Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gown Season

Between inaugurations in Washington, the Golden Globes in LA and the upcoming Oscars, it's "gown season."  While I don't have the Rolodex to be included in any of these festivities, I always wonder if you did, "what would you wear?"  I really have no idea.  Wouldn't it be fun to imagine you received an invitation, to the Oscars, to a State Dinner at the White House, an inaugural ball in DC?  Here are my picks.

1) Jill Stuart Elderberry Dress
I love the simplicity of this dress. Less is definitely more.  This gown is stunning and would need only big earrings and a bracelet.

2) ML Monique Lhuillier Bordeaux Dress
This dress is stunning.  The color is unique and it would stand out, but in a good way.  

This dress is lovely, one of my favorites.  See the back.  

I love this dress. This one will hide a lot, unlike the pink dress above.

5) Herve Leger Mesh Panel Gown
If you have the figure to pull this one off, then why wouldn't you wear this?  Love this one.
This dress would definitely stand out.  

This dress may be difficult to pull off but it is lovely. 

This screams 70's to me.  If you could pull this one off why wouldn't you?  And this dress will certainly stand out in the crowd.

This is the kind of dress I love - simple, elegant, straight, silk, understated.  Send it over please.

This is one of my favorites, classic enough with a twist. You would stand out in the crowd in this gown but in a good way.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Living for the Long Weekend

When my late father retired he called me one day and told me that now "Every day is Saturday" and "Every night is Friday night."  I always remember that and at least for the next few days I'll have all Saturdays and Friday nights. So what's in store?
1) Treadmill Shopping
In keeping with staying in shape, working out more regularly, we are turning the basement of our cabin into a gym.  A treadmill for me (who only wants to run) and an elyptical trainer for hubby (who wishes he could still run but can't).  So off we go to find our workout equipment. Cannot wait to be able to run on those dreary cold days and dark weekday nights.

2) The Aussie Open
Play starts on Monday.  Thank you Tennis Channel. Federer's back.  Nadal's back.  It should be great tennis for the next two weeks!

3) Our First Horse Show of the Year
Alfie and I are very rusty but we have jumped around a bit and had a few lessons this week so we are going to jump back into the show season on Sunday.  Not thinking a tri-color is in our future this weekend but we need to get started.  This is the first year in many years Alfie has not had the winter off.  I can't say that he is too happy about it.  We are working hard to get back into our program after a year of not being in one.

5) A Visit to Luray
We are headed to near-by Luray Caverns this weekend, we've never been.  A visit to the town of Luray, Virginia is also in order. I'll report back.

6) Curling Up With a Good Book
I am reading Michael Lewis' new book and am loving it. Curling up with a good book for a few hours is one of the best ways to relax and unwind.

7) NFL Playoffs
Yes, the Steelers are still in it.  Cannot wait to watch this weekend's games.

Seahawks vs. Falcons
Texans vs. Patriots
Steelers vs. Chiefs
Packers vs. Cowboys

8) Soup's On
At hubby's request, I am cooking soup, from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook. It's Sweet Potato Soup but it doesn't taste at all like sweet potatoes. It's my favorite soup ever.  See the recipe here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Resort Minded

The sixty degree weather today makes me pine for resort weather and a trip south.  It's not in my future but these new arrivals from Tory Burch got me thinking "Palm Beach."  A girl can dream can't she?  I am loving Tory's new arrivals after a lackluster fall and winter collection. 

These are by far my favorite sandals.  I have one pair and wear them constantly in summer. Love the white.  They go with everything!

 These will sell out for sure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Simply Sega

Some people have kids, I have Sega.  She's now 23, older than many of my friends' children but I feel like she's been with me for a lifetime and I can't imagine life without her but am beginning to try to visualize the emptiness that will be left once she is gone.  She's starting to fade a bit now, her eyesight is not great and her hearing is getting a bit tired too.  But every now and then, she comes out in the morning and romps and bucks around for a few minutes, acting like she's two.  She's telling me, in her own way, that yes, a part of me still has it.

You sometimes don't know what you've got until it's gone, but I realize what I have and now relish the moments with Sega, ones that I'll never forget, well into my old age.  She gave me many memories, ones that I am more than lucky to have - like the weekend we beat the top three foot horse in the country, at a show, in that horse's back yard, in Ohio.  It was a prestigious show, a huge win for us and I have a photo of us both with that tricolor proudly displayed in my bathroom where I see it at least three times a day.  But it's not like I'll ever forget that weekend in July.

I wonder how many miles we drove together, all of those years, traveling to Florida, Vermont, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania for shows. Oddly, we never showed in my home state, not even once.  My two regrets are not taking her to New York, to the National Horse Show (we were "invited" the last year it was ever held in New York) and no horse would have been easier to take there than Sega.  And we never made it to Blowing Rock.  Oh well. There are only a few regrets.

And then there was the time my brake line broke on my truck en route to Culpepper, VA.  How lucky we were that the line broke immediately after we came down through the mountains. We spent the entire day at the truck dealership, while they repaired the line.  Sega and I hung out, walking, standing, waiting for five or six hours. What horse would do that?  Only Sega. 

She is such a special animal and everyone who worked with her, rode her, spent time with her in her prime knew how lucky we all were to have her in our lives.   She was a gift to me, and still is and I wonder what I ever did to deserve her. I hope she feels the same way.  Love the people and animals in your life.  Never ever take them for granted. Cherish the memories and make new ones.

Winter Skin Care

With the new year typically comes a renewed sense of improvement in eating and drinking habits, exercise routines and also skin care.  Everyone has their own routine, their favorite brands, rituals, labels.  I am a minimalist when it comes to skin care routines but I don't mind spending money on products that work for me.

1) Kate Somerville Products
I have tried some of these products and liked most of them.  Sephora is a good source for this brand.

I'd recommend the Goat Milk Moisturizer if you prefer a lighter cream.  I don't like thick and heavy creams for my face.

2) Tata Harper Products
These products get great reviews and I am trying a few in the coming weeks.  

3) Clarins
I have used some of the Clarins products over the years. Some are better than others.  If you use a neck cream this one is very good.

4) Ole Henriksen
I've never used any of these products that I did not like.  I have found these at TJ Maxx over the years.  Check there for some real deals. 

 5) Drunk Elephant
Would love to try this brand. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Demise of Retail

I ventured yesterday to the J Crew Clearance Store (the one located in Forest, VA) - not to be confused with J Crew Factory Stores. There are two Clearance Stores in the US (the other is in NC). I have shopped here for years, making two or three annual treks to stock up on incredible bargains.  These stores are located near J Crew Distribution Centers so the merchandise is marked down considerably.  It's not damaged stuff, usually.  The store is closing on Tuesday and the place was a wreck.  I managed to scoop up some bargains, everything was 75 percent off the marked price. A white blouse ($68 retail) was $5 for example. Sometimes they will host Warehouse Sales at the location.  And the press release indicated that there may be some pop up sales in the future.

There was one lady there, clearly an "Ebay Seller" who had huge amounts she was buying (like 25 pairs of black pants) clearly to resell.  Someone mentioned these people who were going to the store every day buying all the new merchandise, to sell at a higher price on the many Internet sites for resellers like Poshmark.  Where will they go now?

It's so sad that our stores are closing.  The Lynchburg Macy's is also closing.  Then the 200 Limited Stores are shutting down and Sears is not far from being a relic.  The pundits will say that if these stores were good they would survive, but I see what's happening in a different light.

When I was a child my mother would take me downtown to shop. It was an experience. We'd wear nicer clothes (no jeans, tank tops, leggings or athleasure) and we'd make a day of it.  The stores were beautiful.  The store clerks were well dressed.  One store had a full-time elevator operator.The stores were welcoming, not full of huge amounts of merchandise piled in huge quantities, always "on sale."

Now we shop online.  We meet no one other than the Customer Service Rep from India we must call to demand a refund from when the store fails to credit you for a return (read Nordstrom - where I won't shop anymore).  And where is the quality?  Must we buy Italian couture to find a pair of decent lined wool pants?  I for one don't want the immediate gratification of going to H & M to source the style we saw Blake Lively wearing on the red carpet two weeks ago.  

The world is changing and sometimes not for the better.  I for one, don't want to create my wardrobe from online photos on Net-a-Porter.  I'm not interested in looking like the red carpet star of the moment or anyone else for that matter. Where is individualism going?  Or is it gone already?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Make Mine Staffordshire

They seem to crop up everywhere don't they?  There's nothing more iconic and British than the infamous Staffordshire dog.

You know you're on to something when it's repeatedly copied for more than a hundred years. Even Carlton Varney and Dorothy Draper paid homage to these iconic statues. 

And you also find them in needlepoint:

And then there are the real ones but make sure you know how to tell what's real and what's fakes as there are many knock offs out there.  Here's how.

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