Saturday, August 3, 2019


Author photo. "Salvation Army Thrift Store."

"Thrifting refers to the act of shopping at a thrift store, flea market, garage sale, or a shop of a charitable organization, usually with the intent of finding interesting items at a low price."

A recurring theme in the style blogs that I read is thrifting. Jody Filogomo, Jodie's Touch of Style, and Anna Parkes, Anna's Island Style, frequently feature thrifted/vintage/pre-owned items in their outfits of the day. Dutch blogger, Nancy Baten, Nancy's Fashion Style, did a posting about second-hand clothing just yesterday.

When I was growing up, hand-me-downs were not always appreciated by us children. But having parents who lived through the Great Depression meant that we followed the "waste not, want not" rule of thumb, whenever appropriate...which made the occasional splurges even more exciting. (We were a middle class family; thrift was a choice, not a necessity. And as the older of two girls, I only received the occasional out-grown item from a cousin. My younger sister might tell a different tale). I'll never forget the day that my mother bought me two pairs of leather sandals (on sale, of course). Or the yellow and white plaid wool jumper she and I purchased from an upscale boutique, at the unheard of price of $23.00! Obviously, such splurges were so noteworthy that I can recall them clearly, more than 50+ years later.

During my time in the UK, I visited a number of Oxfam shops. Our closest equivalent at home is the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I still donate items to that charity, but rarely find anything for my own wardrobe in their outlet. A much more promising shopping option nearby is Finders Keepers Consignments, an Aladdin's Cave of clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry. A congenial staff, whimsical displays, and interesting stock make for a fun shopping experience. This necklace and bracelet were a lucky score there last week.

Author photo. "Finders Keepers Consignments."

Author photo. "Necklace and bracelet."

Another place where I search for bargains is eBay. It's a buyer beware sort of option, and even pieces that seem to be desirable may not fit or be exactly what's needed. I have had some successes there, though, most recently a Talbot's cardigan in the oh-so-trendy leopard print. It pairs beautifully with my new necklace!

Tracking down a real bargain is much more satisfying than patronizing the Nordstrom Sale (which doesn't tempt me at all). And as Laura Bambrick, of I do deClaire, reminds us, in 4 Reasons Your Lifestyle Choices Matter, "Like it or not, the choices we make in our lifetime can impact the world and people around us....If you want to make a difference in the world, a great place to start is with your wardrobe."  

"Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character."
-S.W. Straus

Thursday, July 25, 2019

I Loved Paris in the Spring

Earlier this week, Susan Blake, of une femme d'un certain âge, posted Snippets of Paris, featuring images captured during her recent visit to the City of Light. 

I spent some time in Paris this May, and am still uploading my photos. Here are a few fashion-related shots from that magical trip.

By the The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoil. Photo by my travel buddy, Janice.

This was one of my go-to outfits on the trip. The early May weather was cool, so my J.Crew jacket was a godsend. The pockets were deep and snapped shut, a convenient place to stash my phone (with my anti-theft cross-body bag firmly blocking access) when I wasn't holding it. Scarves are practically de rigueur in Paris, sported by men, women, even children. Chic and practical on breezy days. I wore my black jeans and black ankle boots often, with either a short- or long-sleeved top underneath, depending on the weather. Plenty of room for a sweater as well, if needed.

[Note: I was neither gifted, nor compensated for, these items. Drat!] 

The scarf I'm wearing by the Arc is from my closet at home. 

Photo by the author.

The following two scarves were purchased in Paris (the Eiffel Tower was visible from our hotel room. I had to commemorate that! Plus, I don't have many accessories in that rich golden brown color), and Giverny: Monet - Impressionism - Water Lilies! respectively.

Photo by the author.

Scarves were everywhere!

Photo by the author.

 Couples scarves

Photo by the author.

I did the tourist thing and bought berets for family members. Although it was spring, I did manage to spot a beret-wearer in the wild.  

Photo by the author.

These interesting shoe accessories made for a colorful store display

Photo by the author.

But my vote for Most Original Fashionista goes to this young lady. If you look closely, you'll see that one of her shoulder bags is made from a single long, white glove. 

Photo by the author.

Ah, Paris! I hope it won't be another 50 years until I visit you again.

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”
 – Thomas Jefferson.

Monday, July 22, 2019


Internet Archive Book Images.
Image from page 184 of "A key to Harmony simplified and a classroom manual" (1908). No known copyright restrictions.

"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note." -Doug Floyd

Although I've been a blogger for over 10 years, this is my first "style blog." I write for fun; I'm retired, and blogging is more of a hobby for me. Therefore, there are a number of way in which I deviate from most of my sort-of colleagues.

Since it's Monday evening, and I'm feeling lazy, I'll outline our differences (and similarities) via -GASP!- bullet points. (I did a number of conference presentations as a teacher/librarian, relying mainly on images to present or reinforce my ideas. Bullet points were considered the kiss of death for an engaging presentation!)

  • This is not my job or a source of income.
  • No freebies for me! Established style bloggers are frequently gifted with fashion items. They aren't requited to give positive reviews, however they do feature the items on their postings. I certainly wouldn't turn down a free piece of jewelry or clothing, but I don't anticipate this happening any time soon.
  • No Instagram. Most style bloggers have Instagram accounts and sometimes YouTube channels. Not ruling this out.
  • Some have professional photographers. I've been mining my Flickr account for relevant images (Note: when I use images that are not my own, I make sure of the copyright status. And I ALWAYS cite my sources. Once a librarian...)
  • Budget. Where do these women get the money to spend hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on events like the Nordstrom sale?!!! Not happening on my Social Security, Teachers' pension checks.
  • Opportunities to dress up. Even though I have plenty of accessories, I rarely make use of them when I am babysitting my grandkids or popping in to Target. It is fun to jazz things up a bit when I meet my high school classmates for our monthly breakfasts or head out to dinner with friends.
  • Shopping online for clothes. Sizing is tricky for a 70ish petite but not skinny lady. I am much more successful when I visit local stores for a try and buy.
  • I only go so far with "containment." Smoothers, Spanx, etc. are not usually included in my repertoire. I do find flat waistbands to be more flattering for my body type.
  • Thrifting. I do need to explore this option a bit more, since it frequently figures in the blogs I read. I have had some successes with eBay purchases.
  • Nothing too costumey. The Boho look I loved in college doesn't really work well with my age and height. I still love some of the patterns and colors this style features, but a volume of fabric swamps my (shrinking?) frame.
  • Some fads are good, some a miss for me. I will never buy slashed jeans and I'm not a fan of frayed hems. 
  • I don't have a stylist or receive style boxes.
  • No professional logo, widgets, layout here. I'm just a basic blogger. 

Although my blog is not your typical offering, I appreciate fashion, admire the work that style bloggers put into their postings, and sometimes adapt what I see to my low-key life. 

“Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.” -Tom Robbins


Friday, July 19, 2019

No Such Thing As Perfection

Author Photo. "Twirling Princess"

“Everyone is comparing lives on social media and wants the perfect body, perfect image, perfect outfit, perfect life - we're striving for this perfection, and it's so unhealthy because there's no such thing as perfection.”
-Emily Atack

While the above quote may be true about some social media content, the Style postings I choose to read present quite the opposite viewpoint. Even the younger writers share general tips about color and fashion that are universal. Those with more life experience are not afraid to discuss the ways in which their bodies have matured and how that affects their relationship with clothing.

Jodie Filogomo, Jodie's Touch of Style, features herself (50ish), her step-mom (70ish) and her mother (80ish) as they interpret a theme with their own personal flair. Each of the three is challenged to step outside her comfort zone by her partners. Their combinations might not always appeal to me, but I admire their creativity and sense of fun.

Over 50 Feeling 40's Pamela Lutrell freshens up her favorite black and white pieces with interesting tops, jewelry, and scarves.

Dutch blogger, Nancy, of Nancy's Fashion Style, recently wrote, "I wear shorts while I’m over 50, and do you?" inviting readers to contribute to a conversation about comfort, style, and "age appropriateness."

 Many of these bloggers host Link Up Parties. Darlene, Aquamarina Style, explains: "These are style events sponsored by various bloggers who schedule weekly Link parties where many of us go to share our latest or greatest posts." A variation of this practice involves recurring themed posts, like Friday Favorites, Would You Wear It?, Good Buy/Good-Bye Book, and Style Steal.

“Social media is called social media for a reason. It lends itself to sharing rather than horn-tooting.“
-Margaret Atwood

Visit the rest of my favorites via my Style and Travel Blogs Pinterest board. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What You Wear

 “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” – Miuccia Prada

“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’ what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.’”– Caitlin Moran 

Author's photo c.1968
So, how did I become interested in Style blogs? Like all women, my personal style has evolved over the years, from uniforms K-12, to rather preppy (think Villager skirt and sweater sets) in college, to whatever was comfortable but appropriate in a work setting, to mostly casual retirement wear.

I have always loved to travel. Before a trip, either to a conference, or, more frequently now, for personal trips, I would "shop my closet" to decide what clothing items looked good and worked well together. I started collecting Pins about capsule wardrobes and other travel tips to further refine my packing process. Some bloggers began to show up regularly under this topic, for example, Beth Djalali, of Style at a Certain Age and Susan Blakey of une femme d'un certain âge. Links from their pages led me to other sites, many, but not all, written by middle aged and older women.

Like so many others, I mourned the loss of Google Reader. These days, I pin links to my favorite style and travel blogs to this board, and check them daily. It's fun to see what's trendy and fresh; most of the clothes can be adapted to any age group or body type. Some tips are quite simple; for example, add a colored scarf close to your face to brighten a basic black outfit. Much more flattering for a 70ish complexion!

Author's photo Paris 2019

I can't say that I'm a total success at carry-on only, but on a recent trip to France, my luggage was compact and I had plenty of outfit options. Between Pinterest and my own packing lists, I'm getting better at minimalizing and maximizing.

Next time, I'll share more of my favorite Style blogs, along with a list of some of the bloggers'
more interesting special posts.

"I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others." -Ruth Bader Ginsburg
I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Pin for the Win

"Pinterest boards" by diane cordell

A librarian colleague introduced me to Pinterest about 8 years ago. After a slow start, I realized how very versatile this social media web might prove.

Some of my personal uses include
  • Trip planner: I start a new board for each destination, gathering links to maps, attractions, and weather forecasts. Capsule wardrobes, pictures of possible luggage pieces, and packing tips are included. A visit to Paris and a Seine River cruise in May, and planned trips to Maine (August) and Disney World (November), also generated a flurry of pinning. Haven't been to Iceland yet, but a girl can dream.
  • Notebook: Whenever I find an interesting quote about photography, I stash it here, for possible use with images on Flickr.
  • Home remodeling: This board was very useful in providing visuals for our contractor when we spruced up two bathrooms. Now I'm starting to collect inspiration links for a bedroom spruce up.
  • Special events: In anticipation of a steampunk-themed conference get-together, I shared boards that featured clothing tips and a reading list with fellow attendees.
  • Style bloggers: This is my favorite board now; I check in daily. More about the blogs and bloggers in a future posting.
  • Professional applications: While still working as a K-12 teacher/librarian, I participated in some group boards tied to summer reading themes. With collection weeding in mind, I also saved some new uses for old books.
These are just a few examples of the ways in which Pinterest works for me. By clicking on an image, I can access cached information. Quick and easy, just my style!

All my public boards can be found here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


In 2007, I started blogging on Journeys. I was new to technology, excited about connecting to librarians and teachers via social media. It took me hours to "craft" a post and link to relevant sites. Because I wanted original photos to accompany my writing, I became interested in photography, participating in the 365 Challenge for many years.

Well, times have changed and my interests have shifted. These days, I spend more time with my grandkids than with my camera. I still love to read and to travel, but once I stopped doing freelance work, and completed my book, I was ready to try something different.

I'm still proud of my old blog, but I feel ready for a change. At 70ish, it's about time to shake things up a bit!