Summer Q&A: Fashion, Beauty, Health, Life

Happy Saturday, friends! There’s no try-on haul this week because I haven’t been ordering much lately.

There’s just not much I need or want right now, but if you have anything specific you’re looking for, or stores you’d like to see me feature, let me know, and I’ll see what I can find for next week.

Meanwhile, I had a few requests for a Q&A, and I’ve been saving up some questions, so I’m going to tackle those today.

Fashion & Shopping

Q // Summer dinner outfits… I’m not a dress person. Any ideas to dress up pants and top?

A // I’ve been wearing a lot of shorts out to dinner lately because it’s so hot. An outfit like this is perfect.

For pants, this post from yesterday has a couple of dinner-out looks.

These straight leg crop jeans at Talbots are thinner and more lightweight than typical jeans, so they look and feel more like pants. They’re nice for dressing up or down this summer.

Q // Trends you are seeing for fall?

A // This one is a tough one to answer right now. The only resources I can find when I google is from runway shows and they are always so far out, it’s hard to know how they will translate to the mainstream.

I predict pants with higher rises, straighter cuts, and shorter lengths are going to continue to gain popularity, as are the shorter tops needed to accommodate them.

Statement sleeves are big right now, and that trend will likely continue into fall.

Boots and booties are always necessary for the cooler weather, and I think loafers will stick around.

According to some of the bigger fashion magazines and lifestyle sites, it sounds like jewel tones will be popular, animal motifs and cut-outs were mentioned a few times, as well as shearling outerwear and asymmetrical sleeves.

It looks like some 80s silhouettes and more tailored styles will be coming back into vogue, and I also read that knee-high boots will be big this fall.

It will be interesting to see it all plays out, especially if many of us are still sticking close to home.

I usually rely on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to give me an idea of what will be trending for fall among the suburban mom set, haha!

Yes, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is coming!!! #notcanceled

I already have an appointment to visit the store on the very first day of the sale, and I’ll be sharing all my finds with you! Be sure to subscribe to my emails so you don’t miss it.

Q // How did the Kardashian waist belt trainer work out?

A // I believe you’re talking about this SKIMS waist trainer. It was horrible. Way too tight and uncomfortable. I returned it. #lifeistooshorttowearacorset

Q // What are the best departments to shop at Nordstrom? It’s overwhelming!

A // I actually did a post on that! In fact, that was a Q&A post too.

Q // Do you still sell clothing items?

A // I mostly donate or take to places like Clothes Mentor. I just don’t have time to keep up with selling on Instagram, like I was doing before.

Q // What purchase did you regret but spend a lot on?

A // Ooooh, good one! Not many come to mind, but there is one that still makes me ill. It was actually Paul’s purchase. He surprised me one Christmas with Jimmy Choo pumps.

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing BLANKNYC Suede Moto Jacket in Blondie, AG Legging Ankle Jeans, Jimmy Choo ROMY 100 Ballet Pink Suede Pointy Toe Pumps, R Minkoff Leo Clutch. Spring Fashion. Fashion Over 40

We were at the mall together one day, and I picked one up as we walked by the designer shoes on our way out of Nordstrom. I commented wistfully about how gorgeous it was, and then I set it back down, and we went on our way.

Evidently he went back and took a picture of it, so he could find the exact pair, and then he roped my daughter into helping him figure out my shoe size. He did his due diligence and figured out that Jimmy Choos run small, so he ordered a half size up from my normal, and they were the perfect fit.

I was so surprised on Christmas morning. It had never occurred to me that he gave them a second thought, and he never buys me shoes or clothes that I don’t specifically ask for. He was so proud of himself too.

Well, long story longer, I could NOT walk in them. I tried, oh how I tried… they just are not made for my feet. I even ordered and returned a couple other sizes to make sure I had the right one, and I did. They just would not stay on my feet, and they killed my toes after about 10 minutes.

Besides a couple of photo shoots, I only wore them once “for real” — out to dinner for my birthday last summer. We parked right outside the door, so all I had to do was walk to our table and back in them. That’s about all I could manage.

I ended up selling them on eBay for a fraction of what he paid for them. It was almost as gut-wrenching as parting with Ozzy… Okay, I kid. No where near.

But still, they were such a thoughtful surprise gift, and the most expensive shoes I’ve ever owned. Such a waste. Oh, well. Hopefully someone with younger feet is enjoying them.

Q // How do you decide what shoes go with what outfits? i.e. like heel size vs when it’s ok to wear flats?

A // It usually depends on where I’m going and how dressed up I want to be, and sometimes I choose one over the other to change the proportions of an outfit. And of course, the look and overall vibe I’m going for comes into play.

It’s a bit of a dance, and there can be several factors at play, so I try to explain my shoe choices when I share my outfits.

Q // Suggestions for dress pants for nightwear and weddings?

A // This pair is very flattering and versatile for dressing up or down. I can’t imagine wearing them to a wedding, but they definitely work for dinners out and that sort of thing.

These jersey knit wide leg pants would be nice for nightwear and weddings, and these all season flares are super versatile. I hope that helps!

Q&A: Hair & Makeup

Q // Would you mind sharing information on your makeup?

A // Of course! I try to keep the post with my everyday makeup routine updated, and it’s linked under the BEAUTY tab at the top of my blog. I don’t change it up very often.

Q // Best way to keep make up on when wearing a mask?

A // I don’t have any original tips, but my best advice is to wear good quality makeup. Better quality products generally hold up better and last longer, especially when you’re using a face covering.

Q // Love your hair color! Are you still natural or do you color and could you please give me details.

A // Oh, girl. I color. I’ve been covering my gray every 7-8 weeks for years, although it is still not even 50% gray.

I know this because my semi-permanent color totally washed out during Covid, and I saw my true hair color for the first time in years.

It’s the worst around my temples — it starts showing there after a few weeks, but the rest of my head doesn’t look bad until I get past the 8 week mark, and that was with semi-permanent color.

According to my stylist, I’m an ashy level 5.

Q // Have you ever posted a video about how you style your hair? I love how you wear your hair and would love to see exactly how you style your hair and how you curl it when you do.

A // Thank you, and I have! Both posts are old, but not much has changed.

This is how I curl my shoulder length hair, and this how I style it straight, although I have to say, the Dyson hairdryer has made a BIG difference in how quick and easy it is to style my hair straight.

It keeps it from frizzing out, which makes it look thicker and healthier.

Q // Have you gotten your hair cut yet?

A // I had it colored and trimmed a few weeks ago by a friend who does hair out of her home, but I haven’t had a full cut with styling since before Covid struck.

I was supposed to see my regular hair dresser yesterday, but I had to reschedule due to a conflict, and now I won’t be getting in until August. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Believe it or not, I’m still not feeling terribly desperate. I was planning to grow it out a bit anyway, but by the time I get to the salon, I will be more than ready to hack an inch off and get it re-shaped and everything!

Q // Do you get Botox or fillers?

A // Nope, not yet. I’m not opposed, but I feel like that’s one of those things that once you start, you have to keep up with it, so I’m putting it off as long as possible.

What I have been doing is seeing a cosmetic dermatologist for regular glycolic acid peels.

I also did a non-invasive treatment called thermage last February, and I do think it has helped tighten the skin on my face and neck. It’s a subtle difference, but I’m hoping that by starting at my age (I just turned 48) and keeping up with it every few years, I can avoid more invasive procedures.

If you’re local and looking for someone, I highly recommend Dr. Sciara. She’s very conservative in her approach, and so far I’ve been very pleased with her dermatological care.

Health & Wellness

Q // I would love posts on what you eat in a day. You’ve done so well in losing and keeping the weight off.

A // I get this one a lot!

I’ve thought of trying to take pictures and recording a week of what I eat, but I just can’t seem to get into the habit, the way I did with taking pictures of my outfits. Getting dressed in the morning almost seems like part of my job, but I’m in off-duty mode when I go to grab a snack or sit down to dinner.

With intermittent fasting, every day is different because I tend to eat a couple of snacks or a light lunch, plus dinner.

I usually break my fast with a bowl of plain yogurt with local honey, granola and flax & chia seeds mixed in. Or I’ll eat half of a high-fiber English muffin with natural peanut butter and sliced bananas or honey on top, and I usually add a sprinkle of chia seeds to that too.

Sometimes I’ll just grab a snack like a bowl of popcorn, and other times I’ll have a full-on lunch from Chick-fil-A or tuna salad on gluten-free toast.

For dinner, we eat a lot of the same meals over and over because I’m lazy. Many are in my Recipes section (linked in the menu bar at the top of my blog).

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of crustless quiche because I miss eggs, now that I don’t eat breakfast, and it’s a good way to fit in some veggies.

Crustless Quiche with Spinach & Bacon

I make tacos a lot, and the kids love stir-fry.

In the summertime, we often grill chicken or steak or burgers or salmon, and I serve a side of potatoes or rice and a green veggie.

In the winter, I often make chili and beef stew, and we eat more casseroles.

We also all like this sausage and potato hash with fried eggs on top.

Q // Thoughts on or experience with exercising during a fast (vs before or after fast) with IF?

A // Once you become fat adapted, you can exercise during a fast without getting weak and shaky. I do fine running/walking or lifting weights during my fast.

The one thing I’ve noticed is, if we lift really heavy, sometimes I don’t have the stamina that I used to have.

But I’m actually okay with that because over time, the benefits of autophagy are going to work for me in much the same way. I’m not going for how heavy I can lift. I just want to look and feel good.

If you have questions about IF, I highly recommend Gin Stephens’ latest book, Fast Feast Repeat.

Life Stuff & Misc.

Q // If we have to shelter in again in the fall, will you do anything differently?

A // Not really. I don’t really know what I could have done differently. I’m so blessed to be able to work from home and continue my job during these turbulent times.

I guess I could have been more consistent with exercise. I really let that fall by the wayside.

I’m used to working out with a trainer, and I rely on her for accountability. Without that, and with my hip injury preventing me from running or walking as regularly, and just being in a funk because of the cold spring and being homebound for so long, I sort of let it all go to pot.

I’ve been trying to get my mojo back, but I’m still having hip issues, and my trainer isn’t available consistently (that always happens during the summertime), so I’m not where I’d like to be, but I’m not giving up.

If we have to shelter in place again, I probably won’t go nuts stocking my fridge like I did back in March, and I definitely won’t waste time wiping down all my foodstuff with Chlorox wipes. Other than that, I don’t think I will do much differently.

Q // What happened to your puppy?

A // Unfortunately, a few weeks after we got him, I started to experience asthma symptoms. I went on meds, and they made me feel horrible and weren’t even quite managing it. I consulted with several doctors, and we considered trying immunotherapy, but that is not a quick fix, nor is it a guarantee that I’d eventually be able to tolerate him without being on meds.

The indecision was making our home life incredibly stressful, and when a friend offered to take him, we took her up on it, even though I desperately wanted to find a way to keep him. With Covid raging all around us, I didn’t feel like it was wise to compromise my respiratory system in order to keep a pet.

The picture above was taken the morning we took Ozzy to his new home. It was utterly heartbreaking, and I still feel sick to think about it.

Since then, we’ve seen him a couple of times, and it gets easier every time, but I still miss him and hate what I put my daughter through.

She’s fine, by the way. Of course she wishes we could have kept him, but she was exhausted from caring for him, and she is relieved to see him happy in his new home.

He still knows us when we visit, you can tell, and she enjoys visiting him and seeing how he’s grown. That’s enough for her, so it’s going to have to be enough for me too, I guess.

Q // What is the new normal for you look like?

A // Honestly, it’s not a lot different than the old normal. I’m so fortunate to be able to work from home, and I can still see my trainer because we work out in her home gym.

I’ve had a lot of doctor visits and PT appointments in recent months, so that keeps me out and about more than most. Even though they aren’t necessarily fun outings, they help me maintain some semblance of normalcy.

Our state is doing okay at the moment with Covid cases, so lately I’ve been able to dine out and get together with friends. We have our backyard oasis with the pool, that I am so very grateful for. I honestly don’t even care if we go on vacation or not.

I’m dreading this fall because school is going to look so different for two of my three kids, and once the weather gets cold, it’s going to be harder to socialize safely. I feel okay going out to eat and gathering with friends outside, but I don’t want to be going in and out of people’s homes or dining inside restaurants until Covid is under control.

I guess all we can do is take it one day at a time.

And that’s about all I’ve got. This took sort of a downward turn here at the end. Let’s end on a happier note…

Q // What was your career before being an influencer?

A // I was a 3rd grade teacher at a small private Christian school in Haddon Heights, NJ.

I absolutely loved it, but I quit when I had D, and that was almost 21 years ago.

I did odd jobs from home for a while, and then my little blogging hobby took off, and the rest is history!

And that’s a wrap. If you have questions for future Q&A posts, feel free to email me with Q&A in the subject line.

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26 Responses

  1. I enjoyed today’s question and answer as usual. I have ordered a great deal from Nordstrom the last few years. The other place I order the most from is Talbots . How do you handle the volume you order? I have noticed Talbots is really slow about crediting my account. In the past I returned to store, but for a while it was closed.  Mailing back was not a good experience. Are they trustworthy ? Norstorm is also slow but I get notices that have received it.  Have you ever had a problem ? Do you keep records and then check behind them?

    1. It’s a full time job, lol!!! It’s easier now that most websites send emails when you fill out your return form. I file those in a “returns outstanding” folder in my Gmail. If they don’t send an email (ahem, Talbots), I write the date of the return on the packaging slip and file those in the paper sorter on my desk.

      Every month or two, I go through everything and reconcile the returns with my credit card. When emails come in that an item was returned, I also file that in the “returns outstanding” folder so it’s easy to pair them up, but I still double check my CC. I try to use only one card for all clothes shopping to keep it simple.

      I pay my card off every month, even if a return hasn’t gone through so I don’t get any extra charges. It all works out eventually, but I’m only able to do that b/c this is my job.

      To be clear, those purchases are not biz expenses (not allowed by the IRS) but I do spend very differently than the average person b/c this is my job. I have my own card, so it isn’t on our family CC. Probably TMI, but I’m an over sharer, so there you go! 🙂

  2. Love this post, a nice change up!  The crustless quiche looks delicious, added that to my recipe index!  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!  

  3. What an informative post!  You had a lot of great questions from some of your followers.  I’m sorry that Becca didn’t get her braces off this week.  Have y’all heard when her school plans on resuming, whether virtually or in person?  Our county plans on starting back on 8/3, with parents having the choice to either send them to school or doing it online.  In our rural area, so many people don’t have WiFi, so I suspect most students will be on campus, which will probably cause the number of positive cases to sky rocket.  As I told my DIL yesterday, it is a real blessing that we live in the country where it’s easier to self isolate and protect Larry from COVID-19 because it would kill him.  Having various doctors appointments and now PT to go too does help me mentally, like it does you.  Have a great day!

    1. Becca’s school should start the last week in August, if all goes according to plan.

      Yes, it is good to be in the country during all this! We are sort of in between where it’s really bad and where it’s really scarce. Thankfully our neighborhood is laid out in such a way that we can keep to ourselves as much as we want.

  4. Great Q&A. Thanks for sharing.  As I was reading about what you did before blogging, I had a question.  You seem like a friend I would have from town, someone who I would like to chat and hang out with (especially as we have kids similar ages). 
    How did you start blogging and when it became your full time job, how did your friends and family feel about it?  I know you share a bit about your family – do they mind? And do friends follow your blog – do they comment on what you post when you get together with them or is it just the way it is now?  I ask partly because I think it’s such a great career for a mom with a family but I would be so self conscious about sharing my life.  

    1. Thanks for asking that question; I’ve always wondered about that too. I’m kind of a private person and would feel pretty uncomfortable sharing personal things about myself and family. I do feel that that is what really makes for a successful blog though. When you feel you know the blogger on a personal level, you feel more committed to reading and commenting to their posts. Look forward to hearing Jo-Lynne’s comments.

    2. Oh, I am. I actually hate that part of it. I’d be happy if no one in my real life knew I had this blog. It feels weird putting so much out there, but on the other hand, it started as an online journal. It was all about my kids and our life, and several of my friends actually started blogs because I was having so much fun with mine. They got involved in the local blogging community too. There were events and things, and my “real life” and blogging life co-mingled for a while.

      My Sunday Coffee Talks… that was every post back when I started. There wasn’t even Facebook back then. Some posts were one sentence, sort of like we use FB now. I’ve deleted a lot of those, but you can look at my archives in 2006 and 2007. (There’s a link on my sidebar with a dropdown menu to all the previous months through the years.) It was all stories about my kids. Back then, we didn’t post pictures or use real names, though. So funny how things have changed.

      Then somewhere along the way, it became a business, and most of my friends doing it for fun lost interest in their blogs. Some still follow mine, and some don’t, and I’m not even sure who all does and who doesn’t anymore. I have friends at church who follow along, old family friends of my parents, and some family members. I will not lie; it’s strange.

      It definitely feels weird to mention friends and family members, that is why I never say names beyond my immediate family members. And even when I do reference family visiting or friend gatherings, I wonder if people see it or if they mind. I try to be sensitive to that, but I’m sure I’ve crossed the line sometimes.

      The good thing is, you can choose what you share and what you don’t. A lot of bloggers don’t share as much as I do. I wouldn’t let that prevent you from starting a blog! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing.  I too share your sense of dread of fall and winter.  We can somewhat socialize outdoors and spend time outside but once the cooler temps come, the sense of being cooped up and hibernating fills me with a sense of dread.  The possibility of not watching football in the fall also is a game changer….. I work in health care so totally get it, before anyone chastises me, but just feel like our lives are turned upside down and there is no end in sight.  As you say, one day at a time, one hour at a time….. What will be will be. My mother in law tells me, “this too shall pass”. 

    1. Yes, it will. One day, this will be a distant memory. Although I do think it will go down in history as a turning point for our culture in many ways. It will be interesting to see it play out… Lord willing.

  6. Hi,
    I have two requests. Your pic from last year’s Nordstrom anniversary sale has you wearing a fuchsia pink, short sleeve, v-neck shirt. I’d like to find that shirt!
    Also, I hate top/shorts pjs, could you recommend summer sleeveless gowns, cotton, lightweight? Thank you so much!!

  7. As always I enjoy reading your posts and love your style in clothes etc. I too feel fortunate that my life is as good as it is and I have the ability to drive a little for a get away. BUT I feel so bad for the majority of people in our country who do not have enough space to get away and do not have private pools to take a vacation, or an opportunity to get away for sanity. There are so many who need to get back to work so they can at least hope for some relief – there is so much hopelessness now. I appreciate the little respite of looking at your blog each day.

    1. I know, I almost feel guilty sometimes for how good we have it, all things considered. Even our kids are at ages where they’re self sufficient with school. Praying for things to get better soon. I keep hearing that the virus is weakening and isn’t as deadly, and I’m encouraged, and then I hear about the “long haulers” who aren’t recovering, and that worries me terribly. What a mess.

  8. So glad you shared about IF and Delay Don’t Deny. I started right weeks ago. Have lost 7 pounds but have been astonished with body decomposition and how good I feel. You’re results caught my attention – thank you!

  9. I love swing dresses, they’re great for pear shaped women. Do/would you wear the green swing dress from 2 CASUAL SPRING/SUMMER DRESSES {UNDER $15} posted on APRIL 18, 2019 this summer? How would you style a sleeveless crew neck navy blue swing dress casual (eyelet cloth sneakers), with just a quick shoe change for a dinner (dressy flip flops, sandals, not too much of a heel)?

  10. One of your best posts. Sometimes when the posts are so long with so many Saturday outfits  it can get overwhelming. Especially when no one is shopping as much during this ….  your post today should be a regular weekly. It was great. Always love  your honesty. 

  11. What a great Q & A! I’ve been following you for at least 6 years. Your posts are so appreciated, especially during this trying time. Thanks for keeping it real!

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