Part Three! Close to Home, L’Estagnol, and It’s Been a Week Already???

Bonjour on this Thursday of June 22, 2023!

Another day of “cloudy-not-cloudy.”  We were going to head to L’Estagnol, favorite beach of my husband’s while growing up.  However, he did not want to chance it if the clouds and sun were going to compete.

Today was truly a cloudy day. But it didn’t keep us or anyone else from heading to the pool!

Instead, we decided to head to the pool and keep local.  We love Theoule-sur-Mer and rarely take the time to hang out in town so today is the day—or rather, this afternoon is the afternoon!

It may be cloudy but I’m still smiling!

The funny thing about the mixture of clouds and sun is that over the past few days, I’ve managed to incorporate a natural tan with the remnants of the spray tan I received before we left the States. Anyway, it was another pool day where I got to read.  And dunk my body into the pool.  It may be a mixture of clouds and sun but the air’s temperature is still hot!

On another book, “Oona Out of Control,” a uniquely entertaining read about a woman who travels back and forth through her lifetime on every birthday.  I recommend this book for a fun and quick beach read!

Oona Out of Order

Bought at Newark airport simply because my daughter is named Oona, this book turned out to be rather delightful. It is now on the bookshelf in the apartment in Theoule.

I wore sunscreen. On my face. And still managed to get a burn. I sat under an umbrella and Iremain flummoxed as to how this happened. The effect on this burn was that my bottom lip swelled up as though a Juvéderm or Botox injection had been misplaced. Oh well. Merde happens!

I’m jumping the gun here. This photo was taken when we were going out to dinner but check out the swollen lips. The sun did that–not filler. I give new meaning to “what a big mouth you have”. Luckily, the swelling subsided after two days.

Around noon, the clouds really started to roll in and the temperature became (thankfully) slightly cooler.  Note—slightly cooler.

We headed into Theoule, parked the car, and took a little stroll along the beach. And then the drizzle commenced.  At least Mother Nature decided to wait until late afternoon.  The drizzle lasted approximately four minutes (Yes. I timed it.), we walked a bit more.

In case you get lost and don’t remember where you are–here’s a whimsical reminder!

Workin’ that Tan!

My mouth hadn’t reached peak swelling yet but it felt good to traipse around in a maxi dress!

Statue. I think it’s in the parking lot

I’m pretty sure this sculpture was in the parking lot at Theoule. It’s just so pleasant to see little works of art scattered about.

Cloudy Afternoon in Theoule

The clouds didn’t keep this little guy away from the beach.

An empty beach is a rarity during this time of year but it did begin to drizzle.

We then decided to drive to Mandelieu-La Napoule, the next village over to pay a visit to Chateau de la Napoule. This chateau, more of a castle was owned by American Henry Clews Jr.  The Nazi’s took it over in WWII and Henry’s wife, Marie, served as their maid so she could hold on to the chateau and Henry’s memory.

The chateau we can never seem to visit

View of the chateau  remains elusive to us.

The little garden area offered a vision of solitude.

A lone shell embedded in stone.

Statue. I think it’s in the parking lot

Oh wait. I think this sculpture was in Mandelieu instead of Theoule. I must return to make sure where it is.

It’s a great history and for 13 years, we’ve passed by and on many occasions, tried to enter but it was either closed for an event or, as last year, was closed for renovations. This year it was closed until the next week.  We will have to make another attempt next summer.

The port in Mandelieu next to the Chateau.

So, while we were parked and walked around the perimeter, the clouds began to cry. I think it is because they felt sorry for us not being able to get into the Chateau yet another year!

The rain subsided, we stopped for groceries and by the time we arrived home, we were welcomed to another sunny evening for dinner on the terrace. At this point the only liquids I’ve consumed have been Aperol, Champagne, Cidre and Wine.  I am now not ashamed nor am I proud—its hydration. Eau de vie.

Here we go again.  I am both obsessed AND amazed with the choice of frozen and ready-made pastry crusts. WHY in these United States do we have only three choices–Pepperidge Farms puff pastry, or pie shells or store brand filo dough. 

These are the offerings of various flavors for baking. It isn’t limited to vanilla, almond and lemon extracts. I wanted to buy all of this.

And still MORE baking ingredients. I was crying.

We did hear the news this evening that pieces of the sub that went down to observe the ruins of the Titanic had been found with no survivors. It imploded which, thankfully for those onboard, killed them immediately with no pain.  My heart did go out to the family of the 19-year-old boy who perished.  My thoughts on this?  Do not mess with nature and don’t mess with the dead. The site of Titanic is an oceanic graveyard.  Let the souls rest in peace.  The ocean is not to be messed with.

OceanGate sub likely destroyed by "catastrophic implosion" - WIRED ME

The news of this was incredibly sad..and money wasted.

Dinner was kept light tonight–well, sort of light!

Naturally, we started with Aperitifs and Socca Chips. (Don’t judge me)

Egg and Tomato from Marche Forville. And the mayonaisse is great!

Dinner was light.  Tomato and eggs with mayonnaise.


And for dessert? A delicious flan and a berry tart!

Bonne Nuit.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Ahhhhhh, time is fleeting. I cannot believe that a week ago we were on the flight to arrive here. But alas! Today the sun is welcoming us with nary a cloud in the sky.

An early breakfast and off to L’Estagnol! Quite frankly, I cannot wait to get there. It’s my kind of beach. No waves. Refreshing water. You can float out forever with the water being shallow enough to stand. And being I’m the worst simmer on earth, this is the jelly to my peanut butter!

But before I go on about L’Estagnol, please allow me to take a moment or ten to showcase our stop for gas and to go to the bathroom.  I have things to tell you.

I had to take a photo of this very simple, prudent but clean bathroom stall. Notice it lacks a seat.  I am thankful to Jesus for that because I didn’t have to wipe the last patron’s pee-pee off of a seat the way I have to do here when I use a public restroom.  People here actually keep toilet stalls clean.  AND the door is to the floor so nobody has to look at underwear wrapped around your ankles.  Just sayin’.

Also at these gas stations are very interesting stop shops. I swear you can get a plethora of stuff you never knew you needed.  Lots of local goodies.

I wanted to buy this soap dish but then realized I already have about eight soap dishes at home and three bathrooms.

We managed to pick up a ham sandwich. And it was so good. The bread was just-baked fresh.  Why not just stuff my mouth all day. NOTE TO SELF: Try taking the toilet seats off the toilets when we get home. I don’t think Vincent would like that though.

Back to L’Estagnol:

L’Estagnol has always had spots for grilling and an area for children to ride live donkeys.  The site of the donkeys always makes me giggle with delight. This year they were gone. My husband reminded me of the horrific wildfires late last summer into early autumn. My thoughts are that they were rescued and placed somewhere else.

This has always been my favorite beach in the past.

The seaside bistro and brasserie were still standing and, despite our getting lost yet again, we arrived at 10:00 AM.

The seafood here and frites here are delicious!

And at this hour, the beach seemed more crowded than any other year we’ve been there. The cicadas welcomed everyone with their rhythmic chanting.  Paddleboarders were a new sight.  Young families introducing their babies and toddlers to the sea, Parasols making a colorful boarder along the edge of the beach. Old ladies—YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS, old ladies in bikinis looked tanned and lovely. And the ice cream vendor with his colorful cart was walking along the sandy terrain gleefully announcing his glaces!

Beachy still life. My old Tropezienne sandals, my Oona book, water, my tote and my bathing suit top. I decided to give the girls a vacation day and swam topless. Nobody cares! 

The water was beautiful and I spent most of the day floating blissfully in the Mediterranean.  My husband, once again sunbathed like a rotisserie chicken because he seemed the sea too cold for his personal pleasure.

Crystal clear water forever!

10:00 AM. THIS was too crowded for my husband. He thinks people should be charged 50 euros for the day. I kid you not. He continues to feel this beach should remain as it was when he was a child! 

I’m a fan of the shade that the trees offer during morning hours.

The mini-waves arrive in the afternoon. I wish the Atlantic was this calm.

Observing families with young children makes me wish my grandsons were here!

I wish I had a close up of the bikini that this woman was wearing. I wanted it!

I’ll admit, this was the first time I’ve been here when the water had many swimmers but still–it wasn’t that bad!

He was also very upset that his now former favorite beach was overfilled with humanity. And, not locals but..foreigners!!!  How could this happen???  Does my husband not realize that I, his wife, is a foreigner on his home turf?

Anyway, after one last wannabe-swim out to bid farewell to the fishes and boats that were calmly rocking side to side with a lazy cadence, it was time to leave.

Time to head home. The water was wonderfully refreshing!

Our drive home was another pleasant one. We had some time to leisurely take the highway to the Bord du Mer and had spectacular views of the Calanques de L’Esterel that lined the sea’s edge.

I wish I had a boat to float into any of the calanques along the coastline.

I’m petrified of heights and could barely look at these people atop the rocks. It’s frightening to me.

Sorry Charlie but I need a beach to bask in the sun–not a rock!

Quite frankly though, I think the calanques are one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts. They are absolutely breathtaking!

Quite a few people were swimming but I couldn’t get a decent picture. This is the life–isn’t it?

On this Friday evening we had reservations to dine at “L’air du Temps” restaurant in Theoule.  This is our year to go to places we’ve never gotten to in the past 13 years.  I cannot count as high as the times we’ve passed this place year after year, day after day.  But we are so glad we finally decided to dine here.

L'air du Temps. Restaurant, Théoule-sur-Mer - Restaurant menu and reviews

Photo taken by Restaurant Guru.  I forgot to take a photo of the exterior. 

The restaurant sits atop the many hills of Theoule, offering a bird’s eye view of the bay.  We sat outside as the weather was perfect.  And the restaurant held a good crowd that became even more crowded with time.

Decisions. Decisions. And a Kir is the perfect drink to enjoy whilst deciding!


The service was incredible, from the adorable hostess to our server, I believe her name was Sarah (my apologies to her as am unsure of her name) and she worked her butt off! Her personality was everything I love.  Animated, funny, and excellent service!

Our server, I’m thinking her name was Sarah or a similar moniker. Regardless, she was the GOAT of servers!  She worked hard; and was a pleasure–she’s the server you want to hang out with after hours!

Our hostess was also working hard. Honestly, they both were enjoying themselves. It’s so much fun to go to a restaurant when servers are having just as great a time as the diners!  We are definitely going back next wummer!

The dinner. OMFG. We were blown away.

We started out with Poulpe salade—Octopus salad.

This was crazy good!  I happen to LOVE octopus and when I find it at home, I always buy it.  But this salad was incredibly fresh and full of flavor!

I had Chambas, jumbo shrimp/crevettes

This was so great. Jumbo Jumbo crevettes.  You cannot go to the Cote d’Azur and NOT eat seafood.  I swear it jumped from the sea to my plate.

And Vincent had the Salmon and frites.

This salmon dish was incredible!  I think I ate half of it.  I am not ashamed.

My husband loved the frites so much he almost ordered a second helping. This is how great the food was!

Too stuffed for anything else, we managed to share a Mousse for dessert.

A most tasty mousse and I love the way it was presented–in little dollops so you didn’t feel too gluttonous!

Oh. And we drank copious amounts of wine.

I’ll just leave this coffee here. It was well-needed!

Neither of us had any issues falling asleep that night.

Saturday, June 24, 2023.

As is my usual optimistic self, I woke up a bit sad knowing we had only a week left to enjoy our visit. Why do I do this to myself? It’s because I am a neurotic and angst-filled individual!

And, as is usual for my husband, Saturday is a weekend day. That means we stay at the pool.

Saturday morning. Reserving our pool space.

However, it was very early so we dropped our stuff off at the pool and headed back to Marché Forville and back to Ernest!

Back to Marche Forville and more fresh tomatoes!

Behold the fruit of beauty!

I would move to France just for the mushrooms if need be.

This is where I swoon to the point of feeling faint. MUSHROOMS! I love them and can barely find any like this at home!

Forget about fainting. I almost expired when I spotted these morels. It’s so difficult and friggin’ expensive to find them at home. I wanted to motorboat these bags of morels!


While back at Ernest…we observed how carefully this anniversary cake was wrapped and handled! That was some cake!

Another day of a cloudless sky, I finished Book Two and am ready to begin reading “Win Me Something” which should have been titled “Whine Me Something.” This book is about an Asian-American woman in her early twenties who lacks ambition and is constantly whining mentioning how out-of-place she feels. I will not get into further details but she ends up working as a nanny for a tony NYC Tribeca family.   The book was okay—not the worst but not the best.  However, the author writes beautifully.


Back to our day.

As mentioned, this was a lazy day. As I am not used to drinking a lot these days, I was slightly hung over and welcomed being light on activity.   You know what?  I would much rather be hung over in France than hung over back at home.

The best cure for a slight hangover? A day of relaxation by the pool. Reading and Swimming.

My tan is starting to look good. Granted, I’m Irish-American so I’ll never achieve Fifty Shades of George Hamilton but, at lease I will not have to fake tan my legs.

Hollywood star George Hamilton quits I'm A Celebrity | The Independent |  The Independent

The only other human I knew to achieve this George Hamilton tan was my mother. Her tan was remarkable and she started every year in April.  

After poolside, we drove to Geant Hypermarché for essentials like champagne and more Aperol for me, Crème de Cassis for my husband.  On the way into the store, a dog rescue organization was collecting money and let me tell you, every single person passing by donated.  So did we, and in return was given a rose.

Under normal circumstances I’m skeptical of people asking for money for “causes”.  However, when we saw that every single customer was handing money to this group. We followed with a donation.  Got a rose in return. It was nice to donate!

The dogs were beautiful and it felt good to donate to a great cause.  We thought of Chippy boarding at the vet’s. Upon arriving back at the apartment, we got dressed for dinner and enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the terrace.

The dog rescue rose was a nice touch!

Dinner at Eight!  We enjoyed dinner at The Club in the community we rent.  And, as always, dinner is always spectacular every year. This year it delivered!

This is where we enjoyed our dinner. It’s now a yearly tradition.  Check out the guy waving–I think it was a photobomb!

Taking a photo of this beautifully clean table is a must for me because after I eat, it’s a hot mess.

Our table overlooked the smaller poos at the club.

The evening’s menu.

Aperitif time!

We started off with Aperitifs (I’m beginning to feel like Lucille Ball after too much Vitameatavegamin).

Tchin Tchin. Okay. It’s now July so I have up until Labor day to enjoy my Aperol. Once Labor Day arrives, I return to Kir Royals for the winter. It’s my version of “No white after Labor Day”.

These were followed by Bone Marrow.  We are both fans of the marrow of the bone. It is nothing more than fat but at this point, does it really matter?

Bone marrow. Pure fat but I don’t care..

I added radish to give it a healthier flair!

One of the greatest epicurean delights!

I had lobster.  He had Filet de Boeuf  Rossini.  There was no room for dessert.  We left to go home at 10:30 and after a nightcap (Hey, once you start….) went peacefully to sleep.

This lobster was the best I’ve ever had.

And I make no apologies for the mess.

My husband went the more refined route with filet topped with foie gras. 

And then, it was back to the apartment!

The weekend shall be continued…


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Our Visit to the Côte d’Azur Part Two- Grasse ,A Big To-do in St. Tropez and a Little Cannes Cannes!

On this Monday of June 19th, we headed to Grasse after a morning at the pool.

Mondays are meant for relaxing and, although we had planned to do more sight-seeing, when we arrived, we both decided that this year, we were going to do nothing more than chill out at the pool, maybe do something. And head to the beach at some point.

The only one-piece swimsuit I wore during our visit.  I think of the one-piece as additional sunscreen!

The weather was nice and warm and the morning lent itself very well to my reading Alexandre Dumas’ “The Man in the Iron Mask.”  Dumas, being one of my favorite authors knows the value of a great story.  It is less about our masked prisoner and more about the fate of the Musketeers in their later years. And it was a great book!

On to the next book.  And now, this earned a permanent place on the bookshelf with the others that I’ve left over the years!

So, after swimming and reading and having a hedonistic morning, we headed back to the apartment (which, moving forward I will refer to as “home”) to shower, freshen up and head to Grasse.

There’s a reason we make an annual trek to Grasse the way pilgrims head to Lourdes.  I need to replenish my supply of all things Fragonard.  In case you are not familiar with my blogs on our visits to France, I love Fragonard. I adore French scents.  And—especially love the scent “Fleur d’Oranger,” the most beautiful and pure scent of Orange Blossom.

View of Fragonard from the back–the boutique entrance.  What City Pharma is to me in Paris, Fragonard is to me on the Cote d’Azur!

So off we went.

Umbre;llas in Grasse

You can tell that I learned a new “thing” on my computer. Captioning photos. And my gift for misspelling is showcased! But seriously, THIS view as we entered Grasse was the most beautiful and pleasing shock to the system. 

It was, in a nutshell, spectacular!

Now, you must understand that even though we head to Grasse on an annual basis, the drive can be somewhat confusing because there is more than one Fragonard.  We go to the location that gives tours of the way the scents are made. It’s a tourist trap of sorts but the attached boutique is my favorite.  The staff is always welcoming and it is a chance for me to practice my French.

As an aside, our car rental was a huge MG. It drove nicely but technically it was merde.  To set up my Bluetooth was a challenge and setting up my Spotify was even more so. I’m not even going to mention how long it took to get my GPS going.  That said, the GPS company, needs to rethink their narration for directions. Our computerized femme could not pronounce the names of the streets in French and that threw Vincent off.  Regardless, we finally made it to Fragonard.

Sorry-not-sorry.  I couldn’t stop snapping pics of these. I would have stolen one if I was really tall! OR had a ladder.  A huge ladder!

We arrived around 2:00 PM and the shop was empty.  People take their lunch hours seriously here and at the time we stepped in to shop, most people were finishing their mid-day meals. elsewhere.

I purchased Fleur d’Oranger body lotion, bath gel and a refill of my eau de toilette.   Also purchased were two room scent oils with reeds—one in Fleur d’Oranger and one in the scent Narcisse.   Since we spent a good Euro, we received a great shopping tote.

Fragonard Haul

Look! No spelling mistakes!  Here’s the haul.  The lotion and bath gel smell so divine and that huge refill is coming in handy as I have reached the bowels of my eau de parfum

From there, we headed for our daily grocery shop along with the daily baguette and headed back to more aperitifs and dinner.

If I had my druthers,  I would publish a coffee table book purely on French groceries!

I wanted to grab this chocolate milk and drink it immediately–based on the packaging alone!

The beauty of being here is the slow evenings.  I’m not kidding when I tell you that our main source of entertainment is observing the different wave patterns in the Mediterranean Sea created by the various boats and ships—or yachts.  The Frenchman’s revered pastime is following the massive cruise ships through his binoculars, and complaining in French how horrible they are.  This goes on year after year and I would not change a thing.

Crevettes for dinner. How I wish I could get these at Wegmans!

Allowing the sounds of the sea to rock us to sleep, we awoke the next day fully rested.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Uh oh. Could the cold and windy weather which greeted us on this morning be an omen?

The French breakfast.  Coffee in a bowl and a croissant (mine are better).

Let us hope not.  We planned to move forward with our drive to St. Tropez. It was flea market day, and our original plan to drive to Ste. Maxime to ferry over to St. Trop on Bateaux Vert. Since it was ridiculously windy and boats were bobbing up and down and swaying to and fro, we decided to just drive.

Water Smash GIF by Royal National Lifeboat Institution

There was no way, I was getting on a ferry with a windy bay or sea. I would have thrown up every morsel of food that I had eaten in the past month!

That was a mistake. Under normal circumstances it takes about an hour and a half to drive from our apartment to St. Tropez. On this day it took a total of four hours. Four. Hours.  Traffic was horrific.  Lanes blending into lanes, traffic lights at roundabouts (this was new). And then when we got onto the remainder of the drive, it was crawling worse than the Belt Parkway in New York on a Friday evening in the summer.

What Happens When All of France Takes Vacation? 438 Miles of Traffic - WSJ

Had I known we would be faced with traffic like this, I would have taken my chances on the ferry.  Note to self: from now on TAKE that ferry in windy weather!

And upon arrival, most of the parking lots were full but we did achieve a stroke of luck when we parked at the Port.  We began the trek into the City of St. Tropez!

Nothing like a clownish nun on a bike with a fake Louis de Funes of the Gendarme movies.  There is a Gendarme museum that I’ve yet to visit because my husband feels it isn’t “cultural” enough. Does he not realize that I’m a commoner bordering on pond scum?  NOTE:  For all those who feel you MUST dress in couture fashion like Emily in Paris–take a look at the people in this photo. Look how they are dressed–and they were NOT American!

We started off at my favorite haunt—Rondini.  I wanted to purchase a new pair of sandals and walked out with two pair! As usual, the staff is incredibly accommodating and amiable!

I have reached mecca.  Some people collect salt and pepper shakers. Others collect yachts and fancy cars. I collect Rondini sandals!

Getting fitted at Rondini

Hand made and custom fit!  This is the greatest!

And what’s better than ONE pair of new Rondinis?

TWO pair of Rondinis!  My husband was very generous. Those old and worn sandals are 12 years old and worn every summer. I wore these every day on our trip. Every. Single. Day!  NOTE TO SELF:  next year replace those 12-year old Rondini Tropezienne sandals.

Next stop was the flea market.  I have to say, that flea market can be overwhelming due to the many vendors and customers.  Lots of food items, clothing, and cheesy souvenirs for the house.  We bought a hot plate!

Flea Market

The St. Tropez Tuesday flea market. If you need it–you’ll find it here. 

Flea Market

Endless amounts of kitchen gadgets…

…and vintage LV. These were pricey but in decent condition.  

We bought a kitschy ceramic hot plate. It’s in the kitchen next to the range and I love this. I can think of St. Tropez while cooking!

Our third stop was the Musee Annoncaide, a chapel that was converted into a museum. It was a pleasant visit and when finished there, we headed to my father-in-law’s museum “La Maison des Papillons Musee Dany Lartigue.”   It’s always a pleasure to have memories of Dany brought back and the guy who is now running the Maison knew Vincent from way back, they spoke of life in St. Tropez in their younger days while I sauntered off to take photos with my iPhone.

Since Dany’s Musee didn’t open until two in the afternoon, we had some time to kill so we went to another museum.

We headed to the Musee Annonciade. I highly recommend because the exhibits are always good ones. In fact, Vincent’s father had some of his work exhibited here. That’s Vincent on the right! 

Musee Annociade where I lost my phone

And the works are nicely curated!

And then it happened.  I could not find my phone.  Upstairs, I emptied the contents out onto the floor of Dany’s former studio. Nothing—well, there was a lot of stuff in the bag but no phone.  The sense of terror that overcame me gave me weak limbs and an empty stomach.  When I told me husband, he was so annoyed with me that he couldn’t speak—in English or French.


panic GIF

A foreign country.  A lost iPhone. My life’s information is crammed into that little rectangle of technology.  I was so panicky that I couldn’t even panic the way I wanted to!

The only thing left to do was to trace my steps (and say a million silent prayers to Saint Anthony).

TV gif. Walton Goggins as Baby Billy Freeman from The Righteous Gemstones seems to be having a spiritual moment. Wearing white clothes in a white room, he raises his hands emphatically beneath a four-pointed star decoration.

For a fleeting moment, I almost prayed to Uncle Baby Billy–but realized I’m Catholic so I returned to Saint Anthony!

We went back to the museum because that was the last place I could remember taking photos. The staff was over-the-top helpful.  One whose name is Theo never left my side during the search. We searched high and low and outside.


After an hour of our scavenger hunt, I went to a cushioned chair that I had been sitting on. I do not know what possessed me but I took the cushion off and reached my hands down the seat’s sides.

I found the phone. You have no idea how relieved I was. Losing that little rectangle of technology almost cost me an international breakdown. All my personal information is in there. What happened was I did not pay attention when I thought I placed my phone in my bag, and instead of slipping into my bag, it fell down the seat.  I did not take any photos at Dany’s Museum that day.

Musee Dany Lartigue

Upon finding my iPhone, I wanted to return to Dany’s museum to take photos–but it was best that we just return back to the apartment!

With the new found relief and stress behind us, we ended up heading to the car and driving home along the Bord du Mer.

Port in St. Trop

Goodbye St. Tropez. We’ll see you next week–and I won’t lose my phone!

The drive back was wonderful because there was no traffic!  It took us less than 40 minutes!! But we did incorporate highway to Bord du Mer!

And it’s always nice to observe the scenery!

Dinner that night was simple.  Aperitifs of course and while my husband enjoyed his steak, I was equally delighted with my octopus!  Our terrace has become a rather happy place in its ability to calm any emotion of anxiety and tonight was just that. It was beautiful to watch the boats gliding across the sea while the sun bid adieu with its rays reaching out to us for an evening hug.

Aperitifs and saucisson on the terrace

Back to the terrace for aperitifs !  And I would say tomight’s Aperol was well-needed and appreciated! What a day!!!

Wednesday, June 21st

Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year.  My usual spirit on this day is one of great sadness because commencing tomorrow, the days get shorter. For some odd reason, I’m okay with this for 2023.  I am almost welcoming the darker days.

And, as you know, when on vacation, one day leads into the next, into the next and you lose track.  My son Roman was attending Dead & Company’s Final Tour stop at Citi Field in NYC on this Wednesday. And I was hoping for his weather to shine!

Dead and Company Citi Field Shows Bid New York Goodnight

Had Dead & Co. been playing in Cannes on this night. I would have had to go by myself because my Frenchman enjoys only classical music.  For me this is classical too–classic Dead! BTW, Roman had a great time as did my number of cousins who were there!

For us, the weather did not exactly shine. The early morning was cloudy but broke away to sun. This is France folks. Cloudy means clouds for an hour then sunny for a good part of the day! We headed to the pool –like I said, this was our year to relax! And due to the clouds fighting with the sun to see who would win the competition, the clouds took precedence at around 11:00 AM.

Our cloudy morning at the pool.

My go-to pool, beach, grocery and daily tote. I’ve been using this tote on visits to France since 2015 and it’s still going strong.  TIP: bring a heavy tote bag with you on trips like this. You want something that’ll multitask and you DO NOT want to lug a designer bag around all day!

We went back to the apartment.  Showered and dressed. And headed into Cannes. And the sun and heat beat the clouds so it was a fun afternoon!

Refreshed, dressed, (hair is Brooklyn by Estetica Designs) and ready to play tourist in Cannes!

We did a thing. Oh, hell yes!  We did a thing.  It was a touristy thing.  We took a tram ride through Cannes.  It was so much fun!

The tran! The tran! The Cannes Choo-Choo tran!

The tram went through the entire city. Through La Croisette where we observed tourists on foot!  Through the auditorium that houses the Cannes Film Festival.  We took detours to avoid all the construction that was taking place. We went through the back streets to Palm Beach.  We chugged along on the infamous Rue d’Antibes and up into the highest peak of Le Suquet.   We passed those enjoying lunch at various cafes—and they smiled and waved to us as we returned the gestures.  I felt like an important actor on the way to the Cannes Red Carpet!  My husband almost fell out the tram as we made a sharp turn.

Currently, Cannes is under construction. I remember it being this way last year but this year it’s extra!

We started at the Port and worked our way around!

Ugh. This was so cringey.  Effing Disney is everywhere–like fundamentilists. It’s an invasion. But in Cannes??  Come on now!

We passed by the Carlton. When I win the lottery and have to head to Cannes to buy an apartment, I’ll spend the weekend here! LOL!

We chugged our way to Le Sequet..the highest and oldest location in Cannes and it was remarkable!

We even got to see the “away-from-the-crowd” private homes.

Honestly, it was the best touristy fun to be had!

After the tram ride, we walked to FNAC to buy books for my husband then we enjoyed an hour or so of honing in on our skills as flaneur and flaneuse.  We worked up quite a thirst and at home enjoyed our Aperitifs and a dinner of rotisserie chicken.

I took this picture of Repetto in Cannes. After my phone incident yesterday, I played it safe today but not taking too many pics!

You know the rest!  That lovely time of evening where it is me, Vincent and the sea—and a few visiting bees!

Back home for our evening routine. See you tomorrow!

Stay tuned for more…………

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Our Visit to the Côte d’Azur—2023! Part One

We are back after a little over two glorious weeks on the French Riviera!

Bonjour! Bonjour to the Cote d’Azur!

The same apartment we’ve been renting for over a decade.  The same familiarity. Some things change while others remain the same.

Always a thrill to step through the threshold of the apartment..

Everything remains the same!  Even the washing machine was still in place–I was so happy!

And, I must say that the bookshelf became fuller this year as I added four books!

We changed up our trip this year by concentrating on “relaxation of which I will get to later in the post but, like Julie Andrews as Maria in The Sound of Music….” Let’s start at the very beginning” ….

Julie Andrews Music Notes GIF by The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization

Maria Von Trapp I’m not. But we’ll start at the beginning anyway..

This was the year I vowed to bring only a carryon.  And once again, it never came to fruition.  As usual, I packed way too many clothes-which was a good idea in theory but in real life-I lived in bathing suits and one or two dresses.  That’s it.

See those shorts and the tee shirt in my carryon? I never wore them.

Yet–it was bursting at the seams…

This cute number from Lilly Pulitzer was the dress I wore almost every day. It has a built-in bra so I didn’t even need half the underwear I packed. If you recall, I also lived in this dress last year!

Despite what they (the fashion non-experts who think they are experts) say, you don’t need a lot of clothes when you head to the Bord de Mer in France. You’ll either be at poolside, or the beach then off to run errands—this kind of activity really doesn’t warrant an entire ensemble of fashion but I’ll cover that in a later post (I don’t know yet, as to how many posts I’ll be writing about our visit).

So anyway, we were all packed up.  Since I do like to travel looking nice and not like a piggy slob, for this trip I wore a cute pair of linen blend shorts, a white cropped tee, a suede belt, metallic Repetto ballet flats and a linen blazer.  I would have traveled without said blazer but the day we left for Nice, we experienced a deluge.  Buckets of rain from the time we left the house until we arrived at the airport.  It wasn’t until we were ready to board the plane that the rain stopped.

The travel ensemble. These linen-blend shorts from Old Navy were perfect! Lightweight and airy they went well with my very old J. Crew linen blazer. Ballet flats for comfort and I cannot travel in footwear that exposes feet. It’s gross.  

Fake tan. Fake Nails. Fake Hair.  At least I’m an honest phoney!

The Airport:  We drove to Newark airport in the monsoon.  Traffic, surprisingly, wasn’t bad at all—most likely because the only people on the road were storm chasers and us.  My husband had the foresight (wait till our return home to hear about this debacle) to pre-pay for the economy parking—which really wasn’t purchased at an economy price.  It cost close to $400 to park the car for the duration of our trip.

EWR - Economy Lot P6 - Parking in Newark | ParkMe

I dunno what year THIS sign was from but we paid more than $18 a day!

We arrived at the parking lot somewhat early so we decided to wait until the rain subsided to bust a move with our luggage and head to the little bus stop where a bus would take us to our terminal.

The rain never stopped.

Instead, we made a mad dash with our big and little luggage—a bit damp physically but our spirits were not.

Singing In The Rain Dancing GIF

We were not singing nor dancing in the rain. It was more like cursing it. But as is usual for me, the weather always sucks when I travel!

We arrived at the terminal.  I was so optimistically naïve because with our TSA pre-check (we spent a lot of money on that), I figured we would be done with the security in a flash. We were not.  Please allow me to state something—as much as I abhor Philadelphia International Airport, they have TSA down to a science, if you have the TSA pre, you are done with TSA in a matter of minutes. Same at JFK and Cincinnati—the airports I travel from the most.  And, the TSA staff at those airports are amiable.

Before I continue. I’ll put it out there that we’re lucky enough to have three airports close by with regularly-scheduled International flights.  JFK, Philadelphia, and Newark.   We’re done with flying to France from Philly because the price is double that of the price at JFK and Newark. Done.

United has better prices than American.  American Airlines is practicing the art of thievery when it comes to the prices at Philadelphia.

In addition, ever since COVID happened, the large economy parking lot at Philly has been closed—maybe as of the time you read this blog post, it’s opened but back in April—it was still closed.

Back to TSA.   The line for Pre-check at Newark was ridiculous.  Thankfully, I am an anxiety-ridden neurotic, and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time—but the time spent on TSA was time wasted—especially since the TSA workers seemed to be quite pissed off that they had a paying job.

Lines at Newark Airport broke two records. One is impressive and the other  is annoying. -

This is basically what the TSA Pre-check looked like at Newark. What a disgrace! 

I went through but a certain Frenchman was detained.  Perhaps the TSA staff was jealous because he looked angrier than they did. Or perhaps it was because he looks so…!  I’m thinking TSA thought he could have been a croissant thief!   After what seemed like hours, they let him go. And when he asked me if I had his wallet, I answered “No” …so back to TSA my Frenchman went, mumbling naughty words in his native tongue. After about another hour, he had his wallet in hand and we went off to the gate to wait.

security airport GIF by truTV’s Those Who Can’t

TSA couldn’t wait to get their hands and rods on my Frenchman’s body. They almost got his wallet too!

We had one-time passes for United Airlines club. And when we arrived at the lounge, we were met with a banner stating the lounge was not in service.  So, I sauntered off and bought a giant-sized bag of peanut M & M’s and an equally sized bag of Raisinettes.  My thinking was the Raisinettes were my fruit helping of the day and the M & M’s, as they were nuts could be considered a healthy choice.  No weight loss activity for the trip—and I just about shoved anything in my mouth!

Second year in a row.  United shouldn’t give passengers passes that they can’t deliver on.

Why wasn’t there an option for me to click “NOT OK”

Now, here’s the thing—it was great that the terminal at Newark had a baby grand piano next to a giant bar in said terminal’s center.  The piano was for anyone who wanted to play and we were entertained by some talented people.  That was pleasant.

Airport pianos you can play - Stuck at the Airport

A most pleasant surprise was the piano in the middle of the terminal!

What was ‘t great was the lack of seating for travelers.  I kid you not.  The seating was limited to barely there.  Rather, in the middle of the seating areas between gates, stood high tables and high chairs.  Not baby highchairs, but adult-sized high chairs that one had to climb up to.  And at these tables were phone chargers. Basically, now while waiting to board your plane, you can sit at an overextended table, charge your phone and instead of people-watching, you can sit and play Candy Crush until you board the aircraft.

I literally had to fight for space with this guy.  In the first place, I’m skeeved by birds. They are rodents with wings. In the second place, I almost got into a confrontation with this flying rodent over seating space.

As we fly economy  (with non-economy prices), we never get to board first. That’s for the people who are wealthy and who are flying business class.  But,  aggressive assertive as I can be, I make sure we are the first people to board on Group 2. And the only reason being is I demand want my overhead space.  A very pleasant surprise greeted us, though, as we boarded the plane—macarons! If it weren’t for my obsession with overhead space, I would have gone back for more!

Firmly ensconced in our little cattle-car seats, I hovered over my overhead space like a junkyard dog.  One woman actually had the balls to come over to our seats and proceed to try to squeeze her stuff into our overhead.  I barked “It’s full!!!!!!!!!” and she crept away like a puppy with it’s tail between her legs.

Why There's No Room for Your Carry-On Bags in the Overhead Bin | Fortune

Don’t you dare try to cram your $hit into my overhead space. You–with the two backbacks, tote that is filled to capacity and your little hard luggage. No. Just. No. This is MY space!

No rain. No delays. And we were taxiing the runway.  Up. Up. And away!   It was time to head to France for the 2023 summer visit.

And away we go!!!!!!!!

The flight was uneventful. Just the way I like it. United has great attendants—they are all so amiable and willing to assist in any way.  It was a pleasure. Honestly, it really was. Out of all the airlines we’ve flown, United has the nicest flight attendants.  And it’s extra nice when they all tell me, as I’m leaving that they loved my outfit! (Most likely because I was the only female passenger not wearing pj bottoms and flip-flops.

The Arrival in France:  Upon arrival, once you leave the plane, the heat hits you. It was hot!  A lot hotter than at home! And with a full plane of people exiting to head to customs, it was hotter.  Late morning/early afternoon. There were two booths opened. There were two customs agents.  T.W.O.  One for French/EU citizens and the other for USA and other non-EU countries.  In a very generous move, families with small children were guided to the EU agent, which was a godsend for young families.  Since I get to piggyback on my husband’s passport, I was also able to go through the EU agent.

Ahhhh…such a pretty sight as we land in Nice!

Think Airport Crowds Are Bad Now? Wait 'Til Summer | WIRED

Since I could not take a picture in customs, the line was three times as bad as this. Two agents. I don’t understand this especially during summer vacation season!

When were got to the front of the line, we witnessed a non-EU passenger, I have no clue as to what kind of passport he had, but there was a big issue and it made me feel so bad for the passengers on the line behind him.

Imagine—a few flights landing at Nice with hundreds upon hundreds of visitors who must wait on a two-hour line.  That’s not good for tourism.

After waiting a while for our luggage, and trust me, we were the lucky ones because the majority of people on our flight were still on the customs line, we headed out to get the car rental.

On our way to get that car!

This, my friends, is where the vacation begins. That second, we load up the car with our stuff, get into the vehicle and exit the airport onto A-8, we smile and shout “We’re on vacation!” like two schoolchildren!

Who needs the yellow brick road when you have the blue sign pointing to A-8?

The drive to the apartment is always fun because I love passing the landmarks like the apartment buildings in the shape of a ship, and the highway signs with illustrations and the exit signs.  We arrived at the apartment, and upon quick inspection, noticed a new bed but everything else remained the same.

That sameness gives me a feeling of comfort—as though this apartment in Theoule is our second home.  I was so happy to see a full bottle of laundry detergent since I do a little laundry every day. I know, I know, I’m on vacation but…I love air drying clothes on the terrace!

Le Chat Color laundry detergent gel Order Online | Worldwide Delivery

This bottle was better than any champagne!  Laundry detergent. What a welcome!!!

The terrace is where we spend most of our “home” time.  The view of the Mediterranean never gets boring or tired. In fact, waking up to the sea and going to bed by the sea has a calming effect!

Quite remarkably the best view on earth!

Our first line of duty, after unpacking, was to head to Geant Hypermarche to be essentials such as Aperol, Crème de Cassis, Champagne, Cider and..oh yeah, food!

Geant Hypermarche. A magnificent mix of retail and food. I could spend an entire day here!

A vast array of wine and various liquor..

…a remarkable selection of salads…

Ready-made plates of cheese–what a great dinner gift!

I was tempted to try the French Taco kit! 

And behold my beloved Socca Chips..


And my Banane Nectar. 

After Geant,  we headed to Marche Forville for fresh produce and Ernest for my husband’s adored Andouillette.

We bought various tapanades at Forville.

This years tomatoes.  I have to say, they looked great but the usual taste wasn’t there. Same with the tomatoes at home.  Something is amiss.

A variety of saucisson.

The peonies were the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

A most crowded market!

Time to head to Ernest!


Andouillette.  A sausage of sorts made from stomach lining (tripe) that smells like a cross between a dirty diaper and old socks that have been sitting in a gym locker for four years!


When we finished the shopping errands, it was that magical time of day—Aperitif time!  We enjoyed our drinks on the Terrace followed by a light dinner. And with me freaking out every time a bee decided to visit us. I’m allergic. Luckily the only insect to attack me during the stay was the mosquito.  And although we had plug-in mosquito repellent, those little buggers were eating me up like maggots on roadkill.  I still have about twenty bites on my body.


The next day, Sunday, we woke up to gloriously beautiful skies and after coffee and croissant, headed to the pool.  A thing about my husband—he refuses to go to the beach on Sunday (and Saturday) in France.  He has a point because the beaches are remarkably crowded—even before high season.  No parking to be had.  Blankets and umbrellas almost touching each other.  Lots of heads bobbing up and down in the water.

Instead, we spent the day at the pool.  The 2023 pool attendant was exceptionally great this year. He was helpful in getting our umbrellas and always smiling.   The regulars swimming their laps and walking the perimeter of the pool, the young families on vacation, couples young and old came to the pool for the same thing—to soak up the sun (while wearing sunscreen), read, check their iPhones, swim, break for lunch, come back and repeat.

Sunday AM. Pool bound. No wig just my hair tied back and in a baseball cap.  

9:00 AM and all is very quiet!

And after a day at the pool, come back “home” to shower, refresh, start dinner and gaze at the goings-on in the sea until the sun sets and the sky goes from blue to an array of orange, purple, yellow stripes blending into one another until darkness arrives.

Slumber comes easy with the French doors opened to the terrace, the sounds of cicadas and doves and the sea splashing against the rocks is symphonic enough to lullaby you to sleep.

To be continued…………

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Soft Ageism—It’s a Thing. Thanks to Sports Illustrated and Martha Stewart

CAVEAT: If you are offended by my snarky tone then might I suggest you do not read this blog post and go read something about finding Talbots clothing.

Enchanting Animal Classic French Terry Half Zip Pullover | Talbots

And Talbots target consumer being the “over 50 woman”, ponder why a younger woman with no visible wrinkles is in the ad.

If you haven’t heard the news by now, please allow me to inform you.  Martha Stewart is the Cover Girl (Or rather, cover mature Woman of the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. In addition, her photos are also displayed among the infamous Swimsuit editorial.

Making history with a photoshopped, filtered, edited 81 year-old Martha Steward on Sports Illustrated.  I will say that her titties look great because they left the natural sagginess of the girls. That’s about the only thing that doesn’t scream “Quiet Ageism”

At 81 years old, she is the oldest woman to grace both the cover and pages of SI—and the swimsuit edition.

Megan Fox is also celebrated in the SI Swimsuit Issue. She, too, has had a ton of stuff done to her. But seriously folks, check out the Martha on the right. That’s more what she looks like.

Older women, for the most part that I’ve seen or read, are thrilled with this. And comments regarding the use of photoshop and editing are being called out from these same older women that humbly adore what SI has done, as the negative commenters being deemed “haters”.

Snow White Haters GIF

“Haters”–the new word for “You don’t agree with me and you are mean for not agreeing with me”.  Sing it Snow!

If an 81-year old man had been splayed in a swimsuit in any publication, without editing and showcasing his beer belly and his hairy body, he would be applauded—but a woman apparently has to be photoshopped. It’s a disgusting and misogynistic double standard.

Celebrate Old Man GIF by The Leith Agency

Old men are acceptable. Even with their ripples and wrinkles. Old women are not acceptable unless they are photoshopped!

Now, while I think it’s great that an older woman is included in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, I’m also disgusted, disappointed and angry.

Any phase of aging has been erased from the images. Truth be told, Martha looks like an AI image of herself. And that’s wrong.  If the editors of SI had any balls or any sense of respect for the senior community, they would have left her image alone.  Had we been subjected to what Martha really looks like at her present season in life, it would have been a landmark and it would have showcased the true beauty of the aging process.

Quiet Photoshopping. Keep the softened crow’s feet but get rid of the textured skin. Erase the lines. Add a glow…

Middle pic of me is no filters or Facetune. I have freckles on my body and many wrinkles (thanks to baby oil and iodine and sun damage. I take full responsibility).  The pic on the far right is also me but with smoothed out skin and some lines erased. I tried making my mouth bigger but Facetune couldn’t do it because my mouth is already big.

I’m gonna skip around here before I come back to Martha.

It’s the “Quiet Ageism” that is daunting.  Yes. Sports Illustrated did showcase an 81-year-old woman.  However, it was done with photoshopping, filtering and the best damned lighting you could ever imagine.  On one hand she’s old. On the other, she’s been erased of all signs indicating she’s old.

Those titties again! You can tell the outline at her arms that even those were slimmed down a bit and the hands have been edited. For crissakes, Stewart has been blessed with great genes–showcase her in her unedited state and she would still look good.

Quiet Ageism is that ad for skincare where the vulgar term “anti-aging” is printed on the ads and the model is a 20-year-old who has been filtered to the point of no skin texture.

The 18 best anti-aging skin care products in 2023

Hey Aveeno, show a NORMAL, AVERAGE 55 to 65 year old after using this for a few months. I guarantee the wrinkles will still be there.  And stop using young models and Jennifer Aniston. We know you photoshop Jennifer!

Quiet Ageism is the ad from clothing companies that are “mature” women brands yet their models are nowhere near 50 or over.

Talbots - South Lake Avenue

Talbots.  The model on the far right, I believe IS older–but she’s been photoshopped to look younger. Even with conservative clothing brands quiet ageism is worse than quiet luxury.

Society looks down upon racism, antisemitism, sexism, and all the other “isms” but yet, ageism is the only ism to be swept under the carpet.  Society also looks down on ageing.   Ads for Juvéderm, Botox and other fillers will halt the process of ageing. Stop wrinkles before they appear.

Dozens of Cities Dub Racism a Public Health Crisis - Bloomberg

Trust me, racism IS a public health crisis and so is ageism. But ageism is the “acceptable” ism.

The fact is, wrinkles are part of the process.  Age spots are too. Crepe-paper skin is as are drooping eyelids and thinning lips and hair.  And instead of trying to hide the fact this happens; we should be working with this—and enhancing the great features that have remained our personal greatness.

Video gif. An elderly lady looks coyly at us while slowly looking up and down, and she has a sly smile on her face.

This is how we age. This is what the ageing process does. And quite frankly, this woman is looking pretty darn good!

How many senior citizens have the same job opportunities as young people?

37+ Best Jobs for Seniors (For All Situations)

This illustration is for an article regarding jobs for seniors. And the illustration is ageist. It showcases old people with white hair, bad haircuts and bad clothing.

How many older women are included on a regular basis in clothing ads, cosmetic ads and luxury brand advertisements?  Not many. And our demographic should be included in every ad where a group of women from all cultural and racial backgrounds are showcased.

Why Inclusive Beauty Brand CTZN Cosmetics Should Be on Your Radar - FASHION  Magazine

Ad for CTZN Cosmetics celebrating diversity. WTF is the old woman? And all these young people are photoshopped. It’s BS all the way!

I’ve read comments on social media discussing how “boomers” thankfully will be gone soon. Yes. I’ve actually read shit like this.  There’s plenty of Boomer Bullying out there so open your eyes.

The Office Boomer GIF by MOODMAN

Pretty much the welcome Boomers receive on social media and in real life.

In all honesty, I can’t really place the blame on Martha, she had an opportunity and went with it. And I’m pretty sure she’s had surgery—if I had her money, I would have that saggy chin lifted—but I would own it.

I honestly can’t place the blame on Martha. But for someone who pontificates baking from scratch and being organic–these photos aren’t very organic!

I couldn’t get The Frenchman to pour water over my head. But you can see from my top photo that I’m full of wrinkles and on the bottom one I erased them!!

And she does look great. When I see a “regular” picture of her she looks wonderful—old and wonderful.  Trust me, it isn’t Christmas in our home unless I start preparing my Martha Stewart Eggnog the day after Thanksgiving and I don’t make Pain aux Raisins without her pastry cream recipe.  So, if you’re reading this and think I’m a “hater”—think again.

Martha Stewart's 9 Booziest Tips For Getting Drunk On Eggnog | HuffPost Life

Regular Martha from a few years back. HEY! She looks older there than now. And don’t scrimp on the booze in the Martha Stewart Eggnog!

Martha stewart eggnog booze | Atypical 60

Here’s a photo from one of my old blog posts in which I make Martha Stewart Eggnog.  After three cups of this, EVERYONE begins to look younger!!

For those who refuse to believe that photo editing of any kind was used on Ms. Stewart, I would say to get to your ophthalmologist and check for cataracts or go into therapy for your delusional thoughts because girlfriend’s been edited—and heavily!

Of Cataracts and Proaging Eye Care! | Atypical 60

Yeah. Keep looking at Martha through an eye patch and get yer eyes checked!

My favorite comeback to this whole Martha thing is an Instagram post from @isthattomhearn who portrays my beloved Ina Garten in the funniest and most loving way. It’s his rendition of Ina on the cover. Tom gets it.

Tom’s Ina is filtered!  But I swear you HAVE to follow him on Instagram. His impersonations of Ina are fabulous..and he does Martha too!

So, what are your thoughts on this? I’m really interested to know…

And let me know which ME you prefer. Real me or fake me!

Posted in Uncategorized | 39 Comments

‘Tis the Season for Summer Packing- And I’m Packing it In!

Now that Covid has “officially” been deemed over, and because the past two years and change have seen a decline in travel, it’s that season again. Travel Season!

Denver Health Lifting Universal Masking Policy March 1 | Denver Health

Actually, I still carry masks in my car and on my person–just in case!

Once more people are taking vacations as opposed to staycations. They long to leave the comfort of their centrally air-conditioned homes and backyard pools.  The local beach is being substituted for a tropical one.

Digital art gif. Palm trees on a beach with mountains in the background and a clear blue sky.

But of course.  Bring on the Pina Coladas and make that dermatologist appointment for September!

And rightfully so.  We work hard so we want to play hard—or not play at all and just relax!

Airfare prices have gone sky-high, so to speak.  TBH, a trip that used to cost just about $200 for me to fly to Cincinnati to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, is now almost $800.  It is disgusting and horrific that the airlines can get away with this white-collar, corporate crime. While I realize the fuel costs are high, they do come down but the airfares do not.


Therefore, it is wise and pragmatic to book airline tickets, especially if flying overseas, early. And look for the airlines to offer lower prices at various airports.  We discovered that Philadelphia to Paris is more expensive than flying from JFK. And JFK is more expensive than Newark airport.  Philadelphia doesn’t offer flights to Nice direct.  We opt for United out of Newark.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still expensive but less so than the other two airports.

And since it’s the “peak season” of travel really begins at the end of June, The Frenchman makes sure we squeeze our start of vacation the second week of that month through the very beginning of July. It’s all a matter of planning and research.

Do you remember the great comedian, Alan King?  He was constantly complaining about airlines in the funniest but most honest way—and this is going back to the 1960’s through 1980’s.  I’m sure he is now rolling around in his grave.

Paying for extra luggage.  Being nickeled and dimed for everything such as an alcoholic beverage (for the nervous flyer) and then, having to listen to a sales pitch from the flight attendants to sign up for an airlines Visa/Mastercard all the while vying to squeeze your carryon into the overhead.

Airlines are charging more money for less flights whilst piling travelers into the cabins like cattle going to slaughter.  Quite frankly, I don’t know how my husband, who barely gets by with a good night’s sleep at home due to his back, can sleep for seven hours on a flight from the States to France—but he does.  I, on the other hand, can sleep like a 1,000-pound log that cannot budge when I’m in the comfort of, not only our bed but any bed I slumber in.  I cannot sleep on a flight.

Instead, I rely on reading trashy magazines, one of the many novels I travel with or opt to watch a few movies—the time “flies” (yeah, another intentional pun) by.

And most of the year, when I’m flying, it’s a quick jaunt less than three hours.  As such, I really don’t need to pack much.  However, that annual visit to the Côte d’Azur, requires some thought.  Some thought on my behalf because every year, I try to fit two to three- weeks’ worth of clothing, hair and footwear into a carry-on.  I fail miserably. And at the 11th hour, randomly through stuff into my husband’s big suitcase—which leads to overpacking.

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC

Me, trying in vain to fit three weeks’ worth of clothing into a carryon!

My yearly intentions are well-meant and this year, I’ll try again. However, I’ll try to be more pragmatic so here goes:

Having three carry-on sized bags, I need to decide which one will be the best choice. I will come back to that later.

Cant Decide Fred Armisen GIF by IFC

Can I add an “overthink” to my indecisiveness too?

In addition, the apartment we’ve been renting forever has a washing machine/dryer.  That means I can dirty up whatever I’m wearing only to throw it in the wash and allow it to airdry because there is nothing better than air-dried clothing.  I can also iron any wrinkles out.

Back to the Côte d'Azur. Nothing Changes Yet Everything Changes! | Atypical  60

Besides my husband and me dining on the terrace, this is where my laundry dries!

Now it’s time to decide what clothing I’ll bring.   I love me a good dress. One that isn’t cumbersome and one that is lightweight and not fussy.  My absolute favorite travel dress is this olive-green number purchased at Old Navy seven years ago for $10 –or was it $5.00? Regardless, it’s been with me for years and it’ll be packed for next month.

Hair I Go Again! | Atypical 60

This is either from 2015 or 2016–but it’s now drying in my bathroom because it’s the dress I always bring to France during the summer!

I also love this cute number by Lilly Pulitzer. It was purchased early spring 2022 and I wore it practically every other day when in France and quite often to work as last summer was really hot.

This was worn a lot last year.  It’s still going strong and going into my packing pile!

The decision to pack this navy dress purchased from Amazon, is weighing heavily on my mind. I love it so much but I don’t want to overpack—I’ll probably bring it anyway.

I’m bringing this. Well, at least as of TODAY I’m bringing it. Maybe tomorrow I won’t. I like the way it looks with sandals and sneakers.

Multi-tasking clothing is a favorite of mine. I can pack these two maxi dresses and wear them from day, with Converse sneakers while out and about then switch to a more polished look with a change into sandals and a bit of jewelry.

This black maxi from Old Navy is a great length because I won’t trip over it. It looks great with my Rondini sandals in a dressier mode for dinner.

And the same maxi in gray.  For a more casual look, take off the sandals and replace with sneakers!

Another maxi–again, from Old Navy. This one is great for those hottest days! No bra needed and slits on the side.  

Bathing Suits. Last year, I felt too heavy to go for a two-piece and packed only one-piece bathing suits. I was so freaking uncomfortable.  Due to my longer torso, any and all one-piece bathing suits eventually give me a permanent wedgie and the constant fidgeting and pulling down of the suit has only one redeeming quality:  My arms get a work out.

I’ll be clocking a lot (weather permitting) of pool and beach time and this year I’m back to two pieces.  The top row is showcasing a blue two-piece I purchased from Cupshe. Multitasked with half of a two piece purchased last year at Nordstrom. I like the mix and match aspect.  Bottom row more separates but the brown suit is also by Cupshe. I purchased off the Cupshe site and should have purchased from Amazon instead. Amazon had no delivery charge.

So, this year, I figured screw it.  I’ll go back to two-piece swimwear.  I lost over ten pounds—am still not where I want to be but comfort is more important to me these days.  And, in a very odd way, I think the two-piece can be flattering. STOP THE BLOG PRESSES.  I FOUND A GREAT ONE-PIECE!

Found a great one-piece on Amazon. Olive green–which I love and ruffles!

I love the ruffles on this. Not twee or prim, just really nice!

Shorts: This is going to take a bit of extra thought.  I love my denim shorts but if it’s super-hot out, they are heavy.  I could go with a lightweight shirt and I’ll probably pack a pair.

I can’t help it–I love the aesthetic of blue denim shorts with an oversized, crisp, white shirt. The button-fly shorts from Old Navy run so small that I had to go up two sizes to a 12. There is absolutely NO stretch in these at all. The shirt, from Amazon is so nice I ordered it twice. I just love it–it’s so incredibly lightweight. Yeah. I’ve made up my mind. This is going with me.

I’m a fan of Lilly Pulitzer shorts. Funny how the denim shorts are a size 12 and these are a size 8 with a perfect fit.  The top is also from quite a few years ago also by Lilly Pulitzer.

Another pair of Lilly Pulitzer shorts. No brand screams “summer” the way LP does! These can be worn when we take day trips to Marseilles or Monaco or Eze.

Shirts: Only needed if I’m bringing shorts, which I know I will. I have a nice gauze button down which is great for the heat and a few tee shirts. All solid. All white.

J Crew Factory T-Shirt Review (found the perfect tee) + Ab-Solution Jeans &  Nisolo Mules - Classy Yet Trendy

My personal favorite tee shirts are from J. Crew Factory. The V-neck slub tees are the best. I have about two dozen in white and a few navy and a few in other colors. Definitely being packed!

Underwear.  Yeah. Two bras, a racer-back and one regular bra.  Panties for every day. And even though I’m not a socks person, I will bring those sock peds for the sneakers—especially if walking around all day to see sights.

LIFWARM Sticky Bra Adhesive Silicone Push Up Bra Invisible Lifting Backless Strapless Bra for Women with Nipple Covers

I ordered these very sticky bras from eAmazon to wear under clothes that don’t call for a regular bra. I cannot stand bra straps hanging out and these do a very decent job!

My hair:  Still undecided as to which wigs I’ll bring but they always go in my carryon. I’m not chancing losing more hair than I already have lost.

This little blonde bob by Estetica is going with me. I can’t remember if it is Petite Sullivan or Jamison. Either way–it goes to France!

Toiletries/Makeup:  Traveling with full-sized toiletries is a PITA as far as I’m concerned. In the first place, they have to go in checked-in luggage and I don’t trust the airlines. My fear is exploding bottles or jars that’ll, no matter how securely packed, ruin all the clothing that has been packed with care. I ordered this fantastic travel toiletry kit from Amazon (Yes. I’m shilling) that I cannot wait to fill with cleanser for my face, my Albolene makeup remover, eau de toilette, setting spray.  The kit not only comes with spatulas, a funnel and a brush to clean the bottles etc. with, but the aerosol / pump bottles have tubes that reach all the way to the bottom of the bottles.

I cannot wait to fill all the bottles, tubes and jars with my stuff. This is a great travel essentials kit. Let me see how much I can funnel in before I mess it up.

Look!  The beauty of this is that the tube goes ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM! That means no wasted product!

Because I do manage to get a tan from sitting at the pool or the beach every morning (weather permitting), I don’t, thankfully, need to bring a lot of makeup.  My Subtl Beauty stack, mascara, brow crayon, eyeliner and lip gloss. That’s it.   I can bring my own sunscreen that has been funneled into one of the squeezable bottles and body lotion.

The face tint, the Fleur d’Oranger, the e.l.f. setting spray and the Tray Joe’s handcream will all be transferred into the appropriate bottles/tubes of the travel kit pictured above. The only makeup I’ll bring is the Subtl Beauty stack, the e.l.f. brow pencil, the Trestique liner (which, by the way is an HG eyeliner) and random lip glosses–oh..and mascara

Footwear.  No closed-toed shoes. Okay. I’m not being truthful. I’ll wear a pair of shoes on the flights to and from.  I can’t stand looking at anyone’s feet. From flip flops to Birkenstock sandals. For the sake and respect of other travelers,  keep your filthy feet from my sight.  During the trip I will, however, be wearing my new Converse low tops. Despite whatever “experts” may say, sneakers have been accepted as proper footwear.  Personally, I’m very particular about this subject. I love the aesthetic of the Converse sneaker. I prefer white as it goes with everything. And as we will be walking on some rough terrain in Cabris and Eze, the sneakers will suffice.

Although not a sneaker person, I AM a Converse person. I love the look and they will do quite well over rocky and sandy terrain!

And, as always, my Rondini sandals. I don’t know yet which ones other than my Tropeziennes I’ll take but most likely a dressy pair. And lastly a pair of flip flops to wear to the beach and pool.

I need to narrow this down to two choices because I’ll be buying another pair!

Deciding on which carryon is also something to ponder.  As much as I love my Longchamp weekender, I find with no shoulder strap it can be a heavy pain in the neck (and shoulder, and back) to lug around  Aéroport de Nice. squishes nicely in the overhead.

I have a carryon that I ordered from Amazon and I love it. It’s a very strong contender but I need to measure it at full pack to make sure it will be allowed as a carryon.  It is definitely soft enough to squish in the overhead and it has a very comfortable shoulder strap—long enough to wear it as a cross-body.

Then there’s another duffel from Amazon.  This is sturdy and I’ve used it for over a year on trips to Cincinnati and other visits. I love the way it looks; it has a very comfortable shoulder strap but the weight is slightly heavy. It definitely fits in the  overhead. I just need to see if all my stuff can fit into it.

The brown duffle bag is the strongest, the quilted one is the roomiest and lightest, the Longchamp has been with me for years but lacks a shoulder strap. Decisions. Decisions.

And that’s a key element.  A good carryon. My personal take on this is the duffle-bag type of luggage is better than the hard suitcases that so many people take as carryon luggage but to each their own. If you don’t want to check your luggage, then you know how important carryon is.  And I wish the airlines would put a rule in place. One carryon per seat. I’m sick and tired of seeing families with four kids each lugging carry-ons AND backpacks AND games AND laptops to watch movies.  I take one carryon and one purse. And yes—my purse is always oversized but it always fits under the seat in front of me.

Season 6 Nbc GIF by This Is Us

I have nothing against babies on planes. But they don’t each need their own carry on. They can’t even hold a bottle yet! 

And speaking of purses/bags my vintage LV Randonee PM will be accompanying me. I don’t like to bring new bags and the Randonee is literally a black hole. It holds everything! My journals and pens will fit beautifully into this behemoth of a bag.

From 1997. 26 years old. Complete with oil stains and wear. This is the kind of purse I prefer to travel with. Old and worn–just like me!

And just what will I wear en route?   These lightweight pants from J. Crew are perfect. Elasticized drawstring waist, elasticized hem at the ankle, and pockets make these a great buy—especially since they were bought on sale and with my rewards discount!  Comfort is important when sitting cramped on a long flight and planes get cold—it’s just the way it is.  Opting for loose pants, a tee shirt (that I’ll most likely spill something on because I’m a natural slob), and a lightweight scarf will give the needed comfort.

These pants are kicking my Pixie pants out of first place for travel comfort!

I don’t bring one of those neck rests because it’s just another item to lug around. Instead, I just use the pillow and blanket provided and manipulate it into a bespoke resting item for my neck.  I also don’t bring a newspaper to read (my husband does) because I don’t want newsprint all over my hands.

I also won’t bring a heavy sweater or jacket. It gets hot in the south of France. Very hot. Even when it’s cool, it still doesn’t warrant outerwear.  An umbrella will be packed though. Just in case.

a christmas story GIF

Nope. No heavy outwear for me. Even in winter I don’t wear heavy outerwear!

And, I travel only with inexpensive and downright cheap jewelry.  If they are lost or left behind, I won’t freak out!

Cheap hoops, inexpensive necklaces and inexpensive bracelets are already packed. Now I need to sleuth down the $7.00 watch I bought at Walmart last summer!

Washed, air drying and ready to pack!

Before I close this post, I just want to reiterate something—especially if you are traveling to a cosmopolitan area, large city or Europe.  Wear what you would wear under normal circumstances. I’m not talking about a tee-shirt and pajama bottoms.  I’m simply saying wear normal clothing. You don’t need to believe you are in a fashion show. You are not Emily in Paris nor Audrey Hepburn in Rome or New York City.  Throw out those lists of  “experts” tell you what to wear.  You be you.  I honestly wish you could watch some of the documentaries on various subject matter on any French TV channel. You would see that the average French citizen is not walking around in designer duds.  So, use your judgement and take plenty of clean underwear!

What Age Is Emily in Paris Supposed to Be, Anyway?

Trust me, you do NOT want to dress like this–especially if you are going to Paris. You will be given the side-eye and will be laughed at. Sadly, people actually believe that Emily in Paris personifies real-life. 

Last of all—I’m shilling. You know that I do receive a small commission from Amazon as an Amazon Influencer (I take that term lightly) so I compiled a list of items that I’ve ordered and will be using on my trip.  Every. Single. Item. Is. Used! PS. The Converse sneakers on the Amazon list are less expensive than what I paid at DSW. The Cupshe bathing suits were cheaper on Amazon than on the Cupshe website and there was no delivery charge either!  MY AMAZON PACKING FOR FRANCE LIST!


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My Weight Loss Journey—The 101th Trip!

CAVEAT:  I’m no doctor. I’m no nurse.  I am however a hypochondriac.  I’m no dietician or nutritionist.  Therefore, this blog post is purely about how I am losing weight—at a snail’s pace.

Television Doctor GIF

Trust me. The medical profession thanks me for not being a nurse..or doctor….

Since January of this year, I’ve managed to lose 12 pounds. That’s not great considering we are entering the 5th month of 2023.  However, it isn’t that bad either.

shrug meh GIF

Yeah. It’s kind of a “meh” moment. If I were more disciplined I could have lost more.

A bit of backstory:  The pandemic had me with a 30-pound weight gain. Pre-Covid I was 140 pounds. At 5 feet 6 inches, it’s a healthy weight—especially since I’m older and do not want to be skin and bones.  With my brother’s passing just before the lockdown, I was depressed and food helped to temporary fix the depression—for a few moments. And those few moments lasted about two years.

Pandemic Weight Gain — It's a Thing

Yup! I’m everything on this.

Then it was eating from boredom. It was eating from stress.  It was just eating too much.  I’m sure you know what that’s like.

Video gif. Woman wearing a white plastic bib eats her way through a hoard of plates, food wrappers, and condiment bottles. She grabs at food and shoves it into her food covered mouth with determined intensity.

Me.  Me. Me.

This past Thanksgiving, the family was here and it was great, I baked, cooked and ate and didn’t even worry about my weight. I was having too much fun with my kids and grandsons.  Christmas was another feast even though we had Covid—it didn’t stop me from eating.

And the work was worth it!!

New Year’s Eve, I got on the scale to a whopping 170 pounds.  My Ob/Gyn Appointment was mid-January and with the holidays over, my body managed to come down five pounds.  At 165, my doctor told me to lose 25 pounds—which would bring me back to 140.

The first thing I did was to return to Weight Watchers. It worked for me in the past but would it work now?

Not really.  You see, Weight Watchers closed the majority of their “in-person” meetings.  In my area the only meeting I could possibly attend was on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  That time didn’t work for me.  My only solution was to revive my lifetime status and revisit the App.

What we can learn from Weight Watchers as a distributed community model —  Get Together Book

I’m REALLY pissed off at Weight Watchers for paring down on the physical meetings. For me, those meetings mean accountability and the opportunity to connect with those going through what I experience with weight. It’s now the “APP” and internet meetings. Sorry not sorry. It doesn’t work for me!

Now—the app apparently works for many people; it doesn’t move my needle but I do find the tracking valuable because I’m able to track my meals. Still, given the gazillion “Zero-Point” foods the brand has listed, many are foods I am “meh” about.


My exercise routine is running up and down the stairs. And mostly running up so that I can exercise my hands by…

…taking selfies of myself. At least my fingers are getting a workout!

What I have done is make a conscience effort to cut down on processed foods, carbs and sweets. That doesn’t mean I’m depriving myself. It means I’m more aware of what I’m putting into my mouth and gut.

As of April 28, two days ago from posting this—my weight is 156.7. I’m okay with that.

TBH, this number is better then what it would have been had I gained additional weight!

I had visions of being my target weight in six weeks, when we head back to France. Being at the pool and the beaches, I was hoping to get to that number where I am comfortable.

high kick beach GIF by Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Ain’t gonna happen. I won’t be down to my goal weight, but I’m still wearing a bathing suit!

It’s not going to happen, yet, I refuse to beat myself up over it.   “With age comes wisdom” is a saying that, at times, I’m unsure of—I’m not that wise. However, I’m adding it to my healthier weight journey.  Wisdom is that thing one needs to apply when achieving a healthier weight or even life style.   I’m not going to deprive myself—especially being that I’m married to the Gallic Gastronomic King—Vincent Premier.  But I will say, he’s very supportive even though he likes my body rounded.

So basically, here’s what I’m doing.  And I do fall off the wagon from time to time but I catch myself.

So last weekend, I flew out to Cincinnati to see my daughter, Oona, son-in-law Sam, and my precious little ishkabibbles—Owen and Bennett.  It was a Birthday surprise from my husband and it was the greatest time.

In flight snack–American Airlines is so generous. There was NO way I would pass up Biscoff cookies on the flight!

And I ate.  Saturday morning, Oona took me to a fantastic French-style bakery, Sebastian Bakehouse.  And I left no pastry that she bought unturned.  My favorite was a savory one “Pig and Fig” and it was the best thing I ever ate in my life. YES!  You read it correctly.  Better than any pastry I’ve had in France.

The croissants were as good as mine!

THIS!! Hands down, THE best thing I’ve ever eaten in my 68 years!

If I lived in Cincy, I would badger Sebastian until he hired me!

Oona and I also had a “girls’ night out” which began at Emery restaurant and ended at Graeter’s Ice Cream.

This dish from Emery was lemony, cheesy and full of shrimp! The healthiest thing I ate all weekend!

I am shameless in my love for Graeter’s Ice cream.  A scoop of Midnight snack and a scoop of Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan made me and my hips and thighs happy!

There was a lot of activity previously in the day when we went to the Cincinnati Museum at the old Union Station.  And through it all, even a lunch of wings, I didn’t gain an ounce.

An afternoon with the grandboys kept me active!

What’s on my usual plate these days?

Well, as I stated, I’m not depriving myself. Last night we had escargot for starters. I follow Chef Ludo’s recipe and trust me, there is no skimping on the butter.

We also had a good (i.e., over $100) bottle of wine that did not keep me up with GERD nor did I throw up.  Everything stayed down.  My innards were very happy and satisfied!

During the workweek, I pare down.  As I work part-time, Monday through Thursday, I skip on lunch and drink so much water that I feel, I could swallow a few fish whole and they would thrive swimming around in my gut.  I eat lighter during those four days.

Top 10 Fastest Fish in the World

I drink so much water that my stomach can possibly be turned into an aquarium

Friday and Saturdays are my days to indulge.  This Friday I met my girlfriend Grace at “Couch Tomato”, an adorable little place in Conshohocken.  I had a great salad and skipped on the dressing.

The Couch Tomato Cafe' Delivery Menu | 31 West Gay Street West Chester -  DoorDash

I had no idea Couch Tomato was a chain–that’s how much I go out to eat!

Actually, that’s the way I prefer salad—without dressing. It’s weird—I realize that but I can’t stand salad drenched in wet or creamy dressing.  Actually, I’m not a big salad maker—for some bizarre reason, making salad is a chore for me.  That’s right—I’ll spend three days making croissants but making a salad is a chore!

I like my salad naked–without dressing!

Hummus?  I make my own, using Chef Jay Hajj’s recipe. Homemade hummus is so much better than store-bought and lasts, for me at least, around two weeks.  I also, for that “extra” touch, add a few slices of Preserved Lemons.

Almost gone. I swear this hummus is the best ever.  My grandson Owen LOVES it!

Preserved lemons. They add that little extra zing to all dishes!

Speaking of preserved lemon…. the syrupy liquid that sits in the jar after a few weeks is a great addition to sauces and…………….yes, salad dressing!

Oatmeal is another item I love. I don’t buy the processed, ready-made envelopes. I buy the rolled oats and cook them with raisins or dates and add a touch of fig jam. It satisfies on all levels—I don’t eat it for breakfast either. It’s dinner for me. In fact, as I write this, I have to send my husband out to the store to buy more. I’m out!

Yes. The Old Fashioned Oats are what I dig. Raisins or chopped dates with a bit of…

..this fig jam make for a very appetizing light and quick weekday dinner.

My bestie, MaryBeth, got me hooked on these little chicken and cilantro mini dumplings.  Eight of them in a bowl of chicken broth is all that is needed for a sated appetite. (One of the few processed items I eat.)

And these are low in WW points. Every time we go to Costco I make sure I come home with a bag!

Eggs. Hey. I just had bloodwork done after ten (yes TEN) years of being afraid to go to the doctor and my cholesterol is fine.  Eggs are the most versatile food I know. While the Frenchman is addicted to my egg salad (Simple. Nothing more than hard cooked eggs, mayo, salt and pepper) and it is a staple for him, I love my eggs wet-scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, soft boiled or any way possible.

Ahh…the incredible edible and most versatile egg! From cooking to baking–and easter egg decorating, they are amazing nuggets of everything good!

I’m adding a little warning regarding eggs though.  I made wet scrambled eggs during the week (if you are unfamiliar with “wet” scrambled eggs—they are cooked underdone), and the eggs I used were “farm” eggs—i.e., not purchased in the grocery store and not pasteurized.  I got violently ill. The stomach cramps had me bowled over.  At the office, I spent most of the day in the bathroom—and thank God my work area is steps away from the ladies’ room or I would have had to go home to change! It was so bad that my husband wanted to take me to the ER.   By the next day I was fine.

I Did It Win GIF by Party Down

Yes. I did it. All day in the ladies room!

Laughing Cow Light.  Okay, so perhaps I do have a few items in my repertoire that are processed, but these little cheese wedges are an item I cannot do without.  Being a cheese lover, I need to take a step back for the time being from devouring half a wheel of brie or camembert.  Cream cheese?  Best thing to come from Philly but I am also taking a step back from enjoying a cream cheese and jelly sandwich these days.

These little wedges are life-savers and take the craving for other cheese away!

I put Laughing Cow on Bagel thins, I enjoy it on Trader Joe’s rice cakes. I put it on little crackers. It is a staple for me. And I have to keep it away from my husband.

I also spread hummus on these..

…and on these!  Separately from the Laughing Cow though!

Pasta.  Contrary to popular belief, pasta on its own is not going to mar weight loss. It’s all the sh.., stuff one loads upon it. Alfredo sauce, vodka sauce, meatballs, sausage and other things is what adds the calories and fat.  Luckily, I cannot stand tomato sauce. I can’t eat it. The GERD appears. I’ve never liked tomato sauce and never will.  Don’t get me wrong- I love a good tomato with salt or in a salad but as sauce or gravy. Nope!

The Walmart brand of Great Value pasta is just as good as the other brands and almost half the price!

I’ll take my pasta with a bit of pasta water and salt and pepper.

Vegetables.  Not gonna lie. Peas—whether frozen or the canned baby peas are my favorite vegetable.  And I often add them to my pasta.  The canned ones are not safe with me because I’ll eat them right from the can.  I’m also a fan of brussels sprouts but more so in winter than summer. Spinach—at any time.  Fresh asparagus? Always.  And in winter I love turnips, rutabaga and parsnips.  But it isn’t winter now.

Presently these frozen peas are on the counter because later this evening I’ll have them on my pasta!

Spinach ..or is it chard, and beans is also a good meal.

Fruit.  I’m weird with fruit. I’ll eat apples only in autumn and they have to be Gala apples or I can’t eat them. In addition, they have to be fresh and not old. Old apples taste grainy and I can’t stand that.  Bananas? All year?  Berries?  I can’t eat those Driscoll brand strawberries with the white middle. Ugh. They are completely tasteless.  For me, strawberry season is only during the two weeks we are on the Côte d’Azur.  The Collobrieres strawberries are tiny (like French people) and completely red and so sweet. I have them practically every night.  Blueberries? I love them. All year.

Pick of the crop: experience 25 of Europe's most celebrated harvests |  National Geographic

These are the strawberries I live for. No white middle. Sweet and tiny. 

Figs?  My favorite!  Other than that, I’m not crazy about fruit.

Fig GIF by Efecantarim

During Fig season, just call me this!

Being of the “lazy” nature, given the choice of the gym or reading a book, I’ll opt for the novel. I’m exercising my brain. And not everyone enjoys exercising. I’ve yet to see a runner passing by with a smile on their face—they look miserable.


One of my favorite books of all time. And to this day, I am flummoxed as to why it wasn’t made for the cinema!

Walking?  This is tough for me. When I lived in NYC I walked everywhere and was in the best shape of my life.  Especially when I had the three kids with me, two in a stroller and one in a Snugli. And I adored walking in the city because you never see the same thing twice.

I loved walking my dogs when we lived in New Jersey, as a SAHM, I would do so in the early afternoon before the kids arrived home, it was “me” time with Ruby and Dorothy.

My girls Dorothy (a rescue) and Ruby (not a rescue) I still cry sometimes about Ruby. I loved her more than many people!

Now? In the suburbs?  I’m petrified that if I look at someone cross-eyed (which I happen to be naturally, I have amblyopia and strabismus) I’ll get shot. Trust me, the suburbs are more dangerous than a city.

Movie gif. Hank Johnston as Gunther in Dennis the Menace stares straight ahead, cross-eyed, his hair aglow in rim-light, and says, "Yep."

That’s how I was born.  I’m petrified to look at strangers due to what they could do to me.

Basically, it just comes down to making better choices.

How about you?  Are you super-disciplined (the opposite of me), or do you take a more laid-back approach?


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Is “Luxury” a Four-Letter Word? Or is Luxury Overused?

Okay. Before I begin this blog post, let me clue you in on my holding back on posts for a while.

I wanted to write a post about Gun Control and why it is needed—but I’m still very angry over the fact that the republicans refuse to do anything about it—especially since they falsely claim to be “pro-life”.

This is Kid Rock. He is a “has been” sort-of musician but mostly a moron.  He got angry at Bud Light for supporting trans/gay/gender neutral persons. He got his special arms and shot the beer cans. I’m guessing that big gun takes the place of his teeny pee-pee.  And he is one of the reasons that guns need to be controlled!

Then I was mulling over a post regarding women’s rights being taken away. However, I’m still angry over the fact that republicans—especially overweight, unattractive white men and a few women, refuse to recognize women’s rights—especially since they falsely claim to be “pro-life” when they are merely pro-fetus. Once the baby makes the grand entrance into earth, they want nothing to do with the child.

Sarah Hoyt, front left, Olivia Spitznagl and Izzy Stewart-Adams, right, all seniors at West High School, attend a protest outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in response to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

This is a photo from AP.  Women are voicing their opinions and marching for the rights of all us women.   Why would some overweight, balding, fake Christian man try to take our rights away?  TBH, I’ll bet their mothers are wishing they aborted those filthy old fat white men.

Then I was mulling over a post regarding banned books. This is atrocious along with the other posts I was thinking of writing.  The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank? What the heck???  The Giver?  Bridge to Terabithia?  Dr. Effing Seuss?  Madeline and the Gypsies?  Let us not even think about the naked statue of David that even the Pope realizes is art. I’m very angry over this.  Reading is a pleasure. It is educational and informative. I can’t even on this….

The reason for this ban is “supposedly” due to the fact there’s a passage in the book regarding young people comparing their bodies. I read this book. I’m not buying into that reason. I truly believe that these fake Christian, Conservatives and right wingers hate Jews and don’t believe in the Holocaust. Please buy this book if you have not read it. It is astounding and incredibly sad.

Seriously.  I’m still too angry to collect cohesive thoughts on these subjects. And as an aside, if you don’t agree with me, please stop following my blog.  Or…write your own blog.

year dear

Yes darling. If you don’t like my thoughts than take YOUR thoughts and prayers elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you in the backside!

Now that that’s out of the way, I present to you today’s blog post.  I got the idea from an email I received.

Repetto - Paris tourist office

The email was from Repetto Paris.  If you are a regular or irregular reader of my thoughts and opinions, you are well-aware of my love and adoration of Repetto ballet flats.  I’ve been purchasing for about 16 years now and often treat myself to a pair when in Paris.

Back in the Saddle (Shoes) Again!! | Atypical 60

A few pairs of my old Repetto ballet flats. The black ones are the first ones I ever purchased.

The last pair purchased was on our November 2021 visit and I purchased an adorable metallic pair which I wear regularly.  I (*cough* I mean my husband) paid about $270 USD for them. At the time, I thought the price increase was a bit much as I’ve gotten them for less money quite some time ago.

My most recent pair purchased in 2021. Who knew these basic ballet flats are now a luxury, overpriced brand.

However, I almost dropped my cell phone when I saw the new price of the Repetto Ballet flats.  They are now $410 per pair.  Oh yeah. The vegan i.e. plastic version is $390.  I have now put a stop to my feet’s relationship with the brand.

And now, my shoes are $410.  I didn’t showcase the white leather ones that are now $440 USD.

Even at $270-ish, that was bringing my boiling point up but the shoes are well-constructed, I still have the first pair I’ve ever bought and I love the way they look on my feet.  At $410 though—it’s time to put a stop to this.

Yup. I almost didn’t buy these shoes due to the price.  I guess I’m a frontrunner of luxury shoes!

Don’t get me wrong.  I love good quality—but at a price that I can afford.

These wedge shoes were purchased in 2008 at DSW.  They are nowhere near luxury shoes. I had them repaired last week for a total price of $15.00 I love these shoes and will wear them forever!

And this is where the term “luxury”  has basically destroyed retail.  Once again, I blame the idiotic influencers splayed across social media from YouTube to Instagram to Facebook and the horrific TikTok.

They, with their ridiculously over-excitedness of word usage, and usually incorrectly  whilst exclaiming breathlessly and loudly “OH. MY. GOD!!!!”   “LITCH-RUH-LEE” (which only British can pronounce the word this way—otherwise it should be pronounced “lit-uh-ruhl-lee”) “THE GREATEST” “SO CHIC”  “THIS IS THE BEST”!!  And they say all this as they are unboxing product for the VERY FIRST TIME EVER!!!  HTF can you say that after looking at a product for two seconds?

“OMG!! This  (insert luxury brand here) mascara/foundation/blush/bronzer is the BEST EVER! LITCHRUHLLY THE BEST! OMG!”

Anyway, I’m veering off course.  I get the distinct feeling that the Repetto brand is now in the process of narcissistically rebranding as “luxury”.  And the brand isn’t luxury. It’s a brand that originally made ballet shoes for ballerinas and still does.  But the other side of the brand is the infamous ballet flats, tote and handbags and clothing.  And while they company turns out excellent quality, I wouldn’t call them a luxury brand.

Repetto Soft Split Sole Ballet Shoes - Move Dance US

Repetto split sole ballet shoes. The irony? These are inexpensive. But the ballet flat “shoe” is now luxury-priced” Go figure.

Luxury is overused.  Charlotte Tilbury pontificates being a luxury brand, yet the brand collaborates with, quite possibly, the most vulgar and over-filtered influencer of all time, Mikayla Nogueira  This influencer trash talks, curses regularly, talks about intimacy with her fiancé and yet, this so-called luxury brand pays this person.

This is Mikayla, the influencer with millions of followers. That is not her real face. She uses facetune and photoshop to change her face. The photo on the right?  She photoshopped her entire head to look shrunken. Every other word out of her mouth begins with “f”, ends in “k” and the two middle letters are “u” “c”.  And luxury brands pay this foul-mouthed woman. Those luxury brands are trashier than she is.

Charlotte—you lost credibility with me—your brand is akin to drug store and I shan’t be making future purchases.

Oops! Mikayla filtered her face again. Here she is with Charlotte. To be honest, if someone filters their face after using your makeup–that isn’t saying much about the product. Charlotte Tilbury. Your products are worse than drug-store brands.

Ralph Lauren as a luxury brand?  No. Although he has a very impressive shop/restaurant on Blvd. St. Germain, his clothing comes across as too much of a costume—as though someone is trying too hard to look “wealthy” and it isn’t making the cut. Other than his button-down shirts for men, I’m not impressed with the quality of the clothing—and the prices are ridiculous. These clothes are mass-produced.  Why so expensive?

RALPH LAUREN | Polo Ralph Lauren | Polo Originals - YouTube

Ralph Lauren (and it isn’t Law-REN. It’s Lauren) luxury. I’ll give him credit for being somewhat diverse–where’s an old man? Like you Ralph. But honestly, if I ran across a group of men dressed like this I would side eye and realize they ARE trying too hard. This is way too costumesque. But–it’s luxury and people feel the need to buy into it!

Head to Nordstrom or Neiman’s where you’ll find Tory Burch. This is another “luxury” labeled brand and product are wayyyyyyyy overpriced.  When I worked at Nordstrom, Burch was more of a bridge brand—on the fence of luxury but not quite there. Now the brand has basically graduated to luxury prices and just not worth it.


On the left, the Tory Burch KNOCK OFF of the Hermes Kelly bag. And suburban women think Tory Burch is luxury. It isn’t.  Why does she get a pass for a knock off when others don’t?  Hermes is a TRUE luxury brand that basically none of us can afford.  Tory Burch is a FAKE luxury brand. Don’t forget that!

The handbags are cheaply constructed. The shoes as well. And trust me, I have a few pair that I purchased on my deep Nordstrom discount and regret buying.  The Miller Sandals feel like plastic and stretch out to kingdom come.  Real luxury brands shouldn’t do that.

I think the most horrific price increases are from the brand Louis Vuitton.  And here’s where I can come off as a tad hypocritical.  I happen to love the monogram bags. I love the aesthetic of the canvas and vachetta leather. I love the designs of the bags. I love that the monogram bags are, for me, neutral so they will go with any outfit.  The larger bags travel well and surprisingly even the medium sized bags hold a plethora of items.

I Did Another Thing. Bought a Vintage Louis Vuitton Bag and Cleaned It Up!  | Atypical 60

My first LV bag on the left. The Neverfull MM. Gifted to me by my husband in 2018 for my birthday.  It has since almost doubled in price in five years. Next to it is a vintage LV Bucket GM I got pre-owned for $200.

My first “new” LV bag was given to me five years ago on my birthday from my husband.  My second new bag was purchased the year the metallic Repetto ballet flats were bought. November ’21.  All others have been purchased pre-loved and pre-owned.

My Petit Noe purchased in Paris 2021.  I can no longer afford these bags. LV has become as unattainable for me as Hermes.  That’s why I love vintage. 

There is no way I’m paying upwards of $2,000 for a purse/pocketbook/bag/tote/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.    I just got my third bag back from LV repair. A Saumur 30 that was purchased for $240.  All Vachetta and hardware were replaced and they cleaned the bag for me.  Overall, with the cost of repair and the original cost, it was less than any new bag the brand has to offer.

My Saumur 30. It’s a 30-year old bag that I purchased from a seller in Japan for $240.  Even with the price of Vachetta replacement, the total is still less costly than any bag the brand now sells.  

Louis Vuitton has always been known as a luxury brand   but always maintained a few items that were within affordable range for the working person; and presently, all the brand’s offerings are officially out of my affordably bubble.  The same with Chanel, Dior and others.

Grained calfskin & gold-tone metal - Black, Small Classic Handbag — Fashion  | CHANEL

Pictured is the Chanel small bag. It retails for $9,600 and is currently sold out. Sorry, even if I won Mega Millions tomorrow, I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a bag. I would buy a vintage LV bag from my favorite seller in Japan!

And about 15 years ago, I could have purchased a pair of Chanel ballet flats for about $500 but back then the price was ridiculously high for me.  Today a pair of lambskin Chanel Ballet flats cost $925 and upwards.   It’s insanity.

Chanel Cap Toe Ballerina Flats Review + eBay's Authenticate Program

Do I regret not purchasing these when they were “only” $500?  No! I don’t. Presently selling for $925 and upwards, I’m wondering just who has that kind of money to spend on such a simple pair of shoes.

Coach a luxury brand?  Well—influencers are calling the brand luxury. While I refer to the brand as “great quality” but not “luxury”.  I have a few vintage Coach bags and all of them cost less than $75.  When Oona was in high school through college, she worked at Coach and loved working there.  I still have a bag that was deeply discounted with her employee status and I love it. It’s a patent tote that I still use and has never failed me.

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

This Coach tote has been with me since Oona gifted it for me when she was working there.  I LOVE this but consider Coach more of a pragmatic and useful brand rather than luxury. Methinks the word “luxury” is overused.

I don’t know when this “luxury” business will stop increasing their prices.  My take is they have become wise to the influencers and the average consumer and want to elevate their consumer from “customer” to “client”.  But at some point, I think it’ll backfire because ultimately the clients will be “new” money (however they get that money is sometimes questionable) and lottery winners. I just can’t picture old monied WASPS running to spend $5,000 on a Dior tote bag.

The Swinging 60s : Let Cher and Jackie Kennedy take over your closet

I’m sure Jackie was gifted a ton of Dior and luxury stuff. But this photo is a study of how a luxury outfit can be purchased for a less expensive price. Seek and ye shall find. It’s a basic two-piece ensemble and I love it. 

For me, I have enough LV vintage pre-owned bags. I have one more that I would like to have sent to LV repair for Vachetta replacement and I had better do so before there’s yet another price increase. Yeah. The repair for the brand increased their prices too.

Bitmoji Image

Morally and ethically, I can’t throw money out the window anymore. 

I’m just happy my favorite brand of sandals, Rondini, hasn’t gone down the road of luxury.  Less expensive than any luxury or luxury wannabe brand, the sandals are custom-made to fit each customer and the quality is stellar.

These. I cleaned and conditioned all my Rondini sandals this weekend. Every pair of these cost less than Tory Burch sandals, Coach Sandals or any other “luxury” brand. I’ll love this brand until I can’t walk anymore!

What are your thoughts?  Do you have any brands that aren’t luxury but are excellent in quality and price?  Please share!

Posted in Uncategorized | 42 Comments

So, How’s Your Day (Light Savings) Going?

Okay.  Three weeks ago, we entered into an early, pre-seasonal existence of Daylight Savings Time.

happy alarm dance

Daylight Savings. I’m not dancing about it this year!

This is the time of year when, presently, and up until June 21st, the days get longer. Depending on where you are on June 21st, it will get dark for us in the USA around 9:30 PM. When we are in France, it stays lighter until around 10:15 PM.  And when I say this, I mean twilight hits at that time when the day falls into night.

It’s also that time when clocks that weren’t set to the correct time six months ago are now set correctly. I opened a drawer full of watches that were now, correctly set!

And after June 21st, the days become shorter until November, when the clocks are turned back and we say “hello darkness my old friend” once again.

Hello Darkness: Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence Turns 55 - Rock and Roll Globe

One of my favorite songs during the shorter days: Simon and Garfunkels Sounds of Silence. It starts with “Hello darkness my old friend…..”

Not gonna lie. I used to live for daylight savings.  Gleefully giddy, when the clocks were moved forward for an hour—during APRIL, usually around Easter, life was easier. Especially since I was a much younger mother and my children participated in sports and other extracurricular activities.

Being at a Little League/Pony League/Varsity/Jr. Varsity/Babe Ruth/American Legion ball games oftentimes went well after the 6:00 PM hour and during the longer days were a pleasure!

During Jake’s Babe Ruth days the sun would set later and it wasn’t annoying to have a game end after 9:00 PM when it got dark. 

Driving to Oona’s Irish Dance lessons or picking her up from Field Hockey games were also a delight when the days were longer; living in Pennington, NJ meant you had better visibility of the deer that would be making a target of your vehicle.

From eight years old to a college senior at 20, I enjoyed driving her to dance classes while still light outside!

Running errands such as replacing the items that ran out for school lunches or eleventh-hour notebooks or items needed for school projects was no big deal during the longer days either.

Overall, as a mom, daylight savings time, for me, was a convenience and made mom’s taxi life much easier.

Add to that, being at the beach well after 5:00 PM was great because you got more beach time during the longer days!

It really was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the longer days back then!

Then the kids grew up. They went away to college.  Relocated for jobs and my purpose ended.

My life is different now.

off the charts

And might I add I’m pretty-much off -the- charts happy that I’m working!

Instead of being a stay-at-home-mom, I am a working woman.  I’ve worked, until recently full-time—meaning that my working day could run from 7:00 AM until after 7:00 PM—depending on the workload.  These days, luckily, my position with a different company is as a receptionist and facilities assistant working from Monday through Thursday until 3:30 in the afternoon. I love my job now. It’s fun and I get to interact with people.

And, my position allows me the pleasure of getting dressed!

But I’m starting to ramble, and I apologize.  Back to the subject of Daylight Savings.

I don’t like this business of daylight savings beginning before Spring. And by that I mean, I do not like it before mid-or-end of April.  It serves no purpose.   Instilling the longer daylight hours should go hand-in-hand with warmer weather. It should be a segue into birds chirping, grass that needs to be mowed for the first time of the year, Mr. Sun shining down on you with such vitality that all heavy outerwear has been placed in storage, and daydreaming of the invigorating feeling of sitting at Ocean’s front, being lightly splashed with salt water as the waves break at your feet.

Yeah. I prefer my daylight savings time when I can go to the beach..

…or run around in sandals!

What Daylight savings shouldn’t be is the feeling of remorse and guilt for arriving home  from work or anywhere else before 5:00 PM and wanting to take your clothing off to change into pajamas or any form of loungewear that is stained from cooking or has rips or just makes you look deliciously sloppy. After all, you are in the comfort of your own home!

My at-home uniform when I arrive back from work. Yes. I LOVE the comfort of old clothes–and I feel slightly guilty for wearing this ensemble whilst the sun is shining. There’s something very wrong with Daylight Savings this early in the year!

In being completely transparent with you, Daylight Savings time—this early in the year, wreaks havoc with my mental and physical body clock.  The fact is, for the past three weeks I’ve been tired.  Not the kind of tired where you can fall asleep at your work station nor is it the type of tired where you are emotionally exhausted. It’s that tired feeling you get after 6:00 PM in the evening. You’re not quite ready for a full-night’s slumber but you slowly inch your way into your bed giving yourself the excuse that it’s okay to be in bed whilst the sun is still shining because you have your books, journals, magazines and phone (to play Candy Crush) to while away time until that magic hour of darkness arrives.

True dat. I’m in bed way too early. But I’m being productive by playing Candy Crush!

And speaking of what Daylight Savings does to my mental frame of mind, is somewhat similar to what it does to my physical state. I’m just not ready for longer days yet.

This has been my prayer for the last few weeks. Early Daylight Savings wreaks havoc on me!

Look-I adore summer.  It means less clothing to throw on. It means no outerwear. It’s more reasonable to walk around barefoot.  And….it means less time spending on applying makeup because a natural (or fake) tan means less cosmetics time.

I do love summer.  I love my tan–whether natural or fake. And I love the longer days–IN THE SUMMER!!!!

And it’s true. I’m not mentally ready for more daylight yet. I prefer my autumns (after turning the clocks back) and winters to have shorter days and not one day before.

I think cities are spectacularly gorgeous when the sun goes down–especially when it sets earlier. More time to enjoy the night!

When days are shorter there’s more of a sense of time. When the sun begins it’s slow descent, the shadows are deeper. The sky takes on a deep blue, gray, purple hue with a touch of orange illumination.  You become aware that evening is approaching.  Your body clock is knowledgeable that you need to start dinner at a certain time.  During longer days, the time of day becomes something you often forget about.

That approaching twilight time close to 5:00 PM during the winter just makes me feel cozy!

When days are shorter, they comply with the weather.  There is a coziness that comes with darkening of days.  Akin to a big hug, there is nothing more comfortable as being in your pajamas at 5:00, sitting on the cushioned loveseat, with a toasty blanket over your body and reading a good book accompanied by a soothing cup of tea—all while dinner is cooking.  A hearty soup? A comfort-food bowl of pasta? A beefy stew? It all warms my soul and gives me a better mental outlook.

My favorite spot during shorter days–whether reading a novel or perusing through an old Dr. Seuss book or enjoying a cuppa. It’s such a great feeling of comfort.

It’s funny because during the shorter days, I enjoy my afternoon tea. During the summer, I just want iced tea.

And I’m more into desserts and cooking and baking in general when the days are shorter. I made Crepes Suzette the other night just after it got dark. Luckily I did NOT burn the house down with the flambe!

Like a rainy day. Some people despise rainy days. I happen to love them.  As a child and well into my teens, rainy days meant I could complete a book in one read. Heading to my bedroom, getting under the covers or actually, never getting out of them, reaching for a classic novel and immersing myself into pages and pages of words to enhance my imagination, it was what I loved most—and reading now banned books makes me look back even more fondly!

From my youth up until now, I dig a seriously rainy day for reading–OMG and when it gets dark out earlier. I’m in heaven!

Shorter days bring me to my favorite time of year—Christmas!!!  Who wants to listen to Christmas and Holiday music when it’s daylight at 7:00 PM?  I want my Holiday music to blast as the sun sets in late afternoon! It’s more festive.

My favorite Holiday House of all time. Martell’s Winter Wonderland in Hamilton, New Jersey.  In late afternoon, during Christmas season, around 4:45 Roman, Oona and I (Jake was too busy studying) would take the 15-minute drive from Pennington to see this delightful house. It was a happy place..

I don’t even think Oona was in middle school yet in this pic..

Maybe Roman was a freshman.  Always taking movies with his camera. God, I miss those days!

Especially Halloween!  Kids start trick-or-treating at the end of daylight savings—just a week or so before turning the clocks back. And the beauty of that is the sun is ready to set earlier. It’s tired of shining extended hours. Give the sun a freaking rest why dontja?  Halloween is spookier when the sun goes into slumber.

The spooky do's and don'ts of Halloween night - Wollens

Seriously. Who wants a Halloween evening in the daylight?

It’s more delightful in the dark!

I realize that I really should have written this blog post a few weeks ago but the fact is, I was pissed off with Daylight Savings being so early. And as I sit here on this early Saturday afternoon, it’s raining out. The sky is gray. It’s been raining on and off since Thursday. And I’m okay with that.

A truly gray day. I snapped this while in the car (my husband was driving) through Valley Forge Park. In a few weeks that tree will be sporting Crayola Crayon Spring Green colored leaves!

Earlier we went out shopping for tonight’s dinner. And I wore jeans, and a nice sweater and looked decent.

I made it a point to look decent enough as to not scare other people!

And I even wore Saturday makeup!

As I write this, I’m in Valentine’s Day pajama bottoms, an old Cincinnati hoodie sweatshirt , Christmas-themed slipper socks that are ripped on the soles but comfortable as all get out , but at least I have my hair and lipstick on. And that’s how I’ll be dressed for dinner!

Here I am, working on the blog on a gray, rainy day. I only wish the day was shorter!

And a rare moment of sharing these worn out slipper socks with you.

What’s your take? Are you a fan of shorter days or longer ones?

Or…have you switched as I have into enjoying the shorter days more as you’ve gotten older?


Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

What I’m Not Wearing This Winter…

Okay, although Spring is less than three weeks away, in reflecting upon the Winter wardrobe, it dawned on me that I really didn’t wear a lot of the winter/cold weather clothes that I was so gung-ho on retrieving from storage.

First Day of Spring 2023: The Spring Equinox| The Old Farmer's Almanac

Actually, Spring is 15 days away!

I pride myself for taking a day, both in Autumn and in mid-Spring, to take my clothing out of the plastic bins that are kept in the garage, lug them up three flights of stairs, carefully take the “old season” clothing from dresser drawers and closets and replace with the upcoming season.

Time To Do (Home) Work | Atypical 60

I should have kept some of these summer clothes in the closet instead of switching them out!

This winter, I could have done with leaving at least half  of the clothes in the bins.Although I’m a big believer in climate change, I’m not going to make this post political. I’m making it all about me and clothing that I didn’t wear or what I didn’t  have to do during this winter (but it isn’t over…..yet!)

Hint–I didn’t wear a lot of outfits like this!

It’s funny because even though summer is my favorite season, largely because I don’t have to deal with outerwear or shoes, I happen to enjoy both winter and summer immensely. Spring –I like it because the trees’ regrowth of greenery, the green grass and flowers beginning to bloom make me happy. Otherwise, spring, as well as autumn are lost seasons.  And the only things I like about autumn is the changing foliage and that first day when the air is crisp and cool.

Explaining the four seasons | LearnEnglish Teens

I’m a four-season kind of gal–even though these days it’s technically TWO-Winter and Summer. Forget Spring and Fall–they got lost!

Presently, we go from winter into summer with nary a true spring or autumn. Very different than when I was a child.  With spring, you lived for that day when the heavy winter coat was replaced with a sweater and autumn meant the start of a new school year.  The wool uniforms we wore were appropriate for those Septembers when the weather actually got cooler immediately following Labor Day.

No photo description available.

Our “Old” school uniforms. 5th through 8th grade girls got to wear skirts instead of the jumpers!

So, let’s get on with it—shall we?

This winter, I rarely wore my winter coats.  Since I abhor driving with a ton of outwear, and spent most of my outdoor time going from our home to the car, from car to office, and vise versa.  I opted for blazers instead.   The good thing about this is saving money on end-of-season dry cleaning. I can just keep the coats in the closet until next winter-ish.

My favorite Camel coat.  Purchased in Paris, I wore it a handful of times this winter. I won’t have to dry clean it because it never got dirty!

My “fancy” coat. I wore it twice. Once to work the day we had our Christmas party and last month when The Frenchman and I went to our Valentine’s Day dinner. 

I did not wear gloves. My winter gloves are kept, during the season, in the glove compartment of the car.  They came out once.  I think it was in December before I got Covid—we had a cold, very cold day. Other than that, I should have worn them more often after I ripped my acrylic nails off to get my fingernails back into healthy condition.  *Note: It’s been two months and my nails still look like crap.

TBH, I should have worn gloves more often because my nails are looking mighty bad  but it wasn’t cold enough. I swear the gloves have dust on them!

I didn’t wear my kilt skirts as often as usual.  I love my plaid kilts. They keep my ample behind nice and toasty during frigid winter days. Worn with tights is my favorite way—I don’t have to shave my legs.  This winter?  I wore a kilt maybe three or four times—which is just about unheard of for me. And it was so warm that the tights bothered me. Let me tell you— “fashion climate change” is a thing!

I love this kilt so much but wore it only once. It’s upsetting to me because I love my kilts but it just wasn’t cold enough.

I did manage to wear my “all-season” skirts though. Perhaps I need more clothing for all seasons moving forward!

This skirt has been showcased on this blog more than any other item of clothing but I wore it a LOT this winter. I also tanned the legs a lot because we all know how I feel about panty hose!

This little tulle number had a winter share of wear. It’s lightweight and in the last pic, I’m wearing booties–not full-on boots!

I did wear pants more than usual this winter. Not for warmth but because I remain sockless as much as possible and the winter was just the right temperature for the me that loves to remain sockless.  Caveat:  I did wear my pants in a very professional and polished way!

I can’t give up plaid and these Jamie pants from J. Crew Factory were a favorite this winter–I might wear them tomorrow.  They were very pre-Christmas festive!

Another winter outfit. Old Navy Pixie Pants and a J. Crew Blazer. Notice that there are no socks on my feet!

I wore this outfit last week.  I must say, the Orsay Dulci pumps from J. Crew are incredibly comfortable. The cashmere Tee was perfect for the office!

I think these J. Crew Pixie Pants were the most-worn pants this entire winter. Another work look!

I wore this to fly to Florida in January. It was a great travel outfit because it was warmer in Philly and cooler in Florida. Go figure!

I did not wear boots. This is a biggie. I love boots. I love the way boots look with a short skirt—especially tall boots.  I wore boots once….actually, twice.  One pair I was gifted by Vivaia, which I was quite upset about. I wasn’t even able to review the boots because I didn’t have the opportunity to wear them and I refuse to review a one-up item. You all know that I love to review after multiple wears. Hopefully, next winter will be colder.

It was painful to not be able to wear these boots this winter but they just were not needed. I’m hoping next winter is very cold so I can review these cuties!

I didn’t even get to wear my Hunter boots because it never snowed. IT NEVER SNOWED! We had a flake fall last Saturday. The big “snow” was about fifteen minutes of random snowflakes falling from the sky—or someone’s dandruff.

My poor Hunter boots. I love them and they are wonderful in snow and ice. But I didn’t need them. At least they have each other to cuddle with while in the garage!

I didn’t get to showcase all the sweaters I own. This pissed me off. I have a lot of sweaters—bulky, thin, oversized; some I can layer and some to be worn alone due to the bulk, texture and material. Instead, I ended up wearing thinner jersey pullovers which showcased every ounce of fat in my body!

My iconic French Hen sweater from J. Crew is over 11 years old. It’s thin enough to be one of the sweaters I have been wearing this winter!

Thankfully, I was still able to keep my head relatively warm with my wigs because there was no need for a hat!

Yup! My wigs have sufficed well this winter!

On the flip side, there was no need to shovel snow. The cars were able to leave their parked state and roll right out to the road without any trouble due to packed snow and ice. I didn’t have to worry about my husband throwing out his rotator cuff by shoveling—or worse.  I didn’t have to help shovel—which isn’t really that great because I could use the exercise.  And due to this, there was no time to sit back and enjoy a delightful cup of hot chocolate after braving the icy, frozen tundra of a driveway.

Throwback to my snowy days in Pennington!  The big snow of one of the winters. Roman and I were shoveling snow and having a blast!

Perhaps there was no hot chocolate but I did enjoy the tea!

Those damn blankets on the sofas that are used for protection against Chippy’s doggie paws and shedding fur, weren’t used to wrap myself in whilst reading a book or watching Netflix.  Actually the  bout with Covid during Christmas had me laying on one sofa wrapped in a blanket  while my son Roman was wrapped in his Covid Blanket.

Christmas season, 2023. Covid arrives with Santa!

Yeah. Christmas was ruined by Covid but it could have been better had we experienced a Christmas snowfall!

There were no children building snowmen in our neighborhood this year. No parents dragging the kids on sleds. No red, frozen faces and no snow angels this winter.

I also miss kids alarmingly over stuffed in outerwear! It builds character!

Interesting facts about snowmen | Just Fun Facts

Yup! No snowmen or snow people or snow they. Just dead grass and dirt.

And the killer is I can bet that some time in April, we will get hit with a pounding snow that’ll leave flooding rather than ice.  And a week later, the temperature will hit a humid 85 degrees!

Yeah Mommy Nature. Start working for the seasons. OK?

So a message to Mother Nature:

Dear Mother Nature,

Can you please make it snow and be colder next winter?  First of all, I live and love to complain—especially about the weather. I was not able to do so this year. I had to complain about it not being cold—or snowy.

Please do your job. I have no patience for laziness. You were lazy this winter when it came to the snowfall throughout the States. Philly didn’t get snow but California did? What are you drinking?

Perhaps you are struggling right now, and that’s okay. I still respect you. Just bring back all four seasons. Make Vivaldi’s spirit happy.



How has your winter been so far? Thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Stop Giving Me Low House-Esteem!

It’s a thing people. A thing. And we have HGTV, Instagram and other forms of social media and all those sneaky ads that pop up on our phone or Facebook or whatever.

Home Decorating Ideas, Kitchen Designs, Paint Colors - House Beautiful

My home will never look like this–first of all, I can’t afford custom design. Secondly, I can’t afford custom design.

Let’s have a little backstory first.

I grew up, before moving to Long Island in a duplex in Ozone Park, NY.  My immediate family lived on the bottom floor, and my grandparents and aunt lived on the top. That house, to me, still remains close to perfection.

This was actually the house next door but you get the gist.

The living room was in the very front of the house—and being in a borough, one could look out the window and see all the goings on of neighborhood families and friends.  So much that when a stranger was spotted skeptical eyes stared at the image—even from inside the house.

I don’t have photos of the interior of the old house but the living room walls looked just like this with a beige-ish wall color.

My mother had this room decorated beautifully. Not extravagantly—but incredibly tasteful. She had curtains hung with care, a big fluffy sofa that was dressed in slipcovers—in very 1950’s prints during three seasons and in the summer, the sofa, along with two club chairs that were formerly dressed in the same slipcovered fabric, were all naked. As it should be during those hot months.

Enjoy this photograph of my Aunt Tessie and my mother (right) in front of our house in Ozone park. You can see in the background my mom had a thing for window coverings.

The next room, another large room, served as a dining room—a rather formal one at that. And one that was rarely used.  The walls of these rooms were thick. No sheetrock. No drywall. You could say the building was as strong as a brick shithouse.

Me, on the far right in the coat and beret with the neighborhood girls on the stoop! We all had a stoop!

Next was the kitchen—and it was large enough to have a table, chairs, and incredible space for the appliances and my mother to cook the daily meals.  Next to the kitchen was a pantry and stairs that led to the “cellar”. We didn’t have a basement. There was no fancy furniture. No area for a “she shed” or a “man cave”. We all dwelled together as one family unit.  So back to the cellar. There was a little area where my father installed Popeye the Sailorman linoleum. It was the area that I, along with my sister, played while my mother did the laundry—the machine being in that same cellar. Also in the cellar was an area of utter mystery and intrigue. The coal bin. Back then our home was heated with coal. I remember the coal deliveries and I remember my dad, shoveling coal into the furnace that would bring heat to the radiators. Simple. No technology needed. And the heat in the home was outstanding.

Look at that glistening coal! It’s so funny because I remember the coal bin so well!

The design of the house was also a sort-of shotgun style where the front rooms, to the kitchen were walk-through.  The floors were all hard wood that my obsessive mother would wax and buff once a month and they were absolutely beautiful. There were no decorators. The TV stations showcased Jack La Lane teaching stay-at-home wives and mothers how they could stay in shape and in the afternoon, I remember my mother watching a plethora of cooking shows. But TV didn’t run our lives.  We were more active and our homes were more pragmatic back then. An abode for families to enjoy each other and as long as the house was clean and tidy—that’s what mattered.

And over the years, I’ve lived in studio apartments as a young twenty-something in NYC, in larger NYC apartments, and in larger homes.   All decorated to my taste but nothing elaborate.

The Chatillion at 214 Riverside Drive in New York | NY nesting

The Chattilion aka 214 Riverside Drive. Living in this building was like living in a dorm. It was so much fun!  And the rent was only $275 a month for a one-bedroom!

Fast forward to the home The Frenchman and I currently own.  As I sit here writing this post, I am looking at the two long and narrow windows that are in the living room. Blinds are drawn in the evening for privacy and during the day, the light flows in from the opened slots.

183 Hudson Dr, Phoenixville, PA 19460 | MLS# 1003452767 | Redfin

Our townhome. I love it because it’s a corner unit! 

LOL. Almost every day I ponder window treatments then I get stressed out because of drywall!

So, this is where I started to establish low home-esteem.  My windows, other than the blinds, are naked. There are no window treatments.  But before I move on, please allow me to explain this low-home esteem. Then I’ll show you what I mean.

HGTV. Remember the old-school House Hunters?  Back maybe ten years ago? People were actually in search of homes that worked for them and within their budget.

House Hunters - HGTV Reality Series - Where To Watch

House Hunters–the show where one half of a couple doesn’t work and the other one is an influencer and has either two million to spend on a home or….they want a custom mansion for $450K

Now—you have couples, many of them looking for a home way outside their budget of affordability. They want all the bells and whistles. Updated kitchen, spa bathroom, pool, land far away from neighbors.  Basically, they want a custom-built home for, on the average of $450K.  Uma. Then they end up buying a fixer-upper.  Proof that House Hunters is scripted and further proof that, unless couples are looking for future foreclosure, their grandiose plans are lowered a notch.

House Hunters' Episodes That Are Next Level - Lonny

When the budget is $450 K but you want a custom mansion!

Then we have Chip and Johanna—the infamous curators of Shiplap. Granted, I do like her taste in home furnishings but let us take a small step back. The couples are paying to have the homes they are purchasing to be fixed up.  They are also paying for all that staged furniture, if they chose to do so. This would lend itself for a substantial amount of money for all new items.

Fixer Upper's best-ever renovations |

Possibly one of the nicest Fixer Upper interiors I’ve ever seen, but the home owners have to pay extra for this–and can they even afford it?

I used to like them but honestly, now their brand Magnolia is nothing but overpriced crap sold at Target.

Primed (Ready to Paint) DIY Shiplap Planks | Ninth & Vine

I do find the shiplap inviting though. I’m getting ideas…..

Don’t get me started on The Property Brothers. I used to really love them. I mean, twice the amount of adorableness—but even they jumped the shark with the furnishings.

I can’t watch these two cuties anymore. Why? Because Vincent and I are NOT Property Handypeople!

Actually, the only home decorator I enjoy is Nicole Curtis. She of the restorations to old homes in the Detroit area. I love watching how she takes a torn down, abandoned home and restores it. Rather than knock down walls to make a “living space”, she reconstructs rooms.


Now Nicole has a show where she restores old lake houses. I freaking adore her!

She restores old, Detroit homes and turns them into visions of beauty.

It’s amazing and her taste is impeccable!

And to be honest, I am a room person. I love those designated, separate spaces.

So yeah, I definitely experience low home-esteem. And I shouldn’t.

We have a townhouse. Both my husband and I had single-family homes when we were younger adults raising our children (child in his case).  Now, as empty-nesters it’s a more practical choice to live in a townhome. We purchased nine years ago and have hardly made updates.

The walls can be painted but we’re just not sure as to what colors we want.  It’s an expensive undertaking and at my husband’s age, he certainly doesn’t need to be getting on a ladder and risking a fall.

Don’t even broach the verticals in the sun room. I hate them. And while I realize that “hate” is a strong and offensive word these days, I have no shame nor do I apologize for using that word to describe these vile window coverings. They make me cringe.  But I love our sunroom so much that I’ve dealt with this for almost ten years. And they, although outdated, don’t make the house look trashy.

The verticals. I can’t stand them. For almost ten years, I’ve been complaining and still–they hang!

Carpeting.  Shhhh!  I’m secretly waiting for the Frenchman to go to France by himself on family business so I can literally rip the carpeting off the stairways, sand the wood that lies underneath, and paint each step with a shiny enamel then add an oriental runner.  Carpeting is the bane of my existence.  It is a petri dish for germs and microscopic bugs and other nasty beings. No matter how many times these disgusting lays of fabric are vacuumed or cleaned, they bother me.

Redo Stairs | How to Remove Carpet and Prep Stair Risers

I want to do this to our stairs. Two stairways. Yes. I do. See how much prettier the stairway without the filthy carpeting looks? Now I have low stair esteem!

We did have crown molding added to the upstairs bedrooms.

Crown molding was added to all upstairs bedrooms.

And, last week, my husband paid a small fortune to have the toilet seat in my little bathroom replaced.

This was a big deal to my husband. It bothered him that the original toilet seat was the wrong size. Here’s the thing–he doesn’t even USE this bathroom. I do. And I never noticed the seat was the wrong size. I thought it was just my fat ass.

Our home, when we don’t have visitors, has blankets strewn on the sofas in the living room due to Chippy’s love for being a couch potato canine.

The normal state of our living room sofas. And you wonder why I have low house esteem..

Obviously, Chippy has a different point of view!

However, THIS is the way I want to view our sofas!

Is that so much to ask?

Our dining room table is my work space—a delightful mélange of  laptop, journals, pens, paper, and whatever I can pile upon it to create an artistic mess.  When guests arrive, the table is properly cleared and then set for meals.

I’m beginning to think that dining rooms are just another word for workspace! When the kids were in school, the dining room table was project city. Nowadays my blogging and journaling stuff rests on it!

But it cleans up nicely…

Sometimes I'm an Absolute Ingrate. But I Have Lots to Be Thankful For! | Atypical  60

…and looks even nicer when dinner guests arrive!

The downstairs family living space? It hasn’t changed since we moved in. That’s because the only time it’s used is when the kids visit or when I’m ironing and want to watch TV. There is a bedroom down there and my husband decided to purchase a cabinet to store extra bed linens.

The downstairs guest bedroom is clean and comfy. And that’s all that matters–it doesn’t need to be like a hotel room.

And when the kids visit, they can always relax here and even watch..

….the tv!

Sadly, this small cabinet didn’t fit in the bedroom and is now standing flush against the door leading to the common space outside. A door!  It drives me crazy to look at it but then I think—well, if someone tries to break in, they won’t get too far because the cabinet is protecting the entrance.

This thing. I can’t stand looking at it flush against the door. WTF? I would rather paint it and bring it upstairs.

The kitchen area. Okay. This is a large area and even though  it’s looking nice and airy, there’s a lot of wasted space and my workspace for cooking and baking allows only for one person. Since I don’t want anyone in my cooking space, I’m fine with this.

The work area in the kitchen is small..

A major lack of “good” working space but still, I’m able to bake and cook –I just need to work with the space I have.

The small table and chairs are part of the kitchen space..

come-on-cabinet | Atypical 60

..and this vintage cupboard is also a part of the kitchen space..


But when I see these magnificent kitchens with all the latest and greatest in appliances and aesthetics, it makes me feel that there’s something wrong with me in the fact I’m not going into debt to make my kitchen more “guest” friendly.

32 Magnificent Custom Luxury Kitchen Designs by Drury Design

Now, THIS kitchen has a ton of work space. However, I will not go into debt to remodel our kitchen.

But..the kitchen space also leads to my favorite nook in the house–the sunroom. And if I was going to do ANY updates it would be to add french doors  so the sunroom would be shut off from the rest of the house into it’s little designated space of a separate room!

My favorite space in the house. I love to cuddle up with a book or cup of tea in here!

The little room where I apply my makeup in the morning that doubles as a guest bedroom?  During the week, it accumulates into an untidy mess—I waste so much time drinking coffee and getting ready that if I take the time to tidy up, I’ll be late to work.

Yeah. The mess accumulates daily..

But on the weekends or when guests arrive, it’s all tidy!

And then it gets cleaned up again on the weekends or when the cleaning people arrive.

It’s a nice little room!

Our bedroom.  It’s large. Very large.  And I’ve been meaning to purchase an area rug to warm the room up a bit, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Other than that, the furniture fits the purpose.

The bed?  The Frenchman loves any bed coverings with blue. I do not. If it was up to me, I would have bed linens with no color or pattern at all. But one must pick and choose their battles.

Not my choice for bed linens. It’s too fussy!

The Frenchman’s favorite item in our home. The huge TV in the bedroom!

I love this oriential cabinet in the corner!

And when push comes to shove, yeah, there are updates that we can make but then we would have to give up travel. And while we are physically able to travel, making life memories comes first.

The Return to France. Ready. Jet. Go No! | Atypical 60

Whether domestically or internationally, for now, the money is better spent on traveling and the memories that travel brings.

The window treatments, the painting, ripping out the remaining carpeting, updating the kitchen—that can all wait.  And it is simply because I love my home the way it is. It is comfortable and inviting.

Yeah. From the welcoming hallway as you enter to the rest of our home–all you need is what makes your house a comfortable and inviting home!

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe I don’t have low house esteem after all!


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