What does Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and depression have in common?

I was going to dip my toe into the world of writing from my gut, shining a light into my tortured personal journey as I stumble through the dark–I was GOING TO DO THAT.

But instead of spiraling down into that sad place, I grabbed my keys and drove into the village, deciding what I really needed was some therapy; retail therapy. Always the joker, the self deprecator, that’s me!

After a very rainy day yesterday, today was warm and fresh and shiny.

As soon as I walked into one of my favorite consignment shops, I spied a box of scarves and hats, thrown haphazardly on each other like a pile of puppies. My eyes were drawn to a familiar brown and tan monogram on a scarf. I thought to myself, “it can’t possibly be authentic, but let’s take a closer look.” I picked it up. Hmmm, it sort of felt like silk. I checked the price tag. $12.00. TWELVE DOLLARS? It can’t be a real Louis Vuitton.

I asked the salesperson, “Has this been authenticated?” She told me the owner didn’t think it was real so it wasn’t priced as a genuine designer. YES I WILL HAVE THIS, I told myself. Just then, my bad mood cleared up. I was firing on all cylinders.

One of my hidden talents is the ability to sniff out authenticity. Too bad that talent doesn’t extend to people, but that’s another story.

When I got home, I examined it more closely, The monogram was accurate, it was beautifully sewn, and I found a hidden tag that confirmed my suspicions- 100% soie Made in France. Yup, deffo genuine LV. SCORE!!!!!!

I also tried on an amazing St. John’s knit dress that I really really wanted, but even at resale prices, it was a bit too expensive, so I reluctantly put it back.

As I was meandering through the aisles, I spied a wall display. Draped over the shoulder of a red sweater was an oversized black and white houndstooth scarf. My eagle eye spied the logo in the corner, DIOR. Hold on, girl. Acting like it’s not a big deal so that no one else would want it…I grabbed it off the hanger–the original sales tag was still attached. It was 100% cashmere Christian Dior!!! And it was $20.00. TWENTY DOLLARS! How could I say no? This beautiful shawl-like wrap needed to be rescued. By me.

Instead of continuing to dwell on the things that weigh down my heart, these little treasures helped to cheer me up–perhaps merely a superficial bandage, but sometimes that’s all it takes to shake me out of a despondent mood. At least for a little while. Until next time.

The last time…(More heartstopping chat with a mini-human)

I haven’t written in a while because it took me such a long time to recover from a whirlwind visit with my Angel Boy 2.0 as well as being presented to the Court of ANGEL GIRL 2.0, Baby Charlotte, named in honor of my mom.

The very definition of “hell on wheels.”

Below you’ll find a a fairly accurate transcript of my final day…If this was paper and not a computer screen, it’d be blurry with tear-stained ink. My tears. Heart wrenching love.

6:00 a.m. I hear swift and stompy footsteps running downstairs and soon my bedroom door opens, “Wake up, little Grandma!”

He climbs under the covers and snuggles close.

“How did you sleep, my little Theo?”

I’m not little Theo, you’re little Grandma.”

OK, how did you sleep, medium Theo?

“Goooood.”

“Did you have any dreams?

I can’t even begin to tell you the details of the storyline of the dream he recounted, because the twists and turns of his brilliant little mind involved Saturn (his fave planet), a dragon, a dinosaur, a spooky ghost, rocket ships to space, and a boat in the sky.

“What do you want for breakfast, T?”

“Last oatmeal, Grandma.”

“WHAT? What did you say?”

“This is the last time you’ll make oatmeal for me”, he said with a sad sad voice.

“Oh T, break my heart why don’t you?”

“It’s not the last time I’ll make oatmeal for you; there will alwaysalwaysalways be a next time. This is the last time for NOW. OK?

Then he was on a roll…all day long…

“Last cuddle, Grandma.”

“Last playing with Magna Tiles.”

“Last breakfast burrito.”

Calling out to dad who was still asleep upstairs, “DAD, COME DOWN FOR LAST BREAKFAST BURRITOS!”

“Last walk in the neighborhood.”

“Last bicycle ride to the school playground.”

“Last time you’ll get me dressed in the morning.”

“Last time you’ll read me a book.”

“UNTIL NEXT TIME, Theo! Not the last time forever, my angel!”

“Last time you’ll tel me to wash my hands after going to the bathroom”.

One of our running jokes is to look up as a jet flies overhead and say, “You missed your flight, Grandma! You’ll have to stay longer!”

Or I’ll look up and say, “Oh my goodness, T-man, we didn’t get to the airport in time, there goes my airplane, now what will we do??”

On our way to the airport for real, we sing songs and play funny word games.

“Grandma, I’m coming to your house for 59 days. I’m flying home with you. Not in the same plane, but the one that goes after.”

“Fifty-nine days? That’s a good long visit for sure.”

“Oh no, Grandma, we’re here. Last time to say goodbye”, he says in a that same small sad voice.

We hug and kiss goodbye, “Until next time, not forever, OK?”

“OK, Grandma. I love you.”

“I love you SO much, my angel.”

Next week, they’re all coming for a good long visit until Christmas. Dreams really DO come true!

“You’re a princess, Grandma!” More good chat with the T-man

“Grandma, I camped in the backyard last night!”

“Did you really?”

“Yes, for real, Grandma, not pretend. In a tent and my sleeping bag!!”

“Wow, T, that sounds like so much fun.”

“It WAS fun, Grandma. But today is a rainy day, see?” As he turns the phone toward the window so I could indeed see the rainy Pacific Northwest Sunday.

“What do you want to be for Halloween?”

“Grandma, I already told you a million times, I want to be a Gruffalo.”

“You want to be a buffalo?”

“NO GRANDMA, you are silly! You KNOW I always wanted to be the GRUFFALO. I told you. NOT a buffalo!”

“OK. If you’re going to be a Gruffalo, what should I be for Halloween?”

“You’re a princess, Grandma, that’s what you are.”

“I’m a princess?”

“Yes, Grandma, that’s what you are!”

OK, stop. Just STOP. Drop mic. Heart exploding.

“That is a very kind thing you said. Thank you, I WILL be a princess for Halloween.”

Out of the mouths of babes, right? Totally unprompted. No coaching. Is this how he thinks of me? I really have died and gone to heaven. My job here on Earth is done.

And it should come as no surprise that I’ve started working on my costume. It’s not like I don’t already have a tiara or two hanging around Casa de Enchanted Seashells…

I vow to be the princessiest Grandma ever.

If only there was a Prince Charming somewhere…

PS The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is one of T’s favorite characters.

Russian Ballet Theatre’s AMAZING Swan Lake

I’ve seen most of the greats: Margot Fonteyn, Maria Tallchief, Rudolf Nureyuv, Galina Ulanova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov with Natalia Makarova.

THIS version of Swan Lake with the Russian Ballet Theatre did not disappoint!

The RBT production captivated us with Russian traditions while adding new choreography, hand painted sets, and beyond beautiful hand sewn costumes.

Getting ready! Lots of excitement in the air. I love to sit close enough to hear the sound of toe shoes on the stage.

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido was packed; it’s lovely to see a great response to ballet. This was the opening night of their US tour.

Olga Kifyak as Odettel/Odile accomplished the Holy Grail–I believe we counted 32 successful fouettes, which is every ballerina’s fantasy to attain. Olga owned the stage with her powerful and ethereal dance and the most amazing extension.

Head Jester Mikhail Ovcharov seemed to fly through the air with his cabrioles and grand jetes–a definite audience favorite.

PLEASE check out the tour schedule below and don’t miss it!!!

For those of you who need a refresher about Swan Lake, it’s based on a German fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s score tells the tragic but timeless love story of Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form. Odile is the black swan, and of course there’s a happily-ever-after ending.

Link to website: https://www.russianballettheatre.com/
Link to tickets: https://my.artcenter.org/single/SYOS.aspx?p=4353

Swan Lake: Magical and Bewitching

Since the original Angel Boy and DIL named the newest member of their family Charlotte in honor of my mom, I started thinking about mommy and how much I miss her.

We had so much fun together, whether it was shopping (OBVIOUSLY) or cleaning house together (she made it into a game which is why I’m the crazy person who loves to wash windows), or when we went to the symphony or ballet.

I started ballet when I was eight at the Detroit School of Ballet and continued taking lessons for pretty much my entire life. Oh, I was never as good as Anna Pavlova or Prima Ballerina Margot Fonteyn or Maria Tallchief or any of the primas that I worshiped, but I’m pretty good even though I wasn’t a phenom and I had a less than insane turnout. Here in SoCal I studied with Madame Kaliskis and took a few classes with the California Ballet Company and at USIU. I actually danced until I was seven months pregnant and could no longer move, haha.

My old and well worn pointe shoes…
Link to a previous post about my love for ballet and all things pink. https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/03/03/theres-nothing-like-pink-ballet-shoes/

The corps de ballet, Russian Ballet Theatre

My love for ballet never waned. Who doesn’t love tulle and toe shoes? Duh.

My mom and I attended many performances. We saw Margot Fonteyn and Maria Tallchief and Rudolf Nureyuv and Galina Ulanova My mom had actually seen Anna Pavlova and the great Nijinsky. As she remembered that magical experience, she said it was as if he defied gravity.

The last famous dancers we saw together were Mikhail Baryshnikov with Natalia Makarova.

One of the final experiences she wanted to share with Angel Boy before she died was front row seats to a local performance of the Nutcracker. Somewhere in a old cardboard box there’s a photo of us. It’s beautiful and so sad at the same time.

Other countries have brought us amazing dancers but no one has done it more consistently than Russia. When I heard that the Russian Ballet Theatre would be in town on September 19 for one performance of Swan Lake, I was so excited. It’s absolutely my favorite ballet and I can’t wait to go! It’s too bad Angel Boy 2.0 isn’t visiting, or I’d continue the lovely tradition that my mom started and introduce him to the world of dance so he could be transported by music, the art of choreographic perfection, and the human body in its purest form.

About the Russian Ballet Theatre:

Russian Ballet Theatre is passionate about producing shows that adorn Russian Ballet traditions in dance, sets and costume making.  The new production of Swan Lake, is choreographed by Nadezhda Kalinina (Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro Lirico, Omsk State Music Theatre) who lovingly retouched the oldest St. Petersburg version of the ballet.

Hand-painted sets and over 150 hand-sewn costumes were created by young, accomplished designer Sergei Novikov (Mariinksy Theatre, Omsk State Music Theatre, St. Petersburg State Music Hall) in the tradition of the great masters. SFX makeup by Award-winning Irina Strukova (Crazy Rich Asians,Netflix, HBO) will make ballet devotees feel as though they have seen the beautiful Swan Lakefor the first time!

The Russian Ballet Theatre will donate a portion of ticket sales from its 2019 tour to local public schools through a collaboration with the Plus1 initiative. The ballet is partnering with DonorsChoose.org, an online platform where organizations can choose the school they’re donating to, and $1 per ticket sold will go local teachers in or around each city of the tour. For more information, please visit, www.DonorsChoose.org

Who wants to join me? This will most definitely be an unforgettable evening.
How many fouettes will we see??? (Insider comment.)

Link to website: https://www.russianballettheatre.com/
Link to tickets: https://my.artcenter.org/single/SYOS.aspx?p=4353

A couple of amazing Swan Lake performances:
Tchaikowsky – Swan Lake, Act 4 – Pas de deux Rudolf Nureyev – Margot Fonteyn – 1966

Anna Pavlova – 1905

A Tale of Two Dresses

Do you ever take a moment or two out of your busy day or before you close your eyes at night and wonder who in the hell Princess Rosebud really is?

So do I, my friend, so do I.

Toward that goal, ponder upon this for a while. The following might give you (and me) some valuable insights into my intimate gray matter. (Not Fifty Shades of Gray, maybe only about three or four.) Or not. You decide.

I bought two dresses. I love them equally. I hung them side by side to admire them and I’m looking at them right now and I’m loving so much about each of them for their individual intrinsic qualities.

One is a Lilly Pulitzer. a tried and true real designer brand that I could wear anywhere and be appropriately attired. I love the sleeves and the sassy outrageous bright colors and the dynamic print. It speaks of shiny happiness to me. I also love that it’s XXS, which soothes my poor body image issues. In my convoluted and distorted mind, I feel that IF I fit into an extra extra small size and it’s loose on me, then no matter what or how I feel on the inside, I can’t be ginormous, right? (Not that I’m body shaming anyone as this is my own personal issue.) With a spiky highhigh heel or summer-y espadrille, this is a sexysexy dress cos it’s super short, too.

The other dress is a treasure I picked up at the Buffalo Exchange in Ballard when I visited Angel Boy 2.0. It’s Forever 21 (which is EXACTLY how I feel on the inside. Arrested development and all that…) I love everything about this dress too: the muted burgundy and black/tan colors, the print, the little buttons, the tassels, and the vaguely Elizabethan/hippie empire cut with the billowy long sleeves. With leggings and adorable boots, I can’t WAIT for autumn.

One dress cost ten dollars; the other was on sale and cost less than one hundred dollars. Equal love. Money didn’t factor into the love.

Two shades of Princess Rosebud. There are a few more shades to my personality, but none of them are too extreme unless you start counting the number of seashells adorning the walls and shelves of each and every surface. Hence the title of my blog…

On another totally unrelated subject, many thanks to whomever sent me the package of thongs! I don’t normally wear Calvin Klein underwear cos I love silky things next to my skin, but they are super cute. A mystery gift giver, how awesome! Or…stalky. Hmm…

The Day I Caressed a Butterfly

That was today, actually.

It was around noon. I was in the garden, watering because it’s uncomfortably hot here in SoCal. Not as bad as Paris, cos there’s still a bit of an ocean breeze, but HOT.

A pretty orange and black spotted Monarch butterfly began to follow the spray of water from the hose, and she and I had a little chat.

Well, she listened while I talked to her.

“Hey, pretty girl, are you thirsty?”

By way of response, she floated to the ground and folded up her wings like a beautiful fan. Or like pressed together hands in namaste.

“Are you OK?” “Are you injured anywhere?” At the same time I wondered how in the world I could take a butterfly to the emergency vet.

I turned off the water and crouched down to get a closer look.

What do you need? Are you having a little rest?”

Again, no response, but I inched closer and slowly sat down, hardly daring to breathe.

We stayed that way for a moment or two, each of us motionless.

Can I touch you?” I asked. “I won’t hurt your wings, I promise.”

(By the way, the powder on the wings of a butterfly or moth is actually tiny scales made from modified hairs, and it doesn’t actually damage them if they’re touched.)

Ever so tentatively I reached out my right hand and ever so gently touched the charcoal gray folded up underside of her fan wings, and then I simply sat still as a statue.

After a few seconds in which time stopped, she opened her wings once, twice, three times, and then lifted off the ground and fluttered away.

Thank you” I whispered, and held my heart to keep the love from spilling out.

It was nothing short of an amazing encounter, don’t you agree? One of my most enchanting and enchanted days.

Binge-worthy: Scott & Bailey

While watching Mueller testify and now during a break in the proceedings, I think I’ll finish a post I started last week about a TV show I am SO beyond excited to recommend to you!

And BTW, I think Jimmy Stewart could have portrayed Robert Mueller to perfection, but prolly lots of you don’t even know who the great actor, James Stewart, even is, so my suggestion is to Google him.

I’m not much of a binge watcher; in fact, I don’t watch a lot of TV at all, but I loved The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and that’s about the extent of it. Oh, and Gossip Girl has a special place in my heart. Blair and Chuck forever!

A long time ago, I caught an episode of Scott & Bailey on our local PBS station and it piqued my interest. When I was bored and searching for something to watch on Amazon Prime besides my crush Paul Hollywood on the Great British Bake Off, S&B popped up, and I thought I’d start from the beginning.

I confess that I couldn’t get enough! It’s gritty, it’s real, and I was absolutely HOOKED.

I thought I’d ration myself to one episode a day to make it last longer, but that self control flew out the window almost immediately. Then I said to myself, “Self, you can watch two in a row, but that’s IT, I mean it.”

Well, that didn’t work either. I kept bargaining with myself until I lost all rational thought and binged the entire five seasons, knowing that when it eventually ended, I would suffer REAL pain and feel abandoned by these characters I’d come to identify with and LOVE. Yes, I mean that. I don’t use that word lightly, nor do I take those feelings lightly. I LOVE Rachel and Janet.

They’re two strong women whose lives tended to be screwed up and messy at times, but they PERSEVERED. They ENDURED. They never gave up. You haven’t lived until you study Detective Constable Janet Scott (brilliantly acted by Lesley Sharp) as she interrogates each and every criminal. From her Madonna-like smile to her soft and measured voice, she asks every question with pristine diction and straightforward dedication to solving a crime, often with a full confession. She’s the embodiment of speaking authentically with truth and conviction.(Ha ha, a double entendre.)

Both Rachel (Suranne Jones) and Janet are Detective Constables in the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police Service, with the team headed by DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), whose character is loosely based on Diane Taylor, a former Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police. Yes, it’s a Briit show.

Scott & Bailey was an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay. Jones felt that there needed to be more roles for women “that weren’t wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to, etc.”[4] Jones remarked, “We were just chatting away over a bottle of wine in a pub” when the idea came to fruition. [Sidebar: see how much can be accomplished with enough vino??]

The creators paired up with Diane Taylor to create the program. The involvement of Diane Taylor as a consultant producer is credited with maintaining Scott & Bailey‘s “rigorous authenticity”. From Taylor’s perspective, television police procedures were often filled with not only technical inaccuracies, but what she felt were inaccuracies of how officers behaved, saying: “that’s what really irritates me in other dramas – detectives crying over dead bodies and getting drunk senseless. You’d last about two weeks”. She said, of her time as a police officer in comparison to portrayals on television, that “reality is much more interesting. I could pull a thousand cases out of my head people would say would never happen. People need drama because they would not believe the reality”. (Background curated from Wiki)

I’ve shared my obsesh with all my friends and a few are as captivated as I was and totally binged. But now it’s over and I went through cold turkey withdrawals, I need something else, cos I’m jonesin’ for a fix.

For me, the only downside of this amazing show was the outrageous number of smokers. At times, the smoke was so heavy, it almost gave me a virtual asthma attack. I only hope for their health’s sake that there’s a lot less lung damage in the real Manchester Police Department.

Watch it and let me know if you love Scott & Bailey as much as I do! And also share some of your fave binge-worthy TV shows.

Conversations with a human #578. Chicken Butts.

My little three-year-old guy, the one I refer to as Angel Boy 2.0, needed to tell me something so he grabbed the phone away from his dad.

“Dad, I need to tell Grandma something right now.”

“What is it, T-man?”

“No, I’ll tell her. Give me the phone.”

“Grandma, look! My dad made a work space in the garage!”

“Wow, that’s pretty awesome, are you helping him?”

“I have my own tools, Dad’s are really really sharp. See?”

“Grandma! I’m coming to your house next Wednesday!”

“That’s right, T! Good job remembering the days of the week.”

“Theosaurus, I need to ask you a very important question, OK? Can you listen really hard?”

“OK Grandma.”

“Do you have anything special you want me to bake or make for you and Daddy to eat when you come? Muffins or dinner or anything you choose.”

I thought he’d choose oatmeal cookies or apple pie or a blueberry cake, but I wasn’t ready for what he said next…

“Hmmm. Let me think. Grandma? Can you make chicken butts?”

“Uh, how do you make chicken butts?”

“You do something and then put them in the oven and then they’re chicken butts.”

“No, T, I will not make chicken butts. Not ever. Choose something else, please!”

“Can you make popsicles?”

“Yes. I can make popsicles but I will not make chicken butts.”

“OK Grandma. Can I press the red button now?”

“Yes, T and then take the phone back to Daddy. See you soon! Bye.”

Chicken butts. Nope. Just nope.

He’ll have to be happy with an apple pie.


Learning to walk

If I took a poll, I surmise that most females will agree that there’s trial and error in learning how to walk in high heels. A learning curve. I realize that not everyone likes to wear stilettos; some may even feel that it’s another indication of how we women are oppressed and repressed, and I can certainly understand that point of view.

But not for me.

I swear, and my mom would agree if she were still alive, that I begged and begged for my first set of heels when I was three years old.

Santa Claus brought them for me (we celebrate Christmas AND Hannukah lol) The little high heels arrived as a set with a faux mink stole and tiara, but it was the shoes(OK, I admit it, and the tiara) that became as natural to my persona as my curly hair and snarky repartee.

Yes, I was an extreme girly girl. I mean, did you ever stop to think of why I refer to myself as Princess Rosebud? My dad first started calling me Rosebud cos it’s similar to my IRL name, and after the tiara became part of my daily fashion accessories, it was only a matter of time before I became royalty. I’d always felt that I was born into the wrong family and this was all the proof I needed.

I really wish I hadn’t lost the tiara…I could still rock a sparkly rhinestone tiara, I know I could.

But here’s my dilemma.

I can walk for hours in heels and I don’t care if they hurt my feet, either.

But I can’t for the life of me, walk in flats. I’ve tried, I really have, but I don’t know what to do! It’s such a quandry.

I’ve practiced…but HOW? Do you shuffle? Kind of like shuffling bare feet through sand at the beach to avoid a jellyfish sting? Is it a heel/toe movement? Do you bend your knees? When? I just don’t get it at all. I feel very awkward in flats.

Even cute ones like the vegan Tory Burch’s. The Jimmy Choos are the worst. I mean, they’re super cute, but it’s impossible to figure out how to walk gracefully. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. Even the less expensive ones don’t work right. They’re comfortable, that’s for sure, but I am definitely challenged. I keep buying more and more shoes in case I find the magic formula, but I haven’t found them yet.

There are many YouTube instructional videos–“How to Watch in Heels and Stilettos” –but nothing for flats. I guess I’ll have to only wear heels or suffer the embarrassment of lumbering and shambling down the street.

Ladies, what’s the trick? Help me!