Bringing It Back

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Witness Audrey Hepburn….

She made the Louis Vuitton Speedy famous.  And here she is at the airport with her Speedy 25 AND her handbag.

How often have we felt that *one* handbag just isn’t enough?  Well, I know I have….

So I think that we should all have fabulous, chic doctor’s bags…. Speedy is iconic, the Gucci Boston Bag is another – but almost every handbag line has made one at some time or another.  Amazing vintage ones are available on eBay…..  And these will schlep all the stuff while the smaller, amazing bag will carry the essentials… A small card case, your lipstick, your iPhone, a pen, your compact mirror, your mints and (in Audrey’s case) her cigarettes and lighter in what was, no doubt, the chic-est little case imaginable….

And while we’re at it, lets start thinking about bringing back headscarfs….

Let’s do it, ladies!  Lets bring it back!!





So here she is – little Miss Clem.  Clementine McDowell Colbert.  A big name for a little puppy.

It’s still really hard for me to write about losing the Beans.  It’s especially hard for me to write about losing Lola.  One of the things I struggle with is that I feel like when I say that, it gives the impression that losing Finn was easy or that losing him didn’t gut us.  It did.  Completely.

But losing Lola was a different kind of being gutted for me.  I always felt like Finn didn’t need me as much as Lola did and when she died, I felt like it was a failure on my part. I guess because I always felt that I couldn’t give enough to Lola.   Mary Oliver wrote that losing a puppy feels like a failure of love –  that for all our efforts, we can’t give them more time.  And she was right.  But I was an asshole.  I thought I loved them so much they’d live forever.  I was wrong.

When Teddy came it was a little over a month since Lola died.  Teddy and my darling husband took one look at each other and started a mutual love fest that continues.  I loved Teddy but I was too broken for a long time.  But we’ll talk about that later.  Let’s just say that the decision to get another puppy after Teddy was a longer, more ambivalent journey.

Finally – I said to God that I just couldn’t do it.  That I was still too broken and too confused.  But I asked Him to send me the right puppy at the right time.  And I left it there.  With God.

Right before my darling husband and I left for a Mexican vacation in May, a local rescue that I follow on Facebook showed 5 little corgi mix puppies.  Of course the word “corgi” caught my eye.  But the listing said they’d all gone to foster families that would probably keep them and we were leaving for Mexico anyway…..

Three days after we got back, I was sitting at work and the rescue posted again.  This puppy was not going to stay with her foster family and needed a home.  Several emails later and MDH and I were going to get her on Saturday…..

Clementine came home on June 10.  Three years to the day after Lola’s death.  We did not plan it.  In fact, it was only after we made the appointment to go get her that I looked at the calendar and realized what had happened.  Three years.  To the day.  Man, God knows what he’s doing…..

Finn and Lola were a grace to me.  Clementine means “mercy”.  And she is that.  She is a joyous little gift from God and a balm to my heart.  We have no idea what she is – although we often get asked.  Near as we can tell she’s a mix between a dachshund, a corgi and something really little and fuzzy.  She is the softest little ten pound ball of fur you can imagine.  She eats like a pig, runs around like a nut, vexes Teddy most grievously and ignores all commands.  She really doesn’t have a rats ass to give unless you’ve got some food in your hand.

She snuggled into my neck when we picked her up and she is just a little doll.  She is nothing at all like Lola and her personality is much more like Finn’s – but she is, like Teddy, all her own.



The Bee Charmer’s Guide To Being a Grown Assed Woman

How does one become a grown assed woman?  Well, there are steps that we can all take and make no mistake ladies, it is a becoming.  One does not emerge, full blown.  One becomes….. and that’s a much more serious notion than just happening.  In order to become you must decide.  It takes thought, planning, preparation and diligence.

As I have grown as a person and as a woman, I find myself looking to other women, who I admire, for guidance and inspiration.  Most of these are women I know, but many are famously iconic.  For me, one of my great role models is Jackie Kennedy.  What was it about Jackie that made her so iconic and so timelessly inspiring?

It’s hard to know anything concrete – for all the speculation and fame she remained entirely silent.  So instead of second hand words and anecdotes – of which there are so many – let’s instead look at actions in our quest.  What did Jackie’s actions teach us about being a grown assed woman?

So here, gentle readers, is The Bee Charmer’s Guide to Being a Grown Assed Woman -starring Jackie Kennedy.

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First, Jackie was beautiful.  She wasn’t beautiful in the way of others.  She was entirely beautiful because she was entirely herself.  Throughout her public life, we can look at Jackie and see that she was not a slave to any trend – but her classic and simple style carried her – always.  She made the sixties look as good as the seventies and the eighties.  She aged with grace.  She changed with the times and yet, something, something very real and inimitable to her, was always there.  In short, her beauty and style transcended mere youth and passing time and crystalized into lasting, inspiring, intensely personal beauty.  It was never contrived or overblown – it was simple and it was her.  And why is Jackie’s beauty important?  Her personal beauty should be important to us because it was clearly important to her.  She was incredibly attentive to her clothing, her appearance.  The style that she appeared to wear so effortlessly was, in fact, the product of work on her part – from the slimness of her figure to the tailoring of her clothes.  She was never vulgar, never traded on skin and even in jeans and a sweater she was still unmistakably chic.  And as we’ve said before, any grown assed woman that you admire for anything has worked for that admiration.  Jackie’s beauty is not a superficial bit of fluff.  It was a decision that she made.  She decided to be beautiful and… she was.

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Next, Jackie was incredibly intelligent.  She was well educated, well read, well travelled.  She spoke several languages.  She read real books, big books, books with kick.  And she used that intelligence and knowledge to affect real change.  The restoration and preservation of the White House.  Her contribution to supporting American art and artists.  Her effective efforts to save national treasures like Grand Central Station.  And by all accounts her ability to bring issues and concepts to her husband’s attention while he was President.  The most effective advisors to the President are the ones we don’t know about and Jackie Kennedy was one of them.  There are those who say that beauty and history and art are not important.  Jackie’s example shows us just how important they are and how to take big ideas and intellectual concepts and put them to pragmatic use.  Jackie’s example showed us more than a million words might – it showed us that grown assed women have big brains and can use them any way they see fit.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 9.00.38 PMThird, Jackie taught us much about grace.  She was a gracious hostess.  She was a physically graceful woman, whether riding horses or serving State dinners.  Her thank you notes are legendary.  Her style was graceful.  Her homes were graceful.  Her mind was graceful.  And it times of great national tragedy and unimaginable personal loss she carried herself and us with grace.  She was a living, breathing model of strength and poise and maturity.  In short, she didn’t conduct herself as a giggling floozy or the disinterested wife of a powerful man.  She didn’t run around naked or drunk or dissolve into a puddle in the face of pressure, big crowds or adversity.  She conducted herself with grace – like every grown assed woman should.

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Fourth, Jackie is one of the most stunning examples of dignity I think that anyone could observe.  When I was younger, I dismissed Jackie as a frivolous gold digger.  As I’ve gotten older and come to know more about life, over and over I’ve turned to observe Jackie in those terrible days after her husband’s assassination.  I refused to watch the Zapruder film for the longest time because I thought that it just might be too ghoulish to stand.  But I broke down and watched it.  On YouTube.  In frame-by-frame-slow-motion.  And what I saw is something that I don’t think I could live through.  What I saw was a woman who was looking into her husband’s eyes – just inches from him, her hands on his body, when his head exploded – the moment that his life was ripped away.  And then – my God – the dignity with which she managed to carry herself in the days that followed.  Days when every eye in the world was on her.  Standing there in front of the world with her husband’s blood all over her because she wanted them to see what they’d done.  She was 34 years old…. And here’s the kicker (as if we need one) she had buried a child three months before that.  And did she sell it?  Did she give over what must have been her intense grief and fear for public consumption?  Not only did she not do it then – she never did it.  She NEVER shared that grief in any meaningful public way.  But she did walk through those terrible days with the eyes of the world on her in a way that honored her husband, his position and hers.  As our First Lady and John Kennedy’s wife she carried her office and her vows to the end and yet she kept all the things that were her own.  I think she thought that the horrific invasion of having everyone else watch her husband die on television was quite enough.  I think she was right.  She could have melted into a puddle but she didn’t.  She was a grown assed woman, y’all.

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Finally, Jackie taught us about the value of privacy and discretion- values that we, as a society, seem to have lost.  Does anyone think that there is any *thing* that is precious enough for Kim Kardashian not to sell if it would buy her just a little more celebrity?  I don’t.  But not Jackie.  Jackie wanted exactly what she instructed her White House staff –  “maximum politeness, minimum information.”  That direct gaze, that public persona, those big sunglasses, those quiet words.  Those were the things she chose to share while holding her dearest and most precious things most closely.  She left this world on her own terms, with nary a tell-all or a scandal in sight.  And yet, she never came across as disinterested or bitter at the world.  She just got on with it.  She lived her life in the public glare and yet – in a way that is still so private that we really know almost nothing about her.  That is a thing that I admire – that she had the ability to know her own mind and know what was most important to her and to just live – without allowing that clamor of noise from outside to devour her.  She kicked its ass, y’all, like a grown assed woman.




Yeah – I’m gone.

I was back.  And now I’m gone.

My darling husband and I are off this week.  On holiday, on tour, on hiatus.  Leaving on a jet plane.  Sleeping under foreign skies.  Making wishes on far away stars.  Walking down streets we’ve never seen.

Gloriously, happily, wonderfully gone.

We’ll be back.  But the word this week is gone!

I’ve left behind some stuff for y’all to ponder and I hope you have a wonderful week!



Bon Weekend!

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all!

Here are some links for your consideration:

To Read:  If you love Paris and haven’t read A Moveable Feast you really should consider it.  I don’t particularly like Hemingway but I do like this book.

To Do:  Find yourself some fall leaves or a pumpkin patch this weekend.  Or go buy a cozy sweater from Ann Taylor!  I think they’re really doing a great job this year and I’ve ordered several cute things from them…. More about that later.

When You’re A Nervous Flyer:  If you’re not tending to a disabled child or deciding between beef or cow – I love these two….

To Watch:  If you love the Eagles you should check out this documentary on Netflix – It’s worth it to hear Glenn Frey threaten to kill Don Felder and throw him out of the band.



The Bee Charmer’s Top Ten Hair and Skin Products

So when did this stuff stop being fun????

There are a hundred million and eleventy hair and skin products out there – with varying price tags.  Some work.  Some don’t.  Some work but the work is not equal to their price.  What’s a girl grown assed woman to do?

Ladies, I humbly submit to you my top ten hair and skin care products and will respectfully tell you that I like them, why and that they don’t break the bank.  These are my go to, holy grail, tried and true favorites.  They’ve revolutionized and simplified my life (ESPECIALLY the hair stuff).  So here they are, in no particular order.

  1.   Cosmetic Skin Solutions Vitamin C 20% Advanced Formula

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Y’all – don’t ask me what this is, why it works or what it does.  I do not know.  I started using this serum about 12 years ago on the advice of my dermatologist’s office.  They said it was good for my skin so I tried it.  About 8 years in, I decided that it wasn’t “doing anything” and quit using it.  Well, ladies, a couple of weeks after that fateful decision I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and looked like Granny Clampett.  So if you want to know what it does:  Use it = Pretty Skin.  Don’t use it = Granny Clampett.

When I first started out, I used the SkinCeuticals brand and although a bottle of this will last a good 4 months it was still a bit pricey.  Then I discovered the Cosmetic Skin Solutions line which is as close to SkinCeuticals as you can get without breaking the patent.  For about half the price.  A bottle of the Vitamin C 20% will set you back $29.85 and you can order it from Amazon Prime.

Go forth.  Antioxidize your faces.

2.  It’s A Ten Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin

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I got a large, full size bottle of this stuff free from Ulta one day.  I promptly came home and put it under the sink.  Stuff like this DOES NOT work for me.  Nope. Uh-uh.  Doesn’t work.  My hair is thick and heavy and anything that one “leaves in” is a recipe for disaster.

Several months later, I was on a cleaning rip and decided to purge under the sink.  I came upon this stuff and decided, on a whim, to give it a shot (after all it was a Saturday and I had all day Sunday to look like a flat haired grease ball).  So I gave it a shot.

Ladies – this shit has CHANGED MY LIFE.  Seriously.  I was a wash your hair every day girl.  This stuff turned me into a wash my hair every 3-4 and sometimes 5 day girl.  Its that good.  And again, I don’t know why it works.  It just leaves my hair so light, shiny, un-frizzy and manageable.  It’s almost like it repels dirt.  I still can’t believe it.  Put it on my hair in Mexico, spent the day at the beach – didn’t wash my hair before dinner.  It just looked that good.  A bottle of it will set you back about $20.00.  Since I only wash my hair about every 3 days now, a bottle of this lasts forever – not to mention my shampoo and conditioner savings.  And the fact that my highlights last so much longer.  And the time I save not having to do my hair every day?  Priceless.  Is it a 10?  Oh, no.  Its an 11!

3.  Organic Coconut Oil

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When the whole coconut oil craze started, I was skeptical – as I am with most crazes.  But after a while, I decided I’d give it a try and dispatched my darling husband to bring me some home.  He returned with a gallon jug of this stuff which he informed me he purchased for $12.00 (that was 2 years ago and we still haven’t used it all).

I wasn’t expecting it to be solid and white, nor was I expecting it to melt in my fingers so easily or to smell so good.  I dutifully slathered myself up after my shower.  My dry skin soaked it up.

Two years later, we’re still going strong.  I do not purchase any other lotions for my skin. My nails grew stronger and faster.  My cuticles got in line.  And – here’s the kicker my keratosis pilaris (KP) on the backs of my arms, which I’ve had forever and have been told by multiple doctors that nothing can be done about – is gone.  Gone.  G.O.N.E.  Seriously.

I do find that using this twice a day is too much and causes breakouts on my more delicate areas – so once a day does it for me.  Soft skin.  Soft nails.  Organic oil on my skin. Cheap.  What’s not to love?

4.  Suave Max Hold Non-Aerosol Hairspray

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I love this hairspray from Suave and have been using it forever.  Like since college forever.  I’m hesitant to rant and rave about it.  Its not life changing or anything.  But it does provide soft, touchable hold, doesn’t smell bad and for $2.94 per bottle at Target – its a go to for me.

5.  Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

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There are a couple of Living Proof products on my list and I have tried several more – honestly I love all of them.  I really like the dry shampoo because once I started extending the days between washings, I started looking for more ways to extend them even further.  So far, Living Proof has been my favorite.  It’s non-goopy, doesn’t smell to high heaven and adds lift and volume without the weight.  It’s also great for those times when you need a little boost before going to dinner or something and don’t want to do your hair.  At $22.00 it’s a little pricey – but I’ll take it if it works.

6.  Cerave A.M. Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30

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So  – I’m in love with CeraVe.  Love.  As I said before, I got so sick of buying skin care products in general (and facial moisturizers in particular) that promised the world and cost a fortune.  This is just a good, solid, gentle, every day moisturizer that provides strong SPF protection, doesn’t clog my pores, goes on well under makeup and you know, moisturizes my skin.  It comes in a nice pump bottle and one pump usually does it for me.  It’s $12.49 at Target.

7.  Shea Moisture African Black Soap

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My girlfriends and I went on a little girl’s trip in February and I bought this Shea Moisture African Black Soap on a lark at the CVS in Smith Mountain Lake.  LOVE IT.  Dadgum, it smells so good.  It makes my skin so soft.  The fragrance is so warm and comforting.  The lather is amazing.  I hate spending money on shower gels but this one is my keeper.  Pick it up at Target for $8.99.

8.  Living Proof Amp2 Instant Texture Volumizer

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The Amp2 Instant Texture Volumizer is the second Living Proof product to make my list.  If you are a hair product and you want me to love you – give my hair some bounce without smelling strongly or weighing my hair down.  This one does the trick.  At $26.00 for a 2 oz. jar it is one of the pricier items on this list – but it works and I use it between washing without gooping up my hair.  Hair goop is a thing for me, in case you haven’t noticed.

9.  Cerave Eye Repair Cream

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This is my second CeraVe product today – the Eye Repair Cream.  Again, if you’re looking for a product that will magically make you look like you used to look when you were 15 and too stupid to take care of your skin – keep browsing.  If you want a solid, gentle, non-greasy under eye cream that moisturizes and improves your under-eye area and won’t drive you into bankruptcy… we’ll for my money this cream ($10.25 at Target) can’t be beat.

10.  Witch Hazel

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This is another all natural, super simple, inexpensive miracle product.  A big bottle of Dickinson’s Witch Hazel will set you back $3.99 at Target and last you the better part of six months.  This was recommended to me by my darling L.A. (shout out!) – skin care guru extraordinaire – and if you’ve got a little pimple, a little irritation, a little shine at the end of the day, or just feel the needs to tighten up your pores after your shower – all you need is a little Witches Hazel (as my darling husband calls it in all seriousness).

So there they are – my Top Ten hair and makeup products that won’t break the bank.  Anybody else out there got any super terrific finds to add to this list?  I’d love to hear from you!




Our Anniversary

Today is our third anniversary!  No big to-do since we’re going to Paris this weekend.  But –  I thought that I’d share some of our wedding pictures for those who may just be tuning in!  Thanks to all our wedding vendors and The Mint Museum of Art for providing such a beautiful backdrop.  We had the most amazing, beautiful day.  And yes, a flying WV West Virginia groom’s cake.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God