Friday Miscellany: That New Mat Smell & More…

First, I want to express a heartfelt “Thank You 🙏” to all of you who shared such thoughtful, kind and supportive comments on yesterday’s post. I feel so grateful to have such intelligent, engaged, and open-minded readers. You all ROCK! 🙌 Mille mercis!

Working Out…

Gaiam premium yoga mat aqua. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I treated myself to a new yoga mat to keep in the car so I wouldn’t have to remember to grab my old one on class days. It’s great, except that it had a strong neoprene smell when I first opened it. My yoga instructor suggested draping it over a railing or fence in direct sun for a few hours, and that did the trick! (I also bought some cork yoga blocks for home.)

J.Crew leopard print leggings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’m not an “athleisure” gal and don’t get excited about workout wear, but I have to admit I was tempted by these leggings to wear for yoga and Pilates.

Watching…

Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit.
Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo by Larry Horricks. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

We’ve seen several remarkable movies in the past few weeks. One of my favorites was Jojo Rabbit. It’s the story a young boy in Nazi Germany (he’s in Nazi Youth & his imaginary friend is Adolph himself) who discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl. It alternates between serious, surreal, and silly, but never is trite.

More favorites:

  • Ford vs. Ferrari. I did not expect to like this as much as I did. I’m not particularly a fan of motorsports, but it was an engaging story about friendship, skill, and determination. Christian Bale’s performance especially is amazing.
  • The Two Popes. This was another one I liked much more than I expected. The performances by Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce were nuanced and stellar. And it was a fascinating look at two very different views of the Catholic Church.
  • 1917. It’s a stunning, harsh, and gripping WWI story, as a soldier races across enemy territory to convey information that could save a battalion. The cinematography and direction are outstanding, and I think this will be a Best Picture contender.
  • Little Women. Great costumes, wonderful performances, though if you weren’t familiar with the story, the timeline that jumps back and forth by 7 years could be confusing at first. And I’m sorry, but Timothée Chalamet (Laurie) looks about 12 years old to me. 😂Still, I thought it was very well done, gives each of the women characters her due.
Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women

And Occupied on Netflix is back for a 3rd season. It’s a political thriller based in Norway. Climate change is at the heart of the conflict, as well as political will (or lack thereof) to take steps to combat it. We’ve just started watching, and it doesn’t spend time recapping the story, but hits the ground running. So if it’s been a while since you’ve seen Season 2, you might want to watch the last few episodes again as a refresher.

What movies or series have you seen lately that you’d recommend?

Bon weekend!

Stay in touch.

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46 Comments

  1. Susan
    January 3, 2020 / 3:34 am

    The only movie I enjoyed this year was Bohemian Rhapsody, the rest were pretty rubbish and forgettable. Why the need for yet another remake of Little Women beats me, but it reflects the lack of creativity in Hollywood and the casting of Laura Dern and Meryl Street, too horrible for words. As for television series, I loved Das Boot, Killing Eve, Vikings, but my favourite (Australian, but shown in America) is Mr Inbetween. Am currently binge watching The Messiah which isn’t too bad. Enjoyed The Crown, but disliked Olivia Colman as the Queen.
    As for the leggings, please don’t.

    • January 3, 2020 / 9:34 am

      I thought the world did not really need another Little Women remake but went to see it with my mother and daughter and we all loved it. It’s a fresh take and the performances of the girls are wonderful. Meryl Streep was wasted in the role of Aunt March and Timothee Chalamet is fine as teen Laurie but seems immature as adult Laurie, but that is my only quibble about the movie.

    • Brenda
      January 3, 2020 / 5:49 pm

      Wow – that’s a whole lot of opinions!

      • Susan
        January 4, 2020 / 1:27 am

        I could have summed it up in one sentence. Hollywood movies and the majority of American television shows are garbage, but didn’t want to appear rude.

        • Susan Blakey
          Author
          January 4, 2020 / 7:56 am

          À chacun à son goût… 😉

  2. karen
    January 3, 2020 / 3:43 am

    Oh my goodness, you NEED those leggings, they are your signature print!

  3. Lee Ann
    January 3, 2020 / 3:54 am

    Hello, and Happy New Year! First, LOVE the leggings! I say go for them! Anything that makes you feel good and eager to work out is a win for me. As for movies, over the holidays we watched “Marriage Story.” Loved the actors and their work, but I found the movie to be saddening. I know it’s probably a fairly accurate portrayal of many dissolving marriages, but I needed a pick-me-up after watching it. Then we watched “The Irishman.” Well, my wife watched it, lol! … I wandered in and out of the room while it was on and picked up my knitting at the points I just couldn’t watch. Yet I found the story compelling. We’re hoping to see “Knives Out” this weekend … after painting the bathroom. Fun times on holiday weekends!

  4. Marty
    January 3, 2020 / 4:15 am

    You might find the more you go to yoga, or work out, or whatever you choose, the more of an “athleisure” gal you’ll become. There are tons of great and fun clothing options out there that are right up your alley!

  5. Barbara
    January 3, 2020 / 4:24 am

    Red Joan. Judi Dench. ‘Nuff said.

  6. Ellen
    January 3, 2020 / 4:31 am

    If you haven’t been watching the French Village, a multi season story about a small village in France during WWII, you must start immediately. You can sees the first season on Amazon, and after that we were forced to subscribe to Hulu to keep watching. Also, it is in French, so for those of us with inadequate French, you must read subtitles, but it is definitely the best television I have watched in a long time. There are seven seasons, and I have been drawing it out, watching just one episode at night. For a Francophile, its a must.

    Re: your earlier question: I think you were overdue for the rethinking of your wardrobe and I think your new look is far fresher and flattering. I hope you continue this journey. BUt if I were to offer a criticism, it would be this: I often look at your outfits and think that I would wear that if I went to out to lunch at an upscale restaurant, but it would not be used often in my everyday life. My post retirement life is more casual than this, but it is the life that i have, and I still think about wardrobe choices.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 3, 2020 / 6:50 am

      Yes we LOVED French Village. Watched all 7 seasons. It was very compelling, and apparently well-researched.

    • January 3, 2020 / 9:39 am

      I recently retired and am struggling to adjust to a post-retirement everyday wardrobe. When I shop, I still gravitate towards business and business casual attire, and those looks are fine for the 3-5 days a month I am going somewhere special. But I’ve found I really need more workout wear (I workout almost every day now) and more casual clothing for at home. And when I’m at home, doing home projects and hobbies, I tend to not wear scarves or jewelry.

  7. Joann Czarny
    January 3, 2020 / 4:39 am

    Happy New Year! I am new to your amazing blog and have to say, I love the color you are incorporating into your wardrobe. The look suits you and your choices are spot on, I frequently go to the sites to shop your items.
    Loved Downton Abbey, JoJo Rabbit and Knives Out.
    I was in Tuscany in Oct and did a fantastic truffle hunt. You will love it.

  8. Phyllis Finnemore
    January 3, 2020 / 5:24 am

    Thanks to you and commenters for sharing views on movies and series that are worth watching. More please.

  9. Mary Wilson Jarrett
    January 3, 2020 / 5:44 am

    We enjoy mysteries and are currently watching a series set in New Zealand called Brokenwood on Acorn.

    • Rebecca M
      January 3, 2020 / 8:58 am

      It’s terrific! Great characters.

    • Kay
      January 3, 2020 / 3:48 pm

      I love Brokenwood! When we were in New Zealand a couple of years ago, I got a driver to take us to the little town where they film it.

  10. Laura
    January 3, 2020 / 6:47 am

    Thanks to Ellen for the recommendation of the French Village. Entertainment and help with my French — what more could I ask? I would suggest, Ellen, you consider upping your everyday clothing game. When I look better, I have a happier vibe and enjoy even mundane errands. I’m dressing for myself now, not the world of law I left 12 years ago. Think of dressing for yourself as a luxury of retirement!

    Susan, you remain an absolute inspiration!

    • Cindylou
      January 3, 2020 / 9:48 pm

      Laura, I agree. I’ve been retired 4 years and I dress for myself. I dress casually, usually jeans and boots in the winter with a cardigan and scarf to keep warm. If I go out I’ll sometimes put on a nicer cardigan, very easy. I always wear makeup and jewelry, or at least earrings. I worked for 40 years and my appearance was important to me. That hasn’t changed. I want to be like the older, put together women I used to see and admire when I was younger.

  11. Linda Lennon
    January 3, 2020 / 6:58 am

    I enjoyed Judy. Renee Zellweger was amazing and deserves recognition for her performance. The Crown is wonderful and each episode was watched twice. Olivia Colman as the mature Elizabeth is faultless. I am in 2 book clubs so I don’t have too much time for television but the theaters here in Palm Desert carry a variety of independent, documentaries, foreign and box office hits which makes movie night easy. As for athletic wear, since retiring I exercise everyday & often I run errands after working out so I never just throw on a tee & shorts. I do like Talbots T collection and Lands End athletic pants last forever!

    • Jill Ann
      January 4, 2020 / 3:56 pm

      I just ordered two **more** pairs of athletic pants from LL Bean. Since retiring, my around-the-house “uniform” in the winter is navy, black, or charcoal knit pants with a long sleeved v-neck tee in similar or coordinating colors. I make more of an effort if I’m leaving the house! And my volunteer gig is at Dress for Success, which gives me an excuse to wear my beloved office wear. I still love blazers, tailored pants, pencil skirts, etc!

  12. Linda
    January 3, 2020 / 7:06 am

    We recently saw Knives Out and enjoyed that. Wanting to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood if it is still out.

  13. Ellen F.
    January 3, 2020 / 7:30 am

    Thanks for the recommendation about JoJo Rabbit. We have been debating seeing it. Our whole family loved Little Women and I absolutely agree about Timothee Chalamet…I’ll take James Norton any day! And thank you for the recommendations of The French Village and Occupied.They sound right up our alley. We just finished watching the finale of The Man in the High Castle. Neither of us are big sci-fans but we found this enthralling. We also really enjoyed the move Knives Out, a lighter mystery but with some interesting twists on the standard formula.

    I am really interested in the conversation about athleisure versus more creative dressing. I am retired, living in a college town, and haven’t worn a dress or a business suit in forever. I love interesting clothes that make a statement, like skinny jeans, boots, an edgy, eye-catching graphic T and a slouchy blazer, or EF lantern pants with a sweater and a gorgeous, arty scarf and/or statement jewelry. But most days I exercise in the morning and run errands, maybe catching a university concert or a play at night, or going to book club or mahjong. I also make modern quilts, which means little bits of thread everywhere. My Athleta joggers and jacket have become something of a uniform…it’s easy, comfortable, practical, and I don’t have to change when I take the dog for a walk in the woods in the middle of the day. Plus, as I get older, the more time my feet spend in athletic shoes with orthotics, the happier they are.But it can be very boring. Any thoughts, Susan?

  14. Elizabeth
    January 3, 2020 / 7:37 am

    Your comment about Timothee Chalumet looking about twelve made me laugh out loud! I had the same reaction (although I think he is stunningly handsome) when I saw Little Women. That said, I loved the movie, which was a visual feast and the usual tour de force by Saoirse Ronan.

  15. Nancy
    January 3, 2020 / 7:56 am

    I’ve been going to a yoga class for two years now and absolutely love it. Keep it up, you’ll see a difference in muscle tone and balance.
    I recently subscribed to Amazon Prime and am enjoying watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

  16. Eileen
    January 3, 2020 / 8:04 am

    Love these recommendations, thanks so much. I’ve turned off the TV awhile ago, I only watch movies/ series/ blogs on my iPad, it’s lovely to have less commercials. And the classical music station , and internet, French music, has been on a lot more recently. Thanks again.

  17. Genevieve
    January 3, 2020 / 8:14 am

    I love your blog, Susan. Your honesty and enthusiasm are delightful.
    About recent series to stream…I’m surprised that no one commented on The Morning Show on Apple TV, produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. The story is compelling ( about the co-anchor played by Steve Carrell who is the ultimate sexual predator), and the writing, casting and acting are excellent. I’m so hooked that I’m watching it all over again and can’t wait for the second season.

  18. Marcia
    January 3, 2020 / 8:17 am

    Love the leopard yoga pants! I’m a Lululemon fan and have acquired several pieces that I’m thouroughly impressed with. One movie that hasn’t been mentioned is Bombshell. I really enjoyed the movie and was amazed by the acting.

  19. Sandra
    January 3, 2020 / 8:51 am

    Agnes by Varda is a wonderful documentary about this terrific French director. French Village fans should be aware that the DVD version of the final season eliminated 6 episodes! Anyone see the Nazi officer in South America? Would love to catch those missing plot lines!

    Uncut Gems was also entertaining.

  20. Rondi
    January 3, 2020 / 8:56 am

    I second that Ford vs Ferrari was very good and is more about determination then anything. This discussion about athleisure wear is interesting. A commenter brought it up yesterday. Some days include activities that make leisure type wear appropriate. I especially like the Athleta Brooklyn pants you recommended a while back. They also are suitable for travel pants. But I am in a quandary over tops that look good with them and how to have a put together look. I am not necessarily talking about yoga pants. Unfortunately, I see too many women running around town in very tight workout pants that leave nothing to the imagination! I am looking for a put together leisure look. And the leopard leggings would be so cute on you for your yoga and pilates classes!

  21. Her
    January 3, 2020 / 9:01 am

    I say go with the leopard leggings for yoga, but will share a story first. Several years ago I went to a yoga retreat in Marrakech at a boutique hotel called Peacock Pavillians. When shopping for the trip I was elated to run across yoga leggings with a peacock design which I promptly bought and was immensely proud of such a find. First few sessions of yoga I find I’m the only one with patterned leggings and had not even worn the peacock ones yet.The 11 other participants, mostly in their 30’s , I was 68, were in all black every day! Oh well! I just kept wearing my patterns and what the heck! So that’s my story of patterned leggings. Still wearing the Peacock ones and still love them!

    • Cher
      January 3, 2020 / 9:02 am

      Oops. My name is Cher. Not Her!

  22. Sharon
    January 3, 2020 / 9:32 am

    Go for those leopard print Yoga pants! Anything that makes exercise fun should be utilized. Upon your recommendation, hubby and I binge watched A French Village and found it compelling and truthful in how the characters felt and conducted themselves throughout the Nazi occupation. One’s true character reveals itself through adversity. My favorite movie of 2019 is A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Your new look is happy and delightful, it’s a pleasure to anticipate your next blog post!

  23. Anne
    January 3, 2020 / 9:38 am

    I find that fun, colorful leggings add to both my workouts and my errand running afterward. In fact, this is one area where I have mostly eliminated solid black in favor of more energetic color and design. Susan, you have so many sweaters and jackets that are long enough to cover your derrière that you should be able to put together some really great combos that you would feel good in. Have a look at Eagle Rock Workshop and Wear it to Heart — 2 responsible athletic wear companies that are right in your neck of the woods.

  24. Elizabeth
    January 3, 2020 / 10:30 am

    Little Women was a delight! I hated the novel, and all the previous movie versions of Little Woman, but this was a fresh look. Knives out was a lot of fun, very witty.

  25. Linda Henderson
    January 3, 2020 / 10:44 am

    Favorite movie of 2019 of the ones I’ve seen is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Liked “Knives Out,” “Ford vs. Ferrari,” and “Little Women.”

  26. January 3, 2020 / 10:47 am

    My favorite series is on Netflix: La Casa del Papel (Money Heist in English). Absolutely interesting and different.

  27. Andie
    January 3, 2020 / 11:14 am

    My favorite series for 2019 are: The Durreals in Corfu!!!! So sad to see it end
    For my French fix is Call my Agent. It’s set in Paris and it’s just fun. It uses French subtitles.
    I love everyone’s ideas!
    Happy 2020!

  28. January 3, 2020 / 11:43 am

    I am baffled by the tepid-to-negative critical response to “1917,” which was by far the best movie I saw in 2019 (and I see a *lot* of movies, at film festivals and elsewhere). I had been skeptical about the one-take illusion, suspecting that it would be a mere gimmick, but instead found that it drew me into the action and the characters’ motives. A horrible, tragic war; a stunning movie.

    Other than “1917,” my favorite movies of 2019 were all documentaries: “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” (although when I rewatched it on CNNGo I was disappointed that significant chunks had been cut to make room for ads), “The Edge of Democracy,” “Maiden,” “Honeyland,” “Apollo 11,” “American Factory,” “One Child Nation,” and “The Kingmaker.”

  29. Mimi
    January 3, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    Thank you for showing your « audace »…we can still do exciting thing as we get older!!!! On Netflix you have to watch The Bonfire of Destiny…décor and clothing so lovely….with a beautiful view of Notre Dame de Paris before the fire!

  30. Elizabeth
    January 3, 2020 / 1:45 pm

    Succession. Outstanding writing, directing, casting, set designs, plot turns and a delicious peak into the world of money, greed, betrayal and power.

  31. Kay
    January 3, 2020 / 3:49 pm

    I love Brokenwood! When we were in New Zealand a couple of years ago, I got a driver to take us to the little town where they film it.

  32. Jeanne
    January 3, 2020 / 6:26 pm

    I love the Derry Girls on Netflix and Dead to Me. Also really liked Mindhunter. Just saw Richard Jewell and thought it was great. And I was expecting to be underwhelmed. Excellent acting.
    I was not a huge fan of Little Women. The back and forth in time changes threw me off. I maybe would see it again to better appreciate it.

    Many good points made about retirement wardrobes. I am a yr away but my office went casual so I can see the transition. I am not sure I will be accessorizing at home like I do going into the office. It will take some effort. And I can see I will not need the volume of clothes I currently own. That means I need to stop shopping!

  33. susie
    January 4, 2020 / 6:27 am

    I wear the loudest, brightest, neon color leggins everyday I go for a 5 mile walk on the ranch. This is to prevent getting shot by deer hunters. You city folk can wear bright orange to avoid getting run over… Just sayin! Just remember bright raincoat yellow scares cattle.

  34. Ann in Missouri
    January 4, 2020 / 9:42 am

    Susan and all others who have offered small-, mid-sized or big-screen must-see recommendations … thank you! Some of your recommendations would also be mine, e.g., Call my Agent, which I’ve watched twice and now HATE that I can’t watch it again for the first time–I loved it that much.

    I do love athleisure. Nearly four years ago I started taking yoga classes twice a week and have become completely addicted to yoga. I also do a yoga@home practice four days a week. My much greater strength, flexibility, endurance, and even my tolerance for bullshit (my own and others’) is noticeable. I will, however, note that for the first six months of yoga classes I mostly just fell over. But as they say, “she persisted.” And one day I simply stopped falling over; the sudden change was astonishing.

    But back to athleisure. Given that I walk 10K daily and do yoga most days, I’m now wearing athleisure a TON. This has led to my purchase of some pretty fancy yoga pants. It also means I’ve had to figure out ways to cover up/dress up my athleisure for post-class shopping and errands.

    I’m far from alone. Athleisure is now the new American uniform for women of all ages. Therefore, I encourage you to continue to address this style, given how many of us are living in it so many days of the week.

    FTR, I’m a retired 74-year-old.

  35. Mimi Wan
    January 4, 2020 / 4:22 pm

    I advise caution about leaving your yoga mat in your car, especially in Southern California. Depending on the material, the heat in the car may degrade or affect the mat. I had that happen to me, granted it was not an expensive mat but it wasn’t pretty.

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