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The Perfect Purse & One Less Thing to Remember

This morning, late as usual, with my coat on and keys in one hand, I grabbed my purse. It was still the purple purse I used yesterday. Just the wrong color for what I was wearing. But this was a Miche Big Bag. I raced into my room, grabbed a more neutral color shell and was out the door in less than 2 minutes without worrying that I'd forgotten to transfer something.

You haven't heard of the Miche Bag?

They are perfect for someone who
  • likes purses but not the amount of closet space they take up
  • likes to changes bags to coordinate with her outfit
  • likes to changes bags just because it's fun
  • hates being an hour from home only to find out she left something important in the side pocket of her other purse

This bag consists of a base cloth bag with pockets inside it and a fashionable over shell.
So instead of transferring the contents of your purse, you transfer the outside shell.

This is such a brilliant idea!

The company brings out a few new shells each month.
The photo at the top shows a few of the latest. I’ve been eyeing the pink and the white ones. I might just succumb and get them. But then the teal one is nice too. 
And if I wait until  tomorrow, they’ll show the new April shells and there might be one there I want.

So many choices! Maybe these bags aren’t such a good idea… 


Something Odd in Your Jewelry Box

Do you have something odd in your closet or jewelry box that you don’t know where you got but you can’t do without?

Well, other than that 30 year old sweatshirt you refuse to part with… or is that just me?

My odd, indispensable item is what I call a Necklace Shortener.  I’ve had it forever and have no memory of where or when I got it. It’s a small, gold-plated ring with a hinge at one end and a snap at the other end.

With it, I can take a long single strand necklace and make a double strand choker. I’ve pulled it around front in this photo so you can see it. Usually it is in the back hidden under my hair.

When I wear a top with a deep V-neck like I did today, this double strand choker does a nice job of visually cutting up that long expanse of skin.

The top I wore today was a new wrap top from Dress Barn.

The cross-over wrap in front gave a little idea of cleavage without really showing anything because the top  hugged my curves at the neckline. So I was able to have a deep neckline without showing everyone what the center bridge of my bra looked like!

I liked how this top fit, I’m going to keep my eye out for more in this style… maybe sleeveless for summer. 
If you see any in pretty colors, let me know.


Prime Time Women Web Ring Update

The web ring I had previously set up was with a site that was very user UN-friendly. Many people had trouble joining the ring.

So I started over on a new ring site.

If you'd like to join this community of Prime Time Women bloggers, click "JOIN" under Prime Time Women in the right sidebar. If you would like some help with walking through joining, I have an easy to follow tutorial I can send you. Send me an email asking to join and I'll send the tutorial right out.
My email is

Let’s band together and learn from each other.

Stumbling thru the internet just got Easier

Have you discovered StumbleUpon?

It's a way to wander around the internet based on what interests you.
You start by picking general topics like: gardening, fashion, blogging. It then recommends sites for you to see. Each time you visit a site in StumbleUpon, you give that site a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.
StumbleUpon learns from what you like and don't like and recommends future sites to visit based on that.

All the sites recommended on StumbleUpon were recommended to be put on there by someone so the odds of finding something interesting are better than a random Google search.
I've added the blue & green SU logo to the bottom of my posts. If you like any post, please hit the SU logo below the post to recommend it to StumbleUpon.

Happy stumbling!

Why do I have to be practical?

I have an affliction that I'm fighting.
It's called being too practical.

Being practical can sometimes be a good thing.
But being too practical can be boring.

What do I mean by too practical? Like the fact that I love high heels yet wear flats.
I love the way high heels look just sitting there by themselves. I love the way they make my legs look when I wear them. And I love how they pull any outfit up a notch.

My current favorite with jeans or slacks.

Yet most of the time I wear flats or sneakers. Why? Well, they are comfortable and I can walk faster in them. In other words, they are practical.

I'm making progress though. I've made it a goal to wear heels (aided by comfort insoles) at least twice a week and I've been doing pretty good sticking to this.
A side benefit is on the days I wear heels, I feel prettier and more confident.

While the shoes are an ongoing battle, there is one place where I've won the battle against boring.
Over the last 15-20 years I've driven very practical cars, nice SUVs. But about as far as you can get from my dream car of the 1958 Corvette.
Well, this past Fall, I'd finally had enough.

My husband's car had been totaled in an accident. He was okay but his fully paid-off, 10-year old car was crunched. He'd always had a dream of driving a BMW. We found that 8-10 year old BMW sedans were within our budget and started test driving them.
Test driving these cars highlighted even more how much I hated my car which for a practical cross-over had neither oomph nor traction.

So while looking for a car for him, we started looking for a car for me. As an artist who often paints on large canvas, I couldn't totally give up the large cargo space. But you know what? The sporty, 2-door models have fold-down back seats! I found a 10-year old, white BMW 330i that was only $10 more a month than the car payment on the “practical” car.

I've had this beauty for 6 months now and I'm so glad I gave up the practical car. With snow tires, my BMW has as good traction as any SUV I've had but it's so much more fun!

I swear the gas pedal is hooked to my smile muscles. I put my foot to the accelerator, my head is pushed back into the headrest and a big smile appears on my face!

I can't wait for the weather to warm up enough to go thru my Rite of Spring Ritual in my new car: crusing with the windows and sunroof wide-open listening to the Best of the Beach Boys.

Yeah, I'm winning the battle against practical!
Are you?

We are Better Together

  • Are you a woman blogger near or over 50?
  • Do you have a unique view you like sharing with your blog?
  • Do you enjoy reading blogs by other women your age?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to join the webring Prime Time Women.

I’ve tried to find blogs by women my age but this has not been easy. I've had to dig down one blogroll after another. 

I believe there are a lot of us blogging on a variety of subjects. 
But there are no keywords that will help us find each other.

I'd like to make it easier for us all to connect and send traffic to one another.

You can see the real gadget box at the bottom of this blog.

To make it easier for us to find each other, I created a webring called Prime Time Women.

A WebRing is a group of similar sites that are linked to one another by a simple navigation bar/box with the two-fold purpose of creating community and sharing online traffic.
There is no cost to join. 
(You have to look hard to find the free membership on the site but it’s there!)
If you have a Blogger blog, you grab the Nav code and put it in a HTML Gadget. 

When a reader is on a member blog, they can click NEXT in the widget and go to another member's blog. 
Or they can see a list of all the member blogs. This way we can find each other and so can our readers.

As Marti Barletta put it in her book PrimeTime Women:
We, the generation of women from 50-70, “are the healthiest, wealthiest, most active, independent, and influential generation of women in history.”

Let’s band together and learn from each other.

I love reading blogs by other Prime Time women but these blogs are just so hard to find. I hope we can change that.

Please join me with your blog. 
Send me an email and I will send you the link to join the webring.
My email is ann _@_ spanielhill.com  (just replace the _@_ with @, I do that so spam robots don’t grab my email address)

Never to Old to Dance Your Heart Out

Have you ever wanted to start something like dancing but thought "I'm too old to start that!"
Well, you're not!

My husband and I have been ballroom dancing together for about 5 years. We've gotten pretty good. Once on a cruise, someone asked us if we were professionals! That compliment had our feet barely touching the ground for the rest of the evening!

I think most of our "talent" comes from the fact that we love dancing together. You can't peel the smiles off of our faces. We've been told that we're fun to watch because we're obviously having fun.
As much as I'd like to think we are somewhat better than average, it’s going to be a while before we can dance like the woman in this video does!

Here is Sarah Paddy Jones age 75 dancing Salsa with her coach Nicholas Espluosa age 35.
The next time you think you're too old to try something, think of this lady doing acrobatic salsa!

Watch this video all the way thru. The dancing gets even better in the second half.

I first watched this video on another YouTube feed that said it was Ginger Rogers at 92.
The dancing is amazing but it didn’t look like Ginger Rogers. I’ve loved ballroom dancing all my life so I have seen Fred & Ginger movies many times. This woman was too short and her face just didn’t look like Ginger Rogers’. I did some digging and found out that this video is actually Sarah Paddy Jones not Ginger Rogers (who died in 1995).

Here is a CNN interview with Sarah in 2009.

Talk about a role model, 
I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Finding My Way and I'm Not Alone

I had started to write a blog to go with my Custom Bra store. I found that I couldn't define exactly who my target customer was. And the blog subject matter was very narrow.

Then I came across an eye-opening book,
PrimeTime Women - How to Win the Hearts, Minds, and Business of Boomer Big Spenders” by Marti Barletta.


This book blew me a way. If you are a woman between 50 and 70, it is worth reading even if you have no interest in marketing.

For the entire first half of the book, she talks about how this group of woman are at the prime of their lives emotionally and financially. And how we think differently than younger women.
She talked with a number of focus groups or Girlfriend Groups as she calls them. A lot of comments from those women are peppered throughout the book.

Practically every other page I found myself thinking “Yes! That’s the way I feel and I’m not alone!”

So I decided to write a blog about my second Coming of Age. The age when I put less stock in what other people think and more stock in who I am and who I want to become.

Do you agree that at 50+ you are more free to be you?

Maybe Grandma was smarter than I thought

We recently had to go thru my late grandmother's things. Going thru her massive collection of costume jewelry was eye-opening.
I don't remember her wearing much jewelry the last 20-30 years but photos of her before that showed her with large, eye-catching necklaces, earrings, bracelets or pins. She didn't wear a lot of it, just enough to add interest.

I have her double-row, "Betty Rubble" pearl necklace.
I took it for purely sentimental reasons as I would NEVER wear a necklace that large!
Well, I was wrong in so many ways.

I have a beautiful raw silk suit in a light shade of celery that I wore with a white shell. The outfit didn't look conservative but it was missing something. For the heck of it, I tried on my grandmother's costume pearl necklace.

Oh wow!

That necklace, that I'd thought I'd never wear, had polished off my outfit. The outfit looked perfect, just making enough of a statement without going over the top. And I felt gorgeous in it!

I have a few more pieces from her collection that I now want to try wearing.
And this past weekend, I picked up a few large costume jewelry necklaces.
I want to someday have as good a costume jewelry collection as she did.

Grandma had a better fashion sense than I gave her credit for when I was a child.
Maybe I just needed to be old enough to appreciate her glamour!

Empire Waist Dresses are Wonderful

Not too long ago I discovered the style and comfort of the empire waist dress and top.
My waist no longer goes in much from my hips and dresses that have a waistline highlight that fact. Dresses that go in just under the bust and gently drop from there, do a great job of shaping the dress without screaming “she's not skinny anymore!”

I just discovered this style because for most of my life I avoided it. When I got married the first time in my late 20s, I put on a few pounds. I'd gone from playing racketball several times a week to staying home watching TV as a married couple. About 6 months after the wedding, we decided to move out of state.
One of my coworkers at the job I was leaving asked if I was going to work after the move.
Puzzled, I asked him why.
His response was: “Well, you have been putting on weight lately...”
He thought I was pregnant! At that point in my life, thoughts of having children were not on the radar.
His comment affected my work wardrobe for years, decades even.

Being a woman in a predominately man's profession, I was always afraid that if someone got the impression I might be pregnant that I wouldn't get the good project or the promotion.
So for years, I dressed to highlight the fact that I had a waistline thinking that if I was careful to control my image and did really well on my work, I would be rewarded.

It took me many years to figure out that men at work will think what they want regardless of what a woman wears and that hard work is not always rewarded in a male dominated field.

So now my career wardrobe contains deep V-necks, skirts a few inches above my knee and empire waists. Though still work appropriate attire, I look good and feel great  in these styles. Now I dress for me!

Here's a dress I've got my eye on for summer. It's from JCPenney and would be perfect with a black or fushia sweater to ward off the air conditioner breezes.

The Age of Fashion Privilege

I am starting this blog as an early birthday present to myself.  It's a way to mark a milestone in my journey.
In a few months, I will be turning 50.

It's funny, I don't tell people how old I'm turning and my husband knows that any kind of "hey your 50!" party is a justifiable cause for homicide. But even with all that, I'm not nearly as upset about turning 50 as I was about turning 40!

It probably helps that people tell me I look a lot younger than what 50 is perceived to look like.
So how did I arrive at the name of this blog? Well, after I turned 40 I dressed very frumpy and drab for a number of years. I felt old. But in recent years I've been dressing more for what pleases me and what puts a sparkle in my husband's eyes. I have a lot less care that other people may think I'm too old to dress a certain way.

With age comes the privilege of determining my own fashion.
And so the name of the blog... The Age of Fashion Privilege
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