Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Classic Casual

Kelly green with navy and white is a classic spring combination.

A light weight three quarter length sleeve cardigan in Kelly green looks great with a white tank and dark wash jeans. The Kelly flats are perfect to wear with jeans. Add a natural color tote to keep your look fresh and modern. If you add a necklace remember to wear only small earrings or none at all.

Tomorrow I will announce the monthly give away to one lucky subscriber to the blog. Good luck!

Thank you for reading!

Click here to go to Polyvore where you can find the source for all the items pictured here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

How I lost more than forty pounds and healed my body.

Taken at a Victorian Bed and Breakfast in North Carolina.

At the age of fifty-four I was frumpy, fat and very unhealthy.

The pictures above were taken about three years ago, before I started eating natural unprocessed foods.

The picture below was taken last month.

I have maintained this weight for over two years. Hundreds of people have asked me how I lost the weight and reversed my health problems. The simple answer is that I changed my choice of foods. My health and stamina returned to the levels of my early thirties in just a few months. I will turn fifty-seven this September.

My gentleman friend and I are very active socially which means we go out to eat and attend lots of parties and functions. As you know, special food is always a part of these social situations. Most of the food that is served in restaurants and sold in grocery stores in America is highly processed, heavily salted, with lots of added sugar and butter or other fats. This is also the reason that many of my friends started to gain a lot of weight as soon as they came to America.  

After I read the book "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, I realized that nothing in my daily diet was high in nutrition or provided a sufficient source of energy. That's why I was always hungry two hours after I ate!  

I started eating the breakfast described in the post here and at the top of this page under Recipes. Breakfast for me is at about six in the morning. I am often just starting to feel hungry at about one in the afternoon. I have a large leafy green salad with lots of steamed, roasted or sauteed vegetables at about two in the afternoon.  I use unsalted vegetable broth to cook with instead of butter or oil. My salad dressing is an aged balsamic vinegar. There is no oil, croutons, bread, or cheese served on or with this salad. That's normally my last meal of the day and I never feel hungry at night. I drink hot tea, water and occasionally a glass of wine.

This is my diet 95% of the time. I still eat whatever I want when we go out to dinner during the weekends. (I do not eat red meat or pork.) 

It is a simple healthy way of eating and I never feel that I am missing anything. I don't count calories or go to the gym. The fact that I feel so much better and have so much more energy serves as my motivation to continue to eat like this for the rest of my life.

I hope that by sharing my story I have given you the motivation to learn more about food and how it can make you feel great or miserable.

Thank you for reading and for all your positive comments here and also on Facebook. I enjoy hearing from you very much.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Steeplechase

One of our favorite spring traditions is to attend the running of the Block House Steeplechase in Tryon, North Carolina.

This event ushers in spring with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats and tailgating as we view the thoroughbreds thundering past striving for a win. The day started out quite cool so I am wearing a sweater poncho here. As the afternoon progressed the sun warmed us enough to shed the layers. Our parking space partners were the most charming people! We loved visiting with them and hope to continue our new friendships for many years.

At the beginning of the festivities there is a hat contest to award a prize to the most appropriate hat, the funniest hat and the best kid's hat. 

Here I am in the hat parade wearing the white dress I told you about earlier. (I did not win but it certainly was fun!)


Here are some of the other contestants in their lovely hats.

The Block House is the longest running steeplechase in the state of North Carolina occurring continuously since 1947. Crowds of 18,000 to 20,000 attend the Block House Races annually. 

This 1949 Bentley was in the space in front of us. The owner is the fellow standing behind the car. He told us that his father bought the car new and that his own grandchildren are the fifth generation to ride in the car. He drives it regularly. 

We always stay at the 1906 Pinecrest Inn. This is later in the day at the gazebo in the lower gardens on the property of the Inn. We are on our way to cocktails on the terrace so I have switched to a more subdued animal print ribbon trimmed straw hat for the afternoon. When wearing a hat I wear few other accessories. The effect can be quite matronly if you add large earrings, a necklace and glasses. The soft white knit dress is from Stein Mart.

Later in the evening, I wore another red knit dress from Stein Mart to dinner. This is a record for me... bare legs with a dress twice in one day! Normally I would not be so daring but it is my vacation after all.

To breakfast the next morning, I wore this wonderful fuchsia blouse which was a gift from Foxcroft. I paired it with khaki Capri pants from Talbots and Kenneth Cole Reaction sandals via T.J. Maxx. This Foxcroft blouse will be one of my spring favorites! You will see it often. It is the softest non iron fabric I have ever worn. Normally no iron blouses are too stiff to be comfortable. This one flows across the body in a perfect drape.

Thank you for reading. I hope you had a lovely weekend as well!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shopping in the Biltmore Village

Mr. Mickey and I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon shopping in Asheville, NC.

The historic Biltmore Village is centered around All Souls Cathedral and the homes that were built for the people who worked for many years to build the Biltmore House. Those houses are now unique shops and restaurants. All of the buildings which have been added over the years must comply with the style of the original buildings so even a nearby McDonald's has the same interesting roof lines and details.

An old clawfoot bathtub was used in the landscaping in front of this linen shop.

We also spent time downtown visiting galleries, shopping, watching people and our usual restaurant crawl.

The flying nun of Asheville (Sister Bad Habit) is one of our favorite characters. He has a very theatrical English accent and he wears horn rim glasses with a couple of days of dark beard growth. He rides this extended bicycle through downtown with the biggest smile on his face. Everyone cheers when they see him pass and they stop to take his picture. This is actually his job! He helps to promote LaZoom tours of Asheville. 

I wore khaki jeans by French Dressing with a cream tank top from Coldwater Creek. The purple linen three-quarter sleeve jacket is old from Coldwater Creek. My sandals are from Kenneth Cole Reaction via T.J. Maxx. The faux alligator bag is from Tuesday Morning. The bone and gemstone bangle bracelet has been part of my collection for many years. I love to wear wide bangle bracelets with warm weather clothes.

Thanks so much for all your nice comments on my last post!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Little WHITE Dress

We all know the magic of owning the perfect little black dress which can be worn for many occasions. Redbook magazine editors recently issued the challenge for me to wear a little white dress for summer. They are considering using this image in a blogger segment for their July issue.

Those of you who know me well, know that I would never even look at a white dress. White is not good with my hair color and skin tone. Dresses are not normally on my shopping list even in the correct colors. I don't like to show my legs and the top half of me is much larger than the bottom half. This makes my dress choices very limited because I often look like a tent in them. 

For this blogger feature I decided to put aside my preconceptions and give the task my best effort. My shopping time is very limited so I headed over to my favorite store which I can actually see from my breakfast nook. (I live on a hill and they are on another hill across the valley.) Stein Mart has a nice selection of dresses most of the time and on this day I found two white dresses for consideration. This pearl ivory sheath with an asymmetric layered peplum was my choice. 

You may also know that I always look for a great price. I will never suggest that you buy a $300 pair of jeans. (Honestly! How do these young twenty something bloggers afford a $1,500 hand bag?) That's another reason I love Stein Mart! I found this dress by Premise Dresses with a suggested retail price of $128 for only $39.99. 

Since the dress was so form fitting I tried it in a size 10 instead of an 8 and it worked great.  It came with a belt in the same fabric but I omitted that since I wanted to up the glam for this shoot.

I paired the dress with nude pumps by BCBGeneration and an ivory trimmed straw bag both from T.J. Maxx

The silver jewelry includes crystal trimmed large hoops, a large face crystal trimmed watch and an large scale link bracelet. The watch and crystal ring are from Stein Mart and the other items have been in my collection so long I don't remember where I got them. 

I will let you know if Redbook decides to publish the image in their July issue. 
It's official! My image will be in the July issue of Redbook!

 Thank you for reading!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Go Natural!

The shell buttons on this fuchsia linen jacket inspired my choice of accessories for date night.

Three-quarter length sleeves are the perfect choice for this time of year. This fuchsia linen like fabric is also great for the cool evenings of early spring. The style of the jacket is rather casual with pleated details and shell buttons making it a good choice to pair with jeans as well as the tan pants I am wearing here.

I often take my cues for accessories from the details of a bag or jacket. For example the buttons on this jacket are made from shell so I chose accessories made from natural elements as well. The back of the jacket features the same gathered details with buttons.

The bone and brass bangles have been in my collection for years. The necklace is one that I bought from the clearance rack at Belk a couple of years ago. It was damaged and was much more "in your face" bright silver. Since I own a jewelry supply company, that was no problem for me. I replaced the missing chain and added a regal element to the pendant and antiqued the silver to tone it down a bit. The pendant also includes mother of pearl shell.

The tank top is from Coldwater Creek and it is a softer white, not bright white. The pants are my basic tan side zip pants from Talbots last fall.   

The jacket is by Peck & Peck from Stein Mart. It was on the 30% off rack last week. The Etienne Aigner shoes are several years old.

I hope you have a great day. Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Motown in Tennessee!

Last evening Mr. Mickey and I had a wonderful world-class gourmet meal and saw a fabulous Las Vegas show right here in Tennessee!

The sun was shining all day so warmer weather has finally arrived. Oh, joy!

My three-quarter length sleeve jacket is several years old. I paired it with a fuchsia tank from Chico's and a pair of dark gray pants from Stein Mart.

The faux leather clutch is from T.J. Maxx and the ruffle trim black leather platform sandals are from Kohl's a couple of years ago. 

Mr. Mickey and I always plan what to wear so as not to clash with each other. When I arrived to pick him up he looked so dashing in his black and white silk jacket and black sweater! 

The patterns in our jackets look strange in the photos so I am including close-ups of them.

Closeup of Mickey's silk jacket.
Closeup of Susan's black and white jacket.

Jacob and John are the chef and sous-chef at Gourmet & Company in Johnson City. Last evening they prepared a pasta dish that was absolutely one of the best meals either of us has ever enjoyed.

The ravioli was made with porcini mushrooms and stuffed with goat cheese and spinach. A roasted shrimp topped each and a perfect orchid was placed in the center. Bravo gentlemen! 

The Johnson City Symphony Orchestra closed out their season with special guests. Spectrum is a group of four very talented gentlemen who performed in Las Vegas for several years. The evening's performance was a tribute to many of the wonderful Motown classics we grew up listening to. We were sitting in fourth-row center seats! I felt like a VIP all evening. 

Thank you for reading my blog and for all of your lovely comments.

I hope you have a great week!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Suit ... or Not

Do you have suits that you never wear?

This vintage Chanel suit was found on 1stdibs.com for $1,500.

Treat the pieces as separates instead, and you may find yourself reaching for them often.

For the past few years, it has been a trend to wear Chanel inspired jackets with faded jeans and heels. That has become too predictable now, so I like to pair a jacket with more tailored pieces instead.

Pair the skirt or pants with a cardigan and a tank and pointed toe flats.

Think outside the suit!

Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Closets Revealed!

Readers have asked to see my closets and to learn about my organization strategy so this post is a tour of my closets and storage systems.

The walk-in closet off the master bath is home to my clothes, small clutch bags, hats and most of my jewelry. That black object in front of the blanket basket is a stool.

I organize clothes according to color and by dressy or casual. Jackets are on the top and tees are on the bottom of the right side. Pajamas, dresses, tunics, winter pants and jeans are in the center. (Summer pants are in an upstairs closet for now.) 

In the reflection of the mirror, you can see the left side which holds blouses and tank tops and casual jackets and sweaters.

The folding doors are fully mirrored and there is a built-in chest to the left. I keep jewelry in the chest and in the mahogany jewelry box on top which was a gift from Mr. Mickey. Clutch bags are in those colorful storage boxes and hats are in the round hat boxes if they aren't so large they won't fit in them. (Never wear a hat wider than your shoulders.) The one hat that you see is almost there. I have never found a box to fit it.

The best silver cleaner ever is in the gray jar. It can be found at Target. Look for Connoisseurs® Silver Jewelry Cleaner.

Shallow trays for organizing an office drawer are great to keep jewelry from getting tangled. They can be stacked in deeper drawers. You can usually find them at Walmart or any office supply store.

I bought that mirror in an antique/junque store for $5. It was matte purple! I took it apart and painted it to look like rococo Italian carved wood. 

I store my shoes and scarves in the closet of a small upstairs bedroom I've named my dressing room.

I found both of these shoe storage systems at Bed Bath and Beyond.

On the back of the door is more shoe storage. 

The guest bedroom has shelves along the side walls which are perfect for storing larger daytime bags and tote bags.

I keep bags stuffed with tissue to hold their shape and stored in a dust bag if they came with one. 

I hope you have enjoyed the tour! 
Have a great week!