Monday, June 29, 2015

Travel like you mean it!

Traveling is tough but when you dress the part, you can fit in anywhere. This is New York City, Summer of 2015. Blue and grey jersey cowl blouse, blue denim Nine West hat and London Jeans. You can't see them but a great vintage cream and brown Hermes canvas make-up bag (used as a purse) and cream colored loafers! This is a a stylish tourist, not a trashy tourist. All her bits and bobs are covered, there are no jiggly parts sticking out of her shorts, no muffin top peaking over trouser edges and no big bags that take up a prime real estate seat on a crowded NYC bus. Now that is seasoned style!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't be the Ugly American ...

At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. you must remain quiet and respectful so all tourists can appreciate the monument and read the inscriptions and quotes. Even though her mouth is open, this tourist is silent and respectful.
I recently took some visiting friends into Washington D.C. to do the "touristy" thing. Since it's summer here in our nation's capitol' there are A LOT of tourists. Some are pleasant, some are not. Just by the way American tourists treat their own tourist attractions makes me wonder how they treat tourist attractions in other countries. Which prompts me to write this post on how NOT to be the Ugly American. The first "what not to do" is fashion related because if I saw one butt cheek hanging out of a pair of daisy duke shorts, I saw an army of them. Here are my top five bits of advice to Americans on how to NOT be an "Ugly American" tourist:
  1. Dress conservatively -- I Know I am not the only person who would much rather NOT see the 3 B's (buttocks, bosom, belly). Show some decorum people! Would you want some guy in a speedo walking around your precious American monument? Then why would you wear a tube top to the Arc de Triumph (which is just as sacred to the French as our Vietnam Memorial is to us Americans).
  2. Don't flaunt -- Trust me, the people in whatever city you visit are very much aware that you are from America. You do not have to wear a "God Bless Texas" or American flag T-shirt to proclaim your citizenship status.
  3. Carry a foreign language phrase book -- Even if your French accent is horrendous or your Spanish is pathetic carry a foreign language phrase book or dictionary because it shows that you are at least trying to communicate with the people in the country in which you are a GUEST.
  4. Research pays off -- Do a bit of research before you travel so you will know how to "fit in" (i.e. should you tip your servers, is it acceptable to haggle, is wearing red considered "slutty", etc.).
  5. Follow the rules -- We expect people from other countries to follow our rules (e.g. like the photo above) when they are visiting our country so why shouldn't we be expected to do the same? Don't litter, be noisy, smoke or do any other annoying things in a country where you are a GUEST.
Can you think of any other "Ugly American" things you've seen when touring other countries? Or even seen American tourists do in their own country?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The LBD for 40+ ladies ...

It's safe to say that most ladies in their 40s and older don't have the bodies they did when they were in their teens and 20s. There are a few exceptions, like my friend Samantha (you can find her on Facebook at Fit At Fifty Samantha) who have better bodies in their 40s and 50s than they did in their 20s. But for the most part, we 40+ women usually have a few more wobbly bits and saggy places as we age. Which means the Little Black Dress (LBD) ebbs and flows with our "seasoned" bodies. Hemlines get closer to the knees, sleeves get longer, and necklines stop plunging so much. The dress seen in this photo has a great gathered waistline , a hemline right above the knee and elbow-legnth sleeves. It's still sexy and form fitting but its such a great, versatile dress you can dress it up with diamonds for a cocktail party or dress it down (like above) with simple sandals and black bag for a nice family celebration. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

I got a brand new bag ...

I have a new favorite bag … Miche. Not only can I buy one or two purses in neutral colors like black or white but then I just snap a new cover on them (shown here in green and tan) and voila! I can match any outfit. And there are tons of Miche-like covers on Etsy that save me money too! This is fashion made easy. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Quality women deserve quality friends ...

Quality clothes for quality women!
I know that National Best Friend Day was monday but I think we should extend it to cover the whole week. I recently had high tea with a group of ladies who think just like me -- quality over quantity. One of these women is a financial advisor and she taught me that quality women deserve quality things. Isn't it wonderful that "your vibe attracts your tribe"? It wasn't until a few years ago that I believed myself to be "quality" so before this time, I attracted not-such-high-quality friends. Now, not all my friends were in low places but I did attract some questionable people in my inner circle when I didn't respect myself in my 30s. I like myself so much better in my 40s because I recognized the quality in everything -- clothes, friends, food, etc. And I don't settle for anything less than the best quality in everything I do from my work and family life to my spending habits. A quality life deserves quality things in it like the gorgeous clothes and hats my high tea friends are wearing in the photo above. I buy fewer "things" because quality cost more than quantity. But because I have fewer things, I can appreciate them more. Its really difficult to appreciate cheap things isn't it? Cheap gets no respect. I am grateful for my quality things, I earned them. I now have a small group of quality friends so I have more time to appreciate them. These quality friends don't let me settle for anything less than the best. And do you know what? I'm of high quality so I deserve the best and you do too!

Monday, June 8, 2015

#BestFriendsDay ... thank your buddies for the little things

Best Friends, who could live without them? They are the ones who tell you when you need to watch what you eat, get a manicure or need a new pair of shoes. So, today, on National Best Friends Day, I want to thank my besties for the following:

  • Never letting me leave the house in sweats
  • Always reminding me that there are plenty of fish in the toilet (actually, that is my sister's saying for "there are plenty of guys out there")
  • Never allowing me to binge buy the latest fad (i.e. sparkly purple tube tops)
  • Always letting me bitch about my work, jerks, family, etc without taking it too seriously
  • Reminding me to take care of my skin so I still look 35 when I'm 60
  • Having my back and, when a boyfriend dumps me, I lose a job or any other horrible thing that happens to me, comforts me with manicures and window shopping
  • Reassuring me that my new hair cut looks good
  • Never letting me drunk dial an ex
  • Reminding me that I am a valuable woman 
  • Loving me for who I am, not what I can do for them or give them
So, what do you want to thank your best friend for today? 

Friday, June 5, 2015

A lady's liquor boudoir ...

I've been binge watching Mad Men lately and have noticed all the ladies (I use that term loosely, about as loose as some of Don Draper's "loves") have very sophisticated tastes in alcohol. A seasoned lady (well, one who drinks alcohol) will always have a little something sitting around for guests. And a seasoned lady does pamper herself with a drink alone now and then (I savor the moments I can take a bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book). Now, a seasoned lady doesn't always have to keep a stocked bar to make everything from "fuzzy navels" to "sour apple caramel shots" but she should have some basics, some quality basics. So, I thought I would share what is in my liquor boudoir (also see photos above):
  • The Basics
    • Scotch -- Single malt, period! This is a must have but please use a lovely decanter (you can buy one at Target for less than $10 or pick one up at a charity thrift shop for less). It can be expensive like Oban, medium priced like Auchentoshan (above), or inexpensive like Glenfiddich. Remember, real scotch is made in Scotland.
    • Bourbon whiskey -- Also known as just whiskey, can be regular or specialty (things like cinnamon or fruit added). I like to mix Fireball whiskey with Rum Chata (a milky rum) because it makes a fun little drink that tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Whiskey is made anywhere besides Scotland (e.g. America, Ireland, Canada, etc.).
    • Rum -- Dark or light, spiced or regular. It doesn't matter as it is all a matter of taste (I like dark un-spiced like Kraken)
    • Vodka -- I like a simple authentic Russian vodka like Moskovskaya. But the French make a nice one too, Grey Goose.
    • Gin -- I am not a fan of Gin so I keep a very small bottle of Beefeaters (pretty inexpensive) for any guests who like gin and tonic.
    • Tequila -- Like Gin, I'm not a big fan of Tequila so I just keep a small bottle of Jose Cuervo sitting on the shelf for my guests.
    • A bottle of champagne -- This is not as expensive as it seems. You can get a really nice bottle for about $40. Now I realize that sounds excessive to those who drink wine out of a box but then that is the difference between a seasoned and elegant lady and a, well, a non-seasoned, non-elegant lady. Go on, splurge on a bottle of champagne and toss it in the fridge just waiting for that perfect moment to celebrate something special. Remember, real champagne is made in France (a specific part of France as a matter of fact, so if the bottle says "made in California" it is really "Brut" and not champagne).
    • Wine -- It's all a matter of choice but I keep a bottle of white and red at the ready. I'm more of a Pinot Noir kind of lady so I drink a lot of Willamette Valley (Oregon) wines.
  • The extras
    • Pimms -- A great raspberry liqueur that I make into Pimm's Lemonade (like a fruit punch -- 1 part Pimm's, 3 parts lemon-live soda, cut fruit, crushed ice)
    • Lemoncello -- My fav is Pallini, chilled, straight up.
    • Aquavit -- It's similar to a licorice liquor but the story behind the Scandinavian sauce (its more than 40 proof so drink sparingly) is worth the bottle price. Read more about it here: My aquavit of choice is Linie.
    • Mixers -- I'm not a big fan of mixed cocktails but I do keep a few basics in my medicine cabinet like a bottle of tonic water, club soda, a lemon in my fridge and a can or two of cola/diet cola. And orange juice can always be used for mimosas and fuzzy navels.
    • Nice glasses and a tray. Seriously, just go to the thrift store for these. Don't let me hear of any seasoned lady drinking scotch or serving an aperitif from red Solo plastic cups!
Total cost to stock this entire seasoned and elegant lady's liquor cabinet? Depends. You can spend as little as $300 if you buy all cheaper brands of alcohol or as much as $3000 if you purchase top shelf large sized bottles.