Bubbles and Dinner

We are so fortunate to have an elegant restaurant nearby to enjoy Friday date nights. The food and service are always top-notch. Rachel has been our server for a few years, so she knows us well. She always tells us the specials and then asks if we will be toasting with bubbles. We often share a Domaine Chandon Brut split as we unwind and catch up on our activities during the past week. Even though the restaurant is casual, we enjoy dressing up for the evening to make it special.

The dramatic necklace is by Petra Meiren, a jewelry designer from Germany. When I wear a statement item, I let it stand alone. In this case, I wore a column of black, including a Merino wool sweater and black slacks about five years old. The red blazer is very plain with a similar silver button to the necklace. Similar current items are linked. BlazerSweaterPantsNecklace EarringsBagHeels.

Who – Retirees, Senior Citizens
What – Dressed for date night.
Where – Dinner at Gourmet and Company.
When – We wore these looks on our Friday date night.
Why – Temperatures were in the forties, and it was windy.

We’ve enjoyed the delicious artistry of Chef John Bryant for the past few years, so we got teary-eyed when he came to our table on Friday evening to tell us that he had accepted a position with a company in Knoxville. Mr. Mickey always has a clean handkerchief in his front pocket for me. However, this was the first time I’ve asked him for it in several years.

John is one of the most talented chefs we have ever met, but he is also a dear friend. We will miss him and his lovely family, but we wish him much success in this new endeavor.

We asked him to send out whatever was best that evening. We enjoyed four courses but failed to remember to take photos of two. The halibut was so tender it melted in our mouths. The shaved asparagus was the perfect touch of spring.

A delicate strawberry hand pie with house-made ice cream was our delightful dessert to share.

We hope you will use our example and celebrate life at every opportunity and for no particular reason. Cheers!

Stay tuned! I am working on a post to share some suggestions for packing for a summer vacation. I’ll try to finish it by next week. Also, shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

62 Comments
  1. What a bittersweet evening! After you use a gentleman’s handkerchief, do you fold it and hand it back to him? I’ve never been quite sure about it.

  2. Looking forward to the vacation packing post. I am guessing you might be packing for a vacation where it is warm??

    Susan, is there a clothes steamer that you recommend and are there any tips for using? I would like to purchase and use but am intimidated by all the brands and if they have specific instructions.

    1. The best upright steamer I’ve ever used is the Jiffy here. The best travel steamer I’ve used is here. Only use distilled water in the tanks, but water calcification still happens, so clean the tank monthly. Fill the tank with 1/2 vinegar 1/2 distilled water. Turn on until it just starts to steam. Then turn off for 1/2 hour. Then run until the tank empties. Then fill with distilled water and run again to get the vinegar smell out.

  3. What a wonderful post! I love seeing the two of you dressed up and going out. And I love the suggestion to use your example and celebrate life at every opportunity for no particular reason. I’m taking that to heart!

  4. Dear Susan. I am a new mother in her early thirties, French and far from retiring (probably not your typical audience). Yet I find so much joy when reading your posts over the years. Your intelligence, your sense of self and your kindness shines through your content. You inspire me to improve and plan my wardrobe according to my body and around my daily life, as well as to take care of my body on the inside. I also feel some peace and calm when I read your posts, it is nice to see other people who like to be ready, tidy and organised with their food and clothes choices. Thank you. Have a wonderful day.

  5. You both look stunning in this picture. The red jacket really makes you glow with the black background. One picture I will use in my photo album to emulate for myself.
    I sometimes try to follow the pictures of your food to serve to my husband. Many turn out very well but others, not so good, grin. However, I keep trying for a “special” look now and then at home to make it something to look forward to without going out during these chaotic times.
    Each day is a special day but some just more than others….
    May the new chef replacing your friend become another chef you will enjoy getting to know, even though it will not be the same but different.
    Thanks for the tips on the clothes steamer.
    Now I will look forward to hearing your tips for traveling this summer. That should be a revelation and one to improve my own packing regime.
    Clara from IA

  6. Susan, you look especially radiant in today’s photos with Mr. Mickey. I love seeing what you order. It always looks delicious!
    I’m looking forward to reading about your ideas for packing for travel. Aren’t we all ready for that! I recently purchased some Traveler’s items from Chico’s for an upcoming trip. I rarely shop at Chico’s because in the past their clothing didn’t seem to suit petites well. But low and behold I bought an exposed shoulder jumpsuit, pants, and a tunic top with a sheer panel along the hemline in India ink. I was very impressed with the quality, comfort and chic appearance of my purchases. I’ve been working on how to best accessorize these to get the most use of them.
    I always look forward to reading your blog about making the most of life!

    1. I am looking forward to getting away for a few days soon. Thank you for the lovely comment and for sharing your success with those Chico’s Traveler’s pieces.

  7. You two look terrific! Love your style but can’t wear your colors. Wish I could copy your style with warmer colors.

  8. You both always look so lovely and elegant. I love your Friday date tradition and enjoy hearing about your activities and scrumptious meals!

  9. I’m so looking forward to your post on packing. My husband and I just put the finishing touches on what we are calling our “Grand European Tour”.

    Two “bucket list” trips, originally planned for 2020 and early 2021, were postponed and rescheduled by the vendors for June and July 2022. With only 10 days between the trips, we decided it wasn’t worth flying home and enduring jet lag twice. So, we scheduled a cruise in between! So, we have:

    Trip 1: 14 day Danube River cruise (likely temperate, lots of hiking/visits to historical sites) ending with the German Passion Play (in the Alps …likely quite cold) then ending in Munich.
    Trip 2: 10 day cruise around the Greek Isles (likely warm, visits to historic sites/churches)
    Trip 3: 3-day land visit to Iceland followed by 14 day cruise around Norwegian fjords (likely chilly/excursions to villages, historic sites).

    While cruising isn’t as formal as it used to be, we like to dress up a bit for dinner and there are a couple of dressier events (dinner in a palace!).

    I’ve mentally started packing using principles I’ve gleaned from you and hope to use one checked bag and one carry-on.

    I’m looking forward to your post for more ideas!

  10. You both always look so polished & perfectly ‘put together’. I so enjoy this blog of your. Thank you.

  11. Would you please remind me once again the brand of a grey eyebrow pencil? I remember you said that was the
    only one you could find. Thank you for your help.
    Deanna Cartledge

  12. Looking forward to your post on vacation packing. I live in a suburb of Tucson and am traveling to Charleston, S.C. in May. It is for a business conference with a few days tacked on for exploring the city. Your tips in the past have been extremely helpful.

    You and Mr. Mickey make a very lovely pair!

  13. Hi Susan!

    I am sorry to read that the chef of Gourmet and Company is leaving. We had the delightful experience of his culinary skill last fall. We live two hours away so it was a special treat! As sad as I am for you I was happy to see he is coming to Knoxville as that is our closest big city. Do you happen to know what restaurant he will be joining?

    Thanks so much.

    You and Mr Mickey look fabulous!

    1. John will be joining a new division of Aubrey’s organization. As soon as we know more, I’ll share. We plan to visit him there too. Jacob is the returning executive chef for Gourmet and Company. He is also a very talented chef and a delightful person we’ve known for more than a decade.

  14. I adore this new series. I’m often stumped as to what is the appropriate outfit for an occasion. Yesterday I was heading out to an upscale coffee shop in RI to meet with girlfriends. I grabbed my very favorite pink suede loafers, heard the patter of rain on the skylights and remembered your advice to not wear suede shoes in the rain. Put them back and opted for my pink sneakers instead. Thank you!

  15. YOU TWO are the BEST!!!! The chef will miss N.C. May you both have a HAPPY HEALTHY LIFE.

  16. I look forward to your summer vacation packing tips. I struggle with choosing pieces that coordinate well together to help minimize the amount of clothing I need to pack for a vacation. In 2023 my friend and I are taking an 11 day Alaskan cruise. It will be very challenging for me to have a variety of looks without bringing my entire closet

  17. What a lovely thing for a gentleman to have a clean, white handkerchief at the ready! It brought back memories of my Dad who always had one in his pocket – and of my Mom washing & ironing them. At the end of laundry day, there would be a stack of them washed, ironed and folded, ready to go into the drawer for the upcoming week.
    You & Mr. Mickey are an inspiration. God bless!

  18. Good morning Susan and Mr. Mickey. You don’t know how much I enjoy your posts. I’ve learned so much from you and I’m still learning! Both of you look amazing! I always go back to previous posts to consult on something all the time! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us so unselfishly! Have a great weekend.

  19. Love when you include pix of your handsome gent, and details on what he’s wearing, too. You’re an inspiration, Susan – thanks for what you do!

  20. Lovely article and lovely picture of you and Mr. Mickey. Your outfit is perfect and inspirational. so is your positive outlook. Thank you for posting!

  21. Sorry to hear that your favorite chef is leaving. Of course, you wish the best for him. But losing a special chef is a big disappointment. Hopefully the restaurant will hire another talented chef who will bring a new and pleasing perspective to the restaurant’s menu.

  22. You and Mr. Mickey are so elegant. What a delightful couple you are. What a beautiful tribute to your chef and friend. His artistry in making delicious meals will take him far. God bless him!❤

  23. Dear Susan, Very helpful post, as always. I think the first link you provided (above in the comment section) about your fav eyebrow pencil is broken. The second one takes me t Merle Norman, but the first one just takes me to Nordstrom. Thanks.

  24. To which restaurant is Chef moving? My daughter is in Knoxville and we are always looking for good, fresh places to try.

    I’ve enjoyed your column for years.

    Thank you.
    Catherine Ruggiere

  25. Ya’ll both look stunning as always! Let us know where John, the chef, goes in Knoxville! I live near Knoxville so it will be a treat to dine where he is! Everything you post from that restaurant looks delicious!

  26. Your outfits are always so natural, and especially classic. A blog to be comfortable with. You and Mr. Mickey are looking good as usual.

  27. Can’t wait for your article on packing for a vacation. We have one coming up and I am struggling. This is a short one. The big one will be in the fall to Europe. I don’t want to spend a lot on new clothes for this one and am really trying to keep that in check. Looking forward to any hints you might have.

  28. I have a very personal question and will understand if you choose not to answer. I have a gentleman friend and like you and Mr.Mickey have chosen not to marry or live together. We are both in our seventies and are comfortable financially. Does Mr. Mickey always pick up the tab when you eat out or do you split it? This comes up often as we eat out often. Thank you for your insight.

  29. I know someone who came up with a clever idea regarding paying for outings when you’re with other couples and it might be awkward for her gentleman friend if she picks up the tab. She and her companion have an account with a debit card and they both contribute to it equally. Since men ”of a certain age” are used to picking up the check, he carries the card and uses it to pay their portion if the check, and no one is any the wiser that they’re splitting expenses.

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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