Soft Surroundings

My Time. My Place. My self.

(Naperville, Illinois)

Soft Surroundings – Part 1 of 3

Fashion Trends and Friends were thrilled to receive an email asking if we’d be interested in collaborating with Soft Surroundings…well let us think about it – YES!  Cindy, Lori and I were asked if we’d like to pick a top, pants, jewelry item and shoes from the Soft Surroundings Fall Transition Line.  How fun and exciting is that?!  We jumped at the opportunity!

I chose the Bermondsey top.  This deftly draped knit top creates a subtly chic look with understated fashion details. Pearly buttons collect gathers along the side, with a gentle cowl boatneck and long sleeves.  It comes in the five colors shown.

Soft Surroundings 5 Pocket Pull on Leggings in the sand-washed denim was my pant choice.   Look at all the amazing colors they come in and with just the right amount of stretch they are super duper comfortable!  They sit just below your natural waist. After wearing mine all day, they did not stretch out and bag like others do becoming too large!

This stunning necklace presents a one-of-a-kind gift of Nature – a gold-encased pendant of sliced blue agate druzy, a gemstone associated with creativity and strength. Mingled with shimmering crystal and intricate gold-like beads handwoven on linen thread, grey feldspar also brings balance and flexibility. I’m going to be able to wear it with so many outfits!  It’s quit the statement piece.

Moto-inspired suede booties have all the requirements for a cool modern edge, like laser-cut perforations and a strappy harness with silver studs, to a scalloped top and rounded toe. A chunky stacked wood heel, synthetic lining and man-made sole complete this fast-track Vince Camuto design in all-purpose taupe. 1″ heel. These booties are buttery soft and super comfortable!  They will be on major repeat all fall and winter!  To say I love everything about them is an understatement! LOL

Soft Surroundings – Naperville, Illinois

Lori and I met up to exchange sizes on a couple of items and low and behold a shopping excursion emerged…I know you’re shocked!  The sales associates were so helpful!  The store itself has a warm, inviting and friendly atmosphere. Soft Surroundings was already a favorite of FTFs so this was simply a reminder of why!

Other Favorites and Purchases:

(Please disregard our bare feet in these pictures – LOL!)

Two textures, one terrific tunic. On top, a soft woven overlay ends in a modern asymmetrical hem – and that’s where the light chiffon underlayer begins, offering silky contrast.  Lori and I both loved this top (it comes in three colors) and it pairs perfect with my Patience Necklace. 

I’m wearing Soft Surroundings Metro Leggings!  Lori and I give them two thumbs up for comfort, figure flattering and holding their shape!

I had to have the Aurora Velvet Topper!  The soft material, rich details, comfort and trend factor were all pluses in my book!  I think it looks great with the cream top shown above.  However, I chose to pair it with the Celine Tunic, which comes in seven colors.  The asymmetrical high-low hem adds additional visual interest.

Another successful shopping adventure complete!

Fun on a Photo Shoot:

A special thank you to my hubs, Len!  He’s always willing to take my photos, but the problem is he thinks I look beautiful in all of them.  Therefore, he feels as though one and done is a good thing.  Truth be told the delete button is my friend.  This is the hardest part of blogging – decent pictures!



Being one with the geese and avoiding all of their poop…  LOL

Worshiping the Sun god and Mother Nature…

Ummmm…I have no idea!  What remotely even says I’m ready for my picture to be taken?  Nice face…LOL

Hope you got a good laugh!

In all seriousness, FTF followers please come back next week for part two of our three part series.  Next week, Lori will feature her Soft Surroundings outfits and the following week Cindy will share hers.





How I Got Rid of My Under Eye Dark Circles in 5 Minutes!

I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m the type of person who will get dark under eye circles almost immediately if I’m not caught up on my sleep.

Lately these dark under eye circles seem to be appearing more than I would like. I’ve googled the best way to get rid of them but a regular routine of eight hours sleep and some of the “home” remedies just isn’t always feasible with all the traveling I do.   So how do I get rid of them?

I found a solution and it only takes a few minutes to see the difference with a little help from my new beauty hero Doron Gaby, the owner of Le Visage here in Tucson.

This past week my husband and I were shopping at La Encantada here in Tucson.  We were passing by Le Visage a skin care/day spa shop, when a girl offered me some moisturizer samples.  I took them because I had heard good things about the products they carry and I’m always looking for samples because they are easy to pack when I travel.   I’ve never actually gone into the store because frankly when I’m at the mall I’m in a hurry to get in and out.

I really don’t remember what the girl said to me, but she got me in the store.   In the store, I was greeted by Doron, the owner (pictured above)   Ok ladies….if you were greeted by Doron would you not at least listen about the products he offers?   LOL!

I was telling Doron how I’m getting dark under eye circles more frequently.   He showed me a product called Lionesse White Pearl facelift filler for dark circles and puffy eyes.  He asked if he could apply under my eyes so I could see how quickly it works. Within less than 5 minutes the dark circles were gone and the fine lines smoothed.   I have never seen a product work so quickly at firming up my skin and eliminating the dark circles! I was absolutely amazed!   Even my husband was amazed.  SOLD!

Pretty amazing, right? Do you see the difference? Note: I don’t have an ounce of makeup on my skin or under my eyes, just a bit of mascara.

Because this product is a facelift filler I also decided to try on my chin.  Again, take a look at these results!

More About the Lionesse Facelift Filler

I just want to mention that this is product works for me. However, we’re not all the same and what works for me might not work for you.

The Lionesse Facelift Filler is a specialty serum/gel.  It can be used anywhere on your face.  It works on all skin types.  The product contains vitamin E to repair skin damage, Hyaluronic Acid and avocado oil to moisturize the skin.  It’s light weight and doesn’t flake on your skin (well at least for me) like other products I’ve tried.   You can feel it tightening immediately.   It lasted all day for me, so I didn’t need to reapply.  

Instructions say its meant to be used once per week and/or before special occasions.  Does leaving the house qualify for a special occasion?   LOL   I’ve been using it daily.  Make sure you face is completely dry before you apply.  You only need a small drop per eye. Then let it dry.  I actually put my hairdryer on the cool setting and blow the cool air on each eye to speed up the drying process.   You then can put moisturizer or any other product over it.

 Let’s Talk Cost

Now, I try to keep myself on a bit of a budget when it comes to beauty products. I DO splurge every now and then to treat myself.   The MSPR of this product can be $175 to $995!  My jaw hit the floor when I saw this price range.   I needed a moment to recover.

I was able to purchase from Doron for $135!  That was more manageable.  Its still a bit more than I would normally spend, but the product works like magic! So for me, it was worth the investment.

Offer For Our Followers!

Doron has kindly offered the White Pearl Facelift Filler to all of our followers for $135 + FREE Ship!  This is not just for your first order, but also every reorder!   If you don’t live in the Tucson area, you can call the shop.

How to get this offer:  Stop in or Call  520-299-1938

Tell them you follow Fashion Trends and Friends and give them code FTFeyes

If you do order the product and try it, please let us know how it worked for you.  We would also love for you to send us your before and after pic!

Other Products I’m Trying

I also purchased some other products for my skin: the nightly eye cream from the Amber Collection, the Vitamin C serum from the White Pearl Collection and Ultimare Pearl Facial Peel and scheduled a facial for next week.   I will be blogging about the results.  So stay tuned!

I want to thank Doron for being so generous in offering this price to our followers.  I had a great time and can’t wait for him to give me my facial this weekend!

*Note: All opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not work for, nor was I paid by Doron to write this post.


FTF Friends – Meet Lynn O’Dowd!

A Fellow Friend in the Forever Fierce 50 Revolution!

FTF is as much about friends as it is about fashion.  So from time to time we are going to introduce you to some of our most fashionable, creative and talented friends.  Women we love dearly.  The kind of friend who if they called you in the middle of the night and said they needed help, you would pop out of bed, grab your keys and run out the door to get there as fast as possible.

Lynn O’Dowd is one of those friends.  My sister, Karen, calls them forever friends.  Those you’ve shared the majority of your life with and who literally stood by your side during life’s ups and downs.  Lynn and I met in the fifth grade at Hillcrest Elementary School.  We shared spin the bottle, first kisses and were catholic girls that went to Bar Mitzvah’s together.  In high school, she was a cheerleader and I was a pom pom girl.  When we decided to go to the same college, being roommates was a no-brainer!  Post college we were all about the disco scene and went through I don’t know how many Mr. Wrongs and Mr. Rights for right now!  We consoled each other about the Mr. Wrongs and laughed together about the Mr. Rights for right now.   When we each found the real Mr. Right, we stood by each other’s side again as bridesmaids.  She and her husband attend all my sons’ big events; first communions, confirmations and graduations.  She was by my side again holding me up as we said goodbye to my father who passed 3 years ago.  She is truly a forever friend so let me introduce you to her and fill you in on all the amazing things she is doing!


Meet Lynn O’Dowd

Lynn worked in hospitality and corporate America right out of college and was very successful but after 15 years needed a change.  After a lot of soul searching and great consideration, she changed careers and became a certified professional organizer and an executive productivity coach.  In 1999 Lynn launched her own business, All About Time!  She trained with Tony Robbins and even appeared with him on the Oprah Winfrey show!  She is wildly successful!

Even though she built a fantastic business, enjoyed her work and was gratified by the impact she was making in the lives of her clients something was missing.  She was satisfied but wanted to bring more joy and happiness into her life.  After a lot of soul searching and personal reflection, she remembered how much she enjoyed singing in the high school choir.  So she joined her church choir.  She loved it but it wasn’t enough.  Then she remembered how much she enjoyed playing guitar as a young woman so she dug it out of the attic and began playing again.  She enjoyed it but it wasn’t enough.  One day while reading the paper she came across an ad seeking a singer for a rock n roll band. Even though it scared her to death she gathered all her courage, auditioned and got the gig!.  Lynn was a singer in a rock n roll band.  Now her soul was singing!


She performed with the band for about a year and was having an amazing time.  Everyone wanted to hear HOW she did it, and wished they could live their dreams, too.  She realized there are so many people who feel they could play a bigger game (get on a bigger stage), contribute more, and make a bigger difference in their business and life. They have these big dreams in their career or life, yet they often never get to fulfill any of them due to fear, lack of self-worth, or perhaps the negative voice playing in their head.

So, she decided to do something about it…


Meet Lynn O’Dowd – Keynote Performer

Lynn wrote and performs what is basically a one woman show.   A unique, soul-energizing, transformational keynote.

She ultimately helps people tap into the missing ingredients that prevent them from experiencing a spectacular outcome in life or in business. 
She helps them Unleash Their Inner Superstar, so they can literally become who they want to be or fulfill who they were born to be.

In a nutshell, – she moves them from I CAN’T to I CAN in 30 to 60 minutes.

She accomplishes this by using her own story and song lyrics to teach about transformation and she physically transforms before the audience’s very eyes with an eye-popping costume change that allows her to Unleash her Inner Superstar (in her case, Lady Gaga) to drive home the message that we all have hidden gifts and talents within us, we just need to let them out!


The common result & benefits of her keynotes are standing ovations, tears, many photos with her as “Lady Gaga”, and audience testimonials on how they transformed, followed through on their dreams, and achieved new levels of passion, performance, and courage in business and life.


Lynn’s Inspiration Comes to Chicago! Lady Gaga at Wrigley Field

Much of Lynn’s inspiration  for her keynote performance comes from Lady Gaga. When she learned Gaga was coming to Chicago, she knew she had to go.  My husband, Mark, is also a big fan so we made it a double date.  To say it was fantastic is an understatement!  The weather was perfect, the venue historic but what really stood out to me was the positive energy flowing throughout the crowd.  Lady Gaga’s fans are diverse, accepting, kind and loving. Everyone was so happy and excited to see her perform.


The people watching was amazing!  Here are a few of my favorites.  They were happy to strike a pose!

The Best Part of the Night – Lynn Get’s Picked to Be in the Mosh Pit!

Do you believe in karma?  I do.  Lynn and her husband  had just arrived when a Wrigley Field staff member took one look at Lynn’s costume and asked if they’d like to watch the concert from the lawn directly in front of the stage!  Of course they said yes!  Lynn got to see her inspiration up close and personal.  Nobody deserved it more!  Check out my girl in the mosh pit!


Find Out More about Lynn and her Keynote Performance

If you’re looking for a great keynote speaker check out Lynn O’Dowd!  To learn more about Lynn visit her website and social media pages.

Lynn O’Dowd Keynote Performer








What’s the Right Dress to Dress Your Body Type…

How to Pick the Right Dress for Your Body Type

I typically don’t wear dresses to work.  However, for whatever reason, dresses have kind of been my go to recently.  I’m finding them to be easy to wear and comfortable.  Part of the reason might be attributed to the fact that I have figured out what style is figure flattering on my body type.  Think camouflage the mid-section, bootie and minimize my large chest…phew that’s a lot of camouflaging!  HA

Practical Fashionista 

In this brief video, Practical Fashionista describes how to pick a holiday dress for your body type.  In reality, the holidays aren’t that far away, yet her tips are perfect for picking a dress for any occasion…


Were you able to identify your body type?  The hour glass was my body type for years until I hit my 50’s.  Now I think I’m a triangle.

My Recent Dress Purchases

This dress works on my body type (think triangle) because it camouflages all of my problem areas (mid-section, booty and large chest).  I’m comfortable wearing dresses right above the knee.  The statement necklace and cold shoulders draw the eye up towards my face and away from my problem areas.  Once I figured out that this style of dress was figure flattering, I knew to look for others with the same silhouette.

As you can see, this dress has the exact silhouette as the dress above.  It’s figure flattering because it hides what I consider my problem areas.  Additionally, it has POCKETS!  Who doesn’t love pockets?!!  This material usually causes me to not try it on as I’m fearful it will cling in all the wrong spots.  However, if it’s slightly heavier, it doesn’t cling at all!  Phew!


If you watched the video, you know statement jewelry pieces draw the eye upward.  Both necklaces came with earrings and were purchased on Amazon.  If there’s something specific I know I want and don’t want to drive all over looking for it, Amazon is always my first go to for searching.  The prices are usually great and with prime I get delivery quickly!  That’s a total win in my book!

Shop the Dress (a Similar Look):  New York and Company

You’re probably noticing the pattern of the same silhouette in all three of these examples but I thought it worth sharing especially since all three are varying material.  This dress is far more casual and can be worn without leggings.  I wore it without in Punta Cana.  The material is like a sweatshirt type material and it has a small zipper in the back.  Other selling points were the POCKETS and the SEQUINED lettering GLAM…happy dance!  I think this can be dressed up or down and worn multiple ways, which are always good selling points!

Shop the Dress:  on sale for $24.97 at New York and Company


This denim dress is figure flattering because it flows away from my body yet has some structural interest:  bare shoulders, ruffled top, hem line cutouts and I can’t forget to mention comfort!!  Although I would never wear this to work, it’s perfect for summer days and evenings.  By the way, while I absolutely adore those sandals, I was ready to either be carried or crawl home.  Sometimes I sacrifice comfort for cute, but I think I need to give these away.  Size 9.5…any takers?  HA!

Shop the Dress (a similar look):  on sale for $19.97 at Carson’s


This beauty grabbed my attention because all of the amazing details, which you might have heard me describe on FTF’s Insta Stories.  Love the colorful embroidery, the grommets around the neck and sleeves, the tassels and it has POCKETS! The denim material doesn’t cling and as Lori would say it covers “my sins”!  This dress could also be worn over leggings, jeggings and will easily transition into fall.  I’ve actually seen this dress in several locations.  I purchased it at Steinmart.

This dress is made of what I’d consider tee shirt material.  It’s very soft.  Initially I was concerned that it would be too clingy, but it’s not.  The blue coloring is ombre and goes from a darker to lighter blue.  While it hits right at the knee, I felt more comfortable pairing it with white leggings for extra smoothing underneath.  It can be dressed up like shown.  I wore it to work; but it can be thrown over a swimsuit and worn to the beach.  It’s loose enough that it doesn’t draw attention to any of my flaws.  The lines of faded color along the sides also slim and draw your eye vertically.

That about sums up my recent dress purchases.  Do you have any tips for dress shopping?  Please share your tips and favorite spots to shop!


The Rocky Road to Menopause and How Essential Oils Can Help

A little over a month ago I received an unexpected gift in the mail.   It was a set of 6 essential oils from Eden Gardens.   The gift was sent to me by a coworker (who is a Millennial).  The note in the package said….” Thinking of you and hoping you can get some relief from your hot flashes/insomnia/anxiety with these.  I’ve being using them for several years and they have helped me tremendously.   Hope they can help you”.

Wow!  How thoughtful and lovely was that?!  The coworker and I work closely together. I’ve been complaining about all my premenopausal issues to her.   She is great in getting me to laugh about everything that is going on with my body right now and to not get so stressed about it. (She has a very funny, dry sense of humor that I love!)  Even though she is 20 years my junior, I don’t think of her as that much younger than me.   It’s actually pretty amazing how much we do have in common even with the age difference.  We are “bridging the gap”!

I wanted to try the oils out before I gave an honest review.   I must be living under a rock, because as I started researching Eden Gardens and found that there is an essential oils craze right now.   It’s not that I didn’t know about essential oils.  I’ve been using lavender and Tee Tree on and off for years, but it really seems to be “a thing” right now.


My new best friends…. meet Clare Sage, Peppermint  and Joy (a Synergy Blend)

Joy  this is a combination of sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis), Lemon (Citrus limon), Tangerine (Citrus reticulata), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Litsea (Litsea cubeba), Damiana (Turnera diffusa), Jasmine (Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum), Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia

eden gardens

I’m using it when I feel a little tired or sluggish, I just rub it on my wrists and the back of my neck. I don’t know if its psychological, but it does seem to help.  It also has a very nice fragrance without being overpowering. I can only say it really does bring me “joy” when I use it. LOL   Even my husband, who does not like the smell of most oils, enjoys this fragrance so this is a keeper.

My Hot Flash Help – Clary Sage and Peppermint

hot flashes


Clary Sage

It has significantly reduced my hot flashes during the day.   I need to apply at least 4-5 times a day.  I mixed some clary sage with peppermint, and put it on the back of my neck, behind my ears, and on the sides and tops of my ankles.   Night sweats are still a bit of an issue so I just bought a diffuser on Amazon and am going to see if this helps at night.   A couple of girls at work tell me they use it to help with PMS cramps. I know not every oil works for everyone the same way, but worth a try for those with cramps.

Funny Story:

The other day at work I had a hot flash come on quickly.  It was in the middle of a meeting with about ten 27 – 32 year olds (men and women) I had the 5oz bottle in my bag and pulled out the bottle, shook it on the tissue and inhaled/exhaled.  They had that look…what on earth is she doing. I told them why and I was trying the essential oils. The reaction was actually pretty amazing.   The comments were “that’s cool” (no pun intended LOL) Cindy you crack me up with how honest you are.  That’s what we love about you…you are so direct and transparent.  How nice right!? One even commented “yeah my mom is getting hot flashes and she says it’s miserable.   I need to tell her about this.”   Again, “bridging the gap”  Note:  It didn’t get rid of the hot flashes completely, but it definitely helps a lot!


Peppermint oil may also reduce your discomfort when experiencing hot flashes. Add no more than two drops to a tissue. Hold the tissue up to your nose while breathing slowly.  I’m also using it for some nerve pain I’m having.  I’m rubbing on my outer ankle and lower back.   It actually is working!   It only lasts for a couple of hours, but very helpful.

Roll Ons and Base Oils

Eden Gardens also sells roll ons that are pre-diluted.  These will be great for travel, but since I already have the oils, I  just purchased a set of roller balls from Amazon and some fractionated coconut oil  so I can “do it myself” right now.  I’m going to use the roller ball with Be Still Synergy Blend and rub it on my wrists when I start to feel anxious (which seems to be getting worse for me when I fly! No idea why!)  More to come on how this works for me.

My experience with Eden Gardens has been positive.   I’m still playing around with how many drops I need to use.   Also, I should mention it’s very affordable! I encourage you to check out their website to learn more about the company.  There are lots of great resources on the website that share ways to use oils, and you can also contact the company if you have specific questions.

All in all, would I say essential oils work 100%? No, not for me.  But they do help a lot!

I’m in no way affiliated with Eden Garden.  They have no idea who I am, and they are certainly not paying me to write this post.  Anyone can purchase their oils through their website or Amazon.

How about you? Are you already a die-hard fan of essential oils?



Punta Cana

Punta Cana – What I Wore and More

The last week of July my husband, Len and I were able to have a dream vacation in Punta Cana.  It was kind of a big deal as we were able to celebrate his renewed health and healing.  Not only did he survive pancreatic cancer, Len also survived pancreatitis caused by his gallbladder and removal of his gallbladder shortly after.  His overall health was precarious from January through June.  During our 11 days in the hospital on the second stay, I visualized us laying on a beach soaking in the sun as this is the type of vacation we enjoy!  My heart was filled with gratitude that we were able to turn my visualization into reality!

Breathless:  Live Big Breath Deep

We stayed at an all inclusive adults only resort and spa.  How perfect is their motto:  Live Big Breath Deep?!  That’s exactly what we did for seven days!  The staff were amazing and dedicated to ensuring we had the best experience possible!  Emilio gave us the VIP treatment all week long.  Carmen Russell, our wedding planner, ensured that our vow renewal ceremony was picture perfect.  Vladamire caught the special moments of our ceremony and romantic dinner on the beach.  The E Team kept us entertained in the evening, got us up and dancing and had us all laughing!

Breathless Lobby:

Sofrita Restaurant (There are 11 restaurants.  This was one of my favorites!):

The Beach (My Happy Place!):

Our Room and Some of the Pools:

What I Wore:

Punta Cana in the summer is hot!  I mean really, really, really HOT!!!  I enjoy hot weather!  In fact the hotter, the better.  I was prepared to live in my swimsuits during the day and brought along what I consider resort, fun wear for the evenings.  Here are few of my “fun wear” ootn!


I might be romper obsessed this summer!  Rompers are cool and perfect for the tropical environment!  I couldn’t resist posing next to this amazing palm tree in my palm print romper! On this particular romper, I love the fringed detailing.  Easy on and easy off are also criteria especially when drinking and running to the bathroom!  LOL

The colors, flutter sleeves and fact that I could wear my regular bra were all pluses for this romper…and yes, it’s easy on and off!

We made big decisions every night…which restaurant to eat in (there are 11), what kind of umbrella drinks, martinis, etc. to try!  If you ever go, you must try the Mamawanna!

Hard Rock Resort Punta Cana:  

Since Len’s passion is music and he’s in a band, we always stop at the Hard Rock whenever we travel!  Although we weren’t staying at The Hard Rock, they did allow us to come onto the property to go to the casino.  I adore this outfit especially since I would have NEVER picked it out for myself nor would I have chosen the size of the pants as I thought they would have been too small.  I got this outfit when we were in California with our Fierce 50 sisters at the Chico’s in Santa Monica brunch.  I stated that I had no where to wear this outfit.  Cindy commented, “That has never stopped you before! Take it to Punta Cana!”  Boy do my friends know me!


Early in the week we met with our wedding planner.  Four things were important to us (well maybe mainly to me – Len is so easy going!):  renewing our vows on the beach, flowers, pictures and a romantic dinner that night on the beach.  They made it all happen and more!  Emilio made sure our room was decorated extra special and surprised us the day before.  We returned from the beach to find this…rose pedals led us through the entry hallway across the room and out onto the deck where the jacuzzi was filled and decorated.

Additionally, they brought us breakfast the day before our renewal as well as the day after…

Len and I enjoyed a couples massage (sorry no pictures!) HA!


As you recall from my previous post, I was out hunting for a dress!  Many of you commented on your favorite pick for me.  So drumroll please…the winner was:

I was unprepared for the flood of emotion, nervous excitement and overwhelming feelings of LOVE and GRATITUDE! This day was so special for so many reasons!  The road we’ve traveled together has had so many bumps.  Those bumps only drove us closer together.  I can’t imagine being on this adventure called life with anyone but Len by my side!  We may not have always liked each other but we’ve ALWAYS LOVED each other!  This trip was a blessing to be able to celebrate Len’s healing and health and the gift of 30+ years together.  We choose each other every day!  The ceremony was beautiful not only the words Carmen had us say but the words we wrote to each other!  This is now a cherished memory that will forever be priceless!

Love that they transported us in a Rolls Royce Golf Car!

Our romantic dinner on the beach!  Steak and Lobster – YUM!

Some details I thought worth sharing and of interest!

Barefoot Bling!

That evening I felt as though the entire resort was our wedding party guests.  So many people approached us with complimentary words and congratulations both men and woman!  They continued to greet us and celebrate us the day after!  What an amazing experience!

If you ever consider renewing your vows, I’d highly recommend it!  If you’re considering a trip to Punta Cana, you’re guaranteed a good time!  When asked, “How are you?”  Everyone at Breathless replied, “Magnifico!  Excelente!”  That about sums up our trip perfectly – MAGNIFICO!  EXCELENTE!

Marriage After 40? Debunking the ageist stereotype

I write this post from Cape Cod.   My husband and I spend the first 2 weeks of Aug up here with his family and friends every year. (There are about 25 of us in total!)  It’s one of the highlights of my year.   In fact, my husband’s family has been coming here during the same 2 weeks in Aug for over 50 years.   Our anniversary is Aug 10, so we get to spend that time with friends and family each year.   It’s more special because got married here 7 years ago.

I don’t know if its coincidence, but over the last few weeks I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and posts about marriage Julie renewing her vows,  to research I’m currently doing at work on millennial women which while doing research online, I came across this old article.


Thirty years ago, the magazine declared that single women over 40 are more likely to be killed by terrorism than to get married—prompting a nationwide crisis whose anxiety still seems to linger based on more current articles I’m reading.  The reality we know that it’s not true, but unfortunately I think for many it still  feels true.

The fact is that, there are more never-married adults over 35 and 40 now (and “single again” adults) than at any time in our nation’s history, according to various reports I’ve been reading.

I remember when this article came out.  It makes me angry to be part of ageist “trend” and it does not reflect my experience.   You see,  I was 48 when I got married for the first time.  Contrary to the Newsweek article I didn’t settle.  I’m so glad I waited for the right guy.

Was I worried when I was in my early 40’s and single?   Yes, I have to admit I was a bit.   It really felt like I did everything I wanted to do in life. I had a great career.  Great friends.  I traveled.  So, time was kind of slipping by.   But then by chance, a mutual friend introduced me to my husband Craig  and the rest is history.  Note:  we dated for 10 years before getting married.   I changed my mindset once we started dating ….I didn’t put pressure on myself to get married.

So, in celebration of my anniversary next week, I thought I would share with you my wedding day.

I got married on the beach in East Sandwich on Cape Cod and had a lobster/clambake reception.   It was a small wedding.  We had about 75 attend.  I planned the entire wedding online (and this was before Pinterest and the popularity of IG) What I would have done for Pinterest back then!  LOL

Like my every day life, I kept it simple.  Frankly I didn’t have time to stress about all the details due to my work commitments.  I didn’t have seat assignments.  My flowers came from a guy who lived down the street from our cottage who use to be a florist.   He grows the best flowers in his backyard and you can buy a container (on the honor system) for $5!  Total flower bill for my wedding was $60!  We had flip flops for everyone so they didn’t need to wear their shoes down to the beach.  There was no photographer.  We let our guests take the pics and we set up an album in Shutterfly where everyone could share them.  I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, but we got great candid shots I probably won’t have from a more “formal” photographer.   My dress came from  White House Black Market.   (more on the dress in a minute)

The day was perfect!   It couldn’t have turned out any better.   It was an intimate, relaxing celebration with family and friends in a beautiful setting. Which when you think about it, that’s what a wedding should be all about.  Right?


The Dress

I bought my dress a month before the wedding.   Not sure why I waited until the last minute.  I guess it was because I had no idea what I wanted.   I wanted to feel special, to look and feel my best but most importantly, I wanted to feel like myself, which is relaxed and comfortable.    For me, spending loads of money on a princess-for-a-day dress that’s going to end up in mothballs seemed unnecessary.  I rather spend the money on the food and drink!

So, on a whim, I decided to go to the mall to see if I could find a dress.   First store I walked into was White House Black Market.   I walked in saw the dress, tried it on and just knew that this was the perfect dress for me and the day.   So that was it…I didn’t shop any other stores to see if there was anything “better”.  I bought it and didn’t second guess my choice.   It was what we now call an “alternative” wedding dress.  (and it was on sale for under $100!)

Interestingly more retailers are offering what they call the alternative wedding dresses   featuring designers and price points from low to high end.  White biker jacket anyone?

So what’s my takeaway message ?

Marriage is not a fact of life, its a choice.  If you want to get married, I’m a firm believer that you will.  My advice for anyone at any age would be to make your wedding day fun. Make it just yours and make it a reflection of you and your fiancée. That’s where the real joy comes in.


I said, “Yes, to the dress!”

I said, “Yes, to My Third Wedding Dress!”

Yes, it’s true!  I recently brought my squad to help me pick out my third wedding dress to wear when celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary!  This anniversary is kind of a big deal as Len (my husband) has recently had some medical challenges so it makes it all the more important to celebrate!  Additionally, I don’t need much of an excuse to to shop with my gal pals and; I love wedding stores!  One of my favorite shows to watch is “Say Yes to the Dress”…no surprise right?!

First, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane…Len and I were married on September 19, 1987!  Yes, you guessed it!  I had a marvelous 1980’s style wedding dress but I loved it then and am still glad it was the dress I said yes to all those years ago!

Of course I need to include a picture of my bridal party, as fellow FTF Cindy and Lori were by my side!  At the time, I thought the gold lame was wonderful and oh so stylish and elegant!

I felt as though that day was picture perfect!  I loved everything about our wedding and all the planning leading up to that day.  I especially loved that I was getting to say, “I do!” to my true love!

20th Anniversary

Fast forward to our 20th wedding anniversary…we always said we would travel to Hawaii to celebrate, which we did and it was glorious!  We did not renew our vows but had an outstanding time touring three islands.  No saying yes, to a dress for that anniversary, but a glorious wedding anniversary celebration vacation!

25th Anniversary

For our 25th wedding anniversary, we decided to go back to the church we were married in to renew our vows.  We invited our original bridal  party to join us along with our immediate family and friends.  I had the amazing pleasure of going to get another wedding dress to celebrate our day together.  I thought I wanted a silver dress, but here is the one that stole my heart:

As in the past, my gal pals Lori and Lynn were by my side!

Planning for the 30th Anniversary

This brings us up to date and to our most recent shopping adventure looking for that perfect dress to say, ” I DO!” all over again.  One of the bridal shops gave me a robe to wear in-between dresses.

My gal pals, Lori and Lynn, by my side helping me to decide!

Here are most of dresses I tried on (some good some NOT so good)… I must admit I went in thinking I wanted one type of dress and changed my mind once I put on “THE ONE”!



Which is your favorite?  Which do you think I picked?  Tune back in to get the answers and see all the details of our vow renewal celebration in Punta Cana!