Saturday, November 22, 2014

A rabbit hole...and a 5 year blog anniversay giveaway.

On a grey day while walking I almost fell into a "rabbit hole" that appeared on the path right in front of me.
Looking around I noticed the grey gloom, the cold and heavy mist hanging like curtains almost hiding the trees.

On a day like this we could use some sunshine and light,
a bright punch of colour would be a great mood lifter...



Autumn Trees on a sunny day so much lovelier and distinctly more beautiful.

Colour is Mother Nature's best accessory...
which got me thinking
about some of my choices 
which at the time seemed sensible and prudent 
but now feel "boring and plain."

A prime example here is "the clutch."

I own several clutches and most are black except
 for this vintage gun metal grey bag...

This one is hands down the most useful due to it's size but it could be in a brighter shade...

Looks like there's a bit of a copy cat thing happening here with the ridges in bedding and the bag.

Vintage Nordstrom

Paired with the Lisa Campione skirt

Chanel inspired tweed jacket Jeremy Spenser
I'd opt for one of the black bags with this jacket.

It works with the black Velvet Jones of NY fancy pants.

not so much with the wrap top by Laura Petites...
I'd use one of the black bags with this top.

Sherman brooch

Aurora Borealis Sherman brooch

Boucher pin

unknown maker
I like to think of it as my St.Tropez brooch

Gumball Freshwater Pearls...
anniversary gift from my husband several years ago

Vintage coin necklace

Salt Spring Island silversmith artisan designed silver bangle

Venus flytrap necklace J Crew

I'm going to keep my eyes open for a classic clutch in a brighter shade.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you'll know how much I love drinking tea.
I find teatime a wonderful opportunity to sit in peace and quiet. 
I count my blessings
and reflect on all that is good in my life.

If I am having a gloomy day I always reach for a cheerful bone china cup and saucer.
Sipping tea out of a pretty cup is so soothing to the soul.

 I try lots of different teas...
I have developed a fondness for Lapsang Souchong Tea.
It is a smokey tea and quite different from others that I have tried and I highly recommend it.

Abraham Darby Rose

You might also know that I am a passionate rose grower and I love David Austin roses.

Climbing Iceberg with Lady's Mantle on the table and in the background atop the cabinet Abraham Darby.

It's been quite a journey...
since I started blogging back in November of 2009.
I've learned a lot about myself in these 5 years.
I lost 30 pounds through Weight Watchers
took up walking for fitness
discovered my personal style
 honed my wardrobe 
I retired
I decided to follow my dream and plan a trip to Paris
I've started taking French lessons
and am trying to figure out how to pack for 3 weeks in France in a carry on!

I hope you come back frequently and read my humble blog

In celebration of the blog's 5 year anniversary I have decided to give a gift to one of my readers.
Please leave a comment telling me what you like best about my blog.

A Bone China mug with roses, of course, and a tea towel.

All the entries will go into a bowl and I'll draw one name.
The giveaway closes on November 29th, 2014 at midnight PST.
If you are the winner you'll need to email me at with your mailing address.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fancy pants and more ~ Inside the Hostess's closet...

Mother enjoys our outings and we usually find ourselves out for a brisk walk in Oak Bay or leisurely browsing the shops...
She still enjoys getting dressed up and does her best to look stylish and at the ripe old age of 86 I find her energy and devotion to fashion encouraging.

We recently picked up her new glasses at the optical store...
which by the way, are from Kate Spade and look fresh and modern, perhaps even a bit edgy in their design of tortoise shell with gold glitter details.

Mother appreciates that I drive her to areas of town where she is uncomfortable driving her BMW.
She prefers local jaunts along the seafront and to the nearby shopping plaza...
I think it is wise that she knows her limits and stays within them.

She encouraged me to find something new for myself AND she insisted on paying.

I found some "fancy pants."
A dressy fun option for the holidays...
I must have been inspired by materfamilias in her recent post showing us her new party pants.

Jones of NY "jeggings."

I've had these Amalfi shoes for years and still in great shape plus I like how happy I feel when I am wearing them.

Fragrant closet tassel which hangs in our tiny closet...

You can see the "fancy pants" pattern of the cut velvet.

Our closet is really tiny and in dire need of renovation.
 Both Mr. HB and I share the space.
Despite my efforts to keep my wardrobe small somehow it has grown quite large!
 This forces me to store the out of season garments in the guest room closet.

My fall and winter clothes.

Two basic coats...
a black evening coat ~ Giacca
 trench with an asymmetrical zip instead of the traditional buttons ~ Tahari
grey dressy long sweater coat with ruffle edging ~ Betty Barclay
Chanel style tweed jacket ~ Jeremy Spenser
black sweater in a boxy style with ruffle detail at neck and cuffs ~ Susan Bristol
V neck sheath LBD ~ Tahari
black faux wrap  LBD ~ Renuar
V neck tweedy dress ~ Banana Republic
faux wrap print dress ~ Jones of NY
black pants ~ Nygaard
black skirt ~ Reitmans
grey and black mid calf length skirt ~ Lisa Campione
black grey white print wrap top ~ Laura Petites
navy with pearl strand print top ~ Precis
black tank ~ Symplii
black tank with blue ribbon detail ~ Tribal
black sleeveless top with sparkle detail ~ St. John
mauve knit top ~ Sigrid Olsen
new black "fancy pants" ~ Jones of NY

white sleeveless top with ridged details ~ Calvin Klein
white long sleeved Tee ~ Segments
white short sleeved Tee ~ Jessica
vintage cream sweater with beading ~ Spanner
white and cream stripe 3/4 sleeved Tee ~ George
mocha goose down quilted vest ~ Eddie Bauer
black quilted vest ~ Bartbour
leather jacket ~ Banana Republic
striped long sleeve Breton style top ~ Gap
grey chunky knit sweater ~ Dex
grey 3/4 length sleeved Tee ~ Danskin
grey long cashmere cardigan ~ Lord and Taylor
vintage grey beaded cardigan ~ Pelican Cove
black loose knit sweater ~ Wooden Ships
 4 pairs of blue jeans ~ g21, Gap, Calvin Klein, Talbots
black denim ~ g21
Yoga zip lightweight jacket ~ Mondetta
Yoga pants ~ Tuff
denim jacket ~ Gap
black fleece jacket ~ Lands' End
grey zip front walking jacket ~ Mondetta
waterproof hoodie ~ Royal Robbins
fleece lined walking jacket ~ Lands' End
yellow puffy walking jacket ~ Gelco
quilted jacket ~ Burberry

Which by my calculation comes to 47 items...
far more that the project 333 that so many bloggers have chosen to live.
33 items only for 3 months those are the rules!

Shoes are stored in boxes as well as the bottom of the closet.
Most of my shoes are black.
I have a short pair of black boots by Timberland 
and a tall pair of boots by Hush Puppies which I could really stand to replace.

I'm rather surprised at how many garments that I own...
and I thought I was a minimalist when it came to dressing!

I have a couple of cashmere sweaters which I do not hang in the closet 
they are folded with some cedar cubes to keep them safe from moths in a drawer.

That about wraps up the bulk of my clothes...
and I thought when I sat down to type this post it would be all about the fancy pants...

I hope you've not been bored to tears...
thank you for stopping by.

Oh and I think you'll want to check out Janet's blog
her son got married in her garden last week and they had 2 weeks to plan a wedding for 100 people.
It is such a wonderful example of how beautifully it all came together on such short notice
and is such an honest and genuine reflection of the bride and groom's tastes
I love the special touches that Janet added...
Pop over and see what I mean.

Be Well and Be Kind

Monday, November 17, 2014

OOTD ~ lunettes et etudier le francais...

I have had my tortoiseshell glasses for about 4 years and my prescription recently changed so it was high time to splash out on a new pair. Prescription glasses with progressive lenses and coatings can be very former pair were about $1200 and yikes that's a lot of money for someone on a pension,
especially when that someone is saving for a trip.
I recently accompanied our lovely DIL (and our delightful grandson) when she browsed the selection of frames at The Bay.
She got a quote for her prescription and I was surprised...
as it was a lot more reasonable than I would have expected.
I went back the following week and found some frames I liked and the price was about 1/4 of the cost of my last pair so I took the plunge...

Slightly different shape than my old glasses and the frames are black in the front...
silver details at the side.

Old glasses

I can see clearly
 Boy can I relate to Nora Ephron when she wrote her book...
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman.

I don't pay much attention to my neck other than to apply moisturizer...
you know that saying "out of sight out of mind."

Keep slathering it on...

Sunscreen and moisturiser every day
salve and serum at bedtime.

I am not overly concerned about looking older
why worry?
It's not like a frown or worry lines are in any way flattering.

Smile with gratitude and choose happiness.

While I am showing you the new Guess glasses I might as well show you my newest frock....
It's nothing fancy but I like the shape.

A fitted Banana Republic dress..
kind of flirty.

V-neck and back...
you might need to squint to look at these next photos!

I wore this sweater with a black swing skirt, fishnet stockings and black leather boots.
Mother loves this top for some reason and always compliments me when I wear it.
As it happens I wore this OOTD when I took her out for some shopping and an early dinner.

My hair was windblown from the gale force winds on my walk...
I am wearing my old glasses in this shot.
I apologize as these two images are rather foggy...

I posted this image recently on Instagram...
I love the brilliant cobalt blue of the berries with the autumnal leaves.

Nancy Horan's new novel is on my bedside table and I have been reading a few chapters each day.

If you wondered why my posts have been sporadic lately it's because 

French class is amping up in it's intensity
 the homework has increased 
I am finding I need to devote a lot more time to my studies...
It is a challenge and one that I fear I will not win without a serious and dedicated effort.
Learning a second language is not as easy as driving a car or trying a new recipe.
I wish it was...
I've been listening to the French radio station, watching movies with French subtitles and listening to French DVD's.

A bientot mes amies.
Hotesse de l'humble bungalow.

(I could not figure out the "circumflex" keyboard code required for the O in Hotesse)

Merci pour la lecture de mon blog.
Etre Bien et etre Gentil.
(Circumflexes should appear on top of the "e" in etre)
as you can tell it is a steep learning curve!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Power of Suggestion...lovely daughter my favourite fashion advisor.

Our daughter has a great sense of fashion and when she lived here at home in our Humble Bungalow I would ask for her opinions on what to wear and what NOT to wear.
I miss having her around and not just for that reason...
daughters are lovely!

We were out and about browsing the shops and she looked so well put together... a mix of vintage and new.
Frye boots, skinny jeans and her super soft black leather "moto style" jacket.
I mentioned how great she looked when she commented that she was surprised that I didn't own a leather jacket...

I thought about it for a second and then I said something about my lifestyle change from working woman to retiree and living on a pension...

Dream Catcher made by lovely daughter in my favourite colour ~ green.

I did some thinking...
  I dreamt that I might find myself in Paris next Spring 
 I'd be wearing a buttery soft leather jacket...

Simple luxuries need not cost the earth...
Mother and I looked at W and J Wilsons and their leather jackets were in excess of $800.
The sumptuous one I spied at Eileen Fisher was over $1200.00
Much more than what I was comfortable spending...

Creamy and buttery soft...

I found this lovely Banana Republic jacket in the WIN Thrift Shop.

 My cozy cashmere pashmina will keep my neck warm when I wear this jacket.

They look good together.

love the zipper details...

Darling J...
you are one fantastic fashion advisor
 and you have made me so very proud and happy to have you in my life 
for so many many reasons
I'm very grateful...
thank you.


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