Bullet List: Rome Style Decoded

 

What makes women in a particular city, say Paris, look so Parisian? Likewise, what makes women in Rome, look so Italian?! Here are some decoding bullets:

  • Jewelry (big, bold, and lots of it!)
  • Scarves
  • Trendy or beautiful shoes
  • Loose locks of hair
  • One really big statement piece
  • Clear style statements of confidence
  • Hosiery
  • Mani/pedis are a must
  • Fully styled professionals
  • Luxury denim is styled upscale
  • Lips and Mascara

Here are some other style helpers:

  • Umbrella
  • Helmet that coordinates with scooter
  • Leather (Italian) handbag
  • Leather (Italian) jacket

Here’s what I don’t see on the streets of Rome worn by Romans:

  • Pajamas
  • Flip flops
  • Wrinkled clothes
  • Bottom cleavage/muffin tops

So let me describe a few of the beautiful Italian women I have seen so far, but haven’t gotten photos of:

Woman #1: 60s/70s — Black hair — skinny skinny

  • Hosiery with large criss-cross design, flat black suede shoes
  • Black sheath dress trimmed with short fringe
  • Black leather jacket
  • Giant pearl and gold necklace, earrings, multiple rings

Woman #2: 40s/50s — brown hair — average build

  • Wide-legged, over-dyed, oversized denim cropped jeans in a melon color
  • Matching oversized straight cut car length jacket in same melon denim
  • Extra-long print scarf down to her knees in a print of melon/neon green/red
  • Ankle boots, mid-height heel, trendy in light tan (Italian leather, I would bet)

Woman #3: 60s — salt and pepper hair — athletic build

  • Cropped gabardine pants in dark green
  • Open-toed suede shoe in cognac with a chunky stacked heel (Italian leather)
  • Silk print blouse — three shades of green with some purple for good luck
  • Leather jacket in cognac (Italian leather)
  • Cream-colored helmet & matching cream and black scooter
  • Silk chiffon scarf in pale green
  • Leather brief portfolio in cognac (Matchy-matchy I love it!)

Each of these women had a certain striking air of confidence, and of assertiveness. I got the sense that they didn’t put too much focus on matters that didn’t directly involve them. I also sensed that they weren’t looking for style approval, but rather that style was their medium, under their control.

 

Travel: One Suitcase – 5 Weeks, Pt. 2

Goal: two cities, five weeks, one suitcase (must weigh less than 50 lbs to win)

So, added to last week’s styles are sturdy clothes for winter in Johannesburg, with excursions to see lions, leopards, Victoria Falls (on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe), and I hope to see some elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and zebras as well as all manner of springbok and other deer. I will still be working and trying to find some great candid photos of some of the life in South Africa.

Fully Packed

It all fits! And I weighed the bag on my digital scale — 24 lbs! Of course, that is before beauty products. This exercise is helping me with my packing anxiety. At least for the short term.

So, for my trip to Frankfurt, and then the next four weeks in Joburg, I have added layers. Here’s the bullet list:

  • Cargo pants, heavy weight and ready to be destroyed
  • Camouflage print pants
  • African wax print skirt
  • Vintage yellow polo sweater
  • Yellow cardigan
  • Olive lightweight wool sweater
  • White T-shirt
  • White thin cotton turtleneck
  • Black T-shirt
  • Mauve T-shirt
  • Metallic tank sweater
  • White rain shell
  • Hiking boots
  • Birkenstocks
  • Black flip flops
  • Olive drab jacket with “flair”
  • Three scarves, one cotton gingham, one rayon, one polyester (all white background, with black and a hint of accent color)

I think that I might be doing at least one more adjustment…

Travel: One Suitcase-5 Weeks, pt. 1

White 'IT' Suitcase
This is the suitcase — not too big, but definitely a checked bag.

Goal: 1 suitcase for two cities, 5 weeks

Week 1 Frankfurt, Germany: Build around Brooks, Ltd. LoDo Shirt

This is the second blog planning my packing list for travel to Frankfurt, then on to Johannesburg, South Africa. I am using my inspiration shirt, named after Denver’s Lower Downtown, hence the ‘LoDo’ part of the shirt description. LoDo is where Brooks, Ltd. atelier is located and is also the part of town you see college students, out-of-towners, and business folks mingling together at restaurants and venues.

I might have mentioned that I have “packing anxiety” and that has driven me to plan this trip well in advance. So, I am testing out my one-suitcase bullet wardrobe plan, beginning with five ways to wear the LoDo shirt while working, drinking kaffee, and shopping in Frankfurt, Germany. Oh, and I should tell you, I am going to be eating like a German foodie.

Here’s the bullet list for 5 choices for the first week of five weeks on the road:

  • Lilac cotton zip-front LoDo shirt, that doubles as a lightweight jacket
  • Navy slim-legged pants (J. Crew)
  • Black leggings
  • Jeans
  • Silk floral shell — vintage from the 80s
  • White lightweight cotton turtleneck (think of the movie ‘Something’s Gotta Give’)
  • Black vintage Chanel Logo T-shirt (best all around T-shirt ever)
  • Black ballet neck tea-length dress
  • Black waterproof loafers (Hunter)
  • Black logo tennis shoes (Coach)
  • Silk print scarf
  • Black scarf
  • Rhinestone necklace (J. Crew)

These five choices easily fit into the suitcase with plenty of room for next week’s challenge– 4 weeks in Johannesburg!

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Travel: Frankfurt to Johannesburg

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African Print skirt inspiration!

Managing time apart from my husband, partner, best-friend is work. Emotional work. Slogging through the day, remembering to build in those activities and behaviors that feed into a positive aloneness takes effort. I have to think about how I am taking care of myself. Hence the hashtag #hyggetaughtme, see Instagram for my attempts at self-hygge.

However, once the airline ticket is purchased, the emotional work seems to lighten! It’s easier, knowing that travel adventures are just around the corner! My best friend and hubby-boy is absolutely the best travel companion–he was a History major–and loves to do research. As we visit each place, he talks about historical events and figures, as well as cultural interests while I scout out local food, art, and museums. So, now to the style factor and…Let the packing anxiety/excitement begin! (Breathe in, breathe out!)

Let’s start with a list of activities in Frankfurt, Germany:

  • Walking on cobblestones
  • Having kaffee und kuchen with friends (everyday)
  • Shopping
  • Walking through the park, riding the U-bahn
  • Eating out in the evening
  • Palmengarten
  • Museum (Natural History, Modern Art)
  • Walking by the river

List activities in Johannesburg, South Africa:

  • Visit wild animal parks
  • Pet animals
  • Go to markets
  • Photograph everything
  • Find reasonably safe food to eat and still feel like we belong on the Food Network

Next list the weather:

Frankfurt in June = Seattle in June

  • Mild 74/54

Johannesburg in June/July

  • 63/37

Now how to pack one suitcase for two cities for over one month…Hmmmm….first attempt. Here’s the bullet list:

  • African wax print skirt (authentic African Wax Print produced in Holland)
  • Yellow vintage polo
  • Yellow cardigan
  • Yellow/Gray/White/Black print knit skirt
  • Camouflage pants (doesn’t really camouflage hips like I hoped)
  • Cargo pocket pants (for animals to destroy)
  • Jeans
  • White cotton men’s s/s shirt
  • White rain shell
  • Charcoal wool sweater
  • Heather gray cotton v-neck sweater
  • Aviator jacket
  • Green felt hat
  • Rain coat, leopard print
  • Fishing vest
  • 3 T-shirts
  • Chambray tunic/dress
  • Linen Blazer, cream, black trim
  • Cotton shawl
  • Lace scarf
  • Purple/Mauve/Pink Ikat Print (not authentic, I can assure you)
  • Animal print scarf
  • Olive drab work shirt
  • Hiking boots
  • Birkenstocks
  • Canvas Coach tennis shoes
  • Missing: leggings, socks, nightshirt, beauty, Rx, technology

Bullet Wardrobe: Pyeongchang (As if…)

Pyeongchange style

If I were traveling to the Olympics or just to see Korea, this is what I would pack based on the weather I have been seeing on the news and based on today, St. Valentine’s Day, because I would definitely be wearing my beloved’s gift of white hiking boots! And we would be trying out as much of the street food as we could eat!

So, at the risk of looking like a Canadian sympathizer…Here’s my bullet packing list!

  • White silk warm layer
  • White cotton turtleneck
  • Off-white cashmere turtleneck
  • White down vest
  • Really warm hat
  • Cashmere knit hat
  • Two really warm scarves
  • Best wool socks, one pair from Deutschland and one pair from here in Colorado!
  • New White Hiking Boots!!!
  • American Blue Jeans
  • Wellensteyn Schneezauber (snow wizard) coat

SchneeZauber.jpg

Travel: Trip to Phoenix, AZ

_DSC0065.jpgThe American Southwest is a beautiful place reminiscent of western movies and alien desert landscapes. It is also a backdrop for other photo shoots and international travelers. I am lucky enough to have family in Phoenix, Arizona, so here is the bullet list for a short weekend trip in the “winter”–this trip was to put on Thanksgiving dinner for my dear mama.

Short plane ride from Denver to Phoenix:

  • Nice black leggings
  • Kenzo Paris Sweatshirt
  • Yak yarn sweater
  • Silk Scarf
  • Black and white running shoes

In my favorite carry-on suitcase:

  • Laboratory grade gravy separator
  • Travel sized cleanser, moisturizer
  • Less than 3 oz. CC+ cream with SPF 50
  • Gift with purchase mascara
  • Lipstick, lip gloss, and lip balm (all with SPF)
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Brush
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 3 pairs of skivvs
  • Knit Pjs
  • Skinny Jeans
  • Cotton dress shirt
  • Apron
  • T-shirt
  • Belt
  • Meds
  • Thanksgiving Recipe Binder
  • Rosemary

Tote

  • Nikon Camera
  • Tripod
  • HD Video Camera (forgot that there was video built-in to Nikon)
  • Wallet
  • e-Reader

So the trip was beautiful and our gift of cooking Thanksgiving for the family was gratefully received. Here are some of our restaurant reviews:

Lindy’s on 4th (whaa, whaa, whaa, whaa)

First of all, I can’t blame Lindy’s for this review. Believe me, there are several things that set us up for a disastrous experience. 1) this is not the burger bar I thought it was, 2) one person in our party, always orders THE WORST ITEM ON THE MENU, from the time he was 16 and in Paris, he couldn’t catch a break–if there is one item on the menu that shouldn’t be there, he will order it, and it will be lackluster at best, hideous at worst, 3) same person was in great pain, 4) other person was feeling ill, like he had the flu. So, sorry Lindy’s, even with the darling waitperson, it just wasn’t good for us. I had the “special” a burger with the philly cheesesteak on top, with horseradish sauce. It was okay, and only okay due to the actual burger patty texture, kind of processed and spongy.

Person ordered the Philly cheesesteak (we are in Arizona at a burger bar for crying out loud) on a cheese roll. Other person split that with him. All I can say was the roll was cold and somewhat stale tasting, the meat somewhat dry. I can only have Philly Cheesesteak from a few places and those place are indeed in Philly! Yes, I am spoiled, and now I miss you Philadelphia!

Bella Luna (Bellisimo!)

This family-owned Italian restaurant charmed our socks off! The elderly man with the distinctly Italian accent made us overlook the location slightly dirty water glasses (who needs to drink tap water anyway?) The pasta we ordered, to a dish, was perfection. We thought that there must be someone making the pasta from scratch back in the kitchen. The sauces were authentic and were perfection. I have never had a better plate of butternut squash ravioli, and the person who always orders poorly? He ordered the alfredo, and we all agreed that it was superb! In fact, I want to eat some of that Pasta Alfredo everyday for the rest of my life!

Joe’s Farm Grill (I’m Proud to be an American!)

I had only been to Joe’s Farm Grill for dinner, and due to horrible traffic, we weren’t able to make it for dinner after our long drive down to San Xavier and back. So, we went for breakfast. It was the kind of breakfast that makes you feel proud to be an American. Proud to be a farmer, or descended from farmers, and reminds you of goodness in the world.

I had the waffles and ribs, which were fall off the bone perfection, even though this was the morning after Thanksgiving, and one person had the sausage and egg tacos, breaking his record of ordering poorly, (you can’t count Bella Luna, since I don’t believe that they have one bad item on the menu), and the other person decided on a waffle with a fresh strawberry shake. Heaven!!!

Oh, and for a some quirky fun, trust me on this, use the restroom. Just saying.

This was the perfect send off before we went to Sky Harbor airport to return to Denver via Los Angeles.

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These photos were taken just south of Tuscon, AZ at the Mission at San Xavier.

 

Travel: Beauty & Rx

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What to pack for a long weekend: Beauty & Rx

Being over 50 has some new guidelines for what is necessary to take on a long weekend for beauty & Rx medicine categories. Here is a bullet wardrobe reminder of what I “need” to be comfortable on a long weekend–that still comfortably fits into my one small suitcase. I rely on travel sized items, beauty samples, and premiums–those nice little extras that come with a cosmetic purchase. I also rely on my favorite brands and their special travel-sized, age/skin-type related items–I usually purchase some as I see the kits available, as well as ask for some as a gift idea every year! My go to is Clinique–the comfort of knowing how it smells (or doesn’t smell) as well as how my skin feels when I use it makes it part of my travel routine. You will see that I use many other brands for other “must-have” items, but I always come back to Clinique for the foundation of my skin care routine.

Here’s the bullet wardrobe reminder list:

  • Cleanser
  • Eye makeup remover
  • Toner
  • Serum (only the small format bottle, the larger serum stays at home)
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Moisturizer with Sunscreen for daytime
  • Sunscreen, sensitive skin
  • Eye primer (Urban Decay)
  • Concealer
  • Eye shadow set (usually just one, but sometimes two–I will use any brand with the right combination)
  • Eye liner
  • Eyebrow pencil (found a great version for salt and pepper haircolor–Bobby Brown!)
  • Urban Decay 24 hour makeup setting spray (only brand I use and it is a lifesaver, since I use layers of moisturizer around my eyes)
  • Mascara
  • Blush, cream stick in perfect neutral for me
  • Zambeezi lip Balm (favorite brand)
  • Lip color, gloss, stick in my wear everywear neutral (find your perfect neutral–don’t use someone else’s–because then it’s not perfect on You!)
  • Brushes, cotton balls, cotton swabs (Q-tips, because I wouldn’t know what a cotton swab was)
  • Extra washcloth or two (I can’t tell you how many times I wanted an extra washcloth and couldn’t seem to get one from housekeeping at midnight, or in a pensione sometimes they are really rough)
  • Hairspray (I only like Dove right now)
  • Small travel size shampoo & conditioner (just in case they provide a pump of all-in-one gel in the shower)
  • Spare bobby pins, hair comb (just in case need to put hair up and look a little more “evening”)
  • Brush
  • Toothbrush, paste, floss, picks
  • Eye drops–for allergies, dry eyes
  • Extra contacts, in case glasses get lost/broken
  • Shaving gear (I know, at my age?!!)
  • Medicine: allergies, chronic conditions, aging stuff (we’ll talk later), migraine, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen
  • Aloe Vera gel, with lidocaine (good for more than the occasional sunburn!)
  • Disposable wipes for whatever needs wiping (door knobs, toilet seats, hands) or many times, if I don’t need the antiseptic element, I use wet paper towels in a zip lock bag–better for the environment, your health, etc.
  • Black Electrical Tape– This is my best secret essential! For people with light sensitivity–inevitably, I am kept awake by the blinking smoke detector light positioned right over “my side” of the bed, or other LED lights that unfortunately, cause migraines

It all fits nice and neat in the usual bags. This is not for carry on bags! We have been traveling by train and car to our destinations, and I have had to check my bag when I fly, due to the small size of the airplanes. So there has been little to no need to do the extra work of a carry-on plan here in Europe. I will do a break down and show a carry-on Beauty & Rx in a later blog post.

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It all fits easily!

Travel: Berlin and Potsdam

BulletWardrobe_Berlin_094725

Traveling to Berlin for a weekend had me solving the weather problem: rainy, humid, hot, sunny, and chilly, and windy– all in the course of three days. On top of that, it was my 16th anniversary, so I knew that at least one nice dinner was on the itinerary. Other than a nice dinner, we planned to go to museums, see a memorial to fallen Russian soldiers, see the Berlin Tiergarten Siegessaeule, a monument honoring victories in the “unification” wars. We also planned on seeing Charlottenburg Palace, and hopping a bus over to Potsdam to wander around Sans Souci, built by Friedrich the Great inspired by Versailles. In addition, we couldn’t see Berlin without going to the Helmut Newton museum. So, comfortable shoes were a must — there was so much walking on cobblestones, dirt paths, steps, and streets.

Here’s my bullet wardrobe reminder. I followed prevailing fashion advice, neutrals–white, gray, black–with one predominant accent color–petal pink. After all, it was my anniversary and I certainly wanted to look light and feminine, summery and happy! Additionally, I wore some beautiful Alexis Bittar jewelry that my hubby had purchased for me a few years ago.

  • Rain windbreaker: packable, white
  • Trenchcoat: short, pink, not super waterproof
  • Dress: pewter, lightweight, comfortable, nice enough for most restaurants
  • Pants: white
  • Jeans: black motorcycle
  • T-shirt: floral, Balmain
  • Tank: floral, charcoal
  • Birkenstocks: silver
  • Sneakers: white converse
  • Walking cross trainers: black and white
  • Scarves: microfiber pastel print, pink mesh, linen white print
  • Vintage accessory: charm bracelets

 

A few Berlin highlights: There is a street called Strasse Juni 17th — so if that is your Anniversary date–it’s perfect to celebrate on that street, on that date.

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Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

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Strasse Juni 17th looking at the Seugessaeule, or Victory Memorial. There was a bicycle race that day, Juni 17th!

Reichstag_DeutcheFlag

The Reichstag — the German capitol building with the flag flying in the wind!

Travel: Paris or Prague

Bullet Wardrobe_Paris or Prague Summer.jpg

When I go to Paris (or Prague) and I only want to take one suitcase, I look at the weather, decide on a “look” and then write down what I will take. Here’s a reminder of a Bullet Wardrobe that has worked for prior trips taken in spring and summer to these wonderful cities. You’ll notice the simplicity of color choice: black, which 1) rates high on the style index, especially when spending time in art museums and cathedrals, and 2) transitions into a decent dinner look with a little extra eyeliner and jewelry. Accent with white, if you have salt and pepper hair, and forget an accent color. Yes, minimalism is all the rage. Let the scarves do all of the work.

Here’s the Bullet wardrobe list:

  • Jeans: skinny, black
  • Jeans: moto, black
  • Jacket: Lightweight Black leather biker
  • Jacket: Satin Bomber–Black, Olive, Burgundy
  • Sweater: Black hoodie
  • Shirt: L/S Button up Silk, Black (dress up or down based on shoes/jewelry/scarf)
  • T-shirt: S/S Vintage Chanel Logo Black
  • T-shirt: Sleeveless, lightweight & drapey, zebra-striped print, vintage Saint Laurent
  • Walking shoes: Black and white power walking shoes with inserts (a must for cobblestones and hills!)
  • Walking shoes: Black Converse are lightweight, stylin’ and still okay for walking
  • Pumps: vintage or just old? Zebra-striped pony pumps for when you want to go out at night!
  • Two scarves (because you’ll buy at least one on the trip): silk red and purple floral, lightweight animal print
  • Umbrella (which you could lose and so you will purchase another one)
  • Packable rain coat (not shown)
  • Straw fedora (to keep sun off–not shown)
  • Vintage accessory: charm bracelets

Travel: Verdun

 

Now that I’m comfortable with my 50’s appearance, it only took 5 years, I am helping myself remember which packing plans have worked best for me here in Europe. This post covers our trip to see the WWI history in Verdun. The weather forecast was rainy; the itinerary included light hiking in the woods,  staying at a pensione in the country, and going to a community flea market.

Bullet wardrobe for a long weekend in Verdun, Lorraine, France over the July 4 holiday.

  • Jeans: stretchy, straight leg
  • Jeans: skinny
  • Knit shirts: L/S french stripes
  • Shirt: Crisp, white button down
  • Cardigan: White, light weight
  • Rain shell: white, packable
  • Rain coat: mustard yellow tin cloth
  • Down vest or wool pullover (wished for on trip)
  • 3 scarves: linen, vintage silk, microfiber
  • Hiking boots: should have been waterproof, legwarmers were a plus
  • Sneakers: leather, walking
  • Birkenstocks: good for pensione & car
  • Bag: cross body
  • Backpack: waterproof
  • Extra wash cloths!
  • Other usuals: socks, medicine, cosmetics
  • Vintage accessory: daisy print silk scarf with sunny yellow border, charm bracelets

Focusing on wearing white makes selfies seem lighter and somewhat more flattering. Using the old wardrobe rule 2 neutrals+1 accent color keeps it simple. Remember that in these wet, cloudy, and breezy climates, layering allows accommodation for temperature fluctuations. The folks in Verdun were kind and in the country, were just like all country folks-hospitable and pragmatic.