Downsize can mean different things to different people. For some it can mean moving from a sprawling mansion to a town house. For me it's an adjustment that my husband and I feel will improve our lifestyle by adding convenience, eliminating stress and simplifying the everyday.
For twelve years we've managed a three bedroom home, a yard, a pool, a dog with issues, a successful business, started another business, kept up with our sporting activities so to maintain our health and whilst none of this is remarkable in itself, we've kept said business going through several years of economic depression, been underwater on our home for most of the time we've lived in it, kept the dog alive despite himself, and I'm happy to say we are all still here to tell the tale, businesses included!
So that being said, we decided to hell with the aggravation of having to trim palm trees every year (and fined by the HOA when we don't), the endless and costly dumping of chemicals in a pool whose equipment is on the verge of collapse, snaking the main line drain every few weeks due to neighbors tree roots busting through our foundations, the weekly putting out of fires as one thing after another fails, breaks down, needs repair, is beyond repair and is driving us both crazy with frustration! Get me out of here! Ughhh!
A change of scenery is as good as a rest they say, so we are game to find out if this is true! We've decided to try a more urban lifestyle, such as it is in North Scottsdale, taking up residence in a brand-new apartment community close to our business and my other work. We're not under any illusion that it will be easy at least to start with... we'll be losing about 500+ square feet and we're already bursting at the seams, plus our own garage (where everything goes that doesn't fit in the house) as well as a front and back yard with outdoor living space i.e. more furniture. Yikes!
This move is going to be a serious purge - of things, rubbish, an accumulation of unnecessary chattels! I have the burning desire to live minimally (except for my closet of course) some things will never change! What has changed and dramatically so, is my taste in interior decor. This old house has sent me through a metamorphosis, from a lifelong lover of French country style I have emerged as a modern day contemporate and I have no idea how or why this transformation took place except that this house has shaped many things I was not expecting... or was that midlife that crept up on me?
Whatever the reason it doesn't matter because I'm happy with the outcome, with our decision to end our homeowner misery (at least for now) and to make style changes to our interior space. My large French country furniture will be downsized to smaller pieces and placed in storage, given away or sold. The new pieces will be chosen carefully to provide an effective use of our down-sized space. Yes, for the first time in years I will have walk-in closets again, brand new appliances, ultra-modern fixtures and fittings to match my new contemporary style ideas. I will have a rooftop infinity pool with a view of the Mcdowell Mountains, pool side cabanas with their own TV, a state-of-the-art gymnasium in the same building that doesn't look or smell like a petri dish and not least of all promptly trimmed palm trees and tended flower beds without having to lift a green thumb of my own!
So whilst somebody else puts out the fires, fixes the malfunctions, and tends to the real estate, all that is left to do is live our lives, focus on our businesses and keep the dog alive!
This is what downsize means to me... bring it on!
The LRD - little red dress is as famous as the LBD and holds its own in terms of fashion longevity and iconic style. But unlike its counterpart the little black dress, there's nothing little about a bright red dress. Its vibrant color makes it BIG however little the dress may be! It's the epitome of the saying "Go big or go home" or should we say, "Go red or go home", or simply the red LBD - Little Big Dress!
This is a Zara dress from a couple of seasons ago. A fabulous purchase in terms of style and versatility. I've worn it to my own birthday dinner, summer lunch dates, holiday parties and now for Valentine’s day celebrations.
A leather jacket tones down the gown element this tiered maxi dress aspires to and gives it an edgy vibe for a fun date night on a cooler evening. It also covers up the predominantly bare back which is only good during the warmer months, so along with red boots this is how I winterize the dress.
Given that it's Valentine's day the addition of a sparkly slim belt and waterfall diamante earrings create the celebratory theme, but sparkle doesn't have to be limited to celebrations! And since I'm already wearing two iconic fashion pieces, the red dress and leather moto jacket, why not make it a trifecta and add some leopard print by way of this Jimmy Choo clutch, which I was fortunate to purchase in perfect pre-loved condition from Ebay several years ago.
The dress is designed for summer, but it doesn't have to be pigeonholed there. It has an open back to the waist and a long satin tie to fasten the back of the halter neck. It has an elasticated waist and pockets, woohoo to both of those features! The loose flowy design is comfortable and very feminine.
Although it comes with its own (same fabric) sash tie belt, it's removable allowing multiple looks by simply changing up the belt. A woven wide belt is a lovely way to wear the dress in the warmer months with wedge sandals, or change the shoes to chunky sneakers for a more informal street style.
Other ways I'm looking forward to wearing it is with a denim jacket and flat strappy leather sandals. Also, with a blazer - leopard print, or a solid color worn open with the belt visible on the dress or closed and the blazer belted!
Here is how I wore it for a dinner date last spring, simple and un-fussy:
A backless dress doesn't bode well for wearing a bra, so if you're self-conscious about that (which I used to be) there are all kinds of booby gadgets for this very purpose. A good store like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom has a wide range of choices from self-adhesive nipple petals to self-attaching booby blobs that look more like silicone implants than something to be worn outside the bosom! If you live in a hot climate like the desert, I don't recommend the latter as they encourage perspiration and will slither right off creating a way more self-conscious situation than freelance boobies could ever hope to achieve!
This dress is no longer available however I've found a few other styles in various price ranges linked below.
So whether you choose to wear red or pink or stick to whatever is your favorite go-to, I hope you will enjoy celebrating your loved ones and being loved on this romantic day.
The only thing better than a loved one... is a loved one who brings chocolate!
Happy Valentine's Day!
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.
As popular as they are, wearing leggings for non-sporting activities seems wrong in my style book. However faux-leather leggings have received a tremendous amount of publicity this winter and fashionistas everywhere are not prepared to give up their seemingly essential trend of choice for that carefree effortless look that also boasts a svelte silhouette
From custom blends and designer brands down to drug store standbys there are thousands of perfumes at all price points, but if you haven’t found your signature fragrance yet, trying out a myriad of choices might be costing you a pretty scent!
The availability of realistic high-quality faux leather fabric has enabled the fashion industry to expand the repertoire of luxe goods without the guilt. Likewise, consumers can purchase with less restraint due to more choices, generally easier on the purse strings and of course the feel good factor - no animals were hurt in the making of these pants!
Society has progressed toward a vegan (not just for food) trend for many years with influence from designers like Stella McCartney. Still producing her coveted vegan leather handbags and still charging a whopping $$$$ in most cases. Never judge a bag by it's cover!
Growing up on the fringe of the English countryside involved endless days playing in the woods, long bike rides through country lanes gathering wild blackberries along the way, and many an adventure with school friends exploring previously uncharted territory for mysteries that needed to be solved! This was the norm during the school holidays. It was an idyllic childhood, and undoubtedly the foundation upon which my love of country style began. Yet despite this I did not hesitate to abandon the familiar territory and dip my well-traveled rural young toes into a cosmopolitan metropolis and start my career in some of the swankiest hotels in London.
Our uniforms were stylish and chic including the shoes. The long shifts took their toll on my feet but did not deter my enthusiasm for a stylish shoe! That was then, when style inevitably compromised comfort, and my feet suffered accordingly! Forty years on, now in Arizona, my enthusiasm for a stylish shoe has never waned, but style AND comfort is a blessing and a necessity for my not-so-young-anymore toes!
By expanding on some old classics even those dating back to the Victorian era and beyond, current trends have been playing on the versatility of sleeves. Everything from exaggerated shapes in sheer organza to over-sized balloon sleeves creating bold silhouettes and contemporary designs. It's fashion at its best and totally fun for any midlife woman to partake in, especially those concerned about crepe skin and bingo wings, it's a fabulous camouflage and looks totally on fleek!
As a fashionista with a weakness for a cute trending handbag, it can be a costly endeavor and let's be honest, not all trends are here to stay or are worthy of a lofty price tag. If it takes three lifetimes to achieve a reasonable cost-per-wear then it's one I'll skip... NEXT!
However, this trend started floating about last year and all kinds of beaded bags have continued and still are a huge hit. But there is one that all others aspire to be and according to "Who What Wear", the one that wears the crown is the Antonia Faux Pearl bag by Shrimps.
Cargo pants may not be everybody's cup of tea, but relaxed wear clothes are becoming the norm and from a style perspective they're a step up from yoga pants... in many ways! This utilitarian, wardrobe workaholic can camouflage a myriad of midlife misfortunes! Even if a cargo or jogger pant isn't your style, there are a zillion twists on the classic version that likely will convert even the most steadfast objector not to mention there being oodles of ways to style them!
Many of us in our late 40's and 50's have thought about facelift surgery as a way to keep looking as young as we feel. But surgery is a big decision, and it can come with lots of questions about the procedure, the recovery process, and whether it’s all worth it.
For those curious about going the surgical route, I spoke with Dr. Jerold Olson, a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery in Tucson AZ, about what it’s really like to undergo a facelift. Check out what he had to share.
This season sees a revival of longer length shorts. Fashioned after the classic Bermuda shorts, they're more refined (with the exception of their denim counterparts) made with more modish fabrics and cut with a slimmer fit throughout. As such they're known as tailored or city shorts.
Zara can be an overwhelming store. It's big and bright (except for the changing rooms) and there's a lot to take in from clothes and accessories at eye level to shoes and bags at ground level and tables of flat lay clothes in between!
Tennis players and golfers are bound to own a skort or two, that ingenious invention of a miniskirt with a built-in pair of shorts underneath. Undoubtedly, ruffled miniskirts minus the risk of over exposure was a tempting draw to the game of tennis for me!
The skort is equally as practical off the court or the fairway! When it comes to bending over, a gust of wind, getting in and out of cars, the color of your panties will remain your secret!
Sedona is a scenic two-hour drive from North Scottsdale. One of the prettiest towns in Northern Arizona and home to the famous red rock mountains, some named according to the image they conjure up such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
Visitors to Sedona are sure to leave better than when they arrived, if not on account of it's healing powers from the Vortex it is said to be - a swirling center of energy conducive to healing, meditation and inspiration. If the Vortex doesn't uplift or recharge your spirit, the sheer beauty, clean fresh air, good food and hospitality of the locals will not disappoint.
Here's how Sedona provided everything two shopaholic, hiking diva, food junkie midlife women could possibly want in 24 hours... minus anything Gucci!
A life of interesting stories leads to a face of interesting wrinkles!
I wasn’t overly concerned until my early-fifties, that is when the ravages of age laid it’s claim to my face. I’ve been afraid to try anything invasive including Botox… the needle, injecting something into my face, what if I don’t like the results? I’m probably beyond fixing anyway… if my face was Earth, some of the wrinkles would be relative to the Grand Canyon!
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