Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Real Thing, as written by a Late Bloomer

You know, there are some important things you need to remember about me whilst we are hanging around the old clubhouse:

1) I didn't see Europe until I was 45 years old.  Some would call me almost provincial in the fact I had not left North American soil.  I could defend it based on having children and other such nonsense, but then, I am 50 and don't feel the need any more to defend anything.  Isn't that awesome?


What surprised me the most about this not going to Europe until I was 45 years old was that neither of us (me or Europe) realized what we were missing by not being together.  Now we know, and she sends me emails all the time about cheap flights to get me back.  And I want to go back.  Again and again.  I have had other love affairs, but I think this may be the most time and financially consuming.

2) I did not have diamond earrings until I was 49 years old. 



Despite my best hope, it turns out that real diamond earrings just feel,  and look like, well, 'real" compared to cubic zirconia.  Oh the latter are fun and good in a pinch.  But they are not diamonds.  And it seems that diamonds want to breed more diamonds - diamond pins, necklaces, bracelets. Will the madness never end?  I spent the first 49 years only glancing sideways at diamonds.  Now I stare them straight in the face.  As the desire for better, as opposed to more, begins to settle into my 50 year old bones, diamonds are carving a niche for themselves. This has even infected my husband who chose garnet earrings with wee diamonds.  I think buying me diamond earrings has now impacted the kinds of stores he now shops for jewellry for me in.

3) I didn't receive my first Tiffany Box until my actual 50th birthday!  And when I saw it I was almost as giddy as the first time I saw the Bay City Rollers perform live on TV in 1975!!  Yes, we are talking THAT kind of giddy!

Thanks to my good friends Dani & GF, I now own something from Tiffany's - a beautiful keychain with a star on it and my initials! 


5) And now at 50 days + 1 week, I own "real" cashmere! 

oh I have owned cashmere for quite awhile, the vast majority of which is from J Crew.  Like others, I have noticed a decline in quality.  I still like it, but it was really the only cashmere that I was intimately familiar with.  I kept hearing about Brora and the quality of its goods.  Dani should be the official spokesperson for Brora, since not only does she rave about the company, she wears its clothing so well!

At full price, it is expensive for North Americans; the sweater I wanted was originally £229 - approximately $360 CDN!  I waited a long while to order a sweater, worrying incessantly about both my size and if I would really love the quality.  Finally, at the beginning of January, the sweater went on sale and I bit.  And crossed fingers and toes!

Yesterday, the package finally arrived.  I was initially a little shocked - I had recalled it being a truer blue on my computer monitor, but when I went back in the afternoon, it was indeed the colour it purported to be!


Isn't it beautiful?  It is darker and a teal-ier blue in real life (see below).  I was wearing the Pagoda Blue cashmere sweater when I opened this one and the difference in quality when touching both was startling.  The Brora is more tightly knit, the yarn is softer and feels more substantial than J Crew.

And the sweater on me:


I am wearing the pagoda blue sweater underneath it, so you can get a sense of the colour.  The colour is described on the web as a sapphire, but for me, it was a very dark teal-y colour.

I wondered if I was always wrong as to what I thought the colour sapphire was, but when I googled it, this colour comes up, which is what I was expecting, a truer blue:


However, I also noticed that sapphires can have a greener tinge to them:


Regardless, I love the sweater.  When I revisited the website this a.m., it looked like the sweater I got,  so I am blaming my confusion as to colour on three weeks and my eyesight! And two little birds named GF & Dani had bought me the matching wristwarmers!  Aren't they lovely?


(can you tell I now have my camera working????)

And on top of that, I noticed that the sweater that my crush, Michelle Obama, wore to the inauguration yesterday is the same colour:


And speaking of Michelle Obama.  Did you love her dress?  I did!  And I loved the first waltz to one of my favourite songs ever, "Let's Stay Together".  This is a couple who loves each other.  In other words, the real thing.


So what I am discovering is that

a) it is okay to wait for the real thing if you do not have the funds to acquire it or go to it.  And there are certainly substitutes you can happily use along the way.
b) as you get older, and as funds free up, it is not a bad idea to get a few "real things", whatever those might be.  Your real things will likely be completely different than mine.  But once you have real, quality things you realize that
c) quality does trump quantity.  I have 5 or 6 j crew cashmere sweaters.  One of the ones that I was wearing yesterday, the pagoda blue tshirt, I have only worn twice.  The pilling is already terrible and we are not talking little pills - we are talking big ugly pills across the whole front of the sweater.  So I think I would be better to wait and get one good cashmere sweater once a year as opposed to three lesser quality ones for the same price.

For too long, I have been on the hamster wheel that more was better.  More clothing meant more choices.  But in reality, more clothing caused me confusion in the morning.  More clothing meant less money for travel or for whatever.  I have taken bags of cheaper clothing and donated it or consigned it over the last 5 years.  Probably at least a thousand dollars worth of things, if not more.

Now I want much less, and I want better quality.  And it has only taken me 50 years to start to get this!  Guess I am a very slow learner!

Sorry for the long ramble this morning - Now i am off to put on my new sweater for the day (and take a real picture with my good camera!)  Stay safe out there






65 comments:

  1. WMM, not a ramble, wonderful muse on evolving values, priorities and tastes. Most of all I love that for you 50 includes no more apologies. (And that you are educating the B. on quality jewelery, always good.)
    Have a wonderful Brora day!

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    1. Oh, and I am listening to "Bye Bye" - the only Bay City Rollers song on my 'pod, right now. Glad it was THAT good ;-)

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    2. Oh my gosh - I loved them and their high water plaid pants! It is only a matter of time before Gayle brings them back! Just saw Jenna on the Today shoe - looking glam and sweet all at the same time. Oh those legs!!!

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    3. Can't believe that you two even remember the Bay City Rollers!

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    4. LIFE & SOUL My parents picked up one of their albums on travels. But reason on my iPod is because of "Love Actually" (Liam Neeson at wife's funeral). I think Richard Curtis is quite brilliant at picking music for his films, really elevated a regular rom-com.

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    5. Tabs - my 13th birthday party had me receive the album "Saturday Night" from a boy named Brian Cogswell. We danced to that song 20 times in a row. I am surprised the needle didn't break! My father thought it was hysterical. I must write a post sometime about my letter to Woody...

      GF - Oh Liam Neeson and dead wife (on cinema and real life) dear god - I coudl weep right now..

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  2. I love your new sweater! What a beautiful color. I love those wrist warmers too and the keychain, very fun! I am sorry to hear your cashmere tee is pilling so badly. I have ordered the J. Crew Laundress for New York sweater comb but it is backordered. J. Crew should include one of these with the purchase of any cashmere sweater!

    I have mixed feelings about owning good quality things. Sometimes they come with pressure to take good care of them. I definitely agree that more is not better, but I also don't want the quality of what I own to interfere too much with enjoying life. Purchasing a sweater comb makes me question whether I want to own any cashmere at all. I don't want a nice car that I feel obligated to not get a scratch on or spill in, or nice kitchen counters that I shouldn't cut on or set a hot pan on, or a fur that requires special storage, that kind of thing. The older I get, the simpler I want things to be. Maybe my version of good quality just means I like it and it's indestructible lol. I just don't want the things I own to cause me stress.

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    1. Cate, you can order the comb direct from The Laundress website and it's a bit cheaper, they also have periodic free ship offers.
      Do get what you mean about possession stress. I have it with bags, jewelery, beautiful furniture fabric. Therefore bags must have metal feet, good earrings screw backs and living room must be Scotchguard-able. I hate the idea of losing or ruining, but I also don't want to leave my "nice" things in a closet or get all gingerly.

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    2. Hey Cate (and GF) - this would be like a whole post in itself. Because I am a klutz, I worry about these things too. So I do get screwbacks on my earrings and I do have a sweater comb, which I only use haphazardly.

      I am coming to the conclusion the older I get that I gotta use my stuff. There are things that both my father and my mother had that they barely used. I felt guilty when I wore my grandmother's bracelet and it started to wear and get more fragile and then I thought that if I was my grandmother, that;s exactly what I would want to happen - have me love it enough to wear it out. My grandmother is just a face in a picture to my children. But she was so special to me that I need to use her stuff. I need to use my mom's stuff. I need to use my stuff. For me the whole point of stuff is getting enjoyment out of it. Having said that, I am not rich, so I am never at risk or ruining something really expensive. and there is possession insurance. But as I actually clean and organize my house I am being ruthless - if it is going to stay, it is going to be used!

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  3. Morning WMM - your cashmere cardie is lovely, well worth the wait! I do agree with you on going for quality over quantity, but then Cate really gave me food for thought as well re. possession stress.
    I adored the First Lady's daytime outfit, then at first sight the evening dress didn't seem so spectacular. However, after a while I could see just how well it complimented her. What a shame they both go straight into the National Archives!

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    1. HI Patricia - I wish she would lend them to me en route to the National Archives!

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  4. You won't have to be using that sweater comb on Brora. If I were you, I'd take the sweater back to a J.Crew store and complain about the huge pills that it gets. It's just plain wrong, and they should take it back, and also know about it.
    Isn't it true that as you acquire better quality things, the feeling of need for quantity seems to disappear?

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  5. It is so satisfying when you acquire something that is the best quality. I get excited over quality in the details, which I think is evident from my review posts. Everything you ever wanted to know - and more!

    I have a couple of the J.Crew cashmere LS tees. I can't wear regular wool sweaters so they work for everyday wear, although the Pagoda blue pills more than any others I've seen and I decided that I have enough J.Crew anything at the moment anyway. I'll be in London next month and plan to stop by Brora. I find the colors a bit tricky for my complexion so it will help to try IRL.

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    1. Hi! I know what you mean about Brora - the colours are "muddier" than J Crew and I need clear colours. I really like the sapphire, and there was a lovely pinky colour I really liked too! Of course the basics - black, ivory, grey, navy - must be divine. I am very warm!

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    2. Hi again, WWM, I just wanted to let you know, if the the pinky color you were looking at is juniper it is actually a grey/purple (per one of the reviews in the v-neck cardigan section). I know I spend way to much time looking at that website, but I find it very calming to daydream about what I might buy. I do like the marled colors as I think they differences in tone add depth and subtlety, but it did take a little getting used to. I don't think the variations are as obvious from a distance. DN in NYC

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    3. Okay - I can see I definitely NEED to get that card before I order again! THANKS!

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  6. I think a lot of us are feeling the same way as you. Quality not quantity. Congrats on getting your first Brora sweater and you'll love it. I had to stop myself the other day from ordering a Collection cashmere sweater because in reality it will pill and then I won't wear it. I'm drawn to the Crew for colour but then I'm so disappointed .
    I washed my Brora on knits in the front loader and they came out perfect. Twice a year I'll add one . Isn't it wonderful to find something you love.

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    1. HI Marsha - i should have mentioned that you are my third Brora girl! oh wait - can't forget AJC! You ladies have so raved and I can see why. I am wearing with my tweed capris and leopard chiffon blouse and am feeling spiffy indeed. and so warm!

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  7. Hi WMM! Your new sweater is lovely - such a beautiful color on you.

    As a late bloomer myself (still waiting for that trip to Europe and those diamond earrings), I understand that feeling that a sweater or piece of jewelry can be "real" in a way that our prior make-do possessions were not. It's the reason that although my CZ earrings are perfectly sparkly, I don't wear them as much as my simple pearl studs.

    Enjoy your new sweater! And get her a friend at the next sale. :)

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    1. Hey Merry Wife! YOu will laugh - when we went to Europe for the first time in 2008 my son, who was then 13, said "I can't believe I waited until I was 13 to go to London and France!" I almost clocked him!

      I think these may be my new birthday sweaters. One a year in January. Barry was as excited as I was as I didn't really get anything for my birthday from him - I think he was relieved to see it arrive by post!

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    2. Tell him to write his memoir, "The Grand Tour of an Old Man." :)

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    3. I'll bet Barry was relieved that you liked it, after the failed zebra shoes! :)

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    4. Merry Wife - that is too funny!

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    5. Cate - you know what - I think he was. He really liked the zebra shoes and did not know what to do but luckily for him, I am a skilled shopper and bought myself the new coat! :-)

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  8. The key ring is beautiful, what a lovely present, and the new jumper is heavenly, I want to paw it from here. I was kind of the opposite, I've been going abroad forever but Scots are known for that, until I was 30 I travelled round the world on my ownsome because I was the only one of my crowd who didn't have a steady boyfriend and it was either that or sit at home on my own. On my last solo trip I sat and cried with loneliness and that was the end of going away by myself. I've never bought masses of stuff, it just addles my simple little mind.

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    1. Oh Tabs - I have discovered the truth of it for me - too much choice makes me squirrely! I went by myself to the furniture store today - we will be ordering a new chair for the family room redo and I was looking at scads of material and I almost wept! I am the most dithering creature God has ever made. Choices wear me out. I wish I had travelled with you - I missed so much and am now catching up!

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  9. What a lovely post. All true. And Kathy makes a good point re the sweater comb, you won't need it for Brora!
    Like Marsha I wash my Brora cashmere in my front-loader, the wool cycle, and it just gets better with age. Can't say that for other cashmere. I've read that the water in Scotland used to process the yarn has some effect as well. Brora uses the same mill as Hermes!
    I think we should use all of our good real things. I'm a super klutz but I wear my diamond studs and real pearls every day, right now I'm wearing them and I'm doing housework then errands. Also wearing my Brora cashmere dress. You might want to look at one of those in the sale!
    Your sweater is the exact colour of the First Lady's! Gorgeous!
    And so happy to see your star key chain in use, you are a Star to us after all.

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    1. Hi Dani! Thanks to you and Marsha on the washing tips! I realized today that I have not worn 3/4 of my clothing this winter. Now - confession time - some is too tight. But even if it did not feel too tight and I rubber-banded it like other folks I know (and you know who you are and thank you for the hint!) I don't think I would still reach for it! I know that is the work i need to do with our FFM - why am i keeping so much??? I also realized that I am buying almost nothing now. Hey? could stress have contributed to shopping? :-) At the rate I am not spending - I may actually be debt-free someday!

      As for me and Mrs. O - I think that is why she needs to lend me the rest of the ensemble...

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  10. Hi WMM, so glad you are liking the sweater. Dani BP's blog also turned me on to Brora, which I love. A tip: You can ask Brora for a card with yarn of all the season's colors (it's free). I have been requesting this as soon as the new season becomes available and then I drool over the colors for months until the sale. It helps a lot to have that card as computer monitors and photographs don't always show the true color.

    I also like the Laundress brush as I've heard it's gentler on yarns. I do get some slight pilling with some colors initially, but much less than with J Crew. Enjoy the sweater and stay warm! DN in NYC

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    1. DN in NYC - THANK YOU for the tip - I am definitely going to do that next year - great idea!!!!I have never tried the laundress brush - but I have looked at it so I may break down and order that!

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  11. What lovely gifts from two lovely friends!

    I have spent much of the day today (home sick) mulling purchases and internet window shopping for "less is more" objects. I agree that the real things really make the others pale in comparison.

    That said, I'm also like Cate, in that I don't want to be beholden to my possessions.

    My true minimalism-as-freedom ideal would be able to have just enough to suit my needs, and to not spend much time and money selecting those things. I do think I'm a bit too sentimental for that, though.

    I move a lot, and have travelled a lot, and tend more towards the "experiences rather than things" end of the spectrum. But the truth is, I like nice things. So does my husband!

    I try to somehow balance an ability to recognize and enjoy quality with a make-do attitude. Much like you were saying in point a).

    Also, never underestimate the thrift store! Some of my highest quality pieces come from there (that teenflo dress, a great cashmere sweater, a beautiful wool french connection dress, etc).

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    1. Hi Abby!

      I am so sentimental about things it is scary. Part of my closet cupboard space is lost to my childhood blanket. Seriously. Is there a category for that kind of sentimental? I need to take that blanket and have it made into a teddy bear or something!

      I wish we had better thrift stores around here - they are dismal. GF and I keep drooling over Janet's thrift store "scores"! I also love going to antique and junk stores and I check Winners (CDN equivalent of TJ Maxx) for deals, but we do not even get as good stock out here in the hinterlands as they do in the city two hours away!

      And I do think Making do can be fun, My husband and I have been married almost 28 years and we have done it all - from sleeping with our mattress on milk crates to shelves with boards and bricks. We have always just plugged away and never tried for large and grandiose, which I think can be awfully tiresome. There is always "the next wonderful thing" isn't there? I think that our acquistive society (of which I have been and will continue to be a member of, but hopefully not a gold star member of!)is always trying to sell us on the next thing. I do not recall my parents ever in the rat race, although I think with 3 kids and one breadwinner and my dad's civil servant salary that might not have been possible!

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    2. You are so right that making do can be fun. And I agree, seeking is tiresome. I've realized lately how much I love limits and lack of choice in certain areas.

      I love TJMaxx and Winners, I usually go to both when I'm home (I'm from T.O. but am living in Europe right now). The thrift options are pretty limited here too, and I am of different stock (much more petite) than the average person here so I can't find much.

      I have my childhood blanket too :)

      I am learning from my husband, who allows himself nice things but also has a remarkable ability to say "it's just stuff" when something becomes lost or ruined or needs to be left behind. I was particularly thankful for that attitude when I shrank his favourite pants!

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    3. Oh your husband is like the Philosopher King! Good for him. I kind of grieve in a pathetic way that is not becoming to a person of my age...

      However, the great thing is: you are in Europe!!! Lucky you!

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  12. Funny that you should post this while the Jcrew sales are trying to suck me in! So far I have stayed strong (mainly because my size is gone). Today I was looking through my overflowing closet pulling out a few things that have never been worn and I realized I need to do a better job of shopping my closet. I found a cute gray marled wool with black paillettes around the neck Jcrew sweater my sister gifted me last christmas (2011) with the tags still on. Paired it with the snowcat boyshirt ,jeans and black boots and came up with a cute new outfit. I am so guilty of the more is more method of shopping. If something is a bargain I will bite. Maybe, if I ever start posting pics and blog for real, I should focus on clever ways to use what you have.
    PS: Loved Michelle's coat, belt and boots. Dress was cute but not crazy about the bolero with it. As far as the gown loved the color on her but it wasn't nearly as pretty or flattering IMO as the white first inaugural gown.
    PPS: if we are keeping score I've had real diamond earrings forever but am still waiting on my first Tiffany blue box and a trip to Europe.

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    1. Hi Shopping Celle! You made me laugh out loud! No score-keeping here - nice safe place! I have a couple of things in my closet with tags still on as well. Made me gasp when I saw it! I just need the clever ideas!!

      when I was driving home at lunch time I heard Jane Fonda talking about her life and how she just really became her whole self in her 60s. How great is that? Gave me hope!

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  13. Your new sweater is absolutely lovely WMM, as are the two gifts from GetFresh and Dani! I also love that as you get older you don't feel as if you need to defend your choices any longer. I came across a quote a few weeks ago that relates to this. It said "The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them." So true, isn't it?

    I am also one you believes you should not save your good things for special occasions, but that they should be used, loved, and enjoyed every day. After all, every day should be a special day! :)

    Like many others here, I have also been focusing much more on buying quality items the past few years, rather than purchasing a quantity of items. Plus I only keep those which I absolutely love and stick to my wardrobe shopping lists that I make out each season. The best part of it all, is that not only have I not been spending as much money, but I am much happier overall with my wardrobe since doing so. I also find that I am much more content having less items that are excellent quality, than I ever was having more items of inferior quality. I have come to realize that as the saying goes...sometimes less IS more. :)

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    1. FFM - I tried the list last fall but failed miserably! I think I should have just given you my money instead!!!!!

      Yesterday I redid my filing system. By the time this sabbatical is over, I will be the most organized I have ever been in my life!

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    2. Well, the list can take some time getting used to, but it does get easier to stick to it with time. You may need to find your own system of what works for you though.

      I love organizing! Doesn't it make you feel so good to have everything in its proper place?

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    3. I think the list may get easier! I love organizing - I am slow but getting there!

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  14. WMM, I remember suggesting it for your Dad, but would recommend having Campus Quilt or similar transform your "blankie" into a lap blanket or bed throw you could use every day. Can send you some contacts.
    In one sense I am not very sentimental about stuff. Although I miss the childhood emphemera since we moved so much. However, I did recently "do a Dani" and move off-season clothes to another closet in order to squeeze out two nearby bureau drawers for memories. If we ever live somewhere with enough space, I would love to take one of the end-of-bed blanket boxes my Dad has and make it a memory vs. a hope chest - with lots of French lavender of course.

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    1. Oh Lavender!! Love it! Thanks for sending the info along! Honestly, think I will try and take it all with me!

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  15. Your new sweater looks fantastic on you! As you know, I approve of the colour!! :) Loving those giftys!

    I definitely believe in buying quality - like you, I have hauled bags and bags and bags to Value Village, charity shops, donated hand-me-ups to my sister and I can't believe how much money I wasted. Part of it was I didn't really establish a style for myself and I didn't want to live with less - I think some women think they can be style chameleons like Carrie Bradshaw (um, hello) and it doesn't always work.

    These days, I feel quite differently. I still buy some inexpensive stuff if I think it's stylish but tend to go more for quality. I'm trying to find a good balance!

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    1. HI LR - I hear you! I think that the trends are probably the best to purchase cheaply. I should follow my own advice!

      Okay - I am about to make a confession - I only saw my very first episode of Sex and the City last night!!

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    2. You're making good use of your sabbatical, I see ;)

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    3. Omg almost a SITC virgin You must start at episode 1 and watch the seriies until the end. Then get both movies and watch them too! I think it is a must watch for every women who enjoys fashion. I think we all have one or another of Carrie's traits.
      PS: I'm a Downton Abbey virgin. My neighbor thought I was so deprived that she sent over her DVD copy. Hope to find time to start watching it soon.

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    4. Ohmigoodness! Yes, watch both SATC and DA!! :)

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    5. Okay - I am up to date on downton abbey. Surely Netflix has all SATC! I am on it. I was confused in places.

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    6. As long as we are confessing...my hubby surprised me with all episodes of DA season 3 on dvd, and I stayed up until 2am Sunday night/Monday morning watching all of them. I pretty much never stay up late, but I could not stop watching until I got to the very end. I did the same thing when catching up on a couple seasons of Mad Men last year.

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    7. Yippee! Going to get it tomorrow!

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  16. What lovely gifts! Your post is quite topical these days as everyone I know if concerned about spending vs saving. I'm all about quality, though I need to be better about spending on quality pieces that I'll actually wear-not just the fun stuff. I find that money spent on good shoes and bags is the best "investment" for day to day dressing.
    Your diamonds are so pretty. I love wearing real jewelry but most of my really good stuff is just too much for everyday so it lives at the bank. I try to rotate a few pieces at a time. DH has been great at buying items I drool over-but all are modestly priced and very wearable.
    Isn't Mrs. Obama a dream? I love her outfit from yesterday and her gown from last night. I have bangs and a similar hair style, glad to know I'm on trend :-)

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    1. Julie - I want something that I need to keep at the bank someday besides my line of credit! Good for you! You are SO on trend! All the commentators were talking about yesterday were bangs, bangs, bangs!

      I agree on shoes especially - good shoes are a thing of beauty - you would know that so well after all your foot issues!

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  17. Hi, WMM, it's not when you do something, it's how good you feel when you do it. Or when you realize that it's not important after all. I got engaged with a cigar band (true!). We pooled our savings and bonuses to get to Europe together before little bon vivants arrived, I came home from hospital with the City's pamphlet on how to make a safe baby basket from an empty dresser drawer. Step One: Take the drawer out of the dresser first. Price shopping, outlets, stalking, sale racks - I didn't do that as a hobby.

    I do like having things that have stood the test of time, I was shocked to learn that the color on my mom's Pyrex mixing bowls dissolved in present-day dishwasher detergent. And that the pint bowl alone would cost $65 to replace! Well, thank goodness for Ebay.

    I learned about jewelry from dealers and appraisers I encountered in a professional capacity, so I'm not going to share my thoughts on brand-name jewelry. I like unique pieces that are proportioned well for my neck and body, and don't look like some caveman hung a trophy on me. Unless, of course, he did.

    I'm lucky to live in a city that's full of people who consider themselves the World's Greatest Experts (um, sometimes I feel lucky) and to have a very diverse group of friends and so I've learned about everything from clothing construction - I've posted a few times on "shrinking the marker" and other cost-savers - to how to pour a foundation. So learning what looks good on me and what doesn't may have been less of a challenge for me than for others, although this is an ongoing challenge.

    As for travel, I know people who have been everywhere and still think, speak and look the way they did before they even got behind the wheel of a car, and I know people with delightful sophisticated minds and instinctive style whose travel experience consists of getting to work and back.

    I enjoy your blog because it's you, and because it takes me to an exotic distant place I've never been: the Maritimes!

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    1. Ah Fred - I think you would love the Maritimes!

      You know - I think you make some really good points - I am also finding that I have been very bloody singular minded that I never paid much attention to some of these fashion things and am just learning now. I lvoe to learn so all fun!

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    2. Fred, can I ask a jewellery question? I am looking for a cuff that I can wear daily. I have never been much of a fine jewellery person, and anything nice that I have is antique, so I really don't know where to look. Do you have any suggestions of where to look, or what to look for in a brand/shop? Any thoughts would be appreciated :)

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    3. Hi, Abby, every so often I do a jewelry post on my blog, and I'll be happy to focus on bracelets/cuffs in the next one, which will be sometime in late February or early March - there's some travel coming up that either interrupts or monopolizes the blog, depending on viewpoint. To do a post on jewelry, I need to sneak some photos... Meanwhile, lovely 18 karat or 22 karat investment pieces can be found at Ilias Lalaounis, Elizabeth Locke, Little King Jewelry (New York), and in addition to their own stores and websites, you can find pieces of "estate" jewelry by the first two named on Ebay. Sadly, "estate" Tiffany and Cartier pieces are out of sight on Ebay these days...

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    4. Thanks Fred can't wait to see this post! Any good deals in jewellry district near Times Square?

      Am hoping we are about to hear more about Hawaii!

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    5. 1. don't buy anything in or near Times Square.
      2. except possibly theater tickets.
      3. west 47th street between 5 th & 6th avenues is probably what you're thinking about, there are literally hundreds of small jewelry businesses behind each door, and still more on w.46th and 48th. As to whether or not something's a good buy, who am I to judge? typically there's more value in an old piece simply because on recent years the price of gold has gone sky-high. The exchanges and booths on W 47th street take some getting to know, many specialize in articles of a particular time period or style or country. Tastes in jewelry change, like anything else, and things go in and out of fashion. What's great for someone else may be horrible for you. Many of the 47th street jewelers can tell you fascinating details about the history of a piece or how its style developed. Tip: avoid lunch hour, when it's dangerously crowded there.

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    6. Thanks Fred - I will have to stop in to a couple. We always stay at the Doubletree Embassy suites as we are travelling en masse and they are more comfortable,so those shops are just around the corner and I was always kind of intimidated to pop in!

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    7. Thank you for the suggestions, Fred. I will keep an eye out for your post too.

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  18. S A T U R D A Y NIGHT! Loved 'em. A few years back, when money was good, my dear hubby took me to Chicago and said buy yourself something really nice. I was torn between Chanel bag or Burberry Trench. I said money was good. Anyway, I got the bag and it is beautiful! However, I have only used it two or three times in over five years. I just feel sooooo pretentious here in Knoxville, TN with a Chanel Bag. Maybe when I hit 50 I just won't give a shit.

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    1. Blue Booby! when you come visit, bring it to my house! I promise to say not a word as I pour you a glass of wine and comment on how gorgeous it is!

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Kindness is a virtue...