Monday, January 30, 2017

The Ladies Room

I went to The Ladies Room. No, not a bathroom, silly -- a consignment boutique.

While visiting Cape May, I explored and exhausted shopping opportunities in the center of town, then wandered outward. I was searching for thrift-shops which rarely can support high rents. I found one on the outskirts of town with excellent wares and low prices. I spotted this Liz Claiborne dress there for only $16 with original sales tags on it.

While a bit more conservative than my normal style, I like its elegance. And it fits me like a glove which is not common. The outfit is a nice occasion to show you my new white lace choker which I bought at Forever 21 (only $3.99). Chokers love old gals because they conceal our neck lines.  :-)

Do you ever shop on vacation?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cape May, NJ

Cape May is a special place. Sitting on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it's a true, historic beach town. Cape May was one of the earliest vacation resorts and you instantly know why. The immense sandy beach is the finest I've seen and the town's well-designed retail area is inviting.

Although technically in New Jersey, Cape May is so far south that it's actually the same latitude as Washington, D.C. (meaning it's at the same North/South level). That location matters. As you approach the town you can viscerally sense change in the environment; about 30 miles away, suburban foliage disappears and you smell the scent of ocean air. Being near the water lightens one's mood and transports you to a higher plane. In New York, we call this "going to the beach;" in New Jersey, however, their odd expression is "going down the shore."

The vibe is friendly and modern with a touch of nostalgia. Victorian architecture and retro advertising are everywhere. The commercial center of town is a five-block outdoor street mall which is open to pedestrians and closed to cars; it overflows with fun stores. Shopping is a major attraction here. The huge beach has a long boardwalk and plenty of refreshment stands.

I wandered away from the heart of town and found a delightful thrift-shop (The Ladies’ Room Consignment Boutique) where I snagged a pretty Liz Claiborne dress for only $16. Win!

The streets are largely empty now but I hear Summer attracts over 50,000 visitors. I have no idea where they put that big crowd and since there's only one road in and out of town, traffic must be bad then. Timing your visit to avoid the hoi polloi would be smart.

Here are some scenes from my visit...

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Adventure Begins

On the spur of the moment today, I planned my first motorcycle trip of the year. I'm leaving tomorrow morning and riding 200 miles south to Cape May, New Jersey for the weekend. It'll take about four hours to get there.

Cape May is one of the oldest beach resorts in the country. It's on the southern tip of New Jersey, right on the Atlantic Ocean. I've never been there and want to scout it out now when nobody's around. I plan to return in Summer when it'll be crowded. I enjoy beaches in Winter; they have a cosmic vibe.

The trip will be arduous due to the weather. It'll be at or around freezing the whole weekend. I know from experience that cold weather on a motorcycle can be rough. Even with layers of clothing, the core temperature of your body lowers and at a certain point it becomes dangerous. Last year on my first trip in February (to Potsdam which is next to Canada), I foolishly disregarded the cold and almost died. Literally. My body started shaking violently and I couldn't stop it. Of course, you don't want to be operating a motorcycle in that condition. Lesson learned.

The problem with the trip to Potsdam was the rural country I was travelling through -- there was no place to stop and warm up. I rode hours before finding even a gas station. That won't be a problem travelling through Jersey; its shore is populated with vacation towns. If I stop often enough, I'll stay warm enough. Anyway, that's the plan.  :-)

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

It's hard for young people today to understand the immense cultural significance of Mary Tyler Moore who just died at age 80.  That's because, back in the Seventies, there were very few media outlets. Shows that appeared on the three TV networks were watched by everyone and became central parts of our cultural conversation.

Mary Tyler Moore exemplified this. She was seen as a role model for women, initially with her portrayal as an attractive, helpful housewife on The Dick Van Dyke Show and later as an independent single gal making a living in a Minneapolis newsroom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Those roles mirrored the lives of millions of American women. Mary pushed boundaries for women by perkily offering opinions at times when women were expected to remain quiet; she also broke free of the almost-mandatory dresses worn by female TV characters when she donned attractive capri pants.

Mary was capable of even more. She shocked viewers with a stunningly unflattering role in the 1980 movie "Ordinary People," for which she won a Golden Globe. Mary also worked behind the scenes as a producer and her company (MTM Enterprises) made several popular shows. Mary's life was darker than many assume; both she and her mother struggled with alcoholism.

I'm glad she had a long life and wish her a fond farewell.

What are your memories of Mary's work?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Belly Dancing Fun

Today's photoshoot was super-fun. Feminine movements, tinkling of metal on my outfit, and simple joy. I owe it all to belly dance.

What is belly dance, you ask? It's expressive dance of innumerable variations. Both its moves and costumes vary from region to region. While some associate it with Middle Eastern cultures, belly dance is practiced around the world.

I stumbled upon a belly dance costume yesterday while perusing an Egyptian clothing store. I enjoy visiting stores of different cultures to see what they have to offer. Their wares are often stuff unavailable at suburban American malls.

This outfit was deeply discounted and... wait for it... purple! So it matches my blog. I took that as a sign from the universe that someone wants me to have this cute costume.

Wanna dance with me?

Saturday, January 21, 2017


A warm, sunny day in January? Yes, please. It was beautiful today, reaching almost 60 degrees with bright sunlight.

After a pleasant lunch with an old friend, I rode east to explore new places. Bought some delicious exotic cheeses made from goat's milk (Cypress Grove Midnight Moon) and sheep's milk (Ossau Iraty). Also found some vintage jazz on vinyl records (Miles Davis; Chet Baker). Best of all, I divined an authentic belly-dancing outfit -- in blog purple! -- at deep discount. Because every woman needs a belly-dancing outfit. At least this one does.

How is your weekend going?

Sunday, January 15, 2017


I was hiking in the woods today and decided to create a self-portrait...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Long Beach

My first trip of the year was planned for this weekend but a forecast of snow caused me to postpone the journey; I didn't want to be stranded away from home by icy roads. So I pulled out my map yesterday and searched for a nearby place I've never visited before. I went to Long Beach.

Long Beach is a resort community on the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to a vibrant commercial area, the city has a two-mile wooden boardwalk running along the ocean. The boardwalk is pristine having been recently built; the prior one was totally destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Despite being on the Island, Long Beach is brand new to me which makes exploring it fun. Plus, my favorite new restaurant, The Pig & Queen, is in the neighborhood and I stopped there for BBQ.

What did you do today?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Snow

Do you have snow where you live?
By the way, where do you live?!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Button-Down Shirts

Most women know infinitely more about fashion than most men. It's a subject women talk about. Their depth of knowledge impresses me.

But nobody's perfect...

I have seen women frequently make a mistake when talking about an item of menswear (which is sometimes worn by women). In fact, I see women err in talking about this as often as they get it right. I'm referring to the button-down shirt.

Do you know what a button-down shirt is? Do you believe the shirt shown above is one?

It is not. NOT! The buttons that make a shirt "button-down" are NOT the ones running down the front of the shirt.

Here is a real button-down shirt. See if you can spot the difference...

The difference is this shirt has buttons ON THE COLLAR. Shirts with buttons on the collar are properly called "button-down shirts;" shirts without buttons on the collar are not. Here's a close-up...

Button-down collars were introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1896. They are considered a more casual, sporting style. Traditionally dressed men do not wear suits with this style of collar.

Did you know about this? If not, then I'm proud I finally taught you guys something after years of you teaching me about fashion.  :-)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hiking In The Woods

I mentioned in my penultimate post that I've been hiking a lot -- and plan to do more. It's a great way to get exercise because you're distracted by the beauty of nature. Plus you get to see cool stuff.

On my last hike, I saw a black squirrel. Black! Completely black in the darkest shade. I didn't know squirrels came that way. I wonder if the other squirrels make fun of him, like poor Rudolf.

Up to now, I've hiked in sneakers. I didn't realize how good hiking boots have become in the past 40 years. I got a pair for Christmas and -- wow! They feel like pillows covered with armor. So soft, yet so sturdy. Their design comforts your foot while giving serious traction on the trail. Amazingly they're even lighter than sneakers which lessens fatigue. I'm so glad I dipped my toe (literally) into technology that's evolved miles from my youth.

Do you hike? Have you worn hiking boots?