A New Addition To The Family & Remembering A Friend

Susan B. meets her new fur kid. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

So, this happened yesterday. 😍 We’re adopting a dog! I’ve really been missing having a pup around, after having said goodbye to Coco back in April. We’ve gone to meet a few dogs up for adoption, but none had felt like The One.

I’ve always had a sense that when we found the right dog, we’d know right away. And that was how I felt when they brought “Tootsie” out. (That’s the name they gave her at the shelter where she was turned in as a stray. We’ve decided to call her Gigi). She walked right up to me and gave kisses.

She’s a terrier mix, one year old, and about the size of our previous dogs. She’s super friendly, not at all timid or shy. They’ll be spaying her today at the shelter and we should be able to bring her home this afternoon. I can’t wait!!

And some sad news…

Susan B. and Brenda Kinsel in Petaluma, Oct. 2019. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

You may have already seen this on social media, but I must relay the sad news that our friend Brenda Kinsel passed away earlier this week. I was stunned when I first heard, and am still trying to wrap my head around it. Her daughters have written a lovely tribute here.

You may know Brenda from her blog and Instagram posts. But she had also written several books on personal style, and was very highly regarded in the Image Consultant community. (As one person said, she was the “consultant’s consultant.”)

Here’s what I wrote on Instagram:

I was deeply saddened to learn yesterday than my friend @brendakinsel had passed away. She was intelligent, accomplished, funny, and kind. But the one word that keeps coming to mind is “generous.” She was exceptionally generous with her time, knowledge, encouragement, and support. She lifted up other women, genuinely wanted to help them look and feel their best, and to reach for their dreams and succeed. Brenda, you will be greatly missed. 😢

Brenda was truly an extraordinary woman, and the world is a little dimmer without her in it.

Stay in touch.

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47 Comments

  1. MaureenC
    August 15, 2020 / 3:20 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Brenda, her daughters were so kind to send an email out to everyone who subscribes to Brenda’s blog and I was gutted to read such sad news. You are so lucky to have known her in person, we corresponded a couple of times about style differences on our respective sides of the pond and I wished I could meet her.
    Enjoy your new pup, we’ve now welcomed five adoptees over the years and it’s such a thrill to provide a good home for a dog who really needs one.

  2. August 15, 2020 / 4:15 am

    I am so pleased for you to have found Gigi. She looks as if she has always been with you. So at ease and perky.
    As for Brenda, you know I was as shocked as you are. How very very sad.
    Greetje

  3. Diane B
    August 15, 2020 / 4:25 am

    You are so special for picking a dog that needs a home with love. All of our dogs were pound puppies and they are so loving. Gigi is so cute and looks like she has a great personality just by the face.
    That is a very nice tribute to a friend who many will miss in various ways and so dearly loved her family and friends.

  4. RoseAG
    August 15, 2020 / 5:39 am

    I saw that post on Facebook and I was sorry to hear about her passing. I enjoyed her blog.

    I think you don’t need to worry about what to do with your time now that you’ve got a new pet, and one who is still a puppy! It will be fun to be showing your fur baby the ropes and getting her accustomed to your place. Better hide all shoes and put the piddle pads out.

  5. trish
    August 15, 2020 / 5:44 am

    congratulations on your adoption!

  6. Sandi Skalicky Mcdougall
    August 15, 2020 / 6:05 am

    Brenda is the reason I follow you. She recommended you one morning over coffee at our home in Fargo. I loved that woman and my heart is breaking not only for myself but for her family and friends. We too have a 1 1/2 yr old rescue dog. I think he is helping us through the pandemic and the death of Brenda. Stay well.

  7. Jan Witthuhn
    August 15, 2020 / 6:08 am

    So sorry to learn of Brenda’s passing. I always enjoyed her posts and her quirky way of looking at things. She will be missed by all of her followers.

  8. Teresa
    August 15, 2020 / 6:30 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. What a lovely tribute from her daughters. Congratulations on adopting Gigi! That’s such happy news!

  9. Julie
    August 15, 2020 / 6:47 am

    Thank you so much for adopting a homeless pet.

  10. Francesca B.
    August 15, 2020 / 6:51 am

    I did hear about the death of Brenda and it is so tragic and so sudden. My heart goes out to you and your community at this sad time. On a different note, Gigi looks wonderful and congratulations Susan, what a gorgeous perky face she has! Enjoy!

  11. Anon
    August 15, 2020 / 7:37 am

    I went to her blog on Wednesday, worried that she hadn’t posted in so long. She brought joy to dressing, and joy to living, from what I read. She also prepared the world for her passing, in the articles she wrote on love and grieving. I am happy that she got to spend time with Baby Viv, who was obviously the star of Gramma Foxy’s universe.

    Thank you for the brief moment in time, Brenda.

  12. August 15, 2020 / 7:42 am

    I too was shocked and saddened to receive word of Brenda’s death this week. Though we never met in person, I was a long time follower. Reading her blog was like sitting down and having a chat with a good friend. We had much in common and I will miss her dearly. She was such a wonderful person.

    Gigi is adorable! Just look at that face! I’m sure she’ll bring you much joy and lots of fun.

  13. August 15, 2020 / 7:44 am

    Love and loss and finding <3

  14. August 15, 2020 / 7:47 am

    Thank you for that lovely tribute. I adored Brenda. What a heart. So warm and caring and talented. I loved her writing, and her creativity. I last saw her over a year ago at our house. She was working nearby, I’d had some surgery so she dropped by with her daughter and we had a delightful time. She was planing on coming back “soon.” Oh I will miss her.

    What a cute dog. He looks like a comic book character. Adorable.

  15. Alexis I
    August 15, 2020 / 7:50 am

    Thank you for your lovely tribute for Brenda. I didn’t know her personally, but she was my first style “person” I discovered online, and through one of her postings I discovered you. We all will miss her so much, and my heart goes out to her family.

    It is great that you adopted a dog, and Gigi looks delighted to be adopted by you! My dogs have passed fairly recently, but you may be motivating me to consider that’s maybe it is time to go to an animal shelter and adopt. I also really like your adoption outfit – beautiful colors on you and I love the top. I’d like an outfit like that in winter colors.

  16. Anon
    August 15, 2020 / 7:52 am

    Congratulations on your new arrival, Gigi. Terriers keep you on your toes. They are intelligent and need to have a job to do: getting you up in the morning before the alarm, sticking to routines, playing with squeaky toys on demand, and of course, sleeping loyally at your feet. Enjoy time with your new dog-daughter.

  17. Ann J
    August 15, 2020 / 8:20 am

    I wondered if you were going to mention Brenda – I found your blog thru her. Your words were so kind. It was so shockingly sad 🙁

  18. Sandy Kentner
    August 15, 2020 / 8:25 am

    I too was very saddened by Brenda’s passing. I follow several style bloggers and feel I have gotten to know them from reading about them. I feel I lost a friend, even though I didn’t know her personally. So sad for the style influencer community, and of course her family and all who loved her!
    Best of luck with your new doggie!

  19. August 15, 2020 / 8:25 am

    I was at that DINNER at SANDRAS house with BRENDA and SANDRA and we had so much fun!She was becoming a GRANDMAMA and the anticipation was THERE!We had lots of GIRL TALK……..and I recall BRENDA showing us how to WALK?I can not remember WHY but we were in STITCHES!
    I drove her back to the cottage where she was staying……..COTTAGE HA!WE were in the HOLLYWOOD HILLS!SHE WAS THE BEST kind of PERSON THERE IS………WE NEED MORE OF HER!!!!
    THIS IS SUCH A LOSS!
    XX

  20. Ruth
    August 15, 2020 / 8:46 am

    So glad you mentioned Brenda in your blog. I never met her but by reading her blog for such a long time I always felt she was my friend. She had such a beautiful and funny way of expressing herself about fashion but also about life in general. She will be so missed by her friends and family but also by her blog family as well!

  21. Candy
    August 15, 2020 / 9:25 am

    So sorry for the loss of your dear friend. So sad when someone we love and admire is taken from us. I thank you for adopting your new fur baby from a shelter. I work at National Mill Dog Rescue near Colorado Springs and am a firm advocate of “adopt don’t buy”. I hope you will enjoy many wonderful years together! She looks adorable

  22. Lagatta de Montréal
    August 15, 2020 / 9:29 am

    So sorry about the loss of your friend. Sounds like a sudden death?

    Thank you so much for adopting a stray. My Livia (small black cat) was living in the alley with her mother and brother. But at first it was no bargain getting her with no adoption fee, as of course she had ear mites and worms (no fleas, though) so of course there was a vet bill, probably more than adoption fees. She is the loveliest little friend, and as pretty as your doggie.

    • Rondi
      August 15, 2020 / 1:10 pm

      Good for you for saving a sweet kitty from the streets! Glad it all worked out so well.

  23. Marybeth
    August 15, 2020 / 10:41 am

    I’m so sorry about your friend Brenda… I remember the article when you & she met here in my town of Petaluma… & I looooove GiGi! Adorbs!!! xo

  24. Mary Fisher
    August 15, 2020 / 10:53 am

    Wonderful picture of you and your new furry friend. Condolences on the loss of your friend, Brenda. Thank you for continuing to post. Your blog helps me along and I have followed many of your suggestions.

    Mary

  25. Carolyn
    August 15, 2020 / 10:59 am

    Thank you for honoring Brenda’s memory with your warm post. Yesterday, I was hoping you would write about her today.
    She will be missed.

  26. Claudette
    August 15, 2020 / 11:09 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Friends just light up our life and you have honored your friend well. I love your new four footed family member. She is a cutie and being a terrier she will keep you on your toes and be the cause of much laughter. Hope she can come home soon.

  27. Eve
    August 15, 2020 / 11:56 am

    Your beautiful new baby GiGi, perfect name btw, fits right in with your colors. Sorry about Brenda.

  28. Lily
    August 15, 2020 / 11:58 am

    I am so happy for both you and Gigi. My Beau is also a rescue. These little love bugs add so much to our lives.

    My heart is still breaking over the loss of Brenda. Even though I never met her in person, we exchange thoughts and comments a number of times, through her blog. My thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family.

    Those of you who write blogs, become a part of our lives. We may not have ever connected with you in person, but you are very special to those of us who follow you. I know I look forward to each post. Take care and stay safe.

  29. August 15, 2020 / 12:25 pm

    I can’t begin to imagine the loss you must feel. Brenda’s daughters wrote a beautiful post and thank you for sharing it with us. On a happy note, congratulations on your new fur baby! Gigi (an adorable name) is adorable. She will be a big comfort to you and your husband.

  30. Rondi
    August 15, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    Gigi is adorable! I do agree that you know when its the right one. We adopted our little Papillion/Chihuahua mix 3 years ago from the local shelter. She fit right in and has been taking care of us ever since! And again, I was very saddened to hear about Brenda. She seemed so kind and I loved her writings.

  31. Ainsivalavie
    August 15, 2020 / 1:58 pm

    Your post honouring Brenda is so warm and heartfelt. I really didn’t follow her for fashion advice ( although she had STYLE) but for her wonderful observations on life, and sadly, loss. After losing my mother and brother within two years I often turned to Brenda’s posts on grief and grieving. A new grandmother myself I also loved her posts about Viv and felt the same sense of loss & sadness Brenda did when Covid separated us from our beloved littles. How heart wrenching to find that email from her daughters in my mail yesterday. God bless you Brenda, you will be missed by so many readers.
    Your little Gigi is adorable Susan. Thank you and your husband for adopting she will bring you joy! California has a very high rate of abandoned dogs ( check out the blog/website of the fabulous Eldad Hagar and his Hope for Paws rescue group based in California even in Canada he is famous! so inspiring) adopting a pet allows a shelter or rescue more room to save another dog or cat or…!

  32. Ginger
    August 15, 2020 / 2:01 pm

    So very sad to learn of Brendas passing. I was also a long time follower of her blog and really enjoyed her creativity, kindness and joy for life! My heart goes out to her family and friends and all that loved her. She was truly a light in our world.
    How wonderful to have a new furry addition to your family. She looks so cute and spunky! Thank you for giving a needy animal a loving home.

  33. August 15, 2020 / 2:20 pm

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. My prayers go out to her family and friends. Congrats on finding just the right pup! She looks like a lot of fun!

  34. Janet D.
    August 15, 2020 / 2:20 pm

    I’m so sorry you lost your friend, Susan. The world is indeed going to be an emptier place without Brenda’s unique sparkle. How right it seems somehow that at the same time you’re opening your hearts to a new puppy. I always feel a surge of happiness when I hear someone has adopted a homeless animal. My husband & I are more cat people, although we’ve had dogs in the past, & all of our four-footed friends have either been rescues or have simply walked in off the street & adopted us. Gigi looks as though she’s going to fill your lives with joy!

  35. Elizabeth
    August 15, 2020 / 4:08 pm

    I, too, was heartbroken to hear about Brenda’s passing. She was a wonderful, talented stylist and a lovely, kind, and generous woman. She helped me through a divorce after 29 years of marriage and into my very first full-time job. I had to wear a uniform to work, which just made me sadder. Brenda, ever positive, helped me think through my feelings and choose some wonderful feminine lingerie and socks. Later, I received a package in the mail with a supportive note and cocktail napkins that said, “in handbags, I’m a size four!” Her note was taped inside my locker for years. I’m so sorry that little Vivienne won’t have her grandmother in the years to come. Sending my condolences to her whole family.

  36. Mary Ann
    August 15, 2020 / 4:26 pm

    We lost our King Charles two days before I was to have surgery. Each day I cry for my baby girl, Lovey. We plan on a new girl but I am not ready, I know the day will come and we will take the trip to find our Gigi. So happy for you.

  37. Pat
    August 15, 2020 / 9:06 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I discovered her through your blog and really liked her. She had a joie de vie. Congratulations on the new fur baby!

  38. julie
    August 16, 2020 / 1:20 am

    I always enjoyed reading Brenda’s blog and admiring her lovely style. What a loss for her loving family.

    Your new girl looks like a great addition to your family and how lucky is she to have found her forever home.

    Julie

  39. Judi
    August 16, 2020 / 6:05 am

    So very sorry to hear of the passing of lovely Brenda. My mother recently passed suddenly and it was so hard on family and friends. She lives on in our hearts and memories.
    As for your new gal pal. How cute!! Love her. I had a rescue terrier for 18 years. Her name was Georgia but we called her Gigi. She was the best!!
    I miss her. Good luck to you on the new adventure.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      August 16, 2020 / 10:28 am

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother and may her memory be a blessing. And thank you.

  40. Lori
    August 16, 2020 / 1:12 pm

    I was so shocked and saddened when I read your Instagram post about Brenda Kinsel. I just loved reading her blog, it was so warm and real that she made you feel like a friend even though you never met her. She had such great style advice. What saddens me the most is how much she LOVED that darling granddaughter and now will not be able to watch her grow up in person.I know her daughters will let Viv know just how lovely her Grandma was.
    Your new little fur baby is so adorable.

  41. Brenda
    August 16, 2020 / 4:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing her daughters’ tribute and for writing one yourself. I didn’t know her blog, and my “bestie” is very sick right now, and it made me reflect on all the things I want to tell her while I still have the chance. I’m so sorry for your loss, and the loss to her family and friends.

    Gigi is the cutest of dogs with a cute French name to match. I predict years of fun with her.

    Thank you again for the tribute to your friend – life can be so wonderful and filled with joy and also so unexpectedly cruel. So important to spread kindness and compassion while we can.

  42. Glenda Moran
    August 16, 2020 / 4:20 pm

    glenda from Melbourne Australia here, I too was sad to get the message from Brenda’s site. Even though you lovely ladies are the wrong season for me ‘Downunder’ I do enjoy all your suggestions. She will be missed.

  43. Susan D
    August 18, 2020 / 2:44 am

    This morning before opening your blog I had just been looking at Brenda’s blog to check if she had posted as it had been such an unusually long time for her not to post and I hoped she was not Ill – thinking of covid. So imagine my shock and sadness when I opened your blog and read the sad news (I don’t do Facebook, so without you would probably never have known). Without you I wouldn’t have found Brenda either as I follow her from looking at the blogs you follow, and have been a fan of the both of you for many years. She was so bubbly and life affirming and will be sadly missed. I do wish her family long life and only happy memories.

    Gigi looks adorable. I can’t tell my husband as he would love a dog (or two!) and I don’t want one, but I can still enjoy from a distance!!

    Thank you for continuing to blog throughout these difficult times.

    Susan D

  44. Susa Berg
    August 21, 2020 / 1:20 am

    Hi Susan, thank you twice. First for your warm words about Brenda. She was one of a kind and will be grievously missing. Secondly for giving a stray a fine home. I’m sure he will give it hand back with love. So mutch better than support the breeders. Thank you for beeing generous and kind!
    Best wishes,
    Susa from Cologne, Germany

  45. Christie
    August 23, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    Dear Susan,
    So sorry to hear about your precious friend. So happy you had wonderful times together. Very happy to see you have a new little addition to your family! Hoping you, your husband, and son are all doing well. Thank you as always for enlightening, informative, and fun posts. Always so good to get your emails.

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