A GREAT WEEK

Hello friends.  I am back after taking a little break to host my annual Cousin Camp. If you don’t know what Cousin Camp is, you can read about it in the post from last year.

Cousin Camp is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It is exhausting, but so much fun. This year I had seven children, ages 3 to 10 at my house from Wednesday through Saturday; actually they were here until Sunday afternoon because most of the parents ( who are my children,nieces,and nephews) came on Sunday for a family reunion and took their kids home with them when they left….except for two, who will be here for two more weeks. 🙂

How can I describe this experience to you? It is full of love and laughter, and crafts and games, water balloons, and field trips. It is full of chicken nuggets and peanut butter sandwiches…not one vegetable crosses anyone’s lips, unless you count the tomatoes in the spaghetti sauce. It is noisy, it is messy. Kids get homesick sometimes. There are little spats here and there. Paint is spilled. Juice is spilled. Cereal is spilled. We have “pool baths” and popcorn picnics.

Kids dress themselves, and the only requirement is that you have to wear shoes if we leave the house.

The theme this year was Animal Kingdom, so I thought it would be a good idea to go to the zoo one day. Here is what that entailed:

  • Had to hire a college student to help drive since my car will no longer hold all the kids
  • Left later than we planned, because we could not find everyone’s shoes, even though they were all supposed to be in a pile by the door

  • Got stuck in a super heavy traffic, which made the less-than-one-hour drive almost a two-hour drive
  • Got stopped by the longest, slowest train ever after we got off the interstate
  • Could not find a place to park when we got there
  • Finally figured out there was another parking lot a few blocks away, with  a “shortcut” to the zoo
  • Every day-camper in the city  was at the zoo
  • Every mom with multiple children was at the zoo
  • One child wet her pants on the way down….I had not packed any changes of clothing
  • One child had a nose bleed as soon as we got there, and had to sit in first-aid for twenty minutes
  • The child with the wet pants was tricked into wearing a clean “pull-up” which was actually a diaper from the gift shop
  • Everyone was starving, so I spent $80 on hot dogs and french fries
  • The starving children ate about $5 worth of food and the rest went in the trash
  • It was 98 degrees in the shade
  • We split into 3 groups, and I had the youngest kids, so I let them ride the carousel (@$3 a pop) since there were only two of them
  • They ratted me out and told everyone else as soon as they saw them, so I shelled out another $15 for a 2-minute carousel ride
  • Kids did not notice any problems and had a great time 🙂

After going to the zoo, we used my extensive Beanie Baby collection from back in the day to classify animals, and later play zookeeper:

You will notice that I got smart and had all the activities in the basement. Oh yes, and all the meals too. Easy to hose down!

Besides zoo day, we had museum day, and a day of crafts and games, plus 2 other half days, so you can see why I need a 6 day nap.

My featured photo looks nothing like what I looked like this week, but don’t want to scare you with what I really looked like. My helper did take one picture of me, but I looked like a 90 year old bag lady who hadn’t showered for days, so you will not be seeing that on on the internet. HAHA

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon with more of my usual fashion experimenting.

SCOTLAND AND IRELAND

Hello! I think I have mostly recovered from jet lag and bus riding, so thought I would share a few observations and photos from our trip.

It was a most wonderful trip! The scenery was spectacular,

and the people were warm and welcoming…the weather not so much, but the cool rainy weather just made the tea, coffee, Guinness, whisky, and whiskey even better!

I mentioned whisky twice because one thing I learned on this trip is that Scottish whisky is w-h-i-s-k-y and Irish whiskey is w-h-i-s-k-e-y. We learned this because we visited several distilleries. Now we don’t normally drink whisky (or whiskey) but when in Rome….. 😉

  

We also visited the Guinness Storehouse, which is the number one tourist attraction in Europe. Yup…it beats out the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Venice canals, etc!   Hmm.

We also visited a small brewing company where we were told we could take a tour; when we got there, the door was open, but not a soul in sight.

We waited a bit, and then inquired at the pub next door, and they told us that the Brewmaster was out of town and wouldn’t be back until the next day.  That did not deter us! Our new bus friends just happened to be home brewers and knew a lot about the process, so Doug took the script (which just happened to be lying on the desk), read it, and explained everything. Awesome!

Then we went next door and had a few samples….had to wait our turn at the bar, but all went well, and we left knowing so much more about beer and the deliciousness of it. 😉

We really did not drink that much, but you wouldn’t know it from this post. HAHA

A few words about being on a bus tour… It is touristy. It is tiring. People get on your nerves. You are on a bus… a lot. BUT….it is a wonderful way to get a good overview of a country. Our guides were PHENOMENAL–extremely well-educated and knowledgeable–and we learned so much about the culture, the people, and the sites. The hotels were first-rate, at least two meals a day were provided, and the food was good.  If we ever had any kind of problem (which we didn’t), all we needed to do was let our guide know, and he would take care of it, all of which adds up to a stress-free vacation.

We had experiences we would never had had on our own (like not getting killed by driving on the opposite side of the road HAHA). Some things might have been touristy, but hey, we were tourists! We had dinner and music at an Irish pub,

we saw Scottish bagpipers and dancers,

and we had dinner in a castle built in the 1200’s.

We visited St. Andrews golf course and had lunch in the public dining room,

we took a couple of ferry rides and a boat trip on Loch Lomond

and we visited a working sheep farm and saw the most amazing demonstration. Hard to describe, but this man’s 12 dogs each respond to a set of personalized whistle commands such as go left, right, in, out, far away, stop, come back, cut sheep out of the flock, etc. He knows each dog and all the commands for each one, and trains them all from puppies.  AMAZING!

My husband even got to try his hand at shearing:

And I got some puppy time:

Some people on the bus might have been a tad annoying, but we also met wonderful people whom we hope to keep in touch with forever. We came home with wonderful memories, quite a few souvenirs, and new friends. We also learned so much about the countries we visited, and will never forget the people or the places that we saw.

If you have gotten this far, thanks for looking at my vacation photos! Hope I didn’t post too many, but there are a lot more where those came from, and it was so hard to narrow it down to a “few”.

Since a couple of you asked about my outfits, I will tell you that it is kind of hard to look put-together and fresh on a bus tour..in fact, it is pretty much impossible, but honestly, I didn’t worry too much about clothes…just had a great time enjoying everything. And as you see, I wore my jacket most of the time. I did find a couple of shots without the jacket:

And this outfit gets the booby prize, and will never see the light of day again! What was I thinking?

Thank you so much for stopping by. I wish you had all been on the bus with me!

I might be taking a small blogging break, since I will have grandchildren here for a few weeks, but I will do my best to post something if I can. In the meantime, I will miss you, and thanks again for taking time out of your day to look at my vacation pictures! You are the best.

HOW NOT TO PACK FOR A BUS TOUR

Hello! I have returned from a most wonderful vacation to Scotland and Ireland, and I can’t wait to share some pictures with you, but before I do that, I thought I would do some post-trip analysis on what I packed and what I wore. Before I left, I showed you what I was taking and how I packed.

In the hopes that I might help someone else who is packing for a similar trip, and in the hopes that I myself will do it differently next time, here are some thoughts about what worked and what didn’t.

What didn’t work:

  • Like most people, I overpacked. I did not need a different outfit for each day. Most days I was wearing a jacket, and no one even saw what I had on.
  • I packed too many shoes, even though it was only four pairs. Next time I will pack one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of flats.
  • I packed too many accessories. I wore one belt one time, and could have gotten by without it.
  • Packed too much jewelry…only wore my gold necklace and earrings.
  • Packed too many dresses….one would have been plenty.
  • Packed too many sweaters. I never once wore any outfit that included a belt and a sweater.
  • Did not need capris at all. Summer in Scotland and Ireland is not what we call warm 😉

What I should have done:

  • Packed my travel vests, and worn them most days
  • Planned simple outfits consisting of a pair of jeans or pants, and one top, with maybe something underneath or on top (like a vest)
  • Stuck with one basic color scheme, instead of two… pack everything to go with either black or navy, not both
  • Taken my basic black dress and several colorful scarves

What I did right:

  • Took layers and a good rain jacket
  • Packed my down puffy coat
  • Packed leggings to wear with my dress
  • Packed comfortable shoes
  • Took my long black thin cardigan
  • Took red and black large cashmere scarves
  • Took colorful chevron scarves
  • Packed Skinny Shirts and camis to wear under tops
  • Took small cross-body black leather purse to wear for dinners out

I’m sure I will think of some more things after I finish unpacking, but I know that the next time we go on a lengthy trip that includes bus touring, I will pack differently.

Having said that I thought I would show you what some of the other people on the bus were wearing, and you will see another reason why I would pack a bit more simply.  Let me just say this:  There were some days that I looked better than others, but I am proud to tell you that I won the BEST DRESSED ON THE BUS AWARD!  This prestigious award was presented on behalf of the three distinguished judges, Me, Myself, and I, after careful consideration and analysis of TOURIST BUS FASHION. Totally tongue-in-cheek, but I hope you will represent the USA better than this if you go on a bus tour:

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You know what…just don’t wear capris. You will be safer that way. Especially if it is cold. And you know what else?  Just don’t wear big white sneakers. I have told you that before.

While we’re on the subject of don’ts, just don’t do any of these:

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Well, that’s all for today. I will be back next time with some beautiful scenic shots, and you will see several more pictures of my lovely blue rain jacket. 🙂

WHITE PANTS #3

This is the third and final post in a series of trying to make some outfits with white pants. My first attempt was because I wanted to wear some new earrings, and the second post was about putting together some navy and white combinations. Speaking of that, the feature photo is of a navy/white outfit I came up with when I was photographing some of my “finalists”, so there is no before picture. Just took a chance, and I liked it. 🙂

Today, I am going to show you the rest of my experiments.

These are really try-ons. No makeup, hair not washed, bra showing, blurry, etc. I also apologize for the line across the bottom. Have not had time to get my camera repaired.

  

I didn’t really like this one enough to take a final photo. It is okay, but I can probably do better.

Here is a trendy little item that is going back to the store. Luckily, the tag is still on it:

I do like black and white though, so tried again:

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Here’s the one that made the final cut:

To recap, here are all the final versions:

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Which one do you like best? Are there any you don’t like? Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Your comments are always helpful and greatly appreciated. 🙂

If  you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.

 

WHITE PANTS TRY ONS

Hello Friends,

Today I am back with the first in a series about some of my “experiments.” I post these periodically in the hopes of inspiring you to try things on before you walk out the door. 😉

I have a lot of clothes in my closet, but just because I have something doesn’t mean that it will look good if I just pull it out, put it on, and walk out the door. That rarely happens. Most clothing needs to be “styled” which means that some ways of wearing it will look better than other ways. You won’t know which looks better unless you try on and evaluate.

It can be time-consuming, but not too bad if you do it the right way. This means:

  • Think of what you might want to wear
  • Imagine some items that might look good with it
  • Try different items on (experiment with shoes, jewelry, purses)
  • Take quick selfies (in the mirror is fine)
  • Don’t worry about hair, makeup, or posing
  • Evaluate the photos and see if you can do better

I like to take “try-on” pictures, because I find that seeing a photograph is very helpful. I can usually tell pretty quickly if the outfit is something that I will wear or not.

I have decided to share my try-on photos (which I don’t really like doing), because I hope it helps you to see that some of the things you think you love may not look that great, or that some things that you didn’t think were that great actually look nice.

These are really try-ons. No makeup, hair not washed, bra showing, blurry, etc. I also apologize for the line across the bottom. Have not had time to get my camera repaired.

This session started out because I saw some young, beautiful, skinny girls on tv wearing some really cute earrings, so I went out and looked for something similar. I guess I thought that  pair of $3.99 earrings would magically turn me into a young, beautiful, skinny girl 🙂

And these girls were wearing these earrings with white pants, and I love summer mostly just because of white pants, so I decided to go to my closet.

I will start with the “earrings outfit” even though it didn’t turn out exactly as I had pictured it. I guess you just need to be 26 with a golden tan and long legs 😉

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As you can see, Number 1 was horrible, Number 2 a little better, and Number 3 was wearable.

After I saw the final version of this

I decided that the earrings might look good with this another top I had tried, even though I really did not like any of these try-ons:

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This is pretty cute after I ditched the sweater:

 

Keepin’ it real until next time! I will be back with some more white pants outfits soon.

If  you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.  

 

WHITE PANTS #2

This is the second post in a series of experimenting and trying to put together some white pants outfits. Don’t forget:

These are really try-ons. No makeup, hair not washed, bra showing, blurry, etc. I also apologize for the line across the bottom. Have not had time to get my camera repaired.

White pants are awesome, because almost anything looks good with them. Well, you might not think that after you see some of my try-ons HAHA, but trust me, you can make some great outfits with white pants.

One of my all-time favorite combinations is navy and white, so I pulled a few things out of my closet and got to work.

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They all had possibilities, but I settled on this one as my favorite:

Since I was on the navy kick, I decided to try to make an outfit using a jacket I bought at Goodwill last year. I really liked this jacket, but have never worn it.

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Here is the final pick:

Thanks for reading! One more post in this series coming soon. Are you taking selfies and evaluating? WHY NOT??

Would you rather wear this   or this?  

See what I mean?

If  you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.  

14 OUTFITS Part 4

Final post on packing for my trip. My last post was about the dress I am taking. Today, I am showing you the rest of my outfits. You might notice that everything I am taking is either black or navy…a good way to minimize how many pairs of shoes I need to take.

And my Fourth of July outfit:    🙂

Here is a picture of my travel purse:

It will be with me at all times. 🙂 RFID protected, and locks. Plus it is not too big.

Here is a similar one on Amazon:

Travelon Anti-Theft Signature E W Shoulder Bag, Black, One Size

 

No packing would be complete without my trusty black Athleta pants. They have gone with me on every trip in the last few years!

Bettona

http://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1035856&vid=1&pid=819227002

To recap, here are the outfits I am taking for a fourteen-day bus tour of Scotland and Ireland in June:

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Since I took these photos, I have eliminated the red plaid top, and added another knit dress, and swapped out the pink pashmina for a red one. I also changed my travel outfit, after reading another blog and copying her look. Here’s what Laurie from Laurie Pop was wearing, and I liked it so much I ordered one for myself in gray:

That should do it! I can’t imagine that anyone has read all 4 of these posts about someone else packing for a trip, but if you have, many thanks 🙂  I hope you take a trip soon, and hope you have gotten some packing ideas.

I will try to post a couple of times while we are away, but don’t know how much internet we will have. And of course you will be subjected to some vacation photos after we return!

  If you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.  Also need to let you know that if you purchase anything from Amazon by clicking on the links, I make a small commission.

 

14 OUTFITS Part 3

In my last two posts, I gave you a glimpse of the outfits I plan to wear on our two- week tour of Scotland and Ireland. Let’s take a break from my “bus clothes” and look at what I am taking to wear if and when we go out in the evenings. I am only taking one dress, so don’t be expecting too much. LOL

Here is my basic black dress with several various accompaniments:

I decided I should take leggings since I saw recent pictures of friends on vacation in London all bundled up in coats.

Showing you this so you will know I will always have something attached to me that has my passport. 😉   Will probably forget the necklace. Just seems a bit much.

And just so you know, these shoes are BLACK and WHITE, but in photographs they look navy. After seeing these picture, I am going to call them my BLACK OR BLUE shoes and wear them with either color.

Don’t know that I will wear any of these, but if we have dinner in a great Irish castle, I will not have to wear my jeans. 😉

After I took these photos, I did decide to take another knit dress also. You will just have to wait to see my vacation photos to see what I actually wore.   😉

  If you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.  Also need to let you know that if you purchase anything from Amazon by clicking on the links, I make a small commission.

14 OUTFITS Part 2

Today I am continuing my series on packing for a tour to Scotland and Ireland. We are only allowed to take one suitcase plus a backpack, so I am thinking carefully about what to take.

In my first post, I showed you my army green pants. In this post, I am showing you my jeans outfits. Remember that this is a “casual and comfortable” trip…not packing a lot of jewelry and accessories….just don’t want to be the frumpiest one on the bus  😉

Since I am on the subject of packing, I will tell you that one of the best purchases I have ever made for travel is lightweight luggage. I first bought the 20 inch size, and later added the larger one for longer trips. They have four wheels and are very easy to maneuver.

Skyway Luggage Mirage Superlight 28-Inch 4 Wheel Expandable Upright, Black, One Size

 

 

Skyway Luggage Mirage Ultralite 20-Inch 4 Wheel Expandable Carry-On, Maritime Blue, One Size

 

I bought the bright blue color. The smaller one only weighs 5 pounds! I compared this to a similar-size suitcase that I had, and it weighed 9 pounds!! Really makes a difference when you are hauling it around a lot, or when you are packing it full….means I can pack 4 or 5 pounds more of clothing,shoes or souvenirs, and still not be overweight for flying.

I’ll be back next time with some more travel outfits. See you then!

If  you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.  Also need to let you know that if you purchase anything from Amazon by clicking on the links, I make a small commission.

14 OUTFITS FOR 14 DAYS

You already know how much I love to travel, and I feel so fortunate to be at the age and stage of life where I have the opportunity to do it fairly often. Happily, my husband also likes to travel, and is very good at surprising me with trips.  🙂 We will be leaving soon on a two-week tour of Scotland and Ireland! So excited, because this trip has been at the top of my wish list for years.

We both enjoy being on bus tours where everything is taken care of for us, and we have knowledgeable tour guides all along the way; that way we don’t wander around aimlessly and wonder what in the heck we are looking at. Plus we both tend to get lost easily, and for sure would be in trouble driving on the opposite side of the road!

OF COURSE, you know that I will have all my outfits planned ahead of time. I have often told you that I have so much more fun when the stress of trying to decide what to wear is removed. I spent the afternoon putting outfits together, so thought I would do a series of posts to show you how I pack for a two-week trip.

I plan to take four pairs of pants, 1 dress, and 12 or 13 tops, some sweaters, scarves, and belts, plus silver necklace, gold necklace, and 3 pairs of earrings. Will limit underwear and sleepwear to the minimum and wash out a couple of times in the hotel. Oh, and will also take black leggings to wear with the dress if it is cool.

Will also need a jacket and raingear because the weather can be unpredictable. I would like to get by with 2 pairs of shoes, but could only manage to narrow it down to 5 pairs…. black Nikes, blue Nikes, black flats, blue flats, and black and white striped flats.  Just need a choice depending on how much walking we are doing on any particular day.

I have already told you that I am a rumbler, so I am really trying to keep clothing and accessories to a minimum. I don’t want to constantly be rumbling in my suitcase, especially since we will be in a different hotel almost every night, so can’t really unpack.

I don’t remember if I have posted about my index cards before, but I actually make cards which tell me what to wear. HaHa….kind of like what you would optimistically send to camp with your child…

An example of what I put on a card would be something like this:

Light colored jeans, black skinny shirt, black and white striped top, silver necklace, silver earrings, black Crocs

Laugh if you want to….I laugh at myself! I most certainly don’t take any of this too seriously. Just don’t want to see vacation photos of ugly or unflattering outfits, like my lumberjack look that I rocked in Alaska. LOL

This will definitely be the kind of trip where comfort is king, so will plan to take comfortable and casual clothing. Remember, we will either be on a bus or walking around tourist sites for most of the trip.

If you are a new reader, you can check out my previous packing post here .

For the first post in this series, here are the outfits I will wear with my army green pants:

Had to show you my backpack. It will be with me every day!

And here is the hoodie that I am taking since the weather is predicted to be cool.

The shoes are tried and true and very comfy, but will probably wear Nikes if we are doing much walking. The good thing about the black Crocs, though is that they are waterproof, so if it is really rainy will wear those.

I call the black outfit at the top of the page my traveling clothes, because it is a very comfortable outfit for a long plane ride, and won’t show dirt that much. 😉

If you would like to see pictures of most of the outfits I have put together, click on the page for the category you would like to see. On a mobile device, click menu to access the pages. You can also follow me on Instagram@over50under20.  

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