Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Dress (aka I said “Yes to the Dress!”)

At first I was looking forward to shopping for the “special” dress (or in this case, gown) for our Oscar Award Ceremony. I have to say that I like to shop but I don’t love it.

I have curves and many of today’s dresses just aren’t made for a woman that has breasts. Or hips. My body is better suited to the era of the 40’s when it was the fashion to have curves. One look at at the sizes and you have to wonder who wears a size 00? When I hold it up I think to myself that I have a broom that’s wider than it is. Not even Twiggy of the 60’s was that skinny!

What are they thinking with the sizing? So if you wear a size 10 or 12 these days you are almost a “plus” size, when years ago it was a completely normal size to wear. Hello Fashion World! Why not make women feel better about the size they wear rather than make them feel horrible? Our society and this penchant for being the size of a broomstick is scary to me. And nothing is true to size. Nothing.

Not even shoes. I have worn a size 6 for many years now. After trying on shoes to go with said gown I quickly realized that size 6’s were slipping off my feet. Too big! Now it seems I wear a 5 1/2. I haven’t worn a 5 1/2 since I was in high school. (And, as we all know, that was a very long time ago!) Just a year ago I could barely find anything in size 6, let alone a 5 1/2. But now 5 1/2’s seem to be plentiful. I asked the woman in Macy’s who was waiting on me if it was my imagination or had my feet started to shrink? She laughed and said it was true: they are changing the sizing. Huh? I had to wonder if that was for all those size 00 models with feet like boats so they could feel better about their shoe size. I mean, really.

With two friends in tow (neighbor Kim, of course) and Claire who is also going to the Oscars we set out on a mission: find a gown!

We started at a small boutique with what looked like plenty of gowns to choose from. The shop owner was very helpful and friendly. Kim acted as personal shopper while Claire and I tried on what she brought us. Many of them in the size I normally wear would not even zip. Some of them were too beaded. Some too “O.L.” (Old Lady). Some too “M.O.B.” (Mother of the Bride). Some just not me. We struck out and went on to the next shop which was mostly bridal.

Here the gowns in our normal size were even smaller. I assume to fit the average bridesmaid or junior. Claire and I were feeling pretty low by now. The shop owner could have cared less about us and just left us on our own with no help or support. Forget about that place!

The next shop I went to with neighbor Kim was a gown shop. I told the owner what I was looking for and what sizes I had been trying on over the past few days. She looked and me and said “no way you wear that size!” So we pulled some lovely dresses in a lower size. Again, some would not even pull up over my hips, let alone zip. They kept pulling dresses with ruching, saying that it was slimming. However, on my body that ‘slimming’ ruching added about an inch of material to my waist and hips. ACK! Horrible! Some of those dresses weighed at least 7 or 10 pounds with enough material to swallow me whole. Also, as the dress sizes rose, the selection went way down. I was beginning to wonder if my body had exploded in size without my knowledge.

When I got home I immediately tried on a dress I had bought last year and was planning on wearing to a party that weekend, thinking my god, maybe it doesn’t fit either. But it did: perfectly. So, not me. Whew, what a relief.

I was starting to get worried that I would not find anything. Everything we had seen so far could be sporting a label stating: Prom, Mother-of-the-Bride-Boring, or Old-Lady-Going-on-a-Cruise. Don’t women these days buy gowns for any other reason? And who says Mother-of-the-Bride these days has to be the same boring thing my own mother wore? Besides, I am not anybody’s mother! (The dogs and cats don’t count.)

We had plans to go down to Freehold, New Jersey to Diane & Co. that week if we still hadn’t found anything in shops closer to us. Diane & Co. is a unique dress shop that is family-run. In fact, two years ago they had a reality TV show called Jersey Couture that revolved around their dress shop and family. I loved it but sadly they did not return last year. Now I understand that the Oxygen network picked them back up and an all new season starts in February. I was looking forward to going there, but it was not to be. *Watch the new season of Jersey Couture!*

Kim had asked around to her various friends where they have bought dresses for either black tie events or weddings. On a whim one afternoon last week we decided to go to one of them in Hawthorne. It was by appointment only. When we arrived the owner sized me up as she asked what I was looking for and what my budget was. She immediately pulled about four dresses off the rack (and one off the mannequin) for me to try.

The first dress from the mannequin happened to be a size 6. I told her there was no way it was going to fit. She said “ah, just step into it and shimmy it up over your hips.” So I did. It was up (how did she know I could even get it up over my hips?) but it wasn’t going to zip. No problem! She pulls it in in the back so I can see what it would look like, like they do on Say Yes to the Dress. Not bad. I liked it. On to the second dress: a ball gown.

The minute I walked out she told me “no no no!” so we didn’t even bother zipping it up.

The third dress looked promising. It zipped. It was my ‘normal’ size. It fit me almost perfectly except for hemming and maybe a few tucks in the back. It got a “wow” from Kim and she’s hard to impress. And here, finally, it is:

Rina di Montella R2859

Lovely shop; lovely service. It made up for all the bad experiences of the past week.

I hope that when I go back in on Friday for my fitting that I love it as much as I did when I first tried it on. I also hope that the jewelry I bought (at the same shop as the dress) looks good with it once I have it all on. The jury is still out on the necklace though because the top strand keeps turning on me, so I’ll just have to see. I might exchange it for something else. A few people have said I don’t need a necklace, but the dress is pretty plain with only earrings. Opinions? At this point I don’t think I can just say I don’t want the necklace, but hopefully she will let me exchange it for another if it’s just going to drive me crazy by turning over all the time!

IMG 6888

IMG 6887

And finally, the shoes and the bag.

IMG 6898

We are lucky enough to be staying at the same hotel as the event: The Beverly Hills Wilshire which is just off Rodeo Drive. I have made an appointment for an “up-do,” makeup and nails in their salon, so we shall see what magic they will make happen! That will occupy my afternoon on Saturday so I don’t have to worry about what other clothes to bring to fit into the posh atmosphere of the hotel.

I’m glad this part is over with!

P.S. After hearing about my successful gown purchase, Claire and I went back the very next day to the same shop and she bought a gown. In fact, the same style as the first dress I tried on. Success all-around! Now for Kim’s “Mother-of-the-Bride” dress for her son’s wedding in September. And knowing Kim, it’s not going to be “motherly.”

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The week in-between Christmas and New Year’s is always an odd one. Rick used to get the whole week off back when he worked for HP/Agilent but it was mostly because they were trying to be cheap and it was without pay. I always loved having him home, watching movies and playing video games that we’d gotten for Christmas. This week he is working but shorter days.

This week also, without fail, includes my birthday which was yesterday. Having a birthday at this time of year is not always easy or fun. Everything comes at once. But, after all these years I am used to it. I never get stinted for gifts on my birthday. My Mom made sure of that, and my dear husband is the same way. I got an iPad 2! I’ve had an iPad for about a year and a half now and just love it. I’ve been drooling over the “2” since they came out. It has features that the first one didn’t have. And just look at it’s super cute folding cover!

Lynne Robinson, New Jersey

Also for my birthday my two neighbors pretty much kidnapped me and took me out to lunch. I didn’t even know where we were going! The restaurant was great and one I had never been to before. We sat and shared a glass of wine and all our food choices were excellent. On top of buying my lunch they also gave me gifts! What a treat! Part of my gift from neighbor Aileen was this sweet package of fresh eggs from her chickens. The blue-green ones are from her new araucana chickens that just started laying. Almost too pretty to eat!

Lynne Robinson, New Jersey

It hardly seems possible that just one week ago I picked my sister and her hubby up at the train station. Time flies by, doesn’t it? We had a good Christmas. We ate and tried out some new and quite delicious recipes. We drank (but not too much). We played video games and my sister beat us all at bowling with a grand score of 195. We all enjoyed each other’s company.

Also in-between is our weather. Winter has yet to arrive in our part of the country. Just the other day we had nearly two inches of rain. Again. Enough with the rain! It hasn’t really been cold enough to freeze the ground either so everything comes up muddy. Today I think it’s supposed to struggle to get above freezing which will be a welcome change to our 40’s and 50’s. C’mon Mother Nature! I have a new coat that I’m dying to wear and it needs to be cold!

By the way, remember this fox? Neighbor Kim pointed out to me yesterday at lunch that she thinks it was not in fact a fox but a coyote. She said there was an article in the paper about how many coyotes were around now and how to identify them. The more I thought about it and the more I looked at the photos again, I realized she was right. It just might be a coyote. I’m just not used to seeing them around here although we did have one a a few years ago. To see it, follow this link.  Tell me what you think!

Anyway, no real news to impart here, just wanted to catch up.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last weekend photos

Last weekend we did our annual down the shore trip with a group of friends. I only got my beach walk one morning due to not so great weather. Here is the beach as I saw it at around 6:45 in the morning.

The sun coming up.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

A feathered friend.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

A pretty shell.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

A beautiful sky.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

There’s nothing quite like newly groomed sand.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

And, the beach after the crowds arrive later in the day.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Friday, July 15, 2011

I need a kick start

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Really, I do. I need something or someone to kick start me back to blogging on a more regular basis. Every time I sit down to compose the entry on the Panama Canal I end up staring at my brand new HD computer screen. No words come. I end up playing one of my “hidden object” games instead and zone out for an hour or so. What is wrong with me? Summertime blues? Sheer laziness? Maybe a little of both. To quote one of the blogs I read every now and then, her excuse for not blogging was that “I guess I am living the life instead of blogging about it.” That about sums it up for me, but mine is pretty boring.

My camera is gathering dust. I did go to the Botanical Gardens a week or so ago and what you see in this entry is the result of that visit. But there wasn’t much to aim the camera at and I threw away all but a few of the photos that I did take. I am in a rut there too.

Yesterday I read a book. One whole book in one whole day. (It was a light read.)

Let’s see ... what else have I done?

Last week Rick and I went to a “gala” reception at the Lincoln Center in New York City. We got dressed up, had a nice dinner and then went to the event. A lovely night! Going in to the city is always exciting and fun. Such energy in those sidewalks filled with people!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

At home we’ve been enjoying the pool which is now above 80 degrees and very comfortable. It’s not even the weather that is making me lazy as the days have been sunny and warm. Delightful. Our last rain/thunderstorm was a week ago.

The fireflies are far and few between now but the cicadas have started up ever so slowly. In fact, as I type there are two going out there now. Ah, the sound of summer.

We have at least three bats in our winnowed-down bat population. They swoop and dip over our heads when we take our nighttime swims. It’s good to see them.

The turkeys bring their cute little babies around almost every day—the end result of all that turkey sex in my front yard this spring. Sometimes just one of the hens with her brood will show up, while other times it looks more like a turkey day care center and all ten or so of the babies.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I also went with neighbor Kim this week to see a litter of six week old Irish Terrier puppies that they will getting a new puppy from. The breeder was halfway out on Long Island and I have to tell you that it’s a nasty drive! Yikes, I won’t be going out there again anytime soon. The traffic! The puppies were adorable though and it was nice to breathe in puppy breath and talk dogs again.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

We also had a six o’clock a.m. visitor yesterday. We were still asleep when Alex started barking downstairs. It is not his norm to bark for no reason, so I got out of bed and looked out the front window. Nothing. Rick got up and took a look around too but he also didn’t see anything. After laying there for a fitful twenty minutes more I got up and went down to feed the dogs and cats. I looked out on the back deck and saw that one of the planter boxes that was on our deck railing had been knocked down and the poor petunias were out of their pots, the nearly indestructible Squirrel Buster Plus bird feeder pulled around in an abnormal position, the iron hanger it was on slightly bent. Okay, a bear for sure. A pretty brazen one too to come onto our high deck. It’s only happened twice before in our five years here that we’ve had bears on the deck. It’s not a good feeling. I have to say that I am more than impressed with this bird feeder. Not only do the squirrels not bother it but it held up to the bear mauling with not a scratch!

So, I go to feed the cats and eBay is nowhere to be found. I call her, searching high and low but I can’t find her. She is always ready to to eat so I figure something must be wrong. Finally I hear a tiny mew coming from the laundry room. When I pull out the washer, there she is. She ventures out very tentatively into the kitchen. She peeks around the corner into the sun room and out to the deck where the bear was with her eyes wide and her tail all puffed up. Aha! She saw the bear too and it scared her so badly she was hiding from it. Poor kitty! So, the bird feeder comes in at night and when I am not at home.

One of my daily routines is to water all the outside plants before taking a shower, check on the pool temperature and add chlorine every other day. I slip on a pair of shorts and t-shirt and head out with the watering can. It’s a nice way to start the day, especially with the weather we’ve been having. I don’t even mind if the humidity is high that time of the day. Bella usually helps me with this particular job. Every other day or so I’ll tip all the water out of her wading pool and refresh it. She loves this! The minute I start adding fresh water she’s in there wading around, scooping up mouthfuls of the cold water straight from the well.  I’ve also gotten into the habit of letting one of the dogs come with me out in the front as a special treat for them. No leash, just hanging out with mom while she waters. I check on the progress of the figs daily and I have to say I can’t wait until we can eat them.

You never know what you might see while watering. The little clearwing hummingbird moths have started hovering around as I water. I just love them! While I was watering the deck flowers the other day I found this moth clinging to the petunias. Isn’t it pretty? I have never seen this particular kind of moth before so I looked him up. I think it’s some kind of Sphinx moth—possibly a Virginia (hog) Creeper Sphinx Moth. No matter what it’s name is, it’s beautiful.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

For those of you that I’ve talked to over the past week, I apologize for re-hashing all this boring, trivial stuff about my life again. Ho hum. Which brings me to another topic of conversation. I have no idea who is reading this blog anymore other than family members and a few close friends and those of you that comment from time to time (thank you Debra, Maggie & Joyce!). I get numerous “junk” comments every single day that I have to delete which is very disheartening. You should read some of them! They always include a link to whatever website selling some garbage. I am so very tired of them. It’s long been in my mind to make this blog private and if Rick can figure out how to do that without too much trouble on the part of anyone then we will do so. If you still want to read all you will have to do is sign up to be a member. You don’t have to comment, you can still continue to read as you’ve always done. The only change will be that not all those crazies out there will be able to read things about my private life anymore. Because this blog really is about my daily life. But, that’s all in the future and hopefully we can make it happen.

Okay, so I’ve sat here long enough this morning filling this entry up with boring tidbits, neglecting my watering duties which are calling me, so I will close this entry now. If you are still awake after reading this, bless you. Hopefully this will kick start me to finish my vacation blogging. Check back in a day or so to find out!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Yard work is hard work (and dirty work!)

Yesterday was certainly my day for yard work. I am not quite sure what possessed me to finish stacking the cord of wood we had delivered several months ago. I was just going to stack a little bit of it to make more progress. (Last week I stacked about 1/3 of it.) It was a nice sunny day with temperatures in the low 40’s by the time I started. The dogs helped. Well, sort of. Alex and Hailey supervised from the deck and Bella was a huge help in moving the wood piece by piece. The only problem was she moved it out into the yard instead of over by where it was being stacked! She happily chewed on bark while I loaded the wheelbarrow up, wheeled it over to the wood stack and started stacking.

I got one more row done and thought to myself “just one more wheelbarrow-ful to just get the third row started ...” After each consecutive wheelbarrow-ful I vowed it to be the last. The stack kept shrinking and shrinking until I could not leave that little bit unstacked. My back was aching but I persevered and before I knew it — violá! — the job was finished!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
The last two rows were done yesterday.

Such a pretty sight to my sore back! Now I don’t have to feel guilty any more when it rains since the wood can be tidily covered up now.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

That was the morning’s work.

Just after noon our lawn tractor Johnny (as in John Deere) returned home from his spa trip to Goshen, New York where he underwent a transformation. His return home has been greatly anticipated. He was being fitted with a new bagging attachment so we can now pick up all our leaves. For the past few years we’ve just been mulching the leaves, but our grass was slowly being smothered. Plus, it would take hours of driving slowly over and over the leaves to break them up enough. Tedious.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

And my oh my do we have leaves! I think in some spots they are over two inches thick! You see, we hadn’t done anything about our leaves because we were waiting on Johnny and it’s taken several weeks between the time we ordered the bagger and they came to pick Johnny up.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The guy who delivered Johnny stayed to make sure I knew what I was doing. He shook his head when he saw the amount of leaves on the ground and told me I wasn’t going to get very far before I would need to dump the bags. He was right. I took one tiny swipe and jammed up the whole blower and leaf chute. I’m glad he was around to show me how to un-jam it! Plus he told me I should probably go over the leaves without the bags attached to mulch them up a little so there wouldn’t be so much mass. He demonstrated and bits of leaves, dust and anything else the mower picked up flew crazily through the air. Oh boy.

I knew I needed to get as much done as I could since we were expecting rain (and it is indeed rainy and dark out there this morning), so after a brief visit with neighbor Kim I changed into my old yard shoes and shirt and got started. I first mulched both front yards and it went pretty fast. The regular mowing blades seemed to mulch the leaves up better than the mulching blades! I kicked up a lot of dust and I think most of it was coming from the mulched leaves. A haze hung over the whole street. Quite the mess without the bags attached! I didn’t realize just how dirty a job it was until I needed to add some gas. I looked down at myself and was horrified! I was covered from head to toe in a thick film of dusty dirt. These pants were once black ... yuck.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Once I had taken the sheer mass of the leaves down, I put the bags back on and proceeded to pick them up. It worked like a charm except for a few times when I didn’t dump the bags as soon as I should have and ended up jamming the blower attachment, but overall it went very smoothly. And the end result was very pleasing!

Here are the before and after shots of one side of our front yard:

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I only got one side of the yard completely done but at least the dirty mulching part of the job is completely done (at least in front). I wish I could have finished the rest before today’s rain but it was not to be. At least we don’t have that heavy carpet of leaves covering the grass anymore. The rest of the job should be easier. Next year we can keep up with the leaves as they fall and it should be a real breeze!

A very satisfying day of work.

Today I do not plan to be covered in dirt. No sir. I am going shopping to Garden State Plaza (the biggest mall in our area) with neighbor Kim. I hope to come home with a new pair of boots (thanks to the generosity of my in-laws). A perfect way to spend a rainy day!


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved back to my 'home' state and I am living in NoCo (Northern Colorado).This blog will be about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2018 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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