The New Bronze Age—For Proagers!

It’s a daunting time for sure.  Under normal circumstances a great number of us would be getting ready to head to the beach, the shore, a lake, a pool—perhaps even putting those last-minute vacation details and plans together.

chilling in a cooler

Or perhaps spend the day at the ball park, or at an outdoor party where the cooler is always opened!

But this year, it’s different. Many of us have had our overseas travel plans cancelled.  Many of us haven’t had local pool clubs opened yet.  And although beaches are technically “opened”, there are those of us who err on the side of caution.

No scenes like this for 2020. Our summer trip to France was cancelled!

Due to my age, and my husband’s health being compromised, we are continuing to play it safe. And the thing is I miss the beach.  I miss the feeling of sand between my toes and running from the heated granules into the ocean to cool off.

This. I miss this.

I miss the feelings of the sun beginning to lightly kiss my face to the intense heat beating down on it causing an ethereal glow from the beads of sweat glistening against the summer hue that we achieve during this time of year.

Sitting on the deck doesn’t do it for me.  I cannot get a spray tan because the tanning salon is temporarily closed.   Other than the protection from sunscreen, the only thing left to do is fake the sun’s bronzing glow.

I’m faking the glow!  And saving my face at the same time!

And that is what I’ve been doing.  It’s not hard to get the results.  It isn’t ruining the skin.  It is definitely pro-age friendly and I’ll show you what I did to get the look as though I’ve been sitting out all day, at ocean’s edge, reading a book while the surf hits my legs! Seriously. At the mature age we are, we need to protect our skin now more than ever!

The other great thing about this is there’s no liquid or cream foundation to creep into lines and wrinkles that come with pro-aging.  So—it’s a win-win situation.  Come along with me as I show you how to get that sunny, bronzed pro-age look. It’s the new Bronze Age!

Okay. First things first.  After splashing my face with tepid water, I apply moisturizer. Today, it’s in the form of L’Oreal Rosy-toned moisturizer.

Let the Skincare Begin and A Peek at My Bio Hair! | Atypical 60

I’ve been using this moisturizer regularly ever since I received it from Influenster for review!

Next, I apply Embryolisse as a primer of sorts and while both moisturizers are setting in, I apply a base for my eye makeup. Which, by the way, I keep very simple.

A small amount is all you need to get beautiful results. I’ve had this tube for six months and use it every day. It was purchased at CityPharma in Paris and I’ve got a backup waiting to be opened!

I ran out of bareMinerals Well-Rested and this Bare Study Paint Pot from Mac is a great summer substitute! A bit of shimmer but not too much!

And I use Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow as eye shadow.  The lighter shade for an all-over wash on the lids up to the browbone and the darker for the crease and my lower lids!

After the moisturizers are soaked into the skin, I’ll apply a layer of Glossier’s Futuredew.  This isn’t a foundation nor a skin tint. In fact, it’s hard to pinpoint just exactly what this is!  It isn’t a moisturizer either. It’s just a liquid product with a slight pinkish tint that gives the skin a very dewy appearance. I freaking love this and just ordered a second bottle. The pump distributes just the right amount and quite honestly, this is a wonderful product for mature skin.  It reflects light so there will be less attention to those lines if you know what I mean.

Although the Glossier brand is marketed toward our Millennial friends, I love the brand. It is full-on mature skin, pro-aging friendly.  I  cannot say enough about this Futuredew either. It is a fantastic product!

Here’s how it looks out of the bottle..

…and here’s how it looks on my face. Just a hint of glow. That’s it!

Now. Here’s photos of the bronzers that I use.  They run the gamut from matte to shimmery.

Hey! I don’t use these all at once!  Each one serves a purpose!  We’ve got mattes and bronzers with a hint of shimmery radiance!

You can zoom in to thee which products these are!  And they are all excellent!

The mattes are used after a day or so out in the sun. I find that with a fresh face of sunglow (a more friendly term for a bit of the old sunburn), a wash over the visage with a matte bronzer both evens out the skin tone and subdues that overactive glow a bit!

Since I’ve been not enjoying the great out-of-doors and the only lighting I’ve been under is the annoying fluorescent light at the office, and wearing a mask, let’s say I could use a bit of color on my face.

However, wearing a mask isn’t all that great if you wear a liquid or crème foundation.  The mask gets dirty quickly and I do believe there’s more bacteria from a liquid or crème.  Therefore, I’ve been going without face makeup for a while.  On the plus side, my skin feels a lot better.

Back to the bronzer.

Today, I’ve used the following bronzing products on my face:

I started out with Laura Geller’s Baked Bronze-n-Brighten in “Fair”.  It was brushed on with a fluffy, oversized face brush from iT cosmetics.  One of the brand’s brushes that managed to last for a while.

The Laura Geller Baked Bronze-n-Brighten. In Fair.  It gives a nice glow and a bit of buildable color!

It gets brushed all the way to the hairline!

Over that, Laura Geller’s Baked Body Frosting was then brushed, with the same brush, all over my face with a light touch.  A lighter touch lends itself well to a better application. Remember—you can always build a color up rather than go heavy-handed realizing you went too dark!

Laura Geller Baked Body Frosting. This is an OG product. In the past eight years I’ve had two and trust me, this lasts forever. For. Evah!

Can you see the bronze pro-aging taking place? I couldn’t because I can’t see for $hit without my glasses!

Baked Body Frosting also gets applied on the legs and arms and neck to give an all-around healthy glow!

Next is a bit of the slightly but not completely matte, Guerlain Terra Cotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in 02 Blondes shade. I find this works very well on fair skin.  It’s a bit pricey but I purchased it at CDG airport for a very good price. Again—don’t overlook airport shopping because you can find great deals—especially on beauty products!

Guerlain Terra Cotta Bronzer. This is another awesome product. And you know what?  These bronzers last a long time because they are only used during the summer months!  (I pay no mind to expiration dates when it comes to powders)

No contouring either.  It’s about quick and easy during the heated months.  Less is more—right?

A bit of blush never hurts and our blogging friend, Sandra Sallin, the wonderful artist whose blog “Apart from My Art” is always entertaining, sent this Laura Geller blush to me.  The shade didn’t work for her and she kindly thought I might be able to use it.  Sandy knows her colors because I love this Baked Blush-n-Brighten Cherry Truffle.  It works in the winter and with the bronzed glow, is a perfect shade!

Although it photographs warmer, this blush works so well on cool-toned skin that’s looking for a sunny glow!

I’m holding on to this too, because it looks like the brand discontinued it!  Why?

To apply the blush, I used a favorite blush brush from Vera Bradley.  Oona and I both ordered her brush sets around 15 years ago when Oona started wearing makeup.  Vera Bradley has since discontinued this incredible brushes that I STILL USE!  Why, Vera, why?

Over that I applied Subtl Beauty’s highlighter in Champagne.

Proof that great things come in small packages!  Subtl Beauty’s Champagne highlighter is universally flattering, is buildable and can pack a whollop!

The highlighter was applied with a smaller brush from Morphe.  I don’t use a filter on my photos because I want to be transparent about the faults in my skin!

Under the eyes, I also applied the Laura Geller Bronze-n-Brighten with my Kerry Lou Fan brush.  This brush is one of my favorites.  It’s so soft and picks up product beautifully.  Since my bottom mascara has a tendency to smear, I use this brush to apply either powder or bronzer to keep the mascara in place.

Another great brush, I’m addicted to Kerry-Lou’s fan brush!

See how I went from fish-belly white to a nice healthy bronze age glow?

Put my hair on. Got dressed and a swipe of gloss finish it off.

A swipe of Merengue Butter Gloss by NYX , which is becoming harder and harder to fine, completes the look!  The hair is Beautiful Choice from The Wig Company’s Statement Line!  And the Honeybee earrings were purchased on Etsy!

It may look like a process, but it is easy and quick.  About five minutes total! In addition, although I’m not one to carry makeup around in my purse, during these months I’ll throw in the Subtle Beauty highlighter and bronzer and if need be, apply with a tissue.  That’s correct! I’ll gently rub the tissue over the makeup then rub on my face!  I’m too lazy to carry a brush around and if I get ugly. I get ugly. But to avoid a truly sweaty look, the tissue application works wonders because it absorbs the sweat!

Two little stacks from Subtl Beauty slip right into the purse!

For a quick touch-up, all I do is pat a tissue into the bronzer and rub on my face. It’s multi-tasking. I’m blotting my face and adding bronzer at the same time! But I have to tell you that I rarely touch up. When I get ugly. I get ugly!

So that’s about it!  I have to say, Laura Geller bronzing products are some of the best on the market.  I keep coming back to them. And the Baked Body Frosting—I’ve had this for over two years now and it seemingly lasts forever.  The cost per use is remarkably affordable.

Minimal effort and time is all it takes!

If you’re unable to get in the sun, might I suggest playing around with bronzers. There’s a shade for every skin tone and with the proper application you won’t look dirty or orange!

What bronzers do you use?  Any additional suggestions would always be welcomed! Add your’s in the comments.

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A Good Book and The Better to See You With!

Let’s go back a couple of weeks. Shall we?

We’re taking a little trip back in time!

Mother’s Day.  One of the gifts I received was a book. The book was from my daughter, Oona.  Oona knows me so very well.  She knows my likes. She knows my delightful glee with a fun read.  It’s true.  I know.  I know. Other than cerebral literature such as Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, I enjoy a light, easy and entertaining read. Especially when it’s about reality show stars!

Oona gifted me with “The Art of Southern Charm” by Patricia Altschul with Deborah Davis.

You know what?  This book is PERFECT reading during this covid/pandemic/lockdown/quarantine time because it is so thoroughly entertaining! And fun!

If you are a regular reader of this blog or if you know me in real life, then you know I’m absolutely obsessed with Miss Patricia.  In fact, I wrote a blog post as an homage to her “My Sprit Animal…”

This book is fun, in it she discusses her fabulous career and life and there’s some great little tidbits to use in everyday life. Seriously. This born and bred New Yorker loved the book and finished it off in one sitting while relaxing in my sunroom.

Okie Dokie–so I don’t have a cat. I have Chippy instead!  But I spend time–an entire afternoon, in fact, to read this delightful book!

And here’s the thing.

My eyesight is horrific.  And we all know that eyesight is one of the most important senses.  We need to take care of our eyes—especially as we pro-age!

And—prescription eyeglasses are expensive. The stronger the prescription, the more money you will shell out—whether or not you have insurance, those windows of sight assistance are pricey! It’s a daunting subject, the one of eyeglasses, because for most of us who need to wear eyeglasses, we have one pair.  Maybe two if we invest in prescription sunglasses.

Let’s face it.  We change up the color of our hair. We even change up the style of our hair regularly if we wear wigs!  We change our clothing daily. And, hopefully, change our underwear daily.  But we cannot do that with our prescription eyeglasses.

True dat.  We can change up our looks with different clothing and even hair!  But what about eyeglasses?

I know that the over-the-counter and readily-available readers can help a good many people who need slight assistance.  However, for those of us with really bad eyes, that 200 or 250 or 275 or 300 lenses doesn’t suit our needs.

There is a solution!

A while back I received an inquiry from Voogueme online eyeglass company.  They wanted to know if I would be interested in trying their glasses out for review.

Hmmmmmmmmm. Intrigued and interested, I headed to to find out more about this affordable brand!

So off to the website I went and was intrigued.  Frames are affordable ranging from $6.95 for sale frames up to the average price of around $25 give or take a few bucks.  You can get the glasses in readers, frame only or build up your pair with your prescription.  And the buildable prescription price with progressive lenses, or coatings still come in less expensive than what one would normally spend elsewhere.

I took a good look at my current glasses, which I happen to love. They are a rounded black frame by Ray Ban.  I have the same frame in tortoise for my prescription sunglasses.  With my medical insurance, progressive lenses, blue coating (for computer use) non-glare coating, both pair cost a pretty penny.  Actually, a lot more than a pretty penny. Two pair cost me—with insurance about $850. And I have good insurance.

Don’t misunderstand me. I LOVE my present glasses but it’s nice to know that options and affordable prescription eyeglasses are out there!

Spending this amount of money really doesn’t give me wiggle room to change up my glasses.

And that’s why I was intrigued with Voogueme.

When I agreed to review two pair of glasses that would be sent to me, I headed back to the website to choose frames.

I got a copy of my prescription from my eye doctor and then used the printable ruler from the website to measure appropriately for the glasses.

Taking the measurements was the area that made me nervous, but with the help of my husband and carefully following directions, we entered the numbers and that was it.

Now; because of our current situation with the Covid and lockdowns, etc., it took longer than expected to receive the glasses.  But—it was no big deal. We all need that extra bit of patience during this time.

The glasses arrived last week.  And during this week, I’ve worn both pairs to work and out and about. The lenses are fine and I’m incredibly impressed. I can see clearly.  I can work on the computer with no issue.  I can read.

My Ray Ban glasses are in the far left photo. The two pairs of glasses I received from Voogueme are the middle and far right.  They are rather fetching if I must say so myself!

Now—I did not get any coatings or bells and whistles other than my lenses.  That means I cannot wear these at night or in pouring rain because the glare from oncoming traffic would be really bad.  Other than that, these are excellent.

Let’s talk more:

The packaging:  I was thrilled with the packaging.  Have you ever ordered something online and the size of the box is ridiculously large for the items you ordered?  Yeah. I thought so.  Not in this case. We’ve got some very practical and pragmatic packaging here. No wasted space!  The two pair of glasses fit snugly into the box.  That’s a biggie for me!

Just big enough to fit the eyeglasses, I was very pleased with the packaging. It bothers me to receive a huge box when the product is so much smaller. I don’t like wasted space!

The cases:  The glasses came in separate cases. One, a bright orange, plastic case that has a built-in clasp closure.  The plastic is hard and strong.  Inside the case, the glasses were packaged in a plastic zip bag with information pertaining to the glasses.

Inside the case, the glasses were placed inside a plastic pouch with information pertaining to that particular pair of glasses! There’s no such thing as too much information here!

The other pair came in a deep, bright pink case with black trim and a black ribbon tab.  The pink and black trim are fabric over a heavier component material. I don’t know whether it is plastic or a heavy-duty cardboard.  It zips open and closed and the zipper appears strong and doesn’t stick. Like the orange case, this is a hard case as opposed to a soft, pliable case.

The cases were very well-constructed. The top case was a fabric-coated plastic or heavy cardboard. It was solid. The zipper was of good quality. Not cheap and it zipped very smoothly. I like the ribbon tag as well  The bottom orange case was all plastic and strong with a built-in clasp. Both the cases offered excellent protection for the glasses inside.

The frames: I’m a fan of big glasses. It’s my personal preference. With a square face shape that is angular, my jawline is as wide as my forehead. Small glasses look out of proportion on me. Trust me, I went through that small, rectangular glasses phase and hated it.  It was such a pleasure to return to big, round frames.

That being said, both pair are “oversized”.  The first pair I liken to Iris Apfel glasses.

This is a photo from the Iris Apfel MAC cosmetics ad. See the glasses?  They are huge and match this fabulous woman’s personality!

Big rounded with a hint of cat-eye at the far ends, they are black frames with a strong wire arm. The fit over the ear is very comfortable and the fit at the bridge of the nose is comfortable too.  There are two little plastic “nose rests” if you will (I can’t think of what to call them), on each side of where they rest on your nose. They are incredibly comfortable.

My big, rounded Iris glasses!

These are fun glasses!  They are big and bold and I love ’em!

The second pair is tortoise with gold accents.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I would like the gold trim/accents but I have to say, of the two pair, this is the one I love!  The “arm” is thicker and isn’t wire. However, the comfort level over the ear is stellar.  The bridge of the nose is gold and also has those nose “thingies” albeit a tad lower.

These tortoise and gold glasses are the greatest surprise!

I must say, the husband did a fantastic job in measuring for these glasses because both pair are a perfect fit!

This is the money pair.  Quite honestly, I love these glasses.  The fit is excellent and the quality exceptional.  I’m over-the-moon with these tortoise and gold cuties!

The quality: The quality of both glasses is absolutely excellent. Neither pair feels “cheap” or flimsy.  They are both constructed very strongly. Compared to my Ray Bans, I would have to say that the tortoise pair is better made.  Ain’t gonna lie.  Both pair are slightly heavier than my Ray Bans but certainly not in a bad way.  On the head, they don’t feel heavy.  They feel strong.

There’s nothing to complain about with these glasses!

They are securely screwed.  The lenses are solidly in place and overall, I am very impressed and pleased.

Everything about these glasses is a plus!

The extras:  Each pair came with its own microfiber cleaning cloth.  For a natural glasses slob such as me, this is great.  Honestly, I don’t know how I do it, but I’m the biggest glasses pig ever. It just about kills the husband that I can even see.  I give new meaning to “walking around in a fog” due to the filth on my lenses.  So, this is a good touch.

The bright orange microfiber cleaning cloth came inside the case for each pair of glasses!

A ruler to measure future purchases also came with the glasses. Can I tell you how great this is?  Working with the printable ruler was a bit challenging because it was copier paper. But this is more substantial. It’s coated/laminated cardboard and the printing is clear.  It’s going into my eyeglass file for future use.

The stronger construction of this ruler as opposed to the printable one on the brand’s website is wonderful. It’s a heavier and sturdier version and is now safely placed into my eyeglass file for future use!

Oh Wait. Get this—a repair kit was included.  Can you believe it?  A cute tiny screwdriver on a hangtag.  Who hasn’t needed one of these at one time or another for glasses?  An extra set of nose-thingies was also included. And so, I ask—why don’t all prescription glasses come with a little screwdriver and nose-thingies?

This!  There’s a screwdriver at each end and a hang tag so you can’t lose this essential accessory in repairing the glasses. And why aren’t these little gems included with EVERY pair of glasses we buy?  I also love the extra nose thingies!

Lastly, a card for ten percent savings on a future pair of Voogueme glasses was included. This card is going into my glasses file with the ruler!

This expires on 12/31/2020.  But I have a feeling the ten percent could go a bit longer!

Last thoughts? I recommend Voogueme Look. I can’t predict the cost of everyone’s prescription eyeglasses simply because we all have different sight issues.  Whether you want all the bells and whistles such as coatings, progressives, etc. or whether you are looking for a pair of frames only or whether you want a simple pair of readers, you have your choice.

With the rising cost of health insurance, our needs are becoming more expensive and it’s great to have an affordable option. I’m not saying a “cheap” option but I’m saying an affordable option.

Perhaps you own a very, very expensive pair of designer frames for your prescription glasses—I’m talking really expensive. Whether prescription or not. You’re going to the beach, a pool party, barbeque or even on vacation.  You don’t want to spend the entire time worrying about your pricey designer glasses.  Voogueme gives you an incredible option.

A less expensive pair—or rather, a very affordable pair will alleviate any fears you have of losing that number one pair.

For me, these glasses are an excellent change up to my regular glasses and a great option for a day down the shore or a travel weekend.

This is definitely a reputable company and I’m both impressed and happy with the glasses I received.

I’m a happy camper here. And I must say if you are looking for an affordable pair of perscription glasses, Voogueme is a great start!

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Where Have I Been? A “Heart” felt Answer.

A funny question to ask during this lockdown, isn’t it?  Where are we going besides our homes, and for some, work.

Allow me to answer.

I’ve been at work.  A never-ending saga of paperwork and faxing and mailing.  Quite honestly, I never thought work would have me so spent at the end of the day.  Thoughts of jobs past come to mind and I was always very energetic upon leaving and returning home.  Up for shopping. Up for a movie. Up for anything.

you got it boss

Must. Get. The. Job. Done!  Goals!

All I want to do at the end of the day is just come home and stress-eat and go to bed.

Bitmoji Image

Disguised as beauty sleep. But it isn’t! It’s SLEEP!!

Being in front of a computer for eight hours with very little to no human contact, only getting up from my cubicle to go to the bathroom and make a run for the scanner, copier or trash is wearing on me.  But it is a double-edged sword because I’m extremely lucky to even be working during this time.  And the tasks themselves are not difficult—especially when there is nobody around to distract.  And my work-ethic keeps pushing me. Yeah. I have personal goals and they always come to fruition at the end of the day.  Therefore, it’s all good!

you got it boss

Actually, I have a GREAT boss so it IS all good!

But I want to tell you about something that happened earlier this week.

Like Miss Clavel turning on the light in the middle of the night and knowing something was not right, Bonaparte turned on the light in the middle of the night because he knew something was not right.

Like Miss Clavel, Bonaparte knew something was not right!

He woke me from a sound sleep Tuesday evening. He told me to get dressed because he had to go to the hospital.  Ever the pragmatic man, he managed to pay a plethora of bills before waking me from my slumber, showed me where they were and told me when to mail them.

Still in a daze, I woke, put on clothing while forgetting to put panties on under my jeans, threw on a wig and got into the car.

He was having chest pains. And for my husband to wake me up and go to the hospital, those pains must have been pretty bad because his tolerance for pain is incredibly high.

So off we went. In the middle of the night. To Paoli Medical Center.

We parked in the emergency lot and all was quiet.  As we entered the hospital, we were both met with thermometers at the forehead to take our temperatures.  Now—under normal circumstances, I would have asked “Am I alright”?  “Is my temperature OK”?  This time I kept my mouth shut and concentrated on Bonaparte.

Bonaparte’s “Waiting” room. I’ll tell you this much-he was well-taken care of by the nicest and caring staff!  They were great!!!!

As he was the soon-to-be patient, the hospital had him take the mask he was wearing off and replace it with a hospital mask.  I was able to keep my mask on.

I was able to keep my lovely mask on!

At the reception desk, he was asked how long the pain persisted.  I stood there shocked as he stated since the previous weekend.  When the receptionist gave me the side-eye, I explained that he never said anything to me.

I’ll spare you the deets of the remainder of the ER visit but my Frenchman had a minor heart attack that could have turned into a major one.

He was admitted for surgery the next day and at close to four in the morning, I drove home in darkness and quiet.  Empty roads with the occasional set of headlights approaching me.  I was tired but not tired.  And when I arrived home, I arrived to a chewed plastic bag on the kitchen floor.  Chippy got into the garbage. And while I should have been making an attempt to get back to sleep, I was cleaning up not the garbage in the kitchen, but that of the bathroom in our master bathroom.  Our rascal managed to carry the trash down a flight of stairs.

Chippy knew something was not right as well!

I finally got back to sleep near daybreak.  And stayed home from work.

Now—here’s where my complete failure to comprehend comes in. Since I was home, I decided to get all dressed up nicely. I put on a bright pink, Lilly Pulitzer shift because it’s a happy color.  I put on a dark wig because Bonaparte loves me in dark hair.  I put makeup on.

All dressed up and ready to visit Bonaparte!

And I called the hospital to find out when visiting hours were.

The operator on the phone must have thought I was a moron. She explained that due to the Covid virus there were no visiting hours.  At all. For anyone.  After I sheepishly relayed to her that I thought the rule was only for Covid patients, she validated the rule was for everyone.


I even kept my Main Line Health lime green bracelet from the ER on!  Lime green is such a Mainline color! It went quite well with my Lilly Pulitzer frock!

Needless to say, Bonaparte’s surgery was a success.  He had two stints placed into his body to open arteries.  And on Thursday morning, I went to work and let my boss know that I would be leaving to either, take the dog out and then pick up the husband if he was discharged or pick up the husband if he was discharged, drive him home, return to work and finish my day.

His battle scars of black and blue from where the stints were placed and traveled!

Luckily, I received a call at morning’s end to come pick him up –he was being discharged.

So off I went to pick him up and drive him home.  And upon arriving home, the poor man almost had another heart attack.  I almost hit his car.  Yeah.  His car was parked in front of the house. Very close to our driveway. And as I turned into the driveway he screamed. I never made the full turn but reminded him that there is no sight in my right eye and I have no depth-perception. (which makes wearing a mask very challenging).

Anyway, as I drove off back to the office, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. I was happy and thanked God and all the Saints and Mary that my man was home and resting!

Yes. He was told to rest. But you know, Bonaparte is quite the man. That afternoon he was with clients over the Zoom conference video on the computer.  And as I write this now, he’s upstairs on this rainy Memorial Day Saturday watching soccer.  I love the sound of the TV in the background as I write this.  Chippy is happy and content.  Prep for dinner had begun and this evening we are not having a heavy sauce or tons of butter-laden baguette.

We’re having a healthier dinner this evening!

We are having a chicken, artichoke and grape tagine.  The Mise-en-place is set up. The chicken is marinating and I’m blissfully grateful to have my husband home with me.

Harissa and tomato paste. One can never have enough Harissa!

Caramelized onion, artichokes and grapes at the ready!

And chicken is marinating in the fridge!

Enjoy this Memorial Day Weekend. Whether the weather is damp or cold or rainy or warm—remember, it’s only weather.  Your loved ones are more important.

Memorial Day 2019 at the Shore.  This year it’s a different story but who cares??!!

Oh—BTW, Bonaparte was tested for Covid.  It came back negative!

Some flowers I arranged just for you!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a review on eyeglasses for you!


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An Open Letter to J. Crew. How Did This Happen?

Dear J. Crew:

It saddened me to read about your filing for bankruptcy. It downright confused me as well.  For many decades, I’ve been a loyal customer.  My love for you goes way back—even before your flagship store! In fact, I remember the early days –when you were a mail-order company!  Oh, how I looked forward to receiving your catalogs back in the day before on-line shopping.

Ahhh. Those old-school J. Crew Catalogs.  Even as the stores started popping up, the catalog was still around!

I would eagerly choose what I wanted, write out a check, place my order form along with said check in an envelope, apply a stamp, walk to the mailbox and patiently wait for that package to arrive.  And I was never disappointed.

Items like the iconic roll-neck sweater. I had this in olive green!

And then it happened.  That flagship store opened up in the South Street Seaport.  A few blocks from where I worked.  Who cares that I was pregnant at the time?  I could enter the hallowed entrance of the brick building and peruse the available clothing to wear for after I gave birth!

The location of the J. Crew store down at the South Street Seaport.  I remember those days fondly!

For decades I have never left your side.  Your clothing spoke to me.  You personified everything my mother told me to look for in apparel.  The cut. The style. The workmanship. The price.  The bonding on sweaters. Yeah. You had it all.

And might I add that all three of my kids wear J. Crew.  They grew up with the brand!

Sure. There were seasons and years that I was a bit “meh” and worse and I do believe that was the beginning of the end.  It started with the Jenna Lyons years.

This is Jenna Lyons Style.  On most of us, this would look atrocious. And that freaking pigeon-toed pose drives me up a wall.  But seriously, each individual piece could work but not together.  Those jeans would be horrific on the majority of us.  And this is where J. Crew faulted. The brand tried to sell one woman’s style!

Look—I’m not disrespecting the stylish Jenna.  But you simply cannot rebuild a brand around one person’s style.  An example is that fabulous denim and taffeta combination she wore to the Met Gala some years back.  Yeah. She looked wonderful.  But guess what?  Not everyone would look good in that. Not all of us are blessed with her enviously lean frame.  A good number of us have curves and a few pounds to get rid of.  We would not look a fraction as good as Jenna!!

This ensemble is adorable. To carry it off you need to be lean. Very lean. You can’t eat three meals a day. You cannot eat a bag of corn chips on a Saturday night.  It works for Jenna Lyons like nobody’s business. It would not work on the majority of women.  But those shoes…….

Somewhere along the line, you grew a bit removed from your loyal customers.  Yes. We all love the classics with a bit of an edge. And we all love to add our personal style to those classics. But you can veer too far off course.

…and even the stylish, iconic, Jenna had fails. This is awful on every level….

..and again. These looks aren’t made for “everywoman”.  J. Crew strayed too far…

You should have used more Lauren Hutton.  She speaks to a wider range of women.

Let’s hear it for Lauren!  And what she’s wearing!

And you got a little to pricey with the merch.  A Whit Tori Dress for almost $500?  Why are you selling brands other than J. Crew?  Why a dress so pricey?  You aren’t a luxury brand.  You are a bridge brand—somewhere between lower, affordable fashion and the higher.  Own it.  Be who you started out to be in the days of Arthur Cinader, your founder.

j.crew: whit® tori dress for women, right side, view zoomed

Whit Tori Dress is on the J. Crew site for $468. Come on. You wonder why you filed for bankruptcy?  And that dress is so frumpy with those shoes…

Don’t get me wrong. I still love you.  My wardrobe is 90 percent J. Crew with J. Crew Factory thrown in.  But I’m angry and sad and full of mixed emotions of your bankruptcy filing.  I don’t want you to fold.  Rather, I beg you to take a step back. Reassess.

J. Crew Number 2 Pencil Skirt and Tippi Sweater. A classic combo.

J. Crew Factory dress. A study in comfort!  And a hellalot less pricey than that Whit Tori frock!

More Tippi–the sweater I live in and have for years!

J. Crew plaid ankle pants and Dulci pumps from years back!

Another Tippi Sweater and Anyday Pant–similar to the great yet discontinued Pixie Pant!

Bring back the damned Schoolboy blazer!  Sure, J. Crew Factory sells one now but it isn’t the same as the original!  Bring back the Pixie Pant! Luckily I have multiples of both but how much longer will they last?

One of four Navy Schoolboy blazers I own.  One can never have too much of a good thing–especially if it is doscontinued!

The great original J. Crew Pixie Pant..

And I’m still wearing mine!

Remember that your core customer has aged but still loves classic clothing. We know what we like and what looks good on us.  We are secure in our being.  Please come back!



Catherine Lartigue

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 29 Comments

This Old Bag’s Got More Old Bags! More Vintage Bag Love. Coach Has Returned into My Life

As we continue with our new normal of malls being closed and local businesses hopefully reopening and not going under, boutiques and small shops on hiatus, we haven’t been shopping as much as we used to.  Or is it that our shopping habits have changed?

  • Seriously. I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to deal with parking spaces at shopping centers after this is over!

I’ll go with the later.  For now.

Prior to this pandemic I refurbished a few Louis Vuitton bags that I purchased used. All were old. Quite old and one, in particular has been discontinued.  Here’s a look at the post I wrote about fixing up the Bucket GM that I purchased: I did Another Thing. I bought a LV Purse and Cleaned it Up!

The LV Neverfull bag that Bonaparte bought me for my birthday last year has a buddy.  A vintage, pre-loved LV Bucket GM!

And even with my semi-handy work, the bag’s trim was deteriorating.  I know where my aptitude ends. There was no way I could have made an attempt to replace the trim myself and I had to outsource.  Fortunately, I lucked out.  In perusing the local, Philadelphia area leather repair shops I came across Roxborough Shoe Repair.  I dropped, not only the bag, but a pair of suede Made-in-Italy, old J. Crew suede flats that I just about destroyed back in November after traipsing around in the Paris rain for three days.

Although the bag was in great shape, the trim was a mess. It was deteriorating at a rapid rate!

Mike Zinar, the owner of Roxborough Shoe Repair repaired my bag’s trim perfectly and did a stellar job on my shoes!  I’m telling you; a great shoe and bag repairman is just as good as finding a good physician!

Here’s Mike Zinar and his magic!  Owner of Roxborough Shoe Repair, he’s been doing this in the family business for decades! He needs a NY Giants shirt though!

And if you are in need for any leather repair, whether or not you live in the Philly area (you can mail your goods to him), here’s the contact information!

But the thing about the Vuitton purses is they are pricey. Even “vintage” and “pre-loved” can be overpriced.  Currently, I am trying to complete my LV collection with a vintage/preloved Noe bag but the pickins are slim.  Most used bags are ridiculously and unfairly overpriced.  While I realize that there is a great demand for used luxury bags—especially Louis Vuitton, selling a bag that is torn, ripped, has handles broken or severely cracked leather does not a bargain make.  Of all the three LV bags I’ve acquired none were over $275.  All have signs of wear but none are damaged.  And that’s where time and patience come in.

I’m extremely happy with the result of the trim.  The leather is a great match and since it isn’t Vachetta, I don’t have to worry as much about it.  The cost of the repair was $175 for both the shoes and the bag. The repair for the shoes was $36.00 The repair for the bag with the leather trim and labor was $139. This was very reasonable. I paid $239 for the bag. Adding $139 to that, the overall cost turned out to be $378. This is still an excellent price for a discontinued and now vintage LV bag. I can’t complain!

…and the shoes.  I damn-near destroyed these babies. The heels peeled off.  The suede ripped. They were a mess and now..

They are back to their thrifted-newness. Yes. I paid $7.47 for these shoes at Goodwill and $36 to have them repaired. But, these have been my most-worn flats ever since I got ’em. And I love them.  So it was worth it!

And that’s where Coach comes in.  I’ve got a Coach bag that’s about ten or eleven years old.  Oona got it for me when she worked at Coach during her college years.  I love the bag and it’s been in constant rotation since she gave it to me.  It was one of the few Coach bags that didn’t have those ridiculous “C”’s splattered all over them.

ww7-and-old-coach-bag | Atypical 60

This bag works!  It’s a roomy tote that has a zippered closure and tons of room. It’s kind of patent leather but then again, not really. And the burgundy shade is just beautiful.  It also has a history. Oona gifted me with it when she worked at Coach during her college years.  And might I add she LOVED working there!

Honestly, there was a time when Coach bags kind of lost their identity. They got cheesy with that C-logo phase and it’s good to see that Coach has finally come around and took a step back.

Coach New Cc and 6 Pockets Brown with Tradition Logo Diaper Bag ...

I’m sorry but the Coach “C” years were such a “WTF did they do?” thing for me.  I’m so happy to see the brand took a step back from this hideous design!

But I’ve taken a bigger step back and have been checking out the vintage Coach bags for resale.

When I was in my twenties and thirties, I had a couple of these bags and loved them. One, in particular was an olive-green number. A rectangular shaped, simple and basic shoulder bag.  No logo. No nuthin. Just beautiful leather. Leather exterior and interior.

Vintage Coach Bag RARE // Bonnie Cashin Suede Pre Creed Dinky New ...

Although this photo was copied off the internet, this was the same olive green Coach bag I owned back in the day. And I wish I still had it!

The esthetics of old-school Coach bags are magnificent. And being of the nostalgic personality, I wanted a couple of these bags. And a found a couple.

One, a 9090 Bucket Tote found on Mercari for a mere fraction of the original cost. And the beauty of the vintage Coach bags is they can still be had for a very affordable price.

This. The 9090 Coach Bucket Tote. I fills my needs to carry a ton of stuff!

Overall, the bag was in good shape for a vintage.  The interior needed only a swipe with a lint roller and baby wipes. The exterior needed cleaning.

Might I add that I was using this before I cleaned it!  I’m that person!

I was also able to snag a brown Willis bag.  I love everything about this bag. The design. The hardware. The fact it can be worn as a cross-body, over the shoulder and a satchel.  It is a fantastic bag for travel because you can ride a subway, walk city streets and feel safe with this bag slung as a cross-body.  It doesn’t fit as much “stuff” as the 9090 tote, but it holds essentials for every day.

And my Willis bag, now clean and lustrous!

And as a fan of neutral colors, both bags filled my needs. The tote, in British Tan, and the Willis, in a deep brown, are great shades that go with virtually everything.  Brown in any shade with black shoes or a black outfit looks fantastic.  With prints, there’s no clashing. And the browns are all-seasonal.  Black leather can sometimes fade to a more charcoal shade but with brown, I dunno—it just always looks good.

All shades of brown are my jam in bags. Yes. I have other color bags but still manage to use more of the brown than any others. I think that’s why I prefer the LV Monogram compared to the brand’s other prints.

The Willis bag, although in very good shape was also a tad misshapen—which is to be expected with a bag that’s twenty or so years old.  So off went to internet land to watch YouTube videos and blog posts on how to clean and restore a vintage Coach bag.

Oh. And to make sure you’re getting an authentic Coach bag, check out the Coach Creed.  This is the one from the Willis bag. All lettering is Upper Case and evenly spaced. The Style Number starts with “No and ends with the four-digit style number for the Willis Bag” Also not the “target” or “bullseye” on the right.  This means a couple of things–it was sent to an outlet or factory store or was final sale.  I inspected this bag like nobody’s business and can say that it is not a factory bag so it must have been on final sale.  A number of people with pass on a bag that has a target but for me, it just says more about the bag’s authenticity.  And it allows me to get the bag at an even better price. $40 for a vintage Coach bag in decent condition is a win!

Another way to authenticate is the “YKK” on the zipper.  If there’s a “ykk” on the zipper, it’s the real deal.

The one thing that stuck out in my mind was the “dunking” or literally giving your vintage Coach bag a bath in water mixed with a bit of soap.  I was intrigued and even interested but I wondered if I wanted to take the time to do this.  There’s quite a bit of time and patience involved—especially if you want to reshape the bag. You need to stuff the bag with a towel, block it out, let it dry on one side, turn it over and the process was very involved.  I’m lazy by nature.

happyhomehabits | Jouneying to a happier home one babystep at a time

Some clean and reshape their vintage Coach bags by giving them a bath.  I balked.

And when I went to pick up my shoes and bag from Mike Zinar at Roxborough yesterday, I asked him about the “dunking”. He was quite honest in his thoughts.  He mentioned the fact that the Coach Willis had a wooden dowel and reminded me that wood does not dry the way leather does.  Even if I was to remove the dowel—would I want to dunk the bag?  It was good food for thought.

Ultimately, I decided to NOT dunk either bag.  The tote, even though the bottom is creased, smooths out when I load it with my stuff.  The Willis, I figured I would give it a good cleaning and then if need be, might give it a bath if I didn’t like the way the cleaning process turned out.

Here’s what I did.

I gathered my cleaning products.

From left to right:  Toothpicks (for applying Brasso to the hardware), kitchen sponge, Brasso, Lincoln E-Z Clean, facial cleaning battery operated brush, Pyrex custard dish, Water Wipes, Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Balm and accompanying sponge.

Let me mention that I cleaned out both interiors first.  After using a lint roller, I wiped the interior of each bag with Water Wipes.  It is paramount to use a water-based wipe on the bags—especially on the exterior.  Alcohol-based wipes will ruin the leather.


Some schmutz and crispy bits that came off the interior of the Willis bag after wiping down with Water Wipes.

I allowed each bag to dry completely before moving on to the exteriors.

The hardware was cleaned with Brasso. There wasn’t a lot of tarnish but there was enough to be noticed!

No home should be without Brasso!  It does a remarkable job cleaning my copper cookware! But I use it mostly to clean hardware on purses!

The hardware wasn’t that badly tarnished..

..but a bit of Brasso, a toothpick and a paper towel worked wonders!

The tarnish wiped right off.  If you have an eye for detail, you will notice the carton of eggs in the background.

….that’s because I made egg salad while I was cleaning the bags:  Egg Salad:  Cook eggs in shell in simmering water for 15 minutes. Shut water off.  Drain water.  Cool eggs. Remove shell.  Chop eggs.  Mix with mayo–use a generous amount.  Add salt and pepper to taste. You’re done.

I wiped the exterior down with the Water Wipes and wiped with a cloth.  After the exterior dried from the wipes, I used Lincoln E-Z Suede cleaner to clean the exterior.  Following directions, I shook the cleaner then poured a small amount into one of those clear glass Pyrex custard bowls.

These water wipes are the greatest! I wiped the exterior of the bags down with these, wiped them then cleaned with…

I purchased this at the suggestion of Mike Zinar of Roxborough Shoe Repair. Thankfully he warned me to NOT dilute. And as someone who rarely reads instruction, I would have diluted!  He also said you could use a regular kitchen sponge to apply, which I did but then I had a brainstorm and…

Then I used a battery-operated facial cleaner that I purchased at Walmart for $7.00 to clean my face. Seriously, I had a brainstorm. This facial cleaner came with two brushes so why not use one to clean my bags?

….opted to use this $7.00 battery-operated facial cleanser to apply the leather cleaner. It worked!

I turned the brush on and it did a great job if distributing the cleaner on the bag.  I was mindful to get at all areas of both bags –body and trim.  I took the straps off both bags and cleaned them separately.

The handles on our cupboard worked well for hanging the moistened straps to dry!

Both bags darkened as soon as the cleaner made contact but as they dried, their natural color came back.  Both bags were placed upside down for better drying.

I placed the tote over a vase to dry..

..and placed the Willis bag over a box of Equal. Hey. You gotta use what comes to mind!

When they were completely dried, about three hours later, I went in with the conditioner.  I used Chamberlain’s Milk Balm, which I purchased on Amazon.  This balm looks like solid coconut oil. This balm smells just like coconut oil.  It also came with a sponge for applying but I opted to apply with my fingers.  The heat from my hands made the balm melt a bit and made for easy and smooth applying.  The balm was applied in a circular motion and I allowed it to settle in for about fifteen minutes per bag.

I swear this stuff is coconut oil. But whatever it is, it does a great job!

Then I wiped the excess off.  If you use too much of the balm, you stand the chance of a sticky bag.  I did have a bit of this on the bottom of the tote but after wiping the excess and buffing and buffing and buffing, the end result was a nice luster.

I used my fingers to apply the balm…

For buffing, I used a clean sport sock. Let me tell you, these sport socks work so well for buffing. Just slip it on over your hand like a glove and get to work.

The sock–after buffing. It buffed and cleaned a bit more!

The end results?  Wonderful. Both bags had a nice luster but weren’t “shiny”. There’s a nice patina which happens with age on a good leather bag. And if you are familiar with the old Coach bags, the leather wasn’t shiny. It was more on the dull side—and I don’t mean that in a bad way!

Nicely cleaned, conditioned and ready for use.  Please note that as clean as the bags are, there are still markings that haven’t gone away. This is to be expected with bags that are over twenty years old.  It doesn’t bother me but if it bothers you, you might want a more recent bag!

A “polished” look  wasn’t the goal to be achieved. It was a clean and lustrous look, which was the result!

As for the shape of the Willis bag?  I had a second brainstorm.  A while back I ordered a bag organizer for my LV Alma bag that fit perfectly.  I ordered another for my Speedy 30 but it was a bit on the small side. And so, I took the organizer from the Speedy and placed it into the Willis bag.

This is the organizer I had in my Speedy 30. It was too small for the Speedy but fit the Willis perfectly!

A perfect fit for Willis!

Lo and behold, it was a perfect fit that reshaped the bag perfectly!

Perfectly shaped due to the organizer and didn’t need to be dunked!

Buying a bag is a very personal thing.  There are pros and cons to purchasing vintage and pre-loved or pre-owned.  You need to be careful and you need to make sure that the brands you are repurchasing are authentic.  In addition, you need to be mindful that a vintage bag will most likely have imperfections like scratches or marks or faded edges or corners. Leather can have watermarks. It depends on what you can live with.

The bag isn’t brand-new perfect, and I love that it has a history!

As one who is hard on bags, I don’t mind the watermarks or the slight scratches.  I will pass any tear or damaged handles.  You need to know your budget and how far gone a bag is that you can work with.

And by showing these bags a bit of love, I’ve made them my own!

Cleaning and restoring a vintage bag can be a very fulfilling project.  A bag that has a history and a story. And these are bags that were made at a time when quality-control was more important than it is now.  I think these bags were made of a better quality.

I’m something else with the photos–aren’t I?  Egg salad, my kitchen and vintage bags.  I should be a photo stylist–Just kidding!  Seriously, restoring bags is a fun project!

So that’s about it.  We all love a project and these bags have been mine.

Do you have any vintage bags in your closet?  Well…take ‘em out and show ‘em some love!

Posted in Restoring Vintage Bags | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Beauty in the Time of Corona. Keeping Pandemic Pretty

Ugh.  The title of this post may be offensive given the times we are in but I wanted to touch upon being uplifting during this serious time. In fact, my views on beauty and cosmetics have changed drastically throughout the past month or so.

I’m certainly not being skeptical–it’s just that my outlook is changing a bit!

Okay. You all know that I have an office job as an administrative assistant.  As such, I not only like to dress for work, but I also love that time in the morning—that time where I sip on my first cup of coffee and apply my makeup.

That magic hour of coffee and makeup always sets the tone for my day!

Only these days, the makeup application takes less time. A lot less time because I’m not wearing as much in the cosmetics area as I have in the past..

Since I’m wearing a mask, I see no apparent reason to wear foundation, bronzer, concealer, contour and blush.  It’ll transfer onto said mask and the objective is to remain germ free and free of bacteria.  Lest we not forget how messy the transfer of shiny lip gloss or dark lipstick can be.

And, as I AM wearing a mask, there’s no reason to dirty it up with the bacteria from the cosmetics I use on a daily basis.  I’ll get to this wonderful mask in a bit!

The eyes have it though. Since I wear glasses my eyes have a tendency to disappear if I’m not wearing eye makeup.  It’s only natural—right?

The Only Makeup Kit You'll Need—And it's Stacked With Greatness ...

Sadly, I used the last of the bareMinerals Well-Rested eye concealer and brightener.  I’m still using the Anastasia Beverly Hills dipBrow and the Benefit Gimme Brow on the brows though!

My bareMinerals Well-Rested is at the bottom of the jar. The Brick and Mortar shop at King of Prussia Mall closed for good a few weeks before the lockdown and I’m not going to order online for now.  So, it’s a less-is-more kind of thing.

I am applying a light and neutral shadow to match my skin tone and over that, I’ve fallen in love with Bobbi Brown’s cream eyeshadow stick in brown! It gives the crease definition.

Top of the pic is the Bobbi Brown Cream Eyeshadow stick. The creamy brown is a nice neutral.  Surprisingly, I’ve become happy with her tinted moisturizer–although I’m not even wearing it during mask days!

In addition, it’s mascara. Lots of mascara.  My favorite mascara is L’Oréal’s voluminous and I’ve been switching between that and Thrive cosmetics mascara. The Thrive mascara is pricier but it makes the lashes look great.

Mascara Set – Thrive Causemetics

In fact, I just ordered this two-mascara set.  This stuff lasts a long time and I find that on days when I want a bit of extra length appearance, this works!

Since I’m at the computer all day and these days the workload is heavier, I’m not tight lining my eyes that often.  Under normal circumstances, I love the iT cosmetic “No Tug” eyeliner pencil. It’s a gel and it stays put.   But I’ve been opting for the less expensive elf cosmetics Kohl eyeliner pencil because it does just as good a job.

e.l.f. Kohl Eyeliner Black for sale online | eBay

This eyeliner. For the price and value this Kohl liner by elf is fantastic.

My naked complexion is more on the rosy side. I don’t have rosacea but I do have a rosy complexion so I’m forgoing blush for now. I do like a bit of a dewy look so I’m sometimes using a wash of Glossier’s Futuredew or I’ll swipe a bit of Charlotte Tilbury  Flawless Filter. And although I have both, I’ll be repurchasing the Futuredew because it’s $20 less than the Tilbury.  Seriously. Flawless Filter is $44.  Do the math!

I have become a HUGE fan of Glossier’s Futuredew during this time. It gives such a pretty glow and really youthens up the skin..

This also gives a nice glow but it’s pricey. And nowadays I’m no longer into the pricier brand for cosmetics.

And lip balm to keep my lips full of moisture because they have a tendency to become chapped quite often.  My lips are very pigmented naturally so I use a clear balm.

NUXE Reve de Miel Stick Levres Hydratant Lip Moisturizing Stick 4g ...

Among the many lip balms I own, this Nuxe balm is great.  (I know, this is a stock photo but I was too lazy to go into my purse and take mine out). Very moisturizing!

It is a rather weird thing because the longer I go without all the products on my face, the better my skin looks!  Granted, at 65 years, my skin isn’t going to look as great as someone twenty, thirty or forty years younger. Gravity has taken a toll and the lines and wrinkles are there to stay. However, I feel as though my skin is brighter and lighter. I know it sounds weird but it just feels different. And in a great way!

Less is more.  I am wearing far less makeup these days but am fine with it..

I’m wearing the Glossier Futuredew in this pic, clear balm and a minimal of eye makeup!

This was taken yesterday. No face makeup. Just eyes and a bit of pink lip balm. I did swipe a bit of the Tilbury Flawless Filter over my cheeks!

Might I add that my tweezer is my number one beauty item of present.  The nail spa is closed. Not only does that mean the nails don’t get done but it also means that I don’t get the opportunity to have my upper lip waxed. It isn’t a pretty sight up close.

The tweezer plucks it all away!

Thank God for the masks! They hide the upper lip growth. OMG I cannot wait to get my lip waxed again! In the meantime, the tweezer is plucking the lady whiskers and upper lip hair!

And on days when I want more color on the lips, I’ve been using Glossier’s Cloud Paint as lip color. It works well!

I keep dressing for work. It makes me just feel better.  With nobody around, I swear I could get away with a matching set of PJ’s or sweats and a tee but I just cannot do it. There are a good number of nice clothes in my closet so I may as well get good use from them!

Here’s a look-see!

A favorite spring skirt, a short sleeved pullover make for a comfortible work vibe!

My Kut-from-the-Kloth Denim jacket was worn over a sleeveless leopard print dress!

On Friday, I wore this gauzy dress that was as comfortable as my mom’s old house dresses!

You know, as much as I try to be positive during this pandemic epic, there’s a very cynical side to me.  I will not elaborate but some of it has to do with those who absolutely refuse to wear a mask.  It is sefish and arrogant. While they who won’t mask it feel the need to have a devil-may-care way of thinking, there are those who have compromised immune systems and we wear the masks to protect them as well as ourselves.

You can’t imaging my gratitute and surprise when a fellow instagramer @cupcake_lovemuffin sent Bonaparte and I masks that she made.  They are stellar!  I love the ribbon ties because they offer more comfort than the ear elastics.

These masks from Katie aka @cupcake_lovemuffin are fantastic. The ribbon ties are so comfortable and the filters are ensured for extra safety!

Replaceable filters are the extra! 

And. They came with replaceable filters.  Quite honestly, just when I lose hope and faith in humanity, a most generous gift such as this comes along.  I was so touched and grateful.

I’m so grateful and thankful for these masks. Thank you Cupcake!

People are good!

Have a great upcoming week. It looks like a false sense of security has a good number of businesses opening up presently and in the near future.  While it is great for business, it will take a while before we get back into the new normal.  I’ll be wearing a mask for a long time.  I don’t feel that this virus is waning.  How do you feel?  Voice your opinion in the comments!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Indoornation-The Corona Chronicles-Week 5. A Simple “Thank You” Will Suffice. Thank You!

We’re on week five of being an indoor nation.  At this juncture, people are becoming antsy.  It’s normal but we have to remember to be safe.

Bitmoji Image

I know. I KNOW. It’s becoming difficult but we must persevere!

Keep wearing the masks.  Keep your social distance.  In the long run, it’ll be better.

But on to the every day stuff that’s going on here.

I’m still driving to work every day.  I’m still managing to be ridiculously productive.

Some days are better than others. Did I ever mention to you that I’m extremely fluorescent light sensitive?  Yeah.  The lighting plays with my amblyopic, strabismus crossed-eyes in the worst way.  I’ve been donning an eye patch on those days and between the eye patch and the mask, I make quite the stunningly unique statement!

And this lovely portrait was taken when I left my eye patches at home!  Do you like my bespoke patch of tissues?  Looks crazy but it works!

The workload continues to be heavy and I’m gloriously thrilled to be alone in the office. It’s gonna hurt when everyone returns.

But…something happened this week that really bothered me.  Really bothered me and I need to vent a bit about it.

This week, April 22, was National Administrative Assistant Recognition Day.  Given the fact that during this Corona time, I’m working for around maybe 25 people—maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, but that’s the general number.  I send faxes, I send letters via USPS and overnight, electronic documents, take phone calls, scan items, send emails, close accounts, and various other tasks.

happy administrative assistant day - Baeti

And a Happy Administrative Professional Day to you!

I love what I do.  My day is never dull and goes by very quickly.  And I love being a support person. It is what I do and I do it well.

And on April 22, I received one email of thanks.  One. From one of the attorneys.  I happen to like her a lot and was genuinely touched and happy to receive her thanks.  She wrote me a very nice thank you.


All I wanted was a thank you.  That’s all!

Nobody else thanked me.

There is something very wrong here and I don’t quite know what it is.  But I think it comes down to self-importance and a lack of values.

Thank U GIF

That’s all I wanted. One. Simple. Thanks!

My parents taught me and my siblings values. You know, like when someone does something nice you thank them. If someone opens a door for you, you say “thank you”.  If you are driving and someone lets you “in” to a lane, you signal or give them a wave of the hand or nod to gesture “thank you”.

Bill Murray Thank You GIF by filmeditor

Quite simply said!

Thank you.  Two little words that mean so much more.  And nobody bothers to say it.

And while I realize everyone is working from home, I’m not expecting flowers or a ten-dollar gift card to WaWa or Walmart, nor am I expecting a pizza party.  All I was hoping for was those two little words.  Thank you.

I get plenty of flowers from the husband. I don’t need more flowers–just a thank you!

All I shall add to this is I never forget.  Nobody except my boss and supervisor offered condolences when my brother passed.  I didn’t forget that.  Now I have another thing to add to my “I don’t forget” list.

Okay, moving on.

Seth Meyers It Is Fine GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers

Yes. My vent is over it’s time to move on….Thank you for allowing me to vent!

Yesterday was the first day in a month we ventured out of our home.  Wait. Let me make a correction.  We make weekly trips for groceries but other than work and grocery trips, yesterday was the first day we ventured out to run a task other than to get groceries or work.

I have a vintage Louis Vuitton GM bucket bag that I bought pre-owned.  You can read about it here:  I Bought a Vintage Louis Vuitton Bag and Cleaned it Up!

I love this bag and this is the one that I took to be repaired.

And although the bag is in fine condition, the trim on the upper part of the bag has cracks and is falling apart in spots.  I’ve wanted to get the trim replaced and had been doing research on leather repairs in the Philadelphia area. I did call around and found that Roxborough Shoe and Luggage Repair best fit the need.

Unfortunately the top trim is decaying but is definitely worth repairing!

In addition, one of my favorite pairs of shoes happens to be a pair of old-school, J. Crew suede flats that I picked up two years ago on a random trip to Goodwill.  I saw them, size 8 ½ and they were gorgeous. Tan suede, pointy-toed flats made in Italy for the price of $7.47. I jumped on them and they’ve been a most-worn pair until this past November.

My beloved shoes. Oh did I do a number on these!

When we were in Paris, I took these along. They are comfortable and I figured they would be a great shoe for walking the city.  And since I pack light, they, along with a pair of boots were the only footwear I took. What I didn’t expect was three days of non-stop rain.

The heel came apart and the suede is peeling.  Lesson learned.  Do not wear suede in the rain!

The shoes were destroyed but I couldn’t bring myself to part with them.

They are now being repaired for the price of $36.  More than I paid for the thrifted shoes but the original price was much higher and I love the shoes.

The bag and shoes are now on a little spa holiday.  In the meantime, I can’t even get my nails done

The bag and shoes were toted in an Estetica Designs wig bag!  But look how charming and cozy this place is. I honestly wish you could smell this place–the mixture of leather and polish was mesmerizing..

Why can’t there be a perfume called “shoe and leather repair”?

I’ll tell you this much.  Going through this time of the pandemic, my habits are changing.  I’m not itching to go shopping at the mall.  Vintage and pre-owned items are looking more appealing to me these days—especially at a great price point.

This pandemic may have changed the way we shop.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad but I think it’ll change things.

On Friday, the last of the yeast was used.  Bonaparte was hoping for more Pains aux Raisins. And so, Friday evening a batch of brioche dough was made and on Saturday morning,  I made a batch and a couple of Brioche loaves.

And on Friday evening we also make the pastry cream!

I was up at 6AM to separate and roll the brioche dough..

The dough was rolled out…

..spread with pastry cream..

..sprinkled with raisins and..

rolled up, chilled then cut into slices!

The remaining dough used for two loaves.

Baked goods at home!

The daunting issue with this is that it’s impossible to find yeast in any of the stores.  I’m going to have to go shopping at Amazon to track some down.

The good thing about this is that people are making bread at home. And home-baked bread is such a treat. It’s warm and toasty and far superior than the store-bought and is completely organic!

Whaddya want?  Pains aux Raisins or Brioche.  I’ll take both!

I’m off to write some more and to binge-watch more Cheers on Netflix!  It’s a lazy day. I’m in my pajamas and am not ashamed to admit it!  We need a good pajama day every now and then. Don’t you think so?

This is how I’m dressed today! PJ’s and a fun wig from Cysterwigs–Ambrose in Rose Blush!  It’s cheerful!

Stay safe and be cautious!!

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Week Four—A Month of Corona Chronicles? A Birthday. A Hairy Face. And More.

Hard to believe we are now on week four of Indoornation!

I’m ashamed to admit that I’m feeling a bit lazy when at home these days.

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I recline on the sofa instead–but the remote is always in-hand!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still going to work five days a week from 8 AM till 5 PM I’m working like a dog—and I’m loving it because I’m by myself.

New office essentials for this essential worker–hand sanitzer and a mask!

No office politics. No snitches.  No distractions.  My biggest concern is that I’ll be very unwelcoming when everyone comes back.  Hey!  Ain’t gonna lie!

I’m still dressing for work though.  I wore a couple of favorites this week.  I LOVE this outfit because for some reason, the loud printed pants just work!  The pants were purchased on sale from the Gretchen Scott Designs website. The shirt is years old from J. Crew and the shoes?  Repettos that are at least ten years old purchased on one of our visits to Paris!

On my birthday, I wore this tried and true, four-season ensemble. In all honesty, it’s my favorite work outfit.  The skirt is either from J. Crew or J. Crew Factory. The shoes from J. Crew and the shirt from Target. This has got to be my most worn outfit!

And yesterday I wore a comfy shift by Lilly Pulitzer.  I may have been a bit premature in switching out the seasonal clothing but I’m glad to have done it. This made me cheery–especially in an empty office. The flat shoes?  The purchase was made in late December at a Talbots sale. Eyeing these for a while, they were purchased at a deep discount!

But let’s talk about how the week went whilst not at work.

I’ve been falling asleep very early. Last night I reached slumber at approximately 8:30 PM.  That’s right. Eight. Thirty. Pee. Em!  And I slept like a baby.

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And while I was dreaming, Bonaparte was watching all the TV shows I can’t stand!

It also meant waking up early on a Saturday morning.  One would think after such a long slumber I would be full of vim and vigor.  Instead I’m full of laziness and lethargy!

Good Morning!  I put Saturday makeup on!  Just a bit. And I decided to plop a wig I hadn’t worn in a while. Hayden by Henry Margu!

It could be because I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother, Pete, this week.

Thursday was our birthdays.  Twins 13 years apart.  As I turned 65, he did not turn 52.  And it was a very odd birthday.

I have this photo in my cubicle at work.  I like to keep Pete close to me. This is my favorite photo of us.  It was taken back in 1992 at Tice’s farm in New Jersey. He was visiting us while we took the kids pumpkin picking.  It isn’t fair that he’s not here…

I’ve been swinging the pendulum of emotions from sad to not sad. From missing him to accepting the fact he’s not here.  From anger that my brother is gone and a certain person who lies is still breathing.

Add to that, turning 65, which is a milestone of sorts—as I step completely away from any notion of youth and over the boarder to bona fide Senior Citizenship, I dwell at how unsuccessful in  a career I’ve been. On the other hand, I’m very thankful to have a job.

And thankful to have health and three great kids and a wonderful husband.

But there was no birthday cake—and I would have had to bake one anyway so my hips and ass are ridiculously happy over the no cake.

Saturday Randomlings | Atypical 60

I think I made this cake for Roman or Oona. Perhaps both since their birthdays are so close together.  Alas, I passed on baking a cake for me!

The stores are closed so I couldn’t go birthday shopping—which is great because money is saved.

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Actually, the husband is happier!  

Bonaparte got some gorgeous red roses for me and they are so beautiful to admire.

Aren’t they gorgeous? 

And as I sit here typing, I can look up from the table and admire them!

The kids got me a Nespresso machine which is making me feel as though I’m now a professional barista!  Thank God the caffeine in coffee, and espresso, do not affect my sleeping patterns. I can enjoy a cup in the evening and still go into a deep sleep!

Mommy also knows what the kids are going to want with breakfast on their next visits!

It’s so cool. Although I will admit that I had to watch a YouTube video on how to use this.  I need visuals instead of written instructions!

It came with a box of pods..

..and continued yesterday with another delivery of more pods!

My first attempt!  That milk frother is everything!

All in all, it was a low-key birthday but bittersweet just the same!

A great gift indeed!!

And the day after turning 65, I went to the office and happened to…touch my face!  I know, I know. We are not supposed to touch our faces at this time but sometimes you do these things.  And what did I discover?  A hair!  Not a little lady whisker that is normally found on the chin and immediately plucked. But a hair!!! 

Approximately a quarter of an inch.  Dark.  It bothered me all day.  I could just about focus on the tremendous amount of paperwork.  And when I arrived home, I plucked that muthafucka out of my cheek and realized that this is what aging is.  Finding stray hairs on areas other than your chin!

The first thing I’m gonna do when stores open is buy a tweezer for every purse!

I have tweezers in my car. Tweezers on my vanity. Now I need to buy a pair for every purse I own.  I’ll be touching my face forever now!

Actually, that is the second thing I’m gonna do.  The first thing will be to get a proper manicure and pedicure.

 Yeah. The hands are kind of nasty.  Chippy was lucky enough to go to the vet yesterday to get his nails clipped. I’m thinking of calling the vet’s office to see if he does human paws!

The nails were looking pretty messed up.  Gel polish was peeling.  The acrylic was chipping.  It was awful.  What I ended up doing was soaking cotton in acetone nail polish remover, wrapping the soaked cotton around my fingertips and covering it with aluminum foil which I kept on for almost a half hour!

It all peeled off nicely and I gave myself a coat of clear nail polish. It’s the best I could do for now but I find that I like the look of a natural nail. I may keep them like this until next winter!

Hey! They can be worse–you know??

Feeling rather…um…. productive, I cleaned my makeup brushes in between blogging!  Quite honestly, they were so disgusting that I am shocked no crud was growing in the crevasses, otherwise known as wrinkles, of my visage!

In all my slothful laziness, I managed to clean my makeup brushes. God knows this was a chore that was way overdue. Ewwww..they were so filthy. I should be ashamed.  But I’m not!

They were so gross and filthy that I decided to use Fantastik and it worked like a charm.

Don’t judge!  It worked better than soap!  Besides, it did cut through the tough grime and grease!

I’m going back to do nothing right now—except to watch Diners,and Drive-In’s, and Dives! That comfort food is addicting! And if I watch it on TV, it’s not as fattening!

Top Restaurants if Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Returned to Omaha ...

Although I find Guy Fieri utterly vulgar, I’m so addicted to his show. And I love when he can’t stand something and he pretends to like it!  He can’t hide his feelings, this guy!

Remember!  Stay Safe.  Stay well and remember this will pass!

Be well and stay safe!

I also want to thank you for your patience with me.  I have been so exhausted after working all day that I have been lacking in energy to write more during the week.  I’m sorry!

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Indoor Nation-Week Three. The Corona Chronicles

First of all, a Happy Easter and Chag Sameach to all celebrating Passover.

happy easter!Bitmoji Image

It’s different this year, but we can still be happy!

It’s weird having a non-Easter this year. No Mass. No Chocolate Bunnies. No Easter Baskets. No eggs to color.  No outdoor Easter egg hunts. No Easter Parade.

Oh, what I would not give for a chocolate bunny right now!!

And no big Easter dinner of Roast Lamb.

Ahhh. Roast Leg of Lamb. It was a tradition growing up and I still love lamb!  

Instead, our Easter dinner won’t be an early afternoon Roast.  Instead, we’ll enjoy lamb kabobs and couscous.

Spiced these babies up with rosemary, ras el hanout, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic!

And tomorrow it’ll be back to work.

But, lets talk about how this week went.

In all honesty, I’m becoming very spoiled by being the only one at the office.  I relish in my alone time because although the amount of work is astronomical compared to “normal” times, I’m incredibly productive without interruption.

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Actually–my boss is a very cool woman and if she wants it done, she’s got it done–from me!

It isn’t lonely either. I’m not longing for human contact. There’s too much work.

Evenings are spent going upstairs to bed after dinner.  We’ve finished Ozark. And cannot wait for the next season. I will not give any spoilers except to say that this is one twisted drama!

This is one crazy-ass series.  I’ve never seen Jason Bateman so….so…evil!

We started watching “Bonfire of Destiny” aka “Le Bazar de la Charité”, a French import on Netflix. It’s loosely based on true events from the Charity Bazar fire in Paris in 1897. This fire killed over 125 people-mostly aristocratic women and their maids.  The story centers on three women who’s lives were impacted by the event.

The story centers around three women, Alice, Adrienne and my favorite, Rose!  This poster is awful because it doesn’t showcase the true period of the events.  But the show has gorgeous costumes!

The costumes are absolutely gorgeous and it is a beautiful period piece.

The most interesting storyline is Rose, who was burned but believed to be dead. This is good TV!

The “Global” dinner search continues and last night we traveled to Morocco with a Chicken Tagine and couscous. And it was absolutely delicious!

The table was set for a sumptous dinner.  I think either Oona or Roman made that little blue dish when they were in grade school!

And speaking of yesterday…….at nine in the morning, I decided to switch out my winter clothing for summer.  A bit soon, I know. I know!  But it had to be done. eventually. Besides—this winter was so incredibly mild that all those heavy sweaters went unworn.  Many of the heavier pants went unworn.  And for four hours, I cleaned out dressers and my closet.  It was a chore but well-worth it.

Dresses and skirts all in order..

So are tops!

All summer shoes are organized too!  There’s a story to the Crucifix. Jesus fell off and I’m afraid to mess with repairing it because I don’t want to ruin Jesus. Hey. I’m Catholic. I’m not gonna mess with Jesus so I keep him comfortable on my shoes.  I feel like my shoes have been blessed!

And not to break productivity, immediately upon finishing that chore, Bonaparte reminded me that his supply of Gougères was down to two.  I made two batches.

Oh wait!  These are the ingredients for the souffle that I screwed up last week.  But wait! They’re basically the same ingredients in the gougeres! So I’ll keep the photo!

It was after finishing up the Gougères that I started on dinner.

Yes. This weekend has been busy.

There was a moment yesterday when I took a plate from the cabinet that I use often.  Oona made it. In Kindergarten. In 1995. In April.

Amazing how a 25-year old plate can make me so emotional!

And it brought to mind that back in 1995 in April on Easter weekend I was busy carting the kids from baseball to soccer to softball and coloring eggs and filling baskets and chatting with neighbors.

Who would ever think a pandemic would change things?

Regardless, I dressed for Easter today in a cute shift from Lilly Pulitzer because I wanted to feel like it was Easter.  I wore a cheery pair of flats, plopped on a wig and went to work….

I even took a shower, washed my hair and shaved my legs!

…making masks.

I’ve been creative while being lazy at the same time!

I took a cleaned, old white tee and cut it into thick strips.  Then I twisted hair ties at each end, folded the fabric over and ironed a makeshift hem with Stitch Witchery.

Tee shirt. Twirly Do’s for the hair. Stitch Witchery and a scissor of course!

I made five. At the end of the day, we can wash them, let them dry and have a clean one for the next day.  They are by no means perfect but they work!

Twirly do’s on each end, fabric folded over, held together with Stitch Witchery..

…and ironed!

Makeshift masks!

How long will our Indoornation last?  Hopefully, not too long but it doesn’t seem like it’ll end within the next few weeks.

Let us hope the end of this pandemic is near! 

Remember to keep safe and stay well!

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Indoornation! What I’ve Been Up to During Week Two. The Corona Chronicles.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay indoors.  I realized this when, this morning, I heard the happy voices of unsupervised children in our neighborhood.  What I found utterly disheartening was the inconsideration of the parents of these children.

There are those in this neighborhood with compromised immune systems. Both adults and children.  I’m completely flummoxed as to why people don’t understand the reasoning for staying indoors.  And worse than that, the selfishness of those people.

Venting aside,  I’m still going to the office every day.  And I have to say, I’m loving it more and more by being the only one,  save for two others who work in the mail area, because my productivity level is wonderful. Not bragging but it’s just that without distractions, the “Mrs. Kravitz” employees who are constantly watching what others are doing and not concentrating on their work, the office socializers who “get” out of work by floating from cubicle to cubicle are not there.  And so, I’m in my glories of working harder than ever.

I’m wearing a mask and gloves to and from work and whenever I need to venture out of my home. Which is nearly never other than going to work and back.

This is how I’m driving to and from work.  We had “work” masks in the garage and am using these until I make “regular” masks.  The gloves are key!  

I could politicize this post but I’ve decided to focus on what we can do indoors.  Let’s face it. We are all well-aware of why this pandemic is so serious in our country so I won’t delve into it.

stay healthy helpful and calm

And especially stay calm!

But.  I’m keeping busy in the calm respite of our home.

come-on-my-sunroom | Atypical 60

Now more than ever, our sunroom is my comfort zone!

Granted, during the weekdays I’m dressing more and more casually at the office because nobody is there. And during the evening, I’m so pooped from work that I’ve been heading up to bed to watch TV and get well-needed sleep.

Yes! I’m sinfully casual at work. In fact I wore these leggings TWO days in a row!

It’s the weekends that have me active in the confines of the castle!

And this weekend brings new activity!

As you know, I love to cook. And I’ve decided that during our weekends indoors, I’ll bring world travel to us!  Last weekend it was Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken.

This weekend it’s French pastry in the form of Bonaparte’s favorite—Pains aux Raisins. Epicurious Pains aux Raisins Recipe

The finished pastries. Complete with apricot glaze!

And before they were cut. 

I use Chef Thomas Keller’s brioche recipe for these delights and there’s plenty of dough left over to make more brioche.  I got a regular loaf and a small loaf out of the recipe. Brioche Recipe

The two loaves after coming out of the oven!

The Pains aux Raisins are now individually-wrapped and placed in the freezer. This way when Bonaparte wants one, he can take it out early in the morning to defrost naturally or bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.  They freeze beautifully!

Each one of these babies is now in the freezer!

Apparently. I was lucky to have yeast in the house because a couple of my friends were unable to even find yeast in the store at this time. My guess is that many home cooks are making their own bread.

The crumb on this brioche is excellent.  Its so buttery with a touch of sweetness. It’s wonderful toasted and makes a great snack on its own.

And the interior is golden yellow from the eggs and butter! Yum!

The success depends upon patience. You make the dough batter the night before baking, allow it to rise then refrigerate overnight.

But—where are you going?  Refrigerating overnight is no big deal at this time. Right?

Last night we went to Mexico via Chicken Tinga.  You know, I’ve never made this before and I don’t make authentic Mexican food simply because I don’t have any recipes. After enjoying the smokey goodness of this recipe, I’m now in search of more authentic Mexican recipes.  Chicken Tinga Recipe for you!

Shredded chicken with smoky chipotle. I added jalepenos for more heat!

Lime wedges, cheese, sour cream and cilantro to finish it ott!

Next week we will visit the Middle East I’ll do a tagine!

Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe - Analida's Ethnic Spoon

Although I lack the conical tagine cooking pot, I can still make tagine in a dutch oven!

I also started polishing some silver.  This ladle was nothing but tarnish. So was this silver platter.

Getting rid of tarnish is always a good thing!  Good as new–sort of!

On the rare occasion of venturing out of the house, we took a drive to Produce Junction yesterday to buy fresh flowers.  It was worth donning masks and gloves because the staff was dressed the same way.  Our flowers from two weeks ago were sadly wilted and there’s just something so cheerful and happy about fresh flowers.  It was also good to see that those who also ventured out were in masks and gloves as well.

I bought enough flowers to fill two vases…

New flowers.  I newly untarnished antique all atop an antique chest of drawers that I keep our table linens in!

For now, this is our new normal. But hopefully it won’t last forever. Safety and health are important.  We gotta do this for now!

I’m also revisiting wigs I haven’t worn in a while. I’ll tell you, wearing wigs is a blessing during this time of closed hair salons!

Take care and I’ll see you next week!!  I’m doing weekly posts for now simply because I’m exhausted after work!

Be well and try the recipes!  They’re fun!


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