Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ralph Lauren Jacket

I recently invested in three Ralph Lauren Jackets at Dillard's. I wore one of them on Wednesday for our date night.

The classic herringbone pattern nods to menswear. The silver sweater is from Chico's earlier this year. The Versace scarf is from Saks Off 5th. The Ralph Lauren bag is from T.J.Maxx.

The French Connection booties are from Saks Off 5th. (I hate socks!) The awesome black jeans are by French Dressing Jeans.

It rained today so my hair is a mess of curls. I visited my stylist on this day. It is wonderful to trust someone so much that I can sit down in her chair and relax with a glass of wine and say "Do what needs to be done." I also shopped a bit while I was there. I will show you what I bought later. The Charlemont salon and boutique are located in a 100-year-old home in Kingsport, TN. Brilliant!

Do you play with pattern mixing? Keeping the colors similar and the patterns small helps to keep the look from being too jarring.

I was a tomboy growing up on a farm, so I have always been drawn to classic menswear blazers. That may be part of the appeal of Ralph Lauren pieces. He takes a menswear-influenced jacket and makes it feminine and timeless.

Mr. Mickey showed up in the perfect color-coordinated look. We did not plan this!

We wish you a safe and happy New Year's celebration!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top Five Items 2015

Do you have items in your closet that you wish you could wear every day?

My top five elements of style for 2015 include the pieces I wear most often and feel most comfortable in.

The Perfect Tops

There are some tops that I do wear almost every day. The tops I get from Covered Perfectly are great to layer over, or to wear alone since they are long enough to wear with leggings. I love the face-flattering neckline of the Simple Comfort top. 

Wash then hang to dry. (Never put in the dryer!) Buy a size larger if you would like a more loose fit. They are perfect for travel since they take up no space. Just hang them up. The wrinkles will fall right out!
Covered Perfectly is a small, woman-owned company. All the products are made in the USA (even the fabric). All the models featured on the Covered Perfectly website are over 40 (in my case, way over 40!).

Fifty, not Frumpy followers can get a 20% discount on up to two items! Use the discount code FNF20 when you check out at Covered Perfectly. Only one discount can be applied per order. There are several styles to choose from and the discount will apply on up to two items, after that, you can take advantage of the buy 2 get 1 FREE special!

The Perfect Jeans

I reach for a pair of jeans almost every morning. They can be very casual or they can be worn out to dinner with a nice jacket and heels. A great fitting pair of dark wash jeans that keep their great fit all day is golden for me. (Who likes pulling up your pants all day?)

These smooth fit ankle jeans from J.Jill have all the qualities I look for. There aren't a lot of design details that make them memorable and the length is perfect for me.

Dressed for the Event

When I need to step away from the jeans to get dressed for a special evening, I know Clara Sunwoo tops will serve me well. I got this one and these Mesmerize pants from

The confidence of knowing you look your best in something that is comfortable and easy to wear can not be underestimated.


Double-Duty Items

Another of my all-time favorite items also came from This I.C. Collection shirt reminds me of a Ralph Lauren advertisement. I love the elegance of the brown faux suede. This rich neutral color goes with every pair of pants I own and it also works well with my coloring. I love that it can be worn as a shirt alone or layered as a jacket. Any item that can be worn several ways gets extra points with me.


The Third Piece

A jacket, cardigan, vest, ruana, poncho, or bold scarf can take a ho-hum really boring look to fabulous.

White linen biker style jacket from Stein Mart.

Faux leather-trimmed jacket from Stein Mart.

Silk shawl by Tina Gleave at the Silk Squirrel. 

Ruana from Foxcroft.

Chico's vest over a Covered Perfectly Snow Leopard print top.

Faux leather jacket from Stein Mart.

Waterfall cardigan.

Cable knit poncho from Foxcroft.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Day Meal

New Year’s day means Hopping' John!

Photo and meal by JM Hayes.

Eating Hoppin' John and collard greens ensure prosperity in the new year (the collards represent greenbacks and the black-eyed peas coins or so they say here in the south).

Hoppin’ John
2 cans no salt added black-eyed peas
1 can no salt added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
½ small onion
2-3 cloves garlic
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
¼ cup celery
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small diced jalapeno (optional)
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil

Sauté onion and garlic in a bit of broth or water until soft. Add diced celery peppers and zucchini and continue sautéing in a bit of broth or water until tender. Add black-eyed peas and diced tomatoes. Season with thyme and basil to taste. Add jalapeno if you want a bit of a kick. Simmer 20 minutes or longer to let flavors blend.

Serve over whole-wheat couscous or quinoa and alongside collards, kale, or greens of your choice.

Recipe created and shared with us by Diane Smith

Monday, December 28, 2015

Royal Blue with an Opalescent Glass Necklace

We enjoyed one last holiday splurge yesterday by having brunch at the Grove Park Inn's Blue Ridge Dining Room

I have to admit to you, I screamed when I weighed myself this morning. I gained four pounds during Christmas week! Eeeeek!

I haven't gotten on the scale in a few days because I knew I would just stress out. By the same token, I have not eaten with wild abandon. Even with very small portions and limiting the desserts to a minimum, I still gained weight. 

Having late dinners and rich foods I don't normally eat were the culprits. It was wonderful to spend special times with family and friends, but I am happy to return to my normal routine today.

That's a glass of filtered water with fresh lemon. I will be drinking only this today. (I use a glass Hummingbird straw because lemon can damage tooth enamel.) There will be fresh fruit before noon and one large leafy green salad late this afternoon.

As we were leaving the resort we ran into my sweet wonderful friend Rose who was also spending the day there with her family.

I wore a tank top and pants from Chico's. The cardigan is by Adrienne Vittadini via Saks Off 5th. The suede shoes are by Sam Edelman via Nordstrom last year. The bag is by Ralph Lauren via T.J. Maxx. 

I bought the necklace at S.M. Bradford while we were in Hilton Head last month.

I recently learned another sweater hanging technique and I want to share it with you. I hope it helps you to avoid shoulder nipples.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rebel Style

In an interview, I was recently asked which era my look was influenced by. I had not thought about it in those terms but, the most influential period for me was the rebel rockers of the '80s. I hated the florals, plaids, and oranges of the '70s. The '60s looked too dirty for me (Woodstock and hippies in Haight-Ashbury).

If you blend the rebel rocker of the '80s with the minimalism of the '90s you can see the influence in my most comfortable looks. In fact, this jacket is called the Bowie Jacket. It's from Saks Off 5th. The tank is by Peck and Peck from Stein Mart. The caper color pants are from Fabrizio Gianni.

Mr. Mickey gave me my first French Kande necklace for Christmas! I have long admired this line and have thought carefully about which pieces I want to buy. There are several necklaces and bracelets that I would love to own. This one is perfect!

Chanel No 5 Parfum was also one of my gifts from Mr. Mickey.

The cognac and black bag is by Samoe Style from Finely House Couture in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. While this style and color combination is on backorder, they have many other styles that you might also like. I love these bags because the straps are easily adjusted with a click mechanism on the side that allows them to be worn in three different lengths.

I give my nails some time off from regular polish for a few weeks every winter and use a nail treatment by OPI instead of color between pedicures in the winter months. On this beautiful sunny day, I wore cutout booties from a couple of years ago by Louise et Cie via Nordstrom. Our temps were in the 70's yesterday so we saw people in tank tops and shorts!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Shopping With Susan

This is the time of year that we start to consider the end of season sales which have already begun. When I shop now, I only look for items to fill holes in my wardrobe. 

Impulse purchases almost always gave me buyer's remorse in the past so I put a stop to that practice. 

Carefully thought out, well-planned purchases serve me well. For example, I bought this mixed media cardigan by Peter Nygard at the Dillard's end of season sale last year for about 70% off the original price. I had been looking for something similar for months, so I have happily worn it many times this year. 

Divide the number of times you wear something into the price you paid for it to determine its actual cost. If you buy something for $100 and wear it only once, that was a very expensive piece. If you buy something for $100 and wear it thirty times, it cost about $3.33 per wear making it a much wiser purchase.

When I am drawn to an item, I ask myself these questions. 

"Will I wear this at least once a week?" 
(I probably won't, but I should love it that much before buying anything else.) 

"Will this go with at least four other items in my closet?" 
If it is a one-hit-wonder, meaning it can only be worn one way, I don't buy it.

"Is this too memorable?" 
If I buy prints or bold colors, I am always sorry afterward. I feel as if I am yelling when I wear these items.

"Is this a three-season item?"
Pieces that can be layered to be worn almost all year round earn a place of honor with me. Our weather is rather mild here in east Tennessee so I have no use for a heavy winter coat for example. I can layer three pieces and be warm enough even on our coldest day.

I am drawn to basic pieces in the best quality I can afford. Disposable fashion does not appeal to me. My goal is to only add items I have been looking for which might now be at a price I can afford. Something that originally inspired me might have cost $3,000, but about $150 for a major addition is more in line with my budget. That requires some patience and a bit of shopping around with a picture of that object in my mind. When I see a piece similar to what I have been searching for at a price I can now afford, I know I am making the right decision to buy it.

I shopped online at Dillard's recently where I bought epic Ralph Lauren jackets and a pair of short boots all in styles I have been looking for over the past year. I love to shop in their stores, but the closest one is in Asheville.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for your inspiration and encouragement to continue blogging. You are the best friend I've never met!

Last evening we had dinner with our dearest friends in their home. I wore a red sweater from Foxcroft. The necklace and vest are old from Chico's. The booties are by Calvin Klein via Saks Off 5th.

Today I will be preparing Christmas dinner for my family and Mr. Mickey.

I wish you a closet full of everything you need, lots of fresh fruits and veggies in your fridge, and all the love your heart can hold.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

You Could Be The Next Covered Perfectly Model!

I would love to meet you and spend the day on set with you at the next Covered Perfectly photoshoot!

My dear friend Pauline Durban, President of Covered Perfectly is shown with me and Mary Ann who was the winner last year.

We had so much fun working together! Mary Ann and I became quick friends and continue to visit with each other online.

If you will be in southern California around the end of February and would like to enter this contest please visit the Covered Perfectly website.

If you are looking for elegant basic tops that you can wear all year round, you will love these! I wear these sleek Covered Perfectly tops under everything in cooler months and alone when the weather allows. I especially enjoy this particular neckline because it is so flattering for my round face. I can accessorize it with almost any necklace or scarf and it looks great under all my jackets and sweaters.

Last evening Mr. Mickey and I were the guests of my sister and her husband for dinner. My sister is very comfortable in the kitchen (unlike me!) so we enjoyed a fabulous meal.
For this casual family evening, I wore a black Covered Perfectly long sleeve Simple Comfort top with a cascading cardigan from Foxcroft and old jeggings from Chico's with booties from Antelope Shoes. 

The cardigan was supplied by Foxcroft and the booties were supplied by Antelope Shoes. The opinions are my own. 

I hope that you are enjoying special times with your family and friends.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dinner For My Staff

It has become one of our holiday traditions that I treat my staff and their spouses to dinner at our favorite restaurant in town, Gourmet and Company.

Almost everyone made it this year. Posing for the paparazzi (also known as husbands) with me are from left to right Julie and Anita and Regina in front. These hard-working women make my life so much easier. I am eternally grateful to them!

I wore a beaded black tank top with a long waterfall cardigan and faux leather leggings with heels. The reptile texture evening clutch is from S.M. Bradford Co. on Hilton Head Island. All the other items are old.

Wishing you joy and peace!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Favorite Looks for 2015

Looking back over the blog posts for 2015, some looks stood out as my style and comfort favorites.

Out On The Town

Fifty, not Frumpy Anniversary!

 What Do You Eat?

Trip to the Beach

Eat Smart Even On Thanksgiving!

Spirits of the Season

The Comfort Zone

As I edit my wardrobe and shop less, my style has evolved into one that is comfortable and easy.  A combination of mostly solid neutral color pieces that fit both my body and my personality make up a wardrobe that serves me well. Unique accessories add the finishing touch that makes each look my own.

I hope that these examples have helped you to create your own wardrobe of easy comfortable looks. More importantly, I hope that my tips for healthy eating have encouraged you to make better food choices. Fashion is a fun way to express yourself, but a strong and healthy body is priceless.