Friday, December 28, 2012


RDP = Red Devil Pride, a frequent cheer heard at West Lafayette football games, basketball games, swim meets, etc.  I do want to show my team spirit and support my kids' school, really, I do, but honestly, I've had enough of the unflattering, crew neck, unisex t-shirts with the big screen print logo across the chest.  So I've been on the lookout for cute and stylish tops in scarlet and gray to wear to the frequent games and meets.  And this fun cardigan from Gap perfectly fits the bill.  The Striped Sequin Crew Cardigan, a wool blend with sequin detail on the sleeves and just-right stripes, lets me cheer on the Red Devils with a bit more style.  Go Westside!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Complete Strangers Have Stopped Me... the mall to tell me they love my coat!  And I just smile and say, "Thanks, I do, too!".  I ordered this from Nordstroms during the Anniversary Sale last August.  I can't say that I needed it... but I do know that I love it and wear it all the time.  The coat is the Asymmetrical Soft Shell Jacket by Miss Sixty.  It has a water resistant soft shell exterior with ribbed accents on the side and sleeves.  Faux fur lining makes the inside soft and cozy, and zipper accents on the cuffs and pockets add a bit of spunk.  I usually just tie the belt at the waist for a flattering silhouette.  And the best part of all... it seems to go perfect over everything - from skinny jeans to a pencil skirt and is so very, very comfortable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Traveling Light - The Clothes

The final post on Traveling Light - The Clothes.  This one is a little trickier as it varies so much from trip to trip depending on location and season and itinerary, and with each person's individual style.  But this will give you an idea and maybe a few tips on the amount and type of items to pack.  

First the shoes - because they can take up a lot of room, and they absolutely, positively, MUST BE COMFORTABLE or you will not be able to fully enjoy your vacation.  I have a strict three pair limit, and one of these pairs is a pair of flip-flops.  Below are the shoes I took for Chile.   


The flip-flops are old, I think from Gap.  Used as slippers around the hotel room, as sandals beach side or pool side, and in a pinch, because of the gold trim, can be swapped out for one of the other pairs for a casual dinner. 

In the middle, and in the picture below, are my trusty Merrells.  I have taken a variation of these on every vacation that I can remember.  They serve as hiking shoes and general sight-seeing shoes, without the stereotypical white tennis shoe tourist look.  These are at least the third pair of this type of shoe I have had.  I especially like the non-tie bungee lace - easy for slipping on and off in airport security.  Because these are the biggest shoes that I pack, these are the ones that I wear on the plane.

Finally, on the right, for this trip I packed a pair of AGL ballet flats.  While the flip-flops and Merrells are my vacation standards, this third pair can vary between a pair of good walking sandals in the summer, ballet flats, or maybe a pair of low booties.  For this trip I went back and forth between the ballet flats and a pair of black, western low booties.  In the end, I settled on the ballet flats, but really, either one would have worked for this trip.

The Bottoms

A pair of skinny jeans, a pair of gray jeans, a charcoal skirt, and what you don't see, a pair of black yoga pants that I wore on the plane.

Two Long Sleeve Tops 

A bright blue Under Armour and a charcoal quarter-zip from C9 by Champion with cute detailing.  Either one could be layered if needed.

Tanks, T's, Cardis and Scarves

Three scarves - a solid bright blue from Ann Taylor (although it doesn't look like it, it's a close match to the UA long sleeve); cranberry, purple, gray and black circles; and black, gray and white leopard print (H&M).
Tanks - Nordstroms gray & white ruffled stripe, Missomo white and bright blue, very old cranberry with a ruffled front from Gap.
T's - just two - a bright pink Zella and a cosmo pink Missomo Rounded V-neck.
Long sleeve Nike black dri-fit T - another travel favorite - layer over or under, or wear with your jeans and some jewelry and dress it up for a casual dinner.  Also works good for a pajama top.
Two cardigans - J Crew long merino wool in pink and a Merona classic cardigan in white with gray polka-dots

Worn on the plane with the black Athleta yoga pants, another Missomo tank, this time in gray, and a maroon zippered sweater hoodie from Eileen Fisher, along with the circle scarf.

Two Dress-Up Options

A Talbots black silky tunic with buttons half way down the front - packs up extremely small, and a light gray cardigan scattered with silver sequins - works over the white, blue or cranberry tanks, or the black long sleeve T.

My experience has proven this to be a perfect combination. 

On the left is my favorite North Face black fleece jacket.  On the right, a very light weight North Face wind and rain shell.  Together these give me all kinds of options.  If it's a little chilly - wear just the fleece.  If its rainy but not cold, just the shell.  And if the weather turns really nasty, layer the two together.  In the pocket of the wind shell is a light weight Brooks dri-fit black headband to cover my ears.  It stays in there, ready to go, all year round so that it is ready when needed.

And a few Odds & Ends

A swimsuit, a pair of REI rain pants, lingerie and accessories.
The swim suit and the rain pants are the only two items that I don't mind packing and not using.  The swim suit because there is just nothing else you can substitute for it, and it's hard to find one you like.  Besides, it doesn't take up much room.  And if you don't need the rain pants, that's means it didn't rain on your vacation!  Throw in pair of warm gloves, a little bit of jewelry, a belt, your bras and panties, and Smartwool socks (keep your feet dry, warm, and you can wear them over and over without any nasty stink), and you are good to go.

Hope this helps you when you are packing for your next trip, and if you have any packing tips... please share them!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Traveling Light - The Details

This post is dedicated to all the Details of Packing - not the bags, not the clothes, not the shoes - but all those other things you need when you are traveling.  You will see that I am a big fan of mesh zipper bags.  They are light weight, secure, and keep your tote or luggage organized and make it easy to find what you need.  

First - in one of the two pockets under the flap on the messenger bag - this one contains my Ray-Ban sunglasses and a tube of Burts Bees Sun-Protecting Lip Balm with SPF 8.  The second picture is the contents of the second pocket - for this trip, a small Spanish-English dictionary, a pen, and a small notebook, used as a trip journal, record of purchases, and a notes of interest.   It would also show my phone except that I needed it to take the picture!

Inside the messenger bag, a few tissues, a mini mesh bag (contents below), a small Body Glide, a Clinique Chubby Stick, a compass (yeah, I have one on my phone, but what happens when you don't have in the mountains). a packet of Wet Ones, a fold up tote bag, a baggie with an extra pair of panties (if you have ever spent the night in an airport, you will understand the importance of this), my Canon Rebel, my passport case with passport, drivers license, currency and credit cards, and a nail file.

The mini mesh bags contains a nail clippers, extra camera battery and extra memory card.  I also use it to hold any foreign coins during the trip.


This blue mesh bag is in my messenger bag on the plane, and goes into the seat pocket in front of me during the flight, but during the rest of the trip, the contents are in my suitcase with my other toiletries.  These are my flight essentials - a small bottle of Excedrin PM, my prescription, eyeglasses, toothbrush and toothpaste, a Shout Wipe packet, a packet of ear plugs and an eye mask, and my contact case.

In my tote, I keep my toiletries in a black plastic lined mesh bag - easy to see but can contain any possible spills.  The liquids are all in the required 3 oz or less bottle in a 1 quart Ziploc bag.  

Another mesh bag in my tote contains my phone/iPad charger on an AppleCore cord wrap, plug adapters depending on country, and my battery charger for my camera.


I have had this clear zipper pocket for years and use it all the time for travel.  In it you will find a detailed itinerary, copies of hotel confirmations, a high lighter and some Post-It flags.  As the trip progresses, the hotel confirmations are disposed of and receipts and paper souvenirs (book mark, coaster, maybe a postcard or two) are added.  

The final mesh bag (I told you I was a big fan!) goes in the suitcase.  It contains a small sewing kit, a baggie with a tube of travel detergent and a rubber clothesline, a spoon, small section of duct tape, bandaids, a couple more Shout Wipes, a Tide To Go pen, some moleskin and a carabineer.

Next Post - Traveling Light, The Clothes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Traveling Light - The Bags

Changing gears for a few posts - 
We recently returned from a ten-day vacation to Chile.  And, finally, after several extended international and domestic trips over the years, I feel like I have finally mastered the art of packing light.  Maybe my tips will help some of you, too!


Indy airport - not the best pic, as it looks like I was in mid-sentence, but this gives you the complete picture of everything.  More detailed descriptions are below.

Tumi Tegra-Lite Continental Carry-On.  I received this for my birthday just the week before we left.  Nothing like breaking it in right away!  And I have to say, it survived the initiation.  I did some shopping over the last couple of months, looking at various styles and brands.  My research led me to try a hard-side bag this time around as it is extremely light weight.  After looking at several brands,  I decided on the Tumi, not because it was a Tumi, but because it was light weight, well-made, and very sturdy.  The material used on the bag is the same material used in NFL equipment.  It's got to be tough!

Longchamp Black Messenger Bag - I bought this in Paris a couple of years ago and it has gone on every trip with me since.  Under the front flap are two pockets and a big zippered center section.  Along the back side is a full length pocket, perfect for keeping your boarding pass, itinerary, and city map. (You can see that better in the picture below)  I wear this cross body in the airport, and pull my suitcase with the tote on top - if the airline staff get picky on the bag limit, then the messenger bag slips into the tote for boarding.

 And the final piece - a Longchamp tote, the large Le Pliage.  I've had this for years, use it all the time, and if it gets a little dirty, just toss it in the washing machine.  It's so light weight and sturdy.  Beside it you see a Bobble Water Bottle.  Tried this for the first time on this trip.  I get tired of paying for bottled water with every meal, so in an effort to drink more during the day, I filled this up from the hotel sink every morning.

Next Post - Packing Details

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sorry Gentlemen, This One's for the Girls!

Another Target favorite!  Really, is there any reason to buy your sports bras anywhere else?  The price can't be beat and there is an assortment of styles and colors.  Some friends prefer the C9 by Champion Seamless Cami or the cotton blend Racer Back Cotton, also from C9 by Champion, but my favorite is the C9 by Champion Compression Sports Bra and the New Reversible Compression style.  I've found this bra offers good durability and support, even after repeated washings.  The bright colors are fun and spunky and spice up my work-out clothes, and my work-outs!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Target Favorite

Today's Target favorite is the Mossimo Ultra Soft Sweater in the scoop neck or v-neck style.  Just like it says, it's ultra soft.  Plus it comes in a bunch of colors and is only $17.99.  They are a great way to add a fresh trendy color to your wardrobe without a big investment, or just extend your collection of basic neutral pieces. You can also find the ultra-soft in other styles including a turtle neck and cardigan, but the scoop and v-neck are my favorites.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Target Basic #2

Target Basic #2 - the Mossimo Microrib Tank.  This is no surprise to many of you, it's a great tank at a great price ($9!).  It has a perfect scoop neckline, not too high, not too low, and just the right amount of stretch in this cotton blend (58 % Cotton, 39 % Modal, 3 % Spandex).  You can find it in basic black, white and gray, and seasonal colors such as Painted Desert and the Moroccan Blue shown above.  Nice for layering under tops, but substantial enough to wear on its own.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Target Basic #1

This is the first in a series of my favorite Target basics - the Mossimo Women's Cocoon Cardigan, in twelve beautiful colors, for just $22.99.  This is going to be my go-to for down time, you know when you come home and change clothes, but it's just too early for your pj's, so you slip on your favorite black yoga pants, a tank, and this cute, comfy cardigan.  I've got the the heather gray, and the Cherry Peony and Sierra Gold (Boiler Up!) are on order!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Perfect Pen, even if the Penmanship is Not so Perfect

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to embrace these pens at first... I had my concerns about the ink bleeding thru paper and the point not staying fine and sharp, but I've been using a Sharpie Retractable Fine-Point Pen for the last few months and have found all those fears were not warranted.  The ink does not bleed thru the paper.  The fine point tip stays crisp and precise.  The barrel has a cushioned grip for comfort and best of's retractable!  Just click and go.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The BEST Thing Ever!

These colorful, witty notecards from Mental Floss are just too fun.  Featuring cheeky puns, bright colors and modern graphics, it's a great way to send a smile thru the mail!  The cards come as a set of twelve, two each of six different designs, for $9.95 at the store site.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Shoes!

I am in love with my new shoes, the Vince Camuto Lilliana 3 Flat.  I had on my shopping list for this fall a pair of "smoking slipper" style shoes, preferably in an animal print.  These were love at first sight on the Nordstrom website.  I love the black and white snow leopard print, but just on the front so it isn't overwhelming.  But, upon second sight, I had my doubts.. the rest of the shoe is black glitter!  It seemed a little cheesy.  But I took a chance and I'm glad I did.  Yes, it's glittery, but its subtle and hey, why not add a little sparkle to your life.  I tried these out last Friday with a pair of rolled boy-friend jeans and a solid red T to run some errands then head to the football game.  Still rocking the team spirit, but stepping it up a notch.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Soft and Soothing

We've all been there... at the make-up counter, the cosmetologist/sales person has a counter full of colorful new shades of lip gloss and eye shadow, she does your make-up for you in the newest colors and with the latest high-tech moisturizers and serums using a fist full of expensive make-up brushes.  When she's done she asks if there is anything you would like to purchase today - and of course you go for the latest pretty lipgloss and maybe the serum guaranteed to keep you looking young and fresh, but the brushes... really?  Why not save money and use your fingers?  Well,  I recently changed foundation formulations and I have to admit I was very impressed with the application by using a foundation brush.  Even coverage, smooth application, and a very soothing feel as you brush it on.  Almost like a mini facial!  So now I am the owner of a Bobbi Brown Foundation Brush, and I love it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mama Mia ~ Italian Tomatoes!

Are you enjoying an abundance of tomatoes, fresh from your garden or the farmers' market?  Then you may want to try this recipe, one of our favorites.  Even the kid's friends who "don't like tomatoes" do like this recipe.  Thanks to my husband's cousin, Jan, for this favorite family recipe.

Italian Tomatoes

3 large tomatoes, or more, use a mix of colors if you have them, sliced
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T onion, chopped
1 T parsley, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
A couple shakes of dried oregano

Arrange tomatoes on serving platter.  Mix other ingredients and pour dressing over tomatoes and serve.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm on my third pair, so I guess you could call these one of my favorite things!

I know we are starting to think fall and look ahead to corduroys, denim jackets and boots, but after wearing these shorts all summer, I thought I should add them to my String of Pearls.  They are the J Crew Chino Short - and come in several inseam lengths from 3" - 9".  Being a little on the tall side, I prefer the 9" length, and have them in three different colors.  They wash and wear and fit so nice.  Regular price is $48, but many colors are on sale now for $38, and a few colors are now $29.99.  Maybe I should add a fourth pair for next year?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aqua Love!

So a month or so ago I was shopping on-line at Nordstroms for a dress to wear to a friend's wedding when along the side, under "you may also like" popped up a picture of these shoes.  Like?  LOVE!!  I ordered the dress and the shoes, but ending up sending the dress back and falling in love with these shoes - the Tom's Calypso Canvas Wedge in Aqua blue.  Love the color and so comfortable, too!  I wear these a lot with a bright orange sleeveless dress and a touch of turquoise, and last week I went a bit patriotic in honor of the Olympics with a white skirt, dressy red T and the aqua Toms.  When I pulled them out on a family vacation, they got rave reviews from my stylish nieces, so I know I made a good choice with these fun shoes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Are you like me and like a little something crunchy and salty with your sandwich or burger, but would prefer something a little bit healthier than a standard potato chip?  Then you want to try Popchips!  Popchips are a potato chip that is not fried and not baked but blasted with some heat and pressure to make them pop.  At half the fat of regular chips, and only 60 calories for 12, you can still have your crunch and salt fix and without blowing your diet for the day.  Popchips come in a most common potato chip flavors, but our favorite so far is the barbeque.  Try 'em and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lunch Special

I tagged along with my friend Barb last week for a quick stop at Costco.  I took a chance on a big bag of these and I'm so happy I did.  They are Labriola Pretzel Slider Rolls, and they are GOOD!  Makes a great sandwich with some shaved ham and a thin slice of smoked Gouda, but they are delicious enough to eat on their own as well.  Soft and chewy, just like a big soft pretzel.  They come 16 to a bag, and were $6.49.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Drink Up!

I received one of these awesome water bottles for a Mother's Day gift.  What's so special about it you ask that it would rate being a Pearl?  For starters, the unique design sets it apart in a row full of Camelbacks and USTA prize bottles.

It features a smooth wide mouth for quick drinks and easy filling.  There is also a secret panel in the lid where you can insert your own inspirational message.

And last, but not least, there is a picture of me and my sweetheart on the front!  My amazing kids ordered this from Cafe Press.  I looked it up and it is manufactured by Kors.  Personalized or not, you will love it, but why not personalize it for that extra special touch!

Monday, June 18, 2012

While We Are on the Subject...

...of cute, comfy work-out clothes that can pull double-duty as cute, comfy casual clothes, you may want to check out the "Z T 3" shirt, also by Zella, also from Nordstroms.  The fabric is a light weight blend of polyester, cotton and spandex and comes in an assortment of delicious colors.  Today I'm wearing the black (so basic, I know) with a pair of white shorts and silver sandals, but I would love to get another one in Vivid Blue or Cayenne.  I'm sure these are great for yoga, but mine will probably never see the inside of a yoga studio.  But they are getting plenty of wear just everyday.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quick Quiz

Here's a quick, one-question quiz for you:

For which of the following sports, would the Zella V-Neck Hoodie be appropriate?

a. Yoga
b. Walking
c. Tennis
d. Weights and Cardio Circuit
e. All of the above

Answer:  E - all of the above!  Well, I can't personally vouch for yoga, I am loving this studio-style top for all the other activities.  The hooded top is made of an exceptionally soft moisture-wicking knit.  An adjustable drawstring cinches up the sides of the wide-banded hem.  Soft rushing around the v-neck and sleek longer length make this a very flattering, very comfortable top.  Available from Nordstroms for $48. Choose from slate, aqua or iris, or my pick ~ pink plumier.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

UFO? NO, just Meurice.

I'm thinking I should warn my friend/neighbor Bonnie about our new light fixture....  Bonnie's backyard is kitty-corner from mine, and in the summer, we don't even know the other is there.  But as the leaves fall off, the view breaks open just enough to see when they turn on their Christmas tree lights.  So maybe I should warn her about our new kitchen light fixture before this fall and she freaks out thinking some sort of strange UFO has landed in our kitchen.  Ha, just kidding - it's not that scary but it is a little different.  It's the Meurice from Jonathan Adler by Robert Abbey.  After being backordered for 5 months (!), it finally arrived and we had it installed last week.  The bamboo style fixture is finished in a deep bronze patina and holds thirty small candelabra bulbs.  It creates a dramatic focal point as you walk into the kitchen.  The small picture above is from the website, the larger picture shows it in-situ.  What do you think?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mini Madness

Mini's taste better.  I don't know why, but they do.  Maybe it's the cuteness factor.  Maybe it's because there is more crunch to surface area, or something like that.  Whatever it is, I was happy to find the newest mini - Triscuit Minis.  Crunchy, salty, cute, whole-wheat goodness.

Duct Tape - You've Come a Long Way Baby

Duct Tape - that ubiquitous fix-all in the tool box.  But not any more - look at the fun colors and patterns I found at Target last week.  Why settle for plain boring silver any more to tape your ducts (who does this anyway?) when you can choose from girly cupcakes, bright red lips, colorful stars or even Hello Kitty?  This looks like fun!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

All Rise....

This is what I heard each time that I entered or exited the court room while serving on a jury for a murder trial a few weeks ago.  The case ended in a mistrial, so we were let go, and the trial will be rescheduled for later this summer.  I posted this on Facebook but for those of you who haven't seen it, here it is again.

A few things I learned last week while serving as a juror for a murder trial:
- It's a lot like what you see on TV, but the pace is much, much slower.
- When you have a recess, use the bathroom — you don't know when the next recess might be.
- Gun shot residue tests are unreliable.
- A ten minute recess is twenty minutes, minimum.
- When you are on a jury and doing your civic duty, your family, friends, co-workers are also doing their civic duty as they cover for you.
- DNA tests have now gotten so sensitive, that even with precautions, they can occasionally pick up the DNA of the lab technician.
- Mistrials are not good.

So I hope I still have a few readers out there, and I promise I will get back to regular posting.  Between the trial and the end of our BSF year (I'm the Class Administrator) and the start of our summer tennis league (I'm the team captain), blogging has taken a back seat.  But, I do have some Pearls to post in the next week, including a cute salty snack and our awesome new kitchen light fixture.  Stay tuned and thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cushy Comfort

I couldn't pass these up at Dick's last week - cushy, comfortable flip-flops that perfectly match my team uniform for our tennis league.  These are the Chilwyanda FitFOAM Slides by Adidas.  These lightweight  slides feature a leather upper and FitFOAM midsole that "contours to your feet like a custom mold".  They come in several pretty color combinations, but this combination was the perfect match to my tennis skirt and will by a treat for my feet after a hard fought summer match.