Weekend Update: Coco, Vacation Shopping, & More

Coco licks her chops as I'm preparing her lunch.
“Ready for lunch, Mom!”

I’m happy to report…

that our little girl Coco seems to have bounced back. After her attack of pancreatitis three weeks ago, she’d stopped eating and seemed to be shutting down. As a last resort, we tried giving her an appetite stimulant. Within 30 minutes, she was interested in food again, and for the last week her appetite has been good, even without the stimulant. (Better than good, actually.) So we’re cautiously optimistic that she’s out of the woods for now.

In other news chez nous, the new roof is finished! We’re just waiting on the city to approve permits for the solar panels. Then construction on that part of the project can begin.

Circling Back To The Beach…

J.Jill linen tunic in "Grapefruit." Perfect for beach or resort vacations! Details at une femme d'un certain age.

One of the biggest challenges I have with planning a beach vacation travel wardrobe is that it requires clothing I don’t usually wear at home. So while I do need to supplement my wardrobe, I’m trying to be careful not to overbuy. Although this linen tunic is a bit outside of my everyday Gamine style, I think it could be a real workhorse when we hit Puerto Vallarta next month. (Offered in Misses/Petite/Womens/Tall sizes, and currently 25% off with code 25LOVE) It’s a nice medium-weight linen, not too gauzy but not too heavy either.

I can wear as shown above (over my stretch crepe pants in Bone), or open as a lightweight topper over a tank, or even as a swimsuit cover-up. This “Grapefruit” color is in my Spring palette and coordinates well with both bathing suits I purchased from Lands’ End. Plus options here. (LE also has a promotion running: 40% off full-priced styles with code FIREPLACE.) So I relented, and purchased a shift dress (Plus) that matches one of the bathing suits. Again, not something I’d wear at home, but good to have on hand for beach or resort travel wardrobes.

We’ve Been Watching…

The Spy on Netflix starring Sasha Baron Cohen.

If you didn’t know that The Spy was based on actual events, it would seem almost implausible. In the early 1960’s a Mossad agent (played very well by Sacha Baron Cohen) undertakes a years-long attempt to infiltrate the highest levels of the Syrian government to gather intelligence for Israel. It’s very suspenseful and also shows the human cost on not only the agents, but their families, handlers, and unwitting informants. And it’s a fascinating snippet of history. (Love the period clothing and cars too.)

To lighten things up, we started watching Sex Education, and are hooked! It’s funny, but doesn’t condescend to the characters, and sexual topics are discussed explicitly (though there’s very little, if any, nudity). Gillian Anderson is brilliant as the sex-therapist mother of 16-year-old Otis (the main protagonist). It’s intelligent, pro-feminist, pro-LGBQT, and a nice change from the often puerile way that teenage sex and relationships are portrayed in comedies.

Howard's End on PBS. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We also really liked the recent PBS series of Howard’s End. With 4 1-hour episodes, the story is allowed to unfold at a more leisurely pace, though the last episode did feel a bit rushed. All of the performances were top notch, but I especially loved Tracey Ullman, who stole every scene she was in.

What have you seen lately that you’d recommend? I’m also looking for a fresh round of book recommendations, so feel free to drop yours here.

Bon weekend!

Stay in touch.

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55 Comments

  1. February 8, 2020 / 4:42 am

    Im reading The Judgement of Paris by Ross King, nonfiction, an interesting story about the mid-1800’s and the artists who created Impressionism. There are snippets about the places the artists lived that are fun to connect with my recent time in France.

  2. Eva Popovich
    February 8, 2020 / 4:48 am

    We recently got ourselves a “smart tv” for Christmas and finally are delving into what that has to offer. I enjoy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel SO much, but am still struggling with Prime’s sound settings. However, Netflix’s sound problems have been more easily fixed. I am enjoying Frankie and Grace, old to others but so much fun; and as a sideline, the acoustic “channels” on YouTube provide such a calming atmosphere in my house.
    Those aren’t really much in the way of reviews, but I am so happy to read your recommendations and will follow up and watch them.
    Thank you!
    Sorry your pup has been sick; that’s a very stressful thing to go through.

  3. February 8, 2020 / 4:49 am

    Watch Ozark series on Netflix. I am rewatching seasons one and two now. Season 3 starts in late March. If you can stand some gore and murder,, it is for you! Authors: I love mystery series. Love Peter Robinson Banks mysteries, love Alan Rankin mysteries, love C. J. Box Joe Pickett mysteries. I love Laura Lippmann, Julia Keller, all the Kellermans, Jonathan, Faye and their son, Jesse. I also love Scandanavian mystery writers such as: Camila Lackberg, and Jussi Adler-Olssen, Arnaldur Indridason, Henning mankell, and Hakan Nesser. The only book by Jo Nesbo I liked is The Snowman. Scandanavian mysteries can be very dark and moody, but once you start reading them, you cannot stop. I read quite a few of recent mysteries which are recommended. One is called Woman No. 17 or something like that. Highly recommended, but I could not finish it. Just bogged down with women just complaining all the time. Hope you try some of these authors I mentioned.

    • Cynthia Bestall
      February 8, 2020 / 10:01 am

      Love Scandinavian murder/mysteries!

    • Kathleen
      February 8, 2020 / 11:09 pm

      I have read all the Camila Lackberg books and loved every one!

  4. Roseanne
    February 8, 2020 / 5:26 am

    In an earlier post, did you said you will wear a bathing suit and coverup while on a boat? I know you are not a shorts-wearer, but I think you will be more comfortable lounging on a boat, if you wear a lightweight pair of shorts or a boy-shorts bathing suit bottom over your one-piece suit and under a tunic. A couple years ago I visited friends at their lake house. On their boat my friend wore a beautiful coverup over her one piece suit. She looked glamorous, but sitting across from her, I couldn’t get over the thought I was seeing her underpants.

    • RoseAg
      February 10, 2020 / 11:09 am

      I like pull-on nylon athletic shorts under my tunic cover-up. They’re light and a bit short for wearing alone but give you some dignity if you have to bend over to get your glass for a refill.

  5. Michele Yates
    February 8, 2020 / 6:10 am

    I have loved The Most Fun We Ever Had (I gave it *****), and the wonderful epistolary Meet Me at the Museum ( saccharine-sounding title but actually very thoughtful and well written).
    Have so enjoyed your color evolution, and you’ve inspired me to make more colorful and thoughtful Winter-based purchases!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Michele Yates

  6. Cherrie
    February 8, 2020 / 6:12 am

    Happy to hear about your little Coco doing better! She looks like a sweet girl……

  7. Andrea
    February 8, 2020 / 6:36 am

    Have you watched “Au service de la France” aka “A very secret service” on Netflix? Sadly just two seasons long, and the 2nd season was not perfect. Set in an early 60s French spy agency, it’s a hoot and visually pure mid-century eye candy. The series creators are quite at ease with poking fun at French stereotypes. I hope you like it as much as we did.

    • Anon
      February 8, 2020 / 9:10 am

      Being from Canada, the scenes involving French Canadian joual are amusing.

  8. Rebecca Ford
    February 8, 2020 / 6:47 am

    Surprisingly BOTH my husband and I adored “Cheer” , a multi-part Netflix documentary series about the award-winning Navarro Junior College Cheer team as they prepare for the national cheerleading competition. The series has everything – heart, drama, and excitement. Just fascinating – I didnt expect to like it at all, but ended up bingeing it.
    Pretty top, but I have such an aversion to tab sleeve shirts. I always think they look messy. Much prefer bracelet or 3/4 length sleeves.
    Glad your sweet little doggie is better.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      February 9, 2020 / 5:46 pm

      To me they look practical for work, such as cooking. I wouldn’t wear them to a formal event or a “straight’ office job (I worked in more boho ones) , but prefer them to things that can’t adapt to daily life. Yecch, grease stains on the cuffs

  9. Michelle
    February 8, 2020 / 6:49 am

    Love the turquoise swimsuit you chose and the cover up will look great. The colors are so wonderful that I, a confirmed “Winter” with a “classic” style, am tempted to go outside my color and style palette! I so love your blog and especially enjoy following your color transition journey.

  10. Leslie
    February 8, 2020 / 7:01 am

    I’m also reading The Judgement of Paris. It’s a history book but quite a delight. Taking my time reading it as it’s much to digest.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 8, 2020 / 7:02 am

      One of my favorite books ever!

  11. Susan
    February 8, 2020 / 7:10 am

    My husband and I have laughed our way through Netflix’ the Kominsky Method with Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas…so very funny!

  12. Jan
    February 8, 2020 / 7:12 am

    Sex Education is brilliant, smart and funny.

  13. Lisa B
    February 8, 2020 / 7:18 am

    Glad to hear your little girl is doing well. My beagle had two bouts of pancreatitis and was on a special diet which he refused to eat. At 15 I decided to give him what he liked to eat most, prosciutto and meatballs, and and let the cards fall where they may. He lived to be 17 years old , was happy and never had another bout of illness. At 65 I’m not up for another dog but enjoy pet sitting a friend’s lovely yellow lab.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      February 9, 2020 / 1:29 pm

      Lisa, Unless you have an undisclosed medical condition (which one can have much younger) 65 is most certainly not too old to have an animal companion. One of the saddest aspects of my mum’s fading (though she did live to 98, unlike my chain-smoker dad) was that she so wanted another cat and was in no position to care for one. She loved dogs too, but that would have even more impossible. Yes, prosciutto like all hams is very salty, but at a certain point we can’t extend our other-species loved ones’ lives forever.

      pseu, so happy about little Coco! Yes, it may be temporary, but all sentient lives are temporary. Kisses and pats to darling wee canine friend. Livia sends purrs.

  14. Kathryn
    February 8, 2020 / 7:41 am

    We have watched all but the last episode of Spy (I just can’t bear to see it but I guess I’ll have to put on a stiff upper lip sometime and see it through). I felt as you did about Sacha’s acting and the sets/costuming. It far exceeded expectations. We liked Howards End as well, but agree that the last episode glossed over far too much too quickly. An extra 30 minutes would have been satisfying.
    Good to hear that Coco is back in better health.
    I like your linen tunic choice for the beach vacation—nice to have a multi-function item in a natural fabric. I am a Winter but envy your soft Spring color options.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 8, 2020 / 7:43 am

      The last episode of Spy wasn’t as harrowing as I feared it would be. It was tense in spots, but not graphic.

    • Linda
      February 8, 2020 / 8:20 am

      Glad to hear she is doing better. I had been wondering about her. I am watching “The Pharmacist” on Netflix. Wow is all I can say.

  15. Susan
    February 8, 2020 / 7:54 am

    I am glad your little dog is getting better. Did you watch the television series, Versailles, revolving around Louis 14th? It was an excellent series. Also enjoyed, The Evil (a bit odd) As for books, I am reading Simon Sebag Montifiore’s Jerusalem (before a trip in May to Israel). The diaries of Kenneth Rose and Douglas Murray’s, The Madness of the Crowds and just finished Guy Walter’s, The Great Escape (a more detailed and accurate account of the Great Escape than the Steve McQueen movie). Not sure if any of those would be ‘your cup of tea’ though.

  16. Sandra
    February 8, 2020 / 7:55 am

    “Money Heist” on Netflix is excellent! Well-written and well-acted story from Spain; three seasons, with season 4 coming in April.

    Sue, I know you’re also a fan of “Babylon Berlin”; season 3 is coming in March!

    My favorite recent read is “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles, the story of a Russian aristocrat under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow; so well written and unique.

    • Kellee
      February 8, 2020 / 2:52 pm

      I love Babylon Berlin and thrilled to hear there will be a third season – I really loved A Gentleman in Moscow also – have you read The Rules of Civility by the same author? Set in New York in the 1930s.

  17. Rondi
    February 8, 2020 / 8:13 am

    Sometimes your posts are helpful in unplanned ways. You mentioned that you do not normally wear the clothing you need for a beach vacation. I realize that I do. Some of my wardrobe does do double duty and the dress code where I live is casual. But also fun and attractive. I think you will love the shift dress you bought from Land’s End. I have not been to Puerto Vallarta but I often find you can just wear those cover up dresses over your suit if there are spontaneous stops in restaurants or shops. It’s part of the laid back beach attitude! I am so happy to hear Coco is better! You go Coco!

    • RoseAg
      February 10, 2020 / 11:16 am

      I love those shift dresses, and like you I find they get a lot of wear.
      If you’re carrying on they can be a nightgown, a beach cover-up or go out for a casual dinner.
      We have a two and half hour drive to the shore and those dresses are really comfortable for travel.

      This is the time to shop at Land’s End. If you wait until July things may be on sale but you won’t be able to get your size in the items you want so they all go together.

  18. Ann M
    February 8, 2020 / 8:21 am

    I always appreciate your viewing recommendations. Thank you!

  19. Maggie
    February 8, 2020 / 8:24 am

    Yeah for Coco!

  20. Pink Azalea
    February 8, 2020 / 8:34 am

    I am so glad Coco is better. I’ll look into appetite stimulants for our elderly cat. I have a one piece Lands End swimsuit, solid turquoise color and have really liked it. I’ll probably buy a new one in navy or black. Love the linen top, but probably not the best color for me. Would love it in white.

  21. Carol Wayne
    February 8, 2020 / 8:38 am

    I am so glad that Coco is doing better…what a sweet face!! I just finished reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee…I just loved it…it reminded me of how I used to love to dive into a Michener or Wouk or and M.M. Kaye…I was home recuperating last weekend from an URI and it was the perfect book to take me away…

  22. February 8, 2020 / 8:49 am

    I have Howard’s End on PVR and can’t wait to watch. I love Succession on HBO. The language is blistering but I know that world well and the characters are very true to life.

  23. Lisa B
    February 8, 2020 / 9:18 am

    Right now reading Alice Hoffman’s new book, The World That We Knew. Highly recommend. About a young Jewish girl whose mom implores a rabbi’s daughter to conjure a golem to keep her daughter safe until the end of the war. The genre is magical/realism. The movie Practical Magic is based on Alice Hoffman’s book by the same name. Not watching anything in particular as one of my 2020 resolutions is to shut off the tv and read.

    • Linda
      February 8, 2020 / 9:36 am

      It’s a fantastic book! Love all her books.

  24. Nancy H. Hall
    February 8, 2020 / 9:25 am

    So glad to read that Coco is feeling better.
    As a librarian I am always so happy to hear about what everyone is reading and watching – found some interesting titles to try from this post.
    I love mysteries and my two favorite authors are: Julie Spenser-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson series – search in the library or book store under Spenser – and my very favorite – the Brunelli series (he’s a Venice policeman) by Donna Leon are always a great read. Just finished “The Pioneers” by David McCullough which I enjoyed and I barely made it through “Deep River” by Karl Marlantes. It is an historical novel about the Pacific Northwest settlers. Good for snowy NYS evening reading but very intense.

  25. Linda
    February 8, 2020 / 9:34 am

    Glad your dog is doing better! I have loved Tracy Ullman from way back. Do you remember her pop song: They Don’t Know? The video had a cameo of Paul McCartney. I also loved her comedy show. She’s a very versatile actress.

  26. Laurel Kimball
    February 8, 2020 / 9:39 am

    I will be in this week with my teenage granddaughter. Any suggestions for good but reasonably priced places to shop? A favorite book this year has been A Gentleman on Moscow.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 8, 2020 / 9:44 am

      In Los Angeles? It depends on the area and what you’re interested in. Most of the boutique type shops are more pricey, but Abbott-Kinney in Venice is fun.

  27. February 8, 2020 / 9:55 am

    So happy to hear that Coco is recovering. Our four-legged babies are so precious to us.

    The coral linen top will be perfect on you. And, a great beach cover-up. Have fun!

  28. Jean
    February 8, 2020 / 10:28 am

    Do the Lands’ End swim suits run true to size? Thank you.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 8, 2020 / 11:40 am

      I always order swimsuits a size or two larger than my usual. I’m usually a size 6 and the 10 in this tank is a good fit for me.

  29. Elizabeth
    February 8, 2020 / 11:52 am

    Both my husband (surprising us both) and I loved Cheer on Netflix. Good storytelling..about a world I know nothing about…we all need a Jeri to cheer us on the mat!

    Am enjoying The most fun we ever had by Claire Lombardo…

  30. Ainsivalavie
    February 8, 2020 / 12:19 pm

    Probably recommended a thousand times but worth repeating, Louise Penney’s Inspector Gamache mysteries. These are SO well written and have made me (always very meh about mysteries) a true fan. Having visited the town in les Cantons d’est or Eastern Townships of Québec several times where her fictional Three Pines is set it’s always exciting to be able to rediscover North Hatley over again through her books, and the spectacular Manoir Hovey that is used as a setting in the novels. The Gamache character is quite beguiling.
    For TV if you are a fan of Nordic type mysteries the Canadian series, Cardinal is on Canadian Netflix But check Amazon Prime too. It is well worth the watch. The last season is showing on the ‘regular’ TV channels (CTV in Canada)The chemistry between the characters is fantastic can’t wait to see how it ends for them. We don’t watch a lot of commercial TV but caught Fran Drescher’s new sit com ‘Indebted’ the other night. She looks amazing at 62 and I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time..especially when she was guilting her adult son about his 72 hour labor at birth and his BIG head….my husband looked at me and said “That sounds just like you” who knew Fran Drescher is my spirit animal?!
    Noticed a couple of Winter types lamenting they can’t wear your Spring tones. I have done some checking and found that I am what is called a Bright Winter but why do I get sooo many compliments when wearing certain corals, absinthe greens and bright aqua? Because the Bright Winter has some similarities to the Bright Spring palette. Each season is carved into three more with connections to other seasons…very interesting!Et voilà! https://elementalcolour.com.au/blog/bright-winter

  31. Jan Whichard
    February 8, 2020 / 12:34 pm

    Happy about Coco! Random comments…I like linen but not the wrinkles. Do you just go with the flow on that? Also, pants seem so clingy these days that I can’t seem to find a bone or white that doesn’t show my bumps and lumps on my thighs even though I’m a small size these days. Any suggestions other than lining which is too hot?

    TV…the Tudors. It’s riveting albeit a bit violent at times.

    Books…so many but so little time. I’m an historical fiction buff and am enjoying Philippa Gregory’s series on the early kings and queens of England as told from the womens’ perspectives.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 8, 2020 / 1:00 pm

      I don’t worry about wrinkles with linen, especially with more casual outfits/pieces. As far as white/light pants to wear when it’s hot, I haven’t had much luck there either. Best I’ve found are the Eileen Fisher stretch crepe worn with a longer top.

  32. Geraldine
    February 8, 2020 / 1:55 pm

    I recently read ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens and loved it. Also anything by Liane Moriarty and Marian Keyes.

  33. Lucretia Roletta
    February 8, 2020 / 2:45 pm

    Loved the recent rendition of Howard’s End so much we saw the original one (Hopkins and Thompson) and liked the rendition one much better.
    I loved Fleabag, my hubby is not as much of a fan. Kominsky and Mrs. Maisel are worthwhile.
    I’m glad your sweet dog is doing better.
    Susan, you mentioned that the top was not the pixie style. The only person that comes to mind is Audrey Hepburn? Could you define it in a post?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 8, 2020 / 2:48 pm

      Hi Lucretia, thanks! I wrote a post about my interpretation of Gamine style here: Gamine Style, Interpreted To me, the linen tunic belongs more to the Bohemian style profile.

  34. Sydney Grace
    February 8, 2020 / 6:16 pm

    Delighted to hear of Coco’s resilience. Nurturing an older dog is a very special privilege and joy as much as it is also tempered by our sadness that time is limited with them. Cavaliers are the best!
    Regarding resort clothes, I’ve found both very light linen and fine cotton voile cool. Tops and dresses that float over the skin and linen or double layer cotton voile pants worn with an very oversized shirt of similar material looks smart. Collar up to keep sun off neck. Tunics over pants & kaftans for evening. Panama and broader brim woven hats are a good investment when you live in a sunny climate anyway. Rash shirt over cossie for swimming & a peaked cap ( I even wear mine in the surf) to protect the face along with 50+. Beware of reflected glare and sun from water and white sands even under an umbrella or shade.

  35. February 9, 2020 / 12:33 am

    There is nothing so was as a sick pet. Well, we have no kids, lol. I am glad your cute doggie is okay now! Have a great Sunday!

  36. Jannie
    February 9, 2020 / 5:23 am

    Glad your pup is doing so much better. Have purchased suits from Lands End and have been disappointed as the fabric seems so heavy, especially so when it gets wet. Love the Gottex Profile suits and usually buy tankinis…best idea ever for a suit. Love the linen cover-up from JJill (like most of their linen ). Enjoy your trip…

  37. MJ
    February 9, 2020 / 11:11 am

    IF you like the Scandinavian murder mystery genre, I suggest Trapped (on Amazon Prime), set in Iceland. The best part of it is that the characters are complicated and real human beings, not just stereotypes. And if you haven’t seen Borgen, be sure to watch it. I call it The West Wing set in Denmark.

    • Susan
      February 9, 2020 / 8:28 pm

      Arctic Circle (Finland) is pretty good and Wisting (Norwegian) as well. I don’t know what I enjoy more, the storyline or the settings – looking at the snow, ice and the cold whilst sweltering through a hot summer.

  38. Barbara
    February 9, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    My husband and I just returned from our 6th Puerto Vallarta visit. You probably know about the Olas Altas market on Saturday mornings, but I’m sharing to be sure. It is such fun—amazing local food vendors, really local crafts, and Karen Mical jewelry designs I just discovered. I bought two pieces and can’t wait to go back next year for more. Enjoy your PV trip, and thanks for all your great tips!

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