Quiet Winter Days

Our Sunday afternoon weather was agreeable, so we drove to Jonesborough to snap some photos and go for a short walk. Jonesborough, the oldest town in Tennessee, is less than ten miles from my home.

My handbag is here. The blue coat is four years old but still a favorite. A similar coat is here. I am considering changing the buttons to a matching color or perhaps black since I’m not fond of showy metallic buttons these days. Small changes, such as replacing buttons, can make an older item look more current.

Downtown area shops feature antiques, crafts, and home decor. There are boutiques, as well as several restaurants. Summer afternoons are usually very busy with tourists, but only a few locals are out and about in January.

The National Story Telling Society now owns the Chester Inn above. Next door is the home of The International Storytelling Center below.

I wore a charcoal gray merino wool turtleneck sweater (here), a silk scarf (similar here), and black jeans (here) with black short boots (similar here) under the coat. I folded the forty-inch square scarf into a triangle and looped the ends over once to tie it in front with the triangle’s point in the back.

Occasionally, I dust off my limited cooking skills and attempt to prepare dinner for Mr. Mickey. This time, I baked wild-caught salmon fillets topped with stone ground mustard, charred some broccoli in butter, and made my favorite black rice. The heirloom cherry tomatoes were so good!

Shopping links on this website may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

  1. Hello Susan! I am a fairly new fan of you and your beautiful site! I turned 60 just this past October 31 and found your site by looking for fashions for women 60+ – and I’ve been thrilled and inspired by you and your gorgeous fashions! I do struggle mightily with scarves though. I have many beautiful scarves but I just can’t seem to grasp the correct way to tie them/wear them. My former boss, truly a “clothes horse” wore gorgeous scarves almost daily and she even gave me my first scarf. Like you, she made wearing them look effortless – very easy for her, she was 6’0 tall and model thin. I am neither of those at 5’4 and not so thin – I definitely couldn’t wear long scarves the way she did…oh how I wish! Anyway, if you haven’t already, would it be possible to give us a scarf “how to wear it” lesson? Many thanks for all you share with so many! Most Sincerely, Mrs. Meggie Ulrich, San Diego, CA

  2. Wowm this plate confirms that you truly eat with your eyes!! Olease share how you seasoned and prepared the salmon.

    1. I coated the salmon in olive oil and Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground Mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder before baking it for about eleven minutes in a 375-degree oven. Depending on the thawed fillets’ thickness, you may need to bake them for another couple of minutes.

  3. Enjoyed your post as always, but was pleasantly surprised to see black rice on your dinner plate. I had it for the first time this summer with grilled scallops. Absolutely delicious and, thanks to you, I know how healthy it is too.

  4. Love Jonesborough.
    I’ve never had black rice. Need to try it.
    I sure wish I could wear wool but I am so sensitive to the feel of wool I can’t wear even the softest cashmere.

  5. In case my earlier post did not arrive:

    Tell us about black rice and why you love it!

    Also — how cold does it have to be for you not to walk? Or does the temperature not stop you?


    1. Temperatures below forty F will keep me inside. I am not a fan of cold weather at all. When I can’t walk outside, I march in place, do jumping jacks, dance, or anything else to move and stay limber.

      Black rice has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that is very satisfying. It has more protein and antioxidants and is much healthier for you than quick-cooking white rice.

  6. Lovely, all of it. :). I purchased the scarf. I’m thinking of growing my hair out and love your cut, I currently have a pixie and am tired of having to get a hair cut every 3 weeks. Have you done a video on how you style your hair? I’ve searched your videos and haven’t found one. I’d love to see a video of how you style it.

    1. I use a blowdryer and a small round brush to smooth, lift, and dry my hair from the roots out. My goal is for it not to be flat or frizzy. I don’t use styling products.

  7. I always enjoy reading about the area around your home. As usual, you dressed with impeccable taste. I’m interested in the slight boot cut style jeans. They look good! I’m so glad to see a return to pants that don’t hug the leg. I just don’t find that type of jean comfortable. Lovely dinner you served. That’s the way we eat too. I think I’ll try the mustard on the salmon this week. It sounds yummy. Have a blessed week.

  8. Hi Susan, I know it is early for this Q, but need a good sunscreen that doesn’t have any smell and is very lightweight, can be used daily. Do you have any recommendations for an unscented brand?

    Thank you Julie

  9. The photos of the town remind me of my hometown, Moultrie GA and another nearby Thomasville. These quaint downtown shops with all the brick are so fun to visit often. Moultrie is known for its beautiful Courthouse that is in the center of the Square and all four sides are exactly the same. I like your idea of changing out buttons and in my opinion your dinner looked yummy.

  10. I liked everything you wore but didn’t like the purse of choice with your outfit. You always look stunning and this was no exception. Enjoyed the tip about replacing buttons to “uplift” and give an older item a more modern look.

    1. I like the handbag! I never thought about using a purse to add a pop of color until I started following Susan. Just one of the many things I have learned from her.

  11. I’ve done the same thing with buttons. If you’re sure you don’t want the current finish anymore, you can try out others before you buy and go to the trouble of sewing them all on. Cut about 3 inches into thin cardboard like card stock or thin plastic. Slide the cut under the button until the button rests atop a secure base. Paint the button with nail polish in the color you think you want. You can also, of course, blend a custom color using polish. Buy the low cost varieties as they work just as well. Let it dry well and then see if you still like that color after you’ve worn it. You can use this same trick to add color to buttons, or change the color of buttons on a shirt to give the effect you want. You can also change the color a few times to freshen the look for a new season. This does not work well on areas that will have a lot of rubbing, of course. Also, be sure you keep the nail polish bottle for any touch ups. I have a great denim dress with red buttons that I loved for 2 years but got tired of always needing to coordinate with red. So, I changed them to 1 shade darker than the denim. It feels like a new dress. Sometime, I may protect the fabric again and remove the polish to return them to red, who knows?

  12. New to yr blog, which Is fun to read. While I am still working at almost 70, plan to retire some day. I notice that many 20s/30s wear, besides leggings, dresses/skirts. Since you are retired, do you ever wear a dress/skirt/skirt suit in Winter?

  13. I would like to know your secret to not getting frizzy hair! You said you use a small brush. Any hints for smoothing out frizzy hair? You always look elegant, thank you for passing on your knowledge in all areas.

    1. Lynn,
      I use Moroccanoil ( just the oil and not the other products) on my hair and it’s frizz-free. It smells very nice too- sort of soft like baby powder. It may seem a bit expensive but a bottle lasts almost a year. My hair is just like Susan’s – about the same length or a bit shorter so, I only use one or two small pumps. Rub the product between your hands and thoroughly apply it to your wet hair- especially on the ends or comb it through if you prefer. Once I’ve applied the oil, I wait a little while before drying it while styling with a round brush. The combo of the oil with the round brush to smooth the hair is the secret and it never appears oily or weighed-down. My hair is never frizzy anymore- even in the hot humid summers of southeast VA.

  14. My husband and I also enjoy visiting small towns such as Jonesborough. You look lovely and your dinner looks wonderful! I think I’ll give it a try!

  15. I got the silk scarf at Talbots as it was a good deal and I like the colors. The salmon dinner looks wonderful. Hope to visit jonesborough one day.

  16. Oh what a shame, the first thing I thought when I looked at your outfit was how nice the metallic buttons were and gave that finishing touch

  17. Lovely outfit Susan but I wouldn’t change the buttons on your navy coat. The silver went perfectly with your handbag and a nod to your hair!

    1. I also think the silver buttons look great with the choice of purse in a silver shade. They add sparkle and tie the look together. Susan, your lessons are working on me!

  18. The three quarter length coat is much more flattering with slacks than the full length coats in the previous posts

  19. I enjoy reading your posts because you purposefully look for the positive during this Pandemic. An afternoon drive and dinner with your love while looking great. What could be better!

  20. Always enjoy your posts, Susan. Your hair is such a lovely shade, and I’m wondering if you used to color it. I am 52 and thinking of letting my hair go grey – I’ve been coloring it for years. My natural color is deep brown, and the transition may be tricky. Any tips?

    1. Thank you, Maria. I stopped coloring my hair when I turned fifty. I started when I was still a teen and saw my first gray hair. Work with a stylist to transition your hair to its natural color. There are many less obvious ways to make the change now.

  21. Once again, I love the photos of towns near you. It makes me want to visit Tennessee. Also love the pictures of the food you eat while there, or the food you make.

  22. Hi Susan, changing buttons to update a coat is a great idea.
    Also thank you for introducing me to Forbidden black rice.
    Always look forward to your blog.
    Jennie P.

  23. Do you recommend longer (30″) necklaces rather than the shorter necklaces as we get older? It seems the shorter, the more it calls attention to the older neck.

    1. I wear necklaces of different lengths according to the neckline of the clothing. Scarves have been one of my favorite accessories since my twenties, but even more so now.

  24. I am a Texas girl who visited Jonesboro a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I really enjoy your classic style; you have taught me to buy more solids!

  25. I am enjoying the photos and text from your road trips. I can’t believe I lived in Nashville for 48 years and never made it to Jonesboro on one of trips across I-40.
    Thank you for enlightening me.

  26. Looks like a delicious, heart-healthy meal. I ran a copy of your black rice pilaf and will give it a try.

  27. Hi Susan, great idea about changing buttons on the coat, but it still looks nice with the metal ones. Just been watching the enauguration of President Joe Biden, at 3.30am Australian time, so pleased for America he seems honest and nice. The dinner you cooked looks restaurant quality, I think you are underestimating yourself about your cooking. It’s summer here in Australia, but spending a lot of time on our little 6 acre farm with 4 Silkie pet chooks all named. Look forward to your posts. Take care you and Mr Mickey. Kind regards Bev.

  28. I just found your site recently and am glad I did. You are so classy. I’m almost 54 and still dye my hair as it is very frizzy and my grays go everywhere. Keep up the great content. You are a true inspiration!

  29. Thanks for continuing to showcase your drives and dinners and all the fantastic history surrounding you! I keep telling my husband that we need to try to visit your fine state some time soon (well soon-ish) The winter outfit is inspiring.

  30. I feel a bit of concern today since your blog doesn’t show your usual sparkle. Having lived in Wichita, Kansas for 23 years, I do remember the endless days of cold, snow, and ice. I haven’t forgotten even though I split my time now between Alabama and Florida. Prayers for more upbeat and exciting days in your future as we look forward to Spring… keep looking up. Brighter days ahead.

    1. The winter blues descend on me each year, but this year I can’t run away to Florida to escape the gray days. Reading your comments today has lifted my spirits considerably. Thank you, everyone!

  31. Hello Susan I hope you and Mr Mickey are fine. I just wanted to know if there was a big difference between brown rice and black rice because in Mauritius we do not have black rice. I have never seen it.

    1. The biggest difference between the two lies in their carb content and number of calories. Black rice provides 180 calories and 34 grams of net carbs, while brown rice has 150 calories and 30 grams of net carbs. Both rice varieties are chock-full of nutrients and healthier than white rice. (Information found on Google.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.