Where’s the Quality?

Years ago a national fast food hamburger chain ran a very successful ad campaign entitled, “Where’s the Beef?” mocking their competitors who had begun serving minuscule burgers topped with subpar ingredients. While “Where’s the Beef?” became a major catchphrase, the ad did nothing to change the corporate climate of offering less for the same amount, if not more, money. And unfortunately, this attitude in everything from the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, and the food we consume, has continually gotten worse over the past 35 years.

Recently I purchased a bag of Bugles. While I realize they contain no nutritional value they are tasty and I wanted to introduce my two year granddaughter to the joy of eating Bugles off your fingertips. These Bugles were so small the hole at the top was completely baked together. There was no way even my granddaughter could squeeze her tiny little fingers in the space. They tasted as good as a Bugle can taste but the “fun factor” was missing.


I emailed General Mills, the company who makes Bugles, not to ask for a refund, but to let them know how disappointed I was in their decision to change the shape/size of their snack.bugle

No reply email or phone call…no acknowledging receipt of my concerns, until a few weeks later when I received an envelope in the mail from them. Inside were several “cents off” coupons along with one or two free purchase coupons. Nothing letting me know they were taking my complaint under consideration, nothing thanking me for taking the time to let them know of my concerns, nothing telling me it was a fluke and that Bugles are exactly the same size as always…just the coupons.

I assume General Mills must think I am a loyal Bugles fan, eating at least a bag a week, when in reality, I may purchase a bag a year. So, instead of making me feel as though they at least understand my concern, they blew me off with coupons for a product in all honesty I probably won’t even purchase again.

Thank God I recycle so at least the coupons won’t go completely to waste!

Tieks: SO Worth the $$$!

In a former life (one of those lives I wasn’t even aware of) I must have been a researcher because these days it seems like even the simplest thing has me running to the internet, scoping out all the pros and cons. This includes restaurant reviews, new items at the grocery store, the best method for killing mold on my cucumber and squash plants and especially when it comes to spending money…big money on beauty and healthcare products and pricey clothes and shoes.

I recently discovered the term “fast fashion” and after reading “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth Cline, it really made me stop and think. The how, why and what I buy is for another blog post but for now it’s sufficient to say her book made me take a really hard look at my clothing decisions; which then led me to put time and effort into researching my upcoming shoe purchase rather than running to the mall and buying a half-dozen pairs simply because they were cute.

Needing a pair of shoes that were versatile, comfortable and well-made (and not flip-flops) I had checked out Tieks a while back but just couldn’t commit…that was until I did my homework and read everything I could find online,  about these sassy shoes with the light Tiek blue sole.  And while there are literally thousands of blog posts and YouTube videos, I wasn’t convinced until I found Ruth and her fabulous website, Viva Veltoro. This amazing lady has literally written everything you could possibly want to know about Tieks and more! She has even taken the time to do comparison photos of similarly colored Tieks so you can see the subtle differences in shading.

Based on all her hard work, I was ready to buy my very first pair of Tieks. It’s funny, even though I currently don’t own and frankly can’t remember the last time I owned a pair of navy blue shoes, that was what I selected for my maiden pair of Tieks. Christened “California Navy” I figured I would get a lot of wear out of them with jeans and denim capris and crops; and I wasn’t wrong.

The ordering process is super easy. Tieks are only sold on their website and never go on sale so you don’t waste time with price comparisons or searching for coupons. I ordered on a Monday and they were delivered on Wednesday. Yes, the box is cute. The flower is cute. The extra bags are nice. But I was more concerned with the fit. I wear a 6, ordered a 6, and a 6 is what fit. They were a little tight across my toes. But I know years of wearing nothing but flip-flops has caused my feet to get a bit flatter and wider. While I have seen methods online on how to stretch your Tieks, I simply wore mine around the house for a couple of days. That said, if your Tieks don’t fit and you haven’t worn them outside, email or call Tieks, tell them what other size you want to try and they will get it in the mail right away. In fact, Tieks will even allow you to keep both pairs (only being charged for one) until you decide which size fits best. Just remember to return one pair within the time limit so you aren’t charged for both.

Except for the little tightness across my toes when I first worn them, they were/are super comfortable. No pinching or pain around my heel, my feet don’t really sweat in them, overall they are an exceptionally comfortable pair of shoes.

While Tieks is very vocal about their ballet flats being made from Italian leather, they aren’t in fact very forthcoming as to where their shoes are actually manufactured. In fact, nowhere online could I find anything saying exactly where they are constructed. When I called Tieks I was told “Brazil, Italy and China” with design and leather from Brazil and Italy, assembly in China and finally packaging in Los Angeles. And while I wish Chinese labor wasn’t involved, I have read enough to know that in today’s manufacturing climate, it is almost impossible to have something made in the US, regardless of cost. Which is pretty sad…and a future blog post topic.

Bottom line: if you are searching for comfort Tieks is the way to go. And while mine are still super new, based on the hundreds of reviews I have read, I have no reason to doubt my Tieks will last me for years to come. Also, if you have any questions whatsoever concerning Tieks, check out Viva Veltoro. IMHO, she is the leading online expert when it comes to all things Tieks.

Already own a pair of Tieks or are you considering purchasing your very first pair? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Things I Can’t Live Without

  • Coffee-A major component of my life these days since giving up alcohol. Lately my favorite is iced coffee with caramel syrup and half and half.
  • Chapstick-One on my nightstand. One in my car. One in my pocket. At all times.
  • Books and Magazines-Both made from paper and the electronic versions.
  • My pets-Even when I lived on a 36′ sailboat I had cats and dogs.

I used to have many, many more things to list but have found as I get older, I don’t need/want as much as before. It’s a nice feeling, very liberating.




Forgive Yourself

Bianca Sparacino has written some of the most deeply moving and BAM, in your face, wake up and live your life! words I have ever read. The following is a passage which has profoundly affected me and I read it every morning before getting out of bed. Some days it simply helps to reassure me that I’m on the right track and other days it reminds me to accept my past, accept the fact I did the best I could at the time, and forgive myself.

“I hope you have the courage to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, from anything that fails to inspire your mind. I hope you have the courage to grow, to change, to do things differently than what is expected of you, to step back and seek out the kinds of things that ignite passion and excitement within your very bones. But most of all, I hope you have the courage to forgive yourself, for all of the times you did not have the courage to believe that you deserved more than the kind of life you were settling for.”

Searching for the Holy Grail of Skin Care

Like most women, especially women of a certain age, I am constantly on the hunt for the best and most effective skin care products on the market today. And while costly, I have found for my red, dry and easily irritated facial skin, La Mer to be the best. Yes, I know, I know, it ain’t cheap but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and go with what works.


That doesn’t mean I don’t still try samples from other product lines. And while some work, the majority don’t and I go running back to that simple, yet elegant white glass jar.

Recently I have discovered a fantastic facial mask from Fresh, their Fresh Rose Face Mask. Received as a sample, it has been sitting unused in my bathroom cabinet until I decided it was time to clean out all those “free” mini bottles, jars and plastic sachet packets that seem to accumulate on their own. The samples are usually so small they don’t include usage directions so I headed to the Fresh website where in addition to the Rose Face Mask description, there was also an ingredients list, how to use section and plenty of helpful reviews. After washing my face I gave it a try. My face tingled a bit when first applied but then I felt a nice cooling sensation. I left it on about 7 to 10 minutes then rinsed my face thoroughly, patted it dry and continued with the rest of my nightly skin care regiment. The next morning I was amazed at how good my skin looked and felt. While Fresh does say their Rose Face Mask is gentle enough to be used daily, given how temperamental my skin is, for now I will probably only use it perhaps twice a week, mainly on those days when I’m feeling really dry. I also received a small bottle of Rose Floral Toner, which I didn’t care for and a couple Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream sachets which I have been using on my neck and like a great deal.

rose face mask

Continue reading “Searching for the Holy Grail of Skin Care”