Fitting In and Standing Out

Fitting In and Standing Out

Our weekend was chocked full of summer holiday preparations. We attended the first in a series of concerts that Del Webb puts on and was pleased with how professionally it was done. My thoughts on living in an active retirement community are still percolating so I’ll take my time and share as I decide.

The dress code is very casual here which is taking some getting used to. I don’t plan to change who I am but I also don’t want to stick out like an oddity. Having fully embraced linen because of the heat here, I expect its wrinkles will help keep my look more casual.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing linen from Artful Home

LINEN SHIRTsold out / NECKLACE on sale / EARRINGS / JEANS on sale / SHOES

We headed off on a short RV trip yesterday to be sure that I am able to hook and unhook our trailer before we head north for a month. You may remember Mr. AWSL broke his arm and is sidelined from two-handed activities so it’s up to me for now. I did catch him up a ladder washing the awning before we left so he hasn’t quite gotten the “low activity level” memo. He’s an active guy and it’s hard for him to just relax.

Before we headed out of town we grabbed a quick breakfast at a local restaurant. Awful Annies on A Well Styled LifeThe country style decor was ultra casual so I fit right in wearing my favorite black jeans (now on sale) and linen shirt from Artful Home. This shirt was part of last summers collection and a favorite of mine.  Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing linen shirt from Artful Home

We are traveling with the RV group we joined here at Del Webb and have been told the facilities are amazing. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Artful Home’s summer sale has kicked off with some terrific values. Most everything is marked down including my favorite jeans here, (really high rise and very stretchy) and my new pearl earrings (love these so much!).


Have you made plans for a summer holiday?

Thanks for reading ladies and have a great day!

Affiliate links within this post may generate income for AWSL.



  1. Cindy
    June 4, 2018 / 6:19 am

    I appreciate that you are showing more casual (but still nice, stylish) outfits. I live where it is very casual also, but I would like to step my game up a little. You are going to be really helpful to me here.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:33 am

      Thanks for reading Cindy. let me know if there’s something you would like me to cover.

  2. Lori
    June 4, 2018 / 6:25 am

    I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on living in your new community. We are a couple of years away from retirement, but have started looking for a property in Florida. I like my space and am wondering if you are pressured to participate in groups and activities or can you jump in as much or as little as you like? Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:35 am

      There is no pressure to join anything! You can choose what interests you and be as involved as you like. I have heard from several ladies that they joined everything when they first moved in then backed off to a few things or nothing.

  3. June 4, 2018 / 6:52 am

    You look great in the casual attire! I think you’d probably look great in a barley sack, Jennifer. Lol.
    We do have a beach cottage on Cape Cod, and hope to spend time there…my escape place! Like your holiday, it will be very casual…swimsuits and cover ups or shorts/capris with cool tops and sandals. Tends to be humid there in summer!
    By the way, will you cover Swimsuits sometime soon? Mine are old and need replacing, and I dread the dressing room experience!
    Thank you……

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:38 am

      The dressing room mirror is seldom kind to us when shopping for a bathing suit. I did cover swimsuits here and will plan to do an update.

  4. Linda
    June 4, 2018 / 6:55 am

    We are going to look at a Del Web community not too far from us this summer so I am watching your posts closely. I will work one more year as a SpecialNeeds Preschool teacher, which will give me 30 years then I will retire. We have been shopping ahead in order to get a good understanding of everything available out there.

    I enjoy your posts and I enjoy your Facebook page as well!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:42 am

      They have a lot to offer so shop around for a location you love. I am not a fan of the weather where we are. It’s getting brutally hot which I am not fond of. Thanks for being here Linda.

  5. Debbie
    June 4, 2018 / 6:56 am

    Hi Jennifer, Bought the Vince Camuto sandals in all three colors (on your link from a previous post) and cannot believe how comfortable they are!! They’re my new favorite!!

  6. Also Jennifer
    June 4, 2018 / 7:04 am

    I also live in an area where people dress extremely casually (think logo t-shirts and plastic flip flops) and I’ve already taken some pointers from you so that I don’t look like I’m too “dressed up.” At my stage of life I find billowy linen much more comfortable in the summer than t-shirts anyway 😉

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:44 am

      Plastic flip-flops are rampant almost everywhere these days. They are a slippery slope to sloppy in my opinion;) I totally agree about linen!!

  7. Debbie
    June 4, 2018 / 7:10 am

    How do you care for all your linen articles of clothing?

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:45 am

      I machine wash them in cold, dry on low heat and steam lightly. I do iron collars and front button bands.

  8. June 4, 2018 / 7:17 am

    Looks like you’re enjoying your new environment, despite the heat. I can’t wait to learn where your travels lead you!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:46 am

      The heat is not my favorite so we are looking forward to escaping to the coast soon.

  9. Jeanne
    June 4, 2018 / 7:28 am

    Good morning. I don’t typically comment, but I thought I’d share my experience of living in an active retirement community for the past 6 years.
    Our community is very friendly and welcoming. We have more friends than ever in our life.
    You can be as active or inactive as you choose. There is no pressure.
    I golfed the first two years then went back to tennis after not playing for 10 years, joined the tennis team, fell in love with pickle ball. Too much. Gave up the golf as that was the least favorite of my sports, yet have maintained those golf friendships.
    I’m an avid reader and joined the community book club. Love.
    I am in 2 Mahjongg groups. Love.
    There’s something for everyone.
    Sometimes it can feel a bit ‘close’
    If you allow it to happen, all your friends are within the community.

    Some in the community love that they can play golf, tennis, pickle ball, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, be entertained, swim, work out all without leaving these gates. That was too much for me. I don’t want to live my life totally within these gates. So I volunteer, go to the beach and am in a second book club with friends I’ve made ‘outside’ thru my volunteer job. I have found the perfect balance for me. I believe it’s easy initially to become over involved within the community but at first necessary as you find what works best for you. My husband didn’t have that issue. He loves golf, stuck with that and happily plays 4 times per week. He will accompany me to mixed pickle ball if I want him too. We retired to Sarasota where the most beautiful white sand beaches are, theatre galore, fabulous restaurants. Do I ever miss just a house in a little neighborhood without a gate? Yes I do. But the lifestyle within the gates has more pluses. The golfer here doesn’t miss it at all. Something I read a while back has stuck with me. ‘Begin doing what you want now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake’
    Wow. This turned into quite the ramble. I just wanted to give you all food for thought. If I’ve overstepped, delete.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:51 am

      Good heavens, you have not overstepped and thanks for sharing with us Jeanne!! I can see where this could become a very insular existence if not careful. I have been told by several women that did join everything then backed off to just the things they enjoy most. Finding friends, not just activities is very important to us.

  10. Nancy
    June 4, 2018 / 7:30 am

    Because I have worked from home for more than a decade, my style has become quite casual. But I do try to look polished and put together. To me, “casual” and “polished” are not mutually exclusive. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and have observed that it’s not just the outfits you wear — it’s the careful way you accessorize that contributes to your always looking chic and stylish. Rather than change your unique style in your new environment, you might actually inspire your neighbors to emulate you!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:53 am

      Accessories are a huge part of my feeling polished. I feel naked without them:)

  11. Gail Schwartz
    June 4, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    I went right to Macy’s to try on the Vince Camuto sandals. I cannot mail order shoes! They are so comfortable I bought the Black ones in stock and ordered the beige

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 12:31 pm

      I should get the black too! They’re so comfy!!

  12. June 4, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Have a great time, Jennifer! Having just purchased a trailer ourselves, I’m determined to learn to do a few of the outside tasks for “Just in Case” situations. It’s always been me buttoning things up inside while my husband does the same on the exterior. We’ve never gone with a group, but my parents did for years and have such fond, fun memories.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 7:25 pm

      I was excited to read about your trailer Barbara!! This is new for us and promises to be great.

  13. Karen
    June 4, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    When you get time, could you demonstrate how you do your eye makeup? Love your blog!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 7:26 pm

      I will try to do a short video. Be forewarned, I use a lot of products. I love makeup and eyes are my fav!

  14. Melissa Hebbard
    June 4, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    I don’t think that you should change your style. It suits you, it reflects who you are. If we all dressed down and dumbed down to suit our neighbours we would all be slopping around in ripped jeans and worn out t-shirts. Dress as you like to dress and it may just inspire and encourage other ladies dress how they used to and would like to dress. I live in a very casual country town in Australia and the majority of women wear the equivalent of Walmart. Nothing will get me to dress down to be like them!
    Always feel comfortable to be YOU. The only adjustment that you should be making is for activity suitable clothes such as when you play pickleball in the heat!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:54 pm

      Thank you Melissa. This is new territory for me and I’m enjoying navigating my way. Dressing down has never been my style but I do need to be appropriate.

  15. Eileen
    June 4, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    I too live in a retirement community, you can chose to do a lot or nothing. I agree with Jeanne, there are many who prefer not to leave the gates, which I find too constricting for myself. I have joined another gym to meet locals, and learn more about the area, and I have continued to work part time outside the gates. I worked for myself for many years, and am not as comfortable joining all the groups, I tried when I first moved in, but felt I wasn’t assimilating into the area enough. And I agree with Jennifer, some retirement areas are too hot for me, I find myself longing for open windows, and trees. I think if you travel a lot, or have family close by ( I don’t) it works better. Jennifer has the right idea, rent first, if you can. As always it depends on what you like.

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 8:57 pm

      Travel will be very important for us. I love the ocean and mountains too much to stay out for too long.

  16. Annette
    June 4, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Hi Jennifer,
    I am also watching your comments closely regarding the retirement community. We are about 5 years away from retirement so thinking of our options. I am sure there are pros and cons. I live on the Monterey Peninsula which to me is already like a retirement community. I enjoy my house, my garden and the cool weather, and don’t know if I am willing to give that up. I will never forget 20 years ago being around a couple of ladies at my work who said they wanted to be around all ages when they retire. I will never forget those words. They purposely did not move to a retirement community but stayed in neighborhoods and were very active in our community. Also, I don’t want to give up 80% of my closet to just be casual all the time. These are hard decisions! Thanks as always for your blog which I always enjoy. Annette

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      You’re lucky to be living on the Monterey peninsula!! We love it there. There is a lot to be said for being around all age groups and there’s something special about being around your peers. Pros and cons always have tradeoffs.

  17. June 4, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    Sounds like you are having a great time! It is interesting to read about your journey and experiences. Will help all of us if we decide to go that direction. Thanks Jennifer!

    • Jennifer
      June 4, 2018 / 9:02 pm

      It’s a journey for sure.

  18. Amelia
    June 4, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    Hi Jennifer, you make me smile with you picture of the linen top. I am still working hard to accept the linen wrinkle look. I had some good buys on linen summer wears at TJMaxx. They were beautiful well made and a lot less wrinkly even after several washing.. Sorry to mentioned brands here without your permission…just delete if not appropriate…”Sigrid Olsen, Tahari, Saint Tropez West, Artisan*NY…” all 100% linen. Perfect summer weight. I know not everyone likes the same brands or have already had their favorites. I buy as I go depending on how good a brand lasts. So the above are not personal recommendations, just saying where I found things not overly priced and they work for me. I totally agree about wanting to fit in but also keeps your standard. Thank you for the info, I’m taking notes…on active retirement community. Enjoy your trip. Safe journey!!! Amelia

  19. Patti
    June 4, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    Hi Jennifer. We have lived in an ‘active 55+’ KHov community in Southern CA for several years. I am still working and not a joiner anyway, but we truly appreciate the community. It is quiet and ours is well managed. I feel secure walking at dusk or later. I know some here feel that they pay their HOA dues for all the amenities so they are content spending most of their time “behind the gates”. They use the theatre here, eat at the bistro, socialize and fill their days with the many activities.it sure looks like they are having fun and have made many friends! It works well for them, as they feel like they are at a resort full time. I am too restless (hence, my indecision about retiring) and know that besides enjoying some of the social activities here, I would need to be out and about.

    We, too, have a travel trailer that we bought just last year and the night before our first trip out, my husband slipped and suffered severe damage to his driving foot! We didn’t realize the extent of the damage and he insisted that we were not postponing our trip so I had to drive. He has had to have surgeries and has not yet been able to drive. We still want to get out as much as he is able to so I’ve learned to do all the hook ups. There’s so much to remember, much of it relating to safety and the finer points of maneuvering 33 feet of trailer and 21 feet of tow vehicle without taking out trees, light poles, gas pumps, pedestrians or merging vehicles! Studying YouTube videos has helped me a lot and I am finally getting the hang of it. It’s not as easy as getting into a motor home and turning a key but we both love the layout of this trailer so much, I am determined to master it.

    Apologies for being so long-winded! I enjoy and appreciate your candidly sharing your style and what works/doesn’t work and why, with your readers. You are inspiring!

    • Jennifer
      June 5, 2018 / 7:50 am

      I’m so sorry to hear about your husband! He must have been in terrible pain. Good for you figuring the trailer out on your own. I had my husband show me and luckily he was able to help. I often think how much easier a class C or A would be. It’s important we have a short unit because we love getting in to the smaller state campgrounds. Our neighborhood does have a resort type feel to it as well. I’m still working as well, (here) which makes me different from most people here. Thanks for sharing Patti and good luck! Maybe we’ll see you on the road.

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