In the past, since we’ve been traveling to France together since 2006, we’ve never really planned out our itineraries on a day-to-day basis. Don’t get me wrong. We planned flights; we budgeted our funds very pragmatically. However, since we’ve always stayed with The Frenchman’s Aunt, other than making dinner reservations, we really didn’t plan much else.
My journal is complete with every location of every Vuitton Boutique in Paris and the one customer services number for all. I also have the Goyard information! Oh yeah, and our itinerary for the week!
We were a couple of true flaneurs and hit museums and other places of interest in a very chill manner.
…and at night, we wander the streets and saunter by the edge of the Seine
Then Daniele passed away and we added the planning of staying at a hotel. Still, when we arrived in Paris, we basically planned by what was opened on any particular day.
This time around it’s different.
Our masks are at the ready.
Not only will I be masked, but I’ll be wearing clothing too!
Our Passe Sanitaires are stored both in my phone and we have paper copies as well. We also have our vaccination and booster cards just in case. You never know when you’ll have to give more proof.
My iPhone literally now holds my life. And my passe!
And this time around, due to the Covid issue at hand and the extra precautions, we’re on a schedule to see sites. We have our time and dates to go to Versailles, Musee Carnavalet, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and a few other places.
This place. Musee Carnavalet. I’ve been waiting a few years to get back here because it was closed FOREVER due to renovations. Hands down, this is one of my favorite places in Paris. I like it better than Versailles–yes, I wrote that!
Since my husband loves to plan in advance, he’s okay with this—although not 100 percent. I, on the other hand, cannot stand to be on a placed schedule. I’m fine with the fact I have to be at my cooking class early in the morning. I’m also fine with dinner reservations. I’m not fine with having to be at a museum or other sight at a specific time. But..it needs to be done so I’m certainly going to comply.
I bought this book to read on the flight. I LOVED Bourdain and this is going to get me through the seven-hour flight because I cannot sleep on planes.
Besides, we are spending a week which means we’ll definitely have downtime to explore the Christmas Markets that are already up and running!
So that’s it. As we get ready to leave, I checked the weather in New York for tomorrow, and, as usual, it’s going to rain. I have never and I mean never since 2006 left either New York or Philadelphia for Paris when it wasn’t raining.
My outfit for the plane has been planned. As I write this the jeans are drying. The shoes at the ready and I’m thinking of my new moniker: Fattest in Paris! Due to the pandemic weight that’s not left yet!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Have a safe and wonderful one. Be careful shopping on Black Friday and let’s welcome the official start of the Holiday Season of 2021!
And a Happy Thanksgiving from my little ishkabibble who now thinks he is French!
Next week we leave for Paris. A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post on how I’m preparing. To refresh your memory, have a look at that post: We’re Headed Back to Paris—How I’m Preparing. It’ll give you a more in-depth view of the clothing I’m taking. And I have to say, I stayed pretty close to my original pack list.
Headed back. Maybe this year I’ll actually get out of the car to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower.
I changed up a couple of things. I decided against the black turtleneck in favor for a black cashmere crewneck by Quince. I’m leaving the camel Quince sweater at home.
Staying home. I’ve replaced with the same Quince cashmere sweater in black. I live dangerously.
I omitted the black suede heels. They would be worn only in the evening when headed out to dinner. Since we are within walking distance to all the restaurants we’ll be dining at, and I’ll have wine. And I’ll get wobbly. And there’s a good chance I’ll fall. So, I’ll stick to either the black boots or ballet flats.
Allow me to ‘splain. These ballet flats are NOT Repetto’s nor are they my favorite J. Crew Ballet flats. These are J. Crew Made-in-Italy flats but they are heavier with a more solid leather sole and heel. I wear these ONLY with tights. Tights need a heavier ballet flat and these are the ones I’ll being simply because I wear tights with short skirts in the cold weather. It’s weird. I know. But it’s how I think!
Besides, the black heels were suede and last visit to the City of Lights it was more like the City of Downpour and I nearly ruined my favorite suede flats. Suede will stay home.
I’m also on the fence about the black sweater dress but chances are, it’s going to be a last-minute pack.
I didn’t pack this but the more I think about it, the more I think I’ll sqeeze it into the bag.
All I need to do is throw some makeup into my Neverfull, which is aptly named and decide which hair I’ll bring. It’s all done.
I gotta break this stack down to four items..
I’m bringing this MOB Beauty Palette..
And this mini-travel kit from Trestique. All three will fit into my Neverfull!
Surprisingly, choosing which hair to bring is worse then thinking about what clothes to bring!!!
And yes. You can pack a week’s worth of clothing into a carryon. You just need to think pragmatically. It’s all going into what is probably the greatest bargain I’ve ever purchased at CDG Airport. This Longchamp weekender for 41 Euros. It’s got to be almost ten years ago and I use it more than any piece of luggage I have.
Opened up, it doesn’t look like much but this thing carries a ton!
I packed as though my bag is either a multi-layered cake or a seven-layer salad (why do I constantly revolve my life around food?). On the bottom layer is the faux-suede skirt that I’ll get a lot of use out of. It’s easier for me to run around in short skirts.
Nice and flat this skirt is. And the weight of the other clothing will iron this for me!
I laid a plastic trash bag over it and then started with the next layer of a black and white checked skirt and two pair of J. Crew pixie pants from the year of the flood. They held up extremely well so there’s no need to not bring them. They are comfortable and, well, black goes with everything.
Another layer, I turned this skirt inside out. Don’t ask me why because there is no logical reason.
Next layer was the black cashmere sweater, a black J. Crew Tippi Sweater, two black tee’s and two white tee shirts as well as a navy sweater. The next layer is underwear and toiletries. The final layer will be hair. Shoes are in shoe bags and stuffed into the sides.
I’ll put the hair in plastic gallon-sized freezer bags and suck the air out of them for easy packing. I’m so undecided on the hair.
And that’s it.
Yesterday I did a little load of wash which was air dried. I’m also on the fence about bringing a pair of jeans. Regardless, it’s important to get this packing business out of the way sooner rather than later. With good reason.
I. Can’t. Stand. Drying. My. Clothes. In. The. Dryer. I prefer to air dry. In fact, if it was up to me, only towels would be dried in the dryer. And NO fabric softener. Not now, not ever. Never. I also prefer my clothing crispy!
It’s my job. There are three administrative assistants handling the work of seemingly over 100 people. It’s an atrocity. The company refuses to hire another admin and our workload is becoming increasingly larger and more annoying. It is also the end of the year. And all three of us admins prefer to take our time off during this time of year. We also can only have one admin out at a time. It sucks. I’m not going to even sugar coat this shit. It sucks big time. And I’m not going anywhere else to work at my age because nobody else will hire me. Besides—I’ve now accumulated good time off. I’m stuck.
Yeah. This is basically me at work. Post-it notes all over. Too much to do. I’m lucky I get to empty my bladder.
And that means working overtime for this next week as one of the admins is off on Monday and another is off on Thursday and Friday. Actually, I don’t mind going in to the office super early. Knowing I’m packed and basically ready-to-go, I’m okay with it. My gripe is working for a company that refuses to hire additional help.
Sorry not sorry. I’m leaving for a well-deserved trip away from work!!!!!
So, with the majority of my preparations done, it frees up next weekend to get a pedicure and manicure—get my lip waxed, and just relax before heading off.
Wait!! I forgot to add, my husband was so disgusted by my filthy, dough-hardened rings that he dragged me to the jeweler yesterday to have them cleaned. They look spanking new now. But next weekend the nails will be done!
Another thing is The Frenchman is bringing a huge suitcase. Naturally, we’ll be shopping and his suitcase allows us to store our treasures in there. And that’s were my boots, my blazer and the very large and secure yellow bag I purchased as Sophie Sacs will go. My husband, for obvious reasons, isn’t comfortable with the idea of me traipsing the streets of his home city with a very open Neverfull. This yellow bag is more secure.
This yellow bag will be packed into my husbands big suitcase, as well as this blazer I’ve decided on bringing and…
..these black boots. See how secure the bag is with the zippers. I really need to carry this more.
And speaking of shopping, I’ll definitely make it a must-do to stop at City Pharma to load up on my skin-care products.
My first shopping stop in Paris is ALWAYS City Pharma. If I lived there, the entire staff would know me by name!
Other shopping is for a couple of things for Owen. I do have strict instructions from Oona to not get him a lot of clothes because she has her taste and it’s more baby-hipster. The days of Eton Suits and smocked one-piece rompers are over.
I’m pretty sure I can find baby hipster clothing at Galeries Lafayette!
I’m also at a consumer conundrum –whether to purchase a beloved Louis Vuitton Petit Noe bag or whether to head over to Goyard on Rue St. Honoré to purchase an Artois bag. Both are equally pricey. Both are beautiful. Both are a helluva lot less expensive in Paris than in the States and both allow me for a VAT refund.
The beloved and now elusive LV Noe Bag. I’ve coveted this for years. And now it’s so difficult to track down that I’m getting tired and fed up. It’s a same because now…
..because now, I’m seriously considering the Goyard Artois bag. A stronger and more secure version of the St. Louis tote. Thanks to ExtraPetite for creating this comparison. Check out her blog post. The fact that the Artois won’t be as recognizable is more appealing to me but I love me a good bucket bag.
The issue at hand is acquiring a Noe bag. It’s sold out online. You can’t get it. And not every LV Boutique in Paris sells this particular bag. My husband called customer service, luckily he speaks the LV language, and we were told to call certain stores upon arrival. My thing is I don’t want to wait on a long line.
No effing way am I waiting on a line like this to buy a bag that may not be in stock.
I prefer the St. Germain location but will the Noe be in stock?
And that’s where Goyard comes in. If you have to wait on a line at Goyard, it’s shorter and less time. That’s what could possibly win me over.
I kind of like the old-fashioned home spun look of Goyard. I’m so torn. We’ll see what transpires!
I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a post during this week due to the ridiculousness of my job. But you’ll definitely hear about our trip—and the bag ultimately decide on!
I had photos and started to write about changing the way I dress without sacrificing my style. And I’ll tell you about the distractions.
That I did. I got distracted!
First of all, I had that molar extracted. It turned out to be the easiest process ever. I thought it would be a harrowing experience. But in reality, it took Dr. Wollach less than ten minutes to yank that tooth out. I was well-numbed. Very well numbed. He explained that I would feel pressure and at any point if I felt a sharp pain to let him know immediately.
My tooth exited my mouth like a charm. Thank you Dr. Wollach!
All I felt was pressure. I even watched as he stitched the hole up. Needless to say, it was a great experience. I found myself a forever dentist and after a couple of days the soreness was gone.
And then there was overtime at work. Yes. Overtime. Our little department of three Administrative Assistants is so understaffed yet, we’re needed to help all the overstaffed areas so overtime has been piling in.
Oh yes. I’m very burnt out! But the work needs to be completed!
And then…then…then..then the mother of all distractions hit my upside the head. The Christmas decorating. The early Christmas decorating.
My Christmas Spirit arrived early this year!
Now before you start shaking your head and giving my words the side eye, please hear me out. Christmas 2019 was sad. My brother passed away that November and it just wasn’t the jolliest Christmas season ever.
A Merry Christmas Past with my, at 26 and my brother Pete at 13. I wish he was still with us!
Last Christmas was a bit better because we had one of the three kids with us. It was also the Christmas Lockdown. My husband’s daughter and her family came for dinner but nobody was welcomed unless they had Covid testing—and tested negative. Roman came for a few days and he also tested negative. Lockdown Christmas was weird.
We never bought the yearly real tree that, to us, becomes more spectacular with each passing year. Instead, we went to a craft store and purchased a skinny, not too tall fake tree. Jake stayed in LA. Oona was celebrating her and Sam’s first Christmas in their new home and she was nearing the finish line to her pregnancy.
In true “Mom” fashion, I received a bathrobe, slippers and lots of skin care products from my son in LA! I’m glad he’ll be here this year!
I never spent weekends leading up to the Birth of Christ baking and preparing a ton of food. It was very quiet. I think the highlight was when Roman and I drove around looking at homes lit up in Christmas splendor, to put us in the festive holiday mood.
Roman and I drove around for a couple of hours last year looking at many tastefully decorated exteriors in Wayne PA!
And so, for the first time ever, I took it upon myself to say “f*ck it” and this past weekend, I started decorating. Not the entire house—but a good chunk of it.
I’ll tell you, it was a challenge convincing both my husband AND Chippy that it was not to early to decorate!
Actually, it was exercise lugging those bins up and down the stairs. I felt empowered. The only issue was The Frenchman. He had a look of total disgust when he saw that I decided to turn our home into a tasteful winter wonderland. After a parade of “merde” and “ohlalala’s” but not the good “ohlala’s”, he told me that I was being unreasonable and that decorating should not commence until after Thanksgiving.
A toasty blanket brings warmth..
A touch of red berries on the little herb basket in the kitchen..
Getting little appetizer plates ready for next month!
I even started to wear my plaid holiday shoes!
Far be it from me to not play dirty. But he mentioned this after I finished baking over a dozen Pain-aux-Raisins for him. I mentioned to him that I would stop baking his favorite pastries and would throw every single raisin-embedded spiral into the garbage if he ever mentioned anything remotely like that again.
The Pain aux Raisins AND the Kouign Amann almost made their way to the trash can instead of the freezer!
Needless to say, the pastries stayed and I decorated.
The little tree is decorated with ribbon, lights and some ornaments!
Everyone has their reasons of the timeliness of their holiday decorating. For some, it isn’t done until a couple of weeks before Christmas. For others, the second Santa Claus makes his appearance at the Thanksgiving Day parade, it is the signal that the Christmas Season has commenced. And many take that as a cue to begin the decorating. I’ve always fallen into that category.
Sorry Santa, but I’m jumping ahead of you this year!
Until this year. Granted, we’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Paris. And upon our return home, there will still be time to festoon our home with the reds and greens and plaids and signs of merriment. But after thinking of how last Christmas season was just so….so…solemn as opposed to truly joyful, I just wanted a little premature happy-is-the-season! So, I went ahead and did it.
The skinny tree from last year was not our usual. Still, I would feel bad if I kept it boxed away so now it’s in our sunroom!
That skinny tree from last year? It’s now in a corner of the sunroom. It’s our secondary tree. And that suits me just fine. There is a sense of calm and relaxation as I now sit in that little corner of our home. It’s chock-full of natural light during the day and as evening enters and the tree lights go on, a very warm and cozy glow fills the little room. It’s my happy spot.
And for what it’s worth, the tree sits perfectly in the corner giving me pleasure to just look at it. I feel cozy!
It’s the little touches…
And that fuzzy feeling i get when I sit around in my pj’s with my little fuzzy friend that make me happy!
I switched out the brighter plaid ribbon on the staircase for a more rustic black and red check. It’s time to let go of elegance and bring the décor down to a more child-friendly,
All the stairways are dressed in this black and red ribbon. I went a bit rustic this year.
Santa Claus is coming over for my grandson. Even though he’ll only be a month shy of one year on Christmas Eve and had no clue what’s going on, it’s still exciting to have Christmas with a child in the house again!
And it’s all for this little ishkabibble. He’s growing up so quickly and I want his first Christmas to be fun!
And right this moment, as I glance up from my laptop and look at the bare living room ahead of me, I’m able to visualize who magical it’ll look when the big tree is brought in. I’ll reflect on the process of picking out the best tree we can find, then fitting it on the car. Then lugging it upstairs and getting little needles all over. Then setting the tree in the stand while the Frenchman gets frustrated because I’m not holding the tree up straight. Then he’ll mumble under his breath in French—very naughty French. Then I’ll get really pissed off and tell him he is a Gallic Grinch. Then we won’t talk for about ten minutes. Then the tree will finally be nestled in it’s stand. And I’ll have to pick up all the needles from the floor. Then we’ll wait until the tree’s branches “fall” into place. And the room will begin to smell like the forest where the tree came from. And before the tree is decorated, while we enjoy our aperitifs—because the tree will be bought on a Saturday, we’ll both laugh at how silly we were while setting up the tree. Then we’ll toast and say “This is the best tree ever”.
Ahh…but will we be able to match the beauty of the 2019 Christmas tree? I think so!
And with that. I wish you a very happy time if you are decorating early. If you chose not to decorate early, that’s fine too—but don’t judge those who opt to bring the splendor of the season into their homes sooner than later. There’s usually an underlying reason for it!
Sit down and make yourself cozy on my loveseat! Grab a cuppa tea or hot cocoa while you’re at it!
I’ll be working on the blog post I meant to write. Oh wait. I may do one instead on how I’m packing for Paris. Then when we get back, I’ll write the original post I meant to write!
And for me, it’s officially The Holiday Season when I watch John Robert’s The Tree every year. Enjoy!
I have a story to tell you. Notice I always smile with my mouth closed!
Last Saturday evening The Frenchman and I went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Spring Mill Café. Dinner was great, as usual. And when I arrived home to get changed, I started to floss my teeth.
Our favorite restaurant. Teeth or no teeth this place is the greatest!
It was early enough to switch from the nice clothing I wore to dinner into more comfortable at-home evening attire—sloppy, flour-ridden pajamas and bare feet.
Welcome to my lounge apparel!
Now. Understand. When I floss my teeth, I’m extremely aggressive. I also love to floss with these little plastic-handled instruments called Plackers. These get way down into the gum. I may have all my teeth but I have plaque issues. And while flossing one particular back tooth, it broke. In two. It was a tooth that had been filled. Regardless, I freaked out.
Might I add that these little flossers are epic to take out one’s anger and frustration….
I shan’t elaborate but the amount of gunk these things pick up is disgustingly satisfying!
First of all, I’m a complete dental wimp. My past experiences with dentists have been excruciatingly painful, anxiety-ridden, and downright horrific.
Yup! This pretty-much sums up how I feel when a dentist approaches!
The last dentist I went to worked on my gums, refused to give me novacaine, and seemed to delight in my pain. And, no offense to older people because I am one, but I think this guy could have taken some dental upgrade classes into the 21st Century! Oddly, when I passed the building where his dental practice had been I noticed the practice was no longer there.
I shall also add that it has been many years since I went to a dentist. I suffer from PDST—Post Dental Stress Trauma.
The trauma is real people. It’s real!
Luckily, the tooth that broke managed to break in such a way that the nerve wasn’t exposed and I didn’t get a toothache. The feeling of my tongue against the broken tooth wasn’t and still remains unpleasant but if I eat anything sweet or too hot or cold, I get a bit of a wake-up call so to speak.
That feeling of my tongue hitting the broken tooth isn’t painful but the feeling is……
And since we leave for Paris in three weeks, I realized that something needed to be done. Either a root canal, which I absolutely refuse to have. In all honesty, I would rather give birth to ten-ten-pound babies again naturally and deal with ten more fourth-degree lacerations than have a root canal.
Actually, deep down I’m also doing this for my husband. He hasn’t been “home” since the lockdown. The last thing HE needs is to find a dentist for me while we’re away!
A bridge would be another option because I understand that lots of people have them. Of course, the tooth would have to be extracted but after receiving massive doses of novacaine, I would be fine. Add a little happy gas to that and I could actually turn into a pleasant little creature.
A few shots of Novacaine and happy gas and I’m as giddy as she is!
Lastly, an implant, the most expensive option which would also require an extraction. I’m fine with that.
Oh yeah. I need lots of novacaine and happy gas!
The most important step would be to actually find a dentist. One who would take my Cigna insurance. Here’s where the fun began.
Last Monday I went into the office early because I had to conduct some serious sleuthing to find said dentist. Cigna’s website sucks. Plainly and honestly speaking. It sucks. After navigating the damned Cigna site for over a half-hour, I gave up. The most I got out of it was being able to print a copy of the card that I never received in the mail.
You need to be Sherlock Holmes just to navigate the Cigna site in search of a dentist. SMH.
Instead, I went to my old reliable friend, Google and entered the following text: Dentists in Phoenixville, PA. One office was manned—or rather womaned by two female dentists. I sent them an email explaining my situation. I never heard back. The next day, I wrote them off completely.
The second dentist that showed up on my search turned out to be a proud partner of the Philadelphia Eagles. As a born New Yorker and one who believes in loyalty to the team of where one was born, there is no way on earth I would go to a dentist with any mention of the “Iggles” (that’s the way PA people pronounce this team—they can’t even pronounce their home team correctly) on his website. This NY Giants fan passed him by. And with all due respect, I’m sure he’s a great dentist.
I”m sure this is a wonderful dental office but The Eagles!!!??? Not for THIS born New Yorker!! I would rather have all my teeth rot than go to an “Iggles” Dentist!
The third time was a charm. I came across Phoenixville Dental. Simple and to the point. I live in Phoenixville and I need Dental work. In addition, the insurance carriers were displayed on the home page. A rather pragmatic approach if you ask me.
And the charming Dutch Colonial home-turned-office is so charming! And he takes Cigna!!!
I called the office. OMG. This was more nerve wracking than making my lady parts exam. Opposite openings if you will, can be stressful when they need medical attention. I also explained that I was such an awful patient that the dentist might change professions after dealing with me. The response was a chuckle. I made the appointment and couldn’t look back. It was time to put the big-girl panties on and go for it.
It was sure time to adult up, put on my big-girl panties and head to the dentist. I was never this happy to go to the dentist! Wait till this one finds out the drill will hit her nerve–she won’t be this gleeful!
Trust me, the last thing I need is to have a dental emergency in Paris. I want to enjoy every meal and every morsel. I have no time for a bad tooth. And just my luck, an abscess would have popped up.
In addition, my husband is treating me to a class in croissant. I do believe it’s for his benefit. I really need to get that half-tooth taken care of.
I was very fortunate to have gotten an appointment after my working hours and the ride from work was a straight on. So far, it seemed promising.
Upon my arrival, there was plenty of parking spaces, which I appreciate and I would have to make a right-hand turn out of the parking lot to go home. Laugh if you will, but the right-hand turn exit is very important to me—especially in the evening when my sight is limited. I don’t do left-hand turns and when I do them, they aren’t done very well.
I entered the office a bit nervous and saw a sign at the front desk welcoming me. This was a good sign. Anyone who actually welcomes me is either truly really nice or just plain crazy! In I went, got the X-rays. Babbled on in nervous conversation about my life story and between pauses begged not to judge the state of my neglected mouth.
This is what I’m talkin’ about baby! They welcomed me. That’s more than the reception I receive from my co-workers and my family!
The outcome? My mental and emotional state is a definite no root canal. (Much to the chagrin of my sister because my brother-in-law is an endodontist and RC is his specialty. Besides, I’m not trekking out to Long Island spending hours on the Belt Parkway to have my brother-in-law discuss my horrible tooth situation with my sister). Surprisingly, a bridge was not an option either. My bottom back teeth are crooked. I should have had braces as a child. But given the fact there were five children in the family and it was during a time when braces were used only for buck-toothed children. We’ve come a long way in straightening out teeth.
The only reasonable but pricey option was to have an implant where the tooth would be extracted. Because I have an HSA that has been untouched, it’ll cover the cost and CIGNA should cover the costs of cleaning. The remainder will be co-paid by yours truly. This is actually a good thing because I can get all this done by the end of the year—hopefully.
The pricier option is far better than the DIY route!
The “hole” where the tooth was needs three months to heal, though. So, the implant will be done early next year. The thought of a metal screw embedded into my gum grosses me out to no end but getting that space filled is far better than a gaping hole. Besides, I’ll be so sickened by the tooth extraction that I’ll live on soup from tomorrow until we leave for Paris. I’m good to lose a couple of unwanted pounds.
I’ve already prepared Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup–from a mix. It’s so good that I’m sending my husband out for another box. I’ll be souping it up for the next week or so.
Did I mention that the last time I had tooth extractions were my wisdom teeth? The first wisdom tooth extraction had me at the emergency room. My instructions were to eat only “soft” foods. The day after the extraction, I went to the San Gennaro in NYC’s Little Italy and had a calzone. My thought process was that the ricotta filling was soft. I never considered the chewy dough. I ended up bleeding and couldn’t stop it.
I should’ve prayed to St. Gennaro to guide me on what to eat. Perhaps if I did there would be no visit to the ER.
The second wisdom tooth extraction occurred when my son Jake was about nine or ten months old. Since I had the day off from work in order to have the tooth taken out, I was able to enjoy time with my son. As we rolled around on the floor, Jake jumped on me. He landed on my face where the tooth was pulled. Again, I ended up at the Emergency Room at Columbia Presbyterian.
My jaw was as swollen as her’s was after that tooth debacle!
This time around, I’m keeping away from Chippy. I’m not even going to look at any solid food. And I’m going to concentrate on our trip.
I’m so afraid Chippy will shower me with canine love the way he attacked this lone gougere!
Hey. It could have been worse. I could have broken or lost my front teeth!
Always look on the bright side! It could have been my front teeth!!!!
And guess what? Dr. Wollach’s first language is French!!!! French! How’s that for divine intervention?
My husband can’t wait to accompany me to my French-speaking dentist! They can discuss bread.
There are presently only two people who listen to me. One is my husband, and he listens only to what he wants to hear from me. Most of the time he just tunes me out. The other is my therapist and she gets paid to listen to me.
Actually, that’s a GREAT gift! I am always happy after I see my therapist because I know that for 50 minutes, someone listened to me!
So, it comes as no surprise that there is nobody around to listen to my constant whinging and whining about my desire to retire. Retire from my job, that is. And as there really is nobody to actually listen to me regarding this issue, I took my iPhone, scrolled to my bank’s app and used my “face ID” to connect. And there I was, sitting on the sofa of our living room, feet curled over sofa’s edge, knees to my chin and I went directly to my account. I spoke into my phone as very politely and sincerely asked my bank account if I could retire.
Daddy Cool from Capital One thought my question to retire was far more than amusing. It was laughable!
I thought I heard a slight chuckle coming from my phone. Then I heard a guttural laugh. My phone answered me. My phone, through the laughing so hard it started to cough, told me that I could not retire. My bank account also went further in conversation to ask me if I was out of my mind.
I got the hint.
I want to retire but I simply cannot afford to do so.
The future of me!
Now. Before I go on, this blog post isn’t being written in a bitter tone, nor is it angry. It just is…well, it is what it is. I do not begrudge those who have been able to retire in their mid-60’s or even younger. I mean, come on—my dad retired from the New York City Police Department with a full pension when he was 45 years old. That’s 21 years younger than I am now! What happened along the road to retirement?
Yes. What DID happen to the road to retirement? For me it’s more like dirt than yellow brick!
During the evening hours when I do get the chance to watch TV, elusively nestled among the many health-care and drug advertisements, I’ll watch ads regarding the wealth of retirement that various financial institutes are showcasing. These ads fascinate me to no end. The calm and reassuring voiceover will captivate as the impeccably-dressed and groomed older couple, that you know is even far above the wealth of the one percenter. They listen to their financial advisor, an older man in a suit explaining to them how they can retire, travel the world in luxury, perhaps downsize to a one-million-dollar townhome rather then spend their days in their seven-bathroom estate!
This Charles Schwab ad always cracks me up. Look at the smug on that woman’s face. She’s sooooooooooo one percent!
They look lovingly at each other then give the financial advisor their nod of approval. Yes! They are ready to retire in the lap of riches and luxury!
This couple has finished looking lovingly at each other and their bank statement. Now they are simply laughing at those of us who can’t retire!
But that really isn’t the case for the other ninety-nine percent. Actually, I would say more of us can’t retire. At all.
Hmmm. How many decades can I shave from my resume?
And if you are of that certain age who experienced life’s events such as the Economic Recession of 2007 into 2008, major illness, a divorce, (that would be me), the loss of a home (that would be me) a company restructure (where you were the one let go and didn’t get to enjoy that restructure–would be me times three), you know what it is like to hit rock-bottom and try to claw your way back to a job with a salary that is no longer attainable.
Sadly, 13 years later many in the 50 and over demographic haven’t fully recovered!
Let me put it in simpler terms. I’m 66. Should I decide to retire when I’m 67, which is next year, I’ll be at an iffy level of income simply because my present salary is not a livable one. Even if I wait until 70 to bask in the glory of additional monetary benefits due to delaying said retirement, I would still be a poor person. Basically, I can retire next year but I still can’t retire. I would have to continuing working. ( Caveat: The full-benefit retirement age is 66. However, the longer you put retirement off (Until age 70), the more money you get per month)
And note how the retirement age is slowly increasing. Personally, I think it’s a disgrace–especially since many haven’t recovered from that last recession.
Trust me, I’ve thought long and hard about this. I want to write and my present job drains my energy. My job is akin to an energy, or psychic vampire. Rather than sucking blood, my energy is completely sucked. Upon arriving home from work, all I want to do is go to bed. I figure if I retire, then I can become employed on a temp or part-time basis. But the question remains—is my demographic being hired for non-full-time positions? Does ageism flow over into that non-career area?
My job literally sucks all the energy out of my body. By late afternoon, I’m burnt out. Don’t get me wrong. If I had a job I loved I wouldn’t even consider retirement!
The main reason I want to retire is that I just want to enjoy the rest of my life. I may be older but am at that age where when I fall, I can get up!
Even if I drank too much wine and fell, I can still get up…and drink more!
I don’t need “The Clapper” to turn lights off and on. I’m very capable and physically able to get up off my ass and turn the light switch on and off.
Even on my laziest days I wouldn’t settle for using this thing.
I can still climb stairs—and I do this very quickly so there’s no need or a stair lift. And..I don’t need a Hoveround® to get me where I’m going.
I can still RUN up and down our three flights of stairs–God knows it’s the only phase of exercise I get!
I’m not ready for a Hoveround yet either. I can’t even sit in a moving car that long–I need to get out and stretch!
I want to enjoy my grandson. I want to enjoy being a part of my children’s adult lives. (Even if they feel differently).
Hey, I want to enjoy this little ishkabibble!
I want to enjoy my time with my husband. And waiting for the three-week’s personal time off that I’ve accumulated after a number of years just isn’t cutting it anymore. I want more time. And given that time is of the essence as we age, more time really isn’t that much to ask for.
And I would like more time for me to laze around on the loveseat in our sunroom like the princess I am!
It’s also the little things that become increasingly important to me. I want to walk every day. This morning as I drove through Valley Forge Park on my way to work, I passed a few morning walkers. They looked so happy and at peace and they were doing something good for themselves. They were maybe a bit older than I am and for a fleeting moment, I was envious and as that moment passed, I was happy for them.
I pass this bridge twice a day, two and from work. I’ve walked across it a couple of times while enjoying time with my son. I want to do that on a regular basis!
Remember when it was normal to work a 35-hour week? Somewhere along the line that 35-hour work week morphed into a 40-hour work week. For some it’s 45 and others in managerial roles work with no life balance. We need to enjoy our lives. Enjoying life makes for less stress.
A week-end is being off work on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday you run errands like a crazy person because you didn’t have the time to do them during the week because you had to work late. And on Sunday, you are miserable realizing that the next day you have to go to work. And the cycle keeps spinning!
So that’s about it for this post. I needed to talk about this. There’s no way I’m the only one who feels like this—am I right? If you are thinking about retirement or are retired or are retired with another job, give us your thoughts. It’ll make for a good conversation!
Seriously. Is is ME? Am I the only one? I will say, though, that I wish I had a writing job. Writing makes me happy! So what do you think? Are you ready to retire? Are you retired? Let’s tawk!
We’ll be returning for a week. Oh, this has been a long time comin’ and, quite frankly, I cannot wait to arrive in the City of Lights. But this time, there’s a few more preparations we have been making.
Unlike her, I’ll be stuffing my face with pain au chocolat
Most notably, the Passe Sanitaire—or, the Health Pass. This is a pass somewhat akin to the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket. It’s a hot commodity. And without it, we can’t go anywhere. Meaning we can’t gain entrance into museums or any cultural events and we do need it for going out to dinner.
And to think my husband wants me to put a damper on my iPhone! He’ll need his too!
The Frenchman was mumbling lots of naughty words in his native tongue in attempting to get our passes. It’s a process. I had to make copies of our marriage license (I have no idea why that was needed), our passport photos, our driver’s licenses and our Covid vaccination cards. Oh, and proof of address in the form of a bill addressed to each of us.
True. The Passe Sanitaire process made my Frenchman angrier than if he had witnessed two mimes!
Now, under normal circumstances this isn’t that bad. It’s a rather simple procedure. But we’re talking about the French. It’s only logical that I would scan two separate files with all the documentation needed. As in Monsieur Lartigue’s information and then a file with my information.
Non! Every document had to be separate and labeled. I swear if he had a stale baguette within arm’s reach, he would have thrown it against a wall. Nevertheless, we are presently awaiting our passe.
Actually, my husband would NEVER abuse a baguette. I worships that long wand of crusty outside and chewy inside!
Trust me, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing either. In fact, I wish we had to show a pass of some sort here in the States—but it would offend a number of people and in America, we are so effing “offend-friendly”—honestly, this opens a Pandora’s Box of sorts for me so I’ll shut up on the subject.
Actually, the only thing that irks me is having to take yet another Covid test. I swear, with the money I’ve spent on Covid testing, I could have purchased a Louis Vuitton Noé Petit bag! Even being double-vaxed and having a Booster shot (along with flu shot) doesn’t allow me to skip the test. But hey, it’s what we have to do!
And yet, more Covid Testing…
That out of the way, the real preparation starts for me. Packing the clothing. Yeah, I know. I know. I have a little over a month to do this. However, I really like to be organized when I’m traveling. It’s all about efficiency and simplicity. And cohesiveness with the wardrobe.
The weather will be chilly. Actually, very chilly especially when we are walking around perfecting our ability as the flaneur and flaneuse—just wandering around aimlessly. That is, when we aren’t at a museum or cultural event. Because of the cold weather, I’ll need a coat. And a hat because my wig will need to be kept warm. And gloves because my hands get cold.
This is the coat I’ll bring. It was purchased at Galeries Lafayette on our last trip. It’s a great coat and will suffice well for the chilly November weather!
My beloved black beret. Purchased at a tourist stand for 2 Euros in Paris. I can’t find it. I need to find it. Note to Emily in Pars. THIS is how you wear a beret!
Here’s where it gets weird for me. I love my blazers. And I’m pondering bringing one. What if the weather becomes unseasonably warm? My heavier camel coat will be too heavy? I doubt it will because that’s the coat I’m bringing.
The tan Schoolboy blazer is the one item I’m pondering about bringing. I’m definitely on the fence. You’ll see as you scroll below why I’m sticking to tan and not even thinking about navy.
I’ll sweat so much that passersby will mistake me for a Wallace Fountain and try to place an empty bottle at my body parts for water.
This is the Wallace Fountain across from Daniele’s apartment and from where we will be staying. If I get too hot from wearing too many clothes, I’ll sweat like a fountain and people will want to drink from me.
Since I’ll be cramming everything into a carry on (my husband brings a huge suitcase. I’ll throw my blazer and a pair of boots in his suitcase), I’ve got to give plenty of thought to what I’ll wear.
A week’s worth of clothes, shoes and wigs should fit in here comfortably. Okay, perhaps not comfortably but I’ll make it work!
I took photos of some ensembles. These will be printed out in color and I’ll use them for reference for the final pack!
In sticking to a black and tan palette, I’m fortunate this faux-suede skirt manages to still fit me. It’ll be worn with a black turtleneck and boots. This will be one of the dinner outfits that will be worn on repeat.
Two (or probably three) pairs of black knit pants will do . My J. Crew Pixie Pants on the right will work from day till evening. I picked up the pants on the left a few weeks back. A Jegging if you will that’ll work while running errands and shopping!
Since we’ll be out and about, tee shirts will work well. You can’t go wrong with white tees and black ones!
A tan cashmere sweater from Quince is also on board for cooler days as is a black one!
Last of all, two scarves in the same neutral family. Honestly, I have no time to decide over color.
Now on to footwear. As mentioned previously, my boots (and only one pair) will be thrown into my husband’s suitcase. When not wearing the boots, I’ll be wearing black ballet flats. These will be worn on the plane as well. They can easily be slipped off and back on for my friends at the TSA. I’ll bring my black suede Dulci pumps from J. Crew (which, by the way, have been discontinued) for our dinners out. Oh wait!! My black Geox pointy-toed booties with the cute heel. I need to bring those too. See why planning is so important?
The shoes. Booties which I’ll wear only in the evening because I’m not traipsing around Paris in heels. The same goes for my J. Crew Dulci pumps. Evening wear. The ballet flats and boots will be worn during the day hours for touring and wandering the streets.
Contrary to the casual look, I enjoy dressing up for dinner when we go out. It doesn’t even matter where we are. In Philly, in NYC and in Paris I love to dress for the occasion. I don’t go all out, I keep it simple and this trip will have me wearing a plain, basic black sweater dress also by J. Crew.
This textured sweater dress from J. Crew Factory is a great item. I didn’t show her enough love last winter but this will be coming to Paris. Another dinner item. I’ll wear with pointy-toed pumps (I’m going to tan before we leave because we all know that I abhor panty hose!), and a scarf.
Sadly, none of my jeans fit at the moment because my pandemic weight gain is sticking around. Around my belly, ass and thighs. That’s why I’m opting for knits. Besides—the knits are comfortable.
Correction!!! These Katy Girlfriend jeans by Kut From the Kloth fit. I might bring them and I might not. And this is why I plan ahead of time!
The underwear? We’ll be in Paris for 7 days and nights. I’ll bring a change of panties for each day and the bra that I wear. They will slide right into that carry-on!
Toiletries? Naturally, toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss and deodorant will be packed. And those items will be placed in my husband’s ditty bag. And samples of moisturizer. I’m not chancing getting any of the good stuff confiscated by my friends at the TSA. CityPharma is a few blocks away so I can pick up anything else that I need.
Makeup? It’s all compact and travel friendly! I’m packing everything that can be thrown into my LY Neverfull bag.
Oh my dear friends. This trip has given me the opportunity to clean out this bag after almost two years. I’m a bag slob. I should belong to Bag Slobs Anonymous. You would NOT believe some of the stuff I found in the bowels of this tote!
My MOB Beauty face palette, my Subtl Beauty stack and a Trestique mini-kit. A few random lip glosses and my new MOB mascara. Absolutely no foundation. And I would like a moment to discuss this. French women rarely wear a ton of shit on their faces. The eyes and lips. They take great care with their skin but as far as loading the heavy foundation, concealer and bronzer—they just don’t do it. I’m getting my French beauty on. I’ll stick to the eyes, blush and lips! And I’ll have to find a little empty perfume vial. I had a full-sized bottle of Guerlain’s L’Instant confiscated by my friends at the TSA a few years back so I no longer carry full sized scent. It’ll be too close to Christmas and my friends at the TSA like to do their Christmas shopping via confiscation. I’m not gonna be donating this year!
One of my three Subtl Beauty Stacks….
One of two Mob Beauty face palettes…
And one of three Trestique travel kits will be tucked away in my Neverfull.
All three are in there..
Along with a journal because I write every day when traveling..
..and a book to read while in the air. It all fits in the bag!
In a nutshell? I travel as light as possible. During the colder months of late autumn into winter it’s difficult due to the outwear and heavier clothing. But wearing on repeat and sticking to a very neutral, almost monochromatic clothing palette works wonders. You don’t need to pack as much!
Reservations for dinner have been made at various restaurants like Paul on Place Dauphine, Le Procope, and Allard. We’ll have a kitchenette so a meal or two in won’t hurt and it’ll be a nice walk to Café Bonaparte for some serious comfort food!
Dinner reservations at three restaurants have been made. Will wing the rest!
Yeah. To some it may be a bit odd that I’m preparing so far in advance, but in the end, it’ll be less stressful and I love me a smooth trip.
Trust me I’m sure to be adding and taking away but it’s a head start on packing and being prepared!
How do you pack? Well in advance? Last minute? Throwing everything into a ball? Let’s talk!
Okay. So, I know this sounds weird. I know. But…I’m sick of fashion. Like—really sick of it. And yet, I love clothing. I love the change up from seasonal clothing. I love how casual clothing puts me in a laid-back mood; and I am as comfortable as a larva in a cocoon when I put my toasty pajamas on during the winter when arriving home from work.
And speaking of the change up in seasonal clothing, it’ll soon be textured sweater and leggings time. But I’ve already started on the toasty sweatshirt and Old Navy Pajama bottoms as at-home-clothing. Fashionable? Not really. Comfortable? You bet your bippie it is!
When I’m wearing a lightweight maxi dress in the summer, it always astounds me at how cool I feel.
I seriously do love a maxi during the summer months. And that tan is natural by the way. I had one for a week! Then it faded.
Pants in summer? No. Not for me. The warm and hot weather affect me to the point that I really don’t like wearing a lot of clothing. Dresses always rule during those hot months.
On the right is a typical summer dress look. I am a huge fan of the Lilly Pulitzer shift dress. On the left, an outfit for transitioning to fall.
But when the temperature cools down, I feel remarkably cozy and pleasant the second a pair of pants covers my unshaven winter legs.
A typical winter pants look. And no socks!
With the cool-to-cold months, I love my kilts worn with tights. Actually, tights are the only phase of leg covering (excluding pants) that I truly like to wear. I refuse to wear panty hose because my lady parts are not a petri dish for yeast infections! And socks? Nope! Not even in January. Although I am prone to wearing them when I wear boots!
We all know what a kilt fanatic I am. Actually this one is in the dry cleaner getting pressed! And I wear tights too!
Don’t we all feel like beautiful princesses when we have that special occasion to dress up—whether black tie formal or semi-formal. Those outfits can change our personalities and give us confidence!
Honestly, I did feel more like a queen as the Mother-of-the-Bride. My daughter was the princess that day. And I found a great gown too!
Clothing is a necessity. For the most part, it keeps us from getting arrested. But I digress from that statement to add that some clothing could be prone to having a person arrested.
Yeah. I’m not going to wear an ensemble like this. Unless I want to end up in a special cell!
It comes down to wearing what you absolutely love, feel comfortable in, and knowing what looks great on you. It’s also about being in charge of your style and how and when you wear the clothing.
Surprisingly, I love this outfit. It’s one of those ensembles where I’m in complete charge of it all. White shorts AFTER Labor Day. A Navy Blazer and a Breton striped shirt. This is a great Autumn look for me. You need to own your style!
That’s not to say that I haven’t made poor choices in clothes. When I was younger, I made quite a few mistakes. But as I’ve aged, I’ve learned to not be a fashion victim and have learned to be very committed to what I love.
It is befitting to say that my biggest “fashion” mistakes were during the early 1980’s before I became a stay-at-home mom. Those heavily padded blazers looked ridiculous on me–I’m broad shouldered and looked like a football player.
And that’s where fashion comes in. Fashion kind of dictates what we should wear. I’m over it.
I’m with Tim!
I’m tired of “Street” fashion. It’s not fashion at all. It is merely the way people on the street are dressed. Some look very nice and have great taste. Others look like they either stepped out of a five-and-dime store, a stripper club, or rolled out of bed.
Street fashion or street style. Nothing more than what people are wearing that day. Sorry not sorry but it just isn’t inspirational to me.
The older I advance in my years, the more I am beginning to shake my head in disgust at the fashion designers today. To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be any true creativity anymore. Elegance on the runway appears to be a thing of the past. Believe me, I’m certainly not a prude when it comes to being fashionable, but it’s just that there is something lacking in the fashion trends of present times. To be honest, it sickens me to see some of these clothes being showcased during fashion week. Who is buying this shit? Even if I were a millionheiress, I would stick to the more classic designers such as Courreges and Chanel. But I’m not so I have a picture in my mind of how I want to dress and I take it from there. Please don’t try to sway me with your trends.
From this year’s Miu Miu collection. Look. I LOVE a good mini but this is just pushing it too far. Your panties had better be spanking clean and without any marks of bodily function. How can you bend down? And seriously–the average woman, even young, has a softer more billowy tummy than our model. I love the shoes though!
I can’t even with this. And I’m quite surprised at Christian Siriano for designing these things. He can do much better!
Andre Leon Talley was right! Tone the fashion down..
Some trends do turn into classics though. Take the mini skirt and mini dress. Pre mini times, women of all ages, with the exception of little girls, wore dresses ranging anywhere from mid-knee down to mid-calf. Then came the “Swinging Sixties” and the dresses went shorter. Micro-mini’s notwithstanding, the shorter dresses are here to stay and I happen to be a fan.
The mini was a trend that ended up becoming a staple among women of all shapes and ages and is still going strong.
Most people believe that Chanel changed with way women dress. I, on the other hand, believe that Mary Quant changed the way we dress. I love this woman..
…and I loved this man, Andre Courreges. My favorite designer. I would wear all three of these dresses in the present day. Without pantyhose!
Proof that the mini is here to stay. This pic is from six years ago and about 20 pounds less. I still have the skirt. It still fits due to stretch. Its hanging in my closet. I’ll be wearing it as soon as the weather cools down!
Then in the Seventies we had the dawn of the maxi-dress. (Actually, the late sixties-into early seventies) Although a trend that came and went away, it returned with a vengeance and now maxi dressing is an everyday, boho look. I have quite a few and wear them only in summer-but that’s how I roll.
Colleen Corby!!! The greatest teen model of all time! Here in a 1960’s Maxi Dress-originally referred to as The Granny Gown!
A few years back leopard and animal printed clothes were the rage—and over time, those prints became the norm. In fact, leopard is now a neutral!
My favorite skirt. OMG. I wear it three seasons of the year and it is still going strong. I was “iffy” when I purchased it because I thought it was just a trend. Now it’s a neutral!
The post-pandemic trend today appears to be active wear, leggings and “joggers”. And I think this will be around for a while. We’re changing the way we dress. With so many people working from home these days, the “office” look of a blazer, skirt or pants and one of professional polish is seemingly taking a break. Even business meeting attire is becoming more relaxed. It’s the fashion!
Leggings as office wear. Yes. It has come to this. The key is to wear them so that they don’t LOOK like leggings!
My hypocrisy aside, I will admit that since my pandemic weight gain, my jeans no longer fit around my waist and I’m prone to run errands in activewear, but I’m still not quite comfortable with it. I also purchased a pair of “joggers” or what I deem “stylized sweat pants”. And while they are comfortable, I can’t see myself running on the streets of New York City to visit museums or to see the sights when I’m in Paris. I’ll continue to rely on my go-to outfit of black J. Crew Pixie Pants and a black shirt.
You know, being on Instagram as a part of the “over-60” demographic has been a mind-opener as to how many women our age approach clothing—some “get” it. And some, well, some make me cry. We all don’t dress in Chicos and we all don’t go for bright colors and mismatched patterns. Perhaps it’s just me — but a love of clothing means you put thought into what you wear. Just because you’ve reached a certain age doesn’t mean you have to get rid of any vestige of what you loved when you were younger. Just grow it up a bit.
It upsets me when I see retailers stereotyping the mature woman into ads like this. We don’t all dress this bland. We WANT style but this isn’t it!
What are your thoughts on fashion? Have they changed over the years? Do you tend to agree or disagree with what I’m writing? Let’s get the party started!
It’s been a while. There’s so much to say but I’ll start off by telling you that my laptop was, once again, on what I refer to as a “Spa” vacation! Ye Ol’ Laptop went, not to Greece but to Geek. Geek Squad, that is. And once again, the Geek Squad came to the rescue. It started out as I was making a desperate attempt to upload photos from my phone to laptop. I kept getting an error message and couldn’t figure out why.
And we all have a good idea of just WHY I need to upload photos to my laptop these days!
I got in touch with Microsoft and, after literally, four hours of the Microsoft technician trying to figure out the issue, I was told I needed to buy more space. Which I did. Yet, the issue with trying to upload photos still remained (I despise Microsoft and Bill Gates). And might I add that at this point I was not a very nice person. Dropping the “eff” bomb was prevalent.
And my special talent is that I’m bilingual in cursing. I was cursing in French as well as English! Oh Merde!
So, The Frenchman, rather than listen to my tantrum, gently suggested we take the laptop on a little vacation to Best Buy’s Geek Squad. We made the appointment, got to Best Buy and explained the situation. Basically, at this point the entire Geek Squad is familiar with me and greeted me like an old friend—or rather a pain-in-the-ass old auntie.
In all honesty, I should just have a room in the house for the Geek Squad to just move in!
And rather than wait to get the issue resolved, I threw up my hands and suggested they just take the damned laptop, keep it till all issues were taken care of and call me when I can pick it up. A week later (last Sunday) she was ready.
Let me tell you something. Those Geek Squad techies are the greatest. Me, being that obsessive note taker that I am, arrived with legal pad and pen ready to take any notes that were needed. And boy, did I need them.
I was more serious than Drew when it came to taking my computer notes!
Now, even though the Squad cleaned up my computer, there was work that I had to do. It seemed that all the photos uploaded to my laptop over the past 6 years were still in the bowels of the laptop. They had to be removed in order to free up space. I needed an additional external drive just for photos. And so, I followed the directions perfectly, purchased a hard drive (Note-The Geek Squad filled an external drive with documents from my laptop. Thus, the photo drive) for the photos, went home and got to work.
Even though these pics are from my phone, they were also on my computer–and pictures going back years and years and years were also on the computer!
I never realized just how many photos were on the laptop and never realized just how long the process of sending them to the external drive would be. It took five long evenings from about 7:00 PM when dinner was finished until around 10:30 PM. It. Was. Grueling!
I. Was. Exhausted. And that was from merely deleting photos!
I made several files to categorize and filled them all. Over 20,000 photos. And I deleted them from the recycle bin. The amount of space that I have available now is like having a new laptop! I also learned that iCloud and One Drive are different backup solutions. So basically, I still have photos backed up without taking the enormous amount of space that I did.
I can’t even with this iCloud. I can’t.
But at least I have some free space now!
Okay, now that that’s explained, what have I been doing?
For one thing, I haven’t exactly been resting on my laurels or my fat ass!
Well, and please allow me to be completely honest and transparent with you before I continue. I’ve received quite a number of products for review and am presently backed up due to the fact my computer was out-of-service. 99.9 percent of the products I’ve received for review have been “gifted” with a couple that I’m now receiving monetary compensation for. I feel greatly appreciated for this simply because blogging takes time and effort and if I’m receiving a small fee, then it is a job paid—and it supplements the paltry salary I receive from my day job. Trust me this blog won’t turn into a “Like-to-Know-It” ad, but please bear in mind that items reviewed are going to be good choices for our demographic.
I’ll be reviewing these shakes by 310 Nutrition. The Toasted Coconut is great but the best is the Salted Caramel…
I also received a lash-perming kit that I’ll be trying out and reviewing. I need time for this one though!
My weight loss journey continues. And it is the most difficult weight loss journey in my life. The scale teeters from 158 to 162—no matter what I do—so it’s really a challenge that I’ll continue to share. Yesterday I took the clothes up from the garage that were stored over the summer. It was depressing because anything lacking stretch didn’t fit. The only thing I can do is move on.
It’s a struggle. My therapist told me once I “let go” I’ll be less stressed and the weight will come off.
My belly hasn’t flattened out at all. I think there are young women who are 7 months pregnant and their bellies are smaller than mine…
….or perhaps my complete lack of excercise gives me a jiggly belly that Santa Claus would be envious of.
I received my Covid “Booster” shot la week ago, which made me incredibly happy! No side effects except a sore spot where the needle was injected and the soreness lasted less than 24 hours!
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. In and out of Rite-Aid in minutes. So glad I got that booster shot!
In addition, I started watching the new season of Great British Bake Off. This is getting a blog post of its own. I don’t know if you watch this, but loving to bake, this one series is my ultimate pleasure. And last year’s (2020) cast of bakers was my absolute favorite. Absolute favorite! The bakers just mixed and blended (baking pun intended) so well. They were a team of friends and it was the perfect season. This season isn’t the same. At all. I have a couple of favorite bakers that I would like to see go the distance, but I’ll leave my choice for the future blog post!
The 2021 cast of Great British Bake Off. My favorites are Guiseppe, bottom left and Crystelle (back row second-from-left). I’m just not feeling the friendship between the cast as I did with…
Hands down, THIS was the greatest cast of the show ever! EVER! It was like watching a group of best friends. OMG. I loved the 2020 season so much!
The show inspired me to bake a Gateau St. Honore. Cream filled choux pastry puffs atop a puff pastry. Creme Chiboust (and Italian meringue with a mix of pastry cream) spread throughout, and caramel drizzled all over! And THIS is why I don’t lose weight!
So that’s it. Hopefully, you are still with me as the fall/winter clothing gets showcased and I can write about how the pandemic affected a style change for me. Hopefully, you are both patient and entertained by my not-so-successful weight-loss journey. And hopefully, you’re in for some humor!
I went off my no-buy. This adorable frock is now hanging in my closet awaiting to be showcased in a blog post!
There’s something about the end of summer that makes me somewhat sad but at the same time, I welcome the arrival of crisp, cool weather. Actually, it’s a few “somethings”. The days get shorter. This is a double-edged sword simply because I despise driving in the dark. Yet, I find that the shorter days help me to be more structured with my time management. It’s weird.
Autumn is definitely my double-edged sword. While not quite ready to say goodbye to summer on one hand, on the other hand I’m mentally ready for Autumn!
The days of running out of the house in one of three ways; holding sandals in my hand, wearing sandals or just getting into the car and driving barefoot (as well as practically living barefoot). These days are replaced with having to wear shoes. Again—it’s weird simply because I love shoes but equally adore naked feet.
My number one choice of footwear during summer is…nothing! But I can’t go barefoot all the time so the sandals are worn until the first frost–with rainy weather being the exception. Then when it’s too cold for sandals the shoes come out! I march into Fall accordingly!
I don’t have to adorn myself in outerwear during the summer. In fall it begins with a short-sleeved tee shirt compared to a sleeveless top. Then comes the blazer or denim jacket—those are all fine. But as the balmy atmosphere turns into the damp, gray, chill of late autumn into winter, I cringe at the thought of having to put a heavier coat on—and stuffing a heavy scarf into the coat. It’s about how many pairs of gloves will become either lost or mismatched and I simply cannot stand cold hands on a colder steering wheel. On the other hand, I do prefer wearing gloves that match!
Outerwear isn’t my priority. I’m good with one coat and the coat I have is similar to the one in the middle. I can’t even drive my car wearing a coat because it’s too cumbersome. Do you feel the way I do? And..the coat doesn’t even make an appearance until November!
My wigs keep my head warm. They are a sort of hat. But when the wind kicks in and sends my fake hair falling into my eyes, my nose and my mouth, a hat keeps those wind-blown fibers at bay.
Ugh. I can’t believe I actually have a filtered photo. Anyway, my hat of choice is the beret. This wool cute was less than 5 Euros in Paris. I suppose I should start looking for it now because by the time I find it, the first snow will have fallen!
I may be getting ahead of myself with the weather talk because autumn seems to arrive later and later each year. I can remember wearing shorts at the beginning through middle of October in past years and wearing but a sweater to take the kids out on Halloween.
And yet, pumpkin spice everything and..
…these offensive fake cinnamon-scented pinecones make an appearance earlier and earlier. WTF buys these stinky things anyway?
However, the days have been cooling off rather quickly this September. And even though the temperature reaches a crescendo of up to 90 degrees mid-day, it cools down by the time everyone is leaving work or getting dinner ready.
It’s that transitional time of the year.
And what to wear can often be a challenge. The air conditioning system at the office, or at the supermarket or restaurant will still be running—making the indoor air that was comfortable during the heat of the summer, ever-so-chilly during this time.
Those sundresses of last month aren’t exactly behaving in a seasonal manner after Labor Day. The tan is fading and the arms and legs, unless you break out the fake tan, are looking a bit pale against those bright colors we were loving in June, July and August.
But it’s still too warm to break out the wool skirts and pants and cashmere sweaters. Not quite boot weather yet either. So, what to do? How to dress? My advice? Take baby steps. Transition slowly—not at once. It isn’t time yet. October can get brutally balmy. I usually bring out the heavy gear in November and wear them well into April.
No. No. Nooooo…we are NOT bringing out the wool blazers and heavy denim shirts yet…I’ll show you how to gradually do it!
Let’s have a look and I’ll show you how I’m doing it.
Take a pair of pants. I’m wearing the Jamie Pant from J. Crew Factory. Wear a loose white tee shirt. Add a pair of sandals (these are from Rondini). You have a great ensemble for the end-of-summer–cool in the AM and PM and hot in the day.
Uh oh! It got a bit chilly outside. Replace the tee with a denim shirt (also from J. Crew) and perhaps a different pair of sandals (Tory Burch Miller sandals)
Ohhhhhh. It’s an unseasonably cold day in October–and November is just around the corner. Add a wool-blend blazer (also J. Crew) and to dress things up a bit, a pair of pointy-toed heels! I’m even transitioning to darker hair in the form of Hudson by Estetica!
Pants. Back in the Spring, I purchased two pair of paper-bag waisted pants at Target. I did wear them during the Spring, and stopped during the June/July/August months. I just cannot stand to wear pants when the weather is hot. They are uncomfortable, and when my body gets really hot, they are cumbersome. These pants, though, are loose, lightweight and fall just above the ankle, making them comfortable for both the cold to hot weather and the hot to cooler weather.
These paper-bag waisted pants are a wonderful item to transition into Autumn. Light enough to wear on the warmer days with sandals and a form-fitting tee. As the cooler weather appears, replace the sandals with a ballet flat or loafer and a cropped sweater to replace the tee!
More loose pants, although not paper-bag waisted, are another option because of the loose wider leg and the elasticized waist. The looser leg, as well as the lighter fabric, make these pants perfect for transitioning.
The J. Crew Jamie Pant is also a wonderful transitional option. At this point flip flops or sandals can be worn, but the leopard print and dark shirt scream “Autumn”. When it gets too chilly replace the flip flops with a cute bootie, boots or heels.
Leggings will also have their place as the weather cools off. A tee shirt and denim jacket will work wonderfully, and to be so inclined, if I want to dress it up a bit, I can through a blazer over the tee.
Leggings. These were worn last week. It was rainy and damp and gray. Although too wet for sandals, ballet flats were the choice. But as rainy and damp as it was, it was still very warm and muggy. A sleeveless shirt worked well.
And the great thing about leggings is that the current ones are not the flimsy leggings of yesteryear. Leggings can be pants.
Transitioning the legging ensemble. First pic. The white tee, leggings and sandals are perfect for now. In a few weeks it’ll become a bit cooler so lets change into heels and add a blazer–a great work look. Wait! Let’s get a bit edgier, shall we? Take the heels off and switch into a pair of Nike leather sneakers. A look that works for the weekend when you don’t want jeans!
My Wynne Maxi dresses from Lilly Pulitzer are the greatest transitional dresses ever. A maxi dress isn’t my thing during the winter. And during the summer, these three dresses were worn a lot! But they are also the perfect transition dress. The length will be fine through the early fall. And with a denim jacket –will be remarkably autumn friendly. I will add one caveat. I never wear closed shoes with a maxi. Only sandals will do it for me. So as soon as the first chill arrives, I’ll store the maxi dresses away.
Ahhh. the Wynne maxi dress by Lilly Pulitzer..
Two of the three I own, these have been worn from lat Spring into early Fall, truly a three-season frock. Although I only wear sandals with maxi dresses, that’s just my thing. But when the cooler weather arrives, I’ll wear both with a denim jacket. Proof that you don’t need a separate wardrobe for every season!
The most basic and most simple way to transition for the season. Add a denim jacket!
The summer shifts. There are a couple of shift dresses that I’ll keep into fall. One is my absolute favorite. It’s a Tyler Boe dress that was purchased at a sidewalk end-of-summer sale a few years back. The dress retailed for over $100 and I picked it up for around ten bucks. The high neckline was made for the cooler days and, once again, with a denim jacket, it will be very autumn friendly. Sandals or ballet flats will complete the look.
On it’s third summer-into-fall, this Tyler Boe dress was a steal and I’ve worn it countless times. Bonus–you don’t even need to wear a bra underneath–that’s an epic summer dress. But as the days get cooler, this denim jacket from Kut from the Kloth is going on five or six years now. It’s another favorite transitional look!
This gauze dress from J. Crew Factory, also purchased a few years back is another great summer-into-fall item. The gauze fabric is light enough for summer yet will be fine for early fall. This is one of those casual dresses that also looks great with Converse sneakers.
I wore this to work today. The temperature hit 90 so it was a great choice. Bonus! The loose cut is very weight–gain friendly. When I bought it I was 20 pounds lighter and it still fits..
The day I bought this transition-friendly cutie–she looks great with converse sneakers. Damn. I got so heavy!
Here’s another way to transition a summer dress!
Remember–it’s still summer and this sleeveless dress isn’t going anywhere but on my body–and the sandals are still hot-weather appropriate..
It got a bit chilly out . Throw a blazer over the dress when the weather cools off–besides with heels, it’s a great work look..
Or don a denim jacket for a fun vibe!
The sandals, by mid-October, will be put away for next spring and the ballet flats and other shoes, will be taking their place.
The best way to transition is to take baby steps! Slowly change up the footwear!
A white tee shirt is essential for transitioning. Honestly, every wardrobe needs at least a dozen.
Two more essentials. The blazer. Navy, black and camel are all you really need. And the denim jacket. This one is by GH Bass. I have this dark one and a lighter blue.
Heavier sweaters will make an appearance later in the fall. As will the boots. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself seasonally because it’s still summer for another two weeks. And it’s not cold yet.
Please don’t bundle up like this in September–or October. Let’s do this gradually!
Besides, I cringe when I see people wearing the winter garb in early fall. It gives me hot flashes and makes me sweat so much that I need to add a stick of deodorant to my purse!
This is me when I see people dressed in winter clothing in September!
So how are you transitioning? Share in the comments!
Okay. Where do I begin? It’s over three weeks since I’ve posted on the blog. But life has a way throwing a bunch of stuff at you in one fell swoop. And as I sit here writing this, I can reflect on all the stuff that’s been going on. So, grab a cup of coffee to keep you from falling asleep if I bore you, or a glass of wine to keep you nice and chill and sit back to a long read.
Ever, or rather these days (Never) the Weight Watcher, I was thrilled to see that Philly Pretzel Factory is once again opened at the airport. I was good though. I didn’t get my usual big bag of Peanut M & M’s!
On August 19th, The Frenchman and I flew the friendly skies to visit Oona, Sam and Owen. Our trip covered Oona’s birthday on the 20th, and a babysitting gig for Owen as Oona and Sam enjoyed an evening out for a wedding. We enjoyed lunch and shopping at Findlay Market in Downtown Cincinnati, some delightful pastries from Le Petit Choux (a play on words no less), more food and I threw any diet progress to the wind.
This place. It’s food heaven. And we bought the greatest steaks!
And for the babysitting–It’s been a moment since I’ve been in charge of an infant. Actually, it’s been a few decades—but who’s counting? Once you change a diaper, you never forget how to change a diaper. It was all good.
Owen!!! He loves to laugh. He loves to eat. He loves to read!
And the fact that Owen is one of the happiest babies in the universe also made our job incredibly easy. I know my daughter had doubts. After all, she is very regimented in her child-rearing. I wasn’t. I was very crunchy-granola and really never had a schedule. But my daughter is the mother, and, as such, I will comply—because if I don’t, I’ll never be asked to babysit again.
I am honestly in awe of my daughter, Oona’s, mothering skills. She is incredible and would easily be able to handle about three or four more!
And while Oona and Sam were away, Vincent and I entertained Owen and were just as entertained by him. He’s at that babble stage—making lots of sounds and quite proud of himself. Everything goes into his mouth and he’s crawling up a storm.
We had such a blast with this little kiddle!!
We had a crawl party where Owen literally crawled around the perimeter of the first floor of the house, while we kept guard of the furniture, electrical outlets, stairways and corners of walls. Let me tell you that little ishkabibble is fast! I was the only exercise I had in a long time.
I can’t get enough of this guy!!
A bottle, a trip upstairs to the nursery, a change of diaper, into his pajamas, three stories later he was wiped out. He fell asleep the second his head hit the pillow. We had the monitor downstairs to keep us posted on how he was sleeping. I received a few texts from Oona and reassured here all was fine.
And when Oona and Sam arrived home, I think they were a bit surprised that everything went so well and Owen was sleeping. The outcome? We’re babysitting at Christmas—actually the day after Christmas, my daughter and son-in-law are going to spend the night in Philly. Owen will be in our charge for the entire night. I can’t wait!
Bye Cincy. Bye Oona and Sam and Owen. See you soon!
All was well. The next day, we flew back home to Philly. The flights—to and from Cincy were filled to capacity. Luckily everyone was compliant with the masks and there was no problem.
I managed to start a book, Where the Crawdads Sing, which had been highly recommended to me. I also finished the book. And what started out to be a promising read, ended up to be a convoluted story with an abrupt ending that had me thinking the author got tired of writing and decided to end the book quickly. This book is going to be a movie. I guarantee it won’t be good.
Everyone had such high praise for this book but I felt it went into too many directions. As much as I loved the main character, Kya, the book just veered into too many subplots. And the ending was just so abrupt.
Life was back to normal. Somewhat. The next day, the annual Flu shots came available. And so, we headed to our local pharmacy to get our shots. It was the usual painless experience. But then, something happened. By evening, I had a huge welt on my arm where the needle was injected. My throat began to swell and my head started to ache—and I’m not one for headaches. By the time I woke up the next morning, I was full-fledged into a head cold that knocked me for a loop.
The weird thing is that I’ve never had a bad reaction to any flu shot I’ve received. I was wondering that perhaps because this was my first time receiving the shot after passing the age of 65, and the dosage is stronger for those of us over the age of 65, maybe it was too much for me. Then my husband reminded me that we were in a plane and I could have caught a really bad cold on either of the flights. Both theories make sense so it was either one or the other.
It was so bad that Chloraseptic was my fashion accessory. BTW, that stuff is still as vile as it was back in the day!
Then I lost my voice. Now, at this point, my nose was chock-full of gunk. I had a night nosebleed, actually two of them, so I was afraid to blow my nose. And when I did go back to blowing my nose, I was astonished at the amount of gunk that was exiting my nostrils. Not to mention the amount of phlegm that was coming up from my throat. And as disgusting as it seems, all I could think of was how many WW points are in phlegm and mucus. Yes. I’m that person.
This was pretty-much how I was stuffing my nose!
My co-workers were concerned too. Not really about me but you know they were wondering if it was just a cold—if you catch my drift. Add to the fact that my son Roman was coming to visit at the end of the week for a few days then leaving Philly to head to LA to visit my oldest son, Jake.
Easy instructions. Easy to use. Timely results. I was pleased with my negative results!
With no time to spare, I called my husband and asked him if he could arrange for me to get tested again for Covid. He did one better. He purchased an at-home Covid test and drove it to my office. Surprisingly, working in the Healthcare genre for a company that doesn’t supply us with testing, my at-home Covid test was now an in-office Covid Test—that my husband paid for.
I took the test, waited the fifteen minutes and the results were negative—which I kind of figured they would be. All was well.
Roman arrived on Friday. And we enjoyed our time together. I cooked. We ate. We went out to a great dinner downtown Phoenixville to celebrate Roman’s birthday and I ate and ate and ate more. Our restaurant of choice was Avlos, a relatively new Greek restaurant and we will be back. Oh Yes. We will be back! With no regard to the fact that I am supposed to be losing weight.
We started with appetizers and let me tell you, this was, hands down the best Pita bread any of us had ever had. This Dakos with Barley, Feta and Tomato was off the charts…
But my personal showstopper was the Octopus in a fava bean puree. I could eat this every night.
Vincent loved his lamb chops and said they were cooked to perfection.
Roman wouldn’t stop raving about the Bronzini he had…
And my grilled beef patties were absolutely flavorful!
A delightful evening was had. Outdoor dining. Great company and great food!
I think the greatest birthday gift I gave to my son was the loss of my voice. It seemed everyone was filled with glee at the fact I would open my mouth and nothing would come out. In fact, I actually took a sick day that Monday!
Now, get this. Roman left early Wednesday morning. That was September 1st. He ended up taking the train to the airport and made it in time to no line at the TSA and his flight scheduled for 10:55 AM left for LA on time. Unless you are living under a rock, you know that Hurricane Ida was traveling through various parts of the country. Philadelphia, in particular. My son got on one of the last flights to leave Philly that day. Within hours of his departure, the rains came. Quite frankly, it was more than rain. By the time I left the office, it was a deluge.
While at work the day Roman left, I had the flight tracker window opened on my work computer. I literally followed his flight. What mom doesn’t do that?
Luckily for me, my husband had the foresight to drive me to work that day and pick me up. Had I been alone, I don’t know what would have happened. Roads were closed. Flights were cancelled. Shopping centers were flooded. Ida wreaked havoc and caused death and destruction. It was a shock to the system to drive through puddles that were more akin to lakes. We were seemingly detoured on every road leading to our home. The normally 15-minute drive took over an hour. Our internet service was shut down but were lucky to have power.
Downtown Phoenixville after the rain. I didn’t take this pic nor did I take the one below. It truly was horrific. Restaurants and shops are flooded. It sucks.
This is a route we take regularly. In one afternoon the damage was done!
The next two days getting to and from work was challenging due to the local road closures. I hate highway driving simply because of the aggressive drivers on the road. And I had to take the highway.
The sun is shining but the roads are still closed!
By Friday things were improving. And Friday was our Wedding Anniversary. Vincent surprised me at work with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. It was a nice start to this holiday weekend.
I’m still admiring these flowers. In full bloom they are absolutely spectacular!
Okay so back to Ida. Thursday, at work, we had no lights but the computers were working. On Friday morning, the lights and computers were working—then around 10 AM, everything went blank. The computers shut off. The lights went off. The AC went off. It was awful. It was the outcome of PECO working in the area. And that is how I started Labor Day Weekend.
Those crazy Gucci’s. Dysfunctional and juicy!
So, I went home and started another book: The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed. I didn’t finish it but am nearing the end. This is a great book. It’s so juicy! The Gucci family was crazy!!!! I’m not giving anything away except that this true story is also quite interesting. It’s going to be a movie. I’ll bet the movie is going to be fantastic! Lady Gaga and Al Pacino are in it.
At 8:15 we arrived at the beach to this…
..and the sun made an appearance about an hour later. It was a great day!
The water was wonderfully warm–but then again, it always warms up in September!
On Saturday, we took our last beach visit of the season to Stone Harbor. The day started out cloudy and turned into a spectacularly sunny and clear one. The water was warmer than the air so it was just the perfect way to end the official summer season! Despite the fact I wore sunscreen and had my head buried in my Gucci book, I still managed to get a red face.
Even with sunscreen, I got a red face!
Then we came home and ate. And I made Pina Coladas. More wasted calories.
On Sunday I went for a well-needed manicure and pedicure. But the greatest thing was the nail place I go to reopened its wax room and I was able to get the first professional lip wax since the lockdown. I tell you, those at-home wax strips are nothing compared to having a professional wax that lady mustache from your upper lip! Man, I feel like a woman again!
Mani. Pedi. Lip Wax. Is there anything better?
After my spa morning, a strange thought popped into my head. The thought was regarding our refrigerator. It was neglected. Seriously neglected. My bright idea was to clean out the fridge as soon as I arrived home—after stopping off to purchase cleaning products and sponges.
More than elbow grease was used to get this thing spankin’ clean! It took me three hours. I’m not kidding. Three. Hours.
I took every item out of the fridge. I unassembled drawers and shelves. I scrubbed them, dried them and spent about an hour figuring out how to get them placed back into the spots they were in. I found cranberry sauce that I made last November. Did you know that homemade cranberry sauce doesn’t last the ten months it was in the fridge? It was moldy and gross. That cranberry sauce wasn’t the only forgotten foodstuff in there. I think I may have had some diy raisins that used to be either grapes or prunes. It’s a good thing I wore rubber gloves while scrubbing because my hands still look nice!
Now it’s Monday. The last day of Labor Day Weekend. 2021. The days are getting shorter. The mornings and evenings are cooler with still-hot 9 to 5 days. The outside lighting is changing. It’s becoming brighter and less subdued. The trees are showing the first signs that autumn is on the way. Some of the green leaves are yellowing. Some are turning brown.
I don’t know what’s worse. Pumpkin spice or those cinnamon-scented brooms and pine cones. Autumn at its worst!
And after Labor Day, I’ll still wear white if I want to. I’ll slowly be transitioning my summer clothing to more appropriate cooler-weather clothing—or at least what manages to fit. I’m telling you; I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to.
Touch of transition. I wore this shirtwaist dress and shoes as opposed to sandals to work on Friday. I’ll miss my easy summer shifts!
But with the shorter days and cooler weather also brings on more of a schedule for me. It’s easier for me to write more regularly on the blog and it’s easier for me to have more of a routine for weight loss. I dunno. It just seems like everything falls apart in the summer. It might be because it’s more of a casual and relaxed time. Longer and lazy days. Nights of sitting outside. And while I really do hate to see summer leave, I’m welcoming that time of year when my life is more routine.
Let’s see what the remainder of the month will bring. I am ready to, once again, get back to healthier eating!
And that’s what I’ve been up to! It’s been a wild summer. I must admit I’m ready for the more routine schedule that the cool weather has to offer!