Monday, August 22, 2016

Surprise Party

It was great to wear a jacket again!


Our weather has started to turn cooler, and the rain has been falling for a few days. It is beginning to feel a little like autumn in the mountains. 

On Saturday, we joined my extended family members and friends for a surprise 60th birthday party for my cousin's sweet husband.



Mr. Mickey and I always make a fun day out of every such event, so we drove up early in the day to share a light lunch at "Eat Crow" and then spent the day shopping and visiting with friends in Blowing Rock.


One of the other Eat Crow patrons drove up in a white Lamborghini. He and Mr. Mickey became fast friends.


The surprise birthday dinner party was held on the patio at Joy Bistro in Boone, North Carolina. The food and service were excellent! We highly recommend it.


Rhonda and I were the only cousins rocking the heels!


Larry is also a car lover who owns a Classic Pontiac Trans Am so this special birthday cake made him very happy.



In keeping with the distressed softer color of the Ralph Lauren jacket, I wore a cream-colored tank and khaki pants with similar colored heels and woven straw clutch with a necklace by French Kande. All the items are more than a year old.



I hope that the looks and tips I share, inspire you to build a wardrobe which can be mixed and matched and enjoyed for years to come.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own. I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

It's All About That Base!

An overwhelming number of selections in my closet is just that, overwhelming. A carefully edited version of my wardrobe serves me well. When I add something new to my collection now, it is only to replace something that is starting to look worn.


The new tank top and straight leg pants from my shop fit in beautifully with my edited version of a wardrobe that works for every season and all the events of my life. They replace the two similar pieces I have been wearing for three years. 

I can never find the right thing when I go emergency shopping for a particular event. I much prefer to have on hand the pieces I can mix and match to create the appropriate look.

Necessities for me include a great fitting pair of pants and a black tank top. That is often my starting point for any look, other than in the blazing heat of summer. 

It's All About That Base!

When you start out with a great base, you can add a scarf, a vest, a cardigan or any style of jacket. Even a jean jacket and flats can work with your base pieces. Black serves me well, but perhaps brown would be a better choice for your coloring. My point is that if you have great fitting base pieces made from high-quality fabric, you can wear them many times and in an endless variety of ways.

I knew these pants, and this tank were perfect for me the moment I slipped them on. Don't you just love that feeling when you put on an item of clothing, and you know without any doubt that it is right for you? My new rule is that I have to feel that confident about something before it gets added to my wardrobe.

These pants have a straight leg and a thirty-inch inseam with no split at the ankle. They are basic, comfortable classic pants that I can wear for most of the year. The tank top is made from the same elegant crepe fabric, although it is a bit more fitted style than the pants. It stops at mid-hip which is very attractive for us gals with shorter legs.



One of our favorite traditions includes joining friends for dinner as we often do on Friday evenings. It is so good for the soul to enjoy a perfectly prepared meal and visit with those that we love.


For me, the evening is even better because I did not have to prepare the meal and clean up the kitchen or stress about what I was going to wear. That is why we so often entertain at Gourmet and Company.


My necklace and the box clutch are both old from S.M. Bradford. The string jacket is old from Chico's. The shoes are old by French Connection via Saks Off 5th. The tank and pants are from my online shop.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Khaki and White

When the day calls for dressing in a casual summer look, I am at a bit of a loss. Dressing for dinner or a special event is much easier for me.


Without a jacket, I feel underdressed, but when the temperatures exceed ninety degrees, I am forced to look for a suitable alternative.

Considering the casual nature of this look, I am wearing minimal makeup and a simple watch with one small ring. Too many accessories and bold makeup would seem out of place.


I have always loved the classic summer color combination of white with khaki, but khaki pants have always been a challenge for me to get right. The secret to my success with these is not too tight with a straight leg and not too close to the color of my skin.

The whisper lightweight white tunic is old from J.Jill. The lightweight khaki pull-on wide waistband pants are so comfortable on hot days. They are by Lior Paris from ShopMyFairLady.com.

The sandals are old by Born Shoes. I appreciate that they are the same color as my pants to help my legs look longer.

Caution!

You will rarely see me carry a crossbody bag. The reason is that when worn, as shown above, a lot of unwanted attention is directed right to the girls. That strap pulled between your breasts by the weight of a bag hanging at your side or slightly behind you is like a beacon saying "Look how big my chest is!".

I bought this little crossbody bag to wear on very casual days when I just need keys, cards, and a lip balm and I want to keep my hands free. I am always careful to make sure it rests on the front of my hip so that the strap is not pulled tight. This bag is from White House|Black Market.



Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why I Won't Be Trendy This Fall

This past weekend, I was discussing an article with Mr. Mickey which detailed some of the 2016 Fall trends. He asked me which of those I was going to wear. My answer was, "None of them."

From Winter 2015
The body of the jacket I wore above is bulky but since the sleeves are sleek faux leather and I wore it open with a slim fitting black low neckline top and slim fitting pants, this textured jacket worked for me in this case. If the sleeves were also bulky and I belted the jacket, I would look twenty pounds heavier.

While I enjoy wearing classic pieces on most days, I also appreciate the spice of an occasional edgy or trendy piece thrown in for good measure. The most important question to ask when adding something new to your wardrobe is always; "Will this look good on me?" Regardless of styles or trends, the first consideration should always be if the item flatters your coloring, your shape, your personality, and your height.

I never follow a trend just to look current. If however, the trend flatters me, I might consider it. Great style means knowing what looks good on your body. That means understanding how to use texture and proportion, how to style the pieces and what tones complement your complexion.

Below are a few of the trends for Fall that I will not be wearing with an explanation as to why not.

Statement Chokers

I have a roundish face and a short neck. I should never wear anything that makes my neck appear shorter and my face appear more round.


The Cape
I carry most of my weight front and center, so a cape would make me look as if I were wearing a tent. If I wear a double-breasted jacket I will rarely if ever close it.



Tan Colors
Tans and beiges make me look ill because I have cool coloring. I enjoy wearing trench coats but I have a white one and a couple of black ones. Never a tan one.



Ruffles
Just no! Ruffles, lace, and gathers do not go with my personality. They add volume, usually around the face or bust where I certainly do not need it.




Golden Brocades
Gold tones will never allow me to look my best. I do have a ruby and black brocade jacket that I may wear again if the occasion arises.




Puffy Jackets and Coats

Why on earth would I ever wear something that makes me look like a bumblebee?



Faux Fur Coats
Faux fur will always look better on the hanger than on my body. Fur adds volume. If you weigh 90 pounds, with a small bust and you are six feet tall, you might look good in a faux fur jacket with skinny jeans. Any type of fur will always make me look like a very large marshmallow.



Shearling Coats
Shearling is by nature a dull warm color and bulky. Like corduroy, suede, and tweed, shearling is stiff and adds volume. I need to wear sleek, silky, smooth surfaces that add no bulk to my frame.
I use myself as an example in these "thinking out loud" posts. I hope these projects will help you to determine what looks best on you and what serves your needs for your lifestyle.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cool Little Number

Dressing for this hot weather is a challenge for me. We don't normally have temperatures in the 90's for more than a few days. This summer has been very different.


Thankfully, I bought a few pairs of Clara Sunwoo palazzo pants from ShopMyFairLady.com earlier this year. They have gotten a lot of wear this summer. These are the coolest and most comfortable pants I own. I always go down in size because they do run large. These are extra-small.


This Covered Perfectly top with a square neckline is the right proportion to wear with palazzo pants. I have tried many other tops with them but this one is cool and comfortable and slimming all at the same time. I am wearing a size medium.



The necklace is from French Kande. The cutout cuff is from my company. The sunglasses are very old from T.J.Maxx. The sandals are from DSW earlier this year, a similar pair here. The bag is old from Express.




Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Saturday Exploring

If we don't have a special get-away planned for the weekend, we often go over to Asheville or the surrounding area to explore.


We've learned it's wise to stop in downtown Asheville to share an appetizer before heading out on our journey to unknown places. There may not be a restaurant around for miles when we find ourselves hungry on the top of one the many surrounding mountains.



Laughing Seed Café is one of our favorite places to visit. We often share the hummus trio. During this visit, we also tried an apple, carrot, and ginger smoothie. My favorite thing to have with hummus is cucumber slices, so I always ask for a side order of those.




That's a spicy black bean hummus, vegetable pâté, and chickpea hummus. The pita bread is made in house.

Three things are constant with me when I travel even if only for a day-trip. 
Always take a sweater, jacket or wrap because at some point during the trip I know I am going to be cold. 
Visit every restroom. You never know when you will see another one. 
Always drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is so important for the digestive tract, eyes, skin, and muscles. Leg cramps in the middle of the night are never fun!

Wall Street in Asheville, North Carolina is home to many interesting shops and restaurants. It's also fun to people watch and there are usually several entertaining street performers.


Just strolling down the street and stopping to pet a dog or visit a shop along the way is great fun. Many dogs live with their owners in swanky lofts and condos in downtown Asheville, so most of the shops have water dishes out front. Well behaved dogs are often seen at sidewalk cafés waiting patiently for their humans to dine.



Around the corner from Wall Street is the Chocolate Fetish which is home to some of the best gourmet chocolates ever. My favorite indulgence is a dark chocolate covered coconut mound or one of the fabulous truffles. Just one is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth for the day.



Many of the mountains in our area rise to five thousand feet or more above sea level.




The temperature in the valley below was 90 degrees. The temperature at the summit was only 70 degrees.







If our exploring gets more off-road than this, Mr. Mickey may have to put brush guards on his sedan!









Much later in the day after a long drive on numerous mountain roads and through quaint small towns, we returned to Asheville to have dinner at the Lobster Trap. Their lobster roll is the best I have ever found outside of Maine. The roll is made in a local bakery, and the lobster is perfectly prepared. It is indeed delicious, but I can never finish all of it.



We drove through a brief summer storm along the way home. Rain is becoming a rare thing here in East Tennessee, so it was wonderful to hear it on the rooftop. I love the sound of rain falling on a tin roof!


I wore one of those Portofino blouses from Express. It is one of the only button front shirt styles I have found that works with my top heavy figure. I have it in several colors, and I buy a size larger than I usually wear.

The pants are old from Fabrizio Gianni. The sandals are old by Jessica Simpson. The bag is several years old.

Easy breezy classic separates always seem to work well for me.


Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Friday Night Adventure

Friends recently bought one of those luxurious Weekender Mercedes Campers. They have nicknamed it, "The Beast". Three couples got together on Friday night to enjoy a long drive in the camper so that we could have dinner in Banner Elk at the Chef's Table.


For this evening's adventure, I wore the thin strap tank dress from my collection with a waterfall cardigan from Body Language by Connie. The bag is old from Saks Off 5th. The shoes are old by Vince Camuto. The necklace is by French Kande.


The fabric of these dresses is so soft and lightweight. It is also very stretchy. I love the basic design of this dress which allows me to wear it with so many other items in my wardrobe. 


There was some question as to whether I would be able to climb into the "Beast" while wearing heels and a dress but I showed them it could be done.







Almost every vista in the Banner Elk and Grandfather Mountain communities includes the Sugar Top condos.



We visited a fun gallery along our stroll to the restaurant located in the village of Banner Elk.


The Chef's Table is a third generation run farm to table restaurant located upstairs in the village square.











Everyone's food was excellent!


Sea Bass




Shrimp and Grits



My Own North Carolina Trout





Mr. Mickey says I am the only woman he knows that can make a cardigan and pearls look sexy. Thanks, Mr. M!

Styling notes: I chose to wear a short necklace that just filled in the bodice instead of a long necklace because I needed something to lift the eye with all the other long proportions. I wore nude shoes since black would have created a visual break on my legs and made them look shorter. Please also note that I had my tank dress altered to shorten the straps because I wanted a higher neckline.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.