Monday Musings- Gucci Pearls, Travel, Manners, and What I Wore

Happy Monday, ladies. We are off like a herd of turtles on our holiday. It’s a sad state of affairs when you begin packing for a three-week trip at 10:30 pm in a dark bedroom. I didn’t put the light on because my husband was already asleep…smart guy. Uber would arrive at the crack of dawn, so I had to pack then. I had a few things on a rolling rack, but to be honest, I had no plan or what was going into my bags.


I know there is plenty of gray, black, and, I suspect, more black. I’d ordered a new carry-on because I thought it was larger than this blue dinosaur, but it turned out to be smaller. Ugh, best-laid plans. The vintage Hartmann personal item on top is at least 40 years old and is fading fast, but the shape is perfect.

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Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike flying? The meal service on flights has deteriorated to an abysmal level. For a 5 hour flight over dinner time, I had access to one cookie which I couldn’t eat because it was loaded with gluten. Yikes! We were one row behind first class and got to live vicariously through their first-class meals, complete with white fabric napkins and fawning service. They quickly ran out of tasteless Chardonnay and club soda in coach.

Gucci and Pearls

I watched The House of Gucci on my phone, which I’ve been anxious to see. It did not disappoint! I had no recollection that Maurizio Gucci was murdered. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

The pearls in this movie poster have a personal story behind them. When I spotted this photo last year, I became obsessed with the baroque pearl necklace Lady Gaga is wearing. I love pearls of all kinds but have a growing appreciation for baroque ones. Their irregular non-spherical shape feels a bit less fussy than perfect ones, and their slightly edgy quality feels more modern to me.

I wanted one, so I shopped both on foot and online for a strand. The price varied widely, and so did the luster. The beauty of a real pearl for me is its luster, so I asked the Freshwater Pearl Company if they could make me one, and wow, did they ever deliver!


When my pearls arrived, I was blown away! They’re more magnificent than I expected. It’s a huge statement piece, and I adore it! The owner, Brian, liked the way it turned out, so he made a few more. Out of curiosity, he put one out at a street fair in Palm Springs and sold it in ten minutes, which confirmed for me that this was a winner.

I messaged Brian on Wednesday and told him I’d be wearing mine on this trip, so it would be showing up in my photos. Since I usually share links to what I’m wearing, he decided to put the remaining two up on his website and offer my readers a 15% discount with the code AWSL! Apparently, the discount works site-wide too. Then, Brian really made my day. He told me he named it the Jennifer necklace because it had been my idea. I’ve never had anything named after me, so that’s pretty cool.


Here’s the obligatory bathroom selfie while we waited and waited between flights 🙂 The smears you see are in the mirror, not me.

I wear tiny or no earrings with this necklace because it takes center stage, as it should. BTW- this is not a sponsored post. It’s just me sharing the most amazing necklace from a really thoughtful company.


The weather is predicted to be rainy and wet for our trip, which I am slightly prepared for. I don’t own a slicker, and wish I did…but the ship promises to have umbrellas, so it’s all good.


Thirty minutes after we took this photo, we were treated to the most amazing thunder, lightning, and rainstorm. It was glorious! We don’t get that kind of thing where we live in California, so it felt like a treat to me. I got two days of wear out of these jersey pants, which is how I will stretch my wardrobe…and yes, the suitcase is a sea of black and gray 🙂

Seen it all

You can file this under I thought I’d seen it all. I’m a bit of a stickler about table manners. My mom spent a fair amount of time making sure my brothers and I learned and practiced proper table manners. I’ve always believed our manners speak loud and clear…often louder than our clothes. As we sat enjoying breakfast yesterday, I spotted a family across the room, doing the same. I noticed them because the teenage son was leaning so far over his plate, that his nose was almost on it.

Mom and dad were sitting fairly upright. Then the young man decided to stop using his fork and simply lean over, not once, but several times and ate food directly off the plate by grabbing it his lips. I have to admit that I was blown away. I felt so badly for this young man because his parents were not teaching him proper table manners. I know many parents have a low-key way of raising their children, but I think they are doing him a disservice.

Several of you have commented that the boy may have a disability that’s not obvious. Of course, you’re right, it’s a distinct possibility I had not considered.

How far in advance do you pack?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to wear what makes you feel confident.










  1. So great to go on this trip with those beautiful pearls. Even better to have them named after you. I love my pearls. I have a short strand and a long strand that was my mom’s. Also love fresh water pearls. Have a wonderful trip.

    1. You’re so lucky to have strands that your mom wore.Thank you!

  2. The Jennifer pearls are fantastic! You wear them well. Love to know where and what line you are cruising. We are cruising Oceania in November. I too find the planning is a big part of the fun. We will be gone for 3 weeks, 15 days at sea, and 5 in Barcelona pre-cruise. I would love to see your capsule wardrobe. I think will be black, and white with cobalt blue as an accent color. I bought a terrific art glass necklace with cobalt beads yesterday. I do think I may need to get a light slicker for possible rain storms. Packing light but for both winter and tropical weather is my challenge. That and having daytime trekking wear and dressy pieces for the evening. Love your sense of classic style. Have a wonderful trip.

    1. Cobalt will be stunning with the black and white!

  3. As an avid cruiser, I would love to know where you’re cruising and what line you’re using, Jennifer! 🚢
    Regarding the boy and his dining method: I’m a retired occupational therapist, so the first thing that popped into my mind was that the child may have a disability, such as congenital upper extremity amputations, that forced him to eat in such a manner. Just a thought….

    1. He had both arms and was using his fork, but perhaps he had Tourettes as people have mentioned.

  4. I’m definitely a pre-packer as also do it for my husband, leaving only toiletries for the last as otherwise I’d be a basket-case …. lol! As to the young man you observed; perhaps he does have a disability however table manners are something I too was taught given reason why with my own children and theirs I insist they sit at the table for meals and not perched on a stool at the kitchen Island that appears to be the norm these day with often a technical device within their reach which are a BIG no-no for me. Last but not least; do love your pearl necklace and what a honour to have them named after you and wishing you and your hubby a wonderful and safe trip. -Brenda-
    P.S. My father prior to switching careers, as a young man worked in the jewelry industry whose specialty was gems with pearls being one of them. Fast forward; after the demise of both parents I came across a (large wooden) box that contained many supplies which were used for stringing pearls that included an assortment of beautiful vintage clasps some of which were sold and others were used in designed anklets that were given to each of his five Grand Daughters as a memory token .

    1. You found a real treasure!!

  5. I travel frequently and use a spreadsheet with packing lists. Packing thoughtfully brings me joy at the destination! Plus my bags are completely packed and ready to go the day before travel day, so I get a good night’s sleep. And pack lots of mix and match color as I love color. Have fun! Just curious, which cruise line are you on?

  6. Was that the street fair in Palm Springs or the street fair at the college in Palm Desert? I know there is a pearl vendor at the Palm Desert location & I’ve purchased some items from them. Also every year at the clubhouse we have a pearl presentation with the most astounding collection of pearls that I attend every year. Will look for the baroque pearls when the college street fair reopens for the season next week. I begin packing weeks in advance; I’m an under packer & I’ve found myself without essentials on way too many trips. My rain slicker folds into itself & I bring it on most of our trips just in case. I bought it at the North Face outlet in Cabazon years ago. Have a great time on your trip!

    1. I think he was in Palm Springs! His things are so lovely.

  7. The necklace is lovely! Let’s just acknowledge that manners are a class thing. I worked with someone who had no idea how to approach a table setting b/c his parents didn’t know. Eating from a plate, though. is inexcusable. I always pack from a list, laying out and weeding out my choices. Years ago, I gave the whole family emergency ponchos that fit in the car glove compartment – inexpensive and take no room at all. Umbrellas don’t cut it if rain is being whipped around by wind.

    1. The wind changes everything, I agree.

  8. Quite a few years ago, I lost my luggage to the London airport for the entire time we were gone. Fortunately, I had a backup outfit with a few purchases along the way that got me through the trip. Decisions were easy, I’ll give it that! What do you or your readers recommend for a carryon bag these days? I think I’ve learned my lesson!
    Enjoy your trip! I love this blog!

    1. Carryon bags especially those for under the seat are tricky in coach or the cheaper fare sections for travel within the US for me . As the room under the seat varies with each airline & with each seat location. It feels like a “Goldilocks “ situation for me.
      I too am curious to hear what others suggest.

      1. I agree. I find aisle seats have the least amount of space and yet, they are my favorite seat.

  9. Wow Jennifer, your necklace is so beautiful! It looks stunning on you!
    We are leaving on Sunday for a 5 week trip and checking luggage. But hear me out! We live near Ottawa, but are taking the train to Toronto and flying from there to Glasgow, so are hoping that our cases will make it. We will spend a couple of weeks around Scotland, then are flying to Southampton to board a ship to New York for a 12-day cruise, flying back home after two days in NYC. I took my suitcase out about 2 weeks ago and, similar to an earlier commenter, I pack then begin to weed out. Have a wonderful trip!

    1. Your trip sounds amazing!! Have a wonderful time. Have a great time on yours.

  10. The pearls are beautiful and I am obsessed with them. Saw them on Lady Gaga and I wanted them. Jennifer pearls are my goal. Now I just have to save my pennies.
    Have a wonderful trip.

  11. The “Jennifer” pearls are beautiful. So cool you have a piece of jewelry named after you.
    Enjoy your cruise 🚢 completely.

    1. Thanks so much, Lin

  12. Deborah H says:

    It must be a ‘Deborah’ thing, I plan my wardrobe as soon as I book a trip, even if it’s a year in advance. I also pick a colour scheme, and take photos or grab images from the website of each piece I plan to take. I decide what I will be wearing everyday depending on activities, we usually cruise so I know if it is a sea day or port. I will even do this for short trips, weekends away or a week long trip. I put outfits together and hang them on a door to take a photo. I print my packing list and wardrobe items and place them in a plastic sheet protector which I hang up near the closet. I never have to think…”what will I wear today?”. I always pack two days in advance in case I need to replace anything.

    1. You are amazingly organized! Bravo

  13. Have a wonderful trip! My 11 month old grandson will sometimes get so excited about the food on this tray that he will lean over and eat as the young man you describe! However, he’s not doing that as often as he did a couple of months ago. So hard to believe a teenager would do that.

  14. I don’t know about other parts of the country but in the south we have classes called Cotillion for young men and young ladies, usually starting at age 12. These classes teach table manners, table conversation, and basic dance steps. My grandchildren have attended them. I will have to say they have learned some very nice manners. At the end of the session the young men wear a tux and the young ladies wear white semi formal dresses for a dinner and dance. The young men have a dance with their mothers or other female they ask to attend with them and the girls do the same with a male. It usually turns out to be a fun evening . These events take place at a local Country Club.

  15. I am jealous of your trip too! What is the name of your carry-on suitcase? I would have loved to seen a picture of all your clothes and how you packed all in that suitcase! Maybe a tutorial in the future?

  16. You always look lovely and with those pearls- wow! Amazingly beautiful!
    Your packing resembles mine- neutrals with a scarf, kimono or necklace or belt in a bold color.
    I pack a but ahead but only nighties, tees or camisoles and undies or shoes. The order of things might vary. I do layout or hang in a dedicated spot items I refer to as “possibles” or probables and then finish it all the day before we leave. I still pack lightly as I did when we were visiting in Europe more than we are now. My shoes or boots were the most crucial as we walked everywhere back then. Hope you have a great time- relaxing! Shopping?

  17. I must have missed something- where is your cruise taking you? If an umbrella doesn’t keep you dry, shopping for a slicker or raincoat shouldn’t be too hard 😉

  18. How fun to have a necklace named after you!
    I pack ahead of time, we spent 3 months in Italy with a 25” suitcase ( now I would take a carry on, because of miss placed luggage). I did pretty well. I think I learned along the way what works, it just takes practice. Finding comfortable walking shoes takes time, so I start early.
    Have fun, enjoy the rain, stay safe!

  19. Sue Henry says:

    Hi! Having Justin returned from a quick trip to the UK and Amsterdam, and taking only carryon, I felt so pleased that I could actually do it now that I am home. I agree anticipation of your trip is half the fun! Plan ahead but do carryon only! Most people do these days.


    Enjiy yuyr holiday.. yiu always look smashing!

  20. Janice in Ky says:

    I’m so jealous of both your cruise And your beautiful necklace, named after you. How cool is that. Our last cruise was to be in May 2020, we all know how that turned out 🤬🚢 . Cancelled a week after we had paid the finally amount.
    Hope you have a wonderful time and send lots of pictures so I can live vicariously thru you.
    Oh, I’m a Deborah type packer. Not the drawing’s but do lay stuff out on the bed. My process is a little different ( I’m that over packer) I lay out everything I want to take, a lot of stuff. Then start weeding it out, slowly getting down to a workable wardrobe. Hoping for a 5 day trip in October. Going to try using a carry on and tote, wish me luck.🤪

  21. Francesca B says:

    Have a fabulous trip Jennifer ! Those pearls are just so beautiful l love the irregularity. Enjoy your time away 🙂

  22. I love your pearls! I do wear them often.
    I totally agree with you about manners! I suppose we need classes to teach manners and respect!
    Have a wonderful trip!

  23. beth byrd says:

    Beautiful necklace!!! Ooooh!!

    Happy travels!

    Just a thought … is it possible the young man with the poor manners was disabled and that was the only way for him to eat? If not, then it is really sad that his parents would not correct him.

    1. I could have missed something, but didn’t appear disabled, just a careless teenager. He ate with his fork perfectly well for several bites, then leaned down to eat off the plate a few times and went back to his fork.

      1. Perhaps he was on the spectrum.

      2. You could very well be right

      3. Not every disability is visible.

  24. The necklace is beautiful, and having it named after you is the icing on the cake. How fun is that? I hope you have a wonderful time (and not too much rain!🤞🏻).

  25. Hi Jennifer
    Really enjoyed today’s post. Your new necklace is gorgeous & is something you can wear with so much of your wardrobe. How wonderful to have had the style named after you, so deserved.
    It was interesting what you said about manners…..
    My school motto translated into “Manners Maketh Man”.
    The one saying I’ve never forgotten.
    Have a wonderful trip!

  26. Your pearls are beautiful!
    It made me smile to hear you describe the thunderstorm. My daughter moved to Seattle in the spring from Chicago – and one of the things she misses is thunderstorms! Apparently much more rare in Seattle than Chicago.
    And manners – that poor young man (although you wonder if he was doing it as much for the shock factor as anything). My husband has mentioned that when hiring people’s manners are a shadow of what they used to be and are still a factor in hiring as they are a reflection upon the company. So sad. Hopefully he will realize this somewhere along the line – hopefully sooner rather than later.

    1. He seemed rather oblivious like it was common practice. I hope he does learn along the way.

  27. Your pearl necklace is stunning and it’s so cool that they named it after you! Enjoy your trip.

  28. Diane M. Rafter says:

    You are right about parents not teaching their children proper table, (or other) manners. I’m an attorney and attend many functions with my fellow members of the bar, and I am shocked by the manners (or lack of) from the young attorneys, both male and female. These young people won’t get far in the field because they are being judged by those who promote. I have retired and am thinking of opening a school of manners to fill in the gaps in their education.

    1. A school of manners is a great idea. These young people who don’t learn as children, will find a lack of manners hold them back in many ways.

  29. Lisa Enfinger says:

    Oops I did it again! Your recommendations are just the best:) I’ve been looking, since they had my only 3 year old granddaughter’s ears pierced, for affordable child’s jewelry. Nordstrom’s mignonette line runs close to $100, but this freshwater pearl company was the perfect fit for me at $42, thanks again for your diligent research and recommendation. Enjoy your trip!

    1. Their prices are wonderful, I agree.

  30. Deborah B says:

    I am the butt of jokes among my friends because I start planning months ahead of a trip. I pick a color palette and stick to it – it makes planning/packing/dressing so much easier! I write/draw my wardrobe pieces on paper that I will take, depending on length of trip, activities , weather -3-4 pants, 6-8 shirts, next layer and outer layer if needed. I draw shoes and accessories as well. The next step is to lay the pieces out on a bed (luckily I have extra bedrooms these days) and mix and match outfits that way. I always try on my outfits to make sure they work. This way I have ample time to fill in any cracks in my travel wardrobe. I enjoy the planning stage of packing and it has served me well. Your advice has proven invaluable. Have a great trip!

    1. I do this too, Deborah! Planning the trip is a big part of the fun for me. I tuck my ‘daily outfit list’ in my suitcase ( always a carryon, even for two weeks) . I can vary from it, and do, especially when I shop at my destination!

    2. I do usually plan ahead to the point of being neurotic about it so this was a first for me 🙂

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