Find A Hobby

Do you have a hobby? Multiple studies show that doing the things you are passionate about improves your mood, relieves stress, and offers many other long-term health benefits.

Gardening and caring for plants has been a passion since I planted my first little vegetable garden at the age of four. At the time, we were living on a farm, and I wanted to learn to plant a garden more than anything, so my parents gave me a tiny plot and helped me plant the seeds. Watching them pop through the ground and start to grow in a few days was magical. I was hooked for life!

Visiting a garden center makes me absolutely giddy. One of my favorites is the Mountaineer Garden Center in Linville, North Carolina.

A sense of humor is evident throughout the center, from Bigfoot, who greets you, to the funny signs and animated displays.

I am wearing a Clara Sunwoo palm print top from over dark wash Michael Kors jeans. The platform shoes are by Kenneth Cole Reaction. I always keep proportion in mind while getting dressed. I needed to wear a higher heel to balance with the longer top because less of my leg length is showing. I rarely wear prints, but when I do, I consider the colors from eight feet away. The most prominent color from a distance will be your lead color when deciding what to wear with a print. If you are petite, choose prints smaller than your fist so that they do not overwhelm you.

A short drive from Linville just west of Newland and adjacent to NC-194 is a lovely little waterfall park. The local fire department maintains the site as a town park, and a short trail follows the creek upstream. Mr. Mickey waited for me in the park as I hiked to the top of the path to take a photo of the falls for you.

The photos below show my tiny shade garden at the entry to my home and a collection of plants on my screened-in back porch. The terraced gardens at my last home grew so vast that I had to hire someone to help me maintain them. After downsizing to my current home, I learned to be content with gardening on a much smaller scale.

I hope you have a beautiful day.

  1. Delightful peek at your hobby that brings beauty to your home and peace to your heart. I have a goal of developing a green thumb (or at least a pinkie).
    The waterfall photo was a welcome respite from the heat here in Florida.
    Wow! The blue palm tunic with those blue jeans and wedges. Perfect balance of comfort and style.

  2. Another great blog, Susan! You are an inspiration on so many levels! Thank you for sharing your world. You look lovely as ever. I like your point of having a hobby My husband who recently retired is our gardener in residence, and I guess my hobby is enjoying the fruit of his work! Walking, hiking eating well are all things I enjoy too, as well as looking good and expressing myself through clothing. Love your top!! Have a wonderful day!

  3. I agree that a creative outlet is essential. I have had many over the years. I just took a jewelry class and loved it. I think I’ve found my newest passion.

  4. Lovely post today Susan. I’d rather shop for the garden than for just about anything else. Wonderful nursery and yes, I noticed no flats. You’re brave. Please tell me you changed shoes for the hike!

  5. I especially enjoyed your blog today and the pointers about proportion as I had never thought about but makes sense. The fact that the top is longer needs a higher heel on shoe to elongate leg and size of print size if you are petite. I look forward to your blog every day as always inspirational. Have a great day, Susan. Thank you.

  6. What a fun place..almost missed seeing you in the background among the blooming plants. Cute outfit & many thanks.

  7. I truly enjoy your tours. You are beautiful and a great inspiration to us all. I went to Clara Sunwoo to check out that gorgeous top and they were sold out. Bummer. Helen O Soares

  8. Beautiful photos. I do not have a green thumb and am in awe of anyone who can maintain a lovely garden. My mind is swirling with the fashion information you provided today. I am short (5’2″) and always wear long tops/tunics. Your information about wearing shoes with a higher heel when wearing long tops, blew me away but makes perfect sense. Thank you Susan.

  9. I love gardening as well Susan. Your plants look very healthy.
    What a great looking gardening center. By the way, the photo of the water fall is so nice- enough to frame. What a great shot!
    Enjoy your day

  10. Gosh colourful garden centre. More like a park. Ours in the UK sell all sorts including yogurt but aren’t so ornamental.

  11. Hi Susan! I try to read your blog daily but have rarely commented. I just want to say how much I enjoy your blog! I love your classic style and thoughts on health, along with pretty much everything else I’ve read. I appreciate you sharing part of yourself and allowing us viewers to take a peek now and then. I find you inspiring as I just turned 54 and am on my own journey to better health and weight loss, all amidst the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my life. I’ve wanted to be a gardener all my life and hope to be still. Keep up the great work! You are appreciated

  12. Beautiful outfit and garden center. I LOVE gardens! As far as shoes have you ever tried Tieks? Just wondering what you thought? I need comfortable flats.

    1. I have not tried Tieks. The rounded toe and brights colors of most of their styles are not good choices for me since they make my legs look shorter than they already are.

  13. Hi Susan, do you have a problem with colour transafer on deep dye jeans? If so how do you overcome it? Thank you

  14. Susan, You have hit a spot dear to my heart. Besides my jewelry making, I also garden. Have large gardens in our back yard. It is very restful and relaxing as is the making jewelry. I love it. We are still planning to come to Tenn. to visit you, but have not heard if my daughter has moved yet. She is slow on the computer and communicating. I will let you know in advance when we will be coming.. So good to read your blogs and your fashion news. You are so special to me and appreciate all you do for us ladies. Thank you.
    Barb F.

  15. Susan….You and I have so much in common! I have been a gardener for most of my adult life…..! One of my other ‘hobbies’ is fashion….and I am also a tap dancer….something I took up around the age of 50. I now am the director of the KC Dazzlers…a tap dance troupe of ladies ‘over 50’ which performs at senior communities in the Kansas City metropolitan area…..My favorite thing we have in common though, is a love of North Carolina…..I’ve wanted to move there for YEARS!! And may still make it……I enjoy your blog so much….thank you!

  16. Dear Susan,
    I discovered you on pinterest about a month ago. I have found your fifty not frumpy and susanafter60 so helpful and entertaining. I love your style, manners and all your advice. Every time I get an email notice of your latest blog I open it immediately! Thank you for your open, honest sharing. You’re a treasure.
    Laurie Mills
    PS i just turned 60 this year and your blogs give me hope and encouragement…thanks again.

  17. Oh Susan! This is the most beautiful post. I also love plants and flowers. And I also left a lovely garden two years ago and downsized. So I know exactly the joy of visiting garden centers. Your pictures made my day. Thank you!

  18. This post has touched my heart because I love my plants! We were gifted a white Phalaenopsis orchid when my father in law died and I was able to get it to rebloom so now I am hooked. I happened upon six orchids at a Walmart, all dried out, and worked out a deal for them and have been having blooming orchids ever since. It is not unlike African Violets, just get them the right amount of light and food and moisture (and the right growing medium) and they reward you with flowers. Right now I’m able to take blooming orchids to our house that is on the market to grace its rooms.

    I love nurseries but I especially love nurseries in the Southeast. Susan if you are ever near Raleigh you need to go to Plant Delight and Logan’s Nursery and Atlantic Gardens. To me it is about as good as going to a zoo to go to a good nursery or Botanical Garden. Now that we live near Atlanta I look forward to visiting the botanical garden.

    Your blog is about having a zest for life, for presenting one’s most attractive look and having a fun in this beautiful world. Please keep it up!

  19. What fun!!!!! We (my husband and I) so enjoy your posts. They are the lead for many a conversation of our next “road trip” and teasing of what MY outfit will be. Thanks so much!!!!

  20. I so enjoy seeing your lovely part of our vast country. I hope to visit someday.
    You look terrific in that shade of blue in the top. I love pants, and shoes and your new sassy haircut too! Thanks for explaining the size of print us short gals need to stick with. You are a gem!

  21. I am interested in the top uoibare wearing. I recently bought a beautiful bay leaf green sweater that is long. I am 5’1 and am concerned that the length of the sweater makes me look shorter.
    It is a petite and so I know it’s supposed to be long. So, from your comments here, I will wear a higher heel.
    I love reading your blogs.
    Your state looks beautiful! I have a friend moving to North Carolina in the fall and I can’t wait to visit her in October!

  22. Lovely photos and your passion shines through for gardens.
    A quick question, if a print spotted top has both blue (Denim navy )and creamy /beige could you wear it either of the following ways-
    slim leg denim /jogging as one look
    and to add another look slim leg chinos in a light beige or stone underneath ?
    I would like to add beige or stone trousers to some tops and tunics, but am short. Otherwise are leggings a better idea, just don’t want to look top heavy. Appreciate your advise.

    1. If your aim is to look taller, it is best to use the same tone of color from head to toe. Light colors advance while dark colors recede, so if you want to look smaller on the top, wear darker colors there.

  23. After reading all the previous comments, it’s easy to see how well loved and respected you and your blog is….which is why it’s my favorite! I appreciate your advice on fashion and look forward to your “adventures” that you share. I lived in Johnson City, for about 8 months, in 1980. Many, many moons ago. I thought it was lovely and hated that I had to move after a short time, due to a job transfer. Thanks for all you do!

  24. Hi Susan, your hair looks especially gorgeous today, as do you! You are such an inspiration to me!

  25. I love gardening, too. My secret: when a plant dies (as they do in our harsh climate), replace it immediately. Don’t be afraid to play musical chairs with plants, until you find the right place for them in your yard. And if something isn’t working for you, get rid of it. Give it away or send it to the great garbage can in the sky if it’s beyond hope. Hmmm. That last bit reminds me that I should do the same with some of the items in my closet!

    As for house plants, the only thing that grows for me is orchids, strangely enough.

    Thanks for another wonderful post, Susan. Now I’m off to wet my plants.

  26. Pics of your beautiful gardens are inspiring. You definitely show your passion for gardening. Beautiful.

  27. I took the Master Gardener’s course when I retired. I learned and continue to learn so much about plants. We do volunteer work and fieldtrips. This course is offerred in all 50 states. Look it up o. The iinternet to see if there is one near you. I have moved to England for two years. I live in a stone barn conversion and planted a beautiful flower garden and window boxes when we moved there. Thanks for the waterful fall photos. I enjoy photography, knitting and gardening.

  28. I wish I had a green thumb. But therefore I crochet: lapghans and hats (VA veterans home),octopus (they are for the NICU, preemies hold on to the tentacles instead of the tubes and wires), dishtowels, blankets, you name it and I crochet it. I spend at least 1 hour every day crocheting. It is medically proven that knitting and crocheting is good for the brain. – So thank you for your article on hobbies.

  29. If you are ever in Newport Beach, CA. go to Rogers Gardens. You will be in heaven, especially at Christmas time.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.