We’re Headed Back to Paris. How I’m Preparing!

Next month. Our annual Thanksgiving trip to Paris will resume.  Our last one was 2019.  Click This for a look at our last Paris Trip in 2019!  We all know what happened in 2020.

Oh how I can’t wait to be back!

We’ll be returning for a week. Oh, this has been a long time comin’ and, quite frankly, I cannot wait to arrive in the City of Lights. But this time, there’s a few more preparations we have been making.

french paris GIF

Unlike her, I’ll be stuffing my face with pain au chocolat

Most notably, the Passe Sanitaire—or, the Health Pass. This is a pass somewhat akin to the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket. It’s a hot commodity. And without it, we can’t go anywhere. Meaning we can’t gain entrance into museums or any cultural events and we do need it for going out to dinner.

France Requires Tourists to Hold Vaccination Passport to Access Certain Activities & Services - SchengenVisaInfo.com

And to think my husband wants me to put a damper on my iPhone! He’ll need his too!

The Frenchman was mumbling lots of naughty words in his native tongue in attempting to get our passes.  It’s a process.  I had to make copies of our marriage license (I have no idea why that was needed), our passport photos, our driver’s licenses and our Covid vaccination cards. Oh, and proof of address in the form of a bill addressed to each of us.

french mime GIF

True. The Passe Sanitaire process made my Frenchman angrier than if he had witnessed two mimes!

Now, under normal circumstances this isn’t that bad. It’s a rather simple procedure. But we’re talking about the French.  It’s only logical that I would scan two separate files with all the documentation needed. As in Monsieur Lartigue’s information and then a file with my information.

Non! Every document had to be separate and labeled.  I swear if he had a stale baguette within arm’s reach, he would have thrown it against a wall. Nevertheless, we are presently awaiting our passe.

Battle Fighting GIF by Team Coco

Actually, my husband would NEVER abuse a baguette. I worships that long wand of crusty outside and chewy inside!

Trust me, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing either. In fact, I wish we had to show a pass of some sort here in the States—but it would offend a number of people and in America, we are so effing “offend-friendly”—honestly, this opens a Pandora’s Box of sorts for me so I’ll shut up on the subject.

Actually, the only thing that irks me is having to take yet another Covid test.  I swear, with the money I’ve spent on Covid testing, I could have purchased a Louis Vuitton Noé Petit bag!  Even being double-vaxed and having a Booster shot (along with flu shot) doesn’t allow me to skip the test.  But hey, it’s what we have to do!

These Home COVID Tests are CDC-Approved for Travel

And yet, more Covid Testing…

That out of the way, the real preparation starts for me. Packing the clothing.  Yeah, I know. I know. I have a little over a month to do this. However, I really like to be organized when I’m traveling. It’s all about efficiency and simplicity. And cohesiveness with the wardrobe.

The weather will be chilly. Actually, very chilly especially when we are walking around perfecting our ability as the flaneur and flaneuse—just wandering around aimlessly. That is, when we aren’t at a museum or cultural event.   Because of the cold weather, I’ll need a coat. And a hat because my wig will need to be kept warm. And gloves because my hands get cold.

Come Sale Away With Me! | Atypical 60

This is the coat I’ll bring. It was purchased at Galeries Lafayette on our last trip. It’s a great coat and will suffice well for the chilly November weather!

Hey Emily! Can You Leave Paris? S'il vous Plait! | Atypical 60

My beloved black beret. Purchased at a tourist stand for 2 Euros in Paris. I can’t find it.  I need to find it. Note to Emily in Pars. THIS is how you wear a beret!

Here’s where it gets weird for me. I love my blazers. And I’m pondering bringing one. What if the weather becomes unseasonably warm?  My heavier camel coat will be too heavy?  I doubt it will because that’s the coat I’m bringing.

The tan Schoolboy blazer is the one item I’m pondering about bringing. I’m definitely on the fence. You’ll see as you scroll below why I’m sticking to tan and not even thinking about navy.

I’ll sweat so much that passersby will mistake me for a Wallace Fountain and try to place an empty bottle at my body parts for water.

wallace-fountain-at-pont-neuf | Atypical 60

This is the Wallace Fountain across from Daniele’s apartment and from where we will be staying. If I get too hot from wearing too many clothes, I’ll sweat like a fountain and people will want to drink from me.

Since I’ll be cramming everything into a carry on (my husband brings a huge suitcase. I’ll throw my blazer and a pair of boots in his suitcase), I’ve got to give plenty of thought to what I’ll wear.

A week’s worth of clothes, shoes and wigs should fit in here comfortably. Okay, perhaps not comfortably but I’ll make it work!

I took photos of some ensembles.  These will be printed out in color and I’ll use them for reference for the final pack!

In sticking to a black and tan palette, I’m fortunate this faux-suede skirt manages to still fit me.  It’ll be worn with a black turtleneck and boots. This will be one of the dinner outfits that will be worn on repeat.

Two (or probably three) pairs of black knit pants will do . My J. Crew Pixie Pants on the right will work from day till evening. I picked up the pants on the left a few weeks back.  A Jegging if you will that’ll work while running errands and shopping!

Since we’ll be out and about, tee shirts will work well. You can’t go wrong with white tees and black ones!

A tan cashmere sweater from Quince is also on board for cooler days as is a black one!

Last of all, two scarves in the same neutral family. Honestly, I have no time to decide over color.

Now on to footwear. As mentioned previously, my boots (and only one pair) will be thrown into my husband’s suitcase.  When not wearing the boots, I’ll be wearing black ballet flats. These will be worn on the plane as well. They can easily be slipped off and back on for my friends at the TSA.  I’ll bring my black suede Dulci pumps from J. Crew (which, by the way, have been discontinued) for our dinners out.   Oh wait!! My black Geox pointy-toed booties with the cute heel. I need to bring those too. See why planning is so important?

The  shoes. Booties which I’ll wear only in the evening because I’m not traipsing around Paris in heels. The same goes for my J. Crew Dulci pumps. Evening wear.  The ballet flats and boots will be  worn during the day hours for touring and wandering the streets.

Contrary to the casual look, I enjoy dressing up for dinner when we go out. It doesn’t even matter where we are. In Philly, in NYC and in Paris I love to dress for the occasion. I don’t go all out, I keep it simple and this trip will have me wearing a plain, basic black sweater dress also by J. Crew.

This textured sweater dress from J. Crew Factory is a great item. I didn’t show her enough love last winter but this will be coming to Paris. Another dinner item.  I’ll wear with pointy-toed pumps (I’m going to tan before we leave because we all know that I abhor panty hose!), and a scarf. 

Sadly, none of my jeans fit at the moment because my pandemic weight gain is sticking around. Around my belly, ass and thighs.  That’s why I’m opting for knits. Besides—the knits are comfortable.

Correction!!! These Katy Girlfriend jeans by Kut From the Kloth fit. I might bring them and I might not. And this is why I plan ahead of time!

The underwear? We’ll be in Paris for 7 days and nights. I’ll bring a change of panties for each day and the bra that I wear. They will slide right into that carry-on!

Toiletries?  Naturally, toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss and deodorant will be packed. And those items will be placed in my husband’s ditty bag. And samples of moisturizer. I’m not chancing getting any of the good stuff confiscated by my friends at the TSA. CityPharma is a few blocks away so I can pick up anything else that I need.

Makeup?  It’s all compact and travel friendly!  I’m packing everything that can be thrown into my LY Neverfull bag.

Oh my dear friends. This trip has given me the opportunity to clean out this bag after almost two years. I’m a bag slob. I should belong to Bag Slobs Anonymous. You would NOT believe some of the stuff I found in the bowels of this tote!

My MOB Beauty face palette, my Subtl Beauty stack and a Trestique mini-kit. A few random lip glosses and my new MOB mascara. Absolutely no foundation.  And I would like a moment to discuss this. French women rarely wear a ton of shit on their faces.  The eyes and lips.  They take great care with their skin but as far as loading the heavy foundation, concealer and bronzer—they just don’t do it. I’m getting my French beauty on. I’ll stick to the eyes, blush and lips! And I’ll have to find a little empty perfume vial. I had a full-sized bottle of Guerlain’s L’Instant confiscated by my friends at the TSA a few years back so I no longer carry full sized scent. It’ll be too close to Christmas and my friends at the TSA like to do their Christmas shopping via confiscation. I’m not gonna be donating this year!

One of my three Subtl Beauty Stacks….

One of two Mob Beauty face palettes…

And one of three Trestique travel kits will be tucked away in my Neverfull.

All three are in there..

Along with a journal because I write every day when traveling..

..and a book to read while in the air. It all fits in the bag!

In a nutshell?  I travel as light as possible. During the colder months of late autumn into winter it’s difficult due to the outwear and heavier clothing.  But wearing on repeat and sticking to a very neutral, almost monochromatic clothing palette works wonders. You don’t need to pack as much!

Reservations for dinner have been made at various restaurants like Paul on Place Dauphine, Le Procope, and Allard.  We’ll have a kitchenette so a meal or two in won’t hurt and it’ll be a nice walk to Café Bonaparte for some serious comfort food!

Dinner reservations at three restaurants have been made. Will wing the rest!

Yeah. To some it may be a bit odd that I’m preparing so far in advance, but in the end, it’ll be less stressful and I love me a smooth trip.

Trust me I’m sure to be adding and taking away but it’s a head start on packing and being prepared!

How do you pack?  Well in advance? Last minute? Throwing everything into a ball?  Let’s talk!

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I Don’t Like Fashion—It’s the Clothing I Love!

Okay. So, I know this sounds weird. I know. But…I’m sick of fashion. Like—really sick of it.  And yet, I love clothing.  I love the change up from seasonal clothing. I love how casual clothing puts me in a laid-back mood; and I am as comfortable as a larva in a cocoon when I put my toasty pajamas on during the winter when arriving home from work.

And speaking of the change up in seasonal clothing, it’ll soon be textured sweater and leggings time. But I’ve already started on the toasty sweatshirt and  Old Navy Pajama bottoms as at-home-clothing. Fashionable? Not really. Comfortable? You bet your bippie it is!

When I’m wearing a lightweight maxi dress in the summer, it always astounds me at how cool I feel.

I seriously do love a maxi during the summer months. And that tan is natural by the way. I had one for a week! Then it faded.

Pants in summer? No. Not for me. The warm and hot weather affect me to the point that I really don’t like wearing a lot of clothing. Dresses always rule during those hot months.

On the right is a typical summer dress look. I am a huge fan of the Lilly Pulitzer shift dress. On the left, an outfit for transitioning to fall.

But when the temperature cools down, I feel remarkably cozy and pleasant the second a pair of pants covers my unshaven winter  legs.

A typical winter pants look. And no socks!

With the cool-to-cold months, I love my kilts worn with tights. Actually, tights are the only phase of leg covering (excluding pants) that I truly like to wear. I refuse to wear panty hose because my lady parts are not a petri dish for yeast infections!  And socks? Nope! Not even in January. Although I am prone to wearing them when I wear boots!

We all know what a kilt fanatic I am. Actually this one is in the dry cleaner getting pressed!  And I wear tights too!

Don’t we all feel like beautiful princesses when we have that special occasion to dress up—whether black tie formal or semi-formal. Those outfits can change our personalities and give us confidence!

Honestly, I did feel more like a queen as the Mother-of-the-Bride. My daughter was the princess that day.  And I found a great gown too!

Clothing is a necessity. For the most part, it keeps us from getting arrested. But I digress from that statement to add that some clothing could be prone to having a person arrested.

Halloween Whip GIF by Yandy.com

Yeah. I’m not going to wear an ensemble like this. Unless I want to end up in a special cell!

It comes down to wearing what you absolutely love, feel comfortable in, and knowing what looks great on you. It’s also about being in charge of your style and how and when you wear the clothing.

Styling v. Wearing—Is There a Difference? | Atypical 60

Surprisingly, I love this outfit. It’s one of those ensembles where I’m in complete charge of it all. White shorts AFTER Labor Day. A Navy Blazer and a Breton striped shirt. This is a great Autumn look for me. You need to own your style!

That’s not to say that I haven’t made poor choices in clothes. When I was younger, I made quite a few mistakes. But as I’ve aged, I’ve learned to not be a fashion victim and have learned to be very committed to what I love.

Style; Pushing The Envelope On Trends That We Love And Then Hate

It is befitting to say that my biggest “fashion” mistakes were during the early 1980’s before I became a stay-at-home mom. Those heavily padded blazers looked ridiculous on me–I’m broad shouldered and looked like a football player.

And that’s where fashion comes in.  Fashion kind of dictates what we should wear. I’m over it.

I’m with Tim!

I’m tired of “Street” fashion. It’s not fashion at all. It is merely the way people on the street are dressed. Some look very nice and have great taste. Others look like they either stepped out of a five-and-dime store, a stripper club, or rolled out of bed.

Street Style at New York Fashion Week for Fall 2020 Is Better Than Ever

Street fashion or street style. Nothing more than what people are wearing that day. Sorry not sorry but it just isn’t inspirational to me.

The older I advance in my years, the more I am beginning to shake my head in disgust at the fashion designers today. To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be any true creativity anymore.  Elegance on the runway appears to be a thing of the past.  Believe me, I’m certainly not a prude when it comes to being fashionable, but it’s just that there is something lacking in the fashion trends of present times. To be honest, it sickens me to see some of these clothes being showcased during fashion week. Who is buying this shit? Even if I were a millionheiress, I would stick to the more classic designers such as Courreges and Chanel. But I’m not so I have a picture in my mind of how I want to dress and I take it from there. Please don’t try to sway me with your trends.

From this year’s Miu Miu collection. Look. I LOVE a good mini but this is just pushing it too far. Your panties had better be spanking clean and without any marks of bodily function. How can you bend down? And seriously–the average woman, even young, has a softer more billowy tummy than our model. I love the shoes though!

I can’t even with this. And I’m quite surprised at Christian Siriano for designing these things. He can do much better!

Andre Leon Talley was right!  Tone the fashion down..

Please!

Some trends do turn into classics though.  Take the mini skirt and mini dress. Pre mini times, women of all ages, with the exception of little girls, wore dresses ranging anywhere from mid-knee down to mid-calf. Then came the “Swinging Sixties” and the dresses went shorter.  Micro-mini’s notwithstanding, the shorter dresses are here to stay and I happen to be a fan.

The mini was a trend that ended up becoming a staple among women of all shapes and ages and is still going strong. 

Most people believe that Chanel changed with way women dress. I, on the other hand, believe that Mary Quant changed the way we dress. I love this woman..

…and I loved this man, Andre Courreges. My favorite designer. I would wear all three of these dresses in the present day. Without pantyhose!

Proof that the mini is here to stay. This pic is from six years ago and about 20 pounds less. I still have the skirt. It still fits due to stretch. Its hanging in my closet. I’ll be wearing it as soon as the weather cools down!

Then in the Seventies we had the dawn of the maxi-dress. (Actually, the late sixties-into early seventies) Although a trend that came and went away, it returned with a vengeance and now maxi dressing is an everyday, boho look. I have quite a few and wear them only in summer-but that’s how I roll.

Colleen Corby!!! The greatest teen model of all time!  Here in a 1960’s Maxi Dress-originally referred to as The Granny Gown!

A few years back leopard and animal printed clothes were the rage—and over time, those prints became the norm.  In fact, leopard is now a neutral!

Transitioning the Wardrobe and Face from Summer to Fall | Atypical 60

My favorite skirt. OMG. I wear it three seasons of the year and it is still going strong. I was “iffy” when I purchased it because I thought it was just a trend. Now it’s a neutral!

The post-pandemic trend today appears to be active wear, leggings and “joggers”.  And I think this will be around for a while. We’re changing the way we dress. With so many people working from home these days, the “office” look of a blazer, skirt or pants and one of professional polish is seemingly taking a break. Even business meeting attire is becoming more relaxed. It’s the fashion!

Atypical 60 | A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With  An Atypical Twist!

Leggings as office wear. Yes. It has come to this. The key is to wear them so that they don’t LOOK like leggings!

My hypocrisy aside, I will admit that since my pandemic weight gain, my jeans no longer fit around my waist and I’m prone to run errands in activewear, but I’m still not quite comfortable with it. I also purchased a pair of “joggers” or what I deem “stylized sweat pants”. And while they are comfortable, I can’t see myself running on the streets of New York City to visit museums or to see the sights when I’m in Paris.  I’ll continue to rely on my go-to outfit of black J. Crew Pixie Pants and a black shirt.

You know, being on Instagram as a part of the “over-60” demographic has been a mind-opener as to how many women our age approach clothing—some “get” it.  And some, well, some make me cry. We all don’t dress in Chicos and we all don’t go for bright colors and mismatched patterns. Perhaps it’s just me — but a love of clothing means you put thought into what you wear. Just because you’ve reached a certain age doesn’t mean you have to get rid of any vestige of what you loved when you were younger. Just grow it up a bit.

It upsets me when I see retailers stereotyping the mature woman into ads like this. We don’t all dress this bland. We WANT style but this isn’t it!

What are your thoughts on fashion? Have they changed over the years? Do you tend to agree or disagree with what I’m writing?  Let’s get the party started!

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Wanna Know Where I’ve Been and What I’ve Been Up To?

It’s been a while.  There’s so much to say but I’ll start off by telling you that my laptop was, once again, on what I refer to as a “Spa” vacation!  Ye Ol’ Laptop went, not to Greece but to Geek.  Geek Squad, that is.  And once again, the Geek Squad came to the rescue.  It started out as I was making a desperate attempt to upload photos from my phone to laptop.  I kept getting an error message and couldn’t figure out why.

And we all have a good idea of just WHY I need to upload photos to my laptop these days!

I got in touch with Microsoft and, after literally, four hours of the Microsoft technician trying to figure out the issue, I was told I needed to buy more space. Which I did.  Yet, the issue with trying to upload photos still remained (I despise Microsoft and Bill Gates). And might I add that at this point I was not a very nice person. Dropping the “eff” bomb was prevalent.

beckadoodles meme angry text yelling GIF

And my special talent is that I’m bilingual in cursing. I was cursing in French as well as English! Oh Merde!

So, The Frenchman, rather than listen to my tantrum, gently suggested we take the laptop on a little vacation to Best Buy’s Geek Squad.  We made the appointment, got to Best Buy and explained the situation.  Basically, at this point the entire Geek Squad is familiar with me and greeted me like an old friend—or rather a pain-in-the-ass old auntie.

In all honesty, I should just have a room in the house for the Geek Squad to just move in!

And rather than wait to get the issue resolved, I threw up my hands and suggested they just take the damned laptop, keep it till all issues were taken care of and call me when I can pick it up. A week later (last Sunday) she was ready.

Let me tell you something.  Those Geek Squad techies are the greatest.  Me, being that obsessive note taker that I am, arrived with legal pad and pen ready to take any notes that were needed. And boy, did I need them.

Kate Hudson Writing GIF by The Drew Barrymore Show

I was more serious than Drew when it came to taking my computer notes!

Now, even though the Squad cleaned up my computer, there was work that I had to do. It seemed that all the photos uploaded to my laptop over the past 6 years were still in the bowels of the laptop. They had to be removed in order to free up space.   I needed an additional external drive just for photos.  And so, I followed the directions perfectly, purchased a hard drive (Note-The Geek Squad filled an external drive with documents from my laptop. Thus, the photo drive) for the photos, went home and got to work.

Even though these pics are from my phone, they were also on my computer–and pictures going back years and years and years were also on the computer!

I never realized just how many photos were on the laptop and never realized just how long the process of sending them to the external drive would be. It took five long evenings from about 7:00 PM when dinner was finished until around 10:30 PM. It. Was. Grueling!

Bitmoji Image

I. Was. Exhausted. And that was from merely deleting photos!

I made several files to categorize and filled them all. Over 20,000 photos. And I deleted them from the recycle bin. The amount of space that I have available now is like having a new laptop! I also learned that iCloud and One Drive are different backup solutions. So basically, I still have photos backed up without taking the enormous amount of space that I did.

What is iCloud Plus? Apple's new cloud service explained

I can’t even with this iCloud. I can’t. 

But at least I have some free space now!

Okay, now that that’s explained, what have I been doing?

For one thing, I haven’t exactly been resting on my laurels or my fat ass!

Well, and please allow me to be completely honest and transparent with you before I continue.  I’ve received quite a number of products for review and am presently backed up due to the fact my computer was out-of-service.  99.9 percent of the products I’ve received for review have been “gifted” with a couple that I’m now receiving monetary compensation for.  I feel greatly appreciated for this simply because blogging takes time and effort and if I’m receiving a small fee, then it is a job paid—and it supplements the paltry salary I receive from my day job.  Trust me this blog won’t turn into a “Like-to-Know-It” ad, but please bear in mind that items reviewed are going to be good choices for our demographic.

I’ll be reviewing these shakes by 310 Nutrition. The Toasted Coconut is great but the best is the Salted Caramel…

I also received a lash-perming kit that I’ll be trying out and reviewing. I need time for this one though!

My weight loss journey continues. And it is the most difficult weight loss journey in my life. The scale teeters from 158 to 162—no matter what I do—so it’s really a challenge that I’ll continue to share. Yesterday I took the clothes up from the garage that were stored over the summer. It was depressing because anything lacking stretch didn’t fit. The only thing I can do is move on.

It’s a struggle. My therapist told me once I “let go” I’ll be less stressed and the weight will come off. 

My belly hasn’t flattened out at all. I think there are young women who are 7 months pregnant and their bellies are smaller than mine…

….or perhaps my complete lack of excercise gives me a jiggly belly that Santa Claus would be envious of.

I received my Covid “Booster” shot la week ago, which made me incredibly happy!  No side effects except a sore spot where the needle was injected and the soreness lasted less than 24 hours!

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. In and out of Rite-Aid in minutes. So glad I got that booster shot!

In addition, I started watching the new season of Great British Bake Off. This is getting a blog post of its own. I don’t know if you watch this, but loving to bake, this one series is my ultimate pleasure. And last year’s (2020) cast of bakers was my absolute favorite. Absolute favorite!  The bakers just mixed and blended (baking pun intended) so well. They were a team of friends and it was the perfect season. This season isn’t the same. At all. I have a couple of favorite bakers that I would like to see go the distance, but I’ll leave my choice for the future blog post!

Great British Bake Off 2021 contestants revealed - BBC News

The 2021 cast of Great British Bake Off.  My favorites are Guiseppe, bottom left and Crystelle (back row second-from-left). I’m just not feeling the friendship between the cast as I did with…

Great British Bake Off: 2020 contestants revealed - BBC News

Hands down, THIS was the greatest cast of the show ever! EVER! It was like watching a group of best friends. OMG. I loved the 2020 season so much!

The show inspired me to bake a Gateau St. Honore. Cream filled choux pastry puffs atop a puff pastry. Creme Chiboust (and Italian meringue with a mix of pastry cream) spread throughout, and caramel drizzled all over! And THIS is why I don’t lose weight!

So that’s it. Hopefully, you are still with me as the fall/winter clothing gets showcased and I can write about how the pandemic affected a style change for me.  Hopefully, you are both patient and entertained by my not-so-successful weight-loss journey. And hopefully, you’re in for some humor!

I went off my no-buy. This adorable frock is now hanging in my closet awaiting to be showcased in a blog post!

Now, it’s off to review!

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Clothing In from Summer to Autumn—How to Transition

There’s something about the end of summer that makes me somewhat sad but at the same time, I welcome the arrival of crisp, cool weather.   Actually, it’s a few “somethings”.  The days get shorter. This is a double-edged sword simply because I despise driving in the dark.  Yet, I find that the shorter days help me to be more structured with my time management. It’s weird.

a pile of autumn leaves

Autumn is definitely my double-edged sword. While not quite ready to say goodbye to summer on one hand, on the other hand I’m mentally ready for Autumn!

The days of running out of the house in one of three ways; holding sandals in my hand, wearing sandals or just getting into the car and driving barefoot (as well as practically living barefoot). These days are replaced with having to wear shoes. Again—it’s weird simply because I love shoes but equally adore naked feet.

My number one choice of footwear during summer is…nothing! But I can’t go barefoot all the time so the sandals are worn until the first frost–with rainy weather being the exception.  Then when it’s too cold for sandals the shoes come out! I march into Fall accordingly!

I don’t have to adorn myself in outerwear during the summer. In fall it begins with a short-sleeved tee shirt compared to a sleeveless top. Then comes the blazer or denim jacket—those are all fine. But as the balmy atmosphere turns into the damp, gray, chill of late autumn into winter, I cringe at the thought of having to put a heavier coat on—and stuffing a heavy scarf into the coat.  It’s about how many pairs of gloves will become either lost or mismatched and I simply cannot stand cold hands on a colder steering wheel. On the other hand, I do prefer wearing gloves that match!

22 Best Winter Coats for 2021 - Elegant Long Winter Jackets for Women

Outerwear isn’t my priority. I’m good with one coat and the coat I have is similar to the one in the middle. I can’t even drive my car wearing a coat because it’s too cumbersome. Do you feel the way I do?  And..the coat doesn’t even make an appearance until November!

My wigs keep my head warm. They are a sort of hat. But when the wind kicks in and sends my fake hair falling into my eyes, my nose and my mouth, a hat keeps those wind-blown fibers at bay.

Ugh. I can’t believe I actually have a filtered photo. Anyway, my hat of choice is the beret. This wool cute was less than 5 Euros in Paris. I suppose I should start looking for it now because by the time I find it, the first snow will have fallen!

I may be getting ahead of myself with the weather talk because autumn seems to arrive later and later each year. I can remember wearing shorts at the beginning through middle of October in past years and wearing but a sweater to take the kids out on Halloween.

And yet, pumpkin spice everything and..

…these offensive fake cinnamon-scented pinecones make an appearance earlier and earlier.  WTF buys these stinky things anyway?

However, the days have been cooling off rather quickly this September. And even though the temperature reaches a crescendo of up to 90 degrees mid-day, it cools down by the time everyone is leaving work or getting dinner ready.

It’s that transitional time of the year.

And what to wear can often be a challenge.  The air conditioning system at the office, or at the supermarket or restaurant will still be running—making the indoor air that was comfortable during the heat of the summer, ever-so-chilly during this time.

Those sundresses of last month aren’t exactly behaving in a seasonal manner after Labor Day.  The tan is fading and the arms and legs, unless you break out the fake tan, are looking a bit pale against those bright colors we were loving in June, July and August.

But it’s still too warm to break out the wool skirts and pants and cashmere sweaters. Not quite boot weather yet either. So, what to do? How to dress? My advice?  Take baby steps. Transition slowly—not at once. It isn’t time yet. October can get brutally balmy.  I usually bring out the heavy gear in November and wear them well into April.

No. No. Nooooo…we are NOT bringing out the wool blazers and heavy denim shirts yet…I’ll show you how to gradually do it!

Let’s have a look and I’ll show you how I’m doing it.

Take a pair of pants.  I’m wearing the Jamie Pant from J. Crew Factory. Wear a loose white tee shirt.  Add a pair of sandals (these are from Rondini). You have a great ensemble for the end-of-summer–cool in the AM and PM and hot in the day.

Uh oh! It got a bit chilly outside. Replace the tee with a denim shirt (also from J. Crew) and perhaps a different pair of sandals (Tory Burch Miller sandals)

Ohhhhhh. It’s an unseasonably cold day in October–and November is just around the corner. Add a wool-blend blazer (also J. Crew) and to dress things up a bit, a pair of pointy-toed heels! I’m even transitioning to darker hair in the form of Hudson by Estetica!

Pants. Back in the Spring, I purchased two pair of paper-bag waisted pants at Target. I did wear them during the Spring, and stopped during the June/July/August months. I just cannot stand to wear pants when the weather is hot. They are uncomfortable, and when my body gets really hot, they are cumbersome.  These pants, though, are loose, lightweight and fall just above the ankle, making them comfortable for both the cold to hot weather and the hot to cooler weather.

These paper-bag waisted pants are a wonderful item to transition into Autumn. Light enough to wear on the warmer days with sandals and a form-fitting tee. As the cooler weather appears, replace the sandals with a ballet flat or loafer and a cropped sweater to replace the tee!

More loose pants, although not paper-bag waisted, are another option because of the loose wider leg and the elasticized waist. The looser leg, as well as the lighter fabric, make these pants perfect for transitioning.

The J. Crew Jamie Pant is also a wonderful transitional option. At this point flip flops or sandals can be worn, but the leopard print and dark shirt scream “Autumn”.  When it gets too chilly replace the flip flops with a cute bootie, boots or heels. 

Leggings will also have their place as the weather cools off. A tee shirt and denim jacket will work wonderfully, and to be so inclined, if I want to dress it up a bit, I can through a blazer over the tee.

Leggings. These were worn last week. It was rainy and damp and gray. Although too wet for sandals, ballet flats were the choice. But as rainy and damp as it was, it was still very warm and muggy. A sleeveless shirt worked well.

And the great thing about leggings is that the current ones are not the flimsy leggings of yesteryear. Leggings can be pants.

Transitioning the legging ensemble. First pic. The white tee, leggings and sandals are perfect for now.  In a few weeks it’ll become a bit cooler so lets change into heels and add a blazer–a great work look. Wait! Let’s get a bit edgier, shall we?  Take the heels off and switch into a pair of Nike leather sneakers. A look that works for the weekend when you don’t want jeans!

My Wynne Maxi dresses from Lilly Pulitzer are the greatest transitional dresses ever.  A maxi dress isn’t my thing during the winter. And during the summer, these three dresses were worn a lot! But they are also the perfect transition dress. The length will be fine through the early fall. And with a denim jacket –will be remarkably autumn friendly. I will add one caveat. I never wear closed shoes with a maxi. Only sandals will do it for me. So as soon as the first chill arrives, I’ll store the maxi dresses away.

Ahhh. the Wynne maxi dress by Lilly Pulitzer..

Two of the three I own, these have been worn from lat Spring into early Fall, truly a three-season frock. Although I only wear sandals with maxi dresses, that’s just my thing.  But when the cooler weather arrives, I’ll wear both with a denim jacket.  Proof that you don’t need a separate wardrobe for every season!

The most basic and most simple way to transition for the season. Add a denim jacket!

The summer shifts.  There are a couple of shift dresses that I’ll keep into fall.  One is my absolute favorite. It’s a Tyler Boe dress that was purchased at a sidewalk end-of-summer sale a few years back. The dress retailed for over $100 and I picked it up for around ten bucks.  The high neckline was made for the cooler days and, once again, with a denim jacket, it will be very autumn friendly. Sandals or ballet flats will complete the look.

 

On it’s third summer-into-fall, this Tyler Boe dress was a steal and I’ve worn it countless times. Bonus–you don’t even need to wear a bra underneath–that’s an epic summer dress. But as the days get cooler, this denim jacket from Kut from the Kloth is going on five or six years now.  It’s another favorite transitional look!

This gauze dress from J. Crew Factory, also purchased a few years back is another great summer-into-fall item. The gauze fabric is light enough for summer yet will be fine for early fall.  This is one of those casual dresses that also looks great with Converse sneakers.

I wore this to work today. The temperature hit 90 so it was a great choice. Bonus! The loose cut is very weight–gain friendly. When I bought it I was 20 pounds lighter and it still fits..

The day I bought this transition-friendly cutie–she looks great with converse sneakers. Damn. I got so heavy!

Here’s another way to transition a summer dress!

Remember–it’s still summer and this sleeveless dress isn’t going anywhere but on my body–and the sandals are still hot-weather appropriate..

It got a bit chilly out . Throw a blazer over the dress when the weather cools off–besides with heels, it’s a great work look..

Or don a denim jacket for a fun vibe!

The sandals, by mid-October, will be put away for next spring and the ballet flats and other shoes, will be taking their place.

The best way to transition is to take baby steps!  Slowly change up the footwear!

A white tee shirt is essential for transitioning.  Honestly, every wardrobe needs at least a dozen.  

Two more essentials.  The blazer. Navy, black and camel are all you really need. And the denim jacket. This one is by GH Bass. I have  this dark one and a lighter blue.

Heavier sweaters will make an appearance later in the fall. As will the boots.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself seasonally because it’s still summer for another two weeks. And it’s not cold yet.

Bundle Up A Christmas Story GIF by filmeditor

Please don’t bundle up like this in September–or October. Let’s do this gradually!

Besides, I cringe when I see people wearing the winter garb in early fall. It gives me hot flashes and makes me sweat so much that I need to add a stick of deodorant to my purse!

samantha jackson GIF

This is me when I see people dressed in winter clothing in September!

So how are you transitioning? Share in the comments!

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Babysitting. Beachtime. Reading. No Weight Loss. A Flu Shot and the After Effects. A Lost Voice that Just Came Back…and More Randomness.

Okay. Where do I begin?  It’s over three weeks since I’ve posted on the blog. But life has a way throwing a bunch of stuff at you in one fell swoop. And as I sit here writing this, I can reflect on all the stuff that’s been going on. So, grab a cup of coffee to keep you from falling asleep if I bore you, or a glass of wine to keep you nice and chill and sit back to a long read.

Ever, or rather these days (Never) the Weight Watcher, I was thrilled to see that Philly Pretzel Factory is once again opened at the airport. I was good though. I didn’t get my usual big bag of Peanut M & M’s!

On August 19th, The Frenchman and I flew the friendly skies to visit Oona, Sam and Owen. Our trip covered Oona’s birthday on the 20th, and a babysitting gig for Owen as Oona and Sam enjoyed an evening out for a wedding. We enjoyed lunch and shopping at Findlay Market in Downtown Cincinnati, some delightful pastries from Le Petit Choux (a play on words no less), more food and I threw any diet progress to the wind.

Findlay Market | Downtown Cincinnati | Shopping, Food and Drink, Visual Arts & Culture, History & Culture

This place. It’s food heaven. And we bought the greatest steaks!

And for the babysitting–It’s been a moment since I’ve been in charge of an infant. Actually, it’s been a few decades—but who’s counting?  Once you change a diaper, you never forget how to change a diaper. It was all good.

Owen!!!  He loves to laugh. He loves to eat. He loves to read!

And the fact that Owen is one of the happiest babies in the universe also made our job incredibly easy.  I know my daughter had doubts. After all, she is very regimented in her child-rearing. I wasn’t. I was very crunchy-granola and really never had a schedule.  But my daughter is the mother, and, as such, I will comply—because if I don’t, I’ll never be asked to babysit again.

I am honestly in awe of my daughter, Oona’s, mothering skills. She is incredible and would easily be able to handle about three or four more!

And while Oona and Sam were away, Vincent and I entertained Owen and were just as entertained by him. He’s at that babble stage—making lots of sounds and quite proud of himself. Everything goes into his mouth and he’s crawling up a storm.

We had such a blast with this little kiddle!!

We had a crawl party where Owen literally crawled around the perimeter of the first floor of the house, while we kept guard of the furniture, electrical outlets, stairways and corners of walls. Let me tell you that little ishkabibble is fast! I was the only exercise I had in a long time.

I can’t get enough of this guy!!

A bottle, a trip upstairs to the nursery, a change of diaper, into his pajamas, three stories later he was wiped out. He fell asleep the second his head hit the pillow. We had the monitor downstairs to keep us posted on how he was sleeping.  I received a few texts from Oona and reassured here all was fine.

And when Oona and Sam arrived home, I think they were a bit surprised that everything went so well and Owen was sleeping.  The outcome?  We’re babysitting at Christmas—actually the day after Christmas, my daughter and son-in-law are going to spend the night in Philly. Owen will be in our charge for the entire night. I can’t wait!

Bye Cincy. Bye Oona and Sam and Owen. See you soon!

All was well.  The next day, we flew back home to Philly. The flights—to and from Cincy were filled to capacity. Luckily everyone was compliant with the masks and there was no problem.

I managed to start a book, Where the Crawdads Sing, which had been highly recommended to me. I also finished the book. And what started out to be a promising read, ended up to be a convoluted story with an abrupt ending that had me thinking the author got tired of writing and decided to end the book quickly.  This book is going to be a movie. I guarantee it won’t be good.

Where the Crawdads Sing: Owens, Delia: 9781472154644: Amazon.com: Books

Everyone had such high praise for this book but I felt it went into too many directions.  As much as I loved the main character, Kya, the book just veered into too many subplots. And the ending was just so abrupt.

Life was back to normal. Somewhat.  The next day, the annual Flu shots came available. And so, we headed to our local pharmacy to get our shots. It was the usual painless experience. But then, something happened.  By evening, I had a huge welt on my arm where the needle was injected.  My throat began to swell and my head started to ache—and I’m not one for headaches.   By the time I woke up the next morning, I was full-fledged into a head cold that knocked me for a loop.

The weird thing is that I’ve never had a bad reaction to any flu shot I’ve received. I was wondering that perhaps because this was my first time receiving the shot after passing the age of 65, and the dosage is stronger for those of us over the age of 65, maybe it was too much for me.  Then my husband reminded me that we were in a plane and I could have caught a really bad cold on either of the flights. Both theories make sense so it was either one or the other.

It was so bad that Chloraseptic was my fashion accessory. BTW, that stuff is still as vile as it was back in the day!

Then I lost my voice. Now, at this point, my nose was chock-full of gunk. I had a night nosebleed, actually two of them, so I was afraid to blow my nose. And when I did go back to blowing my nose, I was astonished at the amount of gunk that was exiting my nostrils. Not to mention the amount of phlegm that was coming up from my throat. And as disgusting as it seems, all I could think of was how many WW points are in phlegm and mucus.  Yes. I’m that person.

Hyper RPG reaction mrw twitch rpg GIF

This was pretty-much how I was stuffing my nose!

My co-workers were concerned too. Not really about me but you know they were wondering if it was just a cold—if you catch my drift.  Add to the fact that my son Roman was coming to visit at the end of the week for a few days then leaving Philly to head to LA to visit my oldest son, Jake.

At-home COVID-19 rapid tests to be sold at CVS, Walgreens and Walmart - Chicago Sun-Times

Easy instructions. Easy to use. Timely results. I was pleased with my negative results!

With no time to spare, I called my husband and asked him if he could arrange for me to get tested again for Covid. He did one better. He purchased an at-home Covid test and drove it to my office. Surprisingly, working in the Healthcare genre for a company that doesn’t supply us with testing, my at-home Covid test was now an in-office Covid Test—that my husband paid for.

I took the test, waited the fifteen minutes and the results were negative—which I kind of figured they would be.  All was well.

Roman arrived on Friday.  And we enjoyed our time together. I cooked. We ate.  We went out to a great dinner downtown Phoenixville to celebrate Roman’s birthday and I ate and ate and ate more. Our restaurant of choice was Avlos, a relatively new Greek restaurant and we will be back. Oh Yes. We will be back! With no regard to the fact that I am supposed to be losing weight.

We started with appetizers and let me tell you, this was, hands down the best Pita bread any of us had ever had. This Dakos with Barley, Feta and Tomato was off the charts…

But my personal showstopper was the Octopus in a fava bean puree. I could eat this every night.

Vincent loved his lamb chops and said they were cooked to perfection.

Roman wouldn’t stop raving about the Bronzini he had…

And my grilled beef patties were absolutely flavorful!

A delightful evening was had. Outdoor dining. Great company and great food!

I think the greatest birthday gift I gave to my son was the loss of my voice. It seemed everyone was filled with glee at the fact I would open my mouth and nothing would come out. In fact, I actually took a sick day that Monday!

Now, get this. Roman left early Wednesday morning. That was September 1st.  He ended up taking the train to the airport and made it in time to no line at the TSA and his flight scheduled for 10:55 AM left for LA on time.  Unless you are living under a rock, you know that Hurricane Ida was traveling through various parts of the country. Philadelphia, in particular. My son got on one of the last flights to leave Philly that day.  Within hours of his departure, the rains came. Quite frankly, it was more than rain. By the time I left the office, it was a deluge.

While at work the day Roman left, I had the flight tracker window opened on my work computer. I literally followed his flight. What mom doesn’t do that?

Luckily for me, my husband had the foresight to drive me to work that day and pick me up. Had I been alone, I don’t know what would have happened.  Roads were closed. Flights were cancelled. Shopping centers were flooded. Ida wreaked havoc and caused death and destruction. It was a shock to the system to drive through puddles that were more akin to lakes.  We were seemingly detoured on every road leading to our home. The normally 15-minute drive took over an hour.  Our internet service was shut down but were lucky to have power.

Downtown Phoenixville after the rain. I didn’t take this pic nor did I take the one below. It truly was horrific. Restaurants and shops are flooded. It sucks.

This is a route we take regularly. In one afternoon the damage was done!

The next two days getting to and from work was challenging due to the local road closures. I hate highway driving simply because of the aggressive drivers on the road.  And I had to take the highway.

The sun is shining but the roads are still closed!

By Friday things were improving. And Friday was our Wedding Anniversary.  Vincent surprised me at work with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. It was a nice start to this holiday weekend.

I’m still admiring these flowers. In full bloom they are absolutely spectacular!

Okay so back to Ida.  Thursday, at work, we had no lights but the computers were working.   On Friday morning, the lights and computers were working—then around 10 AM, everything went blank. The computers shut off. The lights went off. The AC went off. It was awful. It was the outcome of PECO working in the area.  And that is how I started Labor Day Weekend.

Those crazy Gucci’s. Dysfunctional and juicy!

So, I went home and started another book:  The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed.  I didn’t finish it but am nearing the end. This is a great book. It’s so juicy! The Gucci family was crazy!!!!  I’m not giving anything away except that this true story is also quite interesting. It’s going to be a movie. I’ll bet the movie is going to be fantastic! Lady Gaga and Al Pacino are in it.

At 8:15 we arrived at the beach to this…

..and the sun made an appearance about an hour later. It was a great day!

The water was wonderfully warm–but then again, it always warms up in September!

On Saturday, we took our last beach visit of the season to Stone Harbor. The day started out cloudy and turned into a spectacularly sunny and clear one. The water was warmer than the air so it was just the perfect way to end the official summer season!  Despite the fact I wore sunscreen and had my head buried in my Gucci book, I still managed to get a red face.

Even with sunscreen, I got a red face!

Then we came home and ate. And I made Pina Coladas. More wasted calories.

On Sunday I went for a well-needed manicure and pedicure. But the greatest thing was the nail place I go to reopened its wax room and I was able to get the first professional lip wax since the lockdown. I tell you, those at-home wax strips are nothing compared to having a professional wax that lady mustache from your upper lip! Man, I feel like a woman again!

Mani. Pedi. Lip Wax. Is there anything better? 

After my spa morning, a strange thought popped into my head. The thought was regarding our refrigerator. It was neglected. Seriously neglected.  My bright idea was to clean out the fridge as soon as I arrived home—after stopping off to purchase cleaning products and sponges.

More than elbow grease was used to get this thing spankin’ clean! It took me three hours. I’m not kidding. Three. Hours.

I took every item out of the fridge. I unassembled drawers and shelves. I scrubbed them, dried them and spent about an hour figuring out how to get them placed back into the spots they were in.  I found cranberry sauce that I made last November. Did you know that homemade cranberry sauce doesn’t last the ten months it was in the fridge? It was moldy and gross. That cranberry sauce wasn’t the only forgotten foodstuff in there. I think I may have had some diy raisins that used to be either grapes or prunes.  It’s a good thing I wore rubber gloves while scrubbing because my hands still look nice!

Now it’s Monday. The last day of Labor Day Weekend. 2021. The days are getting shorter. The mornings and evenings are cooler with still-hot 9 to 5 days. The outside lighting is changing. It’s becoming brighter and less subdued. The trees are showing the first signs that autumn is on the way. Some of the green leaves are yellowing. Some are turning brown.

I don’t know what’s worse. Pumpkin spice or those cinnamon-scented brooms and pine cones. Autumn at its worst!

And after Labor Day, I’ll still wear white if I want to.  I’ll slowly be transitioning my summer clothing to more appropriate cooler-weather clothing—or at least what manages to fit. I’m telling you; I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to.

Touch of transition. I wore this shirtwaist dress and shoes as opposed to sandals to work on Friday.  I’ll miss my easy summer shifts!

But with the shorter days and cooler weather also brings on more of a schedule for me. It’s easier for me to write more regularly on the blog and it’s easier for me to have more of a routine for weight loss. I dunno. It just seems like everything falls apart in the summer. It might be because it’s more of a casual and relaxed time. Longer and lazy days. Nights of sitting outside.   And while I really do hate to see summer leave, I’m welcoming that time of year when my life is more routine.

Let’s see what the remainder of the month will bring. I am ready to, once again, get back to healthier eating!

And that’s what I’ve been up to!  It’s been a wild summer. I must admit I’m ready for the more routine schedule that the cool weather has to offer!

So how was your end-of-summer?

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A Makeup Brand You Don’t Want to Ignore! Let’s Create a MOB Scene!

A funny thing happened to me recently while perusing through Instagram. One of those infamous Insta-ads, came across in my feed. Normally, I ignore them. But this was different. It was an ad for MOB Beauty, and I just can’t ignore any makeup brand.

MOB Beauty–NOT to be confused with MOB Wives!  MOB Beauty takes a more natural and kinder approach!

To be honest, I had never heard of MOB, but then again, the brand is relatively new and my interest was highly piqued simply because going through the brand’s feed, the products looked really lovely. But something else caught my attention—the lack of mature, lined faces.  I dunno what came over me but I contacted the company to find out why, in this all-inclusive age, weren’t ageing faces within the photos of their Instagram feed.

I received a very, very nice reply—almost apologetic, and an offer to try the products.

You have no idea how touched and honestly happy I was.  Being of the 60 + demographic, it’s daunting to be excluded in the beauty industry—especially since we have plenty of disposable income to spend on beauty and skincare products. Add to that, we’re a younger older generation!  So, I took MOB up on the offer and put together a palette and two lip colors-one a balm and one a lipstick.

No wasted packaging here. No too-large box, just well-thought out and earth-friendly!

Before I go into the review of the products, here’s a link to the company’s website: MOB Beauty.  It’s good reading and you’ll find a few surprises. Among them, one of the co-founders is Victor Casale, a co-founder of Cover-FX, and former managing director at MAC.

The Problem With Palm Oil + Why Creating a Sustainable Beauty Brand Takes  Time with MOB Beauty's Victor Casale | Gloss Angeles | Podcasts on Audible  | Audible.com

Thank you Gloss Angeles for taking this photo of Mr. Casale! He of the MAC cosmetics (and my favorite shadow shade of all time is by MAC–Quarry!). He’s the co-founder of MOB Beauty!

The company believes in sustainability and they stand true to their word with both their products and packaging.  All packaging is recyclable and reusable.  There’s nothing fancy, no unicorns or bubbles–just good, pragmatic, organic packaging!

Here’s how the individual refills are packaged. Mine have already been recycled!

Choosing the products for my palette was easy because you can decide on products that go best with your skin tone—light, medium, or dark.  Being I’m of pasty-fish belly white skin tone, I chose light! Sadly, I never made it to the beach enough this summer to even graduate to Medium.

The palette I chose. All nice and complete!

There are three sizes:  the smallest—a Compact 1+ for one to two refills; a Palette 4+for 1 – 8 refills and the largest—Palette 6+ which I chose.

Here’s what it looked like when I ordered.

For the eyes I chose M2 (a soft bone); M4 (a dark espresso); M6 (a cool peach) and a black cake eyeliner.

For the face I chose M36 (a soft rose taupe bronzer); M15 (a plum pink blush) M68 (a strawberry pink clay cream blush) M49 (a shimmering pink champagne highlighter)

The two lip colors I chose were the lipstick in M7 (Carnation Pink) and the lip balm in M53 (Clear Shimmer)

Lipstick on the left and lip balm on the right.

Now, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or sparking water and come along as I use the products. A few things of note. I took the photos without face makeup on. I figured a bare face would be able to best showcase the products for you.  The products were applied around 7:30 AM in the same natural light in my little guest/makeup room because I really wanted to be as transparent as possible.

Here we go!  Please note that I apply my makeup whilst wearing my nightie. I refuse to get my clothing messy–especially since I’m a natural-born slob!

I’ll also point out that I have visible pores. I no longer try to hide them.

So, I started with a bare face.  Moisturizer was applied as was eye cream. After that set in, I applied a thin coating of Embryolisse because that’s what I do every day.  Concealer was applied to my eyelids and to the brow bone and blended in with a beauty sponge.

Here I am–in all my naked face, pro-aging averageness!

This is what I use as an eyeshadow primer. It works for me.

Wanting to brighten the area of my eyes, I went in with a soft blending brush to the color M2. These shadows are finely milled and are butter soft, so a light touch is all you need.  I blended the color throughout the upper eye area. Then I brushed M6 for a bit of depth.

I started with M2 to the far left, then proceeded with M6 next to it! That fluffy blending brush did the job.

Hair (what’s left of it) pulled back and brightening the eyes!

Lastly, I applied the M4 shadow. This is crazy-pigmented and a super-light touch, which I learned, is all you need!  All the shadows blend remarkably well so even if you go a bit overload, you can blend the color away.

On to the darker M4 Espresso shade in the crease of my eyes for some depth. We’re not done yet….

As a “lets-try-this” I also used the M4 shadow as a brow powder. I love me a product that multitasks and if traveling and you forget a brow product or if you run out of your favorite brow product, it’s always a good thing to have something laying around that works. This works!  Therefore, M4 is a great multi-tasking shadow!

The brows are awake from their helping of espresso!  I love a product that multi-tasks!

After the shadows were applied, I went in with the black cake liner. It has been a long, long time since I’ve used cake liner. And I put my bended eyeliner brush to good use.  Me, being the lazy woman I am, used my spit to wet the liner.  (Oh, come on now! Don’t be disgusted. How many of you had a mother who spit into a tissue then wiped schmutz off your face—and how many of us did that to our children?)  It’s my saliva. It’s organic and I’ve been vaccinated.  I applied a very thin line then went in with a black eye pencil to tight line my eyes.

Yes. I did.  And I must say this bended brush is excellent for cross-eyed me to apply my liner. I think I’ll go back to wearing cake liner on a regular basis!

The eyes have it! Let’s give a hand to these shadows because they certainly don’t make me look older than I am!

Mascara was next and the eyes looked very, very nice. Overall, I was incredibly pleased with all the shadows. And for matte shadows, the finish was soft and not chalky or harsh. I’m already eyeing more matte as well as shimmer shades.

Not too shabby!

Eyes done and it’s next to the bronzer-as-contour.  This bronzer is everything I’ve been searching for in a powder. First off, it doesn’t even feel like a powder—it’s so freaking light-as-a-feather on the face. And the shade M36 is perfect for light-to-pale skin. It’s got that taupe/gray/rose thing going on so it really gives the illusion of shadow—especially around the jowl-line. I love this and already know it’ll be a winter staple.

Heading into M36 with a contour brush!

Can you see that subtle contour I acheived with the bronzer? I swear this bronzer is the money shade!

Grandma’s ready for blush now!

Blush is next!  I used the M68 Cream Clay Blush. WOW! This is very pigmented and a light touch is really all you need.    It’s a beautiful flush and is cream and it stays put all day!

THIS BLUSH THOUGH!  I wish it photographed as beautiful as it really is. I appled with a Real Techiques brush. This little brush needs to be replaced but it is the greatest brush for applying blush!

Blush blended in to a natural flush! 

Over the blush, I applied the highlighter and did so with my finger. Again, this is a buttery soft powder that feels just beautiful.

See that glow on my upper cheek? It isn’t sweat. It’s the MOB highlighter. I am rather fond of this champagne pink shade. It goes very well over the blush!

The lips were last. The cool thing about MOB being sustainable is the fact the lipsticks can be snapped into an empty capsule. You can use the capsule for a good number of refills which is less trash to add to our environment.  I dapped the carnation pink lipstick, which is super creamy. It’s more of a satin finish than a matte.  Over that I swiped the lip balm. This lip balm is epic. Believe me, I am Our Lady of Perpetual Chapped Lips and this balm really makes my lips soft and hydrated!

The empty capsule comes in at a cost of $5 and will last through many, many, many refills..

The lipsticks and balm (refills) come like this. The bottom snaps into the capsule. It really is a simple but remarkable idea!

Lipstick with gloss applied as a top coat.  I must admit–it looks rather nice–doesn’t it?

And here’s the finished face!  I’ll tell you—I switch regularly between cream shadow and powders. Some of the lighter shades of powder shadows can come off one-dimensional and chalky. MOB created a matte that really is mature-eyelid friendly. They don’t age my eyes either. They blend very well.  The one thing I think I would change is perhaps saving the espresso shade more for the evening. But the dark brown really works well as a makeshift eyebrow product!

I put some hair on and got dressed! Overally, I highly recommend MOB Beauty for my mature-proager girls/they/them/.for everyone over 50,60,70….

The face colors—bronzer, blushes and highlighter are all exceptional. This is great quality makeup. The price for the palette I chose with the makeup, is $135 and is an excellent buy.  And you have the option of smaller sizes which are even more cost-effective. All the products are vegan and cruelty-free.

Hey! You really get what you pay for with this!  The palette is worth every cent!

But most of all, these products work well for mature skin. The shades blend well and don’t draw attention to our…. changing skin. The shades are very well—thought out and natural in appearance.

Sustainable beauty is what it is all about!

It’s not easy to find products that truly work when you’re above a certain age, but I highly recommend this brand.  Go peruse their site and let me know what you think?  And I do believe we will be seeing more age-friendly brands in the future!

 

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Sometimes You Do. Sometimes You Don’t. Getting What You Pay For.

A pair of sandals brought on the inspiration for this post.

The sandals that inspired this blog post!

This past birthday, I received a gift card to Nordstrom. It lent itself to a good amount to be spent in the store.  Considering that my body grew larger, I couldn’t quite bring myself to use the card for upsized clothing. And, as I have a seemingly overabundance of beauty products, there was no need for me to head to the makeup counters.

Bitmoji Image

Although limited in clothing due to the pandemic weight gain, there’s always room for summer sandals!

Inasmuch as I’m a sucker for shoes, I was nearing that time of year where my proper shoes head for hibernation in the bowels of my closet and the sandals make their annual appearance. And that’s when it hit me. The purchase I needed to make.  Tory Burch Miller Sandals.

Amazon.com | Tory Burch Women's Miller Patent Thong Sandal | Flip-Flops

Yes. I did. With a gift card and a credit to my account. I finally made the purchase.

For a few years, I’ve been admiring these sandals simply because I like the esthetics. The Sandal looks good. They can be dressed up or down and have a very feminine vibe. They are quite attractive.

However, I was wary about making the purchase—and I’ll tell you why.  I’m not a fan of the Tory Burch brand. When I worked in the handbag department at Nordstrom, Tory Burch bags were by far, the most popular of the “Bridge” brands. (In case you aren’t aware—a bridge bag is the one that isn’t in the “designer” luxury category and yet, isn’t in the “fast fashion” or inexpensive categories. These are the brands that run in the middle. Although I have to say the price point for many bridge brands borders on luxury prices).   Women of all ages go crazy for anything Tory Burch.

Tory Burch Bags: 15 Picks From the Semi-Annual Sale Up to 62% Off

I have this Tory Burch bag. I never use it because I use my Louis Vuitton Neverfull instead. It’s a nice bag but not a “Wow” bag. I feel the same way about all the brands bags but women go crazy over the brand.  What can I say?

My dealings with the brand run the gamut of okay to meh. Some years back I was a huge fan of the Tory Burch Reva Flat.  These flats were a bitch-and-a-half to break in.  Blisters and sore toes finally heeded to what ended up to be a pretty darn comfortable shoe. In fact, although old, they are in my rotation of shoes to wear during “bad” weather.

My black TB Old School Reva Flats. I happen to wish the brand kept the elasticized back. But who am I?  Anyway, it took forever to break these in and now they are comfy like bedroom slippers. I’ll keep wearing them till they fall apart–which will most likely be soon from the looks of these!

I’ve had a horrible experience with a pair of boots that broke and had to be repaired countless times. Ultimately, I wrote to the company and actually did get help in the fact I was able to send them the boots and they sent me a credit. I’ll give kudos to the brand’s ONLINE customer service! To the boutique at King of Prussia Mall–the customer service is horrific!

The thing that sucked about these boots is that they looked absolutely beautiful. I loved them. And then, the zipper just kept breaking and breaking and breaking–Read about it:  The (s)Tory of the Boots From Hell-Part One

The Saga of the Boots from Hell Comes to an End.

You get the gist of where I’m coming from—right?

Back to the sandals—at $198, I just was not going to shell out my money for these very popular sandals. But…a gift card, along with a store credit and a sale (and not the awful Anniversary Sale), allowed me to come home with a pair of the coveted Miller Sandals for nothing out of my pocket.  The sandals I purchased were in the shade “Makeup”, a nice, neutral nude/blush color that would go with everything.

Pretty sandals they are. And the nude color lends itself well to most of my summer clothing!

The sandals run a bit small for the masses but when you have narrow feet, as I do, then they run TTS. And so, just a few weeks after my birthday in Mid-April, I treated myself to a pair of the Tory Burch Miller Sandals.   And in all honesty, I liked the look of them so much that I ordered a printed pair from the Tory Burch website—which, I might add, were on sale for a deep discount!

I don’t know what the deal is, but the pair I ordered off the TB website (on the right) at a deep discount is wearing much better than the ones from Nordstrom!

It’s sometimes difficult to describe, but once the warm weather hits, I just want nothing to do with shoes.  My toes need a break from squeezing into pointy-toed flats and heels.  My feet need the freedom from being confined all winter. And, since I live to drive barefoot, I love my sandal life!

And I’ve worn these quite often to work!

Now, given the fact that the Miller Sandals are such a nice neutral shade, I ended up wearing them a lot. I mean, a lot.  Mostly to work because that’s the only place I go to anyway. I wore them in NYC once and a few times on errands. Never to the beach.

The sandals have a leather upper. The sole is rubber. The foot bed is a foam padding covered by fake leather. So, we’re not talking about an entire leather sandal here. And the $198 price for the regular Miller Sandal climbs upward to $228 depending on which model you buy.

At a price of upwards to $228 depending which Miller you buy, these are rather pricey.

These Miller Sandals have been with me for a little over three months.  And lo and behold, last week I noticed that the leather “thong” separating my big toes from the rest is peeling.  The leather is peeling!!!!   The foot bed is showcasing the oil from my toes—and it makes the sandals look pretty dirty when they aren’t on my feet.

Close up of how the footbed is wearing–after a short time.

Don’t even get me started on the wear and peeling of the “leather” on the thong area! 

At over three months, what will they look like after a year? Or two? How will they hold up—and I take very good care of my footwear.

For me, you don’t get what you pay for when purchasing the Tory Burch Miller Sandal.  They have the quality of a $39 pair of sandals.

As pretty as the sandals are, there is no way on earth they are worth the price tag of $198 and upwards.

The printed Millers are wearing better but then again, I haven’t worn them as often as the others. It’s a shame because they are a beautiful sandal–just not worth the money at all!

Which brings me to my beloved Rondini Sandals.

I know at this juncture I sound like a broken record that skips and repeats but Rondini sandals are worth every dollar and euro spent.  In fact, in USD, each pair of Rondini sandals that I’ve purchased over the years were less expensive than the Tory Burch Miller Sandal.

My Rondinis. The youngest pair is from 2017–the last time we were in St. Tropez. That’s five summers. The oldest is either ten or eleven years old. They all have worn beautifully. The leather forming to the shape of my foot. The patina from the leather is gorgeous and every single pair came in at under $200 USD. You definitely get what you pay for at Rondini!

First off, they are custom fit and made in the studio. You are getting the perfect fit in a sandal. The sandals are all leather. No man-made plastic or faux leather. And the sandals that I’ve had have lasted years—one pair a decade and a few more inching on that. Believe me, I got what I paid for and then some. And if you can’t make it to St. Tropez, you can head to Rondini’s Website. The customer service is stellar!

Back to Nordstrom.

The skirt I eagerly awaited for.

I posted about my purchases from the disappointing Anniversary Sale. And I was eagerly awaiting a brown knit skirt that I was sure would be a great buy.  It wasn’t.

Sorry not sorry but this skirt just didn’t look right–now matter how I tried wearing it.  It was just “off”.

The skirt was shoddy. It had a cheaply-constructed hem—the kind you know would never lay quite right after a wash or dry clean.  It was flimsy and the brown was slightly “off”—it wasn’t a true rich brown.  I thought about keeping it for those winter days when the weather is horrible. Then I thought some more and realized I would never wear it even in bad weather.

The brown shade just wasn’t as rich as I thought it would be and the construction was downright shoddy. It’s garbage.

Back she goes!

I’m actually headed to Nordstrom after I finish this blog post. I’m eagerly awaiting returning this!

In my pro-aging journey, I’m becoming a bit more particular about what I buy as far as clothing goes. I haven’t purchased one summer item. And it has nothing to do with the weight gain, it’s just that I don’t want to spend the money when I have a closet full of clothes that work for me.

As an aside, this Lilly Pulitzer Wynne Maxi Dress is definitely a favorite and is worth the money. I’ve worn her for the past two summers on a constant rotation!

I will say, though, that I’m incredibly disappointed in the Tory Burch sandals. What about you?  Have you had experiences where you just paid too much money for an item that wasn’t worth it? Please share!

 

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Weigh to Go!!

It’s Thursday. My self-proposed weigh-in day.  The pounds are coming off slowly. But, as long as the needle on the scale moves downward—I’m fine!

Thirteen pounds to go until I reach my first goal! It’ll be a while!

This week brings another pound down. At 158, I’m actually happy. Why? Well, last Saturday, my husband surprised me with a dinner out to our favorite restaurant—Spring Mill Café. Weight loss journey or not, there was no way I would turn a dinner at our favorite restaurant down.

Back to Spring Mill Cafe. We just may be back next month for our Wedding Anniversary dinner!

“Our” table was reserved for us..

We started out with the Pate Tasting. I’ll admit that we put quite a dent in here before I remembered to snap this photo!

I ordered Tajine D’agneau.  Lamb Tajine.  I love Moroccan food and this is the best lamb tajine (or tagine) that I’ve ever had. Whenever it’s on the menu, I order it!

And yes, despite the decadent amount of red wine we consumed, there was room for dessert. A small serving of Chocolate Mousse that we shared!

During the day, we enjoyed the sun and ocean breeze at Stone Harbor and upon arriving home, I jumped into the shower, finished a book, then got ready for dinner. It took me less than ten minutes to get dressed and put the makeup and hair on.  That’s the great thing about summer—the sun is the makeup artist. All it takes is a bit of eye makeup, lip gloss and yer done!

We drove down to Stone Harbor early in the morning despite the mix of clouds with the sun.  Hey–any day at the beach is a good day!

All dressed up for dinner. LOL. My fang tooth is peeking out!

The worst part, though about this change of diet is the weekend. As you know, being married to a Frenchman, he loves his aperitifs on the weekend. But—I’m being very good in that I have my little Weight Watchers snacks which are 2 points and I’m incorporating the drinks into my weekly totals.

Four Days in Paris 2018- Part Two Our Rebellious Thanksgiving Dinner and a  Most Busy Black Friday! | Atypical 60

We’re never too removed from our Weekend Kir Royals!

He enjoys the Gougeres whilst I pretend these protein puffs are what he’s having!

It’s also a slow process because I sit on my ass all day at work—literally, all day. And when I get home, I’m too drained to move. I’m working on that though.

sleep glasses

Me. After working all day and trying to blog!

During the week, I’m definitely eating healthier. Since blueberries are abound right now, I’m bringing them to work and munching on them during the day.

Blueberries for Sal: McCloskey, Robert: 9780140501698: Amazon.com: Books

Do you remember this iconic book?  My life is Blueberries for Cathe!

In the evening, it’s been pretty-much a cold platter followed by a snack of my homemade granola.

Weeknight meals have been pretty-much platters similar to this. I’ve been mixing non-fat Greek Yogurt with a bit of Tahini as a dressing of sorts.

My dinner this evening. Note the salt on the edge of the plate. I’m not giving it up!

The recipe I used is from Cookie +Kate. I modified by using walnuts instead of pecans because that’s what I had in the house. I also added nutmeg because I love nutmeg. Although not low in calories or fat I measure out 1/4 cup for a little snack during the weeknights!

Luckily, a good number of my summer work clothing still managed to fit throughout this season because the clothes have stretch as well as many of the dresses being shift dresses and swing dresses. Here’s a look at what I’ve been wearing this week. It’s really important to me to maintain a level of positive style while I go through this process.

On Monday I wore a very short shift that has been in my rotation for almost ten years. This little number is from J. Crew Factory and fits much better when I weigh less. However, since it is a shift, it is forgiving for the extra pounds!

I wore this olive swing dress on Tuesday. I LOVE this because it is a true short-sleeved dress and the swing style hides a plethora of sins. It’s one of my favorite Amazon Purchases as is the scarf . Link to the dress:  Amazon Favorite!

Worn with a camo scarf and very blond hair–courtesy of Henry Margu Wigs, I really liked this look a lot!

Yesterday I wore pants for the first time in three months. These black paper-bag waist pants were purchased in the early spring.  But I didn’t shave my legs so I wore the pants. Because they are a loose pant, they don’t give a slimming effect but I like them anyway because I love the look and they are super-comfy..

And by changing my eating habits, my gut is shrinking. Albeit very slowly but it is shrinking!

And today, I wore another J. Crew Factory frock from years past. I love this strait shift because it also hides the flabby bits but also reminds me of the house dresses my mother used to wear.

It can be very motivating to try to look your best—and heading to an office absolutely helps me with that—especially since all I really want to do is shove my face into a gallon of ice cream!!

Ice Cream Eating GIF

I’ll be honest. This is what I want to do–except with Butter Pecan !!

Let’s see what the next week will bring!

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The Overrated Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And What I Bought!

Okay. Before I show you what my purchases were from Nordstrom’s Overrated Anniversary Sale, I want to touch base on a few things. And, as an ex-employee of Nordstrom, I can speak freely about this.

Actually, no it isn’t!

There was a time when I looked forward to this annual sale. For me, it was all about that great pair of boots or that wonderful handbag that you could buy for a very decent discount. The merchandise offered was epic.  I’ve made purchases on leather Longchamp bags and various brands of boots. Going back a few years, the sale was something that was well-worth the annual wait.

I’ve had this leather Longchamp bag for seven years now and I love it…

…same with this Navy Longchamp bag. And Navy is difficult to come by. Both of these were epic purchases!

Then something happened. It happened to Nordstrom.  The store became a “brand” and became obsessed with “influencers”. Not that there’s anything wrong with this but…. Nordstrom veered of the path and seemed to have lowered standards. Rather than keep the store’s exclusivity, Nordstrom fell prey to social media and the younger influencers while forgetting about their loyal customers!

Nordstrom seems to be veering more and more toward a younger market–but remember-the younger consumer isn’t as loyal as the older consumer. They follow trends…and at some point, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale won’t be trendy.  Read this article from Buzzfeed: Influencers Arent Into the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale--it’s an excellend read!

But what really bothers me about the change in the Anniversary Sale is the influencers (a great number of them) receive a commission through an affiliate program on items sold. And that’s also fine. I don’t begrudge anyone from a commission. And when I worked at Nordstrom, the commission was excellent. However, there was a downside to commission.  And that was the return of an item.  Any item that was returned within a timely fashion was held against your earnings. I honestly don’t know if that is the case with the affiliate program, but I’m guessing it doesn’t.

black friday success GIF by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski

It’s all about the Benjamins–or is it? What about losing commissions on returned items?

Which brings me to another thing. Influencers have early access—even earlier than I do as a card holder. I’m constantly wondering just how much do they return of their purchases?  Given Nordstrom’s ridiculously generous return policy, I can betcha there’s a ton of returns on purchases from these influencers.  And as an ex-employee that irks me.  I’ve seen purses returned with little tobacco pieces from unsmoked cigarettes as well as purses that smelled like cat piss. I’m not kidding. I’ve even had customers buy stuff with every intention of a return after a special occasion. That’s thievery and Nordstrom enables it. You buy something and you wear it, and unless it completely falls apart, due to bad construction, you keep it.  As a consumer, I purchase to keep.

My other ‘thing” is that a lot of influencers who don’t make the purchases will recommend a ton of items that they wouldn’t even buy themselves.  I just don’t understand that train of thought. Perhaps it’s that I’m not easily influenced. Perhaps its that when I recommend something, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve lived with it for quite some time!

With each passing Anniversary Sale, I’m becoming more skepitcal!

So, let’s get back to the Anniversary Sale of 2021.

I perused. And perused. And perused. And the disappointment was at a high. The quality of the goods used to be remarkable. There was a time when you could find different, out of the ordinary pieces there—but no more. The price point is still higher but the quality is lower. The store just isn’t special or luxury anymore.

Regardless, I did manage to find a few items for the fall. And as I’m on a no-buy, I discovered an old gift card that I had from a couple of years back that had gone unused.

What did I buy?

What did I buy? Sneakers, a scarf and two pairs of leggings. And last year I purchased leggings and a scarf.

I purchased a knit midi-skirt that has yet to arrive.

I’m actually looking forward to the arrival of this skirt. I’ll look great with boots!

The Skirt:  Is brown, comes mid-calf, has a slit and I made the purchase for fall/winter because the color veered off my usual black or navy. Brown isn’t a color I wear but I thought with a black shirt and black boots, the skirt will look great. Also, given the fact I’m losing weight, the knit fabric is very weight-friendly. The Anniversary Sale price is $29.90 returning to $49 after the sale. I used a note and got this for $19.90

You can’t go wrong with leggings–and good ones at that!

Vince Camuto Two Seamed Back Leggings:  You cannot go wrong with a good, solid pair of leggings. I chose black simply because I’m a fan. After reading many reviews, I went with the leggings in two sizes. One in Small and one in Medium.  Apparently, these run large and although I have gained pandemic weight, I was afraid that the Medium might be just a tad big.  These are not flimsy in any way, shape or form. They are extremely opaque and well-constructed. The seam in the back gives them a more expensive look. Retailing for $49 after the sale, I paid $29.90 for each pair.

This is the size Medium. It’s a bit looser in the bottom leg and in the waist. Both fit well.

There isn’t much difference between the Small and the Medium. The differences are that the waistline on the Medium is slightly larger and more comfortable. However, the waistline on the small is tighter but not to the point where it is painful or squeezing me.

Check out the waist on the Medium. It’s looser and a more forgiving size. And a tad more comfortable!

Whereas the waist on the Smaller size cuts into my gut more.  Regardless,  both sizes are keepers.

A very good buy!

The leg in the calf area on the Medium is slightly looser but not by a lot.  The leg on the Small for me, is a better fit.  I prefer the Small because I like the tighter leg and as I lose weight, the waist should be a better fit. I’m still keeping the Medium sized though because for home wear and those days where I just want to be extremely comfy and not polished, they will suffice!

I’m still in shock that I purchased these. But I’m thrilled that I did!

Nike Court Vintage Premium Sneaker:  The pair cost $49.90 and is now sold out. The sneaker runs about $70 or $75 after the sale—but I don’t know if this will be re-stocked. The funny thing is I’m not a sneaker person. Yet, I made the purchase.  How can I put this?  It’s not an ageing thing but since I need to get out and move—a helpful part of keeping my depression at bay, I have been searching for a more stylish pair of sneakers and saw these. While I haven’t ventured outside with them, I’ve worn them at home and they are comfortable—so far! I like the way they look too.

I’m an 8 1/2 and these fit TTS. They are comfortable and look great with the leggings!