Sep 30, 2011

Fall-to-Winter Decorating...RetireInStyleBlog's Way

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I don't think that bringing the season into the house is all that difficult.  In the world of interior design it seems that each seasons needs it own style or new "stuff".  Really, for those of us that live in a world dictated by finances and space, the need to be creative takes the front seat.  It is only logical.

For example, the wreath on the front door.  I know, I have seen those beautiful dried hydrangea wreaths and I have also looked at the price tag and gasped.  Most of us have a wreath from days gone by hanging in the garage, attic or in the box of Christmas decorations.  All you really need it a can of spray paint.  I had an old rose vine wreath that had shed leaves everywhere.  But, I had paid a fortune for it originally (6 years ago) and I could not think about throwing it away.  I needed to get one more season out of this beautiful piece before it went into the garbage.  Enter Home Depot spray paint department.  We were looking for a copper pipe to use for a pot rack in the kitchen and I passed through the spray paint aisle.  Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of this beautiful red/orange color in the shiniest texture ever.  On a whim I bought the paint and brought it home for the weath.  It is perfect for fall.  It will hang on the front door until Christmas and be embellished with seasonal decorations.

With a little spray paint and a lot of creativity fall can be hanging on our front door in an afternoon.


Sep 29, 2011

Grumpy Retirees? NPR/RWJF/Harvard Poll Reveal Happiness wins 3 to 1!!

Look around the room when a group of your friends are gathered together.  Would you say that out of 10 friends at least 7.5 of them are happy with their retirement?  Do those 7.5 get up in the morning  full of ideas and make every day a good one?  And what about the rest; do they act like grumpy old people?  

A poll done done by NPR in collaboration with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that 1 in 4 retirees find that retirement is not as good as they expected. 
This poll was conducted in order to capture first-hand the perspective of those
who will shape the nature of retirement moving forward: people over age 50, including not only people who have retired, but also people who plan to retire (“pre-retirees”) and those who do not plan to do so. 
In an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health summarizing the poll they stated:
"Findings show that a large majority of retirees say life in retirement is the same (44%) or better (29%) than it was during the five years before they retired. Many retirees say their stress is less, their relationships with loved ones are better, their diet is improved and the amount of time they spend doing favorite activities is increased—yet 25 percent of retirees say life is worse."(Poll: Retirement and Health Summary. NPR, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health)
There are two ways of looking at this--three are happy and that is good. But why are 25% of retirees unhappy with their lives?

In an article published on Blog Critics yesterday the possibility that  25% were unhappy before they retired was sited as a possibility.  I just wonder if that might not be true.  Not everyone gets up in good spirits.  They probably are not morning people.

But the poll revealed a lot more than just the "happy issue".  In my mind it raised the question about the mind set of those people over 50.  It seems that they do not think that the retirement they had dreamed about was going to happen as soon as they had hoped and some even thought it would never happen.  Issues with health care and affordable insurance and monthly income have them worried.  And 25% of those already retired are discontented in one way or another.

I can only compare this attitude to the one that people take when selling their house in this market.  They cannot get past the value of their house now as compared to what it was worth 4-5 years ago.  I hear them saying "I am not going to come down that much...I am so far down from where I was I just can't see that MY house is worth that little."  They cannot face the reality of our recession economy.  

Retirement is not the end of the journey. It is just a cross roads. You can turn this way or that depending on the choices you make.  Asking yourself if you are happy doing what you are doing is only smart no matter the economy.  But in the end the retiree will be the one deciding what to make of the years to come.  For those of us that were raised by depression parents, the image of parents working to live and enjoying life in simple ways, the answer is very clear.  We know that money is not the answer to happiness.  The financial part is a matter of making do with what you have.  But happiness happens inside your mind.  They are probably not related as much as we think. 

In an article published by Bob Lowery on his blog called Satisfying Retirement, he talked about living on less--a lot less.  Bob knows what he is talking about because he has done it for many years.  He teaches retirees how to live on less.  People give up cars, pay off the mortgage by downsizing and carry no credit card debt.  Coupons and online shopping help cut the cost for necessities and make the non-essentials more affordable.  He touts living off the grid with no cable TV.  The list goes on and on.  He thinks life is good and he quoted one person as saying, "I have less money than when I worked but I enjoy my life even more."

So could it be that those of us over 50 are grumpy and full of gloom and doom because we are now and have always been dissatisfied with what we have?  Have we been yearning for the grass on the other side of the fence?  Couldn't it be that our lives are actually wonderful in so many ways and we just can't see the good side of it all?  But most importantly what would it take to keep that 25% happy?  Maybe there would never be enough.  It is just a thought. 


FYI:  I do realize that poverty and life circumstances can make life simply unbearable for many people.  It is my belief that we cannot abandon humans that have run into situations beyond their control.  It is people like me with adequate income and good health that I speak to.  

Thank you for reading.

A similar article: Article first published as Poll Shows Many Retirees Happy, But What About the Rest? on Blogcritics.

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Sep 25, 2011

Good on Venus is wonderful! 50 is the new 40!

Is 50 the new 40?
I have some good news!!! I just read a blog today with the title Fifty is the New Forty.  See what I mean.  This good right?  If 50 is the new 40 then 80 must be the new 65.  Statistics and numbers can mean anything so why not?  What do you think?

For a woman like me that can remember when being over 30 made you the enemy and old,  benchmarks like 50+ have taken on a new meaning.  Perhaps in my world 50 is the new 30.  We are, in fact remaining healthy vital active people for a very long, long time.  I will be 70 in November.  I just finished cataract surgery and can see better than I ever have.  I have resolved that, since it looks like I am going to live a long time, I am going to take Aubrey de Grey's advice and keep my body as strong as my mental age.

I believe that most of outcomes in our life are a result of self-prophecy.  For example, when you go to work and your pencil breaks, you can do two things.  You can sharpen the pencil.  Or you can say "Oh this is going to be one of those days." put the pencil in the garbage and spend the rest of the day blundering around with no pencil.  It is all a matter of what you visualize coming down the pike.  I believe that when people talk and visualize their retirement they should be realistic and upbeat.  The retirement self-prophecy will be what you make of it.

Women in the baby boomer generation are very influential and they will be the ones that change everyone perception about what aging will look.  They are shaping the "self prophecy" for women approaching old age.  That too is very good news.  More of these women are educated and working at pursuits that satisfy them than woman of my generation.  As a result, we are seeing more and more positive, encouraging blogs, websites and magazines designed for the 50+ crowd. The successful positive women are more visible than ever.  At my age I benefit from all those things.  I love More magazine,  Fab Over Fifty website. Advanced Style Blog and even all the things that AARP has to offer now. The world of the aging female is expanding in size and importance.

In our 70's and still loving bling!
I read somewhere that women do indeed live on Venus...even in retirement.  The 50+ woman is taking care of business but they are talking about living. Male bloggers are more focused on work related subjects and financial concerns.  Like women have done for so many generation, they keep the books and manage the daily life for themselves and their families. When they write, women talk about love, working, having fun, learning and maintaining their health.  It could be that the attitude of woman is entirely different.  Many of us approach the aging process with an eye to aesthetics.  Many women have always done day to day things so retirement is not a wonderland of doing nothing.  They know better...retirement is just living.  Hopefully, all women view that stage in their life as an opportunity to grow intellectually. On Venus the doors are always open and it is so beautiful here!   And the numbers associated with the length of our existence are meaningless.

I invite you to visit the websites I mentioned above:

Have a wonderful Sunday and week to come.


Note: And now I see that GenX is following in the Boomers footsteps.  More's editor and chief, Lesley Jane Seymour was one of those interviewed for  a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Time.

Gen X women, young for their age.

Sep 23, 2011

Homophones driving me crazy!

This is a Venn diagram showing the relationshi...Image via Wikipedia
Graph just to impress you!  

Now I am not talking about obscenities here...I am talking about words that Chrome and Firefox spell check can't figure out...the ones that leave me looking very foolish.  See I don't have an editor and in the world of blogging, posts need to be put up frequently or you lose (or is that loose) interest.   I have a list of those words that are in fact misspelled when used in one context and perfectly alright in another.  When they are pronounced they sound the same.   In the English teacher's world those words are called homophones and there is actually a website you can look at to get a better picture of how many there are.  Evidently the computer does not know one homophone from the other.  Here are a few of my problem words:
Shouldn't that be plums? (see, I'm not the only one!)
  • plumb
  • plum
  • lose
  • loose
  • dessert
  • desert
  • close
  • clothes
  • choose
  • chose
  • choice
  • accept
  • except
  • four
  • for
  • in
  • inn
  • to
  • too
  • yah
  • yeah
  • yea
  • yay
  • ya
  • all ready
  • already
  • belligerence
  • belligerents
  • there
  • their
OK, you get the drift.  It seems that my finger do the walking but my brain is about seven steps ahead and my eyes are seeing what I will be writing rather that what is actually on the page.  When I do my spell check, the checkerizer just takes one look and thinks it is such a mess it cannot be fixed...or at least that is what I think it does.  I might add I am a little confused by proper nouns, homonyms and prepositional phrases.  Then there is there any hope?  Sigh!

What are the words that you misspell the most often?  Just a little brain teaser for this Friday!


Sep 21, 2011

Becoming your own interior designer!

Links:  Moontea Artwork, Artist from Grand Ronde, Oregon
Flickr by me:  Always at Home

I have been a collector for all of my married life.  In fact when I was in college, my bulletin board was covered with pictures of art torn from magazines.  I was becoming my own interior designer back all those years ago.  I always feel a personal connection with the things we have laying about in our home.  I think that for those of us that cannot afford a designer or are not willing to give up the control in our home, the things you surround yourself with should reflect where you have been and what you have seen.  If you are using a designer, it seems to me that he/she should be aware of your taste, lifestyle and most of all, memories.  After all, without memories, I don't think a home has a heart.  And our artwork and decor should tell a little story about our life.

So I guess I have a very defined philosophy about what I collect.  Everything we have on our walls or shelves is there because it is the physical embodiment of a person I knew or travels or even just family.  If you walked around our home and stood before the artwork I could relate a story about each item.

Sometimes the found object is beautiful when I find it and the memory is a by product of the experience.  Sometimes the occasion is so important the artwork is found just so we won't forget.  It has always been that way.

Cactus Fruit by Always at Home
Our Sunday market is starting to have that fall feeling about it.  If you come early in the morning it will be misty and the colors of fall will fill vegetable and art booths.  I love this time of year.  When I found Moontea Artwork at the market on one of those days, I knew I had to have a piece of their cloth art.  The look of the linens reflected the feel of an autumn market.  I ordered a table runner for the dinning room table we have owned for 40 years.  When the artist and I missed each other at the next Sunday market I was afraid my memory linen had just moved out of my reach.  I emailed Moontea and they put the runner in the mail that day and I paid out of my paypal account.

Berries linen runner and napkins from Moontea Artwork.

I had a number of designs to pick from but this designed called simply "Berries" reminded me of a photo I had on my flickr account.  I called my picture "Cactus Fruit".  The photo was taken in Arizona in the fall of 2009.  I haven't seen the cactus do this again so it must not happen every year.  It was something I had never seen before! I can almost feel that fall desert air on my face when I look at the photo.  When I looked at the design on the linen that memory was in my mind.

I opened the package that very next day and found not only the runner but 4 napkins as well.  Kristin makes the tea towels, napkins and runners using linen and simple block prints or silk screen prints.  Each one is a work of art with that individual look I value.  Mine came just in time for me to set my table up for fall.  It is gorgeous.

So now I have added another little something to the story line I call my home.  I think this is the only way to collect beautiful things!  Don't you?


NOTE:  The tea towels are only $14.00 and make a beautiful placemat or covering for an end table.  Shipping and Handly is $-0- in the USA.  You would need to contact the artist for prices on special order items.

Sep 19, 2011

How to Retire...Live on LESS Than You Have

Bocci Ball with friends...cost $-0-
Did you know:
  • The good news about retirement cost: ....spending typically peaks when you're in your forties and fifties (the big exception: health care). After age 75, the dropoff is especially steep. (CNN Money)
  • The bad new:  If you don't live beneath your means when you are young YOU MAY NEVER RETIRE!  (Retire in Style Blog)
  • The cold truth:  You need to focus on what will actually help you keep cost down and not get caught up in a penurious way of living.  (Retire in Style Blog)
  • Live debt-free. – Financial debt causes stress and heart ache.  Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one.  Do not spend to impress others.  Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.  Always live well below your means.  Read The Millionaire Next Door (27 Healthy Habits of Happiness)
Goodness sakes...I discovered that I am not the only one that thinks that retirement not only possible but can actually be fun.  Good news for a change.  In an article published by CNN Money: Live well on less, 6 ways to save in retirement, one of my favorite bloggers, Bob Lowry, shared his story about retiring 10 years earlier than planned.  He shared the keys to the good retirement...simply live well on less money.  In fact, I think it is main component in finding out "How to Retire".

I cannot tell you how many people have told me that they needed at least $xxx,xxx or much more a year to retire on comfortably.  A man I played golf with in Florida several years ago was delaying retirement for three years so he could pay for a wedding for his daughter that cost more than the value of his house.  He just didn't see how he could get along without a condo in Florida and beautiful house in Georgetown.  It was so over the top that I could not relate to what he was talking about.  He was the perfect example of the bad news...if you live beyond your means now, you will NEVER retire.  Face up to it because it is the truth!

My mother said that you cannot save much while your children are at home...the minute they leave the nest you need to sock it away to the max.  Save as much as you can when you are young and save more when the nest is empty.  It will pay off for you I think.  I know it did for us.

The good news is, if you have lived just a little under your means and saved as you went along, retirement is not going to be dull or poor or dreadful.  Retirement is going to be a lot of fun and you will wonder how you ever found time to work. 

In my world the joy is not in what I have.  Like the Lowry's we live beneath our means.  Oh, we spend money but we accumulate extra every month so we can enjoy a vacation occasionally.  We are fortunate.  We enjoy each others company and time with family and friends.  Most of what entertains us is not expensive.  We make trade offs if we like something more costly.  For example, we like cable TV so we do not go to movies or to live entertainment very often.  We cannot justify doing both.

This is how we live beneath our means:
  1. We eat out but use coupons or eat at happy hour.  We love the crowd and being around young people so we go at the busiest times.  I think we would do it even if it didn't cost less.
  2. We travel but we own a timeshare we bought many years ago and use the time or bonus time to make the trips at a very reasonable rate. For example, we use timeshare bonus time in Palm Springs for around $60 a night.  (Worldmark by Wyndham).
  3. We always travel on the shoulder of the season.  That is the time very late or early in high season.  Travel is cheaper and crowds are less.  You should check into this!
  4. We have found ways to "co-op" with our family, sharing cars, garden tools, garden bounty, bulk purchases and even our condos or homes so we can own things we would not have been able to afford.  For example, my husband I kept our old Subaru for the whole family to use and they reciprocate generously.
  5. We are still using the same furniture we bought when our children were small.  In this case we spent more to begin with.  We always buy really good quality and depend on the classic style to last...hopefully forever.  As we grow older we need less so even when the good furniture goes away we are not necessarily replacing it.
  6. We do not scrimp on health care or insurance because we know that major illness would break us in the end.  We spend money to save money in the end.  This can require sacrifice but it makes good sense.
  7. We golf but also do it within reason.  Again, coupons/discounts from, etc, help a lot. 
  8. I cook from scratch...99% of the time.  Prepared food is very, very expensive and a good curry or tortilla soup is much tastier if it is prepared with your own hands.
  9. We entertain at home...I love it and we can have friends for dinner more frequently.
  10. We do buy new clothes and a few every season.  But, by buying off season, we get things for less and still dress nicely.  (Dressing shabbily makes you look and feel very old!)  I never go shopping in a better clothing store without a coupon or member discount.  Most stores have a mailing list for customers.  They send store coupons to their faithful customers.  Sign up for can help quite a bit.
Living beneath your means can be a very tricky balance.  You really do need to focus on what will actually help keep costs down and not get caught up in a penurious way of living.  Pinching your pennies at the cost of making friends and family miserable is not a good way to live.  The trick is, save without anyone even realizing what you are up to.  I think that if you knew us you would not guess we were being least not to the point that it grated on your nerves.  Not everything has to be cheap or on sale or second hand.  We keep our life enjoyable even on a budget!


Sep 16, 2011

The REALITY of Small Space Living...making comparisons!

Small space living really does appeal to a lot of people.  I was watching a show on HGTV yesterday about a couple that had moved from NYC to the suburbs.  They bought a lovely old house built in the 1930's with lots of room.  The home filled with all that space had them hiding in the bedroom and one small corner of the family room.  They simply did not feel comfortable with the space and didn't even have an idea of how to use it.  I know others that can relate to that feeling.

My daughter, for example, lived in a dorm room with no problem.  When she moved into an apartment, she lived in her bedroom.  Even now, she loves the nest she and her husband call the bedroom and is most at home in that small space.

In an article posted on Retire in Style earlier this week we talked about a woman featured on Apartment Therapy.  She lived in a small space but actually had a bath me, when you give up the space even a tub takes up in a 250 square foot co-op apartment, you are sacrificing precious storage or living area.

I found it very interesting when Bob Lowery of Satisfying Retirement posted a comment on this post:
We very much need to figure out a way to expand our tiny, galley-style kitchen. But, the $30-$40,000 for the type of renovation required to expand and rebuild it isn't going to happen. We will make do and continue to bump into each other.

The woman you cited has a 250 sq ft co-op? I'm surprised there is room for a bathroom, let alone a tub!
250 square foot apt...Apartment Therapy
When you retire and decide to go full time in an RV or buy a second "home" in a place where the sun shines all winter, you will need to come to grips with living in a small space without all the amenities you are accustomed to.  It is the only choice for most of us.  Monetary concerns will not allow anything else.   And 250 sq. ft. co-op or RV probably does not have a separate bedroom or a washer and dryer.  Every corner needs to serve at least 2 functions.  That is the reality of small space living.

We lived for months in a Winnebago...25 feet long...when we first retired.  Honestly, I loved that little baby.  I did not allow my husband to buy one with carpet on the ceiling and we only had a small piece of carpet in the kitchen/dining/living area.  My one big hang up is keeping things clean.  Even though the space was very small, we did not fill every corner of the storage.  It was a lot of fun to live such a simple life!

My dessert Park Model!
Now we have just a little over 300 sq. ft. of living space in our park model in Tucson.  If we were to remove china storage, a credenza in the bedroom and a huge wall to wall closet and a pantry from the square footage of the park model, we may be actually living in less than that.  And then there is that bath tub...who needs that?  We really don't need all that storage at all.  I have places that still stand empty or are filled with things I should throw away. We do not live in a mess and we keep the space very clean.  We even have a small faux fireplace.

Living/Dining/Kitchen/Office...our Oregon Home!
I have learned a lot about what I do and do not need.  The house we just purchased this summer is about the same size as our condo...1400 sq. feet. (photo above)  It seems absolutely luxurious to me.  The pleasure of a separate bathroom for my husband and I is something I enjoy a lot.  I have a  laundry room for the first time in my married life.  In fact, I am almost filled with guilt over the space.

So, it has occurred to me that I am probably a small space person.  There is, for me, something comforting about simple living.  Is that good?  Who knows. 

How about much space do you need?


Sep 15, 2011

Recoverving from Cataract personal experience!

Note:  I am asking my readers to either Stumbleupon my posts or tweet them.  It would be a big help.

It has been a little over a week since I had the cataract surgery.  The eye that I had the surgery on has almost perfect vision but the distance is a little bit of a problem.  I cannot wear my glasses because the new good eye cannot see out them.  However, I cannot see without the glasses either. It is all very weird.  

After my surgery I was told not to bend over or lift heavy things.  NO PAIN was the words I kept hearing and "be sure to let us know if your vision decreases markedly or if you see a black spot on the outside of the eye we repaired".  So you know of course I imagined I had a little pain and oh my gosh...was that a black spot I saw on the outside of my eye?  Talk about the power of suggestion.  I did get control of myself and realized I was just fine...really just fine!  I had to wear a metal shield over the eye when I slept and put antibiotic drops in the eye four times a day.  Basically that was all that was required of me...and rest, the nurse said, rest a lot. 

After a week of minor pain and some inconvenience...including that metal shield over my eye ...I was given a go ahead to have some fun again.  I knew my husband would be thrilled to not have a one-eyed fly metal patch on his wife in bed with him anymore. 

I was so glad to be allowed to bend over I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed spots off the carpet. I plan on retrieving items from behind the toilet and under the bed tomorrow.  Do you know how many times you drop things on the floor every day?  I am a klutz so there are a lot of things under the corners of the couch and back of the door.

So there you have it.  A quick up date on the process following cataract surgery.  I am fine and will begin all over again next Wednesday with the other eye.  Then hopefully I will be least for this year.  I am told that if the outcome is not perfect, there is more they can do.  Oh, incidentally the cost to me as a Medicare subscriber with a supplemental health plan is $-0-.

Have a wonderful day!


Sep 14, 2011

Hot Color/Design Trends for Fall 2011... clothing and decor!

Have you ever noticed how we will use the same colors for our furniture as we do for our favorite coat or sweater.  The Style at Home website always makes me think of all those colors that are in my closet and on my walls.  Those Canadian designers are usually spot on when it comes to shopping for interior design.  It could be that we should check with them before we even shop for our seasonal clothing.  They seem to know where the trends are heading when it comes to color or design. 

In an article I saw today they were talking about colors for a restful this case for a world traveler.  I love the colors in this room...neutral without even a hint of mauve.  The gray is gray and the brown is cowhide brown.  The tiny bits of gold and red are included only as accents.  I could do this in my living room tomorrow and never look back!  Be sure to take a look at the Style at Home's new neutrals article.  Times may be changing.
Home for a Rest :  Style at Home Magazine
Victor Alfaro it!
Recently I was shopping with a friend in a big department store.  She picked up this sweater that almost made me swoon...something I don't do very much.  The color was that pure purple you see on perfect plums or a hydrangea that has just the right kind of fertilizer.

Style at Home color board
The one on the left is a style created by Victor Alfaro and can be found on the Bon Ton website. As you can see they have paired the sweater with a pewter colored tank. 

In another article on Style at Home they had featured this same color pairing..but on the walls.  This is a new trend in colors for the fall at home and in your closet.

Target clearance sweater
Animal Prints
I bought a little cardigan at Target before we went on our trip to Montana.  It is a black and white leopard design that goes with almost everything I own.  Believe it or not these little inexpensive sweaters last washing after washing.  The one I saw today on their website cost $8.74 on clearance. It has that touch of purple as a trim with my all time favorite animal print...zebra.


Ann Taylor Elbow Sleeve Turtleneck

Browns at Style at Home
Ann Taylor and Style at Home were on the same page when they selected that gorgeous brown as a fall favorite.  This is the same color you will find on a Redheaded diving duck.  I always wanted a sweater of that color.

Style for our bodies or our seems they are following the same trends when it comes to colors and designs.   It turns out we shop for paint and furniture the same as we shop for a very expensive outfits...interesting!

Sep 13, 2011

When to make a change...Style in the Bathtub!

I was just visiting my Facebook account when I noticed a question on the Apartment Therapy page from a woman that hated her bathtub.
Q: I own a 250 sq. ft. co-op on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. I'm looking into doing a bathroom renovation. I want to get rid of the tub and just have a shower, but I'm concerned about loosing value by doing so. Any thoughts on it from the community would be helpful. (Good Question from Apartment Therapy)
The the question made me think about all those things we have in our life that we don't like.  It seems we are frozen in our steps by our fear of change and the lost in value that we worry over.  Whether is it the bathtub or a cleaned out closet, we all need, we need to look at those choices weigh the benefits against the lost value.  Really those old clothes may have cost a lot many years ago and the tub may work just fine.  But doesn't a little personal pleasure count for something?

So how long do you wait before you rip that tub out and put something beautiful and stylish in it's place?  Do you keep what does not work for you because the "perceived value" of that room in the house might go down?  I could only think that, in that particular case, ordinary is always trumped by gorgeous.  If the ordinary tub is removed and the stylish new shower is tiled and blinged, the woman would be ahead of the game.  I would perceive the value as increased...but that is just me.

But I also wondered about the joy and fun of change.  Doesn't that count for something?  Doesn't your future comfort and enjoyment count for anything?

So this is the conclusion I have come to...change is good on so many levels we cannot even wrap our minds around the concept. As we age, the ability to make changes will keep our minds flexible and our outlook on life positive.   Style in the bathtub is a very good thing!

Sep 12, 2011

Favorite of the Week...Evan Picone Crop Pants

Favorite for this week:
Evan Picone Evan-Picone® Mini-Herringbone Cropped Pants
When I was in Montana a couple of weeks ago, I bought an outfit at Herbergers in Great Falls.  A designer I had bought when I was young was on one of their displays.  I had forgotten how much I loved Evan Picone's line.  I paid $69 for this pair of crop pant.  Today I found them online at BonTon website for $39.  These crop pants are topped with a green tank and a gorgeous peasant blouse by Spense. After finding these pants online I realized that I do need to check online prices before I take a giant leap and buy an outfit.

Happy Monday!


Sep 11, 2011

Dressing Your Age??? or How full is the ironing basket?

Notes on dressing like a clown:
I have been guilty of dressing like a clown.  Sorry to all those people that had to look at, so sorry.  See I don't like to iron, not even a little bit.  I will let the ironing stack up to three foot high before I can make myself touch it.  My husband does not let me have his clothes after they are washed because he knows he may never see them again.

As a result I find myself dressing like a clown. If I have a red t-shirt and a turquoise pair of pants clean I will put them on.  When I dress in the morning I am not in the mood to be stylish!  I went on a short trip back to my summer home one winter and forgot to take enough clothes. It seems that in my minds eye my closet was full of clothes so why bother packing.  When I arrived home I found a pair of crop pants, cowboy boots  and a sweat shirt. True the long winter coats were hanging in the closet but really, I knew I would need to take the coat off sooner or later.  My secret clown attire was not a secret for very long.

Occasionally I see something on someone else that appeals to me and I will try wearing pink or turquoise with a yellow scarf and a turban. When I saw that on someone else it was very nice...but on me...the circus people were calling me on the phone.

Is my style changing as I age?
I has occurred to me that my style will never change.  I am a Oregonian born and bred. It is not sunny nor is it warm in western Oregon. We all dress in dark heat absorbing colors the year around. If it gets hot, we wear short black and burgundy. If it is damp and rainy, we wear long black and burgundy.  When I wear bright colors in the city, I feel like a misfit. People stare and not in a good way.  Actually, if I were in NYC, I would wear the same classic, tailored clothes I wear in Portland. That is my comfort zone.

Am I dressing my age...could I even pull off another style of dress? I don't think so.The only thing that has changed in the last sixty-nine years is how much of my legs and arms I want to show. The change is so subtle I don't think anyone even considers my age.  In fact, I think there is no such thing as "dressing your age". There is only good taste.

Even though I talk about dressing like a clown I really am very proud. I care what my husband thinks and I dress appropriately for each day.  I do not wear clothes from my teens even though they may be back in style.  I think that doing that ages us faster than anything. Even though the style may be back, the fabric and accessories change. I warned my husband on the day he retired 15 years ago that he would not be wearing the clothes he owned when he retired for the rest of his life. He didn't like it much but we both know that we look younger because we keep our wardrobe up to date.

Dressing my age...maybe so but that does not mean dressing old!  Not ever.


Sep 8, 2011

15% RV Resort Discount through Retire In Style Blog

Arizona Sunset...every night!
Arizona National Photograph by b
I live in a beautiful RV resort in the winter.  The business that runs two RV resorts in Tucson is giving discounts to people  if they are referred by a "friend" living in the park.  Both of these parks are rated very high in Trailer Life.  A park on the west side of the city has the coveted 10/10*/10 rating.  The park on the east side that I live in is rated 9.5/10*/10.  My park is a little smaller and really has a sense of community.  The maintenance on both parks is about the best I have ever seen in my travels around the United States.

If you mention my name when you make your reservation you will receive $20 for a week stay or $100 if you stay a month.  The weekly rate is $230+ taxes and the monthly rate is $639+ taxes.  The discount for a monthly rate is a little over 15%...nothing to sneeze at.

So send me an email to and I will forward you the information so you can take advantage of this service.

Take a look at the resort information to see if you are interested:  Then contact me and let me be your friend!

I hope to see YOU next winter.


The information I have from the park says I can refer as many people as I can find.  Let me say here...I am operating at the whim of the owners and can not guarantee space availability, etc.  My advice to you would be to act as soon as possible.  The park we live in was filled totally last winter.

Sep 7, 2011

Eyes, Cataracts and me! Why cataract surgery now?

Cataract Surgery and Medicare  
If you have been waiting for cataract surgery because of cost here is some information on what Medicare will pay.  Your 20% co-pay will depend on you supplemental Medicare Insurance:
Does Medicare pay for cataract surgery?  Yes, it does. Because cataract surgery is performed by a physician rather than an optometrist, Medicare Part B covers the surgery, including lens implants. And following that surgery, it can pay its share for one pair of eyeglasses. How much it pays for the glasses depends on whether you get new frames, and if so how much they cost. Medicare Part B will pay for both lenses and frames, but only basic frames. If you buy more expensive frames than the basic ones approved by Medicare, you'll have to pay out of pocket for the difference between the standard amount Medicare pays and the amount your frames actually cost.
For both the surgery and the glasses, you have to pay a coinsurance amount, which is 20 percent of the amount Medicare approves for the surgical procedure and for the glasses and frames.(
Cataracts and Me
I developed cataracts in my eyes very slowly.  I have been having problems for about two years.  The constant struggle to see clearly left me exhausted and I was developing dry eyes on top of that.  So this summer I finally got a referral from my primary care physician and went to see a opthamologist.  Yesterday I had my first eye surgery for cataracts at a surgery center near my home.

Me and my GLASSES!
The process for getting the surgery involved a visit to the opthamologist for a confirmation of my condition and then a visit to the center that evaluated the topography of my eye. This procedure shows the actual contour of the cornea. Because the diagnosis for my lens prescription was always related to my astigmatism, I was thinking that a Toric Lens Implant might work for me.
"For Cataract patients who have astigmatism, and who do not wish to wear eyeglasses to see clearly at a distance, choosing a Toric Lens Implant can help them be independent of glasses for tasks such as driving, that require clear distance vision." (All About Cataract
This type of lens can cost up to a thousand dollars in addition to the simple lens implant paid for my medicare and supplemental insurance. It turned out that my astigmatism was not the typical type and one eye was shaped more like a slightly ruptured basketball than the football shaped eye most people with the astigmatism have. My specialist ruled the Toric Lens Implant out totally.

My surgery was a simple process followed by a day of mild discomfort and a need to sleep for long periods of time.  When I woke this morning the eye felt almost perfect.  After a visit with my doctor at 8:45 am the shield I had worn for 24 hours was taken off and I was directed to wear it when I sleep or nap.  I am to use eye drops for two weeks and will also have my second surgery at the end of that two week period.

How am I seeing.  The first eye I chose to have corrected was the one that was so misshapen.  I am writing today with the lens removed from my glasses on that eye.  I can see so much better out of that bad eye I am dizzy...really.  It is as though I am receiving my very first pair of glasses after being almost totally blind and am seeing for the first time. I don't know about you but better glasses always make me a little dizzy!  I see much better out of the new eye than I do out of the other eye with the corrective glasses.  I am hoping for the same results the second time around.

This is what I am experiencing:
  • Colors are brighter.
  • Words simply pop off the page.
  • The old glasses are not going to work at all.
  • I may be unable to drive until the second surgery is done.  Road signs are a problem
  • The sense of perspective is messed with a little bit with the one good eye and one not good.  I suppose I will have adjusted to that very soon.  I just try not to miss my mouth!
  • I will probably go without glasses at all until the second surgery.  That works better.  It is not perfect by any means.  But it a great improvement.
I love this bright new world I am seeing.   We are very lucky people in this day and age.  Who knew that we would be given better eyes at 70 that we had at 19?


Sep 4, 2011

10 Online Offer Websites (Groupon, GoogleOffers etc.) or How Maddie Became Famous

Living Social and Granddaughter Maddie
I don't know about you but I thought it would be hard to keep up with all the discount websites online.  Boy was I wrong.   Sites like LivingSocial or Groupon will keep you posted with emails and all you need to do is fill out the information online, pay with a card and print the certificate at home.  How easy is that. And, it turns out there is a whole business sector that revolves around gift certificates and gift cards.  I began doing some research this morning.  Here are some websites you might want to take a look at:
  1. Google 
  3. TravelZoo (Portland)
  6. Gift
  7. Gift
  8. Plastic Jungle (buy sell exchange gift cards)
  9. Gift Cards4Less
Yes, I am a senior citizen and yes I do use these websites. I like a good deal!  But better yet, I now have a personal connection to one of those sites.

I received an email from my daughter-in-law yesterday.  She was surprised when she discovered that my beautiful granddaughter is the poster girl for an ad on Living Social here in Portland, Oregon.  Maddie was only 7 when this picture was taken...she is 8 now so she is much older.  And already she is famous!  Living Social is living up to it's name.

We love websites like Living Social. Obvious riding lessons are not for everyone but for the person that is looking for this service this would be a great buy.   My husband just bought a case of wine with a $75 Groupon gift certificate at a local winery.  Our Son-in-law will get a gift certificate from Travel Zoo for his 50th birthday.  We ate at a local restaurant night before last on a certificate.  In fact it has become a world where you are a fool if you don't check to see what discount is available.  Everything from an airline gift card to horse back riding lessons are on sale...all you need to do it look.

So Maddie, good for you.  You have managed to be famous AND you are a part

Sep 3, 2011

How to carry the joy from your job into retirement?

I know...retirees all say they are so glad to be shut of that job.  When asked "What do you do all day?"  they answer, "What ever I want?"  It all sounds so free of obligation and stress.  

Then one day it occurs to them the no-stress is kind of stressful too.  Lack of purpose or long days stretching out before them with nothing they want to do can be boring.  This is when a retiree begins to ask themselves if retirement was such a good idea after all.  Many return to work at jobs they don't really like because they don't know what else to do. That is when they need to fall back on the things that actually had them choosing their career in the first place.  They need to ask themselves what it was that they liked about the job they left.

Open the window to retirement joy!
All I can tell you about is what I know.  I have been retired for 14 years now.  I was a teacher of kindergartners for the last five years of my career.  An opportunity fell into my lap when I was not looking.  A curriculum director invited me to participate with all the other kindergarten teachers in our district in a program that was designed for 5 year old's.  We used what was called "developmentally appropriate practices" gearing everything we did around the social, emotional and intellectual level of the children we taught.

I fell in love with this job and learned much more than I taught.  Oh, there were challenges.  Children that were hyper active and those that did not speak english filled the room.  Each day was full of surprises.  Still, when I talk about it I always smile.  I had a wonderful teaching partner that also acted as a mentor.  I always knew what I loved about that job. 
  • I loved the research and learning.  
  • I loved writing curriculum.  
  • I loved seeing the patterns and making connections between what I learned and what I could apply in the classroom.
  • I loved the creative part of the program
  • I love helping parents find their way in the rearing of their children.
I did not realize how natural those skills fit into the writing life I started with this blog.  The research, sharing of idea, connecting research with the needs of retirees and the creativity that goes hand in hand with the process all fill my days.  I feel like I am teaching every day but I am doing it because I want to, when I want to and at my own pace.

So this is what I think...if you are having a hard time adjusting to all that leisure, remember what you have always loved to do and do that even if it was part of your old job.  A purposeful life is a happy life. 

Happy retirement.


Sep 2, 2011

Best Road Trip in the North Western United States

Looking east from Crown Point
Columbia Gorge looking East.
My husband and I just returned from a road trip from Portland, Oregon via the Columbia Gorge to Great Falls, Montana and back again.  I think this may have been the best summer vacation we have ever taken.  We were only gone one week and 4 nights were spent in Great Falls golfing and visiting with "snow bird" friends.  How this translates into your plans is up to you.  I think those 4 nights could be used as longer stops along the way.  Here is the way it went.

Day 1
We left Portland early in the morning and traveled west along I-84.  We decided to exit at Boardman onto Hwy 730 (Columbia River Highway) so we could stop at a fruit stand and buy water melons and Walla Walla sweet unions to take to our hosts.  The seller at the fruit stand challenged my husband to guess the weight of the water melon we were buying to get a free melon.  Silly woman...we delivered the free melon when we arrived in Great Falls.

Note:  We then turned onto I-82/395.  This interstate turns into I-90 near Spokane and we stayed on I-90 until we left Missoula where we took Montana 200 into Great Falls.

Ritzville Grain Elevators
Lake Coeur D Alene boardwalk very near dowtown.

We then took I-82 & I-90 on to through Spokane into Coeur D Alene where we spent that night.  The drive took us from the verdant green of the Columbia Gorge through the north central Oregon high dessert into the wheat fields of Washington near Ritzville back into the timber near Spokane and on to Coeur D Alene Lake and all it offers.
The Coeur d'Alene area is surrounded by dozens of lakes left behind by the glaciers of the ice age. There are more than 55 lakes within easy driving distance of Coeur d'Alene, but none more scenic and full of activities than Lake Coeur d'Alene itself. (Coeur d' Alene Visitors Bureau)
I think you can see how this day could be turned into much more.  We spent a long time on the road that day.  We could have stopped much sooner if we were not on a quest to arrive in Montana...sigh!

Day 2
We were up very early again the next husband just could not wait to get to Montana.  Since I was not awake and certainly not hungry I suggested we wait until we get to Wallace for breakfast.  Kellogg and Wallace are two very old mining "camps" that lay in a narrow gorge leading away from the lake.  They have somehow managed to maintain the feeling that the silver rush is still in full swing.  Some say they never gave up the mining dream.

Club 1313
Wallace sits directly underneath the interstate...strange but true.  A small creek runs near town...Lead Creek I think. One of their big attractions is a Bordello Museum.  I need to see that one someday soon.

We had breakfast at the Club 1313.  This is one stop I would not have missed for anything.  Honestly, I am not a good tourist because I don't ever want to read about where I am going.  I know we must miss things but there is something so special about finding a treasure all on your own.  That is what Club 1313 was...a treasure I FOUND as though no one else knew about it.

I stood at the bar with my foot on the brass rail and ate breakfast staring at the buffalo head hung on the wall above what may have been a giant hornets nest inside a glass box.  It was unique to say the least.

Idaho has a law that requires bar owners to conceal their liquor from 2 am until 10:00 am.  In this bar the back bar was covered with sheets of stained and lacquered plywood.  The waitress said they would remove the boards at 10:00 am.

We traveled through the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains across the continental divide and arrived in Great Fall at about 4:00 pm.

Day 3-5
We golfed the next day at the Meadowlark Country Club where our friends are members.  This old club is home to several generations of golfers.  It truly is a jewel in the golfing world.
Meadow Lark Country Club was founded in 1919 and sits at the confluence of the Sun and Missouri Rivers. Meadow Lark is one of the premier Country Clubs in the Pacific Northwest and the large main clubhouse is the crown jewel of traditional private Country Clubs in Montana.
Cars line the bank...members grandparents donated the to prevent erosion.
View of the Missouri from the 18th hole.
The members we played with said that the old cars that line the banks of the Missouri River were the very cars that come of the grandparents of members drove long years ago.  The Missouri runs by in a lazy fashion that belies its depth and the furious damage it did to Great Falls earlier this spring.

My husband enjoyed a visit to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center just south of town.  The center is set very near to one of the dams that span the Missouri.  There is one at at the top of each of the three falls. 

Day 5
On day five we set out for home.  We traveled all the way to Lewiston, Idaho that day.  We traveled through the Bitterroot Mountains again but by a more southerly route.  This is a designated wilderness area and no dams are allowed on the Lolo River.  The history of the area is told by Lewis and Clark in Lewis's journals.  They related killing a colt because the passage was so difficult and game was scarce:
This Indian trail across the Bitterroot Mountains was used by western indians to reach the eastern plains buffalo hunting grounds for centuries before Lewis and Clark arrived. The expedition found the trail through the cold, high ground difficult, rocky and steep. One of their horses fell 300 feet down a mountainside. As the Indians had told them, there was no game. They were forced to eat candles, bear oil, horsemeat, and packaged "portable" soup they'd brought from the east.  (State of Montana website)
My favorite picture from that day is of a resort near the west end of the Lolo River very near where it flows into the Clearwater River.  The resort had seen better days but is still in operation with a small store, cabins and a restaurant.  It was the last resort going east into the gorge I think.  The end of the line as it were.  Oh by the way, the ice cream bars are wonderful after many hours of no hope for food or I know what Lewis and Clark were talking about. (Link: Traveling Great Falls Montana to Portland, Oregon)

Lewiston turned out to be a treat with entertainment in the Red Lion Lounge patio and good old buffalo wings for dinner.  The beds were wonderful.  I asked for a senior room so we were treated to two queen beds. 

Day 6
Grain Elevator in The Palouse
As we climbed out of the valley where Lewiston sits, we entered The Palouse region of Washington.  This region covers the 120 miles between Spokane and Walla Walla and is some of the most beautiful wheat and rape seed farm land anywhere.  The region is farmed for as far as the eye can see.  As we approached Walla Walla on Highway 12 the evergreen trees lay in every gully and near the homes.  This part of the regions lays very close to the Blue Mountains.  I don't know if it is this green this late in the summer every year but it is now.  I could only think of a beautiful spring day as we travels through the small communities along the route.

We did not stop in Walla Walla but I think you should.  This area is home to two colleges.  Whitman is in Walla Walla.  This lovely little liberal arts private college is premiere in colleges of it's size. It was built in honor of Marcus Whitman.  Whitman was the Methodist missionary that attempted to convert the Walla Walla tribe and were later killed because the people of that tribe believed they were being poisoned after an outbreak of measles. A visit to that historic Whitman Mission is worth your while.

Interestingly, the Mullen Road built in 1860 connected to a fort very near Great Falls.
Mullan Road was the first wagon road to cross the Rocky Mountains to the Inland of the Pacific Northwest. It was built by US Army Lieut. John Mullan between the spring of 1859 and summer 1860. It led from Fort Benton, Montana, [near Great Falls] the navigational head of the Missouri River (and once farthest inland port in the world) to Fort Walla Walla, Washington Territory, near the Columbia River. The road previewed the route approximately followed of modern-day Interstate 15 and Interstate 90 through what are now Montana, Idaho and Washington.
We had followed a some of that route on our vacation.

Neighboring College Place is home to the Seventh Day Adventist community private schools and a Seventh Day university called Walla Walla University.

Walla Walla has welcomed a burgeoning winery industry and wineries dot the roads in every direction.  The old community has a hotel called The Marcus Whitman that is worth the stop in town just on it's own.  The old hotel was built in 1927 and retains that era's charm and opulence.

As we returned to the Columbia Gorge, the wind began to blow.  At the place where the Columbia turn northward toward Canada the wind roars like no where else.  It seems like a micro climate all it's own.  We were anxious to be home so we turned on auto pilot and rushed to our home in Hillsboro.

Thank you for traveling with Retire In Style Blog.


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