Guess Who’s Gonna Be a Grandma????? I’m Joining the Grandma Club!

Yesterday was a big day. I was finally able to announce on Social Media that I was going to be a grandma—or glamma—or grammy.

The amount of well-wishers warmed my heart! Not to mention that this post was the best one ever!

(My personal choice being Moira but I have been nixed by the mommy-to-be)

Oh yes!  I am so ready to be a grandma. My WIGS are ready to be a grandma!  But the moniker Moira was nixed! But I AM championing myself!

Anyway, at this juncture, I’m so excited that I cannot contain myself. It’s the greatest thing. You see, it never really mattered much to me if I became a grandparent or not. It isn’t my choice.  I’ve had my children and their decisions are to be respected. If they don’t want children who am I to voice my opinion?

The tears are happy ones!  Seriously, I cannot contain myself!

I’m so full of shit!  The thought of being a grandma thrills me with delight and during this dismal year of 2020, it is the best news I could receive.  It’s also a possibility that a “Pandemic Baby Boom” is about to commence!

PANDEMIC

I could re-write this. Diane Keaton as Grandma in Pandemic Baby Boom!

It’s been killing me too, because I found out last month. Oona and Sam were giving me a FaceTime tour of their home that’s being built. And she stopped in the makings of a room and told me the spot was going to be a nursery. I laughed and said “someday or it can be another guest room”.  And then she laid it on me and told me she was pregnant.  I dropped the phone, ran around the house like Chippy when it’s meal time and jumped up and down—nearly causing a flood (like—who’s the one who needs diapers anyway?)

seinfeld celebrating GIF

Seriously. I was tons more excited than this!

Needless to say, as happy as I am, this brings on other emotions.

My three children were never the favored grandchildren of my mother. It’s no secret. It’s no surprise. I still remember the time, Oona’s second feis, an Irish Dance competition, held in Long Island not too far from where one of my sisters live.  My mother was visiting from Florida.

She promised Oona she would come and watch her.  When I was ready to leave, my mother said that she would meet me later because my sister would drive her.  It was a truthfully-challenged moment that neither Oona nor I have ever forgotten.

Nobody puts my baby in a corner. And nobody will put my grandbaby in a corner!

You do not do that to your grandchild.  That wasn’t the only time.  I’ll leave it at that.

But after a few similar incidents, I vowed to never do to a grandchild what my mother did to my children.

I remember the relationship I had with my grandmother and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My grandmother was an amazing woman. An immigrant from Ireland, she worked her ass off, first as a domestic, then years later, after my grandfather lost a lung due to damages from WWI, she worked as a cleaning lady in an office in Manhattan. She worked for years.

Grandma Margaret Crowley Wynne. I was absolutely blessed and my children were blessed to have her as their great-grandma!

And when I stayed with my grandparents and my Aunt Terry during the summers, every week night evening, close to 11 O’clock, we would drive to the subway station at Woodhaven Blvd. to taker her back home.

I was so lucky to have her as my grandmother. She was such an important part of my life and I miss her!

My favorite childhood memories were those spent during the summers leaving Long Island for the comfort and pleasure of a more urban environment in Queens.  My grandmother may not have been the fuzzy, huggy and kissy grandma, but she was incredibly nurturing and took wonderful care of me.

I was her “tea-and-Drake’s-pound cake” partner. And every afternoon, before she left to clean those offices, that’s how we enjoyed each other’s company.  I slept in her bedroom on a cot that she dressed up comfortably for me.

More memories returned when I found this pic on the net. It’s the same exact cup and saucer set my grandmother had.  Not to this day have I ever had a better cup of tea than the ones my grandma brewed!

When we went to Mass, she always had a supply of tissues for my never-ending runny nose, and when Mass was over, a Pep-O-Mint Lifesaver that she carried in her practical black purse.  I loved that woman so much. And she was an incredible grandma.  Ask my cousins and they will say the same!

My aspirations are to be as loving and nurturing as my grandmother was, but I’ll be fuzzier and more kissy.

This was taken on her 95th birthday. Cuppa tea in hand!

The one thing that makes me sad, though, is the distance apart.  Oona and Sam and The Baby live in Cincinnati.  I live in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Although I wasn’t a working mom, I’ll be a working grandma. I’ll be that grandma who won’t be there three times a week.  I won’t be there once a week.  I won’t be there much because this grandma-to-be has to work.

Oh wait!  I think I hear Oona screaming for joy because I won’t be around to bug her!

Happy Feliz GIF

Oona. Being so excited when she reads in print that we live far away from each other!

Doesn’t matter though—because when I do get to visit, it’ll be quality time. I can cook for Oona and Sam and make their favorite dinners and desserts!

I can shower the baby with kisses and hugs and hold her/him all day, despite what my daughter might say about putting the baby down for a nap. I’ll be the pillow.  I’ll bring my nose down to enjoy that baby smell!  I’ll gladly change diapers and clean that baby hiney so well then apply Desitin (do they even use Desitin anymore?) and cuddle some more.

I’ll also be the grandma who buys baby a starfish outfit and takes a video like this. I”m sorry-not-sorry but this is funny and right up my alley!

Damn.  I wish I lived near Oona so I could rub her belly and look at her boobs growing as the milk comes in!  I want to argue with her about how to hold the baby and how to give the baby a bath!

And—the shopping has begun.

After my mani-pedi I went to Target!  Now, it is a bit daunting not knowing the gender but we’ll find that out next month. In the meantime, I purchased a couple of basics.  You can’t go wrong—right?

Time to load up on basics!

Baby socks. They are sooooo cute. Although Grammy Cathe (which I think will be the chosen moniker) prefers no socks because barefoot is better, babies need to keep their feetsies warm and toasty.

Can you just picture those cute little baby feet in these cute little baby socks?

Organic Cloth Diapers.  I’m guessing replacing “100 % Cotton” with “Organic” is more on trend these days. But—despite the disposable diapers being used, cloth diapers are a Godsend. They are great to throw over the shoulder so that when baby burps, the burpee juices don’t land on the good J. Crew clothing but rather than the organic diapers.

I love you already Baby. But get one thing straight. You spit up on THESE–and NOT my J. Crew clothing.  Got it? Good. We’ll be besties 4evah!

Besides, when the diapers get stained and raunchy, they can be used to dust the furniture with.

Organic (WTF—it’s cotton!) Onesies—and long sleeved.  Baby will be a winter one—no sense in the short-sleeved model yet—what if the heat fails?

OMG!  Opinionated Grammy Cathe is on the loose. It’s COTTON!  We KNOW it’s organic. Ugh. Labels!

Gender-neutral flannel blankets.  Trust me, these blankets are the only gender-neutral item (besides the onesies and socks) that this grandma will be buying.

Gender neutrality. So if the baby is a girl, gray and pink are a wonderful match. If the baby is a boy, Gray and Navy will suffice just as well!

Political correctness aside, that baby can figure out what he/she wants to be as he/she gets older. For now, once I find out if that baby is a boy or a girl, it’s getting all the gender-Unneutral clothing I can find! Sorry not sorry!

Oh yeah?  Well, Grammy Cathe is gonna play into gender stereotypes two hundred percent!  Unless you are talking about playing chef. Then you both get the same kitchen!

Lactation cookies.  I got these for Oona to try.  She’s a bit hesitant to try these until the baby is born. I would try them but the pandemic weight gain has been so enormous that I can’t have any more body growth.

Oh look!  The expiration date is after my baby–OOPS, I mean OONA’S baby is born!  Can you believe this shit?  Lactation cookies? Oops!  I’m being Opinionated Grammy Cathe again!

Oh no! I forgot to get my grandpappy Gracie a gift. She can’t feel left out!  I’ll pack some Milk Bones and a photo of Chippy for her!

I have a strong suspici0n that Gracie and I may be butting heads. She’s gonna think the baby is HERS, whilst I’ll believe the baby is MINE. Oh…the baby is Oona’s.

Speaking of lactation, look at all the stuff that’s being manufactured for breastfeeding moms these days!

I couldn’t believe this.  I’m still shaking my head in envy because I should have thought of this. I coulda been a contenda! And made tons of money!

Geez.  When I had my first child, the lactation advice from my Ob/Gyn was “Have a can of beer when you get home” “The yeast and hops will help to produce the milk”. Now there’s Lactation cookies and beverages to help produce milk!

Look at the nutrition facts for these Lactation cookies. This is garbage!  Full of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and sugar.  Sorry not sorry but the stuff you put into your body goes into your breast milk.  Have a bag of kale instead–it’ll make the baby poop nicely too!

Note to self-take this out of the box I’m sending Oona and throw it away! Send a bag of kale instead! Send a jar of yeast too. She can spoon it over the kale.

The advice from the nurse was “Put the baby to your breast. Let him get used to it. It’ll be fine”First of all, I hate beer. Secondly, the nurse was spot on.

Lactation consultant recommended. 

Here’s my lactation advice:  Pour water into a one-liter bottle.  Take baby in your arms. Sit on comfy chair or sofa. Pull your shirt up. Put baby to your tittie.  Let baby drink. While baby is drinking, you drink the water. You’ll need it. There. Free lactation advice from Opinionated Grammy Cathe.

Coffee Breastfeeding Supplement?  Let’s think about new mommy for a moment here.  New mommy is tired. Opinionated Grammy Cathe is cleaning the house.

Opinionated Grammy Cathe will drive to Starbucks and get a strong coffee for ….Grammy Cathe.  New Mommy Oona can supplement the organic way with water while feeding my grandchild!

Have these lactation consultants ever had a baby for chrissakes? 

New Mommy Oona needsa glass of  WINE! What do you think the French did through all these centuries? Baby needs to learn at an early age what drinking in moderation means.  Throw this in the trash.

Opinionated Grammy Cathe is going to save Oona and all new mommies $34.99.  Take an old bra. Cut a hole in each nipple area. Stick the pumps through the holes. Pump away. You’re welcome!

You had me at “soothing for mom”. I do not want to visualize my daughter soothing her nipples. I’ll save you money. Buy a tube of original Chapstick and apply it to your nipples. You’re welcome!

All kidding aside, this is such an exciting time. And I’m ridiculously happy for Oona and Sam because they will make a great mommy and daddy.

As for me, it’s time to dispel the granny stereotype.

Have these women never heard of J. Crew, Lilly Pulitzer or Old Navy? Geez–even the horrific Chico’s would be better than what they are wearing!

Watch out—the new Grammy is about to arrive! Or rather Opinionated Grammy Cathe is about to arrive!

I hope that Opinionated Grammy Cathe will be the best grandma ever!

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The Secret to Great Skincare? Clean Your Face!

In my last post, I covered eye care.  Who knew about Johnson’s baby shampoo to clean your eyelids?  Apparently, many did with the exception of yours truly.  But—it’s never too late to learn—right?

Who knew that at 65 years the pro-ager, I would be returning to baby shampoo as part of my eye care routine!

But now, I wanna talk about skin care.

Pandemic skincare’s big “thing” these days is keeping your hands off your face.  I get that. Ever since I was a child, though, my mother was constantly reminding me and my siblings to keep our hands off the face. And her constant badgering worked.  At least for me it worked because I’m not prone to touch my face during the day. So, basically, this wasn’t anything new for a number of us.

Just a little reminder!

The other big thing is to wear a mask.  I get that too. And I’ve been a “Mask-It Case” ever since it was recommended to wear one!  And although the mask is a stellar protective device, it also brings on another issue.  Bacteria inside the face protector that touches your face.

Call me a “Mask-It-Case” because I never leave home without one!  Now–if only I could mask that dang turkey neck!

Trust me, I’ve had a couple of sizeable pimples in various places where the mask is worn.  It’s not surprising at all.  Think of the hot weather and the sweat that’s collecting in there.  Makeup that’s rubbed off on the fabric adds to the bacterial issues.  So is sneezing or laughing so hard that you spit bacteria into that little nugget of protection all add up—but, at least it’s your germs!

I've Got Your Bac Cute Bacteria Pun - Bacteria Pun - Sticker | TeePublic

Although not this cute, bacteria can do a job on your face–and not the good job!

And therein lies the need for special attention to cleaning your face.

In my humble opinion, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars or go into debt for a facial cleanser. Clean is clean. Soap and water or a liquid cleanser and water are basically all you need.  Save your money for travel when the ban is over. Save your money to enjoy a wonderful meal at a good restaurant when the time comes. But honestly, don’t spend it on pricey skin cleansing lotions or overpriced beauty bars.

Please. Save your money.  Remember-Clean is Clean. You don’t have to spend a fortune.

Oh. And a makeup remover helps too. And you don’t need to spend a fortune on that either.

There hasn’t been a night I haven’t been faithful about cleaning my face.  Oh. Wait.  There is an exception.  When I fly overnight but as soon as I get to where I’m going, I unpack then hit the bathroom to was my face.

Anyway, (because anywaysssss isn’t a word) during the winter, I wear more makeup than in the summer.  And even though my summer face doesn’t wear much product. it does get a bit grimy from the mask.  My summer face is generally bare of foundation, concealer, the contour. It’s merely a touch of blush or bronzer or both, eye makeup and lip gloss until it wears off then I keep the lips bare.

My winter face–aka my pre-pandemic face. I forgot how much makeup I wore before masking-it!

And through it all, I still scrub the face.

With the exception of eye makeup, there’s nothing on my face except that slight blemish on my chin!

When I arrive home from work every evening, I run upstairs and take the makeup off.  I use Albolene, which I’ve written about in previous blog posts.  This has been my go-to makeup remover for decades.  A large tub runs about ten bucks. It is lard for the face and melts makeup off.

Since I’m not too fussy, the “‘Lene” gets wiped off with a tissue or three, then the cleansing fun begins.

Albolene and Dove 2 | Atypical 60

Albolene first. Soap second.  I love Albolene so much that I always have a backup on hand!

I have three ways of cleansing.  I’ll either use an exfoliating face cloth, which I love. One side is rough—like a loofah for the face and the other side terry cloth.  The one I have is so old that it’s falling apart and very soon, it’ll be time to purchase more.

This cloth is so old but works like a charm.  This is the rough, exfoliating side..

The other side is softer but you can see that I’ve worn this baby out!

I ordered new cloths from Amazon!  I’ll put the link for this in my Idea List at the bottom of this post. I love this new exfoliator because it really scrubs the face so well!

What I find exhilarating about this cloth is I can get as rough as possible and really dig into those crevices and spots that collect a ton of gunk.  Literally, sometimes I feel as though I’m scrubbing the features of my face away! But thiese cloths work and does the job so well!

This is how well, I scrub my face!!!

There’s another cloth I also use.  Oona got these for me perhaps four or five years ago. They were stuffed into my Christmas stocking.  I have one in pink and one in black. It’s merely a washcloth that removes makeup wonderfully without hard scrubbing.

It’s long and fluffy and soft and does a stellar job in removing makeup. If you don’t want to lug products around while traveling, this is a great alternative!

But first—do you remember Clairol’s The Skin Machine? If you are around my age and were a teen in the late 1960’s through the ‘70’s, I’m sure you’re familiar with the palm-held device, and it’s brush attachment that you used to clean your face.

Remember this?  Oh lordy, I loved my Skin Machine and used it for years!  I can’t understand why this was placed out of production because it worked so darn well!

My mother purchased one for me during those years of being skin-challenged.  The combination of The Skin Machine followed by Clearasil liquid toner and Clearasil cream in that weird tube did work to dry the skin.  And sometimes worked a little too well in drying the skin.

Throwback time!  This and the toner really dried up the skin. There’s no way we could use this now! Our skin would be the new Sahara!

Ok. A little over a month ago Duvolle sent to me a product to review. The product is their Radiance “Spin Care” brush set which is similar to The Skin Machine.

This is the Duvolle Spin Care System.  The site’s price is somewhat expensive but if you are interested, use the code I was given :  CATHERINE  . This code will give you 70 percent off the original price bringing it to $28.50. 

This set has various attachments for different uses:

Two brush attachments for your face.  One is an exfoliating brush, the other a cleanser. Quite honestly, I don’t see much of a difference between the brushes. Both works very well to clean the face in a very soothing and relaxing way.  It’s like a home-spa!

In all honesty, there’s not much difference between the brushes. The exfoliator brush is not as soft but both are excellent for cleaning your face in spa-fashion!  It’s VERY comparable to The Skin Machine but packs more punch!

The pumice attachment is wonderful for smoothing those areas of the feet like heels and balls that can get calloused.  It’s also great to smooth out rough spots on knees and elbows.

This is great for feet, elbows and knees. I’m tempted to use it on my chapped lips.  You CAN use this in the shower, but I prefer not to.

And the oversized body brush is especially handy for applying fake tanner!  Yes!  I’m now using it to apply my tanning mousse!

The large body brush.  Mine has acquired a golden hue because I’ve been using this specifically for applying fake tanner! It works!

Regardless, no matter how you clean your face—with a regular terry washcloth, an exfoliating cloth, a battery-operated brush or your hands to rub the soap in, it’s simply about cleaning!

My new normal. Eye makeup.  A touch of gloss. Bare, clean skin. Showcasing freckles, lines and blemishes from hours of masking it. And a clean face feels so wonderful!

In a nutshell:

Take the makeup off every evening!

Take it off! Take it ALL off!

H2O blended with soap or any cleanser will get your skin clean.

Water. H2O. It’s free (well, except for a relatively inexpensive water bill that you pay four times a year) and it cleanses!

If you have very dry skin, you might want to go with a hydrating product.  My skin is dry.  I stick to Dove, Neutrogena, and, when I can find it, Le Petit Marsellais Orange Blossom soap bar.  I shy away from soaps that dry the skin such as Ivory.  Besides, I’ve had my mouth washed out on many occasions with Ivory. It doesn’t taste too bad but it does dry out the skin!

All three soaps are great for skin cleansing–and all three are inexpensive!

Follow up, if preferred, with a toner.  But be sure to use one that’s gentle and pro-age friendly!   When I remember, I use either generic Witch Hazel or an orange-blossom spray astringent that I purchased a while ago.  Both inexpensive.

Witch Hazel. One of the best toners around.  I use this often and it always makes me feel refreshed without drying my skin.

Another favorite is Orange Blossom water. This spray is fantastic because you can spritz your face from time to time during the day, feel clean and smell good too!

And now, you’re ready to hydrate your skin with your favorite moisturizer and make yourself even more beautiful than you are with a little bit o’ makeup.

Makeup or makeup-free–it’s the clean skin that counts!

Remember—it’s the clean skin that counts above all! If you are looking for ideas, I’ve created an idea list for you on my Amazon store.  The link for you : Clean Your Skin!

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Of Cataracts and Proaging Eye Care!

As I sit here and write this post, I’m in our dining room. I’m at the table which is a makeshift office of sorts for me.  I squint because the glare from the outside is bothering my eyes.  The computer screen looks cloudy and faded.  I cannot see the little arrow from my mouse because it’s white and fades into the background.

My otherwise pristine dining room table is now a makeshift office!  

 

And so, this is my story to you about the cataracts which I have developed over time and my upcoming surgery. There are also some stellar eye care tips that I’ll be giving too!

Yes. ‘Tis I (or should I say “eye”) to tell you about the cataracts that were probably brewing since this photo was taken when I was about three years. (notice the pearl necklace–I was a fashionista even as a cross-eyed little girl and just as deeply shallow as I am now!)

Flashback—fade into last year!

It all began around last October.  Just before the weekend when we turned the clocks back and the days became shorter. Real shorter. You know those days, when twilight commences just as you leave the office.

My normally pleasant commute through Valley Forge Park was becoming unpleasant.  It began with the glare from the oncoming headlights.  A halo of light prevented me from being able to see the road ahead. And my favorite part of the drive, a beautiful one on a little narrow road next to a little narrow brook, with curves more pronounced than those on my body, was turning into a challenge.

I call this the “Beetlejuice Bridge”. It is just before I veer right and follow a curved road next to a brook in the middle of Valley Forge Park. I LOVE my commute but due to increasing bad eyesight, it’s no longer fun!  I miss seeing this!

I had to start driving very slowly. And could just imagine the cursing and saucy language that was being mouthed from the drivers behind me.

I was driving like and old lady.  And it bothered me. And when I got home, I started to cry. And not those whiny crocodile tears. I really was moved to tears dripping down my face!

Seriously. This canine can see better than I can.  Maybe I need a seeing drive dog?

And other changes with my sight were taking place as well.  I had to squint to get a better view of what was in front of me.

Just call me Georgia Costanza. It’s worse because I squint with eyeglasses on!

Now it’s November 2019 and we were at Philadelphia International Airport waiting for a flight to Paris.  Friends of my husband’s were on the same flight and we were chatting before boarding.  I mentioned that I was having difficulty driving at night and described the halos.  I was told it was most likely cataracts.

This is night driving to me. And it’s scary AF!  I’m so scared I’ll get into an accident!

My initial reaction was “Hey, not me”.  “I’m too young for cataracts” “I’m sure it’s something else”

And when we arrived home from our visit, the days were becoming increasingly shorter and I was becoming more and more agitated and nervous about driving home.  I asked my boss if I could change my hours at work to leave at 4 PM rather than at 5.

She said “No” because someone needed to be at the office until five.

Now, I work under those disgusting fluorescent lights, and I thought that perhaps the lighting was the cause of my faltering eyesight.  Fluorescent lighting is not good.  Add to the fact I work not with one computer screen, but with two.  And if you are familiar with working with two monitors, let alone one, you are well aware that after eight hours, the eyes get strained. That was not the case.

I thought perhaps the fluorescent lighting was the culprit. It wasn’t. However, this lighting doesn’t help my sight!

Luckily, when I addressed the lighting, my boss was great about it and my cubicle was changed to an empty spot in a corner with natural lighting from a window.

But the issue wasn’t remedied.  Over time things got worse.

One of the guys from the IT department, came down to adjust my computer screens.  It kind of didn’t help matters much.

Now we’re in lockdown due to the pandemic and most of the workers are home.  I’m one of the skeleton crew at the office.  Personally, I adored being one of three. It was a pleasure to come in, do my work without any small talk or disturbances.  Yes. I’m that person who thrives on being in the office alone!

When I told my husband I’m happiest working like this with nobody around. He started laughing with uncontrolled abandon.  But it’s true. When nobody is in the office, I work like Jerry from Parks & Rec!

But the eyes didn’t get better.

Instead, I thought my glasses, that are perpetually dirty filthy, were worse than usual.  And after cleaning them, discovered that it wasn’t my glasses.

My glasses are usually worse than this.  The new eye doctor agreed. He referred to my glasses as “filthy”

Then I thought, perhaps, my mascara had expired and the gunk from my expired eye makeup was irritating my eyes, making it more difficult to see.  (Yes. I’m that person who will wear mascara well-past any expiration date. I’ll even spit into the tube to get the last bits—after all, it’s my spit).

Okay. So maybe my expired mascara and eye makeup was the culprit.

I did the unimaginable.  I threw out the old mascara and replaced with new.  There was no improvement.

The last straw was when my son, Roman came to visit in June.  He wanted to spend time with us before returning to work at Rock Plaza.  Bonaparte and I drove into NYC to pick him up as we are very-much into social distancing.  So, when we had dinner out on our deck, Roman was sitting across from me, as was Bonaparte.  I couldn’t see their faces.  It’s akin to looking at an overexposed photo.

This is how I saw my son Roman. And that was the final straw before I did something!

And it was scary AF.

There’s a saying that some people look at life through rose-colored glasses.  I was looking at life through a blurry cloud where I couldn’t read anymore unless I was in a room with no lighting during the day and dim lighting at night.

On the left–it’s how I SHOULD see. On the right–is how I DO see!

Bonaparte drives me to and from work these days. And I hate that. It is having my independence taken away from me simply because I cannot see.  On the days when he has early or late clients, I drive myself to work.  And with the assistance of my prescription sunglasses I’m okay.  But that’s for summer. There’s no way I can do that in the winter with the short days.

My daughter Oona is like Homer Simpson asking me if I can drive at night. Actually she asks me if I can drive AT ALL!!

An eye patch is also worn at work.  Oddly enough, patching over the bad eye helps the good eye to see better!

The first time I decided to get creative with my eye patches, I ended up drawing an eye upside down.  Bonaparte told me I resembled a Picasso illustration. I liken it more to a hot mess!

My second attempt was a bit better but creepy..

And my third attempt was an homage to my OCD regarding where the shades should be pulled down to. (They all need to be pulled down to the same length so I can relax). Let us add some self-effacing humor here!

And so, Bonaparte did research and found an Ophthalmologist for me to see. Now, under normal circumstances I go to a fine optometrist but this issue demanded something more. We headed into Ardmore and for the first time in years, since my childhood into adulthood Ophthalmologist and surgeon retired,I was in the hands of another.

This was the office of my beloved  Dr. Norman Stevens.  Rockaway Park, NY and it was always a pleasure to go see him.  

The technician pre-examined me, and then Dr. Sando came in to examine me.  Truth be told. I do not like going to the doctor. Any doctor because, as a hypochondriac who is angst-ridden and suspects the worst, my fear gets the better of me.  My childhood eye doctor, Norman Stevens was a gem.  He took such good care of me and became more of a friend.  I’ve even assisted him from time to time if I had an appointment and a petrified child came in to see him. He would put them at ease by telling them I was his favorite patient! I trusted him and loved him.  And his office in Rockaway beach was like home to me.

In all honesty, Dr. Sando gave out great vibes.  He was very thorough and explained everything in a professional and amicable way.

Dr. Ralph Sando.  He looks completely different without his mask. All I saw through the clouds was two eyes.  I hope this is him.  It is!

I got the cataracts! But not just one type, I have two. Cataracts in front and in back.  Add to that my amblyopic eyes with astigmatism and far-sightedness are a delightful mélange of sight issues that add to this fun time mix!

Funny thing is, my eyes look normal but they ain’t!

Dr. Ralph explained that surgery would be done on the bad eye first. This will give a better idea on how to work the good eye.   He went on to tell me about the risks and worst-case scenario of ocular explosion. And a retina surgeon would be on hand should that happen. But that is a very low occurrence.

While others are pondering risks, I’m pondering what wig I’ll wear. Uh oh. I hope they allow me to wear a wig!

The surgery would be preformed on an out-patient basis, which is great. Since I have a plethora of eye issues, laser surgery isn’t really for me. It would be more intense. And recovery would be quick. Surgery will be done on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to heal.  Since my job is ye of little PTO, I asked if it would be possible to go to work on the Friday.  I know he wasn’t thrilled with this question but he agreed; and only if I take it easy (of which I almost burst out laughing).

An “ewww” moment. I will be awake. That’s so gross. However, Dr. Sando said that the lighting will be so bright I won’t see him coming at me.  I hope I  am rewarded with Vicoden  after the surgery to relax me.  Or perhaps before.  Maybe I’ll just get Latisse to make my lashes longer!

He also gave me a sheet, more like a menu of sorts of the different levels of cataract surgery.  My medical insurance basically sucks—however, it’s pretty-much the norm these days for the working middle-class.   (BTW, a good chunk of my paycheck goes toward medical insurance).  I told him to do whatever insurance will cover.

I’ll still be wearing my beloved eyeglasses. (I told the good doctor they are like Botox for the eyes).  I’ll be able to see facial features again (although in some cases I might not enjoy what I see).  The world won’t be seen through dirty glasses anymore (which is bullshit because my eyeglasses are always dirty).  Let me correct that one.  The world won’t be seen through a blur anymore.

My eyeglasses define me. They really do. Besides, they protect my GOOD eye and that’s more important!

Headlights won’t blind me.  I’ll be able to enjoy my twilight commute through Valley Forge Park without driving like an old lady.

Speaking of old ladies.  When Dr. Ralph spoke of risks I didn’t flinch.  When he mentioned cataracts come with the aging process, I, in my most deep shallowness, started bawling like a toddler who couldn’t get her way!

My feelings were hurt. I’m not old. I’m a PRO-AGER!!!

But wait!  There’s more and it is in the form of eyecare!  Yes!  Who knew? We spend a lot of time on skincare but eyecare?  Well……. not really!

Other than wiping my eye makeup off in the evening, I kind of don’t do anything else.

Albolene and Dove 2 | Atypical 60

Yeah. I wipe my eye makeup off with Albolene. I’m sure all that gunk is having a party in between my lashes!

The doctor’s technician spoke with me for a while on this subject.  I have to go in to see her for measurements in two weeks.  It’s a pre-op procedure.

Anyway, (reminder that anywayssss is not a word) it was recommended to use hydrating drops for my dry eyes.  I was shocked to learn that mine eyes that don’t see the glory were dry!  I have no problem crying at the drop of a hat and my eyes don’t itch. But she explained that in order to get correct measurements the eyes must be hydrated—it’ll stop the blinking and allow me to keep my eyes opened longer as she measures.

I got samples! It was like being at Sephora and coming home with makeup samples!  Note the standard surgery. That’s what my insurance is covering.  I need to win the lottery.

Then, the best!  Actually, the best and most pragmatic advice ever!  Johnson’s Baby Shampoo!  Yes. Baby Shampoo to clean my eyelids.  Take a dab of the shampoo and place on your fore fingertip.  Rub the shampoo in a circular motion where the lash line meets lid and gently rub. Then wash off with water.

A little dab at the top of my finger..

..and rubbed onto the edge of my eyelid to clean out the gunk!

The baby shampoo doesn’t sting and all that eye gunk is gone.  Who knew?

Who knew that Johnson’s baby shampoo would be used to clean my eyelids?  And it works beautifully–no stings at all!

Am I nervous about the upcoming cataract surgery?  Of course, I am, I would be foolish to not be.

nervous nail biter GIF by K.I.D

Of course I’m nervous. However, I don’t like the taste of acrylic nails so I won’t be doing this!

Am I excited about it?  Kinda?   As nervous as I may be, I’m looking forward to the gift of sight returning.  Presently, it’s difficult to write on my laptop because I can’t get the screen’s brightness to where it’s comfortable.  I also can’t see the mouse pointer.

Yeah. I’m pretty excited. I don’t want to rely on my sunglasses too much. Lately I’ve been wearing them a lot. And I look forward to getting as much of normal eye sight can be had!

I am looking forward to not squinting.  You seriously do not realize how important the sense of sight is until it begins to fade.  And it’s true.  Cataracts are conducive to aging.

But I like to call it eye care for the pro-aging!

Eye care for the pro-aging. Are you in?

Hey. Have you had cataract surgery? Are your eyes seeing a bit cloudy these days? If you think you may have cataracts get thee to an ophthalmologist!! Proage those eyes!

 

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C’mon! We’re Going on Vacation! But You Don’t Have to Pack!

Yes.  That’s correct.  I’m taking you on vacation and you don’t have to pack one thing.  Not even a toothbrush.

Bitmoji Image

No packing needed!!  Sit back and enjoy this non-flight flight!

And after I take you to a few places, you’re gonna sit back for a while and reflect on all the great places you’ve been. Then you’re gonna head to your photographs and take a look at them.  Then you’re gonna have a big smile on your face and you’ll see that sometimes, just thinking about your travels and viewing the movie in your mind, can filled with fun and happy memories.

Back in the day before Shutterfly and other sites that’ll make books of your photos, I made quite a few scrap books with our travel photos!

Look, this pandemic has taken a toll on most of us.  It’s daunting and even difficult to come to terms that summer is more than halfway over and we’ve had to cancel vacations we’ve looked forward to for over a year or so.  It’s worse realizing you can’t visit family who live far away.  I get that. And I get it because we’ve had our summer trip to France cancelled.  That trip couldn’t even be substituted by traveling to see my daughter in Ohio or traveling, for the first time, to L.A. to see my son.

Who knew that last summer would be one of baseball games and traveling to see family?

Other than Oona’s wedding in July 2019, the only other time I saw my kids last year was Christmas.  Who knew what we were in for?

But there’s an upside of sorts.  Trust me, as I write this, I’m talking myself into believing there is an upside.  But I’ll list those upsides and then we’ll embark on our travels!  Okay?

The upside of not traveling realistically during this pandemic are.

You don’t have to wait on the TSA lines at the airport.  Truth be told, I despise those lines—but in order to get to where we go, we have to comply.  No standing and lugging carry ons.  No taking your shoes, jewelry, scarves and other items off and placing them into those ugly gray plastic trays.  Am I right?

See?   There IS an upside!  No waiting on these horrific TSA lines!

And speaking of lines, you don’t have to wait on an abusively long line at border patrol, aka, Customs. Those lines are painful. Not only to your feet but to your emotional well-being.  It seems that whenever we land in Paris, it is either when Customs agents are either taking a break, have not arrived yet because it’s early in the morning or they are in a bad mood. And you don’t have to be crammed like sardines at the embarkment areas.  Do you have any idea what it is like to board a translantic flight that is filled to capacity at an unorganized airport?  Chaos is a kind word for the experience!

None of this on our blog vacation!

No plane passenger issues.  You know what I’m talking about!  Those assholes who refuse to wear proper shoes that, unfortunately are sitting next to you. You know, the ones with filthy feet, fungus-ridden toenails and flip-flops that are equally as filthy as their hairy feet.   No sitting next to the passenger who gets up every half-hour to make you have to get up from watching your movie or disturbing your movie, to go to the bathroom.

Welcome to my travel life.  I’m the one who manages to sit in front of the passenger who takes his shoes off….

And, the mother of all flight annoyances, you don’t have to be bothered with the morons who cram a large number of their family’s carry-on luggage into the compartment above your seat. This is probably my biggest annoyance because the airlines do not enforce the one-carry-on per person rule.  Don’t get me started….When I flew to my nephew’s wedding just before the lockdown, I witnessed an in-flight fight two passengers had regarding the overhead space. The worst part was the flight attendant did absolutely nothing!

I’m that passenger who MAKES space in the overhead. Regardless of who’s carryon I rip. Seriously. This os over MY seat that I paid for. Get your stuff outta my way!

We’ve waited as long as over an hour with no pleasant welcome.  Not having to go through Customs is such a delight!  I’m in a better mood already!

No waiting for that car rental that turns out to be the wrong vehicle so you have to wait two additional hours while the car rental dealer scrambles to find you the model car you did rent and pay a lot of money for!

The Flintstones Fred Flintstone in his Car Color Model Cel | Lot #15104 | Heritage Auctions

Umm. Excuse me but this isn’t the vehicle I paid for!

Not leaving your luggage with the concierge because your flight arrived early and you really want to sleep and take a shower but you can’t because the room isn’t ready yet!

And you make the best of it by heading to a nearby cafe for coffee and croissants! And don’t forget to snap a pic to document your arrival–as tired as you might be!

Right?  You don’t have to deal with any of this!  Trust me!  Below is a link to a bit I wrote about the worst experience we’ve had returning from France. I wrote it back in July of 2013!    Sometimes It Pays to Fly Direct!

kate mckinnon snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Yup! SNL got it right about Aer Lingus! And I’m of Irish lineage!

Now, dig out those old photos of trips you’ve had and imagine you are in the midst of those photos.  It could be a few decades ago or could be a few months before the pandemic.

For us, it was a visit to NYC literally, the week before the lockdown!

Maybe it’s as close as a nearby city or as far as a country across your closest ocean.

I never tire of Paris.  Paris and NYC–Be still my heart I love you both!

I went through some old photos today and visited a few places.

Ireland—Dublin and Belfast to be exact.

Oona at Trinity College Library.  This was a pretty amazing visit

An education regarding culture. Nobody gets offended about a 15-year old in this funny pose at the Guinness Brewery!

And in Belfast at the All-Irelands!

Sydney, Australia

At the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. That Joey was so adorable.  Check out the fanny pack and sneakers. How long ago was that?

My cousins traveled from Brisbane to Sydney to see me. It was a first and we had a blast.  And yes. That is my real hair!  Bottom pic is with Zookeeper Brian Jessup and a Koala friend!

The Opera House

The Bats at the Botanical Gardens in Sydney

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree

—and I head to Doyle’s to get some fish in me!

And, naturally, France.

Whether hanging out in Paris doing literally nothing..

Or enjoying a vista in Provence..

Or in the Principality of Monaco..

Let’s not forget St. Tropez and my horrific attempt at a panoramic view!

Keep journals. Quite honestly journaling your trips bring back vivid memories to accompany those photos!

This journal En Route by Barrie Kerper in THE greatest journal ever. Purchased for a trip to France back in 2012, I’ve never seen it since and boy, it pains me that it wasn’t printed year after year after year. It’s incredible. Sectioned off into entries, sketches, expenses, pockets to add little bits and stuff. It was just incredible!

I started keeping track but never kept it up. I was too focused on writing entires!

Every day, I would take time in the late afternoon to sit down and write about our daily experiences.  I have a plethora of journals!

But it doesn’t stop there.  Get some music. If you are hooked on Italy, research and get some Italian pop music. Love the Middle East?  There’s some great Arab music out there.  For me, I’m so into French Pop and have amassed quite the selection of CD’s and Spotify playlists!  Make your “mindcation” even better with tunes!

Whenever I listen to French pop music, I’m transformed to our auto rental and listening to the radio while driving through the Cote d’Azur!

Don’t forget the movies either!  Two of my favorite movies of all time are The Four Hundred Blows.  It’s so sad and somewhat depressing but funny and full of hope at the same time. Visually it is stunning because it’s filmed in black and white and shows a side of Paris before it became overcrowded!

The 400 Blows was the first in a series about Francois Truffaut’s alter ego, Antoine Doinel. The series runs the gamut of emotions but boy, The 400 Blows is epic!

Another scene from the film.

Quite possibly, the greatest movie ever made is Amelie. The story can be somewhat comparible to Jane Austen’s Emma–but better!  And visually, it is stunning–there’s a green cast and OMG. It’s just the best movie ever. I cannot count how many times I’ve sat through it! It definitely brings me back to Paris!

For obvious family reasons Les Miserables starring Daniele Delorme….shameless plug!

And can we not forget the food.  Make a dish from the place you were to vacation!  I made Gougeres today for Bonaparte!

75 gougeres were baked today.  And my husband felt as though he was on vacation when he had some with his aperitif!

  • Try something different.  Make esscargot.  Make a tagine. Or homemade pasta!  Or baklava!  

From Paris to the South of France, my favorite travels have been with myhusband.

We travel very well together!  We’re definitely on the same page!

We’re at that age when our children have grown out of their teens and twenties. They are full-fledged adults. Responsible adults with successful careers. They don’t need nor depend on us anymore. Besides it’s important to have a travel companion that you get along with. Trust me, I’ve been on trips that were a wreck.  Blended personalities is always a good equation!

And so, travel fills a void. But it’s all good.  Great, in fact.  When you travel you acquire the greatest education—one you cannot learn in a classroom. It’s the education of cultures and art and people and history and food. And once you experience that initial visit—you’re hooked!

Tarascon chateau in Provence was one of the greatest Medieval sites I’ve ever visited!

And you never know what photo opportunities await. Below is a TOILET. You sat on it and hopefully, no body was standing on the ground under you!

Yes. I was fascinated and disgusted at the same time with a bit of nervous laughter. This is a Medieval toilet. Oh boy–I’m sure beautiful gardens grew underneath from the “fertilizer”!

Bonaparte and I make a wonderful travel team. We have similar “want-to-do’s” when we are away and we have our particulars. We like clean hotels for one. And we like having a car—even in Paris. It lends itself well for us to drive out of City Centre and onto the historical venues that lay outside of the City of Lights.

When we rent the apartment in Theoule, we spend our last night in the Clubhouse at La Galere–it’s become a tradition and the rooms are wonderful!

That isn’t to say we run into differences at times because we do. But we always manage to iron those differences out within minutes and then head on our merry way.

And that merry way usually means driving to pick up a baguette from Desgranges–the best bread in Paris (in my opinion). Crusty exterior and just enough saltiness with a chewy interior. It’s heavenly!

 During this time of being banned from practically every country and then some, it’s bittersweet to read about your past travels—the fun stuff.  The sites.  For me, it’s reading about Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele, and the many years we spent with her in her Paris Apartment.  It’s also about our trips to the Cote d’Azur—I really thought we would be there this summer but who knew this pandemic would affect life itself.

We were fortunate to see this exhibit of Bonaparte’s grandfather’s photos during our November visit. Hopefully we’ll be back this coming November!

Instead, after I finish writing this post, I’m going to return to my travels through photographs and journals.  And later when we are enjoying our aperitifs before dinner, we’ll reminisce about the best of our trips.

The photos date back to 2006 and I started documenting from 2009.  It’s been a great journey and I hope it continues after the pandemic. 

I hope you enjoyed this post!  Now go.  Take a vacation in your mind. It’ll be good for you! XOXOXOXO

Posted in France, French music, French recipes, Travel | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Please don’t Lose Face — I Love You Just the Way You Were!

CAVEAT: As an experiment, I decided to upload (or download) a face app—Face App, in fact.  I played around to give you some examples of what this post is about. I did not want to use the images from the people that I’ve seen on Social Media who change their images. For me, it isn’t ethical—and so, I used my face to prove my point. Read on and have a few laughs on me—okay?

I love being on Instagram. It’s downright fun.  And, despite the continuous parade of political posts, I also enjoy Facebook.  And lest we not forget YouTube because I have an absolute blast filming wig reviews on my Channel.

Thumbnail Image for my Color Comparison Video Review about Summer Heat by The Wig Company!  No blurs. No filters. Just different lighting.

In fact, one of the reasons I love social media is that I can get a great look at products—both in photographs and videos.   It’s a wonderful aspect of the medium to showcase real results or a real person. 

Especially with the mature demographic?  Or is it.

Now.  As a genuinely curious nosey individual, I like to get a good look at how—let’s say a skincare product or a wig, works on the women showcasing these items and products.  And, at times, I find many images and little videos a bit daunting.

I’ll tell you why.

It seems that filtering and blurring and enhancing images have become quite popular in influencer and reviewer lands. And, as an influencer of sorts, myself, I abhor the use of photo enhancements.

Please influencers–don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.  And don’t morph your real images into a scary version of Influencer IT clowns!  I cringed when I saw this photo of me.  That smile is so freaky. But the best thing is my turkey neck is on full-display.  Ya think people won’t notice that?  I like the photo on the left better–especially since my little fang is peeking through!  

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve changed saturation on clothing that I’m showcasing simply because the lighting at the time of photographing can be a bit naturally filtered—especially early in the morning when I’m snapping pics before leaving for work.  I’ll use the sharpening effect to get a more defined result.

Here’s a photo I posted on Instagram to showcase the Lilly Pulitzer Wynne Maxi. I did use the saturation effect to show the true colors. But no filters!

Another photo using the saturation effect in order to get a better idea of the vibrant colors in the shorts and the top!  No facial enhancements or filters!

But I never touch the face.

The face is sacred to me.  Jowls. Lines.  Freckles.  Fish lips. Crossed eyes.  Facial scars.  It’s the mélange of imperfections that make me…. well, me! And yes.  I’ll be honest.  Aging can be daunting.  Not gonna lie.  I’ve said it before and will say it again.  If I had the funds, I would find the best plastic surgeon, check myself into NY Hospital for Special Surgery and let the knife do the walking.  Its more organic to have the skin pulled and lifted then sewn back vs. needles with synthetic fillers injected into the skin.  Or at least that’s my humble opinion.

But let’s get back to the subject at hand.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find truth in influencer advertising these days. A great skincare product—especially at our pro-age stage of aging, is a treasure.  While we aren’t looking for a miracle to erase the effects of aging, we can all admit we’re looking for a product that’ll hydrate and plump up the skin a bit.  Something that’ll work well either under makeup or alone.  And we don’t need to alter our image to get the point across!

On the left, is an image of me that was taken exactly one year ago. Two days before Oona and Sam’s wedding. I was sitting on their front porch. No makeup. Only moisturizer. Oona and I were ready to get spray-tanned for the wedding. The photo on the left is one of my all-time favorites because it’s makeup free, I had a great sleep the night before, I was excited to be with my daughter and future son-in-law and I was happy. The image on the right. It’s downright creepy.  I look about 14 years old. But the sad thing is that I’ve seen images of women on Social Media, in their 50’s and upwards that have morphed themselves into looking 14 and it is laughable and sad at the same time!

Same with makeup. We don’t want a foundation that will showcase every wrinkle and crevice. We want a lightweight foundation with a good amount of coverage to hide redness or age spots while not giving notice to said crevices. 

Another delightfully creepy photo. The left-side photo is from Oona’s wedding day.  It was taken after my makeup was applied. We went with a very natural look and the makeup artist was perfect in her application.  Estetica Designs also gifted me with the Alden wig so it was a great fake head of hair atop a non-filtered, non-blurred, non-enhanced face.  And check out my turkey neck!  It’s epic!  On the right is me with lighter skin and a darker neck.  I look like a freak!

I also don’t want to look like a Bratz Doll either.  And I don’t want to see anyone else looking like one!

I‘m sure you’ve seen the Bratz dolls.Huge lips. Non-existant nose.  Big made up eyes and totally plastic! And feminists were offended by Barbie?  I’ve got news for you….

Oh look!  It’s me!  With a Bratz make over!  The nose couldn’t be made smaller but I DO look completely plastic!  This is so shallow. And I, as a deeply shallow individual find THIS too shallow!

Believe me. It takes a while and a number of photos to come up with just the right one when showcasing products.  But eventually you get that great shot and don’t need apps!

And although the image on the left, isn’t the most flattering one of me (but it’s better than my eighth-grade photo), I prefer it to the Bratz (oh God what an offensive name for a doll) look!

Is that too much to ask for?  I think not.

The public ain’t stupid. These photos are of Jennifer Lopez. Jennie-From-the-Block will be 51 next week. She’s got a bangin’ body, she does.  But that photo on the left is enhanced and played with.  The photo on the right hasn’t been enhanced or photoshopped. And that’s a good thing because it shows her in that lighting that we all dread!  She’s beautiful and gorgeous and she took a lot of criticism for that photo on the left!  

And I cringe and shake my head in creepy disgust whenever I see a woman, of the mature demographic, who has lit-uh-ruhl-ee  used either Photoshop or other “enhancement” technology to not only erase any semblance of aging—such as lines and loss of gravity, to turn herself into a blurred mirage of a modern-day version of Dicken’s Ghost of Christmas Past!

This image of The Ghost of Christmas Past from Muppets Christmas Carol looks more realistic than some of the blurred images I’ve seen on older influensers.  I kid you not!  One in particular blurs herself to the point I always think my screen is dirty!

Look. I have bad eyesight. Very bad eyesight. To the point that my husband is driving me to work and back these days due to my issues with light-sensitivity. Add to that, I’m working at a computer eight hours a day—in fluorescent lighting, which is horrific, only to take the occasional ladies-room break.

If you are of the age to remember this guy, Mr. Magoo, you might want to move to the side of the road when I’m driving.  I’m Ms. Magoo!

I’m also wearing an eye patch on my bad eye—and so, I’m working with one good eye.  Any images of an over-filtered face are freaking me out because I think “Is it my eyes, or does she appear that cloudy in life?” 

I tell you, I’m a timeless beauty and with the eye patch and mask, I have a face that could stop a clock. But at least I’m not using a damned filter!!!

You are losing face with me. And that is not good. It is a learned disrespect that also brings a loss of trust. And a loss of trust is, quite possibly, one of the worst things that can happen.

trust engineer GIF

I rest my case.  Trust IS important!

And please—stop with the not-so-cutesy animal ears and faces. It’s fine for teens and kids but adults?  No. Just. No. 

Celebrities love doing this shit—and they look ridiculous.

Oh those Krazy Kardashians.  It doesn’t matter WHO you are. These filters look ridiculous when anyone over 17 uses them!

Anyway, probably the single most insulting thing that happened to me while morphing various images of myself came in the form of making an attempt to enhance a photo of me from my eight-grade school portrait.

How ugly was it?  Well, remember Pat from SNL?  This was Pat’s reaction upon seeing my eighth-grade photo!

It is, hands down, one of the saddest, awkward, downright ugliest photos ever taken of a 12-year old girl and I still have PTSD over the fact my mother never made an attempt to try to get me to look pretty. So, I tried doing it myself.

I uploaded the pic to Face App. Low and behold the “male” icons showed up at the bottom of the app!  Can you believe it?  I was so ugly that Face App mistook me for a boy.  I hope my mother is looking down from Heaven realizing how she traumatized me with cutting my hair so short and not trying to pluck my unibrow.

Look! Face App thought I was a boy!  A BOY!!  How freaking insulting and sad is that. And yes, I’m still traumatized!

Anyway, 53 years later , after altering my image, I finally look like a girl.

Quite possibly the ONLY altered image of my face I’ll ever be happy with.  Mostly because I resemble, in an incredibly loose way, my comic book icon..

…Archie’s girlfriend, Veronica Lodge. I always wanted to look like this.  Yeah. I was an odd kid!

All kidding aside.  We need to be happy with who we are and what we look like.  Yeah. I was ugly as fuck as a pre-teen.  But you know what?  I was a late bloomer.  A very late bloomer.  And perhaps that’s why I’m comfortable in my aging skin these days.

Seriously. You can take a great photo in good lighting and when you know your good angles. Nobody needs to enhance the bejesus out of their face. (except perhaps if they have a bad eighth-grade portrait)  Our aging process is a privilege!

But—a high school classmate, Pete D’Alia said it all  “…..eventually everyone you want in your life will see behind the curtain. I’ve made my peace with it.”  Great words to remember!

Peace. Namaste. And be true to yourself. Don’t lose face. You are loved as you are!

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To Mall or Not To Mall–How the Pandemic Changed My Shopping Habits!

Hi All!  I know.  I know. Lately I’ve been so focused on this pandemic but personally, I think we need to come face-to-face with all aspects.  Our lives have changed and will remain changed for quite some time.

Who knew that wearing masks would be the new normal?  Who knew that we would be distancing ourselves socially?  Who knew that our homes would literally and figuratively become our castles?  Huh?  How about that?

 

I tell ya, I’ve amassed an entire wardrobe of masks!  

My son, Roman, brought these to me.  One of his friends made them!

Her card!

But one thing that has, I’m sure, affected us is shopping.

I’m not talking about shopping for the essentials.  Or food that is readily available. We’ve all been very cautious to do our grocery shopping less and purchasing more at one time.  We take careful steps. We comply with store regulations.

No. Nonononononononono!  I’m talking about those once-pleasurable shopping trips. To the mall perhaps to pick up some makeup, or get a spray tan, or to add an item or three to your wardrobe.

Bitmoji Image

Remember when shopping was actually FUN?  Or a trip to the mall was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon or a way to beat the heat with that pumped up air conditioning?

Special occasion? Head to your local department or specialty boutique? 

Someone had a baby?  Head to the mall to get all giggly and excited about those adorable baby clothes!

Whatever the reason, our public shopping-for-fun has changed.

Our local King-of-Prussia semi-opened last week.  I stopped by Nordstrom to see if I could purchase Guerlain’s Meteorites in a darker shade due to the summer darkening of my fair skin.   Needless to say, the inventory was remarkably low and I left without the product I went in for (more about the Meteorites later on in this post). 

This is what I wanted. This is not what Nordstrom had in their Guerlain inventory. 

But I found two things astounding.  First, Nordstrom had almost five months of closure.  Why didn’t the store’s powers-that-be load up on inventory before re-opening. Better yet, why didn’t the store wait until they could stock up on inventory?  Honestly, I felt almost violated.

The other astounding thing was I felt so uncomfortable being both at Nordstrom and at the mall. The thought of touching items that strangers touched grossed me out. The thought of entering a dressing room where someone who could have had COVID made me uneasy.   I looked around at the people who were shopping and suddenly—I didn’t want to be there. 

yuck

The thought of being in a dressing room in such confined quarters during this time is somewhat gross.

And so, I left but returned yesterday.   I needed batteries for three watches that somehow lost their tick-tocks at the same time during this time and headed back to the mall.

Three watches–all ready to tell me what time it is now that the batteries have been replaced!

It was eerily empty. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when each individual store will open.  Some are still closed. Some are opening soon. It’s just odd.  And as soon as the batteries were put into place in the time pieces, we left the hall of shopping immediately!

Saturday morning. 11:30 AM.  The mall is empty save for one lone wanderer!

Random openings abound. This is a great little shop with ceramic table ware imported from Poland. I’m glad to see that they have not gone under!

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that online shopping isn’t quite as bad as I thought it to be in the past!

It’s soothing, relaxing, stress-free, and feeds into my laziness!

There’s something soothing about heading to my computer (as shitty as my laptop is) or iPhone, perusing various sites and allowing my fingers to do the walking. In fact, during this pandemic I’ve gained 16 pounds but my fingers have slimmed down due to the amount of online shopping I’ve done!

And so, before I proceed, please allow me to give you a few pointers in connection with online shopping.

Know your favorite brand clothing’s fit.  Example-for me, I am adept at J. Crew’s sizing.  With J. Crew Factory, it’s another thing because the sizing can be inconsistent.  With Lilly Pulitzer, it depends on the fabric and style of the dress, if a dress is all-cotton, then going up a size may be in order—especially if one has gained a few pounds over the past few months.

The Wynne maxi by Lilly Pulitzer. So nice–I have three in different prints. Luckily the Medium fits beautifuly due to the fabric and the stretch..

Here’s another Lilly Pulitzer dress I ordered online.  Due to my pandemic 16-pound weight gain, she’s a bit on the tight side but she’ll fit better by the end of the summer.  Seriously–know your size!

Check the return policy.  Usually, there’s no issue with returns. However, in some instances there are.  Recently Lilly Pulitzer had a summer sale on line.  The items were final sale. In a case such as this, you really really need to be mindful of the fit of the clothing.  I purchased a third Wynne maxi dress.  I have two others—the first, I paid full-price because I wanted it for my daughter Oona’s bridal shower.  The second, purchased during the Lilly Pulitzer After Party sale, in a different print. The dress was less than half the price of the original and the third as well. But do research to make sure the sale price is on point. You might be able to purchase elsewhere for the same sale price with a more user-friendly return policy for sale items!  I will say that Amazon has a very good return policy!

Shop the sales. The online sales can be good. Better than in-store prices, but as stated above, do your research because you could find that treasured sale item for an even lesser price!  Case in point–photo below–but also take into consideration the shipping and handling costs.  Lilly Pulitzer offers free shipping. I don’t know about the company below!

Belk had the same Wynne maxi for $9.60 less than what I paid from the Pulitzer site. But, there may have been a shipping charge so do your homework!

For convenience sake. This pandemic took alot out of us. Both physically and emotionally.  For convenience sake I find that shopping online has been stress-free. You don’t have to get dressed and get into the car and deal with bad drivers on the road. You’re not spending extra money on gas nor are you putting stress your car. No time is wasted waiting for a sales assistant and don’t have to deal with rude or ageist sales assistants.  In addition, you don’t have to worry about some a-hole parking within millimeters of your car in a parking lot. No tracking down a cashier. No dealing with people who may have the virus.

As empty as the parking lot is, I make sure to park far away from others. And for some reason, when I return to my car, there always seems to be a car parked less than an inch away from mine!

Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with shopping on Amazon.  This is the big one.  Over the past few months, I’ve done quite a bit of shopping on the ‘Zon! From a ceramic egg-separator to masks-as-a-headband. From dresses that I absolutely adore to bathing suits. To makeup and tooth care for Bonaparte. Birthday gifts and even French lentils and yeast for baking. Amazon has it all.

Now, that’s not to say there have been shopping fails because there have been. 

I still remain wary of purchasing “brand-name, luxury” cosmetics. Case in point—remember the Guerlain Meteorites I wrote about earlier in this post?  Well, upon arriving home from Nordstrom, I decided to go online to peruse the net in search of these little cosmetic pearls.  I found them on Amazon and for a price that was too good to be true.

It was too good to be true! 

When I received the Meteorites there were a few red flags. Guerlain wraps the box that the meteorites come in with clear cellophane.  There was no cellophane wrapping. This was a concern.

Buyer beware when purchasing luxury brand cosmetics from Amazon. There are a plethora of fakes and I don’t think there’s a close watch on them.  Best leave the luxury makeup to in-store purchases or purchasing from the brand itself.

Secondly, the font of the printing on the Amazon-purchased Meteorites was different. It was smaller. I opened the box and the silver container looked pretty good. I compared it to the original Meteorites that I purchased in Paris. They both looked identical.

Then…I opened the container.  Guerlain is very particular and the puff applicator that comes with the Meteorites is fluffy and white and soft and perfect for applying.  The Amazon-purchased Meteorites came with a beigeish foam applicator. This was a dead giveaway that what I bought was a fake.  The pearls didn’t have that pleasant scent either. 

I returned them.

Also returned was a pair of “faux” Jack Rogers/Palm Beach Sandals by Pierre Dumas.  I love the style of “Jacks” as well as Palm Beach.  These sandals were so cheaply constructed and wide enough that two of my feet could have fit into one sandal. I returned them.

Second fail were these sandals. I should have taken the reviews to heart. They were returned!

Some of my favorite buys?  Here you go! And here’s my Pandemic Shopping Idea List on my Amazon Store for your entertainment!  It’s the first Idea List on the upper left! Scroll down to see:  Atypical60 Amazon Storefront

Masks-as-Headbands. As masks, these sucked!  Way too flimsy but as headbands, they are fantastic!  I love the thick 60’s vibe. Here I’m pictured back from the beach!

And, oh, how I love the way this mask-as-headband looks over my Estetica Reeves wig! Total ’60’s!

Thin headbands/scarfs as handle wraps for my LV Alma bag!  I love the way these look!

This dress!  The style is incredibly flattering. The length is wonderful–not too short and it has pockets!  So nice…

I bought it twice!

Another great dress!  This will suffice well into the fall and the scarf is also an Amazon buy!

Two items I wear every day are this Rosary-inspired chain with a delicate crucifix and a Star of David. They are both important to me as I despise antisemitic behavior. 

This bracelet! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve worn this since I ordered it. In fact, I ordered a second one.  My sister had this and I was admiring it. She mentioned she purchased it on Amazon and I immediately made the purchase. This was just before the lockdown and I’ve worn this on the average of four times a week.  IT was the best $12 ever spent!

Bonaparte’s birthday was last month and I ordered this poster of a movie starring his aunt, Daniele.  We had it framed and it’s now hanging in his home office! Amazon is great for finding old movie posters!

Embryolisse is my favorite multi-tasking skin cream. I use it as a primer whether or not I’m wearing makeup.  It’s a face cream, primer and makeup remover.  And I ran out! My goal was to repurchase in France but as you know…..

We didn’t make it to France.  I found it on Amazon. It damn near killed me to pay full-price but this is a holy grail item for me!

When you aren’t looking for luxury makeup, you can find some pretty decent options –I ordered these stick highlighters and blush and must say I’m extremely pleased!  All glide on beautifully, are well-pigmented and stay in place!

A kitchen helper with a sense of humor!  I ordered this egg-separator, Mr. Bogeyman. It’s gross but funny as all get out!  And it works!!!!

And let’s not disregard Poshmark.  As a lover of the Palm Beach Sandals I purchased a great unused pair of gray/gunmetal sandals for $30!  I was thrilled!  Seriously, Poshmark can be a goldmine for unworn items—it just takes a few moments of entering keywords of what you are looking for.

Never used! Brand new in the box!  I love these so much!!!  Poshmark find for sure!

I’m also rather fond of this elephant-print Lilly Pulitzer frock I acquired from Poshmark!

Honestly, none of us have the answers as to what the future of shopping brings.  What will Holiday shopping be like?  With a number of stores filing for bankruptcy and closing, what’ll happen to retail? 

For now, I prefer the online shopping. It’s just more convenient as long as the return policy is a fair one. 

And quite honestly, I’m surprised at how much I’m loving online shopping!

So that’s it.  Have you been mall shopping lately?  Are you doing more shopping online?  It would be interesting to see what your thoughts are!

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I Needed a Rest-But Did I Really Rest? Or. What I’ve Been Up to the Past Few Weeks.

Happy Independence Day!!

Old Glory isn’t hanging in front of my home because I am a true believer in proper Flag etiquette. We don’t have a flag pole but I love this symbol of us!

As I type this, fingers to keyboard, I realize how difficult it is to begin this blog post. I swear to you, the most challenging issue is how to write an introductory sentence.

Let me just begin telling you what I’ve been up to during this three-week hiatus.

My Social Media Hiatus - Doreen Andrews - Medium

This just about explains it!

First of all, I needed a rest. Not a physical one but rather a mental and emotional rest.   This pandemic has gotten the best of me.  I’ve been going to the office. Every. Single. Day.  since the lockdown. 

This is the rest I needed.  And now, I’m well-rested!

Where most people are working from home, I’m getting dressed every morning.  Applying makeup, and choosing my daily hair in the form of a wig.  I’m spending money to gas up my car. And at the end of the day, arriving home to prepare dinner.

Every day. Makeup. Nice Dress.  Wig and a smile! Whilst others are working from home in their PJ’s….

The thanks and gratitude I’ve received is the company no longer matching my 401K, no raise for 2020 and therefore, not one iota of thanks for going in every day to face the same eight hours in front of a computer with nary a break in sight.

And I’m told I should be grateful I have a job.

Thankful Memes

This meme pretty-much sums the way I feel on some days.  I AM grateful but sometimes…I just can’t …

And I am grateful to have a job. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m grateful to have a job to go to.  I’m grateful to be working for two wonderful women. I’m grateful for both my medical benefits and now, the Medicare that I pay into to receive extra benefits.

But it isn’t that.  It’s just that I’m tired. Not “I-need-to-go-to-sleep” tired.  I’m tired spirit-wise.  My spirit is broken.  At 65 years old, I resent, at times, having to work. 

Add to that, a divorce that left me both penniless and without a home—basically, hitting rock bottom, and having to go through all this at a time when ageism reared its ugly head, I’ve been a professional failure so to speak.  I never had the opportunity to regain the promising career I had when I worked on Wall Street.

LOL!  This is pretty-much me!  I am rather intrigued at the prospect of converting my retirement funds into pennies. It’ll make me feel wealthy! 

Rebecca Howe is my professional Spirit Animal inasmuch as my career goes. She was never able to rise above the pitfalls career-wise.  We’re so much alike—with the exception that I was damned lucky to meet Bonaparte while she ended up with a white-collar criminal.  (Watch the last few seasons of Cheers if you need a refresher—it’s funny as hell!)

The absolute funniest thing about this is that I’ve said the exact same thing at LEAST 1,000 times to my husband.  He doesn’t even flinch anymore!  Rebecca and I are just so much alike.  Even down to the way we cry. I’m not kidding. I have the same cry! It’s so funny!

Regardless, it doesn’t mean I’m miserable or unhappy.  In fact, other than my professional (I use that term loosely) life I’m very happy.  I have a great husband. Three incredibly grounded and kind children, a loving son-in-law, a fantastic step daughter, a home that is my respite and castle and knock-on-wood, good health.

But the thing is, I want to spend the rest of my life enjoying it to the fullest.  I want to travel. I want to visit my kids. I want to go on day trips.  And I can’t do that because retirement is not an option.  It’s all about the money.

First it was the soup. Now it’s no retirement. And that makes me stressed!

Years ago, people received a pension.  This allowed for a more lucrative retirement situation.  Now we are responsible for our 401K—just like the onus is on us more and more for healthcare!   But I am not alone. This situation I am in is not unique. It’s more and more becoming the new normal for people in the over 50 and over 60 demographics.

Indiana Jones and the.. Search for his pension - Cheezburger ...

Duh!!!  NOW I get it!  The Temple of Doom was really Indiana Jones’s search for a pension!

With so many “older” workers who’ve never recovered or never became fully employed during the last economic downfall, it’s quite ordinary. Whatever happened to respecting the older generation?  Huh?

That being said, thanks so much for allowing me to vent. Between the hiatus and being able to let off some steam, I’m feeling much more like myself!

So…. just what have I been up to?

Well, for starters, we celebrated Bonaparte’s birthday.   The obstacle was just what do I get the man who wants for nothing and isn’t really fond of birthday celebrations?  I thought about it. Then I thought some more.  It almost hurt my brain with all that thinking!  However, I did find a great gift that was meaningful.

A poster of one of his aunt’s, Daniele Delorme’s, posters from a film she was in.  The colors went with many of the touches in our home and it would be a wonderful addition to his home-office.

A rather melodramatic movie, it was a visual tour of Paris and as always, Daniele was great!

He loved it and as I write this, we are awaiting a phone call from the framer to pick it up.  I’ll share a pic of the framed poster. 

Nearing another phase in the pandemic, my son Roman was contemplating a visit before resuming work in mid-July.  His main concern was Bonaparte’s health. He was tested for COVID, which was negative and we had the pleasure of my son for two weeks.

Not wanting him to take a bus or train to Philly, Bonaparte, Chippy and I embarked on a little road trip through the PA Turnpike, the NJ Turnpike and across the George Washington bridge to pick him up and then after the visit, to bring him back to his apartment.

These two guys!  They are quite the pair!

I’ll tell ya, having him here for a couple of weeks made me so happy.  It made Bonaparte happy too.  We had great conversations over dinner, had a great time with each other and even got to enjoy a day down the shore!

Yeah. We enjoyed the day down at Wildwood Crest visiting Vincent’s daughter and enjoying the beach!

But there’s more.  The Frenchman has an obsession with the size of TV’s.  Our 65-inch TV just wasn’t cutting it for him anymore.  And so, I was surprised to find an incredibly huge box in our foyer when Roman was visiting.  We are now the proud owners of a 75-inch TV in our bedroom.

This movie “Si Versailles M’etait Conte or Royal Affairs in Versailles was a great history lesson about the history of Versailles and France and the French Revolution..

Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele Delorme played the feminist Louison Chabray!  It was fun seeing her on the “big” home screen!

…and might I add that the costume design was epic!

Can I just say that at first, I thought it was a rather silly and frivolous purchase, but as I watched my friend, Rebecca Howe from Cheers on that big screen, I was enthralled.  Besides, it’s far better for my eyes.

Rebecca Howe ~ Cheers | Rebecca, Women, Ruffle blouse

As soon as I saw my buddy Rebecca Howe on the 75-inch TV, I knew I would love this!

What happened with the 65-inch TV?  We gave it to Roman. And now, everyone is happy and well-entertained!

Speaking of the shore, we hit the beach for the past two weekends!  Yesterday I had the day off, lending itself for a spectacular and well-needed and appreciated three-day weekend.  We went to Stone Harbor on the Jersey Shore.

Beach feet. The salt water. The sun. Socially Distancing myself while others do not.  It’s all part of summer 2020!

And while it was a wonderful day for Bonaparte and I, I was a bit disappointed that nobody was donning a mask.  I had my mask. It was on from the moment I arrived until the moment I hit the water with my chair.   Social Distancing is my jam.  That’s why I took my chair to the Ocean’s edge and literally sat in the water where I had a stellar social distancing experience.

There’s a melange of peeling skin, sunscreen, sand ON the face and a mask. I don’t care how unattractive this looks. I’ll wear a mask as long as need be. It’s astounding that others refuse! 

Back on the sand, the mask was on and in the entire time we were at the beach, I saw one. ONE other person with a mask.  I will leave it at that.

Summer is the time for dining al fresco and we’ve been fortunate to do so for almost every night the past three weeks with the exception of two rainy evenings and one too-hot evening. I’m changing up my game plan with healthier meal planning this summer.

Yum yum.  Tomatoes. Lemon. Avacado. Bananas. All available year round but the tomatoes this summer are outstanding!  

Oh. The aperitifs are still rolling around. Its just more plant-based meals and enjoying seasonal produce!

I made a roasted eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and cashew cheese terrine. Actually, it turned out to be incredibly tasty!

This Fourth is a bittersweet one for us.  In the past (except last year when Oona got married), we’ve arrived back from France to the USA on Independence Day. Today would have been that day. It really was daunting to not be able to travel overseas due to this pandemic. And more daunting is the fact that Americans are banned from traveling to the EU for now. Hopefully, that’ll change for our November visit to Paris!

Yeah….this is the day that we’re usually at Nice airport early in the morning.  Our “special” way to celebrate July 4th!

Oh wait!  There’s more!

Last week—Monday after work to be exact, I had the first Mani-Pedi in four months!  Four. Months.   Now, I’m pretty bad in applying nail polish to both my fingernails and toes. Add to that, I’m danger with a nail clipper so my hands and feet weren’t exactly looking their best.

Let’s just say my feet and hands needed some love!

And the nail salon I regularly visit finally opened.  And opened with every safety precaution available.  Upon entering, I had to wait on an “X” by the door until called over to the main counter.  Then my temperature was taken –98.6 allowed me to have my nails done. 

A new way to look at a nail spa!

Pexi-glass separating each pedicure and hand station led to a very safe environment.  The only disappointment was that no lip-or chin waxing can be done till further notice.  At this point I’m feeling like the bearded lady at a side show so let’s hope the face can be waxed sooner than later!

My feet needed this!

And in the end–it was all beautiful and back to normal–albiet it the new normal!

 

Well, now that I’m back, I’ve got more reviews and more stuff to write about and share with you.  Remember!  Be safe and keep protected. This “thing” isn’t over yet!

Here’s hoping you enjoyed your red, white and blue!

Posted in Uncategorized | 39 Comments

Pied-a-Fair–The Shoes of Summer

The Summer Solstice 2020 occurred last night.  The longest day of the year.  Luckily, Bonaparte, my son, Roman and I enjoyed a late dinner on the deck with great conversation and food.  I didn’t even have time to be depressed over the fact that beginning today, the days become progressively shorter.

Last night it WAS a table for three. Outdoors. We commenced while the sun was shining and ended when the Big Dipper was in full view!

Yes. That’s how my thought process works.  The most depressing day of the year is the Summer Solstice because the days following grow shorter. On the other hand, my favorite day of the year isn’t Christmas, nor is it Thanksgiving or any holiday—it’s the Winter Solstice.  And that is simply because the days following become longer.

My inner Druid wanted to do a Solstice dance and prance in high hopes we can keep daylight longer all year!

Alas. It is summer!

It’s that time of year again.  And even though we are slowly coming out of the quarantine lockdown, and we may not be out-and-about with the vim and vigor of the past, we still need to remember a certain part of our body that needs some extra love. 

The feet.

Ahhhh.  The feet.  Les Pieds. The Dawgs.  Taken when my feet were well-pedicured I’m missing France very much this summer!  My feet were very happy that day driving to Antibes!

My poor dawgs haven’t had a proper pedicure in over three months.  And my attempts at polishing my toenails have been feeble at best and horrific at worst. But my feet know that I’m trying to give them the love they so deserve. 

My poor feet.  I can’t even apply polish on my toes without making it look like a complete fail!  At least I went with a light pink rather than Big Apple Red!

They haven’t been on vacation due to the pandemic and cancelled travel plans.  They haven’t even been out and about much because my Covid life consists of waking up.  Getting dressed. Getting into the car to drive to work.  Sitting in my cubicle at my computer all day.  Monday through Friday.  Getting back into the car to come home.  Arriving home.  Preparing dinner.  Then going upstairs to relax and it begins again the next day.

I am sure that my feet miss being at the beach as much as I do.  Presently, they miss walking around various areas of the Cote d’Azur.  They miss the cool of the pool.

Today, my feet would have been relaxing by the pool at our apartment in Theoule. I would have been sitting under an umbrella reading a book.  Enjoying the sun.  Instead, ‘m indoors and my feet need some lovin’!

They miss the rocky bottom of the Mediterranean.  They miss the feel of sand between their toes.  And miss the texture of both soft and hard grass under the soles.

The feet miss the sand of L’Estagnol and the rocky bottom of the sea.  

I’ll tell you, there is nothing like well-polished toes and the feeling of freshly-pedicured feet upon the inner soles of sandals!

But the one thing they don’t miss is the feeling of winter feet. 

For sure they are not missing being crammed into tights then into boots!

Yeah. They don’t miss being crammed into my favored pointy-toed heels nor do they miss being squished into boots.  They don’t miss that tightness of heavy socks over them to ensure that the boots worn in frigid conditions will keep them warm. They don’t miss the heavy sock-slippers I traipse around the house in when the winter weather arrives.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my pointy-toed shoes. But–to everything there is a season. And it’s time to Turn, Turn, Turn into summerized footwear!

Now, they are happy.  And they are happy because the summer footwear has been taken out for the season!

My summer uniform. An easy summer dress and Tropezienne sandals!

If you are like me, you realize that summer is the time for dressing freedom.  Freedom from and outerwear and heavy jeans and pants.  It’s that time of year when the lightweight dresses come out of hibernation for the warm three or four months we can enjoy until the days become cool again.

But for now, it’s all about the shoes.  Wearing nothing clunkier than the possibility of the soles of a wedged sandal or open toed one. 

Bring on the summer.  Aren’t these wedges pretty?  Lilly Pultizer definitely has the monopoly on great golden wedges!

The heels are strappy.  The feet are breathing freely.

Hmmmm. Hmmmm.  Strappy heels are so summer-cool!

The sandals are flat and comfortable. And the feet thank you.

My flat and comfy Palm Beach Sandals. This still is from a YouTube video I made on my summer shoes.  Except I had to delete it because I was wearing a short dress and you could see clear up my legs to my origin of the world–and even though I was well-covered, it wasn’t a good thing!

And so, I wanted to take you on a little tour of the shoes I’m wearing  this summer. 

More golden wedges from Lilly Pulitzer.  I don’t know why I’m such a sucker for gold footwear during the summer–but I am!

Be mindful, if you will, that the majority of these shoes have been with me for a while. And I’m not one to go out year after year to replenish anything trendy.

Classic Dr. Scholl’s. I’ve got two pair!

Part of this is sticking to classic footwear styles.

My love for Rondini never ceases.   These custom-fit sandals are worth every euro—converted into USD!  At an average of about $150, I’ve had some of these sandals over 10 years and they haven’t worn out. 

My Rondini Collection.  It WAS supposed to grow this summer…

I was planning on treating myself to these gold leather Bikini sandals from Rondini this summer.  Oh well, there’s always next summer!

The Bikini!  My favorite of all the Rondini sandals. I’ve been wearing these at least three times a week and they look so great with everything. 

The leather, as it ages, becomes softer and achieves a beautiful patina. 

These Tropeziennes by Rondini are over ten years old.  Chippy snacked on a strap years ago.  They were brought back and repaired and are good as new! But the leather ages so beautifully!

There’s no way I can resist a strappy heeled sandal.  I gravitate toward these simple heeled gems because that’s just what they are. Simple and classic. 

A nude strappy heeled sandal is perfection for summer wear..

As is gold!

Flip-flops?  To the beach. But we haven’t been there yet.

Surprisingly, these fancy flip-flops have been with me for about nine years. Old Navy created a winner with these navy beauties.  Beach sandals!

The Great American Jack Rogers and Palm Beach Sandals bring forth the iconic Jackie Kennedy years—and also a standard summertime sandal. 

Shades of Jackie Kennedy.  I, just as Jackie did, prefer the Palm Beach Sandals due to the narrower fit!  But I still dig my Jacks!

My personal preference?  The Palm Beach brand because they fit my narrow feet much better.  The “Jacks” stretch out way too much—and even though the brand does offer some sandals in a narrow width, they still, over time, manage to stretch out across my precious dawgs.

Do I ever wear closed-toe shoes during the summer? 

Well…. rarely.  If I wake up to a deluge of precipitation, perhaps I’ll don a pair of ballet flats, but not my good Repetto’s.

Old-School J. Crew Made-In-Italy Ballet Flats are my preference for nasty summer rains.

And during those weekend downpours, the oldest pair of Weejuns I own. Over 20 years old and still going strong!

And when in the comfort of my home, it’s the bare feet that make me the happiest.

I LIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! | Atypical 60

At home I love my feet shoeless. Just like I love my titties braless!

 

Do tell.  How do you summarize your feet?  Do you wear the full-on closed-toed shoes?  Are you a sandal fan?  Flip-flops?  Are you itching to get a pedicure when this pandemic subsides?

Tell me about your summer shoes please!!

And most of all—are you sad that the days are getting shorter?

 

 

Posted in Summer footwear | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Skincare I Wear. And Test. And Revew. And…A Pleasant Surprise!

Hi Ladies and Gents!  It’s been a moment since my last blog post so I’ll fill you in:

Last week we took a trip to NYC to pick up Roman so he could spend a couple of weeks in the bucolic burbs before a possible return to work in July.

Yeah!  We drove from Philly to New York…and it’s always a pleasure..

Doesn’t the GW look splendid?

We celebrated Bonaparte’s birthday.

Ahhhh. The various stages of Bonaparte!  Top left, in his office. Next to that his mom Evie (who I think was one of the most beautiful women ever) with his sister Isabelle and a very young Bonaparte!  Bottom left, his cerebral but cool Parisen days and  a baby Bonaparte with his dad Dany. Jacques-Henri Lartigue took that one and it was used for a TWA ad back in the day!

And for his birthday, I gifted him with a movie poster of a film starring his aunt, Daniele.  He was very touched by this gift!  

I’m in the process of searching for an ophthalmologist because my eyesight is not improving. I shall leave it at that.

Bitmoji Image

Eye see you. Sorta-LOL!

And so, I’m ready to have fun to return to the blog and write about the things I love!

Among those things is skincare! And how befitting was it that Medipharma Cosmetics reached to me last month to see if I would be interested in in testing and reviewing two skincare creams and a mascara (which I shall review the mascara at a later date but it is really good!)

Medipharma Cosmetics is a German company  based in Homburg and has a huge loyal customer base and is a trusted brand across the pond!

medipharma cosmetics | Medipharma

And yes, they also have a line of sun care products.  I need this in my life! And I must admit, European sun products are fantastic!

Always interested in skincare, I accepted the offer. 

Did I have high expectations?  Truth is, I never do until I try a product out for a while.

Nor did I have low expectations.  I basically had no expectations and that’s not a bad thing!

If you follow this blog or my Instagram feed, you know I’m not one of those who open a jar, apply the product and fall in immediate love with it.  That isn’t real life. That isn’t honest and it isn’t being transparent.

So, let’s talk about my skin—shall we?

Okay.  Here’s the view.  Lines around my mouth, on the sides of my face, under my eyes.  I do have an uneven skin tone, but I don’t really look to skincare to even the tone out.  I can do that with makeup.  The signs of aging are apparent!

Ever the pro-ager, my skin is still, at 65 years, aging.  The lines and wrinkles are there.  My newest sign of aging are weird bags under my eyes.  And as I cannot afford fillers, I live with them and work around them.   My skin has also become more textured as I’ve aged.  It’s just not as smooth as it used to be.

And this is okay.  It’s normal.  It happens as you age.

What I’m looking for in a skin cream—or any skin care product at this time is hydration. Think of a sponge.  When a sponge is dry, you notice the crevices and little textured holes—they are pretty pronounced and the sponge feels dry and rough.

Add water and that sponge takes on a new appearance.  It plumps up.  And as it holds the moisture, it no longer feels rough and those little crevices are blurred.

Konjac Sponge Review | Dermstore Blog

See what I mean?  Notice the lines and texture of the dry sponge. Look how it plumps and smooths when wet!

That’s kinda how a good moisturizer works.

Now. Back to the Medipharma products.

The two creams I was sent.  Nachtpflege, which is the night cream and the Intensivcreme, which is the day cream.

I’ve been using the Intensivcream during the day and in the evening the Nachtpflege cream for about 5 weeks now. Every morning. Every night.

Both jars hold 50ml of product, which translates to 1.6907 ounces.  Both have a shelf life of 6 months. 

At over one ounce, I’ve been using these creams for over 5 weeks and there is still plenty of product left!

Both have a “green” scent that dissipates within seconds of application.

I know. I know.  You think I’m nuts to say the products have a green scent but hear me out.  Go outside to your lawn.  Pluck a strand of grass or a leaf from a shrub.  Snap it in half and smell it.  See what mean?  It has a very “green” and clean scent.

Even better, the creams have the scent of freshly-mowed grass but it dissipates so quickly!  It really is such a clean and crisp aroma!

That’s what these products smell like.

Trust me, I’m no scientist but here’s a listing of the ingredients.  There’s stuff I can’t pronounce but there are also ingredients that are very hydrating and mature-skin friendly such as beeswax, glycerin, olive fruit oil, jojoba and shea butter.

Here’s a listing of ingredients.  As you can see there’s some cool stuff in here!

Both have the consistency of cream that is just about to reach that whipped stage. And of the two, the Olivenӧl Nachtpflege is the less “whipped” with a very dewy feel.

It’s a nice texture–almost the whipped cream stage but not heavy and pretty lightweight.

The night cream is crazy with hydration.  I’ve even stopped using Cerave on my face at night because I prefer this!

Neither cream is greasy. And that, my friends, is a great thing!

Pardon my Pandemic nails please but the day cream is just beautiful under makeup.  It applies nicely and soaks into the skin in a timely manner, making the daily beauty routine more user-friendly and the creams are not greasy!  

The fact the creams aren’t greasy lends itself very well to applying cosmetics over the creams.

The day cream is slightly thicker than the night cream but is still incredibly lightweight and hydrating.

Let me add this—due to the pandemic and wearing of the mask on a daily basis, I’m not wearing liquid or cream foundation these days.  However, I’m applying powdered bronzers for a sun-kissed glow.  The combo of powder over a cream, especially one that can be greasy, could be disastrous.  But, given the fact these are not greasy, the powder bronzers or any powdered product I’m using, looks fine!  That is a great thing.

Wearing a mask can cause some funky stuff from sweat and the combination of product.  I’ve not had an issue with any breaking out from either of these creams. They are great “mask” products! 

Hey. If you are complying by wearing a mask every day you are well-aware that some products may have a tendency to cause breakouts.  Not so with these creams.  I’ve had no breakouts. No random pimples and no irritation.

Ohhhh. And speaking of irritation.  We all know that my eyes are ridiculously super-sensitive and it is the main reason I have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen. There has been NO irritation to my eyes at all. NONE!  Granted, this has no sunscreen so if you want sunscreen you’ll have to apply over the cream.  But given the fact many creams bother my eyes, this is remarkable.

No filtered photography here. Just a nice photo after using the creams for five weeks.  I do have makeup on over the cream but overall, I’m very pleased!

So let’s see. Just how does my skin look and feel after five week’s use?

I’m happy.  Actually, I’m very happy and impressed.

Ain’t gonna lie. Lines are still there but the hydration quotent is stellar!

Are the creams miracle workers?  No cream works miracles. No cream, no matter what their marketing strategy is, will erase your lines or wrinkles.  For that, you need lots of money and a certified plastic surgeon to give you a face lift or a certified dermatologist to shoot you with fillers.

face lift- GAH!!!

Hold that thought.  I think a cream is better than stretching the skin like this!

But these creams are incredibly hydrating.  And, in my very average-woman opinion, hydration is key.  My skin feels good and looks good.  It doesn’t feel dry. It feels dewy and hydrated.  And good is important.

In this picture, the day cream is literally my makeup! I’m wearing a glow from Guerlain’s Meteorites in Light that has been applied over the day cream.  I’m also wearing the Medipharma mascara!  The lashes are lookin’ good!

And another point I want to touch upon is that it’s important to rotate skin care products.  It’s like shampoo and conditioner.  If you stick to the same products month after month, year after year, you get the feeling they hit a plateau in helping you.

Like tires need rotation, so does your skin care regimen.

Honda Tire Rotation Service | Roy Schmidt Honda Effingham, IL

Just as tires need rotation, I’m a firm believer that skin care as well as makeup products need to be rotated. (When I had a full head of hair I did that with shampoo/conditioner. Now I rotate my wigs!)

Overall, I give these products an A+.  They do what is needed for hydration. They are non- irritating.  The texture is lovely.  The ingredients are pretty-much natural.  They don’t interfere with any cosmetics you will apply over them.  The scent, as clean as it is, will dissipate quickly and the price is right.

Speaking of price, you can use the code atypical25 for a twenty-five percent discount on your order.

Medipharma products can be found on Amazon.  As such I will leave a link to my idea list for Medipharma!   I do receive a small monetary amount for items sold through Amazon and want to be transparent about that!

My Amazon Links  Medipharma Idea List.

If you try, let me know in a few weeks what you think!  I’ll be back with more fun!

Last week we took a trip to NYC to pick up Roman so he could spend a couple of weeks in the bucolic burbs before a possible return to work in July.

We celebrated Bonaparte’s birthday.

I’m in the process of searching for an ophthalmologist because my eyesight is not improving. I shall leave it at that.

And so, I’m ready to have fun to return to the blog and write about the things I love!

Among those things is skincare!

Medipharma is a German company and has a huge loyal customer base and is a trusted brand across the pond!

Always interested in skincare, I accepted the offer. 

Did I have high expectations?  Truth is, I never do until I try a product out for a while.

If you follow this blog or my Instagram feed, you know I’m not one of those who open a jar, apply the product and fall in immediate love with it.  That isn’t real life. That isn’t honest and it isn’t being transparent.

So, let’s talk about my skin—shall we?

Ever the pro-ager, my skin is still, at 65 years, aging.  The lines and wrinkles are there.  My newest sign of aging are weird bags under my eyes.  And as I cannot afford fillers, I live with them and work around them.

My skin has also become more textured as I’ve aged.  It’s just not as smooth as it used to be.

And this is okay.  It’s normal.  It happens as you age.

What I’m looking for in a skin cream—or any skin care product at this time is hydration. Think of a sponge.  When a sponge is dry, you notice the crevices and little textured holes—they are pretty pronounced and the sponge feels dry and rough.

Add water and that sponge takes on a new appearance.  It plumps up.  And as it holds the moisture, it no longer feels rough and those little crevices are blurred.

That’s kinda how a good moisturizer works.

Now. Back to the Medipharma products.

I’ve been using the Intensivcream during the day and in the evening the Nachtpflege cream for about 5 weeks now. Every morning. Every night.

Both jars hold 50ml of product, which translates to 1.6907 ounces.  Both have a shelf life of 6 months. 

Both have a “green” scent that dissipates within seconds of application.

I know. I know.  You think I’m nuts to say the products have a green scent but hear me out.  Go outside to your lawn.  Pluck a strand of grass or a leaf from a shrub.  Snap it in half and smell it.  See what mean?  It has a very “green” and clean scent.

That’s what these products smell like.

Trust me, I’m no scientist but here’s a listing of the ingredients.  There’s stuff I can’t pronounce but there are also ingredients that are very hydrating and mature-skin friendly such as beeswax, glycerin, olive fruit oil, jojoba and shea butter.

Both have the consistency of cream that is just about to reach that whipped stage. And of the two, the Olivenӧl Nachtpflege is the less “whipped” with a very dewy feel.

Neither cream is greasy. And that, my friends, is a great thing!

The fact the creams aren’t greasy lends itself very well to applying cosmetics over the creams.

Let me add this—due to the pandemic and wearing of the mask on a daily basis, I’m not wearing liquid or cream foundation these days.  However, I’m applying powdered bronzers for a sun-kissed glow.  The combo of powder over a cream, especially one that can be greasy, could be disastrous.  But, given the fact these are not greasy, the powder bronzers or any powdered product I’m using, looks fine!  That is a great thing.

Hey. If you are complying by wearing a mask every day you are well-aware that some products may have a tendency to cause breakouts.  Not so with these creams.  I’ve had no breakouts. No random pimples and no irritation.

Ohhhh. And speaking of irritation.  We all know that my eyes are ridiculously super-sensitive and it is the main reason I have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen. There has been NO irritation to my eyes at all. NONE!  Granted, this has no sunscreen so if you want sunscreen you’ll have to apply over the cream.  But given the fact many creams bother my eyes, this is remarkable.

So let’s see. Just how does my skin look and feel after five week’s use?

I’m happy.  Actually, I’m very happy and impressed.

Are the creams miracle workers?  No cream works miracles. No cream, no matter what their marketing strategy is, will erase your lines or wrinkles.  For that, you need lots of money and a certified plastic surgeon to give you a face lift or a certified dermatologist to shoot you with fillers.

But these creams are incredibly hydrating.  And, in my very average-woman opinion, hydration is key.  My skin feels good and looks good.  It doesn’t feel dry. It feels dewy and hydrated.  And good is important.

If you are seeking hydration, this is exceptional!

And the day cream is just as good!

And another point I want to touch upon is that it’s important to rotate skin care products.  It’s like shampoo and conditioner.  If you stick to the same products month after month, year after year, you get the feeling they hit a plateau in helping you.

Like tires need rotation, so does your skin care regimen.

Overall, I give these products an A+.  They do what is needed for hydration. They are non- irritating.  The texture is lovely.  The ingredients are pretty-much natural.  They don’t interfere with any cosmetics you will apply over them.  The scent, as clean as it is, will dissipate quickly and the price is right.

Use the code atypical25 for twenty-five percent off. You’ll really like these!

Speaking of price, you can use the code atypical25 for a twenty-five percent discount on your order.

I’m linking to both the Medipharma cosmetics site and my Amazon store.  I do receive a small monetary amount for items sold through Amazon and want to be transparent about that!

Medipharma Cosmetics:   Medipharma English

My Amazon Idea List:  Atypical60 Medipharma Idea List

If you try, let me know in a few weeks what you think!  I’ll be back with more fun!

 

Posted in European skin care, mature beauty, Skincare | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Flower Power, The Yellow Phase and Personal Time Off!

It’s been a moment.  Actually, it’s been longer than a moment. It’s been months of pandemicmania.  And we, in this area of Pennsylvania have now entered into the “yellow” phase.  That means more businesses are opening.

Report: Philadelphia and Surrounding Counties Soon Moving to COVID ...

Aggressive mitigation my ass.  I can’t even go inside a bank to have documents notarized. And I wear a mask!

Don’t even ask me how this “Yellow” phase is working, but the local Hallmark store opened and on Saturday, Bonaparte and I drove to his bank to have a document notarized and we could not enter the bank as only the drive-through and lobby for ATM use was opened.

Hmmmm.  A Hallmark card store vs. a Bank.  I guess it’s more important to buy a friggin’ card than it is to have an important document notarized.

Anyway, with our trip to France cancelled, I am making every effort to bring France to our humble chateau!   And that means going overboard with the flowers.

You see, at the Marché Forville, the choice of flowers available is astounding.  As are the choices of produce and tons of other goodies.  And I liken our local Produce Junction as a little Marché Forville of sorts.

Just a sampling of the flora available at Marche Forville in Cannes.  Thank goodness I took photos.  And yes. I’m getting ready for a pity party this afternoon!

And after not being able to enter the bank, we drove over so I could purchase flowers to fill our home with  lots of pretty petals and greenery!  But I’m going to backtrack a bit.

I purchased six vases worth of flowers yesterday–but more on that in a while!

We had severe storms this past week.  I think Mother Nature has had it and she let us know.  Tornados hit, which is a rarity.  Trees were knocked down and over 100,000 homes are still without power.  We were the lucky ones.

A little glimpse of the damage that was done in this area. It was horrific!

I was at work.  The power went off.  And seriously, you gotta love Corporate America.  I was given a choice to stay and wait for the power to go on or go home and take Personal Time Off, PTO for short.  Let. Me. Tell. You. There was no way that I was going to leave to take any PTO.  As one of a total of three people in the office , this was not what an executive choice I was expecting.  No.  I stayed till five waiting for the power to return and listened to music.

View from my cubicle

The next morning, power in the office was still off.  My boss sent me a text stating I had to take PTO (which was not her doing) and after a brief meltdown, simply because nobody puts my PTO in a corner, it came to fruition that I better take my anger out in a positive way.

I refuse to allow Mother Nature to dictate my time off.  That PTO of mine is sacred to me!

And so, I got a bucket. And water. And cleaning products. And got down on my 65-year old hands and knees and scrubbed every baseboard in the house.  I also scrubbed the vents and the wainscoting.  Much to my ultimate surprise, I wasn’t as sore as anticipated.

My cleaning ammunition.  It was a filthy job that needed to be done!

This ungodly and shameful chore commenced at 8:00 AM and by 10:30 AM was complete.  And when I glanced at my phone, I noticed another text from my boss. She was trying to reach me because the power went back on.

How filthy were the baseboards, and vents?  Does this give you a clue?  Shameful?  Should be but it isn’t.  It’s a job well-done!

Now, understand something.  Whilst cleaning I wore an old white tattered pair of denim shorts, a baggy t-shirt, no wig, no makeup and no underwear.  It is imperative that I am absolutely comfortable tackling a filthy, grimy chore.

Realizing that I could hurry into the office and make up the two-hour time difference rather than lose any PTO, I quickly shed those shorts to add panties. The shorts then went back on.  The baggy shirt came off, a bra went on as did a more presentable shirt.

Plopped on some hair, put underwear on, changed my shirt and flew into work!  

I plopped a head of fake hair on, slid into loafers, grabbed the car keys and sped.  In fact, when I arrived at the office, my boss’s reaction was “Did you fly here”?

My only answer was “Pee. Tee. Ohhhhhh”.  She got it.  She gets me!

What vacation?  However, my personal time is precious!

And I spent a pleasant day at work knowing that I didn’t have to take any personal time off.   But she also reminded me about  the “Yellow” phase.  In other words, she reminded me my pandemic office honeymoon was about to end.  More coworkers will be arriving.  I’m distraught!

I’ll tell you. For the most part, the people I work with are good eggs. But there’s that minute contingent I refer to as “groundhogs”. The ones who pop their heads up from their cubicles to “watch” every move others make.  The little snitches.  They snitch if someone laughs. If someone talks too loudly.  If someone isn’t being nice to them.  If someone is eating. If someone is breathing. 

You know the person I’m referring to. They can’t keep their eyes or mind on THEIR work so they have to play the role of office snitch! Little groundhogs sticking their faces over their cubicles. Get back you rodent!

If you work in or have ever worked in an office, you know the type I’m referring to. My workcation is about to end!

So, back to the flowers.

I was struck by the incredible number of white flowers that were available at Produce Junction and was immediately brought back to those times at Bonaparte’s aunt, Danièle’s apartment in Paris.  She loved white roses and she loved her orchids. The apartment was always filled with flowers.

The table in Daniele’s living room was chock full of orchids.  Ahhhh I miss this view!

Suffice it to say I went a bit overboard.

I couldn’t help myself…

….flowers just make me happy…

….and I’m saddened by the fact our visit to France this summer was cancelled..

…and strategically placed throughout the house..

..they bring a smile to my face!

It didn’t stop there.  We bought plants for the deck.  It’s odd how this year there appears to be a shortage of geraniums, which I love for the outdoors, and the ones available were inches from death.

Seriously.  Bonaparte purchased the last of the remaining “good” geraniums!

I went with an assortment.

We’ve got some Lavender..

…and Rosemary and Begonias..

…and I took the Poinsettias from indoors and brought them outdoors…

…and we’ve got a Lilly

….and I did the dirty work (as usual) while Bonaparte cleaned up after me (as usual)!

All I want is to be reminded of the terrace at the apartment in Theoule we’ve rented for years.  We had it for this year and I was looking so forward to waking up and having breakfast overlooking the Mediterranean. 

Flowers on the terrace at Theoule. Oh I miss this view in the morning!

And in the evening, I was looking forward to sitting down and spending hours over dinner.  Watching the sun set upon the sea, listening to Bonaparte complaining about the large cruise ships destroying the beautiful vista.  I just miss it so much.  And part of that is I work so hard all year round.  At this stage in my life, I always envisioned a retirement of pleasure so that I could enjoy the years that remain.

I miss those delightfully lingering dinners on the terrace!

Why, I even miss the way Bonaparte complained about large cruise ships ruining his view as we sat down to enjoy the Mediterranean!