The Countryside

Please visit the newest blog post here. The newsletter sent you the link to this older post by accident. My apologies!

Exploring the local countryside before enjoying a light meal at my table is a lovely way to enjoy time together. We took another drive through the vast rolling farmland surrounding the Nolichucky River last week.

I wore casual basic pieces and some of my most comfortable shoes. The Louise Et Cie derbies are about three years old. I baby them because this style is difficult to find at a reasonable price but oh so comfortable to wear. I found one similar style here.

My top is black on black animal print. I found it in the athletic wear section at T.J.Maxx last year. It is a good long sleeve foundation item because it adds no bulk under lightweight jackets or sweaters. A similar top is here. The crimson jacket is here. The jeans are here. The bag is here.

Later in the evening, we enjoyed a loaf of warm artisan bread made with asiago cheese and sundried tomatoes. I also served hummus, spicy pimento cheese, feta stuffed olives, nuts, and celery sticks with celebratory champagne. Mr. Mickey arrived with cards, chocolate, and flowers as he has countless times over the fifteen years we have known each other.

Congratulations, Marilyn Ackerman! You are the winner of the sequined evening clutch.

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  1. Hi Susan, I do so enjoy seeing photos of the beautiful towns and countryside near your home. Thank you for sharing your outings with us. The second photo, the one with the fence in the foreground, could be taken for rolling countryside here in New Zealand, except that the forested hills here are evergreen native bush as we call it.

  2. I prefer the length of the Talbot’s barely boot jean for the colder months.

    You have taught me something today, Susan! I looked up the difference between a derby shoe and an oxford. Love it when I am challenged.

      1. Of course! You probably already know, but they are half off now.

        I love the J. Crew merino turtleneck that you featured recently. After seeing it on you, I ordered my regular size and one size up. I actually took the larger one. Thank you for putting us on to that item.

  3. One of the greatest things Susan wears that crowns every nice, put together outfit is that beautiful smile!
    Money can’t buy that, its free for everyone! It makes us more appealing and pleasant to be around.
    Thank you Susan for always smiling and for all your encouragement to women.

  4. It has been many years since I was in your area of the US but your pictures always bring back the beauty of our drive through there and happy memories. I am always amazed at how all your shoes look new and to find out that you have had them for years. I do like polishing shoes, and have since a child, but eventually there is only so much to be done. Love the derbies, and will have to look into that as family was from that area in UK.

  5. Happy anniversary to you and Mr. Mickey!
    The shoes are beautiful! I love the texture. You always look fabulous even when out for a scenic drive.
    My copy of Elevate the Everyday arrived yesterday and I’m looking forward to an uplifting read. Chao!

  6. The outfits in your past few blogs, have been really classy. Simple but not, with your accessories. Love most of your styles and have learned a great deal from you. The past three blogs I truly liked the shoes and purses you wore. Balanced with color choices. Do you ever wear a holiday sweater during the seasons? Your evening meals are a pleasure to see. You are so clever to make all the food you serve look so tempting yet healthy for anyone. Of course the pictures you add from your excursions are truly wonderful and most appreciated. May you enjoy the rest of the holiday season with joy and happiness.

    Clara from Iowa

  7. Love the photos you share and I couldn’t help but smile at the name of the river, Nolichucky. Wishing you and Mr. Micky and very merry Christmas.

  8. Hi Susan, love the red jacket. Those photos look so very much like the North Island of New Zealand, where I grew up. (I now live on the Canterbury Plains in the South Island which are just completely flat.

  9. Congratulations Marilyn on the purse! And congrats to you and Mr. Mickey on your anniversary. Merry Christmas to you both.

  10. Your outfit is lovely, as usual, and thank you for another great tip such as how to incorporate an athletic wear top into your wardrobe. I never would have thought of that. Happy Anniversary to you and Mr. Mickey! I love when you share your life’s journey, including celebrations, with us.

  11. Lovely post, thank you! I loved seeing the magnolia tree in the background, they lined the downtown streets of Hot Springs AR where I grew up. I remember they did not turn with the Autumn or drop leaves – is that right? I now have lived in southern AB Canada for many years and miss the majesty of those trees, especially the blossoms! What a delicious looking fare you presented for your true gentleman, I’ll definitely try that!

    1. I adore the smell of magnolia blossoms. The southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is the most well-known. But magnolias, particularly the deciduous varieties, can be grown in almost any region of the U.S. From the tip of Florida to as far north as Maine and Washington. It depends on where they are growing as to whether they are evergreen or drop their leaves.

      1. Interesting, I always thought they were just in the South – at least we have an abundance of beautiful giant spruce here in Alberta to keep the green in winter, thank you!

  12. You are so blessed to have a man like Mr. Mickey……….He is one of a kind…..Cherish the love……..

  13. I always enjoy your and Mr Mickey’s drives through the countryside. Such gorgeous scenery. Love the giant red leaf you are holding and the cows who posed for you.

    Had to look up the difference between derbies and oxfords. Your derbies are special with the texture and sparkle.

    Your evening light meal looks yummy. Mr Mickey knows how to treat a lady! Made a detour to Pinterest for a recipe for the asiago and sundried tomato bread.

  14. I look forward to your blog. It has a touch of grace about it. You have been blessed with beauty and an open heart that invites us all into your life. You are authentic. . Merry Christmas to you and your family and to Mr. Mickey.

  15. Hi Susan, you’re really doing it today for the New Zealanders who read your wonderful blog! I am another Kiwi fan of yours and I, too, did a double take when I saw the second photo, thinking it could easily have been taken in our beautiful North Island. You must enjoy seeing the reach you have, and where in the world your readers come from. I do hope that one day you have the chance to travel to New Zealand – wear your derbies and that lovely crimson jacket and doors will open to you at every turn!
    Thank you for the pleasure you give us with your blog, and a Happy Christmas to you and Mr M. xx

  16. Beautiful pictures Susan! You always look so put together when you are out in public and probably even when you are at home. You are so blessed to have Mr. Mickey in your life and he is blessed to have you.

  17. Susan, I think that you are absolutely fabulous. You are beautiful. I have read all your blogs and have gratefully learned something from each one.
    I have been through my wardrobe getting rid of numerous items of clothing that were ridiculous purchases. I now have some black, white, grey and navy items that I will enjoy adding to.
    I live in Australia and at the moment if is really hot and muggy. I enjoy all of your and Mr Mickey’s adventures. The countryside photos are beautiful. Congratulations.
    I wish you both a very happy Christmas.

  18. I love your posts. Thank you so much for taking these photos and sharing them with us. I live in the UK, so being able to see your wonderful countryside is a real treat.

  19. Thank you for the lovely pictures of the countryside. What a beautiful part of the US you live in and enjoy the surroundings.

  20. My husband’s favorite is a fruit cake! Since his birthday was last week, I decided to make your fruit cake. It was absolutely delicious and I certainly understand why your friends love to receive it. It was a hit, and will be on my list to make every December. Thanks for sharing! I also enjoy your posts!

  21. I just wanted to thank you for continuing to share on this blog. It is a wonderful bright spot through the week that I look forward to, especially during these crazy times. This morning I was like “Yay, it’s Wednesday…let me see what Susan wrote”. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and wishing you all the best in the coming year.

  22. Lovely outfit, outing and meal. You are indeed blessed with Mr. Mickey. My friend and I enjoy drives through the countryside and coming back to eat at home. That is a great way to not feel confined.

  23. Mr Mickey, knows how to treat a lady. Flowers and chocolates, can’t go wrong there! The area where you live looks delightful as you did. Hope you enjoyed yr evening. All the best and a Merry Christmas to you all. Jx

  24. Congratulations to Marilyn!
    Susan, you really look smashing in red. Thank you for the lovely photos of your day trips. Normally at this time of year, we would be driving back to Canada from Florida through your area, but not this year due to Covid.
    I would like to read through your blogs, starting at the beginning. Do you have a link to your archives?
    Keep well and enjoy your travels and traditions with Mr Mickey.

          1. No, I clicked on the link in your reply to Canadian Elizabeth which took me to Beauty Routines After 60 from October 4, 2012 and clicked the Next Article arrow, and that took me to Subtle Changes (May 19 2016).

  25. Your countryside photos are outstanding. Would make a beautiful book of your travels or accent a wall. Or make a calendar with each month where you went(great gift for Mr.Mickey. The

  26. What a nice drive, I smiled at the picture with the cows, they look like they are posing for you. I really like your outfit, I have a similar jacket in black with silver buttons from Macy’s and I call it my military jacket. I will have to remember a causal T looks great under it, I usually wear a turtle neck, thanks for the tip. Also, now I know what a ladies derby shoe is. Your dinner looks yummy, congratulations to you both.

  27. I enjoy your post so much, your beauty, style & grace is so lovely! Your weekend trips are delightful and I love, love your food sharing!

  28. Hello Susan. You always look wonderful and classy. I love the Crimson Jacket. It’s so stylish. Thank you for showing us all how to keep looking well dressed as we get older. I’m 65 now and still want to look put-together when I get dressed. Your blog helps immensely. Have a terrific day!

  29. Love the red jacket. It reminds me of a St. John knit I purchased last year. Just love the crispness of the military style buttons.

  30. Love the beautiful pictures you post. Also, you look great in that outfit….any outfit really. Hello to Mr. Mickey from San Antonio, Texas.

  31. What a fabulous mixture of casualness and glamorous this blog is. You and Mr. Mickey certainly know how to make the most of life! I love those shoes you baby. I clicked on the link before reading that they were three years old. I was going to buy them immediately The ones you chose as comparable are a lovely find.

  32. You do such a wonderful job of providing similar pieces to what you are wearing in the photos. I lost my way in the fashion department over the past year and a half, and you are helping me find my way back.


  33. Hi Love your blogs. I read and re read Where do you get the Artisan breads you serve? Do you bake it or buy?
    Thanks for making the 60’s look great!

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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.