Home on the range

little brown bag


This past week I had a trip down memory lane with some old friends, clients and acquaintences.

I finally returned to my favorite store in the world…………………


I was filled with so many emotions………overwhelmed as I walked through with my client Leslie and took in the new changes everywhere.  The lay of the land was no longer familair to me. Where was the shoe department?  On three?  Wow!

How I missed the familair and exciting feeling of the hunt……for the perfect this or that!

The store looks so different. Transformed and still changing, it will be by far the best place to shop on the avenue.

As I walked through the store, a few people asked me very matter of fact,

“Are you off today Joyce?”

Ha!  That was so funny to me, but I was reminded that as you go from one event to the next, time flies by and you really work in seasons when in the Retail World.

In the retirement world……..time slows down.  I like that.

I guess I am transformed too.  I liked being the customer.

As I let go of Leslie to her new Personal Shopper Zoe, my good friend and savvy shopper Michelle was there to catch me!   With a bundle of cute tops, scarves and sunglasses, the next thing I knew, I was in the shoe department hours later carrying two full bags and getting my gladiator sandals that I wanted.  ON SALE!

I was there for 5 hours.  When I got back to my digs, I had a beer and took a much needed nap!   How did I ever do that for 8-10 hours non stop?  I was exhausted!

I was soon reminded why it was time to go……to enjoy life in a new and rewarding way…….with my amazing husband, living the dream that we have worked so hard these past twenty years to go after.

But, enough about me……..let’s get on to some fun summer fashion for you!

Here are some of my favorite items that I stumbled on, while navigating through bloomingdale’s………Like no other store in the world……..

off we go

The above bag is done by Kate Spade.  How cute!!! Every season they do a catchy little theme.  I love the astro turf bag from last year.  Since I got married in 1993 and honeymooned in California………well, I guess I can justify this purchase.  $378.00, not so much……..I will check back in August on this one!

kate 298 on par florez

This little clutch is called “On Par” hence the orange golf ball on top and the actual bag, is made from what looks like a blown up golf ball!  Love it!

marc by marc hobo

I love this Marc by Marc Jacobs bag.  It comes in several colors.  I just ordered the black and gold.  I love the Fuscia but realized that I do not own a black bag!  A must have, and this one is perfect.

marc by marc jacobs 85 94

Speaking of Marc by Marc Jacobs….and perfect, this bikini is perfect for the conservative girl with the perfect body.  The top is $85, and the bottoms are $94.  Gorgeous and timeless………add it to your list.

rl cover up pants 76After a dip in the pool, head to the bar for a Margharita.  These Ralph Lauren cover ups are just perfect to wear anywhere.   For $76 they are a steal.  Throw on a long tunic and you have an outfit for dinner on the cruiseship!

juicy couture - Malibu Point 158

 Don’t forget to pack this adorable “Malibu” dress by Juicy Couture.  Dress it up with heels, or wear a ballet flats or gladiators.  So chic and perfect for travel!

madison marcus stripe 259

Another great little dress by Madison Marcus.  For $259 you get a lot of bang for your buck!  Throw a leather jacket over it and nude flats, and you have another look while traveling.

eq - venice 158

This equipment blouse is perfect with white jeans or blue jeans.  Love it with skinny shorts too!  $158

quotation red haute top 84

Another interpretation by Quotation for almost half the price at $84.  So easy and great with white shorts or skinny jeans.

parker - cove 264

This top by Parker called “cove” is ideal for any outfit.  Wear it with a white pencil skirt or over jean shorts.  Here shown with white cropped skinny jeans,  but you could also wear it to work under a summer Theory suit. I would love it with stripes.   Pricey at $264 but so many ways to get your money’s worth!

eric javits champ visor 145clarins sunscreen






Wherever you are going this summer, be sure to pack your Eric Javits visor – $145 and your Clarins sunscreen – $32.


See you next week!

a leopard never changes his spots!


“A leopard never changes its spots” is an old saying meaning that no matter how hard an individual may try to change its ways, ultimately it’s still the same leopard, with the same spots, and still the same as it was before it tried to change.

I have always loved all things animal print, but everytime at the zoo, it wasn’t the Zebra or the Lions that caught my attention.  The Leopard was my furry friend.

I decided to look at all things “Leopard,” to see if there was anything done in leopard that I did not like.  Couldn’t find it….seriously.  So here are just some of my favorite items done in a fabulous animal print, and in my case…….leopard.


When I was a baby, my mom got me a “onesie” that was made of flannel and a cute leopard print.  I am sure that I loved it.  Here is what I imagine it looked like!

baby leaopard


I must have remembered my “onesie” because I had to be a Leopard for Halloween one year.  Did I really have red hair?  Or did my mom spray it that color?  Is that me……..? ummmmm, I don’t think I was that cute. Here I am with a little Trick or Treat bag that is bigger than me!!!



Now I like to use my Louboutin bag which is still bigger than me.



Well anyhoo!!!!!  Going back to my mom, she sure loved her Leopard print lingerie.       Is this my Mother?  Wait a minute……..those weren’t her shoes!

london 1953


Here is Naomi at 41 years old………oy!  Gorgeous.  Worth thinking about getting some Leopard print lingerie isn’t it?   But then why do I keep thinking about flannel pj’s and the gym? I am such a bore!



When I turned 30, I was all in to Vintage. I bought a Red Coat and a Leopard fur hat just like the ones that Audrey wore.  I was divine, but everyone thought my dad lost his job.  My first big fashion flop!  Really, I mean when I wore my fringe vest in 72′ everyone thought I was hip!  Sigh…..



Here is a photo of my home office in my Florida home.  Of course I had to have a leopard print rug.  I mean……it really centers the room doesn’t it?

leopard office


I have this whole outfit, the ripped jeans, the animal print scarf and the Vince pale yellow sweater.  I even have the big giant tote. No, that is not me silly!   You know my hair is not long enough to put up in a bun. Sheesh!



Don’t you just love the way these towels look in my bathroom?  I love mixing it up but will always put a little leopard in there.  Why not?



I just ordered these shoes from Jimmy Choo.  What?  Why are you laughing?



I love standing at the top of my staircase in my leopard nightgown, waiting for my husband to make my dinner.

all things


Well, that’s it for this week…….everyone that knows me, also knows that my husband always makes my dinner.  As for everything else………My mother always called me a fibber.  I think of it as embellishing……..My husband just calls it selling.

but you know what they say, if you know who they are!

See you next week!!!!  I may write about Lions………




HOORAY for the RED,WHITE & YOU!!!!


Memorial Day is a special day to honor every single soldier that has served and continues to serve our country.  It’s a day to remember those we have loved, and lost.

Since I post a blog every Monday, I decided my way to honor our country, and soldiers is to do in Red, White and Blue.  Stars and stripes forever!

Spend time with family, count your blessings today!

This spring, stripes are especially popular in a wide variety.

swell 7


This is a fabulous maxi dress for the entire summer!

Love the v-neckline and layered with a long pendant is just perfect!

I recently stumbled on a site called SWELL………

OMG, the cutest stuff that won’t break the bank, but will have you feeling comfy and cozy all year long!   I think of my clients that are running to and from to get the kids……..this website is perfect for them.  Check it out!  Swell.com





I love this Captain America apron and if I had a place in on the shores of Nantucket decorated by, let’s say, Nate Berkus, I would wear this apron while hosting my guests.

Captain America Apron


flag scarf


I will definitely be purchasing this scarf for my summer barbecues and parties.  It is just perfect for wrapping up when the sun goes down.





stripe and red shoes

This is a perfect little ensemble. A pair of red patent leather ballet flats, a stiped short sleeve knit and some Ray Bans.  Take with you for the day a small bag to hold your sunscreen and necessities.

Jeans, depending on the weather, your j brand boy shorts would be perfect!




This is Picture Perfect for the holiday.  A flag chambray shirt over a white t shirt and a denim skirt.

A great patriotic way to layer it!





5 ways to rock red


Wherever you enjoy your summer fun, holidays or not, don’t leave home without your Grandma’s awesome home made potato salad!




See you next week.  Let the summer begin, WOOHOOOOO!!!!!

HI-JEAN jacket!

jjj0A perfect jean jacket will take you just about anywhere.  It is timeless and good for all ages, provided you use it wisely!  For twenty and thirty somethings…….pairing it with a mini dress is beyond chic!  And she has everything she could possibly need in that bag  …….my guess would be a pair of black sky high sandals, and a Lauren Merkin clutch to wear on her date tonight.   Files?  Paperwork?  …..all on a click of her IPAD.


I love this look……she woke up a half hour ago, no time to shower, so why not throw on this adorable cap?  She layers on her new striped t-shirt, and black sanctuary pants. Makeup, who needs it?  Grab a pair of sunglasses, and off to drop the kids at school.  The other moms wonder how she always manages to look so stylish…….It’s the Jean Jacket of course!   What do you suppose she has in the bag?  My guess? She’s on the way to Pilates class, then meeting up with her new business partner at Starbucks!

This week, I’ve shopped around for some awesome looks, and even include the vendor to make it easy for you to find online!

Have fun, and remember that one or two jean jackets are really all you will ever need!

Reporting from Northern Wisconsin……..see ya next week!


I prefer to stay neutral……

jenn2 Summer is on the way,….though I know my Midwestern friends are beginning to wonder about that.  But it will be here……Are you ready? Before packing the winter blues away, don’t be afraid to keep out some of those easy layering pieces like this fabulous Chanel sweater…… khaki chanel   Tunic? Over a pencil skirt maybe?  Over some plushy leggings for lounging around on a Sunday? Over white skinny jeans!!! That’s the ticket. Anyways….sweaters like this one should never be packed away! Ever!       An easy basic cardigan is another classic staple.  Several colors are ok.  Preferably pima cotton for hot summer nights, or 100% cashmere for breezy evenings and chilly air conditioned restaurants. white and khaki   Who wouldn’t want to sport this easy khaki sweater over a white pajama top and jeans? Fabulous!     Or how about a perfect little white cotton pique dress, with a skinny leather belt and nude platform wedges.  So easy and fresh looking!  Layer a cardigan over it and you are ready for anything!  Love this look.

  white is right

  Afraid of white?  Don’t love cotton?  Find a nice, easy silk dress with a flirty skirted bottom.  This one is ideal. The neckline screams for a great piece of jewelry.  Wear ballet flats or your big girl shoes…….either works……you will be comfortable in this style dress for years to come.  The neutral tan color works on most skin tones, but is fabulous on pale blondes, redheads or brunettes……it’s a sure bet! khaki dress Wow!  Perfect little khaki pencil skirt, with a simple white blouse…….add a black belt and a pair of awesome leather heels……easy black…..maybe open toe or why not a smoking hot pair of Louboutin classic pumps? khaki chic ummmmmm, these will work.   loubit   summer looks I love this whole look, for a day out and about.  Networking comes to mind.  I mean, who wouldn’t take you serious with this getup? Simple, classic jackets are the perfect wardrobe staple.  Any style in khaki you will always feel chic! Orange jeans?  Why not?  And don’t forget the accessories!  A perfect animal print scarf and a pair of chocolate wedges I am sure!  Handbag could be brown, or nude or metallic…..       White t-shirt White t-shirt White t-shirt White t-shirt White t-shirt   white and k   I am sure I have said it a thousand times!  It’s a no brainer! I like this contrast, off white by James Perse!  It also comes in all white.       See you next week!

Hat’s off to Betty!

Betty Halbreich

Personal shopper Betty Halbreich has been at Bergdorf Goodman in New York for more than three decades.(Entertainment One Films US, Entertainment One Films US / April 10, 2013)

I am in awe of this woman.  Where does she get the energy?  Amazing!
When I saw this article, I knew I would have to post it on my blog.  She is to be saluted indeed.
When I retired at 56 as a Personal Shopper at Bloomingdale’s,  I was sad to leave the thrill of the hunt, (for the perfect accessories!) But I have to say this; I was physically and thoroughly exhausted.  The job was fun, but not easy on the body. Lifting, pulling your racks of shoes, coats, running to fetch all new sizes as the client miscalculated her true size…..hmmmmm, how did that happen?
Thinking fast on your feet for many physical situations, such as severe osteoporosis, a double mastectomy, one foot smaller than another, is just one of the challenges you may get, right there on the spot.  Menopausal…..don’t even get me started!  And tough love is what many women have to have, if you want them back as clients.  You have to be truthful and honest.
My hat’s off to you Betty!   When you are ready, c’mon down to Florida for your golden years.  I will be waiting!
By Rebecca Keegan Los Angeles TimesApril 28, 2013

— Within 30 seconds in her airy, orchid-filled office three floors above Central Park, Betty Halbreich had zeroed in on one of my chief torments as a professional woman.

“I know why you have a problem with pants,” Halbreich said dryly, patting my hip.

Halbreich, an 85-year-old personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, has dressed Joan Rivers, Meryl Streep and Candice Bergen, and helped costume designer Patricia Field adorn the women of “Sex and the City.” She’s one of the supporting characters in “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s,” a new documentary, which opens May 3 in New York and Los Angeles, about the aspirational fashion emporium, and she is writing a memoir that HBO recently optioned for Lena Dunham to adapt.

Frank, warm and wickedly funny, Halbreich counsels powerful women at their most vulnerable moments — when they’re standing naked in the luxury department store’s mirrored rooms, trying to dress for a new career, new spouse, new body size.

For a recent hour, on a springlike Tuesday afternoon, she was dressing me.

Halbreich had pulled from the racks a soft, pastel green Theory leather jacket (marked down from $825 to $499); a flowing, navy, sequined top from Alice & Olivia ($330); a black-and-white, graphic print A-line Prada dress that was missing a price tag (“very expensive,” Halbreich said with a shrug). She tossed aside a printed green dress as “too sweet,” declared a blazer too short and dismissed my fears of horizontal stripes on a Missoni knit dress as outmoded thinking.

“Oh, dear God, come up into the new world,” Halbreich said. “First of all, this skirt moves. It covers whatever you’re trying to hide.”

When director Matthew Miele started making “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” in 2011, his primary interest was in the artists who designed the store’s intricate windows, which his family had come into New York City from New Jersey to see every holiday season when he was a child. As Miele, whose film was made to mark Bergdorf’s 111th anniversary last year, spent more time there, he began to identify other key characters, such as the store’s elegant vice president and principal tastemaker, Linda Fargo, and Halbreich, whose unpretentiousness has endeared her to clients and designers in a world that is often fawning.

“She was no-holds-barred candid; she came out with the funniest things,” Miele said.

Halbreich began her career in her 40s, when she was a mother of two with an unraveling marriage. She started at Bergdorf’s in 1976, running the shop’s Geoffrey Beene boutique, an era when women — even the rich ones — were changing the way they lived and the way they shopped.

“I’d see these women, they were needy,” said Halbreich, who was wearing a dark Marni blazer, sensible shoes and a whimsical wooden brooch she had bought for $2 in the Berkshires decades ago. “In my day, we didn’t work. What’s evolved is most women work … most women do something. These women are on a timetable.”

Halbreich has an uncanny ability to size up her clients’ moods in an instant and coax them through life’s difficult moments with a joke and a properly fitted dress.

“I love the baggage,” she said. “I love the stories. I have someone this afternoon, she’s the ugly stepmother of the child getting married. Which means I’m going to get a chip on the shoulder because she’s buying anything.”

Halbreich is not paid on commission by choice, and she loves to dig up bargains in a store that caters to the kind of people who can own their own islands. In a designer-obsessed industry, she is agnostic.

“I don’t pick from labels,” she said. “I pick visually. I pride myself on that.”

And she does it well. After three dresses in a row fit impeccably, Halbreich declared, “I’ve done very well on you. Maybe I’ll keep this job.”

She had brought several pairs of black pants into the fitting room for me to try as well but grabbed my arm, looked me in the eyes and said, “For the pants, go to J. Crew.”


Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times


The Tory Story……

sisters 1 sistersThis past week my sister Ginger came for a visit. What fun it was to spend “sister time” with her!



We shopped, went to the beach, shopped, went out for dinner, shopped, went to spin class, shopped, went to the pool,  and well……you get the picture!

Now that I am a “girl on a budget” (yeeks!) and Ginger shops, with much success at thrift stores…….I figured we could meet in the middle and check out one of the popular consignment stores here in Southwest Florida – FiFi’s.

So off we went to the Sarasota location.  It was truly a joy to shop there. FiFi herself was there with her sweet little dog, (a big black lab) in tow.  I was loaded down within minutes and grabbed one popular label after another.

Deciding on “NO BLACK” I was able to get 8 items for $120 which was my budget.  I just sold a Tory Burch belt last week on ebay,  so I was ready to get some bang for my buck!

My first hit was a soft and fabulous tank top, easy and drapey……. it looked great with the black cropped pants I was wearing.  I also intend to wear it with my white skinny Paige jeans.  Nude Dolce Vita sandals will be perfect!  Add to it my Lauren Merkin clutch and…….. Score!




Next, sweet little white embroidered “bohemian” top…..fit like a dream and looked great with my new complexion……!  Also looked great with my cropped black pants! But let’s face it…..jeans and flip flops will be the go to items for this little top.




Ok…..so what is this?  A beach dress?  Very soft like a favorite tshirt and guess what?????? Yup, it looked great with the pants!   I added a silk scarf for color and will use it with my orange purse.  Yesterday, I wore the dress as a swimsuit cover up!




OK, it looks like a purple tank right?  That’s because it is a purple tank!  I love it and the color was awesome layered over my white tank and you guessed it, my cropped pants.




OK…….well, not sure when I will wear it but it feels like butter and is a raw silk with this fabulous muted pattern and had to come with me.  I want to add my gold Lana hoops and a pair of skinny jeans with gladiators.  Oh yes!  Well, we shall see.




Can you say Brunello Cucinelli?  I can, and I scooped this up in a nanosecond! This lightweight linen and cotton sweater is a great look with white jeans and strappy sandals.  I also love it with  faded jeans and black ballet flats.   A big oversized tote bag is a perfect finish.  Now, where are we going?



This top was so comfortable and looked amazing on!  Forever 21……but who cares?  It was easy to layer and I see it with some faded Joes jeans and a white longer layer underneath.  My silver Ippolita bangles and big silver hoops.   I love it!




I bought this Lauren Merkin clutch two weeks ago at a Consignment shop here in my neighborhood.  $18 and it is the real deal!


ebay from consignment 025


That’s it for this week.  Hope you enjoyed consignment shopping with me.  To tell the truth, these items are a bit dressed up for my existing wardrobe, which includes paint clothes for my messy projects and trips to Home Depot, or my everyday wardrobe which is a pair of cargo shorts and a “life is good” tshirt.  No birkenstocks yet!

LIFE IS GOOD!   See you next week.


the perfect frame up!

My husband and I have done a lot of remodeling in this old cinder block home built in 1961.  Last year we sealed up some old windows that were left behind after my father closed up the carport and built his garage.  For whatever reason, the patch left by our contractor was never really evened out on the wall.  I always figured a bit of artwork would cover it.  Not so much……

interior and exterior 003

If you look closely you will see the big square where a window used to be.  It looks much worse when you are in front of it.  So………what to do.

One day while walking through Home Goods……(my favorite shopping experience of all things HOME)………I walked smack dab into this……..


This photo doesn’t really bring to life the shiny gold trim on this huge medallion.  The dimensions were about 50×50″…….pretty sizeable.  The Gold Trim and Green were a bit too pronounced. In fact, downright hideous.  I thought about it for about 1/2 hour as I shopped for a few other items that I needed.  There was only one,  but I knew it would still be there if I wanted it later.  I made a decision to purchase it and asked an employee to take it up front for me until I checked out.

The price was $119.00.  Upon further inspection, I noticed a dent, so I asked for a discount and got an additional 10% off (I actually liked the dent).  While checking out the employee reminded me that “today is senior day”…….

Huh?????? What are you saying? I asked “what does that mean?” and she tells me if you are over 55 that you get the discount.  Well, I finally know now why I love to be over 55……..to go to Home Goods on Mondays for “SENIOR DAY”……….Help me!!!

Anyhooooooooooo ……..after my defect discount, and my senior discount, my piece was under $100!  Woohoo!  So imagine my surprise when I carted it out to my car only to find out that there was no way in hell that piece was going in.  So now what? Back home to get my partner in crime (bungie cords in tow).  Needless to say, we drove in the right lane all the way home with my dented tin medallion floating on top, and I had no idea if I was even going to like it.   (Of course I did not share this with Mark).

I got it home, and you guessed it………hated it.  But I knew I would have to make it work as soon as Mark announced that he liked it.  So, it sat for 2 days leaning against the wall where it was to be hung.  A few days later Mark came up with the idea of framing it.  I loved that idea and off to Home Depot we went……(Mark’s favorite store also with the work Home in it).   After a lot of hammering out in his man cave, and several days later he produced the perfect frame for my art work.

I set to work on getting the gold out and toning down the green.  After a bit of whitewashing and making a mess……I liked the final look of my medallion…….



I got most of the shiny gold rubbed out and it looked a bit more like an old piece of concrete with a bit of copper shining through.   I was satisfied.

Next, I had a can of  Behr, (not beer!) Cottage White paint left over from another project, so I primed and then painted two coats on the frame that Mark built.

That night Mark did “the installation” of our project and I have to say………



ok………..that’s it for this week.  My sister Ginger came in last night and will be here for a week! Off to the beach……..where I will draw inspiration for next weeks blog!

See you then!

Oh……….cut it out!!!!!

for closet makeovers

I have been here in Southwest Florida now for almost 6 months.  What have I learned in such a short time?

1. Retirement is just a long vacation from your job.

2. There is no reason to live in the Midwest unless you have a career there.

3. Being “theclosetconsult” means nothing to retirees. Thrift stores and Wal marts are about the only games in town.

So…………..that said, I decided to do my little closet here on Mel O De Lane.              Walk in closets don’t exist here, so I get an 8’x4′ space, some dresser drawers and that is it.

Also, everything here feels “DAMP” because the humidity is a bit high.  But with that you get, naturally curly hair (whether you like it or not) and, your nails and skin look better than ever.  No dry, cracked hands. In fact, I have not used hand lotion in months.  Just sunscreen after I shower with a bit of my new favorite fragrance,

“Flower Bomb lotion”……………..love this lotion as my signature fragrance! Perfect!








Anyhoo…………I was bored this week, and my sister is coming to stay, and I wanted to have some dresser drawers for her, so I decided that I would hire “theclosetconsult.” She was FABULOUS!!!!  (if I do say so myself).

After she purged everything she ever owned in Chicago, (thanks ebay!)  she had a pile of clothes and a very organized and clean closet.

My husband says it is all about the maintenance, but I like the idea of change……..so I just change every so often.

clothes pileHere is a nice pile of clothes no longer needed for Florida.

Here is my new organized closet.  It might not be fancy, but this is Florida, and it suits me just fine.  I am going to get very used to this lifestyle.

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See you next week!