Monday Musings: Lights, Family, Action

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Ours was spent prepping our house for the upcoming holidays, which will soon be chock full of family. Yay! We also spent some time car shopping because my kids are hounding me to update my 20-year-old car with one that has newer safety features. It’s a torturous process and one I’m not enjoying.

Christmas Lights

It doesn’t feel like the holidays around here until the Christmas lights are up. We haven’t had outdoor lights up for many years because the thought of either my husband or I on a ladder (or the roof) makes my blood run cold. This year, for the first time, we hired a local company to hang lights for us.

I even got nervous watching this sure-footed young man wandering our roof!

We opted to have them supply the lights for several reasons. First, we haven’t owned outdoor lights in over 15 years, so even if we could find them, many of the lights would be burned out, or half the strand wouldn’t light. Second, if a light goes out, they will come right over and fix it. You could probably find a similar service in your area or try a handyman. The same goes for if you need help with your tree.

Decking The Halls

Every year, more and more of our ornaments were coming out of our storage bins either cracked or broken…except this year! I invested in these storage containers at the end of last season, and they’re brilliant!

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT STORAGE BOX

We’ve had a lot of our ornaments for over 40 years, and their original boxes have long since disintegrated, so this is the perfect solution! It stores up to 72 ornaments in a nice compact box.

JENNY BIRD EARRINGS / EYEGLASS FRAMES

Family Time

Being back in California means another visit with our sweet new grandson. He is so tiny and growing fast! We’re very excited to have everyone home for Christmas this year. We’ve bought tickets to see The Nutcracker with my ten-year-old grandson and hope to take him to see The Scrooge play as well. My daughter will be down, and my sister-in-law is coming too! There’s nothing better than having family together for the holidays. I know these times are limited, so I am counting my blessings.

MOCKNECK T-SHIRT / GAP SWEATSHIRT / SWEATPANTS / PLAID PILLOW COVER / ORNAMENT BOX

Pajamas

With a full house coming up this Christmas, one of the things I’ve been thinking about is pajamas and slippers! I’m rather persnickety about my pajamas. I like long sleeves and long pants. I probably haven’t worn a nightgown in about 20 years because it drives me crazy when they ride up while you’re sleeping. I’d probably be happy with footed pajamas if they weren’t so warm and childish-looking!

EBERJEY JERSEY PAJAMAS

There are some beautiful pajamas out there. My daughter is a big fan of the Eberjey jersey knit sets, so I ordered these ones in raspberry with ivory trim. I have several pairs of this Nordstrom brand that look similar but cost less, so I will report back if these Eberjey are worth the extra money.

Action

We went to our first and possibly only holiday party last night. I was working on this post until 15 minutes before we left to go, so I had just moments to pull an outfit together. This is what I wore-

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing black J. Crew Regent blazer with long skirt and Birdies flats
NEW REGENT BLAZER / SKIRT (OVER 30 YEARS OLD) / VINTAGE PIN / TANK (20+ YEARS OLD) / VELVET BIRDIES FLATS / SHOULDER BAG (OLDER THAN I CAN REMEMBER / EARRINGS (SOLD OUT YEARS AGO)

I’m not going to take this opportunity to explain why I find black so perfect for my wardrobe but the fact that I was able to pull this look together while my husband started the car and called…”ready yet?” speaks volumes. Is it my most flattering color? Perhaps not. But it is my most useful, and I can always count on it.

Hair

My hair was always oily in my youth, but now I’m dealing with dryness. Do you use any special treatments on your hair in the winter? I can’t use heavy things that weigh it down, but I do need to add something extra to my current routine.

64 Comments

  1. Christi S. says:

    You look very elegant and chic in the black party outfit. And, in 15 minutes! Very impressive! I use Uribe hair products (yes, expensive but my hair has never been better). Oribe has hair thickener – Maximista – that has been a game changer for my fine, flat hair. You spray through damp hair and blow dry.

    Your tree looks fabulous. Please share a photo of the full tree. Love that your tree is a collection of all the wonderful ornaments you have collected over the years. They mean the most.

    1. They do mean the most! I’ll share when it’s all decked out. That Oribe sounds great!

  2. We just bought a 2020 Chevy Bolt EV. Couldn’t find a new one because the smaller Bolts were discontinued for a while and there aren’t many new ones.
    I LOVE having an electric car even though on trips over a few hours we need to stop and charge the car. It’s a good excuse to take a walk, do some shopping, or have lunch!
    The con: on the highway the Bolt uses electricity fast. While the range is 240 miles, driving over 60 mph brings the available electricity down more quickly, so the range becomes around 190.
    The pros? No need for fossil fuels, no noise. And if you get a new model of the EV or EUV, there are great rebates and tax credits! (eligibility on used cars is more limited)

  3. Oh my gosh! I wore a vintage pin Saturday night that looks just like yours! I attended a Christmas wedding and wore a green sweater with rhinestone button trim, black pants and patent leather pumps. I got my hair and nails done. I felt great. I am not a vain person in the least, but not one person complimented me. So, readers, do you compliment other women? Do your partners compliment you? Just curious.

    1. I compliment other women all the time! I’m always surprised that more women don’t do it and share the love. Your outfit sounds great!

      1. when shopping recently, I have had two young women come up and compliment me on my outfit (usually a linen dress), then ask where I bought it as ‘it would be perfect for their mother’. As for Christmas, I have loved celebrating it (in the past) on the East Coast of the USA. People go all out decorating their houses and streets, the shops look beautiful and a touch of snow made it quite magical. Quite the opposite in Australia, where a twig (masquerading as a wreath) on the front door can be considered ‘over the top’.

      2. It must be so very different because the weather is warm for Christmas.

    2. Amy Palumbo says:

      I compliment everyone who wears something nice. It’s a kind way to say I notice and I care.

  4. I love decorating for Christmas. Our house is finished and now we can enjoy celebrating the holidays. Your tree is so pretty. Loved your outfit.

  5. Good luck with car shopping! December 31 is a great day to buy a car from a dealer as they are anxious to make a sale to add to their month/year end bonus. If you want an EV or hybrid, I think there may be some tax credits but look them up to be sure! I have a hybrid and maintenance is minimal and it has been great for reliability.

    1. We are looking at hybrids too.

  6. We decided to buy a battery-operated pre-lit wreath and garland to decorate the front entrance. Both have built-in timers. Green lightbulbs in the garage fixtures and red bows add a festive touch. This is the last year for climbing a ladder to our up the Christmas house lights. Next year they’ll decorate the back deck, where no ladders are required. It’s time. We enjoy the lights to lift our spirits during the darkest part of the year.

  7. Jennifer—Can you comment on your Gap sweatshirt and pants. Reviews are saying the pants run short and a slim fit. I’m between a 6 and 8 petite usually. I’m 5’0” and considering ordering the regular length and having them hemmed if need be. I have long legs and a short torso for a petite person. Does the sweatshirt run short? Just wondering if I should order a petite in that. I didn’t see any measurements as far as length, etc. Did you like the fabric or is too thin and pills easily?

    Thank you

    1. I found the pants in regular are long on me and they are a tiny bit on the slim side. Planning to hem them is a smart idea. The sweatershirt is a bit shorter which I prefer so it doesn’t look overwhemling.They fabric isn’t flimsy at all and I’ve had no pilling yet…but that was the first time I wore them.

  8. As pretty as your tree is and how pretty your decorating is, I’m staring at you! Well you look gorgeous in your holiday outfit. Quite lovely! And your haircut and style is terrific too! It all works!
    I still drive my 2010 Volvo and I’m fine with it. Hubby has a new Volvo with all the new devices (backing up etc). He loves it! I’ll keep my older model. A great car!

  9. pj hinton says:

    You looked absolutely stunning!! And your hair was perfect!!
    We were in the market for a new car this year and due to one of us having a visual impairment for close vision (reading the car instrumentation), we chose the Volvo XC 40 with Google Assist that allows us to just say whatever command we need done by saying, “Hey, Google” followed by the command and it just gets done without us having to do anything. Easy peasy and we can still have a driver and a navigator! And all the safety features that come on cars now are phenomenal!! We just didn’t know what we were missing until we got this new car!! Certainly makes us feel safer every time we get behind the wheel!! Good luck with your search!!

    1. That sounds amazing!! Cars are so smart!

  10. Are you thinking of an SUV? I went from a car to a SUV and love the height, not just for ease of getting in & out but it feels safer in traffic of big trucks and huge SUVs.
    I love black for evening, as well. It just feels more elegant than colours.
    Enjoy your family Christmas. I’m heading east to cold, snowy Ottawa for Christmas. Living on the west coast, I don’t have proper cold weather gear… but I can always borrow from my daughters. What meters is that we are all together. I hope we see some pictures of your gorgeous new grandson. Mine are all teenagers now. I miss the baby cuddles.

    1. I will share. I can’t help myself ♥️♥️

  11. Jennifer, you look stunning in the black! I like Hair Biology Serum. It’s inexpensive and my salt and pepper dry hair can’t do without it. Just need a small amount. Rub between your hands and gently work through dried hair before the final styling. Helps with dryness, flyaway and electricity. And not sticky.

    1. Thank you. I haven’t tried that one.

  12. Dianne🇨🇦 says:

    Good morning, your outfit was just lovely! Your vintage pin and “peekaboo “ sparkles made it awesome!
    Our son came this weekend to put up our outdoor lights!
    So easy for him, we really appreciate!
    Looking for ward to family & friends time.

  13. Jennifer, your tree is lovely….You and I have similar hair…my stylist recommended K18 leave in hair conditioner/hair mask, it’s lightweight, but really effective. I have noticed this year my hair is dryer and a bit more fragile….I’m thinking of taking biotin to hopefully help out the thinning issue…also from Amazon, Re:line Biotin Volumizing Spray….it’s absolutely amazing. Also as Linda mentioned, Its A Miracle is a wonderful product line……….Happy Holidays to you and your family

    1. Thank you Nancy. Happy Holidays to you and your family too!

  14. It’s fabulous that you hired someone for your lights! We don’t do anything up high, otherwise I would be hiring someone. It would be well worth the investment; especially with guests coming for Christmas who will appreciate it!
    My hair is very similar to yours. I don’t do anything different in the winter, but I have found that HB (Hair Biology) products that I buy at Target really work well and make my hair look its best. They work just as well as any high end, high priced product I’ve ever tried. A recommendation for pajamas are, Bed Head, online. I have a pair of Eberjey’s and don’t like them as well as I like the Bed Head 100% cotton jersey pajamas. Like you, I prefer long sleeves and pants, year round. These pjs are all seasons. I find that the Eberjey’s are sometimes clingy and too hot.
    Have a wonderful celebration with your family Jennifer. I know what you mean about these moments being precious and fleeting.

    1. Great info, nancy. Thanks for sharing that. I had not heard of Bed Head pajamas. I’ll have a look.

  15. We just finished car shopping brought on by an uninsured driver totaling my car in an accident when she ran a stop sign. In my case I was limited to what I could get that was available. I had already waited 3 weeks for insurance to total the car. I was pleasantly surprised that there were several choices for me.

    I really like your party outfit. I often lead toward black, especially when I have to put an outfit together quickly.

    1. I’m glad you weren’t hurt! My old car is small so it wouldn’t take much to total it and it really isn’t safe based on its size.

  16. Love your holiday outfit! You look very elegant. I love decorating for Christmas. Our home is a two story so we just decorate the porch with lights. Years ago our lawncare company was doing holiday lights and we hired them. It was great. I like that they will come out and fix any problems. We’re hosting Christmas Day this year. It will be fun, but busy!

  17. Hi Jennifer,

    I have a similar cut to yours, can you please let me know what shampoo, etc you are using. please? I am dealing with flat hair, no volume, etc. Oh and yes, a bit of thinning on top.
    Love your post today and every day.

    Thank you.

    1. I use Olaplex shampoo and conditioner. I’ve use it for several years. Most of my volume comes from the dry shampoo. I swear by it.

  18. Diane Stites says:

    One of the greatest features of a new car is the blind spot monitor. The back up camera is huge too. Enjoy your new car.

    1. YES!! My husbands car has that and I love it. Whenever I get back in mine I miss it.

  19. Linda Conner says:

    Jennifer,
    I noticed your new frames immediately, and how beautiful they “framed” your face, and looked with your hair! BTW, your hair looks so pretty as well! You looked elegant for your Christmas party. Please take a picture of your Christmas tree when it is finished. I’d love to see it decorated. We just received two offers on our home, so we won’t be decorating for Christmas, but packing up more boxes for our move to Hawaii. Yikes! Now that the move is becoming a reality, it’s a bit nerve wracking to wrap my head around. I may not post everyday, but please know, I am enjoying your blog.

    1. Thanks, yes I will. That’s so exciting, Linda! Hawaii is just gorgeous.

  20. Sharon K. says:

    The Regency blazer first you so perfectly! I wore all black to our first holiday party too, not my usual style, but I felt almost glamorous in a long sleeve black velvet top and long skirt with scattered sequins. All older pieces pulled from my stash. It’s fun to look good without a major shopping expedition!

    1. Your outfit sounds fabulous! I always feel a bit elegant wearing black. It does make shopping from my closet so easy.

  21. My hair, too, was oily in youth, now fine, straight and somewhat thinning in places. I do find hair oils helpful and have a few that I like – the Kiehl’s Magic Elixir and the Rene Furterer Complexe 5. I exercise in the morning so I’ll put one of these on before my walk, massage them in with a silicone thingy, pop on my baseball cap or beanie, and go; they get washed out after my walk when I shower. For me, these are pre-shower treatments only, though.

    1. Do you like that silicone thingee? I have one but never use it.

  22. Stephanie says:

    I just got a new car after 10 years and I really like it. It is a 2024 Toyota Camry LE and has lots of safety features and an extremely smooth ride. It’s also top rated by all the car guides. I had to wait 2 months for the dealership to trade to get what I wanted, but things should be better now that the 2024 car are more widely available.

    1. One dealer told me we’re lucky we started now because in three weeks the selection will be very small. Car buying is stressful.

  23. Beverly Hritz says:

    I subscribe to Prose hair treatment. All the products are custom made for you, based on an extensive questionnaire you fill out. My hair looks the best it ever has.

    1. That sounds fascinating!! I’ve never heard of them. Thank you Beverly. I’ll check it out.

  24. Pat Patterson says:

    Good morning Jennifer, regarding women our age who use to have oily hair now having to put the shine back into our hair, I discovered the Aveda hair line products and never bought any other brand. It’s pricy but worth it, we as women of a “ certain age, ha ha”) we deserve to be kind to ourselves.
    Have a great day!

    1. I agree, Pat! We certainly do.

  25. I have hair like yours (fine, easily overwhelmed by product) and I find Miracle It’s a 10 with Keratin leave in conditioner (blue bottle) makes my hair shiny and supple all winter long … and that’s saying something in an Ohio winter. Use just 1-2 pumps (less than an eighth of a teaspoon, just a film on your fingertips). You will think it’s not enough, but it is. Just rub it through your wet hair. It has a heat protectant as well. A small bottle lasts me over a year.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I’ve never heard of that. It’s sounds like I need to try it! Such an unusual name.

  26. How wonderful that you will have your family with you for the holidays. When we downsized, we had to give up having the family celebrations here and I miss the feeling of a full and noisy house 🙂 I enjoy walking the dog after dinner as I see all the fabulous lights in our neighbourhood. You can tell the houses that have used the decorating services – lights on the high roofs as well as all the mature trees – and white seems to be the colour for lights this year.

  27. carolyn lassonde says:

    You look great! Can’t believe you pulled off that look in only 15 minutes! Your hair looks especially good. Hope you had a great time!

    1. A quick spray of dry shampoo works miracles on my hair.

  28. I love the vintage pin on your blazer.

  29. Re car buying. Other than the test drive, everything else can be done online or via text. I bought my last 2 cars this way. (The 1st was back in 2011 and the last was in 2019). So much easier and less stressful

    1. I agree! It’s a tedious process

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