From The Ground Up

“Where do you start when you put together an outfit?” That question comes through often. I usually start with the shoes I want to wear and then build the appropriate look around them.

Yesterday I had just finished doing my pedicure when I learned I would need to go to the post office. As long as I had to go out, I decided to stop at the health food and grocery stores.

To avoid marring my polish, I wore my flat seahorse sandals and white jeans. Similar sandals here. I try to let the polish dry for a full twenty-four hours before wearing socks or closed-toe shoes. This color is OPI’s Dutch Tulips here. It has long been one of my favorites because it is a neutral pinkish red that never clashes with other colors. I use the cuticle oil here on my hands and feet about three times a week.

The navy Dooney & Bourke bag here was the right choice to go with my classic light blue three-quarter sleeve shirt and white jeans. Similar sunglasses are here. The Infinity watch is here. A similar ring is here. Similar earrings are here.

At the end of my busy day, I stopped by Mr. Mickey’s house. Have you ever seen such a tidy garage? He calls it his Garage Mahal.

He lined the walls with various artwork and fond memories from his long funfilled life.

I bought the Anne Klein blue cotton shirt at TJ Maxx last year. A similar shirt is here. The white jeans are here.

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  1. What a garage! Thanks for sharing. I know I speak for all of us when I see we love your “Dude” as he or something about him always puts a smile on my face. You look great as always and you gave me a great tip for how to build my outfit for an outing today!

  2. Your pedicure is perfect! I always admire ladies who can do their own nails (and do them well). It is wonderful to see you looking so healthy and back to your regular activities. Mr Mickey’s garage is a thing of beauty. I would expect no less from him, tho.

  3. I was very surprised to hear that you start with your shoes. I always choose my shoes as I’m heading out the door. This will be a good exercise for me to start from bottom up instead of top down.

  4. I too have what I think of as my pedicure shoes for the times when I must go out. Mine aren’t as pretty as yours! On my list to upgrade when can shop more. Not much for online shopping but may have to make a change as stores are closing up quickly! So sad.
    Another great post and Mr Mickey has the neatest garage I’ve ever seen. Have a good day, Susan.

  5. Oh my gosh! I LOVE that! What a fantastic place to put memorabilia! I love Mickey’s sense of humor! We all need his organizational skills!

  6. Garage Mahal! I love it! Also, you do a very professional looking job on your nails, Susan! I usually do my own pedicure (and it looks like it!)

  7. I have never thought of starting with the shoes you want to wear. Usually, I start with the bottom half of outfit!

  8. “A clean garage is a sign of a sick mind”. LOVE it….with a chair rail, lounge chairs and a ceramic tile floor! Susan, you have made my day….please tell Mickey I am his **newest fan**

  9. Mr. Mickey’s garage is the coolest garage ever! I’m so glad to see you and he are doing well – you’ve both had a rough 2020! If you are taking requests for the blog, I’d love to see your do-it-yourself routines for manicures and pedicures.

  10. Where to start? Gorgeous pedicure. Love your outfit and those sandals are a perfect touch. And that garage! If I lived alone, that’s the way I would want my garage to look like. You and Mr. Mickey are two peas in a pod.

  11. I love Mr, Mickeys garage it looks more like a great room or den that happens to have cars inside He has a beautiful home and to top it off a beautiful friend in you. I will be going to CVS to get OPI nail polish I love the color ✅

  12. Susan, how do you change purses so effortlessly? My purse accumulates stuff from each use which makes it hard to find anything and time consuming to switch out all the essentials. Thanks.

  13. I do my own pedicure, too. At our age we should be impressed that we can still bend ourselves like pretzels! I wish I had known sooner about cleaning up mistakes with a small eyeliner brush and nail polish remover. Much better than a Q- tip.

      1. Better for the environment, too!

        Thank you for another great post, Susan. I love your handbag and Mr Mickey’s garage is truly a thing of wonder and beauty. My father was a keen woodworker and DIY-er and his garage was always clean and neat, but it never occurred to him (or any of us) to decorate it! Mr Mickey has just added a whole new dimension to my life.

  14. Hi Susan:
    I so agree with you about starting an outfit with shoes! Location, weather and activities dictate whether a flat, boot, sandal or heel is even ‘doable’. Your smart guidance and fun ways of presenting ideas are a highlight to my days of SIP’ing during this pandemic. I so thank you for providing a dose of happiness each day with fashion etc.

  15. I can see why you love Mr Mickey ! He is such a fun person ! Who else would have a tiled-floor garage with carpet runners and photos on the wall – it truly is Garage-Mahal ! From looking at some of the pictures (some hard to see), he’s been involved in a lot of things during his life. Like him, my husband and I love Mercedes. We married in 1982 (2nd marriages for both of us) and bought our first one several months after we married – a new white ’83 240D, we named BABY. After I’d driven her for 18 years (she was a diesel) and she had 330,000+ miles on her, my friends told me “Ya, know, when your baby gets to be 18 years old, you’re supposed to let them leave home!”. So I sold her and threatened the new owner that he better take good care of her !!! Ha Then we bought a used ’97 E350 in 2000 we named GOLDIE, and kept her for 10years. In 2010 we bought BELLA, a used 2008 E350. We are ready to trade her, to get the newest features, like back-up camera, etc. On one of our road trips, we visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama so we could tour the MERCEDES plant there – if Mr Mickey hasn’t done that, it’s really interesting and gives you a new appreciation of all the workmanship that goes into these great cars. I hope to have one until my nephews take my car away from me !! Ha !

    Tell Mr Mickey he has wonderful taste in cars and in his lady friend ! Stay healthy, Connie Briggs

  16. It looks like you’re feeling much better. So glad to see you back to normal outtings again. Or as normal as possible these days. You are an inspiration to many. Thank you and keep sharing.

  17. Your pedicure looks great. Mine always looks a bit sad. Mr. Mickey’s garage makes me smile. Love his car tag!
    I’m so happy you both are getting back to normal. I keep looking at the pearl and silver bracelet on the side of your page. I think it’s lovely and I may have to purchase it for my “pandemic bracelet”. haha

  18. The peek at Mr. M’s garage was a delightful surprise. It’s going to be hard for you to top that in your future posts. It is an extraordinary room! It displays a dynamic man’s good taste in decor and cares.

  19. I love that you start with the shoes; when I was younger, I used to find gorgeous shoes, buy them, and then find the items to go with them. I still managed to keep what they now call a capsule wardrobe.

    And Mr. Mickey’s garage, wow!

  20. Oh my goodness! It certainly IS the Garage Mahal! It looks like a living room in the house! Wow! What A neat nick he is! I LOVE that in a man. And you are a beautiful as ever. Thanks so much again for all your most informative posts. I really look forward to them. ❤️

  21. Susan, you are an inspiration to me everyday. I am dying to get a pedicure…so I will enjoy yours. Too chicken to get out there, although I did get my hair cut today for the first time in 5 months.
    I love dressing from the shoes up…I just had TKR in February, so I have one straight leg and one crooked, but the shoes are OK…you are not only a woman of substance, but of joy and courage! stay safe!

  22. Hi I love your posts. You mentioned a favorite mascara in a previous post. I’m wondering if you have any tips for conditioning eyelashes? Mine seem so much shorter these days. Wondering if they could be helped to grow a bit longer? Thoughts? cathy

    1. Try brushing olive oil on your lashes. Use a disposable mascara wand. Don’t rub your eyes or pull at the lashes when you remove makeup. Use a good quality mascara that doesn’t dry the lashes and make them break off.

  23. I also choose my shoes first out of necessity. I missed a stair in London in March, broke my ankle, flew home for surgery, and finding shoes that do not touch my ankle isn’t easy!

  24. I thought I was the only that started with shoes every morning! My days vary in activity so choosing the shoe is the most important part. I can easily wear 3 different shoes/outfits on any given day, probably that’s most of us.
    A beautiful job on the pedicure Susan❤️

  25. I love your outfit today! Nothing like a blue shirt and white pants for summer. Isn’t it wonderful to be our age and dress how we want?! I love dressing with classic clothing and not being a slave to fads anymore!

  26. I agree with everyone. What a garage! How does Mr Mickey keep it from getting dusty?

    And you look so healthy! Good to see your happy face again. Thanks for the tip about the nail polish color. I also do my own pedicure and struggle finding a red that is not too dark or too orange. I plan to buy your shade and throw the old polish away!

  27. How are you able to do such a perfect pedicure yourself? I’m not able to see well enough. Please share your secret.

  28. For nice pedicure, I recommend toe separator as it makes the job much easier and apply thin coats. Susan, you look lovely but too warm here to wear long sleeves. That garage is a thing of beauty. He probably doesn’t use any tools.

  29. I have used Dutch Tulip on my toes for 30+ years. I’m surprised they still make it. Usually, when I find a color I like, it is discontinued. It’s the same with lipstick.

    Hope you have a blessed day and Mr. Mickey’s garage is neater than the inside of a lot of people’s houses.

  30. Susan, I got a good giggle from your blog today with pictures of Mr. Mickey’s Garage Mahal. Because of the lockdown my husband took to organizing his garage, building cabinets and shelves and totally organizing the space. Without the shut down he never would have done this. It is an activity he has always wanted to do but never found the dedicated time–we have lived in our house for 9 years! As the project was getting close to finishing, I told him that it was so beautiful that we should call it the Taj Ma-garage–a play on words for Mr. Mickey’s handsome Garage Mahal. I enjoy your blog so much and look forward to getting it. Keep up the good posts and thank you for all the great advice.

    Pixie Koch
    San Antonio, Texas

  31. My husband watches all the Jay Leno YouTube videos, and I will tell you that, in my book, Mr. Mickey’s garage beats Leon’s hands down. Is that a carpet runner on the floor? Wow!!

    You look truly elegant, as always. Glad to see you returning to good health.

    Take care and stay well,

  32. that garage! I have never seen anything like that before…..
    i believe im going to order that cuticle oil….love OPI products. and my hands and feet are like the Sahara….
    working from the shoes up, is a novel approach…they say keep your mind sharp by doing things different, so I will give that a go sometime.

  33. Love the hint about organizing your handbag. Certainly makes changing to new bag easier. I will adopt your idea. Also I am encouraged to continue to do my own pedicure. I have always gone to a salon but not during the Covid. Love the shoes and bag and blue is for you.
    Glad you are feeling better! Enjoy your blogs alot.

  34. Great pedicure! I really like OPI’s products as well. My favorite color in the redish-pink family is “Cha ching Cherry” just the right amount of each color. Your blue and white is perfect for a nice summer day. I purchased a pair of white jeans and am enjoying wearing them, thank you for the nudge. Mr. Mickey’s garage is awesome. I am really glad that I have found your blog, you are a real inspiration and encouragement to women of our age, (you are only 3 months older than I am), we can still look “together” if we just take the time and effort. Thanks!

  35. Hi! Really enjoy your blogs every day!! I’m so glad you left FB…..Everytime I did comment on your post…I would get a FB request from strange men….so I quit commenting.
    Have any suggestions for undereye bags??

    1. I’m sorry about those men. They are doing the same thing to people on Instagram. It’s one of the most significant downsides of social media.
      I wish I had a suggestion for undereye bags. I have never been able to lessen mine.

  36. Love Mr. Mickey’s garage and I’m sure my husband would too if I let him see it. But then I’d have to get rid of all my Christmas, Easter, fall, spring, summer decorations, craft supplies, etc. Not happening.

  37. Hi Susan,

    It’s the little things, like getting a pedi that make you feel so good. It’s so great to see you looking so healthy again, I hope you feel as well as you look.

    Mickey’s garage is so telling of who he is, so neat and tidy. I love the two chairs and the table, he is always thinking, isn’t he? The cars look really clean too. I relate to it all. Thank you for sharing.

    Sending you a joyful day,
    Katherine in Arizona

  38. I admire you so much for the fact that you change your purse , I wish I could learn to do this. I have beautiful purses, but am so lazy about this detail. I will change when we go out! I need to be pushed in this area.

  39. Susan, I always enjoy your posts; you’re always an inspiration. It’s interesting you always start putting together your outfit with shoes. What I begin with varies, but often it’s a favorite piece of jewelry. Looking forward to your next post.

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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.