They say when little girls grow up they marry their daddy. I was one of those little girls. I had the best daddy in the world, and now I'm all grown up I have the best husband. I am truly blessed to have experienced only good men in my life, I know there are many women who are not as fortunate.
This is Brian. We met at work, I was his boss (still am!), we fell in love and were married within eight months at The Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas in 2001.
It's a wonderful thing when your partner in life has so many qualities you wish you had. I believe that's one of the keys to a happy marriage, respect for a persons character and attributes is unlikely to lead to taking that person for granted.
His ability to love runs deep and genuine. I put that down to his parents who are still together today and eloped and got married at 17 years old! He loves deeply and cherishes our marriage. I know for him, it's one of the most important things in his life.
His quietly confident manner is re-assuring and comforting. But he is sensitive and therefore very intuitive of other people's needs. He's always learning, reading, listening, as a result he's very smart and knowledgeable.
His kindness extends to anyone he encounters. His ability to always say the right thing to put someone at ease and make them feel comfortable is extraordinary. With this same ability, he can defuse a volatile situation instantly and create calm where once there was chaos. But he is passionate and passionate in his beliefs, yet open to rational discussion. He can talk about any subject matter without ever falling-out or making the other person feel inadequate, because he knows his own mind and he is his own man.
He's eight or nine years younger than me, depending on what month of the year it is! Despite this, he seems to have a lot of ailments. I joke! He just seems to hurt himself a lot, whether it be playing tennis or doing laundry! Yes, really - he does laundry, irons his own clothes, does jobs around the house, cooks (most of the time), washes the dishes (so I don't ruin my manicure), and every morning when he brings me a cup of tea he snuggles me awake or if that doesn't work (I'm difficult to wake up), he dances a little jig! Then he makes me another cup of tea before he leaves for work. I'm spoiled I know!
He supports everything I do in every way, and others too. Encouragement, help, assistance, a shoulder to lean on. We had a miscarriage 17 years ago, so we never got to meet our baby girl properly. We do enjoy our fur babies immensely. Here he is supporting our little guy, Rigsby, trying to help him overcome his fear of the pool. He never did overcome it, he just doesn't like the pool!
Every day he tells me he loves me and how beautiful I am, many times. When I question the "beautiful", he tells me off for not trusting or believing him.
He never holds grudges (me neither). Even if we have a disagreement (usually my fault) he instantly gets over it, and we move on. I couldn't tell you what we last fought about or disagreed on. Okay maybe I can, it was about which of us the dog loves most - serious stuff! But I could tell you the last time he made me laugh, he does that often, at least once a day!
Marriage is a wonderful thing when two people make each other so happy. We are both fortunate to have found each other. He's not perfect by any means as are none of us, but to me his faults are worth living with, otherwise what else would I have to make my girlfriends laugh about when we all get together! And, if he were perfect, I wouldn't be able to blame everything on him, and that would be no fun either!
Happy Valentines day to you all!
Wherever you are, whatever you do to celebrate, I hope that you will be surrounded by love.
Kimonos are a blessing to the fashion world. Their ability to add the finishing touch to an otherwise plain outfit is like the icing on the cake! They bring color, drama, texture, movement, an utterly feminine statement and the ultimate top layer of forgiveness to whatever may be going on underneath... like food babies!
Summer kimonos are a popular wardrobe staple, but I have long since loved the idea of a long coat-style kimono for the winter months. Something to replace a jacket or overcoat that doesn't have to be removed when indoors and brings an outfit together in its entirety. My style prayers were answered by Singing Slowly! An Etsy store creating the most amazing custom-made kimonos and lounge robes, hand-made in Seattle in the most striking fabric combinations you can imagine.
Prior to setting down roots in Seattle in 2013, Singing Slowly was already a going concern since 2011 in London England. Manasi, the founder, has a love for exotic textiles and prints and sources fabric from all over the world to create these unique and stunning garments.
All the robes are custom made, and if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know what a stickler I am for a proper fit and the importance I place on that. Singing Slowly is producing beautiful kimonos and robes for women of all shapes and sizes, never working on the presumption that "one size fits all". Each piece is made using your measurements and personal preferences.
The robe I'm wearing is the Italian Baroque Revival style in velvet lined with red satin. It's warm enough to wear as a coat for most of our mild winter in Arizona, but certainly will be a dependable go-to during the nippy spring and fall evenings.
In the making of my robe, I told Manasi that my intention was to wear the kimono as an outer garment like a long duster. I was so impressed by the suggestions she made based on that information, one of the reasons I knew that Singing Slowly was the real deal! First, less overlap fabric at the front to avoid unnecessary bulk whilst wearing it open, but just enough crossover allowance should I want to wear it as a lounge robe! We chose against belt loops, so they are not redundant when worn coat style, but I still have the beautiful tie sash finished in long red tassels that is the belt. I also had the sleeve opening a little less wide at the cuff to avoid the inevitable dangling in my dinner scenario!
What I love most about this kimono, it's versatile... another one of my top priority style obsessions! It can be worn day or night as an outerwear kimono, or as a cozy luxurious lounge robe. The rich vibrant colors of the intricate Ottoman Tulip inspired design on the black velvet background. The bright red satin lining, and the hidden in-seam pockets. The compliments I get whenever I wear it!
I wore the kimono over an all-black ensemble of jeans and camisole for a night out with friends. On that occasion I added the red shoes to highlight the red lining. The lustrous blue hues in the tulips go well with blue jeans, which made a perfect outfit for a lunch date with a girlfriend. And, for a dressed-down dressed-up look, jeans and sneakers is a fun option too.
There are hundreds of robes to choose from at Singing Slowly, check out the Château de Chantilly robe, a beautiful art-deco bird design also in velvet. If you've got spring or summer on your mind, the High Tropics - a French Rococo Vintage style kimono robe in azure blue satin is stunning and would make a beautiful swimsuit cover up for beach or poolside.
Click on any of the links in this post to take you to Singing Slowly. Don't be surprised if this is your last stop for kimono shopping! For indoor or outdoor wear, from beach to happy hour, warm or cold weather, there are oodles of designs and unique fabrics to choose from. The difficulty will be in choosing only one!
My friend Lisa had a book published and there was an official launch celebration held at the Camby Hotel in Phoenix. An opportunity for Lisa and co-author (her sister) to sign copies and mingle with friends, family and fans. I told Lisa I would attend, as I'm a huge proponent of supporting friends in life's good stuff as well as the bad!
It was to begin at 7 pm. There was a high chance of storms with heavy rain that evening. It was also a considerable drive from my home, and hubby wasn't keen that I go, since he couldn't come with me due to work and was nervous about the tires on the car not faring well if it did indeed rain. I'd been hearing almost daily for several weeks, "We need new tires on the car...", but Mr "Mañana" hadn't quite got to it yet! A girlfriend was accompanying me to the event, so I felt safe not being alone and paid no heed to my husband’s concerns much to his chagrin.
My girlfriend was unable to join me after all, this I found out right as I was leaving my house. Hubby was delighted assuming I wouldn't go now that I had to go alone. He was wrong! Even though her absence was a tempting cop out, I'd told Lisa I would go! So, I dug my heels in and with a display of stubbornness to both my husband and my inner self, I fought my own weakness to cave and climbed into the car, picking up the driver’s rubber floor mat and tossing it to the side of the garage. Brian was horrified, I'm not sure whether it was my defiance or the floor mat that riled him most, but I wasn't about to get the heels of my new white boots dirty on that grubby mat! He's obsessed with car mats - we have mats on top of mats in our car!
Walking into a room full of people I don't know and striking up conversations when I'm by myself is not something I relish. I consciously force myself to do it and act like I'm good at it. I obviously do the acting part quite well, as people are always surprised when I tell them I'm shy! My comfort level however is below zero in this scenario!
As I approached the bar area, the party was in full swing and I felt a wave of uneasiness followed by the sensation to take flight! I see Lisa and Lauren sitting at the book-signing table, their faces aglow with happiness and excitement. Several people line-up haphazardly toward them, purchase the book and wait their turn to have it signed and partake in the inevitable social media photo-op that everyone wants with the now famous authors! Lisa and I make eye contact through the crowd and her face lights up even more, sending me a beaming smile and a wave! That alone made this all worthwhile!
I join the queue. I feel conspicuous by myself. Everyone else is chatting in groups or pairs, relaxed, enjoying themselves, sipping their drinks, gosh I could really use a drink right now to calm my jagged nerves!
A foreign looking gentleman appears in my peripheral vision, looking rather dapper wearing a smart gray suit. His tawny skin is matte and smooth, his perfectly groomed jet-black hair is swept back, everything in place. He's about the same height as me and moves in closer. I pretend not to notice. I can smell his perfume. My heart is racing... nerves, not romantic butterflies! Then he speaks, "What is this book all about?" I barely caught what he said over the sound of my own beating heart although I detected an accent. I glanced at him fleetingly, then looked away at the book itself and tried to explain it as intelligently as possible. He appeared satisfied with my response and moved in even closer, making it appear we were in the queue together!
I should have been pleased by his proximity given my concerns that I was alone and had nobody to talk to. But I was just as awkward in this pairing as I was singular, what is wrong with me I ask myself... often!
The gentleman recognized my accent which had prompted a smile and he proceeded to ask me specifics about where I was from in England. Now that I was forcibly engaged in conversation, I recognized that he too was British and of Indian or Pakistani origin. It's a very distinctive accent which I am particularly good at impersonating! I did not do that however, which undoubtedly would have placed me winner of the gold medal award for "Awkward" with a capital A! Nevertheless, discomfiture was bubbling away inside me, and finally simmered over when he returned the conversation back to the book and said, "I bet one of the things they suggest in the book is to smile every day!" He’s not taking this seriously I thought to myself, my initial reaction - never the right one when anxiety is paramount. I jumped to the defense of the book (which I hadn't even read at this point), and responded "Oh, I don't think there's anything silly like that in the book". OMG… Awkward!
He appeared not to notice my graceless manner and continued to chat for a while about his work. He was flying home first thing in the morning to London, he wished me a good evening and disappeared, at which point I was at the head of the queue to get my book signed!
Upon returning home that evening, I poured a glass of wine and sat outside on the patio and recited the events of the evening to my husband. He laughed so hard, not just because I did this in full character... British/Indian accent at it's very best, but because of my blundering efforts to act cool under immense social tension which he curiously finds endearing (he is the polar opposite)!
As a result, I wrote the bones of this story the very next day, but doubted that it was funny or interesting to anyone else, so it has been sitting in my drafts as unpublished for over a year.
However, I realized that it likely resonates with many who recognize their insecurities and felt it was a powerful message that highlights the tension between our strengths and weaknesses, and how our strengths will supersede if we let them. My dislike of attending social gatherings by myself is one of my insecurities, but my profound strengths of loyalty (to a friend) and determination (not to let her down) crushed that shortcoming, and ultimately led to a lovely evening with some other wonderful memories not covered in this story.
Tiny Life Changes is a guide to achieving your goals one small step at a time. It was written by Lisa King and Lauren Daniels. It can be purchased via the link below.
There are affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a small percentage of sales made. This does not affect the price you pay.
Just because you don't get to wear white trousers everyday doesn't mean you don't need a pair. In fact, white pants score high when it comes to evening functions and special occasions giving your look more panache than the common alternative, black pants! They also make the perfect dressy look for day or evening, just tweak how you style them, and you've got versatility nailed.
Would you wear a hat that originated in the 17th century worn by peasants in southern France? How about a hat worn by revolutionary activists or military forces across the globe? If your answer is yes to any or all the above, you are clearly a fashionista with an eye for style!
Never under estimate the skill of a good tailor. A true professional can transform a garment from looking cheap to chic, frumpy to fabulous, ill-fitting to something that alludes to custom made!
Garment fit is crucial to looking our best whatever size and shape we may be. It’s a factor between stylish and style-less, provides the ability to emphasize one’s best attributes and camouflage the others. Skillful stitches with a nip and tuck can turn an outdated garment into a current trend or give an old dress nine lives!
Most of us have been making new year resolutions since we were old enough to decide we wanted to improve or change ourselves in some way. Whether it be a short-term resolution to return to a svelte figure after the over indulgences of the holiday season, or perhaps a more long-term plan to get into a fitness routine, it's a steadfast way to press the reset button in our minds eye and instill some positive inspiration.
Chili and cold weather go hand in hand. It's a tasty bowl of goodness with enough spice to clear the sinuses and warm the cockles of the heart. Eaten by itself topped with all your favorite accoutrements or laid bare on a bed of rice, it's a classic turnkey dish that begs to be made en mass and served every day until it's gone... or freeze for later enjoyment!
Here's a twist on the traditional recipe forsaking the beans and making it Keto friendly. I'm not a rigid Keto dieter, I simply prefer this version as it makes me feel less blah after eating it! And, if you are following a Keto diet, the cauliflower rice suggestion is a delicious nutritional accompaniment.
The current obsession with animal print is rather like a number one hit record. Every time you turn on the radio, it's that song playing again and everywhere you look, it's animal print again!
Before the numbness sets in and we go off it altogether, the fashion powers that be have decided to spice things up! What better way than to throw in some unexpected colors. Rich deep reds, blues, greens and yellows are now sporting our beloved leopard spots and snake prints, yes indeed... step aside neutrals, colored prints matter!
Let's slip into something more comfortable, shall we? With the holidays fast approaching, we don't want to feel trussed up like a Butterball turkey in our party regalia. If you prefer the holidays with free-range rather than restricted movement, fearing your outfit may tear, snag, catch on something or simply bust open at the seams in its efforts to relieve itself of your person, then consider a slip dress.
Is it necessary to know our roots for a sense of belonging? We're here already, whatever our ancestral origins are, life goes on and we're part of it! Of course, I'm proud to be British born and bred, and despite living in America and loving it here, I feel my roots lie in the mother land of England. If any other heritage exists besides my obvious British genes, then hopefully the addition of some good old "Heinz 57" variety has benefited me in some way.
When you've been waiting for the perfect dress to come along in one of your favorite prints that just happens to be so "of the moment", well leopard always was, it's totally worth swinging from the chandelier and spreading the word, it would be rude not to! Here's to the ultimate leopard print dress, and the desire to swing from a chandelier!
It seems being married brings on additional symptoms of midlife, in that husbands become less adventurous. Wives on the other hand tend to kick things up a notch during their midlife, am I right?
As was the case this particular Sunday for us three girl friends. A spur of the moment idea, a day trip to Flagstaff for a hike, a brewery tour and a visit to Camp Verde. Granted, my first reaction was "What time are you setting off?", and my second reaction, irrespective of the early start time, a resounding "Yes!"
My husband didn't want to get up early and had a ton of work to do, another wanted to stay home and watch the baseball and the third wanted to take his new car for a spin... yawn! Midlife man symptoms, this is why you need girl friends ladies!
I recently wrote a blog (linked HERE) about my menopause journey, which thanks to SottoPelle® was a short story!
There was a tremendous response from women suffering the effects of menopause, many of whom have not found a solution or are suffering with ineffective solutions. Thank you to all the ladies who contacted me with questions and to share their stories.
Today, I invite you to come along and experience one of my appointments with SottoPelle®. A commitment I have been making every four months for six years without hesitation, because, it enables me to live my best life, no hormone surges, none of the symptoms of menopause, no side effects, just a normal well-balanced human being. Well, hormonally well balanced that is, ha ha!
Animal prints have long been the back bone of the fashion industry when it comes to pattern, and rightly so, it's instinctive one might say. Caveman was wearing animal prints before he even knew it was fashionable, albeit in the form of real skins and fur! So, it makes sense that animal print has largely dominated the style arena - the foundation was set in history, relegating the reptiles to shoes and handbags. After all, how many snakes would it take to make a loin cloth, or more importantly a dress? With the invention of textile printing and the social lean toward "fashionable faux" this or that, it matters not in this era. Now we can have endless lengths of Boa Constrictor or friendly Python wrapped about our person having materialized from a 100 yard by 54-inch bolt!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50