What I Packed for Five Days in Florida

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I just flew back from Tampa, Florida where I met two great girlfriends for a five day stay at one of the girl’s lovely home.  Our agenda involved going out for lunch every day, some laying by her pool, one dinner party at her home for a bunch of fun neighbors, shopping (of course!), and multiple walks on the beach.

Here’s what I brought:

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  1. To the airport I like to wear layers of items that don’t show spots if turbulence occurs and someone spills😬! I wore a black Beloved tank with a grey cotton leopard cardigan (old), boyfriend jeans, a thin black J Crew belt, black Brooks athletic shoes, a black Coach crossbody purse and a black trench coat (as it was supposed to rain in Florida). I added a silver multiple stranded necklace from Evereve (old) and tiny silver Marcasite earrings that were a gift from a friend. In my black and red paisley quilted Vera Bradley carry-on I always bring a black wool pashmina. I drape it over my shoulders and neck to minimize a stiff neck from the drafty plane.

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My red Lucas suitcase is from Nordstrom rack and although I’m not yet efficient enough to just use a carry-on, it’s smaller that the BIG bag I used to bring. (I was proud of the fact that it only weighed 34 pounds on the airport scale!) I buy red luggage as it’s less common than black. The shiny surface is easy to clean and the wheels on this are truly 360 so they spin even when I load my Vera Bradley on top once I’m at my destination. I love to have the black quilted Vera Bradley bag as it’s light when empty, has lots of inside pockets, a great shoulder strap, and is spacious. I also think it converts into a great beach bag on this type of trip.

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  1. My first outfit for walking on the beach was a black Talbots tee, khaki Talbots shirt with cute button trim on each lateral cuff, black athletic shoes and a black Blackhawk’s baseball cap that my son picked for me. Don’t you just love the colors in the Blackhawk’s logo?!

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My second beach look was a lightweight blue and white striped shirt from Evereve (old), Talbots blue linen shorts with a cute drawstring waist, a straw hat. For lunch I wore nude Stuart Weitzman laser cut block heeled sandals.

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My next look was a lime green J Crew outlet cotton cardigan, and a white Chico’s Off the Rack cotton tank (this has nice wide straps to cover your bra straps and is thick enough that your belt doesn’t show through). I wore white AG denim skinny jeans, a tan Ann Taylor cork belt, the Stuart Weitzman block heeled sandals and a royal blue and lime green cotton scarf from Lands End. I carried a small straw purse with a brown leather handle that Mr. GQ purchased for me in Hawaii several years ago.

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The next ensemble also involved the same white skinny jeans but this time I wore it with a black Johnny Was embroidered tunic. I added silver hoop earrings.

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For the dinner party I wore a black silk sleeveless top, and a black and bronze silk sarong (both from a little Florida shop), an amber pendant and bracelet, a gold watch and hoop earrings. For shoes I wore nude Stuart Weitzman patent leather cage sandals with a kitten heel. If the air conditioning was cooler I would have added a dark wash AG Jean jacket. I love pairing black, with brown or bronze and denim. I think it looks so interesting.

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For the pool I wore a pink sun shirt when I the sun as a coverup over two different bathing suits. Both are from Miraclesuit. And they really cinch in my waist. I love them! On the trip in a few Redington Beach or Clearwater Beach shops I found a darling packable cream SPF 50 hat by Wallaroo Hat Company that had a light linen colored brim as well as a really cool pink print sarong. (Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on how to easily tie scarves and sarongs.

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My last outfit was my favorite! It was an Athleta boho inspired navy print tank worn over a gray bralette. The really fun part of this outfit was a navy M’legging by Cabi. I’m not sure why this is called an M’legging but it’s a cute pair of leggings with an attached skirt. I love it because it’s very comfortable AND it covers my butt! This year Cabi offers it in a grey color and my girlfriend showed me that a complaint called fat hat.com carries a black version called the spantaloon that I’ll be ordering as soon as I land in Chicago. I love legging but as one of my daughter pointed out no one over 50 should be wearing leggings without some kind of cover! Lastly I wore an orange J Crew cardigan, nude sandals and the above mentioned straw purse to complete this look 

I had fun wearing all these outfits and enjoyed the comfort of all my choices.  When planning what to wear remember to wear comfortable outfits that you know fit so you look cute with minimal stress.  And if all else fails you can go buy something and if need be, have the salesperson mail home the old outfit so you have room in your suitcase for your new loot!

Rehearsal at the Ivy Room

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This past weekend my oldest son married his lovely bride. The morning before the event we met at the beautiful outdoor venue of the Ivy Room (12 E. Ohio Street) for a brief rehearsal.

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This is a delightful place for a wedding for several reasons. First of all it’s a Lettuce Entertain You locale, so the food was delicious and artfully presented. The staff (especially Abby our planner) was terrific. Very attentive and easy to work with. The ceremony was held outdoors in a romantic enclosed courtyard that was, not surprisingly, covered with ivy. The grounds were meticulously maintained and the wooden guest chairs were well-suited to the space.

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For the rehearsal I wore a black JJill duster sweater over a JJill white button-down shirt. My JJill leggings were gold houndstooth and I wore them with black Aquatalia suede booties. My black leather doctor’s bag was from Kate Spade.

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On my neck I wore a cute tobacco brown and black polka dot scarf from Madewell, which is part of the JCrew store family. This is a great place to shop and they have a nice assortment of neck kerchiefs in interesting colors.

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I truly can’t say enough positive things about this wonderful wedding locale. Check it out if you’re in the market for a beautiful, well-orchestrated experience!

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Plenty of Pearls Please

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The other night Mr. GQ and I went to our friends’ house for a delicious dinner.  The weather was overcast and Fall was definitely in the offing.

So I decided to wear pearls.  

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In my book pearls are an easy “go to” accessory.  They can be dressy of course but I think they’re actually more fun when worn casually.  I have multiple lengths of pearls and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to wear my costume strands right along with my good stuff.  

In this look I paired a Talbots white cotton button down shirt with a White House Black Market cardigan that was studded with many pearls.  This sweater is from several seasons back.  I love it because it has black covered snaps as the closure and they allow the item to be partially closed and still look polished.  I wore a JCrew Outlet multi-strand choker as well as pearl stud earrings that were a gift from my hubby.  My last pearl item was a pearl bracelet from Ann Taylor (old) but I love it because it has small and large pearls so it’s fun to wear.

As you can see I wore the blouse untucked and the cuffs folded back over the sweater.  I wore an old pair of boyfriend jeans and black Aquatalia suede booties.  I prefer suede any time I can find it for booties and boots because I have really tender feet and suede is so soft (and usually forgiving too!).

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Bubba, my sweet golden decided to join the photo because I think he was suspicious that we weren’t going to be home for dinner.  The only good thing about that as far as Bubba was concerned was the fact that he gets a treat whenever we leave without him🐶🦴🐶!

In summary, don’t just save your pearls for formal occasions; wear them anytime you want to make a classic statement with your outfit.

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Fun Spot to visit in NYC

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This week Mr. GQ and I decided to spend a few days in New York City. For our adventure we headed to the Chelsea Market. This was originally the home of the Nabisco company that invented the Oreo cookie.

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Inside the market there are multiple cute murals which present fun photo opportunities.

The Market is one block wide as well as one block long. It’s an indoor shopping mall, collection of delightful shops and many food establishments. In fact last fall we went on our first food tour at this very locale!

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There are places to purchase gift baskets, books, cheeses, meats, spices, seasonal items such as pumpkins and much much more.

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Sarabeth’s is a restaurant and bakery that makes delicious jams and preserves that you can purchase. There are several Sarabeth’s restaurants around town and they’re especially known for their weekend brunch.

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For the trip I wore a cute black window pane pant, a white cotton shirt with a cranberry V-neck boxy pullover sweater, all from JJill. Since on a typical day of site-seeing we walk 6-7 miles (!), I chose black Brook’s sneakers as my shoes. Sadly they’re not very fashionable, but I still have many miles of walking ahead of me this trip and tender feet won’t cut it for me. My usual fashion concession is to wear sneakers or other very comfortable shoes by day (when most of the walking occurs) and then switch into booties or other heeled shoes for our dinner destinations.

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The Market attracts six million visitors per year. It was originally built in the 1890’s. It was redeveloped into its a retail format in the 1990’s. It’s a fun spot to visit in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

Here are a few more images from our day trip to this treasure.

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The next time you’re looking for an enjoyable spot to check out, head to the Chelsea Market. You won’t be disappointed.

The BEST Ginger Cookies Ever

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Fall as far as I’m concerned is ginger cookie season. I will eat them all year but my favorite time to eat ginger cookies is in the fall. So for my fall party the other night I made these. As the Barefoot Contessa suggests I made the dough several days earlier and kept that in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Then on the morning of the party I baked them.

Here’s how I made them.

Recipe for the Ultimate Ginger Cookie. I LOVE most every recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. This one comes from Barefoot Contessa at Home. Her recipes are delicious. And available on line. But her cookbooks are sublime! Every cookbook of hers is gorgeous with photos for every single recipe. My birthday is in December and her latest cookbook is ALWAYS on my requested gift list.

Note: The recipe calls for chopped crystallized ginger. The best I’ve found is from Whole Foods. It’s evenly chopped, soft and fresh. It was $9.99 per pound. Some grocery stores carry it and it’s too hard to chop. Go for the softer type. It’s worth hunting for.

Also the recipe calls for baking them for exactly 13 minutes. Do this too as it results in a soft centered but slightly crisp outer texture. Truly perfect!

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Here I am baking these cookies several days before my party. It was a warm evening so I wore a cute pair of JJill cream and black gingham pants with a Talbots chambray shirt. I added a silver multiple strand beaded necklace from Evereve that nicely fills in my open neckline. My shoes were black leather flat Stuart Weitzman sandals with a burnished silver chain detail. And of course my apron with roosters on it came from William Sonoma.

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I displayed these gorgeous cookies in a large ceramic pumpkin bowl that I purchased on line several years ago. Here’s a cute one for the fall season I loved the brown cookies with the orange background, don’t you? Make these cookies this weekend. You won’t be disappointed! Happy first official fall weekend.🍁🎃🍂! Stay tuned for my fall blog party final post hopefully tomorrow!

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