My Packing System … Part 2 ... The Clothes … the Clothes

In yesterday's post about getting ready for my trip 
for Bloggers in Napa Valley

I covered my packing system
for everything … except 
the clothes.

So now to the more dramatic part of my packing.

The Clothes.

Whenever I have a trip
I try to find out as much information as I can
about the itinerary and specifics of the trip.
For me that's when the creative fun begins
as far as styling outfits 
perfect for each occasion.

For drinks and dinner the first night
at the Andaz  Hotel
I styled an outfit perfect for the evening
with my denim tunic 
with my sequin pants and a denim trench.

The lines of the outfit are quite simple 
making them the perfect backdrop for …

Lots of Bling!

I collect accessories in wardrobes.
For this fabulous ensemble I am bringing
Antique Oppulence Collection
made up of pearls and crystals
all with settings with an antique brass finish.

Wednesday we will have the fabulous opportunity 
to spend the day touring in a limo
via Napa Valley Wine Tours
visiting some of Napa's best wineries .

For a day of wine tasting 
I am taking Adrienne's advice
dressing casually
with a nod to being functional as well.

I will be finishing off my outfit
with some well chosen accessories.
Although I was so excited about my fabulous suede clogs
practicality won out …
they just didn't make the cut 
when it came to packing space issues.

Speaking of not making the cut …
neither did this wonderful
maybe wear to dinner the second night …
it was just to much of a maybe …
that took up a lot of room.
Sadly it was left behind …
although I do have mad plans for the skirt
pairing it with a white blazer for another upcoming occasion.

Taking it's place for Wednesday night dinner out
is my sure bet instead …
my leather jacket
lace top
sequin skirt
paired with my favorite brooch necklace

of course 
some more  well chosen accessories.
A vintage bag
patent pumps
 mixing in some turquoise 
with the crystal statement necklace
to really round out the look.

After I figure out the itinerary when I pack
I then do an overall view for the trip
 decide what else I need to fill in with.

I always want to bring gym clothes
that can either 
make it to the gym
r in spectacular areas like Napa
work just as well for outside walks.

One always personal need 
I have found to be most necessary when I travel
Lounging clothes.

I feel so much of traveling 
taking in new sights and experiences
 many times requires clothes when I am "on"
I personally 
 really also need some down time when I travel
for some alone time
just to cozy in some loungewear.
Even if it's just for an hour
that time to feel rejuvenated
makes me so better equipped
to really savor and enjoy
the essence of the locale.

Which brings me to 
my travel outfit.

When traveling to a destination
home again
I always will prefer a jacket of some sort.
Maybe it's because I am a woman 
who came into her adult life in the eighties
but I always feel more  confident in any situations
in a jacket…
to me a jacket is a bit like a form of armor.

A jacket makes me feel  more empowered 
for what ever the situation may bring.

And of course 
more empowered 
with the addition of some great 

On that note
my packing is finished.

It is with a very excited heart
a little bit of nerves
that I will be on my way 
to meet up with some
absolutely splendid women
for our 
Bloggers in Napa Valley trip ….

A trip 
which is in it's self 
a testement
to the fabulous 
connections that can be made through blogging.

I will be back here on Friday.
Until then
you can follow our trip on instagram
by following me
the link is on my side bar
 you can also then follow all of us
with this  #bloggersinnapavalley

As always My Friends

I wish you love and joy
as you stele your life

My Packing System … Even Before The Clothes

I have been busy here this weekend
prepping for my long awaited trip to Napa for our
Bloggers in Napa Valley trip!
If you want to read more about this marvelous trip that
Adrienne of
The Rich Life On A Budget
has spent the last four month arranging
you can read about it
I am so excited to visit Napa Valley
with a true expert on the area!

To get ready for the trip I  have made and attended numerous  appointments
(for me it seems to take a village)
including a trip to the Chanel counter at Neiman Marcus
to learn a few new tricks 
to replenish my
travel bags!

I keep several small travel bags
 at the ready
so when I need to pack for a trip
it's usually just outfits
I need to pull together.
I keep bags packed by category
so in the hotel
I know where everything is
with no muss or fuss!

I keep my items for touch ups in a bag in my purse.
I like to travel with no more than 3 lip 'sets'.
I have a pencil, a lipstick and a gloss.
Plus my Chanel foundation compact
tweezers and a comb 
in this little bag.

I keep my regular makeup in another bag
that I keep in my suitcase.

It opens up to contain all of my 
brushes, a mirror
the makeup needed to finish my face.

I have another small case 
for all things skincare.

I have been using Erno Lazlo skin care since 
I was 18.
I have veered off many a time 
but always come back to the 
Lazlo system.

I use many of the sample sizes I receive
 fill in with small versions of my
other favorite products.
When I return from a trip
I always make sure to check if 
anything needs replenishing
so I always knowI can just
grab and go
 for the next trip.

I have another small bag for all things
Including an extension
I use to wrap around a top knot 
for a quick polished look.

I keep booby pins, safety pins and pony holders
in a  repurposed Chanel foundation case
that I just simply removed the empty foundation tin.

Toiletries are kept neatly in another bag.

I always travel with my sharper noise machine
and if I'm flying
my Bose headphones.

My blogging tools are safely cased
 I have another small bag
to keep the cords and chargers together
so when I work in the hotel
I know just where to find these important accessories.

My camera and lenses are also packed 
safely in their own bag.

I keep my hand crafted business cards
in my Paloma Picasso clutch
which is always in my purse
because you never know when 
the perfect time to offer one can arise!

Now tomorrow
it's all about the clothes for the trip!

Until then ….

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life

Self Acceptance …. What I Learned … from Writing the Blog I Want to Read …part 5

I believe one of the greatest gifts I have received from blogging is
Self Acceptance
My blog at times is as much an online journal
as it is about sharing lifestyles.

Part 5
in my series
Write the Blog You Want To Read
is my most recent revelation
in an ongoing journey of self acceptance.

Some posts come quickly to me
but  it is really after I have sat with the revelations
for a while
to know it as my truth.
Some posts are harder to publish …
but I have found …
there is exactly where   the personal growth lies.

Some posts even come in a manner so powerful
I can't not write them …

This post is one I had to write ….

I have learned sometimes life can break you open
 bring you to your knees …
it is right here
if you can just hold on
 accept the breakage
there may be a beautiful gift involved.
But the journey will not be easy
and sometimes
it begins by asking what can I learn from this situation
how can I share it then
to help others.

Writing my blog 
has been so cathartic for me.
Besides sharing my personal style
it became an online journal of thoughts
first on my transitioning life phase
but then
like the peeling of an onion
it has progressed deeper
to realms I had not even recognized.

But  in the breaking open
I not only learned to listen closer to
my heart and soul
I afforded myself the time to examine
the pieces of my life I wanted to keep
as well as ask
is this true?

Two weeks ago
on one of my hikes
I encountered a big black dog
yes, it was with it's owner
but when it came to  jump on me
I reverted to my five year old self
eyes closed,  fists clenched and arms protectively crossed.
Because you see
when I five
I was bitten by a dog.
So now at 55 I am afraid of dogs.

You get it …
How could something that happened a half century ago
still affect me today?

I have never taken the time to update
my personal story
form an adult perspective.
This realization
left me open to 
wondering how many other 
views of myself 
have I not updated
with an adult's perspective.
I had some ideas
quietly stirring
but they made me a bit uncomfortable…
so I thought on other things.

Watching Brene' Brown
on Oprah's  Super Soul Sunday
speaking on shame
it hit me.
Because I have been open to the truth
 looking for insight 
to why I do what I do.
"When the student is ready
the teacher will come."

It is a shame 
that as an educated adult
 mother of three adult children
sounds so cringe worthy
it makes me ashamed of my shame.

I realized  in that moment of flooding tears
that almost my whole life 
let's just say from a really young age
I have been ashamed of my weight.
Such shame 
has had me on the run my entire life.

The shame of weighing more than 'others'
has had me on a lifetime track
of having to prove I was better than others
in everything else
just to feel
I was OK.
That I really was worthwhile.

The fear of not being good enough
and the shame of being more than 
has had me
performing at almost masochistic levels 
so many times in my life.

At the height of my madness
 I  was attending UCLA in design
commuted over an hour a day to save money.
I left at 3:30 in the morning to avoid traffic.
I had all of my classes
on two days of the week
so I could
work full time 
as an assistant manager at a large fashion retailer.
This store was 45 minutes away the opposite direction way from where I lived and UCLA.

Now before you think
like I did at the time
what an ambitious hard worker
I was also a full blown bulimic 
with an eating disorder so bad
it  would eventually derail my finishing college for years.

I believe my shame of weighing 'too much'
manifested at a particularly young age
when my young parents
were realizing my baby sister of 6 months
not only had down syndrome
but a heart defect as well.
I remember being about six
wanting to make things better for everyone
wanting so badly to be perfect 
to make up for the sad things.

Now as an adult
and mother of three adults
my heart breaks for that little girl
especially knowing 
she would grow up to be 
so very hard and cruel to herself.

that is not at all
why I write this
but rather 
the context 
behind my message.

I realize
that just like going into
'oh my gosh I'm afraid of dogs'
even though the bite happened
50 years ago

My weight shame
is too
an opinion 
forged as a 
scared little girl.

So it is time for me to 
lie my shame
right out front
it is only 
taking shame 
out of the darkness
can we truly find our light.

So today
I no longer 
want to 
be motivated
to feel devalued
I am not the cultural
stereotypical beauty

As I wrote in this post

I am not

but I am still of tremendous worth.

I realize 
worshiping at the alter of
not enough
serves no one.

I realize I am an adult 
who no longer needs to be motivated
by the beliefs of 
a scared child.

I also know
we all need to change the conversation
not good enough
who we are today

as we each can heal
a belief of 
being not good enough

we can each then
a hand back in love
to help another
their own
inherent worth.

It is a gift not only
our daughters
their daughters 
come behind us.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life.

Here is a list of the links to the entire series

PS ~ right now for some reason some of your treasured comments
and my replies
are not showing on the blog
They still show up on my end
I am investigating the problem.

I have never been so moved and humbled
as I have by your comments
It is this interaction
that is the true beauty of this blog.

Friday Date Night … Trying New Looks … and ... Why I Get In Front Of the Camera

Our  Friday night dates
have turned into a perfect opportunity
to try some new looks
with a photo shoot before cocktails!

With my upcoming trip to Napa
I wanted to play once again with my leather jacket.
It was a chilly SoCal evening so
I chose to pair it with a black maxi.

I decided Old Town San Juan Capistrano
would make for the perfect back drop for this ensemble!

I often decide what I want to wear on Friday night …
and then
decide the perfect destination.

Old San Juan has a charming collection
of restaurants and bars …

you never know where 
you can  get some photo advice!

This charming engineer had some great  photo shot set up advice!

Jacket-Target, maxi Target, Sunglasses-Tom Ford, necklace-Tamera Beardsley Design, Vintage evening bag, patent pumps- Ivanka Trump

To achieve a nicer flow to long knit skirts and dresses
I would like to wear a long slip underneath
but since I haven't found any that have made it to market yet
a successful alternative I have found
is wearing a long knit skirt underneath
It provides for a better drape and movement to the dress
which for me it makes it more fun to wear
the skirt underneath
helps prevents the dress
from wrapping around my
legs when I walk.
The added layer is also a good way
to prevent every bump and imperfection from showing
which is reason enough for the under skirt!

I have found using the skirt as slip solution
to be more cost effective
than even traditional short slips.
Target has several great options at the moment.
I find stores like this
to be great ways to try new looks
both my jacket and Maxi dress
are from Target.

Now that I realize I actually like
a leather jacket
(I talked about here)
I will eventually be on the hunt
for a leather jacket as a wardrobe investment piece.
I am quite taken with a
une femme d'un certain âge
newest Vince leather jacket
but for now I am quite content
with my Target score.

I have reworked this vintage brooch statement necklace many times by now
I have to say 
I am finally completely satisfied 
with this vintage crystal rendition.

The years of collecting brooches
have really paid off
as this necklace 
pairs as well 
with T shirts and jeans
as evening attire.

Anyone new to my blog
can find my DIY for the necklace HERE
the rest of you already know the drill :))

I really have to say 
thank you to my wonderful husband
for his Friday night effort 
in the photography department.
I know I am a very lucky woman.
He works really hard
to show me in the best light possible.

Believe it or not
I actually Hate having my picture taken
but love talking about clothes,  accessories
personal style
I do get in front of the camera.

I have even thought of using other models
to tell my fashion visions
but then I  realize
I too would become
part of the story telling
fashion is only 
for the young and beautiful.

That is a story
that is dated and untrue.

are for 
any of us
who wear clothes
want it.

No matter
our age
our size
 how we look
 the price points
we can afford.

are for all of us.

I get in front of the camera 
every week
more of us need to be front of the camera
how else 
will we know what real women
look like
if all we see
a single vision of beauty.

A single vision
of beauty
doesn't work
in a world
with so many different kinds of beauty.

So here's to
living life
with style and gusto
no matter who we are!

I was just thinking
it's  probably
about time fore me to share 
some of the photo tips
I have learned
get the best shots possible.
I can feel the wheels turning
a new DIY post :))

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life

linking up with
Visible Monday
check out Patti's lovely blog
to see other fabulous women braving the
front side of the camera!

Hello Gratitude

I was most excited this week to meet 
the fabulous La Contessa
of the VintageHen House blog
in person when she traveled down south!

Never have I meant anybody 
who I share such a similar aesthetic
love of larger than life style!

When people speak of true connections being made through blogging
trust me it is so true!
To be able to find like minded souls 
all around the world
is one of the  true gifts of blogging!

Speaking of around the world
I was very honored this week to be on the cover and a featured Skimbaour inside  of the
beautiful Skimbaco online magazine which is produced in Sweden.

Katja of Skimbaco
not only produces the magazine
but also the beautiful Skimbacco Lifestyle site as well.
Katja's mission is to inspire
all of us to live life to the fullest
a sentiment I couldn't be more in line with!

I became familiar with Skimbaco
when my dear friend Adreinne of
 The Rich Life On A Budget
joined the Skimbaco team
to write the fashion articles for Skimbaco!

Speaking of Adrienne ..
I am so excited and grateful 
for my upcoming trip to Napa
that dear Adrienne has arranged
April 15th will be here before I know it
and I can't wait!

I was also so excited this week when
Krista, from
sent me a link to the email the company sent out to their subscribers
featuring yours truly!

Thanks again Krista
you are just the best to work with my dear!

I have been busy this week here at home
beginning the change out of  my home decor
for my summer styling.
I am most excited
that I have been contacted
by a fabulous magazine
who is interested in shooting my
little abode
for publication!
Just the motivation we needed here
to finish/ begin some home reno projects!

As I reflect on my gratitude this week
I realize just how very much my 
life has been touched
by this here little blog.

As wonderful as the external benefits of blogging I have received are
believe me
my heart is most grateful
for each and everyone ...

The truest most important gift I have gained
by writing 
The Blog I Want To Read
is a better understanding
 of myself.

Since this blog
has ended up being as much of an
online journal
as it is a place to share my love of all things style
I have had much opportunity
over the last two plus years 
to reflect on my life
past, present and future.

Next week I will be sharing
part five of my series

What I Have Personally Learned By Blogging

This part five is the most personal writing I have done yet …
 thus the hardest to publish …
but I know by now
that is exactly the point 
 where the greatest  personal growth can occur.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life