Love is in the air, as it should be in February.  Valentine’s Day is this month after all. But did you know:

  • February also hosts No Politics Day on February 1st
  • Groundhog Day on the 2nd.
  • Feed the Birds Day comes next on the 3rd.
  • Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day, Send a Card to a Friend Day, Superbowl Sunday, National Pizza Day, White T-shirt Day, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Birthdays, National Margarita Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Be Humble Day, Walk the Dog Day, Public Sleeping Day, and No Brainer Day to name, oh, just a few.

The importance of self-care

February is anything but boring. But lost in the mix can be, well, ourselves.  And let’s be real:  when you pile on the traumas of the past few years—how to deal?  In these stress-filled days when far too many of us have been isolated, it’s so easy to binge-watch the news and get angry at everything and everyone around us.  In reality, the exact opposite needs to happen.  Where does change start?  With us.  Always.  And a little self-care is an easy place to make that start. 

But why self-care? What exactly is the importance of self-care? 

Stop existing and start living

You could make the argument that what I’m about to say next is obvious; or trite; or over-simplistic.  And you may be right.  But I’m convinced that we need to stop existing and start living. And for me personally, that begins with Health and wellness. I’m also convinced that key components of a happy life involve looking after our physical self with nutritious food choices, eight hours of sleep, and regular exercise.

Focusing on the little things in life like a daily walk, an afternoon tea, reading a good book, or drawing a hot bath boosts our mental health.  And in the aggregate, they make a huge difference.  If we want to age with grace, strength, and beauty, self-care needs to be incorporated into our lives to live our best lives at 50 and beyond.

Self-care tips

When we feel our best both mentally and physically, it’s easier to handle stress and spread love. And if the world ever needed love, it’s today. Here are ten easy ways to show yourself a little love.

A walk

Start with a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood.  Nuthin’ fancy.  Just some time to think while getting some exercise. 

Social time

Our society is beginning to open back up.  Schedule time with friends and family, even if it is still just a Zoom call. 


Indulge in regular manicures, either at home or in a salon. When I head to the nail salon, it’s a little me time to be primped and pampered to relax and unwind. But I have a manicure set and nail polish at home for daily upkeep.

Play a game 

Here are some games I love, you may or may not know: 

Start a side hustle 

Pick up a hobby like knitting.  Share your skills as a tutor.  Or start a blog.  (I’ve written an entire post on how to get started in the blogosphere.)

Say “no”

Sometimes saying “yes” to ourselves is saying “no” to someone else. 

Light a candle

Did you know our guest editor Marlene did an entire post on National Candle Month?

Learn new makeup skills 

My friend and amazing MUA JennySueMakeup offers virtual lessons. 

makeup tips for the mature woman

Feeling good inside and out

As life slowly begins to return to normal, remember to put yourself first from time to time.  Because what good to others can we really be if we’re not feeling right on the inside and out? 

Valentine’s Gifts

it’s been self-care week over here on the blog.  today we’re bringing you a beauty and makeup gift guide.  Kelly and i put this together, and our guide includes everything from budget and drugstore makeup to higher-end facial care. 

below, you’ll find selected ideas split between myself and kelly.  we’ve further broken down each bucket by price point:  low, medium, and high.  i’ve also put together a fall rewind, showcasing some of my favorite outfits of the fall.  

beth’s low price point picks: hand creams to skincare sets

to kick things off today, i’m bringing you my gift ideas under $25.  they include everything from hand cream from Burt’s Bees to a lipstick set from Nordstrom.  

denim | sweater | c/o jacket | c/o scarf | shoes | similar handbag

denim boiler suit blazer shoes similar handbag

denim | similar sweater | similar sweater |similar sweater | shoes

kelly’s low price point picks: eye treatment to exfoliant scrubs

Kelly’s all about the Kiehl’s this holiday season.  below you’ll find her picks under $30 for facial moisturizers, eye treatment, exfoliants, hair treatments, and serums. 

dress in pictures | dress 2 | dress 3 | dress 4 | dress 5 | dress 6 | dress 7  | jacket (similar, high-to-low)

blazer |sweater | boyfriend jeans | similar belt 

beth’s mid price point picks: diffusers to makeup sets

below, i’ve got beauty and self-care gift ideas for under $50.  everything from Sephora to Nordstrom.  like Kelly, i’m really loving the Kiehl’s skin care set this year.   but you really can’t go wrong with the diffuser from Sephora—especially if you have dogs like me.  

similar coat (Talbots) | denim (Ann Taylor) | shoes (J.Crew)similar tote (Nordstrom)

denim | blouse | (similar) suede jacket | snakeskin boots | (similar) belt | (similar) handbag

faux leather overshirt similar leopard jeans | similar white shirt | shoes | handbag | bracelet | earrings

kelly’s mid price point picks: facial toners to hair treatments 

kelly’s got a wide-range of mid price point gift ideas.  like me, she’s loving selections from Nordstrom this year.  

blazer (Ann Taylor) | sweater (Everlane) | similar denim (J.Crew) 

similar blazer | turtleneck (Macy’s) | leggings (Macy’s) | booties (Easy Spirit) | similar handbag

beth’s high price point picks: masking to tighten & left sets

finally, i’ve got beauty and self-care gift ideas for under $100.  here, you’re going to find some of the larger gift sets, mostly focused on facial and skincare.  

pants (Talbots) | top (Banana Republic) | duster (Banana Republic) | similar handbag | similar shoes

jeans | handbag | bomber jacket | boots | sleeveless turtleneck

red turtleneck | red turtleneck 2 | trench coat | trench coat 2 |  dark skinny jeans | boyfriend jeans | white loafer 

kelly’s high price point picks: facial mists to serums 

kelly finishes it off today with her higher end picks.  her top 5 selections are in or around the $100 price point. 

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | boyfriend jean | skinny jean | low heeled booties | scarf

lightweight cashmere sweater |  cashmere sweater 2 | dark rinse denim | crossbody handbag

in case you missed it 

i hope you enjoyed today’s holiday beauty and makeup gift guide.  as we start to wrap up self-care week, in case you missed it, check out all of our posts: managing grief during the holiday season, selflessness as a form of self-care, and putting the “self” back in self-care.

if you’re still looking for more beauty and makeup picks, tips & tricks, make sure to check out my YouTube series friday fives some of which are linked below. 

5 essential lipstick picks 

5 essential mascara picks

5 essential skincare tips

this week is all about self-care during the holidays.  we’ve focused on managing grief during the holidays, and the self-care involved in selflessness.  today, we put the “self” back in self-care. 

there can be a tendency during the holidays to lose ourself.  when we’re totally focused on the needs of others, we need to explicitly remind ourselves about our own needs and their care. 

for all of you mothers out there, you know that the holiday season can be overwhelming to say the least.  whether it’s a school function, play, or party, when you add holiday gift buying, a husband and dog to boot, the question remains:  where do you fit in?  (and if you’re a professional, the same is true in general albeit in different ways.)

carve out time for yourself

this year, let’s try things a little different.  let’s find time to focus on you.  a day here.  and another one there.  

play hooky

earlier this fall, i wrote about taking a day to play hooky. it was one of our most viewed posts.  i’m guessing that’s because the message resonated with some of you.  i’ll repeat what i said there here. 

when was the last time you played hooky and took a day for yourself? went to a movie? got a massage or a mani-pedi? called up your daughter for an impromptu lunch? self-care is one of the most important things and something we’re all guilty of not investing enough in ourselves [sic].

corduroy jacket | similar corduroy blazer | similar wool blazer | wide-leg pants | similar pants | pants 2 | cashmere crew | pumps | similar pumps | similar clutch | bag 2 | bag 3

what does a day playing hooky look like for you?  it could be an afternoon matinee.  it could trip to the spa.  a manicure.  a pedicure.  it could be any and all of those things.  the important thing is that it’s something you want, nothing something other’s want or want  for you. 

and a money

budgets can be tight during the holidays.  from Thanksgiving to New Year’s it’s go, go, go and spend, spend, spend.  i get it.  believe me.  but one thing to keep in mind, it’s OK for some of that budget to be allocated to and for you. 

shopping day

part of self-care is looking good.  that’s something my mother repeated my entire life.  and if you’re a follower of this blog, you’re interested in fashion at least in part.  

corduroy jacket | similar corduroy blazer | similar wool blazer | wide-leg pants | similar pants | pants 2 | cashmere crew | pumps | similar pumps | similar clutch | bag 2 | bag 3

is this holiday season the season to revamp your wardrobe?  maybe it is.  maybe it isn’t.  but it might the year to invest in a new holiday outfit.  this year, allow yourself to be the best you.  and part of that is both looking and feelinggood.  if that means a trip to Talbots or Ann Taylor then that’s what it means.  

corduroy jacket | similar corduroy blazer | similar wool blazer | wide-leg pants | similar pants | pants 2 | cashmere crew | pumps | similar pumps | similar clutch | bag 2 | bag 3

give yourself the permission this year to buy a present for yourself in addition to everyone else.   

it’s ok to do you 

as we get older, a focus on ourselves may take new and different forms.  things we placed importance in our youth fallaway, and they’re replaced by new priorities and goals. 

health & wellness

over the past few years, many of you have followed me on my health & wellness journey.  at the risk of beating a dead horse, we all know how difficult it can be to stay healthy during the holiday season.  force of will breaks down in the face of holiday cookies.  the struggle. is. real. 

corduroy jacket | similar corduroy blazer | similar wool blazer | wide-leg pants | similar pants | pants 2 | cashmere crew | pumps | similar pumps | similar clutch | bag 2 | bag 3

but maybe this year is the year we change our relationship to food in general.  maybe it’s not a cookie here and there that’s at issue.  maybe we need a rethink of our daily diet in general.  just as self-care can be about looking good, feeling good is even more important.  

no matter how old you are; no matter where you are in your life; and no matter what your obligations are this holiday season there is nothing more important than your health and wellness.  what good can you be to others, let alone yourself, if you don’t feel good.  any investment in you begins with an investment in your health. 

corduroy jacket | similar corduroy blazer | similar wool blazer | wide-leg pants | similar pants | pants 2 | cashmere crew | pumps | similar pumps | similar clutch | bag 2 | bag 3

in case you missed it 

this week we’ve talked self-care during the holidays.  we emphasized a focus on the self. i gave you some practical tips to carve out time, space, and money to during a season in which it is natural to lose oneself. 

yesterday, we talked about putting other’s first as a form of self-care.  on Monday, we talked about managing grief during the holidays. make sure to check out those posts if you haven’t already.  

yesterday, i also gave a rundown of my YouTube channel.  we’re making a slight change to our fashion flash series starting today.  instead of posting individual fashion flash entries Monday through Wednesday, we’re rolling out an aggregated one every Wednesday.  make sure to check out today’s below.

to subscribe to my YouTube channel, either click the link to the left and follow step (iii) to the right; or i) click on any video below, ii) click on the “YouTube” logo to redirect to YouTube’s website, iii) and in the bottom right-hand corner below that video, click the “Subscribe” button.

self-care week is in full swing.  yesterday, we focused on managing grief during the holidays.  today, we focus on fun and family during the holidays.  although slightly less sober than the topic of grief, finding time for fun and family during the holidays is no less important. 

i was led naturally here because today is my daughter-in-law Kelly’s birthday.  Kelly has been working with me for over a year now but officially joined the blog full-time in August.  Kelly is responsible for our blog and social redesign and produces all of our YouTube videos, amongst a variety of other things.  you can catch Kelly’s YouTube debut and stay tuned for more.  next year, she’ll be launching a sister site to style at a certain age focused on food, beverage, and design.  make sure to wish Kelly a happy birthday in the comments below! 

a focus on fun

holidays are supposed to be fun.  when you turn on the TV, everyone is seemingly having fun.  when you open up Instagram, everyone seems to be having a great time—living their best life. everywhere you turn, especially during the holidays, that’s the expectation, right?  but as soon as something becomes an expectation, it’s not far from being an obligation.  and for whatever reason, there seems to be an inverse relationship between obligations and levity.  

ski sweater | vest | wool pants | knit gloves | booties | lipstick

don’t get me wrong:  holiday dinners, cookie exchanges, white elephant parties, streamers and cocktails in a large ballroom can all be fun.  but the type of fun i want to focus on today is slightly different—slightly less obligatory.  the fun i want to focus on today is the silly, impromptu fun we’re afforded every single day but sometimes don’t take advantage of. 

ski sweater | vest | wool pants | knit gloves | booties | lipstick

when was the last time you stayed up until midnight and had a side-splitting laugh with your sister over old stories from when you were kids?  when was the last time you pulled your grand-kiddos out of school and binged on old Christmas movies?  when was the last time you had a spur-of-the-moment dance party with your kiddos just because, well, just because.  

a focus on family

in this digital day and age, everyone has a view on everything. this includes what does or doesn’t constitute as “fun”.  there seems to be an expectation that “fun” has to be a photo-worthy vacation or lavish dinner that we can immediately turn around and post on Facebook or Instagram.  

ski sweater | vest | wool pants | knit gloves | booties | lipstick

and don’t get me wrong, as a fashion blogger, i see nothing inherently wrong with that.  but the point i’m trying to make is simple.  what do we remember most about our vacations and lavish dinners?  when we look back at holidays past what sticks out to us in the most detail?  

ski sweater | vest | wool pants | knit gloves | booties | lipstick

is it the present our husband got us in 1996?  is it the turkey we cooked in 2002?  maybe.  but i’m willing to bet our most vivid memories are the small, oftentimes silly ones that exist in-between the holiday parties and spiral hams.  i’m willing to bet our most vivid memories are the smiles and laughter that we share with the ones we love most. 

these moments oftentimes happen at, say, 7AM on December 3rd over a cup of coffee with your daughter-in-law.  and these moments oftentimes don’t make the best Instagram photos.  

selflessness as self-care

one thing i want to challenge all of us this holiday season—including myself—is a focus on making others laugh and smile.  sometimes the best form of self-care is selflessness. making others feel good makes us feel good.  there’s an inherent selfishness in selflessness.  it’s cliched but true.   

ski sweater | vest | wool pants | knit gloves | booties | lipstick

but with all of the personal stress the holiday season brings, it’s difficult to look inwards let alone outwards and focus on others’ well-being.  this can be particularly true with family, which in some sense is just strange.  that the ones closest to us can sometimes be forgotten is almost paradoxical.  

ski sweater | vest | wool pants | knit gloves | booties | lipstick

let me leave you with this then.  think back to a small moment in time where a loved one—maybe your mother, father, or spouse—made you smile and laugh.  one of those unforgettable smiles.  or gut-wrenching laughs.  if you can remember it all of these years later, it’s forever engrained in your memory.  

now this year, create that memory for a family member in your life.  be that smile or laugh that they remember all those years later.  you won’t regret it.  i promise.    

in cased you missed it 

this week is all about self-care.  yesterday, we talked about managing grief during the holidays.  today, we talked about fun and family during the holidays.  stay tuned for tomorrow as we focus on, well, the self during the holidays. 

over the past few weeks, i’ve been getting a lot of questions about my YouTube channel.  for my regulars, you know that i generally attach a video to my blogposts.  i realize, though, that i haven’t formally introduced these videos in any real detail. below i’ve attached one example video per series we produce: style secrets, fashion flash, the list, outfits of yesterday, and friday fives.

to subscribe to my YouTube channel, either click the link to the left and follow step (iii) to the right; or i) click on any video below, ii) click on the “YouTube” logo to redirect to YouTube’s website, iii) and in the bottom right-hand corner below that video, click the “Subscribe” button.

style secrets 

style secrets is our take on a “haul video”.  we gather 3-5 items from one of our favorite retailers like Ann Taylor or Talbots and walk through each with outfit and pairing suggestions.   this video rotates with fashion squared, the list, and outfits of yesterday and is published weekly on Sunday morning.

fashion squared

in fashion squared we take one item and show you how to style it in multiple ways.  this video rotates with style secrets, the list, and outfits of yesterday and is published weekly on Sunday morning.

fashion flash

fashion flash is the video form of our outfit of the day blogpost.  you get a full 360 degree view of how that outfit looks in the wild. moving forward, 3 outfits of the day will be compiled and published in the aggregate, weekly on Wednesdays.  

the list

the list is our top ranked lists of various items like shoes, coats, and the like.  this video rotates with style secrets, fashion squared, and outfits of yesterday and is published weekly on Sunday morning.

outfits of yesterday

outfits of yesterday is a historical deep-dive into various pieces of fashion like trench coats, chinos, and t-shirts. this video rotates with style secrets, fashion squared, and the list and is published weekly on Sunday morning.

friday fives 

friday fives is my top five hair, makeup and lifestyle picks of the week like lipstick and mascara. this video is published weekly on Friday mornings.

fall is well underway, and we’ve officially entered the holiday season. as we all know, as fun as this time of the year appears on paper, it can and is stressful. whether you’re traveling afar, hosting a crowd of people, or dealing with it alone, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s back-to-back can be overwhelming. this week on the blog, we’re going to talk self-care.  self-care can take a lot of forms, and we’ll talk a lot about it this week, but today i’m going to focus on managing grief during the holidays.

as a disclaimer, i should say upfront: i’m not a grief counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  nothing i say here is intended to take the place of a trained professional.  it is only my goal to share certain difficult aspects of my life and strategies i use to cope.  it is my hope that posts like today not only provide you a pleasant distraction by continuing with me on my fashion journey, but also a sense of camaraderie as we enter a season that but most accounts shouldn’t be difficult, but oftentimes, is.  

resisting the urge to be alone

grief can come from a variety of different sources and places, and it can manifest itself in unforeseen ways.  you may have lost a loved one this year.  you may be estranged from a family member.  you may find yourself facing an illness.  you may be going through financial hardship.  or it may be something else quite entirely. 

funnel neck sweater | similar sweater | wedges | similar wedges | pants | shirt | bag 

as many of you know, i lost my husband of 36 years this summer.  this is the first holiday season i am going to face alone.  not alone alone—my kiddos will all be here—but alone in a sense all of those who have been married will understand.  it’s difficult; it’s painful; and it’s just plain heartbreaking.  it’s all of those things.  and based on the outpouring of support, i know many of you—my readers—are going through the same thing this year. 

first and foremost, know that i’m sorry, and i empathize.  there’s nothing i can say—nothing anyone can say—that will make things better in any meaningful sense.  but here inlies my first point:  this holiday season, it’s important not to deal with grief alone. 

you may not know how to make your grief precise—you may not know what to say at any given moment—and the same may be true for the people in your life.  i can assure you that our family and friends want to take take your grief away—at least in part—but may not know what to do.  words oftentimes fail us.  

but don’t try to tackle your grief alone.  take your friend up on their offer for a coffee.  answer that 9:48PM phone call from your sister.  fly out to visit your daughter for Thanksgiving.  sometimes the sheer act of being forced to articulate our amorphous thoughts and feelings into words is therapy in and of itself.  or, maybe this year it’s time to take the plunge and seek out a therapist. 

the point is simple:  reach out to the people that make up your life, and allow them to reach out to you.  don’t face the holidays alone.

letting go of expectations 

are you responsible for Thanksgiving dinner?  are you hosting  a family Christmas this year?  do you have a series of office parties you’re expected to attend this December?  do you have an entire house to decorate for November, December, and January?  do you have Hanukkah gifts to purchase for children and grandchildren?    

funnel neck sweater | similar sweater | wedges | similar wedges | pants | shirt | bag 

the holidays bring with them all sorts of responsibilities and expectations. some of those expectations are brought on by others, but many of them are self-imposed. 

those expectations can create an enormous amount of stress, and if you’re also grieving, that stress can exacerbate the grief and lead to guilt.  all of a sudden, you’re now trapped in a feedback loop of stress, grief, guilt, and guilt, grief, stress.  it’s not fun.  to say the least. 

you can break that cycle:  subvert expectations. what i mean is this.  to alleviate holiday stress and help manage grief, it’s OK to do things a little bit differently this year.  if you’re traditionally responsible for a homemade Thanksgiving dinner, scratch “homemade”, and order one from Whole Foods.  (i’ve done that many times, and trust me, it’s good.) 

if you’re supposed to host family for a week this Christmas, but that feels just a little bit too overwhelming, ask your daughter and son-in-law if they’re willing to.  if i’ve learned anything about you, my readers, you all have broad shoulders.  you can and do take on and handle a lot.  but i’m here to remind you—only because i have to remind myself—it’s OK to be vulnerable and ask for help.  especially during the holidays. 

if cutting back on the decorations is going free up a late November weekend, do it.  spend that weekend taking care of yourself.  if skipping a holiday party is going to allow you to grab a drink with an old friend and reconnect, then skip it.  what is going to help manage grief more?  personal interactions trump impersonal ones.  every single time.  this year, let go of both implicit and explicit expectations.  it will help you manage your grief in totally unforeseen ways.

the importance of family 

for those of you that follow me regularly, you know the importance i place on family.  what do we really have in this life if not family?  that being said, family isn’t always easy.  oftentimes, it’s just plain work.  but is there any better way to deal with grief than to reach out and bring your family closer? (the power of a hug is actually amazing.)

funnel neck sweater | similar sweater | wedges | similar wedges | pants | shirt | bag 

oftentimes, family can bring with it stress, anger, and resentment.  it’s hard to say that out loud.  but it’s true.  we may have a sibling who said something hurtful all those years ago that we’re still holding onto.  we may have a child who made a decision we don’t agree with, which in turn led to a fight, which in turn led to six months of radio silence.

stories like this run the full spectrum of existence, but we’re all familiar with them.  if we’re dealing with grief, the added complexity of family history, spurred on by holiday expectations, can be a recipe for frustration and sadness.  but let’s flip that script for just a minute.  

there is no time of year that better allows an excuse to reconnect and rebuild our familia relationships than the holidays.  what’s stopping us from picking up the phone and reaching out to a brother we haven’t spoken to in years?  what’s stopping us from getting on a plane and visiting a daughter who moved away last year? 

the holiday season affords us the power of forgiveness.  and it’s always worth exercising.  no matter what.  because at the end of the day, family is everything.  and even when—especially when—we’re grieving, a hug from a loved one is transformative in a way only words can barely capture. 

managing grief during the holidays

 today, we talked about managing grief during the holidays by i) not facing the holidays alone; ii) letting go of expectations; iii) reaching out and/or reconnecting with family.  it’s my hope that one, if not all of these strategies help, at least in part, you deal with any grief you may be facing this year. 

given the potential heaviness of the post, i didn’t walk through my outfit of the day in any real detail.  however, the theme today is obviously “cozy” and “comfort”.  part of self-care is taking days to just be cozy and comfortable, and you’ll find links to each item of my outfit inline above.  

in case you missed it 

first and foremost, i want to thank all of you for making last week’s travel week a resounding success.  by all major metrics, it was our biggest week on the blog.  and in fact, October was our biggest month of all time.  in case you missed my river cruise with junior style, check out our travel diary part 1, part 2, and part 3.  and if you’re looking for travel tips and tricks, check out the definitive guide to international travel

moving forward, we’re changing up your YouTube schedule slightly.  we’ll be regularly posting Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.  in case you missed it, yesterday we published a new entry into our Style Secrets series.  checkout the video below for my final fall haul from JCPenny.  

we’ve got a lot of exciting content lined up for you during the holiday season, so make sure to keep sharing these posts on your social media channels like Facebook.  and if you haven’t already,  sign up for our email newsletter on the sidebar to your right if you’re on desktop, and at the end of the page if you’re on mobile. 

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