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Fabulous After 50

The Comedy Queen is Performing Soon!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Comedy, Entertaining, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Girls Night Out, Living a Royal Life, Out and About, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

The Comedy Queen has a show in the works, and you will want to be a part of it!  Get your reservation in while there is space available! This event is being held in a new venue, the lovely Koi Zen Cellars in the Poway area!  Go to their website to make your reservation, or contact Patti personally!  And remember, a reservation PAID, is a reservation MADE………… until then, it’s just wishful thinking on your part!

Go to KoiZen’s website to make your reservation!

A Castle, Fit for a Queen!

Adventures With Attitude!, Day-Dation Ideas!, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Travel and Adventure

Hearst Castle

We are so blessed to live in Southern California!  There are more places to explore, and more adventures to create than you could ever have time for.  One of our great California treasures, and one which took me FAR too long to go and see is Hearst Castle. I have lived in California almost 40 years and had never been there.

The views from Hearst Castle go on forever. He used to own all of the land from the castle down to the beach. Over 250,000 acres at one time!

The views from Hearst Castle go on forever. He used to own all of the land from the castle down to the beach. Over 250,000 acres at one time!

A few months ago, Don and I took one of our little adventures, flew up to San Jose, and spent a few days driving back home down the coast.  Our main stop was Hearst Castle, which we took 2 full days to explore. I loved every minute of it!  My only disappointment was that I can’t make it my own “personal” castle!  After all, every Queen needs a castle, right? (Perhaps if we all petitioned the state they might consider it????)

I truly believe in “Living a Royal Life!”  Well, it seems that Mr. Hearst had it down to a science!  The decadence and opulence of Hearst Castle is unrivaled, especially here in the United States!

The drive from San Diego to Hearst Castle is a beautiful one. We always make every little trip like this an adventure, exploring along the way. We stop on a whim when something catches our eye.  Fewer plans and more spontaneity make life far more interesting, in my opinion!

When you approach San Simeon, the ocean is on one side of the highway and far, far up the hill you will see the castle.  The day we arrived, in the field next to the highway were some of the zebras, decedents left from the Hearst menagerie that he kept many years ago.

I loved hearing some of the stories about the guests who frequented San Simeon, and some of the strange “quirks” that were passed on about William Randolph Hearst! I just eat it up!  I love it when you have a docent who has taken the time to find out every nugget they can, and shares it with passion! It makes a place like this come to life!

In front of Hearst Castle. I can only imagine how exciting it would have been to be a guest there back in the day!

In front of Hearst Castle. I can only imagine how exciting it would have been to be a guest there back in the day!

If you are a history buff, the history behind Hearst Castle, also known as San Simeon is fascinating! Check it out here! 

Planning Your Trip

We had to buy the cheesy tourist photo, right???

We had to buy the cheesy tourist photo, right???

There are hotels located on the beach, across the street from Hearst Castle. If you plan to have a full day, or even a few days of touring the castle, this is a convenient way to go.  The Castle is located in about the middle of nowhere, so driving back and forth to other hotels can be time consuming. Cambria and Morro Bay are about a half hours’ drive away – and you will find some more charming places to stay there, if you are willing to drive. We spent a few days in Cambria after our tour of San Simeon.

My man in the library! Such a masculine room! I just loved the feel of it!

My man in the library! Such a masculine room! I just loved the feel of it!

We took two full days to see the castle, enjoying two different tours each day.  As it turned out, it would have cost us almost exactly the same had we decided to do a private tour.  We then could have probably seen the whole castle in one day.  I would definitely recommend that you see as much of it as possible, because ALL of it is so interesting and fabulous! It is well worth the time and money spent. You can’t go wrong with one, or two, or four or more of these tours! 

Hearst Castle Sculpture

One of the many beautiful sculptures on the grounds of San Simeon

There are occasional evening tours, where the docents dress in 1930’s period clothing.  I plan to go back for one of those tours in the future. (Of course, you know me- I would be sure that Don and I were also in period clothing! ANYTHING for a costume!)

The artwork and collections that are on the grounds and throughout the castle are just unbelievable!  SO worth the trip!  I would suggest that if you can travel there when it isn’t peak tourist season (summer months) you will have the best experience, since it won’t be as crowded. The castle isn’t air conditioned, so it can be warm during the hot months.

You dont realize how large Hearst Castle really is, until you see the proportion of us next to the front door!

You don’t realize how large Hearst Castle really is, until you see the proportion of us next to the front door!

If you live in California, and haven’t taken the time to go and see it for yourself, you really need to do it.  It is an amazingly interesting and beautiful attraction! Personally, I can’t wait to go back and see it again!

Look at the detail in this room and in the ceiling! It is just amazing what was put into this castle!

Look at the detail in this room and in the ceiling! It is just amazing what was put into this castle!

Life is Worth Cheering About!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Comedy, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Girls Night Out, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, My Humble Opinion, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!

When I Die, I Want To Be a Pink Firework!

I didn’t even know it was possible.  Until last night.  I didn’t know that after you die you can have your ashes made into FIREWORKS!  Seriously!  You can’t make this stuff up!  (Well, you COULD make it up, actually I guess, but I’m NOT making it up!)  Where did I find out this profound and amazing way to get rid of yourself after you’ve gotten rid of yourself?  The movie POM. That’s where!  More about that in a minute, because actually, going to the movie is what this article is about.  But I digress, once again, to becoming a firework.  Since it IS a real thing, I’m just laying it out there for everyone who is left behind after I’m gone.  If they don’t take my whole body for science, and there is anything left behind, please make me into a firework.  Or two.  Pink would be my preference, unless they can do one that explodes into a crown shape. Then I’d prefer to be a crown shape.  Maybe gold.  Or a pink one and a gold crown. Whatever you can do to make the biggest possible SPLASH as I am remembered for the last time on earth.  I want to go out with a BANG!

OK, now that THAT is settled……… on to what the article is REALLY about.

POM Movie Madness!

Girls night out a few nights ago was to see the new Diane Keaton movie POM.  This is a movie about a bunch of women in a retirement community who decide to form a cheerleading group. We had a group of 12 women, ranging from 50’s to the just-past-mid 80’s.  And, you know me.  We can’t just go to a movie, walk in and sit down.  Heck no!  We needed to add a little SPICE to the event…….. so about half of us went dressed as……. what else?  CHEERLEADERS!

You may think that would be the silliest or stupidest thing in the world.  Go right ahead and think that.  I know better.  Maybe YOU wouldn’t do it, but that’s probably because you aren’t nearly as much fun as I am.  And my friend Stella is. And some of my other friends are!

Gerri, Patti, Stella as a blonde!) and Barbara enjoying Happy Hour!

Gerri, Patti, Stella as a blonde!) and Barbara enjoying Happy Hour! BTW- This is Gerri’s actual cheerleading outfit from high school. And it fits her perfectly!  I can still fit into my things from high school too.  I fit into my earrings.  That’s what I fit into.  It just isn’t right when people do this to you!

Here is the thing folks.  I’m WAY past the stage where I worry about what people think of me. No matter WHO you are, there are gonna be haters out there.  Even if I was the most perfect, smartest, most together person in the world (I’m none of those things and never going to be…. but IF, it’s an IF I put out there) there would still be haters with something negative to say.  So, I don’t worry, I don’t care. I just go ahead and be outrageously FUN, and enjoy every darned minute that I can in life.  After all, like I often say- YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO CALL IN YOUR CHIP!  It could be tomorrow. Or next week.  Or when you are sleeping tonight.  (That’s a kind of creepy thought, huh?)

“We are all so worried about what everyone else is thinking, but  of course,  the only thing that really matters is what we think of ourselves.” Diane Keaton in POMS

So, instead of worrying about other people’s impression of me, I just constantly think of something new, something fun, something entertaining that I can partake in, and invite those around me to join in.  Sometimes it’s a bit much for others’ taste, and they don’t come along for the ride.  Sometimes they come along for the ride, but they aren’t sitting in the front of the roller-coaster (that seat is reserved for Stella and me anyway!)  They may take a seat further back, where they can be a part of the fun, but not quite so far “out there.”  That’s all fine and good too!

Stella and Patti. We both have no problem dressing up in any costume, any time, for any event! Any excuse for a costume is fine with us!

Stella and Patti. We both have no problem dressing up in any costume, any time, for any event! Any excuse for a costume is fine with us!

Years ago I volunteered for hospice. I sat next to the bed of a number of people as they took their last breaths.  Never once did I hear a person say, “Gee, I wish I didn’t dress in that silly costume that time” or “Gee, I wish I hadn’t had as much fun in life as I did.”  NOPE.  The regrets that I heard about in life were that they had worked too hard, or worried to much about unnecessary things, or they hadn’t taken time to be with their friends or family enough, perhaps they wish they had traveled more.  My only regret will be – no matter HOW old I am when I die, is that I didn’t have more time.  I will know though, that I spent my last years having as much fun as I possibly could, and that I filled every moment I could doing things I love.

One of our late arrivals, Bella was pretty impressive with the splits! I never could do them, and no chance at all now!

One of our late arrivals, Bella was pretty impressive with the splits! I never could do them, and no chance at all now!

That’s what  I am referring to when I talk about Living a Royal Life.  Many call it Living Your Best Life.

Living a Royal Life

There are so many quotes that I love about what others think of you, but this is one of my favorites:

“At 20 we worry about what others think of us.  At 40 we don’t care what they think of us.  At 60 we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.”  Ann Landers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU!  It doesn’t matter and THEY don’t matter.  Be outrageous.  Be silly.  Look like a nut!  It’s worth it, believe me!

Are you MAKING memories in your day to day life?  Are you experiencing fun times, and enjoying adventures, big and small in your life?

If you aren’t- what will it take to make your life a life you love?

Maybe you need a “cheerleader” in your life, to help you be on the winning team!  There are a bunch of great cheerleaders in this group- give one of us a call and we’ll be over, Pom-poms in hand to help you to Live a Royal Life!

This was most of the "whole crew" from last night! Just ready to walk over to the movie!

This was most of the “whole crew” from last night! Just ready to walk over to the movie! Our ages ranged from 58-86! Now THAT is a bunch of winning cheerleaders!

BTW-  The POM movie is great. Get out and see it while it is in theaters if you can! (Check out POMS trailer here!) We all enjoyed it and the sweet  life lessons that were taught in it! (Not to mention finding out you can be made into a firework after you die!)  We also had a great time at Happy Hour at 333 Pacific in Oceanside, (Their happy hour includes $8.00 vodka specials, and the BEST brussel sprouts and calamari!  YUM!) Then we walked the few blocks over to the Regal Theater. I’m sure there are people who are still wondering WHAT the heck they were seeing as we paraded by with our pom-poms! We had a few other patrons ask to take our picture and the manager of the theater asked if they could put us on the Regal website……….

So there you go.  Silly fun, yes!  A fabulous memory of time with the girls too! It’s what Living a Royal Life is all about!

Bodacious Blooms & Bountiful Butterflies

Adventures With Attitude!, Date-Daytion Ideas, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Travel and Adventure, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Spring Has SPRUNG in Southern California!

The California Poppies at Lake Elsinore stretched as far as the eye could see!

The California Poppies at Lake Elsinore stretched as far as the eye could see!

When you live in Southern California, you become spoiled by the weather.  I’m not kidding when I tell you, if the temperature gets below 70 degrees, or above 79 degrees, most of us will be complaining, one way or the other!  It’s been a much needed rainy winter.  We need the rain, but still….many of us complain.  You know the old saying, April showers bring May flowers?  Kind of true, with a little “tweaking.”  Spring comes a bit earlier here in Southern California than it does in other parts of the country. By the time May gets here, spring will be finished and we will be experiencing “May Gray.”

This shows that the mix of flowers, which from a distance look like a solid mass of orange poppies, are actually a mix of poppies, mustard, popcorn flowers, California bluebells and lupines! What a beautiful bouquet they make!

This shows that the mix of flowers, which from a distance look like a solid mass of orange poppies, are actually a mix of poppies, mustard, popcorn flowers, California bluebells and lupines! What a beautiful bouquet they make!

This spring has been like no other I have seen in Southern California in my 40+ years of living here!  The super-blooms are everywhere and the migration of the butterflies has been amazing! People attribute it to our rainy winter, but I’m telling you folks, I’ve lived here through some rainy Southern California winters.  I’ve lived here through our “El Ninos.”  I’ve never seen either of these phenomenons like I’ve seen them this year.

Sitting among the flowers! (No flowers were trampled in taking this photo! I am on a pathway, although you can't see it!)

Sitting among the flowers! (No flowers were trampled in taking this photo! I am on a pathway, although you can’t see it!)

We who live in San Diego county are probably the luckiest people on earth!  Within 90 minutes driving time,  I can currently see the poppy super-bloom in Lake Elsinore, go skiing in Big Bear, enjoy the fragrance of the Lilacs in Julian,  savor the desert flowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert or relax with a book at our lovely sandy beaches, before the tourist fill them up for the summer.  It is incredible how many visual delights we are able to experience within such a short distance!

The Poppy Apocalypse!

The hillsides in Southern California are a kaleidoscope of colors right now!

The hillsides in Southern California are a kaleidoscope of colors right now!

This past Wednesday, Don and I had one of our “Date-Daytions” where we take the day off and go play.  (If you don’t know what a Date-Daytion is, I suggest you check out my previous article, What the Heck is a Date-Daytion? which explains them!)

Don and Me, taking time to "smell the flowers" on one of our Date-Daytions!

Don and Me, taking time to “smell the flowers” on one of our Date-Daytions!

We decided to head toward Lake Elsinore to see the “super-bloom of the California Poppies, because we had heard so many people oohing and aahing over it! They weren’t exaggerating!  The brilliance of the poppies on the hillsides are unbelievable!  From a distance, all you see are bright orange hillsides, but when you get in close proximity, you realize that they aren’t just made up of the brilliant California Poppies, but there are also Lupines, California Bluebells, Popcorn Flowers and Wild Mustard.

Although the picture didn't really pick it up, the reason I took this picture is that when you looked at this hillside there were patches of lime green, mint green, seafoam, thaos blue and other blues! The colors in nature were unbelievable!

Although the picture didn’t really pick it up, the reason I took this picture is that when you looked at this hillside there were patches of lime green, mint green, sea-foam, thaos blue and other blues! The colors in nature were unbelievable! The pictures of this super-bloom just doesn’t do it justice!  When you see it in person it is absolutely breath taking!

I was glad we went on Wednesday, because the traffic around the area was a bit crazy mid-week.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like on the weekend!  There were actually articles referring to this weekend’s viewing as The Poppy Apocalypse!  

Weeding through the traffic and hoards of people proved to be well worth it, however!  When we got near Walker Canyon, we were left almost breathless from the endless beauty!  We were also pleasantly surprised to see bridal couples having photos done, engagement and family photos being taken, and artists set up catching the beauty with their paintbrushes!  I does my heart good to see so many people taking the time to enjoy the natural assets Southern California has to offer! Our society has become so busy, and our noses are often so planted in our cellphones!  It’s wonderful to know people are taking the time to “smell the flowers!”

The poppies are so delicate looking when you see them up close!

The poppies are so delicate looking when you see them up close!

This couple was having photos taken on one of the hillsides. Don't ask me how she got up there in that dress, but what beautiful photos she will end up with! I couldn't help but wonder if the wedding had already taken place, or was set for a future date, as I doubt it was actually their wedding day on a Wednesday afternoon!

This couple was having photos taken on one of the hillsides. Don’t ask me how she got up there in that dress, but what beautiful photos she will end up with! I couldn’t help but wonder if the wedding had already taken place, or was set for a future date, as I doubt it was actually their wedding day on a Wednesday afternoon!

Butterflies “On a Mission!”

One of the other phenomenons that we have experienced this past week was a migration of Painted Lady butterflies.  (When I told my daughter they were called Painted Ladies, she said it sounded like the name of a strip club!  Kinda’ does, right? “Hey honey, the guys and I are off to The Painted Lady for  few drinks”……. )

Painted Ladies, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, look like tiny Monarch Butterflies. The coloring is very similar.  This week they were migrating up from Mexico, and our skies were filled with them.  Don’t picture a sky full of meandering butterflies landing on your flowers, floating about your yard.  This isn’t what it was like at all!   Picture instead, “butterflies on a mission!” Each and every butterfly you saw was flying north at top speed!  Zip, zip, zip- they were moving like they were in the race of a lifetime! It was just crazy! I guess that when you only live a few weeks, you have to move fast to accomplish your migration!  No stopping to smell the roses for these ladies! They would come, en mass across my street, up my driveway and right over my house at the speed of lightning it seemed! Every intersection and freeway had them darting across by the hundreds, right in the middle of traffic! So many of my friends were posting how sad they were that they felt they had killed dozens of butterflies when they were driving!  It was the craziest thing you have ever seen!  Unfortunately, getting a good picture of them, where you could really get a feel for the number of butterflies was difficult.  They just didn’t really show up well. The attached article explains about the Painted Ladies, and also has a lovely video of the Poppy superbloom! It’s worth checking out!

The Desert is in Bloom!

The Borrego desert is in bloom! It is amazing the many different flowers you can see there!

The Borrego desert is in bloom! It is amazing the many different flowers you can see there!

We haven’t gotten out to the Borrego Desert yet this season, but last year we made a day trip of it and enjoyed the beauty of the desert flowers.  My friend, Adam Snider went out there just a few days ago, and shared some of his pictures with me. He is an avid hiker, and said that due to this year’s rainfall there are plants blooming that haven’t bloomed in many years! Every time you go, you are sure to see something different!

My friend Adam shared a few of his photos from his trip to Borrego this weekend. There are plants blooming this year that haven't bloomed in years!

My friend Adam shared a few of his photos from his trip to Borrego this weekend. There are plants blooming this year that haven’t bloomed in years!

If you haven’t ever taken the time to do so, it’s well worth it. When we went,  I was amazed how you could see one type of flower in one area, go 1 or 2 miles up the road and experience a whole different type of cactus’, flora and fauna!  This is not something you can enjoy from the car.  You MUST get out to see the many types of tiny little flowers you can’t even see with the naked eye while you are driving by!

Close up of a desert Lily

Close up of a desert Lily

Julian’s Lovely Lilacs

Nearby Julian has its own beauty to enjoy! People often think of going to Julian in the fall when the apples are ripe.  It’s too darn crowded there then for me.  I prefer spring in Julian!  Being a “mid-west” girl, one of the things I love, and miss dearly are spring Lilacs, daffodils and crocus’. Julian is just the place to get your “lilac” fix.  You can usually see the lilacs starting about the 3rd week in March, through the first week or so of April. Unfortunately, the past few years I have seen a lot less lilacs in Julian, because there has become such a demand for people to sell their lilacs to the flower stands in the San Diego area.  (If you try really hard you can imagine my sad little face about this detail!)  I remember that I used to drive up to Julian and you could find large bushes of lilacs, full of blooms just outside of town.  No longer!  Now if you want to bring some lilacs home, you are most likely going to be buying them. Lilacs are expensive, and only last 2 or 3 days once they are cut!  Even so, it’s a great day, driving to Julian, seeing (and smelling) the lilacs, enjoying a bit of their apple pie, seeing the coastal live oaks and driving home. Another “bonus” is that Julian is close enough to the Borrego desert that you can go and see both in the same day if you choose to make a day of it!

Yes, we spend a lot to live here, but I don’t know too many places in the country where they can find the diversity of beauty that we have at our finger tips!  If you live in Southern California, take some time to enjoy the beauty that is ours for the taking- just minutes away!

Are You “Dying” to Throw a Party? Having Fun is No Mystery!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Entertaining, Entertaining Made Easy, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, Sensational after 70!
Don's character was Donald J. Brooks, and Stella, stunning as always, was Miranda T. Shetes, a beautiful and talented actress!

For our Watersdown Affair Murder Mystery last year, Don’s character was Donald J. Brooks, and Stella, stunning as always, was Miranda T. Shetes, a beautiful and talented actress!

Are You “Dying” to Entertain More?

I love to entertain, and I love anything that involves a costume.  That being said, you will find that many of our parties have some sort of “theme” so that costumes can be involved!  I think getting into costume brings out many people’s hidden “fun zone!” They are far less inhibited than they might normally be, once they don a costume!

Entertaining comes so naturally to me that I am always amazed by the number of people who don’t know where or how to begin when it comes to throwing a party.  I love putting on any type of party, which is why I host a monthly Bunko,  a monthly Book Club, gamenights, clothing swaps, wedding showers, networking and women’s events and numerous other seasonal parties, such as Holiday and Summer parties.

How to Host a Murder…

Our guests, in costume, for The Watersdown Affair Murder Mystery. What a fun evening we had! This was a great one!

Our guests, in costume, for The Watersdown Affair Murder Mystery. It was set in Yorkshire, England in 1936.  If you are wondering why the shorts on one guest?  His costume suggestion on the invitation was that of a Mountain Climber! He came, hiking “ax” and all!  What a fun evening we had! This was really a fun one!

One of our FAVORITE types of parties are Murder Mystery Parties. We do a few a year.  We think they are really enjoyable, they involve “costumes” and they are a small group of 8, which fits around our round dining room table just perfectly!

Friends have asked me how in the world they work, so I thought I’d share a little about them here. Putting them on is pretty darned easy- believe me- it’s no “mystery” how they work! With the “brand” of murder mysteries I put on, everything is pretty well spelled out for you, as I explain below.

The table, set for The Watersdown Affair, which was to take place in Yorkshire, England at The Watersdown Mansion in 1936.

The table, set for The Watersdown Affair, which was to take place in Yorkshire, England at The Watersdown Mansion in 1936.

My love for the Murder Mystery parties started about 30 years ago, when I was married to my kids’ dad. We put a number of them on then, and loved it.  When Don and I got together, we decided to revisit the idea, so I did a little research on the internet to come up with some new games.  The company that put out the games I had used years ago is called “How to Host a Murder.”  Back in the day, those games seemed kind of pricey, but worth the money (about $35 or $40 in the 80’s.)  The game came with everything you needed to put the mystery together- invitations, a tape you played at the start of the party with the “scene” set out, the list of characters, and even suggestions on what they might want to wear.  In the hosts’ booklet they often gave menu suggestions, making these parties a breeze to put on!

When your "Murder" takes place in England, the decor just calls out for some crowns, don't you think? and wouldn't you know, I just HAPPEN to have some crowns laying around? Not to mention, my events HAVE to have a signature martini to round out the fun!

When your “Murder” takes place in England, the decor just calls out for some crowns, don’t you think? and wouldn’t you know, I just HAPPEN to have some crowns laying around? Not to mention, my events HAVE to have a signature martini to round out the fun!

When I started looking for a newer version of the games, I found that the newer “digital” versions of the game are MUCH more pricey, often about $160.00.  This just seemed ridiculous to me, so I went on Ebay and Amazon and found the older versions, from the company I had used previously,  which were up for sale.  Most of them are still brand new, and in their original seal. And I paid between about $8 and $16 for them!   I have an old cassette player laying around, so that wasn’t a problem for me!  (For those of you who aren’t dinosaurs, or aren’t “savers” give me a call, you can borrow mine if you need one!)

It is Actually Very Simple….

So in detail, this is how it works:

Each game has a specific theme, and time period.

They have 8 players, 4 female and 4 male characters.

As I said above, each character is listed with a bit about them, and a suggestion of what their attire might be.

When you decide to do one of these parties, you need to know that you have friends who are pretty reliable, and will be there once they commit. Without ALL 8 of the players/characters present, you really wouldn’t be able to play the game. So, in thinking up your guest list, think about people who would be reliable, enjoy dressing in costume, and who wouldn’t mind if a bit of the conversation has some “racey” innuendo. Trust me, when people start getting into their characters, the fun REALLY begins!

Mike, as Dr. Malcolm "Mal" Praktiss and Olha, as Dame Allison Bigh. Funny thing is, Mike came practically screaming and kicking when he found out it was a Murder Mystery and he had to come in costume, but I think he had the most fun of all!

Mike, as Dr. Malcolm “Mal” Praktiss and Olha, as Dame Allison Bigh, when we did The Watersdown Affair. Funny thing is, Mike came practically screaming and kicking when he found out it was a Murder Mystery and he had to come in costume, but I think he had the most fun of all!

Once you get a date and have your 8 people, the way I find to be easiest is to scan one of the invitations, and send it to your guest list, letting them know which character they will be.

Props we placed outside our front door for our Western murder mystery, The Good, The Bad and The Guilty! . The bale of hay SEEMED like a good idea, until I found out what a HUGE mess the hay made- just sitting there! In my house, in my yard, Dons SUV from getting it there……… NEVER AGAIN with the hay bale!

The way the playing takes place is that upon arrival, every guest is given a book made specifically for their character.  Instruct them not to look at it until you tell them to. When everyone is present, you play the tape that explains the situation (murder) that has happened, and gives you some details regarding the event.  Guests may take notes in their playbooks.  Most of the murders are divided into 4 “scenes” or chapters.  In each scene, your guests will each be given specific clues which they must bring out, and others that they “may” divulge, only if asked by another character.

Marc was Elias Truist-Heath, an "up and coming" heart-throb gunfighter. Kim, as the lengendary Butch Chastity, the first lady of outlaws. I was Elvira-Lynn Fekshin, the "consummate soiled dove" of the town dont miss out on the pronunciation of her name!) And Don, as Chief Breaking Wind, the distinguished leader of the Cowpai Tribe! We all had fun with our costumes for this one!

4 of us at our Western Murder Mystery we did last spring.  This was was titled, The Good, The Bad and The Guilty, set in The Wyoming Territory 1881!  Marc was Elias Truist-Heath, an “up and coming” heart-throb gunfighter. Kim, as the lengendary Butch Chastity, the first lady of outlaws. I was Elvira-Lynn Fekshin, the “consummate soiled dove” of the town (don’t miss out on the pronunciation of her name!) And Don, as Chief Breaking Wind, the distinguished leader of the Cowpai Tribe! We all had fun with our costumes for this one!

Often, there will be some pretty funny, and sometimes “racy” facts that have to be brought out, such as one character being an illegitimate child of one of the other players, or someone who is having an affair, etc. That’s why, if your crowd is too “straight laced” it may not work out too well!

Johnny as P Elvis Swagarin - a lonely gunslinger, and Geralyn as Helena Handcart, mother of the 13 "Handcart Boys"

Johnny as P Elvis Swagarin – a lonely gunslinger, and Geralyn as Helena Handcart, mother of the 13 “Handcart Boys.” Poor  Helena lost all 13 of her boys after a gunfight at the Parkkay Coral!

Believe me when I tell you, if you have some fun friends, it’s very easy to get into character, and the whole evening becomes ridiculously fun!

K.I.S.S

Keep it Simple Silly!

As far as the menu and the food go- this is my recommendation.  Figure out a way that as the hostess, you don’t have to disappear into the kitchen for long periods, or you will miss too much of the fun- and perhaps a clue or two!

I have done these parties a few different ways.  How you will do it will depend on your budget.  I either make sure my menu can be pretty well prepared beforehand, and will just need to be taken out of the oven at the last minute, or I get someone to help in the kitchen, and they will bring the food out and serve it, so I can stay with my guests having fun at the table. I don’t want to miss out on any more of the silliness and the banter than absolutely necessary!

If you didn’t want to worry about dealing with the food, call in for pizza!  People don’t really care- they just enjoy working through the mystery and playing their parts!

The most important part of entertaining is HAVING FUN!  Don’t make it stressful on yourself- make it easy- whatever “easy” is to you, so you can enjoy it!

Typically, I start the evening at 6 PM and some have lasted as late as 11, depending on the story and the story line, so we have appetizers and drinks as people arrive, go through the introduction of the scene and our characters, and then move into the dining room for scenes 1-4.

No one gets into character more than my beautiful friend Stella! She turned out to be quite the "black widow" in this murder mystery, having buried 3 husbands due to mysterious deaths!

No one gets into character more than my beautiful friend Stella! Her character in this one was called Dee Adela Muerte, and she turned out to be quite the “black widow” in this murder mystery, having buried 3 husbands due to mysterious deaths!

Our table setting for our Western Murder Mystery. This one was really easy- a few yards of “patchwork” fabric sewn together and some bandanas ordered from Oriental Trading Company, tied with twine for napkin rings! Drinks were served in Mason Jar Mugs! The menu for this event was simple easy- I dida simple salad,  BBQ ribs, roasted potatoes, etc. and for dessert root beer floats!

By the end of the evening, you will find that most of your friends LOVE playing the part of someone who is nothing like them, and you will have some great laughs and memories.  And…… you may just find out you are a murderer!  No one, not even the host, knows “who done it” until the end of the night!

Is there anyone who couldn't come up with these fun and simple costumes from their closet?

Is there anyone who couldn’t come up with these fun and simple costumes from their closet? The Western theme lends itself to simplicity!

 

Stella played the part of Dee Adela Muerte, the thrice-widowed Mexican beauty..... And Al was Wyatt Hertz, the most famous lawman in the west!

Stella played the part of Dee Adela Muerte, the thrice-widowed Mexican beauty….. And Al was Wyatt Hertz, the most famous lawman in the west!

The memories you make with these parties last for years!  I still fondly remember the ones we did back in the 80’s and 90’s and the friends who attended still mention them when we get together!  It’s not just another boring evening at home!

Our most recent "Murder" was last weekend, with Murder at the Mardi Gras. While we had a great time with our guests, I have to be honest and say that this wasn't the most well written of the murder mysteries I've ever given. It was really lacking in detail!

Our most recent “Murder” was last weekend, with Murder at the Mardi Gras. While we had a great time with our guests, I have to be honest and say that this wasn’t the most well written of the murder mysteries I’ve ever given. It was really lacking in detail!

This was the whole gang from our Mardi Gras event! The evening was a lot of fun, even if the mystery itself wasn't too well written!

This was the whole gang from our Mardi Gras event! The evening was a lot of fun, even if the mystery itself wasn’t too well written! From L-R  Skip was J. Stephen Peek, family attorney, Stella was Connika Gothika, famous author, Don was Cayenne Pepper, the family chef, Patti as Alexis DuPre, reigning “Magnolia Queen”, Terry, (in front on knees) was “Gator” Crovitz, alligator fisherman,  Gerri was Melissa DuPre, the trampy gold-digging wife, Adam was Bourbon DuPre, jazz musician from the French Quarter and Bella was Elise St. Gresch, the family live-in maid.

 

Stuff I Know… 10 Tips for Living Your Best Life!

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Sexy After 60!

Stuff I Know………..

I’m the Queen of Damn Near Everything, and that means I MUST know some stuff.  I have some things I’m pretty damned good at, some things I’m not so good at, and some things I frankly suck at.  (Singing would be one of the things I suck at, and that REALLY makes me mad. If I could only carry a tune, I’d be an AMAZING singer.  I have no doubt about it! I’m frankly amazed that I wasn’t given a fabulous singing voice!  You all would be able to enjoy listening to me any time you wanted! I wouldn’t be one of those assholes who have a great voice, who don’t want to sing in front of others!  Hell NO!  I’d share anywhere, and everywhere, so help me God!)

That being said, I decided I’d make a little list of stuff that I know- just 10 of them for now. If  you don’t yet know these things- you should.  Trust me. This is shit to live your life by!  You do it, and who knows, you might just end of the Queen of Kinda-Sorta Damn Near Everything!

So here goes:

  1. Dress in what makes you comfortable.  I seldom wear pants or slacks.  I’m just more comfortable in a dress, and that’s what I choose to wear.  People often say, “You are overdressed.”  “What are you so dressed up for?” Do I give a shit if that’s what they think? (I’m often thinking, “Geez, could you put a little effort in to your outfit?”—- But do I say that?  No.  I’m comfortable in my choice. I have to assume they are comfortable in theirs. When I’m having a party and people ask,”What should we wear?, I tell them, “Look, I won’t tell you what to wear, and you don’t tell me what to wear.”  I don’t really care what they wear.  If they want to wear shorts, wear shorts. If they want to wear an evening gown, a cape and a tiara…….. great…… just don’t compete with mine!  Again……. Dress in what makes you comfortable, and don’t let anyone make you feel like it’s not right.  You are a grown ass adult.  You can wear what you want. Screw ’em if they don’t like it!

    In Tuscon a few weeks ago we stopped for lunch at a place called HiFalutin- because where else would the Queen of Damn Near Everything eat lunch? (Too bad my necklace was flipped over! It’s got my Queen of Damn Near Everything saying on it! It was made for me by a lady in England.  You’d love it if you could just see it!) BTW- Speaking of not caring what people think…….. I keep my tiara close at hand for photos. Do I give a shit what people think when I am sporting it for a picture? HELL NO!

2. Do more of what makes you happy.  When I was going through my last divorce…… (don’t ask what number it is,   because  when you find out it’s #3 you will judge me) I decided that I was going to improve my life DRAMATICALLY.  I had been working too hard, having too little fun and had WAY too little money. So, I made a list of what I wanted in my life, and what I didn’t want.  That was the beginning of me “Living a Royal Life.”  It didn’t happen overnight, but bit by bit, day by day my life changed. It changed because I focused on Doing more of what makes me happy!  And, I’m about as happy as a person can fucking be! It works! Trust me, if you make the decision to do it, you can make it happen.  No one else can do it for you! (Travel. I believe there is no better money spent than in traveling. Traveling and exploring are right at the tip-top of my “happiness list.” There is no added charge for this bonus tip………)

Abuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Don & I at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque a few weeks ago. It was a bit brisk, and I had every layer I had brought with me on……..AND, we had to get up at 3:30 AM to get there in time,  but it was WELL worth it!  What a sight to see all of the balloons there! One more item checked off the “bucket list!” One more GREAT adventure under our belts!

3.  In everything, moderation.  Anything, to excess is not healthy.  I’ve seen people who won’t eat anything processed, any sugar, any this, any that.  And they look like they just got out of a prison war camp and they are ready to die any moment. They don’t look healthy, they don’t act happy, they don’t look quite right.  They have “gone healthy” to excess and it doesn’t look good on them.  MODERATION PEOPLE!  With anything in life, don’t go too extreme one way or the other.  Religion, politics, booze, drugs, parenting…….. You’ve got to relax a bit and not let things go too extreme, no matter what you are dealing with.  Moderation.

The best example of this I know is my friend Stella. Stella is the most beautiful 73 year old you will ever know.  She’s got a great, slim figure. (For God’s sake, for our 70’s party last summer she wore a bright orange, green and yellow plaid suit she MADE in the 70’s and it fit her like she bought it yesterday! Who the hell can do that?)  Stella is a vegetarian and eats very healthy. Yet, she is NEVER that person who expects something special to be made or served for her.  You would probably never even KNOW she’s a vegetarian, because she doesn’t go spewing it to everyone, every minute.  AND, when she’s been at my dinner parties, she will try one of the ribs, or a bit of the meat lasagna.  Stella’s theory is that she eats the right way about 85% of the time, and when she’s out or at a party she splurges a bit.  This is a great example of “in everything, moderation.”  She looks great. She feels great. And she has the ability to have fun and enjoy life, without making herself, or anyone around her miserable!

This is Stella and me at my blog launch ust over a year ago. She is such a beauty!

4. Find a Tribe.  What do we mean by a “tribe?”  Your tribe is a group of people you consider your friends, and who have your back.  As women, especially, you need a group of people you can count on.  Women get so wrapped up in taking care of their family, home, business, etc. that many forget to take care of themselves.  It is SO important to get out, have some fun, act silly and laugh.  You also need to know that there are people who are there to see you through life’s challenges.  If you don’t have a “tribe” you need to grow one and propagate one.  They will make your life EVER so much better!

5. Find time to play.  Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of being so busy with life, so busy with making a living, so busy raising your family, so busy taking care of your house and so busy taking care of others that you don’t have fun.  Without fun in your life you can’t do all the previously mentioned “jobs” nearly as well. Remember the old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”  There is more truth to that than not.  Don’t know where to begin?  Figure out a movie you’d like to see, decide a time you are going to see it, and if you can rally someone to go with, take them along.  If not…. go alone and sit for 2 hours doing something for you……….. Then build on it from there.  (Hint:  Not sure who to get to go along with you?  If you are on Facebook, try a post- “I’m going on Monday at 7 to see  Blah, blah, blah movie.  Anyone else want to go?”  You’ll probably be amazed how many other people would love to jump in and make it a party! AND be SO happy you thought of it!)

Bisbee Arizona

On our recent Southwestern Adventure we stopped in Bisbee Arizona for a night. This was on one of their buildings. We love to take time to play!

6. Realize that 90% of what you worry about never happens.   Stop laying in bed worrying and playing the “what if” game.  What if…. I lose my job…. What if my husband leaves me…….. What if we can’t pay the mortgage……. What if my kids don’t turn out right…. What if, what if, what if, what if.  Well, I’ve been there when there has been no money.  I’ve been there when “the worst” has happened. I’ve been there when someone I love died. I’ve been there when I had to get a divorce, didn’t have a cent to my name, had terrible credit, had to figure out how to move out, had to worry about if I’d have the next month’s rent, had to worry about how to pay the next car payment.  But guess what? Worrying about it didn’t help. And a LOT of the things I used to worry about never came to pass. As soon as I decided to stop worrying about them, and living my life in a positive way, things turned around.  How did I stop laying awake worrying?  I decided to create positive plans, which fill my mind and give me something to be excited about. An example, when I had finally just moved out from my ex,  had a place and still wasn’t sure what to do for money, I started planning fun things with girlfriends.  I couldn’t buy new clothing, so I started having “clothing swaps” where girlfriends brought all their unworn clothes, shoes and accessories.  They also brought their own booze and some food to share.  A free party to put on. I ended up with new clothes, which made me feel better immediately and everyone had fun.  My mind would then fill with the details of who was coming, how I was going to lay it out, etc. and no time for me to lay awake worrying…………When you fill your mind with fun details about things that excite you in life, there is no time for the worries to creep in!

Day of the Dead display

Since Halloween is just days away….. we saw a great “Day of the Dead” display when we were out in Old Town, SD last night. It’s a good reminder to us that TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED my friends!

7. Live in gratitude.   Realize that no matter WHERE you are in this life journey, you have SO much to be grateful for.  In the United States, even the worst of us live better than many around the world.  When we went to West Africa a few months back, we saw village, after village, after village of people who existed in 10 x 12 shacks, with no bathrooms, no showers, no furniture.  Yet they were smiling and happy.  I don’t know of anyone living in situations any worse than I saw there. While your life may not be perfect right now, think about what you DO have. When you focus on the positive, you will attract more positive into your life.  When I complain, I try to stop and remind myself, “These are champagne problems.”  Many of our problems are just that.  Be thankful for a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and sunshine you can enjoy!  The roof doesn’t need to be a mansion, the clothes don’t have to be Gucci and the sunshine doesn’t need to be on a beach in Tahiti! You still can be in gratitude for what you have!

 

8. Don’t save things “for a special occasion.”  We’ve all seen those people. The ones that die and the pretty candles have gone unburned. The “special” china was never used. The prettiest dress in their closet, unworn. The silver carefully polished, but not ever used.  WHY? What are they waiting for?  “A special occasion.” WHAT special occasion? Tomorrow is not promised my friends.  EVERY day is special. EVERY day can be a party.  I have a sweet friend who asked me if I might want to have her mom’s “special china.”  It is the white china with a gold rim.  I have, somehow, with 3 marriages and about 1,000 parties under my belt, never gotten around to buying “good china.” I jumped at the chance.  She brought it to me and showed me that the box had been sent over from Japan when her mother, Japanese, married her father in the war. THE BOXES HAD NEVER BEEN OPENED since then! Don’t you wonder what occasion mom was waiting for to use the china?  Why did she want to give it to me? Because she knows, I USE the “special stuff” all the time!  A few years back, I was putting my silver flatware away after a party, and suddenly thought, “why am I only using this for parties?  What am I saving it for?” I had 4 sets of beautiful silver flatware.  My kids are never going to want it!  If I wear out one set, I can start to use the others! So I took my stainless flatware out of the drawer, and put in the silver.  Friends are constantly amazed when they see me load it in the dishwasher.  “You can’t do that! Silver can’t be put in the dishwasher!”  REALLY?  I’ve been putting mine in daily for about 5 years and I don’t see any problem. AND, I’ve never had to polish it since I use it daily. (I”m willing to bet that my silver flatware is happier than YOUR silver flatware, because it gets to be used EVERY DAY!) I just picked up a St. John knit that still had the new tags on it at a resale shop. I can’t help but wonder……. who the hell pays over $2,000 for an outfit, then never wears it?  Were they waiting for “the right occasion”- then died before that occasion happened?  Hell, I scooped it up, and wore it to volunteer usher! Going to see a play FREE is a special occasion in my book!  People, tomorrow may not happen.  Unpack that china.  Fucking USE it for every day! (Except if it has the metallic rim, you can’t microwave on that stuff!) Get out that beautiful dress and wear it to the next party you are invited to. Don’t have a party to go to? Throw one then!  Don’t have money to throw a party?  Make it a potluck.  (And use the damned china for the potluck!) Don’t you deserve a “special occasion” every day? I know I do!

Check out this great video!

 

9.  People are going to talk about you.  Yep, some are! That’s just the way it works.  Who gives a flying fuck? They may say you are stuck up, or fat, or this, or that.  WHO CARES?  If you are too perfect,they will talk.  If you make too much money, they will talk.  If you are in perfect shape, they will talk. If you put on a pound, they will talk.  If you find the perfect man, they will talk.  If your business fails, they will talk. On and on and on. The haters are gonna’ hate. BECAUSE THAT’S WHO THEY ARE! I find that in many cases, the reason they are talking is because their life is NOTHING to crow about!  If they don’t feel good about themselves, they sure as hell aren’t going to feel good about you.  This bullshit has nothing to do with you girlfriend!  Even IF they dig up some dirt about you, and spread it around, so what? So what? Hold your head up, go about your business, and LIVE A ROYAL LIFE!  You are the only one responsible for your life.  Just live it and forget the haters.  Let them wallow in the mud of their ugly little lives.  Keep calm and wear your tiara!

10. When someone compliments you, accept the compliment. For the love of Jesus, when somebody gives you a compliment, can you PLEASE just say thank you?  Please don’t tell them how old the garment is, or how awful you really look, or how fat you are.  Just say, “Thank you!”  If you want, add, “Aren’t you kind?” or “Aren’t you sweet!”  But STOP refusing the compliment!  Oh my goodness! Daily I compliment people, and the reactions I get from them amaze me.  You get these skeptical frowns, as if saying, “Why did she REALLY say that?”  Women go on and on about how old the garment is, how they really don’t look good, blah, blah, blah……… SHUT UP ALREADY!  Take the compliment, soak it in, realize it was meant to be nice, and move on. And by the way…. stop being a bitch and when you see another woman who looks great, or has well mannered children, or has achieved something in business, or her hair looks great, or  did a great job serving you, or has a beautiful smile or complexion…..take a minute and give her a genuine compliment. You just may make her day or week!  You never know how far that compliment may go to help another sister’s self confidence! And you might be amazed how it actually boost YOU too!

There are so many simple things you can do to “Live a Royal Life.” This is not even the tip of the iceberg!

Remember, Stay Calm and Wear Your Tiara!

 

 

What the Heck is a Date-Daytion?

Adventures With Attitude!, Day-Dation Ideas!, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Family Time, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Out and About, Sexy After 60!, Travel and Adventure

Day-Dations.  What are they?

You’ve heard of “stay-cations” right?  Of course you have.  It’s a vacation where you stay home, or at least stay near home for a little “relaxation.” Therefore – it becomes a stay-cation.  My man and I not only take as many darned VACATIONS as possible, and we also take an occasional stay-cation.  One of our fun little relationship secrets, however, are our “date-daytions.” (I’m thinking of copywriting this word, cause it’s a good one!) -day long dates where we explore, reconnect and have a fabulous adventure. (Check out a suggested list of Day-daytion ideas below!) By taking the time to connect I feel like not only are we doing fun things together but also growing our relationship. I am truly “Living a Royal Life.”  The kind of rich life I wish for all my friends.

If you are in a relationship, I highly recommend making sure to take the time to do these little “getaways.”  I know with the busy schedules we all have it can be hard to do, and  finances can be tight.  But in our area of Southern California there are SO many things you can do for FREE!  Be innovative, be creative!  (If you live somewhere other than Southern California I’m sure that your area has a lot of freebies there too, if you just take time to check them out!)

If you aren’t in a relationship———- don’t use that as an excuse to stop reading!  You are going to find some great ideas you can do with a friend, your family members, your kids……… WHATEVER!  I am full of it……. I mean them. Good ideas!  Keep reading.  You’ll see!

Staying Connected…

Carving out the time is UBER important if you want to stay connected. That’s just my humble opinion.  Not that I’m a relationship expert. My marriage track-record might prove that….  On the other hand, Barbara DeAngelis, who is supposed to be a “relationship expert”  and has written 15 books on relationships, has been married at least 4 times! She’s got me beat!  (Maybe I AM a realtionship expert, who knows?)  Take my advice for what you will.  What I will say is that my man and I have an amazing time together! we love to explore and we look forward to every adventure we have!

Back to date-daytions…….We try to do one almost weekly.  We had a FABULOUS one recently! (But then, they are all fabulous, because we love our little adventures!)  My daughter and her love were going out of town and had to fly out of LAX. We got up WAY before the crack of dawn, because if you’ve driven from North San Diego County to Los Angeles, you know you have NO IDEA how long the drive could take. Especially when you need to be at the airport at 9:30 in the morning. Better early than a missed flight, so we were on the road at 5:45 AM.  Lucky for us, we got up to the vicinity of the airport with more than enough time to spare, and had time to have breakfast together before they departed. Kind of a bit of “bonus” family time!

We had already decided we would go to the Getty Villa and explore while we were up there, but as we got near it, we realized we were both EXHAUSTED, and it was only mid-morning……. so we made the decision to get massages before we hit the museum.  I checked Yelp. found a few places nearby, and we were lucky enough that one about 10 minutes away- with great 4 star ratings had openings for both of us for 90 minute massages, and off we went.  Did we ever LUCK OUT!  We weren’t disappointed either! The place was clean and attractive and my massage was absolutely WONDERFUL! My masseuse was Dina- and she was fabulous!  (Don wasn’t quite as thrilled with his masseuse.) Just in case you are in Santa Monica and want to check it out- It is The Massage Place at 625 Montana Ave.

Taste Lived Up to Its Name!

After the massages we walked around the area for a bit then, this time, Don checked Open Table for a restaurant in the area. We found one called Taste in Pacific Palisades. At first, when we pulled in, I was momentarily disappointed.  It is located in a sort of a strip mall— which wasn’t what I had expected.   We parked, and went into the restaurant, which is actually very trendy and fun inside, but we chose to eat on their outside patio.  We shared a Chopped Sabrosa salad, and it was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! (I have to admit- I tried to recreate it at home, but couldn’t begin to match its DELICIOUSNESS!)

A few stores over from Taste was a dress shop with the cutest dress in the window….. so what’s a girl to do but go in and give it a try? The owner of the shop was charming and helpful, and a few minutes later I walked out with a new white summer frock.

“Getty-Up” to the Getty!

That about says it all. Look how beautiful even the entrance to this museum is!

That about says it all. Look how beautiful even the entrance to this museum is!

Then on to the Getty Villa.  Neither of us had ever been to either of the Getty Museums, so this was fun. And- BTW- the Villa is ABSOLUTELY FREE to get in to. They do ask that you go on line to get a reservation, because they limit the number of people who are there at one time. Luckily for us, as we didn’t know this little detail and since it was a slow day and they let us in.

I'm at it again, mimicking one of the sculptures. Some people's kids.......

I’m at it again, mimicking one of the sculptures. Some people’s kids……. Are we the only whack-jobs who mimic the sculptures?

For those who don’t know the difference, J. Paul Getty built the Villa before his death to house his personal collections.  It is designed after an ancient Roman country house called The Villa Dei Papiri.  It was opened in 1974, a few years before his death, but he never actually visited the Villa once it was completed. There are beautiful fountains and pools, mosaic floors, and amazing architecture.  Just the building alone would make a worthwhile visit.

The fountains and ponds throughout the grounds are absolutely beautiful at The Getty Villa. No expense was spared when designing the whole campus.

The fountains and ponds throughout the grounds are absolutely beautiful at The Getty Villa. No expense was spared when designing the whole campus.

Easy to see who they sculpted this piece after......... :)

Easy to see who they sculpted this piece after……… 🙂

One of the items in the collection was a real surprise to me.  If you remember the book and subsequent movie “The Girl With The Pearl Earring,” the sculpture you see on the cover of the book is at the Getty Villa.  Not only did I not expect to see it there, but I was astonished at its size.  The whole sculpture is only about an inch or inch and a half tall! I assumed it would be the size of an average head.  Not something you could put in Malibu Barbie’s house!

(Side note: We since have also gone to the Getty Museum, and enjoyed it just as much. However, you would need a number of days to do it justice.  Plus, they have constantly changing “temporary” exhibits, so you will never be finished!)

 

Small sculpture of The Girl With the Pearl Earring

You probably recognize this sculpture from the book, and subsequent movie, The Girl with the Perl Earring. What you might not realize is that this sculpture is only about 1 inch tall!

After spending a few hours at the Villa, we spoke to the guards as we were pulling out and asked what we should see nearby.  One suggested we go just a bit North and stop at Moon Shadows for a drink.  If you haven’t heard of Moon Shadows, you have certainly heard ABOUT it.  It’s the bar that Mel Gibson was in when he imbibed a bit too much, got pulled over and received his DUI. Then he unwisely decided to call the officer a number of anti-semitic names…….. and the rest is history.  Moon Shadows is one of those places that probably has been living on its infamy for a bit too long.  The inside of it is pretty tired.  But the view is one no one could tire of! They have a narrow porch that literally hangs over the water, and we had a drink and appetizer, and enjoyed the water view and a funny sea-gull who was looking to find a snack left by a careless tourist.

Sitting over the water at MoonShadows enjoying a martini.

Sitting over the water at MoonShadows enjoying a martini.

From Malibu we drove south along the coast, enjoying the scenery, the people, and the buildings.  We ended up in Redondo Beach at The Chart House in time for the sunset.  As is typical in California, the sunset was beautiful, although we didn’t get to experience a “green flash!”

Then reality set in and we had to run a few errands on our way home. I was having an event at our house the next day and I didn’t want to have to fit in running out again, so Home Depot and Trader Joe’s wrapped up our Day-dation! We even have fun doing the mundane together.

Finally, after leaving the house before the sun completely rose, we pulled into the driveway at just about the stroke of midnight…. with a fabulous Day-dation under our belts!

This is a pretty view of some of the gardens at the Getty Villa. Whats strange is that the whole floor is beautiful mosaic, but the only part that shows in this photo is in the shadow of the pillar, like Im on a little "magic carpet!"

This is a pretty view of some of the gardens at the Getty Villa. Whats strange is that the whole floor is beautiful mosaic, but the only part that shows in this photo is in the shadow of the pillar, like Im on a little “magic carpet!”

Day-Dation Ideas:

Trying to think up a few fun little dates but not feeling particularly creative?  Here is a list of fun things we have done on some of our Day-dations which could spark your creativity.  Look for words that are dark blue  and underlined below. They are live links for you to find out info about my getaway ideas.  (I can’t do much more for you than this people, other than take your sweetie on a date myself, and/or pay for your date.  Neither of which are going to happen, BTW!)

Just to let you know, the places I recommend are TOTALLY and completely only because I have gone there, done that, and enjoyed it!  No one has paid for me to go (well, other than my man), or to review them.

Newport Beach Getaway: We drove up to Newport Beach, explored a bit, took the ferry to Balboa Island. On Balboa Island we had lunch, walked around, and found an old arcade with the fortune telling machine which, of course, we had to do! You can kill a whole day just riding around, looking at the scenery, walking through Balboa, and more. Sherman Gardens is a fabulous little garden that is tucked away right off of Pacific Coast Highway.  We went there and had a fabulous time enjoying the gardens! There are also whale watching tours, gondola rides, amazing restaurants, beautiful beaches and more!

Segway Tours: This was a surprise Don did for me- he got Segway Tour tickets off of Groupon or Living Social. We then did a tour of LaJolla on the Segways.  No one else showed up that day, so it was just Don, me and the tour guide! The Segways are really easy to navigate, and SO much fun!  We had an awesome time zipping about, then we finished with dinner in La Jolla! A romantic mid-priced date. Could be done less expensively by bringing a picnic dinner and sitting at the cove enjoying the sunset. The surprise made it even more fun for me! Segway tours are also offered in downtown San Diego, Coronado, Mission Bay, Gaslamp, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and more. What makes them even more fun is that the guides show you little alleyways and paths you would never even know existed if they hadn’t taken you through them!   (Be sure to check out one of the discount sites and you can save up to 50%!)

Boating:  In San Diego alone you can go down to the harbor and enjoy a 1 or 2 hour “bay excursion” which gives you a fabulous and relaxing tour of San Diego Harbor. The 1-hour tour runs about $25.00; two hours is just $30.00. What a great afternoon!  Looking for something a bit more WILD? Check out The Patriot- which is a high speed boat ride that lasts about 1/2 hour. They take you around San Diego Harbor at what seem like death defying speeds, and rockets you in circles!  We went on it just last week, and it was a riot!  $25.00! Come on!  Not only that, but you might just find discounts on either Groupon or Living Social if you try! That’s AMAZING! There are similar things available throughout Southern California.

From a different area?  In the mid-west there are lakes that offer boat rides. Chicago has architectural cruises and sightseeing boats…….. nearly anywhere near water has a multitude of fun, and fairly inexpensive boating options!

Electric Scooters: The new thing around the “tourist areas” in Southern California are the electric scooters. The app’s are free, then the scooters cost $1.00 to start and about 15 cents per minute. They are an absolute BLAST and a great way to get around the city quickly from place to place without having to “re-park” your car! I think there are currently 3 different companies with the scooters in San Diego.We have also seen them in Santa Monica recently. A few weekends ago we scooted from the harbor area of San Diego, through the Gaslamp, up to Little Italy and back in a really short time!  And there are so many available everywhere you go, that when you want to jump off and get a bite to eat, or explore, you can do it and just find another to pop back on when you need it!

The electric scooters are SO much fun to bomb around on!

The electric scooters are SO much fun to bomb around on!

Foot Massages: Another surprise from Don- when we were first dating he asked when I could block 2 hours out of my day, and he surprised me by taking me to a one hour foot massage at a spa near us. They are surprisingly inexpensive and they put you side-by-side in a huge and cozy lounge chair where you get to hold hands with your sweetie and be pampered with your feet, shoulders, arms and necks being massaged! Most of the foot massage places are run by Asians, and they are very reasonably priced. Give it a try!

Play and a picnic.  About 30 minutes from us is an outdoor theater, The Moonlight Theater, where they put on great productions.  Tickets for this theater are surprisingly inexpensive. They have an unusual seating arrangement.  You can either choose a regular seat, or, in between the rows of seats, are a grassy area (no artificial grass) which is about 6 feet wide.  You can reserve a place on the grass, and have a picnic dinner before the play! They provide the low chairs, you just bring your picnic basket and enjoy a romantic time together.  It is less expensive than dinner at a nice restaurant! We have enjoyed it so much that this year we got 4 season tickets, and we try and invite a new couple along each play. Usually  people we don’t know well and would like to know better.  It’s a great way to build some “couple” friendships!

Hearst Castle:  OK, this is more than just a day-dation from where we live, however, I’m throwing this out there.  A few months ago, Don purchased a new car, and the one he wanted happened to be located up in Fremont.  Rather than pay $700. to have it transported down here, we flew up, and spent a few days driving it back home.  We stopped and toured Hearst Castle for 2 days, and had an AMAZING time. We also wrapped a night in Carmel-by-the-Sea into the trip. We stayed at a really darling little place called The Carriage House Inn, and had a darling and romantic room with a fireplace. Three days away felt like a REAL vacation! So, in actuality, this was more like a 3-day-dation…….. which probably falls between a Day-dation and a Vacation……..

Don and Me at Hearst Castle. We ended up touring it for over 2 days, we enjoyed it so much!

Don and Me at Hearst Castle. We ended up touring it for over 2 days, we enjoyed it so much!

Tourist in Your Town:  You know all the things the tourist do when they come to your city?  Chances are, you live RIGHT THERE and have never done them!  We have done “tourist days” more than once right here in San Diego.  One day we  drove to  downtown San Diego, went on the “Seal Tour” — you know them, the boats that go both on land and in the water, (and made unfortunate news recently when one capsized, killing some passengers.)  The tour was fun (and no, we didn’t capsize).  BTW- If you tell them at the Seal Tour desk (which is located at Seaport Village) you are a local, AND show your ID, you will get a BOGO!  (With the money you save on THAT little tip, feel free to take me to lunch!) We walked around Seaport Village, visited some galleries and had a great dinner downtown.  I’ll admit, I think we may have based the whole day around a massage deal I got off of Living Social….. It turned into a fabulous “day-dation” early in the day through the whole evening.

If you are from a different city, say the Chicago area…. what about one of the Architectural Cruises on the river (they are FABULOUS), or time in one of the fabulous museums such as the Art Institute, Field Museum or Museum of Science and Industry? Walking tours are offered and there is a display at the Watertower. There are always dozens of plays you could go to, or listen to music at Kingston Mines.  A stroll down Michigan Avenue can take all day between the flowerbeds, store fronts, and more!

Every city has a lot to explore. Most cities have “city tours” where you might learn about things you didn’t know existed, right up the street! Go to the places you send the tourists when they come to visit. You might be glad you did!

Ride Bikes around Mission Bay:  Take your own bike, or rent one— and ride about Mission Bay.  It is so much fun, and you’d be hard pressed to cover the distance in just one day!  There is so much to see, and so many places you can stop for a bite to eat, or a drink!  The people watching is fun too!  If riding a bike a distance is too much for you, I suggest trying one of the electric bikes. They can do some, or ALL of the work for you!  Check out Surf Monkey Bikes at 853 Grand Ave. SD- and Kalin will hook you up with a beach cruiser, a mountain bike, a tandem bike or an electric bike.  We recently took 14 family members who were in town for my grand-nephew’s graduation from Marine Boot Camp, and Kalin hooked us up with a sweet military discount!

Julian: For those of you from the San Diego area, Julian is just a short, and beautiful car ride away.  And the GREAT thing about Julian?  It has true SEASONS!  Go in the fall to see the change of leaves.  In the fall there are typically great craft fairs at their little community center, with fun, seasonally inspired decor. During the winter you can go to Julian to see and play in the snow, find more great holiday crafts, and find Christmas gifts.  Spring……… MY FAVORITE!  I try to go to Julian in the spring and see the LILACS in bloom!  Lilacs are one of the things I miss the most from living in the Midwest, and I love to see the plants, smell the blossoms and bring a few home!  Summer is lovely in Julian.  Strolling the old fashioned streets is always great fun. The many gift stores are fun to peruse.  One thing I have wanted to do in Julian, but haven’t yet gotten around to, is a tour of the old Gold Mine.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  If you want to make it more than just a day-dation, Julian has a number of fabulous B&B’s where you can stay and enjoy all the little former mining town has to offer!

Laguna Beach:  Laguna is where I first lived when I moved to Southern California almost 40 years ago, so it has a special place in my heart. There is enough to keep you busy any time of the year, between the beautiful beaches, dozens of varied art galleries and restaurants.  If you enjoy tide pools, Laguna Beach has my favorite tide pools to explore.  One of the things that Laguna is well known for is The Pageant of the Masters.  It is WELL worth going for. We visit it almost every year.  Explaining the Pageant of the Masters is difficult, and when you try, it sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry! But believe me, it hasn’t been going for 85 years because it is boring!  When you go up to see the Pageant, make sure to go up early enough to take in either the Art-A-Fair or the Sawdust Festival while you are there.  And a hint from one who knows- make sure when you are purchasing your tickets for the Pageant that you go DIRECTLY to their website.  There are some tricky websites that try to redirect you, and you will pay 4 or 5 times what you can get the tickets for directly through the Pageant!  I put it in my calendar, and go on right after the holidays to purchase my tickets for the next year.  This year we had 4th row seats! WELL worth planning for!

Up-the-Road-A-Piece:  I love to go an hour or two away and stay the night.  For us, that’s up to Orange County or LA area. There are SO many fabulous areas that you can get away to, explore, and feel like you’ve gone on a mini-vacay.  Think about it for those of you who are in Southern California.  A short jaunt takes you to Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, LA, Venice Beach……… it goes on and on and on. And each one of those areas have SO many fun activities you can do, so much to explore!  Museums, art galleries, beaches, craft fairs, street fairs, food truck nights………….

Subscribe to San Diego Magazine:  You will find more fabulous things to do, more date ideas, more restaurant ideas and nearby getaway ideas than you could EVER implement!  I keep files for future day-dation ideas…….. just in case we ever run out of our own ideas! They actually just implemented an “insider’s club” which will give you a lot of perks, discounts and fun events!  You may want to check it out!

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the many amazing dates you can dream up with your sweetie, or fun ideas you can do with friends!  If you have something you have found that is fun- let me know and I’ll add it to a future blog!

 

 

Feeling Blue……. Tiffany Blue!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Entertaining, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!, The Queen's Castle- DIY
Is there any woman who doesnt love the look of the Tiffanys bag and gift box?

Is there any woman who doesnt love the look of the Tiffany’s bag and gift box?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s…….

Those of you who know me know I’m ALL about putting on a party. And theme parties are even BETTER! So many people tell me they don’t begin to know how to entertain, and can’t imagine where I come up with the ideas that I do.  I absolutely LOVE using my creativity – and theme parties are just the ticket to going “hog wild.”  In many cases, it doesn’t cost very much — in time or effort— to put on an event.  I hope that this article will prove to you just how easy it is!

I had wanted to do a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” party for a while.  About 6 months ago, when ordering tablecloths for my new dining room table, I saw one that was Tiffany blue, and decided to go ahead and order it while I was getting another for an event. (You know the drill….. spend  $X amount and shipping is free. Always a GREAT reason to spend more money!)

Most of the lovely ladies who came out to enjoy the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" party!

Most of the lovely ladies who came out to enjoy the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” party! (Just our photographer, Lauri was missing from this picture!

THEN- I saw a picture pop up on Facebook with a Tiffany Blue Mimosa, and WHAM……. I had to do it. It was the clincher for a fabulous “theme” brunch!

Patti - channeling her best "Holly Golightly" and holding one of the "Tiffany Blue Mimosas!

Patti – channeling her best “Holly Golightly” and holding one of the “Tiffany Blue Mimosas!

This party was going to be a bit different than some of my parties. I wanted this to be a small and intimate brunch. The hardest part of THAT is deciding how to only invite 8 friends. Where do you start? No matter who you invite, you wish you could invite 6 others too!  So, I decided to do a mix of 2 of my dance friends, 2 of my networking friends, etc….. and I literally did some point and pick….. very scientific… and away we went.

Back in the day I used to put a lot of time and effort into creating invitations, but now I just use Evite. The invitations are created and sent in about 5 minutes total, so it’s easy as pie!

Channeling Our “Inner Audrey Hepburn!”

On the Evite, I instructed the women to all “channel their inner Audrey Hepburn.” What is nice about this theme is that almost every woman has a black dress, and Audrey wore a number of them in the movie!  A black dress, an updo, and a cigarette holder, and you are pretty much decked out as “Holly Golightly!” We had to laugh, because my friend Karen went to pick up a cigarette holder the day before the party, and the lady at Party City said they had had a “run” on cigarette holders the past few days!  Sure enough, 4 of the girls had picked theirs up within a day of each other!

 

Olha channeled a perfect Holly Golightly! She may have given Audrey a run for her money!

Olha was a perfect Holly Golightly! She may have given Audrey a run for her money if she had been around when  Truman Capote was choosing his starlet!

A Rebel in Our Midst!

We had one rebel though!  My friend Stella copied the pink number that Audrey wore in the movie with a fabulous pink tiara to mimic the scene where Holly Golightly has her meltdown over losing her brother. We all think about the black dresses, but there are a few scenes where Holly is shown in pink!

Miss Stella with her creative pink hand crafted tiara! Who could beat that smile?

Miss Stella— the rebel— with her creative pink “hand crafted” tiara! Who could beat that smile? I love how someone’s cigarette holder is “photo bombing” the background, and looks SO real!

 

The menu was easy, as I have a few “go to” recipes for brunch.  We started with 2 different homemade scones with jams and cream, then a tasty fruit salad I recently got the recipe for, vegetarian quiche and a baked cinnamon apple French toast. Brunch is simple, you don’t need to go overboard.  Both main dishes, and the scones are something I can make ahead and freeze if I choose, then just bake the day of the event.  (I made the main dishes a day ahead, and put extras of both in the freezer for a Girl’s Getaway I’m doing in a few weeks! Do the work for 2 or 3 events at once ladies!  It makes entertaining SO much easier!)

The whole gang toasting to Holly Golightly and Breakfast at Tiffanys!

The whole gang toasting to Holly Golightly and Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

If you wanted to make this simple party even LESS work, ask 2 or 3 of the guests to bring  a dish. Others could bring a bottle of sparkling wine, and your work as a hostess is almost as easy as setting the table! Personally, part of the fun for me is the cooking, so I almost always turn down offers for someone else to bring a dish.

Laurie.. channeling her best Audrey Hepburn, as I suggested in the invitation!

Lauri.. channeling her best Audrey Hepburn, as I suggested in the invitation!

When I started thinking about what to do for the centerpiece I thought that somehow incorporating some of Don’s grandmothers vintage stemmed glasses and pearls would be fun. So I started putting it together.  Remarkably, other than buying 2 “Tiffany blue” bowls I stumbled upon at Home Goods, and one container of pearls and “diamond” shaped jewels I saw at Michaels’, every thing else was just stuff I had around the house.

A close up of the table centerpiece just before the party. I just put together some vintage glasses, blue glass, an orchid and pearls I had around the house. In the background on the table you can see the little Tiffany bag that Don snuck in- with a surprise gift for me!

A close up of the table centerpiece just before the party. I just put together some vintage glasses, blue glass jewels,  an orchid and pearls I had around the house. In the background on the table you can see the little Tiffany bag that Don snuck in- with a surprise gift for me!

Since the time setting for Breakfast at Tiffany’s was from “back in the day” I even used Don’s grandmother’s vintage champagne glasses, made some blue sugar for the rim, tied a blue ribbon on the stem- and viola- the perfect way to serve the Tiffany Blue Mimosas! FABULOUS if I do say so myself.  I scoured my house for other “Tiffany” colored items, rearranged a few of my knick-knacks in the dining room, and added them to pull the theme together.

Make it “Instagramable!”

Everyone LOVES photos nowadays, and the “photo booth” seems to be prevalent at most parties, so I made some signs to hold up for photo ops!  It is the little details like that, which add so much to an event! Lucky for me, I had some blue card stock paper- since I didn’t get this brainstorm until about 10 PM the night before the party! I printed out the sayings I wanted on the card stock, cut into a “bubble”, and glued some bamboo skewers I had in the kitchen drawer on the back as “handles.” Then in the morning, I added a bit of glitter embellishment on some of the signs. Quick and easy!

Another last minute idea was a game of answering questions about Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This is one movie that has had a lot written about it, so coming up with 15 questions just took a few minutes.  Did you know that Truman Capote (the writer of Breakfast at Tiffany’s) wanted to cast Marilyn Monroe in the part of Holly Golightly?  Her agent didn’t want her to be associated with being a “call girl”- which is what most people assumed was how Holly paid the bills! Audrey Hepburn wasn’t first choice for the part! Imagine that!

Most of the ladies hadn’t seen the movie in years, so they didn’t know many of the answers, but it was a fun little game to play.  Miss Stella had just watched the movie again a few days before the event, so she was the grand prize winner!

Stella & Patti hamming it up with props!

Getting silly is part of the fun when you gt together with the girls, right? Miss Stella and I had to do a goofy picture!

Right before the party started, I had an unexpected last minute surprise! My amazing man, Don had gone out to an appointment and  I went in the dining room to take a picture of the table. On the table, at my place was a Tiffany’s bag!  I had scoured my house the night before, certain I had a Tiffany bag I could use for decor…… but couldn’t figure out WHERE this one had come from!  Don had taken it upon himself to go to Tiffany’s a few days before, and surprise me with a gift from there! THAT is the kind of stuff I need to put up with, with this man! Can you believe it? (If you remember the movie, Holly and Paul go in to Tiffany’s , and he gets her a gift.  Funny thing was, he only had $10.00 to spend on her!)

This is where the sneaky little devil snuck in a REAL Tiffanys bag for me to be surprised with!

This is where the sneaky little devil snuck in a REAL Tiffany’s bag for me to be surprised with!

All in all, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s was an easy and fun theme, it was an inexpensive party to put on, and we all had a FABULOUS time.  I must say, every one of the ladies looked amazing! After the first photo was posted on Facebook by one of the attendees, immediately the responses were, “I wish I was there.” “Why wasn’t I invited?”  “Pout, pout!”  So, invites have already been sent out for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s 2.0” with a whole new cast of friends!  Recreating this little event will be a snap!

And if you weren’t invited, it’s not because you aren’t “good enough” –or that I don’t love you to pieces– or that you aren’t as fabulous as Audrey Hepburn……. please refer back to the previous blog article I did, entitled  Emily Post is Dead.  It will help you understand why there is NO WHINING ALLOWED! No hostess can invite ALL the people she knows to EVERY event!

Think about doing an event yourself, and invite that hostess who has entertained you so many times!  She might enjoy the chance to just be the GUEST for a change! Entertaining is easier than you might think!

Tiffany Blue Mimosas

The Tiffany Blue Mimosa that was the final "inspiration" for the whole Breakfast at Tiffanys event!

The Tiffany Blue Mimosa that was the final “inspiration” for the whole Breakfast at Tiffany’s event!

I thought I’d share the Tiffany Blue Mimosa’s with you. Because of the time period of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and because I happened to have some,  I used the old fashioned type of champagne glasses that were popular in the 50’s and 60’s. Champagne flutes would also be nice for this drink.

Make “Tiffany Blue” sugar for the rim by taking a plastic bag, put enough sugar in it to cover the rims on the amount of glasses you have for your event.  Take blue food coloring, and put just a few drops right into the sugar.  Work it through until it is a beautiful “Tiffany Blue” color.  If it’s too dark, add more sugar.  If it’s too light, add more blue. Pour the sugar into a medium size plate (one that will accommodate the width of your  glass rim easily.

Take a slice of orange, lemon, lime- whatever fruit you have, run it around the rim of the glass, turn the glass over and dip it into the blue sugar.  (I often do the step the day before the event, so it’s one less “last minute” item I need to do.)

The drink itself couldn’t be easier.  Just put a bit of Blue Curacao in the bottom of your champagne glass or flute, and pour sparkling wine, Prosecco or Champagne  on top!  Viola’, you’ve got a beautiful Tiffany Blue Mimosa!

Here are the champagne glasses, with the rims "pre-sugared." This is another thing you can do ahead of time, so you don't have so much "last minute" flurry! I'm all about making the day of the party easy and fun! Nobody wants a stressed out hostess!

Here are the champagne glasses, with the rims “pre-sugared.” This is another thing you can do ahead of time, so you don’t have so much “last minute” flurry! I’m all about making the day of the party easy and fun! Nobody wants a stressed out hostess!

I have 2 "alcoves" in my dining room, so I just put whatever items around my house had a bit of a "Tiffany or Hepburn" feel to them......

I have 2 “alcoves” in my dining room, so I just put whatever items around my house had a bit of a “Tiffany or Hepburn” feel to them…...

FREE EVENT TICKET CONTEST!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Events, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, Networking Event, Out and About, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!

Who Wants a Fun Night Out On Me?

If you read my blog, you know that I am ALL ABOUT women having more fun! I believe that to “Live a Royal Life” you have to schedule fin into your life.  “Girl’s Night Out” is an UBER important part of the “having fun” concept.  Sometimes, I hear the lament, “I just can’t afford it”…….. OK girlies, I’m taking away ALL of the excuses now!

I am giving away a FREE TICKET valued at $35.00 for an event a friend of mine puts on every year! My friend, Mandy Rodriguez puts on a dance party that a fabulous group of women attend each year. The event happens this Saturday, August 25th, from 5-10 PM at Springhill Suites in Oceanside.

I love to reward my subscribers with occasional contests and “freebies” and this is just another bit of fun I want to bless someone with.

Mandy is one of the most fun DJ's around, and the ladies that attend are some of the dearest to my heart!

Mandy (of Mandy Mixes)  is one of the most fun DJ’s around, and the ladies that attend are some of the dearest to my heart!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Now, God knows, Mandy can’t ADVERTISE this as a “girls’ dance party”, because sure as shootin’ some jackass would spring forth and claim discrimination……. but, we are just a bunch of women who love each other’s company and have a great night out without the guys!

Remember the fun you had dancing with your girlfriends in grade school?  Middle school? High School?  Well, it’s not to late to STILL enjoy dancing with the girls!

Not only am I going to give away a FREE TICKET to the event, I’ll also buy your first drink!

So, here is how it works.  I am giving the ticket to someone who has never gone to Mandy’s dance party, and is one of my subscribers.  You can text or email me, tell me you’d like the free ticket, and MAYBE you want to give me a reason why I should choose YOU to go! Or, get really clever, and tag me on your facebook with why YOU should be going to the Dance Party next Saturday…….. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

You can text me at 800-680-9133 or email me at [email protected]

If you are the lucky winner, you will get a free swag bag from me, the ticket to the event, the EVENT swag bag, a drink and the opportunity for you and I to get to know each other better AND a chance to meet a group of fantastic women……. AND dance your butt off all night! That’s like a win-win-win-win-WIN!

What are you waiting for?  Isn’t it time to get going on winning this contest?

 

Not Just Another “Pretty Face”

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Mary Jane Wilkerson as Ms. Senior California 2017

Mary Jane Wilkerson as Ms. Senior California 2017

Age Has Nothing To Do With Beauty!

Why does our society push the theory that when women age they aren’t beautiful any longer? There are a group of amazing women who are proving that theory to be completely wrong! Mary Jane Wilkerson is one of those women.

When you first meet Mary Jane Wilkerson you will be greeted by a slender, attractive and poised 63 year old blonde, with a genuine smile that lights up a room. If you were told that  MJ has held the title of “beauty queen” more than once, you probably wouldn’t be too terribly surprised.

The part of the story that might surprise you a bit, is that her titles in the pageants  came in 2016 and 2017!  MJ was Ms. Senior San Diego 2016, Ms. Senior Palm Springs 2017, and Ms. Senior California of America 2017. As the title holder for Ms. Senior California, Mary Jane also competed in the National Ms. Senior America competition held in New Jersey, October 2017.

Meeting Another “Queen”

Our paths first crossed when we somehow connected through facebook a few short months ago. One of those “friend” connections that sometimes happen, because you have mutual friends, and a particular post catches your eye.  The one that caught my eye was MJ holding a coffee cup, which said “It’s Good to be Queen.” Well, needless to say, as The Queen of Damn Near Everything I NOTICE when there is other “royalty” present!

MJ definitely falls into the category of “royalty.”

This is the picture I saw on Facebook that drew my attention to MJ! I have the same cup in pink! I had to see what this "Queen" was all about!

This is the picture I saw on Facebook that drew my attention to MJ! I have the same cup in pink! I had to see what this “Queen” was all about! ( A girl has to know who else is rockin’ a tiara like MJ does!)

I wasn’t really very aware that “Ms. Senior” competitions existed until a few years ago. When I did hear about them, I told my cohort in crime……. Stella that she should compete! I’m of the personal opinion that there are few- if any- other 73 year olds who could begin to hold a candle to Stella.  That was about as far as my knowledge of the competitions went!

Then MJ crossed my path, and I wanted to know more.  I noticed on Mary Jane’s page that there was going to be the pageant for Ms. Senior California 2018. That would be MJ’s last event a reigning “queen,” so I asked when and where it was being held, and off I went.

All “Beauty Queens” Are Not Barbie Dolls!

Contestants in the “Ms. Senior” competitions must be 60 years or older.. The competition is FAR more than a “beauty contest”- as the contestants are judged on talent, an intensive interview with the judges and their poise on the stage. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the competition to see that the 2018 contestants weren’t all skinny-minny, perfect Barbie Doll types who had had numerous plastic surgery and botox procedures to form them into the perfect woman.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see women of different sizes, shapes, ethnic groups and styles! Gray hair wasn’t forbidden, nor were a few well earned laugh lines and “wisdom wrinkles!”

I was very impressed with the level of talent the women showed, although not really surprised.  When I arrived, I noticed a number of familiar faces, both on stage and in the crowd.  I had seen many of them perform over the past few years in CCT (Christian Community Theater) at the San Diego Senior Follies. Singing, dancing, performing and being on stage isn’t new to any of those women!

I must say, I am envious of their talents, because I can’t carry a tune if I had 6 buckets lined up to do so!

Those of you who know me, know I absolutely LOVE long gowns, sparkle and bling! There was no shortage of any of that at the Ms. Senior California pageant in San Diego!

Finding the venue was quite a challenge, let me tell you.  It was at The University of San Diego in one of the theaters, but finding that, once you were on campus just about took a group of Eagle Scouts or world explorers! There were no signs or anything to direct you to the right building.  Lucky for us, we had left plenty of time to figure out the details, so we were in our seats long before the event kicked off!

After the festivities of the pageant, I asked Mary Jane if we could meet one day soon for lunch, and if she would share some of her experiences with being a senior beauty pageant winner.  She was more than willing, so we decided to meet for a delicious lunch at Red O in the UTC area.

This is the day I met MJ. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best photo. MJ was back in the shadows and it looks like I"m with a cardboard cutout!

This is the day I met MJ. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best photo. MJ was back in the shadows and it looks like I”m with a cardboard cutout!

MJ Took Charge of Her Life & Health

Mary Jane, who is a health and wellness coach with OPTAVIA, shared with me her story of having lost almost 60 pounds a few years ago. Her husband, Allen, lost 40 at the same time.  MJ’s story wasn’t that different from many of ours.  After being very physically active for most of her life, MJ took a job in the mortgage industry.  Long work days sitting in front of a computer, along with the “grab and eat” lifestyle that goes along with those long work days resulted in a few pounds here, a few pounds there, until WHAM, suddenly that body doesn’t quite look like you want it too.  When MJ’s daughter was going to get married, she wanted to lose weight in the 6 months she had, but she didn’t seem able to trim down. So, she attended her daughter’s wedding an unhappy size 16.  MJ’s stepdaughter had suggested (many times) she get on the “Take Shape for Life” program (OPTAVIA’s  former name), but it was a while before she jumped on board, and found it to be the perfect solution to not only lose weight, but to get in the best shape she’d been in in years.  That is how Mary Jane became a Health and Wellness coach, wanting to share with others the success she had found in her journey.

So, now slim, trim and in fighting shape, MJ was one of the talented women in Christian Community Theater, entertaining audiences every year at the SD Senior follies.  Many of the women involved in CCT had also been contestants (and winners) of previous Ms. Senior competitions, and encouraged Mary Jane to compete, so finally she decided to give it a try. After all, as she said to me “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

MJ at one of the pageants. (I'm so jealous of all the sparkley gowns!)

MJ at one of the pageants. (I’m so jealous of all the gorgeous gowns!)

Her first competition was Ms. Senior San Diego 2016. She competed in the State pageant that year and took First Runner-up. Then she competed again, this time in  in Ms. Senior Palm Springs 2017, where she won. And once more competed in the State pageant, where she was crowned, Ms. Senior California of America 2017.

When I asked MJ if there was any of the horrible cattiness and back-biting that you hear about in beauty pageants, she said no.  In fact, she described the all the pageant ladies as “Lovely”, especially at the National Senior America pageant as one of her favorite experiences ever.  She said that the women she met on the national level are what she would consider, “friends for life.”  Accomplished, friendly, beautiful and amazingly talented women. True “Women of Elegance” in her words.

This is a picture that was taken at the National Competition, where MJ met so many wonderful and amazing women!

This is a picture that was taken at the National Competition, where MJ met so many wonderful and amazing women!

MJ did say there was more work to all of it than you might imagine.  Needing to come up with new ideas for the opportunities to perform, and the pageant activities take time. When you win the pageants, there are appearances which have to be made at area events, TV interviews and travel. There is also a performing group the pageant contestants in California  become a part of called the Classic Divas, and they put on performances throughout the year.

Of course for me, the BIG attraction to becoming “Ms. Senior Anything”  would be the wearing of tiaras. I am all about wearing a nice tiara!  I truly believe that “every woman deserves a tiara” and I happen to be the proud owner of a number of them! And then there is yet another excuse for wearing a long gown.  Hell, I’d wear a tiara and evening gown to the grocery store and car wash if they wouldn’t bring the guys in funny white jackets to take me away! (The voluntary wearing of Tee-shirts and jeans by any woman is beyond my comprehension! Give me heels, dresses, bling and I’m happy!)

Mary Jane did share with me that her business suffered due to her time away during 2016 and 2017, so she is now rebuilding it back up to “pre-pageant” numbers she previously had. You can’t take on coaching clients if you aren’t around to do the coaching! I have no doubt that MJ will be right back up to speed in no time. I love one of her quotes, “The Power to Choose is the Power to CHANGE, so Choose to be Extraordinary!”

I truly believe that we can choose to change our lives for the better, one step at a time, until we are leading what I call “a royal life.”  I was pleased to find that Mary Jane and I held the same views on what women can accomplish.

Family Values Are Top Priority

Mary Jane and her handsome husband of 15 years! Don't they make a handsome couple?

Mary Jane and her handsome husband Allen. Married 15 years! Don’t they make a handsome couple?    ( I’m loving the sequin dress!)

Often, people look at a woman who have held a position like those MJ just had, and think they are shallow, conceited or unapproachable.  Mary Jane is just the opposite of all those things.  Besides her warmth and compassion, which is obvious from the moment you meet her, MJ is a person of strong Christian beliefs and values.  Her husband, her family and her friends are her top priorities, followed by her strong ties to the community. MJ is one of the people who makes San Diego a better place by her presence here. Who would make a better “face of San Diego” than a woman like Mary Jane?

Besides building her business back up, and speaking at numerous events in the area,  Mary Jane has recently started a new endeavor, along with two other former Ms. Senior California winners. They have a group called the “California Girls” and are performing throughout San Diego county at events. They love going into senior retirement communities, women’s functions and anywhere their talents might be needed.

The California Girls at one of their recent performances.

The California Girls at one of their recent performances.

You can find more information about the California Girls at www.BollesArtsInternational.com or call 619-807-3280. Find MJ and the “California Girls- Singing and Dancing on Facebook and “Like” their page! (https://www.facebook.com/California-Girls-Singing-Dancing-Entertainment-311668412734634/)