I started 1010ParkPlace for the best-educated, most powerful women in history: women over 50. Here you can find like-minded women and relevant conversations about finances, fashion, music and food; interviews with inspiring women and straight-talk about health, divorce, death of a spouse, sex and bold conversations to reawaken your passions and make life count.
When I was a little girl my parents had a hard time getting me to eat anything, especially foods that were yellow. Eggs, bananas, squash, cornbread… I turned up my nose at all of them until my father got the idea to use food coloring to dye them blue. While that took care of the yellow foods, he was at a loss about what to do with green foods like beans, spinach and peas. My father would be surprised to learn I grew up to be a gourmet cook, but now I’m the one who’s surprised. More liked shocked…
Am I the only one who’s lost interest in cooking?
In addition to yellow foods, my mother knew how to fix meatloaf, liver and jello with cottage cheese, so it’s no surprise I wasn’t interested in food. When I married my first husband—the president of a public company who took me to five star restaurants around the world—I realized I needed to up my food game. Thank you, Betty Crocker! She taught me the difference between searing and sautéing and that aside from entertaining his little brain—I learned that one on my own—red meat was the way to a man’s heart.
After I mastered soups and stews we met the River Oaks Boys, a group of Houston guys—lifelong friends—who’d learned to cook from their nannies. Women named Bertrice and Suzy Pearl whose legendary culinary skills qualified them for sainthood. On the weekends my husband and I would join the River Oaks Boys at one of their Texas ranches where they showed me I just thought I’d learned how to cook.
I wasn’t kidding when I said I had “Diana Ross hair,” and this was after I got it cut. I’m wearing a camouflage jumpsuit the Army gave me when I drove the M-1 tank, boots to help protect me from rattlesnakes and copperheads, and I’m holding an Uzzi machine gun. Hey! It was Texas. In the 70’s!
My first husband in the back of a Jeep. Nice Stetson!
Looking for armadillos in the canyons while the lasagne baked.
In between fishing and poker and reading the elder lady of the ranch’s x-rated diary—kept on the shelf next to the blue, toile canopy bed where I slept—we would take rare bottles of Louis XIII Cognac and a couple of Jeeps, including “Rusty Red,” which was older than I was, out for midnight varmint busting in the canyons. The rest of the day the River Oaks Boys made exquisite dishes like lasagna with homemade pasta, “velveted veal” and béchamel sauce; butter fried chicken; the best beer and bourbon pinto beans this side of the Mississippi; bacon and cheddar waffles with jalapeño maple syrup and hot buttered rum. The recipe for that came from page two of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
I went from being someone who ate to live, to someone who lived to eat. I became a staunch foodie!
What a perfect fireplace screen for a ranch!
It wasn’t long until I was showing up with a Le Creuset paella pan to make Spanish paella with Valencia rice, yellow saffron threads, prawns, paprika, littleneck clams and chicken, or Caldo Xochitl, a yummy traditional Mexican soup with shredded chicken, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and rice and Julia Child’s Beef Wellington with Madera Sauce.
For the next 30 years I continued to cook fabulous food and host New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July bashes—at our Spy House on the Hill—which were really excuses to try new recipes. Then after my second husband died in 2010, cooking was no longer fun. I had no interest in going to that much trouble just for me.
Two of my girlfriends, both named Sue, live alone but still cook dishes for themselves. Even with a bad back, “Houston” Sue makes chicken stock from scratch and “San Antonio” Sue is always encouraging me to cook recipes from Ina Garten. One of our summer favorites is Ina’s Corn and Avocado Salad.
With the exception of my morning protein and fruit smoothie—the color is so gross you wouldn’t drink it on a dare—for the most part, my diet these days is limited to neutral-colored, prepackaged things like Thai sesame noodles or Sonoma chicken salad from Whole Foods. Not anything to raise the foodie flag over, but at least they don’t have harmful things like Blue dye #1.
Do you still like to cook… assuming you ever did? If not… What do you eat?
Regardless of where you live, the weather forecast says temperatures are going to continue to soar from now until fall. In addition to always carrying a full bottle of water, we need to wear something lightweight and cool, plus what about a hat and a hand fan?
May I make some suggestions?
On my way to see Diana Ross last month a woman at the airport was wearing a breezy kaftan, with tassels on the end. I meant to ask her where she got it, but with the hassles of boarding, I lost sight of her and then forgot, but this week I found something similar online. Imagine either of these pretty kaftans over a pair of white pants and a white camisole… or a white tee… with a great pair of sandals, a hat to keep the sun off your face and a hand fan tucked in your straw bag for those beastly summer moments when we feel those “little drops of dew” come trickling down the side of our face.
Many women say they don’t look good in hats, but I think it’s because no one’s ever taught them how to wear a hat. I’ve seen women, who, when trying on hats, just “sit” the hat on top of their head and leave it there. And they’re right… They won’t look good in any hat.
Even a cherry on top of a sundae needs to be placed there with a certain panache.
The best way to wear a hat is to pull it down onto your forehead with the front tilted down slightly toward your eyes. This way you’re wearing the hat. The hat isn’t wearing you.
I LOVE THIS HAT and the way the model is wearing it is perfect! The brim width and the crown height are just the right size, and it will look great on almost every woman.
If a hat is too big, you’re going to be uncomfortable because you know the least little breeze will send it sailing down the road. So what do you do? I have a small head, but that doesn’t stop me from buying a hat I like. I’ve always added a few inches of sticky, weather stripping foam to the inside front and back of my hats… or wherever it’s needed. Add or remove strips until the hat fits. Easy Peasy!
Hat Reducing in HD - YouTube
This video will show you how.
Now let’s talk about styles of hats. I’d suggest a medium-brimmed, medium-height fedora, like the one I LOVE. They’re flattering on most everyone, and they help protect your skin from the sun.
STYLES NOT TO WEAR: The style now for Millennials is big-brimmed fedoras that sit on the back of the head. Personally I’ll pass on this trend because it makes me look like I’m trying too hard to look younger… Like I’m on my way to Coachella!
That said, big-brimmed straw hats are my favorites. All those years I spent digging for crystals and Mayan artifacts… This is the style hat I wore BUT… I pulled them down and slightly forward on my forehead. They offer THE BEST sun protection.
Sorry this isn’t a bigger image, but this photo of me was taken in 1985, outside the opening to an abandoned silver mine in New Mexico. I’m wearing my favorite Frank Olive wide-brimmed straw hat, a long-sleeved poets blouse, a grey, snakeskin, Barry Kieselstein-Cord belt with a silver buckle, blue jeans and a pair of Lucchese boots that, by then, needed to be resoled. About an hour after this was taken I took off on my own–without telling my first husband or our friend–SO STUPID… I KNEW BETTER–and almost passed out from the heat. I took refuge in the cool shade of a mine shaft, but didn’t stay there long because I knew if I did pass out, they’d never find me. At least I would have been a fashionable skeleton!
Another style I’d suggest staying away from are fedoras with small brims. Fortunately these Frank Sinatra “Rat Pack” hats are phasing out, because… and this is just my personal opinion…
They look dumb on everyone, male and female, plus they don’t protect the skin.
Along with watering some of my outdoor plants, twice a day, to keep them from dying in the heat, my summer continues to be filled with music. This week I saw five-time Grammy award-winner Michael McDonald in concert. Other than the Rolling Stones, he’s THE best live music performance I’ve ever attended, and that’s saying a lot. His band is world class plus his backup singers include his wife, singer, Amy Holland. They met when she was 16 and he was 19.
I’ve also been reading some great books this summer, plus I was late to the Big Little Lies party on HBO. Have you seen it yet? Woah…
You may remember Michael McDonald as singer/songwriter/piano/guitar frontman for the Doobie Brothers and a Steely Dan collaborator, but if you’ve seen those gorgeous blue eyes and heard his distinctive soulful voice, you will never forget him. His voice is as strong as it’s always been. Every age and ethnicity were in the audience, all standing and singing, clapping and then screaming for an encore, and Michael McDonald did not disappoint. His new album, Wide Open, launches in September and one of the songs brought me to tears. Check to see if he’s coming to your area. You will have a feel good time that stays with you long after you leave the concert.
You can click on these songs. Many–like “What a Fool Believes,” “I Keep Forgettin’,” “On My Own” (w/Patti LaBelle) have been Top 10 Hits.
Because I’m writing a memoir I’ve been researching and reading best-selling memoirs to see what makes them great. Of course I already knew the answer: It’s great writing and a great story. Memoirs are true and the author opens the door and invites the reader in as it’s happening. My favorite memoirs I’ve read so far this summer are:
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro Ms. Shapiro is an acclaimed, best-selling memoirist and novelist. Inheritance is her new memoir about learning that her father is not her biological father. It’s an honest, poignant story about family secrets and in the end, her own identity and the things that define all of us. Don’t think you know her story because you can’t predict how it unfolds. Dani’s book is so timely. Just yesterday I saw a story on the news about a fertility clinic that tragically mixed up the eggs of three in vitro families.
Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir, by Jayson Greene On the first page Greene begins his story of unimaginable loss when his two-year-old daughter, Greta, and her grandmother are sitting outside and a brick from an overhead windowsill falls and hits her in the head. Jayson Greene is so open about how Greta’s subsequent death affected the entire family. It may sound like a depressing book, but it’s an uplifting story of survival and love, and again, so timely. This week on the news we heard about the little girl who slipped through her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship and fell through an open window to her death.
Big Little Lies: Season 1 | Official Trailer | HBO - YouTube
Now to HBO’s Big Little Lies, based on the book by Liane Moriarty. I haven’t read the book and I can’t remember what made me subscribe to HBO—I don’t watch much TV—so I could binge-watch Season 1 before Season 2 began this summer. The cast of moms with intertwining secrets as big as the sky include Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz, and Season 2 introduced Meryl Streep, the grandmother with good intentions I love to hate.
And then there’s the music score!! As if the story isn’t mesmerizing enough. Every few minutes I found myself Shazaming the TV for the name of a song.
I’m afraid if I give you a synopsis I won’t be able to stop, plus Google called it a “darkly comedic tale of murder and mischief,” but I see nothing funny or mischievous about it. All I know is I don’t want it to end.
Yellowstone Season 1 Trailer | Rotten Tomatoes TV - YouTube
I’m over my 500 word limit, and I haven’t even mentioned Yellowstone on the Paramount network plus you can watch it on YouTube. You must start with Season 1. Season 2 began this summer, and it’s the #1 drama on cable. Some have called it the Godfather of the west. Kevin Costner, a wealthy land owner—his ranch borders an Indian reservation and Yellowstone National Park—who comes to blows with greedy land developers. Forgive me…. I’ve made it sound trivial when, in fact… It is riveting. And as an actress, Kelly Reilly, who plays Costner’s daughter, has me spellbound.
What are you watching, reading and listening to this summer?
A great way to build a wardrobe is when you’re buying new clothes, think about how you can mix and match with the clothes you already have. Imagine most of the pieces I’m showing you today with the same black top or pullover sweater, a great necklace and sandals, or boots, when the weather gets cooler.
I’m stepping outside of my neutral color palette. Would you believe I bought a taxicab yellow, leopard print skirt and a pair of coral pants?
Both of these pieces I was drawn to in a New York minute. If truth be told I bought a pair of taxicab, yellow, Isabel Marant pants three years ago, but I knew I’d feel conspicuous whenever I wore them, so I sent them back. I no longer feel that way because as I’ve been tweaking my style, I’ve gotten more comfortable being out of step with what those around me are wearing. And that’s okay!
We all have different taste and styles, and one isn’t better or worse than another. Just different!
My Seek top, Jan Barboglio necklace, Julie Vos bracelet and Stuart Weitzman sandals are all old.
I love Anine (pronounced A-nina) Bing’s pieces because she designs timeless styles that have a little rock ’n’ roll. Like this Bar Silk Skirt in a shade she calls Golden Leo in a leopard print.
She also makes this skirt in a fabulous Rust Zebra and a Dusty Blue. The silk has a fabric backing that makes it heavier than most silks so it drapes beautifully when you walk and sit down. It feels like something Lana Turner would have worn in a 1940’s film noire. It has a slight flair at the bottom and an elastic waist. If you’re worried about showing off your backside and thighs, pair either skirt with a long black sweater and wear it with ankle boots. A very cool look for grownup women. FYI my skirt is a Large, which Anine Bing translate into an 8-10.
I paired these Layfaette 148, “Mercer,” Dusty Peach pants (with five-point jeans back pockets and an Italian stretch cotton/nylon/spandex machine washable fabric) with a Mexican top I’ve had for over 30 years. When I lived in blue jeans I would wear this top, but now I like it better with the Mercer pants, because the cut is much more flattering on me than blue jeans!! The Mercer is a true mid-rise and it hits at the ankle and is cut for a woman’s body. Again I’m going to use the word “drape.” The Mercer style pants drape over my body better than blue jeans. The “more flattering” revelation reminds me of a conversation I had with Sandy Linter.
“I still wear jeans, but they don’t look the way they did 20 years ago. I don’t look well with casual unless I really think about the outfit,” Sandy said. “I’d rather look a little more pulled together.”
The Mercer pants are more expensive than blue jeans, but I think they’ll look better on most women than jeans, plus you’ll have them for years, so the cost per wear makes them reasonable. Lafayette 148 is out of the Dusty Peach color, but they have a Spice and a Sycamore Green… like a dark olive… which I’m ordering in a size 12. For a size reference, I’m 5’7” tall and about 148 pounds.
Are you tweaking your style and having fun with fashion as you get older?
Gone are the days when it was easy for me to go to sleep. In fact, since my late 30’s, I’ve been taking medication to sleep. My doctor then had been in the military. He said my inability to let go and sleep was classic PTSD. It was a term I hadn’t heard before, but after years spent living on the edge—of everything—followed by the death of my first husband and my kidnapping a year later, it made sense.
When I think about it, difficulty sleeping seems like a fair trade for having made it through all of that.
For a long time I tried meditation and hypnosis to help me sleep, but when they didn’t work, I settled on medication. Thirty years later it continues to work well for me, and I’m happy to report I’m still taking only half the dosage originally prescribed. But now that gravity and age have changed the structure of my face, when I roll over to sleep on my side, my face collapses–that may be the wrong word, but you get my drift–onto my nasal passages and makes it difficult for me to breathe through my nose… which prevents me from falling asleep.
Am I the only one with this problem?
For a while I thought nothing short of duct tape–or a facelift—would help this until I found these sturdy, plastic nasal strips. As long as I don’t have moisturizer on my nose—which prevents the strip from sticking to either side of my nose—it works like a charm.
Notice how handsome the guy on the box is? Rest assured… They wouldn’t put a photo of me, wearing a nasal strip, on the front of their box.
The only downside to this strip is it pulls my nostrils open and makes me look like I have a pig snout. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re as daffy as you can be if you think I’m going to show you what I look like with a nasal strip! Let’s just say when I’m wearing one, my nasal passages are open soooo wide… You can see all the way to Tulsa.
It’s probably a good thing Annie’s the only one who sees me with it on.
The strips are great at keeping my nasal passages open so I can breathe, i.e. sleep, but sometimes I worry my nose is gradually getting bigger and wider. Considering our nose continues to stretch and change shape as we age, someday I may really look like Miss Piggy.
My first pair of espadrilles were Calvin Klein, navy blue canvas with a jute rope wedge and thin rubber soles, and I wore them everywhere, including to a fire. In the middle of the night we got a call that my first husband’s company was on fire. We leapt out of bed and raced to the fire. I was wearing my espadrilles and a pair of bellbottom jeans… So ’70s! After the fire was extinguished we followed the firemen into the building. My shoes and jeans wicked up the black sooty water and were ruined. For years afterward I couldn’t find another pair of espadrilles.
Perhaps that’s why now I treat every pair like they may be my last.
Because I have such a narrow foot, it’s difficult for me to find shoes I don’t walk out of, so after the fire debacle, I’m conscious of where I wear them. My blue and white striped espadrilles I’ve had for about 15 years. Last year I had the blue leather straps glued back between the platform and the sole of one shoe and one new hole punched in both straps because they had stretched.
History tells us espadrilles date back to the 13th century when they were worn by the Spanish peasants, both men and women. Espadrilles were issued to the soldiers during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. By the 1940s, artists like Salvador Dali, and the rich and famous who frequented the French, Italian and Greek coasts made them “the” shoe to own.
Humphrey Bogart, director John Huston and actress Lauren Bacall wore espadrilles in the 1948 film Key Largo.
Espadrilles are the perfect summer shoe!
I’ve included a wide range of colors, heels and prices for you to choose from. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!
One morning a friend asked me how long could I survive with the food I had in my kitchen should there be a manmade or a natural disaster? My answer was, “Until One O’clock.” I don’t think that’s the answer he was looking for, but something that showed I had an emergency supply of canned food, bottled water and things like MREs (the Army’s Meals Ready-to-Eat). Have you ever eaten MREs? When I was the first journalist to drive and fire the Army’s M1 tank, I spent three days with soldiers who would do almost anything to trade their canned stew for a John Wayne bar: a hard, dry, chocolate peanut bar that required an Act of Congress in order to swallow it. That’s very telling about the stew.
But now that recurring kidney stones are on my radar, and I can no longer eat chocolate, we can scratch John Wayne bars off my emergency list.
I’d almost rather starve than go to the grocery store. Yes, I know there’s curbside pickup, but I don’t trust someone else to get the perfect ratio of ripe to unripe bananas. So as my rations run low, I live on almond butter—straight from the jar—and Amy’s frozen pizza until my energy level drops to DEFCON 6, and I’m forced to go grocery shopping or to the emergency room.
Actually I feel that way about shopping of any kind—except online—especially when I’m with girlfriends who like to hit every store in the area. Stores full of tchotchkes give me heart palpitations, so I windup outside on the street with the husbands, waiting for their wives.
That said, when I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, I went window shopping at the Wynn hotel and the Fashion Show Mall across the street. Both are more about people watching and at the Wynn, things—literally in the window—I can’t afford.
My favorite windows at the Wynn have always been Chanel’s. The Wynn has not one, but two, Chanel boutiques. I think they want to make it more convenient so in case your cocktails—and casino winnings—kick in at the same time… You won’t have to walk too far and maybe sober up and change your mind.
The same philosophy holds true for the minibar in the rooms as well. While I could easily stave off DEFCON 6, at almost $20 for a small bag of anything, it would be cheaper to take an Uber to the local grocery store. I guess that’s one way to get me to the store. Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE the Wynn, but since I’m going back later this summer, I’ve started saving for some cookies. They’re much better than a John Wayne bar.
Darlings, do you remember the days of laying out in the summer sun in your string bikini, covering every inch of exposed skin with a thick coating of suntan oil? In those days it was all about the tan. The only sunblock around was zinc oxide, and If you weren’t a lifeguard, chances are you never used the stuff.
We all have war stories of painful sunburns from trying to tan with baby oil, then spraying the burn with a can of Solarcaine, which only made the burn feel worse. It wasn’t as glamorous as those Ban de Soleil commercials from the 70’s. They promised to give you a deep dark tan and along with it, we were hoping to at least look like the fabulously tanned, sleek model in her black bikini, being served a glass of wine by her butler.
Oh, the glorious fantasy of it all!
Today sun block is key, and if you’re headed out to the beach where the sun’s rays are relentless, you need an arsenal of protection. There are days when a swimsuit and sarong will do just fine. Then there are times where I want to move, and I may spend the entire day in the surf on my skimboard or beach-combing one end of the beach to the other. I don’t want to be tugging at shoulder straps or reapplying gobs of sunscreen every hour.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that one of my favorite designers came out with a line of wetsuits.
Cynthia Rowley first launched her wetsuit collection in 2012, and it’s been a huge hit every year since. It was Rowley’s love of surfing and color that was the inspiration. She wanted to create something new, combining strong prints and color, along with feminine elements. The result is both chic and elegant. The added bonus is the expertise of the seaming which makes everyone look great.
For those of you who still love your Teva sandals, I’ve got good news. The now iconic sandal is right on trend this summer and graced the feet of fashionistas all over Instagram, making the comfy footwear cool again. If you haven’t checked out Teva in awhile, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise!
Along with Teva’s classic styles, you’ll also find fresh looks with thicker soles and graphic printed straps.
So my fashionable friends, let your beach mantra this summer become “It’s cool to be covered” and enjoy your long warm days at the beach, looking like one smart surfer girl.
There’s always something to be grateful for. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it. That being the case, why not look for things to feel grateful about? This is, of course, a lead-in to share something I hadn’t given a thought to until I needed it and discovered my friends didn’t know about it either.
I’m talking about Leg Make-up! That’s right, make-up for your legs. And your arms. Or anything else that needs coverage and staying-power without transferring to your clothing, your furniture, or (Heaven forbid) someone else’s furniture. It’s also supposed to stay on in the pool.
After the strokes, I began taking two blood thinners, and I’m not kidding when I tell you that if you look at me too hard, it’ll leave a bruise!
Based on the bruises I wake with, daily, I look like I’ve been out brawling in my dreams.
I think the only way to prevent them would be to wear bubble-wrap or an ice-hockey goalie’s outfit. What’s a gal to do? I do research. A hundred years ago when I was doing make-up professionally, I remember using a product to cover port-wine stains or birthmarks clients didn’t want showing in professional photos. I even covered a model’s tattoo, back when we hid them.
After reading about every product that might fit the bill, I went to a good department store that carried my two finalists, and after talking to the makeup consultants there, I decided on Dermablend.
It was easy to apply, using my fingertips, and had excellent spreading-power and coverage. The setting powder was indeed translucent, and my legs were beautiful once it was done. Even my skeptical sweetie was impressed. I forgot to take a photo of the large bruise on my ankle as a “before photo,” but like my left leg, the spider veins are always there, so you can compare.
After applying, I wore a skirt all day, and the makeup never smudged, didn’t run when I sweated, and didn’t rub off (transfer) to my black skirt or our leather car seats or fabric chair cushions.
I was even willing to risk having to strip the bed and wash the sheets in the morning to find out if it would smear as I slept. Nope, not even on white sheets!
I couldn’t be more pleased. It provided great coverage, and left my legs looking gorgeous. It comes off with just soap and water in the shower. I’m ready to rock knee-length skirts and dresses for summer again!