A Frenchman. A Birthday. And a Comedy of Errors with A Happy Ending.

This past Saturday was my husband’s birthday. To me honest, we really don’t make a big deal about the day because that is his preference.  For a number of years, we happened to be in France on his birthday and …well, we were too busy just being in France to take time out for a birthday celebration.  In addition, he just doesn’t care about his birthday so we downplay it.Bitmoji Image

Truth be told, I kind of don’t like a big production for my birthday either. So I get where he’s coming from!

But this year, I decided to take him out for a birthday dinner. Since our last four weekends were rather busy ones—what, with being away in NYC twice, a wedding and a beach weekend, I hadn’t had time to plan just where I would take him for dinner.

Quite a few cityscapes lately!

Spring Mill Café was closed due to hosting a wedding so his absolutely favorite restaurant was out of bounds for this special evening!

Nice Little Surprises | Atypical 60

A wedding halted plans to take Bonaparte here but it wasn’t too bad to change up the gameplan!

Instead, I opted for making dinner reservations at a local restaurant.  Paloma’s in Phoenixville. It’s a lovely place and the co-owner just happens to be a Frenchman. It seemed befitting.  And so, I headed to Open Table to make online reservations.

All I can say is–no. I’ll make reservations by phone from now on thank you!

Saturday morning, I presented Bonaparte with a gift and a card. Nicely wrapped, I was pretty excited about my choice to him.  It was a reprint of a photo on canvas.  During his father’s funeral weekend, the family got together for lunch and a photo was taken. It’s really a great photo and I thought that given the occasion and the fact he hadn’t seen his family in a while, it would make a nice and thoughtful gift.

Here we are in St. Tropez 2018. Now on canvas and enlarged. 

My hunch was correct because he really did seem to be touched by the thought and he’s carefully thinking of where in our home to hang it.

And then there was the dinner.

Truth be told, I’m rather wary of making dinner reservations online.  Very wary. I prefer phone. I need to speak to a person in order to calm my anxieties.   And since I didn’t receive any email or text confirmation from the Open Table site, I was getting nervous.

So, I called the restaurant. And there was no reservation in my name.  Almost in a panic, I explained that I did make a reservation on Open Table but never received a confirmation. Then I asked if there was any way I could make a reservation because it was my husband’s birthday and I really wanted to take him to Paloma’s.  And while I was on the phone speaking, I was multi-tasking because every nasty word that I’ve ever used during my lifetime was running through my head and directed at Open Table.

Season 2 Omg GIF by Friends

Me. Explaining my big issue with Open Table. I’m certain I got the reservation, not out of desperation, but because they didn’t want to listen to my long-winded  explanation!

Luckily, I was able to get a reservation for 7:45 so things looked good.

The remainder of the day was spent in well-needed relaxation. Late in the afternoon a delivery was dropped off –it wasn’t a gift for my Frenchman but rather some goodies from Momofuku.  Spices and stuff!   I had to scold Chippy because he seemed to think the goodies were for him.

Apparently Chippy thought it was HIS birthday!

Anyway, when the time came, we drove into Phoenixville, got lucky with parking and walked over to the restaurant.   Downtown Phoenixville is great. Bridge Street was closed off so that the locals and visitors could enjoy hopping from place to place without the added annoyance of traffic. It’s a bit sad that a number of business closed due to the pandemic, but it was great to see a good amount of people enjoying the weekend by being out and about.   The restaurant is at the tip of Bridge Street just as you enter the downtown area. It’s really a lovely place.

I’m a fan of Downtown Phoenixville–and in the summer, it’s a hoppin’!

So, we arrive at the restaurant and I’m all happy because I’m taking my man out for a great dinner. We get to the front desk and I give the hostess and host (who were incredibly cute and friendly) my name and then it happened.

The entrance to Paloma’s is so grand!!  It’s really a beautiful restaurant!

They wished my husband a happy birthday. And they wished it very enthusiastically and cheerfully.

Happy Birthday GIF by The Office

I would have joined in except I saw the expression on my husband’s face which kept me at bay–just like a junkyard dog!

And then I saw my husband’s face. It was not the face of a pleasant man. Oh no it was not! It wasn’t even the face of a man who was content.  His face had no expression at first—and then his mouth turned down into a scowl.  To be honest, he looked like a typical Parisien who got to the boulangerie and found out there was no bread left.

Yeah. There’s a reason I call my Frenchman “Bonaparte”.  Only my Bonaparte is taller. This could have been his reaction upon being wished a joyful happy birthday!

And I had to put on my smiley face and say to the very friendly hostess and host “Oh. He’s shy. He doesn’t want to be reminded of birthdays.”  And as they both turned to see if the table was ready, I had to explain to my husband that after the screw up with Open Table, I felt the need to mention his birthday so we could get a reservation.

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I had to give him the “really” face and shrug!

He remained stone-faced.  It was at that very moment my expectations reached a new low for the evening.

We were seated by a table that gave us a great view of Bridge Street so we could observe the goings-on.   On the table was a little sign from the staff that read: “Wishing the Happiest of Celebrations to You”, which I prayed he didn’t notice. If he did, he said nothing.

Look at this nice little greeting that awaited us at the table. I had to HIDE it! Who hides something nice like that????

Our server was great but I felt bad because when we ordered Kir’s, she returned and told us the bartender didn’t make them.  My low expectations were now swallowed by emotional quick-sand. I could feel the rage emanating from my husband’s body, through his shirt and onto my shoulders. But as low as my expectations were, my sense of failure was at an all-time high!

Amy Poehler Expectations GIF

Trust me, if my expectations were any lower, I would have to look up to look under!  But I can be happy while doing so!

Instead, we ordered bona-fide cocktails.  We both went with Fear and Loathing in Phoenixville, a refreshing blend of Bourbon, Pineapple Juice, Lemon and Absinthe.  I tend to think my husband picked that drink because that was how he felt at the time.  But it was really, really good—and although I’m not much of a hard liquor woman, Bourbon is my jam.

Here’s the “Aha” moment when things started to look up!  Yum Yum!!

It was time to pick an appetizer so we went with the charcuterie board.  Now..this is where the dinner was starting to pick up.  The charcuterie arrived chock full of saucissons and prosciutto and pickled vegetables and little toasts.

This is the Paloma Fromage and Charcuterie board.  We had it minus the cheese..

…but by the time I went to take a photo, we ate just about everything! I thought it befitting to leave a toast, a slice of carrot and a bit of Proscuitto. I gobbled it ip as soon as I snapped this.

Not caring for those little toasts, the Frenchman ordered bread.  And the dinner miraculously began to get better. The bread was fantastic. Bonaparte actually smiled.  It was warm and steamy and the outside was crusty and the inside soft.  I almost fell off my chair when he started to praise the bread! It’s true what they say about the French and their bread!

This was what remained of the bread. He took it home. Oh yes. He did!

Okay. I need to backtrack just a tiny bit.  The wine. A certain person who was not me did not seem too pleased at the selection of wine.  He’s used to drinking French wine.  He ordered a Cabernet Sauvignon from California which, by the way, he liked.  I’m not as fussy. As long as it smells like dirt and puts me to sleep, I’m fine.

We went with the Cabernet Sauvignon from California.  I knew my husband liked it when he offered me a glass knowing full-well it would put me to sleep!

Despite not having Kir’s or French wine, the fare so far was great. He was raving about the charcuterie and literally just about kneeling in adoration before the bread.  And…he liked the California wine!  I was thrilled.

Our main plates were ordered and with Bonaparte’s love for Steak Frites, thankfully on the menu, that’s what he ordered—the only glitch was that only filet mignon was available so he went for it and devoured it.

The perfectly cooked Filet Mignon and Frites. If you read last week’s post you’ll know that he mistook the Menu’s Skate Frites for Steak Frites. This time it WAS steak!

I ordered the Short Rib Crepes because………I had never had short ribs before. Ever. My family and friends are astounded by this little fact about me—especially with all the cooking that I do but—I’ve just never had them.   And they were remarkable.  The meat was incredibly tender and robust in flavor. Filled with mushrooms and carrots and caramelized onion, slathered in a red wine sauce—wow—this was just what I needed!

These. Were. Amazing! Short Rib Crepes!  The sauce though. I wish it was bottled so I could take it home!

And might I add that my husband was on the same page with his dinner. He said the filet mignon was cooked perfectly and the frites were excellent.

Not only was he smiling, but he said he hopes the restaurant does well because the food and service were great.  His only criticism was he likes a quieter atmosphere.

Hold on. The restaurant was pretty quiet when we left–we just about closed the place!

There’s a very comfortable and warm vibe here.

And also very welcoming. If you look to the far left, you’ll see the little market that sells pastries and goodies. It’s really a very charming restaurant!

Wait. There’s more. Dessert.  I’m sorry-no-sorry to admit that I could have eaten three of the dessert I ordered.  Chocolate Cremeux. It was a chocolate mousse/pudding with a caramel foam and two pieces of white chocolate pretzel brittle. This was my kind of dessert and it better be a regular offering on the menu because next time we have dinner there, I want this.

This dessert. It was actually better than the Chocolate Pot de Creme that I had at Frenchie in Paris. Hands down. One of the best desserts ever. And I mean that!

And that was it. What started out as a dinner I thought would be disastrous ended up to be a great evening!   In fact, we’ll definitely be back. The service was far and beyond decent. Paloma has a great staff—from hosts to servers to bartender to chef.  It really was a positive experience and was even better to have a restaurant like this in our own backyard!

That was our local dinner..

And he was still smiling when we arrived home!  It was a great birthday!

Have you ever experienced a dinner or special occasion that started off to be not-too-promising but ended up to be great? Do tell!

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Another Weekend in NYC. This Time Brooklyn & Blog Memories!

Okay. I’m not sure if you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning but… my very first blog post was about a weekend in Brooklyn—here’s the link:  A Great Weekend in Brooklyn, NY.

me-and-the-kids-wythe-hotel-brooklyn

Six years and so much has happened yet remains the same. Two of my children are no longer in New York. I had hair back then–LOL. And I miss being with these three babies!  The Wythe Hotel is still the same!

The company I worked for closed and I was looking for something to keep my sanity in check so I started this blog.  And my second blog post was about the Christmas gift that my children, Jake, Roman and Oona gave to Bonaparte and me. It was a weekend in Brooklyn—and I’m starting to ramble, and if you are so inclined, click the link to the post and enjoy!

We stayed at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn that weekend and had the greatest time.  The Wythe Hotel will always hold a very special place in my heart because of that weekend.

Wythe Hotel Room 307

Our room number then!

Fast forward to now!

It ended up that my son, Jake had to come into New York on business and a wedding for a couple of weeks. He and his girlfriend rented an Air B & B in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  His hectic schedule made it impossible for to come to the Philly burbs to spend time with us. Instead, he treated us to a stay back at The Wythe Hotel last weekend. We revisited and had a remarkable time.

And our Room Number now! Befitting this queen, naturally!

And so, my friends, I invite you to a glimpse of how we spent last weekend!

We packed our bags early and headed into the City.   For old time’s sake I found use to bring along my tote bag from The Wythe Hotel during our first visit. I would be remiss to leave this behind. You see, this bag has been a part of every visit to France—both our summer visits to the South and our Paris visits. It holds quite the number of wine bottles and serves as my grocery tote.  It’s my favorite!

Our bags packed–and did I mention that we were supposed to be in the South of France that weekend?  And this is exactly how I pack when we’re in France? And I wore my Rondini Sandals as an homage to our cancelled trip? Seriously, this weekend visit to Brooklyn was so appreciative!

I always get a bit excited as we leave the NJ Turnpike to head to New York. There’s nothing like that first glimpse of the City Skyline and it never gets tired.

That view just melts my heart! Hiya New Yawk!!

Approaching Brooklyn, I can’t stop thinking of my time as a resident of Brooklyn Heights back in the 1970’s.  I worked on Wall Street and it was one subway stop away. The shortest commute I ever had.

I love Brooklyn!

We arrived at the hotel a bit early but it was no big deal. We were able to find street parking, which is a big deal—especially on the weekend!  We dropped our stuff off and enjoyed watching a soft-ball game and people-watching at the park (or rather I enjoyed the soft ball) before meeting Jake.

You have absolutely no idea what a treasure street parking in the city or boros is. And no meter parking is even more of a gem! When I lived in the City,  I was obsessed with a great parking space–and I haven’t changed!

There’s nothing like an old-school building-thankfully this was renovated and not turn down. I swear I have a love and affinity for this hotel!

You might think my crazy but this is my idea of beauty. A construction site in Brooklyn. Is there a story? Will the beauty among the ruins view be obstructed by a tall building? What will become of this site? I love making up a scenario and this scene is gorgeous to me.

I had to almost climb a locked fence for this one. If my husband wasn’t with me, I would have!

This photograph is also so special to me. It personifies city living on the weekends in the summer.  AND–it’s like a rebirth after the pandemic.  The spectators on lawn chairs. The people from other teams egging players on. The overgrown grass that hasn’t been mowed yet. There was music and the delightful noise of humanity! AND THE BEST–JAKE USED TO PLAY SOFTBALL AT THIS VERY FIELD WHEN HE LIVED IN WILLIAMSBURG!!!

We walked down to the waterfront, took in the sights, met Roman, and headed to a local movie theatre to meet Jake’s girlfriend Julianna and catch “In The Heights”.

Along the banks of the East River…

…there’s plenty to observe..

you might even find a Frenchman walking the pier..

..or a pleasant view under a tree..

…and even what I would deem a beach. And YES–if I lived here, I would probably get a warning from cops for climbing over the fence and sunbathing here. I could also use the fence to open up an old-school glass bottle of soda!

And what a great way to celebrate going back to a movie theatre! Hey. I don’t care how much criticism Lin-Manuel Miranda is facing for the casting of this movie.  Seeing it brought back great memories of living in that area.  I actually cried at the end because it just gave me flashbacks to City life that I miss so much!

This was a great movie and I feel awful for the criticism given to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Finally–a movie made without white people posing as Latinos and instead the poor guy gets hated on.  Sorry not sorry, I loved this!

We all enjoyed a most delightful dinner at Le Crocodile, housed at the Wythe.  The most hilarious part was that the Frenchman read the menu incorrectly.  He read “Skate Frites” to be “Steak Frites”.

Non! It’s SKATE Frites not Steak Frites…and this was marvelous!

And was shocked to find out that his beloved steak was not on the menu.  He opted for the Roast Chicken which he said was fantastic.  Jake and I ordered the Skate Frites. And let me tell you, this was the best Skate fish I’ve ever had. Served au Poivre, the sauce was delicious.  In fact, the entire meal was incredible.

Vincent and Roman had the roast chicken (I didn’t take this photo) and  this was a hit with both.

This! Hands down, this is one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had in my life. Leeks with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts. I’ve been perusing the net for a recipe similar to this. I NEED to make this!

We enjoyed dinner outside and lingered from sunset until darkness. The weather was absolutely perfect and it was just so wonderful to be with Jake after not seeing him for two years. And, as usual, it was a blast with Roman.  If Oona was there, it would have been the icing on the cake.

Although we had dinner outside, I snapped this photo of the inside of the restaurant early in the morning. Check out that floor!  Jake and Julianna returned during the week for another dinner.  The Frenchman and I need another weekend here!  Soon!

Hours later we returned to our room and enjoyed the relaxing quiet. And this is what I absolutely adore about this boutique hotel. The walls are solid brick.

 The exposed brick walls are so rustically beautiful and a wonderful noise barrier!

Any corridor noise is blocked. I know what I’m going to write may sound a bit “bitchy” to say the least but with the chain hotels comes weaker walls. This means you can hear everything from parties, to kids running up and down halls, to the couple in the next room doing the bouncy-bouncy. Believe me, I’m not being a curmudgeon nor am I being a misanthrope. It’s just sometimes you want your hotel room to be an oasis of sorts—a relaxing little corner of the world. And that’s just what we got!

Twinning! My regret is not buying a white tote to match my blue tote!

A most comfortable bed and a beautifully wall-papered backdrop..

The wallpaper is so cool. I’m such a sucker for details like this..

….little touches like a Wythe map of the area..

…and the good stuff!

 

…and six years later, Goldies skincare is still at the Wythe. I ordered this because it is such a great body lotion!

It’s great design touches like this floor in the bathroom..

…and this old stool that make for a charming room decor!

Sunday morning, taking time to enjoy getting ready to meet Jake for Brunch at Sweetwater!

Good Morning Brooklyn!

So happy and grateful to be here!

We waited for Jake in the comfort of the lobby.

And then it was out of the door and on to brunch!

Being in desperate need of cawfee, I was thrilled at the robust cuppa Joe that I was served. And it was a pleasure to spend another meal time with Jake before returning home.   It’s such a mixture of emotions. On one hand it’s so great to be spending time with your child but on the other hand, it’s sad to part ways. He lives in LA. I envy my friends who have children living within arm’s reach but you go where life leads you and I’m proud of the success my children have.

Sweetwater was the perfect place for Sunday Brunch. We were seated outside and enjoyed a couple of hours together before leaving. Might I add that the service at Sweetwater was ridiculously friendly. It was more like being at your friends’ house for coffee, gossip and food!

And this was one great cup of coffee!

My firstborn but will always be my baby!  I’m so thankful that he treated us to a stay at The Wythe. This Hotel will always hold a special place in my heart!

I honestly wish you were all here–or will consider a stay in Brooklyn on your next visit to The Big Apple!

Honestly, after being back at the Wythe Hotel, I’m ready to return for more weekends in Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan. It’s more “neighborhoody” being in Williamsburg—as is with other areas of this particular borough. It’s a pleasure to see such diversity and young people out and about enjoying life.

This mural says it all!

And, if you want, you can just take the ferry across the river to Manhattan.

NYC Ferry - the City's New Ferry – Blog da Laura Peruchi – Tudo sobre Nova York

I definitely want to return while the weather is warm and ride the ferry across the river. Actually, I would love this in the winter as well!

Are you planning to visit New York City anytime soon or later? Can I make a recommendation to you? Try staying in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  If you can’t get a room at The Wythe, there are other places by the waterfront.    The view of Manhattan from the waterfront is spectacular—you get a better feel of how magnificent Manhattan Island is.  And seriously, you’re not missing anything.  Brooklyn has museums, and parks and movie theatres, and great restaurants and great people!

Bye for now Brooklyn! We’ll be back!

I’m off to a mani-pedi now. It’s my husband’s birthday today and we’re headed out to dinner at a local restaurant—where he’ll actually have Steak Frites!

Dinner at Eight and we won’t be late! We’re having a birthday dinner at Paloma in Phoenixville. A far cry from Williamsburg but in downtown Phoenixville, it has that old-school charm!

It’s great to be out and about again–isn’t it?

Posted in Local Travel, NY | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Scents and Scentsability! And A Dossier of New Fragrances!

In the past, I’ve posted maybe three or four times about fragrance.  Now, I don’t consider myself a “nose” when it comes to scent but I know that parfum is stronger than eau de parfum which is stronger than eau de toilette. And I certainly wouldn’t deem myself an expert on scent because I’m rather limited in the scents that I do wear on a regular, rotating basis.

Zsa Zsa Gabor Vintage GIF

Yes Dahling..I love to wear fragrance!

In fact, over the years, I’ve been extremely loyal to two brands; the first being Fragonard. And the second, which also creates cosmetics, is Guerlain.   My four go-to scents are:

For Winter:  L’Instant by Guerlain.  For Spring:  La Petite Robe Noire. For Summer:  Fleur d’Oranger by Fragonard. In Autumn:  Santal by Fragonard. I do not venture out of my fragrance comfort zone.

From the top: Winter, L’Instant ; Spring, La Petite Robe Noire; Summer–both by Guerlain Summer, Fleur d’Oranger; Fall, Santal–both by Fragonard.  My go-to fragrances–but hold on because that is all about to change!

There are a few factors that play into my love for these scents.  The first is that they are made in France and while that might sound silly, the scents made in France are different. They aren’t “fizzy” or cheap-smelling.  Even when wearing a stronger concentrate such as eau de parfum rather than eau de toilette the scents are still soft as a whisper—a nuance, if you will.   Secondly, they don’t give me a headache. This is big. Very big.  Do you remember back in the days when department stores had employees spritzing you, uninvited, with the latest mass-produced scent?  Each spray was the base for a horrific headache. Third, I’m a creature of habit.  I know what I like and …well, I know what I like. Lastly, I love a more masculine scent for cooler weather and a more feminine scent for the warmer weather.

season 9 seriously GIF by Curb Your Enthusiasm

Probably the funniest scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm. This was Larry David’s reaction to being randomly sprayed without permission. I’ve come close to doing the same!

In pre-Covid times, when my husband and I visited the South of France during summer, we would drive from Theoule to Grasse. Specifically, for me to head to the Fragonard Factory store to load up on my Fleur d’ Oranger. I cannot get enough of Orange Blossom.  I load up. Besides, I love the Fragonard Factory. Yeah. I realize it’s somewhat of a touristy thing but visiting it makes me happy.

Grasse Fragonard exterior GOLD

This is from our 2016 visit. I take the same photo every year. And every year I do that same tour. TBH, I am pretty sure I could be a tour guide here!

Our visits to Paris are generally during the cooler months (we’re set to return in November after our last pre-Covid Thanksgiving trip) and I’ll usually stop by the Fragonard Boutique on Blvd. St. Germain to load up on Santal.   And my favorite shopping spree ever was when Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele, took me to the Guerlain boutique on the Champs Elysees to run amok and pick out whatever I wanted.  One of the items I chose was a large bottle of La Petite Robe Noire—the cherry scent does something to me.

Sites-Guerlain_EU-Site ⋅ GUERLAIN

The day Daniele treated me to a spree here, I felt like a princess. The velvet gate was opened that led to the most beautiful display of perfumes and no expense was spared!

And when I did stray from these favorites, it was back a few years ago at Geant Hypermarche in Mandelieu.  I spotted a display on a wall of spray tubes. The company, adopt, was new at the time and I became hooked on the brand’s Oud Ambre and Ambre Jasmin scents. I went back for more. Alas, these scents could not be purchased in the States and the next year the little tubes had vanished from Geant altogether. Maybe the Fragonard and Guerlain gods punished me for straying!

My Saddest Bye from Paris and My Best Buys Too | Atypical 60

This was a great little falcon of spray. And I never saw it again!

But there’s just something about a memorable scent. You can catch that elusive scent like a breeze when a woman or man walks by and a few seconds later, in their path, that sensual or fruity or flowery or woody scent lingers. It’s magical.

I’ll tell you just how magical a scent is. Okay?  Bonaparte’s aunt, the actress, Daniele Delorme wore Guerlain’s L’heure Bleue. It was her signature scent. She also smoked Marlboro Lights. And that combination is one that I’ll never forget.  Her car begat the essence of this unforgettable aroma.  And while cigarette smell makes me ill, mixed with the perfume, it’s not too bad.  But I’m getting to a point here. The scent was so memorable that I can actually smell it when I close my eyes and think of it.  When I wanted to buy L’heure Bleue, my husband told me I shouldn’t wear it because it was Daniele’s scent.  He finally understood when I told him I just wanted to have the perfume so I could open it, smell it and be reminded of Daniele. That’s the magic of scent.

Strange as it seems, I would never wear this because it was Daniele’s scent (mixed with the cigarettes), but I just want to have it to open the bottle and be reminded of her. THAT’S part of the magic of fragrance!

So, you can imagine what my thoughts were when I received an email from Dossier asking me if I would like to try a few of their scents for review.  To be honest, I really had to think about it simply because I just don’t venture out of my comfort zone when it comes to scent.  But, since the company is new, and the fragrances made in France, I decided to go for it.  And now, my four little favorites have some very serious competition.

The competition is serious. These four sents are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Now, Dossier perfumes are based in Brooklyn, New York but the scents are created in France.  Right away, I had a feeling these scents would not fail.  Also, the scents are inspired by luxury brand scents, making them similar in traits that a more expensive, luxury brand perfume would have.

A fragrance chart I snapped in Grasse!

Here’s where it gets even better.  Everything is pared down. There’s no fancy marketing nor does the brand have ads with celebrities or familiar models. It’s all quite simple, basic and not fussy. No advertising company to pay either.  The reviews speak for themselves.

Perfectly pragmatic packaging! Simple and to the point.  It’s what’s inside that counts!

An added benefit is the magnetized cap to the bottle. No leakage issues!!

What I think is an excellent strategy on Dossier’s behalf is every bottle of perfume ordered comes boxed with a little sample falcon.  This allows you to test the scent first before opening the full-sized bottle. If you find you don’t like what you ordered, all you have to do is return the package with the full-sized bottle and you will receive a refund. No questions asked.  This is great on two levels—not only do you get to sample the scent but there’s enough in the sample for two or possibly three wears so you can really get a sense of whether or not you want to keep the bottle!  In addition, all caps to the full-sized bottle are magnetized so there’s no chance of spillage or leakage.

To learn a bit more about the company, click this link:  Dossier Perfume

So, when I agreed to review, I went over to the Dossier website to take a quiz.  If you are unsure of the sort of scent you prefer, or if you are just indecisive or looking for something different, take the quiz.  Knowing what I like, I took the quiz and lo and behold, the scents picked for me where very much in the realm of what I love.  Woody. Musky. Masculine with a Feminine touch. Yeah. Dossier gets me!

Let’s take a look at the fragrances, shall we?

The first scent I’ll show you is Fougere Oud.  This perfume is inspired by Tom Ford’s Oud Wood Eau de Parfum.  The Ford scent retails at $250 for a 1.7 oz. bottle. The Dossier Fougere Oud retails at $39 for a 1.7 oz bottle. These two scents are the ones I can actually compare because I’m familiar with the Ford Oud Wood. When I worked at Nordstrom, running to the Tom Ford display was one of my favorite activities.  I am a fan of any fragrance with oud in the notes so Oud Wood was sampled quite often.  How does the Dossier Fougere Oud compare to it?

Inspired by Tom Ford’s Oud Wood, Dossier offers an incredible fraternal twin in the brand’s Fougere Oud.  And the price cannot be beat!

It compares remarkably well.  While not the exact same scent, it’s the closest thing you could ever find.  But here’s the thing—the Dossier Fougere Oud outlasts the Ford scent!  The most daunting thing is when a scent powers out with two hours as the Ford scent does.  It’s really funny because after about four hours of wearing the Fougere Oud, I thought the scent dissipated because I couldn’t smell it. However, my coworkers were asking me what perfume I was wearing because they loved the scent. That’s a good sign!

All Dossier perfumes come with a card that lists all notes and the percentage of concentrate. They are very transparent and also explain how the brand works!

Next is the Ambery Saffron.  The inspiration for this scent is Maison Francis Kurkdjian_Baccarat Rouge 540.   In being transparent, I have never tried the Baccarat Rouge but man, this has got to be the most mysterious scent I’ve ever used.   The Dossier Ambery Saffron retails for $49 for a 50 ml bottle vs the Baccarat Rouge which retails for $300 for a 2.4 oz bottle.

This is THE most mysterious scent I have ever had the pleasure of wearing.  For me, it smells of pineapple as soon as it is sprayed but dried down to something completely different. It’s what I call a “fun” scent!

The top notes are Saffron and Orange Blossom. And as a lover of pure orange blossom and literally addicted to that scent, I could get nothing at all reminiscent of my beloved orange blossom.  Instead, I got a whiff of pineapple. I’m not kidding. The second I put this on, it smells like pineapple.   But wait!!  The it dried down to this really fun fruity scent. But not fruity like a pre-teen scent. It’s a grown-up fun scent.  And I can definitely detect some woodsy features mixed with fruit. It’s the strangest thing. It’s also sweet but not overly sweet.  This is not a scent I would wear to a wedding or fancy event. This would be a fun afternoon scent. But isn’t that the way it is with fragrance?  The reaction with my body could be different with yours.

Another reason to be appreciative of these little cards. Every time I wear this scent I try to break the notes down. I’m not kidding.  It’s really fun but I’m thinking “where’s the pineapple”?  This scent does make me want to drink Pina Coladas!

The next two scents are my favorites.  And I must admit that my Fragonard Fleur d’Oranger has taken a backseat this summer because I’ve been teetering between the two since I received them.

This. Is. Incredible!  And in the Fall, I’ll be wearing it every day. I need to order a backup! 

And although Woody Sandalwood is inspired by Le Labo’s Santal 33, I SWEAR this is a deadringer for Fragonard’s Santal. My theory is that somebody from Fragonard is now working at Dossier.  And the Dossier Woody Sandalwood has more staying power!

Woody Sandalwood.  What is the inspiration?  Le Labo Fragrances Santal 33 which retails for $192 is, like Dossier’s Woody Sandalwood, a unisex scent. The Dossier version retails for $49 for the same 50 ml size. Although I’ve hears a plethora of great things about the Le Labo Santal, I’ve never smelled it.  The Woody Sandalwood was recommended from the quiz. And let me tell you this much, as a fan of Sandalwood, Fragonard’s Santal is my go-to-fall fragrance. The Dossier version is almost the same thing but better.  I can’t stop smelling this.  The fragrance is so long-lasting that it lingered after I had showered and gone to bed—yet it isn’t overpowering or strong. It’s just …. Intense is the best word to describe it. But there’s also the slightest nuance of sweetness and a tad of musk.  I really have to stop myself from using this because I won’t have any left when the Fall arrives and this is such a wonderful scent for the cool weather. It’s got that masculine vibe that I just love so much yet, its feminine at the same time.  I just spritzed some on.

It’s in the cards. I’m no nose but I could detect most of these notes-especially the cardamom!  If you love a woody scent–especially in the fall, THIS is the one to get. It’s crazygood!

Lastly, there’s Musky Gaiac. Inspired by yet another Le Labo scent—Gaiac 10 which retails for $290 and Dossier’s Musky Gaiac costs $49 for a 50 ml bottle. This is that most magical scent.  It’s almost difficult to describe. It’s musky for sure—but not so musky that all you smell is musk. It’s sweet and slightly powdery but not headache-causing powdery.  It’s woody yet not too woody. It’s soft as a cloud and yet, intense enough to literally last all day. All. Day!!  I’m not kidding.   This is the scent that really gets people going.  And yet, the second I open the bottle, I get a vanilla vibe but there’s no vanilla in it.  This is the scent to wear when you want to entice. It’s that scent to wear at a very intimate dinner or event. OMG. Who am I kidding? It’s the scent you just want to wear every day. If Dossier created bath gel and body lotion in this scent, I would buy it in a second.  If there was a shaving gel made of this Musky Gaiac, I would shave my legs every day—even in winter!

This is the GOAT! The Money Scent! OMG! I could run through fields naked with this!  I want those fragrance sticks in this scent. I want room freshener in this scent. I want candles and bath gel in this scent!

This is highly concentrated and to look at the notes, there’s not a ton of stuff going on. But WOW–this scent.  I need a moment here.

I’m honestly floored at how incredible the Dossier fragrances are. To me, scent is just such a personal and intimate thing and I thought that I would never leave my regulars. But now, I’ve just added to them!  If you are thinking about adding a new scent to your collection or if you are a fan of luxury scents but just don’t want to or cannot spend luxury prices, head to Dossier’s website and check it out. Take the quiz. And if you are familiar with the luxury scents, you can save money with Dossier! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

I’m so in love with this scent!

As an aside, I spritzed the Musky Gaiac on me around 7:30 this morning. It’s now 8:20 in the evening as I write this and I’m still smelling this!

Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Let me know your opinions on fragrance below–and if you get the chance check out the Dossier website and take the quiz!

 

Posted in Dossier Perfume | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Let’s Talk Swimwear for the Average, Mature Woman.

It’s been a while since I ventured into the fashion posts. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly but here we go.

It’s summer.  It is hot outside.  We need relief.  We can go to the local pool. We can, if we are lucky enough to live nearby, head to the beach. We can take a drive to a lake.  We can put the sprinkler on the lawn or back yard and have fun at home. We can lie on our deck or tar beach with a spray bottle to make us comfier.

Or perhaps the pool and the sea in the background?

And we can do this wearing a bathing suit. What’s that you say?  You don’t like the way you look in a bathing suit?  Girlfriend. We need to talk.

schitts creek comedy GIF by CBC

That’s right! Let’s get down to business. Talking about what we’re gonna WEAR at the water!

Sigh. I know how you feel.  It is getting on my last nerve to look through Instagram posts, online shopping stock photos and department store catalogs of women in bathing suits. It seems all the photos are of youthful, toned younger women or the mature woman who looks like Helen Mirren.

Helen Mirren rocking a bikini aged 79. | Helen mirren bikini, Celebrity swimsuits, Dame helen mirren

Whilst we all adore Helen Mirren and love the fact she’s a great spokeswoman for the mature women–the average over-60-year old kind of doesn’t look as toned as her.

In addition, the majority of these photos are retouched to erase the dimpled cellulite, veins and texture from any skin that is not covered.  And lest we not forget that all these women modeling swimwear have perky titties, rock hard abs and no hips.

Don’t even get me started on this garbage.  It is so stinking obvious that this “dress” type swim thing is geared toward the mature woman–and look who is modeling it. Need I say more?

These are not the average and older woman. And it’s actually shameful that we don’t see the average woman in these posts or ads. No wonder women are intimidated.  It also upsets me that many women refuse to even wear a bathing suit because they feel their bodies are not perfect.

With a pandemic weight gain that I did start to lose but then fell off the wagon, I was somewhat hesitant myself about donning swimwear this summer.  Last summer we went to the beach twice. Twice. I couldn’t take wearing a mask at the beach—it was just too hot and too stressful so we basically spent every weekend home.  But this summer it’s different.

I’m wearing the damn bathing suits.  It is too hot and humid during our Mid-Atlantic/Northeast summers.  And after working all week at that job, I want my weekends, weather permitting, to be spent enjoying the ocean spray, the sun smiling down at me, sitting at the edge of the breaking waves reading a book.

But please allow me to backtrack a bit.

I used to wear two-piece bathing suits and, when much younger, a modest bikini. Even into my fifties, depending on my weight that year I still opted for the bikini.  Mostly because my longer torso made it nearly impossible to find a one-piece that fit!

Me. Five years ago. I was still soft but now, my gut hangs low and too and fro! 

And then my body really started to change.  To be honest, I think the aging process hit all at once. My belly, although never rock hard and a bit soft, became softer than a warm marshmallow.  My thighs took on not only excess cellulite but the skin started to appear a bit like crepe paper.  And even though I don’t have varicose veins, I see some little purple veins appearing more and more.

Ewww! What’s this?–you ask! It’s an extreme close up of my crepe-laden leg after frolicking in the freezing cold Atlantic and drying off in th sun! This is real life ageing!

My waistline has gotten thicker and the girls a bit saggy. The arms flabby.  It’s nothing to get horrified with because you put ‘em all together and it just means I’m an average, over 65-year-old woman. And that’s the body I have.

And that’s okay. I don’t need to wear a bikini these days, nor do I need to be the best-looking or in-shape woman at the beach or pool or where ever.  All I want to do is look nice and presentable and comfortable.

Yeah! That’s right. I just want to look presentable and halfway decent! 

I’m not ready for those swimsuit dresses and personally, I don’t like them on any woman. They look cumbersome and when you get down to it, really don’t hide anything.  The only thing this type of swimwear does is age a woman and make her appear matronly.

Sorry but I have a major issue with these swimsuit dresses. It has nothing to do with size nor age. They just are not flattering-and once more, we have a younger woman modeling a swimsuit geared for the older demographic!

And these two women, albeit, they are young, are insanely beautiful in these one-piece swimsuits–proving that all sizes look fantastic in swimwear!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the bathing suits I do have and wear regularly.  You should also be aware that I’m on a self-imposed “no-buy” these days.  I purchased one of these suits prior to my no buy so I’ll start off with that.   In addition, all of these swimsuits have been purchased beginning in 2019 from Amazon.

All of these bathing suits are my regulars now. And every one of them is from Amazon. Quite frankly, I have never been big on spending a ton of money on bathing suits and these have been purchased over the years!

All are under $30—in fact, I’ve made an Idea List for you to print and take with your when you are looking for swimsuits at a store or boutique if you prefer to not purchase on Amazon:

Bathing Suits I’ve Purchased from Amazon and Actually Wear-Bathing Suits for the Mature Woman!

So let’s take a look at each of them and I’ll tell you what I like and what could be improved:

Below is the first-ever one piece I purchased from Amazon a few years ago. Oona had one in white and I really liked the look–it looks far more expensive than it cost.  And although I love the design, I save this one for laying out on the deck at home. There’s a reason.  This swimsuit isn’t exactly long-waist friendly. When you’re long-waisted it’s difficult to get the suit to measure up in the right places. The top makes my boobs look super saggy simply because the torso length of the suit is short.  It’s really a shame because this suit is such a stunner but I still wear it on the deck where I can bask in privacy. If you are short-waisted or shorter is stature, this is perfect for you.  Honestly, when I purchased it, I forgot Oona is shorter than I am.

This bathing suit is just so nicely designed and well-made but I’m too long-waisted for comfort!

In this photo I’m wearing insert pads to give the suit a better silhouette.

Next up is this paisley number. I was looking for something on the bright side and found this. It was a stretch for me because I prefer solids but I love the colors and the design of this one and it is comfortable and long-waist friendly!

Her

The ruching gives a flattering fit across the middle..

Take into consideration–if you are like me and not real busty, the top can look a tad flat…

And you can’t go around trying to hand-push up your girls but..

These bathing suit pad inserts are wonderful to slide in!  They really make your shape look a lot better!

Here’s another one. This is a halter top as well, but the way it’s designed, when you tie the top it gives a good lift to the top. 

And you can also adjust the top panels to give more or less coverage around the bustline. But what I really love about this is the two dresses that you can wear over the suit..

What I absolutely love is that I have two dresses to match this swimsuit.  I actually wear both dresses to work and both are also Amazon purchases. Anyway…the first dress is more casual, directly below, it has a looser fit so if you are on a special vacation and want a cohesive look to your beach/pool ensemble you can’t go wrong!

If you are on vacation or at a resort, this dress is a wonderful coverup.

A bit dressier but the same tropical pattern, this shift would be perfect for a pool party or headed to dinner directly after the beach or pool.

This dress has a more bodycon vibe but for dinner directly from beach, it’s great. A pair of strappy gold sandals and you’re good to go.  

Below is my favorite swimsuit. I love it so much that I bought a second one in a deep purple.  There is not one flaw or issue with this suit.  The squared-off neckline is so flattering–it’s got a good space inside the suit to slide in hard cups. The ruching in the middle really helps to suck in those piggy bits AND it’s long-waisted friendly.  It is modest and classic and just wonderful!

This–even if I was twenty pounds lighter, this is that one-piece I would make sure to have in my pile of swimwear!

Here’s another look at the neckline and the way the fabric drapes.

And another cute dress-as-coverup! This J. Crew Factory dress is at least ten years old but would make a great coverup for a lunch or dinner date after a beach day!

Same bathing suite in deep purple. OMG. I really love this suit!

And the fit really sucks the piggy bits in while remaining extremely comfortable..

It’s just such a nice suit!

Last of all, we have another navy suit, long-waist friendly, and a bit of mesh on the top. This is another really comfortable bathing suit!

And remember, you can always use an oversized scarf as a pareo to tie over your bathing suit!

My son, Jake, brought this back from Tahiti a few years ago and it’s been used every summer!

So yeah!  Don’t let imperfections or a bit of a weight gain stop you from wearing a bathing suit. There’s a reason they are called swim and bathing suits. They are for swimming and frolicking in the waves and cooling off in the summer!  Don’t care what others think.  This is about you.

When you are looking for a swim suit, look for comfort of course. But also, bend down, if the bottom rides up your cheeks, then opt for a different style or larger size.   With one-piece suits if you have a long torso, don’t settle for a suit that doesn’t have the length in the mid section. Trust me, the suit won’t work–that suit I think is the prettiest is the one I keep for home!  If you are not full-chested, those foam pads work wonders to give more shape to your body. That’s the thing with one – piece swimsuits sometimes they squish your top.

And most of all, wear what makes you feel good. BTW, if you decide to purchase any of the Amazon suits that I have, remember that I do receive compensation–I just wanted to put that out.

Happy summer!!!

This was my beach look last weekend. My favorite suit in navy, an Old Navy coverup that is about eight years old, an old, old J. Crew beach bag and Amazon sunnies!

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We Attended a Wedding! We’re on the Way to Normal!

It’s been over a year since the lockdown.  Over a year that we haven’t socialized.

stay home

Yup!  That’s where we’ve been hanging out for over a year!

Yes. I did fly out to Cincinnati to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandson and donned two masks and a ton of sanitizer and sat on the place a great social distance from others and waited at an empty airport to board flights.

The only time wearing a mask was uncomfortable was during flights–but ya do what ya need to do!

 I also, as restaurants slowly opened to very severe restrictions, happened to enjoy a few meals out with my husband and on occasion with my bestie Grace.   But there was a tone and a feeling that things could get worse. before getting better.

The Frenchman is so happy! Not necessarily because the ban is lifted but because grass-feed beef is back on the menu!

It wasn’t until a large number of us received one…then two vaccinations that hope set in.  And as we slowly return to a phase of normalcy—we are beginning the journey back to life as we knew it!

We went to a wedding and it was a gloriously wonderful and fun time!

My girlfriend’s daughter had her wedding set for last summer.  It was planned way before the lockdown and it was an event that we were all looking forward to. Then things changed.  What transpired was a wedding ceremony Mass that was streamed via computer. It was strange to get dressed up and attend a wedding via computer but that was life at the time.    Following the ceremony was a small gathering for immediate family.  The actual reception was pushed back to this Memorial Day.

Strange as it seemed, I got dressed, put makeup and hair on and watched the original wedding from my computer and you know what? It was great!!!

A lot happens in a year.  Oona would have been able to attend the original wedding because she had just found out she was pregnant. This time around it was impossible due to having a baby and difficult logistics.  We all felt bad but I’m sure it isn’t a unique circumstance given what the past year has handed everyone.

This little nugget of cuteness!  Can you believe Owen is four months old already?

But for Bonaparte and I it was a different story.   We were able to attend.  And attend we did! Our lives at the present are returning to a form of normalcy.  We headed into New York City for an overnight a couple of weeks ago, and next week, we’ll be back!

This past weekend was spent in  New Jersey!  We attending the updated wedding ceremony and reception and it was so great to be back in the social swing of things.  Here’s how it rolled:

The Preparation:

The Dress– Because of my pandemic weight-gain, I was unable to wear the dress that was worn to Oona’s wedding.

Two years later and I got too fat. I’m eating a cookie as I write this.

A bit daunted and extremely disappointed in myself, I washed away my frustrations over this dreadful circumstance with a bag of tortilla chips and a glass of milk. (And Hershey’s syrup was added to give my milk that “extra”) Then I headed to Amazon in hopes of finding an affordable frock with plenty of stretch.  I am glad to say that I found the perfect dress for $50.  The side slit made the dress incredible danceable, the stretch factor of the dress allowed for me to literally stuff my face with every food item passed around during the cocktail hour, enjoy a few “beverages”, savor the dinner then return to my gluttonous ways when dessert was served.

This dress!  $50 on Amazon was a literal life-saver for me! If you need a fancy dress anytime soon–here’s the link : Amazon Cocktail Dress from my Store

The Shoes– were those worn at Oona’s wedding.  Gold strappy heels.  They were broken in at my daughter’s wedding so these would be, albeit I haven’t worn heels this high since July 2019, comfortable. Besides, they would be taken off my feet when I hit the dance floor anyway.

The shoes are now broken in. They stayed comfortable and on my feet until I hit the dance floor!

The Accessories – if you are a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I am not big on accessorizing. I keep it simple.  Pearls are my thing for dressing up and I wore pearl teardrop earrings, my “good” pearl choker and my pearl ring–all gifts over the years from my husband! And  lest I forget, the gold and silver watch which was the first Christmas gift he gave me over 14 years ago!

This was the extent of my accessories!  I keep it simple.

And my go-to fancy bag!  It holds what I need. My phone, tissues, mints and lipstick.

The Fake Tan—our May weekends didn’t offer much in the way of heat and sun. Therefore, it was impossible to get a day or two down the shore. Instead, I opted for the easy way out and treated myself to a well-needed spray tan.  While one might say that one’s natural skin tone is a lovely and beautiful thing, those are the people who never grew up with Irish pasty-white-fish-belly skin. So pale that it takes on a blueish tint.  With freckles you could play a real-time connect-the-dots. No. I opted for a spray. Contrary to what others think or say, I feel a tan makes me look healthy—and by all means, thinner.

Sorry not sorry. Perhaps growing up on Long Island near the beach but I feel that a tan looks healthier during the summer. And fake tanning is my jam!

The Nails—I love a long nail.  And a nail that is shaped to oval perfection. Longer nails make my stubby fingers appear longer. I feel graceful with a long nail. And so, I headed to the nail spa to get my acrylic talons refilled. My feet needed some lovin’ too.  And my new favorite summer polish is OPI Hollywood and Vibe—a beautiful pink!

Winter brings red nails but pink comes alive in the summer! And I love those long nails!

The Big Dilemma: Let me tell you something.  My piggy bits may be just mine and only mine but there comes a time when you need to stuff them into shapewear.  I thought long and hard about this too.  After all, the adult beverages need to make their way out of the system after a while. And because a catheter to attach to your lady parts via the underwear hasn’t yet been invented, I had decided—was shapewear worth a twenty-minute trip to the ladies’ room to peel it down then squeeze all the fat back into it?   Yes. It was.  I went with the shapewear.

Check out the photo on the left. Without shapewear. I look like a pig. I’m so disgusted because I was doing so well.  Where’s those Biscoff cookies?  I need six!   On the right is with shapewear. It smooths the piggy bits!

The Hair—this is where I get indecisive. One would think that after an entire year to plan, I would have thought about which fake hair to wear atop my noggin. I was such a pain-in-the-ass over the hair that my friends at Estetica Designs even sent me a gorgeous Sutton wig to wear.  It wasn’t until the last minute that I changed my mind and went with my go-to-favorite-wig-of-all-time, Jamison.  This short, classic bob was chic simplicity and not fussy which was just what I wanted.  Mind you, after an entire year, I decided on this just as I was packing.

When in doubt, go with what you feel comfortable in. Jamison has never let me down!  She’s the classic fake hair that just keeps delivering!

The Face—with the fake tan, I was happy that there was no need to glob foundation upon my wrinkled visage.  Actually, I’m on a huge less-is-more with the cosmetics these days.  However, I did want a bit of a cohesive look. I packed my new holy grail face makeup by Almay. It’s not a foundation. It’s not a beauty balm. I honestly don’t know what it is but all I know is that it is a makeup product that blends with your skin tone and just evens it out a bit. It’s a miracle product.  I also packed my little Trestique mini-kit, my Subtl Beauty stacks and my Boom sticks. That’s it. Easy peasy. No fuss.

Fake tan. Fake Nails. Fake Hair. I know how to keep it real!

Like I said. Fake Tan. Fake Hair. Fake Nails. I keep it Real!

Another last-minute embarrassment was wrapping the gift. I could have wrapped the gift weeks—even months ago. Instead, I procrastinated until the night before—when I headed out to purchase wrapping paper, tape and embellishments.  I hate myself sometimes.

THIS should have been wrapped at least a week or so ago. Rather, I opted to do this the day before.  

All packed and ready to go, we dropped Chippy off at Doggie Daycare, hit the road in the pouring rain and we were off. Did I ever tell you how much I love my husband?  Except when he drives?  Yeah. When he drives, I don’t love him as much. In fact, it is an odd thing how emotions change when the one you are married to is behind the wheel.  As a Frenchman, he has grand illusions of racing at LeMans and traveling to Monaco for the Grand Prix. And when he drives, he believes he’s livin’ the dream. Until I start screaming like a banshee and my New York accent goes on overdrive. He doesn’t pay attention to what lane he should be in and as I scream “GET IN THE RIGHT-HAND LANE NOW” he manages to miss our exit or destination, then he says naughty phrases in his native tongue and blames the road error on my loud voice!

Idk Pls Reblog This Will Ferrell GIF

My husband envisions himself a race car driver. I envision popping open the champagne when we arrive at our destination in one piece!

It’s not a little road trip unless the above happens. It did. But by the time we entered the hotel, all was forgiven!

With the rain pouring down, I was hoping it would stop by the time we would arrive at the wedding site. Instead, the rain made us a bit lazy.  You see, there was a shuttle bus that picked guests up at the hotel and took them to the location of the wedding, The Ashford Estate. And because I moped and took my sweet time, we missed the shuttle by five minutes. So, it was back in the car with my French race car driver.

Ready to go and late for the shuttle! Back in the car with Ricky Bobby!

Now there’s something you should know. I used to live in Pennington, NJ so I really should have known where we were going.  I kind of lost my sense of direction over the years.  The hotel was in Hamilton, which was a town or two—perhaps three, from Pennington. I spent a bit of time in Hamilton with sports events for the boys, and shopping and dropping Oona off at one of her friends who lived there. So basically, you would assume I knew my way around Hamilton Township. The fact is, other than the Red, White, and Blue Store, AC Moore, Eet Gud bakery, Mastori’s Diner, Golden Dawn Diner, the Movie Theatre and the Hamilton high schools, I kind of didn’t know my way around.

This was very upsetting to my husband as he realized we missed the shuttle. He turned to me and confidentially stated that we would drive to the wedding because I knew my way around. At which point I meekly asked the young man at the front desk where exactly The Ashford Estate was.

And once again, my husband started muttering naughty phrases in French as I entered the address of Ashford Estates into my Waze app on my phone.  I swear I had no idea where the wedding was.

In the years of living so close by, I never knew this magnificent estate existed. It’s absolutely incredible!

We arrived at this magnificent estate to literally socialize with friends for the first time since the big lockdown! I would be remiss if I told you that I didn’t have a bit of social anxiety. After all, it’s been a while. I wasn’t in charge of things and I like to be in charge!  And despite the mother-of-the-bride being one of my best friends, I wondered if I would be comfortable in a larger social setting.

I felt as though we were entering a French Chateau…

Wait a minute. I could live here –but it was just as wonderful to be in this place for a celebration!

My anxiety peaked as we entered the main building and I didn’t see anyone I knew.  For a moment, I could feel my body stiffening. Luckily, one of the staff must’ve seen the look of fright on my face and asked me if everything was okay.  I responded by asking her if this was the DiBiase wedding and she assured me I was in the right place.  Within moments we were led to a beautiful barn where the small ceremony of vow renewal was to take place. And as soon as I spotted my friend Suzy, I felt a sense of calm just moving through my body. It was going to be a great time after all!

Here’s the barn where the vow-renewal ceremony took place.

Flower petals lined the brick floor–rustic and elegant at the same time!

Dad walking his daughter up the aisle!

A proud Dr. DiBiase ready to give his daughter away. Might I add this Doctor is an angel?  Administered over 1,000 Covid vaccinations!  And..this pretty bride is a labor and delivery nurse!  She gave Oona lots of advice during her pregnancy!

My girlfriend Mary Beth and her sons.  Our sons played baseball together. Look at her dress. OMG. That color and the lines–MB looks so beautiful!

Mr. and Mrs. Megan and Gianni

The small ceremony was very nice. The priest spoke a few words with a good sense of humor, the bridal couple looked just as stunning as they did when I watched them last year via computer! And afterwards we were led back into the main building of the Estate and to the Cocktail hour!

After the ceremony for a group pic! Thankfully the rain stopped for a few moments!

Whoa! Bonaparte smiles! He likes it. He really likes it!!

The room was stunning, overlooking the beautiful grounds and tons of food and beverages were available for ultimate enjoyment!  I certainly put the stretch in my dress to the test by trying everything that passed my mouth!  The greatest was the lobster bisque served into little shot glasses. Oh. And the lamb chops. Oh wait, I’m forgetting the little Cuban sandwiches. And just about everything else. My regret? I didn’t try the cheeseburger sliders.

The cocktail hour. Now THIS is a greetng I like to see. 

A Jersey verision of Sir Elton John. Seriously though, this guy was great! He played nonstop!

I do not get credit for this photo of food.  Truth is, I didn’t take any pics simply because I was too busy shoving everything and anything that passed by my mouth! (Burp. Oh. Excuse me!)

My girlfriend Suzy and her daughter Gillian, who just happened to be a bridesmaid!  Megan, Gillian and Oona all went to school together.

Have you ever heard of a Blushing Bride drink?  I hadn’t but I found out at the wedding and is it ever a delicious drink! One ounce peach schnapps; one ounce grenadine and four ounces of champagne or prosecco.  It is that good!

Gillian illustrated this picture of the bride and groom’s signature drinks! 

It dawned on me during the cocktail hour just why French people are thin. They have the willpower not to shove food into their mouths on a constant basis.  I am convinced that I’m American because I would be a failure as a French woman. My husband has the willpower that I lack. For every twenty bite-sized delights I vacuumed into my mouth, he had one.

Hungry Night Court GIF by Laff

IRL, this was basically me at the cocktail hour while my husband stood by saving himself for dinner!

After enjoying the mingling at the cocktail hour, it was time to enter into the ballroom where the main dinner and dancing took place.  It was nice to enter the room with the live band playing Marvin Gaye. I could have started dancing immediately!

This was the main ballroom. I didn’t take this photo. My iPhone was wobbly due to the amount of Blushing Bride’s I had!

Our table!

Selfie time!  Suzy and I got to sit at the same table. It was so much fun to reconnect and just enjoy after being home for over a year!

Mmmmm. Cake Time!  

TBH, I was having so much fun, I didn’t take many pictures. But overall, it was fantastic to be back in the social swing of things.  The one thing this pandemic taught me is that I am now grateful and appreciative of the time spent with friends and family.

Girls just wanna have fun–and the cool moms do it better!!

And so, as we move forward, don’t worry about the piggy bits that make up your gut or the wrinkles on your face or how you do that annoying snort when you laugh. Don’t worry if you are too loud or speak too softly.  Don’t shy away from the dance floor.  Nobody is judging you.  It’s time to have fun and enjoy life again!

Julia Louis Dreyfus Dancing GIF

…and dance like Elaine!  It’s good to be in the social swing of things again!

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Weekend in New York—Part Three-Ahoy Mate! We’re on The Intrepid!

Although it’s been two weeks since our visit to The Intrepid, I wanted to wait until Memorial Day weekend to publish this post—it seemed like the right thing to do—and the timing is good. So away we go to the last installment of our Weekend in New York!

We left off with me falling into a deep sleep due to the effects of red wine.  My husband had a quiet evening!

Heart cloud sleep

I wasn’t tired. It was the wine!

And Sunday morning, we got up and ready, returned to Paris Baguette to savor some great coffee and pastries for breakfast, checked out of the hotel, got the car and waited until Roman arrived from his apartment then the three of us headed across town to The Intrepid Museum.

One last drive on the East Side before heading Westward!

In all the years I’ve lived in Manhattan, I had never been to this museum. Well…it’s somewhat understandable because in 1982, when NYC officially opened the ship-as-museum, I was embarking upon a different kind of journey. I was pregnant. From then on in, visiting a military ship as a museum wasn’t high on my priority list.

Anyway…….my husband had been wanting to visit the museum for quite some time but we just never got around to it. Roman had a shoot on the ship a few years ago when he was working on Ink Master and had some time to explore the ship. He recommended visiting and so the three of us made a day, or rather a half day of it.

Not wanting to park on the street, we took advantage of the parking lot just steps away from the ship and made our way over.  It’s funny because I must have driven by The Intrepid hundreds of times but had never seen it up close and personal.  On this magnificent day, the ship was surrounded by people in kayaks.  Ok. I lied. I just remembered I did see this ship up close and personal.  On a speedboat back in the 1980’s. The super of our building, and his then-girlfriend’s (now wife) brother was a cop. He had a boat. We went cruising around the island of Manhattan one night and motored up to the ship.

IRL, it’s such a majestic ship!

Regardless, there’s no way I would kayak up to that ship.  I’m way too uncoordinated and a lousy swimmer.

And it was quite a surprise to see many in kayaks. I would not attempt this. Not now. Not ever. Never!

Having a designated time to visit due to Covid restrictions, we arrived when the museum opened but it was no big deal—we were able to get in earlier.  We received a very friendly welcome—the museum reopened a couple of days beforehand and everyone was just so happy to be back at work.  It was also great to see tourists and locals taking advantage of early visits before the crowds start to arrive with the onset of summer!

More than a Senior discount. More than a ticket. It’s a little sign that we are about to get back to normal!

Not knowing what to expect was part of the fun.  As a self-proclaimed pacifist, I cannot stand war but I love military museums.  Invalides in Paris was the greatest surprise ever and is always on my recommendation of things to see.

Atypical 60 | A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With  An Atypical Twist! | Page 8

Invalides is one of the must-see sites in Paris. Napoleon’s Tomb is astounding but..

Paris Invalides More Military dolls Napoleonic | Atypical 60

…it is the Infantry dolls dressed up in their military finest that did it for me!

The experience at Normandy was incredibly emotional.  Chilling, sad, and gut-wrenching.  The end result being that every visit to France outside of Paris, we make it a point to visit an American Military Cemetery and there are plenty.

And the seemingly endless rows of grave stones at Normandy that was gut-wrenching for me. It took a while to shake it off.

Back to the visit.  The size of The Intrepid is astounding.  It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around how jet fighters were able to take off and land..but I guess the best way for you to get a feel is to come along with me so …lets’ go!

Remarkable. Astounding. Awesome. Incredible—all used to describe this massive ship!

As you enter the main “floor” of the ship, it’s been renovated with quite a few sections. There’s a lot going on but it’s spaced very well so you don’t feel cramped.

There’s a little welcome film as you enter to give you an introduction of sorts.

Honestly, it’s a very welcoming and easy-to-navigate museum.

Scattered around are various stations with little film vignettes to describe what went on and how life was on the ship.

It was bittersweet and quite interesting to see these men discussing their experiences.

There was also a harrowing film about the experience of the Kamikazi planes hitting the ship. It was horrific…

and there were some pretty intense real-life effects!

Furthermore, it went on to explain the systemic racism of our times in the military.  The African American servicemen were made to serve the white troops dinner during meals and other times were strapped into these turrets of sorts  to defend the ship. All these men were killed by kamikazes. It was heartbreaking to learn this.

These men were true heros..

In my opinion, this was awful.

All of these men were killed by Kamikazis and were all buried at sea.

Awards were downgraded. But..

…for survivor Alonzo Swann, he finally received the honor due him in 1993.

Moving on, the ship is chock-full of interesting artifacts!

Jet fighters.

There’s even a cockpit for the children to sit in!

Oh! Why look! There’s a certain Frenchman reading about this aircraft!

Now we’re getting to MY favorite part of the museum. The Cake!!

This. There are no words to express my joy when I saw it..

Naturally, this is a replica cake but you get the idea of how large the cakes were..

This guy had the best job on the ship. After breakfast he could bake cake!

Not only was I obsessed with the grocery lists….

But–the recipes were on display!

I want to make the chocolate cake!

Roman and my husband had to carry me away from this exhibit!

Back outside, Manny, one of the volunteers who also served in the Gulf war had us on the outside elevator and explained the process of how this elevator was used on the ship!

This was fun. We got to “ride” on this outdoor elevator which was used for the aircrafts and other items. The floor is teak because the wood is strong!

This was as close to the top as we got.

And the view from the ship was not too shabby!

Onward to the USS Growler, a submarine launched in 1958 and used during the Cold War. The men spent three months aboard this sub and all did so on a voluntary basis.

Talk about confined space. This was ridiculously narrow!

Torpedoes were stored and miraculously never used.

The small kitchen.  Surprisingly, these guys ate very well.  Lobster, filet mignon. It was known that for the difficult living of limited space, no showers, etc. that they should have at least had great meals!

To give you an idea of how it was to go from section to section in these little oval openings..

….here’s Roman coming through. I swear my legs got great exercise going through these things.

It was a very good day and I highly recommend a visit to The Intrepid if and when you are in New York City!

One last view from the ship and..

On our way home!

I hope you enjoyed this visit. And before I end I just want to say that this Memorial Day as we remember those family and friends and those we never knew who served our country over the decades–we need to honor and respect them.  These are the men and women who selflessly gave life, limb and emotional health to make our country and our world a safer place.

These are the people who would never storm the Capital. They didn’t use excuses to avoid the draft. These were and are true American heros. Think about that on this Memorial Day!  And weather permitting, enjoy that cookout!

And in another two weeks, we’ll be back in The City!  Jake will be visiting due to work obligations and has treated Bonaparte and I to a night in the City!  

Happy Memorial Day All!

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A Weekend in New York! Part Two-Back on Home Turf!

It isn’t “Over the River and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go”….but is more like “Over the GW and through Riverside Drive, to Mid-town NY we go…”

As I begin to tell you about the venture from Upstate to New York City, I want to start off with this:   The last time we stayed in the City was the weekend before the big lockdown. It was the last of February/first of March and things were eerily empty.  Here’s the link to that blog post so you can get a better idea for comparison’s sake.

https://atypical60.com/2020/03/21/that-virus-and-a-weekend-in-new-york-city/

This time around, we were back just as The City was about to reopen.  People were on the streets without masks, and although masks were still required in establishments, there was a very different vibe.  People looked happy. And there were a lot more people on the streets as well as a lot of traffic.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve passed these signs over the years, I would be able to buy a new apartment in the city!

So, we drove over the GW and took Riverside Drive HH Parkway  to Midtown. We crossed over in Central Park and decided to do a little drive to Times Square and over to the Upper East Side where Bonaparte lived when he came to The States.  We were opposites even before we met. He was an Upper East Sider and I was an Upper West Sider!   (Note to self-this is another blog post).

Here’s the building I lived in from the 1970’s to 1985. It was more like a dorm back then and apartments are now selling from close to a million to over a million. My luck has never been in real estate!

 

 

And here’s where Bonaparte lived on the Upper East Side. Definitely more chic and refined than the old, funky building I lived in!  Opposites in every way!

It was so apparent that we are, quite possibly, returning to the pre-pandemic normal!

Check it out–definitely more people than pre-pandemic! It’s good to see everyone out and about. Traffic sucks though.

We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard on Third Avenue and 53rd Street.  Before I get into how this hotel was, you need to know that we are loyal patrons of Marriott Hotels.

Courtyard New York Manhattan Midtown East (New York, NY): What to Know  BEFORE You Bring Your Family

Thank goodness for Trip Advisor–I forgot to take a photo of the outside of the hotel. It’s not very interesting though.

However, it’s only steps away from the subway–which is remarkably convenient!

We used to stay at the Marriott Midtown—and that’s where we stayed just before the lockdown.  Sadly, the hotel has closed—and the reason for the closing was due to the lack of business during COVID. And that’s sad on so many levels because it was a grand, old-school hotel. Very elegant and very old New York.

It breaks my heart that this Marriott Hotel closed. It was such a great old-school hotel and I do hope Marriott has the wherewithall to reopen it.

Anyway, my husband decided to book a room for Saturday night at the Marriott Courtyard. And here’s where my only gripe about our weekend came.  First of all, the room was great.  The bed, as with all Marriott hotels was incredibly comfortable. The views were spectacular.  The staff was friendly, helpful and fun. The room was very clean.   And we even had a large-screen TV.

In typical Marriott style, the bed was comfortable as all get out and I love the simplicity of the bed linens.

The big screen TV kind of surprised me but Bonaparte was happy!

The bathroom was fine–but I’ll get to my gripe about it in a bit.  The lighting? WTF is going on with hotel lighting lately?  In Paris, horrible lighting is used in hotel rooms but the bathrooms are well-lighted. We need good lighting to get ready!!

But….and please read this carefully if you are going to be traveling any time soon.

I do believe management at Marriott took a bit of an advantage with the pandemic. It was the pricing.  Bonaparte paid $350 (tax included) for the room. For one night.  It may seem reasonable for New York City but here’s where I digress.

There was no doorman to welcome us nor was there a valet to take our car. Instead, we were given a little piece of paper with a map to a garage around the corner and up the street.  After dropping the car off, the paper had to be validated for a whopping $5.00 discount.

The house restaurant, The Bistro, was closed due to the pandemic. It hadn’t reopened yet.  And the oddest sight was a microwave oven in the hallway –what?????