Yet, Some More Talk on Skin Care!!

Okay. I know somewhere in the bowels of my blog archives I’ve written about skincare on more than one occasion. And today, I’m gonna talk about it a bit more!  From time to time, I do receive products for review. And I’m grateful for that. As a 66-year-old example of our “mature” demographic, companies aren’t too swift to send products for review to the older woman. Especially if the company’s niche is geared more toward the younger woman.

And listen, I’m no skincare expert but I know what works for me. My skin needs hydration. It’s super-dry with the exception of that glistening glow during the heated summer months and that is largely due to the sweat that’s dripping down my face—it keeps me hydrated.

sweating britney spears GIF

Yes. Ms. Spears and I have that same sultry, sweaty glow! Only she looks better! I am also of the #freebritney movement!

All kidding aside, we definitely have different issues going on with our skin. We have more lines. We have a tendency toward a more uneven skin tone as we age. Our skin sags. It just isn’t as taut as it once was. But that doesn’t mean we need to give up on taking care of our skin.

Old Woman GIF by memecandy

Let the good times roll but take care of the skin first!

But the other aspect is that good skin provides as a better canvas of sorts when it comes to applying the rest of the makeup.  Foundation on dry skin doesn’t look too appealing and can actually make us look older.  The same with the blush and other products.  We need a good base for everything and that’s where the care of the skin is paramount.

It’s true. A good skincare routine and products will improve your skin and give a better canvas for makeup. I’m taking it a step above and not even wearing foundation during the summer. I’m letting my skin do the talking!

Trust me, when I was young, I basked in the sun, washed my face with Ivory Soap and pretty-much neglected my skin.  But back then, I don’t think I was alone.  We didn’t have the products that are available now.  Maybe with the exception of Noxzema which was used for everything from moisturizing, to after-sun care, to cleansing—and that camphor scent—I don’t know-something tells me that Noxzema wasn’t the best product to put on your face.

Pin on Seventeen in the 70's

 

Camphor and Menthol were two of the ingredients in this stuff. Trust me, at 16 years old my skin never looked that good. Noxzema worked for sunburn but on my face? No!

And during this summer, I’m wearing less makeup anyway. It’s a choice I’ve made to get my skin into better condition for the fall and winter months.  So come along with me while I tell you about two skincare brands that I’ve been using and at the end of this blog, I’ll show you a brand that I’ve just received to begin testing.

The first brand is Y’our Skincare. The company reached out to me a while back and I was on board because the “kits” so to speak are personalized based on your answers to the quiz on the brand’s website. The quiz is fun and easy and is pretty-much on target to match you up with the appropriate products for you needs!

My skin report. Aha! Just as I thought!

I received products for the four-step process. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations at the time because I didn’t know whether or not the quiz was gimmicky or not.  My expectations were so wrong!

Four products and it couldn’t be more convenient. All numbered!  These are the four products I received!

Cruelty free, the products are natural and work. I’ve used them for about two months and am a fan.

Step One is the Gentle Cleanser and this really is gentle on the skin but is an excellent cleanser–and a tiny bit is all you need. BTW don’t mind my nails. I’m going for a manicure tomorrow evening.

I start out with the gentle cleanser.  True to form, it’s gentle. But before I continue, please allow me to add a caveat. Since I wear eye makeup and a heavy dose of mascara, I do remove my makeup first with Albolene.  I’ve been using it for years—actually over a decade and this “lard-for-the-face” makeup remover is epic.

Okay. Back to the Y’our Gentle Cleanser. I don’t detect a scent. It is a clear gel-like substance and a little is all you need.  It does an excellent job of cleansing and my face doesn’t feel tight after using it. For a gentle cleanser, it does the job of getting the face clean.

This is the money right here. Only one ounce but just a tiny bit is all you need. I’m getting nervous though because I know I’m near the end of this. I wish..oh how I wish this day cream was offered in a larger size because I would be all about it!

The Day Cream. Holy $hit! This cream is excellent!  I truly love this stuff and am rather sad that a larger size isn’t included in the kit. The packaging is great because the pump actually works!  One pump is all you need. It is light. It blends into the skin quickly and seemingly dissipates so there is no moisturizing “film”. It really is a beautiful product!

If you are a serum person, you’ll like this. For me, if felt fantastic on my skin but I’m not a serum person. 

The Serum.  Look. I’ll be honest here. In my opinion, serum is serum. I’m not a big serum person. I’ve used this serum many times and it didn’t irritate my skin. It soaked into my skin fine.  It did what it’s supposed to do I suppose. If you are a serum person, my thought is you’ll like this. If not a serum person—it’s part of the kit so it can’t hurt.

Another winner. This night cream is also excellent. A little thicker than the day cream and a more whipped texture. AND IT DOESN’T IRRITATE THE EYES!!!!!!!

The Night Cream.  Another winner here!  The night cream is a thicker consistency but not too thick. It’s like a whipped product. And it doesn’t irritate the eyes. That’s the one issue I have with products—especially when applied in the evening for overnight use.  Many will sneak into the eyes for some ungodly reason, causing stinging and irritation. This does not!  And it’s a great thing!

Overall?  I feel the kit is worth it. It’s a no-brainer (on my part simply because I’m lazy). The products work. My skin is in very good condition.  So, I can’t complain. My only complaint is that I don’t think the products are sold separately. I perused the website and didn’t see any product sold individually. And that’s a shame because the day and night creams are two items that I would purchase regularly!

The skincare kit comes in at $180 for a three-month supply. It seems pricey but if you head to a department store for luxury brand skincare, you’ll most likely pay a bit more. And to be honest, the price of drugstore brands’ skincare regimens keeps escalating.  So, you’ll be paying about the same amount no matter what.  As I stated, I’m lazy so the convenience of purchasing this kit is pretty decent.

I give this an A+ for the way the products work but an A- because I don’t think the products are sold separately.

Onto the next brand—Boom by Cindy Joseph.

Ain’t gonna lie. I love my Boom Sticks!  I use them regularly and for everyday and travel, the Broomstick Trio is epic greatness. One is in my travel kit and one is always within reach. In fact, I am an ambassador for the brand but let me make it clear that I receive no monetary compensation!  I just happen to be pretty passionate about my Boomsticks!

Seriously. I love my Boomsticks.  They are always with me!

The brand also has a skincare line.  And the products I have are Boomsilk, Boom Nectar, Boom Gold, Boom Clean and Boom Scrub.  The target market for this brand is the woman over 50 and in all fairness, the skincare products, for me, run the gamut of excellent to okay.

The Boom Skincare!   

Let’s start with the Boom Clean.  Like the Y’our Gentle cleanser, the Boom Clean is a winner. The two products are incredibly similar. In fact, I would say they are twins inasmuch as they perform the job in the best way.  A gel substance, this does the job of gently cleansing the face. A drop is all you need to get that face nice and clean!  This is my favorite product of the bunch. You can never have enough facial cleansers—and gentle at that.  This product is sold out on the website but retails for $32. It sounds expensive but to tell you the truth, so little is needed that it will last a long time.

Boom Clean.  You know, the gentle cleansers are perfect for mature skin because the gel-like substance just glides on and you don’t need a lot of pressure to get a soft lather. This is a great product.

Next is the Boom Scrub.  A creamy texture with little exfoliation bits that aren’t scratchy. This is a very good product that I happen to like—as long as I use it my way and not the recommended way. It’s recommended that you leave it on for a few minutes –kind of like a mask, and then massage and wash off.  This way didn’t work for me. My skin is just too sensitive and I found that after a minute or so, my skin was tingly to the point of irritation.

BOOM SCRUB | BOOM! by Cindy Joseph

Sorry. I thought I took a photo of this.  Here’s the scrub from the website.  When I use this MY way and not the recommended way, it’s fine. I love the gentle exfoliators that are in the product. But if used the recommended way of letting the scrub set on your face for a few moments, it’s just irrating. My skin is uber-sensitive, I suppose. Not knocking this at all. I like it as long as I use it my way!

However, when I use this as a scrub—literally, it’s much better. I apply it to my skin which I’ve splashed with water, then massage the scrub into my face and wash off immediately after scrubbing.  The little exfoliation bits are soft and do a very good job of smoothing out my skin.  I don’t use this often either. Perhaps once a week—sometimes twice.  Retailing for $48, I’m a bit on the fence about this. It is a good product and the gentle exfoliation is a wonderful thing simply because it is gentle. However, if you do have sensitive skin, if kept on too long, it could irritate you.

Boom Silk. This can be used as a whole-body moisturizer but I use it only on my face. For me,  it’s just too thick for my body but for extra moisturizing on the face–especially during winter, this is great!

Boom Silk. A heavier moisturizer, I’ve not used this much during the summer simply because the temperature makes me sweat and the sweat keeps me hydrated—thus the need for a heavier moisturizer is better used when the weather cools down.

This is so rich in emollients that you have to mix the oil in with the product. This is what you want in the dead of winter!!! Again, you don’t need a ton of product. I’ve had this for a while but I use it only on my face!

But…during the cooler months this is used on those days when my skin has been very dry and I need a little assistance and is excellent as an overnight moisturizer. You do not need a lot of this. Believe me, I learned my lesson. The first time I used this, I applied too much and it got in my eyes. I spent a while rinsing it out.  That taken into consideration, this moisturizer is fantastic for those autumn/winter days and nights!  First of all, it’s so chock-full of emollients that you need to mix the oil into the cream. There is no scent whatsoever and it really works to hydrate dry skin.  The price varies on this one.  From $29 for a two-ounce jar (which might be a great option if you don’t want to commit to a larger size), to $44 for a four-ounce and $64 for an eight-ounce jar.  Truthfully, I do believe this moisturizer is very fairly priced. Not only do you get options, but the $64 for the larger jar is a good deal. Take a look at the price of luxury-brands are charging for heavy-duty moisturizers and you’ll see this price is decent.  I use this only on my face and not on my body.

A deep-moisturizing face and eye serum, I’ll stay with moisturizer. Honestly–let me know what you thing if you use a serum. Maybe I need to rethink serums!

Boom Nectar. Again. I’m not much of a serum person.  I know. I know.  A large number of influencers, bloggers and the like love them some serum. I think of it as an “extra”. For me, it doesn’t matter because I really just don’t see much of a difference using any serum but, hey, that’s just me!  This serum retails at $58 for a 1-oz bottle and $86 for a 2-oz bottle. How do I feel about the pricing?  Well, as a non-serum person, I think money can be put to a better choice of products.  This is my personal opinion—especially since I think it’s important to prioritize spending.

This little 1/2 ounce bottle houses Boom Gold. A facial oil. I’m beginning to come around to the oils. It is good, but I still prefer a cream to oil.

Boom Gold.  This is a tiny bottle of oil. It’s good. Very good. But, again, for the type of skin that I have, this is better left for those dry, cold days of fall and winter and even those spring days when it’s more on the cool side than warmer side. Maybe it’s just me but my skin is just naturally less dry in the summer. So basically, all I need is a good moisturizer and cleanser.  This, for me, is also better used in the evening than the day. The Boom Gold is hydrating though.  And at a price of $54 for .05 ounces, it’s a bit pricey. But, if you do purchase this around the beginning of October, it’ll last the entire winter because you don’t need to use it every day/night and you’ll only need a drop.

Boom Bag™ (Complete)

All of the products (including the epic greatness of the sticks) can be purchased for $286.90.  It’s a fair enough price.  And personally, I would rather give my money to a smaller company than a larger one such as the luxury brands sold in department stores. 

All these Boom products, along with the beloved Boomsticks can be purchased in one complete “Boom Bag” for $286.90.  Given the price of luxury brands, I think this is a decent price for all the products. Believe me, I got suckered in to purchasing a Trish McEvoy kit that cost me $400 about ten years ago. There was no skincare included—it was all makeup and it was the biggest waste of money I’ve ever spent.  So, I gotta say, the pricing of the Boom products with few exceptions is overall pretty good.

I gave this a B+ for the skincare collective. And I’ll tell you why-The Gold and Nectar are pricey–so I don’t know if they are “essentials”. But the cleanser and the silk are incredible–on their own, they get A+.  And the Boomsticks–well, definitely an A+.  I would recommend trying the smaller sizes that are available so you can test the waters!

 

Between Y’our and Boom’s products, my bare skin is looking pretty decent. Not bad for 66!

What I just started to use:

WildMint skincare!  A UK-based company (don’t worry, they ship to the USA). The UK is pretty strict (as is all of the EU) about what goes into skincare products and cosmetics so I’m really pleased to be trying these out!

WildMint Skincare. I received five skincare products ranging from cleanser to eye cream.  I’ll begin this regimen tonight (Monday, July 26, 2021) and am really looking forward to seeing how these products will be doing on my skin.   But..I have to be honest here. I used the eye cream. And it was hydrating AF! Incredibly hydrating!  I compared it to my L’Oréal eye cream and hands down, the WildMint was so much more hydrating under the eyes.  So, from the looks of it, these products look promising!  I’ll let you know in the beginning of September! Holy Cannoli! Can you believe that September is only five weeks away?  Let’s get prepared for that fall/winter skin!

The WildMint Bright Eyes?  It is insanely hydrating. I think we’re gonna be besties…

….finally, an eyecream product that 100 percent doesn’t irritate my eyes.

As an extra, I’m going tell you what I’ve been using on my body.

Goldies Orange Cypress Lotion.  The first time I came in contact with this lotion was, believe it or not, the first time we stayed at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn back in January of 2015!  I mentioned the brand in one of my very first blog posts!  Anyway, last month when we returned to the Wythe for another wonderful weekend, the Orange Cypress Lotion was in the bathroom and I couldn’t help myself. I slathered this milky lotion all over my body.  It made my skin so soft that I ran to the front desk (after I got dressed, naturally) to inquire if the product was sold at the hotel. It wasn’t but within hours of our arrival home, I went online and ordered.  At $30 for 12 ounces, it’s worth the money, however, I’m going through this stuff the way my grandson Owen goes through diapers.  I’m pondering ordering the half-gallon at $115 for the winter simply because I know that if I order the larger size, I’ll use it till next Spring.

I bought this at the end of June and have put quite the dent in it already. Oh let me tell you this is a keeper. I’ll be ordering more of this and other products from Goldies. THIS is the kind of body lotion I love. Light and not greasy!

But what I love about this is that it really soaks into the skin and doesn’t leave a greasy film the way many body lotions do.

And when nostalgia hits me, there’s Jergens Original Scent.

Jergens Original Scent Dry Skin Moisturizer for Hands & Body

Call me a sentimental old fool–just don’t call me late to dinner. But every so often I feel the need to rub this into my skin and it brings back wonderful memories. I honestly think I love the smell of this better than the product!

I dunno but every now and then, I take the Jergens Original Scent down from the shelf and rub it into my arms and legs. That cherry/almond scent always gets to me. It brings back memories of my childhood. It runs the gamut on drug store pricing from $6.00 up to around ten bucks. You cannot go wrong with this.

Yup. The changes in our skin over the years can be a bit of a shock to the system, but if we take care of that skin, it’ll look and behave better. We’ll never attain the epidermis of our youth, but as long as the skin is in decent shape, it’s all good!

Oh yeah. My skin looks great–especially with the bra strap sticking out from my dress that’s too tight! LOL!

What do you use on your skin?  Luxury brands? Off-the-beaten-track brands? Drugstore brands?  I’m really interested!

Posted in Skincare over 60 | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Prodigal Glutton Returns! And This Time She’s Ready!

OMG. I have so much to tell you.  Last week I was diagnosed with Severe Depression.  Finally an answer to my broken spirit!!

Strange as it seems, I was actually happy and relieved to find out I am experiencing severe depression. At least I know what needs to be fixed. And that’s a good thing!

You have no idea how relieved I was. I mean, really. I was going absolutely crazy (pause.  I am a bit crazy—with depression) trying to figure out why I cry every morning before I head to work and every evening as soon as I leave the office. During the work day I’m irritable, cranky, overwhelmed and overstressed.

sad its over GIF

This is me between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM!

That all feeds into my deep-rooted feelings of being a failure.  But wait! There’s so much more that can’t even broach for now—that will all come in a future blog post.

Fail Season 9 GIF by The Office

At times, Dwight Schrute and I are on the same wavelength. My failures are epic failures!

And people experiencing depression can actually be happy while they are miserable. And that’s for the future post as well.

Emotional peaks and valleys come and go but overall, you can be happy and depressed at the same time. It’s complicated!

But……………. this depression has caused me to turn to food for comfort.  Ever since my brother, Pete, passed, I’ve been sinking.  He passed in November of 2019 and the circumstances were just so horrible. He was on vacation. The beginning of November. His body couldn’t be brought home until December. So, we had to continue with life as “normal” (and I use that term lightly) as possible.  My husband and I spent Thanksgiving in Paris, and I can attest, it wasn’t the most glorious trip we’ve ever had.  The dark cloud had planted itself above my fake hair and was ready to create a fog that went straight into my spirit.

And as much as I love Paris, that last trip had a dark cloud over me.

Suffice it to say that the 2019 Christmas Holidays were not as festive as they could have been. Then in January Covid-19 came to be. And eight weeks later we were in a lockdown. And we all know how the next year and change went.

Masks Wear A Mask GIF

And we masked up over a year. And I still carry a mask in my car and one in my purse–even though I’ve been double-vaxed!

So, let’s get back to my turning to food for comfort.  While in Paris, I ate. A lot. But a lot of good food. I enjoyed my meals but didn’t stray too far.

I especially loved the bone marrow among other things.

Christmas did me in. The baking. The cooking. The sampling. Shoving baked goods and anything else in my mouth to feel better was my ultimate goal. Some drink alcohol. Others grab for weed. And those who are motivated, work out. I eat and laze around the house like Jabba the Hut!

 

Yum yum!  Ten for me, one for you!

After a bad day at work (Monday through Friday) I would come home and literally pick and graze before and after dinner. My pants got tight. My thighs grew somewhat thunderous. My double chin became quadruplets. My upper arms could be used as mudflaps on a huge truck.  You get the visual?

Bend Over Parks And Recreation GIF by PeacockTV

I couldn’t even get this far because my pants wouldn’t go past my thighs!

I ate more. The more depressed and miserable I became, the more I shoved food into my mouth like a Hoover.   Then my pants stopped fitting altogether. I purchased shapewear. But it was too effing uncomfortable and I felt as though I was a sausage in a casing. So, I took the shapewear off and just ate some sausage instead!

Why have a piece of cheese when you can have the entire block?  Why have a slice of cake when you can eat the entire three layers?  Why have a tiny bit of the appetizer when you can just eat it all?

I managed to lose about 9 pounds doing a calorie count, but I suck at math and those pounds returned. Oh, what a vicious cycle. And oh, how I was just destroying myself both emotionally and physically.

And when I returned home from work last Wednesday night, I had a bit of an awakening.  I arrived home looking a wreck.  The mascara streaked into dark gray lines down my face because they got stuck in the river of tears.  My nose was running like a tap.  My wig was crooked.  My unshaven legs were pinching me. My brows were smeared. I looked like hell.  I’m not kidding either.  I ran upstairs to get changed. I whipped my clothing and underwear off and caught a glimpse of my naked body in the full-length mirror.  My gut was akin to that of a five-month’s pregnant woman. My titties were larger and saggy.  And although I clearly recognized the reflection and owned it, I didn’t recognize me. The woman in the mirror wasn’t who I used to be. And I wanted the old me back.

Diet Pants GIF

Honestly, I was better off naked because I felt like a stuffed sausage with clothing on!

So, I did a thing.  I ran naked into the bathroom and stepped upon the scale. The scale which I have been avoiding for way too long.  And then I looked at the number. At 165, I’ve been heavier. And even at a heavier weight, my body was in better shape because I moved.  I’m telling you. This job that I have is killing me. I sit on a chair. In a cubicle. All day long.  All.  Day.  Long.  By the time I get home I’m too tired to even function.

But that night—it was different.  I decided to do something.  I threw an old nighty over my billowing pillow of a body, ran downstairs and went to re-join Weight Watchers. It’s the only program that seems to work for me. Counting calories didn’t. Giving up bread and pasta didn’t work either—I just overate shit that wasn’t pasta or bread!

I can do this. I can give up bread or most likely just eat small portions and not the entire loaf!

And I funny thing happened when I went to sign up again. I didn’t have to rejoin. All I had to do was reactivate my account because I’m a Lifetime Member. And I wasn’t too far off my first goal so it was all good.

My WW App welcomed me back with new updates!

The Prodigal Glutton was welcomed back in the best possible way!

Parable of the Prodigal Son Explained (Parables of Jesus) - YouTube

Hey. Let’s give this parable a modern twist by explaining the Prodigal Glutton!

My account was untouched for well…almost two years.  And upon returning, I wasn’t judged. Nor was I shamed. And certainly, wasn’t looked down upon.   What I did conclude is that I am responsible for my body.  It’s difficult. Very difficult because when depression sets in or any emotional setback, things are easier said than done.  But, I’m a fighter.

And fight I do.  No matter how down I feel, it’s important for me to get dressed nicely for work and put a bit of makeup on! It’s my way to fight the battle!

My phone is my guide this time. And I’m preparing myself, or rather organizing myself to be set up for success!  I purchased a scale…

I bought a WW scale to weigh my protein and other food items!

And even purchased a little box of 2-point snacks.   Here’s the thing about the snacks. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, The Frenchman and I enjoy aperitifs before dinner. With that comes a little appetizer—I’ve been known to down a family sized bag of tortilla chips. These little bags will help set me straight.

I bought a box of these protein puffs. Two points a bag. It might seem silly but these little portions will keep my gluttonous desires at bay. I had some of these WW snacks at my sister’s and they are quite good!

So yeah. It has been a week, I weighed myself this evening when I returned from work and I’m down five pounds.  At a weight of 160, there’s twenty pounds of love that needs to be spread somewhere else!

I’m also wearing more “weight-loss-friendly” summer clothing. Trust me, there’s a whole bunch of shift dresses that don’t fit presently.  Instead, I’ve opted for jersey swing dresses and looser dresses  that I’ve had through thicker and thinner and looser but not sloppy dresses.  Pants can wait till the fall.

And this skirt by the brand Ripskirt  is a wonderful asset to the weight loss journey because the closures are velcro. The waist can be made smaller as I lose! 

Inasmuch as I’ve put on weight, I’m not giving up wearing a bathing suit either. Trust me, when it’s hot out, it’s hot and the beach offers relief. It doesn’t matter if I appear to be a beached whale, I am squeezing into a swimsuit!

I’m still wearing the swimsuit. Trust me this pic looks good due to the lighting and angle.

Anyway, I want to return to my blog on a regular basis too. It’s been very difficult to write. The ideas are there but when I arrive home from work I’m literally spent. I honestly cannot function.   However, I’m trying my best to put any emotional issues aside and work them out. In the meantime, It’s baby steps.  I want my clothes to fit again and I want to return to my productive writing!

Actually, this blog is my baby. Over six years I may not have a large following but those who have been within this wonderful circle of friends, have been along while I shared everything from life with a Frenchman, to the careers of my children, from weddings to funerals. From travels and fun times. To makeup, skincare and style. It’s always a good time. And I want so desperately to return to that. And I will!

keyboard smash

I gotta get back on my blog goals!  

Tell me, have you put weight on during the pandemic? How are you handling it?  Have you lost weight? Has the lockdown spun you into a depressed state? We need to discuss this! So let’s begin!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 49 Comments

OMG! I Won the Lottery and Am Moving to Paris!!!!!!!!!.

I have a surprise for you.

I WON THE LOTTERY AND AM MOVING TO PARIS!!!!

Oh Yes I did! And I was so shocked that my crossed-eye straightened out then crossed again!

My emotions are just all over the place right now.

We haven’t been since November of 2019–before the Pandemic and we were lucky enough to catch an exhibit of my husband’s grandfather’s photographs! But this time–it’s for reals. We’ll be moving to the City of Lights!

Anyway, I’ve decided to make a list of all the things that I am looking for in my magnificent Paris Apartment. So come along with me on my real estate wish list!

I  would like an apartment in the Sixth Arrondissement.  Specifically, Quai des Grands Augustins. More specifically 55 Quai des Grands Augustins. That building holds years of great memories for me. All those long stays with Vincent’s aunt, Daniele—I miss them.

Ahhh. The entrance to 55! The dress shop next door was replaced by a kitchen renovation store which I believe is now gone. Oh  this place holds such fond memories!

Speaking of Place Dauphine, this photo, taken when I had a full head of hair, is one of my faves. My husband snapped this cutie of me, Antoine Bourseiller and my husband’s aunt, Daniele Delorme. We were headed over to Le Caveau for dinner!

Besides, it’s close to the parking lot under Place Dauphine and if we have an apartment in Paris, we will have a car as well—if only to get a way on a long weekend.

Place Dauphine! My favorite square. Look carefully. Directly above that first iron post in front of you. To the right of the lamp post. There’s a little fence. That leads to the parking log/garage!

Besides, I love the scent of that parking lot. Disinfectant, wine, cigarettes and pee-pee.  A rather “earthy” scent if you will.   If an apartment cannot be found in that building, I would settle for an apartment on Place de Furstemberg. It’s a cozy, charming square and when I get the urge for Eugene Delacroix, I can saunter over to his home-as-Musee and pretend he’s still alive. He can make a cup of coffee for me and we can talk about art and what a liberated woman George Sand was!

The Citroën 2CV Was Created to Get Rural Europe off Horses

And this is the car that I will buy in order to escape Paris Centre to head to Brittany for some oysters!

Aww. Who am I kidding. The main resason I want to live in the 6th Arr. is because I want to be close to CityPharma!

Oh wait, we have a conflict here. My husband wants a place in the 16th arr. It’s a bit “Upper East Side” but chicer and pricier. I like the funk and hipness of the sixth.  But I’m not surprised. After all, my husband did live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for a while and I lived on the Upper West Side! Our agent  has his work cut out for him. At least we both agree on being fond of Haussmann style apartments!

Yes. The Frenchman prefers the understated elegance of the 16th while I prefer to be an aging hipster in the 6th!

And although I’m more of a neutral decor person, there’s too much color in here for me, we both agree on the Haussmann style apartment!

I  don’t really care about “an American Kitchen”. I don’t need, nor do I want, a huge frigo (that’s “fridge” in French—trust me, anything to do with food and I can suddenly become fluent).  I want to be like a skinny old French lady. Therefore, a skinny old fridge will suffice for me.

I loved Daniele’s skinny yellow frigo.Not large by American standards but the kitchen was charming. I want that charm.

All I need is a gas range. And cabinet space. And a dishwasher. And good lighting. And a window that I can look out of to view the going’s on because I’m that nosey neighbor.

This is the vision Americans have of a typical Parisian kitchen. That is because they watch too much HGTV and House Hunters International’s real estate agents break that vision immediately…

This is more like the typical Paris kitchen, and I don’t care if my million-dollar apartment has a kitchen like this. I’ll go out to a bistro!

This was the view from the range in Daniele’s kitchen. I loved to cook and look out. The pigeons kept a safe distance from me though because they knew how much I love squab!

Let’s talk views. I don’t give a flying hoot about a view. If I want to look at the Eiffel Tower, I’ll either go to the Eiffel Tower or look at a picture.

I swear I have a gazillion photos of the Eiffel Tower. I snapped this on one of our trips. Perhaps it is the jaded New Yorker in me but I really don’t feel the need for a daily view of this.

I’m perfectly content to have a view of a courtyard or the street. I can people-watch from the pleasure of my home and I would not have to get dressed to do so. The most entertaining view I’ve ever had was the view from Daniele’s chambre. The floor-to-ceiling windows gave a fabulous view of the apartment building across the courtyard. There was one apartment dweller who loved to walk around naked. He really didn’t’ care.  I’m different though. I don’t want to scare anyone with the ripples and wrinkles that hang out at various points of my naked being.

Okay, so this isn’t naked guy. But, over time I got to watch this view of workers adding another floor to the building across the way! Can you see the Eiffel Tower to the far left. I actually looked very magical at night!

I don’t mind a ground floor apartment This goes hand-in-hand with the view but covers a bit more.  The ground floor is better for me because I’m just not a fan of elevators in many French apartment buildings.  They are very small-i.e., not wide and are meant to fit only skinny French people such as my husband. My hips don’t lie when I tell you this. My hips take up ¾ of the width of most French elevators. My hips could cause me to get stuck in the elevator—okay? That would not be a good thing. And those elevators break down.  Like clockwork. Every visit we made to Daniele’s had a broken elevator for at least three days per trip. Daniele lived on the top floor.  End of story. No. Wait. We’ve also stayed at the Prince de Conti hotel and the elevator broke while we were there. It took two days to repair it.

Tinsy French Elevator ; ) | Ashley McRae | Flickr

Ashley McRae gets credit for this photo. Can you imagine being on this with a ton of luggage? Can you imagine being on this with wide hips?  Yeah!  I’m perfectly happy to have a ground-floor apartment. I don’t need elevator stress and trauma!

Another thing. Have you ever witnessed furniture being delivered to a Paris apartment? It’s stressful. Because the elevators are so tiny for tiny French people and the hallways are narrow for those same thin and tiny-boned French people, large pieces of furniture and objects d’art have to be hoisted by ropes or special outdoor elevators, to transport the furniture to the apartments. I’ve almost had major anxiety attacks just watching this. It’s horrifying. I would not be a good customer for those nice moving people.

Astuce de déménagement : assurer la sécurité des meubles !

The furniture elevator is also used. And it’s wider than the people elevators! What happens if the furniture falls off? Do you get a refund?

There’s a bit of an issue here. My husband does not want to live on the ground floor. He doesn’t want to be subjected to any petty crime.   Does he want to put neighbors and passersby at risk for losing their hearing as I start screaming and yelling in fear as furniture is being hoisted from the outside into a window on a higher floor? Does The Frenchman not realize that by being on the ground floor means he gets a head start to run to the Boulangerie for our evening’s tradition baguette as well as the morning’s croissant. Seriously, what kind of Frenchman is he anyway? In addition, if I drink too much wine and fall and break a bone, it’s easier for the ambulance to get me. There will be no running up flights of stairs or the possibility of getting stuck in the elevator!!

Let me tell you–I much prefer the tradition baguette. It tastes better. I don’t think The Frenchman would like to hear me say “I told you that if we lived on the ground floor you would have gotten to the boulangerie earlier before they ran out of tradition baguettes!”

And if we lived on the ground floor, in the Sixth, he could run to Cafe de Paris on Rue de buci and grab a couple of these babies!  This happens to be one of my favorite photos that I took. Its a thing of beauty and I need to get a print for our wall!

No open floor layout please. I’m old school. I love designated spaces. I love doors. If there is a mess, I can close the door and walk away. Open floor plan means more cleaning. Oh wait. I won the Lottery. I can hire someone to clean. I still don’t want an open floorplan. I don’t want to socialize with guests while I’m preparing dinner. I want to focus on cooking and creating the perfect meal. I don’t want anyone watching me while I cook either. Close the door and enjoy your aperitifs please.

Paneled Solid Wood Primed Equal Interior Shaker Standard Door

I dig a closed floor plan. Shut the door and the mess is hidden!

Another thing is I love to air-dry clothing. When we lived in NYC, our bedroom was a laundry-drying room.  To this day, our downstairs family room is where I air-dry clothes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept of European combination washers and dryers as one entity. But when it comes to my clothing, one of the rooms must be used to air-dry my clothing and an open floor plan would not be conducive to my desire to air-dry laundry!

I want my magnificent Paris apartment to have a clothes-drying system that is suspended from the ceiling. What could be more entertaining than having guests come over only to look up and see your underwear drying??

Fireplaces.  I want a couple. That work. On the weekends in the winter when the days are shorter, I want to arrive home from a day of practicing my skills in the fine art of flânerie!  Or perhaps a day of flea-market perusing or taking in a museum event. Or arguing with anyone who gets in my way.  Yes. A fireplace would also be so romantic. The Frenchman and I could recline on the floor in front of the fire while sipping our Kir Royals.  Ohhhhh. Wait. If we recline on the floor, we won’t be able to get up. We shall sit on the sofa that is set in front of the fireplace!

This fireplace will do just fine. First I’ll have to figure out how to steal it from Fontainebleu and bring it back to our magnificent Paris apartmemnt. And then I would have to worm my way up from the floor into a chair!

Big-Ass Windows. I know. I know.  I desire an apartment with a lot of those floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s nothing more elegant than waking up in the morning—without my hair and makeup and a filthy old torn nighty and opening up one of those larger-than-life French windows and soaking in some Parisian air!  On second thought it may be better to do after I put my hair, makeup and decent clothing on.

7 of our Most Instagrammable Apartments in Paris - Paris Perfect

Although a view of the Eiffel isn’t a priority, opening up a floor-to-ceiling window every morning would be the icing on the cake. Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring–no matter what the weather, I would open those windows every day!

The bathroom. Mommy needs a bathtub. To soak the fleshy body in. And to shave my legs ever-so-gracefully. Shaving one’s legs is just so much better in a bathtub than having to bend down in the confined space of a shower then dropping the shaving cream and then dropping the razor. A bathtub is prettier and gives a much nicer vision!

Well, mommy wants a bathtub, but this bathroom in a very pricey, and luxury apartment that is offered by Kretz & Partners isn’t exactly what I was thinking. God forbid I drink too much red wine and throw up in said bathroom. I would not know where the throw up or marble starts. This is a danger for me!

Oh yeah! I want a bidet too!  That’s something I cannot understand why we aren’t hooked on these things in America! Not to be vulgar or anything, but that little opening in the hindquarters needs some attention—especially after a meal that didn’t exactly agree with your intestines if you know what I mean.  I love a good bidet and one would be an absolute must in the search for a Paris apartment.

If we Americans embraced the bidet, there would have been no toilet paper shortage during the pandemic. In fact, there would have been a surplus. Just sayin’!

Lastly, NO EFFING CARPETING! I want and demand only hardwood flooring. And the more ancient, the better. Nobody hates carpeting more than I do. Carpeting is disgusting, and vile and full of ground-in filth. When I had the house in New Jersey, I owned two carpet steamers. It was an obsession. And what appeared to be clean—wasn’t. I would empty filthy carpet water every two weeks.    When we first saw our present home, I hated it only because of the carpeting. My better half changed my mind with a promise that some carpet would be ripped out and replaced with hardwood. He came through on his promise!

This is my kind of flooring. Carpeting be gone. MY Paris apartment will have only the best and oldest hardwood. No carpet mites for me!

So that’s it. My “little” Wishlist.   I don’t care about outdoor space because the entire city is outdoor space enough for me—and the little squares scattered throughout the city are plentiful.  Do you want to know which agency we’ll be using for our search for that elusive Paris apartment?

“L’Agence” The Parisian Agency as it is titled here in the USA. Better known as Kretz and Partners!

Kretz and Partners not only sells luxury apartments in Paris, but we can go to them if we want a charming chateu throughout France!

Truth be told, I did not win the Lottery. But I thought my delusional mindset would make a great segue into this wonderful new little series on Netflix!!

The Kretz Family! From Left to Right.  Louis, Martin, Sandrine (who wears great heels) Raphel, Valentin and dad Olivier.

If you are a fan of “Million Dollar Listing” or any luxury real estate shows, you will love L’Agence. It’s different because it not only focuses on luxury real estate both in Paris Cite Centre but it also showcases some pretty nice digs outside of Paris and more.

 

Here’s a bathroom from a 15 million Euro place in St. Tropez. Who knew? Perhaps we can move here and walk to Maison des Papillons Musee Dany Lartigue and admire all the butterflies! Regardless, it’s my kind of bathrool!

The show also focuses on the Kretz family. The entire family with the exception of the youngest son, Raphel, and the grandmother, Majo (who happens to be epic greatness), is in the business. It’s crazy!  But crazy in a best, most charming, most endearing and entertaining way.

This family is a hoot. Here the boys are fixing their grandmother, Majo, up on an online dating site. Majo is epic greatness!

Sandrine Kretz, the mother of four boys, used to be a school teacher and ended up starting this real estate company with her husband Olivier.  Sons Martin, Valentin and Louis all followed into the business with youngest son Raphel who is in school, waiting on the sidelines.

Sandrine Kretz Age, Partner Family Origine Net Worth: The Parisian Agency

Yes. She kicks ass in real estate. She’s a mom to four sons. But the best is that she can rock a pair of stiletto heels while walking on the streets of Paris! I’m shook!

The greatest surprise of this mini-series is Majo!  She is queen of the grandmeres and we all need to look to her as our major goal in the aging process!   She’s got the greatest personality and she’s just a wonderful example of joie de vivre!

L'Agence - L'immobilier de luxe en famille | TMC

Majo, on the far right, deserves her own series. She’s goals. Total Goals!

The show also focuses a lot on the dynamics of the family. It’s such a refreshing change from the cut-throat competitiveness and snark of other real estate shows.  There may be ups and downs with the business and emotions and family issues, but overall, this is a loving, respectful and happy family that happens to work together.

I especially love the kitchen table scenes. My family is so different. We’re so loud. The Kretz family is so…so….so refined!

The real estate itself almost takes a back seat—I’m thinking maybe because this season (there will be a season 2) is only a few episodes and focuses more on the family. But the real estate offerings will make your mouth water.  From ultra-modern grand homes to more traditional but still grand maisons. From modern apartments to Haussmann style apartments and buildings, and even as far away as Ibiza, the dwellings are total eye-candy!

Lisa Chavy, founder of LIVY Lingerie was my favorite potential buyer. I freaking loved her. She wore leather without looking tarty and the way she handled wearing heels while getting into a boat–I was in awe. I’m still amazed that she is so young and can afford millions on a home. We have the same taste!

This guy on the right was looking for a place on Ibiza.  Let’s just say he was more interested in the terrain than a home. I’ve nothing more to say.

And THIS guy, Sebastien, was so ….particular. with a 5.5 million budget he was impossible to please. And he seemed more interested in resale value. My husband kept defendingMonsieur Sebastien  against my remarks. With all due respect, he did want a home that wasn’t a museum.  Sebby. Please. You have young children. Move to the Sixth!

Another really cool aspect is the Kretz family also works with various businesses and designers to find space for shows and events. And they hold an annual party at their home for clients. I want to be invited to one of their soirees some time.

The Kretz family actually had a runway show of Lisa Chavy’s lingerie designs.at their house party!  Can you imagine me me wearing this? The Zebra would be stretched out to the point it would resemble a striped elephant!

So yeah, even though I didn’t win the Lottery, please don’t tell me I’m the only one who has these thoughts.  My husband gets very upset with me when my imagination runs away with me.  But….

If I did win a massive amount of money in the Lottery, I would buy an apartment in Paris—after I moved back to New York City. And I would call the Kretz family immediately to let them know that my husband and I are on the hunt for a Paris Apartment.

Which of the Kretz agents would we work with?  Why, it would be Valentin.  He speaks English and he lived in New York City for a year so it would be fitting. Besides, his wife doesn’t speak French. Just like me!   It would be  great, the Frenchman could give his preferences in French, while I go on with my demands wishes in English!

Valentin is definitely the agent I would go with. Besides–he reminds me of my son Roman! How could  I not go with that???

Besides, I could ask Valentin the secret to how in the name of Jesus, his mother is able to walk the streets of Paris in high heels.  As much as I despise carpeting, it’s the only floor material that I can walk around in heels.  And I’ll need to be able to walk in high, strappy heels when we go to dinner on Place Dauphine!

Tis true. I need to be able to walk the streets of Paris in these gold heels. Presently, I can only walk on carpeted flooring in them. And I detest carpeting!

So, am I the only one with delusions of winning the lottery? Do tell!

 

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A Most “Sandal”ous Post! What’s Worth the Cost?

Let’s see now. June is almost over. And for over a month, I’ve been meaning to write a post on the subject of sandals.  You see, I’m on a no-buy.  A little over a month ago, I decided that there were more than enough clothes and other items in my possession.   I honestly did not need any more stuff.

Dont Buy It GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

The exception to the rule being if my husband buys it for me. That doesn’t work.

Shoes?  There is a plethora of shoes in my closet. And quite frankly, the heels are collecting a bit of dust since the pandemic.  For some reason, during the past winter, I ended up wearing more flats and boots than heels.  And as I age, the lower kitten heels and flats are making my feet happier. To be honest, I’ve thought long and hard about selling my shoes on Mercari or Poshmark but I just cannot deal with people—especially if they try to scam me by saying my shoes aren’t what they thought they would be. I’ll just continue to allow them to collect dust.

Heel Mary Full of Grace, My Shoes Are With Thee.. | Atypical 60

All of these shoes, with the exception of the floral ones (I trashed because the fit was horrific) are still in my closet. Collecting dust.

But now, it’s summer. And actually, when the weather warms up in late spring, I’m ready to say goodbye to closed shoes and give my feet and tootsies a break. It goes beyond the pedicure. It’s the absolute freedom that a sandal affords. Like being barefoot without really being barefoot. Trust me, I love being barefoot. I drive barefoot. And growing up so close to the beach, I spent most of the summers as a teen…barefoot!

This photo was actually taken in March of 2016. It was an early spring that year!

Things are a bit different now. I dare not run through the grass barefoot in my development because not everyone picks up after their dog. Add to the fact that workers have been in the neighborhood replacing roofs and dropping rusty nails like rain, I really don’t need to step on an old, corroded nail and get God only knows what kind of infection, even though I had a tetanus shot two years ago. The feet may need and want freedom, but protection is needed as well.

I also dare not walk barefoot in the streets of France for the same reason, but I love both driving and passengering barefoot in the car!

Flip-flops as a sandal are not my jam. Besides, I think they can be dangerous and other than the beach or pool, they just look sloppy. Don’t even get me started on the number of travelers wearing flip flops on airplanes. With bad feet. That end up sitting next to me!

I Hate Feet GIF by Big Brother

Darlin’ I’m with you. And people with the filthiest feet exposed while wearing flip-flops always seem to be drawn to me!

And because my feet are so ridiculously narrow, many mass-produced sandals literally slide off my feet. So then, just what do I look for in sandals?  We’re gonna discuss that now.  Come with me.

All sandals are not created alike.  All sandals are not meant to fit every kind of foot.  And over the years I’ve amassed quite the collection ranging from mid-price to higher-priced. I believe somewhere in this post there will even be a very cheap pair if I can find them.  (Forget it. I couldn’t find them) But I’ll go over some of the sandals and their brands that I do have. And mind you, every single pair has been with me for a while.  I’ll start off with the two purchased just before my  No-Buy and continue from there. Some of my purchases have been for naught as well and some, I still purchased knowing full-well that they were not worth the money they retail for.

Tory Burch Miller Sandals: These are the most recent. The black geometrical pattern pair was purchased in early spring on sale. It was supposed to be a big sale price at $139 but the sandals were still a bit expensive for what it’s worth. The nude ones (the color “Makeup”) were purchased with gift cards from Nordstrom. So even though I only paid $50, the $198 price point is still ridiculously overpriced.

The “Iconic” Tory Burch Miller Sandal. I state iconic in a semi-sarcastic tone.  From appearance, they are a nice looking sandal. Not gonna lie about that. However, they do fall short in length and if you have a wider foot you need to size up. If you have a narrow foot, stick with your regular size because if you size up, you will break a bone. You will!

The Miller sandals are incredibly popular.  Many even refer to this sandal is “iconic”—I think that’s a stretch. The overall design is actually quite nice. They take a bit of time to break in to total comfort but they aren’t bad.  The foot/sole of the sandal runs a tad short so sizing up is a good option—if your foot isn’t narrow.  This was my issue.  My shoe size is 8 ½.  The S/A at Nordstrom suggested size up to a nine for “ultimate” fit and comfort. I did and almost broke my leg with the first step. The vamp of the sandal was so wide that I slide out of the sandals and tripped. My regular size of 8 ½ fit much better. And although the vamp is a bit narrower than the next size up, the sandals could be a bit narrower.  But they look good. I prefer to wear them with maxi dresses and pants and don’t wear them very often. They still need to be broken in a bit more.  Overall, they are nice and flattering to the foot but absolutely not worth the cost of $198 and upwards!

During Spring these were worn with pants quite often. It’s too hot for pants presently. Honestly, it’s too hot for underwear but my parts are sagging so that’s another story.  They look nice and surprisingly, this pair is more comfortable than the other pair. Go figure.

Same sandal in the Makeup color. I like a good nude and this color is wonderful. But for mass-produced sandals that aren’t custom fit, these are wayyyyyyyy overpriced.  There’s no way I would be buying another pair of these sandals. I can see spending $39.99 or $29.99 for these because, quite franky, that’s all they are worth…ahhhh paying for a name!

Jack Rogers: Women, especially of the Preppy genre, go crazy over this brand.  Granted, the design of the Navajo is iconic and is a great summer look. The original design, by another brand was Jackie Kennedy’s favorite. Jack Rogers jumped on the bandwagon, copied the design and through strategic and brilliant marketing, made this company a multi-million preppy-must-have.  But the fit is absolutely horrific. And I don’t know why I keep giving this brand “another chance” because those chances barely work.   Currently, I have a pair in the platinum color which is beautiful.  The width is “Narrow” –yes, the brand sells narrow sandals.  However, and a huge however, the leather stretches. A lot!  When I first got the sandals I loved the fit—especially since it was narrow. Then after three wearings—only three, the leather stretched out to the point when I do wear them, I need to dig my toes into the insole just to keep them on.   Again, for a sandal priced well over $100, it’s not worth the cost.

Over the years, I do believe that I’ve given Oona at least three pair of these. I don’t even know what I have these strawberry sandals in my possession. These sandals, even at a narrow width, are an absolute waste for those of the narrow foot. They work much better for wider feet!

Palm Beach Sandals:  This brand, created prior to Jack Rogers, was the original iconic sandal but for some reason isn’t as popular as Jack Rogers. It was a small family-run company but I do believe now has since changed ownership and is available for franchise as advertised on the Palm Beach Sandals website.   It’s a shame too, because these sandals happen to be very good. The price of the sandals, in my opinion, is too costly for what it’s worth.  Sorry, but at $128 and upwards, as good as the sandals are, it isn’t worth it.  But the fit is much more narrow-foot friendly. Add to that, these are hand-made but not custom-fit.  I have a few pair and every pair has been purchased from both Poshmark and Mercari for a fraction of the retail cost. The average price I’ve paid is $30 and well-worth it. I feel if you can find these sandals on a “pre-loved” website you can do wonderfully. All the pairs I’ve purchased were never worn!  The leather doesn’t stretch.  They are hand made and I personally think these are much better than the Jack Rogers.

Every pair of PBS that I own were purchased pre-loved and never worn. I lucked out but it took a while to find the right pairs.  I have to say, I do like these a lot!

The gun metal gray is my favorite. It’s basically a neutral that goes well with so many of my summer clothing and I can wear them into the early fall–okay, late fall–who am I kidding? Notice how nice the fit is across the strap. Truly a narrow foot sandal!

Tony Bonanno Sandals:  I must take a moment of pause here. Tony is the son of Stephen Bonanno of Stephen Bonanno Sandals (now defunct) and of the Bonanno family who made those iconic treasures for Jackie Kennedy.  Tony deserves a ton of credit for revitalizing the family business and I wish him nothing but tremendous success. He makes the sandals to your measurements.  I purchased a pair of the Eva Sandals and he made them to fit a narrow width.  Over the two years I’ve worn these, the leather has stretched a bit and I would love to purchase another pair but have him make them narrower across the strap. When I leave my no-buy I’ll do this.  Look. The Jack Rogers, The Palm Beach Sandals and the Tony Bonanno sandals all share similarities in design and are all a bit pricey. But this is a true small business and I want him to do well. So, I would bite the bullet on another pair. But not now.

The Tony Bonanno Eva Sandal. Truth be told, I like this model because it’s a change from the usual Original Classis.  

I also like the fact you can make your own choices when it comes to the leather and the whipstitching trim.  The navy leather and gold trim is a nice combination. But next time I purchase these, I’ll definitely ask for a narrower strap!

Rondini Sandals: Hands down, my all-time favorite sandal. There’s nothing more to say. Well, actually, there’s a lot to say!  The Rondini family has been making sandals in St. Tropez (their only shop) since 1927.

Most people associate St. Tropez with Yachts, the mega-wealthy and nightclubs. I associate St. Trop with Rondini and my Father-In-Law Dany Lartigue (RIP). TBH, I don’t really feel like I’m there until I see this shop!

My husband’s mother wore the family’s custom-made sandals. His grandmother did. His father did. And now…I do and have been for about 14 years. From my first pair to the most recent pair which was purchased on our last visit, I’ve never been dissatisfied. Sadly, our trip to the South of France this summer and last summer were cancelled. I’m praying next summer is a go and I’ll head back to the little studio early in the morning to get there when Rondini opens!

My husband’s mother, the beautiful Evie Lartigue–she’s wearing her Tropezienne sandals. And..get this, she dated Roger Vadim–he even mentioned her in his book! I need a moment!

I’ll never forget the first time I was there. The studio was very cozy and small with a limited number of seats. There was a line outside by the time I made my purchase and it was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had.  The foot is carefully measured in length and width. No pressure whatsoever to chose the sandal you want. The customer service is stellar. If you don’t speak French—don’t worry because someone will be able to help you speaking English!

And look! Rondini is open on Sunday!

They go far and above to get that perfect fit for you.  Back in 2018 I purchased the Pouce Tressé in Red. Well, for that particular sandal my foot was so narrow that extra time was needed to make them. Three days later we headed back and the sandals were ready. The sandals were €130 with no extra charge to make them narrower.

My foot was so narrow that it took a couple of days to make these extra narrow. Anoter plus is they will be honest and let you know if your foot isn’t a good fit or a certain style. I had another style in mind and was told that my foot was just too narrow. I appreciate that. A lot.

The sandals come with their own little protective pouch which is epic for traveling!

Another year, I guess it was six or seven years ago, when Chippy was younger, he snacked a favorite pair of Rondini’s—the Tropezienne sandals. He chewed one of the straps till it was broken. We packed the sandals in our luggage, and when we stopped at the shop to have the strap fixed, I was told that the leather replacement might not be the same exact color leather because I had mine for a number of years. Honestly, you can’t even tell which strap was repaired.  It’s crazy.

The Salomé sandal, a chic black number is worn to the office and when I want a bit of a dressier sandal look. These are remarkably comfortable and absolutely no “break-in” time! The cost of my black leather Salomé sandals was 145.  As an aside, this is an extremely popular sandals and offered in a plethora of colors.

This is one chic pair of sandals. I want another pair.

There’s just something so elegant about this elongated T-strap. It makes the foot look so pretty!

Allow me to say that these custom-made sandals make a $10 dress look like a million!

The Tropeziennes are the ones that are my old reliables.  Imitated, duped, knocked off all over France. But there’s nothing like the one and only original by Rondini! I cannot believe how well-molded to my feet these are and every time I wear them, I think of The Frenchman’s mother and her Tropezienne sandals. Keeping it in the family! At €150 for the double-tanned leather, and upwards for other kinds of leather, these are so worth it.

These add a touch of class to an abandoned lot in Brooklyn, NY. Yes. I wore these during our weekend in Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago. And I walked the city streets all day and these were as comfortable as an old pair of slippers! 

They’ve been chewed on by Chippy and repaired. I’ve had them maybe 12 years? And they fit better than ever!

Over a decade old and still looking great!

The Sahariennes are the first Rondini sandals I’ve purchased. They are so special to me and I use these as my go-to beach sandal. More than a flip-flop but not as dressy as the other sandals, these are indestructible!  And yet, remain looking fantastic. Present priced at €140, I believe the price may have been ten or twenty euros less when I purchased these years ago.

The abuse these sandals have taken is incredible. I’ve sat at ocean’s edge only to get them soaked. They have been worn in the pouring rain and stepped into puddles. They’ve been to every beach from our visits to France and Long Island and New Jersey and these babies are still fine. There’s some cracking at the inside but I’ll condition them–at some point.  They fit my feet perfectly.

This picture was taken the week before Memorial Day when we were down the shore.  Year after year they are my “beach” sandals!

The Bikini is my favorite sandal of all time. I freaking love this sandal so much that for the past two years, I’ve envisioned myself taking the ferry from Sainte-Maxime early in the morning, to arrive at Rondini at opening and purchasing a pair in gold leather. This sandal is just so beautiful and feminine and looks so pretty. It’s a bit boho and glamorous at the same time but can be worn with basically anything. It’s so versatile. This fabulous sandal retails for €150 in the double-tanned leather that I have and €155 for the metallic, which I plan on adding to my collection.

My favorite sandal of all time. I get tons of inquiries and compliments when I wear these.  They are just magnificent!

The strap placement is just so gorgeous and those leather straps once tied, don’t loosen during the day!  This is the ultimate summer sandal!

I wear these to work quite often

Trip Bits and Travel Tips. And Astute Observations | Atypical 60And  everywhere else! 

Another few words I want to add to this. The Rondini sandals are a great price and stellar value for the price. All the other sandals I mentioned have price points ranging from approximately $128 upwards to the price of the $198 Tory Burch Miller. That’s the full retail price.

The Shoes of Summer. Sandals, of Course! | Atypical 60

Yes. These sandals are pricey but they are custom-made. all leather and literally mold to your feet. You will have these for decades!

And although the USD is at a pretty pathetic conversion rate as of this date, the conversion from 150 euros for the bikini sandal to the $179.50 conversion rate still comes in less expensive than the mass-produced Tory Burch sandals. Think about that. A custom fit and made sandal for less than $200 USD. A sandal you will have for years and years and over a decade. A sandal that can be repaired at a minimal cost.  In addition, the sandal molds to your feet in the best possible way. All leather. It doesn’t get better than that.

My little family of Rondini Sandals. I need another pair or three.

I also am a huge believer that when traveling, purchase an item that will be with you forever.  An item that you can’t get at home. And that’s where the Rondini sandals come in. I know many people who purchase Chanel and Louis Vuitton leather goods in France and other parts in Europe because the price is slightly better than here. But you can find that stuff here. I would rather go for something a bit unique. But that’s just my opinion. I honestly don’t mean to get preachy!

Oh. One last thing. I didn’t include strappy heels in the post because I personally don’t consider these as a true sandal. IMO, they are a shoe. But I love these gold strappy shoes! Very feminine!

So that’s it. Sandals that can be better than barefoot. It’s Sandalous I tell you, Sandalous!

Posted in Custom made sandals, mass produced sandals, Summer Sandals | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A Frenchman. A Birthday. And a Comedy of Errors with A Happy Ending.

This past Saturday was my husband’s birthday. To me honest, we really don’t make a big deal about the day because that is his preference.  For a number of years, we happened to be in France on his birthday and …well, we were too busy just being in France to take time out for a birthday celebration.  In addition, he just doesn’t care about his birthday so we downplay it.Bitmoji Image

Truth be told, I kind of don’t like a big production for my birthday either. So I get where he’s coming from!

But this year, I decided to take him out for a birthday dinner. Since our last four weekends were rather busy ones—what, with being away in NYC twice, a wedding and a beach weekend, I hadn’t had time to plan just where I would take him for dinner.

Quite a few cityscapes lately!

Spring Mill Café was closed due to hosting a wedding so his absolutely favorite restaurant was out of bounds for this special evening!

Nice Little Surprises | Atypical 60

A wedding halted plans to take Bonaparte here but it wasn’t too bad to change up the gameplan!

Instead, I opted for making dinner reservations at a local restaurant.  Paloma’s in Phoenixville. It’s a lovely place and the co-owner just happens to be a Frenchman. It seemed befitting.  And so, I headed to Open Table to make online reservations.

All I can say is–no. I’ll make reservations by phone from now on thank you!

Saturday morning, I presented Bonaparte with a gift and a card. Nicely wrapped, I was pretty excited about my choice to him.  It was a reprint of a photo on canvas.  During his father’s funeral weekend, the family got together for lunch and a photo was taken. It’s really a great photo and I thought that given the occasion and the fact he hadn’t seen his family in a while, it would make a nice and thoughtful gift.

Here we are in St. Tropez 2018. Now on canvas and enlarged. 

My hunch was correct because he really did seem to be touched by the thought and he’s carefully thinking of where in our home to hang it.

And then there was the dinner.

Truth be told, I’m rather wary of making dinner reservations online.  Very wary. I prefer phone. I need to speak to a person in order to calm my anxieties.   And since I didn’t receive any email or text confirmation from the Open Table site, I was getting nervous.

So, I called the restaurant. And there was no reservation in my name.  Almost in a panic, I explained that I did make a reservation on Open Table but never received a confirmation. Then I asked if there was any way I could make a reservation because it was my husband’s birthday and I really wanted to take him to Paloma’s.  And while I was on the phone speaking, I was multi-tasking because every nasty word that I’ve ever used during my lifetime was running through my head and directed at Open Table.

Season 2 Omg GIF by Friends

Me. Explaining my big issue with Open Table. I’m certain I got the reservation, not out of desperation, but because they didn’t want to listen to my long-winded  explanation!

Luckily, I was able to get a reservation for 7:45 so things looked good.

The remainder of the day was spent in well-needed relaxation. Late in the afternoon a delivery was dropped off –it wasn’t a gift for my Frenchman but rather some goodies from Momofuku.  Spices and stuff!   I had to scold Chippy because he seemed to think the goodies were for him.

Apparently Chippy thought it was HIS birthday!

Anyway, when the time came, we drove into Phoenixville, got lucky with parking and walked over to the restaurant.   Downtown Phoenixville is great. Bridge Street was closed off so that the locals and visitors could enjoy hopping from place to place without the added annoyance of traffic. It’s a bit sad that a number of business closed due to the pandemic, but it was great to see a good amount of people enjoying the weekend by being out and about.   The restaurant is at the tip of Bridge Street just as you enter the downtown area. It’s really a lovely place.

I’m a fan of Downtown Phoenixville–and in the summer, it’s a hoppin’!

So, we arrive at the restaurant and I’m all happy because I’m taking my man out for a great dinner. We get to the front desk and I give the hostess and host (who were incredibly cute and friendly) my name and then it happened.

The entrance to Paloma’s is so grand!!  It’s really a beautiful restaurant!

They wished my husband a happy birthday. And they wished it very enthusiastically and cheerfully.

Happy Birthday GIF by The Office

I would have joined in except I saw the expression on my husband’s face which kept me at bay–just like a junkyard dog!

And then I saw my husband’s face. It was not the face of a pleasant man. Oh no it was not! It wasn’t even the face of a man who was content.  His face had no expression at first—and then his mouth turned down into a scowl.  To be honest, he looked like a typical Parisien who got to the boulangerie and found out there was no bread left.

Yeah. There’s a reason I call my Frenchman “Bonaparte”.  Only my Bonaparte is taller. This could have been his reaction upon being wished a joyful happy birthday!

And I had to put on my smiley face and say to the very friendly hostess and host “Oh. He’s shy. He doesn’t want to be reminded of birthdays.”  And as they both turned to see if the table was ready, I had to explain to my husband that after the screw up with Open Table, I felt the need to mention his birthday so we could get a reservation.

youtube glasses GIF

I had to give him the “really” face and shrug!

He remained stone-faced.  It was at that very moment my expectations reached a new low for the evening.

We were seated by a table that gave us a great view of Bridge Street so we could observe the goings-on.   On the table was a little sign from the staff that read: “Wishing the Happiest of Celebrations to You”, which I prayed he didn’t notice. If he did, he said nothing.

Look at this nice little greeting that awaited us at the table. I had to HIDE it! Who hides something nice like that????

Our server was great but I felt bad because when we ordered Kir’s, she returned and told us the bartender didn’t make them.  My low expectations were now swallowed by emotional quick-sand. I could feel the rage emanating from my husband’s body, through his shirt and onto my shoulders. But as low as my expectations were, my sense of failure was at an all-time high!

Amy Poehler Expectations GIF

Trust me, if my expectations were any lower, I would have to look up to look under!  But I can be happy while doing so!

Instead, we ordered bona-fide cocktails.  We both went with Fear and Loathing in Phoenixville, a refreshing blend of Bourbon, Pineapple Juice, Lemon and Absinthe.  I tend to think my husband picked that drink because that was how he felt at the time.  But it was really, really good—and although I’m not much of a hard liquor woman, Bourbon is my jam.

Here’s the “Aha” moment when things started to look up!  Yum Yum!!

It was time to pick an appetizer so we went with the charcuterie board.  Now..this is where the dinner was starting to pick up.  The charcuterie arrived chock full of saucissons and prosciutto and pickled vegetables and little toasts.

This is the Paloma Fromage and Charcuterie board.  We had it minus the cheese..

…but by the time I went to take a photo, we ate just about everything! I thought it befitting to leave a toast, a slice of carrot and a bit of Proscuitto. I gobbled it ip as soon as I snapped this.

Not caring for those little toasts, the Frenchman ordered bread.  And the dinner miraculously began to get better. The bread was fantastic. Bonaparte actually smiled.  It was warm and steamy and the outside was crusty and the inside soft.  I almost fell off my chair when he started to praise the bread! It’s true what they say about the French and their bread!

This was what remained of the bread. He took it home. Oh yes. He did!

Okay. I need to backtrack just a tiny bit.  The wine. A certain person who was not me did not seem too pleased at the selection of wine.  He’s used to drinking French wine.  He ordered a Cabernet Sauvignon from California which, by the way, he liked.  I’m not as fussy. As long as it smells like dirt and puts me to sleep, I’m fine.

We went with the Cabernet Sauvignon from California.  I knew my husband liked it when he offered me a glass knowing full-well it would put me to sleep!

Despite not having Kir’s or French wine, the fare so far was great. He was raving about the charcuterie and literally just about kneeling in adoration before the bread.  And…he liked the California wine!  I was thrilled.

Our main plates were ordered and with Bonaparte’s love for Steak Frites, thankfully on the menu, that’s what he ordered—the only glitch was that only filet mignon was available so he went for it and devoured it.

The perfectly cooked Filet Mignon and Frites. If you read last week’s post you’ll know that he mistook the Menu’s Skate Frites for Steak Frites. This time it WAS steak!

I ordered the Short Rib Crepes because………I had never had short ribs before. Ever. My family and friends are astounded by this little fact about me—especially with all the cooking that I do but—I’ve just never had them.   And they were remarkable.  The meat was incredibly tender and robust in flavor. Filled with mushrooms and carrots and caramelized onion, slathered in a red wine sauce—wow—this was just what I needed!

These. Were. Amazing! Short Rib Crepes!  The sauce though. I wish it was bottled so I could take it home!

And might I add that my husband was on the same page with his dinner. He said the filet mignon was cooked perfectly and the frites were excellent.

Not only was he smiling, but he said he hopes the restaurant does well because the food and service were great.  His only criticism was he likes a quieter atmosphere.

Hold on. The restaurant was pretty quiet when we left–we just about closed the place!

There’s a very comfortable and warm vibe here.

And also very welcoming. If you look to the far left, you’ll see the little market that sells pastries and goodies. It’s really a very charming restaurant!

Wait. There’s more. Dessert.  I’m sorry-no-sorry to admit that I could have eaten three of the dessert I ordered.  Chocolate Cremeux. It was a chocolate mousse/pudding with a caramel foam and two pieces of white chocolate pretzel brittle. This was my kind of dessert and it better be a regular offering on the menu because next time we have dinner there, I want this.

This dessert. It was actually better than the Chocolate Pot de Creme that I had at Frenchie in Paris. Hands down. One of the best desserts ever. And I mean that!

And that was it. What started out as a dinner I thought would be disastrous ended up to be a great evening!   In fact, we’ll definitely be back. The service was far and beyond decent. Paloma has a great staff—from hosts to servers to bartender to chef.  It really was a positive experience and was even better to have a restaurant like this in our own backyard!

That was our local dinner..

And he was still smiling when we arrived home!  It was a great birthday!

Have you ever experienced a dinner or special occasion that started off to be not-too-promising but ended up to be great? Do tell!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Another Weekend in NYC. This Time Brooklyn & Blog Memories!

Okay. I’m not sure if you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning but… my very first blog post was about a weekend in Brooklyn—here’s the link:  A Great Weekend in Brooklyn, NY.

me-and-the-kids-wythe-hotel-brooklyn

Six years and so much has happened yet remains the same. Two of my children are no longer in New York. I had hair back then–LOL. And I miss being with these three babies!  The Wythe Hotel is still the same!

The company I worked for closed and I was looking for something to keep my sanity in check so I started this blog.  And my second blog post was about the Christmas gift that my children, Jake, Roman and Oona gave to Bonaparte and me. It was a weekend in Brooklyn—and I’m starting to ramble, and if you are so inclined, click the link to the post and enjoy!

We stayed at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn that weekend and had the greatest time.  The Wythe Hotel will always hold a very special place in my heart because of that weekend.

Wythe Hotel Room 307

Our room number then!

Fast forward to now!

It ended up that my son, Jake had to come into New York on business and a wedding for a couple of weeks. He and his girlfriend rented an Air B & B in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  His hectic schedule made it impossible for to come to the Philly burbs to spend time with us. Instead, he treated us to a stay back at The Wythe Hotel last weekend. We revisited and had a remarkable time.

And our Room Number now! Befitting this queen, naturally!

And so, my friends, I invite you to a glimpse of how we spent last weekend!

We packed our bags early and headed into the City.   For old time’s sake I found use to bring along my tote bag from The Wythe Hotel during our first visit. I would be remiss to leave this behind. You see, this bag has been a part of every visit to France—both our summer visits to the South and our Paris visits. It holds quite the number of wine bottles and serves as my grocery tote.  It’s my favorite!

Our bags packed–and did I mention that we were supposed to be in the South of France that weekend?  And this is exactly how I pack when we’re in France? And I wore my Rondini Sandals as an homage to our cancelled trip? Seriously, this weekend visit to Brooklyn was so appreciative!

I always get a bit excited as we leave the NJ Turnpike to head to New York. There’s nothing like that first glimpse of the City Skyline and it never gets tired.

That view just melts my heart! Hiya New Yawk!!

Approaching Brooklyn, I can’t stop thinking of my time as a resident of Brooklyn Heights back in the 1970’s.  I worked on Wall Street and it was one subway stop away. The shortest commute I ever had.

I love Brooklyn!

We arrived at the hotel a bit early but it was no big deal. We were able to find street parking, which is a big deal—especially on the weekend!  We dropped our stuff off and enjoyed watching a soft-ball game and people-watching at the park (or rather I enjoyed the soft ball) before meeting Jake.

You have absolutely no idea what a treasure street parking in the city or boros is. And no meter parking is even more of a gem! When I lived in the City,  I was obsessed with a great parking space–and I haven’t changed!

There’s nothing like an old-school building-thankfully this was renovated and not turn down. I swear I have a love and affinity for this hotel!

You might think my crazy but this is my idea of beauty. A construction site in Brooklyn. Is there a story? Will the beauty among the ruins view be obstructed by a tall building? What will become of this site? I love making up a scenario and this scene is gorgeous to me.

I had to almost climb a locked fence for this one. If my husband wasn’t with me, I would have!

This photograph is also so special to me. It personifies city living on the weekends in the summer.  AND–it’s like a rebirth after the pandemic.  The spectators on lawn chairs. The people from other teams egging players on. The overgrown grass that hasn’t been mowed yet. There was music and the delightful noise of humanity! AND THE BEST–JAKE USED TO PLAY SOFTBALL AT THIS VERY FIELD WHEN HE LIVED IN WILLIAMSBURG!!!

We walked down to the waterfront, took in the sights, met Roman, and headed to a local movie theatre to meet Jake’s girlfriend Julianna and catch “In The Heights”.

Along the banks of the East River…

…there’s plenty to observe..

you might even find a Frenchman walking the pier..

..or a pleasant view under a tree..

…and even what I would deem a beach. And YES–if I lived here, I would probably get a warning from cops for climbing over the fence and sunbathing here. I could also use the fence to open up an old-school glass bottle of soda!

And what a great way to celebrate going back to a movie theatre! Hey. I don’t care how much criticism Lin-Manuel Miranda is facing for the casting of this movie.  Seeing it brought back great memories of living in that area.  I actually cried at the end because it just gave me flashbacks to City life that I miss so much!

This was a great movie and I feel awful for the criticism given to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Finally–a movie made without white people posing as Latinos and instead the poor guy gets hated on.  Sorry not sorry, I loved this!

We all enjoyed a most delightful dinner at Le Crocodile, housed at the Wythe.  The most hilarious part was that the Frenchman read the menu incorrectly.  He read “Skate Frites” to be “Steak Frites”.

Non! It’s SKATE Frites not Steak Frites…and this was marvelous!

And was shocked to find out that his beloved steak was not on the menu.  He opted for the Roast Chicken which he said was fantastic.  Jake and I ordered the Skate Frites. And let me tell you, this was the best Skate fish I’ve ever had. Served au Poivre, the sauce was delicious.  In fact, the entire meal was incredible.

Vincent and Roman had the roast chicken (I didn’t take this photo) and  this was a hit with both.

This! Hands down, this is one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had in my life. Leeks with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts. I’ve been perusing the net for a recipe similar to this. I NEED to make this!

We enjoyed dinner outside and lingered from sunset until darkness. The weather was absolutely perfect and it was just so wonderful to be with Jake after not seeing him for two years. And, as usual, it was a blast with Roman.  If Oona was there, it would have been the icing on the cake.

Although we had dinner outside, I snapped this photo of the inside of the restaurant early in the morning. Check out that floor!  Jake and Julianna returned during the week for another dinner.  The Frenchman and I need another weekend here!  Soon!

Hours later we returned to our room and enjoyed the relaxing quiet. And this is what I absolutely adore about this boutique hotel. The walls are solid brick.

 The exposed brick walls are so rustically beautiful and a wonderful noise barrier!

Any corridor noise is blocked. I know what I’m going to write may sound a bit “bitchy” to say the least but with the chain hotels comes weaker walls. This means you can hear everything from parties, to kids running up and down halls, to the couple in the next room doing the bouncy-bouncy. Believe me, I’m not being a curmudgeon nor am I being a misanthrope. It’s just sometimes you want your hotel room to be an oasis of sorts—a relaxing little corner of the world. And that’s just what we got!

Twinning! My regret is not buying a white tote to match my blue tote!

A most comfortable bed and a beautifully wall-papered backdrop..

The wallpaper is so cool. I’m such a sucker for details like this..

….little touches like a Wythe map of the area..

…and the good stuff!

 

…and six years later, Goldies skincare is still at the Wythe. I ordered this because it is such a great body lotion!

It’s great design touches like this floor in the bathroom..

…and this old stool that make for a charming room decor!

Sunday morning, taking time to enjoy getting ready to meet Jake for Brunch at Sweetwater!

Good Morning Brooklyn!

So happy and grateful to be here!

We waited for Jake in the comfort of the lobby.

And then it was out of the door and on to brunch!

Being in desperate need of cawfee, I was thrilled at the robust cuppa Joe that I was served. And it was a pleasure to spend another meal time with Jake before returning home.   It’s such a mixture of emotions. On one hand it’s so great to be spending time with your child but on the other hand, it’s sad to part ways. He lives in LA. I envy my friends who have children living within arm’s reach but you go where life leads you and I’m proud of the success my children have.

Sweetwater was the perfect place for Sunday Brunch. We were seated outside and enjoyed a couple of hours together before leaving. Might I add that the service at Sweetwater was ridiculously friendly. It was more like being at your friends’ house for coffee, gossip and food!

And this was one great cup of coffee!

My firstborn but will always be my baby!  I’m so thankful that he treated us to a stay at The Wythe. This Hotel will always hold a special place in my heart!

I honestly wish you were all here–or will consider a stay in Brooklyn on your next visit to The Big Apple!

Honestly, after being back at the Wythe Hotel, I’m ready to return for more weekends in Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan. It’s more “neighborhoody” being in Williamsburg—as is with other areas of this particular borough. It’s a pleasure to see such diversity and young people out and about enjoying life.

This mural says it all!

And, if you want, you can just take the ferry across the river to Manhattan.

NYC Ferry - the City's New Ferry – Blog da Laura Peruchi – Tudo sobre Nova York

I definitely want to return while the weather is warm and ride the ferry across the river. Actually, I would love this in the winter as well!

Are you planning to visit New York City anytime soon or later? Can I make a recommendation to you? Try staying in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  If you can’t get a room at The Wythe, there are other places by the waterfront.    The view of Manhattan from the waterfront is spectacular—you get a better feel of how magnificent Manhattan Island is.  And seriously, you’re not missing anything.  Brooklyn has museums, and parks and movie theatres, and great restaurants and great people!

Bye for now Brooklyn! We’ll be back!

I’m off to a mani-pedi now. It’s my husband’s birthday today and we’re headed out to dinner at a local restaurant—where he’ll actually have Steak Frites!

Dinner at Eight and we won’t be late! We’re having a birthday dinner at Paloma in Phoenixville. A far cry from Williamsburg but in downtown Phoenixville, it has that old-school charm!

It’s great to be out and about again–isn’t it?

Posted in Local Travel, NY | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Scents and Scentsability! And A Dossier of New Fragrances!

In the past, I’ve posted maybe three or four times about fragrance.  Now, I don’t consider myself a “nose” when it comes to scent but I know that parfum is stronger than eau de parfum which is stronger than eau de toilette. And I certainly wouldn’t deem myself an expert on scent because I’m rather limited in the scents that I do wear on a regular, rotating basis.

Zsa Zsa Gabor Vintage GIF

Yes Dahling..I love to wear fragrance!

In fact, over the years, I’ve been extremely loyal to two brands; the first being Fragonard. And the second, which also creates cosmetics, is Guerlain.   My four go-to scents are:

For Winter:  L’Instant by Guerlain.  For Spring:  La Petite Robe Noire. For Summer:  Fleur d’Oranger by Fragonard. In Autumn:  Santal by Fragonard. I do not venture out of my fragrance comfort zone.

From the top: Winter, L’Instant ; Spring, La Petite Robe Noire; Summer–both by Guerlain Summer, Fleur d’Oranger; Fall, Santal–both by Fragonard.  My go-to fragrances–but hold on because that is all about to change!

There are a few factors that play into my love for these scents.  The first is that they are made in France and while that might sound silly, the scents made in France are different. They aren’t “fizzy” or cheap-smelling.  Even when wearing a stronger concentrate such as eau de parfum rather than eau de toilette the scents are still soft as a whisper—a nuance, if you will.   Secondly, they don’t give me a headache. This is big. Very big.  Do you remember back in the days when department stores had employees spritzing you, uninvited, with the latest mass-produced scent?  Each spray was the base for a horrific headache. Third, I’m a creature of habit.  I know what I like and …well, I know what I like. Lastly, I love a more masculine scent for cooler weather and a more feminine scent for the warmer weather.

season 9 seriously GIF by Curb Your Enthusiasm

Probably the funniest scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm. This was Larry David’s reaction to being randomly sprayed without permission. I’ve come close to doing the same!

In pre-Covid times, when my husband and I visited the South of France during summer, we would drive from Theoule to Grasse. Specifically, for me to head to the Fragonard Factory store to load up on my Fleur d’ Oranger. I cannot get enough of Orange Blossom.  I load up. Besides, I love the Fragonard Factory. Yeah. I realize it’s somewhat of a touristy thing but visiting it makes me happy.

Grasse Fragonard exterior GOLD

This is from our 2016 visit. I take the same photo every year. And every year I do that same tour. TBH, I am pretty sure I could be a tour guide here!

Our visits to Paris are generally during the cooler months (we’re set to return in November after our last pre-Covid Thanksgiving trip) and I’ll usually stop by the Fragonard Boutique on Blvd. St. Germain to load up on Santal.   And my favorite shopping spree ever was when Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele, took me to the Guerlain boutique on the Champs Elysees to run amok and pick out whatever I wanted.  One of the items I chose was a large bottle of La Petite Robe Noire—the cherry scent does something to me.

Sites-Guerlain_EU-Site ⋅ GUERLAIN

The day Daniele treated me to a spree here, I felt like a princess. The velvet gate was opened that led to the most beautiful display of perfumes and no expense was spared!

And when I did stray from these favorites, it was back a few years ago at Geant Hypermarche in Mandelieu.  I spotted a display on a wall of spray tubes. The company, adopt, was new at the time and I became hooked on the brand’s Oud Ambre and Ambre Jasmin scents. I went back for more. Alas, these scents could not be purchased in the States and the next year the little tubes had vanished from Geant altogether. Maybe the Fragonard and Guerlain gods punished me for straying!

My Saddest Bye from Paris and My Best Buys Too | Atypical 60

This was a great little falcon of spray. And I never saw it again!

But there’s just something about a memorable scent. You can catch that elusive scent like a breeze when a woman or man walks by and a few seconds later, in their path, that sensual or fruity or flowery or woody scent lingers. It’s magical.

I’ll tell you just how magical a scent is. Okay?  Bonaparte’s aunt, the actress, Daniele Delorme wore Guerlain’s L’heure Bleue. It was her signature scent. She also smoked Marlboro Lights. And that combination is one that I’ll never forget.  Her car begat the essence of this unforgettable aroma.  And while cigarette smell makes me ill, mixed with the perfume, it’s not too bad.  But I’m getting to a point here. The scent was so memorable that I can actually smell it when I close my eyes and think of it.  When I wanted to buy L’heure Bleue, my husband told me I shouldn’t wear it because it was Daniele’s scent.  He finally understood when I told him I just wanted to have the perfume so I could open it, smell it and be reminded of Daniele. That’s the magic of scent.

Strange as it seems, I would never wear this because it was Daniele’s scent (mixed with the cigarettes), but I just want to have it to open the bottle and be reminded of her. THAT’S part of the magic of fragrance!

So, you can imagine what my thoughts were when I received an email from Dossier asking me if I would like to try a few of their scents for review.  To be honest, I really had to think about it simply because I just don’t venture out of my comfort zone when it comes to scent.  But, since the company is new, and the fragrances made in France, I decided to go for it.  And now, my four little favorites have some very serious competition.

The competition is serious. These four sents are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Now, Dossier perfumes are based in Brooklyn, New York but the scents are created in France.  Right away, I had a feeling these scents would not fail.  Also, the scents are inspired by luxury brand scents, making them similar in traits that a more expensive, luxury brand perfume would have.

A fragrance chart I snapped in Grasse!

Here’s where it gets even better.  Everything is pared down. There’s no fancy marketing nor does the brand have ads with celebrities or familiar models. It’s all quite simple, basic and not fussy. No advertising company to pay either.  The reviews speak for themselves.

Perfectly pragmatic packaging! Simple and to the point.  It’s what’s inside that counts!

An added benefit is the magnetized cap to the bottle. No leakage issues!!

What I think is an excellent strategy on Dossier’s behalf is every bottle of perfume ordered comes boxed with a little sample falcon.  This allows you to test the scent first before opening the full-sized bottle. If you find you don’t like what you ordered, all you have to do is return the package with the full-sized bottle and you will receive a refund. No questions asked.  This is great on two levels—not only do you get to sample the scent but there’s enough in the sample for two or possibly three wears so you can really get a sense of whether or not you want to keep the bottle!  In addition, all caps to the full-sized bottle are magnetized so there’s no chance of spillage or leakage.

To learn a bit more about the company, click this link:  Dossier Perfume

So, when I agreed to review, I went over to the Dossier website to take a quiz.  If you are unsure of the sort of scent you prefer, or if you are just indecisive or looking for something different, take the quiz.  Knowing what I like, I took the quiz and lo and behold, the scents picked for me where very much in the realm of what I love.  Woody. Musky. Masculine with a Feminine touch. Yeah. Dossier gets me!

Let’s take a look at the fragrances, shall we?

The first scent I’ll show you is Fougere Oud.  This perfume is inspired by Tom Ford’s Oud Wood Eau de Parfum.  The Ford scent retails at $250 for a 1.7 oz. bottle. The Dossier Fougere Oud retails at $39 for a 1.7 oz bottle. These two scents are the ones I can actually compare because I’m familiar with the Ford Oud Wood. When I worked at Nordstrom, running to the Tom Ford display was one of my favorite activities.  I am a fan of any fragrance with oud in the notes so Oud Wood was sampled quite often.  How does the Dossier Fougere Oud compare to it?

Inspired by Tom Ford’s Oud Wood, Dossier offers an incredible fraternal twin in the brand’s Fougere Oud.  And the price cannot be beat!

It compares remarkably well.  While not the exact same scent, it’s the closest thing you could ever find.  But here’s the thing—the Dossier Fougere Oud outlasts the Ford scent!  The most daunting thing is when a scent powers out with two hours as the Ford scent does.  It’s really funny because after about four hours of wearing the Fougere Oud, I thought the scent dissipated because I couldn’t smell it. However, my coworkers were asking me what perfume I was wearing because they loved the scent. That’s a good sign!

All Dossier perfumes come with a card that lists all notes and the percentage of concentrate. They are very transparent and also explain how the brand works!

Next is the Ambery Saffron.  The inspiration for this scent is Maison Francis Kurkdjian_Baccarat Rouge 540.   In being transparent, I have never tried the Baccarat Rouge but man, this has got to be the most mysterious scent I’ve ever used.   The Dossier Ambery Saffron retails for $49 for a 50 ml bottle vs the Baccarat Rouge which retails for $300 for a 2.4 oz bottle.

This is THE most mysterious scent I have ever had the pleasure of wearing.  For me, it smells of pineapple as soon as it is sprayed but dried down to something completely different. It’s what I call a “fun” scent!

The top notes are Saffron and Orange Blossom. And as a lover of pure orange blossom and literally addicted to that scent, I could get nothing at all reminiscent of my beloved orange blossom.  Instead, I got a whiff of pineapple. I’m not kidding. The second I put this on, it smells like pineapple.   But wait!!  The it dried down to this really fun fruity scent. But not fruity like a pre-teen scent. It’s a grown-up fun scent.  And I can definitely detect some woodsy features mixed with fruit. It’s the strangest thing. It’s also sweet but not overly sweet.  This is not a scent I would wear to a wedding or fancy event. This would be a fun afternoon scent. But isn’t that the way it is with fragrance?  The reaction with my body could be different with yours.

Another reason to be appreciative of these little cards. Every time I wear this scent I try to break the notes down. I’m not kidding.  It’s really fun but I’m thinking “where’s the pineapple”?  This scent does make me want to drink Pina Coladas!

The next two scents are my favorites.  And I must admit that my Fragonard Fleur d’Oranger has taken a backseat this summer because I’ve been teetering between the two since I received them.

This. Is. Incredible!  And in the Fall, I’ll be wearing it every day. I need to order a backup! 

And although Woody Sandalwood is inspired by Le Labo’s Santal 33, I SWEAR this is a deadringer for Fragonard’s Santal. My theory is that somebody from Fragonard is now working at Dossier.  And the Dossier Woody Sandalwood has more staying power!

Woody Sandalwood.  What is the inspiration?  Le Labo Fragrances Santal 33 which retails for $192 is, like Dossier’s Woody Sandalwood, a unisex scent. The Dossier version retails for $49 for the same 50 ml size. Although I’ve hears a plethora of great things about the Le Labo Santal, I’ve never smelled it.  The Woody Sandalwood was recommended from the quiz. And let me tell you this much, as a fan of Sandalwood, Fragonard’s Santal is my go-to-fall fragrance. The Dossier version is almost the same thing but better.  I can’t stop smelling this.  The fragrance is so long-lasting that it lingered after I had showered and gone to bed—yet it isn’t overpowering or strong. It’s just …. Intense is the best word to describe it. But there’s also the slightest nuance of sweetness and a tad of musk.  I really have to stop myself from using this because I won’t have any left when the Fall arrives and this is such a wonderful scent for the cool weather. It’s got that masculine vibe that I just love so much yet, its feminine at the same time.  I just spritzed some on.

It’s in the cards. I’m no nose but I could detect most of these notes-especially the cardamom!  If you love a woody scent–especially in the fall, THIS is the one to get. It’s crazygood!

Lastly, there’s Musky Gaiac. Inspired by yet another Le Labo scent—Gaiac 10 which retails for $290 and Dossier’s Musky Gaiac costs $49 for a 50 ml bottle. This is that most magical scent.  It’s almost difficult to describe. It’s musky for sure—but not so musky that all you smell is musk. It’s sweet and slightly powdery but not headache-causing powdery.  It’s woody yet not too woody. It’s soft as a cloud and yet, intense enough to literally last all day. All. Day!!  I’m not kidding.   This is the scent that really gets people going.  And yet, the second I open the bottle, I get a vanilla vibe but there’s no vanilla in it.  This is the scent to wear when you want to entice. It’s that scent to wear at a very intimate dinner or event. OMG. Who am I kidding? It’s the scent you just want to wear every day. If Dossier created bath gel and body lotion in this scent, I would buy it in a second.  If there was a shaving gel made of this Musky Gaiac, I would shave my legs every day—even in winter!

This is the GOAT! The Money Scent! OMG! I could run through fields naked with this!  I want those fragrance sticks in this scent. I want room freshener in this scent. I want candles and bath gel in this scent!

This is highly concentrated and to look at the notes, there’s not a ton of stuff going on. But WOW–this scent.  I need a moment here.

I’m honestly floored at how incredible the Dossier fragrances are. To me, scent is just such a personal and intimate thing and I thought that I would never leave my regulars. But now, I’ve just added to them!  If you are thinking about adding a new scent to your collection or if you are a fan of luxury scents but just don’t want to or cannot spend luxury prices, head to Dossier’s website and check it out. Take the quiz. And if you are familiar with the luxury scents, you can save money with Dossier! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

I’m so in love with this scent!

As an aside, I spritzed the Musky Gaiac on me around 7:30 this morning. It’s now 8:20 in the evening as I write this and I’m still smelling this!

Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Let me know your opinions on fragrance below–and if you get the chance check out the Dossier website and take the quiz!

 

Posted in Dossier Perfume | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Let’s Talk Swimwear for the Average, Mature Woman.

It’s been a while since I ventured into the fashion posts. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly but here we go.

It’s summer.  It is hot outside.  We need relief.  We can go to the local pool. We can, if we are lucky enough to live nearby, head to the beach. We can take a drive to a lake.  We can put the sprinkler on the lawn or back yard and have fun at home. We can lie on our deck or tar beach with a spray bottle to make us comfier.

Or perhaps the pool and the sea in the background?

And we can do this wearing a bathing suit. What’s that you say?  You don’t like the way you look in a bathing suit?  Girlfriend. We need to talk.

schitts creek comedy GIF by CBC

That’s right! Let’s get down to business. Talking about what we’re gonna WEAR at the water!

Sigh. I know how you feel.  It is getting on my last nerve to look through Instagram posts, online shopping stock photos and department store catalogs of women in bathing suits. It seems all the photos are of youthful, toned younger women or the mature woman who looks like Helen Mirren.

Helen Mirren rocking a bikini aged 79. | Helen mirren bikini, Celebrity swimsuits, Dame helen mirren

Whilst we all adore Helen Mirren and love the fact she’s a great spokeswoman for the mature women–the average over-60-year old kind of doesn’t look as toned as her.

In addition, the majority of these photos are retouched to erase the dimpled cellulite, veins and texture from any skin that is not covered.  And lest we not forget that all these women modeling swimwear have perky titties, rock hard abs and no hips.

Don’t even get me started on this garbage.  It is so stinking obvious that this “dress” type swim thing is geared toward the mature woman–and look who is modeling it. Need I say more?

These are not the average and older woman. And it’s actually shameful that we don’t see the average woman in these posts or ads. No wonder women are intimidated.  It also upsets me that many women refuse to even wear a bathing suit because they feel their bodies are not perfect.

With a pandemic weight gain that I did start to lose but then fell off the wagon, I was somewhat hesitant myself about donning swimwear this summer.  Last summer we went to the beach twice. Twice. I couldn’t take wearing a mask at the beach—it was just too hot and too stressful so we basically spent every weekend home.  But this summer it’s different.

I’m wearing the damn bathing suits.  It is too hot and humid during our Mid-Atlantic/Northeast summers.  And after working all week at that job, I want my weekends, weather permitting, to be spent enjoying the ocean spray, the sun smiling down at me, sitting at the edge of the breaking waves reading a book.

But please allow me to backtrack a bit.

I used to wear two-piece bathing suits and, when much younger, a modest bikini. Even into my fifties, depending on my weight that year I still opted for the bikini.  Mostly because my longer torso made it nearly impossible to find a one-piece that fit!

Me. Five years ago. I was still soft but now, my gut hangs low and too and fro! 

And then my body really started to change.  To be honest, I think the aging process hit all at once. My belly, although never rock hard and a bit soft, became softer than a warm marshmallow.  My thighs took on not only excess cellulite but the skin started to appear a bit like crepe paper.  And even though I don’t have varicose veins, I see some little purple veins appearing more and more.

Ewww! What’s this?–you ask! It’s an extreme close up of my crepe-laden leg after frolicking in the freezing cold Atlantic and drying off in th sun! This is real life ageing!

My waistline has gotten thicker and the girls a bit saggy. The arms flabby.  It’s nothing to get horrified with because you put ‘em all together and it just means I’m an average, over 65-year-old woman. And that’s the body I have.

And that’s okay. I don’t need to wear a bikini these days, nor do I need to be the best-looking or in-shape woman at the beach or pool or where ever.  All I want to do is look nice and presentable and comfortable.

Yeah! That’s right. I just want to look presentable and halfway decent! 

I’m not ready for those swimsuit dresses and personally, I don’t like them on any woman. They look cumbersome and when you get down to it, really don’t hide anything.  The only thing this type of swimwear does is age a woman and make her appear matronly.

Sorry but I have a major issue with these swimsuit dresses. It has nothing to do with size nor age. They just are not flattering-and once more, we have a younger woman modeling a swimsuit geared for the older demographic!

And these two women, albeit, they are young, are insanely beautiful in these one-piece swimsuits–proving that all sizes look fantastic in swimwear!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the bathing suits I do have and wear regularly.  You should also be aware that I’m on a self-imposed “no-buy” these days.  I purchased one of these suits prior to my no buy so I’ll start off with that.   In addition, all of these swimsuits have been purchased beginning in 2019 from Amazon.

All of these bathing suits are my regulars now. And every one of them is from Amazon. Quite frankly, I have never been big on spending a ton of money on bathing suits and these have been purchased over the years!

All are under $30—in fact, I’ve made an Idea List for you to print and take with your when you are looking for swimsuits at a store or boutique if you prefer to not purchase on Amazon:

Bathing Suits I’ve Purchased from Amazon and Actually Wear-Bathing Suits for the Mature Woman!

So let’s take a look at each of them and I’ll tell you what I like and what could be improved:

Below is the first-ever one piece I purchased from Amazon a few years ago. Oona had one in white and I really liked the look–it looks far more expensive than it cost.  And although I love the design, I save this one for laying out on the deck at home. There’s a reason.  This swimsuit isn’t exactly long-waist friendly. When you’re long-waisted it’s difficult to get the suit to measure up in the right places. The top makes my boobs look super saggy simply because the torso length of the suit is short.  It’s really a shame because this suit is such a stunner but I still wear it on the deck where I can bask in privacy. If you are short-waisted or shorter is stature, this is perfect for you.  Honestly, when I purchased it, I forgot Oona is shorter than I am.

This bathing suit is just so nicely designed and well-made but I’m too long-waisted for comfort!

In this photo I’m wearing insert pads to give the suit a better silhouette.

Next up is this paisley number. I was looking for something on the bright side and found this. It was a stretch for me because I prefer solids but I love the colors and the design of this one and it is comfortable and long-waist friendly!

Her

The ruching gives a flattering fit across the middle..

Take into consideration–if you are like me and not real busty, the top can look a tad flat…

And you can’t go around trying to hand-push up your girls but..

These bathing suit pad inserts are wonderful to slide in!  They really make your shape look a lot better!

Here’s another one. This is a halter top as well, but the way it’s designed, when you tie the top it gives a good lift to the top. 

And you can also adjust the top panels to give more or less coverage around the bustline. But what I really love about this is the two dresses that you can wear over the suit..

What I absolutely love is that I have two dresses to match this swimsuit.  I actually wear both dresses to work and both are also Amazon purchases. Anyway…the first dress is more casual, directly below, it has a looser fit so if you are on a special vacation and want a cohesive look to your beach/pool ensemble you can’t go wrong!

If you are on vacation or at a resort, this dress is a wonderful coverup.

A bit dressier but the same tropical pattern, this shift would be perfect for a pool party or headed to dinner directly after the beach or pool.

This dress has a more bodycon vibe but for dinner directly from beach, it’s great. A pair of strappy gold sandals and you’re good to go.  

Below is my favorite swimsuit. I love it so much that I bought a second one in a deep purple.  There is not one flaw or issue with this suit.  The squared-off neckline is so flattering–it’s got a good space inside the suit to slide in hard cups. The ruching in the middle really helps to suck in those piggy bits AND it’s long-waisted friendly.  It is modest and classic and just wonderful!

This–even if I was twenty pounds lighter, this is that one-piece I would make sure to have in my pile of swimwear!