While in NYC last week, I had the pleasure to shoot with the amazing Denton Taylor. Denton is a NYC native so he knows all best places to take photos.
This kimono jacket seemed like the perfect piece to photograph in Chinatown. I purchased this jacket last year but I found some others you might like herehere and here.
I love the ease, comfort and coverage that a kimono jacket gives...plus it adds a little style to a simple dress. It looks great with jeans too! I'm wearing the jacket over a black dress (love this one!).
I'm always intrigued by the selection of exotic foods at the Chinatown markets. I have never seen so many mushroom varieties!
And then there's the gorgeous fruit and vegetables!
The seafood is SO fresh...wish I could have taken some home on the train. OK, that would have been gross.
The past few days have felt like a wonderful dream.
And I have Chico's to thank.
Chico's #HowBoldAreYou campaign is so much more than clothes! It's about promoting women's empowerment at ANY age. Their message to women is to grow bolder with age, push limits and defy stereotypes.
We can be anything and do anything.
For age should have no limits.
I'm a prime example of this.
56 here. I'm doing things that I never would have attempted in my younger years. The older I get, the stronger I am and the bolder I become.
I want to share my "How Bold Are You" experience.
Here are the highlights:
I follow these beautiful and inspiring women on social media, but meeting them was such a gift. They are all truly lovely inside and out...and yes, they are BOLD!
My dear friend Catherine Grace O'Connell, is the founder of Forever Fierce Revolution and poster woman for what it means to be BOLD and STRONG! I adore her passion for helping women--she has a huge heart.
Because of the snowstorm in Boston, my train was canceled. And as a result I had the chance to meet up with some of the most incredible bloggers who are all doing bold things in their 40's, 50's and 60's.
Talk about bold! Chico's has shaken things up in a big way by promoting and empowering women who are midlife and beyond. Age is just a number and Chico's is a leader in setting the stage by showing the "over 40 woman" in a positive and powerful way.
It all starts at Joe's Pub for the #HowBoldAreYou launch party. I knew this would be fun, but I had NO idea of what the night would hold for me.
Red carpet treatment
On arrival at Joe's Pub, we were greeted by the press. The bloggers were photographed together, then separately (GULP). I could feel my anxiety rising as I was asked to step in front of what felt like 100 cameras. Was my hair ok? What if I looked goofy? What if I had a panic attack and froze up? But the words "be bold" were stuck in my head. Even if I wasn't feeling very confident, I think I looked like I was (fake it 'til you make it!).
The celebrity line-up
Lesley Jane Seymour (MC)
Tracee Ellis Ross (spoke about self-love)
Molly Ringwald (sang--she's amazing) And yes I met all of them!
My photos were on the press release and look who I'm next to (Molly!) OMG.
But what's with that awkward leg pose (middle left)???
We were escorted to our tables...I had number 7.
But how could that be? Table 7 was occupied by Adam Glassman, Traci Ellis Ross, Lesley Jane Seymour, Chico's executives and Andrew Bailey. Me, seated here? There must have been a mistake! I asked the hostess to check, but she assured me that I was at the right place. BIG GULP. Negative messages flooding my brain...
I don't belong here.
What will I say?
I won't fit in.
What if no one talks with me?
Negative self-talk can be brutal.
But I pushed myself. I sat down and started up a conversations.
Then I made a VERY BOLD move.
I got up, walked to the other end of the table and introduced myself to Adam Glassman and Tracee Ellis Ross AND made a pitch for Uncommon Threads (the non-profit I started). I mean style and empowering women---it's right up their alley!
I have no idea what came out of my mouth. I may have blubbered, but I don't think so. And I have to say that it felt WONDERFUL being bold! Stepping out of your comfort zone is a fabulous thing and it's truly
the only way to counteract that critical voice. Just do it!
I think I did good. I passed out my cards, talked for a bit, and then sat down feeling very proud of myself.
I reversed the negativity.
I DO fit in.
I'm worth knowing.
And yes, Tracee and I have the same earrings on!
Thank you Chico's for empowering ME! I'm so honored to be a part of this wonderful campaign.
BE BOLD! XO Susan The Chico's outfit was gifted but I only post what I love. PROMISE! BIG thank you to Robert Jason Salon for coming in to trim my hair during a power outage. They are truly the best! (Go Helen!)
This super easy outfit is perfect for shopping, city strolls, or a
I photographed this look in Newburyport, MA--one of my favorite places to poke around. However, after Raeann and I took several photos, we realized that I was still wearing a wrist key to my room at The Essex Street Inn! So the bright red bracelet you see in some of these photos, really isn't an accessory!
I'm wearing Paige high waisted jeans (SO comfy!) with a loose knit sweater, similar here and here (50% off), and a fabulous camo print scarf that really pulls the outfit together. Very similar scarf HERE and under $20!!
The OTBT sneakers were gifted and some links in this blog may generate a small commission. However the content of my posts are based on my own honest opinions and are not in any way influenced by partnerships. I ONLY post what I love--promise!
Sometimes you just need to escape--and the best places to go can be right in your own backyard! I recently visited the lovely Essex Street Inn, located in the charming seaport town of Newburyport, MA (only 25 minutes away from where I live). This quaint family owned inn is right in the center of town--it's so convenient to shopping, eateries and beautiful places to walk From ocean strolls to hikes in the woods, there is something for everyone!
Essex Street Inn has three beautiful buildings--all with unique rooms (some even have a kitchen!). And then there's the room with a rooftop view of Newburyport...stunning!
SO "New England" right?
So here I am ---can't wait for a short "get-away".
I admit that I'm an "over-packer", but I was pretty proud of myself for bringing just ONE suitcase!
First stop, "check-in".
The inn has the cutest little nooks to take a break for "what else" but checking Instagram and emails....the story of my life!
Some links in this blog may generate a small commission. However the content of my posts are based on my own honest opinions and are not in any way influenced by partnerships. I only post what I love--promise!
We've had the weirdest weather here in the Boston area.
One day it's 20 degrees and snowing, and the next it's 78!
I took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed out WITHOUT a coat! It's hard to believe it's February!
I'm wearing a new ruffle sleeve sweater that I just picked up on the clearance rack at Lord and Taylor. Here are some very similar options for you. HERE and HERE. I love the fun sleeves!
These Hudson jeans were also an end of the season purchase.
I'm a sucker for an unfinished hem-- and the side-slit makes it even better!
These are really similar (HERE) with a lighter wash and higher rise. My Keds slip-ons HERE --another option HERE .
This gorgeous necklace from SKM Collection can be worn a ton of different ways. I wear it all the time because it goes with everything!
I recently got introduced to Jimmy Crystal and I'm HOOKED.
The amazing Chris aviator sunnies are hand crystalized in the Fashion District of NYC! The line is a big hit with celebrities and I can see why! Similar hoops HERE in gold for under $10!
I also adore this stunning Danna bracelet, also from Jimmy Crystal. It's so lightweight, has a gorgeous sparkle and closes easily with a magnetic clasp. I've received so many compliments on this piece!
What does it mean to be fierce in midlife? On this #ForeverFierceDay, let's embrace getting older, wiser and more fabulous! Big thank you to Catherine Grace O'Connell for bringing the most fabulously fierce women together TODAY on her blog.
For me, being fierce taking chances, accepting life's ups and downs, and being my authentic self. The older I get, the more new things I try. I can't imagine doing HALF of what I'm tackling now when I was in my 20's! Yes, I may have a few lines (ok more than a few) and definitely a lot more grey hair, but life is good and I'm a stronger version of myself. I'm more confident, secure in myself and able to speak my mind.
I like being fierce and unafraid at 56.
This year has brought an amazing new group of friends my way through Uncommon Threads, the non-profit I launched to empower women. I want to introduce you to some of the beautiful, caring, compassionate and brilliant women who dedicate their time, energy and love to the program. They are the true meaning of fierce!
Meet nine women who bring me joy, laughter, support and wisdom. They truly make my life richer.
Midlife means time for another chapter--for new adventures! Midlife means that we are old enough to have valuable experience and insight behind us. But it also means we are young enough to take that knowledge and confidence to propel us towards new challenges!
Midlife means that we are a little less agile, maybe with a few more aches. But it hopefully also means a greater acceptance of ourselves and a better understanding of our bodies, our health and the value of each day.
SABITA CHOPRA,e 46
At first "midlife" triggered feelings of angst---"oh that's the time for the crisis". But quite the opposite actually--midlife means change in so many ways. I have been fortunate to take a career break and with it came time for "me". It sounds selfish, but much like being in an airplane and putting the mask over your face first to then help others, I am in a place for deep breathing with so much to give.
Being a part of the non-profit Uncommon Threads since its inception a year ago, I have not only learned to breathe along the way, but I am mindfully giving back positivity and strength to our clients. Being surrounded by strong, beautiful and caring women, I am learning that midlife is just the beginning of a wonderful journey, yet to experience and cherish as the years before.
Midlife is a rebirth, like connecting with an old friend, reflecting on how I've changed through the years as a young wife and mother watching her family grow. Do I enjoy the small things? Which goals did I achieve? Which did I pass over in favor of those more exciting?
I'm walking down different avenues. Truly in the past I didn't make time for my interests, but now I do. I focus on people and activities that are close to my hear. I've lived long enough to see how fleeting health is, so it's my priority. Making time to spend with girlfriends keeps my sanity at check, and I thank them for listening, laughing and loving. Most important is the time I spend with my husband. We enjoy weekly date nights, relaxing with a drink on hard days, and giving in to wanderlust, just us two.
A time to sit back and watch my kids become men---just enjoy
the people they have become and say as a single mom, "I did that. Good job!".
A time to stay healthy and become the best person I can be...giving back to others because I am truly blessed.
A time to enjoy life with my husband, family and friends more.
A time to worry less about things I can't change.
The best is yet to be!
MARCIA VALENTI, 57
Manchester by the Sea, MA
Midlife is a time of transition. It brings with it consequential challenges and the opportunity for monumental triumphs of impact. Along with the shifting of weight comes a shifting of focus. Form others, your job description as CEO of your household has been reduced to consultant status. Working women have climbed their way to the top of a constantly changing work environment. Many have a platform to implement change. It can be a time of reexamination and redefinition of yourself as a woman and as a human being. It becomes incrediblyimportant to set new goals, stay relevant and find causes and people that have meaning to you. A new awareness of mortality creeps in and a sense of urgency to find purpose and fulfillment. It' is YOUR time. Us it. Be confident, be fierce, be YOU!
LYSANNE LAPIERRE, 52
My "real life" began at 50! Being fierce in midlife is about being your authentic self--letting your heart lead instead of your head. It is listening to the voice inside you instead of the external voices of what you should and shouldn't be, look like, etc. While my first 50 years made me who I am, it was not until I started looking inside to see my authentic soul that I was able to truly enjoy who I am and embrace the good and the "bad". I am a recovering perfectionist- where in my early years my focus was on being "perfect" and hiding any imperfections. Midlife is about being perfectly imperfect and loving yourself exactly as you are right now. From that self-love comes great personal power which enables us "mid-lifers" to accomplish great things and be fulfilled in a way that we never could have in our prior 50.
EILEEN KELLY, 50
North Andover, MA
At the midpoint in my life, as I look back at all the stupid things I did in my 20's, I appreciate how I survived "Mom territory" in my 30's and 40's. I now can look forward to the fabulous 50's. I've decided that this decade is for me to do the things I love. I continue to feel 18, though I don't look it! I don't wear lingerie, I wear Spanx! While I love fashion, I know I do't have to completely follow it to look good. I may even figure out how to accessorize properly. As Bette Davis once said, " Getting old is not for sissies", well I'm no sissy so bring it on!
JENNIFER MARIN, 49
North Andover, MA
Being fierce to me means just liking myself. Simple as that. No more trying to be something that I'm never going to be, but also realizing I can be whomever I want to be. Being fierce in midlife is nothing like how I imagined...IT'S SO MUCH MORE FUN! I love and live with fierce emotions and while they may be messy at times, "I'm okay with it". Midlife has brought me clarity and a sense of calm that for much of my life I didn't have. I'm completely content with my complicated life.
I live more deliberately. I'm more forgiving and more thoughtful with how I spend my time. My relationships are fewer, but richer. I'm open to learning new things and having new adventures. I find myself facing life's challenges and disappointments more bravely. I'm living my life on my own terms and it feels oh, so good!
LAURIE LIFFMANN, 55
I am at a stage where I can reflect on the first phase of my life and look to the next. I have raised and been blessed with two amazing children who have wonderful careers and partners. I have been with my fabulous husband for over thirty-years. Experience has taught me to appreciate my family, friends and the strong support system that I have surrounding me. The days of carpooling to sports, helping with homework and college applications are over. My babies are now independent adults, while my parents are aging and will likely need more support in the future. Dealing with illness and death of friends and their parents becomes more frequent and I appreciate that each day is a gift. I reflect on my good fortune and look forward to future generations and helping them to make the world a better place for all of us.
It's been almost ten years since I've shopped for new eyeglasses. I rarely wore them as I'm a contact lens junkie, so why bother spending the money? But then dry-eye set in, and on way too many occasions I had to wear my old dated glasses--not good for a style blogger!
My old outdated glasses.
Why did I wait so long to replace my glasses you may wonder? I HATE eyeglass shopping! It's so hard to figure out what shape works for my face--I just can't be objective. And the large optical shops stress me out.
So I finally bit the bullet, enlisted the help of my friends Cathy (left) and Laurie (right) and headed to the most amazing eyewear shop around, Eyewear by Giorgio in Chelmsford, MA.
Eyewear by Giorgio is such a comfortable place to shop---it's warm, cozy and so inviting. There's even a little snack area with water, coffee, and bites.
Eyewear by Giorgio may look small, but it's CHOCK full of the most gorgeous frames you've ever seen. I would guess they have well over 1,000 styles to choose from! From traditional frames to the unusual, they have just about anything your heart desires. I couldn't believe the selection from some of the most fashion-forward places like Italy and Barcelona. But the highlight of a visit to Eyewear by Giorgio, is Giorgio himself. Giorgio is amazing--he's kind, personable and extremely knowledgeable (he's been in the business for over 40 years!). Eyeglass shopping has never been so relaxing and FUN (yes I said fun!).
Honestly, I have never seen a frame collection like this! Butterflies can't you believe it?
Every time I thought I had seen pretty much all the frames, Giorgio brought out another box!
Giorgio is a gem. He truly loves his job and has a passion for making people look good. He took so much time with me explaining which type of frame would work best for my shaped face. He loves to educate his clients!
He showed me how frames can compliment the colors we wear...he even has fabric swatches to play with! I know I look a little goofy but humor me.
He also has state-of-the-art technology to ensure a perfect fit.
Giorgio makes all the glasses right at the store. He is a true craftsman who takes pride in his work.
So which frames did I choose?
Here are some of the contenders.
I also had a whole lot of fun trying on different frames!
Who doesn't love bling?
I finally landed on this style. I love that I can wear these glasses anywhere and that the round shape softens my face,
As Giorgio told me "the curve of the frame follows the arch of your brow".
And I also got these amazing animal print sunnies! Thank you for encouraging me to try them Giorgio--I LOVE them!
And my gorgeous friend Cathy got these stunning frames that show off her super blue eyes.
Giorgio loves to share his tips on choosing frames. Here's some advice from the best!
A round face looks best in a rectangular type frame--however this does not mean it has to have hard angles/corners.
A square face looks best in an oval shape.
When someone has a long face, the frame should have some depth. A frame that is too short vertically will actually emphasize the length of the face.
A face with more pronounced features can carry a bold heavy looking frame while someone with small features may look over-powered by this type of frame.
All glasses should have an anti-reflective coating to improve vision and eliminating annoying glare.
Have fun with eyeglasses. Why just have one pair?
Eyewear is fashion so change things up!
Take a photo of yourself to see if you like how you look in a frame.
Eyeglasses are an accessory and can totally change your appearance.
Getting a cancer diagnosis has prompted me to make healthier changes in my life. I'm eating differently. My diet is now Paleo (another blog) and I'm trying to eat mostly organic food. I'm also doing my best to cut down on the amount of chemicals that touch my skin. I haven't gone totally chemical-free (there are certain products that I won't give up!), but I'm eliminating as many toxins as I can. However, I've been stressed about coloring my hair. I'm not ready to go gray, yet I don't want to put harsh chemicals on my scalp either. When I told my amazing stylist Helen (of Robert Jason Salon) about my dilemma, she did some research and found CCT (Clean Color Technology), a kinder gentler color. Is she the best or what?
PPD--a chemical used in permanent hair dye that many people have an allergic reaction to. It also is a possible carcinogen.
Resorcinol--a coloring agent also found in acne treatments.
This can be a human immune system toxicant.
Ammonia, which can cause itchy scalps and watery-red eyes.
I was worried that a natural hair color wouldn't give me enough gray coverage, but CCT works just as well as my old color! It also left my hair shiny and soft, and it was so gentle on my sensitive scalp.
CCT comes in 106 permanent shades, achieves up to 5 levels of lightening, has 100% grey coverage, smells great and is formulated for salon use. Helen got the color right on the first try by the way! If you're in the Merrimack Valley (Massachusetts)/Greater Boston area, I HIGHLY recommend Robert Jason Salon. Not only are all of their stylists incredibly talented, but they are now able to offer CCT to clients who prefer a more "natural" approach to hair color. Hurray for choices! If you're considering switching over to CCT, schedule a consult with one of their amazing stylists. Tell them I sent you for $25.00 off your first service. XO Susan
My last post was about the Chico's blogger event I attended a few weeks ago. I have to admit that I had a tough time figuring out what to wear since I lost a few pounds (on an anti-cancer diet) and my clothes were swimming on me! So I took a trip over to Chic Consignment to regroup--here's what I wore.
Outfit #1 Meeting (put together by Chic) - I wore this gorgeous velvet Haute Hippie tunic with black skinny jeans and a fun vest for the Chico's "listening session". It was so comfortable!
For accessories, we chose a fabulous multi-strand Rebecca Minkoff chain necklace, a silver and turquoise ring and a Marc Jacobs quilted patent leather bag. Black ankle boots completed the outfit (similar here). Similar pieces: velvet tunic here (love the color!), vesthere (on sale for under $50!), and a very inexpensive bag here (yep--under $10!).
Outfit #2--Dinner with the bloggers
This Nicole Miller Art dress from Chic has such a fun pattern and looks great with tights and boots (other bold print dresses here and here LOVE SO MUCH!). The original plan was to wear it with the boots in outfit #3 bare-leg, but I changed my mind when I learned we were walking 5 blocks to dinner in 20 degree weather (BRRR).
This KJL serpent necklace from Chic is AMAZING. I love how it adds a little sparkle and plays off the colors in the dress. More statement necklaces here (under $50), here, and if you like the serpent look here.
Outfit #3 Dinner with Richard
My rule of thumb for traveling, is always to bring a little black dress. There's so much you can do with a simple black dress--this one is very similar with the same simple shape and straight lines. I added the fun leather/fur vest from Chic for a bit more interest and then there's the boots.....
I fell head over heels (no pun intended) with these incredible Pour La Victoire snake print boots from Chic, which are such a great contrast to the black dress! Sorry, I bought them!
Richard and I love urban hikes and this outfit is perfect for poking around the city. Because the weather was so changeable, I had three coats with me--which was a good thing since I needed all of them!
The past month has been stressful (due to health issues), but last week was like a dream. After years of following my blogger friends on social media, I had the opportunity to meet them in person while spending a few days at the super swanky Crosby Street Hotel in NYC. But equally exciting, was the chance to be involved in a Chico's campaign to empower women--right up my alley since I'm the Executive Director of a non-profit that supports women!
The trip started out at South Station in Boston--that's me lugging my 500 pounds of clothes (I'm a terrible packer!). I'm wearing a fabulous Chico's reversible poncho (black on one side and animal print on the other!). I love this piece for traveling! We were in the middle of a snowstorm so I had my cold weather boots on (highly recommend these boots!).
Richard had business meetings in the city, so he came along too.
The Crosby Street Hotel is nothing short of stunning. The rooms are so beautifully decorated and the service is outstanding. And look at the mannequin in the corner--is it perfect for a style blogger or what?
I had some serious bathroom envy going on. Oops someone forgot to put the toilet seat cover down!
My Chico's friends left me a gift bag filled with fabulous surprises...so thoughtful!
On the way back to the hotel, I got a chance to chat it up with my friend Cathy -The Middle Page. We have a lot in common including knowing some of the same people! Unfortunately, we also share the diagnosis of cancer (Cathy had breast cancer). She is the sweetest person and was so supportive and kind.