Welcome to Crazytown. I’ve Begun to Pack for Our Trip Back to France.

It’s almost that time of year.  In less than a month, Bonaparte and I will be flying back to the apartment in Theoule-sur-Mer, France.

Our little apartment.  I can’t wait to open the front door and relax for a coupla weeks!

I’ve started to prepare. I’m a bit behind my usual timeline because, with a full-time job, I find that preparing is more challenging.  Time is of the essence, and I have not been focusing.   If you have been reading this blog since the beginning, you are well-aware that my packing obsession has always started way, way, way ahead of the time of departure!

I need to get myself emotionally prepared first.  I’ve been listing to my French pop music on the way to the office and then on the way home.  Listening to the music repeatedly helps me to learn the language better. No. Seriously. It does.  Georges Brassens has the clearest voice ever. He sings his words slow and purposely. I realized that one of his songs is about friendship and the buddies he grew up with –it only took me four years of listening to the song to figure it out!

It’s true. I start my prep work by listening to French pop music and Georges Brassens!  I’ll be on the lookout for more music this summer.  I’ve amassed quite the collection over the years!

Oh yeah. Welcome to Crazytown–Atypical60 style!

Bonaparte would have a total meltdown or stroke if he walked into the little guest room that doubles as my makeup and wig room.  Basically, I keep the door closed at all times so he can’t see the unorganization, untidy display, state of absolute  slight messiness that is occurring.  I call it the “storm before the calm”.

Bonaparte would have a stroke if he walked in on this–luckily, I cleaned it up. It is now in a pile on the floor!

Today I started to pack.

Sort of.


The little pom-pom clutch will come in handy when we go out to dinner. I don’t want to carry a ton of stuff. The Wythe Hotel tote will be traveling for the 4th time to France. This tote is strong as all get out and will carry wine, champagne and creme de cassis with no problem. The Fragonard tote will be used to haul groceries and other shopping goodies–it can double as a beach/pool bag!

Travel tip:  Going to France?  Don’t forget to bring tote bags and bags for the grocery haul. You have to pay for the little shopping bags over there–they aren’t free.  Spend your money wisely and bring bags.

Every year I’ve overpacked. When Danièle was alive we would always spend time in Paris before heading South. That meant packing two wardrobes.  A dressier and cooler weather wardrobe for Paris and a more casual one for Theoule.  This summer, it’s casual only.

I have a binder that is chock-full of information I’ve collected over the years and still use it as a reference point. I make notes and do a ton of writing. See the little insert pic?  I have tabs for notes and blog posts….

I like to keep my important information close to me.  The market information is also very valuable.  Yes–and I also have a favorite little “souvenir” shop where I get T-shirts. The people who own the little shop are very, very nice. 

Travel Tip:  Take notes. Buy an inexpensive binder or organizer.  Notes can be used for reference or for information when friends and relatives visit whatever places you have.  Keep info such as hours of operation for museums, beaches you like, schedules of water taxis, restaurants you like..it’s all fun!

And here’s the thing.  I’m not packing a very fashionable load of clothing.  We’ll be at the pool and the beach nearly every day. That’ll mean bathing suits and a simple dress to cover.  I love the idea of dresses so that I don’t have to change before sightseeing.  Plus, it’s one-step dressing. I throw the dress over my head and I’m done.

This inexpensive cotton/linen shift is perfect for a lunch at the beach. Well, that’s if slob-o me doesn’t spill anything on it!  I love the lace detail and its one-stop dressing! It is rolled up and packed.

This is the off-the-shoulder dress from J. Crew that I sized down in. I’m so upset that it didn’t photograph well because it really is a cute dress.  I would wear this out to a casual dinner.  I’m also packing the hair that I’m wearing in this pic. It’s light and summery! The dress is rolled and packed!

The debate is on as to whether I’ll pack a pair of jeans.  As I write this, the decision is “no”.  My decision could change next week.

Three pairs of shorts should be sufficient and tops.  Tops will be the item that I will be sure to pack plenty of.

I picked up this yellow short sleeved sweater, as well as one in navy at J. Crew Factory.  Don’t you love the length of the TRUE short sleeves?  The sweater is a light and breathable cotton blend. I will wear the sweater with these navy and white dotted shorts also from J. Crew Factory. This is a nice look for a few hours at a museum..

I really dig this combo!

Here’s the navy sweater I picked up. I’m telling you, I am in LOVE with these sweaters! The shorts are from a few years ago. They fit me again–got ’em at Old Navy!

The last shorts outfit!  Uniqlo shorts and a very comfy shirt from last summer–Old Navy.  I may re-think this. It’s packed for now. 

And YES!  Older ladies CAN wear shorts!!! I don’t care how flabby my thighs are. When it’s hot I’m dressing for the weather!

I picked two bathing suits up at Target.  Currently, all swimsuits are on sale with a buy one, get one for half price.  I got two for fifty bucks.

At WHAT age should women stop wearing bikinis you ask? At NO age!!  Even though I lost over 20 pounds, I’m not skinny–nor do I aspire to be.  I HAVE flabby thighs. I HAVE a belly–from three pregnancies, and one ten-pounder in the oven, I better have a bit of a gut! But I don’t care because I am at the pool/beach to cool off and the less I wear means the cooler I am.  A bikini lends itself well to not have to keep tugging on the bottom of a one-piece that keeps riding up my butt. This is 62–not 26!  I’ll be going through a lot of sunscreen!

This year I’ll also be packing hair.  I’ve purchased a couple of lightweight wigs that’ll do fine.  I had enough hair last summer that I only needed a topper when I wore my hair down.  When I wore it up, I needed nothing extra.  On the positive side, I won’t be fussing with my hair at all. I’ll just pin it up and plop a wig on. What could be better?

Riley. My ten-buck wig. Light and airy and a great length for sitting around the pool or at the beach. And I’ll pin her up when I swim. The fine art of swimming while not getting my hair wet is one that I practice!

Makeup.  I started my travel bag already but I did pick up my favorite low-end foundation today. The six-buck elf flawless.  I try to bring as many low-end cosmetics just in case I leave something behind.

I travel with the cheap stuff.  I don’t even wear foundation except for when Bonaparte and I go out to dinner so why bother bringing the expensive foundation?  This elf foundation works well for me.

I don’t think I’ll bring heels.  I want to be a total beach bum so it’ll be sandals and sneakers.

A fancier dress for dining out. Not super fancy just a step up from the casual frocks I’ll be running around in.  The Rondini Bikini sandals will fare very well with any dress!

My Rondini Bikini Sandals. OMG. I love these so much and I can’t wait to get to Rondini to add another pair to my collection!

Underwear, camera battery, phone chargers…I need to start gathering that stuff up soon!

I’m packing this dress too. I wear it to the pool and beach. THIS is the infamous shift that started my weight loss.  Bonaparte snapped a pic of me last summer in this dress–when I saw how much weight I gained I was disgusted. The dress fits much better this year!

I won’t bring my laptop.  As much as I love my blog—I take a vacation from everything!  It makes it more fun upon my return to write and have fresh memories!

Here’s how the packing is shaping up so far:

I always travel with a satin pillowcase. It doubles as protection for the clothing when packed!

Shirts (of which I most likely have packed too many) are nestled into a velcro-envelope of sorts which I….

…close and pack at the bottom of my Longchamp carry on. It gives more structure to the bottom of the oversized bag.

The satin pillowcase is placed over the “envelope” housing the shirts.

I start to layer some of the outfits–like lasagna!! I place a folded, flattened white garbage bag in between each “layer” of clothing lasagna–as pictured above!

The layering continues…

Dresses are rolled and packed.

I pack underwear in this zippered compartment.  This still needs to be done.

Totes, bathing suits, most of the clothing is packed and there is plenty of room.

For the record, I will bring a suitcase to check in. Toiletries,  small electronics, some hair, beach towels, will be added but–there will be plenty of space for all the goods I’ll bring home!

TRAVEL TIP:  From Susan at  “une femme d’un certain âge” blog. She’s the most pragmatic traveler I’ve ever read.  Trust me–if she reads this she’ll be horrified at the way I pack! I always get great travel tips from her reads.  This time I learned that a piece of foam is great for cleaning up small spots like deodorant lines.  She calls it “Schmutz- B-Gone” –could you die??? I’m going to take a few of the foam strips that come with my wigs and pack them!

After a peek into some of the clothing I’m packing—here’s a look at what I wore this week.  I gained three pounds. I’m up to 145—so I’m really trying to pay attention to what I’m eating.

NOTE:  Before you check out the pics–I disabled my “word ads”.  At first, I didn’t mind having a little ad underneath my post. Then recently I noticed more ads were sneaking in. Nuh unh. Not on my time.  I can’t stand reading blogs that are chock-full of ads. In fact, I’ve stopped reading many of them because of the ads.  I don’t want my blog to be that way. This is for reading entertainment only!

Yesterday was “Slob Saturday” because sometimes, you just have to bring out your inner slob! (In MY case it is my outter slob!)

I did not wear jeans on jeans Friday. It was too hot. Instead, I opted for this lightweight and loose dress from J. Crew Factory and wore a comfortable pair of Rondini Tropeziennes!

Thursday (or was it Wednesday?) I went Maxi because I was too lazy to shave my legs.  Dr. Scholls sandals and a little camel necklace. Can you guess the riddle in the photo above my headshot?  Let me know in the comments if you figure it out!  I’m wearing my Justine wig by “It’s a Wig”. Justine is coming to France with me!

Yeah. This was Wednesday. I got my gray dress back from the dry cleaners and it remained stain-free for the day.  Hmmm. I should pack this dress for the trip! 

Tuesday’s look was my favorite for the week!  I love the pencil skirt and button down shirt.  This had a very office-polished look!

Monday’s look wasn’t one I was crazy about but I was running late.  The shirt reminded me of the days I was pregnant!

I did like the hair though. It was freshly washed the day before so I was able to lead the hair fibers on and placed a topper atop my noggin’.  When I see pics like this, it makes me miss my bio hair–OMG I had so much of it.  Oh well!

Oh. I got new prescription sunglasses. Aren’t they nice? They are the same RayBan frames as my regular glasses only in a tortoiseshell color . I can be really lazy with the eye makeup when I go to the beach! Ugh.  That “fang” tooth of mine keeps inching its way into every photo. That’s right. I have a fang tooth and I refuse to have it drilled down. Dentists have tried but I love my fang–it’s part of me. I just don’t like when it wants to photobomb me!

Thanks for reading!!!

Is this not the cutest?  Really. Thanks a latte for reading today’s blog post!

Have a listen to some Georges Brassens and listen to how clearly he sings!  “Les Coopains d’abord”. Thank you Javier Angulo for posting this to YouTube!

©Copyright 2017 Atypical60.com

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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47 Responses to Welcome to Crazytown. I’ve Begun to Pack for Our Trip Back to France.

  1. Judy says:

    Hi Catherine, i LOVE packing for a trip. Sometimes (not always!) I think it’s almost the best bit! We are off to Majorca for a week, leaving in ten days, and as the weather in the UK has been dismal, to say the least, everything is all laid out, rolled and ready to be packed as i am not wearing any of it at the moment! I am probably being really crazy, but i always make a list, tick everything off when i pack it and put in the case, and then place the list on top. That way I KNOW it’s somewhere in there!
    Have a great time, and I look forward to reading all about it.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Judy. HAVE A GREAT TIME!!! I’ve always wanted to go to Majorca because it seems like such an exotic place!!! I think I need to follow your tip of listing and checking off!!!! XXXXOOOOO!!!

  2. angelin2014 says:

    I´m really envious of your holiday in the South of France! But reading your blog has persuaded me to try Paris again, so I will go there for a few days in August. Actually I was struck by Paris Syndrome when I was there 35 years ago, and have not returned to the beautiful city since…But I guess by now I´m a grumpy old lady and will be telling people off if they aren´t polite or the men are groping me. Fat chance they will do that to a 59-year old, right?
    Thanks for the travel tips, I am going t try and travel with hand luggage only this summer – we will have to wait and see if it works:) I´ll keep you posted on that!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Angelin. I’m thrilled that you are going back to Paris! Hey. If you tell people off, you can pass as a born Parisienne!! And beware of the younger men groping you–they may be coming down with Macron Syndrome–the love of an older woman ( I honestly love that man!). I can’t wait to hear about your August trip!! Remember–lots of restaurants are closed in August. I’ll try to do some research on ones that are opened!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. have fun in France. What I would do if I were you like my sister does it who is in New York when she comes back to France she has a suitcase half packed so she can buy clothes in Paris and come back with a full suitcase. Have fun.

    • Catherine says:

      I’m hoping we aren’t allowed back to Trumpland. I’m so naughty! Oh. Bonaparte brings and extra suitcase that’s empty so we can hoard our treasures. I definitely need to get back to Rondini and I need more Fragonard Orange Blossom and I want to do Christmas shopping. Where in NYC is your sister? XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. KEWLM0M says:

    Hi Cathe!
    Re: “…a piece of foam is great for cleaning up small spots like deodorant lines.” Awesome! Know what else works? Microfiber cloths! I’m so psyched for your trip – you’d think I were going!

  5. Riddle answer: Camel toe!

  6. Anne says:

    I would pack that maxi skirt to take with me. You are styling it! It would go with most of the shirts you are packing. Have a great time when you go!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Anne. I was actually thinking about that. Especially since I’m lazy and would welcome the excuse not to shave my legs..in addition, Maxi skirts are very comfortable in warm weather!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Anne says:

        Great! I can see it with your white shirts and especially the pretty yellow one. 🙂

  7. Sandra says:

    How did you loose those 20 lbs? I was not a follower of your bog then. I agree about those ads. Thanks for removing them. I have also stopped following blogs with excessive ads. I also love Une Femme and a so impressed with her organizational abilities. Looking forward to your posts when you return.

    • Catherine says:

      You know what Sandra? I just stopped eating garbage and carbs and concentrated on smaller portions and no snacking!!! It took a long time but worked. I’m back to the no eating garbage, and no carbs and no snacking. I should drop 5 by the time we leave!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. Patti Dickinson says:

    Ok, Catherine, where did you find a cute $10 wig?

  9. junedesilva says:

    OMG! You’re so organised, Catherine. Adore white dress & top. Flying out to Toulouse a couple of weeks ago, I treated myself to the Longchamp extra large travel bag – it’s so useful! Xoxo

    • Catherine says:

      Hi June. What color did you get? I try so hard to be organized but I always mess up. This weekend I’ll be really concentrating on the rest to bring because we’ll be busy up until we leave! Did you have Toulouse Cassoulet??? XOXOXOXOXO!!!

      • junedesilva says:

        Hi! It’s a grey but I think the proper name is gunmetal or something like that. Goes well with the smaller blue one I have already. Yes, I’ve had & made cassoulet. Have you & B ? Xoxo

  10. fiona says:

    I’m quite excited about your trip myself….although I’ll be heading to France again myself in four weeks too. I think the French are quite casual dressers in the evening and I’ve been told they usually wear what they’ve been wearing all day, in rural France anyway, not sure about the Cote d’Azur as it’s decades since I was last there. I’m leaving more and more stuff at my place so I can travel light in future. Grâce à toi I’ve been looking at Le Pliage bags as I work at an airport where they are a little bit cheaper, I notice you have a white/cream one….don’t you find that it gets dirty? the light colours are lovely but knowing me I’d spill something on it. Like you I start packing weeks in advance, apparently there are lists on the web that you can print off to assist you (who knew?) but I use my own.
    Your hair looks really pretty off your face, it’s a great look on you. Off to check out Georges Brassens. Bonne semaine. xx

    • fiona says:

      Yes! I know this song, think I’ve heard it on Nostalgie perhaps. x

    • Catherine says:

      Bonjour mon ange fiona!! Oh…it’s pretty laid back on the Cote d’Azur. I’ve seen some big-time glamour in Cannes and St. Trop, but for the most part it is chill, casual and laid back. I love that!! There is a reason I love my oversized cream colored le Pliage bag. It does get dirty–and I love it that way because nobody will be tempted to run off with it. The dirtier it gets, the more I love it! Seriously it was 43 euros at CDG. How could I not make that purchase???? Lists on the net?? Get outta town!!! I’ll make my own lists. I’ve already started the grocery list for our trip to Geant!!! Thank you–Bonaparte loves when I put my hair off my face–I like to cover me up but he says he likes to see my face!!! Bonne semaine to you too!! XOXOXOXO!!

  11. doodletllc says:

    Since we had to cancel our First Time to France trip for this June, I am excited to travel along with you…your packing tips are spot one and I love that you pack early…my mantra too…The white dress is a winner. And finally, thanks for the hair tips…my baby might need to try some for awhile.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jeanne! I’ll be sure to write down all my misadventures!!! Yeah. I need to pack early and I’ll still end up mulling over the choices until I get on the plane!!! XXOXOXOXO!!!

  12. Momcat says:

    Thank you for ditching the ads:) They drive me crazy!! I follow several ‘ fashion for old broads’ blogs and have recently noticed that they are repeating each other! B-o-r-i-n-g….! Your’s seems to be one of the few original voices out there. Keep it up! Have a great time in Southern France ( p.s. You rock the bikinis….I have the scar of scars across my belly so to avoid frightening little children I stick with a tankini)
    I adore Brassens, I once met a man who did a sort of ‘homage to Georges Brassens’ act at folk festivals in Québec.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Momcat. Thank you for noticing my mention of ditching the ads. A while back I joined this “Word ads” thing that left ONE AD at the bottom of a post. Lately I’ve noticed a couple of more and it drives me crazy. I write about stuff I love and I’ll link whatever it is. Unless someone wants to actually pay me to run an ad, that’s the only way I’ll do it. And I’ve been going nuts lately trying to read other blogs in frustration because it seems that the ads are being showcased more than the actual blog post. I’m not a fan. At all!
      Thank you for that!
      Yeah. I’m really looking forward to just relaxing. We’ve made a short list of what we want to do–like go back to L’Estagnol a couple of times, St. Tropez to see Big Daddy Bonaparte, back to Eze, Chagall and Matisse museums, and drive into Marsailles other than that–it’ll be relaxing time!!! OMG. I can’t get enough of Brassens. He’s such a great storyteller!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

      • Miss Bougie says:

        Have you been to Aix en Provence, Catherine? I love it there; it’s so beautiful. All those little streets and squares with lots and lots of different boutiques. Not many chain stores there. Try going on market day. I posted some pics on FB last July of Aix market. Otherwise if you want to experience a working class, very cheap market in the area you need to go to Gardanne, which is not far from Aix. The town is not particularly Provençal or pretty, they actually have an alumina factory which covers some of the town in red dust, but the market is well worth the visit. I try to go every time we’re in the area.

  13. Jackie says:

    Just a bit jealous, Catherine! Have a safe and fun trip.

  14. 3C Style says:

    Your pack to perfection!

  15. I loved reading this and I hope you do some posts about your time in France with tons of photos. I don’t travel much so I am looking forward to what you are going to be up to! Have fun. Isn’t it funny that I didn’t know you had a blog. I know about the ads on WordPress, but to get rid of them for me, I would want to be self hosted and I am not just ready for that step. I just switched to WordPress from Blogger in January and need a little more time doing it this way.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Terry! I’m really we connected as bloggers and not just on IG!! WordPress is the only host I’ve ever been with and I still find some aspects confusing but I have the premium program and will upgrade due to the amount of photo space you are allowed to have. Your choice is a wise one–learn the host first before moving forward. I’m very pleased overall with WP.
      Oh..I”ll definitely be writing about our adventures in France. I’ve got quite a few posts about our adventures both in Paris and in the South. XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  16. Margaret says:

    Love the white eyelet dresses, they’re so fresh looking. Oh I totally agree about true short sleeves, they’re so much more flattering no matter what size arms women have. I can’t stand those little cap sleeves that are everywhere. The new Rx sunglasses are great, you’ll certainly be styling with those! Thanks for eliminating ads, they’re so exhausting. I can’t wait to read about your trip!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret. Thank you! The eyelet dress that was my “weight” dress–I’ve had for years. I picked it up maybe 7 years ago at J. Crew on sale and I’ve worn it every summer since. And a lot! That dress has held up like a brick wall!!! XOXOxOxO!!!

  17. JulietC says:

    I love (LOVE) that bright scarf, oh heck I love all your outfits – fabulous and you look pulled together but so effortless. Have the best time (and report back when you are home!).

  18. Emmanuel says:

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  19. Yvonne says:

    I love how enthusiastic you are about everything and that you prepare for your trip by listening to music. Must admit I did listen to a bit of reggae before going to Jamaica. I admire how you fit so much in your life including working full-time, proper cooking, long entertaining blogs and multiple Instagrams. How do you do it? You look great in shorts and have fabulous legs and feet. The blue off the shoulder dress is my “editors” pick. its a great dress.

  20. eveange33 says:

    If you could or if did not already travel there, you could try Avignon, the old city where some Popes lived. And there is also of course the festival. Or Arles and Montpelleier (where was founded one of the oldest medicine university in Europe). I’ve never been in the south of France but a few cities. As in Paris these last days ( now the sun is out) , I saw really a lot of women wearing all kind of striped tee shirt dresses, very comfy but also very stylish. I’d like to get one too but , unless shopping in the children department, it is going to be very difficult for me to find one that really fit. I am very petite but with curves. Pity you are not making your way to Paris this summer, only for a few days, during this time, you know, during the … SALES! I know I should no tempt you at all.

  21. Amanda Charpentier says:

    Love your blog! We are the exact age, and it is so enjoyable to hear and see someone who wears clothes I can afford! I am retired now and trying to pare down my wardrobe, but still searching for that elusive comfy pair of jeans… difficult because I own so many that don’t fit well, I can’t seem to justify buying another pair, but I keep trying them on and not buying.

    Love your wigs, with me it’s my teeth, another trip to the dentist this week.

    Enjoy your trip, can’t wait to hear about it! I always pack way early also, I think it’s so I can pack, and unpack, and repack, and and and ..

    Thanks for taking out the ads! I have dropped several blogs because it seems more ads than anything else.

    Happy Memorial Monday, loved your post on adulting and this day also, think I am going to paint my bathroom floor to celebrate!


    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Mandy!! Do you subscribe to the blog? I noticed that your comment was in the pending area which is set aside for non-subscribers. Glad I saw the comment. OH..I’m doing a post on a very affordable pair of jeans I happened to purchase earlier today. They are stretchy, and lift the butt, and fit like a glove and I got them at Primark for $13.00 They are on top of the pile that I’m packing!!! And you know what? Thank you for mentioning about the affordable clothing. I’ve seen too many bloggers post clothing that is wayyyy wayyy out of my financial reach. I can’t and won’t pay $500 for a sweater. I just can’t.
      I’m also thankful that you are happy I took out the ads–another reason I’ve pared down on my blog reading. I just don’t have the patience to skim through ad after ad after ad anymore. I want substance in what I’m reading. Good luck with the painting of the bathroom!!! It’s definitely time for us to do some painting!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

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