two zippered compartments. I use one side for change and the other for bills.

After inspecting the wallet, I came to the conclusion that the wallet is fine. My only “concern” is the two zippers.  They feel kind of “loose” so I’m not sure how long they will hold up.  But—I’ve zipped many “brand name” wallets when I was working at Nordstrom and some of them felt the same way.  I’m talking wallets that were over $100.00.

So far, the wallet has been holding up very well, proving that you can get a decent leather wallet for a budgeted price.

The tote.  What can I say? I love it! It is very well-constructed. I love the little touches like the buckles on the handles. I love the look of the stitching. The tumbled leather looks great. It holds all my stuff, it has separate compartments and pockets.  I only wish the handles were slightly thicker-but it’s no big deal. It has the look and feel of a much more expensive and high-end tote.

Outside of the tote. Again, nicely tumbled leather. I’m loving this color too.  There is an outside zipper on one side–perfect for my cell phone..

Tote Outside handle detail

I love the detailing like the little buckle and the stitching is even too–which is also a good thing.

Tote Interior detail

The inside is lined and has pockets and a zippered divider…

Tote. Stuff Inside

..and it is perfect for work and all the other stuff I carry, like an umbrella, my over sized date book (which I hardly use but NEED to carry) and my lunch.

Borgasets 009

…and the wallet goes so well with my Longchamp bag!!

Look—I’m in excellent “handbag” shape right now and won’t need a bag purchase for a very long time, but I tell you, I would definitely purchase another bag from this company.

The deliveries on both items were delivered way before the date that Amazon gave me so overall, I’m thrilled.

And speaking of the Anniversary sale, I picked up a watch.  I feel like a complete hypocrite because the watch is Michael Kors, and I’m not a fan of his. But this watch has a wrap band and I love it so much.

MK watch

Kors isn’t my favorite brand by any means but I love this watch because it reminds me of the Hermes wrap watch that I cannot afford!

I also purchased a small clutch bag for $21.00 with my discount.  It’s a Stella McCartney knock off and is normally $48.00. When I was working, these bags literally flew out of the store! The bag is by Chelsea 28–a lot less expensive then McCartney’s version!

Chelsea 28 and Ivanka trump shoes

This clutch bag with a silver chain was a great buy at $21.00 plus the discount.  I  love the fact that metallics are the new neutrals.  I can wear this dressed up with this lovely pointy-toed shoes.  The shoes are by Ivanka Trump. I have to be honest here-I almost threw these shoes in the trash because of the last name. But I couldn’t because the toe-cleavage these shoes give off is just so epic!  I’ll wear them on election day when I vote for Hillary!

Another bargain I found was at Nordstrom Rack.  I follow a blog based on fashion and style for women over 50, Une Femme d’un Certain âge.  One of the brands of shoes that is recommended is Paul Green. Have you ever heard of this brand?  I hadn’t until I read the blog.  I was pretty much on the fence about these Paul Green shoes until I saw them in person.  They happen to be sold at Nordie’s and there are a few models that are really nice looking and some that are kind of not me.  But at $349.00 for the pair that I really, really  liked—a bootie with a peep-toe, I just couldn’t justify the purchase. I don’t spend that much on my made-to-fit Rondini’s or Repetto ballet flats!!

Paul Green booties on bed

I have to admit. These shoes are adorable…

Ok..so let me continue. I was at Rack just browsing around and headed over to the shoe area. In the midst of the piles of shoes, I spotted what appeared to be the same leather as the Paul Green booties I saw at Nordstrom. I hit paydirt!  I ended up making the purchase at $107.00.  Oh..I also had a ten dollar coupon!  And the shoes were worth every dollar. These are incredibly comfortable. I’m shocked.

Paul Green booties

…and Oh, Hi-Oh, are these Paul Green Cayanne booties comfy! The leather is incredibly soft!

They will also look great with my Rebecca Minkoff Regan Tote that I purchased while working at Nordies. Someone returned it, my boss put it on the sale table, and I grabbed it before anyone else could.  Sometimes a return is a good thing.

Minkoff and Paul Green

Can you believe how well these shoes go with the Rebecca Minkoff  Regan Tote I got on sale???  I paid less than half price for the bag!!

Do I mind purchasing an item that was returned? Nope! I’ll tell you why. Stores are very particular about returned merch.  A reliable store will only resale returned items that have not been used and are in perfect condition.  And it is all the better when the price is slashed by a very large percentage.

Minkoff Regan Tote

I may not be crazy about fringe, but I’m in love with the color, the construction, the tumbled leather and the sale price!

When you are looking for sales and good ones at that, chances are that some of the merchandise that’ll be on sale has been reduced.  So check the items really well to ensure that you are getting a great buy!

Well, I hope you enjoyed shopping with me!!   I’m not going to be shopping any time soon because I promised Bonaparte that I won’t spend money—and he reads my blog!

Here’s a good song “Lies” by the Knickerbockers!!! It is befitting of me! No Bonaparte, I didn’t go shopping!!!

Posted in Nordstrom, Shopping | Tagged , | 31 Comments

The Bon Vivant of Skincare

Hi all!  Well, things are winding down to normal here at Chateau Bonaparte!  Our latest trip to France is all but a fun memory and I’ve happily traded in my retail position for an administrative assistant position.

And since I’m back in the “9 to 5”, I need to hone in on my time management skills because this blog is really my baby and I need and want to focus on my baby.

Anyway, back in May, the folks at Vivant Skincare sent me a few products to use and review.  I have been using the products regularly both before we left for France, and upon our return.

Vivant Skincare products

Products that I received are from left to right:  Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash; 3% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Toner; Day Treatment Lotion with SPF; Derm-A-Renew; Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream; Spin Tap Serum

My review is honest and I hope helpful. I also want to point out that within all lines of skincare some products will work better on an individual basis than others. That’s the beauty of mixing and matching.  In addition, I am NOT being paid to write this.

And without further ado, here is my review!I received this line which included the Vivant Skincare Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash; 3-in-one Toner; Day Treatment Lotion with SPF 15; Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream; Derm-A-Renew; and Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum.

Me. Day One ready to start my regimen!

I took this photo of me either May 31st or June 1st.  Don’t judge the eye makeup I didn’t remove or my roots that needed to be done.  This is how my skin looked before starting my regimen.  

After 8 weeks

This was taken this morning after I woke up.  My skin actually looks brighter and you can clearly see these photos have not been retouched in any way. With me, what you see is what you get! In all my 61 years, I only lie to Bonaparte about shopping!

First off— moving forward, the one product that has turned into an absolute Holy Grail for me is the Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash.  I love this. Vivant says this is a shaving gel, you can use it on your scalp, and it is a great daily cleanser.  The instructions also state to start using every other day and increasing to once or twice a day.

Mandelic cleanser

This product is absolute greatness. I cannot say enough about what a great cleanser it is!

I’m not wasting this. I don’t use it as a gel to shave my legs because this stuff is gold. I use it to wash my face and use it once a day.  My daily ritual is taking a bath every evening.  I keep this at the tub and after I remove my makeup with my Albolene,  Mandelic Acid 3-in1 Wash is now the only cleanser that I will put to my face!  I also love this because as we age, I do strongly believe that good cleansing is the base of achieving great skin.  Right???

Cleanser Ingredients

Here’s the ingredients.  I am not familiar with many of them but whatever they are, they work well to cleanse the skin!

A drop about the size of a dime is needed to work up a great lather and get your face absolutely spanking clean without feeling taut or dry.  Due to the price point of $40.00, I’m being incredibly stingy with this, but such a small bit goes a very long way. I do believe that this will last me another three- to-four months—so that’s about ten bucks a month. Is it worth the money?  You bet your assets it is!

Next is the 3% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Toner. OK. Let’s get this straight. I’m not a “toner” girl.  I’ve used toners in the past and they just dry out my skin—it’s like applying alcohol directly to my face.  Two items that I have used as makeshift toners have been Orange Blossom Water as well as Witch Hazel. But I haven’t used them on a regular basis.

Toner

3% Mandelic Acid Toner. Only a bit is needed and I swear on my parent’s graves, this does NOT dry your face out!

This Vivant toner—I’ve been using it regularly after cleansing my face in the AM and PM. (Note—in the AM, I wash my face with water only.)  I am pleased to say that this toner does not dry my face out.  It is refreshing and “wakes” up my morning face.

The weird thing is that it does contain alcohol, but it is alcohol denat, a denatured form of the ingredient.  Who knew?  I tried to research alcohol denat but didn’t have much luck.  Anyway, this toner is also a keeper.  It also grabs overnight dirt.  Again, I’m pleased as punch with this.

Toner ingredients

I may not know much about Alcohol Denat, but seeing my friend Witch Hazel makes me realize this is a good toner!

At $52.00 for four ounces, this is pricey. But again, a very small amount is needed.  Vivant’s website states that this is also good for neck and décolleté, but I would just stick to using this on my face because I’m way too frugal!

Vivant Day Treatment Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 15.  I have to say, sadly, this moisturizer didn’t quite work for me. The reason?  The sunscreen bothers my eyes.  I’m in a weird position here. While I need to use sunscreen on a daily basis, 99.9 percent of moisturizers containing sunscreen are a miss for me due to the fact that my sensitive eyes just become way too irritated. I do realize that you are not supposed to put sunscreen near your eyes; however, in the heat when I sweat, there is no way it isn’t going to drip near or in my eyes.  If just a tiny bit gets anywhere near my eyes, I’m rushing to the bathroom to rinse my face off. It’s daunting.

Day Treatment Lotion

Sadly, mine eyes have not seen the glory because they are way too sensitive!  

I will  pass this moisturizer onto my daughter, Oona. Her eyes aren’t sensitive to sunscreen and I think she will love this product.

Quite honestly—I wish that skincare companies would do more research on how to put SPF into products without causing irritation. I don’t think I’m alone in this either. …anyone else out there sensitive to SPF on the face?

Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream is next.  I like this. A lot!  Despite the claims to soften fine lines, brighten dark circles and reduce puffiness, my lines are still there and I still have to use concealer to get rid of the “blue” between my tear duct and nose.

Wink

I give a wink to Wink!  This is also very good!!

But—the good news is—this does reduce puffiness!  Another added fact is that even though this is a cream, it soaks into the skin rather quickly. That means you can apply mascara to your bottom lashes and this cream will not cause the mascara to smudge causing raccoon eyes.  I can’t tell you how many eye creams I’ve used in the past that I had to stop using because my eye makeup would smudge.  No smudging makes me a very happy camper—or shall I say “glamper”!!

After Wink

I tried to get a good shot to show you that Wink does reduce puffiness.  But I am noticing that it does calm down the lines–it’s because of the hydration! I mean the wrinkles are still there for sure..but they are just a bit less–well, deep looking!

AT $72.00 for 0.5 fl. oz, this is not inexpensive. However, you only need but the smallest amount for both eyes.  This small tube will last for a good 6 months. I’m not kidding either—only a touch is needed so a little goes a long, long way!

Wink ingredients

I will say that the claim on the back of the Wink packaging is on the truthful side!

Derm-A-Renew.  I’m in a state of confusion about the packaging of this.  It comes in a little glass bottle with a dropper.  It is way too thick and creamy to be packaged like this.  I think a pump bottle or tube would have been so much more pragmatic.

Derm-A-Renew

Sorry for the focus issue. Chippy was in the way!

As you can see from the dropper, a ton of product sticks to the outside of the dropper. I have to swipe it across my face!  As stated on the website, mild irritation will be experienced at first—which is true. But I still experience slight “tingling” after applying.  I’m pretty sure that I’m getting the tingles because I’m using way too much of it.

See how thick this is. It shouldn't be applied with a dropper

See all the product that is ON the dropper? I’m in a total state of confusion over this!!  I know that I’m wasting product and I don’t like waste at all! Packaging needs to be changed!

I think this product would work much, much better if the packaging is changed up because my skin is definitely looking better—and at a price point of $104.00 for a one-ounce bottle, none of the product should be wasted at all.

Lastly, the Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum.  I used to be a huge Lancôme Genefique serum fan.  But over the years, I find that serums in general have gotten better and there is a serum for everyone. It depends on what you like and what works for you. Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum is comparable in price to most other brands of serums and at $78.00 for one ounce—the price point is average.

Spin Tap Serum

Again, this is a good serum, but there is a serum for everyone. Trial and error will help you in your choice!

For me, I have a favorite serum. (But this is about Vivant and it would be rude of me to mention it here.)

This serum, although liquid, is somewhere between a thin and thick one. The feel is nice and smooth and I swear to you, one drop is enough for your face!  In addition, after using this serum, I don’t need a primer if I’m wearing foundation. (Note-It’s summer so I haven’t been wearing foundation much, but when I do, I use this serum as a primer).

How does this measure up to my favorite?  It is my second favorite  serum and there are times when I use both of them together!

So—how do I feel about the Vivant Skincare products that I’ve received and use?

I feel positive. The Mandelic  Acid Wash is definitely a keeper and I will be using this for a long, long time!  The toner—it’s a keeper as well!

Overall, the products are good to great. The exception for me being the Day Treatment Lotion—I cannot use a product that irritates my eyes.  The other exception is the “Derm-A-Renew” because the packaging just doesn’t lend itself well to my use. I feel that I’m wasting too much product.

As we age, we really need to start taking better care of our skin and, although it may seem like a ton of effort, we need to use more products to protect our aging skin.

Will these products turn back the clock and make us look thirty years younger? No. They won’t.  But they will improve upon what Mother Nature has given us and what we abused through too much sun, and other vices.  I do notice that my skin is looking pretty good these days. I also don’t stick to one brand. I’ve been using Vivant and another brand and the mix of both is making me incredibly happy.

Yes. VivantSkincare is on the pricier side. And in all honesty, I can’t afford the entire line at this time. But I can afford to purchase a few of the items in rotation.  The Mandelic Acid 3-in1 Wash is a definite as well as the toner and the serum.

If you are thinking more and more about the way you approach your “mature” skincare these days, take a look at Vivant’s line and perhaps you can find a product that’ll work for your skin!   My  highest recommendations are the Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Cleanser and the 3% Mandelic Toner.  Next up would be either the Wink eye cream or the serum.  All would last a long, long time and would definitely be worth the price!

Also click for the “Before and After” shots.  The “Rejuvenation” photos show results of mature skin.  The fact that they showed older women makes me happy; kudos for that!  But what would make me even happier is if they used a mature woman on the header for their site!  (Hey—we can’t have everything, but I try!)

FOTD Today 8.7l2916

Here’s a photo of me that I took this morning after making myself look human.  I am wearing NO foundation whatsoever.  (sorry for the crappy lighting but it was morning light filtering through the window).   My skin still has the little lines–but I’m 61 years old. Let’s be real.  I do think my skin looks better….

Vivant skincare cont 001

Wait. Here’s a photo of me in the car on Friday on the way to work.  It’s outside lighting and I think my skin looks very good here too.  Again, I am NOT wearing foundation.

So that’s it my friends!  I hope you enjoyed this review.  I’m off to treat myself to a mani pedi, and lip wax!

Here’s the Temptations. Beauty’s Only Skin Deep. But products help that!!

Posted in VivantSkincare Products | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Au Revoir to Our Little Paris Apartment

I forgot to tell you something.  Saturday evening while Bonaparte and I were enjoying our aperitifs on the deck, he gave me some news.

The news was sad but not devastating. It was about Danièle’s apartment.  The apartment had been sold and Bonaparte wanted to wait until the time was right to tell me about it.

It’s not that I was horrified.  I wasn’t. Because of the French inheritance law, and the taxes on properties being so high, many of the expensive homes and apartments that have been passed onto familes simply cannot be kept. The taxes are astronomical and the dwellings are sold because families just don’t have that kind of cash on hand.

This was the case with Danièle.  My delusions had me thinking that the family was going to keep the apartment and rent it out with first dibs being on out-of-town and out-of-country family members.  Bonaparte told me I was being incredibly naïve. I was being hopeful.

It was, for me, a very sad moment.  And it was sad, not because we wouldn’t be staying at our “Parisian home away from home”, but mostly, it was sad because somebody else would be living in Danièle’s apartment.

From the moment we would exit the cab to the blue doors at 55 Quai des Grands Augustins, I felt the comfort of familiarity.

55 quai des grands augustins

The blue doors that led us into the courtyard. (BTW, the dress shop that is to the left of the doors is no longer there. It’s a kitchen renovation center these days).

And as we walked through the doors and entered the first courtyard, the one that was old and full of history, my comfort turned into a gleeful excitement.

In the courtyard

The doors behind the huge plant, which is in the middle of the old courtyard, is where the concierge lives. To the left of concierge’s apartment is…door to the apartment side view…the “old” door that leads to the lobby of the building…but we usually entered through the newer entrance…

Back courtyard 2

The “newer” courtyard, in the summer, the greenery and flowers were spectacular..but the stone path way was really slippery!

Paris. Daniele's apartment. Flowers in the courtyard

Flowering plants and..

flowers in the courtyard

beautiful roses would welcome us back year after year!

And as we walked through either of the two doors leading into the lobby of the building,  I would be even more excited–like a child at Christmas.  Because we would be spending time with Danièle in her apartment!

She purchased the apartment in 1950.  She transformed what was an old, dark attic full of luggage and odds and ends that belonged to others in the building into a beautiful penthouse overlooking the lush courtyard, the Paris rooftops, and the tip of the Eiffel tower.

Sundial in the courtyard

Also in the courtyard was this sundial–there are only a few of these scattered around Paris!  

The apartment itself wasn’t grandiose nor was it pretentious.  It was rather pragmatic with a great use of space. Over the years, with Danièle’s ailing health, the apartment’s maintenance hadn’t been kept up as well as it could have been.

Twilight little eiffel

One of my favorite views from the apartment was just before the Eiffel Tower turned on her lights in the evening. I loved the lines of the Paris rooftops at dusk….

Paris. Daniele's apt. another view of the eiffel.

Oh what the Hell, I loved that view ANY time!!!  I took most of these pics a few years back, and I regret not taking more!

The kitchen area had a little alcove. In this alcove was a table and chairs. The table and chairs were placed in front of a huge window. The window was a real life picture show. We would dine and glance out the window at the dome of The Institut de France and watch the changes in the dome as the sun went down.

Paris. Daniele's apt. dinner table set.

The table in the alcove is set for The Three Musketeers!  Bonaparte, Daniele, and me!

Well Ill be domed

Well now, I’ll be domed!  We got to see THIS view from the huge window in the alcove. It was fun having dinner to this view! (Naturally, we took this pic with a zoom lens!)

View from one of the windows in the aparatment dusk

And there’s the dome in the background from the view from another window!

Danieles smoked ham 2

Don’t get grossed out. There is a story to this leg.  Daniele used to like to entertain. So she kept a pig’s leg (think home made smoked ham) and a jar of mustard out in a larder that was attached to the bottom of the window outside the apartment. This was one of the funniest things I had ever seen in my life and I would go out and sneak little bits of ham. This thing was so well-preserved that it lasted about two years! 

The walls of the kitchen were painted a bright yellow and I would love to cook dinner in that bright room.  The stove and oven were in front of another window—this one smaller, but the view that I had was lovely and I would even shoo the birds away as I cooked.

kitvchen detail

My apologies for the crappy quality, but the kitchen was a mixture of old antique cabinets among the yellow walls and the bright yellow frigo! I friggin’ loved this room so much! Check out the blue-gray tiles on the floor!

The living room was eclectic.  A mix of objet d’art, from paintings by family and friends and unknown artists, to a statue of Segolène Royal.  A table placed at the far side of the living room was home to at least 15 orchids. All of which seemed to bloom whenever Bonaparte and I were there.  A fireplace that hadn’t been used in years. I honestly don’t even know if it worked.

Roses we got for Daniele

Roses that we bought at our favorite florist on Rue de Buci were always in bloom in the living room.

Orchids on the table far away

The “salon” as everyone called the living room but me, was comfy, full of books, orchids, paintings..and just really cool stuff!

Living room

Here’s another view in different light..and it looks like this is a more recent pic because there aren’t many orchids on the table. But see the mirrors? Opened, they led to Daniele’s bedroom. Closed they made the room appear so much larger.  I LOVED to open the windows and just stare outside!

Paris. Daniele's aartment awards for her and yves.

One of these is a medal of honor that was given to Bonaparte’s grandmother from the French government for surviving the concentration camps during WWII.

Fireplace that is really never used

A fireplace that never worked was turned into a display case of sorts!

Orchids on the table

In healthier days when the Orchids were abundant!

Huge windows from floor to ceiling, allowed the light to enter into the apartment, and brought cool breezes in even on the hottest of days.  And when the light became too bright, the lush drapes could always be drawn.

View from the salon

Huge windows added to the Parisian charm!

My favorite part of the day was when Danièle, Bonaparte and I would have breakfast in her bedroom.  She was always happy to go over the daily plans with us as we enjoyed coffee, tea and croissants before getting ready for whatever adventures laid ahead.

Daniele's bedroom

Her room was more like an office. She conducted a lot of business from here the last year. See that tray?  And this is where we enjoyed our breakfasts. In over ten years we never EVER had breakfast in any other room!  See her ashtray and cigarette lighter? Yeah.

My favorite area of the apartment was the upstairs loft. This was our room.  On one end was a daybed that had been transformed into a sofa of sorts. This is the spot where I would curl up and write.    A good portion of my late afternoons were spent jotting down thoughts and going over the day’s activities.

Another view of the loft

The stairs leading up to the loft. See all the books? All the walls of the loft were lined with shelves full of them. It was a treasure chest!

Paris. Daniele's apartment view of the loft.

Look up to the top right under the skylight. That table is where I put my makeup on. Every day.  And I would love to lay in bed on rainy days and just watch the rain hit that skylight!

And every morning I would sit at the old wooden table to put my makeup up. The lighting was great because of the skylights.

And every night before going to sleep on the bed with the fluffiest mattress, I would grab an old photo album and study the contents. Photos of Danièle with her first husband Daniel Gelin, hanging out in St. Germain with Simone Signoret and Yves Montand.   Jean-Paul Sartre and Juliet Greco also made appearances in some of the photos.  There were the photos of Danièle and Yves Robert enjoying time in their estate outside of Paris. But my favorite photos were the ones of Bonaparte his cousin, Xavier Gelin, both adorable in their little shorts, capes and berets.  I never tired of those photos and I wish I had them at this moment.

Evie and dany

I was lucky to have been given some photos–especially ones taken by Bonaparte’s grandfather, Jacques Henri Lartigue.  This is Bonaparte’s dad, Dany (and my buddy!), with his mom Evie…

Evie communion

Evie on her First Holy Communion day and…

JH Lartigue pic

Another J.H. Lartigue photo of Daniele with Jeanette, Dany’s second wife. Dany is in the background in between the two women.  The family gave new meaning to “Extended” family!!

It’s funny how one thing about a home will make you love it so very much. For me, it was the skylight above our bed.  When it rained, I would lie in bed and just look up at the sky and watch the rain dropping on the glass above. Over the years, that skylight gave me comfort and reassurance that I was in a wonderful place!

You know, when I lost my home during my divorce, I was absolutely devastated.  For years, and I really mean it—for years, I couldn’t even pass my old house because I would break down.  In fact, it was only recently that I “let it go”.

And now, I’m “letting go” of the fact that we won’t be staying in the apartment at 55 Quai des Grands Augustins.  Someone else will be making it their home.  And knowing Danièle, her spirit will welcome the new owner with open arms.  I hope they feel her spirit.

Here’s some random pics I’ve taken over the years of and from the apartment. Enjoy!

Crevettes

Crevettes and a jar of sardines…

Langoustines

Langoustines. I HAD to take a picture because I wanted so badly to eat all of them, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was a gluttonous American–even though I AM!

Still life on table

Still life on the table!

Rooftops at night from the salon window

I have absolutely no idea how I got this photo to be so grainy but I love the way it turned out. This is a view from one of the living room windows.

The back courtyard

Another view of the courtyard. Over the years, I became friendly with one of the neighbors! 

Orchids 3

Another Orchid pic..

MOre roof

And the tip of the Eiffel Tower on a cloudy day!

And I hope that they enjoy her little Paris apartment as much as I did.

Paris. Me and Daniele

I miss her more than the apartment though!

I’m giving you this beautiful song by Michel Delpech. “Chez Laurette”. I know I’ve posted this song in the past, but it just brings back so many Paris memories! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!

Posted in Daniele Delorme, J. H. Lartigue, Paris | Tagged , , | 36 Comments

I Am Edina Monsoon.

Yesterday Bonaparte and I went to the movies. We saw “Absolutely Fabulous—The Movie”.  And it was a fun hour and a half. Watching Eddie and Patsy, I felt that I was with old friends.

absolutely fabulous the movie

An hour and a half of decadent, lying, drinking, opportunistic, naughty women is  always a great thing!!

Since a good deal of the movie was shot on the Cote d’Azur, it was great reliving moments of our vacation in France, and it was great to spend time with Patsy and Eddie in familiar places.

abfab-lumleysaunders

Patsy and Eddie enjoying life on the Cote d’Azur…

Theoule. Me Terrace Ready for the day. GOLD

Just like me!!  And we are both in Theoule!

But what really made the movie both pleasurable and touching was realizing that I am Edina Monsoon.

And I think that for all of us who lived through various decades of both decadence and bad fashion trends can all relate.

ab_fab

I make no apologies.  I don’t smoke anymore.  Bonaparte threw my happy pills away. But I still love the aperitifs on the weekend and still love a good and wild time!

If I can't have happy pills...

My wild pill-popping these days is reduced to Motrin for headaches and OTC allergy medication.  Which I hardly take anyway.

In my younger days after a night of partying

..and tell me. Who hasn’t looked like this after an Eddie and Patsy all-nighter.  I’m ready for my crawl of shame because I can’t even walk!

The most moving moment in the film, which made me realize I am Eddie was when she was drowning in the pool at the Pierre Cardin Bubble House—which is right up the road from our apartment in Theoule-sur-mer.

670403d086044b72bb5f16a5bf9094b6

OK. So Eddie was closer to the Pierre Cardin Bubble house than I was.(Oh look! You can see Port la Galere through the window. I THOUGHT I heard Eddie and Patsy calling to me!

Theoule. The OTHER bubble house. Pierre Cardins.

…but I was still able to SEE the house from our terrace!

She told her daughter Saffy that she loved her.  She also announced that (and this isn’t verbatim—but it’s close enough)….

“I’m a nothing, darling”

“I’m fat”

“I’ve made mistakes”

“It’s all about me. Me.Me.Me!”

Bonaparte almost jumped out of his seat because he turned to me and said:

“”Az ziz woman bin spi-eeng on ou?”  “Ou sehwha’ she eez seh-eeng awl zuh time!” “muh Got!” (Translation: “Has this woman been spying on you?” “You say what she is saying all the time!” “My God!”

I thought the same sing thing!

But there are other ways that we are the same person.

Edina has been a slave to fashion trends.

Edina fashion

A bit too clashy. But, I would wear that hat in a minute. A MINUTE.  I would feel like Napoleon Bonaparte in it! I love the military look!

Picture Shows: Edina (Jennifer Saunders) TX: BBC ONE, Friday, August 31, 2001 In Episode One of the new series of 'Absolutely Fabulous', Edina and Patsy succumb to the powers of Parralox, the new anti-wrinkle drug that paralyses the skin.  Guest stars, Twiggy, Leigh Lawson, Michael Greco, Stephen Gately, Lady Victoria Hervey. WARNING: This copyright image may be used only to publicise current BBC programmes or other BBC output. Any other use whatsoever without specific prior approval from the BBC may result in legal action.

Eddie could sometimes be a bit too matchy-matchy.  But then again, who doesn’t love Burberry? (photo from BBC)

When I was younger, I made lots of fashion mistakes.  Did I really wear that?

 

My 1980's jeans. What was I thinking

It’s bad enough I dressed my son up like Little Lord Fauntleroy–but those jeans I’m wearing–UGH..and that shirt with the shoulder pads. No. Just. No!

Those shoulder pads. Not wonder Oona looks sad

I’m taking broad shoulders to new levels. Who invented shoulder pads anyway? It’s such a disgusting look!

Another fashion flop

The over sized bomber jacket was NOT a good look.

Most of my adult life has been one. long. diet.

absolutely-fabulous-jennifer-saunders-edina-monsoon-animated-gif-bfHae8-quote

Yeah Eddie. Me too. Me too…

Food is my solace. Hell, I won't even bother to unwrap the ice cream pop

Actually, I’m NOT. I’ll continue to stress-eat and not even bother to unwrap ice cream pops when I’m really emotionally hungry!

You are what you eat

Well, then, I’m pretty darn sweet!

I had an excuse for my fatness. I was pregnant

Yes. I AM fat here. I’m pregnant. And after I give birth, I’ll do thin things!

I’ve definitely been bad mom!  Just like Saffy reminds Eddie of the awful things she’s done, Oona reminds ME of the horrific things I’ve done!

hi-res-Feats0_3039434b

A rather nice photo of Eddie and Saffy…

me and oona last winter

A rather nice photo of me and Oona!

rs_560x415-131104124556-1024.theres-something-about-mary-hair-gel-diaz

And one thing Oona NEVER lets me forget is the time I took her to see “There’s Something About Mary”. She was home sick from school and I wanted so badly to see this movie that I did. And with her. And she was 8 years old.  I’ve done worse…

I made my children drink

I’ve nursed my kids to the point that they didn’t have to ask to be fed. They just grabbed..

I tried to get my daughter used to a bottle and eating like a savage

I prepared Oona for the real world at a young age by pretending she was at happy hour with a bottle and little appetizers.

I did terrible things to my daughter

And while other little girls dressed up as princesses for Halloween, I made my daughter dress up as a mermaid with two shells as a top!  

My politics aren’t the same as everyone else’s. And I’m often outspoken about them—and there are just times when what I want to say just doesn’t come out right.

stupidity tax

Thank you Buzzfeed and Tumblr for such a political gif! Eddie wants a stupidity tax and I…

Taxing the rich

I want to tax the wealthy who cheat our government with their stupid tax shelters. Tax the rich!!!

Eddie loves her champagne!

Edina and Moet

So do I!

LIke Eddie. I love my champagne

And we love the same brand–Moet!!

Sometimes, I’m the girl who just tries too hard to fit in. I’ve done it in the past, and do it presently, and will most likely do it again.

jennifer-saunders-leopard-coat-head-scarf-xlarge

Sometimes Eddie tries to hard…

I love to wrap myself in Hermes Darling!

..and so do I. It’s HERMES darling. Hermes!

My St. Trop look

..and I call THIS look, I’m channeling my inner Bardot at St. Tropez look! I look like a poseur!

And, although I want to fit in, I’ll still continue to march to the beat of my own drum.

 

It's the new trend. Im too fat to wear my bathing suit on the Riviera so I'll just wear it OVER my clothing!

My new look for the beach. I’ll just wear my bathing suit OVER my clothing because I got too fat!

I’m terribly self-centered. And it is all about me.  And perhaps one day I will explain why I am that way. Years of therapy have helped me understand that. But I’m not ready to explain just yet why I am this way.

And like Edina, I don’t want to grow up.  I want to remain youthful and I want to be blissful. I want life to be one big party. And I shall remain immature.

But—there is a bit of Eddie, as well as a touch of Patsy Stone in all of us.

So let’s embrace our inner Edina Monsoon. We’re not perfect. We make all kinds of mistakes from fashion to judgment.

246E35A400000578-2897348-image-m-9_1420468658964

We are all Eddie. The more perfect ones are like Patsy, but for the most part, there is a bit of Eddie in all of us!

We’ve all been quite naughty and selfish.

Face is, we are ALL Eddie with a bit of patsy thrown in

Time to take a good laugh at our mistakes and misjudgments because in the end–it gives us more character!!

And we can all have a good laugh at ourselves because we are all just Absolutely Fabulous. Don’t you think?

The theme song from AbFab. “Wheels on Fire” sung by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and Trinity from Top of the Pops, 1968.

Posted in Absolutely Fabulous | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

My Precious And Lovely Gift

Yesterday I received a lovely surprise in the mail. It was from a fellow blogger that I am friends with.  La Contessa.

Her blog, The Vintage Contessa, is chock-full of wonderful photographs, her fun style, and great stories about her.  But more than that, she is kind. And kindness counts in my own world.

Anyway, she made a beautiful flowery chapeau for me! And I want to share it with you!

Me in floral hat from Elizabeth!

I love this flowery bundle of joy and happiness. I’m also thinking that we need more of this. We need beads and long flowing dresses and love and hippieness! This is my favorite hat of all time. ALL TIME!!! Thank you La Contessa!

And when I asked Bonaparte “Do you like my hat?”, I was brought back to a very, very sweet and innocent time in my life. That time when I first discovered books and reading.

And it made me think of one of my favorite books of all time. ALL TIME. And it has remained one of my favorite books..

Go dog go cover

“Go, Dog. Go!  by P.D. Eastman. Quite possibly one of the greatest literary works ever.

And in this book, a little poodle is constantly trying on different hats to impress another dog. He never likes them.

Until, she wears the greatest party hat of all time!  And he likes it. He really likes it!

This hat episode was a regular  question with my kids as they were growing up. When any of us  wore a new hat, we would ask, just like the poodle, “Do you like my hat?”.

Sometimes the answer would be “No. I do not like your hat.” And sometimes it would be “I do. I do like your hat!”

And it reminded me of Bonaparte. I have many hats. Some of which he clearly doesn’t like. And he lets me know. He tells me he does not like my hat.

But this time. He liked my hat!!  He loved my flower hat. And it reminded me of this book!

Go Dog Go

Bonaparte had the same reaction as the dog who loved the party hat!

And so I thank you, La Contessa! Thank you for not only sending the gift of happiness in a wonderful hat, but thank you for bringing some wonderful memories back to me!

You made my day a happier one!XOXOXOXO!!!

And what more appropriate song about a hat than this one from Randy Newman “You Can Leave Your Hat On”

Posted in Go, Hats | Tagged , | 27 Comments

How To Be A Good Customer

Some news to share with you. I left my retail job because I start an office position on Monday.  Wait!  Before you get all excited, the job isn’t my dream job but I will be utilizing my skills as an administrative assistant.

It took me almost two years to find an office position but that’s another post about ageism.  What I want to talk about today is something that we can all stop and think about.

Hey—even I need to practice what I’m preaching!  It’s how to be a good customer. Or basically a nice one.

But before I get into the “how to’s”, there are a couple of things I want to address.

The store I worked in was Nordstrom. I worked with some really great people and made wonderful friends there.  My manager was amazing and comes into the second place of best boss I ever worked for. After all—he took a chance on hiring an older woman with no retail experience. I have to be honest when I say that there is no ageism at Nordie’s.

Nordstrom. To add to my resume

This is the store where I worked.  Bravo to Nordstrom for being anti-ageist!  Bravo to Nordstrom for having great customer service!!

Alas, retail just wasn’t for me.  I am a creature of habit.  I like knowing what my bi-weekly pay will be because I like to budget and the unknown amount of salary stresses me out.  I like my hours of 9 to 5.  I don’t want to work weekends. I don’t want to work until 10:30 or later in the evening.  It just isn’t me.

Money money money

Well, I’ll never have a million bucks–but I DO like to know how much is going into my account on a regular basis!

My daughter, Oona, loved working retail throughout college. It was great money and, for her, the hours worked well!  Many people love working retail for the same reasons that I don’t. It’s all what makes you happy!  My son, Jake, worked retail for one day. Then he quit. Roman worked at Barnes & Noble–literary retail.  He enjoyed it!

My absolute favorite part of my retail job was meeting people. I was fortunate enough to meet two people from our little circle of friends here at Atypical60!  Sharon and Joan!Happiness is Me and My Friend Sharon D!

It really is the best feeling meeting friends for the first time!  Sharon and ….

Joan and me

Joan lightened my days when they came into the store!  Meeting Joan was a 100% surprise!! It was great!!

I also loved just talking to the customers and helping them decide which handbag to buy or not purchase. Overall, I had a great, great time with 99.9 percent of the women who came in to purchase handbags or just to browse.

Orange Furla bag not you r color. Don't buy it!

Yes. This is a Furla bag. However there is a reason it is in the clearance section.  You cannot wear this color every day. I know this. I HAVE an orange bag and I wear it only around Halloween season!

And I also learned a lot about engaging with people. In the short time of employment, I also realized that I had not always been the perfect customer in the past.

I could be curt—especially if I felt that a sales assistant was being pushy.  I could also be a bit dismissive because when I go shopping, I know what I am looking for.  I could also be impatient if I have to wait on a line. That isn’t nice. And I’m sorry.

So sit down with me on the sofa. Grab an iced coffee or an iced tea and I’ll tell you how to be a good customer. Actually, I’ll tell you how to try to be a good and nice customer—even if you already are!

When a sales assistant approaches you and asks if you need any help, please don’t angrily tell them “No”. Be kind in your answer.

You may not be aware that the sales staff is doing their job when they ask you if you need help or assistance.  Their job is to “sell”.  They are expected to keep up with sales goals.  If you honestly don’t need help or assistance, please be pleasant in answering them.  It can be hard to approach a customer at times, especially if there is a full department of sales assistants. Sometimes the assistant isn’t aware if someone else has already asked if you need help.  Kindness counts.

Wilde

If a sales assistant asks you if you need help, please don’t put on your resting bitch face.  Smile and just say no thank you!

Too many sales assistants asking you for help?  Here’s how to handle it.

One thing that continually stuck in my mind was something I learned in training. The customer will go to whomever they want to go to.  So—if you feel that too many sales assistants are asking for help, scout out the one s/a who you would want helping you if you do need assistance.  Maybe you like the way they are dressed or the way that they smile. Maybe you notice that one of them is closer to your age—whatever the reason, choose your soldier. Trust me that “sold”ier will make sure nobody else gets anywhere near you!

timing gif

Whatever the reason, seek out the sales assistant that you can relate to.  I would pick this guy! He would definitely “get” what I want!

Beware the “sharks”.  Choose your Sales Assistant wisely.

This is touchy.  In my experience with retail, the majority of S/A’s were great. If a customer came up to the register without any sales assistance, the good S/A’s would ask the customers if they were being helped. There is a reason for that and it is called “commission” (More about that later).

In fact, many of the top sales assistants are incredibly knowledgeable about the inventory of the entire store—not just their specific department.  They are proactive without being sharks. They won’t steal a sale, they will actually split a sale!

A shark will prey on you.  They will try to sell you anything. They will not pay attention to your needs or your preferences. They will push you to buy, buy, buy.  I’ve had customers return items only to tell me they were “forced” into making a purchase that they really didn’t need.

A shark will also take advantage of any of your retail weaknesses. If you are indecisive, they will swim you over to the most expensive item in the department. If you tell them you don’t know what you want—watch out!  Don’t let them walk all over you.

If a shark suggests an item that is downright fugly or absolutely not your style, smile and say. “You know, that isn’t me and I’m not crazy about it.” “But it might look great on YOU!”

You are being a good customer by giving the shark a subtle hint. You are no pushover.

tumblr_inline_mpe2yhzKiv1qz4rgp

A good customer will not allow a shark to devour her retail goals!

If you do need help, seek out the sales assistant who may be tidying a shelf or display. Seek out the one who isn’t hanging onto the cash register.  And seek out the one who will give you honest opinions.

Please shop to “keep”. Please do not shop to “return”.

People do not shop to keep any more. They shop to borrow.  The one thing that drove me nuts about the department store was their return policy. It is, hands down, a nightmare for those who work there.

1464106430-returns-policy-gif

From the Cosmopolitan site.  As soon as someone asks this question, you KNOW the item is coming back!

Did you know that returns are drawn against the sales assistant’s commission? Oh yes they are. Up to one full year!

People will purchase designer handbags for their teenaged daughters to wear to Prom and return that same bag afterwards without any guilt or remorse. They will wear a pair of shoes to a wedding only to return them two days later with a “They didn’t fit right”. And I’m not talking about cheap shoes either. I’m talking two, three hundred dollar pairs of shoes!

1464106783-receipts

Oh. A very minute amount of people actually save receipts from five, ten, fifteen years ago. It is their safety measure for long-term borrows.

I’ve had people return handbags that smelled of cigarette smoke, had crumbs in the bottom of the bag—I even found a necklace in one bag—and say, “I never used the bag” or “It didn’t work for me”. I cannot make this shit up.  I’ve even had someone return a bag, with the original receipt from 2010 and tell me that the bag didn’t hold up the way she thought it would!! Luckily the period of commission draw was over for the sales assistant who sold the bag.

Brown Le Pliage. It's a mess and I won't return.

This is one very old Longchamp bag that I’ve had for years. YEARS!  It is filthy. It is ripped. I will never return it because it has gone through NORMAL wear.  I may, however, bring it to Nordstrom to have the little hole repaired. Did you know that Nordstrom has a “Bag Doctor”?  It’s a great, great service.  For a small charge (depending what the damage is), he will repair your bag. I cannot tell you how many women have used this wonderful service for bags that they love!  Don’t return. Repair!

If you want to be a good customer, just tell the truth. Don’t lie that you never used a bag that was used for years.  Just say you are returning the bag. End. Of. Story.

Another time a woman I was assisting ran into her friend as she was getting ready to purchase a bag.  The friend was a bit “meh” about a bag she was thinking of purchasing because she clearly wasn’t crazy about it.  Anyway, the woman I was helping turns to her friend and says in a really loud voiceBuy it anyway”. “They take anything back”!!! 

I stood there dumbfounded. First of all there was absolutely no need to say that in front of a sales assistant. Secondly, it was such an entitled statement. And her tone just turned my stomach. And no, Nordstrom does not take anything back. Nordstrom will not allow you to return an item you purchased at another store such as Macy’s, Walmart, Target or Wegmans.

 

supermarket_3323456b

I’m sorry but we do NOT take anything back.  

The woman purchased the bag and returned it two days later.

Please be a good customer and keep your thoughts to yourself. The sales assistants are aware of the return policy. They do not need to be reminded of it. It is painful enough without the customer announcing it to the entire store!

There are also “serial” returners.  These are people who have nothing better to do than shop.  They will browse, purchase, return. Repeat. Browse, purchase, return.  After a while you get to know who they are.

hero-landscape-shopaholic

This is an impulse buyer aka “Serial Returner”. That look on her face–she’s thinking about which pair to return later today!

And you avoid them.

Please, I am begging you. Please do not become a serial returner.  It is much, much better to be remembered as a nice and respectful customer. You do not want to be labeled as a serial returner. It is a worse label than being labeled a thief!

Most stores pay their sales assistants on a commission-only basis.  A good—actually a GREAT customer respects this.

While I realize this isn’t the case for all stores, most of your larger department stores pay on a commission-only basis. If commission is not met the s/a will receive an hourly rate. However the hourly rate is not a high one.

This is where being a good customer is so important. It is also really important that the good customer understands this.  If a sales assistant comes up to you and asks if you need help, and, at the moment you do not,—please, ask them for their name or ask them if they have a card.

If a sales assistant has been helping you and leaves to go on a break or lunch, please tell the person at the register that __________ was helping you and you want the sale run up under her /his  name or number.

If you really, really don’t need any assistance at all, please seek someone to help you just a tiny bit. Even if you approach a sales assistant who may be tidying up. It would be a pleasure for the him/her to ring something up for you.

When shopping, even before working at Nordstrom, I’ve always asked sales assistants if they are on commission. If so, then I get the name of the person who assisted me and make sure they get that sale.

When you do decide on your purchase, beware the sales assistants who hover around the cash register.

Yeah. I call the cash register area the “shark tank”. That’s where the sharks hang out.   They won’t ask if anyone is helping you.  They will hover around and hoard any sale they can—especially if it isn’t theirs.

And so, I beseech you, my friend.  As a good customer, please tell the person who is hovering around the register that you were being helped by _____________________.

Please don’t lead the sales assistants on. If you really have no intent on making a purchase, release them and let them work with a paying customer.

Leading an s/a on is almost as bad as being a serial returner.  Sometimes it is just fine to browse. We all do it.  How are we going to see what’s out there if we don’t go out and look?  But when you approach a sales assistant on a very busy day and you have absolutely no intent on buying and ask a million questions about a particular item, you are leading the sales assistant on and taking a possible sale away from them.

Everything is relative. Trust me. S/A’s love to give you information about product. Especially when it isn’t busy in the store. That’s the best time. But during a big sale or a busy weekend. Let’s keep the browsing to browsing.

 

Lucy it doesnt work

Do you mind if I ask you a hundred questions about this item that I have no intention of purchasing?   Yes. The sales assistant does mind–but only if you ask on the busiest of days. When there’s nobody around, the sales assistant will answer two hundred questions!  Be respectful. 

Dream Customers:

Are pleasant. Are willing to take suggestion.  Are nice people. Are always happy to have a helping hand. React positively to honesty and constructive criticism. Will ask your name. Will seek you out when it is time to make the purchase. Will shop to keep.

And 99 percent of customers are dream customers.

It’s just that sometimes a gentle reminder can be in order. I sure know that I need a gentle reminder now and then.  So here’s to you, the customer. Because without you, many people would be out of a job!

giphy

A pleasant customer is the best customer!!  And a great customer is not clueless!

And now, as I return to the life of a customer, I will definitely be on my best behavior!

Here’s a fun shopping song by Toni Basil and a blast from the past! Shopping from A to Z! XOXOXOXO!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 50 Comments