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It’s that time of year, when the energy is in the air.  There is music everywhere you go.  Everyone, well, most everyone, is in a fabulous happy mood…and if you love shopping like I do, you’re online taking advantage of the deals.

So here are a couple of things to take advantage of now… while you’re in the mood to shop and in some cases, before they expire.

 

Beauty–

WOW DREAMCOAT – Have you tried this new product yet?  I have long, naturally wavy hair that will frizz in humidity or when I sweat, so I’m always looking for products to keep that from happening.   I recently read about a new product and subsequently bought a bottle of it to try myself.   It was $28.  Yes, a little pricey if you’re accustomed, like I am, to buying your hair products at the grocery store or CVS or online if I can find them cheaper.  So with all the hype, and desperately wanting to find the secret of taming that annoying frizz, I splurged on WOW Dreamcoat, Anti-Humidity Hair Treatment. 

I have used it a couple of times and found that my hair, in fact, didn’t frizz, even on the sultriest of days, here in SW Florida.  And my hair had a glossy shine and felt like silk.  So, $28 well spent!   There’s a whole technique to applying it and I will admit, it added an extra 10 minutes or so to blow drying my hair, but I am sold on this. And the best part is that my first application lasted through 3 shampoos.    I found this wonderful video by Dominique Sachse, by a woman who reviews products, just like me.  She demonstrates the correct application procedure better than anyone else I’ve found online.  Click here —–>“Wow!” I Can’t Believe What This Stuff Does! | Dominique Sachse

Best to watch her demonstration…and if you haven’t already purchased a bottle of WOW, click here to buy one or two—->Buy Wow Dreamcoat Here  In fact, right now, they are offering 20% off your first offer, if you sign up to be on their mailing list . That’s a savings of $5.60 for giving it a try!  WOW!’

 

IT COSMETICS AND SKINCARE

 

In the last 6 months, I discovered IT cosmetics.  Having reached my mid-60’s (sigh) and fighting the aging process to keep my youthful appearance for as long as possible, I’m always looking for a good moisturizer.  My mother had beautiful skin, right to the end of her 89 year old life.  She had very few lines in her face.  Why was she so lucky?  I truly believe it was because most of her life she used moisturizer on her skin, every day and every night.  I remember, even as a young child, watching my mother put on her face creams before going to bed.   She primarily used Estee Lauder products.   She washed her face with plain soap everyday, removed her makeup, on the days she wore any, with cold cream and then she put on her moisturizer.  

Growing up, she let me use some of her creams and as I grew older, she always included a pot of a good moisturizer among her presents to me.  Her mantra was “moisturize, moisturize moisturize”.  When the heat came on in the fall, “make sure you moisturize”.   So over the years, I have always used moisturizer.   It could be one reason that unless I squint, I don’t have a lot of lines around my eyes.  Now, I’m fighting other lines, the lines in my forehead, the lines around my mouth and some on my neck.  So I keep my eyes open for good moisturizers with lots of natural ingredients and things that work to increase collagin in your skin and reduce those lines and creases in your face.  

On a visit to Ulta, the cosmetic store, I noticed a display for a new product called “Secret Sauce” by IT Cosmetics.  I loved the name.  While I was standing there, I searched reviews on the product on my phone and noted very very positive reviews.  So I took the plunge and bought the pot for around $58.  It looked like it would last for a long time…and it has.  That was in the summer time.  It’s now almost mid-December and I still have enough for maybe another month.  So I’m happy.  The best part is what it does for my mature skin.  I used it after cleansing with Garnier Micellar Cleasing Water and toning with Heritage Store’s Rose Petals Rosewhat.   As soon as I apply it, my skin just drinks it up and plumps those tiny lines and creases.  My face begins to glow and look fresh and clean.   It takes just a few minutes to do it’s work.  Often, I will apply my foundation with an airbrush type foundation brush, while my skin is still a little damp from the Secret Sauce.  By the time I’m finished, my face looks flawless.  I let it all dry while blow drying my hair, dust some bronzer and blush on my cheeks and I’m good to go!

People remark at how I look so “rested” since I’ve been using it.  I’m very pleased.   Since purchasing that pot, I’ve tried a few other IT skincare products, “No More Lines” and “Bye Bye Undereye”.   Both very effective and keeping my skin looking fresh and clean and young.   It’s available at Itcosmetics.com, Sephora.com, Ulta.com.   Worth the splurge…even for younger skin.  As my mother used to say “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize”…take care of your skin.

 

Shopping Online?

 

EBATES.COM   Have you tried this?

What if you could make money almost everytime you spend money, online…and sometimes when you shop in person?   I found Ebates.com less than a year ago.  I think it was advertised on something I was looking at online.   Basically Ebates.com will pay you money to access websites you normally shop on by either going through their website or app or if you add it to your browser as an extension.   I use Chrome as my go to browser.   I have added Ebates.com to my browser extensions.  So everytime I click on a page, that sells something, a little box will pop up asking me if I want to take advantage of a percentage of my purchase  as a rebate through Ebates.  The box looks like this one snipped from the top of the Macys.com webpage I had just landed on

   If I clicked on that box, after my purchase is complete, Ebates would add 6% of the subtotal on my invoice, before other coupons and discounts, to my account on Ebates.   Then once every quarter they mail me a rebate check.  I have been doing this for around 1 3/4 years, having started back in March 2017.   Here’s what my account page looks like at the moment.

You’ll see the total amount of $552.27 which is my lifetime total that I’ve collected in rebates, since joining back in March 2017, as well as my current total, the $91.07, which is how much I’ve earned in rebates, just this quarter,  so far, You’ll note that I will receive a check for the $91.07 plus whatever additional rebates I earn between now and the next quarterly cutoff,  My last check was $69.56.   I earned all of this by simply going to websites I would have shopped on normally.  I must admit that sometimes I will go to Ebates.com and search for a business I want to use for a purchase to see if they are offering any rebates and if so, click on the website link to my destination.   I also have the Ebates app on my phone.  I haven’t found a way to make the little box automatically pop up when I shop from my phone. So I have to go to the app and look for the retailer first and if I find it, click on my destination from the app.  I have earned rebates from buying airline tickets, booking hotel rooms, car rentals, all over the world, on Amazon, Macys.com, CVS, Walmart.com, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, Etsy, Ulta and probably 90% of all the places where I shop online. They also have a feature where you can link a credit or debit card to your account so that when you shop in person at some stores, you’ll get additional rebates.  I have not added my card and taken part in this feature yet.  There’s no excuse for not doing this. The key is to add it to your browser as an extension and stay on top of it.  Sometimes you are only getting small change for a purchase, but in no time it adds up.  My highest check so far was $132.54, paid in August.  And I’m already on my way to the $100 mark now!   If you’re interested in doing this, click on this link——>Ebates.com Referral Link from An

More soon!

 

An

 

 

 

fall has arrived in most places

Your bedroom closet door.

     

Steps to Cleaning Out Your Closet Effectively

  1.   Take everything out of the closet and make big piles on the bed.  Yes, everything!  
  2. Decide how you’re going to set up your closet. For instance,  I have all of my clothing hung up according to colors. Makes it far easier when I’m looking for a particular color item to wear.
  3. Only return things to the closet that you really believe you will wear at some point within the next 6 months.  If you haven’t worn the item in more than a year, don’t put it in the closet. Put it in a bag as a discard and forget about it.  You forgot you had that item for over a year, so if you discard it, you’ll forget it was ever there by the time the bag is closed. 
  4. That’s it!  It’s that simple! 

Behind My Closet Door!  Believe it or not, it IS organized. 

That’s a shoe rack that holds 100 pairs of shoes and rolls in and out of my closet.

 

 

Although I live in SW Florida, where there is only a slight change in the weather, from season to season, contradictory to what most northerners believe, we do have more than one season,   

In the summer it is very warm, and often very humid.  Around mid-October, the temperature drops just a little and the humidity leaves for the most part.  And the evenings start to feel just a little bit cooler, ocassionally necessitating a sweater, a wrap or a sweatshirt, if you’re going to be outside.

In the winter, contrary to what most northerners believe, it can get cold, especially late at night or early in the morning.  When I first moved to Florida in 2004, I was shocked to wake up one February morning, look at the thermometer placed outside of the living room sliding glass door, and see that it was a brrrr freez,ng 28 degrees! 

It did warm up by late morning, but many days the temperature only reached the mid to high 70’s.  

So, here in SW Florida, we do need to have clothing for each season.

Around 6 months ago, when I first retired, one of my first projects was to clean out both my master bedroom closet, as well as the guest room closet, where I kept clothing that didn’t fit in the bedroom.  

In the past times in my life, I’d do a quick pass through the closet and just pull a bunch of things I haven’t worn in a while and toss them in a bag to eventually bring over to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  But then I moved to Florida and discovered the treasures one can find as well as the money that can be saved on high end designer clothing,  shopping at thrift stores and consignment stores.  I love to keep my wardrobe current.  I love to wear designer fashions. Unfortunately, if you buy at full price, you need to have a champagne budget to shop at the designer’s stores. I don’t have that kind of budget.  My mother always taught me there is no shame in saving money, especially if you like to shop.  A lesson I have never forgotten.

For years,  since my first visit to a consignment store, I have had what I consider, the best wardrobe, and at relatively low cost.  The good thing about consignment shops is that they accept your old discarded clothes and will pay you for them. You bring them your castoffs. As they sell, they give you a percentage of the sale.  It’s not a lot of money but if you do this with a lot of clothing, it adds up.  And the best thing is that you can go into the store and shop using the credit they hold on account for you.  So you can shop without exchanging money, if you do this a lot.

One of the best options I’ve come across, if I don’t feel like grabbing the car keys and driving to my local consignment shops, where I have been known to spend hours at a time, if it’s a particularly good consignment shop, looking through the racks and trying things on, for the best deals is to shop online.  Yes!   There are online consignment shops.   My favorite one is ThredUP.  At ThredUP.com, you can while away the hours, online, looking at fashions, shoes, accessories.  BUT, the best way to utilize this website is go there and click on the link for a “clean-out bag”.  I always select the basic one because it’s free and you can ship it back for free. They will send you a very large plastic bag which you can fill with as much as you can squeeze into it and then seal with the foldover adhesive flap.   Getting it back to them is as easy as going to the USPS.com website and selecting “request a pickup”.   Complete the information for a postage paid package.  I always leave my full bag on the front porch and note that on the pick up request.  Then the mail carrier picks it up on his next visit and voila! It’s on it’s way.   The shipping label has tracking information that triggers at least one email letting you know the bag is on it’s way to ThredUP.  When ThredUp receives it, they send you an email letting you know.  Typically, it takes a few weeks for them to go through your bag and determine which items they will keep.  You have the option to agree to pay a shipping charge for them to return whatever they don’t want to keep.  If you don’t agree to pay for them to return your items, I believe they donate unselected things to charity.  So you can’t really lose.  Nothing is going in the trash.  One way or another someone is benefitting from the receipt of the clothing.   I generally just agree that they should keep everything.   If I’ve sent them things that they know will sell very well and fast, they often give me an immediate payout for those items.  Other items, will be posted on their website and you’ll receive a percentage of the sale when they sell.   

When I did this in the spring, I had requested 3 bags.   After filling all of them and returning them as they were filled, I had a credit with ThredUP of well over $130!  That was money I could either use to shop on their website or request in a payout check. I always let the money ride and use it to shop.  It can be used towards the cost of the clothing and shipping fees for anything you buy.   

It gives me the ability to change my wardrobe as often as I like.  I just requested another bag knowing that as I go into my closet starting to look for clothing to take up north with me on an upcoming trip, I’ll find some things I haven’t worn in a while that I’m finally ready to part with.   

If you’re interesting in giving this a try, please use this code  ” http://www.thredup.com/r/5Q49AW” (without the quotes), which is my referral code. That will give you $10 off your first shopping trip.  And I’ll pick up an extra $10 as a referral fee, to spend on my next online shopping trip, after you make your first purchase.  

So, open that bedroom closet door, get a good flashlight, if it’s dark, take a deep breath and walk in.  

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always loved glitter and sparkley things.  There is something about the sparkle of those tiny little pieces of foil and sequins.

The love of glittery things has always been inside of me,  since I was a very young little girl.  My mother taught me, by example, to be a “girly girl” and sparkle and glitter were part of what she gave me to play with or wear and what I saw and what I wanted to have.   As a little girl, I used to play dress up all the time and put on my mother’s high heels, fancy hats (they wore hats back in the 50’s) and all of her sparkly rhinestones and other glittery jewelry.  I was always the one who wanted the sparkley kiddie high heeled shoes with glitter baked into the plastic, the glittery little girl purse, the glittery mirror, the glittery tassles on my tricycle and my bicycle.

I have also always been creative. When I was a teenager,  my father turned our attic into a little art studio for me to express myself. At the time, I was mostly working with pastels and charcoals and occasionally some oil paints. I’m not sure why I didn’t ask him for glitter to do glitter art.  Pursing art was an option I was considering after high school.  Unfortunately, I had a greater love of learning foreign languages and putting that to use, so my life took another direction.  Creativity and art took a secondary place in my life. The desire never left me, but it became a hobby that I only dabbled in from time to time.

I would have loved all my clothes to be glittery and my entire house to be glittery if I could have gotten away with it and lived in an artsy world with artsy people.  For most of my life I have had to keep my glitter love “in the closet”, so to speak, and stifle my love of glitter and sparkle because I led a bit of a conservative life.  I spent a lot of my past professional life as a Director/VP of Human Resources always requiring me to dress conservatively, usually in business suits.

At the ad agency I worked at, during my first day of work, when I was given a tour, we walked into one of the art director’s office’s and she was sitting there working, in a long black dress, black boots, a black hat that resembled a witches hat and one of her cheeks was the canvas for something she had designed to express herself or give her inspiration that day at work.  I was a bit taken back by the sight, but was told that even though, as the Director of HR I was responsible to police our company dress code, I was never allowed to question anything the creative staff was wearing ….”just leave them alone” I was told.  I secretly wished I lived in a world that would allow ME to put glitter on my cheeks if I felt like it that day, without people thinking I was crazy.

When I developed and managed my own French themed restaurant and bakery, later in my life, I stayed away from glitter.  It didn’t go with my heavy country French theme. But I’d sprinkle the edible kind of glitter on top of our homemade muffins or on top of a small bowl of consume or soup, whenever I’d get a chance. 

 I surrounded myself, for many years, with husbands and people who were a little more conservative than not and/or well, glitter would have raised too many eyebrows. I did use it on some fancy spoon hors d’oeuvres, made with champagne, at a very upscale dinner party I held at my home one time. And I’d mix hot apple cider with some Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnaps, just because I loved the sparkly gold glitter floating in the bottle.  But, for sure, neither of my prior husbands embraced my love of glitter.  And I didn’t have any friends who seemed to be into glitter, at all.  At the time I worried about “what people would think of me” if I gave in to making my entire world sparkle and glitter. So I learned to temper it, stifle it, hide it, by necessity. I satisfied my glitter urge by wearing glittery jewelry a lot.  Diamonds seemed to satisfy that love of glitter. 

Fast forward to the present.   A few years ago, my husband, Jeff, and I moved next door to a lovely family.  The wife is a wonderfully talented jewelry designer with a fabulous studio here in Naples,  very close to where we live.  She LOVES glitter,  LOVES sparkle… She uses the phrase “helping you sparkle, shimmer and shine” in her business advertising. She even created a 501(c)3 charitable foundation called the Glitter Foundation to bring Art and Art Therapy to children.   She’s all about spreading glitter and sparkle all over the world. It’s a big part of her life and business theme.  I love that!!  She could have been my younger sister.   Getting to know her and living next door to her has opened doors —and windows into the sparkle in my soul and sort of given me unspoken permission to finally express MY love of glitter and sparkle, here in my home, in the clothes and other things I buy. 

Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who encourages my creativity and embraces all the sparkle I’ve added to our little world.  I still have to temper it a little when we’re outside the house if we’re attending the same social event or occasion as my neighbor. She knows I’m a glitter lover, doesn’t realize how many years I had to be in the closet about that passion,  but that’s part of her business theme.  The world and her clients know her as the beautiful woman in Naples who is spreading glitter wherever she goes and  I don’t ever want her to think I’m copying her glitter idea or stealing her thunder.   Truthfully, surrounding myself with sparkle and glitter was my idea long before it was hers.  I was born first. 

Now, as a retired woman, facing my eventual mortality, with a tiny bit of trepidation and looking to leave not just any sign, but a sparkley one,  that says “An was here” , in this world, I find myself looking for ways to express myself, be creative, spread sparkle, embrace glitter,  and f–k those who would say “all this glitter…WOW! it’s a bit much.”  (except for my neighbor)

I’m approaching another birthday in a few short weeks…my 65th birthday, a new rite of passage, dare I say it,  becoming what AARP, Social Security and most movie theaters refer to as a “senior citizen”, (Yikes!) 

I retired a few months ago.  At the time I didn’t really know what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  I still don’t know now, but I refuse to sit out the rest of my life in front of the television.  Now, I’m always looking for my next project, my next way to express myself.  I started this blog as a way to express my thoughts and interests in writing.

When Trump became President, I found myself suddenly interested in politics, transfixed everyday,  on the latest political news and drama and web of lies that he creates daily in this country.   Rather than keeping my thoughts and feeling inside, I have expressed myself freely,something I rarely did over the preceding years. Primarily I do it on Facebook, but when the urge strikes I’ll do it here too.

Sadly, I lost a very dear friend of many years, last year, because I chose to be frank about my anti-Trump sentiments, and said what was on my mind.  She and her husband are obvious Trump supporters.  She couldn’t tell me what she admired about him but I was accepting and respectful of her feelings.  I wanted to understand. But, when I chose to question her reasons why she supported the idiot,  she felt I was overstepping.  Thinking about it now, I think if she was truly my friend, she would have spoken openly with me about the reasons why she loves Trump and respected my feelings of frustration caused by his lies and the terrible things he was doing to destroy our country. But she would have no part of my questioning her thoughts, so she decided our friendship had to end.  It broke my heart, but I have moved on, with my head up for standing for what I believe in. 

Frankly I’ve reached that point in my life where I don’t care what people think of me or what I wear or what I like or what I do and what I say.  Who knows how much longer I will be walking on this earth enjoying this life.

So back to glitter. A few months after moving  into our home, having met the reigning “glitter neighbor” I started branching out and adding some glitter to our home. First, came some sparkley pillows on our bed. 

Then, I decided to add some sparkle to our living room, with the addition of a couple of pillows on a lounge.  The lounge is actually a deeper green, and looks great with these pillows.  Must be the lighting in the living room due to a thunderstorm making it a bit dark.

I couldn’t think of what to do next.  I went out to get the mail one afternoon and noticed our mailbox looked like crap.  I grabbed some outdoor craft paints and all my jars of glitter.  Look at it now!   Kind of hard to see, but it’s full of glitter!  If you look closely at the photos, you’ll see the additional little jeweled stones my neighbor contributed to my work of art. 

 

About a month ago, I was out walking my dog with my neighbor (the younger glitter lover) and her daughter.   It was the night before trash day.  Everyone had their trash out by the curb.   As I was walking, I saw little unpainted wood table in someone’s trash.   I’m normally the one who will make fun of my husband for picking junk out of someone’s trash (that in my opinion we don’t need) and bringing it home.   

I was thinking…hmm, if tonight was the night I was going to start picking things out of the trash, I certainly didn’t want anyone to actually see me do it.  We all looked at the little table and commented on how strange the people were throwing it away.  My neighbor tried to convince her daughter, who’s a budding young artist, to bring it home.  She adamantly told her mother they didn’t have a place for the table and refused to take the table.  

So, there it was….a free table.   Should I pick it out of the trash and take it or not take it.  Hmm.   Technically, we don’t have any room for another table, either.  But, I decided I’d find a place and grabbed the table.   First time in my life that I have ever picked something out of someone else’s trash.

The table had been sitting out on our lanai (screened patio for those of you who live outside of Florida) ever since I brought it home.   A few days ago, I was eyeing that table through the sliding glass door to the lanai, as I was sipping my  morning coffee, and decided that was going to be the day to decide what to do with the table and get it off of the lanai.   

I started by painting it a creamy turquoise. I let it dry overnight.  The next morning, I moved the table inside the house to the dining room and ask I was again, drinking my morning coffee, I was staring at the table trying to decide what I was going to do with it now that it’s painted.   I decided paint wasn’t enough. Too plain.,   I went into my guestroom closet and found my craft box and started rummaging around looking for ideas on what I can add to the table.   Voila! I found a box of assorted beads that I had purchased years ago, when I was making pretty little “jeweled” glittery keychains and purse fobs.   That was the answer!  But first, glitter.   Here’s that table today!  It will look lovely as a side table in my guest room.

I have to say.., there IS something about glitter and sparkley things that brightens the world and makes it nice!

 

 

I recently reconnected with cousins I had not seen in many years…probably more than 40 years!  It’s a gift to find loved ones, cousins that had been a frequent part of your life in youth, but lost touch with over the years.  

My father was a strong proponent of “family”… family above all.   As a child, we saw my father’s family often, driving from the suburbs of Philadelphia to see them.     My paternal grandmother lived with my Aunt Betty and Uncle Sam and my cousins, Elaine and Anita.  My Uncle Henry, Aunt Gladys and their children Linda and Herbie, lived right behind them in a house on the next street.  Every month, there was a “family circle” meeting, where all or most of the members of the family, including extended family made up of cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. would gather at someone’s house, for dinner and to discuss family business.   I was a young child at the time so I don’t recall what type of “business” they discussed.   

Most of the time, my parents were sort of sneaking me into these meetings because they didn’t have or want to pay a babysitter to take care of my brother and I while they were gone.  Usually my younger brother and I were the only little children present.  I remember it as an occasion that I would see my “almost grownup” cousins and a lot of old people.  I remember one great uncle in particular, who was the oldest person I had ever seen in my life, at my young age of 5 or 6 years old.  I had never seen anyone with so many wrinkles that was so white and pale.  He had a thick Russian accent and wore white cotton gloves most of the time,  I imagined he must have horrible looking hands inside the gloves.  Why else would the gloves not come off.  He  would pinch my cheeks really hard and say “vat a shayna punim” Yiddish for beautiful face.   I didn’t know, or care, who he was at the time and I didn’t care.  I just didn’t like the fact that he’d pinch my cheeks so hard.  In fact I’d often try to hide from him for as long as possible to avoid having my cheeks pinched.  And then one day we went to one of these meeting and he didn’t show up.  I didn’t know at the time it was because he had passed away.   Only recently did I discover that he was my paternal grandmother’s brother!

In general, I believe these family meetings and my father’s insistance in staying close to family was the glue that kept our family together.  We were closest with his sister and her husband and her children.   When he and his sister all passed away, it seemed like my cousins and I lost touch and the years passed…many years, until now.  

I digress…

So, I recently connected with several cousins.  They are the children and grandchildren of my cousins Elaine and Anita and her husband Neil.   They are all lovely people with lovely families.   One day I hope to reunite with them in person.  But for now, we’ve had conversations online, by chat and email. Through these conversations, I learned some very interesting things about the deaths of their parents.  But first let me preface by saying this; when I was almost 10 years old, my Grandmother Celie, who was the most wonderful warm grandmother I ever knew, called me on the phone to tell me she was coming to see me on my birthday.  She told me she had a special present for me for my 10th birthday.  A few days later, she passed away.  It was 3 days before my birthday.   I was stunned!   As a child I wondered if this was in fact the surprise she had planned for me.   It was very upsetting at the time and difficult for me to understand how she could just die.  To a child of 10 years old, death is not something I understood.   I was still formulating my ideas about death. 

Years later, my cousin Elaine married the love of her life, a very attractive man nicknamed and known by most as “Babe”.  He suddenly passed away, as had been relayed to me at the time, just a few days before he and Elaine were about to finally close on a beautiful home they had been building.  So now, we have another family member to leave just days before a big event in their lives. 

When I reconnected with their son Craig, and we talked about his lovely mother, who had been my favorite cousin, he told me she passed away 3 days before his wedding to his beautiful wife, Susan.   Amazing!  By the way, the day that Craig and I reconnected, I shared a bunch of old photos of his mother with him and I told him what a wonderful woman she was and mentioned that I too missed her. She and I had stayed in touch for most of her life.  Years ago when I worked in Philadelphia, she and I would meet for lunch every few weeks  and catch up with family news and life in general.   When he mentioned that that very day we were speaking just happened to be her birthday, it gave me goosebumps.  He looked at my contact, the photos and beautiful words about his mother and father, as a gift from her, that I was delivering.  I don’t know if she used me as a conduit.  If she did, I am touched that she found a way to send a birthday message to her son, through me.

The next cousin I connected with was my cousin Michelle.  Her parents were my cousins Anita and Neil.  I was the flower girl at their wedding when I was around 5 years old.  I remember her parents fondly, in particular her father, who sought me out at a family picnic at some point prior to his marriage to my cousin, and we ate together under a tree in the park.   I had my first crush on an older man!  LOL.   I laugh about it today.  In reality, he was a very dear person.   I enjoyed talking to him as I grew older and often at family events, even as a young adult, I’d seek him out.  He became a favorite cousin too.  Unfortunately both Anita and Neil have passed on in the last couple of years. 

Time passed so quickly, I didn’t realize that I missed really getting to know these cousins as an adult.   

Michelle has a daughter Mariah.  Mariah is a beautiful young woman with a young daughter in whose eyes I see Anita, her great-grandmother’s eyes.  It’s remarkable the resemblance.   Mariah told me about her very close relationship with her grandmother, grandfather and her Aunt Elaine.  It is apparent that they shared such love and closeness.  The one thing that really stood out in my conversation with Mariah is that she said her grandfather died 2 weeks before her birthday. Another passing very close to a special event in the family. 

Mariah’s grandparents and aunt visit her in dreams often.   They are apparently around her and occasionally comment on something going on in her life.  She recounted how she was once smoking a cigarette at her Aunt Elaine’s grave and that night in her dream, her aunt came to her and told her she shouldn’t be smoking.   

Her grandfather came to her in a dream one night and told her he didn’t know where he was. She told him he had passed away.  I hope that his wife and other family had come to find him and help him transition to his soul’s new life. 

I truly believe that our loved ones aren’t far from us when they leave their lives on earth.  My father and mother both occasionally give me signs that they are around me.  I believe my parents and my cousins are all in a better place compared with their end of life health issues.  

I have been thinking about the coincidence with these sudden deaths just a matter of days before a special event in our family’s lives.   I don’t know what it means. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence.  The anwers are out there and maybe one day I’ll find them.  

 

The current political situation in this country has made for very strange times….  As a registered Democrat who is very unhappy that our President is Donald Trump, I am counting the days when we can get more Democrats into office that can take control of Congress and either impeach the President or do their best to keep him from destroying more of what he has already destroyed that was already great about America.   I have no faith in the current Republican Congress who is afraid to stand up to this corrupt, bigoted, liar in the White House.   I’ve never seen such ugliness in this country. So much hate. So much division.  

I recently attended a reception for the First Lady of our state, Ann Scott, wife of our own Florida Governor, Rick Scott.   Although it was sponsored by the Naples Republican Club of Naples Federated, I attended because I’m open minded and curious to hear what the local Republican spin is on things in Washington. No, that wasn’t really the primary reason I attended.   

The primary reason I attended was a bit more shallow.   She and I share the same name, although she spells her first name “Ann” and I spell mine “An”.   In addition, on more than one occasion, when I have scheduled an appointment at a hair salon, or made a reservation at a restaurant, and check in saying “I’m An Scott”, I have been asked if I am “that Ann Scott”.  To which, of course, I reply…no.  “I’m the other An Scott”.   I have been told at first glance I resemble the governor’s wife.  I don’t see it other than we both appear to have the same shade of blonde hair and are not particularly tall women, but she is more slender.   Since there was a time when we both apparently went to the same hair salon on Marco Island (I no longer go there), I would imagine, our color formulas must match. I believe that’s where the physical similarities end.

Beyond that meeting, attending this reception, was for me, unchartered territory.  My neighbor, a fellow Democrat, whose husband, a Republican, is running as Country Commissioner, in our district, was attending this event, in support of her husband’s campaign… Ah, the things you do for love!  She emailed me a link to make a reservation, in case I was interested in meeting the other Ann.   I jumped at the opportunity.

At this lovely reception that included passed hors d’oeuvres and white wine, I was probably surrounded by most of the members of the Naples Womens Republican Club.  My first observation was that it looked very white in that room; white and WASPY.  I was later very surprised to learn that the President of the Naples Women’s Republican Club, is a woman of color.   Also surprising was the fact that the current and past Presidents of the local NAACP chapter were present.  But mostly, the room was a sea of white faces.

It was a very strange feeling.  I felt like an infiltrator, a spy, if you will, assuming before arriving that I would have to listen to a lot of people praising our President and the “wonderful things” they believe he has done for our country.  I heard none of that.  In fact, as I eavesdropped on conversations, no one was talking about Donald Trump. No one was talking about the current immigration crisis at the borders and all the children being taken away from their parents and sent to old big box warehouses to be housed within caged walls with cushions on the floor and mylar blankets, quite possibly never seeing their parents again.  No one that I overheard was talking about politics at all, in fact. 

When Mrs. Scott spoke to the group, she was very pleasant and very engaging.   She spoke that day, about how she and Governor Scott met and their lives together as a couple and later a family. She spoke about her love of children and the fact that she often visits schools all over the state and reads to children.  The last part of her speech, was of course, reaching out, hoping that all would give her husband, the Governor, support as he embraced his run for Florida’s State Senator.  

I wanted to ask questions, “from the other side”, if you will. I was hoping to learn more about her husband’s thoughts on issues that were important to me, things I had heard rumors he supported, like the privatization of Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid, that it is believed would reduce benefits.   I had been coached by my husband, also a Republican, not to ask any questions about that.  I still don’t understand why he didn’t want me to ask that question, but it was irrelevant because the First Lady took no questions.  I guess it is for the best right now. 

I am looking forward to hearing others speak about candidates in the upcoming elections.  While I am a Democrat, I believe that we should elect candidates who are the best individuals for the job, not just because they are Republican or Democrat.  However, in this particular election, “they” are saying that if Governor Scott wins the Senatorial slot over a Democrat, the Democrats would have a tough time taking back the Senate. They already have to take back two other Republican seats and hold all their vulnerable seats in states that heavily went for President Donald Trump in 2016 (Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia).  I am still doing research on Governor Scott, his issues, his thoughts on what he’d do in Washington if he is elected.   He may turn out to be the best person for the job, but what if the Democrats aren’t able to take back those other two seats… getting as many Democrats in office in this next election in November, as possible, is our only hope of changing this course this country is on.

 

 

  

 

 

 

Last night, I took my husband, who had never attended a show like this, to a local favorite restaurant, Bambusa Bar and Grill, here in Naples, FL.  The show was advertised as a “Las Vegas Production”.  (cough cough –bullshit!)

It was the first time I’d gone to a show like this in probably 35-40 years.  So granted, I’m 35-40 years older, but I’m not dead yet.  I thought it would be fun even knowing the guys were probably going to be young enough to be my sons…or worse, grandsons.

The show I went to many years ago, at a bar, somewhere up in New Jersey  (I don’t remember exactly where), was phenomenal for what it was.   It was everything I expected.   There was a stage. There was an emcee.   The guys came out, mostly one at a time, with a shtick to work their clothes off quickly, down to a sexy g-string with little left to the imagination.  Each number was a production.  One guy came out on a motorcycle in leather in a cloud of flashing lights and smoke,  Another came out dressed as a cowboy. Then there was the cop who showed up in the audience to surprise someone who was having a bachelorette party.  The guys danced on the stage, then down a runway and onto our tables, damn near knocking our cocktails off the table.  They each did a number of songs in all different costumes and worked the room; the entire room.   I was with a group of female co-workers and it was a fun night.  Even then,  I discounted the fact that most of the guys appeared to be almost young enough to be my son, at the time, because they were so entertaining. 

Last night, that’s what I and I’m sure many of the attendees were expecting at the Magic Mike Live, Fifty Shades of Magic Show.   Instead,  three men showed up…  the assumption when you purchased tickets, that there’d be at least four guys, based on the promotional materials.  And I’m sure we all expected a real production with costumes and light effects and smoke and different music.   If you remember the movie “Magic Mike”, that’s what we were expecting. 

Well,  they showed up with one emcee and two other guys.   Prior to the show, one of the guys was talking to the woman at the table next to ours and told her that two of their guys were off that night.  Say what???!!!   

Because we showed up around 45 minutes before the show started, we were stuck with the last table in the place, way in the back of the restaurant, next to the restrooms.  It was impossible to see what was happening in the front of the room unless I stood on the booth seat.  But, the reality is that is wasn’t much of a loss, just a great disappointment. 

When the show finally started, there was no big production. No lights, lasers, smoke, nothing more than music and the emcee egging everyone on.  Club music started (and in fact never changed throughout the show) and the guys started to grind the women up in the VIP seats.  The two guys pretty much just worked the front of the restaurant. There were no real dance numbers.  There were no real creative moves other than a bunch of grinding for the front crowd.  One of them did eventually take his clothes off, down a pair of multicolored boxer shorts, followed by the adornment of a pair of grey boxer briefs .  It was a bit strange.   Back when I saw the show in PA, those guys basically took off damn near all of their clothes.   Not sure if these were the substitute Magic Mike guys who were a bit modest and cajoled into the appearance with the promise that they could keep their underwear on or what?   I think the only women who were entertained by this review were the ones who paid $20 to have the guys grind them in their chairs. 

As I mentioned, I couldn’t see anything unless I stood on my seat.   After an hour of watching, basically nothing entertaining to most of us that weren’t sitting in the VIP seats, a number of us asked for checks and left.

We were told to show up with our $1’s for the dancers. I had $24.   I left with all $24.  It cost us $25 a piece for the tickets and around $37 for the drinks with tip.  

What did we learn? Don’t ever go to a Magic Mike Live show.  Big mistake. Our expectations were far too high.   A waste of $50! 

I’ve been to shows in Las Vegas.  This was NOT anything close to a Las Vegas production.   They insult the shows like this in Las Vegas associating themselves with them.  

 I don’t fault the venue.   They probably saw it as a money making opportunity on an otherwise slower night.   They sold out the place and the servers were working very hard to serve food and drinks.  It was a win for them.   We’ll return to Bambusa Bar & Grill.  The food is great there.   We generally always have a nice time when we go there.  I hope the owners who book this group get the true reviews and don’t book this group again.

 

 

 

Another weekend, over and done!

Lovely walk on the beach over the weekend.   Found a lovely big house with a very creative piece of artwork.  Check this out.   It’s an anchor with a big chain attached to the house, as if to hold the house down and keep it from moving during a hurricane.   How cool is that!??

                  

 

            

IN THE BEGINNING-day 1


Today is the first day of the launch of my new blog “Champagne and Diamonds”. 

So, let me begin by telling you a few things about me that may explain or justify some of the things I post as time goes on.

I am a woman, a wife and a mother.  I have a wonderful husband, Jeff, who is a successful architect here in Naples, FL, designing the world around us.  I have a wonderful 37 year old mentally challenged son, Ryan, who lives in a group home in Pennsylvania. 

We have an adorable little dog, Bella, who keeps us moving.  She has so much energy.  She has her own page on this website where she expresses her thoughts and feelings.  Be sure to check it out sometime.  

My husband and I love romance and romantic things.  He’s the most romantic husband I’ve ever had  And I’ve had three, so I think I should know.  We love to hold hands, kiss and …oh, do we love to dance!

We also love to travel.   My favorite destination is Paris.  I have been there many times, It’s like a 2nd home to me.  In fact, I’m an avid Francophile, meaning I love all things French.  I speak French fairly well.  My husband likes to tell people I speak fluently, but I think he just thinks I can speak fluently because when we’ve been in France, I’ve never had a problem communicating in French. 

We try to take at least one big trip every year, as well as a few small ones.  I’ll be sure to share the highlights of our travels as we wander this path together.  In September, we’re heading to Santorini Greece, so that should be exciting to read about. 

As a woman, many think I am the stereotypical “girly-girl”, loving all things girly, feminine, sparkly and glitzy.   I must admit.—-I am and I’m quite proud of it. 

I don’t follow sports, but I do enjoy watching the Superbowl commercials.  

In the past, I never had an interest in politics.   That all changed when Donald Trump was elected President.  I should tell you right now that I didn’t vote for him, am not a fan of him or his administration.  I believe his entire family and administration are fraught with scandal, fraud and lies.  I firmly support having him impeached and/or removed from office.  So if we don’t share political views, time for you to move on. 

Otherwise, stay and feel free to share your thoughts.  

I look forward to sharing my life stories and thoughts with you.